When we are talking about the emotional affair, not only am I emotionally upset but I also display physical signs of my distress.

worried after the emotional affairBy Linda

Every week, Doug, Jeff Murrah and I engage in a discussion for our Affair Recovery Group about a particular issue concerning affair recovery.  Each session has been so helpful and informative, and I feel I have gained so much insight to the point that it has helped my recovery tremendously. However, as enlightening as it has been, it has been equally painful at times.

After the hour-long sessions I often feel drained, upset, and at times angry.  Doug sometimes feels that by now I should be somewhat immune to all the discussions, but at times it feels like I am reliving his emotional affair as if it happened yesterday.

I find that when Doug and I are talking about the emotional affair, not only am I emotionally upset but I also display physical signs of my distress.  When we discuss aspects of the affair that are particularly painful for me I will begin shaking.

I have come to realize that this is part of the trauma that was induced from the emotional affair that has been the most difficult for me to let go of.  It is like a reminder of how bad this affected me and how far I have come to conquer it.

Our discussion this past week was about rebuilding trust, and Jeff asked me how I felt when the trust was broken in our marriage.  I guess it was something I had thought a lot about but had never really verbally expressed it before.

Understanding the Pain of an Affair

To convey the pain and turmoil that I felt due to the broken trust in our marriage was very difficult. It temporarily took me back to a place that I know many of you are in at the moment.

See also  Surviving an Affair - Rediscover Yourself After Infidelity

I have felt the same hurt as many of you, and know that the physical and mental pain is so severe that you wonder if you can make it through another day feeling this way.  You wonder how long it will last.  You wonder how much more you can take and if there is light at the end of the tunnel.  When I was going through this I would wake up every day and think I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I want you to know that it will not last forever. The intensity of the pain will subside and you will begin to break free from it.  In my situation, I began to focus on things other than the emotional affair.  I learned to trust myself again and make decisions that would be beneficial for my own well-being.

Take care of yourself first and foremost – and know that you can overcome this.

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    35 replies to "Talking About the Emotional Affair Still Stirs Up Past Pain"

    • Dee

      Thank you again for your inspiration. I want to break free of this. I want to focus on things again that do not pertain to the infedelity. I want life to be normal.
      I am getting there, baby step at a time. There are days when nothing affects me, no thoughts or fears. But there are days where there is nothing else I think about. The good are beginning to outweigh the bad…..(positive thinking).

    • Tryingtoletgo

      I’ve been reading your website for awhile & have found many helpful things as I deal with my husband’s emotional affair with a co-worker. Thank you for candidly telling your story & providing help & insight. It’s been about 10 months since I found out and overall we’re doing pretty well, given what happened. I am having a hard time lately getting the images out of my head of the two of them together & the things they said to each other. I’m also having a hard time dealing with the fact that the other woman is still in the picture & probably will be for a long time. She is a co-worker of my husband’s and he still has business contact with her 3-4 times per week. Has anyone out there had a similar situation and how did you come to accept that this person will be in your spouse’s life, even if it’s only on a “business” level?

    • Anon

      I am amazed that my husband is taken aback by my pain and hurt over his choices and actions, and and we are only 3 months out from the revelation of his affair. It seems he thinks that obligator “I’m sorry”-s and reading of “After the Affair” is all it take to heal the betrayed partner.

      I’ve read, and I believe, that recovery takes 2 – 3 years, and I’m not certain he can withstand the long haul. I in it, all out … have been even before I discovered the affair (we had been in marriage counseling the entire time he was involved in the affair, though I did not know until just 3 months ago.)

      I’ve followed your blog ever since I found out about my husband’s affair, and I have to say … I am troubled by the shallow posts made by Doug as he seems to primarily pose questions to your blog readers rather than offer insights on his part of the straying spouse. It “feels” to me as if he has not registered the huge and long-lasting impact of his choice of infidelity.

      That’s just my take on what I’ve seen posted of late.

      • Doug

        Anon, Thanks for sharing. You are correct in that lately I’ve not blogged a whole lot as I’ve been consumed with some other projects. Thankfully, Linda is rarely at a loss to share her thoughts and feelings which seem to resonate more with the readers than mine do. Though as Linda has said more than once to me privately, many readers are missing the boat by not asking me (and other readers who are in an affair) more questions so as to understand the mindset of someone who has had an affair.

