The Cheating Spouse Should Not Romanticize the Affair

fantasy of the affairMany of the recent comments have made mention of the cheating spouse and his/her affair partner having special songs, exchanging sappy emails, special gifts, etc., and to be quite honest (and blunt) I am fed up with all this romantic bulls#!t associated with an affair.

I am certainly appreciative of the honesty from everyone, cheating spouses included, but to me this all sounds like a bunch of teenagers in love for the first time.

This type of thing just solidifies the notion that the cheating spouse is (or was) still going over the fantasy in their minds. The cheating spouse believes that the affair is something so special in order to escape the reality of the situation.

They cheated on their spouse; they broke their marriage vows and possibly changed the course of their lives and their family’s lives forever.  That is the reality of the situation.

This stuff about special songs, and long emails, exciting sex, texts, etc., has nothing to do with love.  It’s about two people who were together in a perfect situation – their little utopia – removed from any obstacle that could hurt a relationship and immune from the trials and tribulations that living in a real marriage can cause.

I wonder if the cheaters ever romanticize their relationship with their spouse they way they have with their affair partner. Do they think about their special songs, the memories they have experienced together, the special places they visited or the passionate sex?  Or do they only think about how much their spouses may have neglected or hurt them in some way?

The cheating spouse has to understand that as far as the OP is concerned, there are only good memories. Everything was at its best.  They have very few negative thoughts of the affair to fill their minds.

It was not because the other person was perfect.  It was because they had the perfect situation.  If you were able to have that kind of situation with your spouse they would be perfect in your eyes as well.

I believe that the cheating spouse would be able to get over the OP much faster if they looked at the affair in a realistic light.  It was a moment of insanity where they almost lost everything they loved and cherished.

Instead, they need to look at their spouses in a romantic light and as someone who sacrificed their ideals, beliefs and did everything they could to make their marriage the best it could be; a person who they should realize will love them even though they may have made mistakes and lost their way; a person who will stand by them, protecting their integrity and ultimately forgiving them.

Their partner is the person the cheating spouse should be daydreaming and thinking about, not the OP who only gave them a brief experience of selfish pleasure.

 

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58 Responses to The Cheating Spouse Should Not Romanticize the Affair

  1. karen January 13, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    Linda: Thank you for that post!! I was feeling exactly the same way about the recent posts by CS’s “reminiscing” about their affairs – to me, it shows they’re still deep in the fog or going the opposite way from getting out of it!!! It really made me furious, and it took everything in me to keep from flaming them. Thanks for speaking up for the betrayed spouses – some of whom don’t even know they’ve been betrayed yet their CS is still reminiscing about the OW . . . disgusting :(

    • AlmostOutofIt January 13, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

      Great post Linda – being a CS, I couldn’t agree more with what you wrote. I’ve said this before, I’ve been trying to bring some of the feelings I got in the affair into my marriage. It’s not easy mind you, but I’m trying.

      As for “reminiscing” about the affair, I’ve found it isn’t so much thinking about the OW as much as it is missing those feelings. I imagine it’s similar to an alcoholic thinking about how good those tequila shots tasted. There isn’t as many thoughts of how the alcoholism caused problems or how many times they woke up sick. The focus is on those good feelings.

      I still find myself longing for those feelings – one thing I did figure out is that a big part of that was the feeling of being wanted and desired. That’s a powerful feeling…

      Do I romanticize my marriage like I did the OW during the affair? No, I don’t think I do. On the flip side, I don’t think my wife expresses her desire for me like the OW did.

      So to be clear, Karen, my thoughts of the affair have much much more to do with longing for those good feelings than they do about missing the OW. I’m out the fog and see the OW and the affair for what it was. But that doesn’t stop me from desiring to have those feelings…

      • karen January 13, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

        “AOOI” allegedly:
        “It’s not easy mind you, but I’m trying.”
        Really? Doesn’t sound like it to me. You’re still so attached to the fantasy and the fake feelings that emanated from the fantasy, it seems illogical to me you really could be making a full and honest effort at your marriage.

        “one thing I did figure out is that a big part of that was the feeling of being wanted and desired. That’s a powerful feeling…”
        It’s easy to feel wanted and desired in a fantasy world with no responsibility or day-to-day issues. I’m assuming you don’t feel this wanted and desired in your marriage. I
        guarantee your wife doesn’t either.

        “I don’t think my wife expresses her desire for me like the OW did.”
        It’s easy for the OW to do this – takes no effort. She doesn’t see your crappy side. Much harder for the wife who has to put up with all your shortcomings and checking out of the marriage to pursue your fantasy and your selfishness. You’re in a dreamland if you expect your wife to be able to mirror the OW’s actions or expressions of desire. Who would want to anyway? Your OW interfered in your marriage.

        “But that doesn’t stop me from desiring to have those feelings…”
        Which is why you are ripe for another affair or reconnecting with the old one. It’s like you’re in limbo – half in, half out. Just half period. Either go for it or get out!!

        And yes, I’m feisty today!!!

        • AlmostOutofIt January 13, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

          I like you Karen – you never beat around the bush. First off, I am trying. I don’t sit around thinking about the affair and wishing I could have those feelings again. I’m not attached to the fantasy – I recognize it was just that. Do I miss those feelings? Sure, but I don’t think I’m attached to them. It’s only been a few months, it’s not like that’s all I think of, but I do think of it from time to time. Less and less each day. But I’ve been spending more time “in the marriage”.

          Being wanted and desired – completely agree. I don’t feel it and my wife doesn’t either. That’s a problem – probably one that affects most marriages. We start to take each other for granted. Didn’t mean to use that as an excuse, just a feeling that come from the affair. I’ve always been clear to my wife that I desire her sexually. What I’m sure she would say is is that she doesn’t feel it if it’s not related to sex. That’s my challenge to figure out how to show that outside the bedroom.

          I don’t expect my wife to mirror the OW – but it would be nice to feel wanted. I imagine everyone on this site wants to feel that way. Of course it was easy for the OW to show that – completely agree. But for my situation specifically, I really loved the fact the OW desired me in the bedroom. Felt too often with my wife that she felt it was a chore.

          I am not defending my actions, but imagine if your spouse didn’t show they wanted or desired you at all. Then you find someone who not only says they do, but shows they do. Imagine experiencing those feelings. Would feel good, wouldn’t it? Of course it would. Doesn’t justify what I did, but it’s not that easy to just forget those experiences. I can chalk them up to a fantasy relationship most certainly. But I realize I do want to feel that again – with my wife.

          I don’t think I’m half in/half out. Like I said above, I’m in the marriage, trying to make it better. Am I ripe for another affair? I suppose anyone who’s had an affair is more likely to have another one (like an alcoholic). But I certainly don’t want to – I want to feel that way about my wife again.

          • karen January 13, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

            “AOOI” – I like you too. I just think most of your posts reflect a safe half-hearted effort that could easily be used to justify further selfishness by you in the future. I hope your last post was in earnest and that you’re fully in it for the long haul as rebuilding your marriage will take a long time. My H and I are 7 months into it and nowhere near where we want to be, and we have to constantly guard against falling back into the same routines that we were in pre-affair.

            “I am not defending my actions, but imagine if your spouse didn’t show they wanted or desired you at all. Then you find someone who not only says they do, but shows they do. Imagine experiencing those feelings. Would feel good, wouldn’t it? Of course it would.”
            Why do you think us noncheater spouses don’t feel that feeling and have to imagine it? Your wife and I both have felt that feeling; we just didn’t act on it like you and my H. At least I’m assuming your W didn’t act on it – how would you feel if she did? That she was entitled because you weren’t showing her she was desired and wanted in the ways that wives want to be shown that (different than just sex)? Because you cannot apologize to your wife because you haven’t been honest with her about your affair is very troubling to me still. I understand the pros and cons, but I wonder if you truly will every to be completely Out of It and change your moniker unless you experience the real effects of your affair on your wife and family. Linda states them in her post, and you just glanced over them with no comment. Just a thought.

