frustrated womanWe had Thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws last week, and my brother-in-law joined us as well.  As many of you may recall, he was himself recently embroiled in a physical affair, ended it, and decided to work on his marriage.

At one point during the evening, he pulled Linda and me aside to show us some photos on his smart-phone of his recent vacation with his wife.  The vacation was an attempt at reconciliation and a chance for them to be alone and try to save the marriage.

He also showed us pictures of his ex-affair partner. These were pictures that she has sent since their break up, and were just normal pictures of her out and about having fun with friends, etc.  What was very surprising to us was that he was accepting the photos (and probably other texts) from her in the first place, when he should have been blocking her.  Secondly, why the hell is he saving them instead of deleting them?

You would think if he is truly trying to disconnect from the ex-affair partner and reconnect with his wife, he would end all forms of contact with the other person once and for all.  Why did he need to save the pictures?

While he was showing us the pictures, he mentioned that she was sending the photos because “She was keeping him on his toes.”  Linda and I assumed that meant that she wanted for him to see how much fun he was missing—along with other dubious motives, I’m sure.

I continued to think about this over the course of the next day or so, and can only conclude that he is struggling to completely let go of the other person, and is going through affair withdrawal.

Symptoms of Affair Withdrawal

Dr. Frank Gunzburg says that there are three major emotional symptoms of affair withdrawal: anger, anxiety, and depression. These emotions obviously stem from the break-up itself.

I’m quite sure that since his break-up and during his vacation, he and his wife have been involved in many difficult and negative conversations, causing further emotional disconnection between them, and likely increasing the effects of the withdrawal.

My brother-in-law needs to understand that the withdrawal period can last from a few weeks to several months, and that during this time, he is in a very vulnerable position. Any contact at all with the other person is likely to thrust him right back into the affair.

He needs to focus his energies into his marriage and not the other person.  For most cheating spouses, this is easier said than done.

He has been uncommonly quiet during the past several weeks since he broke up with the other person, and has not talked to Linda or his parents about any developments with his marriage in quite some time.   One can only assume the reasons for the change in him, but Linda and I suspect that it is a combination of the affair withdrawal and that things are not going well in his attempts to save the marriage. 

If he has been maintaining contact with the other person — at any level – then he is sure to sabotage any progress that has been made.

Click to check out Dr. Gunzburg’s program

    28 replies to "Affair Withdrawal: A Difficult Hurdle"

    • Inthemiddleofit

      What a great post – I was going to further respond about the feelings of addiction on another post after this weekend, but this is a more perfect place. I had been thinking about addiction and the feeling of withdrawal all weekend.

      I am definitely in the middle of it – I’ve felt all three of those stages over the past few weeks. I think I’m in the depression place now – I realized over the past week that like a recovering addict, there are good days and there are bad days. The more and more I think about it and compare it to an addiction, the more I realize how exactly right that comparison is. I’ll hear a song or see something that reminds me of the OW and wham, it’s like I need a hit. In this case, a text. I was just driving home and thinking about her. Of course I was jonesing for a hit (and call her). I didn’t, but the temptation was there.

      I can see how easy it would be to fall back into the affair – just like a recovering alcoholic that takes a shot. Next thing he knows he’s passed out on the floor.

      The feelings of depression are also very real. I crave those feelings that came from the attention, the texts, the time spent with the OW, just like an addict would.

      Thinking through some of the advice on the site, I can see how stepping back and letting the cheating spouse realize what he/she would lose is a good step. Like addicts, getting them to quit without the fear of losing something is hard. It’s hard to quit, even knowing you’re hurting someone. I’ve also come to realize that ending an affair is the easy part. Getting over it is the hard part.

      I just wanted to say all that because I thought it might help explain to a betrayed spouse why their spouse is acting the way they are. But please, I am not comparing in any way shape or form the feelings that a betrayed spouse would feel to one that the cheating spouse feels. I just want to point out that stopping all contact and forgetting about the affair is not as easy as it might seem. Think about them like a recovering alcoholic might help understand what they’re going through and may help better figure out how to respond and act…

      • michael

        How about how to respond to a adict who doesn’t want to get help? Or the one who says they’re ok now, don’t worry??

