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



SheBlossoms Laurie Pawlik Kienlen




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

  • Laurie Post author

    Hi, Blossomy friends! 🙂 I’m glad your conversation is going so well, and that you’re supporting each other. It’s going too well, in fact; we have to shift over to a new article because my server load is getting too heavy on this one.

    So, just like before, I’ll shift us over to a new article. I chose this one – NOT because I think anyone feels sorry for herself! Just because it’s an older article that doesn’t already have a bunch of comments.

    Please, feel free to pick up where you left off here:
    https://howloveblossoms.com/how-to-stop-feeling-sorry-for-yourself-after-he-leaves/

    Take good care of yourselves, because you’re worth taking good care of!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Felk

    Nomad, I don’t think you’re overreacting or acting impulsively. You have thought about this man and this situation for months. His trip in December has bothered you a lot, ever since you found out about it. I think you are just recognizing how much it bothers you and being honest about how you cannot be with him and be happy. I think you were kind to give him an hour today, but you also explained to him that you want to move on and you can’t keep going through the cycle of highs and lows. You were very honest with yourself and your MM. You’ve also been talking about this with us for a while. It doesn’t sound impulsive to me at all.

    You have nothing to regret. You tried many times with him. You told him what you need. He couldn’t give it to you. It is not impulsive to leave. It is wise and mature. When he is out of sight, he will (eventually) be out of mind.

  • Nomad

    Met him for an hr in a cafe. He wanted to talk abt my bombshell dropped on him this morning that I wanted to move on. He understands my cycle. I’ll seize the chance to leave the moment he withdraws or slacks. He didn’t think I’ll leave so soon, just 1wk after the room and he did say gn to me every night since then.

    He’s going Japan in Dec and he told me air tickets booked. All is well for him at home it seems. He tried to pursue me, sweet talk to me, expressed his “love” but his trip confirmation stings badly and he’s celebrating his birthday in Japan. I cannot accept or swallow he’s going so I had to choose the other option of moving on. I’m not sure I can since I’ve failed so many times. But I need the time and distance desperately. I can’t continue … i didn’t cry…

    I’ve blocked him and deleted his number. Each time I restart, I’m hoping I’ll be successful although I’m already regretting for overreacting abt his trip, impulsively ended us again but I need to seize such moment to leave and it’s the right thing to do. I need time and distance

  • Nomad

    I’ve said it to him over WhatsApp when I saw his “gm bb” text:
    2hrs a month, 24hrs a year which is 1 day in 365days is not enough for me. Sorry, 1 day out of 365 is not worth it. Please don’t tell me you are busy when you could attend an unimportant bbq. It just can’t be me. I really can understand your guilt. I do not want to deal with your guilt and fear anymore. I don’t want to deal with your absence or overseas vacation in Dec. I want to move on. My cycle has started. As long as I don’t come in contact with u, I can do it. We did it in Jun, we can do it in Aug. It’s isn’t working for me and I’ve been in denial thinking it’s enough for me. So, my cycle has again started. I’ve calmed down my desire and I’m telling you we are over.

    He replied “omg”, “I’ve dealt with your trips”, “Definitely more 1 day a week”, “did I do anything wrong?”, “what’s your cycle”, “meet for lunch. Wait, I’ve lunch appointment”

    TGIF!

  • J

    Felk,
    Sadly you are right. I think I desperately want him to come back again. I want him to miss me. I want him to realize he made a mistake. I am afraid that talking to his priest convinced him once and for all. I am afraid that after moving out of his house for 2 weeks, he realized that he doesn’t want me. That’s the honest truth. But it’s also the truth that I know he’s very bad for me. I really do want NC but I can’t help myself from checking the app to see if he’s there. And when he’s there I feel better slightly, and when he’s not there I feel like maybe he’s forgotten me. I’m in love, but I also can’t stand him. I want him well, but I also want him to feel the pain I feel. I don’t feel like I’m not talking to him as a game. I really don’t want to talk to him because it turns into me getting upset or him saying hurtful things. So I don’t want to talk to him. But he’s in my mind all of the time. I constantly wonder what he’s doing and wonder if he’s thinking of me too. I wonder how he can make his W go to the new gym without feeling awful and remembering our gym routine. I guess I am addicted to him. But I do know he’ll only do the same thing again and again. And I do think he’s mentally ill. And I think he’s a complete hypocrite about the church. And I constantly consider what’s “right” or “wrong” in these situations. And it hurts like hell. And I wonder if he loves me or if he really did stop loving me. And I feel completely broken and like a shell of my former self. I feel pathetic. I feel like this foolish stupid person. I feel emotionally abused. I feel unloved. I feel abandoned. I feel lonely. I feel like I deserve it all for getting involved with him. And that’s how I really feel. The honest truth.

    • Felk

      J, I really understand. You offer good honesty. Yes, the desperation is the addiction. You need time and space to heal, but the distance is excruciating at first. It’s what leads us back to the bad behaviors that ease our pain temporarily only to prolong it. That’s addiction. You treat your withdrawal symptoms by checking on the app to see if he’s there, but you also trigger the sadness and longing all over again. I have been through this. That was pretty much September through January for me. Four months of pain and longing. Having some communication with him and spending some time with him, feeling that release of dopamine and feeling good again temporarily only to come crashing down when I recognized that we were over and I had to move on. I thought about him constantly. Constantly. I was distracted at work and in my marriage (way more than during the affair). I was constantly wondering what he was doing and if he was thinking about me, too. Constantly. The answer is, yes, he was and your MM is, too. He is going through the same thing you are. I am as sure of this as I am of anything (and I don’t say that lightly… as a scientist). You are both addicted. He feels the same things you feel. He feels pathetic. He feels confused. He feels needy. He feels desperate. He feels hurt. And he misses you very, very much. He has not stopped loving you. He can’t this quickly. This is not how our brains work. But he is TRYING to move on. He is TRYING to make a choice. He is miserable, too, and you know this. I doubt he’s realized that he doesn’t want you, but he may have realized that he has to take bigger steps to finally move on. I know it doesn’t soothe all the pain, but my MM was clear that he still wanted me at the end of our relationship… he just wanted to ease his turmoil more. He was agonizing constantly about juggling two relationships. He couldn’t handle it anymore. He still wanted me. He still loved me. (He still does.) But he didn’t want to lose his family more. I understood. Your MM loves you and wants you, but he wants his W and family (and feeling right with God) more. I know he has grown children, but it is part of the equation. It may hurt to hear that he wants his family more, but you know the investment there and it’s a hard thing to leave. He has shown you that he cannot leave his W.

      All of those things you feel at the end of your post seem very normal after going through all of this. You will feel them for a while. Addiction recovery is no joke. It takes a ton of effort, and the key is staying away from the addictive substance. I also know you will not trust my words that he loves you and misses you. I know because your brain is screaming to feel it from him. But what helped me heal slowly over those months was reminding myself that he loved me and missed me, too. I know because he told me. But none of that changed the reality that you know, too. That it’s all too hard to keep doing indefinitely.

      I don’t know how you will move on unless you recognize that the affair needs to be over. Whether you recognize it needs to be over for your own mental health or for your MM’s, it seems it needs to be over. You both are suffering so much. If you can’t see a therapist, maybe start with the Mend App? I used it for about 6 months, and I think Kub used it, too. It helped me a lot. It gave me a lot of good advice for healing and taking positive steps after a break-up. I still recommend a therapist, but, if you can’t, please try some online version of helping yourself through a break-up. Lara has offered a few links in the past.

      Finally, if you truly hope for a future with your MM and you can’t fathom it being over, then my advice is to go NC. Wait, hear me out. What you are doing isn’t working. That is clear. I don’t think the chances are strong, but I think the only way to maybe have a future with him is to send him a calm, honest letter about how you feel about him and your relationship. Tell him about the love and tell him about the pain. Tell him about how you wanted a life with him and thought it was possible. No guilt-tripping. He doesn’t owe you. Just honest hopes. Tell him that you still want that future, but, for both your sakes, you have to go NC. Tell him that you are going NC (for two months) so that you both can think about what you really want. Tell him that you don’t want to talk to him or see him at all. Tell him that you can’t think clearly if you’re wrapped up in each other’s emotions all the time. Tell him that, after those two months, you can talk again and decide, once and for all, whether or not you want to be together without your spouses. Tell him that’s the only thing that works for you. That you cannot be married to other people and continue what you’re doing. Then go NC. Don’t wait for a response. No negotiation. Just do it. You may have lost him already, but, if you really think you can have a happy life with him, go NC for real, for some period of time (at least a month), and then ask to speak again to see where you both stand. This may give him the opportunity to realize he cannot be without you. Or it may give him the opportunity to realize he wants to be with his W and family. You have to be ready for either outcome. In the least, it will give you both the opportunity to think without the constant stress of the other person hovering every day. Yes, it will be VERY hard to go two months without contact, but, outside of ending it with him, I don’t see a lot of other options (for you to be happy).

    • BAF

      J
      I really get how you feel. Your last few sentences describe me exactly at certain time during my affair.
      I was just like that.
      “And I feel completely broken and like a shell of my former self. I feel pathetic. I feel like this foolish stupid person. I feel emotionally abused. I feel unloved. I feel abandoned. I feel lonely. I feel like I deserve it all for getting involved with him. And that’s how I really feel. The honest truth.”
      Yes. That was me at one point in my affair. Right before my drinking started really escalating…..and even for a long time after I first got sober!

      Now its up to you.
      Are you feel badly enough to take constructive actions that will help you get out of this pain?
      Or will you feel compelled by the addiction to go back to him knowing you are “in love, but you can not stand him??”
      Both?
      One or the other?
      If you can not stand him J, you don’t really love him.
      These two are impossible to co-exist, except in a toxic relationship. In a toxic relationship these things go together quite well. I should know.
      Can you recognize your inner most needs and how to safely take care of them?
      I ask to get you think.
      Read this over a few times.
      Your post speaks of real, true pain you are suffering.
      Only you can take steps however to get out of this pain. Or not. It is a choice in fact.
      Please let yourself be with yourself for a bit. You do not need him to build you back up J!
      I promise.
      PLEASE find a counselor or therapist to talk to before your mood starts plummeting if it has not already. You can not do this alone!
      And true depression is hard to recover from. I know this too from experience.
      Your moods are likely to get more intense because of this situation and you need to find some support for yourself.
      Like I already said “Pretty Please, J?”
      Hugs BAF
      xxxooo

  • Nomad

    Felk,

    How are things between you and mm? while “waiting” for him, how are you living day by day? are you happier? are you miserable waiting and hoping?

    • Felk

      Nomad, thanks for asking. I know you are dealing with so much, and I appreciate you taking the time to ask me about my situation. Of course, I hope it helps you with thinking about your situation, too. I am not miserable. I’d say I’m happy, yes. I still have my moments of insecurity and feelings of wishing things were like they used to be, but my day-to-day for the last few months has been progressively better. I still can heal more, but I’m in a good place.

      It’s getting better for a few reasons. First, time and space always help. Now that we’re off for the summer, we don’t see each other as often and that gives space for calming that addiction and changing your brain’s expectations for seeing/talking to another person. So, that void of months ago is gone almost entirely. I still have periods of missing him, but it’s very different from before. Second, what’s helped is that he and I have stayed talking throughout the summer and we’ve seen each other every week or every other week. That’s not only helpful for resolving the feelings of missing him, but it’s also helpful for showing me that he still wants our friendship. We don’t text much, but we exchange e-mail every other day or so and that’s been helpful, too, for showing me that things are good between us. Our time together and our e-mails have been mostly playful and fun, with some flirtation, so that’s also been good for calming my anxieties that we couldn’t have a friendship.

      Now, sure, we are still more than friends. We both know this. Just last week, we were still talking about love and attraction to each other. We still do things “just friends” wouldn’t do by hanging out for hours together or going on evening “dates.” There have been a lot fewer dates than when we were in the affair, but we’re still doing it because we enjoy it. We haven’t crossed physical lines since April, though. Will we again? I don’t know. I hope so, but I am not miserable hoping. I don’t feel like I’m idly sitting by and waiting for him to decide. I feel like he is unsure, he is being (understandably) careful, and I’m fine with taking our time on something so important. I feel like I’m happy we’re friends and we didn’t lose that. And, mostly, I feel happy that the misery has gone away, the void is gone, and I feel physically healthy again.

      I appreciate you asking, but I hope you can use this in your situation. I really am not miserable. I would not be doing this if it were causing me misery. I’d be trying to do something to lessen my misery. If anything, getting a “friendship” that works is what helped lessen my misery. Still having him in my life and knowing he still wants time with me has been important. But I have to take action to make this work. Part of that means giving us space to heal, lowering expectations for contact and time together, and being honest about how I feel and what I need from him. I hope you can take action to get to what will make you happy. I think that means you going NC, but, until then, it might mean being more honest with your MM about what you need in your affair. Ask him for what you need, hold him to those standards, and if he can’t do it, be done. Do not put yourself through this again.

      • Nomad

        Felk,
        There is no need to ask him for what I want in this relationship and hold him to those standards. He just cannot do it because of guilt and fear. It is easier for me to help myself and stop putting myself through this pain again. Just that for now, it seems harder because he just told me 2 weeks ago that he still loves me and wants us (with conditions to his benefit). Note: He told me because I asked; not something that he strongly felt compelled to offload from his heart. Just that for now, I have nothing much to fuel my end goal of acheiving detachment and indifference. If I were to try harder, then his long overseas leave in dec to pacify his W and him putting everyone above me (including attending an unimportant bbq), might brew some anxiety, jealousy, anger, sadness, insecurity in me. But this is toxic and no one in the right mind would want that. I don’t. I was happier and liberated during the 1.5mths of NC.

        As for you, I am sincerely happy for you that you have made good progress and moving on to a comfortable place. We definitely can heal more.

        • Felk

          Nomad, even though you seem sad, you seem clear that this affair cannot work for you on your MM’s terms. If you felt happier and more liberated during NC, it sounds like you know that will work for you again. Especially with your MM gone from your workplace soon. I’m glad you will get that space and I understand how it will make NC easier for you. So you are planning to block him and go NC in August?

          For me, it is nice to feel better, and I can look back and see how far I have come. I remember many times wondering if I would ever feel “normal” again. I believed it would happen over time, but the pain was so intense that it was hard to see the end of it. But the pain is gone. Now, it’s just a little bit of missing here and there, and I am still in a little danger of hoping for more. This will all still take more time, but it’s nice to feel like me again.

          Give yourself (a lot of) time. Take strength from knowing that you didn’t compromise your needs and just agree to an affair that worked on his terms. Take strength from knowing that you are ending it because you are prioritizing yourself. Ending this affair takes a lot of strength, but you are showing a lot of self-awareness knowing that you cannot be happy with his crumbs.

  • Nomad

    Since mm reached on in Jul, I do realize that I am brewing pangs of guilt and for the past 2-3wks I’ve stop making effort for H. He’s just there and I wasn’t bothered that he didn’t talk to me. My mind has been preoccupied all about mm – to end or to continue, how to change, what to change, what do I need mm for. I stopped living “earnestly” for myself. My efforts to optimize my days came to a standstill. I’m sitting with my emotions and trying to be honest with myself. I want him but it’s wrong. I want him but it’s difficult. I want him but he doesn’t treat me with kindness and love (more of lust and convenience). I can’t say he’s selfish because anyone in an affair is selfish and greedy and addicted.

    If we were to continue, how do I accept whatever treatment he gives me. When he engages with me, i engage back. When he doesn’t, don’t give a shit and just wait for him to get back to me. So this has to be the rule for an affair? I should shift from thinking it’s convenience and at his terms or mercy, to this is the fundamental rule to continue an affair? No expectations. No jealousy. I’m just succumbing to addiction isn’t it? A normal person would chose to quit addiction for good.

    So then, let’s end if continuing doesn’t bring happiness. But I lost it whenever I see him or when he returns. T said it’ll stop only when he’s redeployed in few months time, or he found a new lover, or we are found out. There’s another scenario, I’m growing older and physically unattractive (his 3yrs younger). Now, he’s still saying I’ve the magical effect on him. He loves to kiss me. But effect will sooner or later be drown by guilt and boredom. Kiss is just a skill, it could be anyone when he closes his eyes. Ultimately, what is important to me is this: am I living in his heart? he knows I’m after his heart and the lust is secondary.

    Last evening, his WhatsApp popped up “Sweetie, how’s your day” I was dumbfounded. I “waited” the whole day and thought he’s back to the mia mode. I told him I fell sick and was on medical leave. He replied: you looked ok yesterday. (I was controlling my expectations, not to flare up if he didn’t ask am I feeling better) . I asked to talk but he said he’s rushing for deadlines. I cast my phone aside feeling rejected. He rang but sounded distracted to engage a conversation properly. He didn’t initiate the next meeting. He asked what happened to me, take care, talked about his work. Well, I heard his voice at least. Then I asked when he would be redeployed. He said 1Aug but handover is progressive so may take months. He said he did think abt not seeing me at work anymore. I asked is it a good or sad thing. He said he hasn’t let it sink in and processed. He asked what abt me. I said it’ll be easier. He asked please be clear, what will be easier. I said ending us. He started to sound serious and said “I thought we are no longer on this topic of ending, we are over this topic. We are making things better and taking care of us? We’ve been good lately?”

    Just then, H came back and I had to hang up. Mm asked y I had to go and I remained silent. He said he think he knew why, he doesn’t want to know the details, bye. We hang up.

    The next day, his whatsapp came in earlly “hope you are feeling better”. I was very busy at work hence, I didn’t ruminate. Before end of the work day, he whatsapp “I think you are feeling better, right bb? I am leaving office soon” I replied “been busy, haven’t fully recovered, thinking of you” He replied “quickly go home and have good rest”. Before bed time, he whatsapp “how’s your day” I replied “going to bed soon, good night love” and he replied “yes should sleep early, gn bb”

    Is this a normal “conversation” in an affair? do you consider these as crumbs and desultory? the frequency of interaction, the content of the messages, can anyone of you tell me this is normal? this is how things should be in an affair? such interaction can keep the affair safe and alive for years? really? He hasn’t initiate to meet this week, not even for lunch. I seriously do not know how I could pull through 1.5 months of nc. Now that he ‘s back, I started to expect more from him, I needed to see him and know about his daily nothings. But his W didn’t even ask or know much of him. Why? because end of the day, he would go back to his W, they have a marriage certificate and kids, she has been careless or overestimated herself, thinking he woulldn’t cheat, even if she is not keen to sleep with him.

    • Felk

      Nomad, in reading all of your messages today, I hear so much helplessness and turmoil from you. So, I wonder why you want to continue this affair if it is going to create so much misery and you seem to know it will? Yes, I know the difficulties of ending and, yes, I know it’s an addiction, but people break addictions. I see you say to LL that you can’t bear to end it without looking back. I really, really understand giving a relationship all the effort you can, but haven’t you done that? Don’t you see the relationship with eyes wide open for what it is? It seems you do. It seems you know, and are experiencing again, that your MM can’t give you the attention you want. It seems you are sad and overwhelmed by it every day again. It seems like he can’t do enough to please you and you’re perpetually disappointed in him. How can you be happy with this?

      If you are very honest about it all, what would it take (from him) to make you happy and has he demonstrated that he can give this to you?

      So, to answer your questions about whether or not his behavior is normal or whether he is giving you crumbs… it’s up to you. YOU have to define what you need and what is “enough” for you. We each have different standards on what we need. Within reason, what matters isn’t so much the standard but whether or not our standard is being met. Yes, I think your MM’s behavior is to be expected in an affair. I don’t think it seems that abnormal. More importantly, he’s told you directly that he can’t give you as much contact as you wanted before. He’s asked if this can work (or it sounds like he decided it can work without really taking into account your feelings). He wants it to work because it works for him. He gets what he wants. His family, his W, and you (when he’s available). Does that work for you? You can give more and it sounds like you expect the same from him, but he can’t/won’t give more. Can that work for you? Or will you be too sad/insecure/jealous when he’s not showing you the attention and affection you need? It really sounds like this, but it also sounds like you don’t know how to walk away.

      I think it will be very interesting if he is moved to another work location. You say it will make it easier, but I think you know that it will make it a lot harder on you. You will see him less, and you will likely be worried about who he is meeting at his new office. I don’t mean to make you jealous. Far from it. To me, he’s made it clear that he’s not seeing anyone else. But… it doesn’t seem you have accepted that. You seem repeatedly worried he has or will find someone else. How is that any way to live?

      And of course this is hurting your marriage again. Of course you’re ignoring your H again. This is inevitable in an affair. And to hear that you stopped living earnestly for yourself is a problem, too. This really does sound like addiction, and maybe it’s time to get “help” for your addiction? Is there any way you can see a therapist again? I think you’d mentioned before that you were seeing a therapist because of your affair before? I would strongly suggest that again. You seem stuck between a rock and a hard place, and it sounds like you’re admitting that you don’t know how to get out.

      • Nomad

        Felk,
        You are right. I am asking for more again and I cannot be happy with this. He can’t give me and treat me well because of his fear and guilt. What works for him is not working for me.

        I would copy and past the above paragraph and whatsapp him. Then I will block him and go for NC in Aug, a clean Aug. I hate Friday because he will mia on weekends.

        I can be honest with you that “out of sight and out of mind” works for me. I seriously doubt that it will make it harder for me. I feel safer working in my office premises knowing that his rights to enter the building has been cancelled. I don’t have to try avoiding or hiding.

        He can take all the leave he wants to pacify his W or meet all the women in his new office, I won’t be jealous as long as I cut him dead and hear nothing.

    • Thistooshallpass

      Hi Nomad,
      I can see and feel the torture in your words. We’ve all totally been there. You want to crawl out of your skin. You feel powerless, confused, hopeless, dejected. It sounds like you’ve reached the end of your rope. If the frequency and type of attention he is willing to provide makes you “crazy” than can you focus your attention on changing your expectations? I understand wanting him to treat you like a girlfriend. I’ve been through that longing phase too. While I still have attraction and feelings I’ve completely shifted my attitude. He is no longer the center of my universe. He is a man that I connected with. We bonded and had great sex but ultimately I can’t look to him for a real relationship (he’s married and in your case you are too). Once you accept that and move on in your head, you will feel that weight of disappointment lift from your shoulders. You do start to become care free at least when it comes to his actions and behaviors. So you ask, how do you get there? Put the onus on him to initiate contact and plans. If he knows you’ll keep plugging away on your own that’ll light a fire under him. If he doesn’t pursue or continues to give you minimal attention than don’t give any more than you receive. While that may sound greedy, we’re talking about self-preservation and protecting your heart. I’m also spiritual and believe in the power of our thoughts. I repeat daily mantras and affirmations. They help me even if it sounds nuts. Our thoughts often influence the events in our lives. Thoughts lead to actions which return certain results. I think you get the picture here. I spent time meditating to detach from him and for the most part I have let him go. Not entirely but much better.

      You can communicate your wishes to him. He’ll either oblige and change his ways, give you more but only for a temporary period or tell you that he can’t do anything more. Nomad, you will get through this and eventually past this pain. Can you try working on investing your emotional energy into yourself and the other people in your life? I wish you all the best. Sometimes life is so hard and confusing. Things get better and then they get challenging again. Ebbs and flows.

      • Nomad

        Wow TTSP, I love your simple instructions: Put the onus on him to initiate contact and plans. If he knows you’ll keep plugging away on your own that’ll light a fire under him. If he doesn’t pursue or continues to give you minimal attention than don’t give any more than you receive. However, we have different cycles which are disruptive to me sticking to my decision to move on. His cycle: mia and back when his guilt fades or when he lust. My cycle: block, move on, live, negative feelings fade, suck back into the fantasy when he returns in a timely manner, reality sinks in, struggles with unreasonably and unrealistically high expectations, enough is enough, this too shall pass, block, move on, live… repeat cycle. Apparently, it is a sad case of gears disengagement. When he text “gm” I’ll think why not “gm bb”, when he text “gm bb”, I’ll think why he couldn’t say he loves me. So yes, I can’t be happy with him. I’m talking myself to leave again. I am talking about self-preservation and protecting my heart. The mantra I repeat daily happens to be “Breathe, this too shall pass, it’s no big deal”

        I didn’t see him this week except that meeting on Mon. He knew I fell sick but not sick enough to make him show more concern and presence except a text “rest well, hope u recovered”. Will he grieve if I’m gone? Of course, perhaps a day or 2 or 3. He could go nc for 1.5 mths so it’s no big deal.

  • LIFELESSONS

    Hi Ladies!

    Hope all is well with everyone. I wanted to take a moment to vent to you all. This will likely be a long message, please forgive me in advance. About 2 weeks ago MM and I was suppose to get together on a Saturday. We talked about it the week prior to and again during that week. Well that Saturday he contacted me and I was with my mom and kids, he said babe I forgot I had tickets to the game tonight, I said, what does that mean…he said, nothing I am telling you. He said, what time are the kids leaving I said within the next hour or so. He says, ok! We ended the conversation. He called back around 5p and said he was just waking up, he said babe I dont even feel like going to the game but I can probably say I am going to a friend house nearby in order to get over there with you. I said, who was going to the game ? He said, my son and I. I said ok! He said well let me call you back. I text him around 8p asking if he was coming and to let me know if he was or wasnt. He text almost 11p and said, babe we ended up going to the movies and now we are getting something to eat, i didnt see the message until now. I sent him a mesg that said…

    If there is a next time, it would be nice for you tell me that. I know, this comes w/ the territory but my time is as valuable as yours. I’m not #1 but I never want to feel unimportant.

    And another mesg that said…
    If y’all are good and cozy you can tell me that and we can be cordial. I can deal w/ that 🙂

    He said…
    I knew that was coming… babe ur “you time” window isn’t open long enuff!..i can come thru tomorrow, early before they come back.

    I said…
    You will never be able to convince about anything regarding “my time” window not being open long enough. I am SINGLE my window is ALWAYS open. I cannot help the fact that you’re (his sons name) dad. I do not like waiting around on NO ONE and won’t do that again but it’s all good. Today was the day that we discussed last weekend and again during the week.

    I said…
    You knew when y’all talked about the movie and the time you had to be to the movies but because I’m not that relevant you didn’t say let me let her know. It’s a respect thing to me. Tomorrow, I already planned to go to breakfast with my girlfriend and my kids will likely come home early.

    He said….
    I was actually planning to get there when i got back..i had set it up by telling her that i was going over to mt man that lives around the corner house, but i got crazy diarrhea! I am writing this while on da toilet! Wordup!

    I said…
    That’s what you get 😤 for not respecting my time 😊
    Grrrr😡 can’t stay mad at you because I think I ❤ u 🤢😱🙊

    Then i sent another message that said…
    🤔 disregard the ❤ message. I’m sure, I was being delusional at that moment🤔 yup pretty sure I can’t feel that way….gn😘
    He didnt reply at all, I assumed he couldnt continue texting me as it was after 12am when we were texting one another. The next morning I sent a message for him to call me. He called a few hours later. When he called me I was upset again so I didnt have any conversation for him. He picked up on it and said babe let me call you back and I just hung up the phone without saying ok or anything. Well of course he didnt call back. So the next day I sent a mesg that said….

    Can u find time to talk to me IN PERSON?! My schedule is open for the rest of today, (I also gave him a breakdown of my schedule for each day of the week)
    He did not reply so i called him when I got off of work and I said, did you get my mesg he said, yes I said well were you going to reply to me and he said yes I was, matters of fact since i got you on the phone and he began to run down his schedule for the week. I said ok, he said, I have to go to my dads house today so i dont know if today is good but maybe tomorrow. Ok Tuesday he called after work and said, he had a rough day at work so if I wanted to talk I could do it over the phone and if it was going to be an emotional conversation he was unable to talk today because he had such a taxing day. I said, babe you cant have a conversation because you had a rough day ?? He said, I cant babe. I said, do you knw how much crap women go through in a day and still have to come home, care for kids, tend to the their mate (emotionally/physically) and possibly be available for a girlfriend who needs her listening ear. He said, babe what you want me to say, yall are better equiped than us. I said ok, and dropped it. I told him I would oblige and I said tomorrow youre going to make up another excuse. He said, tomorrow hasnt happened yet. I rolled my eyes and told him I did, since he couldnt see it. His phone was breaking up and he gets frustrsted easily so i hung up and called back a few minutes later I explained why i hung up and he said i love that you knw me. He said, its nice once you get to knw a person and what buttons not to push and you know what sets them off. I said yes I know youre easily frustrated so…i try to deal with you accordingly!
    Wednesday…
    He told me he had a lodge meeting, he is not suppose to be on the phone in those meetings. I text him about 10pm asking how his mood was and if he had a better day. He text me around 11p saying, FUNNY and he was finishing up with the meeting but he wouldnt be out this way until 12/12:30am. I said, what am I suppose to do with that. He sent a message that didnt have any words but it was just three dots (…) i called him around 12:45am and he didnt answer. I assumed he was home at that point.
    Thursday…
    He called me in the morning, I didnt answer. He called me when he was driving home from work, I didnt answer. He called me when he was on his way to his game and I answered because it was close to the tine for me to pick up his son and mine for practice. He said, you know where I will be until 8p. I said ok!
    Well he called me at 8:15p and said, why you didnt come around here. I said because I never told you I was. He said, ok its all good. When he says that, it is not really all good, he is actually annoyed but wont admit it. He said, well what were you doing. I explained to him and he said ok. He talked to me for a little while and said she is going somewhere tomorrow until 11p so I should be able to have some time to talk to you.
    Friday
    I text him at 7p and said what time. He called and said when I get home and get settled I will call you. I said ok and hung up. About 8 I text him and said….

    Hey not sure how this will convey over text, my hope is not negative but factual…ur word hasnt been ur word & i honestly cannot deal with another day of disappointments from u so if you can’t fit me in today please call me by 9p to let me know…

    He called me immediately and said, babe please…why are you being so dramatic ??? I said, i am not. He said, yes you are and youve been dramatic ALL week long. He said, I am walking the dog. I just got home, I took my shoes off and started walking her. He said, what do you want me to do and where do you want to meet. I told him and he said, ok I will be there. When I got in his car, his face said…oh god here we go. I addressed him again about not respecting my time. He said, listen I cant believe I am doing this. He said, it was 7:40 they (his son and W) said lets go to the movies so they looked it up and it was starting at 7:45 so they had to rush to get there and they got there and when they went in it was the last preview before the movie was starting. He said she was on top of him so he couldnt text me until he did. I said well why did you say you cant believe you are doing this ? Do you not think you owe me an explaination since you disregarded my time am I not worth the explanation. He said youre right, my fault. I said, I cant believe you would say that he got upset a little and said, listen I said my fault. I said ok. We sat there and then thats when I addressed him about his son thinking he was cheating with me. He took me to get something to eat and when we got back I wasnt ready to leave him and he said, I have to beat her home. I said, I gotta get me my own boyfriend and tilted my head back and rolled my eyes (the drama) lol. He said, I will talk to you tomorrow. I have to work so i hope to see you when i get off. I said ok.
    Saturday…
    He called a few times, he said he get off at 8 and he called at 8:30 to say he would be out here in a little bit. Of course he wasnt here in a little bit. He called again around 9:30p (from a different number) to say he would be here in a minute. I said whatever. He got here closer to 10pm I asked him if that was his work number. He said, yea he took so long because his phone went up and he had to get a new one immediately, he said the work phone dont have but 2 numbers locked in, hers and mine. He said he knw he has to be able to communicate with me or else and he laughed. He stayed with me until about 1:30ish am. He asked if he stayed long enough and if i was ok with the amount of time he was with me. He was being facetious. Of course, I was happy to see him 2 days in a row and spend a few hours with him.
    Sunday…
    He called me and we talked for a little while but I realized I didnt talk to him about me saying I love him a week ago via text and I wanted to talk to him about that and let him know what I need from this situation in order for me not to carry on the way i did all last week. I got nervous on Friday and didnt address it. I am not sure I want to address it at all now. We were talking about sex today. I told him sex is good for your health, I told him when I was looking at my fitbit it said I burned 114 calories from 11-11:15 saturday night during our “physical activity” he said well lets not forget its good for YOUR mind too. He said, we know how you act up when you havent had it. We both laughed….
    I know I said a lot in the post, part of this was we oversharing info but the other part is like to draw the entire picture in order to get perspective…should i talk to him again about me “loving him” ? I tried to take it back after I sent it to him that day. He doesnt tell me he love me. He hasnt said it again since early June when he said, you know you love me just like i love you. No matter how hard I try to stay close to reality and be reflective, I still find it challenging to be in this and fight against your feelings of love, affection, and committment for him, the need of his time and attention. Its a struggle at times. My guess is even if I never say anything to him again about me loving him, he knows I do. He can tell, I am sure I show it now more than I ever have before….
    I still feel that it would be nice to date other people. I would be open to getting to know them. At least, I think i would. I am sure MM wouldnt like that at all but it doesnt matter what he likes. I think it would help me get out this “complacent” mode. I know I am not going to get all that I need from him. I know its convenient for me as it is for him. He is familiar “safe” to me. I knew of him for a year or 2 before we even began dealing with one another. I know I wont likely meet someone and know everything about them but the world is filled w/so many unstable people, i get nervous about meeting people especially online and it seems like thats the popular way to meet guys now. I have tired my self out with this post lol.

