It’s Wednesday, and once again I was sitting at my computer trying to come up with a topic for our weekly discussion. Fate would have it that I got distracted, and ended up checking the comments along with my email. I received an email on today’s subject from Dr. Huizenga, and a wonderful comment about the same subject from one of our readers. That sealed the deal for me!

We have mentioned on this site numerous times that affair love is not real love. It’s a fantasy. Affair love is romantic dinners, enticing conversation and sexual excitement in a hotel room. It does not last. Real love is much more than that deep down, but on the surface there is much more of the realities of everyday life.

So here are this week’s discussion questions…Do you believe you are/were competing with a fantasy? If you are the spouse who is currently in, or has had an affair, do you believe that your affair is/was a fantasy? And finally, how do you compete with a fantasy?

As always, please respond to each other’s comments.

If any of you have ideas for future discussion topics, please send us your suggestions!

Have a great day!

Doug & Linda

See also  Is It Possible that Adult ADHD Contributed to an Affair?

    46 replies to "Discussion: How Do You Compete With a Fantasy?"

    • melissa

      I totally agree that the affair partner is a fantasy but it is impossible to compete with him/her until your partner realises that he/she really is a fantasy. Before then, the AP remains ‘perfect’ and the Wife or Husband are seen as totally flawed in the light of the OP’s dreamlike ‘perfection’.

      In my case, my H’s EAP was a total fantasy (he hoped that one day she would want him when it is clear that she has never found him attractive but was only out for what he could give her – there is a word for people like her, it starts with a P and ends in ‘teaser’).

      To make matters worse for me, in reality she is a very attractive, much younger woman who knows how to flaunt her assets and attract men (strangely, many women don’t like her at all). There is no way I can compete with her on those attributes. But what a marriage possesses is a core of shared moments, a shorthand, an understanding of the other person built over years. Once the betrayer realises that his marriage and his marriage partner are more real, more true, more valuable than the AP, that’s when he/she starts looking at his/her marriage in a different, more positive light.

    • michael

      I don’t think my wife’s affair was all about the fantasy. Sure it was a part of it, but the root of it I think was her Rekindled Love.

      There was the fantasy of having a life with him beyond the affair. He kept feeding her the notion that he would love her like no other man has loved her before. The notion that they would live happily ever after.
      looking at it from the outside I don’t think they ever looked at the work and pain involved in the life they would have together. The displaced kids from hi other marriages, her kids, and the involvement with the soon to be EX’s. The fantasy was the selfish part of the affair.

      The rekindled love was the strong part of the affair. The part that kept her from committing to me and leaving him. The dealing with the strong desire to have that moment in time back that they shared as young lovers. The fun times.
      But from the outside she never looked at the bad part of what he had done to her as a young woman. The adolescent disregard for what was right and wrong. And the fact that he had moved on a couple of times. And the fact that he will never be the kind of man that works on what he has. He always is just looking for the new and exciting romp in the fantasy world. She never saw him for who he is, and I think she still doesn’t.

      • saralune

        I have to say that the rekindled love thing is also the hardest part I have to deal with and still have to figure out 9 months later.

        I always have a really hard time understanding what was a fantasy and what was really based on love…i dont know it’s really messed up…

        He himself compared the affair to a fantasy one day saying it was like a big red balloon that just keep getting bigger until it poped, yet I know that he still has really strong feelings for her since she is the mother of his child. Which to some degree I totally understand, but at the same time I can’t figure out what starts where and what ends where…

        The more and more I think of it I realise that I do not need to compete with a fantasy. I was a good wife for the most part, and the problem wasn’t our marriage.

        I think they had unresolved business and I got taken along to my dismay…the problem is not a fantasy…

        • another one

          Saralune and Michael, I am in the same situation. He contacted his first love… and meant to. From the start they rekindled their relationship. According him, they have been in love for 30 years… and all of a sudden my marraige hasn’t been good for 15 or 20! For them it is real. They bond so much in 2 hour conversations….. when does he have time to bond and communicate with me. But, my husband then saw her and continued to lie to me about talking to her and seeing her. But at no time did he give out marraige a chance. Nor did he tell me. As my counselor said, it wouldn’t have mattered who he was married to, this was his issue not mine. He never told me of problems butnow says he did… I just have to take care of myself and move on knowing I married someone who cannot be honest and focuses on himself… as he said, he made bad decisions but they were right for him. Well, I hope so because he has to live with for a long time! Betrayal has nothing to do with the spouse, it is the cheater.

          • michael

            Another one,
            I’m sorry for what you are going through. Just to ask a few questions…
            How long has it been from when you discovered or he confessed?
            How much has he told you of there past?
            How long has it been going on?
            And I guess I will have more questions as you answer these if you would like to.
            I have my own blog if you would like to see where I am today. Its been just over one year from d-day for me. And I’ve learned a lot.
            I guess for me, the one big question I had to ask myself is how much do I love my wife.
            If its worth it, time is on your side.
            Along the lines of it never being about the betrayed spouse, that differs in degree along every affair. There is never a cut and dry answer to that.
            I know where responsibility for what happened belongs to me. I am working on my own flaws and my voice. But in the end, the decision to do what was done does belong to the betraying spouse. But what did we do as a couple that led them to that decision? If something was different, would they have made that same decision??

