My husband left after I had an affair and he’s doing so much better without me. Am I a terrible person?

Absolutely not, says our elder. You can save your marriage.

Dear EWC

A year ago I had an affair with a coworker. We only had actual intercourse twice. The other times were just making out and stuff. But I was married. I felt like my husband ignored me. We had issues on and off over the years, mainly because I felt like I was unsuccessful in life because I got married young and had a baby young. I’ve also fought with postpartum depression since I gave birth to her sister six years ago. So I left my husband a year ago for about a week. I told him I needed space and we needed a break, etc. Well it nearly destroyed him, and then I came home because I couldn’t deal with it. I knew I had messed up but I wanted to be home. He didn’t know about the affair when I came back home. He found out a few weeks later. I did have feelings for this person but I’m an emotional person and he was damaged and I like to fix people. Or think that I can.

Over the last year my husband has had an incredibly difficult time. He became mean and hurtful and every time I thought we were moving I forward I’d find out that he is on Tinder and talking to other girls and all kinds of stuff. Now I let it all go because I knew he was trying to deal with everything. Fast forward to the end of last year, and the coworker I had the affair with kills himself. I’m devastated. Not just because it was him but because it was such a tragic and sad situation. He was 26. It’s terrifying to know how real that dark place can be. So now we have Valentine’s Day, and the weekend before we had a terrible argument. It was scary. So he asked me what was up with us. I said I didn’t know because of how he had been treating me and we agree to split up. That it’s the best thing for us to do. So he moves out two weeks later and now I’m alone.

It’s killing me. I cry all the time. I don’t know what to do without him and I’m mad at myself for causing this and I’m so full of guilt and shame and self-hate. And having to see how it hurts my daughter makes me want to give up that much more. I don’t know how I got here. I don’t know how I became this person. My husband doesn’t want me anymore; he says he doesn’t know if he needs to meet someone new or try with me again. He doesn’t know if he wants to even try again. He’s already doing better without me. He’s happier: his bags from under his eyes that he had for months are gone. How terrible of a person do you have to be for your husband to do better in life without you? I’m so upset and distraught. I want him to see how much I love him and need him and want to be his and only his forever. I don’t know how to keep going anymore. I’ve ruined everything. Any words of advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Here4U replies

First of all, I am sorry for your loss, as no matter what the circumstances were it was a loss and a tragedy.

I do not believe that you have done a terrible thing or that you are a terrible person. I believe that you are being too hard on yourself by attributing any change in your husband’s recent appearance to your doing. In my opinion, he likely is just experiencing less stress in his life at this time.

You made a mistake, however that does not make you a terrible person, as everyone makes mistakes. It sounds as though you have learned from yours and that it has made you appreciate your marriage and your husband that much more. There are many marriages that are able to survive infidelity.

I do not believe that you have ruined everything, as I believe that your marriage can be repaired. However it will take a lot of work on both of your parts. I believe that you love your husband and that you sincerely want to make your marriage work and your husband sounds as if he is open to trying.

I would suggest that you reach out to your husband and have a long and honest conversation with him. Let him know that you miss him and that you still love him. I would suggest that you be open and forthcoming with him about your past infidelity.

I would also suggest that you take full responsibility for the infidelity. You may want to confide in him that you were not feeling good about yourself at the time, as you had goals in life that you had to give up due to marrying and having a child at such a young age. You may also want to mention that you felt that he was ignoring you; however, do turn this into an excuse for your behavior. Allow it to just be an explanation as to how you were feeling at that time.
You were the one who turned outside of the marriage so you will have to earn your way back into it. I believe that you can do this by displaying only trustworthy behavior to your husband. At this time you will need to be completely transparent and an open book.

I would suggest that you do not hide anything from him. Those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing. When you two are together do not hide your phone from him. Leave it out and allow him to read your messages and e-mails if he so desires. Be sure that there is nothing on it that could arouse his suspicions.

To further earn back your husband’s trust I would also suggest that you be held accountable for where you will be 24/7. Let your husband know where you will be, with whom you will be with and at what time you will return. Be sure that you are where you say you will be at all times. I believe that you owe your husband this much.

With time, I believe that you will earn back your husband’s trust. I also believe for your marriage to work that once your husband forgives you for your unfaithfulness, it would be unfair for him to use it against you every time that you two have an argument.

In return, I believe that your husband needs to show you trustworthy and faithful behavior. You were not the only one to make a mistake in this marriage. He will need to get off of Tinder and all dating sites for single people as he is a married man. He cannot be talking with other women if he wants your marriage to succeed. You two are partners in life, and partners work together.

Your husband will also have to stop saying mean and hurtful things to you, as that could be a form of verbal and emotional abuse. A marriage can not survive with abuse.

Strong and healthy marriages are built on trust and honesty. If you both are willing to do the work, I believe that you can repair your marriage and it can be stronger than ever. I would also suggest that you both consider attending marriage counseling, as I do not believe that either one of you really knew what marriage was at the young age that you married, but it is never too late to start over.

I wish you a return to a happier and more trustworthy marriage.

Letter #: 437135
Category: Marriage

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