Dear Coleen: He regrets having an affair but I can’t move on from it

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Dear Coleen

A few months ago I discovered that my husband of 22 years had been cheating on me with a woman he met through work – a cliché I know.

They saw each other for about a year and it ended when she started ­pressuring him to leave me and move in with her. We have two teenage ­children, one who’s still living at home.

We have talked about it and it’s clear he regrets what he did, but he’s still pretty vague about why he did it.

He admitted he was flattered by the attention she gave him and he found it exciting, which was like a dagger to my heart. He’s always been a great husband and father, so to say I was shocked by what he did is a huge understatement.

I still love him, which is why I agreed to try to move on from what happened. And the woman he had the affair with is no longer working at his office, which has helped.

Some days are fine and I’m able to deal with it emotionally, but on other days I’m in bits and torture myself with it.

We haven’t been for counselling – I’m not sure he’d agree to it – but he’s been very attentive and loving since it all came out, and hasn’t put a foot wrong. I know he wants to make it up to me, so why can’t I accept that?

Coleen says

I think it’s partly because you don’t feel you’ve had satisfactory answers as to what led him to the affair and how he was feeling about your relationship.

Yes, it’s hard stuff to confront and he’ll be struggling with guilt and won’t want to hurt you any more, but I think it’s important to be honest about his motives if you’re to have a chance of moving on, otherwise the relationship is vulnerable to it happening again.

You should suggest therapy because it really could help you address all the things that were at play in your ­relationship to reach the crisis point of an affair, and help you find ways to deal with your emotions.

If he won’t go, then you should, but it sounds to me as if he’d be willing to do whatever it takes to repair things.

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