The problem…

My husband left me for another woman but I still love him

My husband left me for another woman but I still love him

"After 24 years of marriage, my husband walked out on me for a so-called 'friend' of the family. That was 18 months ago and, because we had our own business together, it meant I also lost my job and my entire social life.

"My mother, who I was very close to, had died a couple of months before, and I thought originally that he'd left me because I was distanced from him while I was grieving. I found out later that the affair had been going on for nearly 15 years.

"Anyway, since he left me, he's not had much luck. He carried on running our business, which failed – partly because I was the front-facing part of it and he's not very good with people. He's also been very ill, and chances are he won't now be able to work again anyway.

"Since I've been in isolation, I've thought about him a lot and realise I don't want to divorce him. If that's what he wants then he's going to have to do it, as, truth be told, I really want him back and want to try again at our marriage.

"My kids haven't had much to do with him since he left, but they've both said they love him and miss him. They blame him for the breakup, but I know I could – and should – have done more to keep our relationship alive. My life seems so empty, and I find it very hard to come to terms with breaking up after all the years we were together.

"I am still devastated by what has happened and although my kids tell me to get out and meet someone new, that's not so easy when I still love their dad. Do couples ever get back together? I live in hope and remember my vows so well."

Fiona says…

"People do get together again after being apart for as long as you and your husband have – some after much longer apart than 18 months. They are probably the exception rather than the rule though. Have you been in touch with him at all? Do you have any indication that he is in the least bit interested in re-igniting your marriage? It may be that in spite of the things that have happened, he is perfectly happy with his new partner. If that's the case, then you will have to accept things as they are now and move on.

"I can understand that while you've been isolated, you've had more time to think and realise that there were, perhaps, mistakes made on both sides. That certainly doesn't excuse a long-term affair with a family friend though. While I understand your reluctance to seek divorce or a new partner, I do think that, to a certain extent at least, your children are right.

"Meeting someone new might be difficult right now but you can start the process of finding ways of doing so. Look at the dating apps available; sign up to some of the websites and start to feel familiar with new ways of meeting people. You need to make a new life for yourself that does not revolve totally around your husband, as yours seems to have done in the past.

"You say you were the front-facing part of the business, so I image you're quite an outgoing person normally. That may have changed whilst your confidence has taken a knock, but that doesn't mean you can't get your spark back. Whether you and your husband can get back together or not, I think it's important for you to have friends and a life outside your marriage. If he is happy and decides to stay where he is, then at least you will have something to build on to make a future for yourself."

If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to [email protected] for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.