After his emotional affair I began questioning every decision I made as a mother and a wife.

after his emotional affair

By Linda

I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day.  Mine was wonderful as usual (except during the affair year that is). My family always went the extra mile to show how much they appreciate me. Their tradition always included breakfast in bed, flowers, cards, gifts, a day of family fun and they always made me feel like I was the best mom in the world.

I guess that being a good mother has always been my goal in life. After all, I have been preparing for it since I was a little girl. I had wonderful role models growing up with my mother and grandmother. 

As a teacher I have witnessed the effects of bad parenting and learned what I shouldn’t do.  I also wanted to make Doug proud of me and feel fortunate that I was the mother of his children.

I questioned if I had spent too much time with them.  Should I have started all these silly holiday traditions or had annual birthday parties for our kids?  Did all these things take time away from our marriage?  Was my attempt to be a good mother the reason why my marriage fell apart and my husband found someone else?

I felt that I was doing everything right.  That is until Doug had an affair. After his emotional affair I began questioning every decision I made as a mother and a wife.  Prior to his affair, I had wonderful memories of my kid’s childhood, but now I’m filled with regrets and “should have done’s.”

When I found out about his emotional affair I would often question Doug as to what was so appealing about Tanya.  I remember one day he said that they see and think about things the same way.  They even have the same parenting styles – unlike her husband and me.  We were always too conservative and overprotective, while they were more laid back and easy going.

Emotional Affair-What Was He Thinking?

Low man on the totem pole

Doug also said that since our son had been born (19 years ago), he felt like the low man on the totem pole, as I always put the children first. I don’t disagree with that. I know I did.

See also  Discussion: What Are You Most Fearful Of After the Affair?

We had three children in four years, we both worked, money was tight and we had a lot of responsibilities.  We both put the children first.  We both were the low men on the totem pole. 

I just thought that was the way it was supposed to be when you became a parent.  I believed that the children did come first. I believed a lot of things until Doug’s emotional affair made me question everything, including my parenting skills.

Until Doug’s affair, I felt so proud that he and I had raised such wonderful children.  I believed that we really had the same philosophy on parenting and that we both had the same dedication and need to be with them.  I saw firsthand that our love and sacrifice was truly worth it.  We have the most remarkable, compassionate, self-disciplined children. Rarely did we ever have to raise our voices or punish them, and they loved being with us.

Was trying to be the “best mom in the world” really worth it?  Was the affair the price I paid?

I know that in my heart I don’t regret the relationship I have with my children, or everything I’ve done to be a good mother.  I just hate that the affair has tarnished everything in my life. 

An emotional affair has the ability to make every moment in a married life appear problematic or unfulfilling for both parties involved.

I admit that I would have done some things differently. I would have spent more time alone with Doug and focused on myself more, but unfortunately I can’t go back. I need to look at the present and the future, and try to find a perfect balance between being a wife, mother and woman.

See also  Discussion: What's Your Miracle After the Affair?


    36 replies to "After the Emotional Affair: Questioning Every Decision"

    • Broken

      Okay, I just have to say this. Why is it that men feel the need to cheat, when they are put on the bottom of the list. This is life! This is the way it goes, family and work eventually take over and are priority. Sorry if your busy wife doesn’t have time to admire you all day. No one admires me all day, even though I pull the fair share of work and then some. I’m busy too! I put myself last, my H doesn’t admire me all day for all the hard work I do. Why don’t I go looking for someone to make me feel good? I’m sorry but men have to realize that life goes on, and having someone admire you all day and make you feel good is not a priority and it shouldn’t be a reason to look for someone else. If you want someone to boost your ego and make you feel like King of the World, then step up to the plate and do the same for your wife. Be a man and realize that in order to get that “admiration” from your wife, you have to make it happen. Tell her how you feel, and make a plan to get it together and have a better marriage. Tell your wife that you need those things your missing, instead of copping out and going to another women for it. There I said it, it’s off my chest. It seems like we women have to treat our men like one of our children, always worrying about their needs and if they feel good, because if we don’t, bam! they go to someone else for it. It’s like I’m walking on eggshells my whole life, I better make my man feel like gold so I can keep him. I should tell my H.. like I tell my kids.. YOU GET WHAT YOU GET, AND YOU DON’T GET UPSET.

