By Linda & Doug

We received this email the other day from “Debbie” telling an amazing story of her husband’s emotional affair. 

You’ve got to read this as it tells a familiar tale for many of us, but in a very colorful way.  

“(This is the first and only thing I have ever written about my Emotional Affair experience.  You are the only people I’ve ever let read it.  I’m not sure I’m ready to post comments on your blog yet, but I want to share my experience with someone who would understand what this is like.)

Rick and I have been together for over thirteen years, and the dysfunctional attachment we had shared for so long was starting to seem like a thing of the past.  That is, until the other night.  After a few days of marital tension, we had ourselves a bloody emotional free-for-all.  It was truly a blast from the past.

I would like to blame it on the full moon, but that would be disingenuous.

I would like to blame it on the alcohol (which certainly didn’t help), but that, too, would be taking liberties with the truth.

Eventually, the topic of the escalated verbal warfare settled on Rick’s emotional obsession with some girl he met while riding the bus to work. He ended their relationship about a year ago, but his attachment ran disturbingly deep, and he still misses her – enough to bookmark her MySpace page.  Their love affair apparently began when this woman, who wasn’t ugly, and, most importantly, wasn’t fat, enjoyed sharing the intimate details of her tragic life with my husband Buck.  Poor widdle ol’ Bus Girl.  She needed a savior.  She started occupying more and more of his mental real estate, rent-free, and became, in my opinion, a full-fledged process addiction.

Yes, Cupid had apparently shown up at the bus stop and fired one straight into Rick’s heart.  The chemicals in Rick’s brain announced that he had fallen madly in love, just like it happens in the movies.  Soon, Bus Girl became the answer to all of life’s problems.  She wakes up each morning looking like a Victoria’s Secret model.  She shits French vanilla ice cream.  She never farts, but if she did, it would smell like lilies of the valley and freshly baked cookies.  (This is the process of crystallization.) And on and on he would speak of her, to anyone who would listen, to all of his friends, so they could be impressed with what a womanizer he was now, and especially to me.  How wonderful to have this twofold process of creating a private endorphin shower with your selfish and irrational desire to conquer someone you’ve conveniently arranged to see every day (whose most noteworthy asset is not being fat), and also have this amazing prop to launch the ultimate disrespect on a wife you resent (but not enough to leave).

The beginning of an addiction is, without exception, always the good part.  Such utter and perfect relief from the twin demons of boredom and anxiety (the reality twins).  Such a beautiful escape from his inner emptiness, from his mundane life.  And don’t forget the whole pointing out to his wife on a daily basis how she just doesn’t measure up to his new standards anymore.  Sometimes he’s just hard-pressed to come up with enough ego fodder for his new BFF, so he’s forced to steal it away from Wifey (like a crack whore stealing electronics to pay for the next fix.) That sense of one-upmanship is just whipped cream and a cherry on top of his ego boosting sundae!  As much as he professed his admiration for her, he ALWAYS kept one eye on me.

Rick believed (probably still believes) that this wonderful feeling was completely mutual.  But like all star-crossed lovers, there was a major obstacle separating these soul mates from their happy ending.  Bus Girl had such a fine, upstanding moral character, that she could not knowingly sleep with a married man – especially one who had children.  Okay, but one also might wonder why someone with such amazing integrity was doing playing in someone else’s yard in the first place – and not bothering to mention it to her live-in boyfriend.  (Who was evidently a complete asshole who treated her badly, but not badly enough for her to leave.  Hmm – have we noticed a pattern here amongst the cheating parties?)

Rick’s ego refused to consider that she might be somewhat ambivalent about her interest in a him as a lover, but incapable or unwilling to communicate this directly, lest his preoccupation with her wane. My opinion is that she was QUITE CERTAIN that she was NOT really interested, but she relished Rick’s attention and wanted it to continue flowing indefinitely (Hey, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free!) Insecure women sometimes have an obsessive need to confirm their attractiveness by keeping a little fan club of male admirers.  So she REALLY hit the jackpot when Rick came along.  She could bat him around between hope and doubt, thus ensuring his dog-like devotion, without ever having to spread her legs and it was all because oh poor helpless widdle me, I’d just feel SO guilty about being a home wrecker! (I never said she wasn’t clever.)

