By Katie Lersch
I sometimes hear from wives who are somewhat angry that they miss their unfaithful husband. Many of them have kicked him out of the home. They felt justified in doing this and they thought that taking this type of decisive action might give them some relief. But, much to their surprise and disappointment, they find that they still miss him. Many are confused about this reaction. They think that they should feel nothing but wrath toward him, yet this just isn’t the case.
Someone might say, “I’m embarrassed about this, but I miss the husband who I kicked out three weeks ago due to his affair. I know that 3 weeks isn’t even that long and I know that an affair is an unforgivable offense. But several times in every 24 hour period, something will happen and I will think ‘oh, I have to share this with my husband’ or ‘I have to tell my husband about this,’ and then I’ll realize that I really can’t easily share this with him because I kicked him out. When I get home after a long day, I find myself wishing he was there so that we could share dinner. I find myself wishing that he could tuck the kids into bed and I know that this isn’t fair to anyone because he made his choice. He calls every night to talk to the kids. He tries to talk to me, but I admit that I’m pretty distant with him. I get off the phone quickly, but then I find myself wishing I’d talked to him. He texts and emails me, but I delete them. He says that if I would give him a chance, he would make this up to me. I am angry at myself for missing him like this and for even considering his offer. How can I make it stop?”
I think that you are being very hard on yourself. For many of us, our husband has been in our lives for many years. We usually share a home, children, and an extended family. Perhaps it is unrealistic to just think that we can cut him out of our lives without a backward glance. My husband and I spent some time apart after his affair, and I freely admit that I missed him right away. I can’t imagine how this isn’t natural. Because regardless of the circumstances, you have to expect it to hurt when your other half is fully participating in your life one second, and then in the next second, he isn’t. Just because an affair is the cause of this does not mean that it is going to hurt any less or that you can stop yourself from feeling this void.
As far as how to make it stop, I would think or guess that time would eventually take care of that. Since you have children, you’ll likely have to interact with and see him for some time to come. Counseling can help to make this transition as healthy as possible. Many couples are able to move on after an affair, regardless of whether they stay together or not, but it just takes time. I found that when my husband and I were living apart, it helped greatly to keep myself busy and to focus on self improvement and self care. In short, since I didn’t know what my life moving forward was going to look like, I decided to depend and focus on myself and on my children. I couldn’t control what my husband was doing. But I was able to control myself. So when I felt myself feeling self pity or despair, I’d force myself to get up, take a walk, exercise, or do something else that benefited myself, my kids, or others. I tried to take the focus away from the affair and place it on something positive about the future.
To be fair, my husband and I did eventually reconcile. This happened because through counseling and deep soul searching, I came to the honest conclusion that I thought that my life would be better with him in it than out of it.
But I think you’re being too hard on yourself when you expect yourself to just not miss him. Your life has been altered because of a mistake that you didn’t make. That mistake doesn’t mean that your marriage didn’t happen or that your family didn’t exist.