          • karen January 13, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

            “But for my situation specifically, I really loved the fact the OW desired me in the bedroom. Felt too often with my wife that she felt it was a chore.”
            Chore sex is something W’s do – I agree it is not ideal, but from our perspective, it shows an understanding and desire to meet our H’s sexual needs. You need to find out how to “love” and communicate with your wife so that her sexual desire for you increases. There are many resources for you to read on this – Linda has told you some of them. Get to it!!!

            I will say that I am learning in my H’s and I’s affair recovery that initially post D-day the sex was great and passionate and often. As time has passed and we are both healing, it’s become more difficult to maintain an active sex life: kids, work, outside activities, ill relatives, etc., etc. We are doing our best to make it a priority but are still struggling with it. And yes, I still think there is a place for chore sex in a post-affair marriage – as an act of respect for your H or vice versa in the rare instance of a higher sex drive for W versus H. I’m sure men laugh at that and can’t understand the concept, but in everyday life, I’m finding it’s just a reality. My goal is not to let more than a few days going by without
            satisfying my husband sexually – I’m getting a C so far, but I figure at my age, that’s not bad LOL!!!

            Caution: Flaming to occur next.
            Of course the OW desired you in the bedroom – duh. She had no other concerns or distractions and didn’t know any of your baggage or marriage behaviors and plus it’s easy to be desiring when you’re in a fantasy and all the excitement that brings with it.
            You’re doomed to failure if you don’t give up that wish. Plus it ticks me off so cut it out!!!

            • Doug January 13, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

              Karen, Almostoutofit, I enjoy reading your comments. I also want to add that it is very easy to show that you are desired in one aspect of your relationship. If all I had to do was show I desired Doug sexually or showed I wanted to spend time with him and didn’t have to take care of any of his other needs it would be very easy. I would be able to provide exactly what the OP did. However if you look at the big picture, a spouse fulfills many other needs. We provide security, commitment, family life, financial help, partnership, companionship, recreation and take care of the responsibilities related to life. It is difficult to fulfill all of these needs perfectly along with having a job, raising kids and maintaining a household. This is not an excuse – it is reality.

              I agree that most of us want to feel wanted and desired. Doug told me that was the driving force for his affair and I know it is something that I also longed for. It is something we have both tried to improve during our recovery, but for me it has been difficult because I worried that I wouldn’t be able to make him feel as desired as Tanya. I have learned not to beat myself up about this because I was trying to compete with a fantasy. I was also trying to display grand gestures rather than a kiss or hug that showed I was happy to see him. I believe the biggest obstacle is communicating what you need to feel desired because often woman need something different than men. Linda

              • Doug January 13, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

                Karen, you got my floodgates going too. I wonder what would happen if the OP moved in to our lives and tended to everything that we do, would they be able to make our spouses feel desired and special 24/7. And what if we took the role of the OP, neglected our responsibilities so we could be available at anytime, ready to be sexy, complementary, attentive because they would be the main focus of our lives. Would our spouses fall out of love with the OP and be “in love with us? Linda

          • Kate August 10, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

            I agree with you AlmostOutOfIt…..I hope you and your wife are going to counseling – because if the situation at home doesn’t change then you will be ripe for temptation. Sometime people will tell you that you broke your vow – yet what about your wife’s vow to honor, love and cherish? I am not trying to make excuses or reasons – I do not know the whole situation, but something was apparently wrong prior to your stepping out. If that is not addressed and worked on – then the possibility still exists.

        • mlb January 14, 2011 at 11:01 am #

          Karen…right on the mark!

      • Kathy January 13, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

        AOOI – one of the things my H got the most angry at me for was when I told him I was going to call the OW and tell her all of his faults and what living with him 24/7 would REALLY be like. He asked me why I wanted to mess up his life and happiness! Like I cared one bit whether he was happy with her or not!

        The point being, he knew that the EA had absolutely nothing to do with reality, and he didn’t want me telling the OW what reality with him would be like. It would shatter the dream, which couldn’t have lasted anyway.

        For years I did not fulfill my H’s need to feel wanted and desired, and yes I blame myself but that does NOT excuse what he did! I have also had feelings of being given less than I’d desire to have in the marriage, but I didn’t go looking for it someplace else.

        You married your W for a reason, but you cannot expect the first blush of romance to last forever. If the love you and your W have is real, it will grow and it will deepen, but it DOES change over the years (and I’m speaking from the experience of 27 years of marriage). You CAN add some spark and zest, which H and I are trying to do, but it won’t ever be the same as that first romantic rush. If that’s what you’re after, you will be disappointed.

        • AlmostOutofIt January 13, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

          Wow, you don’t check the site for awhile and wham, tons to respond to. I’m sure I’ll miss something someone said, but here goes…

          “I hope your last post was in earnest and that you’re fully in it for the long haul as rebuilding your marriage will take a long time. ”

          It was definitely said in earnest – although to be honest, I sometimes question whether we’ll get there. One not so great trait of mine is I don’t have much patience. Once the affair was over, I wanted to done with all the feelings. Dedicated to fixing my marriage, I want it to be fixed already. Thinking about the fact that it might take years is frustrating. I keep trying to remind myself that none of this happened over night so it can’t be fixed overnight.

          “Because you cannot apologize to your wife because you haven’t been honest with her about your affair is very troubling to me still.”

          I’ve thought more and more about that. In a way I thought it might be better to tell her so she understood I was serious about fixing things. But reading through many of the BS’s comments, I think it would cause more problems than it solved to tell her. But you are correct that it’s easier to “never be out of it” because she doesn’t know and I haven’t felt the pain that most everyone has felt on this site. I may not have commented on them, but I’ve read the posts and can feel the pain in many of the posts. If I can fix my marriage without my W having to go through that, it seems to me to be the better choice.

          “Chore sex is something W’s do ”

          I get that, I do. Certainly sometimes that’s what a spouse needs to. But if every single time feels like that, it becomes a turnoff. do. Most definitely I need to figure out how to communicate with my wife so her sexual desire for me increases – without a doubt! I have been trying to be “present” and help around the house.

          “My goal is not to let more than a few days going by without satisfying my husband sexually”

          I think my wife’s goal was not to let a few months go by. Heck, if her goal was not to let a week go by I would be ecstatic.

          “You’re doomed to failure if you don’t give up that wish.”

          I don’t expect sex with my wife to be like it was on Fantasy Island every time. But I don’t think having the expectation that it should be like that SOME of the time is unreasonable.

          ” Plus it ticks me off so cut it out!!!”

          Yes ma’am! :)

          ” I also want to add that it is very easy to show that you are desired in one aspect of your relationship.”

          I get that – but like I said above, I don’t expect to feel that same intensity as during an affair. Of course life gets in the way and there are many responsibilities to cover. But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect to feel that some of the time. I imagine that feeling must be the driving force behind many affairs.

          “For years I did not fulfill my H’s need to feel wanted and desired, and yes I blame myself but that does NOT excuse what he did! ”

          Of course it doesn’t excuse it. If you read some of my older posts, I have never tried to excuse my behavior. Like you expressed, I believe my wife’s actions did lead towards having one, but it is by no means her “fault”.

          “If that’s what you’re after, you will be disappointed. ”

          Oh I know – I don’t expect my marriage to feel like that first romantic blush or the affair for that matter. But I’m trying to infuse of the things that I felt in the affair in my marriage. I don’t expect my wife to be lying in bed in lingerie every night with lust in her eyes. But like I said above, I don’t think its unreasonable to want that every once in awhile.

          As for the music, it’s annoying now because there are songs that made me think of her and when I hear them, I get pulled back in (just emotionally). I played her this awesome, sexy jazz album and she loved it so I always played it when we were together. Now I can’t listen to it at all without it bringing up those memories. I suppose if that’s the worst thing that comes from this, I should be happy. Ironically, I tried for months to get my wife to listen to it with me and she never did. Played it once for the OW and she fell in love with it.