So Rick’s addiction blossomed like an award-winning orchid, requiring a similar level of care, feeding and maintenance.  All thoughts turned to Bus Girl. Every little thing she did was magic.  Tolerance to the drug began to build up over time, so he required more and more of it to get the same high.  I suppose this is when seeing her on the bus and e-mailing her throughout the day begging for lunch dates just didn’t cut it anymore, and he had to do it (discreetly) from home, weekends and holidays, and whenever real life left him feeling less than wonderful about himself.

Higher and more frequent doses were required, not to achieve the original  euphoric high, but rather to stave off the unpleasant pangs of withdrawal. The intensity of his distress when he didn’t get to see her regularly and be graced with her ego-stroking magic became quite apparent and alarming. Having a COMPLETELY different life, this bitch validates ANYTHING and EVERYTHING.

Rick sits on his ass during a week long vacation and tells the bus girl how lazy he’s being.  “Oh, that’s what vacations are for,” she replies approvingly.  Well, SURE, Bus Girl – when you don’t have kids to raise, or a house that’s falling apart around you, or piles of compulsive hoarding that you keep finding ways to put off dealing with.  No wonder he loves her so much.  She doesn’t know anything about what he’s really like!  And he can totally keep it that way!

He can offer to upgrade her computer and pick dog shit up out of her (boyfriend’s) yard and get praised for it without ever actually having to do any of it!!  All the while being able to give the finger to me, that evil shrew who wants him to grow up and help me around the house.  Evidently I should do all the work myself but still praise him for being helpful, so he isn’t forced to seek solace in Bus Girl’s phony admiration.  (I still really have trouble getting how praise without merit can be meaningful to anyone.)

Rick has not fallen in love with a real person, but rather an illusion of his own creation.

She’s like a blank screen upon which to project all of his cherished hopes and wildest dreams.  She would consistently mirror back the reflection of himself he likes to see, the one that has nothing to do with who he really is.

Now perhaps you’re saying, “Debbie, don’t be such a hater!  This is like some poor slob having a wicked crush on Pamela Anderson.  He just likes to look at her pictures and her big fake boobs and imagine himself doing her.  Totally harmless.  You should really just get over it.”

Nope, sorry, not even close.  Your poor slob’s NEVER gonna get anywhere near Pamela Anderson’s junk.  Rick’s fantasy would be far less satisfying unless it seemed realistic and somewhat possible.   Maybe someday Bus Girl would toss him a bone, a big juicy reward for providing her with such an inflated sense of self-worth for such an extensive length of time.  Maybe there would be some make-out time at the bus stop or the parking ramp (maybe there was, and he just wants to “spare my feelings” by not telling me about it) And that’s what kept their beautiful, tragic Love Boat afloat.

To me, their relationship closely resembled that of dealer and junkie.  Rick actually sat in a marriage counselor’s office with me and lied straight-faced to everyone.  Made me look crazy – as if his gas-lighting didn’t make me look and feel crazy enough.  He said he had discontinued his relationship with her – but nothing could be further from the truth.  And for another 5 months I let him bitch-slap me around while every single day he put on his “knight-in-shining-armor” costume and came to her emotional rescue, often at my expense.  He said things like, “I can’t believe you’re still so attached to it” or “I’ve blown her off for such a long time, it would be awkward to see her.” Lies, lies, lies, lies.

Then my grandmother died.  Rick was an absolute douche bag.  Grandma’s funeral must have cut into precious Bus Girl time and I wasn’t giving him my 100% undivided attention. A few days later, I went to the bus stop and watched them get off the bus and walk to her car.  Rick was all animated and totally into her.  She looked bored but after she got into her car, flashed him a sexy smile and it became apparent what a fraud and a liar he had become.  I hurt so bad.  Then I got moving.

Since I wasn’t Rick’s everything, how about I be nothing? (Thanks, Beyonce.  I love that line.)  I canceled our joint credit card.  I called an attorney.  I was sick of this shit and prepared to walk away with what little shreds of dignity I still possessed.  I was ready to let the kids blame me for the divorce (but they knew whose fault it really was).  Only then did Rick consider that maybe this addiction should be dealt with.  We decide to work through it.

A couple months later I see his “Sent Items” folder of his gmail account, chock full of messages with her name on them.  I got drunk and read as many as I could stomach.  It was amazing how my bad days, our many fights, and general feelings of uneasiness could be directly traced to his interactions with this pathetic attention-seeking skank he was obsessed with.