            • another one

              Michael,
              I found out a year ago Dec. 8th about the emotional affair– talking 2 hours a day, then texting, etc. He said they had not seen each other and they were friends. It started on my birthday in July with him contacting her on FB and immediately getting very friendly fast with texting. I saw it then and told him I did not like and to please stop. SO he hid it from me, not anyone else. In fact my eldest realized what was going on before I did. I confronted him and I decided to work on the marraige… pay attention to him more, more sex and help around the house were his complaints at the time. So I read everything I could and tried to communicate, spend time with him etc. but he said he just couldn’t try. It didn’t feel natural. The love of a marraige takes work and I know that but he wasn’t willing. He said he wasn’t talking to her etc. and I believed him because of the person I thought he was or used to be….Unfortunately he travels to her part of the country on business often and would always ask if he saw her, talked to her etc….. and the answer was “don’t be ridiculous”…. At the start I asked if he loved her.. and the answer was the “don’t be ridiculous”…. and then I tried to help him and understand the he missed her and be supportive… then it became he had feelings for her…… and by this past summer, it was love. He didn’t work on the marraige, wouldn’t see a counselor or read anything to help. He did read all the statistics about how great the rekindled love realationships work ou. I got all those quoted to me. Well, we separated Sept. 5 with him still saying he wasn’t talking to her or seeing her so that we could just see how we felt, etc. I told him that when he decided to talk to her, it was over and to just let me know so I can move on. Well, he finally told me Oct. 1, right after my mom had a heart attack and I was back home to deal with it. So, he then planned to see her Nov. 7-30. He had work near her so he would fo early, taking vacation there and then she would come back with him for Thanksgiving. (THe man who would not take vacation time for us). Well, I was preparing info for out medation appointment and found he had spent 2 days at her house in June and confronted him… WHen asked why he didn’t tell me then, it was because he knew what would happen- I would leave- and he wasn’t ready for that!! Then I also found out that she had already been here in his appt. over my daughter’s birthday in Sept.– we had rearranged her birthday dinner because he “had to work’! He has let it affect the relationship with his kids (He is off to Xmas with her and her sons before my daughter gets out of school with no arrangement to see my girls and do a celebration!)

              So, this is a man obsessed with his first love who broke his heart. I do not know much but that he loved her very much but they were young 17. Later they ran into each other again and she was engaged. We started to date the following year. I knew she existed but I had a first love I remember with fondness…. nothing more…. As for my responsibility in the break up of the marraige… not catching him earlier. He did not talk with me… if he got upset he wouldn’t talk. If he did things I didn’t like I knew no one is perfect and that he had a lot of stress in his job. I saw him as being a person of integrity and honesty…. well, I was wrong. As for a younger more beautiful woman, no…. she has really pretty eyes…. but according to all it is definitely not the looks.

              I am realizing that I had nothing to do with this. He chose to have the affair… just as in the past, when I had offers, I chose to say no and move away from the individuals. My husband, family and marraige were the most important thing to me. It is not about me… it about him and how he feels about himself. She will not fix what is eating him inside… she is taking it away at the moment but he will have to deal with in his own way….. I am no longer there to pick up the pieces. I was and would have been, but he will have to pick himself up and also at some time face what he has done to his relationship with his daughters (15 & 19). The eldest, as soon as we separated told me ” you don’t want him back, not now. He chose.—- and this is before we found beyond the talking. She still is very friendly with him and has even gone out to breakfast with he and the OW twice… but she is almost a passive aggressive in the realtionship.. She will take advantage of him when it suits her life but there is no true respect there. According to her, he used to be superdad, and he was, and know he is just a dad. I do feel sorry for him in this…. I do still have the respect of my children. We have not filed yet but are working with a mediator. I am anxious to find a new house and give him this one back to start fresh with my girls. We will be okay and I will deal with him as needed because of my daughters but I will not he his friend. No one treats a friend like that, they would have told me up front and then gotten a divorce and moved on…that I could respect.

              So I am still hurt but healing…. I just hope my daughters heal.

          • TW

            Another One, I know this post is old now but aside from a few details I feel I could have written this myself. I am still heart broken with heaps of unanswered questions 7 months on. I am not even sure if you will answer this post or where you are at in your process now, but I am curious how it looks for you now 12 months on if you are willing to share.

            • anotheronein AZ

              TW,
              I am not sure how it is… I still feel rollarcoaster emotions but they are less frequent.
              My ex continued to ignore his kids running off to be with the mistress until the divorce was final and I moved into my own house…. asap since he had to quickly moved the OW here and into our house. Right away he tried to play happy family with my youngest. She wanted nothing to do with it at first… it is improving now. However, from the he day moved out (Sept. 2010) until a year later, he spent 40 days to 50 with her tops! SAD. It is going better now ( about 6-7 days per month). They say he and she are happy and he is a completely different person. They can do things at his house now that they were never allowed to do before, etc. Things I would get “talked to” about! However, tthe ex and the OW got married in November, a year to the day after my Mom died. Of course I was never told. My daughter had to tell me.

              The disregard for me and the girls continue but at least they have a relationship with him. We rarely talk but just text about issues with the kids. We have to be at the same functions… competitions, funerals, performances, etc. and we say hello and walk past or have short discussion of who is taking her home, etc… but no real interaction. There is no longer a relationship except for co-parenting.

              As for me, I am still trying not to blame myself and accept what happened that the man I knew when I first married doesn’t exist and this person in no one I know. I have lots of friends and family that support me… I got the friends….. but there is stil the void of the best friend I thought I had… but it was just a lie…. he was there only when it was convenient or made him look good. I still deal with the raising of our youngest and he gets the bits and pieces but she will be graduating in another year.