          Thanks for keeping me honest Karen :)

          • Doug January 14, 2011 at 7:01 am #

            Everyone,
            “Ironically, I tried for months to get my wife to listen to it with me and she never did. Played it once for the OW and she fell in love with it.”
            ” She was supposedly very OCD, and wrote that she would mop the floor at midnight if she found a speck of dirt on it… perfect to him She also made frequent mention of how she juggled so many things in her life, and still managed to keep a perfect house, and cook great meals all the time.”

            We could all pretend that we love this and are perfect at everything, but the reality is we couldn’t keep it up for a long period of time. Being in a marriage exposes the real you, there is not place to hide your faults and be something you are not. The most damaging aspect of an affair is the comparisons made between the spouse and the OP. Those comparisons are unfair because the cheater is only seeing only one part of the OP and believing that person can meet every need and always make them feel special.

            It is amazing to me that their are so many “perfect” and special woman/men around that are available for affairs. Wouldn’t you think if they were so perfect that their spouses wouldn’t let them out of their sight. Linda

          • karen January 14, 2011 at 11:15 am #

            “Thanks for keeping me honest Karen”
            Considering your affair, that’s virtually impossible :)

            Lucky for you I’m bullheaded and persistent.
            Your romantic memories from your affair are
            complete fantasy – do you really think the OP loved your jazz album? Come on, I can think of at leat 10 reasons she would pretend to love something you professed to love. And they say women are naieve.

            You talk about wishing your wife would do some of the things the OP did even once in a while. I’m thinking your wife thinks the same thing about you – just wanting different things than you and you never do them. As Linda says, it’s all about communication, and with you still fantasizing about all the wonderful things from your affair, not to mention holding back the truth from your wife (I know, with the best intentions), you should be working full-time on communication exercises and having fun with your wife (especially considering your patience level is so undeveloped). Instead, you’re still ruminating about a fantasy and still considering the memories such good ones as you profess your earnestness about fixing your marriage . . . oxymoron if I ever heard one. Considering your past actions, you have little room for selfishness at this point. You already exercised that character trait excessively during your affair.

            Have a great day!! :)

          • Gizfield August 23, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

            That comment about how much the Other woman “loved” the jazz album cracks me up. Does not over it not realize this is one of the first lessons girls learn. Pretend to like the music he likes. Been doing it since jr. high. Listened to more crap than even I can imagine. Lol. Guys LOVE it.

  2. Kathy January 13, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    One of the things I know I wish is that my H would romanticize our relationship like he did his EA. I can’t know what’s in his mind and what, if any, thoughts he has about us as he goes about his day. Linda, that sentence reached out and grabbed me like you wouldn’t believe.

    Even though his EA is over, I wonder if he still pines for her and “what could have been”. I mean, he was literally days away from moving out of our home and into a place with her. I am so incredibly thankful that he saw the REAL her before it was too late.

    With regard to the sappy teenage stuff, I couldn’t agree more. They weren’t living in reality; it was a cozy little world of hearts and flowers, and I told him, the day before he found out what she could really be like, that the hearts and flowers phase would not, could not, last. And he saw it for himself.

    One thing that I’m left wondering about is a gift exchange. The week of Christmas he suddenly came home with, what he said was, a “secret Santa” gift. He hadn’t mentioned anything at all about a secret Santa exchange, and now suddenly he’s telling me that they have one and that the men buy a gift for a woman, and the women for a man. No names go on the gifts, and then they are given out. Well, how did he not know about it until he got his gift? But I was so blind I bought the story, and I went out and purchased his “secret Santa” gift for a woman so he could take it to work the next day. Imagine my surprise when, of all people, he said SHE got the “secret Santa” gift that was from him. But he says he still doesn’t know who his gift was from. I’ve asked him about it once since then, and he still says it really was a secret Santa exchange, and he really doesn’t know who his was from. And for now I guess I have to leave it at that because I don’t want to keep pestering him about it; it would only upset him. I feel like I just have to let that one go; I suspect the truth, but I may never really know it.

  3. karen January 13, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

    Linda:
    Not half as much as I enjoy reading your posts!! (Doug’s not as much but that’s understandable:)
    I wish I could be as “nice” as you, but your post today opened the floodgates, and I ended up flaming away!!! I so agree with everything you wrote – now if only I could execute it in my life. One day at a time.

    I believe you to have high self-esteem, Linda, as do I, so I am sad when I read your posts about comparing yourself to Tanya. I have not had that issue, maybe because I’ve had some email interaction with the OW and
    found her to be lacking in so many respects
    (at least in my mind). As I’ve said before, Tanya isn’t worthy to wash your feet, if only for the fact that she interfered with the fidelity of your marriage. So far you and I haven’t done that to another woman, and to me, that speaks very highly of us as women. It really, really, really bugs me that women do this to other women and also that women/wives end up having to “put up” with their H’s affairs or not be able to seek the healing they need due to child or economic concerns of their family. Okay, I know, life isn’t fair – get over it!!!

    • Doug January 13, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

      Hey Now! ;-)

  4. Andrew January 13, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    Hello all, I have something off the subject of today’s post, but I need some help. My wife has been having an EA for 11 months now, and I have known about it since the first month. When I asked if everything was ok between us then, she told me she wanted a separation, and ultimately, a divorce. The thing is, she wouldn’t or couldn’t move out then because she couldn’t support herself. She wanted me to continue supporting her 100% financially, but she didn’t want to try to save our marriage. She only wanted to have this affair with this OM, and not have any resposibilities or obligations that came with being married and having 2 small children. I confronted her about the EA, and it only made her do it even more. She has been going out and staying out all night several days out of a week for the entire time, and continues to go shopping and spend the money I make to support my family on herself and the OP. She wants all the benefits of being married, but will not put any effort into the marriage. Typical case of having cake and eating it too. Now, I know and understand what caused this situation- I suffered from depression for a year and a half up to the point of the start of the EA, and I was so caght up in my own issues that I neglected hers, and she sought fulfillment elsewhere. I do not blame myself for this, but I do understand the part I had in creating the conditions for this to occur. She checked out of the marriage and has been distant and un-emotional towards me during this time. She told me she loves me, but is not “in” love with me anymore. Now, to me that’s just an excuse, because that’s putting limits on love, and love is so much more than that. I reacted badly and made all the typical mistakes in the beginning that only fueled the EA more. 4 months ago, I read the book “Save the Marriage” by Dr. Lee Baucom, and it totally changed my attitude and perspective. I have been following the advice in that book and what I have gotten from this website since then, and there are not any signs that this EA will end any time soon. If anything, it seems to be getting worse. My wife has plans to move out after we get my income tax return, which she is of course entitled to half. I think that because it is getting closer to that time, she is planning out how to keep her relationship up with the OP after that, and it is very hard right now. I have told her that I ubderstand if she believes that she would be better off with them, then to go. I still believe our marriage can be saved, but I’m the only one trying. She will not go to any kind of counseling, and tries to justify what she is doing as being ok by using the guise of “we’re sparated”. I know that it’s not right, but she is still in the fantasy or “affair cloud. I am a strong person, but this weighs very heavily on me. I am not giving up, by no means, but maybe you all can give me some insight as to how I could be more effective at getting her to see the reality and end this affair. I know she has to come to that realization, but I just want to do everything possible to help the situation. Thank you everyone for your time.

    • karen January 13, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

      Andrew: I think you know you can’t force your wife to come out of the affair fog, but you can continue to work on and take care of yourself. Research and read on this site and others and make sure you take care of yourself. Your kids need you to be strong, and I am so proud of you for doing so. You’ll know when and if it’s time for tough love for your wife as I don’t believe you should endure her having her cake and eating it too indefinitely, but I so admire you for putting your family first. When you get strong enough and better prepared, if your wife hasn’t begun to change her ways, I’d definitely consider taking stronger action.
      Be encouraged – your story is very similar to so many on this site. No matter what the outcome of your marriage, you can recover from this awful time.