    Advice, Comments, add your 2 cents lol.
    Chat with you soon😘😘

    • Felk

      LL, I always appreciate your detail. 🙂 Helps give a fair view of the situation. First, wow, you deal well with him canceling plans, not calling back, not stopping by, etc. He seems to not follow through on a lot that he says. I know we have to deal with some of that in an affair, but it seems like you put up with a lot across those two weeks. Second, it’s good that you hold him accountable for some of this and stress how your time is valuable, too. My MM was pretty good with this (communicated well with canceled plans), but there were a few too many times where I felt that he wasn’t respecting my time as much as I respected his. For me, the biggest problem was that he would be vague with plans when I was open with my schedule. I know he couldn’t give me a rundown of his week as easily (given that things change with kids), but his vagueness sometimes made me feel that he didn’t respect that I needed to make (other) plans, too, and didn’t fully appreciate the difficulty of finding time in an affair. With your MM, you’re just asking for him to communicate better when plans change. What he did that night of the movie was some BS. Yeah, I get that he has to prioritize his W and son, but his plans changed A LOT that night and he left you waiting. And, I don’t care if the decision is made with 5 minutes to spare. You find a way to text the other person. Like, he can’t step out to the bathroom during the previews? That aside, there’s a lot of him saying he’ll call or come by and then he doesn’t. I know we have to be flexible, but it seems like he does that more than “usual” (whatever that means in an affair). It’s good to be flexible, but make sure you’re not getting taken advantage of and sitting around for this man too much.

      Like I said, my MM was pretty good communicating when plans changed, but one time he did not communicate well and I share for your amusement. One time, before he was going to come over, he accidentally texted his W what he was supposed to text me (and this is the only time this happened). It was simply a message saying he was picking us up lunch and on his way, but the fact that he texted it to his W (who was at home) instead of me is a big no-no. He told me immediately and said he’d have to cancel on me and go home to his W (obviously) and then he said he’d text later. So, I’m sitting around, all nervous, wondering how his W is going to react to this weird text in the middle of the day. Hours go by, no text from him, and I’m all nervous wondering if she’s suspicious, etc. Finally, he texts something nonchalant, and I’m all, “That’s all I get? Here I am all nervous because you’re not texting.” And he’s all, “Oh, I thought because I wasn’t texting, you’d realize that things were fine.” Huh? I roll my eyes.

      Third, the love stuff. My advice is almost always to talk about what you want to talk about. If something’s on your mind and it’s important to you, talk about it. However, with this kind of thing it’s a little tricky. It’s important to talk about feelings, but we also don’t want to pressure people into telling us they love us. What do you want to talk about with him? Do you want to talk about your feelings? Or do you want to hear him say he loves you? It sounds like that’s what you want to hear. Like, you’re feeling a little vulnerable that you put it out there and he didn’t say anything about it. Like you, I’m sure he struggles with admitting those feelings, even though he’s said he felt it. I knew my MM felt it and he said it many times, but he didn’t say it as often as I would have liked him to. I know he found it hard to say. (Like, last week, he said, “You know, that ‘love’ word.” instead of saying “I love you.”) He’s not the emotional type in general, but I know he found it even harder in an affair. It was hard for him to feel those things and not be able to have the relationship with me that he wanted. With your MM, my guess is that he knows the power of that word and that’s why he is unlikely to say it much. Certainly, people can use it to manipulate others, but it sounds like your MM is hesitant to say it because it’s an affair and he wants to be careful with how involved he gets (much like you’re saying about yourself). But, as BAF and I have said, no matter how much you try to be careful, the longer the affair goes on, the stronger the emotions get. Generally, it’s good to talk about it for a healthy relationship.

      Finally, as is almost always the case with someone who is single in an affair, I’d strongly suggest you start dating other people. You can’t get your needs met in this affair and that was pretty clear by these two weeks. I know you’re trying to keep your expectations in check and you seem to do a pretty good job, but it also sounds like you were disappointed a lot across these weeks and this is the nature of an affair. Is that what you want in a romantic partner?

      • LIFELESSONS

        Felk,
        You know what is so crazy about my MM…he feels he communicates with me regularly. He stated to me that he tries his best to make sure he communicates with me. He said he apologizes for the other weekend. He said, he text me as soon as he could which was when they were on their way to grab some food. He said, he understood where I was coming from but it was intention to make his way over. He was planning to come around 11ish but when he got back home, he had diarrhea. He said, he laid around that next day all day long. He called me that afternoon but I wasnt trying to hear anything he had to say to me. I said ok but going forward, i really need you to have more direct communication and I need to ask specific questions for clarity for ex, what time do you plan to come over etc. He told me he does try to be as consistent with me as he possibly can be. He told me today he would call back a little later because he was about to walk in the house. I said, ok. He called back not long ago and I said, well you called back huh…he said, yes I told you i would. He said, babe dont hold it against me forever, it was one weekend and he apologized he is going to be more considerate. He said he hates when i dont answer him and it puts him in a bad space but he doesnt hold it against me. I said, i will not hold it against you but i just need you to be clear about how it made me feel….

        I definitely was disappointed over the past week, it wasnt 2 weeks. I made have wrote something to indicate that but it was over a weeks time. You are right, i will not be able to get my needs met all the time because of the nature of this relationship. As far as love stuff. A part of me want to hear him say it straight out so I wont have misconceptions of what he means. Another part of me dont even want to open that can of worms because when you start saying I love you, you start to attach expectations with it and i dont really want it to get so complex so soon. It was my plan to talk to him about my feelings but Friday when i had the chance, I didnt. He was definitely expecting it because that Tuesday he said he had a rough day at work and couldnt talk about feelings that day. He said he was truly emotionally drained because his boss was was in town that day. I am feeling vulnerable and not sure I want to expose that to him just yet. Who am I kidding though, he can tell the difference between the way i was a few months ago to the way i am now so its not like he is not aware of how i may be feeling. I guess to say it would be admitting it and opening the door for him to see just how vulnerable I am. I dont think he is a feelingsy type of guy. I think he will entertain the conversation but he wont be the one who puts it completely out there.

        I cannot believe your MM slipped up like that. Good thing he was quick on his feet with his thinking. Lol

        My birthday is July 26th and I am not sure I will get to see him but he told me he was getting me a gift. We shall see!!!

    • J

      Hi life lessons. Thank you for reading my posts and offering your thoughts. I really appreciate it. I believe I’ve reached a point with mm that I know I cannot be with him. He’s very toxic for me. I am trying NC and I hope to stick to it. My mm has fluctuated emotionally many times, he needs me and is leaving his wife to then he needs to work on his marriage. He’s had my head spinning, I’m so emotionally spent that I have greatly neglected my marriage. Which brings me to you. I understand you are single and right now you are in a somewhat mutually beneficial relationship with your mm. But you should seriously consider quitting while you are ahead. The deeper you get with mm, the harder it will become for you to be open to another man. And your mm seems to be going down the path that his time is more important than yours. In the beg my mm was so loving, so accommodating, he’d do anything for me. Little by little things begin changing. He’s already taking you for granted. Like that movie thing, he could’ve excused himself to the bathroom to send you 1 quick text letting you know. That was incredibly rude. Also I’m not sure where you live, but I’m getting the idea that it’s a smallish circle with connections in schools/sports with your children. Imagine if it gets out, with your kids being friends. No judgement at all. I just wish so badly I had ended with my mm 2 years ago. So many people have seen us together, especially in the gym, people who know us and our spouses, and I feel like a the gym slut. He went running to his church like he’s this moral man and I was the seducer, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Please think about ending to spare yourself heart wrenching pain.

      • LIFELESSONS

        J

        I totally get where you are coming from. I was so annoyed and disappointed about last weekend. He apologized again and he said he does understand where I was coming from. He said he thought I was being dramatic for allowing it to play out for the entire week. He said he feels he communicates with me regularly and the one time he failed to get back to me within a good time i get so upset. He said its not even like I waited until the next day to reach out to you, he said as soon as i got a moment i text you. He said he was planning to come he had already told her he planned to go out for a while but he had diarrhea so he couldnt go anywhere. i just expressed to him that it cant happen again. I respect his time and its expected for him to respect mine. The following weekend (weekend that just past) he made sure to come stick to his words. He is long winded period…that I know about him! He lives 5 mins away from me, if that and it takes him am hour to get to my house. Its been that way from the beginning and hes not changing that. Even when she is not home and he doesnt have to make up excuse he takes forever. Anyway, I think about how close our circle is and it does creep me out. Him, his wife and I are from the same city which is about 30 miles from us and we work together because neither of us have family near by or close friends and I have asked him to be sure he delete my messages and I try to keep mu calls to a minimum. She is aware him and I talk. She knows he has a multitude of women friends and he has been that way forever so I think that is why she is super comfortable with us communicating with each other. He told me she use to feel a way about him having so many women friends but she got over it. He has told me he refuses to get on her phone plan because he doesnt want to give her a reason to start snooping through his phone. There are times where i want to end it but there are times where I dont, I just want the benefits of having a guy friend that i can sleep with from time to time to take care of my need and hang out with but i can see that as time goes on it its get more and more complex. Its definitely the most complicated situation i have ever been in. I thought it wouldve been easier if I had a husband but i can see its just as complicated and it can be messy.
        J i dont know what type of marriage you have but maybe you could try pouring that energy and time into your husband or even pouring into yourself. I know its not easy getting over someone especially when you have to see them but it seems to take such a toll on you and you dont need that. Keep yourself busy if you can, that helps me. Im sure the longer i deal with him the harder i will fall but i try to keep myself busy and I try to be sure I dont choose him over friends and he knows it. It burns him up at times because I have a social life and he want me to be waiting around on him as his W does. I dont know if you believe in therapy but that is helpful. The tools/strategies you gain are amazing. Well for me they were.
        Its 11:30pm and I am tired…have to be well rested for the big day tomorrow 7/26 MY BIRTHDAY yaaaaay lol anyway, I will chat with you soon.
        Best Wishes!

        • BAF

          Happy Birthday Life Lessons!! WooHoo!
          I wish you the best for your birthday!
          HB LL!!!! Enjoy yourself no matter what today. It’s your day! You deserve it!

          Today was the first day I felt a tiny bit sad about my relationship with my exMM being over. I know it is normal. I am going to feel sad sometimes. No way around this. I have to strategize “activities” now especially at night. I need to take helpful actions.

          I might allow lose myself to lose myself in a Netflix series. We shall see. Of course I am a binge watcher. What else? LOL. we shall see however. Because I also need to remember that the addictive part of my relationship means I am going to have cravings for my exMM. Running from those cravings is a VERY BAD idea. They will linger more if I try to evade them.
          Instead I have to process WHY I am having them?? What is triggering me?
          And I need to take concrete actions to get over them.

          One thing I am going to have to do I know is I have to wean a bit from this board as I get triggered sometimes here. I will miss spending time here! 🙁
          Please know I don’t blame you or anyone else! It’s just all the talk about our MM’s in general can get me triggered to wanting him or missing him, etc. I can get triggered to think MORE about him rather than LESS about him which is what I need to do.
          Better for me to move forward whenever possible.
          Better to develop new habits and ways of thinking about this situation.
          Like I said to Felk it takes real work and energy to break-up!
          And so I need most of my energy right now going into creating my life AFTER this break-up.
          Not to thinking about him all the time.
          Go Ask Suzi sure stresses this too. I know it intuitively. As an addict I know this because I know what it means to stop an addiction. It is TOUGH for sure.

          But I am fine in an overall sense in terms of my break-up. I am happy I am NC. I could not do it any other way. I can not tolerate in “middle” ground with my exMM anymore. Being half in the relationship and half out does not work for me. It is black and white for me now. I am moving on.
          But I will share one thing:
          I did try to pull a tarot card yesterday for how he is feeling about me these days?
          I pulled the best card ever: The “Devil”.
          Perfect! LL. have have fun looking up what that card means when it comes to “love relationships” LOL
          In fact the the “Devil” card has the two former “Lovers” from the “Lovers Card” inside of it! There are chains too. (I use the Rider Waite Deck and I like the “Truly Teach Me Tarot website) ).
          Anyhow from my point of view this card is So Perfect! I am going to pull a daily card and write it down to help me process this break-up.
          I also started the MEND app tonight! Felk and Kub used it and like it. I like the first session and one week is “free” so I will see how that goes…
          Many hugs Brave and Free aka Lara 🙂
          xxxooo

          • Felk

            BAF, I hope the Mend App helps you. I was very helpful to me. It’s not a replacement for therapy, but I think it’s helpful for people who just generally want to get over a break-up. I think therapy has helped you for a long time, and I think the Mend App could just be a supplement that helps on a daily basis. I also found the short “reminders” and positive messages that came to my phone three times/day. I really liked the journaling and thinking about the questions they asked me to reflect on, but I was surprised by how helpful the little daily reminders were. I think they helped direct my thoughts towards positive thinking or away from dwelling on my break-up when I needed it most. They have some instructions for meditation, too, that I found helpful and still use once in a while. You seem pretty far along in your process of healing as you’ve given all of this a lot of thought and positive action. But, we all know that it’s a slow process and we could all still use a little more healing. Continued good luck to you on your path.

  • J

    Update: I am continuing NC and it is helping lots. I am also trying to resist my extreme urge to check the app we communicate on. It’s so hard being that we normally talk so much. He is continuing to text me things like good morning, how are you, goodnight, hope you’re ok, etc. I realized that I feel better not even seeing his messages. So today I didn’t check all day until just now. He now sent me a message telling me he went to his priest for a special meeting/confessional and told him everything. He also said that he told the priest how broken he is for hurting me and how he prays every night for my healing. He did not say what his priest said, but I’m sure we can imagine, it is a Catholic Church. I also do not know what his version of “told him everything” means. I’m sure it was a shortened version and did not include that it was over 2 years and his possible mental illness, but I could be wrong. I do not know why mm would want to text this to me. If he has really chosen to return home and try again, and he feels he has his “clean slate” now after confessing, why keep messaging me? And why tell me this about the priest? Is he trying to prove his commitment to me? Is he trying to make me feel badly? Is he looking for reasons to reach out? I’ve been thinking he will eventually be back like all of the other times. But maybe it will be different after is confession? Can I confession to a priest really change his habitual behaviors? What do you think?

    • Felk

      J, it’s pretty clear from your questions in the end again that you are not worried he will come back but rather you are worried he will not come back. You are worried his confession to his priest has convinced him once and for all to be done. Of course, I understand wanting him to come back, but it runs contrary to you saying that you’re trying NC. It seems your NC is only a temporary break and a way to punish him or get him to miss you. Be honest with yourself about this. As usual, I’d suggest being more direct because these temporary breaks and returning to him only reinforce the message to him that YOU will always come back, too, no matter how badly he treats you.

      Why does he tell you about the confession? It’s probably because he’s trying to convince himself to be done, he’s trying to say it out loud, and he’s trying to say it to you so that maybe you will make it easy on him and be done (if you think he’s done). He’s trying to show you that he’s taking steps to exit, but, of course, he wants to show you that he cares about you, too. I have no doubt he is hurting about how he feels he has hurt you. And, yes, he keeps messaging you because he feels guilty about hurting you and because he’s looking for excuses to reach out. These addictions are hard to break and we often look for excuses to contact the other person just to get another “hit.” This is why you take his keys at the gym. You are mad, but you are also trying to get a reaction from him. Trying to get him to show he cares one more time. Just as it seems you’re doing with NC and reading the messages from him.

      If you really do feel better not seeing his messages, then why not block him or delete him from this app? It is a way to start being done. He is telling you that he is taking steps to be done (going back to his W, confessing to his priest). For your own mental health, I think you will feel better if you take active steps to be done, too, and it’s not simply reactions to him being done first. This is VERY hard, but, if you can do it, it will go a long way in your healing. This is why BAF and I suggest a therapist. It seems you are very far from making this choice and it seems talking to someone might be able to help you do that (just as your MM talked to his priest to get help). Your MM will be back. Your MM will use a lot of emotion to beg you to see him again. You want this. But, he will leave again. He will feel guilty again. He will go back to his W again. Why keep yourself in that cycle?

      Everyone on here gives you the advice to let go of this man, not only because of what might be mental health issues but because he has shown that he will not give you what you want (him leaving his W). I know you are in love, but this man and this relationship will only continue to cause you great pain.

  • LIFELESSONS

    BAF,

    Hey I was just wondering how you coping with your emotions…I know its one thing to deal with emotions stemming from an ex but your dad not doing well on top of that can be a lot on you. I dont know if you have given an update since Friday or Saturday but I am praying for you and your strength to help get you through the rough patch. Life is not easy and from the beginning of time it doesnt seem like it was meant to be easy. I am sure we all do the best we can to get manage stress and emotions. I hope you are remembering to journal your thoughts and feelings as it is helpful. You know some other things I have begin to do to help me when I am in a uneasy mood or just need a little uplifting. I have wrote affirmations, positive things about my self on sticky notes and put them around the house, from the bathrooms to the front door so I can see it before I leave out in the morning. I love affirmations. Another thing I have to help me is my good decision jar. I have just began with this but i am writing how many good decisions I make (this is an on going thing) because I beat myself up so much about the bad choices I make and sometimes it keeps me stuck because I am afraid to make a choice…fear of it being the wrong choice or a bad choice. It is helpful, not sure it keeps me from making bad choices lol but it highlights my ability to make a good choice.

    hope to hear from you soon

    • BAF

      Hi LL!
      Thanks for asking how I am coping with my emotions. It has been a very stressful week but today I got definitive word that my father is doing BETTER, really truly better !! and is no longer in the critical situation he was in on the weekend when we thought we were going to lose him. I coped with my emotions towards my father and that stress by staying in constant contact with my three sisters and my sister in law and my brother, and also my two sons and one’s girlfriend!. Since we were ALL in stress and we were ALL sadly contemplating losing him forever, we could ALL offer each other some support. He is 95 after all! It was a shared situation and so this made it somewhat easier. Of course there are so many family dynamics and that gets tricky too in these crises. I also had therapy with my therapist and saw my wholistic chiropractor. The latter is the very nice man I mentioned earlier in the year that I am close with. It will never be a sexual /romantic relationship because he is too ethical to ever date a patient. But tonight I especially realized he really does care about me and could listen when it came to my father.

      With my exMM there is no “real world” support because it was an affair and taboo. I come HERE for that support as no one in my real life knows. No one. Only my therapist. No one else.
      I truly think how this made the whole situation so much worse for me personally. Having such a long term on/off relationship with my neighbor who works on my block and keeping it a secret was not good for me. Also while I told my sisters years ago about my exMM, they also thought I had broken up with him and left him for good ten years ago!. And I was too embarrassed over the last ten years to mention it anymore to them. I think the emotional isolation of the affair for me was very isolating and harmful to someone like me who likes to “talk”. It made me feel I was doing something so awful and so wrong because I only had my self to listen to. And I am very self-critical….my own worst enemy sometimes.

      As for my emotions towards my exMM I still have not cried and I do not feel very badly either. This might sound cold but really I have had enough of this “meal” and I am DONE. I simply don’t care much about him at this moment. I have had zero interest in him since the big fight and have heard nothing since I went NC and even on NC on Facebook this time. Those words he said will haunt me for a long time. I am very “emotionally sensitive” so I don’t take to fights like that very well.
      I can no longer see myself living with this man.

      Tonight he had left from his workplace, early so when I got home form work he was not here. That is odd behavior on his part but for me it was great. No “vibrations” through the walls. I still can not get over the way he acted towards me and how hard he tried to make me feel so insignificant next to him. And even though what he said was not true, now I know know he is very capable of saying this kind of this and trying to gaslight me like this. Now I know he can act like a big bully with me just to puff up his own low self esteem. His poor wife. I would now bet this is the reason she doesn’t like sex with him but of course Ill never really know.
      My attraction to him has now fallen to ZERO. I am so turned off by the thought of sleeping with him at the moment. Mind you I have NEVER felt this strongly negative towards him so this is all quite new. I think I got my closure. I was hemming and hawing over the last year but to reach his gaslighting of me after all that time? His bullying and abusive tone? I need him like I need a hole in my head! And as for wanting to be “friends” with him? Ha! With “friends” like him who needs enemies? Plus for us friendship always turned back to sex. I am SOOOO turned OFF. So thats where I am right now.
      I might not stay this way forever but for now it feels really GOOD! Like a complete vacation from his madness.
      WEIRD huh?
      hugs and love, BAF. xxx000

  • J

    Felk,
    You are right that I’m upset about the situation and looking to make sense through signs. You were not too harsh, I agree I sounded like I was spinning in that post. I really love him and it hurts a lot. But I really do believe he suffers from a mental illness. It is completely abnormal to be in love with someone on Tuesday and discussing how you want to marry them, talking about condos and how much you can’t wait to be with them every night, and then on Wednesday to say I’m going home because the lord told me to and I don’t love you. I’ve settled down a bit now, haven’t talked to him in a few days and have thought alone at length. I actually started to count up how many times he’s fluctuated like this, it was approx 15-20 times. Saying he doesn’t love me as much isn’t new either, he’s said that before but then always taken it back and begged for forgiveness and another chance. I do believe he goes through some kind of episodes from whatever mental illness he suffers from. I’ve noticed other little things about him through the years that indicated a mental illness, not necessarily having to do with me. Nothing too major but things that were off. For example, he feels quite differently about people in his life from time to time. He also has major abandonment fears and self medicates with alcohol. It’s very confusing for me because I know certainly that he would be a very bad partner for me with this mental illness. I’ve thought that even though he doesn’t seem to be able to leave his wife because of some co dependence, even if she left him, I wouldn’t or couldn’t be with him. He’d have these emotional flips about everything all of the time. It’s a hard thing to accept because I do love him and think about our great times. And we are so close in so many ways. I do know I need no contact. I need freedom from this unhealthy situation, I know I’ve played a part and take responsibility, but I really believed I was following my heart and we were going to ultimately make it work. But at this point it’s emotionally too much for me to handle.
    Ladies, I would like to be prepared for what’s going to happen next. I’m assuming he will be back around sometime, since that’s what has occurred each other time. Do you agree? Because I want to be prepared on what to do so I don’t fall for his trap again. He has ways of sounding so convincing that it will be different this time. He begs and pleads and becomes this loving man again. So, do you think he will be back? And how do I stop myself for falling for it again since I love him?

    • Felk

      J, I echo what BAF says when she reminds how you are unlikely to have a healthy relationship with someone who has mental illness and isn’t being treated for it. And even if he doesn’t have mental illness, he clearly has emotional and dependency issues that he needs to deal with in a healthy way (and he is not). And, yes, what he is doing to you is abnormal. It is not the foundation for a good relationship. It’s good you’ve had some time to think alone, but it has only been two days. You need a lot more NC than that. I know you know.

      Also, are your questions in the end about him coming back hopeful? Are you trying to get us to reassure you that he will come back? Please be honest with yourself about this. Yes, he will be back. Of course. You know this. I think you still want this, too. Like BAF says, I’d recommend therapy pretty strongly to help you move on from this situation. The volatility in your relationship has been pretty unique. It’s going to be hard to extract yourself from this situation, not only because of your own feelings, but I’d guess that your MM will have a lot of difficulty “letting go.” While it may feel flattering that he can’t let go, he has chosen his W and family and him not “letting go” just strings you (both) along. You say he’s already done this 15-20 times. He will continue to if you let him. And you keep letting him. I don’t judge because I understand, but it’s just true that his bad treatment will continue if you let him. As is often the case in these situations, the only fix is breaking up because two people are trapped in a pattern that reinforces the bad behavior. No one is going to suddenly change unless drastic measures (NC) are taken and serious boundaries are drawn. That’s what shows another person that you are serious about your self-respect and demands for better treatment. You can keep saying it over and over to a person but that does very little without real action. We WISH people would “get it” and treat us better, but you know from experience that this hasn’t happened. People need incentive to change, and if you keep things the way they are, he has no reason to change.

      How do you stop yourself from falling for it again? First, are you ready to stop falling for it? You stop falling for it when you make the decision to be done. This is where therapy can probably help you. I think you first have to get to that point. Second, once you are ready to make steps towards being done, then you go NC. But, you have to really go NC. That’s the only way in this situation. It doesn’t sound like you’re close to NC and that’s why I recommend therapy.

    • LIFELESSONS

      J,

      I have tried to catch up on your posts. I think what I am gathering is that things were going pretty good with MM he left his W but then he went back and decided he didnt love you anymore. He seemed to be dr jekyll and mr hyde….?!

      If he truly is suffering from some type of undiagnosed/untreated mental health his moods with continue and its not necessarily his intent to be a jerk. Mental Health is so challenging, for the people suffering from it and those who are close to them being subjected to the highs and lows of it. Both of my grandparents were diagnosed with schizophrenia one disorganized and the other paranoid so it was so tricky to watch them in episodes. One of my sisters was diagnosed with Bipolar, she self medicates by smoking marijuana daily and it keeps her in a good space for the most part but when she doesnt smoke she is a difficult person to tolerate. There are support groups that help you cope with love ones who suffer from mental health. My mom loves the support group, she says it is really helpful and it has helped her to humble herself when she is dealing with her mother at times.

      There are moments within your posts where you seem fed up and there are moments where you seem like you are unsure of what you would like to do. I think you need to be clear and honest with yourself about your situation…can you really handle someone battling with (speculated) mental health that’s untreated ?? How will this play a role on your mental health ?? What will you do to protect yourself/mental health ?? You dont have to answer my questions but just give it some thought.

    • Brave and Free

      J here is an excellent article.
      For me in my situation in leaving a Narcissist it really applies and is super helpful. I will copy paste part of it but not all. I hope you will look it up on the internet for the rest…..
      “When Someone You Love is Toxic – How to Let Go, Without Guilt”
      Posted by Karen Young
      It is posted on “Hey Sigmund” on the internet

      “If toxic people were an ingestible substance, they would come with a high-powered warning and secure packaging to prevent any chance of accidental contact. Sadly, families are not immune to the poisonous lashings of a toxic relationship.
      Though families and relationships can feel impossibly tough at times, they were never meant to ruin. All relationships have their flaws and none of them come packaged with the permanent glow of sunlight and goodness and beautiful things. In any normal relationship there will be fights from time to time. Things will be said and done and forgiven, and occasionally rehashed at strategic moments. For the most part though, they will feel nurturing and life-giving to be in. At the very least, they won’t hurt.
      Why do toxic people do toxic things?
      Toxic people thrive on control. Not the loving, healthy control that tries to keep everyone safe and happy – buckle your seatbelt, be kind, wear sunscreen – but the type that keeps people small and diminished.”
      (YESSSSS)
      “Everything they do is to keep people small and manageable. This will play out through criticism, judgement, oppression – whatever it takes to keep someone in their place. The more you try to step out of ‘your place’, the more a toxic person will call on toxic behaviour to bring you back and squash you into the tiny box they believe you belong in.”
      (YES!)
      “It is likely that toxic people learned their behaviour during their own childhood, either by being exposed to the toxic behaviour of others or by being overpraised without being taught the key quality of empathy. In any toxic relationship there will be other qualities missing too, such as respect, kindness and compassion, but at the heart of a toxic person’s behaviour is the lack of concern around their impact on others. They come with a critical failure to see past their own needs and wants.”
      (hello my exMM!)
      (hello my Mom)
      “Toxic people have a way of choosing open, kind people with beautiful, lavish hearts because these are the ones who will be more likely to fight for the relationship and less likely to abandon.
      Even the strongest people can find themselves in a toxic relationship but the longer they stay, the more they are likely to evolve into someone who is a smaller, less confident, more wounded version of the person they used to be.”
      (YUP. My experience in a nutshell.)
      “Non-toxic people who stay in a toxic relationship will never stop trying to make the relationship better, and toxic people know this. They count on it. Non-toxic people will strive to make the relationship work and when they do, the toxic person has exactly what he or she wants – control.”
      (YUP)
      “Toxic Families – A Special Kind of Toxic
      Rather than being lessons on how to love and safely open up to the world, the lessons some families teach are about closing down, staying small and burying needs – but for every disempowering lesson, there is one of empowerment, strength and growth that exists with it. In toxic families, these are around how to walk away from the ones we love, (for you J and ME) how to let go with strength and love, and how to let go of guilt and any fantasy that things could ever be different. And here’s the rub – the pain of a toxic relationship won’t soften until the lesson has been learned.”
      (WOW)
      Love and loyalty don’t always exist together.
      Love has a fierce way of keeping us tied to people who wound us. The problem with family is that we grow up in the fold, believing that the way they do things is the way the world works. We trust them, listen to them and absorb what they say. There would have been a time for all of us that regardless of how mind-blowingly destructive the messages from our family were, we would have received them all with a beautiful, wide-eyed innocence, grabbing every detail and letting them shape who we were growing up to be.
      The obligation to love and stay loyal to a family member can be immense, but love and loyalty are two separate things and they don’t always belong together.
      Loyalty can be a confusing, loaded term and is often the reason that people stay stuck in toxic relationships.
      What you need to know is this: When loyalty comes with a diminishing of the self, it’s not loyalty, it’s submission.”
      (I was loyal to my exMM to a fault…I am not talking about sex even…I am talking about staying forever in “his corner”
      Why are toxic relationships so destructive?
      In any healthy relationship, love is circular – when you give love, it comes back. When what comes back is scrappy, stingy intent under the guise of love, it will eventually leave you small and depleted, which falls wildly, terrifyingly short of where anyone is meant to be.
      The difference is that healthy families and relationships will work through the tough stuff. Unhealthy ones will blame, manipulate and lie – whatever they have to do to return things to the way they’ve always been, with the toxic person in control.”
      Why a Toxic Relationship Will never change.
      “Reasonable people, however strong and independently minded they are, can easily be drawn into thinking that if they could find the switch, do less, do more, manage it, tweak it, that the relationship will be okay.”
      (THIS!)
      “The cold truth is that if anything was going to be different it would have happened by now.”
      (yup)
      “Toxic people can change, but it’s highly unlikely. What is certain is that nothing anyone else does can change them. It is likely there will be broken people, broken hearts and broken relationships around them – but the carnage will always be explained away as someone else’s fault. There will be no remorse, regret or insight. What is more likely is that any broken relationship will amplify their toxic behaviour.”
      (Here is what happened last week to me J)
      “Why are toxic people so hard to leave?
      If you try to leave a toxic person, things might get worse before they get better – but they will always get better. Always.
      Few things will ramp up feelings of insecurity or a need for control more than when someone questions familiar, old behaviour, or tries to break away from old, established patterns in a relationship. For a person whose signature moves involve manipulation, lies, criticism or any other toxic behaviour, when something feels as though it’s changing, they will use even more of their typical toxic behaviour to bring the relationship (or the person) back to a state that feels acceptable.”
      (YES they will come back!)
      If you are someone who is naturally open and giving, when things don’t feel right in a relationship you will likely give more of yourself, offer more support, be more loving, to get things back on track.
      Breaking away from a toxic relationship can feel like tearing at barbed wire with bare hands.”
      (SOOOO painful)
      “The more you do it, the more it hurts, so for a while, you stop tearing, until you realise that it’s not the tearing that hurts, it’s the barbed wire – the relationship – and whether you tear at it or not, it won’t stop cutting into you.”
      I Love this J. I hope you will find much wisdom here.
      Little by little I am trying to digest this article.
      You are an earlier stage with your MM and you might be tempted back in. But it will never get better. Trust me. HE WILL BE BACK for sure and you need to become very serious about the strategies you will have when he is. And I need to take my own advice as mine will be back too one day.

      Number one for us is this: DO NOT ANSWER! (the door, the phone, the text) etc. Do not respond. Do not take the bait. Do not let emotions control us. Think!
      Can we do it?
      Yes. YESSSSSSSS
      xxxooo Brave and Free aka Lara

  • Nomad

    Sunday, I stayed in bed most of the day, processing the pain, heartache, disappointment, despair and plain sadness. T WhatsApp me and repeated the stop-downgrading-yourself lectures. I appreciated her support but I just threw away 1.5mths of nc (from rumination to isolation) and I felt mentally weak and emotionally vulnerable to decide what to do next. No doubt, I would end the affair if I could. He had been trying for 3wks, even a literally short text like “toy” or “left office going home” on Sat morning before the bbq.

    So I toggled between blocking and unblocking him, checking his last seen once and I didn’t realize I left it as unblocked. At about 7pm, his WhatsApp popped up “hope you have a good Sat and Sun”, I replied “I didn’t and you did”. I got my answers to questions like why he brought his daughter, would he bring if he knew I was going. He said he would still bring regardless i went or not, he didn’t see anything wrong with it. And If his W wanted to go, it would be either only he go or no go. I told him he was being insensitive to my feelings. Most of guys in his team did not turn up so why did he still go? I knew a few guys who didn’t go because weekend is precious time with family and concern that their wives would feel left out. I also asked was there anyone else he wanted to see? He said no one. I said I should be the one there (majority was my group), not you. He said: so in future I should not go? I said: “Yes.” He said: noted. He might be angry that I was being unreasonable and crazy. I don’t care. Why should I be licking my wound at home while he had 4hrs of fun with MY team whom he rarely worked with. I struggled so much and decided not to go as part of the healing. Since he’s been complaining about neglecting his family due to obscene amount of workload then I do not understand his priorities to rather attend an unimportant bbq vs. staying with his W & kids.