              Really I do have a good life. I bought a small house, have a good job, family, friends and I go out and do a lot on my own. It is nice not to walk on egg shells any more. I realize now how much he judged me and how I responded to everything and did everything based on what I thought he wanted and would think. THe strange thing is, he now does everything differently! I put him too high on a pedastal and now with him gone, I am finding the person I used to be. I used to be strong, outgoing, willing to try anything and I am doing those things again. So, I think it will take a great deal of time to take away the pain and shame of rejection he instilled with his lies but I am letting him do that to me….. it is now my problem as only I can let him make me fell that way! SO, all I need to do is keep working on my self and regain my self-esteem. He is who he is but I get to choose who I am and how I view myself. I try to live by the prayer “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

              At this time I have read many articles and books, have a great counselor and attended a “Divorce Care” class…. all great… and realize I need work on who I am and it takes time…. no controling anything else. Therefore, I do not date but enjoy talking to and meeting many people. There are a few guys out there waiting for when I am, but I know that going into another relationship before I have handled the last would not be good for anyone. I enjoy my family and friends and all the volunteering I do. As my daughters say, “Mom, you have a life… thank heaven!”

              So, in response to your question… I am doing the best I can and getting better everyday. I wish the best to everyone, no matter how it turns out. However, you can only work on yourself and realize you can’t change the other person. Just be who you need to be … the best you can with integrity! That is how I lived and continue to do so.

        • confuse 2

          saralune, michael, tom, anotherone,

          I was a CS. EA was 4 months. ended 4 months ago. I confessed to my H. OM was my first love from 12 years ago. The guy appeared and disappared in my life—broken promises and failed expectations on and off past 12 years and yet I’ve nearly sabotaged my less than a year marriage because in my mind there were things still unresolved.

          I thought it was about trying to get closure but it was really EA. I am so ashamed of how selfish and horrible I was. I really didn’t think about how my H would feel and or what the OM’s wife would feel. It was a lot of rationalising, justifying and minimising.

          It was like I thought “we missed out” or we missed our chance or destiny kept us apart. he even said “EA was better than nothing” or that we “deserved” this chance to connect again. Delusions overload.

          My conscience couldn’t take it. I should know better. coming from Christian background. even though my selfish nature was trying to take over, even though the feelings were really strong–I was really emotionally attached—the better part of me was saying I can’t be this person. I can’t be someone who would break up a marriage and a family just to try and get a “happy ending” .

          Yes I now believe that I was addicted to him and to the fantasy of what could have been, might have been and never was.

          My H said he felt like a mistake to my true dream –awful and heartbreaking–as he is such a good guy. I hate myself for breaking his heart.

          a researcher did a study on first love/lost love and unfortunately there are cases of them that are “interrupted love” that are apparently overwhelmingly strong that NOTHING could reason –not even if marriages and families suffer. awful.

    • ppl

      your asking the wrong question. its not HOW you compete. Rather the question should be WHY you compete with a fantasy? what in yourself makes you cling and hope someone who believes they have found someone better, will change their minds? why would you want to be with that person? why wont it happen again if they do change their mind? is it financial, is their a lack of self respect? is it for the children or a competition you are not willing to lose? it would be interesting if we all could take a step back and view the situation with the eyes of an unbiased observer. myself, i almost wish i had walked away. now i live in fear that it will happen again. i almost hope it will happen again so i can have the reason to leave and leave my insecurity and doubt behind. myself, i am here for the kids. once they are out of the house so am i.

      • alycon

        Absolutely, ppl. I don’t see why I should have to compete for my H’s loyalty and love with anyone; this is marriage, not a tv version of ‘blind date’.

        And why on earth would I want to be like her anyway? A few months after his EA fizzled out he admitted that she was vain, jealous and spiteful and I even heard him ‘slagging her off’ in a phone conversation he had with one of his friends. To another friend of his (the psychic / medium) he said, ‘my wife isn’t vain like her’. I remember almost fainting with the shock when he told me that!

        According to my H his best friend asked him why he was chasing a 50 year old woman full of wrinkles, tobacco stained teeth and who was so thin that she could fall through a crack on the pavement. Oooh, I’m so jealous, I HAVE to compete with THAT! – or not.

        This friend, god bless him, also told my H that ‘your wife is so much better looking’ and asked him – are you on drugs? Are you a batty man or something? What on earth are you thinking of? What is wrong with you?

        Ironically my worth has been highlighted by these friends of his and I’ve done nothing to influence them; – no talks on the sly asking them to talk some sense into him or anything like that (though I confess that during one of my emotional storms I had a wobbly moment one day when his best friend rang, asked if my H was around and I sarcastically replied ‘you mean the bloke who won’t stay away from TB?’ And after their call my H came downstairs and told me his friend had had a go at him!!:-))

        No, in my personal opinion anyone who’s prepared to wreck their marriage for a ‘fantasy’ needs to grow up; this is the stuff of teenagers. And I won’t accommodate that, I’m afraid. I’m the real deal – I’m genuine. I make mistakes like every other human being on this planet but I don’t lie or deceive or betray my H with other men. And I’m proud of myself for having the self discipline, self control and self respect to be like that. And so should you be, ppl.

