It’s Good Friday and I’m at my office.  Nobody else is here and it’s incredibly dead quiet.  So I thought I would write. 

I got to thinking about a discussion Linda and I had the other day about how can the person involved in an affair profess to love their spouse,  yet still carry on an emotional affair with another person and knowingly inflict immense amounts of pain on his/her partner. 

I know in my situation, I never really stopped loving Linda, though I may not have felt the “in love” feelings that I once had for her.  That didn’t mean that I ever stopped loving her.  After all we have been together for 30 years, she is the mother of our children, and is a wonderful, caring person.

I guess the best word to describe why I did it was selfishness (though I’m sure Linda would offer you many more).  I was selfish in that I was too concerned with my own feelings and what was missing in our relationship, and didn’t think about the consequences my emotional affair could have on Linda.

So how was it that I could sneak around behind her back with someone else?  I’m not a bad person at all, really.  I’m a good father.  I thought I was a decent husband, and I was brought up in a loving, caring and religious family, absent of any marital infidelity.

I was too selfish (and stupid) to share my feelings of discontent with Linda in the first place, and instead did so with another person.

I was too selfish to allow myself to get wrapped up in the feelings of infatuation and illusions of love that existed in my emotional affair with Tanya.

And I was too selfish to honestly admit my affair when it first came to light on the “D-day” when Linda found out.

It took the possibility of losing everything staring me in the face to change the way I look at everything—not only in marriage, but in life itself.  And in knowing what is important and what is not.

They say that an affair is a traumatic event, and I can attest to that whole heartedly.  It has been traumatic for Linda much more so than me, but it has certainly been a life altering event and has made me realize how devastating taking someone, or something for granted can be for all parties involved.

This event has changed me forever, and I hope that I am becoming a better husband, father, worker, communicator and writer.  It’s a shame that it took something like this to ignite these mass improvements.

I guess in some sense, you could say that even after my emotional affair I’m still being selfish.  I can’t help it.  For some reason I have to have a great family, happiness, freedom, success, and a loving, forgiving, beautiful wife  – which were there the whole time.

    69 replies to "My Emotional Affair: Selfishness Personified"

    • michael

      My wife too, is a very caring and wonderful mother. Our kids have come first for all of our history together. We have had great times together. And she has been a good wife to me and put up with the way I’ve been in the past.

      But like you said, that selfish feeling came over her as well. It was real evident right after my discovery and she showed it. Looking back I noticed it a little before I found out. Even how she didn’t break off ties with him while I knew what was going on. She showed it in the words she used in email and in sessions.
      She was defensive. She was talking about what SHE needed and no one else knew what was right for her. And how she had been unhappy for a long time. There were truths in her word too but everything was amplified by his “helping her”.

      I also saw in her just the opposite. I know that she has kept things from me in order to protect me from further hurt. I know she had a hard time breaking it off with him because she didn’t want to hurt him either. She had blamed herself for a lot of what happened to break them apart at a young age. And she still blames herself mostly for the problems that we have and had. So she pushes it away in her head so that no one else will have to suffer for her past.

      I know she had and probably always will have a part in her heart for him. I wouldn’t have picked a person who could just throw away her emotions for some one so easily. She is a very emotional person inside. She just has a hard time sorting them out and dealing with them. Even talking about them. She is a strong person and I wouldn’t have that any other way. I would just like to share in her strength and help her through her weaknesses.

    • Black Iris

      It’s hard for me as a wife to read this. I think you’ve obviously made a lot of progress admitting that the affair was an illusion and your marriage is what you really want to keep. But have you looked hard at what was missing in your marriage due to you? Not what you should have complained about, but all the faults you had that were contributing to the problems?
      And are you ready to take your wife’s hurt feelings for years and focus on how to make her feel better, not how to move on so that you can feel good again?

      • admin

        Black Iris, Thanks for commenting and welcome. Yes I’ve looked very hard at what I did to contribute to our problems. Please feel free to read more of the site, as you can see where we post on this subject quite a bit. Thanks for visiting.

    • ninny

      I have just read your ‘Good Friday’ post.
      My husband’s emotional affair with a coworker sounds pretty identical to yours.
      In spite of me seeing texts (accidentally undeleted) saying she loved him, missed him and couldn’t stop thinking about him when she was on hols with her husband and him telling her she was the last thing he thought of at night and first thing in the morning, he insists he didn’t love her and it was all a game.
      In a way I want him to admit he loved her so at least he is telling the truth but he INSISTS over and over again that he didn’t and has always only loved me.

      This makes it impossible to believe anything else he says. How can he deny the written evidence of those texts. I would love your opinion on his denials of love for her in the light of your feelings for Tanya.

      My story is very long and complicated and I saw several more texts and unearthed lots more horrors although I know it wasn’t physical up to a certain point but then it continued for another 8 months (he got a secret pay as you go phone for her exclusive use). When I discovered this everything came to a head and surprise, surprise, he realised what he could have lost. This was after 2 previous discoveries of flirty, loving, sexual texts which he said made him realise what a fool he’d been!!
      What do you mean by your D Day? Is this available to read about or has it just cropped up in blogs?
      Many Thanks.

      • admin

        Ninny, My best guess is that your husband is either in denial or he is trying to protect you from further hurt by not telling you the complete truth. Understandably, hearing that he loved someone else would probably be fairly painful for you. D-day is the day that Linda discovered the affair. I hope that helps.

    • ninny

      Am I hearing you right!!!!!? ‘Hearing that he loved someone else would be FAIRLY painful for you’!!! Try ‘devastating and soul destroying’!!
      I presume you told the OW you loved her. Did you really mean it or were you just infatuated or saying what she wanted to hear?
      What do you think the complete truth is that he doesn’t want me to know?
      Were your texts sexually explicit and very rude or just flirty and full of innuendo (which is what he tries to convince me)?
      Why didn’t your EA become physical? My husband’s EA lasted several months at least so I can’t understand why it never became physical if they were that ‘in love’ with each other, surely that’s the next step. He didn’t wait months before WE slept together.
      One of her texts said she felt guilty leading him on as they’d ‘done nothing yet’. He replied ‘don’t feel guilty, I told you I’d wait, it somehow makes it more exciting’.
      Do you think this sounds as if he had made it clear he wanted sex and she was the one holding back or that he told her that to keep the sexual tension going and that he really didn’t want it to go that far but just enjoy the fantasy which would have been shattered if he hadn’t kept the fire fuelled?

      • admin

        Ninny, Sorry , I did not intend to downplay your pain in any way. I’m sure you are devastated–as was Linda.

        Looking back on things I was more in love with the feeling of being in love, and had the feelings of infatuation only. It was totally superficial.

        As far as I know, your husband may be telling you the complete truth. In your last comment you made the statement: “In a way I want him to admit he loved her so at least he is telling the truth but he INSISTS over and over again that he didn’t and has always only loved me.” That is why I stated it that way. But lets face it, affairs are borne of lies, and half truths.

        Our texts were more of the flirty variety and non-sexual in nature. I did not allow the affair to get sexual as it was just one of those lines I would never cross. Perhaps subconsciously by not doing so, it made it less of a betrayal and less guilt.

        It sounds from the text you describe that your husband did not have sex with her and was either fueling the fire as you mention or like me, just chose not to go down that path.

