Much is said about what a betrayed spouse should do to heal after an emotional affair.  But little has been said of how the cheater can heal and move on.

heal after an emotional affairBy Linda

Whether you want to believe it or not, individuals involved in affairs often experience a grieving stage once the affair ends. This can be quite traumatic.

I read in a book (the title escapes me) that affairs are addictive and hard to end because they often stop abruptly. Usually, this abrupt end comes when a spouse discovers the affair and demands its immediate termination.

Unfortunately, this demand can backfire. It might generate resentment towards the spouse who issued the ultimatum and intensify romantic feelings for the affair partner.

The person ending the affair may then feel like a martyr.  They’re forced to give up a loved one for the sake of their spouse and family.

The Unrealistic Perfection of Emotional Affairs

Another reason the affair is hard to let go of is that most emotional affair relationships don’t follow the typical progression through the various stages of love like other relationships do.  That is to say, when a typical relationship flows from infatuation to the next stage, the couple has more experiences together and they start to see the flaws, bad habits and weaknesses in each other.

At this point, the relationship will either end or it will blossom further.  If the result is that the relationship ends, both parties have probably come to the realization that maybe they were not meant for each other after all, and therefore they are able to separate more easily and move on with their lives.

See also  Making Progress After the Emotional Affair

Contrary to this, in most emotional affairs this scenario is not possible because the affair partners do not have the opportunity to see each other’s faults, and if they did, these faults are normally simply dismissed. They are in their affair “bubble” so to speak.

The parties involved in the affair have a difficult time giving up the relationship and healing from the emotional affair, because in their eyes it is perfect in just about every way.

Getting Over an Affair – Doing Work

Affairs Appear to be the “Perfect” Relationship

I repeatedly told Doug he needed to stop idolizing Tanya and their relationship. He believed it was something so unique, he’d never find it again in any other relationship.

It was tough to make him see the truth because, like many affairs, his was built on fantasies and an illusion of love. They only saw each other’s perfect sides and met just enough of each other’s needs to believe they were meant to be together.

In a marriage, maintaining such an ideal relationship seems wonderful, but realistically, it’s not sustainable. When you’re with someone every day, you inevitably notice their faults, bad habits, and quirks, which can become annoying.

The Illusion Versus Reality in Affairs

Affairs, on the other hand, have the illusion of being so appealing because each partner is showing the perfect image of themselves which in turn makes for a “perfect” relationship.

I believe for a long time that Doug was unable to let go of the fantasy. He was unable to let go of the fact that she was not perfect and neither was their relationship.  I think he was still comparing her to me based on seeing only her positive traits.

See also  Lessons Learned from the Emotional Affair

He saw her as fun, fresh, and free-spirited, in contrast to our long-established marriage of three decades. We were in a completely different phase of life, not just starting out.

I believe he struggled to let go of what seemed like a “perfect” relationship. I believe he thought ours couldn’t match it. It wasn’t a lack of love, but rather the absence of that initial “sizzle” typical in new relationships.

After years of marriage, it’s hard to maintain the excitement of newlyweds or those just starting to date. Keeping that “sizzle” alive is often a challenging, if not impossible task.

Additionally, ending the affair was tough for him because he believed she was perfect.  She thought the same of him.  He got a significant ego boost simply from the way she treated him when they were together.

While Doug and Tanya were mirroring the perfect person in each other, at the same time I was going through a time when I felt as though I could do nothing right, and was an emotional wreck.  Certainly Doug must have felt that being in the affair was definitely a better place for him to be.

Healing After an Emotional  Affair and Moving Beyond the Fantasy 

If you are in an emotional affair, in order to move on you have to let go of the fantasy. As hard as it may seem, you need to start looking at the faults of the person who you’re having the affair with and the inadequacies of the relationship.

It’s not really the best experience of your life like you might think it is.  Rather, you need to look at it for what it really is.  That is something that was hurtful to your spouse and is ruining everything you love and have worked so hard for over the years.

See also  Stop the Dance of Anger in Your Relationship

If the emotional affair ended abruptly you may not have had the opportunity to figure this out or to sort through your feelings.  So you need to do that now and try hard to let the affair go.

Opt In Image
Processing the Five Stages of Grief after Infidelity
Tips for managing each stage as well as important Do’s and Don’ts for each

Processing and moving through the stages of grief is a vital part of surviving and healing the trauma of infidelity. So vital in fact, that we’ve created a program that deals exclusively with this subject to help you effectively deal with the stages of grief after an affair.


    93 replies to "How a Person Involved in an Emotional Affair Can Heal"

    • michael

      What an eye opener. That is hard to hear but in many ways I feel it is so true. So many times I worry if my wife still sees him in this “perfect picture”. The guy she dated in high school that was ended abruptly, by others, without any real life experience. Than to reconnect with him eighteen years later she still saw him as the same. Still so easy to talk to. And he listened to her. And he flirted with her. Of course he would express all the good traits he had. And how he has become such a better person now. And how his wife doesn’t treat him like he should be. He is looking for the next ex-wife.
      Than I started to dig into info about him. He is in his third marriage. He had a child from his first. His wife has children from an old boyfriend. He IS cheating on his wife. He has co-workers husbands after him. What makes her so sure he wouldn’t do the same to her. He expressed to me how little respect he has for my wife in a text conversation with me. And she still didn’t see him for who he is. And continued to speak to him. Or is continuing to speak with him. I don’t know for sure. My trust has been shattered.
      But while we decided to stay together and work on us, she still protected him and continued to call him daily “which he was so proud to express to me”. I wanted to talk to him (I don’t know what that would have accomplished? But I did in text). Or talk to his wife. ( She should know). She played the martyr and said instead she would just hurt and not talk to him. And then continued because it was so hard for her to let go.
      And in many ways I think that this infatuation was cut short by my discovery and an eventual ultimatum, which I regret. But I realized it after the fact and undid most of the things I did early on. If she wanted to leave she could have and can still. I can’t protect her from herself. I just wanted to protect my family from him. Her getting over it is another story.
      I have told her about this blog and I think she has looked at it. But we still don’t talk about it. I don’t think she really knows how hard this has hurt me. Or maybe she does and truly doesn’t know what to do. She is the one I chose. I don’t want to be the one she settles for. I thinks she is done with it for now. But without working on what happened, its just a question of when and why it happens again. So I continue to work on me.

    • cabrina

      I completeley understand what you are saying and agree completeley. but my husband has left for this other women because he is just not willing to let go of the fantasy and believes that he is eally in love with her. He has already started the divorce but still does things that make me think that he wants to be with me too. he plays mind games with me. wants to be my friend, still wears wedding band, will call to see if i need anything at the house, when i was sick wanted to bring me soup. Asks if everything is ok with me and the kids and the house????? Can I save this marriage or is he gone to her forever

      • admin

        Sure you can still save your marriage. Now I might be wrong, but seems to me that he is having some feelings of guilt perhaps, and that is why he is acting the way that he is.

    • Sally

      Well, my husband has moved out and in with the OW. My situation is similar to cabrina’s right now, my husband calls and texts me all the time. We only talk about day to day stuff and the news, never about us. Says it is imperative that we remain friends and he have me in his life. He does not wear a wedding band but he comes over and has dinner, helps clean up, etc. Most of his things are still at our house, its like he has a traveling bag that he keeps some stuff at her place. I am ready to give up. When I ask him if he has truly decided that we are through and he is going to pursue a relationship with her, he says at this point yes, but he does not understand how I can ever say that we are completely through. He doesn’t seem to understand that his pursuing another relationship is what makes me believe that.

      So I am trying to distance myself and decide that we are over. I am really trying but it is soo very hard. He still has a key and comes and goes as he pleases. I want to make him get on some kind of schedule but these are all things that make me think that it shows I am giving up and I have a huge fear of closing that door. Any advice?

      • admin

        Sally, Indeed after he has left you are better off to not be available to him just as Gina suggests. By doing so you are still satisfying some of his needs. In order for him to make a decision you need to “cut him off” completely.

    • Gina

      To Sally: You must establish “no contact” with your husband immediately. He has to be smacked in the face with the fact that he has chosen ONE woman, and it is the OW. He cannot use you like this. Change your locks! Tell him that you will not communicate with him, except through a third party. This will jolt him to the core, believe me. Please read “Surviving an Affair” by Willard Harley. This is what he says to do, and it works. The wayward spouse usually comes around within one week to three months, completely gives up the OW, and begs to have you back. It will be very difficult, but you must do this. Tough love works, and I know it by personal experience.

    • Carla

      Can anyone here give me some advice to pass on to my son? He confided recently that his wife was having an affair – or at least attempting to have one. He has been married only 18 months and yet a few months ago his wife sought out and started an affair with an ex-boyfriend – a much older man. She had only had a very brief relationship with this man in 2003. I learned 2 days ago that my son had discovered his wife’s (hidden) diary from last year and it clearly stated her intentions to contact this man because she had never stopped thinking about him as their relationship (one month in 2003!) had ‘been like a fairytale.’ Apparently, after having contacted him, they had lunch and she wrote that she realised she was still ‘in love’ with him and wished she could marry him. She also constantly referred to the fact that she is waiting to hear from the OM and he doesnt text her as often as she would like. When he does, he doesnt say the things she wants to hear. She refers to constantly wanting to be with this man. However, it now appears that the OM may be off the scene now as daughter in law has stopped staying out overnight ‘on business.’ Apparently she has become very withdrawn and depressed and my son seems to be very unsure of how to proceed. He has backed off and is trying to stay strong for himself as he has a very stressful job and is working long hours in order to fulfil a contract. I am worried about him as he tells me he feels ‘buried’ underneath his wife’s depression and trying to cope with the demands of his job. I have no experience of this, but I GUESS daughter in laws depression (very quiet, no longer enjoys banter and laughter with son, lack of appetite, sleeplessness etc) is related to what seems to be the end of her connection with the OM.
      Would she be suffering withdrawal symptoms from the affair? Guilt, perhaps?
      I suggested that some honesty would be in order but my son says he has asked her what is wrong and she says ‘nothing, just feeling down.’ Any ideas, anyone?

      • admin

        Hi Carla. Based on your comment, it would appear that you have nailed it right on the head. Your daughter in law appears to be suffering from withdrawal from the drug known as infatuation, which seems to be causing her “depression.” Perhaps she is also feeling a little rejected since it appears that this OM is not interested in continuing their relationship to the level that she wants. More than likely, if she can discontinue all contact with the OM, this will subside. I would think, though at the same time your son needs to focus some more attention on her and be supportive of her feelings and emotions, as well as attempt to determine her needs that apparently he was not meeting in the first place. I hope this helps. Doug

    • Black Iris

      Did you ever consider giving him a chance to see her faults? Say you go off on vacation and she has to take care of your family?

      • admin

        Black Iris, she wouldn’t have lasted a day in my shoes! Doug thought she was controlling and nit picky before, he would have been running for the hills and dragging me along with him!

    • Guilty

      First, I’d like to thank you for this blog. It’s been comforting for both my wife and I as we go through our own healing process. You see, I’m the cheating spouse. This post has been very revealing to me, because most of the books and websites tell the recovery story from the perspective of the offended spouse. I get that, but there are two people trying to heal here, and I’m thankful for this point of view, without being judgmental.

      The notion of the abrupt nature of the affair ending is something that really resonates with me. I put my wife through pure hell, after her initial discovery, promising to end it, but leaving avenues for the OW to contact me, or proactively reaching out. For the most part, we went through a cycle of discovery and dealing with it, and so on, all the while, I maintained contact with the OW, because I was convinced that OUR relationship wasn’t like any of the others you read about.

      I have to say, even after a made a commitment to being with my wife, I still felt a trace of guilt and a tiny spark of hope that I could maintain contact with the OW. During the course of the year we were involved, she’d become my best friend, my first point of contact when things had gone wrong. So the residual feelings of “missing” my best friend still hounded me.

      Things really turned after the last discovery by my wife. It was evidence of phone calls I’d made to the OW a few weeks prior. My wife is not a sap, she’s not a shrinking violet, she’s a strong, powerful woman (things I seemed to have forgotten about her in the first place) who does not take things lying down. She immediately emailed the OW’s spouse, revealing our relationship. It was here that a decision point was reached, and the real nature of the affair was exposed.

