Lately I have been putting much thought into my long journey to forgiveness after Doug’s emotional affair, and trying to figure out why it was so difficult to reach. As a result, I began reconstructing our affair recovery and analyzing each step.
It is ironic how I can now remember the details and the activities so clearly, but at the time I really didn’t understand the meaning and the emotions involved. I finally understand what Doug was talking about when he explained why it took so long for him to see the emotional affair realistically and clearly.
Doug said that he had to remove himself from the situation and the emotions of the affair before he could clearly see the whole picture. Now I see that I went through the same process in our own affair recovery.
In the beginning I thought Doug and I were on the right path to recreating our marriage, but looking back I now see that we were also creating many obstacles that stood in the way of forgiveness and intimacy.
I was thinking about Doug’s behavior after the affair ended. He said that he was relieved it was over. This was mainly because of all the lies and betrayal that were involved. However, he never really looked within himself and our relationship and how we ended up at that place. He just wanted to put the affair behind us and move on to recreate a marriage he thought we were lacking.
I think he believed that our love and marriage should be the same as what he experienced during the emotional affair. I was also in that same frame of mind because I wanted to give him everything he had with Tanya.
Looking back, I believe Doug wanted to continue the fantasy world he was in by making our marriage an affair. By doing this, he didn’t have to think about, or experience the pain of looking at what was really happening in his life.
During that phase we were putting a lot of effort into having a great time. We would go out every weekend. We would hit the happy-hours, listen to bands, go to festivals, etc. We were always on our best behavior and trying not to show our faults or shortcomings. So in essence, we had our own emotional affair (though it turned quite physical!).
Doug attempted to keep our conversations superficial and often became defensive if I brought up the affair. He would say something like “We are doing great now. We’re happy, so why do we need to always talk about this?”
I think in his mind we were doing great because he compared our new relationship to the feeling he had during the affair and equated those feeling with being in love. For me I always knew there was something missing in our relationship. I knew I wanted more from our marriage.
I remember reading some of our earlier posts where Doug believed our relationship was great, but in contrast, I was still apprehensive about the void I felt. I was still searching for something more. Now I realize what I was searching for. It was a more intimate, real love between us.
I feel that we have finally arrived at this place, but I think it took much perseverance on my part. I didn’t let Doug off the hook. He was happy remaining in the “in love” stage. Believing those feelings represented real love. Don’t get me wrong though, as falling in love again was needed (and was a lot of fun) but we also needed to take it far beyond that.
As painful as it was, I continued to initiate the tough conversations about the emotional affair and the issues within our marriage. If we would not have experienced the pain we never would have experienced the relationship we have now.