My Spouse Says He Will Only Come Home After His Affair If I Agree Not To Talk About It

By: Katie Lersch: Sometimes when your husband leaves the home after the discovery of an affair, it is difficult to determine if you want him to come home or not, especially in the beginning. But after a while, it sometimes becomes clear that nothing is really going to get resolved until he does come home. That’s why it’s extremely frustrating when he tries to put conditions or restrictions on any return home.

I might hear a wife say: “when I found out about my husband having an affair, I kicked him out of the house. I threw his clothing on the yard. I know that is a cliche. But I did not want him in my house. He told me that I needed to think very carefully about throwing him out because he may not be willing to come back. I didn’t need to think about it. I wanted him out. For several weeks, I would not take his calls. I didn’t want to talk to him at all. After a couple of months, I did talk to him because of our children. We started talking on the phone regularly. The conversations began to flow pretty well. After a while, there started to be talk of him coming back home. I was very clear on the fact that I could not offer him any guarantees. But he still seemed willing to come home. Well, yesterday we were talking about him coming home and he announced that he had some reservations. He said that I said some awful things to him the last time he was home and that he doesn’t want to go through this again. So, he’s saying that he will only come home if I don’t ‘harp on the affair.’ In essence, he’s saying that he doesn’t want me to talk about it. That is ridiculous. How are we ever going to make our marriage work if we can’t talk about it? I basically told him that I would not make that deal. His reply was that he won’t come home then. How in the world am I supposed to handle this? I want him to come home. But I don’t feel that it is fair that he attempt to dictate what I can or can not talk about. And I feel that he is limiting the very thing that we need to talk about the most.”

I whole heartedly agree. It’s actually quite common for a man caught cheating to try to control the conversations about his cheating. He’s embarrassed. He feels exposed. And every time you want to talk about it, he feels as if he’s being criticized and examined all over again. Considering this, it’s almost possible to understand why he would attempt to limit the conversation.

But, the wife is right in that it is going to be very difficult to heal the marriage if you can’t have this conversation. As I see it, you have three options here. You can try to convince him that his suggestion just isn’t going to work and then try to get him agree to a more workable plan. You can offer a compromise. Or you can tell him that the deal is off because there is no way that you would consider taking the conversation off of the table.

If you want to try to convince him that he’s wrong, you might try a conversation like: “look, I’m going to be up front with you because I want for us to be honest with one another. Not talking about the affair is just not going to work for me. And I wouldn’t think it would work for you either. By not talking it, then we’re just agreeing that we are going to have an elephant in the room for the rest of our marriage. Sure, you avoid the discomfort of talking about it, but you take on the discomfort of knowing that our marriage will never be fixed. I don’t plan to berate or insult you when we talk. But I do need some answers. I do need some information. If that is not acceptable to you, then we can talk about limiting our conversations at home but having regular conversations about the affair in counseling. That way, our home is a safe haven but we are still regularly having the conversations that we absolutely need to have.”

Notice that I put the possibility of a compromise into the conversation. I think this is important because it shows that healing is more important to you than being able to criticize your husband. Because I believe that this is probably his biggest reservation – the fear that once he comes home, you are going to feel free to belittle him, embarrass him, and constantly criticize him. I think that once he sees that this isn’t going to happen, he may be more open to the idea of coming home without the limitations. Because make no mistake about it, it’s going to be nearly impossible to move past the affair if you can not talk about it.

To be honest, when my husband’s affair was fresh, I didn’t particularly want to talk about it at first.  It was too painful.  But I knew that it was something that had to be done.  And I don’t for a second believe that we could have saved our marriage if we weren’t able to talk openly. If it helps, you can read about my own recovery on my blog at

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