      You see, while I was feeling guilty about the damage I’d caused the OW’s family, she had no reciprocating feelings for the carnage she’d created in my own. When it was a case of my wife’s repeated discoveries of my malfeasance, the OW was readily available to offer advice and sympathy over my plight. When the shoe was on the other foot, well then, things changed. I saw her for what she was and found myself re-examining every communication, every conversation and realizing that there WAS manipulation going on.

      It’s hard to accept. I’m a smart, well educated man with quite a bit of worldly experiences, so admitting that I’d been manipulated, even a little, is difficult. With the OW, we only talked about her problems in her marriage, we only talked about her plans for the future. I was the sympathetic ear, the white knight, the person who didn’t take her for granted and lavished her with praise. Maybe I relished that role, but for the most part, it was about her, not me.

      We have a long way to go, my wife and I, and I cycle through periods of guilt, remorse, anger and trepidation. There are good days and bad days. Personally, because of how abrupt this ended, I find myself curious about the OW, yet not to the point where I want to reach out. I’m hurt by the OW’s reaction, frankly and angry at the notion that I’d allowed myself to enter into this situation. No one is better for it.

      Right now, the prevalent feeling is one of desperate shame. I constantly ask myself if I’m allowed to feel certain things (frustration at times with my wife as we go through this process, sadness over the situation, anger) because I created this. In talking to my wife and to my therapist (we’re doing marriage counseling, but I’m getting my own therapy as well), I’ve reached to real friends (male friends), who’d I lost track of. I’ve established a chain of “accountability buddies” who are friends of the marriage. It’s a slow process, but it’s getting better.

      I don’t know if this even relevant. My primary goal was to thank you for the site and the thoughts within. I wasn’t looking for affirmation of the affair or a sympathetic pat on the back, I just wanted to see where to go from rock bottom and how it was from MY point of view. You both have done that, and I thank you. I have no visibility as to whether my marriage will work out, but at least, through this site, I’m not feeling as pessimistic.

      • admin

        Guilty, Wow! In many ways I feel as though I wrote that myself! Thank you for the kind words, and I thing the “buddy” system you have set up is a great idea.

      • admin

        Guilty, I want to thank you for coming to our site and sharing your thoughts from the cheater’s perceptive. It takes a lot of courage to tell your story. Your comment was difficult for me because I knew in many ways this was the exactly how Doug felt, however was too afraid to share those thoughts with me..Doug has tried to heal from all of this alone, not really expressing how difficult it has been for him. I know that he feels completely responsible for this mess and doesn’t want to burden me with how much he is suffering. I am grateful that you were able to affirm his feelings and let him know that he is not alone.
        We have talked so much about how to help the betrayed spouse heal, would it be possible to let us know what the betrayed spouse can do to help the cheater move on. Just as you are at a loss on how to help us I feel the same way about helping Doug. I know that at times my actions and words are hurtful to Doug. I don’t want for him to suffer alone, I really want to be there for him. You probably are wondering why I am asking you rather than Doug, because Doug will simply say ” just stop talking about it” and we both know that is an unreasonable request. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks again. Linda

      • Sandra

        My husband did the same thing to me. This was part of my anger. My world was falling apart around me trying to put on a brave face for the children. And the OW wa living her without a care because her partner did not what going on. I told my husband this but did not understand.
        My discovery was he had saved her name in his cell under a man’s name. I crossed reference this name in his contacts i.e. whatsapp, viber and found it to be her cell #. Then I checked his cell and there she was calling him. hat was the last straw I called her from his just to make sure it was her and it was. Then I confronted him. She in the meantime texted and told she did want to talk to him. LOL that was because her partner was in bed next to her. I made my husband called her partner and we told him what was going on. He ordered her to leave his house. The OW went to work and called my husband and she continued to do so all day. All I had to say funny when it came to her relationship being placed on the line she fought for it. This is the woman my husband called a good person considered his friend etc.

      • Bethenny

        Wow I read this & thought it was My ex-mm talking. The “final” convo I had with My ex-mm he said something about how he thinks I manipulated him & also “pursued” him. HaHaHa yeah right. Said, oh really?”, so are you trying to convince yourself of this so you have something to go back to your wife with? She didn’t manipulate or pursue you. She did care about you. Very much. But how was she to give you her all, when she was only getting half of you? She didn’t manipulate you. She wanted more from you. More than you were willing to give so she did and said things maybe towards the end that would try to get you to do things but only because she wanted you and wanted more of you. Don’t fault her for that.

      • kamani

        Sure, your marriage will recover. Just got out from the risk of being OW in an emotional affair. Still healing.

    • Last2know

      Guilty, thank you for coming. Be prepared to be asked a lot of questions about your “feelings” for the OW. Poor Doug has taken all the hits. I am a betrayed wife of an EA. Going on 8 months since DDay. And it is still very hard. I felt stupid for not seeing, yet all the signs were there. The OWs Husband found the emails etc and he told me, my husband was devastated, distraught, remorseful. But I felt like a fool, how could I not know? I trusted him completely. He went to happy hours, biker rallies, I gave him his “man time” and I was accused by some of being “too trusting”. I never “checked up” on him. Now I go through
      his phone, I have spies at his job. I hate that. That’s not me at all. I am sorry that you and your wife are going through this, yes it is very hard. I worried about my husband a lot after DDay. I didn’t know how he was coping with losing his “best friend” he didn’t seem to be depressed or sad. His was an abrupt end. Can you tell me this? How long were you friends before you realized you were in deep with her?

    • Guilty

      Last2know, My situation, as I’m steadily finding out, is really not all that different from others. Basically, the OW was someone I’d known well before I met my wife. We’d dated and then kind of drifted apart and lost track of each other. Almost twenty years later, we “found” each other on FB (see what I mean? Typical.) and began chatting. It was innocuous at first, waxing nostalgic via chat. She lived across the country from me, so what was the harm? The communications turned to regrets about how things ended between us and then we started getting into “what ifs”. What if we hadn’t stopped dating? What if we’d gotten married? What if, what if, what if… Chats turned to one call a week, turned to one call a day, turned to calls almost every free hour I had. We had similar interests and tastes. She began telling me about her problems at home with her husband and I began sensing that I had similar problems with my wife (funny how these “problems” never seemed to surface before). Slowly, she turned into my “best friend” and we started saying “I love you.” All of this happened relatively quickly, I think, because of our mutual past together, no more than a couple of months. I too went through a wave of depression when the abrupt end came. In my case, it seemed worse because she was already on the other side of the country, so there was no bumping into her at work or around town. Communications just stopped. Remember, until her spouse found out, we continued our clandestine relationship, EVEN THOUGH MY WIFE HAD FOUND OUT. It’s difficult to describe. There is an overwhelming sense of loss. I’d been close to this woman for over a year, and to lose it so quickly and have to deal with the emotional wreckage I’d caused at home was almost too much. I still have bouts of overwhelming sadness and depression. They’ll hit for no particular reason or from a minor trigger. It might be a song, or a commercial or even seeing a road sign that will just grab me. The thing of it is, and what I’m trying to figure out myself is how do you “mourn” the loss of the OW while working on being “all in” with your spouse? What my wife and I have worked out is a “stop and share” thing. Anytime I think about the OW, I stop and call my wife right away. We have a plan for when and if the OW tries to contact me again. My wife almost hopes that it happens, so that, I can prove myself to her. Personally, I don’t think I’ll ever hear from the OW again, but that doesn’t stop the hurt and shame. Like I said, NO ONE is better for me having done this.

      • admin

        Guilty, I can say by experience that if you are trying to rebuild things with your wife, re-igniting passion, spending time together and having fun together then the mourning and the sense of loss is much easier to take and eventually fades away all together. Obviously, this takes a little bit of help from your wife as well. Of course, one of the main cogs in that process is no further communication with the OW. It may take time for you to be “all in” with your wife in your own mind, but it can get better each day with effort.

    • At that point

      Listening to the words you’ve written, I almost feel sympathy for the man that wrecked my marriage. I’m sure my wifes feelings were similar. But she won’t share that with me. We don’t have a plan if he calls. And I’m not sure if they haven’t talked lately.
      But as someone who has known your story for only a few days, I can sit and sympathize with how you feel. I don’t know your background and I don’t feel hatred for you. I thank you for your words. And offer my ear and understanding.
      As for the man that wrecked my life, his story is a lot like yours. Love form the past. Catching up turned to wanting more. Distance that separated them. And so on.
      But I don’t know your bad traits. I know he was on his third marriage. talked several times in the past about divorce with his current wife. As far back as 3+ years. Has cheated on his wife several times before. He was not a great guy. And I find it hard to forgive him for his misdeeds.
      So I hope that you, I feel that you, are not like this predator that got a hold of my wife. Why would you be here if you were. But I can relate more to her feelings in your words, even if she is not ready to share as you have. Thank you and I’m sorry for you pain through this tough time. I would like to know a little more about your situation.
      How long ago did it end. How long did it last. How long did it take to be ready to talk about it out loud without fear. And how did your wife do through the healing? So on and so on.

    • Guilty

      At that point, I appreciate the sentiment, I really do, but for me it’s misplaced. The affair lasted a little over a year and our rock bottom point was a couple of months ago, although we’d been going through the whole discovery, apology and relapse phase for quite a while. We started talking out loud almost immediately, but we started talking TRUTHFULLY (or I did, since I was the one lying) about things at that last point. Each of the other times that she found out, I left some sort of avenue of communication open to the OW. It was difficult to let things go and truthfully, the OW was not in the same boat as I was and continued to facilitate that communication. While I’m not a fan of how it happened, my wife finally had enough and let the OW’s spouse know about the relationship. Needless to say, that definitely changed things. My wife is hurt beyond belief. She is not done healing. We are still going through the process. I’ve made a commitment to her, but words do not and will not be enough. I’ve already demonstrated how much I was willing to lie to her. So, we’ve taken actions. I’ve given her unfettered access to my work email and vmail. I’m in constant communication with my wife. Initially, we set aside a certain time, every night, where she would ask me any question she wanted about the OW and the affair. We’d limit it to an hour, so as not to get too buried in it, but after a few weeks, she got tired of asking, and I got tired of answering. The OW was on her second marriage and had never cheated, that I know of. I don’t know if you should even contemplate forgiving the OM. I know my wife doesn’t and will never. (There’s a posting here called the ten reasons why I hate the OW that was inspirational for my wife). I guess she believes that we have a lot to take care about ourselves that devoting energy to forgiving the OW is wasted effort. The bottomline, it’s like any addiction, the user (me) had to hit absolute rock bottom. The thought of my wife leaving me was terrifying. What’s the phrase? The first thing you do when find yourself in a hole is to stop digging. I’ve never been good about expressing my feelings, especially to my wife, but faced with the alternative, I certainly learned quickly how to.

    • Guilty

      Linda, forgive me, I hadn’t seen your post above. You asked a question around what can the betrayed spouse do? I wish I had the answer. The thing is, I am very much like Doug. I’d rather just not talk about it than deal with it. However, my wife is very persistent. She’s not someone that accepts inactivity. While not giving ultimatums, she would not let me simply “drop it.” That’s why the one hour question time each night was implemented. I know she had questions. Very tough questions, that if left to fester, she’d answer on her own and her answers would probably be worse than the actual answers. One thing she did do was not go insanely crazy when I would proactively share something about the OW and our relationship. It started small, like I would mention that the OW liked a particular song, or that I’d downloaded music special to the OW on my iPod. When the earth didn’t end and the world didn’t crash down, I figured it was all right to answer the really hard stuff. I don’t know if the way we are handling is right. We still have a great amount of anxiety and it’s difficult to be hopeful. I think my wife is much more vigilant and self-reliant now. Her cocoon of safety and security was shattered. She’ll never get that back, but maybe, together, we can create a new and different environment. Only time will tell.

    • Last2know

      Guilty, you are mourning the loss of “the feeling” not the OW. I don’t think you should be sharing information about the lovey dovey songs you downloaded for that skank. If your wife asks specifics I would share it. Sorry, but you have to understand that the betrayed spouse is angry. YOU have triggers? I can tell you that the triggers your wife is having are pure Hell. Yours are “awww that sign/song reminds me of when skank and I made cyber love”. Stop thinking of her as if she was so perfect. If that were the case she would not be on marriage #2. For all you know she is a real bitch to live with. I bet you have only heard about her bad marriage and bad husband. But haven’t heard his side. I am so glad your wife told him because hopefully she is feeling the exact same pain you are and sadly her H is feeling the exact same pain your wife is. You gettin my drift? We all need healing and recovery. If you took any offense to what I have written you have a long way to go. NOTHING you are feeling compares to the pain your wife is going through. You need to hear this. We are here to help you but you need to man up and be there supporting your wife. I hope you can understand why I am telling you this. I felt sorry for my H but the day his EA ended was the day the nightmare began for me and if he had shown me any sign that he had any “feelings” left for her. I would have left him.

