Husband has very strong feelings for me but....
by Eileen S.
(Northern New Jersey, USA)
Through your website, you have helped me through my husbands' midlife transition for the past 5 months. In brief, he left 5 months ago after a short 1 month affair with a high school sweetheart. Since then he has been miserable, confused and doesn't know where he's going to end up. He is currently living with his paramour to save money to get his own apartment. He had his own place but the ride to work was an hour and a half one way and the gas was killing him. He is afraid that she will throw him out, I will not take him back and he'll end up alone.
In any event, I invited him to share Christmas Eve in our home with our children (18 and 20). I was not to be home as I had plans that night and he thought it would be a nice idea. His plans changed and he ended up coming to the house earlier than expected. We saw each other for the first time in 5 months that night. We were cordial to each other. I offered him a cup of coffee which he accepted. I was dressed to the nines to go out and have lost 40 pounds since he left (which he was not expecting.) He stayed with the kids for about about 2 hours most of which time I spent watching television in my room. I also invited him to look at my new car which he was happy to do.
They left for a family party before I did and I wished him a Merry Christmas. I left shortly there after.
He left me a voice mail message on my phone later that evening saying that our first meeting went better than he had expected and that he was amazed at how good I looked. He couldn't get over it. A few days later he saw my son. He told my son that he still had strong feelings for me and that he was happy for me for losing weight and again, couldn't get over how good I looked. He said he made a huge mistake coming to the house because he was more confused than ever about where he wanted to
be (our home, his paramours home or a new apartment). He said Thanksgiving and Christmas were very difficult for him - so much so that he had to turn his phone off because he didn't want to talk to anybody.
My question to you is do you see any hope in him coming home? I think this MLC that he is going through is something he had to get out of his system. He has already left his girlfriend twice and she has asked him to leave twice. He did say that I was correct - the excitement of his new relationship would eventually wear off which it is and he has admitted that he is now purposely looking for things wrong with her. He says that they have had two major fights and has also told our children that. He also said that he should not have started a relationship before ending the old one. He cannot give her 100% and she gives him 100% every day. He feels the damage is done. He is ashamed of himself and the guilt kills him. He is angry with me for NOT being angry with him. He said it would make it easier if I was angry. Unfortunately, my love for him trumps all other emotions (anger, hurt, sadness, etc.) and I would still take him back. When I said to him "You fell out of love with me and into love with her", his response was "I wouldn't say that. Love is a very strong word".
Eileen S.Noel's response
From what you describe, it sounds as though his coming home is a possibility. I know of a number couples who, under similar circumstances, did get back together. Of course I also know of many who did not.
William O. Roberts in his book Crossing the Soul's River
describes being separated from his wife for two years before they re-united. They are still together as far as I know. It might be a book both you and your husband would find useful.
If you do decide to get back together, I strongly recommend marriage counseling in order to re-establish trust, and talk about what you want your relationship to be like going forward.