The complexities of secrecy in emotional affairs and the deep emotional impact on relationships and personal integrity.

secrecy in emotional affairs

By Linda

The other night Doug and I had a conversation about his feelings during his emotional affair.  After the conversation I began to think about how he kept these feelings to himself, and wondered how he was able to keep such a secret.

It seems to me that when someone falls in love they would want to tell the world how happy they are.  But he kept it to himself, going about his day as if nothing had changed.

I wondered how he could come home every night to his family while he was keeping this secret. What was he thinking? How did he cope?

I wondered if he resented the fact that we were there, taking him away from his new love.  What comparisons did he make between me and her?  Were my faults magnified a thousand times? What justifications were expressed to relieve the guilt during his emotional affair?

I wonder how many of our arguments and his unkind words were spoken in order to push me away, so I wouldn’t detect his secret.

The Dual Reality of an Affair

I imagine it was like living in Heaven and Hell at the same time. Was he in Heaven during the precious moments when he was receiving validation and attention from Tanya? Were there moments when there was no guilt because he felt that what they were doing was right because they felt they deserved it?

At the same time, he must have felt as if he was in Hell because he had to come home and face the reality of his grave situation. He had to face the confusion, the decisions, the person that he had become.

See also  Discussion: What Are Your Greatest Struggles After the Affair?

He had to face a wife who was living life as if nothing had changed, and who was oblivious to how he was feeling at the time.  At the same time, he must have felt that I didn’t notice because I didn’t care, rather than the fact that I truly trusted him and never thought something like this would happen.

Doug said recently that when a person realizes the pain outweighs the pleasure is when they will end an emotional affair.  I think I reread those words a hundred times because I really couldn’t comprehend them.

I believe that when a person is deeply involved in an affair the pain is already outweighing the pleasure. They are just too blind and under the influence to see it.

I also feel he blamed the pain on me and never saw that he had produced the pain himself everyday by his selfish actions.

I imagine if he would objectively look back at his emotional affair, and think about all the moments of guilt, the lies, the things that he did and said to his family to maintain those moments of illusionary pleasure, he would realize that there was always pain.

    61 replies to "Keeping Things Secret Within an Emotional Affair"

    • Alice

      Great post Linda. I am curious to hear Doug’s point of view.

      • Doug

        Alice, I knew this was coming 😉 Linda pretty much hit it on the head. Just as she said it was like heaven and hell, since I was leading two separate lives. Conflicting emotions, guilt, shame…you name it…pretty much was a daily occurrence. There certainly came a point where it was too much to handle and the affair was not worth it anymore.

    • Anonymous

      I agree and saw the heaven vs. hell in my husband. He would criticize more than he ever has and was horrible to the kids. It was as if he resented us for being in the way of his love affair. Many times, I wonder why didn’t just leave us if he was so caught up in her … to the point that we were just standing in his way. It wasn’t until I caught it that he came back down from “heaven” or as I like to call fantasy land and realized what he was about to lose.

    • ruth

      My h is trying to get back to “heaven” he has ego issuse. It doesnt matter how much I put him on a pedal still or tell him how handsome or wonderful he is. He thinks I tell him because we are married and what else would I say. You see if a good looking strange women tell him those things they mean it and makes his ego sky high. He dose not want to address the issue why he likes that so much. He wants to live in heaven and yesterday after 3 mos of trying not to contact her he tried again. Unfortunatly she was not on line at the time. So today while I am at work he tells me that he is going to the casino which is hour and a half away and where she live. LOL I supposed to believe that. When I get home tonight I will ask him how was the casino and he will lie to me and act like nothing. I will know cuz he will try to be to lovey dovey to me and that will be his guilt setting in. I am having a horrible day! I wish I knew for sure but my gut instinct tells me not to trust him at all. God help me cuz no one else can. We have been doing so great the last few months too. I was just at the point of trusting and believing in him again. The secrets have not stopped. I know I will be making a very painful decision soon and he doesn’t even see it coming.

    • ruth

      its funny I have seen her on-line everyday this week but not today? I wonder why.

    • Karen

      Ruth: We all have narcisisstic traits, but I’m thinking your husband and mine’s work overtime so that they are unremorseful, selfish, easily manipulated, chronic liars, etc. And yes, they are still good people too – they can’t even see what they are doing. Try googling narcisism in marriage when you get a spare moment. Don’t know if Linda or Doug have ever posted on that. I’ll have to search this site also. Hang in there, Ruth!!! Take care of you – you are
      such a wonderful person.

    • ruth

      Thank you Karen for those kind words. I will look that up. I just got a text mess from h say he needs to tie one on that he is feeling restless wow I don’t even know what to think about that now.

    • Inthemiddleofit

      First off, let me say this site has been very helpful in helping to sort through my own feelings. I just recently found it, but have gone through pretty much the whole site. I was going to respond to another post – the one regarding how the cheater feels. I was going to post there because I’m the one cheating…

      As I try to sort through my own feelings about the OW and my W, I did a few web searches. My affair started out as a PA and still is. It quickly got more serious and we discussed leaving our respective situations. As I thought through that, I looked online for help to figure out how to make that sort of decision. That’s when I came across this site…

      I thought the info on the “affair fog” and those type issues were fascinating. This post got me as well because I’ve been going through this exact thing.

      Reading through everything though, I’ve found that adding the physical element changes things dramatically. It brings into the equation a new level of intimacy into the affair. And it adds another level of comparison. And in my case, I think the physical part was what I felt I was missing in my marriage.

      I can’t speak to an EA exclusively, but with a PA, I’m not sure I agree with Doug on giving it up when the pain gets too great. If that’s true, maybe I’m just not there yet. Or maybe I haven’t felt the right pain. My W has no idea (very similar to what Linda wrote above about her and Doug). If she did find out, I suppose that would be the pain that would cause me to break it off. Or leave her I suppose…

      That’s one of the issues I’ve been wrestling with – how can you compare the two relationships? You can’t. But then how do you know you’re in the right relationship. Just because you have a history (and kids) doesn’t seem like the right reason. So I guess I can pose this question – Linda (and anyone else), how did you know you wanted to stay with Doug? If I missed your explanation in a post, just point me to it.

      I’m not proud of what I’m doing, so please hold off on the flaming posts back at me. I’ll answer any questions if I can help provide some insight into the other side….

      • Linda

        Inthemiddleofit, I know that Doug should respond to your comment, but I feel compelled to add my thoughts.
        First of all, let me tell you to run like hell. If you could look into the future you would see that it was not worth it, and what you are feeling right now will never compare to the pain and work that will lie ahead no matter what your choices are.

        I also want to say that it is good that you are trying to research and find information that will help you make a good decision. I can also speculate that what you are finding may not be too encouraging. I believe the only way to make a logical decision is to completely remove yourself from your affair partner, only after that will you be able to think clearly and decide what you want to do.

        As for your wife not knowing, honestly she probably knows that something is not right, she it just too afraid to do something about it. Fear feeds denial.

        An affair is all about unfair comparisons. You are comparing what it is like to be in a new, different, and secretive relationship to being in a routine, real life relationship with a person you have spent many years with. Also you cannot compare the physical relationship to that of your marriage. You are confusing new, lustful sex for intimacy and true intimacy can only be achieved in a real, honest relationship.

        You are correct when you say that you have not experienced the “right pain” because the pain you are feeling is only the guilt that you are personally feeling due to this betrayal. However the pain is being cushioned by your affair, the feel good chemicals and the justifications help ease the pain. The real pain will come with your wife finds out, and even then you will do everything to try not feel her pain. You will blame, become angry, resentful, continue your affair, all to alleviate your pain. Only after all the dust has settled will you understand how devastating your actions were.