    • Guilty

      Last2know, there’s absolutely nothing you can say that hasn’t been said or thought by me and my wife. I understand what you’re saying, and by no means am I trying excuse myself nor to underestimate the depth of pain that I’ve caused my wife. That’s not the point of my post. I was asked specifically about the feelings of the cheated spouse. I don’t think that anyone, including myself holds any type of sympathy or empathy for people like me. When my wife and I made the decision to try to salvage our marriage, it was made with the absolute knowledge of how wrong I was. I understand your last point, about leaving your H had he shown any “feelings” for the OW. However, in my case, this whole episode was punctuated by my dishonesty, by my lies. How truthful can your H be with you, if he can not tell you about feelings he’s having, regardless of the pain? The fact that he is mourning does not make up for the pain you’re feeling. It isn’t a contest. If we’re going to make this work, my wife and I resolved to be completely open about the EA. My desire was to bury it, to forget it and move on, but how HONEST would that have been and how long before the resentment of not being able to express feelings would have caused more problems? I already think that I don’t have right to have feelings of frustration or sadness or hopelessness, but if I can’t have those feelings, how much of a recovery can I make with my marriage?

    • Last2know

      I understand. My husbands hurt and resentment is what caused him to stray. He has always had a difficult time communicating. He never liked confrontation and always protected me. I pleaded with him for years to “talk” but he didn’t know how. So instead of sharing any negatives with me he chose to go outside of the marriage. Now he is unable to protect me from the pain and betrayal I now experience. He has become much better at communicating now than ever before. The things he was hurt and resentful about were easy fixes and not all were about us. So this could possibly been avoided if HE had been open and honest from way back. What do you feel (if anything) was missing in your marriage that made you reach out to someone else?

    • Guilty

      Last2know, That’s not an easy question to answer, although I think you nailed it on the head when you talked about your H shielding you from bad news. In retrospect, the things that I thought were wrong with my marriage were mostly influenced by discussions with the OW, mostly transferring her issues with her own spouse to my situation. What it really boiled down to for me was that I didn’t feel that I had input to the marriage. I’d come into things believing that my role was to please my wife and answer her needs, no matter what. That was easy when we were courting and dating, but when it came to kids, work, household, I began to feel buried. I still sought to please her, but now it was in the form of acquiescing to every course of action she wanted to follow as it pertained to our lives. She wanted me to get a vasectomy, and demanded the time and place to have one and I didn’t express my misgivings and complied. With money and budget, her priorities became my priorities. At the same time, she was feeling unappreciated, so continuously complained about little things or would go back after me if I’d cleaned the kitchen, basically instilling in me the notion that despite the fact that I’d devoted my existence to pleasing her (at the sacrifice of some of my own needs), it would not be enough. So when the OW came along, I was ripe for someone who seemed to appreciate what I could do for them. It was very much like my wife was before kids, work and life took hold of our lives. That was the illusion. If we’d simply talked, if I’d been proactive about what bothered me, I don’t think we’d be here today.

    • Last2know

      If I didn’t know Better I would think I was talking to my H. I hope your wife knows what she has to change and do differently for herself. Because this was a result of something that was just not right in your marriage. If you didn’t love your wife you wouldn’t be feeling this pain and if she didn’t love you she would have let go already. I know I have had to do some self searching and actual changes to the way I do and say things. It is even a relief to feel like I don’t have to make all of the decisions etc. I love my H and I don’t want to lose my marriage. We are doing better now than ever before, it’s ashame it took this to get us there. We have been married 18yrs. You both will get through this, many of us here have come along way and it’s only been 8 months since DDay for us.

    • Lostinlove

      Thank you all for sharing your heartache. I am just starting to, or at least trying to start my recovery. Last week I uncovered my husbands emotional affair. He has stated it was “nothing” just friends..all the things that are on every web site. His EA was with an ex-co worker, I felt that something was wrong for quite awhile, all the while asking my husband and being told I was crazy, I needed medication, I was the one that had something going on the side. It devastaed me, because all the while I have heard, if they are accusing then they are using. My husband is an alcoholic, after his drinking led to physical abuse I put my foot down, I told him that the kids and I would leave if there was one more incident in our family. Then came another, and while I was trying to recover from being abused from the alcohol, verbal and physical…….i found the affair. He hasn’t had a drink for about 8 weeks now, and says the OW is totally out of his life, that they never met in person and the phone records state only one or two calls over a four month period. But, the texting was every day, all day…and the lies. I told him if this was just a “friend” then why lie? Over and over again…he just keeps saying he’s stupid, he’s sorry, he never thought of it as anything more…But I don’t believe him, although he says all the words i would love to hear, i don’t believe that anything will change. He has always been insecure, he has always sought the attention of other women, in a non threatening way, he likes to have the attention. I on the other hand am over it, I love him but I do not know what to do now. I am a beautiful, intelligent woman who is well known and loved in my community, I have three teens who are also at the end of this rope.. I do not know what to do,, how do I pretend all is well, when I just want to pull the covers over. It’s taking everything I have just to go to work, now it’s the holidays and i have to go to his family’s, and I can’t breathe.. I know this is probably the same that people write all the time…But I feel so alone. I thank you for the opportunity to write this. God Bless all of you who are going thru betrayel…it’s horrible.

      • Doug

        Lostinlove, Thanks for sharing your story. Please read through as many of the posts and comments as you can, and I think that you will find some ideas to help you begin to recover. When you have other issues, such as alcoholism involved, things get a little tricky. Hopefully, now that he is sober-and can remain so-things will improve for you.

    • stupidandtrusting

      Lostinlove – I think most of us have experienced the feeling that they can’t breathe – we all understand and we are all here for you. I hope you can enjoy your holiday.

    • Sick With Guilt

      Thank you so much for your post. I am the guilty party, and was found out a week ago tomorrow. This was a two year affair where we spoke daily via IM and Email Monday – Friday, occasional phone conversations, and we actually physically met up for sexual contact four times over the two year period. I am just physically sick right now. I have only eaten four meals in six days. I feel terrible that I have caused this pain for my husband and family as well as the OM’s family. His wife emailed me yesterday and I apologized profusely. (My husband revealed the affair to her…) Although I told my husband I had ended all contact with the OM, we had secretly been in contact over the past week reassuring each other that things would be okay for us, apologizing to each other for the problems we have caused each other, and basically trying to help each other with what we would say to each other’s spouses to make things easier. Now that I have emailed his spouse and told her how much he loves her and cherishes her and I am sorry for the pain I have caused, he has abruptly told me, “Don’t contact me. Not to be rude.”

      Our ‘relationship’ was 80% friendship and 20% sexual in nature. We shared sexual fantasies, etc. But there was never really a problem with the sex life in my marriage. I was looking for emotional intimacy. Now I see that perhaps I was just completely manipulated given my final contact with him today. I feel used. I felt this man was my best friend and confidant. There was never any talk of us being with one another, just confiding about problems in respective marriages and of course the normal flattery, talking about mutual interests, etc. Now that I have effectively saved his ass as much as possible for the sake of his marriage and told his wife exactly what he wanted me to tell her, he has absolutely no use for me. Of course I know all contact has to cease. My husband and I are going to counseling. I am trying to conquer my demons and fix the problems in my marriage for the sake of my children. However, the pain I feel over the realization that perhaps this ‘friendship’ that consumed so much time and energy was a bit of a sham has me crushed. I feel thrown away like a piece of trash. My husband is telling me I am a piece of trash. And now I must cope with the idea that the “view” I had of the OM was probably just all a fantasy and completely wrong.

      Anyway, I guess just wanted to thank you for sharing. I am in so much pain right now, and as stated, everything out there deals with the pain of the injured spouse and not the pain of the individual who had the affair. Feels a bit better knowing someone has been in my shoes.

      • Gizfield

        Oh, gasp. A man that cheats on his wife wouldn’t actually LIE to his girlfriend would he? Shes SPECIAL!!! Say it isn’t so…

    • alycon

      OMG Sick With Guilt, this is so why I would never EVER cheat on my man, why I’ve never cheated on any man I loved. The bottom line – you destroy other people and degrade yourself. Far, far better to hold on to one’s dignity and refuse to let yourself be swept away by the adrenalin rush, it’s a drug that loses potency in every relationship, not just EA’s.

      I’ve been literally melting with rage over the woman my H had his EA with and the women he’s played ‘knight in shining armour’ to since (basically being there for them and doing little things for them) fo the past 11 months but reading your post has triggered unexcpected compassion for you in me (though I have to say not to the women my H has been ‘hanging around’).

      I hope you don’t think I’m being rude, as I’m thinking about you – yes, you’ve hurt the wife and the family, but you deserve to be loved by someone who doesn’t use you as a diversion from their problems and responsibilities. We all deserve better than that. I truly hope that you find peace and someone who will give you the love you deserve.

    • Sick With Guilt

      Alycon: I appreciate your post and wish I had someone to say this to me before I ever even got involved in this mess. Your post made me cry. 🙁 It is now almost four (4) months later, and H and I are still going to counseling and still healing. What I can tell you is that the communication between H and I is better than it has been in 12 years, and although rebuilding trust is difficult, it can be done.

      I haven’t spoken to OM since that last post… and I am glad I haven’t. I hope he and his wife are going to counseling as well and they are able to salvage something from the poor choices we made. But you are right… I allowed my low self esteem and the illusion that was painted to destroy what shred of self respect I had. In turn I have lost all respect for the person he portrayed himself to be and wasn’t. It’s double the hurt really… sad for his wife and family, sad for my family… just sad.

      I really very much hope that you are able to find forgiveness in your heart. Not for the OW, but at least for your spouse. The anger and hate only hurts you unfortunately… I can tell you are a beautiful, loving soul. You didn’t deserve something like this… no one does. No matter what you choose, either to forgive or to move forward, you are strong and will make it out the other end better than ever. I will have to live with the rammifications of my terrible choices for the rest of my life, but I have learned that I have to love myself before I can ever really give or receive love. Thank you for your kind words and thoughts, and I truly wish you well in the healing process.

    • guilty

      My H and I have only been married 7 months when I had a dream about OM and looked him up on FB and the “catch up” had turned into an EA. Told my H I wanted to split up. History of OM — 12 years ago fell in love with him but I was only 14 so my parents didn’t allow us to date. He moved on. Two years later he comes back to say he’s going to break up with his gf to come back to me. Instead of doing that he disappeared. Two years later he comes back again and says the same thing but gf still around and I was overseas and the long distance issue and the gf still around, I decided I had to “move on”.

      However when i found out he was getting married (not the same gf) was devastated and broke up with bf. no contact for 2 years. He emails out of the blue to say hi and asking if we could still be friends, I was dating my now Husband then. At that point I thought I was fine but I was not as I again crumble in inexplicable despair as I hear about his wife and baby and tells him we have to cut contact immediately as it is inappropriate (he was telling me about how he regrets things etc). I thought then whether I should break up with bf as felt like was not over the first guy (OM) but didn’t and married him so then this year as I mentioned in the beginning –4 months of EA. I ended it. also against my shrink’s advice, I confessed to my H and told my H I wanted to split up. H doesn’t want to split up eventhough very angry and upset about the whole thing. I just didn’t know what to think and feel and didn’t know how to deal with the situation.

      Been to counselling. was told I’m addicted to OM. or rather I’m addicted to the fantasy. have unresolved abandonment issue (not just with OM but childhood) obviously as I can now see that I was looking for validation, have been holding on to fantasy, etc struggles with feelings of loss and grief as i know I should have been over OM a long time ago and I don’t know how to truly let go of past. One shrink said work on marriage. Other shrink said should think about whether I truly do love my h and willing to commit to marriage 100% as she feels i’m not sure after all.

      H has trouble expressing himself. I don’t know what to say to him either. been trying to move on but struggle as although on good days I can feel positive that my H and I can recover but on bad days I just want to walk away because I don’t know how I can be sure of anything. not only has the EA damaged marriage but also belief in self and in love. can’t believe i did something so terrible so early on in our marriage. H said he feels like he’s a mistake and an obstacle to my true dreams. shame, guilt, devastation…don’t know how to deal with it.

      still feel lost. hoping to learn from some of the articles here. just this first one and the comments have already been great.

