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Never been here; emotional affair?


Infidelity In an affair or suspect your significant other? Share your experiences and concerns here.

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Old 14th October 2017, 4:05 PM   #1
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Never been here; emotional affair?

I'm new here, but I needed somewhere to get my thoughts out. I'm going to try to keep things short and not bounce all over the place. I'll share more, as needed, as the thread unfolds as I'm hoping for feedback and insight.

I've been with my husband over 20 years. We married young because I was pregnant. We were FWB, who had decided that wasn't working as we both wanted to seek out a real relationship as neither had any sort of romantic feelings for the other. Three weeks after officially ending everything I found out I was pregnant. We debated back and forth, but both being 19 our families pushed us to get married and be a family.

The first 10 years were hell. Neither of us were mature enough to be married, much less to be parents. We pushed through, fighting most of the way. Our son endured a home life no child should have to go through. My husband was extremely emotionally abusive to both me and our son. However, he was a strong provider and ensured we were financially taken care of. We had our 2nd child 8 years into our marriage.

At year 12 we finally separated. At the time my husband and I underwent extensive counseling. We eventually decided to stick things out, financial reasons again.

Things improved. We burned the old relationship to the ground and started fresh. He and our oldest never underwent the counseling they needed though and the relationship is still strained, and my son has terrible anger issues, and battles severe depression. Our youngest is much better off as his childhood has been a completely different experience.

We moved away from our hometowns 5 years ago. We have no family where we are now. We have made a good life for ourselves careerwise. We get along.

My husband worked hard and has changed a great deal. He tried to be attentive and romantic. However, as much as I've tried over the years since our separation I feel nothing for him as far as romantic love. I appreciate everything we've been through. I value his friendship. But every disagreement rips the stitches from the long ago wounds. When it comes to him touching or kissing me I'm numb. He killed that part of me during those early years and there is no way to for anything to grow there. I was never in love with him to begin with, and the years of emotional abuse ensured I never would be.

I've never cheated. The whole situation left me numb to emotions in general. I didn't have feelings at all, for anyone. I ensured I kept everyone at arms length and even friendships never made it past the point of skin deep. I tend to be overly friendly, but it's all fake. A smile to cover having to develop any real relationships.

Fast forward to the beginning of the year. A coworker from a few states away and I met at a company wide event. I caught him staring at me and making idle chat. As typical, I was friendly. A couple of months later our duties changed and this coworker and I now interact daily. He still lives 1500 miles away.

In the beginning he always sounded so down when he called. I made it a point to make him laugh.

Over the last 6 months we've gotten to be good friends. I haven't shared my marriage issues with him. He has opened up to me though.

He also married young, his high school sweetheart. A few years into their marriage she was diagnosed with a chronic, debilitating illness. He has been the breadwinner and her primary caregiver ever since. Some days I can tell it really takes a toll.

Recently we have been talking or texting daily. When I recently underwent my own health scare he checked on me daily, sent flowers, and did everything he could to keep me in good spirits. When I expressed my gratitude he responded with that's what friends do for each other.

I'm sure he's only looking for a friend. He has joked his wife is slightly jealous, but she's coming around. He is never overly flirtatious, no innuendo talk. Knowing his situation I think he is honestly just looking for a friend.

The problem is, I'm starting to feel something. Not sure what. Since I've been numb for so long I'm not even sure if what I'm feeling is romantic or if it just feels good to actually have a friend since I've blocked out everyone for so long. However, I know the "something", accompanied with the daily texts and calls, the fact we make each other laugh, and the emotional loneliness we are both experiencing could very well be a recipe for disaster.

Can there be an emotional affair even without the component of sexual desire? Are we heading into dangerous territory or do I simply not know how to react to having a real friend? Is there a way to continue our current relationship and ensure it doesn't progress past friends? Are their clues I can look for to ensure he views me as strictly a platonic friend or if he is progressing into deeper feelings?

Insight greatly appreciated as I'm having a hard time figuring out what to make of any of this. Relationships were so much easier when I just stayed numb.
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Old 14th October 2017, 4:29 PM   #2
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It's an emotional affair and like most will progress further.
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Old 14th October 2017, 5:01 PM   #3
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1500 miles away helps with it not getting to P.A.

