online emotional affairThis is a guest post  by Mary C. as she thinks out loud about the online emotional affair.

I don’t believe I have heard anyone here speak about his or her spouse having an online emotional affair. I’m curious if any of you have had that experience. I have many questions about it in my mind. I can see that it would be devastating.

Your spouse is more than likely still spending way too much time with the other person, but instead of in person, it’s online. Many people find it easier to express themself in writing than actually speaking to someone in person.  Therefore, does the offender share even more of their personal and intimate information when communicating with the other person online?

Do people having virtual affairs also feel they have done nothing wrong? Not only because there is no sexual connection, but also they might have never met the other person. It always amazes me that they say they have done nothing wrong, but still go to great lengths to keep it secret…hmmm. That doesn’t compute with me (no pun intended).

How do they get to the point where they are so open and willing to open up their lives to a person they met online? How could they want to spend so much time with someone they have never actually met? I suppose the anonymity has a lot to do with it. In addition, how do they go about meeting these people? Is it on the online dating services? I suppose there are many avenues such as Facebook, LinkedIn, or MySpace. They might share an opinion on a forum and before they know it, they’re communicating on a regular basis. I don’t know.

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I was on a couple of those dating sites a long time ago. I can’t imagine personally revealing myself with the men I talked to on there. However, that’s just me. I understand that many people meet and have happy lives together through dating sites.

Does an online emotional affair compare with an in-person one?

I can see how an emotional affair online and in person can be comparable. They’ve never slept together, but their emotional involvement can become all-consuming. I haven’t seen research that shows the exact rate of internet affairs; however, I hear it is now more commonplace than workplace affairs and increasing fast.

In my opinion, an emotional affair could be more devastating and harder to forgive than a physical affair. An emotional affair isn’t consummated and of course based more on emotions. I personally could get over my spouse having had sex with someone easier than if they were emotionally involved. It seems to me that would be a stronger bond between them. Hearts and feelings are involved. However, as I said, that is fortunately one type of infidelity I have never experienced. I’m only familiar with the physical affairs.

I’m just basing that on the fact that many men equate sex and love as the same. In my experience, if you’re not having sex with him, he thinks you must not love him. I can tell you that when my last husband called me a stupid bitch, it just wasn’t a big turn on for me. On the other hand, most women consider love and sex as two different things. Therefore, in a sexual affair, the wife might feel that the other woman only had sex with her husband, but she is the one that still has his love and emotions. Therefore, she might be more apt to forgive a physical affair easier than an emotional one.

See also  Musings on Infidelity: Affairs Are Not Original and Not Excusable

What is your opinion of cybersex? If someone has cybersex with the other person, does he or she still feel there has been no wrongdoing? I would guess that many would convince themselves of that. People all think differently about everything. Unfortunately, we can’t jump into someone’s mind to try to understand. I guess anyone can convince himself or herself of anything if they want to badly enough.

I think I might be sounding bitter; however, since I haven’t had this experience, it wouldn’t be bitterness. When I seriously think about these things, I feel so badly for someone going through this hell. So, I think pissed would be a better description of my reaction to this strange new-age kind of infidelity. So what will they come up with next?

This has been me pretty much thinking aloud. I am curious about the difference between an in-person emotional affair and an online emotional affair. If this has happened to you and you feel like talking about it, I would love to listen.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2013 everyone!

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    94 replies to "Emotional Affairs, Online or In Person Are They the Same?"

    • tsd

      Interesting post, as I just had this conversation with my husband. He started out with a face to face EA with a woman he worked out with. She moved far, far away, and he continued this affair via text messages and email for a year..I caught him, then he repeated his sexting affair a second time.

      We are past this mistake, working on recovery. I think this is worse than the flirting in person as I have the proof. I printed the horrible things he said to her as proof for my lawyer. He had always said to me “they are just words” but even today I tell him they were words he didn’t say to me….

      My lingering problem is complete trust. I forgave him immediately as it was a release. I completely worked on my issues in our marriage and myself. I completely let go of his mistakes and took him back for all the good we have in our almost 25 years of marriage. What I told him last night was the issue I have now is that I cannot understand the blatant lying…I asked him why he lied…I asked him why he crossed the line…I asked him why he can’t help me trust him…and his answer was silence…he stated whatever he says I won’t like. He is setting himself up to fail so nothing is better in his mindset. So I allow our boxing ring to be safer by offering positive feedback. We meet once a week for ten minutes to discuss what was good and what was bad for the week. Trying to make the good outweigh the bad, and it helps…

      In answer to your question, an EA sucks. Sexting is a horrible vehicle of a man throwing away what is right in his face.

    • csb

      My H’s EA began as an online affair with an old girlfriend through FB. It then continued on for 1 1/2 years and turned into daily phone calls, e-mails, texts and a few “secret” meetings when she was in town (supposedly no physical contact).

      In our discussions, I learned that he didn’t think much of what he was doing because it was all on-line, with no real personal contact.

      I think social media is an outlet for those who are afraid to “jump in” to a full blown affair, yet want to test the waters. It’s a grey area for what defines an affair. I know for me, personally, the pain of him sharing his life, thoughts, etc. with another woman and having an EA was much more painful than if he had just had sex with her and had no emotional involvement.

    • justbecause

      Hi, My H’s EA was online. They profess to never having met and I do believe this. I am not sure how they “hooked up””. I think it was an online dating site. The cow is also married. It lasted about 2 years. It moved from anominity to having their own private chats on their own e-mail sites, to phone calls.

      At first my H didn’t think it was “that big of a deal”. He realizes now that it was. The cow won’t talk with me. In a message to my H she says, ” I guess being friends, and only friends has really screw up everything.” This is part of my problem with her. Is she just trying to justify her actions? Does she really not get it? .

      I don’t have all the chats. I did not see any sexting per se.. Alot of talk about me, my family , even our dog!! There was alot of flirting and innuendoes about sex. Alot of lies told by my H, and I’m sure by her as well, in an attempt to boost their own battererd self-esteem.

      My H told me, the OW was afraid of her H. He was abusive to her. He was helping her. I later showed him pictures of the two of them, and posts on FB where they had gone to Mexico together at this time. It didn’t look very abusive to me!

      I think the OW craves drama and attention. I also think she pictures herself as some great psycho analyst.

      I must go to work. Will check later to see if any questions for me. Good post – Mary C.

      • jewel

        Wow…sounds EXACTLY like my situation. was an old high school crush. she’s married, abusive alcoholic husband who is ‘trying’, but she doesn’t believe him and is afraid of him…so my H, the knight was ‘helping’….and they fell in love….of course he’d already “left me in his mind”. seriously…when was he going to let me know this? Oh, ya, after he confesses he’s in love with her, he says, ‘but i’d already left you in my mind and heart’….what i want to know, really want to know is after 18 months since d-day, NC for a year, when will i believe in him that he’s here because he really wants to and loves ME? I’m so tired of my brain jumping back to the insecurity and fear and pain. I want a declaration of love and commitment…all i get is “love ya” and “your my first best option of happiness” and sex in front of porn. when i get all sketchy he just says ‘relax!’..
        I want to feel secure. I want to feel easy in my relationship, not tense and on trial and afraid to say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing…I feel guilty for HIS affair! It is making me sad and heartsick. It feels like a merrygoround when i get my shit together for a few months then something sets me off (christmas) and it takes me a few months to get back to ‘normal’…then i wait on egg shells for the next thing to set me off (her next visit to town – Easter???) this is warping my personality…making me bitter and ugly. I am a sunshiney person but my sunshine is behind a dark dark cloud.

        • chiffchaff

          Jewel – I think the comment your H said that he had already left you in his mind and heart is a way that CSs relieve their guilt and is a crock of shit. If you do something you know is wrong then you can try to justify it to yourself by saying ‘well, I must be doing this wrong thing because I don’t love my wife’ or something similar. My H admitted that he had convinced himself he had probably never loved me at all when he was doing what he knew was wrong and so that became a justification for doing what he did that he needed to rely on. He says now that he can’t believe he ever thought that.
          The justifications CSs spout at the time are all coping mechanisms for passing the blame and responsibility for what they’re doing to someone else because they are incompetent at dealing maturely with what they have chosen to do.

          • gone2far

            May I offer some insight from the CS perspective. When you (the CS) is wrapped up in the emotions with the other person, you are in a sense, already gone from your marriage and spouse. You are gone from your marriage everyday you continue to have contact with the AP. Period. If your H has not stopped contact, he is not with you fully. Even breaking away from the AP, letting go of all the emotions is a battle – until it’s gone. Only then can your marriage be repaired. YOU should not feel guilt for his affair and he SHOULD not let you feel that way. I know its hurtful and difficult to be the BS – I am sorry you have to experience the pain brought on by this. Healing is a step by step process…one day at a time.

    • csb

      justbecause – Same with my H, he said he never thought much of it, but when I printed something off of this site defining what an EA was, he said he realized what it was. Like yours, they talked about their jobs, kids, dog, etc. With the “cute” sexual tension thrown in.

      I agree, it was an ego boost and “safe” for him because they never really saw each other. I think he finally saw her for what she was when he called her telling her I had found out and he may lose me because of it…..her answer was “so does that mean we can’t talk anymore?”

    • forcryin'outloud

      Good post Mary C.
      My H began a virtual affair with his old high school GF. Several mos. into it he took the opportunity to visit the expletive many miles away. Upon “visual inspection of the merchandise” the OW wasn’t as he remember it 20+ yrs ago nor how the OW represented itself virtually. The EA ended. But the lying, deception, and guilt about those 6+ mos. continued on for 2 more years until he admitted what he had done “in reality.”

    • Mandy

      My H had a long-distance affair, so they needed phone calls, email and FB as ways to stay connected in between the times they met. I don’t know what the content of their emails was, but my sense, based on the one that I discovered, was that they were mostly emotional rather than explicitly sexual in nature (although it was a physical affair when they saw each other in person). It’s very painful that they were communicating secretly like this The worst part was that he had pictures of the OW on his FB page for everyone (including me) to see, but since they were in the context of an event that was attended with other people, and there were other people in most of the pictures, he was able to pass the pictures off as just a group of people he knew. But he was looking at her face every day when he logged into FB – a picture of him with her was right next to a picture of him with me! (What I didn’t know then was that those pictures were taken the very first weekend they started the affair, so they had a special meaning to him, which makes it even more disgusting to me.) I felt very uncomfortable about those pictures even before I knew about the affair – some sense just told me there was something wrong (although I didn’t pick the OW out because there were other much more attractive women in the group). Remembering how he kept and displayed those trophy pictures online still hurts very deeply. In any case, being in contact online helped sustain the affair and exchanging emotional messages with her was part of the infidelity. One problem with the ability to be in contact online is that there is never really any way to be 100% sure it has stopped. Emails can be deleted. While I am inclined to believe him that he hasn’t had any contact with her for the past year, I can’t really be certain that he would tell me if she decided to send him a message. The whole thing is very raw to me because I only found out the true nature of the affair 2 1/2 months ago. Just seeing him check his email makes me anxious.

    • battleborn

      My H had both. They did not have sex, although he wrote and confirmed they wanted to. They spent hours on the phone, texted each other continually and spent time “swapping spit.” (Sorry for the ugly word picture.) I am not beyond either one, PA or EA and it has been two years now. I have the image of words burned into my brain and the visual of them being together and making out like high school kids. Yuck!!!!

      I have tried to passionately kiss my H and it is physcially impossible, sex isjust that sex. I can’t make love right now as her words are still as fresh in my mind as when I found out. If they wanted to have sex, perhaps I could make love to my H but nooooo she (and he) wanted to make love to feel each other in their arms, etc. Double Yuck!!!!

