My Spouse Says That The Affair Is Now Over. But He Is Still Leaving Me. Why?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear wives who are confused as to why their husband is still leaving. Because the reason that he’s been giving for leaving is because he wants to be with the woman with whom he was having an affair. But, after he announces that the affair is over, the wife might assume that he is going to stay. And, when he doesn’t, there can be a lot of confusion.

I might from a wife who says: “when my husband first told me that he was leaving me, I had no idea that he was having an affair. Doesn’t that sound crazy? But he was acting normally at home so I really didn’t have any reason to suspect that anything was wrong. Then one night, not only did he announce that he had been having an affair, he also told me that he was leaving me for her. I was devastated and I begged him to stay for the sake of my children. He agreed to stay for just a little while. The whole time that he was here, I told him that we would never be able to settle anything while the relationship with the other woman was still in tact. My husband told me that he cared deeply for the other woman and indicated that he didn’t think that he was prepared to end it. That’s why I was so stunned when a couple of days later he told me that the affair relationship was over. I was very relieved. I was still furious with my husband, but I figured that at least we might stand a chance to see what would happen if we tried to save our marriage. Then my husband stunned me again with the announcement that he was still leaving. I immediately asked him why he was going to leave when the affair wasn’t even active anymore. He would only just vaguely say that he felt that he needed to be on his own for a while. I don’t understand this. Why would he leave anyway when the affair is over?”

I really felt for this wife. It’s bad enough to learn of the affair. It’s even worse when your husband insists on leaving even though the affair is supposedly over. There are several reasons that he may have set this situation in motion. I will outline some of those possible reasons below.

The Affair My Not Really Be Over: I am just going to get this one out of the way so that I can move on. But, it wouldn’t be unheard of for the husband to claim that the affair is over when this isn’t entirely true. It also wouldn’t be heard of him for him to leave in order to go and be with the other woman. But, he may know that this is going to be very hurtful for you so he will pretend that the relationship is over. I am not saying that this is the case in the above situation. I am just bringing it up because it does happen sometimes.

He May Really Need Some Time To Sort Out His Feelings: A lot has happened for the couple over the last couple of days. This is a lot to process. It’s not unusual for both people to be overwhelmed. And it’s also very common for the cheating spouse to feel extremely embarrassed and ashamed. So it may actually be painful for him to be around you. His feelings may be overwhelming him. And he may feel that he may be more comfortable staying away for just a little while. This doesn’t mean that he won’t ever come back. And frankly, sometimes a pause in the action is actually a healing thing.

He May Be Trying To See How You Are Going To React: I feel obligated to tell you that sometimes, a husband will leave in order to put himself in a better position. He’s trying to make you see what life might be like without him so that you won’t be too hard on him when he comes back. He’s hoping that you beg him to come home and are willing to put the affair aside in order to make that happen. I’d caution you to be careful here. Because if you don’t do any work toward healing, then the fall out from the affair is going to continue to come up, whether you want it to or not. You can’t expect for things to just work out seamlessly if you don’t do the work in order to understand what went wrong and then figuring out how to fix it.

He May Want To Give You The Time That He Thinks That You Need: Remember when I said above that the cheating spouse is often embarrassed and ashamed? Well, sometimes he also feels unworthy as well. He may feel as if he doesn’t deserve you or the kids. So he feels that it might be best to give you some time in order to see what you truly want. Sometimes, it’s very difficult for him to look at your hurt face and realize that he is the one who caused this.

Where To Go From Here: I know that this wife wanted her husband back. But sometimes, a short pause can actually help. And if you immediately start begging him to come back, he’s won if he is indeed posturing. I think that the better call is to make it clear that his leaving wasn’t your decision, but to stress that you are doing the best that you can. At that point, it will be clear that what happens next is up to him. And frankly, his next actions are likely to tell you how he really feels. In the meantime, make yourself a priority and take good care of yourself. Because right now, he is likely watching you very closely and may just follow your lead.

When my husband had an affair, I didn’t necessarily want to take time for myself.  But some caring friends insisted on extreme self care and it actually helped me to get more clarity.  I wasn’t able to process things when my husband was right in front of me and when I was feeling so angry. If it helps, you can read more about my healing process on my blog at

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