      • admin

        Broken, I hear you, and you’re right for the most part. It’s no excuse to have an affair. But, why does family and (especially) work have to take over in the first place? Why can’t there be a balance between marriage, work and parenthood that both spouses can be happy and content with? One of the points of Linda’s article is that it doesn’t need to be that way, and if you want to have a happy marriage then there has to be a happy medium.

        That aside…one of your better vents! 🙂

        • Broken

          Doug… you are a very lucky man to have a wife who is so dedicated to your family. And dedicated to you and your marriage. She certainly is trying to make the best of your situation. She seems to be understanding and compassionate. I don’t think I have been that understanding and reasonable towards my H. Sometimes I think I should be. Because I see that it is working for you and Linda. She’s an inspiration to me, appreciate her and admire her. Because she could have been completely different. She could have turned her back on you and never looked back, and she would have had every right to.

          • Doug

            Boy do I know that. I’m very thankful that she didn’t kick my ass out. It’s wonderful to be given a second chance. You might try the understanding and compassionate route with your husband. You might be surprised what can happen.

      • michael

        I hear you but I can’t believe you would put me in a category with all the other guys that decided not to be men. Because it isn’t only guys that cheat. Women are doing it more and more. Because they feel the way you do.
        So why didn’t you have the affair? If you felt so bad. Have you thought about it? You can’t put you spouse on the bottom. That’s how this happens. Some of us are just a little more ( a little) faithful than the others.
        So now I feel better for getting that off my chest.
        MEN don’t cheat for any reason. But some of us feel like you treat us like another kid. So why shouldn’t we act that way. Some of us just don’t. And we wind up on the same side of this blog as you.

        • Broken

          Michael, I am not placing all men in the same category, although it is more common for men to cheat than women, that is a known fact. Obviously you do not fit that category. I did not cheat because I never wanted to, I didn’t feel the need to. Right now I feel like my H put me on the bottom of the list, but I still remain faithful, it’s just the way I am. I’m just tired of the excuses men give. There is no excuse. When something is wrong with the marriage or you feel you aren’t being treated the way you would like, you should speak up. An affair is only going to make the marriage worse. Nothing good can come out of it.

      • Healing

        After 20 years of marriage (and being the husband in the relationship); nothing you’ve noted is the “core” issue.

        Affairs happen because husbands and/or wives LET THEM HAPPEN.

        My thought is that it’s related to “emotional maturity” and the lack of a persons ability to make and KEEP a commitment!

        There aren’t any excuses…you either make and keep the commitment or you don’t. It’s that simple!

    • Broken

      Doug… there should definitely be a balance, but when one spouse realizes that the balance isn’t even, they should confront the issue. My H should of said and you should of said, I don’t like the way things are now, let’s change it! Make the first move. Wouldn’t it be more special and meaningful to have your wife fulfill that need? I didn’t realize that the balance was off in my marriage, if he had confronted me about it, I would have changed. No matter how unhappy or unsatisfied as I was with certain parts of my marriage, I would never cross that line. I would rather confront my H and say, this is what’s bothering me. When you step outside the marriage for anything, you automatically are giving up on the marriage and assuming that your spouse can’t fulfill a certain need. Your not giving us a fighting chance, I never had a choice to repair my marriage, he never gave me chance to improve. It took the EA to bring us into the light. I would rather his own senses bring me to this place and not the EA.

      • Doug

        I certainly can’t argue with anything you say there. It seems that most of us in this boat got here due to a basic breakdown in communication somewhere along the way.

        • Broken

          Doug.. why didn’t you confront Linda when you felt something was missing from your marriage?

          • Doug

            I’m not sure. Just another dumb move on my part. I think our problem at the time was that both of us had a personality flaw called “fear of confrontation.” We both have overcome this flaw over the last year.

