I believe the drama associated with an emotional affair, along with the faltering marriage helps to strengthen the bond between cheaters.

an emotional affairBy Linda

I’m so glad that we have started the Affair Recovery Group.  I have gained so much knowledge and insight from our discussions with Jeff Murrah, that everyday I feel lighter and more free.  It’s been another dose of therapy for me on a weekly basis.

Recently, we touched upon the bonding experience that is often present in affairs.  Many times the cheaters bond over the unhappiness in their marriage, and this bond is often perceived as true intimacy and love. However, it is perhaps the only aspect that is holding their relationship together.  Beyond that, there is nothing.

Jeff gave the example of how a wife was in the hospital and was very sick with cancer.  The husband, who was so distraught over the situation, bonded with the nurse who was the caregiver.  They bonded over a similar experience, or situation, but in reality that was the only thread that was bonding them together.

I often wonder if Doug and Tanya would have experienced the same intense feelings toward each other if they didn’t experience the similar marital troubles, the common problems he and Tanya were experiencing at work, or the general excitement associated with having an emotional affair.  What if those things were taken away?  What would they have left to bond them together?

Obviously they had the fantasy that their life would be better or different, and that they would finally be able to do all the things they always wanted to do.  But I am sure when reality hit they would realize it would never be the way they envisioned it.

I have a theory that unconsciously both cheaters know that the common bond of their unhappy marriages is the component that keeps the relationship alive. I believe the drama associated with the affair and the faltering marriage helps to strengthen this bond, and both cheaters try to keep that part going in order to keep the affair strong.

Think about it.  They are experiencing a small fraction of their life with this person.  They are not sharing a family, friends, a household, commitment, or real life experiences.  So what is really holding them together except for the bond that their marriages are bad and they feel they deserve better?

I began to think about the bonding that occurred between Doug and I after the affair.  We engaged in some of the most intimate and honest conversations that we have ever had. We let ourselves go sexually and totally gave ourselves to each other .

As painful as the initial discovery was, it was a time that I felt closer to Doug than I ever had. Honestly I didn’t want that feeling to go away.  I associated that feeling to the emotional affair, believing we could only experience that closeness if the affair was present in our lives. I was afraid if I let go of the affair there would be nothing holding us together and that we wouldn’t be close anymore.

Is A Marital Affair Really Love?

Looking back, I see a pattern as to why I would bring up the affair. I thought it was insecurity or something that Doug was or wasn’t doing.  But instead, I wanted to relive those initial close moments that we experienced when I found out about the affair.

See also  The Emotional Affair Made Me Feel Worthless

Last week I talked about how Doug’s breaking down and telling me how much he loved me was so important to me.  It was important because I experienced that intimacy and closeness again.

Though it may have been the emotional affair that awoke those dormant feelings that we used to share, what really produced the intimacy were the honest conversations that we had regarding our feelings and our marriage. This in turn strengthened our bond and gave us the desire to put forth the effort to save our marriage.

Doug’s emotional affair is not the single thread that is holding us together and bonding our relationship.  We have so much more.  We have years of experiences and closeness that bind us together, which an affair could never compete with.


    33 replies to "An Emotional Affair Lacks a Strong Bond"

    • nony

      Once again – great post! I would like to know though if Doug thought he was in love with the other person. My husband defends his love for her, that even though it was an impossible love and caused him to become someone he didn’t like, it was true love. He wrote poems and recited poems to her, was constantly playing love songs (I really should have gotten a clue right?). We fought last night for the first time since my discovery last week. I have the feeling he really believes that this was his very first true love, something he never felt with me, that we are and always have been the best of friends and great lovers, but he has never been in love with me or any girlfriend before me.
      Doug, did you feel like this or do you understand it? He swears he fell in love with her before seeing her face (it is curious to me how many men meet their soulmates at the office!).

      Keep these great articles coming – I’m hanging on for dear life!

      • Doug


        Early on in the relationship, yes I thought I was in love with her. But what I was in love with was the feeling–not really her. It’s much easier to figure this out after you are removed from the OP and the situation. Eventually, your husband’s OP will probably show her less than desirable side, which will bring to light that it was all a fantasy.

        • Don

          How can I help my spouse heal from the emotional affair I had, when I am the one who hurt her?

