heal the relationship

Here is an email exchange between myself and a reader who is trying to heal the relationship by himself.  We thought it might provide you with some beneficial information. 

Please feel free to add your own thoughts or advice in the comment section below the post.

A Reader Writes:

Wondered if you can help me? My situation is not quite like yours but has similarities. I have been married for 28 years and have 3 children – 22,19 and 13. My wife has been unhappy in our marriage for some time and finally told me in February that she didn’t want to be with me any more (there were warning signs in the previous 2 years which with the benefit of hindsight I didn’t respond to seriously enough).

Around this time she also told me that she had made contact with a male friend from her childhood/early teen days. They have been exchanging numerous texts on a daily basis ever since. (We have our mobile phones on a single account so I guess she felt she needed to tell me before I became suspicious – the monthly bill grew from 8 pages to 18!).

The texts were originally about old times and catching up but have moved on to become what I believe would be classified as an emotional affair – adolescent dreaming of weekends away, sappy names and all that kind of stuff. They have also met up a couple of times, although probably not in a physical way other than hugging and kissing.

As you can imagine it has been the most difficult 5 months of our marriage.

I really want to save our marriage and have apologized in writing for the pain that I have caused during our marriage which has lead my wife to become resentful and unhappy with our relationship. 

See also  Keeping Things Secret Within an Emotional Affair

I have also given her space and allowed the emotional relationship to develop unhindered. However, this approach does not seem to be working.

If it wasn’t for the fact that we have a 13 year old daughter at home and the guy also being married with a daughter and living over 200 miles away I am sure they would be together. Of course life is complicated and not that simple. Given that we spend a lot of time in separate rooms I am sure all the kids must think something is up but so far nothing has been said. 

My problem now is that I simply don’t know what to do being the only one wanting to heal the relationship . Do I continue to allow things to drift on as they are now? Do I confront the other party? Do I arrange a weekend away for my wife and I to get everything out in the open? (How could this possibly compare to the blissful weekend that they have already imagined?! Not very well I guess.)

Sorry for reaching out to you. I know you don’t have a magic wand but your thoughts may help. I also think it would be great to get a female perspective on this because as you know we men and women think very differently. To achieve what you and your husband have done would be wonderful. 




My Response:

Hi  “Pete,”

First of all I don’t want you to beat yourself up for missing the “warning signs” that your wife was unhappy.  Honestly if she didn’t pack her suitcase or contact a lawyer then she didn’t adequately articulate to you how unhappy she was. 

I know that there were many things that I was unhappy about in our marriage and I voiced to Doug my displeasure in my own language.  Unfortunately he really didn’t understand how unhappy I was.  He thought I was just complaining.  So please don’t take the guilt and blame for your wife’s affair.  Many cheaters just use this tactic as a justification for their actions.  When she is able to look at the situation clearly she will realize that it takes two to make an unhappy marriage, and often times it has much to do with outside influences such as raising a family, job stress, etc.

See also  Trauma Related to Being Betrayed Multiple Times

I also want you to think about the kind of husband you have been throughout the marriage.  Were you the easy going one?  Did you always go along with what she wanted?  I ask this because now it seems that you are allowing her to have a relationship with another man while she is still living with you. 

I know that you feel guilty and want her to figure things out on her own, however there comes a time when you need to think about yourself and your family.  If you really think about what she is doing she is  having her cake and eating it too.

I know it is difficult to take the emotion out of your thinking but you need to look at the situation for what it really is.  She is going to another man for all of her emotional needs and you are giving her basically everything else.  Honestly, if the two of them really wanted to be together nothing would stand in their way.  It is just a fantasy that she is not ready to let go of, and really doesn’t have to as long as everything remains status quo.

My suggestion is that you begin to spell out to her what you really want and stop being a doormat.  I know it is difficult because you fear that your behavior will push her closer to the other man, however she is already there.  You need to prove to her that you deserve better than what she is giving you and what she stands to lose if she leaves this marriage.

See also  Coping With Grief and Loss After Infidelity

I would not plan a weekend away. I would just let her know that you love her and want the marriage to work, however you need to look out for yourself and do what is best for you. 

Obviously what you have been doing has not changed the situation, so I would think about doing something to get her attention.  I know that in our situation, in the beginning I continued to be the supportive , compliant wife and it allowed Doug to still feel secure.  He knew I would still be there when things blew up, I made continuing the affair very comfortable for him.  It wasn’t until I did a 180 that I got his attention and he began to wake up.  It takes something more than guilt, persuasion or promises to get the cheater to realize how stupid they really are.

