How to Protect Yourself From Being Used in a Relationship


Sometimes it’s hard to know if you’re being kind and loving in a relationship, or if a man is using you. How do you protect yourself from being walked all over — especially when you’re in love? Love is blind; you can’t see as clearly and you’re less able to make rational, level-headed decisions.

That’s what I’m here for! To help you make decisions that help you blossom and flourish into who God created you to be. These tips are inspired by a reader who couldn’t find the strength to leave a manipulative man. She says:

“Some married men are extremely manipulative with vulnerable women, and will keep using you until they’ve had enough,” says a reader on How to Break Your Addiction to a Toxic Relationship. “Most women (like me) will stay in affairs with men, not finding the strength to leave until the cold hard truth hits home. Or, something shocking and heartbreaking happens – and the men don’t chase you. It saddens me that so many amazing women on this blog (She Blossoms) are still being manipulated. They stay in affairs for months and years, waiting for the man to commit. Instead, they should focus on their own lives so they aren’t being used in relationships with men.”





First, how do you know if you’re being used? Being in a relationship involves lots of giving and sacrifice, and the “give and take” isn’t always equal.

Second, how do you put your rational mind above your normal, natural desire for love?  Let’s see if we can uncover a few ways to guard your heart without protecting yourself from falling in love.

5 Ways to Protect Yourself From Being Used in a Relationship

These five “Blossom Tips” are divided into categories: spiritual, heart, soul, body and brain. This will give you a holistic approach to protecting yourself in a relationship with the wrong man. Warning: just because I’m all about blossoming doesn’t mean I only offer roses. Indeed, this article may have a few thorns attached.

1. Grow your spiritual strength

It’s not enough to believe in God or a Higher Power. Even the devil believes! Your faith has to be developed and strengthened by building a relationship with Jesus. When you have a strong, vibrant relationship with Him, you won’t find yourself feeling desperate and needy for a man’s love. Spiritual strength offers a source of peace, joy and freedom that worldly problems can’t touch.

If your strength and self-image is based on your relationship with Jesus, you won’t keep struggling to protect yourself from being used in a relationship. You’ll have a strong, firm foundation of faith that will see you through the most difficult relationships…and even the saddest breakups. The “secret” is to build a relationship with Jesus first, and allow your other relationships to fall naturally from your spiritual strength.

2. Learn how to see past blind love 

Not only is love blind, it’s also deaf, dumb and often mute! This means you overlook relationship problems others may see, you believe lies or half-truths you’d otherwise catch, and you don’t speak up for yourself when you’re being mistreated. Learning how to protect yourself from being used in a relationship involves being aware of your tendency to make mistakes and overlook bad behavior when you’re in love. 

Here’s how to know if you’re being used by a man: you can’t tell your friends and family about the relationship or how he treats you. Whenever you have to keep someone’s behavior or words a secret, you know you’re being used. If you can’t be honest with your loved ones about your relationship, then you’re in an unhealthy or even abusive relationship.

If you know you’re blinded by love, read 6 Reasons You’re Stuck in an Unhealthy Relationship.

3. Find a relationship you don’t have to hide

You can protect yourself by relying on the strength and smarts of people you trust. This is hard. First, you have to share the honest truth about how you are being treated in your relationship. Hopefully you can talk to someone in person; it’s more difficult and real to share the truth face-to-face. 

Second, you need to be willing to change. Maybe you need healing in some aspect of your life. Why are you prone to being used by men in relationships? What are you looking for that you’re not getting? When was your last healthy relationship, and what happened with it? Dig into yourself. Look for the answers, and you’ll find them. These truths will help you heal.



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4. Challenge yourself to rise above your emotions

Here’s how to put your rational mind above your natural desire for love: stop living out of your emotions. Yes, you love him. Yes, he’s manipulative and controlling, perhaps even narcissistic. Or, he’s simply leading you on because he’s not interested in committing to you. Yes, he’s using you in this relationship, and you’re struggling to protect yourself. It’s all true.

Now that you know the truth, you need to stop following your emotions. You aren’t a child; you are a grown woman who has power, intelligence, and choice. You can rise above your feelings, and start living a life you’re proud of. 

Don’t let him control you by continuing to use you. This isn’t his problem; it’s yours. You are more powerful and strong than you think! 

5. Decide how you want to be treated – and accept no less

Sometimes we shift the blame to men instead of taking responsibility for own choices and actions. Whether you’re walking with God or not, for example, you know that having an affair with a married man is destructive. Deep down (or maybe not so deep at all) you know he’s using you in this relationship. You know it isn’t right, and you know you’d be destroyed if your husband was in an intimate relationship with another woman.

How to Protect Yourself From Being Used in a RelationshipSo, why aren’t you using your brains to protect yourself from “being used in a relationship”? Why aren’t you taking responsibility for your actions? Because you’re in love. You yearn for a romantic relationship, and you’re attracted to this man. You’re allowing yourself to be manipulated — and you’re following your emotions.

It’s normal to be interested in men who aren’t available. The problem arises when you ignore your values, vows and beliefs. You turn away from your convictions and self-respect, you find yourself vulnerable to the whims and choices of others — including men who will use you in relationships. 

You have the power to change your life. Don’t give that power to a man who will use you.

What do you think? Your comments – big and little – are welcome below! I read every comment, but don’t worry: I won’t lecture you on how to protect yourself from being used in a relationship. Now’s your chance to respond.

You have a source of wisdom that goes far above me, and you’ll listen to His voice when you’re ready. Then, your faith will give you the strength and courage you need to walk into the next season of your life. You’ll learn how to protect yourself from being used, and you’ll blossom into the woman God created you to be.

You’ve already started.

xo



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362 thoughts on “How to Protect Yourself From Being Used in a Relationship

  • Butterflies are Free

    Update:
    I said: “So I have pushed off my affair from the top rung of my ladder of life. I am building my own life instead.” and “He is descending in importance in my life. In priority. We are not building any kind of life together so I must build mine alone. Two years and building….” YEP YEP
    and “In some ways, as of more developments this week we are sort of moving uneasily into a kind of truce/ friendship of sorts.” Yep. Sort of. Well NO.
    No not anymore. I have decided to block him on my phone and on Facebook which is all the ways I know he can easily reach me digitally. I changed my mind. I have cut all the effortless access he had to me. It was easy and I did not cry or feel too terrible whatsoever. Just pissed off..annoyed…(see below)
    From the time of the Facebook message and the damn white dove he sent, I had slowly agreed to unblock him to allow easier access and to have some supposedly neutral conversations. And perhaps to create a working “friendship”. Seems reasonable right? Kind of? Well, it is NOT with this guy. Lately this “friendship” had even drifted towards me helping him brainstorm another career (in something I know very well and he knows this). He was laid off from a corporate job two years ago after a re-org, then could not find more work in his field, then came back to the restaurant full time where he is miserable. I get that part. I do feel badly about this and wanted to help. I asked myself what I would do for another one of my “friends”? Would I help them out? Yes of course I would and have done so several times this year.
    However: I also wondered: Is he actually my friend? Is there another motive on his part? What is it? Am I dreaming he is a friend but in reality he is not? The trust issue reared its ugly head and my lack of belief in his telling the whole truth.
    Still we had a warm and nice discussion on the phone last night and then we set up a meeting together for him to see some of the materials involved and the things I had found for him on-line. In other words, last night at 10 PM we confirmed.
    But today he blew me and the meeting off entirely. No text no call no warning. I had planned time for this and done some research for this (which he knew about). But I never heard from him! I had many things to do today so I kept busy and distracted myself. On the way home I decided to look through the window of his restaurant to see him to ask him what was going on? I found him angry on the phone with someone and seemingly not having time or wanting to see me at that moment so I left. However I signaled to him I was looking to see what was going on with the meeting. But the rest of day went on and no call no text.
    I thought of how I would feel if a “friend” did this to me and I realized of course I would be pissed and that it would be frankly disrespectful to me and I would not trust that person anymore. Then I thought: “I actually have zero friends that would do this to me!” Then it occurred to me (just like last week) that it was Monday and I would bet his W was coming to the restaurant later in the evening. Yep I could feel it. But why didn’t he just tell me? Why didn’t he just text to say he could not make the appointment? Why leave me in the lurch like that?
    I thought again of what I would do if this was a “friend”. I would call and cancel. Let the person know what is up. Apologize and re-schedule. Etc. Around 5 or 6 PM I saw him alone texting on his phone outdoors. He was NOT busy with work. But I did not get any texts.
    I thought of the last male that did this to me from an on-line dating situation? I dropped him immediately, seeing this behavior it as a big red flag. Of course an affair is hardly the same as dating but still. Isn’t this still a big red flag? So why then do I want to give an exMM the “preferential treatment? What makes him so special to me?
    I thought to myself: “This behavior is toxic for me. I know it is.” So I went for a massage down the block and when I came home around 10 PM who should I see walking to the car hand in hand? Ahem. The H and the W. The two of them holding hands. That was the final straw and I made the decision to block awhile later. Whatever is going on with this man and his W and his women problems in general, (the ones that include ME) he is troubled and not even aware of the consequences of his actions with women. He is over 50 years old but is acting like he is his early 20’s still with no communication skills. No ability to see the cause and effect of his actions.
    This time with the hands holding it had much less impact on my psyche which took such a hit LAST YEAR this time! Yeah the second time is much easier. Especially when I am less attracted to this man anyhow. But of course there is a sting. Yes I was a bit stung. But I was thinking: “better her than me.”
    Let them hold hands all they want!
    And I thought to myself: “Screw him! He does NOT get any preferential treatment from me! I am not coddling this MM any longer!” Then I blocked.
    Does that remove him from my street…from my life? No of course not as visual sitings are inevitable. But it DOES send the message to him that his bullshit is not going to fly anymore with me. I can choose NOT to engage with him with words and conversations that go nowhere. I have just had enough. Enough. I am tried so tired and just fed with all this useless bull crap. No words needed. No fight needed. No drama needed. Just BLOCK and WALK.
    I wonder about his behavior but whatever I come up with does not change anything. Because he does it over and over again no matter how much we talk. If he is a true narc then I would guess I got “re-love-bombed” for a quick minute or two while he got my friendship and attention back which is what he wanted. And access to me and my support and help if needed. But then as a narc will always do once that get what they want, he discarded me too. When he got what he wanted he then quickly turned into “devaluation of me” mode at which point he could and would easily discard any meeting where I expected him to attend. Where I expected him to show up. Any thoughts on this theory?

    In the meantime, I have indeed implemented BLOCK and WALK and will leave this in place for however time I feel I want to and if that means forever so be it. Butterflies are Free! and I do not have to tolerate this behavior. For me friendship with me exMM is always a loaded gun and I would say most times, one way or another, the gun comes back to pointing at me. I tried but it failed and I got stood-up again. Oh well. I m strong. I can handle this. I will fly away from this street now. Goodbye dysfunctional love affair! See you later………
    Hugs Butterflies are FREE!
    aka Lara xxxooo

    • Felk

      BAF, you know I think this is a strong move to close off avenues of contact from your MM. And I think it’s really fair in response to how he treated you yesterday (and for a long time). To blow you off, with no text or call, is unacceptable. I get he’s going through things, tough things, but that’s no excuse to treat people unkindly or with disrespect. While we give friends some leeway to blow us off without calling, it’s rare for friends to do that and we don’t put up with it for very long. Friends call or text if they can’t do something they’ve agreed to do. So, I think you’re right… either he’s not a friend or he’s not the type of friend you want. I like your plan of “block and walk.” No more conversations needed. He doesn’t deserve them (as you have tried over and over), and you have to do what’s best for you. I know you have a lot of empathy for other people struggling, but he is taking advantage of that and it’s hurting you still. He is not treating you with respect, and, thus, is makes no sense for you to sacrifice for him anymore. If he really was “just” a friend, this would probably be easier. He probably would text and treat you better. But, the two of you are still wrapped up in this and I’d imagine that’s part of why he doesn’t text. It’s ironic that he treats you worse because you’re still more than a friend, but I bet that’s what’s happening. And that’s why it bothers you a little more than a friend doing it to you. That’s the trouble with trying to be friends with an ex.

      I do think he’s doing what you described about “re-love-bombed.” I think he comes and goes as he needs and gives you very little. He takes and takes. He showed that months ago when he didn’t give you anything back after describing some of the stresses in your life (and he popped back in with the peace dove). He came back into the picture for him and him only. And he keeps doing that when it’s convenient for him with little regard for your needs. But he will keep doing it if you let him. Obviously, you know I understand, but he’s learned he can treat you this way (and I know my MM learned some of that about me). During the affair, I think it’s more complicated as it’s hard to know what expectations to set and we have to be rather flexible with canceled plans and unreturned texts, etc. But, now, you are just asking for basic decency and he’s not giving that. Blocking him will help you be done.

      • Butterflies are Free

        Felk thank you for your answers. I have a couple of questions:
        BAF, you know I think this is a strong move to close off avenues of contact from your MM.
        Are you saying this is too strong of a response? I am unclear on this. If yes then what would you suggest? I’m at my wits end.
        Yes his behavior is unacceptable. I, too. get he’s going through things, tough things, but I agree: “that’s no excuse to treat people unkindly or with disrespect.”
        I am wondering if it is better to say this to him directly?
        You are right that he is neither a friend nor the type of friend I want, I feel used,
        You say, “I like your plan of “block and walk.” No more conversations needed.
        I just don’t know what the point is of these heartfelt conversations when he is so disrespectful overall.
        You say, “I know you have a lot of empathy for other people struggling, but he is taking advantage of that and it’s hurting you still. He is not treating you with respect, and, thus, is makes no sense for you to sacrifice for him anymore.” YES YES YES
        You say: “It’s ironic that he treats you worse because you’re still more than a friend, but I bet that’s what’s happening. And that’s why it bothers you a little more than a friend doing it to you.”
        What do you mean here? I am unclear.
        You say: “I do think he’s doing what you described about “re-love-bombed.” I think he comes and goes as he needs and gives you very little. He takes and takes” The my assessment is correct he is a narc, no?
        “But he will keep doing it if you let him.” YES Absolutely.
        Like I said it takes me energy to get out of the affair and energy to establish a new life. I do NOT have the energy to do it all nor be it all anymore. Neither do I wish to.
        Thank you for listening and talking this out with me. I really appreciate it! Hugs B.A.F. aka Lara
        xxxooo

        • Butterflies are Free

          Today I prayed for guidance . Yes I literally prayed to my Higher Power/s. I got the message that by blocking the text/phone communication I “up” the drama and this makes it MORE likely he will then react as well then show up at my door etc. I am so torn. So then I unblocked. But I don’t like the feeling of being unblocked. It makes me feel open tp pain and less in control. On edge not safe. I guess either way the situation here kind of sucks. But I want to stay neutral as possible not cause more drama. Thoughts?
          Tomorrow I will talk to my therapist too. UGH. Hugs B.A.F. aka Lara

        • Felk

          BAF, before I saw your second post, I read this first one (where you asked, “Are you saying this is too strong of a response?”) and my first thought was about the conflict you were feeling in making the decision to block him. And then I saw your second post, and I see you decided to unblock him. In my post, when I said it was strong, I meant that YOU were strong to unblock him. I did not think it was an unfair/bad response to your MM. I thought that you were doing something good for you and for moving forward. That you read my comment and wondered if I was saying it was too strong a response makes your conflict clear. It seems you’re still finding it hard to completely cut this man out of your life. Yesterday, you said it felt easy to block him but today you have already unblocked him. I see in your second post that you said you were worried that blocking him would just cause more drama and cause him to come to your door, but I wonder if you’re still trying to give him access to you by unblocking him?

          I know you are an empathetic person by nature so I can imagine it’s hard for you to cut off anyone that you feel is in need, but several months ago in my healing, I read about how we make excuses to stay in our ex’s life. How we will talk ourselves into wishing someone a happy birthday saying to ourselves that it would be unkind to not wish this person happy birthday, when what we are really doing is trying to stay close to this person and keep communication open. Are you doing this? Maybe it really is that you know blocking him will lead to drama, but by you worrying that you thought I was saying your response was too strong, it sounds like you were second-guessing your decision to block him as being unkind and unfair. I know your empathetic nature, so I get why that’s wrapped up here, but you are certainly not being unfair to your MM by blocking him. You have given and given and given, and lately all he has done is taken, while offering no closeness to you. Also, it seems you no longer have expectations for each other anymore so you owe him nothing.

          Maybe it is time for you to say it to him directly and tell him to no longer come to your house as well. But make sure that you are not initiating that conversation merely in the hopes that he will try to stop you or say something to indicate his love for you. I don’t think you even owe him that conversation as you have made it pretty clear that you are done with him, but given your long history with him, I can understand why you might want to end it with a conversation. Ultimately, though, if you really are done, you can just stop talking to him and be done. You don’t need to tell him.

          The part I wrote about how it was ironic that he treats you worse (than a friend) meant that it’s ironic given that he has feelings for you that are stronger than they are for a friend. So, we’d expect him to treat you better (since he thinks of you as more than a friend). But, we often find it easiest to treat those closest to us the worst. And the part I wrote about how his behavior bothers you a little more than a friend doing it to you was saying that he can still hurt you more than a “normal” friend. So, even though we’d be annoyed with any friend who said they were going to call and then didn’t, I think you’re more upset with your MM given your history with him.

          I don’t know if your MM is a narc because I don’t know him at all, but the re-love bomb sounds like something a narc would do. You come back into someone’s life when it’s useful for you and you leave when it’s not.

          As for your second post about unblocking him, if you’re done with him, I think it’s better to block. If you really want to move on, it seems that his access to you and him coming into and out of your life when he wants is exhausting you (and causes more potential for pain). To me, it seems like you’re keeping the door open because you’re still hoping, but you’ve said here that you’re not. If not, it seems best to just block him and do what’s best for you to move on. You have said that you don’t think the two of you can be just friends (as you’ve tried that) and you don’t think he’s treating you like a very good friend anyway. So, why allow him access to your life anymore? If it were just kindness to him, you’d be able to do it without emotion, but you clearly are upset by the way he treats you. I know you don’t want to deal with the drama of him coming to your door (if you block him), but blocking him seems to be an important step towards not caring if he comes to your door. Of course, your therapist knows you better so it will be helpful to get their feedback.

          • Butterflies are Free

            I talked to my therapist earlier as I was in yes such a conflict Felk. THANK YOU so much for your comments above!
            Long story short she told me to BLOCK and WALK. She reminded me that I am trying to process my son moving away this weekend and my therapist (her) semi-retiring! Both feel painful to me and like major changes in my life. She said I was getting into the conflict over BLOCKING/UNBLOCKING with my exMM as a distraction. (Not necessarily a conscious one but a way to distract from the sadness and even abandonment I might feel from two people very close to me moving away). So of course my brain feels sad and of so course I might look for some kind of brain boost. A friendship with my exMM would provide that “boost” but only IF it could work. But she said a friendship with him it will never work as long as he stays stuck in his old patterns of relating to me. And she sees no signs he has changed one bit. Unless he is willing to take responsibility for his actions and his feelings a true “friendship” is, she thinks, even LESS and LESS likely with him because I am in therapy and taking many steps to change and grow myself. But he is NOT. I am changing but he is not.
            As for him having work or financial troubles she said those are NOT MY PROBLEMS! Furthermore, if he is a NARC then he would feel automatically defeated shamed by my success (and my offer to help him) and he would then want to push me back down immediately and she asked me who does that sound like”. Of course I said: LIKE MY MOTHER. And she gets very jealous when I have successes. So much of my relating in the world comes back down to that one very influential relationship and I was trying to “help” her since birth forward, even as a young child. So, of course she said I am automatically attracted to Narcs who “need help” as they feel very “familiar” (and thus “SAFE”) to me. Only they are not.
            It is great to have therapist who knows me so well remind me of what I do know already know somewhere in my brain, but am in total denial to at times. YES, she does feels he is, in all likelihood, a clinical narc (although she cant say for sure as she has never met him) as have been many of my love partners. She DID meet my ex H and said he was definitely a narc.
            MY change, growth, or success, in any partnerships with narcs will NEVER be welcome news she reminded me. SO BLOCK and WALK is what she said would send the clearest message and create the clearest boundary. For ME. It’s for ME not him. She said blocking and walking is to give ME peace of mind from what are NOT my problems whatsoever. But that I can not control his reactions or decisions. As for him arriving at the door she said to NOT answer. … or call a neighbor for help if needed. Or, of course in any worse case scenario, the police! But she doubted it would get that far. And so do I.
            xxxooo
            Hugs Butterflies are FREE!
            aka Lara xxxooo

    • Hope

      Hi BAF 🙂 I couldn’t reply to your comment hence replying here. I am feeling good thank you. So sorry to hear what happened with your ex MM, WTF is his problem? He works so hard to gain your affection/sympathy and then blows things, who does that!!!!? (except of course this moron!). I agree with Felk, you are not at all being unreasonable by blocking him, he deserves it I think. I am so sorry you saw them holding hands arghhh it’s so difficult, I am so sorry but I am so glad it wasn’t as bad as last year, I remember you being devastated last year. I am relieved to know it was nowhere near as bad as last year for you, may be you are used to his antics? I feel for you Lara and really hope his BS doesn’t upset you too much, YES absolutely he is HER problem not yours. This man is so messed up he sounds similar to J’s MM!

      Thank you so much for all the kind things you say Lara I really appreciate it. Yes absolutely the fog of affair is so intense, at one point I never thought I could survive this but with time the fog does lift. We see things for the way they are, the constant disappointments and highs and lows made the relationship less attractive for me.

      I agree your MM does seem like a narcissist. I think you are right in thinking that he hates it when you are doing well. Every time you are doing well he shows up and messes things. I agree with Felk that he gives you little and then takes, takes and takes some more. He is definitely taking advantage of your kind nature and heart. Stay strong Lara this too shall pass.

      You are right, this friendship won’t work for me too. I gave it a try because he was desperate that we try at least being friends but this hurts more than I thought it would, I really don’t want to go back to where I was months ago, feeling that vulnerable is probably the loneliest and scariest feeling for me. I will stay away and try to move on, you do too.
      Take care beautiful lady 🙂
      Hugs xxx
      Hope

  • Felk

    BAF (or is it okay if we still call you Lara?), it’s interesting what you say about how damage is done to the affair over time. I wonder if that is more the case if one affair partner wants the other to leave their marriage? Over time, I didn’t really feel the affair damaged my affair. I only felt “damage” when my MM was starting to pull away in the end and making decisions about whether to end his marriage or the affair. Yes, he was damaging our relationship at that point, but it wasn’t merely the sake of the affair continuing that was damaging our affair as is the case for the marriage. The affair continuing damages the marriage, but I don’t think the affair continuing always damages the affair, at least that wasn’t my experience. If anything, the longer our affair went, the better it got. And I don’t just mean feelings grew, but I mean he got more comfortable and felt less guilty and we got into a rhythm of expectations that worked well for us.

    I know the difference you’re talking about between not expecting your MM to call and still feeling hurt that he passed you over for his W. It wasn’t that he didn’t call. It was that he didn’t call because of his W. Maybe she showed up to the restaurant unexpectedly? Maybe he had hoped to call you that night and then found out that she was coming? I do know what you mean about the hurt, though. In my affair, I wasn’t hurt when my MM had to unexpectedly do something with his W (and it would change our plans), if it was out of his control. It was the few times that it felt like he was “choosing” her over me that it did hurt. It didn’t happen often, but I remember one time in the first year of our affair when I had asked him for some time together after work and he got very cold and told me that there were other things that he had to do… other things that he wanted to do that day. Now, it could have been something with his kids, but the way he said it, it seemed like it was something with his W and that one stung. I know now he was saying that out loud for himself (because in that first year he was still struggling with the guilt of the affair), but it hurt.

    And, yes, of course, the way your MM is acting, he is not respecting you or his W. The affair, by definition, is disrespectful to his W, but the way he comes in and out of your life and does not treat you with fairness and openness, as it seems you give him, is disrespectful to you. This is the nature of affairs, though, right? You have to share yourself with two people so you can give neither one everything and both end up getting less than they should. This was exactly why my MM ended our affair.

    As for my marriage, no I don’t think it was odd my H never said anything. He’s not really that type of person, but also since I am the dominant one in the relationship, it’s going to be less likely for him to challenge me than me to challenge him. In a way, I think my H was scared to ask. But, no, I didn’t go extra out of my way to make everything seem normal. Over time, it was clear I was changing. But, yes, I do want my marriage with my H. I felt that through the affair (even though it definitely got harder), and I feel it now. Sure, my MM is still distracting me a bit, but that has changed a lot over the months. It’s still a slow process and I will never be back to where I was six years ago with my H, but I want my marriage and am happy with my H. I am taking active steps to improve my marriage and I will continue to.

    As you say about your MM, I always felt that I could never truly trust my MM. I thought we had good honesty in our affair (for the things we needed to continue the affair), but he was a closed/private person and that didn’t work well for me. Because he was protective of his feelings, that meant he was sometimes critical and judgmental (as insecure people are). I never felt like I could open up entirely to him or trust him with my feelings. Also, knowing he so easily cheated on his W for five years, how could I trust him not to do that to me? (And he shouldn’t have been able to trust me not to do it to him.) My MM and I are each too selfish to be with each other, I think. I think your MM is the same way. So, yes, I don’t see how you could ever trust your MM. I do think you’ll be much happier if you are eventually able to move away.

    • Butterflies are Free

      Hi Felk,
      Before I say anything about the affair I DO want to say that this weekend I am flying away again 🙂 I have a family wedding and I am going to it. So good-bye block! And next weekend I am going away again. This time to my annual reunion with some colleagues at a beautiful lake. If all goes well I will have been away for much of June. Butterflies are Free! I am am also engaging in creating new ART WORKS. But these will be using words somehow. I have a close friend from my other reunion who is encouraging me and we got very very friendly at the reunion last weekend. So I am committed to having conversations this summer about our on-going projects. She is writing an incredible book about women and their lives and about the experience of being female. Anyhow so these things are exciting to em and they have nothing to do with the exMM for the affair.
      And more big news: The exMM told me his business lease ip up in 4 years and the owner will not be renewing! WOW. Looks like I do not have to do anything I do not want to go (in terms of moving away) as he will be gone in a few years. It feels sad and strange but that at least will be the end. PHEW.

      So I have pushed off my affair from the top rung of my ladder of life. I am building my own life instead. Up until a few years ago, he had occupied that top place but since two summers ago when this break up actually happened, I have been pushing him down the ladder more and more. Unfortunately his father died on the same day I had broken up with him. I get terrible and could not abandon him emotionally. But I did stop the sex then, And ever since, he is descending in importance in my life. In priority. We are not building any kind of life together so I must build mine alone. Two years and building….
      In some ways, as of more developments this week we are sort of moving uneasily into a kind of truce/ friendship of sorts. In the past I could never say he is just a friend but these days I am trying in fact. I barely feel attracted to him these days. That is pretty weird I must say. I just have reached this stage where he does not turn me on like he used to. Now its more like when I see him I I kind of dread it.
      The dram The Rama. The weight. UGH. Yes the ongoing affair has hurt our affair in my case. A lot.
      Over the years, too many negative repeating patterns, too many unmet expectations, too many insecurities and doubts but most of all too much PAIN on BOTH sides now make for a general uneasiness in general. I just don’t know what else to say. Recently I have seen him out parking the usual cars. But now he feels like a big YAWN to me. I am getting bored I must say. That is never a good sign for me. Usually boredom signals something is over for me. I know the gestalt of the thing already and then I become truly bored. That is probably the intense creative spirit in me. I need growth and change! Same ole same ole feels like death to me. He seems to somehow like it.

      This evening his W was here and I saw him talking to her too. He did not seem to be uneasy with her. He was smiling. If anything I see her more uneasy with him than the opposite but who the hell knows anymore?. They have a right to their marriage and relationship even as I have a right to my pain.
      And I do not want to be the cause of her pain but I know I have been. Or rather WE have been. But he has had others as well besides me. So no I do not trust him for a long term relationship. How could I?

      Today when we spoke we were not talking about “us”. We do not talk about “us” these days since I said I had no interest in being sexual with hm while he supposedly figures out his life. He respects me more when I am blunt and direct I have found. But today I did say something else that I have never said before and it was this: I talked about her and them. Since he always brings that up and his unhappiness I figure it is fair game, God Knows I am sick of hearing about his supposed unhappiness at home.
      So I said: “Whatever you are waiting for her to become, you must stop to wait on that. She will never change. It has been years and she has never changed one bit. She will never change. You can not wait for her to change anymore. Stop waiting for her to change and admit the truth to yourself.” Yeah I can be direct LOL
      I could see I brought up in him the usual anger I see in hime at her,
      But I continued: “Your are in this situation because you have chosen to remain. Everyone has issues with passion and romance in long term marriages. Everyone. All my friends were talking about this last weekend. They are all married for years.”
      He said: “Well as soon as I straighten out this thing and that thing (all financial related stuff) I am going to change.”
      I said yes, “Only you can change. You can not change her. Only you can change.”
      I was strong and firm. I did not cry. I did not plead or beg or look sad. I just laid it out there. Then I left. I have totally gone neutral on him. This is new. No flirting no suggestions of anything sexual. And I have lost my desire for passion. Just like her perhaps. I don’t have it in me anymore. Not for him anyhow. The on-going affair has weakened the “us” after all this time but recently it has weakened the most (since being on this blog I think and learning what others are saying too). I know how to get it back the “zing” in the “us” with effort and energy but I really hardly not interested in spending my little energy that way. I have other plans for the little energy I have:
      Instead I will fly around like butterfly now as much as I can right now. And have some fun!
      Hugs
      Butterflies are Free xxxooo (Lara) xxxooo

      • Nomad

        Lara, this is so powerful “I just have reached this stage where he does not turn me on like he used to.” and gives me hope that I’ll get there soon…

        I’m so happy for you and envious of you, with so much excitement and possibilities ahead of you! Please do come back when you are done flying! Hopefully one day we’ll fly and meet somewhere to celebrate our freedom! You’ll be missed till jun!! Hugs!

        • Butterflies are Free

          Nomad THANKS! When you start focusing on the FLAWS in him , when you see him as simply another guy…you will come down from that brain heaven place and realize: “He’s not all that!” He is really not all that. No one is! And as women age, men age too! Men often lose their hair, gain weight in the middle, get a bit of a double chin (just like us), go grey, and NO they don’t always look as hot some young thing. And their “performance” often changes too. My exMM is over 50 as am I. Neither one of us looks as good as we did when we met. We are far older.
          But our brains in “love/list” scramble up all the facts and designates the MM as the “Adonis”, the dashing exciting one. The other men are just plain “boring” compared to the Adonis.
          Nomad, he is not all that. If he really was all that, he would not be acting like he does. Think about it. If he was really all that, he would not be behaving the way he does. Is the way he behaves truly a turn on to you? Are you REALLY seeing him with neutral eyes?
          My sister once met my exMM and she said to me: “HIM????” “Ugh”. “I just don’t see it. What on earth do you see in him??.” LOL LOL
          hugs Butterflies Are Free
          xxxooo

      • Hope

        WOW BAF this is so powerful. We are so proud of you Lara!!!! Well done, you go girl, you build your future and move on, you have a right to be free and be happy! Sending you so many hugs xx
        I know what you mean about not being attracted to/less interested in exMM, it’s the same for me. I don’t know how this has happened but I am so glad it has. I do not find my exMM attractive, all I can think of when I think of him is the pain he comes with, unmet expectations, insecurities, disappointments, I do not like the person I had become during the end of the relationship, always on edge, always comparing myself and feeling less valuable. I do not wish to be that person again.
        I agree with Felk it’s very difficult for you to trust your exMM after everything he has done. I know for sure I can’t trust my ex MM. Also I think mm is incapable of putting someone else’s happiness before his. So glad to see you are happy Lara and firm and standing up to him!

        Felk I completely agree about the damage the affair causes. Yes I don’t think I’ll be back to who I was before the affair, that damage is done. What I’ll try to do is damage control. It’s difficult, very difficult since he still wants to be friends and yes I find being friends is difficult for me. I am glad to know you want to be with your H Felk, you have always wanted that and you never diverted from this for once. It shows how much you love your husband. As you know this wasn’t the case for me so I had to/still have to work hard to feel emotions during H.

        I am sorry for not being here often, I try to stay away from time to time as I want to avoid dealing with this sometimes. But I am glad to know you all are doing well. Thank you so much for helping me in my very dark days Lara, Felk and so many others. I hope 1 day we meet and just talk and I get a chance to thank you in person and tell you how awesome you are!! 🙂
        I am doing well, very grateful for what I have. ExMM is still a constant painful reminder. I know how you feel Felk about not expecting something such as a call but still being hurt when you don’t get one. Yes this still happens to me but I don’t think I have the strength to tell him to go away completely, not yet anyway. I have always been told I am his best friend but guess what his daughter was pregnant and he didn’t even tell me. He texted on the day of her delivery (he did this when his daughter in law was pregnant too) his reason? Because I had a miscarriage he didn’t want to hurt me but after that he knew I am pregnant, he had plenty of chances to tell me and yet he chose to hide it from me (again same as Lara’s MM he is a PRIVATE person and has always done this). He is no different to the women who didn’t invite me to a baby shower thinking I’ll jinx things. God knows I have only ever wished well for others. This roller coaster does not seem to end even we are friends 🙁
        Anyway I am trying to shut him out of my mind again. This is really exhausting. All I want to do is tell him to get stuffed!
        Hugs xxx
        Hope

        • Felk

          Hi Hope, Always good to hear from you and get check-ins here and there from those we’ve come to “know.” I understand taking a break from posting on here from time to time. I know that I have felt that I might need to stop talking about my MM so much on here because moving my thoughts away from him (and particularly our relationship) is pretty important for moving on. But, I kept posting because it was helping me so much to think things through and hear the advice you all had to give. I still feel that, but I understand taking a break.

          I wish I could say I was less attracted to my MM, but I am not. First, well, he’s just a damn attractive guy (all the women at work fawn all over him). Second, I thought he treated me pretty well through our relationship and so it’s hard to find many of his traits ugly. Yes, there are some things about him that I don’t like. He is selfish. I’m selfish, too, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it in someone else. 🙂 He is also rather judgmental and kind of holier-than-thou, and, as we know, arrogance/confidence can be really sexy… until it’s not. And he’s pretty emotionally closed. Obviously, he was open enough to make it clear he loved me, but I knew a real relationship with him would be bad for me. So, I do try to keep these things in mind as I remind myself of why I chose my H, but, generally, my MM is a good guy and that’s why I still want his friendship.

          Now, as for my marriage. You say that you still have to work hard to feel emotions for your H. I know what you mean. I’ve already said that I no longer feel that passion/attraction to my H. I like him as a friend, but, often, I feel cold/numb to him. I mostly feel that when I think that he wants more. If I think he wants love/attention/hugs from me, I start to shut down. And I don’t even mean sex, but sex is definitely included. Part of why I shut down with any affection is because I don’t want my H asking for sex. I still have no interest in sex with my H, and it has been like that for about three years now. So, yes, I get along with my H and I respect who he is, and I think we have a good friendship. But that’s all it feels like to me. I think that happens a lot in marriage, though. The passion fades. I think my affair just sped that part up.

          I also understand the things you say about your MM being private and how his actions (or inaction) can still hurt you. My MM is very private. That is his personality. Recently, I found out (from someone else) his sister was getting married, and it hurt a little that he hadn’t told me. When I joked with him about it later, he said, “Are you really surprised that I didn’t tell you?” And he was right. I wanted him to want to tell me things like that throughout our affair, but he generally was quiet about his family life. It sounds the same for you. You wanted your MM to tell you about his daughter-in-law, but it doesn’t sound like you’re surprised he didn’t. I would also believe his reasoning because of your miscarriage. It may not be what you wanted, but he may have been trying to be sensitive. And, like you, with your MM telling you that you’re his best friend, my MM told me that he opened up more to me than anyone else. I would imagine your MM felt you were his best friend. And I’d imagine my MM opened up to me more than his W. But, they’re still private men who don’t open up a lot, even if they opened up most to us.

          I also understand you not wanting to be friends with him. I think that’s smart for most affairs that end. I do know that exhausted feeling of just wanting to be done. I’m hoping I’m past that. I haven’t felt exhausted by us in several weeks now, but I also know that I’m in danger of feeling that again since we’re still trying this friendship thing.

          • Hope

            Hi Felk, it’s really nice to hear from you too 🙂 and I am so glad that you are not feeling exhausted by all of it, even if it changes with time (I doubt it will, you sound so much stronger) it’s great that at least you got there.
            I understand you feeling attracted to MM, fair enough as you say he is an attractive guy and has treated you well. Yes my ex MM treated me well too and I admire him for that but it’s bit different for me (and I think that’s why it’s easier to be less attracted) my ex MM never took me to lunches/coffee dates/dinners even though he knew I loved them.. they were HIS RULES and I just never contested much. So all the romance was behind closed doors only whereas my H does these things that I crave for (although occasional it’s still a start) Also ex MM is much older than me and pretty much the same things Lara mentioned about her ex MM.

            I completely understand being less attracted to H and withdrawing from the affection/sex, it’s awful but I am guilty of doing this too. I am trying really hard to make an effort and hopefully over time things will get better. I try and see how hard he works around the house and takes care of me. I remind myself that ex MM has never really been there when needed, he only ever said he wishes he was there but at the end of the day hardly any actions were taken to support that. How was it for you with your MM?

            About MM being private, yes this drove me INSANE and still does sometimes hence I am trying to stay away even as a friend. I can understand you being hurt when your MM didn’t tell you about his sisters wedding and all credit to you for maintaining your cool, my emotions would have gotten better of me, after numerous situations like these I feel I have no tolerance for BS. I do know that many times I do over react. He hid his daughter in law’s pregnancy couple of years ago and now his daughters. Thank you for your advice, you are right may be he was telling the truth in saying he was trying not to hurt me. Either way it is getting exhausting.

            On positive news every day without his attention is a positive step 🙂 Somedays it’s so difficult and my brain craves the attention from time to time but I have gotten better at being happy with what I have going in my day without him. I am scared to admit but I think I know I was never the girl for him, he would have never made a lifetime commitment to me. Although painful it has helped me survive without that addictive attention. I can go days/weeks without hearing from him. We have come such a long way Felk and although it’s still difficult we are not in the same position we were few months ago.

            Take care Felk 🙂
            Hugs xxx
            Hope.

          • Felk

            Hope, I really do rarely feel exhausted by it anymore. Months ago, the thoughts and feelings were overwhelming. I was exhausted by the hurt, and I was exhausted by thinking about the break-up (and him and us) constantly. Now, the thoughts and feelings are still there, but they don’t dominate me anymore. I’m still not sure when the feelings will go away (someone else on here said it took them 1.5 years to get over a six-year relationship), but it’s nice to coexist with them now instead of feeling like they were controlling my existence months ago. And, of course, I’m hoping this is on the path to eventually not having those thoughts and feelings anymore.

            You ask if my MM was there when I needed him, and it’s an interesting question. I knew I could count on my MM to talk about serious things when I wanted to. I knew I could rely on my MM to e-mail/text/chat consistently. I knew I could rely on my MM to schedule alone time consistently. And there were a few times that my MM gave me extra time (when I needed it) and pushed aside other obligations. But, no, my MM was not very supportive. My MM was not there for me in so many other ways that mattered. When I had issues at work (remember, we work together), he was not a good listener or he’d blame me or he’d unnecessarily play devil’s advocate. I think there were work competition things for him, and he often wanted to knock me down a peg. Obviously, that’s pretty sad from a significant other, so I did notice lacking that support. In general, I also never felt entirely comfortable talking to him about issues in my life (like a family problem or something). He was a good listener in so many ways, but not when it came to things like that. I think part of this is that an affair can put up barriers that make it hard to be there for one another even though you want to; but I also think this was his personality. He is not one who gushes with support for another. I am not like that either. So, we “matched” on being unsupportive, which is not a great trait to match on. 🙂 It is one of the main reasons that I knew I would not be happier with him than my H. My H is very supportive, and it is clearly something I want in a partner.

            So, what did you mean when you said your MM wasn’t there for you when you needed him? What were some examples from your affair?

            The other main reason that I knew I would not be happier with my MM than my H was how private/closed he was. While I understand people being private, I think a lot of time, especially for men, “privacy” is just a way of not addressing feelings and of not allowing vulnerability. I really do understand that some people are less open than others, but I know that part of my MM’s privacy was him withholding to retain control. It is a way of keeping people out (so that they can’t hurt you), and it is a way of controlling information so that you have something that they want. That may sound like a cynical look at my MM, but I know him well enough to know that his desire for privacy was genuine and that he also knew that he could use it to gain power in a relationship.

            I think it’s really important to be honest with yourself that you weren’t the one for him and he was never going to make a lifetime commitment to you. In the break up, I think honesties like this are really helpful for moving on. That’s why I try to remind myself of the reasons I didn’t want to leave my H (for my MM) and why I’m grateful that my H never found out about the affair. And, of course, it’s impressive that you can go weeks without hearing from your MM and without trying to reach out. We really have come a long way.

          • Hope

            Hi Felk, I couldn’t reply below so replying here. I am so glad that you rarely feel exhausted, it is such a great achievement and you should be so proud, I am proud of you Felk. I understand about the feelings still being there but not as dominant. Yes there is hope that this path will eventually lead those thoughts and feelings to go away, cheers to that 🙂

            About your MM not being there for you, this surprised me. You are right, may be the affairs create boundaries that make it difficult to be there when they want to but the cynical part of me questions if may be it is the case because they are a tad bit selfish and don’t care as much? You keep saying Felk that you are not as supportive but you have always said your MM has treated you well inspite of him blaming you at times, trying to knock you down a bit at work.. Yes pretty bad form and surely not the way a partner should be. I think you are way more supportive than you think you are, you tend to be hard on yourself Felk. You and Lara one of the most emphatic people I know. You are absolutely right in thinking you will be happier with your H.

            By saying my ex MM wasn’t there I meant he was almost never physically there to help/support me. Like during my birthdays I wished to be with him but all I got was a text, after some bad days I just needed a hug and told him so but he never just came to see me for 10 minutes (he lives an hour away but still I would have done it if he ever felt that way), once he invited me yo his house and I saw photos of him and his wife and was upset (I told him later and not on the day) he was annoyed by this and sort of blamed me for being melodramatic, I needed help with my daughter and all he said was that he wishes he was there to help me. It was always I wish I was there but no actions backing up the statements.

            I know how difficult it is to know MM is a private person. You are right it could be a way of retaining control but how sad is it to do this to a loved one? I know I stopped expecting this from him a long time ago but as Lara says it still stings. This is why friendship with ex MM is difficult for me as it still brings hurt. I think right now I’ll just be selfish and think of me and my family and even though he needs this friendship I might try and stay away as there will always be things that hurt.

            I am glad you remind yourself of the reasons you stayed with your H, good on you girl 🙂 You know what at the start few months ago when you said your MM wanted to be with you but you still wanted to be with your H I thought to myself I wish my ex MM felt that way but now I do understand why you choose your H, he is a much better person and so are you Felk 🙂
            Take care, hugs xxx
            Hope

          • Felk

            Hope, my MM was there for me and not. We saw each other a lot. We had alone time at least once/week and often multiple times/week. He also spent a lot of time chatting online with me at night, which was pretty important in keeping us close and showed me he was choosing me over his W. I’ve also said we went on date nights about once/month, and that was something I initiated and appreciated him agreeing to.

            With the things you describe with your MM, I think some of it is just the difficulty of an affair. Especially if he lived an hour away, it is difficult to explain that time away to your W. I know there were many times I wished my MM could make time for me (as you describe), but I knew that we had to do a constant assessment of risk in the decisions we made. In your case, it’s hard to know if your MM was just being smart about the time he spent with you (so his W didn’t find out) or if he was being selfish (and maybe trying not to get too close). Again, I don’t know your MM, but I know that when my MM said that he wished he could be there with me, I believed him. I knew it caused him a lot of heartbreak to not be able to spend more time together (and ultimately that’s what ended our affair). Maybe you’re saying you wish your MM would have taken that risk? That he would have risked his marriage for you? I never wanted that so maybe that’s why it was easier for me to think my MM was there for me. He met my expectations for an affair.

            It’s funny you mention birthdays because my MM was weird about birthdays. He doesn’t want anyone acknowledging his, and he doesn’t like acknowledging others (but he will). It was hit or miss with him. Some years he’d acknowledge and some not. I found that frustrating and, grossly, on his terms (when it seems acknowledging a birthday is something you do for someone else and it’s not really about you). Some years, though, he’d do the loveliest things for my birthday so, like I said, it was frustrating that he got to pick and choose when he’d acknowledge it. Yet another controlling thing for him, I figure. And, yes, very selfish, too. But, I’ve said, he’s a selfish person.

            You are kind to suggest that I have a lot of empathy, but that’s not exactly true. I’m not just being hard on myself. I don’t show nearly as much empathy to my H as I should. I don’t treat him well sometimes, and a five-year affair is very selfish. I’ve said that my MM and I both have narc tendencies. A lot of things my MM did to me, I see that I did/do to my H. So, I know my MM and I are similar. I know that I show empathy in that I can take my MM’s perspective and understand the things he does. But, he has done the same for me. I think we were both pretty fair to each other in the affair and tried to stay reasonable about expectations. So, yes, while my MM did get a bit competitive about work things, I wouldn’t say that was a major part of our relationship and that’s why I say that he generally treated me well. I think we all can treat our significant others poorly at times, but, in general, my MM was fair and kind.

            I have admitted that it was getting harder to stay with my H as the affair continued. I knew my H would be a better relationship partner than my MM (I recently read something that said we usually “partner down” in an affair), but the distance was growing so much between me and my H, I didn’t know if it was fair to stay in the marriage. Like, if I couldn’t be a good relationship partner, maybe I should just leave and, if I was less happy with my MM, that’s the choice I’d have to live with. But, I’m glad it didn’t come to that. I can’t imagine a lifetime with my MM’s private/cold/unsupportive tendencies. There would be much that would be enjoyable about a relationship with him, but I think we were better off as affair partners than life partners.

            So, it’s your MM that wants the friendship? You were the one to end the affair and he asked to stay friends? Even though it is really hard to stay away, it sounds like it’s the best thing for you. It’s been hard for me to recognize the importance of distance in the break-up as my brain tries to desperately pull me towards my MM. But the distance is what makes us stronger and helps us move on. It’s what breaks the addiction. It’s a terrible paradox that the pain of the distance is exactly what we need to lessen that pain.

        • Butterflies are Free

          Hope it is so good to hear from you! How are you feeling these days?
          You say you are proud of me and I can say a big THANK YOU! right back at ya! Yes I am building a life without the man I somehow thought I would end up spending it with, despite how utterly deluded that sounds. Somehow I thought our “love” would win. But: The fog of an affair is INTENSE isn’t it? But you and I are are finding these exMM’s less attractive! WOW that is progress fpr us right? Bog steps for us!
          You say:
          ” all I can think of when I think of him is the pain he comes with, unmet expectations, insecurities, disappointments, I do not like the person I had become during the end of the relationship, always on edge, always comparing myself and feeling less valuable. I do not wish to be that person again.”
          Hope that is so powerful. I am proud of you too! A statement like this means you are seeing him more clearly and you are getting OUT of the FOG!
          I agree with you here too: ” I think mm is incapable of putting someone else’s happiness before his.”
          Yes mine seems to be an authentic narc (narcissist) and no woman can be happy with one, no one!
          You say: “So glad to see you are happy Lara and firm and standing up to him!”
          Yes I AM standing up to him because truth be told I am not afraid of him so much anymore. I used to think he was God and he loved having that status in my mind. God AND Adonis! LOL.
          I know he hates when I have strong words; he HATES IT. And hates it when I am doing well in my work and life. He feels it so so unfair he does not feel that way! (always about him) aargh And I think he is ultimately a misogynist. He lost his mother very young in a tragic accident and I think he has never worked through those emotions especially the anger of being abandoned. Anyhow…I have my childhood wounds too. Don’t so many of us?

          You say: “It’s difficult, very difficult since he still wants to be friends and yes I find being friends is difficult for me.” Please HOPE in your state do not even consider putting yourself thru the stress of trial friendship with your MM. (Read my post above on “friendship” with my ex narc.) . Move on and keep it simple! Many hugs Butterflies are Free a.k.a. Lara

  • Nomad

    Hi Felk,
    8 days ago you replied when I asked Lara about her gut feeling if mm is coming back after the final break up. It was because I wanted her to say, “yes,” right? I want him to come back, right? and that you know this all too well.

    The feel was slightly different. A year ago, I asked Lara the same and at that time I was desperately hoping that Lara would say the thing that reaffirms that he will come back to me. I didn’t think hope was brutal. I felt relieved when you all said he would be back. I waited and he always did until beginning of this year when he started to pull away more frequent and longer. In Apr, he told me in my eyes “it’s over”. In May, he gave me a set of silver accessories as birthday gift after mia for 1 month, just when i thought he was gone forever this time. But giving me a gift did not change anything. I asked if his heart was still mine, he replied “tough question”; I asked if we have ended and i would go to the room with him if we try once more to continue, he didn’t reply but on the day to go to the room, he replied let’s seize the moment. I was fooled. Then I found out he took leave for 20 days but couldn’t or have no intention to spare a day for me because he is busy at work, guilty after that, fearful that someone found out about us etc. to me, they were lame “excuses” which were not insurmountable during the first year when he was very intoxicated with limerence.

    But now, I am confident to tell Lara that he will not be back and we are adapting to become strangers. That hurts… 2 years of fantasy turned into ashes. He seems to have moved on way ahead of me while I am still thinking of him (or rather “us” in the past 2 years) every day. He is no longer giving me crumbs. Yes, he came back for my birthday, had sex, and then left again BUT is now more capable of not returning. I am still hoping but i also know things will never be the same so I rather cut him dead.

    I am not sure if he is missing me but if you say so, I would believe you and I would feel happier and comforted to hear that. He has made his choice with his family so for everyone’s sake, don’t come back just to mia again. To me, once gone is gone, how on earth is he going to come back again in a few months??? feelings will be gone by then, all doors closed, no way to sneak back in. Why would he want to hurt me and slap more band aids on me? it was him who treated me badly despite I wanted very much to risk all to be with him. Lately, I am having dangerous thoughts of I am not enough and I am unlovable that’s why he left. As a result, I isolated myself at home and at work. I felt safer that way. Attachment and expectations are root cause of my heartache and anxiety. I am not living this way to punish myself, I am just letting myself be, taking one day at a time, hoping that i would not feel pain the next time i hear his name or catch a glimpse of him, no more racing hearts, just indifference.

    I do not want to think about what would I do if he reaches out. For now, I counted the blessing for each day that he did not. Based on what happened today, I did well and this is how “it’s over” should be. I did not allowed a slightly longer look or a friendly comment. Even with just enough time goes by that he wouldn’t be missing me and is clearer that I was his mistake and he relieved to have gotten rid of me now, if not sooner.

    He knows he would leave again so he had been holding back since the beginning of this year and slowing weaning off. He refused to feel guilty and remind himself that he can’t go down that path and must return to his family. He did, so well.

    You asked what if it doesn’t happen (him coming back)? What if you wait and wait and it really is over this time and he doesn’t come? Yes, I am telling you, it is really over this time. I feel it in my bones, women’s 6th sense. I could see from his body language and his looks and most of all, he stopped.

    At times, I am sitting around waiting for him to never come back again. This is part of healing i supposed.

    • LIFELESSONS

      Hi Nomad,
      I just read this and I just wanted to say try to stay strong. Nothing about an affair is easy, front the start to the finish. So I cant tell you not to feel however, you are feeling. However, I encourage you (if you can) take this time to focus on you…do you have friends or familiy members you can surround yourself with, to get your mind off him. Also, do write in a journal ? Are you comfortable with therapy ? It may be helpful. I go to therapy periodically. I learned to try to keep my cup full so that I could get rid of those negative thoughts about myself and embrace the positives. I just wrote in another post on here about how I try not to neglect myself and do things for me. It makes me feel good. There are still moments where I feel pretty low and I question why I am still single and the thought creeps in my mind about it being something wrong with me. When those thoughts happen, I pull out my little book and I read the love letter I wrote myself. A few months ago, I was feeling down and I decided to write a love letter to myself which put emphasis on my attributes. I wrote about the ways i overcame the negatives in my life, I wrote about the strength, courage and wisdom it takes to get myself out of some of the messy things i have been in. I acknowledge my bad choices and and reminded myself that I was human and imperfect. That letter was so inspirational, that a friend of mine decided to write one for herself and she said it was helpful for her. We focus so much on neagtivity that we dont give ourselves a chance to be in a positive light. I wish I could tell you everything was going to be ok today but I cant. I will tell you is find your strength and pull from there.
      Ttys

    • Butterflies are Free

      Nomad this is so so poignant: You say: “At times, I am sitting around waiting for him to never come back again.”
      Yes I totally get that. At times you are still waiting but not for him to come back because you already know he won’t. But you are still “waiting” sometimes. yes it IS part of the grief process.
      Nomad, you did give him a very final sounding farewell. You said to him it was OVER. You said it so very clearly. He understood and has respected your wishes. That’s a good thing actually. He gets it that “No mean No”.
      So are you really surprised it is over? You gave him very clear instructions. So look at this: You do have power after all! You made it STOP. You made him STOP. You did it for your own well being. You did it to feel better. You went back and forth months here about him and your needing it to STOP. I am thinking you are still waiting for something because thats the nature of the beast. An affair has no expected “closure”. So even after an affair ends because we wanted it too, it is also ends because we were in such personal pain and that is why it stops. So it stops but now where are the apologies? Where are the “I am sorry I hurt you” admissions?
      They are all missing.
      There are no new behaviors, no new adjustments, no trying to iron things out like in a healthier, on-going personal relationship. This is because it was a secret forbidden relationship to begin with and the affair dies in secrecy too. That is so hard to take emotionally for us who gave so much, invested so much. who LOVED so much.
      An affair goes from sharing the most intimate parts of yourself to a cold icy wall. Is it any wonder we still wait by the wall sometimes waiting for who knows what? We wait like little frozen puppies wanting someone to come along and scoop us up and help us heal. Like in normal break-up.
      But the wall is cold and too few people know the pain we are in because it’s all a secret.
      Try not to stay there too long Nomad. Try to move your brain into more fruitful places: to thoughts and people that are warm and make you feel good!. Yes he is gone. You say it yourself. He is NOT going to change. You know that. But you have so much else to offer. Try to stop isolating and get back in the world and mingle! Enjoy yourself! You were whole woman before you met him and now you will go back to being a whole woman too without him in your life. You are so much better off in fact. Hugs B.A.F (Lara) xxxooo

  • LIFELESSONS

    Hey Ladies,

    I realize I am not ready to break things off however, i dont know that I want to committ to this type of relationship for years and years to come. Im afraid that is where I am headed. I talked to him today before my fitness class and he said he didnt want me to lose weight. He loves all my curves. I told him it wasnt about him, it was about me doing something for me and my goal is to be a healthier version of myself. He said ok but please dont lose your curves…he said call me when youre done. Well, I called him when I was done and to my surprise he answered the phone with his W right there. He said, heeeeey we were just talking about yall, Its so funny that you called, I mean literally a few minutes ago we were talking about you’ll I said oh ok (at this point I cant tell she is there) he said we were trying to figure out these details for the kids in order for them to go to the movies, i said, o i dont have the details so theyre asking their child he is saying he dont know. So MM says T said did you know anything about it and (so now her and I are holding small talk through him) I said nope nothing. He said well if we figure out more details, we will let you know….
    When I got off that phone, I was annoyed. I didnt understand why he answred but then I figured they were in the car together and the phone was likely connected to the bluetooth. I felt like he is getting sloppy and wasnt protecting me, in order to allow that to happen. For a long time I wouldnt call him because I feared something like that would happen. He would always tell me, you can call me. He didnt like that I didnt call him as often as he called me. The last thing I need is for him to start getting too comfortable and sloppy and she stumble across a text or something. I asked him a little while ago, if he delete our messages and he said sometimes but not really. I am sure he doesnt want to get caught but why the hell is he so sure she will never check or question me messaging him ?! I dont understand that! Unfortunetly I have been cheated on way too many times but the phone is one of the first things I checked and always found what I was looking for. Therefore, I assumed a man who doesnt want to get caught would be very careful and be sure to delete any and all evidence of an affair.
    I am not sure how many of you know your MM wife and have to see her and she actually really likes you…but the shit is weird! She seems like she is just as sweet and caring as she thinks I am. Mm doesnt describe her in a demeaning way either. He told me from the beginning she can be bitchy at times but most people get in a mood sometimes. He said the major gripe he had with her is the lack of sex drive she has. He said they were having sex 5 times a yr which is probably more like 2 or more times a month (it probably just feels like 5 times a yr) We talked about that before him and i became intimate. We dont talk about their sex life regularly. However, I have gotten frustrated in the past with how long I have to go without being intimate with him (most times due to my schedule, considering my kids are ALWAYS home) and always says he waits just as long as I do because she complains about not wanting to be touched and blah blah blah….most of the time I tell myself its a crock of bull so that I dont fool myself into thinking he is not sleeping with her. Its so important for me to stay grounded…i know for the most part he has been honest with me but he is still having an affair so he cant be trusted entirely….
    I almost feel like this would be easier if I wasmt single or if I was dating a few guys. I am sure my feelings for him would still be there but I would be able to get to know some other people and hang out with other guys outside of him.

    • Felk

      Lifelessons, you know I understand not being ready to end it. Especially when it feels like it’s just beginning. How do you end it then? I don’t know how the brain would be able to do that. But, I do know that it will get MUCH harder and more painful to end it the longer you wait. I know that doesn’t really change your readiness, but it seems worth saying. Also, it sounds like you’re trying to keep yourself realistic about your MM (and I love that you told him you want to get in better shape for you and not for him).

      I understand your concern about your MM answering his phone with his W near. Yes, of course, it could have been a weird situation where your call came up on bluetooth in the car and she saw who was calling or his phone rang (not in the car) and she saw who was calling. And maybe he answered it so it didn’t look weird NOT to answer it in front of her. But, I’d have your same concern that he’s not being careful enough about your relationship. It’s VERY important to keep the two separate as much as possible. We can get complacent the longer the spouse doesn’t “catch on,” and we can think we have it under control. I know that your MM may think it’s “normal” to answer that phone call in front of his W (and maybe it was), but the less he talks about you the better. Unfortunately, when you’re in love (as he is), you tend to talk about the person more than you should. Also, he may think it’s just “normal” to talk about you, but the more he does, the more his W will get suspicious. Trust her to not be an idiot and trust her to pick up on cues of her H giving a little too much attention to one woman. Like you said, you’ve been through this and the phone (texting, calls) is one of the easiest ways to get caught. My H had no access to my phone (and same for my MM’s W with his phone). My H didn’t know my password (and that’s how it was before my affair so it wasn’t like I suddenly started that) and my texts did not come up on the lock screen (only the name of the person sending it). It’s probably good to talk to your MM about being extra careful and not taking for granted what his W will pick up on. I think it’s good for you to continue to call him very rarely. I know he may like for you to call him, but it’s MUCH safer for him to call you as you do not have a spouse. He has to be smart about this. I know my MM also deleted a lot of our texts. I did not. I’m guessing his kids had some access to his phone and he was playing it safe. No one besides me had access to my phone. The pain of my MM ending our relationship was terrible, but I can’t imagine how much worse it would have been if our relationship had ended because of one or both of our spouses finding out.

      It’s also good that you and your MM don’t talk much about his sex life. Although I had little jealousy of my MM’s W, we were pretty clear that we should not talk much about that. Once in a while, things came up. I honestly had no idea, though, how much sex they had. I know that it declined throughout our affair (as we both talked about that happening with our spouses), and I think that’s one of the reasons his W became suspicious. I’d suspect you’re right about your MM. He probably has more sex than he’s saying, but it’s probably pretty low (once/month or less). When people are married for a long time, it’s normal to lose some interest in sex, and if he’s falling in love with you, he’s not going to be asking for sex as much as he used to. And if it’s not making her suspicious, she may be happy he’s not asking as much anymore. We know that low sex is one of the main reasons that MM have affairs. (And, yes, I know my MM’s W and saw her regularly.)

      Of course, I’d encourage you to date other guys, but I know that’s hard when you’re in love with someone else. Throughout the break-up, I’ve thought about why I got into an affair even though I was happy with my H. I know it’s my personality (being confident/arrogant, outgoing, feeling low guilt), and I know it’s also that I really like the feeling of falling in love. But, there is a safety in an affair with a MM where you pretty much know it can’t be more. There is a reason we go for unavailable people. Yes, for some people in affairs, they genuinely are seeking a new partner and those are the affairs that probably quickly lead to divorce and getting with the affair partner. But, for most affairs, that go on for years, there is something about being with someone unavailable that is appealing. Not only is it the challenge and pursuit, but, for me, I am sure it was the safety of knowing that I wasn’t going to leave my marriage and he wasn’t either. It was knowing I could have this relationship without the pressure of more. So, I say that to ask if that’s what you’re doing? Does this type of relationship fit your life right now (because of being a single parent)? Unfortunately, even when we get into affairs for reasons that “make sense” at the time, disaster likely awaits. Throughout my affair, the friend I told about it kept saying, “I just don’t see how this ends well.” and, at the time, I was too blind to see an “end.” But she was right. It could not end well. There was so much pain for both of us.

      • LIFELESSONS

        Felk,
        I talked to MM today and of course, I did not call him, he called me. He told me his phone crashed around 1pm and he wasnt able to get it fixed until this evening. He asked if I had called him or text him today and I said No. He said, oh ok. He said, your timing has been off lately, he said she (his W) was looking at something on his phone and he said the whole time he was thinking, please dont let her call, please dont let her call and of course I called. He said, the same thing happened the other day, he was calling me and calling me and when I called back he was around her. I didnt say much while we were on the phone. I think i was in my feelings a little, and as he was talking to me…I had already decided, I wasnt calling for a while or texting. Not sure, if I should communicate that to him or not ?! I probably will talk to him, I am not a game player and I am pretty up front and honest.

        Prior to our 30day NC I didnt call that much anyway, because I feared she would be around or see my name on the phone and become curious as to why I am calling. I know he will notice it if I stopped calling/text as much and he may not like it but I definitely dont want her to find out and I am sure she is far from oblivious!

        As for why I am involved with MM…
        I have actually sat and thought about how I got
        here and why this relationship is ok for me so much so, that I refuse to find the stength to walk away. Well I think I know why….I have been in 4 relationships 2 long term(5-6yrs)/2 short term(1yr) and within each of those relationships the guys were not monogamous and I ended up finding out about the woman/women they were cheating on me with. My self esteem took a major blow and my confidence deflated. I went to therapy and still go periodically to check in. I gained some skills and strategies during my sessions and I apply them when I want to lol. However, 13yrs of dealing with those type of men (I am 34 so I feel like that was most of my life😩) and trying to figure out what was so wrong with me that they could not “get right” and, why I was allowing them to treat me that way, i realized they were obviously not the ones’ for me but also that they walked away with a piece of me (the good parts of me because thats what I gave them) and trying to replenish my soul/brokeness has not been easy. I have worked on myself in certain areas and of course there are still areas of improvement.
        Anyway, I believe my inner spirit seeks out unavailable men because I am unavailable (I dont want to be and I dont mean to be) due to the constant lies and deceit from my past when it comes to guys. I feel I have some forms of “undiagnosed PTSD” (never been diagnosed with it but it feels a little PTSDish to me) I am fearful of committed intimate relationships because they dont seem to end well for me, I think, me knowing he has W and I am his “girlfriend” makes me feel ok because I know we will NEVER be an item. I feel like there is no surprise here or major disappointment when it comes to building with him. I know the outcome…there is not much fear of the unknown. I know its temporary, I know there is another woman that has his heart, i know he is here filling a void. I understand that the likelyhood I will walk away unscathed is pretty low but I will be ok! I learned to keep my cup as full as I can and although I am in this affair, I dont neglect me. I hang out with friends, I enjoy my kids, I even have dates with myself…therapy taught me how to be more self aware and reflective. I dont know if this makes sense to you…or if its even suppose to make sense…??!

        • Felk

          Lifelessons, what you write here about why you’re in the affair makes a lot of sense. It seems you’ve really thought about it, and what you write makes sense to explain why you might pursue a relationship with someone who is unavailable. Not only do you say that you’re unavailable because of your bad experiences in relationships, but you probably choose a MM because there will be no surprises with him cheating on you (since you already know he has a W!). It’s a protective approach. I get it. In a way, it helps you try to guarantee that your man will not cheat on you (which is something that is very hard to control in a relationship). I think it also shows in the way you keep yourself busy that you’re trying to make sure that you’re not too available to your MM. The hard part, of course, is that you’re falling in love. And so is your MM and you’re both going to want more from each other. It all gets really complicated.

          As for calling and texting him less, I think it’s fair to talk to him about that. Like you say, you don’t want to play games. Affairs are hard enough already, why add to it by reducing your texting and calling and not telling him? Why not tell him that you’re worried about his W seeing those things and it doesn’t make you comfortable? Are you considering not telling him because you don’t want to hurt his feelings or because you think he might try to talk you out of it?

          • LIFELESSONS

            Felk,
            I thought long and hard about why I was dealing with MM. He is the first man I have ever got involved with who was married. The other relationships, the men were not in relationships with other people when i met them but they were still unavailable. I think some of this behavior I adapt to with men has to do with my initial relationship with a man, who happens to be my dad. My dad was always emotional connected to me but he was not there physically, he had issues with drugs and incarceration. In the early years he ran the streets a lot and he always had a different woman…once he was arrested, he wrote me all the time, he sent cards for every holiday, he wrote poems for me, he called to talk to me and he always said how much he loved and cared about me. When I think of all of my relationships with guys, they seem to be a bit of a reflection of my relationship with my dad. My ex’s was always able to communicate how much they loved and cared about me but they hung out all the time, didnt make time for me. Every one of them begged to be apart of my life when it was over but couldnt be there for me in the physical sense. I had never thought about it in this way until a friend of mine made a statement about women relationships with men can sometimes look like their relationship with their dad.

            Im sure he will try to talk me out of it. He will likely say, he is going to be more careful and it wont happen again. He has been calling me the past 2 days and I have missed the call due to my phone not being near me. I havent called back so I know he is not ok with that. He called this morning and I missed it but I did send a text saying Happy Father’s Day. He replied to that.

          • Felk

            Lifelessons, I know we hear about men and women looking for relationship partners that are like one of their parents (and I’m sure there are people who intentionally look for partners not at all like their parents!). What you say makes some sense. It seems you had a rather extreme experience if you had a father in jail. Yeah, maybe there is something to the fact that you look for men who can give you a lot of verbal declarations of caring and love but are not physically present as much as you’d want (like your MM). While I could see this arrangement working for some people in relationships, it seems most of us want someone who can be more present. Is that what you want? Do you want more than your MM can offer?

            I think that’s an important and (sometimes) difficult question. I say “sometimes” because i think some women on here are clear that they want more than their MM can/could offer. For me, I didn’t really (and I did). I went into the affair not wanting or expecting either one of us to leave our spouses and I felt that through most of the affair, even though, admittedly, several years into the affair, I started becoming less clear on how I could sustain my marriage. I still didn’t expect my MM to leave his W and kids, but it became clear we were both starting to consider that. Also, I thought my MM treated me pretty well given the boundaries of an affair. We had about as much communication and time together as I would have expected. Working together allowed us to have a lot of time together, and we also had “enough” (as defined by me) time together outside of work. I know my MM didn’t agree as time went on and the time we spent apart started to really get to him. It got harder for me, too. So, that’s why I say, even when we say we know the expectations and limits in the beginning and even when we don’t expect the other to leave their spouse, things can change. Right now, you might feel like your MM is giving you enough, but eventually you may want more (and the same for him). I think expectations/hopes changed more for my MM than for me and that was why we ended. But it was pretty hard for me, too. I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that I was pretty unhappy in our affair for the last 9 months, and that I needed it to end, too.

            Maybe you and your MM could find an easier way to communicate (some chat app?) where it would be harder for his W to find/see? Maybe that’s the compromise between your MM wanting you to contact him more and you not feeling safe with calling or texting often? Either way, I still think you’re playing it very smart and hopefully he sees that.

    • Butterflies Are Free

      Lifelessons I don’t know if you would be able to see other people or not right now but yes I do think it would be easier for you too. Yes. Probably the easiest times in my affair were when I was seeing other guys. It just helps the ego so much! You would feel more confidence in your self and feel like you had options for your time! I remember that as pretty good feeling. Except for the part that made me miss my exMM and want him all the more. (Because the other men were not the “same” as my exMM) That part made me sad and then go back to him for that reason. And then get re-stuck with him.

