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Having a Hard Time


The Other Man / Woman The other side of the story: Support and discussion for those who find themselves involved with a committed partner.

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Old 8th November 2017, 11:32 AM   #1
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Having a Hard Time

First time poster. I'm a MW who had an EA with a MM for over 6 months. Our families are friends and he started texting me. This segued into months of texting nearly every day for hours a day about life, work, etc. There was flirtation (no sexting, kept very clean and just on the line) but underlying feelings and the meaning of it all were left ambiguous. I was too afraid to ask. In reality I became very attached to him and developed deep feelings. Whether he engaged with me or not on a given day and the ambiguity regarding his intentions/feelings wreaked havoc on me emotionally, with intense highs and lows. A few months ago he stopped. When I asked about it he said he was busy with some things and wasn't able to text anymore but that all is good with us. I've been devastated ever since. I still see him (and his family) regularly and pretend all is fine. My H knows everything and I am in counselling. My H is wonderful and supportive, but I am struggling to move past the pain of how it ended, the abandonment, feeling devalued/meaningless, and the loss of this relationship that came to mean a great deal to me. I know it isn't your typical affair, and I should count myself lucky it didn't go any further, but this has had a profound impact on me psychologically and the grief has been intense. It's hard to believe it gets better.
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Old 8th November 2017, 11:47 AM   #2
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Quick question, how long do you think your husband will stand by and watch you grieve another man?

Of course it gets easier, but it won't get better as long as you hold on. We have a poster here who has been stuck in your position for two decades because she still believes they will be together.
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Old 8th November 2017, 12:04 PM   #3
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I am sorry for your pain, OP. Good for you for telling your H (assuming you did) and for getting professional help. People who have not been in your position will not understand your pain and will not validate you either. Be careful looking for empathy in places you won't find it. But there ARE people who understand.

Yes, it was a real relationship, but it was also a lot of fantasy. You are grieving what you thought you could be and who you thought he was more than anything. You are likely also mourning a place he filled for you in your daily life, and the way he made you feel. It can be very addictive.

It can take much longer than you expect to really let go of those emotions and feel quasi-normal again. Don't be so hard on yourself or give it more credence than it deserves. It doesn't mean anything about your marriage or you and him just because it is so hard to get over. It is perfectly normal. I would expect at least 6 months before you feel yourself turning a corner, and that is with total NC. You do not need to engage with him as friends. He isn't really a friend to you...he helped you hurt your M and ultimately yourself, even though, yes, you participated too.

Just hang on for now, keep working with that therapist, know what you are feeling is normal, and be very glad it didn't go further. This could be so much worse. That may not make you feel better at the moment, though, I know. It probably feels unresolved, instead. You will work through it in time. Focus on not doing anything to cause more pain, to yourself or your H.
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Old 8th November 2017, 12:34 PM   #4
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Thank you Southern Sun. Your words are incredibly helpful. Yes, I did tell my husband. He is a good man and before all this was always my best friend. I had to tell him. I think he has been more worried about my mental state coming out of all this than particularly ruffled about the relationship itself. I had a tough childhood (alcoholic father, etc.) and I think we both recognize that maybe I have some vulnerabilities that I didn't know existed. In any event, reading your post makes me feel a little less isolated and less frustrated by my grief. You are right that I am mourning who I thought he was (for surely the person I thought he was could never have ended things the way he did) and the place he filled that feels empty now - and that I've been trying to make sense of his meaning to my life since my feelings for him have been so big and intense (like nothing I've experienced before). Thank you.
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Old 8th November 2017, 12:52 PM   #5
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I agree with what Souther Sun mentioned. I'd have to say, though, your EA was typical. Daily interactions that you became emotionally dependent on/addicted to is a common facet of EAs.

Move forward by channeling your mental energy into healing yourself and your H. It's very easy to get sucked into the "Why did MM do that? Say that? End it that way?" I've BTDT and after a short time, those wonderings are just not a positive focus for your mental health...in fact, it will hold you back.

GL.
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Old 8th November 2017, 2:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Llamallama View Post
He is a good man and before all this was always my best friend.

You are right that I am mourning who I thought he was (for surely the person I thought he was could never have ended things the way he did) and the place he filled that feels empty now - and that I've been trying to make sense of his meaning to my life since my feelings for him have been so big and intense (like nothing I've experienced before). Thank you.
If so, why did you marry your husband?
Do you love him?

If so, how can you find your way back to him? What caused you to seek the love and fulfilling feelings from a man who's not your husband? Is it because you don't have many female friends and family members to confide in? If so, I can understand your need (we all need someone(s) other than our SO to have a fulfilling life; unfortunately when you've committed to your SO, at the same time you're also giving up all opposite sex friendships that will take priority over your SO). It is ok to have friends of the opposite sex, but it is NOT ok if they're more important than your husband. One of my best friends is male; we've known each other before he met his SO and before I met mine, but I will always prioritize my SO over him (even if I love him dearly as a friend), and he will do the same when it comes to me vs his SO. To me, my SO will be the most important man in my life, other than my father & brother.

I think these are the questions that you should focus yourself on. When you're thinking about the exMM, revert your thoughts back to your husband. Think about your life when you're 70, 80, 90. When you're in sickness, on your deathbed. Who will be there? Who will be the one to walk with you towards the end of the road? Answering these questions may be able to help you go back to the direction that ultimately you want to be in.

We all have crushes outside of our main relationship at one point or another, and that's ok. As someone has said before, "I'm married, not blind" We're allowed to feel attraction towards people of the opposite sex; I find that I can joke around with the guys at work in ways I cannot with fellow females - who tend to appreciate dark humor a lot less. But there's always a line between appropriate coworkers friendship (if you can call it that) and inappropriate emotional affairs.

Last edited by niji; 8th November 2017 at 2:06 PM..
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Old 8th November 2017, 2:16 PM   #7
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Thanks. Yes, this was definitely an EA for me. I don't know how MM viewed it. The part that seemed atypical is that we never discussed our marriages or spoke negatively about our spouses and never exchanged "I love you's" or sex talk or spoke about wishing we could be together (though a flirtatious and sometimes territorial undertone existed). This added to the crazy-making ambiguity, but also made the relationship seem more special since it appeared to be based on a desire to know each other with no overt ulterior motive for sex or something like that. I suppose he could have been in it for the attention and the ego stroking that provides. It would be nice to believe he actually cared about me as a human being and maybe got in over his head (as did I), but it's hard to given how he ended it. I know I have to come to terms with the fact that I will never know the answer and learn to be ok with that and not view it as a referendum on my value as a person.
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Old 8th November 2017, 2:26 PM   #8
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Niji - Yes, there is an element of feeling lonely to this. I don't have many close friends, which had always been somewhat of an intentional choice since I was bullied growing up and had bad experiences with friendships. I also had a pretty dysfunctional family and absentee father. I never felt I could trust people. The decision to let someone in is a big one for me, so letting this MM in was atypical and took on significance. Put that together with a marriage for over a decade that gets into a routine and I guess this MM's attention triggered something in me. Maybe I didn't realize how emotionally starved I was for that outlet and friendship, or how sensitive I am to potential abandonment. I'm learning a lot about myself because of this. Much of it is very painful and difficult to process, none of it is my H's fault, but maybe these are things I need to process and never did.
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