        As far as knowing if I wanted to stay with Doug, honestly in the beginning I didn’t feel it was my choice to make, I felt he held the key ( I have found out much later that I did have a choice) the decision was easy for me, (I didn’t have the affair fog to blur my decision)I knew I loved him, and that deep down he still loved me. I knew we could work this out and we have. Our posts demonstrate how difficult it has been, but I hope we also have expressed how far we have come in our relationship. We have transformed our relationship into something that is real and honest. Everyday I am thankful that we survived and are together. Linda

      • hurtwife

        A great book for you is… When Good People Have Affairs by Mira Kirshenbaum. It helps the person in the affair decide how to make a decision to do what is best for their situation.

        • Linda

          hurtwife, I read the book when I first found out about Doug’s affair, it does provide good questions to ask yourself when you are involved in an affair. However I wonder if the betrayer can accurately answer those questions when they are in the midst of an affair. I believe there answers would be quite different after the fog had lifted. I really don’t recommend the book the the betrayed spouse, a little too much information to process when you are just learning about the betrayal. Linda

          • hurtwife

            Linda, I agree with you about the betrayed spouse not reading it because I am a betrayed spouse and my husband had an emotional an physical affair and even though he choose to stay after I found out, the book made me question weather he thought through staying or leaving. I thought the book might help inthemiddle, but I see your point because the betrayer is deffinately in a chemically induced state.

        • D

          A quick response to Hurtwife. “When Good People Have Affairs” by Mira Kirshenbaum is not only NOT a great book, I’d say it’s an irresponsible book, downright dangerous. This book probably added another two months to my wife’s recovery as the book more or less validated her choice to be with this other man. Why is that dangerous? Because it’s like a drug addict reading a book that justifies drug use by asking “Well, does it feel good? Then go ahead.”

          There are soooooo many better books out there. Looking back my wife even said, “That was the wrong book to read.”

      • Scarlet

        Dear Inthemiddleofit
        I would like to thank you for your post – it was so brave of you to write. I think it’s great you are here reading, trying to learn and understand. I wish my husband was trying to do the same. I think perhaps he is starting to now, as Linda says, ‘the dust is settling’ but I still think perhaps he is still finding it easier to blame me. My husband is having a PA (I use the word affair but as I know and he moved out shortly after it started can it be considered one now ?) and I wondered if you could tell me why you started the affair? How were you feeling you made it happen? Did you start it and make the move or did she? In the early days how did it make you feel? What could your partner have done/ responded (hypothetically) to help? What are your problems? What is holding you back from holding your marriage together? Sorry if it’s too personal but it would be so insightful to hear about your position. After 9 months of utter hell I’m sensing that perhaps my husband might be starting to feel differently but yet he is still planning to go on holiday with her to her home nation in New Zealand but in my heart I feel perhaps he isn’t sure – what is holding you at the moment to the OP. Is it that you truly love them more than your wife? Or is it that you craved an excitement, feeling differently, needing something you couldn’t quite explain? Sorry, that’s a lot of questions. I would really appreciate any thoughts you could share. I hope it might help me and my situation. BTW. I totally agree with Linda when she said she felt she didn’t really have a choice with the ‘taking back’. Because my husband is still wrapped up in the affair and won’t come back I feel utterly powerless – I hate that. Would I feel differently if he was begging to come back? I don’t think so. I hope that rejection isn’t the thing propelling me through this awful agony. Thank you everyone for writing. It makes me feel better to know we aren’t alone.

      • Scarlet

        Sorry Inthemiddleofit, didn’t really answer your question ‘how did you know you wanted to stay?’. For me I just know that my husband and I are meant to be together. He is my best friend. You rather lightly skim over ‘history and kids’ but perhaps you shouldn’t be so quick to belittle these things. I believe my husband is starting to feel that the friendship, history, kids (well, one rather gorgeous 3 year old little girl), family, memories, emotional support, knowing, closeness etc are the very things he is realising he does miss and are hard to just throw away. You can’t compare the first months of an intense relationship with anything else – that’s the stuff that movies are made of but to have lived life and loved someone through the things you must have is worth something. My point is is that if it is really time to move on and leave that behind then I really think the only way you can truly know if it us right and to do that justice and to be fair to yourself and your wife then the only way you can make that make or break is without being involved with anyone else involved. That’s the reason you can’t compare – because you shouldn’t. The two relationships are incomparable. The only way you can be true to yourself on whether this is the end of your marriage us if you first of all confront the problem, make everyone aware and be honest. If my husband can find a way to finish his relationship with the OW I believe it will be the making of us. Weirdly I feel this could be the best thing that happened to us (is that mad?). To know him now, to have shared this, to have heard the feelings he has had can only bring us closer together. I just hope we get that chance. Good luck Inthemiddleofit. Hope you make your chance happen.

      • Angela

        I know this is an old post I’m replying to, but (not attacking this cheater either) it sounds like to me that what he’s really researching is how to reveal this affair to his wife in a way that guarantees she won’t respond by leaving. Maybe it doesn’t make sense to others, but his words sound very similar to those of my dad, when my mom figured out he was cheating (a PA), he actually asked her to just “give him 30 days” to sort things out. Of course, my mom appropriately responded by putting him out that very day. I feel like this person is trying to make sure he’s not going to suffer any consequences for his behavior that obviously so deserves consequences. Why else ask Linda directly how she knew she wanted to stay with Doug? Sounded to me like he was seeking information to be used for manipulation on his wife to lessen the brunt. That’s really sad.

    • mil

      OOOOhhhhhh this all annoys me sooooooooo much The betrayers seem to come up with no problems!!!!!

    • mil

      I CAN NOT get over my h’s EA which ‘ended’ about 2 years ago (don’t think it became sexual) but also the OW texted me that it was not the first time he’d done that sort of thing which brought back to mind a colleague he worked with 9 years ago for whom I found a jewellery receipt. He said it was a gift to cheer her up but on further investigation in the light of what the OW texted I discovered it was a Tiffany & Co heart pendant ordered on Valentine’s day 2001. He says he would have ordered it earlier if it was an actual Valentine’s gift. In a way this earlier ‘relationship’ has in some ways become worse than the more recent affair I discovered and I feel so naive and foolish that I didn’t suspect more at that time.
      My h has now started calling me a psycho because I can’t let it go and am bringing it up MORE and MORE often instead of healing. He says I have blown things out of all proportion but then he would wouldn’t he.
      We have both been ill and I think have had breakdowns over all this and he is truly remorseful and swears undying love. as long as I don’t mention anything life is fabulous but how do you let it go?? I don’t trust or believe him at all now even though I love him to bits.

    • mil

      PS to a certain extent it’s not hard to understand why he needed an EA. I pushed him away all the time and was very unloving sexually and emotionally due to what I now realise was the menopause

    • Julia

      Linda, I really identified with your comment “I truly trusted him and never thought something like this would happen”. That was me. We had had our grand daughter because of her mother’s (our daughter) long meth use. My husband has told me one reason for his affair was I took him for granted. My response, I trusted him. Would appreciate your opinion on what is the difference in trust and taking someone for granted?

      • Linda

        Julia, I have thought about the difference between trust/security and taking your spouse for granted and have realized that they are definitely not the same. I now understand that being in a secure relationship does not give you a reason to forget to respect and value your mate. It feels wonderful to know that you can trust your mate but you still need to realize that it takes work to keep your relationship alive. I know that someday I will trust Doug like I did before the affair, but I know that I will never take him or our marriage for granted again. Linda

    • mil

      Now, slowly but surely I’m pushing him away again. How can that intense sexual relationship be maintained in an ordinary marriage?? The very thing that caused the problem in the first place is recurring!! The arguments are causing the resentment AGAIN.

