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Author Topic: My Story Will he return after 7+ years away?

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My Story Will he return after 7+ years away?
OP: October 15, 2020, 04:21:46 PM
Long time lurker here.  My first post.

Here's the Reader's Digest version of my situation.  Things started to unravel in 2012, but I was pretty oblivious.  He bailed on his job of 24 years and started a new one in 2013 -- one that gives him a lot more attention and recognition.  Affair with his old flame from high school (a mutual friend) began sometime in 2013.  He took off his wedding ring and said he was no longer my husband, but we stayed legally married and I made a few failed attempts to knock some sense into him and get him to end the affair.  I tried to hide it from our friends as long as I could, but I have no tolerance for infidelity, and I granted him the divorce.  It was final in mid 2014.   He broke up with the OW briefly but then they got back together.  He left behind our kids, our grandkids, his beloved dog . . . everything . . . and moved 5 hours away, back to his hometown, to be with the OW.  Somehow my grown kids found enough grace to eventually accept the OW as their stepmom, and he married her in 2016.  There has never been more than one OW.  Husband told me that she was always the love of his life and that he's happy.  Sometimes I've even wondered if this was really MLC or if he really just regretted breaking up with the OW all those years ago and she is the love of his life.  His social media is an endless stream of nostalgic photos from high school.

Now I have my own little cottage, a new puppy, and so much love from my kids and grandkids.  Husband (62) is far away and we don't see him all that much, but we're something approximating friends.  As I read the pages on reconciliation, I find I'm less and less prepared for that to happen.  At first it was my one wish, but my new normal has become really . . . NORMAL.  I've dated a couple other people but I've discovered a real love of my independence. 

What I'm wondering is this:
-Is this even MLC, or just a typical unhappy marriage?
-Has anyone had a husband return after 5+ years of being married to the OW, especially at his age?  Or 10+ years away?
-Has anyone else dealt with the feeling that you don't know if you want things to go back anymore?
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« Last Edit: October 17, 2020, 05:41:01 AM by OldPilot »

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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#1: October 15, 2020, 09:13:11 PM
I'm so glad that you decided to post MTL.  Welcome to the board officially!

From what I've read, many of them do go for an old flame.  I sometimes question my own xH and whether it was MLC, but then I think about all the things that he's said and done that is the exact sort of thing others MLCers have done and I know that he is not whole and healed from whatever it was that internally caused the crisis.

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Link to my journey:

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass - it's about learning to dance in the rain."

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"Sometimes - some things have to break apart so better things can be built."

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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#2: October 16, 2020, 10:44:04 AM

He left behind our kids, our grandkids, his beloved dog . . . everything . . . and moved 5 hours away, back to his hometown, to be with the OW.

This speaks to crisis. His crisis as at the age of 55, he changes a job and promptly has an affair.  He then leaves everything to go back to his past.
His social media is an endless stream of nostalgic photos from high school.

To me, this is more of an indicator of crisis than OW. He wants to return to the past for whatever reason. He looks back at that time as a period that he was safe, comfortable, and understood his world. OW just happened to be a part of that world and helps keep him in his comfort zone.

So crisis erupt because of issues from the past that lie deep and others from a current reality that makes on seek a safe haven of times in the past.

Maybe that explains why I baby talk to my dog, wow an epiphany while posting on someone else's thread.

At first it was my one wish, but my new normal has become really . . . NORMAL. 

Yes, I used to be reconcile or bust and now I am remarried. Wouldn't change anything right now. Many don't reconcile. Too much damage and MLCers don't always clear the tunnel. If you have found your own peace and healed from the trauma of his crisis, you have found success. It seems that you have thrived without him and that is the best that you can do under the circumstances.

-Is this even MLC, or just a typical unhappy marriage?

Sound like MLC, were you both unhappy before? Or was this a sudden shift? If it was years of being at each other's throats, drug dependency, or abuse. Then it's unhappy marriage. If he changed overnight like you describe, it sound like MLC. Especially the abandonment of his children and even his dog. Sound like it was more than just you.

Has anyone had a husband return after 5+ years of being married to the OW, especially at his age?  Or 10+ years away?

I don't know but someone will answer that question for you.

Has anyone else dealt with the feeling that you don't know if you want things to go back anymore?

Yes, I have and I don't want things to go back anymore.

