couple-on-kitchen-counter-300x199When the emotional affair is revealed and you began to have the conversation about how it could have happened, I bet you heard many of the same stupid things that I heard:  “I love you, but I am not in love with you.” “We have nothing in common any more.” Or “We have been living like roommates.”

Many of these words were very confusing to me as I did not quite understand when and how they happened, and in many ways did not quite believe everything Doug was telling me.

I started thinking about this “roommate” idea and about when Doug and I truly became “roommates.”  I know that through the years we had to take on roles that kept the family moving in an orderly, stress-free path, but during those times we continued to be intimate and each other’s best friend. However, I speculate that I became Doug’s roommate when Doug began his emotional affair with Tanya.

I feel that when the emotional affair started he began the transition of making Tanya his “affair wife” while I became his “roommate.”  I believe he really didn’t have a choice. How could he be close to two women at the same time? How could he devote that much energy and effort into two relationships? How could he pull off a double life if I were too close to him?

In the beginning the situation worked out perfectly. Life with the “affair wife” was very good.  They created their perfect fantasy marriage believing that they were actually living a real life – a life that they thought would definitely continue if they decided to reveal their relationship to everyone around them.

Tanya professed to be the perfect “affair wife.”  She appeared to be fun, available, listened to his problems and his issues without conflict or attempts to change or fix him.  He didn’t have to do any chores for her, pay her bills or listen to her complaints about him. She was always happy to have him around.

Her only expectations for him were to be charming and attentive, and any attempts to control him were dismissed because he knew that when she wasn’t present he could do whatever he pleased. Sure she had her faults, but they weren’t magnified or important because obviously he didn’t have to live with her 24/7.  It was every man’s fantasy.

The roommate situation took a little more effort to pull off

Doug had to begin to distance himself from our marriage.  He started being more critical, initiated fights, became very busy with work and spent more time in his man cave.

For a while I really didn’t notice the change because we were so busy with our lives, (traveling for sports, running the kids everywhere, etc.) and the house was still standing and the kids were still breathing. 

However, within a few months I began to feel a void in our relationship.  I began to feel paranoid, worried, and unloved.  It was a feeling that I had never experienced before in our marriage and I didn’t know what to do.

Literally, we were just like roommates.  We only talked about logistics.  There was little intimacy or physical contact.  Each of us filled our roles that kept the “apartment” running, but with little or no interaction.  Every other part of his life was devoted to his “affair wife.”

She received all the benefits of a perfect marriage because she got the best of him at all times. His focus was completely on her as he saved all interesting conversations, jokes and fun times for her, while I received only the leftovers, which barely consisted of a “Hi, how was your day?”

Unfortunately, being in a situation like this can only last for so long.  Eventually the roommate (me) broke down and demanded some kind of response or reason why this happened to our relationship. I was hurting and wanted us to go back to the way we were. I wanted to become intimate again, spend more time together, and talk about everything.

As a result of my intrusion into their “marriage,” the “affair wife” began to show some of those “real wife” qualities. She became demanding, critical and controlling. Doug had his hands full.  He didn’t really understand what had happened and how he got himself into this mess to begin with.

He was very confused as to where his loyalty lay (his “roommate” who he had lived with forever or his “affair wife” who he only knew on the surface) and which relationship to choose.

Honestly, looking at it from his perceptive it would be a no-brainer.  From a fantasy standpoint the “affair wife” would definitely be the better choice. However, I am sure that somewhere deep in that affair fog he realized that his life would never be like that and his “affair wife” would never be as perfect as he believed her to be.

Experts are right on target when they say that during an affair the cheater starves the marriage and feeds the affair. They take everything away from their real married life and pour it into their “fantasy marriage.” They begin to believe that their devotion and commitment belong to this delusional relationship and that the marriage is disposable because they are only “roommates” with their spouse. It is disturbing to me how quickly the roles can be reversed and the extent that their loyalty belongs to this other person.

I believe that until they wake up and really understand what they have done to their marriage by creating both the “roommate” situation and the perfect “emotional affair marriage” (the perfect union) in their minds,  they will never be able to break free from this situation.

