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Anyone had an affair with a good outcome or is it always mayhem and destruction?

(108 Posts)
GoodGirlGoneBad74 Fri 16-Nov-12 10:09:33

Am feeling terribly confused right now. Don´t really want to go into why I´m asking this but conventional wisdom and the traditional view is that it´s the worst possible thing to "cheat" and have an affair and that it only leads to suffering, horror and pain.
Can anyone tell me otherwise? Have any of you had an affair and it´s had a happily ever after ending? Looking for experiences (good and bad) of those who´ve been there.
Any of you had an affair, enjoyed it, ended it and then carried on with their marriage without anyone finding out or slipping into an abyss of insane guilt?
All comments welcome and flame me if you like...haha...it´s all good therapy probably!

izzyizin Fri 16-Nov-12 15:46:49

You pick your moments to 'have a wobble'? Nah. You've built a house of cards and that's what's going to wobble and coming crashing down on you when your duplicity get discovered by your dh - which it will in the not too distant future.

As it happens, I suspect your denouement will come a lot sooner than you think. I reckon either just before or shortly after New Year. When the inevitable happens, don't say you weren't warned.

IWasAHorriblePersonBackThen Fri 16-Nov-12 15:54:04

NC'd for this

I had an affair with my married boss when I first graduated. It lasted about 2 years then just fizzled out amicably. I was single at the time and suffering from cripplingly low self esteem. I'm really ashamed to admit that I thought that the fact that he would risk his family to shag me meant I must be something really special hmm

Nobody found out (to my knowledge) and nobody got hurt so I guess you could chalk that up as a 'successful outcome'.

Of course my comeuppance has come now that I am married to my lovely DH. He is a good looking man, wealthy and quite a catch.

Despite him never giving me any reason to mistrust him, I am absolutely convinced that he will cheat or leave me for a younger, prettier model.

The thing is, because I know how easy it was for a young and pretty me to seduce an older married man, I am convinced that all men (my DH included) would do the same as my boss did all those years ago if handed the opportunity on a plate.

My point is this: Even if you have what on paper is a 'successful' affair, the repercussions might come at a time and in a form that you couldn't have anticipated when you were laying the foundations for it.

It's just not worth it.

NatashaBee Fri 16-Nov-12 15:55:32

Even if noone ever finds out, even if you don't end your marriage to live with the new person, I think you will be plagued by an inability to trust your partner (current or future) because you know first hand that it's possible to be that deceitful - because you did it, and every time they say 'I'm going for drinks with work' you'll wonder if they really are, because that was one of the excuses you used when you were seeing the other man. And that's the best case. If you go into a full time relationship with the other man and leave your husband - the other man knows that you have cheated and lied. Not exactly the best foundation to build a new relationship on.

Charbon Fri 16-Nov-12 16:04:46

Look, you're only going to get some proper help and understanding if you stop all the laughing and joking about this on threads from the last few days and start realising that this is serious shit. Your posts come across as though this is no more serious than you having an ice cream addiction from which you've fallen off the wagon.

I get that it's probably your defence mechanism, but stop trivialising this and have a think about how childishly you are coming across.

Today's thread is all about you trying to get permission to have an affair that won't damage you or anyone else.

No-one can endorse that with any conviction though.

If posters have known friends to get away with secret affairs, how would they know what damage had been caused? They are not in those relationships and haven't lived the experience of those involved.

If posters have had secret affairs themselves, some of them might be in denial about the damage this has caused to their partners and themselves.

Focus on your situation and whether you, your relationship, your family, the OM and his partner and family if he has them are all going to escape damage because of your affair. Decide what damage you can live with, if any.

Get over yourself a bit too. Of course it's thrilling and exciting to be desired by someone new. Your husband would feel exactly the same of course. The OM feels it too. It's not a major deal and it means precisely nothing.

Having an affair however does mean something.

izzyizin Fri 16-Nov-12 16:16:52

Thanks to Charbon for the heads up re your recent musings, but what a let down.

It's more than a tad pathetic to get so worked up over what's little more than a knee trembler. Haven't you got any pride in yourself or your family?

