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Do I or don't I, is it an affair

Community Member

I have a very dear Male friend I have know for a long long time. He and his wife were close to me and my late husband.

Sadly his wife has dementia, it's so awful, such a vibrant woman who spends her days locked in her own world, not knowing who we are, or the world around her. She is still able to be at home and her husband with the help of a regular nurse are doing a wonderful job looking after her.

We had a meal together a few weeks ago, and probably had a bit too much to drink, but the conversation was open, nothing barred. My friend bought up the subject of intimacy and sex and went on to say how he misses the closeness he once had with his wife. I agreed having lost my husband I too miss those things. Remembering bought a flood of emotions and I ended up in tears. My friend put his arms around me and held me. It just felt right. Things progressed from there, but I stopped myself before we became too intimate.

My friend understood but said if I changed my mind........

I admit he is a good looking man and i could be attracted to him if i let myself. But his wife is still alive, albeit with an awful illness. I dont want to be the other woman. But would it he wrong? Would it be considered an affair? I admit i find it confusing, part of me wants this, but i also have respect for his wife especially with the life she now has. I mentioned it to one female friend and her attitude was that the wife wouldn't know.

I am just struggling with this. Any advice or thoughts would be really welcome.

Thank you

8 Replies 8

Community Member

I guess if you read the wedding vows through sickness and health it applies here.

Its morally wrong regardless of whether she's aware or able to comprehend, but it sounds like you already know that

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hello living57,

I hope you don’t mind me jumping in on this thread and thank you for sharing. Sometimes getting this out is a good form of therapy. That must have been hard to write and get that down - a big thank you to you for having the courage. The one thing I have learnt with the BB family is that we are all loving, empathetic and understand that sometimes we need a sounding board and all opinions are welcomed and accepted.

I read this earlier today and have pondered this for a few hours.

Firstly, I’m sorry for the loss of your husband and my sincere condolences to you. Grief and loss in any situation is hard.

We are human and we crave companionship, intimacy and love. They’re the feel good emotions that make us smile and laugh and feel good about ourselves and there is nothing wrong with these feelings.

in life, and in my opinion, there is no right or wrong to any decision and there is grey in every decision we make and in any aspect of life - but I understand your dilemma and that of your friend - it must not be easy and this is where guilt comes into play.

I too would be extremely confused about this and it is the mind vs the physical need for all the things I mentioned before that are in conflict and I know from experience that is the hardest thing to understand and rationalise.

In terms of answering your question and my own experience and how I process - for me and me only - the guilt I would feel (even though dementia is at play and proper cognitive function is not there) I could not do it - whether that be catholic guilt - i don’t know?

But, this is your decision and again in this situation i don’t know if there is a right or wrong answer.

You are human though and it’s ok to feel good and you must do what is right for you.

I hope this makes sense

- happygoluckymiss

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi LIving57,

A wise friend of mine once said to me that if my behavior causes me to lose sleep at night, and be unable to rest my head on the pillow without guilt, shame or remorse, then it's cause for a review of what I'm doing.

I once had an emotional affair with a man I had been engaged to many years prior to marrying the man that I eventually married ..... and have now divorced from. But not because of the emotional affair I had.

I became re-involved with my ex fiance at the time, because he had once again offered what my then husband could not; emotional intimacy. I am of the belief that my now ex husband has Aspergers Syndrome, and he just did not seem to have the capacity to bring to the marriage the kind of intimacy I was in need of.

But I felt strongly that what I was doing was wrong ....... even though nothing much physical happened between the man who I was seeing, whom I had already almost married once before. (I hope you can follow all of this! Sorry if it seems confusing). We had kissed about 3 times, over the course of the emotional affair .... which I think lasted about 8 months. My then husband never knew anything about it, or if he did, he certainly never said anything.

But I couldn't sleep at night. I knew that what I was doing was wrong for me, and ended the affair. My (now ex) husband and I ended up separating and divorcing because of a complete lack of intimacy and communication. When I moved out of the house, after 12 years of marriage, he had a new girlfriend after just 6 weeks. And lots of people asked me if I thought that maybe he had been seeing her behind my back? But I don't think he would do that. And to to be honest, I don't really care now. He's married to her, and I too have moved on and have a new partner.