 

    33 replies to "We Were Just Like Roommates During the Emotional Affair"

    • FinallyOutofIt

      I found it interesting that you felt like “roommates” AFTER the EA started. In my case, I had felt like we were like roommates for awhile before my affair started and believe that was one of the catalysts to the affair even starting. I was sick and tired of little intimacy or physical contact and when an opportunity for an affair arose, unfortunately I was in the “right” mindset for it to happen. I’m not justifying it, just stating the difference and how that was a catalyst…

      I think that was one reason why my wife didn’t really think anything had changed. In your case Linda, you felt a dramatic shift in Doug and your relationship. In my case, while my focus was on the OW, my relationship with my wife didn’t change much. Yes we fought more and I was more withdrawn, but there wasn’t an overly dramatic shift. We were already distant and only talking about logistics and weren’t being intimate. I stopped initiating sex and it wasn’t even noticed. When there is a bigger shift, I imagine the BS senses it more.

      If there’s one lesson I’ve learned from my experience and reading about others is that us guys are fairly simple. We want attention and have a need to feel desired and wanted. That’s why we may fall for the distressed woman who needs a hero. Or when a woman shows us attention we get hooked. It feels good to be wanted and needed. With everyday life, I think we all forget that our spouses have those needs – both men and women.

      I’m not justifying anyone’s actions – I’m just trying to point out how both parties contribute to creating an environment where an affair may happen.

      • Kathy

        Finally, I understand where you are coming from. My H and I were like “roommates” for years before his EA and I know that’s why he was in the mindset he was when the EA started. Yes, he is 100% responsible for making the decision to get into the EA, but at least I know the “why” of it.

        I also know the OW was right there and ready to pounce and had been waiting for the opportunity for some time. NEVER underestimate how cunning these OW can be! She played the “poor me” card and lavished all the attention on him that he felt he wasn’t getting at home. But she is EVIL to the core, as my H found out only a month and a half into the EA. She’s STILL causing trouble for him when she can, even though he ended the EA almost 3 months ago.

        As for the BS, I don’t think it matters if we’ve been like roommates for years, or if it begins after the EA starts. We KNOW when something in the relationship has gone terribly wrong.

        I knew something wasn’t right almost from the start of my H’s EA, I just couldn’t put my finger on it right away. At first I think I sort of ignored it because I thought maybe I was just being overly sensitive. Then, when I couldn’t really ignore it anymore, I thought it couldn’t possibly be the worst case scenario and I was just overreacting. Finally, when my H’s behavior was so obvious, I found the evidence I needed and confronted him. It took a month and a half to d-day from when I first got suspicious, and that’s about how long the EA lasted.

        So, don’t underestimate BS’s either! We know when something is not right!

      • Doug

        FinallyOutofIt, I know Doug would have a different idea about when the roommate situation began and I can’t dispute that our lives were so busy and centered around our children’s activities that we didn’t take time to be together. Therefore the way we treated each other prior to Doug’s affair was not conducive to a happy marriage. However within a month of Doug starting his affair I noticed a difference in him, his involvement with our family, his wanting to be with me. Within three months I was feeling very uneasy, looking through his computer, trying to check phone records etc. but I didn’t know the passwords and felt like a insecure wife to confront him. By d-day, six months into the affair, his attitude, our relationship had deteriorated rapidly and I feared the worse but was so afraid to do anything about it because of the consequences. I kept trying to initiate closeness with him but by then he was too far gone. I guess at the time I didn’t see everything as clearly as I do now, but I do remember the constant feeling that something was not right. Linda

        • Hurting

          Linda,

          Where are you and your husband today? If you are together how did you guys bring your relationship back?

          My husband has been with his employee for 9 months he says it is over but he made a comment that he feels that we are roommates. I love him dearly and just want our relationship back. We have an amazing two year old and I don’t think it is fair to her that we split.

          • Doug

            Hello Hurting and thanks for coming to our site. Linda works during the day as a teacher and can rarely find the opportunity to post a comment. I thought I’d reply to you instead. Yes, we are still together and in fact, things are going very well between us now more than 3 years siince the EA. I realize that you’re new to this site, but our story is pretty much documented throughout our blog here, so I encourage you to continue reading the posts and to get involved with the other readers who comment. There’s a wealth of experiences and knowledge here that can help you with your situation.