    • ninny

      Thanks Doug,
      Out of the hundreds of texts sent, I discovered but a few,
      The worst for me were the ones about loving and missing etc. The sexy ones were stuff like (him) ‘Am feeling very randy today, must be the thought of you in lacey undies’. Another called her ‘dirty little minx’ and he is adamant he can’t remember what she said to inspire that (yeah, whatever) although he did say that perhaps she had told him that she gave her husband a blow job the night before. This makes me think they were more than flirty!!
      I also told you in a previous post that after I discovered the one saying that they’d done nothing yet, he promised he was phasing it out and that process was already underway so why would he still be telling her he felt randy and would wait?
      He then showed me all his future phone bills but got a secret pay as you go which I discovered 8 months later. He said this was because he HAD to keep in touch with her as he was sorting out the practice at which she was manageress because her boss was off with drink/drug problems and had attempted suicide (this was one of my husband’s roles and I know that was actually true).
      I can’t believe that he would continue a sexting relationship with her because by then (having realised what we nearly lost) we were back to being deeply in love and having the most rampant, passionate sex and dirty, flirty texting with each other. Romantic weekends away and sexy lunches etc. I can’t believe he would have needed anyone else to fulfil him emotionally or physically.
      Do you think this backs up his story that the secret phone was just for business and general chat as obviously they had some sort of bond even if no longer emotional, or do you think it more likely he was sneakily carrying on the EA?
      When I discovered this phone, I rang and confronted her and that stopped it like turning off a light switch.
      I wish to god I’d done that on day one but he threatened me I might regret it. Do you think that’s because he wasn’t ready to give her up at that time but when he actually did, it was because it had ran its course and would have fizzled out anyway?

      • admin

        Ninny, I’m just speculating here, but to me I would have a hard time believing that he had a secret phone for business purposes. Maybe the reason for continuing the texts was to appease her in some way even though he was attempting to end the relationship. It’s hard to say, Ninny. On the other hand he could just be blowing smoke and lying like a rug. The fact that it stopped when you called may support that theory. If you two were having wild sex and getting along wonderfully leads me to believe that the affair would have died on its own eventually. I know these are kind of wishy-washy answers but it’s tough to come to any conclusions without the benefit of talking to him or looking him in the eye.

    • ninny

      I know and I thank you for taking the time to attempt to answer. Since I discovered the initial texts nearly two years ago then the secret phone just over 12 months ago there has been nobody to help me get inside the mind of someone having an EA. Discovering your site has been the nearest I can come to trying to find out his true feelings cos your situation sounds almost identical.
      I am living through hell every day. I go over and over and over the little snippets I’ve discovered trying to convince myself that what he says is true (he never stopped loving me and never really loved her it was all a game etc.).
      After I discovered a second batch of texts, we had big soul searching heart to hearts and he promised future contact would be necessary business only. We went on a cruise at the end of that week and I monitored his phone like a hawk and since seeing the bills I know he didn’t contact her. The secret phone was not bought until about six weeks later.
      He did contact her 1st day back at work after the cruise (we had arrived home 2 days before and at least he didn’t contact her immediately, not on his mobile anyway) 2 check on work things and did tell me that at the time BUT did not keep the actual texts to show me (about 6 of them). He knew I’d see them on his bill so had to anyway!
      So he then managed without contacting her on his mobile for about 6 weeks and says he used the landline at work but it became too difficult as they were both working and didn’t know when the other was free (her practice was going through the process of being sold as her boss had now been forced to pack in over his health problems and my husband was sorting stuff out so had to liaise with her unfortunately). He said texting was much easier so thats why he got the secret phone but they also had ‘general conversation’.
      Knowing how you felt about Tanya, could you have restrained yourself for 6 weeks from having readily available contact with her? That is one of the few things that I cling on to that they were no longer having an EA cos I would imagine the ‘drug’ wouldn’t let go of you.
      Also when I rang to confront her after discovering the SF, she didn’t sound shocked when I said who I was. She just said ‘Oh hi’ in a very casual voice which surprised me (I thought she would have been struck dumb with horror). She said they were ‘just friends’ but admitted to having had a ‘schoolgirl crush’ on him previously.
      Oh Doug, I am i turmoil. He is away at the moment golfing with his chums and I’m missing him like mad but all our texts this morning have been about her. This has been brought on to a certain extent that I’ve spent virtually all my free time since he went looking on your site and can think of nothing else but them.
      How on earth is Linda coping so well that she can give others advice and things?
      Do you think my husband’s EA sounds much worse than yours? I mean you say your conversation didn’t get sexual etc.
      By the way how have you convinced Linda that what you’re telling her is the truth? How does she or we know that you didn’t have sex etc?
      If I knew my husband was telling me the truth I think i could start to come to terms but I’m so convinced he’s still hiding things that I’m on some sort of quest to find out more. He has offered to have a lie detector test but if it showed he wasn’t lying I would assume it was faulty and if it said he was I would be even more devastated so I can’t win.
      Another thing I didn’t mention before was that the OW when cornered told me (out of spite I presume) that it wasn’t the first time he’d done ‘this sort of thing’. When I asked him he said she’d be referring to the woman who did her job before her who was secretary to a local comittee my husband was also on (the OW was current secretary since the previous woman had left which is another way they got close apart from the practice problems as my husband was chairman so she had to do all his secretarial work). He said the OW had quizzed him about rumours of an affair with this previous woman that she heard when she joined the practice and my husband told her that they were just friendly and had to see quite a lot of each other over comitttee business. Other people obviously thought there looked more to it than that.
      That linked in with an incident in 2001 when I found a bill for Tiffany jewellery on his credit card statement. At the time he told me he’d bought a celtic cross pendant for a woman at work who was upset because she had hers stolen out of her handbag at work. This never rang true but faded to the back of her mind.
      It turns out that this was the woman referred to by the OW. I rang Tiffany and to my amazement they gave details of the gift. Not a cross but an open heart pendant SURPRISE SURPRISE.
      His story about that is now that that other woman was having a nervous breakdown and drug/drink problems and was off work and he bought it for her ‘to cheer her up’. The order was placed on VALENTINE’S DAY 2001 but again he cleverly pointed out would he have ordered it ON valentine’s day if it was an actual valentine’s gift and wouldn’t be delivered for a few days. He said he just happened to see it advertised in a magazine and thought it would be a nice gesture.
      He didn’t have a texting mobile or email in those days but apparently used to pop around to her practice to discuss comittee stuff.
      This all opened up a whole new can of worms as I was oblivious to all this at the time so have discovered 2 potential ‘affairs’ at once. Can you imagine??
      A lot of people have suggested counselling but I can’t see how his would help.
      Oh, someone please help me!!!

      • admin

        Ninny, In many ways it seems that your husband is telling you the truth, like the restraining himself for 6 weeks. But on the other hand, buying the secret phone, the charm bracelet on Valentines day, etc, all point to a pack of lies in my opinion. Tell me…how is your relationship with him now? Are you still “deeply in love and having the most rampant, passionate sex and dirty, flirty texting with each other ” like you mentioned in one of your earlier posts? What I’m getting at, is sometimes you need to let the past go as long as the present is what you want. Continue to work on your marriage and not in snooping. Otherwise I think you might drive yourself crazy. My honest opinion is yes, he had at least an EA, but it sounds like it’s over, so work on your relationship and communicate to determine why he had the EA, set boundaries and continue the passion. If you don’t and you keep up the junior detective stuff, you might drive him away.

