'She ran off with our friend but now she wants me back'

Dear Coleen

A few months ago, my wife of four years had an affair with a mutual friend. We were all part of the same friendship group and it absolutely killed me at the time.

I had no idea something was going on until she slipped up one day and mentioned she’d seen this guy and it all came spilling out. I was totally blind-sided.

She ended up leaving our flat and moving in with him and I cut ties with both of them – it felt like a huge betrayal and I felt like a complete idiot.

I loved her and still miss her, but I was too angry at the time to even talk to her about what happened or why it happened.

Their relationship didn’t last, which didn’t surprise me as the guy is a professional bachelor.

Now my wife is living with her sister and over the past couple of weeks has been in touch, saying she’s sorry and asking to give the marriage another go.

I have missed her, but I’ve been doing OK and slowly rebuilding my life and my confidence since this all happened. I don’t know if she means what she says or if she’s just lonely in lockdown and feels sorry for herself. Is it even possible to make a fresh start after such a betrayal? I don’t know if I can forgive her.

Coleen says

Ouch! I feel for you – the double blow of an affair involving someone you thought was a friend. I think the red flag for me is that at the time she chose to go off and try having a relationship with this guy.

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She didn’t dump him and ask for a second chance at the time. Now that relationship has failed, she’s back in touch, asking you to put your faith in her and put your heart on the line. It’s a big ask.

Maybe lockdown has given her the opportunity to reflect and perhaps she is genuinely remorseful. But we’re all in a bubble right now and it can be hard to judge which feelings are real and which are in response to the situation.

I’d put the breaks on and I wouldn’t even contemplate re-opening discussions until we’re out of the lockdown. I also think couples counselling would be a good idea. Even if it didn’t lead to you getting back together, it would help you work through and understand what happened, and give you some closure on your marriage.

It sounds like you’ve done brilliantly to get yourself back on track – you survived it, so keep that in mind going forward – and don’t get dragged back into the marriage if your instincts are telling you not to go back. Good luck.


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