The arguments are on the table.  Are affairs based on fantasy or not?

are affairs based on fantasyBy Doug

One belief that we have always held is that affairs start and flourish under the veil of fantasy, and that the whole relationship is over-romanticized.  You may or may not agree with this belief.

As I was searching for a post from the past for our feature this week, I came across a nice debate between some readers (between a betrayed and an unfaithful spouse) on this whole affair fantasy, romanticized relationship idea and thought it would make for a nice post. 

We’d be interested in hearing your point of view.

Point – Not a Fantasy. A fantasy is defined in the dictionary with words such as “hallucination” and “unreal”—my affair was quite real. I can’t believe so many people buy into the word “fantasy” and relate it to affairs.

Hell, if my affair was more of a fantasy than the pain that I feel and the agony that I’ve caused my husband would just be a hallucination and unreal then. If my affair was just simply a fantasy, then I certainly would’ve conjured up MUCH better things to happen in my mind than all the confusion and pain that was involved while I was still with my affair partner!

Affairs are real–not a figment of the imagination. Real people, real lives, real hearts that got caught up in a relationship that was immoral.

The word people should use to define affairs is IDEALIZE. People idealize the person they’re with and romanticize them and put them on a pedestal. Just as teens (or adults) do when they’re first in love–people involved in affairs feel giddy and dream and believe wholeheartedly in all that’s said and feel love for the other person.

Of course, betrayed spouses tend to minimize what their spouse felt for another person–a defense mechanism, somehow hoping to cope better because imagining that it was something real makes the heart ache even more.

I suppose that’s how many people need to get through the aftermath of an affair–because truth hurts and drumming up fiction makes it all hurt just a little less. I don’t know how a betrayed spouse can be told by their husband or wife that the affair meant nothing to them…that it was all just an illusion, or “fantasy,”if you will. How does that make it any better in the recovery? It really happened. The hell in the aftermath is real, so why isn’t the affair??


affair fantasyCounterpoint – Fantasy. I know “fantasy” might not seem like the most appropriate word but consider this – just because you felt the things that you did and said the things that you said – didn’t make them real. They might have felt real at the time but that doesn’t make them real.

See also  The Emotional Affair Made Me Feel Worthless - Part 2

The word fantasy is used by so many of us in this predicament because when you are in an affair, as many have alluded to, you don’t have a “real” relationship. You don’t see ALL of your affair partner – just what you choose to see. More importantly, just what they choose to show you.

When my husband was still in his “fog” (another word commonly used that is incredibly accurate) he waffled for a week or so not sure what he wanted to do. There was something about this OW that was pulling him in (and nothing about it was real). She had a bad life, he felt like a rescuer, she built him up, his love language is “words of affirmation” and all she did was tell him how awesome he was when he certainly wasn’t hearing that from me at home…and the list goes on.

One of the light bulb moments that he had was a conversation that we had when I said to him, “Go. Do what you think you need to do. You obviously think that there is something real there. I know there’s not. And it’s sad that so many people’s lives have to be turned upside down for you to figure it out. But go. And then call me and tell me how fantastic, and new and exciting your relationship is when you have to deal with who takes the garbage out and who cleans the toilet and who cooks and who does the dishes and who pays the bills and whose money goes to which bills, etc. You’re living in a bubble. When you decide to officially make your relationship ‘real’ you tell me how many needs of yours she is actually meeting.”

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

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

See also  You Don't Have to Play the Affair Game

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


Point – Not a Fantasy. For the sake of argument, let’s say that it’s a “fantasy” that you were living. You only chose to see your other man in the way you wanted. The good aspects. He only chose to show the good things about himself. Isn’t that how all relationships start? Was your feelings for your husband in the beginning a fantasy?

The feelings are there. The emotions are there.

What you choose to do with them are not a fantasy. It was reality. It was unhealthy. He fulfilled needs you had.

The garbage wasn’t a need you had in him. It wasn’t a need you had in your husband when you met him. I didn’t say I would love honor and take the garbage out, the day I was married.

This is the reality for us whether by our choice or not. I don’t like the word any more than you in this case.

I don’t believe that the relationship was “healthy” but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t real. Some people have real relationships in unhealthy ways.

Not all affairs are the same. My wife’s was with a man from her past. How much more real can it be to still have a piece of their heart belong to someone else?


fantasy of the affairCounterpoint – Fantasy. I know the relationship was “real.” And I absolutely agree that it is possible to have real, unhealthy relationships. Maybe that’s a better way of stating all of this? Unhealthy.

I’ve known many cases that are like those of your wife, with people that we’ve known for years from our past. I still don’t know that “real” is the best word to describe it. It happened. Between two real people. But I still feel that “fantasy” is the best word to describe whatever those two people think they had with each other. And honestly, in regards to situations like your wife the word “fantasy” still applies.

It always amazes me to think that people think they “know” someone just because they dated them 20 years ago (for example). Hello! 20 years has passed! You don’t have a clue who that person is anymore! You think they are who you remember them being. You build them up in your mind to be everything that you loved about them when you used to know them. Hence, fantasy.

See also  The Betrayed Spouse Can’t Get Sucked Into the Affair Fantasy

Yes, all relationships start by us only showing our good side. What we want them to see. But affairs exist by the two people involved always and only showing and giving what they want to.

As Linda said, “Being in a marriage exposes the real you, there is no place to hide your faults and be something you are not.” In an affair, you are completely able to hide your faults and be something you are not – or something you think the other person wants or needs. Only when “reality” is forced on the relationship are truths exposed and the two people can see each other for who they really are. More often than not, it’s not worth it and it doesn’t work.

Also, I enjoyed your “garbage” analogy. And to an extent I agree. But think about this…when we promise to love, honor, and cherish, whether we realize it or not, it involves every last detail including taking out the garbage. If that is a need of mine, or a realistic expectation of mine, then my husband can honor and cherish me by taking on that task. That ends up showing love to me. It honors me. Being married involves the hard work of figuring out what my spouse needs from me and figuring out how I can do my best to meet those needs.


There you have it.  The arguments are on the table.  What’s your opinion?  Are affairs based on fantasy or not? Please tell us below in the comment section.  Thanks!

BTW…We delve really deep into the fantasy concept (and a bunch more) in the Affair Recovery Group.  Check it out here.


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    67 replies to "Point and Counterpoint – Are Affairs Based on Fantasy or Not?"

    • Gizfield

      Great post. Actually, a few weeks ago, in the shower where my mind wanders a lot, I had a “revolutionary” (to me, lol) thought. I think the real fantasy object in most affairs is the one the Cheating Spouse has about THEMSELF. The affairpartner is just like a secondary fantasy necessary to fuel the main fantasy. Hell, I know my affair partner was a complete asshole and always was. He did not even look good anymore, lol. So what was the draw? He was available and telling me what I wanted to hear. I even thought to myself “this guy has really changed”. Not ! But like the article said he could act in a fantasy way because he didnt have to follow up on it. when we dated in high school, we had a relationship that was in the open, and therefore real. When we were sneaking around, no one knew, so he could do whatever he wanted with no consequences. Thats the fantasy. But, seriously, in the case of my husband,, most comments about his gf were actually related to HIM. Not her. That is what the cheater doesn’t really want to give up, viewing themself as Mr. Stud, or Miss Homecoming Queen, or Mr. Successful, or whatever that fantasy they have of themselves.

