I need to get in the mind of a person who was involved in an emotional affair so I can actually know what in the hell he was thinking.

an emotional affair

By Linda

It is amazing to me how one question about jealousy can provide so much insight. For a year and a half I have been thinking that Doug stumbled across the most perfect person in the world for him.

I was under the impression that with his emotional affair he had found someone attractive, tiny, outgoing, confident, outspoken, funny, and always happy because these were some of the words he had used to describe her. 

I am not dismissing that possibly at times she was these things, but not once did he ever use the words jealous, controlling, complaining, nit-picky and possibly competitive and overbearing.

In desperation I would ask him is there was anything about her that he didn’t like? He would pause, (a much too long of a pause for my confidence) and say “I guess I didn’t like the way she talked about her husband.”  I would wonder if that was all he had to give me. Then like a fool I would ask if she was the perfect women, and Doug would respond “No one is perfect.”  What was that supposed to mean?

Thoughts on Jealousy in an Emotional Affair

At that time I felt she was everything I was not. Now I have realized that I am everything she was not. I am not controlling or jealous, I am very easy-going. I am also not a liar, not a cheat and I would never complain about my husband because I am a loyal and caring wife (I know, a little harsh).

I wonder why it took so long for Doug to reveal all of her faults to me. Did he suddenly just come out of a fog and see the whole person he was involved with? How was she able to hide those little annoying traits so perfectly? This is all so confusing to me.

See also  Backing Off Can Be Powerful

At first I questioned if perhaps his taste in women had changed.  Was I too nice or too even tempered? Did she provide that extra challenge that he had long to experience? Did I really know him at all? Because in some ways Tanya’s personality reminds me of a good friend of ours, and Doug always said he would kill her if he had to live with her. Was he secretly attracted to that? Oh how the insecurities and the questions began to surface.

Did Doug continue to keep her in that precious little box? Only to be afraid if he let her out of that box and faced the reality of the situation, he would feel even worse than he does now?  Was he afraid that the reality of life would seem boring and unfulfilling again? It seems like he kept all the illusions of the special times they spent together safely tucked away.

I don’t know, but something I do believe is that in order for us to move on and for me to completely heal, he has to face the reality of it all. The good, the bad and the ugly. Yes, the guilt may overcome him like the pain has swallowed me, but how else do you grow? How do you learn from your mistakes and make the changes needed for a happy marriage?

We (the betrayed spouses) were faced with the reality of it all from day one–whether we wanted to or not.  We are better people because of it. I believe Doug needs to let it all out of that special little box and see his relationship for what it really was.

See also  Surviving an Affair - Rediscover Yourself After Infidelity

Do you want to know what I really think? I know that when Doug started his emotional affair there was a lot lacking in his life as far as self-confidence, assurance and control.  Yes, I was a major contributing factor to that, for which I am very sorry. So it really didn’t take  a whole lot for him to be built up. And then along came Tanya.

Here is a man that is handsome, charming, intelligent and funny.  A huge contrast from what Tanya believed her husband was.  In addition, he paid attention to her, complimented her and made her feel good about herself again. Who could blame them? However, what happened next is solid proof to me that marital affairs are based on illusion and infatuation.

The Relationship Between Infidelity and Addiction

Infatuation in an Emotional Affair is a Powerful Drug

The other night I did a lot of research on infatuation because I just couldn’t believe that Doug could be so blind and dismiss Tanya’s major negative personality traits. Traits that I thought he didn’t find so appealing. In my research I found that when you are experiencing infatuation it is indeed like being on a drug. It controls your every waking thought. You think about this person day and night. You anticipate seeing and being with this person. You see only the qualities you want to see and easily dismiss the behaviors you don’t particularly like. You are very selfish in that you only give in order to receive those wonderful feelings. In many ways you are only thinking about yourself and what you are gaining from this experience.