    • Inthemiddleofit

      Linda, thanks for your response. I’m not naive – even before I read through this site I understood that the situation within the PA was not real-life. I didn’t know the terms, but I got that it had an element of fantasy to it. I’m sure I’m still “under the influence” but I’m not completely irrational. I’ve seen that the OW is not perfect and that she has her own set of issues. I’m not blind to any of that. (Thanks for the book suggestion – in my research I came across it as well)

      I get your feeling of being somewhat powerless and that Doug had to make the decision. But you could have just left him when you found out. The fact that you didn’t (and most others on this site seem to not), leads me to asking why?

      The question I keep asking myself is how do you know if your current relationship is worth fighting for. That’s why I asked how you knew you wanted to stay together. Scarlett mentioned I shouldn’t disregard the years together and kids and I’m not. But, it seems to me there needs to be more there than just time and kids. I’m not sure I feel the “mature love” and intimacy as you’ve referred to it earlier that perhaps I should. To be clear, there were issues before the PA started, so it’s not like everything was good and then all of a sudden it’s not.

      The history just feels like inertia, pushing in the same direction. I knew I wasn’t happy, but didn’t really think of getting out. I think the PA made me realize that life is too short to be unhappy and not do anything about it. That doesn’t mean that I should immediately get a divorce – but I realized that inertia is not a good thing and either I need to make things better in my marriage or get out.

      That’s correct though – there is no way to make a comparison. Or at least one that is fair and objective. I think the advice of removing myself from the PA and then making the decision is an excellent one. However, where I get stuck is here. I don’t think my situation is so bad that I would be willing to cause all the emotional and financial pain just to get divorced and be single. There are kids involved and it seems like to make them go through that just because I’m not happy is a bit much. But it seems like making that decision because I’m in love with someone else and have a chance to be happy with that person, maybe then it’s worth it. Does that make sense?

      One reason I mentioned that a PA is different than just a EA is that a big problem in my marriage has been a lack of physical intimacy. My wife is not interested in sex and never initiates it. Not feeling desired or wanted is a tough thing to overcome. Which is why when the OW was interested, it was easily to fall into that. We were both sexually attracted to each other and it showed quickly. That kind of desire is hard to disregard when thinking through what to do.

      I will say this though with regards to pain – I really don’t think my wife has any idea. I think that point of trust is so high, that it hasn’t crossed her mind. In fairness to her though, I travel a few times a month to the same city and that’s where the OW is. So it’s not like I’ve had to change much at home so it makes it much easier to keep secret. I’m always on my Blackberry for work anyway so texting isn’t really suspicious either.

      I will say this – there is no way I could or would ever continue the PA if she did find out. At that point, I would feel compelled to make a decision. I could never put her through knowing that I was out with the OW. It saddens me to read about spouses that continue to cause hurt by not ending the affair.

      Quick side note – I think texting has made both EAs and PAs much easier. Its feels like an addiction – feeling that double-vibrate which means a text.

      I’m sorry this post is all over the place – it’s sorta like my thoughts.

      Thanks for listening…..

      • hurtwife

        Inthemiddleofit…I found out about my husbands affair because his affair partner called me and told me. I had no idea this was happening, but looking back there were things I ignored about his behavor. Anyway, I kicked him out of our house and filed for divorce,so there are some of us on here that took a different apporch. The reality of losing me and our family shocked him into reality and he saw his affair in a different light. We are now in cousleing,BUT it will be a long road.I feel as you do though…I just am not sure I want to stay with a cheater, there are better ways to work out your marrital dissatisfactions, because we also have children that because of this women who became phyco, my kids were made privy to his affair. It has completly distroyed our whole family. PLEASE don`t be so sure your wife will never find out, my husband never thought I would find out either. Make a decision one way or the other, but I think your wife and family deserve a chance and then if you are still unhappy, then leave. Your wife may be not be as sexual as you like because the unconious mind picks up on alot and she may feel your emotional disconnet.( Women need to feel that connectiveness to be sexually close.

      • karen

        Inthemiddleofit: Thank you for sharing with all of us betrayed spouses your perspectives. Without being accusatory, since my husband used the same “excuse” you used for having an affair, I would bet lots of $$ your wife
        wasn’t having her emotional and other needs met by you for quite a long time. You may not even know what they are. And I can personally attest that it is likely to be a huge reason why your sexual needs were not being met. Not to say that justifies her lack of sexuality, but I’m willing to bet the house it has a lot to do with your issues. The difference is you allowed yourself to go outside your marriage, and I’m guessing your wife has not. That she is oblivous to your affair is not surprising – wives are very trusting and so wrapped up with taking care of their families that their priorities get out of whack. You don’t mention if you’ve had counseling (good counseling) or research on saving your marriage. I wish you the best in your decision, but it definitely is time to choose. What you’re doing is wrong and very unfair to your wife. And I do agree you have to stop the affair in order to break the illusion so that you can make a fully rationale decision. You owe that to yourself, your wife, and your children. I hope you will consider confessing to your wife – it will be horrific but much better than her finding out in another way, which I also will be lots of $$ she will find out. Take care.

        • Inthemiddleofit

          Karen, you are most likely correct. I am sure I am not blameless in what caused the issues that led me to have a PA. Thank you for your personal input as well. We had talked about it previously, but things just didn’t seem to change. I don’t think I was unreasonable to think that making love once every 6 weeks was not often enough.

          I think sometimes this stuff can turn into a downward spiral. We don’t have sex, which makes me frustrated. That frustration turns her off, which she then pushes me away, which causes me to shift farther away, etc, etc, etc.

          We have had counseling – can’t say I thought it was good or especially helpful. But we’ve had issues for awhile, so I have no doubt that contributed a great deal to her not being interested in being physical.

          I did like your comment about that not justifying her lack of sexuality. I can also see someone reading this thinking that her lack of sexuality doesn’t justify me cheating.

          I was reading on one of the posts about taking your spouse for granted. I think that’s very easy to do. Beyond just the sex part, I didn’t feel wanted or desired. (my wife might say the same thing, but I did make a conscious effort to tell her she looked beautiful, to compliment her and to make sure she knew I found her attractive. But I’ll admit there were probably other needs I wasn’t fulfilling). When I met the OW and she was clearly attracted to me, that felt really good. Feeling desired and even lusted after is a powerful emotion.

          I know I need to make a decision which is why I started doing research. Due to issues beyond my control, I haven’t been able to see her as often recently which has allowed some of that “fog” to clear. What I’m beginning to realize is that what I am feeling from a physical standpoint with the OW is very important to me. I don’t want to simply end the PA and go back to way things were. I need to work on trying to make some of the physical magic happen in my marriage. If that doesn’t work, then perhaps breaking up is the right thing to do. But it would then be because I wasn’t getting my needs met rather than for another woman. I believe that’s the gist of what some of the posts have said to me.

          Thanks for not taking me to task for posting here – None of this is easily for me…..

          • karen

            Inthemiddleofit: I’ll add another bet just from reading your very honest, insightful posts: If you break up with the OW, end all contact, confess to your wife, dedicate all your research and efforts to reinventing your marriage (the old marraige is dead), then the decision you end up making whether to stay or go will not “haunt” you for the rest of your life. You have to devote, I’m told, at least 18 months to the effort of reinvention. Is it worth it? Ask me in another 12 months – I’m only 6 months into reinvention, and it’s very, very, very, very, very, very, very hard. My H and I also have some unresolved issues from before marriage that we are finally trying to deal with and resolve. And I am “stupid” enough to believe we can. You’re in a limbo state right now -and I do think you are temporarily clearing the fog. Now is the time to clear it completely. Best of luck!!!

            • Inthemiddleofit

              18 months! You mean I can’t fix this in a few weeks? 🙂 Hmm, perhaps another reason why affairs can get started easily. They can solve a problem (while causing many more I know) quickly.