        I’m not as good as Linda at sitting down and typing out my inner most thoughts and feelings, but you can be assured that the impact of the affair has more than registered with me, and I’m sure Linda will attest to that. That being said, what sort of insights are you searching for that I could help you with?

    • Yuki

      Author Ann Bercht says that talking about the affair over and over helped her to slowly release the pain and that she can talk about it now without any pain at all. I don’t know if I’ll ever come to that point. But then again, I don’t talk about it with anyone except my therapist, my husband, and the people on this site. She told everyone around her. I don’t think I want to do that.

    • michael

      Something I would like to hear from you. Something I think betrayed spouses might be looking for. It may take some time to put together.

      Looking back at Tanya. Can you make a list of things.

      Things you thought you knew about her. How you felt in the “FOG”
      Facts (character, her history)that you learned about her along the way.
      Things that you now know different about her and her character.

      I know you have spoke about her in bits and pieces but when you examine her from the outside now. What type of person do you see her to be.

      If she was just someone you knew dating a friend of yours, what advice would you have for him?
      I’m sure Linda and I have our feelings of the way we see OM/Ow.
      Along the way I tried to show my wife what kind of person she was leaving her kids for. But I’m sure for the most part what Linda and I said didn’t matter. And in a way, may have helped the other person with their “see he’s/she’s crazy, that’s not who I am.”
      Analyzing the way my wife talks about him these days, I understand there is still a feeling there.
      Logical understanding didn’t lead you or my wife to stray. Emotions did.
      So even if logical decision keeps the affair behind you. Emotional investment keeps it in your mind. The emotion, be it hate or compassion, drive the way you feel about her. That’s what takes a long time to settle. And a long time to fade.
      Just my thoughts today. 🙂

      • Doug

        Michael, Thanks for the homework! 😉 Seriously, those are all good things, but you’re right, a post like that will take a little time to put together. I’m going to print your suggestion off and promise to work on it.

    • Surprised

      TryingToLetGo – my H still works with the OW. He says he’s pulled back and keeping her at arms length but then I just found a 14 slide powerpoint presentation she sent him how wonderful he is & by 2020 she will have her yearnings, desire, & cravings fulfilled by obtaining him. (and this is even tho she’s been off work on mental disability for 5 mo!) It makes me mad he even saved it and won’t draw a line in the sand and say it is harrassment! I just found out he lied to me about meeting her in Jan. He took another guy with him to sell her PrePaid Legal & when she wanted to meet with him to go over the pkt he told her to call the other guy. She miraculously was able to do it by herself! Then he lied to me that he wasn’t in contact with her but I found out via the phone logs that she changed her number. When I tell him I expect her phone number blocked when he finally leaves that place of business he says he won’t block it. There is nothing I can do or say to stop him & believe me I’ve tried it all.

      Michael – thank you for asking that question. I’m interested to hear Doug’s answer as to how long it took the emotional separation to happen even tho he was practicing the logical separation. My H (I think – altho the lies continue) is trying to do the logical separation but I know the emotional has not happened.

      • Doug

        Surprised, Once I finally came to the point where I broke things off, I felt a tremendous weight lifted off my shoulders. I can honestly say that the emotional separation did not take very long after that. I cannot give you exact figures as far as days or anything like that, but it wasn’t very long. I think that it may have been shorter for me because I chose to end it, versus a cheater who is forced to end it. I also have had no contact since, which perhaps helps to expedite things.

        • Paddy

          Been following along for a few months without posting – great site and very helpful. Thanks to all.

          Doug, a couple of questions: above you say you chose to end it versus being forced. I believe in other posts Linda said she had become stronger in saying you had to choose between her and the OW. Can you clarify how those two things relate? It sounds like Linda forced you to choose but at the same time you feel like you owned your choice. I did the same with my spouse and she has chosen to stay but I suspect she feels she was forced to make that decision because she didn’t want to lose her family.

