Q&A Do Wayward Spouses Sometimes Use Marriage Deficits to Justify an Affair and Ending a Marriage?

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Question: 

My husband had what seems to be a "lonely hearts" affair last fall - they were both working in another country periodically, had strong sexual chemistry the minute they met and went on to meet up for meals and long talks during the times they were both there over two months. The third month they travelled to another city together and had sex twice. He claims he felt guilty and was unable to reach orgasm both times. They kept in contact for a few weeks but he eventually called it off before Christmas, saying it wasn't right. Due to Covid-19 he hasn't travelled back to that country since. He never planned to tell me and says he had no firm plans to leave our marriage. His affair partner since been in contact several times, I have discovered, as recently as two weeks ago. We are 6 months from discovery and he continues to blame our marriage, saying he never would have done it if he had "felt loved". He is very ambivalent and says he isn’t sure he wants to be with me. I am doing Harboring Hope but he is unwilling to do Hope for Healing or much else. We have been together 22 years and although I admit we were in a rocky period (I had even asked for marriage counselling last fall), I don't see our relationship as troubled as he evidently did. He's now telling me he has been unhappy for many years, well before our children were born and back to when we first got married. I am plagued by feelings that he is right, that the deficits in our marriage caused this. How could I have missed the signs he was so unhappy? He never gave us a chance. Do wayward spouses sometimes use marriage deficits to justify an affair and then use that as a way to exit the marriage? Is there anything I can do? I feel like I don't know who this man is.

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My husband said the same thing

He left me for the OW just shy of 20 years of marriage. I admit our marriage had been a rocky one, but he told me he had never been happy on the marriage from the day he said “I do”. He even said he had never been attracted to me.

It’s been 3-1/2 years since he has been gone. We have developed a friendship and the limmerance with the OW has dissipated (although they are still together). He now actually says he never said those things to me and says of course he was attracted to me when we married. He says that we had a lot of nice times together during our marriage and we should cherish those memories.

I know it’s hard because they are so convincing, but don’t believe anything he says right now. He’s not lying, he believes deeply what he is telling you, but he is in an alternate universe right now. It may take months or years but the clouds do clear and they see clearly once more.

My husband said the same thing

He left me for the OW just shy of 20 years of marriage. I admit our marriage had been a rocky one, but he told me he had never been happy on the marriage from the day he said “I do”. He even said he had never been attracted to me.

It’s been 3-1/2 years since he has been gone. We have developed a friendship and the limmerance with the OW has dissipated (although they are still together). He now actually says he never said those things to me and says of course he was attracted to me when we married. He says that we had a lot of nice times together during our marriage and we should cherish those memories.

I know it’s hard because they are so convincing, but don’t believe anything he says right now. He’s not lying, he believes deeply what he is telling you, but he is in an alternate universe right now. It may take months or years but the clouds do clear and they see clearly once more.