    • D

      I agree with you, ppl. My wife calls it all a fantasy. In her eyes he was a rock star, the boss, a man in charge and full of confidence. She says it’s unrealistic to have believed any of that. But in my mind she chose the fantasy over me, even if only as an escape. To hell with that. I’m worth more than second place. I am not a consolation prize. I certainly never saw her that way. In fact, when faced with temptation I felt she was worth walking away from that sure thing. That’s what hurts the most. Sure it was a fantasy, but is the fantasy better? And if it is, then go live the fantasy. It doesn’t do any of us any good to settle for less than what one wants. I’m certainly at that place, and it also makes me feel that when the kids are out so am I. At least, I’m open to the idea. But maybe that’s just a fantasy.

      • alycon

        So true, D. My H said he was attracted to her because she runs a tv / media office. SO WHAT? He soon came down to earth when I argued back, ‘so you find someone who violates other people’s marital boundaries attractive because of HER JOB? Would you like it if I behaved like her?’ Of course the answer was NO.

    • Norwegian woman

      I agree ppl and D. Does it really matter if it was a fantasy or not? After all, the damage is already done. The cheater has shared things with another person that was ours, and ours alone, wether it was sexual or not. Memories were made. I find it hard to deal with it, even though it was just a fantasy. In my case, my husband had a sexual relationship with another woman. It seemes that the thoughts about him making love to her, telling her sweet words, looking foreward to her calling him when he left home for work, thinking about the things she said etc. It is eating me alive, and I sometimes doubt that I will ever get over it! Does it really matter if it was a fantasy or not? Does it matter if it was a terrible mistake or not, looking back? It was done!

    • mil

      My H calls his EA a ‘game’. I don’t know if that is similar to fantasy? He is adamant he never actually loved her or was addicted to her but it was a game to break the boredom and also at that time I was being very unloving and repelled his advances due to the effects of the menopause. Any thoughts?

      • D

        Not an excuse, Mil. Like I said, I was tempted, I had reasons, but I made a commitment 20 years ago.

        • mil

          D…. like you x

    • K

      Mil, my hubby gave the same excuse… after the ea had been found out. It’s a cop out. If he was so dissatisfied with me, then he should have communicated that to me, not some omw at work. I think now that the dust has cleared some, he realizes that while he was showering her with attention & sweetness at work, I was getting none of that at home. Hence my “unloving” attitude toward him. It’s been a rough road.

    • melissa

      I agree with D. Making a commitment and sticking to it is key – especially when you see the pain that an affair causes.

      The lack of communication issue is very real for most of us: if my H was not happy with me and our relationship (and it appears that he told the OW that we ‘weren’t communicating’), WHY did he never say anything to me and try and improve our own relationship? I was happy, I thought, I had no idea what was going on and at that stage, it would have been so easy to make changes. But now, it’s so hard because of the pain his EA has caused me and the memories he has created with someone else, because of the constant fear that it’s still ongoing, that he’s just got even better at hiding and lying. I have become so paranoid at times and I don’t like it. However, I’m trying to follow Linda’s recent advice (fake it, ‘you can make it with or without him) and it seems to be working. Fingers crossed.

      • Sam

        I feel like I’m reading my own story. I always thought my H and I were happy. We’ve been married for 14 years, have two wonderful children and everything we could ever want. Or at least, that’s what I thought. Apparently my husband felt different – but I had NO idea. He never told me he wasn’t happy. He never tried to communicate. I really resent the fact that he kept his ‘unhappiness’ to himself for so long and that he found that OW to share things he thought he couldn’t share with me.

        I know we’re not supposed to blame – but I do feel like this whole mess is mostly his fault.

    • Confused76

      i feel i am up against a fantasy relationship they have both got kids but are now seeing each other he has left his kids and sees them every other sunday but she still has me at home to look after ours so she goes out to see him i want to be with my kids so she knows im here but im moving out after xmas will she then realise the fantasy they are sharing or will it be diluted to just when i have the kids it is so hard for me to move out thinking of the two of them in our home but she has said he wont come here or be around our kids,if thats true how will they have a relationship as she will be here with the kids all week and then when she doesn’t have the kids she says she will go to see him rather than him coming to our empty house how can i believe that it sounds stupid to me but she says it asif she believes it where as i all i can think of is my happy memories being replaced by thoughts of them!

    • mil

      K and Melissa…………it’s soooooo hard being the betrayed one. You think your H is ‘special’ and too good to do that to you (it only happens to someone else). Then you find the ‘oh so convincing’ lines are stereotypical phrases that all cheats use. They are sooo convincing when they tell you but it’s gutting to know all the other low life cheats you thought YOUR husband was better than is saying exactly the same things. ONLY a game, oh well that’s OK then, it obviously meant nothing much…………………anyone for Monopoly??

      • alycon

        ~OOh, mil, seeing your comment about thinking your H is ‘special’ and too good to do that to you made me think of what I said to him – ‘I thought you were above that kind of behaviour. I thought you had more self respect and class.’

        Clearly not ………………..

    • Inthemiddleofit

      K and Melissa – I was thinking of how to post this earlier today. I get that there was a lack of communication with your spouse and you were caught unaware of any issues. But what if they can brought up issues repeatedly, and nothing changed?

      So here’s my dilemma – I’ve tried. My W knows I’m not happy about the intimacy part of our relationship and haven’t been for a long time. She said she needed more non-sexual touching – so I’ve tried that. I’ve tried doing more stuff around the house – dishes, cleaning up, etc. Doesn’t seem to matter… I know I’m not perfect, but it’s frustrating to try to meet her halfway and her still at the starting blocks.

      I wanted to pose a question to Linda, because of her response to an older post of mine. I had asked her for advice on how her sex drive or level of intimacy was raised after Doug’s EA – if there was a book or something she read.