      • Sue85

        Inthemiddleofit,
        For the past few weeks I have been researching emotional affairs (as I am currently in the middle of one). Most of the websites I’ve found are mostly from the point of view of the person cheated on. This is the first site where I’ve been able to read thoughts and feelings from people who are doing the cheating. Never did I think I would make a post on a blog, but after reading your post, I felt compelled to write. You used the word addiction….and that is the BEST word I’ve had to describe the WHY I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing. It’s soooo an addiction. I’m just so relieved that someone else uses that same word. I’ve also referred to it as “a hit”….and compared it to a heroin addict. I try to quit cold turkey (the texts, emails, etc) and it’s too much….so I try the weaning off…but the occasional ‘hit’ sucks me right back into it.

        And when you said you ‘crave’ it (the attention etc) it’s similar to an addict. You are SO right. I crave it too. At times almost like a desperation for it. When I don’t have it, I am down/sad….and when I have it, I experience a ‘high’ feeling…. I know that may sound crazy to anyone who doesn’t understand….but it sounds like you do. That is why I wanted to comment.
        Thanks.

        • stupidandtrusting

          Sue85 – You could be speaking for my husband and how he felt during his EA. Words like “hit”, “attention”, “addiction” “getting sucked back in”. He has been working with a counselor, first without being honest, and now with honesty. It has made a world of difference for him, for us, and for our future. He now realizes that the seeking of validation and attention came from something missing within himself and also partially as a result of avoidance behaviors. To keep avoiding what was missing and what was wrong, he looked for his happiness elsewhere. I hope you will think of all involved before you continue. The pain I have experienced is phenomenal, and honestly, so is his.

          • Sue85

            stupidandtrusting,
            Thank you for your words. I am truly sorry for the pain your husband’s EA has caused you….but it sounds like restoration for your marriage is in progress. And yes, I do think about others involved….hence the reason I want to stop. I have thought about counseling, but didn’t know how beneficial it would be. After reading your post, and seeing how it has helped your husband, I may look into it further.

            Again, thanks. Believe it or not, it’s a struggle to be one involved too. Not to the extent of the one cheated on I’m sure….but it’s still very difficult. Once again, I compare it to any addict who is trying to stop their addiction.

            • Inthemiddleofit

              Oh I get it completely Sue85. I think I saw a post by Linda talking about like an addiction and the more I thought about it, the more I realized how true that was.

              I just spent hours on a plane this week with nothing but my iPod and my thoughts. One thing I realized and I thought might help the betrayed spouse further understand is this – the betrayed spouse that wants to keep their marriage together is often fighting a fantasy. Again, this is strictly from my experience, but I realized that even now, I long for that fantasy world that I know isn’t real.They’re fighting a fantasy of no kids, no mortgage, no baggage – just the fun and excitement of a new relationship and starting over. The affair might have started over a lack of intimacy, but it began to symbolize everything I wished I could change.

              Let’s face it – how much fun was that time period when you first met someone and began to fall in love. It was great, but of course it can’t last. Part of the fantasy is that this relationship (the affair) is somehow different and would last. BS – the only way to continually keep that feeling is to break up and start new relationships all the time. And you know what, if one craves that part of a relationship, then that’s probably what they should do. But Linda and Doug are right about real love coming over time.

              Perhaps part of the issue (as I see it) is that “real love” doesn’t give you the hit like a drug. It’s more like a blanket that keeps you warm at night. It’s safe, secure, and always there for you – which is great. But an affair is like heroin – it gives you a high for a short period of time. But with it comes the crashes too.

              Oh heck – maybe this is all gibberish. I’m sitting in a hotel room by myself in the city where the OW lives, craving that “hit’ all the while knowing I need to stay away. I am glad I found this site though – it’s helped me understand my own feelings a lot more and begin to figure out how to extract myself from the PA while creating a better marriage.

            • Doug

              Inthemiddleofit, what a great comment, your words really define the difference between an affair and a marriage. The largest obstacle on the both sides is giving up the fantasy, and for the betrayed spouse to convey that “real love” is so much better. We all would like to go back to a time without responsibility, where everything was new and exciting unfortunately it doesn’t last. Doug and I have tried to create something that offers both. We know we cannot escape the reality of our lives but we really make an effort to pretend it doesn’t exist. We go out to happy hour, take an afternoon nap, cuddle on the couch every morning, etc. I know I will never be able to give him the high he experienced from the affair but I hope he realizes that was short term, and doesn’t even scratch the surface of what real love is. Linda

            • D

              I’ve been loving that saying someone wrote, “The grass is always greener … where you water it!”