EuroShagmore Fri 16-Nov-12 16:18:07

I know a number of people who have had affairs and a "positive" outcome. In all but one case, the affair was not discovered and the couple stayed together, and the relationships seem strong. In the one case, the affair was discovered and the couple divorced. Having known one half of the couple for years, I would say the split was inevitable with or without the affair. He had said more than once that he wanted to leave but felt guilty because of his kids - there was never a good time due to health problems, exams, etc. So the marriage was already over in his head (and probably hers - they were leading increasingly separate lives anyway).

GoodGirlGoneBad74 Fri 16-Nov-12 16:18:29

I told my DH how I felt this week. I wanted to be honest and to see if there was some way we could continue in a "partnership" while the venture got off the ground and until we were financially stable enough to split...also to keep things together for our kids in an amicable way.
He still loves me and wants to sort it out. Basically, there´s no grey area: either I find a way to love him or we divorce and that will mean financial ruin for us. Dahlen ..the reason I got in so deep with the business thing was to secure our future financially...for all of us. We´ve been broke for too long and it´s the only way we can hope to do better. And yes,it IS important...my kids may want to go to uni, etc...we need to make the money now.
Basically...I married my DH, who I am very fond of and is a good man in many ways (in some ways quite difficult) knowing that I didn´t love him deeply. I thought it would be enough and after experiencing a very deep love previously, it seemed easier to forego the big highs and therefore not have to experience the big lows or get hurt again.
I was coasting along...just resigned to a life with no excitement, fun or romance...and then this other guy popped up...neither of us went looking. We became good friends but after a while, fell for each other and it made me realise that what I have just isn´t enough.....
We are supposed to be going for counselling...I just can´t seem to fight this pessimistic feeling that it´s not going to really change anything. How do I make myself want it to work when my heart checked out ages ago?
Urgh...I´m such a mess! [onfused]

Dahlen Fri 16-Nov-12 16:32:06

Why does divorce have to equal financial ruin for both of you? That's not a given at all.

Yes you will need to run two households rather than one, which will obviously incur extra costs, but there are ways around that which don't involve withdrawing the investment money from your business.

You don't have to have a divorce or even a financial split of marital assets until you want to - which may not be for some years. I know a separated couple who have done this because they run their own business together and want to keep everything joint until their children are independent. It works very well for them. But there is mutual respect and commitment to the greater good of the family, as well as recognising that their relationship wasn't working and that they should both be free to meet someone else. One of them now lives with a partner.

From what you say, if the love was never really there in the first place, then you're not going to be able to develop it now. That doesn't mean you can't have a good relationship, but it's never going to be passionate and heady. Historically, that was pretty normal for marriage of course, and only tends to cause a problem when someone new comes along and provides a contrast - as you've just discovered.

If you really are determined to stay (which I think is a mistake and will cause greater harm long term), the only way you can get round this is to really pursue your own (non-romantic) dreams, and derive fulfilment and passion from those.

onanightlikethis Fri 16-Nov-12 16:39:51

Mmm. I am currently going through similar. I married a lovely safe man- knowing probably that he wasn't my true love, but offered me somevof the things I thought I wanted. Fast forward 14 years and I had an affair. My marriage was lacking, I didn't feel loved( although he did love me)
So I confessed to the affair, we tried to make it work, counselling, making time to do stuff together, but I had already left the relationship. I had been thinking about ending my marriage but took a catalyst to do it.
Now- we are divorcing, very amicably, still living together, and I feel like a weight has lifted.
After tasting how love could be- I couldn't settle for a non demonstrative man. Counselling helped us realise that there were issues in our relationship that had been going on for years- resentment, lack of communication and shared goals.
I really wanted my marraige to work- but it didn't.
The OM- he's waiting for me. I feel positive that a decision has been made, but it took us 6 months to reach it. The barest part was trying to make it right, when I knew deep down it was wrong for me.

izzyizin Fri 16-Nov-12 16:41:04

It sounds as if you don't excel at making choices that will produce positive outcomes either for yourself or for those around you.

Sadly, this may mean that you'll continue to shortchange others in order to stroke your ego.

Ilovemyteddy Fri 16-Nov-12 16:43:31

At the end of the day, OP, you are the one who is either going to, or not going to, give yourself permission to have an affair. It is your choice and yours alone, and even if hundreds of MNetters came on here and told you how wonderful their affairs were (which is highly unlikely and I wouldn't believe them anyway), you are the one who will be making the decision to cheat/not cheat on DH and your DCs.