He had sworn there was no e-mail.  It amazed me that he could take such an interest in someone so common and self-centered.  That was before I understood that they never really knew each other – they just shared their good sides.  Then they came home and dumped all their crap on their partners.  They shared a lack of maturity, a lack of decency, and a huge internal void they attempted to fill with their fantasies of each other.  For a long time, I wanted Rick to realize for himself that he didn’t really love her.  That seems less important now.

So I got to have 2 “D-Days” – Rick certainly got a lot of mileage out of his Emotional Affair.  And most days, I rarely think about it, but for some reason this week, it keeps buzzing around my mind like a nasty horsefly.  And whenever Rick is a douche bag, I always feel like telling him to go whine to Bus Girl about it.

Thanks for listening.  I just love your blog.  Keep up the great work.


See also  Saving A Marriage:Sex After the Affair

    26 replies to "An Amazing Story of a Husband’s Emotional Affair"

    • ppl

      Notice admins advise to “enjoy” the email. i am sure it was a flip comment but i think it also speaks to something. i cannot imagine most of us saying that after all we have been through. i do believe that once voiced and once we have seen others with same thoughts, advice etc. then continuing to come back to this site almost becomes an obsession and may ultimately hurt the healing process. to continue to be reminded of others and our own pain may not be healthy. it is difficult to give the other person in your marriage the chance to be forgiven when you keep coming back to this site and reviewing others pain and of course your own. yes there is a role in helping others heal but thats not why most of us are here. are we “enjoying” the hurt, taking it out, savoring it, admiring it to distract us from other issues in our lives or marriages? i think its important not to stay on this board too long and delete the connection to it at some point. STOP ENJOYING THE PAIN and move on.

      • Doug

        ppl, the “enjoy,” was not meant to be a flip comment. Sorry you took it that way. It was entered without thought. You bring up some valid points, however. So if not to try to aid in the healing process, then why are you here? I’m not trying to be argumentative, just curious. I think that there can be a great deal of knowledge gained from other people’s stories/experiences, not to mention the support that one can get from communicating with others with like experiences. I don’t think anyone enjoys the pain, but would rather find ways to get past it.

        • ppl

          i found it useful to read other accounts and voice my own. but now with healing process in place and myself and wife working on marriage (and frankly even if not) i believe it is time to move on. searching this site and reading other stories and bringing back painful momories in just not useful to me now. rather than fixate on old injury, like to enjoy my wife who is back to me and my children. being all consumed by pain or over analyzing is not useful to me. can it happen again, sure but i will not be naive and even if it did, moving on would be even easier. a useful analogy is someone with broken leg can sit around all day thinking of the pain, concentrating on the pain or perhaps distraction of visitors/activities can take mind off pain and yet healing still occuring in both scenarios. i am not saying just ignore situation but at some point we all do need to move on.

          • Doug

            ppl, I agree–at some point we all must move on. But for some it’s harder than others.

          • Doug

            One more thing…I feel it could be of benefit to others to hear how you are working on your marriage and thus moving on. Success stories can be great teachers.

          • Broken

            You know I thought about this website this morning, and when I was going to stop visiting the site. I said to myself when will the pain be over, when will I wake up without feeling the need to dwell on the EA. I love this site because I know that others feel what I feel. Eventually I will have to let it go, but right now doesn’t seem like the right time. Right now I want to know that someone understands my pain. It’s nice to talk about it with other people and in someways it has helped me understand why my H did this. For me it has been a huge help.

            • Doug

              Broken, Thanks for contributing and being a part of this blog. You are correct that eventually you (and others) will need to let this site go. In fact, we hope that happens to everyone at some point for all the right reasons. Realistically, we also know that it can take some folks quite a long time to be able to move on, and we hope that we (and others who visit) can continue to be there for support and advice.

    • Debbie

      ppl, I would like nothing better than to rid myself of the “pain”. It’s like having a big sharp hook stuck in my innards; I can hold really still and it doesn’t hurt so much, but sometimes it gets jiggled and I can’t pretend it isn’t still in there. I didn’t choose to have it and I think part of the reason it’s there is because I still haven’t let myself feel it all the way, still have a sense of disbelief about the whole matter. But I know I am on the right path to forgiveness and compassion toward both my husband and OW, I thought writing about it would put some distance between myself and the situation.