    • ninny

      Yes we are still “deeply in love and having the most rampant, passionate sex and dirty, flirty texting with each other ” if anything, even more in love. He tells me how sorry he is all the time and that I am his whole world.
      I know he had an EA much as I hate to admit it. I know sex hadn’t happened before we went on the cruise but they did carry on with the secret phone for another 8 months. I can’t see him having sex with anyone else during that time as a) I think I pretty much wore him out (he is nearly 60 with a pacemaker LOL) and b) I don’t know of any time he was away or could fit it in (unless when he was meant to be at one of those committee meetings that she also attended but they were only every 6 weeks).
      I am sure he is now 100% sincere and honest about the present.
      What is haunting me is the past. I feel our marriage has been violated and can never be mended and as I’m an ‘all or nothing’ person I’m finding it impossible to have a marriage that’s been damaged and want 100% guarantees that it will never happen again. I know all this is impossible.
      I keep wondering if he would have now been with her if i’d not discovered and if he really wanted her but is making the best of it with me even though his love shines through every day.
      No, I know he adores me but then it begs the question ‘why did he ever need her’?
      Partly to blame, I know, was the menopause (although I didn’t realise at the time). I went right off sex and was sometimes actually repulsed by him. I was unloving and distant but he never stopped trying to love me. Of course, he sensed all this and I think this is why she appeared at just the right time.
      Oh Doug I wish someone could wipe away the pain and suspicion. Not being able to trust the person you love most in all the world is a killer x

      • admin

        Ninny, Yes I’m sure all this hurts very much, and you and he will need to work to rebuild the trust. It sounds as though he truly sorry and loves you very much, so even though it’s difficult, try to move on from the past and work to figure out why it happened and fix it so it never happens again.

    • exhausted

      Ninny, I agree with not snooping for two important points.
      1. No matter how hard you try, you can not control your husband’s actions. Snooping takes far more energy than it is worth.
      2. After you spent all your energy on snooping, you spend the rest on wondering.

      I realize this is easier said than done. About 2 weeks after D Day, I wrote a contract to myself not to look at his phone any longer. For the 1st week it was difficult but by the second week, it was freeing, for lack of a better word.
      I was able to focus on other things and my life started to be a little normal.
      Finally, I would imagine, the longer you snoop, the harder it is to regain trust.
      I unfortunately did not snoop, and the EA continued. But I realized after the second discovery, this was not my fault. I had worked hard to restore the relationship and this was the direct result of his actions. He has realized his responsibility now

    • ninny

      Exhausted, thanks for your advice.
      I did monitor his phone all the time and as you may have read he showed me his bills but hahaha he had got the secret phone by then. What a p*ss take dutifully showing me the bills to ‘prove’ his innocence.
      Do you mind me asking what your experience was and how long ago?
      How intense was his EA and how did you discover it?
      It helps so much to hear how other people coped and maybe give a hint that it may be possible to come to terms with it one day!!

    • ninny

      Where can I find details of D-day?
      How did Linda discover?
      How long is it since your last contact with Tanya and are you over her?
      Did you have some sort of mourning and feeling of loss when you had to end it and did you end it immediately when Linda discovered or phase it out gradually?
      Do you think you still would have been with Tanya if undiscovered and it might have turned physical?
      One thing I’d dearly love to know is the conversation between my husband and the OW immediately after me finding out and ringing her. Obviously they will have got straight into contact to discuss the fallout and what to do next.
      I told her to never contact him in any way shape or form or I would contact her husband and I’m virtually certain she didn’t but I do think there will have been a final conversation between them that day.
      Surprise, surprise my husband ‘can’t’ remember what was said. I would dearly love to know if it was something like ‘if things could have been different etc’ or ‘I will always love you’ or what?? Did she beg him to rethink taking into account that one of her texts did say she’d fallen for him?
      As it sounds like you Doug were ‘forced’ into ending it, how did you feel? Did you resent Linda and hate her for snooping (that’s IF she did)? What was the jist of your absolute final conversation with Tanya?
      Hey, how stupid is this…at one point I felt guilty for splitting THEM up!!!!!!!!!

      • admin

        Ninny, Basically Linda found out about Tanya by seeing a bunch of calls to her on my cell. Naturally at first I denied anything was going on. It took a few months before the full truth came out and the relationship was ended over a period of time. I really hate to speculate what might have happened, but I’m positive that the relationship would have eventually died on its own after the illusion and infatuation wore off. I wouldn’t say that Linda “forced” me to do anything. She allowed me to make a choice and I chose to stay. Linda really didn’t snoop into anything but cell phone bills/usage. I guess you can say I held some resentment at first for a brief time, but it was more because the truth was finally known. My final conversation with Tanya was me just telling her that my family meant too much to me and I needed to end things. She did call me a little while after that though to tell me that her husband had found things out. That’s the last time I’ve spoken to her.

        • SadSuzie

          I almost feel like you weren’t quite committed since you stated your “family” meant to much to you…..rather than your wife meant too much to you.

          • Priscilla

            I always felt that way too about what Doug said

      • Priscilla

        Your are going through a lot of what I have been going through for over two years. I can feel your pain and your wanting proof of it being over.

        My husband just wants to sweep it all under the rug and just have me back to the person I was before his EA happened. This person does not live near us and this happened because she came onto him and he liked the feeling, so after saying he would have nothing more to do with her, he lied and continued his lust every time he saw her. He tried seeing her many times without me there because I caught on to what he was doing. He continue after lying to me many more times, but unbeknownst to me was trying to bump into her behind my back. He too said he would take a lie detector test, but when I asked him later if he would still do it, he said no. Consequently, I knew he wouldn’t be able to pass it. I am a person like you that only wants the truth, no matter how bad. If I were you , I would ask him again to take the test. At least you wouldn’t feel like You have to be the perfect wife in order to keep him. It is up to him to make you be able to trust, not for you to make Him feel better. Maybe this post is from years ago, so I hope everything worked out for you.

    • carla (worried Mum)

      Well, I’m back again after a few weeks absence from this site. Yesterday our son told us that he and his wife are separating. He had found additional ‘stuff’ she had written (before they went on holiday together at Easter) about her feelings for yet another man. She described getting drunk and staying overnight with this person – he is married with two children. She now has a fantasy about him and has told my son she is leaving home. Apparently she has been looking at flats to rent locally. Although she sometimes travels with her job, my son says she has hardly spent a night away from home since Xmas – possibly 4 at the most, so he doesnt know HOW she can be conducting a relationship with someone else! He says that this man is a colleague of his wife’s but they work on different projects so its unlikely that they see much of each other although they may have had a drunken one night stand. He feels she needs help as there is unlikely to be a real relationship going on between her and the OM. He has avoided getting angry with her because she conveniently gets ‘panic attacks’ (sarcasm) when he questions her and she falls on the floor clutching her chest (!). She seems to think that if she rents a flat (this, according to her scribblings) this man will come and live with her. My son is not attempting to stop her leaving. Her parents have been taking her to look at flats. She has told them she ‘doesnt get on’ with my son but has omitted the whole truth. According to her, she is not leaving my son for the OM, her reasons are that they ‘want different things.’ he ‘doesnt keep the garden nice’ and she wants to ‘do up the house but he drags his heel.’ Son could have said that she doesnt shop, cook, clean or do laundry unless he is with her as she doesnt stay in the house by herself or go to the supermarket by herself. This has to be done at weekends after he has worked a 60 to 70 hour week. However she is not domesticated at all and wants to have ‘nice days out’ at the weekend, so son is permanently exhausted. And after all this he says he is ‘worried about her.’ What do you think about her ‘reasons’. for leaving him? Interested in any input. She has never lived alone so how she will manage by herself I dont know but I am concerned that she has put my son through this and, at the end of the day, she may try to come back. She is about to have a harsh reality check. It’s not my business, I know, but she has put him through so much that I have ended up hating the woman. I have just read back through my post and I think, realistically, my son will be well rid of her.

      • Doug

        Carla, Yes it seems that your daughter in law has some other more serious issues than relationships with other men, and it seems that whatever is going on in their relationship (or not going on) is causing a rift between them. As you say, perhaps your son “will be well rid of her.”

