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Anyone got any experience, on the way forwards after an emotional affair...

(54 Posts)
AboutToSelfDestruct Mon 12-Nov-12 13:41:12

Its not happened yet, but I am almost certain that I'm on the brink of things slipping into EA territory. I've been married for 7 yrs and have two wonderful DC's. Won't give all the history of our relationship but its never been easy. We've had a lot of couples counselling which has helped, but things have never been quite right.
I have been fighting my feelings for OM for a year now and hoped it was just a one sided crush. Very recently we talked and I found out that he feels the same as I do, but we are both very clear that an affair would be wrong and we are just not going there. The problem is, while i can stop a physical affair taking place its impossible to deny our feelings for each other.
I'm in the place now where finally after many many years, DH says he is here and ready to offer me everything that he has been unable to give for years and years, yet I've buit up a wall of self protection and self reliance and got so used to him being distant both physically and emotionally, that I now can't let him in. If there is any chance of us fixing this know I have to let OM go but I don't think I can do that. I can't bear the thought of loosing him. I really don't know what to do sad

amillionyears Mon 12-Nov-12 13:51:39

What are you afraid of if you let your DH back in?

GoodGirlGoneBad74 Mon 12-Nov-12 13:58:52

Oh my goodness!! You sound so similar to meeee! I was just about to start a similar thread right now!
I have started an EA with somebody I met online (Oh what a sad cliché...I realise that... and am shocked at myself actually!)
I never went looking for this...I was just tweeting innocently on Twitter and a friendship started which after a good few months just progressed and then suddenly turned sexual, which I never saw coming (ooo, scuse the pun)
Am married to a good man, but he´s just not able to meet me on an emotional level and is quite hard to live with at times, so I´ve fallen out of love with him and put up the wall of self-protection just like you.
Last night I was honest for the 1st time in years- told him I don´t love him anymore :-( He still loves me, wants to do whatever it takes, etc etc I know the right thing to do is to work on the marriage (I have 2 kids-4&6)...break off contact with EA man and really try......my heart just doesnt want to and I don´t know how to find the motivation.....
How do you find love again when it´s long dead?
...And I realise I am not helping you one little bit here, but just so you know there are others in the same boat and maybe we can both benefit from any advice that people post.
Good luck....

AboutToSelfDestruct Mon 12-Nov-12 14:00:46

I'm not so much afraid. Its more that I have come to realise that even if my marriage is in a good phase its still not got that spark. And I hate admitting this but I also realise that I have never loved DH unconditionally. I thought this was pretty normal. But I know now that its not. I have also had counselling for issues that have now been really helped and I just feel I would like more out of life and that DH deserves someone who will really adore him too. DH has always been distant, needing space, unable to sleep in the same bed etc and I think part of his real willingness to change is that he is sensing I am becoming distant. I don't think its realistic that he can change after 15 years of him predominantly being this way.

And cutting through the excuses my heart is well and truely gone. I wish it wasn't but it is. Even if I cut OM out of my life I don't know if it would come back.

AboutToSelfDestruct Mon 12-Nov-12 14:02:39

GoogGirl, It really is so reassuring to hear that, although I'm so sorry you are going through this too. I never realised the pain these emotions could cause. My two are almost the same age as yours, and think its normal that Mummy and Daddy have separate bedrooms sad

GoodGirlGoneBad74 Mon 12-Nov-12 14:12:43

You sound like you have a better excuse than me, SelfDestruct....the physical side of my marriage is actually OK (or at least I mean we do still have sex regularly...but I feel very little...I enjoy it by fantasising in my head mostly!)
There´s not much other physical affection except when he´s in the mood and knows he needs to act loving in order to get some :-/
We are still in the same bed though.
I´ve been sniffling away all day over this...Told all at work that I have a terrible cold coming on!!
I´m just trying to work out what´s upsetting me the most...just the sudden honesty of my emotions or having to hurt my online friend who is in love with me and I now have to hurt too....I feel so trapped...whichever way I turn, people get hurt.
There´s also that fear that if you do break up the marriage, the family, etc etc that the grass may well not be any greener and your life may get even harder!
Oh jeeeeez, it´s so hard!! confused

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 12-Nov-12 14:37:22

If you've invested 15 years in a bad marriage, found coping mechanisms and only now that your attention is diverted, he's finally decided he's interested then it's a case of 'too little too late'. The EA is symptomatic, not the cause. You owe your DH nothing.

I'd be ending the marriage a.s.a.p. and then taking a bit of time to myself

izzyizin Mon 12-Nov-12 14:41:56

Have you met the object of your lust emotional affections in rl? Does he live near you and is he married with dc too?