    • Holding pattern

      I’m nearly 4 months since D-day. At first things seems to be getting better, but now my wife and I are stuck in a holding pattern. Despite being cheated on, I was doing everything I can do to win my wife back and have her go “all-in” with me (and our 2 kids) and put the past in past. Unfortunately, the affair (lasted 4 months) hadn’t run its course when it was discovered. As such, my wife still wonders if life would be an 8 with me and a 10 with the OM. Reading posts here, it seems like she is still in the fog and struggling with withdrawal. However, she doesn’t want to talk about it, we’ve stopped going to counselling together, and she won’t read about it (as doesn’t think her relationship with OM fits into the classic case – though I think it does). To make matters worse my wife and the OM still work together and see each other in meetings 2x per week (no complete separation). She is working on a project launching in April and is willing to look for another job after the April launch. The OM is working on his marriage and my wife doesn’t know how they are doing as she says they aren’t talking on a personal level. I’ve tried to back-off and not bring it up and push her away. Her affair has not been made public to our friends/families. We’re living together as good friends and she’s given me the “i love you, but not in love with you speech”. Although being in limbo it is eating me up in side, is there anything else I can do besides just give it time? Is backing off the key? or should i not take this lying down, stand up to her and make her choose, and expose the affair?

    • Sick With Guilt

      Dear Alycon: I hope that some time has help to start healing your wounds. Six months in now for me. Still going to counseling with my husband, things still improving, although sometimes more slowly than I would like. But by putting my time and energy where they belong… with my husband and children… I know I am making the right choice and see what a stupid mistake I made. I would talk to OM, get all this attention, pseudo-caring, understanding, whatever… and then would go home, push my spouse away and resent him. Just a vicious and stupid cycle.

      I would be a liar if I said the OM never crosses my mind. Sometimes because I miss having a confidant. Sometimes because I reflect on how I got so caught up in something that wasn’t ever real… at least on his end. And a lot because I feel for his spouse. Towards the end I found out that he was also in contact with his H.S. girlfriend via FB. Wonder if he’s still emailing her behind his wife’s back? I know he met up with her and at the very least told her that he regretted dumping her the way that he did back in H.S. She’s single and very attractive, so I am assuming perhaps another affair in the making? Who knows. I cry, because I hurt my family. I cry because it hurts that I allowed this to happen. And sure, I cry because I miss the illusion of what I had. Which was just that… an illusion. I did feel like he was my best friend. But best friends don’t put you in a postion or allow you to be put in a position for that much pain.

      HOLDING PATTERN: Of course the affair hadn’t run its course when they had been found out. They would still probably be carrying on if they hadn’t been found out. I am saying this from experience. In my opinion, if the OM is working on his marriage, then how would things with him ever be a “10”? He obviously isn’t dropping everything and telling your spouse to do the same. Instead, he is working things out at home, or at least trying to. I feel like women in general have been done a disservice by movies, the media… we fall into the “Prince Charming” fascade. We are never supposed to argue with our spouses, the sex is always amazing, the diapers miraculously get changed… you name it. None of that is real. When you are in an emotional… or a physical affair… very rarely are the day to day life issues we all face brought into play. Instead you end up with a sympathetic ear about the problems, the “I can’t believe he/she said that, would treat you that way, doesn’t see how sexy you are…” I could go on and on. But that is not reality.

      From your post, you appear to be the one doing a lot of the work… you want to go to counseling and you say she has given up. She also doesn’t want to talk about any of it. No kidding, it’s painful. I don’t like talking about it with my husband either, but it’s part of the healing process for him, and as unpleasant as it may be for both of us, if that is what it takes, then I am in.

      The ball really seems to be in her court right now. But to build trust, she really needs to take ownership of what she did, the feelings and emotions it caused, and then decide whether or not to try to work through the problems with you or move on. Affairs are rarely the cause of marital problems… they are a symptom of something that was missing or a problem that is there. No one can tell you what the right path is, but living in limbo and not moving forward is surely difficult. No one knows what the future will hold, but at least I know I have done everything in my power to rectify all the problems and issues within our marriage that led me to stray in the first place. If things don’t work, it will not be because I took the easy way out or was blinded seeing someone in the light they wanted me to see them in.

      Best wishes and good luck.

    • Need to Heal

      I’m so glad I found this site – the post and comments have really resonated with me. I am the cheater in this case. I have been married for almost 20 years, and recently had a 4-month emotional affair with a man I had known from my childhood, who now lives across the country from me. He is also married. We reconnected on Facebook, and chats evolved into daily phone calls. There was also phone sex, but we never got together physically, since we live so far away from one another. I wasn’t looking for an affair, but somehow I became very seduced by this man. I had also been very frustrated by the lack of romance in my marriage. He told me he loved me (about a month into the affair), which made it particularly hard to resist. Anyway, to make a long story short, I was the one who ended it because I was having some serious anxiety issues about the relationship, even though my husband hadn’t discovered it. After ending it, I told my husband about it. He was upset, but willing to forgive me. It’s been two weeks since the break-up and I’m still depressed. I know it was all just a fantasy, but I’m having so much difficulty getting over it. One lesson I’ve learned is that I’ll never have an affair again, after all the pain that this has caused both me and my husband. I’m just wondering if anyone has advice for getting through this grieving process, and how long this might take. It’s especially tough because I don’t want to let my husband know that I’m still grieving this loss.

      • Sidney

        Need to Heal,
        Lately there’s been a lot of discussion on the CS’s grieving process. As a cheater myself, I can give you my two cents on the process…. First of all, the word process is correct. It won’t happen over night (wouldn’t be great if it could???). And also…the process is a lonely one….like you said, you can’t talk to your husband about it and really, who CAN you talk to about it?? Unless they’ve experienced an EA, they can’t understand it.

        The first two things I did contradict themselves….I kept a journal (on my work computer so no one would read it). I typed all of my thoughts and emotions in it. It allowed me to express everything I wanted and needed to say….either to myself or to the OM. It was just a way to release everything I was feeling. I go back now and reread what I’ve written and I am surprised at much of it….but it shows me how how far I’ve come in my recovery process. The second thing was to keep myself busy. If I kept my mind occupied, I was less likely to think about the OM and/or the situation. I know writing in a journal kept my mind on the affair…but it was a release of sorts. I could make my entry and then my mind was ‘free’ to be occupied with other things. Does that make sense??

        And the third thing I did was to continue reading on this site. I guess, too, that sounds somewhat contradictory to not thinking about the OM….but for some reason, I find it theraputic to read this site. It also reinforces why I would not do this again simply because I see the devastating effects it has on marriages.

        And regardless of whether or not it was a ‘fantasy,’ the feelings you felt for the OM were real….and that’s the tough part to let go of. Having no contact with him will be hard, but it will be necessary in the process. Your feelings will begin to subside. The time line for this? Everyone’s is different.

        Good luck to you!

    • Need to Heal

      Thank-you so much for your advice. I will try the journal – that sounds like a great method of releasing pent-up emotions. I have noticed that keeping my brain occupied with other things has helped, which is why I’ve immersed myself in my work during the week. Weekends are the toughest, I’ve found. The depression seems to come in waves throughout the day, and often with anxiety. When needed, I’ve taken a Xanax to calm down. I’ll be so glad when this fog lifts and I can enjoy life again.

    • Need to Heal

      After three weeks of no contact, I got an email from my former AP, telling me he misses me. I responded by telling him that I would be happy to remain friends, but nothing beyond that. I think I could handle a friendship with him, with occasional correspondence. I don’t know if he could handle this though, so I told him that if friendship isn’t enough for him, I’ll understand if I don’t hear from him again. I keep reading that it’s important to cut off all contact with a former AP, so perhaps I did the wrong thing. This is all so difficult.

    • Lynne

      Need to Heal-

      IMO, yes, you did the wrong thing! If your AP is reaching out to you to say he misses you, it’s doubtful that he’s JUST thinking of a “friendship” with you. And if you don’t think he can handle a friendship, why are you even responding to him?

      I assume that you are married, yes? If so, does your H know about your affair? Whether he does or not, you are continuing a deception. If someone has been addicted to drugs, they can’t partake every once in a while without the risk of needing a more frequent fix–and then away they go–back into the spiral.

      You can stop this now! If he responds back to you, regardless of what he says, DO NOT REPLY! This is how you got there in the first place, by not setting good limits.

      • Need to Heal

        You are right. It’s been almost 24 hrs. since I responded to him, and I haven’t heard back, so I’m hoping he will stop emailing me. Now when I think about, this correspondence has been a setback for me. By the way, I am married, and my H knows about this.

    • Sidney

      Need to Heal,
      I’d been thinking about you so I’m glad you gave an update. What your AP did was normal….I think when an affair ends, it is very normal for the two people involved to wonder how the other one is doing. And although the no contact rule is important, the ‘checking in on how you’re doing’ text or email is a normal part of the process. AND…I understand you replying to it (please no rude comments BSes…) It’s like you don’t want to be rude to them and just not reply…..but you know it’s not right to do it since you are supposed to have no contact…. I think you handled it very well….simply stating that you need to be friends. It was concise and to the point.

      But can I also say….that it is also going down a slippery slope. Believe me….I ‘get’ what you’re saying about you think you can handle the ‘just friends’ thing….it’s exactly how I feel too. However, an occasional email or text can really get your mind reeling again. Case in point…’s the latest in my saga…..two weekends ago I saw the OM for the first time in 17 months. We’d cut communication 6 months ago….. We exchanged pleasantries and then bam…first thing Monday morning he sent me an email to say it was good to see me. He also wanted to see how things had been going since we cut communication. Several emails back and forth and that was it. However, now he’s back on my mind. I mean, over the past 6 months he’s been on my mind (daily), but it’s now a bit more intense. Although I don’t feel like I did 6 months ago, I do feel like the ole “one step forward, two steps back” thing. So…..I’m back on this site trying to get my mind back in focus.

      Hang in there Needs to Heal. It’s not an easy journey, but it sounds like you are on the right track! Have you started your journal? I hope it’s helping.

      • Need to Heal

        It’s so helpful to share experiences with someone who’s been down the same road that I have – so, thank-you…After hearing your story, and thinking about how this recent email correspondence with the OM has affected me, I believe it’s best to cut off all contact. Hearing from him certainly stirred up emotions in me again – I think it was a setback. Now I hope that I won’t hear back from him (which would signal to me that he can’t handle just being friends with me.) Luckily, in my case, the OM lives across the country from me, so I don’t have to worry about running into him. It’s still such a struggle to get over him, though. I have been journaling, and it’s helping – thanks for your advice. Best of luck to you in your healing process too – let’s keep in touch on this site.

        • Sidney

          Yes…definitely…..keep in touch!!!

          • Need to Heal

            Sidney – If there is a way to do this, would you be interested in exchanging emails? It would have to be done privately, of course — Perhaps Linda or Doug could facilitate this….

            • Need to Heal

              Sidney – Doug just responded (under another comment below) that he is willing to give us each other’s email addresses. If you are OK with this, I’ll send him an email.

            • Sidney

              Sure….that would be great. Doug…do I also need to send you an email?

