Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

I desperately want to fall back in love with my husband

(154 Posts)
expo Tue 23-Feb-10 13:54:26

I feel as if I am depressed. My own stupid stupid fault. I have been married for 4 years. I had a full on career and was successful at it. My husband and I had 2 gorgeous children in quick succession - one of each - with 17 months between them.

When I had the kids so quickly, I thought I wanted to be a full time mum. I spent ages working out how I was going to give up work and be with them all the time. I thought I never wanted to go to work again.

But I had to go back for 6 months to pick up my maternity pay. I got offered a maternity cover job for a further 6 months and thought - right; after that I will leave.

But as I got into the job more and more I found my independence again and my life again. All the while my husband and my relationship was slowly becoming more transactional - working with 2 small kid. We had had an extension done in the house and had about 6 or 7 other projects and stresses going on. All with very young kids.

I started travelling globally occasionally with my job and it felt wonderful again to be travelling and feel like a woman again. I was travelling with a younger man who worked for me and we ended up having an affair.

At the beginning I was mortified, but it was like I was addicted to the feeling I had with this man. He had a girlfriend and I was married. It was all a terrible terrible situation.

I tried to stop it SO many times but just as I got the resistance up, he would come back and pull me back in again. We chatted a lot and had what I thought was the emotional connection I had lost in my marriage. He started going hot and cold. It was agony. I don't know how I managed to hide it all from my husband. But I had fallen in love with this man - or I thought I had. I think actually I had fallen for the drama and the hot and cold-ness of it. Bloody hell it was like being a teenager again. I do think I have a problem as well with wanting something I cannot have.

I was desperately unhappy -felt anxious all the time, waiting for him to call and to see him. He was obviously with his girlfriend. I thought about leaving my husband for him - seriously. I think I knew deep down I never would. I would never take the kids dad away and would never take the kids away from him. Meanwhile the guy would blow hot and cold and pull me in and out of that conversation - one day yes, and the next no.

Anyway, his girlfriend found out. And I was relieved because I thought - finally, he can leave her and we can be together. To be honest, if I think deeply about it, I think if he turned to me and said "OK then - let's go for it" I would have run a MILE. I don't know.

But he has taken his girlfriend away and managed to persuade her that nothing had happened (it went on for 6 months), despite her being told about it through a friend. He has been emailing me all the time he has been away, saying he is thinking about me. I ignored the notes. But he kept emailing. But I pushed him this morning and he has confirmed via a short email that they are back together and he must give their relationship another go.

It is all MY FAULT. I am devastated. More because the kind of guy he is, is simply is not worth my time and attention - I cannot even pretend to be the good guy in all this but he has been playing with me so much. Plus I know I love my husband and desperately want to be with him and be in love with him again.

How on earth can I fall back "in love" with my husband. I do love him a lot.

I know I don't deserve him (by the way he knows a bit about the affair but doesn't want to know a lot - and has been the most patient, loving and caring person in the world.)

The sad thing is I am very down about 2 things - the curt and quick way the affair finished after this guy led me on to believe it was so much more (my heart is still there despite me not wanting it to be) - and the fact that my husband is the man my head wants to be with but my heart just won't follow at the moment.

Please help me with how I can please save my marriage and fall back in love with my husband.

expo Tue 23-Feb-10 14:13:57

please can anyone help. Even if it is to really tell me it is all my fault

cheerfulvicky Tue 23-Feb-10 14:36:10

You need to mooch along to somewhere like Relate, my lovely. Preferably alone, so you can chat to someone impartial about everything and work out what to do.

My own personal point of view - I think the first few years with children are very unglamourous, and they strip new mums of all their previous identity. It can be very hard. I'd like to say that in your situation I would have behaved differently, but I know I probably wouldn't. I would probably have done the same.
You need to start building your self esteem up in ways that don't involve having an affair, you need to find areas of your life that give you that thrill. Once you are in a stronger place mentally and not beating yourself up and consumed by misery, then you will be able to evaluate your relationship with your husband and work out if there is anything you can do to bring the spark back. But you need to get your own head sorted first. Work out exactly why you did this, in minute detail, so it won't happen again. A counsellor is probably the best way to go in this respect.

