Last week I wrote a post about romanticizing the affair and the affair partner.  I know that during our affair recovery there was so much focus and discussion about the dynamics of Doug’s emotional affair, what was happening during their relationship, what needs were being met by Tanya, etc.

I know that many experts recommend that when recovering from an affair you need to understand what the cheater received from the affair that was possibly missing in your marriage. I agree that is an important aspect, but by focusing solely on what the cheating spouse was getting from the OP, there is added pressure placed on the betrayed spouse to provide exactly what the OP did during the affair.

Focusing on this aspect of the affair is a bad idea because the betrayed spouse feels compelled to compete with the OP and the affair. As we know, this is a losing battle because we are competing with a fantasy and no matter how hard we try and how much effort we put into our relationship, we will never win.

Last week Doug and I did a session for the Affair Recovery Group on overcoming the affair fantasy with Jeff Murrah LPC, LCDC .  During the session I really grasped an understanding of how fantasy plays such a significant role in an affair.

Just recently I realized that many of my questions, along with Doug’s answers were used as a guide to help me mold our marriage to mimic the affair and the way Tanya treated Doug.  Obviously I have learned that this has been very unproductive and frustrating.  I finally understand how significant the role of fantasy played in their affair relationship and how trying to have an affair relationship in a real life marriage is only setting us up for failure.

See also  Affair Recovery: Friends Can Help

There are many ways that we can bring excitement to our relationship, but I am finished trying to make our marriage into an affair and trying to be someone I am not.


    9 replies to "I’m Finished Competing With The Emotional Affair"

    • Diana

      I am plagued by a lot of the same thoughts. I feel like I am just not “enough” for him. But his EA is his high school sweetheart whom he has just reconnected with on Facebook. How can I compete with the “first love” memory. In my research on emotional affairs, I read something about how the first love is a bonding experience like a child bonds to his mother. How can I compete with that? My husband confided in me that he thought his first marriage ended because he was still in love the high school sweetheart. Now 30 years later, he is acting like an adolescent. It is absolutely sickening. And all the lies. I just can’t believe he is risking his marriage and his family for someone he really doesn’t even really know anymore. I know she is idealized in his mind. She is “awesome” and “amazing” for doing the most mundane things. Here I am trying to be supermom, bearing the majority of the responsibilities of the household, and all he can do is criticize me. She is his “princess.” I guess that means I am the scullery maid. I know he feels guilty for what he is doing. He bought me a very expensive piece of jewelry for Christmas to show me how much I mean to him. He promised he would give her up. But when I went to visit my family over the holidays, he was constantly in contact with her. When I first found out about the EA, he told me he wasn’t giving her up, that she was too important to him. Why? I just don’t get it. But now I have found out that he has not really given her up. Just another lie. What does he get from this? She lives over an hour’s drive away. She is married and has 3 kids, so I know they aren’t seeing each other (although they might have over the holidays). Somehow it doesn’t bother him that while her kids and husband are asleep, she is flirting with someone else’s husband. I guess they are two peas in a pod. I would never flirt with someone else’s husband out of respect for her. And for my own marriage and husband. The irony of all this is that my husband and I have been through some very difficult times together. We split up for a couple years. We finally reconciled and remarried. A month later he opens up a Facebook account so he can get in touch with her. I just can’t believe we finally got to a point where things were finally on the right track, and then he does this.