            • Broken

              I definitely don’t have a problem with confrontation, and my H knows that. I actually love to talk, a lot! I think he just doesn’t like talking to me. I can talk all day given the chance. Even if it’s a topic that will cause confrontation. So I don’t know what his excuse is. He still insists that our marriage had nothing to do with it. It’s like pulling teeth! LOL

            • Doug

              I’ve always been a talker –at work, and in social situations–but never much of one when I got home, because I HAD to talk so much on the job. We’ve made a conscious effort to fis that part of our marriage. In fact, last night we agreed earlier in the day to take some time out from all that we do to just go on our screened in porch to talk for a bit. Our talk was just about “stuff” and not about affairs or anything like that. It was only about 45 minutes or so, but it was nice– and it helps with things.

            • Broken

              Doug, I finally showed my H this website tonight. I showed him my comments and we spoke about it. I made him read Linda’s “I Hate You” post. I think it really hit home. After he read it, I said isn’t that some good stuff? This is how I feel. And he said, wow this Linda is really smart. Go Linda! We had a decent conversation about the EA tonight without fighting or getting angry. Maybe this is our road to recovery, I hope!

            • Doug

              Broken, That is some great news! I hope that he has seen the light! Maybe when you get a few moments, you can share the details of your conversation– if you feel comfortable doing so.

            • Broken

              Doug… after he read Linda’s post, “I Hate You” we spoke about how insecure I felt in the relationship and my trust in him. We spoke about how I felt like I couldn’t trust anyone anymore. He said that this EA he had changed him in so many ways, and that I couldn’t see that because he wasn’t showing me. He said that he was hurting and felt horrible that he put us into this situation. He told me that I should be able to trust him because he would never do this again. I told him that I felt insecure and that trust had to be earned back. That I wasn’t sure why he did this in the first place so how could I be sure he wouldn’t do it again. I told him that it bothered me that he found someone new and exciting. That he took a chance and risked our marriage for her. He told me that he never intended to leave the marriage and that he made it clear to her that he wasn’t going to leave us. We spoke mostly about why we thought this happened. I explained to him that I thought if I knew why this happened that it would be easier to except in some way. Only because then I could remedy the problem to make sure it didn’t happen again. Were off to a good start I think. This conversation took place yesterday. Today we did not talk about the EA. We spent the day together shopping. I don’t want to focus on the EA today I just want to focus on having a “good day” together.

            • Doug

              Broken, It indeed sounds as though you had a great conversation, and that you are off to a great start. I’m happy for you!

            • Kate

              Ah, I know that flaw well… The same “fear of confrontation” is the reason/excuse my husband gives for why he didn’t tell me he was feeling unhappy in our marriage and instead held that inside for two years. He didn’t want to hurt me, was afraid that I would react poorly and be upset. (Well, duh… who wouldn’t be upset to hear that news?!?!)

              Then when a “friend” started to listen to him and pay attention, he suddenly “fell in love” with her and “out of love” with me. Had he told me, facing the possible bad reaction I might have had to the news, perhaps I would have had a chance to be the one who listened and he fell back in love with?

              I was never given the chance to fix the things he says were wrong in our relationship, I wasn’t even told there was a problem at all. 🙁

    • lass00

      When my husband got his job at the casino his hours where 12 pm to 9pm my hours were 9 am to 5 pm my days off were sat and sun. His days off were sun and mon. I told him over and over that we do not spend enough time together when he was making golf dates on sundays. Then when I found out about the affair you know what he said? That all I do when he gets home is watch tv and go to bed when he just got out of work and it was 5pm for him and he wanted to go out and have some fun. I told him I would go out once in a while but that he got to sleep in in the morning when I had to get up by 7am. He had an affair with someone he worked with, with the same hours and day off as him. He never let me know that my working hours were a problem until after I found out about the affair. Believe me had I know I would have quit my job in a heartbeat. But he told me that I needed to keep working. I felt sorry for him that he didnt have a life so I never complained when he would go out at night everynight until 2 or 3 am.

    • Kim

      My heart goes out to you. If he never showed any sign that he was unhappy, then that is unfair to you. You did not deserve such treatment…no woman does!