I wish you a lot of love and luck. I certainly can't judge you, because I know if I had a similar job/situation it could very well be me in your shoes.

loves2walk Tue 23-Feb-10 14:43:10

Well you know it yourself, that it is your fault. But that doesn't mean you can't do something about it and come out of this with a better relationship with your husband in the long run and a deeper understanding of yourself.

You may need to spend some time grieving the affair and feeling the guilt rather than trying to hide from it. Maybe you have to go through a certain level of pain about what you've done before you can start to re-connect with your DH. The falling back in love with him bit may take some time so be patient with yourself and don't think if it hasn't happened immediately then it will never happen. You surely can't fall in love with him until you have grieved and stopped loving this other guy. I don't speak from experience so this may be twaddle! but I'm sure if you really want to stay with your DH, you can find a way through this pain, to do so. He sounds a really sweet guy. Maybe get some professional help, or maybe try and have time on your own to grieve your affair (and your view of yourself as this must have taken a bit of a battering) then take some time as a couple together to re-connect and talk about what you each need to get out of each other for your marriage to work in the long term. But be optimistic.

expo Tue 23-Feb-10 15:52:00

Thank you both for your kind and supportive notes. I think that the counselling bit may be very helpful because I am desperate to understand why I did this if only to stop it happening again. I certainly do NOT want to feel the way I am feeling again - particularly when, in the grand scheme of things I am so lucky with everything I have.

I desperately want to stop caring about this other guy. I am so angry with him for leading me on - he is 4 years younger than me (31) with no kids; especially when he is an intelligent person and could see that I had a family and an awful lot to lose. That did not register with him as he was stringing me along. And I am annoyed that I fell for it. He works for me as well so I have 2 months more of him working for me until I move jobs. Plus I work with his girlfriend - in fact I have a meeting with her on Monday when she is back from this 2 week holiday in which he has pulled the wool over her eyes.

I am certainly not vindictive enough to tell her that the whole thing is true (I do have hard evidence). That would not do me any good workwise either, so best I do stiff upper lip.

But I am going to have to see HIM in the office next week as well. I am angry with him - which just goes to show I still care about him in some way. And I am angry with myself for caring about him. And I want to be cosily back in love with my husband.

I do think counselling it is. I NEVER want to do this to my lovely husband, myself or my kids again.

Thank you

redflagornot Tue 23-Feb-10 15:56:05

I think you're just still embroiled in the hot/cold game. The best thing your DH could do would be to pull back a bit, and make you fight for your marriage a bit. Focus your energy on sorting things with him, not wondering about someone who is clearly a cheating idiot.

Imagine it coming out in the office, and everyone gossiping - because it will if you carry on with it. Believe me, people notice these things! Stay right away from him, don't engage at all. The game is over now.

expo Tue 23-Feb-10 16:34:56

Thank you. I have just phoned Relate and booked my first session for this Thursday - before I have to see him or his girlfriend again in the office.

Redflagornot - I think you are right re. hot/cold game. My husband did used to be like that as well before I got married - I had to chase him. I enjoy fighting for things - I always have done - my education, my career etc. But I certainly still loved him when the chase stopped and we settled down into married life. In fact I hate the feeling I get of up and down - I cannot handle it. I am a passionate, driven person and I get carried away in the moment and in my emotions.

Yes - DH has been so "there" for me. But that doesn't make me want him less. It actually makes me want him more. I don't really want to feel insecure with him. I want to start talking to him a lot more and getting close to him again.

Interesting you say the guy was a "cheating idiot". I know deep down that he has not been good about all this - but I find it so hard to judge him seeing as I was the married one. But my feelings were honest and genuine whereas he kept blowing hot and cold.

