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I'm having an emotional affair.

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I'm going to start from the beginning with the highlights, or rather, lowlights, of my 8 year relationship/marriage. 

For the first 2 years my husband became hyperfocused on a female friend we'll call A. All day, every day, he would talk with, to, or about A. He spent between 5-7 days a week at her house. He would tell me when we have sex sometimes he wonders what she's doing. His mind wanders. He would skip work to go to her house. She would tag along on Valentines, other dates etc. If she wasn't invited, she would call sometimes 13 times in an hour. They both fed into each other's pill addiction. At one point she had asked him to have kids with her as she has a fertility issue and limited time to concieve. His mother talked him out of it (this was a few months before we started dating but I think she was always salty about it). She was unhappy when he told her he was proposing to me. He would sometimes grab her breasts etc infront of me. They would both always voluntarily tell me they'd never had sex (I never asked). I just thought it was weird that they were always making it a point (the lady doth protest too much, maybe?).

My cat passed away and I was devastated. I would wake up every morning in tears for weeks and every morning he was gone to A's house. "She's had a crisis, she needs me there", "I thought you would need some alone time" etc. etc.

We ended up getting married (I know, I know). He asked we cut our honeymoon short because he missed her.

For 2 years, I begged him to reel it in. Both of them. The only reason they finally did was because A did something to my husband that betrayed *his* trust. So, he was easily able to drop the friendship and hasn't spoken to her since. This was almost 6 years ago. I've never received an acknowledgement or even an apology for his behaviour. 

He has put us in a dire financial situation on multiple occasions. I think he's currently starting his 8th or 9th job in the past 7 years (mind you, there are gaps. These jobs aren't back to back). He's watched me struggle for years working multiple jobs at once. He has stolen money from me, hidden money from me. He lied to me once about paying his rent and phone bills (I would give him my half to pay) and we ended up getting our phones cut off and we got evicted from our apartment for non payment.

He does not help around the house. I will come home to garbage on the floor, upturned cans and ice cream tubs face down on my white carpet, dishes overflowing the sink etc.

At one point there was steadiness. About a year or two. I got pregnant. He lost his job a couple weeks later. I worked 12 hour days and then did a courier job on my time off, all through my pregnancy. I was told that, "it's not like you're working two FULL time jobs". Eventually, he found work again. That lasted for about a month and then a week before my mat leave started, he lost that job.

My son was born. Keep in mind, he BEGGED me for children. I think it was the main reason he married me because he knew I wanted to do the traditional marriage and then kids thing. 

My son came along. My husband shut down. We were all home all day together but my son and I would sometimes go days without seeing him. He would go in the bedroom, shut the door and do opioids or whippets and pass out. I forgot to mention, for the first few years he was an alcoholic so that was hard. He has been sober off booze for almost 5 years, no small feat.

But after our son was born he got heavy on the pills etc. He didn't help with night feedings, he barely held him, he made sure the baby gate in the living room was built infront of his lazy boy so the baby was I guess caged in a way that would make it impossible to touch him. On the occasion that I needed him to watch the baby while I tried to earn money, he would call, yelling at me to get home, send me voice clips of my son screaming. As a mother, it's excruciating.

The sex became unbearable. The day my doctor cleared me, he said we were doing it. I told him I didn't feel ready. Didn't matter. I was in such pain. In tears. This continued with frequency for about a month. Then I started avoiding it by pretending to sleep. He would go the entire day without even coming out of his room, I'm with baby all day, taking care of the house, the finances. I crawl into bed after a long day just for him to roll over and say, "Will you have sex with me so I can get back to sleep". I would say no several times. Sometimes he would let up, sometimes he would just eventually start going down on me etc. and I'd still ask him to stop. He would do his thing, most times I would cry. Sometimes bleed. He would roll over and go to sleep. I told him I felt like a receptacle, like I wasn't human. His response was that he resented me for rejecting him so much. He was obviously going through it mentally but so was I. His behaviour was disgusting. I asked him recently about this time. He told me he was sorry. He just wasn't ready to be a dad.

He BEGGED for this child. I couldn't believe that was his response.

