Emotional Affairs

We take our vows in good faith – often naively, and frequently still in the blush of infatuation. But marriage may not prove to be the smooth road we imagined.

We dutifully perform as expected – to the best of our ability – “showing up” for our partners in the bedroom and the kitchen, exercising our share of the financial and familial responsibilities, as the tedium builds, minor resentments assemble, and the inevitable weight of time takes its toll on our everyday lives.

We may look up at three years or five, at ten years or twenty – and the person we once loved is still there, but something in the relationship has gone missing. Perhaps it’s that we have gone missing – or the sense of ourselves that we once held most dear.

There are times when something new will rejuvenate us – a challenging job, a relocation, taking up running or yoga and feeling in touch with our bodies again. Perhaps it’s encountering a new person, and rediscovering the reflection of who we are – or could be – in their eyes.

“Just Friends”

Some say that men and women can never be “just friends” – especially if there’s any chemistry between them whatsoever. Isn’t this the premise of the now classic romance comedy, When Harry Met Sally?

What about friendship that evolves into the emotional affair? Does it occur far more frequently than we realize, and at all stages of life?

There are times when we’re living a rough patch, when we need reminders of our value, when we need to be seen differently than the way we are taken in our roles as marital partners.

In the days before texting and tweeting and all the ways we have to stay connected through technology, a “spark” could still ignite at the supermarket or the PTA, at the baseball game with your buddies or the business trip out of town – a chance meeting, an affinity, a vulnerability – and the beginning of a romantically charged relationship.

If you’re married, you may choose not to cross the line into the physical arena. But you yearn for the voice on the phone, for a few words exchanged on email, for the next occasional cup of coffee, for the ability to hold hands in a movie.

The Emotional Affair

An emotional affair is sometimes termed an “affair of the heart,” which sounds fetching, romantic, and even harmless when you consider it in strictest terms, with one or both partners refraining from crossing the line into sexual intimacy.

But what might begin innocently as a friendship may pose more dangers to marriage than extramarital sex, as shared confidences increase and emotional intimacy grows, putting distance between the partners in the core relationship.

Aren’t we more susceptible to these situations if we’re living a sexless marriage or one in which the spouse is emotionally absent? Will it lead to a profound and sustaining love – or falling in love – and then what? Will it run its course, serve its purpose, and ideally – return to friendship status of a less precarious character?

And if you’re found out?

Men, Women, Forgiving the Emotional Affair

According to Michael J. Formica, writing in Psychology Today on gender differences and emotional infidelity:

women are more apt to show up physically and sexually when their partner is emotionally present, while men tend more to just show up, with their emotional presence being something of an afterthought.

This is hardly news to any of us who’ve been married for a few years, or in any sort of long-term heterosexual relationship.

The article goes on to say:

Men are more apt to get past (notice I didn’t say forgive) an emotional transgression than one that is physical or sexual. Why? – Simple; it’s a territory thing.

Signs of an Emotional Affair

Of course, the signs of an emotional affair and a sexual liaison are similar. They may include:

  • secrecy
  • lies and deception
  • growing distance in the core relationship
  • lack of desire in the core relationship
  • jealousy or suspicion on the part of your spouse
  • unaccounted for time, unexplained messages and phone calls

And if the emotional affair is discovered?

The damage can be considerable. One partner may feel cheated on, even without sexual involvement. After all, where there is deception, trust is shaken.

Emotional Infidelity – For Better or Worse?

So which is worse – emotional infidelity or physical? And how do you define “unfaithful” in either case?

Will your response depend on whether or not you’re discovered? On the amount of guilt you carry in either situation? Whether or not you can take what you’ve learned in the emotional affair and reshape your core relationship, with a clearer idea of who you are and what you need?

Years after my parents divorced and both were deceased – and note, I was an adult child of divorce – I found letters in my mother’s desk which led me to believe that she had been involved in an affair of the heart for a number of years. It was toward the end of her marriage, and the man concerned was also married.

I never met him. I have no inkling what his family was like, but I do recall mentions of his name from time to time, as a friend. I suspect his presence in her life was a gift.

