Reconciliation When No Contact Isn't Feasible
I would love advice on how to deal with an affair and move on with life when no contact isn't really feasible. Has anyone experienced this?
Long story short, I found out 15 months ago that my husband of 20 years had an intense, six-month emotional and physical affair with a coworker. Up until that time we both would have characterized our marriage as healthy, happy, and fulfilling, and he has never blamed me for the affair. He has worked hard to rebuild trust and repair the damage he has caused. Things will never be the same, but I feel we are on a good path toward reconciliation.
In the months after the affair came to light, my husband was willing to do whatever I asked him to save the marriage, but it was also clear that he didn't see cutting off all contact with his affair partner as reasonable or necessary. His perspective was that as long as each of them was being completely transparent with their spouses they could go back to a level of friendship that would allow them to have a collegial professional relationship (changing jobs isn't really a feasible option for either of them).
This was a very difficult issue for a year. I think he was holding out hope that things would go back to normal--that he and his coworker would go back to being colleagues and friends, and that he and I would be reconciled and I would trust him again.
Eventually, he came to the realization that a return to the pre-affair status quo wasn't going to happen, and he became much more explicit and intentional about keeping contact to the bare minimum and shutting down interactions that she initiated. That shift was huge for me, and it propelled us into a new stage of recovery and reconciliation.
She's still around, though. We're in a small community with many overlapping social connections. Today, on a Saturday, my husband has spent about three hours dealing with workplace drama that his former affair partner is at the center of. He's being transparent and apologetic, and I'm trying to be mature and understanding, but I feel depressed and exhausted over having this woman still connected to my life.
Thoughts? Advice? Commiseration? I don't have friends or family members to talk to about this stuff, and I'm on a waiting list for individual counseling (it's a six month wait, at least, in my area).
40 comments posted: Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021