Good luck,




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    26 replies to "Reader Attempting to Heal the Relationship Alone"

    • Gizfield

      I agree, 180° all the way. If you aren’t careful, you will be dealing with this crap for years, and still getting nowhere.

    • overwhelmed

      Wow, this article really hits close to home. I find it amazing how many stories of other people affairs are so similar. I have been trying hard with the 180’s, but still not doing so well. It seems like each time we talk, I descend into telling my wife everything SHE’s doing wrong. I’ve made it clear that I still love her (counselor recommendation) and that I know we can fix our marriage, but the reality is she checked out months ago. Now that she’s living with the OM, things are getting worse.
      She came over last night to see the kids and I again asked her what her plans were. She, as usual, replied, “I don’t know.” I pressed on with more questions. She finally admitted that she cannot afford a lawyer, implying she wants a divorce, but cannot do it. I will not offer the fact that I must pay for both of our attorney’s since I am the sole breadwinner.

      When she left, the kids were a horrible mess. My daughter pleading with her to not leave. My 6 year old son was angry, “You’re….Not…..leaving…..You’re…..Not…..Leaving….Again…!”

      I let this go on for a while. She does not know how to handle kids in situations like this. Finally I rescued her (ugh). I had to end this terrible situation.

      As she was leaving, I asked if she enjoyed that episode. With tears in here eyes she replied, “Not at all”. I pointed out that we have not even scratched the surface on the pain this will cause the children and only one person has the power to put an end this pain. She had no reply for this and left.

      My daughter told me that a few days ago she told my wife that I missed her. My wife told my daughter that I don’t miss her. She’s coming over this morning to watch the kids so I can get out and get some work done. I will need to address this issue. She CANNOT be telling my kids what I feel.

      Another thought, I’m taking the kids up to my father-in-laws lake house for the 4th, on his invitation (God bless that man!) Other family will be there. My W is considering going. Her brother does not want to see her. 🙁
      I wonder, has anyone ever heard of using an intervention in a case like this? And if so can it have any affect on the CS? I suspect not, but I’m curious how she would react if given the chance to “plead her case” and finds that “her case” does not change the opinion of two people she respects most; her father and her brother.

      • tryinghard

        First of all you did not rescue her you rescued your kids. Second, no you don’t have to pay for a lawyer for her. If or when you go forward with divorce she just won’t be represented. Too bad. Such is life. Is she ill or impaired that she can’t get a job? I don’t think an intervention will work, but you could give it a try. I think she is too deeply involved with the OM. You may just have to walk away just to save yourself and your children. She may not realize what she’s done till she hits bottom, ie lose you, her home, her family, her security, etc. Standing by while she does what she pleases does not work EVER. You are essentially enabling her to keep the status quo going and making you and your children miserable. Also quit telling her what her problems are. I know it’s feels good to let it out because you’re pissed, but she is going back to someone who is telling her how wonderful she is and how bad you are. Sounds like she knows you love her but that may not be what she wants right now. I think it’s ok to keep reiterating that you love her.

        You are lucky to be able to have a relationship with her family and that they are supporting you and your children in this mess. I hope she doesn’t show up. I also hope she’s getting the psychological help it sounds like she needs.

        Stay strong brother and have a Happy 4th!

        • overwhelmed

          Thank you!

    • tryinghard

      I so feel for these men. I believe the biggest difference in affairs is that cheating women leave the affair emotionally before they have the physical affair. Once women leave emotionally, it’s pretty much over unless the man takes a really strong stance quickly. Once a woman sees she is losing the security of a good husband, home, family, finances etc. they look at the affair through much different lenses. The reality has to hit home for them as soon as possible otherwise yes she will continue having her cake and eating it too.

      For men I think it is much easier to give up the emotional part and probably misses the sexual part more.

      What Linda said, 180 is the ONLY way to handle it. If you patronize her too much she will run the other way. You MUST show her you are willing and capable of moving on without her if she continues with the same behavior. I know there are children, but everyone has an issue if not children.

    • Gizfield

      Why doesn’t her boyfriend pay for her divorce lawyer? I dont want to tell you what to do, but I wouldn’t be asking her ANYTHING, I would be telling her. The intervention doesn’t sound like a good idea to me.

