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DrJackiePhD, Doctor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 364
Experience:  I have been doing research in relational/interpersonal communication since 1998. My Ph.D. is in interpersonal communication.
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I need some advice as my husband wants to separate after I

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I need some advice as my husband wants to separate after I have had an affair. It ended 2 years ago and we have tried very hard to to stay together, however recent events has meant that he no longer wants to continue with our marriage. We have 3 children. I want some practical advice as to what I need to do next.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 5 years ago.
Hi, I am Dr. Jackie, and I want to help. Before I can give you my best answer, I would like to ask what specifically happened (you allude to "recent events") that has seemed to change your husband's mind? Am I right in assuming he did want to work on the marriage for the past two years? Could you tell me how both of you have been working om the marriage (counseling or something else, etc.)?

The more information I have, the better I believe I can provide a more complete and targeted answer.

I look forward to your response.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

We have both been working hard on the marriage, we had counselling for about 9 months.

3 weeks ago I had a brief instant message exhchange with the 3rd party, we are still at the same work place, our paths very rarely cross. I saved part of that exchange 'I still miss you.. in every way.'. My husband came across it 2 nights ago as he still checks my phone and I didn;t realise it showed in the email account on the phone without putting in the password. Needless to say he is very upset, doesn't believe anything I say, wonders what else was said in the conversation, takes him back to all the pain of 2 years ago. We have really started to make progress recently.

The exhannge was totally out of the blue. I don;t have regular contact and nothing has happened with the 3rd party since it all came out. However, my husband doesn;t believe that. but its more about the fact that I kept the message so still means something to me. What I need to know is pracitcal advice. What is my position given i'm the guilty party ?

Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 5 years ago.
Hi there,

First, I am so sorry you are between all of this. It must be extremely hard on you because you are dealing with this, three children, work, etc. The fact that you are level-headed and able to write so articulately is truly amazing and a good sign that you are functioning well in spite of everything. I am impressed.

Second, I am sorry it took longer to get back to you than expected. We had relatives unexpectedly come for the 4th of July celebration here. I won't take more than a half a day if not sooner in the future to get back to you.

Third, thank you for filling in the details for me. I am unclear if your husband thinks he is justified in reading your emails/text messages. It sounds like in his mind, he feels justified.

It's going to be hard, but if you really want to keep your marriage together, I would suggest talking with him one evening or weekend during a time frame when someone else can watch all the kids--you two need privacy to discuss things. You sound extremely calm--I am impressed. As much as most people being discussions being cool and calm, too often one or both parties become very loud, angry, and verbally abusive...or worse. Your key is to remain calm even if you feel like you are about to burst. Self-control is your best ally in trying to keep your marriage.

That said, I think your best option is to calmly tell him exactly how long the affair lasted (if you haven't already) and be very open and honest and tell him about all the emails/texts/phone calls that your former lover engaged in with you. I would probably go a step further and even show your husband if you still have the texts/emails. As painful as that may be, getting your husband to trust you is going to be a process, and it won't come overnight. So one way to start gaining his trust is to "prove it"--showing him what your former lover has written to you.

I say this because it seems like his desire for a divorce stems from the fact that he believes he cannot trust you. If you "come clean" with all the communication with your former lover, you are providing the best way, in my opinion, of demonstrating you CAN be trusted.

That is probably the best practical advice I can give you.

Please let me know if this helps. If it doesn't, please don't "ACCEPT" my answer or give negative feedback. I will continue to write back and try to help you, and I want you to be satisfied before you compensate me.

I am keeping my fingers crossed for you, and I hope to hear a positive reply from you. :)

Dr. Jackie
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