See also  Journey to Trust: Rebuilding Trust After an Affair

Infatuation has a very short shelf life, as eventually you can’t keep the charade going any longer and you begin to show you true, whole self.  This is the point when a relationship either fails or moves on.

Was Doug receiving so many good feelings that he couldn’t stop?  Was he blind to the fact that this person wasn’t right for him? It is all so difficult for me to understand. I wish Doug could explain what was in his mind when all this was happening.

I do believe that she controlled him, even though I doubt Doug will admit it. However, I am a very intuitive woman and am very good at reading people.  I have spent my whole life working with women and feel I have a pretty good sense about them.

I believe from what Doug has told me and from my own intuition that Doug was like putty in her hands. She gave him the one thing he needed, and that was admiration.  It really didn’t matter that at times she drove him crazy.

I know I may be wrong, and I would love to get in the mind of a person who was involved in an emotional affair. Perhaps someday I can actually know what in the hell he was thinking.

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Inside the Mind of the Unfaithful
Understanding Why Cheaters Do What They Do

Doug talks with several ex-unfaithful persons who share their experiences, thoughts and feelings.  They answer the most asked questions betrayed spouses typically have for the cheater.


    22 replies to "Emotional Affair-What Was He Thinking?"

    • ruth

      Tammy, (there I said her name) has had 2 failed marriages, husband number one had an affair on her when they were married 20 yrs. husband 2 also cheated on her. She has to 2 DWI and has lost her drivers licesen for 5 yrs. She cant hold a job to save her life and she is a bar fly.IShe had her marriage fail because of cheating you would think she would stay away from married men. PS- she knew my husband was married she worked with him. I ask myself why would my husband keep telling me that she is such a nice and fun! He never puts her down. On the other hand my husband has told me that I am steady and the smartest women he knows. But he has also told me that she is very attractive and when she walks in a room everyone cant take their eyes off her, she has a smile that lights up the room. I know i asked for honesty but now I cant get his words out of my mind, the hurt is unbearible.

    • Rushan

      I haven’t asked my husband about the ow because he doesn’t want to talk about her. He says its over with and I must forgive and forget, but as you said Linda he also told me she was always friendly, she could laugh a lot, and I saw how she gave him admiration and asked him to do things for her and then tells him how good and wonderful he is. And I think that is what kept the affair running because at that time I didn’t do it I felt to ill and worried about my brother who was very ill. Hubby told me I was always in bedroom and also didn’t want to go with him places. He did some work for the ow and he said I didn’t want to go with him to see if it fits, etc. She also told people that is why they came together. So it is my mistakes and it is because of them that they had an affair. Well then so be it

    • Bonms

      Hi Linda, I just read through your post and I realized I could have written it myself. I remember getting sucked in by my husbands fog and thinking that he had in fact found his perfect mate. I too could not believe that he could not see the flaws in this woman that were staring him right in the face, I too believe that the OW controlled my husband and that he was her little puppet.
      So how could our wonderful loving intelligent spouses end up like this? Like you say low self esteem, lack of control and generally being in a bad place, and when people are feeling like this they are easily manipulated even by their own thoughts. I am not making excuses for the betraying spouse, because there is no excuse for an EA or Pa, but you can see how it happens.
      The most important thing for me was to realize that my husbands feelings for this woman were not real, the way he was acting and the things he was saying were part of the addiction. Letting myself believe his nonsense gave it power. It also made me feel a hell of a lot worse than I needed too.
      Now that my husband has “seen the light” as we put it, he cringes whenever he talks about it. I think he is truly shocked at his own selfishness and immaturity and lack of insight.
      I don’t feel a great need to know what my husband was feeling or thinking anymore(he has shared many of his feelings from this time with me), it was just a time in his life when he entered crazy town, what I focus on now is knowing that he did finally come to his senses and that I am sure he wont go down that road again, not just because of our marriage but because he has learned so much from this experience about marriage, people and most importantly himself.