    • changedforever

      Interesting post from Finally Out of it… just wondering…if you were already feeling distant, etc., why not have been the real hero & ‘put your foot down and say you we’re leaving…to wake your wife up?’ If you were sick & tired…and in what you thought was the ‘right’ mindset…just wondering what prompted you to start another relationship without finishing the existing one.. ‘which propelled you down the slippery slope…?’ I’ve heard a comment passed onto me as told to my H from the OW as ‘having your cake & eating it too,’ presumably made when pressuring my H to leave me, our 3 children and the accomplished life of integrity he possessed. Her offering? She had ‘experience’ in being the OW, no job, renting an apt in a section 8 part of town…wow…some ‘cake.’ How can you be with someone who doesn’t even respect themselves…cake? More like solidified waste (which might very well work as your new definition of ‘the distressed woman who needs a hero.’) Temporary insanity should be your defense of your actions…rather than continuing to point out how both parties ‘contributed’ to the creation of the environment YOU abused.
      My advice? Don’t be so gullible and stop blaming your wife. Sorry, but couldn’t help myself after reading your post.

      • FinallyOutofIt

        I’m not blaming my wife – we both contributed to our relationship getting to that point. Why did I not put my foot down? Good question – it got close to that point, but quite honestly, I didn’t want to leave because of the kids. When I wasn’t thinking quite straight and was involved with the OW, the idea of leaving didn’t seem so bad. And when I said “right”, I was using that sarcastically. I just meant I was down enough in my relationship that when presented with an opportunity, I took it. Not proud of it, but that’s what happened.

        Without a doubt I would plead temporary insanity….

    • karen

      FOOI: Women are simple also: we want communication and verbal give and take and love (not all physical either). And we are very perceptive and have great intuition. I’m sure my H would say we were roommates before his EA, just like you and Doug and most other CS’s. I think you are dead wrong to surmise that your wife didn’t notice when you started your affair. She knows a change occurred – she probably still thinks you’re the “knight in shining armor” she thought she married and while was troubled by the change that occurred when you broke you marriage vows, did not think you capable of having an affair. Now that you are FOOI, she knows a change has occurred again. Her way of dealing with it is not to investigate or snoop or be suspicious – just like most of us BS’s, she trusts you implicitly that you would not do what you did. She may even have suspected an affair but for many possible reasons has not confronted you on it or snooped behind your back or snooped and been unable to discover anything because you’re a skilled liar.

      Your stopping initiating sex was indeed noticed by your wife – women just process these things so differently from men, and . . . well, let’s just leave it at that. The fact that you allowed this to be a catalyst for your affair is all your fault. You had other options.

      I know I keep speaking from your wife’s perspective, and you may think, “She doesn’t know my wife.” I can tell from reading your posts you would not marry a dull, thoughtless, rather dim-witted woman. Since I feel I’m the antithesis of this kind of woman also, I am taking the liberty of “attempting” to help you understand that your perceptions of what your wife “knows” and “feels” are very likely male-based and not
      correct.

      So would this post be consider flaming you? 🙂

      • FinallyOutofIt

        No, that wasn’t a flame Karen 🙂 Just more strong words, which I appreciate. Thinking back, I think you may be right, that my W thought something was off. I think her feeling was that I was depressed (and she was right, although not about the complete cause). But I don’t think it ever occurred to her that I was having an affair. Yes, it would seem the two of you (and I would think many BS’s are alike in that regard.)

        So perhaps she did notice everything, but chalked it up to other reasons….

        You’d be correct in that I would not marry a dull, thoughtless, rather dim-witted woman. If you read my comment on the other post about perceptions changing, it turns out that is a closer description of the OW.

        I’ve thought before you weren’t quite correct about a few things regarding my perceptions, but now that I am FOOI, I’m realizing that you were more right than I gave you credit for. 🙂

        I guess my armor is a bit dented now…

    • Lori

      This one really hits home. One of the first things my husband said upon my discovery of his EA is “well, you know we’ve been growing apart.” In other words, somehow it was my fault. Really? I guess I did know we were “growing apart”, but it was much the same as you describe, Linda, in that it was happening in the midst of family chaos. My question to him recently was whether this “roommate” status was a chicken or the egg scenario. Did the distance in our relationship come first and that’s what “drove” him to the EA (this is his story), or did the distance come after the EA started as a means to lead his double life and justify how he was treating me? I firmly believe it has to be the latter, though he’s sticking to his story.