      As for your MM and his W and their sex life who really knows the truth? You only have 1/3 of the story. The rest is her side (1/3) and the truth! (1/3). These two folks sound a bit like my exMM and his W. But honestly on my women’s retreat where most of the women are married, MOST of the women this time talked about losing interest in having sex with their H’s over time. In fact they talked about how utterly strong the brain chemicals and brain addiction were in the first couple of years of their marriage. Just like we talk about here! And then how those feelings change so often into something else. And how in the best scenario that something else then happens that a relationship that is is warm and loving and includes friendship too but that in other cases it is just morphs into general disinterest because after the brain chemicals wear off some of them found they did not have that much in common with their H’s after all! But by that time they were married with kids and had few “choices”. It really was an eye opener for me as a single woman who has been off and on in an affair so long to listen to my friends talk. Of course I did NOT say my situation out loud. Never!
      But, in a way I felt a bit less guilty. Because maybe the W of my exMM really isn’t interested in the sex part anymore. But she DOES want the rest: the security and the money!
      I felt sad too that the initial attraction stage could “dupe” so many women as well as men into sticking it out in a less than great marriage. No wonder so many affairs are happening then!
      SO many people must have part of what they want but not all of it. But it sure sucks for us single women who would like at least one “whole” man LOL like a whole fish nit just the fillets! And which of my friends that are married would be okay with their H’s cheating? ZERO!! None at all. And probably these H’s even the cheating ones do NOT want to see their W’s cheating either. Marriage to most people means safety and long term commitment, not cheating and other lovers. Or I guess. ??? Its all so damn complicated isn’t it? I do know that for my situation I am DONE with eh affair stage I really am. Hugs B. A. F.

      • Felk

        BAF, the things you say about marriage and sex and passion and love rings pretty true for my experience and what I hear from other people. As we’ve said on here a few times, the passion fades and those initial in-love/addiction chemicals calm down in a non-affair relationship when you start spending more and more time with your other. You habituate. You get used to the person. You learn things about the person that make you lose some attraction, and, over time, even if you’re in a long-term relationship with the person, the sex interest dies down for all of these reasons. But as your girlfriends said, for many relationships, you then settle into a friendship with your spouse. You don’t feel the same passion but you feel a closeness and friendship with this person who knows you well, supports you, and who you have a lot in common with. That’s how it is with my H. There is not much sex interest on my part, but I like him as a person and I like our relationship.

        I don’t know if that’s how your MM’s W is. It definitely sounds like their sex/passion died a long time ago, but there is a security and comfort in long-term relationships that is hard to leave. I would guess she feels that. She may also feel that, if she made a commitment, she should stick to it. And it’s probably all of the other reasons related to the complications of divorce that can keep a person in an unhappy marriage (if she is unhappy). Your MM seems unhappy, but he also seems unable to leave. It’s probably obligation and the financial stuff and the difficulty of leaving something you have known for so long and maybe the guilt of abandoning someone you pledged you’d spend your life with. We can see J’s MM going through this. We heard about how hard Kev struggled with the idea of leaving his marriage.

        But, right, “no wonder so many affairs are happening.” Our brains seem hard-wired to “trick” us into staying with a person long term with those addiction/honeymoon phase chemicals (and, understandably, it keeps people together to raise kids), but then our brains get used to this other person and the addiction fades and our brain wants more of that attraction… and we find it in other people (because we can’t get it from our spouse anymore). And then affairs happen. Something like 1/3 of married people admit to having affairs. But our brains aren’t really prepared to deal with this situation because of all the jealousy and insecurity and desire for more time with that person. And our brains also release bonding chemicals that make us want to stay with another person. That is more of the comfort and security. While passion fades, those chemicals seem to continue to be released in most marriages. So, that’s another reason we stay. We feel that chemical bond with long-term relationship partners, even if we don’t feel the chemical attraction anymore. It’s a mess. 🙂

  • Butterflies are Free

    Felk I am answering you up here:
    You talk about affairs doing damage to marriages “that might be irreparable”. Yes I agree. This can happen in an affair of any length of time but I would think especially in a long term situation. But damage is ALSO done to the affair over this time and it too can be irreparable. I think that both have happened in my case. Yes sdalt I think that is what has happened.

    Remember the Monday phone call? Monday he texted me that he was not calling but that he would call me Wednesday instead. Very familiar behavior. It’s because his W was coming to visit him. Very familiar to me. And certain to provoke the same response in me too: to affect me deeply even though I was not waiting for the call. But getting “passed over for the call” because SHE is coming? That is still a wound that has not healed. My expectation that he will call is gone. But the feeling like he just changed his plans with me for her? That one is a real stinger. Always has been and always will be. Even broken up I can feel that. And him without even giving me an explanation or apology? (That hurts even more). AND PS I have not heard a peep from him since then.

    So, sure he might say he will “call me Monday”. Talk is cheap. But if for whatever reason he could not do this, he would never apologize or try to explain. That made me feel (as usual) that he is an a–hole, a narc, and an insensitive jerk. If I called him out on it he might say sorry. “MIGHT” but only grudgingly.

    But basically he is caught between 2 lives. And does not handle it very well as you have pointed out.
    You say: “I would guess your MM had all sorts of rationalizations for cheating on his W, including that she’d never know. But, undoubtedly his affair took a toll on their already-strained marriage. And now what is left? A broken marriage that is likely irreparable due to decades of negligence. It’s hard to imagine how he gets out of that misery if he is not willing to get a divorce. But the misery of staying in the marriage may be more acceptable to him than the complexities of a divorce.” Yes all true I agree. But I also think in not respecting or trusting either one of us women, he has it coming in a way. He could never commit to either one of us for long.

    You say: ” I did a lot of damage to my marriage during my affair.” I believe you. I’m sure your H felt your changes. But do you find it odd he never asked you more about it?. Do you feel he does not know you really well if he did not fully notice or guess? Or did you go extra out of your way to make him think nothing was wrong? I am curious.

    You say: “My feelings for my H changed during my affair (and they have not “gone back”). I am lucky to still have a H who did not get distant or frustrated or angry during my affair, but I have to deal with the distance I feel and need to repair.” Do you really want to repair it I wonder? Or is your MM still distracting you from your H in a major way?

    I can see now better how it is very hard for either a single or a married person to leave an affair based on what you are bringing up. Unless he or she is DONE with the affair.

    I do agree with you that being single I might be hoping more for my married other to leave their spouse. But I am less and less inclined to think it would ever work for my exMM and me. I think that most likely, irreparable damage has been done to our affair vis a vis the ever-flip flopping he has done with the marriage. He is so flip floppy that I doubt he would be satisfied with me alone. And I think he would go running back to his W or just have some other female on the side. I honestly don’t think I could ever truly trust him anymore. I don’t know how I could ever truly develop trust after so much time spent in rejection land, and limbo land, and “passed over” lane. That does a LOT of damage to one’s self esteem believe me. I am very very tired. Like I said, even if he does love me, what does it matter? What does it change? His love style is flip floppy by nature I am afraid. Hugs B. A. F. xxxooo

    • Butterflies are Free

      oops I meant to add he never actually told me his W was coming on Monday night, I knew by myself cause I walked by his restaurant and looked inside and there she was!
      B.A.F.
      xxxooo

  • Kub

    Hello everyone

    I have lots of things in my mind. I don’t feel very well lately but not ready to talk about details, too. Unfortunately I am not in a place I wanted to be yet. I know I will, but just not yet.
    By the way breaking up with my ex is the most successful thing I had in my life. And I mean this considering my academical successes, career or other relationships. Because this was the time that I needed to stand up against myself. I am getting better at this.
    If there is someone among you who has seen Friends will understand my joke 🙂 I just want my lobster as Rachel and Ross. If it will take time, it is okay. I just know that the one I thought would be was not the one, this is called as life, right?
    Back me up friends, I need to hear that this – will – pass!

    • Felk

      Kub, it’s slow and it’s hard, but if you keep working towards moving on, you will. It will pass. One thing to remember is that we can talk ourselves into thinking that our MM or MW is “the one,” but that person only seems like the one because it’s a fantasy relationship with none of the daily hassles of a real relationship. When we’re together with that other person, because we don’t get much time together, we’re always on our best behavior and it’s usually a lot of laughs, fun, and chemistry. Then there’s all the time in between (when we’re not with them) that we spend thinking about seeing them again and that excitement is intoxicating. It tricks our brain into thinking this person and this relationship is as good as it gets, but it’s because it’s only part-time and it doesn’t have to go through the reality of relationships. Remember that all of those highs and all that anticipation also make our brain react like an addiction so that when we do break-up the pain is so bad (withdrawal) that it can make us think that this MUST have been the real thing if we feel that bad and that we’ll never find anyone who can make us feel that again. But, remember, that it’s just withdrawal from an addiction that we caused by the ups and downs of an affair that you don’t find in most non-affair relationships. And always remember all the hard times of the affair. I can get lost in remembering the good times, too, but think of all the jealousy of his W, think of all the sadness of not spending time with him, think of all the anxiety and insecurity, and think of his angry jealousy and control.

      It has taken me longer than I expected to heal, but it does slowly happen over time. 9 months after the break-up, I feel so much better. I feel like myself again. I don’t spend most of the day with a pit in my stomach, longing for him. I sleep well and feel physically better. But it’s been constant effort over these months. And there are setbacks and days where I’m not as good at doing what I need to do to move on, but generally I keep moving myself forward. Lately, simply acknowledging that the affair is over and we’re not going back to it has been helping me a lot. You know that my MM and I are trying to be friends, and so that kept me in “limbo” for a while where I felt a lot of mixed signals. Some of those mixed signals were from him but some of the mixed signals were in my head from the hope I still had. Now, I have gotten rid of that hope. It’s taken me some tough love on here from Lara and from you, Kub, reminding me that I need to distance myself from my MM if I’m really going to move on. Part of that “distance” wasn’t just physical, but it was mental. I had to stop thinking about any possibility of a reunion, and I had to start acting like we were just friends. I don’t mean it just happens overnight, but it makes a big difference to feel like I’ve drawn that boundary for myself (finally).

      Do not ignore how strong it is for you to have ended your relationship with your MM. We know how much strength it takes to get out of these relationships. You made the right decision, and soon you will be in another country and far away from him and it will become MUCH easier then.

      • Nomad

        Hi Felk,
        I have attempted the breakup starting from last June. The best thing is I could sleep now. But I still find myself playing back glimpses of the 2 years everyday. Even when I was physically out of the country for a short vacation last weekend. I had pictured that we were happily enjoying our time in a foreign land without anyone who knew us and we could hold hands in the open. Then I quickly snapped myself out the the fantasy by reminding myself my parting whatsapp to him on 16 May, after an hour on the phone thrashing out his “lies” about no mood, no money, no time and no love at home. I found out he had taken leave way in advance for 2 weeks in Dec because his W wanted an overseas trip. I was jealous and angry. I couldn’t handle the way he pampered her and yet sending me mixed signals. My whatsapp “It’s over. I do not want you in my life anymore. Break up clean. Do not reply” and it has been more than 1 month since he dialed or whatsapp my number. I no longer need to block him. He hasn’t reached out since then. Even if he comes to my office 2-3 times a week for work purposes, he no longer uses that as an excuse to see me. Even when I was near, he did not glance.

        Seeing his email, seeing his name, seeing his text in groupchat, seeing him, I have one feeling and that is heartache. I am still grieving. There are moments when I have difficult to fight against the vulnerability to reach out to him, I would scribble “this too shall pass” many times and breahe. Like you, I think I have accepted the reality and the present that the affair is over and we’re not going back to it, no way. Unlike you, being stranger with him suits me better. I am close to his boss who has recently told me that mm would be redeployed soon, not sure how soon, but he will be out of my project totally and he will not have access to my office premises. I kinda look forward to that day and told myself to press on and hang on a little longer and he would be out soon. By then, absolute NC is achieveable and I am confident that out of sight, out of mind and I will be done with this affair/ fantasy/ addiction without remission. The remaining work to be done is to let the memory fade, detach and be indifference.

        Since 16 May (final breakup), I managed to avoid him, he would leave the document on my in-tray and I would get his other team mates to follow. Just today, he appeared at my desk to talk about work, I avoided eye contact and was mindful of any trigger. I signed the document and passed by to him. I did well. He was professional. We both were. He left without any mixed signals. Watching his backview as he walked out of my cubi, I felt pangs of heartache and tension. I was near tears for some strange reason but I did well. He was a cool customer and so was I. Such experience helped to kill hope and affirm that this is how “it’s over” should be. I fought against the temptation to ruminate about how could he moved on so soon, does he miss me, has he slept with his wife, have they been happily planning for the dec trip and brought them closer together something exciting awaiting, blah blah blah. Then I got upset with myself for realising that part of me is still waiting and hoping. However, I have also reminded myself that I have come this far since the final breakup, 30 days of NC and soon, June will be over, and it will be the first month that we have achieved NC except for the work related correspondence which was minimal and professional.

        Wait for my good news… June looks promising that I am achieving a break through!

        • Felk

          Nomad, I think you did a really strong thing a month ago when you told him not to contact you anymore. The pain he was causing you with his back and forth, and just the general pain of thinking about him and his W was too much and it’s good that you are trying to clearly end it. It sounds like it’s hard at work seeing him, but it sounds like you both are trying to keep it strictly professional. You know it’s going to take time to get over him and get past the thoughts of him everyday and get past the thoughts of thinking “what if” or questioning “why.” I can tell you, though, that 9 months after my break-up, those thoughts are really infrequent for me now and for the past few weeks I’ve no longer woken up in the morning with the immediately blah of thinking about how my affair is over. That blah/sad is mostly gone. I know I’ll still have moments where I’ll feel sad, and I’m sure there will be triggers that will catch me off guard, but, lately, there is no longer that pit in my stomach. There is no longer that “void” I felt for so long. So, keep focusing on other friends and family. Slowly try to build some closeness back with your H. Distract yourself. Do things you enjoy. Slowly you will get to a point where it doesn’t bother you every day.

          Distance really helps. As I’ve said, I’m a teacher so I see my MM infrequently in the summer and that has helped a lot. We still talk here and there, but going days without seeing him helps create a new reality and helps get rid of that expectation that he’d be there every day. I hope you can get some time away from work. I think that will help you. And, yes, I understand why being a stranger to him helps you. It’s not the path I chose, but, in your situation, it doesn’t sound like being “just friends” would work. Give yourself distance, don’t give into the temptation to contact him, and redirect your thoughts elsewhere as much as you can. You will get over him.

      • Nomad

        Hi Felk,
        I have attempted the breakup starting from last June. The best thing is I could sleep now. But I still find myself playing back glimpses of the 2 years everyday. Even when I was physically out of the country for a short vacation last weekend. I had pictured that we were happily enjoying our time in a foreign land without anyone who knew us and we could hold hands in the open. Then I quickly snapped myself out the the fantasy by reminding myself my parting whatsapp to him on 16 May, after an hour on the phone thrashing out his “lies” about no mood, no money, no time and no love at home. I found out he had taken leave way in advance for 2 weeks in Dec because his W wanted an overseas trip. I was jealous and angry. I couldn’t handle the way he pampered her and yet sending me mixed signals. My whatsapp “It’s over. I do not want you in my life anymore. Break up clean. Do not reply” and it has been more than 1 month since he dialed or whatsapp my number. I no longer need to block him. He hasn’t reached out since then. Even if he comes to my office 2-3 times a week for work purposes, he no longer uses that as an excuse to see me. Even when I was near, he did not glance.
        Seeing his email, seeing his name, seeing his text in groupchat, seeing him, I have one feeling and that is heartache. I am still grieving. There are moments when I have difficult to fight against the vulnerability to reach out to him, I would scribble “this too shall pass” many times and breahe. Like you, I think I have accepted the reality and the present that the affair is over and we’re not going back to it, no way. Unlike you, being stranger with him suits me better. I am close to his boss who has recently told me that mm would be redeployed soon, not sure how soon, but he will be out of my project totally and he will not have access to my office premises. I kinda look forward to that day and told myself to press on and hang on a little longer and he would be out soon. By then, absolute NC is achieveable and I am confident that out of sight, out of mind and I will be done with this affair/ fantasy/ addiction without remission. The remaining work to be done is to let the memory fade, detach and be indifference.
        Since 16 May (final breakup), I managed to avoid him, he would leave the document on my in-tray and I would get his other team mates to follow. Just today, he appeared at my desk to talk about work, I avoided eye contact and was mindful of any trigger. I signed the document and passed by to him. I did well. He was professional. We both were. He left without any mixed signals. Watching his backview as he walked out of my cubi, I felt pangs of heartache and tension. I was near tears for some strange reason but I did well. He was a cool customer and so was I. Such experience helped to kill hope and affirm that this is how “it’s over” should be. I fought against the temptation to ruminate about how could he moved on so soon, does he miss me, has he slept with his wife, have they been happily planning for the dec trip and brought them closer together something exciting awaiting, blah blah blah. Then I got upset with myself for realising that part of me is still waiting and hoping. However, I have also reminded myself that I have come this far since the final breakup, 30 days of NC and soon, June will be over, and it will be the first month that we have achieved NC except for the work related correspondence which was minimal and professional.
        Wait for my good news… June looks promising that I am achieving a break through!

  • Butterflies are Free

    Hi there my weekend (my annual women’s only get away weekend) went so well! I feel inspired and energized. Of course I did NOT discuss my affair situation but I DID do beautiful photographs of nature and my friends. And i DID brainstorm my creative projects with one of the women a fellow creative: I also hiked in nature and I swam in a pond. It was glorious! I wanted to say all this as I really DO feel like the affair is no longer the largest thing in my life. And I connected with all the Higher Powers in my life: God, Goddess, Jesus, Angels, and more 🙂 I encourage you ALL to get here if you can, as it makes the rest of my life (the affair pain) much less large and much less central. Now the focus is on ME and what I want! Now I feel like each day of my life is a blessing!
    🙂 . Hugs
    B.A.F. xxx000

  • J

    Hi ladies,
    Mm is back to wanting to be with me again. Has realized supposedly that he was trying to take the easy route out. At this point I can’t believe one word that comes from his mouth. His last episode of thinking he should work on things only lasted a day. Then he was back to wanting me and saying he needs to learn coping skills. It’s actuallu laughable when he says he’s staying away from me because he contacts me immediately afterwards every time. However, the W had to have skin cancer removed ( caught so early that it’s stage 0 and being taken care of in a minor way), mm took her to dinner to make her feel better. Then that night she tried to have sex with him and he rejected her, which upset her greatly. But she went ahead with planning an outdoor party with approx 12 friends for the weekend and he said go ahead to her. She went insane when he refused to have sex with her and stole his keys, climbed up on the roof and screamed for hours, insisted he can’t leave her, and wouldn’t let him leave the house. She became violent and he had to call the police, the police told him he could file a restraining order, he did not. He eventually called a friend to pick him up and left. The next day he went right home and helped her set up for the party. This all sounds completely insane to me. Now she’s acting normal towards him. Is it me or is he the problem? If someone did these types of behaviors to me, I wouldn’t be sticking around. Why does he keep returning?? I think his W is mentally deranged, and if he wants to continue in this toxic unhealthy situation, he must be too. Which also makes me wonder, why am I associating with something like this also?? Thoughts?

    • Felk

      J, obviously, we only know of your situation and MM that which you tell us, but from what you say, I think those last few sentences/questions of yours are the important ones. If his marriage is as you say and your MM is really refusing sex and leaving the house one night and then returning to help with a party the next, it’s messed up. Period. He called the police? Yet he went back the next day? I genuinely do not understand beyond saying either he’s not being honest about what’s happening at home or, if he is, I’d take a long hard look as to why you are still involved with this man. The questions you ask yourself in the end are good questions. Why are you still associating with this situation? Sure, you’re in love, but, at some point, why would you want to be with a person who acts like this? How could that be good for you long term? And how could any of this get sorted out any time soon? I don’t know how you could trust him to ever leave, or, if he did, to not go back to his W. What are you waiting for? What are you expecting to happen (and is it realistic)?

      • J

        Felk,
        You’re so right in everything you said. I’m stunned with this insane behavior. I really am at a loss. Calling the police, then returning for a party. Makes no sense. I tend to believe him that it’s what is happening, as you know he can be brutally honest at times even detailing sex in the past, so why would he lie now? I think she is desperate to keep him there. He’s explained it saying that she cries and begs him for hours and hours, so he does things to pacify her. For ex, going home yesterday to work on the garden. Then she also invited their adult children over for dinner and guilted him saying he’s ruining their family. Although part of me understands his feeling this guilt from her, I completely agree Felk that if she has this much control over him, he will never break away or he will always go back. Its a very unfortunate situation because I do love him completely, but I don’t think I can ever trust him. And I also feel that his continuing with someone so dysfunctional, going out to dinner and sleeping in the same bed as someone who just threw a glass at your head and slashed all of your tires, is just crazy. He’s been drinking a lot every night, he said he doesn’t know how to deal with things, so he’s drinking to drawn his pain. At some point I have to stop worrying about him, and realize what’s best for me.

        • Kub

          Hello J
          omg reading details about your ex is really upsetting, especially for him. I didn’t fully understand that you are suspicious of him, lying about these details. But if he doesn’t and if he is honest then that means he is in a bad, really bad phase of his life.
          But honestly looking at the big picture, dear this is his family. Even if he gets a divorce she is the mother of you MM’s children. He will always have an important bound with her; he will never be able to cut every communication for good. I mean consider the best scenario for you but this scenario will always include this woman, too. At least this is how I convince myself that my ex-MM is not getting a divorce was a good thing at some point.
          Anyway, I strongly recommend you to focus on yourself; because from the beginning that I read your sharings I that you get no good out of this relationship. Of course you are the one who decides that we only give recommendations based your words. But from a person who was tracking your stories for a while now, I would want you to get move on from this relationship. Because I have my forward / backward steps and by the time I realize that a relationship must maintain a comfortable life and experiences with your partner. This should not be so hard. We should not worry or spend lots of energy to some other’s problems. When you are with a married man this is what you do. You try to make sense the actions, the fights, the break-ups, the make-ups, etc,etc,etc. That what I used to do and after a point I asked myself, why? Is my life this meaningless so I put so much attention to this couple’s problems and communication. And I see from your question marks you are doing the same thing, too.
          Honey but your answers (if you even can answer these questions) will never satisfy you or reflect the truth. You will never know for sure, never understand this dynamics between them. So maybe you should start not to mind… he? Because nothing will change even if you spend your hours, days to understand or put some logic in it.
          Acceptance is really hard but really useful in these type of situations. I spend my weeks to understand how on earth a man/woman can go with it (for my case), but then I realized that it was all for nothing. No matter where my red line is positioned, it is their life and their marriage.
          I suggest you to think from this side, too.

          Take care

  • Kub

    Hello
    Its morning in my country so good morning everyone 🙂
    I wanted to write down here, to create a ground to myself and remember the steps I am going through right now, in the future.
    Healing takes really time. Sometimes longer than we think. I am not like I was in day.1. Better, calmer now. Last night I gossiped with a friend like hours 🙂 And during that I mentioned about why this has ended. As I talk I remembered how he was irrespectful to me, how mean he was to me. So it felt good, talking over it made me feel good.
    This relationship is the hardest thing that I am recovering in my life. I sometimes regret, sometimes get mad. Sometimes don’t even remember him. But overall, I am better.
    By the way I am getting stronger really. I realize that what I am doing is hell of not easy! It is hard, really hard. Standing against to lots of destructive thoughts takes gut. Courage. Strength. And look at that, I have it!
    So I am now opening my doors to have more communication with people. Tomorrow I am seeing this new guy, and I will keep you updated about how it went.

    See you !

    • Butterflies are Free

      Kub, Yes you are showing courage and strength and I am PROUD of you! Leaving an affair like you are doing is YES extremely hard. I am SO Proud of you. But more importantly you seem to be more and more proud of yourself! Always remember that the hardest experiences are always the ones we can learn the most from. They make us stronger and wiser in the future. Many hugs Butterflies are Free

  • LIFELESSONS

    I cant believe I was questioning whether or not he was cheating on me…WTF is wrong with me ?!
    I knew we were suppose to see each other Weds, we discussed it on Sunday when we saw each other. He called me around 4:30 and asked if he was coming over my house after his meeting and I said, I may not be home and is that the only reason you called…he said No. Well he said hold on and when he came back to the phone he was saying something about calling a million times. I immediately hung up because I assumed he thought he was talking to the person on his other line. I called back right back and we proceeded to talk. Well when i got off the phone with him I text him and said hey I hung up because you thought you were talking to someone esle and i know you dont call me a million times so im sure you were not talking to me. I am such a coward, i didnt want to talk to him about it on the phone so I text. He called me back within minutes, i didnt answer so he text me and said, it was the loan people he filled out something online and they have been calling him a millions times a day. I didnt reply to the message.
    I assumed he was talking to another woman , saying he call her a million times a day. Therefore, i was jealous and upset.
    When sat and thought about that situation, I said I am losing my mind. Why on earth would i care about him talking to other women, he has a wife. Why didnt I assume it was her. Why did it bother me. I said to myself, you have gotta get your thoughts together. I was feeling sick to my stomach at the thought of him dealing with another woman outside of me. Im feeling so crazy right now ladies…i just needed to write my feelings down. This is just another reason why we should not spend so much time together and the L word should be forbidden. My feelings for him are getting stronger and stronger by the day. Im thinking of him all the time. I dont want to get off the phone with him when its time…..I enjoy him and i wish i didnt

    • Felk

      Oh, Lifelessons, I know this “jealousy” well. While I’ve said here that I am not jealous of my MM’s wife, I did have periods of jealousy about (fictional) other women. I am near sure my MM was never with anyone else (besides his W) during our affair. But, the nature of an affair… the secrecy, the privacy, the fact that you know your other is capable of cheating… lends itself to suspicion. Because we don’t have the commitment or accountability from our married other that we would typically get in a “normal” relationship, jealousy of other people can creep in. I know my MM had jealousy of me and other men. Even though he hid it most of the time, there were a few times where it reared its ugly head, and I don’t blame him. I know I felt similar, irrational things at times. But, that’s it. It was irrational, as it is in your situation, too. I would believe your MM that he is not cheating with some other woman. He sounds in love with you. But, it seems like you’re recognizing all the problems that come as the feelings get deeper. As you fall more in love, you will be more jealous, of course. You’ll care more and more about what he’s doing and where he’s spending his time. It’s only natural to have those feelings. I don’t know of any way to prevent that. You sound like you’ve already fallen hard if he’s on your mind constantly. That is how I felt for five years. I guess it “calmed down” a bit a little later in the affair as I got more comfort and confidence about his commitment, but the nature of an affair is always a heightened state of excitement and it never really calms down much. Please think long and hard about what it means to continue this if you choose to continue it.

  • Butterflies are Free

    Me exMM arrived at my door again. He wanted to “talk”. No food this time. Of course this behavior is no surprise as we have a serious “boundary” problem on my block as I have said.. He brought no food this time just a request to please please TALK?? Sigh. I said ok after a long while. Because I want this talk over with. I want to move forward with my life. I am tired. But I thought maybe we can arrive at some kind of closure today or at least some kind of mutual agreement of words?
    But the talk was NOT about “us.” It was about his marriage and his misery at home. That is what he wanted to talk about. Not “us” or our involvement together. But him and her. A NARC he is as I keep saying.
    Truly he looks terrible I must say. Very sad and very depressed and beat up. He wanted to talk because he is totally depressed. So he let his guard down and let me see what I would call the other side of his “narc” personality. The usually hidden “down”side. It was pretty shocking although I have been reading it and so I was prepared. The unloved side. This side of his personality has no confidence and low self-esteem and much vulnerability. It is not sexy I must say. The despair in him. He is very unhappy. About so many things but mainly the situation with his wife. She really does not treat him in a loving way and never has according to him. (I honestly suspect she has been seeing someone else for a long time). I told him this. It is not the first time I have said this. He said he did not care what she was doing. (I do not believe this)
    We talked about the hand holding thing I saw them doing last year. It was nice to get that off my chest. He said in public she wants to play “happily married” but not at home. She is nice to him in public and touches him holds his hand etc but NOT at home. He said he always tries his best to oblige her. So she will love him back. He would NOT do this if he did not LOVE her is my take away. He has been loving her or trying to all this time. But he is not fulfilled with her. In other words, this man is a car wreck at the moment. I stayed calm.

    Overall , this was a weird experience. It did not do anything to ignite my desires. Because he never brought up “us”. It was like an odd stark reality. I felt like there was no “us.” I can not explain it.
    Here is a proud narc man who’s wife cares little for him. (Or so he says.) But what has been his role in the marriage and why has she rejected him? And why can’t he cut the cord if this has been true for so long? And what about ME and US??
    Am I sort of invisible to him?
    I asked him if he would try to divorce, “Yes, maybe, well I don’t exactly know” he said.
    “Does your daughter know how you feel?” I asked “YES.” “Does your son?” “YES.” “Do others in your family?” “YES.” Then I asked him if the BIG question. (I figured what the hell?)
    I asked: “Did he want to be together with me? If he divorced?” (Pretty gutsy right?)
    Of course I got shot down. And I thought that would happen.
    His answer:” “I don’t know.” “I don’t know anything anymore.” etc
    Ouch. Ouch. But I so knew that was coming. So, I stayed calm. And I did not react.
    I said, “Well we can perhaps be friends and talk sometimes. I see you are going though a lot. But I can not be sexual with you. I can not say I love you or place my heart in your hands.”
    He listened and agreed.
    I continued: “It is time for me to move forward. I have my own life to think about. I have to think about my life because no one else will. I so much need to move forward and beyond this” I said.
    He agreed. He said he did not want to say anything to me that makes me “wait” for him. He does not want to commit to any kind of future together. Because he does not know what the outcome of his marriage is, Because he does not know how he feels about her or what will happen.
    I guess I should be thankful? I am laughing because we have been at this so long. It feels like a divorce almost. But this IS some closure if I think about it.
    He went on: “I am in a financial mess and it makes it even harder to split up”. “Okay” I said. “Well you need to take some steps. And I recommend you see a therapist too. Only YOU can take the steps to move yourself forward.” And I said “you have many good qualities and you are strong and I know you can move yourself in a more positive direction.”
    I was very calm. I was letting him go.
    Remember I saw the psychic yesterday and she told me he is NOT the “one”? I was calm because of this. And I have my crystal to give me clarity in my hand since I left her.
    The conversation ended and he said “Can I call you Saturday?” LOL
    He is an utter contradiction but it is NOT my problem.
    “I will be in the mountains” I said “with no reception.
    “Then Monday I will call you,” instead he said.
    “Let’s see what happens” is what I said. “Honestly I need time to think about all this. I need time to think one what I want in this.”
    He agreed,
    The end. Life is getting so “real” to me lately. I know this is NOT a dress rehearsal anymore. The fantasy love life in my mind is fading. But I will always be a dreamer anyhow. :). A true “artist”
    hugs, Butterflies Are Free xxxooo
    I hope this might help someone out there…..

    • Felk

      Lara, honestly it amazes me that your MM keeps coming back, even though it seems you’ve gone to him none (in a while). I know you’re responsive to his contact, but it seems you’ve initiated no contact in months. Is that right? I know you’re right there in front of him, though, so, of course, it’s hard for him to ignore and, of course, he misses you.

      You handled that conversation with him so well. So well. And I know how hard that must have been to not only have him come to you to talk about his W and marriage, but to hear him say that he wasn’t sure if he wanted to be with you if he divorced. I cannot stress enough how strong it was for you to ask. To ask directly that which you wanted to know. So often we hold those questions inside because we’re scared of the answers or we think it makes us look weak to ask, but there is so much strength in asking and not holding back out of fear. I know his answer hurt, but we can’t have an honest relationship with someone if we are scared to ask them important questions. If you really want to move on (with or without him), you have to ask the important questions. I wish I had done that more at the end of my affair.

      I’m also glad you were able to bring up the hand-holding thing from a year ago. You’ve held onto that for a long time. Good for you asking him about it. It always seemed to me that he was only holding her hand in public out of obligation or to do that which seems normal for married people to do. And I think you knew that, but it must help to hear him say it directly. About a year ago, I saw my MM hold his W’s hand in public and, though it stung a little, I knew it was him just doing what he was “supposed” to do or him trying to be kind to her (out of guilt).

      There is an arrogance and selfishness in him thinking he can come to you to talk about his marital problems and expecting you to be there for him. I know that’s his narc tendencies. There is also a desperation that you point out. That he has nowhere else to go. But I’d guess he also comes to you because he misses you. Recently you said that you will always have feelings for him and he for you. I think that’s clear.

      I understand your MM not wanting you to wait for him. Although it probably would have made your brain happy (in a way) to hear him ask you to wait, he sounds overwhelmed with the obligations of his marriage and sounds like he doesn’t want to let yet another person down (you). He is contemplating leaving his marriage and considering letting his W down and himself down, and to have another person relying on him (had he told you to wait) would be too much.

      Your honesty about feeling invisible to him is good, too. I know all too well how narcs can do this to others. I’ve done this in past relationships. I’ve done this to my H. Maybe my MM feels I do it to him at times (even though I don’t think I do), and I feel my MM does it to me at times. For narcs, it is the self-absorption. You really can shut out the feelings of another person as you become so absorbed in your immediate needs. Honestly, I don’t think that’s what your MM is doing to you. I think he is too scared to honestly show you how much he misses you, and he does it indirectly by continually contacting you here and there. I think, like all of us, he’s holding in a lot of difficult feelings and trying to deal with them. I’m not saying he handles it well, but we know affairs are a mess and it’s hard to know exactly how to handle the situation.

      It is good you are getting away this weekend and you’ll have some time to think. It will be hard, though, knowing he said he’ll call you on Monday. I find that when I have plans set up with my MM, that dopamine is triggered again. I get hopeful. I get excited. Sure, lately, I also get anxious and worried, as you saw before my Monday time with him. But, really, if strong feelings are triggered (positive or negative) it shows that we still have a long way to go in recovery. I’m not sure how you’re feeling about it today, but hopefully you are finding calm and clarity in how you want to handle this with him moving forward. I am not there yet and I long to be.

      • Butterflies are Free

        Thank you J for your helpful and thorough responses.
        I will answer a couple of questions below:
        I have always seen the the arrogance and selfishness in him thinking he can come to me to talk to as well about his marital problems since that is how my affair started with him. I wish I had never entered the relationship on those terms but that is how it started. I know think that is a bad way to start! Hindsight is 20-20 alas.
        But I have NEVER seen these desperation tendencies until recently and it causes me alarm as a friend not a lover. Yes I worry he has nowhere else to go. He’s a guy who is good at playing alpha male but the last few years of his life have been very rough on him. But it also reminds me of my bi polar exH and his feelings were so extreme they scared me.

        I think a lot of his current depression has to do with having never left his wife (despite feeling the marriage was not working) and all the ripples of that decision (which he thought was the “right” decision since they had two young children when I met him). But that decision to NOT leave her has cost him dearly and now he sees it. It has affected other areas of his life including his employment, finances, and children (both now grown). It is tragic to me as I saw these thing happening in advance but of course I could not be sure. SO when I delicately tried to point things out to him, he would get very defensive. And, as he was a narc he never believed me.
        So now, do I feel great I was correct all along? No hardly. I am not wanting to scream :”I told you so!” but of course in my head I am realizing I should have believed my intuition better than I did. I don’t like watching him suffer at the level he is now suffering.
        But I am NOT tempted to react by going back into the affair or sexual mode. I have been there and done that and suffered greatly myself in that process. Too too too many times. I know that rodeo too well. I told him this too and I have learned to say this calmly without crying because my brain chemicals are much quieter now. I do NOT want to awaken them one bit.
        I do not feel as sorry for myself now either. I know I made my choices too. I can not only blame him.
        Yes I will always have feelings for him and him for me.
        But something being in a 21 off/on year affair teaches you: Feelings are NOT enough in these situations. Love is NOT enough.
        All the love I gave him and can give him does not change a thing if he can not make the decision to leave. Nor can they guarantee I can make a relationship with him that would make us both happy. Because that takes TWO people not one.
        I DO like your interpretation of his words however:
        “He is contemplating leaving his marriage and considering letting his W down and himself down, and to have another person relying on him (had he told you to wait) would be too much.”
        This makes me feel better. I had taken this much more personally meaning (to me) his love for me was not as strong as that of his wife. Those thoughts cause me a great deal of pain and make me very tired at this point.
        As for being “invisible” to him, that, too, feels very painful. If his wife feels this way about him (and I fear she might) then I certainly understand why she is “cold” (as he puts it) to him.
        I know in a conflict between any two people there are always three sides: his side, her side, and the truth. And if that is her reality I do NOT want to be with him either!
        (You know that “be careful what you wish for” saying?) It applies here in these affairs because we only get “one side” of the picture and that makes our understanding of the marital relationship skewed at best. Not to mention we too are “skewed” in our perceptions ad we are juiced up on addictive brain chemicals. That is why this blog is so helpful! Writing helps!
        Thank you for explaining: “You really can shut out the feelings of another person as you become so absorbed in your immediate needs” as a narc.” I do not know if that is what he is doing either but it helps to know how narcs act in the world.
        I think I agree with almost all of this you when you say: “I think he is too scared to honestly show you how much he misses you, and he does it indirectly by continually contacting you here and there. (My. MM hates “change” and not only is his life spinning in ways he can not control but I am changing readily too. This makes him feel very unsteady”)
        And yes on this too:
        “I think, like all of us, he’s holding in a lot of difficult feelings and trying to deal with them. I’m not saying he handles it well, but we know affairs are a mess and it’s hard to know exactly how to handle the situation.” AGREED.
        As for this: “It will be hard, though, knowing he said he’ll call you on Monday. I find that when I have plans set up with my MM, that dopamine is triggered again. I get hopeful. I get excited.”
        Here I do not agree with you. Nope I do not feel excited.
        First of all he always says he “will call” and doesn’t so I don’t put much hope on that phrase. Furthermore if he has something to say, he will undoubtedly find a way to say it one way or another as I now know.
        But I do not need him to say “I love you” like I did even a few months ago. I don’t need those words anymore. What I need is concrete actions that show me what his intentions are for his current life. What does he intend to do? And how long with this take? 5 years? 5 months? 5 days? I would think “5 years would be his answer. LOL But I do not have 5 more years to give to this man. So I am not looking forward to more contact actually. I know he has feelings but I take his waffling personally as rejection even if he does not mean it that way. I asked him: “So you are okay if I see other people?” He answered: “I do not want to make promises that I can not keep”
        These kinds of words makes me feel sad and down even if he is trying to be respectful in his own way. So I am trying to cut my losses and finally move forward. I am drained as I keep saying. I think this man needs a therapist badly and will not confront the strenuous decision making process of an actual separation or divorce without that kind of support. People need a great deal of support to come to such a decision. I place the therapist I still have now in my life long long ago and she has helped me through so many difficult transitions.
        But I can not be his therapist. That would be a boundary cross. If I want any role its to be his girlfriend and lover. I want the ability to have an above board love relationship with him to see where that goes. Because right now, with so many complicated pieces on the table, even I am not sure where that will go. But I am hardly awaiting his phone call or future contacts with me as I think the odds of this man choosing to actually leave his marriage are very very low given all these complications. Which means I still have to generate the enthusiasm and deep emotional energy for my own successful departure from this affair (and it takes both) so I can enjoy my life with or without him. Does this make sense? It takes a lot of work to leave an affair. Hugs Lara xx00

        • Felk

          Lara, I’d agree with your assessment about your MM’s current mood. I’m sure he’s recognizing that bad choices have led him to where he is today with his marriage. I’m sure he’s using hindsight, too, wishing he would have left his marriage sooner or left the affair sooner or made some change that wouldn’t have put him where he is today… with a terrible marriage and with your affair over. I’m thinking he misses you and your affair and he wishes he wasn’t in such a terrible marriage. Even though it sounds like your affair started because his marriage was already bad, we know how affairs hurt marriages so, over the years, when he could have been working on his marriage, he wasn’t. He was coming to you. You know I understand the addiction and how we continue to make that choice, even though we know we’re hurting our marriage. It’s one of the things that helps me through my own break-up, knowing my MM made a hard choice (to end our affair while still in love) to try to save his marriage. Otherwise, ten years down the road, he’s in a miserable marriage and I still don’t want to leave my H? That’s no good (for him).

          You do sound certain that you do not want to go back to the affair. If anything, it sounds like you’d be willing to try a relationship with him if he was divorced and the relationship could be out in the open. I hear you saying that you don’t know if a relationship with him could work, but it’s strong to say that you don’t want the relationship if it is an affair. Like you say with there being multiple sides to a story, my guess is that he doesn’t treat his W well (and, as you recognize, you probably wouldn’t want a relationship with someone like that). It’s a hard honesty to recognize that the affair works because you don’t get to see the “real” person on a day-to-day basis, but that, many times, that person is not someone you’d want to be in a real relationship with. Of course, sometimes the affair partner is someone who you’d want a real relationship with, but I think that most of the time we just think we want a real relationship with that person because we mainly see them at their best. And, as you say, because we’re so high on these brain chemicals, we distort how wonderful they are. I know, in my break-up, I find myself easily reflecting on the good times and I have to work hard to remind myself of all the hard times in the affair. Oh, how our brain distorts. For you and your MM, though, you’ve had 21 years and you’ve seen each other through a lot so it seems like you’d know if this is someone who could work with you in a relationship. And it seems even though you think the answer is probably “no,” it still hurts to hear that he’s not asking you to wait or saying that he’d want you were he to divorce. I understand.

          And, yes, I’m sure your MM is having extra difficulty because he feels he’s losing you. He can tell you’re changing, and I would imagine that is related to how bad he’s feeling in his marriage. As you take away your availability, he is left with the reality of his marriage. When he was with you, he could find happiness with you and ignore the problems in his marriage. I think by telling you not to wait, though, that he is trying to be smart and trying to be respectful (of you). I also think, as I said, that he’s overwhelmed and cannot have another person depending on him right now, as he might feel that’s the case with his W and why he can’t leave the marriage. But, like you, I would take that as a rejection. I want certainty. If you can’t say you want me, I basically interpret that as you not wanting me. It could also be that your MM “wants” you to wait, but he knows that he’s unlikely to leave his marriage so it does no good to tell you that. Not only is it cruel to ask you to wait for something that isn’t going to happen, but I bet it makes him sad to admit he wants something he can’t have. That’s how it was with my MM. In the break-up, we would talk about “wants” and I would get him to say he still wanted me and wanted a relationship with me, but then he would get sad and say that we can’t always do what we want. He’d say that he has other competing wants (like keeping his marriage and family) so it didn’t do any good to talk about wanting me.

          I didn’t realize his “I’ll call you Monday” doesn’t actually mean that. It’s good you know not to expect a call. Oh, I do hope you can move away from all of this. I can tell you want to be done with him, but you still haven’t let go entirely.

          I really like what you say in the end about how you have to generate the energy to leave the affair. He’s not going to do it. He’s unlikely to leave his marriage and he’s unlikely to stop coming to you here and there. I’ve thought about how I wish my MM would just make a decision one way or another – just tell me you want me or you don’t. I’d hate to hear that he only wanted a professional relationship with me, but there’d be a freedom in knowing, once and for all, that we were done. But he can’t (at least not yet), so I have to do it on my own, and I’m trying. I’ve listened closely to what you and others (and online experts) have said about clear boundaries, and I need to do a better job with that. I say I want to transition to a friendship while I still am doing things that are much more than friendly. I must stop thinking about this relationship as more than a friendship (or having potential for anything beyond a friendship).

          There are times I feel so strong and sure it is right to let go and only think of him as a friend, and then I get these flashes of great loss imagining him no longer loving me. I’m working on not thinking about it that way. On thinking about it not as loss but as transition. Thinking about it as better, given how problematic the affair had gotten. Thinking about how we will be happier, in the long run, if we can be done with the affair. We will be happier in our marriages, we will be happier as individuals, and we will have a better friendship because of that. I keep trying.

          • Butterflies are Free

            Hi Felk, Again thank you for your thoughts and your depth. You have a lot of insight. I so appreciate it! I have answered a few things below you bring up:
            You say: “As you take away your availability, he is left with the reality of his marriage. When he was with you, he could find happiness with you and ignore the problems in his marriage.”
            Yes yes yes. That is mainly why I kept leaving him: Because he was married and if he wasn’t going to leave her then I wanted him to at least have a clear chance at working his issues with her out. And I wanted to give HER a chance too. I felt guilt over the whole thing. A LOT of guilt at times, and less at others. Him feeling no guilt bothered me deeply. But I don’t think it was true.
            But for whatever reason, they NEVER seem to have worked it out. And now he is in a financial mess as well, causing him to think he has no choice but to stay. But before it was the “kids” reason. SO maybe the financial excuse is just that: an excuse to NOT take action.
            You say: “I want certainty. If you can’t say you want me, I basically interpret that as you not wanting me. It could also be that your MM “wants” you to wait, but he knows that he’s unlikely to leave his marriage so it does no good to tell you that. Not only is it cruel to ask you to wait for something that isn’t going to happen, but I bet it makes him sad to admit he wants something he can’t have.” YES to all of this. Yes.
            You say: “That’s how it was with my MM. In the break-up, we would talk about “wants” and I would get him to say he still wanted me and wanted a relationship with me, but then he would get sad and say that we can’t always do what we want.”
            OMG Yes. My MM still ‘wants ” me but like I said feelings are not enough for me anymore. I have gotten bored and frustrated and angry with all the waiting for “him” to make up his mind. He is STILL waffling!
            You say: “Oh, I do hope you can move away from all of this. I can tell you want to be done with him, but you still haven’t let go entirely.” Both are true yes. The best thing for me is physical distance from my block and my house.
            And: “I really like what you say in the end about how you have to generate the energy to leave the affair.” So much energy is required Felk!
            You say: “I’ve thought about how I wish my MM would just make a decision one way or another – just tell me you want me or you don’t.” Yes but it is hard to tolerate the rejection if he doesn’t. I do not think from what you say that you are there yet. Being ready for that platonic friendship stage. We too must make decisions for ourselves and not passively wait for these guys to “decide” our destinies.
            These words of yours are honest:
            “I say I want to transition to a friendship while I still am doing things that are much more than friendly.”
            Like I already said a true platonic relationship is quite impossible with my exMM but we can both “fake” it probably “for the other’s benefit”.
            You say: “I get these flashes of great loss imagining him no longer loving me. I’m working on not thinking about it that way.” I think this is grief you are feeling. You are still grieving for what is gone.
            “On thinking about it not as loss but as transition.” Possibly, yes. You must see if it can work for you both.
            “We will be happier in our marriages, we will be happier as individuals, and we will have a better friendship because of that. I keep trying.” At least you have a happier future to imagine with your husband to imagine! For me I must forge a path of my own, a path alone as a single woman who trusts in the universe without him. My “Butterflies are Free” theme and my new crystal are helping immensely in these areas. And my art work. Thankfully!
            Hugs Butterflies are Free! xxx000

          • Felk

            Lara, one of the problems with long-term affairs is that, even when people enter them with no intention of leaving their spouse, they often end up doing damage to the marriage that is irreparable. One of the lies we tell ourselves when we’re in the affair is that we can keep our spouse from finding out. While sometimes people get caught red-handed, I think the easy part is preventing yourself from getting discovered outright. I didn’t have a lot of concern about getting “caught” in that regard, but what I think we lie to ourselves about more is that our spouses won’t notice changes in our behavior. We think we can keep being the good spouse and have the affair. Initially, most people probably can. It’s a slow change. But for people who have been in the affair for years, that change happens. I would guess your MM had all sorts of rationalizations for cheating on his W, including that she’d never know. But, undoubtedly his affair took a toll on their already-strained marriage. And now what is left? A broken marriage that is likely irreparable due to decades of negligence. It’s hard to imagine how he gets out of that misery if he is not willing to get a divorce. But the misery of staying in the marriage may be more acceptable to him than the complexities of a divorce.

            You mention my happier future with my husband, and, sure, it’s something I can hope for, but I did a lot of damage to my marriage during my affair. My H is still very in love and very wanting of our marriage. Obviously, I tried not to drive him too far away because I wanted to stay in my marriage, but the wedge I was creating became automatic as I fell more in love with my MM. My feelings for my H changed during my affair (and they have not “gone back”). I am lucky to still have a H who did not get distant or frustrated or angry during my affair, but I have to deal with the distance I feel and need to repair. I think each of us (single or married) has challenges when getting out of an affair. I’m not sure one situation is easier or harder. I know that I sometimes feel that it would be easier for me to move on if I were single. I could start looking for new relationships and new love. Right now, I feel like I’m in danger of always feeling distance with my H, even if I’m able to close that gap a bit.

            One difference that I do understand, though, between people who are single and get with MM (or MW) and married people who get together is that it does seem that those who are single are hoping more for their married other to leave their spouse. Not that we haven’t heard from MW on here who were hoping their other would leave their spouse, but it seems more likely if you’re single. You and others have used the word “wait,” and I think that has to be incredibly difficult… to feel that you’re constantly waiting for your MM to leave his W. It’s that brutal hope, and there’s so much investment in waiting that it’s often hard to pull the plug because you don’t want to feel you’ve waited for “nothing.” Unfortunately, I think my MM started to fall into that and started to hope I’d want to leave my H. I never had that hope for him, and I think that difference between us was one of the causes of the break-up (even though I’ve said we never really talked about him wanting to divorce his W or wanting me to divorce my H. We talked around it a lot and indirectly, but never had a serious conversation about it.). I do hope you are done waiting. I’m not sure you are entirely, but it seems like you’re close. I think physical distance and moving away will end that once and for all. It is that part you say about not waiting for these guys to decide for us and making decisions ourselves for our futures. I feel that pretty strongly, and thinking about that helps me make decisions (even though I know I’m still “waiting” on my MM a bit).

            I still feel like I’m faking it, as you say, with my MM. I don’t want to keep doing that. I still feel like I’m faking that a platonic friendship is fine and I’m good with that, when my insides are screaming when I’m around him. It seems he feels the same, as I can see the tension he’s trying to fight, too. I’m still feeling the loss. I know it. It’s lessening all the time, though. There are setbacks, but I can feel it getting better and better. I am more clearly feeling the importance of the just-friendship lately and feeling less like clinging to what used to be (and the hope to have that again). I just have more to grieve, though. There is more to get used to about him not being in my life everyday anymore, but thinking it through and reading what you all write here has helped me get closer to focusing on the friendship and what it will take (for example, clear boundaries) to make that happen. It is as you say… it takes a lot of energy. A lot. I am sure that’s why some days I feel clearer and stronger than others. Some days I just do not have the energy to fight the memories of what was.

  • J

    Quick update: He’s already been back, texting me nonstop as usual. Wanted to meet, I went because I can’t break the cycle. But also because I was reading online about what I think is going on with him. I don’t see how he could love me so much for periods, declare this strong love and tell me how nothing will make him lose me, then suddenly feel so different. And the cycle repeats over and over. And obviously he can never stay away because when I try to give him space he contacts me nonstop. So I started researching and I believe he’s self sabotaging. He is very insecure, and feels ultimately unworthy of real love. He’s so scared of things not working or me leaving him that he is trying to control the failure himself. He’s pushing me away to control the situation. He does every one of the classic self saboteur behaviors. I told him this. He said I need to reflect and said you’re right that I’m trying to take the easy route out because I’m scared. He also kissed me. I don’t know what he will say today. Who knows. But it is absolutely exhausting as no one has my back and gives me such undying loyalty.

    • Butterflies are Free

      Yes J it ISSSS exhausting. The married men in our lives are so ever-present and persistent but offer no future!
      EXHAUSTING and SAD and ENRAGING all at once. Of course he’s scared. I do think the more courageous men might LEAVE their marriages before involving another woman in their loves and problems. Don’t you? Are you saying HE has your back and HE is undyingly loyal to you? I have the same thought about my exMM. But you know what? They are only loyal to us to a point. It is NOT completely loyalty in fact. Their true loyalty is still to their wives even thought they “don’t’ love them”. They still try at home to play the “husband” roles. Goddess only knows why. They need to look within themselves and figure it out. Try to take that in. When I say mine holding hands with his wife on my street last year it was a GIFT to me. That is when I found this blog. It was an utterly jarring and horrible experience. But it DID remind me of who he is at home. At home he is a man who is wife believes is her “husband”.
      SO J practice picturing him in bed with his wife. I know it will sear your brain but practice it! And then ask yourself (as I do this too) . “How loyal is he really?” and to WHOM? You will find these men are loyal to THEMSELVES over everyone else. They might be great guys with nice qualities but they are also selfish at heart. Do you trust that?
      Do you really tristt him? I have realized that I DO NOW completely trust my exMM and I know it would take a very long time to develop that trust if he actually did ever leave his wife. That is a sobering thought to me.
      Many hugs Butterflies are Free!
      aka Lara

  • Butterflies Are Free

    I went to see a psychic today. Spontaneously. First I had gone to my therapist and she had told me she is semi-retiring. She is moving to another state for 7 months per year. It was pretty big news. I have been in therapy with her forever. And she has helped me so much.
    And, as I said in the below my younger son just got a job a new job in a state I love 6 hours from where I live. My therapist and my son are going in OPPOSITE directions. There is great change afoot in my life now.
    I am truly on a precipice. I now have the excuse I need to leave my corner and my exMM if I choose.
    I am FREE. So I went to a psychic. I stood outside the door a long time trying to find a “Yelp:” review of this place that I have seen for 20 years at least. But nothing. No info. I decided “what the hell?”
    So what happened? I am writing what she said her what she said so I can always remember it!

    She said I had “very good energy, a very positive energy, a very strong spiritual presence and that when I walk in a room people notice.” And she said that “I am highly creative”. “Highly.” My therapist had just finished telling me the sam thing about my creativity. And the psychic said that “I need to get my art works out into the greater world for the greater good”. “Now”. And that I will be “very successful in my career.” ‘Really??’ (me thinking) And that this summer “there will be much traveling for me and a huge change in August”. She said, “I might let go of something huge in August.” “And that I am very strong.” “And very independent minded.” And again “creative”. And that “I will live a long life and so will my sons. And that my fibromyalgia will NOT be an issue in the future. This illness will NOT take me down. ” ( WOW. I have been worrying about this a lot lately). I asked he if she could see I was an empath? And “yes” she said I am. that I can feel and sense people and their feelings on a profound level, but that I am also strong!.” Me strong! Wow.
    This psychic was young and very professional. She told me I will marry again one day. (Huh? Gulp) She then said she saw some “confusion”. She asked me “did I feel confusion?” I said ‘No not really.’ (liar: me ) ‘But what about love do you see?’ I asked. ‘Do you see anything about love?’ “Nope” she said “This is not your year for love.”

    I paused and of course she asked me, “Why, Is there someone in mind?” And I said ‘yes there is a married man’. “Ah!” she said, that is the confusion you have.” Then she added, “Nope. He is definitely NOT the one. ” and then she said, “He is not your soulmate.” “Nope nope.” So I paused and looked at her. I was very very calm. ‘He is NOT my soulmate?’ I asked? ‘Are you sure??’
    “Nope he is not your soulmate” she said” and even worse, “he could get in your way and prevent you from doing things with your art you need to do.” “He might get in your way. You need to go out in the world and travel and exhibit your work and make many art projects. You have a long productive life ahead of you and you are going to be very successful in your career.” ‘Wow’ is what I was thinking.

    Then I left the building. She gave me a crystal to give me more clarity to see my path and way ahead MORE CLEARLY and not be afraid of it. I went outside. I thought to myself “well maybe she says the same things to all people?” But then as I walked a few steps I saw a giant butterfly artwork/sculpture at the other side of the cross walk I was using to get to the other side of the street. It was surreal. I have never seen this butterfly before. It was at least 12 feet wide by 10 feet high and full of color. And it was rising on the other side of the crosswalk. I saw the white lines on the crosswalk leading to the butterfly. Like a road to the butterfly, a straight path. I felt like the butterfly was calling to me: “Walk this way!” I could hear it say. “Don’t be afraid!”
    (I WAS afraid but not too bad.)
    As you know I have transitioned to the moniker : “Butterflies are Free” because have I felt ready to own it. And now this butterfly across the sidewalk staring me in the face. Butterflies are free but freedom is scary. Making choices is scary too,

    And so my journey begins. I had no choice; it started today. It must begin now because I feel it is my destiny now. I have no choice. As for the exMM I have no idea what my exMM will do. he says he is unhappy at home but words do not mean he will take actions. Actions are MUCH MUCH harder than words. Is he up to it? Does he have the true grit and courage to leave his unhappiness? I kind of doubt it. But really, I do not care right now because I must focus on ME. Actions forward are hard for ME too. I see him all the time and now on the block because it is spring/summer. We are now “cordial” now a few words and light smiles. In my mid, I know this is happening because in his mind, it means he thinks I am returning to him. I would return to him perhaps but only if he gets free of his marriage. Otherwise I am done.
    Now, I am going to live my life to the fullest as I MUST. Whatever he does now has to be HIS choice.
    How are the rest of you doing? I hope this story might inspire some of you. Hugs Lara xoxo

  • Butterflies Are Free

    Hello everyone,
    I have some major news: My son just landed a job 6 hours away from here and I can feel it in my heart I will be slowly but surely making my way away from here and in new direction. If my son and his girlfriend do decided to get married and stay up there. And I think they WILL.
    From this block I am on, I need to get away. I have said this because I feel this. My situation with my exMM. is simply STUCK. It was stuck a long time ago. It has never been anything but stuck. I am very very exhausted. I have fibromyalgia and this situation with my exMM is DRAINING.
    I now have the opportunity to look to working part time where my son is and/or eventually retiring there! I NEED this. In my guts I am exhausted. And still sad. Still have feelings for him. As he does for me. And we always will.
    But I need to get OUT. I need to get AWAY. There is no resolution. Too much time has passed and I am exhausted.
    In fact, I was praying to Jesus right before this occurred. I was praying for the best outcome for “all concerned”. (My spiritual guide taught me to pray that way). I no longer feel like I am being judged by Jesus or my HP or any spiritual force. It simply makes no sense to me that a loving spiritual force would “judge” me. No matter what “organized” religion might say. I can access Jesus too and God and Goddess!
    Then came the call from my son a day later who had just landed his dream job. 6 hours north of where I live and near the majority of my family of origin! It has been in the works for awhile. I said to myself if it is “his destiny” he will get this job! And that will naturally affect my destiny too because grand children might not be so far away.
    And it happened!
    And in a gorgeous natural area. More peaceful. Nature everywhere! And far far cheaper than where I live now. I have so many ties in that area that go all the way back to my childhood from 5 years old. Now I can see a brighter future for myself by far. I will keep you posted. Hugs Lara. xxxooo

    • J

      Sounds like wonderful news. New scenery, new people. You really need it. His constant presence next door is too much, you’ll always be reminded.

    • Butterflies Are Free

      Hello everyone!
      I have more news. I ent to see a psychic yesterday. First my son said he was leaving and then my therapist told me yesterday she was semi-retiring! There was so much change in 48 hours. I knew I wanted to see a psychic. I found a spiritual young woman no too far from my therapist for 25.00. She asked me if I was confused about anything. I said “not really”. She told me many very complimentary things about my career and my creativity and my need to share my art with the world NOW. And how summer is a huge time for me especially August. That I will be traveling a lot this summer and that travel will bring me renewed creativity and art projects. And that I will be very successful in my career. (!) (That would be nice!) And good things for my health and fibromyalgia, which will NOT be a factor all my lifetime and a long life for my myself and two sons. And that I am a very open and good spirit with a very positive aura. So near the end I asked about love. She said NOPE this is not my year for love. And she said: “Was there someone in my life in particular?” I said ‘a married man’. “Nope” she said “he is not the one.” “I see marriage in your future (!) but NOT with him. You should get away from him.” (!). ‘Are you sure?’ I asked? I have known him a long time. She said “NOPE” and “he could get in the way of your plans and career” (!) “I do not see him in your life in the future”. “Ne is NOT your soulmate.” I walked outside. I thought to myself: ‘maybe she tells everyone the same?” But then I saw a HUGE butterfly sculpture across the street steps from me. The white lines of the crosswalk of my big city street were heading directly to this 9 for by 10 for butterfly that was not there before. It was full of color and seemed to be calling me. I could almost hear it say: “Walk this way!” Over here!!” You all know I have switched back to my original moniker “Butterflies are Free”. When I saw this butterfly I was deeply deeply moved and tears came into my eyes. I hope this story might inspire or help someone out there. Hugs Lara xxxooo
      PS I am traveling this week to the mountains with all my 10 high school women friends! I might be off line a bit starting tomorrow. Not sure.

    • Felk

      Lara, this is really great news about your opportunity to move to another state. I can hear your excitement. So much about that area that your son and his girlfriend are moving to sound great, too. That it’s cheaper, that you have ties to that area from your childhood, and that it’s in a gorgeous natural area. I have been reading more and more about how much nature calms us. After reading about Sophie’s daily walks, I actually started taking walks in my area, just to a local park, and I’m really enjoying that quiet time “away.” I’m sure you’re scared about this change, but I can also hear how excited you are.

      For months, you have been clear that you are tired of this ongoing saga with your MM. You have sounded done with him for a while (even if you are hanging on a little). And, yes, you sound strong, so I’m not surprised that someone else saw that in you today. We know these bonds with these MM are strong, too, but we know it can become a problematic addiction that requires action to break free. Moving 6 hours away would free you. I am sure of it. I am also sure that there are men who can make you happier than your MM. What better place to start looking than when you move away!

  • LIFELESSONS

    Hi Ladies,
    I have been MIA for about 3 months…and I was feeling ashamed to write…although I know this is a judgement free zone.
    So the last time I wrote, I was on my 33rd day of NC well him and I had contact regarding our kids. After that we had contact again, I was out of town for work and he was just returning home from a work trip. We decided to talk to one another and from their we met up with each other. When he saw me he grabbed me, pick me up and kissed all over me. I pretended not to like it but I loved every bit of the attention. This happened in April. We have spent a lot of time together since then.
    One day in April him and I was on the phone and I was telling him about a project I am working on that involves me helping someone else. He said you amaze me, you are so genuine and truly want to help everyone. He said that is why I love you so much. I said what do you mean, he said you heard what I said. I was so shocked, i told him i would call him back (and I love to talk so I never get off the phone first). It took me by surprise, he has never said that to me, not ever! It made me uncomfortable because I think “LOVE” (which is probably more lust on his end) complicate things even more. I didnt say it back, I knew how I felt about him but I refused to say it back or entertain it…
    We have slept with each other a few times, not many. We have spent more time together, hanging out, talking on the daily…that has always been our typical way of communicating. Well yesterday him and I was talking and I cant remember what i said to him but he said, you love me just like I love you and I said what because I really didnt hear him so he said you heard me and I said, no actually I did not. He repeated it and I said yea you are right.
    He came by my house and picked me up, we went for a ride and talked but not about that L word he has thrown out.
    It has been well over a year and we didnt start off with sex, we started off as 2 parents who attended sports events and chatted with one another, we hung out and it wasnt a sex thing in the beginning. I was for sure i was not going to sleep with him once I found out he was married. However, all of that changed. I still cant believe I have been desperate enough to allow this to go this far. I feel the dumbest person in the world..i was good for over 30 days and I am back to where I started. He has always been very attached and wanting to spend time with me, it was really hard for me to spend time with him because my kids had so many different activities and i am a single mom so I had to do it all. Im not surprised that he wants to spend all of his free time with me but the love thing is….I dont know! Im not feeling real good about myself ladies. I didnt think he would be back and I didnt think we would be back in this space. I thought it was over. I will be honest with you all I want nothing more than to believe him when he says he loves me and the bigger part of me can tell he has strong feelings for me but my logical self says he is in lust with you because there is no way he could love 2 women is there ?! I just needed to vent to you all.
    God Bless!

    To: Lara, Felk, J. And Nomad I hope all is well with you ladies…miss reading all of your helpful and encouraging advice!

    • Felk

      Lifelessons, good to hear from you again… except that I guess it means you’re going through some stuff if you’re here! I’m sorry to hear that you’re confused again, and, of course, you know you shouldn’t be embarrassed here. Your honesty really is safe here.

      As we’ve heard from most women on here, the men always come back. I’m not sure we’ve heard of a situation yet where the guy didn’t come back, in some way, even after a long period of NC. So, that your MM came back isn’t surprising. These feelings are so hard to shake. Like you and your MM, my MM and I started with a friendship. Just talking at work, here and there. Nothing flirty at first. And then some flirty but nothing too scandalous, I mean, we were both married, right? Then, it was going for a drink here and there. Even after we revealed that we had feelings for each other, it took another 8 months of talking and hanging out before we crossed physical lines. In all, I’d say that we were good friends for about a year and half before we crossed physical lines so I know the slow developing friendship that you describe.

      So, when you ask if your MM feels love or lust, I’d say it’s probably both. Yes, there is lust, he’s strongly physically attracted to you. But, it sounds like there’s love (or at least closeness, friendship, trust, etc.), too. Why wouldn’t there be? It sounds like you two developed a friendship over time. That leads to feelings of love. And you said you feel the same for him, so why not trust his feelings for you? But, here’s the thing. He likely loves his W, too. He lusts for you and unlikely lusts for her, but he likely cares about her and feels love. I don’t know their situation, so maybe he doesn’t love her anymore, but he probably does. But he doesn’t have that lust for her anymore. He doesn’t feel that passion for her. He feels it for you. I think we can love multiple people at the same time, but I don’t think we can lust/feel strong passion for multiple people at the same time. In long-term relationships, we typically feel love and lust early in the relationship, and then, over time, the lust fades but the love can remain (although we know the love doesn’t always remain and people divorce). In affairs, the lust doesn’t fade. And that is what is so wonderful and awful about affairs. Welcome to addiction.

      So, as usual, be careful. I’m not sure if you are looking for him to leave his W or you are just happy with your situation as is, but if there’s anything we learn here, it’s never expect a married person to leave their spouse in an affair. Not that it never happens, but it’s really unlikely; and if your MM has young kids, it’s extra unlikely. Make sure you are thinking about this as clearly as you can. The more you let feelings enter into this, the more trapped you will get and the harder it will be to end this. Be very careful with what you’re getting into. If you don’t have expectations for your MM to leave his W, that’s good but a mess can still develop (as is my situation… I never expected my MM to leave his W, yet we both still fell madly in love and are having a hard time letting go, even though we’re trying). If you want to find a stable, healthy, supportive, reliable love, then this affair can’t get you those things. And you know I’m not trying to be down on affairs. I enjoyed mine for many years (and I’ve been honest here saying I’d get back into an affair with my MM again if he wanted to), but I’m just trying to give you the usual cautions that everyone on here tries to help with. It’s always hard to stop, but your relationship is still early and you might still be able to. And you’re single. You have opportunities to find other men who can give you a more stable, supportive, and healthy love. Best of luck to you, whatever you choose.

    • Butterflies are Free

      LifeLessons it’s great to hear from you! Please try and ditch your “shame”. While we all feel it I am realizing it is probably the least helpful emotion. Guilt? Yes. But shame? Shame is more global.
      As for a person loving two people I actually think for some people, this can occur. the love might be different however. Love is such a big word and really HOW do we define it? But I see in astrology charts Venus and or Mars in Gemini and I know it might be possible. Then again many people with those aspects do NOT cheat. They might like “variety” and/or “change” but they choose to honor their vows. So they honor their need for variety in other ways. :). I think it really depends on your MM. Remember too, how he feels about you is not in your control. This has taken me so long to figure out. Moreover, how he feels about you does not have to dictate your response. Try to act from your own center. Try to keep the focus on YOU in this case. Hugs Butterflies are Free! (aka Lara)

      • LIFELESSONS

        Lara,
        I missed you ladies…you all have become my great long distance friends! What you are saying is so true about guilt vs shame. I have wanted to tell him I love him for quite some time but I wont allow myself to speak those emotions/feelings. I still very much so try to control myself as often as I can. We were suppose to see each other last night but I had other plans with one of my closest friends (it was her birthday) he called a few times but I didnt answer because I was busy. Its things like that that I try to do…you know, not canceling plans to be with him, not ditching friends to be with him and not waiting around on him. I hope that I can continue to handle things in manner until i am ready to quit this all together. My sanity is important to me and from my past experiences with men, once I allow them to gain so much control over me…I lose all sanity and am unable to make logical decisions.

        I was catching up on whats happening with you and I saw one post where you said your son may be moving and landing the job of his dreams which means great things for you. Well congrats and I am happy to hear of this! I love your new name as well😘

        • Felk

          Lifelessons, I really like that you’re trying to make sure not to ditch plans with friends and wait around for him. That’s important in any relationship, and I think that’s particularly important in an affair. In an affair, we can get so desperate for time with the other person because we have less access to them than in a “normal” relationship that we can rearrange other important things in our lives or sit around waiting for them. I did that a lot in my affair. I thought that I needed to do that because we had to be flexible in the affair given how little time we had together. Of course, some of that is true, but I did it too often. Especially the waiting part. Other friends would ask me to make plans and I’d “wait” until I knew his availability before I made plans, and sometimes it was then too late to make plans with my friends AND my MM wouldn’t be available. Or, I’d “wait” to make plans with my MM only to find out that he didn’t wait to make plans with me and I’d feel foolish for keeping myself available when he didn’t. It sounds like you know that you can get into these patterns in relationships, too, and you’re trying not to. I think that’s not only good for staying realistic about the affair, but it’s good for showing your MM that you have a life and that you cannot always be available to him when he needs.

