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Emotional Affair?(51 Posts)
Sorry for the long post but I've let it all out.
Morning!. I fixed a friends PC over the weekend and she showed me mumsnet so I've signed up today for advice really as after reading a bit on here I think I've been having an emotional affair and don't know what to do about it.
Been with DW for 10 years and married for 6. We have a hectic life through work so don't get as much time together as we'd like. Anyway, my behaviour over the last year or so I'd written off as being a good friend to OW but thinking about it now...
I met OW who was an old school friend at a friends birthday about 2 years ago who I'd not seen for years. She was over the moon to see me and introduced her long term partner and was talking about him hopefully popping the question soon. I was very happy to see her and delighted she had someone she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. Anyway later that evening I saw something that made me think that he wasn't as fully committed to the relationship as she was (he didn't cheat but his behaviour was one of someone not happy).
A few months after that it popped up on Facebook that she was now single so I sent her a message asking if she was ok. Turns out he didn't want marriage and had instead gone off with her friends. She was in a mess and I messaged her a lot during this time and was very supportive. We flirted a little but nothing more.
A few days later I went out for a friends birthday (DW was away) and OW was out too. She looked stick thin and was very drunk. I took her back to her place and made her some food and slept on the sofa. I left in the morning and came home feeling guilty (I've never told DW). We then messaged each other every day on Facebook until she told me she was getting back with her BF. I was sad but wished her well and cut ties as I wanted her to have a clean slate with him. I cringingly said to her "sometimes I wish I was him" when very drunk one night. Still cringe and regret saying that now.
Few months passed (no contact) and they broke up again and she got in touch. We pretty much chatted every day on Facebook about everything And I never felt bored talking to her and it was nice having someone to listen to and would listen to me, we did flirt and joked about meeting up many times.
She started dating again so we stopped talking as much and then a few weeks later I went to meet a friend who I hadn't seen in a while and he had a new gf who yep was the OW!. This was very awkward for me as I couldn't chat to her properly if that makes sense?. Eventually they had a messy break up which I helped her through. The flirting got worse and one morning I decided to meet her for coffee in a cafe for a chat.
I told her that I care a lot about her but never wanted to become one of her guys that she has bad memories about plus I didn't want to cheat on my DW (I did long ago which we worked through). She agreed and said that she couldn't imagine her life without me in it and I cooled it off again.
She's just got in touch again after breaking up with another guy. Talking to her properly again on Facebook made me happy as I'd not heard from her in a while.
I'm in some kind of weird emotional affair cycle aren't I?.
Thanks for all your comments really appreciate it.
So what are you going to do ChilledGuy?
Stop all contact with OW which I've managed for months before. I think we're using each other to be honest so it's not good. I love my DW and regret it all.
So, you are not going for a 3rd time lucky then ?
No more pissing your wife around. Decide what your boundaries are and stick to them. If you get away with this one, you are very lucky indeed.
It's amazing how a stray message/email/careless comment can pop up later on and blow something like this wide open. Your risk taking may well still be your downfall.
Good luck I guess? Hope you behave and sort it out for DW's sake imagine her finding out next time you feel like messaging
Have you told the OW that you are stopping contact? The only reason I ask is because if she's not aware, she might ramp up contact to try and get hold of you - and that could cause a whole world of trouble.
If you do inform the OW that you are ceasing contact, tell her the truth, that you have realised you are a dick. Don't blame your wife, thus further demeaning her.
Sorry OP but you sound highly unpleasant and I feel sorry for your wife that she has to go home to a husband who would rather sneak around like a snake and feed his ego than work on his marriage. OW doesn't even sound like she gives a crap about you and just uses you when she feels like it so maybe the jokes on your head in the end! You need to cut all contact with OW and maybe get some counselling or something to work out why you choose to act so carelessly.
If you choose to cut all contact, you said that it might look more suspicious. One poster suggested talking more about your wife and kids and what they are doing, that sounds a really good idea.
If you do choose to say anything to your wife, something low key on the lines of ´hm, not gonna chat so much to OW, it´s started to feel a bit much`. Ok so you and your conscience know it was a lot more, but it sounds likely that she may have picked up some vibes and giving her notice that you are planning to loosen (read between the lines: cut) contact may reassure her ... once she sees you really mean it.
Or don't say anything. It could upset her more, if she hadn't picked up much. You know her best.
Everyone makes mistakes, sometimes very bad ones that hurt other people badly. All you can do is pick yourself up, regret what you've done and try the hell to do better next time. Which it seems to me that you are, and you're trying to get out of the mess now before something worse happens. But yes, you gotta find your kicks in a better way that this.
Take up hanggliding or motorbikes :D ( j/k )
If you had a full-blown affair in the past and have had this infatuation now, I think you need to work a little more on affair-proofing your marriage. The first step towards that is taking a look at yourself and asking what it is you were getting (or thought you were getting) from these affairs.
Do you just like flirting and deep down believe you should be free to have a marriage of convenience, sex and affection while also having less significant relationships with other women? There's nothing wrong with that POV - provided your DW is on board with it. If you think this is you, own it. Tell your DW what you want and be prepared to divorce if she doesn't agree to it.
If you don't think that but you're 'weak', it comes down to taking responsibility for managing your life so that you don't ever get in a situation where an affair of any kind is possible. So no female friendships other than on the most casual basis, with complete transparency for your DW, etc.
