Emotional Affairs: Just a Game?

This is a warning, I am a betrayed spouse, and I have never taken the opportunity to engage in an affair so I am strictly speaking from speculation and not from experience.  I may offend some of you who have been involved with someone outside your marriage, but I am just voicing my opinion and therefore I may be totally off base. My question is this: Are emotional affairs (or any type of affair) true love or just a game?

I wonder when someone becomes lured into an affair if there is some kind of hidden agenda or something that they are hoping to gain personally that has mostly nothing to do with their marriage or the affair partner.

Doug commented that he found in Tanya what was missing in his marriage.  Did he really mean he found in the affair what was missing in his life?  Was Doug feeling bored and insecure because of his marriage or because he was feeling the stress of his life and that life wasn’t that much fun anymore?

Was he feeling insecure because his life was passing him by and he had not accomplished everything that he had wanted or was it because I wasn’t giving him everything he needed? What was he trying to fulfill by engaging in an affair?  What game was he playing with himself and everyone else?

What was Tanya’s reason? I cannot honestly speak for her, but for myself, I would have been enticed into a marital affair to prove a point.  I would have wanted to prove to Doug and myself that I am good enough for someone to treat me the way I deserved to be treated. To prove that I was OK and that I have been right all along, and that Doug was an unloving and uncaring husband. Would I have been thinking logically?

Think about all the lies and manipulations that had to keep this unhealthy relationship going.  Doug claimed that he never lied to Tanya.  Honestly, I find that hard to believe. If he really looked back at the relationship he would find that he was lying to her every day.  It may have not been straight out lies, but lies of omission, or stretched truths.

When she asked him about his weekend was he completely honest and divulge every detail? When he talked to her on the phone did he tell her that we had great sex and then spooned each other all night?  When she complained about her husband, did he tell her what he really thought–that she complained a little too much about her husband?  I don’t think so.

What about Tanya, what was she receiving from the affair? Did knowing that even though Doug had a pretty attractive wife at home, he had chosen her to help boost her self esteem? Did she make herself appear more easy going and exciting than she really was to keep Doug interested?  Was she always honest about her husband?  Did she use jealousy to her advantage?  What was she really receiving from the emotional affair?  What game was she playing?

After I found out about the affair the game became more exciting and complicated. It was exciting because now Doug had two women hanging all over him. Who could blame him?  What middle age man wouldn’t want that? Doug played the game perfectly; he was having his cake and eating it too.

I believe he revealed enough about the affair and marriage to keep both Tanya and I needy–but interested. However, when both Tanya and I became insecure and clingy he knew exactly what to say to get us of his back. “I don’t enjoy being with you when you act like this.” or “I have a hard time getting those loving feelings back when you behave like this.”

As Doug has pointed out numerous times he wasn’t being himself at the time.  He was very selfish and stupid, and I am sure my analysis of the situation confirms this.

I am sure that as Doug is reading this he is either very angry at me, or feeling really guilty. He shouldn’t feel guilty about doing this to Tanya because I believe in some ways she was manipulating him. She used his easy going personality and good nature to her advantage.  She knew that he was too nice to completely cool things off even though he told her he couldn’t do this anymore.  I wonder in some ways did she have her cake and eat it too?

Did she subtly mention Doug to her husband to make him jealous and therefore receive her husband’s much needed attention? I am sure if Doug thinks about the relationship he can remember times when she was playing a game with him as well.

So are emotional affairs a game or true love?  Obviously, I will never know the answer for sure.  I just wanted to provide some insight from a person on the outside looking in. I wonder if this is what a healthy relationship looks like.  Do we play games? Are we not completely honest with each other, act on selfishness and our own hidden agendas? I want to believe that this isn’t the case. I would hope that a happy marriage would have honesty and unselfishness?  What do you think?

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11 Responses to Emotional Affairs: Just a Game?

  1. Jennifer April 23, 2010 at 9:09 am #

    In my marriage, there have been a few OW, not just one major serious thing. However, his most recent relationship was rather serious from what I understand. I also engaged in an emotional affair. It began more recently and didn’t last as long and I never slept with the man. (Who is also married.) He and I talked about my husband online, had cybersex and exchanged pictures, but we have never met face to face. I believe I was enticed by this man because he paid me the attention I wasn’t getting from my husband. At first it was just simply having someone to talk to. I told myself “a man’s opinion” on my husband’s behavior would be helpful in understanding him. Then it became the fact that I felt the OM was the only way I would get attention, so I gave him what he asked for, sometimes unprompted (pictures, saying things) so that he would continue to talk to me and want me and I wouldn’t feel rejected again as I did by my husband. I knew I was not attracted to this man. My husband is better looking and the OM and I really had nothing in common other than that we were both frustrated in our marriages and we both loved the excitement of someone different and the attention.
    It has since died off and we talk occasionally, but I realized that all that time, I didn’t really want to hear those words and have that attention from this man, I wanted it from my husband. And I decided that it wasn’t worth hurting my husband and our marriage agreement (no matter that my husband was doing the same thing) to have a stupid fling with this man that I didn’t even like. I decided to go for what I really wanted. My husband. And to put all my energy into making him want me again. I was selfish. Affairs always are. Just think about what you truly want inside and not just what feels good or “right”.