      • Andrew January 13, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

        Karen- Thank you so much for the encouragement. I needed that. You are absolutely right that I cannot force her to stop. It’s just like when you tell kids not to do something, they do anyways! I can only set the example for all of us, and hope that she will notice and want to change. I completely understand all the dynamics at work here, and I will continue to stay strong. It does get weary sometimes, as we are only human, but I do believe in the methods found on this site and in some other very helpful resources. Affairs are the most devastating thing in any marriage, but you are right, we can survive them and be ok. I know I and the kids will be ok, no matter what. I am concerned for my wife that she cannot see all the damage she is creating, not only for me and the kids, but for herself as well. I hope she can and will learn from this, regardless of if our marriage survives or not. If she doesn’t learn from this whole situation, she will continue to have failed relationships, and I don’t wish that on anyone. Unfortunately, only she can see the errors of her ways and do something to correct them. I have seen the light so to speak, and will do what is best for me and my children. Thank you once again! Sometimes all we need is a little encouragement, for no one can do this on their own!

    • Jenn January 13, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

      Andrew, I would take stronger action now. 11 months in front of your face and she has no intentions of stopping? I made my husband move out, twice when he would not stop the affair (long story as to why it happened twice, won’t get into it here). She is using you and the comfort and security of marriage in order to “play” with another man, and that is not acceptable. Give her a short timeline, don’t let her wait on your tax return, and you can consult an attorney as to how much she would be entitled to. I am NOT saying give up on your marriage, but you need to let her know right from wrong–she is in no frame of mind to see that now. It is wrong of her to pretend being your wife and your children’s mother in the same capacity as a “normal” wife (ie, one that lives at home and is faithful to her husband), I would ask her to move out, and let her know you do not want the marriage to end, but that you will no longer allow the marriage to be abused in the way (using your own words). She is not setting a good example for the kids at all, and if she is so in love with her AP, let him care for her. If the AP is married, does his wife know? That may also be a good step–that’s what ended my husband’s affair almost immediately, when I told the OW’s husband. It’s hard, it will be a battle, but your marriage can be saved–she will have to break out of her affair fog though, and she is not being helped by allowing to remain in the family home when she is not interested in being a “normal” member if the family. Best wishes.

      • Andrew January 14, 2011 at 8:28 am #

        Jenn- My wife’s AP is not married, I already checked that, and it would be a whole lot easier if he was. It would stop almost immediately then. You are also correct that she cannot keep taking advantage of me, and the situation. I have given her a deadline, and I am already taking the proper steps to prepare for her moving out. You are absolutely right, she is the one that wants to leave, but she won’t do anything about it, and that isn’t right. Thank you for your input!

      • karen January 14, 2011 at 11:23 am #

        Jenn:
        I so admire your strength and your willingness to try to repair your marriage. I too used tough love as the alternative to me was just not acceptable. However, I don’t judge those who are not yet ready to apply tough love; I just hope from this site and others they can get stronger and stand up for themselves calmly. The child and financial issues often play a big part in the reticence to take a tough love approach, and I completely understand that also, although it makes me furious as the CS’s I think know the tender hearts of the BS’s and they take advantage to prolong their having their cake and eating it too. Good luck to you!!!

        • Jenn January 14, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

          Thanks Karen. I asked my husband what actually made him begin to snap back to reality, and he told me it was “dealing with the reality of repercussions that were actually happening.” He told me that when I talked and pleaded with him to sdo the right thing, it was just noise to him. He knew I would eventually hush, and he knew what to say to appease me at the time. Only when I took actions did he begin to see things from a clearer perspective: Emailing an attorney for pricing, making him leave, and the #1 thing was telling the OW’s husband. He said these things made him realize that he was getting close to losing his life that he had worked so hard to build–I didn’t build our marriage alone, we built it TOGETHER. Thank God he began to see the affair for what it was: a life destroyer. Everything that he had known was crashing and he realized there was only one way to fix it. God played a huge role in bringing him back to our family. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life! It’s still hard, but at least he is home to work on it. Thanks for your encouragement! I wish you all the best!

          • Doug January 15, 2011 at 9:47 am #

            Jenn, excellent comment. We believed that trying to convey to our spouses to do the right thing would pull them away from the affair. We hoped they would understand that their actions are going against the person we thought they were. Obviously we weren’t dealing with a person who was thinking clearly so those tactics didn’t work. You are correct that eventually you have to incorporate tough love and really let them see what it is that they are going to loose. Only then are we taking away the fantasy of the affair and allowing them to experience the reality of the situation. Linda

    • Steve August 11, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

      Andrew, step out of the fog…if she expects you to support her while she gives it up to the other guy she is a whore by pure definition. The only change in the equation is that you are the John paying for it and not getting it. Dump her and do it quickly…for your sake who she has absolutely no respect for and for the children’s sake. She has clearly demonstrated that you as a person mean nothing to here which in essence is the same thing she is saying to the children by her actions.

  5. Donna January 13, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    the love songs.. oh my goodness. My husband was or maybe still is like a obsessed teenager. The number of love songs they have exchanged, from recent love songs to really old ones. It is like they have searched the net trying to describe their love for each otehr in song. Also, they would quote bits of a song in texts to each other. 15 years of marriage and my husband and I never had anything like that. So to say I feel bummed.. BIG TIME! this is why I think he must really be in love with ow because he is so excited by her and wnts to do all these wonderful things for her. They also have all these little symbals and codes they text to each other that only they can understand. One is being ICU, there way of saying I love you and can see where you are coming from. Once again, husband NEVER did anything like that with me.

    When we first met this ow, she soon became my best friend. What I found interesting was that my husband became almost stalker like with her. It was quite creepy really, apparently she was the same. Too weird!

    Laying in bed lastnight the tears flowed, I feel like I will never be good enough for my husband anymore. He has had a taste of someting better and I will never measure up and bring that excitement to him like her :(

  6. karen January 13, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    Linda: The OP’s wouldn’t last a week in our lives, but it does sound kind of inviting to try out the OP’s fantasy life for a bit. Shall we? Payback is a #*@^!.

    Okay, I am ridiculously feisty today.
    Take care, Karen

  7. Yuki January 13, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    Wow, lots of food for thought today! I appreciate everyone’s comments. Today is not a good day for me. I’m struggling to get through the day and have not been able to get anything done except for routine stuff.
    Donna – it’s the same with my husband. They must have spent considerable time looking for songs to send each other, and yes, they quoted from them frequently. They had pet names for each other, too, that had special meaning for their relationship. They also used all kinds of codes and acronyms in their messages and emails. Very immature teenage stuff, but still so hurtful. My husband never did any of these things with me – ever.
    He did think their relationship was unique and special. When I found out and he begged me to stay, he agreed to read and study with me. Through this process, he has come to realize that there was nothing so very special about their relationship, and he saw it for what it really was: a betrayal of the worst kind.
    But he still romantizes her in some ways. His list of emotional needs starts with sex, followed closely by domestic support. She was supposedly very OCD, and wrote that she would mop the floor at midnight if she found a speck of dirt on it… perfect to him. Well, to look at pictures of her in her office, I don’t believe she was actually like that. I think she had him pegged. Of course, he never noticed that. She also made frequent mention of how she juggled so many things in her life, and still managed to keep a perfect house, and cook great meals all the time. And did I not do that, and even more than her? She lives a cushy life with a rich husband, works part-time, takes dance classes and does lots of volunteer work. I work full-time, was caregiver to my mom and my in-laws, raised three children who are now all successful, responsible adults, was PTA board member, ran a dance studio with my mom, took care of the house myself, and people tell me I am a fantastic cook. No comparison, but as cheaters do, he had rewritten our history in his mind. He now apologizes frequently, and he compliments me on our beautiful house and he says there is not one thing I could do to improve our sex life. He says he is totally fulfilled.
    But still the pain has not abated, and I don’t trust what he says. All I can see are the words he wrote to her in black and white: “I love you and I always will. You are always on my mind.” I guess we both have work to do in getting past the romanticizing of his affair.