            • Doug

              No, that’s OK. I’ll send you each an email with each other’s address

        • Paula

          Need to Heal, I know it must be very, very hard to let the OP go, as Lynne said, we’ve all had relationships that have finished, and we all know what it is like to “lose” the other person, whether we finished it, or they did. However, I will share with you something that my OH and I have learnt the hard way. When I discovered his affair (with a friend of ours, 15 months in duration, she came on holiday with us, spent a lot of time with us as a family, it was incredibly hurtful being with someone so close to me) he had already ended it, he was out of the fog already, she decided to tell me all about it about a month later, when she realised he really meant it (she had been both emotionally and financially blackmailing him.) I said to him that if he wanted to try to salvage what we had together, for 22 pretty wonderful years, then he could meet up with her one last time, to say his final goodbyes, but that there then would have to be no more contact, if he wanted me to try to forgive him and move forward. He said he didn’t need to meet her, however, I would have liked to, the three of us, to have a calm, adult conversation, with me being able to express my hurt, deep diappointment in the pair of them, and sorrow and listen to her side of the story (I guess I expected some kind of apology??) She wouldn’t agree to that. However, she continued to text my OH for another two and a half years. I asked my partner to change his number, he refused, however, his phone was always available to me, and when he received texts from her, he always told and showed me. HOWEVER, I asked him not to reply, as I felt it was just fuelling the fire. He did reply on several occasions, I knew the contents of the replies, but I was gobsmacked that he didn’t “get it.” I kicked him out (three times – the longest being about 4 months) and we have been to hell – and are just on the way back now! My partner has recently (within the last 4 months or so) realised that by not changing his number earlier (he did finally do it last December) he prolonged my agony, as I was constantly a cat on a hot tin roof – every time that damn phone went off, I jumped. He now is SO disappointed he didn’t understand earlier that the no contact is really important to the BS, as otherwise it says to us that we are not important enough, that our fears and needs are not real, and/or they don’t really matter. He took it as a challenge, he didn’t want her “to win” by him having to fold, and change his number. None of his contact was sweet, caring or trying to stay in touch with her, it was all along the lines of please leave us alone now, we’re trying to repair the gaping chasm that has appeared in our relationship, however, I felt that his replies kept her hopes up somehow. He also says it was like a recovering alcoholic, he wanted her to be available, but for him to CHOOSE NOT to contact her, like going out to a social event with booze all around, and NOT partaking. He actually was doing everything else “right” – he understood the damage, owned it, stood up in front of our community and bore their judgement, defended me to the outside world,etc, etc, but the damage done by this one silly thing is IMMENSE! I really do wish to convey to all CSs that the no contact “rule” is a good one, and it may be the difference between your marriage survivng or failing. Please take note, Need to Heal.

          • Need to Heal

            Paula — It’s very good to hear your perspective as a BS. You must have been through hell with that experience. I’m glad that your marriage has been salvaged, after all you’ve gone through. Very painful indeed, especially since this involved a mutual friend.

            I was definitely in a fog during those 4 months that I was in the EA. It really felt like a drug addiction — my brain chemicals were dictating my actions. The OM and I thought we were in love, but I now realize that it was only infatuation. Even so, I’ve had a tough time getting over him, and that recent email from him has not helped. I am now realizing that the no-contact rule is very important.

      • Lynne

        Sidney & Need to Heal

        I haven’t been in your same shoes, but for those of us who have been in love, we can certainly relate to how hard it can be to let go. Were it so easy to do, many of us would have let our C’s go some time ago.

        But Sidney, when you say that, “you don’t want to be rude and just not reply”, this makes little sense to me. Since your H’s know of your AP, and assuming you’ve committed to them there would be NC, isn’t it being RUDE to your spouses to respond at all? I’m sorry but it sounds as if you hold your AP’s in higher regard than your H’s. If it’s truly over with your AP’s, then isn’t it time to take the high road and let it die? To think that you can check in once in a while with each other and “just be friends” is ludicrous. And when you engage in contact, and it makes you feel even worse afterward, isn’t this a sign that IS NOT possible to be friends. That it stirs up these kinds of feelings for both of you suggests that you are not looking at this in a pure way.

        Also, I’m curious, do your H’s know about these contacts by email and bumping into your AP?

        • Need to Heal

          I can tell you that I don’t hold the OM in higher regard than my H. I’m very vulnerable, emotionally, at this point (since my EA ended just 3 weeks ago), so I’m prone to making mistakes. In my case, I probably wasn’t direct enough when I originally cut off contact. I just told him I needed a long “time-out” — okay, please don’t scold me about this – I know it wasn’t the right response. So this time I was much more direct with him, telling him that friendship was the only option, if he wants to stay in contact with me at all. At least this gives us both some closure, I hope. If I had been direct with him initially, I think that ignoring subsequent emails from him would have been appropriate.

    • Need to Heal

      Another thing I want to say is that I have come to this site for advice and support as I heal – I appreciate the points you’ve made, but you come across as being very harsh, probably because you come from the perspective of a betrayed spouse. Those of us who have had the affairs are suffering too, and need to be treated more gently as we go through this grieving and healing process. Giving advice is good, but it needs to be delivered in a kinder manner.

      • Law Mom

        Dear Need to Heal:

        I am the betrayed spouse and six years out from the extreme hell that my former spouse created in my life – mental, emotional, financial, physical, and 20 plus year relationship. Most importantly my kids were harmed in so many ways due to their father’s weaknesses AND that of the women/cheaters who had no concern for the effect that her own actions had on me and my kids!

        It appears as if you were a cheater and purposely took action to harm another person. How is it that your feelings need to be treated in a kinder manner on this site? When I read your comment, I am so concerned as it demonstrates such a lack of clarity or empathy as to the damage that is caused by the cheating person and those who choose to be involved with the cheater. Yours is an old post and hopefully, you have grown through the process and passing of time to realize that while it is important to be kind to all people, maybe it is hard for betrayed spouses to control their comments which may be due the extreme pain and short and long term consequences that they were forced to suffer as a result of no fault of their own. Hopefully, this will give you some perspective.

    • Disappointed

      Need to heal- Lynne was not harsh at all with you. You are betraying your spouse again by maintaining contact. You need to make a decision. In this it is all or nothing or you are still trying to have your cake and eat it too. And remember it was your bad choices that have caused you to lose this valuable frindship. If it had stayed a friendship that respected the necessary boundaries you would not be in your own personal hell now. You will need to go through withdrawal and be kind to yourself while doing so, but that should not include maintaining contact.

    • Lynne

      Need to Heal-

      I apologize if my comments were too harsh–while I am a BS, I really do get that both sides of this equation are painful, for a variety of reasons. I have really appreciated (and benefited) from the insight of all BS’s and CS’s on this site.

      My attempt was to share that any continued contact will hurt all parties involved–I do understand its not easy to just walk away from someone you cared about. Yes, we all need to be treated gently!

      • Need to Heal

        Thank-you, Lynne — Your words mean a lot to me. I know I made a huge mistake, and I am trying so hard to heal and to work on my marriage.

        • Doug

          Sure thing. Just shoot me an email at help[@] and I can give you each others email address.

    • Sidney

      Hi. In my case, my H never knew of the affair. I chose to end it and work on my marriage.

      Also, I knew when I wrote the ‘didn’t want to be rude’ thing, that I was opening myself up to being trashed. I get that. But I want to give support to those who are going through what I went through and that statement is very real to someone ending an EA. My guess is…if you poll CSs…they would say the same thing. I would also hope that the comments from the CSs on this site would be a way for the BSs to ‘get inside the mindset of the cheater’ so-to-speak. Believe me, we are not here to cause more hurt to the betrayed……we are here to heal too. It’s, of course, a different type of healing then then betrayed, but it’s still healing for us. Because, believe it or not, cheaters have feelings too! 🙂

      As cheaters, we cannot understand what the betrayed are going through…..and the betrayed cannot understand what the cheaters are going through. We can’t understand, therefore we must accept. And….I accept that sometimes our words must sound horrible to the betrayed….but it’s how we feel. I often see comments on this site where the BSs wish more CSs would post….to learn more from ‘the other side of things……but it’s difficult to want to post when you get ripped.

      AND……I get that some cheaters are the ‘bunny boiler’ types….but my guess is the ones that are actually trying to stop their behavior and are here to heal are not those types. If you read any of the CS’s posts….they are genuinely sorry for their behavior and are making an effort to understand themselves better and to heal.

      Whew….okay sorry….didn’t mean to write so much.

      • Jay

        Trying to heal…lifelong male friend became my emotional affair. He told me marriage was over. Led me on. Three years. Only emotional affair..He never left wife. Abruptly ended friendship. Hurting…trying to heal.

    • Rachel

      Sydney, I’ll tell you what the betrayed spouse is going through? BLOODY HELL! That’s what were going through. My teenage boys are so hurt because of these two inconsiderate pieces of slime did to their family.
      Our youngest son had to go into counseling immediately because he was so depressed. His dad was in love with some other women from his past. He declared his love to her. How does a fifteen year old handle a statement like that. Our older son came home from college and just sobbed. Thank goodness for the punching bag.
      I printed out the I Hate You list from this web site. I like the first one: you broke the unwritten rule among women. Women support each other. I plan to bring it to the OW. Then I will
      share to her husband what his precious wife has been doing since feb. 2011 . So Sydney in a nut shell, that is what the betrayed FAMILY is doing.

    • aida

      hey guys, some of you know me as long-winded aida from the the other page.

      I’m interested in this topic “How A Person Involved in An Emotional Affair Heals”. i realise that a lot of us are in pain so my post is actually said in a kind and gentle way….

      my dear friends – the hardest part about HEALING is that we keep holding onto sharp blades (i.e. ANGER and REVENGE) and we refuse to let go even as their edges cut through our very flesh.

      so what do i do? i forgive. i forgive the unforgivable. i am still pushing and training myself to forgive – on a daily basis. after two – three weeks of this, it gets easier. PRAYER helps. Reading the Holy Book helps. Releasing pain through this forum helps.

      I release the pain not because I deserve to be hurt, but because i don’t want the hurt. I didn’t ask for it, and I don’t want to claim ownership of it.

      So, i turn it over to GOD, whose promises provide a balm for my heart. I keep praying, hoping that GOD will help me and protect me.

      I told myself and our children that we will not hate, we will forgive and we will rise above. WE RISE ABOVE the crap and the thrash that is thrown into our lives today.

      Instead, I acknowledge the pain that I have caused my husband. I acknowledge the frustrations he is feeling and I learn from mistakes.

      IT DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK but sometimes it helps to reduce the pain.

      I would like to share this with you : “Turn Away From Bitterness and Say a Forgiveness Prayer!”
      Written by Contributing Blogger
      Aysha Ives
      “When we’ve become offended in some way, it’s easy to hold a grudge against the person who’s hurt us. Hurt feelings can cause a person to curse or to say other things that aren’t pleasing to God. In fact, bitterness is so strong that it could even cause a person to go weeks without speaking to friends or loved ones!
      However, in order to continually walk in a loving and peaceful state, we have to learn to forgive the people who have hurt us. I’m going to share with you a method that helps me to walk in a state of forgiveness, even when my feelings have been hurt.
      Let me give you a little background information first. One day I was sitting in bible study when a Christian Counselor, Rev. Paul Morgan, Ph.D., spoke to the congregation. Rev. Morgan shared with us the importance of the prayer of forgiveness. I was immediately drawn to this process that I’m now going to share with you.
      Rev. Morgan shared with us that it takes ninety seconds before a thought becomes an emotion. In other words, it takes ninety seconds before we experience anger regarding something that is said to us. Therefore, whenever you feel something unpleasant, that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach, you should immediately go into a prayer of forgiveness. This way, you’ll prevent the negative words from taking root inside of you.
      If you don’t capture the thought before it becomes a negative emotion, the negative emotion could cause you to walk out of alignment with God. For example, how many times have you said something hurtful to someone else in anger? Exactly! So, before you say something that you may regret later, go into prayer instead.
      Once you’ve said the prayer, and repeated it as many times as necessary to make the negative thought disappear, you’ll then be able to handle the situation in a more appropriate, loving and God-pleasing manner.
      Here’s my forgiveness prayer. Feel free to use it!

      “Dear God, please help me to forgive this person for hurting my feelings. Help me to see the greatness in her and to love her the way that You do. Help me to relinquish the anger that I’m experiencing so that I can walk in the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Help me to heal from this incident and to release any bitterness that I may be harboring. Please give me guidance in this situation, so that I can approach it in the way that is most pleasing to You. Help me God to do Your will. Thank You, and in GOD’s name, I pray. Amen.” “

      • aida

        Prayer and Healing :
        Prayers for strength, healing, and coping with life’s challenges

        So pray. Pray for peace, pray for healing, pray for the courage to overcome injustice, pray for resolve, pray for others, pray for yourself. Pray to God with all your heart and soul, then gather up your might to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

        Prayer is not a passive activity. Prayer alters us. It awakens us. Our eyes begin to notice beauty where we never noticed it before. Our hearts begin to feel compassion we never knew we had. Our priorities shift. As we talk to God, we receive the encouragement to live up to the potential inside us. Soon we start to see beyond ourselves into the world that is waiting for our help.