          Second question: you talk about the reconnection being a bit awkward for awhile because you didn’t have the loving feelings for Linda. This is our situation as well. My wife has chosen to stay with the family and see what happens. She’s in withdrawal and right now it’s clear she doesn’t have loving feelings for me. Everything is perfectly friendly and civil, there is no fighting or overt bitterness. We were much closer physically and emotionally while she was having the affair, but I suspect that now that she is shutting down her emotions to deal with withdrawal they are also shut down for me. Did you have a period of time like that? Did you doubt that you’d ever feel loving about Linda? Any advice on how the BS can help the process along? So far I think just being loving toward her myself without being pushy or demanding is the way to go.

          • Doug

            Paddy, I guess you could say that timing is everything, because I had come to a point in time where the relationship with Tanya was deteriorating and I realized that there was too much to lose by remaining in the affair. It was right about that point that Linda had also said I had to choose between her and Tanya. I did not feel that I was forced to end the affair.

            At the time I ended the affair I did not have the “in love feelings” for her, but we reconnected by spending more time together, doing fun things, and communicating on a deeper level about all sorts of issues within our relationship. We started to enjoy each other much more and had a lot of fun doing it. Looking back at it, I think perhaps during this period of time there were some withdrawal issues that caused the loving feelings to take longer than it should have, but I don’t feel that it took that long to recover those feelings for Linda, though Linda will tell you it took forever.

            While in the middle of the good times in the affair, yes I doubted that I could ever feel in love with Linda again. That was during the “fog” stage so I certainly wasn’t thinking clearly. I never doubted it after that though.

            You know, there really isn’t a magic button for what will work in every situation, as every person and relationship is different. But for us, being loving, backing off, etc as you described worked. Basically we rebuilt the passion, intimacy and friendship back initially, then we really worked on the hard core issues that existed in our relationship. And we still do today. If that doesn’t work, try something else, or a combination of things.

            Think about what you did when you dated. How did you win her heart then? How did you become best friends and soul mates? Try to recreate some of those things, but with no pressure or pushiness. Re-engage her in several different ways – family outings, go buy a washer or dryer together, take in a show, etc. Take it slow. Of course, all this will do no good if there is still contact with the OP.

    • HarrieB

      I haven’t contributed for a while. I used to “tune in” to this site all the time and found it enormously helpful, but as we worked to get over my H’s EA I somehow felt I had to try to stand on my own two feet so stopped visiting. Recently I have been struggling with various aspects and have returned to read the posts, although have not contributed until today…one thing I have been wanting to ask, and am now prompted by Tryingtoletgo and Surprised, is the fact that no contact (NC) is not an option for us either. My husband and the OW are still working closely together. This is just the way it is, and there is not much I can do about it. And yet, somehow I felt ashamed about it, and asheamed to admit to it on this site, because all the reading I have done and various entries here keep saying how important NC is. I have felt I was weak because of the fact that I couldn’t insist on NC; but I cannot alter someone’s work positions. On the positive side, we are continuing to make shuffling steps towards recovery and my H is warmer and kinder towards me, and insists that things have changed between him and the OW.
      Like Tryingtoletgo, I would like to hear from others who are in this position and how you are getting on. Is it at all possible for some CS’s to move on from an EA even though they are still in contact?

    • Fiora

      Thank you for putting yourself out here like this. I can imagine it must be difficult sometimes.
      My question is more about what I suspect may be happening with my partner. He ACTS like he’s very much in love with me now. He TELLS me he hasn’t been in contact with her (and she, as a community friend, has said the same to me by fb message, though we still haven’t really talked in person). We are having a much more fulfilling emotional and physical life together. But there’s a place where it all feels kind of artificial from him–“put on”–as if he’s either trying to convince himself he’s still really in it with me, or conversely, trying to convince me so he can carry on with his EA in new secret ways that I haven’t discovered. I find myself not even trusting his good feelings for me!
      Was there a time when you felt artificial about the good things you and Linda were doing to reconnect? Or am I just “crazy” making for myself?


