My Husband Ended His Affair And Came Home But Won’t Unpack His Things Or Come Anywhere Near Me

By: Katie Lersch: When you are hoping that your husband ends his affair and comes home, it can initially feel like a victory when both of things happen. After all, this is what you have been waiting for. Many wives figure that if they can just get their husband to come to his senses, end the affair, and come back to where he belongs, then everything else should eventually fall into place.

Unfortunately, this is not always the way that it happens. Sometimes, he DOES end the affair. He DOES come home. But the reunion is not necessarily a happy one. He comes home and he seems reluctant to fully participate in the family or with the marriage. He comes home and not only is he not enthusiastic, but he does not seem to want to be there. Some husbands go so far as to reluctantly unpack just a few things or to not unpack at all.

A wife might explain: “It’s been about four months since I first learned about my husband’s affair. I am actually the one who kicked him out. But when I did, I did not assume that he would go and be with the other woman. I guess I should have. Because frankly, he does not have anywhere else to go. But I was shocked and very upset when he did just that. In fact, knowing that he was living with her and that the affair was still going on drove me a little crazy. I was furious with my husband and questioned whether I even wanted to be married to him anymore. But I was insanely jealous. And I guess that is when I realized that I didn’t want to just give him up. So when he approached me about one day seeing where our marriage might lead, I was open to him. I told him that I couldn’t and wouldn’t make him any promises, but he could eventually come home and we could see where it would lead. We saw each other several times before he ultimately came home. Things seemed to be going well between us, so I was pretty hopeful. But things were dramatically different than I expected. My husband has not even unpacked his clothing and he has been here for a week. It’s as if he isn’t confident enough to know that he is going to stay. And while we have talked and had some awkward conversations, he hasn’t even tried to touch me. This doesn’t make me feel very wanted. Sometimes I wonder if it was the other woman’s choice, and not his, to end things and I am just getting a man who is disappointed, unhappy, and without other options. And I’m starting to feel like our marriage is over – if he won’t even unpack or even touch me. Why else would be doing this?”

I’ll give you some suggestions as to why you might be seeing this behavior which, believe it or not, isn’t all that uncommon.

He Doesn’t Feel Quite Worthy Of Being Home: This is a very common reason that husbands who return home will tread lightly and will not fully participate in the household or with family life. He doesn’t feel worthy. And he may be afraid that you don’t actually want him there. So he’s sort of tiptoeing around and walking on eggshells. This will typically get better with time as you both become more comfortable with the idea that no one is leaving and that you are both committed to making it work.

He Is Worried That It’s Not Going To Work: This is similar to the above reason, but it’s a little different. Because he may actually believe that you both want it to work. But he has doubts that it can. He may be fully aware that his betrayal was huge and that the hurt was deep. So while he may really want for this to all go away, he may well know that this just isn’t realistic. And the pessimistic voice in his head is saying something like: “you don’t even deserve to unpack your bags. You’re lucky she’s letting you move back in, but it won’t last. She’s going to kick you out as soon as she comes to her senses. Save yourself some time and some aggravation and don’t even get comfortable.”

He May Be Hoping That You Try To Accommodate Him So That He Feels More Comfortable: The last thing that I am going to mention is that a guilty husband will often hang back in the hopes that you notice his behavior and try to be accommodating or loving to him in order to bring him around. He may hope that you go out of your way to reassure him that you really want him back home, are glad that he’s home, etc. This is really just human nature. Every one wants reassurance. Every one wants to feel as if they are not the only one who cares. And there’s nothing wrong with offering him reassurance if you are comfortable with this. But sometimes you have to be careful that you aren’t letting him turn the tables so that you are the one in the position that he should be in.

Honestly, this can all be very temporary. It’s understandable for both parties to have some trepidation. Every one can be afraid of rejection or failure. It’s normal. Counseling can help, as can just being honest and putting your feelings and concerns out there. You might try: “I understand why you might be unsure of whether to unpack or to show me physical affection. I understand being afraid of rejection in this situation. But I wouldn’t have asked you to come home if I didn’t really want you to be here. I can’t make you any promises, but I am certainly open.”

This might be enough to allow him to drop his guard a little, but most people will want to watch and wait in order to fully drop their guard and open their heart. It’s not necessarily a lack of trust. It is more a matter of self preservation.

It took a while before my husband and I were comfortable initiating physical contact or affection with each other.  We didn’t push it.  We didn’t force it.  We agreed to allow things to happen naturally and not to second guess or doubt when it didn’t happen.  In a sense, you are hoping and having faith while you are waiting.  You can read more about my journey toward recovery on my blog at

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