  8. mlb January 14, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    I haven’t even read the other comments yet, but this is so how I feel as well. The whole affair was nothing but a bulls..t fantasy.
    The OP never showed his true self. All that the cheater sees is the best face…never the reality. Hell, I could be a prince charming to every woman in the world if I didn’t live with them and just texted and called and told them everything they wanted to hear. It is so transparent to me. The OP in my case is on his second marriage. If he was such a great guy, what the hell was he doing cheating on his wife? It boggles my mind.

    I am sickened to think of the conversations. My wife telling all of my shortcomings and this a..hole on the other end telling her all the right things…”you deserve better”, “I’d never treat you that way”. It disgusts me. It angers me.

    I know I’m not perfect. I know I have things to work on.
    But why did you do this to me? Why did you take a broken man and rip him completely open?

  9. Yuki January 14, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    Exactly, mlb – I have actually discussed this with my husband: if she is such a wonderful woman, why is she cheating on her husband? At first, he was very defensive and protective of her, but now he admits that she is not a very virtuous woman. He still thinks she is a wonderful woman in every other way, though. He doesn’t say that, but I can see it in his face and in his comments. I suppose if he would have to condemn himself if he chose to condemn her, and while he is remorseful, I think he still sees himself as a man of virtue and integrity.

  10. Donna January 14, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    mlb said..”I am sickened to think of the conversations. My wife telling all of my shortcomings and this a..hole on the other end telling her all the right things…”you deserve better”, “I’d never treat you that way”. It disgusts me. It angers me.”

    I am right there with you on this one. It makes me sick to the stomach to know that my husband told OW all my faults etc… and I am sure she sat there telling him that he didn’t deserve that or that she would not do that and she would not take him for granted. What is with that?

    He calls her beautiful princess…. GAG!

    I too could be someones beautiful princess for a few hours a day or a weekend here and there. Or talking on the phone or via text. I am sure they would soon change their mind after a while of living with me 24/7. They would soon find something to pick on or not like about me. Seriously, affair fog just annoys the crap out of me. I wish I could just shake my husband so he could see sense of how ridiculous he is.

    I am having a really bad day emotioanlly. I have that many arguments with the ow in my head. I am angry with my husband, however more angry with ow. I feel that if she was, well I know she was not happy in her marriage. If that be the case, get out of it and then look for a single man. Not your supposedly best friends husband.

    I think Linda wrote somewhere about how the affair just happened. Heard the exact same words from husband and ow. Well excuse me, why did you not tell me about the massive amount of text messages and phone calls everyday. They just happened hey? is that not keeping it a secret. What about when they decided to take each others clothes off? is that not a choice? that is what angers me.

    I am feeling extra frustrated at the moment.husband has been having a hard time while inter state. Is away for 3 weeks and wasgoing to come home 2 weeks early. Spoke about it ast night with him. He said that if he came home early, I could go back to Melbourne with him for a friend of ours wedding. At the moment he is just going alone. Well I was silly and got excited thinking that my husband wanted to come home and then go away for the night with his wife. He asked me to checked air fares etc.. so I did.

    Have been so excited thinking that I will see my husband on Monday night only to have my hopes dashed again. He is going instead to drive across the country spending nealy $1,600 on a camper rather than be out of pocket $249 for the air fare.

    I guess it is his money so he can choose what he wants. I just let myself get carried away with excitement and was soooo looking forward to seeing him. The kids have missed him so much. This last week has been the longest out and we still have 2 more weeks to endure. Grrrr! I hate that I get so emotional over these kinds of things.

    I was so good on the phone, told him to do what he really wanted and I was all calm etc… did not cause an argument as he could also change his mind.. although I doubt it.

    Anyway, just needed to vent :(

  11. Scott January 15, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    I cannot believe how accurate the above column is. I for one, can only be thankful that my wife is so forgiving and is willing to take me back into the wonderful family that I have. Thank you.

  12. mlb January 15, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    I just don’t know if I can handle living the rest of my life having to wake up every morning and wonder if my wife truly loves me or is just here for the kids.

    Welcome to another day in hell.

  13. RR January 15, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    This is my first post to the site. I’ve been reading it for about two weeks now. I’ve know about my husband’s emotional affair now for 2 months. I believe that it has been going on for about 3. There’s been about 4 nights that he didn’t come home and 3 that he snuck out in the middle of the night. He said that he was out thinking about things, but I know better. He tells me that he loves me and wants to keep our family together we has two small children. He tells me that he doesn’t love her. At first he said they were just friends, but has acknowledged otherwise. He kept telling me that it was over between them, then, I’d find the cell phone with the messages. She has text that she loves and wants him. Of course, I’ve been a mess. I’m trying the backing off, but it’s hard. He says he wants our marriage, so I’m confused on how I’m supposed to act. Last week I asked him what he wanted out of our marriage. He got freaked out and told me that he didn’t feel the same about me and that he wasn’t sure what he wanted. Every other time, he has insisted that he wants our marriage and our family. A couple of days ago, he looked at this website and read a couple of the posts. Yesterday, he told me that the posts helped him to understand that he was just missing something from our relationship. He also told me that he was just protective of her and that she was alone. He felt sorry for her. He said that what he wanted was his family and that he loves me. Last night, late, and that he talked to her and told her that it is his family he wants. He said that he wanted to find a way to end it so that she would just want the end it with him as well. He didn’t want to go cold turkey. He told me he was sorry that this happened and that it was getting old with her. He wasn’t into having that a kind of attention from someone. He admits it was an ego boost. It all sound good, but today I see texts and call between them. They work together, so this makes it hard. Should I call him on this? That I see that they have talked today? Do I let it go? I’m thinking worst case scenario. He is telling me what I want to hear to get me to back off.

    • Kathy January 17, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

      RR, my H also felt sorry for the OW because of things that happened to her in her life. But after he talked with me about it and i asked him how he could be sure she was even being truthful with him, he did wonder about it. It also helped that he saw what a controlling, manipulative witch she could be, which also made him wonder how honest she’d really been, or if she’d just made up stuff to get sympathy and attention from him.

  14. ingoodtimesandbad January 15, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    Reading all these post makes me realize what an epidemic it is for CS to think that their happiness is all that matters. I’m sure mine had been suffering from depression and wouldn’t seek help for it. He choose to find his pill with another woman. Like that is going to prove less expensive than a doctor!!
    I went to the other woman to end it because he refused. He had lied to her and told her he wasn’t married. She didn’t believe me so I went to her minister. My H still hasn’t gotten over that I used information he told me to find out information about her and to end it. I broke his trust in me!!! He is still in a fog. It’s been a year since I found out and July since she ended it with him.
    He is kinder at home and has returned to our normal routine but still refuses to talk about the situation. He says he is here but only for the kids. He can’t afford a divorce right now. I told him if he is staying he needs to be paying half the expenses. He did agree to that.
    I go back and forth from wanting to just forget about things and try to move forward and back to wanting to ask him to leave if he has no plans on working on us. This tough love stuff is really hard. I think at least I’ve been healing and getting over the hurt and anger. I still have my bad days but not so frequent. I’ve been taking time off work and spending more time with the kids and him. Trying to use the communications skills I’m learning to talk with him but hard to do when only one person is still trying to work on things.

    I pray everyday that God will help him see the light and to help me stand my ground. I will be kind to him but will not let take advantage of me again. I think I’m going to get the divorce papers ready so that when to time is right, I can give them to him and say, “Here they are, just what you wanted.” Maybe on our anniversary of when we started dating. April will be 27 years together. I kind of wanted to have an idea of what my paychecks will average out to be with me cutting back on my hours before getting divorce papers ready. I used to make more money than him. Now, he is the breadwinner!! I used to work full time, take care of kids, house, and him and was doing the best I could. I realized that I don’t need to do that anymore. I want my family to come first. So if that means a cut in pay, than so be it.
    He had it good before because he was able to sneak money away to pay for things for her because I was working so hard. It won’t be so easy anymore. Patience is the hardest thing about going through this because we are all so eager to fix things. And I know, I have stuff to work on myself as well, not just him.
    This sight helps keep things in perspective and a chance to vent when we can’t always vent with our spouse. I do see improvements in him so that does help.