I've had two affairs - one physical and one emotional. I was, and still am, happily married (so in a different situation to you) and my DH does not know about either affair (which happened a few years ago.) I think it's hard to see an affair for what it really is, until you are no longer involved in it. But enjoyable is not a word I would use to describe either of my affairs. Exciting, thrilling and addictive, yes, at the time. But the lying and cheating and the compartmentalising and covering your tracks mean that you lose all sense of reality. You can't tell the truth from the lies. You risk everything, but convince yourself you will never be discovered.
You lose your sense of self-worth, and more importantly you lose your self-respect.

My marriage has also been affected, even though my affairs weren't discovered, because I have a huge secret that I am keeping from DH.

Whether you "slip into an abyss of insane guilt" really depends on the kind of person you are. If you are a person, like me, who thought that they were a 'good person' who would never cheat, then yes, the guilt is horrendous. But what is more painful is that you get to know yourself for who you really are - in my case, someone who had no boundaries, who felt entitled to some fun after years of being wife, mother, daughter etc, and who is basically selfish.

I can see from what you have said about your current situation with an unaffectionate marriage, living abroad, and the business venture, that you feel trapped in your marriage and your current life. Don't let those reasons lead you to making a terrible choice that you will live to regret.

And as for "you only have one life" - I remember a friend who had also been unfaithful saying that she would have something to remember when she sat in her rocking chair as an old lady. I wish I couldn't remember what I did. I wish it had never happened.

GoodGirlGoneBad74 Fri 16-Nov-12 16:46:32

Haha...even "onfused" now! confused

OhDearSpareHeadTwo Fri 16-Nov-12 16:58:33

*Exciting, thrilling and addictive, yes, at the time. But the lying and cheating and the compartmentalising and covering your tracks mean that you lose all sense of reality. You can't tell the truth from the lies. You risk everything, but convince yourself you will never be discovered.
You lose your sense of self-worth, and more importantly you lose your self-respect.*

This. OP, I know it might seem exciting - who isn't thrilled by the chase ? It's really, really not worth it when you're hiding your phone all the time, paranoid that every time your DH is in less than a wonderful mood that he's found out, worrying about whether you have managed to delete all the sent items from your email.

IT IS NOT WORTH IT IF YOU WANT TO CONTINUE YOUR MARRIAGE

OhDearSpareHeadTwo Fri 16-Nov-12 17:02:06

Oh yes, and another thing - while it went on I could hardly look my mother-in-law in the eye. Or my parents.

Having an affair, whether it's an EA or physical is draining in ways you have no idea until you're embroiled in it. And it's not like a movie where it's some great, romantic affair. It's just sordid.

Virgil Fri 16-Nov-12 17:03:45

Im very happily married as a result of an affair (I had an affair with DH when he was married and I was in a serious relationship). We've now been together for fifteen years and have two lovely DSs. But it created trauma and heartbreak at the time and it was hard getting through that stage.

Charbon Fri 16-Nov-12 17:04:00

You say you've told your husband how you are feeling and wanted to be honest.

So did you say that you didn't love him enough to marry him, have settled ever since and have now started an affair?

GoodGirlGoneBad74 Fri 16-Nov-12 17:04:41

Digbert...thanks for your post. Sounds v similar to me. I know I need to at least go through the motions of trying and do my best to want to try....so at least I can say I did it!
Of course, I don´t want to cheat...for all the reasons you have all listed...thanks for sharing Ilovemyteddy and dahlen your comments are really constructive too.
Charbon joking IS my coping mechanism and sorry if you don´t like my style of writing....I take this extremely seriously and that is obviously why I am here. I am not looking for permission...I just really want to know the consequences of all my options from other people´s 1st hand experiences.
I don´t get why some people seem to get so emotional and angry on here with complete strangers whose lives you know little about, but thanks for all the input of all kinds anyway.
thanks

