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When is an affair an affair?

Community Member

Several years ago I discovered my husband was seeing his ex girlfriend, he had ask me to check something on his computer and I found their emails, they had been meeting for lunch and this had occurred at least 4 times.

I confronted him with the information and he told me I was overreacting, that they were just old friends and nothing had happened. I was gutted, my husbands first wife had an affair and broke up their marriage, I thought my husband would never ever do anything like this because he felt so betrayed by his first wife that he would never be able to put me or anyone through the same pain.

He was never able to apologise about the secret meetings sufficiently to me, he always said “ I’m sorry I hurt your feelings, BUT I didn’t do anything wrong!!

i know that I began to withdraw and withhold my affection afterwards because I felt so betrayed.

Fast forward 6 years , I was getting something off his phone yesterday and I see he is still communicating with her, she has moved back to Melbourne and has suggested they catch up.

I know nothing physical has occured, but still I feel so betrayed, am I overreacting? Should I just let him go and have lunches with her?

We have 3 children, the youngest is doing vce this year I am reluctant to cause the upheaval of a separation til the end of the year, but I am so distraught and disappointed in my husband I’m not sure I can last the year😞

6 Replies 6

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

Well it is purely my opinion.

Over 4 secret lunches? Not acceptable. Some ex couples that share childten or continue a friendship with the current partner blessing is fine...but not secrecy.

After all the upheaval you had the first time I would have expected him to immediately inform you of her contact with him at first opportunity instead of him communicating to her and not telling you.

What he has done is continue a friendship that he well knows is not acceptable to you

It is not an affair but I believe it is a breach of trust.

He should learn, prevention is better than cure.

I suggest two things.-

- never be afraid of your own standards, values and boundaries of your marriage

- seek relationship counseling at the earliest opportunity

I would also issue an ultimatum - it happens again and its over. But if you find you have to leave exercise that option, dont feel guilty.

That is me, its also my wifes standards. We've often discussed similar senarios.


Community Champion
Community Champion


welcome to the forum. I am sorry you have felt betrayed and that your husband has not been honest with you.

I agree it is about trust.

Have you spoke to him about what you have found out?

When I first met my partner I had male friends, I have always had male friends just friends that I had never had a relationship with, like a brother.

My partner was upset I was emailing and even though I didn't want to break a long friendship, I decided I would break off contact. I was open and honest but I felt as he was so upset I thought I needed to respect his wishes .

I know it is different as this woman is an ex girlfriend, but is about respect and trust.

Would it have made a difference if he had not been secretive ?


Thank you both for taking the time to reply , I feel validated by your responses.

Quirkywords, he was well aware of my feelings after I found out about the secret lunches. We went to see 3 different counselors , he was looking for one that would tell him that what he did was ok🤷‍♀️

Early last year his mother passed away and the ex girlfriend came to the funeral, he spent a large amount of time with her on the day and we fought about it again, he can’t see that he is doing anything wrong, just recently in January I found he had sent her a birthday message so we rowed again, so you can imagine my dismay when again last night I found more conversations on his phone, she has moved back from Sydney to melb and suggested they catch up.

He says he may as well continue to converse/ see her because I have been with holding affection, but I feel like a fool and cannot give myself over to a man I can’t trust anymore. I feel there is no hope for us, I feel very sad for our children and the upheaval this will all cause, I can’t believe he would even risk destroying his next family, he saw what damage was done to his first family when his first wife had an affair.

Hi Ringarosie,

If you don't mind me asking, have you been to see a counsellor about all that has been happening? It certainly can help to talk things through with someone.

Would you feel comfortable if you were to be with your husband when he met up with this lady, is that an option?

Do you think your children may be aware stuff is happening between you and your husband? If you do decide to leave, being honest with the children is the best policy. Let them know it is not their fault!

From what you have written, it does sound like you have lost trust and respect for your husband and you are already backing away from him.

Guess you need to decide what is best for you and the children, seems like your husband has already made up his mind from what you have written.

Would you consider couple's counselling with your husband?

Have you told him that you want to leave or that you want him to leave?

Hope you can work out your priorities and support yourself and the children as well.

Not an easy situation to be in. One that only you can decide needs to happen.

All the best from Dools

Thank you Doolhof,

back in the days of the “secret lunches” we sent to see 3 different counselors, he was searching for one that would condone what he was doing. That is probably the main thing that I can’t move forward from, that he was deceitful, he went out on these “ catch ups” without informing me of his whereabouts and what he was doing. He went fully knowing that I wouldn’t be happy, he says that’s why he didn’t tell me, but as he keeps repeating, he didn’t do anything wrong!! Why didn’t he ask me to go, I know her, we have all been out for dinner together over the years.

So my question is by staying am I condone his behaviour and belief he is not doing anything wrong?

i have no idea how to go about separating.

I don’t have money to rent a place, do I go and leave the children they are 21 and 18 year old twins. It all just seems so messy and stupid, do I swallow my pride and stay?? My heart is heavy, I can’t see an easy answer

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Ringarosie

I'm truly sorry to hear you are experiencing such heartbreak and mistrust. From what you say, this does sound like a sorrowful experience. With you having seen counselors and discussed the matter on numerous occasions, your husband has proven himself to be untrustworthy when it comes to considering your feelings and your relationship.

Putting the word 'affair' aside, I believe when one partner is continuously and willingly causing the other pain, their motives become questionable. When there is much to lose, even more so. It's a tough call but have you thought about straight out asking him whether he wants to end the marriage? As I say, tough because he could present you with an answer you may not want to hear. If you fear the answer, this makes it an incredibly courageous question to ask.

At the end of the day, you cannot take responsibility for the choices your husband makes; what you can do is take responsibility for the choices you decide to make when it comes to moving forward.

Sending positive, loving and courageous vibes your way Ringarosie