      • ppl

        just my point. keep feeling it. enjoy it. memorialize it in case you forget it. you can alway pull up these posts and read about it again. enjoy.

      • Terri

        I loved it! I totally get your unflinching account of emotional betrayal(at times worse than physical affairs due to the very gag-me situational fantasy connection reserved by two emotionally lacking individuals)that gains power from spilling their guts about their sad, pathetic lives(through no fault of their own of course!)and the sharing of the disgust with their bad, no-good, realistic spouses. It is an addiction of the worst kind–it really is like making love to the devil–just for another fix or hit of the illicit love potion. Your post is sarcastically humorous and brutally honest from your perspective–which I would choose to hear any day over “Rick the D*ck’s” version. Even though my husband has been a wonderful lover, partner, dad our whole 24 yrs. together with the exception of the last five months–I still kicked him to the curb–even though I have been crying and having a nervous breakdown since I found that I lost his TX BBQ brisket love to a rancid piece of Canadian bacon. My H has been manipulated and trapped in a velvet net that is so comfortable he doesn’t see it. He has become an addicted, dependent on ego stroking, lie believing and home leaving sucker. Maybe he will eventually puke up that bacon and detox himself. I am not going to be the one holding his hand or his hair back while his head hangs over the toilet. I want MY MAN back–not this ugly-pussy-whipped, indecisive, fake, stressed little worm. His affair started as emotional on the Internet, phone, cell, texts, etc…until they did meet a few times in a hotel, eating out, on vacation__that’s real life for you! I forgive him, I will NOT forgive her married with kid, claws like hooks into him, sickenly sweet self, who is absolutely not the kind of material I would accept as a step-parent to my kids. I, too, unfortunately hacked his email and read a few Harlequin romance drivel inspired undying love and how they were each others saviors–la-de-da. Those words are not, nor never will be my husband’s. She will figure out that he is not the affectionate, romantic type that he pretending to be. What he finds out about her–I can only hope is worse. Like maybe she is really a sex-changed he, or that her IQ is 70, or that she has every venereal disease on planet Earth(scratch that last one–that would be bad for moi as well). An evil thought just hatched..hehehe…where can you buy a dose of the clap? Walgreen’s? I could give it to him–then he could give it to her, but I would take antibiotics! They could just be sicker than they already are HA!
        Anyway, I would rather laugh than cry about it any day of the week. Thanks for allowing me to share with you.

    • lass00

      I want to thank you for this story. You see I see myself in Debbie shoes and it helps me to know that someones story might be the same as mine. I am gettiing over the pain most days and some days I need to come here and know that this will take time to heal. Doug and Linda I cant thank you enough and to let you know how much you have help me and all the wonderful people on here. To be honest with out this blog I dont think I would have gotten as far as I have. Bless you from my heart!

      • Doug

        Many thanks, lass00 In addition, Linda and I receive a lot of support from all of you as well. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t learn something new about ourselves and our situation–from all of you!

      • Sue

        Here is my take on it.. how do you know it was just ’emotional’. I don’t believe t he liar I live with when he tells me (after finding 200 calls to her)that no sex was involved, however, she is to be pitied since he is 64,bald, fat and has no wealth how hard up is the 40yr old slut have to be?

    • Last2know

      I am not on as often as I used to be. Ppl, I was on constantly at first. Because I was able to share and have many of my questions answered on this site I no longer need to come back as often. Your obviuosly not there yet. Debbie it is painful, angering, unsettling, anxiety producing and we feel like absolute fools for not knowing. I hate what my husband did but I love him and I have changed for the better so if for some reason it ever happened again I can move forward and know that i did evrything I could to make my marriage work. I am the higher (much higher) wage earner so I can go it on my own. Also I gave lost 45lbs (wearing a size 8) so my H and the OW really propelled me to a whole new level. I have been liberated in so many ways and have learned so much about ME (the good and the bad). He loved me before but now he worships me and I don’t even have to say or do anything. I am not fully recovered by any means I still look through his phone and insecure at times but we are on the road to recovery.

      • Doug

        Last2know, Good to hear from you! Glad to hear you are making great progress and that there is 45 lbs less of you to go around! 😉 Your contributions over time have helped others I’m sure. We hope you will continue to throw your 2 cents in.