Legacies of Emotional Infidelity

I know the loneliness my mother experienced in her marriage; my father found refuge in another woman – a good woman, I might add – whom he later married when he was free to do so. As for the affair of the heart, at times it can rejuvenate a marriage by reminding a man or a woman of who they are, of their value, of their dreams and the right to pursue them. At times no one is the wiser and no one gets hurt – the relationship may carry on for years or it may fade, a bittersweet memory and possibly a helpful one.

At times – with or without physical consummation – emotional intimacy with another adult highlights what is lacking in the marital union, and whether you remain married or not, awareness of what is missing becomes all the more painful and stark.

Once known, the emotional affair may cause irrevocable damage – to the woman who cannot get beyond the fact that her husband shared his heart with another, or to the man who never believes that it didn’t cross the line into his sexual “territory,” whether he honored that territory with his presence or not.
 

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© D. A. Wolf

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Comments

  1. It’s also how the physical affairs often start! Did for me… and the Internet … it has opened the door for so much more of this type of affair (in my opinion).

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      I agree, Soccer Mom, on both counts. Do you think it happens more because it once did – because of accessibility? Or if it happens more frequently, because of a change in the nature of marriage?

  2. Reading this is very poignant for me. I’ve been learning more and more about older men who feel they’re in sexless, loveless marriages. In fact, I’ve suddenly been barraged with them. Older men who are dying for some affair. Any type of affair.
    …But I’m happy where I am. And I think that they expect EVERYONE in a relationship is lonely, and wishing that they were with someone else. Listening to these people talk, I am making mental notes of what they say is missing, while at the same time wondering what their wives may think is missing; something that may be distinctly different.
    I am not silly enough to think that my unmarriage is perfect. He does a lot of things that drive me crazy because I don’t understand. Like you mentioned, his emotions are an afterthought. I am run by mine. We have our ups and our downs, and we definitely experienced a lull in our relationship when we had our daughter, so I can understand why so many relationships fall apart after children.

    You’ve given me lots to think about, as usual.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      Thank you for commenting L. D., and pointing out than men are also looking for real connection – “any type of affair” as you say, because something is missing. If we were able to talk to each other about what we really need, I wonder if it would help. It’s a frightening concept – to be that vulnerable. We often build walls during marriage, rather than taking them down.

  3. I think most men don’t consider an emotional affair “cheating,” but I’m damn sure most women would. Some might even consider it worse than the strictly sexual kind. Either way, I told my hubs that I’d “cut it off” if he did either. I’m mean that way.

  4. I believe emotional affairs can be just as destructive as physical ones. Either way, the person having one is “checking out” of the marriage. Emotional affairs rob spouses of a fulfilling relationship, and can end up hurting both parties. The betrayal felt by an emotional affair can sometimes be more damaging than a physical one.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      The person having one is checking out of the marriage – to some extent (possibly small, possibly great). As with physical affairs, my personal belief is that often, the affair is a symptom of intimacy issues in the marriage, which can arise out of any number of circumstances. The core issues in the marriage remain a problem – until both parties address them. In my mother’s case – and the man involved – I don’t think anyone ever knew. Clearly they each got something from the relationship they needed, both in long term marriages.

  5. Many of the situations of the spouses on my forum began as emotional affairs—especially for the male posters whose wives are having affairs—the women seem more likley to either start with an emotional affair or keep to an emotional affair.
    But there are different levels of emotional infidelity and you hit on a big point of contention.
    “Once known, the emotional affair may cause irrevocable damage …to the man who never believes that it didn’t cross the line into his sexual “territory,” whether he honored that territory with his presence or not.”
    In many cases neither men nor women acknowledge it counts as infidelity since it is not sexual. But that is not the case with all of them. Sweetheart’s affair did not begin as a physical affair. So technically it was an emotional affair. But he snuck around to meet her and he intended to make it physical once he moved out. He told me that and though he denied he was having an affair—after it was physical—he knew that it was infidelity even before it was physical. His behavior was like that of someone in an affair that was already physical and yet I know the date of the first encounter. As a less infidelitous emotional affair, there relationship probably began many months before Bomb Drop and slipped beneath his radar, but eventually it became a deliberate affair.