However if your husband has changed and become a better man and husband to you - its tricky as one might say your having an E.A. or unable to reconcile on your side despite him changing.

How one defines and EA is tricky, usually its more than friends - there are discussions of a personal, emotional, or sexual nature. There may also be very personal details of your husband or your marriage and sex life which should not be discussed. Also one might easily say if your husband read or listened to your conversations what might he say you are having.

Are you saying you can't divorce due to your youngest child still living with you ? Or heavy financial dependence ? Perhaps you should consider ways to work on those things. Because with or without your "friend" or possible EA - its sounds like you need a new life and new love - just not with that guy 1500 miles away with a disabled wife.


The harder deal I think if for your male coworker friend - if his wife became severely disabled very early in their marriage - that's such a hardship. I assume they are not sexual anymore.
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Last edited by dichotomy; 14th October 2017 at 5:03 PM..
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Old 15th October 2017, 3:40 AM   #4
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Hi Neverbeen, in answer to your question , yes you are heading into dangerous territory. What Dichotomy has suggested is very true. Start getting your ducks in a row, and plan on getting out of this marriage as it seems it was still born. You can make it as amicable as possible and you will be doing both yourself and your husband a big favour. This numbness that you talk about is not natural. It is probably due to your having suppressed your feelings for so long that your brain has kicked in and put up a defence mechanism. The day you meet someone who can make your heart flutter, the dam will burst and you will be blown away. Let that happen once your divorce is done and dusted. Warm wishes.
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Old 15th October 2017, 7:18 AM   #5
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Yeah, it's dangerous territory. It doesn't mean that either you or he necessarily has bad intentions, but it's likely to develop in that direction eventually. Especially given that you have been emotionally repressing yourself for a long time... it makes it much more likely that when your heart finally gives way, you will not be able to handle it sensibly.

You have two separate problems, your own marriage and the possibility of breaking up his. But they're linked and it would be easier to deal with one without the other, of course...

Quote:
Is there a way to continue our current relationship and ensure it doesn't progress past friends?
For his side: involve his wife in the friendship. Loop her into the email conversations. Don't have deep personal conversations behind her back. Keeping her involved will help remind your instincts that he's married and help remind HIS instincts not to share things with you that should be private to the marriage. If his wife is PART of the email exchange he's less likely to bemoan his lack of sex life.

For your side: you need to deal with your marriage situation. If you don't want to talk divorce, talk open marriage, talk polyamory, talk something. Your emotional needs are not being met and that's not good for you. You don't HAVE to leave your marriage in order to fulfill these things, but you DO have to let your husband be part of the discussion and plans.

You also need to make more local friends. Not just one friend that you lean on too much.
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Old 15th October 2017, 9:09 AM   #6
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Thank you everyone for the response.

Yes, I have debated leaving the marriage. The main issue is I'm comfortable. As I said, we've built good lives for ourselves career wise. I typically pour myself into my work, and find that very fulfilling. I have a home, which I own free and clear, back in our home state. I often debate picking up everything and moving back. However, there are no good jobs there and the change would take away the one truly fulfilling thing I have, my job. The plus is I have old acquaintances there, so if I chose to return I would at least have people to reach out to, although I have never really made an effort to nurture those relationships. My parents have both passed. I have one sibling who is disabled, so if I did move back I would be expected to be his caregiver, which I do not feel would work well for either of us.

Separating here is not really an option, because I would not want to stay and be completely alone.

Having been so empty, emotionally, for so long it's not like I really feel I'm missing anything. I know that's not exactly healthy, but it is what it is. My husband is a better man than he once was, and he deserves to have a relationship with someone. I don't believe he's ever cheated. It's almost like we have an arranged marriage. We have made it to the point we make good home business partners and we co-parent our youngest well. We don't really discuss what's lacking emotionally or sexually because we are both content with having a partner to manage the home with and nothing more.

