Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Emotional affair...what next?(32 Posts)
I've posted before but don't know how to link. Have been married for 13 yrs but unhappy for 2. Nothing majorly wrong just unhappy. Fallen out of love with my OH. Over the last few months I've been in contact with an old boyfriend. The one that got away. Call me blinkered but its as tho we were never apart. We haven't yet met up as he lives abroad. (With kids but divorced). I have now decided I want to see him and that enough with the EA but also enough lying. I won't see him whilst still with my OH. I have this week been talking about separating, spare rooms, moving out, etc. my OH is desperate to not have a broken family and to stay with me. He says he will live in a sexless marriage if it means we don't cause the heartbreak of divorce for the kids. He can't understand why I want to split up given that we still get on in general and hold the same views/ideals on life. I guess the real reason for me, other than falling out of love and being bored is the OM. And I know I am a fool but that is my stupid decision. I am trying to make one sensible decision by separating before making it a physical relationship. Should I be honest with OH and say I have feelings for someone else? I don't want to cause more hurt than necessary but he just doesn't understand why I am doing this and I can see why not. I am so confused about how to handle this. I know it's wrong and I know nothing may happen with the OM but I am prepared to take that chance. I just want to take it in the most appropriate way....ie not when I am still married. We have spent so long on email and FaceTime I'm pretty sure of both our feelings. And well aware that if my OH saw those messages he may well already consider it an affair. However, we both have kids in foreign countries therefore have no permanent future together for the next 10 yrs at least. But I am still prepared to be with him in a long distance relationship. I know I'm crazy. I am very emotional right now and can't think straight. If you are still reading, thank you.
I am confused. If you know its stupid and crazy, why are you doing it?
It sounds like you think the other man will fix everything and make you feel better after 2 unhappy years in your marriage. The thing is, it will be very upsetting for the children if you separate and of course for their Dad if he doesn't live with them anymore and what if things do not work out with the OM then? All that heartache for your kids.
I'd read Shirley Glasses book, have a long think about this before doing anything.
Those rush of feelings when you're first attracted to someone is very strong and it can make it all so so confusing. But I personally would urge you to think, before you do anything rash.
I'm going to try and find your other thread though, so I can understand things better and what lead to this.
Keep in mind that when you compare the other man with your H, you are not comparing two individuals, but comparing how it feels to be in an idealised, romantic relationship, with how it feels to be in a reality based, long term relationship.
Does that make sense?
You have to separate the two things. The old flame represents several attractive aspects... the excitement of unrequited love, the thrill of secrecy & flattery & a hope for the future.... rather than anything more substantial at the moment. Always a big contrast with the dull repetition of a long-term relationship. You represent the same thing to him and, should you actually get back together, you could find that, once the initial fun wears off, there was a good reason why you split up in the first place. So please be realistic about it rather than romanticising.
Your marriage is a separate issue. If it has been genuinely unhappy for a couple of years than be very honest with your DH about that rather than dithering. if it's over, tell him it's over. If there's scope for repair, explore it. Mentioning another person should only be brought into the picture if you know it's definitely over. There's no going back really once you've admitted to someone else and nothing is worse than keeping someone dangling while you make up your mind.
I've found your old thread, I think you need to re-read the advice on there to be honest Jenny: www.mumsnet.com/Talk/relationships/1557909-having-an-affair-sort-of?reverse=1
Thank you both.
I know it is stupid and crazy but my feelings for the OM have always been there. He was my soulmate. We had talked marriage 20 yrs ago . It got complicated an there were reasons it ended but I have always regretted it. I have thought of him many times over the last 20 yrs. not just on occasion. I loved my husband but in a different way. Not with any of the passion or total all consuming feelings I had for the OM. That has all flooded back.
I don't want to walk away again. I want to be with someone who I feel that kind of love for.
Or does it not exist after the initial rush.
I don't want to (physically) cheat on my OH but the temptation and actual wanting to is so strong. Strong enough to make me feel I should end my marriage.
Read Shirley Glasses book, order it on Amazon today, read it on your Kindle. Read all of it.