      • Doug

        Fiora, When Linda and I first started to reconnect I didn’t trust that what we were doing would last. I thought Linda was acting the way she was out of desperation, and that it wasn’t real. That is the only time I felt there was any artificial aspect to our relationship – and I was wrong to think that. I never “faked” any feelings for Linda, but there were times where she doubted that they were real, just as you are now. It’s normal, so don’t beat yourself up about it.

        How long has it been since your partner ended contact with the OW? Perhaps your partner is just trying too hard. He may feel guilty and is going a bit overboard. I’m sure that you are really going through some tough times right now, and it’s a shame that you can’t trust the good feelings he is expressing. Have you talked to him about it? Rebuilding the trust, both in yourself and your partner takes time and hard work.

    • Jena

      My husband had an affair with his co-worker. The physical intimacy was over a 3 month period that actually began at work. There were sexual encounters that he had with her behind closed doors right there at his county job. He even waited until I left for work to take her to our home and continue sexual exploration of her on our own property. I knew that something was wrong. I knew when I called and she showed her frustration that I was calling my own husband that something was not right. I find the emotional price I have paid over the last year a few short months STILL forbidding me to love this man. I will never see him the same way. It is like Adam and Eve living in a world al their own and one day the forbidden fruit that Eve talked Adam into biting changed the world forever. This is how I feel. She was able to get him to bite into that forbidden fruit and my whole world has changed forever. I am afraid to love, to trust, to believe in anything. Our 9 year relationship at that time, was broken down and I waiver on whether I have what it takes to rebuild it. I harbor so much anger and resentment. Not only was the affair hard enough to swallow, but when it ended (he says by him) she took horrific revenge and accused him of sexual force and he lost his job. She was never able to make the accusations stick because she changed her story so many times and refused a lie detector test that the charges were never served upon my husband after a 3 month long investigation. I believe it was only his position at his job that saved him from being arrested on day one. She never lost hers for this issue. She never suffered. She only lives 5 minutes from our home and I run across her occasionally. I still have deep seeded pain that I want to literally attack her for what she was able to do with MY husband. Now I question if I will ever love him like I did. I am bitter. He says that he now realizes what he really had, but on the flip side, I now realize what I didn’t. It almost seems that we have to find healthy ways of thinking to dim the pain that we feel deep inside. I feel that when the going got tough in our marraige I was tossed to the side and meant nothing more than the dog who was pet a time a two when he was greeted at the door when his real effort was with someone else. The way he used to take more pride in what he looked like and reeking of colonge when he left for work. All this to attract someone one else. I tried talking several times to him about what was going on in our marraige. He left me to cry while he did exactly want he wanted to do and harshly told me he didnt have time for these mind games. I needed to stop being so physcho and relaize that I create these issues in me head. You say I can build trust again? For what? Someone who can passionlessly kiss you goodbye and say empty I love you’s before leaving for work and then wrapping his arms around another woman ? How he could taste her lips and pleasure her and when it all blows up I am here to still beleive he can change afterexpiriencing the butterfly feeling that new love can bring? I understand that the same person day in and day out can get old. But after knowing he has been with another, sex still feels dirty to me. Sex is the Closest you can ever be to someone. Why do we make his favorite meal and rub his shoulders when they are sore, is it nottoo earn intimacy? Do we not earn the right to physically love each other by hard work and devotion to each other’s needs? Life is about convenience. It is convenient to do anything that does not require much effort and get what you want. There are so many women that will give it way, so why earn it from your wife? And if you just give it to your husband no matter what is going on in your marriage you train him that you will always be his floor mat and he loses respect for you anyways. And why does it always seem that we women have to learn HOW to keep our man happy. Why is it that we have to bend to their selfish primal ways to keep our men at home where they swore they would be when they said “I DO’.

