I want you to try to put yourself in the place of this woman, my client, whose ex husband abandoned the marriage to take up with another girl, only later to discover that the two of them were incompatible.
Now her ex husband (actually they are still married) wants her back and she is struggling with whether she should take him back.
Let me tell you her story and then I will cover off on what I suggested she should do.
Ready! Here we go:
My Ex Wants Me Back, But I am Not So Sure
He had left me for another woman and I said to myself that I would never forgive him. Unbelievably, I have just heard from him and he wants to talk about us putting the pieces of our marriage back together again.
He had destroyed my life and our marriage, all because of the fancy he had for some young thing he had met. It sickens me to even think about how he could just throw it all away in an instant.
When my ex husband told me that our marriage was tired and worn out, I simply couldn’t believe the words coming out of his mouth. I felt like a piece of discarded meat.
For years we were a pretty happy couple. Sex was good and we did things for each other. Vacations were memorable and we talked more of having children.
Now my husband wants me back and I am struck by the question of whether I should take him back.
Just the thought of him back in my bed after he has had sex with his girlfriend just freaks me out.
I toss and turn over the thoughts of his betrayal in my mind every night. When I see another couple or a romantic movie or anything involving intimacy, I always reminded of the deep anger and sense of betrayal that is trapped inside me.
When he walked out of our marriage, thinking he was so much in love with this other woman, I initially could not even believe it was happening. His insistence that all the sizzle of the marriage was gone and that he wanted to move on seem to come from nowhere. His utterances made me so disgusted with him.
How could he so casually erase all the good moments and experiences we had together these past two years?
A Story Of Love Found, Then Lost
I think back to those days we had together as man and wife and I truly believed what we had together was special.
I guess all couples when they are going through that dating and falling in love phase feel that way. But I truly believed he was the one for me and fell head long in love.
Most of our time together was pretty good. I could count on my husband and he did things to make me happy and feel protected and secure.
But all that went out the window when he took up with this younger, prettier version of me.
It makes me angry that he left me on what seems like an impulse and now he wants me back in his life like he can decide all the things that are important to us as a married couple.
What do they call it when your angry feelings with your husband who has skipped out of the marriage to go chase after another women gets mixed in with thoughts of when the two of you really “worked” as a couple.
I guess you can call me sadly conflicted.
We were content with each other and our own little love story we had created.
But on one unforgettable night last Fall, our little fairy tale marriage came tumbling down.
That is when he so casually broke the news to me.
It was stupid of me to think that my husband somehow was the “one” that was going to lift my life into another happiness zone.
Of course, I know it is a lot easier to feel like a dummy when your husband runs off with some tramp of a girl.
But how stupid would it be if I gave in to my man’s desire to get back with me. I am not sure if I want him back or if he deserves to be back with me. I know I deserve him because I never gave up on our marriage. I didn’t cheat on him or even think of abandoning him. And while I admit I leaned on my husband a lot, he needed me too.
It is Foolish To Be Completely Emotionally Dependent On Any Guy
I know it was foolish of me to think I could rely on my husband and wrap so much of my life around him.
I realize now that it was a huge mistake to think my husband would always be there for me and not with some younger version of myself.
I still struggle with why my ex husband did not have enough self-control to keep his promise to me. I know it is silly, probably even pitifully sad, to think this way because it wasn’t just that he had sex with this girl. but he gave her his heart.
That is the part that tears me up.
My ex husband gave away his heart to this woman who is not me. How could he have just forgotten every moment we had together? Didn’t our past life count for something? All I could think was my ex husband had no impulse control or even self-respect, because here he was now asking me to give him another chance.
Can you belive that my ex husband had the nerve to tell me that his new woman reminded him of a fitter, leaner, and tanner me.
Just thinking of those stupid words makes me delirious with rage. I knew one of his failings was his preoccupation with body image, often his own.
My ex was always working out and exercising and begging me to do so. Look, I am no beauty queen, but my figure is attractive and I am fit. I have known that my husband possessed these petty notions about looks and fitness, but I never thought they would mushroom into catalysts for him wanting to take up with another girl.
I was sickened he would stoop so low to compare me to his new little honey. Actually I think of her mostly as the “bitch” that stole away my husband.
Take Your Ex Back or Not?
I remain troubled about taking him back.
Why should I since my husband disrespected me, cheated on me, humiliated me, and caused me to fall into a headlong depression?