        • Ava

          All the books and our counselors tell me that if my husband, who had an emotional affair (they did kiss, hold hands, embrace, talk sex, but no intercourse), will feel those same feelings for her if he is ever in her presence again. He also considered himself in love with her, but stayed with me and our children. I did not find out for many years, at which time, he told me he loved her and not me. Now he wants to say he never really loved her, and wants me. I’m afraid I will always feel like his second choice, especially if as the experts say,he will have those same feelings if he sees her. (The actual affair lasted a little under 2 years, but they never ‘broke up’, just went their required separate ways.) Please tell me what you think from a personal viewpoint. Thank you so much.

          • PTY

            Though it may be easy to say, if he is with you, she was the secnd choice. I know that might not be much comfort, but it is something to think about.

            • Ava

              Doug and anyone else: Just wanted to clarify that he ‘didn’t choose me’, the OW preferred her husband, so my husband just planned on waiting and hoping the her husband and I both died before him and the OW, and then they would get married. Weird, I know, but she had told him if they were both single, she would marry him. Then he kept his love/lust for her alive for many years on that hope before I found out. He told me then he ‘loved her’. Then after finding out I knew, the OW called him and told him that in no way, ever, did she want to marry him. That’s when he decided to work on the marriage.

              Would really appreciate an answer to my original question about what your emotions were when you made contact with her, whether planned or accidentally, after you ‘decided’ to stay in your marriage. This is really important to me on whether I will try with the marriage. I know that sounds irrational, but I’ve been hurt so much for so many years, that I just don’t think I can take anymore.

            • Doug

              Ava, I would agree with what Bluesky said. I think that it is inaccurate for counselors and authors to generalize and say that if the affair partners see each other again that the feelings will come rushing back. They don’t seem to allow for the fact that people grow and change and indeed reestablish the love for their spouse. If I were to see Tanya again, there would not be a return of any feelings for her.

    • PTY

      Just want to say that I appreciate your blogs very much. In fact, I am sort of down Fri-Sun w/o them.

    • Karen

      Linda: You are truly amazing. Just when I think I don’t need this site anymore, you hit me hard with a post I really, really, needed to hear. I too am struggling with keeping my marriage “exciting” – life just keeps getting in the way. Then the negative thoughts. I think I might be still competing with the EA and the way we acted right after D-day – completely unsustainable and definitely insanity-inducing. Thank you so much!!

    • Andrew

      Great post today, I have already begun to see that “thread” that is holding my wife’s EA together, start to unravel. I have noticed in the past couple of weeks that my wife has been more irritated, grouchy, and in an overall bad mood, and I know it has had nothing to do with me. I have been nothing but nice, and supportive, and acting happy, so I know that this source of unhappiness is coming from the EA. I believe there is trouble in “paradise”, in the EA. Last night when I came home from work, my wife was holed up in the bedroom like she usually is at night, and I happened to overhear her through the door, on the phone with the OP. I only heard her side, but I could tell from her tone of voice that she was annoyed by him, and the things she was saying made it clear to me that this EA is starting to have real issues, and that perhaps she is finally starting to see that this person may not be as great as she originally thought. Of course it’s not as perfect as she thought, because when there is only fantasy holding it together, it will not last! It took me a long time to realize that, but now I am seeing the reality starting to set in, and my wife is having a hard time dealing with that. I do believe that she is now the pursuer, and he is starting to maybe pull away. I have noticed on the phone records that there are many times when she will send several texts to him within a matter of minutes, but there is no reply from him for hours. It certainly seems that she is becoming desperate with him now, as I was with her when all this started those many months ago. Ah, how the tables have turned. I cannot help but smile, knowing that the treatment she has been giving me for so long now appears to be happening to her. Now, I do not wish any harm on her, but this is all of her own doing. I believe that what you sow, you shall reap, and it will come back on you. That looks like the case here.

      This validates what we know to be true about affairs, that once the reality starts to creep in, the whole thing begins to unravel. The unfortunate thing is that many times it takes a long time for that to happen. The key is though, that it does eventually happen, and we, as the spouses of the cheaters just have to wait for that, and be ready for when it does happen. I am not going to even mention to her that I notice this, as it will be counterproductive. I just have to continue to do what I have been doing, and that is: setting a good example, being strong, and keep acting like I am perfectly happy with the way things are. I know she has already noticed a big difference in me, but the key is not to ask her if she has noticed, as that will negate some of the things I have done. I am going to let her come to me, and make her pursue me. It really is amazing when you stop trying to force your spouse to change, and just work on yourself, take care of the kids, and stop worrying. The EA will always die out, for there is no solid foundation of real love, or commitment for it to stand on. It is a house of cards, all just an illusion. The sad thing about it though, is that sometimes it takes something as drastic as an affair, for the married couple to see that there are problems that could be fixed before they get out of hand, and to do something to make it better. Some hard lessons to learn there, no doubt. The biggest mistakes we make are the ones we never learn from, and keep doing the wrong things.