      • Rosalyn

        Jena. After reading your post it was like you read my story. I too was told ” I had too much time on my hand’s. There is nothing going on. I could never do that to you!. All BS. He started working with this woman and from day one she was complaining to my husband about her partner. He told me she was very unhappy blah blah blah. I said to him, how would you like it if I was complaining to another guy about you? He gave me the were just friends BS. I got the stink eye from her whenever I showed up at his work place. I am not the jealous type but she gave me this uncomfortable feeling. He took me to her house one day to prove to me that nothing was going on. Came away feeling like a cock blocker. She was making eye contact with him the whole time when she thought I was not looking. never spoke to me. it was like I wasn’t there. He tried really hard to convince me that he could never do that to me, and I believed him. I tried to forget about her. Biggest mistake of my life. We went OS on holiday and he was sullen and sulky the whole time. I didn’t know what was wrong with him. Got home and checked the phone records. After I confronted her, she ran straight to him and told him to get me off her back. He lied and lied and lied some more. Convinced me nothing was going on once again. I really started to think I was going crazy. Then she left her partner and sent him a photo of herself with another man. I now think this was cooked up between them to convince me that she had a new boyfriend. Well she did, My husband ! Another few months went past and he was coming home from work and treating me like crap. Not talking to me. Trying to cause fights with me. My confidence was at an all time low. I was convinced I was the problem. After 2months of that I thought if things are going to continue like this I may as well be alone. He came home and ignored me once again. I said we have to talk. He said what about. I said I don’t know whats going on with you but I can’t take this treatment anymore. What is wrong. He tried the stress at work BS. I said not buying that. WTF is wrong. And out it came. I don’t love you any more. She is back and I am in love with her. Were soul mates. Then he continued on with how it was all my fault. He said he thought I didn’t love hime anymore. The crap that came out of his mouth still amazes me. I really think he had convinced himself and her that I was going to leave. I bet thats what they had planned. They wanted me to go so that she could move into my house. I said to him, Your the one cheating, you go. Go on and go be with her. I said I have done nothing but be a good wife, I haven’t cheated on you. Your the cheat. You go. But if you go. Your not coming back here. If you go I don’t want you back when it all goes to shit and you discover who she really is. By the next morning he had come to his senses and reality had set in. He broke it off with her. She told him to tell me not to contact her. Piece of shit. Tries to steal someone else’s husband and tries to make me out to be in the wrong. And then tried and tried again to continue the sneaky contact with him. I discovered it and called him out. I said she is still in contact with you. Why! Always an excuse. It was my birthday. I found photos she had sent him and he hid in his phone. I said ” I am not doing this!” You either block her number or go be with her. Your not having cake and eating it too. He did block her number and I went threw his phone and deleted all the photos he had of her. Since then she went back to the man she was originally complaining about and married him. What a mess. Its been nearly 3 years now. I doubt I will ever truely trust him again. But I now know I don’t need to be with a man to be whole. And I won’t be treated like that ever again.

    • 4/everchanged

      Doug, how long did it take you to really grasp the pain that you caused Linda and your marriage? Does a cheater truly regret thier actions. My H has told me that I just need to get past it . That is very hurtful to hear. I try not to ask many ?. But sometimes I just need to ask to get some closer. Does me asking possibly cause pain for my spouse.?

      • Doug

        4/everchanged, I would say that I was certainly aware of the pain I caused almost immediately, but I was too deep in the fog to have it effect me much. As time went on and I became more aware of Tanya’s imperfections and I started to emerge from the fog, it became more clear. I guess I totally grasped it, and it had a profound effect on me about 3 months after D-day when Linda reviewed my cell phone records and I witnessed the tremendous pain and agony she was experiencing. I can’t speak for all cheaters, but I certainly regret everything I did, from before, during and for a time after the affair. Your husband needs to experience the pain you’ve felt, if he hasn’t to this point. Sure he wants to just get past it because it’s easier that way, and perhaps it’s a pain and guilt avoidance mechanism as well. But through honest communication you need to express how it effected you and he needs to be aware of it. Trust, forgiveness and healing cannot proceed until that happens, in my opinion.

    • 4/everchanged

      Doug, thanks for your response.

    • Empty and Numb

      “Tanya”? Or any other man or woman that the cheater is cheating with has no more or less flaws than the spouse one is married to ( in my opinion ) what the other person doesn’t have is shared children or family, nor the notion to do or provide all the grunt work and little things. That’s about it. We are all flawed. And what ( in my opinion ) cheaters are doing is exploring and courting potential new mates. Nothing short of that. Sad in so many ways.

