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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.

Charbon Mon 12-Nov-12 20:49:58

Yes, I picked up on that statement too amillionyears.

IMO, we shouldn't love our romantic partners 'unconditionally' because that's not realistic and is actually quite a dangerous, romantic notion. In reality romantic love is always conditional on being treated properly, which is as it should be.

AboutToSelfDestruct Mon 12-Nov-12 21:08:37

Thank you for all your thoughtful replies.
Jamjars, can really relate to everything you've said and I am so sorry you are having a similar experience in your relationship.
To be very clear, it was only a few days ago that feelings were acknowledged and yes I accept that depending on how things pan out over the coming weeks, that could definately be the start of an emotional affair, which I agree is a betrayal. However that is why I am taking this as a huge wake up call to make the right decision very very soon. Its far from ideal but I am doing my best.
Izzy, yes very much in rl. Can't say too much but he is single with dc's.
Cogito thank you for your comments. Self esteem was always lousy but thanks to counselling has vastly improved and I now understand some of the 'patterns' that have been present in my marriage. I have been very very close to leaving on three occasions over the last few years but always decided to give things my best shot because I take my marriage seriously. I've not asked DH to 'up the game' I think he senses that after the last time I nearly walked, I've stayed distant and I am sure that deep down he knows I'm just not 'there' any more. I think its a sudden realisation that it may be too late for us.
Amillion, no I wouldn't need someone else lined up. Its more that this OM has been a catalyst for me to finally realise what has been missing all these years and to stop pretending that its ok when its not.
As for not loving DH unconditionally, Its hard to explain. Years ago I had so little self esteem that I clung onto our relationship despite there being many red flags. I now understand why I did this. I HAD to prove to myself that he would love me. Sounds crazy now! With OM if he's happy I'm happy. When he's hurting it breaks my heart. I don't feellike that bout DH and am sad and a little ashamed to say I never have.

amillionyears Mon 12-Nov-12 21:32:11

Why has your DH been distant all these years?
Was he like that when you first knew him?

I can understand from what you have written, how you're relationship has got to where it has.

JamJars80 Mon 12-Nov-12 22:21:41

Charbon, still in the relationship. Want to leave, but I can't bring myself to do it. Dh is complete opposite now to how he used to be and I'm finding this extremely suffocating. He is desperate to make amends but my heart has 'checked out' of the relationship. Like OP said, over the years I've put up barriers and now it's just too late to break through them.
I can't say exactly what's happened as I know people in RL who are on this forum, but things have happened to make us both realise how much we have let the marriage go. He's now trying too hard and I'm not trying at all anymore.
Anyway. I don't want to start going on about my sob story on OP's thread.

IslandOfTwinkles Mon 12-Nov-12 22:42:43

Oh my gosh. OP - are you me?!?!?!

I really and truly could have written practically everything you've said!

As far as my marriage is concerned, I too look back and realise that making a distant man fall in love with me and marry me was like some kind of obsession that I clung to no matter what. I used to think that my world would crumble and I would never recover if he left me.

Now I am the one thinking of leaving him. It's like I have finally grown up and seen the light. Not sure exactly what's done this. Is it having children? Is it going back to work and being 'me' again? Is it just age and maturity? Or is it seeing for myself the kind of affection that another man can offer me?

So, to answer your question about moving on from an EA. I went slightly further down the road you are on. We kissed several times, we were very close friends, we kept in touch by text or e-mail all day every day for almost a year.

He showed me more affection in that time than dh ever has and quite frankly I would love the chance to get to sleep with him.

He feels more guilty than I do though (I am assuming because he has a better marriage than I do) and he decided about a month ago that we should cut the contact.

He's right of course. I respect that and I have left him alone.

So now here I am wondering whether my marriage has already ended. The little bit of closeness we ever had in our marriage was all driven by me. This last year, I have withdrawn all that and now we hardly ever touch each other or have a 'proper' conversation at all.

That said, I am in no position to leave and so I am using this time to put my life back together, so to speak. Focussing on work, friendships, and other outside interests. Keeping busy is my advice for filling the void. As for more long term decision making, I'll let you know when I get there!!