      Unfortunately, all emotional affairs are not equal. Yes, there are men who expect to much and give little in return. But, what about situations where the wife has abandoned the marriage by not fulfilling her “duties” and the husband has not only not cheated, but put up with her behavior for over 15 years? What if he asked her repeatedly to get help over the years and she refused? How long is a man supposed to wait around? I am not saying it is right, but there are all sorts of situations out there that invite the emotional affair… All is not black and white. I am in love with a man who is going through this. Now that he has asked for divorce, his wife is scrambling to do things she’s never done or hasn’t done in 20 years. Unfortunately, it is too late. You cannot try to fix 2 decades of neglect in a few weeks because your husband wants a divorce. I know it is unfair, but as women we do have a duty to make sure the home is a place where our men are appreciated and not neglected…even for the children. If more women paid attention to this, then there may be fewer divorces once the children reach 18. I have talked to so many men who have felt neglected, voiced their suffering to their wives…and it all fell on deaf ears. Then the women are surprised when their marriages fall apart as soon as the children are of age.

      • michael

        You are so right. I’m one of those men. And unfortunately my wife doesn’t want ( says she can’t and doesn’t know how) to do the things that I needed to get better from this.
        She will not talk about it.
        Will not tell me what I could have done better.
        Won’t see a counselor.
        She talked to her other friends and him about her feelings and about things from her past, but not me.
        Still puts me at a lower priority.
        And I’ve tried and don’t know what to do anymore, or even know what I want anymore.
        I feel that I have lost the self preservation feeling and drive that made me work hard on our marriage. And I don’t feel connected to my wife. And that is starting to be reflected by the way I act. Don’t get me wrong I am having fun and doing things for me.
        But I see us getting right back to the way things were before she found the love of her life. Her ex-boyfriend from 18 years ago. Her SOUL MATE. Maybe I shouldn’t have held on so tight. Maybe I should have let her go. I don’t know if she will ever be that connected to ME. Or if that’s even what I want anymore.

    • Guilty

      Broken – It’s not as simple as a case of ego…why wasn’t my wife paying attention to me or why didn’t she notice when I did something around the house. It wasn’t as cut and dry as that. For me it was a question of futility. For years I would work twelve to fourteen hour days, travel for business, ignore things that I wanted to do, which is a part of being married. My sole focus was on my wife’s happiness, on her being satisfied with the life I was able to provide her and hopefully giving her the life she wanted. At the same time, she began feeling unappreciated. She was and is a perfectionist, a stickler for things being done correctly, not just being done. With our two sons and myself, she would feel like we didn’t care about things around the house as much as she did. I began to feel that no matter what I did, it wouldn’t be enough. It started small, I’d clean the kitchen, and she’d immediately come behind me and redo what I had done. Again, it wasn’t enough that I had done the work unbidden, but that I hadn’t done it to her standards. Years and years of this built on me where I simply shut down. What was the point? She wasn’t going to listen anyway. Please do not mistake this as me rationalizing what I did. For sure, I should have been man enough to say something when things were building inside me. But I was focused on not saying anything negative to her. I was focused on what I thought was an impossible task, making her happy. In the end, the result was the exact opposite. I suppose my point is that it’s not as cut and dry as a case of pouting on steroids. It was more of like being in quicksand. The more I tried to do what she wanted, the more she seemed unfazed, the more I felt that I was inadequate…I just kept sinking and sinking. I suppose I reached for the first person to throw me a rope out. I realize now that the rope was tied to a noose, but hey, I didn’t say was a bright man.