MeunderanotherName Mon 12-Nov-12 15:03:15

I'm in a similar situation, but i'm single. I met a lovely guy and we started seeing eachother. He had been separated from his wife for a year as she had an affair. 2 months into our relationship his wife and their (older teenage) children begged him to take her back. He is now 'dating' her and we are trying to cut contact. We are both finding it very hard, although we haven't seen eachother since. We still occasionally text. How can I stop my feelings for this man? I won't be second best and I know it's just wrong to continue this emotional relationship.
Not much help to you OP but just wanted to share my experience.

Charbon Mon 12-Nov-12 15:16:50

I would acknowledge two things:

That you are already having an emotional affair. If you've both expressed feelings now, the line has been crossed.

That if you've been feeling like this about another man for a year, you are currently unable to view your marriage or your feelings for your husband objectively.

I've never met one person with an emotional investment elsewhere who was able to be objective about their pre-existent relationship and there's no reason to suppose you're any different.

That's not to say there mightn't have been problems in your relationship beforehand, but it is saying that your relationship will have got even worse since you formed an attachment to the other man, even if it was only in your head until recently.

It's often very hard for women especially to be honest about their lustful feelings for men outside their sanctioned relationships because of patriarchical distaste for women having sexual feelings at all, so when women have affairs it is very important to peel through the layers of all that lifetime's conditioning that women only reach outside a relationship if their 'love' needs are not being met.

It's too pat to say this affair is a symptom of a bad marriage, because you had a variety of other choices for dealing with your unhappiness.

An affair is more accurately described as a symptom of you being unable to express your choices in an adult, assertive way.

Your husband might have left it too late and the truth is that nothing he could do now would make any difference because your feelings are invested elsewhere. It's actually very cruel to ask him to try to up his game when he doesn't know about your other relationship. He is doomed to fail unless you are honest about the other man.

I'd suggest no contact with the OM and some counselling on your own.

AuntieStella Mon 12-Nov-12 15:33:16

An emotional affair is every bit as destructive as a consummated one.

Anytime you turn away from instead of towards your partner to meet emotional needs, physical needs, needs that are appropriate to a committed, intimate relationship, that’s a betrayal. 

There is just so much time in a day, and people have finite energy in their lives. If the focus in one's life is the "other" person, time and energy are drained from the marriage. Plus, if a partner is getting emotional needs met outside the marriage, there is little need to connect at home. 

OP you need to face up to what you have done. End your marriage or end your affair.

But don't continue with the dishonesty to your DH.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 12-Nov-12 15:38:11

And what about the 'betrayal' of 15 years with a partner sleeping in the spare room and not having the time of day for the OP??? That's appallingly cruel behaviour and I think the OP has tolerated far more than most in an effort to keep the marriage on-side. I actually wouldn't blame you OP if you were shagging the OM senseless twice-nightly on the side. No-one deserves to be rejected so comprehensively and I would not dream of judging you harshly.

Your DH ended the marriage a long time ago. Action to separate rather than self-reproach is the order of the day.

AuntieStella Mon 12-Nov-12 15:40:41

A revenge affair is not a good choice.

If the marriage is unbearable; leave, live true to yourself and be free to choose a partner in unclouded circumstances.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 12-Nov-12 15:43:24

It's not a good choice but I've never been rejected for 15 solid years... have you? That must grind your self-esteem into the dirt. 'Leaving' is obviously the right thing to do but we all know it's never that easy. What I don't think helps is heaping this rather self-righteous opprobrium on the poor OP's head for simply wanting a bit of TLC.... a very basic human need..... just because she's still wearing a wedding ring.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 12-Nov-12 15:46:45

I would say the same if it was a man who had been rejected for 15 years btw....

AuntieStella Mon 12-Nov-12 15:50:02

I don't think she should sleepwalk into circumstances that will make it harder for her. Staying and betraying is not a tenable solution, and the pain when discovered is likely to be far harsher.

I did not consider that I was heaping "self-righteous opprobrium", or at least that was not my intention. OP sounds as if she is letting herself be swept along in a romantic bubble. What happens when it bursts?

Better to take control, possibly by taking time and space away from one or both men, and making a more active decision about what she needs and wants.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 12-Nov-12 15:53:02

"What happens when it bursts?"

She'd at least have a few nice memories to look back on.

Charbon Mon 12-Nov-12 16:12:46

I think it's more complex than this.

First it's important for the OP to examine her memories of the relationship and to be honest about how it was before the other man appeared in her life.

