A Reader Writes…
I have been married for 11 years and 2 months ago I found out by accident that my wife is in love with another man. I was very hurt but very calm and I tried to understand her reasons. After weeks of pain she told me everything. She was relieved. While struggling to accept the situation, the guy moved in the country (he was in France) and she cheated on me. I found out about this by accident also. I was again very understanding because I saw that she is confused and traumatized beyond belief.
Why did she do this? Well for the last 3 years we have had financial problems and I was blocked in a state of day-dreaming magical auto-solving wishing state. She was and still is my sun but I was not able to actually do anything. During 3 years slowly by slowly she started feeling like I don’t care at all until last year she grew so desperate that she let herself fall in love with another man (which she dismissed quickly) then with this 10 year younger guy.
This guy is apparently mature, smart and above all very ambitious. They fell in love with each other after one week, then he left the country. She told me that she never thought of the consequences. She just wanted to get away for the payments, the problems. I saw her crying and suffering many times but I did not wake up and if she did not work more (12 hours a day) the bank would have taken the house. So all this pressure made here evade into another world.
She tried to tell me that we need to fix the problem or she will divorce me but she did not want to hurt me. We are still extremely good friends and have affection up to the sky. She will now go in France to visit his family for Christmas. Which makes me die of course. On the one hand she is trying to find some major fault to him so she can stop being in love. On the the other hand, I suppose, she just cant stop wishing him around.
I offered to let her go and divorce but she said she can’t dump me yet. She said because she just can’t and because if she will see change in me she would like to try again. (Indeed her biggest concern seems to be for me to become a man again and take the whole load off her shoulders. She said – no one not even her knows if that is true – that she is not worried she wont be able to forget him but rather worried that the passion between us wont come back).
I am being supportive. I am sure she is very traumatized by the work load, by my abandonment, by her infidelity, by many more. I suffer like a dog and try to ignore that she will not try to be mine again until I deserve her and that I have to let that guy be part of her life for now at least.
My question is: do I have a chance? I am not a bad man. She can tell you that. I was and hoping to get cured a very spoiled, immature man. But I learn fast and I would do anything for her.
Do you think she could indeed get back to me? Can I become the man she needs?
When a woman tells her husband “I love another man”, the vast majority give up, throw in the towel and either sit in their corner with their hands in their head (or go onto the Internet to find someone else).
Meanwhile, if a husband tells a wife that he’s fallen for another woman, nine times out of ten she rolls up her sleeves and sets to work. One thing is for sure, she seldom takes his protestations of love at face value. She thinks, ‘he doesn’t know her’, she’s only been on her “best behaviour” and ‘will it last?’
So what I’m saying is don’t be sure it is true love. It’s much more likely to be ‘something to help me feel better’ and because our culture comes down hard on affairs (rightly so in my opinion) the people involved have to tell themselves it is love – or it looks very cheap and makes them feel dirty. Once the bubble of the affair bursts, and the couple have to face the cold hard reality, it all begins to look a bit different.
While I’m staying positive, you have listened, understood and not attacked your wife (which is to your credit). By doing this, you’ve gathered a lot of useful information. For example, she could forget him but she REALLY needs for you to change). So you know what you’ve got to do.
I’m not 100% certain, from your letter, what you’ve done to sort out the financial problems yourself or whether it has just been your wife shouldering all the load. If you’ve been unable to act, I would suspect that you’ve been depressed but have hoped that time, your latest magical plan or the weather would lift it. If that’s the case, your wife will not understand why you haven’t been to the doctors. When she’s tired and stressed, she will think that’s because you care enough or even you didn’t love her. So make an appointment and consider counselling too.
It’s horrible that your wife has gone away with this new man but it gives you time to start working on yourself. Read I Love You but I’m Not in Love With You as it explains how avoiding rows and unpleasantness doesn’t (as we imagine) protect love but destroys it.
Read My Wife Doesn’t Love Me Any More for some advice targeted especially at men and if you’ve time, I’d add How Can I Ever Trust You Again? to understand more about why she had the affair and how to find your way back to a better relationship.
Ultimately, the first step to being the man she needs is to believe that you can do it. You’ve done the hardest bit – keeping calm and listening – so you’ve laid the foundations. I believe you can do the rest.