One aspect of recovering from an affair that is difficult to overcome is the conversation about the affair that you have with yourself.  It’s the ever constant and overwhelming discussions that occur in your head. 

I know that I talk to myself all the time.  We all do.  Fortunately, these days what I say is largely positive and completely optimistic.  It was a very different story three years ago, as I would constantly go back and forth between the reality side and the fantasy side of our relationship and Doug’s affair.

I had to remind myself about everything I knew that was true about affairs in an attempt to override the fantasy thoughts that I had.  The thought that affairs must be incredibly exciting.

I wrote a post where I vented a bit about the emotional affair and have included an excerpt from that post which will hopefully explain more from where I was coming from.

Venting About the Emotional Affair

Yesterday as I was lying in bed, I found myself briefly going against my New Year’s goal to stay in “the present,” because I was thinking about Doug’s emotional affair. So I’m going to vent a bit here as a result of those thoughts.

To start with, I was thinking about everything that Doug receives from our relationship compared to what he received from the emotional affair. I know that he highlighted the feelings he received from Tanya that were missing in our marriage, however I feel he took for granted all the ways I was (and am) integrated into his life.

He failed to look at all the things I did give him; how I have supported him and loved him unconditionally. I feel that he can truly be himself when he is with me.

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I know that he believed he was receiving everything he needed from Tanya, but I am confident that if he took everything away – his marriage, his family, home etc., that she really couldn’t offer him a fraction of what we do. I believe he would be empty and once again wondering what was missing in his life.

I also had a revelation of one thing that is missing in my life…

Yesterday I ran upstairs to get ready to go grocery shopping, and Doug rushed in and closed the bedroom door. My first reaction was that he wanted me. That perhaps while he was downstairs, he thought about me and decided to run up to have his way with me.

Well I was wrong. He came up to brush his teeth and get ready to go to the store as well. As I stood there disappointed, I realized how wonderful it would have felt for him to grab me and experience the urgency of his desire.

I realized how much I miss receiving that feeling. Doug does a great job of showing me he loves me and cares for me, but the feeling that he would move mountains just to be with me is not there. I am sure it has to do with our present situation more than anything, but I do miss that feeling.

I began to think that when you are the other woman (or man) you receive that feeling constantly. The person that you are having an affair with is sacrificing everything just to be with you.

I can only imagine how exciting that feeling can be. I would do anything to know that Doug wants me so much that he would sacrifice everything just to be with me – his family, his job and his marriage. That kind of feeling would be exhilarating.

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I know that in a long-term marriage a man typically tends to show his love by working hard, taking care of things around the house, being a security blanket, etc. But for a man to display that they want you and they will do anything just to be with you…well I guess that is why affairs are so addicting.


Let’s face it, the meat-and-potatoes daily love between married spouses does look bland at times compared to the flaming-cherries-jubilee of an affair. In reality, the excitement of the affair can be mixed in with a whole lot of stress, guilt and shame.

Yes, an affair can be exciting and passionate, but many of the unfaithful discover that it pales in comparison to the negative effects on their lives and the other lives that were affected.

Therapist Jeff Murrah once commented…

The recovery from an affair, even an emotional affair also requires doing business with the fantasies of each party. The cheater has to deal with their fantasies, as does the resolute spouse. Since there are so many fantasies surrounding the actual events of the affair, there are times that the fantasies are more exciting than the affair ever was.

Many of the betrayed spouses on this site have been trying to do everything we can to bring the excitement and fantasies back to our marriages. It’s certainly a high priority for me – for Doug too.  We’ve sexted each other (I hope our phones are never lost or stolen!).  We’ve flirted via text. I’ve got all sorts of new sexy lingerie.  We buy each other little things when we’re out and about.  We have the occasional “quickie” in dangerous places.  We’ve done it all. 

See also  Communicating After the Affair

During the earlier periods of our affair recovery process, nothing was more important to me than bringing the excitement that Doug felt during the affair into our marriage. It was hard to believe at the time that he would ever feel that excitement when he was with me.   Luckily, I was wrong.

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    13 replies to "Self Talk – The Excitement of the Affair vs Marriage Reality"

    • gizfield

      Well, the first thing you have to realize is that sneaking around, talking on the phone to releave your boredom, sending endless stupid texts, maybe buying some cheap gifts or meals is not “sacrificing” anything. When real sacrifice is required, 99% of all cheaters bail on their “true” love.

    • Saw the Light (formerly Roller Coaster Rider)

      Well said, Giz. As always. I will add, that as I am now divorced and have been seeing someone for about a month, I have been experiencing a lot of the adrenaline rush of fantasy and just the excitement of something new…

      My friend is also divorced with an ex who cheated on him, too. It’s pretty fantastic just hearing him say how great it is to be dating someone solid, no sneaky little lies…we both understand how that was and are resolute to keep that from happening again. I told him, “We won’t cheat, that’s not who we are.” And he has realized that I need to heal, to have time to develop trust and not feel afraid. I have hope again, not that this relationship is going to solve all of life’s problems, but just that there is someone who wants me to be myself, and who is decent, honest, and has been down the same road. It’s refreshing.

      • Rachel

        Wow!!! Saw the light,
        Your story is like mine. I met someone 3 months ago and our relationship is so refreshing. I know that it’s all new and goosebumps, but it is so nice to have a conversation and not have my date starring at other women or making comments about some other women’s body.
        Much happiness!!

        • Saw the Light (formerly Roller Coaster Rider)

          Thanks, Rachel. I wish you only the best. It’s pretty incredible for me, just in the past few weeks, I have heard and seen more genuine concern for my needs and welfare than in the 40+ years I was with my previous H.