Yep - the game is over correct. I will try and stay away but he works for me. Luckily in a different country - he is in the UK for 2 days tomorrow but that should be it. And it is only for another 2 months. I think it will probably get out anyway now.

The really sad thing is, his girlfriend is 37 this year and wants a family. I do feel bad for her - mainly because the wool has been pulled over her eyes by him.

AnnieBeansMum Tue 23-Feb-10 16:45:07

I can empathise with you expo. After having my dd, I lost myself as well (something I think a lot of new mothers feel at times). My husband and I drifted further and further away - although in truth I closed myself off from him. I didn't have an affair, but I cannot definitely say that I would have abstained had the opportunity presented itself to me. In March 2009, I left my husband and dd and I moved into a house in the same town. DH had DD three days a week and I had her for 4. We spent 2 months apart before realising how much we still loved each other and wanted to be together.

Relate saved our marriage. DH and I both went once a week separately and then once a week together. It was a painful and difficult time as we both talked about things that the other didn't want to face. But we are now stronger than we have ever been. In total, we spent 6 months living apart.

Give Relate a chance (whether you go on your own or as a couple). It is a wonderful counselling service and can help you get your marriage back on track. You know you made mistakes and the last thing you need is anyone rubbing the affair in your face. It is perfectly reasonable to feel guilty and upset about it, but at some stage you will have to move past it if you really want to save your marriage.

I wish you the very best of luck in getting your life back on track.

expo Tue 23-Feb-10 17:22:58

Thank you AnnieBeansMum. How lovely to have such caring people on here. You were very strong to leave you DH when you realise something was wrong. But how wonderful that you are now stronger than you have ever been. That is exactly what I want. And I am confident with my DH that we can get there.

I have just told him I am going to start Relate and he was really supportive and said it can only help. I will start alone at first because I want to get all the details of the affair out and I don't want DH to hear. I don't want to hurt him more than I already have. And then in future it may be that he will have sessions alone or join me.

Thank you for your shared experience.

redflagornot Tue 23-Feb-10 17:26:22

I think you're doing the right thing, good luck with it all! And don't judge yourself too harshly, I think many of us could be in the same situation if the circumstances were there. It's what you do now that really counts.

WhenwillIfeelnormal Tue 23-Feb-10 17:51:51

Expo - does your H know that you work with the affair partner? That's going to be very difficult for him to cope with - and it's unfair on him. I know getting another job is hard, but in a situation like this, actions speak louder than words. If you really are serious about saving your marriage, I would try to sever all contact with the OM.

Did you only stop this because the OM didn't want you? Again, that's going to be so difficult for your H, because he can't ever comfort himself with you choosing him over OM. You could tell him till you're blue in the face that you'd never have left for OM, but he just won't believe it.

I think you're perhaps projecting too much blame on the OM - and I think you seem most angry because he doesn't want you. You can hardly say you've been "played" - you both knew the score when you started this.

The counselling will really help however. You need to work on yourself before you can fix your marriage. You are blessed that your H is willing to wait while you do this. As you have said yourself, there are other areas of your personality that perhaps need looking at - and the counselling will help with that. It will also be a safe space to grieve the lost relationship with OM.

I suspect you won't fall in love with your H again until everything is out in the open - and it doesn't surprise me in the least that he doesn't want to know all the details yet - it is a common male reaction. Promise to give him the honest details if he does ask though, and hopefully some joint counselling at some point will get him to the stage when he can hear it all.

londonartemis Tue 23-Feb-10 18:33:53

Expo - Can I recommend a book that I only bought today and have found very useful already!
It is 'I love you but I'm not in love with you - seven steps to Saving your relationship' by Andrew G Marshall. The author is a counsellor from Relate.
The author seems to think it is possible to 'fall in love again'. (Quick background on me - I am working on my marriage after finding myself incredibly attracted to someone else with whom I have 'helplessly' become emotionally involved.)
I have huge sympathy for what you write...I am sure you are bouncing off the walls with agonising emotions. This book talks about different kinds of love and stages of love...I have found it totally absorbing. Do look it up. very good luck. Your family sounds worth fighting for to make work. Good luck with relate. I had a couple of sessions with them recently and found them very sympathetic and helpful.