      It occurred to me that Linda was able to “fix” that issue after being “shocked” into action by Doug’s EA. So my question is this – how do I get my W to begin to change without the shock of an affair? Or even a fear that I might have one? I’m halfway tempted to tell her I’m having one just to get her to “wake up”. I know that’s stupid and wouldn’t go down that route, but it’s getting more and more frustrating. Since my affair has cooled off, things have been better at home. We’re talking more, fighting less. But that hasn’t translated to anything in the bedroom.

      I’ve thought a lot about this – I really don’t want to get divorced over this. We have two young kids and even if it’s an amicable split, I know it would be hard on them. But it’s not like she can say I had no idea it was that big of a deal.

      Part of me is able to justify my affair because I don’t feel like I’m giving the OW anything that my wife even wants – I’m not depriving her of love and affection, at least not the bedroom kind. But that’s just a way to justify my actions – still doesn’t make what I’m doing right.

      It’s ironic because I read about other situations on this site where the betrayed wife will comment that sex between them is still fantastic, but he is still seeing the OW. I can tell you that in my situation, if that were the case, I wouldn’t be having an affair.

      • K

        Inthemiddleofit, I think that you are going to have to try the “shock” method. I may get blasted for this, but in my opinion that is sometimes the only way to really reach your spouse. In my case, if I were to really be honest, my husband did try over the past few years to tell me that he wasn’t satisfied with the quantity & quality of our sex life. It took me finding that 1st text from her to snap me into “fix-it” mode. He admits to not being very careful at hiding things because he actually wanted to get caught. At the same time, it was very difficult for me to work on “us” & get over the pain of his EA. I have been able to do this by separating the 2. Compartmentalizing, if you will. Feb. 3, 2010 was our D day, & it has been a rough road, but we are now in a better place than ever before. Give your wife a “fighting” chance & let her know even if it is just by you leaving out your phone with a text on it. How she finds out isn’t as important as opening the lines of communication between the 2 of you to let the real healing start. I wish you the best. *hugs!

      • Doug

        Inthemiddle, Linda’s response was quite lengthy, so we turned it into today’s post. She will also recommend some books to you.

      • jessica

        Hello ITMOT,

        What you have stated in your last paragraph is exactly what I have been wanting to know… a (OM) man’s perspective on going back to the W after being in an A. I’m not buying it either. Unfortunately there are not too many men posting on forums regarding infidelity other than the BH.

        If one was a serial cheater I could see that a person could easily have an A and still love their spouse. But a one-time A, to me anyway, means something is not right in the current relationship with the spouse. And if this one-time cheater had a healthy sex life with their spouse, where there is physical and emotional intimacy, there would be no betraying.

        Of course it was selfish for us to stray, but what about the selfishness of the spouse who refuses intimacy continuously.

        I also think it’s about sexual compatibility and boredom. I believe men too (like women) like to share a great sexual experience with someone they care about. It’s not just about getting it over with or off. I think some wives after a fashion are not into it anymore and just want it over. Here is where the problem starts. It’s hard to keep things “hot” when someone has exited the bedroom mentally.

    • karen

      ” But what if they can brought up issues repeatedly, and nothing changed?
      So here’s my dilemma – I’ve tried. My W knows I’m not happy about the intimacy part of our relationship and haven’t been for a long time. She said she needed more non-sexual touching – so I’ve tried that. I’ve tried doing more stuff around the house – dishes, cleaning up, etc. Doesn’t seem to matter… I know I’m not perfect, but it’s frustrating to try to meet her halfway and her still at the starting blocks. ”
      I’m sure in your mind you really are trying. I really hope you take Linda’s post today to heart and do some research into what women need from their husbands. It will take a selfless spirit instead of the selfish character you showed in your affair, but the rewards will be worth it. My H and I had the very same issue you and your wife had, and I guarantee your wife doesn’t feel loved by you. The ONLY exception would be if she has a mental or physical health issue that is
      affecting her sex drive. I think you’re playing with fire by not confessing your affair, as even if you do get your marriage back on track, it will ALWAYS be a wedge between you, but I hear that you do not want to be completely honest with your wife. Sorry, I don’t buy into the “I don’t
      want to hurt my wife” excuse. You didn’t think of that when you had the affair. Why is it so important now??

      I hear what K says about leaving your phone around. I don’t agree. Better for you to confess what you did. But
      since you’re not going to do that, why not get some resources and read them first and then read them with your wife. Have you had good counseling? Perhaps you’re not the “messenger” that your wife needs to hear your message from. Do you have a pastor or trusted friend who you and your wife could talk to? You keep stating the same things that you’ve told her and you’ve been doing more to help her. I’m thinking your wife would say the opposite. You do say you’re fighting less. Maybe your wife thinks your just being nice all of a sudden is just temporary, and you’ll go back to your meanness and checking out of the marriage. You cannot expect things to change overnight. And remember, you’re still in somewhat of a fog and affair withdrawal. Kudos on starting to do the right thing. Can you hang in there for the long run or will the selfish gene win out again????

      • Inthemiddleofit

        Boy, you would be good in a support group Karen – tough, but fair.

        Thanks for your comments – I appreciate your honesty and candor. I will certainly take Linda’s post to heart. I did just buy the Real Love in a Marriage book. Started reading it last night. Would love to figure out what women need from their husbands.

