Q&A with Geoff: How Do We Deal with My Husband’s Former Affair Partner?Dec 06, 2023
My husband had an affair with an old girlfriend over 30 years ago. We have done a lot of work together over the past 30 years to help with understanding and healing. We continue to work on our marriage with the understanding that it is a lifelong journey. His greatest regret in life is the affair and it is the one thing he would go back and change if he could. I love this man!
The woman my husband had an affair with over 30 years ago is trying to get in touch with him again. She called and left a message on his phone. He told me about it, we discussed it together and decided that a response of total silence was the best way to handle it. She is narcissistic and any response, no matter what it is, will be seen as a victory on her part because she can still push his buttons and get him to respond to her. He wants absolutely no contact with her in any way.
That phone call/message was a really good learning experience for us and gave us the chance to evaluate our relationship progress. It helped me to understand that I trusted him again and felt safe with him once again. Something I didn't realize had been restored until I really considered it. The whole experience brought us closer together.
She lives in the same town so we see her occasionally, which can't be avoided. She needs to understand that he is not available to talk and does not want any contact with her. My question is, is there a way to get her to stop? Was silence the best response to the attempted contact? We just want her to stay out of our lives and leave us alone, forever!
It's heartening to hear how you and your husband have worked tirelessly over three decades to heal and strengthen your bond, especially in the aftermath of an affair. This commitment is a testament to the power of hard work, forgiveness, and resilience.
The unwelcome re-emergence of your husband's past affair partner is understandably unsettling. However, your unified response to this intrusion is going to be a critical factor in how you get through this. By choosing not to engage, you've taken a powerful stance. Silence, especially in this context, is not just a lack of response; it's a loud and clear statement of the sanctity of your marriage you’ve worked hard to repair.
In situations like these, it's crucial to maintain a united front. Your husband's transparency about the unwanted and unexpected contact from her along with your joint decision to ignore it are indicative of the trust and you’ve created with each other. Even though this surprise is an unwelcome moment in your lives, it’s also a test of the growth and security of your marriage. Your marriage seems to be holding up nicely in the face of this annoying threat.
However, I recognize that the ongoing presence of this woman in your town complicates matters. This is a time to maintain your stance. Any form of engagement, even if intended to deter further contact, could potentially fuel her motivations. It's essential to continue showing through your actions that there is no room for her in your lives. Any form of attention you give an unwanted situation is still attention. Your best option is to let your silence speak for you.
Of course, it’s tempting to want to change someone’s mind. It’s hard to not explain, lecture, threaten, and defend. However, she’s only a threat to your marriage if either of you let her in. Your energy and attention are precious and are better invested in relationships and projects that are meaningful. You don’t have to hate her or speak poorly about her to others. Instead, send your silent signal that there’s nothing to discuss.
Though unlikely, if she escalates her attempts to contact or harass, consider legal avenues such as a restraining order. Such measures should be a last resort, but they are available if your peace and safety are at risk.
Above all, continue to nurture your relationship. Celebrate the trust you've rebuilt and the progress you've made. Challenges like these, while difficult, can serve as reminders of the strength and depth of your bond.
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