Not sure any of that will have helped at all actually, but I suppose there may be some comfort in knowing that other people go through similar problems. I wonder just how many actually? It's not something you can really talk a lot about in real life, is it?

AboutToSelfDestruct Mon 12-Nov-12 22:58:31

Amillion, yes, always been like it on and off but mostly on. At first I think it was a chellenge. I was young and niave.

Jamjars, please please join in. I could have writen everything you just said. Obviously its horrid to know others are feeling this, but equally reassuring to know that I'm not going mad.

Island, yep thats what I did at first. Clung on. I've done things the other way around. I've spent the best part of the last year and a half filling the void to try and make life full and happy without it all being about DH. I hope this works for you. Sadly it didn't for me. I just came close to burning out, and the love and tenderness was still noticable in its absence. Its on'y now that I've 'checked out' that its being offered but I just can't do it. Have you talked to your DH about any of this? Does he know about OM? What makes you feel you are in no poition to leave? I'm thinking that the constant reminder of what is absence in our relationship must be worse than actually being on my own, but again, I could be being niave. Its the effects on the children that are bothering me most. I'm certain I would have gone by now if it wasn't for them.

amillionyears Mon 12-Nov-12 23:11:18

Can I ask how old you and your DH are?
And how old the OM is?

And a bit of a strange question
At the beginning of your relationship with your DH, if he had shown that he loved you a lot easier, would you have run away from him then? Because you would have proved to yourself that he loved you?

Charbon Mon 12-Nov-12 23:19:40

I think it's a fruitless activity trying to get an emotionally unavailable man to love you and as you've now found out, belately winning his commitment and affection was never the prize you thought it would be.

You say it's the effects on the children that are keeping you in your marriage, but is that completely true? As it's taken the prospect of another relationship to galvanise you into action, are there are any fears about being single and co-parenting the children from two homes?

If you're only staying for the children and you'd cope emotionally on your own, it really is better to separate as amicably as possible. I often wish more people would leave for the children - not stay for them - because an emotionally arid marriage and one parent whose emotional space is occupied by an affair is not the best environment to raise children or give them models of healthy relationships.

IslandOfTwinkles Mon 12-Nov-12 23:22:45

Burn out! Ha ha! Yes, I think that is exactly where I'm heading. After spending years with small children being desparate for some time alone with dh, I am now keeping myself out of the house and busy as much as possible.

And no, it's not working for me either. But it's a distraction whilst I feel that I have no other option.

I'm not scared of being alone relationship-wise. I couldn't possibly be anymore lonely than I am in this marriage anyway. But I am scared of being alone, and skint with 2 children. I've got no-one else that will help with the kids, and I fail to see how that life could be any better for any of us than what we have now.

There's nothing bad in our relationship. Dh is a perfectly calm, kind, supportive man. But his emotional closedness has gradually killed off my love for him. I never even saw any emotion from him when our children were born. In 15 years together, I have NEVER seen him cry EVER.

And of course now, for the first time in my life, I have realised that not all men are like this. I think that has been the nail in the coffin for me really.

Brutal honesty - if OM wanted to continue our relationship I would happily get my love and affection from him without breaking apart our day-to-day family life. Dh doesn't really seem bothered what I do.

He knows that I have had a very close friendship with a man from work, and he knows that I don't see him anymore and that I miss him a lot. He's even seen me cry over him FFS, but he asks no questions & shows no feelings.

Charbon Mon 12-Nov-12 23:41:15

I think a lot of the relationships I read about on this site and see in RL are just stories about bad couple-fit. People who were never going to bring out the best in one another but who as individuals could have been happier with other people, capable of making someone else happy or happier alone.

I've seen several men in RL whose apparent 'emotional unavailability' was confined to the relationships they were in and several women whose depression and mental health challenges turned out to be situational and because of romantic unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

It seems a terrible trade-off to put financial security and a level of personal comfort above freedom and personal growth - and an awful relationship legacy to give to children who would always prefer their parents to be happy and fulfilled. That's why I genuinely query whether people really are staying in relationships for the children, or whether they are staying for their own interests. Because these stagnant, unhappy relationships aren't good for children at all.