He told me later he was going through some kind of mid life crisis and just got caught up with this woman, which he assures me was a mistake. All I could think of as he told me is sappy little love story is that in one moment he is professing his love for me and in the next, he tells me he loves this other girl.
When he first told me he wanted “us” to try again I wanted to tear off his face and scream down his throat. Does he have any idea how far he has set back what is left of our marriage?
It’s like he doesn’t have a clue.
He goes off with this pretty thing and lives it up and then when it doesn’t work out, crawls back asking me, his dutiful and loving wife, for forgiveness.
Except he got one really big thing wrong in his calculations. I am no longer the same person I was before he left me. I am not the dutiful wife. I am flooded with thoughts of divorcing him and just the thought of him asking me to give it another try makes me want to slam the door on his face.
The only thing that keeps me hanging in is that my husband does have a sexual hang up.
It is somewhat embarrassing to talk about, but I think it did play a factor in his decision to betray me. And I have to admit, there is one other thing that is compounding my whole decision of whether to give it another go with him. I suspect this was not his first fling.
You see, my ex husband has what I think is a sexual addiction.
He is obsessed with his body image and also overly focused on his performance in bed. He is constantly badgering me to have sex and doesn’t seem to get enough pleasure. I think he secretly takes Viagra to prolong the experience.
He does seem to exhibit the classic symptoms of an obsessive compulsive sexual addict. So I am afraid he has taken his sexual needs outside of our marriage before.
Part of me doesn’t want to know. Another part of me is furious what he did with this other girl. And still another part of my psyche is telling me he that he will always be this way and it will happen again and I will be miserable.
Earlier in our marriage, he would fancy himself as quite the playboy.
My ex husband would stay up late watching dirty, pornographic movies. I caught him a few times pleasuring himself. I was offended and wanted to know why wouldn’t he just come upstairs and be with me. My ex never gave me a good reason.
We would argue and it would become between us and it made me feel inadequate that my husband would find these other outlets for his sexual needs.
It made me feel like I was not enough for him or that I was doing something wrong. So I read up on everything about sex and pleasing one’s husband and we tried a lot of things and it did add spice and our love lives improved. But then later I would again catch him with the porn.
I guess in those days, my husband’s mistress was the filthy, dirty images and videos he could find. I eventually just relented and turned away from it, thinking there wasn’t much I could do to change that part of him. I pretended it was not happening and he acted like everything was just fine.
At the time, I didn’t think his actions were a deal breaker for our marriage. I believed that he could get help and we could work through it if it got out of hand.
But it turned out to be all for not.
At the time he just wanted to do his thing and get away with it. But when it mushroomed to him actively cheating on me, then humiliating me with these sickening body type comparisons to this other woman, I had enough. I told him I wanted him out and at the time he was all too happy to comply.
Can I Trust What He is Telling Me?
So I went through this whole period of being a naive, dutiful, and loyal wife. But now my feelings toward my ex husband have changed. Bitterness is a word that hardly captures the depth of my feelings toward my ex. My man has turned my world and marriage upside down and I am not sure if I should ever forgive him and let him back in my life.
So like I was saying, out of the blue my good for nothing, lying, cheating, self-absorbed ex husband comes a calling.
Alright, I know I am going overboard with these insults at my ex husband, but do you know what….he deserves it.
Anyway, my ex hubby comes a calling and it was not one of those, “let’s just check up on you” type of visits. Although we were unofficially separated, we did weave in and out of each other’s lives.
So on this particular little visit he came to me and said he wanted it all back. Everything. The marriage, the love, the fun we use to have, the vacations, etc.
He wanted me to wipe away all of the things he did and just forgive him and give him another chance. So that is the picture. My ex husband is standing there and telling me he wants me back, our entire life back like it is some kind of malleable thing that can be taken apart, then quickly be reassembled.
I thought to myself, is my ex nuts?
He went on and on about how we are meant for each other and had way too much invested into each other to just let it all slip away.
Sure, I thought, so what about your little fling you had with your new girlfriend. Of course, he had answers for all of that. She was a mistake. He had made a mistake. He was not himself. She had led him on.
I was pretty tired of hearing all this bull crap and told him to leave and never come back, but admittedly his insistence about us getting back together left an impression on me.
So this is where I am at. What do I do in my situation? How is it that I could ever expect to forget and forgive my husband for what he did to me?
Should I get back with my ex husband or would it be the mistake of my life?
What Do You Tell Your Ex Husband If He Wants Back In?
