I often hear from people (usually wives) who are beside themselves because they have recently learned that their separated spouse is seeing someone else. Often, they were still holding out some hope that they could save their marriage, so they aren’t sure how to react to this.
I heard from a wife who said: “my husband asked for a separation about seven months ago. I definitely didn’t want one, but I agreed to it only because it was clear that it was either going to be a separation or divorce. He’s living in an apartment about five miles away. We’re stayed in touch throughout this process. I was hoping we would go to counseling, but we haven’t. All along, my husband has been very private about how he was living his life. When I would ask about his romantic life, he would make it clear that this topic is off limits. Yesterday, one of my friends called me and said that she saw my husband out on a date with someone else. When my friend approached him, he introduced her to this other woman as if it were the most natural thing in the world. What am I supposed to do now? I still want to save my marriage. But how is that going to be possible when there is a new woman in his life? Should I confront him? Should I pretend I have someone else to make him jealous? Should I try to break them up? What is the best way to handle this?”
I know that this can be a very challenging hurdle. But it’s very important that you keep this in perspective and not overreact, which I will discuss below.
Don’t Make His Seeing Someone Else More Than It Is: I know it’s very easy to assume that once your husband begins dating again, you have lost him for good. But honestly, the wife in this situation didn’t yet know how serious the relationship was. She didn’t even know if what the friend witnessed was a romantic date. And even if it was, a date or two certainly doesn’t mean that the husband was going to end up marrying the other woman. Plus, it’s not unusual for husbands to make the attempt to start dating again only to come to the conclusion that no one holds a candle to his wife and that all these attempts at dating are really attempts to replace her – which isn’t even possible.
But if you panic, overreact, suddenly start making all sorts of demands or begin behaving negatively then you actually decrease the odds of him realizing it’s you he wants. So, to the extent that you can, try not to overreact and attempt to keep this in perspective. A couple of dates don’t have to mean anything.
Should You Date In Order To Make Him Jealous? Should You Try To Break Them Up?: The wife in this situation was tempted to try to find out more about the other woman and then come up with a plan meant to break them up. This so rarely works out well. Often, the husband will end up resenting the intrusion and will end up defending her just to spite you. Really, you don’t want to set it up so that you are on opposing sides of your husband.
The decision about dating someone else is one that you yourself will have to make. I was never able to do this because I was still very invested in my husband and in saving my marriage. I felt as if this would have been living a lie. I felt like it would not only fake posturing, but a bad idea as well. That’s not to say that I didn’t sometimes neglect to tell my husband where I was or who I was with so that he would wonder. But I always stopped short of claiming relationships that didn’t exist.
How Are You Supposed To Save Your Marriage When He’s Seeing Someone Else Or Starting To Date Again?: You have to see your marriage and his life outside of you as two separate things. You can’t allow your own fears and insecurities to place a dark cloud over your interactions with your husband.
And even if he does have a life outside of your marriage, there will be times when you will need to interact with him. When this time comes, make sure you remain positive and upbeat. Make sure you are pleasurable to be around. And as tempting as it may be, do not dwell on or demand answers about the other person. It’s very important that you make your interactions about the two of you – not about him and someone else. Give the impression that you are confident that he will eventually come to realize who and what he wants and that someone is going to be you.
I know that you may well doubt this right now, but believe me when I say it’s somewhat rare for the first person a man dates during a separation to end up being “the one.” And quite frankly, if you are able to reconnect with him during the separation and make small improvements that lead up to big ones, there’s every chance that you are still “the one” for him. And if this is so, the natural progression of things is to save your marriage so that in the end, you don’t even need to worry about her.
I had my suspicions that my husband was seeing other people during our separation. He would never admit to this and the thought of him with someone else drove me crazy. But it wasn’t until I placed his focus on him and myself and stopped worrying so much about external factors that things began to change for the better. Because of my shift in focus, we eventually did save our marriage. You can read the whole emotional story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com