GoodGirlGoneBad74 Tue 13-Nov-12 15:47:22

Hey guys...I posted yesterday if anyone remembers and am ALSO in this kind of situation :-((
My hubby wants desperately to win me back and I have to let him try and also make the effort myself...it´s the right thing to do and if it works, best for the whole family.
He has been madly scouring the internet and has diagnosed me! (and I think all of you lot too...haha!) We have "Walk Away Wife Syndrome" !! Yes, those Americans will come up with this stuff, won´t they??
Anyway, google it, it´s quite typical.
The question is, whether we can be saved! The hard part is convincing yourself that you WANT to be saved!!
I broke ties with my EA today....it was SO hard, even I was shocked at how bad it felt. I´m 38 and I think it´s the 1st time my heart has been broken. I´ve been in secret tears for 2d but I know it´s the right thing to do....if I don´t try this one last time with the man who does love me, (he just hasn´t known HOW to love me )and who says he´ll do anything to try and make it work, then I´ll always be the baddy, the homewrecker and the selfish cow who walked away and broke 3 people´s hearts (my DH and my 2 sons)
I don´t know if it´s too late....I hope not!

amillionyears Tue 13-Nov-12 15:49:43

Good luck GoodGirl.

LouMacca Tue 13-Nov-12 16:31:31

Great post Charbon you are spot on..........

AboutToSelfDestruct Tue 13-Nov-12 19:03:36

Charbon definately spot on and this relates to me very much so "several women whose depression and mental health challenges turned out to be situational and because of romantic unhappiness and dissatisfaction."

Good girl, I will google that! Hope you're bearing up ok.

Its been a crazy 24hrs for me. More confirmation of how OM and I feel about each other...still nothing physical, but the increasing emotional bond combined with the attraction was loud and clear. I decided last night to end things with DH as even if things never came to anything with OM I really couldn't bear the thought of loosing him, and loosing him is the only way I can attempt to salvage anything from my marriage.

I had plans in my mind about how to tackle things, but this morning I was put on the spot by DH who is rightly feeling very confused at the moment and was looking for reassurance that I couldn't give. It lead to a big heart to heart and I was totally honest about everything.

DC now here so will have to finish off later...

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Tue 13-Nov-12 19:34:19

So sorry to hear this, OP. I think you're very strong to make this decision.

I wanted to ask Charbon and anybody else really... if someone is having an affair - emotional or otherwise - does it AWAYS mean that their primary relationships suffer or are some people sufficiently able to compartmentalise the affair and never give it a thought when at home.

I think this CAN'T possibly be the case, that - man or woman - the person having the affair kids themself that they're being all things to all people but is that the case generally?

Charbon Wed 14-Nov-12 00:18:18

Oh yes, some people can compartmentalise, but it's quite unusual.

IME, people often think they are compartmentalising until the truth comes out - and they are often horrified when their partner recalls incidents and behaviour that hurt very much at the time and seemed bewildering and out of character. At that point, they start to remember various incidents such as poor sleep and vivid dreams, arguments with others, the feelings that everything was out of control - and conclude that they weren't compartmentalising at all.

It's not always to do with what you might think either; conflicted feelings for two people. Sometimes just the stress of a generally honest person being deceitful for a short time, causes the lack of compartmentalisation and 'hitting out' at home and at work. For people who are essentially kind and honest, it's very hard to live with a split-self. It's especially difficult for people whose marriages/relationships were good before the affair and understandably the changed behaviour is much more noticeable in a couple who had always been close.

But there are people who can compartmentalise successfully. IME these are usually people who have always had quite tight boundaries around different areas of their lives e.g. have never discussed work or introduced a partner to colleagues, always had very separate friendships/hobbies, work away from home a lot. As characters, compartmentalisers always come across as closed books and tend to be very controlled.