The main thing I've gained from my friendship with my coworker is I'm laughing, and it feels good. I've long been good at making others laugh, but much like everything else my laughs were hallow. A true sense of happiness when he sent me flowers, just that feeling that someone made an extra effort for me, not because they had to, but because they wanted to...I felt that. The daily texts which truly make me smile are definitely a new sensation.

Obviously, what I really need is friendship at this point. Baby steps to discovering what feelings really are again. What I don't need is to develop an inappropriate friendship right off the bat. My coworker and I are both clearly in vulnerable spots. We both need the friendships, but do not need to cross the fine line of it being more. Can we fill those needs of each other without things getting complicated. I'm excited to finally have a real friend, but scared because I'm not sure how to handle it.
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Old 15th October 2017, 12:47 PM   #7
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I am not sure if this helps, but maybe you need to expand your social network and activities where you live now - and where you love your job.

Going back home does not work for you - so make it better where you are socially. Clubs, workouts, volunteer groups, etc.

I think you know a first line was crossed when he sent flowers to you. Thats a toe in your (and you husbands) waters so to speak.

I will say I understand some of what your sharing about your marriage, life, and even correspondence with someone.
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Old 17th October 2017, 7:36 PM   #8
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And just like that I haven't heard from him since I posted here.

We talked for about an hour and sent a couple of text messages Friday. Tuesday night and I haven't heard anything from him. Guess whatever it may or may not have been he's making the decision to back away.
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Old 17th October 2017, 8:37 PM   #9
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My Husband keeps a flirty persona with his female coworkers and clients. That's just how it is, because it helps to have charisma and be a ladies man in his field of expertise.

I have no idea what your "friend" does for a living, but I can assure you that he keeps it on a platonic basis, because it is genuinely platonic to begin with.

As the wife of the flirtatious business man, I am aware and in partnership with the way my Husband flirts around to get what he wants.

Judge me all you want, but my style is honesty and I'm sure that there are plenty of other wives in on the scam, too.

From what it seems to me, though is that he realized the platonic nature is headed towards a more personal level, which made him think twice about it.

When women come on too strong to my Husband, he gently pulls away by ignoring their calls during hours his office is closed and slowly killing off flirtation.

Is there anything you can think of that this man you work with could use you for to his benefit?

Please know that I mean no offense by what I wrote here. I just want to make you aware of this kind of office scheme. Work relationships usually never end up well.

All in all, you are both married and your mind should be set on improving your marriage, not a friendship with the married office mate.

I hope this helps and I encourage you to take what everyone else said seriously, because they are also right, but the EA is one sided on your end and he is more focused on his marriage.
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Old 17th October 2017, 9:38 PM   #10
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so you would be okay if your H had an emotional A?

have you thought about not being selfish and messing up the kids?

Before you continue the emotional A, and potential future PA, end your current marriage.

Do not drop the A bomb on your family.

Go NC with your lover until you have finished your D.


You will make so much of a mess with your family.

Do not cheat. file for D , and get free. and be honest with your H.

Tell him about your EA.
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Old 18th October 2017, 4:43 AM   #11
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Quote:
Can we fill those needs of each other without things getting complicated?
Allow the man’s wife to be included in all your communications with her husband as that will help a LOT with NOT getting things complicated.

At this time you are craping on your AP’s wife for your own satisfactions. Also, you are helping the husband betray his disabled wife. In short you are headed to becoming a destroyer of families.


If you are sure that you cannot ever be contented with your husband then set yourself and him free. Get a D and then you can decide if you want to get involved with another man. Just limit your man interests to unmarried men unless you are willing to hurt another woman and her children for your own interests
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Old 18th October 2017, 4:47 AM   #12
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Hi Neverbeen, I would like to look at this whole situation from a different angle. Whatever may have been the reason for you and your husband to have got married, the fact remains that you have spent twenty years together, generated a lot of history and have two children between the two of you. The best part is, that in spite of NOT being head over heels in love with each other neither one of you has cheated on the other at least till now! I take that as a big positive. Also, there is the fact that when you have lived in a close and sometimes intimate relationship with someone for so long, you do develop some feelings of affection and possibly love even though this fact may not be evident straight up to your faces. I have read of so called Hotwives who have a sexual relationship with their lovers for a few months developing feelings for them. These hook ups are transient and yet feelings are generated. How much more so in your case where you have spent half a life time with your husband.