    On a lighter note. I had once asked him if he had ever “passed gas” in front of her. They were together for almost a year. He had told me “maybe once, when he couldn’t hold it back” So that goes to show you that their world is a total fantasy that they couldn’t even fart in front of each other!! Wish he held that back from me somedays!! But our life is reality!!!

  15. Jane January 25, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    You are right Linda. Being in an affair is a lot like being a teenager all over again- all sane rationale leaves us and we are left senseless and deluded. When I think back on it, I don’t even recognize myself.

    Yes, during my affair, my affair partner and I lived in a fantasy world. Everything was perfect. We built a little cocoon around ourselves and lost sight of all that was at stake. Of course, everything in reality was not perfect. The affair was slowly killing both of us and ripping families a part. When I ended my affair in Jan 2010, the harsh lights of reality were thrown on that fantasy world and it was exposed for what it was.

    Since I came back to reality, I have worked to banish all of the bits of fantasy left over- including songs, emails, etc. It didn’t happen over night. I clung to those stupid emails for far too long. The day that I hit delete and purged all of them, was one of the biggest progress days for me. It was as if a huge weight had been untied from my ankle and I was able to inhale a real, deep breathe of fresh air for the first time in years.

    Thanks again to you and Doug for exploring your recovery through your blog. I have found how therapeutic it is to write it all out, and I certainly find it therapeutic to read your journey since it so closely parallels ours (my husband and I).

    • Doug January 25, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

      Jane, Thanks for the kind words. I too am learning so much about myself and my involvement (fantasy) in an affair. We appreciate you putting yourself out there for all to see as well. I enjoy reading your posts. Perhaps you might be interested in talking with us one day via phone for one of our Affair Recovery Group sessions?

  16. ChangedForever January 26, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    Please spare me! I am a betrayed spouse presently raising 2 teenagers (and 1 child just past the teens!) who’s 25th wedding anniversary was desecrated by a psycho who was well aware my H was married, living at home with his wife and his 3 children, knew his 25th wedding anniversary was coming and pressured him into coming over into HER hell hole that very night (just PART of the deranged affair time period!) Yes, I now believe my H was a victim – only guilty of looking for a kind ‘ear’ to listen. Unfortunately, he ran into a selfish & immature psycho (SIP.) This SIP did everything imaginable to hound and brainwash a sick man who was reeling from a family trauma suffered weeks earlier which obviously pushed him over the edge. I don’t see that as “being a teenager all over again.” What a lame excuse! During my teen years I dated and still had common sense AND MORALS ! Same as my children now have. Give me a break! Unfortunately for my H, he reached out to someone WELL PAST their teen years undoubtedly as a friend…and ended up losing his integrity and good character (which he’ll eventually get back!)
    If you pursue a married man (or woman) you get what you deserve: I just don’t know how you can look at yourself in the mirror each day – let alone feel you are entitled to ‘recovery.’ How can you live with yourself – it is quite obvious to me – ‘the devil is very busy lately!’

  17. Morgan March 10, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    A fantasy is defined in the dictionary with words such as “hallucination” and “unreal”—my affair was quite real. I can’t believe so many people buy into the word “fantasy” and relate it to affairs. Hell, if my affair was more of a fantasy than the pain that I feel and the agony that I’ve caused my husband would just be a hallucination and unreal then. If my affair was just simply a fantasy, then I certainly would’ve conjured up MUCH better things to happen in my mind than all the confusion and pain that was involved while I was still with my affair partner!
    Affairs are real–not a figment of the imagination. Real people, real lives, real hearts that got caught up in a relationship that was immoral.
    The word people should use to define affairs is IDEALIZE. People idealize the person they’re with and romaticize them and put them on a pedastal. Just as teens (or adults) do when they’re first in love–people involved in affairs feel giddy and dream and believe wholeheartedly in all that’s said and feel love for the other person.
    Of course, betrayed spouses tend to minimize what their spouse felt for another person–a defense mechanism, somehow hoping to cope better because imagining that it was something real makes the heart ache even more.
    I suppose that’s how many people need to get through the aftermath of an affair–because truth hurts and drumming up fiction makes it all hurt just a little less. I don’t know how a betrayed spouse can be told by their husband or wife that the affair meant nothing to them…that it was all just an illusion, or “fantasy” if you will. How does that make it any better in the recovery? It really happened. The hell in the aftermath is real, so why isn’t the affair??

  18. Alecia June 29, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    First, this post just popped up in twitter, so I know I’m behind but I’ve read it and all the comments and I so appreciate that Doug and Linda choose to repost things because there are so many new people popping in who need to read about what others have and are going through.

    Also, Karen, if you read this…I like you. Your honesty and “feisty”ness is refreshing. I love referring people to this site because not only are Doug and Linda incredibly honest and transparent but all of the REAL people going through this are also baring themselves and it creates this “community” of sorts.

    Morgan, I know “fantasy” might not seem like the most appropriate word but consider this – just because you felt the things that you did and said the things that you said – didn’t make them real. They might have felt real at the time but that doesn’t make them real. The word fantasy is used by so many of us in this predicament because when you are in an affair, as many have alluded to, you don’t have a “real” relationship. You don’t see ALL of your affair partner. Just what you choose to see. More importantly, just what they choose to show you.

    When my husband was still in his “fog” (another word commonly used that is incredibly accurate) he waffled for a week or so not sure what he wanted to do.There was something about this OW that was pulling him in (and nothing about it was real). She had a bad life, he felt like a rescuer, she built him up, his love language is “words of affirmation” and all she did was tell him how awesome he was when he certainly wasn’t hearing that from me at home…and the list goes on. One of the lightbulb moments that he had was a conversation that we had when I said to him, “Go. Do what you think you need to do. You obviously think that there is something real there. I know there’s not. And its sad that so many people’s lives have to be turned upside down for you to figure it out. But go. And then call me and tell me how fantastic, and new and exciting your relationship is when you have to deal with who takes the garbage out and who cleans the toilet and who cooks and who does the dishes and who pays the bills and who’s money goes to which bills, etc. You’re living in a bubble. When you decide to officially make your relationship “real” you tell me how many needs of yours she is actually meeting.”

    From everything I’ve read, heard and experienced, the biggest reason people have affairs is because someone comes along who starts to meet a need that their spouse wasn’t meeting. They give them an ego-boost, they buy them presents, they spend quality time with them (uninterrupted by kids mind you which is another unreal aspect of the “relationship”), they listen to their troubles and are there for them.

    But it is built on a foundation of fantasy. Call it what you want – idealism, fantasy, a bubble. Its semantics. Its why almost all people who leave their spouses/partners for an AP eventually (usually w/in 6 months) go back to their spouses or just leave the AP. Because that “relationship” cannot survive in a world of reality.

    What we need to start doing is being people who stick to their committments. No one is ever going to meet ALL of our needs. But, communication is the key. Instead what we have people doing is attempting to fill a void with someone or something else. And that NEVER works.

    The destruction that an affair creates is real. The underlying reasons we reach out to others inappropriately and have affairs may be real. But the foundation of what we think we have with that AP is by no means real.

  19. mightbeatranny July 24, 2011 at 2:00 am #

    ^^ your husband is a victim of a woman and she made him have an affair? no free will, no abiity to say no.

    how about this; your husband likes sex with this woman. he thinks for himself. FOR HIMSELF and makes decisions that benefit HIM. you are relationship road kill and your husband is a selfish ass. the other woman owes you nothing. she never made you any promises (unlike your husband).

    all of you want to wrap a pretty bow around a bullshit story. cheaters are not victims. cheaters make choices that are in their best interest. they are selfish. they are liars. they do not deserve to be treated like they were on a relationship time out and allowed to come back. if someone did this to your child would you want them to take the son of a bitch back?

