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Emotional Affair?

(51 Posts)
ChilledGuy Mon 23-Sep-13 07:09:05

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?.

Gingerandcocoa Mon 23-Sep-13 07:20:29

I feel really sorry for your wife. You've barely even mentioned her in the entire post.

Buzzardbird Mon 23-Sep-13 07:22:26

She isn't even interested in you unless she is at a loose end. It is you who is doing all the chasing. How would you feel if it was your dw doing this behind your back?
Perhaps she is, I wouldn't blame her.
Either pack it in or leave your dw so she can find someone she can trust

ChilledGuy Mon 23-Sep-13 07:26:09

Sorry I didn't mention DW much, I love her very much and apart from the lack of time we get together everything is fine. Just reading on here about EA and other threads has made me see what an idiot I've been.

Gingerandcocoa Mon 23-Sep-13 07:29:29

Actually, I'm not even sure this would be an emotional affair, because as I understand an emotional affair is where two people are emotionally attached. And in this case it sounds like you're in love with OW who really just sees you as a friend / backup option.

Please focus on your marriage, on your wife who (I assume) loves you and cut contact with this woman immediately.

Or, come clean with your wife and end things, so she can find someone who deserves her.

TiredDog Mon 23-Sep-13 07:29:46

Would you be ok with your wife behaving like this?

You are removing energy and time and care from your marriage
...and giving it to this woman

It's a lazy affair and you're kidding yourself (or have been)

Cold turkey and never see her again. Or tell your wife.

TiredDog Mon 23-Sep-13 07:30:18

X posted with ginger but v similar thoughts

kalidanger Mon 23-Sep-13 07:38:24

Think about the amount of time you spend chatting on FB. Do you do it while you're at home? Spend that time with your DW instead!

I understand the OW is a friend but she's not your DW's friend, is she?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 23-Sep-13 07:40:52

The fact that you refer to this friend as the OW throughout speaks volumes. You know you have to cut contact with her. She's this unobtainable, fantasy figure currently, she's using you as an ego-boost (and I think you're flattered) and - whilst we all need friends - this is not a healthy friendship.

kalidanger Mon 23-Sep-13 07:44:11

And the origin of 'chilledguy' as a moniker. Do you want to believe that this is a relaxed and cool thing, that you can have female chums while your married and you'll 'behave' so it's fine and not a problem?

I think you know that's not really true or reasonable.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 23-Sep-13 07:46:00

BTW... you say you've already cheated on your DW once and you 'worked through it' but you've clearly learned nothing from the experience

kalidanger Mon 23-Sep-13 07:48:25

Good point Cog. I bet your DW is suspicious that you're up to something. Again.

And you are.

ChilledGuy Mon 23-Sep-13 07:55:56

There's nothing behind my moniker it was literally what first came into my head. I only put OW as I saw it on here and didn't know what else to out. DW is not friends with OW and she doesn't like the fact that OW likes any photos of me I put on Facebook.

I knew I've been an idiot I guess I just wanted confirmation from a third party as I don't really have anyone I could confide in like this in real life . I'm going to mute her on Facebook (deleting would raise suspicion on both sides) and not get in touch.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 23-Sep-13 07:59:58

Whether the DW is suspicious or not, 'working through it' after an affair means being truthful. That's the part the OP seems completely oblivious to. How difficult would it have been to say 'DW, I met this old friend at a party and I'm worried about her after what I've seen on FB?' It's not a 'weird emotional affair cycle' therefore, it's a web of deception, dishonesty and ego-centric thrill-seeking.

I think the minimum you do now is tell your DW that you've been in contact with this woman. (Leave out the smug crap about sleeping on her sofa because she really won't believe you.) And then drop the contact and ffs learn from your mistakes.

Meerka Mon 23-Sep-13 08:02:33

I actually feel ChilledGuy is being honest with himself after reading some of mumsnet and is having a bit of a wake up call. There's some pretty hostile responses here and I think that its not the most helpful to someone who seems to be really trying to look at himself clearly.

ChilledGuy its clear that this makes you uncomfy'and pricking your conscience. That's the most important thing. So ... I think you know what you need to do.

This Emotional Affair has gone too far, yeah, but as long as your focus really is on your wife I don't think there is the faintest need to tell her and let her find someone else. You've cheated in the past, it looks like you don't want to do it again, so just explain to the other lady as nicely as possible that you need for your own sake not to be in further contact, and then keep well clear.

ChilledGuy Mon 23-Sep-13 08:31:07

I've felt sick reading what some people have been put through on here and knowing I did the same many years ago (it was short and I ended it as I knew it was wrong but no excuses though).

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 23-Sep-13 08:33:27

So why go for a repeat performance? You knew you weren't getting back in touch with this woman for reasons of friendship. You knew your DW didn't like you being in contact with her. It was selfish to plough ahead so, I'm sorry, 'feeling sick' just sounds very fake and self-pitying. Grow up.

justmuddlingthroughit Mon 23-Sep-13 08:49:44

I agree with Meerka. Op, you've been a bit of an idiot, but you recognise it and have asked for advice.

You need to cut all ties with this woman. You have been putting more energy into your relationship with her than you have with your wife, from the sounds of things. She sounds like she is using you as an ego boost, as other posters have noticed, and tbh is a bit of an emotional mess. You are not the one who can help her, you have other responsibilities, ie your wife. You have hidden the extent of your friendship from your wife, therefore you know it is not acceptable.
Put it this way; who would you rather spend your time with?

justmuddlingthroughit Mon 23-Sep-13 08:52:28

And no, don't tell your wife everything. You'd only be doing it to salve your own conscience and that's your own problem. Besides, she probably knows more than you think, given her dislike of the OW's 'likes' on Facebook.

