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Is it an emotional affair? what to do?

(26 Posts)
eswort Sun 06-Mar-16 14:29:25

Hello..and thanks for talking the time to read this to give me any ideas or advice anyone might have. Me and my wife have been together for about 20 years, I love her to bits and I always felt that she was my soul mate, my best friend in life, sure we’d had our ups and downs but the foundations of our relationship I never doubted. I always felt we were each other’s rock in the craziness of life. Anyway after 3 kids we moved to a nice semi in suburbia about 3 years ago.

We had a very friendly neighbour who unfortunately split up from his wife a few months after we moved in. My wife was starting a new course and would study a lot at home. My neighbour was in a position where he didn’t have to work and was very friendly and outgoing and he and my wife got on very well and I guess they’d see each other most days for a chat in the drive as he was often working in his garage out the front. My wife would go round for a coffee from time to time and they’d text each other regularly. A bit over a year ago I started to get a little suspicious that they seemed to be texting each other a lot and getting on “very” well and he was always there fiddling about in his garage so was always there for a “chat” with my wife when around. I’d talk to him as well and got on fine with him as a neighbour. He is very religious, a "new earth creationist" who found god a few years before and would often speak to my wife about “spiritual matters” and lend her material. I was always a little cynical smile

My uneasiness continued and my gut feeling was there was more to this then “just being friends” with the guy neighbour. I’d ask her from time to time if she had any other feelings for him then just him being a friend, which she flatly denied, stating he was just a friend and accusing me of having a problem with her having a male friend and that I was being a bit paranoid about it. My middle son told me last Summer that he was a little worried as mum was always outside talking to the neighbour to the point where he had checked her phone but it was just friendly conversations and I reassured him.

I carried on feeling uneasy about it, but if I brought it up I was just met with increasing hostility and that I was being stupid. My wife had a crappy phone which had a tendency to pocket dial and one day she’d called me at work as she was leaving his for a coffee. Anyway they had a 15 second hug and at the end of it he said to her “I really love hugging you”, she didn’t reply but I phoned back and hit the roof. She had told him that I had a “problem” with him and that I'd overheard the tale end of their "goodbye"! He put his house on the market a few days later with the intention of moving in with his girlfriend just down the road. My wife felt sick because she thought she’d caused it. He was always going to do this, but did it a bit sooner than he seemed to have intended.

Things settled down but my gut instinct still made me bring up her feelings towards from time to time him but this was always denied as nothing more than friendship. She was keen about attending his church which I said I don’t mind about you becoming a Christian or exploring your faith but go to a Church he’s not involved in and also I don’t want you to go round his for a coffee as it makes me uncomfortable, talk to him in the drive. I was accused of not wanting her to have male friendships and forcing her to give up the friendship and that I basically had an unwarranted issue.

About a week later I went on the computer and in the history found stuff from about a year earlier when my wife had looked up love compatibility between her star sign and mine and his, dealing with unrequited love, loving someone you can’t have, this was over a number of months. I wept for days and felt heartbroken, I spoke to my wife on a number of occasions about it and initially she denied it but eventually said there was a time when she had to question her feelings but this was just a fleeting thing, but as I pointed out it was over a few months and why would you type in Loving someone you can’t have or dealing with unrequited love into a search engine unless that was what you were thinking or feeling at the time. I’ve never really got a clear answer to this, but I now really struggle with being lied to when I asked her about her feelings in the past and being made to feel stupid and paranoid and the fact that I feel so betrayed.

I can’t help but feel she still harbours some feelings towards him and something has changed between us since she met him. It’s such a struggle when my best friend in life lied repeatedly to me especially when she saw that was in such distress and it and that I just wanted reassurance. She tells me to move on and to drop it, and that she hasn’t done anything wrong, implying that it has to be “physical” but for me I don’t know if it’s that easy, I can’t help but see it as an emotional affair, they still text a bit and I see him as well and get on okay with him. As much as I love my wife I just don’t know if I can forgive her, don’t get me wrong I quite often find women attractive and maybe have the odd fleeting fantasy! It’s only human. But to not recognise that you are developing loving feelings towards someone else and then out of respect for your spouse and your marriage vows to not do something about it or curb it and then to lie to them when you can see they are distressed by it, just feels so wrong. I know we all make mistakes and I’ve told s fair few white lies in my time but this for me has crossed a line. I love her dearly but now question if I can move on, or at times that maybe it’s best to let her go. I really don't want to go to counselling, but I'm not sure how to sort out my feelings..why cant life be simple smile

MatrixReloaded Sun 06-Mar-16 14:58:33

Sorry to say it sounds like a full blown affair . There needs to be no further contact between them.

Mondrian Sun 06-Mar-16 15:15:35

Perhaps she had a wobble ... time to call it one way or the other by either going for divorce/separation or repairing the damage and strengthening your bond - your call.