You say you feel numb and do not seem to have a reservoir of feelings which you can draw upon or unleash. The fact is that this is a protective mechanism of your brain and with suitable psychiatric counselling it may lead you to sensitize yourself again. The way I see it is that the adage " A bird in hand is worth two in the bush" is is a viable and eminently suitable tactic to try and ignite a fire within yourselves. From what you have written your marriage appears to be the typical arranged marriage construct that is prevalent in our part of the world. In fact my marriage was also mostly an arranged marriage where I did not know my wife from Adam and after meeting her briefly for an introduction, I had to conduct our courtship long distance for a year, as I was in my nation's military and was posted far away from her place of residence. A year later we were married and our dating and honeymoon started then. Well we've made it past forty years so I guess the old saying " Where there's a will there's a way" works quite well in this modern era too. The thing is we started with a clean slate and kept writing on it as we grew together. I do not say our marriage is perfect but I think the one aspect that helped us through was respect for each other and the other's feelings and also the ability to compromise. It does not matter what the initial reason was for you two to get married. The fact is that you are married and have been for the past twenty years. You have something very valuable although you may not appreciate that fact and you should do your best to safeguard it as best you can. Being married is a challenge everyday of your life. So enjoy the challenge.

You know people talk about love and being 'in love' and 'I love you' and a lot of bumkum along those lines. I think more often than not, they confuse Lust for Love. Lust is a drive caused by the release of hormones which in turn are caused by visual stimulation. Love, on the other hand, is an emotion welling up from a deeper, spiritual part of ourselves. It is essentially the bond between the spiritual selves of a husband and wife and if it is there then the marriage is literally " Made in Heaven". Of course a lot of marriages are based on lust and not love and so they dissolve in a little while once the lust dies down. However, even in those cases, if the two partners are really serious about making things last, then they can turn their feelings of lust into love by making an effort to connect at a spiritual level. If one's partner is fairly congenial and is not violent and abusive and is open to committing to a long term marriage then I think it can be done. Long time marital love is something like cold fusion. It doesn't have to be all hot and passionate all the time. It is at a deeper level and is more mature, giving and accepting and is a much more quiet kind of love.

This has become very long and so I'll end it here with a last request for you to mull it over and take the challenge of reigniting your marriage and tell Houston that all systems are go! Warm wishes.
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Old 18th October 2017, 8:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neverbeenhere40 View Post
I've never cheated.

Well, most people see an EA as cheating, and since you have admitted that you are developing feelings for him, this is an EA.

Before you go further down the rabbit hole, you may wish to consider the consequences of continuing the EA. What good can come of it? The deeper in you get in, the worse the damage. The likely end results are destroying your marriage, crushing your husband's soul, destroying your reputation, damaging your relationship with your children, and suffering regret and psychological damage for the rest of your life.

Sorry to be so blunt, but this is just the reality. The chance of this staying positive and platonic is near zero. Men that invest this much time and emotional energy into a woman without the goal of sex as a payback are as rare as unicorns.

If your marriage is as horrible as you say, work towards becoming financially independent, and when your kids are older, divorce him and move on. However, you may find the grass is not always greener, and any future relationships may be no different. Guys looking for a side piece will put on a good show, but this is not the reality of married life.

Best wishes to you.
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Old 18th October 2017, 10:39 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Just a Guy View Post
Hi Neverbeen, I would like to look at this whole situation from a different angle. Whatever may have been the reason for you and your husband to have got married, the fact remains that you have spent twenty years together, generated a lot of history and have two children between the two of you. The best part is, that in spite of NOT being head over heels in love with each other neither one of you has cheated on the other at least till now! I take that as a big positive. Also, there is the fact that when you have lived in a close and sometimes intimate relationship with someone for so long, you do develop some feelings of affection and possibly love even though this fact may not be evident straight up to your faces. I have read of so called Hotwives who have a sexual relationship with their lovers for a few months developing feelings for them. These hook ups are transient and yet feelings are generated. How much more so in your case where you have spent half a life time with your husband.