          Just remember, though, the longer you spend time with your MM, the harder it will be to quit. I can hear that you kind of want to quit, so it’s probably best to just do it now. I don’t say that lightly. I know it will be extremely hard. But, if you are at all feeling able to now, do it now. It will only get harder as the affair goes on, and then it will hurt a lot more when it finally happens. I don’t judge if you’re not able to, though. If someone would have told me, a year into my affair, to “quit now while you still can,” I never would have. How often do we take other people’s advice that goes against what we’re feeling? You see Lara on here, very clearly telling me to have much clearer boundaries with my MM and to stop spending time alone with him. She is right. I know this. I know I am in for a lot of continued pain the longer I muddle boundaries and relationship definitions with my MM. But, it still feels too hard to cut him further out of my life than he already is. I still am hoping not to lose our friendship. I still am hanging on to something. But I guess we feel we have to go through it on our terms. Like, if I don’t see this through in the way I want, I might regret it and end up right back where I started anyway. Only until I’m ready to quit him, can I do that. I am still not ready. But I hope you are.

          • LIFELESSONS

            Felk,
            You words ring true. I know I should quit while Im ahead…its like I am glutton for punishment. I am very clear about some aspects of this whole thing but there is a lot of things that are perplex. For ex, I am clear of the fact that I DO NOT want him to leave his W for me. I have told him, I wouldnt be with him if he left her for me. I am clear about the terms of this relationship, we will NEVER be together like NEVER! However, still not clear about leaving him now.
            I try to be sure I keep myself routed in reality at all times when it comes to him. I know how quickly I can travel in LaLa Land when it comes to me loving a person. This situation is unlike anything I have ever been in before. His W and I of course know of each other. She didnt/dont come to the sports events much but our kids have been playing this sport together for 3 yrs. Most of the time when I would see them (prior to my relationship w/MM) they were never together so it was hard to determine whether or not they were a couple. I recently went to a sports celebration and she was already there and I sat at the table behind her, she turned and said hello, I said hi! I was wondering if he was going to show up and how akward that would be. He didnt come but she was very antisocial with the other parents, I am a social butterfly. Her and I talked for a long time. Whenever, she referred to him to me she said his name but when she referred to him to someone else she said her husband. She knows him and I are “Friends” because he told her a while ago. I keep him posted with things in the neighborhood, school events etc so he told her he find things out from me. It was so weird that we talked for so long. We were the last parents to leave the event because we had such a great conversation. I am a talker though!
            I went home feeling like WOW, I am such a disgusting person. I sat there for over an hour talking to this woman and I have a relationship with her husband. I felt like the scum of the earth…when I talked to him the next day I told him that was not the most comfortable however, it wouldve been weird to her if I didnt talk to her considering she knows I talk to her husband, I taker her child home after sports events sometimes and she brings my child home too. When her and I was talking about the kids going to an offsite sports event for the summer…she said between the three of us (included her husband) we should be able to get them there and pick them up. I was wondering if i made a face. He has told me several times she has referred to me as a sweet person. She recently asked him why hasnt he invited me to the events his group hosts. She said she knows she would have a good time with me. He told her he would invite me to the next one. He has invited me every time, i dont go because I dont feel the most comfortable. I told him I hate that she thinks i am sweet and nice and he said but you are those things…I said I am not because I am dealing wth you behind her back. He said, that doesnt mean youre not a good person😩 I shut that conversation down! I know there will be times where I have to endure both of them at the same time and I dread that. He will be sure not to do anything that would make me really uncomfortable but it will not be an easy thing to see. With all that being said, I still havent decided to leave him alone.
            I would want him and I to still be friends when this over. I am not sure what he will want. He wont admit it but he loves the fact that I am only seeing him. Its not by choice, I just havent been meeting guys. I feel like I have to travel out of the state or maybe out of the country to meet some men. I know I need to let him go Felk but it is hard to let go of something/someone you enjoy and love.

          • Felk

            Lifelessons, I don’t think you’re a glutton for punishment. I don’t think any of us is. I think that “knowing” the best thing to do is different from being able to do that thing. Of course, most of the time our thoughts and feelings are in line as to what is the best thing to do. But, there are plenty of times our feelings and thoughts clash. Then what? Emotions are so powerful. When we fall in love, our decisions are being dominated by emotions and we don’t always make the best decision. Also, we can talk ourselves into why continuing an affair is reasonable such that we convince ourselves that we are not just acting emotionally. I think you’re just in a really hard situation where you and he have fallen in love and now it’s going to be hard to fight that pull. So much in our brain is telling us that it is “right” to be with this person that it can be confusing to have all these other conflicting thoughts about how it’s “wrong” to be with this person. All of us on here know that battle well.

            It’s, of course, good for you to stay grounded in reality as much as you can, and it’s good to be clear to yourself and your MM that you do not want him to leave his W, but I know as well as anyone that a) even if you don’t want your MM to leave his W, it doesn’t mean he won’t eventually want to leave his W and that can be a giant mess, and b) even if you don’t want your MM to leave his W now, you don’t know that your feelings won’t change as you fall more in love and that can be a giant mess. Of course, you both may be able to keep expectations reasonable throughout this affair, but, as feelings grow, it will get harder. I can tell you’re really trying, though.

            I can also tell that you feel guilty about your MM’s W, and it sounds like you will have to interact with her here and there in the future. Not only is it hard keeping an affair a secret from most people in your life, but it is particularly hard “pretending” in front of the W. I know this because I had to do all of that pretending, too (even though I didn’t feel guilty about it). So, to add to the tension of not being able to be with your MM as much as you want, you’re adding to it with the guilt of feeling you’re hurting his W or you’re helping him hurt his W. And you know I’m not trying to make you feel worse. Just trying to tell you that I can hear all the complicated things you’re dealing with now. Maybe you’ll get to the point where you stop feeling guilty, but only you know yourself and if you know you’re going to constantly carry this with you, it’s just another reason to end it now so you don’t have to deal with the guilt of the affair, too. I also think you’ve made smart choices turning down invitations to be at the group events he hosts. The less you’re in contact with his W (especially with him around) the better.

            It sounds like you’re making a lot of good choices (for as hard as an affair can be), and I’m here to “help” you have the affair as best you can (if that’s what you want). I had a friend who I was able to talk to throughout the affair who helped me think things through. Even if she didn’t think the affair was a good idea (and knew she could never do the same), she was a friend in supporting me as best she could and just talking to me about a hard situation. But I can also tell that you’re unsure about continuing the affair, and I want to encourage you to end the affair (if that’s what you want). 🙂 After everything I’ve gone through and continue to go through, I’d encourage you to end the affair for the sake of the friendship. If you still want to be friends with him, end it now. That is the BEST way to preserve the friendship. The longer the affair goes, the harder it will be to preserve the friendship. You’ve heard Lara say a lot about this, and I’m going through a pretty painful transition to a friendship now. Both my MM and I want to save the friendship, but with five years of emotions, it has not been easy to get back to our friendship. We are trying, but we are not there yet and I am not yet convinced we’ll get there.

            At the very beginning of our affair when we had just revealed feelings to each other (and we would not cross physical lines for another 8 months) we talked about how, most important, we didn’t want to lose the friendship. We had developed a nice friendship over the previous few years that had slowly grown more flirtatious until, out one night (with alcohol), we admitted our attraction. After that happened, we had a long talk about how we didn’t want to ruin the friendship by crossing lines. Then that turned into more and more conversations that got more and more flirtatious and then eventually lines crossed, and here we are 6 years later (and 9 months after the break-up) with a tenuous friendship that doesn’t entirely feel like a friendship. What it feels like is two people who have a lot of feelings for each other who are trying to stay in each other’s lives without going back to the affair and who don’t know how the heck to make that work.

            If there was anything I was sure of at the beginning of the affair, it was that he and I would stay friends if the affair ended. I was SURE of this. I was sure that I could do it. I have done it with many exes. I am cold, rational, and have narc tendencies that help me end relationships. He seemed that he could do it, too. We were clear that we were not entering the affair to leave bad marriages. And then we fell in love. For five years. Everything got harder. He considered leaving his W. I became numb to my H. It all eventually became too much for him and he ended our affair. And we said, as we ended the affair, that we wanted to surely stay friends. And, a month ago, he reassured me once again that he never wanted to lose our friendship. And I am here now saying that I still don’t know if we can be friends. I know these cautionary tales are hard to take to heart because we’re all different (and we talk ourselves into believing we’ll be different… as I did at the beginning of my affair), but I do hope it’s helpful to you to hear of others’ experiences.

          • LIFELESSONS

            Felk, you are very knowlegeable and I appreciate everything you said. I know you are 100% correct and I can see that things are going to become more intense as time goes on…
            Saturday we were trying to link up but I wasnt home when he called. He said Babe just call/text when you get home. I said, ok no problem. About 20 mins after we got off the phone I sent a mesg that said, hey do you think you will be able to come back out this evening. He didnt reply. Well, I was at the mall with my mom and I had no intentions on rushing her just to satisfy him knowing it was a possibility that he wouldnt have been able to come over. Him and I talked around 7pm and once I got home i text him, it was about 10p and I said, I guess NOT😩 because he never stated whether or not he was coming out. Well I didnt think nothing of it. I assumed he wasnt able to talk to me and that was fine. Well Sunday he called me about 11am I was at church, so i text and told him I was at church, he called around 1p, I couldnt answer, he text, ok around 2pm, he called again around 4p and I was at dinner with my kids, my close friend and her family so i didnt answer. I called him back around 6p and he text right back and said I cant talk now, i said ok np. I thought he may have been a little upset with me but I wasnt sure. Well I text him this morning a really sweet message and said call me when you get a chance. He text a few hours later and said Y, so you can NOT answer when i call. Now at this point I can tell he is being sarcastic. I text him back saying, Omg really, I cannot believe youre saying that, I always answer when you call. I couldnt talk to you yesterday at that time and I explained to him everything I did and why. He never responded. I called him 2x no answer but I knew he was probably still at work. He called me, i asked him about his sarcasm and he said he was just feeling some type of way because he wanted to talk to me and he couldnt. I said do you think it was warranted for you to be sarcastic and saying I dont answer when you call. He told me, it was warranted because I didnt answer. The conversation went on for about 10 mins and we both decided it wasnt that serious of a matter. I explained all of that to say, i can definitely tell we are entering a zone of no return (unless I decide to run NOW) because he is becoming more demanding of my time, he has already introduce the L word and whenever we see each other he glows, I mean he smiles ear to ear, give me a big hug and kiss in public. Whenever he has a day off, he makes sure he can at least take me to lunch. I think the 30+ days of NC made him miss me so much more and now he is really trying to make sure he spend time with me. It feels so good but it shouldnt. Why does it feel so right when it is so wrong. I enjoy him as a person, i love talking to him, we talk about everything. He is my friend! I dont know a lot about astrology but him and I are compatible according to our Zodiac signs. He is a Sagittarius and I am a Leo. He has always said we had good chemistry from the beginning. I know I need to be strong and let go, so i can move forward. I tend to keep myself occupied so that i am not waiting around for him and I even go out alone…If i wasnt so busy I would be so bad off. I will pray for us all. I thank you so much for your encouraging words.
            Hope all is well with you and your MM as you continue to build your friendship.

          • Felk

            Lifelessons, what you just described about the frustrations of trying to find time to talk to, let alone see, each other is central to affairs and one of the hardest parts. For some, the jealousy of their other with their spouse might be the hardest part, but, for me, the hardest part was the desire for more communication and more time together than we could have. I know it was one of the hardest things for my MM, too. As our affair went on, he was often upset about the gap between what we felt for each other and how much time we got together. And, unfortunately, that led to him getting frustrated with his family responsibilities, and then that led to him feeling terrible that he was wishing he didn’t have to go pick up his kids or go to one of their events (and that he could stay with me).

            So, what you’re seeing now, it only gets harder. As you fall more in love, you’ll want more time together and it’ll get more frustrating when one of you can’t get a hold of the other or one isn’t available to see the other. Your MM is already getting frustrated, and it sounds like he was misinterpreting your unavailability for disinterest, too. Sounds like he gave you some attitude about you being unavailable. And I don’t mean that he’s a bad guy. I’m just saying that he’s going to have to do a much better job with understanding how hard this is if your affair is going to work. 🙂 It sounds like you handled it really well, though. You went to him directly and called out his nonsense. That’s good.

            But that part about feeling right when it’s wrong… well… part of it is that it is “right” in the sense that you are attracted to each other and you get along well. But, part of it is that it feels right BECAUSE it is wrong. But that’s what we lie to ourselves about. We pay attention to the first part about our chemistry and how well we get along, and we ignore that it feels so right because it’s an affair. Affairs add excitement and highs that normal relationships can’t have for as long. You never get “used to” a person in an affair because it’s forbidden and you don’t have access to the person as much as you’d want. And, it feels so right because you don’t have any of the daily hassles and boredoms and annoyances of a normal relationship. It’s not that your MM is more right for you than anyone else. It’s that an affair makes it seem that way because it’s all the good of a person and not much of the bad. But I can say all of this (and I knew it in my affair, too) and you can “know” it’s true, but can you really convince yourself that you’re better off not in the affair? You will be happier, in the long run, if you leave the affair now. But, it’s just too hard to believe when it feels so good with how in love he is with you and you are with him. I know. Even with everything I know now, I would still get back into the affair with my MM if he wanted. That’s how strong the pull is.

            Keeping yourself busy and not waiting around for him is good. Unfortunately, as you saw with those 30 days of NC, it may just make him want you more. We often want what we can’t have. We like a challenge. We like to pursue. Of course, it’ll be the same for you because he’s married and that makes you want to pursue. And now that you’re in love? Oh, it is so hard to stop the brain at this point. But, maybe ask yourself… what is your end goal? Where do you see this going? For me, the answer was an indefinite affair. Is that how you both see this? An indefinite affair that goes on for years with you not having other relationships and him not leaving his W? My MM and I had agreed to this at the beginning. We were on the same page that we didn’t want to leave our marriages and we’d just be in the affair as long as we enjoyed it (and we anticipated it going for many years). But, at some point, that didn’t work for him anymore and it was crushing (for both of us).

            This week? Things are better with my MM and I. I think we are both trying to draw clearer boundaries in the friendship, but we do seem to be having a friendship. It’s in its infancy so I don’t know how well it’s really going to work, but, for now, it feels okay. I still have some feelings for him (and I’d assume he has for me, too), but we know we have to ignore them if we are to make a friendship work. Sometimes easier said than done.

  • Felk

    So, ladies (and gents, if any are reading), I met my MM for drinks this afternoon, and it went as I’d hoped. It was fun and casual. We had easy conversation and laughed a lot for a few hours. We talked very little of “us,” with only brief references here and there. I didn’t want to get into talking about “us” again. If we’re going to have a friendship, we have to be able to just keep the conversation on more neutral topics. It’s not that we can’t acknowledge that we had a relationship (as our brief references did), but I know long hashed out conversations about it all can be counterproductive.

    As expected, I felt the ambivalence of being disappointed a little but understanding why he didn’t flirt more openly or talk about “us.” But, he gives me warm looks and he’s clearly enjoying himself, and, most, he stayed a 1/2 hour longer than I expected which showed me that he didn’t want to leave. And I don’t just mean “showed me” as I interpreted it that way. I know him. I know he was lingering. It felt nice. I also got in my head a little because he was texting someone when I came back from the bathroom (twice), and I thought, “Who is he texting? Another woman?” It was irrational thinking, but this is the danger I’m still in and I know it. I was able to get myself out of that thinking, but it bothers me that I even have those thoughts (or it bothers me that those thoughts still bother me).

    After we left the bar, I texted him a short joke, as is common as a follow-up to our time together, and we had our usual short exchange (just a text or two from each of us and that’s it). Our text exchanges have been very short in our break-up, as expected. No long exchanges… but not today. He kept going. And my texts were not questions or comments that required replies. Eventually, I was ready to just let a text of his go without responding anymore, thinking it was a nice time to end the texting and just enjoy that we had a longer-than-usual text exchange. Then, 15 minutes later, he’s texting again. I cannot tell you how rare that is for him to do that, not only in this break-up but in our whole relationship in general. The texting was not flirtatious/sexual. Just joking about things from our drinking time together. At one point, though, I think he misunderstood something I said (interpreting as about us when it wasn’t) and he said a sweet thing in reply. Outside of that, though, it was just casual joking… except we rarely text that long. I want to tell myself that, just maybe, he’s trusting our friendship, too?

    Now, let me be very clear. Yes, it makes me happy, but, no, it doesn’t make me think he wants to be back together. It doesn’t make me hope for a reunion. It makes me think this friendship might work. It makes me think that he’s not disappearing and he still wants me in his life, and it’s all feels very good right now. But, then, it makes me wonder how I will feel tomorrow. How will I feel when the dopamine system doesn’t get it’s reinforcement that it’s waiting for? How will I feel when I wake up and am, once again, reminded that I cannot just text him or e-mail him or ask him to come over? Honestly, sometimes, after these days with him, I wake up and I feel good. I feel like we can do this. I feel like we can have this friendship and it’s enough. But, as you all know, some days, I wake up and I miss him all over again. I know you all know very well, especially those of you who might have tried friendships or something after the affair ended (or while it was ending). I don’t come to you tonight asking for solutions. I’m just saying that I get the complications here, I know it may not be easy tomorrow, but today it feels like we might be able to make some sort of friendship work.

    • Kub

      Hey Felk
      I can feel what you are talking about, the dilemma you are in is the worst. I know you don’t want to loose your friend but you need him to stay in friend zone… I wish I could do at least half of what you can do right now.
      But… Don’t you think that by time you will want more? More of everything. I think the most dangerous part is the part that we maintain the best friendly relationship with them. That means communication btw you too is great which causes to be partner with a great joy.
      But the very same thing can cause your heart to break, either.
      So before you try to build this friendship, maybe you should have no kind of contact with him for a while? When you are sure that the other feelings are gone maybe it would be more safe to be friends with him.
      Most of the time we make ourselves to believe that we can do with some part of them. We can be the second, that is why we get involved with a married person. Like you are doing right now, we make us to believe that we can be okay.
      But most of the time we fail. And you are mentioning 5 years old relationship btw you too. This is a lot. A lot to handle. A lot to be friends maybe…
      So I would suggest you to be 100 per cent sure before you go into this friend situation. I never want your heart to be broken again. As a person who is not involved with your situation I kindly want to warn you. You may not be in a place that you can be friends. Why need to break your heart?

      Sincere hugs!

      • Felk

        Thanks for your words, Kub. I know the situation I’m in is tough, but it could be worse. I’ve heard stories from people on here that are certainly harder than my situation, although, yeah, my situation feels hard almost every day. You say really good things about the difficulty, though. You are absolutely right that the danger is still wanting more. Yes, I still can feel the pull for more with my MM. I am trying to keep it casual, trying to have just a “friendship,” but after I saw him Monday (and we had a good time) and after he followed up with so much texting, it was hard not to feel the feels again. It’s not terrible, as I’ve said the lows are not as low, but the last two days I just feel that pit again of something missing. Or, no, a better way to describe it is that I feel something wanting to burst out of me. Like I’m holding back feelings I don’t want to hold back. Yeah, that’s what it feels like. Like I have to keep squashing these feelings down and they want to get out. I feel that tension.

        Your advice is good. I know distance is the best solution, but I don’t think I am able to go NC with him this summer. Not only can we not do that because we will have some professional contact (although not much), but it’s simply not what I want. Maybe I will get to the point where I want that enough, where it seems the only solution; but, for now, I continue to try what we’re doing. You’re right, though, that this would be easier if our feelings were gone. I’m just not yet able to choose to cut off contact with him (even if temporarily). I worry that if I do it before I’m ready, I’ll just go back on it. I also worry that, since we work together and I see him a lot at work, temporary NC doesn’t mean as much because I know I will have contact soon enough. I think I need different coping mechanisms with this situation since we work together than someone might have in a situation where you do not see the person. Maybe I’m just telling myself that because I don’t want to cut off contact, but I’m trying to be realistic about how I think I’ll feel and what will work for me.

        I really appreciate your support, though, and I know that I am not yet in a place where I can be “just friends,” but I hope I’m moving towards that.

        • Butterflies are Free

          Felk I am glad things turned out as you hope. There is nothing more I can say as I have asked you so many questions in other posts and we have already spoken so much about your answers. I think you know the risks involved. Now things will play out as they will, one way or another. Hugs, Butterflies Are Free

          • Felk

            Lara, at best I can say that things turned out the way I’d hoped… for now. It is a continual complicated mess. Since inviting me for drinks on Monday, my MM did all that texting on Monday, and now he has been e-mailing. I initiated an e-mail Monday night, and he has been quite responsive (kind of like he was years ago… and much unlike he’s been the past 9 months post break-up). I don’t know what to make of it. As best I can, I’m trying to read it as his attempts at maintaining a friendship (and act accordingly), but the sudden increase in communication is unusual. It does seem more likely that he continues to be confused about what he wants and he misses me and is coming back around for more. But maybe that’s just what I want to believe? What I want is clarity. If it is merely his attempt to get us back to the friendship we had years ago, I’d like to know. If it is him sniffing around again and missing me and wanting some closeness, I’d like to know. Yes, I know this is the problem with attempting a friendship when you have feelings. You read into so much. No gesture can simply be taken at face value. It is not good. But, whether it is him trying to establish some “normal” communication with us or it is him hoping for a little more, for me, it’s good. I want either one of those. What is not good is that I don’t know which one he wants, and each one changes my behavior a little so it’d be helpful to know. Unfortunately, as you’ve said many times based on your experience and as TTSP has said about the circuitous conversations, often there is little clarity to be offered. For now, I will proceed as if we are establishing a friendship and I will try to continue with the boundaries (of not talking about us, no touching) I’m trying to set to move forward.

            It’s just that, in my very honest moments, like you said in one of your messages today, how does this not lead to sex again?

    • J

      Felk,
      I so understand where you are coming from, as you know I can’t stay away from my mm myself. I hate thinking of him not being in my life. But you being there as his friend, aren’t you improving his marriage? He’s taking all of his happiness from you, home to her. I know you aren’t very jealous and you don’t want him to divorce, so maybe you’re fine with that.

      • Felk

        J, although there is a lot that’s hard about trying to be friends, I am not worried about improving his marriage. I want him happy. If he is not happy, our friendship will not work. And I don’t say that selflessly. I say it selfishly about wanting him in my life. I thought that throughout our affair. I knew time with his W and family was necessary to maintain our affair. It sounds odd, but it was important that his W not get suspicious and it was important that my MM felt that he was treating his family fairly. If he didn’t feel that, that would threaten the affair so I tried to give him the space he needed to maintain his marriage. My MM looked at it the same way. Sometimes, he would let me know that he was making choices (even when that meant he had to choose his W over me) that would be best for our affair continuing in the long run. I did the same in my marriage. In the break-up, I know that my MM has not suddenly become blissfully happy with his W. But a mediocre marriage (for his kids) was better than a miserable marriage if we continued our affair.

        In general, I never worried our affair would improve his marriage. I knew our affair was hurting his marriage, as it hurt mine. At times, early on, I’d worry that vacations he went on or their anniversary, for example, would “rekindle” their marriage, but it never did. Soon, I learned that he was in love with me, not her. Yes, he cared about his W and his family, but he had fallen in love with me and I didn’t have much jealousy about her. Just as your MM talks about not being interested in sex with his W, my MM lost interest in sex with his W during our affair (as I lost interest in sex with my H). I was not taking my happiness from our affair home to my H, so I didn’t expect him to do that with his W. I knew that, when at home, he was thinking about me, just as I was him. I guarantee that when your MM goes home, he is consumed with thoughts of you. I don’t get the sense your MM is taking much happiness home to his W. I get the sense that he feels trapped in his marriage and obligated to stay with his W. It sounds like he is very much in love with you, but he cares about his W and may feel that he cannot leave her. He has grown children, and he cares about their opinion of him. He likely also cares about other family and friends and what disrupting his marriage will do to his social support system and others’ respect for him. There is so much to consider in a divorce, and it sounds like he’s considering it and is very scared. I know it has to be hard to think about your MM with his W. I know it hurts you a lot. I know you don’t understand why he might choose to stay with her after everything he’s said about no longer wanting to be with her. During our affair, my MM made it clear that he wanted to be with me but that it was not so simple as to just do what he “wants.” So, I suspect your MM wants to be with you very much, but wanting to be with you may not be enough to trump wanting to fulfill his marital obligation to his W and children. It was cruel for him to frame it as not loving you enough. He loves you. That is clear. It’s not that he doesn’t love you enough. It’s just that love is not the only factor in making decisions about relationships.

  • Kub

    Hello everyone
    Here I am.
    I was hoping to feel better. When I do not see his car in the parking lot. Or when I see him he is offline more than 2 days.
    But I do not.
    I was away at the weekend with two girlfriends. We went to swimming, we traveled and talked a lot.
    But still something inside was there, whispering somethings, making me imagine some scenes that includes my ex and his family. I was better at the weekend but today. At the work. I am like a mess.
    I can’t stop thinking. Hurting. This emotional state is like paralyzing me. I feel like I am obsessed, I miss him, I look for every kind o signs from him. I feel regret, then I tell myself this break up was what was supposed to be and we should have broken up, we should have not be together. I am trying to remember the times when I feel no feelings for him but useless! Useless!
    Where is the cold hearted woman go? Where is the strong woman? When was it, like 5 years ago, being apart was okay with exMM? It was definitely not too long ago. Is this like a kid’s mind, when my toy is taken I start to crying? Funny cause that was never my toy! It was always someone else’s.
    How can I get my mind of? Any suggestion? This emotional pain, I feel like way more than I can handle. I want to reach out him, I want to shout, cry and tell him that I HATE HIM. I hate him so much that he left me this broken. This half. I hate him that he made me feel like the most wonderful person on the earth, and this was what it meant to be, and we were meant to be, and he was the one I want to spend my life with. He is the one.
    I know he is. Nothing, no fact can change this. I accepted it. I know, I was in love before with someone else, I had relationships before. But I know and I will know 15 years later from now. I will know that he is the one. Even he belongs to someone else, even everything was wrong in our relationship I know that.
    If… If we would have met under different circumstances… If some things would be different.
    But not. Its just not and we can’t change it. So I accept this fact. I accept that even he is the one for me, we can’t live this. We can’t be together because I am sure that as long as he is married I can not be with him. I can not be honest with me if I go back to him. I can not forgive myself, I want to be with him but like married and have kids with him. If I go back to him while he is married I will be betrayed all of my dreams, hopes, feelings and truths.
    So. It can’t happen anymore from my side.
    Also the other guy that I have mentioned before. He asked me out this week, so I think I may meet with him. But it will all be in friend zone because the more we talk the more I realized I am not ready to date yet.
    Any suggestion is welcomed 🙁

    • Felk

      Kub, I can hear that you’re going through one of those days when you just miss him so much. I know those days. We think, because we’ve gotten stronger and have had clarity and good days, that those days won’t happen anymore and then they do, and they catch us off guard, and we think all of the things you’re thinking… about how you’re never get over this person. But, as best as I know about people and relationships, you will. You’re young. Also, you’re moving out of the country soon. You have so much time and opportunity to meet other people. Yes, it’s going to take a lot of time. Obviously, this man meant a lot to you. You bonded with him in a way that you hadn’t with others. But, remember that affairs are a fantasy that allow us to experience a relationship with a person in a way that shows us mainly the good and the highs and none of the boring day-to-day hassles and annoyances that are there in “normal” relationships. Also, please remember very clearly that your MM is aggressive and possessive and is even reading your messages here. He recently went on a rant calling you a whore again, right? I think I remember you recently posting about some anger from him. This is not love. This is not caring. We can trick ourselves into thinking that someone who shows that much anger about us must really love us, but that is the makings of an abusive relationship. I cannot be more certain about that.

      So, I don’t say that to discount your feelings. I know you’re missing him. And I know you’re missing legitimate loving aspects of the relationship. But, we pick and choose the nice moments to miss while we ignore the bad, and there is a lot of bad… including him being married to someone else and not being able to give himself to you fully.

      So, yes, when we’re down, we think this will never change (this is classic catastrophizing… thinking everything is much worse than it is or will be) and you think that you will never meet anyone as wonderful as he is, but you will. But there’s a lot to know and recognize about “normal” relationships because they can’t be as passionate (for as long) as affairs can be. Affairs have special circumstances that make us think that the passion is unparalleled, because it is. Again, it’s that you don’t have the daily hassles, you only have that special couple-focused time together, it’s secret, it’s exciting, you have to wait for it and build anticipation, etc. This is not realistic love. It’s not. I’m not saying you don’t have real love for your MM. I did, and he did for me. But, I’m saying that the highs and passion of the affair are not realistic. They are created by an artificial situation that is built on quicksand. Yes, you can develop real love. And that’s what so hard about this, but the affair distorts our version of reality. The affair makes us think that this person is the best given all the positive we associate with the situation, but remember the quicksand… remember how you just sink throughout the whole thing. That despite all the highs, there are so many lows. Don’t forget the jealousy and the hurt and the pain and the longing and wanting more. Don’t forget that, while the affair gives us highs, it gives us lows that most relationships do not give us. So, right now, you are missing your MM. You are missing the passion and the closeness and the highs and how good he made you feel, but ALWAYS remind yourself of the lows and that it was a fantasy that couldn’t be sustained.

      You ask for our suggestions, and my best suggestion for you is counseling. Maybe you start it where you live now or maybe you wait until you move (I don’t know how soon that’s happening), but a counselor can help you see all of the things above and so much more. Keep distracting yourself. Keep going out with friends and finding activities. It’s good to acknowledge that you’re not ready for a relationship, but, if you want, go out with this man and just enjoy a man giving you some attention and enjoy some conversation out with someone else. And keep reminding yourself that this will get better. It will. When I have my sad days, I feel as if I will be sad forever, but I know that is not true.

      • Kub

        Hello Felk

        Thanks for all the support.

        I am trying so hard to keep it together. Because I am working and have a final exam in the university (I am both working and doing master), so I have lots to focus on. I do this on purpose. Just like keeping my calendar busy with my friends I try to put my whole energy to something useful.
        Yes, remembering the lows in the relationship… Today I was in the middle of the work area with like 10 men around me, working and one of the mutual friend mentioned about his vacation and Instagram photos 🙂 And… I could not resist and asked to see them.
        It was like a knife right trough my heart. I was unable to stand up for couple of minutes. It took time to handle the situation (still taking).
        I MUST get used to the situation. I MUST accept that we are over and he is very much free to do whatever he would like to do.
        Yeah, coming back to the downs. I keep telling myself that it will pass. Reminding the lows, sometimes the photos in his phone, sometimes messages (in the middle of this romantic surprise, I see his messages to his wife calling hear my love, my darling).
        And then I felt so out of options. So lonely. So miserable. This is so… Humiliating. Suffering from these kind of emotions.
        I don’t want to put any meaning to it, but just right after this occasion this new guy texted me. He was kind, and asked me out for tomorrow. Unfortunately I am not available tomorrow so he alternatively asked for Friday 🙂 And I said yes. I am telling myself, what harm can it be? He is new to the town and I want to give him a tour in the city. So. We are seeing each other two days later.
        I can’t stop thinking like… This is a vacation and it will be over for him. After it he goes back to his life. But this is a new adventure for me. My life never will be the same again. I only have this time to live, I create my options. So… I think I am the winner of this break up? I know this is childish but you just want to know that, you are better than him.
        Anyway. Horrible. Break ups are horrible but seeing people who are engaging and creating a life together makes me question myself. I want to do that, too. I want to build a life with a trustable person together.
        Thanks for the advice Felk, I will try to find a consular. I know how much useful it is, but somehow I have forgotten that experience. Maybe it is time to go for it again.
        By the way, one of he keys is filling the blanks that he left, right? I think I am filling them a lot 🙂 I mean I don’t have time for myself, I am all the time going somewhere, meeting with someone etc. This feels good.
        In the end, I know this was the right thing to do. Can not feel it yet, but I know.

        • Felk

          Kub, it sounds like you’re doing some of the things you need to do to help you keep getting through all of this. You’re spending time with friends, you’re talking to friends about your affair, you’re reflecting on the good times and the bad times, and you’re considering meeting up with a new man. Also, sounds like you’re considering going to a counselor and sounds like you’ve had positive experiences with that in the past. The past few days, I’ve been seeing some friends post on social media about the importance of mental health and how ashamed we are to talk about taking care of our mental health. Their point was that, even when we’re not mentally ill, we need to do preventative and maintenance healthcare for our mental health just like we do our physical health. Our brain is just another organ in our body that we have to take care of like any other organ. We exercise, we try to eat right, we go for physicals for routine check-ups, but we don’t always do the same for our mental health. We don’t take time out for us or meditate or go for walks or go to a therapist for a routine check-up of our mental health. We do so much to keep up our physical health but often forget about our mental health and think it will just take care of itself, but it doesn’t. It needs care, too. From what you say, I think you can really benefit from a counselor in getting through some of the issues with your ex MM.

          I really do understand wanting to be the “winner,” too. I’ve spent plenty of time in this break-up thinking about how I hope I get over the relationship before my MM does. Or, at least that we get over it at the same time. It’s not that I need to be first, but I definitely don’t want to be second. I don’t want to be pining for him if he is no longer pining for me. I’ve spent WAY too much time in this break-up reading into his behavior and being awed (and hurt) by how casual he seems and how well he seems to be handling our break-up… only to find out, over and over, that he is not handling it well and that he is hurting, too, and that he only pretends to not miss me. But, we know that this thinking gets us nowhere. It’s just one more piece of pressure that we put on ourselves to get over the relationship. It’s hard enough as it is and we only make it harder if we make it a competition. Today, the Mend app gave me a reminder that said, “Who are you competing against? It’s okay to take time to mend.” I know we don’t want to be pathetic and be holding on longer than they are, and I know we think it’s some victory if we get over the relationship first, but it only slows down our healing if we’re still thinking about the other person this way. If we’re still caring so much about what they’re doing. So much of what slows down my healing is still thinking about what he’s thinking.

          As far as the new guy, I don’t subscribe to the notion that there’s any “meaning” to him texting you right after you were looking at those photos on your MM’s instagram, except that it means that you’ve let someone into your life that you’d like to spend time with and get to know. So, for me, the timing of him texting you isn’t some special “sign,” but it does have meaning. This guy wouldn’t be texting you had you not been open to going out with him. This guy wouldn’t be texting you if you weren’t trying to make the choices to get over your MM. So, that text means you are getting stronger. I really hope you can let yourself be open to enjoying your time with him tomorrow. Of course, rule #1, do not talk about your MM with this new guy (except if you need to briefly tell him you might not be ready for a relationship yet). And, then, rule #2, have fun, enjoy, and try not to put pressure on yourself to make more of this date than it is or to immediately be over your MM. Just try to have a good time and, for one night, not think too much about your MM.

          • Kub

            Hey Felk

            Yes.. For example yesterday, I broke down at some parts but I tried so hard to keep it together, I read this blog, wrote somethings here, listen Mend, talked with friends… I am doing everything, but everything that I can do so I don’t communicate with him and give him my worst wishes. I am trying so hard to set the boundaries in my mind first. I keep telling myself that, this is over and everyone is free to do whatever do. When I think of him (most of the time my brain loves to torture me and I always think the most painful thing in that moment) I immediately tell myself to focus on something else, like my phone in my hand, like the view I see, like some financial problems. So I don’t think of him more, and preventing myself hurting. This is so mean of me, torturing myself like this.
            So anyway, thanks for the appreciation because I literally do everything I can do, and I congratulate myself at the end of the day. This week was one of the hardest and I managed to keep it together. I cried, I fall down, I lost control of my mood sometimes but at the end I was going on living; I took my final exams, meet with friends. I did it. And I tell myself handling with this week is a success for me. I am a strong person and I am certain with ending this relationship. And I am loyal to my decision.
            Anyway, it is not in my hand still wanting him to hurt. But sometimes when I am too moody this ideas come up. However for the rest of my day I don’t feel like that, because I know that I should focus on myself. Everyone is different and my scope should be me, not him, not anymore.
            I want to forgive myself, and him. This is not easy… But when I do then I will leave these all behind.
            Tomorrow is the day that I have put as a goal for me, tomorrow I would be in a place that I am free. I think, I am there. I am free. I did it!
            In the past being free meant being causal with everyone. But now… Releasing myself from such a bounded relationship and crazy love, freedom has a new meaning for me. I give the word more anymore. Because I am really learning freedom, from getting over being dependent so badly.
            So… Thanks Felk, I will also keep your advice in mind. And let you know how it went.

          • Felk

            Kub, I know those days where we break down. I’ve had days where I just need to cry a little about my MM. There’s research that crying can help people feel better (through releasing toxins and possibly through increasing endorphins… the feel-good neurotransmitter). Obviously, if we’re crying all day long, every day, that’s a problem, but crying once in a while about something sad isn’t only normal it’s good for you. Immediately, it doesn’t feel good to cry, but after an hour or so, research shows that people feel even better than before they started crying.

            Most importantly, though, you’re making active choices to not contact your ex. There is not only strength in that but the longer you go without contacting him, the easier it will become. I also like what you said about your certainty in ending this decision. You say you are loyal to the decision and that is huge. If you know yourself and know you will not go back on your decision, then you are already moving along in your process of getting over him.

            Like you, I am trying to focus on myself and my life and not on him, but it is hard. Thoughts of him creep into my head a lot. Like you, I try to redirect my thoughts to other things and I try not to dwell on him too long. It mostly works. I’m generally able to distract myself. I also try not to do things that will trigger thoughts of him. The most difficult part for me is still being in contact with him. Still being in contact with him does not allow me to entirely rid myself of thoughts of him. I’d like to get to a place, though, where the thoughts are not all day long (as they still are) and where I don’t care as much about his thoughts. I still think that he and I need to get to a place of better understanding as to our boundaries and how we’re defining this friendship, but as I’ve said before, most of the talks we have do not end with the magical solutions I’m hoping for.

            It’s just one day at a time. We slowly make progress. You said you can feel it for yourself. I can feel it for me, too. There are setbacks. There are hard days. But, overall, it is much better than it used to be.

    • Butterflies Are Free

      Dearest Kub,
      H
      Feel has said so many great things. I am not sure what I can add. “This too shall pass” comes to mind. And yes please DO seek counseling. Absolutely! It will help. I know you are young. If you have been with him as long as 5 years then you have been with him since you were 21 is that correct? Is it any longer? That is a VERY young age to get involved with something as complex as an affair. We all get in affairs for whatever reasons but I can just imagine how badly being away from him feels to you. The intensity of the pain. The older you get, the wiser and a stronger you get. The break ups are still yes very very hard (!) but in our youths we are most vulnerable to break up pain, I have watched both of my sons go thru break ups. It was not a pretty picture believe me. How much worse it is for you knowing he is unavailable and married! I definitely suggest counseling and I also suggest inner spiritual work. Google “holistic healing from break ups” or “spiritual healing from break-ups.: Read Laurie’s points above and DO them! Also copy paste all your remarks from this blog in order so you can see them all in one place and in chronological order. This will help! And Please keep us posted! Hugs Lara xxxooo

      • Kub

        Hey Lara

        I can call you still as Lara, right? 🙂 Sorry for my late response.
        I will look for what you have suggested; I am 26 and we were together for 2 years. But yeah… I think this was the time I really want to be dependent on him fully; he was the only one that I thought I wanted to spend my life, first time in my life.
        I think there are some phases in my life and he was one of them. Maybe we really not meant to be together and hence we didn’t, or couldn’t. Maybe it was the rush that made me think like that.
        Nevertheless it hurt. Hurt like it will never heal. Like making me decide to leave the country.
        Buuuuttt… I am strong and I will heal. And I will move away because I want to, not to stop seeing him.
        Thanks for all the support !!
        See you

  • Butterflies Are Free

    To Felk and TTSP,
    We have all been talking about moving from a passionate and thrilling affair into a “friendship”. I find by writing as much as I have on this subject here and by listening to the both of you it leads me to understand what I personally can handle and can not handle in my situation. I am writing up here so we don’t bury all the threads. So I wanted to say to you both (as well as for ME) I never reached: “The friendship with CLEAR professional boundaries” (in my case neighborly boundaries) boundaries. Never. My only version of that was going “No Contac” on my own. I simply cut and ran. I did not discuss this at length. I just did it. Disappearing into my own life and not calling texting writing him. That was the only way for me to make for myself a CLEAR boundary. A safe place for me. I did it several times. Despite living next door. Was it long-term “sustainable”? (That’s my new word.). Well obviously not. However it was well well worth it for me. As a single woman, at least I got time to see other people, to get a couple of Masters degrees, to pay more attention to my own family, to climb higher in my career, to create works of art and exhibit them, and to feel FREER. Free! I do love my freedom. I always have. I got to date other people and sleep with other people without guilt. I got to go where I wanted when I wanted. I traveled more. I did not worry about him much at all. I would tell myself: “he has a wife remember?” “Let the two of them work it out between themselves!”
    He got the message because I was very black and white. No big smiles at him. No walking outside in low cut dresses :). He backed off during these times. He knew I meant business and he let me go. More or less. Sneak peaks and sideways peeks of course happened. If we saw each other we might give a nod of acknowledgement to each other but no more than that. We did not verbally speak. we did not have a mutual discussed decision about me leaving. It was me taking matters into my own hands. I could not have discussed taking this action as he would have tried to talk me out of it. But usualIy there was drama before these periods. Talking about our future and going NOWHERE fast or round in circles. Him refusing to say he loved me. It made it easy for me to leave. But I was young and more hot headed then. Full of energy too. Recently I seem to be far less able able to do this again. I am too tired of the energy it takes. I have fibromyalgia now and each emotional decision takes energy. Now I want a “sustainable peace” between us. what is that? Frankly I would like to co-exist on this block in peace. But its less easy than it seems without that firm kind of boundary.

    If I hadn’t done these periods of No Contact when I did, I might have fallen into many other kinds of life problems like career problems and money problems and artistic blocks etc. And alcohol problems. I simply HAD to move forward from the ball and chain that the “relationship” to me eventually. remember I have been at this a long time unfortunately. So that was the form of boundary I DECIDED I had to make. When I found and read Go Ask Suzi and Baggage Reclaim the No Contact idea was supported by “experts”. I know why. It does work in some ways. It is extreme but extreme works for affairs. But not on the long term if you are a flip flopper like me.

    Another time I will talk more about all the hundreds of versions of friendship with “some” emotional connection: “some intimacy “some physical touching” I have also had tried with my exMM. Obviously compared to my “no contact ” periods they were MUCH vaguer and much emotionally harder to deal with. But those periods have actually dominated my years with my exMM. The vague mashed potatoes state has dominated our time together, not counting the honeymoon bliss phase in the beginning. I find this very sad indeed. Tragic. The mish-mash trials and errors of trying to find some kind of “sustainable arrangement” that made us both happy has dominated MOST of my affair. Alas, we have never yet found that “perfect” combo, the holy grail, where we BOTH feel secure, loved, happy, grateful and all that good stuff that ought to come after a honeymoon is over. And there is no “closure” either. Our relationship is like a forever question mark hanging in space, seared in my heart. And maybe his. In other words, to keep my freedom and to stop the arguments over him leaving his marriage, I was willing (and so was he) to try and find another way to make the relationship work. We both were willing and we both tried. Too many times. But, while the occasional bliss came a long once in awhile, the majority of this time was spent in emotionally unstable waffle land. Not a happy place. Or recovering from yet another heavy talk that went in circles and circles. It makes me so sad and also makes me feel so exhausted. It feels like maybe what I imagine a bad marriage might? Ironic no? He feels like my ball and chain narc and I really feel the need to get away PHYSICALLY from my street as much as I can this summer. I feel so burnt out. xoxo Lara

    • Felk

      Lara, I appreciate you sharing your experience in your very long affair. Would you say that your affair is still on-going in some way? Do you think that you’re in one of those no contact periods again but that you’ll return to him or do you think you’re really done? To me, it sounds like you’re mostly done, but I can also hear that you’re not entirely sure. Maybe you’ve been through this so many times that you know better than to say you’re done for sure?

      I think affairs can get to a good place if both people are on the same page. On the same page for expectations as to whether or not they expect the other to leave their marriage, for how much time they will spend together, how much communication they’ll have, etc. I think, related to that, is good communication and an approach of honesty and decency. Making sure you’re trying to treat the other person well, while recognizing the constraints of an affair. I think my MM and I were successful for some period of time, but I think we stopped being on the same page near the end. At some point, he started seriously considering leaving his marriage and I wasn’t there. And if I wasn’t there (even though he never asked me directly), he had to decide if he wanted to continue the affair while damaging his marriage and he decided not. I don’t blame him and I understand. It’s a constant danger of the affair, even if you start on the same page. I wish we had talked a little more directly about how he was feeling about his marriage (and whether he was hoping I’d leave mine), but I’m not sure that would have changed anything.

      Thus, I think it’s really important to be on the same page through the break-up and beyond if you’re trying a friendship or some version of it. I think it’s important to be clear on the expectations in the new version of the relationship. My MM and I have tried to do this over these months and it’s been harder than during the affair. Part of the problem is that we communicate less and communication is key. Another part of the problem is that we’re trying to get a handle on our emotions as we move forward. I think we can have a successful post-break-up relationship if we can get on the same page as to what we think that is. Right now, I don’t know if we’re on the same page. I think we probably have similar ideas of what we want, but are our boundaries the same? Remember, a month ago I tried to have a conversation about touching or not. What are our rules for spending time together? I think we agree on that one. We talked about that during the touch/no-touch conversation and it seemed we both wanted to continue spending alone time together. We recognize the dangers there, but if we’re on the same page, that’s important. It’s when one wants something different from the other when problems arise. Maybe we need to talk about it more or maybe we don’t and it will just be obvious as we settle into whatever this is.

      I also think personality matters. I know I want to believe that I have the type of personality that will allow me to shut down some of these feelings and move to a more neutral friendship (eventually). You know I have narc tendencies. My MM does, too. I have empathy for people, of course, but I have less. I know that’s why I was able to cheat on my H for years. I don’t feel much regret and remorse. You know I haven’t felt guilt. I also tend towards rationality. Not that my emotions aren’t strong in this situation, but, in general, my tendency is towards rationality and the more time that goes by, the more distance we have, and the more I accept that we are not returning to an affair, the more my rationality takes over to accept the situation as it is. Much as I did with the affair. As I said, I accepted that situation for what it was more than my MM did. He couldn’t handle his emotions as well, it seems. I’ve told you all that I think I could have done the affair indefinitely. I wasn’t jealous of his W, I understood our constraints, and I was willing to keep hurting my marriage. I think all of these characteristics make it easier for me to transition to a friendship (or something). As TTSP has said, I can be in a friendship with a man, while feeling emotions, and not have it cross physical lines. I guess it’s still an affair of sorts, but I can accept boundaries. I don’t know if my MM can.

      So, for me, I want to be clear on what he wants. I have asked many times. And those conversations mostly end with, “I’m not sure” and “I don’t know.” That is frustrating but honest. I know he doesn’t know. I know he wants, at least, a friendship, but does he want more? We need to be clear on this if this is going to work. I continue to thank you all for listening and helping me think this through (and definitely for calling me on my delusions or cautioning me on wishful thinking).

      • Butterflies are Free

        Felk you ask: Would you say that your affair is still on-going in some way? Do you think that you’re in one of those no contact periods again but that you’ll return to him or do you think you’re really done? I would answer please read my recent post about my talk with my exMM to get a clear picture. My affair is still on-going in the fact that we are neighbors and he still will not let me go. But he doesn’t want me either because I represent so much scary change to him. As for me I am feeling entirely exhausted by the affair. The “giving”. The “loving” no matter what. I am feeling more and more detached and more and more neutral. This is new. I don’t feel the intense anger and the intense bitterness I used to feel about him. The HUGE emotions had. He has noticed this. Because he saw me with all those emotions! Now, I am not providing him with the fuel I once provided and this has changed our relationship dynamic considerably. Made our interactions more “real” and so much less “driven”. But like I said “neutral friendship” with him is not possible for either one of us. This relationship even when I am in a calmer state is always too “charged”. We have an electricity together that is never neutral and therefore never calm. For us prolonged friendship will definitely lead to sex. Hugs Butterflies are Free xo

    • Thistooshallpass

      Lara,
      Thanks for opening up about your process and the iterations of friendships you and your mm attempted. Personally, I think I’ll be able to handle a friendship better than my mm. That being said I still have really low days. Other days I feel like I’ve accepted his status and am looking ahead. I can cope with attraction and chemistry but not feelings that lead to missing him, jealousy, sadness and painful longing. That has got to go!

      He is jealous, sad, hurt, etc. about me dating but still wants me to have what I want. I appreciate what you said about a “sustainable arrangement that was mostly spent in emotionally unstable waffle land”. When there are feelings between two parties it’s near impossible not to take things personally. I totally get that although like Felk has intimated, some times you have it under control and other times you feel more sensitive to their behaviors. Do you think the trials and tribulations arose bc he had strong narcissistic tendencies? I have some in that I can be selfish, jealous and incredibly vain. My mm has an ego and some narc qualities but he is warm, empathetic, willing to apologize and provide support when people need help (including me). You summarized it well by saying you’re burnt out. I think it’s safe to say all of us here including the mm have taken an emotional hit. You talk about being free and I aspire to reach that state. Congrats on all of your accomplishments during the recovery and keep staying the course. I’ve learned an immense amount from you. Thank you.

      • Butterflies are Free

        TTSP
        Thank you for all your words! I can see so much profound growth in you. BRAVA! I know you are growing and learning how to handle this impossible situation you are in. There are no easy words for people in affairs but being in one too, I can really empathize with you.
        It sort of surprised me when you said: “I can cope with attraction and chemistry but not feelings that lead to missing him, jealousy, sadness and painful longing. That has got to go!”
        I say surprised because from the beginning of my affair all those years ago, I could NEVER separate the feelings you list from each other. I could never have the attraction and the chemistry without the jealousy, sadness and painful longing. It was all one package. Painful from the very beginning. This is what led me to all the horrible pain and conflicts. And ultimately the exhaustion I feel now.
        When you say: “He is jealous, sad, hurt, etc. about me dating but still wants me to have what I want.” I can tell you been there done that too. TTSP: TRY TRY TRY to find someone else! It will help you so much I cant stress this enough. You do NOT even need to tell your MM about it. Just do it! It is actually none of huis business because he is MARRIED and you owe him nothing.
        Even if you are not over your MM try to also have feelings for someone else! One man I found during one of many break-ups I had with my exMM led to a very lovely and passionate 2 and a half year relationship. During which time I was totally NC with my exMM. This sort of thing will make you feel much saner believe me. And YOU DESERVE IT! You and I deserve love! We are single. It is up to us to try and find the love we need.
        You ask”Do you think the trials and tribulations arose bc he had strong narcissistic tendencies?”
        Honestly I do not know. I think his narc tendencies led him to cheat without guilt that is for sure. And he found me because I was an empath. Bit while he was cheating with me but I often felt invisible to him because he is a narc. And they are not good at loving people! This surely led to more conflicts I think. And because he was a narc he was utterly charming and sexy. (They all are!) (For while). Very very tempting sexually speaking.
        You say:
        “I have some in that I can be selfish, jealous and incredibly vain. My mm has an ego and some narc qualities but he is warm, empathetic, willing to apologize and provide support when people need help (including me).”
        I wonder if you are like Felk and her MM?
        I do envy narcs sometimes because of their selfishness and vanity! This is because I am not like that at all. I suppose that is why I have fallen in love with more than one of them. Plus my mother of course who is the narc and emotionally abusive because she can not empathize with her own children. But I kind of envied her too in a weird way! She certainly was a gorgeous and charming woman (in public) and I would be so amazed at her ability to handle herself with such “confidence” in public. Isn’t it weird one can admire their abusers? There is a word for it I think. I think THIS is what is screwed up in me emotionally (at a very deep level) still even though I continue to work on it in therapy. I call it ‘broken radar” but it deeper than that. I feel too comfortable as an invisible partner. It is not good for me. And I can de-self too easily to avoid conflict.
        Thank you for saying you have learned an immense amount from me! It makes me feel very good that all my “crazy” experiences are actually of some help to others! Many hugs, BAF (Butterflies are Free) aka Lara xoxo Keep Growing!

        • Felk

          Lara and TTSP, hearing about both of your experiences is helping me. There are similarities I share with what each of you have gone through and are going through. I think Lara has a lot to offer with what she’s gone through with her MM over the years, and, TTSP, I think what you’re currently going through is similar to a lot of what I’m feeling (dealing with working with your MM, trying some sort of friendship, and not wanting to break off contact entirely).

          TTSP, the way you describe you and your MM’s narc tendencies seems similar to me and my MM. We have narc tendencies but we also show warmth and empathy and caring for the other (and other people). My MM was less good in the support category, and that always stood out to me as a reason I would not want to leave my H for him, but I’m not so great in the support category either. 🙂

          The thing that you said, that Lara also points out, about: “I can cope with attraction and chemistry but not feelings that lead to missing him, jealousy, sadness and painful longing. That has got to go!” I feel something similar that is hard to explain. “Missing him, jealousy, sadness and painful longing” are a lot of what I still feel that I want to get rid of. But I know I can ignore the attraction/chemistry if I can trust his friendship. If I know that he will be here for me as a friend and that he wants to continue the friendship, I don’t need to pursue the attraction/chemistry. As you’ve said about your MM, I’m not sure my MM can do the same. I’m not sure he can separate the two as easily, and I think that’s part of the reason he still goes MIA as we try to transition to this friendship. I think he still has jealousy about my H (although he doesn’t say much about that), as your MM has jealousy about you dating others. So, I don’t entirely trust yet that my MM will be here for me with a friendship. I know he has said it (quite convincingly), but I need a little more to trust him… and maybe that’s what he’s trying to give this week in renewing some of our “old ways” of communicating more frequently? I do hope so.

          And, Lara, I really understand what you mean in the end there about envying narc tendencies to not feel. I know it’s weird to say, but I’m happy that I don’t feel more. The pain I’ve felt in this break-up are feelings that I’m unused to. Feelings I’ve never experienced before. I don’t want this, and I’ve tried to arrange my relationships in my life such that I will never feel these things and, up until this point, I’ve been successful. And when I say I “try to arrange,” it’s not even conscious decisions. It’s just who I am. Those narc tendencies. I don’t think there’s anything surprising (or shameful) about you being drawn to people with narc tendencies. Not only were you raised with this, but I think we’re generally drawn to people with narc tendencies. There is something very alluring about the confidence, and there’s all that charm. Oh, do we have that charm. And then there is the desire to get this narc, this person who seems to need no one, to need you. This desire to get love from this person who seems incapable of real love. I feel it with my MM, and I’d imagine he felt it with me. Our egos are so clearly involved in these affairs. I know that one of the hardest parts of the break-up for me was the rejection. Not that my MM was choosing his W but that my MM no longer thought our relationship was “worth it.” As someone with narc tendencies, it’s hard to accept that someone else does not think you are worth it. I know that is hard for anyone to accept, but it is particularly stinging to people with narc tendencies. But, you know it’s more than that for me, too. I fell in love and its also hard to lose that.

  • J

    Well it’s happened again just as I predicted the whole time. Mm once again told me today that he changed his mind. Said he has too many doubts and things he is destined to just live a mediocre life and get counseling with his wife and try to force himself to be with her. Said he can’t get divorced, can’t ruin his family (grown children in their mid twenties), said it’s the right thing to do to stay in his marriage. Said he must not love me enough because he can’t do it. Also said he doesn’t want to talk to me or see me ever again, something we’ve never been able to do, because he said he knows that his marriage can never work out if he still sees me. This was all after we’ve been intimate the last few days, but he also had a family dinner last night with his children, and he prayed in church. I said I believe you’re scared again, he agreed he is but said he just wants to end things with me and go back to his stress free life. I guess there’s nothing left to say. I know everyone is thinking I’m an utter fool for trusting this guy again after he begged and pleaded for this one more chance. Do you think he will be back yet again, or it’s different this time? Not that I necessarily want him back.

    • Felk

      Oh, J, I’m so sorry you’re still going through this. I know we’ve all been through pain on here, but what you’re going through has seemed so much harder than my situation. (And you know my situation is hard!) But your MM has SO MANY TIMES told you that you are the one and that he wants to leave his wife and has begged you to stay with him only to rip that away from you. I really cannot imagine the pain you feel at those times, especially now when it must have felt so much closer to him really leaving his W. I know you were skeptical, but I know you must have also had a lot of hope that this time he really would leave her. I know you were trying to protect yourself, waiting for him to say that he couldn’t do it, but I also know that, even when we tell ourselves to be ready for that, we are not. My MM went MIA at times, and I would tell myself, even when things were really good for months, that it would likely happen again. And, even though I was “ready” when it happened, I was never really ready and it surprised and hurt me each time.

      So, to answer your question at the end of your message… yes, he will be back, if you let him. Of course, he will. He is a mess. He has no idea what he wants, and there’s no way that he is done with you. He says he doesn’t want to see you again, but of course he does. However, I worry that you want to hear us tell you that because you want to have hope. I don’t believe your last sentence that you don’t want him back. 🙂 You do. You are as much in love with him as he is with you. You are as addicted to this as he is. I honestly do not know the “solution” in your situation. We’ve all suggested that you take time for yourself, but it doesn’t seem like you want that or that it’s possible for you if your MM is still contacting you. And you know it’s not judgment. I think the “best” thing in my situation may be to take a break from my MM, too, but I can’t bring myself to do it (yet).

      Maybe it’s a little easier because you’ve been through this before with him, but I think this is going to get very rough for you. If your MM is able to not contact you or talk to you for a while, it’s going to be the pain that you know. If you’re able, be done with him. Decide here and now that you are done. That you will no longer let this man do this to you. He has done it so many times. He will continue to do it if you let him. I see the only end to this situation being your MM never contacting you again or you cutting off contact with him. Sadly, I see no other resolution than one of you deciding (for real) to cut the other one out. But, of course, we know that with all these feelings involved, that is unlikely to happen any time soon.

      • J

        Felk,
        You’re right. I’m so confused. On one hand I want this cycle to stop because it’s killing my soul, but on the other hand the idea of never seeing or talking to him kills me. How he makes these flips is so insane to me. For months and months he’s been saying he’s so in love with me that nothing will make him lose me. Now he wants to never see me again. He did text me all day yesterday saying how confused he is, saying how can he stop wanting me if he keeps seeing me.
        He also said he’s extremely fearful because of our 21 years age difference. He said he doesn’t want to end up alone and he thinks as he ages that I’ll grow bored of him. We’ve talked about this before and I’ve reassured him so many times. And also his wife had a skin cancer biopsy and he said how can he leave her if she has cancer again.
        Another terrible thing that occurred is that when mm and I were talking about this, our conversation became very unsettling and I was missing from home for 2 hours when I was supposed to be back in 30 mins. My husband went looking for me. He’s insisting he knows something is going on. I admitted to there being someone else because I couldn’t take the non stop questioning and I wanted the lies to stop. So now I’m sure I’m getting divorced anyway. I told mm about this and he’s very upset. Prob just for himself because he thinks he will be found out now.
        My life is an utter mess. These affairs are terrible and toxic. I really wish I knew better.

        • Felk

          J, of course your MM is already texting you about how confused he is and he’s already going back on saying that he can’t speak to you ever again. This is going to keep going on and on unless one of you takes a strong stand and stops it. You know that. It sounds like you are nowhere close to being done with this relationship, though. And maybe it is for the best that your H found out? You are embroiled in an intense situation with your MM, and I don’t know how you could put any attention or energy into your marriage. I know you’ve been unhappy there and you have considered divorce regardless of your MM’s choices, so maybe it is best for you to take a break from your marriage (even if you don’t end up divorcing). Right now, it seems you need to sort out how you feel about your MM, what you want from that situation, and how to ask him for what you want and how to hold him accountable for giving you what you want and need. And maybe now that you’re considering divorce you can go to counseling? I know you didn’t think it was possible before because your H would find out, but now you seem to have a pretty good reason to tell him you need to go to counseling? And, as Lara says, your MM could probably benefit from counseling, too. He seems an absolute wreck who cannot decide what he wants. He is hurting you. He is hurting his W. He is hurting himself. It is absolutely no good to prolong this. You need to come to some solutions and make some active decisions to change this cycle. I don’t know how either of you can continue with this level of intensity for much longer. It seems like your MM will not make any concrete decisions so you might have to be the one to do it. I know you keep waiting for him to make a decision (leave his W or not), but he also keeps waiting for you to hold him accountable for leaving his W or not. Neither one of you wants to do the hard thing. I get it. But I don’t know how you can keep going through this emotional roller coaster. It is really unhealthy (for both of you), and now it is directly hurting his W and your H.

    • Nomad

      J,
      Do you think this is the rock bottom for you? A closure from him to you? He picked to settle a mediocre life and he chose his family for security and comfort reasons. He needs to remember what he last said to you and stop coming back or play with mixed signals whenever he’s horny. No contact helps and it is the only way if and only if you want it. You will miss the good times, find excuses to justify and choose to ignore or forget the negativity, we all go through the process.

      He said he doesn’t want to talk or see you EVER again, both of you please register this. It’s unhealthy to say it and get sucked back to the vicious cycle without giving NC a decent try, without experiencing the space to purge the toxic mess.

      While I’m in a slightly better situation (beginning of the end since last May), seeing him at work is still difficult. Yesterday having to sit through a mere 30mins of briefing conducted by him was difficult, it was stinging me the whole day despite efforts to distract myself. He didn’t reach out although he was in the same building. I chose to thank him for not reaching out while I was grieving quietly (not hysterically or soul crushingly). It was then I didn’t know what I want… sad that it’s over, relieved that it’s over, sad that he didn’t reach out, thankful that he didn’t reach out… then an angel said to me “Anyway that feeling will lessen. You won’t feel so bad every time you see him. It will get better. I know how you feel a pang that he didn’t reach out, and at the same time thankful, because if he had, you would have just had a few more minutes of respite from actually having to accept that it’s over. And going with the flow. And saying and doing things that will make no difference to the ultimate outcome. So it’s better this way. Grit your teeth and get through these meetings like you did today. The next one won’t feel like this” I needed these words. I made it home, surfed the internet for next holiday destination. He can be a cool customer so can I. I need to let go and move on because he has left. It will be hard but I’m trying for a “clean” June because in the past 5 months in 2018, we had succumbed to addiction and seized the moment for intimacy. The after effect had always been torturing – regrets, rumination, mental exhaustion, damage to self esteem, destructive yet I still went back in reaction to the tiniest bit of crumbs. I have morphed into a masochist. I’ve everything others are envious of (job, good marriage, kids have grown up, financially stable), few of my colleagues told me this recently when I commented that I am dealing with a void, empty nest or mid life crisis? Whatever, I’m now in the midst of a life crisis but as what Felk said, I should be thankful that the affair hasn’t hurt anyone else especially our family. It should be ended before it’s too late.

      J, I wish you less pain as you go through another cycle. Do something for yourself.

    • Butterflies Are Free

      Oh Dear J This sounds like hell.
      As I just told you I my previous post, this is what I know you wanted: You didn’t want to abandon him; you didn’t want to give up on him. You wanted to stand by your man with your strength and love even through the thick and thin of leaving his troubled wife. You were ready. And look what you get back instead! He waffles as usual. aargh
      Like I said I have been there and done that too. Many times. I said: “I wanted to know I would stick it out; see it through. I wanted to him to see ME standing by him! I gave and gave and gave. Then one day is just couldn’t do it anymore. I had nothing left to give. The exhaustion and the self abuse of trying so hard to take care of HIM while he gave me nothing like it back! I simply cut and ran at times.
      In the end I had to abandon that ship for my own sanity and health. He knows this. For the two of us 21 years is a long damn time of of off and on. TOO long. For you too.
      I felt he was so ungrateful. So Selfish. An self-cenetered asshole. I even told him so.
      It is TOO LONG for you too.
      You have hung in there forever. You were there when his wife had breast cancer. You waited so patiently. You were there when they went on vacation and he told you he was going to tell her he was leaving. How patient were you when you were seething and also distraught? Now what does he say? That perhaps “he can not manage stress.” That she is “violent”.

      Yet YOU can mange the stress J. You are the rock for both of you. Doesn’t it get tiring and lonely being that rock? And you have to ask yourself: IS ANYONE on this earth strong enough to sustain this man’s flip-flopping? Are there any of us here on this blog capable of sustaining that day in and day out? Stronget than you in their affair? And yet you have taken it on yourself to do so, to be so damn strong!. You have taken this Herculean task upon yourself in the name of love. But he does return the favor in kind? No he CAN NOT because he is too much of mess in himself.
      He might like to think he can return the love to you and he may say the words but really can he?
      Not yet it seems. Saying he miust “not love you enough” is the ultimate cop-out. And so cruel! Why was that necessary for him to do that when you have stood right by him? Ask yourself this. IMHO
      He needs counseling STAT.
      Why not tell him:
      I am not talking to you or seeing you or responding to you until you have seen a therapist and GONE to the appointment alone? And have gone more than once? Could you do that J? Could you see a therapist as well?
      Because yes J he will be back. You know it too. This is the type the never goes away. I call mine a “ball and chain” cause after a while thats what this type feels like. All complaining and unhappiness at home but NO concrete actions on behalf of self. All unhappiness but no moving away from the supposed “problem”. IS this really the type of person we want to spend our life with?
      I think NOT.
      As a nurse you have taken on the task of trying to love your man into wellness, with all your never ending compassion and ability to help people heal.
      But this is not the hospital and he is NOT your patient!
      As an empath I have done the same for my narc.
      I am really SO sorry you have to go through this.
      Cut yourself some slack because you have really really tried. So have I. But sometimes we have to thrown in the towel and say “This is NOT my problem!” Let him find the solution! These are grown me not boys.

      I hope you can get a plan together to cope with this waffling man and can IMPLEMENT it.
      You say “I don’t see any end in sight.” I hear you!
      And there never ever will be one if you don’t get a plan in your headand stick to it. Hugs Lara xxooo

      • J

        So much of what you said is true. I feel like I’m the strong one for him, like I’m the rock for both of us. I stand by him with this loyalty, through all of his flips and moods. And how do I get repaid, with more flips. She’s supposedly crazy, violent, he says he has no respect for her, but how does she get repaid, he spends countless hours making her new gardens in their yard, buying her new furniture, all supposedly while they are “getting divorced.” He had reasons to explain why he had to do all of that. While I’m sitting by trying to heal him, hurting myself, and no one is my rock, no one giving me this undying loyalty. And he acts like he’s a mess all of the time, while he has her begging him and me giving him so much support. And yes, how cruel to say I must not love you enough, trying to convince himself or maybe me. He told me the next day he’s trying to push me away so I don’t want him and how he knows he’s trying to take the easy route. Of course he’s already asked me to meet him. You already know whether or not I went. He kissed me and I let him. More of me thinking I need to be there through the ups and downs, even if it kills me apparently. I shake my head at myself.

  • Buttereflies Are Free

    The Psychology of Why Women Cheat
    Hi Its Lara
    I am reading some more great stuff so I posted it here below:
    “To help you get a clearer picture of the psychology of why women cheat, here are some quotes from actual cheating females regarding their motives and reasons for cheating (Suzi)
    WHY I CHEATED…
    “He was so much better at expressing himself.”
    “I felt a rush of excitement hundreds of times greater than anything I had ever felt before.”
    “Meeting him was so scary and yet so exciting. It was the most adventurous thing I’ve done in years.”
    “Finally … this was something I was doing for me.”
    “I found I just couldn’t help myself.”
    “I felt like he touched my soul, even before he ever touched my body.”
    “I felt like I was drowning in his eyes.”
    “My husband doesn’t love me anymore — that was obvious way before I ever met the other man.”
    “It was such a long time since anyone treated me that way.”
    “I felt like he really listened to me.”
    “I had been pregnant for 4 years and gained a lot of weight; maybe that’s why it felt good that someone was attracted to me.”
    “On the outside I was a super achiever — great husband, great career, great kids. But on the inside, I was feeling empty, not happy with myself; the side glances from other men would let me know I was attractive and I just began to crave them to feel good.”
    “I am intelligent. I am pretty. I am a good person. Yet, I feel totally unlovable by anyone other than my kids. I never knew I could be attracted to another woman — except to say she made me feel lovable.”
    “I used to be madly in love with my husband … but after years of his criticism, sarcasm and put-downs, it was nice to be respected by another man. If my husband had been careful with my love, I wouldn’t have had the wounds for someone else to soothe.”
    “He would “eye hustle” younger women in the mall. He’d make “jokes” about my sagging extra skin. He constantly gawked at the cheerleaders during the football games. So when another man told me I was beautiful, it melted me like butter.”
    “I did it for ME to help rebuild some of my self-esteem that I’d lost to the years of veiled accusations and insults from my husband.”