    • Yuki

      Linda, I can totally relate to your comment about feeling close to your husband in the aftermath of discovering the affair. I felt the same way.

      As for a lack of a strong bond between the affair partners, I guess it depends on the situation. My husband had a very strong bond with the OW, and it almost broke up our marriage. They were high school sweethearts and had known each other all through their growing years. Their families knew each other, too. They shared the same religious faith, the same native language, the same kind of upbringing, the same hometown. They were both foreigners who immigrated to another country and became citizens there. They had both married outside their faith and after finding each other again, both wanted to stay in their marriages until the kids were grown. They even shared the same political views – which were different from mine.

      She was very good at keeping their commonalities in the forefront of his mind, and reminding him about how different he was from me. He grew to regret marrying me, where before they found each other we had a good marriage. Not perfect, but good. He admits that today.

      If I had found out and confronted him in the early years of their six-year affair, I believe I would have lost him. He came full circle gradually and says he realized that he loved me and not her. He says he realized he loved being in love with her and the fantasy of it all, but it was all an illusion. He also loved getting that ego boost from knowing she regretted dumping him so many years before. I guess I should be thankful that I did not find out sooner.

      I still vacillate between believing that he does love me, and believing that he still sees her as his soul mate, and longs for fate to bring them together someday. I do not trust him in this area, and I don’t know if I ever will.

      • Andrew

        Yuki, you are right, it is very hard to trust and believe in someone again, once that trust is shattered. I know I still do not trust most of what my wife says, because she lied to me on so many occasions, that that is all I expect from her now. I realize though, that her lies and deciet are her way of dealing with hurting me, and her own feelings. The rationale of a cheating spouse does not start out as: I’m going to hurt my spouse on purpose, because they hurt me. They honestly cannot comprehend that they are hurting us, until they start making excuses, or blaming us, or lying all the time. They know they are hurting us, so they think the best way to keep from hurting us more is to lie, or keep it from us, thinking, “What they don’t know, won’t hurt them”. Now, we know that that is not true, because not knowing is worse to me than knowing. To me, that would mean she is being honest, so I would be able to deal with it much better than when I am in the dark about it. The reason for this, just as you have a hard time believing that he does love you, or sees her as his soulmate, is that we have no facts to go on. When we are lied to or kept in the dark, it makes our imagination run wild, and as human nature, we immediately think the worst. Granted, sometimes the truth can sound more far fetched than a lie, but more often than not, the truth will set you free. If only the cheating spouses could see that being honest is better in the long run than lying about something. The truth always comes out, but when it comes directly from the source, we can deal with it better, no matter how much it may hurt to hear it. I keep telling my wife to just be open and honest, and it would be easier for both of us. For some reason, she has to keep doing it the hard way. I believe that in the state of mind of the cheater, everything has to be justified and glorified in order for them to not feel guilty about it, even though they know that what they are doing is totally wrong. It is a very sad state, to say the least. I had to forgive my wife, even though she continues to hurt me. I know that the lies and her actions are not coming from her, but from the alter ego she is in right now, because of the fantasy from the EA. On the matter of trusting and believing in them again, that is a choice that we must make. It goes against everything we have been feeling, but if we are open and honest with them, and not attack them everytime they try to truthful, they will eventually be the same with us. My wife told me once, that the reason she wouldn’t tell me anything, was because she knew I would blow up about it. Wow, she was right, because when I was in that feeling sorry for myself, being mad all the time, and still acting like the victim mode, that was the reaction I would have. Needless to say, that obviously didn’t work out in my favor. She needed me to be understanding, even though I didn’t feel like that. I know, it’s crazy that I would need to be nice and understanding of her, when I was the one is so much pain! When you are strong and display kindness, understanding, and mature love to them, it takes the power away from them. It may seem like a weakness to us, but by being the calm, rational, and strong one in this situation, it forces them to make a change. For they are the ones being irrational, childish, and selfish. By us being the same way, it only keeps that cylce going, further pushing each other away. One of has to break the cycle, and it must be us, the spouse, for the cheating one isn’t going to do so, without positive influence from us.