HoppingForward Sun 06-Mar-16 15:39:59

Trust your gut instinct.

She should be putting your feelings first, if it makes you feel uncomfortable (and it would me) and you have told her so she should want to make you feel secure.

eswort Sun 06-Mar-16 16:56:45

Thanks for replies..I have 3 lovely kids and couldn't face putting them through a separation or worse, nor myself to be honest. I need to sort out my feelings, Its really hard when you love someone so much, I cant understand it, if my wife was unhappy about something I was doing them unless it was something crazy like smiling at the shop assistant and that she then didn't want me to go in the shop anymore then I'd do it. I'm left feeling that I'm being over bearing/controlling, I've been deeply upset by whats happened. After he moved I said I didn't want her to go round for a coffee anymore. A week later she did when his new girlfriend was out, saying that he invited her round before he moved, saying to her that once in his new place you need to come round, I think its partly that he wants to save "her soul" he's always talking about god and that he's got the "hots" for her a bit. She said that I couldn't just ignore him and cut him off that would be odd (from his perspective) and that she knew I'd react badly so didn't say anything and when she was out walking the dog recently she went round again, not planned, they just met in the street, she said it felt fine, and she thought I'd be okay with it ..and I wasn't! I did go and see him as I texted him to back off and felt bad about the content..he was really nice I told him that I had an issue with him hugging my wife for 15 seconds and then telling her he loved to hug her, he now wants to be my mate, I cant help but feel that its all a bit premeditated there's something about him that leaves me uneasy and always has. He's an absolute charmer and has a reputation of being very "good" with the ladies.. before he found God he was on a mission to sleep with 7 women in 7 days he got to day 5 and then felt he wanted the emotional intimacy and stopped. Its like he's charmed my wife without it being physical. He seems a little unhappy in his relationship she sounds a bit bonkers..the irony is that she is a psychiatrist! smile its like he's in it for the long game I think him and my wife did/do get on very well. I end up being a bit needy and needing reassurance, being a bit moody and not as jolly as I once was which probably isn't that attractive and he's always full of the joys of spring! He keeps inviting us to social things and it'd be hard to get out of. My wife walks the dog past his place most days and she doesn't work Mondays and Fridays and I'm always wondering if and when she'll go round again. its all a bit messy but bottom line is I don't truly trust her anymore and that she still harbours feelings for him that are more that just a friendship and that there are a few cracks in the foundations that need a bit more than filler smile

HoppingForward Sun 06-Mar-16 17:51:12

You need to tell her everything above. You have the right to say you are not happy.

I dragged these feelings around for 3 years (also have 3 DC) before I started putting myself first, he certainly wasn't and she doens t sound like she is putting you any where near first, walking the dog past his place ffs.

We are separated now and my DC actually thank me for being strong enough to do it, it's a happier home and I'm a happier person. I have completly detached any feelings for him apart from pity though so I do understand it takes time.

What is she doing to help you?

MatrixReloaded Sun 06-Mar-16 18:12:50

I've sent you a pm Eswort.

Your not being controlling. If your wife is /was having an affair it isn't because of anything you did or didn't do. If people are unhappy they can always leave. Your wife sounds like a typical cake eater.

What does his girlfriend say about their relationship ? Do you know her well enough to talk to her about your concerns ? Don't be his mate and don't attend social events with him.

I feel for you , I've had a similar experience.

Marchate Sun 06-Mar-16 18:17:18

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

eswort Sun 06-Mar-16 19:22:34

I have told her all of the above, I hate what I've become in regards to being suspicious, looking for "clues", she often says I'm be hypersensitive about things as I just sense some distance, that something has changed, its easier now he's moved, though only a couple of 100 yards down the road and she has to walk past his place to get to the big field to walk carpet face (dog!) His house is set back from the road so chance meetings are when he out and about on his moped which is often. Its that she feels that she hasn't done anything wrong and that she repeatedly lied to me about her feelings towards him I struggle with, as I just wouldn't behave in that way. When my emotions get the better of me I have to bring it up as she's supposed to be my best friend and I should be able to talk about anything, but she quickly get annoyed and last time said I'm pushing her away. Often I end up apologising as I just want things to be okay again. I don't doubt she still loves me but given what she looked up I cant help but feel she still has loving feelings for him and that just eats me up. I struggle with moving on, maybe its a question of time and for me to be strong and loving and find find my own contentment outside of our marriage etc and not to be whining and moody, but sometimes when I'm hurting I just want love and affection and to be appreciated which seems lacking. I look into her eyes and think how much I love you but I just don't sense the same passion in return.