      So to answer your question MaryC, I think both have devastating effects on the BS but it all depends on how it is perceived by the BS. For me it is the same, a emotional online affair is just as bad as a physical one.

      Good questions though.

    • Sara K

      I think for all the fun Facebook has brought into the world ‘reconnecting’ with old buddies, classmates etc. It is also a huge danger. I have seen old boyfriends come out of the woodwork, in an ‘innocent’ flirty way that makes me feel uncomfortable. I think it crosses the line when you have to feel you cannot show your spouse the conversation. If it gets to the point you have to hide it because you’re feeding the ole ego, you can call it whatever you want, EA, flirting etc but, it’s just inappropriate and needs to stop right at that point.

    • karenlou

      What a fortuitous post.
      On January 12, 2013, I learned about my husband’s emotional affair on line with an old high school flame. They haven’t seen each other in 39 years, if anything in the world can be believed anymore. My husband sought for her on facebook, asking mutual friends if anyone knew where she was. Somehow they connected, and have been corresponding ever since. My husband, who can’t navigate the web without my side-by-side tutelage, managed to ensure that his texts and emails with her were and are protected. I don’t know what they said to each other in their correspondence. When I confronted him, after seeing the long line of an exhange between them with the subject tag, “you,” he confessed. And recanted. And confessed. And minimized. And admitted a “friendship-love.” And then recanted. On and on it goes.
      Their high school love affair began and ended when they were 17, if what he says now is true. She became pregnant. And disappeared. He never saw her again. He said he was filled with shame and regret, and wanted to ‘solve a mystery.’ And I learned in this six days of turmoil, that he told her he carried a torch. And she told him, put the torch down so we can be friends.
      And so they became friends, communicating via text, facebook, email, talking about books, life, weather, hopes, fears, blah, blah, blah. For months, if not a year or two, he has been communicating with her in secret. While we were on vacation. During our power outage from the storm last year. At Christmas. At Thanksgiving.
      I guess if the question is, can an emotional affair mean as much as a physical affair, I would have to say (and I know this is a biased opinion right now,) yes, it can, plus more. I agree with some of the comments here that a physical affair is experienced differently, and if one is able to, one can rationalize a physical affair as simply sexual and not intimate or bonding. But with an emotional affair, there is no question of that, since its very purpose is to bond with someone other than the spouse.
      Is the bonding really what is most hurtful? That’s a whole different question. For me, it is most hurtful that my husband chose to reach out to another woman to create an emotional opportunity for himself, instead of reaching out to me. It seems to me that he was trying to create a path, and while he doth protest too much, I think that if the torch still burned for both of them, maybe flight was an option for him as well.
      I’ve been thinking about the difference in affairs, about being cheated on, quite a lot these past 6 days. Have I been cheated on? My husband says no, there is no affair, this was a friendship, and it was private and personal. (Take a minute here to either laugh derisively or roll your eyes, I’ve done both a million times.) I feel yes, I have been cheated on, and now belong to that group of women who have been second best in their relationships, in the most base and hurtful way. It doesn’t matter if it was physical or emotional. It doesn’t matter which is worse. Every cheating situation is its own ugly, hurtful truth. Period.

      • justbecause

        karenlou, Well said! Yes, you were treated on. You were cheated out of the time and energy your H sent communicating and HIDING his connection with the OW. All his time and conversations spent with her devalued you, made him more critical of his real life relationships and further damaged your marriage.

        I feel for you. My D-day was March 29,2012. My H had never met the cow before his EA. So are situations are different in that respect. It will be tough for a long, long time – it will never be over – it will be really, really hard for a time to come. Read some of the past blogs. Take care of yourself. Do some retail therapy. You are not to blame. They made this choice to connect.

        Take Care!

        • karenlou

          justbecause,
          I don’t know if your kind reply made me cry because I feel so raw, or because it’s the first time in this short time that I’ve shared what is happening and you were the first to respond and validate what is real.
          I hate my weakness, hate feeling fragile and hate how I am letting this affect me so deeply. Aren’t there other people in the world who get hurt and who can still eat, sleep, and carry on with their lives? Why does it have to be so all-encompassing? Why is it the universal truth on all the blogs that the betrayed will suffer long and hard? I feel like this misery is wrapping itself around me like a cloak and that all is wrong with the world, why can’t I find the perspective that this betrayal should not be the totality of my life?
          Maybe because it’s so fresh. I have been wondering for the past few days if this is my own manipulation; if my husband sees my devastation, will he feel bad enough? How bad is bad enough? Will he feel guilty enough? And I wonder, too, if this despair is its own kind of grieving, and if I am grieving the loss of my relationship, and will I grieve long enough that it will be gone altogether before I have to make a decision to stay or go?
          I’m sorry if this sounds like I’m expecting answers, really I’m not. I’m new to this completely, new to this kind of hurt, new to blogs, new to correspinding with people I’ve never met. I’m not sure I’m looking for anything, but I feel appreciation for all the stories that tell me I’m not experiencing anything new to the world. It makes me feel comradship, I guess, and also a little sad for all of us. Where did we get these expectations of each other in relationships, anyway? Why do we believe that it’s our right to expect emotional health and maturity in our relationships? Maybe because we believe this so completely, we are shocked when it doesn’t happen, and it’s less about the affair than it is about our own blindness.
          And of course, there is the slippery slope of whose fault is it anyway.

          • justbecause

            karenlou, I get you. I, too, was new to blogs and “all of this.” I consider myself an extremely strong, confident person. But this EA rocked my world. Although I continued to go to work, did a community foundraiser 2 days after D-day I probably shouldn’t have. I think I had been hiding and handling some issues for years. You see my H is an alcoholic. He stopped drinking 3 days after D-day. I ws pretty good at going about business as usual when life was anything but.

            Your post is aweome for me. It reaaly hits home —and so well written! Take what you can from this site. Learn from it but don’t dwell on it always and forever. We sought joint marriage counseling. Good counselor – very helpful. I have a sister I can confide in. I hope yu have someone. You do have us here at EA Journey you now.

            So with you on the :am I trying to make my H feel bad” part. But I do think it is important they do see your pain. Theat they do realize this is a big – no make that a humongous deal! My H does now. I have to be careful not keep hurting him, but to rather keep loving him and me and working on my marriage. But this is 9 months later. You are a newbe. It will take time. Tell him this. Just my thoughts.

            Only thing I want to bring up on your post…”the slippery slope of whose fault is it anyway”, it is both the cheaters faults. They took vows, she knew he was married. They crossed a line.

      • Natalia

        Karenlou, yes, he cheated on you. He can deny it all he wants but the truth is in his words: “That his was a friendship and it was private and personal.” EXCUSE ME?! No, there is nothing private and personal in a marriage. I’m sorry, but when one spouse has to hide something they are doing it is WRONG and they know it. That’s why they hide it from the other spouse. Had it been just a friendship he would have showed it to you and anything he said to her would have been something he could have said to her face if you were present. Ask him if he would have said those things to her in front of you. I’m sure you can guess the answer. I suggest you read a book titled “Not just friends” by Dr. Shirley Glass and after you read it, hit him over the head with it and tell him to read it. Best of luck to you both. It’s gonna take time to recoup from this and we’re here to help. I’m 2 years 10 months from D-day and it still hurts, though not as much and the good thing is that it doesn’t consume me anymore and my H has returned to being the man I married 29 years ago. It’s a long road but doable. Only if he’s willing to help you heal and cut all the crap he thinks he’s got the right to do.

        • exercisegrace

          If you are doing something with or saying something to ANYONE (let alone a member of the opposite sex) that you would not do or say in front of your spouse, you are cheating.

          • Natalia

            Exercisegrace, that is absolutely true!

      • Debra Hart

        I know this is an old post but I truly feel for you as I too am going through hell after finding out my husband for 31 years started a secret emotional affair via words with friends !
        The woman lives in America so I know they never met but the fact that he lied and deceived me hurts like hell
        I feel anger , true fury scream out loud anger , then I fall down sobbing and shaking and feel as weak as I have ever felt in my life
        My heart aches and I feel lost
        I have asked him to leave the house which he has done …. I get 75 emails a day telling me he never stopped loving me and asking me to forgive him but I feel the trust has gone
        I do hope you have overcome this horrible situation ….please share what has happened x

        • Debbie

          Debra,
          I can’t believe I’m responding to you but really I can’t believe that my husband isn’t the only one who had an affair on words with friends! When I read your post I thought I was dreaming, I swear!

          I’m very sorry this happened to you and for what you’ve gone or are going through. Believe me when I say I can relate. My husband had a 3 month emotional affair with a much younger female on words with friends. We’d been married for 27 years at the time and been together since I was 17. They had very sexual conversations and were saying “love you” at the time I caught him. I was completely devastated, and sometimes still don’t cope very well with it.

          I am so curious about your particular situation and how you found out, how you are today, how your relationship is etc. I do hope things are better for you both.

          I love my husband with all my heart and I know he feels the same about me so we are working regularly on being open, honest, loving, caring, and best we can be individually and as a couple.

          All my best to you.
          Debbie

    • Ashley

      I’ve been debating whether or not to comment since it may risk stirring up more pain for me. My H had an online affair. It started with a woman (whom I’ll refer to as “it” or “fungus”) he needed to email for work (fungus lives in another state about 1,000) miles away. The emails got friendly, then flirty, then he decided to call it from work, then from home on his cell after work. Obviously they exchanged pictures. Boy, he must have thought he it the jackpot when he saw fungus was only 3 years younger than him, pretty (though not as pretty as me!) without a postpartum body (as if my self esteem about baby weight wasn’t enough having gotten pregnant again only 7 months aftet the first with 15 pounds left from that pregnancy!)

      I found out about it after 2 months. They never met, though he was trying to faciliate it by offering to it a plane ticket. When I first discovered it, he didn’t think he did anything that bad since it wasn’t physical and they never met. He said he wanted to feel how the way he used to feel about himself. (Side note: he began the friendly emailing less than one month after we had our second child- which was only 16 months after we had our first). Uhm, as if I also didn’t want to feel the way I used to feel?! As if my idea of a good time was a trip to Babies R Us?! I made him call and end it on the spot, which he did, and kicked him out. I let him back the next night at my parents insistance that I had to at least try for the same of my 3 month and 19 month old boys. By that point he had contacted a marriage counselor and scheduled our first session and already had a double session with the therapist he had been seeing for 8 years (who clearly wasn’t effective). He first got the severity of his actions when he told our marriage counselor that it wasn’t the same as a physical affair, to which my marriage counselor replied “an emotional affair is different from a physical affair- an emotional affair is worse.” Our marriage counselor put us on the path of rebuilding our relationship and had my husband give me all his paswords email, work, VM, etc. Three weeks later I discovered there was still contact via email and phone calls- which he insisted were fewer than before. Of course he tried to hide it but was careless and accidentally left a recent pic of her (it had a date of two weeks prior) on his work computer (gotta love remote login). He explained that he was feeling such a sense of loss and fungus kept calling so he finally answered. He called it weaning and said the more they spoke the less he was interested in speaking with it. This time he cried and appeared really remorseful. He admitted he hadn’t been honest about the details of the affair. At that time I learned that, before I found out, he thought he was falling in love with fungus and told it that. He sent flowers twice, using a Visa gift card. He was calling during the middle of the night with the exause or bringing our dog out to run in the backyard WHILE I WAS BUSY CHANGING AND NURSING OUR NEWBORN! And once called it from our home phone. It was all so devestating. We agreed he would call Fungus the next day from work with me on muted 3-way and end it- I insisted that he be really cold and mean during the conversation. He did, though I questioned whether or not the phone call was staged- and sometimes still question it. Our marriage counselor insisted he switch therapists as be had been open about his continued cheating and wasn’t given any reality testing about how wrong his actions were. He did and has since been diligently working on himself and focusing his attention on our family. it was then that i discoverd this website and began to share posts with him- especially the ones with similarities our situation and his feelings toward fungus and how that wasn’t at all unique or special.