    • Yuki


      My husband is at a different stage from your wife. According to him, he was slowly withdrawing from the OP for two years before the official breakup. He still has a ways to go, but he is at the stage where he wants to be with me. The affair is over, or at least I think it is. He pleads with me to stay. Yes, there is hope for those whose spouses are saying they are in love with someone else.

      As for me, though, since I found out only 3.5 months ago, I am still in the early stages of recovery. I am not good at pretending to be happy and positive when I am tormented inside. So I am quiet and somewhat subdued when we are alone. We have great talks and great sex, but I’m not the smiling and bubbly optimist I used to be. When we are with other people or at functions, I try my best to be my old self. I can see him watching me closely, with a longing in his eyes. He told me just recently that he wants me to be that way with him again, and that’s part of his frustration with me. I replied that part of it is put on for appearances, and part of it is just in response to people who have cared for me and have not broken my heart. That hurt him, but he wants to be one of the people I can fun with, and he is trying hard. I just don’t know if I can believe his reasons for it. Does he really love me or is he just comfortable with our lifestyle? I will no longer be satisfied with a mediocre marriage to someone who doesn’t love me passionately.

      Can I meets his needs so completely that he will love me passionately again? Some therapists seem to think so. I am trying to meet his needs as best I can, but it will be a while before I am emotionally stable myself. Until that happens, some things will be a little difficult.

      My biggest struggle right now is just getting past the pain. I cannot let go of the images and the hurt that he chose her over me, and at one time wanted to leave me. The only thing that kept him here was our kids. He told her that he never should have let her go when they were young, and that he had chosen the wrong person. He told her that he would love her forever, and would pray for God to open the way for them to be together. He was sweet and loving and tender with her, more than he had ever been with me. He felt their bond would carry them through their long, hard journey to each other.

      So what now? Did my discovery just make it more difficult for them, as it did when her husband found out two years ago? Are they now in the hardest part of their journey? How do I get past it and trust my husband when he sys he has quit the journey? How do I live with the knowledge of his betrayal? I am not as courageous as you, Andrew. I applaud your strength and commitment. I learn from you with every post.

      • Andrew

        Yuki, yes, you are correct, about the different stages. You and your H are further ahead in the recovery process. At least you have an actual relationship with your H. My marriage has only existed on paper for the last several months. My wife’s EA is still going on even as I write this. We have not had sex in over 11 months, she goes out every other night, and doesn’t come home until I have to leave for work, and I sleep on the couch every night. When we are at home together, she will spend about an hour eating dinner or watching tv with me and the kids, then she will go hide out in the bedroom, and get on the computer or text back and forth with the OP the rest of the evening. We have gone out as a family to dinner, or to the movies only a few times within the last several months. During those times, she is constantly texting with the OP right in front of me. She also just told me two days ago, that she is moving out no matter what, nothing is going change her mind. Am I letting that stop me? No way! I am fighting for my marriage with everything I have, regardless of what the circumstances my appear to be. So, needless to say, I would say that you have alot more going for you than you think.

        I understand completely that it is hard for you to trust in him completely again, and believe that he is there for you now, not just for the kids or whatever. I also understand totally your pain. I am still hurt by what my wife is doing, but I had to get over myself, and stop being the victim. I know, it is not that easy, but you are strong enough to do it. I have read many of your posts, and I can see you have great inner strength, you just need to tap into it. It is not easy to display happiness and be fun all the time, you are right. It is very natural to not feel like showing it, or putting on a front. If you are anything like I am, I hate being fake, and putting on false fronts. I wear my emotions on my sleeve, for good or for bad. It is perfectly ok to have those feelings. Now, I am not saying that you have to be fake, because it is all about choices. We choose whether to be happy, and let things roll off our backs, or we choose to let them control us, and be miserable. We are the only ones that can control our own emotions, and attitude. It really is a challenge to have the right attitude, for our feeelings make us want to do otherwise, and want to wallow in our misery. It is easier to do that, just fall into the trap of self-pity, and feel sorry for oursleves. Is that any way to live? Of course not! Why should we let them control us and our emotions? They do not own us, just as we don’t own them. I made the choice to marry my wife, I didn’t force her. Just like she made the choice to marry me, and then the choice to have an affair. I didn’t force her to do anything. She had to make a concious choice to do those things. You see, it really is about choices, and how we react to those choices. If we allow the circumstances to control us, we will never be able to get over them. We will carry them around as emotional baggage for the rest of our lives if we don’t let it go, and control our own emotions and attitude. By letting the circumstances or the past rule our lives, that is taking away from the recovery and healing process, and all the great things we are missing out on because we refuse to let ourselves enjoy what we have. Small victories are better than no victories. If my wife sends me a nice text out of nowhere, I am thrilled, because it is a small victory. You just have to take it a step at a time, and be thankful for the changes, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. Think about when you were first married, and how a small thing like your spouse covering you up with the blanket, and giving you a kiss on the cheek or forehead, as they got out of bed to start the day was so huge to us, becasue it showed they cared, and were thinking of us?
        Love can be shown in so many different ways, that we sometimes put limits on that, and have our own preconcieved notions about what our spouse does that shows they love us. You have to shatter all those preconceptions, and instead of focusing on what used to be the norm in your marriage, look at the new opportunity available. Focus on how to make it even better than before, and how different can be good, for it keeps the boring and mundane out.