    “As with physical affairs, my personal belief is that often, the affair is a symptom of intimacy issues in the marriage, which can arise out of any number of circumstances.”
    This can be the case, but is it “often” the case? Probably not. But worse, it is so unfair to consider that as a default because it points blame (whether intentionally or not) at the betrayed spouse. This is a common problem and belief. My betrayed spouses hear it not only from family and friends, but from therapists. And even if there are intimacy issues, it could be repressions on the part of the betrayer such as Madonna-whore issues. It’s also a sensitive area for betrayed spouses because many people say it accusingly—you must have done something wrong… You said it softer, but the sensitive betrayed spouse will often hear/read harshness anyway.

    Though you are using both the terms “affair” and “infidelity” it seems that you are focusing on the romanticized connotation associated with “affair.” As you said, an affair can be of the heart—that sounds so sweet and it is; it’s what I have with Sweetheart, but we are married. Or there are work place affairs where they are called an affair because perhaps they are forbidden by company rules or they would be deemed inappropriate due to the status of the affair partners—but both people may be single. Fraternization may be illegal in the military, but if both are single it’s not infidelity.
    But by using the romanticized connotation associated with the term “affair” in the context of marriage (or committed partnerships), you do a bit of a disservice because you put a romantic sugar-coating on something that destroys marriages.
    Think of the movie “An Affair to Remember.” It is still considered a sweet romance, but both partners already had partners and yet the affair was not given the lens of infidelity because neither was married—engagements don’t count. But engagements are commitments to commit. Some may brush off Cary Grant’s character as infidelitious, he was engaged to an heiress and it was kind of clear he was not into her. But Deborah Kerr’s long-time boyfriend was a wonderful man who she seemed to have loved deeply prior to her relationship with Cary Grant—yes, he as more into her, but honestly that seemed to me a convenience of the plot to place acceptability on the “affair to remember”.

    We romanticize affairs and denegrade infidelity, but when one or both participants are married to someone else an affair is infidelity and infidelity is betrayal. Affairs are apparently about love and infidelity is about sex; some think love justifies an affair—thereby justifying infidelity.

    There are deeper issues that I am not touching upon. Is there a benefit to a triangle in that it can offer support to a wobbling relationship? That’s a big debate and I think it depends on the context of the specific marriage and the context of the culture. Our culture gives lip-service to valuing monogamy but infidelity is high. But what about cultures where it is not infidelity because it is accepted and acceptable to have a mistress on the side? I don’t like the term “mistress” when used as a label for a secret partner because the term mistress feels like it is an accepted role and secret partners are not accepted. But I find mistress to be a fine label when it is for an accepted extra-marital partner. That may not be the type of relationship I want or will accept, but it is not my right to judge others for making that choice. And I think it is these situations where there is a greater likelihood of the extra-marital relationship helping to rejuvenate the marital relationship. But secrecy is a betrayal and betrayl is destructive, not rejuvenating.

    Please be careful of softening the pain by romanticizing something that if discovered can devastate the betrayed partner. There is a degree or boundary at which the betrayal begins. Some “emotional affairs” are innocent friendships. But they may grow into more. I can give the benefit of doubt to the person involved who doesn’t realize the dangers and is genuinely only meaning to be friends with the other person. The damage comes when the spouse voices concern that the relationship is inappropriate or at risk for becoming inappropriate. Often the reaction of their not-meaning-to-betray spouse is to become defensive and make accusations of over-reacting and jealousy. Such reactions are red flags that there is more to the relationship. A response of reassurance, perhaps explanation and offers to be more cautious or make the relationship a friendship between all three can help to ease the concerned spouse.