    I got upset because in the past, I asked if we could meet few hrs on say a Sat night, he said no reason to disappear (ie. He didn’t want to lie), how abt next time if there’s a gathering or night job, we meet after that. I interpreted as he’s just unwilling to make it happen for me. I do know he meet people on wkends but it just cannot be me, too much guilt n fear and they overpowered the passion, novelty and excitement. That happened a lot in the 1st year and was heartbreaking to deal, it was like: then what’s left of us? Can’t meet, can’t text, just watching the passion dwindled when I was still so madly in love. This bbq reminded me those bad feelings. Of course I know it’s simply the case whereby he can meet whoever except me. Anyway, after I downloaded my unhappiness over the bbq and got what I expected him to do in future gathering, I thought he’d be pissed off and mia again and god knows when he’ll be back or never be back.

    I told myself from now on, the key is to protect my heart and live my life normally. I set a target to sleep by 10.30pm so that I will feel good the next working day. I mustn’t fail at work. I’ve 3 key events to oversee in Aug so I must focus. At least, pull through Aug and try to do my job well.

    I went to bed on Sun night by 10.30pm. The next morning, I saw his text at 1am “gn”. I replied “gm” at 6am. He said he is coming to my office today for work related matters. I replied noted. I’m now mentally prepared and I hope not to bump into him. There’s no loving or romantic feeling between us, for the next few weeks I suppose.

    Then, the first meeting I attended, he was there too, he sat opposite me but moved to the rear and hid behind another colleague. I couldn’t see him at all. He was in my premises throughout the day but he didn’t come to my desk. At 2pm, he whatsapp me “nice blouse” and at 4pm, I saw him walked past and headed out. I wondered who he’s meeting for tea break? Yes, I got hooked back to this mess again it seems. I focused on work and left for Home the moment I’m done.

    Never ending isn’t it?

    • Felk

      Oh, Nomad, you sound so miserable. I’m sorry for this. I know it’s really hard for you to feel like your MM stirred everything again, just as you were doing 1.5 months of NC. At first, I didn’t understand why you were so upset that he brought his daughter to the BBQ, but I see that it’s just a reminder to you of how he seems unavailable to you for “dates” on weekends but he is available for activities like the BBQ. We know this is the reality of affairs, though. Just like you, it frustrated me that my MM sometimes seemed available for activities with others but not with me. I knew why, though. He didn’t want to lie. He was already lying so much with everything in our affair, that, if he could help it, he didn’t want to add more things to lie about. So, yes, he could go out for a drink with a friend on a Friday night, but, no, he couldn’t go with me sometimes… because he wouldn’t have to lie about the friend but he’d have to lie if he were out with me. I think it’s also as you say that going out with us reminds our MM of their guilt and it’s harder to choose going out with us over their family. I understand, but I also understand why it hurts and frustrates you. It really sounds like you need to end this and go NC again. You seem very anxious and upset about it all again. You’re jealous and suspicious, even though he’s assured you that he’s not seeing anyone else. I don’t know how you can be in this affair and be happy. What would it take for you to be happy? The other day I thought you had decided to block him and be done again, but it seems like you’re still deciding. I understand that completely as this is not always an easy decision, but is there any way you can be happy in this affair? In answering my questions the other day, it seemed you couldn’t. What is stopping you from ending it again? Is it too hard to let him go knowing he wants to be with you again? I get it. And I’d understand going back to him if it could make you happy, but it doesn’t seem like you’re happy at all.

      • BAF

        Nomad I too am so sorry you are miserable. Felk makes so many great points to you and I second them. The thing I “get” from you is how you are probably thinking if you and the MM are calling it “Love”. If he is in fact in love with you, then how can he not make more time for you?
        Am I right? I would think this all the time too but settle for whatever crumbs there were of his time. But it stung.
        The weekend stung you because he was, yes, doing a “legit” thing with his daughter but you felt “cast off” as his “lover” and this stings all the more if you feel he “loves” you. And now he is saying it to you, those words you want to hear, so you have no reason to think he would not want to spend more time with you now. Except that nothing has changed in that he is still a married taken man. He cant because of his guilt and because its a secret affair.

        That is why I personally always question the word “love” in affairs. If it is in fact love I question how we can get to feeling so cast off. My exMM used to say “But you knew I was married”…on and on. Clearly he was trying to give me the hint that this was going to be a “different” kind of love, not the all encompassing kind when a person makes you their number one priority.

        And yes the MM might do it once a week and treat me like a real lover would or once a month but what about the rest of the time? I see part of me was never that suited to having an “affair” because of my expectations, but the other part of me was! I was conflicted a lot.
        So if you are in pain again you must try to look at what your expectations are and see if they can possibly get square with the actual situation. Are you really okay with this being a married occupied family man etc etc.?

        You know I talked myself back into the affair on many occasions. I liked the “freedom” it gave me. I mean the affair. In some ways I felt like I sort of even had a stable relationship. But then I didn’t too. I was in conflict between my head and my heart so often. An affair is the type of highly emotional emotion that can really mess us up is what I think. But I sure stayed in mine off and on for an eternity no? LOL
        Hugs and Love xoxo
        BAF. xxxooo

        • Nomad

          Lara,

          You are right: If he is in fact in love with you, then how can he not make more time for you? he should naturally want to do it for you, out of love. What is love? I think affair is addiction, not love. I see no end to this…

          • BAF

            Nomad I think an affair is addiction too, not real “love”. I feel if a man says he loves me he makes me his priority. In the affair the “love” is pure fantasy because no married person can make a third person his/her own priority. If they do their marriage gets wobbly.
            If a man says I love you to me: in my mind, he naturally wants to act loving and caring towards me because he actually loves me. I don’t have to beg him for more attention. And he gets it why crumbs are not enough.
            So what was I doing in an affair anyhow?

            In an affair the word “love” gets used for sure, but it is a different form of the word. It is more an idea than an action. It is FANTASY.
            When one has a strong idea of what loves is and then gets non-loving behavior after very passionate sex it is so confusing to me! I told my exMM he was a “mind f–k” because his words and actions did not match up in my head. I felt the affair was screwing up my head. This is after years of saying it in other nicer ways to him and getting nowhere. But he reacted to my confusion with a blizzard of anger. he took no responsibility for confusing me.
            His reaction was classic NARC. He told me HE was not the problem. I was the problem! But of course.
            That response is more f–ing with my head as far as I am concerned.
            I am convinced he wanted us to stay “friends” for purely selfish reasons, not because he was capable of an actually give and take friendship with no sex.
            His version of friendship would mean I was a “back-up” woman “in case” he needed. I am clear now.
            Yet Nomad you see how I grappled with him for so long trying to get some clarity in the complicated situation that an affair is.
            Don’t beat yourself up for your confusion. It is only natural!
            But now we need to use logic and reason to deal with the affairs.
            We must try NOT to react emotionally because we get swung by the intensity of the affair dynamics, and we get caught by the brain addiction too.
            In the end I think I wasted some time honestly with my exMM, but its okay I guess because my learning process with him was very slow. And I can choose to accept it took whatever time it took to let him finally go. (Or run in the opposite direction)
            It takes what it takes to get out of an affair.
            But when you get out for awhile you look back at yourself you just might ask yourself this: What the F was I thinking?
            🙂
            Hugs BAF aka Lara xxxooo

    • LIFELESSONS

      Nomad,

      You can pull it together. I remember going 33+ days NC and about 60+ days without seeing my MM and I wonder how far along I could be with the moving on process if I had not doubled back. I cant remember if you are single or not ? Not that it matters too much but I have been wishing to meet someone else to help take my mind off of my MM. Our lives are way too intertwined so much so that I have no idea as to how we will get out of this without having some form of communication. I can imagine how challenging it must be to work with your MM…not easy to get over someone you will see regularly! I think you may need to try NC for the sake of your sanity. I know you were bothered by the BBQ and him bringing his daughter and him not being able to spend that time with you. I know that it is not easy being understanding to the fact that you are not their number one priority and you get what they have left to give. I often get frustrated with my MM for this and it just happened recently. He told me that he loves how I understand him and how he is and he said its nice when you get to learn a person and you know what buttons not to push and it helps to keep down on conflict. He tries to oblige and so do i but it gets extremely frustrating. I think if you feel you are not able to tolerate him and the way he deals with you you have to figure out how to choose you and move forward. Easier said than done! I did not have many expectations in the beginning but that is changing as my feelings change towards my MM and I try to stay grounded in reality as much as I can. I also try to be reflective and honest with myself and I communicate with him, not always direct communication ( I am working on that, I tend to be sarcastic and its just a defense mechanism) but I communicate with him. Hopefully you can figure a way to do whats best for you.

      Best Wishes!!!

      • Nomad

        LL,
        Thanks for having so much “faith” in me to pull through when I have totally depleted my energy to resist. I have been running fever and bodyaches for past 2 days, an excuse to mourn in bed. MM didn’t know I was on medical leave, that’s sad too.

        I am a mw with 3 kids (all teenagers) so I can’t be wishing to meet a legit man. Not that I don’t try NC, just failed a 1.5mths NC. I am too drained to start another, also, it is very difficult when he’s back, I can’t bear to go or “spoil” it by ending without looking back. I am just fighting a losing batte.

  • J

    Dear felk and Baf, thanks so much for your responses. Yes I am trying to make sense of a difficult situation. And the more I read about bipolar, I do not think mm has that. I do believe he has a borderline personality disorder and is codependent. Everything I read about personality disorders fit him. And he’s completely confused dependent on his wife’s mental illness, alcoholism, and her inability to do anything at all. It’s like he needs her ineptness to survive and feel good about himself. He has a complete fear of abandonment, his emotions change rapidly and severely and he’s very impulsive, as in borderline personality disorder. Felk, yes affairs are stressful and people do act differently, like I have become much needier and I feel pathetic around him, taking much more than I would normally. But in this case with him, it’s more than that. When he’s in an episode, he acts like a completely different person. And each time his emotions change, it’s like he becomes completely obsessed with those feelings and can’t even process other thoughts. It’s more than stress and more than a affair related drama. Not that I’m an expert in affairs, but I was involved in another long affair many years ago. And that man acted typical of affairs.
    I had a long talk with mm yesterday. He asked me to meet him for lunch because he’s “worried about me.” I declined but I did speak to him at length on the phone. He again said I don’t love you romantically anymore. In which I kind of flipped out. How were you so in love with me just days ago, evidenced by your texts I still have and things you said?? He finally responded in truth that he’s trying to shut me out of his mind so he can move on and that he doesn’t want me hanging on. But he then said he wants to talk about the next phase of our relationship and that he wants to still talk to me and see me because we are so close. He then admitted that he would be jealous to see me with another man but he knows he has no right. He also said he wished we were in an alternate universe with no spouses. He also admitted it’s possible he has a mental illness because he knows his fluctuations are severe. We hung up and left off saying he was going to text me soon to talk in the afternoon. He also mentioned he would be going to a different gym. Well he never texted me again and when I arrived at the gym, he was there. He didn’t see me and when I looked at him across the gym, I can’t explain it fully, but he looked insane. Rapidly doing things and moving his head to the music in a crazy looking way. This man, I know so well, looked absolutely different and mental. He eventually saw me and walked up. He said how long have you been here? I said awhile but i didn’t want to bother you because I assumed you didn’t want to talk since you never texted. He was aloof and said he got busy. I said you could’ve told me you were coming here. He said I didn’t want to see you here and I don’t have to explain myself to you. I said well I must have a very big influence on you if you can’t even see me in the gym. He annoyed me and I said well enjoy your workout and walked away. I found it so rude that he was supposed to text earlier and he just blew me off, not considering my feelings at all. I acted immaturely and secretly removed his keys from the key rack just to see him squirm. Before he noticed his keys missing he came over and said I looked very nice, better than nice. Later when he couldn’t find them he was very mad and accused me of taking them. I said well maybe if you treated people better these kinds of things wouldn’t happen to you. He had to call his wife to be pick him up. Before she arrived I threw his keys at him and said I’m sick of the abuse and disrespect I’ve taken from you for so long. And yelled at him calling him an a**hole and jerk. He said what do you want me to do? He couldn’t look at me. We ended in a yelling fight again. I drive home feeling very done with him once and for all. Like that was it, something snapped and I was finished. Well something very odd happened later that night. My husband and I went to a restaurant a few towns over that we don’t often go to, only occasionally. I had these very strange feeling while I was in there that mm was near. I don’t know why or what it was coming from. After 10 mins or so, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Mm came walking in with his wife. This is not a restaurant he commonly goes to either. They were seated right behind us so that mm and I were facing each other. We were both shocked and of course said nothing to each other. As we both tried looking at our spouses we couldn’t stop looking at each other. We both texted each other immediately how crazy that was. I felt it was a sign from the universe and told him. He said yes it seems so. That had to be a sign. What are the chances of that, and right behind me. And i felt this insane connection to him before he came walking in. Isn’t the universe saying we can try to forget each other, but it’s not happening. And we were thrown right back to each other. Am I reading to much into this? I do believe in signs. Thoughts? What do I do now?

    • Felk

      J, I know you know, but you’re all over the place in your message. I see obsession and erratic behavior from both you and your MM. I know you know this because you say you feel different from your past affair. I think you both are trapped in a very volatile situation with very strong emotions. I don’t know how this ends for either of you until one person really does go NC for real. Not NC for a day or two. Not NC to get the other person to react. And not your MM’s weird “I want to shut you out but I still want to talk to you and see you.”

      As a scientist, I don’t believe in “signs.” I believe that we see what we want to see in situations. You are missing your MM and are hurt and angry about his recent behavior. You desperately do not want him to leave you. So, when you see him, you see it as a sign of your connection to him. But, couldn’t it also be a sign that you two belong with your spouses? It seems pretty rare for the two of you to see each other out with each other’s spouses, so maybe the “sign” is that you are meant to be with other people? Again, I don’t believe in signs. My point is only that there are many different interpretations depending on what you want to believe. Right now, you both are looking for easy answers to a VERY hard situation so I can see why it’s tempting to read into seeing each other out. Of course, you feel an “insane connection.” I would imagine you’re both thinking about each other 24/7. That’s how these things work. But, the only “sign” you need right now is that your MM is not leaving his W. He moved back in with her. And he is trying to distance himself from you. Read the real signs and not things you want to believe. That will help you get clarity in the situation. And you know I don’t mean to sound harsh. I can hear how much you want to believe you and your MM will end up together, but it seems like he’s going in the other direction. Yes, I still see a lot of confusion on his end, but moving back in with his W spoke volumes.

      I’m glad you confronted him about not loving you anymore because it’s a lie (and unnecessarily hurtful). However, it’s clear that he told you that because he is trying to move on. He is trying a new tactic to separate from you. I don’t think dishonesty is the best route, but he is trying any way he knows how. Why would you want to stay with someone who is trying to leave you? Yes, he is finding it hard to do, but it doesn’t change the fact that he is trying. Who wants to be with someone who doesn’t really want to be there? I fear a very painful ending for you if you don’t come to some resolution soon. I honestly don’t know how you get there. I’d suggest NC but I know you don’t want that right now. I guess I’d then suggest honest conversation in a neutral/public location and reduced contact for a while. Emotions are running high. Let them settle a little.

    • BAF

      Hi J, I am glad my words were of help to you. But know I must say this which you may not like to hear: If you presume he has a mental illness and he affirms it then you need to get OUT. NOW.
      He is ill and this is not the type of illness that will go way with an antibiotic. It will take medication but also years of therapy. There is no easy way out for treating a mental illness. I can not stress this enough. He will NOT change without an intervention and he may never even agree to one. You, on the outside, as an affair partner can never get him the help he needs. Never. Only his wife and family would be able to perhaps persuade him to get help. But his wife is alcoholic so there is no way in hell she can confront this reality herself. He has gone back home because he is more comfortable living with his illness where no one will challenge him on it. I don’t think it is a matter of love. He is full of fear. And co-depenedent with his ill W. If you stay in this with them you too will see yourself worsening into emotional illness as well. Are you really ready for that chapter?

      If I were in your shoes I would get your much needed NC for awhile from the MM by telling him you are going into much needed treatment for yourself as you are so emotionally affected by this affair, and that you are required to not see him for awhile as a part of the therapy. Am I being extreme? Based on what I have personally experienced in my life NO. Not at all. Are you willing to see your own emotional health decline? I just hope you will heed my words. Pretty please?
      Many hugs and much Love
      BAF
      aka Lara
      xxxooo

      • BAF

        J, one more thing:
        You can perhaps ? console yourself as I too have realized my exMM is emotionally ill. You are not alone. I was in denial for a long long time (longer than you!) unable to believe that this man “of my dreams aka illusions” was a true narcissist but believe me after my last time fighting with him I DO believe it now. And the “proof” is everyone here agreeing with me :). I know there is zero chance for a good relationship with him now. If we (you and I) stay and try to “love” such people we fall into our own emotional unhealthiness! I am not willing to do that anymore. So you see? You are not alone. I hope the brings you some comfort.
        Hugs BAF. xxxooo

        • J

          You are right Lara. Your words meant so much and really helped me. Thank you for seeing his mental illness. I’m sorry you’ve dealt with it for so long also.

          • Butterflies are Free

            J, Our denial because we love these men is a real danger to our won selves. We somehow believe we can help them that our love can not save these men. We believe in the power of true love.
            But what do these MM do after we have tried to love them for years?
            They go home where they feel safer because they are less challenged to get well at home. The status quo rules at home and it feels safer there.
            We represent “challenging them” and wanting them to get “weller”. We represent the unknown. It is noble of us but if they did not get well before we entered the picture it is HIGHLY unlikely they will get well for us now! The reason is this: in seeking out an affair with another woman they seek more an escape from their lives and from their thoughts and selves. An escape from reality is what they want. Not another serious relationship because the latter involves true work and commitment and responsibility and that is the LAST thing they can handle in their state! Think about it. Can a mentally ill person leave a wife and family embark on a whole new life? Nope. It takes a person with a great deal of inner strength to do such a thing.
            We give them qualities and strengths (in our minds) that in fact sadly they do not have. But in fact we deeply make them anxious because our ideas destabilize them. “Love” blinds us! And our addictions to them blind us!
            I hope this makes sense J! Hugs and Love BAF aka Lara. xxxooo

  • Brave and Free aka Butterflies are Free aka Lara

    This has been a really emotional week . My father is at the end of his life. And I blocked and walked my exMM on Tuesday. Thankfully my exMM has been away all week. It has been peaceful without him. Tomorrow he will be back to work. I also go back to work for this week. Thankfully. Then I will be taking a trip to see my father.
    I have not cried about leaving my exMM yet. I do not understand where my tears are. I do not miss him yet either. I don’t know here my emotion is “going”. Into my body I presume. Not good for the moment but I guess I am kind of in shock. I am not hysterically crying about him. I feel cold. The only time I have cried this week is reading the end of LL’s post when she said I was “strong”. That is what made me cry. But it was tears of agreeing with her. I am just carrying on my day. But with sadness. With weariness. With a longing for it all to just “go away”. But I have also had some really fun times with friends this week too! How weird it is. I have gone out and enjoyed myself despite everything.

    The night of the fight with my exMM I had just been with my therapist working on issues with my father. I realized this week that my father, too, gaslighted me a lot. Only this week! My father is mid-90’s. Talk about my denial! My father did it to rationalize my mother’s behavior being “not that bad” when I was a child and lived in that house. But it really was. Bad. She raged and was mean etc. And then she could be perfectly fine in front of “guests”. My mother is a narcissist and has serious OCD. Anyhow I repeatedly tried to explain to my father how badly my Mom was treating us (I was the oldest) but he felt he could not do anything so he gaslighted me and my siblings. He also was a highly functional alcoholic. That explains my development in a nutshell I guess. But this does not make me cry anymore either. It just IS. Life IS. And it is what we make of it. That is what I have learned. Therapy and many other things have been the reason I am sane today and quite functional too!

    Anyhow I “chose” (sub-consciously or unconsciously or whatever) to have a lengthy affair with a man, my exMM, who was actually a lot like my father. And they even look a bit alike. Duh. Surprise surprise. (Not). So it’s not surprising to me that I found my exMM and did not recognize the emotional abuse. I was already so used to not speaking up for myself. To be gaslit.
    Yet it is curious, I was also strong. Even as a child. Not strong in personality but strong inside. Somehow I always had a secret relationship with my HP (higher power) and I always found imaginative ways to distance from all the chaos at home.
    Yes I have always been surprisingly strong. (!) I always had something kick-ass in me too. I have had fights with my exMM where I have been totally fearless even though like LL I am a short person. LOL. I don’t know where I get these “balls” from but they are there. People never expect this from me as I come off very dreamy and vague. (pisces rising!) I am also very determined as well. I see this now.

    I also see that moving onto my exMM after my marriage ended, I was in no shape to find an emotionally healthy partner. My exH was a very dramatic and very unpredictable and very addicted person. But he was gorgeous, incredibly talented and magnetic I am afraid. I was SO HOOKED. I see this now calmly. Unfortunately I perceived him as so “talented and intelligent” and that he could “help me develop as an artist” and you know what? He actually did do that part. But sobriety, responsibility, co-parenting? Nah not so good. I needed time to grieve the end of my marriage but took very little especially since he left the country going back to his origins and leaving me with two young sons.

    But honestly I was not ready for the relationship that happened with my exMM. He was hot and sexy yes and also foreign (but not as artistically talented) and I perceived him to be stable and consistent and strong. HAH! The affair with him took my mind off my ill exH and my having to deal with being a single parent. But I was not ready to have any serious relationship. The affair was supposed to be light and breezy. Temporary. I could not at the beginning even imagine falling in love with him! It was supposed to be all fun and passion but not too serious. Looking back I thought it would only be a temporary affair, LOL. But as soon as we slept together (which was maybe the 2nd or 3rd time we met) that was it for me. I was hooked and in love with him too.

    Today my two sons and their father (my exH) are visiting my Dad in another state. Its a weird feeling and a very long story why my exH is there as he has not seen my dad in 20 years. But both of them like seeing each other I guess. That is good. I stayed completely out of it.
    Also, today out of the blue an ex boyfriend reached out to me. He does this every once in a while. He is now with a woman for many years. But he misses my “artist brain” ahem. We have tried friendship many times but it always ends up with me pulling away as things start to get sexual and I don’t like the idea of him cheating. Weird huh? I cant stand the thought that he is like that because I thought he loved me true blue. BTW His name is the same name as my Dad. He knew of my exMM and hated him as “arrogant” etc.
    ahem
    Life is always moving always changing no?
    We have no control except over ourselves.
    And Love and sex are incredible complicated aren’t they? Or is it just us humans that make it so?
    Or maybe its just me? LMAO
    And, Hindsight is 20-20 huh?
    Hugs,
    Brave and Free
    xxx000
    I love this new name LL!

    • Butterflies are Free

      Hello Ladies,
      Finally I feel emotions today. I think it is because the exMM is next door working. But I do not feel sadness. Not yet. Today I feel relief still. And I feel anger at him. The way he treated me at the end was so unnecessary. He could have found other ways to tell me he was angry at me without trying to gaslight me about our relationship and blame me. He was a bully. I feel appropriate anger. But I do not wish to act on this anger. I don’t wish to speak to him today and I don’t miss him today. I miss what I imagined he was. That part , the illusion, I DO miss.

      My father is declining and I am going to see him this week. I feel frustration towards the way he acted all my life with my mother and my siblings feel this as well. But he is also very lovable and emotional. He is a man who many people adore. My exMM has very few friends and the ones he has he places there so he can feel easily superior to them.
      My father liked all out everyone and was very successful himself but he was also very humble. He admitted some of his shortcomings and was easy to get along with whenever my mother was not there. But yeah he drank. He was even drinking today at his ripe old age. Not too much but some.
      Anyhow I say all this to say I am getting started inside of myself sorting this stuff out.
      My emotions were numb last week after that awful argument with my exMM. But they are coming back I see. These affairs are very complex and do such a number on us emotionally and psychologically.
      Hugs BAF aka Lara. xxxooo

    • Felk

      BAF, I know how hard it is when you have multiples stresses all at once. It’s hard enough healing from the MM stuff with all of life’s daily hassles, but to add an ailing parent on top of it, I do know that stress. As best you can, try to focus on one at a time. It helped me when family stress was particularly high to compartmentalize and recognize that stress was from family and not from my feelings for my MM. I’m glad you will get time with your father soon, not only so you can focus there but so that you can get away for a bit.

      Nice timing for the ex-boyfriend. Even if there is nothing romantic there, it’s nice to have old friends reach out. Any distraction now is good.

      And maybe you haven’t cried because you’ve shed all the tears you can for him? At some point, we’re just done crying over someone else. It’s part of acceptance and moving on, and maybe it’s surprising you because it comes gradually. It’s not like there’s ever a sudden “I’m over him” moment. It’s just something you realize as you look back. I’m not saying you’re over your MM yet, but the no tears is a sign that you don’t have that emotion left for him anymore. Or maybe it’s a sign that he doesn’t deserve tears? That you are more angry and disappointed in him than sad? Either way, I think it’s a good sign.

      • Brave and Free aka....

        Felk thank you. I think you are right that I must try to keep the two issues (men) separate. My father is in a very serious situation with his heart. He is very elderly. As soon as I am done working tomorrow I am going to join the rest of my siblings and rally around him at the hospital or his house or wherever. YES It will give me an excuse to get away from here. It is a really good reason and I will go. I will take my computer with me.

        I have stayed totally clear of the corner today and yesterday when’re my exMM is working. Tomorrow he is not here. It is the only way right now. (To stay away from the corner). I will walk the super long away around to get to the main drag if I need to. I simply can’t focus on my father and my exMM at the same time. But of course there are some general similarities in ways I already said. As for my ex boyfriend YES any distraction helps! I may email him a word or too later this week but I must be careful as he is “taken” too.
        And I did an extra therapy visit today. Thank Goddess she and I can now do free video sessions via computer! (Zoom.com). Nice huh?
        Hugs and Love
        xxxooo
        Brave and Butterflies are Free aka Lara xxxooo

        • Felk

          BAF, extra therapy and avoiding your MM seem smart. I really understand the avoiding MM part. I know in these situations that there is sometimes temptation just to see the person, because you miss them, but I also know that avoiding reminders and triggers helps with healing. I know this has helped me. Yes, sometimes it’s impossible to avoid and sometimes we trigger ourselves by intentionally seeking out reminders, but part of healing is intentionally avoiding reminders, too. There is no weakness in it. It is not running away. It is recognizing a problem (the reminders) and dealing with it. It’s the obsessive thoughts and rumination that are brutal in a break-up so anything you can do to stop thinking about the person is important.

          And getting out of town is good, too. I know it’s for a sad reason and sad things can trigger our thoughts of other sad things, but I think it’ll be good for you to be surrounded by family and away from your MM.

  • Felk

    Nomad, you sound sad but you sound clear. You sound like you’re blaming yourself, but, if anything, I hear someone who was offered great temptation and is finding the strength to turn it down. Maybe you don’t feel strong because of the anxiety today, but I genuinely hear strength in your honest answers about how hard it would be for you to have an affair with him again. You seem clear in knowing that it would hurt too much, you wouldn’t be able to trust him, you would want more than he could give, and you would constantly feel jealous about his W. You admit you are too possessive. That is really great honesty. One of the hardest things in affairs is knowing that you can’t “have” the other person. We all know this too well. It made you miserable before, and you sound miserable again even considering getting back into that mess. I hope you can take some comfort in knowing that he missed you and loves you, and in also knowing that you know it’s best to leave it there and not try again. I know you know the process to heal. You did it before. You can do it again. And, honestly, I don’t think you’re starting over. I think you’re starting several steps into the process. Maybe it was “two steps back,” but you are not starting over from scratch.

    I have a BBQ with coworkers coming up in a few weeks, too. I also am contemplating not going. I don’t have that much sadness or anxiety anymore, but I also know that I still have some healing to do before I’m back to where I want to be psychologically. I know my MM is going. I do not think he is bringing his W, but I’m still not sure that I want to go to this BBQ and deal with some of the difficulty these situations still pose for me. I would love to go to the BBQ and have some normal conversation with him and coworkers, but I’m not sure I can do that (without feeling a mess inside). Your strength in not going to that BBQ is impressive. You know yourself well. And though you are hurting, it seems like you know what you need to do to get on the path of healing again.

  • Felk

    J, I know you’re trying to look for answers to understand your MM’s erratic behavior, but it’s probably too difficult for us to speculate given how little we know about him. Your MM’s behaviors haven’t seemed like bipolar disorder to me, but I really wouldn’t know. If anything, the high drama and extreme emotions sound like borderline personality disorder, but, again, I’m not diagnosing him (because I don’t know him and I’m not a therapist!). It could simply be the pressure of the affair. Some of the things you describe, the sudden coldness, change in body language, and shutting down are similar to what my MM would do sometimes. It seemed his reaction to a high-pressure situation that had no easy solution. He would “shut down” when he had no more to give in that moment and when he was feeling overwhelmed by it all.

    The other things you describe, too, could just be your MM trying to deal with a very difficult situation. I’d guess that all of us on here have acted or felt in ways that seem unusual to our typical. I know that during the affair, I had more anxiety and insecurity than is normal for me in relationships. I know that my emotional/physiological reaction for months after the break-up was a low that was unfamiliar to me. I had never been that despondent in my life (not even close), and, although it only lasted for a few months, I felt symptoms of depression. While I know this is normal after a break-up, it isn’t normal for me. My point is that these affairs take their toll on all of us. They toy with our emotions in ways that we don’t realize at first, ways that are different from “normal” relationships, and we get sucked in deeper and deeper until it gets very hard to leave. And I think that’s what your MM is going through. I think he’s gone through this a number of times during your affair. I think he’s often felt torn between you and his W/family. And feeling “torn” is the calm way of describing a whole set of emotions that are very hard to deal with. I know that for my MM, when he felt “torn” in those last 9 months of our affair, he was ultimately exhausted and told me that it felt unhealthy to deal with that tension. It IS unhealthy. So, does your MM have bipolar? I don’t know. But could the affair be causing him to act and feel erratically? Yes. And please know that I don’t say that to make it sound simple or easy. Your MM is likely feeling awful, difficult emotions that are causing him misery. I have no doubt that he is quite unhappy right now, as he tries to sort this all out.

    So, you ask if this means he’s not good for you? J, it’s seemed like that for quite some time now.

  • Nomad

    I didn’t hear from him the whole day, no gm, nothing until in a meeting at 5pm which I was asked to attend at the very last minute, he sat opposite me. It was awkward and we avoided eye contact. I left for my photography class immediately after the meeting. I guess he’s backing off a little because it’s Friday, he’s feeling homey and he’s going for the bbq tomorrow (knowing I’m not going).

    I think I cannot be grey. I’m not game for falling in love with a mm, I can’t share. I’ve typed sweet nothings to him but I didn’t hit send. I’m thinking of cutting him off more and more each day, well, it was merely 2 days since the room. I don’t want to deal with heartache and anxiety which I’m very sure he’ll repeat the cycle sooner or later. Also, I’ve drifted away from my family for the past 2 weeks. It took me months to inch towards my family. I was subconsciously waiting and hoping for his call and WhatsApp. Again, I’m unknowingly slipping back into the toxic way I used to live. I know I’ve huge difficulty to execute what I think or say. I’m sorry I’m ranting when he left and when he returned.

    Yes, I had enjoyed a few good hours of fantasy this week but I still choose to remove him and move on. Affair is definitely harder than living a boring and mundane lifetime with W. Addiction is bad.

    I read this : It’s like deciding you want to get in shape. You commit to getting up early the next day to go for a run. But later that day, you decide you really want ice cream. So you indulge.
    And then the next morning comes. Your body feels heavy and hungover from the sugar. The idea of running seems pretty miserable, let alone actually doing it.

    Getting in shape starts to feel a whole lot less appealing, and maybe more ice cream is a good idea. The whole thing unravels. You settle for ice cream instead of having a body that functions in the way you really want it to.

    But overdosing on ice cream always gets old. There comes a moment when the voice of the bigger thing creeps up again and haunts you. “Wouldn’t it be great if your body felt better? Wouldn’t you like to be able to climb stairs without the heavy breathing? How would it feel to wake up in the morning with your back not hurting?”

    At some point, you have to decide which one is more important to you: feeling good in the moment or feeling better in the long run. One calls for more discipline, postponing gratification in pursuit of the bigger thing. The other feels really good right now, but a lot less so later.

    We all know theories. Unhappiness and risks outweighs happiness in an affair. I’m not sure if I’m honest about still choosing moving on or I can now say I wanted to continue moving on because he’s back at the moment (and that I’ll chase after him once he mia for the next cycle).

    Just one day without gm and not hearing him the entire work day, already got me telling myself to wake up, get up, dust off and move on, resuming where I’ve left off in Jun.

    • Nomad

      He went to the BBQ and T (my spy) updated me that becuase he knew I wasn’t going, he brought along his younger daughter and had an enjoyable 4 hrs there. T was disgusted by his presence and felt angry that I should be the one there, not him.

