The other day, I got an email from a wife who told me: “my husband is in love with someone else. He’s very honest about the fact that he loves her, but he says his commitment is to me and to our family. He’s going to stay with me, but I feel as though he’s only with me because he’s obligated. I suspect that if he could have his way, he’d be with her. How can I have a marriage knowing I’m the second prize?” I’ll tell you what I told her in the following article.
If Your Husband Is In Love With Someone Else, He Must Have No Contact With Her If You’re Going To Save Your Marriage: This seems like common sense, but I can’t tell you how many women write to me and explain a situation where the husband is carrying on with both the wife and the mistress. This scenario can not end well. If your husband has the ability to compare you with the woman who isn’t washing his laundry or picking up after him or carrying the baggage of the history between you, then you may well lose.
If he’s really committed to you, then his loyalties and his attention should lie at home. In order to restore trust and intimacy, you can not and should not worry if he’s been with her. He must cut all ties. There are no exceptions to this. I realize that he may well work with her but if this is the case, then very firm boundaries must be set (and I actually prefer that he transfer or get another job.) It is huge disservice to you to ask you to even remotely allow her into your life. You deserve better than this and you must demand it.
If he wants to stay with you, make him earn this right. He must not see her, talk to her, or interact with her and he must provide you with what you need to prove to you that you can trust that this is the reality of the situation.
Focusing Only On The Two Of You: Once you banish this woman from your (and your husband’s) life, your focus must then move to the two of you. Don’t give her more power than she deserves and don’t keep going back to her or the relationship. In order for this to work, you both must be committed to repairing the marriage. Continuing to dwell on her runs counter to this. And, frankly, continuing to bring her up only makes your husband think about her. You obviously do not want this. Keep his attention where it belongs – on you and your family.
Now, admittedly, you will have to explore why the affair happened, but focus instead on what went wrong in YOUR relationship and how to fix it rather than on what was so special about THEIR relationship. Their relationship should be over, done, and eventually forgotten. You can speed this along by focusing on the things that are going to help to reestablish the bond and the connection.
I find that many people make the mistake of placing too much pressure on the situation. This makes both people feel uncomfortable and awkward. These negative feelings can make you feel like this is just a lost cause. It’s important that you’re both clear on the fact that the commitment is there so it’s going to be OK to muddle or struggle through for a while. You must know that he’s absolutely committed to you and vice verse so that if there are rough times ahead, you’ll both hang in there, knowing that if you can get through the next several weeks, things will become much easier.
Creating A Newer And Better Marriage: Yes, working through this is hard. But, it’s important to not make it drudgery. Focus on just having fun together day by day when you are ready. You must create what is a “new normal.” However, this new state of being should eventually be better than what came before it. Visit new places. Have new experiences. Shop, travel, and eat at new places that will create new memories. Step outside of your comfort zone to create feelings of excitement, exploration, and anticipation.
I know that some of this article has focused on her and the negative aspects of her. But, I want you to focus on what is the good news. He’s made clear that he’s committed to you. Many wives do not have this luxury. I have so many women who write me and tell me that not only is he in love with someone else, but he’s leaving and is going to be with her. This is not your situation so take advantage of what you do have right now – his commitment (and hopefully yours too.)
I know that even contemplating this woman is painful and difficult, but make sure that you don’t give her more power than she deserves. And, healing is often closer than you may think. It took a lot of work and patience, but today my marriage is actually stronger than it ever was before. I also did a lot of work on myself and am happier as the result. Our bond and intimacy is much stronger and my self esteem is at an all time high. I know longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read my very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/.