OP good luck and glad that you have brought things out into the open. I only hope you've been honest with your husband about this other relationship though, because his hurt will be greater if he finds this out later down the line.

You sound switched on enough not to put too many hopes in this new relationship and I'm sure you're probably aware of the poor success rate for relationships that start as affairs, but if you're convinced you and your family would be happier if you and your husband separated, regardless of the other man, it sounds like this was the best option. I admire you for bringing things to a head before prolonging any deceit - that takes courage and guts.

AboutToSelfDestruct Wed 14-Nov-12 12:43:17

Thanks LWITW and Charbon. The last 24 hrs have been crazy and feel like a lifetime. I have told DH everything and have agreed readily to cut contact with OM while we see if there is anything to salvage from this. Good girl, I'm with you. I feel like my heart is breaking, and its a bit more complicated as I am also very close to his DC's so I feel like I'm letting them down so much. We are also going back to our counsellor as soon as possible to talk things through.

There has been so much talking and crying already. I'm not sure if its just a reaction but DH's response has been so unlike what I was expecting...in a good way. Its like this really has been the most massive wake up call for him and all of a sudden he says he can see life so clearly and realises he's had his priorities all wrong and he so so badly wants to make this work.

I feel totally numb right now. Its all so surreal. Good girl, how are you doing?

The one thing I am so pleased about its that I didn't let the deceit continue. Feelings that are kind of obvious, but kept in your head are one thing, but as soon as they were acknowleged as mutual I have held my hands up and am trying to sort things out. I can't imagine the hurt and mess that would have been caused otherwise and I think that the chances of a happy outcome with either scenario would have been low.

Charbon Wed 14-Nov-12 16:00:32

Your husband might well need to address his responsibility to your marriage About but he is not responsible for you forming an attachment to someone else. If you are now on a path of rescuing your marriage, one of the things I'd suggest you face up to as a couple is how you individually resolved your dissatisfactions within it. His response to his own dissatisfactions might have been to withdraw and with-hold and your response might have been to try, give up and then punish. Both of those approaches are acts of sabotage towards yourselves and your relationship, with the additional factor that another person is now involved in the hurt created.

I think if you take a one-sided approach to this where your husband takes the blame for your affair and the state of your marriage, you will both be missing an opportunity to resolve your individual unhelpful character traits as well as the opportunity to realise the potential in your relationship.

GoodGirlGoneBad74 Wed 14-Nov-12 21:27:35

Hey, SelfDestruct!
We are living parallel lives! That is exactly what happened with me! I was fervently hoping my DH would admit he felt the same and we would just amicably stay together till our lives were on track to split in a civilised manner! (haha...yeah right, dream on!)
I am still missing the other guy like hell and finding it so hard to stay away (ie no Facebook, Twitter, e-mails, etc)...have managed so far - about 36h that is!
Just hoping that in time, I will start to feel a lot less for the EA guy and see that rekindling things with DH is what I truly want.
It´s just so hard when you´ve had that excitement of thinking of being with someone else and telling yourself, "no, never again, this is the guy you are with till death do you part!"
I´m trying to tell myself to grow up and stop being a twit but I feel like a drug addict suffering withdrawal (well, I imagine it´s similar !)
Hoping time will heal all....we must keep in touch and support each other if possible....it´s great to feel less alone (I have absolutely NOBODY I can tell this to sad
I´ll check in with you tomorrow.
Stay stong xx

GoodGirlGoneBad74 Wed 14-Nov-12 21:30:14

Errr, make that "Stay Strong"
oops grin

AboutToSelfDestruct Wed 14-Nov-12 22:33:50

Absolutely are! Been about 36hrs here too. The fb / twitter / text thing is just so accessable it makes it so hard. DH and I still not stopped talking which is good, but I can only process our relationship with him and need to pull apart why I ended up where I did and examine my feelings for OM if we can move on from this. I have to do that one by myself. Although I am also talking to loads of friends about this. Is there anyone at all in RL you can confide in?
Its all about small steps. We are doing really well and doing the right thing. I so believe in fate and whats meant to be will be. Feel free to PM if you want to talk more, but will check back in tomorrow smile