After about a year, year and a half, he came around. I had to go back to work. It forced him into having to watch our son. He finally created a bond. He is a semi-involved father. But for example, if they have the day off together while I'm working, it'll be tablet day for my son all day while he's on his phone. He has stepped it up in some ways. We will now take turns with bedtime, bath time, making lunches, school drop offs etc. Before, it was all me. He will have heart to heart talks with my son in a teachable moment and I do love and appreciate that. He is no longer a totally negligent father. I wish he would be more present but he's miles from where he was. Little steps, I guess.

The incident with my son during his first year is when things really shifted for me. And I haven't come back from it. I put this huge wall up, I think, in an act of self preservation. To be able to function as a mother. And that's all I could manage to do. I completely neglected myself and my marriage. So, I'm not blameless in my share of the marriage breakdown. I have become very avoidant of him and closed off. I don't make an effort to be physical with him or really very affectionate in any way. I understand my own reasons for it. But I also understand that it's contributing to the breakdown of the marriage. I don't know how to get out of the fight or flight feeling with him. 

Two years in and I was at a point of incredible stress because of the marriage and our finances and my doctor upped my antidepressants to a dose that caused me to have a stroke at 33 years old.

When I got home from the hospital, the dishes I left in the sink a week prior were still there. My house was trashed. My husband shipped our son off with his mother for most of the week but the incident was enough to inspire my husband to finally get a job. It only offered 3-4 hours a day. Not enough, but something. 

Now in this time, again, begging for more help around the house, to keep looking for or taking on a second job so I wasn't going into debt paying all his bills. His credit is so bad he can't even get a phone in his name. He's retreated completely into his phone. Completely ignoring everything and everyone around him. My son or myself would be yelling his name and he's so hyperfocused on his phone he can't even hear us. Or I would talk to him and he'd interrupt with a completely unrelated topic. Or I would be talking and he would just go back to his phone and stop responding. I'd walk away and he wouldn't even notice for hours. I should mention, as this does explain a lot of his behaviour, he has severe ADHD and possibly autism to some degree. He takes his medication but not all the time and it doesn't really seem to help with a lot of his symptoms. I've asked him to get therapy that specializes in ADHD or even just something for his mental health. I think getting sober finally made him have to come to terms with things and he has no idea how to cope. He hasn't gotten therapy. 

About 2 years back, my husband mentioned that the government had overpaid him during an EI claim of about $400.00-600.00. Okay, no big deal. If they made the mistake, they'll just take it off his income tax return (we're Canadian, by the way). So, it's two years on from that now. I come home and check the mailbox. There's a fat letter from Service Canada for a hearing. I put it on the table for him to open. He does. He says nothing. A few hours later, I ask him about it. He says casually, oh, it's just for my hearing about the outstanding money they overpaid me. I said, why does that need a hearing? It's a $600 mistake on their part. This makes no sense. He says to me CASUALLY, well, no, it's about $10 000.00. My jaw drops. I tell him to give me the letter. I read it. I end up opening the drawer he keeps his mail in. I read it all. He has committed tax fraud. In bold letters it says, "You have knowingly and purposely commited tax fraud against the Canadian government. This is a serious offense and may result in a criminal record and/or jail time". I kept looking. I found 2 years worth of bills demanding $300/month in payments. He's never even called to set up a payment. And whatever the outcome of this hearing is, he is now in a position where if he gets laid off, needs sick leave etc. he cannot apply for benefits without contributing double the amount of hours for the next 5 years. Which is a huge deal to us because he's fired or laid off constantly. When this happened, he had been working for almost 3 months by the point. The tax fraud issue came to light and the following week he lost his job again.

Nothing is a big deal to him. Oh, $10 000 in tax fraud? Fighting with me about safety concerns ie. I wanted to replace our smoke detector because it wasn't working and he got angry about it saying it wasn't a big deal (it's illegal not to have a working one here in your home). Riding 120km/hr on a dirt road on his motorcycle after he PROMISED he wouldn't and making jokes about it infront of me? Spending too much time with a female friend at the detrement of your marriage? Going months and months without work? Not getting his oil changed? Making plans that require him to be away from home for a day or two at a time and not telling me until the day before? Not paying his bills? Not helping around the house and watching your wife's hair fall out? Not being a present father for the first few years of your son's life? His response to me is always "it's not that big of a deal", "you're overreacting", "I didn't realize this was a big deal" etc. There's plenty more but the problems I've talked about here are the ones that stand out most to me.