    And if the spouse does not find out…does that somehow make it okay?
    No. If it happened once, it can happen again and the next time the relationship may escalate. I acknowledge that some people are not aware they were treading too close and even crossing relationship boundaries, the indicator is the spouse. If a rational spouse—one who does not have issues with irrational jealousy—feels the situation crosses a boundary, then it does.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      I think you make some excellent points, RollerCoasterRider. However, I believe it is unnatural (and unrealistic) to expect 30 or 40 or 50+ years of monogamy – from most of us. But more than that, I believe it is unnatural (and unrealistic) to expect any single other person to be our “everything” in the ways that we so often romanticize marriage or committed relationship to endure. That, to me, is the fallacious (and romanticized) concept. Not that it isn’t a lovely ideal, but it’s one that is extraordinarily difficult to achieve, much less maintain.

      To be clear, I am not advocating emotional or physical infidelity. I am, however, taking a more pragmatic approach to the realities of human relationships of all sorts, and the grays that exist in the ways we live them. I know many individuals who have benefited from what I would term emotional affairs, and brought something good back into their marriages as a result. I certainly realize that these same sorts of romantic friendships lead to actual physical infidelity, and worsen problems in the core relationship – or lead to divorce.

      Then again, half of us end up divorced whether we like it or not. All it takes is one who wants out, and that’s that.

      An interesting (and important) conversation. I truly appreciate your participation in such a thoughtful and thorough fashion.

  6. The idea that people should marry for love is a modern invention. Perhaps people were happier in earlier times when marriage was a business arrangement and adultery was condoned.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      I’m not of a mind to “condone” adultery, but I believe our view of a single “one and only” or soul mate is foolish, to say the least. We enter marriage with few skills to deal with conflict much less responsibility that comes with children, and ridiculous expectations of ourselves and the one we marry. I don’t think there are any easy answers, but I suspect earlier generations got a few things right that we could learn from.

  7. Great piece! Very grey territory these emotional affairs and yet so damaging. I personally think they are as bad as or worse than sexual affairs. But to be clear – both are pretty awful.

  8. While betrayal, at least per Dante, is the lowest level of hell, perhaps we all need to do everything with more, and not less, heart. Maybe it’s a platonic love we need to cultivate, something chaste but strong and authentic, to weave us broken humans back to each other and to our earth. In any event, if we are blessed with love, and the ability to love, then those relationships, romantic, parental, friendship, mentors, etc. may ripple out from loving bonds well-formed to inspire each other to love in truer, and less unconscious and often inadvertently hurtful, or repeating of trauma, manners. Humans can be fickle and unreliable animals, so sometimes it’s better to start with plants.

  9. I found out recently that my husband was having an emotional affair. It took place over less than a week. They actually did kiss, but (according to him) nothing more.

    I discovered it was happening early on, confronted him and we talked about what might have lead him to seek that type of relationship. I wasn’t especially angry, just concerned. Like you said, it’s understandable that the tedium of marriage would encourage people to look outside for the spark they no longer feel at home. I feel that kind of external validation is not only expected, but can be a healthy, fun way to find that sort of spark in YOURSELF so that you can return it to the marriage when things get boring. However, it has to be done in a responsible, mutually-agreed upon way whether it’s limited to talking about other people with your spouse, flirting or a full-on open relationship.

    Unfortunately, we never agreed upon the kind of intimacy he struck up with this other woman. Nor did he break off communication with her as promised when I confronted him. He has now. I hope. However, I think the damage was done and we are likely headed for a divorce (for this and other deeper, long-term issues).

    Again, as you mentioned, it was the betrayal, the collusion and the fact that he shared his unhappiness about our family life with another women – as the foundation of a romantic relationship – that hurt. Not the kiss. Obviously that hurts, too. And it would have hurt worse if it had lasted longer or been more physical.

    What you DIDN’T mention, and I think is a pretty important perspective, is the danger and disruption one partner brings into the life of their spouse/family when they connect on an intimate level with another person – physical or not. To this day I wonder if she is angry, still “hung up” on him or in some other way planning to assert herself back into his life OR my life (which could even impact our children). Could I have been exposed to an STD – as remote as that might be? Will they reconnect in the future (after we separate) and I will have to negotiate a peaceful relationship with someone who so callously disrespected me/my family?