Or you can look at your character flaws and try to overcome them, which will make you less susceptible. The attraction with most affairs is that the people conducting them feel more desirable, energetic, needed or alive than they have done in years. What they don't realise is that it is not the other person who is making them feel like that; it is the change from their normal life.
IME the main reason people fall prey to an affair is general life dissatisfaction - the job is boring, marriage has fallen into a rut although there are no real problems, you feel like you've lost your youth and identity under a mountain of responsibilities and far too little fun. It is easier to be flattered by the attentions of someone else, and to start with it all seems harmless enough and intentions probably are innocent.
However, unless you are very wary, it's very easy to end up putting all your focus on that other person, and by ignoring the other problems, they temporarily recede. So it's rewarding. Life feels better. So far, so good. And still you may not have exchanged anything other than a conversation, so no harm done, right?
Except it can't go on for too long before the spouse pulls you back to reality. Guilt then sets in, but it quickly transforms into irritation at being interrupted. Then what normally happens is that the person has to justify their actions, so they big up everything that is wrong with their marriage and sometimes even manufacture a few problems out of thin air. That's when things tend to cross the line into a full-blown affair, because it's almost justified in the head of the adulterous spouse.
Ironically, though, it may well have been a boring job and lack of outside interests that were behind the general life dissatisfaction; not anything wrong with the marriage. That's why so many affairs fizzle out - the respite is only temporary before dissatisfaction again rears its head.
If you take the time to examine your feelings, and work out why you need more stimulation in your daily life, it's much more productive. Changing your job, taking up a new, exciting hobby, insisting your DW spends an evening having a date night with you to keep the romance alive - all these things tend to have a much better payoff than an affair.
If it turns out that your marriage IS lacking, you can choose to work on it or leave - but that's a hell of a lot easier without the addition of a third party.
Be honest with yourself about your feelings for your wife and this other woman (who probably gets off on having an adoring lap dog on tap.)
Thank you Dahlen reading that has brought home a lot of truths. I've been called many things on here deservedly but what you said has been so helpful.
I can see the cycle I'm in, DW has little time for me through no fault of her own so through my weakness I latch onto the first person who just asked me "how are you" rather than "what are you making for dinner?, where's my clothes etc", I feel like I could grow an extra head and DW wouldnt notice sometimes. But it's still no excuse to talk to someone else like I have been behind her back.
Do you have any time for your wife?
We have very little time together through our jobs. She's in a high pressure demanding role and works long hours. When she's with me there's no-one else in the world that matters
But when she isn't you are mooning after another woman.
Hold on, MissStrawberry - if he was all that amoral, he wouldn't be posting for advice, would he?
He craves attention, that's all. And whilst I'm not condoning how he's behaved in the past, he's looking for a way to remedy it.
I wouldn't say that it's not like the second she's gone I message her or anything.
Putting the affair to one side, it's not unreasonable to say to your wife that your marriage needs you to spend more time together.
If you concentrate on having the best life you can outside of your marriage, you will undoubtedly be happier and cope with the time apart a lot better.
But if you're only seeing each other for a few hours a week and those hours are partly taken up with mundane domestic things, it's very difficult to sustain a relationship no matter how wonderful your life is overall. Many marriages with one or both partners in a demanding role fail because of this, even if both are, and always have been, completely faithful.
However, in case your wife's job is a case of you finding fault to justify your affair subconsciously, I'd concentrate first on building your own life up before addressing your marriage. If nothing else, it will provide you with a solid foundation on which to base your argument that things are not working.
<Putting the affair to one side, it's not unreasonable to say to your wife that your marriage needs you to spend more time together.>
I think now would be a great time to try and find some time to be with your wife, bring the focus back on the relationship.
She 'can't imagine her life without you in it?' Hahaha - well she seems to manage that perfectly well the second she gets a boyfriend.
And it's not really as if you sound terribly into her either. I'm sure at some level you know she's a nasty little user.
So, put your energies into your marriage. You are, I have to say, just WAITING to become that guy whose wife finds out and all of a sudden he's alone, kicking himself and wondering how the hell he managed to lose so much for something so worthless. Your wife probably knows far more than you think, by the way. She dislikes Miss User liking your photos? You are skating on Very Thin Ice, I'd wager.
As usual, TalkativeJim speaks perfect sense.
Well said Jim. Hope you see through her OP and spend more time with DW.
Yes, and sorry but the 'cutting all contact with OW' thing just lets you feel like you are nobly sacrificing some kind of tortured love affair, and could cause suspicion all round. Plus you don't 'lose face' with the OW which I suspect is part of your motivation. Just talk to her about your wife and family in a normal way - make it clear that you are the family man that you are very invested and committed in them. You may feel a loss of pride in doing so, or that you are deliberately turning her off, which will hurt your ego, but it's the right thing to do.
The OW is not interested in you romantically, believe me if she was you'd have found out by now.
I feel really sorry for your wife, you say you love her but actions speak louder, you love her sometimes but sometimes you're happy to go behind her back - I actually wonder what kind of future you two have if this is all it takes for you to go sniffing after someone else.
Your a big adult now, is up to you, you know what you are doing is wrong, did your vows mean nothing? If you feel neglected this isn't the way to resolve that, that should be between you and your wife, I know she works a lot but perhaps she could cut down slightly, does she actually know how bad things have got between you two?
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