My Husband is Involved with Someone Else and I’m in Limbo

I have been married for 16 years now and I knew my husband 4 years before marriage. We have been through a lot of ups-and-downs as any married couple would have experienced. We have stuck by each other through all these.

We married at a time where both of us pursuing post-graduation and he went on to super-specialize. Being unable to conceive we decided to adopt a 7-day-old baby. Our son is now 5 and a half years old. My husband decided to move abroad 2 years back to earn more money for the family and to give and us a better future. I stayed back with my son. He would come to visit us every 2-3 months and spend 10-12 days with us. All of us would look forward to these visits. We would call, Whatsapp or Skype almost on a daily basis. He used to adore my son and spend all his free time with him.

Last December I noticed that he avoided looking me into the eye and had stopped calling me from his side. After much prodding he confessed to having an affair with a married woman. This is her second marriage and she has a son from the first marriage. I cried, wept and pleaded with him not to leave me. He agreed on the next day... said he was sorry and that he was lonely and hence made this mistake and wanted to come back.

But the third day he went back to saying he can’t leave her and she brought happiness to his life. I never realized till then that he was unhappy in our marriage. Then he came down for his usual visit in January and during the course of events again said he would leave her and wanted to stay with us. He said he was sorry and would break off with her. He seemed genuine about this. He went back abroad again and again changed saying he cant leave her. This time I went there alone and spend some days with him. During the course of time he again said that he doesn’t want to leave me and would leave her.

I talked to this lady in question and she said she has no plans to leave her husband. I came back thinking that we needed to work this out but she was out of our life.

I came back and again he went back to his previous stand saying he loves her. He came again in March and this time acted as if even touching my hand was a sin. He said he still loved her. He doesn’t want divorce but he loves her and would take care of my and our son’s financial needs.

I have been through emotional hell and have gone through phases of begging him... shouting at him... calling him names etc. Today I have reached a point where I am a bit more emotionally stable and can let go.

My question is this... is it worth waiting for him to come back or just forget him and start a new life. I just want an outside perspective.

Response:

The situation you describe is not uncommon. Relationships are complicated. People have mixed feelings and motivations for staying and leaving a relationship. It’s possible that your husband cares about you and your son, but also has romantic love for someone else (see sexual desire, love and attachment). It’s also possible that your husband feels attached to you and his son, but likes the novelty and freedom of being with someone who he doesn’t have to commit to because she’s already married.

While trying to understand what’s motivating your husband’s behavior and trying to figure out his intentions is understandable, at a certain point it helps to focus on your needs. Given that your husband has been consistently inconsistent in what he intends to do, it may be helpful for you to take control of the situation and make a decision about what’s best for you.

As much as you love your husband and want him back, are such feelings helpful to you? We have more control over our feelings than we often realize. If you can think about the situation from a different point of view it may help. Rather than focus on what he’s going to do, think about what you want to do given the situation.

You cannot count on your husband to act with your best interest in mind. Because your husband is putting his own needs ahead of your relationship, what’s the best thing for you to do in such a situation? Do you want to be involved with someone who cannot commit to you? If not, then start thinking about what’s in your long-term interest. The more you start to think about what’s best for you, rather than trying to convince your husband to come back, your feelings about the situation will start to change.

Try to focus on the things in your life that matter the most to you—the things that you have control over. Make a list of things that you can do to take care of yourself and your son, which don’t involved your husband. Put your energy into taking care of the things you have power over. Focus on making your life better. Doing so will help you move on from this situation and lead to better outcomes in the future.

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