      I contined to check his emails and turns out he wasn’t being truthful about having told me everything from the past. I looked at his cell phone records and found over 100 calls and another 200 texts to it in a month. He was dropping our oldest off at day care in the morning and would proceed to start his day of this- at 7:00 am. I later accessed his archived work email and saw there were over 2,000 emails exhanged with it in this time. I also noticed that the pic I had discovered wasn’t there and he reluctantly told me he set up a new email (the day before I found this I asked if he did that and he swore he didn’t). Basically, this amounted to the two of them spending entire days together. I was also stupid enough to read some of the emails. They weren’t sexual, mainly flirting and superficial stuff, but you can see the emotion there. I even learned he gave it a pet name (which was not nearly as appropriate as my later renaming it to fungus). Those emails are burned in my head and I can’t get them out. Because I did this, there are constant triggers- inane phrases and single words set me off.

      This was over a year ago. We are still together and he is trying really hard, but it may never be enough for me. He is patient and remorseful when I am triggered and go into an angry, rageful spiral. Our marriage counselor had regular contact with his therapist to discuss his issues and progress. He has since changed jobs, his cell phone number and email address (which he insisted he never gave to fungus). It still bugs me that it might have our home phone. He changed his work persona at his new joh to be stictly professional and forwards me any emails where someone may have tried to be over friendly. I sometimes worry about him having a second cell phone, but he is so upfront and forthcoming about things and accounts for every penny he takes from our bank account that I know it isn’t likely. I had even spoof dialed him when he was still at his old job using fungus’ phone number- he never picked up and always called or texted me within a few minutes to say that he got a call and ignored it. He is attentive and committed to our family and makes a point to try to make up the time he missed with our youngest child- though he knows he’ll never have another opportunity to be present during the first three months of his life. Our therapist believes he’s working hard and sees the strength in our marriage. But I’m still triggered easily and am terrified about what he may be doing if I call him at work and he doesn’t answer. And I can’t get the content of those emails out of my head. I’m still furious and so hurt. I get terrified when i think about what may have happened had i not found out when I did and they had actually met. If it weren’t for my kids and the fact that they are so young, we’d be divorced. I’m still not sure that I won’t pursue that option at some point. So, to answer Linda’s original inquiry about the experience and hurt- it’s awful. Even when your spouse is clearly changing, the hurt can be unbearable.

      • Battle born

        Love the name fungus!!!!

      • Paula

        Ashley, much love, you are very strong, and your sons are very lucky little boys, I truly hope you guys can make it and I know what you mean about trust and fear. I didn’t think I stayed for the kids, I don’t think I did initially, and I have kicked him out three times, for a total period of around 8 months, but now I know that the fact that my youngest has only four more years of high school is a factor in me staying.

        My partner is almost computer illiterate! No FB, or any other social media. He re-connected, through MY friendship, with his ex-girlfriend, at a difficult period of change in our then 21 year relationship, and whilst the affair was a sexual one, it was definitely the emotional support that she was so generously giving him – via text and phone contact mostly as she lives several hours away (in order to trap him as a stepdad and sugar daddy for her and her conceived-by-stealing-sperm little boy) that did it for him. Originally, the first two years of recovery, I was more agonised by the emotional aspect of the affair, but in the next 20 months, I have experienced deep, terrible sexual dysfunction due to the sexual nature of what they were doing, right under mine and our children’s noses, literally, seemingly almost with my support! (I was defending their “friendship” to any who asked!) I have friends who are suffering the pain of an emotional (only) affair, and their pain is as deep as mine, and I don’t believe comparison is helpful. We are all damaged. Getting a disease from them, and subsequently discovering HPV and having six monthly smears and colposclopies (he is my only sexual partner ever) and then falling into my first ever sexual hole in my 45 years on the planet, has done untold damage to my psyche, despite much work and attempts at rebuilding my self esteem. I know I will be okay, I know he istruly deeply remorseful, but I still don’t know if it will ever “be enough” – but I do know that it is for now. I made my commitment fully, truly, madly, deeply, almost 25 years ago, but I am not fully committed anymore. I know he is still my very best friend in all the world, and we do still love each other very much, but as the Manic Street Preachers so eloquently put it years ago, “your love alone, is not enough, not enough, not enough” and, “you, stole the sun from my heart.”

    • Magdalene

      Hi Ladies,
      I know exactly how you feel. 1 year ago, My H also reconnected with his old flame whom he has not seen in 26 years. He found her on FB and start calling and texting every single day. I mean, weekends, holidays, etc. It was by accident that I found a text in his mobile phone with words like “baby…blah, blah, blah.”. That bitch is also married but without kids. Excuse for the connection was that her mother was dying from cancer and she needed a shoulder to cry on. I wondered where was her H’s shoulder? Missing? My H’s excuse was that I, the BS was ignoring him and having marital and financial issues between us. They connected for 2 and a half months straight without missing a day of not talking or texting.
      The bitch had the cheek to say that they did not do anything wrong as they did not meet at all. So that makes it ok? On top of that, she laid the whole shit on my H and says that it is his fault for searching for her on FB, he was the one who called and texted. All she did was just reply to his texts and calls. Again..so that makes it ok? Then when I spoke to her H, he too was surprised that his W was connecting with my H and her H knew nothing about this. Her marriage was also in shambles as she is a whore who sings at clubs to entertain lustful men. So, yes, online EA without physical contact is more devasting than a PA as there are emotional connection which my H did not share with me. I have tried to kick him out many times and he has begged for forgiveness each time and stupid me always give in. I am staying in the marriage for my kids aged 14 and 10. Trust is definitely gnot recoverable anymore and I am glad that I have emerged stronger. He cannot hurt me anymore

    • justbecause

      Hi all, It seems we may be the EA group without PA. At least some of us (I have read much of your story battleborn). As far as one being worse . . hmmmm- each case different. Many PA’s started with EA and progressed. Look at stats for this – crazy! I would not say one is more hurtful then the other. They are both horrible, especially if the CS and/or OW don’t admit to the horror and the absolute wrongness of it all and stop all contact!

    • exercisegrace

      The bottom line, as I see it? Intimacy. Whether it is sexual or emotional. Knowing the person you love has shared something so private and personal is crushing. My husband had an EA (and later PA) that started out as work texts, email, phone meetings and then crossed too many boundaries. He became emotionally connected before they ever met in person. People do not realize the dangers inherent in our modern way of constant and instant communication. How it builds a false sense of intimacy. How easy it is to fall for someone, when they can project exactly the image they want. When they can seem to BE whoever they want.

      While I love him and he is very, very remorseful, I get to live the rest of my life knowing he told some parasite he loved her. Knowing he had sex with that parasite for nearly a year. While he thinks it helps that he has been honest about the sex being fairly infrequent, and that it was usually a disaster due to his feelings of guilt and turmoil, it only lessens the pain marginally. The only real help is knowing he ended it on his own. By the time I found out (parasites are vengeful, in case you didn’t already know, LOL) it had been over for awhile.

      But hold your heads up friends. I tell myself that every day. He lives with guilt, shame, regret, remorse and the knowledge that he almost threw away our marriage and family for someone so vile (she really showed her colors at the end). That he violated everything he has ever believed in.
      The parasites of this world will never win. Statistics prove it out. Moving forward is the best revenge!

    • Kelly

      A little over a year ago, my husband started a cyberaffair that was what I consider both an EA and a PA despite the fact that they never met because it was very sexual and emotional. The OW wasn’t getting enough attention from her H, who was a pilot who was also caring for an aging parent. She was the cousin of one of my H’s FB friends from high school. She thought his posts were funny and that he was cute. She knew from his FB page and posts that he was married with kids, but she IM’d him one night and started flirting, then asking about his marriage, then propositioned him. Our marriage at the time was less than optimal. I had started a new, demanding job. I was fighting back a suicidal depression. The last thing I wanted was sex. My H’s self esteem was lagging, and he was fighting off his own depression, which I was so down I was oblivious to. We loved each other, but we were moving like ghosts through our house.

      She said they could help meet each other’s needs, that no one needed to know, that no one needed to get hurt. Just a little dirty talk, maybe some pictures. Next thing you know, along with some of the most pornographic back and forth discussions I’ve seen outside Penthouse forum, they’re discussing intimate details of each other’s marriages, talking about developing feelings for each other. My H of 18 years, the only man I’ve kissed in 21 years, is asking questions like whether or not he’s settling for me and our marriage. When they’ve started chatting 10 days ago. He’s speculating about what would’ve happened if they’d met instead. They’re coming close to telling each other the “L” word, dancing around it carefully. The whole thing lasted about two weeks, but it nearly killed me.

      I discovered many of their chats (not all, but enough to devastate me), when I accidentally opened his Gmail one morning instead of mine. D-day was Oct. 12, 2011. We are in reconciliation. Some days are up. Some are down. He’s been a model of remorse and tries so hard, but I’m having such a hard time learning to trust and gathering my self-esteem back together. Even though the affair was only inside the computer, the betrayal was IRL.

      • Ashley

        Hi Kelly,

        I am so sorry for what you are going through and see a lot of similarities to my experience. My d-day was 10/18/11 and the images of emails I read are still so clear and painful in my head. I also have a husband trying but I have my up and down days and still question my self esteem even when intellectually knowing that it had nothing to do with me.

        It’s staggering that such “feelings” could develop in such a short time and that people are naive enough to beleive they are real and that there is such a thing as a “perfect” relationship. And the manipulation of the OW is so obvious and it’s unbelievable that men could be so naive. How dare that OW play the victim and pretend her husband’s a bad guy for doing his job- all that served was setting up an open invitation to be the hero and elicit negative things about the other’s marriage. Fungus told my husband that some guy at work was harassing her and kept asking her out and manipulated my husband into sending flowers so it seemed like it had a boyfriend (she was supposedly single and never married- who knows if that was the truth). How dumb is he?? And how immature is that?? I think I did similar things like that when I was 22, not 36 (fungus’ age at the time). They also talked about our kids and it knew they were just babies- who does that?! During the brief time they chatted after d-day, it asked what we were discussing in marriage counseling. Fortunately the time between that and the end was brief otherwise it would have been primary opportunity to set me up as an awful wife.
        Again, I am so sorry! I am wondering how you are coping with blocking out the disgusting things you ended up reading?

        I also have a question for everyone. I’m from New York and it’s pretty common to get married in your 30s and start a family in late 30s/early 40s. I was 36 at that time and my husband had just turned 39. They used the closeness in age to talk about 80s sitcoms and other superficial things from their youth. Fungus lived in North Carolina. From past discussions with a friend in Atlanta, it’s my understanding that people tend to marry younger in the south. Is this the case? I ask because I question how my husband never questioned the validity of Fungus’ relationship status or what may have been a major issue that kept it single so long. I understand there could be other factors like career or something else, but it worked in an accounting department at a cable company. I’m not bashing the job or career, just thinking it’s not the type of work that requires your attention 24/7 for decades of your life. As for any extraneous factors, fungus graduated college in its early 20s and had no known major losses. It just struck me as odd or naive that this was never questioned or viewed as a potential red flag- not to mention the patheticness of pursuing someone you know is married with babies 1,000 miles away. I suppose that’s the affect of the affair bubble. I’ll also admit to asking this question and hoping for some way to boost my self esteem by downplaying fungus’ relevance in my head. Again, I know it has nothing to do with me, but I’m struggling to really integrate that belief in my every day life.