    In this way, I see emotional affairs like financial, addiction and legal transgressions hidden by one spouse from another. There isn’t a “physical” betrayal, but they still rely on lies and secrecy and may directly impact the lives/livelihoods of the person betrayed (and perhaps even the children).

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      Thank you for this thoughtful and honest comment, MomofTwo. Your points are all well taken. And you’re right – the partner who strays even emotionally may begin innocently, and inadvertently connect with someone who could cause disruption to your family as a whole that you can’t imagine. Let’s hope that won’t be the case, and isn’t, most of the time.

      With what you are saying here, it sounds like the brief moments shared stem from other relationship issues the two of you are now confronting. Of course I can’t know what those issues are, and I’m not a counselor or lawyer, only a mother of two who found herself in the world of divorce utterly unprepared for what lay ahead, and the repercussions that have lasted for a decade.

      There are pragmatic considerations in divorce, and things can quickly spiral out of control. Issues of money, of custody, the adversarial positions that are sometimes encouraged by attorneys as they add to billable hours and your fears – each of your fears – are fueled by all the “she could do this” or “he could do that.” Divorce laws vary by state, nothing is a “given,” and even if sufficient child support is awarded, it’s not always easy to collect it (no matter what you see or hear to the contrary). Moreover, even if both adults act responsibly, carrying the load of two households versus one is financially far more difficult, and if one loses a job or has an illness impacting your income(s), you could find yourself in a terrible position. And none of this addresses the pain you’ve both got ahead of you, the adjustments your children will need to go through, and all of it – of course – with no guarantees whatsoever that there will be a “great guy” for you again, someday, who won’t also – someday – want that spark, that flirtation, that something – with someone else.

      The only reason I’m bringing this up, MomofTwo, is because people don’t talk calmly about the aftermath of divorce. It’s like leaving one planet for another, with no way back. Not for you, and not for your children. And probably, not for him, though demographically men have more options (in terms of women to choose from) than women, depending upon your age, your location, your custody situation.

      Is there no way to rebuild?

      And if the answer is no, then please – for yourself and your children – gather all the information you can to prepare yourself. That means research for your state and your situation – not just what friends or family may counsel.

      I wish you well. And I’m so sorry you’re going through this.

  10. Thanks for your thoughts. I realize looking back at my post that I really do gloss over the deeper issues that will likely lead us to divorce – that’s just because I was writing about this particular topic.

    In actuality, the ongoing issues are FAR more connected to our separation than this brief affair. We’ve been married for 10 years, and it’s been peppered with a rather long series of inappropriate, hurtful and destructive behavior from my husband. I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say that it’s included illegal behavior, addiction, emotional abuse and other (in hindsight) evidence that he may have some contributing psychological problems. He contends that these are just differences in perspective or perhaps even culture (we are both white Americans, so, no). He’s attempted to deal with his behavior through therapy and medication (which seems to indicate that he gets it on SOME level), but as he’s never really acknowledged or accepted the true depth of damage he’s done it feels as though he’s treating symptoms instead of the disease. I would be willing to work on things if he did acknowledge the depth of his problems, but that’s not likely to happen AND he just recently underscored that with the affair. I’m not sure I can stretch myself any further without losing myself. I’m also aware that if there were no real, meaningful intervention in whatever it is within him that inspires this behavior, it will just continue – perhaps in even more destructive/hurtful ways. It’s not healthy for me, and, frankly, losing his family is the last “chip” I have in convincing him to work to change. Even if it can’t save our marriage, perhaps it will help my kids have a more functional father some day.