      • Imelda

        I think you’re right. You raised up a very good point there. My husband is totally besotted with his AP , a colleague at work , like he is the most attractive person on earth. I saw her once and she’s very ordinary , my daughter saw her once too, and she thinks she’s very ordinary. But to my husband she’s very attractive. In fact he told me that if I ask other people that knows her they will tell me that she’s indeed very attractive. She also said that she’s so enjoyable to be with even saying that I knew that i spent sometimes with her on a walk one day, but I didn’t find her extraordinary. She’s friendly alright but not exceptional as he makes it out to be.

        Another thing, is how is she a 35 year old woman and my husband a 67 year old man with balding and grey hairs be attracted to him? Now I know its not so much about him but how she feels when he’s around him. Now there’s the magic. there’s the seduction.

        • patricia

          Omg that was my husband too! His affair with a coworker who he supervise. He was 64 and she 34, she gave him the time off day, joking around, cracking jokes, and good come backs if he said something .
          She knew he was married and to my husband it started off with to him was harmless texting back and forth all hours of the day and night,, to him it was friend shit, not cheating, cheating was having sex with someone outside of his marriage. Soon the texting turned to secret calls, buying her gifts and also trying to win her over buying her 3 kids stuff too! She knew that once this happened she had a sugar daddy on the side.
          So I would have to say his affair was pure fantasy and an act of insanity! Once she knew all she had to do was talk about, how she needed this and that, comment he would get or give her money. This little tramp knew she had him under her spell! He told me later after me finding out about the emotional affair, that he struggled emotionally because he came to a point where he knew it was wrong and getting out of hand and wanted to get out of it, but he couldn’t he was emotional stuck on her and lost all control! So he was stuck in this foggy head fantasy. It took him about a week after myself finding out and telling him I’m done and moving out, that he begged me to stay! He tells me over and over he doesn’t know what the hell he was thinking, and that he was a stupid ass! He said a lot of things in text messages to her that he doesn’t even remember, as I got a copy of his text messages. He was so screwed up not knowing he had became her puppet.
          But last but not least she also had a boyfriend at the same time, and never mentioned it because I my husband, she would say she wasn’t interested in having a boyfriend anymore and that relationships are over rated. So she knew she had a meal ticket in my husband, building his ego was her job!! So I have to say yes very much, affairs of this nature are fantasies!!!

    • Gizfield

      I also think that is what is hard to give up, with cheaters, that illusion of themself. Especially after they are discovered and have TWO people on the string. You dont really see that much in real life. They see themselves as an honest to goodness Brad Pitt, lol.

    • Saw the Light (formerly Roller Coaster Rider)

      My ex-husband lives in many different worlds, and believes a lot of fantasy. His affairs, however, were based on being messed up mentally and emotionally, as well as wanting to be the hero. My involvement with another man was never a fantasy, I was never ‘in love;’ just lonely. Someone willing to listen and expressing interest in me as a person were somehow enough to get me engaged emotionally. What I ended up with however was major conflict; I never want to be duplicitous and I was. Now my challenge is staying OUT of a relationship until I’m really healthy. Wonder when that will be??

    • lin

      There is no doubt in my mind that affairs are fantasy. The actual encounters, gifts, conversations, etc did exist in real time. However, the driving force was secrecy, lies and deception. Looking for greener grass, ego boost, excitement and thrills. . . feels good for a while but if it was based in reality, why would it have to be hidden? Also, if the cheater stops to think, how real is a relationship that is based lies and deception going to bring lasting joy? REAL life is hard. REAL relationships require energy, grace, forgiveness, love and commitment. REAL marriages are never perfect. In a REAL relationship you ask your PARTNER for what you need and do not go looking for needs to be met elsewhere.

      • Saw the Light (formerly Roller Coaster Rider)

        Lin, yes. Not perfect, but committed. Not perfect, but willing to communicate. Not perfect, but not secretive. Not perfect, but not deceitful. Not perfect. Real, and honest. That’s what I want. Next time.

    • tryinghard

      Both points are valid. Yes the affair was real and yes both AP’s were idealizing the other and yes they don’t see or know or want to know or see the AP’s flaws. This is just all parsing words and is a matter of semantics. I agree with both.

      For me I’ve learned that the true healing is facing the truth. He cheated, he lied, she was a real person, he thought he loved her. PERIOD. I can say, he’s reformed, he no longer cheats, he no longer lies (although that’s a stretch!) and this is all true today. When I tell myself that this is going to be true forever is when I panic and doubt. By affirming the truth for today I can face tomorrow. It’s when I try to fool myself and try to convince myself that all this is in the past that I have problems with accepting my own choices.

      When I think and act euphemistically about fogs and fantasies or any other word we want to use for the CS actions and supposed mindset, is when my thoughts go into overdrive and hyper- vigilance. I find more questions to ask. More wonderings “what if I’m wrong”, and on and on. When I accept whom I have chosen to live with and stay married to DESPITE his abhorrent behavior and that I am the one making the decision to stay in my marriage and with him, only then do I find any kind of peace in my life. This is when I let go of the need to analyze the why’s and live peacefully with my choice.

      I guess I am coming closer to acceptance and moving on.

    • Paula

      Definitely semantics, for my two cents worth. The fantasy aspect is not the betrayed spouse trying to minimise the affair, IMO. Just the fact that real life doesn’t get in the way quite so much in an affair, heck, it does to a degree, “can’t meet you then because my son has a sporting commitment,” etc, but the day-to-day is not what the affair participants are generally dealing with, more the excitement and anticipation of being able to spend time with the person who makes few demands, and who is there for pleasure, not duty, not commitment, not if they don’t feel like it today, always “on.” The rekindled romance of a previous BF/GF is really an easy affair option, you know there is. or at least was, an attraction, mine said the fact that she was easy to bed nearly thirty years earlier made it easier to approach her again for the same reason! We also knew this woman as the decades past, and it was pretty clear that it was no hardship to bed her. So, as he said, when he felt lonely and under-appreciated, she was “easy” in every sense of the word. I was lucky, he says he was aware he didn’t love her, but that he did question that at times, “why don’t I love her, am I in denial, do I love her, or COULD I love her?” He was looking for escape from what he had imagined was us going sour. If he had fallen in love, we wouldn’t be here today, still trying, he would have definitely left. Sometimes I wish he had, and then it would all be clear, he didn’t love me, he always loved her, I just got in the way of the “true love” of his life. It wasn’t that way. He tells me he never loved her, even when they long-distance dated for two years in their youth, that when he met me, he understood real love, fell hard, was overwhelmed by the feelings. I had been in love before, deeply in love, but in that teen/early adult way, a bit unrealistic, I don’t think he had, although he had several relationships and a fair amount of no-strings sex, he thought he loved a couple of them, but he says that none of them were like what we had. Who knows, who knows how someone else experiences love? Who knows how a reformed cheater REALLY felt at the time. I tell him, “at the time, you MUST have loved her, or why else would you risk what we had, and for so long?” Semantics, really. The thing is, this is the here and now, and eventually you have to find a way to be fully present, after you have picked over the past, examined, dissected and learned from it. Bloody hard to do!

    • exercisegrace

      After nearly two years of hashing over his affair, my husband can see it was an escape from his depression and his business nearly failing. He has said repeatedly that none of it was real and to some extent he knew that even as he was doing it. If it was real he would have left.

      It IS largely semantics in my book too. Fantasy, delusion, an alternate reality, escapism. Call it whatever you like. Statistics show that less than three percent of cheating spouses leave for their AP. If these relationships were “real” wouldn’t the odds be closer to 50/50?

      At the heart of the affair remains the ugly truth that neither partner is in it for the other. They are in it to gain a better view of themselves. They like the way the other person makes them feel about themselves. It’s a supremely selfish decision to have an affair, and affairs are made up of supremely selfish acts. This just would never work when you share a home, household chores, child-rearing, bill-paying, and so on.