              18 months does seem like an awfully long time. But I agree, making a rash decision could easily haunt someone forever. If after the 18 months, things aren’t better, then at least you’ve really tried to fix it. I’ll meet you back here in 12 months and you can tell me if it was worth it…

              Here’s what I don’t get though – why the confession? Is it because you’re assuming she’ll eventually find out. Seems like confessing like that would just cause more hurt – that if I just re-dedicated myself to fixing the marriage, that that would be good enough.

              I did come across another site that talked about creating a new relationship rather than trying to fix the old one. Liked that theory quite a bit…

            • Doug

              Inthemiddleofit, My two cents…don’t act in a rash fashion. There had to be some reason why you and your wife got married in the first place. Try to remember those reasons, and realize that she deserves your best effort to at least try to save your marriage. Whether it’s 18 months or not is up to you, but you need to be honest with yourself and do your best to work things out. Needless to say, that includes cutting things off with the OW.

              You need to honestly sit down with your wife and tell her how you have been feeling and while doing this, you should think long and hard about telling her the truth of what has been going on with the other woman. If you don’t, it might just catch up to you one day, and you could be sorry that it did. I understand the argument about not confessing in order to save her from hurt, but I don’t know if I buy it. As Dr. Gunzburg says..”You have to flush the toilet…” and move on with trying to save your marriage.

              One of the videos on this site has a segment where the therapist tells of her own affair–which she ended and never told her husband. Two years later, and thinking that her marriage had been restored and the love rekindled, the OP contacted her husband and told him everything about the affair. It almost killed the marriage for good. Just something to think about. Best of luck to you as you consider your options.

            • Inthemiddleofit

              I was thinking about this on my way home from work today. Not sure where to post it, so I’ll just post it here.

              One of the things that makes it difficult for the person cheating to stop or realize their mistake is that they are unable to talk to anyone about it. I guess some might have a best friend in which they can confide what’s going on, but for me (and Doug apparently) there was no one for me to talk to. Think about when you were single, you introduced your date to your friends, perhaps they gave their opinion. You could ask your friend questions, “I can believe she did this, what do you think?” and they’ll give you feedback.

              But in an affair, one usually can’t do that. So one is left without any objective feedback – feedback we often rely on with every other aspect of our lives. What decisions have you made without feedback from someone – spouse, friend, parent, relative, etc. Probably pretty few. But in this case, one is on their own.

              You’re in a “fog” and have no objective input to help. I can tell from personal experience here, while I’ve been thinking about this for awhile now, my mind has gotten much clearer from posting here and talking about it. (there are some other reasons why as well, but this is a big part of it). Hearing yourself rationalize the affair out loud goes a long way towards realizing the folly of your actions. Or maybe I’m overexaggerating the power of this and I just came to the site at the right time. But if feels right and makes sense to me…

              There really isn’t anything to do with info – It was just a realization I came to and thought it worthy to mention…

            • Linda

              inthemiddleofit, I also want you to be aware that you may be discussing all of this but you are doing it with the wrong person and that is your affair partner. When I finally realized that Doug was in an affair and found out that he was discussing very important issues with Tanya (divorce, the effect of the children, our marriage,etc) I told him that he might as well asked a complete stranger what he should be doing. She only knew one side of the story, had never met our family and all of here advice is centered on what would make her happy, not what was best for Doug. This may sound stupid but you should really be proud of yourself for making so many revelations in such a short time. It is so true that is it really hard to be objective when you are living the an affair bubble, that is one of the reasons it is so addictive. Linda

    • Inthemiddleofit

      Scarlet, I’d be happy to try to explain why the affair started. I think the main thing was a lack of physical intimacy. We had sex very infrequently and I just didn’t feel she desired me. There was little passion when we did make love – it often felt to me like she was doing it out of obligation. She still turns me on and I tell her so, but I wasn’t feeling the same thing back from her. Plus, she’s made comments that she didn’t care if she ever had sex again. So all in all, the whole bedroom situation was a bit of a turn-off.

      She really made the first move, but I was open to it. It didn’t take much – I was probably just too chicken to make the first move. I don’t want to get too explicit, but she is the exact opposite of my wife in bed. She’s fun, spontaneous, and really gets into it. Even when my W and I were first dating, it never felt like it does with the OW. That is what is making this decision so difficult.

      You asked two great questions – What is holding you back from holding your marriage together? and Is it that you truly love them more than your wife?

      To answer the first one – nothing yet. Just not sure. I’m trying, although I’ll freely admit it’s difficult to dedicate 100% of my energy to fixing the marriage while still in a PA. At this point though, if there weren’t kids involved, I would just give up. The kids are the only real reason I’m even thinking about this…

      Do I love the OW more than my wife – wow, what a loaded question. The best answer I can come up with is not more, just different. Certainly, there is all that new relationship emotions and lust involved. After being together 16 years (12 married), those types of emotions are long gone. There is a level of passion with the OW that quite frankly I don’t remember feeling with my W when we were dating. That’s not completely fair since it was so long ago, but nonetheless, that’s also in my head.

      I hope that helped explain it a little – I’d be happy to answer any other questions or provide some level of insight. What I can’t do is help with why he would continue his affair after you found out. I could never do that…

    • Alice

      Are you at all afraid that once you’ve been with your OW for a while, that the passion will wear off just like it did with your wife…and you’ll be in the same boat only with different scenery?

      And also, since the OW doesn’t seem really to value marriage/relationships…..aren’t you afraid that after a while she’ll find herself bored with you and find a new man to occupy her time (and bed)?

      Also, it is very possible to make your marriage a passionate one. It takes a lot of hard work, but it can be done.

    • Donna

      Inthemiddleofit, as I was reading your 1st post I could feel my blood pressure rising and I felt ready to explode. I don’t agree with what you are doing, however you came to this site to learn more and get more information and that I respect you for. I found your answers to Scarlet interesting as well. My husband has been in an EA and PA for the last 16 months, only to end it AGAIN nearing 5 weeks ago. I found out in March of this year and it only ended in October. His affair has killed me and although I have become so much stronger along the way, there is about a quarter of me that is a shell of what I use to be… that is panic attacks and the fear of going out sometimes. I never know when they are going to strike. They have only funnily enough come on in the last 6 weeks. It is awful and debilitating to one’s life. My husband is in love with the OW, loves me as his wife, however just not in love. I liked what you said about your feelings for your wife and OW are just different. AS for my husband and I, our intimacy is through through the roof. He recognises that and it has mystified him as you would think that the intimacy in a marriage would be the first thing to go once discovering the affair, yet we are good together. He says that he is trying for our marriage because yes, we have 4 children, we had dreams, we had so much. I know the problem is with him and not me. Yes, I could have been a better wife, but heck, he could have been a better husband as well.
      As for staying with my husband.. that was a no brainer for me. At first I wondered if I was just frightened to be on my own, and as time went on and he was not living here, I realised I am capable of looking after myself, 4 children and a house. So no, the reason I am fighting for my husband is because I just love the man so darn much and can see the better fine qualities that he has. I have learned to love who he is right now, I loved him before the EA and I will love what he is yet to become. I am now just waiting to see if he can come to the party and put forth 100% effort back inot our marriage. I recognise this will be a time thing and I aam prepared for that and will try to just celebrate the positive efforts he is able to put forth at the moment than pick out what he is still not doing. I agree with your comment about texting. IT has made affairs far to easy and yes, the feel of that message coming through would be very exciting, so I agree to the term of addiction.
      Anyway, good luck with your decisions. Your wife deserves to know what is going on, you can’t avoid the pain. You deserve to see her tears and hear her anger and see the rejection in her countenance. It will hurt llike hell, let me tell you that. However, you need to give her the opportunity to see of she thinks your marraige is worth saving too. You don’t have the right to make that decision for her. Good luck and thanks for your answers.

