My husband is in love with another woman.
It’s hard to write it down like that. It makes it seem more real.
My husband is in love with another woman, and what’s worse, it’s not me AND her. It’s just her. He doesn’t even love me at all anymore.
This isn’t some one night stand, a one-time mistake. This is a decision to be dating another woman instead of me while we’re still married. And that’s just horrifying.
I never thought I’d be here. I mean, I’ve been married for half of my life, almost two decades. My husband is a good man. I’m a good woman. We loved each other. We went to church. We have a gaggle of kiddos. We did all the right things. In addition to all that, we’re Mormon. I’m not saying Mormon’s don’t have bad marriages or affairs or don’t get divorced, but we were married in the temple. This means we believed we were not just married until death do us part, but for eternity, even after we die. That’s a huge commitment to make. And a huge commitment to break.
I’m still in love with him, but he’s not in love with me. I almost wish I could say I didn’t love him anymore either so we could go our separate ways and both be happy. But divorce would devastate me, and our children. I know kids are resilient, and I know I’m strong and I have the Lord to help me. I’d be OK. But I’d still rather be OK with him, than be OK on my own because I really do still love him.
How could he not love me when I love him so much? How does he not feel what I feel? As it turns out, he was just as surprised that I still love him, as I was that he didn’t love me. Apparently, for the past two decades he’s felt unloved, like I didn’t want him. And when he found someone who he did think wanted him, he was finally happy.
I guess I didn’t know how to make him happy, to make him feel loved and wanted. I told him I loved him all the time, but I had no idea how ineffective my words were in communicating how I felt. It was my actions he was listening to.
Intimacy was always a problem for us. Probably a result of my religious upbringing coupled with my mother’s psychological abuse, I was extremely prudish. I never felt like engaging in intimacy. It was a burden. It was something you are supposed to do in marriage, but that somehow still felt wrong. I rarely refused to be intimate with my husband when he wanted to, but I was rarely a ready and willing participant. I think that was the worst kind of rejection he could endure. Being intimate with him out of duty, rather than passion. It’s his fault he decided to have an affair. It’s also his fault he didn’t communicate more with me about how he was feeling, what he needed, and what I could do to meet his needs. But the fact remains that I did not meet my husband’s need to feel wanted and desired. That knowledge breaks my heart.
I was the mother of his children. I was his partner in the household and his companion in the bed. But I wasn’t his girlfriend, his lover, his wife.
Sometimes I feel hopeful that we can work it out and get the spark back in our marriage. Sometimes I feel peace that no matter what happens, I’ll be OK. Often I feel hurt, angry, disgusted, guilty, worried, stressed, nervous, anxious, and in pain.
But I still have hope for our marriage for one main reason. He’s willing to try, and so am I.
He’s stopped dating the “other woman” and we’ve started doing things that will hopefully lead to a rekindling of our relationship. We go out on more dates, we went on a getaway to the beach for a few days without any kids, and we put the kids to bed early and spend time alone together almost every night. We are intimate almost every day, and I initiate this most of the time (for the first time ever). I’m working on showing (not just telling) him how much I want and need him. I’m letting go of my prudish hang-ups and I’m working on meeting his needs more. I am taking more initiative in being a homemaker and making our house a home. I’m already a stay-at-home mom and he works hard to provide the only income for our family, so instead of expecting him to continue working when he gets home, I try to take care of everything on the homefront. I greet him with a big kiss when he gets home, fight the kids for the privilege of sitting next to him, and try to always be touching him and rubbing his back and holding his hand.
On his end of things, he is being more honest and open with me about how he feels and what he needs. He’s being more affectionate and working on meeting my needs as well. As always, he does dishes and changes diapers and puts kids to bed, even after he’s been at a high-stress job all day, which is probably one reason I’m still so in love with him– he’s the ultimate husband and father.
I find myself falling even more in love with this man the more I show him affection and spend alone time with him. And it makes it hurt more and more to know he still doesn’t reciprocate those feelings. I try to be patient, cheerful and hopeful, but sometimes I break down and sob uncontrollably because it just hurts too much. I’m trying to have faith in the process. To have hope that by finally showing him how much I love him in a way that he understands, and by meeting his emotional and physical needs now, that in the not-too-distant future he’ll develop those feelings for me that I have for him.
The one thing that keeps me going right now is that he’s putting in the effort, too. Even though I know he’s not in love with me right now, he treats me like he is. He touches me and hugs me and holds my hand more than he did before. He helps me and serves me and spends time with me. The fact that he is willing to make an effort for our marriage means a lot to me. Maybe he’s just doing it for the sake of the kids. Maybe he’s just doing it to save us from the fiasco a divorce would be. Either way, he’s doing it, and that is a huge show of faith in us. Because this marriage won’t work unless we get that love back. And if he’s willing to try to get it back, I think we just might be able to.