Both for the man who is afraid to lose his wife and for the man who no longer cares, there are ways to restore the marriage.
Being replaced in your husband’s life by another woman hurts a lot. You are likely to cycle through periods of anger and sadness and the sickening feeling of how you were betrayed. Before you throw in the towel on your marriage, take a closer look at whether your marriage can still be saved. The investment it takes to do that is worth being able to clear your mind and breathe easy again.
The Terribly Unfair Thing is You May Not Have Known Your Marriage Had Problems
If you are like many of the women I work with, you have either just discovered your husband’s affair or have been told by him that he is leaving you for someone else. It would be less of a punch in the gut if you had watched your marriage going downhill for some time, but often with men, that isn’t the case.
Men Compartmentalize Their Feelings
Men and women handle their thinking and their emotions in different ways. In general, men are much better at separating their work life from their family life, their sex from their romance, and their lover from their wife. They can have all these mental “boxes” and mentally jump from one to another throughout the day. Out of sight is out of mind. As long as he can keep all of his boxes separate, there is no problem as far as he’s concerned.
The Other Woman Didn’t Just Come Along Yesterday
Some men can have a mistress and a married life for years because of their ability to compartmentalize. That’s especially true if the other woman will play along with secrecy. The other woman, though, is usually not the money-grubbing, unkind, so and so’s that you would like to think she is. She is often under the assumption that your husband is not only suffering in his marriage, but that he has been planning on leaving you all along. Many times, she has been explicitly told that. A man who lies to one woman has little problem lying to two.
Why Men Decide to Leave
“Working women” and “fun girls” are not looking for a relationship with a married man, though they may be happy with his attention or money on a regular basis. Other women want what you want–an ongoing, loving, committed relationship. Eventually, this places men in the position of having to make a choice between one woman or the other. The biggest deciding factor for men is not how good their relationship is with the other woman. The biggest deciding factor is how good their relationship is with their wife. Men hate to lose someone good more than they like to take a chance with someone else.
Mistakes Women Make Trying to Get Their Husband Back
Dealing with a man who wants to leave is different from dealing with a man who has been caught and doesn’t want to leave. Whatever anger you dump on him is only going to push him further out the door. Pleading with him for another chance also is not going to get him to stay. The choice he is making is not about the other woman, and it is not about you (although you will both think it is). The choice is about him and what he wants for his future. Anything you do that creates resistance or shows disapproval will push him away. Although his behavior is very wrong, you can’t get him to stay by trying to make him wrong.
Reconnecting is More Important than the Other Woman
The biggest threat to your relationship is not that one particular other woman. If it wasn’t her, then it would be someone else. There’s nothing magical about her. She is just an opportunity that he grabbed onto, so don’t get hung up on thinking about her. The real problem is your loss of connection with your husband. He doesn’t care enough about your marriage to remain faithful to you. Although you may only recently have found that out, you may still be able to get him back. Don’t assume that because he doesn’t care about your marriage, that he never will. Especially with the right help, you can focus on his emotional connection with you (first step), and then re-interest him in your marriage (second step). Without getting to an emotional reconnection, there will be no way to interest him in staying married to you.
Sometimes It Is Too Late to Get Your Husband Back from the Other Woman
There are two cases where I can’t help a woman to reconnect with her husband and create in his a desire to recommit to his wife. One is if she has no more contact with him. No more contact equals relationship gone. The other situation is when he has already committed to the other woman. Evidence of commitment is his moving in with her, promising to marry her, having a child with her, and other such obvious commitments. The fact that he’s been seeing her for years (possibly) is not evidence for a commitment. After all, he has been with you for years but isn’t committed to you, right?
Getting Your Husband Back
When a man has been caught and is afraid of losing his wife, then a lot of toughness is required. Not a mean toughness, but boundaries and requirements that move them toward healing. But, with a man who has lost interest in his wife, boundaries and requirements will only push him out the door even faster. I work with women in both situations and the approach is quite different. With a husband who has lost interest in his wife and wants to leave (to be with the other woman), I need to help her with several things. First, she has to know how to communicate with her husband without fighting or being passive. Neither of those would help them to reconnect. She has to learn how to help her husband to see her as a better choice than the other woman while not being needy. Then they both need a way to make the marriage better than it was before, so that neither of them will risk losing it again.
Why Working with a Marriage Coach is Essential
The most important reason to have a professional coach at this time is because every communication is important. There is not enough leeway for making mistakes. Once he cuts off communication, then it will be time to let go. Doing things and saying things well will help to keep the communication going and help him to doubt his decisions. You can’t do that simply by being nice or he will lose even more respect for you–while being able to use you and enjoy his other woman, too. And, being too tough will just push him out the door as I’ve already said. This is a tough balancing act that most people cannot manage by themselves, especially when they are experiencing strong waves of emotion. Having someone who can help you to feel secure and sure of what you are doing can bring the peace of mind you need while you restore your marriage.