    • Morgan July 25, 2011 at 9:29 am #

      I’m amazed more and more that so many betrayed spouses who have never had an affair know SO much about them and love to belittle the people who have by their unbelievable “knowledge” of them. Reality is—they were cheated on. I agree with you that many wives love to wrap a pretty bow around all the bullshit stories their husbands feed them. I suppose it’s their only way to cope…oh, and to bash women who come on these sites who are also looking for help and answers.

      • Michael July 25, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

        Morgan-
        For the sake of arguing your point, let’s say that its a “fantasy” that you were living. You only chose to see your other man in the way you wanted. The good aspects. He only chose to show the good things about himself. Isn’t that how all relationships start? Was your feelings for your husband in the beginning a fantasy?
        The feelings are there.
        The emotions are there.
        What you choose to do with them are not a fantasy. It was reality. It was unhealthy. He fulfilled needs you had.
        The garbage wasn’t a need you had in him. It wasn’t a need you had in your husband when you met him. I didn’t say I would love honor and take the garbage out, the day I was married.
        I can say these things to you because I know you get it. This is the reality for us whether by our choice or not. I don’t like the word any more than you in this case.
        Alecia-
        I don’t believe that the relationship was “healthy” but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t real. Some people have real relationships in unhealthy ways.

        Not all affairs are the same. My wife’s and Morgans were with men from their past. How much more real can it be to still have a piece of their heart belong to someone else.
        (I’m sorry morgan if I’ve missrepresented you here)

        I don’t know, I’m starting to ramble.
        I haven’t posted on my blog for a while.

  20. Alecia July 26, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    Michael-
    I get what you’re saying. I know the relationship was “real.” (Although, as you can tell by my quotation marks, I have a hard time saying that word :) ). And I absolutely agree with you that it is possible to have real, unhealthy relationships. Maybe that’s a better way of stating all of this? Unhealthy. I’ve known many cases that are like those of your wife, with people that we’ve known for years from our past. I still don’t know that “real” is the best word to describe it. It happened. Between two real people. But I still feel that “fantasy” is the best word to describe whatever those two people think they had with each other. And honestly, in regards to situations like your wife the word “fantasy” still applies. It always amazes me to think that people think they “know” someone just because they dated them 20 years ago (for example). Hello! 20 years has past! You don’t have a clue who that person is anymore! You think they are who you remember them being. You build them up in your mind to be everything that you loved about them when you used to know them. Hence, fantasy.
    A couple of thoughts on your comments to Morgan:
    Yes, all relationships start by us only showing our good side. What we want them to see. But affairs exist by the two people involved always and only showing and giving what they want to. As Doug said, “Being in a marriage exposes the real you, there is not place to hide your faults and be something you are not.” In an affair, you are completely able to hide your faults and be something you are not – or something you think the other person wants or needs. Only when “reality” is forced on the relationship are truths exposed and the two people can see each other for who they really are. More often than not, its not worth it and it doesn’t work.
    Also, I enjoyed your “garbage” analogy. And to an extent I agree. But think about this…when we promise to love, honor, and cherish, whether we realize it or not, it involves every last detail including taking out the garbage. If that is a need of mine, or a realistic expectation of mine, then my husband can honor and cherish me by taking on that task. That ends up showing love to me. It honors me. Being married involves the hard work of figuring out what my spouse needs from me and figuring out how I can do my best to meet those needs.
    I’ve really enjoyed your comments and insights on this site Michael. I’m going to check out your blog. Can I get to it by just clicking on your name here? If not, can you send it to me? You can read about my husband’s and my struggle and restoration too if you’d like at http://www.marriagelifeministries.org.

    Take care.

    • Michael July 26, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

      You can just click on my name. Or, Doug and Linda were also so kind to put a link to my blog on their blog as well. I’ve been following EAJ since a month after it started. About a month into my recover. About three months into my wifes affair.
      Am I A Good Husband is my blog. Thank you for your insight, I look forward to reading your blog as well.

      • Michael July 26, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

        I agree that what they envisioned was a fantasy. Much in the way a young girl fantasizes about her prince charming carying her off for her happily ever after. Or a young guy fantasizes about being a rockstar with a bikini model wife. I get that.
        I can only imagine the fantasy they shared with each other. Because she won’t talk about it. Did she envision a happily ever after. Without taking into consideration the baggage he brought with him from him multiple marriages. The children involved that he would have to support and only see part of the time. Her children that she would have to explain why he’s now their part time daddy. Did she think the two of them would move to their home town and start over 300 miles from his kids and 70 miles from ours. She did talk to a realtor who was sending her listing. Wow is right.
        All dreams and plans are a fantasy until you make them your reality. Much in the way after one week of fantasizing about seeing and holding him again she was driving half way to meet him for the first time. Much in the way she told me “Did I sleep with him? No. Did I want to sleep with him? Yes” I still don’t know if she didn’t. Even when all the evidence points that way.
        Did she have a fantasy about their life together? I’m sure she did. Even if she won’t admit to it. Did she make part of it a reality. I’m SURE she did.
        Thanks again.

    • karen July 26, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

      Alecia:
      Love your blog. I highly recommend it.

  21. Alecia July 26, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    Karen – Thank you so much! We really appreciate that!

  22. Sad Mad Wife August 11, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

    UGH! My emotions are all over the place. In June my husband told me he wasn’t happy in our marriage. He thought we were through, telling me that I wasn’t there to love and care for him like he needed. He was all but ready to pull the trigger on our marriage. He said he didn’t love me any more after 21 years of marriage and 2 teenage daughters. He wants the best for us and wants to remain friendly. I started trying to talk to him, but the more we talked the more distant and angry he became. Well, two weeks ago, I started looking at his phone and emails, kind of checking up on him. I just felt there was something else going on, although he’d swear there wasn’t. It was our marriage problem, nothing more, he’d say. He happened to leave open his work email on our home computer one morning before he left for work. I came home first and was going to check something else on the computer, when low and behold, there are all his emails. I started searching and it wasn’t long until I found some from his EA. All the love and crap. Going away for days when I trusted him to be on business trips or having some time with the guys. The affair has been going on for 9 mos. I felt physically sick, shaking hands and knots in my stomach. He came home and I confronted him – he admitted everything – even said he was kind of glad that I had found out. He offered to move out of the house. I said No, I don’t think so. I felt he was not going to have things so easily given to him. So he’s stayed in the house, has said he called the OW and told her he wouldn’t have any contact until he could figure things out. He asked for a few days so he could think about what he really wanted. I agreed. I’ve been trying to be understanding, and things will get better for a day, and then WHAM! I’m sick to my stomach. I don’t want a divorce. I do love him, and feel I can forgive him, but he has said repeatedly that he has no passionate feelings for me and may never again. Since he’s still at the house and still sleeping in our bed, I’ve asked him to commit to our marriage. I know it may still not work out, but I want him to try. He tells me he’s not sure he wants to do this, try to save our marriage. He’s still trying to figure it out. Any advice?