        Now, do we need to go through a grieving period, so to speak? Yes, we do, and we need to get all that anger, resentment, pain, and negativity out before we can move on. Just how long we spend in pain, the pity party, or depression depends on us though. It can be sped up by getting help, or doing self improvement, or stress relief outlets like a hobby, etc. It does take time to heal, and giving yourself a reasonable amount of time to heal is important, but if you only dwell on the pain and suffering you went through, the healing won’t be able to do it’s part. Sometimes you have to build yourself up, and just giving yourself a pep talk out loud in the mirror or whatever, is one of the most powerful ways to get in the right attitude.

        I’m sure your H knows that he hurt you, so he has to be a little realistic and know that you arent going to be Mrs. Bubbly Excitement all the time, just as he won’t either. He is still dealing with his own demons. The key is to release and channel the negativity into postives. Take the power away from the affair, and turn it around. Out of destruction, good things do come, for when all is torn down, the opportunity to build something new is there. Keep your head up, and be strong! You can and will make it through this.

        • Yuki

          Thank you, Andrew. I really appreciate your taking the time too answer me. You’ve given me some new strength to keep moving!

          • Andrew

            Yuki, you are welcome, I want to thank you for helping me as well, by giving me the opportunity to express the toughts I have, and to see it all from another perspective. I am happy I have been able to encourage you in your struggle. That is why we are all on here, to find, and to also give , the support we all so desperately need in these very trying times of our lives.

    • Norwegian woman

      Linda and Doug. This site is amazing and a good help in the process. I can totally relate to what you are saying. I too almost kept the affair fresh by constantly bringing it up. The only times I bring it up now is when I find something on this site that explains, in words I can`t find, truths about the reality of the affair. Then I translate it to him so he can read. It has a bigger impact on him than constantly nagging about the affair. And it has helped me a lot in understanding what this is all about. I am released from the constant fear of not being good enough and I can feel that my self-asteem is rising.
      Thank you!

    • Jane

      I have found these words to be very true in my own experience: “Many times the lovers bond over the unhappiness in their marriage, and this bond is often perceived as true intimacy and love. However, it is perhaps the only aspect that is holding their relationship together. Beyond that, there is nothing.”

      It makes my stomach hurt to think about all of the terrible things I said about my husband and he said about his wife in order to perpetuate our situations and keep the EA going. Bleh.

      I thoroughly enjoy reading all of your discoveries and making my own right alongside you.

    • Donna

      Like nony, my husband said to me the very first time he saw the ow he was instantly attracted to her, then they met and it confirmed it more to him. Hence a week and a bit later the phone calls and text messages started… so very fast in my opinion. They spent may hours on the phone talking.

      He also said to me that it is not about the sex and that he is in love with her. He used the phrases that I love you but am not in love with you. He later told me that he has thought many times about leaving me, however did not want to make a rash decision and regret it later, this was before the affair.

      He said that being with the ow is the happiest he has ever been, even so much as on our wedding day and that he wanted her for his wife and his family and not me, however knows that is not ideal. He said that she has brought the very best out in him so he is now a better person. He said that it is not lust or infatuation like everyone thinks or even says and that it is not about the sex, he is truly in love with this woman and that it is different to everyone else and that I cannot compare him to other people that I read about.

      I could continue, however there have been so many other things that have been said they have become jumbled over the nearly year since I have found out.

      Fast forwarding to today… my huband climbed out of our bed and went off to work.

      He moved out of home nearly 1 year ago, however for a separated couple we have the most unusual relationship. Meaning… I would think and please tell me if I am wrong here, I would think that if you are separated you don’t have an intimate relationship with each other, you don’t share dinner every night together with your children, you don’t spend every weekend together going out and attending church together as a family on Sundays.. Interesting huh?