ChilledGuy Mon 23-Sep-13 09:01:17

DW 100%. I think OW has filled a gap as DW's job means we don't get a lot of time together and I'm down the list on priorities which is fine and im very supportive. I think I've seen it as an ego boost and maybe I'm an attention seeker. I think I've just come on here for help/advice and the slap around the face and positive comments have been helpful.

Chilledguy, you've realised that what you've been doing is wrong, which is half the battle. You know what you need to do now - stop having cosy chats with the OW. Now.

Some of the responses here have been very harsh. Would they have been the same if the OP was a woman? I doubt it.

AnyFucker Mon 23-Sep-13 09:22:14

This isn't an emotional affair, you have simply been used as a mug by this woman

If your wife finds out and ends your marriage, which I wouldn't blame her for, it would be because of your cheap and pathetic need for attention. Any attention that is, even from someone who clearly doesn't give a shit about you, just how you can flatter her ego

You have been very stupid. Jealousy of your wifes job is a Piss poor excuse.

Like cog said, it seems you are not learning from past mistakes.

anon2013 Mon 23-Sep-13 09:35:26

I think the very fact OP has sought out help on here says to me that OP is learning from past mistakes.

Cease all contact with OW and focus your attention on DW or if she's not around friends/family.

You can do it. Grass isn't greener and all that.

Cosydressinggown Mon 23-Sep-13 10:07:27

You have behaved badly - taking her back to her place when you met her that night is inexcusable, regardless of where you slept. Talking to her about not wanting to have an affair with her as you don't want her to have bad memories of you. Saying you wish you were her boyfriend.

I'm sorry, OP, but you have cheated on your wife. You have engaged in inappropriate behaviour that would be deeply hurtful to your wife if she knew. If I found out my husband had taken a drunk woman back to her flat and 'slept on her sofa' and then hidden it from me - especially a woman I didn't like - I would leave him.

Now, how to fix it? Well, you've obviously identified that you're having an off/off affair, so that's a start. Next, don't just 'mute' the OW, wait till next time she tries to engage you on FB and then keep it very above board. Talk about your DW a lot, and the nice things you do together. Do so during any future chats.

She obviously comes to you for an ego stroke when she's between boyfriends - make it clear (without saying so) that this is no longer available to her. Then mute her after a while - but she'll probably stop talking to you anyway as it's not you she likes but the attention you give her.

Next, focus on your DW. Lots of people work a lot so stop making that an excuse. There is plenty of time to spend together if you work hard on it. You've certainly spent plenty of time on Facebook - you could instead use that time to plan nice things for your wife, cook her a meal for when she's getting in after a long day, take up a hobby together, go to the shop and buy a DVD and bag of doritos for a night in together... whatever. Get your head back into your marriage.

anon2013 Mon 23-Sep-13 10:51:38

Agree with the latter part of the previous post. Hope it works out well OP and you've taken some of the comments on board.

ChilledGuy Mon 23-Sep-13 12:39:13

Thanks for all your comments really appreciate it.

SweetSeraphim Mon 23-Sep-13 12:41:47

So what are you going to do ChilledGuy?

ChilledGuy Mon 23-Sep-13 12:48:40

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.

AnyFucker Mon 23-Sep-13 12:55:28

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.

anon2013 Mon 23-Sep-13 13:08:33

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

SweetSeraphim Mon 23-Sep-13 13:16:53

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.

AnyFucker Mon 23-Sep-13 13:20:01

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.

Wowserz129 Mon 23-Sep-13 13:20:10

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.

Meerka Mon 23-Sep-13 14:00:38

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 )

Dahlen Mon 23-Sep-13 14:44:32

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.

MissStrawberry Mon 23-Sep-13 14:49:35

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.)

ChilledGuy Mon 23-Sep-13 14:54:08

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.

MissStrawberry Mon 23-Sep-13 14:58:47

Do you have any time for your wife?

ChilledGuy Mon 23-Sep-13 15:01:19

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

MissStrawberry Mon 23-Sep-13 15:11:51

But when she isn't you are mooning after another woman.

SweetSeraphim Mon 23-Sep-13 15:15:22

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.

ChilledGuy Mon 23-Sep-13 15:16:53

I wouldn't say that it's not like the second she's gone I message her or anything.

Dahlen Mon 23-Sep-13 15:20:32

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.

SweetSeraphim Mon 23-Sep-13 15:33:07

<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.>

This ^^

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.

TalkativeJim Mon 23-Sep-13 15:49:46

Yes, mug.

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.

SweetSeraphim Mon 23-Sep-13 15:51:55

As usual, TalkativeJim speaks perfect sense.

anon2013 Mon 23-Sep-13 16:03:46

Well said Jim. Hope you see through her OP and spend more time with

Cosydressinggown Mon 23-Sep-13 16:26:15

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.

Jan45 Mon 23-Sep-13 16:37:04

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?

ChilledGuy Sat 28-Sep-13 07:47:07

5 days in and it's weird she's not got in touch but I feel relieved. There's been a couple of fawning statuses from her which I haven't responded to at all. Thanks for your harsh/helpful words they've helped a lot.

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