I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. But sometimes, it’s got to be said, some people never change. Or should I say some people change and never go back to how they were before? Or rather some people deep down are someone else and eventually that someone else rises to the surface?
A friend of mine is going through a very difficult time right now. Her Frenchman cheated on her for over a year, and when she finally found out, he walked out. Not just on her but also on their 2 kids and their marriage of 15 years. He didn’t show remorse regarding how he’d behaved, nor did he offer to end the affair he was currently having. He simply said he needed his space and didn’t want to talk things over any more than that.
They’ve now been separated for a good few months. Not officially or anything. After he walked out, he just never came back. Well, what do you know, his affair has ended and he wants to come home again. As if nothing has happened of course. He still doesn’t want to discuss what happened or go to counselling. In fact, he doesn’t really think he did anything wrong. In his words, he was taking a “break.”
Now, if my friend does take her Frenchman back, it’s clear that it will be on his terms:
- He will go out when he wants
- He will go on vacation with who he wants
- He won’t have to justify his behaviour
- He may go on another “break” at some point
- He will play happy families when it suits him
This is not exactly an attractive offer, is it? Yet it is to the woman who is waiting for her husband to come back home. Her husband how he was 5 years ago. Only he’s no longer that man. And no amount of wishing will turn him back into that man again.
So what should she do? Take him back and accept that this new man in front of her is her husband? Or kick him to the curb?
When kids are involved and there’s a whole lot of history to look back on, it’s not an easy choice. In fact, it can be an impossible choice. Ending things vs. hoping to mend what’s broken. Moving on vs. staying in the past. It’s a heart-breaking emotional rollercoaster for her. For him, by contrast, coming home would be like coming home as if he’d just left for work that morning.
What would you do?