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Emotional Affair - help me get over it.

(83 Posts)
UpsandDowns Mon 08-Jun-09 12:31:47

Hi, I'm a namechanging Dad. Used to be a regular but not so much lately.

Last week I discovered my DW (been together 15 years) has been secretly seeing and emailing an old flame. He got in touch with her, they met up 'innocently' but secretly and have now seen each other about 10 times and exchanged around 1500 emails over 3 months. The emails have been getting progressively filthier (I've read them all) and my DW was leading the chat. They met up 3 times in the 2 days before they were found out. They claim not to have had a physical relationship, and I believe them but it would definitely have led there (she denies this, but I think she's kidding herself) if his wife hadn't caught him out.

Our sex life has been pretty abject for the last 10 years, and worse since we had our baby, who's 3. Maybe twice a year if we're lucky. She's always had a low libido and I suppose I've just got so used to rejection that I'd given up, although I have wanted her so badly. There doesn't seem to have been a 'route' to it anymore. She's a very closed off person emotionally; we're like a gender stereotype reversal - maybe that's been part of the problem.

I still love her and want her, but I know she wanted this 'affair' to carry on and she's nowhere near over it. I'm torn apart between jealous rages, panic attacks, and needing her love so badly. So I'm at turns trying to be 'hard' (which doesn't come naturally to me) and positive which makes me feel like a pushover. I love her and love my boy and just want us to be happy, and I want the fireworks too. I want what he's had.sad

Has anyone been in a similar situation and managed to move on successfully? And any thoughts on this coming from the male point of view?

PremenstrualChickens Mon 08-Jun-09 13:54:11

I have no experience, but couldn't read this and not reply. You sound so very sad I am so sorry that you're going through this. Would your DW consider counselling? Have you told her everything you've written down here?

UpsandDowns Mon 08-Jun-09 14:12:06

Yes, I think she will consider counselling. She says she wants to save the marriage and realises that this has been a symptom of the longer term problems, but thinks she hasn't had an affair because they didn't have sex. Whereas I feel totally betrayed.

She needed counselling after DS was born and promised to get help (for PND) but never got round to it and I was always just a nag for suggesting it.

She knows exactly how I feel.

PremenstrualChickens Mon 08-Jun-09 14:26:06

My gut reaction is that she needs to take responsibility for your feelings of betrayal. She was emotionally available to someone else, while shutting you out. Sounds like an affair to me!!! If I were in your shoes, I would insist on the counselling. It would be a condition of the marriage continuing, if I'm honest. She needs to show you that she means what she says.

mrsboogie Mon 08-Jun-09 14:26:39

Oh I'm so sorry. Does she say she still loves you? do you know who ended it between them?

If you want to try to save the relationship (and you sound like you do)you need to know that this is what she really wants too, or there's no point. You need to think about whether you can forgive her eventually - it will take some time before you know the answer.

Don't be a pushover - that will make her resent you. If she thinks you will put up with this type of behaviour you have to show her that she is wrong. Make her email him to say she never wants to see him again or else you want her to leave. No sneaking back in touch when the dust has blown over. She should change her phone number and email address to prove it is over.

Get the counselling going - no nagging, no prevaricating just make the appointment and she goes along or she's out the door.

UpsandDowns Mon 08-Jun-09 14:43:53

She says she still loves me, is still in love with me. Misses how we used to be before the baby; we were very close and had him after 12 years. But she clearly has very strong feelings for this bloke, who I'd like to kill. Not least because she's been doing most of the chasing.

It ended because his wife found out.

I have to give her time to get over him. But I'm too jealous and feel like I can't move on until she's over him. Catch 22.

It's not like I've been happily plodding along ignoring her needs; it's always been me who has raised the problems with affection and intimacy in our relationship. It seems like she's found it too hard to tackle and has gone for the easier option of getting that elsewhere. I could have done that, but I didn't. I trusted her too much.

PremenstrualChickens Mon 08-Jun-09 14:56:48

You are understandably hurt. Based on what you say, I think it's high time that your DW started doing some of the running and making this up to you. Would she be giving you 'time' to get over another woman? Would you expect her to? From the outside, it looks a little like she's getting the better deal out of this relationship. You deserve to be treated better than this. I think mrsboogie makes some good suggestions re changing email/phone number.

mrsboogie Mon 08-Jun-09 15:15:41

So messing about with this bloke was easier than sorting out the problems between you? I don't understand that at all.

Why do you have to give her time to get over him? If she is still in love with you there shouldn't be too much for her to "get over" in respect of this other man. It was just a thrill, a distraction, a trip down nostalgia lane wasn't it?

You are being very reasonable - maybe a little too accomodating - if I was in your shoes I would not be waiting for my partner to "get over" this person, I would be expecting them to be bending over backwards in their efforts to get me to stay. I would be shouting and demanding answers and threatening divorce(out of earshot of the DCs of course) Show her how you feel and how much this has affected you.