      You can’t even compare affairs to the beginnings of OUR relationships with our spouses. It is NOT about recapturing the giddy in love feeling. It’s about getting your ego jacked. Sorry, but there it is. Selfishness again. When we date someone we make a progression from dates for two, to being let into the other person’s world. We see their dishes in the sink and their dirty laundry on the floor. We introduce them to our best friend and eagerly await the post-mortem. If they pass that test, we take them to a benign family event like a picnic and see how they handle crazy Aunt Gert and obnoxious Uncle Gary. It is an ever-widening circle. And through this process we find out if this is someone we could actually live life with. Maybe we move in with them for awhile and see how that goes and because we end up married, it was a success. We saw each others flaws and bad habits and created work arounds. We accepted some things and together we changed bad habits.

      All of that to say, an affair relationship never gets that far. Not even close. They see each other at their best-dressed and most nicely groomed. They don’t have to negotiate chores and bills and childcare. Plans don’t get canceled because they can’t find a babysitter….WE are the babysitter. They aren’t too tired to meet up, because WE are by that point carrying far more than our share of the household load, and doing it feeling “sorry” for them because they have to “work” so much lately.

      The other aspect to it all is that as much as we are lied to and deceived, they lie to and deceive each other. There is almost no truth involved whatsoever. The BS faults are played up and our good points are not mentioned. The AP fills in the gaps with their imagination. Together they grab the pen to OUR STORY and begin to slash and red-line and revise. By the time they are done, very little is left that resembles the truth. How do you build a relationship that is predicated upon tearing another relationship DOWN TO THE GROUND? You don’t and that’s the point. Real relationships are built on trust and truth. They have to be in order to be sustainable. Affairs have too much of a flavor of “us against them”. Remove the “common enemy” of the betrayed spouses and what are you left with?

      • worthy

        I know this is an old post, but I came across it. I cheated on my H. We are in counseling to work things out. This post is by far one of the best things I’ve read. Exercisegrace nailed it and helped me take another step out of the fog. Thank you

    • tryinghard

      NEXT TIME?!?!?!?! BWHAHAHAHA. You girls are CRAYYYY. Oh hell no there will never, ever, never, never, ever, ever, ever E.V.E.R. be another next time!!! You know what I want for my “next time”? A one bedroom apartment with a teeny, tiny, kitchen, and a small cozy living room with a fireplace. Everything will be all soft grays, whites, and pinks and drippy, pretty chandeliers. With a fluffy girly bedroom with lost of pillows and sweet smelling candles. All my books ( of which NONE will be about affairs or relationships or cheating) will be surrounding me. And I can play jazz or classical music whenever I wanted and NEVER had to watch CNBC again!

      And I will be at peace, by myself, with my cozy fireplace reading and happy being alone!!!!

      • exercisegrace

        I’m with you. I have made it clear that if he EVER does this again I will see it as a conscious, considered, deliberate CHOICE. So will our oldest two children. If he cheats again, I am OUT. As hard as he has had to work to rebuild relationships with the teenagers, I can’t imagine it. As much as he genuinely laments what at this point he feels is the permanent damage done to his relationship with our daughter, he would have to be out of his mind. I honestly don’t think the kids would forgive a round two.

        For those that read this and wonder if I “outed” him to the kids, I did not. He conducted his affair largely under our noses. The kids were onto him waaaaay before I was and out daughter tried repeatedly to warn me of what she suspected. Sadly my belief in HIM was stronger than in HER. My mistake!! And as if that weren’t enough, the whore continues to cyber-bully me and the kids, making sure we know gory details that no child should EVER have to hear about their dad and some skanky whore.

      • .

        I know this reply is waaaaayyyyy after these comments. This is for TRYINGHARD from 2/17/14.
        I absolutely 100% and totally agree with your “one bedroom apartment” theory. Its exactly how I feel (and wish more women would acknowledge it). And I ask myself ALL THE TIME…..why don’t I do this NOW…..I believe it’s what I really want for MYSELF. I’m always trying to figure out if I should stay or I should go!!??

    • tryinghard


      Sadly EG my H won’t even have to cheat again! If there is any kind of disrespect I will be gone. I put up with a lot of disrespect in our 36 years and the affair et al is just the crowning blow. He’s been a self centered and disrespectful for a lot of our married life. I’m no longer going to ever put up with being disrespected or taken for granted. If I ever find myself single again there will never be another Mr. Trying Hard in my life.

      I’m sure your H’s affair has damaged his relationship with his daughters permanently. He has lost their respect and trust too and I doubt that can ever be returned to them. I know this is true for my adult sons. They figure out a way to have a relationship with them but it certainly isn’t built on trust or respect. I used to do everything to encourage a good relationship between my sons and their father, not so much anymore. It’s all on him. I don’t talk bad about their father but I believe it is between the three of them to work out their relational problems with each other. I am no longer the go between like I have been for YEARS! He did what he did and I can’t undo it. My H knows what he’s lost and probably will never have with his sons. Too bad for him. Some things just can’t be undone for some people. His grandson adores him and doesn’t know any of this, I hope he never will. Maybe there is hope for him to have a good relationship with someone related to him after all.

    • Paula

      Oh yeah! Perfectly said, TH. Not about ever again. Just about total respect – and total love! I won’t be looking for another partner either. Happy with my own company.

    • KelBelly

      I have a hard time with the word fantasy as well. The woman I talked to was very real. What my husband said to her was very real, The way my husband treated me during that time was very real. The pain that his actions caused was very real.

      Him telling me that he was angry with me and loved me but was not in love with me was real. I believe at the time my H was very in love with the woman on the other side of his computer and phone. It provokes a strong anger in me when he uses the word fantasy. He believed in his mind that I did not love him, that was not a fantasy, that was a belief and that led him to seek love somewhere else.

      A fantasy would be my H riding a white stallion on the beach with the arms of Demi Moore wrapped around him. That will never happen so it is a fantasy! What my h did was not.

    • Broken2

      Agree…and very tired of all of the different words to make life a little more cushy for the cheater. Affair fog, fantasy….how about the reality. They did it and they knew what they were doing and we are all adults that know we have consequences for our behaviors, good or bad. But you know we don’t want to hurt their feelings or say something that isn’t PC like its real…you destroyed our lives. As for the OW and the OM don’t want to even go there. Just my opinion.

    • Strengthrequired

      Can I just say, I’m tired of everything to do with an ea/pa. The whole thing is senseless. I’m tired of seeing all this sort of thing happening to good people, it ruins lives needlessly.
      All the time there is another bs learning about the betrayal, and trying to find a way to deal with the pain, the humiliation, the stress, the lies, and as well as the om/ow, having to put up with their crap.
      The whole thing is tiring.
      On this tv show the other day, this bs said ” when your spirit is broken, the one you look to, for healing is the one that broke your spirit”
      That still rings in my ears, because to me that is so true. We turn to the one that hurt us, to help us heal.

      • exercisegrace

        AMEN! I am tired of it too, and there just seems to be more and more. I am sick of television (they have whole shows about whores!) movies and the media in general glamorizing affairs. Meanwhile, people like us who have had their lives destroyed are quietly going about trying to pick up the pieces and move on. We don’t talk about it much (if at all) in the “real world” as we don’t want to open ourselves up for judgement or expose our children to it any more than necessary.