      Cheaters had this character flaw when we met them. But we didn’t see it. Cheaters are character flawed from the jump only we don’t recognize it, think we can change it.

      Those we pick are no accident. We pick mates to finish out childhood business. The victims carried low self esteem and were always the directors and carried the majority of the work load, in my opinion and from my research.

      Cheating doesn’t just happen. It is a form of deep Narcissim.
      There is a fog on both cheater and victim. Cheater is still a child and victim grew up.

      The better marriage comes from a cheater waking up in a narcissistic shock and the victim learning to love thselves first, not tolerate anything less than what Linda describes.

      Fling cheating (quick loss of mind) can happen to any of us . Lonterm is reserved for those with serious character flaws which were there when we married them and is overt Narcissim.

      Narcissim can be cured but there is only a small window for that and it is when the narcissit is in a heightened awareness of what they will really lose.

      Narcissits can be reparented and heal but this will always be within them. Character flaws can be modified but never changed. Doug found his narcissistic mate in Tanya. Lol!

      I am so proud of him for healing and Linda is a Saint!

      • Doug

        E & N, I would like to challenge your thinking. You said…

        “Or any other man or woman that the cheater is cheating with has no more or less flaws than the spouse one is married to ( in my opinion ) what the other person doesn’t have is shared children or family, nor the notion to do or provide all the grunt work and little things. That’s about it. We are all flawed. And what ( in my opinion ) cheaters are doing is exploring and courting potential new mates. Nothing short of that. Sad in so many ways.”

        I agree that the spouse has as many flaws as the OP, however you say that if you are a cheater (which Tanya was, she was married) and a cheater has some kind of character flaw, would the spouse who doesn’t have this flaw be a more desirable option? Or doesn’t this matter to the cheater, do they care if their spouses are loyal and honor their commitment?

        I also wonder what would happen if you put two people who have this type of character flaw together. (You put two cheaters together) Do you believe their relationship would be successful? You appear to have researched this topic thoroughly.