        I believe God is listening. And I believe God answers us. God’s answer to our prayers may be very different from the answer we were searching for. God’s reply might come as the strength to fight on. It may come as the courage to face what we have been fearing. God’s answer may be the ability to accept what we have been denying. Or it may appear as hope in the face of despair. God is neither distant nor deaf. We are not alone. God is present in our lives. When we stop bargaining with God and start opening up our souls to God, our prayers suddenly start working. We can pray for strength and receive strength. Prayer is ultimately an experience, not a request. It is a sense of being connected, of being part of something larger than ourselves. It is an attempt to be in the presence of God.

        The following affirmations from Daily Word will help you refocus during difficult times. Repeat them silently or aloud and feel the peace of God embracing you:
        • God is the source of limitless good that is continually blessing me.
        • I am flexible as I allow God’s plan to emerge and evolve.
        • I let go and let my faith in God carry me through.
        • With a silent, heartfelt prayer, I let go and let God heal my relationships.
        • I let go and let God, knowing that the source of all good is in charge.

    • Lost

      My husband and i play online games together. I almost had a physical affair with someone 2 years ago that my husband still believes I did. So i know why he feels this way. I recently made another character and started playing it by myself and ran across another character and after a bit we started talking in real life. Chatting in game became a skype call wtih others in his group of friends to texting and phone calls. He is an extreme introvert and so am I. While my husband has 2 very close brothers and a large family and even after 6 years is very overwhelming to me. This guy and I talked a long time in regards to just the game then to our common interests then we found ourselves talking about our insecurities and the abuse that both of us had in experienced our childhood. Looking in hindsight I can see the emotes he sent Me: I have had a bad day. Friend: *strokes you hair* were bad. This was the one my husband found and demanded a divorce. I dismissed the emotes as being one of comforting. We never talked about loving each other, sex, nothing intimate at all. And he knows I am very married and I love my husband. So I never considered it as an emotional affair. I thought “Holy crap! Someone finally understands how hard it is to be around people and that things in the past cannot be so easily let go of.” I kept talking to him although i was told not to and told him what happened, and this other person feels very bad about it but still says I am the only one he has been able to talk about his fears and pain and even though I have tried psychiatrists, therapy and even trying to talk to my husband about it all I feel I get is Here try this pill, heres a journal or a just get over it.. Hearing for the first time in my life of “Yeah me too.” was an eye opener, I decided that i wasnt going to put on this mask of” im a friendly outgoing ill do anything to please you sort of person” that I had lived like for 6 years. But my husband is angry hurt and distrustful of me talking to this guy. If it was a woman would it have been different? I dont know.

      My husband installed spyware and has my passwords so he can check if I am doing anything and that hurts too. He can see whatever he wants if he would just ask. I have even told my husband everything, but still demands me never to talk to this person. All he saw was the emote above. Its hard though because him and I are in the same boat with our personalities and all we see is a good friendship and nothing more ever, even before my husband found the text. . Seriously nothing at all more. It hard to let that go as I dont make friends easily and neither does he. I dont know what to do. I love my husband and our marriage but theres someone out there that will listen to me and I can to them and just accept it.

      • Greg

        You may feel that this was just a friendship but look at it objectively. You almost had a PA which I guess means it was an EA, you created a new online character, did you husband know about it?, you start chatting up someone online and talking about personal issues, did you husband know you were talking to someone and what about?, he sent you inapproprite emotes, when you were asked to stop you kept talking to him even though it hurt your husband.

        When you hide a ‘friendship’ from you partner, talk about private issues, and have inappropriate comments it is an emotional affair. These are not things you should be doing behind your husbands back especial if you already have had issue similar to this.

        Your husband is right not to be trusting of you right now as you did this behind his back and kept it up when he asked you to stop. How is he supposed to trust you right now? You have to earn that trust back and show him it will never happen again and it will likely take some time.

        The real issue is the trust and he doesn’t have any right now. An example from my own marriage and my wife’s EA is a good illustration of this. She has always had lots of male friends and talked to them about a wide variety of subject, some of them personal, but because I new about these friendships and what they talked about I trusted her around them and there was never any issue. Our issue was when she kept her friendship with a co-worker and what they talked about hidden. She kept it hidden because she new it was inapproprite with the difficulties we were having at the time and was focusing on this ‘friendship’ and the attention he was showing her. The loss of trust was the biggest blow for me, we should be able to trust those that we are married to absolutely. When that trust is broken it hurts physically and mentally because it turns our world upside down in one fell swoop.
        I would serious go back to counseling and try to find one that you like and helps you. The fact that you had abuse in the past and have now hurt the one you are supposed to love twice shows that you need help to sort out you problems and feelings. You also need to delete your character and block this other guy from any contact with you, it is inappropriate and hurtful to you husband. If you are unable to do this then you should leave rather than cause more pain and hurt to you husband.

        Sorry if it sounds a little harsh but it is reality.

    • Crystal

      I’m really just looking for some insight. I’ve been with my husband for 7 yrs. We have been married for 3 if them. I’ve just recently found out he has been having an emotional affair with his ex for the past yr. My step daughter found some text messages she found suspicious & informed me of them. When I asked my husband about it he first sed he had been flirty & knew it was wrong. I pushed deeper & learned they had been having phone sex on a regular basis since the beginning of this yr. This is where it become more difficult for me. I found some nude pics they had sent each other when we had been together for a yr. I was crushed needless to say. I spoke with them both & they both assured me it was a mistake & wouldnt happen again. I believed them. The only reason I tried to make it work then was the fact that they hav a son together & understand how hard it can b to move on. I myself hav two daughters. His ex had a two yr old when they met & as I sed, had a son together. All of the children were under the age if 6 when we started dating. Anyway his ex met a man she was with until a yr. ago. This is when she began conversations with my husband again. When she became single. He sed they started out innocent things about the kids & I do believe this is true. Somewhere down the line it became more. He never told me he began speaking with her more & more often. In fact he hid it from me. He is in the oilfield & works 7 days away & 7 days home, so it wasn’t very difficult. While he was away was when all the conversations took place. I’ve never been insecure & felt I needed to go through his things or check his phone. I guess it wouldn’t have mattered if I did because he made sure to erase it all in case I did. See as how they hav a son, I can’t just make her go away. He is gone a week at a time so I can’t be sure if they r still talking while he is away. He has been very open & honest, but only when I ask him questions. He doesn’t freely tell me anything. Well, he has been telling me when she calls or texts him as far as I kno. He did tell her he didn’t want to speak with her any longer & asked if she would text me instead about the children. Her response was that she didn’t get paid enough to go through a mediator. My husband asked if she would do this so he could try to save his marriage. She sed she didn’t have a kid with me & blocked my number so I couldn’t contact her even if I wanted to & there was no way in hell she would speak to me. Things will become very difficult if u don’t talk to me she sed to him. He has no court order for visitation & has always paid his child support on time without a court order. This woman is making thing as difficult as possible. She came up with the idea that she would only call when he was home & he could put his phone on speaker so I could heat what was sed & we would set up a time each week as to when we would get the kids & exchange any information needed, yet she continues to text him & call when she knows he is at work. Because this I’d the second time this sort of thing has happened I’m at a loss. I feel he has to put an end to it & I’m not sure he will for fear of losing his son. I want to trust him, but not sure I can because she isn’t someone we can just make go away. How do I handle this situation?

    • Unsure

      Very thoughtful posts, everyone. My marriage started fading about eight years ago. I wasn’t looking, but I ended up in an EA/became PA with a single OM for six years. It felt very real – heck, I’ll say it *was* extremely real – we talked often about marriage, but my wish to keep my family together kept me on the fence about leaving, until I realized I didn’t want to be adulterous any more and I ended it eight months ago. As a result, after years of patient waiting he has moved on to a new relationship; however, we have shared since then that our relationship had a depth that we do not have with our current partners. I keep feeling that I should want to recommit to my husband, and even try to stay a family (although the children are now all out of the house); but I just don’t feel it. It’s hard to believe that the EA that lasted through thick and thin for so long is just a fantasy, although I am willing to entertain the possibility. In my heart, I see myself leaving the marriage and, this time, legitimately joining OM (if it’s not too late – he’s not completely overjoyed with the new woman but feels she is enough and is resolved to move forward and see what will come of it). But I struggle with the sadness of having given up on my marriage, even though I’m not sure what I could possibly do to kindle feelings that I do not have. Thoughts welcome.

      • chiffchaff

        Unsure – I’m feeling sorry for the new partner of your ex-OM right now. How awful to have her new partner discussing her like that, like some sort of ‘it’ll do’ commodity to him. She deserves better.
        And what about your H? How must he feel to be so much a second choice to your one true love (who managed to move on to another person quite easily).
        Both you and your ex-OM sound very selfish, or self-centred, to me. Stop playing with other people’s lives. Give your H and your family more of a chance of happiness by giving your H a choice in whether or not he’s happy to be with someone who’s still looking over the fence at some distant grass.
        Grow up.

    • Amanda

      Since this other man has moved on with a new relationship
      which is a smart move considering your married, why don’t you focus on whats going on inside you.
      Unsure, instead of an affair, counseling would be a better
      choice in helping you. Find out whats missing inside you,
      so you don’t go looking for an affair for finding your worth and value, if anything an affair makes this worse.
      There is nothing this other man can give you that will heal
      whats unhappy inside you, an affair is a mask to cover
      a deeper problem, within you.
      Use this time for self growth.

      • Amanda

        You even said yourself that you no longer wanted to be in an adulterous relationship, something inside you still valued you enough, so you ended that affair. If the affair
        was all cracked up to be something great you would have
        never let it go, which tells me that it wasn’t that great to begin with.
        Leaving your marriage for this other man is like jumping
        from the frying pan straight into the fire. If you do decide
        to leave your marriage wouldn’t it be better to remain singe and give yourself sometime to find out who you are
        and give yourself the chance to settle and not to be in such a rush to get into another relationship. If your not wanting
        to be married, then stay out of another relationship until
        you have your own life straightened out, or work on your
        marriage. Don’t run to a new relationship until you have
        settled your life down and dealth with the marriage you
        are in now.

    • Amanda

      This other man is not the answer, counseling would be
      a much better choice. This would give you the time that you need to work through the issues that are within you.
      Also it will give you time to slow down and not be in such a rush, and you will be able to make choices from a healthy
      point of view verses a deseperate one.
      By letting this other man go and working on yourself in the
      end it will be to your own advantage.

    • Gizfield

      Unsure, I’m not sure what advice you are seeking, but here goes. It appears your **fuck buddy** has moved on from your Great Love, and you should do the same. If you really wanted to be together, you would be together. Sorry to be so graphic, but we ARE discussing ADULTERY here.

    • Carly

      Chiffchaff and Gizfield,
      Regardless if it’s adultery or not….Unsure came to this site for help….not to be spoken to so rudely. You may not agree with her choices, but for goodness sakes…quit being such bitches. Every reader on this site knows you two are still quite bitter about your situations, but come on….. she is a human being with emotions….and she wouldn’t be on this site if she wasn’t looking for help. You don’t know all the circumstances involved in her story. Thank you, Amanda, for being compassionate with your responses.

      And I still stand completely amazed that Gizfield is so horrible to cheaters since she too is a cheater. And don’t give everyone the whole “it was 20 years ago and he was abusive” line because “once a cheater always a cheater.” Sorry babe, but YOU ARE a cheater too. Lighten up on others. This is a site for healing regardless if it’s the betrayed or the cheater. Use your experience to help others….not hurt them……

    • Gizfield

      That was so unexpected, you think I dont realize anytime I express an opinion that I will get the “once a cheater” speech. 20 years ago, last week, same difference. It’s always from a tolerant person defending a cheater who needs “advice”. Usually, the person wanting advice sounds like they actually want “validation” of what they did/ are doing/will do. How special their relationship was, how it is not really wrong, they can’t stop, etc.etc. What should they do? So whats your advice, Carly? I dont feel bitter, because I took care of my situation. I chose to leave my husband, he didnt leave me. I dont think I’m a bitch, and neither is Chiffchaff, but you are very welcome to your opinion, as are we. Dont forget to give your advice. Unsure might be able to save her marriage, but ONLY if she gives up her illusions about her boyfriend.

    • Gizfield

      Oh, one more thing, Are there “circumstances we dont know about” that make this ok? Your viewpoint is very contradictory, Carly. I imagine what you, and a lot of others, would like to say to me is that you think “I got what I deserve”. Very tolerant and forgiving, now aren’t you?

