Much of the time, the people that I dialog with are one part of a married couple who are dealing with infidelity. Occasionally, though, someone who is actively having an affair (or trying to keep one from ending) will reach out because they need help figuring out someone’s motivations or thought process. For example, perhaps a husband is trying to break off an affair and the other woman doesn’t buy or understand his reasoning for this.
She might explain a situation like: “I had an affair with a man who I adored for over seven months. I know that this is a cliche, but I really did believe that he was going to leave his wife for me. I truly did believe that he loved me. He seemed very into our relationship and was full speed ahead until his wife unexpectedly found out about us. After that, everything crumbled. I guess his wife didn’t take it very well and somehow his older child found out and became very upset. For a while, he tried to reconcile with his wife and told me to stay away. I don’t know how it went between them because he wouldn’t take my calls. But I can only assume that it didn’t go as expected because last week, he called me again. I got all excited. We went out to dinner and I thought that it was going well. I thought that we would end up going back to my place and that one thing would lead to another. But when I suggested that, he told me that he’s decided that he needs to take a break from relationships for a while. I literally laughed at that because he never turned down anything physical from me. He said that he was going to take sex out of the equation with all women for a while. This just isn’t like him, so I figured he must be doing well with his wife and is sexually happy in the marriage. But if that is the case, why have dinner with me? Since then, he stopped taking my calls again and one of my friends said that she saw him with his family. I almost wish that he had never called me. I don’t get the purpose of it. Why would a man even want to be celibate? Is he lying to me?”
I have no idea if he is lying. It seems quite clear that he may be struggling somewhat with how move on with his life. But, in light of the fact that he didn’t have any physical relationship with you once he ended the affair, it DOES seem as if he is indeed trying to move forward regardless. This may or may not include trying to save his marriage. And frankly, that is his business. Every one can understand a parent wanting to maintain their family after their child becomes understandably upset. We have no way of knowing what the wife wants, but again, that is no one’s business but hers or the family’s.
The truth is, married men will say or claim all sorts of things in order to end an affair in the cleanest, least painful way as is possible. I have no idea if he is celibate or not, but he seemed to use it partly as justification for breaking things off and insinuating himself from a physical or sexual relationship, which tells you that he’s being truthful about the relationship being over and about him turning his attention to his family. I know that it’s painful, but I don’t think that you can fault him for wanting this.
Don’t you deserve a relationship where the other person can have a complete relationship with you, that doesn’t need to be hidden or based on guilt? Don’t you want a relationship where the man is free and happy to have a physical relationship and isn’t claiming to be celibate?
This man may well feel the need to take a break from romantic relationships or even from sex, but that is just one more sign that everyone might consider moving on. There seems to be very little pay off here and all kinds of pain. I am admittedly biased, but it seems to me that the obvious and best thing to do would be to wish him well, but let him go. Do whatever healing that needs to be done for yourself and for your own life. Give yourself time to focus on your own healing and what you want, need and deserve. And the next time, find a man who is free to be completely yours – emotionally, legally, and physically. Everyone deserves a complete relationship – not one that must be hidden or based on deceit, doublespeak, and pain.