ItsGraceAgain Tue 23-Feb-10 18:47:33

It is possible to "fall back in love", I've seen it happen. I wish more couples would choose that option.
Well done, OP; I hope you get one of Relate's best counsellors

expo Tue 23-Feb-10 22:10:30

Thank you all for your comments and advice.

WhenwillIfeelnormal - yes he knows we work together. But he is based in China and I am in the UK. So we are hardly together. It has been a physical relationship occasionally but much more emotional because of the distance. I am leaving this job in 2 months time and moving to Italy to work - my DH is Italian so is really happy to go back.
Mmm - yes it did only stop because OM chose his girlfriend in the end. Yes I agree re. my anger with the OM. That has been because all last week when he was away with his girlfriend he was emailing me and sending me mixed messages while all the time trying to get back with her. That made me sad that he was hurting me like that. But you know what, this evening OM wrote to me and apologised for the mixed messages and said it was becasue he was confused. But he has made a call that he is going to stay with girlfriend and must "follow it though" - to give their relationship a full and final call. That is nice actually because a lot of my sadness was based on - how could he have treated me that way. I get your point though - have I only turned to my husband again because he has stopped it. While I guess yes. But I am also relieved that OM has stopped it if you see what I mean. Because even though my heart was with OM, my head was not. And I have NO IDEA how I would have reacted if OM said - oh leave your husband. When he did get close to anything like that, I did start to get cold feet. I think I was safe in wanting it cos I knew it would probably never happen. Anyway feel happy tonight that I got an apology and am not so angry with OM - just accepting that he has made his choice. I am sure a lot of that is because his girlfriend is actually available and he never believed I would leave DH(he has said as much) but even so it is a choice. And I can now move on. Relief.
Yes - cannot wait to get counselling. Agree I need to work on me first. That is why I am going alone. I said to DH today that he may join a bit down the line and he is happy to do that. He says it can only help matters. Feel a lot closer to him already.
Mmm - bit nervous about DH knowing all the details. I don't know if it is worth him knowing it all. I will see how this plays out.

londartemis - thank you - will order the book now. Great advice. Thank you! And good luck yourself. And try not to go physical. It just makes it all a bigger mess...

ItsGraceAgain - thank you so much. It is the right thing to do. My DH is lovely. I am sure if OM were to be in everyday life with me I would regret losing DH massively. Part of the thrill is getting out of everyday life.

WhenwillIfeelnormal Wed 24-Feb-10 02:08:30

Expo - Glad you updated. There are three comments you've made that gave me concern - and I wonder whether this might be food for thought?

The first thing is for your own peace of mind, but this might be painful. When you said that you think that "a lot of" OM's choice of his girlfriend over you was because you were unavailable, I think you might be excusing him his choice. OM in these situations rarely have the courage to say "because I love her more than you" but so often, this is the painful truth. I feel that if you accept this, it might be easier to move on with your H - and help you feel better about OM's choice.

Secondly, I wonder whether there is anything about your competitive nature that wanted him to make the ultimate sacrifice of giving up his GF to be with you? I believe you when you say you think you might have had got cold feet if he'd actually done that, but there is a sense that you needed his willingness to do that - almost as an affirmation of your desirability and power.

If there's anything in this theory (and an amazing number of OW and OM do this, only to back out at the last minute) you might want to explore how this came to be a personality trait. If you decide that there's something in this, it might actually help your DH to believe that when push came to shove, you wouldn't have left him at all. It's going to be hard to own up to a narcissistic streak, but better that (and dealing with it) than having to spend a lifetime convincing DH that you really wouldn't have left, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

For me however, the most important concern was your reluctance to share details with your H if he wants to know. Honestly Expo, this is essential for your H's recovery and healing. Please do read about "the need to know" - I'd recommend Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass for all sorts of reasons, but this explains it so well. However, every affair recovery site/book recommends unabridged honesty if the betrayed require it. He can only forgive when he knows what there is to forgive. Forgiveness when he doesn't know the full story is hollow and worthless, when it should be the greatest gift he gives you. Don't squander that.