      TOday, I suffered from anxiety over the bbq.I was afraid that he would bring his wife and group photots would be sent via the groupchat. I stayed away from the phone. I just cooped up in bed from 1pm to 7pm. Now that the bbq was over, I asked T about him. It was hard to stomach the real him at the bbq vs what he said to me on Thu. He asked if I was going. I said no. He said he wasn’t sure if he was going, it was too far, and lately too much work (not lately, it was always too much work), hardly spend time with familiy on weekends blah blah. I said to him he would surely eager to go. He just not willing to go out with me but for other events/gatherings what are official, he would sure go. And, I was right. The reason why I didn’t go, I did share in my earlier post. I wasn’t ready and I didn’t want to see him.

      Anyway, I had a hard time today battling with anxiety over this stupid bbq. After learning that he was actually enjoying himself there, I felt worse. I blocked him again. New source of anger to fuel my moving on. T has also scolded me for being foolish and stupid.

    • Felk

      Nomad, I think it’s the end of your message that says it all: “Just one day without gm and not hearing him the entire work day, already got me telling myself to wake up, get up, dust off and move on.” Just one day without a good morning and a (work) day without contact and you’re questioning the situation and telling yourself not to get back into the affair. I also don’t know if you’re ready to keep moving on and ignore his interest or if you’re just saying that because it’s easier when you know he’s interested, but my guess is that it’s a little of both. I think that you are feeling some strength because he has come back to you and I think you are legitimately trying to recognize the problems that will likely occur if you get into this affair again. As you say, I do think he will repeat the cycle of guilt again. In the first year or so of our affair, my MM did this every few months and it was hard. I had a friend who knew about the affair and she’d remind me that it was his pattern, but it doesn’t mean that it makes it much easier, even if you expect it. My friend and I figured that my MM needed these guilt attacks every so often to make himself feel better about everything he was doing. Just as your MM has now said his guilt has calmed down, it seems he’s talked himself back into the affair. Thing is, is it something you can (or should) put up with? I chose to put up with my MM’s guilt attacks (and coldness and MIA that followed) because they were short-lived. Usually only a few days. Maybe a week at most. But your MM does this for months. That would be brutal.

      However, the fantasy is very tempting and I know it will take a lot of strength to walk away. You were 1.5 months into NC again when he came back. You were making good progress. But 1.5 months isn’t enough time to heal (and he knows that), and you are vulnerable still. I hope you are able to turn him down this time, simply because it does seem very hard for you to be in this affair (with him going MIA at times and asking for more space) and it seems like you’re find yourself hurt again. I think you will feel better in the long run if you postpone immediate gratification. But, you know I’m not judging and would completely understand if you gave him a chance again. Of course, my advice is to walk away and keep contact to professional-only, but, if you decide to give him a chance again, I think BAF’s advice of setting some ground rules for expectations/needs is a very good idea. Be open about what you both need to make this work, give each other a few days to think about it, and then if one of you doesn’t think you can live up to what the other needs, walk away. If both of you think the other’s expectations/needs are reasonable, take out those rules when you’re feeling down or insecure and remind yourself of the rules to help keep your expectations in check. All of us here know how brutal expectations in affairs are. Having expectations for another that go unfulfilled and feeling expectations on us that we can’t fulfill. Both take their toll in affairs, and you have to be very open and trusting to make that work.

      I really do know the agony you must be in now. I know you are happy he has come back and has said things you needed to hear, but you know that the risk of great pain is very real and you have a tough decision ahead.

  • J

    Ladies, does anyone know anything about real mental illness. I can’t seem to reconcile what’s going on with mm because it truly makes no sense. I feel like something else must be going on. I was wondering if mm is bipolar. From what I read online, he seems to fit parts of it. I don’t think it’s possibly to have such emotional shifts. Mm goes from being so in love with me, to being a cold hearted man who says he doesn’t love me as much. He has said things like this before, as you all know. But i think it’s more than just the regular affair ups and downs. These phases last sometimes a week or two. At times he’s so sweet, writing me undying love poems, doing anything for me, driving to my work if I need something, washing my car, making plans for future trips, talking about where we are going to move together, saying how right everything feels with me, saying he’s so blessed to have me in his life, saying he can’t believe what an amazing woman I am and he’s so sorry for his past flip flopping, talking about how much he loves making love to me, discussing little details of things he wants to do together, telling me he wouldn’t lose me at any cost, holding my hand, touching me, these were all as recent as days ago. And not uncommon through the years when he’s in this mood. Even just days ago when he was talking about his wife’s constant guilt attempts, he said I can’t help it I’m in love with you. He described not missing her at all. Then something sets him off and I can usually tell because he seems different. He gets in this very picky mood where he’s criticizing everyone and everything. He acts very snappy for a day. Then all of a sudden it’s I don’t love you as much and I need to work on my marriage. When he acts like this, he becomes cold and there’s no talking to him. You can’t reason with him. He becomes annoyed and runs from conflict. He is closed off, his body language changes and is very rigid. And he’s like he’s got a plan, he’s on the go. And sometimes he has periods that he drinks, maybe to self medicate. Most strange is how impulsive his behavior is. He will suddenly act very quickly and do something creating more drama. The other huge thing that happens is he becomes very into religion. Talks about his lord and being transformed and receiving messages. I read that is called hyper religiosity. Then usually this phase goes away and he’s back to loving me. These extremes aren’t normal. Does anyone know what this is? Doesn’t it seem like a mental illness like bipolar? If he has this, maybe he wouldn’t be good for me. But I’m just having such difficulty understanding these fluctuations. He even said to me that he’s unstable once during one of the episodes.

    • Butterflies are Free (Brave and Free!)

      J I do know a bit about mental illness and YES I agree with you: Yes I think something is going on with your MM too. I was going to say something last night but then got too tired to write. I am not sure what his exact issue is however. I am NOT a therapist.
      I have been exposed to: Bi-Polar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Narcissism, Major Depressive Disorder, Panic Disorder, OCD, Depersonalization Disorder, Alcoholism and Eating Disorders (Addiction), and Co-Dependency intimately ALL my life (but often w/o actually “knowing” it consciously or not having an actual “name” for it but sensing something is wrong).
      Either I have had the disorder, I have married it or slept with it, or it was in my complicated immigrant family of origin. Sad but true.
      Now you are “sensing” something too. Trust your gut J!
      If you are feeling something is up I would say you are most likely CORRECT. That nagging little voice at the back of your head is there for a reason! You are a medical professional yourself. Trust your voice.
      Clearly your MM’s W is alcoholic. The crying on the roof episode was way over the top. In fact she may have another mental illness camouflaged by her drinking. I say “another” because more and more we (professional and thus laypeople too) know addictions are actually brain illnesses/mental illnesses in and of themselves. We also now know Addictions very often conceal other even more serious mental health issues which need treatment. These conditions very often worsen because they go untreated due to the addiction/s.

      You are also reporting that your MM has been drinking more lately. Remember when they went on vacation last and he got drunk more and you were so upset? It was supposed to be their last vacation and he was going to tell her he was leaving and you had such high hopes. I remember it clearly. But he dashed your hopes by ALSO drinking too much and falling into a kind of “sloppy” compliance with her. At that moment I wondered if he might have alcohol issues too. Or just co-dependency issues. Both require actual treatment. Most likely he has both but this is just my educated guess. Only a trained professional would really be able to tell. And he have to want to see such a person! Denial prevents that very often.
      Now these recent emotional shifts you are reporting lately. You are correct in asking yourself about these shifts. You know him very well J. He is having HUGE shifts of emotion, yes. You are right. IMHO, he could possibly be dual diagnosis: a person with a drinking problem who is also bi-polar or also has co-dependency problems. It is difficult to say.
      He could be so-codependent with her that he lashing out at you. Because you want him to act according to his own needs. A co-dependent is convinced the needs of others “should” always come first. But they are also livid at this other person who never seems to follow their suggestions (and keeps drinking/drugging/doing whatever).
      Try finding Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center on the web and go to see their publishing materials. So much has been recently been written and published on these topics. When my husband was diagnosed as “dual diagnosis” the field was very new and little was known. There was also no internet like there is now (early 90’s). Now you will find many books and websites on these issues. You are lucky because so much more is known now and you can find information if you need it.
      But the bottom line is this (and I know this from direct experience having been in this situation: married to a bi-polar alcoholic. The reality is that the person living with the ill person is also ill if they are tolerating the situation. If they are not insisting the spouse get treatment, then there is a pay-off somehow for the “well spouse”. That means your MM has a benefit to staying with his W that might be hard to see like his own lack of self-esteem, lack of self-definition, lack of something somehow.
      Being able to LIVE with an ill spouse (some one who is alcoholic for example) is a dead giveaway that BOTH people have mental health issues. Otherwise you would be hearing that she MUST go to re-hab and get better.
      I think he got up the courage to have an affair with you and fall in love with you.
      But now that things got serious and he actually left home (which is really huge for a co-dependent) he has returned to the familiar even tho it is miserable.
      Not because he does not want to leave her but more because he has mental issues himself. Co-dependency when it is “advanced” would definitely qualify as a mental issue.
      The fact that he is living within the situation and even thinking he “belongs” there according to “God” or “religion” is fake because God does not want us to be unhappy!
      Your MM is using religion to refuse to “self care” (take good care of himself).
      By definition yes he has mental health issues. Because the cornerstone of mental health is self-care! Who knew? :). I learned this from my therapist.

      So by definition if you hang out with this man too long you too can develop mental health issues!
      He needs to get his act together before you want him, BELIEVE ME! You do not want a co-dependent or a dual-diagnosis man in your life to deal with.
      Hugs and love and support to you,
      BAF aka Lara
      xxxooo

      • Butterflies are Free (Brave and Free!)

        J
        I forgot to add one thing based on my own experience:
        In my experience with my exHusband as A BI-POLAR he did not have the type of emotional shifts you are describing.. He had behavioral shifts. Night and day different behaviors. Manic behavior is crazy “up” including delusional grandiosity…the person feels like they can do absolutely anything in the world…that they are invincible. The depressive “down” of the bi-polar is the opposite extreme…the person feels worthless and totally depressed like the can do nothing. I did not in these episodes experience night and day changes in his emotions towards me or towards my sons. It was more his behaviors that were so different. In mania the person does not sleep even a few days in a row and has ENDLESS energy. In the depressive part of bi-polar illness they cant get out of bed and feel totally worthless

        But I DID experience wild swings in emotions in him when he was drinking or using coke. (before he went to rehab and sobered up). Cocaine made him especially a really mean a-shole. And everyone noticed this not just me. Ne was cold and arrogant on cocaine. Drinking made him sloppy and depressed. But a little more tolerable. Coke made him agitated, hyperactive and super cold.

        So just imagine how hard it is to figure out what is going on when you are dealing with a dual-diagnosis person! In re-hab (when my exH quite coke and alcohol) they first thought he had a personality disorder. Then they thought bi-polar but they couldn’t figure out of he was bi-polar one or two.

        I hope this helps. Looking back on all of this I realize how how hard he was to deal with. I had sort of forgotten truth be told. But truth be told I would (personally) rather deal with a bi-polar taking his medication than an active alcoholic any day of the week. I might have stayed married if that had been the only issue. A bi-polar might never be completely stable but an active alcoholic is a real tornado to deal with! (Think of your MM’s wife). Bit unfortunately, after 7 years’ sobriety my ex H went back to using drugs and alcohol and this time in even more massive amounts. The marriage was not tenable for me without him being 100 percent committed to sobriety.
        BAF

  • LIFELESSONS

    Hey Everyone,

    This will be quick (i think) because its late and i am so tired but wanted to get some advice by tomorrow…
    Ok so not sure if everyone is familiar with my situation but my son and his son are close friends and they were friends prior to MM and I start dealing with each other. Our boys are in a summer sports thing and MM, his W and myself are taking turns with drop off and pick up. Well today was her day to get them and when my son got home he talked to me as he always does and then he said, Guess what mm son said, and I said what. He said, he said sometimes I wish your mom was my mom because she takes up for yall in school. Background info
    So…the other day when i was taking them, my son said Ma can you tell him about the time you talked to the teacher and she didnt like it, my other child said, ma tell him how you told the teacher to change my grade and she did. I told him about this and I mads reference to my youngest child having a learning disability and there are certain accomidations the school is required to provide and I have to advocate for both them both. I told him I was an educator as well so there are a lot of things I am familiar with when it comes to building relationships with the teachers and confronting them when there is a problem…but if youre misbehaving I will not defend that and I told my son to let him know about the time I came to the school because he was not behaving in the way that was expected of him and of course my son said, mom why would you say that so they joked about it.
    Back to today, when my son said that to me I said did his mom hear yall talking and my son said, I dont think so but I dont know why ?! I said, because parents dont want to hear their child say something like that. He said, well ma he was only saying he wish you were his mom so you can talk to his teachers. I said ok! I asked both of my kids have they ever said they wish they had a different mom and they said yes they have said it when they got in trouble years ago. We talked about it and laughed…
    Well my son said, oh ma he keeps saying he thinls his dad is cheating on his mom with you. I said, eeeel why would he say that. He said because a while ago his dad told him I was a really nice lady. I said, what did you say, he said, I told him it wasnt true and now he jokes me about it sometimes. My son said hisnson said it was during the time I took him to get something to eat and I would always take him home. My son said he told him I really am nice like that. This is true! I will pile all the kids in my car and take them home if i need to. I have at least 2 kids from my neighborhood who ride with me every day during the school year so he is not that special lol….

    Anyway, my question to ALL of you is what the hell do I do ? Do I tell MM ? Do you think he would be upset with his son (i know youll dont know him to know how he would react but I am curious) I dont want to break my sons trust as he asked me not to tell his friend he told me that. My kids talk to me a lot about any and everything so its not unsual that my son would confide in me. Whatever MM is saying about me at his home, it need to stop. Before MM and I got serious with each other my son said he acts like he like you, he keep talking to you and following you around. I laughed it off and said boy he is married so he doesnt like me in that way (boy was I wrong). Back in January my son said he felt like he still like me because we were both at the school dropping our kids off and he pulled up beside me rolled the window down and said, hey gm if you need me to pick him up and bring him home I will. I said ok thanks. I told my son, just because someone talk to you it doesnt mean they like you. I said guys talk to me all the time and he said they all like you and I said its not true son. Well he hasnt said it again.
    I am thinking MM told his son I was a nice lady back in Oct and he may not have mentioned it again…who knows!!! It made my stomach hurt a little. Shouldnt MM know better than to say anything about md ?! WTF

    ******this is how I felt earlier while talking to my son
    😶😓😷🤢😨😳😱😔

    Not sure if this was quick but please help me

    • Butterflies are Free (Brave and Free!)

      Lifelessons
      I am sure you are not going to like what I have to say so please brace yourself.
      What is happening with your sons is that they are correctly perceiving that your MM is your lover. And it has already been said by your MM’s son who is also correctly perceiving information.
      Remember we were talking about b-o-u-n-d-a-r-i-e-s?
      🙂
      I know what a great Mom you are. I can hear it in your words even tho you never say it because I know you would never brag. I know by how you describe your relationship to your sons and by how you drive them all over the place and the neighbors’ kids too. I know by the way you describe your interactions with them. And I know because even your MM is “bragging ” about you.

      But now your sons are getting you the vibe they are getting and they are correct. And since it’s a sexual vibe they are picking up and since you are a great Mom I know you know that ordinarily you should be confirming their observations as correct. Because this would help their own sexual development. And I know you do not want to hurt your kids by having an affair. But of course the affair is secret and a taboo. And if your sons knew the truth they would be shocked and have a very hard time digesting that their mother (who IS such a great Mom!) would “choose” do such a thing. Because we know how “rules” based kids are and teenagers are too.

      So what are your options here in order to protect your sons?
      Think about it. Carefully.
      Are you ready to end the affair? I would think “no” not yet. Of course that would be my “recommendation” but as you can see I did not follow my own advice. (!~)
      Okay then do you talk to the MM?
      I would think this is a must-do. Once again you must try to explain to him (as nicely as you can) how “sloppy” he is being. (The phone calls are another version of this). You must stress how you all want to have sons with healthy sexual development. Of course. And that he must act more neutral to you and NEVER EVER compare his W with you as a Mom. (Or give his own son any reason to make that comparison himself). He should be praising his own wife to his son. Especially since he is cheating on her! Or maybe he is trying to unconsciously prepare him in case you two ever get caught? hmmmmm
      You could ask him this:
      Is he trying to get caught sub-consciously?
      Maybe he would like it if people “found out” and he did not have to come out and say it?
      I know of one man who did this precise thing with a 20 year girlfriend so he could get her used to the idea that he was having an affair with another woman half his age.
      It was very deliberate and it kind of worked in a way but in another way it did not as he is still living with the 20 year girlfriend but both women “know” about each other.
      I will wait to hear how this goes and hope for the best for you!
      Many hugs,
      Brave and Free (I love your new use of my initials!!) aka Butterflies are Free aka Lara 🙂
      xxxooo

      • LIFELESSONS

        Brave and Free😊😉 and Felk

        Glad you like it the new name! I totally understand where both of you are coming from. I do not want anyone to find out about the affair, everyone would be devastated. BAF I have a son and a daughter…I talked with him yesterday and he sat with a look of i dont know what you are talking about. He said babe my son was likely just joking with your son. I said well please do not talk about at all at your home. He said babe you come up time to time because of our boys friendship. He said you know my W says things like she is a sweet heart and she tells me to make sure I invite you to things, she asks me to call you and ask if you can help us out with our son. He said I dont have to bring you up there are times that she will. I said well going forward please please please dont speak about me to your son. He said babe relax I know my son he is joking around. I said well you know my son thought you liked me as well because you would talk to me or sit next to me during the sports season. He said yea but youre not the only person I talk to. He said I dont talk about you to my son. He said I did tell him you were a nice lady a long time ago. He said i told him not to have you waiting on him when you pick him up
        and thats it. I said ok but you know they are not little kids so things cant just fly by them. He said yesssssssss babe I know. BAF I am just seeing the replies so i didnt ask him if he wanted to get caught but I dont think he want to. I dont think he want to leave his W. I think he loves her and honestly wishes she would just have sex with him more times than none. I believe him when he says what he actually said to his son. I believe his son has been joking around with my son but we both need to be careful. Felk, not sure if his W notices because we are never really around each other and the times her and I talk I dont make too many comments about him at all. When we left each other yesterday i forgot to tell him to delete my messages and calls to him. He is suppose to come over this evening and I am going to ask him if he could just make sure he is being as careful as he can be…

    • Felk

      LL, I understand your debate between honoring your son’s trust and cautioning your MM, but my leaning is to say something to your MM about how his son and your son BOTH have made comments about how it seems like he’s into you (with his son going so far as to think he’s cheating with you). If your sons are noticing, his W is noticing. For sure. And whether or not it’s bothering her right now, it may eventually and then shit hits the fan. I think that you can say something to your MM without telling him exactly what his son or your son said (saying that you want to respect his confidence). Your MM may not realize how obvious he’s being. He may not realize how these small things add up. Or he may not realize that he treats you in a way that’s different than most other people, even if these things just seem “nice.” But, like I said, his W is definitely noticing. Of course, I’d imagine that neither one of you want your sons to find out, too. With teenage children, I’d think you have to be extra careful because they understand when two people are interested in each other. And even if your MM’s son jokes about wanting you as his mom (I don’t think you need to tell MM about that joke), he’d likely be devastated if his parents divorced because she caught him cheating.

      I think your MM needs to be a lot more careful with what he says and how he acts. You’ve been saying this for a while. I know that a few coworkers joked about my MM and I during our affair, saying that it seemed like he was my boyfriend. While it is easy enough to deflect these comments, if people are making these comments, it means that you’re acting in a way that is standing out to people. I was always worried about this less than my MM was, but we both tried to be cautious about our behaviors around others. And there is no doubt that my MM’s caution helped me be more cautious. While my break-up in my affair was really hard, I can’t imagine how much harder it would have been if one or both of our spouses had found out about the affair.

  • J

    It was a very bad night. I ran into mm at the gym. Th was running out quickly. I told him I was very sad working out without him and it brought tears to my eyes. He said he was in a hurry because he and his W are going to a summer concert. He also said before that he’s checking out a new gym to join with her so he won’t have to see me. But he also said he’d like to stay friends and see each other on occasion. It turned into a heated argument. He then said he doesn’t love me as much as he used to and this occurred over the last few days. It ended with me wacking my keys on his arm very hard and him speeding off. He says such mean and hurtful things. It feels purposeful. I told him I don’t think he’s capable of loving anyone. He agreed that he loved no one.

    • J

      He also mentioned that he doesn’t care if I am with someone else. Saying that he used to be very jealous but now he’s not.

      • Felk

        J, your MM is obviously lying. But, why is he lying? Is he trying to make you mad so you’ll end it with him? So you can be done? It’s a cowards way out, but plenty of people do it. Or is he lying to himself so that he can move on? Either way, it sounds like he’s trying to end it. It is a hurtful, cruel way to attempt to end it, but you two have been trapped in this pain for so long, maybe he doesn’t know what else to do at this point? You know I understand the addiction in an affair, but I don’t see how you could be happy long-term with someone who treats you (or his W) like this.

  • Nomad

    Hi Everyone,

    I have been away and just caught up with your stories – Lara, Felk, TTSP, LL and J. I am sorry I haven’t been around to give you support and I have mixed feelings reading some of the updates. Speechless and sadness about Lara’s latest update. Comfort about Felk’s progress with mm because it seems like friendship is possible and she’s clear and brave about what she wants and her patience is admirable too. J, pardon me for being direct – it’s time to dump him and it can be done, but it will take a very long time, do not trust him anymore; TTSP and LL are making relatively good progress – gained more clarity and not so much of rumination which is great!

    As for myself… I last posted on 1 Jul whereby I felt totally hopelss and yet happy that I survivied 1.5 months of nc (except work related correspondence). I realised if I rant lesser, it helped. Burying myself in work helped. Taking up new hobby like attending photography class helped. Trying to bake for family helped. Late night walks helped. Yoga helped. Initiating lunch wiht colleagues helped. Little by little, all effort paid off in a way. 1.5 mths adapting back to reality. Setbacks yes when I saw him at work or hear his voice. I still thought of him daily but not soul crushing ways. Somehow, I pulled through the whole June. I refuse to allow myself to think or rant or waste any time on him, including posting here. I am not sure what’s happening: it could be due to my physical and mental fatigue or it could be because he’s now back. Yes, he started his pursue after our project ended in end Jun. I need not block him in Jun and he didn’t reach out. However, starting 2 Jul, he tried ways to reach out. I tried to ignore. He used his other phone to whatsapp me, pleading for a chance to hear him out. he was persistent. On 4 Jul, he suddenly appeared at my desk and asked to speak to me for a short one. My thinking was fine, just let him download and then he would mia, that’s so him. let’s see if he has anything new to say to me. I admit I was so curious and knowing i was risking throwing all my efforts away. So, we went for coffee and there he started to download how much he missed me for the past 1.5mths after last whatsapp on mid May to break up clean. He said every places he went, every songs he heard, reminded him of me/us. During the space of 1.5mths, he “settled” his family and felt safe and started to miss me terribly and the guilt dissipated. He tried hard not to reach out but he failed. He hasn’t booked for the year end holiday. He has been busy with work. There was no other woman replacing me. Strangely and surprisingly, he asked a few questions: have i been seeing any guy? was he replaced? why was I so quiet and not telling him anything? why was I not sharing with him my thoughts? He asked about what have I been doing for the past 1.5mth. That’s not quite him. To all his questions I said: I have been trying to move on, it’s over, I am not seeing anyother guy because I am a mw. Next 3 days, he would text once msg per day and MIA on Sun. Monday, his first msg was “hope you have a great day” and that pissed me off big time so I blocked him again. But this time it didn’t work for long. On Thu, I was at another office premises where we had spent many memorable days leading to the start of the affair 2 yrs ago. I couldn’t hold my emotions well and I whatsapp him “1) Do you still love me 2) Do you still want us; these are fundamental questions that are important to me” there was a long pause, he didn’t reply. I was devastated. Just then he rang me. He said “To answer your fundamental questions, (1) yes I do (2) yes I want but in an improved manner, less stress and more breathable and natural” He told me there is nothing to be jealous about. He wanted to give his kids a complete and normal family. He is with her because he feels comfortable and safe, for companionship (his exact words – companionship) but he feels loving and in every romantic sense with me. He desires me and he misses me. He repeated many times he feels loving and so tempted to hug me, kiss me and smell me. I just sat there and listened to him quietly and said I knew he needed to download to me and that much I could help him. I maintained a straight face but my heart was so vulnerable and dying to run back to him. He assured me i don’t have to be jealous and so posessive because he’s still very much into me just me and no one else, still full of me but in reality he’s so fearful of breaking up the family. He said he would chose them no matter what and he wanted me to be clear about that. I said since day 1 i never wanted to break his family up, in fact I have more at stake and more to lose. My marriage has been fine and stable for 20 years vs. his for 10yrs and not having sex with w since 2nd girl was born. (let’s not go there and I do not want to hear that he’s lying about sexless marriage even though he kept saying so. I asked him for the past 1.5 mths, did he sleep with anyone, he immediately said NO! what sort of question is that, isnt that common sense, no brainer that it was me only? He really tried hard to assure and pacify me. He said that after 2 years, attraction is still there because we did not live together and that keeps the passion alive. He said I didn’t get to see or put up his shit at home. He has no passion or romantic feeling towards his w. He sort of complained that his wife detest him (again, let’s not go there because that’s what all mm would say about their w). He asked can I relax? can I enjoy while the loving feeling is back and just seize the moment. can we handle with balance so that we can be together for more years ahead? He said he needed the nights to work or do his personal stuffs, and not focusing on me all the time. When he didn’t reach out daily, I would feel insecure and paranoid and blame him for my unhappiness. He would feel choked and stressed and drained. He would then withdraw and recuperate. He explained this vicious cycle (aka asshole behavior) in detailed. He wanted me to understand that he needed time to work and do his part for his family, including agreeing to go on an overseas vacation. He implied that I am not being realistic about our situations. I should also focus on my family. We are togther and can only be together because it is still a secret affair. He short of saying, we have no future so enjoy while it lasts. We have to keep it safe. He couldn’t handle if we were found out.

    For the next few days, he would message me “thinking of you” and when I messaged him “love him” (i didn’t really mean it or feel it in my bones but i just want to say it to keep the connection flowing) he would reply “love you too” We were careful about the space between us since we “got back”, trying not to spoil the momentum. He kept it simple and sweet and the desire built up. I found myself falling in loave with him again, butterflies and all but I had to work very hard NOT to think about his w and his trips and the dramatic shit which we had gone through. However, there were the next moment whereby his msg would switch to desultory and impersonal again (maybe busy at work or guilt at work, I don’t know). Then on Mon night, I lost my cool a little. I told him I didn’t like his mixed signals. I didn’t like his impersonal message and they turned me off. I asked why he just couldn’t type “I love you” but “i am feeling loving”. I told him there is a difference and I explained the difference. The former is about loving ME and the latter is about himself feeling loving and she can be anyone else but me. He said I nitpicked with words, well, perhaps. But he has been patience and sensitive which I thought i would never experience this shade of him ever again. His exact words “I am still sweet you know right?still very into you, feeling loving towards you. Can’t hear your emotion from whatsapp so I wanted to talk to you, i prefer to call, I wanted to say I feel loving towards you, emotionally and physically. You are upset now so I guess you won’t want me to type “I love you” now.” We whatsapp a bit more and then he suddenly type “I love you. I wont get any reaction by talking to anyone. Don’t doubt”

    On Tue I didn’t go to work. I received 2 texts from him, powerful enough for me annd they read “lu” and “mu”. He continued “Do you understand? that I love you? I am still feeling the sweetness” I felt confused and I knew this is a fantasy, not reality. The rational part of me tried to pull me out of this quicksand. But the selfish and irrational part of me urged me to seize the moment while he’s back. He could send me to heaven and dump me in hell because I empower him. I know it is a matter of time that he would mia and repeat the vicious cycle. But he’s so sweet and “sincere” about us now. He is making effort, yes, very little I know but he has been since end Jun (mere 2 weeks). I feel the fear and exhaustion of dealing with him asshole behavior again; On the other hand, I felt sad or defeated that I have lost myself after trying to move on since mid May. Yes, I fed my addiction again but I tried on milder dosage this time. I lost the anger which I needed to fuel my moving on. So far, he would txt me good night /good morning for the past 1-2 weeks. His way of telling me he thinks of me, not all the time, not intoxicatedly but yes he has never forgotten about me, feelings didn’t fade. He asked me if he’s still in my heart. I asked him does he want to? he said yes. But when he handed me my birthday gift in early May, he replied “tough question” when i asked him the same question if I am still in his heart. His reply back then broke my heart and subsequenlty gave me the strength to move on. I told myself to reset and be done with jealousy, anxiety and insecurity asap.

    Yesterday, he came to my desk and we had lunch. It was a loving lunch. We talked and laughed and flirted like the initial days. Again, he asked was he replaced? was there another man? and he asked “who did I had sex during the 1.5mths of nc” I was too stunned to answer and seeing that, he said fine, dont have to answer him, he assumed he’s the only one. he said that’s how he dealt with jealousy, he would assume i didn’t do anthing with my hubby and other guys. Even if i did, he would tell himself it is normal, she has a family in reality, she has to do what she needs to do and he should understand. I said my marriage has always been fine. I told him my H did say love me when he was overseas but i felt bad wishing it was mm who told me that. He stopped me from talking about H. He said he didn’t want to hear it. He admitted that starting this year, he couldn’t compartmentalise anymore. He started to feel hubby’s presence, overwhelmed by the jealousy, guit and hear, and being in an affair is so morally wrong. He just felt bad and disgusted whenever he let his imagination ran wild about me and H while he withdrew. I liked his honesty over this lunch. I felt happy that he admitted his jealousy, his pain that we coulldn’t be togeher, he met me late in life, he wanted us. So Felk, yes he does feel hurt.

    We agreed to meet after work. However, it was spoilt when he didn’t text to check if i am home safely. I waited for his whatsapp and he appeared to be mia again. Next morning, i told him i didn’t expect him to act up and withdraw so soon and I was upset that he didn’t care if I had reached home safe. He explained he was doing chores and then clearing his work and he did not withdraw. He came to my office for a full-day meeting but i told him to stay away from my cubicle, i didn’t want to see him (hoping to keep a safe distance and careful not to push him away) and got myself emotionally “unbalanced” again. I was busy at work and saw him walked past. He glanced and smiled. After i left office, I got a text from him asking if we could meet and talk a little while. I told him I left. He replied with a sad emoji.

    It’s 1am now..just saw his gn message past 12 midnight. Am I settling for less or what he could give (crumbs?) is normal in an affair?

    • J

      Nomad,
      Please don’t get caught up in his lies again. He’s a user. He’s proven it time and time again. He will do it again. And it will hurt again. Just as bad as before. As you can see what’s happened with my mm, who swore this time was different. He said he’d never stop trying to prove himself to me. He begged and pleaded. I was a fool. Please save yourself from his pain.

    • Butterflies are Free

      Hi Nomad! I am too tired to respond to this yet but I was laughing at the though of you asking me long ago: Do you think he will be back?
      LOL
      It is so nice to hear from you!
      As for what we get in affairs vs what we think we ought to get I think there are obvious disappointments because a married person is dealing with another complete life. And they work for a living. And maybe they volunteer to be a soccer coach, etc. And go to church. And they have a dog or two. There is bound to be little time left in a week for the affair.
      Why not try to sit down and express your expectations of any affair to each other clearly now before you start to see if you can come to mutual agreement?. Make some ground rules and have both people sign a paper? lol
      But, no matter what, an affair is always going to unleash arguments and frustrations because there really is not enough time in the week or the month or the year for a “proper” love affair. So lowering one’s expectations is rule number one. But when the “I love you’s” starting getting said, and then the sex is passionate and amazing, it sure is hard as hell to lower one’s expectations isn’t it? hugs BAF aka Lara xxxooo

      • Thistooshallpass

        Hi Nomand,
        I’m 100% in alignment with BAF here. Can you live with the terms and conditions of an affair? He can’t fulfill the expectations of a real relationship bc like you he has a spouse and fam. Your mm sounds similar to mine in terms of where he is in his marriage and what he feels about me. Anyhow, you mentioned blaming him for your unhappiness. Please please do not rest your happiness on someone or something. Even the greatest human on earth will disappoint someone. Not to sound trite but find happiness in yourself, the people you love, the hard work you accomplish. No single source can supply you with happiness.

        Can you focus on detaching and not putting him up on a pedastal in your head ? He is not God’s gift to the world. I understand it’s very challenging to control our emotions when there is love and incredible sex. Believe me, I speak from first hand experience. I’m still trying to work out how I can graciously exit my sitch. Like you, he is at work and pursues with determination. I haven’t been strong enough to take a firm stance partly because I’m lonely, don’t want to hurt him and bc I worry about shitty consequences on the work front. On the positive side the angst, jealousy, sadness and frustration have been lifted for the most part. He has been on vaca for weeks and I’m genuinely o.k. With acceptance and love I’m willing to let him go. Keep us posted and God bless. I haven’t fully ended it yet and thus my talk is cheap. Actions are everything so until i do what I say my words are empty right.