    • Inthemiddleofit

      Alice – great questions. I’ve always thought that – if you marry someone who cheated on his wife with you, why should you be surprised if he cheats on you too! We actually discussed that – I think we both thought that there was something missing in our respective situations that caused us to reach out to each other and that it was a unique situation. But you make an excellent point – who’s to say the same thing won’t happen again. As for the passion wearing off, that I wasn’t as worried about happening. But yes, it’s still there in my head… As for bringing passion back in to the marriage, I’m all ears as to how to make that happen…

      Donna – I’m sorry to hear how the EA has affected you. I guess I can’t truly make a comment because I haven’t been in the situation where my W knew so I’d have to make a decision. This is where the pain Doug was referring to would come into play I would think. If she did find out, there is no way I could continue to heap that pain on her by staying at home and continuing to see the OW. To be fair to your spouse, it would seem to me that you have to make a choice.

      I think I agree with the “tough love” approach – it would seem to me that as long as the spouse is trying to win back the relationship, the one cheating can have the best of both worlds.

      I found it very interesting that your intimacy is through the roof. Why did your H pursue his affairs? For me, it was because of a lack of intimacy. If we had that, nothing would have happened.

      Good luck Donna – I hope you find the peace you seek…

    • Anne

      Inthemiddleofit, first of all, I do think it was brave to come here and ask and answer questions. I have a lot of things I’d like to comment on, but I’ll just say the one that was the most relevant to my own marriage.

      My husband’s initial justification/excuse for the EA that eventually became a PA was that we weren’t intimate enough as well. I will say loud and clear that I was unhappy with that situation too, incredibly unhappy, and I said it loud and clear to him at the time. In retrospect, I can see that a huge part of that problem was his focus outside of our relationship rather than inside. He was directing his sexual and intimate emotional energy everywhere else but at me through flirting constantly, getting into sex chat rooms, and eventually into the long term slow escalation from a so-called friend from high school. In the middle of all of that, he expected me to be turned on and ready to go with no emotional input at all from him.

      Meanwhile I was doing everything I could think of to increase the focus within our relationship, books, movies, seminars, talking, lingerie, toys, whatever I could imagine to do ANYthing to bring back the passion we’d had in the past. While he was focusing elsewhere, no matter what I did, I felt numb and unresponsive with him. When the whole mess came to light last year, after getting the fog out of his system, he finally realized that it was no wonder he wasn’t getting any erotic energy out of our marriage. He wasn’t putting any erotic energy INTO it. And no, there was no way he would have ever realized that if he hadn’t attempted to cut off all contact with his so-called friend, and if we hadn’t then had to endure threats and blackmail attempts from her. Amazing how she changed once he said that’s it. When he saw who she was and saw what he’d been doing to me and taking away from me, he finally understood how many bad choices he’d been making.

      By the way, THAT is when I knew I wanted to stay with him. When he saw it, admitted it, sincerely apologized for it, and started doing the work to change it.

      After a year of incredibly hard and frequently painful work, we’re closer than ever AND more intimate than when we were dating. That’s not me trying to be super-woman and keeping him so tired that he won’t stray again. We went through that in the very beginning, and it hurt more than it healed. That’s simply how I feel when he’s actually here, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

      Unless and until you cut off the affair, you’ll never be able to know how you really feel. And it wouldn’t possibly be an easy journey for either of you, but your wife needs to know. At the very least, she has the right to protect her own body from whatever might be going around within your affair. And she does have the right to decide for herself if she wants to stay in the marriage. Fair is fair.


      • Inthemiddleofit

        Thanks for your response Anne. I can tell you this – if my W ever walked into the bedroom with toys and lingerie, we wouldn’t be having sex that night because I would have had a heart attack and would be in the hospital. She has expressed unhappiness with the our sex life as well, but not nearly at the level you had. She has said she wished it was better, but doesn’t seem to spend the time and energy trying to fix it. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I can tell you that if my W had put half the energy into trying to solve the issue as you apparently did, the problem would have been well on its way to being solved.

        Not to excuse my own actions, but I’ve been bringing this issue up for at least the past few years. The “not tonight, maybe tomorrow” line only goes so far. At some point it gets old…. And I think I realized this at some point. It’s not just the physical acts – it’s the passion and desire that I think I missed the most. Sex is supposed to be fun, isn’t it?

        I have serious doubts that my relationship with my W will ever be as hot and heavy as I want it to be. I just don’t think that’s in her – but, if it’s better, maybe that will have to be enough. Or, like I said in my last post, if after all the trying, we’re still not there, then maybe breaking up is the only thing to do. But I can see that doing it that way would leave no regrets – doing it now could “haunt” me like Karen had said.

        It’s all this you have to tell her I’m not getting. Truly, you think it would be better to tell her what happened rather than just cut off the affair and dedicate myself to fixing my marriage? It just seems like that’s what it’s important – if I do those things, that’s not enough?

    • D

      Inthemiddleofit, it seems no one has flamed you as you expected. Allow me.

      When I confronted my wife’s AP I was cordial, mature, forgiving. I felt that if I treated this man with respect, asked him to stay away from my wife, that he would do the right thing. But he’s a coward and a child, and a completely self-consumed prick. That’s how you’re acting now.

      Instead of being generous and kind to this asshole, looking back I wish I had said to him that every time he makes contact with my wife (regardless of who initiates it) I will visit him at his office and will do whatever I could to make sure that he’d never want me to visit again.

      Man up. If you really think your wife isn’t the sex object you need her to be (and you should really ask yourself why you’re so obsessed with her sexual desires, i.e. maybe you’re not feeling like such a man in other areas of your life) then be honest with her about it. File divorce papers, separate, move out, and TELL HER ABOUT YOUR MISTRESS!! Or maybe you’re the one who needs to change, to grow up, to have a mature relationship, to find happiness within yourself. And maybe if you’re willing to look deep inside yourself, maybe then you’d be willing to go to counseling, talk about the issues, commit to your marriage. You might even find out that the bluebird of happiness was in your backyard all along .

      Either way, respect your wife by respecting yourself. You’re doing neither right now, and you’re acting like a prick.

      If my wife had come to me in the beginning and said, “I’m falling for another man and I don’t know what to do” I’m sure it would have hurt like hell. I’m sure I would have been angry and confused. But I’m sure we would have talked about it and discovered a way through the mess without going through the hell we’ve gone through the past 10 months, even if it meant splitting up. I would have far more respect for her then than I do now. Dealing with a love lost in marriage is a cakewalk compared to traversing the vast gorge an affair opens up.

      To sum up, stop thinking with your dick, and start thinking with you brain.

      Good luck.

    • Karen

      “18 months! You mean I can’t fix this in a few weeks?”
      Considering how many days now you’ve been holding off on doing the right thing, and the wonderful “advice” you’ve received on this site, it might take you longer than 18 months 🙂

      Seriously, I agree with all written about confession. Don’t do a half job of trying to reinvent your marriage. Total honesty is an absolute requirement. It will be hell – can you handle it??

      A few tidbits after you make the “right” decision: Let your wife grieve the marriage (it won’t be pretty); direct her to this website for support, resources, and suggestions (we betrayed spouses on here do mostly own up to our part in the marriage destruction); don’t give excuses, such as lack of
      sex – own up and take responsibility for your selfishness and
      abandonment of the marraige. You will not get the reaction you are looking for – can you handle that?? Then give her time and love (not physical love). You may need to research that one to understand what wives consider to be love. I’m confident you can do it, but as with most husbands, it will be a completely new experience to show the love that wives need. Something just tells me you’ve got it in you to do it. Now if you can just conquer your “fear” of confession. Take care.