    • rachel

      Gosh, after reading all of the blogs I have to give you all credit for sticking it out. No matter how much I wanted my marrriage to work, the more I think , I truely believe I could never have done the work. I would have been so insecure and sick to my stomach with worry that he was yet again lying to me.
      As sad and scared that I am for my future, I am also looking forward to meeting someone that will treat me kindly, someone that I will matter to, someone that will respect me and accept me as I am.

      • karenlou

        Amen

      • forcryin'outloud

        So true Rachel!
        I hope a future full of happiness and love await you. Your posts touch my heart with the love for your boys and the despair over the end of your marriage. You all deserve better!

    • Surviving

      @ashley,
      Sorry your a member of this group, I have gone thru a similar situation, I still cannot believe my husband almost threw away all he had with me and the kids and grandkids for a piece of trash.
      It does get better I’m 2.5 years out and it takes time.
      I’m much stronger than ever before, I don’t trust most women any more, my niceness except with the kids and grandkids has diminished and I’m fine with that.
      Stay strong and put yourself first, you didn’t deserve this…

      • exercisegrace

        Nearly a year out, I feel stronger too. Still shaky but stronger. i am also less trusting. I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing though. My husband has said that I supported, trusted and believed in him to my detriment. Makes sense in a sad sort of way. I thought that’s what spouses were SUPPOSED to do though.

    • Teresa

      Whether it’s Physical Sex or Emotional Sex….needs are being met that have no business being met if you are married or in a relationship with another person! Betrayal is betrayal!! Lies are lies!
      I’ve only had experience with an EA, thanks to my H….and it still hurts like hell, 2 yrs, and 20 days later!

      • exercisegrace

        I absolutely agree. You simply don’t go outside of your marriage to get intimate needs met. Of any kind. At least if he had kept it to an EA, I would not have to live with the mental images and movies of them having sex. It is very painful. My only consolation is that by the time I discovered the affair (which he ended on his own) all written correspondence had been disposed of, and I have never had to read it. Don’t want to speak too soon, as the parasite is still trying to disrupt our lives!

    • Paula

      EG, we are in the same boat, yes, the sexual aspect of the affair was over before SHE told me – as revenge for him ending it with her – the mind movies and the places they were sexual are in my homes and all around me. There is SOME small comfort in that he had got to the end of it and worked it out before I ever suspected or knew – also sexual for more than a year – and she was supposed to be my friend. The thought of her and myself sitting around, drinking wine and chatting about life, me supporting her single mother status with a difficult little boy – only difficult because he is bright and had worked out that she was so inconsistent with him, and he had her number completely – whilst she was smirking about what a dumbass I must be, shudder! I refuse to say PA, as even the word physical doesn’t explain it properly – it was sex, not just hand holding, not delightful little caresses not sweet little kisses – although all of that probably happened too. Our “parasite” was also very destructive, and it took a VERY long time to get her out of our lives properly – right bunny boiler, and very scary. Images of them being sexual, despite my partner also telling me that the guilt and turmoil (and her own narcisism – I am SO beatuiful, I don’t need to DO anything in bed) made their sporadic sexual encounters apparently pretty average, at best, doesn’t really help at all, in fact, as I said, why continue on then? If your needs were being met emotionally with her (which, of course is bad enough in itself) why continue to %$& her?

      • exercisegrace

        Paula, yes we are so in the same boat. Business involvement, affair in our homes, outed by the bunny boiler…..it is so sick and sad. I too could not overcome the WHY. Why you would want to continue a physical relationship that by his own admission was not even completeable half the time or more. And he certainly wasn’t being deprived by me! He is so remorseful now, and sometimes I just listen without comment. All i know to do is keep moving forward, towards forgiveness.

    • tryingtoowife

      I love this quote ” “I’m sorry…did my back hurt your knife?”
      My husband claims that his affair was plainly about sex. That he enjoyed her company at the beginning, but once he started noticing her true self, and how self absorbed she was, and she start to threaten him, he started to fear her instead and knew that he was in serious trouble. She apparently fell in love with him and I only found out after he ended the affair, and “letting me know” was one of the threats she made among others to “destroy him and his family” and obviously me. True bunny boiler here too girls!
      On his side there was never talk of love. I had many copies of their e-mails and it is true he never said so. The communication was a load of sexual fantasies, by two selfish, self absorbed people and unfortunately I still have every word etched in my mind. He got tired of her. He saw her true colors and regrets how low he behaved. He ended the affair. But nearly 3 years after DDay I can still struggle. Many things are better. I accept that many others will never be the same, so why since there was no love included in this, do I still suffer?
      Because my husband made the physical connection we had feel pretty worthless. It could with me, her, anyone else?The specialness of us is gone! Because while I was struggling to keep things together as a family, time wise and financially, and sorting out my own emotional feelings of abandonment, he was finding time for rendezvous, romantic meetings, dinners (not many I must accept it), and found time to talk, e-mail her, write long stupid sexual fantasies that was part of their communication. He robed me and my children, of precious time that should be ours. We were busy, we were tired, and he made himself even more unavailable to us by choosing to accept the trump into his life. It feels pretty bad because with emotional feelings or without it, his behavior removed him physically and emotionally from our marriage. He annulled me from his life and mind. The lies broke trust. Broken trust is hard to rebuild. So, when it hurts it does not matter where the knife is pushed in and which kind of knife it is.
      While now we are doing pretty well as a couple, I am back to counseling because the damage done is deep and this is part of the weaving of our lives and It is bloody difficult to accept it as it is. Saying that, we are pretty committed to trying and so keep doing. This is a life sentence. This is a life’s work. And we are doing progress. I accept changes as it comes. I can not force anything
      And Paula and EG, I thank God that nothing happened in my house. That is pretty difficult thing to cope with.

    • karenlou

      Well, today I learned why part of my husband’s EA is my fault. From his perspective, I learned all the faults that I have, and why I’m such a dificult person to reach out to, and how my emotions create a barrier to his reaching out.
      Hmmmm.
      To be fair, he did start the conversation with his own self-reflection, examining his reasons for having an EA—which he still calls a ‘friendship.’ He talked about his own abandonment issues, his need for attention, how ashamed he is of this, his self-destructive streak. He talked about how scared he is now that he realizes that all of those emotions brought him to this point, that maybe I will leave, and he says now that he would be devastated.
      Then somehow he began talking about me, and my faults, and how hard it is to relate to me, and how shut out he feels, and how good I am at that.
      Hmmmmm.
      While I agree completely that I am an imperfect woman with plenty to work on, I think it’s incredibly poor timing (not to mention poor manners) to bring this up now, right? At a time when he ought to be groveling for forgiveness and searching ways to understand himself and to prove to me that this will never happen again, he instead spent some time pointing out my character flaws as an illustration of cause and effect. ‘you are this, making me feel that, so I did this.’
      Hmmmmmm.
      It is Day 9 today. I’ve not made any decision about staying married or moving on. Well, that’s not true, I’ve actually made that decision seven hundred times, but still swinging on the pendulum. Why do people stay with people who hurt them? Is staying and putting yourself through this emotional turmoil daily really healthy? When I read past blogs, I feel shocked that some people are still feeling the throes of deceipt and despair YEARS later, while still living with the person who caused it. I don’t know if that would be good for me. I don’t want to get stuck. I don’t want to let fear of the unknown keep me in fear of the present (such as, will this happen again? how can I trust him?)
      So, I do understand my husband’s choice to be critical now, although it’s so brazen it’s breathtaking. I know the guilt he is carrying has to be relieved for him now and that’s one way to do it. But doesn’t it illuminate what kind of man he is, doesn’t it shine the light on all that is wrong about him? It’s weak, and a cheap shot, given that I did share that my self-esteem was taking a beating because of this.
      When an affair happens in a relationship, it does kind of shine a spotlight on all that is wrong. Today, I’m going to look into the light, specifically at how it reveals my husband for who he is. (I’ve spent a lot of time looking inwardly, and will no doubt get back to that.) Because maybe the decision to stay or to go is not about learning to forgive and learning to heal, maybe it’s about learning who you’re married to and if you want to make that choice all over again.

      • exercisegrace

        First, hugs. I know what you are feeling. In the days or even weeks following d-day, my husband had a jacked up view of not only himself, but me and our marriage as well. He was still in the “affair fog”. At first I was enraged. While not perfect either, I certainly wasn’t to blame for his affair. It has taken months of counseling, time removed from the AP, and lots of introspection for him to have a clearer picture of what really went wrong. It was so blatant, there were even things I could PROVE he was seeing wrong.
        For me the decision to stay was based mostly on what I knew to be TRUE about our relationship. Knowing that I could not let this mistake (colossal as it was) define him OR our marriage. So far he proving to be the man he used to be, and the man I need him to be. I have heard so many words of cheating spouses who felt they were not “understood” or they felt “abandoned”. When in truth, while NO relationship is perfect and we all have things we need to improve, THEY were the ones who took the first steps away. It’s pretty hard to feel loved and appreciated when you are spending your emotional energy on another relationship. The grass is greenest on the side of the fence that is watered!

      • Natalia

        Yeah, I know how you feel. My H also tried to pull that one on me when I first found out about ONE of his EAs. I was shocked at first but managed to tell him that if he didn’t like my behavior (distant, unhappy, not interested in sex, etc.) he had no one to blame but himself! How did he expect to be treated with love if he only exuded HATE? His attitude when on for several weeks (blaming me in part) until I discovered ALL his EAs. When I threw all his crap in is face all he said was that he was sorry and couldn’t believe how stupid he had been and because of his stupid behavior he now had nothing to complain about. That he couldn’t complain about anything I did in the past! HA! I felt kinda of bad for him but it was true. He tried to continue behaving narcissistically with me and it backfired. Especially after I gave him book after book to read about his stupid behavior.

        • exercisegrace

          I truly will never understand betrayal. The sheer selfishness of it. The lack of being able to look into the future and see how WRONG this is for everyone involved. You want out? GO. Think things are wrong in the marriage? TALK. Depressed or otherwise feeling bad about something inside of yourself? SEEK HELP. I will never understand how acting so selfishly is ever an option. My husband is destroyed by his choices. I think at this point he is even more depressed than I am. He sees now what he has put the kids through and his regret is deep. All I can do is shake my head. He knew his parasite didn’t even LIKE kids? Um you have FOUR. Where did he think THAT was going? He didn’t. He lived for the moment. I lived my life for the good of everyone around me, and put them all first ahead of myself. I had the commitment he suddenly lacked.

          Bleh. Sorry to be such a downer today!

    • karenlou

      I love that thought, that ‘it’s pretty hard to feel loved and appreciated when you are spending your emotional energy on another relationship.’ It makes a good argument against that kind of justification.
      My husband is a good man in a bad situation, making things worse in the throes of shame and panic. And I’m a good woman in a bad situation, I don’t want to make things worse in the throes of humiliation and grief.
      Still, there’s no denying that I’ve been left. No matter the blame, or who did what to whom, or who didn’t try, or who said hurtful words when, I have been left.
      Now he wants to come back. Or so he says. He believes this can make us stronger.
      I wonder, has anyone out there been married to someone who had an emotional affair, and when found out, the cheating spouse actually physically left as well? I think sometimes it is easier to leave a relationship in pieces; first sexually, then emotionally, then physically. I think when I realized I was left, I was shocked and hurt just by the reality of that. Somewhere in the relationship and the marriage vows, I believed we would never leave each other. Then of course, there is the added ugliness of leaving FOR SOMEONE ELSE, which adds insult to injury. We have always said to each other, how can spouses cheat? We have always said, if a spouse is feeling they want to cheat, they should leave first, because they have stopped being married in their hearts. We said those things to each other. Now, of course, my husband is insisting that he has not cheated. He says his secret relationship with his lover from high school was just unresolved 17-year old confusion, with the added mystery of her disappearance, and he is embarrassed by it. He says it isn’t real because it was on-line.
      I guess one can always justify their behavior. People will say anything.
      I know many of you have gone to therapy with your spouses, and I would imagine that’s a healthy choice to have a third party administer some of this discussion. I’m not there yet, I can’t seem to rededicate myself to this relationship yet. I am sometimes sure I will stay, and sometimes sure I will leave. What helped people actually make that decision?