              I get the addiction concept, but it rings so falsely to me. No one likes the feeling of being in love more than I do so my choice in my marriage has been to nurture that feeling, to not judge my wife for what she isn’t, but rather find the most beauty in what she is.

              But this affair isn’t just a mistake on her part, it’s an indictment by her of who I am or am not. One of the toughest things to accept post affair is that I’m the same person. Sure I’ve made some subtle changes, but more or less the same “warm blanket” I’ve always been apparently. But I don’t want to have to compete with the drug. Why should I? It’s a selfish complaint. Not coming down on you, inthemiddleofit, but I feel that someone can have that “high” anytime they want if they’re willing to invest themselves in their marriage. Marriage may become routine or boring after a number of years, but you may be the one who’s really making it that way.

    • Inthemiddleofit

      Two good questions Michael – I would think that backing off might be the way to go. Just like with an alcoholic, you can’t make them go to AA. They have to want to. Faced with losing something dear, I would think that would scare someone into quitting. But if they truly don’t think they have a problem, then I’m at a loss at how to respond. Perhaps looking at how spouses deal with alcohol or drug addicts may provide some insight.

      If they say they’re ok now, don’t worry – I would take that for run for your life with worry. All kidding aside, if they truly have figured out what caused them to stray and have cut off all contact with the OP and is truly working on repairing the marriage, then maybe that’s ok. But from your posts, I would tend to doubt that’s the case here.

      Truly, I would do some research online towards how to deal with an addict. Obviously an affair is different and has its own complexities, but there are some definite similarities. Someone taking drugs behind a spouses back and someone having an affair are two totally different things. But I think that looking at it from that perspective might eliminate some of the hurt and emotions of the situation which may allow you to come at the situation a little differently.

      Unfortunately, just like with an addict, you can lead them to water, but you can’t make them drink….

    • Norwegian woman

      Inthemiddleofit.
      I like to read your responses. I can get a glimpse into the mind of a cheater. There are so many things I don`t understand when it comes to my husband and his affairs.
      I certainly can see that my H contakt with the OW probably is a withdrawal-symptom. I had just ripped him from his newest attention-provider, so he kept in contakt with his first attention-provider to at least get a little of that “high”. (Just a theory).
      What is difficult for me, is that he saw how hurt I was when I discovered his newest relationship (and did not know about his first). He promised me to never go behind my back again, and still he kept in contakt with the first woman by texts, e-mail and phone (She allways initiated the contact – but he responded…) He tells me that he did not have any feelings for her. (The reason he had contact was because I did not know about THAT affair, and she had left her husband and had a difficult time)
      From your point of wiew; Why do you think he didn`t cut the woman off, when he had promised me that he would not ever decieve me again. Do you believe that he did not have feelings for this woman? How can you have withdrawal-symptoms from a woman you have no feelings for?
      Just curious on your point of view.

    • D

      An addiction is an expression of self-loathing. So ask yourself, why do I think so poorly of myself that I need to project my lack of self-respect onto someone else? What am I avoiding in my life?

      Facing your fears is one of the hardest things to do in life, but it is the most gratifying. It’s that feeling you get when you put in a solid day’s work, when you commit yourself to volunteering, when you make the difference in someone’s life because you put them before yourself.

      Really it all comes down to the simple maxim: shit or get off the pot.

    • maryanna1962

      In response to inthemidleof it, remeber you had a choice and now you have to live with the consequences. Cheaters will always be cheaters and I don’t give a toss how you try to toss it around, do you ever stop and think of your W and what turmoil you have caused to her emotions ?

    • Inthemiddleofit

      Maryanna – of course I have to leave with the consequences. I was in no way trying to shirk responsibility or compare feelings. I was just trying to point out the other side so a betrayed spouse might have a better idea of what their spouse was thinking.

