Saw an interesting debate on some morning tv programme when I was skiving working from home about what was worse: your DH having a long and involved EA or a one night stand.
I would think the EA would be worse. A one night stand (for example, a deeply regretted drunken fumble) to me would be far preferable to a sustained email, text and meeting-for-coffee relationship in which a deep bond was formed.
EA. I can almost understand a one night stand. It's a moment of stupidity.
But an EA is a prolonged period of taking your time and attention away from the relationship you should concentrate on, with the added side of probably saying things about your partner and betraying their secrets.
Having just found out 5 weeks ago that DP had 18 month EA culminating to physical 4 months ago, have to say the EA bit hurts the most. The connection that they had that we used to have but lost because he was giving it to her is worse than the physical ending of it.
Agree that this is like asking whether syphilis is better than gonorrhea, but it all depends on the context. I think a lot of women still think deep down that men are a slave to their sex drives and so meaningless sex is more forgiveable than actually liking a woman and valuing her. It must be really hard if you're on the receiving end of this to separate out your judgement of a bloke as your partner or as a man. In some contexts, a bloke who just dropped his pants at the first opportunity is much worse than a man who found himself getting too deeply involved in a friendship but still had some boundaries.
Continued, prolonged lying, deception and the taking away of the connection I have with DH- that would be the end for me. A ONS would hurt, badly, if I knew about it, but I wouldn't necessarily expect him to own up about it unless there were a real danger of me a) finding out from someone else and b) contracting some unpleasant disease. I am not in the camp that believes that 'honesty is all', in this respect- I believe that if either one of us had a ONS the guilt is ours to bear and bear alone- as punishment, I suppose.
My sister's husband had an EA when my sister was heavily pregnant with their second, much-planned child. He kept bleating to her about how he couldn't understand why she was so upset- it wasn't like he slept with her or anything!
That might be his cack-handed way of saying that he didn't break his vows just for an orgasm muddyboots. As I said, it must be so bloody hard to see it like that when you're in the thick of it, but I think I'd have more respect for a man who actually liked the woman he was having sex with and hadn't just done it with the first woman who'd asked. I'm always a bit more when men tell their wives that they were 'just using the OW for sex' as though that's acceptable, especially if the OW was told this was lurve....
I had an EA with a man for several years before I met DH, he would justify himself by saying we had not had sex, my retort was if you feel the need to justify then you know it's wrong. If I thought DH was doing that now I would be v hurt, marriage or long term relationships are about trust, partnership and hinesty
I could come to terms with him crossing friendship boundaries and forgive that eventually I think, but risking our family for sex with some random woman, not ever and especially if a drunken dalliance, I would lose every ounce of respect for someone so weak and it would kill my feelings faster than a grenade going off. As badinage says, at least feelings are involved in an EA. I don't think one is "worse" than the other in terms of how much it would hurt though but for me personally I could never forgive physical infidelity because neither of us have had sex with anyone else so it would ruin what makes us special to me. It would be the total lack of respect, for me and for himself.
An emotional affair would destroy me. The thought of him being that close to another person, sharing things, telling him he loved them...just thinking about it makes me cry. We are SO close emotionally, even though we're having problems at the moment, and we have been right from the beginning.
I would have forgiven a one night stand when I was younger, but not now. It would still be awful, but I wouldn't feel as betrayed. I would just lose a lot of respect for him because I know he would only do it because he was really drunk. And I'd be pissed off that he'd got to that stage of drunkenness where he wasn't thinking straight.
The EA would make me feel that perhaps he would have been happier married to the OW and insecure (maybe he wouldn't have cheated on her). A ONS, I would only expect to be told if he wanted me to do something about it i.e. throw him out. Other than that, it definitely wouldn't upset me as much as an EA.