      • Debbie

        Yeah, most of the time I feel like I’ve got him where I want him now. That when I quit settling and made it painstakingly clear it was her or me, he didn’t waste a whole lot of time cutting it off (and finding a different way to get to work). Now all of our dreams are starting to come true, and none of them involve HER. I also weigh less and look better now than I did when we got married. I’m glad you mentioned that! There are some positive things that came of it.

    • Michael

      Why we keep coming back….

      Maybe its too high of an expectation to think our spouses could fill the void we are feeling when we come here. That we can fill that void in them that drove them to do what they did. But we all need friends. Friends to listen to us. Friends to share frustrations with.
      I know I can vent here and really it makes no difference in your life that I am unhappy on some days. That I am great on others. But it does make me feel better to voice myself.
      I have given up on this site so many times and have gone weeks without it. But some days are just worse than others. And some days are greater than I can imagine.
      I don’t come here to connect with you ( anyone at this site), I come here to throw my feelings into the vapor. To confess my feelings and let them go to be free of them. I forgo the pseudonym for a name I hold dear and am proud to have. For that is who I am.
      I don’t fear disapproval from you. I don’t fear retribution for my feelings. And I don’t fear sharing them with my wife. I fear that my feelings fall on deaf ears. And that no person shall learn from my mistakes and misfortunes.
      I read your accounts the same way I read about history. I know that what is written isn’t always every detail of fact that led to what happened.
      I know every writer, including me, leaves out the details they fear to share or want to keep sacred to them. And who am I to want to know everything. I certainly will process it in a way that I see fit for me. And I will make the same mistakes as others.

      For I am but a man. And my powers over myself and others are limited.

      I come here for ME.

      • Doug

        Michael, Well said–as usual. You too have been an inspiration to many-including us, and we value your input.

    • Gizfield

      I love this story.! It just goes to show you how all these unique, special one of a kind love stories are all the same. It was helpful too. After about 6 months wondering what the hell my husband thought was wrong with me it finally came out. I mean why would you want to leave someone who was a good wife, mother, friend, pretty, fun person that you loved. I dont remember the exact circumstances, but I approached him romantically and he basically blew me off. I said”you used to enjoy being with me”. He said “that was 50 pounds ago!” I was totally shocked that any person is that shallow, and would ruin the life of me and our child over this. I never told anyone that because my friends would hate him more than they already do, What is funny is I was always soooo skinny when I was younger.

      • Recovering

        Yah mine started working out… and the OW was thin… I’ve never been “thin” even when I weighed a whopping 105 pounds when we got married!! I don’t even think it is possible for me to be “thin”… and then there are all of these things about her that he hates in other people, but he conveniently ‘forgot’ that he hated! He is a hunter… comes from a hunting family… she doesn’t eat meat… she is a runner.. he HATES running! She is a bible thumber.. he is anti-church because it was shoved down his throat as a kid… She is a liar and a cheater and a whore – he HATES liars! Hmmm… really?! I don’t know if she had some deluded idea that they would both leave their spouses and then raise the 4 children and that her husband and I would just magically disappear? She wanted more… like what? Really? He wasn’t going to leave me, and she was ‘talking’ about leaving her husband, but now, a year after I found out about their cheating, she is still with the “abusive” husband! It is all a lie! Yes, I have gained weight and gone a bit grey, but so has he! Yes, she loves to cook and I hate it… well duh! You knew that when you married me!! I was a devoted, caring, HONEST wife who worked hard… once that was enough.. until she came on to him in a bar… Where the hell was that bell that said “this whore is crazy! She is married with 2 little kids, and I am married!!” that would kill ANY ego trip he got out of it? Idunno… is the problem I need to get to the bottom of….

    • jewel

      Debbie you made me laugh on a day where I’ve been crying a lot.
      I come here when I feel like I can’t breathe, when I feel like I’m his second choice. When I don’t trust that his every thought is of what he ‘wishes’ could be ( not with me)
      I come here to be reassured that all that is Not true, that she isn’t better prettier smarter than me. That she is a fantasy addiction that would never measure up in the long run mostly because I’m freaking amazing and ‘u can’t touch dat’
      I come here because I get validated and sanity here

    • Misguided

      WOW…as in a good WOW! I smirk as I read because it expresses my exact thoughts about my ENTIRE situation in a less than painful way which is something I think I needed!

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