      My husband still claimed he was in love with ow, still calling her, texting, oh the love songs and the tears I am sure they shared between the two of them declaring their undying love for one another etc… the fantasizing that one day he will wear a silver band on his left finger and be with her.. it goes on.

      My husband went away for 3 weeks over the other side of the country. I vowed I would let him call me MOST of the time. I left it up to him. Fully expecting to not hear from him, I was shocked, he called every night but 1. The conversations we had were great. Nothing affair wise, just normal every day to day stuff. What he was doing, what I was doing and the kids were doing.

      He was looking forward to coming home. I was looking forward to him coming home. Although somewhat scared too.

      I thought it would be interesting when he did return home as he has been living or should I say sleeping elsewhere, but spending dinner and getting kids into bed and staying til late then leaving. I was interested to see how things went once he returned.

      He came home on the 27th Jan and has been at home everynight with his family. He has had an intimate relationship with me every night but 1 since being home. He has slept 2 times out of our bed, and the rest with me.

      I am confused by all this, still no talk of affair and that is ok I guess. No talk of him moving home, He is just here. The kids love it and so do I, yet underneath I am terrified of the bubble bursting and him returning back to his room at his work place where he has been staying and deciding that I am not what he wants. It is D day for us on the 16th March, I have been so scared of this , yet I think I am ok with it now. In reality I am hoping I will forget it when it does come.. maybe that will show my progress.

      Anyway, feeling very confused at the moment and not sure where this is going!

    • blueskyabove


      …if he is ever in her presence again.

      I remember reading this same thing. It affected me for quite a long time. I felt hopeless and powerless because of the idea even though I saw tremendous change in my H. Why? Because neither of us could control the actions of his AP. If she decided to just show up at his office one day or contact him in some other way, then my H had no other recourse than to jump back into a secret affair with her? That to me was ludicrous!

      The ‘expert’ apparently did not allow for personal growth on the part of the cheating spouse. If I chose to disregard the changes I saw in my H or didn’t believe he was capable of positive growth, then I suppose it’s conceivable that the expert could be right and my H was an immature, pathetic, born loser. Neither my H or I was willing to accept that label for him.

      Everyone has opinions including experts, but ultimately you have to decide what is true for you. I have learned to question the motives of anyone who is selling fear. But then that’s just my opinion.

      • Ava

        Thank you so much for your feedback. I do think my husband has and is trying to repair our marriage, but it is just that so many experts, including our own counselor told me that. I’m having a real problem believing anything else.

    • monica

      My husband is having a EA with someone he has never met. They met on POGO playing poker. He says they are just friends he says she is also unhappy in her marriage. I dont think they have met but I am afrais it will come to that. we are separated i am in another state staying with family. When i found out about the EA i was crushed and took the chicken way out and left the state. I demanded that he stop talking to her but he refuses saying that she makes him feel good about himself and that she totaly understands him. sinse I have been gone he will not talk to me. whenever i call he gets off the phone really fast. he says he has no intentions of ever meeting up with her but their emails were so personal. I am just at a loss as what to do. I love my husband and want to save our marriage but how do I compete with words on an computer?

    • suzie suffers

      Are you not living with your husband right now? Because you found out about this emotional affair he’s having online? The ego boost he’s getting right now seems safe because he feels it’s innocent because it’s just talking…………BUT we know that’s not true and your instincts are right. He’s looking somewhere else for his “fantasy” high. I think you need you do need some insight as to whether you should stay separated or move back home, but I’m not sure what to suggest. These affairs always seem to start out “innocently” in the minds of the CS, but seem to escalate before their eyes and suddenly the are flying high on their ego. Best of luck

    • NowWhole

      I had an emotional affair last March. It lasted less than two weeks, but we were definitely in fantasyland. I really didn’t know this woman at all and certainly didn’t see her the way others who knew her did.
      I have been happily married for over 20 years, but had this habit of seeking attention from other women. Then the perfect storm occurred. I met a woman through work who provided me with another bite at winning a case I had lost a couple of years earlier. I didn’t see how she was manipulating me with flattery, but I ate it up with a spoon. My coworker told me after the affair that she immediately sensed this other woman’s manipulativeness, and that it made her walls go up. All I saw was that this woman was telling me everything I wanted to hear about myself. I didn’t want to see her as she truly was–a neurotic immature and very manipulative person.
      Looking back, I seems surreal. I can’t believe I did this to my wife, who is the most amazing woman and by far the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am so thankful she took me back and forgave me. I look at the affair as the stupidest most indulgent and deceitful thing I have ever done, and it is the big black spot of my life. My wife, however, remembers all the most hurtful things that happened. I’ve forgotten most of it, but she just can’t. Our marriage is better than ever, our sex life the best it has ever been, but there’s still this cloud that makes my wife sad and makes me feel like complete crap. So many times I thought I’d give anything to go back in time to before it happened, but of course, I can’t do that. All I can do is try to regain my wife’s trust and make it up to her. We have both grown so much as people, however, and I know I’ll never do anything like this again.