        I appreciate your comments about telling her – I know part of my reasoning is quite frankly, I don’t want to have to deal with her emotions around it. Yes, I know that’s selfish. But hearing about the pain from other betrayed spouses on this site made me think that I don’t want to hurt her that way if I can avoid it. I think focusing on fixing what’s wrong and moving forward is a better use of our time and energy, rather than have to go through all the pain and hurt of explaining the affair.

        No, I’m not going to tell her – but I’m all for getting resources and talking to her about it. That’s why I was asking Linda about some of the books she read. Like I said, I’m starting to read that Real Love book. And my wife knows I’ve been reading a lot on the Internet because I’ve been talking to her about things I learned on this site (just not which site). The Mort Fengel newsletter has been interesting (think thats his name).

        I don’t think she would think me trying is just temporary – meanness is not a word I would really use to describe either of us. I’ve told her before that I feel like we’re roommates. But I do agree that I can’t expect things to change overnight. Too bad I don’t have much patience 🙂 Something I do need to work on.

        I don’t expect things to all of a sudden be hot and heavy in the bedroom, but I would like to see it begin to move in that direction. I guess that’s where I’m struggling right now. But we’re had this problem for several years now, so I guess a few more months isn’t going to kill me. And I don’t think we’re really focused on solving it like we are now. We’ll keep at it.

        Thanks again for your candid feedback – it helps hearing from other people who have had similar issues and learning from them.

        And K, thanks as well for your comments. I can see what your husband was thinking. I’d rather not go that route, but I guess if other stuff doesn’t work, that could be the final thing to try.

        • karen

          Inthemiddleofit – wow, that fog is really clearing away – I think you might be in overcast only now 🙂
          “And I don’t think we’re really focused on solving it like we are now. We’ll keep at it.”
          Linda mentioned communication in her post, and my H and I agree that is/was much of our problem in all areas, including sex. We now have frequent calm, wonderful talks about many issues, some difficult, including his two-year EA. We both realize the mistakes we made, and are using many of the principles learned here on this site as well as elsewhere to recreate our marriage of 26 years. It all sounds so impossible, but if you really want to “fix” things as you say you do, I know all of us can do it.

          How about changing your moniker to “Almost out of it”???

    • michael

      Inthemiddleofit,
      You certainly have heard, as I have and some I would have said, all the reason why you should be honest and confess. I’m not going to continue that. I want to look at the reason you have not to tell her.
      Right now there is turmoil and stress. It would have been better to tell her how you felt before the broken vows but we’re past that. So if you are really into rebuilding, start now like you have. Telling now will sabotage all that you have started or at least put it off for a couple of years (I’m at one year).
      Some days I wish my wife wouldn’t have told me.
      Sometimes it is what’s needed to insight change and sometimes it will invite “the end”.
      I asked my wife one day if at the point she confessed did she for some part do it because she wanted me to kick her out. Her answer was maybe. MAYBE is just a easy way of saying “yes, but…”
      If you are in any way still in that fog, feeling for the OW, have any connection left, telling your wife might catapult you back to her as an escape.
      Just a few views that don’t fall into the cookie cutter Li don’t want to hurt her” line.
      To steal a idea form a talk show host.
      Before this happened you could have told her “I married you to be my lover and girlfriend. If you don’t want to be that to me, can’t be that to me, which of these things would you be ok with?
      I use family money to find prostitutes on a continual basis.
      Masturbate to internet porn.
      Have an affair.
      Get a divorce.
      Which one is what I need to do to have a girlfriend back?”

      It’s on you and you alone to decide to tell her or not. Do you know for a fact if it would be fight or flight for her.
      If you are on the right track and it is right to tell her you WILL know when that is.

    • Tom

      My wife started an emotional affair about 1 year ago with a friend from college. We seperated and feels like she is free to talk to this person all the time. They have never been in each others company. Everything is done thru email, skype, text or phone.

      She confessed about 6 months ago that she was talking to this person and has strong feelings for him. She is basically in love with 2 people but I feel like I’m 2nd string in the whole scenario. She wanted this seperation so that she could feel free to talk to him on a daily basis without guilt. She told me she was going to and I know that there was nothing I could do about it.

      He is married with kids as are we. He promises that things are in the works to leave his wife. I am lost in what to do. She blames me for the whole thing because I didn’t pay enough attention to her she says( I planned date nights, made comments bout her looks and even wen to counseling to learn to be more intimate and open). I feel like she is holding onto me just in case it doesn’t work out with the affair partner. If I try to move on I know she will blame me for everything, she already has.

      So what do I do? I still love my wife but I am not second best to anyone. It’s hard to watch because she is throwing it all away and destroying out family for a fanstasy.