      • Broken

        Guilty… yeah I get what your saying. I didn’t always show my husband that I appreciated everything he was doing for me. I didn’t think I had to. While I did appreciate his help around the home and working to support us, I just never voiced it. I guess now I realize that I should have. But I don’t want to believe that this is some sort of “excuse”. After the EA, I questioned him about our marriage and why he did this, he said that it wasn’t because of our marriage. But a few times he did mention that I never appreciated him, that he couldn’t win with me, and that he felt everything he did was wrong. I didn’t see it that way. But now looking back at our life before and during the EA, I see that he was right in some ways. I often disregarded the things he did, because I thought well this is life, were both pulling our weight.
        I see that the most he got from the OW was complete admiration. She basically made him feel like he was the best man in the world. But that was easy for her, because there was no reality to their relationship. He wanted her to make him feel good. I get it. But it’s like you said, and you said it perfect…. “I suppose I reached for the first person to throw me a rope out. I realize now that the rope was tied to a noose.” So yes… my H reached for the rope, but in the end he hung himself and our marriage. He destroyed what I thought was a great marriage for a few good feelings of admiration and fun. But hey, no one ever said he was the brightest crayon in the box!

    • lass00

      Sorry but there is no real good excuses to cheat lie and keep secrets! It is black and white. Thanks for sharing though it helps me see what what goes through their mind and how they seem to justify it.

      • Broken

        Lassoo, I have to agree with you on this one, the cheater tries to justify their actions. I guess it lessens the guilt in this way.

        • Guilty

          I have NEVER looked for an excuse for what I did. I am fully aware of how wrong I am and I was. It’s not my intent to look for absolution or mitigation, I’m just putting out a point of view. Take it as it is. If it’s clearly black and white, why try to salvage anything at all? If my wife saw this as a cut and dry case of my immorality, I doubt very seriously she’d be giving us even this chance. If the choice is made to put things back together, shouldn’t some consideration be made to see how things got to that point?

          • Broken

            Guilty… what exact type of affair did you have? How did it start and how did it end? I’m just trying to understand how you got to that place.

            • Guilty

              I wish it were something unique. I had an EA with a woman from my past who lived clear across the country. Reconnected on FB, which led to phone calls, texts which led to lying and denial…the whole package. I put my emotional support needs in her hands, and ignored my wife. Then I lied about it.

    • michael

      I should have never given her an ultimatum.
      I should have let her go and let her figure things out on her own.
      Now I wonder if my pain amplifies her regrets and her feeling disconnected with me. I don’t feel the pain anymore now I just feel alone in my house of four. I feel like the handy man. I feel like the one she is settling for. For the sake of our kids. I feel even more alone now that she is going out of town for a week.
      What will this week bring me. And what will she think about, thousands of miles away from me for the week.
      And then the week after I will be gone for most of the week and she said she wanted to meet me where I was going, but we still haven’t talked about how or if she will. Only a couple of times and not for long.
      Its hard for me today to see her bags packed. It gives me an eerie feeling. Like she’s not coming back.
      I can do this. I ready for this. I will be okay. I have my kids to take care of.

      • Linda

        Michael, About four months after Doug’s affair ended I went out of town with a couple of friends. It ripped out my heart to leave Doug I was so afraid that he would contact Tanya, or figure out that he didn’t miss me. I was truly a basket case and constantly called and text him. I didn’t enjoy me free time at all. Looking back I should have given Doug the space to think about things. I should have given him the opportunity to miss me, to realize that I would survive without him. For the past nine months I had been a constant in his life, trying everything on my own to save our marriage I should have used this time apart to think about me and what I needed. My advice to you is take this time for you, think of it as a break from all your hard work. Give your wife a chance to realize what she is missing, a opportunity for her to finally feel what it is like to be alone and hopefully this time apart will be beneficial to the both of you.

        • Kate

          I’m only 2.5 months past D-Day, so it’s still so raw and scary to me.

          I turned down a weekend with my best girlfriend recently because I was afraid to leave my husband home alone. Afraid he’d try to contact the OW while I was gone. Afraid he’d realize he missed her more than he missed me. Afraid he’d find someone else.

          I know I should be able to go off on my own for a day or two without that fear, but it’s too soon. There’s no trust built up yet, I mean, he can’t even say he still wants to stay married yet. He isn’t with her, and it’s over between them; but he still “doesn’t know” if he wants to work on our marriage or just walk away…

    • Kristine

      i too have many regrets about things I didn’t do and things I did that left my husband feeling neglected and disrespected. It’s a hard burden to bear.

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