    My guess is that this affair is his way of exploding things to create an exit path for himself out of the marriage. He’s unhappy because I’ve turned away from him emotionally/sexually over the past couple of years. To be clear, we still have sex 1-2 times a week, and our home is actually a pretty happy place. But, I AM unhappy and HAVE turned away from him because he’s simply exhausted my goodwill over so many years of humiliation and turmoil. I could get over the affair. In the end, perhaps I’ll even feel a bit grateful that it happened so that I would have to finally confront the many years of unhappiness he’s caused me and find a new path. But, I can’t go back to what our marriage has been and to him as a damaged and hurtful person. Not that I’m not scared, sad, second-guessing, wanting to “fix” him, wanting to love him, wanting his love, mad/sad/humiliated that I’ve forgiven him so many times yet HE’s ready to end it. Focusing on health, light, future potential joy and being a good model for my kids.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      You’re going through a lot, with more to come. It was good of you to provide this background. Others will read and appreciate your openness. Please do protect yourself and your children with the knowledge and support system you need. And there are many good people around here to listen, if you need us.

  11. My husband has had an affair for 18 months now. I found out six months ago and while he promised to cut things off, it went on. I found out it was physical about four months ago. He has clung to the little bits of that so-called relationship for a while. It finally seems to be at it closing — she’s fed up, he’s exhausted, and I’m at the brink of insanity — but the damage is done.

    I decided to stay reasoning that if he wanted her, really wanted her, he’d have to do the work and leave me. He won’t. He can’t. He would have done so by now. I sound pathetic, but really, I’m not. I do love him. We’ve had 20 amazing years. And, never throughout all of this, did I suspect him. He never changed his behavior toward me, he was loving and affectionate (as usual) all this time.

    She has been somewhat relentless. She left her husband within months of meeting my husband. She stayed on the sidelines, but kept at it. Always the cheerful, upbeat, encouraging type, agreeing to meet him for 15 or 20 minutes at a time. I never noticed because he was never gone very long. It was physical, but that wasn’t the biggest part. They only had a few encounters (she confirmed this for me). It was definitely more of an emotional connection for him. And, knowing him as well as I do, that was more appealing. Not that he’s not into sex, but we always had a great sex life (even through all of this). It was her undying “love” and total adoration of him that kept him going back. He’s somewhat baffled by it even now.

    As I said, I think we’ve finally exhausted the whole thing, but who knows? There’s no reason to continue. We’re trying to work things out for us, but I still have my concerns and all I can do is wait. Yes, I could leave, but I don’t want to, just yet. I want to see if we can make it work.

    I was always of the mind that infidelity was a dealbreaker. I thought I’d be out the door. He did, too. That’s why he was so worried I’d find out. But once confronted with it, I found that I could not leave. I did not want to leave. So here I am. Just thought I’d share my experience because I never thought I’d go through this. Nor did I ever think I’d react the way I have. Live and learn.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      Thank you for sharing what is obviously very painful, Zebra. 20 years is a lot of shared experience, respect, love, laughter, worry, intimacy, and so much more. Two people marry, and we become a family. A unit. That’s the idea, isn’t it?

      Many people will disagree with me on this point, but I believe it’s possible to care deeply for more than one person at a time. I’m not judging it, I only know I’ve seen it, and frankly, when I was younger, experienced it. I think we live in a culture that deems that unacceptable, and whether we ever “act” on those feelings or not, we’re confused by them – and guilty about feeling them.

      I’m impressed at your ability to wait things out, and his ability to be honest with you – including trusting you with his bafflement. I hope the other woman will back off and let the two of you take the time you need. It sounds like her pressure isn’t helping.

      I wish you the best with this tough, tough situation. If you need to talk, we’re here.

  12. Thank you, BigLittleWolf, for your support, it helps so much. I was very touched by your response. I hope others who are going through similar situations can find comfort and support in the stories of others. It has helped me. Thank you for maintaining this forum.

  13. Trying to deal says:

    I, too, am in the process, of dealing with a cheating spouse after 20 years of marriage. Zebra’s comments resonated with me because as she originally suspected, I too felt cheating was a “deal breaker.” After raising two children and sharing a life together, one realizes that there is a great deal of gray area that needs to be considered before breaking up a family. My husband engaged in both sexual trysts as well as a 3 year emotional affair (with a sorority sister of mine). Now that the shock is wearing off, I believe the emotional affair was far more devastating to me than the emotionless, casual sexual encounters. I don’t honestly know how to trust anymore, and it scares me. I don’t think I lost myself during the daily grind of raising kids but rather the moment I found out that a great portion of my life was actually an illusion. Zebra, I hope we both make it through to the other side.