    “Here’s the reality of the female heart: Women crave romance like the desert craves rain. And by romance, I don’t mean the Hollywood-manufactured version. I’m talking about adventure and the excitement of being wooed, pursued, understood, appreciated and admired. For many women, there’s no such thing as too much romance. Even if they can’t get it in real life, they will seek it in fantasy. Think about it. Why do you think romance novels account for more than half of all the books sold on the planet? They fill a void for millions of women. As a matter of fact, research into why women love romance novels shows that the female reader is seeking to identify with the heroine, so she too can experience similar sensations of being pursued and desired. Some female readers engage to the point of releasing adrenalin and endorphins, making the experience highly addictive! Am I saying that the decline of romance in a marriage or relationship is what automatically leads women to cheat? No. But when you think about it, it does leave the back door open, doesn’t it? Sure it does. In fact, it has been my experience that most female “wayward partners” I’ve talked with were more motivated by emotional hunger than by any physical or lustful reason. Women tend to cheat for more “feeling” reasons.” (Suzi)
    https://www.goasksuzie.com/3b_why_women_cheat

  • J

    Hi ladies. I’ve been reading up on everyone. I hope everyone is managing. I felt like I got some rough words on my last post, and I reread my past posts. Usually when I write, it’s when I’m feeling emotional, if you knew me you’d understand haha. I get upset but then it goes away quickly and I think I write in a dramatic form, but believe me, I do not look for constant validation from mm in every aspect of my life. I’m actually a very independent person. I’m really not hurting too much about anything anymore, I believe I’ve become rather numb to mm. He is still claiming that he is divorcing his wife. The situation has become very very volatile. She has begged him over and over to give it one more chance. She has become really violent even. She threatened suicide, if you knew her you’d know she would never do it, I know you don’t take suicide threats lightly, but in this case it’s emotional blackmail to get him to stay. She’s physically hit him, damaged his property, thrown glasss at him, and even slashed his tires so he couldn’t leave the house. I believe they’ve been together so long that she doesn’t know her identity without him, she’s a housewife, not much of an outside life. But her grown children are her life, she lives them dearly and would never kill her self. She will not stop and even has used his religion, she’s never even gone to church with him, saying god told her they are supposed to try again. She’s also tried to have sex with him while she was drunk. He keeps telling her it’s over but yet he hasn’t taken the next step. Says he’s looking for an apartment or to possibly stay with a friend because being at home with her is too toxic. Yet he goes to doctors appointments with her, to dinner, calls her, sleeps in the bed, and gives her hugs and pecks. I don’t really understand this situation at all, it sounds very odd to me. I’ve told him many times I want to give him space during this, but he insists no because I’m his only bright spot. But he’s also been somewhat miserable during this and kind of snarky. He said it’s the stress, so I again said let’s have some distance. He says no. I don’t want to abandon him during this but I’m sick of him picking on me through this stress. He asks for my advice, I give it to him, then he says I’m trying to tell him what to do. He then apologized himself acknowledging that he knows he requested the advice himself. He also has had some doubts again if he’s doing the right thing, but said the doubts are that he will miss his home and it would be easier to just stay. He then admitted he is incapable of dealing with emotional stress, and he’s just trying to run from it. I said if you have doubts go ahead and stay married. And then he says no that he loves me too much. I don’t see any end in sight. I also feel like any day he may wake up and say the stress is too much and he’s just going to stay with her. My home life has been quite rocky naturally with all my attention on mm. But I’m def not saying or doing anything at home until I’m sure. But even if mm ever moves out of his house, he could change his mind and she would take him back in an instant. I’ve tried to not talk about the situation so much with mm because I think it’s hurtung our relationship. We’ve shared some really great and amazing times this week.

    • Felk

      J, sounds like your situation is as confusing as ever… but it sounds like you’re happy? Or happy enough? It sounds like you’re still cautious and skeptical and confused about your MM’s behavior, but it also sounds like you want to be in this relationship with him. I think it’s very smart to continue to not say anything to your H about this, but I can hear how it’s taking a toll on your marriage. Your MM’s behavior is confusing to me, too. It sounds like he’s told his W he wants to leave. It sounds like she’s trying very hard to prevent that. And it sounds like he continues to be unsure of what he wants to do. I get your fear that he will suddenly change his mind and decide to stay with his W. I would be worried about that, too. I still think it would be better for you two to have distance at this time, but I know how hard that is, especially with him telling you that he doesn’t want distance from you. It just seems like he’s less likely to leave if you stick by his side. It seems like he can still have “cake and eat it, too” if you stay close, but, of course, we all know there is no easy or simple solution in these situations. You do what’s best for you. Do what makes you happy. Do what gets you the treatment you want. That’s my best advice.

    • Butterflies Are Free

      J it’s okay to be or feel emotional. I can’t think of a more emotional situation that being stuck where you are right now. It is not easy for you. Whether or not you are “independent” we all need love and we all desire love. I love what Suzi says “Women crave romance like the desert craves rain. “. So true.
      Have you really become numb? I can see it as a sort of protection from what looks like a unresolvable situation. It is good to protect yourself. I was always worried his wife , who you said has a drinking problem, would act out in this way. I could see that one coming as I have had my own drinking problem so I know. The threats are predictable as is the violence as is the emotional blackmail. What is less clear is why he still feels it is necessary to go “to doctors appointments with her, to dinner, calls her, sleeps in the bed, and gives her hugs and pecks.” Even worse, I don’t get him needing to tell you any of this (as Felk has also said). I really understand why you say, “I don’t want to abandon him during this but I’m sick of him picking on me through this stress.” I have lived a form of this with my exMM many times. I dint want to abandon him; didn’t want to give up on him. I wanted to know I would stick it out; see it through. But in the end I had to abandon that ship for my own sanity and health. He knows this. For the two of us 21 years is a long damn time of of off and on. TOO long.
      You say “I don’t see any end in sight.” I hear you! Can you possibly take some time on your own for awhile to gather your thoughts? You could tell him you need a “time out” maybe? (Not a “break-up”?)
      I know you say “We’ve shared some really great and amazing times this week.” I really get it. I have been there too. But for me (and I have this new word, lol) I wanted something actually “sustainable”: something I could live with and not be upset with him all the time. I simply could never find that place. I could find it for a few weeks or maybe months but never long enough to “rest” and feel “secure” in our relationship. Never enough to just breathe a sigh of relief for long enough. Never enough to feel a sense of “peace” with him. That is my story of course. You must create yours. Hugs Lara xoxo

  • ButterfilesAreFree

    Hello from Lara
    (Butterflies are Free)
    Dear Felk and Others,
    Did you know Go Ask Susie does NOT recommend NC (no contact) for office affairs? I find her approach very wise. https://www.goasksuzie.com/affair-with-a-coworker/
    “And I’m not surprised to hear that the person you had an affair with is a coworker because statistics show that upwards of 60% of extramarital affairs happen between coworkers. So take heart… you aren’t the only person who’s having to learn how to do what you’re going to have to do… which is learn how to deal with working in close proximity to an ex-affair partner.”
    “4 Rules For Working In Close Proximity With An Ex-Affair Partner
    Rule #1: Firm conversation boundaries.
    Rule #2: No hostility. No attack. No sour grapes.
    Rule #3: No privacy.
    Rule #4: No sexual signals/no responding to their sexual signals.
    Rule #5: The goal is neutrality, not hate.”
    “One of the big mistakes ex-affair partners make is to assume the only way to protect themselves is by moving into anger, hate or hostility towards the affair partner. I am not saying those feelings aren’t effective barriers — maybe they are — but what I’m saying is that those feelings harm you as well.”

    So Felk you need not choose between NC and “friendship”. You don’t have to choose!
    I think the end result of the rules above is a workable sort of “friendship” with no emotional strings.
    Any interactions with the exMM office worker including sexual and emotional innuendos and invitations is something more heated, more volatile and not neutral. Not just “friendship”. Maybe it’s a connotation fo the affair. Maybe its a decision to “try” to transition the affair to FWB friends with benefits. Either way, any of these choices after an emotionally and sexually gripping affair are bound to feel awful at first. The brain will protest of course it will! But some of us can and must work/live in close proximity to our ex married affair partners and and we need hope that we can make it! And YES WE CAN! My two cents. Hugs Lara xxxooo

    • Felk

      Lara, wow, is Suzie good. I read a few articles on her site the other day, but I didn’t see the one about working with an affair partner. Not that anything she said was anything new, but that article validated a lot of my feelings about the difficulty of it all. She’s very good at that. I think we all know that NC isn’t possible when you’re working (especially closely) with your ex. I certainly think that’s one of the reasons my MM and I are trying a friendship… we know we have to see each other every day anyway. We don’t have the luxury of NC.

      But, Suzie still would not recommend that I attempt a friendship (at least not the way we’re doing it… by still spending time alone together) with my MM. Much like your advice the other day, I’m sure Suzie would stress all of the problems with keeping feelings alive and slowing the healing. (The “passive route” that Suzie describes.) Neutral feelings would be nice. I like her description of “when you could take or leave them as a person.” It’s just going to take a long time for me to get there if we’re attempting a friendship, and maybe we never will get there. Maybe I will have to learn the hard way that there will always be more-than-neutral feelings if he and I don’t go the route of professional boundaries only. For now, it still feels worth the slow healing to keep him in my life in this way. But, as you can tell with the struggles I still have, I may have to choose a different route at some point.

      We have not had the anger/hate issues, but we are not doing #1, #3 or #4. We have not set conversation boundaries. Much the opposite, we are willing to talk about us and our relationship. We clearly break the “no privacy” rule. For example, I will see him alone next week, at his invitation. As for #4, we don’t overtly flirt a lot anymore. That has been reduced a lot, but we still do it once in a while. We are trying to cut that part down, but, as you all have warned, of course that is still there if you are spending time alone together.

      I also like some of the differences she pointed out between grief of losing a loved one and the grief after a relationship ends. One thing I’d add to that is that part of the grief is knowing the person is still there but you just don’t have the same access to them. So, it is a constant tease or reminder of what you have lost, as opposed to when someone dies. Not that there aren’t reminders when someone dies, but it is a different type (a more powerful kind) of reminder when it is a relationship lost and the person is still nearby.

      As a side note, that woman’s letter to Suzie stuck with me… the part about “that repairing his marriage no matter what (even if he settled for less than happiness) was the path he felt he had to take” is my situation. A few weeks ago, my MM told me that is what he is doing. He has been quite clear all along that he thought a relationship with me was better than with his W. He said that again when we ended our affair, and just weeks ago he said he is okay with “settling” for her. It is something that is hard for me to understand… why someone would settle for less than happiness. I get why he has to stay in his marriage, of course. What is hard for me to understand is why he wouldn’t want to keep that happiness (our affair) in his life to supplement the less-than-great marriage. And, let me be clear. I understand. I really, really do. I understand sustaining the two relationships became too hard for him. When I say I don’t understand, what I mean is that it’s not the choice I would make for myself. But, I get that he has to tell himself that he is okay “settling” because that is the choice he has made. It is just one of those hard things to process in all of this.

      • Thistooshallpass

        The work aspect certainly throws a big twist in the recovery phase. I too have a “friendship” thing I suppose and he is my boss. We had a slip a couple weeks ago but he knows I’m dating and turned the keys over to me. If I’m not in a serious relationship and I want to “get together” his door is open. Well I obviously want a full time boyfriend hence I’m going out with other guys. Anyhow, thank you for the article on how to cope with an affair relationship at work. Personally, I can’t envision going from a close emotional bond to purely professional. If he told me to give him space and respect those boundaries I would oblige. I get that an affair is toxic and doesn’t work for anyone really. That doesn’t mean the person is bad. As long as you both agree on boundaries and terms that are acceptable for both of you… While I still have feelings and attraction, I can convert to friendship with minimal problems if there is no physical relationship. I still take what he says to heart and little things that shouldn’t faze me sting when they come from him. His words are much more impactful and provoke an emotional response which makes me feel powerless and vulnerable. That part I wish to get over but it’ll take a good amount of time.

        To your last paragraph Felk I’m right there with you. The whole settling thing and keeping the marriage together even if it’s mediocre. Did your mm ever tell you he was unhappy? Mine says he’s not happy but not unhappy either. Yours has kids if I recollect correctly and that often turns them straight. I have a hard time grasping why my mm chooses to stay when they have so many incompatibilities. Fear of being alone, hurting the kids, starting over, dealing with the huge emotional and financial burden of a divorce is colossal. I can’t lose sight of that. Men often choose comfort over happiness. I understand that since you are both married you weren’t interested in him leaving his wife for you. You wanted to keep your relationship going bc it enhanced your lives. Endings just suck and loss hurts especially when the love is still there. In your case you could always ask him that very question although that can be dangerous territory too. Whenever we’ve had the heart to hearts it ends up in circuitous convo for hours with no resolution. You walk away feeling more confused, somewhat relieved/validated, flustered at something new he revealed, regretful you didn’t say this when he said that. I’ve had dozens of these well intended post mortem chats that lead to nowhere land.

        • Felk

          Thistooshallpass, it sounds like we’re in a similar situation. Your words reflect a lot of what I’ve been thinking and feeling over these months. Obviously, it’s hard to read tone in written messages, but I read clarity and, maybe, resignation in your tone? There is an acceptance and a sadness, and that’s why I say “resignation.”

          What you say about the conversion to a friendship is how I feel. My MM is a good person. I’ve been consistent with that here, saying that he treated me well during our affair. Yes, there were periods of distance that I didn’t like, but he was handling the affair as best he could. Yes, at times, he seemed selfish, but we’re all selfish and trying to self-protect. Affairs are problematic so there are going to be problems. Mostly, though, we both treated each other well and that’s part of why it lasted so long. Like you, I can have feelings of attraction and I can convert to a friendship without physical. I don’t think my MM can as well, but he always had more difficulty with the emotions involved. The hardest part is learning to expect less. Recognizing the “rules” of your relationship have changed. Part of that is learning to take his words and actions as less meaningful. Learning to associate less meaning to his texts or non-texts, his e-mails or non-emailing, him asking me to go for a drink or not asking me to go for a drink. It’s going to take a lot of time. It sounds like you want this, though. It has sounded like you’re willing to accept the problems of the powerless and vulnerable and hurt to maintain the friendship with your MM? I feel like that’s where I am. I’ve felt that for a while, as you all know. That I know there is going to be difficulty associated with attempting a friendship, but that it’s worth it in the long run.

          But it’s your last paragraph that really sits with me. The heart-to-hearts are exactly as you describe. He and I have had many of these conversations over the last 8 months, and they almost always go as you describe. Sure, some conversations are just warm and lovely and I leave them feeling pretty good, but most of the conversations are circuitous with the worst part being that there is rarely any resolution. That’s what I want. I want a solution to all of this. But there is no easy solution, and it is frustrating every time. 🙂 And, yes, I walk away with the mix of emotions you say with their order varied depending on the conversation. There is almost always confusion because I don’t know where we stand and he said things that were vague or that didn’t exactly make sense to me. There is almost always a feeling of relief and validation because he said things that matched what I was feeling and because I was able to say things that I wanted to say. He almost always talks about how he’s still in love and how he’s struggling being apart from me, and that validates my feelings and struggles. And, yes, he almost always says something that sits with me, flusters me, something I don’t exactly know how to respond to in the moment but later wish I had. And there is always more I wish I would have said or asked but we run out of time or the conversation doesn’t go in that direction or I’m just too scared to say it. Oh, and I almost always end up missing him more and wanting to talk more. It may not sound like it, but I find these talks helpful. I am a talker. I need to work things through, and I like to do it through talking it out. He and I have always had that, and I appreciate that he’s been willing to keep doing that through the break-up. Although he says he needs it less (and I believe him), it always seems like he wants to talk when we do and he’s even initiated some of the talks. But, as Lara has said recently, it is probably best to stop having these heart-to-hearts. There comes a point where it isn’t helpful anymore and it may make it harder to transition to a friendship if you are constantly reminding of the affair. I believe it’s been helpful to work through and talk through this with him, but, at some point, the solution is that you accept it is over and move on. For me, moving on means “to a friendship,” and that means moving away from that which reminds of the affair. Not that we can never talk about “us,” but the long heart-to-hearts looking for resolution aren’t going to get us anywhere and are probably harmful to trying a friendship.

          As for his marriage, I don’t think he’s unhappy. (He’s said he’s not happy with everything right now, but I don’t think that means his marriage in particular. I think it just means the whole situation.) He hasn’t said he’s happy, but I think he’s content. Or at least he was when our affair started. I know the strain on his marriage is mainly what led him to end our affair, though. My guess is that his marriage has suffered as mine and there is a lot of distance that wasn’t there before. My guess is that he also is less attracted to his W after the affair, as he now has the comparison to the highs of the affair. He has said that a relationship with me would be better, but I think that there is “enough” there to stay with his W. They do not seem incompatible, even if he and I are more compatible. He is certainly choosing comfort (“settling”) over happiness (he has said, “We don’t always get to do what we want.”). But, it is also all the other things you say about disrupting a family that makes a person stay. I don’t lose sight of that because all of those reasons factor into staying with my H (including that I think he’s a better H than my MM would be). Unlike my MM told me, I never told him that it would be better with him than my H. Of course, I didn’t say, “My H is better than you,” but I just didn’t reciprocate that comment when he would say it about his W. There is a lot that is better about my MM. There is a lot that I enjoy about him that I don’t have with my H, but, overall, my H is a better relationship partner for me.

          • Thistooshallpass

            Felk,
            A few things I’ve been reflecting on regarding the situation and how I truly felt along the way… The encumbered nature of this relationship imposed so many limitations my pain/joy ratio was much higher than I ever should’ve accepted. IDK about you but it’s masochistic to have feelings for someone that you can rarely if ever see. I felt tortured by the fact that I couldn’t just pick up the phone or text whenever. We can’t get together on nights, weekends or holidays. I wouldn’t even qualify this relationship as sharing because it’s undeniably leftover scraps. There is no 50/50. At best it’s 10/90… It hurts to hear about his plans with friends and family. I would’ve loved to have the freedom to get together with him periodically. I’m not even talking about whenever we wanted. I understand all relationships have limitations but these are absolutely prohibitive. You mentioned not needing the cake but I think it’s fair to say you/we at bare minimum wanted a slice. I hate the fact that I go weeks without seeing him. I hate having feelings for someone I can’t be in a real relationship with. This wasn’t even a part-time relationship. We only saw each other during work hours and I couldn’t have been any more convenient for him. What kills me more is the idea that he is perfectly ok tossing me his scraps and doesn’t feel sad, depressed or totally disappointed not spending more time with me. He said otherwise but these affairs fuck with your head and give you endless doubts. I started seeing someone else (still only a few dates so very new) and even though I can redirect my attention to someone else, all of the above still feel soul crushing to me. I love what you said in your last sentence and I will take comfort in those words. I’m going to assume that I am more ideal in a lot of ways but his current partner is better suited to be his partner. I think my mm is a good person and never wants to hurt his fam or me but life is full of complexities. How are you feeling and doing this weekend with everything?

          • Felk

            Thistooshallpass, thanks for asking how I’m doing. It’s better than earlier in the week, but it’s ups and downs as usual. Thankfully, the ups stay around longer now and the downs are not as low as months ago. It is a slow shift better. It’s still the near-constant presence of him, but sometimes it’s sadder than others. At times, it feels like I will always be a little sad and this will never go away, and then, at other times, I feel much more “normal,” more like me and he is further from my thoughts. Spending time with family and friends this weekend helped, but I feel good and “normal” on my own, too. How are you doing this weekend with it all?

            (Just curious… anyone else feel better at night? I almost always feel better at night than in the morning or afternoon, and I can’t figure out why. I have many guesses, though.)

            So much of what you say is inherent in affairs and it’s why they cause such problems. I don’t say it to say it’s obvious or we should have known better (we fell in love and then that took over), but there are so many inherent barriers in affairs that it often goes as you say where you get so much less of this other person than you would want and than you’ve had in other relationships. I don’t doubt any of what you say about your situation and I think it’s pretty important in moving forward to think about the reality of the lows in your affair. So often we reflect on the happy times when there is so much that is hard. Tortured is an important word. Yeah, that is not a good situation.

            I was not tortured, though. When I said I didn’t need the cake, I did say that I needed a slice at times. Sometimes he did give crumbs, but mostly, he gave me slices. So, that’s where my situation differs. Maybe it’s because I’m married or maybe it’s because I have a different personality, but I did not need more from my MM. I could have stayed in our affair for a long time. Also, I would trust your MM when he said that it was sad to him to not spend time with you. Maybe it wasn’t as sad as it was to you, but if he said it was, I’d believe him (especially since you say he was a good person, I don’t think he was lying). I was sad and disappointed about time I didn’t get to spend with my MM, but it bothered my MM more than it bothered me. I accepted our time apart better than he did. It’s part of what led to our break-up. He was clear that he wasn’t doing well with leaving me constantly and going back to his other life. But, I was okay with it. It wasn’t easy and it hurt sometimes, but I accepted it as part of what we were doing and I was ready to continue doing it for years. So, for me, it didn’t feel masochistic. Yes, there were hard things, but I got a lot of enjoyment out of the affair and I thought I handled the distance well enough. Also, not only did we work together, but he would come to my house about once/week and we’d spend other time outside of work together (lunch, drinks, etc.). We’d go on dates at night about once/month, and we even went out of town together twice. We’d also chat online many nights each week for hours. So, I think that’s part of why I didn’t need much more. I was getting a lot from him, I thought, given the circumstances.

            Don’t get me wrong. In the last 9 months, he started to pull away more and give more distance than we’d had. That’s because his marriage was in trouble and he started to attend there. That got hard. Not that I was jealous. I wasn’t. But not only were we communicating less than before, but our feelings had grown so much that it was hard to lose communication when we were feeling more strongly. So, yes, at that point, I started to get crumbs. He still gave pieces here and there, but the crumbs started coming. It was the beginning of the end.

            I’m glad some of my words can give you some comfort. I know we all try to find things to give us comfort to understand these situations. For me, it continues to be knowing that my MM was (to use your word) tortured by the situation in those last 9 months. He had gotten to the point where the two relationships were too much for him and he had to choose. It’s hard because I didn’t feel the same, but I cannot fault him for wanting to end a relationship that was causing so much tension in his life.

            For you, though, it has to also be that you know there is more out there for you. That there’s a better relationship waiting. It’s good to hear you’re dating. Even if it’s only a few dates, it matters. Even if it doesn’t go anywhere, it matters that you’re getting out there and are open to meeting new people. There is probably still some healing to do, but I don’t think you have to be 100% healed before you start dating. Yes, it’s important to be “ready” to date, but to still have thoughts of your ex seems pretty normal for people getting back into dating.

        • Butterflies Are Free

          TTSP
          It is extra loaded with him being your boss. I had forgotten that aspect. with his overweight wife he sounds a bit like J’s guy. Remember how he said the same thing to J? Yet that man’s behavior says otherwise. It is so hard to figure out humans when we do not live with them! (And even when we do). All these years and I never stopped mistrusting some of the words my exMM says about his hime life. And why should we believe everything? It’s hard to buy it all hook line and sinker when there’s a very good reason they may wish to lie to us. Or stretch the truth at the very least. I too can convert to friendship but only IF the other person wants to convert too. In my affair that was never the case. I don’t think my exMM ever wanted to actually convert. I have tried but I give up easily when he is not acting platonic too.
          I agree it seems pretty unnatural to think of going from a “close emotional bond” to a “purely platonic bond.” Damn I love your last segments: “Whenever we’ve had the heart to hearts it ends up in circuitous convo for hours with no resolution. You walk away feeling more confused, somewhat relieved/validated, flustered at something new he revealed, regretful you didn’t say this when he said that. I’ve had dozens of these well intended post mortem chats that lead to nowhere land.” Amen. Hugs Lara xx00

  • Lara

    Felk Thank you for your lengthy responses to me. I am so glad my words were not too harsh. I am responding up here to not bury this discussion too far down. I want to say that I have back been over to the Go Ask Suxie website and she does NOT advocate NC (No Contact) for office relationships! She advocates “professional boundaries”: treating the again partner with respect and courtesy but keeping discussions and interactions Professional only. In other word the ex lovers (with these guideline) eventually become a kind of professional acquaintance and things go back to normal *slowly). https://www.goasksuzie.com/affair-with-a-coworker/
    “Being In Close Proximity To Ex-Affair Partner”
    “Of all the things you’re dealing with right now, having an affair with a coworker, in my opinion, is the one that deserves the highest priority… because proximity has power. And I’m not surprised to hear that the person you had an affair with is a coworker because statistics show that upwards of 60% of extramarital affairs happen between coworkers. So take heart… you aren’t the only person who’s having to learn how to do what you’re going to have to do… which is learn how to deal with working in close proximity to an ex-affair partner. So here are some rules to help you.”
    4 Rules For Working In Close Proximity With An Ex-Affair Partner
    Rule #1: Firm conversation boundaries.
    Keep it professional. Stick to neutral topics (this includes email conversations, etc.).
    “Rule #2: No hostility. No attack. No sour grapes.”
    “This is key. It’s important that you not send negative vibes or hostility towards your ex-affair partner.
    …..(edit)…
    “Rule #3: No privacy.”
    “Another important rule. If you are in the conference room, leave the blinds/doors open.”…..(edit)…
    “Rule #4: No sexual signals/no responding to their sexual signals. “This means no flirting, no twisting hair, no sexy dressing, no wearing the bracelet he got you, no trying to communicate “unconsciously” that you’re still sexy, no attempting to remind him of “what he lost,” etc. And the opposite is also true. Don’t respond to his innuendos, his signals, his “gambits”, his “fishing trips” and his attempts to lure you.” (This for me is a BIGGIE) …..(edit)…
    “Rule #5: The goal is neutrality, not hate.”
    “One of the big mistakes ex-affair partners make is to assume the only way to protect themselves is by moving into anger, hate or hostility towards the affair partner”…..(edit)…
    “So there you have it.” …..(edit)… “The key is to remember that affairs are not relationships, and so normal “break-up rules” don’t apply. It’s going to be awkward and unpleasant for a while… but with T&D (time and distance), it all goes back to neutral.”
    Suzie Johnson

    I really like her no nonsense approach. She has clarity where so many of us do NOT based on our being “in love”. So Felk I think you must define this “friendship” you want with your exMM and you need to tell him what your ground rules are as well so neither of you are confused. But first YOU alone must decide. Are you ready? perhaps not. I do not judge however. This is where you could take some power back in your relationship. Decide and set the ground rules. Then neither of you will hesitate if and when sexual or emotional urges arise (and they will) as then you will both know to back off from each other until they calm down. And to keep it professional.
    You CAN work at this sort of friendship with an ex affair partner with someone in an office or neighbor but I DO know from experience this will be a rocky road and very hard. As for me the “friendship” option always give my exMM the idea I still want him. He just can not compute: “friendship” with me.
    “The ideal “friendship” between us (in his eyes) would mean continued sex but far less frequent and maybe BJ’s only LOL. He is a true narc. And as an empath I can feel exactly what he wants. 🙂

    Read Suzie below:
    “I believe that surviving infidelity is like surviving a fire — the more you know about the nature of fires, the better your chances of surviving. And the opposite is also true — the less you know about surviving a fire, the more dangerous things become for you. Why? Because in the event of a fire, there’s a wrong way and a right way to survive it, and knowing the difference between the two could be a matter of life and death. I’ve observed that a similar rule applies when it comes to surviving after infidelity… there’s a right way and a wrong way to survive it.”

    “The way I see it, there are two roads to recovery: the passive road and the active road. And of the two, the passive road is by far the most popular. So what’s the difference between the two? Well, it basically boils down to time and energy. The passive road is the long-suffering road — it depends and waits on others for rescue. The active road on the other hand is about actively participating in your own recovery process, thereby shortening your suffering. In my opinion, the active road is the right way to survive this.”

    So Felk I am telling you that if you are able to be active in defining this friendship that you want (and it has a reasonable/non-sexual definition that he can understand as well as you) and then you are able to communicate this calmly and clearly to him, you will have taken some power back, which you say you want. And you will have a decent shot at achieving friendship after the affair. However if you keep offering yourself as “open” to the affair: Communicating to him that you still love him and are open to all the sex, the emotional drama, the knowledge that he will never be yours, the knowledge that he wants or put his family first at this moment in time, then you place yourself in a very vulnerable place to be hurt. And then of course you tempt him too. He continues to say “I still love you” to keep the door open even though he is trying to retreat back to his family because isn’t that what most people would do in this situation? Keep a door open just in case? Then you will respond of course with the same thing back to him (I love you) thus you both move in the OPPOSITE direction of friendship. And for you, you feel lower self esteem as these actions affirm (for you) that he has more power in the relationship than you do. Since you are both narc oriented Felk, you must very careful to not get into a power struggle with him as you will BOTH want to come out on top, you will BOTH want to win. Make sure that you remaining open to the affair is not some kind of deliberate “temptation” to him so that if he hates the bait then YOU win! Perhaps you need to WIN? over him?
    Does this make sense? Always remember one very important thing about every love affair at this level of intensity. Affairs are not the same as real relationships and they DO NOT have the same RULES or PATTERNS! I too have had another affair with a married man but honestly I never fell in love with the guy and I was never all that bothered bothered when he backed off from me as I was not “in Love” like I am with my current exMM. By in love I mean driven and obsessed of course. Thinking about him too much. Thinking about the affair too much etc. My other MM simply never attracted me in that way. We were more like friends who had sex. But when the sex ended so did the friendship. I DO regret that part but he completely ditched me not for his W but for another extra marital lover! And then he did the same to her! Then she and I became sort of friends 🙂
    I hope this helps.
    Hugs Lara xxx000

    • Felk

      Lara, I’ve already responded to a lot of the good stuff you have in this message (and, yes, I did read Suzie’s advice about the office affair), but I wanted to take a separate message to respond to the things you have written about being a narc and power. You mentioned it in two messages today, and I know we’ve talked about it before. Power and control are issues for me. Power and control are issues for my MM. These are not good traits to match on. 🙂

      I do not want to get into a power struggle. I have tried very hard throughout our affair to not be manipulative or controlling, in the way that I can be in relationships. I have tried not to play games and have tried to be clear about my feelings. That is the honesty stuff I’m always talking about. And I think part of that was the nature of an affair and how, since there is already so much privacy in an affair, it was best to be honest about the things I could be honest about. Of course, it’s crossed my mind to play games to try to get him back. I’ve thought about how, because he likes power, if I disappear that it would probably hurt him very much and I’d get a response out of him. I’ve thought about how, acting like I don’t want the affair anymore could make him want it more just to get me to want it. I’ve thought about how legitimately getting over the affair (and not just pretending) will make him want me back. Ah, the power and control games people play in relationships. But, I don’t want to do any of these things and I haven’t.

      I cannot deny having thoughts about how I want to get over this before he does. How I don’t want to still be in love if he’s not in love. How I don’t like that he has more power because he was the one to end the relationship. And, really, how he had more power throughout the affair because he had kids and had more pressures/constraints. I was always more available. So, yes, power things are on my mind. I don’t deny, but I also know there is no good that comes from looking at it as a competition and I really am not trying to “win” and get over us first.

      Also, as sure as I can be, I am not trying to tempt him back so I win. I genuinely want our relationship back, as you all know. It hurt my pride and self-esteem for him to end the relationship, as happens to many of us when relationships end. It has made me feel lesser that he was willing to give up our relationship (and I wasn’t). It is hard not feeling as important to him as I felt before. But, wanting the relationship back isn’t about repairing my self-esteem. My self-esteem is healing pretty well over these months. I’ve told you all that I feel much more like myself in that regard. It is mainly that I still miss him and us that makes me want him back. Is part of wanting the friendship related to wanting to still feel that I matter to him? Sure. But I think most people want to know that they are valued by and matter to others. The friendship still is mainly about wanting the talks and the laughs that we’ve enjoyed over the years.

      I also get what you’re saying about how it gives him power to say that I’m still open to the affair (and all the drama and crumbs that go with it), but isn’t that what I said for five years? How is this different? Didn’t we both, for five years, say we were willing to accept crumbs from the other to maintain the affair? I get that he finally said he needed more and the crumbs weren’t enough. I get I was still willing to accept them, but he knew that during the affair. I would not be willing to just go back into the affair as it was. I have told him this (that was back in February), but, sure, if you’re willing to be in an affair, you’re willing to make compromises to that which is acceptable in a relationship.

      And, yes, I do notice him leaving the door open “just in case.” He has said things to make it clear that he is not closing himself to future possibilities entirely. I would do the same thing in his position. It’s that part about being honest with yourself (and the other) about how, yeah, you may still want this in the future. And, sure, you say it because you want to get the other person to stay open to it, too. So, that goes back to the point in my other message when you asked why I still do this to him? We’re both still doing it to each other. I don’t mean to say I’m doing it to him because he’s doing it to me. It’s not retaliation or spiteful. Not at all. But I’ve expressed my love and kept myself open because I am still in love and open. And I do it because he says the same. If he were to shut it down entirely, I would not say these things to him anymore.

      But, you are right that we have to stop doing that. And I am going to actively try to stop as I said in my other message. Even though we may still feel love and we may still be open to more, it does not help to keep saying it if we are trying to move away from those possibilities and stick to a friendship.

      • Butterflies are free

        Felk It is Lara and I have a few short responses to your words here. As always you are free to do as you see fit in your affair. My words and questions are to get you to see some of your contradictions so you can be aware of them in moving forward.
        You said:
        “I also get what you’re saying about how it gives him power to say that I’m still open to the affair (and all the drama and crumbs that go with it), but isn’t that what I said for five years? How is this different? Didn’t we both, for five years, say we were willing to accept crumbs from the other to maintain the affair?”
        Do you also remember you were not happy with the crumbs Felk? And at the end of the 9 month period you say you stopped expressing your needs honestly for fear of losing him? You wrote about this a lot.

        ” I would not be willing to just go back into the affair as it was. I have told him this (that was back in February), but, sure, if you’re willing to be in an affair, you’re willing to make compromises to that which is acceptable in a relationship.”
        How would or could this EVER change knowing he was married and committed to staying married? And so are you?

        “And, yes, I do notice him leaving the door open “just in case.” He has said things to make it clear that he is not closing himself to future possibilities entirely. I would do the same thing in his position.”
        You ARE doing the same thing! 🙂

        “It’s that part about being honest with yourself (and the other) about how, yeah, you may still want this in the future. And, sure, you say it because you want to get the other person to stay open to it, too. So, that goes back to the point in my other message when you asked why I still do this to him? We’re both still doing it to each other.”
        Do you call this honesty really? I call it more protecting your interests.

        “But I’ve expressed my love and kept myself open because I am still in love and open. And I do it because he says the same. If he were to shut it down entirely, I would not say these things to him anymore.”
        Yes but you are each doing this in response to the other one and because you are still allowing these conversations to take place. Yet neither one of you wants to or can leave their marriage.
        Kids take a long while to grow up and you have never expressed wanting to leave your H for your exMM.

        “But, you are right that we have to stop doing that.” Yes I do think so. ( a la Suzie who is more neutral than either of us). But of course the time table is up to you.
        “…it does not help to keep saying it if we are trying to move away from those possibilities and stick to a friendship.”
        Yes I think you are right. Again the timetable is up to you.
        Don’t forget you have spoken a few times about your marriage taking a hit during this time. Have you any thoughts on how to address these issues in your marriage post affair? I urge you to do so before your H catches on or becomes aloof to you as you have become to him I would imagine. (I say this “IF” you do love your H, that is, and you DO wish to remain married),
        Hugs Lara

        • Felk

          Lara, I would imagine you are hearing contradictions from me because it’s a confusing time. There’s a lot to sort out not only in the situation in general but with my feelings. I feel (some of) the contradictions you point out. I think the biggest one that I am dealing with right now is the tug-of-war between wanting more contact/communication with my MM and knowing that more contact/communication with him will prolong the healing process. Related to that is the struggle between attempting a friendship and knowing that the attempts at a friendship require behaviors that make it harder to heal. You have pointed out a lot of these problems with attempting a friendship, and I do not disagree. I think where we differ is that I think it’s worth it. I think it’s worth it to prolong the healing and to deal with extended hurt to potentially get to a friendship. (It seems he does, too.) I’ve noted before that this is my style. This is who I am. I like being friends with ex’s. When I am with someone in a relationship for a long time, there is typically so much good there, including a close friendship. So why would I not want that friendship even after the relationship is over? I know a lot of people don’t think this way, but I’ve been like this for a long time. Another place we differ is that I think a friendship is possible. I think I can do this. That remains to be seen, I get that. I also fully acknowledge that this break-up has been MUCH harder than past break-ups given the addiction issues in affairs and given that I don’t usually end relationships while still in love. Nonetheless, I still want to try this friendship thing.

          A lot of what you say in your message is about going back to the affair, which I don’t really hold out hope for. But the problems you point out are fair. I wouldn’t expect much would change were we to get into the affair again, but, remember, I didn’t want the affair to end, even with the problems. I was happier in the affair with the problems than I have been out of the affair. Unlike my MM, I did not feel any relief at the end of the affair. I was ready to be in the affair a long time. But, again, I don’t expect we’re going to be getting back into an affair any time soon. I think your cautions in this message come from the concern that if we try to remain friends we will fall into the affair again and it will be a mess again? And possibly a bigger mess? I know your concerns also come from continuing to talk about our relationship and how that contradicts a friendship. I agree with that, and have given a lot of thought to your advice in that regard. I think we do need to stop having the heart-to-hearts (as TTSP described) if we’re going to move to a friendship.

          What you say about my marriage and my H at the end of the message is always on my mind. My marriage is improving but slowly. I do feel closer to my H, but it takes a lot of effort and, of course, sometimes I don’t want to give that effort because I am still clouded by feelings for my MM. Like the contradictions pointed out earlier, this is another one. I cannot move closer to my H if I am still in love with my MM. For now, things are decent with my H. There is warmth and love, even if not like before. I do want to stay with my H and I am mindful of trying not to push him too far away (and I don’t think he’s close to being pushed away), but I know the danger of that if my MM stays in the picture. Again, it is one of those things we can rationally know (as all the things I know above), but it can be hard to act on because of feelings. I am going to keep making efforts in my marriage, though. And, of course, I am hoping as I redirect focus there that it will help me move away from my MM.

          • Buttereflies Are Free

            Hi Felk. (It is Lara)
            I think I may have confused you on a couple of points. ?
            You say:
            “I think where we differ is that I think it’s worth it. I think it’s worth it to prolong the healing and to deal with extended hurt to potentially get to a friendship. (It seems he does, too.) I’ve noted before that this is my style. This is who I am. I like being friends with ex’s.”
            I too like being friends with exes! Perhaps I suggested otherwise? I too am friends with many exes. But in an affair things are different because of the brain addiction and lack of the usual end of a relationship. No closure. After an affair we are left with questions and more questions.

            I do NOT think you have to prolong the pain to get to a true friendship (to my way of thinking). And I DO think a friendship is possible. But you DO have to re-write the rules of your former “interactions” and create new ones. You have to set boundaries (both of you” and commit to a neutral friendship that is based on friendship not the goings on of the former affair. You must BOTH do this. Not the tingling and the longings and the yearnings of the old affair mode but a new and more balanced more neutral (more boring? lol) friendship. Not dates alone. That’s a no brainer isn’t it? :).

            I am saying I do NOT think you HAVE to prolong the pain to get to the friendship stage, but it is being prolonged for you because you are both still in the “breaking up” mode and each one encourages the other to stay there.. In that stage you seem to be seeking resolution (which is actually possible with other exes!) but alas in an affair there isn’t any f—ing resolution ! Aargh for ALL OF US.

            I know you want a friendship after the affair is over. Have I said to you “you can’t”? I am curious myself as I don’t remember that but perhaps one night in my own fog I said that? I DID say my therapist told me BOTH parties must first let the love and erotic and passion feelings go to do this.
            You say: “Another place we differ is that I think a friendship is possible. I think I can do this.” Actually, I don/t disagree on the end product of having some kind of friendship in place. Especially in a work situation or neighbor situation as so many other people are indirectly involved. It/s the MEANS I am writing to you about. The waffling in the direction of the affair direction rather than the opposite. To get to a “friendship”.
            And of course, I think you can take any way to a friendship you wish to and you can also define “friendship” as you wish, but in your case your “friendship” is still far from typical friendship. But, maybe thats not the type you want? Maybe the type of friendship you desire is more like an intimate/even sexual friendship? If you do say yes to this, then I now understand what you are saying when you say you want to “try this friendship thing”. You presumably want to see if you can have an intimate friendship take place that might include sex on occasion but will not hurt you emotionally?
            But would this mean it would become the kind of friend you could take or leave? Whose words would have no lasting impact? Who had NO ability to affect or hurt your current marriage?
            Maybe I am making an assumption based on your words on a screen. Of course I do not know you! I can only read what you say. We are all works in progress and in recovery of course. You say:
            “A lot of what you say in your message is about going back to the affair, which I don’t really hold out hope for.” But I do wonder, deep in your heart, isn’t that really the case? You have said: “I was happier in the affair with the problems than I have been out of the affair. Unlike my MM, I did not feel any relief at the end of the affair. I was ready to be in the affair a long time.”
            So are your tying to actually salvage some of the affair but become less emotionally invested? Is THIS what you mean by the “friendship” thing.?
            Because I can then say: of course you must know it will take a very very very long time to get from THAT kind of a friendship to a neutral non sexual professional friendship like “colleagues”. If ever? I assume you know this.
            I am asking you the hard questions because we all get foggy in these affairs. All of us. And you DO have an H you want to stay married to from everything you have said. I have no real stake in what you choose to do as it is your life not mine. And we are on a blog. But here we can get really honest. And we are all “in love” with the affair partner or recently out of the “in love” stage but we remember it clearly! Vividly!
            And also here, we each must decide for ourselves what to do. And nothing looks or feels all that appealing. And none of it is anything like the exhilaration of the affair.
            So when I write to you I am writing to ALL the readers here on this boat. Sighhhhhh. 🙂
            Hugs Lara xxxooo

          • Felk

            Lara, I appreciate the clarification and, yeah, I think I saw difference where maybe it was just that we were talking about the same thing in a different way or not offering enough information. We can only write so much here, and I’m sure there’s always more we want to say! And, admittedly, I’m still thinking it all through and not entirely sure what I want yet. It seemed like you were saying that you didn’t think a friendship was possible (and I’ll get back to that in responding to your other post), but I see you’re saying that it depends on how we define friendship. And all of your comments are fair… I don’t know how I’m defining it. I’m certainly not defining it as “just professional coworkers” as Suzie would recommend. But, is my goal a friendship where you can “take him or leave him”? Where it feels like other platonic friendships? Maybe. That friendship does seem very hard to get to and very far away. It sounds ideal, though. But a difficult one to reach, especially if we are staying in contact the way we are. In the meantime, it seems we have some version of the other friendships you’re describing. But, yeah, friendship is probably the wrong word. I think that’s what’s caused some confusion in our discussion. It is not “just a friendship” right now. There are still WAY too many strong feelings and there is way too much danger of physical and we do things that “just friends” don’t do… like our extended alone time together.

            So, yeah, I don’t want to give that part up. At least not right now. I want the extended alone time once in a while (our “dates” at night). I like going for drinks every other week or so (and I know that’s not “normal” for most men and women in friendships, especially people married to others). Yes, my preference is a friendship that’s closer than a friendship. (And, so, yes, I’m probably trying to salvage some of the affair. I’m trying to keep a closeness that we had.) Especially if that is his preference, too. I think we both wish we could have a neutral friendship, but I think we’re finding that there are still too many feelings for that. So, as you say, we keep encouraging the other to stay in this “break-up mode” where we keep trying to find resolution to how we can keep this person in our life while not being in the affair. How we can deal with these feelings of wanting to be with this person while not being able to be with this person. So, yes, I’m trying to maintain some intimacy while trying to become less emotionally invested. I think I can do that somewhat, but I think I can’t do it to the extent that I need or want. And I think that will become painfully clearer as the months go on.

            From your other message, it sounds like you know this well. It sounds like you really have tried all the combinations of what I say above about trying to make something “work.” At times, I think it’s as you say that the only way it can work is with clear boundaries from both of us. With us in such close proximity working together, it may not be able to work any other way without feelings becoming involved again. I think without clear boundaries, it is too easy to slip back into more intimacy (or wanting more intimacy) and then for all the same problems to arise again. But maybe we don’t want those boundaries yet? A month ago, we tried to talk about boundaries. We talked about whether or not we wanted to say “no touching anymore.” The conversation, as so many of these do, didn’t end with resolution. Neither one of us could do the strong thing and say, “No more touching.” We talked about the pros and cons. We talked about if it was possible to stick to the boundary if we made the decision (in other words, we didn’t want to just say it and then go back on it immediately). We talked about if that was what we really wanted. I wasn’t ready to say “no touching.” He was closer to saying it, but he didn’t say it. Maybe he was waiting for me. I’m getting closer, but I find it hard to say. I find it hard to set these boundaries because it feels like more loss to me. It closes doors (that you know I’m keeping open). I find it hard to set the boundary if he doesn’t want that boundary set. In other words, why set a boundary that neither one of us wants? But, the more I think it through, the more it feels like we have to say that if we’re going to be able to have some sort of friendship that isn’t painful and in danger of going back to the affair. But, then, it seems you’ve said this with your ex-MM and it didn’t work! 🙂

            You continue to ask good questions to get me to think. And I don’t mind you pointing out contradictions. You know I know you’re coming from experience and trying to help. Sometimes I don’t see the contradictions as such but sometimes I do recognize some contradictions and know I need to sort more out. Thing is, I know there is still so much for me to sort out. I will see my MM tomorrow, and I have so much of the usual ambivalence. I am happy to see him, but I am worried about what I will feel after. I know we will have a good time, but I worry about awkwardness and tension that I will feel, too. I know to stray away from “us” topics, but it will be on both of our minds. And this is how it has been for 8.5 months (although, of course, it’s a lot easier now than 8 months ago).

          • Butterflies Are Free

            Hi Felk It’s Lara
            I am having trouble posting. Is anyone else? Weird. I write things and then they disappear. So this one is going to be short in case it too gets lost. (Maybe this a sign I should write less? :). You say we have differences and I am sure we do. But the ones you mention are not actually differences I think we have (in my mind at least).
            You say: “I like being friends with ex’s.” Felk, so do I.
            You say “Another place we differ is that I think a friendship is possible.” Nope we are not different there either. So do I.
            “You say: “I think where we differ is that I think it’s worth it.” Nope I think it’s worth it too. Any way to stay close and connected and not argue and maybe even have sex is fine with me..
            You say: “Nonetheless, I still want to try this friendship thing.” I say but of course! Makes sense to me. Been there!
            So Felk, please do not think I am against friendships after romances. I am not.
            And I am not against friendships with sex involved. I am not. I am not even PRO NC (No Contact) necessarily. I am not here to argue why NC is the most recommended tactic by all the experts who I have read and continue reading. Felk, I would say our main difference is the LENGTH of time we have been at this. As I have said before I have been at this on again and off again with my neighbor for 21 years, A lifetime. Almost a generation. And we are still nowhere as a “normal couple”.
            No one like me who has been off and on in an intense and passionate affair as long I have has not tried EVERY possible variation of saving the relationship. If I ever come off like I know it all, well it’s because I know a lot because I have LIVED it. Over and over and over. Post affair friendships? Yes. Different versions of NC/No contact? Yup. I have tried em all. I know so much about trying to break up with my exMM who I have been totally in love with from the moment we met as strangers. Even though I slowly realized he is a narc and can be very obnoxious at times. Head over heels in love. It comes from my gut, not me head not even my heart. (Well those came later). It comes straight from my gut. She instinct. B+Very hard to argue with that I have learned.
            So of course I also know a LOT about sliding back into the affair despite all my best intentions and strength. My promises to myself. Sliding backwards into my unease and insecurity. Felling powerless to do the right thing for myself.
            Of course, I do not know it all. But I swear I have done it all. My exMM and I have tried and tried and tried over these many years to come up with what I would call a “sustainable something or other” that works for BOTH of us over time. Platonic friendship, friendship with benefits, no friendship but keep those benefits, I get to see other people, he flirts with other people, I make him jealous, he makes me jealous and on and on and on. We even spoke about menage a trots. (Did not do it however) We have tried one variation after the next.

            So Felk, where do you and I differ? Do we differ? If yes then its not about those things. I see you trying to do things I did. Sometimes I wince because I have been there and felt it there.
            But our life circumstances are not the same. You are married; I was not.
            So our emotional responses can not be the same. Or can they because we are both women? I am not sure.
            What I call a “sustainable something or other” is what I think you might be calling a “friendship”?? But I don’t think you mean the platonic variation of friendship, the one Suzi advocates. The friendship with CLEAR professional boundaries.
            We are also different because you want the affair as an extra. For me the affair was my entire life (!) and while I did have other men in my life and even a couple of boyfriends who lasted a few years each, and my exMM knew about it, I could never leave my relationship with him totally. I was simply too compelled from my gut to be with him.
            Another difference is my exMM has never said he is happily married. Or even that his marriage is “okay”. I know his marriage is not what he had hoped it would be. I can’t say how realistic his expectations were. Probably not very when I consider he is not exactly “empath of the year”. LOL. But I am convinced he will never leave his W and family. Cultural reasons. Deep cultural expectations from the region he is from (he is foreign born).
            So, now I am looking to feel magic again in my life and heart flutters! Excitement! Energy and Passion. Growth! But now I am trying this as single woman in my own right, not a permanent human attachment to him. A permanent human band-aid for him. Loving him is all fine. But I must love ME too and MY life!
            And I am actually doing it! I am seizing my own life! In my work, in my art, with my friends and colleagues and OTHER neighbors, I am doing it.
            His reaction? Predictable. He tells me IS leaving her after all! He brought me dinner to my door from his restaurant a couple of weeks ago. It was not hard to know what to do when he arrived. I politely said NO. I was not mean. But I did not let him come in my house. He got the message. I remained cool on the outside but inside it made me very very sad inside. VERY. He was cool too. But probably very sad inside too. But he was not pushy or insistent. He has his pride and will not beg. He walked away in stoic silence. Alas, Felk, we are nowhere near my idea for the “sustainable something or other” in truth. But thats okay. I am sure it will change one day and be easier one day when I have healed more. I’ll be able to see him and maybe we will be able to sit down and have a coffee and chat like old friends. Won’t I???
            Oops I forgot. We already tried that. Yes we did, a whole bunch of times. It worked on the short term YES a little while, no problem, but it was not sustainable over the LONG term. We ended up having sex eventually. Gotta try something ELSE next time I guess. LOL
            For you Felk, I hope you find the way. Let me know if you do. I am all ears!
            Hugs, Butterflies Are Free! aka Lara. I will start using the former name exclusively soon as I love it!

          • Felk

            Lara, seems like my last post posted twice. Oops. Not sure how that happened. I haven’t been having trouble posting, but I’ve noticed that the site deletes my name and e-mail sometimes (and I have to retype it) and sometimes it doesn’t. That must be frustrating to type a long message and lose it!

            I guess I just had a few questions/comments after this message about your years of experience in the affair and trying many different versions of it. First, my other experience with an affair likely misled me about what this would be like. In that affair, I was (mostly) single and he was married. This affair started about 20 years ago and lasted consecutively for five months before he moved to another state for a job. We both knew that was going to happen at the start of the affair, and I think that helped me stay realistic about expectations. I was a little sad, but did not mourn much and did not hang onto the affair. I found new relationships and dated other men. Then, I’d see that MM about once/year and we’d flirt and have sex and have a nice time and that went on for another three years. But that was just seeing him once/year and just e-mail contact in between. I dated. I didn’t feel tied to this MM. I enjoyed our time once/year but was not addicted. Then, when I starting dating my now-husband that affair ended. No more yearly sex. Transitioned to a friendship. We’d still see each other every year at the same event but just friends. He was happy for me finding love and that was that. He pined a little, but I did not. We still talk over e-mail and have a nice time catching up each year, but I moved on to new love and didn’t look back. I still feel warmth for him and care about him as one might anyone who they had a nice relationship with, but that’s about it. So, it tricked me a little when I got into this affair. I thought I could stay with my H and have my MM on the side and I didn’t think I’d fall this hard, and I’m sure my MM didn’t think that, too. In the beginning, we talked about how we were happy in our marriages and not looking to leave them. But, you all know how that changed over the years and how the feelings (and the addiction) grew and how that started to infiltrate our marriages. I’m not surprised it happened. I just didn’t know to expect it, and thought that I could leave the affair at any time, if either one of us wanted to, with little difficulty and with desire for keeping our friendship. I only tell this story to say that my “experience” misled me. I had no idea what I was getting into which has led to this 8 month mess of trying to break up. And, thus, your experience is valuable which gets to…

            …Second, your years of attempts at many different versions of this 21-year affair make me wonder if you really do think a friendship with an ex-affair partner is possible? It sounds like you’ve tried it all. It sounds like you’ve even tried the clear boundaries route and nothing worked. So, it simultaneously sounds like you’re saying that you think a friendship with an ex (in an affair) is possible while saying your experience shows you it’s not possible. You say you “wince” at my attempts because you’ve tried these things and it seems you don’t think they’ll turn out well. (And you know that’s fine and we’ve all likely winced at what others have said on here.) So, is it that you think our situations are different such that a friendship is possible in my situation but not yours? Is that why you say that you think it’s possible? You know I’m not trying to get you to say my friendship is possible and my situation is different. I’d love to believe that, but that doesn’t mean it’s true. Just trying to figure out the beginning of your message where you say it’s possible and the rest of your message where you say you tried everything and nothing “was sustainable over the long term.” 🙂

            Obviously, you hear that I still have hope that something is sustainable long-term for my MM and I. Maybe we’ll have to get to a more neutral friendship or maybe that’s unrealistic and we will always be something a little more. The latter is what we have now and I don’t think it’s going that well, but we are both showing that we still want to sustain something so it leads me to believe we will continue to try for quite some time. It’s true, though, that it’s going better than it was 8 months ago or even 5 months ago. But, you’ve also heard me say that, in these break-ups, hope is brutal. 🙂

          • Butterflies Are Free

            Felk since you asked me a question I am answering it here”
            You ant to know: “if I really do think a friendship with an ex-affair partner is possible?”
            My answer would be this: depends on the type of affair. The first one you had it was possible. So YES sometimes it IS possible to be casual friends after an affair. I also had a different “affair” that ended up that way. Actually it started that way too. More CASUAL. From the start. we met in art school. I never even considered joining a blog for my other situation. It was fun but casual. And he was having other affairs too. I guess I was “experimenting” with him. But I never got addicted or obsessed or fell in love.

            This second affair you are having is nothing like your first one however. The same thing happened to me. Every relationship is different affair or not. Your second affair has been intense. Passionate. Falling in love. Talking about “us” and “we”
            Bliss love addiction brain chemicals work environment and all the rest.

            So, do I think its possible you can be friends the same as you were with the last MM? No. I don’t think so. I am being honest here. But I do not know everything! I just know what I know. I tried to tell you my own experiences as an example because thats what happened to ME. Will it happen to you? I have no idea. It reminds of when Nomad asked me if her MM would be “back”. I said “yes” her will be back! But I was just basing it on my own experience. And my gut instinct formed after reading her words. Based on this same instinct and what I am reading from you, I would say: “NO not a casual friendship. For you it is going to be very very difficult if not impossible NOT to WANT to be closer than friends with your MM. I also think your MM is aware of this and does not want to hurt you. And is trying not to hurt you. But he is also trying to “break up” with you and save his marriage and his family. So he is in a tough spot too. It is tough on both of you. I recommend you seize the initiative and say “no more touching” and see if he agrees. If he does agree try to not see that as a rejection. (Hard to do I know). And the live that for awhile and see how it feels. It might be a compromise you both can live with. But it will take some effort.

            That’s my best advice for what it is worth. Since you asked!
            Hugs Lara xxoo

          • Felk

            Lara, you know I like your honesty. But, I saw you saying that you thought it was possible and then it seemed like you were saying it wasn’t possible, and I wanted to know what you meant. 🙂 So, yes, I can see how you’re saying that a friendship after an affair IS possible, but that you don’t think it’s possible in my situation. At least not the neutral friendship that would be ideal. I get that this is based on your experience with your MM and how you’ve tried all sorts of combinations over the years. I don’t necessarily disagree. I’m not sure if it’s possible. I hope it is. I think it is, knowing me, but this is a situation that I am unfamiliar with and it might not be possible. We might be caught in a tough situation, like yours, for a long time. I’m assuming that’s what you foresee? That’s your gut instinct?

            The only thing I’d change/add to what you said is that I don’t think my MM holds on simply because he’s trying not to hurt me. Maybe that’s not what you meant, but I think he’s holding onto all the good that we all hold onto in affairs. I think he’s going through what I’m going through. Feeling love and all the feelings of the addiction and wanting to ease some of that pain for himself at times by asking to see me. I’m not saying you disagree, but you just made it sound like he might be prolonging our break-up because he doesn’t want to hurt me, but I think he doesn’t want to hurt him either. I do think he’s trying to break-up, though. More than I am for sure. I think he’s trying to stick to his plan to focus on his marriage and family, but I think he’s finding that hard to do and keeps coming back (as you seem to predict most MM will).

            I want to say “no more touching.” I mean that. I know I want to still touch him and I want him to still touch me, but, above all, I want a friendship to work and if it means setting that boundary, I can say “no more touching.” Thing is… I’m seeing my MM today (his invitation to go for some drinks) and I wasn’t planning to talk about “us.” I wanted to try to just make it fun/casual/friendship and not bring up our relationship (if he doesn’t). If our relationship comes up (and it’s maybe 50/50 it will), maybe I’ll say it, but, otherwise, I’m trying to go the route of stopping the heart-to-hearts as they also just prolong the feelings and make it harder to move to something more platonic. I don’t know if we’ll ever be platonic. I think you know the situation well and know how hard that would be. But I know we need more boundaries if we’re going to move in that direction.

            You all know that meeting up with him today makes me nervous. I want it to be fun and casual, but if it is, I will be a little sad that he didn’t flirt. If he flirts, I will think he wants more and that will get me back into missing him and wanting him. I don’t want to talk about us because I don’t want to keep dwelling on it. But I want to talk about us because there still feels so much unresolved (as TTSP outlined nicely in a recent message) and I want to hear that he misses me. But I don’t want to hear that he misses me because see above about then wanting him more. Ugh. 🙂 Okay, best I can, I am aiming for fun and casual and no talk of missing each other and moving on to a friendship!

          • Nomad

            Lara, 2 years on, will he be back? What does your gut say this time? I haven’t blocked him and mid May I said to him “it’s over, I don’t want you anymore, break up clean”… You were right that he’d be back when I first asked you many many many months ago. What about now? Is this it? I think so… we’ve given up of this impossible situation. He’s unlike Felk’s mm else I’d have stayed.

          • Butterflies Are Free

            Nomad It depends on you whether he will be back. You a gave a final and clear word. So fo now he will oblige and stay away. Your words were crystal clear. Final closing words. But lets say three months down the road you see each other and you hold his gaze a slight bit longer than usual? He will get hope and then maybe re-try. I think all these things work instantaneously on our brain and our highly charged brain chemicals. A bit of “hope” like Felk says is a killer. It is NOT the same as “normal” relationships. There is more room in affairs for a spontaneous spark to become a come-back with affairs. I am not sure why but I say it’s the brain and needing instant gratification and pleasure producing hormones. Affairs are more fantasy based too. To me, it only take a brief second in my unfortunate experience. So Nomad, if you give him a tiny bit of hope, based on my own experiences, he will be back sooner or later. But if you prefer someone who acts more like Felk’s MM then perhaps it is time for you to attempt to trade up to a new and better model? LOL

          • Felk

            Nomad, you asked Lara about her gut feeling because you wanted her to say, “yes,” right? You want him to come back, right? I know this all too well, as there are many times on here that I say something hoping that you all will say the thing that reaffirms that he will come back to me. But, you know I’m going to stress how brutal hope is. Do you want to keep waiting for him to give you crumbs? He did it to you again a month ago. He came back for your birthday, had sex, and then left again. If you were okay with that, I’d say “keep hoping,” but it sounds like that really hurt you… again. It sounds like you want so much more from your MM and you tried, even a month ago before the sex, to ask him for more. But he doesn’t want that. Sure, he is missing you (and has that same addiction we all do), so he will come back. But, as you know and have said here over and over, he has made his choice with his family. You know I don’t say that to hurt you. My MM has chosen his family, too. It’s just the truth, and this will not change. Yes, he might come back again in a few months… especially if, as Lara says, you make it clear that you’re open to that. A slightly longer look at a meeting. A friendly comment in a work e-mail. Or maybe no “signal” to him and just enough time goes by that he’s missing you and wants a little piece again. But he will leave again. He will satisfy that part of his brain that wants you and then he will feel guilty and remind himself that he can’t go down that path and must return to his family.

            The problem is waiting and hoping. What torture will you put yourself through as you wait? What hell will it be as you wait for him to come to you? And what if it doesn’t happen? What if you wait and wait and it really is over this time and he doesn’t come? Lara and I can make guesses that he’ll be back, but that doesn’t mean he will be. Maybe, at some point, he realizes he has to stop and he does. But, do you want to be sitting around waiting for him to come to that realization? Sit around waiting for him to never come back again?

            As you said in your other message, keep reminding yourself of the good things you have in your life and how you’re grateful you have not lost them through this. Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of those things because we take them for granted because they’re there everyday. I know I can take things for granted, but I continually try to remind myself about how lucky I am that my H did not find out about the affair. I know it is not as simple as to just shift back to our H’s, but plan vacations, plan time alone together, make intentional effort to get closeness there and you will get a little. It will slowly help.

  • Lois

    Hello everyone. I have read your replies to my post and sincerely appreciate the advice and encouragement. Lara, I am married fir 28 years with 3 children 19 and twins 16. My marriage has been struggling for a long time but have my reasons for not leaving. Things with MM and I have been good meaning he hasn’t gone MIA and hasn’t been distant. We have shared some amazing times meaning being with him sexually. He has been really good at making time for us to be together. However, we have been at this point before and he has done at 180 and ended things. The uncertainty of things just seems to be weighing heavily on me. He left last week for vacation. he hasn’t checked in with anyone at work which is very unusual so I can’t really say anything about him not responding to my text which said its a good thing you left out of state because it was 95 degrees that day. There’s a pattern with him…things are good for about a month then he ends things and we try for a few weeks some times it’s been a couple of months then we get back together. My family vacation us coming up and last year he ended right before which made for a miserable trip. I just don’t want him to have the power over me like last year. I would have never done him that way but maybe I care more about him than he does me. I actually kind of dread monday because of the uncertainty. Things were good when he left but with him that doesn’t mean anything. I have read your posts and got it in my head that maybe I do need to take control over this situation. I want to be in the drivers seat…I don’t want to feel like this anymore.I’m tired of worrying but also realize that I do love him and want to be with him. I just know it will never be. I am confused because I don’t know what to believe anymore. I’m blinded by my feelings and make excuses in my mind for his lies and manipulations…how do I know if he truly cares about me or am I just another lie. I’m trying to get some clarity. I know things go on forever but my feelings for him are genuine regardless if his aren’t so it’s hard to stop caring. I’m torn confused…the other part wants to enjoy the good times we seem to be having for as long as it lasts. It’s taken me awhile to admit that I have fallen out of love and in love with MM. Ugh.😕

    • Felk

      Lois, I like your honesty about the roller coaster. Even though things have been good with your MM lately and he hasn’t been distant, the fear that he will get distant looms. And how can we be happy if we have that constant fear? It’s a hard place to be, and I spent a lot of time in those last 9 months in that place. I also know that dread of Monday. When you haven’t talked to him in a few days (or in your case a week) and you have no idea what to expect on Monday. It’s just no good.

      You say that you love your MM (and that’s good honesty), but can I ask what you love? You have said that you don’t have a lot of closeness with your MM and that he doesn’t let you into his life. You’ve said he lies to you. You wonder if he truly cares for you. It’s sad, but if you really don’t know after all this time if he truly cares, isn’t that important? Not that it would mean you couldn’t leave if he did care for you. My MM and I cared for each other, but we still needed to end. But, if you don’t know if he cares for you, why stay? Why stay in a relationship where you are not getting something that important? And it sounds like that’s important to you. I hope this doesn’t sound judgmental or like I’m belittling your feelings or that I don’t understand how confusing it all can be. I understand. Just trying to help you think through your feelings to help you decide what you might want to do.

      As you know, if your MM comes back Monday and is not distant, you will put these thoughts about ending the relationship on the back burner again… but for how long? Oh, how many times did I ask myself that question. And every time the highs were just too strong for me to give up. It was addiction. I couldn’t risk the pain of not being with him. And the pain is bad. You’ve been there. I’m there. This is exactly the pain we were trying to avoid, but I think it is inevitable once people enter the stage of breaking up and getting back together. A permanent break-up is coming. But, I have to believe that the pain is less if you choose to walk away on your terms. There is a lot of strength in that. You do sound closer to that decision, but I know how hard it is to let go of something you enjoy.

    • ButterfilesAreFree

      This is from LARA

      Lois,
      I have another question for you: How do you know what his feelings for you are? Has he discussed this with you? Would he be likely to be truthful? why or why not?
      The reason I ask is because I make assumptions all the time about the way people feel about me.
      For example I thought Felk might be annoyed with me but nope turns out she was having a DIFFERENT reaction. But Felk can identify and express her feelings to me. Many affair partners do not express themselves that way. I think this trait is very common to people in affairs (but thats must my humble opinion). Anyhow what fo you think? Hugs Lara. xxx000. PS I do NOT feel breaking up with him just to head off him breaking up with you is very rational, or will do you any good unless you already to break up and you do not sound ready yet. You must make your own moves from a place of total honesty aside your own self, not in reaction to HIS moves. But easier said than done huh?

  • Nomad

    Lara,
    Go! 😊Just set yourself free and leave the street, the town and the unhappiness behind, go travel and create new memories and gain new insight in your life. Enough is enough. Seize these right moments to map out meaningful things to achieve, waste no more time on the X, it’s really about us, what do we want, are we getting it, if not then how to get it, how are we feeling, when we are down then where can we get support (here of course!), count our little achievements like hey i slept a good 7hrs! keep practicing acceptance, avoid triggers.

    I managed to not reach out anymore because my parting words to him via WhatsApp was “It’s over. I do not want you anymore. Break up clean. Do not reply”. Soon it’ll be a month since then. I do not want to eat my words. After that, I stopped waiting and hoping because I know he’s capable of not reaching out (he has left?), it was his guilt, fear and now his ego; because I know it’s not him when my phone rings or WhatsApp alerts; because we are now in sync working towards a common destination – away from each other. Key is to focus on ourselves. No contact gives the space to adapt, to stop producing the hormones to feed the toxic mess.

    Just today, I was proud of myself for not bumping into him knowing he’s here for meeting and somewhere in the building. I deliberately avoided him e.g. his team mate came into the meeting room first saying he’d be joining in 5mins, I quickly excused myself from another exit to release the meeting room to them. I felt very strongly not to see him. Yet I was joining Felk and TTSP on that BOOMz! Day where I’m missing the good feeling this person was capable of giving me; where I’m feeling pangs of sadness as if I’m mourning for a death of my beloved. Yet, I’m happy that i made it through another day for avoiding a trigger.

    Lara, let us not look back! I can’t say I’m making HUGE progress but I’m accepting that the door is closed. As much as I can, I’ll avoid the trigger because nothing is going to change, it’s all about my mind playing games with me. Total NC is now getting easier. Think about the nothing he’s giving me, think about him planning leave and holiday not considering my feelings, they are enough to remind me that i must let go.

  • Lara

    Oops I forgot to say in my post that this post is answer to Felk’s question posed below!
    PS But the site may appeal to many others here too!
    Hugs Lara

  • lois

    Hello, everyone. Although things with MM and I have been good, I keep finding myself thinking about long term and facing the reality that our situation cannot last forever. I have been contemplating the notion of ending things on my terms. I think, Lara had asked some time ago if I ever waffle in my relationship with MM and to answer honestly…absolutely…just like now. MM left on Friday of last week for vacation with his dad and brothers. There have been so many lies that this may or may not be true. We were together on Thursday before he left which was amazing. He has been swamped at work and home because he works a side job, so his wife can stay home with their 4 children. I have often wondered if he allows her to stay home so he has control over her because there are somethings that make me think he is a control freak. I have only texted him once since he has been gone and did not get a response. I have thought about things and MM has recognizable pattern…things go really well for us for about 4 to 6 weeks then his supposed guilt causes him to get overwhelmed and he starts distancing himself. I actually understand him going MIA because I have noticed when my feelings start overpowering the reality that we can never be together and I am longing to be with him rather than be at home…I too start distancing myself because I cannot allow my feelings to take over for many reasons. I cannot allow him to have that much control over me and my feelings because in the back of my mind the uncertainty is still there. I know its only a matter of time and he will get overwhelmed and ends things. Unlike most of you, MM and I have never shared time together outside of the office sex and bantering through chats and occasionally texts. He is too paranoid about someone seeing us and this is understandable. Honestly, I would very much like for us to have one night together but do not want to take time away from his kids. I think about this complicated relationship and it is pretty much one sided and has been for the past two years. In the last year, he has come around more and will occasionally give me a compliment. My family vacation is coming up the first of July and last year MM made vacation miserable because he ended things a few days before I left. As silly as this may sound, this is another reason to ends things because I do not want to go through another vacation last year…he cannot have that much control over me. This is precious time with my boys and how it went about last year was just wrong. I have thought about he would like to be done that way…guess, I am more considerate and care more than he does about his feelings. I really enjoy being with him and it aggravates me because I am not sure why it’s so hard to be done and move on. I read all of your posts and it saddens me that my relationship with MM lacks so much…no dinners; no movies; no time spending together to get to know one another…I know very little about him and what I do know is what he told my friend during their affair. I just do not ask questions. I just seem be going back and forth as to what to do…should I take control of the situation and end it before you does because it is been a about 4 to 5 weeks of things being good between us? I could use this time away from him to start the healing process. Or am I just that uncertain about things that I deep down feel he is going to come back from vacation and end things after being away from me for an extended period. I do not understand why I want to keep doing this to myself over and over again. The endless emotional rollero-caster…how wonderful it would be to not have these feelings and not worry about is he thinking of me; if so, is he thinking like me how we truly do need to end things…but how we have tried so many times. I look forward to your thoughts.