    • tweet

      Over the past 2.5 years, I have been writing a journal about my thoughts regarding my husband’s EA. Many times, my entries would be based upon what I read here, or on other infidelity websites – I would copy what I had read, change the words somewhat to reflect what I was thinking, and make it my own. I have an entry about this very topic that I wrote at least a year and a half ago:

      He says it was fantasy and not love, but what difference does it really make except in some vague and distant way? The result is the same. I have had to face the horrible devastation of betrayal, whether it was for love or fantasy. The damage is still done. Whether the affair was fiction or non-fiction, whether or not he now says that he hates her and that he never really loved her, the pain and the resulting unhealed scars are 100% real.

    • Broken2

      Only those who have been betrayed can understand , really understand the devastation to our lives and the immense pain. All of this is real, not a fantasy. So what are the words for us that help ease the pain? There aren’t any. I am tired of the excuses and the words that allow a cheater to wiggle out of reality. It wasn’t a fantasy. it was real. A real person with real consequences. I know many believe in the affair fog BS but I don’t…it is just another warm and fuzzy word that excuses the behavior of a cheater and softens the blow to the betrayed. Not one time in my entire life have I.not known what I was doing. Now I have made some horrible mistakes and ridiculous decisions and I guess I could have said well I really didn’t know what I was doing but I didn’t. They know from the moment it starts until they either get caught or it ends. My husband said when I caught him ” it was starting to feel funny, I’m glad I got caught” “I knew it was wrong”. Well then why didn’t he stop? Because he was a selfish ass. Fantasy no way…it felt good, he liked it, he liked her, she stoked his ego, he didn’t care about the consequences. In todays society we blame the victim and glamourize the perpetrator (s).

    • Francis

      Ok, so now I can say I have been through the entire spectrum of WHAT EVERYBODY here agrees and dssagrees with. There is a lot of detail on some of the other blogs on this site, so I won’t go into to much detail. To recap my wife and I met a tour guide in Israel who was our trips guide. He and his wife visited us. About six months later I figured my wife was having an EA. Then I found out he visited her in a nearby town while I was away. She claims it was still an EA. Then eventually she ended it but had a plan to see him 2 months later for closure or to see if she still had feelings. Again just an EA. now back,in July when they were together the first time they entered that FAntasy phase. They were talking about her getting her own apartment and whenever he was not leading tours in Israel he would come stay with her. They were talking about her eventually joining him when our youngest went to college (3 years), all that pre-engagement talk we all did long ago. Well eventually their conversations turned to My husband did this, my husbands controlling, with him (who according to his wife has had this story repeat with various women at least five times) it would be travel the world, meet new friends ( she does not have many..her choice not mine).
      Well since then we have had an amazing marriage she is very sensual in addition to her other qualities. Well on 2/10 I got suspicious and found out he was here etc….she was going to work cutting out going back to work etc. On the 12 I called her and said we need to talk. To get to the point she ran. I only received a things got over the top today etc. I need time to think. Took her 48 hours to contact me or my kids…and did this by emailing me a request she wrote for divorce. Since then she has been in a hotel with him, will not admit it has finally become a pa says he’s not about the flesh. Now I think this is the “real” you all mention. She plans on traveling to Israel with him for two weeks and then coming back. At first she said without him but now he may come back for a week. The reason? Because he is a serial affair and he knows that there is a good chance she will come back to me.
      I won’t get into that now.
      But here is my question for all of you: with this being a long distance affair except when he comes here, she may be in a apartment by herself except when he’s around, don’t you thing it will just prolong her fantasy? If anything. I am the one with the house the kids etc..she still has this girl cave to herself. Thing is now she says she only wants a three month lease or an in-home separation!
      I asked her this question. ” if you never really ended the affair and wether it’s a pa or not why were you still making love with me and enjoying it” her answer your a great lover with a great body and I guess it was a fantasy, it was deviant I was sneaking with you”……what the? I am the husband!

    • Strengthrequired

      I’m sorry Francis, I don’t know what to say, except how crazy your w is. I’m sorry she is acting so stupidly and selfish.
      Hang in there.
      I feel for you and your situation, maybe though you need to look at it in a way of ” what affect is this ea/pa having on you? How is it affecting your kids? Do you believe it is the right thing to let her leave, or let her stay?
      Does she believe you will continue to look after her, while her om isn’t around? She knows you have a good heart and you love her, but I have to say, it was wrong of her to even send an email saying she wants a divorce, my h sent me a text message at the beginning of his ea, while he was trying to figure out if he wanted to leave for her or return to me. He sent me almost a month into our separation, ” I have found the person I want to be with, I’m sorry but you need to move on”. That was a cowards way out, and I let him know it.
      Btw, he was home a week or so later.

      • Franklee8

        Well I am now at the point of vindication. She called me today and said she wants an In-house Seperation when she comes back from her 10 days in Israel in his BED!! She says its to see how things go and she needs space. This is BS I know that she did have to sign her lease by today, However for some reason she only wanted 4 months. well I know there were others intrested and for more that 4 months. So I believe her agent said the landlord was not intrested in the lease and was going with a family that wanted one year hence forcing her into the in-home seperation but wants our Bedroom…Hey wait she left NOT ME. So I am thinking isnt she better off having to get her own place and realize what thats like versus comming home, but then again…this is still 50% her home.
        I am trying to burn out her Adrenaline addicted affair. Most people including our Rabbi say to throw her out I deserve better.

        • Franklee8

          Part 2
          So I was thinking that when she gets back from Israel to tell her, Hey, I made you a reservation at the Holiday inn, you will be living there until you can find your own apartment. After all you detroyed me, and what we had with all your lies and deceit. She is even now saying she needs to take this trip she needs to figure it all out! But maybe shes soiled goods and I dont want her anymore. I want her to crash and burn for all the toture Emotionaly shes put me threw

    • gizfield

      It’s interesting. Some of us have never met the affair partners, and some have known them their entire life. I met my husband’s girlfriend twice. Once when we were dating. We went into the club where he was going to play. One of the band wives said “C, look who’s here, M”. at that point she launched out of her chair and onto my man. looking back, she knew we were dating but put on this display. I just stood there thinking Who is this bitch and why is she on my boyfriend? Band wife explained they all used to live in the same apartments. After that, I have no recollection of her. Don’t know if she left, stayed, anything. Kind of remember she was blonde, wore glasses, and was pretty. Not exceptional, would not have noticed her except for the Flinging incident. Lol. Guess my psychotic jealousy was showing.

    • gizfield

      Part 2. She resurfaced at Band Wifes house a few years later. H and I were married, and or daughter was probably two or three. She was leaving the next day to shack out with a pilot in California (we are in Tennessee). I still dont remember much about her. She babbled constantly about the pilot. Her daughter who was older than mine, by quite a few years, but I can’t remember her either, kept acting like a brat. I just remember thinking she was “unappealing”, whiny, kind of homely. I have kind of a vague image of the girlfriend, standing in the doorway, possibly wearing a blue dress. I remember her saying that she “couldn’t date any of the guys back then cause they were SO MUCH older”. They were like three years older. I thought that was stupid cause my first husband was 30 and I was 21 when we met. My h picked me up and dropped me off cause practice was somewhere else. I dont remember them interacting, or if we talked about her later. If so, I probably said I was glad she was moving so I would not see her again. Not impressed at all.

    • gizfield

      One more funny example of my extreme “jealousy” before the affair, lol. One day his girlfriend actually called the house and left a message, lol. Based on emails between them it was probably the fall of 2008, around my daughter.s fifth birthday. The message was “hi, this is M, returning your call”or something to that effect. I didn’t think a lot of it, other than I thought she was in California. I didn’t even ask him about it. HOWEVER, he asked me if I heard it, that night. I said I did. He told me not to pay it any attention, or that it was nothing, an old friend maybe, whatever. Can’t really remember now. I thought it was odd but wasnt concerned. Looking back, she called on the house phone, not his work cell. Not long after that he cut off the house phone, and transferred that number to a personal cell, to save money. And so, the WhorePhone was born. Too bad I WASN’T jealous, I could have ruined his unencumbered run of fun.