Geckle05 Wed 24-Feb-10 10:41:27

Hi Expo

I'm in a similar situation to you. Like you, my affair was largely emotional, with very little physical contact.

I recently ended ended the relationship in order to re-build my marriage, and I too am very ashamed of how I risked everything by falling in love with another man. However, self-blame (though it feels justified) may not help you do the work that you want to do in order to fall in love with your husband again.

I've had lots of therapy for unrelated matters over the years and my counsellor has helped me to look at the underlying causes of why the affair happened. I'm not going to go on about my life, but several things have stacked up to result in a pretty low self-esteem. This in turn has resulted in a craving for validation from other people. Being brave enough to understand yourself on a deep level may be the starting point to your recovery (and mine). As far as I'm concerned, I need to learn to love myself again so that I don't depend on someone else to do that essential job for me.

More than anything, I don't want this to happen again. I stood at the edge of the abyss and could have jumped, dragging my innocent children and lovely husband with me (not to mention the children and partner of the OM. I'm so grateful that I didn't, and want to understand fully why I allowed the situation to occur in the first place.

I am lucky in one sense that I am out of the situation before my husband knew, but the guilt will be mine to bear for the rest of my lfe and I know I deserve that. I do wonder though whether any re-building I do is on sand, when there is this huge dishonesty between us. I suppose only time will tell me that.

Good luck with your situation. I'll be thinking of you.

Honesty is the best policy

But on the other hand

What the eye don't see, the heart don't bleed over...

I would suggest you are very careful before making a clean breast of things to DH. Yes, if he truly wants all the details to help his own healing process, fair enough. But there are people who would genuinely rather not know all the details. It's a defence mechanism, sure. But don't take that defence away if it's what he prefers. Sometimes people confess to clear their own conscience, but it doesn't necessarily help the other party - can, in fact, make them feel a lot worse about something they were otherwise handling okay.

I'm not saying don't confess everything, but be very cautious about it.

ItsGraceAgain Wed 24-Feb-10 13:06:01

Immaculada: "Sometimes people confess to clear their own conscience" - Yes, it's easy to forget the distinction between confession as an emotional dump for the confessor (making the betrayed party a dumpee; not very nice) and providing information as requested. It's necessary to provide the information your partner asks for. Any more, or any less, and you're disrespecting their needs - again.

WWIFN clearly put a lot of thought into her post. It's excellent. Good luck, OP.

expo Wed 24-Feb-10 13:14:48

Whenwillifeelnormal - on your comments

1. mmm. I really have no idea how much the fact I am married with kids has played a part in his decision. He would always say that of course he would choose me if I were single - there would be no choice, and he also used to say that he was not scared about becoming an immediate dad (although I think he underestimated this - having no children of his own yet), but he was scared of going through a divorce and all that entails PLUS knowing that I would always have contact with my DH for the rest of my life. He didn't know if he could handle that. HOWEVER I absolutely take your point that these could all be excuses and ultimately he simply loves his girlfriend more. We are really very different people - I am a dynamic passionate and volatile person, whereas she is calm, controlled. So I get by, by thinking that yes - he has chosen her - but we couldn't be more different and he just wanted the different thing. It's painful but manageable.

2. I think about this as well - what would I have REALLY done if he had said "OK then". You know, that when he did start talking about our future together and looking back at all this in 5 years etc etc. I did get really excited about being with him and doing it. I guess I will NEVER know. I will never know what I really would have done. Was it the ultimate power game (nasty as that is) or did we genuinely want to be together. I am going to have to grapple with that one.