I do appreciate your comments and its helpful for me to write out my thoughts/feelings here. In someways its easy when your looking for a bit of feedback from complete strangers
thanks.. and God bless (not that I believe..certainly not in a Christian sense smile)

LucySnow12 Sun 06-Mar-16 21:00:15

You'll find lots of help and advice on this site:

Zanymummy Sun 06-Mar-16 21:53:28

When I was in my emotional affair and it took me long enough to admit it and I'm not proud to also admit I would have let the marriage burn for the other man I went to after posters here and some friends reinforced that I was in denial over my affair, Good luck and trust your initial gut reaction to him

Marchate Sun 06-Mar-16 22:09:18

Am I the only one who thinks this complicated story sound a bit... fictional?

eswort Sun 06-Mar-16 22:27:26

Thanks again for your comments. .apart from the last one! Ffs do you think I would go to all this effort to bare my soul and look for a bit of advice /support. .but really all along I'm making it up!! For what purpose? ?

eswort Wed 09-Mar-16 16:20:18

It's reach a bit of a stale mate where I bring it up at my peril. .we've jokingly given him a nickname of voldermort "he who should not be named" I was wondering what people's views are on spying on one's spose. .I'm aware that morally and ethically it's dodgy ground but to go through someone's phone etc when you suspect them of an EA kinda feels ok..and maybe in time I'll fully gain the trust back and stop, but in the meantime to put my mind at ease or worse reinforce my anxst with the heartbreaking possibility that intimate contact is continuing feels right

MatrixReloaded Wed 09-Mar-16 17:06:04

You cannot mention him. Wow. Just wow. And a joky nickname to boot.

Personally I would snoop. The trouble is it sounds like even if you find proof your not going to have the confidence to successfully confront her or to demand change. A poor confrontation is worse than no confrontation.

Until you are able to assert yourself properly nothing is going to change. Your wife has all the power in your marriage . You really need to actively work on asserting yourself and increasing your confidence before you can successfully tackle this.

Summerlovinf Wed 09-Mar-16 17:09:32

She's had or having an affair with this guy and if you get the sense that she doesn't love you back you're probably right. ...I'm assuming you know both deep down. If you are happy to keep turning a blind eye then do, but she's already shown you she's not willing to give up seeing him. You're not even allowed to bring up the subject of her affair without feeling bad.

eswort Wed 09-Mar-16 18:32:18

I think it's that she doesn't feel she's done anything wrong. .she has said that to me a couple of times.To Google the things I outlined above, for me implies the thought and feeings you were going through at the time doesnt it?? even though it's over a year ago doesn't make it any easier for me especially when I was lied to repeatedly..I think she realises it's not going to go anywhere and I truely think she wouldn't do anything 'physical' but would like the continued emotional intimacy ..which leaves me very uncomfortable. .I think ultimately that in some ways she gets on better with him..especially in the last few months when I've become a bit growly and suspicious. .and he's full of the love of jesus!..I will be a bit more active in checking what's occurring. .ultimately I will only put up with so much...hope I'm wrong

Emmiy Wed 09-Mar-16 18:57:18

You think she realises its not going to go anywhere? And you truly think she wouldn't do anything physical?

The fact that she wanted to become involved with him and felt herself in love with him means that of course she would have had a sexual affair if the situation and opportunity had presented itself. These are adults not teens. I think what is needed here is some marriage counselling to get to the bottom of this infatuation she had. A marriage counsellor would enable you both to talk and both to respond to the others feelings. This needs sorting out if you are to continue with your marriage in a positive way.

eswort Wed 09-Mar-16 19:40:10

My dear wife is not one to readily admit mistakes ..I think she's just resigned to the fact they won't be together as in "looking up loving someone you cant have" last year. For her to cross that line would be currently very unlikely and likewise in the past I'm certain she hasn't as to do so would be "wrong" and couldn't deal with the fallout from her folks and the effects it would have on the kids.. also i think part of her wants his new relationship to work whilst harbouring her secret desires. ..I think she's resentful of me for putting major dampeners on it because I think she feels I'm being unreasonable and oversensitive To continue the intimate friendship with him and maybe find god with him is morally okay from her point of view ..but I obviously I feel very uncomfortable about it..

eswort Wed 09-Mar-16 19:55:53

I think her infatuation is that she just met someone who she got on so well with and allowed herself to open up to more and more and reached a point where your suddenly questioning your feeings for the other person and comparing them to your current partner and thinking 'shit"! It just feels like somethings died a little in her heart for me since. I will try my best to be joyful and work at not being moody git and being a loving husband ..but I can't put up with being lied to again or anymore deceit so will have to play detective for a bit

MatrixReloaded Wed 09-Mar-16 22:15:33

Op why would you work at being a loving husband and act like the situation isn't bothering you when it is ? Your not being very honest with yourself , your wife , or even om for that matter. He wants to be your mate and you say you get on ok with him !!!