    • ninny

      Thanks Doug,
      As I said before, your relationship sounds IDENTICAL to theirs, that’s why I value your comments so much.
      Once Linda had found out, did your relationship with Tanya change or did you carry on flirting etc? If you valued your family so much, why did you risk carrying it on?
      Did Linda know that you were still doing so or did she assume you were shocked enough by her discovery to end it?
      What I can’t understand is that I found two lots of texts which didn’t stop him but when I found about the secret phone and rang her, it stopped immediately!!
      I wish I’d done that on day 1 but my husband threatened I might regret it. Why do you think he said that?
      Doug, how did her husband find out? When I rang the OW she was so scared I’d contact her husband and told me she would tell him herself. I don’t think she’ll have told him anything like what I know, probably just said I was a neurotic wife who was imagining a load of rubbish to cover herself incase I actually did contact him.
      I sometimes am itching to let him know the truth and her marriage suffer like mine (according to my husband, she loves her husband so presumably their marriage would suffer too). Do you think that’s spiteful and vindictive?
      You know I read that text from him saying he told her he’d wait as it made it more exciting (he admits this referred to sex). Did you and Tanya lead each other on like this? Did you lead each other to believe you had a future together and was that part of the ‘game’?
      Did you find it easy to say fantasy things to each other that you wouldn’t have said in real life or face to face? When you met in person did you hold hands or kiss or anything?
      I bet I’m worse than Linda for interrogation LOL.

      • admin

        Hi Ninny, Linda has asked me all these things before, so it’s nothing new. I would say that our relationship changed quite a bit once Linda found out. I became less interested and more distant with Tanya over time as everything became so much more difficult and I started to see the real person that she was. I guess I risked everything because I was stupid and under the influence of the infatuation “drug.” Linda knew (or at least had the feeling) that I was still in contact with her. Tanya was the one that was pushing for things to go further along, and I resisted which caused her to be angry and jealous, etc. I think deep down I never had any intentions of being with her or having any kind of a future together. She had other ideas though. We were always in a public place–either at work or a restaurant or something so there was no kissing or holding hands or anything like that. Her husband found out by discovering phone bills and/or texts.

        It sounds as though your husband’s OW didn’t want to continue for fear of losing her husband and family as well. I don’t believe that letting her husband know would be a good thing. It could backfire on you and could even drive them closer together, you never know. I know it’s difficult Ninny, but you should probably try to stop obsessing so much with what they did and said, as you will drive yourself nuts. Put your energies into yourself and into improving your relationship with your husband.

    • ninny

      Thanks again Doug,
      I didn’t realise you got as far as taking her out to restaurants!!! I don’t THINK my husband did anything like that (he went to those committee meetings they were both on and one evening I went spying at the venue and sure enough she arrived then he arrived later with a male colleague he was giving a lift to. I would have loved to have watched them leave but it would have been suspicious if he got home before me).
      Where did Tanya think you were at those times? Did it happen often? OMG that all makes it seem much more serious and now I’m wondering if indeed my husband did ever do that!!! Did you buy each other gifts?
      The OW apparently gave my husband a CD she had copied of songs he mentioned he liked and I found this out when one of his texts said he was feeling very randy at the thought of ‘her’ CD and the thought of her in lacey undies. What a fool I was not demanding to see the CD there and then to see if she’d written a message or anything on it. instead I let him throw it away in some bin (so he says).
      I am also fuming that if I’d looked in his wallet I’d have found the top up card for the secret phone and beating myself up that although I’d asked him several times if he had another phone, I was stupid enough not to go looking.
      Something that puzzles me Doug, if you were so infatuated and going out for meals etc. how come you didn’t start texting/talking on a sexual level and titillate each other that way (you said in a previous answer that your conversations were not about sex)? Surely that would be the next stage. That seemed to be the main theme of the texts I read along with talking about loving each other. Did you tell each other that? I suppose so.
      I have spent the whole of today (bank holiday Monday) thinking of them together while he is in Spain golfing. When he texted it turned into yet another spat about their EA and when he phoned I ended up in tears.
      He can’t seem to understand how raw it all still is and seems to think I should be healing by now. I can’t ever see that happening. Infact I seem to be feeling worse with time not better because I keep mulling it over and over and making up new scenarios.
      How can people go on when the trust has gone. He should be the person I trust with all my heart and I never will again although I love him to bits x

      • admin

        Ninny, You crack me up. I don’t often get to hear the word titillate! Keep in mind that I worked with Tanya (she was a client within the same office) and in my line of work, it was not unusual to take clients out to lunch–and I worked with about 95% women. I think you mean where did Linda think I was at those times…She thought I was at work which is where I was. Tanya and I would go out to lunch frequently though. We never bought each other gifts–birthday, Christmas or otherwise. As I mentioned before, I would not allow myself to go down the sexual path with her, and though she brought it up as the next step, I didn’t let it happen.

        You know Linda went through a lot of what you are–the questions, and the constant wondering, and it drove her nuts. She still does ask me things about once every 28 days or so ;-), and many of the questions have been asked many times before. At one point she never thought that she would get over it, and to an extent she hasn’t, but it gets better every day. It does take time, but if you do the things that we mention in our blog, then you stand a pretty good chance of not only getting over it, but making your relationship better. However, it’s unfair of him to expect you to be over it if he hasn’t given you the answers to what you are looking for. But there is a difference between discussing it and hounding someone for information.

        What I would do is get your husband to agree to sit down and discuss the affair for a pre-determined length of time–maybe an hour at a time or something like that over a period of so many days. Ask your questions and let him tell you his story–without arguing–and let that be the end of the snooping and interrogations–and lying or half-truths. Hopefully his answers will tell you all you need to know, and show you the direction you need to move in to make your relationship stronger.

      • J.C.

        Hello Ninny, I can see how much your husband’s EA has eaten away so much of who you are on the inside and I can fully understand that and I wonder if you are like me somewhat in that perhaps u are secretly wishing that something more had happened so that you could justifiable do more like leave or make a scene, don’t get angry because I am so there…there are so many times that I have told my husband how much I wished he had had sex with this woman because I know my response would be to kick him the hell out of my and my children’s lives divorce him in a hurry and get the hell out of this country, but although he committed adultery according to the Word of God, it would not hold up in a court of law. But he didn’t so I have had to “do” the right thing, but with that comes all the imagination, the what if’s, the if this had happened then what and all it does is eat away at you, but I will tell you like I tell my children, don’t ever be sorry for your emotions, they are yours just be careful what you do with them. I pray your strength and an abiding peace to comfort your heart. This is a terrible thing to go through but trust me you will get over it.

    • ninny

      Aw thanks again Doug,
      I have asked him over and over like Linda, usually the same questions.
      He gets angry (after 5 mins let alone an hour!!) cos he says do I expect the answers to change but how do I know he’s telling the truth? How does Linda know you are and that you’ve NOT slept with Tanya or done lots of sex stuff?
      Do you think him telling her he’d wait (for sex) indicates that he wasn’t prepared to go down that path either and it was just more TITILLATION cos why didn’t he grab it there and then? Maybe she didn’t dare take that next step.
      Do you think Linda would have found it much harder to accept if your conversation had become sexual? Also, you didn’t say if you told each other you loved each other. THAT HURTS!!
      Anyway Doug, are you a scouser?? They always say ‘crack me up’. The OW (PS does that stand for other woman or old witch?) is a scouser.
      I’m so glad you appreciate the word TITILLATE it is good isn’t it, perhaps we should start a titillation affair and start a new trend haha LOL x

      • admin

        Ninny, the fact that he gets angry after 5 minutes should tell you that you should back off a bit. Asking someone over and over again will do nothing but build resentment and cause him to shut himself up even more. Please trust me on this, as I’ve been through it. Linda knows now to discuss these things in manageable time frames and to not badger me. I will respond much better to her in this fashion. I bet your husband will too.