      Norwegian woman – any comment I may have is complete conjecture since I obviously don’t know your H. I have no idea why he would speak to the first OW, even though he knew how much he hurt you. I think he tried to justify it to himself by thinking that he only promised you he wouldn’t talk to the OW you knew about. I’m sure you probably were already, but I guess you need to be even more clear that any conversation with another woman via text, email or phone constitutes going behind your back. If he gets contacted by a OW, he needs to tell you right away.

      I can’t answer if he had feelings for this OW, but I can answer the next question. “How can you have withdrawal-symptoms from a woman you have no feelings for? ” I don’t remember where else on this site I posted about the feelings of addiction, but the withdrawal symptoms often have nothing to do with the OW. (This is me speaking, not an expert – this is just what I have experienced). I’ve found myself longing for the attention and the feelings that the OW brought on, not so much the OW.

      So assuming this OW made your H feel secure and desired, he probably longs for those feelings. I can easily see someone having withdrawal symptoms, yet not have feelings for the OW. Although I do have to say, during the EA/PA, it would be hard to continue it if there were no feelings for the OW whatsoever. He had to have some feelings toward her at some point – but his feelings now are probably more for longing of the feelings of being in the affair, rather than a longing for the OW.

      Her contacting him probably brings back some of those feelings of being wanted and appreciated. He (like myself) needs to figure out why the need for that is so strong and how to receive that from his spouse. Similar to what D stated above (although D stated it a lot stronger than I would have)

      Hope that helps…

    • Donna

      ‘Cheaters will always be cheaters ‘, this term really bugs me! My husband said not to long ago… “if I had known 18 months ago what I know now, do you really think I would have entered into an affair?”

      My husband cheated, YES! My husband BROKE my heart, YES! However, like Doug and a lot of othrs who frequent here I am sure as heck they would NEVER enter into another affair again because of the turmoil and heartache and self hate that they feel.

      I agree to a point that some men/women will cheat for the thrill of it time and time again. However I also believe that a good portion of them will never do it again.

      I am sorry maryanna1962 that you feel the way you do. Yes, I think it is a choice in the end and they the cheaters have to live out the consequences.. as do the betrayed who never asked for this. I just feel sad that people can say that once a cheater always a cheater so easily whe it really is not like that at all.

      I am a betrayed wife and if you have followed any of my posts am still hurt and still going through turmoil as I type, however a part of me will stick up for those men/women who stuffed up BIG time and will not do this again because of the devestation they have caused. They know it all to well as they too are living in hell (self inflicted) every single minute of the day.

    • BreeAnn

      Thanks Doug and Linda for this site, this is my first post and I have to admit that this site is helping me very much. I’m not married, but by boyfriend and I broke up 3 months ago (today) and it still hurts. During the first month of being broken up, he reconnected with the woman he had an EA with and says that he understands boundaries this time around and that they are “just friends.” We’ve been talking about reconciliation for about a month, but I won’t go back if she’s in the picture and he says it would be ‘unfair to her to end it’. We’re both standing our ground on this but he makes me feel like I’m the one who is wrong here. After I found out about the EA, I made him stop all contact with her, and he did. That was almost 2 years ago. His EA went on about 2 years before that. I’m writing because I need validation, could it be possible for them to be friends and for him to be happy with me?

      • Doug

        BreeAnn, Thanks for commenting and sharing. I’m a firm believer that the only way to assure that an affair is over, is to end all contact. I suppose that there could be instances where they could be just friends, but I think that is a rare situation. He obviously can’t stay away from her, so I suspect that might lead to issues down the road.

    • Inthemiddleofit

      On a side note, it is so hard to keep up with all the comments when you’re out of town for a few days…

      You’re right D – you shouldn’t have to compete with a fantasy. But the fact of the matter is, you do. If you want to keep your relationship together, you do anyway.

      For me anyway, I wasn’t missing that new love feeling. I was missing a passionate, intimate sex life. In addition to finding that in the OW, I found those new love feelings. And that began the fantasy.

      Can you keep that new love feeling alive in your marriage? Wow – I don’t know. At least not at that high of a level. But while that feels good, it’s missing a great deal of emotion and intimacy, which you can only get over time.

      Part of the fantasy is the belief that in this case (with the OP), those feelings will be kept alive where the relationship with the spouse has lost them. But if you couldn’t keep those feelings alive with your spouse, what makes you think you’ll manage that with the OP? Of course, that logic only comes when the “fog” lifts.