    • Felk

      Lois, good to hear from you. Your situation reminds me a bit of the last 9 months of my affair. My MM was slowly pulling away, even though we were still having great times together and he was still saying he wanted our relationship. Every period of days without contact was scary. In the past, although I didn’t like the days he was distant, I didn’t have the nagging feeling that he was getting ready to leave our relationship. In those last 9 months, I couldn’t shake that feeling. Well, sure, sometimes I could. Sometimes, we’d have such a good time together or he’d say something that made him sound more committed than ever that I wouldn’t worry for a while about him leaving. But, then, he’d go MIA again (like you say… every few weeks) and then I would worry again. And it was miserable.

      It sounds like you’re still feeling a lot of complicated things, though. As you’re considering ending the relationship so you don’t have to deal with the ups and downs anymore, you’re also longing for more closeness with him. You speak of wanting a night with him and you mention not having time outside of office sex. It sounds like you want more, but you know you will not get that. That is very hard. It does sound sad that you do not have more of that closeness and that you can’t trust him the way you want to. Maybe that makes it easier to end the relationship? I know it’s not easy, but maybe reminding yourself of how he doesn’t confide in you, tells lies, and doesn’t want closeness outside of the office can help you remind yourself that you want more (that you can’t get from him)? Although I chose to endure the ups and downs, there are many others on here who did not. Who ended the relationships when they were tired of the periods of MIA or of not getting what they wanted from the relationship. I know their words can help you, but, ultimately, it comes down to you making that choice.

      Can I ask? When you say, “We were together on Thursday before he left which was amazing,” do you mean sex in the office? Do you have closeness at those times? It’s a little hard to tell from what you say about your relationship. But you use the word “amazing,” so it makes me think that it’s more than sex in these times together. 🙂

      You’ve tried to end it once, and so that probably means you’re closer to doing it a second time. But you also weren’t able to make that one stick so, if you end it again, try to be sure. Think about it a lot. Be sure that you know you want to end the roller coaster more than you want the highs from the roller coaster (or else you’ll just find yourself on the roller coaster again or, worse, you’ll find yourself at the mercy of him getting off the roller coaster first). I think your children are great motivation. I know what you mean about these affairs ruining family vacations. The same thing happened to me last July. Last July, my MM and I had some serious talks about whether or not we could continue, and, in the middle of those talks, I went away with my family for an extended weekend. I was distracted the whole time, couldn’t enjoy myself, and couldn’t give myself to my siblings, nieces, parents, husband, etc. the way I wanted. I couldn’t be present. I didn’t engage much. I went to bed early. I stayed tied to my phone for texts and e-mails… any sign from him that things were okay with us. It was terrible. It sounds like you went through something similar. I don’t have kids, but I’d imagine that kids can help to motivate you to be more present, to choose beyond your immediate wants, and to give you a good reason to stop. And know I’m not trying to make you feel guilty. I know my MM’s kids were a primary reason he ended our relationship (but, of course, it took him a long time to make that decision). It seems a powerful motivator. I know it’s easier said than done, but maybe it’s somewhere to start and, honestly, it already sounds like you’re thinking in that direction as you consider your vacation in July.

      I think it’s reasonable for you to have fear that he might end it. He’s ended it before, and periods of MIA are scary. But, I don’t think you should end it just because you fear he might first (unless you REALLY think he’s about to end it). End it because you want to end it. End it because you don’t want to keep worrying about him ending it. End it because you don’t want to keep feeling hurt by him going MIA (and ignoring your texts like he did this weekend). End it because you want to focus on your family and you don’t want this relationship to take away from that anymore. End it because he is not giving you the closeness that you want. End it because you deserve more than an occasional compliment. End it because you don’t want to keep feeling bad about yourself for staying in this relationship. End it if you spend more time being unhappy than happy. End it because you’re exhausted of being on the roller coaster.

      • Nomad

        May I add.

        End it because it is a fantasy and there’s no future (not getting what you want so cut the loss). End it because you had enough of the toxic mess entwined with pain, anxiety, insomnia, tears, rumination, jealousy, insecurity, insanity etc etc so end it before you morph into a masochist. End it before it is discovered or too late. End it because we do not want to waste our life. End it because it’s time your mind rules (can be done after some nc). End it because you will not be there for each other if today you are told that you’ve one more day on earth. It seems mission impossible but given time, distance and perspective, it can be done, you must want to do it. It is slow and difficult and we tend to have resistance to prioritize and focus, we tend to wait and hope, but someone neutral will tell you what they see from outside this toxic mess that mm has left and moved on and we are still overthinking and deciding and stuck in the fog. I know we would get out if we could. All of us are here because we understand each other’s journey. I don’t know how but most importantly, you must want to end. That is step One. Of course, it is much much much easier if the mm decided to end and acted firmly, giving you no mixed signals and hope. That’s a key success factor.

        Lois, what do you want out of this? Ask yourself honestly, are you getting more or less of those wants as days, weeks and then a year pass by?

    • Thistooshallpass

      Hi Lois,
      It’s good to hear from you. I know your paramour is at work and that keeps you tethered in some respects. Every person gets closer, pulls back and the cycle continues to repeat itself. Even if you had time together outside of the office it would NEVER be enough. You’d still be getting crumbs. The only reason my mm and I had time together is bc I live within walking distance of our office. That enabled us to spend time together under the guise of working from home. He would tell his partner he was going in and I would tell others I was WFH. He’d come and spend the day at my house. Still, he’d leave late afternoon to spend his nights with someone else. When he’d walk out the door a piece of my heart would break. He never spent the night, took me out on weekends, vacs or holidays. It was always with the fam and when you’re giving your heart and soul to someone who is giving their world to someone else… it’s so far from being close to fulfilling. It’s never enough. You probably spared yourself even more hurt by not discovering. Or you may have revealed intolerable traits that you couldn’t live with anyway.

      When you guys broke up before who initiated it? Who rekindled the flame? How did you end up back together? Some actions that helped me to whittle away at the bond is to reduce contact (although today I’m feeling particularly melancholy). Stop reaching out or drastically reduce the times you do. Cry when you need to. Focus your energy on work although sometimes that can be hard when you just ache over him. Working out is my saving grace. You can try mantra meditations to reinforce the right mindset. One I repeat daily is “I cleanse, release and free myself from the pain and burden of any unhealthy attachments from unavailable people”.

      You deserve a wonderful vacation that does not get impeded by the mm. Don’t you want to enjoy your fam and surroundings without being encumbered by a dead end relationship. Ask yourself whether the contact and office time is worth the price? I hope you find the right answers for you and it gets easier.

      • Lara

        Lois Everyone here who has written before me has said pretty much everything I would want to say! I do not know what to add at all. Except this: Your are a single Mom like me correct? When my sons were younger I justified my affair by telling myself at least post – divorce I got sex and did not have to sacrifice time with my kids for a new man, for the most part. My kids always came first. But I was ignoring ME and my real needs. I was great at caring for my kids and caring for my exMM but I sucked at taking care of ME! NS dot make things worse I believed my needs and wants and desires were unimportant because he was the married one and I should have known better.
        Now I Know better for sure! I was in a masochist mode like Nomad mentioned. I was in a “I will take the crumbs because they are better than nothing mode”. Yet I was so pretty; I was divorced and thus actually available, and I had so many creative skills and a good job! But I did not see myself that way art all.
        So please look carefully at yourself and try to see yourself in this relationship. How are you allowing yourself to be treated? If it hurts consistently why aren’t you protecting yourself more? Why do you honor HIS desires/wishes and not YOURS? What makes you a second class citizen in your own mind?
        For me it has taken a long long LONG time to realize my self esteem was so low even when the affair had just started. It fell with divorce but it was always low anyhow. But then it fell lower and lower all my years in the affair. Especially with my exMM ‘narc”! In my affair, I feel like I was almost addicted to self destructing if that makes any sense. See a counselor and let her ask you some hard questions about the way you are choosing to live your life and the hope for more options in your future. Try not to be swept away by the all the office attention and the secret and forbidden sex and the highs!! God/dess knows they are so addicting! And stay here and write your heart out! We are never judging you sister. :). We have all been there. Done that.
        With many hugs Lara xxxooo

    • Nomad

      Hi Lois,
      May I ask what was it like when you said it has been good between mm and you for the past weeks. If it has been good, then you know what it takes for him to give and you to take in order to maintain this good state. If it has been good, then why don’t you just cherish the good days and not think too far ahead? why think about ending when things have been good and stable? spare each other of the exhaustion and drama if things have been good unless you want to push him away, unless you decided to end it for reasons that Felk and I have shared.
      You said it saddens you that you time with mm limit to office hours. I agree with what ThisTooShallPass said: “It would never be enough”, you are entitled to crumbs, you will be hurt when he said he need to go because of 101 reasons and he didn’t put himself in our shoes that we have waited for days, weeks, months just for that few hours and he is expected to be more generous with the crumbs when we get the chance. We never spend a night out although I would find ways to risk it and make it happen but he didn’t dare or didn’t want to; “You probably spared yourself”, the less memories created, the lesser to let go, the less adventures experienced, the easier to let go, the less places visited, the lesser the reminders and triggers to avoid. Therefore, if you look at it from another angle, it is a blessing to confine the meetings in the office premises. Lesser to suffer if you ask me.

  • Kub

    Holla chicas

    Today my elder sister told me that I looked sincerely good, better than I used to be.
    You know what? I feel that way, too. I have something that I want to share.
    Last weekend I experienced rock climbing for the first time in my life 🙂 It was GREAT adrenaline and I loved it so much. My whole day, I spend by trekking and climbing with a group. And after a while I realized that I slightly think f my ex-MM ! Next day I went to see a movie with my sis, tomorrow I am meeting with a friend. I am going to a short weekend vacation also with two of my girl friends!
    Next week my ex-MM is going to one week vacation with his wife and kid. So this is the date that I was scared of. All I could think about what will I be doing knowing that he is away in a nice environment with his wife. You know the worst? I kept thinking will he remember? Will he remember the countless times that how we were in the bed together? How was our vacations? The warm nights. Or the mornings. Opening my eyes and seeing him first… Going to the beach, swimming together… All that shared moments. Will he remember? Will he?
    His wife has told me that I was a temporary phase in his life. It had broke my heart very very deeply. I believe that you can imagine how I had felt with this statement of his emotions for me.
    I denied it for a very long time. But than I see that… She was right 🙂 And I don’t think that it was me. I think he is that kind of a person. I think he had lots of phases in his life because his wife knows him more than 10 years. So I thought I knew him 🙂 But she was right. She was the one who suffered from him through his phases…
    Anyway. It doesn’t hurt that bad now. I think I am better at accepting. Maybe more than that I don’t feel the love that I have for him. I am getting used to obviously, but I have lost all my respect to him. All of the pieces I have lost. Maybe it as some effect on my feelings.
    I have explained myself way more complicated, sorry. But eventually what I was trying to say that I am better 🙂 I feel better. I feel less of him. And after the weekend I have partially forgotten that he is going to vacation.
    I am happier in my life.
    Anddd…. I have met a guy 🙂 We have been in same environment but he is smart, chatty person. Who knows maybe we can flirt or just have a chat? It wouldn’t hurt, right? Would it be wrong? Too soon? I am waiting for your responses!!

    • Felk

      Kub, it sounds like you’re making progress. Trying to find social activities to keep you busy and distracted, not to mention how social activities make us happy when we engage with other likable people. And it sounds like you’re physically healthier too. I’ve said it here before about how I noticed physical health improvements over the last few months.

      It sounds like your MM’s vacation is on your mind a bit even if you’ve been able to find some distractions. I know about these humps we have to get over. Generally I’ve found that they’re not usually as bad as I think they’re going to be, but it’s just honest to admit the humps and know it’s going to be tough. I can imagine how it’s especially tough for you because you went on vacations with your MM. I also understand what you said in your other message about a song that reminded you of him and how you wanted to contact him. But you stopped yourself. Do you know how important that is? You felt pain and you wanted to reach out to him, but you stopped yourself. Because you knew it wouldn’t go the way you hoped it would go. You’ve been through it before and you made a strong choice. That’s big. Music was something my MM and I shared a lot of. We went on a lot of “dates” to concerts over the years. There are so many times that I hear “our” songs and it’s hard. I want to reach out to him. I want to share the song with him and hear him say some nice words. But, usually I just ignore the feelings and let it go, knowing that, even if he says nice words, it won’t make it any easier and might make it harder. And I deal with the pain on my own. (Or I come and write about it here!)

      And you’ve met someone new? I definitely do not think it is “wrong” for you to flirt or chat with this new guy. It’s possible that you’re not ready for a serious relationship (only you would know that), but I am generally supportive of people moving on to new relationships when relationships end. I know we all vary in how much time we need after a relationship ends, but I think it’s good to get out and meet new people. I know that, were I not married, I’d be looking for a new guy to flirt with!

      • Kub

        Hi Felk

        Yeah humps… I don’t want to act like I have nothing wrong, or have no troubles to get over him. I want to live the pain and after that get over it. And yeah, you are so right, it is hard. Maybe not the hardest thing that I have been through but still hard 🙂 I think step by step, time by time I will learn how to deal with it.
        Now you mentioned it, I realized really I made a progress. Because every time before this one I would have one small hesitation but eventually text him, reach out him. And he would somehow response of course. But yeah, this time I did not act like it. I thought the previous results and did not go for it. Thank you for making me realize it.
        I don’t know I have been really in bad places during this phase and I feel like I am gettin better and that feeling also makes me stronger, better at standing this break up.
        Also I met the guy at the weekend, we spend some couple of hours in a group He seemed nice, even if we do not flirt I would say no to a new friend, right? I will be communicating with him soon. I will keep you informed about that also 🙂
        Thanks!

  • Felk

    After replying to Lara’s message this morning, I started to do some reflection about my “hope” and my difficulty in letting go. I started to think about how damaging that was to me and continues to be to my marriage. Maybe my marriage is irreparable, but I can’t find out if I’m still holding on to this past relationship. So, I started to do more reading online about infidelity and I stumbled upon: http://www.goasksuzie.com I think Lara has linked to this site before, but I’ve found her list of 10 good reasons to end an affair to be very helpful to me today:
    1. “Because the person who is willing to walk away first has the most power.” I would only change this one to remove the word “first.” Yes, the first person to walk away has more power, but whenever you are willing to walk away, you have power. I know this. Walking away would have tremendous power for healing and getting back to me. My feelings would be so much less dependent on him. He wouldn’t hold that power over me anymore. I wouldn’t care about his responses to e-mail or texts. When I walk away, my value is no longer related to him. My choices become my own.
    2. “Because the pain of ending is less than the pain of continuing to hurt myself and others.” I know this is true for some people in affairs, but, as you know, for me the pain of ending was greater than the pain of staying. So, I would change this one to say, “Because the pain of ending is less than the pain to myself and others if others were to find out.” This is something I try to remind myself of often. That, one benefit to ending the affair now was that our spouses and bosses did not find out. I am almost certain, I would have experienced more pain (than I have during the break-up) had my H found out about the affair. I cannot ignore the risk that I took, and how the affair was not worth losing my marriage.
    3. “Because I deserve the whole cake and not just the crumbs.” You all know that I didn’t need the whole cake. I am married and was unlikely to leave my H, but this one resonated with me because sometimes I got crumbs when I wanted a bigger piece. Sometimes this was because my MM was selfish, but most of the time it was simply because you can’t have more than crumbs in an affair. And so you are left to accepting crumbs and that will always cause hurt at times.
    4. “Because self-esteem can only come from making good decisions.” This is true. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to only make good decisions. We are allowed to make bad decisions. We learn a lot from them. But self-esteem comes from making choices that lead to successes and happiness in your life. I think this ties to #1 in that there is a lot of self-esteem tied to the choice of walking away from a bad situation. We know affairs are a bad situation. Initially, we get a lot of self-esteem from our relationship partner showing us attention. We may even get self-esteem from getting away with having an affair. It might make us feel special or powerful. But, affairs have so many problems associated with them, they are bad situations. And staying in a bad situation over time (for example, accepting crumbs) will start to hurt your self-esteem. We know, especially, lingering in self-pity after a break-up does one’s self-esteem no good. So, making the choice to walk away will do wonders for the self-esteem.
    5. “Because what goes around comes around and I wouldn’t want someone else to do this to me.” I don’t exactly believe “what goes around comes around” (because that’s too neat and sometimes what goes around really does not come around), but I know that I wouldn’t want my H to do this to me. I have worried in this aftermath that, if I did not try to repair some of the damage to my marriage, that my H might find someone else or might leave me entirely. He doesn’t seem close to that, but I know that I can only be distant for so long before he confronts me about it or simply finds someone else. I do not want that so I know I have to start better nurturing my marriage. I am trying slowly, but I have a long way to go.
    6. “Because letting go is a sign of maturity and wisdom and clinging is a sign of weakness and insecurity.” I like this one a lot. Nothing more to say here other than I agree and I prefer maturity and wisdom to weakness and insecurity.
    7. “Because my self-respect is more important than self-indulgence.” I like this one a lot, too. An affair is self-indulgent, and, at first, it did not feel that I was compromising my self-respect, but as we get more emotionally involved in a relationship where we can only get crumbs, we start to compromise our needs and wants. And we may understand those are the rules of an affair, but that does not change that we are accepting less than we would in a “normal” relationship. Especially now, as my affair is over and I’m having trouble moving on, this one particularly stands out to me because I am still saying that my self-indulgence (satisfying my attraction to another man) is worth more than my self-respect. And that has never been who I am. But I lost a little of myself in the end there, and I need to get that self-respect back. Kissing my MM feels good. Having self-respect feels incomparably better.
    8. “Because it’s better to live openly than to live as somebody’s dirty secret.” We were each other’s dirty secret so this one isn’t one-way. I guess the part that’s more true for me is that, sure, it would have been better to live openly. Having to hide our relationship was hard every day. If there is another benefit that has been clear to me in the break-up, it is that I didn’t have to maintain lies to my H and others anymore.
    9. “Because leading a double life is exhausting.” See above about the lies. It was exhausting. It was exhausting hiding my other life from my H. It was exhausting trying to be a W when I didn’t want to be. It was exhausting missing my MM. It was exhausting feeling insecure in the affair. It was exhausting dealing with his periods of MIA. It was exhausting thinking about whether or not I should leave my marriage and wondering how I could sustain both relationships long-term. It was exhausting trying to find time with my MM. It was exhausting having to cancel plans because life got in the way. I cried way more than I should have over those five years. And I didn’t fight harder for my affair when my MM started talking about ending it because I was exhausted, too.
    10. “Because wrong decisions (no matter how tempting) can never produce the right results.” Like #5, I don’t really subscribe to these all-or-nothing type sayings. Wrong decisions can, at times, lead to right results. But, I get the point of this reason. If we know something is wrong for a number of reasons, it is unlikely to lead to good outcomes. We all know that an affair is wrong for many reasons. We know that these reasons are usually very good reasons (like, um, one or both of us is married to other people). So, as we’ve said here many times, affairs can rarely lead to good outcomes. Of course, they do sometimes. Sometimes people leave spouses and end up happier in their new relationship. But, typically, this does not happen and affairs end ugly. Not necessarily knock-down-drag-out ugly (although we’ve heard some of those stories here), but just pain and hurt ugly. I remember, maybe a year into the affair, my MM and I talked about whether or not we thought it was “wrong” to be doing what we were doing. I said “yes,” and he said, “no.” I was always puzzled by his “no,” but he rationalized in some way such that we matched so well or our connection was so good, how could it be wrong? But I always looked at it as wrong. I knew we were being selfish. I knew we were hurting others (even if they didn’t know about the affair). We know we often do things that are wrong because they satisfy some immediate need/want, but that doesn’t change that those things are ultimately wrong. And while small, wrong decisions may not always lead to bad results, repeated wrong decisions (like continuing an affair for five years), is much more likely to lead to bad results. And it did.

    • Thistooshallpass

      Hi Felk,
      Excellent post! I loved your interpretation and the personal experience you contributed to the writer’s publication. While a lot of what he or she said rings true, some of it is subjective. These quotes are inspiring and hopeful for those trying to break free from an affair 🙂 I’m with you in that not all wrong decisions yield bad results. Sometimes poor decisions teach us valuable lessons. Personally, I’m not concerned about power. We all just want to feel positive, content and peaceful in our lives. I suppose in this context power refers to the person that is less emotionally invested thus indifferent to the relationship. Also, when people spout “Karma is a bitch” that doesn’t mean the person that wronged you in your eyes is going to be punished. Karma tells us that every action has a resulting effect. The universe isn’t going to come down on you with a lightening bolt bc you did something “bad”. I think all of us took a hit to our self-esteem but that doesn’t mean we entered into the relationship with bad self-esteem. Personally, I took a blind leap of faith which was foolish but I hadn’t felt this type of chemistry in a long time. Regardless if you are the married one or the single one you are going to want more time, attention, love, everything from your affair partner which will leads to unhappiness and stress. These are just lose-lose relationships for everyone involved. They are even more difficult to get over bc you don’t breakup over incompatibility. You still love each other, have feelings and wonder what if… For me we don’t have enough time together to invest my emotional energy. I feel more unhappy than happy. I want to spend some nights, weekends, holidays and vacations with a significant other.

      Time and love from people in our lives will help us all heal. Happy long weekend to those who have Memorial Day off.

      • Felk

        Thistooshallpass, thanks for your comments on my post. That post felt really good the other day. Just talking those things through. Thinking about some of those ideas was pretty helpful and are some things I want to keep on my mind. Especially the parts about self-respect.

        With regard to the comments about power, I assume they mean the person who is less emotionally invested. I know we don’t like to talk about relationships in terms of power, but power is a pretty big part of relationships. We like to believe that it’s mostly equal between two people, but I don’t think that’s how most relationships are. There are a lot of factors that can give someone power, but being less interested is one of them. I also think that some people pay more attention to power/control than others. I am one of those people. My MM is one of those people. We both like control in relationships. I know a thing that was hard for him as the affair went longer was feeling out of control. Feeling so in love that he couldn’t stop the affair and leave me. Feeling out of control in his marriage and the damage that was being done there. He ended our relationship partially to get some control back in his life. For me, I’ve always liked feeling the power/control of being able to leave a relationship. Of being the person who was less interested. It’s obviously rooted in some insecurity, but I have been like this for a long time. So, that #1 really resonated with me in that I do not like knowing that my MM still has more power in that he is walking away better than I am. I also think this one means empowerment and not just having power over another. I think it means that you are empowered when you no longer are willing to accept crumbs or wait for more. That you’re deciding you’re worth more. It’s also about having the power to withstand temptations to get back into the relationship. If you’re the one to walk away, you have shown that something wasn’t working for you and now the other person, if they want you back, has to be the one to make changes to get you back.

        Like you say, too, I don’t think everyone who enters an affair has low self-esteem. Not at all. I think that can be one reason someone enters an affair, but I’m not low on self-esteem. My self-esteem took a hit when he ended the affair and I’m still repairing over these 8 months, but I did not enter that affair because of low self-esteem. Arguably, it was related to high self-esteem and thinking that I could have an affair and my marriage, too.

        And what you say about the break-up is usually true. Most of us on here didn’t break up over incompatibility. It was the stress of the affair. The difficulty of carrying on two relationships or the frustration with the other person not leaving their spouse. And because it did not end due to incompatibility or falling out of love, it is hard for me to move on. Still having those feelings makes me want to have the relationship. But, as you’ve heard me say over the months, I’ve come a long way since September. I feel a lot of progress in moving on. I am in no hurry to be back in that relationship (even if I still want it), and I am happy that my MM and I are still friends.

        • Thistooshallpass

          I see what you mean about power in the relationship. I always thought the person that was less interested carried the power bc they were less impacted by the other persons actions. I’m also a believer that we can only control ourselves. In your situation it doesn’t appear like your mm had greater power bc he walked away. It sounded like he fell too hard and the emotional attachment was too deep for him to continue on with both relationships. You have equal power by maintaining a friendship. I’m sure it’s just as hard if not worse for him. A lot of men internalize pain. Never assume he’s just sailing away peacefully.

          You mentioned something about feeling disappointment by his responses. I completely understand there. When they are matter of fact or you don’t get a special reply it hurts. I still feel the same even though I’d prefer my mm to initiate the breakup. Mine won’t bc he has no physical relationship at home. She is severely overweight and he is not attracted to her in a romantic capacity. He loves her but doesn’t want to have sex with her. Anyhow, sorry to ramble on. I turned a corner this past month but I’m still more attached than I care to admit. I miss him when we don’t talk for days. Even today I have a desire to reach out but I won’t. We’ve all gone down that rabbit hole. He would respond in kind but it just feeds the attachment.

          Even though you recognize why your mm ended it you still feel the sting. Emotions defy logic but I get the impression that you are very pragmatic, grounded and strong. I’ve prayed, meditated, started dating (I realize you are mm and can’t date) and expanded my social network over the last six months. A switch in my brain flipped and now I find that I can go about my day and not think about him. I used to have that knot in my stomach and feel his presence taking up space in my mind. You know what I mean? Now I experience it to a lesser degree but that only happened in May. These matters are so paradoxical bc you want their heart completely yet you don’t expect them to abandon their relationships. Conflicting emotions suck but we’re fortunate to have met each other and have an outlet here to express ourselves 🙂

          • Felk

            Thistooshallpass, I appreciate what you say and it’s helpful to hear how you’ve made progress. I know one of the main reasons that I came to this site 8 months ago was because I wanted to hear from others that it was possible to move on. I wanted to hear that things got better given the utter devastation that I was feeling 8 months ago. Today, for some reason, is a hard day for me. I don’t know why. It’s frustrating to not understand why I can feel good for days or even weeks and then, boom, a rough day. There is nothing in particular that triggered it that I can think of (besides reading some old e-mails from him yesterday… just to reminisce). I saw him last week and it was fine. We haven’t had much contact lately, but that hasn’t been bothering me too much. Just the usual missing of him. So, I don’t know why I woke up today feeling particularly strong missing today. I know I have gone through this before. I know there are days that just hurt more than others and sometimes we can’t explain it, but I’m so tired of it. I’m so tired of missing him. I am waiting for this, too, to pass.

            I know what you say is true about my MM struggling through this, too. He has told me that. And I know that much of his distance over this time (even though we’re trying to maintain a friendship) is because it is still hard for him. I know he has to be distant because getting close hurts too much or carries the danger of falling back into the affair, which he does not want. I know all of that, but yet it still hurts that he is distant. He is definitely the type to internalize the pain where I am the type who wants to talk all about it (and that’s why I’m here!). I guess it doesn’t feel like equal power because I still don’t feel like I can contact him as much as I want. I still feel worried that I’m going to push him away. Or I still fear a matter-of-fact reply from him. It’s that fear that makes me feel weak. But, maybe he and I are equally feeling these things. I wish I didn’t care. I want a friendship with him, but I still think about him as so much more than a friend. For any other “friend,” a matter-of-fact reply would mean little to me. I want to get to that point. For any other “friend,” I’d send the person a text or e-mail whenever I wanted and wouldn’t worry about pushing them away or about them not responding in some certain amount of time. That’s what friendship is. You trust the other person will be there for you and you don’t worry about small things like timing or phrasing of a text. I still don’t trust him to be there for me entirely (even though he always is when I reach out), and I definitely worry too much about the small things. I know it is the complications of recovering from an affair, but I just wish it would happen faster! 🙂

            Remind me of what’s going on in your situation again? If I remember correctly, you’ve ended the physical affair but you still talk fairly regularly? And you were the one who ended your affair? How great that you have started dating again.

            I try to be pragmatic and rational. I try to look at a situation for what it is. Many days, I understand that us ending was for the best, but today I am just missing him and the emotions are taking over. To read that a “switch in your brain flipped” is what I want. That’s how I feel when I’m done with a relationship. I know that feeling. To go about my day and not think about my MM seems so far away. So, yes, I know exactly what you mean when you describe that knot in your stomach and feeling his presence in your mind. I feel like my MM is always there. So, I want that switch to flip. But, what I’ve learned is that it doesn’t exactly happen that way. It’s not just overnight. It’s a slow process where you finally get to a point that you’re done. I feel so much progress compared to 8 months ago and today is frustrating.

            I like the way you describe the affair in that we want their heart completely but we don’t expect them to abandon their marriage. I know some people here expected their married person to leave their marriage, but some of us didn’t. I did not. But, as a human being, my brain makes it such that, of course, I want him completely. Once we were “in love,” I couldn’t get enough of him. And knowing he was in love with me, made it that much harder to not want more time together. I still never expected him to abandon his family, but I wanted more and more of him. And he wanted the same. Until it became unmanageable for him. Again, rationally, I understand. But, it was still manageable for me. And it’s hard to end something that you do not want to end.

          • Lara

            Felk I must say reading this that two thoughts popped in my head reading your words. Take them or leave them as you wish!
            #1). I feel he reason you were having a bad day is very clear: it is precisely because you read those emails the day before. You were triggered! Sometimes we do not react right away, especially if we are trying to steer ourselves towards a new “neutral friendship” and away from our love and passion feelings. But you were still triggered emotionally I think and it just took 24 hours, but you responded by having a bad day I think. 100 per cent normal in my book. You are still emotionally attached and vulnerable to all triggers! We all are.
            #2). I know you have said so many times how you want to now be “friends” with your exMM. I have listened and said little. You can make your case very logically. But your words are also infused with deep emotions which you really must acknowledge in order to see this idea of a friendship for what it is. You say: “I want a friendship with him, but I still think about him as so much more than a friend. For any other “friend,” a matter-of-fact reply would mean little to me. I want to get to that point. For any other “friend,” I’d send the person a text or e-mail whenever I wanted and wouldn’t worry about pushing them away or about them not responding in some certain amount of time. That’s what friendship is. You trust the other person will be there for you and you don’t worry about small things like timing or phrasing of a text. I still don’t trust him to be there for me entirely (even though he always is when I reach out), and I definitely worry too much about the small things. I know it is the complications of recovering from an affair, but I just wish it would happen faster! 🙂”

            Please read and re-read your words. Pretend I wrote them or someone else here wrote them. Do you think a. torrid affair like yours can REALLY proceed to a neutral friendship just by waiting for more time to pass? For me the answer is NO things do not work that way, EVER. Do you think your expectations are realistic? So soon after your affair with so many deep emotions swirling round inside of yourself AND him? How can you expect yourself not NOT care about a “matter of fact reply” from him? How can you expect yourself NOT to feel disappointed and abandoned by him and how can this say of emotions translate to a neutral friendship as if you were never ever lovers? Like all that passion just got up and left the office? 🙂
            I, for one, do not think what you want is possible right now. I feel you are still grieving, still processing the end of an affair, still have feelings of love for him, still want the affair back. But you are asking yourself a to be Hercules! You are asking yourself to be a person in his life who can NOT expect any more from him because he has told you he has a wife and children…..You instead aim for “friendship” with him immediately and at any cost, including not acknowledging your very own human frailties and vulnerabilities. We all have them!

            How on earth can your current emotional state morph into a neutral friendship you might have with a friend like someone you see casually say twice a month? Answer : It can not. This is not realistic. It is an impossible emotional task to ask go yourself and to ask of HIM as well. I feel you are fooling yourself because you want contact over no contact meaning a new and neutral “friendship” over no contact.
            I understand this 100 per cent; I really do. I have tried the exact same thing MANY many times with my exMM. It just is impossible. It never ever worked because I finally realized: It is not workable. I can not “un-care” about him. I can not feel like he is “just a friend”. I am lying to myself. I can not feel unattacted towards him or neutral towards him. And I making recovery from the affair even harder when I think in this way. When I expect this from myself.
            I know how important this “friendship” is to you. I do not expect you to change course knowing how vested you are. But I DO think your journey will be very very rocky and probably fail. What you actually need is probably a good professional boundary between yourselves for several months. Time apart to heal. The heat you feel towards him has to die down. (If you want a true “friendship”) And the heat he feels towards you has to die down. But I know how much you do not want this heat to die down. The patterns between you have to change. So much has to change! It is not the easy transition you imagine it will be. I am saying what I feel and think in my heart but please know, I do honor your choice and your process! I know you by now and I know you do mind my “tough love” approach. But forgive me if this is too harsh! Alas, I honestly know what I am talking about for once. LOL
            Many hugs Lara xxxooo

          • Felk

            Lara, I love what you wrote. Not only is it not too harsh, I need to hear these things. I know it’s just your opinion, but you’re an objective observer who’s been through something similar. You’re calling it like you see it, and that’s why I try to be honest on here (even if it’s pathetic that I still am holding on). I am only going to get to solutions if I am honest about how I feel.

            It is honest to say that I’m struggling with attempting this friendship, and you see it very clearly. I think I want a friendship, but I don’t know how to define a friendship in our situation. I have been in friendships with ex’s and, yes, it’s usually led to us fooling around again, on and off for a while, until it stops, but I never felt this way in those situations. I felt in control of those situations. I didn’t feel pathetic.
            I didn’t feel hurt all of the time. This time, I do not feel in control. This time, it still feels a mess. But I do want the heat to die down. I do. I want to not feel in love anymore. I know that seems to contradict with me wanting to be back together. But I only want to be back together because I still feel in love; but if I could stop feeling in love, that would be great.

            For your #1, yes, I’m sure it was reading the old e-mails that have made it harder for me this week. That, coupled with having less time with him now that we’re no longer at work for summer break, is making me miss him a lot. I will try more consciously to stay away from triggers.

            For your #2, thank you so much. Please keep giving me the tough love. I know it comes from a good place. You are entirely right about the complications of attempting a friendship, and I don’t deny the deep feelings that I still have and the problems those create in trying a friendship. My MM and I have talked about this and have very clearly used the word “problem” to describe still having feelings and attempting to spend time together. His way of handling it is to try to keep communication low while keeping communication open (and still seeing each other once in a while). This approach hurts because, as I said in that last message, it disappoints me how little we communicate and I expect more from his communication (more closeness, less matter-of-fact, quicker responses, etc.). And, yes, it hurts because I still care so much. My guess is that the communication hurts him, too. He wants to be in touch. He wants to hold on, but the reminders continue to hurt him and so he doesn’t communicate much and we’re stuck in this mess.

            You also read me well when you use the word “Hercules.” I am trying to convince myself that I can do this hard thing. I am repeatedly trying to convince myself that I’m different, and that I can make this work. That I can transition from this relationship to a friendship. That I don’t need to go NC. That he and I, if we try hard enough and want it enough, will make this work. So, yes, one of the problems in all of this is that I genuinely believe we can make this work. I know it may be delusional (I don’t mind you or anyone else telling me that), but it feels like it can work, yes, even through this pain. It is hard to give up when I am not hopeless. And it is hard to give up knowing that he has not given up. I am trying to acknowledge my vulnerabilities and frailties, though. I’m trying to admit the difficulties, and we have talked about them. What neither of us will admit, though, is that this friendship can’t work right now. You are right when you say it’s because we don’t want to go NC. Trying “anything” over NC seems better. But you know I am sincere when I say that I think this friendship can work and that I just need to try harder, need to be stronger (back to the Hercules problem). I think one of the reasons I believe this is because I’ve done this in other relationships, because I have transitioned to friendships with many ex’s. One of my best friends is a guy I dated in college. We did the period of fooling around on and off but then we transitioned to a “just friendship” as we found other people and we have a great friendship now with no lingering feelings. We never did NC. Are the feelings deeper here? Yes. Was I addicted to this friend in college? Probably not. But it still presented challenges to transition to a friendship and we did it.

            You are absolutely right that I am still grieving. I still feel loss. It’s much weaker than months ago, but it’s still there and some days more than others. More than that, though, I don’t think I can fully grieve because I still hold onto the friendship. Instead of just grieving the end of a relationship, it feels like a more prolonged grieving of losing our affair because we are constantly reminded as we try a friendship. Thing is, we can have months apart now that it’s summer. I can go (mostly) no contact if I want. We’d only have a few professional e-mails, and I’d only see him at work a few times all summer. If there is ever an opportunity to try NC, it is now. He knows it, too (and I have no doubt he’s considering it). I just don’t think I can do it. You can hear how important this friendship is to me. I have always been one to hold on for a long time in relationships. I don’t walk away when I see the problems starting. I stay until I’m absolutely ready to leave. It feels like I’m doing that now. I am not ready to leave. I fear what it will take for this to happen is for him to say it. For him to say that he needs NC for a while. I’m not sure I can give up while it still feels he’s trying. That is a sad honesty, but please keep giving me the harsh truths and maybe I can get there on my own. You know I like rational thinking!

          • Lara

            Felk I regret if I said anything too harsh in my words to you last night! I hope you understand what I am saying: A “neutral: friendship like one you have with other friends (and my therapist told me this in fact when discussing my affair!) can only happen when one or BOTH parties in a romance no longer has any emotional connection or feelings towards each other! They must have processed all the hurst of the break up and be OVER the relationship first. She told me this many times and I ignored her many times but I finally understood. All the hot emotions in both parties must die down and not be ready to re-ignite like a flame to candle. I don’t know where your exMM is in the letting go process but it sounds like BOTH of you have a log way to go IF your TRUE aim is a neutral friendship” like you mention. But maybe you are thinking more of a “FWB” situation? ! That is why I said a neutral friendship for you two will be very rocky and will likely “fail”. She told me the same but of course I did not listen because I was trying to keep a connection with my exMM. With you letting him know you are open to RE-Starting the affair! (so you are still open to sex) your message of friendship is the complete opposite of what you are saying (it is a contradiction of what you are saying) and is confusing. To you and to HIM too. warmly Lara xxoo

          • Felk

            No worries, Lara. If you knew how many times I’ve read your previous message today, you’d know how impactful (in a good way) it was to me. I had already been thinking about the problems of attempting this friendship, and your words were great. While there may be little things here and there that don’t exactly fit my situation, what you wrote applies pretty well and are words I want to think about a lot.

            I think my MM and I are still both feeling things. Last we talked about this in early May, his feelings had not changed and he was clear that it was still a problem for him every day. I don’t think this would have changed in a month, and given how low his communication has been these last two weeks, I’m guessing he’s trying very hard to handle his feelings and not reach out to me much. He may be further along in the “letting go” process (or taking more active steps to let go), but he has not let go yet.

            I get what you’re saying about being open to re-starting the affair being contradictory to wanting a friendship, but I reconcile it like this: I have feelings for him that include a friendship. We were always good friends. If I can’t have more, I want the friendship. But, I get what you’re saying. I get you’re saying that you do not think that’s possible while I still have the feelings that make me open to more. That there is just too much room for hurt if one or both people still have feelings. I still want to believe it’s possible to have a friendship, but it might not be possible right now.

          • Nomad

            Felk, just walk your path and at your pace. Though I think we will meet at the same end point eventually but you just have to walk yours until you see more of the clarity and see enough and decided this is it. You can’t see far and your heart says to you this special friendship is very important hence you chose this route.

            From what you’ve described, my X wanted the same thing as your mm, but unlike you, I couldn’t accept the crumbs and the grey and the dwindling affection and attention and his guilt and fear, hence we experienced the drama and drained ourselves. I couldn’t overcome my unrealistically high expectations on an affair, my “fault” to accelerate the end of us sooner. He said he had to hold back his words and feelings because he tried not to lead me on and it was unfair for him to demand anything from me at my expense. I thought he acted and made it sounded like excuses to quit me yet he is plainly greedy, wanted the cake and eat it. When we met that once a month unintentionally (work and then eye contacted) or intentionally (got carried away and seized that moment) since Jan, he still looked lingering and just on my birthday early May, he said attraction was still there but he didn’t know how to be with me, he didn’t want to feel stress, guilty, fear, morally wrong etc, he just wanted life before me, he weighed and decided that’s the easier pain to bear, moreover, infidelity is wrong. Who can argue that?

            Bit of update: after my work trip in apr, he mia and on my birthday eve, he showed up at my desk and asked to discuss work. The work discussion was intensely argumentative. Just when I was about to storm off, he took out a box and wished me happy birthday and hope I won’t dump it. He was kinda sweet. We got carried away, we kissed and few days later, we went to the room and he mia again and I found out abt his overseas trip planned 8mths in advance, that is how much he is willing to do to please his wife. That was it. I felt a strong shift. I felt disgusted and angry with myself because before the room I told him if it’s over, no room, if it’s not over, we would work things out and I could “justify” for the room. The “amazing” thing was, he simply replied “let’s go to the room, seize the moment” and I went without getting an answer. Throughout he didn’t mention about his dec holiday which covers his birthday, of course he wouldn’t. I was stupid and naive enough to suggest a birthday celebration with him this year. Given that opportunity there and then, he chose not to tell me he had actually applied leave and going overseas. I’ve no words to describe the damage to my sanity, wellbeing and self esteem. It was until I peeked into his calendar then I saw he applied 20 days of leave when he couldn’t give me a day just to keep me happy. I questioned him but wasn’t too happy with his reply. I remembered he said he didn’t want to care abt my feelings like he did in the past whenever he’s going away for holidays, now he just told me the facts (I take it and leave). That was the last time We spoke on the phone and then I whatsapp him it’s over, I do not want him anymore, break up clean and do not reply. I haven’t felt the urge to reach out and in fact I didn’t want to see him at all.

            Yes I’ve said it, I’m on the driver seat this time. I can’t go back my words and I won’t. I am clear that I’m doing this not to make him missme or regret. I’m doing this because my mind is overruling recently. Of course it isn’t easy because my heart couldn’t lie and physically it aches and feels intensely compressed. But because it’s over come from me and over time I’ve weaned off the addiction, something in me said to me I can do it this time. It’s the right time because he has made it crystal clear that he wanted out. Even if he still craves for whatever reason, he can now hold back better and choose not to succumb.

            Felk, if you still want the special friendship then it will take you longer to the last episode. I think you are defending and believing him wholeheartedly, you chose to. It’s ok. It’s your path. It took me a long time to gain clarity and convinced myself that I’m no different from other affairs, that 95% group especially I’m not divorcing. End point is the same. If you have time to spare, you are game for it. I am so upset to waste time yet I WAS wasting it in ruminating, waiting, hoping, restarting etc. I feel the shift of the focus back to myself, I feel a stronger desire to crawl back my self respect and pride. But don’t congratulate me yet. I know I’m kinda unpredictable if I see him next mon at a meeting. But I’ll avoid trigger, give no room at all. Enough of going in circles.

          • Felk

            Nomad, first, thanks for what you say about supporting my process. I feel that support from all of you here. I know we can look at choices that others are making on here and believe that they may not be good choices, but it seems we always recognize that not only do people have to make their own decisions but that our situations are different and what might work for one person might not work for another. I have remained friends with many ex’s. I am friends with the MM I was in a relationship with 20 years ago. Many friends of mine say that being friends with an ex could never work for them, but it works for me and it’s my preference. It is one reason I think a friendship can work with my MM. I have this cold/rationality streak that I know you all see here. Yes, my emotions are still strong for my MM, but that rationality peeks in plenty and he has the same cold/rationality. These are important characteristics for being friends (after dating). I am not saying it will work. I know there are barriers. But I think he and I have some of the tools that can make this successful. I don’t want to sound delusional. It’s just confidence. It’s my self-esteem. It has worked for me in the past so I think it can work again, but I know that a five-year affair is different from the relationships I’ve had in the past and that may make it impossible for the friendship to work the way I hope.

            Second, oh, I am sorry you had to go through it one more time with your MM. You have been quiet about the fact that your MM did acknowledge your birthday and that you two got together again. I definitely understand if you needed time to process all of that, but I hope you know that we’d never judge you negatively for that. I think we have all “relapsed” (more than once) and been intimate with our MM after the affair “ended.” Please don’t beat yourself up too much because you did tell him ahead of time that you didn’t want to go to the room unless you were going to try to work it out. His response was intentionally ambiguous because he missed you and wanted to be with you again. It doesn’t seem he had any intention to work it out and I know you’re feeling foolish, but you tried to say that to him ahead of time. I’m sorry that he did not honor that and that he acted selfishly, but, as you’re saying, maybe you needed to see that side of him one more time? Maybe that’s what you needed to really be done and to get in the driver’s seat? It really sounds like you mean it when you say you’re not doing it to make him miss you or regret. It sounds like you are very tired of him treating you this way. But, you are also honest in that you don’t know how you’ll react the next time you see him. I think that honesty helps, but hopefully you really are ready to be done with him.

            Your story serves to remind me that I do not want to have sex with my MM again before we have conversations about it. In January, when we had sex, I knew that it didn’t mean we were getting back together, but I was disappointed by the way he handled it and how quickly he got distant. He was still kind in the following weeks, but when he refused to kiss me the following week when we were alone, it really hurt and I told myself that I would not put myself in that position again. It is fine to agree to have sex with no strings or FWB as Lara is describing if you’re both on the same page, but I was not on the same page. I didn’t think we were getting back together suddenly, but I also didn’t think he’d refuse to kiss me the following week (when we were alone at my house!). I cannot guarantee I will not cave again (as emotions are powerful), but you help to remind me that I didn’t like what happened in January and I don’t want it to happen again. I do worry about being in this position because I know that maintaining a friendship can keep feelings around that lead to these situations. I’m sure you also know that your MM may come sniffing around for sex again. I hope that you are prepared. It sounds like you’re getting there.

          • Nomad

            Yeah Lara, no worries, we need your TOUGH LOVE!!! Picking the stranded ones And put us back on the right track. If we are happy And having a future with mm then we won’t be here, have you realized it’s our 1year anniversary of friendship already? 🥂

          • ButterfliesAreFree

            Felk, This is Lara (Butterflies are Free) I am glad I did not offend you. I know you are struggling with your definition of friendship. And you having love feelings make this friendship idea rather an oxymoron. You write: “His way of handling it is to try to keep communication low while keeping communication open (and still seeing each other once in a while).” Felt I think he is being very wise here. This response from him makes compete sense from an outside, neutral perspective.
            “This approach hurts because, as I said in that last message, it disappoints me how little we communicate and I expect more from his communication (more closeness, less matter-of-fact, quicker responses, etc.).” Yes I understand this because you are personalizing this more than you need to IMHO. I do the exact same thing.
            But consider this: He is taking steps that would lead to a more neutral friendship (which is what YOU requested). So in a way isn’t he granting you your request? Isn’t he showing you respect? Might not this be a cause for celebration seeing that he hears you and is granting you your request? Even knowing he can not make you totally happy this way?
            To then flip over from that idea and do a 180 and say you still have the “in-love” feelings and thus STILL want the affair and then tell him so (because of your “honesty”) is confusing for BOTH of you. Yes you are being “honest” but your brain is fighting a chemical addiction too so we have to remember to take our feelings with a grain of salt at this stage. “In-Love” at this stage is partly chemical addiction even if its the “real” thing (the love I mean). How should he interpret this now? That you do NOT really want a friendship after all? Now what should he respond to not upset you? (Since he cares about your feelings).
            How should he now respond now, knowing you just suggested he come back to the affair? What can he say back to you that will not wound you? He has a very hard time in this position you have placed him in given he was the one to waffle during the affair and the end it. And he knows he hurt you ending it. And he feels badly he had to hurt you.
            As an aside, what are your reasons for putting him in this position if you do “love” him? Why not just give him space? Is it about POWER? Are you two narcs duking it out unconsciously or sub-consciously? Neither of you wants to be the loser and BOTH of you wants to win. How do you create a win-win? Isn’t this part of your problem?

            And if he re-expresse4s interprets in you and says yes he is still “in-love” then what will be your counter-response? Will you now unconsciously back away now that you have some power back or will you re-engage knowing he still can not leave his wife and kids and he still will waffle back and forth and you will STILL get only crumbs? They say “Be careful what you wish for” and it think thus slogan applies here. I am not baking you at all here, Felk. But I am asking the hard questions I know I am. We must ask these of ourselves!
            Many hugs Lara xxxooo

          • Felk

            Lara, some really great messages from you. I’m going to respond to two of them in this one message. You are helping me a lot. Let me first say that I agree he is being wise in his low communication. He is trying to give himself (and us) the distance to heal. He is also trying to be clear and send fewer mixed signals (which is what I asked him to do a month ago). I also like your spin on this in that he is granting my request. But, he wants the friendship, too. He’s said that he’d never considered giving up our friendship. But I do like what you say about how he is trying to be respectful of my wishes. I think he does try that. I’d say that it makes me happy that he is still communicating and trying to sustain a friendship (even while needing distance and despite the pain he must be in). I do not lose sight of that. I can get sad about his distance and lack of communication, but I also remind myself that it is wise, it is consistent with what he wants, and he is also not disappearing entirely and he is trying to make our friendship work.

            What I like most about your messages, though, are your questions about how he is supposed to handle me telling him that I still am in love. What is he supposed to do with that information? Your questions are so good. If he is trying to commit himself to his marriage but still be friends with me, how does he respond when I say that? Is it kind to tell me he feels the same way? That’s what he does. But when he tells me that, it just makes me think we made a mistake in ending our affair. So, would it be kinder if he didn’t say those words out loud when I said it? No, that would hurt me too much. I want to know he still feels it. So, you’re 100% right, Lara. I have to stop bringing it up. I am still in love. He is still in love. It will be like that for a while, but we do not need to keep talking about it. It doesn’t help and, yes, it contradicts our attempts to have a “just” friendship. And while he has been the one to bring it up at times, it is usually I who brings it up and I can try to stop that. That is something active I can do (and want to do).

            I haven’t said (to him) in a while that I still want the affair. I think the last time I mentioned this out loud was in February. It was in response to him asking me directly. I thought it was good to be honest. I didn’t want to fake it, not only because I think you get to solutions best if you’re honest but I also admitted it just in case he wanted the affair back, too, and he wanted to hear me say it. But you are right that “sometimes we have to keep our thoughts private in a post-affair situation.” I keep a lot of thoughts private and I don’t think I bring it up a lot about still being open to the affair, but I get your point about how I should not bring it up again. I like that advice a lot. Given that I haven’t brought it up in a few months, I had been thinking that way already, but I was torn between honesty and not. I don’t want to say something that is untrue like: “I never want to be in this affair again.” But I can easily not lie and I can also still keep quiet about being open to the affair. The honesty is that I want the friendship above all and I don’t want to put more pressure on him by making him think I’m hoping to return to the affair. I’m not. Or, sure, I hope, but much more than that I want the friendship and I want to take action to make that work.

            I think part of the complication is that he needs thicker lines drawn that I do. As you mention in one of your messages, I think he does get more temptation from our nights out than I do. I like these nights out very much, but I wouldn’t say that I feel strong temptation to have sex after those nights and I don’t think we’re going to get back together. I just like our time together. He may have more worry about his feelings after those dates. I hadn’t thought about it from the perspective of him thinking my interest in those nights out were suggesting that I wanted to continue our affair. Not really. It is me suggesting I want to continue some parts of our affair that I really enjoyed with him. It was me hoping we could keep doing some of the things we enjoyed without going back to the affair (and causing all of those problems again). I know, I know. I am getting your point about how he might read my interest in such things. And I also get your point about how he might think about those events differently and why he might have to space those events much more than I would like. And, of course, I get the main point that continuing those events (which he says he still wants to do) is prolonging the feelings. I still want those events, if he does, though.

            Finally, to your questions about why do I put him in this position if I love him. We could ask the same of him, right? He obviously prolongs this, too. And he loves me, too. We know the saying “if you love someone, set them free” but we mostly know that is easier said than done. We typically do not “set them free” when we are still in love. That feeling of “in love” is very powerful, so the reason that neither one of us is entirely letting go is because those feelings are strong. I find, when in love, we rarely let someone go because it is the right thing or best for the other person. We typically only let go when we are no longer in love or because it is the best thing for us. So, yes, he is trying to let go and do the “right” thing, but he is doing that for himself mainly. But he is also holding on for himself, too. So, the answer to your question is that I tell him I’m in love because I am in love. Because I am hurting and want to know I’m not alone in feeling that still. It is selfish. But I do give him a lot of space. I do try to respect him wanting to end our affair. But, of course, I don’t give him as much space as truly ending the affair would mean because I still miss and want him. As for the power stuff, that’s part of this, I think, and I’ll respond to your other message about that.

          • ButterfliesAreFree

            Felk (This is Lara)
            Again what I am saying us this: By opening yourself up and saying you are still “in love” and want to still be in the affair you undermine your message you want a “friendship” with him. This for him is confusing because he is trying to navigate the emotional waters as he chooses his response to you. Clearly he does not want to wound you even more than he did by breaking up you which was hard for him but the break-up was necessary and best for him according to your own words here. 🙂

            So why confuse him by adding a highly charge and emotional caveat to your offer of friendship? If he seems to back away at times from this post-affair offer, who could blame him? Your offer is emotionally loaded! In addition you have written that he has had more worries about his sexual feelings being stimulated by the “friendship/dates” you have had just the two of you alone after work.
            Where you have said you are not bothered by this. But if he IS more affected and he more IS bothered then isn’t it quite predictable that he will back away even more from these friendship/”dates”?
            And might he not want to attend such an event? A private moment with you alone after work might not be his idea of a post-affair friendship or is it?
            Your calling it a “date” makes it very confusing.
            If he DOES admit private time with you can affect his sex drive and emotions and he has stated that he needs to end the affair then how will joining you in a “friendship” feel comfortable to him if you state you are still “in love ” with him and want the affair back? There is no BLAME here but I do think some of your emotional honesty is not having your desired result. Sometime we have to keep our thoughts private in a post-affair situation for the good of BOTh affair partners. I have learned this myself the hard way. “Affairs”, like Suzie says, “are NOT normal relationships and do NOT have normal rules”. Too bad for us, huh?
            Hugs Lara xx00

    • Thistooshallpass

      Sorry, just a couple additional points… It sounds like you’re recognizing the negatives more and trying to embrace the inevitable outcome of affairs. Congrats on that progress. I read that the brain has a safety mechanism that causes one to often remember the good times and overlook the bad times. Bizarre human psychology.

      Second, my comment regarding karma was not intended to be snarky or directed at you. I agree with your viewpoint on all or nothing clauses and I thought the karma expression was a good example.

      • Felk

        Oh, yes, “rosy retrospective”… looking back on the positives and not the negatives. It definitely feels that way most of the time. I can remind myself of the negatives, but what I feel is the positives.

        And, no worries. I didn’t read your comment about karma as snarky or directed at me. I recognized you were saying that you agreed that not everyone “gets what they deserve” and not everything that “goes around comes around.” But, we know that the choices we make have consequences, and, like #10 in that list, bad decisions are often going to have bad consequences. I still find it hard to say that I regret having the affair since it was five years of a lot of love and good, but I know that I made a decision that had the potential for bad consequences and, thus, I have to take responsibility for what I’m going through now. It’s not karma. The universe isn’t getting me back. It’s just that affairs often do not end well, and I chose to enter it. So, if it doesn’t end well, it’s on me.

        • Thistooshallpass

          Felk,
          I’m sorry you’re having one of those days. I too am having a particularly down day of missing him thus my rampant posting. At least we’re still healing and moving in the right direction. Grief is certainly not a straight forward path. I’m with you that it’s frustrating to feel ok for a period only to find yourself caught in the grips of despair. I’m due for my period and genuinely miss talking to him. I recognize a no contract clause is the easiest way to go but I’m not there yet.

          He may always feel like more than a friend to you but eventually his responses won’t affect your mood. Remind yourself that even if he is stoic that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have feelings and care. I think you know that in your heart but the act of him being cavalier still hurts. I feel the same but recognize that when I pull away, act indifferent or don’t respond in a flirty way it’s because I’m protecting my heart. Your mm is doing the same and his behavior is merely self-preservation. He checked out to save himself from the emotional anguish. No one can say that we aren’t emotionally strong. You have to be to survive these situations.

          The switch flipped but it took me months of back and forth. We’re going to have off days here and there. Mine is leaving for a month in July and I knew I had to extract myself from this before summer. Tomorrow you’ll feel better and maybe today is a good time for you to go to bed early. There’s no cure or answer. If you’re feeling powerless don’t reach out. Something about exercising self-control when every fiber of your being wants to be in contact is empowering.

          Yep… one side of your brain knows it’s impossible to spend sufficient time together but the other side wants it more than anything. One person becomes fed up with this quandary and calls it quits. I think the person that walks away may have the strongest feelings bc it’s too painful to continue on. I’m not saying you aren’t/weren’t completely in love with your mm. I’m saying he at least felt the same if not stronger. As for my situation we agreed to stop the physical and didn’t act on any lustful thoughts for weeks. Then two weeks ago we gave into temptation. Surprisingly, I wasn’t broken up about it at all. It was more of an oops we need to really quit for good moment. I’ll never lose my attraction but the feelings have waned quite a bit and I think I’ll be perfectly ok in the long run just as we all will be too. I have no regrets but I’d never get involved with a taken person again. Five years is a long time. You seem to have made great strides in your recovery. Maybe with your fortitude you’ll be over it quicker than you think. Still, five years… Give yourself time. It took me a good year and a half to get over a six year relationship with an ex boyfriend of mine. I mean completely move on and have zero feelings.

          • felk

            Thistooshallpass, sorry to hear that you were going through it yesterday, too. Ugh. Why do we get these random days of feeling worse? I guess it’s simply because we’re not entirely over it yet and those days are going to happen. For me, I think it’s a combination of reading some old e-mails of ours and not having a plan to see him again. I kind of thought reading the old e-mails was a bad idea when I started, but they were so enjoyable that I just kept going. Likely triggered that dopamine and then I crashed when there was nothing to sustain it the next day. And the part about not having a plan to see him again… I think it just makes me uneasy. I know I can send him a message any time and ask to see him (and he’d likely agree), but I’m trying to do that less and it’s just hard. And it’s funny you mention your period coming soon because mine started today and I wondered if my extra sadness yesterday was related to a hormonal thing. Granted, I’ve felt randomly bad about this over the months plenty of times when my period wasn’t coming, but I do know that I can get some extra sadness the days before my period. But, no, I didn’t reach out to him. I didn’t even feel like doing that. I learned months ago that when I’m low, it’s the worst time to reach out to him.

            Thanks for your words about how my MM’s stoicism is not an indication that he doesn’t care and might actually be an indication that he still cares a lot. You’re right that I know that, but it helps to hear you remind me (especially on our down days). I know that his distance comes from feeling too much. I know that it’s self-preservation, as you say. He has said as much as well. And he has also told me that, even in his distance, he is thinking about me all of the time. I try to keep those things in mind, but when we’re feeling particularly sad it’s harder to be rational. And I also think, as you suggest, that he did have stronger feelings than I did and that was related to him ending it. Or, maybe he didn’t have stronger feelings, but he was closer to leaving his marriage. I also think that the intensity of his feelings was harder for him to deal with. So, we might have had comparably strong feelings, but he didn’t know what to do with them and it was hurting his marriage more. Thus, he was at a point where he was thinking he had to leave his marriage or leave us. He was “fed up with the quandary and had to call it quits.” Your words are right. I know I can’t change things now, but I just wish he would have expressed it more clearly to me throughout the relationship. I knew he struggled with these things. He’d say it here and there, but he rarely wanted to talk about it. Not until things got really bad in those last few months did we talk about it more openly. In fairness to him, I knew some of these things were going on with him and I was sometimes too scared to ask.

            I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think it’s going to take me 1.5 years (or longer) to get over this relationship, much like your six-year relationship. Especially with me having to work with my MM and especially with us attempting a friendship, I think there will be renewed feelings here and there as they slowly fade. But, as you say, I wonder if the attraction will always be there. And I know this is an unsettling thought for him, too.

          • Nomad

            Hi Felk and TSSP,
            Make it 3. I have to borrow what Felk said about BOOM! a rough day for no reason. “Today, for some reason, is a hard day for me. I don’t know why. It’s frustrating to not understand why I can feel good for days or even weeks and then, boom, a rough day.”
            I supposed my trigger was reading about what you 2 have exchanged and I was compelled to chip in. It could also be a rainy and dull morning that I woke up to. I am not exactly missing him but missing that version of him who swept me off my feet, who was capable of making me feeling alive and high and looking forward to the next working day. I, too, waiting for the This too shall pass moment.
            2 years together, 2nd year was the year of “rehab” trying every ways to quit the addiction that many shameless time. I think I know why today I felt melancholy… 29 May last year, it was our last rendezvous in the hotel for the whole day, we were totally immersed in the moments and right after that, I suddenly cut off the contact. The rest you know… a year has passed… deep breath… today and at this moment as I typed, I couldn’t be more rational and clear that ending is the lesser of the “devil”. Though I refused to admit that I could make progress and come this far is largely because he doesn’t want us anymore. He chose and he left. At times in the past recent months, he would be tempted but he was able to let those difficult and tempting moment pass, anchoring on motivations that give him the strength to stick to his decision, motivations like the inner peace and family wholeness he managed to regain, clarity of why he strayed.
            Take heart that at least we’re still healing and moving in the right direction. But for Felk, I think she still wants him if he wants to be back. In a way, I would do the same but I am fully aware of how impossible my situation is especially I have come “this far” after 1 year. I haven’t blocked him since a month ago? because there is no need to. I am fine and will continue to make good progress if we maintain status quo. Seeing him is hard. Receiving his work email, well, sometimes it can be still hard. He still comes to my office but he stopped showing up in front of me. He looked stoic and seemed to be living a happier and relaxed life and I am not too sure if it is good for me to remind myself that he can’t be with me because of the situation, not because he stopped feeling. I told myself not to bother with how he feels, what he thinks, how could he etc. because I will get no answers. But what you said gave me a good perspective: “I feel the same but recognize that when I pull away, act indifferent or don’t respond in a flirty way it’s because I’m protecting my heart.” That is what exactly I am doing, building up a wall to protect myself, avoiding triggers to stay safe and calm.
            Many weeks ago, to me, he sent me mixed signals and out of stupidity and unsound mind, I asked if I still have his heart, he replied “tough question”. I interpreted it as he has moved on and didn’t want to say anything to give me hope or to make me feel worse.
            I really like what you wrote here. I could resonate 99% of it. My switch flipped last May and I told myself I must heal before his next overseas holidays and before this and that. But we now know that 1 year has passed. I am still going to have off days here and there. Just the other day, for no reason, I peeked at his calender and saw something earth shaking… he already booked 2 weeks of overseas holiday in Dec. That was another rock bottom for me. What happened to his no time, no mood, no money, and no love at home, reasons that he told me to make me feel good for the past 2 years? just this mar, they went for a short holiday over a long weekend and after he’s back, he mia and reset himself. I really regretted peeking. Knowing any updates about him do me no good, ZERO good. Why I haven’t learnt about this when it has proven so many times. So, I want you to be my witness that I will not peek into his calendar anymore. I can do it. I am also waiting for this sadness to flush out of my system asap. Writing here helps. It is amazing to read heartfelt stories that I could resonate. My apology that I may not be expressing myself using the right words but I know you guys can understand what I am trying to say…

          • Felk

            Nomad, sorry to hear you had a rough day yesterday. I understand how reading these posts can be a trigger, and how you have to take a break from this site at times. I also know how dates (when you did special things with your MM in the past) can trigger those thoughts, and then sometimes it’s hard to stop lingering on those thoughts. I find myself, often, thinking about what he and I were doing at “this time” last year or the year before or the year before or… Past photos of me and other people will pop up in my Facebook feed, and I’ll think about what my MM and I were doing at that time of year. There’s that “rosy retrospective” that TTSP mentioned, though. When I have those memories, I’m rarely thinking, “Oh, that’s when my MM went MIA for a few days.” or “Oh, that’s when I drove home crying because my MM was cold at work.” It’s always nice memories, and it’s foolish thinking. I do try to remind myself of the hard times often enough. I especially try to remind myself of the reasons we ended, and how I was exhausted, too.

            I know you can hear that I would be happy to be back in a relationship with my MM, and that’s true. But, I don’t wait for it. I really don’t. I am open to it if it were to happen. I am just that type of person. I have been like that in other relationships. Okay if someone doesn’t want a relationship to continue, but also okay if they do. I’m not saying this feels that easy. It does not. I still struggle with how I feel, but I don’t wait for my MM to ask me to get back into an affair. I have accepted that the affair is over. I want our friendship. I just know that I’m also open to a relationship happening again if that’s the direction we go. I have felt so much progress over these months. I continue to move forward (even though days like yesterday feel like a pause in that progress). I’m not at acceptance yet. I’m not “over” him. That will take many more months. It’s not easy to say that, but it’s true. I was in this affair for a long time. I fell deep. We still work together, and we’re still friends. That’s a recipe for a long, slow recovery. For both of us.

            You know I think it’s a good plan to try not to think about his thoughts, his feelings, or his motives. It’s best to stay away from triggers, and to try to direct your thoughts away from him as much as you can when those thoughts enter. You sound like you’re making a lot of progress, though. Keep it up.

          • Thistooshallpass

            Hi Nomad,
            So great to see your name and read about your progress. I’m sorry you had a tough day also. It’s hard not to get jealous and question whether the person has entirely moved on when you see an international long trip on their calendar. You’ll rebound much quicker and soon forget about it. Mine has a month long trip planned this summer and my only saving grace is the W totally let herself go. I no longer covet their relationship as they are like brother and sister. There is love and history but no romance. He is not attracted and I would hate to be locked into a relationship with someone I didn’t find attractive or didn’t find me attractive. I know romance, looks and sex are only one piece of the puzzle but to be completely devoid of any intimacy… no thanks. He’ll miss me before I miss him.

            When you think about the vaca he has planned, remind yourself that the problems he has with the misses would only transfer to you if you two were together. You get a ringside view of his problem solving strategies and you’d end up right where the current W is now. He copes with his problems externally and doesn’t face the difficult convos. I can’t remember where I read that but it really hit home for me. We think our relationship would be special or different with them but not a chance. He’d be the same with us as he is with his current partner. I know it’s a lot more involved when it comes to matters of the heart. I don’t mean it as a criticism toward anyone on here that is married bc communication is very challenging for everyone. The point is I don’t think most of us want that quality in a man especially since women tend to excel when it comes to opening up. I’m not a misandrest either. Both genders have strengths and weaknesses.

            I think we’ll all miss that initial flirty infatuation phase when things started to take off. For me the honeymoon phase only lasted a few weeks and very early into it we were running into problems. No regrets but won’t repeat the same. This relationship caused me more anxiety, anguish, sadness, guilt, shame, self-loathing, self-hatred, doubt and every negative emotion you can name than anyone else. Nomad, I will refer back to your response to Lois when I start to miss him. You made some very strong arguments why this is toxic wasteland. I hope today was a happier day and you were restored to your peaceful state.

          • Lara

            Nomad, I think you have made HUGe progress this year and have been very honest about all the flips and flops back and forth. I really can see and feel your progress. I find it very interesting what you say here: “I supposed my trigger was reading about what you 2 have exchanged and I was compelled to chip in.” I think we all can get triggered here but unintentionally as we are here to support each other. But the discussions can sometimes trigger me too because we talk about the exMM’s a lot. I am now making a new effort (for myself) to NOT mention much about my exMM in my posts. I prefer frankly to focus on something else. The guy is still next door; its summer; he’s fixing up the front of his restaurant very visibly blah blah blah, Nothing new here….he still wants me to notice him etc etc. But really what matters is not what HE is doing. What matters is what I am doing! What matters is what ELSE is happening in my day? Besides the seemingly endless drama in my head and in my actual “real” life with the exMM (who I am still avoiding) what ELSE is exciting me? Making me happy? I love when Kub talked about rock climbing. Btw theres an exciting sport! But with fibromyalgia I can only do that from my couch watching youtube and rock climbers (many who are gorgeous I might add!). Damn. :). Also I am trying to plan my summer vacations! And my younger son might be moving to a another state with his girlfriend and my “grand doggie” I might be taking some time in their new city maybe rent an AirBnB to help them out. I have HUGE feeling s about him leaving the city where he was born and has lived his whole life (my city too lol). But I am also HAPPY for him as he is following his dreams!
            And I am planning on going abroad to visit my son because my great aunt (his mother) just passed and because I am in the midst of planning an art exhibition in tow countries and want to involve him as well. Plenty of gorgeous men in my “other” country to gawk at by the way. LOL
            The there’s the visit to my parents who are elderly.
            So I am planning lots of mini vacations this summer and lots of time away from my street. And lots of art making!
            I do remember his vacation time (the exMM) with his wife and family in years past. Hell on wheels for me. So many bad summers! So many. sigh. What a waste of my time! This year I am trying not to care. Of course I still care about what happens and where he is going but not that much to tell you the truth. I am more focused on MY vacations!
            Nomad, I am Wishing you continuing healing and progress Nomad! How do things feel back at hime with your H? Has the affair changed your marriage do you think? For the better or for the worse? I am so curious. I really hope things are well.
            Hugs Lara xoxo

          • Kub

            Hello everyone.