      • overwhelmed

        You have no idea how many times I’ve wanted to say something like that to her. “Why not ask Sugar Daddy for the dough?”

        Oh dear, how can I joke at a time like this? Well, I’d go freakin’ insane if it wasn’t for my 2 precious lil ones and my ridiculous sense of humor. :)))

        • tryinghard

          Thank God for “ridiculous” senses of humor. It was the only thing that kept me from slitting my wrists in the early days of this bs. And really it is very laughable at the ridiculousness of the whole situation. These OW/OM and CS are such cliches. If we were to see these scenarios on the big screen we would all be laughing!! It is a joke, a bad joke.

          I hope I didn’t say anything to make you think I was blaming your children because that was not my intention. They only want their world put back together and well “Mom” just isn’t thinking about that because she is in selfish mode right now. It’s sad that your little ones have to have life’s crap lessons forced on them at such a young age. You sound like a great Dad and I think they will be OK as long as you are there taking care of yourself and them. You obviously cannot depend on her for much.

          Congrats on taking on the added responsibility of taking care of the house however did you ever consider that if you cut her off financially you could afford to pay a housekeeper??? Seriously Overwhelmed, it’s time for a little “tough love”. And keep laughing because one way or another this too shall pass and you and your children are going to be ok. I’m not so sure about your wife though. Too bad for her, it’s called Karma!

    • Gizfield

      Overwhelmed, I have a nine year old daughter myself so I understand your concern for your children. That said, she is not acting as a mother. I’m not going to elaborate on that but basically she is USING your children in a dispicable way. If she is living with another man, she has really crossed all boundaries, and can’t be reasoned with. You are going to have to quit playing her game and make her play yours. You may not win, but if you keep going on her game you are guaranteed to lose.

    • Disappointed

      The OW separated and her h has asked for a divorce. Not all married OW’s hold onto their families. Apparently mine just wants out. my h is disappearing more frequently and is further disengaging from our life. He has told me it is my insecurities that destroyed us. he looked me right in the eye denying it all again and again.

    • Gizfield

      They all say that, Disappeared. Not much new comes out of the mouths of Cheaters. My husband’s Scum Bucket told me I was snooping on him because I was “insecure”. I told her no, I was snooping on him cause he was acting weird and sneaking around with her ass . It had nothing to do with me.

      • Recovering

        Well, how can you be SECURE with a cheater? Seriously? What a dumb whore!! If the tables were turned… and funny how SHE would end up being the insecure one if your husband and her ended up together!! LOL! The whole cheating thing is so dumb on so many levels, and the things the cheaters and their AP think and say… clearly they HAVE lost their mind!! I said to my husband that I couldn’t believe he was OKAY being someone that most people hated! That he was OKAY screwing someone he knew was screwing someone else at the same time! That he was OKAY knowing she was a liar and that family obviously meant nothing to her because she was so eager to destroy her own, and his!! That she was a cheap whore because seriously, other than hookers and teenagers, who has sex in a car behind a bar!! And I thought it was absolutely HYSTERICAL that she called him an “Asshole” when he told her that I found out about them and he dumped her, telling her that he loved me! Seriously, he dumps a whore for his wife, and HE’s the asshole!! Clearly she is messed in the head!! So being insecure, if you are, clearly is still WAY better than any of the OW’s traits!! Someone who is okay with being a huge secret, with being secondary, is clearly one who is insecure – NOT the one who is reacting to signs that something isn’t right! And clearly not the one who is willing to fight for what is right!! These people in affairs… seriously they need to get a nice hard smack on the back of the head to knock some sense into them! LOL!

      • Hurt wife

        Gizfield OMG!! My HB’s leech also told me I was snooping because I was insecure!! Just as you did I noticed my husband acting ‘differently’ and wondered why.
        The funny thing is she has consistently tried to make contact apologizing to him and now after being rude and abusive to me she is trying to say she is sorry to me. We continue to ignore her 🙂

        • Tryinghard

          Ok OW time to chime in because if you are having an affair with our husbands how do you come up with the statement that we are snooping. Seriously if you thought you child was taking drugs wouldn’t you check things out by checking their cars and rooms. How the eff does this add up to insecurity? And yes once we find out the are cheating, living and sneaking around we do check because we trusted them and we’ll no longer feel very “secure” in that belief. Jeez if anything we felt too secure in not believing the signs. These women are freaking dopes!

    • Gizfield

      I’m sorry ! Disappointed. Damn auto correct, lol.