    • GettIngOverIt

      I am so grateful to have found this site. It has really been therapeutic to read many of these posts, and I thank you for providing this forum.

      About a week ago I wrote a no-contact email to a single man I’ve been having an EA with for nearly 4 mos. I’m married; we met on Facebook. I’ve never met the man and he lives 1300 miles away, but about 3 wks prior to the no-contact email, I had planned a trip to see him under the guise of visiting a family member who lives near where he lives. He and I both finaly confessed via text that we felt guilty about the scheduled meetup and he asked me to change my flight… I was angry because I’d spent so much money on the flight and several weeks prior to that he’d been “so excited” to finally meet me. According to him he had run into a woman he’d had an affair with while he was married (he has been divorced 5 yes now) and this brought back all the guilt he’d carried with him from that affair (he got divorced thinking he would marry the woman he had an affair with but she went back to her H–she got pregnant by the man with whom I’ve been having the affair and they decided to abort the child, then after she went back to her H she and her H had a child together and she emailed the guy with whom I’ve been having the affair with a pic of her new baby and told him she wondered what their baby would have looked like… I can’t imagine going through all that).

      Anyway, I had been worried from the time I purchased my plane ticket to the time this sudden guilt arose (it was there all the time I think) that I would be stood up in an unfamiliar town because he would text me sporadically, call when it was convenient for him, message me on Facebook, etc. We always talked about his problems and I was always the ear for him; rarely did we talk about what was going on in my life… he seemed severely depressed and said his ex-gfs had called him “broken” on a number of different occasions… I genuinely felt sorry for him.

      I tried to end the relationship even a week into it but he was upset about it I gave in to the pressure… I actually tried to end the EA several times but he seemed so sad. Then came an “I love you!” via text from me, followed by an “I loved you first” text from him, and that further complicated what was going on. I’ve only told three people in my life that I loved them: an ex-bf that I dated for 4 yrs, my H, and now this guy. I have only ever had sex with 2 men (my ex-bf and my H) and this guy sounded ULTRA experienced and I think the sex with him would have been amazing because he sounded very experienced (which was a turnoff but also a turn-on). I felt both on top of the world because all his ex-gfs were extremely attractive, and felt he’d picked me out of a sea of gorgeous women (though all of these exes he’s dated after his divorce have only remained with him, at most, 6 mos)… But at the same time I felt guilty as hell. We said “I love you” and “I miss you” and “I wish you were here” nearly every night before we went to bed, sexted, had phone sex (he had asked for MY number and friended ME on Facebook–we had a mutual friend who virtually introduced us), sent pics back and forth to one another… We knew everything about each other, I thought–he told me things he said he’d never shared with anyone. He told me I was unlike anyone he’d ever dated and that he would never even have approached me in real life because he thought I was out of his league. The messages on Facebook were niceties at first but then turned into flirtation and quickly we were having 3-hr phone conversations, with him wondering what our children would look like if we ever got married and had them (he’s in his early 40s and has no children). It felt like we were dating even though we never met. But when it became “real,” he flinched first, and honestly, it devastated me. Did he ever really love me? Did he always just see me as this online fantasy?? It was odd because he had gotten angry with me early on, thinking I thought of him as a fantasy–and I did try several times to push him away because I didn’t want to fall in love with him. I guess I will never really know how he really felt about me though.

      After I canceled my plane ticket (and thank God was able to recoup the entire cost of the ticket) I told him I would not call or text him ever again. He quickly took me off his private Twiitter account and blocked me on Facebook, only to unblock me several days later… He “unliked” pictures of me on Facebook which really hurt, resigned from the Words With Friends game we’d been playing… Then several days later after I’d not texted, emailed, called or messaged him I get this out-of-the-blue message from him on Facebook: “I know it is moot now but I still care about you and love you.”

      I was finally getting over him, I felt, when this message came, and it again devastated me. I messaged him that it wasn’t moot and confessed that I still cared about him… That I still loved him… That I missed him… And then I blocked him because I just couldn’t deal with the hurt, and sent him an email saying I was going off Facebook for a few days because I couldn’t bear to see his face. He seemed hurt, saying that he knew I’d just blocked him. I archived the messages so they wouldn’t pop up every time I opened my messages, deleted the locked folder of pictures of him from my phone, deleted the one voicemail from him that I’d kept. Finally I deleted even the archived messages…

      We sent a few emails back and forth after this… I sent him a picture of me (yes–clothed) with the subject head, “to remember me by” and he’d replied with “even if I wanted to I could never forget how beautiful you are.”

      His final email to me said, among other things, “I do miss you,” and I replied a couple of times to that and never heard anything from him after those replies (which isn’t uncommon with him–he would go days without replying to emails or text messages he sent, saying he was depressed or sick or both).

      I finally sent him an email saying that I loved my husband and kids (I have been married almost 15 years and my H and I have a 12-yr-old and a 7-yr-old–I’m in my mid-30s) and I told the OM I didn’t want to put my family in jeopardy by continuing this relationship and told him I would not contact him again–and I have not. I changed my Facebook cover photo to a family picture and my profile picture to one of me and my husband just in case the OM Googles my name (yes, he’s still blocked but you can still see soneone’s Facebook pic if you Google them).

      But I find myself daily checking the email folder I filtered his emails to with the shred of hope that he’ll email me back, and wondering, again, if he really loved me or if he was simply a narcissist trying to manipulate me.

      I’m angry with myself for letting this happen, for falling for a guy I never met, for “checking out” from my family for nearly four mos, etc., etc….

      The OM talked about wanting a family, not wanting to be alone, constantly told me I was beautiful, or stunning, or gorgeous, talked about moving here (supposedly had a job interview in the town in which I live), told some of his ex-gfs about me (supposedly) who all told him this was a bad idea (and in our hearts I think he and I both knew it was)… I asked him if he’d respect me if we ever did meet and start a PA and he said he could never answer that question…

      Anyway, my H is a good man… Wonderful father and husband… But I have extremely low self-esteem, married young and often feel my H puts the kids ahead of me in our relationship so when this OM lavished me with attention I thought he was the best thing since sliced bread.

      There were things about the OM that I didn’t like at all but I looked past those things, which is interesting since even the tiniest things set me off with my H. I think, honestly, what kept me going, to a large degree, was the fact that this OM is extraordinarily attractive and at least on the surface seemed to think I was very attractive as well. (Clearly, though–and pardon the cliche–you can’t judge a book by its cover.)

      I stil have the OM blocked on Facebook, as I said, haven’t sent him further emails and have heard nothing from him either and honestly don’t expect to. But I do miss him. I’m hurt. I’m sad. I feel I have lost a friend–someone I confided in. How long generally does it take to get over an EA that lasted nearly 4 mos?? I’ve never ever fallen in love with someone outside my marriage and haven’t felt the way I *thought* I I felt about this OM since my high school bf, whom I dated for 4 yrs. I feel I’ve been used and now cast aside. I’m grateful I didn’t meet the OM–I think it would’ve done nothing more than compound the problem and I would’ve ultimately been even more hurt by the whole thing… But I am still wondering “what if,” as well as how long it will take to get over this.

      I’ve not told my H about this EA, btw… It would crush him, and the only person I think who would benefit from such a disclosure would be me because it would mean I’d get it off my chest.

      Anyway, thank you for listening, and for any advice you can provide.

      • chiffchaff

        Gettingoverit – your lengthy posting screamed low self esteem to me. This man knows that giving attention to women who are looking for any attention at all, is easy. Leave him well alone as Gizfield says.
        Look at yourself and how you can improve the dire way that you view yourself. No-one else will provide a magic bullet to make you feel better about yourself, only you can do that, anything else is taking the easy way and will not work. Get yourself some self-help books on improving your self esteem and communication skils so that you can talk to your H and improve your marriage together.
        You don’t need a scumbag like the OM to ‘help’ you because he won’t – he’s just helping himself. If you haven’t visited then do so in conjunction with this site as it can also provide you with mechanisms to help pull you out of poor cycles of behaviour.
        Good luck.

    • Gizfield

      Gettingoverit, I am not trying to hurt your feelings or be critical, but any woman, single or married, needs to run from this guy. Apparently, many already have. This did not “just happen.” Why on god’s earth is your Friend going around introducing single men to married women??? He sounds like a sociopath to me. The sob stories, the hostile exes, the sporadic communication, the controlling behaviors, the prior adultery. These are all Red Flags. “extremely attractive” men do not pursue married women that live 1300 miles away that they meet on Facebook. He is a player, at best. Be thankful you did not meet him!!!

    • Gizfield

      It also sounds as if you are still “in love” with this guy. Please consider why you think he is your friend; he is not. That is just a cover to continue seeing him in a positive light. He almost convinced you to ruin your marriage and family for someone you have never even MET. Friends do not do that. I’m sure others will disagree, but I think you are in danger of continuing this affairs. Guys like this always show back up. I think you should confess to your husband, if only to avoid future temptation. He is obviously giving you too muchspace for you to handle. At least at the present time. Just my thoughts.

    • Gizfield

      That looks like a great website, Chiffchaff, I’m going to check it out. Thanks for sharing it . gettingoverit, here is a new mantra for you, everytime you think of this guy:: ANY MAN (or woman) worth having does NOT pursue married women (men) on the internet.

      There are no exceptions.

    • Sad&Aching

      It has been enlightening reading these posts….GettIngOverIt…I can relate but we have met, not sure if one way is worse or better.

      I am the “offender”, spouses do not know thank goodness, there are kids on both sides, but the “abrupt end,” described above, happened recently and it is quite painful–it was not initiated by me.

      It is difficult as my spouse is very verbal and harsh on a daily basis, huge mood swings, abusive seems like a harsh way to put it but the name calling, fighting in front of the children, degrading comments are so painful, it should be labeled abuse I feel. It continues after we have participated in marriage counseling, my last hope in a way, so I now feel I’m at a total loss of what to do. I do stay as he adores out children, they adore him (granted the fights in front of them do not do them any good whatsoever…tough situation).

      When I did finally receive some positive (albeit could be lies/lines/etc) feedback and someone interested in “me”, not criticizing, it felt so refreshing, like “I’m not that bad after all?!” Mostly emotional, I felt such ease after even the slightest contact (not physical) with him, like a dose of medicine I needed to get through a few days. Very very limited times of person to person contact but ached for more, and honestly would even fantasize about getting a hug from him since they aren’t common between my H and I. He seemed safe for some reason, even though in reality he was probably far from it, having affairs with married woman and a huge sexual appetite.

      I can completely see how this is an addiction…as now I’m in “withdrawal” and feel depressed, guilty, sad, even shaky and that I need to start dealing with more emotional issues again in my own marriage instead of living in the fantasy of him. If I felt I had a healthy marriage I think I would feel worse about doing what I’ve done, but it has been soo incredibly rough, I was so lonely, and still am really. I know no marriage is perfect, we have been married for almost 10 years, and are different people now.

      Any advice is appreciated….did it get better GettIngOverIt?

    • Sidney

      I’m glad you are on this site. Reading the posts can be quite theraputic for anyone involved in an affair (either the CS or the BS). You got yourself caught up in an affair and unfortunately, you are now going through the ‘after effects’ of it. My two cents of advice include:
      1. Acknowledge and accept your actions. You were a participant in an affair….own up to your actions (this doesn’t necessarily mean fessing up to your husband) but allows you to accept what you did and learn from it. I find this helpful in recovery….and processing the ‘why’ and ‘what now’ aspect of the situation.

      2. Keep a journal during this ‘withdrawal’ stage. It helps keep the swirling thoughts from becoming too overwhelming. Write (or type) everything going through your mind. No one else is going to read it….so cuss, scream, whine, throw your pity party, etc and express everything and anything you are thinking/feeling. It may sound silly….but it is extremely theraputic.

      3.The affair was an addiction to you and you must treat it like one. Take it one day at a time and be prepared to struggle. It won’t be easy but in time it becomes easier. The manic feeling will subside. Don’t ‘slip.’ One sappy text can send you sliding back down that slope.

      4. You’ve lost someone who was very meaningful to you….therefore, you will need to mourn. It’s okay to mourn…. That’s where your journal comes in….

      5. You mentioned the word ‘fantasy’ which to me means the escape from reality. It sounds like you used this affair (in part) to escape the reality of your marriage. Your affair partner gave you things/made you feel things that you weren’t receiving from your husband. It felt good…..I know. It’s an intoxicating feeling. Having to live without that ‘high’ feeling is tough….but you can do it.