    • jessica

      this really hit me today, the only difference was we were still physical, a month before I found out I though I was crazy…. thinking he was having an affair, he came home every day, all his time was accounted for, I never … ever went thru his phone bills.

      Once the EA started though I don’t know if there was any way to stop it.

    • SoMuchPain

      Will this pain ever go away

      • staystrong

        The pain does go away after some time. You need to be strong and think of yourself. You need to keep eating and get some sleep. At some point you have to replace the negative thoughts with positives. You will be ok if not better on the otherside of this. This is an opportunity for you to learn so much about “You”. When you get stronger, things in the past will begin to fall into place and start to make sense to you. Don’t give up hope, but this will take time to heal. Don’t become smothering, it will only drive your spouse further away. Don’t be so quick to close doors that cannot be reopened. This is a time for both you and your spouse NOT to make big decisions. Take one day at a time and don’t do “What If’s”. You will only drive yourself crazy. Do continue hobbies, working, and focusing on yourself. Become that unobtainable person who is strong. Strength is more attractive than weakness. Be the strong one. Let the OP be the weak one and become needy. This is a turn off and your spouse will notice. Take care of yourself.

    • Fstop245

      Again this post hits home. It’s been six months since D-day and I don’t know if I’ll ever get over the fact that I dismissed our marraige troubles, had all of the messages and actions of infedility…but trusted her to be faithful. I look back and try to figure out why did it take her four years to figure out what she was doing was wrong. I try not to blame myself. I didn’t make the decision to be unfaithful. Now everything seems a bad nightmare and I just want to wake up. I’m afraid that when I do finally I will take my son and get the hell out dodge.

    • DazedandConfused

      My husband said we had lost our “connection” (partly due to frequent time apart during a cross country move and a new job(mine). The OW (girlfriend from highschool) did not work and had all the time in the world to “connect” with him. I still can’t understand how he could so easily disregard 28 happy years of marriage during a rough patch and fall in love with someone else. I’m not sure if I will ever understand that. The net result is that I now feel replaceable and wonder if I will ever be able to feel cherished again. Feels like something died inside of me. He has supposedly been NC for the last 2 months, but I don’t feel any better and always wonder if he is thinking about the OW.

      • D

        Dazed and confused,
        My husband was also involved with someone who had ample time on her hands. She was readily available to take calls at all hours of the day as well as make calls to him during his breaks and lunch hours. I, on the otherhand, did not have that luxury of calling him that much. I work full time. Plus at this time of our lives, he was not calling me to talk and I was not callling him due to the strain of the EA. I was not putting the effort forth (just as he was not either) due to his strange behavior towards me. This behavior was always met with resistance and I just checked out because of pain and hurt.
        I see the error of MY ways of not making more of an effort to check in with him to just say HI, or ask how his day ,or to tell him that he worked hard, OR to inquire about his job and duties at multiple times during the day. SHE was making that effort for me, I now realize. Maybe he needed that extra appreciation and admiration, but he never told ME that. This did not give him the green flag either to find this somewhere else too. Of course I would have called him more to just say hi and ask him about his day. At this time also, he was experiencing some distress in his job. He spoke of it to me infrequently when I asked too, like my opinion did not matter. But I figured that the times that I did call him or him me were enough as they had always been over the last 14 years. He never complained nor did I about the contact time during a given day.
        Now, I make that effort and so does he. We are burning up the phone and text lines with little loving and thoughtful comments. I realize that these little moments make me feel good too and can see how we had neglected this part of our lives over the past couple of months. Unfortunately, I had to learn this about him through infedelity. But now we are working very hard at reconnecting and commmunicating our needs.

    • D

      You indeed feel the distance that an emotional affair creates. My husband began treating our home like a place that was just used to eat and sleep. At one point during his “retreat from reality” (that I like to deem it as now), he referred to home as “your house”. Confused as to why he would say that, I later learned that he put the other woman on our Friends and Family numbers (HER house and HER phone) that day and was telling me about the numbers that he added to avoid running out of minutes.
      I felt like we were merely strangers in our home. The children felt it, our friends felt it, and our immediate family felt the distance. I could not approach him about how he was feeling because he would either blow up and blame his mood on me or he would just ignore me. Therefore we went through the motions of living together as roommates who shared a roof.