      • K

        I agree 100%, D. Once the fog & pain of the affair have lifted a bit on both sides, those loving feelings & deep intimacy can be found again in your spouse. In my case, these things weren’t lost, just hiding. Only through total transparency & a longing to make our marriage work, on both of our parts, have we started to feel these things all over again. Our 18 year old thinks we are a bit nuts, lol. 😉

    • Learning

      Inthemiddleofit
      Oh heck – maybe this is all gibberish. I’m sitting in a hotel room by myself in the city where the OW lives, craving that “hit’ all the while knowing I need to stay away. I am glad I found this site though – it’s helped me understand my own feelings a lot more and begin to figure out how to extract myself from the PA while creating a better marriage.

      Thank you so much for what you wrote. It is not gibberish and it has helped me understand my behavior very deeply.

      I was so conflicted. I actually left my husband to be with the other man, and a couple months later, when the the fantasy disappeared and real life emerged, I couldn’t understand what happened. We were going to ride off into the sunset together, why is our relationship off track so soon? In hindsight it is so clear, but amidst the emotions everything is driven by that addictive “fix.”

      Once the other man and I were finally together, we realized that this was going to be a regular relationship. The passionate texts dwindled. Routine discussions replaced them about the daily routine. Sometimes there was nothing to discuss. I started to become uneasy about all the “dealbreaker” traits he possessed that I ignored before. He found traits in me that he didn’t like, and bluntly told me about them. I realized he was not my husband…that I craved the comfort of my old life. I realized comfort is love, just as you said, inthemiddleofit.

      My husband is willing to give us another shot and I realize how blessed I am. Not many people are as forgiving. He is terribly hurt, but he has a logical mind and as long as I give truthful answers to his questions, I think we can move forward. The more I understand about what happened, the easier it is for me to never make this mistake again. It takes honesty and putting your spouse first always…ahead of your personal guilt and shame.

      I look forward to the days ahead. I will be moving back in to my home soon, and while I will miss the “rush” I experienced, I have to remember the shallowness behind it. I hope we make it to the “enlightenment” phase of our marriage. I really believe that if we can get through this together, we can get through anything.

    • Alone

      Hi, I just want to say thank you so much for this website. I am the cheater. This site helps so much… I feel like I am a crazy person. Acted totally insane the past year, irrational, all because of this man I cheated with. It’s been a couple of months since our affair ended. I honestly don’t think we realized we were having an affair to tell you the truth since most of it was emotional, not a full blown PA. The thing that I have REALLY struggled with since it has ended is the no contact and feelings I have for this man. I think the fog is lifting, and I am starting to see things about him now, but it’s been hard. I know my husband and I can’t move forward until I move past these feelings. And thank God I have a husband that wants to work on things with me… most men would not give their wife another chance.

      And truly, as other people posted here, I was addicted to the affair and OM and still am in a lot of ways. I craved the next email, text, phone call, time together, the attention. He said all the right things to me, which sucked me in even further although I knew it was wrong. So when it ends it’s hard to automatically cut off those feelings… because you are addicted. I have kept the no contact rule as I know that I will unequivocally lose my marriage if I have an any contact with him. I also feel that I was a conquest to the OM, an ago boost. What an even better ego boost than to contact him again and let him know I am pining for him? Still, knowing that these feelings during an affair, the high aren’t real… on some level that does hurt. I thought what I felt was real. I believed his feelings were the same. I feel so totally stupid. And used. And regretful. And most days I hate myself for all of the pain I have caused my husband and everyone. Like the worst person to walk the face of the Earth.

      I often wonder if women who cheat have a harder time with the “addiction” because we are more emotional? Do men who cheat struggle as well? And what can I do to totally let go, because I need to do everything in my power to move forward with my husband. I want those loving feelings and times with my husband to return.

      Thank you for reading. I know I sound like a crazy person. Truth be told, I probably am a crazy person from this mess I have created.

      • Healing Mark

        Alone, you sound so much like my wife, and I wish you well with your efforts to overcome what you have brought upon yourself and your family. Understand that you are NOT a bad person and look for posts on this and other blogs that address getting over an emotional affair from the transgressor’s perspective. I have seen much on this as I have gained knowledge of something I never knew existed, but cannot right now direct you exactly to it. But if you use the “search” function you will be amazed at what you can find.