  14. Trying to Deal: I’m with you. I realized after much soul searching that no two situations are alike. You need to decide for yourself what you want for you and your family. That’s the only way to go.

    I hope we both make it. I’m finding strength I never thought I had. I’m sure you will as well. I wish you the best. Come here again if you’d like to discuss further. This support has been unbelievably helpful, as I’m sure you’ve experienced.

  15. I have been dealing with the fact that after 14 years of marriage, I found out my wife had been having an emotional and physical affair. I found out 2 days after our wedding anniversary that she had been carrying on for the previous 8 months. I knew she was having an affair about 5 months prior, but did not have any proof to confront her with. I finally found emails they had been sending to each other detailing their relationship. When I confronted her, she had more of an, “oh well” attitude. I was humiliated, embarrassed, hurt, couldn’t think straight, I became an emotional wreck. Now, 6 months later, countlesss marriage counseling classes, we can actually sit together and make plans for the future for us and our kids. It still hurts to think back on the affair and how distant and detached she had become. When ever I tried talking to her, we would only end up in a fight and it would always be “my fault”. But now, we get along and we could be together and not fight. I still love her and we are trying to work things out. But I agree with Trying to Deal, I think I would have preferred her having a sexual affair than an emotional affair.

    I just recently found a blog that her and her lover kept detailing all the gory details of their relationship. learned that I had actually lost her love. She was no longer in love with me and would only look forward to her spending time with her lover. It stung pretty bad reading about the affair, but the last entry was in April. And like i said earlier, we are trying to get through this. If it works out great, if not, we move on.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      George, I’m so sorry you are going through this incredibly painful experience. I admire your willingness to work on recreating your relationship, but do remember that it will take both of you being willing to do so for it to work. I wish you all the best, and please stop by again to read or discuss. I am especially sending positive thoughts for a peaceful holiday season. It can be a particularly challenging time when dealing with relationship issues.

  16. I pray there is someone here that will talk to me. I just found out about my husband’s emotional and sexual affair. We got married 5 years ago. I love my husband sooo much but I cant still get myself to forgive him after finding out that he spends so much time and money on another woman aside from me. He claims he has stopped but he hasn’t. We have 3 kids and I dont have a job but I believe I can make it on my own. He has been begging me but I feel he is neck deep in the relationship and he is finding it hard to let go, also feel he is begging to stay because of his family and friends. But I feel I have lived my life for him and the kids. I don’t know whether to ask for a divorce or not cause I feel he loves the lady. But for how long will I live my life thinking am stuck with the man whose heart is somewhere else.
    Please I need advice. Am dealing with this alone and it’s driving me crazy.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      tosin – I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. Do you have a family member or counselor you can speak to for advice – someone who knows you both?

      If you’ve been married 5 years, I’m guessing your children are very young. Going it alone with children is hard. If you can get work, if you have family to help, it’s a bit easier. Obviously, I don’t know anything about you or your situation. I hope others will offer their thoughts. But If you can speak with someone who has the experience and credentials to deal with this situation, surely that would be a good idea.

      Please do check back. And know that many who read here have been where you are. The choices may vary, but I hope at least we can help you feel a little less alone.

  17. Well, have spoken to few people that know him well, they think is nothing serious, that I should forgive and move on, but am the one that sees the phone bills, the messages, pictures and so on. The lies and the fact that he is not willing to talk. I was willing to forgive if he would just open up to me and tell me what the problems are so we can both work on our marriage. He isn’t willing to talk and that is scarring. He is just begging me to forgive and let go, while he continues and cover his tracks more. He is claiming it’s just 1 of those mistakes. Am just sooo confused.

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  1. [...] And then there are less clear-cut betrayals: physical or emotional abuse, drug or alcohol addiction, not to mention the emotional affair. [...]

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