    • Disappointed

      @nowwhole: I pray and hope every day that my husband will return to me and have the same thoughts and feelings you expressed. He had an EA for one month with a friend and moved out when I confronted him. The OW ended it two days late as she was married with kids. Your wife will need time and reassurance. I cannot even find the words to describe the enormity of the pain the BS feels. Best of luck to you!

    • Sidney

      I’m glad your wife forgave you…..now it’s time to forgive yourself. Your marriage needs time to heal from your actions, but you will also need time to heal. Although you will be spending considerable time and energy making amends with your wife, make sure you are addressing the ‘why’ you acted the way you did. I too was the CS and am still trying to figure myself out! Not always easy.

      You called your EA the ‘big black spot of your life’….I call my EA my ‘season of sin.’ Now I am out and done with that season and in the process of healing myself. Good luck to you and your wife during this time!

    • Anita

      “I call my EA my ‘my season of sin’.
      This comment is the best one I have read on this site yet,
      and it shows you have taken responsibility, and in calling
      it exactly what it is.
      It also shows that you took ownership, and didn’t put the
      blame somewhere else.
      As a former betrayed spouse, I can honestly say, the worst
      betrayel to me was my exhusband having his affair and then
      turned around and tryed to blame me for his own sin. That
      took alot of nerve and stupidity on his part. I can look back now and understand he couldn’t of been in his right mind.
      But at the time it felt like insult to injurey.
      Sidney taking ownership will help the process of healing
      your marriage faster. I wish you the best!

    • disappointed

      my wife told me she is attracted to another guy, i did alot for her , evrything, she admitts that she is stupid, i take her as psychopathy now because o series blunders she does to me while i am just normal good husband to her and she knows this, i am sorry am not like you guys, i cant forgive anymore and i am kickinh her out to go to her attractive guy, i dont care of anything, now i care about myself and i love myself i cant live with someone who causes consntant pain to me! i am a medical doctor, and i have to take care of myself before she infects me with incurable diseases which will make me suffer more!

    • Monica

      Suzie I am still not living with my husband. I did leave because i found out about his EA. They are going to meet up the ninth of this month to bringit to a physical level. I am crushed. he lied by telling me he had no intention of ever letting go passed the computer. he has thrown everything away for s woman he has never met.

    • Gizfield

      There is no finer moment in life when you look at someone and realize whatever sick psychotic hold they had over you is gone. I had a relationship with an ex boyfriend that spanned from when I was 14 to my early thirties. He was a total trash bucket, it was like one day I looked at him and saw what he really was. I literally had no emotion, then or since. No fond “memories” either. Just complete disinterest. Ironically, I found out I work with his cousin and saw photos about a month so on facebook for the first time since the early 90s. All I could think was.WTF, pardon my French. So I know it’s possible, I guarantee it !

    • Going crazy

      I know your post is three years old but I just read it and find your circumstances very similar to mine. Can I ask how things have worked out for you and your husband? My husband moved out five months ago stating he wasn’t in love with me anymore. I spent three months working hard on myself, being a better partner and trying to save our marriage. He came over every morning and evening to see the kids and help with their care. I made him breakfast and dinner and did all kinds of things for him. We spent weekends together as a family going skiing, to the movies, etc. There was no physical relationship between us though. He was quite difficult to be around and very moody. Then two months ago I discovered he was with another woman. He’s denied there was any kind of affair (emotional or physical) while he lived at home. Although I found pictures of them while they were out jogging last July. He admits knowing her for several months. He has lied so much and said such hurtful things since this happened. He still tells me he can’t be transparent. I filed for divorce a month ago so we are working through that. I told him I would do anything to save our marriage if he would decide to become a man of honesty and integrity. He says he can’t face the man he’s been and just wants to go on and start a new life. I know he and his affair partner have futures plans to do a marathon and another race this summer and fall. Running had taken over his life a bit and their shared passion for it is a strong bond for them. I don’t have much hope their affair will fizzle out anytime soon. The pain he’s putting our kids and extended family through, extensive financial strain a divorce wil cause and potential negative impact on his business don’t even factor into his thought process. I cling to a shred of hope.