    • Rusty

      In the heat of the “discussions” that followed my discovery of my husband’s affair, one comment he made stood out clearly: “I don’t really know her that well. It’s not like we have been on a date or anything.” To me this seemed ironic–until I read about he fantasy aspect of affairs. Although they had talked, texted and acted intimately for months, he realized that he didn’t really know this person because their relationship was not taking place under “normal” circumstances (which usually begins with two unattached people going on a date to get to know each other). The hidden affair setting was not “real.” All relationships may go through a euphoric phase where we see and display only our best sides. Maybe there is a fantasy stage every romantic relationship goes through, but I think affairs perpetuate that stage by their nature. Under the protection of secrecy there is no need for reality to enter the picture for either party. Perhaps that is why affairs are so hard to let go of–who wants to leave the euphoria of fantasy for the likely disappointment of reality?

      • tryinghard


        I did so much research on the OW after discovery. I scoured her FB page (LOL until she blocked me) and found 20 gambling pages. I have a friend that worked at the courthouse and researched her records. I got access to her arrest records, lawsuits, and bankruptcies etc. I also researched her on line. I found out a lot about her through information from employees. Some employees worked in her home and said she started drinking as soon as she got home and it wasn’t unusual for her to put away 10 beers a night. My H also found out once he left that she was an alcoholic (yeah that little tidbit woke him up from his fantasy/delusion/fog) I found out way more about her than my H ever knew about her. Or maybe he just didn’t want to know. Through all this information I figured out a lot about her. And of course everything was confirmed about those that knew her . Being a true narcissist she had to show my H a good side. Narcissists do that. He knew nothing about her drinking, gambling, lawsuits, bills, bankruptcies etc. until I told him. I would as questions and he honestly did not know the answers. He loaned her a lot of money to fix her house with the premise that she would refinance and pay him back. HAHA guess what the refinance didn’t happen. He said because she was a procrastinator. Once I showed him her bankruptcies and lawsuits from creditors he realized how he had been duped and that she was not filing the loan papers because she KNEW she would be denied and she couldn’t have him knowing that. Well guess who feels like the biggest fool now??? She would tell him she was home all alone. Well I found out it wasn’t true she was down at the boat most nights gambling!! It goes on and on. It’s really very pathetic. She was a master manipulator and he fell right into her web!!

        No they don’t know each other and she certainly didn’t know him either. I don’t know if it’s fantasy or fog or just plain STUPID!!!!

    • FrankLee

      So this morning my wife said, you should let me back home. I need to be there for our son. We are all good together we enjoy each others company. But then she says I still care for and love you like a brother , but I am IN-LOVE with XXXX. Boy that hurt me and hit me hard.

      So heres my question after that I got a little angry but started in about Adrenaline and fantasies and she got PO’ed. she said oh my god more circle talk, thats all you do about this youve tried this before and it does not work…Well then would she follow that wih, “i dont know maybe this is a phase, maybe I will figute it all out when I am there”
      Should I just throw her out? Why do I troture myself like this?

      • FrankLee

        Oh my Spell Check is my Wose Enema

        • tryinghard

          I hear your pain in your writings. You are in the “heat of the battle”. The only advice I can give you is to STEP BACK. Look honestly at what you are dealing with. Your conversations will only frustrate you. It is imperative that you stay focused whenever you discuss things with her. You CANNOT diverge from the matter at hand. Right now you need to discuss living arrangements. She cannot possibly see how coming and leaving from your or your son’s life is going to bring anything good for anyone. Yes, he’s an ass hat. Yes she’s in fantasy/delusion land. No she doesn’t see that, not yet anyway and eventually she will but not yet. Nothing you say will convince her of it. The ONLY thing that will get to her is her idea of total loss of everything. In some states once you leave the house you have abandoned the marital home and the marriage. You have every right to change the keys and get a restraining order from her entering the home. I know your rabbi may be of some solace to you but you, my friend need to speak to a lawyer NOW.

          Good Luck to you. Be smart, act smart, and plan ahead. Do NOT fly by the seat of your pants.

          • exercisegrace

            I will also chime in and say TH is right on the money. As hard as it is, you need to remove yourself as the common enemy. You need to pop the star-crossed lovers bubble she is placing herself in with this man. I would tell her if she wants to be with him, go. Figure out a living arrangement, get advice regarding a LEGAL separation which spells out financial and child care issues etc. I doubt its going to be as fun when you drag it into the light of day. It’s all so dramatic and “movie of the week” right now. When the ho-hum of daily life with this guy sets in, she will find it’s not the grand love affair she thought it was. Let her pick his clothes up off the floor, cook for him, argue about chores etc. I would think its a pretty quick way method of blowing the fog away.

        • forcryin'outloud

          FL – TH is so spot on. You have to play hard ball now or you will be strung around by your nose forever! I swear there is a script on the internet “How to have an affair, what to say and how to lose your intelligence along the way.” Everything you are saying all of us have gone threw in some version. It’s ridiculous. Your wife is in cookoo land. All you can do is save yourself and your child at this point.

          • Francis Lee

            She has backed away from her lawyer, but we were talking a collaborative divorce. Also she has said if you don’t want me to live there I won’t, but keep in mind I gave up a really nice apartment that was willing to give me a 4 month lease, why she wants 4 months I don’t know!
            Ugh I am still so messed up by this. Everyone says throw her out but I guess I am scared of life without her. I mean look at me it 4 am and I am sitting here writing this.

            • Francis Lee

              I actually played out an interesting scenario in my mind;
              Draw up a letter with my Lawyer and send it to her in Israel, telling her I was charging her with Abandonment. I was seizing all her assets. I gave all of her mothers heirlooms to my wife’s sister and that her best option would be to stay in Israel with him. First off my 21 year old has disowned her. He told her to not come to his college graduation. My 15 year old genius level but anxious child is dazed and confused and completely ignored her when she came to visit him ( I was not home). In addition all her savings, 401k etc were now seized property until the divorce was settled. Plus I am cutting her off and buying out her ownership in the house.
              If I could do this, she would act like Superwoman and say good riddance, but I know her for 34 years! Within weeks she would be upset, and once he realizes she has no money, is totally self absorbed and a real Long Island brat, he is going to put her on the next boat home.

            • Strengthrequired

              She has to see him only wanting her for the money, not for herself.
              She needs to wake up, she is not going to wake up while she knows she won’t lose anything.
              I was going to say before, that maybe she backed off from her lawyer, because he told her what she would lose if she followed through with her decision to divorce.
              Maybe she had also mentioned her meeting with the lawyer to the om, and he has told her to not do anything yet. As he would know, he won’t end up with anything, if she plays the game all wrong.
              You do need to speak with your lawyer, and make that stand of, I’m not playing your games anymore.

    • Tryinghard

      Do it….