      Looking back, I should have noticed the signs. He exhibited all of them. But he still thinks that this relationship that he developed with this other person was platonic. But platonic relationships are not hidden from spouses. It is taking me a while to put his relationship into perspective, will I ever figure it out?

    • Andrew

      This post is right on the money. Before my wife’s EA began, I was still suffering from depression and unable to fulfill my wife’s needs, due to being caught up in my own issues and not getting my needs met from her. She told me that it felt like we were roommates, and we were for the most part. I wanted to give her the attention she needed, and tried to do so, but could not fully give it to her as she needed. I didn’t figure that out until after my wife told me she wanted a separation, and i went and got help for my depression. Her EA started before I went to get help. I honestly believe that if I had been able to get help sooner, this situation wouldn’t have started. I am not blaming myself, or making excuses, these are just some conclusions I came to once I was thinking clearly, and in a better state mentally and emotionally. I cant go and change the past, but I have learned from it. For about 16 months now, it has been like we are just roommates. I have tried numerous times to bring us closer and give her what she is wanting, but she says it is too late now, as she is getting those emotional and attention needs met by the OP. She even claims that we are only married on paper. I replied to that comment that yes, we are, because she won’t even try to have a real realtionship with me. I try to get her to have more in depth converstions about things other than logistics or the kids, but she has completely closed me out, and her side of the conversation is always short and distracted. So, I totally relate with everyone that is or has gone through this. I keep doing what I need to be doing, but sometimes it does wear me down. Well, just have to hang in there. I have seen where couples come back stronger after situations like these, and it helps me stay strong. I know it’s not impossible, it just seems that way sometimes!

    • Getting-stronger

      Sometimes still struggling, but getting stronger with time and concerted efforts to reconnect with my husband. Thank you Linda and Doug for this website – it has really helped me along this difficult journey. Your posts and discussion forum allowing others to post & read comments from others has been invaluable to me. I just wanted to express my appreciation for your insightful and well-articulated entries – I can totally relate to everything Linda posts, it’s almost identical to my situation and feelings experienced from betrayal and the process of forgiveness. I also am grateful for Doug’s posts because it really helped me to understand better what my husband was feeling, the vulnerabilities in our relationship, and to find ways to get him to talk about things so we could move forward and renew our marriage. Things are so much better now, we are moving forward.

      • Doug

        Thanks so much for the kind words. We’re very happy that this site has been helpful to you in your recovery!

    • TC

      This and the post about cheating spouses changing the rules has really hit home – this explains why my husband is engaging in all this reckless behavior. So much for a “godly man.” He is fully engaged in emotional divorce but won’t go file the paperwork because well, he hasn’t worked in over 10 years and he is using homeschooling our sons to keep himself in. My husband was widowed and divorced before I married him 21 years ago. He divorced his second wife of less than a year for adultery -but it is ok for him to do this emotional thing (or whatever you want to call it) for almost three years now. If anyone is to file for a divorce, it will be him, not me. D-day was a complete backfire (about two years ago now) and the OW has been an MFT intern for about 8 years now (and who touts of being an abuse counselor for 20 years according to her LinkedIn page) so she knows better … and so does he. We barely exist as roommates – and just so you know, I still act and live as though I am married – but I have a funny feeling about sleeping in the same bed as “my roommate”). There has been no martial intimacy since February 2009.

      My first reaction to this blog (about a year ago) was that Linda, I would have put Doug in the doghouse after everything I have experienced so far. But the difference is that your husband woke up – my hasn’t and very well may not wake up. It is so sad that Christian men use their liberty in Jesus Christ as a cover for licentiousness. The hurt and destruction all around is the same as ground zero for you name the disaster.

      Thank you both for being so open, transparent and honest about what has happened to you. Sadly, many in the body of Christ just won’t be as transparent as you, although Jesus calls them to do just that. I have been asking christian brothers and sisters for this and they just won’t do it.