        I really don’t know the answer to your question about how Linda knows if I’ve had sex with Tanya. I guess she just chooses to believe me. I’ve come clean on everything else with her, and she’s given me every opportunity to “admit” it, but I won’t admit to something that didn’t happen. I’m really not sure how she would have taken it, but I’m sure it wouldn’t have been pretty.

        What in the world is a scouser?

    • carla (worried Mum)

      Further to my post yesterday. I had a call this evening from my sons best friend. He said is very worried about my son as he sounded very low and ‘desperate’ when he rang him. The friend is also feeling intense anger towards son’s wife. He has spoken to my son who told him that his wife is blaming him for the end of the marriage. She even said that I have made racist comments in the car when we picked them up from the airport recently! I am incadescent with rage now. I am too intelligent and educated to make racist comments and I have never thought about her as an ‘immigrant’ although, strictly speaking, she is as her family moved here when she was about 10 – which was over 20 years ago. They are professional people and well integrated into society. I remember the conversation in the car – I said which party we were voting for but, apparently, one of their policies is to curb future immigration. (So, if I vote for them, I’m a Racist?)However, it is their policy on taxation, health and government spending that I am voting for.

      My point is that she is BLAMING my son and my family for the fact that she is moving out, renting a flat and hoping her married (fantasy) lover – who is the father of two small children – will move in with her. THAT is the reason she wants to end the marriage. If you want to pick holes in a marriage – boy, we can all find them. I have been married 34 years so I know what I’m talking about!

      Have others found this happens in a break-up? Have you been ‘blamed’ and your self-esteem been battered?? I am not naive enough to believe that it doesn’t take two to contribute to a failed relationship but to cheat, not once but twice in a very short space of time is not the way to handle things. She also told my son that she could have ‘worked on the marriage’ if it was not for the fact that I was aware she had ‘had lunch’ with her ex boyfriend. In fact she was pursuing him for several months and I was aware of this because the ex boyfriend was a client of the company I worked for – and people talk!!

      So again, my question is, does the cheating spouse usually blame his/her partner for the break down of the relationship – and is this out of guilt???

    • carla (worried Mum)

      Doug, a ‘scouser’ is someone who originates from Liverpool, England !!
      Many comedians originate from that area. They have a great sense of humour – genetic, I think…..

      • Doug

        Carla, Thanks for clarifying that. I thought it was some derogatory term or something 🙂 BTW…our son went over to London after he graduated and loved it over there. He said he’d like to live there!

    • ninny

      Hi Doug,
      A scouser is slang for someone from Liverpool in the UK. I live near there.
      Are you from USA then?
      I didn’t mean how would Linda had taken it if you actually HAD sex, I meant if your conversation had become sexual like my husband talking about feeling randy etc. and obviously if he said he would wait for her they had discussed sex and therefore must have talked about it.
      It makes me cringe to think of them talking intimately although he insists it was just suggestive comments and innuendo not lurid filthy dirty stuff. I do possibly believe him cos he is quite shy underneath and some of the things I come out with shock him if it is too rude.
      I still find it very hard to believe you didn’t make sexual comments to each other even if you never intended to have sex. Surely that is part and parcel of being emotionally intimate. I mean, you were texting/emailing/phoning in secret, fuelled by the infatuation drug. I don’t understand how a few flirty little teasing comments and compliments couldn’t have blossomed into something more. Did you not say anything suggestive at all?
      I think you are very lucky that Linda believes what you’ve told her especially knowing how you’ve lied in the past.
      Did you used to tell each other you loved each other and stuff like that at least?

      • admin

        Ninny, Yes Carla explained the “scouser” term to me. And we do indeed live in the US. Sorry I misunderstood your question, but the answer is probably the same. Linda would not have taken too kindly to sexual type talk. There really wasn’t any sex-type texting or anything either between us. And finally, yes you are correct in saying that I’m a lucky man in more ways than one.

    • ninny

      Hi Doug,
      I put a post to Linda on one of your forums (this site is very confusing cos you can post in so many places that you forget under which heading you did so).
      Anyway she has not replied.
      Do you and Linda personally reply or do you have lots of little people called ‘admin’ LOL? x

      • admin

        Hey Ninny, Sorry about that. She saw it and actually replied very early this morning, and left it for me to proof, and somehow it disappeared. It’s just Linda and me who reply as admin. Linda is a teacher so her availability during the days are somewhat limited, and she is busy tonight with our girls and won’t be home until late. I’ll remind her tomorrow though.–Doug

    • ninny

      Hi Doug thanks,
      I’m a teacher too. I gathered she was from when she said something about 28 little kiddiwinks. I teach the big horrible ones….maths (or math as you say in USA).

    • joyalgirl5298

      I felt my husband was spending too much time with a neighbor. He denied anything–still does, but it was hurtful to me. While I realize that my next words could be used by others as an excuse to control their spouse, I believe that my feelings were enough to warrant an immediate end of his involvement with her. Instead he continued to spend time with her (helping her put in, maintain, and harvest her garden) that year and the following year. I love them both; didn’t believe there was anything sexual there; however, my feelings were totally dismissed out of hand.

      That being said, four years have passed since then and he has confessed to me his use of porn, frequent masturbation and finally a yielding to temptation in an actual physical encounter with a different woman–a chance encounter. It does appear to have been a progression of acts which, in my case, began with the alarm I felt at the time spent with an attractive neighbor.

      He did confess, he is repentant and apologetic, solidly vowing love for me. I wonder……………….the jury’s out as far as my decision on the status of our marriage.

      THAT being said, there have been times in my marriage I’ ve felt an attraction for another man. Never any online hanky-panky or time spent (as my spouse did), but a “feeling” a realization that you both find one another attractive. I’ve never acted on that, figuring it was normal, and thinking I would get over it. Every time, I’ve gotten over it without any immoral act or thought on my part.

      And I could justify it. I’ve been lonely and dissatisfied in many ways in the 30+ years we’ve been married. He’s an incredibly handsome man, but also incredibly unpleasant much of the time. I did not cheat on him, however. He chose to be unfaithful to me. He thinks it was when he actually had that sexual encounter. I think it happened years before.

      And that’s what I might base my decision to leave upon.

    • Chris78

      Great topic, Doug… Being a CS as well I know about being selfish… Having such bad communication issues and then having an outlet through texting with the OW made me incredibly selfish! I never thought of myself as a selfish person until this happenened. And even then, I thought I wasn’t a very selfish before until my wife told me about a few things that ai had done in the past that really bothered her. Things that I had no idea about, and it really opened my eyes to how selfish I could actually be. I am trying to be concious of every decision that I make now to ensure that I have my wife’s and our marriage in the forefront of those decisions. I struggle everyday to make sure that I’m doing the right things to help us heal and being completely unselfish is one of those things.