    • Paula August 11, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

      SMW, read the many, many posts here, Linda, Doug and all of us here have been where you are now. His response seems so like the “affair fog” response, he may well come around and realise how much he does love you, and can feel passionate about you again, but, as the saying goes, “it won’t happen overnight.” Get help, for you, if he won’t attend counselling together, do it alone, because you need to talk, and start to arrange your thoughts in a logical manner, and understand your feelings, as well as his actions and feelings. Some of Linda’s best advice is “look after you.” You can’t affect what he does, only how you go forward from here. I made sure I got plenty of exercise, to try to counter the depression – it was bloody hard, because some days it is the last thing you want to do, and often you just can’t make the time, so I would park further away from destinations like kids’ sporting venues, etc, and walk, walk, walk. Eat well, I stopped drinking alcohol for three months, great move! Find something that interests and relaxes you (at least to a degree, easier said than done!) and indulge yourself (reading, night classes, luxurious baths, dancing,whatever floats your boat, etc…) as often as you can. My OH had already made the decision to be with me, and had stopped his affair before I ever found out (she, my so-called friend, decided “I needed to know,” when she realized she’d lost him for good a month or so after he ended it) but I still think he became even more attracted to me when I stopped acting like such a cling-on, and being too needy, he had to “chase” me again at times, to pursue me, because I was getting on with my life (but dying inside!) It is the most difficult thing I have ever had ANYTHING to do with, it’s been a very long time, and I still struggle on a daily basis, but my OH does still want me, and us, and that is such a victory, even through all of the hardest stuff we have been faced with, love is conquering all. Forgive yourself, you’ve probably made, and will continue to make mistakes, this is such an emotional hell, you can’t help but react in ways that sometimes you later wish you hadn’t, but learn from the mistakes. Stay in touch, we’re here for you :-)

  23. Sad Mad Wife August 12, 2011 at 8:36 am #

    Thanks Paula! I feel guilt and shame, and that’s irrational. This is the only place I’ve discussed this problem, other than with my husband. It’s like walking on egg shells at our house – do I reassure him that I love him and want to make it work, or express my anger and fear? I can’t eat and I think I’ve had a panic attack, something that I’ve never experienced before. Part of me craves that he is around and another part wants to avoid him and pain. The other night we had separate plans for the evening. I came home first and was in bed sleeping. He came in a bit later, woke me up with a kiss and was all cuddly and funny, kind of like old times. I let him hold me and went back to sleep. The next day I told him how he was like his old self and it certainly didn’t seem as if he had no passionate feelings for me. He said he MAY have some deeply buried, but not to expect too much. Should I try forcing his hand to make a decision – stay and try to make it work, or move out and file for divorce? I think it’s this limbo world that’s driving me crazy. But then again I WANT him to choose staying. In your experience, how much time does it take to get to this point? I know it’s been a relatively short amount of time for the realization. I’m trying to be patient.

  24. Paula August 12, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    SMW, all you are feeling is “normal” and unfortunately, there is no timeframe, it takes a long time. I think it is a good idea to have a mental timeframe for yourself in the sense that if he is not making some progress in “coming back” to you, and not contacting the OW, you need to give yourself permission to think about separation, but make it a realistic timeframe, these things can take months. I did separate twice, but not to “punish” him, just to try to breathe and get some slightly clear headspace, and for us, it did help. He always knew how important I am to him, and how much I back him up, and he missed my support terribly. Just try to take it one day at a time, two steps forward and one step back is the common way this all unfolds. Panic attacks are common with me, I ended up being medicated for this for a while, much to my chagrin, but managed to get off the meds reasonably quickly

  25. ChangedForever August 13, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    “They cheated on their spouse; they broke their marriage vows and possibly changed the course of their lives and their family’s lives forever. That is the reality of the situation:”
    ~As the Betrayed, if i am to continue to pull this ‘relationship’ out of the tarpit he dragged us down into (can’t call it a’ marriage’ anymore as that word is soiled to me, meant nothing to him but something easily disposed of so I wont use that word anymore) i have to fall back on my vows”… to love, honor …in SICKNESS…” Only a sick person could have disrespected me, himself and our children, his family name, his integrity, good character and reputation so completely. I have to remember this. Seeing my children go about their day-to-day lives, noticing all of our family pictures throughout the house, this helps me ‘remember;’ I only wish he had entered & exited our home (as I called it back then, our ‘home,’) last summer and fall, seeing these same family signs of strength, before falling for such a vile & sinister liar/someone who had no respect for human life. And he fell for everything.

    “I wonder if the cheaters ever romanticize their relationship with their spouse they way they have with their affair partner:”
    I hope one day he can remember back before all his cheating started – before he thought it was okay to share our lives & memories with all those secret ‘women’ – stealing time from me & our children during our ‘raising the children” years – thru all the happy times (Bar & Bat Mitzvahs, family vacations, & family events that those despicable creatures who cavorted with him had no right sharing.) They are scum and dragged him down. Baited him. But they did not win overall yet (they won some rounds before but never again) – And I truly believe he is not their type, he is not the scum they are, and I will protect him from these vultures (which are all around us.) I am strong now and can ‘fight’ them all off (even though I am WAY outnumbered.) But i am smarter because i have morals and integrity. It’s the adrenaline reflex – it’s back: ‘Don’t f*** with my family as, when you do, you F*** with me & no one F****s with me. Sounds like a fighting anthem we should all memorize. When they (the vultures) come in for the kill – I’ll be waiting for each of them.

  26. confused 2 October 8, 2011 at 5:18 am #

    to Morgan, Alecia and Michael

    I relate with your comments. I relate to most of the other comments as well.

    The OM was from my past. I met this guy when I was 14 and I wasn’t allowed to have a bf then so we parted ways. I thought this guy was the first love and the one I was meant to be with etc after he came back a few times over the years and raised my expectations and then never met it repeatedly.

    Everytime I had thought I moved on and that I was over him, when he came back or if we had contact it breaks me. I didn’t know why I was over reacting. I just assumed it was “love”. We didn’t even have a proper relationship and yet I react to what happened with us as if us not ending up together was the greatest tragedy of my life. It might have something to do with him saying “fate” kept us apart.

    It wasn’t until I’ve had counselling and the aftermath of the EA, it wasn’t until I’ve read books and blogs that I’ve come to realised that I was addicted to him or actually rather I was addicted to the fantasy of what could have been, what might have been etc.

    It is fantasy because it (the commitment) never happened and it never will. The addiction to this person wasn’t because he’s “perfect” but because I struggle with the rejection and me thinking that if only he chose me I’d feel validated and I could stop feeling like I wasn’t good enough. I’m holding on to how it was when I was 14 all excited and exhilirated by first “love”.

    During the EA I did cry my heart out coz I felt torn between reality, struggling because I knew it was wrong and it would lead to nowhere and yet felt so emotionally attached to the fantasy until I reached the point where I was just too sick of the guilt “ride”.

    In the end I just concluded that I can’t be this person. I can’t be the kind of person who would walk out of my less than a year marriage or be the OW the B-word that helped caused the destruction of a family. that even though I was being controlled my by selfish nature, if I just face the facts and reality then I could find the strength to do the right thing and to let go for good of this stupid attachment to teenage fantasy.

    I’ve come back to reality and have had to face facts and to change my views of what true love is.

    I now know it’s not true love and that it’s futile to seek validation and approval from someone who was absent for most of my life and rejected me repeatedly. You can never undo the past and there is no such thing as a happy ending.

    I hate that I had EA with this guy. I hate that this guy made me feel I wasn’t good enough and then I ended up making my H feel that he wasn’t good enough because of the EA with this guy. H is comparing himself to the OM in the same way that I compared myself to the OM’S wife. why do people do this to each other?!! it’s seems like a never ending misery.

    H was devastated and feels he’s a mistake. I said to him he is not a mistake the OM was the mistake.

    H said he fees like killing someone that’s important to the OM so he could experience pain and suffering like what H felt and I said “why don’t you just kill him?” and he said “because that would break your heart”.

    I’m so ashamed and I feel so guilty that I already have true love and commitment with my H the one that’s been there for me over the years and yet I had foolishly sabotaged it for the fantasy.

    How can I make it up to my H, I really struggle.

  27. Disappointed August 24, 2012 at 1:31 am #

    I am struggling to accept that my H will never stop romanticizing the EA. NC for 10 months and I still feel that his idea of her is way up on that pedestal. She made him feel things he never felt before, just wanted to know him with out expectations. She awakened him to want more from life. I am being compared to her: “I fell in love with you too.” “You hair is the same color as hers” not vice versa. He recently stated only way he will come home is if open marriage. Would he have asked her for an open relationship? I don’t think so. Why were her motives pure and my 20 years of watching out for him and helping him pursue his dream called neglect and deadness – going thru the motions? Full appreciation of a fantasy (he has said he realizes he does not really know her) and NO appreciation for me. My situation is impossibly hopeless – he isnt willing to do the work and I will end up having to walk away to avoid my complete destruction. The hardest part is trying to accept that he will never see any of it and continue to blame me for his choices. My pain is indescribable. And my disappointment beyond measure.

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