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Emotional Affair Roller-coaster

Community Member

This is probably going to sound like a bad soap opera but here goes. My husband recently had an emotional affair with a girl (I say girl because he is 23 and he is 32) at work. I found out, confronted him, he moved out for 2weeks during which I had major emotional ups and downs but fought for our marriage, we officially broke up for 3 days then he came back and decided this is where he wants to be.

The issue now is that they are "besties" (yes I said besties) and he's only been home for about 3-4 weeks so it's getting to me. I have told him that it hurts me the she's still around and he say he understands that but refuses to cut down on the contact he has with her outside of work even temporarily. This is the part that I hurting me the most. I know that I have to get passed it eventually but the fact that the only problem he sees with it is the one I cause when I get upset about it. I have told him that our needs to take priority and if they are such good friends she would understand that and give us our space and maybe one day we can all get along. I can compromise. Still my feelings are ignored.

Not sure if I should talk to her myself, give him an altimatum, or just suck it up and get over it?

We have been having some good times together over the past few weekends and our communication has definitely improved but I still feel like I'm fighting her for him.

I don't NOT believe him when he says he loves me and wants to be with me, I can see in his face that he means it but not backing me up on this is a big deal to me.

Not sure what I should do now.

15 Replies 15

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
hello Roanna, thanks for posting your comment and please can I welcome you.
Over the past few weeks I have read where others have been in exactly the same position as you are, in other words you can't be married to your husband if he is having an affair, been warned about the danger of losing the marriage, but still wants to be in contact with her, I know the contact at work makes it difficult, but there will other women later on until he realises that he is married to you only.
I understand everything you are saying, but he has to move departments or apply for another job or he can stay in this current one but lose contact with her.
You say 'give him an ultimatum, or just suck it up and get over it', well for the marriage to survive you have to give him an ultimatum, you can't just suck it up because it will happen time after time.
I know that you maybe having a good time lately and that's great, but just be careful that's it's not to get you on side, so that he can continue on with what he has been doing.
I could suggest that the two of you have marriage counselling, which wouldn't be a bad idea, but it's you that will need to tell to stop or it's over. Geoff.

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Roanna,

I had a similar experience.

There is a difference between "loving someone" and " being in love " with someone." Loving" is deeper, unconditional, long lasting. "In love" is the rosey-glow / tingly- feelings / heart-racing excitement of young love. For him,it's the buzz of a new relationship with a younger woman ; happens a lot, especially with older, wealthy men ie. Sugar Daddies. For her, it could be idolatory - the older, mature, experienced man (maybe fatherfigure)

And then there's the sex. It hurts deeply, but you have to face it. The sex is a powerful connect. BUT GUESS WHAT : THIS WILL PASS!! With time, the "in love, rosey- glow" etc. phase will recede, leaving the " bare-bones" which will determine if this is " True Love" ( as far as there is such a thing). If it is, you will have to accept it and move on with your life, keeping your husband as a "bestie", after divorce.

Roanna, there is much wisdom in the lyrics of songs:

Consider: "Love is gentle and love is kind, the sweetest flower, when first is new;

but love grows old, then waxes cold, and fades away, like the morning dew ( from The Water Is Wide )

Roanna, I suggest you set a time limit. Suffer the pain, humiliation, injustice, embarrassment, self-analysis and deprecation, social dislocation etc. that one has to endure. If those lines turn out for you, your husbands' bestie/lover relationship will fade away like the morning dew. You will then have to heal your relationship with your husband, and grow together from there. If they don't, cut loose, be FREE and go forward, appreciating what you had. More importantly, appreciate the good things in your life that you still have.

I waited for 3 years, giving my former, confused, wife time to sort out her "other relationship" and find herself again. Sadly, it didn't work out, but I can look back at the best years of my life. No time for sulks, just get on with your life. To paraphrase John Lennon " Life just happens even if we've made other plans". Carol King wrote "But I'm glad for what we had, and for how I once loved you" in It's Too Late.