      • Doug

        Bonms, that was a great comment, and most days I feel the same way. I look at the affair for what it really was and try not to make it into anything that was special. I know that what we have is so much better. I try to look at it as a time when Doug lost his mind. It is easy to think of it that way because his actions certainly displayed a man who had decided he wanted to act like he was sixteen again. I know for many man that will be appealing, but I proven to Doug that it is just as exciting and fun to be fifty. It certainly has more meaning and depth, an absence from silly juvenile behaviors, and the sex is amazing. Linda

      • Christine

        Bonms, I can’t believed how similar our situations are (yours, Linda’s and mine) Linda, i feel like i am walking in the exact same shoes you were a few years back and it helps so much to see that they can, and do, snap out of this. I was JUST thinking this morning that there are so many days where i don’t know the man who’s taken over my husbands body. Then we’ll have a good day (or moment) and i’ll be like “oh, there he is!” I miss what we were but have to believe we are going thru this for a reason and will be a lot closer, wiser and more protecting of our relationship because of it! I definitely see both the appeal (and the dark side) of the other woman because she was a friend of ours! Tiny, perky, fun, always up for anything while i had to be the one keeping our family afloat working full time for the last few years. Her husbands makes over $300K while mine has been struggling to make any money for years in the construction industry. She has money to play with, no education or job, and was always bored, looking for ways to entertain herself. I saw her flirt with men at every turn, treat her husband terribly, and talk badly about all her “friends” in front of the rest of us. I’ve asked my H if he doesn’t see these things about her but i don’t think he has the perspective yet. Its so hard not to be jealous or afraid that he’s going to leave for that!

      • So angry

        Hi Bonms, did you stay together? How did you learn to ever trust him again?

    • Diane

      I guess I might be involved in an emptional affair though unintended. I have developed a deep friendship with a co-worker who is married (I am engaged to another man). We find ourselves texting more and more, nothing too personal, just being there with silly quips and antics. I find myself wanting to look better for him than I usually do. He asks me to share my crazy past with him, conversations I am sure would upset his wife if she knew we had them. We often find we can’t wait for the carpool on Monday mornings…even with another person in the back seat – the comfort of hanging out that way is important to us. I asked him the other day if he realized how close we have gotten in 6 months time, and he said he’s never been so happy. He said the only thing I could do to make it “more perfect” was to never mention leaving and that I am an extremely attractive woman. I have called him handsome, sexy, beguiling. I realize it seems too close, wonder what he thinks? My fiance and I talk about it…but I am sure his wife and him do not. He is the “confidante” replacing my former best girlfriend, but I feel sexual tension between us….I’d HATE to lose his friendship….but hate to cause him pain down the line….Thoughts?

      • Recovering

        End your ‘friendship’ with this man now!!! You already said you know his wife wouldnt be happy with what you discuss… you are cheating on your fiance…STOO NOW!! You have no right to know this man the way you want to. HE IS MARRIED AND PROMISED TO SOMEONE ELSE!! This man needs help keeping his promise. Tell him flat out that how he is acting would destroy his marriage and his wife doesnt deserve that and walk away and never look back. Do not text or talk to him other than in a purely professional manner. You have no rights here… and neither does he. Finish it before something starts….

    • Gizfield

      Diane, if you dont want to ruin your life, his life, and the life of 2 innocent people you need to stop your little flirtation IMMEDIATELY and TOTALLY!!!! Remember, if they will do it with you, they will do it to you. and that applies to you and him! If you think it’s cute, trust me, it is not !

    • Gizfield

      Noooo texts, at all! Worst thing you can do. Very secretive.

    • Gizfield

      Diane, if you think this is a friendship, you are deluding yourself. If it had to be a secret from ANYONE it is not friendship. End it.

    • Gizfield

      I guess Diane didn’t get the advice she was looking for ? This story reminds me of Bus Girl for some reason….

    • ZZZ

      The OW had Fibromialgia, was on government assistance, had a son who she never saw snd she called him a deadbeat. First husband died do she claimed but never mentioned that one husband divorced her in 2012.

