I recently heard from a wife who felt like her marriage and her life was falling apart. A few weeks ago, her husband had come home and confessed that he had been having an affair with a coworker. He insisted that he was sorry and did not want to lose his family. The wife agreed that, although she was devastated, she didn't want a divorce. After thinking about it for a while, she told her husband that she had decided that she wanted to work with him to save the marriage. Imagine her shock and disappointment when the husband told her that he needed "time and space" to decide where he wanted to go from here.
When the wife pressed him, he finally told her: "I'm just confused as to how I feel. I don't want to lose my family and I never stopped loving you. But, I have real feelings for her too. I don't know what's wrong with me because I just don't know what or who I want."
The wife was so frustrated and furious. Here she opened her heart and agreed to work things out with him even though he had cheated on her and had risked their family. But apparently that wasn't good enough because now the husband didn't know if he could let the other woman go. The wife asked me what she should do in this impossible situation. I've seen situations such as this playing out countless times. I'll share my opinion with you in the following article.
Allowing Your Husband To Have Relationships With You And Someone Else Will Likely Negatively Affect His Perception Of You: The wife was afraid to tell the husband that he had to chose between her and the other woman. Of course, she was scared to death that the husband would chose the other woman rather than choosing her.
If she didn't assert that she would not be anyone else's back up, then it was possible that the husband would see her as "less than" someone else. This was precisely what she did not want to happen, but she was afraid of giving her husband an ultimatum. I suggested a compromise. The wife might say something like: "I can't force you to make what I think is the right decision for our family. But, what I can tell you is that I can't maintain an active intimate relationship with you when there is another woman in the picture. That's not fair to any of the people involved and it is disrespectful to me. If you get to the point where you decide that you are committed enough to our marriage and our family that you are ready to completely end things with her, then you and I can discuss this further. Until then, it seems like what you really need to focus on is your own priorities while I will be focusing on our family."
This wasn't overtly cruel or mean. The wife was merely going to be stating her position and asking for a little respect. And I have to tell you that if a man has access to both women, then there is really no incentive for him to make a choice or to be in any hurry to do so. As a result, he continues to be confused and unsure as to what to do. But, when it becomes very clear to him that he could well lose his family as the result of his indecision, then he will usually make a decision much more quickly because there is more at stake.
Restoring Your Self Esteem And Your Self Worth For Your Sake As Well As For His: I knew from first hand experience that the wife was likely hurting very much. It was also likely that she was doubting herself and wondering where she went wrong. This is understandable, but it's so important that you don't dwell in this place. More than any other time, you need to be able to portray self respect and confidence. You need to be able to define and then ask for what you want. Your husband isn't going to respect you if you don't respect yourself.
So, it's vital that you use this time to restore your self esteem, reassure yourself that someone else's actions is in no way your fault, and to be very kind to yourself. Surround yourself with supportive people who love you rather than judgmental folks who bring you down. Almost overwhelmingly, I see that the wives whose husband's come back did not present themselves as second class citizens who just could not live without him. They made it very clear that although they didn't want to lose their family, they knew that they deserved a committed and faithful husband and were not going to accept anything less.
Sure, this situation was going to require work and time. No one is denying that. But, there is no way to put in this time and effort when the husband isn't sure which woman he wants a relationship with. Until he decides this, you are usually better off conducting yourself with grace and self respect. This will put you in a much better position when he wakes up and comes to his senses.
There was a time when I thought I would never get over my husband's affair and that we could never save our marriage. I truly had to learn to be assertive, set boundaries, and ask for what I want. Although I never would've believed this two years ago, my marriage is stronger. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. Because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem is at an all time high. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/