      With kindest thanks,
      TC

    • RW

      My marriage is currently in the separation stage, “moving toward a divorce” as my wife likes to say it to people. It is due, I believe, purely to multiple emotional affairs on the part of my wife. For clarity, I have not had any emotional or physical affairs, or even come close to anything that borders on this. That is not to win supporters, but only to clarify that this was not a reciprocal or reactionary act.
      The “need for us to spend time apart because we don’t talk and I [my wife speaking] feel like we are roommates” was the language she used 3 years ago at Thanksgiving when she sprung this on me the first time. We “worked through it”, at least I thought we did, but I had my suspicions that there was “something” extra-marital going on. This time she told me on Christmas Eve that “we need to end this marriage” after about 3 minutes of discussion. The discussion for point of reference, was my (very) calm confrontation of her that she had told a lie about where she was going and who she was with the night before. She showed no anger that I was confronting her about it, offered no questions about how I “caught” her, tried to cover the lie with a 3/4-lie + 1/4-truth clarification and then said, “I was going to wait until we got back home from vacation, but since we are talking… we need to end this marriage.” No interest in counseling, or even sharing with me the full reasons why. Just that I was selfish and her tank was out of gas. I am not husband of the year, but I did/do not feel that this was a proportionate action for my being a less than perfect husband. No fighting, arguing, bickering, occurred within the 2 months prior to this surprise.
      I am 36, my wife is 33… and this is where the difficult part comes in. I believe (actually I know enough to say “I know”) that my wife engages in & has engaged in what I believe to be (at a minimum) emotional affairs with high school boys. I have verified (at least to my satisfaction, via snooping) at least 2 to 3 over the course of the last 7 years.
      She will not talk about anything “real” with me, will not actually discuss much at all as we try to process through this difficult time. As I try to reflect with her and work for closure, I have asked her why she doesn’t have any questions for me. Her response is that she doesn’t concern herself with the details and really only thinks through the big things, like an outline.
      I am not sure if I am right, but I believe this is her way of staying away from topics that would force her to bump into the truth about what she has been doing. I am hurt, confused, distracted, and just really wish I could hear the 100% truth and get my questions answered. I don’t have to like the answers or the story, in fact, these would probably be quite painful. But, I would rather hear it so I can put it to rest in my head.
      Does anyone have any advice on how I can convince her to open up, just share the 100% truth, and then we can move on. At this point I wouldn’t even be mad, I just want the blanks filled in.

    • Notoverit

      Whoa, teenage boys? I would confront her directly with that. She is walking a very thin line here legally. Is she a teacher? If so, a doubly thin line. As for getting her to open up, until she is ready to talk there is nothing in this world you can say that will make her do so. I know, been there, done that. Until my H decided to talk, nothing I did could make him. Perhaps if you hit her between the eyes with your information then she might have a light-bulb moment. Sorry you are having such a bad time.

    • Lynne

      RW-

      I 100% agree with Notoverit!!! If you have evidence of this with high school boys, you need to confront her directly. And be sure that when you do sit down to have this discussion with her to have copies of whatever has led you to this discovery–in other words, without concrete evidence of this inappropriate behavior, you will likely get no where with this conversation.

      Someone needs to stop these behaviors with “boys” before it goes public in some way. If this is happening, she needs help NOW!!! An EA is bad enough, but if it’s involving minors, this is even worse. This may also explain why she doesn’t want to talk about it…..could be the “fog”, but could also be that she knows she has crossed a serious line and doesn’t want to acknowledge this to you.

      RW, have you ever told her that you know about these high school boys? If so, what was her response at the time?

    • RW

      Yes the boys were in high school, yes she was a teacher, but she is no longer a teacher. In the three cases each of these students have been juniors or seniors. Between the email/facebook/texting; I have info/copies, I could very easily confront her about an EA… I don’t have anything concrete that justifies confronting her about a physical engagement though, and thus why I have not confronted her as of yet. The last “encounter” was the friday night before Christmas Eve (this year, the day before she told me that we needed to end this marriage). She feverishly texted throughout the day, came up with an elaborate lie about where she was going and who she was meeting with. Ultimately, she met with a kid in high school and they went to a local park. Her story (at least this iteration) is that she arranged this “encounter” to “test” if she was sexually-dead inside, or if she was just sexually-dead toward me. She says that while she liked the “attention”, nothing physical happened and that she didn’t feel any sort of arousal, spark, excitement, etc. They just ended up talking…
      What is also disturbing about this story is that when my wife tells/revises it, she never expresses any HINT of acknowledging that this behavior is wrong. When I asked her if she could see what I might think was wrong with this, she said that she, “was sure it was probably a little weird for him… meeting a teacher out on a Friday night; I know his intentions were not pure…”
      No acknowledgment of any wrong doing on her part, no acknowledgment that HER intentions were not pure (she won’t answer the question of “what-if” she DID feel something), no acknowledgment that this is just CREEPY, and only when I discussed that it was hurtful to me (and that married people don’t make dates/encounters with other people, let alone under these circumstances, and letting even more alone the age/relationship of the other party in this case), I get a rather unconvincing, “I am sorry it hurt you.”
      On another occasion (culminating in 2007… discovered just recently), I found information in an email where she was basically saying “good-bye” to someone. He apparently had not emailed/responded to her in quite some time and she wrote him an email saying, “Your absence in writing tells me that I was an interference in you life. That is last thing I want to be. So, I’ll try [try was underlined] not to write anymore. If we are to never talk again, please know this. I did care for you. I think of you often. And sometimes I wonder…..’what if?’ I’ll always be here for you.”
      This email was to a a person that would have been a junior at the high school she taught at that year. This would have put the start/occurrence of this EA at/during the time we got engaged. This email was sent to him ~18months into our marriage. This means it potentially “covered” almost 3 years.