    • Felk

      Nomad, wow. Wow. You second (short) message about how you “cannot” do an affair and how you don’t know the rules of the game is just so honest, and I think that honesty is also clear in this longer message updating us on the last few weeks. You showed such great strength in how you handled the NC since the last time you went to the room with him. You said you were done and you backed that up. You avoided him. You did things to help yourself heal. You tried not to dwell on him. It was impressive. But, we knew he came back in the beginning of July, and I completely understand you agreeing to talk to him. Not only are you still in love, but he came to you, saying the things you needed to hear. He worked to get that time with you. He pursued. It’s not only understandable to feel good about his attention, but you didn’t just jump at his first attempts. You made him do some work to get access to you.

      I understand wanting to hear what he had to say. This is similar to Lara’s situation where we have these conversations, even though we know they might hurt, because we need to hear things and we need to say things. So, I understand why you went for coffee with him. And he said the things you wanted to hear. His marriage is one of comfort, not romance. He was worried you were seeing other people. He said he wasn’t seeing anyone else. He has said he missed you. And, when you texted him after coffee, and asked if he loved you still and if he still wanted you two, he said “yes” to both questions (even if the second one had some conditions).

      But, I do understand how complicated this is. Your trust was broken by him. You’re finding it hard to believe what he says. You don’t want to be hurt again. You don’t want to hope and get emotionally invested again, only to have him take it all away again. I think your fear is reasonable. I think he has a lot of hard work to do to regain your trust, if it’s even possible. I think you must wonder how long it will take for his guilt to build again and for him to get overwhelmed again? He is saying that he wants a relationship with you if it is “less stress and more breathable and natural,” but what does that mean and who gets to define that? I can understand why he needs that. And it sounds like he is pretty clear about how he was feeling pressure from you and he couldn’t meet all of your demands during the relationship. But, are you able to be in an affair that gives him more space? Space to not text you “good morning” or “good night” every night? Would it be okay if he didn’t do that? A few days here and there with no texts at all? Would that be okay? Can you have an affair with him where you give him more room? You said that you used to feel insecure and paranoid when he didn’t contact you daily. But, he is telling you that he might not be able to contact you daily. I think in your second short message you are honest when you say that might not work for you. That you might not be strong enough to deal with the complicated nature of what this requires. It is understandable that you want more from him, but he might not be able to give that and he’s telling you that directly.

      So, there is the difficulty of you not trusting him right now and needing more attention and reassurance to build trust; but that could drain him again. It could put too much stress on him or it could lead him away from his family and then he’ll feel guilty and need to end the affair again. So, the question is… can you be in an affair with him and not have the daily reassurance? Can you give him the space to have some nights where he doesn’t contact you at all because he has to maintain his family? That is what he is saying he needs. Who knows what is “normal” in an affair, but I think what he is asking is reasonable. I don’t think it is “crumbs,” but if it is not enough for you, it cannot work. If you need more, you will be miserable again.

      If you don’t want him to leave his family, can you understand why he needs some space to maintain his marriage/family during the affair? That is what he is asking for. If it does not work for you, you have to be honest. I’m glad that you were able to hear a lot that you needed to hear from him. That he missed you. That he still loves you. That he not rekindling his relationship with his W. I knew these things to be true, but I didn’t know that he’d come back and tell you these things. I’m glad you got to hear it. However, I know his words make it harder for you to heal and move on and those words may get you back into a relationship that may cause more pain for you in the future. My guess is that you want to give the affair a try again, but can you do it while giving him some more space this time? Giving him space to go on vacations with his W? Nights where he doesn’t text? I’m not sure how well this can work without a lot of trust from you and reassurance from him.

      I hear a lot of your MM’s reasoning in my MM’s reasoning for ending the relationship. It’s all about the family, and it’s hard to fault these men for prioritizing their families. That they feel a sense of responsibility to their families and that they want to be there to give their kids a stable home-life is respectable. You know I always understood my MM’s reasoning. I want to be back with him, but it’s not like I want him to jeopardize his family. And I have always thought my MM was more jealous of my H than he said, and hearing your MM’s words confirms those suspicions. I think that part was getting too hard for my MM to handle, too. Right now, I’m just hoping that there’s a balance or a compromise we can strike (much like your MM is trying) where we can still sort of do both. So, thanks for your positive words about my situation. It matters to me that you hear some courage in what I’m doing. I know my choices are not for everyone, but I appreciate you seeing some clarity in my choices.

      • Nomad

        Hi Felk,
        Thank you for your words and analysis. I need to reply to some of your questions with utmost honesty.
        I suffered a serious bolt of anxiety today, worse after hearing that he brought his daughter to the bbq and how he enjoyed himself there. Did he seriously think that I would feel nothing when I got to know that he brought his daughter there? He better know what triggered me to block him on the very day of BBQ. (The last trigger was in mid-May after I peeked at his calender and shocked to see his overseas leave in whole of Dec. He said he needed to clear his leave, how eager, planned 8 months in advance.)
        Yes, I do not trust him and I am badly hurt. I don’t believe what he says. Words are cheap. If I could, I wouldn’t want to be hurt again. I do not know what is so wrong with me. The butterflies died 3 days after the room and I am seeing that nothing has changed, he hasn’t, the situation can only get worse (better for healing) and the NC cycle would stretch longer and it is a matter of time that the cycle would start. In fact, it has started. I blocked him again. I do not want to wait for 1-2 impersonal or desultory messages each day and to be easily fooled like a 3year old that this is how he could connect with me safely. We need the distance and space to keep the guilt and fear at bay. Well said. Very targeted lines. Yes, I don’t want to hope and get emotionally invested again, only to have him take it all away again. Even he said he would as a caveat.
        Thank you for understanding my fear and why I believed him so foolishly. He will not do the hard work to do to regain my trust, just cheap words at best. At the back of my mind, yes I keep anticipating how long it will take for his guilt to build again and for him to get overwhelmed again. This time, 2 days and it started to dwindle. Which brings me to the questions that you have asked ”are you able to be in an affair that gives him more space? Space to not text you “good morning” or “good night” every night? Would it be okay if he didn’t do that? A few days here and there with no texts at all? Would that be okay? Can you have an affair with him where you give him more room?” Honestly, no, no, no, no, no and no. I can’t. I would want more as we continue the affair. I am possessive and even he said that. If I go holiday with H, why can’t he? If I hold hands with H, why can’t he? If I have sex with H, why can’t he and why did I even ask a “no brainer” question who did he last have sex with since mid May? So what? So what? I need to get real. I am the other woman and I have no rights at all. It helped when he “assured” me that I have nothing to be jealous about. Still, I am far from the noble thinking that to love is not to possess but to set him free.
        Today, I am still feeling insecure and paranoid when he didn’t contact me daily. For the past 1 week, he whatsapp me daily – one liner at most, yes, pathetic but at best effort already. I am telling him that if he might not be able to contact me daily, it might not work for me. Plants need to be watered daily. We couldn’t quite compromise on how to stay connected. If it is too defined, it would be deemed as a chore and he doesn’t need a second wife. Even his wife doesn’t care about his whereabouts.
        Yes, insurmountable amount of difficulty of me not trusting him right now and needing more attention and reassurance to build trust which he couldn’t give (by the way, I am mindful that I am in no position to demand trust in an affair) and you know too well that that could drain him again
        You asked “can you be in an affair with him and not have the daily reassurance? Can you give him the space to have some nights where he doesn’t contact you at all because he has to maintain his family?” No because I realised I cannot be grey. The only way he need not give me daily reassurance is when I decided to cut him dead. It will not work, my conclusion after I have sobered up. I am already miserable again.
        I did give the affair another try again by giving him some more space this time. I failed. I got upset when he didn’t text me to find out if I was home safe after the room last week. I still have difficulty giving him space to go on vacations with his W, it still stings. Due to the nature of the affair, we are left with words to maintain if not keep it alive. When the passion died down, I am not protected by a marriage certificate.
        So, I just want to say, I still chose to let go and move on. I don’t want mm in my life. Please grant me the strength to detest him.

  • J

    Hi everyone. Well I continued NC and he continued to text me. I made it clear that I didn’t think we had anymore to talk about, that he should take time to himself, without me or his W to sort it all out. He still texted me. Then he sent me a cryptic message saying can you call me to discuss what you and I want to do next. I didn’t respond. Then he sent I want to tell you my decision. I still didn’t respond because I felt these were ploys to get me to call him. Well I wondered if he did make a decision, so I (secretly) drove by his house last night and he was there. So I got the answer, he decided to move back home. I saw him online this morning on the app we talk on, looking for me since he only has this app for our communication. He knows if I’m up that early it means I’m going to run. He showed up there, I think to see me but maybe just to run himself, I’m not sure. He told me he decided to go home, that he couldn’t get past the guilt, he kept apologizing. He said that he thinks he’s a horrible person for dragging me through this time after time for over 2 years, he said that the only thing getting him through what he did is his belief in god and knowing god will forgive him. He said he prays I will forgive him and his wife too. I became mad, and I said some things like I hope his karmic consequence is appropriate, I told him he’s a terrible scum and he can’t be trusted at all. I told him that I will never forgive him and that I think my consequence for participating in this is that I think I wasted my child bearing years being with him and that I prob would’ve had a baby if it wasn’t for him. In which he became very mad and swore and said I was digging the knife in his back. But I really do feel that way. I also told him that I believe he’s a wolf in sheeps clothing and I never should’ve trusted him. He said he may get counseling with his W, and that they are going to try to do more together and that he told her he won’t message me anymore, and he hopes she will forgive him. In the messages she saw between us he made it seem like I was the pursuer. I said your wife doesn’t know the truth, that you pursued me for so long and how you told me so many times that we are going to be together. I told him my biggest disappointment in him right now is that after all these years and time, and the depth of our relationship, all of our future plans, the love between us, the way my marriage is irreparable, that he couldn’t just give it a week or 2 of space to think alone. That he had to just run home after 1 day. He said the feeling of guilt just wouldn’t go away, but I told him that he will never know how he would’ve felt if he took time and space and didn’t react on emotions alone. I felt he owed us that. He said he’s never been as smart as me and that he’s reactive and emotional, but it’s done now and he’s home. I also asked why did you have sex with me 3 times at the end of last week if you were so riddled with guilt. He said there was no real right way to go, but he did what he thought was most right. I said he did was easy and familiar. And that he made a choice many, many times, over and over with me, made promises to me, loves me, I’m a person with feelings who believed in him, and that he couldn’t man up. That’s how I see it. He made his choice over and over. We didn’t have a fling, it was a full blown relationship between 2 people, still in love, making plans for our future. But he went home because of guilt. That’s just not a good reason to me. I do wonder what will happen with him next. I know, as you all know, he’s done things like this before, although he’s never actually moved out, so I don’t know if he will work on his marriage with new vigor. But I believe the best indicator of future behavior is recent past behavior, which leads me to believe he will be filled with regrets and reach out to me. I’m not sure though if everything has finally come to a head. And I’m not saying I’m waiting for him at all. I’m not. But what do you think? I also wonder how can his wife possibly even want him, he left her, she suspects an affair, found messages, and he told her he’s not attracted to her. How can she possibly move forward with him? I’m curious if he attempted intimacy with her last night to prove his commitment, I’m tempting to ask him but I’m annoyed with myself for even thinking that! Thoughts?

    • Felk

      J, I fear your saga will continue for a long time. I wish you could be done with your MM and recognize that he cannot leave his W (as he has shown for a while and he is showing again), but it doesn’t seem that you can be done. The fact that you are even thinking about whether or not he tried to have sex with his W last night shows how involved you still are in his every day. It doesn’t matter if he attempted sex with his W last night. What matters is that he went home to her. After 1 day. His guilt was overwhelming. That seemed clear in all the time you said he spent talking about his guilt and his doubts. I am sure he will reach out to you for a while. I am sure he will become desperate for your attention if you continue to ignore him. But I don’t say that to give you hope. He doesn’t want to leave his W. Can you accept that? You are fair to be mad at him for the promises he made, but he makes the same choice over and over again not to leave his W. You also don’t know what he really tells her about their marriage and about you. You don’t know the conversations they have. But it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that he keeps going back to her. I know you are in love and you probably can’t imagine a life without him, but I think you have to consider either cutting all contact with him and being done or accepting that he will not leave his W and having an affair on his terms.

      I see you’re saying that you don’t understand how he could want to go back to his W and how his guilt is a good enough reason. But it is a good enough reason to him. I felt the same way in my affair with my MM. When he ended our affair, I didn’t understand why we couldn’t continue. I didn’t understand what had changed that he now was unable to continue cheating on his W, as he had done for five years. But a lot of things had changed. We had grown much closer. We were spending more and more time together. He was considering leaving his family. And his W had asked him if he was having an affair (among other things she may have said that I don’t know about). This is the same for your MM. He considered leaving and he couldn’t. The guilt was overwhelming. In addition to the guilt of leaving his W, he has the judgment of his kids and he has the judgment of his God. You may not feel the same way about your marriage, but it is understandable that someone would find it very difficult to break those commitments, even if unhappy. We know a lot of people stay in unhappy marriages for a lot of reasons. You may not make that choice, but he is. Again, I don’t mean to make it sound simple. Like I said, with my MM, I still struggle to understand how he can’t do both – the affair and his marriage – because I can. But just because I can, doesn’t mean he can. I have no kids. He has kids. My H works an hour away from our house and travels for work sometimes. His W doesn’t. We have so many different challenges that I cannot impose my life on his. It is simply easier for me to have an affair. Also, I think women can “multitask” in relationships better. I think when emotions become involved, women might be better at managing affairs (and their marriages). Or maybe there is no gender difference, and it’s simply that affairs take their toll and it’s just a shitstorm of a situation for most people if the affair goes on for years. But, remember, just because you want to leave your H doesn’t mean he feels the same about his W. We can’t expect others to manage situations in the same way we would. Unfortunately, though, we do, and we become very disappointed when they don’t do as we would.

      It doesn’t seem you’re close to a decision on your end. I hope you are able to do that, but I know that is much easier said than done. Good luck.

      • Nomad

        Felk,
        I like the way you said ” because I can”… The reason why i have attempted shameless times of NC, failed big time, was because I cannot. I have unrealistic expectation and often too addicted to the fantasy and in denial of the reality (we are both married). I don’t know the rules of the “game”. I am not mentally strong to deal with the complicated nature of an affair.

        I can’t help but to anticipate that I will be hurt again…tomorrow? this weekend? I don’t know…

  • Butterflies are Free

    LL I want to thank you for your words you said below a few days ago. Your words helped me have the talk I wanted to have with my exMM. It is a little screwy how it went down, as it was not me who requested to speak, but rather my exMM who wanted to “tell me” what I was basically getting all wrong about our relationship. But that’s ok. He wanted to try and tell me to get “back in my lane” more or less. But I would not.
    In no sane world does he or did he or has he ever made any good sense about our relationship. But I have been hooked into the relationship….dropping into and going back out of it (back and forth) because I was unaware of the toxic dynamics. I did not understand his treatment of me was emotional abuse. This last awakening I credit to working hard in therapy and doing much EMDR work with my therapist to get to so many deeply hidden things in myself.
    She has told me repeatedly I was traumatized by “relational trauma” by I could only break thru my denial VERY recently. The night of the blow-up with my exMM I had just finished an EMDR session with my therapist.
    So this time, when my exMM wanted to Balme me and read me the usual riot act, with support from so many people on this board, I was ready with MY words. Imagine that! After he was done telling me what I was doing wrong in our relationship I waited 24 hours saying nothing. Then I said I wanted to talk to him about HOW I FEEL! And then I said a prayer and said out loud to me exMM how much his actions and words have been utterly confusing me and that I think I have been a really good partner to him all these years and that he has never shown me his true gratitude for my being in his life and that I deserve better, etc.

    Woohoo for me! I was strong and confident. But this clearly agitated him greatly.

    I am having a lot of reactions to the crap that went down with him and how he continued trying to get me to feel badly about myself. But I am NOT a basket case. I am not even crying. Go figure. I am worn out and exhausted but I do not with I could have him back right now. Hell no. I am not wringing my hands in despair. But I do think I am a but numb and a state od shock. I think I am finally getting it that he is a true narc and this textbook behavior has had me spinning out of control myself off and on for a long long time. By blaming me he knows (or knew) exactly how to push my “shame” buttons. And I was the perfect “victim” with all the required weaknesses due to my own background.

    I was trying to get out of this relationship for quite some time but here and there he would give me bits of hope and I would hang on. I mostly knew he was a narc but I wasn’t not completely sure because of course a narc will always tell the other person everything is THEIR fault. SO I could not 100 per cent believe he was a narc and kept blaming myself, a bit still. And when he turned on that magnetic charm I was quite weak. Every time.

    But not this time. This time my attraction to him fell to zero I must say. I found him undesirable and a big bully. Now it will be different because I have changed.

    In the past, even during break ups I kept hearing HIS blaming words in my head still. And I would oblige and hate myself for things I did.
    But now I hear my own voice LOUDER than his. This is a therapeutic break through for sure. I hope it will also with my Mom as well.
    In having this experience I can really and truly see why it takes women so long (and sometimes forever) to get out of an emotionally (or otherwise) abusive relationship like this one has been for me over the years. It is just so damn hard convincing myself that I did nothing wrong! In the past whenever he would tell me that I had made “assumptions” about us or I that I had made “movies” I would BLAME MYSELF on and on never questioning his behavior because I was too busy hating MY behavior!
    Now I finally this is gaslighting and NOPE I was not making assumptions. We were actually f–ing for a very long time! He told me this year that YES we were in a romantic relationship. YES he had deep feelings for me. I did not make that up LOL.

    But how hard it is when one is in my shoes and has my background with a narc parent to stop the self blaming and self-hating! Wow I think that has been the struggle of my entire lifetime when I think of it. Because with narcs around me 24-7 most of the time my entire life one way or another, it is a miracle I came to think anything good about myself! I credit the my spiritual side here…..in my alcohol program they always used to say: God does not make junk so if God made me I am NOT junk. Now I am on the true road to recovery from this kind of emotional abuse. I am in my second day of putting distance between ME and IT.
    But I have no doubt this is just the beginning of a long and hard journey and it will have its ups and downs. But I think the worst is over and I have turned a corner. WOO HOO! Thank you LL and thank you to ALL the BEAUTIFUL LADIES here on this board for all your support! I could not be here in this place standing here and saying this and ready to “keep on keeping on” without you all. Love and Many Hugs! BAF aka Lara

    • LIFELESSONS

      B.A.F (Brave and Free)

      Lara, I am happy to hear you choosing you! When I read how nasty and mean he was to you, I thought what a fu#cking a#$ I called him every curse word I could think of…no lie! However, as I thought about it I said well of course he reacted in that manner, he has mental health. He is walking around undiagnosed/misdiagnosed and unmedicated. He is like a walking bomb!!! I think you handled it extemely well. You kept yourself together and you demonstrated for yourself how far you have come. I told you and others on here told you how STRONG you were. I am hoping you truly believe that now. Everything happens for a reason and you needed to talk to him and he needed to act up the way he did in order for you to see that you deserve so much more than that. It will not be easy breezy lemon squeezy to move forward without thinking of him or even missing parts of him but therapy and us here will support you as you P.U.S.H through this.

      You have survived yet another storm that has whirlwind through your life. It takes a brave and strong willed person to handle the trauma you have had to endure over the years…dont you give up on ever again! I dont care how many bad choices you may make over the next week/month/year(s) (we are all imperfect and its inevitable to make good choices ALL the time) you better always remember to put you first because no one else will. We teach people how to treat us and very early and although we have no control over others we have control over what we will/will not accept. Its unfortunate sometimes how much our relationships with our parents or lack there of plays such a huge role in our lives especially when it comes to relationships. Thank GOD for good therapist lol…you say its a miracle you came to think any good of yourself. I agree, again you are such a strong, unique and inspiring woman with so much to offer to someone who is derserving of you love, time and energy.

      God is Blessing You (Brave and Free)
      xoxoxoxoxoxo

      • Brave and Free! aka Butterflies are Free aka Lara

        Lifelessons
        I can not tell you how much your post has lifted my spirits. I have not shed a tear (yet) for my exMM but I did cry reading the last paragraph of your post. It made me cry. I realized it must be because deep in my heart I must be softening towards myself. I am starting to have more compassion for myself. And I am starting to understand I must be strong after all. It has taken me a lifetime to realize I am torn because there has been so much gaslighting in my life! Damn.
        I did not fo the gaslighting…in fact I have been the recipient of the gaslighting!

        Yes I truly have weathered a whole lot of “shit storms” in my life. Yes. And all those shit storms are not my fault. I am finally beginning to realize not everything is my fault. Viva therapy and viva this board!! And Viva LifeLessons! You are helping me to realize this. And EMDR therapy lol.

        Now please just do me one tiny favor:
        Whatever you do, please just make sure your affair is not discovered please? Girl you your affair has you walking on a serious tightrope! I say this because your life and your family’s life is so intertwined with your MM’s life and with his family’s life. My affair was kind of like that being that I was involved so long with my damn next door “neighbor” aka my exNARC. Please please be careful! Do not get caught whatever you two do! I just can’t watch, I swear. All offs in affairs are taking great risks and stupid ones too but the heart wants what the heart wants and even worse the brain chemicals want what they want like it is heroin or XTC.
        Many hugs and much love,
        Brave and Free!
        xxxooo

  • Felk

    Ladies, just an update on my situation to help me talk it through. My MM and I talked this week about how we’re feeling about everything, and we mostly agree that things are working well enough right now (with spending extended time together here and there and e-mailing/texting once in a while). We also seem to still share the same feelings, miss each other, and think about each other every day. Twice he mentioned love. He still seems content with his decision to end our affair as it has improved his home situation and relieved a lot of his daily tension about maintaining two relationships. He acknowledges that it’s hard being apart from me, but he says that he hopes it’s for a greater good (his family). Nothing new there. We also talked about the choice we’re making to keep spending alone time together and how it is more than what “friends” would do. We talked about how that likely prolongs the feelings and makes some things harder for us but also how we are choosing this over the alternative of no contact (other than professional). We are on the same page with a lot of this, so that’s nice.

    I was also honest about how I still struggle with the feelings I have for him and not being able to express them more. While I like that we’re maintaining some sort of friendship, I was honest about how I still want more and I find that tension uncomfortable. He talked about desire and attraction, too, but also talked about how he is worried that going further would just put us right back where we were (and he doesn’t want that). I wondered if, with more clarity over these 10 months, there was a way to do both – satisfy some desire and keep stricter boundaries than before. He said it might be possible. Not only did he say that it could work for our new relationship, but he is always clear (or vague) in saying that he isn’t the type to completely discount future possibilities.

    You ladies know I don’t want to be foolish or in denial about any of this. I want to be honest and thoughtful, even if I’m making choices others would not make. That’s the only way I get to decisions that I can live with. I am good (enough) with how he and I are now and we never need to cross physical lines, but it is honest that I want a little more. Honestly, it feels a lot like it did six years ago when we were deciding whether or not to cross physical lines. I said so many of the same things to him about wanting the friendship most of all, being fine not crossing lines but being willing to cross physical lines if he wanted to. He was so hesitant and took so many months to make a decision that I had long-before made. Sure, back then it felt more exciting and this time I feel more nervous about it all. But, of course, there is still that excitement. I am still in love.

    So, for now, I feel as I often do… like I’m waiting for him. I know I have to be patient if I want this to work. But, it is hard. I know I have a tendency to want it all to happen immediately, but that is not how he works and that seems reasonable in a situation this complicated. So, as best I can, I’m going to try to just give him space to make these decisions and not push too much. I’m going to try to just let “whatever happens happen” (as he often says). We ended our talk with him saying that things probably just need to be uncertain for a while (and that’s hard on my style of processing) and that we should talk more about it. He sent me a nice e-mail that night (and he RARELY initiates e-mail) that showed me he is still interested in us and that he is still unsure as to what to do. I want to just enjoy what we have and stop thinking every day about what will happen but easier said than done. I want to be realistic if he is trying to say that he doesn’t want more with me (and I’m ignoring those cues) or if he is probably saying he wants more (and is hesitant to pull that trigger). I’ll take any advice you have for navigating all of this (well, outside of advice to tell me to go NC because you know that’s not going to happen any time soon). 🙂

    • Butterflies are Free

      Felk I am struck by how willing you are to wait for him to make up his mind. And how you have basically given him an offer he can not refuse: Friendship and/or friendship with “benefits”. Of course he is going to ponder this. But you must ask yourself: Whose affair partner on this board would not gladly ponder this after trying to break up with his/her affair partner and all the stress of that? Wouldn’t it allow the person trying to break up to feel so much better that instead, this other person was patient and kind and still in love and willing to wait it out? Yes. 🙂

      True, you have been patient and generous and stated your feelings clearly to him. Very direct. He understands perfectly. It is all very laudable. Maybe a bit too laudable.
      Yet I am queasy. I feel uneasy.
      But something does not sit right with me about your situation. I am trying to figure out why. Is it the fact that you call yourself and him Narcs? Probably. Is it also because HE exhibits more narc traits than you do? Definitely. Is it because I have just called it quits with a narc? This too.

      As I think about it, I feel YOUR need for attention from him and your need for validation from him has probably been over-riding your self-care in this situation: your sticking up for yourself in this situation with HIM another Narc. I think you did not accept the break up even though you went through the grieving process. Now you are moving in the opposite direction which is back towards him. But he is also a Narc. Not as bad as mine for sure, but still……he has to have some serious issues.
      Are you both attractive and magnetic? Probably?
      Was the sex incredible? Yes that too.
      We know the drill with Narcs. 🙂
      I sure do. Mine was sexy as all get out to me.
      I am not you judging here.
      You know I am dealing with a true narc and therefore I am prejudiced.
      But I don see some issue here and to me it is not about whether you two will add sex to the “friendship” you have now or not.
      It is about the dynamics at play here and the fact that someone is going to get hurt.
      To me, as co-narcs you and your MM, you may understand each other, yes, but you are also bound to be in competition with each other. You BOTH need admiration and you both need to get “FUEL” from the other one. And you BOTH would by definition be more selfish and self-centered than giving to each other. You call yourselves an “us” but I doubt two narc types can ever be an “us” in the real mutual exchange sense. You have already his issues with communication and going “cold” on you.

      No I am not going to suggest NC here as you clearly want none of it.
      But think about this:
      If he is the greater narc then who is taking the greatest risk?
      If there is indeed a competitive nature to your affair and by definition there would have to be, who is the likeliest to “win”? and who to “lose”? And why?
      And: What might be his true motives with you? I know the word “love” gets tossed around but that is true of all affairs I think.
      And finally:
      Felk:
      Your words here were so searing and so true:
      “I was thinking more about how painful it must be to have someone deny the reality of your relationship. The gaslighting. To make you feel as if you’re making it up and it’s all in your head. It’s so cruel. Really. I’m not sure there is anything worse than trying to erase the existence of something real. And from everything you have described to us over these months (and even in this most recent post), that relationship was very real on an emotional and physical level)… obviously, too real for him. ”

      Yes this is horrible! The gaslighting. A mind f–k like I told him when he got so angry at me.
      The denying the existence of something real. Makes the other person feel crazy.
      You understood it so well Felk, better than anyone here. This is because, I presume, you understand Narcs very well. Now I hope you will turn that perceptive lens of NARCS onto you and him and see what you see.
      And you must look at both your marriages as well and see what you see. How do your partners each deal with your Narc tendencies? In particular how does his W deal with it if they also have kids to deal with? Ill bet it is not easy.
      As you know, the more Narc a person is, the more he/she will operate on avoiding shame, avoiding criticism, and even avoiding reality itself, if necessary, to cling to the notion that he/she is superior, above other “mere mortals”. By definition you are both “in love” with that superiority in yourselves above being in love with the other.
      For better or for worse…
      Please think about this.
      Many hugs BAF aka Lara xxxooo

      • Felk

        BAF, thanks for your comments/questions. It’s hard to know the answers to some of the things you ask, but I’ll try my best as always. As for my patience, it feels necessary in this situation. I had to be VERY patient when our affair started six years ago. He was very slow deciding to enter the affair. Even after we had expressed feelings towards one another, it took another 8 months to kiss. He does not rush decisions, whereas I make them pretty quickly. He also, understandably then and now, has big decisions to make. So, it seems that patience is pretty important in affairs. It’s one of the biggest rules.

        Now, of course, I don’t want to wait pathetically. But it doesn’t feel like I’m begging him. I’m not hounding him in this decision. I am saying I want more if he wants more. I said this six years ago. But I don’t want to chase after someone who doesn’t want me. So, the reason I wait is because I think he still wants us. Or, at least, I think he is undecided. I think the 10 months has also given him some clarity and now he is trying to decide if he can do more. He made a choice for himself and his family 10 months ago, but he has held on. He has not let go entirely. He is keeping doors open. So, I try not to wait pathetically. I try to wait reasonably to get something that will make me happy.

        I’ve thought about the possibility of him just stringing me along, but I don’t think he’s doing that. I’ve also thought about the possibility that he mostly is saying “no” but he just can’t bring himself to entirely (yet). That’s not ideal, but I guess I think it’s worth the risk. What is there to lose by waiting? At this point, as you say, I’ve grieved. It wouldn’t really feel like that much of a loss if he said we could have no more than we do now. I am good (enough) with what we have now. We have a friendship plus, I guess. I want more, but I am happy to get a close friendship out of this affair, if that’s all we can have.

        Now, your other questions about the narc stuff are harder. Remember, I only say we have narc tendencies. We tend towards that high confidence and defensiveness but we also show empathy and warmth and humility. I don’t know if he’s a bigger narc than I am. Sometimes he seems like, but sometimes I seem like. I think he has more power in the situation because he ended the affair, but that’s different. But, yes, you’re right. How could two narcs be happy in a relationship? I’m not sure. This is why I never wanted to leave my H for him. I always figured my MM and I would clash for power and control and it wouldn’t be good. Our highs would be high, but our lows would be much lower than I would want in a long-term relationship.

        The things you say about being bound in competition are interesting, too. I feel that sometimes. Like the competition for who can be less vulnerable, reveal less. I don’t like that. I felt it during our affair, and it wasn’t ideal. It wasn’t how I want relationships to be. But, I know that I feel that with my H sometimes. So, yeah, I don’t think you’re wrong about how my MM and I compete. And, yes, I think we are more self-centered and selfish than giving to any significant other. I think he and I know this about each other. As you say, we understand each other. There are some ways that challenges us, but there are also ways those characteristics have helped us in this affair.

        Ultimately, I think he and I are genuinely trying with each other. I think we genuinely enjoy time with each other, and have developed a lot of closeness. But, I do also think we are a bit hindered by the narc stuff. I think it is the narc stuff that allowed us to cheat on our spouses for so many years, and it’s also some of that narc stuff that makes us think we can do a friendship in our situation. I guess we do think we’re “special” and we can make this work. But, beyond the narc stuff, we genuinely developed love and closeness as two people would over that time. We are not incapable of love and giving and caring.

        Because I understand narcs well, I also understand that I am not a true narc and neither is he. We give, we care, we are responsive, etc. Yes, we tend towards selfishness, I admit that. But that is not all we are. I think that is clear in how we’re working through this situation over these last 10 months. There is no anger and no pettiness and no lashing out. There is a lot of understanding, mutual talking, and trying NOT to hurt the other person. There is also a lot of very human holding on and finding it hard to let go of someone you were in love with for five years.

        • Brave and Free! aka Butterflies are Free aka Lara

          Felk you are welcome for my comments.
          I know that your H says you would “make a good lawyer” and I said that too, meaning both of us already know we are highly unlikely (NOT going) to “win” any arguments with you. Because you will carefully and patiently argue your way out of any points you do not like.
          I want to stress that leaving a NARC just this week makes me a little more bold and a little more clear with my words than my usual overly-empathic, careful self. I have just experienced such a giant kick-in-the butt personal paradigm shift that I am now “different”.
          I agree you are not “only” a Narc. The same for him (your MM). And the same for my exMM, another Narc. Yet you identify yourself openly that way (as a Narc) so there must be very good reasons for this. The biggest “evidence” I have that you are a Narc (besides your own admission) is your lack of guilt towards your H who you say you are “happily married” with and “want to stay married to”. Yet you have no guilt about the affair. Stunning! No guilt during the 5 hot years with your MM (minus 9 months). And no guilt in trying to revive the affair as much as possible now. Wow.
          No guilt! How I envy you! No Guilt with one’s spouse is “Classic Narc” for sure. Perfect.
          What always struck me about my exMM was he felt “ZERO” guilt about our hot and heavy sexual relationship. ZERO. I just asked him again last year and he had answered: “ZERO guilt”. Alas, the Empath in a relationship with a Narc has enough guilt and feelings for both people.