      • exercisegrace

        Karenlou, I wasn’t physically left, but he might as well have. He was physically and emotionally absent (unless you count near constant criticism of me, the kids, the house, etc). The first step to your healing will likely be when he can own up to his mistake and see it for what it was/is. He has to honest with himself in order to be honest with you. My husband says at the time of his affair, he justified it in his mind. Now, nearly a year after d day, he is sick and sorry for how he behaved. He sees the truth of what happened, How he let a relationship slip far too many boundaries until he turned around one day and realized he was in way too deep. It will likely take some time and counseling for him to see it all clearly. One thing I said to my husband a lot was, how would you feel if the roles were reversed? what would your take be on the behavior THEN?

    • csb

      It’s been 15 months since D-Day. My H found his old GF on Facebook and carried on for 1 1/2 years before I found out. We are doing better, but not where I’d like to be….we are more of “companions” now. I still have trust and self-esteem issues.

      I’m wondering if those of you who are further along since D-Day (like myself)…. how is your intimate relationship? Is it better than ever, non-existant, just okay? I’m really having issues with intimacy and wonder if it’s just destined to be that way for the rest of our relationship.

      • Teresa

        csb, 2 yrs and 3weeks out and it’s “ok”….we start couples therapy Tuesday….just found out my H is Passive Aggressive, so it looks like I’ve been beating my head against the wall for two yrs, and my H would promise me he’d change, then not do the required work…and the work he would do, was so little, but he’d be as proud as a peacock over it…and all the while, I’d feel resentment building…oh yes, the counselor is going to be busy with us, lol!!

        • csb

          Teresa – Thanks, I’ve been beating myself up thinking I should be in a better place by now. Everyone and every relationship is different, I know, but I tend to focus on those doing better than me and wish I was in their shoes. good luck today!

    • Kathy

      My husband had a cyber sexing affair with several woman (the same women over and over) and told me it was not cheating. I told him I was leaving he said he would stop, but I caught him again with the same women. This happend 3 or 4 times, he promised he would get his “addiction” stopped. I told him “no contact on facebook, or im or texting or anything, to cut them off completely. He said he did, well on December 12th 2012 was my 5th time I caught him in a lie with this. He left his yahoo im up, so I checked his conversation history and by god for over 6 months (that is all the history that was there) he had been im’img several of those same women. Some he told he was married and couldn’t talk to them anymore, but one in particular he did not tell he was married he only said he was seeing someone and that he would love to cyber sex with her again but I was so jealous the I would not let him. I flipped out, brought boxes home and started packing. His brother so happened to come in from out of town that same day and saw me and knew something was wrong. I talked to his wife and then he (my husbands brother) got on my husbands case. His brother was so upset at him or so my husband says. This has been going on now for 2 years with me finding out all this and all the lies. I did not leave because I wanted to make a decision not based on pure hate and anger. But I am still very angry and I feel only hatred toward him now. I don’t ever think I will trust him and I can’t live with someone that I don’t trust or respect (and I do not respect him anymore).

    • csb

      Kathy – everything I read says it takes at least two years to recover from an affair. I know every person/situation is different. I am trying to give myself the two years to see what my feelings are. I know I don’t want to still feel some of the things I do in another 7 months (my 2 yr anniversary of dday).

      I’m wondering if you’ve now decided to separate/divorce him? I agree, living without trust or respect is not productive.

      • Kathy

        csb
        thank you, I have not really made up my mind yet….I can’t I am to confused, hurt, angry I just can’t think straight. I am actually thinking of taking a few days by myself away from him to think. He tends to blame me for snooping on him. But I don’t accept that. I don’t know what to do……….I am so lost right now.

    • csb

      My H gets mad and yells if I snoop (which I only do occasionally), but I tell him he lost his right to privacy and trust. As a few said in previous messages, anytime he’s on the computer, checking email etc, it’s a trigger. I had thought I’d be past that by now, and I don’t say anything, just feel that “twinge of pain” in my stomach. I guess that leads me to question….if I still can’t trust and feel that pain, am I healing, getting better, etc? Sure, I don’t cry constantly, have attempted to start to socialize again instead of burying myself in the sand, etc.but I honestly thought by now, I’d be in a better place.

      If you think taking some time to yourself would help, then you should do it!

      • exercisegrace

        I rarely snoop, and my husband gets upset when I do as well. I have said basically the same thing, that prior to his affair it never would have crossed my mind to want to peak at his email or text messages. At the same time, sadly, I know that he was capable of hiding it before and he would likely be even smarter the second time around. I have had to let go some and trust. Otherwise, thoughts of disposable phones and fake emails accts run through my brain.
        Nearly a year after d day, i had hoped to be in a better place too. but we continue to move forward. Our therapist says this takes years to heal from and I am doing a good job. I know he would just prefer to forget it ever happened, but I am thankful he is doing the work to prevent it from ever happening again!

    • KelBelly

      It has been almost a year since I found out about my H’s EA. I will say that I would of much rather he had sex with someone that to have an EA. I think the hardest part about it all was showing my H how damaging and how real it all was.

      My H met is oompa loompa is a gaming room. They were the only ones on late at night and got to talking. Next thing you know they are in a private chat room and telling each other how much they love one another.

      Our marriage had been steadily going down hill since he returned from Iraq. I had been trying to hold on but he kept pushing me away until I reached a point of telling him that I had one foot out the door because he made me feel unwanted and I couldn’t emotionally do it anymore loving him like I did. Instead of trying to tell me what was wrong, he started his EA just 2 weeks later. That has been the hardest thing to overcome.
      When I finally found out about it all, he had already ended it but the damage was done. I couldnt figure out why he could give her everything he should of been giving me as his wife. Had he told me half the stuff he told her, I would of never had that talk with him.
      I talked with her and she told me everything my H had said to her. I think I would of rather heard they had nasty sex than to hear the things my H said to her. It has been a long hard road back and I still have days of extreme sadness over it all but things are getting better. My H has become extremely transparent and works very hard at proving that he loves me and wants to be here.
      So, yes, I do believe that EA’s are just if not more damaging as a PA.

    • Laura

      I think that an emotional affair, whether it’s online or in-person, has the same weight. At some point in time, they will go from a close tie to something of a little bit more intimate nature.

      For many people, yes, an EA can be worse than a PA

    • Tryingtomoveon

      I have been reading the blog for some time, but this is the first time I have posted. D-Day for me was June 5, 2011, and we are still working on rebuilding our marriage. I still have triggers, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about how difficult and emotionally draining this has been. Our therapist tells us that without such a catastrophic event (his having the EA and my finding their correspondence) our marriage would not have survived, primarily because my husband would not have acknowledged that seeking love and companionship outside was sabotaging our relationship and that living a “secret life” was not conducive to repairing it.

      The commonalities that run through the posts makes me feel that I am not alone. Indeed, many of the poignant stories I have read make me feel lucky, if that is possible after being so profoundly betrayed by the person whom I most trusted in the world, because that same person has done a complete about face, accepting his guilt in the “stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” and working very hard every day to make amends, to show his love for me, and to continue with the positive changes he’s made in how he looks at life and at our marriage. My husband, who was visiting his mother across the country when I found their 14 months of correspondence in his email account, agreed to end the EA as soon as he returned home, and did, with a curt and final email that I approved and watched him send. We’ve not heard from her since.

      The course of the affair was similar to many stories here with one very clear difference: the OW posts advertisements on Craigslist in towns where she has family connections or likes to visit:

      Looking for someone to “talk” to – 49
      I write my thoughts better than I speak them, and am hoping to meet new friends who’d enjoy writing to me. I love the water and the woods and all the activities a person can do there. I’m a seeker and an explorer by nature. I keep up on most sports, especially baseball, and hit the gym every day. In my quiet moments I like to read, write fiction and listen to country music. I’m married and just looking for friends to share part of my day with me.

      Sounds innocuous, doesn’t it? But as I pointed out to her in one of the two letters (plus one short note actually drafted by my husband after we encountered her on our back country road in which he told her to find another route to her fishing spot), any man looking on Craiglist in the “w4m” (women for men) listings is going to have the same issues she does: a problem marriage beset by lack of communication and relationship issues. In much of my reading about the slippery slope that leads to an EA, I found the same progression: friendship that turns to perceived love once the partners start talking about personal affairs and marital issues such as sex.

      Our marriage had been rocky for some time due to neglect (both his and mine) to make it a priority, conflicting career goals and difficult moves, financial woes, unresolved childhood and health issues, and my husband’s bouts with depression. It was, according to my husband, the first and only time he looked in the “w4m” pages of Craigslist for our area, supposedly for someone to communicate with. He was impressed, he said, by the wording of the ad, which was very different from most postings he found; he was, at the time, interested in writing, a need he now believes was related to his finally coming to terms with the many issues that had haunted him throughout his life and throughout our marriage. I agree with that assessment of her ad compared to most; I now check those listings in all the areas where she told him she advertises for lonely men. She does, in fact, live 4 hours away in a neighboring state, but is clever enough to post her ads in places where she has family or likes to visit rather than her own college town where I’m sure she could find plenty of willing correspondents.

      Here’s an example from one of her emails:

      I ask myself a lot why I didn’t leave when he was drinking. Fear, certainly. But also in a warped unhealthy way, he needed me. And I need to be needed. Once he became sober, he didn’t need me (in the unhealthy way) any longer. I had time to look at our relationship from an objective perspective. And what I saw made me hurt. I love him dearly, but grieve for all the broken dreams and wasted years. I wish I’d been stronger and not put up with his behavior. So here we are, joined by years of memories and a stable home life. He’s happy. If I were to leave, it would hurt a lot of people. By staying, only I hurt and I can cope with that. Like you, I do miss being in a relationship where there’s passion and intimacy. Badly. I’m not sure how to bring it back into a relationship once it’s gone — I hope you find the answer! I’m not sure I even want to in the relationship I’m in. I hope that didn’t sound all gloomy. I find joy in many ways outside my marriage. I just have always had this dumb romantic streak where I’ve dreamed about finding a life mate who shares my passions in life and loves me as much as I love him. It’s tough coming to grips with the fact that that dream probably won’t come true and working on formulating a new dream.

      And my husband quickly decided he could make that dream come true.

      They continued to correspond for another 10 months, primarily via email, but meeting at least twice along lonely stretches of the rivers where she fly fishes, but when she traveled to her favorite fishing haunts or other cities, she sent handwritten notes and postcards to his office. He called her often at work, and sent her a CD for Christmas comprised of all their written correspondence. The attention he paid to her needs and the thought he put into such gifts still hurts. For Valentine’s day he found a vintage card and added familiar quotations and deep professions of his own love for her, for Thanksgiving told her how much she had changed his life, and they both cooed over their one-year anniversary and looked to a long future together.

      Her husband was suspicious of her time on the computer, and she complained that he hovered over her when she wrote, which believe me, was often. At one point she told him about all her pen pals, including my husband, whom she described as a very good friend and fellow writer (she fancies herself a great fiction writer and keeps a journal she forbids him to read). She seemed to be oblivious to his concerns about what she is up to (which includes having her own post office box to which my husband mailed the CD), fears that apparently stem from a PA she had a couple of years before she took up with my husband with a guy that she met at the gym! She believed he was her “soul mate”; he dropped her after 2 months. She oh-so- poetically described her heart as being in a “tin box”, and constantly referred to needing to “trust” my husband’s sincerity. This was the alleged reason for not wanting to sleep with my husband, despite his pleading for intimacy (thankfully, she lives 4 hours away over several mountain passes or I’m sure she would have ultimately given in since she told him his offer was “more than enticing.”

