Ending an Emotional Affair is Like Quitting Cigars


I have to confess that I’m addicted.  To cigars that is.  When I take a break from work through out the day, or if I need to gather my thoughts, I’ll go outside and take a few puffs on a cigar.  It relaxes and distracts me to the point where I can get back to whatever I’m doing with better focus.  I guess over the last year or so, it’s become a habit that I need to give up.  I want to give it up.  It’s not that easy.

Monday morning as I left the store where I purchase my cigars, I thought about this past Saturday when Linda and I spent our entire day (12 + hours) driving to, attending, and then driving home from our daughters’ dance competition.  I didn’t have a cigar all day and im lookin for some nice deals starter vape kit.  In fact I didn’t even think about, nor did I crave them once during the entire day.

Even as I sat through dozens of brutally bad dance routines (except for our daughters’ routines of course) where I tried everything I could to sway my attention from the awfulness that was before me, the thought of heading out to find a cigar to smoke never entered my mind.  And I felt better that day.  I felt healthier.  I could breathe better.  Why was that?

As I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t need or want a cigar because I was removed completely from them.  They were nowhere in sight, smell or reach at any point during the day.  At no point could I simply grab a cigar, walk outside and fire it up to experience the pleasure that a not-so-good cigar provides me.

So how does my cigar story relate to an emotional affair?  Well, first of all, just like with cigars, I obviously should have never started in the first place.  And as it is with most addictions, the quitting process took way too long and was far more complicated than it should have been.

It took some time for the emotional affair to evolve to where I realized that it was not all that great.  The once carefree, exciting, fun days gave way to Tanya’s jealousy, irritability and attempts at controlling me. I was leading a double life and it was becoming too difficult.  Tanya was affecting my emotional health and well-being in a negative way, and the affair was certainly taking its toll on Linda and our family life. The simple solution would have been just to quit cold turkey.

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For me to break away from the emotional affair, I had to completely remove myself from Tanya.  I had to quit the talking, texting and meeting for lunch – cold turkey.  The addiction was tough to break.  I knew she had to be out of sight, and out of mind for me to be able to, and when I finally decided that ending the affair was the thing to do, that’s what I did. That’s what you or your spouse needs to do.

Now if I could just do the same with these damn cigars!


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6 Responses to Ending an Emotional Affair is Like Quitting Cigars

  1. Yuki March 22, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    What I’m hearing is that as long as the affair is exciting, there is no way a person is going to give it up. It has to run its course and show itself for the addiction that it is. Is that an accurate statement? So if I had confronted my husband with an ultimatum during the initial stages of his affair, when it was fun and exciting and meeting some of his needs, he would have left. Given his personality type and mine, we would probably now be divorced.

    • Liz Lemler March 22, 2011 at 10:59 pm #

      Yuki, I don’t think that it’s true for everyone– that it has to do with how exciting or new the situation is. I think in some cases, the sooner you find out the better; before people are too involved for too long and before things get really messy. It probably depends on the personalities of the people involved, how the situation is handled, the degree of maintained pursuit of the outside person, among other things.

      In my situation, when I found out, my guy had been involved with the OW for less than a month. So I would say that things were still very new and very exciting for him. But it only took him a week to initiate no contact, and maintain it (going on 8 months now). Within that first week after dday, I found out he had seen her at work and she said things like “I know I can’t make up for six years, but I know I can make you happy” and I ended up finding a text to her saying “I have feelings for you but I just need time” — he claims (and is not proud to admit) he was just trying to string her along. He didn’t know what was going to happen us (him). I had only just found out, and kicked him out, so he wasn’t sure if we would even stay together. He says didn’t want to lose everything, so he was trying to ensure a back up plan. Not really the best idea if you want to stay in your relationship, right? But I guess that just speaks to the irrationality of the fog.

      So perhaps that’s part of it. Perhaps it’s the uncertainty of what the future holds. The insanely irrational belief that it’s better to be left with something (the OW) than nothing in case the primary relationship ends. And again, we’re talking about someone who is not thinking logically and is not considering consequences. So to the cheating partner, it may “make sense” to try to stay involved with the AP until things are sorted out.

      Maybe that’s really the bottom line — we’re dealing with people that are doing and saying things that just don’t make sense. I guess that’s one thing that’s still very difficult for me to accept — the insanity of it all. I’m a logical, rational, analytical thinker. And I can’t wrap my brain around some of the impulsive and self-indulgent behaviors my partner engaged in. And I have tried desperately to figure it out — I think we all have. But it will never make sense. We’ll never have all the information about what happened, what was said, etc. We’ll never know what was going on in our partners’ heads (if anything at all). We’ll never really understand why, even after being caught, they still don’t let go. I haven’t quite figured out how to stop asking questions, how to let go of this need to understand the attempts to regain control over the situation. I think if we can learn to accept that we’ll never truly have all the answers we think we need, we can get past it. I just have no idea how to do it — any suggestions?

      • Tiffany March 23, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

        Wow Liz, I totally agree with almost everything you said. I have been struggling so hard to understand what my husband is thinking and just get blank stares from him. All he will say is “I don’t know, I’m so confused” . He is actually trying to decide between leaving our family to try and convince her she should leave hers and staying. It just doesn’t make any sense and I am tearing my hair out trying to figure out who this person is! It is like I’m not even married to the same person. We start counseling in an hour so I can’t write more but it is at least reassuring to know that others have experienced the same. I am sorry for your pain but at least don’t feel so alone.

  2. FinallyOutofIt March 22, 2011 at 11:31 pm #

    Great post Doug – couldn’t agree more. I couldn’t figure out why it was so hard at first to get over.