      • Inthemiddleofit

        Thanks for the support Karen – to be perfectly honest, I don’t think I could handle it. I feel I can jump in emotionally and physically to give 100% towards reinventing my marriage. I understand the importance of doing research to better understand what wives consider to be love. (I have no doubt I have some blame in her lack of sexual desire). I believe I can do all that – confession? Not feeling that confident… But I certainly appreciate your optimism in me.

        D – thank you is probably not the right word, but I appreciate your pointed honesty. As it relates to her being the “sex object I need her to be”, that issue has been out there for quite awhile. I don’t think that having sex with your wife once every few months is often enough. Call me crazy. We have tried counseling, we’ve talked about it – I don’t want to leave the impression here that my wife would have no idea what I was thinking related to this topic.

        That said, your points about looking inward have validity as well.

        I believe I’ve come to the conclusion that in most situations, there is no clear-cut, single issue, single person to blame. There is plenty of blame and reasons to go around. If everything was perfect in all aspects of my life except for the bedroom, would I still have cheated? If our sex life wasn’t quite what I wanted, but I saw my wife make a real concerted effort to try to get it there, would I have cheated? I don’t know the answer to these questions. I don’t think figuring out the whys is ever that clear…

        I also don’t think it’s as simple as saying “stop thinking with your dick”. At least for me, there have been a lot of emotions and thoughts tied up with the OW.

    • Donna

      hi Inthemiddleofit, I have a few questions that I am interested in knowing, as a betrayed wife.

      Did you think long and hard about the decision to have an affair, or was it something that just happened rather quickly? In my husbands case, he was in an EA turned PA for 17 months. He says that he fought everyday to not get involved with this OW. Eventually he did what he wanted I guess in the end. He says that is was not a choice, however I see it differently. Yes, I believe that he fought his feelings every day, however eventually a choice was made. He saud that he did care about my feelings, and yes I do believe that, yet once that decision was made he stopped showing that he caed at all for me. I see it as him just getting his needs met and dealing with the consequences later. Is this how it was for you. Do you understand what my husband is saying, or is he just full of crap and sugarcoating what he did? Alos, you say you are just having a PA, are you “in love” with this OW, or is it really just an addiction to her. My husband says he is in love with this OW… is this even possible that he really is and I should just give up now? I am doing the tough love thing, I still need to get my hands on that book. Anyway, would appreciate your insight. I am impressed with what you are learning from this affair and I agree, when and if you do tell your wife, I think it beneficial she come to this site. We are all here for her. I undersatnd your hesitiation not telling your wife, because believe me, the anger and grief she will show will be awful. Awful for her, and yes, even awful to you. Awful beause the one person who you are suppose to love in the world and protect will have her life tipped upside down and her dreams will die. “Dead on impact” is what I like to think of finding out about an affair, that is how it was for me and still is sometimes. Sometimes I wish I never learnt of my husbands affair, so I could keep living in my delusional world. HOwever, I knew things were not right in my marriage, I never thought he was having an affair, I just took it that I was a terrible wife and had failed him. That is how he made me to feel. I would think your wife knows something is up, even if you sat her down and she says she had no idea, if she really thought about it I can guarentee you that she will pin point things that she had missed. She may never think of an affair, I never did, however I knew something was amiss for me to look up marriage counselling before I even found out. Trust is a major thing, even though I knew something was not right, I trusted my husband so completly that an affair just did not enter into my head. Anyway, thank you for being here and also being here to answer questions.

      • Inthemiddleofit

        Did I think long and hard? Hmmm, good question. No, I don’t remember thinking about the long-term ramifications. I think at the time I was thinking more about short-term gratification. In fact, I wasn’t thinking about it as an affair at all at first. It was out of town and I probably was thinking about it more as a one-night stand than developing into a relationship. I was really attracted to her from the moment I first met her, so when she showed interest, it didn’t take much.

        I will say this – having a PA out of town did make it easier and probably prevented me from making the mistake Doug’s brother did. The OW and I talked about it how much better it would be if we could see each other more often. But we probably would have gotten closer and closer more quickly. The out of town thing also made it easier for me to keep secret because I didn’t have to change my at home habits all that much. It wasn’t like I was out at nights when I didn’t used to be, etc.

        I think it also allowed me to minimize my own guilt about it – it was like a different life when I was out of town. I was in the hotel anyway, wasn’t like I needed to go get a room to meet the OW.

        Not sure I understand what your husband is saying – my thoughts were not on my wife’s feelings. Quite frankly, they weren’t in my head at all. And if they did pop into my head, I think I felt like I has some weird justification because we weren’t having sex at home. And if that wasn’t happening, then it was somehow ok for me to get that outside the house. What she might think if she found out never really played into it. So yeah, I guess it was a matter of me getting my needs met and dealing with the consequences later.

        The next question is more complicated – am I in love with the OW. Well, I can tell you that if I had answered that last month my answer would be different. I’ve said this in a few other posts here, I’ve realized that I was completely head over heels in love with the situation and the feelings I was getting from it. Being in that “in-love” stage feels great. Having someone show desire toward you feels great. The calls, texts, etc, all feel great. The physical stuff was off the charts great. Looking back, that’s what I was in love with. I can see that now, because that’s what I miss now. I find myself thinking about that and not her specifically. It became a total addiction – waiting for that next text or call.

        Now to be fair, I didn’t have nearly the emotional connection as others do when they have a EA. Mine started out as a PA, then we developed more of an emotional connection. I imagine though the longer the affair, the harder it is to end it.

        I’m sorry your H made you feel like you were a terrible wife and had failed him. There were obviously issues in your relationship, but without a doubt, he contributed to them. The more I think about my marriage, the more I consider how my actions contributed to the issues. That downward spiral Linda mentioned in a blog post is so true…

        I hope this helps Donna – In addition to making my own marriage better, I hope my experience can help you better your own relationship…

    • Anne

      inthemiddleofit, I’m not sure how far this will go to help you while you’re still involved with the OW, but at the very least it’s good of you to try to reach out. Your addiction will do whatever is needed to keep you from hearing the truth.

      The OW will most likely do whatever is needed to keep you trapped in this mess too, whether you can see that or not right now. Never doubt she’s getting something out of it besides the claimed “true love,” and never doubt that she’ll fight to keep it, and never doubt that she will not fight fair. An OM will do the same, of course.

      What you’re dealing with is no different than any other kind of addiction. While any of us are in the grip of something like that, we’ll do whatever we have to to rationalize getting more of it. That’s just our wobbly human nature, comes with the DNA. What we have to do to overcome such things is to engage our big frontal lobes and say enough is enough, stop using our substance of choice, get clear, and really think things through. Until you do that, you’ll be stuck.

      Another thought about rationalizing comes to me by way of my husband. I asked him to read over all of this, and he had some very interesting and honest things to say. I will say first of all that I firmly believe that no one can ever know what’s going on inside someone else’s relationship (especially an OM or OW!), so I can’t say any of this applies to you. Things to consider though. When my husband was really getting into his addiction with his so-called friend, it didn’t matter when or how often or how we actually did have sex. He found some way to discount it to continue to go after his drug of choice. Once a month or week? Should have been twice. Three times a month or week? Should have been four. I initiated? I didn’t respond in the way he thought I should. Outdoors? I didn’t remove enough of my clothing. I don’t want to go into more detail than that on a public site, but the general idea is once he got far enough into his addiction, it didn’t matter what happened between us. He was being controlled by that addiction (and by her), and he was going to manufacture whatever excuse he had to to keep on. Picking fights, being distant, pushing me away, it didn’t matter. When he was in that toxic fog, like you are right now, he would do whatever it took to keep going. Can you honestly say you’re not justifying or falsifying anything in your own mind?