GoodGirlGoneBad74 Fri 16-Nov-12 17:22:40

Charbon :Of course I didn´t realise at the time I got married that this would happen.
I thought I´d never love again the way I did with man no. 1 and I married with my head more than my heart (although of course I was in love with him, just not as much as I could have been....and when the headiness of the 1st few years wore off, it became clear it was not a fulfilling relationship) It´s all very well to say in hindsight that I shouldn´t have gone ahead with it, but at the time I thought it was right.
My DH is an extremely emotional man when he´s upset...I don´t think complete honesty for its own sake is constructive. To tell him that I never loved him as much as I would have wanted to, makes HIS last 10 years a lie and that would hurt him incredibly deeply...to what purpose?
He knows about the other man but doesn´t know that I love him. I tried to cut ties a couple of times but so far without success...and sure, flame me for that....my willpower is not my biggest strength, which is precisely why I am here!

Charbon Fri 16-Nov-12 17:32:07

So you're not being honest with him then and you're allowing yourself to think that this is a kindness to him.

Are you being honest with yourself then?

Try and be as honest as you can about how you really felt about your husband and marriage before the OM came along. If you were very unhappy then and knew you didn't love enough, what did you do about that?

Or is it that you've told yourself that oft quoted delusion that you didn't realise how unhappy you were until you met someone else?

In all this, focus on your actions and efforts - no-one else's.

izzyizin Fri 16-Nov-12 17:37:28

As integrity and willpower are clearly not your biggest strengths, what is?

GoodGirlGoneBad74 Fri 16-Nov-12 17:53:32

Jeez, izzyizin ...I haven´t actually DONE anything that bad yet and I am TRYING to do the right thing, OK?
Charbon as I said before...what purpose does complete bare-all honesty serve if it isn´t constructive other than just to clear one´s own conscience? Everyone is different obviously, but were the situation reversed, I would prefer my partner to hold off on any unnecessary hurtful details if I hadn´t specifically requested them. If he asks me, of course, I will be honest but seriously, why twist the knife?
And this isn´t a case of a big chane in my attitude since OM came along...I was well aware I was dissatisfied but what has changed is that I now realise I am very vulnerable to falling for the attentions of somebody else because I am in an emotional wasteland.
I thought I was tough and strong and could live without it. Now I see that the prospect of the rest of my life without truly feeling much is a pretty bleak one.

fiventhree Fri 16-Nov-12 17:55:22

" I am not looking for permission...I just really want to know the consequences of all my options from other people´s 1st hand experiences."

I think you may mean, will you get away with it without any consequences.

I think not. Even if they are mainly consequences for you. I think your h will 'know', even if he doesnt know, or he will have a gut and disorienting feel that something is wrong. And you will lie and confuse him ore when he asks, which is abusive, as he will carry on feeling crap.

If you really want to know what the Possible consequences are eg if you are found out, read a book on the consequences of infidelity- Shirley Glass is well researched.

Nobody can tell you whether you will get away with it.

If you want to think through the consequences of leaving, then that is a different thread.

Charbon Fri 16-Nov-12 18:03:50

But hopefully you acknowledge that one of the biggest reasons for your dishonesty is self-interest, while you make up your mind what's best for you, and that failing to tell your husband the true nature of your feelings for either him or the other man, gives you the luxury of choice that your husband lacks?

You are absolutely kidding yourself when you say that you need to know you tried everything to save your marriage. This marriage is not going to work because you love someone else and have got yourself locked in a script (that might be true or untrue) that your marriage was doomed from the start and you only realised how bad it was when the initial 'in love' feelings faded.

It just cannot work while you have that mindset, you love someone else and you're keeping secrets.

If your marriage and your feelings for your husband are as you describe them, end the relationship and be kind when you do. Anything else is just a smokescreen to help you feel better about yourself, but it's self-deception of and deception of the highest order

janelikesjam Fri 16-Nov-12 18:16:59

The only thing for me - and I have never been in any of these situations - but something that rings true for me anyway.

I think sometimes people do fall in love with other people. And thats the way it is.

However, I don't think most affairs fall into that category, generally to do with other things, e.g. ego issues.

The question is - can you tell the difference?

GoodGirlGoneBad74 Fri 16-Nov-12 18:23:57

Hi janelikesjam...what do you mean exactly? That I have poor self esteem and need a boost or that I have an over-inflated ego that needs stroking? Genuinely interested...not a sarcy reply btw smile

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