      About 8 months into the affair the bimbo (my favorite name for her) actually asked how I would react to knowing about her, and my husband told her not to worry, that all he was to me was a paycheck (and not a very big one at that) , and that while his life would change “not for the better” it didin’t matter because she was so important to him. From that point on, they were full-steam ahead on declarations of love and missing each other, and suggestions as to where and when they could meet again. In fact, even after his ardor started to cool and he decided to try to return to a more platonic relationship, she persisted in trying to arrange for them to meet. “My husband will be out of town….” became a regular part of every email.

      But she has needs she wants to have met, which is her justification for her “secret life” outside her marriage. She had clearly decided that the marriage was over, at least until her husband asked her for a second time during their EA for a separation. Then she suddenly remembered she still loved him and needed to make her marriage a priority. Once he accepted the pen pal /friend explanation (“and he believed me”) it was back to when can we meet for some “’physical’” time. This is when my husband finally started to come out of the fog.

      Meanwhile, my husband was becoming more distant, more taciturn (even my adult children asked me what was wrong with him), more forgetful, and even more disinterested in making any attempt to contribute to our relationship, our home, our ranch, or our life together. Anything except what he now describes as receiving his next fix, an email from the slut (another of my favorite monikers for her). Because his work involves computers and the internet, and I was becoming increasingly distant from him as I became more depressed about our marriage, I didn’t notice how often he needed to check his email. I do remember screaming at him about how selfish he was; I worked all day on our ranch, cooked dinner, tried to handle our deepening financial burdens, and he disappeared downstairs to his computer after coming home from working on it all day. He also arose early in the morning to write to her, and apparently got up during the night when he couldn’t sleep for thinking about her to send her a few loving thoughts.

      I was preparing to move to our barn apartment during his visit to his mother, and I had asked him for a divorce. He really did not believe I would follow through, but at that point I was totally done with our 40+ year marriage. But the night before he left, I realized he once again needed to check email. It was in that moment I knew what was going on. I waited until he left and I had a whole day to myself to search his computer. I found the first of hundreds of emails in only a few minutes, and called him to ask who she was. I’m sure many of yu can imagine how the next few hours played out. A week of all the horrible reactions, tears, and pain so many of us have described and felt ensued, but it was also the first time in many years my husband and I really talked to each other about our feelings and mutual needs.

      Since ending the affair my husband has been totally open with his email, his journal, the phone (he now works from home), and his utter lack of interest in having anything to do with her. We started counseling a month later, and still see our therapist bi-weekly to work on the issues that led to our marriage breaking down and recovering from the worst blow of my life. I stillhave triggers almost 2 years later, and continue to work on rebuilding my self-esteem. My husband has written his own version of our story, which he is willing to share as we think it may help others recover. We are working hard on rebuilding our marriage, and I am grateful we have a second chance.

      • Justanotherone

        I just found this blog while searching for enlightment. You have been very brave and I admire you for coping with all this. I agree with the opinions about bonding with the person even if they are miles away, I have gone through this. I feel sorry for all the pain caused but at the same time I admire the courage and the unselfishness that all this involves. All the women here are strong and even after having flashbacks they have come out standing tall. Good luck. He told me he was separated. I believed him. He called and texted me non stop since the first time we chatted, it seemed like a real connection! it actually felt like it!!! I fell in love with that persona…But then… When I suggested we should meet he agreed but a few days before he backed out… so I got suspicious and through a google search on his phone number and some paid subscriptions on internet sites I found out his real name and address and Facebook account… Yes, he had a nice home with three beautiful girls and a wife. So I ended it. I miss him deeply. I hurt and bad. He did not only betrayed her, he betrayed me!!! But it does make me feel better to know it can be overcome. If all of you guys kept going why wouldnt I? I wont be telling his wife what happened. Im not a parasite or a fungus… lol… I guess I just was too naive and trusted someone who wasnt real. Im not gonna be causing more wrong beyond of what I have already caused.

        • Strengthrequired

          Justanotherone, stay strong, you are doing the right thing not containing the relationship you had with the mm. He should have told you that he was married, he should not have put you in a position, that you are in now. He did wrong you, and that is what you have to remember, he is married and kept it from you, the person that had a right to know. You could have then made up your own mind about whether you wanted to be involved with this man or not, before feelings became stronger. He is definitely not the man you need in your life, you need a man that is willing to dedicate his life to you, without him sharing himself with someone else. I think you may need to remember, if he could omit the fact that he was married, how many ow do you think he has been womanising?
          Be lucky you found out when you did, and be lucky that you won’t be called the home wrecker that broke a family, because if the w did find out, that is what you would have been to her and her children, and honestly, really isn’t the title you would want to carry around with you.
          Hang in there ok, that mr right, the one that is single and waiting will come to you when you least expect him too. This man will be the one that devotes himself completely to you and only you, there will be no excuses and no blackouts involved, because this man will have nothing to hide.

          Good luck to you

    • nmw1

      Just now read this blog roll. D day for me was july 3 2011 my husband had an EA with an old flame that lives across the county. I can tell you an EA are every bit as painful and crushing as a PA. My world was shattered. The pain remains

    • Xterra

      Hi Everyone,
      I found out about my wife’s EA on January 24, 2013. Since then, I having been researching like crazy why I have the feelings I have … I found this site through the internet and I must say it’s helping tremendously in my healing. I would like to preface that I did have an EA with an old girlfriend through Facebook before all of this, but my wife found out and I put an end to it. It’s funny, I didn’t consider that cheating until I found this site, but know realize that what I did was wrong and should not have happened! My wife compares the 2, but my EA was only through the internet, while theirs was through the internet, texting, phone calls, and Skype. The signs were there; quotes on her Facebook indicating how lonely she was and quotes meant for both him and me; with all the hopeful quotes meant for him; looks of disdain and unhappiness when I returned home from work meetings; never letting her cell phone off her person; not seeing the telephone bill anymore. I just wasn’t keen enough and too trusting not to recognize the signs … I can only see them looking back at the past.
      We have been married for 13 years and together for 17 – we have 2 children. Looking back at the last couple of years, it is now clear to me that we were going about living our lives like robots; we wake up, go to work, come home, watch TV, go to bed … same shit different day. It is now clear to me that we let life’s little things come between us and we drifted farther and farther apart. My wife has confessed to everything and has answered every, and all my questions regardless how much it hurts both her and me. She has told me that she felt unappreciated, neglected, and that I was ignoring her – to some extent I was, but can only attribute that to the vibes I was getting from her and our definite inadequacies in how to communicate with each other.
      It was during this time, she began to have thoughts about her first sexual partner; he already had a girlfriend (now his wife) but that didn’t stop her then. In her recollection of things, she at first creeped him on his wife’s Facebook page around September 2012, telling me that she wanted to see what he looked like now. This led to thinking of him more and more, so she eventually sent him a friend’s request and he accepted her. They chatted as friends for a short time, and chats quickly became sexual, eventually leading to sexting on their cell phones and telephone calls. A note to those who may be reading this – if your spouse went from a person who left their phone in plain sight and then you never see their phone or they turn off the ringer; chances are they are hiding something! If you have a gut-feeling, trust it and act on it right away. If I had done this, I would have saved myself of months of hurt and pain and their relationship wouldn’t have gotten as far.
      My wife is really not that technologically advanced, so I thought it strange that she was asking our niece about how to use Skype – strange, but I trusted her. Through constant questioning and late night chats, she admitted they had Skype sex. We all want to know why the EA happened – but at first, the responses I received were “I don’t know how it happened”. I thank my wife for having the courage and patience for answering these tough questions. It was tough to hear that the person you loved so much had “strong feelings” for another man. She said she didn’t love him, but after reading some of her deleted texts, I still have difficulty in believing that. Also for those of you who are reading this, there are programs that can recover deleted messages from certain cell phones! It is also difficult to hear that “She had to see if he still cared for her and if there was anything still there” – a heart-crushing, sickening answer, especially considering the risk of losing everything we have built over the 17 years together.
      Their relationship lasted 4 months – it probably would have continued, but she was so caught up in it and cared for him more than me and our kids, she was texting him in our bed after we had sex! And I calmly asked her who she was texting. She answered “My niece … mostly”, then she confessed. After constant discussions about the EA, she has come to realize that she was addicted to him and did not want him to be disappointed in her that she did things she would never consider doing. My wife is so straight-laced and does not have a single mean bone in her body, but all this went out the window. The OM and their feelings for each other made her contradict her morals. Even a telephone call from the OM wife did not deter their relationship, but escalated to the Skype sex! I still have difficulty in the fact that she was more concerned with his feelings and the lack of respect for me that it didn’t even bother her that I was right next to her while she texted him. If it was not for the fact that they live in separate cities, thousands of miles apart, I feel it would have turned physical, as she admitted planning on meeting one day, whether it was fantasy or not.
      She truly is remorseful, and we both want our marriage to succeed and are both trying very hard to accomplish this. This site has helped both of us, especially with improving our communication skills. We still have rough days, but we have some truly amazing days as well! With time, we hope the rough days won’t occur as often and this will become a learning experience that will help us and others. We are both seeking counseling and eagerly wait for the day that this is all a bad memory.
      I have asked her to put her perspective on here so that other men who are going through these difficult times will gain better insight into these horrible feelings.
      PS – Sorry for the long-winded response!

      • KelBelly

        Hello Xterra, Thank you for sharing your story. I am a year into finding out about my H’s EA and I can tell you that with work, it will get better. You will find great information and support here. It is good that your wife has come out of her affair fog and is working with you on your marriage.I do have to say that I agree with your wife on comparing your EA to hers no matter how the contact occurred, it is still an affair. Remember this when you are dealing with your wifes affair and working on recovering your marriage.

    • Strengthrequired

      Xterra, thankyou for sharing your ea story. As Mel el has mentioned you will have the support here, both of you. This is the first real place I have come to, where I can express my feelings knowing others are experiencing exactly the same. You actually feel somewhat normal.
      It’s different elsewhere, when you share with people that haven’t been through this, I was told a lot, I should dump my h sorry ass, and how he really doesnt love me, if he could do this to me, I should leave and not look back. I couldn’t stand the thought of not fighting for my marriage, my h, my family, so removing myself for the influences of people telling me different was the better option for me.
      When you know someone, when you have spent a lifetime with that person, you don’t give up on them.
      I’m glad you and yournw are working through this, with both of you working on it, your marriage can be stronger than ever. I truly believe, that we get given these obstacles to cross, to wake us up, to show us that life is getting in the way, work on your marriage so life can be how it is supposed to be. You see we invest so much time and energy into our marriages, that’s why wemhave been married for so long, we all would be crazy to just ler go of the person we love so very much, when they need us, it is their scream for help, their scream for I need you, that brings them to do something they never even expected to do themselves.
      There are better ways of doing this, like actually saying something to us, as we feel the same, but something had to give for any of us to wake up and work on our marriages and rekindle tha spark in our marriages.
      So wit all thenhurt and pain, on both sides, we can become wiser, and more determined not to feel that pain again, so our marriages become stronger for it.
      Sorry for the ramble, I think even I have lost myself…

    • Xterra

      Thanks Strengthrequired, that means a lot. I do agree that the best people to talk to are those who have or are going through the same experiences … No judgements, just offerings of help and healing. My wife and I read articles on this site together and find them very helpful. Look forward to more comments.

    • Strengthrequired

      Xterra, your welcome.mall,positive steps are good. I read a couplemof the articles to my h also, I try not to put to much in him, so try and space it out so not to overload his mind.

    • Laura

      It’s so nice to read about so many people trying to save their relationship rather than taking irrational actions. Most couples will manage to trust each other eventually and their relationship will end up better than it used to be.