    • Bonni

      I believe I am watching my husband go through affair withdrawal and it’s a very difficult thing to watch. His affair lasted 18 months (emotional and physical). I was totally blindsided by it when discovered Sept 2014. He ended it upbruptly and then reconnected 5 times during the next 5 months with her. I guess I wasn’t good enough to keep him excited and interested after 30 years of what we both agreed was a GREAT marriage. Guess he wanted more. Well he certainly got it and was living the best of both worlds. I hope with a lot of guilt all along, but he did not appear to be one bit. March 3, 2015 he sent a NO contact text to her and since that day I do believe he has had no contact, however, for the 1st few days he was fine and then he decided to mask it all with multiple evening cocktails and withdrawing from me both emotionally and physically. I am quite frustrated as he is not aware of what he is going through and has no desire to attend counseling to help him through this. I’m watching him fall into a depression and this is not at all going to help us out. Sad to say…our marriage/relationship and intimacy was better when he was having the affair, however, I will NOT allow that type of marriage in my life. He says he is OK….he is not. He needs to understand affair withdrawal, seek help to move through it and rebuild our marriage/relationship as he has told me he wants to do. I am not having pity on him, but seriously….will he hit rock bottom before he comes to terms with this? Love my husband so much and miss my old husband and the life we had.

      • forcryin'outloud

        Bonnie,
        I’m a little late to your story so pls forgive me if I don’t have the entire picture.
        Much like your H mine was told by his mother and most of his family he was his mother’s savior because she had lost two babies in late term preg. He was adopted 2 mos after the last loss. Probably not the best decision for her and my H. Their relationship started off twisted and only got worse. When my H and I were in therapy together most of the discussion revolved around my MIL. (She would love to know that because she is a bat shit crazy lady.) An all time highlight from these discussions was when tthe MC said to my H the only thing that would make my MIL happy is if he was living his life in her basement.
        I’m not sure if your MIL is still in the picture but men raised with mother’s like this grow up needing to “save” a woman or at the least be viewed as the “savior.” It’s pretty f’ed up but it may be a start for you both to find why the marriage derailed.
        Sarah P. also has several guest postings on here about these mother son dynamics that you will find beneficial.
        My two cents from nearly 5 yrs post dday is to make specific demands that will help you move forward and stick to them. A big one needs to be marriage counseling with a certified therapist. The second is don’t fall into their 5 yr old tantrums over the shit storm they created. My H didn’t hit the bottle like yours but he had so many ridiculous tantrums. I also heard he was concerned about her when I tried to contact her. That her life had been hard….
        In hindsight it’s all so head shakingly stupid and childish.

        The best advice I can give you from what I did right and wrong is to put yourself first. This is the time to be selfish especially given (it sounds like) you have no children at home.
        Sorry you have found yourself in our company but I can say it’s GREAT company with lots of insight.

    • Albert

      I am suffering from the withdrawals from a four year EA. My wife does not know and I don’t want to tell her and make her suffer. I am 68 years old and have been married for forty four year. My wife is wonderful and does not deserve this cruel indulgence I am going through. I knew my EA partner 48 years ago in high school and then reconnected on a high school web site. For the last eight months we have been talking almost daily and I have come to rely on this fantasy island for comfort and joy. I have coped as well as one can after being addicted to a fantasy. I just hurt so much today and I don’t want to go to square one. Please help. I am fairly religious and I have a great standing in the community the guilt and loss of integrity caused me to terminate the dalliance. Not that I am a super human I have tried to reconnect but my EA partner won’t have it because she said she was hurt by my decision. In the long haul I need to thank her for that but as the song goes “I don’t care what is right or wrong I won’t try to understand let the devil take tomorrow but tonight I need a friend.” Kristoferson “Take the Ribbon from my Hair”. It started innocently enough and I resisting introducing the telephone into the equation for over three years . I have been working very hard on giving all my attention to my wife and things are improving. He asked why the sudden spike in attention and I said I just felt I have been neglectful of our relationship and I want us to make strong and vibrant. The attention I used to give to the EA is now channeled to my wife and the excitement is building but it is not as intense as the EA . Lord I hurt today please help me make through the next hour and then the next and then the day.