    Yuki, I’m not sure you can make a blanket statement like that. But in some cases, I can see how a CS would get up and just leave if presented with an ultimatum. I know for me, it was easy for me to project that while she was meeting some of my needs, I thought she could fulfill all of them. I would have been wrong, but at the time it did feel right.

    Looking back I always thought to myself that if my W found out, I would end it. I couldn’t see myself continuing the affair with her knowing and continuing to hurt her. But reading how many CS can’t stop, perhaps that was just some wishful thinking. (Although at some point that probably changed to if she found out, I would end the marriage. )

    Regardless, I do think the getting over part is a process for the CS as well. I know it was for me – and when I did get over it, the last thing I wanted to do was continue to think about it. I even stopped coming here for awhile, just because I’d had enough thinking about it.

    I say that because I would challenge some of the BS on this site to think about that as they look for answers over time. I get why they do, but the longer you hold on to it, the harder it is for the CS to move on as well. Just my two cents…

  3. Morrigan March 23, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    Liz, I can’t express right now how much I feel our situations are similar! My boyfriend and I are 9 1/2 months out from D-Day and 7 1/2 months out from no (last) contact. We have been together almost 14 years. I didn’t actually find out about it on my own, he actually came home distraught and told me he had f’ed up, didn’t mean any of this to happen etc. But the next month & 1/2 after were a very difficult roller coaster as he couldn’t end contact, lied to me to see her (yet not all the time, half the time he was honest) he was very confused, didn’t know what was going to happen with us. Said all the things about being confused, not knowing what he wanted, please give him time, he actually asked me to fight for him. We had literally JUST bought our first house together, jointly, and 1 week later BAM!!! He told me. He to this day says it was an friend he hadn’t seen and caught up with, but she needed help, something had happened, she told him she had been raped, and needed help. I found a card later she had given him thanking him for the help he had given her. He, was in hero mode.

    Either way he still won’t fess up to some of the lies he did tell, and that really bothers me. I am not an idiot, but he refuses to talk about anything anymore. I believe purchasing the house was the catalyst to it all, he fears commitment. And recently I have been told by 3 separate men that buying a house with a woman is more of a commitment then marrying a woman!!! I find this quite surprising. Even my doctor told me this. Off track there sorry…

    I agree with FinallyOutofIt in regards to the statement that he, “the last thing I wanted to do was continue to think about it”, I believe my guy very much feels this way. That he can’t move forward if talking about it. But I am like you Liz, I am also a logical, rational, analytical thinker, but I am beginning to think, that I think too much! I just can’t understand it all, I can’t put it all together logically and it drives me nuts. Although I do believe CS is having a very difficult time dealing with his own emotions, depression etc of all this happening, but fears talking to me about it as that will mean he has to talk. He is much better at compartmentalizing.


    For me Yuki, not giving an ultimatum right off the bat was the right thing to do, instead, I told him to figure himself out, to ask himself what he wanted in life. I believe that after the help CS gave OW she began to take advantage of him, thus leading to it being a short EA, true colors coming out. Things like hitting him, he came home with a cut and bruise on his cheek, tried to lie to me but I overheard the phone conversation (fight) with the OW in the driveway and his yelling at her for hitting him. WTH, she hit him! She also wanted him to pay for everything, she flew into rages often resulting in a night at the hospital once after drinking way too much at the bar and hurting her leg (he actually called me and I met him there, no I did not confront her, I confronted him, this was the first time I gave him any pressure about what he was doing). She wouldn’t respect him enough to do things like not smoke in his vehicle, as he hates that, resulting in fights. To be honest, CS was miserable!! He would come home thankful to be home! Thankful I wasn’t giving him shit for not buying things requested etc. Why put up with it all? I would have never thought that CS would have ever put up with this, I ask myself what was so special about her?? Can the “FOG” really be that strong, that you change your character, you’re self, so much?

  4. R March 25, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

    That is kind of how I saw my husband’s EA & PA. All I had was a gut feeling for a little over a year that something was bad wrong with him, and I suspected it involved the OW, but I couldn’t prove anything. Now looking back, I believe that was for the best. I really believe if I had given my husband an ultimatum early on he might have chosen the OW for a short time. I don’t think it would have taken long for him to see her true colors, but in the state he was in, I believe he might have risked everything for her. If he had actually left me for her, I’m not sure I could have taken him back. As it was, by the time I had the proof I needed to confront him, he was already feeling stuck and was looking for a way out, the affair had pretty much run its course in his opinion. He kept trying to end it, but the OW kept making it clear she would tell me if he did, and he was afraid of what would happen if she did. He kept stringing her along to keep her quiet. This isn’t something he just told me, I could tell he was already trying to reconnect in our marriage before I ever found out the truth. He was already dealing with tremendous guilt.

    As far as trying to understand the “fog” and all the insanity that was involved during that time, I think Dr. Phil summed it up best when he said, “You can’t make sense out of nonsense.” He said if you want to save your marriage after an affair you just have to accept that it will never make sense why the CS did what they did. They were temporarily insane. I am four years out from D-day, and as you can see, I am still involved in forums. My marriage is going great, but I still deal with issues within myself. One issue I have is focusing on the OW so much. I knew her, so it was a double betrayal. I keep being drawn to her Facebook page. We aren’t “Friends” but I can still see everything on her page. I don’t know why I torture myself like that. I get furious every time I read what she writes, but it’s like a train wreck – I can’t seem to look away. I think I have become addicted to the OW too! I block her so that she doesn’t accidentally pop up on my FB page, but occasionally I unblock her to see what she is saying and doing. How sick is that?? I can’t figure out why I can’t let it go. I believe my husband is totally over her, but I can’t seem to get over her. Any suggestions on how to let my obsession with her go?

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