          Furthermore, your identification with being a Narc is a dead give away that you enjoy possessing these traits. Otherwise you would never reveal such a thing. Saying you are a Narc is a kind of self-proclamation that you are “special” and “unique” and should not have to follow all the same rules which is itself classic narc behavior. So I think you actually are more Narc than I once did. But of course that is not all you are. I am more than an Empath too. But we Empaths admire Narcs because they are our polar opposites in the spectrum.
          Oddly enough my exMM was also giving sometimes. I would never call him generous but he was not as overtly stingy as he was this past week. He also shared feelings with me sometimes. He would never gush but we could talk sometimes. He was also more emotionally reasonable at times than how he was this past week. He made me feel “special”. (Empaths like to feel special too) by being needed by a Narc. A sexy and magnetic Narc needed ME? It was a little head trip for me! LOL. Every empath’s secret dream to be needed by such a self-assured and magnetic individual.
          It sounds crazy but is true. He knew I could understand him like no other. That I was so trustworthy and loyal and I really “got” him. I did “get him in fact. But I had no idea how dysfunctional our relationship was. I did not understand that I was constantly “de-selfing” because of my role in a relationship with him, a Narc, because this is the way I had grown up. This week I really saw how f–f up this relationship has been but it also showed me how much I have grown! (Thanks to therapy and all you ladies here)
          I would have called my exMM “complicated” a few weeks ago. Then I did EMFR with my therapist and later that night he and I had the big blow-out. All the shit finally hit the fan. I really saw the dynamics of our NARC-Empath relationship crystal clear for the first time ever. It had been building tho slowly over the past year. All of a sudden that night everything fells into horrible place and I had my answer and my closure at last.

          As for your NArc MM? I only know him by how you talk about him. What you say. How you describe the interactions. But If He is the lesser Narc than you are, then this gives you the cutting edge as you know. An edge you want no doubt.
          I would bet both of your spouses are likely on the empathic side of the continuum and they have stopped “exciting” you. Or, they still excite you but it no loner enough FUEL for each of you and you Narcs need “FUEL” like the rest of us need air. So you find each other. Two Narcs with the same needs find each other. But you do NOT want to leave your spouses. You know their value to you.
          Love is not necessarily the reason a narc cheats. Lack of fuel is the real reason. Narcs need more than the ordinary amount of adulations and compliments and attention. To get this they put plenty of energy into making themselves attractive and magnetic. I have no doubt both you and your MM do that. Narcs are not monogamous. And being in love to a Narc is not the same thing as it is with other people.
          How do narcs fall in “love”?
          Like two moths to a flame when the flame is a mirror is how I would answer that.
          It is what an empath would call “conditional love” the conditions being very specific to narcissism itself 🙂

          You have had a huge hand in maneuvering this man back in your direction..
          In strategizing. He is more the follower of your plan. Again that makes you the greater Narc between you. You were very hurt he wanted to break-up. Devastated even. You do not want to feel that pain again. So you are proceeding very patiently and very cautiously with him to make sure you do not get hurt again like that. A friendship however does not provide the fuel you actually need from him. You need more. You are not happy with “just friendship” because you still desire him. But much more than that you desire him, you NEED him to desire you.
          What will happen next??????
          I know but then again I might not know (!)
          So this time, for once, I will keep my intuitions and my feelings for myself
          This time I will be patient too.
          Hugs BAF
          xoxo

          • Felk

            BAF, you do not mince words. 🙂 Am I a narc? Clinical diagnosis? No. Do I have narc tendencies? Yes. And you’re right to say that a narc admits they’re a narc. My MM and I both have admitted these tendencies, and we both know that is indicative of narcs. I also know that narcs are more likely to have affairs. It’s not only being able to do something without guilt but it’s also thinking that you can get away with it. And, convincing yourself that it’s “okay” to be doing this (cheating on your spouse). All narc stuff. I know. Again, I think my MM and I share a lot of these tendencies, so I don’t think either one of us is more or less a narc than the other.

            As for the desire for the affair to continue, yes, there’s the difficulty of rejection and wanting my MM to desire me. Isn’t that normal, though, after a break-up? I’m not sure that what I’m feeling is much different from someone who was in a relationship for 5 years and is feeling that rejection. Or, worse, someone who was addicted. That’s what it felt like. But, you know it’s lessened quite a bit over these 10 months. To me, that all seems like normal healing from a break-up, but when you’re still in contact with the person, it also seems normal to still desire that person and to want them to desire you. Is my desire abnormal? I think we hear a lot of people on here going through the same thing. I think some of what you say about the narc stuff and needing that fuel is true, but the genuine feelings are true, too. I miss my MM’s friendship and the good times laughing and talking so very much. But, sure, I also miss my MM showing me that attention. As you know about your MM, I, too, like feeling “special” to a sexy and magnetic narc(ish) person. But don’t we all like feeling special to someone else? I guess to me it feels “normal.” I know what you mean about needing attention elsewhere (aside from my H). I get that narc-ness, but I don’t feel desperate for my MM’s attention. Just sort of the normal, I’m-in-love-so-I-want-your-attention stuff. And I certainly do not feel angry (like your MM gets) about my MM breaking up with me.

            It’s a bit of a tangent, but how many of us really experience the mutual, selfless, unconditional love that we think we’re supposed to have in a marriage? Relationships are so fraught with insecurities and personal vulnerabilities and power struggles and disappointments that it does seem rare to find couples with this unconditional love we idealize in our culture. I don’t say that to justify my behavior. Just to say that I’m not sure that what I’m going through is that different from what so many of us here and others go through. If 30% of married people admit cheating on a spouse (and some % percentage is cheating and not admitting it), it seems this is more “symptomatic” of relationships than of the people in the relationships. Are we all narcs? Probably not. Do a lot of us have narc tendencies? Probably. But, selfishness is human so it’s no surprise that so many of us cheat. And humans may not even be hard-wired for long-term monogamy, so we might be trying to fit round pegs into square holes and we’re all just trying to make it work.

            I know you’re just trying to caution me. I constantly think about how maybe it’s just best for my MM and I to stick to the friendship and nothing more. Yes, I am proceeding cautiously to protect myself from getting hurt again and to not push him. I guess it’s strategic in the sense that, yes, I do think it’s more likely to lead to more if I’m patient, but it’s also just trying to make this friendship work. If I push, I may lose the friendship, which I want. We know there are no “rules” for how to make this work, so I’m also just proceeding as best I know. I’ve thought about not expressing my feelings of being open to more, but that would feel like I wasn’t being true to me. I’m the type to prefer trying and failing in relationships than not trying at all. And, if I really were being strategic, I’d ignore him more and act LESS interested. That really fuels a narc. I know it would get a reaction out of him (as we see with so many of the MM on here). But, I’m trying not to be manipulative and trying to be up front with what I want.

            I know my calmness in these messages can sound weird, but it’s just how I deal with things. I like to be rational and try to cut out emotions as much as I can. It’s just what works for me and helps me heal/accept by understanding myself and the situation. As you know, that break-up hurt like nothing I have ever experienced, and I am trying to avoid that pain again.

  • Butterflies are Free

    Ladies
    So we “talked” twice in the last couple of days (at HIS suggestion) and I must say he is even MORE of a NARC than I ever realized. Oh boy. It was horrible. I learned a very good learning lesson for me (learning the hard way). This affair is OVER. My MM is seriously unbalanced I am sorry to say. So much more than I realized. Supposedly we will remain “friends” but seriously I have my doubts.
    So much hurtful stuff was said to me.

    He invited me to the restaurant and said he wanted to tell me some things which I thought was a good sign. He wanted to tell me he didn’t like me blocking and walking because he had done nothing wrong. I listened saying very little. And I tried to understand. I waited 24 hours.

    Then he contacted me today I mentioned I also needed to talk and that I needed him to listen to ME. He agreed. But it went very badly. I explained what had happened that day that caused me to act like I did (blocking and walking) and I even admitted my jealousy at seeing him with his W was the final straw. He got very short-fused with me immediately. Tense and defensive and blaming all at once.

    He just could not hear my side. He blamed me for imagining we had/have a romantic relationship! He kept needing to further emphasize his points to me and picking on me for new things he was unhappy about. He really became pushy and obnoxious. It was really a terrible experience. This was not the man I remember meeting once upon a time and falling in love with. He was so short- fused with me and utterly impossible to reason with. He was mean sounding and SUPER defensive over the tiniest things, twisting my words. He continued accusing me of making a “movie” (drama) out of our relationship. And says he never even wanted to for me to “dream up” we were in romantic relationship.
    HUH?
    Really??
    I called him out on this saying so I alone have been in this relationship? According to him “I dreamed up the nature of our relationship”. I almost laughed. He said he has been consistent with me and he would have proceeded very differently of he wanted me to think he wanted to be with me if he leaves his W. Okay just stick a knife in my heart.

    So when I reminded him that it was HE who sought me out on FB with the dove and that he announced he was very miserable and was thinking of leaving his W it was NOT to give me hope!
    No hope for me. LOL. It was just to ‘tell me’. And I asked him what he meant by asking if he could live in my house if he were to leave his W? More denial. So I said you had no thought of how your words would impact me? Have I not been very good to you over the years? Have I not been generous and kind to you even in this highly stressful relationship? Yes he agreed. But according to him, I was making “assumptions” of what it meant. It was all about HIM.

    Supposedly he told me he was perhaps leaving his wife and inquiring about moving in (to my building) only as “an idea/chat between “friends”. He said it was ME that created the lover relationship up in my head. If I wasn’t so upset I would want to laugh. HUH? Gaslighting anyone? According to him he never had any intentions of being in a romantic relationship with me. Supposedly that was all in my head. This man is seriously a basket case.

    I kept telling him lets stop arguing. Lets just get stop. But he had to get in those points.
    I almost cried several times but I fought my tears like hell and kept using logic and words. I said to him Okay I am fine. Since you don’t want a romantic relationship no problem. I am strong I will cope. O will I not die of the rejection. Then he argued with me that I should not be seeing it as a rejection! Whatever.

    I was astounded by how he was treating me. Shocked actually that he became so mean but all in all it has helped me realize: My affair is OVER. No more Narc. I can’t do this to ME anymore. (I may need reminding ladies but I DID get my closure). Even with low self esteem even I know I deserve WAY better than this. Please feel free to remind me all you want. Narcs may be the most charming magnetic people on the planet but I am seriously astounded by how nasty they can be. I guess I should know having grown up with my mother but somehow even after so many years out of the house I have been in some of my own denial about how cutting and horrible my mother could be. AARRGHHH
    Arrghhhhh
    Many hugs BAF aka Lara xxx000

    • Felk

      BAF, I’m sorry you had to go through this. I know it must have hurt to hear him deny so much about your relationship. The great irony is that he doesn’t see the inconsistency between how upset he is that you blocked him and how he acts the next day. Why be so upset that someone blocked you if you don’t have feelings for them? But, he is in denial about those feelings.

      He truly does sound like a narc, though. I know I’ve said that my MM and I have narc tendencies, but we would never treat each other the way your MM treated you yesterday. During our relationship, my MM could get defensive and cold when I’d want to talk about something he did that bothered me, but he was never cruel. Your MM sounded cruel yesterday. And the gaslighting. Wow. For him to act as if this was all in your head… for 21 years… really? And, sure, maybe you thought the relationship was better than it was, but that doesn’t mean that it was a lie that you were in a relationship. A narc can’t take any blame, though. A narc rewrites history to suit themselves. A narc gets angry when someone criticizes them or makes them feel as if they did something wrong or bad. All of his behavior that you describe is narc. He said mean things and criticized you to deflect from his failures. That is a narc. I know it hits you hard because you have low self-esteem, but HE is the one whose self-esteem can’t handle the criticism. You handled it like an adult. Narcs find people with low self-esteem, though. They take advantage of those people. They bully those people. That is what your MM did yesterday and through much of your relationship. I know you know rationally, but I’m sure it still hurts like hell. And I know my words just can’t make it better so I am glad you have a therapist to work this through with.

      I know that was painful for you, but I hope it helped you get some closure. We know that one of the hardest things when these relationships “end” is feeling that the relationship is going on and on without clarity or closure. Just recently you were saying that you wished your MM would just say the relationship is done. He said it. And we will remind you over and over again if you need, but I’m not sure you will need that. Even though I know you said that the two of you settled on being “friends,” I think you should block and walk again. You owe him NOTHING. Not only was that true before, but it is especially true now that you have told him what you needed to tell him and you have given him a chance to respond. Block and walk. It is not about what he deserves or getting back at him. It is what you need. You seemed to feel better when he was blocked, right? But maybe now you can block him and really understand that the relationship is done?

      • Butterflies are Free

        Flek thank you. Yes it hurt but I had had therapy just before this happened and somehow as awful as it was I felt I could survive it intact and also not take it too too personally like I used to. I used to go into depressions right after this would happen would happen and I would have days after that I could do nothing. I don’t feel great today but I am doing what I had planned today including going out with friends this evening. So many things shocked me. It was so many threads of conversations all mashed together. But the times I have criticized him (like telling him I blocked and walked because I felt like he was messing with my brain…because he was a Mind “f–k” INFURIATED him! I said more than once “you are missing with my head.”
        He was demanding to know how he had ever ever messed with my head?
        And what was I saying that he was some kind of crazy man? That he was a an awful man?
        I kept saying Are you kidding me?
        I am talking about us as a man and a woman.
        Do you not see any inconsistency in your behavior with me as a man and a woman with relationship between us?
        He demanded to know WHAT RELATIONSHIP?
        Oh boy.
        According to him the way he acted was crystal clear and I was supposed to NOT make up assumptions or “drama stories” in my head.
        I was not supposed to make up some kind of relationship or “movie”
        I said it was his inconsistencies in his behavior over the years which had repeatedly caused me to not know what was happening with us and to waffle and to withdraw.
        Oh boy. He did not like hearing that.
        He was insisting he was very consistent over the years and that he had never asked me for anything. If I really wanted you to know something about my feelings for you, you would know.
        he said. SO I said HUH?
        This is the first time I can remember that we ever had such cutting awful words. I hate conflicts to begin with. But I did keep fighting back. This is what probably caused more conflict. Today I am very tired and very sad. But I am also so shocked and this makes me pause because it is sort of red flag to me. What would be so shocking to me if I had no denial about him?
        As for blocking and walking I will tell the truth here today:
        I am quite afraid of that action causing even MORE conflict tomorrow when he is back here at work. (Today he is thankfully off). But I not want to add more fuel to the fire by communicating with him anymore either. I am definitely DONE with the AFFAIR and DO NOT LOVE him ANYMORE.
        I am also thinking again of finding a Recovery Forum: a relationship with a narc recovery forum to hear stories like mine of dealing with a narc and how to go about it.
        Thoughts?
        Hugs BAF xxxooo

        • Felk

          BAF, I know you’re feeling sad now, but what you wrote about how different this sadness is from how it used to be shows how much progress you’ve made. I know that progress. I feel that progress. It’s not that our MM can no longer affect us, but it’s so much less than it used to be. That’s progress. As we’ve always said, we constantly want it to be “suddenly” over but that’s not how it works. And it still won’t be suddenly over, even with his cruelty and denial the other day. I do hope you are done with the affair, but we know that there will still be healing to be done. Even when you know that you are done, there are still feelings to sort out. Give yourself time. Give yourself compassion. And, of course, do what you need to do for you. If that means not blocking your MM, then don’t block him. If that will just invite more drama from him, I understand why you don’t want to do it.

          He really does sound like a narc with all of his anger, evasiveness, and turning things around on you. Classic narc. I am sorry that it was so awful, but I’m glad you kept fighting back. It sounds like you really stood up for yourself and didn’t let him steamroll the conversation, and it sounds like that’s why there was so much conflict… because he is used to you giving in.

          You know who he is. You know he will not change. And you know he has treated you very poorly for a long time. That’s all that matters. You also know that he may come back. I don’t say that to give you hope. I think you know very well that these men keep coming back. I really do hope that you can be done with him, though. You sound like you have a lot to give to others, and I hope you can find someone to appreciate it.

          • Butterflies are Free

            Felk thank you for your words. Thank you for reminding me I need time to heal and grieve. Right now I feel more numb than anything. And I feel like getting the hell AWAY from him. I feel like I wish I had never fallen in love with him. I want him to go away. I have not shed tears yet this week. Maybe I shed too many of those over the years and I have no more left now. Maybe I am numb still.
            Or maybe I am in shock at how much of a textbook narc proved to be this week.
            I was actually hoping to be wrong on this point. (My continued denial). Or maybe I am in shock that I made it thru that interaction as strong as I was. I am not sure at all today. But I am not shedding tears.
            Honestly he has worsened as a Narc with time. They say Narcs worsen with age because it gets harder and harder for them to get the “fuel” they so need in order to function. Me loving him was one source of “fuel” for him. With me gone he is low on fuel and will be more miserable than ever til he finds another source. He showed such classic traits Narc this weeks. TEXTBOOK. Every single comment I made about him, even in comments remarking on something I was feeling, he took like an assault to him! He blew them way out of proportion. It is now my belief that someone else in his life has already demeaned him very badly with the same words he was accusing me of saying. Many of the things he was accusing me of saying had little to do with with what I was saying at all. I was talking about my feelings in the relationship and how he had confused me so many times. I told him I did not feel any consistency from him and that I thought I deserved better. That I felt I was a very very good partner and deserving of better treatment from a lover.

            But unfortunately it was like he heard me saying he was the biggest asshole of all time and that he was insane. I was talking about MY feelings about our relationship but he was picking on each and every word I was saying saying and starting new fights. Things like: “So now you are saying I am insane? So you are saying I am the biggest asshole in the world?” So his reaction was really skewed.
            The hard things that have happened to him in his life (like we all have hard things) have not been processed properly and he is livid at this world and livid at his wife for not giving him “enough sex”. Now I can only imagine what she must be going through trying to live with him. I never saw him as short-fused as he was this week.
            And bullying and demeaning. It was ugly.

            Which gets me to the Blocking. I WANT to block because I want to be DONE with his man. I want out and I want it over. This has been coming for a year since I came on this blog. But I am more than a little bit afraid of his anger at the moment. Narcs and rage are a bad combo. Is he capable of harming me in some way? Ordinarily I would say “NO” but I need a little time to pass from Monday night to let my feelings settle down.
            I was just reading that narcs have both hot rage and cold rage. The cold rage kind is the more dangerous kind. I am not saying he is dangerous necessarily. But I do not think I can rule out his anger getting somehow escalated by me blocking again and then him getting worse in his behavior with me somehow. He might think “I deserve it.” Since I “caused all these problems” I can see him thinking I deserve to suffer now. I hope I am wrong. But I am afraid to BLOCK at the moment. Maybe in a couple of weeks I will feel more able to do so but not just yet,
            Hugs BAF

          • Buuterflies Are Free

            Hi there ladies
            Today I re-thought my position and I blocked him after reading on the internet about blocking vs not blocking a Narc after a break-up. I saw these words on Quora:
            “I know how you feel. It feels like both blocking and not blocking is a win for the narcissist. Let’s move away from the idea of a win or loss. No one is a winner with a narc. He isn’t ever going to be happy and you cannot seek revenge from him. He enjoys attention, even negative attention. Sooner or later, he’ll try to re-enter your life. You will have to toughen up and put yourself above all rest. Your self-preservation should be your top priority. And to meet that goal, no contact is ideal. Cut all the chords. Block him everywhere and anywhere. Let him interpret it however he chooses because no matter what you do, he will remain a narcissist. Stay strong! Move on.”
            There are many more wise words about breaking up with narcs all over the internet.
            So in the name of self preservation I am blocking him both on my phone and FB today.
            Either way he may try to re-contact me but this is the better way for ME. I feel better overall….more psychically protected if that makes any sense. Hugs BAF. xxx000

          • Felk

            BAF, I understand now that you wrote the part about blocking after not blocking so good for you deciding to block immediately. You’ve done it before so I know you can do it (successfully) again. I think there is something very honest and important about minimizing his access to you and access to you in ways that can just pop up out of your control. I know that when I was in the height of the break-up months ago, I deleted all pictures on my phone that reminded me of my MM because it was too painful to get those spontaneous reminders scrolling through pictures sometimes. I also intentionally avoided other reminders of him. I know that when he’d text, on the rare occasions, I would dwell on the text for hours and think about what it meant and was my response good enough and it was agonizing. So, I get why blocking is very important.

            Funny thing about you saying that I said he will probably be back is that I was using YOUR words from months ago. You have told multiple people on here that they always come back, and you’ve always been right so far. Sure, at some point, I guess they won’t come back, but if you have a sense that it’s not “over” then they will come back. I remember it surprising me (and not) back in January when my MM “came back” for sex. I really thought he was showing strength by drawing boundaries and making sure we didn’t go back there, but there he was. As you predicted. And look at Nomad’s MM? Wow, did he come back. Of course, I hope for your sake that your MM does not come back, but I don’t think you’ve heard the last from him. He may need to, once again, get mad at you for something. But, I do hope that you can either not open that door or you can open that door and tell him you are done and there is nothing more to say. You are close to done. Give yourself time.

        • Felk

          BAF, I am sure there will still be so much more for you to sort out on your thoughts about your MM, yourself, and your relationship. Like you said in your message to LL, though, I do think this was a turning point. You acted differently this time. You stood up for yourself. Not that you never did in your relationship, but you would not let your MM put all the blame on you and you kept reminding him of the truth of your relationship. Good for you. Also, I saw your other message about blocking, and to decide again to block him is strong. I agree with what that person said about narcs and blocking. Nothing you do will change his behavior so it’s up to you to do what’s best for yourself.

          Because of the timing of your two messages, I couldn’t tell if you were planning to block immediately or wait a few weeks, but, of course, do what works best for you. I don’t think your MM will become violent, but, of course, you know him best. Yes, narcs have rage when they are rejected or made to feel wrong/bad/at fault. They can’t stand when they are wrong and they can’t stand when others aren’t admiring them. It’s also interesting to think that narcs get worse with age. Usually people get less violent with age (and I would expect that for your MM), but it’s possible that the narcissism gets worse in that they find it harder to get attention and admiration as they age (as we all do!). I wouldn’t be surprised if your MM comes banging on your door again, though. I don’t think you’ve heard the last of him, but I hope you can recognize that behavior as being about him and not about wanting your relationship back. He bangs on your door for your admiration and so that he can make his case for himself once again. He does not bang on your door so that he can try to have a good relationship (even a friendship) with you. It is all one way. He does not bang on that door for the sake of you. He bangs on that door for you to be there for him. He will do it again. Be ready. And I hope you will not answer or you will tell him you’re done and there’s nothing left to say. That is why the conversation earlier this week was good. You got to say things you’ve needed to say for a long time. At some point, though, we are just saying the same things over and over again and there is no point. At some point, we are just talking to keep a connection with the person and it does us no good. Or we keep talking, hoping that THIS time, the person will say the thing we want them to say, but if they have not said that thing over and over, then they will not say that thing.

          You are entirely right that he could not hear anything you were saying besides thinking you were calling him names and blaming him. He couldn’t hear your hurt. He couldn’t hear your frustration. He couldn’t hear what this has done to you. All he could hear is what you were doing to him. And it’s been like that for many years. And you’re right that his W has likely suffered through much of this. No wonder she doesn’t want to have sex with him anymore! I would imagine that part of his narcissism is promoting the image of a good marriage and that’s why he holds her hand in public. I would imagine he wants people to think things are fine and to not judge him negatively. That is probably also why he wouldn’t leave his marriage. It would probably be too big of a blow to his ego to think he failed at marriage. Even though he has. All of those truths… how he’s failed at his marriage and at your relationship… are coming to him now and that probably explains the rage this week. But, as TTSP was telling J, you can only control your behavior. You can’t control his. Make decisions that are good for you and try not to think about what he will think about those decisions. I know that is easier said than done as a part of breaking from my MM was about stopping thinking about what he will think of the things I do. When we’re in love and we want someone’s love in return, we see ourselves through their eyes and we try to make decisions they will approve. To an extent, this is normal in a relationship (wanting to feel respected by another), but it can go too far. We can start compromising who we are to try to get that other person to love us. So, as best you can, try to stop caring what your MM thinks of you or your actions. His approval is not something you need or want. He is weak, and his approval is meaningless. Stop thinking about what he will think about you blocking him. When you are able to stop caring about what he thinks of you, you are free. I know this is a process, but you’ve started it.

          • Butterflies Are Free

            Hi Felk
            For clarification: I wrote my post about being scared to BLOCK and then my post about BLOCKING within a 24 hour period. After reading the woman’s words :
            “I know how you feel. It feels like both blocking and not blocking is a win for the narcissist. Let’s move away from the idea of a win or loss. No one is a winner with a narc.” I decided to just do what feels best for ME which is BLOCKING. I blocked on FB too. I feel psychologically stronger and more protected when I know he can not suddenly text me or call me. But as you said he will probably be back. I hope you are wrong but I DO need to stop my denial and just look at this situation clearly. To him I am a “thing” and Narcs “mate for life” in their minds. So I am always his “thing” in some corner of his brain. But love partner or relationship partner? NO I am NOT that. Many hugs BAF aka Lara xxxooo

    • Thistooshallpass

      I’m sorry BAF you had to go through that drama. I can see how exhausting and draining that must’ve been for you. He is a lost cause. My best suggestion is to push through and carry yourself with your head held high. I’m not suggesting that you act fake but there’s something courageous about exuding confidence when you know you were honest, open and caring. You did the best you could. Next time he sees you on the street you can act like you aren’t fazed in the slightest. Don’t feed that narc supply.

      I don’t know all of the intricacies of your relationship but was he accusing you of manufacturing the relationship over the entire duration or just the last few months when you reconnected? If you had sex and/or anything physical how the F could it be in your head unless he denied that too? Perhaps he was referring to the exchanges you’ve had recently. Even if his intent was not to rekindle the affair he didn’t need to be a complete dick. He could’ve said I understand that our past may have caused some confusion and misconstrued ideas here. He didn’t need to gaslight you by responding as if you’re delusional. Please see his behaviors as a gift from above. He is showing you his true colors. This is what his current W has to face day in and day out. God have mercy on her soul. You are spared my friend.

      This will sting like hell for a few days but in no time you’ll be back on your feet. Surround yourself with people that lift you up. Never underestimate the power of meditation and prayer (if you are spiritual). Visualize yourself detaching. Try mantra meditations to change the thought process in your brain. Focus on work, hobbies, family and friends. Do you have hobbies? Do you like to workout? Exercise feeds the mind, body and soul IMO. I got a new hairdo and while that doesn’t solve my problems it lifts my mood. Pedis and manis are wonderful too unless you’re not into girly things. I find doing things to improve my appearance helps me internally. I’ve got some narc traits and vanity is one of them. Anyhow, you’ll feel better in a day or two. Find things that lift you up.

      • Butterflies are Free

        Thank you so much TTSP!
        I really appreciate your words.
        You ask: “If you had sex and/or anything physical how the F could it be in your head unless he denied that too?”
        First of all to clarify: this relationship has always involved very passionate sex. From the very start it has always been very sexually and physically oriented. We have done work together (gardening or light handiwork with our hands) and we have cooked and eaten very good food and we have had tons of sex. And we talked a LOT about sex. etc. sex sex sex
        This relationship also involved more “implicit” emotional understanding about each other than long talks. First of all, English is not his native language. But I also never found talking to him about my feelings very easy. It was not the language barrier. It was his reactions to me. It was also both of our intimacy issues.
        But anytime I wanted to talk seriously about our relationship he would deny that it was a “relationship. This was over the whole 21 year span basically but it is only coming clearer now.
        He would get defensive and cold and and argue that he was “married” and had kids and anyhow what did I expect him to be able to do? And why I was “making assumptions” about what was going on? Why was I creating “movies”?
        Of course, I would feel TERRIBLE and get very depressed. In the beginning for a very long time. Then less and less. And I would also LEAVE the relationship entirely. It is not because I understood the damage it was doing to ME however. Unfortunately I was in complete denial over the damage it was causing me. I would leave because I was super pissed at HIM for not committing to me in some way. For not being able to call “us” and “us” and say yes it was a relationship.
        That anger would fuel my departure. I think I am very lucky I had that much passion within me ( anger in this case) and was I was strong enough to take complete breaks from him. And build my life without him. And get stronger emotionally too.
        The periods of NO CONTACT I created with him almost always ended the same way: With him denying the relationship like I described above and to Felk. I would leave in anger or disgust or whatever: sometimes weeks /sometimes months /sometimes years! I would go NO CONTACT and try to continue with my life (even with our men) but our relationship dynamics dominated my sub-conscious anyhow.
        Only a year ago did I finally figure out his behavior mirrored that of a narc. And mine too of an empath with low boundaries. My low self esteem and his overly high self esteem are magnetic. It is like that with many couples where one person in a narc. The chemistry. But The Narc always dominates. The self esteem of the other person always falls.
        You have no idea what a relief it is for me to be able to actually acknowledge this in my own mind and write this and get feedback on this! This secret relationship hid a lot of dynamics that were hurtful to me I am now realizing.
        I agree with you he is a lost cause. I saw that this week like never before and it was very upsetting. At one point I told him he was so much happier looking one day after looking so miserable the night before. I said I had felt sorry for him when he was down. It took only a couple of hours for that to ignite him into fighting with me! He said I was implying something was wrong with him. That I was accusing him of being weak. Yes exhausting and draining. And I realized a lost cause. Over time this man has changed for the worse not the better. He is bitter about his life in so many ways and he is dwelling on all those things that happened “to him”. Yes he has had some knocks in life ESPECIALLY his getting laid off a couple of years ago when he thought he was the ultimate “star” of his corporate department.
        But others get laid off and cope. Not him. At the moment he is ill tempered and short-fused.
        I think your suggestion to : “Push through and carry yourself with your head held high.” is a good one and that is what I will do tomorrow. And I will act neutral.
        I agree ” there’s something courageous about exuding confidence when you know you were honest, open and caring.” YES
        “Next time he sees you on the street you can act like you aren’t fazed in the slightest. Don’t feed that narc supply.” YES ABSOLUTELY. These conflicts this week gave him his much needed “fuel” no doubt.
        TTSP: I SO agree with you when you say this:
        “Please see his behaviors as a gift from above. He is showing you his true colors. This is what his current W has to face day in and day out. God have mercy on her soul. You are spared my friend.” Amen to that and Hallelujah and yes that poor woman.
        Thank you for that wonderful list of things to help me heal. I am and WILL be doing them. Tonight I went to see a musical. A friend bought me the ticket and it was awesome. That is a start.
        Hugs BAF
        xoxo

        • Felk

          BAF, in reading what you wrote here and recently, I was thinking more about how painful it must be to have someone deny the reality of your relationship. The gaslighting. To make you feel as if you’re making it up and it’s all in your head. It’s so cruel. Really. I’m not sure there is anything worse than trying to erase the existence of something real. And from everything you have described to us over these months (and even in this most recent post), that relationship was very real on an emotional and physical level)… obviously, too real for him. He clearly had difficulty admitting how far he let things get with you. He clearly is trying to avoid responsibility for his role in hurting you. That is a narc. They never admit anything that they think can make them look weak. It still blows me away that he can’t just say, “I care about you, but our relationship can’t go any further.” How hard is that? But I know how hard it is for a narc to give ANYTHING to another person. It is all about keeping power and control and making sure you never give the other person any room to use anything against you. It’s gross, but that’s a narc. The great irony for narcs is that, by trying so hard to hold onto control, they show so much weakness. His abusive anger shows how insecure he is, because he is not strong enough to admit feelings to you. Again, kudos to you for not letting him get away with the lies this last time. For holding him accountable and reminding him of the reality of the situation. It won’t change him, but was important for you moving on.

          You know I see the narc tendencies in my MM, too. Even though they are just tendencies and he shows plenty of sensitivity and responsiveness, I also had difficulty talking to my MM about my feelings. And, like you say, it was because of his reactions to me and both of our narc tendencies. Of course, we expressed our feelings plenty, but it never felt as comfortable as I would have liked and I held a lot back that I didn’t want to. But, because of his reactions (of coldness or silence or even displeasure) at my expressions sometimes, I learned to hold back… because of my own power issues of not wanting to give him more if he wasn’t going to be giving in return. Unfortunately, I still feel that a bit, but I’m trying to get better and remind myself that we cannot have a good relationship (the kind of relationship I want) if I am not honest and open about how I feel. I cannot let him make me feel it is a weakness. Not that we should express EVERYTHING to a person. Of course, there are some things we should hold back. But, I still hold back too much (out of fear of his reaction and fear of losing power), but I’m getting better.

          And the things you write about how your MM got angry and defensive about you saying that he looked miserable. That he took it as you saying there was something wrong with him and he was weak. Ugh. But this is a narc. It’s all about him being worried about your perception of him instead of him being able to recognize you are offering warmth and caring. It is simply messed up that another offering closeness can make a narc feel weak, but it does. I remember one time a few years ago when my MM and I were having a conversation about us. It was one of those hard conversations where he was lamenting that he had to leave me and go home and he didn’t want to. And he was feeling particularly helpless that day. His feelings were kind of all over the place, so I joked (trying to lighten the moment), “You’re a wreck,” and he got all upset, telling me how I made him feel weak. It was reactions like that that made it hard to be honest with him, as I said above. And I ended up apologizing to him for saying what I did. Essentially, I apologized for attempting warmth and playfulness. Ugh. There are so many small moments like that from our relationship (and especially the last two months) where I look back at ways I acted and wish I had been stronger. Where he should have been apologizing TO ME and I apologized to him. (Don’t even get me started on how our break-up in September actually started with him accusing me of giving attention to another man (which was untrue) and me apologizing for making him feel bad about that.) Oh, how many times did you do the same with your MM?