      6. And finally….work on your feelings of self worth. You are worthy of happiness….but happiness comes from within. Don’t rely on another person (man) to fulfill you. Do/find something that builds your confidence….that makes you happy….. A hobby, an activity, a positive friend, a new hair style, heck, even a new purse!!! Something that ‘fills you up’ and makes you feel alive, happy, and healthy!!!

      I’m truly sorry your husband exhibits abusive tendencies towards you. Not sure what to say about that. I hope whatever you choose for your marriage makes it happier and healthier….not only for you and your husband, but also for your children. HANG IN THERE!!

      • Sad&Aching

        Thank you so much for the advice Sidney…I really appreciate it. I have not spoken to anyone except one dear friend about this, and who is very busy and lives far away so I’m alone a lot with my emotions and thoughts, on top of the loneliness in my marriage.

        I guess for me its mostly coming to grips with the fact that after all the very personal sharing between us, the disappointment that he literally vanished one day with no rhyme or reason, no goodbye, which in turn shows me he’s ultimately not the man I thought he was in two tough blows. Either way, it is wrong, but its the sadness of what cannot be along with the disappointment of him as a person hurts.

        Maybe its a good thing, if we had a mutual “goodbye” the door may have always be left open, but now I just feel so alone in my marriage again and don’t know where to go. You’re right…those chemical reactions (dopomine) are like having a wonderful “natural” high, and do fade in time as reality sets in, and every time I’d get that “just checking in beautiful” note I would literally have a high and smile ear to ear for a few days or so.

        I do have many hobbies, work, lots of friends, and my wonderful kids, but it all comes in waves. I do journal (advice from the counselor) so luckily that was instilled a while ago, and man does it have some writing in it 😉 And I thank God that neither spouse found out as that would be devastating to the families…both spouses I presume would go to court, and as a child of divorce, that would be horrible.

        Thank you for taking the time to write me, I truly appreciate it.

    • Gizfield

      Sad and Aching, the things you have said make me think your affair partner was found out by his wife. And also that he may be a serial cheater. If so he probably knows that if he lays low for a while things will blow over, and his life can get back to”normal”.

      What happens most of the time is that when discovered by their significant other, the co cheater goes into hiding until they feel the threat of their spouse leaving them passes. You don’t say how long it’s been, but I would not be surprised to see him show back up. Or he may possibly have found another girlfriend. I do know this is hurtful for you but there’s no future in what you were doing. People on here will have good advice for you if you are willing to accept it. You can get over this guy, I promise.

      • Sad&Aching

        Thank you, yes it has been a few weeks which is unusual for the communication, but each day is getting better it seems, that I really wasn’t cared for if someone I cared for disappears, whether he was found out or not. The journal has helped as well. I can’t imagine a serial cheater but anything is possible. Thank you again.

    • PinkPeach

      I ended an EA a few weeks ago because he would not end it after his wife found one of my emails. When it first happened, he said he hoped we could reconnect in the future because he hated that idea of losing me. Although sad, I started to move on immediately because as I understood the situation, that’s what we had to do.

      Only 2 weeks later, he started contacting me again and we picked up where we left off but incredibly less contact. He even called me and I thought, wouldn’t she be looking at phone records now? Would she see my number?

      I decided to end it even though I didn’t want to because I didn’t want to be the reason if he would be caught again, I didn’t want his wife to find out who I was and tell my husband and I was starting to question everything. I really did not understand why he would risk talking to me again and it started to make me question his honestly about the situation. Did he just want a reason to talk to me less? Did he meet someone else? Did he not like me anymore?

      When I told him we should stop, he was adamant that everything was the truth and he risked talking to me because he didn’t want things to end like that. He really liked me and cared about me. However, he didn’t object to my decision and said I could reach out to him again to see how he was doing.

      After reading the blogs and comments, I’m starting to realize maybe why he didn’t end it. I don’t think he thought what he was doing was wrong. Yes, I know I was right there doing it with him but I always had the awareness that it was wrong, I just didn’t care at the time. He had told me he has never cheated on his wife but that prior to meeting me, he was in an online sexual relationship with someone for a year. He didn’t consider it cheating because “it’s not like I’m penetrating anyone.”

      I am really trying hard not to contact him again but it is difficult. I keep coming here and other blogs for inspiration not to put myself in that situation again, let go of the fantasy of who I think he is and what our relationship was, and keep moving forward with my emotional recovery/personal growth.

    • Ellie

      How it started. I was hired to take photos of the town he lives in. He (I’ll call him J) followed me around as I was working, but I really didn’t think to much of him. It wasn’t until he started telling me the sad stories of his life that I started to pay any attention.

      J wasn’t what I considered attractive, he had never been married and was in his 40’s. He told me he had just put his dog of 10 years down and that he was emotionally shattered. I felt bad for him and started listening to his stories. Everything seemed negative for him, his dad was sick, his co-workers were incompetent, his job didn’t give him the recognition he thought he deserved, he was “such a nice guy” but people kept taking advantage of him. And I fell for it. I listened and liked the attention he gave me.

      He would call everyday to talk to me, burn movies to DVD’s, “liked” everything that I posted on FB and YT, emailed and texted, and would respond within seconds to my questions or posts. It felt nice to have the attention. My husband and I have been married for 20 years and the “buzz” of newness had worn off.

      I look back now and I see where things turned into an EA – after the first few months, I started keeping all of the conversations and outings with J a secret from my husband. It was exciting at first – but after a few months, the guilt from keeping secrets was unbearable. J’s behavior also changed. He was negative about everything and while in the beginning he was excited to see me and talk to me, he rarely talked, he just expected me to do and buy things for him. I had spent a lot of money of lunches, gifts, cards, a lot of stuff to try and make him happy. It worked at first, he seemed pleased and said thank you, but after a while he expected it.

      Then after a year and a half of this non-sense, he called me to say he had met another married woman and he had the “most therapeutic conversations” with her. I was angry – I listened to his sob stories and negativity for 18 months and now he’s on to the next woman! I didn’t realize this was a blessing in disguise. I angrily told him what a manipulative jerk he was and that he was never a nice guy, he knew exactly what he was doing when he met me – and I had fallen for it, just like he was doing to this woman now.

      He ignored me – and foolishly I felt guilty and went back trying to get him to “like” me again. He said he would consider forgiving me and that we could be friends – it didn’t feel genuine. It wasn’t . I looked up the FB page of the woman he was interested in and sure enough – all her posts were “Liked” by him and he had made the same sweet and supportive comments on her wall just as he had done on mine.

      I got played – I haven’t told my husband because it would break his heart and I feel so stupid for falling for the stories J told me. I see him for the narcissist he truly is – I still feel bad about the whole situation. A year and a half of my life wasted on this foolishness and a lot of money. At least I learned a valuable lesson – people are not as they appear to be. J took advantage of my caring personality – if I would have been honest and told my husband everything that J and I were talking about, the EA never would began in the first place.

      Look to your spouse for attention, that’s why you married them in the first place. Talk to them and tell them what you need.
      A counselor told me that J’s the type of guy that goes “fishing” for women – every now and then a woman will take his bait – Don’t be the fish!

    • bor

      I need some real help. my wife was reconciling with me until easter now has decided to recontact.Initially she said divorce and then is was separate and then coparent now she says she is open to reconciliation but only if she can feel like we need to rebuild the friendship. I believe almost nothing she says, but i know she believes i will divorce if she goes physical again, and all her family is now pissed at her for recontacting. She is living at the house with me and the 4 kids and has no intention of leaving and not stopping the emotional affair. She has said she doesn’t think she is having one. Slept with him over 50 times in a 5 month period before discovery and emotionally involved for 13 months before. Obviously she is getting the stability of the marriage and the crack of the next contact. What is the best advice to go for legal separation and force her to change the dance? or something else? She really is putting no effort into repairing the relationship/ friendship at this point. no transparency, I have no access to computers or phone or the like. She is getting horrible advice from some of her new girlfriends who are egging her end the marriage. She has mentioned that she needs him to face the fear. not sure fear of what? but i guessing the uncertainty of future and all the healing that she has to do to repair the marriage.

      • Doug

        Hey Bor, Sorry to hear that your wife has resumed her EA. Apparently, trying to reconnect and reconcile in a loving manner has not worked to date. Therefore, it is my opinion that in order for her to “change the dance” she needs to experience the consequences of her actions. That could be a legal separation, making her leave the home, actually filing for divorce (you don’t have to go through with it), etc. She needs to experience rock bottom before she will even consider changing.

        When you say, “…she needs him to face the fear.” Are you referring to the affair partner? If so, perhaps she means the fear he has of the unknown…leaving his family, starting a new life, etc.

    • confused and afraid

      I have been married for 30 years. We had a lot in common and we both believed that we were passionately in love. Over the last 4 months, he has been going through some emotional changes in which he has come to the conclusion that he had never felt truly loved by me. He stated I was passive in my affection, and in our sex life. We have always had arguments about our infrequency in our sex life, and he states there were weeks without sex (in which I do not recall those long periods) but nevertheless, to him he told me he felt rejection and not feeling accepted by me.
      . About 4 weeks ago, we had a huge argument and pointed out to me that my passiveness was destroying our relationship, and that he had never felt loved by me. He suggested we “separate and evaluate ourselves” and so I left. While I was gone, we both communicated through text, He blew up my phone with texts begging and admitting he was wrong and he would take all the blame if I would just come home. I did not respond. I needed space from him for the horrible things he had accused me of. I was not willing to take all the blame for him feeling unloved for over 30 years. I wanted him to use this time/space to think and evaluate himself. Then on the 4th day, he texted me with some love songs about breakups, and told me that he had “let me go”. Then on the 8th day, we began texting (in his opinion, this was safe way to communicate since we would only argue if talking). The texting turned to the question by him, “Can I call you?” Well we talked and reconciled. Through all this, I felt like there was something else. He was acting and saying strange things that he would never say. I’ve known him for over 30 years. Two weeks ago, he realized long past issues with his childhood, where he had feelings of Fear of Abandonment and Rejection and experienced an emotional breakthrough. We spent more time together just talking. A lot of nights talking all night. But there was something still hidden. I could feel it. I sensed it. Then 3 days ago, he told me he realized that he was “holding on to an emotional connection he had been having with another woman” and had ended it immediately. He got on his knees and with tearful regret and shamefulness, told me about it and allowed me to express myself freely and as long as I needed to. But here is my dilemma. He says he started talking to her about 6 weeks ago. She found us on Facebook and reached out and he responded because I was working out of state. She is divorced for 3 years, and had been through a horrible marriage. He said that he felt empathy for her and a “connection” grew with her as a friend and he then shared with her his feelings of our troubled marriage. When our problems increased, his texting and communication with her increased until the day he ended it with her. He stated that although he did not have feelings for her, he had an “emotional connection” with her as a confidential friend in whom he shared feelings with. He also would not share any intimate information they discussed. Said it wasn’t important. I asked to see his phone, but he had already deleted all of the conversations. Looking back, he mentioned her a few times in our conversations, and it was always positive statements, and I recall feeling strange at the time. I also know this OW and asked if I could call her just to encourage her and he replied it wouldn’t be a good idea. While I have all the feelings of betrayal, hurt and rejection, he talked to the OW during our messy breakup and shared intimate details about us to her. Never once, according to him, did she ask about how I was doing, encouraged him to talk to me nor did she encourage him to save his marriage. I pointed that out to him, that a true “friend” would behave in this manner. He only held his head down and did not respond. I’m left feeling extremely confused. He stated that he “still” has feelings from that emotional “connection” he calls it. Which is really an emotional affair, but he denies the word “affair”. I’m trying desperately to get past this but I can’t get away from the feeling that there is more he is not telling me, and why he still feels “feelings” and “emotions” about her and he needs time to work it out. Why do I feel empty? Why must I feel I need to know the details? Why am I afraid to know the details? Should I just forgive and forget? Then last night he said something that I can’t deal with. He asked “what if our marriage was just emotions from our intimate relationship and not real love?” We discussed this and came to the conclusion that if we did discover that we didn’t love one another, the marriage is over. Neither of us want a loveless marriage. Is he trying to hold on to me while he is considering if he wants the OW? Is that the lingering feelings he is having? He states he wants a “brand new beginning”, but that is impossible with two people who have know each other intimately for 30 years. Am I being ridiculous?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.