My Friends Say My Husband Left Me After His Affair Because He Is Ashamed. Are They Right?

By: Katie Lersch:  It’s extremely hurtful and frustrating when you learn of your husband’s affair.  This is compounded when your husband leaves because of this.  Because even if you aren’t sure if you still want him at home, it still stings because it feels like a rejection.  And he is not always forthcoming about why he left and what his motivations might have been.  So you are left speculating.

Sometimes, a theory will surface which encourages you to think that he was ashamed and embarrassed over his actions.  Because of this, he could not face you and felt that it would be easier for every one involved if he would just leave.  Here’s an example.  A wife might say: “about six weeks ago, I discovered that my husband has been cheating on me with our neighborhood tramp.  Honestly, we all laugh at this woman behind her back.  She is a middle aged woman who will wash the car or mow the lawn in a bikini.  She is so obviously attention seeking and is sex obsessed.  She has had multiple affairs over the years.  It’s a neighborhood joke that you need to keep your husband on a leash when she’s outside.  My husband and I have both joked about her inappropriate behavior.  Well, I guess the joke is on me because my husband has obviously been sneaking around with her.  And the reason I know is that some neighbors of ours saw them out together.  Our neighbors gossip, so soon every one is going to know.  And our family is going to be a laughing stock.  If this is not bad enough, last weekend my husband packed his bags and left.  He’s been very good about calling and checking on the kids.  But he will not discuss why he left except to say that the affair is over and he doesn’t want to hurt us anymore.  He says he hopes that in time we will reconcile. But for now he feels it best not to live with me.  Some of my friends who live in the neighborhood say that his leaving is very cowardly.  And they believe that he left because he was so embarrassed and ashamed to be the neighborhood joke. So he left me to clean up the mess.  I do get why he would be embarrassed.  But I’m worried that this is not the only reason he left.  I worry that he doesn’t want me and this is an easy for way for him to leave.  I know that he isn’t seeing the other woman anymore because her car is always at her house and he is never there.  So it’s not as if I think the affair is continuing. But I’m hurt that he would just leave me here.  Could my friends potentially be right?  Could he be leaving because of embarrassment?  Or is it something else?”

I think that embarrassment and shame is definitely a possibility.  It’s very common in all affairs, but it seems to be especially possible in this case.  Your husband himself has laughed about the poor slobs who succumbed to the desperate neighbor and now he knows that people are going to laugh at him – just as he has laughed at others.  I doubt that he is very proud of that.

And I suspect that he feels very guilty in the knowledge that people are going to talk about his family because of something that he did.  So he might think that his leaving will allow the smoke to clear. He may figure if he is not present, it will give the gossips less to talk about.

Of course, your friends could be right and this may be part cowardice on his part. He could find it very difficult to look you in the eye and face you.  He knows that what he did was extremely destructive to your family and he knows that you deserve better.  So it is just less painful for him to remove himself from the situation.

You have to ask yourself what you really want.  Do you want him there because you feel that he needs to face this?  Do you want him there because you want a chance to save your marriage?  Or do you just want reassurance that he left because of himself and not because of you?

It’s always possible to try to directly ask him for more clarification.  The next time you speak, you might ask him when or if he intends to come home.  If he doesn’t give you a direct answer, you might say, “well it might help by starting with why you’re not here in the first place?  Do you not want to be here?  Were you motivation by your thoughts of yourself or thoughts of me when you left? Because quite frankly, I’m not sure how it benefits me to have you just run away when things get ugly.  Because now I am the one left here to handle the fall out.  You get to escape while I’m left standing to deal with it all.”

Listen and see what he has to say in response.  You may get an honest answer about his motivations.  Or he may have been waiting for you to indicate that you wanted him home all along.  It helps to be clear on what you want.  Because you want to make sure that you really want him home when you have this conversation.

The point is, once you have the conversation, the topic of him coming home might surface.  So you want to be clear about your wishes beforehand.

I understand how difficult this is.  It’s normal and easy to over analyze everything that he says and does.  But always remember that what you feel, what you want, and what motivates you is equally as important.  You can read more about how I coped with a situation very similar to this one on my blog at

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