    • Francis Lee

      Actually now thinking about her in his apartment etc is making me see her as spoiled goods, she had once said I a shallow because I am making it about the sex, when it’s not about sex. Ok, fine dear you say it’s about connection and emotion, but if there has not been sex there is so etching wrong. You sneak out of work for four hours in the middle of the day and go to a no tell motel where he is staying. You have relations with me on Sunday the 10 button the 11 and 12 the days you saw him you cuddle with me and say wait for Valentines day when he was originally leaving on the 12… All this just keeps building my anger .
      I thank everyone for their support and coaching. I am sure my addictions to her will fade as these two weeks move on. By the time she’s ready to leave Israel on March 7th I will be in a different place. I have taken up to much of your time and this blog,,,,I will fill everyone in next week and after she returns. As Freddy Mercury once said ” I THANK YOU ALL”

    • Francis Lee

      Something wrong! Man this iPad keyboard stinks

    • Tryinghard


      You will go through lots of emotions and it doesn’t have to be the end of your relationship. It just has to be the end of one of hers. She’s not even a quarter of the way there to be reasonable and having a reasonable conversation about her choices. And that’s what it is, her choices so you have to make yours. Good luck to you my friend. Go easy on yourself and be around those that love and appreciate you. Hugs to you.

    • 2nd Time Around

      First of all I am just 6 weeks past the most recent D-day. The first was at the beginning of my relationship with my H four years ago when we started dating. Our first D-day we were both divorced for about 2 years and were in the “dating” mode. Trust me I don’t excuse his behavior from that time and as my therapist recently pointed out to me “Why didn’t you listen when he “showed” you who he really was.

      The first time around I found out very early in our relationship I mean within the first couple of weeks after we started dating. Met on a dating website we were friends via email and text for a few months before we ever even met for the first time. We knew that each of us where going on dates with other people. What he neglected to disclose was that he was in a relationship with his ex-wife of 20 plus years (he told me they were just friends and lived over 1,000 miles away) and his “roommate” as he called her who by the way was at the concert he took me to on our first date! Yep you heard me right she was working a T-shirt booth and at one point came and sat with us.

      Since I found out so early in our relationship because both of these women knew about each other I was the only one in the dark and he broke it off with them I forgave him but it was a long and painful process. I know not the best way to start off a new relationship. We were married just 4 months later.

      This time around started around it started about 18 months after we got married and has going on for two years. The reason I decided to make a post on this particular blog was the topic of “fantasy”. I want to find out if anyone else out there has had the same kind of issues that I see as EA in their life. After everything I have read so far and I know there is a whole lot more to read I can’t find anyone who seems to have had the same issues I am experiencing.

      First let me say that in my opinion fantasy is not necessarily bad it about what we do with it. In a marriage as long as your partner is aware of your fantasies I don’t see it being a problem. It’s when you have “secret” fantasies that can make things turn ugly real fast. I am very open minded and my H knows this about me.

      I guess I should explain my views and define what we call porn. Porn can be anything from watching a video, looking at pictures, reading or writing stories (writing stories is something that my H enjoys doing and he shared them with me until he started having his most recent EA), trips to Adult toy stores either actually going or over the internet (we have a decent toy collection which we both enjoy) or just simply fantasizing about something or someone. As long as it is not something that you are addicted to or means more to you than your spouse I am fine with it.

      Ah, this is where our trouble began. My husband and I started working together about 5 months before all of this started. We were not just working for the same company but we were co-managing the same company as well as living on-site. We are both OCD and workaholics the difference it the more demanding our job got (working 80 to 100 hours plus being on call 24/7) the less I was able to take “me or us time”. My husband on the other hand was able on our days off to take “me” time. Yes this included not having sex for months at a time.

      After 5 months of me being less and less engaged in our marriage instead of him addressing the issue with me he started down this “fantasy/porn” road. My H does not do conflict either real or perceived. Anytime I would try to bring up the subject he just told me everything was fine.

      Over the first year I knew something wasn’t right but just couldn’t put my finger on what it was and honestly because of work I really didn’t put much effort into finding out. We left that job over a year ago and since that time I still realized that something was wrong but until 3 months before D-day I was struggling to regain my own life and even though I put some effort into trying to figure it out I certainly was not making a BIG effort. The one thing I did know for sure is that we went from having sex several times a week before taking that job together to only having sex about 10 times during the last two years and the majority of times I would have to initiate it which was very much the opposite of how we worked prior to taking the job.

      Now for the problem all of this is what I have found out so far since D-day. My H started watching/reading/writing more and more. He even had joined two websites one to post and read erotic stories and another to post pictures of me (What??) as well as look at other peoples pictures and videos. He was making trips to adult stores and not telling me about it. He would take “drives” and find places to watch porn on his cell phone and masturbate, he would watch porn on his phone driving to and from work, during the day at work, in the middle are the night in bed. This would lead to him finding places at work to masturbate or to get up in the middle of the night to go into the bathroom to do it. I realize that men especially tend to masturbate a lot but this had been something I knew about but now was being done in secret. Taking more and more secret pictures of himself naked. He spent more and more time fantasying about women both real and those he saw videos and pictures of. He found himself attracted to several (as far as I know of right now 13 different women) all of which he worked with. He would find reasons to spend time with them, eat lunch with them, touch them in what he viewed at “legal” ways, text on his personal phone instead of his company phone, take pictures of them at company events, sit next to them in meetings. The list just goes on and on.

      At some point he had completely disengaged from our marriage and was looking for my replacement. From what I know right now I believe that happened about 8 months ago. He had no interest in me at all!! He would stay late at work, go into work after hours when someone else could have gone, we stopped having sex all together; we spent time together but in silence. He found more and more excuses to just do his own thing!! This was completely out of character for him. At this same time all of the issues that I have found out about since D-day just took over more and more of his time. I had suspected that I was an afterthought in his life but by this time I knew it!

      The bottom line is that my H did not have one EA he had several many of them at the same time. Finally during a few weeks before D-day and ever since D-day I have gone to great lengths to find the proof. Checking data usage and text messages on his cell phone, watching the browser history on his laptop, searching his laptop and cell phone for pictures of him and anything else.

      Since D-day we have been trying to uncover the reason for these behaviors. One of the biggest has been that he is a very visual person. When we met we were both in great shape but after our marriage we both gained a significant amount of weight. I had told him that I was unhappy about the way I looked and asked him to help me. I had no issue with the way he looked. About 8 months ago he joined a weight loss challenge at work and is not back to his goal weight. I realize that he lost the weight so that other women would find him more attractive. Once again he could care less how I saw or felt about him.

      Even though during this same time I was begging him to help me find the motivation to lose the weight I had gained he said it didn’t matter to him he loved me just the way I was and when I was feeling better I would do it and he would help. LIE!!! He is disgusted by the way I look!!

      We both have struggled with self-esteem issues all our lives. I have been in therapy more than once to deal with that issue but he never did anything to change his issue except look to other women to make him feel better about himself. Another major issue he is looking for the constant “feel good” relationship. That is what he got from all of the women at work he was chasing around. They made him feel good in a variety of ways. The sad part is although I was saying the same things because he found me repulsive they didn’t matter to him.

      We have both been working very hard at our relationship and on ourselves since D-day. But I know there is still so much more to the story. He swears that he only had EA never a PA but I because of how well I know him I can’t believe he never crossed that line it is just completely out of character for him.

      So if you actually made it to the end of this story and have any advice PLEASE share. I have been working very closely with my therapist and we both agree that he can be the man he wants to be but it has to be his decision. I am hopeful but realistic!

    • Tryinghard

      2nd time around

      I’m no expert but it sounds like you have a certifiable sex addict on your hands.

      Fantasies and porn are fine but it’s a drug for him and will keep looking for more highs.

      Yikes, and sorry but I would run for the hills. This is beyond anyone but a professionals pay scale.

      Best wishes to you

      • 2nd Time Around


        Thanks for your response!!

        I agree with you that it is sex for him is an addition. As someone who has an additive personality I have had to battle with breaking a few of my own additions. It is not easy but it is possible. As I said it has to be his decision and he needs to do the work.

