My husband forgave my affair, but I still want to move on

Is ending the marriage the right thing to do? Our advice columnist Claudia Dey helps sort it out.

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Photo, RetroAtelier/iStock.


Dear Claudia,

My father passed away a year ago. At the end of his illness, I reconnected with an old friend of the family — and fell in love with him. The problem is that I am a mother of three and married to a deeply good man. When I told my husband about my affair, he immediately set about forgiving me and moving forward. But I don’t want to move forward. I want to move in with my new boyfriend. What do I do?

Dear Conflicted,

Grief is a force, and in its velocity, it can break apart your world. When someone you love can be taken from you in an instant, it’s hard to stay in your job, your home, your marriage. Everything becomes tenuous and impermanent.

Give yourself more time. You are married to a “deeply good man,” so good he is able to override his hurt and humiliation to forgive you and keep your family of five together. That’s Hall-of-Fame admirable and says a lot about his character.

Don’t do anything sudden. You have pictured your departure countless times: how you would explain it to your children, what you would pack. Keep picturing it, but don’t do it. When life is unbearable, our instinct can be to flee, but in your case, there is far too much at stake. Stay in your life as it is, and as you are. Be sad and be in love, and over the next year or two, as the sadness starts to fade and become something else — wisdom, empathy, gratitude — see if the love for this other man remains. If it does, write me back — though, somehow, I doubt I will be hearing from you.


Claudia Dey is a novelist, columnist and Governor General’s Award–nominated playwright. She is the author of How to Be a Bush Pilot: A Field Guide to Getting Luckier.

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