Other recommended listening: Remember When ( Allan Jackson ); After the thrill is gone ( The Eagles)

Community Member

Hi Roanna, Really good advice so far. I just wanted to add some of my thoughts and hope that they help.

I'll say to begin with, that I believe the solution to this issue is discussing and agreeing to boundaries with the opposite sex. It going to be hard work to make him see that his behavior is undermining your relationship. But I'd suggest finding a way as soon as you can. There are quite a few studies on emotional infidelity and the impact of opposite sex friendships on marriage. If you dig around on google a bit you may find some. In a nutshell, they all state that boundaries are needed to create trust in a relationship, and an absence of boundaries causes a myriad of problems including relationship dissatisfaction, broken trust, divorce, and infidelity.

The way I see it (and my partner now does too) is that when a person is single, its fine to be attracted to people, then pursue friendships with them and see where it will lead. In marriage, you protect your partner and your marriage by doing the opposite. Its very likely that both of you will meet attractive people over the course of your marriage. Its normal, there are attractive people in the world. What you don't do is act like a single person and pursue those people under the guise of `friendship' or any other guise..

It sounds like where your husband is at is he thinks if he labels his relationship with someone he's attracted to a `friendship' then its ok to get closer to that person. He may tell himself there isn't an attraction. This is very common, its kind of like a mental blindness that allows them to develop the relationship to the point where they feel it is `secured'.

The risk isn't only that he may cheat, though statistically the risk is around 20%. The main risk is that he is progressively detaching from your relationship and from your your feelings, and he's investing time in another woman instead of you. That detachment has a domino effect in your relationship. You will most likely find yourself detaching also, leaving you feeling dissatisfied and vulnerable to leaving the relationship, or connecting to other men. You may become vulnerable to having an emotional or physical affair yourself.

Aside from the detachment that emotional cheating causes, it also undermines your trust in the relationship. When the trust isn't rock solid, relationships tend to devolve into a power struggle, you feel self protective, and neither person fully invests in the relationship. X

..Sorry for the abrupt ending to that Roanna, I ran out of characters to type. If you need any help finding any of the scientific studies done on this , please let me know. I think you both may benefit from knowing the facts and that his behavior is causing unnecessary relationship stress. Your feelings are perfectly normal and the usual reaction to emotional infidelity. So be strong on this issue.

All the best and Hugs X

Community Member

Thank you for all of the insight.

Their relationship never became physical at all and he is adamant that it never will.

I'm not against him having friends of the opposite sex as most of my friends are male. Only difference is that all of those friends were already around before we got together. If the emotional affair had not occurred their friendship would be no issue.

We have been discussing it more and will continue to do so but he feels that it isn't good to hold onto negative things and to move forward. He wants to work on us but their friendship is very important to him. I also want to move passed this but do agree that there needs to be boundaries.

We never used to communicate this well about our issues so the fact that we have been able to openly do so through out this whole thing is a good change.

I'm very sorry but it will be very difficult for your marriage to endure with this woman in the picture. He's got to cut off all contact with her plain and simple. So, yes, it's an ultimatum I'm afraid

Community Member

Hi Roanna, May I ask, Have you tried to spend any time as a couple with any of your individual friends to make them mutual friends? Or is that something you keep separate?

And just one other question, how do you both feel about meeting each other friends and your partner feels off about them? Would you put your partner's feelings first or ignore them?

Community Member

i went to school with my husbands brother so alot of our friends are mutual friends. sometimes we all get together other times its just him and them cause we have kids so babysitters arent always available.

the only friends i havent met of his are the ones from work, her included. but those people are not friends that he generally sees outside of work, again, except her. he has met just about all of my friends but again, theyre not always ones that we or i spend alot of time with socially, if that makes sense? I think if he really didnt like one of my friends i would definitely take his feelings onboard

I have said to him that im not against the 3 of us being friends. her and i may not be besties like they are and her being around would be a constant reminder of what happened so may hurt sometimes but it will also remind me that he chose me. i think i would rather us all get along and have a happy marriage then to stay hung up on it and have it potentially destroy us.

So Roanna, what was it that made him cross the line into emotional affair territory with this woman?