I stopped talking to him after the tax fraud thing. I took off my wedding ring. I dissociated, entirely. I didn't even feel like I was in my body. I lost track of time, lost sleep, couldn't eat, lost 15 lbs in two weeks (the one bonus!).

I got a message a few weeks ago from someone I hadn't heard from in 12 years. An ex from when I was young. One of those people you have this sort of soul connection with. There's so many details on my relationship with him. But we just started talking plutonically. Just nice to hear from each other again. But it's been a few weeks of speaking and I've developed feelings and he is too. It's gotten really inappropriate. He is also at a weird place with his marriage. They have been discussing divorce because of some DV on her part and that kind of led to their breakdown. So, I think with us both in a weird, vulnerable limbo, we got really attached. I know it's not an excuse. It's gotten to the point where we're discussing possibly getting back together if our marriages don't work out. And I know I need to stop talking to him like this. If we're going to work on our marriages, we need to do it without outside influence. It's just nice to have someone who wants to talk to me (my husband has told me doesn't want to hear about my problems at work etc etc). It's nice to feel adored. I'm ready to feel those things again after almost 8 years of negligence. But this doesn't justify it. All the things my husband has done does not warrant an emotional affair from me. I don't know what to do. Obviously, I can't keep doing it. My biggest fear is the unknown when it comes to my son. He is almost 5 now. My hope, as I'm sure with most parents, is to give my child a steady, happy home with both parents together. Without my son, my marriage would have long ended. I can't give my boy much. But I'll give him any crumbs I can and I'll forgo any and all happiness to give him what's going to make his life just a tiny bit better. But what is it? And now I feel like everything my husband has done is nothing compared to what I have. I'm the worse partner. I have no integrity anymore. And then I think of my affair partner's wife. Because this man has been talking more and more about getting together with me so I know I'm taking away focus from him wanting to try to fix his marriage. The guilt is starting to eat away at me. All the people I could potential hurt because of my own selfishness.

My husband has told me if I leave, he'll kill himself. He's told me this several times. I feel very trapped by it. I worry so much about his wellbeing and my son's wellbeing that I've completely let go of any sort of happiness or hope for myself. And I will continue to do so, for my son. And part of my son's happiness is his dad being happy and healthy. I worry about a relapse. A suicide attempt. 

I guess I'm feeling extra motivation to end the marriage, in part, because of the emotional affair. It is not the reason but I feel like it's fast tracking things. And I don't need it clouding my judgement. Because at the end of the day, it's all been an online thing with the other man. We don't even live in the same county anymore. Maybe something could come of it in the future but it would be a logistical nightmare. I need to decide whether my marriage is worth working on, independent of this other man. What will be best for my child? I know I'm a garbage human being for what I've done. I've never done anything like this before. I don't even recognize myself anymore. Any advice would be appreciated.


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Leaving would be a much better option for your son than staying in a loveless marriage with an unrepentant, toxic, emotionally abusive criminal. 

But please first do that: take your son, leave that maniac, get a good lawyer, get a divorce, start living a normal, healthy life with your son, and only then start thinking about new romantic relationships. Don’t leave because of that new man. He’s currently just a symptom of your unhappiness. You don’t know yet whether he is the “real deal” or not. First find yourself again, create your own happiness.

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Yes it's best to leave the situation. Also a good thing to keep in mind is if you see many red flags about a person don't marry them to begin with. There clearly were red flags about this guy even before you two got married. 


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You should have left this marriage within the first 6 months.  Never let a man be this disrespectful to you again.

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First of all, go easy on yourself, after all that, you deserve to feel positive about something.  First thing you should do is a find yourself a good therapist, you've been living your life in reactive/passive terms, you need to learn to begin to live proactively and take control.

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