          I know our MM are different and we all have different situations, but your words remind me to be true to myself as I continue with my MM. Your words remind me to stand up for myself and be honest about what I want and need. To not fear his reaction, but to believe that if we are going to have a relationship that works (friendship or other) I have to be able to trust him with me. And to hold him accountable and to no longer let him make me feel bad for issues that are his own.

  • LIFELESSONS

    Felk,
    I am responding to you up here…I understand what you mean by keeping things seperate now. I am thinking we wont have to see each other that often since we have a plan for the kids. I am doing drop offs, theyre doing pick ups. I totally see where you are coming from, I try not to say too much and I dont speak really speak of him and she doesnt ask questions but she speaks of them and I nod, shake my head or laugh when its funny. However, now that we have built a repor with one another it will be hard not to chat at school events because neither of us know many people in our area and its natural to find the parents you know and sit with them. She doesnt normally come to the sports events, he does but our boys are in high school so they have quite a few away games that none of can attend. I will keep in mind everything you said.

    • Butterflies are Free

      LL it really strikes me that he has encouraged you to be friends with his W. He has joked you are his two wives. Why is this I wonder? Perhaps he has less conflicts cheating on her if she likes you and vice versa? Hopefully he is able to draw a clear boundary between you and her. Otherwise he might become used to you as more and more a “working part of a marriage system” rather than an outside “affair partner” with no connections to his home. In the end it all depends how you feel most comfortable of course. I am simply imagining that one of these days you might wake up and be truly in love with him and want MORE from him. If you can keep your feet firmly planted on the ground and not get carried away with love feelings like this you might just be okay in this. But as soon as you start to want MORE of him or he wants MORE of you the trouble with start, (See Felk’s continuing story). So be forewarned! Hugs BAF

  • J

    Felk, thanks for your good advice and thoughts. You are very perceptive about all you said. I definitely want to give mm space at this point, otherwise I feel like I’m talking him into it. I’ve tried to be very understanding because he moved out and that’s got to be difficult. But every few days it’s more of the guilt and doubts after his W calls him. So the other night he wanted space, he said for one evening. I gave it to him. Then the next morning he asked me to talk. I said I’m trying to give you the space you need. He said that was last night and now I want to talk. I said I’m not trying to be rude or hurtful, but I don’t see what else we can talk about at this point. He said ok but seemed irritated. Well, completely coincidental, a few hours later, I’m driving and I see him on the road driving in the direction of his home. I probably should’ve resisted but I called him to find out why, since he supposedly was taking time alone to think. He said he was going to a neighborhood cookout with his W for 3 reasons, 1. Because he felt bad for her because she cried the night before on the phone, 2. He wants to see how he feels with her at this party to help with his decision, 3. He isn’t ready to tell all his neighbors. He also said maybe he should go talk to his priest to just have a clean slate and resign himself to go back to his boring mediocre life. I said I thought he needed time alone to think and pointed out that going to a fun neighborhood cookout won’t tell him anything about his feelings for his W. I said it sounds like you’ve made your mind up so why take more time, and I suggested he just go home for good. He said ok. Then made a face like he was going to cry and said he doesn’t want to hurt me, but he thinks leaving his W is morally wrong and not following in gods teachings. I said go home then. Then he said he needs time. Said he loves me but he’s scared of our age difference and also critiqued my personality. Then said he knows he loves me a lot, but he said do I love you enough if this is so hard and I have these doubts. I was quite annoyed by his words and actions of claiming he needs time but running to a cookout. I said that hes very selfish man. I said I don’t think he’s behaving like a man, that he pursued me, that he fell in love with me, greatly contributed to the demise of my marriage which was pretty decent at the start of this, that he told me countless times we are going to be together, that he said it over and over, and now he’s bailing because he’s scared. Then he had to go to the party. Texted me 4 hours later when he was back at his friends and said he was uncomfortable at the party and with his W, as she was drinking. He apologized for his severe mood fluctuations and said he’s unstable. Also texted me this morning asking if I’m ok. So yes. I want to give him space, but also realize how when he’s left alone with space he runs home. But I’m also wondering if I could ever even trust this man.

    • Thistooshallpass

      Hi J,
      Remember that you only have control over your actions. People are going to do what they do no matter how much we try to fix, manipulate and control the situation. To me it sounds like he is hedging his bets to avoid the wrong decision. Would you consider taking a different approach if you’re finding that he is in a state of inertia? I guess where I’m going is would you think about a different action since what you’re currently doing is yielding minimal results. If he knows you’re going to wait around where is the urgency to decide? Also, I’ve found that when I maintain mental composure and don’t respond emotionally I tend to get better responses from men in general. It’s hard to always live by but one that is greatly rewarded if practiced regularly. If you remain calm you’ll throw him for a loop. Also, if your relationship is founded on fear than you’ll never feel good/safe with him re: “I realize when he’s left alone with space he runs home.” If you really want to know what most people will advise here… tell him when he has signed the papers to give you a call. Until that time he needs to sh*t or get off the pot. I hope that wasn’t too aggressive and you find all the love and prosperity you want and deserve 🙂

      • J

        Thank you. Very good advice. I think you’re right about him too. I’ve noticed in the past whenever I ignore him, he comes running. He feels everything is his choice, his decision, and both his W and I are sitting waiting for him. I would like to remove myself as one of his choices. So you think I should just simply say don’t call me until you’re divorced. End of story?

        • Thistooshallpass

          Hi J,
          I’m going to echo what Felk said. She gives really sage advice. Sometimes it’s not what we want to hear but wise for us to accept and acknowledge. For me it’s recognizing that by remaining in a relationship with my mm I’ll never be able to fully open my heart to an available man. Tough pill to swallow but one that I’d rarely admit to myself without the encouragement from this group. For the single ladies some food for thought.

          Back to you… It’s not about ignoring bc that is mean and spiteful. You want to feel empowered, confident and self-assured about your value. Removing yourself from the picture and establishing some emotional distance will put you in the driver’s seat in your life. Notice that I didn’t say driver’s seat in his life. He needs to do some major soul searching and I don’t see how that is possible with influence from both sides. Would you be comfortable telling him that you need to carry on with your life and think it’s best to circle back in a few weeks, month or whenever he has officially moved out and the paperwork is in progress? What are your thoughts?

        • Felk

          J, I don’t think anything is simple about your situation, but if you are able to tell him, with love and compassion, that you think it’s best for you two to take some space so that he can decide, once and for all, whether or not he wants to leave his marriage, I think that’s how you’re best going to get peace. Otherwise, it seems you will be stuck in this vicious cycle of highs and lows where he continues to waffle about what he’s going to do. Of course, you have to be sure in this decision and you have to be committed to taking that time apart. I don’t know if you have to wait until he’s divorced, but to even take a month apart with NC would be a great step towards allowing him to make a decision on his own. I know you are scared that he will go back to her if you are “out of sight, out of mind,” but the hard truth is that, even with you front and center, he still hasn’t chosen you. Remember, if giving him space to make this very important decision, leads him back to his W, it wasn’t because you gave him space. It was because it was the decision he wants to make. You need to know this before you invest any more into this man. You need to know that he chooses you.

          Do not go NC just to get him to run back to you. The point is not to play games and hope that because you “ignore him, he comes running.” Yes, part of the idea of space is letting him really think about whether or not he wants to be with you and absence can make the heart fonder, but do not go NC hoping that he’ll be desperately contacting you days later. Choose to go NC and stick to it. Do this for him, and do it for yourself. Give yourself time to think about your marriage, about your MM, and about the kind of relationship partner your MM is. Give yourself time to think when you are free from the stress of thinking about him going back to his W and his guilt constantly.

          I don’t know what your MM will choose. It seems like he’s truly in agony about this decision. I know you want it to be an easy decision to choose you, but it’s not that simple when you have a life and children (and religion) with someone else. I also don’t know how you are doing this for this long, but I guess I watched my MM “decide” for 9 months. I guess we have a lot of “patience” when we’re in love, huh? Of course, some of it really is patience when you love someone, but, as it sounds like for you, for me, some of it was weakness, too. Part of why I stayed so long though I could things were getting harder for my MM and it seemed he was at a point of needing to make a decision is because there was so much I enjoyed about us and I was patient to give him the time to make this decision. But the other part of why I stayed through it is because I was scared to lose our relationship. I have said here before that I wish I would have stood up for myself a bit more in the end. I’m not saying it would have changed anything about when we ended (and it might have even hastened the end), but I wish I would have been a little stronger in those last two months and been more direct about how my needs were no longer being met and how I felt we had shifted the focus of our relationship to his turmoil. Of course, this is hindsight and I don’t beat myself up too much. I did the best I could at the time, and I’m pretty happy with where he and I are now. But, for you to go NC, you show strength and you take control. That goes a long way in these situations, not only to show your MM that you will not just sit around and wait for him, but also for you to feel that you are demanding he treat you better.

    • Felk

      J, you know I second what TTSP has said. You say that you’re going to give him space and then you give him very little space. I don’t say that to be harsh, but to just say that if you’re going to give him space you have to REALLY give him space. As TTSP says, you can only control your behaviors, and, no matter how much you try, you will not make your MM leave his W (if he doesn’t want to). As I said in my previous message, if you give him space and he goes back to his W, that is what he would have done any way… whether or not you gave him space. Giving “space” is not quitting on him or losing control, but it seems like you feel it is. It seems you feel if you give him space, he will go back to his W, but if that is his choice, don’t you need to know that? I know that’s easier said than done because it would break your heart to know he chose his W, but you need to know sooner rather than later. How much longer can you go through this?

      Also, as TTSP says, we recommend giving him space to make this decision because I think it would show him how serious you are about it. Right now, he knows you will just wait there, on the side, for him to do whatever he wants. He knows he can run to a party with his W and text you 4 hours later and you will be there for him. Sure, you are mad, but you are not leaving. Also, if you give him space to make this decision, he will feel he is making this decision on his own and not due to your influence. When we make our own decisions, we are MUCH more likely to stick to them. This is something that I practice with my MM. I try not to talk him into too much. I want him to be with me because he’s chosen it. That’s the only way it works long-term.

      We have told you before that your MM doesn’t seem like a man you can trust, but you are so emotionally invested you can’t extract yourself from this relationship. So, my best advice continues to be going NC for some time period to let him make his decision once and for all.

  • J

    Hi ladies, hope you’re all well. My saga has had many ups and downs. As you all know mm had told his w several times he wanted to move on, but she persisted on begging him to stay and constantly trying to guilt him. Then he did misleading things like go to doctors appointments (cancer checkups, she’s cancer free now), go to dinner, go to parties, etc. All the while assuring me he’s getting divorced still. I became quite sick of it. He also started drinking often to dull his feelings of being home. His wife even saw some of our text messages one night when he passed out texting me. It was pretty obvious he has someone else based on the messages but she still said it’s ok as long as he just tries with her again. He finally moved out. He’s been living at his friends house for approx 2 weeks now. His wife is still calling him nonstop begging him back. He even told his grown children, who were upset and said can’t you try working on things again. He misses his house very much but says he doesn’t miss his wife. But he said every time she calls him he feels plagued with guilt and then doubts. He’s also acting cranky towards me at times. But of course still wants to be intimate. Sometimes he criticizes me and looks for reasons it won’t work for between us long term. We’ve talked so many times about his feelings and his ups and downs. He’s admitted his criticism of me comes out of fears and self sabotage, almost like he’s looking for a way out so he can just go back. I’ve been very patient, understanding how hard it is to be out of his home and telling his daughters. But I don’t know how much more I can take of him talking of his doubts. He usually has doubts and guilt after talking to her but then realizes he must keep moving forward, but I’m really getting tired of this non stop pattern. Well today we had lunch and he started with his guilt and doubts talk again. He said he’s crushing his wife and he thinks what he’s doing is wrong. He also said that I’m young and beautiful and could easily move on without him. He said if he really loves me so completely, why would he keep feeling it’s wrong. I said I think it’s your guilt and fear, and that you’re trying to go back to what’s comfortable and familiar. I also said I’m not going to spend my life trying to convince you. He even talked about the religious thing again, which he hasn’t for a long time. I told him it’s been a long time, over 2 years, and that he owes me more at this point. He said he needs time to think and pray. And he wants to call his children. I said ok goodbye. He then left and went to his house to cut the lawn while she was out. Again, he misses his yardwork. Ladies, what do I do? Am I handling it right? Do I just give him space? Do I remind him of “us.” What are your thoughts?

    • Felk

      J, it’s good to hear from you, but it’s not good to hear that you’re still going through all the ups and downs. It’s good that your MM moved out, but it sounds like he’s having a very difficult time with that decision and that he’s putting a lot of that burden on you. As a lot of us have said on here, we’d advise that you give your MM some space and distance to work through this. I know you are worried if you do that he’ll forget about you or that he’ll cave and go back to his W, but if that happens, it tells you all you need to know about him. Of course this is a difficult decision for him. To leave a marriage you’ve been in for decades has to be very hard. I’d imagine there’s a lot of guilt and doubt. But, I also understand why you don’t want to keep hearing about it. And I very much understand why you don’t want to have to keep talking your MM into it or explaining to him why he should leave. Like you said, you don’t want to have to convince him. At the end of my affair, when my MM and I started having conversations about ending, he asked me for solutions. He asked me for ways to save our relationship, but it wasn’t up to (only) me to save the relationship. And I didn’t want to convince him to stay. My main question to him throughout was (and is) always “Do you want this?” It is that simple to me. If the answer is “I don’t know” or “Yes, but…” I don’t want to talk you into it. This situation is hard enough as it is, if you are not in it 100%, there are going to be problems. At the end of my affair, it just felt like my MM needed to end it. Even though he was in love with me, the tension was too great and we weren’t enjoying ourselves as we used to. So, even though I desperately didn’t want to end, I knew we had to. I knew I didn’t want to talk him into staying (because that was just a bandaid on the problem), and I felt that he needed to end it to relieve his tension. Your MM needs to make a decision. That is clear. His angst and misery will continue until he makes a decision. I don’t know if he will choose his family or you, but I would give him space to make this decision. I know it would be VERY hard on you if he chooses his W, but don’t you want to know once and for all, too? Don’t you want to be done with this back and forth?

      Now, saying I don’t want to talk you into it, isn’t the same thing as saying you shouldn’t talk about it. But, it sounds like you’ve talked about this over and over, and you’re at the point of a decision needing to be made. There is a difference between talking about the situation and feeling that I’m having to repeatedly give reasons for why someone should do something. Much like with my MM in our last 9 months together (before he ended it), there was so much doubt and negativity. Yes, we’d have good times. Yes, there was great enjoyment, but there also was so much negativity that was exhausting. I would leave so many of our interactions feeling anxiety and insecurity about us. It sounds like you’re in the same place. It sounds like you have to continually boost your MM and help him leave his W. That can’t feel good. This is on him. This can’t be something you get him to do. This is why we say you should give him distance and space (like a month) to just figure his sh*t out. But we’ve said this before and it seems you didn’t want to do it. But maybe you’re ready now? You certainly have to do what you feel is best, but you’re asking for our advice and I think you should give him space and distance with no communication for some period of time. He needs time to think about what he wants. He is not going to forget about you. It is not “out of sight, out of mind.” If you are clear to him that you love him and want to be with him, but want to give him space to make his decision, he will not feel abandoned by you. My guess is he will miss you very much and be more sure he wants to end his marriage. But he needs a clear head to think about what he wants to do, and that is harder if he is still in between you and his W. So, give him space. And if he goes back to his W, then that is where he was going to end up anyway.

  • Felk

    LL, of course there are couples who act like newlyweds decades into the marriage, but they are the exception, not the rule. Sure, we want that feeling to sustain our whole marriage, but for most couples, it doesn’t. And if you read my post to BAF, you know I’m not just saying this because I feel it in my marriage. I say it because that’s what tons of research shows studying many, many couples in many different studies over many years. This is a consistent research finding that satisfaction, and particularly passion, fades over time in marriage. It is just how our brains works. And that is part of the intoxicating problem with affairs. In marriage (as that article I linked to in my post to BAF), we habituate to our partners. In affairs, we don’t have that opportunity to “get used to” our partner and come down from the high. So, it’s repeated highs and we become addicted. It also tricks us into thinking the affair partner is better for us (than they probably are) because it’s so exciting with them. We can trick ourselves into believing they’re the right match or our soulmate, when it’s really that we have great chemistry BECAUSE of the nature of the affair and all the excitement built in. My MM and I get along really well, but I am under no delusion that the passion is sustained by the affair and isn’t the result of some special matching between he and I. I think my MM was a little more tricked by our chemistry. I don’t want to make him sound silly. He and I talked a few times about how our passion is likely sustained so well because it’s an affair, but he would also use words like “one true love” and it would surprise me.

    Hearing about these couples who act like newlyweds a decade into their marriage, though, can lead us to unrealistic expectations for our own relationships. As I’ve said before, one of the number one reasons for divorce is unrealistic romantic expectations. No doubt leads to affairs, too. 🙂 Not that you shouldn’t try for that relationship, but if you try too hard, you’ll be disappointed.

  • Felk

    BAF, you know I know this confusion and the contradictions. You’ve seen me try to work through them here, too. Probably the toughest one is the confusion between “I accept it’s over” and “I hope it’s not over.” I think both can exist, though. You can accept something is over and still wish it wasn’t. Like accepting that a loved one has died but wishing that person were still alive. And I also understand wavering between no hope and some hope. I have felt that through the break-up. I’d have periods where I really thought it was over and I needed to move on, and then I’d have periods where I’d feel hopeful again. Usually, that hope was tied to his behaviors and I’d guess that’s what’s going on with you, too. Your MM pounds on your door and it sparks that hope again. Sure, it probably means the hope hadn’t died entirely if he’s able to spark it, but it’s understandable that he revives it by showing some “interest.”

    Your honesty in this post is so good. The parts about what you wanted to hear from him. I know you want to hear those things, but will he ever say those things to you? Especially the things about your patience and strength and good treatment of him? Not only do I wonder if he can say it out loud (if he does recognize it), I wonder if he’s even able to see past himself enough to recognize what’s going on with you? Like LL, I don’t think he’s completely unfeeling and insensitive. Of course, not. I just think he’s so distracted by his misery right now, that he can’t allow for your needs very much. I do hope if you’re direct with him, though, that he will say some of what you need. I hope he can tell you that he understands why you need to be done. I’m just not sure he’s strong enough to say it.

    Also notice that when he comes to you, it’s often in the form of anger and accusations. I know it can make us feel that the other still cares, but it’s dysfunctional and unhealthy displays of caring. It is pretty much the opposite of him showing that he cares in the ways you have said you wanted to hear. It is not only centered on his feelings but there is a lot of negativity in it, as opposed to sensitivity and understanding. There is a lot of “why are you doing this to me?” and “you don’t understand my situation” instead of seeing your perspective (and how much his marriage hurts you). I do hope that you can be direct with him as LL was suggesting.

    And, yes, if you think that he can be a good partner for you, you are ignoring the red flags that you have listed here time and time again. With great certainty, you have told us he’s a narc. Narcs do not make very good partners. And I’m sure his W can verify that. But, as far as the hand-holding, at this point? In his marriage? When he’s telling you he’s unhappy? He’s unhappy. He is not lying to tell you what you want to hear. It is not romantic love to hold her hand. I know this personally. I know this with my MM (as I have seen him hold his W’s hand the day after he, very sincerely, said he only wanted me). When I saw my MM holding his W’s hand that day, it stung a little, but I knew it was something he had to do to keep up the guise of the marriage and to be kind to his W. That is all it is. At most, maybe it’s a little warmth that you want to show to your spouse, but it is NOT romantic love. And, yes, we don’t want hand-holding and we don’t want sex and yet we stay married. I am in that situation. There are many reasons why we stay. We’ve talked about this.

    I hope you are able to have a good talk with him this week. I hope you are able to say the things you need to say and get some closure. Be direct with him about your needs. What do you have to lose at this point? What stops you from saying all the honest things? Are you worried he’ll reject you? Are you worried you’ll open a door you’ve been trying to close?

  • Felk

    BAF, I like your questions/comments as usual. First, the science is clear: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/02/opinion/sunday/new-love-a-short-shelf-life.html That article is just one example (that talks about a lot of the things I’ve said about passion fading and sexual variety… and women wanting variety more than men), but I can send more. I wouldn’t cite the science without being able to back it up. 🙂 I can also show you a study that showed 90% of long-term married partners don’t react to their partners with the same excitement as newlyweds. Of course, this doesn’t mean that some % of people can’t retain that passion. It’s just that most don’t. AND it definitely doesn’t mean that people lose love. They lose passion. And, yes, this can lead some to seek affairs (or get a divorce). So, sure, do I cite the science because it helps me justify why I had an affair? Of course. But, that doesn’t negate the science.

    Yes, I have mentioned that I can get claustrophobic in relationships. I like space and alone time… a lot. More than passion fading, it may help explain why I cheated. Like I said, six years ago when this all started, my passion was still pretty good with my H. We had been married 6 years at that point, but passion was still pretty good. Passion wasn’t the problem. But, part of my independence is that I like the feeling of being able to do what I want to do, and pursuing another relationship was probably part of that feeling of freedom for me. Not that there was anything in my marriage that led me to need another relationship besides simply needing that freedom and to feel that I wasn’t tied down. And, yes, I know that’s wrong considering I chose to get married (tied down). But you also know I feel little guilt, even though I recognize it’s wrong to cheat.

    And, yes, you are absolutely right that part of why I’m feeling better lately is because it feels that I have more predictability from my MM. It is not just the “date night” (although that helps), but over the 4-6 weeks (as I’ve said through my posts here), he’s been more communicative and, even with the distance, he’s stayed in touch and that has helped me feel more confident in our relationship. Whether it’s a friendship or more, I don’t know, but one of my fears was that we’d lose that special thing we had and now it feels like we aren’t losing that, even if our communication is a lot lower. Yes, it helps to know he still has feelings for me, but, more than that, it’s that when we spend time together, it’s less awkward and more playful and enjoyable. It feels like we’re both getting more used to whatever we’re doing, and that feels more comfortable. But, part of “turning the corner” is also just time and distance. Regardless of feeling more trust in our relationship now (than months ago), I also just feel better. This was even true through hard times across the last few months. Even the hard times were shorter and less bad. So, it wasn’t just the mutual feelings but it was simply adjusting to changes over time.

    But, of course you’re right that it’s still tenuous. I know. He knows. Even after (or because of) a nice time with him on Wednesday, I take a step back and think about not getting too hopeful or not pushing too much. I think about how careful we need to be. Careful if we decide to cross physical lines again and careful if we don’t. Yes, I know the temptation for more. He does, too. This is why we’re going to talk more about it. We’ve already planned to do that. I know talking like that creates intimacy, but if we are going to do this well, we need to be communicating. We are in a complicated situation (as you know all too well), and I think there is benefit from talking openly and honestly as best we can. Not all the time. We don’t need deep “us” conversations every week, but, ten months into the break-up, things are still complicated and tenuous and I think it’s good to talk about it. Talk about what we want/expect/need. Talk about how each other is feeling. Talk about what’s working or not working.

    As for the damage to my marriage, well, you know I’ve always been willing to risk that and I still am. I am in love with my MM. You know that, even if rationally we can say that we know we are risking something, when we are in love it is usually too powerful to ignore and we make choices more consistent with being in love than avoiding the risk. Of course, I try to avoid too much risk, but, yes, if I am still in this with my MM, I am still risking my marriage. My marriage is a little better than it was during the affair. The break-up has helped with some closeness, but I still don’t want sex with my H. I still want my MM. Yes, I would guess my MM’s W is still wary and, even if things are better, she would probably be extra sensitive to cues of his distance or him being different. I am sure he is aware of that. But, it also seems that he’s still willing to lie and take some risk as well. Yes, we know the drill.

      • Butterflies are Free

        Felk I think it is quite easy to find science that says the opposite of the point you are trying to make: that passion dies out after a couple of years and the brain gets “bored”. True, it takes dedication and effort and it less common than uncommon but I really think long=term passionate marriage is quite possible depends on the people in the marriage. For example:
        “The trifecta of a romantic relationship — intense love, sexual desire and long-term attachment — can seem elusive, but it may not be as uncommon or unattainable in marriages as we’ve been conditioned to think.”
        The Psychology of a Love that Lasts a Lifetime by
        I have found it impossible to post this with a link.
        Hugs BAF. xoxo
        By Carolyn Gregoire
        Huffington Post

        • Felk

          BAF, I don’t think it’s that easy to find science to say that passion can last the entire marriage (assuming it’s a long-term marriage), but I like the article you cited. Most of the research in this area shows that passion fades, but, sure, we can probably find some research to show passion sustaining for some couples over time. I’ve seen research to show passion (the same as in the beginning) can last for about 10% of couples long-term, but that’s not common. And the article you listed says the same thing: “In long-term partnerships that do succeed, romantic love tends to fade into companionship and a love more akin to friendship than to that of a couple in love.” This is what I’ve been saying.

          The author of that article defines romantic love a little differently than I’m familiar with (it usually includes a passion component and that’s what I’m saying fades), but this author defines it without passion and says that romantic love can sustain. Well, absolutely, if it doesn’t have the passion component. “Romantic love — free from the craving and obsession of the early stages of falling in love —can and does frequently exist in long-term marriages, research has found, and it’s correlated with marital satisfaction, and individual well-being and self-esteem.” But it’s that craving/obsession of falling in love that fade over time. This is what the science shows, but we definitely can fall into a comfortable, stable love with our partners. The link to the Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience article didn’t work, but I looked at that 2012 study that says 30-40% of couples say they’re still “very intensely in love.” The researchers say this surprised them because previous research showed 10-15% of couples retain intense love over time. So, that 30-40% from that study surprises me, too. The researchers also say that the people in the study might be feeling pressure to SAY they feel intense love because that makes their relationship look good to the interviewer. I acknowledge it’s an interesting finding (and that we still don’t have a ton of great research on love), but it’s a little different than saying the passion has remained as high as in the beginning of the relationship. More research!

          But, thanks for that link. It was an interesting read and uses science well. Also, great advice in that article for keeping the passion up. It’s hard work, but some couples clearly do it.

          • Butterflies are Free

            Felk,
            Look up
            The Science of Passionate Sex
            Scientific American
            By Scott Barry Kaufman on July 19, 2017
            I can not post the link

            I am even going to further out on a limb here about passion and talk about psychology which is of course another science. Think of passion as including physical passion like sex but also the passion of winning in sports…the passion of the passion of rock climbing, the passion of auto racing and so on. In some cases we might call these thrills. The brain loves these moments of course! And the brain can get addicted for sure. But the addiction is not really the healthiest of states. It is not preferable to have these states long term. In this kind of brain state people ignore other important things and take unnecessary risks and tax their bodies. Burn out can follow.

            Its the same with the passion of hot addictive sex. So the other side of stating passion can indeed last long term in a marriage is this: No one wants to fly to high to the sun forever. Remember the tale of Icarus? What is very desirable is having a partner who wants to keep things hot and exciting over the long term and this means variety and growth.

            I think what makes the hot period in a marriage case is as much boredom and stalemate as any “science.” And the other thing that makes the passion fade is the fact that as the couple gets to know each other better and better it is easier to say the kinds of hurtful words and have the kinds of unresolved conflicts in a marriage during the day that makes one or both partners fade away from the other one at night. I do not think it is habituation as much as it is the demand for increased INTIMACY that makes hot sex with the spouse change. If one has intimacy issues, having hot sex with someone one doesnt see that often is easier than with ones spouse. This is because one don’t know the stranger as well and one feels freer to express one’s own latest sexual “reincarnation” or “sexual self” without worrying about how that night affect the relationship dynamics. When people manage to do this they keep hot sex alive in their marriages. But it takes a LOT of honesty trust willingness etc on both parts.
            And here’s another very interesting read

            Hugs BAF

  • LIFELESSONS

    BAF,

    Im happy to hear, I was able to make you laugh, I was hoping you would find it funny. 5″2′ how funny is that! There are so many jokes my friends have about my height and my personality…

    Anyway, it seems you liked the advice I gave. I think you can find the courage to speak to your MM the way I suggest you do it. I think you need some encouragement and motivation in order to get it done and if you continue to P.U.S.H it will happen (I believe that). I think it may be helpful to work on your mindset. You acknowlege how things were centered around him. I think if you continue to tell yourself you are worthy and you deserve better treatment you will believe it eventually and you will be able to articulate yourself to him or anyone else who cant seem to value you. I know this is easier said than done but I believe it is doable. You dont get through (enter your age) years of life without having to face difficult times, tough situations, bad choices etc. I know you have had to face/overcome many things and you can utilize some of the tools/strategies you used to get through those times to help you figure how to communicate with him effectively. I dont think you havent been communicating with him, just think over the years with the back and forth you havent been able to be effective. We teach people how to treat us. They learn who we are and they play their role accordingly. If i had known adult life was this complex, I wouldnt have wanted to grow up so fast lol.

    I know I have very loose boundaries and probably everyone on this forum has that same issue. I realize that is my gift and curse. I dont want to be very rigid in my way of going through life, I enjoy being the free spirit I am and being laid back and down to earth. However, when I think about my choice of men and just some of the things i have been through, it relates to the fact that my boundaries are loose and there should be a balance between loose boundaries and rigidity. I dont think my grandparents taught me much about boundaries…besides they were grandparents. Therefore, they spoiled me! There were no real expectations for me to do much of anything outside of maintaining good grades. I think early on I stated, that I lived with my greatgrand and grandparent until I went to high school because my mom was so young when she had me. I moved with my mom pretty close to the time for me to go to high school. My mom had expectations and there were boundaries but at that point i had already gotten use to the structure of my g-ma’s house. So, once I turned 18 I moved out of my moms (mainly because I didnt like her rules and I was pregnant) and didnt have a really good grip on life. I am just realizing in my 30’s how naive I am and how I lack the ability to set strong boundaries. At this point, I feel I may have set my kids of because I dont know that I have been able to teach them how to set boundaries….

    I feel that you have what it takes to choose you…I really do. You have been through so much over the years and you are still here. There are people who just dont survive some of the stuff you have gone through. People committ suicide (mental health is responsible for most of it) because of the inability or the lack of tools they have to cope with their issues. Embrace your many strengths and figure out how to talk to this man that has been a part of your life for 21yrs.

    I know you said you feel pathetic because this is morally wrong…i often say the same thing to myself. Of course it is, but let me ask you, do you know any perfect people ? Probably NOT! Do you know of anyone who has never made mistakes or made choices ? Probably NOT! We are screw up at some point, some of screw it up on a larger scale than other… I am aware that an affair is a different type of beast but its a choice (not the smartest one) we made and some of it has to do with us being imperfect beings amongst other things. Look at how many different people have been on this site over the course of a year. A few years ago I took a sociology class and the percentages of divorces and the cause of the divorce really stood out to me…there were studies done that linked the % of divorces to financial issues and affairs. I remember thinking wow, the % of divorces are so much higher than the % of marriages. I was younger and I didnt understand why people got married if they wanted to have affairs. In hindsight, I feel that this “affair stuff” happens more times none. Not that it makes it ok but It happens so much that I am not sure I want to keep beating myself up about it. However, its hard not to when you have higher expectations for yourself…I feel like I was on a rant!

  • Felk

    LL, yeah, it’s a little odd to have a relationship with your MM’s W and kids, but I bet a lot of affairs happen in friend/parent circles. I knew my MM’s W, too, and would have conversations with her at parties and other events. It was always awkward for me (and him), but it’s part of the territory. Best you can, though, keep things separate. The more you mix into their lives, the more likely you will get caught. For now, she trusts him with you. But, at some point, if the affair continues, his odd behavior or excuses or absences or unanswered calls or something will make her suspicious and then you may be one of the people she suspects. Be careful.

    I’m also not surprised that you and your MM’s W are similar. My MM’s W and I have a lot of personality similarities, too. I guess these men know the type of woman they like!

    • LIFELESSONS

      Felk,
      I dont know how I am going to feel when I have to be around both of them at the same time😩 when you say keep things seperate, what do you mean ? I am not sure I am clear about that…he called me last night and we talked for a while and he said his W told him I was looking for a man. I died laughing😂😂😂 I dont know why this was so funny to me but it made him laugh also. He said his a-shole got real tight when she said that (meaning he didnt like that at all) he told her he dont get involved with other peoples business. She named one person she thought would be good for me and named another person but said he was too lazy so she didnt think he was good for me. She reminded him again to invite to the next event his group is having, she said I may meet someone there…he said, babe I know how you feel about coming to the events but it really is a lot of fun..you will have a good time. I told him I dont know that I could get it done. If I could get a friend to come with me…maybe! He said, its not a small event so its not like I have to sit with them or anything, he says he walks around the entire night mixing and mingling with everyone. I told him this is weird enough. Maybe, its things like that, that you are talking about when you say, keep things seperate.