        • Tryinghard

          You’ve been holding out on us:). Did I miss something? I didn’t see any posts you were dating :).

          Congrats on the new “friend”. I am so happy for you. You’re a true inspiration and you deserve all the happiness in the world.

          • Rachel

            Thanks trying hard,

            I posted that I was dating again I believe in January .
            It is all new and strange and very nice.
            I never thought that I would ever date again.
            We have very very similar stories. It’s almost seems as if these ex’s all read the same book. They all say the same thing and the excuses are all so similar.
            Still bad days pop in our heads of the past. Hopefully they will disappear forever, someday.
            Thanks, trying hard!

    • Osita

      Someone (I think it was Mclaughli) said and I agree, “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”

      In any long term relationship, particularly marriage, the challenge will always be how to re-create those things that meant so much to the parties at the beginning. And if they search hard enough they will find them again.

      People do not change much after marriage but certain unforeseen (and unexpected) factors step in to the their dream and pollute the air!

      If the couple wish, starting from the mindset, same or greater excitement could be added to keep their marriage. However, if someone feel that ‘stolen water’ is sweeter, same challenge would also show up along the line. Would she jump into the next moving boat then?

    • Christine

      This is such a hard thing for me not to do, especially right now. Almost 8 months after D Day i’m so grateful that myhusband is still at home tho he’s still not really committed to “being” there. Still talks about his feelings not being back and having contact with the OW. I pray everyday that something happens to kill that relationship but its so hard to stay hopeful. I have to keep telling myself that he’s obviously still at home for a reason, even if its not wanting to leave the kids or fear of the financial implications. I have done EVERYTHING to help him feel loved and respected, forgiven more than most people would find possible and even two weeks ago after the most recent discovery said that i can’t ask him to stop talking to his “friend” and that it has to come from him. In the meantime, i’m there for him physically and getting so little in return. I guess i don’t know HOW to complete with the excitement that the affair provides 🙁 I don’t think i can while my husband still keeps that relationship going. So many people have said they don’t understand what he’s thinking.. i’m 5/10″ blonde 135 lbs, with an MBA and up for most anything. We have alot of friends, enjoy the same things, and physically are so compatible. Our problems before the affair have been addressed and i know my part in taking him for granted. I just feel like i cannot get him out of the fantasy and therfore cannot get myself out of it either. I could use any suggestions on how to make things seem more appealing at home while this is going on.

      • Xterra

        Hi Christine,

        Sorry that you are going through this and that you are here, but this site and the people in it will offer some great advice.

        I think you are doing the right thing by being there for him and making him feel loved and respected … now get him to do that for you. He’s the one that chose this affair, not you. You certainly can make him stop talking to the other woman in the form of an ultimatum. Make him choose – when faced with such consequences of a choice the CS has to make, sometimes this will snap them out of the fantasy and they will have to face the hard, cold reality of the shit-storm they have created.

        I believe it was so very easy for my wife to have an EA, but when faced with the consequences of her betrayal, the fantasy quickly evaporated and she realized the OM couldn’t offer her what she already had. Hope this helps and that others will offer their comments and advice. It’s a long, hard road, but you need to take care of yourself and children first and foremost. Good luck!

      • Saw the Light (formerly Roller Coaster Rider)

        Christine, I know it’s hard but you have to be realistic about what your husband is demonstrating to you. I was in the same boat, I think, with a marriage of 37 years and much more attractive, educated, and even loving than the two OWs my ex chose to pursue…ultimately I had to see clearly that no amount of forgiveness, love and acceptance could make him want me. That part was up to him. No woman really wants to be one of several (or decent man, either, for that matter) and regardless of how this affair has made you doubt yourself, it isn’t about you. Don’t settle, and don’t take it personally, because it isn’t your fault. More than anything else, you have to value your own worth and don’t take the crap. I tried (my story is so long, there are few still on this site who probably remember it) for over three years to make it work, even went through divorce and remarriage, and my ex could not extricate himself so I divorced him again. Plenty of drama, but when all is said and done, you can fly to the moon for him but it won’t fix the choices he’s made. He has to decide. And you’ve got to decide for yourself.

    • Tryinghard

      Hi Christine

      I couldn’t agree with Xterra more. You are correct in making him feel loved however you are wrong to keep playing his game of allowing him to proverbially have his cake and eat it too. Rule number one NO CONTACT!!!! You cannot expect any kind of real recovery as long as there is ANY contact. Yes it has to be his decision but he has to know you mean business. 8 months is long enough. No he’s just being a fat third grader getting his little boy way. You are in the mean time playing Mommy. You’re a smart educated woman. Does this arrangement make any kind of business sense to you? Of course not. No demand he respect you and your family and you marriage by cutting the contact. Yep there’s a chance he may choose her if given an ultimatum, but do you really want to go on much longer status quo??? Of course not.

    • Lynsey

      Hi Christine,

      I agree with the others. It’s time for an ultimatum, or this will just go on and on, and that is no way for you to live. Look up other posts on this site from livingonafence (LOAF) – she has helped many people in your situation with her very direct advice on this situation.

    • Strengthrequired

      Over the past week a woman has been screaming down a intercom outside a secured building at a partner she appears to have broken up with. Today, after an hour of her swearing and cursing at him, along with crying and screaming and temper tantrums, then calm talking, telling him she loved him and that he is her life, she managed to break him down and he let her in.
      Now I’ve been thinking, no wonder us wives have a hard time getting our husbands away from these ow, especially if they carry on like that. As I said, she has been doing this all week.
      All the head games being played. Now I know my h ow, went psycho on him a few times, I can only imagine how hard it would have been to break ties, when they keep calling or texting or even showing up to where they work.

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