    • Recovering


      I have to say that divorce does NOT require a lawyer, so if your wife is using this as her only excuse, then she clearly doesn’t want a divorce that much!

      As for interventions, I wouldn’t go there, as it will only cause more issues for you in the long run because she won’t be open to communicating. She will feel trapped and then defensive, and it will backfire. Not that I have been there myself, but I can only imagine that she would react like a trapped animal, because she obviously is NOT thinking clearly already. I think it really hit home for my husband when I told his sister about what he had done, but that was because he was already wanting to try to work on the marriage and was already starting to feel the shame, and this was a month AFTER he dumped his whore. Since her whole family already knows, there is no fear of discovery for her. Honestly, from everything that I have read, and it’s been a LOT, there isn’t much you can do to get her to stop other than to just make your life, and your childrens lives, a priority and basically cut off your emotions regarding her… at least in her and your childrens presence. That way she can see you can live without her, and your children won’t be able to blab about you missing her. The children want her home, so of course they are going to try to get her back too, and they are just doing what they think will get her home – they are NOT trying to make things worse for you. They are hurting and children do strange things when they are hurting – poor things!!

      I totally feel for you! It’s been 2 years since I found out. Luckily we were able to hide what my husband has done, and luckily he was able to see the whore for who she was, and what he did for being as sick as it was. It has been the worst 2 years of my life (plus the 1 year I was suspicious and felt crazy because it took me so long to find the proof..). I only wish this on the whore who my husband cheated with, but would never wish it on anyone else. The sickness of it all…

      You know, a couple of things that worked for me with my husband, though more over time than a wake-up call, were pointing out that clearly the whore was cheating on HIM with her husband (no married man who is in the dark about her cheating is going to willingly go 2 years without sex), pointing out how SMALL our children really were (my husband had some grand idea that our children would be okay with us being apart – that they would understand), and also looking at pictures and videos of us as a family… being loving and having fun. These worked for me because it brought REALITY back into things. Clearly things weren’t always bad! The hardest part for me, and the hardest for him to argue, were the good times WE had during his affair. The pictures and video we took of us DURING his affair… at the beginning he tried to blame me, and say he didn’t love me… the pictures and videos sure told a different story!!! The cheaters don’t necessarily respond to this at first, but let me tell you, they DO think about what you show them…

      Just my 2 cents… I wish you the best of luck!!!!!!!!

      • overwhelmed

        I know the kids aren’t trying to make things worse. I know exactly what they’re trying to do, get their Mama to come back home. No more and no less. I do not fault them at all, sorry if it came across that way.

        I’ve been showing her that I’m getting along fine. Our house has become a pig-stye because she’s refused to do anything for a long time. I have been slowly, as time allows, begun cleaning. The kitchen now remains clean. As I’m cooking meals, I clean my mess. When dinner is done, everything get’s cleaned and put away. The floor gets mopped at least once a week, usually 2-3 times now. Before it was always a mess and maybe mopped once a month. Disgusting. The living room, dining room and both kids rooms have had at least an initial cleaning, which is getting rid of the bulk of the junk, cleaning the surface etc.
        My W has obviously seen this, and also noticed there is very little laundry to do when she decides to stop in, because it;s already been done. I can only imagine what she thinks of all that. I’m doing it all alone, and running a business and the place looks better than it has in months. Yay me. 😉

        • Strengthrequired

          Good work overwhelmed, you should be proud of yourself. I hope she does take a good long hard look at herself in the mirror, and see what she is prepared to give up for the sake of someone that tickles her fancy in fantasy land.

      • Strengthrequired

        I did similar, told my h, that does he honestly believe isn’t having sex with someone else, whether it be her h, or someone else, because she wasn’t getting it from him, she would be frustrated having all these emotions and nit being able ti ket it out somewhere.
        I also showed him photos of our history together, the moment we were engaged, our wedding, the birth of our children etc, that helped alot for us. Mi let him know that we were still the same people, we have a history, doesn’t have that with her.