        I am curious to know what your opinion is on this topic. — Linda

    • Empty and Numb

      My research started about 10 years ago.  I have been married to a top psychiatrist and author which I am not at liberty to discuss who I am married to … as some of his clients are really high profile.  Myself, I am an MD.
      I responded to your site because I have been so impressed with you and your insight.  I also wanted to blow out of the water … some of the crap that people are being fed … such as “the fantasty” or the “fog”.
      There is no alien that comes to take over cheaters.  What cheaters are doing is looking for a new life.  And, no … it never works and if so … it is because the spouse at home … is so abusive that they fall prey into another’s arms.  I am talking “norms” here.  There are always exceptions to the rule. 
      Marriage is not a guaranty.  It is scripted in religion as such.  And, those that wish to follow that to the T of being a martyr … than have at it.  I could not waste my life like that.  I did my time and he wasn’t changing fast enough. 
      This is because he … as most long term cheaters are narcissits, passives or passive aggressives. 
      I was married to a cheater.  Not a serial cheater … a cheater who had a two year emotional affair with somone young enought to be his daughter. 
      He was always flirtatious with other women, only I didn’t know it.  He was always kind and nice to his coworkes and clients … and never to us. 
      This is typical because those that tra-la off to work create their own worlds and ideas of how everyone else has it better.  And the demands of having a family … they were never trained for … and have never really been accountable for.  Hey … we can all play “Santa Clause” … and for some … that is being a good husband.  Why?  It is because men are taught this from early on … and women buy into it … repeat what media tells us, religion tells us … and what we saw our very own mothers do.
      My guess … is you asked in every way possible for Doug to turn toward you prior and during the affair … to make the relationship equitable.   
      What I do believe … is that you were the typical over-loaded spouse (which in many cases can be men and are in the Jewish culture I come from.  You would be astonished at the Princesses in my culture … it would blow your mind) in all the responsibilities.  I heard you say, “you were the DIRECTOR”!  And you clearly are!  I heard you say, “I could clean the house better, manage better” and some other things … that have given me a clue into what you had to endure as a wife.  That endurance is “scripted”.    Now that is the biggest fog some men and women must get themselves out of and DEMAND egaliatarian.
      The scripted part … is most men are conditioned to think that “unpaid” work is easy and the woman’s place.  That being mothers is like going to Disney Land and playing dolls all day long.  When in fact … the primary (And I know many stay at home dads) care-giver works 4 and five jobs. 
      If the primary care giver works out side of the home (or worse … from home) … he/she has the job of taking care of themself, the kids, external family, the house.  This is taken for granted by men and or women who go off to work and get to think clearly without having to take care of every emotional and nuturing need.  Then when they come home … sure they will pitch in but they truly believe … they do more. 
      People who have long term affairs are people who have some sort of personality disorder unless it is the “Fling” type I described.  We can all lose out minds Temporarily. 
      If a spouse has a fling …. In my research … It is always best not to tell the spouse unless there is unprotected sex.  Flings can happen to the best of us.  Flings are “wake-up” calls.  And, most who have flings feel immediate remorse and sick to their stomach.  Again, they are a one time deal.
      Most people (in my research) that have had flings … immediately seek self help and or counseling.  Anything other than a one time deal is a long term affair.
      Again, affairs rarely ever work out. Cheaters never are whole, nor were they ever to begin with.  They are giant babies who care more about themselve, their needs and ego … than they ever cared about those they married or brought into this world.
      Most cheaters (in my research) have passive, passive aggressive personality disorder and Narcissim.
      To have such little empathy and remorse during and after … is nothing short of narcissim!  And it is sick becasue who knows the long term health effects Doug has had on you and your children.  You’ve felt and continue to feel the effects from it now. 
      I was sure to keep my teens in therapy and leave no detail unturned as to how I was treated and what really went on in the marriage.  This was to have them not repeat.  They heard all the fights and would have been left up to assumption.  I do give my husband credit for this … as he opened up and shared why he did what he did … what he thought a wife was … and what he thought a father was.  I continued to help foster a relationship with my ex and children. 
      When my children grew up … they wanted and still want nothing to do with him.  His behavior was still the same.  Kind of like the movie, “It’s Complicated” … but far more abusive because it is such a covert level.  It’s like a fly … that flys around you, drives you crazy but you can’t see it. 
      For that … I am sad for him.  He has never had a solid relationship … but always is able to find the next codependent wanting to change or fix him.  And it is sad.  These people should be tattoed with 666 behind their ear.  LOL!  They are mentally ill and refuse to change.
      Here are some links … http://www.daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com/   This one is fantastic. 
      There is also a book called, “Trapped in a Mirror” and “Emotional Incest” … which I believe most cheaters suffer from. 
      Here is another fantastic link … http://passiveaggressivehusband.com/
      The victims are usually codependent.  Here is a link to Melody Beatty … leading expert … http://melodybeattie.com/
      I know I was in full throttle codependent and that was due to children being involved. 
      It takes a special spiritual contract to marry a passive, passive aggressive or narcissit.  We chose our mates to finish childhood business.
      When I served my husband up the Glass cake (however vindictive that was ) … I closed that chapter on my childhood.  And although … the wounds are deep because I truly wanted that “Happily Ever After” that religion and media promise … it is BS.  I know that now. 
      Women need to be taught from day one to be in control of their finances and career and to require the men they marry to be egalitarian.  Marriage should be treated as a business.  There should be an ever changing business plan on the break down of who takes care of what (sex, romance, conflict resolve, etc), premarital counselling for at least two years (which all of my children had) and there should be a drawn up post-nup agreement that states who gets what … including the kids  
      My kids know the difference between “love drunk” and real love.
      The house … is the womb.  A clean, safe house and the children’s needs are important.  And the roles and duties must be split equally.  The primary care giver’s health and happiness must be placed first … as they are the doctors to their children.
      The couple itself … should never stop courting.  It is the 80/20 rule.
      And then there is Idiot Compassion … I no longer had it ….  and was not about to do what you have done with Doug.  I knew becoming healed would open the door to my true soulmate … and it has.  http://www.shambhala.org/teachers/pema/qa5.php.
      I adore you, Linda!  And, good work Doug … keep it up.  You are a very lucky recovering narcissit or passive aggressive. 
      Again … the above is all my opinion and my judgements … I am not placing them on anyone else.  These are my theories.  I are deeply about all your pain.  I’ve been there.  I am a recovering codependent. 
      Must understand that within personality disorders or defects … or any mental illness (which we all have) there are varying behaviors and traits.  Also, depression is a form of self hate.