      • another one

        Well, Diana, your story sounds like mine! He contacted his first love on FB, intentially and it started from there like a whirlwind. Talking on the phone for 4220 min. a month (over 2 hrs a day) and thousands of texts! But had never seen her. I found out about the EA Dec. 2009 and wanted to work on it. Well I worked and he just couldn’t connect, make up his mind, actually do anything because it didn’t feel “natural” or “real”. He said he hadn’t talked to her until in June when he admitted to talking to her a few time because she was having a rough time….. but he had feeling for her and missed her. I finally went to counseling w/o him because he didn’t neet it and dealt with my own issues and tried to figure stuff out. He finally went by himself and wouldn’t open up (same counselor as I thought we may be able to work together)…. I knew it was over….. we separated but he kept saying he hadn’t talked to her and maybe he would miss me in a month and come back. Well, he finally told me he talked to her so I knew he had chosen and that was it. …. Well, found out 3 wks. later that he had seen her and even been to her house for 2 nights during a work trip that June for sure and who know how many other times as he traveled a lot for work….and that he had a phone especially for her and they had been talking the whole time… He has loved her for 30 years and I got those statistics about the first love too from him, that there is bond between them that can’t be broken….. So he lied, betrayed and kepted me around just to make sure it would work with her…. He sees nothing wrong with what he did. He is sorry he hurt me and my two teenage daughters and he know he made some bad decisions but they were ” right for him”. In fact, he sees no problem with having the kids with them both at any time and even had the 15 year old ready to spend the night while she was there…..We haven’t even filed for divorce yet!!! It has been hard but I couldn’t compete with the dream of reliving his youth and not having the commitments that tie him down. I have the kids and dogs and right now the house, but will soon give that back to start fresh. To me he was the perfect man, who’s imperfection I forgave unconditionally, unfortunately he did not do the same for me. I am doing better now,…. angry, numb, accepting I have lost half of my life but know I need to find what makes me happy now and forget about them. It does bother me that it is so easy for them to move on and me happy while I have been devastated but I believe that in the end, I will be the fortunate one with a good relationship with my kids and my integrity in tact. I tried and worked on what I could but it was his choice that had nothing to do with me. If it did, he would have told me before hand, either worked on it or divorced me before he decided to betray me. Remember, it is not you, there is something inside that tells them they need to be the center of attention and part of the first love thing is their youth, a time when things were less complicated and easier… which is what my husband has now, as I take care of everything, he pops in to the kids’ live when it is convenient or it makes him look good. I deal with the day to day stuff and the issues. He goes out to dinner. I have the real life and the real family so I am lucky in this. It takes time but we will survive the pain and will find our own happiness as we will find a new passion, not necessarily person but something that makes us happy.

        • Diana

          Wow. My heart breaks for you. I am glad to hear that you are picking up the pieces and moving on. I am hoping this same scenario does not happen with me. The OW has a lot more to lose than he does. She and her husband are much more affluent than we are. She has 3 children. I think she is just bored and this is a little entertainment for her. I don’t know if she realizes that this little game is destroying a family. I’m not sure she cares. I don’t know if my husband thinks a life with her is really a possiblity and if he really believes that she would ever leave her husband for him. Right now it is just hard because he is treating me like I am the one who did something wrong. He isn’t speaking to me at all-real mature, right? I think he wants out so why doesn’t he just get out. Why did he marry me again?

          • another one

            Yes, Dianna. I know that feeling of him not talking to me and blaming me for what happened. I did not pay attention to him, not enough sex, I did not help enough around the house….. the 9 months I tried to stay and work on it, he ignored me, went on trips for work (and saw her, even though he said he did not), and treated me poorly. In fact, I just reread my diary on Sat. and was amazed at things he said and did while I was forgiving and understandint that this was difficult for him. He treated me like dirt and I suffered in hopes he would “find himself”. When confronted that he had seen her and been at her house finally after months… I asked why he didn’t just tell me…. his response was “you would have left and I wasn’t ready for that!” Amazing how he determined how the whole thing would go… I believed the lies and gave him the benefit of the doubt over and over again. Unfortunately, as we are working through the divorce, he still acts the same way. I plays as if he is trying to be nice (guilt) but does not see what he says and does just twists the knife into me and my children. I am getting better at not letting him do it but it still hurts. Bit by bit.

    • RR

      I know my husband has been seeing the OW quite a bit thelast few days. He has just started to honestly admit it. He has insisted that it is over between them. He says he met up with her to tell her that it was over. I’m getting conflicting messages from him about whether or not he is REALY trying to end it. Are there tell tale signs that a spouse in in fact coming out of the fantasy and is trying to break it off? He says he wants our family to stay together and that he loves me. He also keeps asking me not to give up on him and that he does not love her. Is his fanstasy becoming a reality?

    • ChangedForever

      to RR:
      It took my H 4 1/2 weeks to go thru his ‘withdrawl’ (following my ‘discovery day/D-Day.’) Even though we immediately scheduled the 1st marriage counselor session for 3 days FROM our D-Day, my H went to see the OW 2 days AFTER D-Day! Even when I asked him NOT to…I now know he was sick and couldn’t control himself – but he did tell me supposedly why he went (claiming he had to ‘breakup’ with her – imagine that…but that was a lie.) Then, that very next Sunday (only 1 week from D-Day,) he claimed he had to go see her AGAIN to break up – as he had lied to me he hadn’t done that…this was also the day he admitted he HAD had relations with her (after lying that he had not.) It was the Twilight Zone we were in and a very dangerous time. That went on for another 3 weeks and it was hell. Don’t think for a minute it will be any different – during that time the OW CONTINUED to pursue him via FB entries and emails – it was horrible and he was trapped in her web. He even asked me WHY he couldn’t still be ‘friends’ with her…? This was 4 weeks following D-Day. “Because you slept with her,” I told him – “…and that’s that.’ Still, ‘deer in the headlights…’ What a sick, sick time that was. RR, I hope this helps you realize you are not alone.

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