It's very common for people having affairs to backdate unhappiness or exaggerate how unsatisfactory a relationship was prior to an affair, so this honesty is absolutely crucial. Recalling specific events in a timeline can help with that.

Having done that, if the conclusion is that the marriage was never satisfactory, it helps to acknowledge the couple's choices to remain in the relationship despite that. Because that was a choice that was openly made. The OP might find it helpful to examine why if her marriage was deeply unsatisfactory before the OM and she knew it, she chose to remain in it. It isn't easy to end a relationship, but it's a choice that is available to everyone.

Having a secret affair is another choice, but it's not a transparent one and for people with a conscience about operating as a truthful and honest individual, it's often a very bad personal choice that damages them as individuals. 'Nice memories' can't compete with an eroded sense of self.

Charbon Mon 12-Nov-12 16:24:43

I think in essence, instead of us saying 'good for you, I don't blame you' to an OP who says she is unhappy in her marriage and is having an affair, it is more constructive to find out why an OP chose something that has the risk of so much damage, including to herself, as a coping mechanism. Rather than a more adult and transparent way of resolving that turmoil at source. There is usually a reason for that inside the individual. It helps to be introspective in these situations instead of casting the blame further at the relationship or a partner.

JamJars80 Mon 12-Nov-12 18:38:50

Sometimes it takes meeting someone else to recognise problems in your own relationship that you never acknowledged before. Before OM you might have just accepted that dh practically ignoring you and neglecting you and dcs was normal. Not making an effort or being emotionally and physically absent was normal. You just 'plod along' because you never think of the alternative or that your life could be better, be happier. Sometimes it takes meeting someone else to finally see the real state of your relationship and how things have just fallen into decline. This could be your doing as well as dh/dw. It could be a wake up call for you both, either to make an active effort if you still love each other and WANT to save the marriage, or alternatively, to recognise you have reached the point where you just are not happy to continue in relationship.

Charbon Mon 12-Nov-12 19:09:42

I often hear people saying this and it sounds quite plausible - that it took meeting someone else to realise what was missing. But I think when you unpick this with people it's rarely the whole truth and it's an unfair comparison in any case.

It also suggests that the people having these feelings have very skewed judgement about real relationships.

It's actually quite rare for someone living in a relationship with no sex or affection and separate sleeping arrangements, to convince themselves that this is good enough for them personally, or that it's typical of a good relationship. It therefore doesn't need the arrival of someone new to help those particular lightbulbs to go on.

It's also true that most people in long-term relationships don't behave towards eachother in the way that new lovers do, so the comparison about 'what's missing' is wholly unfair. The early stages of an infatuation or love affair are no more representative of a real relationship, than the marriage that is being described here is representative of most good marriages.

So a person who thinks their miserable marriage is normal and that a new affair is how things will always be, needs to check their judgement about what constitutes a typically good relationship.

JamJars80 Mon 12-Nov-12 19:27:17

I both agree and disagree with you charbon. I have for many years had a marriage with no affection, attention, sex, no support. List goes on. However I probably would have stayed in this situation indefinetly as I have young dcs and the thought of leaving/separating would not even enter any part of my mind.
An affair, whether that be ea or pa, should definitely not be used to think of what your life could be like, and I in no way would say it's ok or condone it to have one, but in a situation like mine, it definitely would make me think about my future and the years staring ahead at me living like this.
A marriage/relationship should be something you are both actively involved in and are both working on constantly, whether that be consciously or not.
Otherwise, what's the point?
Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is that in a situation like the op has, if she has feelings for someone else, then she needs to clearly think what her marriage was like before EA. And how will it change after EA?? will things become better or never the same again.

Charbon Mon 12-Nov-12 20:28:33

I don't want to hijack the OP's thread jamjars but are you still in a relationship with no affection, attention, sex, or support?

You don't have to be, you know? It's okay to say this is not enough for you.

But if you are and there's no-one else involved, it hasn't taken someone else to make you realise it, has it?

amillionyears Mon 12-Nov-12 20:41:53

There are a few things about your posts that I dont understand.
Are you a person who has to have someone to love? I cant think of the right words , but in rl, I know some blokes who if a relationship is ending,they have another girl lined up because they think they are less of a person if they dont.

Also, you said you have never loved your DH inconditionally. What does that bit mean?

I do have some more questions , but those 2 will do for now.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 12-Nov-12 20:48:03

Fifteen years of odd behaviour and seven years of couples counselling..... I think that well and truly pre-dates a 1 year crush or whatever it is. I'm amazed the OP has stuck it out so long tbh.

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