3 Big Risks of Taking Back an Unfaithful Husband

Are you considering trying to reconcile with your unfaithful husband? Although many women try at least once and many try several times to reconcile, you could be getting way more than you can deal with over the long run.
07/29/2014 06:48 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017


Are you considering trying to reconcile with your unfaithful husband? Although many women try at least once and many try several times to reconcile, you could be getting way more than you can deal with over the long run.

After discovering that my husband of 15 years was having an affair with a single co-worker, I was completely devastated and struggled to keep down solid food for months. Without any specific details provided by him, my mind raced and sleeping was impossible.

Since we had just moved across the country from any of our relatives and into a brand new home one year prior for his work promotion, I was convinced that he was having a mid-life crisis and would snap out of his selfish coma and come to realize the error of his ways.

We arranged for a meeting with our pastor and when my husband refused to end his affair after several weeks, I asked him to move out. He quickly threw a few things into a laundry basket and left our home.

I turned toward my faith life for solace and hoped every day that he would return to help me raise our three children who ranged in age from 3 to 13 years old. When our children asked where their dad was, I explained that he needed time away from our home "to think about his decisions."

During the months of our separation, he stopped by twice a week to see the kids and when I asked him what his plans were he would vaguely reply, "It's complicated." As February turned into May, I began to wonder whether he had any real intention of moving back home.

One day in May after getting the kids on their buses for school, I opened the front door and was served with a petition for divorce for irreconcilable differences. Along with it came a motion for a financial restraining order that informed me that I was no longer allowed to use any of our joint credit cards from that moment forward- something that scared me to the bone as a stay-at-home mom.

Stunned, I called my husband home from work and demanded that he come home and explain to me if this was what he truly wanted. He came home from work briefly and calmly assured me that he definitely wanted a divorce and that it would be best for me too.

I then headed to a neighbor's home for the rest of the day, devastated by his callous, dismissive behavior and the shock of his having me served with the divorce petition without any advance notice.

That evening, everything changed yet again when he came to me, promising to finally end the affair and that he'd cancel the petition for divorce the next day. He held me close and assured me that he suddenly realized he was making the worst mistake of his life.

At last I had WON my husband back from the other woman!

But what had I truly gotten back?

Although I had always deeply cherished the values of marriage and a stable family life, I didn't realize just how risky it can be to take back an unfaithful husband. I discovered the hard way that the collateral damages from blown-apart trust continues to cause life-altering after-shocks that changed me in ways I had yet to fully absorb and comprehend.

3 Big Risks of Taking Back an Unfaithful Husband

1. Trust is incredibly hard to re-build, even with marital counseling. Although my husband finally agreed to attend marital counseling with me after he moved back in, he dreaded it and rarely participated in a meaningful way. My intense anger was so palpable that each session led to us fighting both on the way there and on the way back home.

And during the sessions, my anger, unanswered questions and frustration about his lack of true remorse and inability to emotionally open up to me overshadowed any efforts to effectively resolve our underlying marital issues let alone begin to heal the trauma of the affair itself.

2. His heart may still be a hot mess. After a brief few days of excitement during our reconciliation, he chose to sleep on the couch for months, barely touching me. In my excitement to have him back, I didn't understand that he was in a severe withdrawal from his affair partner. He told me that he was "waiting to see if his feelings for me were coming back."

After weeks of his lovesickness and pining away for the other woman, I lost my patience and demanded that he show me some affection. "You may as well be demanding that I go kiss the neighbor lady," was his curt reply.

3. You know deep in your gut that he's capable of damaging your trust to the core.

Can you really live with that every single day?

Although we attended a marriage seminar and tried many other things to rebuild our marriage and move forward, I still did battle in my gut with the fact that the man I trusted most in this world had a dark side that now had been exposed to the light.

Like a photo negative that is irretrievably damaged by exposure to light, I too struggled with feeling exposed as a weak person for taking him back and constantly worried about whether I had done the right thing.

I now saw my life clearly divided into two distinctive time frames: our family's life before I discovered his affair, and the bitter undeniable reality that I awoke to every morning that had shattered our family's carefully planned life into shards of glass.