            I believe my ex-MM and I had a telekinetic communication, two days ago I was almost sleeping and I was thinking of him. A ha! An e-mail from him comes to my phone. I have mentioned that he has found this blog and reading my posts. And he kept reading it even though he is over me! Anyway, I don’t know if you can imagine how mean he was to me in his e-mail. Countless insults coming all over me. And his motivation was finding out that I am ready to flirt with someone from here, this blog! I told him I have nothing to do with him anymore and he should keep his thoughts to him.
            Of course in 5 minutes a new e-mail has arrived. Still going on with insults and he adds that me going to climbing is an activity to hunt man 🙂 this was his friends comments for me and he told me that, even my friend knew you in like 5 minutes but I could never knew what a wh… you are. And oh yeah he is going to a vacation next week with his wife 🙂 Nothing changes between his wife and him, they are still happily ever after. But I am a b…. because I date too early 🙂 he was very disappointed in me since one week before I was having sex with him but now ready to date.
            You know what? I thank to God since I left him. I wasn’t feeling my love for him for last one week, because I have mentioned that I deeply lost my respect for him. And now his these actions and words make me thank more. I disgust him that is all I can feel, and I hope it keeps in this way. I hope this is not some temporary phase.
            Now I see him in different aspects. Now I realize how mean he was, the feelings that he made me feel, the actions that he blame me was all for nothing. I was so caught up because of my emotions! I was so deadly blind for him! I told him that, luckily sometimes some women resist them. Resist and find their own way. Thanks to God I am a strong woman and I know that I deserve better than him.
            Also his friend is a cheater too! Such a coincidence 🙂
            Anyway. I hope I will feel better by time. My biggest nightmare was how I was going to feel thorough next week but I feel that when he is gone I will feel better, more free. Because when he is around I feel anxious, not in a good way. He is really self centered person and his vacancy will be useful for me.
            I can not believe that how I feel right now for him, it is like a magic is over, a dream is over and I am back to life and myself. It is not easy but more fun. Better than suffocating with him.
            Also ! I know you will be here, you will read these lines. I warned you. I am moving on with my life and you are not welcomed here. Keep trying. But you can’t touch me anymore.

          • Felk

            Lara, I just wanted to pop in on this message to say that I think it’s so great how proactive you’re being to try to be away from your house during the summer if you know that the summer is particularly hard, especially if he’s outside. And I have no doubt that he wants you to see him and that he is desperately hoping that you will come talk to him. The more active choices you make to be away from him, the more you will mentally and emotionally move on. Moving away physically will impact moving away psychologically. I also like your commitment to not mention your MM much here. There is an element of dwelling on our MM by writing about them here that is probably not helpful. But, of course, there is the balance of thinking things through and “talking it out” that I still find helpful about talking about my MM here. Baby steps.

    • Lara

      Hi Felk
      You found http://www.goasksuzie.com. !!
      Yes I did mentioN her a while back. I learned a giant amount from her! I paid for and did the online course and it was very very helpful and especially in dealing with the shame and the guilt and other messier emotions of the affair. I really recommend her and you can see her for free on youtube too!
      Warmly Lara

      • Felk

        Hi Lara, I knew that website sounded familiar! I didn’t remember that you had paid for her online course, though. I’m considering something like that given that I want to be more proactive in healing, but, honestly, I don’t know if I’m ready. What I mean by that is that I figure the first advice is to go NC. I know I can’t go complete NC because we work together, but I can go more NC than I have been. I can stop attempting this friendship. I can stop sending non-work e-mails. I can stop inviting him for lunch or drinks. I just don’t know if I’m ready to do that. So, if I’m not ready to go NC (and I don’t know if I ever will be), does it make sense to do the online course? I don’t feel shame and guilt. I mostly just feel sadness from the loss. I guess I probably feel weak and insecure, too, but it is mostly sadness from missing him and our relationship. Can the course help me with those feelings if I’m still in contact with my MM?

        • Lara

          Felk,
          Yes I think it can still be helpful! But first I think you should start here with all of her FREE articles for the “Affair Partner”. https://www.goasksuzie.com/affair-partner
          In fact I recommend these articles to everyone here reading and posting. Suzie has some profound wisdom about relationships and affairs and I learned so much!

          Felk, see if you like the feel of what she has to say. She DOES have a spiritual perspective: I would call her a “recovering Catholic” by her stories. I am sorry to use that silly term but that is what popped into my head. As a spiritual person myself, I easily understood any of her messages about “God”. They were not coming from a “formal religion” place but they have their base loosely in Catholicism which is what she grew up with. If you buy the tapes you will love them I think! She is very logical and VERY persuasive and VERY non-shaming. I adore her tapes. I must go and listen again myself!
          She also offers telephone calls and that is another option. She also could be VERY useful to you (or any other married person here) in recovering your marriage back after an affair is over! She sounds like she is superb counselor helping couples get back on track with their marriages. And she is fun! Hugs Lara. xxx000

          • Thistooshallpass

            Hi Lara,
            Thanks for the link to these articles especially on a day where I’m feeling the longing and missing very heavily. It helps to know that the pain of letting go is temporary and in the long run rewarding. The first article about the woman fearing she’ll never have the same chemistry, connection and bond is what drew me in and kept me going. If I wasn’t lonely, impatient and lacking faith I wouldn’t have gotten involved. Well… maybe I would’ve caved to curiosity but once I knew the inevitable outcome I would’ve closed the door forever. Fear is an incredible powerful force that can drive us to good things (fear drove me to sobriety) and also to bad things (fear of never having fireworks with a man lead me to an affair). It’s not an excuse bc I made the choice to accept and stay for as long as I did. Now I must accept the consequences.

  • Lara

    Hi Kub,
    I did not see your amazing post before because it was so buried down below but BRAVA! You are making such progress! I really think you are evolving a great deal and you are showing emotional maturity, all the more so since you are quite young (in my book!)
    I am glad you liked my post. My words were strong with you yes but you did not take offense and understood what I meant.
    You say: “Or after a while comparison of two options; trying go to get to know a whole new person which feels like exhausting nowadays or being in that vicious cycle but with the person that you know very well? I think this is like a comfort zone, and staying in that zone always feels safer.”
    Ah yes that comfort zone! It is so hard to move beyond it and I remember very very well being single and in my 20’s and damn it was no walk in the park! Thins have gotten much more complicated these days for sure. The key is to GET to KNOW YOU!! The traveling will help no doubt. You can start all over and get to know yourself without all the usual surroundings and people. But it will be a GREAT learning adventure! I adore traveling personally.
    You say something very wise:
    “I think even if you know your weaknesses handling with them is really not easy. This is a phase. But definitely not a short one 🙂”
    You are very correct. getting to know yourself AND handling your quirks is the work of a lifetime!
    And you say: “Really, a relationship with a married person adrenaline is way more different being in a normal relationship. This is really triggering in an addiction way and that is makes this kind of relationship hard to give up on.”
    As a person who has switched addictions more than once OH YES! You are right. And in love addiction you can’t even tell its too much of a good thing. Because we all think loving someone has nobility. And it does. But it is so hard to get grounded from that place. And so hard to remember yourself when you are there. Oh I how know this. So ask yourself this: What is “love” to YOU and what do you need from a person in a love relationship?
    Write it down! It can become your wish list. Once you write it down you being to send the message out there that you can trust the process and Love WILL find you!
    Hugs to you Kub!
    Hugs Lara xoxo

    • Felk

      Kub, I agree with what Lara said and you sound strong in your post. I know we all still hurt and miss our MM, but you seem to be recognizing why your relationship would not work. I know we also go back and forth on this. We accept why it won’t work and then we think it still could work and then we know it won’t work and then we think it could work, but even having the thoughts about why it won’t work is progress. It’s progress from just sitting around thinking it could still work and wishing the person would come back to you.

      The fact that you are moving to another country is going to be really helpful in getting over this relationship. We know NC is very important, but if you can entirely get away from the person, that is going to go far in helping you get over him. You can start a new life elsewhere. You won’t be around the same places that remind you of him. I know, for me, that is hard. There are so many daily reminders (especially in my home because of how much time we spent here) and that makes it hard to move on. So, living in a new place will push your MM even further from your mind. And, hopefully, as you free yourself from your MM, you can be open to new relationships, too. I know that sounds scary and exhausting, but open yourself up to new love and soon your MM will be a distant memory. I know it is not that simple, and I don’t mean to make it sound that way, but I think there are very exciting possibilities on your horizon given that you are moving away.

      • Kub

        Felk, Lara my besties!

        I am sooo glad, happy to reading your comments 🙂 I don’t know what would I do if I haven’t found this blog? You are giving me strength from the day 1. You have always supported and shared your feelings, experiences whenever I/we needed. Thank you… Thank you being such a great people.
        I think a relationship should not be this hard. The danger is about the comfort zone. Letting go a person no matter how long you are together is hard. Really hard. But after a point life makes you to get out of your comfort zone, if you are a strong person and want to create your destiny. We could have been at the same place; depending on our ex-MM, feeling sorry everyday for ourselves but doing nothing. This is the comfort zone, staying in the same place because of being too afraid of losing anything around as what they are.
        But after a point (the point that we can no longer take) no matter how long it takes, since we decide that it can’t go on like this we start to get out of that zone. This is the painful part. But what I see from here after pain, inner peace is coming. Creating you friend zone again, exploring yourself deeply, focusing on physical activities… Maybe they are steps in our lives that make us better at the end? Better of ourselves? Because non of us are the same person. When this journey ended, we are more grown and mature people.
        There were days that I was thinking I was dying. I was thinking I won’t see the next day,I can’t breathe, I can’t live. Just last night in my bed I remembered a song that reminded of him. My heart broken thousands of pieces. I wanted to reach out him. Share the song. Say some words. But then I took some long breathes. And remembered how many times like this has happened, and how they ended.
        But… I am growing up. I am cutting the chains that weights me down that connects me to him. I am setting me free, at the end I was the one who kept myself for two years in that dungeon, the one who was really mean to me, the one who was strong but not willing to resist under hard conditions.
        So I am rescuing myself from him.
        I wish I could share some photos of me, what I have accomplished in last one month 🙂 I can do head stand and I look sexy ^^ I am climbing rocks and walking for 15 km a day! You should have seen me 🙂

        Thanks girls. I love you, I mean it. You deserve the best. You really do, so please give the best to yourselves for me. Please!

        • Lara

          Kub you are seriosly growing by leaps and bounds. So fast! I love it!! You go girl! You said: “But after a point life makes you to get out of your comfort zone, if you are a strong person and want to create your destiny. We could have been at the same place; depending on our ex-MM, feeling sorry everyday for ourselves but doing nothing.: You are sooooo right! This is very very wise.

          We have to create our own destinies YES! and not wait for a married man to decide if and when and how he might just might leave his marriage to be with us “one fo these days”. No that is living too passively.. We must take actions and live live live! Authent=ically and directly!
          I love your story about rock climbing above. What a dare devil you are! That sounds like an absolutely PERFECT idea and adrenaline thrill too after leaving an affair. Just be careful!! :).
          Also try to talk to MANY MANY different types of men. Just let yourself converse with them and see who you are with them. See how you feel with different types of men. A conversation over coffee is enough! Or an a subway train ride. Or in the post office line. I am forcing myself to start up conversations with men everywhere I go just for the hell of it! I like to see if my original perception of the person measures up with how I feel about them ten minutes into a conversation. Are they still the person I thought they were at the outset? Usually NOT at ALL! HA! Trust that you DO have something worthwhile to say to other men and that you DO deserve being listened to! It really is like an adventure. I do this just to surprise myself. And you never know. One of these days you or I just meet someone we want to date! Or not. No pressure. Just exploration. 🙂 warmly, Lara. xoxo

  • Lara

    Hello everyone and Happy Memorial Day weekend. I did something spectacular today! I invited a “nice guy” I know for 17 years to my Monday BBQ. I don’t think there is “relationship” potential for us for many reasons. (see below) Therefore: “PHEW!” as far as my fear of intimacy goes. Ha! I don’t see this as anything other than deepening our current friendship. But believe me that scares the hell out of me. He is still a male after all. 🙂
    I thought a few months ago that he was moving to California. (I mentioned him here). He’s not going yet. He is taking care of his aging father. And I have researched the “propriety” of us having a romantic relationship when he has treated me (holistically) for my health for years. That’s a no-no in his field.
    But we do know a LOT about each other because I see him 2 times per month on average. I know he cares about me very much as his patient because he gives 200 per cent to all of his patients. But he has NEVER flirted with me or done anything in the least bit suggestive. Neither have I flirted with him.
    I assume things will stay the same way. But he has always been available in OTHER ways: emotional and spiritual ways. Intellectual ways. We have had so many many long and deep conversations about ourselves and the world together. He is also a widow for many years. Still misses his wife who passed away early due to an illness. I was there through all that. And when he last his daughter a year ago to the same illness. But he never complains about his life. He takes everything in stride because he is truly a spiritual person who sees life in a very beautiful way.

    So, if he comes to this BBQ (naturally I told him “no pressure” lol) you will be the first to read about it! But I DID invite him which kinds of shocks me actually. I am making true progress to keep moving forward in my life no matter what my exMM does. It is scary but I am doing it!

    My exMM will be around for the next two days and newly working outside the restaurant on his plan for whole new signage and flags for the outdoors of his restaurant. I will have to pass him by a bunch of times. He will want me to notice him and his handiwork. No doubt about that. Maybe I will just casually nod. Maybe I will walk by in silence. Maybe I will say one brief word. Like “looks nice?” “lookin good?” No scratch the “lookin’ good”, LOL.
    I want peace with him. But I also want to move forward in MY life. Thus I am creating a whole NEW experience for myself in the BACK of my house: the backyard! You can not see my backyard from the front of my house. And this is MY house and I can do whatever I want in it, NO? Isn’t that why I am working so hard (by MYSELF) to pay my mortgage? Wish me luck. hugs Lara xxx000

    • Lara

      Update: My friend called and apologized and said he couldn’t make it as he did not feel comfortable leaving his father. I understand. But of course I was disappointed. I w s wanting to see myself in a whole new situation with a man: fresh and less complicated, with am “appropriate” man even as a friend. No guilt over doing something “forbidden: etc. Bit I just said to him cheerfully, “Ok. I understand. There will be another occasion!”
      And I did not dwell on it all day. I really enjoyed the event by focusing on my friends that drove some, long dstances to come! And on my sons and their friends who I really enjoyed. And of course on cooking all the food with everyone! I let everyone help because I like sharing cooking with others. So at the end of the day I DID feel emotionally content and happy. And I felt healthy. It is so necessary to find these moments after leaving an affair, no? It is so nice to feel I can be happy as a single woman too! warmly, Triada

      • Felk

        Lara, sorry your friend wasn’t able to make it to your BBQ, but I think it’s pretty important that you invited him. Just the fact that you wanted to talk to a man and see what could develop is a big step forward. Maybe there will be another occasion with this man or maybe this will open you up to other men. Of course, it’s also a good sign that you didn’t let him not showing up ruin your whole day. You understood why he couldn’t be there and you had a good time with friends and family.

        And, most importantly, you felt content and happy. You felt healthy. Can’t ask for much more than that.

  • Sophie

    Lara, Felk, Nomad, everyone else on the group – I messed up today. I messaged my ex MM out of the blue on some matter regarding a common friend. I could have easily avoided it but I don’t know what compelled me. I got very curt responses- I am feeling terrible even though they were nothing romantic or anything at all. But honestly, my heart was not in the right place while I was messaging him. I messaged him for the heck of it, with an excuse in my head. How could I? After all these days and months of NC, how could I have slipped? How do I get over this? How do I prevent it from happening again? How do I accept, I miss him, but that doesn’t mean I have to have any contact with him. I feel horrible, I feel so stupid.

    • Felk

      Oh, Sophie, I have been there… and I’m still there. I have texted or e-mailed my ex-MM, convincing myself that it wasn’t desperate and that it was just normal communication, only to feel the devastation of a curt response or a response that wasn’t flirtatious enough. Knowing, after I got his response and my reaction, that I longed for so much more in his response. Even in all my progress (and there is a lot of progress), I still get reminders that I have a long way to go.

      So, for you, I remind you of your progress. You have had so much. Don’t ignore it. Don’t discount it. I’d call it progress simply not wanting this to happen again. You’re already trying to be proactive and think of ways of preventing this from happening again. You say, “how could I have slipped?” I think it’s that healing from these affairs takes a lot longer than we want or expect. So, when we feel a lot of healing (which is where you are), we trick ourselves into thinking we’re further along in our healing than is reality. I know that is the case for me. I know that because I feel strong at times, I think I’m more healed than I am and I can be surprised by how bad he can still make me feel (with a curt response). Recently, he and I were exchanging a little e-mail about music, and it led to him mentioning us a little and then I mentioned us a little (and some sadness tied to this music and us) and he didn’t respond. It was frustrating and sad. Here I open up a little bit (after he did), and nothing. And then I beat myself up for caring. I ask myself why I expected more. I ask myself why I still give him so much power to hurt me. But, I still do care. And that is honest. And it’s just going to take more time to get over. And I also remind myself that sometimes friends stop responding to e-mail for no reason (and we don’t get mad). And if he and I are going to be “just friends,” I can’t hold him to a higher standard than I would other friends. For now, I still am and it makes me hurt at times.

      You are progressing. You are moving on. And you miss him still. All of that can be true at the same time. But, try not to get in your head about his curt responses. Try to stick to your NC plan. And, don’t be surprised if he reaches out to you at some point, too. Be ready for it… but don’t expect it or hope for it. Hope, after the break-up, is the worst.

    • Lara

      Sophie YOU ARE NOT ALONE!! What you feeling now is the SHAME and this feels so awful. It causes me to binge on chocolate. It cause me great amounts of self-hatred and self-doubt.
      The curt answers he gave you feel like a smack in the face to a human as sensitive and evolved and compassionate person like you are!

      He is being his “same ole self” (we do not know why in fact) and I think your casual email behavior had maybe a somewhat deeper motivation to see if maybe somehow he changed? Maybe he is a kinder more decent human being now? Maybe he wants to say he is sorry to you? Instead SMACK. And you feel shame but HE acted out the curt behavior! “No contact” is not to punish us. It is to PROTECT us from more hurts.

      You say: “I messaged him for the heck of it, with an excuse in my head. How could I? After all these days and months of NC, how could I have slipped? How do I get over this?” You slipped because relapse is a very common symptom in addiction. He is HARD to get over entirely even if he is an ___hole. Believe me I know …look at me with the narc! His behavior and mine are so out of sync. So often! And yet….and yet…..

      FORGIVE YOURSELF. Seen a spiritual day cleansing yourself, getting back to yourself. Healing comes from admitting you are a flawed human being just like the rest of us and that you have needs and desires that sometimes seem like they are out of your control. Then try to ask yourself this:
      I( asked Felk) based on the Louise Hayes quote:

      “ADDICTIONS: Running away from self, Not facing the fear. Not knowing how to love the self.
      Affirmation: It is safe to look within for the answers I seek.” https://www.louisehay.com

      If these affairs are addictions as we say they are I think a good place for us all to begin might be: “What aspects of ourselves are we running from?” For me it is the running from intimacy. The need for an exit. Maybe you are running from something too? I might be helpful for us to understand our deepest motivations better. The ones we hide even from OURSELVES! Much love Lara xxxooo

    • Kub

      Sophie my dear
      It is sooo normal to do that, please do not be that harsh on yourself. You are a human with feelings, you have the right to collapse. Just realizing that this is not a forward step is really important. I think feeling this regret tells so much about you, and your place. If you have not got this far you would not even feel bad about what you did. You would care his reaction more than how you feel. So please stop beating yourself up.
      We all have done this, been there. But remember it is all in your hand, as long as you want to. Put this aside as lesson learned and whenever you have that kind of urge remember this feeling. I suggest you to write down how you felt, write for future you. And if you get a point that you want to communicate with you ex whatever the reason is, read what you have written. And remember these feelings. So you can decide more healthier if you want to communicate or not.
      My dear, it is never too late. Trust me you will feel bad- but not for long. At least not as how you were at the beginning.
      I believe that you can let it go easier now. I am not saying it is easy, please don’t get me wrong. But comparing yourself from the beginning I believe you will realize that you have made your way.

      And with deepest feelings from my heart I want to congratulate you. Feeling this bad about your action takes courage. I think first cut the communication, second write down your experience and third reward yourself. Realize how much you moved forward and reward yourself for this (i.e. I will reward myself with chocolate and most probably with a new pair of jeans).

      You are strong person. Do not forget that!

      • Sophie

        Kub. Thanks so much for the kind words. Lara, Felk, Nomad, big hug to you all. Thank you for the affirmation link, Lara. Feeling empowered and better. I’ll move on from that mistake – new day, new beginning. Honestly, I hope not to be so emotionally dependable on his reaction and yes I hope to assess deeper into understanding just why it happened. I want my healing to be 100 percent complete. I need to get to the bottom of this. Thanks so much for cheering me up and bringing back my confidence. Hugs to all.

    • Nomad

      Feel my hug and hear me out. It happens and it’s ok. You will be ok. Believe me. We’ve made this far and occasionally we will think that we have healed and let’s do a litmus test to check our progress of letting go and moving, so then we initiated, we could handle it, why not? Haven’t we lived each day and weaned then off? We wanted to find out if after long period of NC, we have detached and we are indifferent. Nothing about him could affect us. We are curious. The pain has faded. (maybe I shouldn’t say “we”, or is it just me)

      You are not alone. We tend to be forgetful and it was only when they delayed their response or gave us cold and curt response or anything mismatch to our expectations and made us feel rejected and desperate, only then we would wake up to the reality that nothing has changed. They have made their choice, forsaken us and moved on, and moved back to their family. It isn’t true that they have no time, no money, no mood, no love at home but the fact is, they don’t want the affair and they prefer inner peace than having to break into cold sweat or harm their family bliss. Practice acceptance that they do not want us. Doesn’t matter what they say. Internalize how they act. If he stopped giving you mixed signals or better still, stopped reaching out, then thank him for making things easier for you, thank him for being clear in his intention so that you can walk away without doubts and regrets. It sure hurts but we all know by now, we’ve passed the soul crushing phase. Remind yourself he has moved on, he doesn’t want us, it’s no longer negotiable as he has decided and could execute better than us. He has nothing to offer you. Stop finding excuses for him.

      For your case, it’s clear. If you are still suffering from the loss then it’s not the fault of his. We might feel stupid and wasted but let’s pick ourselves up, take deep breath, and accept the end of the relationship. Once you accept, you have no reason to reach out. Don’t throw away your self respect anymore. Resist any temptation and curiosity you must. Knowing anything about him will only cause us more pain, zero good so don’t rub salt to the wound.

      Be mindful. Be present. Keep going. We are getting to the end state of detachment and indifference sooner or later. Later if we still keep in contact no matter how minimal it is. It’s easier to be said than done but, the worst is over. We recognized it’s a fantasy and the healing process is slow and bumpy for an affair.

      Hope you are feeling better by now and I’m sorry for the late reply. Keep us posted ok?

      • Kub

        Hey Nomad,
        How are you? I am reading your comments and sense that you have gone so far from who used to be. Honest congrats to you 🙂
        You have written literally the same words that I keep saying to myself… But I want to know how are you really lately? How are you after this acceptance of end of this relationship, his choosing his family over you? Could you pick yourself up and realize that you are a strong and wonderful person? Could you heal at least some of your wounds?
        I hope you are, and I am sure you will.

        Waiting to hear from you,
        Take good care

  • Lara

    Felk,
    I am responding to your post below but am placing it here at the top of the page so we don’t have to keep scrolling down deeper and deeper. I LOVE your stage 0! It never occurred to me because I didn’t have one myself. My affair erupted in a matter of a days from complete stranger to lovers. You had a foreplay stage it sounds like! 🙂
    I wrote about the stages because yes I think many here will relate but of course I welcome all changes to my “scenario”. I am always writing from my own perspective but have learned a great deal and no two of us is identical in our personalities, reasons for the affairs, stages of the affairs etc. But I think there IS an OVERALL trend. Also You said the BLISS stage is stressful. I agree! It truly is. In BLISS we never know what is going to happen. Are our instincts about the person correct? Are our feelings going to get hurt? Does the other person care about us? IS this “the one” and so on. In other relationships I have had with non married people we also had this uneasy bliss stage. But with time spent together increasing all the time, the BLISS becomes more of a secure happiness stage eventually, no? I remember this with my husband for example. The Bliss lasted a couple for years but then settled down into a more stable happiness. That transition meant the relationship lost some of its “thrills” side but became something more stable and deeper. But the BLISS Stage is prolonged in any affair because the relationship can NOT settle down into stable happiness for the two people. I think this probably makes a huge difference to our brains, chemically speaking.

    It seems you and your exMM had a different trajectory during your affair, and your example has really taught me that our own personal trajectory in an affair is NOT necessarily the affair partner’s trajectory. I think this throws off our brains too. In a relationship that becomes more stable I think both people work at getting it to this stage. And both people benefit from the stability generally speaking. It is normal to feel more “bored” perhaps in the stable stage because now the relationship has become predictable. In an affair the two partners can not (because of the situation) work in unison to arrive at more stability for both people. This ends with more stress for one or both and someone’s brain not being happy 🙂
    I think while you might be right that all falling in love is addictive by nature and perhaps by natural design (!) to assure our survival as a species, I think the points I just made above mean the addictions are different. At least they were to me in my life. One is a short term addiction ending up in a more stable state. The other is the semi-permanent addiction of the semi-permanent oscillation stage ending with resolution nowhere. There is never any resolution of the oscillation because someone or both people are married and the affair can not become a real (complete/whole) relationship. The more extreme of the constant up and down, the more the brain gets used to it and the more the brain REALLY craves and needs the HIGHS in particular to stave off the lows. Think of anyone who has been a high stress UP/DOWN job or situation for some years and think about how they act and react to things that are normal. Aren’t they more jumpy and edgy to normal people? Maybe they are also having nightmares, and can’t sleep and are tried all the time and cant think straight? I think thats sort of what constant oscillation does to the brain. Like you said: ” maybe the highs are higher because there is so much anticipation that builds from having to wait to be together (and thus it triggers something more similar to addiction).” That, too, for sure.

    I agree that most break ups from most loved ones feel like HELL, in general. But I do think breaking up from an affair (for me and for many others) sounds like it is the worse thing ever. The brain crashes down without anymore feel good highs in the future it is so craving. You can hear it in the posters who have JUST left a married person. They describe the enormous difficulty involved and the crashing feelings and complete despair.
    You say: “I do believe you can build love in an affair. Love comes from the friendship and closeness that many affairs have. My affair had it. There is a closeness that I feel for my MM that I do not feel for most others. Is it love? Who knows? But, to me, it feels like love.” I don’t disagree with you here. My affair had the same. And I can hear other posters describe the quality of the interactions with their affair partners as so very intimate and close. Yup.
    You say:
    “And you know I know the stage of wishing desperately that you could be back in the affair to make the pain of the break-up go away. Early on in the break-up, I remember thinking about how I knew the affair was hard, but that it was definitely better than the pain of the break-up. That the difficulties in the affair were still better than the break-up pain. Now? I feel the same way. 🙂 Well, not exactly. ” Oh how I relate to your words! You are very honest. You are basically saying it still feels like the affair pain would be less than the break-up pain. I do not disagree with you but it has led me back so many times I think we can call me a “chronic relapser”. I have found that my premise was not true. The pain of being in the affair was NOT any better than the break up pain. Not for me after the oscillation began. So I never felt any better back in the affair. But I ALWAYS ALWAYS thought I would! :). Here too I think my behavior was addictive. Always going back for something you think (you desperately pray) will make you feel better but in fact makes you feel worse. That for me was a lot like alcohol.

    I do think your words are very honest: “But I still do want to be back with him. I still do think that the difficulties were worth the good. I’m sure that’s partially the high of the addiction, but it’s also just wanting those good times and that closeness with him.” I agree with you in all these points. But you haven’t actually “gone back yet”…you have not put your wish to the real test so you are still “guessing” in a way……
    What I mean is this: If and when and if you DO go back to your affair with the exMM, it will be quite interesting to hear what you say. It will be quite interesting to hear. What will you say this if he continues to waffle and oscillate with you forever? hmmmm
    You say: “For now, our friendship is good enough.” You seem to have found a moderate middle way no? I think this sounds great and more power to you if you can handle this. If your brain is happy with the middle I think this shows emotional maturity and less love/sex addiction.

    I think I said a while ago that trying to be “just friends” with my exMM always resulted in sexuality rearing its head. He would get a hard-on and try to hide it. I would get turned-on and try to hide it. We would try to hug. Then we had the “no hugs” stage. etc etc. We always went back to sex pretty quickly. So I have no illusions about me being able to do that with my exMM. But you and others might be different.

    I am now convinced we were BOTH co addicted in my particular affair. Co-Addicts. My exMM has never had a chemical addiction like drugs or alcohol. But I have. I recognize the addiction in both of us now. I never ever realized it til coming here and staying here and reading and learning. For me thats a whole lot of progress. But I DO need to understand my role better. Not his but MINE!

    My exMM is now trying the maximum efforts to get me back involved like saying he IS (probably is, lol) going to leave his marriage. Soon-ISH. But then again NO Promises. Now he tells me he is SURE That he IS unhappy and has been for years. In all 21 years he has never said this to me so directly (!) so I know he is desperate now to have me back. He is pulling out all the lines. But like I said he is an addict too just like me. And a narc too. He needs me back for many reasons but not because he is leaving his wife. It is complicated. But he needs me back because I paid a lot of attention to him and was helpful towards him. He needs that attention. And he needs it because he feels very depressed without it. Its kind off about me but then again it’s not. I am so glad I can see this now. It does not mean he will really every leave his wife or that we will ever really have a normal relationship. I can use my healing brain to see through that exaggeration for what it is now. I can understand he wants back into the never ending oscillation stage because he can not tolerate the lows of being broken up. I get it now. I am managing to mostly cleverly avoid him right now but he will be back. No doubt about it.
    Hugs Lara xx00

    • Felk

      Lara, really like what you say in your post. You have helped me think through so much of my own situation, even if our situations are a little different. Not only did my MM and I go through 8 months of should we/shouldn’t we, we also were building a friendship for a few years before that at work. It is so interesting to me to read that you and your MM started up so quickly. Despite the differences, there is still so much that’s similar in affairs.

      I agree with what you say about the bliss stage in an affair and normal relationship. There are similarities, but I think the bliss + stress is shorter in normal relationships. There’s always stress at the beginning of a relationship where you wonder how the other person feels about you, if this is a person you can have a long-term relationship with, why aren’t they texting me back, etc. But, in a normal relationship, it seems like you more quickly move from that stage to either ending the relationship or more comfortably continuing it and lowering the stress greatly. The more stable bliss that you describe. In an affair, the wondering and insecurity continues. Not to say that there aren’t people in “normal” relationships with a lot of continued stress and insecurity over time, but I would say that’s an unhealthy relationship (much like an affair).

      I think we are agreeing about the addiction/falling in love stuff. It seems similar in the beginning in all relationships, but then it is prolonged in affairs where that stage starts to become more calm and stable in normal/healthy relationships. And, yes, this is why I think more of an addiction is created in an affair (especially one that lasts a while) and why the break-up can be so hard. But, I’d say that the break-up can be as hard in a non-affair if the break-up occurs when the person is at the height of that “in love” stage. I’m sure we could hear from plenty of people who had devastating (as painful as we describe) break-ups in non-affair relationships. Now, maybe those relationships were unhealthy (co-dependent) or maybe the person is someone who doesn’t handle rejection well, but there are too many stories of people (especially men) reacting violently (against others or themselves) after a break-up for me to think that the pain we’ve described is exclusive to affairs. Again, I think the key is that a relationship is ending at the height of the addiction/in love. And we know that people in non-affair relationships can have addictive love as well. I’d expect that these are often toxic/abusive relationships, but I’ll also say that I’m sure there are people who feel horrible pain after a break-up in a healthy relationship. It just may be more likely in an affair because that in-love high is so prolonged and the lows of being apart are so much lower (than in a healthy relationship).

      You make a good point about how I have not gone back to the affair with my MM so it’s hard to know if it would be better than it is now. I think it depends on a few things. If we had gone back to the affair soon after the break-up, I think that would have been a mess. Because we would have been going back out of desperation to relieve the pain instead of because the issues/problems that led to the break-up were resolved. So, all the problems would have still been there. But, if we go back after months (or years) of thinking about the situation and deciding it’s better than not being together, I think that could be different. I’m not saying it will be great. It’s still an affair. There’s still a whole mess associated with that, but I think that decision can be different than going back out of desperation. Or all the same problems could still be there, and it could end up in the same mess as it did the first go-round.

      As for the friendship, I know the danger you speak of. I think it scares my MM quite a bit. I know he feels the attraction you describe when we’re together, and he tries very hard to control it. I think that’s why he goes MIA sometimes after we spend time together now. I saw him get distant after we had sex a few months ago post break-up, and I saw him get distant after we did some hand-holding a month ago. I think he knows that if he continues with that closeness, we will just end up back together and he’s trying to fight that. I don’t think we’re much different from you and your MM in that way. We can both feel that when we’re together. My MM is just better than I am at not acting on those feelings. But, I want to be back in the relationship and he doesn’t so it makes sense that he is restraining himself more.

      Your clarity in the end of what you wrote is so good. It really seems like you see the situation for what it is. It seems you understand your MM, and I’d agree with what you said about him not leaving his W and still wanting you there for him. He will come back. He will want to know you’re still there for him. He will try new tactics. And he will not leave his W. Are you also at the point where, even if he did leave his W, you know you don’t want him? I’m glad you’ve been able to avoid him for now. Hopefully, you will get to a point where you no longer try to avoid him… because it doesn’t matter at all if you see him.

      • Lara

        Felk I really like what you say as well.
        You say: “Despite the differences, there is still so much that’s similar in affairs.” I agree.
        I also agree that there are unhealthy relationships and/or marriages that mirror the oscillation dynamics of affairs. And that break-ups can be devastating in non-affairs too. Maybe I was talking from my one experience. My divorce was overall easier to deal with than all the break ups we have had in my affair. Those have been hell for me.
        But after my marriage broke up my ex H left the country never to return. That made it so much easier to heal! With my ex MM he is always “there”. This is part of my problem. How to deal with this? And I agree that non-affairs can be addictive as well. But another thing about affairs is this: there is never a proper closure because the relationship potential can never be totally reached. Ex Affair partners are left forever wondering whether they might have been fulfilled in a full time relationship with the affair partner. This leaves longings, no? Deep unresolved longings and yearnings? And so many questions?
        You say: “But, if we go back after months (or years) of thinking about the situation and deciding it’s better than not being together, I think that could be different.” I see you have too are yearning for more. Aren’t we all?? :). You say: “As for the friendship, I know the danger you speak of.” Yes the waffling affair partner will go MIA for awhile after contact together because they are waffling! It sounds like your affair partner has had a history of waffling from what you say: from the very beginning of your friendship turning into an affair to the later stages of your affair. But you are carrying the torch. He knows this of course and knows he can change his mind at any time. No doubt you do this deliberately. Perhaps you can do this without despair because you have a loving husband at home and you know you do not want to leave your marriage. I envy that position in some ways! But of course I am single (by choice) and unable to pull off such patience and generosity without getting agitated. And feelings abandoned and depressed. But a single person can have other boyfriends of course and stay in the affair. When I was young this is what I did. But I almost always carried the torch for my relationship with my affair partner above all others. But NOT always. I flipped and flopped to tell you the truth. Many times I shut the door completely on my affair partner and moved on solo.
        I think intimacy scares me frankly and for this reason an affair with a MM suits me in some ways. I also have a moment when all the love relationships I have ever had with men start to feel boring and confining to me and I want “out”. I have been looking at my astrology chart closely lately and frankly, my natal chart mirrors exactly what I am saying about myself in this regard. Check out Uranus in opposition to Venus :). It is summed up this way”. “Jumpy” in love. May fall in love very quickly and depart just as rapidly. Freedom loving. etc.” (Yes I do astrology charts too)
        But in making much progress in therapy and in my alcohol recovery I have gotten much more courageous in my relationships. Even with my mother and ex MM, the “narcs” in my life. I have sought more depth even with them. It is limited of course but I have pushed for it more. But, I always like having an exit from love relationships to tell you the truth, even with the MM. I especially I liked that in the past. I liked having the ability to live alone and make my own life decisions. But I am a contradiction too and I desire deep attachment. But I adore and protect my freedom too.

        You say: “It really seems like you see the situation for what it is.” Yes I think so. But I am always growing and changing too and no relationship is ever static. I think I do see more truth now than I ever have. You ask: “Are you also at the point where, even if he did leave his W, you know you don’t want him?” No I can not say that. But in some ways I pray he never leaves her as I don’t want to have to make that decision. This is a contradiction, I know. But it is my latest set of feelings about him. Logically I know: Why would I want a narc in my life full time? And why would I want a cheater in my life full time? (Really he is a long-term cheater/liar.). I know I have helped him lie and cheat. But, why would I want to have to face that reality in myself too?
        And wouldn’t this be quite a bit of baggage to carry into a full time relationship? My logic is taking over now that my addiction has calmed down. At the moment I really do not “crave” him or miss the “excitement” of being with him. I feel pretty neutral now. Factual and logical too.
        🙂
        Would I really want to be with him all the time? Right now that thought scares me. How could we actually have anything more than the electric sexual relationship we have? Yes we do have that chemical attraction that has lasted seemingly forever….but what about the REST? I really don’t know. I have some serious doubts it would work for long. And what about him and his thoughts?? He does not think as deeply as I do about these things for whatever reasons.

        Tonight I re-found a healing page by Lousie Hayes. Having fibromyalgia makes me look for solutions naturally. I found her words on “Addiction” as an ailment.
        “ADDICTIONS: Running away from self, Not facing the fear. Not knowing how to love the self.
        Affirmation: It is safe to look within for the answers I seek.” https://www.louisehay.com
        If these affairs are addictions as we say they are I think a good place for us all to begin might be: “What aspects of ourselves are we running from?” For me it is the running from intimacy. The need for an exit. The need to RUN sometimes. It is partly due to having a narc mother as I have said. I know this part. And partly my personality and natal chart etc. So I know this attracts me to my narc MM too. He is the “perfect person” for me in that I probably would never want to get really close to him. Or then again Would I? hmmmm But I have to ask myself: “How would I feel full time with such a person? And wouldn’t the likelihood be: MISERABLE? hmmmmmm. Anyhow so I am affirming this over and over today:
        “It is safe to look within for the answers I seek.” It really is. That’s all I have. Hugs Lara xxooo

        • Felk

          Lara, for me, too, this affair break-up has been much worse than any other break up I’ve had. But, I haven’t broken up in a comparable situation. The closest I’ve had is a break-up after dating a guy for a year (as my other long-term relationship break-ups were initiated by me). The break-up was mainly driven by him and I was still pretty into him, but I also knew that the relationship wasn’t going to work. So, it took me a month to get over. I was sad, but nowhere close to the devastation I felt after my MM told me he wanted to end our relationship. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out why this one was so much worse, and I think it’s everything we’ve said about the highs (and lows) across so many years. It’s how I was still on a “high” when we ended. My brain is dealing with an addiction. There is never proper closure, as you say. There is never an “answer” to those feelings you’re having. And it seems that’s why the feelings still linger now.

          And the feelings are lingering. It’s an interesting (not good) feeling. As I’ve said, it’s not the devastation of even four months ago. I have energy. I’m not distracted. I enjoy. But he’s constantly on my mind. And “constantly” is only a slight exaggeration. Of course, there are times I’m not thinking about him, but he’s mostly there all day. Just there. In the beginning of the break-up, that constant presence felt like a gaping hole. Now, it’s just a small hole, but it’s still there. I just always feel as if something is missing. Over time, will that hole go away completely? I still want that, but I have mixed feelings about that in the sense that it’s hard to imagine no longer feeling in love with him. I have enjoyed that feeling so much over the years.

          As I’ve also mentioned, I had an affair with a MM about 20 years ago. This was years before I was with my H. This relationship only lasted about 6 months (well, it lingered a little over the years as we saw each other here and there), but it had a pre-determined end. I knew he was moving out of state when our affair started. I was not married at the time, and, for me, that relationship ending was not devastating at all. I was a bit sad, but I never expected much from that relationship, not only given that it was an affair but because I knew he was leaving. However, for him, it was different. He stayed in love for a long time and had a lot of trouble going back to his marriage. My point is mostly that I’m not sure why those “highs” didn’t linger with me for longer. I really enjoyed that man and our affair for those six months. I never thought that I fell in love, though. I think, because of the pre-determined end, I kept myself from falling too hard. And, I think it’s because we never made it to Stage 2. We were in Stage 1 of mostly bliss for those 6 months. There was no oscillating from either one of us during that time.

          Like you, Lara, I crave independence. I would imagine that I cheat on partners because the affairs offer me a freedom. Relationships often become smothering to me. They offer me a freedom from my current relationship, and they offer me a freedom in that there is less attachment in an affair. It is ironic, though, right? To get “freedom” through more relationships? But, by having an affair, I create a distance with my H, and I like that distance. I am comfortable with less intimacy. And, in the affair, by definition, I cannot have that much intimacy. Sure, there are periods of great intimacy but then there are periods of distance. Wow, Lara, you’ve really got me onto something now. I always knew I liked independence and felt smothered in relationships, but I hadn’t really thought about how the affair helps provide distance (that I need) in my marriage. For my MM, he, too, likes independence and feels smothered in relationships. However, the two relationships eventually led him to feel more smothered than less. I think it’s because he felt more “trapped” in his marriage, though. I did not feel that way. I’m sure I felt more freedom to leave than he did (with two kids).

          Can I ask what you meant about “He knows this of course and knows he can change his mind at any time. No doubt you do this deliberately. Perhaps you can do this without despair because you have a loving husband at home and you know you do not want to leave your marriage.”? You know I took no offense to that at all. I like your insight, but I was just a little unclear on what you meant there. Are you saying that I can be more comfortable with my MM knowing he can come back at any time because I don’t want to leave my marriage? That it makes me feel less abandoned and depressed to “wait” for my MM (because I have a H)?

          I like your honesty with the question about whether or not you’d want to be with your MM if he left his W. It’s just another step in the recovery to get to that point, I think. Like you, I knew my MM would not be a better H than my current H. I knew I wouldn’t be as happy with him. But, yet, the longer I continued the affair, the more I considered leaving my H for my MM. Now? If my MM came to me tomorrow and asked me to leave my marriage for him, I’m pretty sure that’s a “no,” but notice I only say “pretty sure.” 🙂

          • Lara

            Felk I have only a min now but do me a favor: Look up what sign your NATAL Venus and your NATAL Mars are in and if possible what HOUSE! astro.com gives free access to this information of you open a free account and enter your information. Then you can even ask for a free interpretation on their forum. :). Or you can get a simple and very cheap natal chart at cafeastrology.com! L.

          • Lara

            Hi Felk
            I can answer now your question about this:
            You said: “Can I ask what you meant about “He knows this of course and knows he can change his mind at any time. No doubt you do this deliberately. Perhaps you can do this without despair because you have a loving husband at home and you know you do not want to leave your marriage.”?
            This is what I meant: You are leaving the door open to a renewed relationship deliberately because you are still hoping there will be a “second chapter” correct? If you had not wanted more contact with him, you would have avoided him and not made him feel welcome to return back. So you have chosen and have given him the space he needs and the green light if he needs to return without reprimanding him or having conflicts with him. And he knows you do not want to leave your H. Or have arguments with him that could make your work environment a nightmare. Thankfully yes you have an H and as you have said you do not want to leave him. Correct? Yes this would make thing a bit easier for you yes. And give you a bit of an advantage because you would be less emotionally invested in having only one outcome with your exMM?
            “Are you saying that I can be more comfortable with my MM knowing he can come back at any time because I don’t want to leave my marriage?” I had never even thought of that angle but now that you are saying this I can see why you would ask this. For me it would NOT make more feel more comfortable. The waiting would be hellish (for me at least). My jealousy and anger likely increase. But maybe the “hope” would offset it a bit. Like you already said “hope ” is a killer in affairs.
            And you asked “That it makes me feel less abandoned and depressed to “wait” for my MM (because I have an H?) Well, to ME, having a H that you do NOT want to leave makes your position much different than if you had no H like the one you do. But I am not sure of you feel that way? For me, the abandonment and depression is there either way but in fact maybe yes I WOULD feel a bit happier and less depressed if I was waiting on what I perceived as a chance to reunite.

            While I am very creative and artistic and book smart, with this affair situation I have always had a huge blind spot. I always took our relationship very seriously more so than I should have in all likelihood. I figured if he truly loves me than this is meant to be. This is destiny. If he always wants to forgive me, and always takes me back, then it’s “true love”. He is my “soulmate”. If he has never talked bad about me then he “loves” me. I figured if he truly “loves” me than this is “meant to be”. It was “destiny”. Thus I compelled myself to make this relationship work in the name of “love” as that seemed like the right thing to do, but is it really “LOVE”? And what about ME and MY feelings?

            Thank God/dess I have learned how addictive affairs are. And how the brain reacts to the lover like a drug. My brain chemicals got out of whack trying to “love” this man.
            Thank God/dess other women here have gone thru the same thing and its not just me.
            And thus:
            “Make the choice to let go of negative thoughts” 🙂
            Hugs Lara. xxx000

          • Felk

            Lara, to your first message, I’m really not familiar with astrology (and I don’t want to give my information to any of those websites). I tend towards science, so I don’t think those astrological interpretations would be very helpful to me. To your other message where you clarified your comments, yes, I am leaving myself open deliberately to the possibility of returning to our affair. To me, that feels honest. Throughout these months, of course, I’ve thought about telling him that I no longer wanted our relationship, but it always seemed like I would have been doing that to play games – to try to get him to want me because I was saying I didn’t want him. It wouldn’t have been honest. I still do want the affair so I prefer being open about that. I don’t like that it gives him more power/control. I don’t like if it makes me seem too available. I hope it doesn’t make me look pathetic. It doesn’t feel pathetic to still want this affair. Well, it does sometimes, but most of the time, it just feels honest. I have always liked to act consistently with my feelings. I don’t like to hide or lie (to myself). This is one of the reasons this break-up feels so hard. I’m constantly feeling in love with my MM without being able to express it. It is a contradiction that sits with me every day.

            I do want to get to the point where I don’t want the affair anymore, though. I don’t like wanting it still. I don’t like feeling in love and not being able to express that the way we used to. The straightest path for me, though, seems through honesty. I must put myself out there, and, if it is rejected, that would get me to closure faster than hiding my feelings and silently hoping or hiding my feelings and hoping they go away. So, you’re right that I haven’t reprimanded my MM for ending our relationship or for going MIA during the break-up. We haven’t really had arguments during this break-up. I have expressed to him how his mixed signals have been hard and how his distance at times has been hard. But, he is trying to stick to a “just friendship,” so it’s not like I can really fault him for being distant (and not responding with the frequency and closeness that we used to have).

            And, no, I don’t want to leave my H. However, I don’t feel that my marriage is any better than during the affair. I don’t feel that much has changed since the affair ended. If I’m still in love with my MM, how can it?

            I get what you’re saying about waiting being hellish and how you would not want to do that, but I’m not sure how not to. I don’t feel much anger. I also don’t feel much jealousy for his W. Sadness is the most common feeling. But I’d love to stop hoping. I’d love to stop waiting. How? I figure time is the main solution. I just have to let the feelings fade over time as we see and talk to each other less. Now, sure, I could go full NC with my MM. Our contact is pretty low, but I get that even low contact keeps the feelings and hope alive. I guess it’s still too painful for me to cut off contact entirely. Like you say, maybe it’s a little less depressing if I have hope of seeing and talking to him again? So, as it all slowly gets easier, I believe it will continue getting easier over time. I have always said that I know the progress is slower if we are still in contact, but that is something I continue to choose.

            And, while I would love to stop hoping, I guess I still feel there is reason to hope. I don’t usually hold onto relationships if I feel the other person doesn’t want the relationship. Sure, I might give a relationship a little bit of time, even if I’m getting some signals that the other person doesn’t seem as into it as I am, but generally I move on if the other doesn’t seem to want the relationship. I have never wanted to stay in a relationship where the other did not want me. With this relationship, I believe that my MM still wants me. Now, that may be true or it may be delusional wishful thinking on my part. If it’s delusional, hopefully that will be clear soon enough. If it’s true (which my MM has pretty much said many times), the problem is that him wanting me isn’t enough. For me, it is enough. I want you, you want me, let’s be together. And it keeps me holding on. But, for him, the threat of losing his marriage is stronger than his desire to be with me. So, even if he wants me, he wants to save his marriage more. That fact does not make me jealous. It just makes me confused. It makes me think that, if he is still in love, there is hope for us. The hardest thing for me to accept is knowing that we are both still in love and not acting on it.

  • Kev the married guy

    Kev …..Hello Ladies just stopping by to say hi……..March was the last time I posted something. Cant wait to give updates on my situation and want to say thanks for all the support…I feel like we are family

  • Kub

    Ps: he has found this website. I think he will probably read this writings, too 🙂 Because he is not a respectful person to other one’s privacy. Many times I asked him not to read my writings because I feel like he is reading my journal, but I know him. I know how much he can be against to boundaries. And he threatened me to expose my ugly face 🙂 As a joke of course. But if you are reading this one W, please stop. Stop doing this.

    Hello to all,
    It has been a while 🙂 In the meantime I was traveling ^^ This year I devoted myself to travel! I will use every opportunity as well.
    How about my emotions… Since day 1 I realize that I have moved on; not totally but comparing with old me, I have moved on a lot.
    Also he has, too. We both consumed whatever left between us. We were rude, mean, ruthless to each other. No kind of feeling can resist through these kind of behavior. I can’t do otherwise, I am pissed for a long time, there are lots of things that I hold in my mind and I can not act like everything is normal between us.
    No. Nothing is normal , nothing was normal. We became abusive people when we got together. It shows that this is something that should not go on, right?
    Anyway. There is this phase that we miss each other. But that we can not trust our thoughts and feelings. Because we are not in a stable phase. This is what is happening to us right now. We both do not want each other whereas we are still in love. And we have nothing but memories to hold on anymore.

    • Lara

      Kub, It goes without saying that your boundaries and need for privacy must be respected by the people in your life. It sounds like you need to re-set a boundary here. A healthy relationship between two people involves boundaries. Always. Between parent and child is the same. And friend to friend. Without boundaries we feel fear and anxiety not love. Love feels safe. Warm. Not fearful and anxious. In a good relationship, we feel the person has respect for us at our core. We feel safe. When the boundaries are not there the opposite is true. We feel scared. Any relationship without boundaries will not end well. It will always end in quarrels and power struggles between the two people. Boundaries create trust and respect. No one can tolerate boundaries being broken by others without feeling very badly about it. I urge you to seek counseling and this is a very common problem. You might even seek counseling together if he would agree. You both need it I think by what you are describing as your relationship dynamics. But above all you need to take care of YOU. This board can only go so far, as Felk always says.

      As you use the word love in your post above to describe your current relationship, I urge you to ask yourself these questions: “Is it love or is it oxytocin?” “Is it love or is it brain chemicals tricking you both?” There is so much info on the internet about the brain on drugs. Here is a good one I just found:

      “Oxytocin, the love/hate hormone
      https://www.brainhq.com/brain-resources/brain-facts-myths/brain-in-love

      “You may have heard of oxytocin, sometimes called the “love hormone.” Human and animal studies have shown that oxytocin plays a role in bonding; when released in your brain during certain types of human contact, it has the effect of bonding you to the other person involved. This makes a lot of sense, because oxytocin is known to be released when a woman is nursing her infant, when two people are hugging, and during sexual activity. It’s also thought to be involved in other corollary emotional responses of bonding, like trust-building and empathy. Some early research has suggested that oxytocin could be used therapeutically in people who suffer from disorders like autism or schizophrenia, which hinder bonding and positive relationship development. In studies, applying a dose of oxytocin via nasal spray showed promise in such patients.”

      “However, things are never as simple as they seem, and more recent research on oxytocin suggests a dark side to the so-called “love hormone.” While affecting positive behaviors of trust and bonding, it can also affect opposite behaviors like jealousy, envy, and suspicion. This would suggest that contrary to prior belief, oxytocin triggers and amplifies social feelings of all types, not just the positive, feel-good ones. In the words of researcher Simone Shamay-Tsoory of the University of Haifa, “…when the person’s association is positive, oxytocin bolsters pro-social behaviors; when the association is negative, the hormone increases negative sentiments”. According to psychologist Greg Norman, this shows that “oxytocin is not a love hormone; its effects vary in different people.” So maybe we should hold off on that nasal spray thing for the time being.”
      hugs, Lara

  • Hope

    Hi all 🙂
    Some of you might not know me, I was on the previous forum as Hope. I broke up with MM have lost count of how long ago! Which is a good thing I think 🙂 Hope everyone is doing well.
    Felk hope you are doing well and feeling lot better day by day. Lara, so glad to know that you are doing well again after your interaction with exMM.
    J I am so sorry that you are in so much pain, please take care and listen to the advice given by Felk, Sofie, Lara and others. You deserve so much happiness and love.
    I haven’t been on this forum for a while (which is a good thing I think for me). An update on me, I have been doing well. I haven’t been with exMM, didn’t give in and have sex when his wife was away months ago, am still holding my ground and trying to work on my marriage 🙂 I feel like doing a little happy dance thinking all this.
    Yes I still miss exMM, he was not only my lover but my best friend and my support. It was very difficult and still is at times but it’s getting better. For me it was difficult to feel whole most of last year because I felt lost without exMM. Suddenly I had all this free time in my day and didn’t know what to do! Felt like not many people wanted me or loved me. I was wrong. I have come to realise that my affair was segregating me from my friends and family. So decided to change and take small steps. I feel happier. My marriage is getting better. I have started to look at all the hard work my H puts into the house and family. Now my H is the first call I make when things go wrong. These are small things but they mean a lot to me.
    As to exMM we still talk randomly but it’s strictly just as friends. I still love him but don’t feel the gut wrenching pain anymore. I am capable to going through days not hearing from him and focusing on my life.
    Also I am pregnant again 🙂
    I miscarried last year, I was so stressed about my affair back then that I still blame myself for the miscarriage. God has been kind, feeling blessed to come so far. I hope my situation manages to give someone hope. Last year I felt I would never be able to smile or be happy but it changed, time does heal, it can be slow but it does heal. I try to find happiness in little things rather than focusing on losing my fantasy. I feel whole again, never thought it was possible. I am also studying further for more opportunities at work. I feel my life has just began and no matter what I am blessed to have what I have in life.
    Take care everyone. Hugs xxxx
    Hope 🙂

    • Lara

      Hi Hope! It is so nice to hear from you! I think it is great you can not remember how long its been since your break-up with the exMM. That is progress! And a new pregnancy! Wow, congratulations! I don’t blame you for not wanting to be on this board so much anymore. At your stage you have made so much progress and do not need the daily support anymore. And YES this page reminds us of the affair and of “HIM/HER” and can be ultimately detrimental perhaps for that reason! But healed people can also lead the way for others and you are a shining example of moving on after leaving an affair

      I am soooooo sorry to hear about miscarriage last year. That must have extremely traumatic. Do not blame yourself however! Yes the affair causes so much stress but there are plenty of other reasons for miscarriage than emotional stress. You can never know the exact cause unless the doctor gave you a reason. Now that you are pregnant PLEASE SEND ONLY THE HEALTHIEST VIBES TO YOUR UNBORN CHILD! Release the past and please forgive yourself for the affair! We are only human and we DO mistakes. We are only human not the HP. Sending so many hugs! xx00 Lara

      • Hope

        Hey Lara 🙂
        It’s so nice to hear from you too! Thank you so much for your wishes for the baby, you are so kind Lara! Thank you and thank you for your supportive words, they mean a lot to me. I feel like I am in touch with my long lost friend! 🙂
        So glad to know you are doing well too, I know how unsettling your interaction with ex mm can be so I am so glad that you are out of the vicious cycle of mind games. Have you heard from your new friend? Keep us posted please 🙂 how’s your health now? I wish and pray for your speedy recovery Lara.
        Sending you so many hugs and much love xoxo
        Hope 🙂

    • Sophie

      My gosh, Hope. Many congratulations on your bundle of joy who arrives soon. Stay blessed. I am so happy for you. Your story is touchwood like the perfect script that has a nice, happy ending. Like you, I miss my ex – we were not friends but I think I miss him because I long to be his friend- I think we would have been great friends but because he treated me badly and more importantly, because I allowed myself to be treated badly, I am no longer communicating with him. That said, it’s liberating not to wake up thinking of him in the morning first thing… only when I hear music, that I think of him. I imagine him listening to me… god knows why- he said he liked the fact that I sing so I suppose it spearheaded me in that direction. It’s good to have my marriage back, it’s good to have sanity and time back to focus on my personal life and professional too. And the focus on myself has been so nice. No idea what he’s doing and what he’s up to and super glad that I have him blocked on insta and on FB. Anyhow, really glad you are well. Hugs, and congrats again

      • Hope

        Hi Sophie,
        Thank you for the wishes. So sorry to hear that your ex mm treated you badly and good on you for realising it and putting a stop to it, you go girl! Yes missing ex mm is completely normal I think but as you said healing feels better, focusing on yourself feels so much better. Lara is absolutely mistakenly think that mm complete, make us feel whole or fill in what we are missing but that’s not true. Only we can complete ourselves, our happiness lies in our own hands.
        In past 3 and a half years of my affair I have spent countless moments comparing myself to the wife, feeling worthless, my self confidence took such a big hit. Only after breaking up did I realise I don’t need to feel bad, compete with her, I am not her, I am me and that’s pretty good too 🙂
        So glad to know that your marriage is going well and you are focusing on yourself, you deserve it. Yes it is liberating to be free from the ups and downs and I never thought I would say this but finally I feel happy again, happy to be me, happy in my own skin and away from insecurities. All the best to you. God bless.
        Hugs xx
        Hope 🙂

        • Thistooshallpass

          Hi Hope,
          I went through the same mental torture of comparing myself to the wife. Why is he choosing to spend his life with her? What does she have that I don’t possess? I felt unlovable, inferior, incomplete and every other insecurity known to man. I love what you said about completing ourselves. Before I started a romantic whatever with the mm I still had doubts and fears about relationships but my self-confidence was much higher. I felt more whole. My Dad told me that there’s nothing worse than being lonely with someone than being lonely on your own. I can absolutely attest to that truth with the affair. I most likely entered into it bc I was bored, lonely, etc. and I found someone I really liked. What drew me in (fear) was only substantiated by the affair.

          We all want to experience the rush of new love, budding romance and crackling chemistry with someone else. I truly believe that we’re all good people regardless of what the internet proclaims. What got us here is the afforementioned inherent need as human beings to connect on a deep, soulful level. We found that with an unavailable person and seized the opportunity.

          I’ve prayed a lot and practiced total acceptance of the circumstances. Plus, I remember that he is just one person and not the end all be all. We all will survive and thrive after everything is said and done.

  • Lois

    Hello everyone. Happy belated mother’s day. It’s been awhile so thought I’d give am update. After sending my email to MM, I kind of went off grid with everyone including here because I needed to really refocus on my life. I needed to shut my mind off on MM, so hope you understand. Anyway, I did well for awhile and made great progress. I realized that when life gets overwhelming that all of us respond to stress differently and so do our MM. I had a candid conversation with MM and think we both agreed that our situation is complicated. He admitted that he hurts as badly as me but hides it better. He said it starts building up on the inside of him whereas I hurt worse from the beginning and it gradually starts getting better. Unfortunately, we are not insync because by the time the hurt gets to him…I’m starting on the downhill side. I didn’t give in like in the past because I really wasn’t sure if I waneed to go back. Things heated up between and he really wanted to be with my sexually but didn’t cave to my desires. It was difficult and this lasted a couple of weeks. During this time we talked and things heated up a few times but was adamant my feelings should matter to him. I’m not sure the date about around first part of may we both had a bad day and things just happened…we caved to our desires. Since then. We’ve been together another time. The sex is great but there wil always be the uncertainty. My job changed so will only be there a couple days a week. Honestly, I’m not sure about things. We were together yesterday and today he said he was having a bad day. Immediately. I thought here we go again so I asked him. He said 10% guilt and 90% nothing to do with me. Next week he goes on vacation and then I’m out for awhile. There’s a pattern with him and told him so…he’s good with things for 4 yo 6 weeks then he starts letting it bother him…it’s another few weeks of up and down and then he decides it’s too overwhelimng and ends it. I think he was surprised that I’ve picked up on it. Anyway I don’t know what will happen before, during or after his vacation. I do know that this past time I managed to go longer and felt stronger than the time before last. I am not totally to the point of being done this time or wouldn’t have given in to my desires. I’m very cautious this time and taking things at a slower pace I will keep you updated. Thanks for always being my sounding board.

    • Lara

      Lois It is nice to hear from you! It sounds like you are getting better at communicating honestly with your MM and that is a big step forward! Of course as you say he has waffled in the past and probably will again. Do you ever waffle as well (like he does?) Or do you mostly create your space from him by controlling your desires and emotions when needed? I ask about the waffling as it does seem many of us women seem to be surer about our feelings than some of these men. I guess this would make sense as we really are wired differently. The goal for you (at least for now) would seem to be: to take good care of YOU and try to avoid getting into the kind of contact that leaves you devastated when he withdraws. (I know how easy this sounds on paper). The balancing act is a tough road for sure. The oxytocin involved (and other brain chemicals) ADORE contact and then always want more more more. I know it so well as I have lived it too! Take care. Warmly, Lara

      • Felk

        Lara, I like the questions you ask and I noticed the same thing in my affair. I waffled less. I was sure what I wanted, and I didn’t feel the “should I/shouldn’t I” debate throughout. Yes, the affair created all sorts of stress and tension, but that tension did not come from uncertainty in whether or not I should continue the affair. I was sure I wanted it. My MM had uncertainty throughout. He started out with strong uncertainty and then settled into mild uncertainty (and then in the last 9 months had strong uncertainty again). I’m not sure if we’re wired differently or if we have different social pressure on us as men and women, where men might feel more pressure to “provide” for a W and children. Or maybe it’s both, brain differences and different social expectations. Or maybe we just haven’t heard from women on this forum who feel the waffling more than their MM? Maybe our numbers are just too low and it just seems like women waffle less? I also know that men fall in love more quickly than women do, so it’s possible that our MM fall in love with us or feel stronger feelings faster and then they think they should leave their marriages and that creates a lot of tension for them that we’re not feeling? Maybe we’re better able to to “multitask” the emotions for separate relationships? I know that my MM started to wonder if he should leave his marriage about a year before I felt that, so maybe that creates greater guilt/tension for the MM earlier on? We also know that men are taught to handle feelings less well than women, so I can see why they may be more overwhelmed by these feelings than women are. And we also talk about them more. I had a friend throughout the affair who I could talk to. My MM had no one but me. It’s all interesting stuff.

        Your advice to Lois is similar to that which I gave her, too… take care of you. Honor your needs. And voice them. Do not be scared that it will end the affair. Because if asking for what you need ends the affair, it will spare you pain in the long run. Pain that we all know too well.

        As for me during the last 10 days of very little contact with my MM (because I was out of town), I’ll say that I’ve felt about the same. I still miss him. I still have times of sadness. I still wish we were us. But it doesn’t hurt like it used to.

        • Thistooshallpass

          Hi Felk,
          I always thought that two married individuals had a greater chance of success sustaining an external relationship bc they were on the same page. I don’t doubt that stress, tension, fear, anxiety, confusion came with the territory, but, you both entered into it on the same page. You love your spouses but you also love each other and no two relationships are alike. Both the spouse and significant other fulfill different needs. In my case I’m not married and thus I couldn’t totally relate to my mm. I wavered a lot more and initiated breakups 95% of the time although I always went back after short periods of no contact. My mm wanted to maintain the relationship indefinitely. I too had multiple people to confide in and my guy had no one. I kept returning bc he gave me the best sex of my life and I loved our chemistry and deep emotional connection. In the end and throughout most of our time I wanted so much more from him. Plus, I felt guilty and terrified of hurting other innocent people. It hasn’t been until this past month that I truly accepted and surrendered to the idea that it’ll NEVER go farther than an affair. Like you I still miss him but it doesn’t hurt like it used to even a month ago. I found out mine is going to be away for a month this summer. I don’t know anything about it except that I’ll have forced separation for a solid month. Surprisingly, when I heard through someone else it didn’t have the profound negative impact it used to have on me. I thought immediately how much I’ll miss him but no anger, jealousy, rage, sadness or other negative emotions accompanied the news. I’ve finally resigned and am hopeful about a new relationship with someone free. I’ll take your advice and take care of myself and honor my needs. To everyone out there who wants relief, start focusing your efforts on acceptance of the fact that affair partners rarely if ever end up together. If you are ok with the noncommittal fling so be it. If you’re unhappy and mostly miserable than start dating available men or focusing on your existing relationship. These affair partners are not everything. We were whole before they entered our life and will be whole after they leave our lives.

          • Felk

            Lara, like your MM, I wanted the affair to go on indefinitely. To me, that was the only “solution” to a situation where two people are not going to leave their marriages (and, even though I think he was closer to leaving his marriage than I was, how could he with two kids at home?) yet they are very in love. For a long time, he thought it was a reasonable solution, too. But, after several years, it became too much. The guilt of what he was doing to his W and, indirectly, to his kids. The guilt of not feeling “present” with his family. The misery of not being with the person you’re in love with and thinking of her with her H. He didn’t talk a lot about that part, but hearing what you all say on here (and from the few things he did say) I know he was jealous and hated the idea of me with my H. He also talked about the guilt of not being there for me as much as he wanted to be. Not being able to be a real partner in our relationship. I accepted that as a fact of the affair, but it really bothered him. He felt he wasn’t being a good H or a good boyfriend and it all weighed on him. For me, I knew I wasn’t being a good W, but I didn’t care. See those narc tendencies? I wanted my affair and damaging my marriage was a price I was wiling to pay. And it’s a price I’m still paying. I was also willing to risk being caught in my affair. Once in a while now, I do stop to remind myself about how ending the affair was better than being caught. The longer we continued, the more likely we were to get caught. And that would have likely been much worse than the bad I have felt after we ended. I did worry a little about the hurt that would cause my H. But, mainly, I think about how getting caught would have been terrible for me. But this is what we do in addiction, right? We are willing to take risks that we otherwise wouldn’t take. The addiction is powerful. For me it was all the things you say. The sex was great, our chemistry was (and still is) great, and our long talks for hours were great. We got along very well. And that was the problem. It couldn’t just be this casual fling. It got emotional and involved, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

            It’s good to hear that you weren’t as bothered by him going away for a month. Best of all, it doesn’t seem it’s because you know his marriage is bad and this vacation means nothing. It seems that it’s because you are slowly letting go of him for real. That’s powerful. And to hear that you’re hopeful about a relationship with someone new, now that is real progress. That really is great. I know you’re honest about how you’ll still miss him, but as you said in your other message to me, that is normal and understandable after we love deeply. We will miss people, but, slowly, we will miss them less.

            That last sentence you say is something I’ve been feeling lately. About being whole again. I want that. I felt that my MM occupied a big part of my life for many years, and I still feel that loss. But that hole is closing. I knew that months ago, and I continue to feel that. The hard part is being eager for feeling “whole” again. I do still beat myself up a bit for not being whole yet. But I know that doesn’t help me heal. What helps me heal is knowing that it was good we ended. He couldn’t do it anymore. And knowing that he really did (and does) love me. Sometimes, I get a little too caught up in that part, feeling that if he loved me as much as he said we should be together, but I remind myself it’s not that simple. Affairs rarely are.

          • Felk

            Hi Thistooshallpass, I just realized that I responded to your message the other day, thinking it was Lara. Everything I said is still true. 🙂

        • Lara

          Hi Felk, Nice to hear from you and I am so glad you got some time away too. I think the breaks always help. It sounds like you are still grieving but the pain is easier to take. When people we love pass away we never stop grieving them even though the initial shock wears away with time. I know the end of an affair is not as severe as an actual death, it IS still a death of a kind and we DO need to honor our need to feel the grief. And go through the grief. For example, I lost a dear great aunt a month ago today. It was not unexpected but honestly I miss her as much today as I did the week she passed. It is hard letting go. But I knew she was going to leave. So you go on missing your relationship you had with the MM. But of course.

          In terms of you, Lois, I forgot to add: if one chooses to stay in the affair after some flip flopping and break ups have occurred I have noticed this pattern based on my own experience: After that initial all bliss stage, the moments of bliss and the moments of despair oscillate quite predictably. Forever, after I am afraid. The state of semi-permanent oscillation. Forever. One affair partner goes up. The other one crashes down. Or you both go up and you both crash down in sync. Up and down. In sync. Not always in sync. Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. Sometimes no/yes. Very tiring. Exhausting. All of the time. No decision to break-up. No decision to leave the marriage/s. No workable plan to really be together. Like normal. To not hide. Affair hell. It never gets resolved. Then heaven. Then hell again.

          Maybe it is the love/hate hormone oxytocin that I posted to Kub. Maybe it is the reality of the situation and just how tenuous it is. But it DOES require one to be able to somehow weather those extremes. Superhuman strength. Hard on lovers for sure. Addicts like myself? Brain chemical lovers like me? I think I just might have loved it in fact. Gotten totally addicted in love. Sex. Then hated it. Then loved it some more….. then….a BAD combination for sure. Let’s face it, my personality with any mood-altering device is not a great combo. In that way I never waffle. I just might switch addictions.

          And I guess one man who is also a consistent non-waffler in away, now that I think about it is my very own exMM. The narc. He never actually waffles. Or very little. And he says never feels guilt or shame either. Scary thought. Lucky him! No rules apply to him. Naturally he never wants any affair (it feeds his ego too much) to end. But that is how he is wired too. As long as I am singing his praises he wants me back. Or as long as I am angry he wants me back. Or as long as I show emotion towards him. Or as long as I show him ANY emotion at all. Anything .Looking at him out of the side of my eye? Yes that counts. We are quite predictable in our respective roles.