    • Barbara

      Inthemiddleofit,

      I remember some of things you stated that you have been telling your wife about your love life being told to me before my husband’s affair. I also remember being an overwhelmed wife with many responsibilities (and not much help) so I would always ask for assistance which would be very brief from my husband and then back to normal as he was trying to help but for the wrong reasons. I can probably tell you, at least from my past perspective, that all your wife hears is that ” you are not happy with sex and it is her fault because she is not trying or is being too picky, etc”. Whenever my husband started these conversations, all I heard was I was not good enough or not doing enough etc. It was until we had some very hard conversations after the affair that I finally “heard” what my husband was REALLY saying during those times in the past. What he was saying was that he loved me and wanted to spend intimate time with me. Is this what you are saying too? Men communicate differently… and what your wife may be hearing is all I want is sex (or better sex, etc.) Is this is so then you need to communicate that you miss HER and not just her body… the sex will follow is she feels that you want her and to be in her presence. Yes sometimes it does take spending some non-sexual time together but there shouldn’t be any expectations on either end that it will lead to sex. I hope this makes sense. Somethings that have helped is that my husband calls me over to share “something” with him. It can be a funny email or a cute commercial. Or you may have to make the first move by sitting next to her during one of her TV shows or hobby and ask one brief question about it and really spend a little time finding out something about her or something she likes. Believe me I do not expect you to pick up her hobby or watch all of her shows but you need to spend sometime with her without expectations… this will peak her interest in you in more ways than one. Revealing the affair decision is a hard one and I cannot tell you whether it is helpful or not to keep it from her. What I can tell you is that if you do not connect back with your wife and she with you then you are definitely going to “find” yourself in the same position with another pseron and will use your marriage issues as justification. This is not what you need and no marriage issues ever justify affairs or the hurt they cause. Even my husband had to admit that it was not worth it. I tell you that even though we are trying to make things work now which is very hard… my husband is never going to be the same person he was in my eyes because of the affair. However, we are at least trying….

    • AlmostOutofIt

      Thanks for your comments Barbara – I’ve been trying. My W commented tonight that she feels more love between us and that she’s noticed me trying more to love her in the way she needs. I did try to explain that it wasn’t just sex I was missing – that I was missing the connection between us. The difference is/was that I felt closer because of sex and she needed to feel close to have sex.

      We’re going on vacation next week without the kids so hopefully that will help us get closer as well. I keep telling myself that we didn’t get to this point in our relationship overnight, so we’re not going to get out of it overnight. Seems to be working ok… 🙂

      • Barbara

        Almost out of it,

        I was so encouraged for you both to see your post. You hit it on the head about ” I felt closer because of sex and she needed to feel close to have sex. ” This is what we discovered in our relationship too. Once we were able to “give” each other some of what the other needed, we found that the “issues” surrounding sex seem to diminish some and we try to work on “showing” love in little ways instead of big. We found that the little ways seem to connect us more. This may sound corny but he even gets my attention if he comes home with a favorite candy bar for me. The point is more that he did a small thing showing me that he thought about me. Your relationship may be a little different but it looks like you are starting to connect… and that is good. Try to keep the bigger picture in mind which is what you both seem to want… closeness. Embrace how you both need it shown differently and challenge yourself to show her different ways you can show it to her. I think you will be surprised that she will pick up on the example and show you ways too. One more thought… please accept her actions openly and not judge. Take your time, which you are alreadly stating, and you will get there. I am happy for you and have a great vacation together!

    • Anita

      anotheronein AZ
      TW,I am not sure how it is… I still feel rollarcoaster emotions but they are less frequent.My ex continued to ignore his kids running off to be with the mistress until the divorce was final and I moved into my own house…. asap since he had to quickly moved the OW here and into our house. Right away he tried to play happy family with my youngest. She wanted nothing to do with it at first… it is improving now. However, from the he day moved out (Sept. 2010) until a year later, he spent 40 days to 50 with her tops! SAD. It is going better now ( about 6-7 days per month). They say he and she are happy and he is a completely different person. They can do things at his house now that they were never allowed to do before, etc. Things I would get “talked to” about! However, tthe ex and the OW got married in November, a year to the day after my Mom died. Of course I was never told. My daughter had to tell me.
      The disregard for me and the girls continue but at least they have a relationship with him. We rarely talk but just text about issues with the kids. We have to be at the same functions… competitions, funerals, performances, etc. and we say hello and walk past or have short discussion of who is taking her home, etc… but no real interaction. There is no longer a relationship except for co-parenting.
      As for me, I am still trying not to blame myself and accept what happened that the man I knew when I first married doesn’t exist and this person in no one I know. I have lots of friends and family that support me… I got the friends….. but there is stil the void of the best friend I thought I had… but it was just a lie…. he was there only when it was convenient or made him look good. I still deal with the raising of our youngest and he gets the bits and pieces but she will be graduating in another year.
      Really I do have a good life. I bought a small house, have a good job, family, friends and I go out and do a lot on my own. It is nice not to walk on egg shells any more. I realize now how much he judged me and how I responded to everything and did everything based on what I thought he wanted and would think. THe strange thing is, he now does everything differently! I put him too high on a pedastal and now with him gone, I am finding the person I used to be. I used to be strong, outgoing, willing to try anything and I am doing those things again. So, I think it will take a great deal of time to take away the pain and shame of rejection he instilled with his lies but I am letting him do that to me….. it is now my problem as only I can let him make me fell that way! SO, all I need to do is keep working on my self and regain my self-esteem. He is who he is but I get to choose who I am and how I view myself. I try to live by the prayer “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
      At this time I have read many articles and books, have a great counselor and attended a “Divorce Care” class…. all great… and realize I need work on who I am and it takes time…. no controling anything else. Therefore, I do not date but enjoy talking to and meeting many people. There are a few guys out there waiting for when I am, but I know that going into another relationship before I have handled the last would not be good for anyone. I enjoy my family and friends and all the volunteering I do. As my daughters say, “Mom, you have a life… thank heaven!”
      So, in response to your question… I am doing the best I can and getting better everyday. I wish the best to everyone, no matter how it turns out. However, you can only work on yourself and realize you can’t change the other person. Just be who you need to be … the best you can with integrity! That is how I lived and continue to do so.