    • Laura

      Hi, I am here again to vent, Its been 6 mos since DDay for me, my husband left the house to persue,his affair, all because his needs were not being met. I get that, I contributed to that. Lover told husband to go fix his marriage, and when he did, he was to call her,and then they could talk. But he interpreted that as go leave your family, and I”ll be waiting , thats exactly what he did.My husband has said and done things I never thought he would be capable of doing. 1month after leaving the house,he was talking about divorce, he had already taken 3yr. old daughter to meet O/W. I am not kidding you, but my husband has gone mad,totally insane. He keeps on hurting my daughter and myself continuosly. Husband has been trying nonstop to enforce a relationship between my gilrl and the O/W rather than mother/daughter relationship. Since the first time I found out hed been taking her to O/W, I told him to stop it, told him she was too young and it was too soon for her to digest the fact that mom and dad arent together anymore, and on top of that seeing her dad with his “friend”. Not only that. he had threatened to take her away from me, for the simple fact that I wasnt working at the time. And to top things off, my little girl is calling daddys friend “my other mommy”, I told my husband yesterday, he needs to stop whatever hes doing or saying to my girl, for her to be calling the whore, “mommy”. The O/W has been buying gifts for my daughter, shes trying to buy love and acceptance from my daughter, what kind of woman is this?Not a good one , thats for sure, I told my husband he needs to see how all this mess is going to affect my girl, now and in the future, but he tells me, instead of being concerned whether the O/W and my girl have a relationship, I should be more concerned about winning the love of my daughter. What in the hell is he thinking? I am her mother!!! and nothing and no one will ever change that. He reversed the roles, if I were to find someone now, and my daughter liked and loved my partner more than her daddy,, he says he would, accept that, so he expects me to do the same. The affair fog has my husband acting so irrational, its unbelievable. He does not see, and does not want to see, all the hurt, damage, turmoil he has caused not only me ,but my little girl as well. He is not concerned what all of his stupid/immature decisions are doing to my daughter. I still have to see if there is anything legally, that I can do, to stop him from hurting my baby emotionally. I love him with all my heart, even though he broke it,into pieces, and day by day with all his selfish actions, I might just end up hating him,just yesterday I thought about packing and going back home with mom,in my home country, so that I can take away my baby from her crazy father, but that would only be a bonus for him, because he then could accuse me of kidnapping, then he would get sole custody, I would think,although I am not sure if he is in this country illegally, I dont know. I guess, sometimes I have crazy thoughts as well, just sometimes, running away seems like the answer. I will have to see a lawyer about all this mess. I dont count on my husband coming home, I think I lost him forever, and that really hurts. The lies, the betrayal, the damage, no one really understands the pain unless, they have been betrayed, and as most of the people on this site, they have and they know. Its not only the emotional pain that I feel, but the pain is so intense, that my heart aches,physically. When will this pain go away?

    • Kay

      I love the last line; which were there along!!

      Of the many things I’ve struggled with in recovery from my H affair one has been having him truly see what he had before the A, what he had during and how he has so much more as I’ve chosen to forgive and rebuild!

    • Deanna

      Doug while I appreciate many of your posts I am often times struck by your comments about what was missing in your relationship. This is such a false narrative, and it’s part of the many justifications and rationalizations that cheaters tell themselves, and then their spouses when they get caught, to explain away their behavior. Cheating does not occur because of what is missing in a relationship, and quite frankly I’m tired of all the countless websites and infidelity programs that go into all the various excuses “reasons” that cheaters cheat. The reason people cheat is because something is missing but the something that is missing isn’t in the relationship it’s what is missing in the cheater. The missing thing is integrity, moral character, empathy, honesty, and impulse control in the person who cheats. So if you want to talk about what was missing in the marriage that is what was missing in your marriage. A man of character and integrity who values his word and himself enough, not to engage in juvenile behavior which is what cheating is. Sneaking around, trying to get over on someone else, feeling deprived because you are expected to meet your commitments is the behavior and moral character of an adolescent. Please stop with the blaming your marriage even in posts where you are trying to put out there that you are “owning” your choices and behavior.

      • Doug

        Hey Deanna, Thanks for your comment. I agree with you 100%. Please keep in mind though that this post was written 9 years ago when I was still in the process of learning, changing and figuring myself out. And my comments over the years have reflected those changes. But let’s face it Deanna, reality is that a good percentage of people who cheat blame it on their marriage in order to justify their actions – which is certainly a mindset that needs to change. And that is a message we try to convey to folks all the time.

    • Leaningonhope

      Hi there,
      Deanna, I really appreciate your straightforward remarks. Very true, they are. Yes, marriages have problems, but the cheater solely chooses to cheat. Completely selfish. My marriage has big problems. He chose to cheat; I have not.
      My D-day for my h’s EA was about 14 months ago. Since then, denial has been setting in, on my h’s part, that is. Over this course of time, the EA has been downgraded to a close friendship, then a friendship, more recently it just didn’t happen; it’s all in my head and he blames me for overreacting to nothing.
      I just don’t know what to do with this. How to respond. I don’t even know how to bring it up anymore.
      We have bigger fish to fry these days anyways. We are now separated. Blended family; I lose 2 amazing stepsons in the process, and he gains his “autonomy”. Such a mess. Maybe now is the time to say that my sanity and health are worth more than this. I don’t know. Still trying.

    • Sawthelight

      I very much Agree with Deanna. Cheating has everything to do with what’s missing in the cheater And nothing to do with the marriage. My husband threw out an “emotional affair” as a red herring (assuming I would just get over it again as I did with his PA at the beginning of our marriage, while I was pregnant) to hide his 14 years of porn addiction. 3 years of “marriage counseling” later with 4 different counselors (& 2 phone sessions with Doug) where he blamed me & the counselors would turn to me & use all kinds of methods to try to make me “a better wife.” The 5th counselor (that I picked out) finally recommended the SA workbook Facing Heartbreak to me. I denied it could be true until I finally asked my husband about 3 weeks ago if he was using porn & he finally confessed. Not only was I being abused by him, but also by all those counselors. I have since found out it is not all that uncommon. In fact I may still be in the line of Fire as long as the terms codependency and coaddiction are still used to describe my current situation. I now feel I have finally been vindicated about what I had been feeling all those years. I will no longer allow myself to walk on eggshells and will take better care of myself.

    • Luke

      Caught wife talking to some guy. She lied about it all. Then 2 months later i left. We were seperated for about 10mos. Guy she was talking to was a old bf from teenage yrs. Anyway he was with some1. So they didnt workout. Then she starts seeing sone1 after that. He was a winner too. Then 10months to the day almost she tells me she wants me back. Webe been. Trying 4 about3mos. Shell admitt the 2nd dude. But not 1st. It all ripped out heart. She still lies about stuff too..

    • Janeaux

      I am also tired of hearing that the affair happened because of the faithful spouse or problems in the marriage. These are just simply attempts at justification by the betrayer. Everyone has freedom of choice and the unfaithful spouse made the choice to have the affair instead of choosing to work on the marriage and in doing so also chose the consequences which he/she does not want to accept.

      • Sawthelight

        In my personal experience, and according to what I’ve read and heard in many podcasts and support groups, too many counselors and therapists (not all) still Support the cheater in the blame game and focus on imperfections the betrayed partner may have. Why is this the go to for “treatment?” No one is perfect and with all the crazy making that goes on while a cheater is hiding their affair, all the lying, gaslighting, defensiveness, stonewalling, criticizing, it’s no wonder we go off the deep end trying to find out what is wrong with this person we’re supposed to have an intimate relationship with, who Has Made a commitment, who should respect us. This causes even more trauma to the truly injured and abused party.
        At some point these (expensive) counselors and therapists need to stop adding insult to injury and support the betrayed partner and instead immediately focus on what is missing in the betrayer that led them to make their very selfish choices.

        • Luke

          Ive been with her on and off for 22 years. We have young adult children and a 4 and 9yrs old. We have broken up under weird circumstances twice. As in i thoight she started talking to som1. 5 6yrs go by and we reunite and marry in 2010. The everything happens last yr. Is she just a cheater and thats it. Should i give her another chance? I love her. Also during our sep last year she took my to youngest children around this guy she was talking to. And i found out that the guy was a felon and a major drug addict and a want to ne gangster. Lol that part still makes me laugh. Anyway my point is look who she took my kods around. So if i walk away i have to worry about that side of it. As in whos going to be around them. Not sure what to do.