          Did I tell you how we met? He stopped me on the sidewalk in a crowded neighborhood (mine) and asked me for help with something. Me the random stranger. How did he know? He knew. I am getting wise to my own predictability now. I am just as predictable in my nature as he is in his. I come off immediately as “friendly”. “helpful”. It is really not my nature to keep a straight face all the time. I smile a lot. “React” a lot. My face shows everything. An open damn book. My sons make fun of this trait. LOVINGLY. Dogs adore me. And young children. Even the shy ones. Especially the shy ones. I am gifted that way. I am the excited kindergarten teacher type of personality. (As an aside do you know how many early childhood teachers I know who also have creepy boyfriends or husbands?). It is because we see the best in people and we see the POTENTIAL in everyone. We see a way to HELP the other. (BTW I really DID have a very successful career teaching art to the very YOUNGEST children of all. I had nine month-olds painting on the wall!)

          I am the predictably kind and helpful person and he is the typical rigid, straight faced-type serious type who seemed (to my warped eye at the time) to be “more mature”. That is MY problem, not his. I am not immature at all. I just thought I was for a very long time because all the other narcs in my life had already told me so. And I stupidly believed them! No more. I am changing ladies. A LOT.

          I know I am making all of this sound very clinical and very black and white. It’s not quite so of course. There are nuances. Subtleties. It is not quite as obvious as it seems perhaps. But I get it now. I understand. It is as predictable as sunrise. And now I know I totally confused his consistency for love. And I totally fell in love. Head over heels. More than once. With a man who only exists in my very over-active imagination. My bad. Not his.

          To me the exMM was a stable, dashing, virile, bit so consistent and NON- WAFFLING. He was the “one”! My addictive nature made it all the more so! How I can dream! So if you all see me here a lot still on this blog it is NOT because I necessarily want to be. But I HAVE to be. This is my ground zero, my “REALITY” so to speak. The reality of affairs is here. The reality of narcs and empaths is here. The reality of addictions is here too. I desperately need to “keep coming back” as they say. Because I am the highly addictive artistic type who finds her way into trouble more than you might think if you met me and saw my smiling innocent looking and kind face! 🙂
          Now I know I have to remember this MYSELF. It really does not matter what anyone else thinks or knows here or anyplace else. I know. I need to know. And I need to REMEMBER. My sons know. My HP knows. But do I always listen? NOPE. But I am getting better at it!
          Hugs Lara xx00.

          • Thistooshallpass

            I’m transfixed on your second paragraph describing the oscillating nature of the beast. You described my relationship like you were living it and we all have. One is high, the other is low. When I’m good, he is not and vice versa. Sometimes we’re both depressed and every permutation possible from there. Too bad to stay and too good to leave… Someone just has to dive into the deepest part of the ocean head first and keep swimming to shore. No looking back. I can see how this definitely qualifies as a no contact proposition. I too keep coming back bc it helps to help others and to hear everyone’s story.

          • Lara

            Hi This too shall pass! Nice to hear from you!
            Thank you for your words! I hope they are helpful as you go through what is clearly a painful process. Now I even have more stages to add: LOL.
            To me this is what the affair looks like:
            Stage One: All bliss all the time.
            And we all get totally hooked! But of course! It feels sooooooo good. Exhausting? Yes but is forbidden and exciting and all new and passionate and intriguing. We cant get enough! The adrenaline is pumping and we feel such a high it takes away all tiredness and we can meet for sex at 3AM if needed! LOL. Days in a row!
            Stage Two: The oscillation (can go on for many years in my experience).
            The state of semi-permanent oscillation. Forever. One affair partner goes up. The other one crashes down. Or you both go up and you both crash down in sync. Up and down. In sync. Not always in sync. Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. Sometimes no/yes. Very tiring. Exhausting. Most of the time. The adrenaline is only there for the UP times. No adrenaline when you are going down. So actually we start ‘jonesing’ for more feel goods at this stage of our addiction. But we have zero idea we are so hooked in already. We think we are “in love” and HAVE TO HAVE that person ASAP! If we encounter any problem in the relationship, we just think the relationship needs some fixing and then we will feel better and everything will get back to the way it was. So we might try to make ourselves feel “better” by doing/handling the relationship DIFFERENTLY. Endlessly adjusting ourselves this way and that (most of us, I mean) to try to get the feel goods. If this does not work we might try to fix the other person a little bit. Or a LOT. LOL. We call it “love” but the brain chemicals are in a high state of arousal/denial mode at this stage. And they are in total control of us. Because every time we go down, our brain craves going back up. Even worse our partners are now stuck in this addiction too! They too don’t like going down just like we don’t like it. So they might head UP! And try to get back you UP so you can make them feel better two. And you both crave staying UP but you cant have it because this an affair, remember? And the reality is someone is married. Ooooppsssss. Now this is truly shared addiction. And the two of you share the impetus to keep yourselves both UP as much as possible but it can’t work for long. Because someone ALREADY HAS has a wife or husband and kids and has no time for a full relationship! Ooooopppppsssss. Did they forget to mention that? Did we forget to ask? Did we know and not care? And did proceed anyhow? Oppppsssss We changed our minds! And now we have two addicted people unable to tolerate too much time away from each other. Or someone going off on a damn vacation with a damn spouse! Or someone sleeping with a damn spouse! Now the problems start to multiply as reality sinks in. Rapidly.
            Stage Three: The break-up.
            You come to your senses. The decision to call it quits. Maybe try no contact. Maybe not. A little contact. A phone call or two. Once a week. Twice. Whatever. Maybe try to find a new guy/woman. Maybe not. Maybe try yoga, dieting, journaling, prayer and meditation, the gym, confession to a friend, watching scary movies, watching break-up movies, more journaling, poetry writing, counting days, counting more days, incessant time blogging LOL, incessant time trying to not think about it, trying knitting, Netflix binges, whatever it takes to make this horrific pain GO AWAY. None of it works for long.
            Side-note for anyone in recovery from addiction in this stage:
            Return to drinking or drugging after a long time sober? Yes I am sure there are recovered people who could relapse at this point. Be CAREFUL! Or pick up a new addiction? Cigarettes? Pot? Gambling? Shopping? Over/under-eating? Yes I am sure many people in recovery are very tempted to fall into any kind of other “safe” addiction they can find during this high stress period. Be CAREFUL! Me? I fell into a heavy sugar addiction trying to leave my affair. More than once.

            Second Thoughts After Breaking Up:
            We did not realize how bad this break-up was going to feel. No one told us this in advance because the affair was supposed to be a secret remember? No one said to us: “No more adrenaline.” for you or “No more feel goods.” or “You are going to feel like holy hell of hells when you break-up.” And our brains HATE us for trying to break up. We get anxious, depressed, edgie, moody, teary, unable to concentrate and all the rest. Or worse. It feels as bad as withdrawing from a drug at times. So what do we do????
            We often conclude (with our faulty brains) that going back to the affair is the better pain. The better option. “The pain was bad in the affair, yes, but at least we got some sex and love too, no?” This is what our brain now tells us. So we go back in. The pain is so bad we figure we might as well deal with the pain of being IN the affair than the pain of trying to get out. I threw my hands up in the hair many many times after swearing I was leaving my exMM. My reasoning was partly like this: better to go back into the affair than develop a eating disorder. HA!
            Probably many of us return to Stage Two for reprieve for the pain from the break-up, but we conveniently forget Stage Two the hell of the never-ending oscillation stage. We vaguely seem to remember this stage never gets any better but we are in too much pain to care. So we go back to never-ending Oscillation. This does us no good.

            Sooner or later we get so miserable there all over agin that we flip and go back to Break-Up Mode. Sometimes this is an short-lived switch: In my case sometimes in 24 hours! So we get ourselves back to Break-Up anyhow and you know what? Stage Three is painful as hell always but a little easier. Each time we go backwards we eventually go forwards again and Stage Three gets easier. And each time we out some time away from the EX married person we get to see that our brains DO INDEED start to heal. And when our brains start to heal we can start to evaluate the affair much more rationally. PHEW.

            We can ask ourselves many questions. We can ask ourselves if we thing we were truly happy with the married person? Yes or NO? If yes, then what is the plan? Does the married affair partner want to actually leave the marriage? Can they do it? Will they do it? Are we willing to go back to oscillation hell while they work out their stuff? Do we take complete distance and “wait” for them? And what about us? What do WE want? Have we been treated well? Do we actually see ourselves in a future with this married person? What have we given up in the affair that needs to be reclaimed?

            But the more time away from the situation the more the brain definitely heals! The pain gets much much easier to bear as the brain chemicals calm down.
            As time goes on it gets easier and easier. And we get control of our own lives back! And we do need to get that control of our lives and ourselves back. Because in the much of the affair many of us have LOST control of ourselves. Totally. For “love. But “Love” is not like really like this. “Love” is something else. Hugs Lara xxxooo

          • Felk

            Lara, I liked reading what you wrote. I’m sure many people on this site will see a lot of their situation in those stages. Can I add a stage zero before the bliss? A stage of should we/shouldn’t we? It’s still a pretty fun stage, but, for me, it came before the bliss. We had about 8 months of should we/shouldn’t we before we crossed physical lines. It’s flirtatious and mostly fun, but I also found it stressful not knowing what was going to happen. Then came the bliss (and more stress). For me, there was a lot of bliss over the first four years, but I’d say there was more bliss the longer our relationship went. So, for us, it was more oscillating in the beginning as my MM came to terms with what he was doing, as he tried to accept that he was having an affair. Once he really committed to it, things were better, but that came over time. But there was still oscillating. There were still so many difficult times as you try to navigate a really hard situation where you want to be with each other all the time and you can’t. In the last year, though, the real oscillating began for him as he felt the pull from his struggling marriage and wanting to maintain our affair.

            Now, for the “in love” stuff. No doubt, it’s like an addiction. But, I think that happens to everyone who falls in love. Not just in affairs. I think that’s what “in love” is. It’s the same reward system in the brain that is engaged in an addiction. So, my MM and I really fell in love, just as I have with other people. I think most people who break up when “in love” feel the horrible pain (and desperate desire to get back together) that we describe here. Maybe the difference in an affair is that the highs never calm down and go on longer? That system is constantly teased. And maybe the highs are higher because there is so much anticipation that builds from having to wait to be together (and thus it triggers something more similar to addiction). So, I think it’s the same “in love” mechanism in the brain, but I think it operates for much longer in an affair than in a “normal” relationship when you start to come down gradually from the high. I guess I think a lot of people who break up, in an affair or not, experience great pain and desperation for months after. Whether or not any one person “loves” their married other, though, probably depends on the relationship. I’m separating “love” from “in love” (as the brain does). This is more of the oxytocin/bonding stuff. I do believe you can build love in an affair. Love comes from the friendship and closeness that many affairs have. My affair had it. There is a closeness that I feel for my MM that I do not feel for most others. Is it love? Who knows? But, to me, it feels like love.

            And you know I know the stage of wishing desperately that you could be back in the affair to make the pain of the break-up go away. Early on in the break-up, I remember thinking about how I knew the affair was hard, but that it was definitely better than the pain of the break-up. That the difficulties in the affair were still better than the break-up pain. Now? I feel the same way. 🙂 Well, not exactly. Now, it’s not desperate. I don’t have the pain I had before. Not even close. I miss him, and I’m sad at times still, but there is no gaping hole, no nausea, no back pain, no difficulty falling asleep. But I still do want to be back with him. I still do think that the difficulties were worth the good. I’m sure that’s partially the high of the addiction, but it’s also just wanting those good times and that closeness with him. For now, our friendship is good enough. I’m glad to have it over having no contact with him. I saw him today, and it was a nice/friendly couple of hours, and, for now, I feel no pain that we’re apart. Just feel glad we have a friendship and feel some reassurance that we can make this work. I still don’t want to make it sound easy. I want more, but it’s getting closer to feeling okay that we cannot have more.

          • Felk

            Hi Lara, I had responded some of this to Thistooshallpass the other day, but it sounds like you both were with MM who were non-wafflers. So, maybe it’s not so simple as to say it’s the women who waffle less. It’s probably a mix, and we’ve heard stories from waffling and non-waffling women on here. There are probably many factors that go into whether or not someone waffles in these situations. What are your expectations at the beginning? Are you married also? If you’re married, how good is your marriage? Is your spouse noticing changes in your behavior? Do you have kids? How old are they? Does your personality tend towards guilt and empathy? Have you cheated in other relationships? For me, I did not waffle much because, from the beginning, I figured neither of us was going to leave our marriage, because my marriage was fine, because I do not tend towards guilt about my actions, and because I have cheated in the past. My MM, who also does not tend towards guilt and whose marriage was fine at the start, was more of a waffler for a few reasons. For one, he has kids. Kids still living at home and rather young. I think that can cause more waffling as you think about the impact on a spouse and on dependent children. With a spouse, you might be able to tell yourself that the person will find someone else if you leave them, but how do you leave dependent children? It’s one thing to make a choice that could potentially hurt an adult, but I think it’s another thing to make a choice that could potentially hurt children. Again, not judging those who have affairs who have children but just saying that I think the potential to hurt children can cause more waffling. I think my MM also waffled more because he started thinking about leaving his marriage sooner than I did, and I think he gave it serious consideration (more serious than I did). So, of course, that can lead to some waffling if you’re putting yourself in a position to choose between one relationship or the other. I didn’t do that. I thought I could maintain both relationships indefinitely. Sure, the longer the affair went, the more I considered leaving my marriage, but I wouldn’t say I was close to that decision. Finally, I think what led to more of his waffling was his W noticing more changes in his behavior than my H noticed. Whether it was because my MM was changing his behavior more or his W was more observant/vocal, I don’t know. But I know she said more to him, and that made him feel pressure and guilt. I am given a lot of space by my H (as I have always preferred, even pre-affair), and that gave me more freedom to have an affair than my MM.

            From everything I’ve read from people on here, most affairs seem to get to the point where a choice needs to be made. Whether it’s coming from one person or both people, it seems like people want certainty. And it seems like few people want an indefinite affair. Even if, at the beginning, you think you can do an affair indefinitely, it seems, over time, most people get to a point where it’s too hard. I wasn’t there yet. I felt I had commitment from my MM so I didn’t need more. Of course, I wanted more time from him and I hated our time apart, but I knew our circumstances prevented it so I didn’t dwell on that. I focused on the time we had together. It was not as easy for my MM. Eventually, he did dwell a lot on the time we didn’t have together (as we hear many write about here… all the agony from picturing your other with their spouse). I think that dwelling was impacting his marriage, and I still think he had difficulty having sex with his W (like physically being able to) although he never explicitly mentioned it to me (he hinted at it, though). And if you physically can’t have sex with your W, she’s going to notice and then you have to make a choice. If you continue the affair, you know you will continue to have obvious problems in your marriage, problems that you can’t hide as easily as I could (I didn’t want to have sex with my H but I was physically capable of it). In my situation, it was my MM needing certainty and closure. Needing to relieve the stress caused by two relationships by simply choosing one. (And, as he recently mentioned, of course he was going to choose his marriage given the investment there and the family and the friends and everything that goes with being with someone for a long time. I didn’t disagree.) For others here who are single, you want your married person to leave their spouse. You may start the affair not expecting it, but as the feelings grow, how could you not want it? It’s all understandable, but it does seem to eventually come down to a choice. As the married person, a choice between two relationships. As a single person, a choice between sticking around to see if the married person will leave their marriage or not. I’m sure there are some people who have affairs successfully for decades, where both people are generally content in the situation, but that seems more the exception than the rule.

            Like you, I noticed the oscillation in the ups and downs. It seems inevitable in most affairs. You have such bliss together and then how wouldn’t there be a “down” when you were forced apart? For me, the “downs” mainly came from him being less communicative than I would have wanted when we were apart. I’d miss him, and I’d feel insecure. And then we’d be together again and it would be wonderful. This roller coaster, as we’ve described it, is part of the stress and tension that make people choose one way or another. It’s hard to keep going through the emotional ups and downs. I won’t forget my MM telling me back in September when we were breaking up that our relationship had gotten unhealthy. He was right. I knew it. I was mentally and physically less healthy than five years prior.

            And, like you, I know I can make it sound clinical and simple. It’s not. But writing about it this way, helps me.

          • Kub

            Hey Lara

            Really good point outs in your post. I want to thank you. For being this honest. Because as long as a person that can be honest to own, can improve.
            During break up phase unfortunately yes, comparing both cases, suffering this misery or being in the relationship and suffering from its nature? Or after a while comparison of two options; trying go to get to know a whole new person which feels like exhausting nowadays or being in that vicious cycle but with the person that you know very well? I think this is like a comfort zone, and staying in that zone always feels safer.
            I think I know my weaknesses. But not 100 %. I think even if you know your weaknesses handling with them is really not easy. This is a phase. But definitely not a short one 🙂
            Also. Really, a relationship with a married person adrenaline is way more different being in a normal relationship. This is really triggering in an addiction way and that is makes this kind of relationship hard to give up on.
            Anyway.
            I am trying to move on. It is really hard. Luckily I have started t distinguish what I want and what I need. I love him, I would really want to be in a relationship with him. But I know this is not possible anymore. Because what we lived makes a relationship impossible anymore.
            I am trying to get out of my comfort zone in two types; breaking up with him and moving to another country. Both are really hard for me but I am 26 years old and I want to make sure that I experience the life in the limits.

            Thanks to everyone here!

    • Felk

      Hi Lois and all, I was out of town for a while hence my lack of posting recently, but I have been keeping up with all of your posts, and it sounds like we’re all just moving along as usual. Lois, it sounds like you and your MM are still going through it. Best advice is just to stay true to you and not to compromise your principles because you’re scared to lose the affair. Yes, it’s a complicated situation, but we can still demand good treatment from another person in a relationship. My MM mostly treated me well through our affair, but I wish I had stood up for myself a little more at the end (but the fear of him ending our relationship took over). I think the best way to prevent hurt is to stand up for yourself. Succumbing to the fear (and appeasing the other person) is a band-aid on the fear and doesn’t heal the wound. It makes us feel better temporarily because giving them control usually leads them to respond in a good way, but giving them control of the situation is exactly that. So, what really heals and prevents the hurt are strength and integrity. Act true to you, and don’t be afraid to ask for respect and kindness. So, hopefully you can have these things and the affair. Obviously, I think open communication is a big part of it, too, and it sounds like you and your MM keep talking about it all, which is good.

  • Lara

    Hello, how is everyone doing?? Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there. Today was blessed as my two sons took me out for a lovely lunch. Then they came over and we hung out for awhile. It was nice. Really nice. One might be moving to a place 6 hours away by car. Not the worst but I am having a lot of feelings about it! Still, I was thinking, it would give me an excuse to get out of here for part of the summer perhaps (and far away from my exMM) as I could maybe spend some time with them. I also will travel abroad this summer to see some of my family there, maybe with my elder son. So I am planning my summer. In the meantime things have been peaceful on my block. No sign of my exMM nor my new friend (the exH of a narc). I am in all kinds of treatment for my fibromyalgia and I am focusing on that right now. And my garden as soon as I feel better! I adore spring and summer. Hugs, Lara xxx000

    • Sophie

      Dear Lara, wishing you a very Happy Mother’s Day too. So happy you and the family had a good time. Keep shining, stay blessed. You’re our very own DIVA 🙂 hugs.

      • Lara

        Sophie you are the nicest woman with your beautiful comments. I DO so appreciate my sons and love spending time with them. My eldest is now starting to see women and act so much more normal! Hurrah. The mother of the exG and I have sent each other hearts on Facebook. I really miss her and her husband as they were in my life too for for many years. I asked my son if I might telephone her? And he said “no”. So I will respect his “no”. I understand. He needs time and distance. I hope you are well on your way to healing from your exMM. He was horrible in his words to you. I hope you have been mending and have been realizing that this is who HE is. NOT YOU! many hugs Lara xxx000

        • Sophie

          Really happy to know that your sons are doing well and you’re on the path of healing yourself. I love in another post you say, even if MMs were in our lives 24/7 we would still need to look after ourselves. It makes so much sense. Love the attitude. Thanks so much for checking on me – i’be been well. My marriage is working and so is my own spirit towards healing and positivity. I do miss my MM but I allow myself that indulgence sometimes – I don’t feel guilty about it, because I accept it’s okay to miss but not act foolishly on things – I “ration” out my missing him time 🙂 onlyin the evenings when I go for my twenty min walk, else I am succeeding without any effort. I have been putting my house in order as per KONMARI’s way (check it out) and feeling very organised generally. Work’s going well? How’s your art coming along Lara? When is the exhibition? Again, so glad I found you, felk, Kub, J and everyone else on this forum through Laurie. Thanks Laurie for how love blossoms 🙂 you all are god sent 🙂

          • Lara

            Sophie I realized from reading and re-reading the advice from Laurie above that yes now matter what we need our own deep spiritual base inside of us FIRST. Then we need to be able to love ourselves completely and naturally. Last comes loving someone else. It is so easy to imagine the MM would be easier on a full-time or long-term basis to love but that relationship would need just as much work and have the same ups and downs as any marriage or long-term relationship. We are fooling ourselves if we think otherwise. I do think my affair has taught me many things and the lessons sped up here listening to other women go through the same thing. As for the link you sent me, I found it on a doctor’s website I was on THIRTY years ago (!) when my fibromyalgia and immunes system problems began! Dr. Northrup was one of the very few doctors who had knowledge for my health! Can you imagine you are now sending me back to this same website? WOW. Synchronicity! Dr. Northrup always had so much wonderful information regarding wellness for women. My journey back into myself began way back then, in some ways, and always via my health symptoms.
            Now I look forward to read this Konmari book! Much love, Lara xx00

          • Felk

            Sophie, you sound so strong in your messages here. You’re honest about still missing your MM and you give yourself that time to miss him, but you’re also moving on and you don’t give him that much time. You focus yourself elsewhere. It’s so important to intentionally do that. And it’s great to hear that your marriage is getting better. We know this is not a simple process, but over time, we slowly get to more acceptance and move on.

    • Hope

      Hi Lara 🙂
      Happy Mother’s Day to you and all the lovely mothers on here. It’s beautiful that your 2 sons took you out 🙂 Also nice to know that you might be able to spend sometime away from home this summer, good break for you! It’s nice to read about your new friend, hope it all goes well 🙂
      Sorry to hear about you suffering from fibromyalgia Lara, I wish you the best of health and hope you recover soon xx. I haven’t been on this forum for a while so only found out now. Hope you continue smiling and that you don’t ever lose your sparkle 🙂
      Hugs,
      Hope xxx

      • Lara

        Hope I am finding with less energy put into the exMM I can take much better care of my health. I am a person who puts others first t0o much and must learn to stop!
        But in researching fibromyalgia and trying a whole new protocol I might never have tried I am seeing results! Can you believe it? They say only 10 per cent of people ever get better from this and now somehow I have put in my mind that I want to be in that 10 per cent. :). Hugs Lara

    • Kub

      Hey Lara

      I admired your enthusiasm. I wish it to last forever 🙂 Planning, taking care of yourself and also gardening… They are all really good things to hold on. I am happy for you that you reached at a point that you are literally happy, regardless what you have been through. I hope I can be at that point one day, right next to you.

      • Lara

        Kub, Even if these MM were to be in our life full-time we would STILL need to take care of ourselves. This is what I am realizing. They do not “complete” us. They are not the “missing link” in our “unwhole” selves. God created us WHOLE already! We do not need any person to “complete” us. So I am practicing being whole no matter my exMM does. You can do this too! Take care of your needs! Listen to your likes and dislikes! Get to know YOU and ask yourself: “What do I need?” Even if your MM were to somehow leave his W and join you, you would STILL need to be very strong and composed. In fact all the more so because he would be leaving a wife and family and that brings huge amounts of drama and stress. So please take care of YOU! And get to know yourself as much as you can! Hugs Lara xx00

      • Thistooshallpass

        You will Kub. Eventually it’ll click and you’ll be done. What are your lifelong goals? If you want a commitment it’s hard to open your heart to the right person when the wrong person is taking up space. I practice mantra meditation and repeat the following every morning, “I cleanse, release and free myself of the pain and burden of any unhealthy attachments to unavailable people”. I have a few others if you’re interested. While it may seem like pseudo psychology to state mantras they actually change your thought processes and impress positive ideas into your mind. Never underestimate the power of your mind. Your life is a reflection of your thoughts. Let go and let God.

        • Kub

          Hey thisshalltoopass

          I have just started to use mantras, but not like you. At least not yet 🙂 Do you really think that it works? I have read many times that it works but never tried on myself.
          I would be really glad if you share more.

          Thanks!

    • Sophie

      A very happy Mother’s Day to you Lara. So happy you had a wonderful time. May you continue to have a great time with your loved ones. Lots of love, Sophie

  • Kub

    Hello
    Losing someone does not mean only stop talking to him/her. It also includes losing the support. Losing a friend, losing some rituals, losing common places, common activities.
    Feelings… Will be over soon maybe. The pain, the misery. All the bad things will end soon with all the good things. All the torture that I suffer, all the pain that I caused.
    I just want to sleep. In long hours; to sleep. Be in a universe that I am all away from thinking these.

    • Lara

      Hi Kub,
      I hope you are feeling better than when you wrote this. I DO understand completely however! Losing a friend and all the rituals is huge. Break-ups of any kind are huge but especially so with an affair. We know by now the addiction plays a role. The brain chemicals hang on hang on, even when we want to let go and know we must let go. And move on. Please remember every door that shuts is one that opens. Every cloud has a silver lining. Because it is absolutely true! Hugs Lara xxx000

  • Lara

    A funny and sort of miraculous has happened to me. I have met another man dealing with a narc (his ex W) on my street.I mean I knew he was divorcing and I knew his exW was pregnant with a child by their MUCH younger male babysitter, but I did not know the whole story. Imagine my surprise to find out I am not alone dealing with a Narc on my block! It made me feel so great to share some of my insights about myself and narcs with him and to offer some suggestions. He is suffering immensely. She is a whirlwind in so many ways and I can understand what attracted him to her. But oh what pain he is in now. So I see how much we are not alone suffering in love situations. This is a universal struggle. Anyhow I have been trusting my HP to give me hope and strength and following Laurie’s advice to the best of my ability above. I am praying for clarity and strength. So far so good. My block feels differently to me already! hugs Lara xxx000

    • Felk

      Lara, any distraction from your MM is a good thing, and especially someone who is also dealing with a narc? We know how helpful it is to find people who are going through situations similar to your own. That’s why we’re all here. Affairs are lonely because of how quiet we have to keep them. And then when the affair ends, the main person who you talked to about your affair (your married other) is not there to talk to you anymore. I was just thinking about that this morning. About how there is just so much about the affair that I’d like to talk to my MM about. About how there was so much that was interesting about our relationship and affairs in general and, well, I can’t really talk about that with anyone but him. I guess, one of these days, we’ll be able to have conversations like that, but it’s kind of lonely right now. As I’ve said, I have one friend who knows about the affair and she’s been great listening to me about it over the years. But, because I know she doesn’t entirely approve or, rather, that she felt it was doomed from the beginning, there is only so far I can go with her before it becomes “I told you so.” And I don’t mean that as a knock on her. She’s been great. But, she hasn’t been in it, and from her perspective it was a risky situation that we knew we were getting into that ended up biting us in the butt and now we have to deal. And she’s right.

      I hope you’re able to talk to this man more. I know how helpful it can be to talk all of this through, and keep talking it through, and keep talking it through. 🙂

      • Lara

        Felk I totally agree that the period after an affair is lonely! We were in a secret relationship and when we break up no one can know how badly we really feel. To me it seems the same in a way as my suffering with fibromyalgia. I have had it for years but bottled it up inside of me with ALL my colleagues as I was afraid I might lose work or be seen as less than capable of doing my job. But lately I have been sharing my fibro pain with selective people at work, mostly those who have nothing to do with my hiring/firing etc. (I am rather self-employed).

        It feels so good to just be REAL about the fibro! I say this as I therefore know how good it would be to be able to feel REAL with my friend about my break-up from my affair. I have several friends that live close by and that know the exMM by sight or have eaten at his restaurant. I think they would be very supportive of me! But I am too afraid to open this can of worms. I am too afraid they might secretly judge me. Or tell me I am a complete idiot (lovingly, lol). Many of my closest friends are married women and I feel they might look down on me. But you know what? I’ll bet some of them might even be going through the same things in their own lives. Who knows? As we can see married women have affairs too! But in our society none of us dares to talk about this taboo subject in person with the others in our circles and so we have nowhere to take our pain and grief after the affair break-up. Yes of course the “I told you so” statements are all correct. But the truth is I already say that to myself! I don’t need someone else to remind me of what I already know. :). I DO need hugs and understanding and support to move beyond the exMM! To remember why he is not good for me.
        As for my new male friend on the block I do hope I talk to him again soon too! He is a person here who is on the creative side like me, and thus more “out of the box” (like me) than many people here. He is also nice looking! But alas he is also still very obsessed with his ex-wife and he is trying trying mightily to fall out of love with her I think. Hugs Lara xxx000

    • Thistooshallpass

      Hi Lara,
      Thanks for all the strong words of encouragement you’ve provided since I’ve been on this site. Today has been particularly painful for me. I took a friend into a chemo treatment and while it’s wonderful to be of service a lot of realities hit me hard. One of my friends who is like family has cancer. Work is so unpredictable I have about as much stability there as I do in an affair. I’m painfully lonely for romantic love even though I have friends and family that provide love and support. I undoubtedly have to move on from the mm and the grieving really kicked in today like a wave of darkness. I’ve been crying non-stop and I can’t grasp why I’m in such a state of bereavement. I did not expect this to catch up with me. I thought the logic would prevail and for the most part I’d feel empowered, relieved, excited to open a new book. Not even close at least not starting today….

      In the past whenever we made some flimsy attempt to end it he would come running back into my arms. I think I became addicted to the withdrawals followed by the rush of oxytocin when we came together. Now that reality is finally hitting him (i.e. I’m dating and actively seeking a real relationship) he can’t “handle it”. I think before I could always hang my hopes on a reunion and I know in my heart this is for real and the absolute best thing. Why is letting go so hard when hanging on is so painful? I’m used to leaning on him for emotional support and while he has been incredibly reliable when I need a shoulder to cry on, I think it just increases the bond. I’ve noticed that when I’m down he’s up and vice versa. If I’m feeling particularly needy he is cool and collected. When I’m feeling more indifferent he becomes needy.

      I don’t think either one of us are bad people. I was lonely and always felt an attraction. He was in a mid-life crisis with a woman he loves but isn’t attracted to anymore. He found me attractive. There you go… we’re off to the races. I guess it doesn’t matter how it started. We all have a similar start, middle and end. I feel too fragile to go through the grieving process but you must go through it to get out of it. How long will this take vs a normal relationship? I assume less since everything is significantly minimized in an affair thus the crumbs reference. I have incredible admiration for people that can walk away forever. Thanks all for your continued support. I hope that I can offer words of encouragement and support to others especially on days when you feel like I do.

      • Felk

        Thistooshallpass, I get what you’re saying about the relationship really feeling over this time. For me, I think the most painful moments come when I realize it’s over. I think there are times we trick ourselves by holding onto hope and those times feel better, but then reality hits again and we know it’s over. Thankfully, over time, that feels less bad. I don’t think there’s any easy answer to why you’re grieving and crying so much today except for the honesty that it’s just sad to lose a relationship that brought you a lot of happiness. I think it’s good to cry (sometimes) and allow ourselves to mourn the relationship. Obviously, there’s a point where the sadness is too great or going on too long and then I’d recommend professional help, but some period of mourning seems pretty normal. If he provided a lot of emotional support to you (which a lot of MM on here don’t seem to do), that’s another reason you’re feeling the loss. It isn’t just a physical attraction you’re losing, you’re losing a friend and part of your support system. That’s really hard.

        Your question about how long the process takes is one we all wish we had the answer to. The problem is that it varies for everyone depending on you as a person and depending on your relationship. Depending on how long it was, how close it was, how often you’re reminded of the person. And depending on you as a person… your coping skills, your ability to distract yourself, your support system, etc. I don’t think there’s any clear answer as to whether it takes more or less time than getting over a “normal” relationship. I think it just depends on the relationship in each case. I might argue that it takes longer to get over affairs, but I think it depends on how the affair ends just as it depends on how a normal relationship ends and it depends on how long the affair went on and how close two people got (just as in a normal relationship). I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it here, but I had an affair with a MM about 20 years ago. I had a boyfriend at the start of the affair, but for some of the affair I was single, too. That affair went on for about five months (when we lived in the same city) and then on and off for about three more years because we lived in different cities. I never expected him to leave his W, and that affair ended when I started dating my now-H. I can easily say that there was little mourning of that affair ending for me. Maybe it’s that we were in different cities and rarely saw each other (although we stayed in e-mail contact)? Maybe it was that I never expected him to leave his W? Most likely, it was that I was looking for a “normal” relationship once the affair went long distance. So, once I started dating my H, it just felt natural to end the affair. I know my MM mourned the loss of the affair, but he was in a different position. He was in a mediocre marriage and now had nothing else to look forward to. For me, I was starting a new relationship and my focus shifted. So, while I know you’re mourning the loss of your relationship with your MM, I do hope that you can get excited about the possibilities of finding someone new and a relationship with someone who can be with you fully. I think we can get quite attached to affairs, even if we don’t expect the married person to leave their spouse, because it’s so much constant excitement. It’s hard to tell our brain that is a fantasy and it’s not reality. But I genuinely believe that the excitement of possibilities with someone new can help you move on. I know you need to mourn the loss of a relationship you enjoyed, but you need distance between you and your MM and then you can open yourself up to new (and better) relationships. It doesn’t happen quickly, though. Don’t put pressure on yourself to get over him too fast. I think we all do that. We all want to just accept that it’s over and move on and that’s not how it works, unfortunately. I still long for the day that I wake up and “know” I’m over my MM, but that’s still far away for me (because we work together and are attempting a friendship). I’m on that path, though. For you, hopefully it will be a quicker path since you are not trying a friendship with your MM and because you have the option for new relationships (which I do not have, given that I’m married). And I don’t mean to make it sound “easy” for you because you get to have new relationships. I know none of it is easy no matter what our situation is. But please give yourself time to grieve, but keep reminding yourself of the logic (the good reasons your affair ended… it was too hard, it hurt you all the time, it hurt him to think you were dating other people, you want a real relationship with constant love and support).

      • Lara

        This Too Shall Pass, you are welcome for the support. I really think it helps me to help someone else. At least my often miserable experience can be put to some good use!
        You ask some great questions and make some profound statements! You write: “I’ve been crying non-stop and I can’t grasp why I’m in such a state of bereavement. I did not expect this to catch up with me. I thought the logic would prevail and for the most part I’d feel empowered, relieved, excited to open a new book. Not even close at least not starting today….”
        First of all feelings change and sometimes all in the span of a short time period. So hold on. This too shall pass! I mean to use the slogan you have named yourself after first of all. As for me logic has rarely applied when I am truly in love with someone. I am all emotional drama for awhile. Then it passes. I have to wait for the storm to pass. But it takes whatever time it takes. Logic is helpful but does not take away the pain (for me personally). If you are grieving you must allow yourself to do so. And as for opening a new chapter in your life don’t underestimate how hard that can be for some of us. It involves risking to put ourselves out there to get hurt or rejected all over again and that is NOT easy as a single person. Letting go of the old affair to embrace a new UNKNOWN future relationship takes courage!
        I for one and not into rushing into a new relationship but I am older and wiser now. In the past I used to do that and feel better for while. But unless you really learn whatever lesson you needed to learn in the affair well FIRST you are likely to repeat the same mistake! In my case that would mean falling for another narcissistic personality. Or very large personality. That is my MO. Not a healthy one. So we have to change ourselves to attract someone and something that is wiser and more stable. That change in ourselves takes work.
        I have watched my 30 year old son cope with a 12 year relationship break up (and he works partly with his ex-gf and it took him time. For many months he stayed alone with himself. As a parent it was interesting to watch. I myself always wanted the quick way out of the pain of love but he is wiser than I am. It makes me so happy he is that way.

        As for the pain and greed you feel right now, remember that pain and suffering will always make you wiser and stronger in the long term. As we move through various painful events in our lives we learn to let go and let God/HP. Remember “trust” the process? Yeah that applies here too. :). Finally a word to you: I can sense how tortured you are by the thought of your ex MM’s wife. I REALLY relate! So much. I get how much it hurts that these men go on to their married partners and we are left alone and how it seems so unfair! So when you ask: “Why is letting go so hard when hanging on is so painful?” I think the answer is that either way in an affair: whether you are IN IT or whether you re trying to LEAVE IT, one is always haunted by the rejection of a supposedly “beloved” person to a third party we barely know. It feels like a a betrayal by the affair partner even tho we knew they were “married’. Unless you went into the affair already knowing the MM would never leave the marriage and you accepted that, then you feel kind of duped and jilted on top of the grief and loss. That’s a lot of emotions to feel. And if you have been rejected or abandoned in the past, especially in childhood when the wound never seems to completely heal, the “leaving the affair” wakes up in us all kinds of deeply felt but maybe unconscious feelings of insecurity, shame, guilt, abandonment, unlovability, and on and on and on. So we are dealing with much more than we might in a “normal” break up and we might be shocked by the intensity of it all. Feel your feelings. Don’t try to push them away. And feel the sense of anger and betrayal as well as the loss and grief. Don’t sugarcoat your feelings to yourself. That is my best advice to you. And trust that this is all happening for a reason and in every cloud there is always a silver lining! hugs Lara. xxx000

        • Thistooshallpass

          Thanks Felk and Lara. I’ve been praying and meditating on letting go and moving on. I also did an exercise to examine our personalities and identify where we compliment each other and and where we’re incompatible. If I’m brutally honest the odds are that as a real couple we’d love hard and fight even harder. Healthy relationships are stable entities without all of the drama. Additionally, I mapped out all of the plausible scenarios between us and no path leads us to a blissful, peaceful existence together. So… that has really helped me to frame my expectations and embrace the fact that we’re just not right together. The biggest determinant of compatibility is availability and that box is not checked. Perhaps if you two feel stuck you can attempt to dig a little deeper and find some salvation. I’m not trying to trick myself. I feel like I had a eureka moment of our glaring differences.

          Still, I suppose I can expect my emotions to overrule any practicality I’ve outlined above. Some days are ok and others feel so fragile. It’s crazy how we can mourn the disappointment of someone or something not being what we wanted/hoped. Frankly, I wish the universe would put an incredible man (soulmate) in my life in the near future to avoid any grief. That is not how it works and not ideal for anyone. Man’s rejection is God’s protection. I say that numerous times to reinforce the fact that it’s not about my will. Often what seems like a loss is an even bigger gain in the long run. Hugs

  • J

    Ladies,
    I’m really hurting now. Mm and I had a huge fight. It occurred after he went to dinner with his W. He told me how she mentioned in the morning that she had a great time. This sounds absolutely crazy to me. I’m supposed to believe they are going out to be friendly, and she’s telling him this? It makes no sense to me, what wife would behave like this if their husband said I’m leaving you? I questioned him and he said he can’t take my accusations anymore. They also then went to their grown adult daughters event together, in which he originally said they wouldn’t go together, he told her to meet him at the gym, where I was. So I was supposed to run off right before she arrived. I said I’m leaving now, I’m not going to be humiliated in front of everyone who sees us working out together. He blew up and swore at me loudly in the gym. Tried speaking to me later on but I ignored him. He was still mad at me saying he’s sick of me making him out to be a liar. Then this morning he continued saying he’s sick of it too. I said that’s fine let’s just end things. He said it’s your choice. I asked him to call me, he said maybe later and then a min later said he had cooled down and he’d call now. I ignored him and I haven’t heard from him all morning now. I feel like he just dismissed me again. Am I wrong? Am I acting crazy? Is he manipulating me again. Is it wrong to keep doubting him?

    • Sophie

      J, I hope that you find self confidence, gradually but surely. Don’t be dependent on his reaction for your actions. Don’t measure your actions based on how he reacts. He is struggling but the thing is he is confused . He’s always been confused. And you are emotionally dependent on him and want him to validate every move you make in your life. You have to be okay with the pain of him going away forever from your life; you have to be okay with the idea that you will not have this unhealthy relationship forever. Please move on from this damaging place – it’s not easy but don’t go back to doubting yourself and your emotions and your actions s simply because he responds differently. Please take care.

      • Lara

        J this situation is toxic emotionally and I truly believe you need to get out! I am sorry to be so blunt. I speak from my experience with my exMM, the narc. You have heard and read me I am sure. We are extra drawn in by the push-pull drama of these situations. See the link I sent in a post to Felk. These situations literally affect our brain chemistry. But you must find a way out to keep yourself emotionally and psychologically healthy. That means getting out of this. Try 30 days if you like. No contact. Just remove yourself for awhile. You are not alone in the struggle to stay OUT. You can read my story and others. But we must! It is good self-care, and we MUST take care of ourselves! Hugs, Lara xoxo

        • Lara

          J I see how my strong my words were and I apologize if they were too strong. They came from my gut instinct. However you might not be ready for the step I proposed. Please listen to Sophie and Felk. And has for my newest free advice here it is: Take some NC time away from him for a set number of days maybe like Kub is doing. 30 days? A period of “YOU” time. Get to re-acquaint yourself with yourself. Then see how you feel.

          Yes I agree with Sophie and Felk that your MM is undoubtedly confused. But as a divorced person I do NOT think he is acting normally with a woman he is divorcing. At all. Like I said in an earlier post, it is simply not possible to be that “nice” to her at this stage and her back to him. Either he is lying to you or something else is going on. He could even be getting some kind of “revenge” for you having had that other man in your life and announcing to him that you did not want him anymore. I am not sure. It almost does not matter. IMHO this man is playing some serious games. And him erupting at you in public (at the gym) is NOT COOL. I hope you find some solace here and support and that you can move yourself towards more peace. Hugs Lara xxx000

    • Felk

      J, Sophie gives good advice. You know we’re not trying to be harsh, but you do seem too emotionally dependent on his every move. Every new story from him breaks your heart. So, I ask very kindly, why do you keep letting him do this to you? You seem miserable waiting every day for him to give you some new sign that he is leaving his W, but all he seems to give you are signs that he’s finding it hard to leave her. As Sophie says, he’s understandably confused and hurting, too. If he is considering leaving a long-term marriage, of course he’s struggling. I understand he is frustrated by your accusations and maybe he is honestly trying to leave his W, but the problem is that you don’t trust him. If you don’t trust him, how can you have a relationship? I see that both of you love deeply and fight deeply, but the fighting deeply part leads to a lot of emotional damage as you’re both experiencing. He’s mad and you’re mad, and how is that any start to a relationship? We can make the mistake of romanticizing these fights by saying that “every couple fights” and “we fight hard because we’re so passionate for each other.” While, of course, every couple fights, we can trick ourselves into thinking that these blow-ups are normal and they’re not. If he is at the point where he’s yelling at you in public and humiliating you, you know that is a problem. And how many times have you threatened to end your relationship over the last month? I would imagine he knows the threats are meaningless now, so why would he leave his W? You are not wrong to keep doubting him. I know you are in love and I know you want to be with him so you keep waiting for him to leave his W, but how much more can you take? He is punishing you now and not calling you back right away, and then later you will punish him and not talk to him for some amount of time until he begs for your forgiveness. And that will make you feel good, but for how long? How long until you feel broken again? I still think you need to give him some time and distance to leave and if he doesn’t leave, then you have your answer as to whether or not you can trust him to leave his W.

  • Kub

    Hello,

    Greetings from a late hour from my country. However not late for bad feelings.
    You might think, is this the same person who keeps telling that everything is fine? Well. I hope that you can understand me the best. All this rollarcoster style feeling changes… Exhausting.
    I have haunted by the date that my MM and his wife are going to a vacation in a month! Yeiyy! Look, how pathetic is this woman?! Literally, how much? How much pathetic am I ? What kind of selfdestructive system is this love? Why I can not make things turn around when this love is based on wrong person due to his condition?
    Whatever. I keep traveling. Meeting with my friends. Keeping myself busy. I am seriously committed to this. Committed to myself. We have seen each other and decided two give each other 2 uncut months. That means no contact at all. In the meantime we will think and go thorugh everything in an unbiased phase. After that we will decide that what we want.
    Of course some of you will have a smile on the face when I type the word ‘unbiased’. Because he won’t be in an unbiased situation, for the God’s sake he is married. He is an unbiased material at home, in bed, right next to him every single day 🙂 Now even I smile 🙂
    Okay. Calm down Kub.
    Well. I have lots to think about. But mainly I give this single andfree 2 months to me. I especially put a border on dating. I told him that, too. I really don’t want to see someone because I know that I am not ready. Not seeing someone is not for him, it is for me. Because if I let someone in my life I know it won’t end nice. I probably make the guy uncomfortable then I feel uncomfortable then bla bla bla. It won’t be nice.
    Also I always liked the times that I am sinle and all about me. I think a woman make a great progress in this kind of times. So on one side investing on my life, on other side letting him go. Comparing them… Me weights more. Anymore, at least. Even we tried to hold on so bad, it didn’t worked.
    Also I told him that I want to give a chance to a person who is available for me. For moving in together, being seen in public, a person that I can share photos together on Instagram. To be specific –> a person who is single. And I mean it. Before him, marrying or depending on a man was making me feel frightened. Not anymore. I saw myself as I want to have a life with someone that I can count on and I love.
    Anyway chicas. He is going to the vacation. Such a hyprocrat but he is. He has gone to the vacations with me now with his wife.
    But it is okay because we are apart anymore.
    Right?

    • Thistooshallpass

      Hi Kub,
      When my mm goes on extravagant vacations with his wife a part of me dies inside. They go on lavish holidays traveling across the world for weeks and I know as summer approaches he has travel plans. He hasn’t told me what or when but they must be around the corner. I totally feel your pain and respect what you’re doing for the two month no contact period. Sounds like you are on the right track to detaching. Detachment, indifference is the destiny right. The mm have a way of bringing us to our knees and immobilizing our life. I’ve literally turned into a zombie after our interactions bc it invoked such powerful negative emotions. Yes, his wife is the public figurehead so to speak but it’s a masquerade. You will have a relationship with a wonderful, available man that is committed to you and interested in sustaining the romance. These marriages have mostly died as far as I can see but they don’t have the guts to go through the pain of parting ways. Remind yourself that most men choose stability, comfort, familiarity, safety and easy path over happiness. Please keep us posted on your progress. I find that with distance my anxiety is always reduced. You’ll miss him but the mania of the relationship will dissipate.

      • Felk

        Thistooshallpass, your words “Remind yourself that most men choose stability, comfort, familiarity, safety and easy path over happiness.” really resonated with me this morning. I just had a conversation with my MM last week where he described it as “the path of least resistance.” He spoke of comfort and familiarity, and actually said that he thought it was okay to settle (for less than he had with me). So, I emphasize your words that married people are unlikely to leave their spouses in an affair. Do not hold out hope that the other will leave their spouse. Always expect your MM to put his W and family first. The thing is, I understand this choice. I didn’t want to leave my H either. It wasn’t exactly because it was easier; it was because I thought my life with my H was better and that he makes a better relationship partner than my MM would (if we were to really be in a “normal” relationship). I didn’t want to leave my H, but I wanted to continue the affair. For my MM, it came down to a choice. He couldn’t handle the tension and burden of the affair anymore so he had to choose between me and the affair. And, yes, he chose comfort and familiarity, but I wouldn’t exactly say that he chose that over happiness. That’s not fair, right? He is choosing a different kind of happiness. It makes him happy to stick with his marriage and family. Yes, in an “ideal” world, he’d just get to abandon his W and kids (or as he said, “do what he wants”), but my MM kept saying, “You don’t always get to do what you want.” That’s not how it works. And he’s right. We don’t just get to do what we want without a lot of consequences to people we care about and we have to factor that in when we’re making decisions. And, as married people having affairs, we “want” multiple things. We want our marriage and we want our affair partner. We want something that society doesn’t approve of or make easy and thus there is a lot of tension and difficulty, so no wonder the affair usually breaks down. We hear our MM paint pictures of boring or unhappy marriages (although my MM didn’t really do that… he seemed content with his W even if he thought he’d be happier with me), but I think part of that is that they’re trying to make us feel better and say things we want to hear and I also think that happiness isn’t the only factor that people take into account when deciding to divorce. Investment is a big part of that calculation and many people will stay in mediocre marriages because the investment is so high (financial, family, friends, children, etc.) and the costs of divorce are too great.

        I know I talk a good rational game above and I believe all I say, but I also feel hurt and sad that my MM wasn’t willing to continue our affair despite the difficulties. I know his reasons. I respect his reasons. But I still miss him and us. However, the reasons really do help me move on. And hopefully they help us all move on.

        • Thistooshallpass

          Hi Felk,
          Everything you explained helps propel me forward and reconcile the “why” in my head. Emotions often defy logic but it’s something to fall back on when you feel broken inside about it. Relationships are convoluted as it is. Introduce a third party and the subject matter becomes even more grey. I think humans can love their spouse and have romantic feelings for another person. The financial, emotional and mental burden of a divorce is much greater than the pay off of starting a new relationship with someone fresh. I can totally see why folks stay put and honor the commitment. I will put out good vibes to the universe for my mm and also pray for my recovery. I just want to move on and feel no emotional attachment with him. I can deal with the physical attraction but the emotional component is painful to say the least. Thanks for shedding some light from a married person’s perspective. I hope you are on the road to feeling better as well. An ending hurts regardless if all of the reasons are perfectly rational. A loss is a loss and we must grieve to get to the other side.

          • Felk

            Thistooshallpass, there is so much familiar in your words again. The ending hurts no matter what. We do need to grieve. We are grieving. It’s been an interesting experience for me because I’ve never grieved like this before. Not for a relationship and not for a lost loved one. But even though we’re hurting, the logic helps to fall back on. It continues to help me. There’s all sorts of logic that I’ve used effectively in this break up: we needed to end because the affair was hurting him too much; it’s good we ended because it would have been way worse to get caught by our spouses (or our bosses); he is still in love with me and will be for a long time; he is not suddenly madly in love with his W; he misses me as much as I miss him. Any particular words of logic that have worked for you in your situation? Thinking rationally about it all does help ease some of the extra painful thoughts (like, “he doesn’t miss me anymore”), the thoughts that are irrational but creep in. The worst for me has been worrying about him getting with some other woman at work. And there’s no reason to suspect he is or would. But, every once in a while, I let those thoughts creep in, like if he’s away from his office for a few hours, I think, “Is he at lunch with another female coworker?” And, with no evidence, I ruminate on it and it can make me miserable. But, that’s when the logic is so helpful. I remind myself of how, just last week, he told me he was still in love with me. Of how he tells me that it still hurts him every day that we’re not together. And I remind myself of how he meant it when he ended us to be with his family. He is not seeking another affair.

            I know your words “I just want to move on and feel no emotional attachment with him.” How many times have I thought that over these months? But how many times have I also thought about how sad it would be to not feel any emotional attachment with him? It’s such a complicated thing for me. I liked our love so much that it’s odd to lose those feelings or to want to lose those feelings. But, so often, like you, I want those feelings gone. Mostly, what I know is that I don’t want this in between. I don’t want the feelings without the relationship. And that’s where most of us are now. It’s a hard place to be. So, yes, like you, I hope these feelings go away.

      • Kub

        Hello Thistooshallpass

        Thank you for sharing. I think you understood what I was trying to describe. In my case since we work in same place I could not extend my social network because we could not participate into the society together so we both stayed away from our environment.
        Now I am trying to close the distance with people around me.
        Actually I think what I am most jealous of is that they have someone in their daily basis that they can go travel, advise for everything etc. I mean sharing the life, this is what I envy. For example I am trying to find some people around me to convince to do something together. This is breaking my heart. Not doing the things I want to do with him, instead doing with some other people. It literally hurts.
        Nevertheless there is nothing to do.
        Yes you are right men’s choices ideology pisses me off. But honestly I am not sure what would I do if I were him.

        See you!

        • Thistooshallpass

          Hi Kub,

          Mine too is at work and he is my boss…. YAY Actually from a work perspective we compliment each other well and I respect his leadership style. Anyhow, I am totally envious that they have someone to spend their lives with and I sleep in bed alone. They have a travel companion, someone to go accompany them to dinners, you name it. I’m in the same position as you. My mm actually laments about me dating and how badly that hurts him. He understands that I want a soulmate life partner but can’t cope with me spending my time with another man. Whatever! You can’t have the wife at home and the girlfriend on the side. That arrangement does not suit the greater good. So… my attitude is I’ll continue dating, living my life and give him what he chose. He chose to stay with his wife and that life does not include a girlfriend to be the solution to his marriage. We are the solution to their marriage so don’t play the bandaid and fill the void. I wish him well but it’ll have to be without me. I’ll still wish that I was the one spending time with him but it’s just not in the cards for me. I’m sorry you feel the same. I totally sympathize with you.

          • Kub

            Hey thisshaltoopass,

            Yeah nice point outs. Today I listened something and it stated that after a point (for relationships with an unavailable person) we want to prove ourselves to the world, we want to show that it worthed. So we go after someone who is unavailable for us. This is also about chemicals in our brain but more than that this proving that you are lovable and worthy suits somewhere in me. Because sometimes you see no reason to with that person, if he was not married at the first place maybe nothing would be as same as now. You can’t know that but it is 100% true that after a point you identify yourself with your relationship and you can not see the meaning beyond that. The meaning of yourself, how lovable person you are. You just keep defining you based on that relationship with an unavailable person.
            No need to mention what we find in a person who is unavailable to us, but I am too tired. Tired of running after him. Running after this relationship. I honestly do not know what to do if he shows up at my door and tells that he got a divorce. Because I am in a place that I can not find any kind of strength or motivation for a relationship. I just want to heal. I just want to stop bleeding to death. I have lost so many. So many of me. I just want to let go. Let it all go, all the bad and good things.
            I wish you the best for you, too. I hope you can get away from him and show him what he has lost.

          • Lara

            Thistooshallpass I really really get you. You say: “Anyhow, I am totally envious that they have someone to spend their lives with and I sleep in bed alone.” YES! They have a travel companion, someone to go accompany them to dinners, you name it. YES!!! “My mm actually laments about me dating and how badly that hurts him. He understands that I want a soulmate life partner but can’t cope with me spending my time with another man.: BEEN THER DONE THAT TOO “You can’t have the wife at home and the girlfriend on the side. That arrangement does not suit the greater good.” WHAT A GREAT STATEMENT! YES A THOUSAND TIMES. (UNLESS IT IS ALL BY MUTUAL CONSENT WHICH IT RARELY IS)

            I think you are making great progress in your moves to date and find someone all your own. It is getting time for me to do that too. But I am not quite there yet. I have to focus on my health issues (aggravated by my affair) first. Hugs Lara xoxo

          • Shea

            Hi thistooshallpass,
            I feel like I’m in a similar situation. I work with MM so I feel like all the times I’ve tried breaking the contact, it’s so hard to stick with it. I know ultimately everything he promises are lies. He is never leaving his W, so why is it so hard for me to just let him go? We get along so well, have a great connection like no other, but yet he is married. I wish I could just forget about the feelings, forget about him, but it seems like he’s always in the back of my mind. I should also try the 30 days of NC starting today. I think going cold turkey is the easiest route to go cause all the ways have failed.

    • Felk

      Kub, you know we all understand the setbacks and the hard times. Am I reading your message correctly that you and your MM decided on two months of NC? Of course, I think NC is a great idea and I hope you can go longer than 2 months. I hope you are not just waiting for those 2 months to end so that you can contact your MM again. I hope you can look at those two months as the start of many more months of NC. I hope you can use those two months to continue to break free from your MM. You know he will not leave his marriage. He is clear on that. You are still tortured by the life he is leading with his W. You will only cause yourself more pain by staying connected with him. He will continue to go on vacations with his W and do other things with her that married couples do. And he wants you waiting for him. You have made him sound very controlling and it sounds like he keeps wanting to control your behavior. It’s good you told him that you want to look for a relationship with someone who is available for you, but it’s also understandable that you’re not ready for another relationship yet. I really very strongly suggest that you go full NC with your MM and that you eventually try to find supportive love in another relationship. The affair with your MM will make you miserable because he’s not leaving his W. He cannot give you the supportive love that you need. My MM could not give me the supportive love that I need, but my H does. Affairs can only be a supplement. They can’t be a healthy relationship. I hope you’re able to keep reminding yourself of that, and I hope you can keep pushing your MM out of your life slowly. I know it doesn’t happen overnight, but keep trying. He will only continue to bring you pain and sadness.

      • Thistooshallpass

        Thanks Felk! I absolutely needed to read this today as I detox from the mm. I know 100% that I’m tortured by the life with his wife and he will never leave. He told me he wouldn’t. I’m sure everyone on here is in hell thinking about their affair partner with another person. It’s very simple logic that you need to walk away if the other person can’t meet your wants and give you what you deserve. Are you and your mm completely out of touch now if you don’t mind me asking? Whenever my mm and I have gone no contact for a period I always feel empowered and relieved. I still miss talking but the pain of loss is less bad than the pain of sticking around.

        • Felk

          Thistooshallpass, your last line reminds me of something I read recently that said, “It sometimes hurts to let go but it hurts more to hold on.” Now, I don’t tend towards broad statements and think they apply to everyone, but they say “sometimes” and I like that. And I think this is one of those “sometimes.” It hurts to let go as we all are going through here, but we know the holding on is prolonging the pain and we know that, once we let go, the pain will be gone. It has hurt over these 8 months to “let go” and so I am still holding on a bit, but I am letting go and the pain is so much less than it once was.

          I got lucky and was rarely jealous of my MM and his W. Maybe it’s because I’m married, too? Or maybe my MM did enough to show me how much he was in love? He really did show me. I never doubted that he loved and cared about his W, but I also never doubted that he wanted to be with me more. Honestly, I still don’t doubt that. I just know that circumstances make it very hard for affairs to end well, and I understand him feeling he could no longer maintain his marriage and an affair. I still don’t feel jealous of his W, even though he “chose” her. He has been clear that he is still in love with me and he doesn’t expect that to change for a while. It makes it easier and harder. It is admittedly a little hard to move on when you’re in love and you know the other person is, too.

          So, to answer your question, no, my MM and I aren’t out of contact by any means. 🙂 We work together so we see each other nearly five days/week. We also continue to spend time alone together going for a drink after work every week or so, and recently we went on another one of our “dates” where we go out at night, just the two of us. I am in education, as Lois guessed months ago, and so I will have a summer “break” coming up here where we will be in less contact, but I would expect that we’ll still meet up for a drink or lunch here and there over the summer. We are trying to be friends because we didn’t want to let go of each other, and it is hard. But it’s gotten so much better. I do still miss him. I do still want more. But those feelings do not consume me anymore. I am not overwhelmed by pain as I was early on in the break-up. Now, he just kind of sits there in the back of my mind. Sometimes I feel some pangs of missing him, but mostly I feel back to who I was before the break-up. I feel happy and energetic again. I don’t think about him first thing in the morning. I sleep well and feel well. I know I will have hard days as we continue to transition to a friendship (because, who are we kidding, we’re not “just friends”), but this is what I want. I want him in my life. Maybe at some point it will become too much for me, but, if anything, it seems to be getting easier and seems more likely we’ll do this friendship thing successfully.

          • Thistooshallpass

            I’ve asked for friendship and he said he can’t just flip a switch and turn off his emotions. I’ve suggested what you describe and he said that the emotional, physical and friendship are all interwoven and he can’t separate. He didn’t want to end the affair but also couldn’t cope with me dating. I think as you pointed out these affairs just don’t end well. There’s no way to solve this riddle and everyone is left confused, dejected and flustered.

            Your last paragraph is very motivating. Do you two keep your communications limited to work and any time together? We have such strong chemistry it’s so hard not to act on lust. How do you resist the urge to jump each other?

            I think for me I must not give in to the physical attraction. I suspect with the termination of a physical relationship the negative emotions associated with the affair will decrease 🙂 They already are since we haven’t been intimate in weeks. I’m not jealous of his W bc he loves her like a family member and not a romantic partner. I want a man to be attracted to me in a romantic capacity and vice versa. Thanks for sharing your experiences and what sounds like a great success story.

          • Felk

            Thistooshallpass, how long ago did your MM end the affair? I know that you also work with your MM, and you know I know how hard that is. At first, when my MM ended our affair, we said we would try to remain friends, but quickly I became worried that it wouldn’t be possible. In the first few months after the end of our affair, it was excruciating being away from him. It was torture seeing him every day at work. Our interactions were awkward and strained. When we would still spend alone time together going for lunch or a drink, it was fun and nice and then I’d feel awful again after. So, in those first few months, I definitely worried that my MM would tell me that he couldn’t do a friendship. That it was just too painful. I knew the pain I was feeling, and he said it was hard for him every day, too, so I thought that he might just say that we couldn’t be friends and we’d have to be coworkers with a professional relationship only. So, I understand your MM saying what he did. The emotions are still there. And, you’re right, it’s all still interwoven. How do you separate the friendship from the rest of it? You don’t really. Or you only sort of can. That’s what I’ve found so far. My MM and I have had sex (once) and kissed a few times during this break-up. We’ve held hands and touched. But, we don’t do it often. How do we resist the lust? It’s hard. Really hard. Every time we’re alone together, we want to touch. We comment on it sometimes. Sometimes we give in and touch. But it rarely goes further than held hands or a touched knee. And it’s he who puts the brakes on. He has good discipline. But it’s not surprising considering he was the one who ended the affair given how it was too hard for him. So, if he knows that going down that path again is only going to lead him to the difficult situation we were in before, he has a lot of motivation to avoid it. I dealt better with our affair so I don’t mind crossing those lines again. He was feeling very burdened by it all in the end and so he is pretty good about not crossing those lines. It’s as you say with regard to the physical attraction and negative emotions. I think my MM knows that if we cross physical lines, it will bring back the negative emotions for him so he works hard not to cross those lines (too often).

            You ask about our communications and how we limit them? Yes, it is mainly limited to work and to our alone time outside of work, but we do still e-mail and text a little. Not a lot, though. Maybe text once/week? That’s probably been the hardest change. We used to talk so much over chat and e-mail when we were together and now it’s very little. I do miss that.

            I don’t want to be too motivating in my message. I think we are making it work, but I wouldn’t yet call it a success story. And I know this approach isn’t for everyone. I still feel sadness that I wish I didn’t feel. I still think way too much about him. I still feel that contrast between what I feel for him and the relationship I can’t have with him. That’s hard. I know he feels the same. Just today, we were at a work lunch with others. We will share little moments where he says something to only me or he makes some extra eye contact with me. There is no denying how that still feels good (and still makes me want more). But, I feel our commitment to making this work and I now trust that he will not just abandon our relationship (as I worried the first few months). I now know that he wants this friendship, too, and he is willing to go through the hard times to make it work. It’s still going to take time, but I will keep you all posted on my/our progress. But I caution words of success because I don’t know if the emotions will be too hard and we’ll just end up back in an affair or we’ll end up ending the friendship? For now, looks like a friendship might work, but we’ll see.

            Are you dating and seeing other people? I know it’s not great to just jump into a new relationship while you’re healing, but hopefully you’re soon at a point where you feel ready to start dating. For me, just the possibility of new relationships always helped me get over old relationships. I hope that happens for you soon.

      • Kub

        Hello Felk

        You said one really crucial thing; this phase should not be about getting in contact with him after two months.
        Yeah he is a controlling person. I think there lots of reasons for his this behavior. I told him in these two months we can think over f we want to be together or not. And if he and I decide to be together I don’t have any longer time to give him, to get a divorce. I can not wait for him a year or two years of months. I told him if he wants to be with me after 2 no-contact months (because he will go to a vacation with his wife, he will have lots of time to think etc) he should get a divorce as soon as possible.
        Because honestly I think I am loosing too much time in my life. I have spend 2 whole yea with him and ended nothing. I don’t feel regret but if I keep seeing him I know I will. I know I don’t want to celebrate a third year anniversary with him.
        What I was not listening from myself in these 2 years is dug up anymore and I can not berry them and go on with him. I can not stand to the fact that I get nothing from this relationship. Nothing.
        You are so right. This is not healthy and especially this is not what I want.
        I love him. But love is not everything especially in these periods of life.

        Thanks for sharing, means a lot to me Felk.

    • Lara

      My dear Kub
      I totally understand where you are at. PLEASE stop beating yourself up! Your honesty means everything both for you and for those of us here reading. We have no judgements here. Is he an “abuser” do you think? You described stalking behavior a while back…The reason I ask is that I have learned the brain addiction is WORSE in emotionally abusive relationships. Listen here https://neurosagacity.com/courses/narcissistic_abuse/lectures/3078968. And see if you identify. She has other articles on line too. She is a brain doc who has been there and done that and knows what the addiction feels like. The self-destructive system you describe is exactly what she is talking about. And obviously I have been there too! Too many times to count. Keep traveling and meeting friends as you describe. Keep close to couples in healthy relationships and observe their dynamics to see what they really look like. (I do this too). Are you seeing a therapist? It would be a REALLY good idea for you to do so to let someone in your real life know what is going on. Can you talk to any friends about this relationship and its addictive qualities?
      Since you decided with the exMM to give each other two un-cut months with no contact, USE IT. USE IT. This is excellent. You are at the beginning of no contact! It is very tough the first week but gets better! Think about attending a 12 step group for Love and Sex addiction (they are free). Or you could just attend an open AA meeting if needed. If you find other people kicking addictions you will see how not alone you really are. Just remember you can do this one day at a time! Hugs Lara xoxo

      • Kub

        Hello Lara

        Before replying your post I listened the link you shared.
        Am I in denial? I think not giving a name to my ex MM is the right thing to do. Because most of the time I conflict with myself. I do not want to put him in a bad position in my mind and get angry at him. Because if I do being angry at him will make me to see him and shout at him, yell at him.
        So I will take some time to decide if he was an abuser or not. I hope you can understand what I am trying to say, now I am into so much emotions and I can not make my judgements in a rational manner.
        So. I have started to jogging everyday. I am not a jogger but I challenge myself and decided to use these 2 months to improve my performance. Who knows, maybe after two months I can run for 3 km or more.
        I am meeting with friends as much as possible, as pushing my financial conditions 🙂 But I say who cares? I will meet with friends and travel and spend my money to improve myself.
        I also see a therapist. Whenever I talk to him I realize a point about myself and I love exploring me, even sometimes this explorations do not lead in nice memories. It is okay, I am a strong woman.
        To summarize I am using every advice from you, I am really decisive to move on. My motivation is not to find a relationship with an available person. My motivation is to find balance in me. To find the Kub I have lost. I miss her.
        I have some family problems nowadays, too. This is really harsh because workplace is stressful, on one hand I am trying to move on and adding the family problems… I keep counting the days that I will move in another country.

        Honestly my favorite times is when I go on Mend, or come here read/write. Talking to you, reading your advises, giving advises really calms me down. Also running, I mean a physical activity, is really calming me down, too. I couldn’t imagine its effect until I started to run.

        So, thank you Lara. Even though I have never seen you in my life you are one of the biggest support during this times of my life. As being a person who don’t get much communication via Internet, this communication is beyond my imagination. I thank God the day I found this forum and found the gut to write.
        I wish the best for you, too. You are one of the rocks among us. I admire you 🙂

        • Lara

          Kub thank you sincerely for your words. I am honored to be such a strong force in your life! Since your favorite times is on MEND or here DO MORE OF THIS! I really advocate finding pleasure in things besides the affair. At first it seems like nothing can replace the
          love felt the passions shared etc etc. But soon, when you are spending time alone, and away from “Him,” you will find many things you actually do enjoy besides him! And you need to do them more!
          Life is full of many surprises waiting for you to discover them. Keep a journal of your daily surprises you discover on your journey to recover and heal yourself if you like. Then you can go back and review all the really amazing things you did without him. So many things. In the end even if you go back to the relationship you will need to become a much stronger and independent and SELF-LOVING Kub. First you have to learn how to love Kub! Once you do that you can ask yourself if HE is capable of loving you? Does his treatment of you equal your treatment of yourself?

          I am finding I can love myself much more. So now I can see who really does love and care about me. My exMM has not shown that to me. SO why do I bother thinking about him at all?
          Hugs Lara xxxooo

  • J

    Hi ladies,
    I hope you are all well. I’m moving forward but with extreme caution. As you all have suggested, I’m not telling H anything until mm is actually out of his house and maybe not even then. We have been fighting quite a bit because I’m always doubting him and what he says. He feels hurt that I don’t trust him, but says he understands completely that it’s his fault and he will try harder to earn my trust. We had a very long conversation after he went back in the bed, I told him how I feel he’s going in the wrong direction. He was upset and tired of me saying these things, but said he will not stop trying to earn my trust. He said he only went back in the bed because it’s more comfortable. I don’t believe this. He swears that he told her explicitly that it’s over and he only wants to sleep in his own bed. If seemed like a productive conversation but then that night he took her to a planting shop 30 mins away because she was supposedly afraid to drive in the dark. He also claimed this was so she wouldn’t run into me the next day when I was going to the same shop. She drives in the dark all of the time, so I feel this was a ridiculous excuse and told him so. He got very defensive and mad. Started saying that he’s giving up his past for me and I’m acting irrationally. He said I want everything on my terms only. He also defended his W after I called her rude for something that I think was quite rude. I told him that his impatience was very off putting to me and that maybe we should end things. I told him that I will not tolerate this rude tone and that I will not be told he’s leaving his past for me. We were scheduled to go to a room that day and I cancelled and said absolutely not. I told him he’s not getting things, that he hurt me so many times and there is so much undoing to be done if he really wants a relationship with me. I was ready to just end it all. He then changed his whole attitude, apologized and said he’s learning. He explained that in his marriage they never communicated about anything, so this is very different for him but he’s happy to learn. He was very kind and said he understood me not wanting to go to the room with him after how he acted. He said he will continue trying because he loves me so much. Then last night his W randomly kissed him and he said he didn’t kiss her back. Said it wasn’t romantic, was just a kiss hello. I said don’t you see that as a problem? He said no. He swears he’s leaving over and over. Is making future plans with me. But then there’s all of this! I’m so confused!