It may help. But I think you're so infatuated with the OM and this 'dream' that you're blind to all the advice you've been given on here
My ExH left me for the OW, he was just like you, so in love with her and after 3 years of hard work they're over. He threw it all away, said all the stuff you're now saying and it didn't work out.
So end it then. If you've crossed that mental bridge already then there's no point dragging things on. All you can do is try to manage the fall-out best you can, do the 'right thing' as much as possible and behave fairly and decently at all times. Could be the biggest mistake of your life or could be the best thing you ever do.... but you won't know if you don't take that chance.
FWIW I'm also in contact with an old flame. Similar to you there's a combination of loneliness and dissatisfaction with relationships in the mix. Similar to you we'd talked of marriage in the old days but life had got in the way. It was also like we were never parted. We met up a few times but it was enough for us to realise that, whilst we'll always be friends and we'll always love each other, we're very different people to when we first met and we'd have been a disaster if we'd got married. The 'initial rush' of reconnection didn't last that long.
Yes. You have hit the nail on the head. I am so infatuated that I can't think straight altho I can see that. I even crazily think that if I got 3 yrs with him I'd be happy.
OH cannot understand why I want to separate. I just trying to do the right thing somehow. Somewhere.
It's like a drug. I have to see him. But how do I get abroad without OH knowing otherwise? I have no other reason to go away solo.
My decision is to see him. But my problem is how to do the right thing if possible by my OH.
I am so mixed up right now
Going to amazon now....
Why are you chasing this man around the world? Why can't he travel to see you? He's the single one and, unlike you, he has nothing to lose. If he really values you, surely he'd do that for you? Meeting up might be what you need to pop the romantic bubble....
Yes he is planning on coming here...I would rather go there to see how he lives and his whole setup etc...there's complications.
(He will pay airfare etc. can't use my OH money!)
I guess my question is, do I tell OH I have possible feelings for someone else so he at least can understand my insistence on separating. It does that just cause hurt for no reason. I'm not trying to admonish guilt. That will be my cross to bear for the rest of my life.
If you tell your OH about this other person you have to realise that there is no going back from it. Unlike other reasons for separating which can be addressed with effort on all sides, it is very difficult to rescue anything once trust has been breached and there's another person in the mix. If you think your DH won't accept anything other than someone else as a reason for you going, and if you feel compelled to be utterly honest, then just be aware that it's a bridge-burning moment.
Really don't recommend flying out to see this OM. No idea what the 'set-up' could be that is so complicated but I think it would put you in a very weak position with him, be impossible to achieve discreetly, and you would regret it in time.
Thank you for your advice. You are right....bridge burning moment. I am so torn because as you say, all the other issues can be worked on. And he doesn't have a clue. The complicated situation is that OM has one son (18) living with him. Other one lives with mother. He is 'slightly' autistic. I'd like to know more about this. He lives where he works 24/7. I'd like to see how he lives. His life sounds crazy and I know there is no way I could live there anyway because of my kids but is like a better understanding of how he lives. It is so different to me. OH is really pulling on my heart strings in every way but I am just not attracted to him phsically any more and haven't been for a year. He is content to live with that. I can't. Obviously whilst hugely attracted to someone else. I lost the attraction to my OH before I was in touch with OM so it wasn't down to that.
As I said before. If it's over, it's over. But have the courage of your convictions and the confidence to break out for the reasons that are important to you, above and beyond any feelings for the OM. You could use those reasons to separate temporarily because I actually think you need time to yourself to think about all of this. Being with your DH is clouding your judgement just as much as fantasising about the OM is also clouding it. You seem to feel compelled to choose one or the other when the reality is that you may be better off solo for a while.
I agree with above. If its over its over. Do the decent thing and end your marriage, dont leave it to rush to somebody else.
My XH had an emotional affair and I could understand it, but not really see how it could take over, but having spent the past week emailing a potential date and getting far too involved emotionally, I can see how it works now...
