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what are the chances of my husband going through with this divorce?

by Angela
(Concord NH)

The Question

My husband and I have been married for 8 years and we have two children, ages 3 and 9 months. We just bought a house 14 months ago and took in his mother. We had spent the entire 3 months maternity leave together. He said he felt closer to me than he had in a while.

To be fair, I was in a job that made me extremely unhappy and became depressed. I was no longer the fun person he remembers as I was always tired, and my memory and concentration was being affected.

Last month, we got into an argument and I said he was 90% of the reason I was depressed. I was angry and didn't mean what I said. He had become very critical of me, particularly over the last 4-5 months before he left. This contributed to my depression, but wasn't the sole cause of it.

I have reason to believe he's either having an affair or leaving me to pursue another woman. The girl is 24 and he works with her. About a year ago, I had confessed to my husband that I cheated on him while we were dating (before we got married). This was nine years ago, but it still upset him deeply.

He said he forgave me and knew he can trust me now, because I've been a faithful wife. It was shortly after this confession that I noticed a change in him. He became very secretive, he was text messaging female coworkers quite frequently, and he wasn't as open with me anymore.

My husband has been gone for over a month now. At first I was highly emotional and fell apart. I called and emailed him several times. I realize now this only pushed him further away.

Recently, I have changed my approach. I told him I understand why he left and that I'm okay with it, and have been giving him the space he wants so badly. He says he still loves me, but that love isn't enough. His reasons for leaving sound more like cop outs and don't really add up.

I believe he thinks the grass is greener elsewhere. I don't know what to do. He said he plans to file for divorce, but he's acting more jealous than I've ever seen him. He even checked the text messages on my cell phone!! I don't know what to make of this.

To be fair, my husband was a virgin when we started dating (he was 21) and we got married young. I love him and although I don't condone what's happening, I understand how we got to this point. I want to work through this somehow, but what are the chances of him coming home now?

And if/when he does, is there a good chance he'll do something like this again? This is not like him at all. My husband was fiercely loyal and honest to a fault. I don't recognize the man I'm seeing. He seems so detached and self absorbed... Like nothing else matters but what he wants at the moment. Please help me understand what he's going through mentally/emotionally.

Noel's response

I don't know that the chances are of him going through with the divorce, or if he does, what the chances are of this happening again.

In spite of what he said about trusting you now, your admitting your affair to him may have broken his trust and thrown him into confusion, which may be one factor contributing to his actions now. It is most certainly not the only factor.

As you have probably learned, there is often little point in confession past indiscretions if they have no effect on current circumstances. Many married people have affairs which usually end after awhile, and if the spouse does not learn about them, there is no point in confessing.

As your husband is 29, it is not likely he is in a midlife crisis, but he may be trying to discovered what he missed by not playing the field a bit before he got married.

It doesn't sound as though you can get him to go to marriage counselling with you, but if you could, it would likely be very helpful to both of you.

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