    • Sidney

      RW….this IS very serious. Even if you are not trying to salvage your marriage, your wife needs to understand the severity of her actions. If these boys are juniors in high school (17 years of age), and their parents find out….she is probably looking at jail time (if the relationships turned physical). If these affairs are discovered, she is not only going to face YOU (as the husband), but also these boys’ parents, and of course, the law. Even ‘through the fog’ she should acknowledge that this is wrong. It’s one thing to carry on an affair with a consenting adult, but it’s a whole other ballgame when minors are involved.

      Your wife needs help. And I think that before any healing and/or repair can occur within your marriage, she should seek professional help. I wish I knew some great advice to tell you on this…..but I don’t. I just think the first step to help her is to TRY to get her to understand the severity of her actions.

      Good luck to you, RW. Please know there are people out there to support you.

    • RW

      Believe me, no one is more sensitive to the seriousness of this than me. Your latter point is precisely the problem – within my wife’s pathology is a pattern of not taking responsibility for things… as well as erratic emotional control, conflict avoidance, and what seems to resemble a borderline anti-social personality disorder.
      Short story long, she does not feel any guilt because she does not recognize and therefore won’t accept any wrongdoing on her part. In the absence of guilt or recognition of wrongdoing, there is no probability of success when it comes to seeking help. She thinks that I only know about the EA-encounter before Christmas last year. The “picture” she is currently painting to her friends and family is that our relationship “died” because “[I] became all about [me]” and she does everything and that I am selfish. No acknowledgement that her emotional wanderings are the ultimate act of selfishness. Her unwillingness to share honestly and not “talk about the details of our relationship” is further proof of this.
      I have no interest in repairing this marriage – only to get the closure and I honesty I feel I deserve. Not to sound callous, I could really care less if she went to jail. I do love her, and have not moved on in my life yet (it has been about one month) but she “checked out” years ago apparently. Therefore, I cannot really worry about her consequences, if any. Thank you all though for your wise counsel and sympathy/empathy. This is a terrifically dark and hurtful time; it is nice to know people are listening.

    • Notoverit

      RW…Geez, I have to agree with Sidney. First of all, your wife needs SERIOUS counseling. Even if she has ended the “affairs,” if these boys were minors, she may still be prosecuted or civilly sued for her actions (think priests and choirboys – all of which was brought out years later). She has a serious mental problem. You need to directly confront her, no beating around the bush. Tell her that what she has done might constitute a crime and that if she continues, you cannot be a party to this. So far she has not had to face what she is doing. As an aside, is this really fair to you? I see a very troubled woman who refuses to recognize that what she is doing is, as you put it, very creepy. If she refuses to come clean and stop, then give her the ultimatum that all of us has had to do – either stop and get help or I AM LEAVING. I would not stay with someone like this for one minute if he/she refused to get help. Good luck to you and I hope your wife comes to her senses. Let us know how you are.