That buzz when you get an email or text, the excitement of reading it, replying to it, waiting for a reply.......... getting all deep and meaningful.. I can see it all now.......
so if a person is a bit unhappy in their marriage, an emotional affair can come along, take over the heart and the head and become all consuming and leave no time at all for reality......
Your husband is desperate, but neither of you can stay in a sexless marriage for the sake of the children, it would not work long term. You need to take OM out of the picture. Do you want to be with your husband or not? That is the decision that you need to make.
Thank you for your help and advice this sunny Sunday morning
I guess if I really am honest with myself (and you!) that all the other things in my marriage could be worked on but I want out because I am having an (emotional) affair which I want to take further. For years I have wondered what I would do if we were in touch. I have always known I would leave OH for OM.
My marriage isn't happy at the minute and hasn't been for sometime but I guess the thing is I don't want to fix it. I don't want to put the effort in. I want OM.
I know I sound like a heartless bitch. I'm not. I'm just really telling you honestly my feelings. And trying to save my husband the pain and everything else that comes with it from me having an actual physical affair. I'm trying to get out first.
When you've decided it's not worth working on and you don't want to fix it then you really have to make a plan to get out. It is not heartless to end it. It's heartless to keep going for appearances sake when your heart isn't in it and you have no intention of making an effort You have to be fully honest with your DH, including telling him about your old flame & take the full force of the emotional backlash on the chin. You'll have to offer to leave on the spot... no hanging around like a bad smell.... so work out where you're going to stay, what you're going to tell the children, what you'll do for money etc. This is the reality of marriage break-up, unfortunately, and it's really not going to be pretty. There is no way of avoiding hurting people in this situation but also be aware that there is no way of avoiding hurting yourself if your judgement is subsequently proved to be flawed.
Why is the marriage unhappy? I'd like to know a bit more tbh.
I have to say your H sounds a decent man, staying with you, in a sexless marriage, so he can be there for the DCs, is very noble. And I do think this is going to hurt him and the children a lot. So I really do think you need to be utterly sure, before you commit to an involvement with the OM.
At the moment it's a fantasy; it's all been done on the internet and Skype only. I do not condone cheating but perhaps as Ergo says meeting up maybe helpful. It doesn't sound like it could work tbh, with his living arrangements and your DCs. It wouldn't be fair on your H to move abroad with the DCs imo And it would be terribly upsetting for them, moving away from friends, home and their Dad. You do need to weigh everything up and think carefully.
I hope you can make the right choice, it is obvious from the 3 threads you've posted on in relationships, that this is something you're grappling with a lot.
You seem to feel compelled to choose one or the other when the reality is that you may be better off solo for a while.
I agree with this statement a lot. I think you need to work out why this marriage has failed and work on anything you did to contribute to it, so that you do not make the same mistakes, or bring the same issues into your next involvement.
Thank you for being honest with us and with yourself. If you really dont want to put the effort in to save your marriage, then please end it for your husband's sake.
My XH walked out of the blue in Feb. After we talked for hours, he came back for 6 weeks.... then he went again. He should have never come back.
He says that his feelings changed over a period of time and now all I can think is how long was he here when he didnt want to be. All through those 6 weeks when I was treading on eggshells being perfect wife so he didnt leave me, he was having EA with OW. Its soul destroying.
If you ever cared for your husband then please leave him. If you make a mistake and end up unhappy then so be it, you make your bed and all that, but please dont mess your H around in the process. It will be easier for him to make it plain that its over, rather than string him along.
Dont mean to offend, and trying not to judge you, just speaking plainly as somebody on the receiving end of an EA and it is not nice...
Have you ever spoken to a real-life person about this plan - someone you respect?
I think you'd find it helpful to see that person's body language, facial reactions and to hear their tone of voice when you tell them this story. Because in your threads, nothing anyone writes can dissuade you from what we can see objectively, is a disastrous set of decisions that is likely to hurt many people, including yourself.
In answer to your specific question on this thread, now that you've told your husband you want to end the marriage, I'd advise complete honesty about the OM.