      Looking back, I honestly don’t think anything else besides what happened would have gotten him out of it. I not only had to find out, but she had to show her true self and turn vicious toward me and eventually toward him. That woke him up to how badly he’d gone wrong. It also woke him up to how he’d been manipulating things between us AND inside of his head to keep going, and yes, to how blatantly she’d been manipulating him for years.

      I absolutely accept some responsibility for our marriage troubles, but the choice to go outside the marriage was absolutely wrong and 100% my husband’s choice. I did nothing to deserve that, no matter how long it went sometimes when we weren’t having sex. That does not justify having an affair. Ever.

      As far as secrecy, another thing any betrayed spouse will likely realize is the secret is what does the damage. Secrets are corrosive, and both people know something is wrong. You say you think it’s sad that some of us might have felt like awful partners when we didn’t know what was going on but we knew something was wrong. I promise you your wife feels like she’s to blame and that she canNOT figure out what the problem is. In that kind of climate, with palpable walls between you and your wife, you can’t rebuild a marriage. The walls need to be around you and your wife, between you and other women. As long as you’ve got a secret life, your marriage cannot possibly be as close as you want.

      You claim it’s all about the sex. Well, from a woman’s perspective, we need to be close in other ways to bring that back to life, and a husband leading a dual life can never, ever be that close. The secrets have to go.

      And I will repeat, your wife has the right to protect her body from whatever might be going around in the affair. No one has the right to put another person in that kind of physical danger against his or her will. No one. This is possibly a life or death issue, and no joking matter. Too many completely innocent spouses have ended up with HIV, HPV, herpes, any number of permanent diseases. No safe sex is safe enough when one person is being lied to. And if you think your OW would never have anything like that, you’re 100% in the fog. She’s in an affair with you, she WILL cross that line. That’s been proven. The whole thing is built on dishonestly. Why on earth would you think she’s being honest with you? You have no idea how many people you’re actually having sex with, but you’re making that choice. Your wife is being put into that unacceptably risky position completely against her will. I don’t care how rarely you’re with your wife. One time is far too many.


    • Julia

      For inthemiddle of it, one thing I want to mention, my husband (35 year marriage now) had a PA 2 years ago for total of 8 months, EA for 6, PA for 1 month,I am having a huge problem moving on from. One big reason is he had emotional affairs with several different women, before the PA with new woman he began working with. Your comment of not having anyone to talk about it with. My husband talked about what a crappy marriage he had for 4 years with his EA friends, I was clueless. His life was nursing and golf,I thought he was satisfied with his life, not happy, but content, mine was raising kids and then a grand child, but rather than talking to me about our problems, he chose to talk to his female co-workers about them.My question, for him and you, why then did he not talk about the sordid affair with EA’s and friends? If you can tell your friends about your bad marriage, why can’t you tell your friends about your affair? My husband still does not want his ex-friends to know about past affair, reason he does not talk to them now, which is great with me. If your crappy marriage was the reason for your affair, why be so secretive about affair? I am still angry, 2 years later, because my husband did not talk to me about our problems. I could have tried to fix our issues, not the other women he talked to. I would give anything, if he had come to me 2 years ago and said, Look, I am not happy with our sex life (maybe 4 times a year) and am going to move out if you do not put me first. I admit, children were first with me. I knew they needed me, he did not let me know he needed me, physically or emotionally. I have had 2 out of my 5 children die in the past 35 years of our marriage, so my remaining 3 children were my priority for first 32 years of our marriage. I admit that but thought my husband understood, which he obviously did not, but I understand that he felt like it was his turn to be Number 1 with me. But we needed therapy two years ago, not an affair. I am also tired of these homewreckers, poachers, who know a man is married and just don’t care. It is a game to them, it is our life that is turned upside down by an affair. I don’t know if I can ever trust anyone again and I MISS THAT.I really feel that the other woman or man should be held accountable for their part. My husband assesses no blame to her and she has suffered no consequences for her part. It takes 2. I wish someone would explain to me why the wife pays dues, at the least deep depression and hopelessness, hubby blames us for our causing them to go outside the marriage for sex, intimacy, strokes, but hubby does not blame OW who says, come love me, I will give you what she is not, poor baby. I almost died from his cheating, OW has denied affair to her parents and friends and has suffered no consequences. If husband can blame wife for affair, why can’t they see, and be angry with, OW who said yeah,leave your wife for me. In my case, OW rewarded my husband day after he asked me for divorce with 3 weeks of sex, then no more sex until after divorce was final, provided him a free place to live for 4 months, before he decided a 33 year marriage was a long time to give up on. We are still struggling to save our marriage.

    • R

      It sounds like you are beginning to slowly come to your senses. My husband had an EA and a PA that lasted about 17 months, and ended almost 4 years ago. The betrayal still hurts me, and my husband still struggles with guilt and remorse, but over all we both agree that we are closer now than we have been in 35 years of marriage. I, like your wife, wasn’t that into sex before the affair. Oh, my husband and I had sex ever other day like clockwork. I was taught that was the way to keep him from straying (ha!) but my heart wasn’t really in it. I felt more used than anything. We were both unhappy with the state of our sex life, but didn’t know what to do about it. It wasn’t until after I found out about the affair that he decided to explain to me how my not being interested in sex made him feel like less of a man and made him feel like our marriage was missing intimacy. To me intimacy is hugs, kisses, hand holding, putting each other first – that sort of thing. After 30 years of marriage we had started to take each other for granted and all of the stuff I considered intimacy had slowed down considerably, so my desire for sex did too. Most women have to feel loved and cherished in order to feel sexy and loving. Anyway after the affair my husband had no choice but to communicate, so we had a frank discussion about what we both were lacking in the intimacy department and our sex life took on a life of it’s own. You might be surprised what your wife is capable of if she really feels loved and cherished! I never thought it was possible for me to enjoy it like I do now, but my needs are being met, so it comes easily now.

      Even though my heart had been torn out, I still loved my husband and was determined to save our marriage. Once he got away from the OW he realized he had been in love with the way she made him feel, not in love with her. It sounds like you are coming to that realization too. Give your wife a chance. You have been telling the OW what has been lacking in your marriage, now talk to your wife about it. I told my husband that of course the OW was doing all the right things, he was coaching her! If he had been coaching me, we wouldn’t have had to go through all this pain and suffering.

      My advice to you is to confess and then communicate. Yes, it will be very hard and will hurt your wife tremendously, but as others have pointed out, it is very likely she will eventually find out anyway. I did. I doubt very seriously that the OW is going to let you out that easily, and even if she did, there are other ways the truth can come out. Why take that risk? Why live under a cloud of deceit and fear? Man up and accept responsibility for your actions. The only way to have a really great marriage is for each partner to be honest and faithful. Even though you haven’t been faithful, that can change. It all depends on how remorseful you are after you confess and how you change your ways in the future that will determine whether your wife decides to stay with you or not. My strongest advice to you is to accept Jesus Christ into your life, and live for Him, and everything else will fall into place. I don’t know if it is ok to say that on this site or not, but I know in my case if it hadn’t been for my faith, I wouldn’t have been able to forgive my husband and move on like I have, and if it hadn’t been for my husband’s faith, he probably wouldn’t have repented and straightened his life up like he has. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, if you get away from the OW, confess and change your ways. Don’t lose your wife and kids over a fantasy. It won’t be worth it.

      • Doug

        R., Wonderful, wonderful comment! You summed things up for many people very well. Thanks for commenting.

    • tryinghard

      Doug Thank you so much for re-posting this. I wonder if some of the folks who commented on this post are still readers. I hope so. They have so much wisdom I wish they were still posting.

      I really like Jeffrey Murrah. Listening to him talk through your podcasts is what compelled me to go back to therapy. I have found a really good one too so I am lucky. So thanks Jeffrey!

      Is there a way I can filter to Jeff Murrahs comments on the blog? I would love to read his past comments.

