Q&A Am I Overreacting to Setbacks, and is it Too Soon to Move Home?

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Question: 

Dear Rick,

I wrote in a while ago about my spouse having a very difficult time completely separating from his AP. Two weeks after EMS weekend, although extremely helpful and a great experience, we were still struggling so I left our home and have been living with a friend for almost two months now.

My spouse and I are involved in the EMS Aftercare program, and he and I are both getting professional help individually. I do feel he has made major strides as he says he is not seeing his AP at all anymore, in any capacity, and he is “trying” not to have contact with her through texts or phone. She still is texting him and calling, and he admitted responding to a text recently, and also admitted to responding to two separate calls she made to him while serving ten days in jail for DUI. This is the second time in 18 months that she has gone to jail for a DUI, and it is really a trigger for me. One week after D day my husband got up in the middle of the night to bail her out of jail after her first arrest. And then once while we were on a vacation together he got up at 6 AM to call her before she went into jail to serve her time for that offense. This recent incident is for her second offense and it all just triggers the whole last two years of his affair for me, and all the dysfunction associated with it.

My spouse told me about the recent call because he said he is trying to stay honest and forthcoming. Still, it was extremely upsetting to me and really pushed us backwards in our progress, mostly because of how much it affected me. He said that he just wanted to help her through a rough time and she needed him to talk to. He expressed that I was making it into way more than it is. He always seems to have sympathy for her like she is a victim as opposed to a grown woman who continues to make bad choices and consequently pays the price for those choices. He has told me that he knows no matter what he has no desire to pursue a future with her but he cares for her as a person and that it has been very difficult just completely erasing her from his life.

My issue is that I believe this woman will continue to have turmoil in her life. Plus, life happens, the good and the bad, and that she will reach out to my husband, especially during rough times. My fear is that he will feel compelled to respond and feel like a bad guy if he doesn't. I am almost certain she is not going to give up on him either, has not so far, and believes he is her soulmate. I am really struggling. I love my husband so deeply, and really want to go home, but still do not feel safe even though he feels he is working hard at moving forward. I believe he is, but has setbacks, like this one. I know he would prefer to be friends with her and continue our marriage but that is not possible for me emotionally. He tells me he loves me and believes we will get there and be back together and most of the time he wants that, but he also expresses ambivalence at times because he likes not having so much pressure in our home and being reminded of all his wrong-doing by my anger and sadness. I really don't want our marriage to end and have been very hopeful, but fearful he will never be able to sever his ties with his AP and her family 100%. They all live within a mile of his work, and are his customers as well!

I know recovery is not just a smooth transition and I know set-backs happen. My question is, if he has made progress and continues to work at it, should I remain on this hopeful path, and try to be more positive and less upset by these set-backs, which he claims are really benign in the scheme of things? Like I expressed, I would really like to go home, but do not know if it is too soon. I only hope we can get there.

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