    • Curt B.

      I’m involved in an emotional affair. The woman is 22 years younger than me, exactly 20 years than my wife. She’s four inches shorter than my wife and is kind of a bizarro version of my wife. She’s divorced. She told me she’d been raped by her father-in-law. She has tats. I hate tats. She has two dwi’s. She’s lost her license. She has a drinking problem. She’s emotionally unstable. I see all her negative qualities. In fact if I compared my wife to her at the times in their lives, i wouldn’t have looked twice at this woman. So what happened. It was all about me. I was feeling down, low confidence. Some business moves didn’t go as planned. I was late forties, getting older so there was that. It started with flirting, then a pursuit. The whole process helped me get thru the days. Now I’m in the infatuation stage where I see her faults, but my brain doesn’t care. It’s like being drunk. You know your problems are the same. You know you’re doing something that you normally wouldn’t do, but the alcohol convinces you its okay. I pray that I can emerge from this infatuation stage before its two late. We’ve been intimate, but I haven’t committed the ultimate act. But I’m capable as long as I’m in this stage. Once you get in this infatuation stage all bets are off.

    • Will

      I have a co-worker who has flirted and had multiple “affairs”, although some not fully intimate, with other co-workers in our group. She recently divorced her husband and is promptly moving in with one of our co-workers. What are the chances of her new relationship ending in a long term relationship or marriage? She has also told the group that, unless her new partner is at group social functions, she’ll not be in attendance, although she attended some of those functions without him , in the past. It makes me believe, he may be controlling, but she has always seemed as a strong woman.

    • Jennet

      I wish we knew what their thinking was when they have an affair. I am at 9 months from DD and still non the wiser I have had my questions answered other than the Why!! He doesn’t seem to know himsf although he has said he still has feelings for her but not as they were. Whatever that means. I have come to the conclusion that as she pretended to be my friend I think she was jealous of our marriage and our life together and it has been 51 years since our teens so we have family, history, memories she can never have that with him. What an ego boost it must gave been for my husband he is 69 and she is 20 years younger and 20 years younger than me. We are working on our recovery he assures me that there is no contact and that she is no longer part of our relationship, difficult to believe as my trust for him is not 100%. I do think that infatuation is a very powerful emotion and very hard to compete with especially when you don’t know what is going on. Of course its circumstance and opportunity that is needed but how clever and deceitful they can be. She is on her 3rd husband so can only guess how many affairs she’s had. There’s nothing like an old fool!!!

    • Shifting Impressions

      It will be seven years this November since D-day and I still don’t have the why answered. I don’t believe I ever will. It’s like they got caught up…..just flirting at first etc. I also wish I knew their thinking…..where did they think this was going etc.

      We have also had a relationship since our teens and are now in our later sixties…..a lifetime together. So sad to have that trust broken after so many years together. But alas…..broken it is. I’m not sure if the trust ever comes back 100%. Don’t be too hard on yourself…..it takes time. It’s only been 9 months. I was a complete wreck that first few years. Slowly and I mean very slowly he started to show true remorse and gained a better understanding of the damage he did.

      Take care

    • Jennet

      Thank you for your comments much appreciated.
      I think I find the need to be reassured about how he feels about me is the hardest to understand. I have never been a needy person now because of all this upset I feel so different. Can’t get my head around that at all.
      When I see my husband being perfectly normal I wonder to myself how do i look. Do I look normal or does this turmoil show on the outside. I don’t think he gets how much pain I’m in or have been In not only mentally but physically as well. Sometimes I send him blogs or podcasts I’m not sure that he reads or listens to them now, I think he did at the beginning of recovery but I’m not so sure now. He says he thinks it would be better not to talk about it anymore and move on easier said than done. Some days I feel the same just want to shut it all out. I do think I’m coming to terms with it all now not quite so many bad days and I don’t cry late at night as I did mind you that’s only been a week so it’s early days. I would like to have more affection shown and certainly intimacy but I think that will take time as he still has feelings for the OW
      which hurts me so much but I have to accept it takes time to recover and get over the devastation and maybe for him the guilt, shame and sadness that he has admitted to feeling.
      I wish you well In your relationship. Take care Jennet

    • Shifting Impressions

      I do think the turmoil one goes through is often picked up by those close to us. My oldest son said he could hear in my voice that something was wrong. I also had two friends tell me they could see it in my eyes. My mother passed away about five months after d-day and my sister picked up on the fact that something more than our mother’s death was bothering me. I hadn’t told any of the above people about what had happened.

