'My cheating wife ended our marriage – but now she's turning on the charm'

Dear Coleen

I’m a man in my 40s and I was married for 15 years until nine months ago when my wife said she wanted out and I left the family home. We have two children aged 10 and 13.

Things had been bad for a while – she was distant, bad tempered and then I found out she’d been having an affair. While I was willing to try to work on things, not least because of our kids, she was clear that the marriage was over.

It’s been a tough few months, but I’ve focused on work and I have the kids 50% of the time, which is great. My ex is still seeing this other man, but things don’t sound good. My kids say they’re always arguing and falling out.

I’ve only realised since leaving what I put up with during our time together. I was always trying to keep her happy, trying to anticipate her moods and avoid meltdowns, and she was angry so much of the time.

I’m not seeing anyone, but I’m happier now things have fallen into some kind of routine. What’s thrown a spanner into the works is that last week when she dropped off the kids she was very nice – sweet, interested in what I was doing and even told me I was looking well and “handsome”.

She asked if I wanted to come over and have dinner with her when I was dropping the kids back, but I’m suspicious about what she’s up to. Is she just being nice because her relationship is in trouble? It’s confusing because I do still love her.

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Coleen says

Be very careful not to get drawn back into something you might regret later down the line. It’s great you’ve been able to move on, despite being so hurt, and I wonder why you’d consider going back to her when she’s still with someone else – even if things are rocky – and why you think your relationship would be different if you did go back. 

She doesn’t sound in a particularly good place and if she is interested in trying again with you, it’s probably because things aren’t going as planned and you represent the safe, steady option.

Because you haven’t had the chance to really work through the issues in your marriage and she hasn’t dealt with what’s behind her unhappiness and her anger, I don’t see how things would be different.

If you did go back, I’d suggest ­relationship therapy to dig into these issues before you commit.

You have to think about the kids, too – what if you did go back and got back into the same cycle, and she threw you out again? That would be heartbreaking and confusing for them.

So, keep a sensible head and think about how far you’ve come and what you want. And, if you do try again, make sure you set clear boundaries and get her to commit to therapy.


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