You must be absolutely furious. Why are you not communicating this openly to both of them? Being the nice guy isn't working for you. From your wife's point of view you'll be looking incredibly weak. You've tolerated all this , you won't assert yourself , and your friendly with the om.

Don't doubt that the om is telling her that if she was his wife he wouldn't let her out of his sight and he'd confront any man who made moves on her. Your wife (wrongly) will take your passivity as proof that you don't care about her.

eswort Fri 11-Mar-16 18:45:20

The situation bothers me greatly and has shaken/changed the foundations of my relationship. There are times when I've been hopping mad about it. To be loving and more joyful I think will allow for better emotional intimacy and therefor the opportunity to explore it/ us more. I think to go in "guns a blazing" with "wft is is going on!! I ain't having this!!" and being all cross will just push her away.

To be honest the toughest, most awful thing for me is that she feels she just gets on better with him, he's unusual lets say, he's sucked her in with his charm and wit.

As I said earlier his main purpose seems to be more to "save her soul" with a little element of perhaps getting in her pants at some point in the future, but that's way on the back burner for him ..or so I think.. For my wife its an unrequited love, she see something in him which is lacking in me. There was a time when we had complete devotion to each other, I never doubted our mutual love, no matter how badly we may have argued, but now somethings different, somethings changed. But don't get me wrong I'm happy in my skin and yeh I've got some faults, but I'm ok, I'm a decent, honest person.

I know she loves me and wouldn't engage physically with him or cross that line. But ultimately she feels something for him which has been at the expense/ questioning of our relationship. Should I get cross about?? maybe..but it is what it is. Its tricky..and I'm not sure where to go to from here..

Emmiy Sat 12-Mar-16 16:29:45

Don't ever be sure that she wont get physical or that it hasn't happened. That's why so many people have affairs. They think they wont but it happens all the same. So if you think her affections have changed and she fancies him more then that is not good. She needs to see you as a desirable man whom she has to try harder with again. Maybe you should take up hobbies that include women, that take you away from her and where she can wonder a little at whom you are talking too etc. Maybe what was lacking for her was the excitement and you need to bring that back. Doing things together and having a laugh is great but you also need that little friction to spark things up.

eswort Sun 13-Mar-16 19:13:12

Thanks Emmiy..thats all good advice I was kinda thinking the same..I do try and make sure that we go out once a week if poss, and I play in a band which is a good way to meet people and I love doing yoga and tease DW about how lovely the teacher is smile but i enjoy it for the physical and spiritual benefits and it feels really good and I'm honestly never distracted by all the other lovely ladies in leotards smile

But it all came to a bit of a head again though over the w/e. Wife went round ex neighbours on Friday but his GF was there as well..she came back with some books on the finer points of the bible his GF had lent her and was open enough about the visit..again he was riding past on his moped and invited her round.

Initially I was okay about it I suppose.. but my mind kept going back to the stuff she looked up about him and I became a bit subdued, she asks whats wrong a few times..I knew that if I said what was on my mind its gonna be potential fireworks..which it was.. I said I just really struggle with her friendship with him and given the stuff she'd looked up about him, that I said I thought your having or had an emotional affair with him and told her to look up the definition which she refused. She said "I'm blowing it all out of proportion and that this has got to stop!" ie me bringing it up..she later came up stairs (after a fair amount of prosseco) and said I was psycho and that if I keep going on about it "it will destroy us".

We sort of made up again today..but I'm stuck.. and maybe think I am blowing it all up out of proportion and I'm going a bit bonkers about it. It could be that "Mondrian" is right and that she just had a bit of a "wobble". She says that she doesn't fancy him but acknowledges that they can talk about most things and that they have a really good friendship, I know that she's talked a bit about our relationship in the past, though i have told her I don't want her to, which she said she wont, but again its like I've got the problem because she'll talk to other friends (female) a bit about our relationship and she doesn't see this as being any different.

She said that she once had to question her feelings as they were getting on Sooo well, but this was fleeting and I need to get over it. But to find in the internet history from a year ago my wife had looking up love compatibility between her star sign and mine and his, dealing with unrequited love, loving someone you can’t have and this was over a number of months. doesn't imply fleeting feelings , does it??! and she lied on many occasions when I questioned whether or not she had ever had any feelings for him.

I don't know if she's deluded or I am, but my uncomfortable feelings about it just wont go away.. I can be fine for a few days a week or 2 maybe but then i'l bring something up about it again and everytime I do the fallout seems to get a bit worse. Hey ho...

Emmiy Sun 13-Mar-16 21:32:45

She is allowed to have friends of course but this is different. She felt a emotional non platonic with him and he has not prevented it. She knows what you found out and how you feel and is being disrespectful to you by continuing to see him and playing with fire.

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