Here is an email that "Janet" sent to "Annie" in our Midlife Dimensions Email Support Group. In this situation, "Annie's" husband left, came back, and is getting ready to leave again. So, "Janet" starts off with a paragraph she wrote to "Annie", then inserts the letter she found on another website that a husband wrote about him returning to his wife.
I think the email from this man is such an encouragement for all "abandoned wives".
Email from Midlife Dimensions Email Support Group:
My heart goes out to you....I had just read on a website from one of the men, who had an OW, on his thoughts about his wife. Maybe something he wrote will help you. I know I really like hearing from men that are going through this as it helps me understand and gives me a little perspective. To me, what this man wrote validates what I hear Jim Conway and others say too. I think the things you are doing, to focus on God and yourself, do matter. And if they don't matter to your husband, you must know they matter to God. It just may not seem like it to you because you are in the middle of it. My "2 cents" is to make sure he knows you will be ok either way. I think it makes you more attractive in his mind. Read what this guy wrote below, this is a post from a web site and this is from a man who came back to his wife after an affair. A woman wrote a post asking if it's worth all the work she's doing on herself to get her husband back. So this man felt compelled to tell her "yes it is".
Okay, some may disagree with what I am about to write. It may just be worth what you are going through for it... BUT, in my opinion it is not a mistake to let your H know that he looks good. If he is going through anything like what I have gone (am going) through, his self-esteem is really at rock bottom. He is using the other woman (OW), a new bike (I bought a Jeep) and alcohol (for me anyway) to cover the pain he is feeling inside - to run from reality. The OW makes him feel good about himself. You are not wrong to think the OW one-ups you sometimes (in his mind). It is what they (OW) do. It is what we allow them to do and what we need from them. It helps to validate our screwed up behavior and feeling that WE DESERVE TO BE HAPPY. The OW makes us happy, so there. Nice and tidy package all for me and about me.
Some disagreed with my wife and her actions while I was with the OW, but I lived it and am now back with her with no plans to ever leave her side again. My wife felt like she was in direct competition with the OW while I was at the height of my desperation. I could not see it then, but truth is, she was. The OW temporarily filled some voids that had been in our marriage for a very long time. Looking back, my wife said she always thought the things about me that the OW verbalized. She said she felt silly saying them (complimenting me or the way I looked). While we were separated, my wife complimented me for the first time in our marriage (on how I looked, how sexy I was, etc.) and verbalized respect for how I was treating the children, to show me she had not given up and was still interested in "us". She did a lot of reading about how to meet my emotional needs (while hers were being trampled) and started employing what she had learned. She did not sit back on her fanny and watch and wait to see if I would have an epiphany all by myself while the OW was stroking my ego.
That is not to say you should swoon over his every move and follow your husband like a love-sick puppy. My wife did just the opposite. She started going out with friends when I had the children. She left an air of mystery about where she was or what she was doing. She always looked WHABAM! whenever she picked the kids up or dropped them off. She started living her life like I was never coming back. She packed up what I had left in our closet and put it downstairs in boxes. She cleaned the front coat closet out and put my stuff downstairs. She did not react to my vacillations and wild mood swings. If I was combative, she would simply say "I'm sorry you feel that way" and would move on. When I would push "Divorce talk", she would let me know that while she did not want to take me to the cleaners, she was going to do what was necessary to protect herself and the children (i.e., take me to the cleaners as much as the law would allow). She did not engage the alien unless the alien was playing nice with others.
The most attractive thing to me about my wife during the time of our separation was watching her grow, apart from me, while still being loving toward me. It was eye-opening when she could compliment me without any expectations and walk away (go home) without a need for anything in return from me. She became more confident in who she was as a person and started enjoying life again. She started liking herself for the first time in a long time. Her sense of worth came from within rather than being defined by who she was with (me). That growth as a person was awe-inspiring to witness. God truly touched her heart when she let Him in.
You can do the same. Even if your husband never returns, you will be a better woman because of it. You do not need him to be happy. Only you can make you happy. It really is that simple. Hard to grasp, but there it is. He will see the change even if he never lets you know. My wife calls it "loving detachment". She maintained a connection with me because she felt it was the right thing to do in our situation. She was also able to keep hope alive without any expectations about what anything meant if I was acting nice back to her. It was a fine line and not every couple is the same, but it worked for us.
TO QUOTE YOU:
"I want to be happy again. I want someone in my life to share my days with. I want someone to love me. But yet I want that man to be H. And there is nothing I can do to make that happen..."
Do you really believe this? It is important you understand the clarity with which you just wrote this. Understanding there is nothing you can do to make it happen FOR HIM is critical. This is now all about you as an individual person/child of God. You are in control of you, your thoughts (okay, sometimes), your reaction to those thoughts and your reaction to his behavior (all of the time). Are you going to screw up? Yep. You are human. Pick up and go on. Keep your head up. It is obvious you are a strong and well-centered woman. Count the blessings around you and start looking for yourself within you, rather than as a half of a marriage that may never unite again.
My prayers are with you.