GoodGirlGoneBad74 Thu 15-Nov-12 14:32:55

Thanks,SelfDestruct :-)
I will PM you no doubt at some stage and you too feel free!
I too believe in fate and my EA´s parting words were, "until we meet again"...he thinks we are meant to be, which is so lovely but not at all helpful as part of me is now clinging to that...urghhhhh...STOP IT!!
I wish I could talk to somebody but my closest friends and family are really far away (I live abroad) and I can´t think of anyone who has come close to an affair yet (well nobody has ever even hinted at it...who knows?) All my friends seem to be real goody-goodies!! (Like most Mumsnetters, apparently too! Haha)
Hubby is being so sweet and lovely and so easy to live with...makes me feel all the worse for hankering after a man who, on paper, is nowhere near as good a "catch" and is even 8 yrs older...jeez! Wondering if this is a midlife crisis female-version!!
But hey, we ARE doing the right thing. Marriage is a committment and you have to pull out all the stops before you walk away.
Just not sure I believe in it anymore the way I did when I made my vows....think I´m a different person now :-(

GoodGirlGoneBad74 Fri 16-Nov-12 10:13:16

Oh poop! He texted me last night....am so close to falling off the waggon now....heeeeelp!
And my DH is being Mr Perfect as well....it just feels like it´s too late and my heart has moved on...oh boo bloody hoooooooo
I think my nickname is more apt than intended....I am an evil woman...somebody tell me to be a good catholic girl again- quick!!

LouMacca Fri 16-Nov-12 13:09:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AboutToSelfDestruct Fri 16-Nov-12 14:44:53

Well you are doing better than me then. I caved last night and sent a text. It was just killing me as there was no goodbye. The last contact before this all kicked off had a VERY different feel to it. Had a lovely reply that made me even sadder as he is just such a wonderful, sensible guy, who obviously really cares about me. I will now do my very very best not to contact and ride it out.
Goodgirl, everything you said about hubby being so lovely and the age gap and the "on paper" and the wondering if having a mid life crisis is all very very true for me too! All I can think right now is that DH feels he has really changed. His words and actions show that he really has changed, so if I don't at least try then I may well end up with regrets, and I don't want that as divorce is so painful. I also feel like its too late and that my heart has very much moved on but who knows? I'm going to give it 5 or 6 months as thats how long my heart has been gone. If things can't come back then at least I know I tried, and if OM is the person I should be with then we stand a far better chance if I have this sorted first. Do you think some counselling would help for you and DH? I don't think I would get anywhere without it right now, as I've got nothing left to give. The counselling for me is definately last chance saloon. Good luck in staying strong, and hand holding smile

AboutToSelfDestruct Fri 16-Nov-12 14:45:08

...AM hand holding!

GoodGirlGoneBad74 Fri 16-Nov-12 18:02:10

Hi there
Just phoned OM and told him that really REALLY going to try and cut contact to make a go of things.....I nearly threw it all in last night and decided to embark on an affair and everything.....but it´s not me- I´m a very honset and open person and rather bad at lying so it´ll come out...I know it will, and as we both are saying....one last big try has to be worth it...even if just for our own self respect!
x

AboutToSelfDestruct Fri 16-Nov-12 19:02:15

Well done! But do keep that contact cut. Its so hard, but while he is 'there' it will be impossible to give things one last go with DH. Its hard enough when they are in your head, but the contact just keeps it going. I also think ahead sometimes and imagine my DC's asking me why I left their Daddy (if thats what happened) Hardly going to be able to look them in the eye if the real reason was an OM and it won't teach them any great lessons. If DH is the right one for you, you need to give him that chance. If OM is the one for you, he will still be there. Alternatively neither could be right!

GoodGirlGoneBad74 Sat 17-Nov-12 14:34:57

You are totally right! We seem to be on the same page... I'm managing to see things without being clouded by emotion now which makes it SO much easier and more straight forward to decide to do the right thing.
Still feeling a void in my life, but hoping that too will go in time :-)

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