Affair healing Blog
The following comment was posted in our Community Forum:
"...I know I was never going to be the person that convinced him to come back to our marriage. He has to make that choice on his own. But is physical separation with practically no communication really better? Am I just questioning this because I know he could choose to leave for good and I just can't let go completely? I don't even know what we should talk about that wouldn't defeat the purpose of the separation in the first place. But I also don't want to discourage communication that should be happening. I'm just not feeling confident about what is and isn't the right communication for this situation..."
This was my response:
This is SO hard, I know. From what you have shared, it seems you have taken steps that are good for you. I hope they will ultimately be good for your marriage, too.
I strongly encourage you to stay on your path. Keep communication limited to "business of life" issues only. I can almost guarantee that if you do not initiate relationship conversation, he eventually will because he'll want assurance that he can still return if/when he wants to. Up to this point, he's been in control and the loss of that control eventually becomes unsettling for most wayward spouses.
Initially, his response may have been driven by a sense of relief that now he's freer to spend time in the other relationship. Let it happen. You might as well know where that takes him, although I'm sure you're aware of the risk. I cannot speak to your specific situation because I don't know enough about the two of you, but I can tell you that the choice you're making gives the best chance for a future in which you have confidence in the motives behind his decisions.
You are likely experiencing tremendous pain and longing. You will be tempted to quickly respond to his first attempts to reconnect with you because you will see that as a sign of hope. But wait. If you respond too easily to his efforts in reaching out to you, you run the high risk of giving relief to his anxiousness before it gives birth to real soul-searching. Give the process time to do its work.
I've written about the "Two Guards" that need to be in place before you re-engage in relationship conversation. You need to have a confident YES to both of the questions these guards (of your heart/marriage) ask him: (1) Are you single-minded in your desire for me and our marriage? (2) Are you willing to do the necessary work to bring healing to me and our marriage?
If he remains confused or is not steadfast in these things, keep the boundaries in place. In fact, I would encourage you to wait for a while after he says "yes" to these questions to see if his intent is truly genuine.
You want a husband who comes back to you clear-minded, knowing what he wants. There is a chance that he won't get there, but if you assume too much responsibility for trying to change him, you'll likely experience moments of his return before he backs off again... the start of a back-and-forth cycle that erodes the clarity needed for a return to true intimacy and trust.
You're doing the right thing in a terrible circumstance.
Unless otherwise noted, articles are written by Tim Tedder, a licensed counselor and creator of this site and its resources. Twitter: @TimTedder