You say you feel numb and do not seem to have a reservoir of feelings which you can draw upon or unleash. The fact is that this is a protective mechanism of your brain and with suitable psychiatric counselling it may lead you to sensitize yourself again. The way I see it is that the adage " A bird in hand is worth two in the bush" is is a viable and eminently suitable tactic to try and ignite a fire within yourselves. From what you have written your marriage appears to be the typical arranged marriage construct that is prevalent in our part of the world. In fact my marriage was also mostly an arranged marriage where I did not know my wife from Adam and after meeting her briefly for an introduction, I had to conduct our courtship long distance for a year, as I was in my nation's military and was posted far away from her place of residence. A year later we were married and our dating and honeymoon started then. Well we've made it past forty years so I guess the old saying " Where there's a will there's a way" works quite well in this modern era too. The thing is we started with a clean slate and kept writing on it as we grew together. I do not say our marriage is perfect but I think the one aspect that helped us through was respect for each other and the other's feelings and also the ability to compromise. It does not matter what the initial reason was for you two to get married. The fact is that you are married and have been for the past twenty years. You have something very valuable although you may not appreciate that fact and you should do your best to safeguard it as best you can. Being married is a challenge everyday of your life. So enjoy the challenge.

You know people talk about love and being 'in love' and 'I love you' and a lot of bumkum along those lines. I think more often than not, they confuse Lust for Love. Lust is a drive caused by the release of hormones which in turn are caused by visual stimulation. Love, on the other hand, is an emotion welling up from a deeper, spiritual part of ourselves. It is essentially the bond between the spiritual selves of a husband and wife and if it is there then the marriage is literally " Made in Heaven". Of course a lot of marriages are based on lust and not love and so they dissolve in a little while once the lust dies down. However, even in those cases, if the two partners are really serious about making things last, then they can turn their feelings of lust into love by making an effort to connect at a spiritual level. If one's partner is fairly congenial and is not violent and abusive and is open to committing to a long term marriage then I think it can be done. Long time marital love is something like cold fusion. It doesn't have to be all hot and passionate all the time. It is at a deeper level and is more mature, giving and accepting and is a much more quiet kind of love.

This has become very long and so I'll end it here with a last request for you to mull it over and take the challenge of reigniting your marriage and tell Houston that all systems are go! Warm wishes.
What a beautifully written post, Just a Guy. I have read this through a few times and it has really made me think.

You have really described my parents marriage here. As I was growing up, I never really experienced them being "madly in love", but they were (and still) very good partners, providers, parents and they are definitely spiritually connected and unquestionably love each other in that more mature way.

I think chasing lust, that rush of hormones, feeling entitled to it and feeling that a marriage is not working if we do not have that element, is of course a big driver that leads to affairs and to divorces in marriages that could possibly be worked on.

I had an affair, and I can see that I am guilty of this. My marriage was fine before the A - there weren't many fireworks, especially after having childen, but a lot of love and emotional connectedness. But I got seduced by the lure of my hormones and excitement - at some level I thought that I was entitled to this and that my marriage was lacking. I'm not the first and I won't be the last to go down this path, but the damage it does is almost incalculable, and cheaters very rarely factor that in or consider that it will catch up with them before they embark on an affair.

I work with a lot of Asian people, many of whom have had arranged marriages. From what I can see, it generally works very well. Of course, there are exceptions to this. They find it very hard to understand how quickly many westerners are to give up on their marriages.
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Old 18th October 2017, 11:02 AM   #15
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JAG and Jinks...

JAG and Jinks...

Guys, I just could not disagree more.

No, no, no... IMHO, if you do not have a passionate love, don't be married. Why live life that way, and yes I know that sooo many people do and I think it is a complete waste of LIFE.

Why would you not want to be with a woman that gets wet when you walk in a room. If you have not been there boys, well I am sorry.

I will never waste my life again, I did it for 26 years, not one more minute will I waste having and mediocre love that is just OK.

I understand many disagree, this is just where I am at now.
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