UpsandDowns Mon 08-Jun-09 15:20:29

She had a secret hotmail account which I now have the password to; but she could just set up another hotmail easily. Also he has her work email and that can't change.

I want to trust her but am finding it hard to resist the urge to check her mails, phone and blackberry because I trusted her before and I was wrong. If I do that I'll surely just push her away. I can't just kick her out anyway; I can't lose DS and she'd get custody - he loves her to bits anyway so I wouldn't want to take him from her.

UpsandDowns Mon 08-Jun-09 15:23:56

I have threatened divorce if it continues. But women hold the nap hand when it comes to the kids. I know I need to be tough, but I need this to work, I want what we have but better.

Maybe I just need to be as devious as she's been when it comes to policing what she does, but it's hard to move on at the same time as doing that.

UpsandDowns Mon 08-Jun-09 15:25:44

"It was just a thrill, a distraction, a trip down nostalgia lane wasn't it?"

I think it progressed beyond that emotionally for her at least. sad She hasn't been able to deny it.

PremenstrualChickens Mon 08-Jun-09 15:41:48

I don't want to upset you, but the reality is she needs to be showing a lot more willing if she wants to save your marriage. It sounds like you're still tip toeing around her and her feelings. Er, does she even recognise the enormity of the hurt she has inflicted upon you? hmm I understand your reluctance to push it when it comes to custody of your son. I have no advice there, I'm afraid

SolidGoldBrass Mon 08-Jun-09 15:46:30

A relationship can only be saved if both partners want to save it. I think counselling is probably the best idea for you as a good counsellor can either help you sort the relationship out, or, if necessary, make the split as amicable as possible.

UpsandDowns Mon 08-Jun-09 16:05:31

Don't misunderstand me; I do realise that I need to grow a pair grin This is a difficult situation to take the upper hand from though. I'm still shocked and jealous.

PremenstrualChickens Mon 08-Jun-09 16:08:21

Have you got RL support?

mrsboogie Mon 08-Jun-09 16:10:23

I agree with the previous two posters.

I don't get the sense from what you are saying that she sees the enormity of what she's done. I cannot for the life of me fathom how you can bear to be under the same roof as her after the things you have read between them nor how she can look you in the face. If things broke doen it wouldn't be you who is guilty of breaking up the family but her - your wish to not break up your son's family is laudable but she didn't show the same consideration to both of you did she?

You both really need to know why it happened and whether she (and now you) really do want to remain in the marriage. That's the only way either of you can even begin to move on.

UpsandDowns Mon 08-Jun-09 16:29:44

"If things broke down it wouldn't be you who is guilty of breaking up the family but her"

That's fine but it's no consolation.

A couple of friends know what is going on.

I did leave for a couple of nights then came back to try to sort things out. She's saying all the right things about making things better between us and how stupid she's been, but she can't deny her feelings for him. That's what I can't get past. She wants to be honest - now. She'd like to see him one last time (platonically) for 'closure', I want him removed from the face of the earth and for me to be the only man in her mind, and would go apeshit if she did see him.

PremenstrualChickens Mon 08-Jun-09 16:37:40

I would absolutely not allow a 'closure' meeting. How old is this woman? 13? Are you supposed to stand in the wings while she plays out this great tragic romance? Time for madam to hear a few home truths, methinks hmm

mrsboogie Mon 08-Jun-09 16:40:02

yes, no way should you allow that.

mrsboogie Mon 08-Jun-09 16:44:18

she has a bloody nerve to even suggest it. why would she think that you would accept such a ridiculous suggestion?

that's another thing that makes it look from this perspective that she doesn't seem to realise the enormity of what she has done.

poshwellies Mon 08-Jun-09 16:49:40

I don't think she is telling the OP the full truth IMO sad.

UpsandDowns Mon 08-Jun-09 16:57:06

I think she is telling the truth. I don't even really care so much whether they had sex or not. [well, obviously I do, but...] It's the betrayal of trust and the fact she clearly has strong feelings for him. If it had been a one night stand it would have been easier.

But I think she does see it as some great tragic romance.

PremenstrualChickens Mon 08-Jun-09 17:06:56

Time to remind her it's not. She is not living in some god awful Mills and Boon novel. In reality, she has been incredibly selfish and destructive, hiding from her real problems in a fantasy. What did she imagine would happen long term?

mrsboogie Mon 08-Jun-09 17:07:03

no, whether sex happened or not is pretty much irrelevant.

I'm sorry - you asked for help on how to get over this but you're not getting it OP sad I can't think of a single comforting thing to say. Maybe counselling will help her to see that she has been indulging in a fantasy in order to distract herself from the reality of her life. I hope she sees the fling for what it was and realises what she stands to lose with you.

You sound like a great guy - at the moment she doesn't deserve you.

UpsandDowns Mon 08-Jun-09 17:36:43

Well I am pretty bloody perfect. smile No, obviously not. I contributed to letting things get to this bloody awful point. I thought I was being patient and understanding but I was just letting things drift too far.

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