3. I will only tell him the details if he really really wants to know. But kind of agree with *Immaculada Concepion* here - what he doesn't know will not hurt him. He knows the emotional side of things and that we talked a lot. But that is it. He says he does not wish to know more. We'll see where we get to I guess.

And Geckle05 - thank you for your story. Comforting to know there is someone else out there who has experienced the same thing. How did you feel when the affair finished. Did you finish it? I feel today as if I have split up from a proper full on relationship, complete with anxious stomach, lump in the throat and close to crying (although working today which is taking mind off it). how did you manage to get through it. I guess it will subside with time. But I HATE this feeling. Does that say I was in love with him, or I was simply in love with the drama. I don't know.

The other thing is, I come from a family in which we don't have divorce or separation in it. I have 2 sisters who are both happily married with kids. My mum and dad stayed together and are still together but have not been happy for YEARS. The husbands of my sisters come from parents that have stayed together and has my husband. When I told my mum the story yesterday (I have not told her for 6 months because I was scared of her reaction), she reacted OK at first. But then today I got an absolute torrent of accusation and "how could you". Which I guess is why I never told her in the first place. She told me I was emotionally stupid and immature and should pull myself together. Why do I need to go to relate etc etc! Everything I expected and so why I didn't tell her. But equally, it did pull me out of my hurt for a while and made me determined to stop being silly and get on with it.

Kiwinyc Wed 24-Feb-10 13:28:54

Its sounds like to me you've had a lucky escape. I think you know this guy is not right for you... Its the fact that you can't have him that makes you still want him now. He didn't treat you well during the relationship, he was toying with you too.

expo Wed 24-Feb-10 14:28:34

Thank you Kiwinyc. That is what my friends are saying as well....

LittleOneMum Wed 24-Feb-10 14:55:21

Hello OP

I wanted to add a tiny bit from my experiencek, which I hope will help. I have been in a very similar situation to yours, except that I was not married to my DH at the time, and had no kids - I think I'd just got stuck in a rut and embarked on an exciting hot/cold affair too.
When it ended I hated myself for doing this to my lovely DP and couldn't believe that I was the person I was - even my friends thought I had been fundamentally selfish and unfair. I was desperate to fall in love with my DH again. and you know what - I did. I realised after the affair ended that I could never be with the type of man I'd had the affair with; he was not right for me, whereas DP was perfect in lots of ways. So I fought and worked for my relationship with DP, and then about a year later I proposed to him (which I thought was fair enough given the trouble I'd caused) and he said yes (happily) and now we have been married for 4 years and are blissfully happy - we have a DS and I am pg with DD. I don't have a moment's regret about DH, or the guy I had the affair with.
Ultimately I was really lucky that DP/DH was prepared to stick around. But if you fundamentally believe that you have a good man, you can cosily fall in love again, I promise. It's about knowing you've got a good thing. Sometimes when he particularly lovely and supportive I think back to the man with whom I had the affair and think "Gosh, he would never have been so amazing" and it all feels good.
Sorry this is so long. I just wanted you to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It was horribly and painful and I was ashamed for a long time. But ultimately sometimes affairs open your eyes to what's really important and I hope that's what happens for you.
Best of luck x

AnyFucker Wed 24-Feb-10 15:43:01

nice post lom

"what he doesn't know won't hurt him"

I think in this situation this is entirely untrue. Especially considering he knows you have had an affair, so he will always wonder if there are things you have not disclosed. You are clearly not over the other man and to keep details secret I think betrays your husband more than you have already.

countingto10 Wed 24-Feb-10 15:54:23

Expo, I watched the film "The Painted Veil" the other night - it was about a woman who had an affair, wanted to be with OM but ultimately he didn't want to be with her. It was her story about how she fell in love with her husband again, their journey to understanding. It was set during the 20's during a cholera epidemic in China - pretty grim stuff but a wonderful love story.

You can get it for about £5.00 on Amazon. Might by worth a look.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now