I often hear from wives whose husbands are begging to come home after infidelity. Typically, the wife has learned that the husband cheated or had an affair and promptly kicked him out of the house. Many of these husbands don’t like this arrangement and begin calling or coming by in the hopes of convincing the wife to allow him to come home to make it up to her or to save the marriage.
I heard from a wife who said: “I caught my husband having an affair seven weeks ago. He was cheating with someone at work and I immediately put his clothes on the porch and locked him out of the house. He has been living at a hotel. We talk sometimes, but I’m still not sure what I want to do. Some days, I feel like I should separate or file for divorce. And on some days, I actually miss him and think about allowing him the chance to see or spend time with me. The other day, I picked up the phone and he proceeded to beg me to allow him to come home and ‘fix it.’ I asked him what he meant by that and he said that he’s sure that if I just allowed him to come home, I would see how sorry and sincere he truly is. He says that if I give him the chance, he knows that he could fix our marriage and make me happy again. I told him I wasn’t sure that there was any way to “fix” a marriage that he chose to break with his cheating, especially since his actions were not accidental but deliberate. He still continued to go on and on about how I should let him come home. I don’t know what to do. Should I allow him back into my life?” I didn’t have an easy answer for this wife. Only she could decide if she was ready for him to come home. This was not a decision that I could make. But I could offer her some insights, which I’ll share with you.
He Doesn’t Need To Live Under Your Roof To Begin To Fix Your Marriage: You don’t need to live under the same roof in order to begin healing or repairing your marriage after infidelity. Yes, it is often a little easier when you have access to your spouse, but it’s not absolutely necessary. Of course, desperate husbands will try to make you think it’s necessary because they want to come home. Maybe he truly is sorry and even has a workable plan, but he can carry this out whether he is at living at home or not. Plenty of people go to counseling, work through their issues, or repair their marriage when they are living apart. Frankly, sometimes things are so volatile that this distance can actually improve things because it cuts down on the immediacy, the drama, and it encourages the couple to miss one another.
What If You Want Him To Come Home?: This is an entirely different story. If you miss him and want him to come home, this is also valid. But don’t believe that you have to let him come home in order to save your marriage. And be careful to make it very clear that your allowing him to come home doesn’t mean that all is forgiven or that he’s excused from “fixing it” or doing his part in helping you heal. His coming home doesn’t mean that you won’t still need to work thorough any issues that preceded the affair, came after it, or were the direct result of it.
What Does A Husband Mean When He Says He Wants To “Fix It?” That really depends on the husband. Some men truly do intend to come home and show you that he is now going to be the best husband that you could possibly want. He may intend to come home and show you what an attentive, affectionate, and faithful man he can be. Or, he may intend to do these things, but he may actually come home and fall back into old habits. And, unfortunately some men use the “coming home to fix it” excuse as a way to get back into your good graces again without really being all that sure about making any real changes or doing any real healing.
That’s why I often advocate not rushing into anything if you have doubts. And it was clear to me that although the wife missed her husband, she was definitely having some doubts. So I suggested that she might respond with something like: “I know you want to come home and there are some days when I want that too. But I’m just not comfortable taking that step until we’re done a lot more work on our marriage. I need to see a little more progress because, when you do come home, I want it to last. I don’t want to make a hasty decision and then later regret it because we didn’t lay the groundwork that we needed to heal and to save our marriage. Why don’t we keep making progress and see what happens? I appreciate that you want to fix it, but you can fix it without needing to move back home immediately. Let’s not rush into anything and if things go well between us, then we’ll talk about this again soon.”
Notice that I was careful to make it clear that the wife was open to him coming back in the future as long as he showed her his willingness to fix it no matter what circumstances he was dealing with. This is an important distinction because you want him to keep up with the sincerity and trying to improve things while you continue to move slowly until you are sure that it’s time to allow him to come home.