I recently heard from a wife who told me that she was more confused now than she was after first learning about her husband cheated. Approximately eight months had passed since she first learned that her husband had been cheating on her. Because the husband was not sure if he was willing to give up the other woman, and the wife was not sure that she even wanted to deal with the husband, they both decided that it was best that took a break from one another and the marriage.
But, there were kids involved, and the wife, try as hard as she might to feel nothing for him, had to admit that she was reluctant to throw away all of their history together and the family that they had worked so hard to build. Still, the husband was behaving in an embarrassing way and the wife was very angry for a very long time. So, while they maintained contact for the sake of their children, the wife kept the husband at arm’s length. Occasionally, she would weaken and miss him. But for the most part she was trying to buy herself some time until she the both of them could decide what they really wanted and what was most healthy for their family.
Well of course, one day out of the clear blue, the husband came knocking on the door of his old home declaring his love for the wife, his long list of apologies, and his pleas that the wife allow him back home in an attempt to work things out. Unfortunately, the children were all witness to this. And of course, they wanted their dad home. So, the wife relented and let him move back in. But, she was lost. She had no idea where to go from here. I’ll share what we ultimately agreed upon in the following article.
Deciding Whether She Wanted To Save The Marriage Or Whether The Cheating Was An Ultimate Deal Breaker: At the heart of this whole issue was the wife’s decision of whether she was willing to give the marriage another try or if she was ready to close the door on this altogether. And, she still did not have the answer to this question. There were days when she thought that she was ready and there were days when she still wanted to lash out at him.
However, the fact was that he was under her roof. And most of the time, she did not want to kick him out. I reassured her that there was absolutely no rule or regulation that dictated that she had to make a decision any time soon. There was nothing that said she could not take her time, feel her way, and see how things unfolded. Of course, doing this was going to require that the two of them sit down, be very honest with one another, and set some ground rules.
The wife felt sure that she was not ready to share a bedroom with the husband and he was willing to accept this, (which was a good thing because this was the last thing that they needed to worry about and this issue would likely only complicate things). The husband was willing to just see how things unfolded without pressuring the wife in any way. He insisted that he just wanted to spend some time with his children and to see where all of this lead. He seemed sincere, so they were off and running.
Mandating That Real Rehabilitation And True Change Took Place: I felt very strongly that one major aspect of the wife’s resistance for the fact that she just did not trust the husband at all. She kept saying things like: “he’s gone for eight months and now he’s decided that he doesn’t want her after all and I’m just supposed to welcome him with open arms?” She knew that this wasn’t fair and she wasn’t going to change her mind about this anytime soon, and, who could blame her?
The key in changing this up, I felt, was for her to absolutely demand that the husband make some concessions, changes, and gestures that were going to, over a gradual period of time, begin to restore the trust. This was the husband’s responsibility as he was the one who destroyed this in the first place. Yes, she needed to be open, but he was the one who needed to take the initiative. He needed to show and not tell her that he was completely serious and he was willing to be patient while showing her that he could be trusted and was willing to do whatever she needed for him to do, including counseling.
At the end of the day, for this situation ever to work, they needed to be able to work together to identify and mend all of the issues, restore the trust, and then to create an entirely new relationship that felt healthy and mutual. There were a lot of issues at play here and this was going to take some time, but nothing was impossible if they were both willing.
Not Losing Yourself Just Because Her Husband Has Come Back: One thing that the wife was concerned about was the fact that she had gained some independence while her husband was gone and she did not want to lose this now that he was back. I felt strongly that she did not need to move backward. Her independence and healthy self sufficiency was one thing that he was just going to have to deal with if he wanted to create a new and healthy relationship, as he was claiming today. Because if there is one thing that I know for sure, it’s that you can’t be happy in a marriage or a relationship if you are not also happy as an individual.
I really do understand this dilemma and I felt that the wife did not need to rush. Sometimes, things just change over time. Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, my marriage is stronger than ever after my husband’s affair. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. Because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem is at an all time high. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/
Katie Lersch writes articles about moving past an affair. Her corresponding blog is at http://surviving-the-affair.com/