    • admin April 23, 2010 at 9:51 am #

      Jennifer, That’s an interesting tale that many who are involved with affairs can learn from. Thanks for sharing.

    • Michelle September 14, 2011 at 10:24 pm #

      jennifer – this helps me. i am involved in an emotional affair and like you, i can see that what i really crave is the attention from my husband. i have started to take steps to cut it off – talked to my pastor today, imagine the tsunami the consequences would create in my life if he knew… It just hurts so damn bad. My heart physically hurts. i feel like he is my drug of choice and i am going through withdrawal.

  2. Last2know April 26, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

    Linda, it’s games. Just like high school. The crushy, flirty thing that some call “Love”. Do things to get attention from the love interest. Hey the worse Tanya’s husband was made out to look the better Doug looked. Whether Doug thought of it that way I don’t know. but if it was an ego thing I am sure he thought if it. I am pretty sure my H did too. He was really “into himself” at that time.

  3. Heartbroken April 26, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

    I find it interesting that you use the word ‘manipulate’ in reference to the OP and your spouse’s affair. I think about these things a lot too in trying to understand how could this have happened in my situation. I was literally having lunch with one of my best friends earlier during that week of discovery of her affair and telling him, quite sincerely, that I thought we had the perfect marriage. In my mind, it simply could not have been better and I sincerely believed that we were a text-book model for others to follow. Boy was I wrong.

    Since my d-day, in discussing her decisions with her, I frequently frame the conversation about ‘his’ manipulations and transfer much of the fault to him. He was, after all, the one who created a business trip to spend the better part of a day in a motel room with my wife. His wife, in my opinion, knows about yet ignores his character flaw, and I choose to believe he does this kind of thing all over the country with unsuspecting women who get caught up in his online conversations and develop emotional affairs as a result.

    Why do I do this? Am I not pushing enough responsibility onto my wife for her role in the affair? Do you think it is easier for us, as a non-cheating spouse, to wish the majority of blame onto the OP when in fact that may not at all be the case? I’m sure all situations are different as are motivations of people. But for me, it is easier to accept in thinking he was playing the game and she just fell for the focused attention.

    I’ve also contemplated would I feel better to retaliate and have an affair of my own. I think I could if that were something I wanted to do. I’m not a bad catch, after all, and I know that women find me attractive. However, even with this near-fatal wound on our relationship, the truth is that I would not and only want to salvage our marriage. She and I reached a critical point after discovery where they continued a secret dialogue for some time until it, too, was found out. I actually had her luggage on the bed packing her clothes and preparing to change the locks on the house and felt I could not go on this way any longer. I was totally devastated. Instead, I chose to believe the manipulation angle and that sending her away would cause more permanent damage and confusion to our children than could be recovered by keeping her in the house so I put the luggage away and did nothing. At least I could still monitor at lease part of what hurtful things were happening to our relationship that way, right?

    My preference would be to think that she was not playing a game, but rather, caught up in the manipulations of an unhappy man determined to boost his ego at the cost of anyone and anything that would let him. In my mind, he has already moved on and is talking to some other poor innocent housewife who is not prepared for his aggressive behavior. In contrast, my wife maintains that he could never do that because he told her repeatedly of his genuine feelings for her and how he had never felt this way about someone other than his wife.

    Isn’t it just easier to believe that we were all just duped and stupid and transfer as much blame as possible to the OP? Have we given them too much of an out to deflect more of that responsibility and fault back on them?

    Regardless, if it were a game to him, it was a dangerous one where the total sum loss to all those impacted would have greatly outweighed the short-term gain of their affair. My hope would be that anyone who makes a pro/con list of any affair would quickly see the tremendous pain and hurt that will come from it. Nobody really wins. The reality is that rational thought seems to go out the window and selfish actions without regard to who or what it could damage is the result.

  4. ninny April 29, 2010 at 5:19 pm #

    Hi Doug,
    I sent you a message last night but don’t know if you replied or where to look. There seem to be so many different threads on here. Do you have to remember which topic you posted on to look for replies?
    Thanks

  5. Lolita May 17, 2010 at 10:14 am #

    When I asked my husband why he had to tell OW whenever I was out of town (in case she wanted to hook up) – he always said it was “part of the game”. But he never really could explain this game – what was the objective, what were the rules, how did you win, etc. So it must have been more like World of Warcraft or one of those games that is just pure escape and entertainment. You just piss away your time playing the game because you don’t value yourself enough to do anything better.

    • admin May 17, 2010 at 11:09 am #

      Hey Lolita, Thanks for commenting. I think it’s more like World of Warcraft as you suggest. No one wins.

    • Broken May 17, 2010 at 12:16 pm #

      I heard the same story, that it was all just a game. In my eyes thats a classic excuse. It’s not a game. It’s real. They just don’t want to admit it, because that would make you feel worse about the situation.

  6. LizS September 13, 2010 at 9:46 am #

    I keep see the word game and it really bothers me. When youplay a game is’nt there always a winner? Who wins here?

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