    • Nina

      I’m blown away at one particular part of your post, it is exactly where I am right now:
      “I began to think about the bonding that occurred between Doug and I after the affair. We engaged in some of the most intimate and honest conversations that we have ever had. We let ourselves go sexually and totally gave ourselves to each other.

      As painful as the initial discovery was, it was a time that I felt closer to Doug than I ever had. Honestly I didn’t want that feeling to go away. I associated that feeling to the emotional affair, believing we could only experience that closeness if the affair was present in our lives. I was afraid if I let go of the affair there would be nothing holding us together and that we wouldn’t be close anymore.”

      Short story: husband and I were in bad shape for a while, talking seriously about selling house and divorcing. No action taken yet but had reached what we thought was the end of our rope. At the same time we were about two months out from taking a trip overseas for a family wedding. Right at the time we were at our worst , his ex-girlfriend (high school, first love, crazy intense past relationship) reached out to him after about 15 years. I caught them on the phone one night, he lied , I left the house and we basically separated (we were in bad shape like I said, this was the straw that broke my camel’s back). Long story but we ended up going to counseling after a week, he continued to lie to me while denying he was lying. Things finally came to a head when SHE reached out to me -she was upset because he wasn’t communicating with her as much. Her reaching out to me is a book in itself so I’m not going to go into that her. Suffice it to say everything about their communications came out between the screen shots of text exchanges she sent me and those I found on his phone. All together their communication lasted just under two months, they never met up in person but there was a lot of very loving, passionate sexual words exchanged through text along, I can only imagine the calls ( 6-8 hours per night every night for about three weeks…who has that much to talk about?!?).

      This all happened recently and I only found out about three weeks ago at this point. I completely understand where our marriage was and why/how he could get caught up in an emotional affair or connection with someone. The fact that it’s this person he had such an intense relationship with in the past makes it very difficult for more, along with how intense some of the things he said to her were. He says he just got caught up and never really meant any of it, that he just felt like a kid again and blah, blah, blah.

      My point of this post is that, after everything came out I was hurt, angry, confused, etc…but I was also relieved. Not only was everything finally out in the open, but I think how everything transpired (us separating) really sort of blew up our marriage as we knew it..and what we knew for the last few years wasn’t great! We’ve been having some of the most honest, open, intense conversations that I think we have ever had about what we feel, what we want out of marriage and need from each other, etc. The feelings of connection and intimacy have been amazing and we absolutely “…let ourselves go sexually and totally gave ourselves to each other.”

      It’s only been a few weeks but the routine of real life is setting in and I feel myself getting anxious, like something is missing again or changed. He and I are doing well, we are fully committed to our marriage and have made huge changes in how we interact with each other. It’s clear on both ends that we are trying and making changes for the better. That being said, I can’t shake the anxiety that we are losing or will lose that intense intimacy we had during the first few weeks after everything came to a head. I find myself bringing things up and rehashing conversations about text messages between them or even asking about their high school relationship, part of it I think is insecurity on my end but after reading your words I think a lot of it is trying to hold onto that intense closeness. I don’t know how to have that on a day to day basis and I need it, I didn’t realize it what had been missing and what I had been craving for so long. I don’t want to live without it again. He says it’s still there and he’s very reassuring but my anxiety isn’t about him, it’s about me. I feel all this pressure on myself to keep things as open and intimate and sexy as they had been the last few weeks but I think I’m stuck in a circle,lol. I want to keep those feelings but I’m over analyzing and stressing about how to keep them which is causing me to tighten up and not be open and intimate and sexy!

      How did you figure out how to keep that connection without rehashing the affair?! How do you keep that intimacy and connection on a daily basis?

    • Jane

      I don’t know….I will always believe that men will act, say, or do ANYTHING to save their marriages after discovery so their lives to not blow up. So many women write these exact same stories of how affectionate their men suddenly became…. well that’s the only way they WILL act if they don’t want to lose half their lives assets. They really have no choice. But then you reflect that the men did not say or do anything this intimate with their wives UNTIL they got caught. Just something to think about. To know they their spouses deliberately planned and executed these affairs knowing it would destroy their wives is something to ponder in the end. Forgiveness is great, but common sense about it all goes a long way too.

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