Hope this helps and (((((Hugs)))


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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#3: October 16, 2020, 10:47:50 AM
Welcome to HS.  I wish we all had crystal balls and had a way to answer your question...but we just do not.   I would have swore and bet a million dollars that my husband would NEVER EVER return , because that is what he told me , many times.  Neither could I imagine he would ever be able to face the catastrophy that he created and face all the people that he hurt . I never expected him to return...but he did.  I was dumbfounded ( to say the least) when he admitted his huge mistake and wanted to "fix what he broke". So, I guess my point is , you just can never tell what they will think in the future, how they will feel or what they will do. Certainly I have heard of men returning "years" after they departed ...but I am not sure it is that common. My sister has a friend that re-married her wayward spouse 9 years after he left. Astonishing. The important thing is to find ways to "live as if they will not return" so your life is not on hold for something that may or may not ever happen.  I wish there was magic .
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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#4: October 16, 2020, 01:24:35 PM
Thanks for all the great insights.  I never imagined that he would cheat.  We shared a lot of common interests and we were involved in community organizations together, etc.  No drugs or alcohol problems -- he was routinely drug tested to keep his license for his job, so that definitely would have come out.  He was a pretty upstanding citizen before all this.  I still have a hard time reconciling the fact that he thought it was an okay thing to do.  In a way, it's almost like mourning a death, because that person I was married to doesn't even really seem to exist at this point. 

He is the THIRD (!!!) husband of OW.  I know that statistically speaking, third marriages are basically doomed.  For a while that gave me some hope.  Here's the thing that drives me crazy, though.  He seems so happy, from the bits I can see.  He and OW seem to be beating the odds.  Yet so much here suggests that maybe he is not so happy.  Is he really as happy as he seems?
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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#5: October 16, 2020, 07:28:51 PM
Hi Marian,

  I think we all wonder the same thoughts. My wife's OM has everything we have ever talked about doing in retirement. A ski cabin , sailboat and a big house. She seems happy as can be! Can she really be happy though? I don't know but from all accounts I have to believe what I see. My older kids think everyone is doing good. I seem to be the one made out to be crazy with a need just to get over everything and move on.

  As I am sure everyone on this site knows how hard this is. Trying to understand the illogical way of thinking and being replaced when you thought you had a pretty good marriage.

   To me  my silence is the best go F yourself I can do as we have kids together. It's my way of saying what you did was wrong and NO I haven't forgotten it and we are not friends.

  My only fault was loving her. Even if she was in an unhappy marriage from her vantage point a real caring human being would still have some kind of remorse about the way they hurt someone. Especially the father of her children. No person that can't see that can ever truly be happy, can they ??
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Re: Will he return after 7+ years away?
#6: October 17, 2020, 05:40:39 AM
Welcome to the Board

You are in a good place.
Your H/W  is on his/her own journey.
You can not do anything to control this trip.
Come here and read or vent, we will listen.
Give your H/W space  he/she needs to heal himself/herself.

I would not ask him/her anything unless you can have no expectations.
Sometimes asking them questions will be thought of as pressure.
You do not want to do anything that can be thought of by your H/W as controlling or pressure.

Your need to start working on you.
There is nothing that you can do to help your H/W.

He/She has given you a gift.
It is time!!

Use the time wisely to make yourself a better person.
Look in the mirror to see what it is that you can improve.
Take care of yourself, breathe, eat, sleep, exercise.

Read some books on depression. Both for yourself! And for H/W.
Believe none of what he/she says and 50% of what he/she does.

Read the resources from this site.
The links that are in my signature.

Detach. - The single most important thing you can do

The detach link and HB's 6 stages of MLC(rewritten from Jim Conway) located in the resources above.

Developing Detachment

RCR has asked everyone to keep to one thread until  that thread is 150 posts

Keep posting and asking questions and we will try to answer them.

Knowledge is Power - Sir Francis Bacon
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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#7: October 17, 2020, 06:36:36 AM
If you’re a long term lurker you probably remember me as we have similar timelines and I was very active here for many years, especially the early days.
So you’re wondering if it’s “really a MLC” or something else?
Has anyone had a husband return after 5+ or 10+ years?
Has anyone delt with the feeling of not wanting to go back?

