My husband is infatuated with a woman he works with and has been involved with her for four months. I have known about the affair for 2 months. I want to save my marriage and family (three children) but he does not want to listen to reason and now feels that he can't be with me because he does not want to cheat on his mistress. He does not want to listen to any objective opinion nor to any family, he just wants to live his fantasy.
He had very few romantic experiences before we married and other women say that he just needs to get it out of his system. His lover is a woman who will stop at nothing to take him away and I feel helpless. What is the best approach to win him back? Is it too late for him to ever love me again?
It is so clear that you are suffering. Your husband is having an affair with another woman and in fact does not want to be unfaithful to her by being with you at all. Your question is about the best approach to win him back and whether he could ever love you again.
Ironically, the best approach might be to become strong enough that you no longer need him. Let me explain. Although being strong is not, in itself, a means to winning back unfaithful husbands, it is often the case that as long as he feels that any decision about where he wants to be is up to only him, he will feel free to chose whatever option he wants. If he feels that a door is closing to him, he just might realize that he doesn't want that door to close. As long as you are making it clear that you want him back and his mistress is making it clear that she wants him as well, he can just take his time and be where he wants. And maybe if he gets this one "out of his system" as your friends say, he will come back. And then maybe he gets another one "in his system" and he leaves again, knowing that you still want him back. Et cetera.
And I say that it is ironic, because when you are strong enough to no longer need him, you might not want him back whether he wants to come back or not. Ahhh, relationships are certainly complicated, aren't they.
When you are strong enough to no longer need him, you might not want him back whether he wants to come back or not.
If you were to come to the point where you felt strongly that you were deserving of a different kind of treatment and were willing to stand up for yourself and set boundaries for his behavior, he just might decide that he doesn't want to miss out on the chance to be with you. You however need to be strong and clear about what you want your life to be and set some ground rules, with him or without him. This is something that cannot be faked. I want to emphasize that this is not the same as bluffing an ultimatum in which case you could lose. If you become strong and clear in yourself, you will win whether he returns or not. I would suggest that you find yourself a good therapist to support you in your own inner journey. What are your own goals in your life...your own dreams and desires? What are some steps you could take in achieving them? You might also look for books by Robin Norwood who has several titles in the category of Women Who Love Too Much, her first book and a very successful one which obviously touched the hearts of millions of women.
The really important thing is that you become strong in yourself. A separation and even a divorce, although not welcome events in your life, could be the event that propel you into growing into a deeper and more happy person who could look back on this time in your life and view it with gratitude. Really. But not right away. It is hard work to grow through a major betrayal by someone you have trusted very deeply. With a good therapist you can do it, however.
If your husband is willing, there may be a point where you could both engage a couple's counselor who could help you learn anew about one another and learn to negotiate your relationship so that you could build trust together. Initially, however, I think that your work is to begin a journey with yourself.
I wish you all the best and would love to hear how you are doing.
Patricia Lawrence Pomposello, LCSW