      Communication is the key in such a difficult situation.

      • Xterra

        Hi Laura,
        You are exactly right when you say that people if possible, should try and save their marriages instead of taking irrational actions. But when I discovered my wife’s EA, irrational actions were a part f it, plus about a dozen other emotions! I even told her she could keep her online boyfriend if that would make her happy! Damn, I’m glad I snapped out of that one!

        • dave

          Hi all,
          In found out my spouse was having an EA or PA just before Christmas. She was leaving for work early and receiving constant text messages. I stayed in denial for a while but could sence she had pulled away and was paying attention to every little thing I did. So I pulled the phone records and found to my horror hundreds of texts a day to the same number. They would start first thing in the morning and end when she would come home. I confronted her and she said it was a woman at work that was having a hard time. Then she hit me with the (I don’t have those feelings for you anymore) and we can try to work it out it takes time. Yet, she is still receiving texts all the time from this number and now she will do it next to me on the couch. Every time I hear the phone go off it is killing me. What can I do to stop this. How should I talk to her so that she will be honest about whats going on.

    • dave

      I guess all I really want to know is how to make her open up and trully discuss the situation. We sleep in seperate rooms but still do things together. But she is always in contact with the other person either by text or facebook. I think she is just enjoying both relationships because we are still intimate a couple times a week. I struggle every day with this battle to win my relationship back. It is destroying all of our lives. We have been together for 13 years and have 2 great children. She says she is confused but I know she is in this fog. Last week I started pulling away from her but I think it is making it worse. What can I do to stop this?

    • Xterra

      Hi Dave,
      Sorry to hear you are going through the same thing, but if you really want to work things out, you have to get your wife to snap out of that “fog”. Fortunately, when I found out about my wife’s EA, she snapped out of it right away and has been working hard in rebuilding my trust. You need to bring her back into your bed and spend more quality time with her as a couple. If this is what you want, you need to fight for her and get her to realize that the alternative will probably be worse than what she is going through right now. But fight as hard as you can to get her to realize that you love her and want to make your marriage work. Best of luck! There are a lot of knowledgable people on this site who will offer some good advice.

    • Xterra
    • Xterra

      Hi again Everyone,
      I mentioned a while ago, that my wife would post her story in efforts fot other betrayed spouses to get a sense of what the CS may be going through in an EA. Here is her story – hope it helps those going through these tough times and for those who are betraying their spouse. We visit this site together to learn from others and help with our healing process.

      “Last summer, I began to feel very alone and unappreciated by my husband and children. We have been together for 17 years, and married for 13. I thought there was something missing and there was more to life than what I already had. I felt my husband didn’t care about me and our marriage had became just an existence. I expected all of this attention and love from him, not realizing at the same time, that I didn’t show any of that to him either. I was too selfish and felt too sorry for myself to see that he need those things from me too. We had always had poor communication, and rather than trying to talk to him about how I was feeling, I chose to turn to another man. The biggest mistake of my life!
      I began to think of my first love and wondered how life was treating him. He became my first love, even though he had a girlfriend who was pregnant at the time. I started looking at his wife’s pictures of him on Facebook. I noticed he had his own account, I sent him a friend’s request; he accepted. This is how it all began…
      At first it was casual conversation, but it quickly became serious and the discussions turned sexual. We then started setting each other constantly and it became my obsession. I began to obsess over my phone, carrying it with me at all times, even to the washroom; it never left my sight. This obsession resulted in over 4,500 sent/received messages in over a month, when my average was below 500. It was insane!
      The OM’s wife found some of our messages and called me, she threatened to ruin my life and tell my husband. I was scared, but I still continued to sext her husband. It fact, it escalated after that to 2 Skype telephone calls – on of those calls was Skype sex. I felt horrible, but I didn’t stop. I was obsessed with the OM. I didn’t want to lose that connection with him, it was so exciting and a total rush! He said all the words I was longing to hear and he assured me that his wife would never tell my husband. He convinced me no one would find out, and we carried on our affair.
      My husband became suspicious; I think he was suspicious early on, but had faith and trust in me, so didn’t act. But one night, AFTER sex, my husband saw me texting and asked who I was talking to. I lied and said it was my niece. Yes, I couldn’t even stop texting the OM after being intimate with my husband, what the hell was wrong with me?? My husband asked to see the phone bill, but I told him our daughters phone usage was too high and cost a lot of money, so threw it away! I even used my daughter as an excuse!
      I finally confessed that night what I had been doing for the past 4 months. It devastated my husband, I broke his heart, his trust and I crushed his confidence. It was at this moment when I realized what a mess I had made and was about to lose everything I love over a man who really means nothing to me! The feeling I had for the OM were suddenly brought into perspective and I realized that the man I really want and truly love was the man I was about to lose.
      The term “in a fog” describes it perfectly! I couldn’t see things clearly in those 4 moths, but when I snapped out of it, my life became crystal clear. I was chasing a fantasy! I have a wonderful, loving, caring, and thoughtful husband; who was there for me all along, but I chose not to see it. I nearly destroyed him! Before this, my husband was a confident happy-go-lucky and relaxed man and I shattered all of that. He is broken and it’s all my fault. I have never been more sorry for anything in my life than for what I did to my husband. The guilt of my affair eats away at me … I’ve lost a lot of weight and I constantly have a knot in my stomach from wondering how my husband will react each day.
      He has asked some pretty tough questions about the affair and OM, but I answer them truthfully knowing how much it hurts my husband. We have had some pretty rough days since he dsiscoverred my affair. But it is so important for me to help him get over what I have done and to heal his heart. I am so grateful that he has given me a second chance and I know I will never do anything as STUPID as this again. I never want to see my husband in this kind of pain again.
      The old saying “the grass is greener” is so untrue. I have the greenest grass here … And I see that now. Life is what you make it, don’t blame anyone else! What I did, I did on my own, not my husband’s fault. I should have went to my husband when I was feeling so down and alone and not to anyone else to make me feel better!
      My husband is my best friend, my protector, my lover, and my dream come true. I am so thankful to have married such a wonderful man. It’ s too bad that I had to put him through hell to realize this. We hope my story will help someone reading this – an EA is a selfish act. Communication is the key and you have to give love truly and deeply if you want it in return.”

    • missi smith

      This kind of ‘betrayal’ after 21 years of marriage is more than devastating. I am trying to stand back up as I type. Trust me when I say this is like a phantom you fight – a fantasy world of nameless faces, younger bodies untouched by childbirth, and hellish visions of the online pictures of what once was for you and no longer is reality for him. This is crushing heartache and new endless self doubt suffocated by lost self confidence.

      I am dealing with the aftermath of a once adoring husband having a two year – perhaps longer – emotional online affair with women half my age on several different dating websites. Without being Narcissus, I am 42 and look 35. I am slender and fit and used to have abundant self confidence, which is what attracted my husband. I have two teenage adult children in college, had a fabulous career as an Administrator, and WAS very much in love with my husband. Our intimate life was the most delicious part of our marriage. In fact, in the 22 years we have been together, sex was the only area we met as equals in mind, body and soul.

      Fast forward 20 years. My husband’s business started racing downhill to the point of nonexistance and suddenly our roles shifted. He was home more, dealt with the teenage lives of a daughter and son more, understanding what stress I had been under to juggle home, kids, work and responsibilities of being an adult.

      I never had cause to snoop, mistrust, or even question my automatic decisions to trust my husband until he accidently left his phone at home when leaving for work. That cell went off no less than six times signaling incoming email in under two minutes.

      Sometimes I wish to whatever God could hear me that day I never gave into the nagging pain in my stomach something wasn’t right. My husband had claimed for years that he didn’t know how to use email and had no desire to learn now on his cell. I must say that morning my life felt like it vled into a numb darkness once the shock and tears cleared. Not only did he learn how to use email but he was emailing women for sex chat. On some of these dating sites he had used the tagline ‘Looking for a good time while miserably married’.

      All hell broke loose in my head. He had been lying to me for three years. Confronting him that afternoon was more than humiliating. This was so much more than pictures and emailing women. This was him stepping out and checking oit of the

    • missi smith

      Out of the marriage he claimed he wanted more than anything. Years of trust, love and bridges had been blown to pieces in 30 minutes.

      He has struggled to not misstep for the last six months. And it has put me on a hell-bent emotional roller coaster ride I now want to jump completely off.

      In my head, after 21 years and the trials and laughter and closeness that is born out of love, it should not be this hard for him to pick me up and give me back the safety and security of his arms. He has managed to stop denial finally and understand that the horrible – even evil- hell he has put me through is not normal and has faced the demon of my anger, pain, and even a nervous breakdown.

      Three months after he ‘got it’ but atill wasn’t understanding that taking responsibility is a VERB – not a noun in a sentence that puts a bandaid on the pain, I lost my job. It seemed like my entire world was imploding at once and it was beyond suffocating and devastating.

      Today I struggle because he struggles. Not with cheating any longer as he knows the ONLY way I agreed tp stay and work on the marriage is if he agreed to be an open book. Period. He struggles with learning how to pick up the mess he has made of our marriage and the haunting tear-filled eyes that can barely meet his gaze when we speak.

      He struggles with digesting the devastation and destruction of a wife and fractured family because of the arguing and the depression he threw in my face.

      But I struggle with trust. With love. With the very idea he could single handedly take one of the most intimate emotions between us as we looked into each other’s eyes while making love and KNOWING now that as he looked into my eyes, it was other women that he showered the attention rhay shouls have

    • missi smith

      That should have been mine. He gave the promise of my love, my identity away so easily.

      I am in tears as I share…hence the accidental 3 posts. But I know I am strong. I know I am worth more than what he wanted to degrade. I know I am beautiful and will smile again – with or without him. It isn’t fair for me to not give him the chance to rebuild the marriage. But it IS fair that I try to open myself up to that and work my way out of the marriage instead of giving into my pain. Love is love and you feel it many different ways. I guess that’s what makes this kind of affair torture.

    • Bruce

      Calling it an “emotional affair” is a bit dramatic. Would you call it an emotional affair if someone confessed things to his/her priest that he/she would not confess to his/her spouse? While there are dangers in a friendship becoming overly intense, and, as such, a situation that can lead one to ignore/avoid/withdraw from one’s spouse, when two individuals are each mature, the friendship can be managed, if both of the spouses of these individuals are also mature. I’m not saying there are not dangers, I’m just saying that mature people can build in protective measures to stop things from getting out of control.

      • Xterra

        But Bruce,
        When my wife knowingly “brings” another man into our marriage, confessing love and carving his attention, keeping secrets, and bashing me, would you consider that mature behaviour? The thing is, that when they are in and emotional affair and in the “fog” of a new relationship, they are not thinking rational or maturely. If you can tell your spouse all the details about your friendship, then I guess that would be a mature friendship. If there are secrets being kept or not divulging all details, then I don’t think it is a mature relationship.

    • Bruce

      No, that’s not mature behavior. You wife may not be strong enough, or mature enough to be in a friendship with a member of the opposite sex. Professing love for a person is not a friendship, it is a romantic relationship, unless the love is the love of a friend. There’s also a fine line between bashing a spouse, and sharing confidential aspects of the relationship with a friend. Sometimes there is anger, and one has to be careful to respect the spouse in the process. Few married people are strong enough, or mature enough to have a friend of the opposite sex, and few are strong or mature enough to allow that to happen with his/her spouse. But calling any sort of friendship with a member of the opposite sex that involves self-disclosure an emotional affair is overly dramatic.