    • J

      Fast forward to last night. He also told me that she asked for a hug which he said he gave her, but it was a consoling hug, not romantic. He also told her he loves her in a friendship way. Also said he can’t wait to share the rest of his life with me. Is this normal? They have shared 35 years.

      • J

        And now she called him at work to talk about the dog. And asked what he wants to do this weekend. He said it’s up to you. They are going to dinner tonight. I said she is not getting this at all. He assured me they are getting divorced and she does get it but they are just being friendly. I don’t think I can handle this. Please tell me, would any normal wife react in this manner if their husband said it’s over. He can’t be telling me everything. This doesn’t make any sense. He says I’m overreacting. Please tell me.

        • Felk

          J, I really have no idea. I have little experience with a situation like this. I know of men who told their wives they wanted a divorce or separation and they lived together for a month or so until he/she could find a new place to live. I don’t know if they stayed sleeping in the same bed and hugging and going out to dinner. In some cases, I would imagine it’s normal. That you accept the relationship is over, but that there’s no reason you cannot still be friendly or that you cannot show kindness to the spouse you are leaving by giving them some affection. And this is probably especially true if you are trying to keep up appearances for children. You say they’ve had decades together. It would seem very hard to just go cold overnight to this other person. While I know that’s how some people react, many people probably feel a lot of guilt and pity for the spouse they’re leaving. Feel like they owe them. I’m not saying it helps or is a good idea, but I don’t think there’s any one “right” reaction to a separation/divorce. Going back to her bed seemed like the most surprising thing and the most likely to give mixed messages, but giving her a hug does not seem surprising to me at all. He doesn’t hate his W. He just doesn’t feel for her the way he wants to and the way he feels for you. So, I could see still hugging my H while we were going through a separation. Not only for the spouse but for myself because maybe I’m feeling difficult things, too.

          The thing that continues to surprise me about your MM is that he tells you all of this. Why is he giving you a play-by-play of the things he’s doing with his W? I know he’s done this in the past, but why continue to tell you these things? If they are inconsequential, there is no need to tell you. I don’t get why he thinks it would be a good idea to share this information with you. He should be keeping this private between him and his W and merely telling you the parts of the story that you need to know. But my guess is that you’re asking him some questions, too, and that you want to know this information. That it eats away at you if you don’t know everything going on with them?

          Again, he needs to move out. That’s it. Bottom line. All of this play-by-play with his W is only hurting and confusing you more. And it may be confusing his W, too. When is your MM moving out? Good for you not going to the room with him, but I think you’re going to continue to have these fights with him until he moves out. You need to see a concrete plan from him about when he’s going to move out or he will just keep dragging his feet.

        • lara

          J I see many many many red flags here and I would never be comfortable if my exMM was acting like this while he was supposedly getting ready to live on his own and begin a life with with me. However I can see many more red flags when it comes to others’ situations than I can in my OWN life. Funny that.:) .

          What popped in my head is this: If everything is so on the up and up and she can tolerate hearing “he cant wait to spend his life with YOU!”, then why not propose a coffee/glass of wine with the three of you together to get yourselves more “acquainted?” In actuality I think it is early for such an event but wouldn’t it be interesting to get his reaction to such an idea? Are things really that “cool” between them? I highly highly doubt it. It looks like you will soon be “marrying” both of them not just one of them!

          I do say this having been through a very progressive/amicable divorce myself with young children involved (which turned into a nightmare once my ex-husband relapsed in his alcohol and drug recovery) . And yes we did have sex after the divorce was over. I don’t even know why and neither did he. But we did. It happened. And then we would separate ourselves physically and agree all over again that our marriage was “over”. We also stayed in contact a lot in the beginning. It was not a great idea as it merely postponed the anger. And the anger HAS TO HAPPEN for healing after a divorce to take place.
          But no one likes the angry phase and so we get extra “nice” for awhile. Your MM is not showing the anger of a failed marriage yet and he must! to be available to you. He must work through grief and anger towards her NOT play Mr. “Nice”.

          I was only married 12 years not 35. Didn’t you say his W has a drinking problem? If yes count on her melting down very soon when the things he is saying become real to her. Either she is in total shock and does not know how to behave as she is paralyzed and prays he does not really mean it. And will snap out of this phase soon. Or he is lying. Or BOTH (likely both). Believe me when I say now woman or man in this situation is so “cool”. Unless is there perhaps money for her he is promising to pay her if she “plays nice”? If yes, and they have some kind of arrangement like this how do you know she doesn’t need MORE? Something is absolutely not right here. Do you remember Paltrow and her ex’s very public “un-coupling”? All was not a bed or roses no matter how hard they tried. And damn they tried. But the ugly green monsters of jealousy and/or greed always appear at some point.
          Your MM is tying to keep you BOTH happy, perhaps. (This would be the most benign assessment) . But at WHAT COST? And where are the healthy boundaries? Where is the space for you two to be a healthy couple? hugs Lara xo

  • we are allara

    I want an end to my relationship with my exMM. Again. I feel like he is suffocating me somehow. I like NC much more than I like the stuck place I feel right now, with my exMM trying to find ways to contact me and creating drama that sucks me in. (Can you believe I am saying this?)

    At first I was curious. How could I not be? He announced to he is leaving his marriage so yeah he got my attention. I will admit this. But now it feels like just one more game with him. I have not seen him in person at all except for the very weird day we bumped into each other on the street last week after we had spoken on the phone the night before about him leaving his marriage. Remember I said he was cold and offish on the street? My instincts told me that morning was something is very “off” about him and the way he was with me.

    NOT according to him however.
    He told me that he had kissed me on the cheek. Huh??? I did not remember that. Could I forget that?
    He said “you don’t remember that?” a few times more and then I realized I was being gas-lighted. Good for me. I caught it this time. At the moment it was happening! (We were on the telephone) So I just stopped talking and let him do the rest of the talking. I have also learned not to get him started on one of his “lectures” to me about how I ought to trust him more. A true narc he is. And yes I once loved him madly. But not anymore. Only I can not tell him this directly or he will work that much harder to try and get me back. And I feel pressure with him during the summer months when he is outside so often to act “normal” and like “good neighbors” (BLECHH) as he has a way of imposing that expectation. Normally I might agree, except that this expectation means casual sex too. (Good idea! Why not?) (How could I resist him?) . And don’t think he doesn’t have a nice big friendly wave when I leave the house just to test me,

    I think we will all find out a lot more about ourselves as we try to leave the married people we have gotten entwined with one way or another. I know I was dumb and naive with my exMM. And so in love with this attractive macho man. But Laurie says love is blind! (#2 above) YES! Blind as a bat. I thought my exMM was “god” for a long time. He has always been so attractive to me physically. So desirable. I never wanted to face the truth of his personality. I really did not want to face him being a Narc. I understand he can not help it. He is totally this way from circumstances that pre-date me and I had no control over. And I can not fix him.

    I have to forgive myself. Because my own mother gaslights me too and this behavior is so familiar to me it used to feel normal. My exMM is actually causing me to have more compassion for my Mother. So I am taking Laurie’s suggestions (above) about how to not get used in a relationship to heart these days. First of all is spiritual strengthening. (#1) I am doing it. Truly. I am replacing my Narc with a true HP and with Jesus and every angel I can call to me and I am trying my best to follow my true instincts. I am trying to absorb and FACE red flags and act accordingly. And many other things like this. It helps enormously!
    Hugs Lara xxoo

    • Felk

      Okay, just to be clear, Lara you’re posting as we are alllara, too, right? 🙂 So, you spoke to your ex-MM on the phone again recently? He called you again? He is definitely going through something, and he is certainly expecting you to be there for him. Only you can decide whether or not you want to continue that. It sounds like you do not, but you can’t bring yourself to just hang up the phone or not pick up? It does seem like he’s still suffocating you and it’s hard enough for you to see him out and about in the summer. You did seem much happier in NC. But he still pulls you in? I guess I’d just ask why. Do you miss him? Is it hope? Is it pity? Is it guilt? Is it kindness? Some combination of all?

      Your MM saying he kissed you on the cheek when he saw you on the street is weird. You would not have forgotten that. And good for you not arguing it further. No point in arguing with a narc. True narcs really do distort the truth and bend information to make them look in the best light. And it’s amazing how they really believe that others will believe them.

      So, what is your plan moving forward? I am sure you have thought about this a lot.

      • Lara

        Thank you so much Felk for responding. Yes that other name I am posting under (accidentally) shows you how utterly discombobulated I can become after with any interaction with the exMM. I can’t think. I get spaced out, unable to focus, unable to think clearly. The gas lighting makes me doubt myself. It makes me question my reactions and feelings towards him. I become unable to stick up for myself. I don’t trust my emotions or instincts. Some kind of fog descends over me and I become VERY vulnerable. Sort of unstable. I think I have allowed this because I this victim role is so familiar to me. It is all my I knew since birth.

        Now I am finally seeing through all the fog. I don’t know how to explain the sudden clarity that has descended on me about my interactions with the people in my inner circle with NPD: Mother, ex-husband, artist mentor/lover…..There are many examples in my life now I can see. It is like a mental explosion, a lightening strike. I can SEE. This is about me suddenly understanding how it happens that I become so victimized and trapped by these toxic love interactions WHETHER IT IS A LOVER OR A PARENT etc. And how to NOT get victimized anymore. How NOT to succumb! I thought of moving to a narc abuse forum and perhaps I will. But I also feel “close” to you and others here and do not feel like leaving here yet 🙂

        This is not about wanting him or missing him. Unfortunately, there is no time for that. I want to grieve and process, damn it. I want to feel my OWN feelings. But there is no time for my normal emotional processing when it comes to people with NPD. There is never a time for my FEELINGS in these relationships. The NPD person is the only one in the room. But sadly they are vacant too. As an empath I feel sorry for them. I tolerate their abusive behavior too much. I want to rescue them; help them. But I also want to get the F away from them. It is a conflict I can see I have in my make-up. Go closer to them/ run far away from them.

        I have only “plan” now for my exMM: To get away from him but to do it in a way that does not provoke him any further to take more actions in my direction. I can not tolerate much contact at all. Any kind. But there are inevitable times I must have contact as he is next door. I have not quite figured out how to do this yet. Number one is working on my addiction and co-dependency to toxic love. How to recover? I like Laurie’s suggestions above and the other articles she has written for women like me. Sadly many of us suffer from this.

        You say: “He is definitely going through something, and he is certainly expecting you to be there for him”. Yes absolutely yes this is what he wants. He wants my attention. And I was hoping “friendship” and some contact would maybe work (as I know him so long) and I thought haven’t we finally reached the stage where we can be “friends”? I am sure you understand exactly what I am talking about. Why throw out the entire 21 years? (minus the 8 for me being in other relationships) and minus two or three more with no sex just haggling back and forth. LOL. Can’t we just be normal friends and neighbors? Lord no. His massive ego has to know if I still want him. That is always his primary need.

        This morning when I walked out of my house to move my car for street cleaning (I live in a metropolitan area) and when we have to move our cars FOUR days (twice a day) so there he was. The car moving thing has been one way it has been just impossible to avoid him. This morning he said told me to please move my car so he could pull up behind me. He was being very slightly flirtatious. I drive a very old car and he leases a brand new Lexus. Imagine him enjoying pointing to my old car this morning and snickering at the difference. (Yes he does this) Then he said to me “Can I do him a favor?” “Could I please come over to his restaurant and tell him when the time comes to move the cars back?”

        Something came over me. It was not planned. It was automatic. I suddenly acted exactly in a way I know he hates me to act and I did it on purpose: Loud and Abrasive and Slightly Unhinged! I replied LOUDLY to him. “I WOULD NEED TO SEE YOUR WALLET FOR ME TO DO THAT” to do that. He hates that. I yelled his name down the street in fact when I said this. (I live in an urban area and we have to move the car 8 times every week for street cleaning. UGH.). There were OTHERS out there on street who saw me and heard me acting like this to him. (Other neighbors.) (Another big “no-no” with my exMM). (I am supposed to act all “hush hush” out there and to NOT call attention to the fact that I know him as well as I was acting I do). But something in me snapped, LMAO. I was obnoxious. For today, this behavior did the magic trick. I have not heard a blessed PEEP from him all day or night.

        Felk: You ask: “he still pulls you in? I guess I’d just ask why. Do you miss him? Is it hope? Is it pity? Is it guilt? Is it kindness? Some combination of all?” Yes, a combination of ALL. First, he pulls me in because he gets part of his his narcissistic “supply” from me. For me the empath that feels nice as I am the “needed” and “chosen” one. I am the “one” he needs. Wow that feels like a huge honor to an empath. But it is a hollow victory.

        Second: He is honestly disturbed when I try to explain I do not “want him. Then I pity him and I act kind to him, even often without really wanting to. I try to soften the blow for him. And there is STILL some attraction to him sometimes. In 21 years our mutual attraction has not faded. It is something purely chemical in us I think, not based on logic or reason. I fantasize: I want him “AS IS”! I fantasize: “He will get better!” or “I know how to fix this!” “I know how to deal with this!” “This is something I KNOW so how bad can it be?” (My mother’s narcissism and our relationship is so in-grained in me). I have even read the brain becomes addicted to the emotional abuse!

        Here is a quote from something I read:
        “And to make matters worse many of those individuals will find it nearly impossible to walk away. The neurochemistry of love and attachment, particularly in the presence of abuse, can seal a victim to a grim future with a malignant partner.” Damn neurochemistry!
        https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/neurosagacity/201701/the-brain-can-work-against-abuse-victims

        Do I miss him? I miss the MAN I THOUGHT HE WAS IMMENSELY. My mind played a trick on me and invented a very nice guy who DOES NOT EXIST. I have been in love with my illusion. It is very awful to realize this. I feel heartbroken AND confused BOTH. But at least thanks to being here on this blog and listening to other stories I think I am getting much better at understanding and articulating myself.

        You ask: “So, what is your plan moving forward? I am sure you have thought about this a lot.”
        Yesterday I wanted to move away from here. Truly. Yes I feel suffocated. I also feel like I can not grieve the relationship being over in a normal way as his larger than love presence dwarfs my process. I guess I could try re-blocking the phone. But he will find a way. I tell myself: I I am so so lucky I am not his wife. A “secondary source of supply” (like me, the “other woman, the secondary woman) can slip away. But can I?

        In the past I have waited (during our break up times) for him to find a replacement to take the pressure off of me. And he has. But not in the past two years. Yes of course that has hurts my ego when he finds someone else. But I have found a “someone else” too. No other man in my life has matched his charisma and attractiveness (to me so far). But maybe I can find someone who will? But first, I am learning I have to protect something much much bigger that my ego: My heart, mind, and soul.

        I need to work on this. This is the hard part. It is like love addiction and emotional abuse addiction smushed together I think. I think I am truly wrong-wired for “addiction” in general overall. This is going to take work. For sure. But I am game! Believe it or not I am game!
        Hugs Lara xx00

        • Felk

          Lara, I guess the best you can do is keep trying to consciously get him out of your life. It genuinely sounds like you want to. I say that because it contrasts with my own situation where I want my MM in my life. My MM and I may not be able to have the friendship that we’re hoping for, but we are genuinely trying to make it work. But for you and your MM it seems you want very different things. It seems he wants you there, in his corner, always being there for what he needs. And you want a partner.

          I can hear how intoxicating it still is when your MM contacts you. I know that feeling. For months, I would leave conversations with my MM and not be able to remember them as well as I wanted to or I’d think back about how I didn’t say so much that I wanted to say. And I realized what you’re saying, that my brain is still so charmed by him that I wasn’t being myself. That it was partially attraction and partially fear that put me in that fog you talk about. But, lately, it’s much less so. Our conversations over the weekend and this week were much more “me,” where I was challenging his illogical statements and I wasn’t just in the clouds during our conversation. Where I wasn’t scared to say direct things. I know there’s still some of that foggy happiness with him, but there was much less than usual. It felt much more like we were 5-6 years ago as this all was starting. And I hear you saying that you’re seeing through the fog, too. It has really seemed like you are. I can hear that you don’t really want him, even if you can still feel some of that attraction.

          And him flirting with you this morning and asking for you to remind him when it’s time to move your cars? Wow. He’s really trying, isn’t he? He’s trying to charm you AND trying to see if you’ll do what he wants when he asks. He is so desperate to know that you still want him. And good for you giving a response that felt good to you (despite knowing it was the opposite of what he would have wanted). He wants it on his terms, and you won’t let him. Good. But you know he will be back. He cannot handle you not falling at his feet. So, I think you do need a concrete plan to avoid him. I know you’ve said that you can’t move away, but now with this thing with your cars and moving them so often, that makes it even harder to avoid him. I didn’t know you were dealing with that. It seems he will keep trying to get your attention and affection and that will make it hard on you to really be done. Why not re-block the phone? I know you say that he’ll find other ways, but make him find those other ways. I’d imagine, on some level, you’re liking that he still wants to contact you. Oh, how nice it feels when the narc chooses us. I do know what you mean. I think that’s part of why my MM and I are addicted to each other. I’ve told you about our narc tendencies and I think we’re both so intoxicated that the each chose the other. We both like how special it’s made us feel. I get it.

          I can hear your strength and clarity, though. You see him for who he is, even if you’re still attracted to who you thought he was. You still have a therapist, right? I do hope she continues to help you through this. You are still dealing with a lot, it seems.

          • lara

            Felk Thank you for your comments,
            You are right: “It seems he wants you there, in his corner, always being there for what he needs. And you want a partner.”

            And this: “I can hear that you don’t really want him, even if you can still feel some of that attraction.” Yes. This is because if I give in and tell him I am still 100 per cent in his corner he will either go MIA or devalue me. More likely BOTH. The narc DEVALUES after he/she gets what he /she wants. The pleasure / pain cycle causes the brain addiction. The more extreme the pleasure/pain the more extreme the addiction. I am starting to put this all information together. Did you read this? https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/neurosagacity/201701/the-brain-can-work-against-abuse-victims

            Affairs are all about pleasure/ pain…having/ not having. Abusive affairs are even MORE about this. That is why the addiction is so strong!

            You are right: “He cannot handle you not falling at his feet.”
            But this is his side of the addiction. He does not say he “loves me” . He just says “I cant make any promises.” Of course that is excruciating for me to hear so my brain addiction gets triggered and I think I want him even more. It is a vicious very negative cycle. I used to cave. Then he would devalue me. Then I would leave. Then his side of the addiction. Then I would go Wash rinse repeat

            “I think you do need a concrete plan to avoid him.” I re-blocked the phone today. And I parked one car far away so it does not have to be moved tomorrow! But I have my son’s friend’s car he has asked me to move as he will be at work and so I will. But at least it is not directly in front of my house. I will leave FB messenger for now as it is. I rarely use it and I will give to him FOR NOW. But if and when he writes I will not respond right away I will right about it hear first. That’s my plan for tomorrow and the weekend. For summer, like last summer I am going to make art at my university which is across state lines and stay away from home when he is next door.

            Yes I agree it feels so grear when the narc chooses us. But the following devaluation feels AWFUL. A narc ropes you in to spit you out and your brain gets addicted. And we are talking about really strong chemcials in the brain. As strong as heroin.
            Yes I am still seeing a therapist. Are you as well? Thanks for the support Felk. xo Lara

          • Felk

            Lara, I read the article you linked to today. It’s more good stuff. I wasn’t surprised by what I read and I’d been thinking across these months that addiction probably functions similarly in abusive relationships as an addiction to drugs/alcohol. I was also wondering if people who are prone to alcohol/drug addiction are more prone to relationship addiction (and getting into abusive relationships). There seems to be so much more we will need to learn about how the brain responds in a toxic relationship compared to a healthy relationship.

            Good for you blocking his calls on your phone again, but why leave FB open to him? Not judging at all. Just curious on your thinking. Sounds like good moves with parking your car and pouring into your art.

            I am not seeing a therapist. I had considered it back in October when things were at their low, but things are much better now. Took some time, but I feel like me. I am happy again. I know there will continue to be tough times with my ex-MM, but now it feels no tougher than other situations I’ve gone through with exes. I get a bit of a break from him coming up here, and I’d imagine that will continue to help us both heal. I do not deny the danger we continue to engage in spending time alone, but we are determined to make this friendship work. Who’s surprised two people with narc tendencies think they can do this? 🙂

          • lara

            Felk
            Again thanks for the comments! I am so glad you are feeling better about the (sort-of) break-up
            and your health is returning. Like they say: “progress not perfection!”~

            You were wondering: “if people who are prone to alcohol/drug addiction are more prone to relationship addiction (and getting into abusive relationships).” From my patterns personally I would say a giant YES. And that means we are prone to any addiction as well I would think: sex/gambling/food/spending….etc) . I so agree with you that “There seems to be so much more we will need to learn about how the brain responds in a toxic relationship compared to a healthy relationship” . But also there seems to be so much more we will need to learn about the brain and all addictions. Hopefully one day there will be an easy cure! I never knew until being here on this blog how much my brain was part of my addiction problem. What was I thinking? LOL

            As for my new boundaries with my exMM/narc I’m leaving FB open ‘for now’. It may or may not work for my purposes. I discussed this with my therapist today.
            It is rare for the exMM and I to communicate on FB at all, first of all. That was a new thing he found. He knows why I blocked the phone because I told him in December. He “understands I got very hurt waiting (in the past) for his off/on communications etc. and I needed to distance myself”. But no where did I say I blocked “because a narcissist and I need to get away from him ASAP” . I am not sure how he would react if he understood this to the reason but let’s just say: not good! And I am not willing to chance it. (For now)

            Second of all if I block FB and he insists on sending me some kind of message, he might very well might come over and knock on my door instead. Third, if I block FB he may taunt me. I know I am not making him out to sound very nice. But I know I can not reject this man in too blunt or forceful a way as there will be some kind of repercussions. So the plan is this: If he contacts me on FB I tell my therapist and I come here BEFORE answering so I can get emotionally detached advice. My therapist agrees this is a good plan for now but it might need revision. But I am trying to keep things calm, especially as summer has barely started.

            As for you not denying “the danger you and the exMM continue to engage in spending time alone”, you sound like the kind of dare devil type I am too. (This is not a compliment for you or me). You ask” “Who’s surprised two people with narc tendencies think they can do this? 🙂” . I would say: “Who’s surprised a recovering alcoholic is living in uncomfortable close proximity to her exMM who is also a certifiable narc?” ( I met the exMM BEFORE I began my alcohol recovery.)
            I do hope we both learn soon-ish, however. Here’s to our continued Growth! 🙂
            Hugs Lara xxoo
            PS The doctor that wrote that article we both read (the link) also has a course one can take! I am researching this tonight. I am hoping it might just be an excellent idea for me!

          • Felk

            Lara, I really like your words “progress not perfection.” Oh, how I have to keep reminding myself that this will continue to be slow. I feel so much progress and, as you know, that can make us extra hard on ourselves when we have a setback. We can wonder where that setback came from. Ask ourselves, “But I thought I was better? How am I feeling this again?” But, it’s as you say. We are making progress, but we are not there yet.

            Your daredevil comment is interesting. Generally, I am not a risk-taker. I mostly play by the rules. There are times that I think I play by the rules more than other people. But, sure, there are times where I am willing to bend the rules… like having an affair. And, sure, I can probably think of a few other examples where others might play it safe (at work), and I don’t. It seems based in confidence and, yes, probably arrogance. For the affair, it’s an arrogance where you don’t think the rules apply to you. Where you talk yourself into believing that these rules (for marriage) are silly and socially constructed and that you are bravely breaking the constraints that society has tried to place on you. Oh, the lies we tell ourselves to justify our bad behavior. I believe the same things for my friendship with my ex-MM. Despite all advice to go no contact (as much as possible when working with someone), I believe that we can have a successful friendship after a long-term affair. Just as I believed we could have a successful affair (and by some measure we did… five years of good stuff), I believe we can continue to be friends.

            Are my ex-MM and I doomed to pain and frustration as we try to have a friendship? Will we be stuck in an endless pattern of temptation and frustration? I want to believe that we can make this work. (See, there’s my “confidence.”) He and I are well aware of how hard this is, though. We joked recently, “See, this is why exes don’t try to stay friends.” So why do we keep trying? Are we unwilling to fail? Unwilling to give up the other? Trying our best to handle a situation where we have to see each other almost every day? It’s probably some combination of all (and other reasons), but I mainly think it’s the “unwilling to give up the other.” We liked the affair so much that we’re still unwilling to let go entirely. I hear a lot of us on here in that situation (unwilling to let go entirely), but, Lara, it really does sound like you’re willing to let go. Even though your ex-MM can still get in your head, it seems like you’ve given up on the hope of a relationship with him entirely. Would you say that’s a fair assessment of your thinking?

          • Lara

            Felk I realized the step I am taking (so far) to not cut FB messenger (yet) comes down to something a Narc himself once told me: “Resist the temptation to sign off and thus maximise your chances of a successful no contact implementation.” He was trying to say that if it looks like I am cutting all contact with my exMM because I am angry with him or to punish him then the exMM will hoover me MORE. This is because all Narcs love any kind of attention, even anger because it gives them “fuel”. Every type or emotional reaction from me towards my exMM gives him satisfaction because I am emoting. Thus I “care”. I still “care.” This is complicated to explain. Anyhow in the stage I am with my exMM right NOW it is best for me to remove myself from him and vice versa as quietly as possible. It must not look to him like I am cutting contact because I am angry or seeking revenge. The best thing would be for him to perceive me as simply “not caring” about him one way or another. Being neutral is best for where I am now. My big mistake was responding to the FB message in the first place. That was a “hoover” on his part (the white doves gif and the announcement he was leaving his W) and I fell for it. And he loved it and got fuel. Now I must act like it does not bother me. Like I could not care less one way or another.
            See
            https://narcsite.com/2018/04/29/5-common-no-contact-mistakes-no-4-the-need-to-sign-off-5/

          • Felk

            Hi Lara, if I’m understanding you correctly, you are keeping FB contact open because you are worried that blocking him further will cause him to come at you harder? That your attempts to block him give him fuel? If that is your reasoning (and it is not that you, in the back of your mind, still want contact from him), then it makes sense. Then it is you taking control of the situation, well aware of how he acts and tries to suck you back in, and that you are doing your best to prevent that from happening again. That by not blocking him everywhere, you make it seem like you are still available and then he leaves you alone? So fascinating.

            I read a little of that narcsite link you posted about the need to sign off. Then I looked around in that website a little. I saw this quote on a page and really liked it: “Such is the intoxicating power of the golden period, such is the addiction of this utterly falsified state of affairs, such is the massive attraction of that seemingly perfect love, you try your damnedest to resurrect it. Sometimes there is a glimmer of a return or even a brief sortie to that promised land once again and you know that your repeated trying has succeeded. It never lasts. It never stays.” I think this quote not only applies to relationships with narcs but to all sorts of relationships where we try hard, after the break-up, to rekindle something that cannot be achieved. I think this is especially relevant for affairs because of those words “utterly falsified.” In an affair, we are living a fantasy. It is not a “real” relationship with all the daily trials and tribulations. It is a fantasy where you get the best of each other once in a while. While I never thought my love with my MM was “perfect,” I was intoxicated by how enjoyable our time together was. It is such a high. But it is a fantasy relationship that tricks our brain. And, as your other recent link about the brain said, it’s the constant excitement plus the inability to ever come down from that excitement (because we are always anticipating given our time apart) that create a powerful addiction. We never “habituate” to this person or this love. We are in this constant heightened state of desire and that changes brain chemistry. And no contact is the best remedy (but a lot of us are dealing with situations where no contact isn’t possible).

            And then I read: “You even begin to sacrifice pieces of yourself in order to try to bring it back. You try to guess what we want all the time. You walk on those eggshells in order to avoid disrupting the fragile peace.” That felt like the last 9 months of my relationship (before the break-up), when he was pulling away and I knew it. I definitely sacrificed pieces of myself to try to hold the relationship together. I walked on eggshells to try to avoiding doing anything that would make him end our relationship. And, no, I have not done that in healthy relationships, in non-affairs. Thus, is the difference of the affair and the intoxication and the desperation to maintain those highs.

            That narcsite is pretty good, though. Maybe you’ve linked to it before, but this is the first I’ve checked it out. While many articles do not apply to my situation, there is a lot of good insight there. I know my MM and I are not narcs, but we have some of the tendencies on this site.

        • Thistooshallpass

          Hi Lara,
          I hope you recognize a big glaring factor in his hold over you. You two have forced interaction due to proximity and that keeps you both inadvertently attached. The expression, “Out of sight, out of mind” didn’t originate out of thin air. I guarantee you would be out of this endless loop if he lived across town and you never had to see him. One of my girlfriends had a mm at work like me and the only way she escaped was to resign and leave town. I’m not advising you to do that especially if you’re happy where you live and work. She was not happy but her ex mm was a contributing factor and she routinely warned me of the prison I was about to enter. Anyhow, I hope you’re not hard on yourself. I have found it incredibly challenging not to get sucked into communication especially when they reach out. They will continue to attempt contact with you if you’re in their line of vision. I wish I could share my experience, strength and hope in this arena but I have yet to overcome the proximity condition. We both would have dropped kicked their asses to the curb a long time ago if we knew they weren’t part of our daily routine. Finally, like you no other man has matched his appeal, attractiveness, intelligence, intrigue… Of course the sex was the best in my life too. In women a bonding chemical is released when she orgasms. All of those biological, psychological responses that are designed by nature really worked against me in this scenario lol. I hope that all of us find an available soulmate that exceeds the mm in every way unless of course you’re already married. God bless XO

  • J

    Thanks for your responses to my situation, and I’m really not sure if I’ll ever trust mm again. We have talked over and over. And in some respects I’ve put him through the ringer, telling him each and every thing he did hurt me, making him explain why he did these things, listening to his apologies, making him explain why this time is different. I’ve been almost mean at times and cold towards him. And he’s taken it all saying that he deserves it but he won’t give up trying because he loves me so much. Well last night his W was crying and told him that she’s so creeped out by sleeping in their bed alone, asked him to sleep in the bed again and he agreed. Did not talk to me first, just told me this. He said it’s no big deal just that his bed is more comfortable and it’s a king size bed so what is the problem. We had a huge fight because to me it’s much more. He’s pacifying her. I feel he’s moving backwards. How will he be getting divorced if he can’t even stay out of the bed?!?! Claims he’s still leaving her, but I havent told my H yet, so it shouldn’t be an issue to me. He also said I have nothing to be upset about. He got very defensive and said I don’t know what I’m talking about and he said he’s leaving his past life and wife behind for me, will I ever trust him again. Thoughts?

    • Sophie

      Don’t say a word to your husband, J. You are doing great by yourself, especially not believing your MM. he’s a hopeless, manipulative man. He wants you to leave everything for him, including your husband. He wants you to be completely dependent on him so he can use you as per his wishes. PS: he will never, ever leave his wife. Take that from me in writing.

      • Thistooshallpass

        HI Sophie,
        I saw your comment below but decided to respond to this post. I too haven’t written on here in some time. I would say it has been close to a month and I’m going on dates with single men which keeps my attention directed in a better place. My mm never told me he loved me nor that he wanted to leave his wife for me. I agree that it’s enviable but also a big incentive to move the F on. He sang my praise and said I would always be his ideal. Really? If I’m that awesome why don’t you want a proper relationship with me? I’m having a hard time with my ego. I feel so rejected that he’d choose a mediocre marriage to an obese woman that he hasn’t had sex with in years. I’ve seen pics. He isn’t lying. I know it’s not about looks but they’re so different and don’t do anything as a couple according to him. I wish I could flip a switch and make the emotional side of me shut off with him. There is something psychological and soul murdering about having a deep emotional connection and physical relationship with a man that spends his life with another woman. Mine recently got another dog and a new car and even hearing that through a coworker crushed me bc I know they did it as a couple. It just solidifies the fact that he is not going anywhere. This entire BS invoked the darkest thoughts, rage, anger, resentment, fear, insecurity, jealousy and anger inside of me. I’m not sure about you but it really hurts that after a year he never fell in love with me or at least never told me. Maybe it would be worse if he had. I will echo you in that they never leave their wife. They would prefer the easy path of stability, security and status at home with a girlfriend on the side. I clearly have not moved on but the huge weight on my chest has lifted at least 🙂 I’m not taking the anti-anxiety meds like I was when we were talking.

        • lara

          Thistooshallpass
          You might want to read more about the way addiction works in pleasure / pain relationships. Whetehr or not he is a true abuser he IS telling you how great you are AND that you cant have him all on one breath. That is “cognitive dissonance” no? One woman thinks it is very very addictive: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/neurosagacity/201701/the-brain-can-work-against-abuse-victims
          Now wonder we get sucked in. I LOVE how you describe some of the complex and dark emotions involved! I wish I could flip a switch and make the emotional side of me shut off with him. You write: “There is something psychological and soul murdering about having a deep emotional connection and physical relationship with a man that spends his life with another woman.” HELL YES

          “This entire BS invoked the darkest thoughts, rage, anger, resentment, fear, insecurity, jealousy and anger inside of me. I’m not sure about you but it really hurts that after a year he never fell in love with me or at least never told me.” It is just part of their emotional dysfunction. Please don’t take it personally!

          “They would prefer the easy path of stability, security and status at home with a girlfriend on the side.” YES that is easier for them I agree. “I clearly have not moved on but the huge weight on my chest has lifted at least 🙂” . The process of recovery is slower than we thing. ” I’m not taking the anti-anxiety meds like I was when we were talking.” GOOD NEWS!! hugs Lara xx00

    • Felk

      J, your MM’s latest behavior (going back to share a bed with his W) is more evidence that he’s not ready (and that he may never be ready). If he can’t even make the decision to not share a bed with her, how will he make the decision to leave her? If he can’t stick to one decision, how can you trust him to stick to another? Don’t trust him until he has left for good. Until he has moved out and gotten an apartment of his own. And, even then, I’d wait for clearer signs that he’s done. As Sophie said, he just wants to know that you’re willing to leave your H for him. He has gone back on his word to you so many times, and he just did it again sharing a bed with her. If he’s really done, why go back to her bed? It seems he feels too much guilt about hurting her, and I’d be really skeptical of what he actually told her about wanting to leave their marriage. I really wonder if he actually told her or he told her something more vague about being unhappy. The two are VERY different. Be very, very cautious and don’t tell your H anything.

      • we are allara

        J I totally agree with Sophie and Felk do not tell your H a word. Yes he pacifying her and yes he’s moving backwards. Your instincts are completely right. Hugs Lara

  • FedUpAndOverIt...

    But guess what…he’s still the same…he started to flirt etc…asking for sex…I was shocked cuz I thought he may have changed since his wife had the baby…

  • FedUpAndOverIt...

    So my ex-mm got in contact with me via text…I blocked him on whatsapp….he’s asking for his suitcase…I told him I got in contact with him a few weeks ago but you didn’t respond…he said he didn’t notice he’s been dealing with life and stress from work…and that he always responds to me…

    Now I feel bad for throwing away his suitcase…he always finds a way to make feel guilty…should I buy another one?

    • lara

      No! Do not geel guilty over throwing out the suitcase! If you need a while lie tell him you gave it away to charity. NO GUILT!
      hugs Lara xo

    • Felk

      Like Lara, I say don’t feel bad about throwing away the suitcase. You gave him all sorts of chances to come get it… and look how long it’s taken him. Obviously, not very important. And I don’t believe him that he didn’t get your message. He got your message and just wasn’t ready to deal with it. Now that he’s ready, he expects you to flirt with him again? Good riddance to him and his suitcase!

  • J

    Hello ladies,
    My mm has told his wife he’s leaving. He’s sleeping in another bedroom and getting ready to move out. He said he couldn’t take thinking he was losing the love of his life. I truly had pushed him away. I told him that I no longer cared if he saw me or didn’t see me, or if we ever saw each other again. I told him I was moving on and it was helping me to forget him. He cried and pleaded for one more chance. Said he’d prove to me that he means it this time. You know if you love something, set it free, well that’s what I had done. And he came back to me. We’ve been spending lots of time talking over things and I’ve explained to him that it’s going to take time for me to trust him again. We said he will never give up because I mean more to him than anything or anyone. He wants me to tell my husband also and then we get an apartment together. I’m confused. I completely love him. And he has been doing everything he said he’d do. It’s been about 3-4 weeks. He told his W he’s no longer in love with her. But what if I do tell my H, and then mm suddenly changes his mind again. He swears he will not do that, but who knows. Can I trust him again? There’s no question that we are in love. But I don’t know what he’s capable of. He could change his mind and his W would take him back. My H never would. Do I throw away my H, who has been my rock for a long time?

    • Felk

      J, good to hear from you. You know I hope you end up getting a “real” relationship with your MM if that is what you want. And I think that’s what you want. You’ve been clear with us and with him. But, I think it’s VERY good that you’re skeptical and hesitant. He has told you things before and not lived up to it. I would be very honest with him about that and it sounds like you have been. It sounds like you’ve been clear that he needs to earn some of your trust back. I wouldn’t say anything to your H until your MM moves out of his house and gets an apartment. I think he needs to show real commitment to his separation and can’t just be sleeping in another bed. And I know he *says* he’s told his wife these things, but do you know it for sure? Do you know he’s been clear or maybe he’s just hinted at it with his W? I guess it’s just that he’s burned you so many times before that I wouldn’t trust it until I saw it. Please be very careful. Again, I want you to have your happiness with him, but I think he has to show you more before you can trust it. These are hard, big decisions and it’s easy to get scared away from making them at the last minute. Also, I guess it’s important to ask if you are for-sure committed to leaving your marriage if your MM does? Is there a chance your MM will leave his and you’ll decide you can’t trust him and you’re best off with your H? I’m just asking where you are at in all of this.

      He may say to you that he needs to see the commitment from you to leave your H because he’s scared, too, but nope. He’s the one who owes you. He’s the one who’s backed away from his commitment multiple times over these years. You have been consistent in being willing to leave and you have trusted his words so many times that he would leave, too. And then he just went back to his W. So, he’s the one who has to take the first step. Be clear with him on that (and it sounds like you have been). Ideally, you’d give him some space (NC) while he took care of this, but I understand if that doesn’t work for you. My style is to keep talking it through, so I understand if that’s your approach.

    • Sophie

      Hi J, good to hear from you, and happy to see everyone else’s responses on this forum, as always. I haven’t written in the longest time but I’ve been well and though I have my Times of missing my ex MM terribly and on most occasions, i’m Coping. I even resorted to slapping myself tightly each time I thought of him. Must say it’s been a good and a much-needed exercise. J, using the “reply” to you to say hello to everyone out here. I also have to admit to you that I felt a sense of envy when you wrote that your MM definitely wants to be with you. Mine never did and that made it easier for me to move on; however, that also made me feel sad. I never got a chance to even respond to him even saying that he loved me and wanted to be with me, because he just never loved me. So, yes, you’re a lucky woman on that front. I’m happy you experience this attention. On the decision, or what you should do henceforth – here’s my two bit – I feel your MM should move into an apartment now that he has made his decision. Why should he wait for you to move? It should be his independent decision, irrespective of what you do. You shouldn’t have any compulsion to move out with him. If he is unhappy in his marriage and he is deciding then he should just decide. You don’t have to take the plunge yet. I don’t think you should feel obligated at all. He has his struggles, you have yours. What about your new friend? How does he assess the situation ? Take care, be well. Really lovely to hear from you.

    • lara

      J I completely agree with both Felk and Sophie. I also hear you calling your husband your ‘rock” for the first time. Do you still have deep feelings for him? Also what if you tell your H and he insists on trying to go to marriage counseling etc.? What if he says he is willing to do ANYTHING to make you happy? Will you be able to walk away and not look back? I am sure you are thinking of these things as well. Hugs Lara xoxo

  • Lois

    Hello everyone. It’s been a few days but work and family have kept me busy. Things with MM and I heated back up this past week after talking about situation. I’m not sure what I have posted so please forgive me if I duplicate. We talked on monday but he never mentioned the email. Honestly I didn’t it either…just told him how I felt and was honest. It led to us both wanting to be together but I had things to do and told him I couldn’t. Tuesday we chatted some. Something happened at wotk that upset him. I stayed after work and we talked for a long time. It eased his mind and he wanted to be with me but again told him that I couldn’t because had plans. This has gone all week. I was off yesterday afternoon and we wanted me to come over so we could be together. Oh I wanted to and really considered it. However, I told him I couldn’t was spending time with my kids. I don’t want him to think he can disrespect my feelings and go distance for weeks and think he can have me whenever. I’m taking baby steps but feel it’s progress. In the back of mind, I keep telling myself it’s only a matter of time before the guilt overwhelms and right back to be hurt again. Its difficult and taking one day at a time.

    • lara

      Lois these steps seem great for you and I am so glad to hear you are asserting yourself in this relationship! It is good that you have your kids to put before him as being too accommodating in a relationship with a MM is something so many of us do and I especially know all about! It seems he and you are also able to communicate quite well when things are going well. I hope it will continue for you. Hugs Lara xx00

    • Felk

      Lois, this is SO strong. Really. To be clear, when your MM is saying that he wants to be with you, he’s saying he wants to have sex? The most important part of what you said is at the end, though. It’s the part about how you know the pattern will repeat. How he can disrespect you and go distant for weeks and then think he can just come back when he wants to. And, yes, keep it in the front of your mind that, if you were to be with him, it would only be a matter of time before he went MIA again. Also, don’t forget about the lies that you’ve caught him in recently. I know how desperately we can miss these men, but at some point we have to choose our dignity, our self-respect, and simply just ourselves. We have to put ourselves first. You gave your MM many chances to meet your needs and he didn’t. Now that he thinks you’re more serious about ending the relationship, he wants you. This is SO typical. This is a classic move. But if someone only comes after you when they fear losing you, what does it say about your relationship? If he can’t show you this interest when you’re in the relationship, that’s a problem. And you felt it all of the time with his coldness and his distance after you’d reach out. I know how hard it is, but if you are able to stay strong and end the relationship, I know you will be a happier person soon. All the ups and downs over. All the obsession about it over. All the missing and sadness and insecurity over. And it doesn’t sound like you’re just turning him down so that he’ll want you more. It doesn’t sound like you’re playing games. It sounds like you’re tired of the rollercoaster and you know that if you give in, soon it will just be more sadness for you.

      Last night, I told my MM that I’ve felt confused by his mixed signals, and I told him that they felt unfair and on his terms. For months, I have been giving him space to figure things out as we try to navigate this friendship. I haven’t pushed much when he’d go MIA after kissing me or holding my hand. The most difficult part was probably the sex in January and then him being cold the next week. I expressed some frustration about that, but mostly I just gave him that space and didn’t ask for more. But I deserved more. So, I’ve had enough. I’ve been feeling that more and more lately, how I don’t like how this all still feels on his terms. How he can just disappear when he wants to. What happens is when we have alone time together, especially if there’s touching, he feels guilty after (just like your MM). He feels bad that he’s going back on what he’s trying to do (end our relationship), and he feels bad that we’re no longer together. So, he disappears. He doubles down on his efforts to not do those things with me… and then a couple of weeks later, there he is again, saying he’s still in love with me or holding my hand or reminding me that he can’t imagine not spending time with me anymore. If we’re going to do a friendship, that’s not a friendship. He doesn’t just get to come and go as he pleases with no explanation to me. So, last night, I started this conversation. I was teary because I was basically saying that I can’t do this anymore, and it was a scary thing to say. But I said it. I was at the point where I felt that if it was too overwhelming for him to deal with my feelings, then I didn’t care if he really ended our relationship and insisted on professional contact only. I couldn’t stay quiet anymore about the back and forth. I told him I didn’t want any more confusion. I don’t want to wonder all night (like last night) why he’s refusing to touch me (when he just did a week and a half ago). I told him that it’s unfair to me, and I want to just decide that we’re going to touch or we’re not going to anymore. And, even though it’s sad, I’m ready to decide that we should touch no more. It was late last night when I brought this up and we both had to get home, but we shall continue this conversation in the coming week and I need to stay strong.

      One thing I’ve felt lately is that he’s just putting me through the same thing he did last year in the last 9 months of our relationship. He’s just slowly leaving me again on his terms. Last night he admitted that it’s mostly been on his terms. I’m not saying it’s easy for him, but it’s time I make it easier for me.

      • Nomad

        Felk, I was taken a back when I read what you did last night. You were very brave and I know you wouldn’t say those unless you are ready. I know you do not test him. I know that I’ve had enough feelings very well. Giving him space became a norm for him to come and go as he wishes. It’s very frustrating and we didn’t know how we just waited and lived each day and before we know it, a year has passed… they must and only they can make things easier for us by stop sending mixed signals and stay firm on their decision to end. Unfortunately I really have to count on mm to face the reality and practice acceptance.

        I had the the same with mm in feb, mar and until he finally said it’s over to my face last month. I did what you did last night in Feb after he came chasing with stingy emails if you recalled. He was flickering to touch or not. I got mad because he hesitated just few steps away from the room. In mar, i was teary when I said I hated his asshole behavior, at his convenience and under his mercy. He would go MIA after we met, he wouldn’t even text me to check if I’d reach home safe! It’s so difficult and confusing and I felt used though I was also using him to ease my pain temporarily. But he does get stronger and firmer to quit me each time we contacted subsequently. We kissed last month and he’s gone this month. Total strangers now.

        They are so similar: He told me to be prepared that he’d retreat due to the guilt after we touched, a disclaimer before we touched. He felt bad that he’s going back on what he’s trying to do to end. He would try harder in the next cycle to mia a longer stretch, preferably never return.

        I know how scary to say you can’t do this anymore, it must have taken lots of courage and mental strength for you to say it. I’ve said so many times that he didn’t take me seriously but now that he is executing the breakup, I’m lethally wounded. Good that you’ve said it, let it out, relieve the bad feelings built up for past few months. But why suddenly you brought this up? Was there a trigger? When you told him in tears about the unfairness, the confusion, how did he react? (Calm?) What did he say? (Loss of words?) Are you really really ready to decide that you should touch no more? You know you are leaving to time and distance to heal and ideally, you could maintain friendship so why suddenly this episode about mixed signals? You were clear about the desired outcome and you know you needed more time to heal because you can’t do NC. Hence I’m curious about the “outburst” last night.

        Felk, I hope you get some good rest, if not sound 8hrs sleep to purge the bad emotions. I sincerely hope that you can stay strong! Calm! Rational! Meant what you say! I hope you could continue to motivate me though I’m way ahead of you embarking on the road of recovery (I’m already been dumped). Please stay STRONG!

        I need to stay strong too! What shall I do if he wishes me on my birthday in few days time? What shall I do if he really cuts me dead by not wishing me at all? My gut feel says he wil not wish me which is also good, it will not give me false hope though I’m very sad that he can walk away seemingly easy.

        • Felk

          Nomad, I appreciate your questions and comments. It helps me think things through, and you know that’s what helps all of us on here. I also appreciate you saying I was brave. You know how scared I was to say something, fearing that he would not react well or that it would lead him to say that we shouldn’t even try to be friends; but I was at the point where I felt the mixed signals (and, worse, his MIA periods) were too hurtful and unfair. I know we are both trying to do a tough thing, but, if this is going to work, I need to voice my concerns. I’d tried to give him space, as I think it’s good for both of us and I know that’s what he’s wanted, but the mixed signals of closeness and then disappearance felt like it was all too much on his terms.

          To some of your questions… what was the trigger? It was a few things, of course, but this weekend, it was how we were out (on a date, I guess) and he wouldn’t touch me. This was confusing because the last time we were on a similar date in February, we did a lot of touching (and some kissing) and it was also confusing because, just two weeks ago we were holding hands. So, it felt like I didn’t get the memo that we weren’t going to touch that night. How was I supposed to know one week it’s okay and the next week it’s not? That’s what’s unfair. Now, I wasn’t entirely surprised he was that way on our date because he’d kind of gone MIA after the most recent hand-holding two weeks ago. But, that was part of what was unfair. Him disappearing again. And I know it’s him feeling guilty, but it’s still on his terms and that’s not fair. In the least, we need to talk about it so I can know what’s going on in his head through this.

          How did he react? Initially, he was defensive and punishing (saying “we shouldn’t do this anymore”). I told him how unfair that was, too. How, if we’re going to have a friendship, I need to be able to say these things to him without fearing that he’s just going to end our friendship. And I’ve reminded him of how often he’s told me to feel comfortable saying anything to him. After that, he was warm and he listened to my concerns. He said nice things and we planned to talk this coming week. He also told me that he thought it was strong of me to say those things to him and he wished that he could be more open about his feelings. But he said he would try this week.

          Am I really ready to decide no more touching? Yes. I don’t want that, but it’s better than the mixed signals. It’s better than it getting to be mainly on his terms. I hope we decide to keep doing some touching, but we may decide we have to stop and I’m okay with that. I have said it here many times before that there was more I wish I would have said at the end of our relationship last year. Things I kept quiet out of fear and I’m trying to do better this time. So, if we’re going to have a friendship, it can’t just be on his terms.

          I have been getting good sleep, though. I feel physically well. And I’ve felt much better for a while now. Sure, there are these times that frustrate me that I don’t want to go through anymore, and that’s why I spoke up this weekend. But thanks for the extra encouragement to stay strong. You know I will be telling myself that over and over up until he and I talk tomorrow.

          As for you, yep, you need to stay strong, too, and just try to get through your birthday. It’s one day and then it’s over. Of course, if he wishes you a happy birthday, you will read into it and it will string you along and you’ll hope for more. And, of course, if he does not wish you a happy birthday, you will be sad. I think the latter is better for you, though. I think you’re better off just being done with him entirely.

          • Nomad

            Felk, I recalled you telling Lara that you are aware that you are setting yourself up for more sadness. You’d rather just be honest about being willing (to initiate, to take him back, to accommodate his terms more than yours so that a special friendship is still possible) and work on moving on DESPITE that.
            I assumed you initiated the date that night. Why? What were you thinking? and what was the boundary for that night? Were you prepared or opened for a relapse like Jan? Unlike me, you are clearer and surer of your situation and limit, what you want from him and ahead, so I’m concerned that your outburst was triggered simply by him not touching you at instance, not because you are ready ready to take back the control. You know he will only mia more, you know his end goal, so he has to try harder to “frustrate” you “hurt” you to achieve that, you know his understanding, warmth response to you doesn’t mean he would try to meet your expectations, stop your tears on future dates if you still thinking of initiating. Will you be willing again after you’ve calmed down?

            I know it’s very hard. Now you have finally reached this point whereby you acknowledged and voiced out how unfair and how difficult to accept what he’s giving you. I’m impatient by nature so I voiced out much earlier and more frequent until I hit his limit and surrender his resistance to continue. I know our story and our mm are similar and different but there’ll come a time where by you will have to accept that he is also a practical one. He knows that holding on to emotions that can only cause problems for his family is something he cannot and will not do. When it’s over, he will move on. They are.

            I hope your talk with him can lead to more clarity. I’ll be here.

          • Felk

            Nomad, I know it’s complicated to be willing to be in a relationship with someone as you’re trying to move on. But I know that works for me. I know I can be open to a relationship with him in the future and not pine for one now. But, yes, with the sadness stuff, I was saying that I knew by staying in contact with him, trying a friendship, and continuing to spend time alone, that the sadness would last longer than if I had just gone NC. But I’m not that sad anymore. Today, I thought about sending him a text and then, hours later, I realized I had forgotten to send the text. It felt so good. It’s been a slow process (and I still have healing to do), but I don’t miss him the way I used to. I’m still willing to be in a relationship with him, but much of the addiction/withdrawal/pain has worn off. Finally.

            As for the date night, I didn’t initiate it. It was something he and I planned together a few months ago. Through the breakup, as I’ve said, he and I have continued to go on some dates. Neither one of us can fully let go. We’ve been mostly honest about that with each other. There was no chance of sex that night, though. Neither one of us was thinking that. We were just going out to have a nice time together. I did think there might be some touching (hand-holding, arm-holding, knee-touching, that sort of thing), but I didn’t think there’d be much more physical intimacy than that.

            I wouldn’t say I had an outburst Saturday night. I was teary at times, but it was a calm conversation and we were both warm and understanding to each other. I do appreciate your concern as I know we can lie to ourselves about what we want, but I think I’m being honest with myself when I say that I wasn’t simply upset that he wasn’t touching me. It’s the mixed signals of him touching me two weeks ago and then not this time. And I like to talk to him about these things. He and I have always had good conversations and we’ve tried to continue that through the break up (even though it’s definitely harder). But you are right in saying that he may not meet my expectations, even if he is showing warmth and understanding. My expectations right now are clarity and I know that is something that is hard to come by in our situation. And, yes, I’m certainly willing to go on more dates with him. I have always been clear on that. 🙂 But, after our conversation this week, he may say that he doesn’t think it’s a good idea to go on more dates. And that’s fine. It would be sad, but I no longer want to be held hostage by caring about him taking anything away from me.

            I have voiced unfairness to him many times throughout our relationship (5 years of affair and now 7.5 months of break up), and I had asked for more (especially more information and openness) many times throughout our relationship. He was good with conversations and being responsive, but, sure, he couldn’t always meet my needs just as I couldn’t always meet his. Not only did the distance of the affair make it difficult to always meet the other’s needs, but our personalities clashed at times (as would happen in any relationship).

            It does sound like you’ve come to some understanding about your MM. I do know that my MM has chosen his family. Yes, to him, that was the practical decision. And you are right that he knows that the emotions he continues to hold onto will continue to cause problems for him (and then for his family). That is why he ended our relationship last year. And that is why he still tries to end it now. He’s just holding on. I will hold on with him (for now). But, we might need to be clearer about how holding on isn’t helping and we might need to draw some clearer boundaries. Like I said, I’m looking for clarity. Haven’t gotten much in 7.5 months so we’ll see what happens.

          • lara

            Felk you seem to have a good understanding on what ended your relationship last year. And you say that he still trying to end it now. But by you being willing and open to continuation of your affair what incentive does he have to not “hold on”? So to me, it is very predictable he is still holding on now. It is easier than completely breaking up (only in the short term). And are you not also holding on causing him to do the same thing and hold-on? Break ups are painful as we all know here to well. But by him holding on, and you not discouraging him from holding on, you can delude yourself into thinking he is holding on because he still wants to be in the affair. And vice-versa. When that’s not the actual reason. The actual reason is more pain avoidance. I think anyone of us would jump at the chance to not feel our break-up pain.

            Finally, going on a “date” during a “break-up” period seems to me to be the very opposite of the thing you say you are aiming for which is “clarity”. The antithesis of clarity! Didn’t you feel there was clarity when he initiated the break-up? And isn’t it a kind of clarity when these men go MIA? The behavior of MIA after closeness speaks loud and clear to me. It says “conflicted” loud and clear and so many of us have experienced its horrible pain. But any of us might want to also argue ourselves intellectually out of it. MIA (to me) needs no explanation as it is a clear reactive and instinctive behavior. I feel we all want to avoid the excruciating pain of break-up in affairs so often that many of us delude ourselves in all kinds of ways, myself surely included!
            Hugs Lara xx00

          • Felk

            Lara, I don’t really disagree with anything you said about us holding on. Yes, we are both holding on. What are we holding onto, though? I don’t think we’re holding onto the hope of what we had before. I think it’s clear that he doesn’t want that. It can’t work for him while he’s married. So, maybe we’re just holding onto liking a good relationship? I know it’s not typical, but what is typical about affairs? We all try to navigate them as best we can. We’re both still in love with each other and still enjoy spending time with each other and aren’t willing to give that up. If we’re not willing to give that up, we will keep holding on. We know that. So, is it pain avoidance or is it pleasure seeking? Are we still trying to have it all (our marriage and the affair)? I don’t think we’re continuing to be friends because it’s too painful to stop. I think we genuinely want to be friends and be a part of each other’s lives. Is it dangerous? Of course. But that’s what affairs are.

            Going on dates offers the clarity to me that we still value that time together, even if we can’t be in the affair the way we were. We are not naive about how it’s dangerous and can lead us back to wanting the affair and then badness will start all over again. So, we’re going to try to avoid that by continuing to talk openly and honestly, as we’re doing this week. We’ve had some good talks, and he offered some clarity. I also know that he will go MIA at times because that’s who he is. He has always been that person. He is that way with his W, too. It’s one of those personality traits you choose to accept in another person or not. He deals with tension by withdrawing, a lot of people do. It doesn’t match with my style, but he always comes back and he’s always willing to talk eventually. Most important is that I have to be upfront about when I think it’s too much or it’s unfair. I did that over the weekend, and he’s responded by showing he wants to be clearer and he wants our friendship. Yes, I have to keep holding him accountable, but I can’t expect him to change as a person at this age. As we’ve said before, we can get too accepting of this behavior and give them a free pass to treat us badly. But, also, if we’re just friends, he owes me less and I need to lower my expectations for communication, too. I think sometimes what I describe as MIA is just normal distance in a friendship when the other person is married. 🙂 We describe it as MIA because we expect more, but now that we’re no longer in the affair, I have to expect less (and I do… but I have to keep reminding myself of that).

            I don’t want to sound naive or rose-colored glasses. I’m not. I tend towards optimism as a person, but I feel pretty realistic about where he and I stand. I am in this with him with awareness of the dangerous situations we continue to put ourselves in, and I don’t only mean “dangerous” as a threat to our marriages but I mean “dangerous” as a threat to our emotional well-being. As you know, though, I have gotten stronger through these 7.5 months, as he and I have attempted this friendship. I feel stronger than ever. No physical ailments anymore, sleeping well for months, having energy, less distraction, and feeling “myself.” I know there will still be hard days ahead and I know part of the reason for that is that he’s still in my life, but it was always my goal to maintain a friendship with him. I have been clear on that from the beginning. He is a good person (cheating aside… as I think all of us here would agree that cheating does not define us as people), and he has generally treated me well. I have never said otherwise. I may have found some of his behavior unfair, but we know that happens in relationships and that’s probably particularly likely in affairs where you can’t always have what you want and you might set expectations unreasonably. Also, he tries to address it when I say he’s being unfair. We talk about it. So, yes, if I’m going to continue this friendship, there will continue to be points of confusion and difficulty, but I want this with him. He and I have something good, and I want to hold on. We both do.

            But know that I don’t take your words lightly or just dismiss them. I hear your caution, and I know it comes from experience.

          • Lara

            Felk you have a way of responding that makes me know you have made up your mind on what you want to do and you are implementing that. What more can you do? Probably nothing. I notice when you are “defending” your relationship with the MM in the post above you use the word “we” much more. The last post where you described confronting him there was less “we” and more “I”. I tend to notice a lot of things like that. Maybe it means nothing. You do use the “we” word a lot and I wonder at times whether you are speaking for him at times. You often seem like you are saying things for the both of you. Not just yourself. Just an observation. But whatever. So be it. For all practical purposes it seems like you are hedging your bets that your MM and you will continue as a “we” as you call it although in a reformed state with great temptation to “un-reform” it once in a while if needed.
            Am I correct? It is a titillating compromise position of course that many affair partners would strive for when possible. And your brains are no doubt feeling grateful for some of those “good” neuro-chemicals but then again you can not really “unhook” from him because science is science. All good as long as no one else figures this out? I think many affair partners might crave this solution. It is not an exit from the affair exactly but whatever. The danger and lack of closure are all part of the brain chemical addiction of course but the addiction goes a little underground and is not so obvious as it is during a break-up/withdrawal.

            In my case I am dealing with NPD and my brain addiction in that type of highly addictive relationship. I am learning that the No Contact rule or the “As Little Contact as Possible Rule” is not for my punishment or for sudden unnatural forced closure at all. It is to let my tired brain heal! The sooner mine heals the better as far as I am concerned. I am certain I want my brain back for my art and creative work. I am in my prime and I want my brain back! I really do. But the brain chemicals are formidable I have found. It figures. It really does. Every addiction for me is an uphill battle and I have many.
            Hugs Lara xx00
            https://selfcarehaven.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/your-brain-on-love-and-the-narcissist-the-addiction-to-bonding-with-our-abusers/

          • Felk

            Lara, how interesting that you noticed the “we” and “I” difference in my messages. I didn’t notice, but I’ll trust that I did it. In general, your whole message was a great read of what I was saying and my relationship with my MM. As for the “we” and “I” language, I’m sure that’s probably happened through these 7.5 months as I’ve gone back and forth feeling closeness and distance from my MM, as I felt closer or further from letting go. Yes, as you read correctly, after we talked this week, I felt closer to him. I felt more clarity. I like when we have those honest talks, even when we don’t always say easy things (for example, he reiterated how it was easier for him now that we were no longer in a daily affair). I want that honesty, though. It helps me figure out the boundaries of our friendship. I want to hear how he feels, what he’s thinking about moving forward with us (and, yeah, there is still an “us”), and I want to express how I feel, too.

            I really like what you say about how you can read that I’ve made up my mind. You knew that months ago. 🙂 I wanted a friendship and that was my goal. It seems even more possible now than months ago. Months ago, things were raw and there was a lot of pain and it wasn’t clear if a friendship would work, but we both still want to be in each other’s lives. I guess I speak for him (as you noted) to try to give you all his side, too. And it’s probably also so you don’t think I’m crazy and just hoping for something that he doesn’t want as well! I think your read on what he and I are attempting (“a titillating compromise position”) is accurate. Yes, a reformed state and the possibility to “un-reform” if we want to. Of course, it’s all part of the attraction/addiction still. It makes our brains happy to get those good feelings from each other (as you say, the “good” neurochemicals). As I’ve said, I still don’t know if it’s possible. We may find it is too tempting and too hard, and we may have to just be in the reformed state with no option to un-reform.

            But I do genuinely feel healing as well. The addiction is lessening. Over time, without all that reinforcement, the addiction is less strong. It’s still there, sure, but I do feel some acceptance of our new normal. I am not naive, though. With the temptation there and with still spending time together, it’s as you say… my brain is grateful for the “good” neurochemicals. You definitely get it. And if those “good” neurochemicals are triggered once in a while, I’ll still feel withdrawal when he’s not around. And that isn’t great. There is still work to do, I know.

      • lara

        Felk I agree with Nomad that this is very brave and strong too! You go girl and STAY strong this week! You said: “I was at the point where I felt that if it was too overwhelming for him to deal with my feelings, then I didn’t care if he really ended our relationship and insisted on professional contact only.” I know exactly what you mean but it takes guts to be there and do something. Somehow we all, as women in affairs, seem to slip into the bad habit of letting the MM have a lot of space, take as much time as needed, call the shots, etc. But it is OUR lives and loves too. We give and give especially because we are in affairs because we want these relationships to feel good. We do not want to cause waves. We often set the stage for the love and romance to happen. But when you we do get real and stick up for ourselves as well, we will automatically feel better, even if he does not. It feels really good to take care of ourselves in fact. In fact we can do both: take care of ourselves and have love affairs, being that most of us are very good at multi-tasking. Hugs Lara xoxo

        • Felk

          Lara, I know you understand when you get to the point of “if it was too overwhelming for him to deal with my feelings, then I didn’t care if he really ended our relationship and insisted on professional contact only.” I could hear that in many things you said about your MM and how he went MIA after you started talking about serious things in your life. My MM has been pretty good with conversations and feelings throughout our relationship, but, as I’ve said here, he’s more private and less expressive than I’d like. We’ve talked about it on here before, but we do give our MM a lot of space (but I think he gave me a lot of space, too) because we’re in an affair and you HAVE to give the other space to be in their marriage. And I think we’re so careful not to start fights because we have so little time together. I think my MM did the same. But, that meant holding things back that I should have said sometimes. And I think my MM had more power because he had kids and I always thought he was more likely to end the relationship than I was. And that scared me out of saying some things. But, at some point, things are too important and if the other person can’t handle you saying them, then the relationship is doomed anyway.

          But you’re right that it feels better to stick up for myself. As I said, after I said those things Saturday night, I felt strong and I still do. Sure, I’m scared about where the conversation might go, but I’m not going to shy away from it. I’m hoping it leads to a better friendship and better understanding, but if it leads to him saying that he doesn’t think a friendship can work for us, then so be it.

      • J

        Felk,
        I’m so glad you did this. Your mm has been very selfish in my opinion. He pushes you away and distances himself, but then he will never let you fully heal because of his mixed signals. He thinks you’ll just always be there waiting in the wings for his moments of weakness or if he changes his mind. Thinking of you

  • lara

    Nomad and Kub,
    I hear you. I know the pain you are describing very well. It will take patience on your part. Allow yourselves to grieve as slowly as you need to. But try to move forward not backward. Table time to think about the exMM for example allow yourself a. minute (or a couple of minutes) to think about him then STOP! Try this several times in a day. See how it goes. Do NOT allow yourself to think about him all day long. Literally force yourself to think about your self-care. Do you need to buy groceries? Gas? Go to the gym? Apply rigorous self-care! Then plan things you enjoy doing and do them. Once a day at least do something very pleasurable. Lie on a hammock if you need to and stare at the clouds. Anything you like to do. But do not let yourself think about him when you do those things. I am praying for you and I know you can do it! It will take some discipline however!

    As for me I have turned a very profound corner in my relationship with my exMM. I know for sure it is OVER. And I am just beginning to grasp how unhealthy he was for me. I say just beginning because I have encountered a lot of my denial lately. I must be the Queen of denial. He was BAD. Really BAD. And I have even gotten ill no doubt with that relationship contributing. But I was so “in love” with him. And so blinded from seeing the reality. And even with denial breaking it has been so hard to leave him. So hard to realize I wasted time. Took too much emotional abuse. Did not take enough good care of myself! It was an impossible situation with only one foreseeable conclusion: Eventual Break Up. Sure he mentioned doing something and leaving his marriage just last week. And he mentioned being miserable at his job at the restaurant. (He was laid off two years ago from his corporate job). And he is miserable his son has become in criminal trouble. And what else? He is miserable about the weather. He is miserable about everything you can think of. No mention of he misses me. No mention of he is envisioning a life for us after he supposedly leaves his wife. No I love you. But how I dare I get happy after him? How dare I smile and carry on? I knew and could hear he was begging me to come back. An inner begging I can hear clearly as I have known him yes for 21 years. “Come back to the miserable relationship we had in the end! Where did you go?? You are not supposed to leave.” On the other hand I can hear this “I will not change. Why should I? You know me. I am what I am. Why should I change towards you?” I could hear this thought the keys clicking on the keyboard. I looked at my computer screen and I saw my little mantra: “Make the choice to let go of negative thoughts”.

    I am dealing with a true mentally ill person here who has NPD. Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I have never said this out loud quite so strongly. He is definitely mentally ill. And I definitely need to NOT get back together with him. In fact I might need to find a forum with people who have specifically left narcissists because the emotional manipulation is not to be believed. Or Maybe Laurie will start a page here for us 🙂
    If you think you are involved with an actual NPD person proceed with CAUTION and do your research!
    hugs Lara xxxooo

    • lara

      Oops I forgot a piece. “Here it is here: He is miserable about the weather. He is miserable about everything you can think of. But none of it is his fault. None of it was anything he could change. According to him, he always has done the right thing. It is the OTHER people who are to blame. Not him!”
      Lara

  • Kub

    Hello everyone.
    Here I am. With, again, all the chaotic feelings, thoughts… Why is this one really hard? Why specifically this one?
    I have seen that being away feels good, at least lowers down the confused feelings in my heart. Because you have to focus on the moment you are in, in another city, in different lives.
    But coming back, continuing to my life feels like impossible. Sitting in the same desk at work, sleeping in the same bed at home. Seeing same friends, seeing his car, hearing his name around me. It is im pos sib le ! Impossible to feel okay by time. I feel like I am in a maze, can not escape from it. In every corner there is him, or a shadow of his.
    I am pushing too hard to adapt to daily life, friends, events, etc. But nothing feels like healing. I am trying to go with every advice here, but why do I still feel this much broken? This bad? Why still? It is exhausting to grief for an over relationship. Because there are lots of bad reminders, I mean it is over for some or many reasons-not pleasant reasons. Every bad reminder haunts me down, in night, in day, during driving, during talking, in so many small parts of my day. It haunts me down.
    It haunts me down that he is gone. Gone. It haunts me down he is not a part of my life anymore. I know. I know this was wrong. I know he was married, this was not the thing appropriate. I know every fact for that f.cking relationship.
    But, as Pink says, what about love?
    What about love? What about the feeling that makes you to survive? That makes your life meaningful? What about horror of losing someone you love deeply?
    There is logic until some point. I am explaining every fact to myself 🙂 Trying to find thousand ways for recovering. I am doing the b