    • Survivor

      Doug, I too have been betrayed and I’ve read both yours and Linda’s story. I don’t think you get it at all ,saying sorry isn’t enough. Personally I was hoping to get a perspective on why my husband cheated by understanding you. But I hurt even more when I read your line saying that you don’t feel that in love feeling with her that you once had. Shame on you . That’s the kind of thing that keeps the love alive. That . Never forget that. We grow up and old together with that emotion. She certainly kept it for you. You remind me of my selfish husband who is just like you. Selfish. Thanks for reminding me how stupid I am for staying in a loveless marriage

    • Doug

      Survivor, thanks for your comment. You’re right from the standpoint that 10 years ago when this post was written, I certainly didn’t completely get things. And virtually every unfaithful person I’ve ever spoken with hasn’t either – and many never do. But I’ve learned and grown over the years and I’ve certainly have done a helluva a lot more than just say “I’m sorry” to Linda since then – and our love for one another is stronger than ever. More importantly, I’m certain that Linda would agree with me.

      It’s interesting how people have different perspectives on various articles/posts based on their own situations. I say that because Linda loved this particular post. Here’s her article she wrote a couple of days later: I’m sorry that you feel you’re in a loveless marriage and my hope is that you get the love and happiness you deserve. Take care.

    • Sarah P.

      I am sorry you are going through such a terrible time and I am sorry to hear about how your husband treats you. Please know how he treats you is not a reflection on you.

      I work with Doug and Linda due to Doug’s generosity, openness, and compassion for all who read the blog. Neither Doug, Linda, nor I make any money from writing blog posts. This is our public service to the world.

      What I like about Doug is that he tells the truth about every step of the affair process and how he has greatly evolved as a person over the years. Very few men are willing to be brutally honest about how they feel. Doug is a gift because he tells people what he was thinking at the time. Some of his thoughts may be hard to read, but they are the truth. We can only understand the complexity of infidelity by hearing the truth from others. I admire Doug for putting himself out there and for bearing his heart and soul for years in the hope that he will help others. So few men are willing to talk about their affairs. Doug is very generous in sharing his feelings even though he has nothing to gain personally from telling the truth. In fact, Doug has a lot to lose by telling the truth. I admire the fact that he is willing to give women a peek into a man’s mind, even if that peek is hard to hear. I value the truth above all else and it takes a very courageous man to write about very personal details in the hope of helping others.

      I am sorry that your own marriage is not going well. Men cheat for a variety of reasons and Doug’s thoughts may not be your husband’s thoughts. I would recommend reading books by M. Gary Neuman. He addresses the different motives behind why men cheat and talks about his findings in his own male population of clients. Here is a link to M. Gary Neuman’s books. They are real eye openers.

      Survivor I hope you are able to come to a place of peace in your own marriage and I am so very sorry your husband betrayed you. Infidelity truly is the worst experience within the context of marriage.


    • Mike

      I have been with my spouse for 20 years, 12 married. I had an ongoing affair for a year with someone that gave me what my spouse didn’t, but she tried, I just chose to get it from somewhere different. We have 3 wonderful children. I love my spouse, and am deeply distraught by my decision of infidelity. I am seeking help as I have shown so many levels of selfishness throughout our relationship, this obviously being the worst. I almost feel sociopathic because of it. She gives me everything, and there is nothing more I could want. I relish my abhorrent behavior because what I thought was lacking was right in front of me all along, just lost in poor communication. I want to find a way to build my wife up, put her on the pedestal she deserves to be on. Aside from seeking marriage counseling and psychological help that I already intend to do, do you have any pointers from going through this yourself on that deep seated life change.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Mike,
        I am so happy to see your comment. There is hope out there in many forms. I am glad you are seeking it.

        Doug. Linda, and I wrote a two book series meant for couples healing from infidelity. Doug and Linda wrote the one that speaks to the why of infidelity and how to heal. And I wrote the companion guide for the betrayed spouse on how to heal. Each spouse it able to look at the book of the other spouse because our hope is that spouses will actively collaborate together in their healing journey. The books come as a set; you might find them helpful.

        Mike, while you are here, can you tell us why you broke off the affair and what it took (emotionally) for you to realize your wife was all you needed?

        Many thanks,

    • Kay

      Mike it’s great that you’ve realized that your affair was unnecessarily selfish and that it was able to shine a light on what was already there.
      My unfaithful husband has had many of those similar epiphanies and while he’s allowed him to use this knowledge to change his behavior for the better he’s also allowed him to sink further into shame and shame is an awful one sided place to live. His shame would only push me away as he felt like he didn’t deserve my forgiveness but each time he pushed away I felt rejected over & over again.
      I am sure your wife will never tire of hearing how much you appreciate her now and how you can now look back with new eyes. I know I craved acknowledgement and verification that I was loved & deserving. Sadly affairs leave the betrayed feelings less than and cuz us to question everything about ourselves, physically, emotionally, mentally both past & present. And no matter how much we know cognitively that there was nothing we could do to change your choices we emotionally carry that burden.
      In addition to the work you are doing on yourself I’d suggest learning as much as you can about what happens to the betrayed so you know how to best support her and give her what she needs and deserves.

    • Unfaithful

      Hi Doug,
      In your comment
      I was too selfish to allow myself to get wrapped up in the feelings of infatuation and illusions of love that existed in my emotional affair with Tanya.

      What do you mean by you were too selfish to get wrapped up in the feelings? Does this mean that you didn’t see them as being that big a deal?
      I ask this because I was unfaithful to my partner and I’m trying to discover what happened to me because in confronting what I’ve done there are multiple mental health diagnoses that have come to light as well. These are in no way an excuse or reason for being unfaithful. Just trying to sort through my baggage and be a better person and partner to my beautiful woman that has continued to honor me with trying to work through this together. One of the biggest issues is that my memory of most of my life just prior to, during and for a time after is almost completely blank. That’s where the mental health search/work lead to bigger more long term issues that have been confirmed on closer look with my mom from reflections about my childhood (not many memories from than either).
      Also, you stated a point about ‘What was missing in your relationship’. Did you mean what you thought was missing or would Linda agree that the(se) thing(s) you thought were missing were actually not present at that time in your relationship?
      Thank you for your response in advance.

      • Unfaithful

        Also another question I forgot to ask. You say you feel that you never stopped loving Linda. My question is how in seeing your actions with regards to the EA can you believe that you still loved Linda during that time when the actions/choices involved in an EA are not of a loving nature? Can you explain? Thanks

        • Doug

          You’re absolutely right, my actions were not very loving at all. My mindset at the time was that I was not “in love” with Linda, but felt love for her since we had been together for so long, she was the mother of our kids, etc. I know it’s pretty twisted and ridiculous, but that’s the way I felt at the time.

      • Doug

        Hi Unfaithful, Thanks for your comment, In looking at the sentence you are asking about, it’s apparent that it was not written quite correctly. It should read more like, “I was too selfish and allowed myself to get wrapped up in the feelings of infatuation and illusions of love that existed in my emotional affair with Tanya.” Meaning, that the feel-food, brain chemical feelings were such that I only thought about myself and how good they made me feel – and consequently didn’t see them for what they were…based on a fantasy.

        As for your second question…Sure there were things that were actually missing in our relationship at the time (approximately 12 years ago) – and Linda would agree to an extent (She felt the same way as well) – but there was certainly was an element of exaggeration as to the extent of those things. In other words, the affair had a tendency for me to over-state these issues – if that makes any sense.