      It’s so very understandable that you feel different…..you have been traumatized and are in crisis. I don’t think that the cheating spouse gets to make that call regarding NOT TALKING ABOUT IT AND JUST MOVING ON. Of course they don’t want to talk about it. That’s just classic cheater’s behavior. Give yourself permission to grieve. Recovery is a long hard journey….often one step forward and two steps back.

      We are doing quite well but I know that deep inside I will never be quite the same. On the other hand I have found a strength that I never knew I had. I tell my husband I only want him to stay if I am the one he wants to be with…..no other reason at this stage in life will do.

      • Jennet

        Thank you it is helpful to get someone else’s look on what is happening to me. Its as though you are two people the o e on the good day and the one on the bad day really weird feeling. Unfortunately I live in a different country to my family and friends and with Covid I won’t get to see them for a while yet, so I do feel isolated I have a few friends here but they don’t know me very well so it’s difficult and of course you don’t want to discuss this with them as it then becomes gossip.
        I have tried to explain to my husband how I need reassurance from him frequently just so I can begin to feel better about myself and try and get the ‘old ‘ me back not this suspicious wreck I am now. Sometimes I wish I could hate him but unfortunately or fortunately I’m not sure which but I don’t my love for him hasn’t changed throughout all this and that’s what keeps me going. I have told him that is the only reason I am still here is because I believe we can get through this but he has to make more effort and not assume I’m OK. I’ve had a good few days and I feel more positive than I have for a long time so fingers crossed it continues. Thank you again jennet

    • Jennet

      Shifting impressions, hi how are you?
      I’ve just read some our posts from sept 2020!!!! What a roller coaster the last two and a half years have been,you think you are getting there then another bomb drops and back you go again right back to the beginning. everything has changed the trust that has been broken and you don’t think it will ever be 100% like it used to be all you can do is hope. I think the turning point for me was new year’s eve this year when I saw a text from her and his answer.
      This confirmed to me that there had been contact between them from when he told me it had finished I didn’t believe him then and sure enough there it was in black and white. I truly lost the plot I was sooooo angry I even shocked myself with this anger let alone him. I gave him the ultimatum either her or me make up your mind! I had never said that before but he knew I meant every word. I moved my money into separate accounts etc. I knew In my heart enough was enough. We are still together and today is our 51st wedding anniversary and we have been together for 53 years. I can’t deny that it has been very difficult these past 9 months because before the text I believed we were getting there slowly but now I feel very different ,I can’t be bothered to check his phone,ask where he’s been I give him.plenty of space I just feel it’s upto him I can’t control what he does I can only control myself and that’s what I do. Maybe that NY text did me a favour it kicked me back into being the independent confident person I used to be before ‘infidelity’ walked into my life. Perhaps that’s why he is still here with me I really don’t know but I know I’m not that needy shell of a woman infidelity turned me into.
      So for me life is good and I’m looking forward to the future which I haven’t done for so long.
      So take care of yourselves and good luck on this roller coaster Jennet

      • Shifting Impressions

        I’m doing well…thanks for asking.
        It’s a long hard journey that’s for sure!! Realizing that I could only control my own response was a turning point for me as well. I found the book IT TAKES ONE TO TANGO by Winifred M Reilly really helpful.

        It’s been almost nine years since D-day and we are in quite a good place. But in all honesty there is a scar!!!

        Take care

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