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Backing Off After Infidelity
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Backing Off After Infidelity

My husband has been having an emotional and sexual affair for several months.  After discovering the betrayal, we decided to try to work on our marriage. He has ceased physical contact with his mistress but still communicates by texting and Facebook. As a result, I decided not to pressure him but allow him an opportunity to dissolve the relationship on his own terms and to begin focusing on me rather than them. Is this a wise decision? I want my marriage to work. He says he still loves me, sorry for what has happened and is trying to make things right again. He also says that he developed an emotional connection with this woman and it will take time to resolve. I often feel like his body is here with me but his mind is not.
3164984_tn?1343854726
It seems like couples counseling would be the wise next step for you and your husband. In the meantime, I would start your own work by getting really honest with yourself about what you want and don't want in your relationship, and honoring your truths.

From what I could gather from your email, it sounds like you aren't comfortable with your husband still being in contact with his mistress, yet you are ignoring or trying to cover-up that truth that lives within you. You are saying, "I'm just going to focus on myself," pretending, in a way, to be ok with it, yet you can't help but feel like he isn't present with you, and you aren't happy about it. If your truth is that you do not want him to be in contact with her, then you have to say it. Pretending that you are ok with what's going on in your relationship when you really aren't is not helpful, at all.

Unless you approach your relationship with honesty, it is unlikely you will get honesty in return from your partner. It sounds like dishonesty has been a part of the old fabric of your relationship. To shift that, you must start with contacting your truth about what exactly it is that you want, and then expressing that to your husband. If you want to rebuild a relationship on a foundation of honesty, then you have to be honest.

It is not uncommon for us to ignore our truths to cater to the people we love--we falsely believe that it is in service of our partners or of the relationship. However, doing this just backfires in the end. Again, if you aren't being truthful about how you feel, then it's hard to expect him to be truthful too. If you aren't honoring yourself and what you really want, then you can't expect him to be honoring you. Our partners can only do for us what we are doing for ourselves.

Therapy is a great option for you because it will introduce a forum for you both to start being truthful with one another, getting the to bottom of what is going on within your relationship, and allowing you to rebuild in a way that is grounded in honesty.
3 Comments
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Hi Shelly, thanks for the post. Counseling is something he suggested and we should start that within the next 1-2 weeks. He is aware that I do not like the continued communication. I have said so numerous times without positive results. I don't know how much more plainly I can express that to him. The only thing with backing off im afraid of is perhaps losing feelings for him and he for me.
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3164984_tn?1343854726
Hello again. I understand what a challenging position you are in. Unfortunately we cannot change another person's behavior. Nor can we predict the future. So it definitely is scary to not know what is going to happen between the two of you. Again, the best thing you can do for yourself is take care of you. And that means knowing what you want, in and out of the relationship, and honoring your own feelings.

Now I understand that what you want in this scenario is for him to stop talking to the woman. Unfortunately this is actually what you want him to do. Reframe the question for yourself to contact what YOU really want. These wants might be: I want to feel worthy, I want to feel valued, I want to feel loved. And then, with these wants in mind that are specifically about you, start moving towards doing these things for yourself. If your happiness is completely dependent on what he does or doesn't do, then it is going to be a really challenging road.

We so often falsely believe that if our partners made a certain change then everything would be better. It doesn't work like that. You have to make yourself feel better, regardless of what he does. I know that can be hard to hear. I know that people often don't believe it. But is true. So the best you can, start making strides towards loving yourself more everyday, which will lead you in the right direction. Where that road will take you? I can't tell you specifically, but I can tell you that you will be headed towards in the direction of more love and happiness.  

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