    • RW

      I should probably open, for the sake of clarity, with this – we have a young child, currently living with his mother. Thus, she has a point of leverage that prohibits me from acting in my own interest first. Believe me, I would handle this situation entirely different if it was just she and I — she would have been confronted directly 2 weeks ago.
      We don’t live together anymore and at this moment she doesn’t live in a place where she would have “access” like before. I wasn’t given a choice, but, we both live in new apts and are proceeding with separating/divorcing.
      I would love to confront her, but, I have beat my head against much smaller walls with far less serious circumstances (deterioration of our physical relationship, us not talking, etc…. even things as little as, hey – are you happy with me… in each circumstance an “under-truth” or quarter-complete answer is given). We have talked, at decent length, about the night before she said she wanted to end our marriage. This “encounter” — she got pretty p-o’d when I called it a date. We settled on calling it an encounter because she didn’t want to be troubled “with semantics”. Which is interesting b/c “encounter” is far more damning a word to me, makes it sound very steamy, secretive, and naughty. But… in her eyes… I feel like it romanticizes it in a way.
      Anyway, we talked about that night- I tried to move her slowly toward recognizing that this was not a good, safe, right for the marriage, decision and that it was hurtful. She would not recognize that meeting a guy in a park at night presented a heightened danger. She would not recognize (initially) or admit that this is something you just don’t do in a marriage. She said she was sorry (eventually) that it hurt me, but still has not acknowledged that married people don’t do this sort of thing.
      Thus, if I can’t get her to acknowledge THOSE things, I don’t feel I can more her to real understanding.
      Thank you all though. Please don’t think I am a spineless idiot – I already played that role for the last 3+ years of my marriage. I just need work on this a little differently and make sure I don’t compromise my ability to see my son.

    • Notoverit

      Okay, I understand about the child but do you honestly want your child in this type of environment? Have you discuss your W’s problems with your attorney? I would think that would greatly weigh in on the custody issue. What a mess. In all of this, do you still want to be in a relationship with your wife or do you wish to continue with the divorce? I think that is a decision you have to make. That aside, think of your child. Would he be better off with you? Not to rough, but if this mess came out in court the judge might not even give her custody. Just a thought. I am so very sorry for you RW. You are in my prayers and thoughts. Just remember, until she decides to change and get help, you cannot make her (guess you already know that). Think of you child first!

    • RW

      Zero interest in trying to work things out with her. Zero. We didn’t have a strong marriage WITHOUT the colorful extracurriculars… and to be honest, I can’t accept this stuff and forgive her only to return to addressing a weak marriage.
      I feel that as it stands currently, I “might” be able to gain custody… might. In my eyes, perhaps incorrectly, if I can figure out something physical… then the playing field changes.
      Thank you for all of your thoughts, prayers, and careful considerations.

    • aida

      Linda, I am so glad you wrote this – i thought I was going crazy and I thought I was totally at fault, that maybe I had killed his love for me, and that I was no good etc.

      at this rate, at least i can see that this is a normal process of EAs and that at least i still have my sanity….and neither the kids nor I have gone loco….only him.

      one thing that bugs me though, linda – is it really love? i mean we had petting sessions too when we were courting and fell in love? is this the same?

      why is it wrong if they do it, but not wrong if we did?

    • Amy

      I will start that my husband has accepted all our marriage problems as his own doing. Married 50 years and in the beginning things were rocky. First I don’t think he understood what love was all he knew was hard work. His parents constantly argued and fought, so over time he never wanted to be home. At around ten he was heavy into sports, baseball, football and working delivering papers. At one time he worked three routes, two early morning 4am and 1 after school then headed out to play little league. This went on every day even weekends, he never did well in school, but did get a two year college degree but that did not benefit him. When he got a job it was an assembly line job, shortly their after he was drafted into the Army and sent Viet Nam. Him and I were dating at the time!
      His Army tour did not make him feel any better, except that he didn’t have to be home with his parents. He came home bitter about life and humanity! We got married and I did love him and wanted to help him try to better person and prove the world is not terrible. l think all he understood was work hard, this is when I felt like a room mate maybe mother. It was terrible, he went to see a shrink and things improved some, he worked hard for me and not for him. He didn’t like his job but still soldiered on so I would have everything, nice house, car, clothes. He did nothing for us! No vacations, cuddling, sex, love and caring he didn’t know how to do that. I didn’t leave him I still cared and I was afraid if I did leave him he would hurt himself and I couldn’t live with that. To this day he’s still bitter about our government, won’t vote and says there all bastards, but does love the military and the things it stands for. That’s one of his hot buttons, he has more but that’s worst.

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