There is no one stock answer.
And the reason for that is everyone’s break up situation is different. Let’s say you and your husband parted ways and it was a real rough going. Let’s assume there were a lot of screaming and shouting and threats and plenty of ugliness.
Maybe he got verbally. Maybe he was physically abusive.
So you see, your plan of action on how to handle your husband’s interest in returning to you is predicated on many things. Your history together, the frequency in which there have experienced marriage fall outs, and the intensity surrounding the breakup are all important.
Given that, let’s come up with two possible scenarios. Chances are you and your husband fall into one of these situations. I am not saying that the things that went down between the two of you will identical match these possible scenarios, but pick one or merge the advice from two.
And please realize that if you your breakup situation with your ex involved excessive verbal or even physical abuse, neither of these two scenarios would be a good match. Depending on your situation, it might be best to end things and move forward in a different direction.
Marriage Breakup Scenario 1: The marriage was reasonably solid. Your history together could be characterized as mostly better than worse. An affair or some other major event resulted in conflict and disagreement. It is possible your marital issues persisted for a long time and the two of you have been separated for a few weeks or possibly longer. He reaches out to you as he desires to talk about a second start.
Suggested Action: Meet him half way. Arrange to talk with your former husband someplace neutral. Don’t do so in your home or where you lived together. The dynamics and the atmosphere will be different there and may awaken bad memories or you both may fall back into a familiar set of routines.
When you see him, just let him talk and listen a lot. Tell him part of you wants to start over again, but another part wants to make sure this is for real. Allow the conversation to flow, but the emphasis should be on him talking about his experience. You want him to come clean in every respect. Then tell your side of how you feel about why the marriage collapsed and how it made you feel. Don’t be accusatory or judgmental, just share what you felt inside so your husband understands.
After you have both told your stories, tell him you want to think about everything. Explain that there is a lot to process. Ask him to reach out to you tomorrow.
If he does, then you know this not just a passing fancy of his. Talk with him and arrange for a date. I know, it sounds odd that you would want your ex husband to take you on a date. But it is an important part of the process of him showing you he really wants this and it also helps in the re-attraction phase.
Don’t have sex with him. Just create an environment where he needs to take you out on a few outings (dates) to win back some trust. Trust won’t all come back at once. But these are steps in the right direction.
After all, he betrayed not just your marriage vows, but he slept with this other woman (assuming that is what happened) and so it will and should take time to rebuild trust.
Allow him an opportunity to show that your investment in him is worthwhile. Meanwhile, use this dating phase to recover from the many conflicted feelings you will likely continue to have. Trust takes time to return in full force.
Breakup Scenario 2: In this case the marriage was having its ups and downs. When you parted, it was a rough experience for you both, but mostly you. You have some solid history together and have known each other for some years now. But the pain of the marriage break up lingers. Perhaps it has been a good while since the separation. But now your ex is making overtures about the two of you giving it a go.
Suggested Action: Your ex husband will need to prove that he is serious about winning you back. He needs to demonstrate this not about sex or some impulsive desire that has possessed him.
Tell him you are not sure if this is best for you given all that has happened between the two of you. Tell him you need time to think about it all. Ask him to contact you next week.
If he does, then you know he is on the right track of making this work. Talk with him and tell him you want to hear his story of everything. Arrange to meet with him somewhere public other than your residence.
Allow your ex husband to tell you what he thinks went wrong with the marriage. Today you are going to be a listener. Don’t be argumentative and don’t be too agreeable. But be positive and friendly.
Keep the conversation on your husband’s take on things. Ask him to explain why he thinks he behaved the way he did. This will give your further insights into a great many things. For example, will he be open and share his feelings? Will he tell you the truth of what happened and why he thinks it happened?
Ask him to explain what he thinks the solution is going forward. Remember, you are the “listener” and are trying to facilitate the conversation in such a way to learn more about your ex husband’s perspective on things.
Don’t draw any judgments, good or bad. At the end of the meeting, tell him you would like to share with him your thoughts, but that you are not ready to do that today.
Schedule another meeting with him such that you can describe what you think went wrong with the marriage and how his actions and behaviors have affected you.
If after these discussions with your man, you feel that reuniting with your ex husband is still a good idea, then take things slow.
Proceed with rebuilding trust through the dating process as I described above.
Remember, you want to take little steps.
There should be no rush to regaining trust. And you will need that before you make any decision about giving your husband another chance.