    • cherie

      Just found out my husbands Online ea 3 weeks ago. Its been a roller coaster ride. I like some of the others think it would have been easier had he just had sex with someone. But this emotional attachment he had to her, telling her his hopes and dreams and things he never bothered to talk with me about is so much harder. I too found out by accident would have never dreamed this man was capable of any of this until one day he handed me his phone because our daughter had called. I took it and talked with her then when we hung up there was an email from an unknown female to me anyway and I only had time to read the first line which was hey babe glad you made it there safetly. He took the phone very quickly at the point. I thought on it for days because we were on vacation but did’nt say anything to him. When I finally did he didn’t want to tell me and tried to delete everything. Long story short I managed to play amateur detective and found out way more than I wanted to know. It has crushed me its on my mind all the time. We are still together but I’m struggling with it. He told her it was over and he is trying very hard. This sickness in my heart and head just won’t go away though…I listen to music and read these sites everyday. I hope someday I can forgive this but its so hard when you remember him saying he loved her, that they were soul mates, that someday they will be together etc. He is a good man and always has been and we have been together for a long time with two grown daughters and one in high school. I don’t want to through this all away and I know in some ways we both played a part in letting our relationship slide. My question to anyone here that has had this happen. My reaction runs the gammit. It seems like I have been trying to give him everything he wanted from her. I’m taking more interest in him having more sex spending more time with him. Its almost like i”m the one feeling guilty. Has anyone else had this reaction. Don’t get me wrong at times I yell and cry and tell him were done too…Its just such a box of mixed emotions. I just haven’t seen anyone post about the first part of my reactions yet and wonder whether I’m being strange or if others have reacted like this.

      • Xterra

        Hi Cherie,
        I’m sorry you are going through this very difficult time. I discovered my wife’s EA in January. I would like to say that this site will provide much useful information and help from many members! It helped me a great deal.
        You will feel many emotions for a very long time – just remember, this was a choice that he made and it’s not your fault! Take the time for yourself to decide what you want to do in your marriage; I decided to stay with my wife and work things out, and thankfully we’ve turned our marriage into something great!
        Your husband has to make a decision; give him an ultimatum and stick to your guns. In my case, my wife was in the “fog”. You can read about it on this site as well. She was living in a fantasy world with the OM, and when she was faced with reality and having to make a decision, she chose her family. Hope the same works for you!
        As I said earlier, there are a lot of people on here going through the exact ordeal. You’ll find alot of similarities regarding affairs. Wishing you all the best … make sure you take care of yourself first and foremost.

        • cherie

          Thank you for your comment. I’m going to do alot more reading…..I’m hoping this help forum helps me figure myself out and him.

          • Strengthrequired

            Cherie, this forum as helped many of us, if not all of us that have come here. Everyone is wonderful, and understanding because we know the pain you feel. Also believe t or not, help can come from those that were the cheating spouse. Their input gives a great deal of insight into the behaviour of the cheater, the realization after the “fog” clears.
            I am glad I found this site and these wonderful people, when you feel alone and you come here, you see you aren’t alone, our experiences are extraordinarily similar. I fund here when I felt I could no longer stay in my marriage, where I felt I could no longer keep trying to fight for my marriage, for my family.
            Then I came here, as if I was pointed into a new direction, it was as if I was meant to find these wonderful people as well as Doug and Linda. I had finally found my reason to keep going, that extra strength I needed to no longer have the ow rule my life. I finally found people that weren’t judging me for staying in my marriage and fighting for my h, they were all trying to do the same, and even succeeding, I was finding out that although we live in diffierent areas, states, countries, the om and ow in our spouses lives, were following the same book, they all appeared to act the same, wit out any regard to anyone else. I found that our cheating spouses also followed some sort of book, all their reactions, reasons, were very similar, the way they treated us, the lies, the amount of phone calls and txt msgs, emails, to the op in their life all the same. The way they try to hide things, their behaviors, all very similar. I also found that us the betrayed spouses, also followed some sort of different book, in which our reactions, the trauma we have gone through and some still going through, our strength and commitment we all shared for our spouses and to our children, families, the way we fight to keep our families together, our strength that has come from within us, that we never thought we really possessed, is all very similar. We somehow become stronger, and we all want to continue being good kind people. Some of us even found that to protect our marriage, we limited what we told our families just incase we were able to save our marriages.
            Also the aftermath that is left to be cleaned up, financially also appears to be very similar, the impact it has on our children has also been similar.
            So when you come here, you will see for yourself, that you really aren’t alone, and that although there seems ti be no hope or very little hope at getting past this terrible thing that has rocked your world, you will find that strength to keep going, you will begin to feel strong enough to make choices for yourself, whether to stay in your marriage or leave it, and you will know, that you have no regrets, because you tried, and you weren’t the one that chose to stray, your h did that, so remember, no matter what was happening in your marriage whether it be just life, raising children, working etc, this was not your fault. Life happens, our spouses chose to stray for what ever reason, the op made them feel young again, they were able to be a hero, they were able to have someone laugh at their jokes, or sympathize with them about their crap life, they were able to escape their reality while with that person, but as they all seem to find out, is life, reality ends up hitting them in their face, they end up seeing the destruction left behind them. So instead of thinking they are making their life better, their life just became worse off.
            Remember none ofnthis was your fault, no matter how much your h tries to tell you, he chose to stray, not you. It takes two to make a marriage work, he just chose an easy feel good moment instead of seeing what he has right in front of him.
            You will probably find that you are the only one working on the marriage, it felt like that for me for a long time, then all of a sudden, my h started to finally help me save our marriage, he finally started showing me that he wanted us to work, it wasn’t just me doing the hard work.
            I wish you all the very best, and I hope you find the strength you need here, like we all have, as I’m telling you, you don’t need to suffer through this alone, we are here.

    • Teresa

      Cherie. What you’re describing is called “hysterical bonding”. I believe Doug or Linda wrote a post on it somewhere here on EAJ….Most all of us have done it.
      Makes me sick now when I think about it, 2 1/2 yrs later!
      My H had the EA, then I “reward” him for his crappy behavior!
      My advice would be to STOP!!! And get yourself into counseling!! ASAP!!
      And read Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass and How To Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair by Linda McDonald…two great books!
      This IS a roller coaster ride. And it’s not easy to get over, so don’t think it’s going to be…its at least 2 yrs minimum recovery…and to me, that’s just the amount of time it takes to ACCEPT that your H could do this to you and your marriage!
      There’s a ton of useful info on here…start reading!
      And blog often! It really does help! You’re going to feel very alone, and you’ll need the friends you’ll make on this blog!
      Good luck!
      I’m 2 1/2 yrs out from Dday (discovery day) and while I’m doing much better emotionally, my marriage is still shaky.
      Come to find out, my husband is Passive Aggressive…and as often is the case, his affair was just a symptom of a much larger problem.
      He has issues that he’s never dealt with from his childhood…and is still refusing to deal with, and until he does that, we will never be completely healed.
      Be prepared for that….look into WHY he had the affair….He’ll try to blame you, he’ll try to blame boredom in the marriage, mid life crisis, etc…..all excuses, of course! But he needs to work on himself, to get to the point where you BOTH know and understand WHY he chose to bring another woman into his life!
      This has NOTHING to do with YOU, so DO NOT let him do that to you!! HE had the affair, HE has to claim it as his own!!
      Stay strong and educate yourself as much as possible about emotional affairs, and again, do NOT let him place the blame on you!
      Remember this….No one has the perfect marriage, but not everyone has affairs either!! Just because you’ve grown apart is NO reason for an affair!! Keep telling yourself that!

      • cherie

        I’m going to read up on this…..I’ve been calling myself cybil cause one min i’m all nicey nice to him then an hour later i’m ready to kill him again or just sad and hurt. I’m going to look for the books you mentioned and thank you.

    • Gizfield

      Teresa, I totally agree, it has been a few years for me, and when I look back on my behavior immediately after I found about about my husbands whore, I do indeed feel il l. I said I wasn’t going to compete with this slut but what was I doing? Trying to out whore her, thats what. ewwwww, indeed. I hope he appreciated the compliant little bitch I was cause she is now gone. Also, I went though menopause during this shit and it really amped up myinterest in sex. I know, TMI. The only consolation I can get out of my behavior back then is that I kept this tramp and her prodigy out of my daughter’s life. That alone gives me peace of mind. A five year old does not need that trash in her life.

      • cherie

        I think you might of hit the nail on the head. Competing might just be what i’m trying to do ……

    • aka other woman

      I am the other woman in an online emotional affair,i’m not married & neither was he when we first started talking,i knew something was up when he started to be a little distant but waited then we started talking anonomously on a chat room he said he recently married gave his name & then I gave mine…we realised then whom we were talking too…we’re both mid 30’s he wanted marriage & kids,i had kids didn’t want anymore,culture & religion,& physical distance all played a part,before marriage he said he loved me,i told him not to say this,he has said this after his marriage I again said he could never say this to me,i’m trtying so hard to separate my emotional entanglement but also don’t want him to resent his wife for curtailing his freedom,& yet I did ask if his wife was having the same conversations with an unmet man that he & I were having how would he feel…he swings from saying he loves me to name calling &cold shouldering me…I know he’s unhappy with his marriage but I feel he needs to man up suck it up & be the man he tells me he is…& wives believe me if your man leaves for these women it’d be a hot bed of mistrust we know the lies your men tell you they know the lies we tell perhaps justice would see the cheaters together spying accusing & the unspoken knowledge that once a man marries his mistress he’ll want to mould her in the image of his first wife

    • Paula

      I just want to say, that it has been 2 years now, since my husband had the EA. I am still with him, but the hurt was so terrible, that I feel I am just here. I have heard and read of couples saying that they are closer, happier than before, and that’s amazing, but not for me, …I know that my love for him is slowly dying. For me, there are some things that we never get back, cause the trust is gone.

    • csb

      Paula, I haven’t been on here in quite a while but your comment came across my alerts and I had to respond. It will soon be 3 years since I discovered my husband’s EA. I read the same thing about being closer afterwards, etc, but like you, we just continue to drift apart. We just celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary and are grandparents. These should be the years that we get to rediscover each other and enjoy our life together, but instead we are “companions” getting through life together (barely). I still don’t trust him, as he exhibits the same behavior when it comes to his phone (never out of his pocket, always changing passwords, disappears for 20 min at a time with it for no reason, phone always on vibrate so I don’t hear it). I know many people would say “why don’t you just leave?”, but it’s not that easy. I’m curious, do you plan to stay together or are you considering leaving?

    • PinkPeach

      I was involved in an online emotional affair that included hours of video chatting, cybersex, phone calls, phone sex, IM, and emails. We are both married, met in chatroom and ended up revealing our true identities. I had never done anything like this before but he had told me he had for year with someone else. I still to this day don’t understand how, with my high demanding corporate job and his as a police officer on 12 hour shifts, we found so much time to talk to each other. Aside from not physically touching, everything about it was like an PA and if we were closer, it would’ve turned into one. We talked about finding a way to meet in his town during my work travel when everything blew up in our faces and his wife found one of my emails. It was just as damaging as if he had a PA. When you completely withdraw yourself from your marraige and put all your emotions, time, and attention into another person, it is cheating. Period. I ended it because he wouldn’t after he was caught. I didn’t want any further damage including my husband finding out. We were addicted to each other and I am currently putting myself through rehab…17 days so far

    • Angela

      I can tell you it’s absolutely devastating. You not only have an image of the other woman in your own mind, but you are competing with the fantasy of her that he has built in his mind. His image of her is not reality based and built solely on perfectly posed flattering pictures she has showed him and the sweet words she uses with him at all times, so you are not imagining him with a real life woman who may need to shave her legs or has a mole somewhere, but his very own fantasy woman. This is a battle you cannot win, unless he actually meets her and plummets to Earth when he sees she is just another human being. When allowed to, we will all create the perfect partner mentally and that is who we hope to meet in life. He knows you in your human form, he only knows her in his fantasy of who and what she is.

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