    • Unfaithful

      Thank you Doug for you quick response. On question 1 that’s what I was thinking, but just wanted to make sure and the 2nd question that’s what we have come to find out in terms of my creation of beliefs that weren’t connected to actual facts that existed. Yes, your response makes total sense.
      The reason I ask Doug is that my partner and I both feel so blindsided by the revelation of learning about the affair because she felt that nothing had changed. I was interacting like nothing had changed and this is what led to looking into the mental health stuff. And I’ve said the same thing after the affair was discovered in terms of feeling like my love for her hadn’t changed. Unfortunately, our recovered is being prolonged because of my mental health issues and memory blocks and the DBT program that I’m in as a skill building to help possibly make it easier to uncover these memories (if they are present, but unable to access at this time. Going to do EMDR or the like after I finish my DBT program because not allowed to do other therapy co-concurrently). And memory loss isn’t just around the affair, It’s my whole life. There are a number of grief and loss events that occurred for me both before and during the affair that are a part of the picture, but unsure exactly how they play in, but I was diagnosed with Other Traumatic Stress Disorder (kinda like CPTSD) along with other a personality disorder.

      • Doug

        You’re very welcome. Best of luck with the treatment for your memory loss – and for further recovery!

    • Nelly

      Infidelity is a choice. Infatuated or not. Men shouldn’t complain about their wives telling them off for their affairs. They deserve it!

    • j

      I have just seen this and have read it all voraciously as you all seem to sum up so many of the issues plaguing me and my betraying husband. It is so strange that people fall into the same categories and have the same conversations even though we’re miles apart and that we are all unique. It is almost like the betraying partner seems to be programmed to blame the other person for not meeting his needs, say that the marriage was over long ago and be needlessly cruel to save face. The first DDay was 4 months ago and the second was 3 months ago. It is all so raw and because there is limited communication even though we are living together, I can’t get the answers I need to move past it. I feel like a performing seal, trying to be the perfect wife/lover and yet I still have no idea what happened, how long it went on for or whether he intends to stay. For now, he has said he wouldn’t do it again, because ‘he can’t cope with the complications’, hardly a ringing endorsement, but maybe truthful as it shows his selfishness. All I do is think about them together, even when we are intimate, I wonder if he is thinking of her. He also says it never got physical, but I read somewhere that an EA is only emotional because it has not got physical yet. I am in anguish and ended up in hospital with blood pressure of 225/121 last week.

    • Vicky

      Hello Doug,
      After reading the long agonizing story that ninny told of her life and g her er husbands affair I sat and cried. I agonized with her in every detail feeling empathy for her because it sounded so much like my own situation.
      A broken heart made me so sad as mine has been broken as well. I was just wondering if she is still with her husband or if they have broken up? I don’t know if she kept up with you with her story or not. But she has been on my mind lately only because of the agony she was putting herself through. Seems like it never ends even when it gets better. If you have any information on her and how she has been doing please let me know…. I just feel so sad for her.

      • Doug

        Hi Vicky, Thanks for your comment and concern for Ninny. I wish I knew how she was doing these days. We’ve not heard from her in quite some time.

    • SawtheLight

      People have to feel offended in order to justify their anger (or whatever other self centered behaviors they have). Most often, as with betrayal, this feeling of “offense” is misplaced. Our society has a tendency to excuse bad behavior as being caused by someone or something else. It is much easier to blame shift instead of looking inward to explore the real reasons for their hurtful and trauma causing choices.
      Those of use who have been devastated by betrayal need to remember, regardless of what we are told, we did not cause this, we cannot cure it, but we have choices.

    • Kerry

      Pure narcissism. Nine months into our recovery, my WS and I were listening to a novel on audible when we both became very silent. In the story, a psychologist is explaining the behaviour of the protagonist in terms of narcissism, and more exactly, Covert Narcissistic Personality Disorder. My WS looked at me in horror and we both knew he had recognised aspects of his own character in her description. Since then, we have read broadly and deeply, and it appears that NPD is often at the root of infidelity: the grandiosity, fantasising, craving attention, compartmentalisation, failure to acknowledge and own what you are doing and how much pain it will cause… and so on. Selfishness can be many things: not helping out with chores, making noise as you come to bed, not noticing that your words may have hurt your partner; but to break your promises, sneak around behind her back (and in many cases, get a kick out of the not being caught), lie, cheat, and come home pretending all is well, gaslighting and lying? These things aren’t selfishness, they are narcissistic traits. And unless the WS and the BS recognise this and are able to work together to manage expectations and to increase the WS’s awareness of what they are doing and how it will be counterproductive in their accessing the narcissistic supply they need, then it’s a recipe for disaster and will happen again. Recovery can only be possible with the increased awareness and a commitment/determination to access narcissistic supply appropriately on the part of the WS, and firm boundaries and realistic expectations (that the WS is and will always be by nature self serving) on the part of the BS. There’s no cure for narcissism, but if the narcissist can see faithfulness as a means to ensuring narcissistic supply, and if the BS understands the narcissist’s needs and is able to support the narcissist to meet these needs in a constructive way, they may develop a relationship that can be good enough. I’d recommend a book called Should I Stay or Should I Go by Ramani Durvasula.

    • Nicole

      There is a trend in our society right now and many people are confusing “self-care” and “Self-indulgence”. Self-care will never hurt you or the people closest to you. Self-indulgence often feels like self-care at first, but over time will hurt you and the people closest to you. Self-care would be things like going to the gym working out and eating healthier. Self-indulgence would be going to the gym to work out because it’s your “self-care” but really you are “self-indulging” with a personal trainer by receiving extra care and attention from the outside of your marriage. Another example would be going out with co-workers for a drink after work because you deserve to have a drink after a stressful day. Neglecting your spouse and kids to spend extra time with people that you already spend a lot of time with. That one drink could over time turn into a 6-pack and that extra time with that one co-worker can easily turn into something more. Pay attention to your actions. That’s your character, that’s how you are advertising yourself as a person. All that would eventually hurt your spouse, your marriage, yourself, and even the person that you are investing outside of your marriage. Throwing money at your spouse and kids doesn’t mean you are taking care of them either. That’s only part of what “caring” is. Sure you paid for soccer lessons and gear, but did you invest in showing up? A new uniform doesn’t make a better player, it’s often the support from a good coach that has the most impact on the player.

    • still struggling

      Just read this post. I too think my husband’s actions to become involved ion an affair were out of pure selfishness… He doesn’t believe so, but he was also very aware that his girlfriend/affair partner called me and informed me of their “relationship” and that I wasn’t what he wanted but she was…, I was not enough for him but she was. He watched my heart shatter, watched me fall apart with absolutely no emotion or empathy for what he did. He claimed it was emotional so it wasn’t a “real affair”, and that I need to get over it and move on because they both have and that I’m holding up the recovery process, because I want him to talk about it: what he felt he was missing within himself that led him to choose to have an affair… He won’t. He wants to forget about it and expects me to forget about it too, because I have forgiven him. If I have a trigger or as in an incident where she followed me around a shopping mall and continued to harass me until security walked her out, when bringing it up, he dismissed it and said forget about it, just leave it in the past. He will accuse me of not forgiving him when I bring anything up about is affair, claiming that I just keep calling it an affair, and gets mad if I say his choices to choose her over his marriage, me, family are is a core issue we need to examine to understand where we can improve our marriage. He claims that he didn’t choose her, and that he is choosing me now so I should me happy about that. Refusing any counseling on his part is hard for me. I have invited him several times to join me but he won’t. My counselor said to let him come around on his own… But it’s been over 4 years and we are still stuck on this merry-go-round of turmoil… How long does one wait, I wonder? I have chosen to move on to another marriage counselor who seems to be a whole lot more experience dwith dealing in emotional affairs.. It’s taken me going through 3 different counselors to finally feel like I willbe able to move forward.

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