      Anotheronein,
      Reading your last paragraph, you are very right, we can
      only do our best and let others be responsible for their
      own actions.
      There is peace when we can live our lives doing our best,
      and not have to control others, or let others conrtol us.
      I also went through a divorce and I’m in the process of
      my own marriage annuled.
      Your very wise in waiting to date. One day that special
      someone will come along, and if not, you can still live
      a full enriched life.
      I wish you the best!

    • suzie suffers

      Why is it I seem to read about the ex’s that have left the relationship after they cheated….either to be with the OW or start a new relationship and they seem to have changed and are as happy as could be…..but the survivor, although may be picking up the pieces and have moments of happiness……..are still struggling years later. It worries me and makes me sad……if I will ever truly be happy again because my husband….even though he cheated and we will soon be divorced by his choice (I seemed to have harped too much about the affair and couldn’t get past it…..he was done with that and told me it was being abusive to be angry at times still and hurt).

    • Anita

      Suzie suffers,
      This will be my last post, but I want to give you some hope.
      I stumbled on to this site by accident a couple of months ago.
      When I opened it up, it brought back memories but not the
      pain. However, it gave me the extra boost I needed to get my
      annulement process going.
      Suzie, you will recover from all the pain, but you also need to
      forgive your ex, that will help in your healing process.
      Its been a few years since I divorced, and I have a full
      enriched life. But this is something we each are responsible
      for doing, your happiness has to come from within you.
      Your in a grieving process right now, and it won’t last forever.
      Buy yourself a book on divorce recovery.
      Suzie, your life will be what ever you want it to be, and you
      have control over that.
      Once your divorce is final, a new life will begin for you and
      you begin to build new history for yourself. But you have
      control over how happy you want to be.
      I get along fine with my ex, he also remarried another lady, that
      he met later after his affair ended. I am happy for him.
      Suzie for the first while, until you get over your husband, and you will, the least amount of contact that you have, the easier
      your recovery will be. I moved to another state after my
      divorce, and having no contact, speeded up my healing .
      My children were older, so I could do this.
      I would love to talk to you in a couple of years, because you
      will feel so much better. Getting through the first year or even the next few months, you will see the light at the end of the tunnel. The sun will begin to shine again, and the storm
      clouds will pass.
      Everytime you begin to think about your husband in a
      romantic way, stop that thought process right way, and
      and focus on something else. It won’t take long and
      pretty soon those thoughts will stop. Breaking that emotional
      connection will also speed up your recovery.
      The more you start to get over your husband, the less pain
      you will begin to feel. It hurts right now, because you love him.
      Also if you have a really good friend or family member who
      is willing to let you vent, this also helps so much.
      Keep your self accountable for getting involved in activities,
      and go to them, because it will give your head a much needed
      break from your grieving, and you will feel better doing things,
      besides mulling the past over and over.
      Suzie what your going through right now is the worst it gets,
      so the good news is it only gets better. I wish you the very
      best. This will pass, its only a season in your life. I promise.

    • Anita

      Suzie,
      I forgot to mention the very most important healing help,
      is your faith, God, does heal the brokenhearted, so go to
      him. This is what helped me the most.

    • Anita

      Suzie,
      Last but not least, you have to want to get over your husband,
      and begin a new life for yourself.
      When you feel that need to want to contact him, don’t it will
      slow down your healing process.
      Focus on your life, and let him live his. Pretty soon you won’t
      even care what he doing.
      Breaking the emotional attachment, is what promotes healing.
      But you have to want to get over him, otherwise you will
      stay in the grieving process longer than you need to.
      Happy Days are ahead if you want them.

    • suzie suffers

      I know that part of it is I don’t want to get over him because somehow in my heart I know that means his no contact with me is him just moving on without me and that breaks my heart. I loved this man for 35 years….30 years through addiction and infidelity or womanizing I never real knew about until he got sober and then had continued his woman chasing until his last EA/PA and then he and I got back together, but it was my obsession about the affairs that he said pushed him over the edge….and my reactive nature at times when we talked about the affairs….or I should say I talked about the affairs ALL the time….almost everyday there was some mention….for like a year and 1/2. I wanted marriage counseling, I knew I was stuck and he said he did but there was always something that kept him from committing. I had found this website and tried to get him to read it…..I got the Linda MacDonald book….loved it because it said everything I kept saying but thought maybe from another source he would see what I needed….but his thoughts were always “Forgive the sin and never speak of the inequity again”…which always made me feel as if my feelings should be dismissed. We seemed at an impass as to how to move forward and desparately needed counseling. He contacted a counselor we had seen before the affair for his addiction, and she suggested he “secretively” plan to move out for a 90 day separation because he said he wanted the marriage, loved me as a soul mate and wanted healing. Within 3 weeks of moving out, he filed for divorce after seeking a counselor on his own and talking to some AA buddies. So I’m still reeling from shock…….

    • suzie suffers

      PS…..Anita….you seem to be another example of the CS moving on to another marriage and the survivor still trying to find “someone”….as fulfilling as your life is, I LOVED sharing my life with my husband and think that would be a major loss of not having that someone to bond with in a husband and wife shared closeness.

    • suzie suffers

      So somehow the new marriage partner for the CS doesn’t seem to be bothered with the cheating, or has the CS cheated on us because of the defects in our relationship or US….but in another person their needs are being met and they can sustain fidelity? Was that my failure?

      • Anita

        Hi Suzie,
        I wanted to let to know, I read your reply. What your feeling
        right now, is part of the grieving process. Hang in there, it
        will get better.

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