The point is that being a normal human with normal desires is tough some days and, I'll say it again; if you can lay your head on the pillow at night without guilt, shame and remorse, then I guess it's okay. If not, then don't. After all, it's your life. And once something is done, it's done. You can't ever go back and change it. Not even from the seconds after you've crossed that line.

But I can certainly identify with what you are feeling and thinking.

Just be true to you, and make sure your head is resting on the pillow with as little calamity as possible. xo

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Oh, I kind of feel bad for this poor guy. We’re all human, and we all have basic desires and feelings that we need to have met. In a way, it would almost be easier to lose a partner (and I hope I don’t offend you by saying that) than to live in this limbo of the person being there but not really there. It must be so hard to ever move on, without feeling intense guilt.

I’m kind of going against the grain with this one, but I think you should do what makes you happy. If being with this man makes you happy, then I think what all this has shown you is that life is short. But if you don’t feel right about it or something feels off, then maybe give it some more time and decide.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Living, this is a very good question, something that my Dad had undertaken to do while Mum was in a nursing home.

I think the situation is different when we comment on your position Living, compared to if it was ourselves put into having to make that decision.

I'm 50/50, when my Dad did it behind our backs, I hated it, especially when they got married and none of us kids never knew it was happening, but if a friend was in the same situation where either his or her spouse had dementia and didn't know who you were, the decision maybe different, however, what would their children think, that carries all the weight here.

The other concern is that she is still at home and he looks after her with the help of a nurse, so probably not, but can you tell us if or how many children are involved.

Another option to consider is, if you are still in regular contact with him, over time it may just develop and the children will accept it.

Hope to hear back from you and sorry my answer isn't too conclusive.


Community Member

Thank you all for your comments. They have certainly made me think. In answer to some of the issues you raised.

Yes I certainly do need to be able to go to bed at night with a clear conscience and a good night's sleep ahead of me.

I have to try and work out the pros and cons of moving forward either with my friend or maintaining just a friendship.

In answer to the person who raise the question of children, I have four adult children who know of my relationship with both my friend and his wife, who know of the wife's sad decline, and who I have been open with about my feelings. They have all stated in different ways that they do not know what they would do in this situation, but they understand how I feel and where I am coming from and have told me they will support me in whatever way they can, for that I am truly grateful. My friend has two adult children both of whom he has spoken to. Whilst they have expressed their concerns given that their mother is still at home they have also stated that they will support their father and they understand that the mum they knew and loved and the wife he had is not now the same person. It's nice to know that our children are so honest and so caring and loving. It doesn't make the decision any easier and I'm still struggling with it.

At this stage I am still trying to work out which is the best way to go, my human feelings cravings and desire for an intimacy that I lost with the death of my husband and the understanding that my friend due to his wife's illness has also lost this. But in my heart of hearts she is still alive, she is still his wife and that is where my dilemma lies. Even though she would not know, I do know what I am doing, and I have in the a pit of my stomach a sense of betrayal. That at the moment overrides my need for intimacy and closeness.

I guess at this stage I really think my friendship to the wife and also him is overriding everything else. I do not know what will happen next time we are together I guess I just have to take it as it comes and trust my own instincts.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Living, you know what you are doing and all the kids have expressed their feelings, the only concern is if his wife is still at home, but unfortunately, she has this terrible illness where she doesn't know what's happening.

As I've said it's a different situation for us to comment on your position, whereas if I was the person involved myself, then it would be a totally different and by saying that, then I would probably want it to happen, and who is to know anyway.

I think that your attraction to each other will be too strong, go with your heart.

Best wishes.



I am so impressed with your head on the pillow.... seriously it has given me a perspective. I m married and was emotionally involved with my ex for 10 months and he broke up because his wife was suspicious that something is wrong. Honestly while I was having an affair, I was living in a dream world and even now every cell of my body wants to go back to it. It is selfish because all I think about is myself, my husband knows nothing. My affair was purely emotional, we just hugged and held hands once as he lives overseas but don’t underestimate the feelings and extent of emotions. When we were chatting every night when I went to sleep next to my husband, I felt guilty and wasn’t able to rest. You are so right if you can justify it and sleep without thinking “why”, “what if” then do what u think is right for you.