      • Doug

        This must be the one you’re talking about. If you have more than one or two links in a comment it goes to spam. Thanks for sharing.

    • Empty and Numb

      Where can I email you privately, Linda? I’m finishing my book which will be published by Hay House and would love to help promote your site and gain a few quotes from you.

      • Doug

        Send it to Linda at emotionalaffair.org of help at emotionalaffair.org

    • Empty and Numb

      I’m not sure if my last post was rejected and why? But there was a lot of helpful info for your readership! Sparked me to strike up a similar blog site where ppl can gain all views. Thanks again for those you’ve helped but I think you’re steering many wrong in areas of the reality of cheaters. Perhaps the truth struck to close to home. Truth hurts badly.

      • Doug

        Not sure which comment you’re speaking of, as I’ve approved all of yours.

    • Empty and Numb

      Awesome and thank you! I jumped to assumptions. Mainly them being of the religious variety. My complete apologies!

    • Iris Goldman

      What I would like to know is shouldn’t the OW or OM feel that they were wrong in participating in an emotional affair? Aren’t they doing something wrong too?

    • Paula

      Iris, I agree with you, but the problem is, most of these people are incapable of feeling they have participated in any wrongdoing, often show syptoms of being psychopathic, ie have no ability to empathise with other people’s pain, and if this isn’t their “diagnosis” they won’t admit wrongdoing as this would be a character flaw, and they will not admit to that. Our OW says she did nothing wrong because if everything was alright at home, he wouldn’t have been available to her. Simple, huh, and SUCH a good friend to both of us!

    • Lynne

      Oh my, at times I read these posts and I feel like we are all living with the SAME person!

      Last night I read the e-book by Linda J Macdonald, “How to help your spouse heal from your affair”……what a great book about how your H/W can be an incredible influence in helping you to heal (and more quickly). My H still won’t call his behavior/lies over several years with another woman an EA, and is very defensive and judges me for why I can’t drop it. The words and lines he has used during 7-8 conversations about his dishonesties are classic lines that cheaters use. Funny that he claims their was nothing to his female friendship, but the shoe fits when I read about the obvious signs, behaviors and quotes of one who is involved in an EA or PA.

      I continue to wonder, and even more so after reading the book last night, if he didn’t have inappropriate contacts with this woman, and if all of his lies about her mean nothing, then why is he so defensive and angry with me for having these discussions with him? In other words, if nothing happened here, why exhibit all the signs and behaviors of some one who did cross boundaries?

      Sadly, I feel very trapped and am struggling to heal, as he continues to turn it back around on me……”why would I ever question his actions”, “you know this is not who I am”, “we’re just friends”, “she means nothing to me”, “I think she’s attracted to me, but I’m not attracted to her (but he has secrective lunches, emails and calls with her????), “you know that I am always honest and direct with you (maybe that’s true, but not when it came to this woman!), “why can’t you get over this and move on”….and on and on!

      How in the world do you begin to heal when your H won’t participate in any way and says it’s basically your problem, and that you are misreading everything???

    • Sadtoolong

      My husband has never opened up about his 6 month affair 5 years ago.. He calls it a “fling”, but being intimate with another woman for that long is a definite affair. I have never recovered from the pain of this and continue to obsess about it daily. If I bring it up and stopped trying to discuss it 2 years ago because he flies into a rage and I’m the one who ends up feeling guilty. Not only that, it is like living with a fish at home. He is silent unless he is discussing his work, avoids touching, and romantically, unless I initiate it, it seldom happens. His daily routine consists of work, booze, dinner and sleeping. Very boring life I must say for me. He is 66 and I am 70.. We have been together 33 years. I must be crazy living like this but I lve him and at my age I’m too old to start again. Narcissism is mentioned here, could this be him or would he be passive aggressive? Is there help for such a person? Not sure he would go but?

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