Well, over the years many of us debated with the idea of MLC. Is it real? How do I know if my spouse has it?
My opinion. If they’re gone does it really matter?  If there was an MLC contest, I would be very surprised if my ex didn’t win the trophy. Seriously, he checks every single MLC stereotype. Every. Single.One
Including, I hate to break it to those who are hoping for a return,.. he has not returned and I don’t expect him to return.
I believe someday she will dump him and then he will go on to the next thing to fill the emptiness inside him that he refuses to address. Cowards take the path of least resistance.
Will someone have a story of knowing someone that returned after 10+ years? Sure, there’s always stories that keep us hanging on to hope. Why live our life based on exceptions instead of rules? Especially when those exceptions are something we have zero control over?  The exception is females don’t pursue advanced degrees after the age of 50? Well, hell yeah, believe in an exception when it’s something that is about you, and something you CAN control. But when it’s about a pipe dream of a ghost returning like nothing ever happened or he was taken over from a mysterious fog and now he will treat you like you deserved from the very beginning?  Personally, I would rather place my bets on me.
As for the feelings of not wanting to go back.
Hopefully, at some point that’s were we will all be.
I do remember having mixed feelings about truly letting go. Feelings of thinking that’s what I should do (bc people kept telling me that’s what I should do) and feelings of guilt and fear. I would begin to release and then grab on tight again.
At some point, I can’t even say when bc it was gradual, I just did. It happened naturally over time.
At this point, if he magically showed up at my door, on his knees with tears in his eyes, I would be kind but he’s just not the man for me.
Too much time has passed and I’m no longer that girl who was willing to worship someone while ignoring her own needs.
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« Last Edit: October 17, 2020, 06:38:28 AM by nah »
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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#8: October 17, 2020, 06:53:22 AM
The Gospel truth according to Nah. She tells it like it is....
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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#9: October 17, 2020, 07:04:50 AM
Hi and welcome to HS.

Nobody knows what will happen in the future. Your question is a good one but there is no way that anyone can predict what will happen in the future.

One person's situation is their own unique story. No other person's story is the same on HS or anywhere else.

Something caused them to "break" and sometimes, when they have healed and several other factors are in place, sometimes they find their way home...and I do not think that the length of time has anything to do with it.

The best thing I did was to stop looking for "stories" that would calm me down by telling me that eventually he would come back. That is not my story.

But I believe in hope that one day he will return to our family. Because I have seen it happen in real people that I know, but more importantly because God's in control of this. I trust in God's goodness. I know that divorce is not something God wanted for me and I know that God can change hearts.

My husband would need to be open to that, he would need to be "well" enough to look at himself.

It's been 11 years since BD and 3 years ago I was stuck so I embarked on an intense journey. It took 2 years of therapy before I broke through the effects of the trauma that was caused by destruction of this crisis...really hard work. I don't know if my husband has done any work this way, I doubt it......I think he compartmentalizes anything  to do that involves feelings. He buries himself in his work, that is his focus, that is his life.

Trying to "predict" how long their crisis will last or if they will come home is somewhat like forecasting the weather. I live in Colorado and there is a saying here that "if you don't like the weather wait 5 minutes and it will change". Even with the finest science, they often don't get the weather right so why do we think that we can determine what a human will do?  We understand very little of the brain and MLC is a very complex issue. Especially since they had something happen to them that changed them so much and so suddenly.

For me, the most important thing is acceptance of my life as it is today. I needed a great deal of healing and I still see my therapist at times to help me cope with other issues..because I tend to go back into the fight/flight/freeze that I spent so much time in ......

Each of us will decide if we want this person back in our lives or not..that too is a very personal decision and based upon many many factors. Reality is, that they are not in our lives now, so the question to me is more about how am I going to live a life that is fulfilling and satisfying and peaceful?

I don't focus on his return or not the way I once did. He is a part of my life, but not my whole life and I needed to separate the two in order to heal.

I truly don't think the "length of time" matters....they will come back if at some point they resolve their own issues.

My firm belief is that this is not about me and not about our's his journey and his work and since we do not know what is going through their heads, it's really not possibly to put a time frame on when or if they ever recover.

The Gospel truth according to Nah. She tells it like it is....

Nas tells it from her perspective only as we each of us  do...sorry, I find her "truth" not to be what I have seen and personally I see her post as a very negative outlook which I would not agree with.
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« Last Edit: October 17, 2020, 07:06:59 AM by xyzcf »
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" Hebrews 11:1

"You enrich my life and are a source of joy and consolation to me. But if I lose you, I will not, I must not spend the rest of my life in unhappiness."

" The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it". Flannery O'Connor


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