I don't know whether you ever read or contribute to other threads or whether you just post them, but you might have seen the many threads from people whose partners have ended the relationship while pretending that no-one else is involved. It causes unnecessary hurt, confusion and bewilderment and also prolongs hope that the relationship can be rescued. Once people find out there is someone else involved, it often helps them to see their situation - and their spouse - much more clearly.
Your husband's love for you is possibly causing him to worry that you're depressed or having a breakdown - any of the myriad excuses that people who love and trust give for their partners' hurtful behaviour. With shock comes denial and for people to get over loss, they need to move on to the other stages of bereavement.
I'd advise telling one neutral person your plan before doing anything and do it face-to-face. If you're still resolute, then tell your husband the truth. I don't necessarily agree that it would be a bridge-burning moment in terms of his desire to stay in the relationship. I think if he loves you as a person and that love is deep enough not to want you to get hurt and make a terrible mess of your life, he - like the neutral friend I'm suggesting - might just get through to you about how insane this is.
But I think you need to see all this in person, to realise it.
Again thank you all. Will try and answer your questions...
I don't feel it is a case of one or the other and not wanting to be alone. I feel it is a case of wanting to leave one so that I can be with the other. Does that make sense.
Yep, I am so grappling with this a lot.
OH is a very decent man.
IMO marriage has just broken down because he works long hours and I have become self sufficient. I have asked him on many occasions which he completely acknowledges to work less hours and take a pay cut to spend more time with us. He never would. To him, financial success is everything. I don't nag anymore about whether or not to make dinner and when will he be home. I make something cold so it doesn't matter. I don't look to him for my fun or happiness anymore. He has become so wrapped up in his work he has lost his charisma and fun outside the workplace and I appreciate that he does that for me and the kids but I have told him in happier times that it isn't the best option. Money can't buy happiness.
There is absolutely no way I would move abroad with the kids. As you say, I couldn't do that to OH. Or my parents. It could only be a lob distance relationship at best until the kids leave home (av age 35 these days?!?) ...or at least go to uni when I could have extended breaks there.
Thank you it helps to hear from someone on the receiving end of an EA. I fully appreciate I am making my bed etc. did it help that you knew about the ea or would it have been better not to know?
I have spoken to my homeopath about this (she is also a couples counsellor) altho not about wanting to tell OH. She didnt suggest much was mostly listening and letting me get it off my chest but she did say that despite my feelings for OM she thinks my marriage is retrievable.
I don't post on other threads. From the slatings I had here previously I thought that probably nobody would be interested in my opinion tbh.
Interesting what you say about being honest giving OH the chance to understand and the other stages of bereavement etc. he does think I'm depressed and unhappy with my life. I have tried to tell him it is just him not my life. I know it sounds cruel but I am trying to be as open as I can. To a point.
What I was asking you was whether you have ever told a RL person that you have ended your marriage mainly because you want a long distance relationship with someone you believe to be your soul mate? And that you've done this despite not seeing him in person for 20 years.
One of the reasons you need to be honest with your husband is to give him the opportunity to make his own decisions. Often when people hide away in work and are emotionally unavailable, it's because of their own unhappiness and dissatisfactions in their relationships. On the face of it, your husband doesn't want to change the status quo, but the opportunity to meet someone he will prioritise over work might liberate him and help him to realise what he's been missing. I've seen this happen in numerous RL situations.
If you part, I'd strongly advise separate residences and finances. This is much less confusing for children than parents sleeping in separate rooms and one of their parents having an affair. It's also fair to your husband who might like the opportunity to become more involved in parenting and this might also be the catalyst to him making lifestyle changes so that he doesn't live to work.
Above all, be honest. Not 'to a point' because that's selfish. Really honest.
My H left me for another woman 3 years ago.
The DCs still suffer tbh, as they miss him so much and they both have a variety of behaviourial issues. I went through depression due to it all. I'm out the other side now and help on a divorce course, where I frequently see the injured/ betrayed party struggle to move on with their lives after. That's why I keep insisting on exercising caution, as I see the devastation left behind but I think Charbon's advice is very wise.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.