    • Paula

      Interesting comments about the “I’m the only one she’s having sex with,” idea. In my case, the OW is/was single, forever single, no one has ever coped more than a few months with her, in her 46 years! When I went to get tested for STIs, he was furious. I just calmly said, “well, you’ve admitted you weren’t using condoms, you only met for sex intermittently, I think it best I go get tested, who knows where THAT’S been.” He was truly under the illusion she was only shagging him. And as I also said, “and even IF she was (I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt here) she has a past, and I have proof she doesn’t use protection – YOU.” So, when I was diagnosed with two infections – one of which is still affecting me four years later, and will do for the rest of my life, and I have only been sexual with him, no one else, EVER – he was completely wiped out. He then seemed to wake up from his little fantasy, he mostly had already by then, but that was the final nail in the coffin of the fantasy. He was able to see what a complete IDIOT he had been, and how he had taken so much for granted, and how incredibly selfish he was – he has no long lasting health effects, just lucky ole me has to deal with that. I couldn’t believe that a man who professed to love someone once, could ever put that same person at such personal risk of serious health problems, or even death. Sorry, I am the safe sex queen, always have been – kind of explains my status before I met him, lol.

      180 to me just really means, get your shit together, and stop moping around and being so needy – as much as anything, you might need to if you end up single over all of this. That simple. Most men find needy women (in the long term) particularly unattractive, yes, a needy “damsel in distress,” who “can be rescued,” seems attractive for a while, but sure ends up a real pain after a while. But, I hear what others have said here, if you look like you are immediately turning your back on them, well, hello, that probably doesn’t look too loving or conciliatory. If your CS is continuing an affair, and you “allow” this in your life, they will have zero respect for you, together, or eventually apart. A 180, as I see it is just a way to regain a shred of dignity and some independence when all around you is going to hell in a handcart.

    • Strengthrequired

      Well that’s an understatement. Lol.

      • Strengthrequired

        The above comment was towards this post.

    • Strengthrequired

      This post :

      Ok OW time to chime in because if you are having an affair with our husbands how do you come up with the statement that we are snooping. Seriously if you thought you child was taking drugs wouldn’t you check things out by checking their cars and rooms. How the eff does this add up to insecurity? And yes once we find out the are cheating, living and sneaking around we do check because we trusted them and we’ll no longer feel very “secure” in that belief. Jeez if anything we felt too secure in not believing the signs. These women are freaking dopes!

    • Disappointed

      I don’t believe any more that one person alone can have an affect. Just had a birthday and received no gift tho we did hav a nice dinner out. the following day he pretended he had to work and missed my birthday dinner with friends. he spent the evening out with her and greeted her with a gift (saw receipt). came home to him moping about how only he sees reality and no woman in his life has ever loved him for him, only loved him for how he made them feel. he is a moron. I am the woman who thinks he is handsome, sexy,talented. I am the one who chose him for my life partner. but he says all too late and continues to lie about seeing her. she canceled out on seeing her kids to meet him and I faced bewildered friends who couldn’t understand why he wasn’t there. both parties have to work at it. one person cannot do it alone.

    • Reggie

      This article hits home with me as well. Fall of 2009, found suspicious texts on wife’s phone; confronted her to where she admitted she had a “friend” but nothing was going on. We have two kids who were ages 14 & 12 at the time. As time went on, I found out more and more about this “friend” and determined it was indeed an EA with some possible physical interaction. She said she needed some “space” and would be overcome with anxiety when I tried to sit down and talk with her. I decided to move into another bedroom late winter of 2010.
      Fast forward two years (no improvement), and I finally gave her an ultimatum last summer: either work together and try to salvage 25 years of marriage by going “all-in” and lose the OM, or we would agree to separate. She decided she wanted to separate so I’ve been living alone for the last year. I let her stay in the house with the kids in order to minimize the disruption to their lives. I’m certainly more self-sufficient but she’s learned to adapt and doesn’t miss me at all. She only contacts me when she wants more money (I am paying child support). I would expect our next move will be a divorce. She has no remorse for going outside the marriage and defying our marriage vows. It sucks but it is what it is.

    • Bb65

      If you want to save your marriage I feel that before giving the ultimatum etc. you have to show her she can get what she needs at home.
      I suggest signing up for fee e-mails from Marriage Max.com to get an idea how. I also like the book (or audio) the 5 love languages.
      Lastly I’ve been listening to the 5 the new version of men are from Mars, women from Venus by John Grey.
      I feel you can use those tools to educate yourself on how your spouse thinks, what is needed etc.

      For example I started showing interest in my husband’s garden and it really became an ice breaker for us to have positive, friendly conversations again.

      I personally feel I gave the ultimatum too soon…

      And since she’s a woman.. get her to tell u what she needs… have her take the 5 love languages test if possible…

      Good luck.

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