    • Strengthrequired

      Albert, please think carefully about what you can lose if you continue your affair. You need to decide is the ow worth losing your wife of 44 years, the respect of your children, friends and family?

    • hurt

      So…
      last reply from this thread dated June 8 2016 and I wonder if there will be respond to my post.

      I’d like to share my situation. I am a betrayed wife, my husband had EA which developed into full blown affair. She was his first love in high school. We have been married for 12 years, almost 13 years and have 2 children, 10 and 6 years old. His EA seem to be for about a year and last Nov/Dec developed into physical affair. He wanted to end things with me early December and I pleaded him to give it one last shot. This was his 3rd request to divorce. The root causes of our problems would be financial issues, my inability to share everything in terms of letting him be updated about what’s up with my family, the way I like to ill treat him and take him for granted – this is result of my frustration in who he is and I own up to this as my contribution to the unhappy marriage.

      Initially he was ready to pursue his so called happiness with his first love, a 2x divorce with 2 children from both husbands (18 & 4 y,o). However he doesn’t want to hurt his kids. Up to now, he is back and forth in terms of one day he says “If you’re willing to forgive then I’m willing to let go of my OW” and the next day talk about moving out and things will remain the same with the kids. He is still in the fog of his fantasy perfect life that he can move to. We started going to counselling and was in our 3rd session (2nd for him as he missed the 2nd session). Couselor challenged him to set foot on only 1 place: home.

      Now the thing is, I am committed to make things work for the sake of the kids at first and along the way found myself still loving this man all along and want to make it up to him. I would let him go if we don’t have kids but since we brought these two innocent kids into this world, we owe it to them the family life they deserve. My husband still believes in divorce when things don’t work out and is now in withdrawal phase. He just shared with me last night that the OW is slowly letting him go. According to him she cares for him deeply and understood his situation of having kids and not wanting to harm the kids. Also, he has learned that both OW and me are not willing to be shared. He has to choose one.

      One my side, I am also back and forth where one day I’d say I’m ready for you to go pursue your dreams – when I did this he pulled me back and said “If you really change then I’d also like to make this marriage work for the kids” and when he is thinking of moving out and continue his affair, I’d pull him back to think and really think about the consequences of his actions towards the kids, how they’d be hurt and the relationship will not be the same as before (these are all facts that somehow has to be put accross).

      So last night he confessed that he hasn’t seen OW for the past month and the whatsapp chat has also lessen. She is slowly pulling herself away. When he said all those good things and how noble the OW is, I tell you the hurt is incomparable to the hurt of loosing a child (We lost a baby back in 2010). However, I also could see the pain he is going through and I wish he didn’t have to go through it but it was him who decided to have the affair then he has to deal with the consequences of his actions.

      So now my challenges include the fact that he keep comparing the feelings he gets when with OW (infatuation) and the “it’s too late to do all good things to me” and emptiness/hopelessness when he;s with me. Especially at this phase when the OW is “letting him go” – not sure if it’s her strategy to pressure him to leave his family or not.

      He is longing for that “happiness” where he believes can only be obtained when he pursue her. So last night, once again I reminded him to think for the kids and he said, “ The kids unhurt but I’ll be unhappy and empty”.

      Do respond with your insights.

    • Joan

      Hi Linda & Doug, You say that the first stage of affair withdrawal is “anger”, who is this anger aimed at? I ask this as after a six month emotional affair, my partner of twenty eight years has just told me (6 months from D.day) that he felt anger at me for a long time after I found out about the affair. When I asked him why he said that I had been “snooping into his private matters” i.e. emails etc. (what a cheek!) He can now see how unreasonable that was. I suspect that the real reason was that I had ‘spoiled his affair by finding them out. I would like to know what anyone else thinks about this.

      • Doug

        Hey Joan, thanks for your comment. Normally, the anger is directed at the cheater. However, like your partner, the cheater can also get angry or resentful towards the hurt partner. Typically, I feel that type of anger is misguided bull$#!+ and is only used as some sort of manipulation tactic or excuse/rationalization for their behavior. Your suspicions are probably spot on!

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