      • Doug

        No problem, TH. I always enjoyed listening and talking to Jeff. He always had good stuff to say. Unfortunately, there is no way that I know of for you to filter Jeff’s comments (though I can). I went back and searched and if it helps at all, I can tell you that 90% of his comments were made between 7/15/10 and 12/31/10. I know that’s a huge range but you can go to the archives and review posts from those months if you wish.

        • tryinghard

          Thanks. OK so really dumb question. How do I sort by date then?

          • Doug

            Well, not a dumb question at all. Two ways…1) go to the top navigation bar and where you see “Blog”, hover over it and the “Archive” tab will appear. You can find things there by date. 2) Go to the right side of the page (sidebar) and scroll down to where you see “All of Our Posts” and below it you will see a box that says “Select Month.” Click and pick the month you want. That’s it. Let me know if you have any troubles.

    • chiffchaff

      Goodness. Was v hard reading the posts by inthemiddleofit. Every word could’ve been written by my h at that time. I wonder what happened to him? I
      the comments he made made me wonder, again, as I’ve done so many times, if my h still looks back at the sex he had with the ow as some unbeaten high watermark. I know thst comparing yourself with a fantasy is doomed but it doesn’t stop those thoughts.
      Difficult stuff.

      • Strengthrequired

        Chiff I found it hard to read too. I read a couple then couldn’t do it anymore lol.

    • Healingperson

      Wow, what a blog!

      Alls I can think of as I was reading these comments about doubts of “temp affair” vs. “true love” was that the cheater was not comparing apples to apples at any given time.

      Another angle to consider is the possibility that perhaps his W does not care and knows but is too having an affair… “Carma” or “Revenge”! Who know, its a very dangerous game when a door of distrust opens up.

    • Gizfield

      I don’t consider the “affairs” so much as secrets, but rather as “lies”. Secrets usually at least are true, but lies are just lies, made up garbage. My opinion only, of course.

    • christine

      This repost came at a really good time for me. I’ve been struggling thru the last 7 months since i found out about the affair my husband had with a “friend” of ours. I confronted her in the beginning, she seems remorseful but continued to lie to me, as did he, about their continued contact. Its been something he hasn’t been able to break off and in knowing her and how needy, desperate and unhappy she is at home i understand why. He doesn’t want to abandon her either but i think is reluctant to really leave his family because things are so much better here. We’ve talked about how we got into this mess and are trying to build our intimacy but its hard for me knowing he hasn’t let go of the fantasy yet. We’ve been more intimate than ever but after catching him lying about talking to her so many times, it obviously takes a toll on us feeling closer. I’ve tried ultimatums but can’t back it up because i’ve told him i want him here with us regardless and i understand the addiction. I’ve wondered if having this informatin about their cheaters feelings and affair dynamics is actually a BAD thing? It makes us maybe too forgiving… He says he hasn’t had to “feel” the repurcussions of his actions or be punished. Its hard for me to understand that when he’s seen me go thru months of crying, not eating or being able to work. I’d recently asked him to stop talking to her for just 3 months and found out again that they still talk alot. I told him i was tired of the empty promises and that maybe its better that he doesn’t have to lie about it. He is still here, with me knowing that they have contact. I don’t want to hear about their conversations and we talked about why its obviously wrong that she is giving him advice about our marriage. I still don’t know if he realizes that but it will come in time. She will start to show her true colors to him, her neediness and i think try to bad mouth me as she feels he wavering about leaving his family. I’ve heard those are things that can help open the cheaters eyes. In the meantime, is it odd that i’ve let him stay with no more ultimatums knowing its still going on? One thing i learned in the marriage fitness program was that the cheating will weigh on their conscience but they are reluctant to let go until they feel things can really change in their marriage. I think Inthemiddleofit confirmed this with his feelings. Its hard to keep hopeful but i know i’ve shown him what we have to lose here and made so many changes. I keep praying for that event or revelation for him to see her what for she is. Desperate and using him for her own needs with no consideration of what she’s doing to a family or her “friend”. She is very selfish and unfortunately a dangerous person to have had around. Her previous affair was no different. She left her family and came back when that one didn’t work out and vowed to never leave her family again… until she found another playmate evidently. This is not a person my husband would want as a lifemate. I pray the day he can see that comes soon.

    • Angela

      I asked my CS the same question. (About how he managed those conflicting feelings
      He said it was because I didn’t give a shit what he was doing all the time. (I was writing a book at the time, and a great deal of time was devoted to it, of course, so anything he did to entertain himself was fine with me.) In other words, I made it easy for him because I didn’t give a shit what he was doing according to him. I had asked to join his game because after a few months of us not spending any time together, I was very uneasy with the distance I was feeling between us, but he hemmed&hawed around wanting me in the game. One night he mentioned something about the game and I said, “Why don’t you marry the damn game?” Because I was literally sick of the 12-15 hours a day he spent on it. Besides that, he’d been doing some things that were highly out character (towards me and just in general). He frequently talked about the game and the players on the game as if it was real life stuff to him. I heard all the gossip/drama/etc in the game and finally said, “I really don’t want to hear it anymore!” A week or so later, he mentioned, “There’s this girl on here named Ruger!”
      My radar went off big time at tone of his voice in that sentence alone. A few weeks later she was asking to meet him at a place with a group of people. A couple of weeks after that she was asking to exchange phone numbers with him. We had agreed that we would not give out our phone number online to strangers but he did anyway and then tried to fool me two days later by asking me to get my permission just in case I caught a call from her and he got caught talking to her on the phone.
      I don’t have to tell the rest of it. You can figure it out – she became his EAP.
      I will say though, that 3 years past D-Day, divorce is still a daily thought.
      He’s done very little, if anything to help in healing. Overall, he has done more damage. I’d love to have one of these partners who really “gets it” and consistently keeps his view point through my eyes, instead of continuing to justify and reverse-attack, and blame.
      My self-esteem has crashed so low, that I not only expect to die younger than I would have naturally,
      but very often I think of ways to end my own life.
      I asked my CS the same question.
      He said it was because I didn’t give a shit what he was doing all the time. (I was writing a book at the time, and a great deal of time was devoted to it, of course, so anything he did to entertain himself was fine with me.) In other words, I made it easy for him because I didn’t give a shit what he was doing according to him. I had asked to join his game because after a few months of us not spending any time together, I was very uneasy with the distance I was feeling between us, but he hemmed&hawed around wanting me in the game. One night he mentioned something about the game and I said, “Why don’t you marry the damn game?” Because I was literally sick of the 12-15 hours a day he spent on it. Besides that, he’d been doing some things that were highly out character (towards me and just in general). He frequently talked about the game and the players on the game as if it was real life stuff to him. I heard all the gossip/drama/etc in the game and finally said, “I really don’t want to hear it anymore!” A week or so later, he mentioned, “There’s this girl on here named Ruger!”
      My radar went off big time at tone of his voice in that sentence alone. A few weeks later she was asking to meet him at a place with a group of people. A couple of weeks after that she was asking to exchange phone numbers with him. We had agreed that we would not give out our phone number online to strangers but he did anyway and then tried to fool me two days later by asking me to get my permission just in case I caught a call from her and he got caught talking to her on the phone.
      I don’t have to tell the rest of it. You can figure it out – she became his EAP.
      I will say though, that 3 years past D-Day, divorce is still a daily thought.
      He’s done very little, if anything to help in healing. Overall, he has done more damage. I’d love to have one of these partners who really “gets it” and consistently keeps his view point through my eyes, instead of continuing to justify and reverse-attack, and blame.
      My self-esteem has crashed so low, that I not only expect to die younger than I would have naturally,
      but very often I think of ways to end my own life.

      I’m at an age where starting over seems like a stupid idea. I’m 49 years old and even another relationship sounds like too much work, let alone another marriage.

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