        I wish he would seek professional help and continue to encourage him to do it. He had two bad experiences with therapist so he doesn’t want anything to do with them. He has been reading two series written for men on self-esteem as well as using this site as a form of therapy. Sadly as much as he may feel he is trying he finds the work too hard to do on a consistent basis. So some progress but not much on that front.

        Since it has only been 6 weeks not ready to bail just yet but certainly know I have other options!!

        Thanks again!!

    • Gizfield

      Second time, my first husband was a porn freak but nothing near this extent. I notice you say you and your therapist think he can be “different ” but how realistic is that since he has been lying and cheating since you met him? I’m not being judgemental but I have had a few chronic habitual liars/cheaters and none of them ever changed. Just wondering if I missed something. Is this really what you want out of your marriage?

      • 2nd Time Around


        Thanks for your response!!

        I agree with you that it is sex for him is an addition. As someone who has an additive personality I have had to battle with breaking a few of my own additions. It is not easy but it is possible. As I said it has to be his decision and he needs to do the work.

        I wish he would seek professional help and continue to encourage him to do it. He had two bad experiences with therapist so he doesn’t want anything to do with them. He has been reading two series written for men on self-esteem as well as using this site as a form of therapy. Sadly as much as he may feel he is trying he finds the work too hard to do on a consistent basis. So some progress but not much on that front.

        Since it has only been 6 weeks not ready to bail just yet but certainly know I have other options!!

        Thanks again!!

      • 2nd Time Around


        Thanks for your insight!!

        Trust me that was my same question to my therapist!! LOL I am sure that your realize there is a lot more to this story. He has self-esteem and self-worth issues that were caused by his second wife who was very emotionally abusive. My therapist believes that if he can work through those issues he will no longer feel the need to lie about who he is and can move forward. So no you didn’t miss anything there is just too much background to get into in this forum.

        He is very aware of his self-esteem and self-image issues and they just add fuel to his fire of seeking attention in negative ways. Since he refuses to go to therapy or do the work on his own consistently I become the villain and the after thought.

        Like I said he doesn’t do conflict and that is because of his self-esteem and self-worth so almost every time we talk he ends up trying to make himself look like the victim. He doesn’t understand that I no longer will allow him to have all the power so we get into a battle of wills.

        Tonight was another example of how we planned to do one of the exercises and he got frustrated because he had to face things he has done wrong and hear me say how they made me feel and the whole thing just feel apart again! By the end he was even questioning if he truly has ever had an emotional affair.

        Finally NO this is not what I want out of my marriage or any relationship!! I have an actual list of what I do want and what is a deal breaker. Lying, cheating, abuse of any kind including the emotional and mental abuse that and AE causes are all deal breakers.

        He is walking on very thin ice! As many of the articles on this website as well as my therapist keeps reminding me that making any kind of drastic change during this period that is so emotionally charged is not a good idea. At this point that is the only thing keeping me here right now.

        I am working very hard at healing myself and taking care of me. As soon as the initial wave of emotions calms I am going to re-evaluate the situation and see what changes need to be made. We are both aware that as of right now there is no guarantee that this marriage is going to work. Not because of threats but simply because it is all too raw to make a good decision right now.

        Thanks for taking the time to read and respond!!

    • tryinghard

      2nd Time

      I understand you willingness to be patient with him. We all believe with our support and patience we can “help” but first and foremost they have to want the help. Your husband has found every excuse not to accept the help. He’s a victim of himself. Poor thing.

      I hope you are taking care of yourself first. You h has many issues that need professional help. If you choose to hang around and witness it that’s certainly your choice. I kind of compare him to a 350 lb man that needs to lose lots of weight. Yeah they hate eating right and exercising because, well it hurts! Why can’t I just go back to eating my bag of oreos and buckets of fried chicken because I feel good when I do that??? Get it?

      I only suggested you run for the hills because you have very little invested in this relationship and this person. Unfortunately with addictions it’s constant. A constant battle of wills. A constant battle to do the right thing when the wrong thing feels so good. There’s lots of good people out there that you won’t have to work so hard to have a meaningful relationship with. I’ve got next year 40 years invested in this relationship and divorcing is tantamount to dismantling a corporation. I doubt had I started a divorce 3 years ago when I found out about his affair I’d be divorced yet. The lawyers were licking their chops so yes I have eaten a smorgasbord of shit sandwiches choosing to stay and “help” him. He’s not an addict of any sort, just a really stupid decision maker!! I’ve made my bed with the devil and I’ve learned to live with it. I’ve also drawn strong boundaries so there’s no more chances left and he knows it. With an addict I don’t see how you draw boundaries. There are so many issues he needs to deal with first besides his infidelities.

      I think you should also read some literature on co-dependency. Good luck to you

      • 2nd Time Around


        What a perfect analogy!! Like any kind of addict nothing will change until they are willing to help themselves. You are right he has found every reason not to help himself of justify his actions.

        I am taking care of myself and am already in therapy. I drew a line in the sand that either we go to marriage therapy and he seeks therapy or we need to end this now. He agrees and I have also made it his job to set up both the marriage and his personal therapy. The ball is in his court.

        I have been reading a lot on co-dependency and enabling. Both were recommended by my therapist. I am still in the process of defining my boundaries but I am working hard at holding fast to the boundaries that I have already set.

        Thanks for your insight!

    • Gizfield

      Second time, unfortunately, ditto to what Trying said. In addition to his porn watching, my husband ws an alcoholic. I met him when I was 21. We had a few goOd years, then my life turned to hell. He had issues, he had problems, etc etc etc. unfortunately in my immaturity, I did not realize that I could not help him and most importantly, that his problems were not my problems. HE WAS MY PROBLEM. I truly know how difficult this is for you. I lived it for twenty years. If I could go back and change it, I would. Love does not conquer all. And I don’t even think this is love, in my case. It was manipulation, and control, and abuse. The things I was dealing with were too powerful for me to even begin to imagine when this began. And it’s like looking back on a nightmare that happened to someone else. I swore to myself, no more addicts. No matter what. hope your situation improves.

      • tryinghard

        2nd Time

        Please listen to Giz. She’s been there and done that! The worst thing you can do is waste your life. If you feel the need to help someone, volunteer at a children’s hospital, animal shelter, food pantry, anywhere but where you are. It’s a waste of time and he will only see you as his warden. Sounds like he already does.

        He needs lots of professional help and the more YOU tell him he does the more he will buck you. It HAS to be intrinsic. It HAS to be all his idea otherwise you are banging your head against the wall. He will rail against you that you’re not supporting him blah, blah, he needs you, you name it, he will use it. He will fight you every step of the way. Is that what you want for your life??? You’re a young woman who sounds like she has it pretty together. You have to heal yourself first before you can be of any good to anyone else and getting out of toxic relationships like this is your first step.

        • 2nd Time Around

          Tryinghard and Grizfield,

          I agree his problems are just that his not mine. I can’t fix him!!

          I am done fighting him, pushing him, at this point the ball is in his court to fix himself first and show me that he wants to fix the marriage. Simple matter of self preservation!!

          I am tired of feeling like the bad guy, warden, and mother! Grow up!! He needs to figure out what he wants and do the work to get it that is his job not mine!!

          Tryinghard, funny you mention volunteer work! When we first met I was not working but was constantly busy volunteering with all kinds of groups. During the time we were working together my volunteer work was part of my job. I have not been doing that for the last year and have no one to blame but myself. I plan to start to do more volunteer work again!!

