My wife and I have just had a major argument which ended up with me being kicked out of our home.

Recently, I accused my wife of cheating. She had been very secretive over a number of weeks with her phone. The number of messages had increased, she always kept it by her side and had been muting notifications, which seemed suspicious to me .

I admit I didn’t deal with it very well. I let things build up to a point where I couldn’t contain it any more and we ended up having a very heated row about it. She denied any wrongdoing and said she was just chatting to her friends.

I have a lot of self-doubt, particularly in my abilities as a father and a husband, because there have been times in the past when my wife needed me and I wasn’t there for her or the children. I’ve prioritised work over family too often and now I’m paying the ultimate price. My wife refuses to talk with me now and the children don’t want to talk to me either after hearing us argue.

My wife says she won’t take me back as I have made promises in the past and let them slide. I’m at an absolute loss here and don’t know which way to turn. I despise myself for hurting the woman I love and ruining family life for my children.

Ammanda says …

From what you tell me, there has been a catalogue of problems in your relationship over a number of years. Being overcommitted to work is a very common issue in couple relationships and it often ends up with someone – in this case your wife – feeling that she always comes second best. This can be incredibly painful to bear and very difficult to come back from. Now your most recent row has centred on your accusations of cheating. That, too, is difficult to put up with. So if you think about it, your wife asking you to leave is probably not such a great surprise.

I can see from your letter how terribly upset and desperate you’re feeling right now. That’s completely understandable, particularly if your wife has just asked you to leave for the first time. I’m sure you’re feeling very uprooted and at a loss, but perhaps it might surprise you to know that often, partners – in this case you – only hear that something is really not working for their other half when they’re actually asked to leave. It brings the reality of how unhappy everyone is into very sharp focus.

To be completely honest, I don’t have a magic wand to conjure up any quick wins and persuade your wife to take you back. This is because it sounds like she feels she can’t trust you to have changed your approach and behaviour. If you think about it, that’s not so very surprising because so far – she hasn’t had any evidence that you have actually seen the light. You’re also battling against the very real problem that you can’t go back in time and change what’s happened. That desperate realisation often ends with people feeling exactly as you describe, namely that “I despise myself for hurting the woman I love and ruining family life for my children.” Essentially, you’re coming at things from a position of hopelessness and that further affects how you decide to move forward.