    • Gizfield

      My first husband also had an “abusive” ex wife. I never met her but did talk on the phone once. She was a bitch, BUT he was not an innocent victim. I later found out about assault charges from her, her mother, others, and eventually me. He told me “I caught her with my best friend, and put themBOTH in the hospital,” they were separated at that time, possibly divorced. He was actually proud of himself. Amazingly, I did not see this as a Red Flag. Silly me. If you haven’t verified what your husband has told you, that would be a good first step.

      • 2nd Time Around


        Sounds like a sick puppy!!

        Yes I have actually verified that his first wife, second wife, and “roommate” were all abusive mentally and emotionally in their own ways. Not only have I had direct contact with all of them, I have read the correspondence between my husband and them, and talked to his family about them.

        Call me paranoid but even before the shit his the fan I had run a background check on him. I mean the full blown nationwide check. I knew he had never been arrested, not even a speeding ticket! I knew all about his work history, financial history, marriages, divorces, literally everything! I guess because I was manipulated by my third husband I wasn’t going to take his word for anything that I couldn’t find proof of on my own. Obviously that didn’t do me much good!

        These were three very manipulative, vicious bitches that all know how to play a man to get what they want. When he told the “roommate” he was leaving she tried to press charges against him for rape!

        I was dating him at the time so I saw all of the documentation and even went to court with him. Her claim was that she was drunk and had taken Ambien on night and even though she invited him to sleep with her since she was under the influence of drugs and alcohol it was rape!!! LOL Her first move was to try and get a restraining order and when that failed she tried to press rape charges.

        He truly was an abused spouse! Because my third husband was very abusive I think that is part of what for a very long time to make excuses for him and enable his behaviors.

        But just like I had to do for myself he needs to fix his issues regarding being abused. I can’t fix it for him!

    • Gizfield

      Looking back, I cannot even begin to imagine WHAT I thought I saw in this man. A sexual relationship that convinced me we were “soulmates”. His immediate jealous obsession with me? His brokenness I thought I could fix ? His immense neediness, which was really just intense self absorption? I will never know. All I know for sure is that I am so thankful that it is now DONE. Hallelujah. Never again.

      • 2nd Time Around


        I am sorry that you had to live through it but glad that you figured it out!!

        Be careful using the work NEVER!! That was part of the mistake I made. I had just gotten out of a abusive, manipulative, and destructive relationship before I met my current husband. I had been through therapy and spent several years just healing me and not getting into any kind of serious relationship. I was very happy just being me and doing as I pleased.

        My third husband was a horror story!! I can’t even remember how many trips to the hospital I took because of his abuse. But the physical stuff was nothing compared to what he did to me mentally and emotionally. He was like your husband completely self absorbed!

        I hope you find happiness!!

    • Kasandra

      I read a funny Meme that said “The biggest step in a new relationship isn’t the first kiss but the first fart .”
      That there lies the difference between marriage & affairs.

      I really liked the use of the word “unhealthily “. Affairs are built on manipulation and selfishness. Desires to get their needs met in circumstances that could never be sustained in the real world.

      During my husband’s fog he went on about how special she made him feel, like he was the only person in the world.
      To which I responded I could too if I all I had to do was drive to your job on your lunch break in my truck on the days I was primped and primed, Park, take off my clothes, get my rocks off and leave.

      That’s a fantasy, that’s not real. Who knows how many other stops she made in a day in her truck, aka bed on wheels! Who says that was exclusive to him ?

      I raised his daughter from another woman, gave him 2 more kids, helped him go thru school, take care of our aging parents, pay mortgages, etc. that exclusive. That’s Love I give no one else!

      That’s real!!

    • Sue

      Not a fantasy. The emotions are there. The feelings are real. The actions are not imagination or hallucinatory. The consequences are final the effects are astronomical.

      Ask the wife and the children. It doesn’t feel like a fantasy to us!


    • Travis

      Pure fantasy. The cheater gets to build up this world where everything is bliss. They get to act out their scenarios because both are presenting their best sides and they are not interrupted by the real world. It will never live up to the real thing they left at home because it is lacking a strong foundation. It will last a week or so and then all parties are left to pick up the pieces and the betrayed will be devastated. The cheating wife gets to have her memory but at what cost. She may lose all that she holds dear for a freaking 50 shades of grey drama that we all no is bs. You want the real thing then hold on to the one who was with you at your lowest of lows and would put his life on the line to protect you.

    • Imelda

      I think affairs are real. The emotions and feeling they experience are real/ the relationship is real/

      But the the thoughts and feelings the affair partners have toward each other is based not in reality but in fantasy. The relationship is based on a fantasy. In their mind they exaggerate the idealised mental picture they have in their mind , the AP says, just arouse their ego and emotions beyond what is normal. Their idealised thoughts is just as real as fiction.

      And their thoughts about their spouses and their marriage also are based on lies. they exaggerates the negatives and minimise and erase the positives

    • Arrow

      Having an affair is heartless, cruel & unbelievably selfish. It’s the most reckless decision and choices that a married person could ever make. I know the pain and emotional turmoil it causes to the betrayed partner’s life. It’s horrendous and leaves you almost suicidal at times – it’s that bad! It almost drives you insane too, as the obsessing over it & intrusive thoughts take over your life in the early months. It causes major depression & anxiety. That’s not just PTSD, which I suffered first, it’s an ongoing feeling that takes ages to heal. The emotions you go through are horrendous. Anxiety, depression, anger, sadness, confusion, guilt, resentment, rage, low self esteem. It just goes round & round! Anyone that’s been betrayed by an affair will know that you can barely get through days at times.. work, hobbies, any fun & even sleep go out the window for months! It’s emotional torture.. It feels like a punishment for somehow not meeting all the needs of a wife I’d been with for 12 years, in a relationship for 16 years! Had two beautiful young children. All thrown away for an affair with a low-life work colleague!! The affair ends, marriage wrecked, family broken up & left to pick up the pieces and rebuild my life..It’s a horrible, miserable time and I sympathise with anyone that’s been through it. It takes a heck of a lot out of you. There is no excuse for it in my view. How the cheating partner doesn’t have boundaries in place, or ignores them so freely is totally out of order..It’s a despicable way to treat your husband or wife.

    • M

      I agree with a lot of what’s been said. Imelda nailed it when she said that it’s an idealized mental picture they have in their mind.
      My husband (while I have no definite proof of him cheating) seems to have this problem. He idealizes other women, namely a female coworker AND his high school sweetheart, but that’s because he has never lived with them or seen them at their worst.

      People with realistic views of life and of relationships know that their partner can’t be perfect. There will be times when we are tired, busy, sad, frustrated, don’t always look our best.
      It’s part of being human. But to cheaters (and those with a cheater’s mindset) they can’t handle reality. The affair partner provides an “escape” from all that.

      My husband is somebody who seems to “escape” into fantasy when things are too tough or unpleasant.
      He will escape with porn (behind my back, of course) and watching sports for hours and prefers shallow conversation and mindless entertainment.
      I think that when it comes to the female coworker, she hangs on his every word and never disagrees with him on anything, so he sees her as this wonderful person.
      The high school girlfriend was a docile type who broke up with him in their final year of school. I think he idealizes/romanticizes her because their relationship only went so far, until she broke it off. He only has memories of her as a teenager but no idea of what living with her would be like as an adult.
      People who cheat (or who want to cheat) often project qualities onto the other person that aren’t based on anything real.

      In my view, affairs are not always based on fantasy, but they often are. The affair partner doesn’t do the hard work that comes with marriage.
      To a cheater, it’s an escape from the mundane tasks of daily life. They idealize somebody else while devaluing their spouse (if not in action, then in thought). They have “the grass is greener” mentality.

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