      When i think about the events him and the other masons put together, I wonder how many guys I couldve met had i not been involved with him. The things they put together are typically classy and really nice as I have heard from other people who know about Masonry and being apart of that group. There are a few single men at his lodge because he told me and I think thats why his W want him to invite me.
      He said they have had several conversations about me…I said, that is so crazy to me!

      I asked him to make sure he deletes my messages. He said he does sometimes. I know theyre not on the same phone plan nor do they have the same carrier. She told me that and he confirmed. I asked if they knew each others codes to the phones and he said No we dont check each others phones so there is no need to have the codes. My fear was she would look in the phone and find messages weve sent to one another. I will do my best to be careful and I need him to be careful. Im afraid he may become too laid back about the “three” of us and the fact his W and i are cordial.

      • Felk

        LL, when I was suggesting that you try to keep things separate, I meant that it’s probably best to not get too close to his W. I know your lives are intertwined because of your kids, but, as best you can, I’d suggest not talking to his W or spending time with his W. It’s just higher risk the more you talk to her. Little things she might ask you (about him or about you) that could catch him (or you) in a lie later. Little things you might say to her that could catch him or you in a lie later. And, of course, the risk of slipping up and saying something that could catch you both in a lie. I am sure you are VERY careful of what you say. I never slipped up when talking to my MM’s W or my H, but my MM and I made sure to keep our spouses from talking to each other. As I’ve said, our social groups intertwine a little and we could have easily been friends as two couples. His W even suggested many years ago, knowing that my MM and I were friends at work, that the four of us (my H, me, his W, and my MM) should get together for dinner. It was a normal request on her part. My H also suggested the same thing. But my MM and I both brushed off those suggestions from our spouses because it’s not only high risk with making sure you’re keeping stories straight but we also knew it could get uncomfortable seeing each other with his/her spouse. As I’ve said, I have low jealousy of my MM’s W (as it sounds like you do with your MM’s W), but I still wouldn’t haven’t liked it to see them laughing or touching as couples tend to do when out together and having a good time. And I KNOW he did not want to see me with my H like that. Also, as BAF has said, over time, feelings grow and it may become even harder to think about your other with their spouse. I never found that it got harder for me, but I know it got harder for my MM (with my H). So, if you are too close to your MM’s W, over time, it could become harder to see them together and that’s another reason to keep things separate. Obviously, you shouldn’t be rude or too anti-social or she might get suspicious about that, but I’d keep turning down invitations where you can (like to those mason events) and not spend too much time talking to her in general. That’s what I meant by separate. 🙂

        And, yes, it makes sense that his W wants to invite you to these events so you can meet a man… and not be a threat to her!

        As someone who did this for five years (and is sort of still doing it), you don’t want to get too paranoid about the risk but you also don’t want to be too laid back. Ironically, my MM and I have developed a lot of trust with our spouses such that they are not suspicious of our behavior (although my MM’s W did end up asking him if he was having an affair some months before we ended), and it sounds like your MM’s W is the same way. Of course, that’s good for their marriage, but it also makes it easier for him to have an affair. If they don’t have each other’s phone codes, that’s good. My H doesn’t have mine and my MM’s W doesn’t have his. But, the longer it goes on, the more your MM might change his behavior and the more suspicious she might get and then she might start asking who he’s texting or calling or where he’s going. It sounds like you have a good balance for being reasonable while keeping risk low. I hope your MM does, too.

  • Felk

    BAF, a few of your questions struck me because I’ve heard a few people ask things like this on here. Mainly, I think it’s the single W on here who ask questions about finding a long-term passionate marriage that doesn’t lead someone to cheat. You ask about the love changing in a long-term marriage and whether or not there are people in long-term passionate marriages. First, it’s fair to say that you won’t find those people on a forum about affairs! But, science shows us that passion rarely lasts long-term in marriage. It typically fades the most in the first two years of marriage (and continues to fade throughout the marriage). We also know that most long-term married couples do not react with the same excitement to each other twenty years into their marriage as they did in the first year. Point is… passion fades in marriage. Are there exceptions? Of course. But we know that most of us aren’t the exceptions and I think it can do damage to your relationship to expect it to be all passion and butterflies. We know that disappointment in fading passion is one of the main causes of divorce. If you set your expectations too high, you will be disappointed.

    I don’t mean to paint a horrible picture of marriage. It’s just that we’ve sold ourselves on a Hollywood version of marriage that doesn’t exist (for most people). There are people happy in marriage long term. People who do not cheat and are content with each other. But it’s “content” not “passionately in love.” The passion fades.

    Then why get married? I think that’s a very good question. I know why most people get married, but should we? I don’t know. 1/3 of all married people cheat and those #s are even higher for younger people in non-marriage relationships. Do we really want to be with just one person for the rest of our lives? I think we want to believe in that, but when we’re in it, it’s not so great. And there are my happy thoughts of the day! 🙂 I know that sounds sad, but, to me, it’s just realistic. I am not a sad person. And I’m pretty pleased to say that I feel like my happy self again. Took about 6-7 months to really start feeling better, and then another few months to feel like my “old” self, but I feel like that again. Hooray. And, yes, there will still be bad days, I know, but for the last two months, I’ve felt like a corner has been turned. I can’t even imagine looking back at some of those posts from September or October. Yikes.

    • Butterflies are Free

      Hi Felk
      I do not think science shows us passion fades in a marriage. Can you cite please? lol. I was married 12 years and some of the best sex we had was after the ten year mark. I think many long term monogamous couple DO keep passion alive but it takes work and dedication. I think you might be trying to convince yourself of this however.

      I think what can change the sex in a marriage is the emotional relationship between the couples. The tone of that relationship. Is it loving and supportive? Thoughtful, kind, gentle? etc. Is their sexual openness? Experimentation? Is their mutual admiration? Emotional intimacy? etc.
      For many people kids money stress get in the way and cloud the passion. But for others it is INTIMACY issues that get in the way. I know we have spoken about this before. Having issues with intimacy will change sex. And make one desire a NEW partner.

      I DO agree “we’ve sold ourselves on a Hollywood version of marriage that doesn’t exist (for most people”. Most of us in our lives in general (love lives/careers/vacations…) base our happiness on media versions that are truly warped. As for whether we want to be with one person our whole lives I think a lot of people DO want that. I have many happily married friends. For others their love lives are serial monogamies over time and then they finally settle in with one partner. Saying marriage passion fades could easily lead one to believe affairs are okay but really they are not okay. Not by anyone’s standards because trust is broken and can never be put back together again like Humpty Dumpty.

      As for me I have never felt I could be with only one person my whole life. But I am rather an odd duck I think. Nor do I wish to be married again. I find the idea very claustrophobic but I also know I do have intimacy issues. If I remember correctly so do you. Both my ex H and I thought it was rather miraculous we managed to be married as long as we did bit it was a special case. The story of two crazy artists. But having this affair breaks my moral code. I am shocked I am able to basically poach another person’s life partner. I am so uncomfortable being in it yet not uncomfortable enough to have NOT gotten into this mess. Here I am.

      You say you re feeling better. I am glad. I think your affair aka friendship aka ___?___and its Current status and the fact that you have a “date night” now planned are the real reason no? You have turned a corner where you now feel you have “evidence” of mutual feelings and the shared wish to spend time together. I hear you using the word “we” a lot now too. You are encouraged no doubt that you can still have the MM in your life despite the temporary break-up. Thus why would your feelings be like they were last fall? This would make no sense at all.

      However as you say, your feelings about sex with your H are very affected by your relationship with the MM. I know you have already said you know you are hurting your marriage but the price might be higher than you bargained for. Be very careful Felk. We are all in very tenuous spots and we are all in denial here as well. Affairs are still capable of great emotionally devastation upon discovery. And you have already said how his W suspected and that is one reason he pulled away. She will be very wary now no doubt. And your H probably sensed something was up. I don’t know what else to say.
      You are know the drill.
      Hugs BAF
      xxx000

    • LIFELESSONS

      Felk,

      Its funny you mention the stats on the amount of people who cheat in marriages and the fact that the passion fades. I said something about the % of divorce and the one of the main reasons being infidelity in another post to BAF.

      I have a friend who has been married for 14 yrs and her and her husband just came back from vacation. She said people were asking them if they were newlyweds because of their interactions/affection for one another. They still have as much sex as they did when they were dating (cant remember how long ago that was because they dated for a while before they got married) and I always think, wow I would love to be able to say 14+ years down the line…I am still in love with my husband and he is still in love with me. It rare that you find that(not impossible) but its almost like finding a needle in a haystack…

      • Thistooshallpass

        Hi LL,

        I too am looking for the relationship you described. I want a soulmate connection and while I think it’s possible I don’t think it’s the norm. I’ve never been married but I have lived with a boyfriend for a couple years. Personally and I could be totally wrong but I suspect people tie the knot without really ensuring that they are a good long term fit. Society puts so much pressure on life milestones and we all think we should be settling down at a certain age. I wish we’d remove those conventions and say F the norms. Set your own rules. Affairs are definitely viewed as mortal sins but I think they are significantly more commonplace than we care to admit. I’ve discovered in my circle that close to 1 out 3 if not 2 people has been involved in an affair. Again, just because it’s ubiqutous doesn’t mean it’s right. I’ve never been with anyone that I wanted to commit my life to thus my single status. While I don’t regret any of my relationships I wish I could find more spark, chemistry and compatibility with men. I seem to encounter three scenarios: I have chemistry and lust with a man that can’t give me a long-term commitment, I find a wonderful man that would make a great partner and wants to give me a commitment but I feel no romantic connection with him and lastly, men that I have absolutely zero interest in. Anyhow, I want the timing, chemistry and personality to all line up correctly. That to me is the “soulmate” connection. You match up effortlessly and the relationship isn’t hard. It all flows together for the most part. Like Felk mentioned I have not met any couples like you describe except for one friend from college. My mm has a good wife but a passionless marriage. Maybe I’m asking for too much? I don’t know but for appearances sake I wish I could say I was divorced rather than never married. It’s very hard not feeling like something is different about me than the rest of society that pairs up between the ages of 28 and 33. Being with a mm reinforced the insecurities and doubts I have about the fact that I’ve never been married. If that doesn’t tell me something nothing else can.

  • Felk

    BAF, you say that you do not have hope anymore. No hope that he will leave his W and no hope that he will say he loves you (even though you know he does). But you say you let him in because you wanted to hear what he had to say. So, I’m curious… what were you waiting to hear him say? What is left at this point? It just seems in other things you wrote that you still may think he’s the one for you. That you’re still “not sure” if he would make a good partner for you if he wasn’t married. I thought you were sure that he would not. Now you say you’re not sure.

    You know I know how confusing it all is. I’m not trying to make it more confusing. Just trying to figure out what you’re saying. You do admit to holding on. It seems you are. It seems you know that he wants the two of you back to where you were when he could come to you when he needed you, but you got sick of that. You got tired of waiting for more. And you got tired of being hurt by seeing him with his W. I will again reassure you that he is not holding his W’s hand because it’s romantic love. He is holding her hand either due to obligation or habit. Yes, he loves her. The way any of us loves someone who we’ve been married to for many years. He is not in love with her. He seems unhappy with her. He just doesn’t know how to leave her. And that is the problem. You want him to leave her. He won’t.

    I strongly agree with LL’s advice that if you talk to your MM again, that you tell him to listen. Say what you need to say. Tell him what you need. And if he cannot do what you need, tell him you are done and you don’t want him banging on your door anymore (because you will not answer it). Tell him more about what you said the other day about how he’s hurt you and how it continues to hurt you to see him with his W and you can’t do it anymore.

    You have sounded done, but I know he keeps coming around and sparking that slight hope in you. But think about ALL of the days that he doesn’t come around. Think about ALL of the times that he isn’t there for you. These are not even crumbs. It’s less than crumbs. It continues to seem like he’s in this for himself. He doesn’t consider your needs and your feelings. He is miserable in his marriage and he wants you on the side to help him feel less miserable, but he is not willing to give you any more than he has. It’s not fair to you. Tell him and be done.

    • Butterflies are Free

      Felk I am answering you here about myself:
      You say “BAF, you say that you do not have hope anymore. ” Yes I know. But I realized there is ALSO a part of me that still thinks there is maybe a 20 per cent chance for us (tops). But there is another part of me that thinks there is Zero chance and I need to be done and move on. These two sides are in complete conflict with each other and one side denies the other. That is what I have realized just this week.
      You say” I’m curious… what were you waiting to hear him say?”
      I’d like him to tell me how sorry he is he that has involved me in his complicated life for so long. 🙂
      I’d like him to say how I have been amazingly patient and strong with him. How he realizes what a good person I am and have been to him. How much he appreciates me. And I’d like him to say he totally understands why I want out and why I blocked and walked. I’d like him to tell me it is the right thing for me to do and that he gets it and does not blame me. That he agrees this should end.

      You say: “That you’re still “not sure” if he would make a good partner for you if he wasn’t married. I thought you were sure that he would not. Now you say you’re not sure.”
      Yes again I am in conflict with myself but here I am truly worried that I might be ignoring red flags. And why am I doing that? Why would I want a selfish man in my life full time?

      You say: “You know I know how confusing it all is. I’m not trying to make it more confusing. Just trying to figure out what you’re saying.”
      I think I am totally contradicting myself at times. One minute I am out the door the next moment I am slightly holding on. But yes I can not go back to what we had because I outgrew that phase. I need to tell him how I outgrew that phase I think.

      You say: ” I will again reassure you that he is not holding his W’s hand because it’s romantic love. He is holding her hand either due to obligation or habit. Yes, he loves her. The way any of us loves someone who we’ve been married to for many years. He is not in love with her. He seems unhappy with her. He just doesn’t know how to leave her. And that is the problem. You want him to leave her. He won’t.”

      Felt I can not understand how holding hands is not romantic love! Is it just me? I can not fathom just holding hands and not sleeping together in way that is satisfying to both people. He keeps saying she is not into sex. But WHY? isn’t she? And then if its true then WHY cant he leave?

      “I strongly agree with LL’s advice that if you talk to your MM again, that you tell him to listen.”
      Yes I agree. I have already told him how much me seeing him with his W kills me and truly it does.
      Then other times I think well PHEW. If he is a narc then let HER have him.
      “It continues to seem like he’s in this for himself. He doesn’t consider your needs and your feelings. He is miserable in his marriage and he wants you on the side to help him feel less miserable, but he is not willing to give you any more than he has. It’s not fair to you. Tell him and be done.”
      Damn I hope I can get the courage up to say exactly this!
      THANK YOU Felk and LL for these ideas and words. I am going to study them and then have this talk!
      Much Love (and now some hope too)
      BAF
      xxxooo

  • Felk

    BAF, I saw your response to LL and agreed with a lot of what you said. I think MM notice that their Ws are less interested in sex with them over time, but they don’t realize what they are doing (or not doing) that is causing some of that disinterest. You have said it many times on here about how it is unlikely that these MM we are with are just all with terrible Ws. There are two people in the relationship and they are likely both responsible for what has happened to their marriage. If anything, the person who cheats is more at fault for a deteriorating marriage. Even if the W is less interested in sex over time, the H should be working on the relationship instead of going elsewhere (like LL told her MM).

    I think it’s normal for sexual interest to die down in any marriage. And I sometimes think Ws get tired faster because women need more sexual variety than men. Or maybe it’s that W lose interest in sex before Hs because sex is usually on a man’s terms in heterosexual relationships and women get tired of mediocre sex? Whatever it is, I think there is some truth to these MM saying that their wives are less interested in sex than they are. But, who knows the reasons?

    I knew very little about my MM’s sex life. We intentionally tried to keep that separate and talk little about it. I generally think that’s a good strategy for keeping jealousy low. Over time, we said that sex in our marriages was declining, but we didn’t get specific about it. I also have no idea of what their sex life was like before our affair except for the few things that my MM said to me during our sex about how our sex wasn’t like anything he’d had before and flattering things like that. As we all know, affair sex is usually hotter than married sex (at least married-for-many-years sex) so I knew it wasn’t anything amazing about me as a sexual partner but rather just how hot our sex was because it was forbidden and exciting and we were in love and all of that. I also think, after getting really good sex elsewhere, it has to be VERY hard to go back to sex in one’s marriage. I know it’s nearly impossible for me to enjoy sex with my H now. I’d imagine it’s the same for my MM. I’d guess it’s the same for your MM, too, even though it sounds like their sex life’s been dead for a while.

    • Butterflies are Free

      Felk in your middle paragraph here I really think you hit on some great points why the W might get tire of sex faster than their H’s. Especially the fact that the sex might be more on the man’s terms. This could get tiring or boring for the W. BAF

  • LIFELESSONS

    Felk and all ladies,

    I get everything you were saying in your reply to me. I guess it is hard for me to accept him feeling a way about me meeting someone else because he has someone else. A part of me feel, the audacity of him to possibly secretly want me all to himself from now until…….It feels a little selfish! Now that he has told me that and reading what you wrote about it, I see why he gets so frustrated when I dont answer him when he calls and I call back at my “leisure” as he said. I never thought he could possibly be jealous and wondering who I am with and where I am when I dont answer him. I put so much energy into trying to stay as ground as I possibly can be that I neglect or dont acknowledge certain things. He has the best of both worlds….

    His W and I were at practice yesterday to register our boys. The three of us have a schedule as to who will do the pick up and drop off. Her and I talked for so long, that we didnt notice everyone esle had gone home. This is the second time her and I have had this interaction with one another. She was telling me about their vacations that they have taken over the years, she told me about how he is competitive and always pushing her to do the things he like to do. The more she spoke, the more I could see why he cares for me. She seems just as sweet as I am, I mean innoncently sweet. We are both short and although we seem nice and sweet, both feisty. We shared stories with each other that made us both realize how similair we actually are. It wasnt as weird while we were talking but as soon as I got home and he called, it became weird again. He mention something about her and I and I said well we talked forever again. He said yea I know. He asked if she spoke bad about him and I said she confirmed you have asshole tendencies but thats not something I dont already know, we both chuckled a little. I told him she seems like a nice, gentle, sweet person just as myself. I told him we are very similair and he said that is what you think, that is what she showed you. He said there is a big difference between you two….you want/enjoy having sex with me! I took a deep breath and sighed he said babe its true. I said ok, I knew you were going to say that. He told me he had to call me back and he called back about an hour later to say babe, I just wanted to call you back because I said I would. Its his attempt to fix the whole Im going to call you back but he dont always call back issue.
    Today he was unable to keep his word and call me back but I wont piss a bitch about it.

    Anyway…my attachment to his family is so unorthodox. The dynamic of it is just so crazy. His son told me today, I was like an Aunt to him because I took him out to eat, I pick him up/drop him off. He was kidding around but because his relationship with my son is so close I can only distant myself but so much. Theyre 15yr old boys who get along very well. I dont if that will change over the next 3 yrs. My MM is already talking about them going to Jr. Prom together and he will drive them etc…
    I was thinking about this triangular relationship today and was wondering what does this say about me ? I wasnt feeling too guilty but wondered how did i become this person ? The person that could smile in someones face, share great conversation and turn around and sleep with her husband!! When I was talking to her, I was thinking how deceiving I was. I was thinking about how secure she must be to accept the fact that her husband communicates with me. I told her I put her and him down on the emergency form and that she could do the same considering between the three of us we are responsible for them while theyre at practice. She agreed and she wrote her number down and asked for mine so she could put it down as well. She didnt put my number in her phone so that she could communicate with me. She leaves it up to him! I told her in 2 weeks, I may not be able to drop them off because I had work priorities and then the other day ks my birthday. I thought she wouldve said ok we can exchange numbers and you can let me know for sure if youre not able to do it. What she said was, let him know and they can figure it out. I thought to myself…wow, she really trusts her husband! I am not sure if this was all I had to say but its 1am and I must get to sleep ASAP, I have to work in a few hours.

    • Butterflies are Free

      Lifelessons In reading your story I really can remember back to the beginning of my affair and when our kids were friends (not as close as yours but still I had them all over playing in my backyard) and even when his W and I were on at least cordial terms when she was around.

      I think (based on my experience) the more you are interact like you are together the more it will feel natural. Yes it is an unorthodox relationship but you are far from alone. This is going to be a very difficult situation for you to depart from but I think you know that already. You are entrenched in his family routines as are they with yours. It’s more entrenched than say a workplace relationship where at least the work day ends and there is that boundary.

      And your kids are so friendly. And you are so much like his W. And you have long chats with his W. So really you have emotional ties to more than just him if you think about it.

      My affair has been quite similar to yours in this level of day to day “entrapment” (that is the term my therapist uses lol). My exMM has almost seemed like a “mini” husband at times (in my artist brain) someone who not only knows my kids and my family but who has fixed broken things on my house, helped me find solutions to concrete things regarding being a landlord etc. But he has never given me money nor would I have ever taken it from him. But if I have any problem I can ask him. As I can cask other men on my street however they are getting quite elderly at this point. Maybe that is why I don’t cut completely. I have to think about it. My exMM would always say the same thing about his W and me: “Yes we are both nice women etc. The huge difference is that I like to sleep with him”.

      These relationships like yours and/or mine when they become entrenched in daily routines (and not just work) have NOT very strong boundaries I think. The MM can become lover/co-parent/father/brother/friend all mixed-up. It can get very confusing over time. Or at least it has for me. It has also been so very hard to set a boundary. A complete boundary.

      I see how much your MM’s W trusts her husband too. And why shouldn’t she? She has no reason to suspect otherwise. When you ask “what does this say about you?” I am sure you know I ask that constantly as well. And I feel a LOT of guilt. But that doesn’t change things much. My feelings are not the same thing as my actions I am learning. And they should not be either.

      It doesn’t sound like you want to depart now. Am I correct?
      You have mentioned the prom in several years a couple of times. I know he brought it up but you also say you are the complacent type. But just know it will get messier and messier because that is the nature of the beast. However I understand totally. Just keep thinking of what YOU need in your life. That is the only way “out”. Think where YOU want to be in three years. And Now I Need to FOLLOW my own advice!! (I will respond to your other excellent words to me in a separate post below).
      Many hugs BAF aka Lara xxxooo

    • Butterflies are Free

      Lifelessons This is in reply to your post on:
      July 11, 2018 at 8:51 pm
      Thanks for saying I beat myself up way to much. My therapist says the same thing, lol. Yes I feel pathetic in this affair because I feel it is morally wrong and I have engaged nevertheless.
      Yes I feel like you I should’ve shit or got off the toilet. By NOW!!! WTF is wrong with me?
      You are also right that I had NO IDEA what it was going to be like and I would never recommend an affair to anyone based on the MY experience. But I respect others have other experiences.
      I wish I was not so caught on what is right and what is wrong but I am.
      I think there is great hope in what you said here:
      “Now its time for you to choose you!!”
      YES I agree. But now I must take the actions and be consistent with myself too. I think I give up on myself a lot and am easily persuaded to see another point of view. VERY easily! And I am still naive. Even my 30 year old son says I am naive. SO would anyone else who knows me. And by the way I am pretty short too 5’2″. My exMM is tall and very built up and he likes towering over me no doubt. But I am also STRONG (internally) . Maybe I am not decisive but I AM strong LOL. In fact I am NOT decisive in general because I can always see things form so many points of view.
      Of course my exMM is highly aware of these traits.
      And being a narc YES this has always been more about what he wants and less of what I want and I deserve than even in an affair!
      YUP. YUP. I can see that now.
      You say:
      “I feel that you need to really truly have a come to Jesus or HP moment and decide if you want to continue cat and mouse with him or if you want to move on. ”
      Yes I agree.
      When you ask:
      Do you want to leave the door open for you guys to try to build a friendship or try to build a cordial relationship, since you may see each other from time to time.
      Maybe yes. No. Not sure.
      I feel we must talk. This might help to clear the air. I think I let myself get manipulated by him when he said he was honestly wanting to leave his W. I say manipulated because in my own heart I don’t think he will leave her.

      LL I love your suggestions on sitting down to talk to him and HOW to DO it.
      I would love to be strong enough to do that.
      I need to build that strength. I think he is a narc but I do not think he is dead inside. Not at all. But he hides all his feelings under a false bravado.
      I see right through it.
      But it should bother me more than it does.
      My therapist says it is exactly what I am used to all my life so its a no brainer I am attracted to the dynamics in this relationship. But she also says it is OLD stuff and that I can work through it and get stronger in knowing MY needs.
      This part of what you is HILARIOUS!!!! I love it!
      “You tell your MM dont make me (your 🤔🤔anonymous friend) 🛩come down/up to your (anonymous) 🌇city and rip him a new one👊. ”
      “I am 4″11′ & I possibly have a short people complex😡😠 (aggressive, bold,semi-confrontational) I am not easily intemidated either…if he continues to play these games he will have to deal with me😒😐”
      LL I LOVE IT.
      LMAO
      I am short too. But also tough. YUP Feisty. Not weak.
      I think this is the best advice for me:
      “You just have to P.U.S.H (pray until something happens) through.” I never heard of P.U.S.H. before but I am starting NOW
      Much love and Hugs xoxoxoxo
      B.A.F. aka Lara
      (I was thinking maybe I need yet another Moniker like a SuperWoman type name??
      God Bless LL😘

  • Felk

    TTSP, obviously, I know how hard it is to end these relationships. Whether you’re single or married, there are so many challenges. Yet, we also find ourselves so very in love, and affairs offer a different type of passion (and that gets to some of your questions) that makes it that much harder to end these relationships. That you have tried a number of times to end it, it seems you’re headed down that path. I get why you give in when he comes back, but it sounds like you’re getting closer to ending the relationship. It’s a process, though. I don’t think we’ve heard of anyone on here who’s made a clean break and stuck to it. There is a lot of back and forth before it is really over for most, it seems.

    I understand the difficulty you have sharing your MM with his W. And I get why it’s a deal-breaker for many people, especially someone who is single. As you say, you want to meet someone who can truly be there for you. I think you will be happier if you find that person. I never did feel the guilt of the potential risk of destroying my MM’s marriage/family or my own. I did not want my H to find out, not only because I didn’t want to leave him but because I didn’t want him to experience that pain. I know it would be horrible. Obviously, that didn’t stop me, but I tried to be careful not to let him find out (and he didn’t). Given that you seem burdened with the guilt about the potential devastation to his family, though, I understand why you continue to try to end the affair. It seems you are getting to a point (or are at a point) where the negatives outweigh the positives.

    Also, feel free to ask me any question about my situation. Not only are we anonymous on here, but I feel comfortable being as honest as possible if it can help someone else. Others have asked the question you ask about what was missing in my marriage to make me seek the affair. It’s a tough question because it’s hard to know. When my affair started about 6 years ago, my marriage was good. We were close, having regular sex, etc. I didn’t feel anything was missing. Sure, some of the passion/excitement had faded. At that point, my husband and I had been together for 9 years. I was happy in my marriage, though. My MM was happy, too. But, yes, there was a newness and excitement that the relationship with my MM offered. Not only is it the excitement of a flirtation and attraction (and the attention from him), but it is the interesting ways that he’s different from my H. Although I think my H is a better partner for me, my MM offers some characteristics that match me better than my H. My MM and I get along very well. He’s also more physically attractive than my H. It’s all of these things together. Oh, and my personality lends itself to having low guilt and remorse for doing something like this. As I said, I never felt guilt/worry about potentially destroying my MM’s marriage. I didn’t want it to happen. I never wanted him to leave his kids. But, I did not worry about this, and I felt little guilt about betraying my H. I know that sounds awful, but I’m trying to be honest. I think it takes a certain personality to cheat for as long as I did.

    So, can one person fulfill all of our needs? I don’t think so. First, I think our needs are filled by our selves, our jobs, our kids, our family, our friends, our hobbies, our significant other, etc. Second, if you’re just talking about relationship needs, I also don’t think so. I don’t say this only from my experience (keep in mind I love my H and don’t want to leave him), but for most couples I know who’ve been married long term, the passion fades and they miss it. Those needs aren’t getting filled. They stay because they love and care about their spouse and they’re invested in a relationship, but most long-term marriages are not exciting after some point and people miss that. People respond to this differently. Some people settle into the relationship, accepting it will not be all romance and fireworks and are content with what is. Some people feel very disappointed and leave their marriages in search of better. Some people fall in between, seeking it elsewhere while also accepting their marriage (that’s me and your MM).

    I know my MM found it hard to share me with my H, but there were a few reasons he ended our affair. I think it was the pain of sharing that intimacy with me and then having to leave me. That is a hard thing (I felt it, too). And I think it was the hurt he saw he was causing his W and, by extension, his kids. He tried to keep everything separate as best as possible, but the more you fall in love the more that carries over into your home. It happened to both of us. As for our friendship? I don’t know. Yes, I feel good(ish) about it, but I don’t know if it’s a friendship. We still see each other every other week for hours at a time (not telling our spouses). I don’t do that with any other male friend. And we still are in love (and have said that openly). But I feel emotionally well. I have healed so much from the break up. For a while, it was hard to know if we could stay (this close) in each other’s lives and make it work, but something seems to be working. I am still unsure as to whether we will cross physical lines again. My guess is we will. I hope we are careful about it. But, I am good with only friendship. I enjoy my time with him very much, and, if I can’t have more, I will happily have what we have now. It is still hard at times. I miss him still. But it is getting a lot better, and we are getting more comfortable with each other (which is helping me trust our friendship… or whatever we’re calling it).

  • Felk

    BAF, oh, this is a doozy. I think you knew (or hoped) that your MM would contact you after your blocking. He has done it before. Why would it be any different now? I know you showed a lot of strength in blocking and walking, but did you really “walk” if you opened the door when he knocked? I don’t ask that to be harsh but to get to honesty. Your are good at being honest, and I know you’re unsure of what you want and what he wants. I don’t know why you opened the door when he was banging, and I do know why you opened the door. The thing is, if you want to be done, you can’t open the door and you know it. You open that door because you are still hoping. You are still hoping he will say what you want to hear. Did he? It doesn’t seem like it. It seems like he was just angry and blaming, and not at all understanding. He should have been ON HIS KNEES. Seriously. At this point, he should be begging you to forgive him for treating you so terribly and telling you how much he understands why you blocked him. Instead, it’s about how much it hurts him. And, of course, that feels good. Of course, it’s nice to know that it hurts him to be blocked by you, but what good is that if he doesn’t want to be with you?

    Why is your MM upset you blocked him? Is it because he wants to be there for you or so you can be there for him? From all that he said, it seems it is so you can be there for him. It repeatedly seems that he doesn’t want access to you for you. It’s for him. I am not trying to make you sad. Just trying to say what I see to help you block and walk again. Of course, he loves you. I mean that. But his behavior is SO selfish. It still seems all about him, and he doesn’t seem to hear anything about your needs.

    He says you don’t understand his marriage. Yes, you do. You understand that he’s not leaving her. Period. The end. He is unhappy with his W. We know that. He holds her hand merely to placate her, but he stays with her. That’s all that matters. It’s so great that you were honest about your jealousy of his W. He needs to know that. I know you want to talk to him more. My best advice is to continue the honesty you gave him today and tell him that you’re done unless he leaves his W. It’s ultimatum time. What else is there at this point?

    Finally, I will say… We know the general advice for people in these situations. Yes, NC works best for most people. But, of course, there are exceptions. And we all like to believe we are the exception. However, I believe I have evidence to suggest that I like relationships with exes, they have been successful, and I do not feel the same jealousy/guilt that people feel in affairs. I think there is some evidence that I might be able to do a friendship with my MM. I say this to say that I don’t go NC with my MM because I feel him holding on. I’d like to believe (and my past experience shows it) that I would not hold on without hope. I HATE being pathetic. I mean HATE. That is the narc in me. I feel that he is still wanting something with me. It is not wishful thinking. It is reading the situation and his behavior. It is sometimes hard to tell the difference and that’s why I think about these things a lot. I know we can trick ourselves, but I try to read the situation and him and I know my MM. You know your MM. So, here’s my point… I stay holding on because I believe there is more for us. Whether it is the affair again or a nice friendship, I believe in us. We both seem to want it (and my 3.5 hours with him today support that). Why do you stay holding on? Is it that you really believe he will leave his W for you and you have a future? If so, I understand you holding on. In my situation you know I don’t want my MM to leave his W. I just want more with him. I believe that will happen. All evidence shows that. What does the evidence show in your situation? I do not mean that sarcastically or cruelly. I mean that as objectively as possible. Will you get what you want? In my situation, I believe I will (and my MM and I just set up a date at night). That is why I do what I do and why I do not go NC. I think evidence shows there is more for us to come. Is that the case in your situation? Will your MM make you happy? If so, stay. If not, leave. Really. Be done.

    • Butterflies are Free

      Felk thank you for your words.
      As you know he didn’t knock and I let him in/
      I heard banging and poked my head out the upstairs window and saw him down below banging. We started having some words. I did not want a scene with my neighbors seeing and hearing. So I told him to come inside. Did I let him in because I still have “hope”? I let him in because first of all I hate public scenes of any kind. Like I have said I live in a very crowded urban place and we are kind of like sardines on my block but especially in summer when its hot. I have a very good reputation with others living around me and with my tenants and I value my privacy.

      But what about the hope? Am I still hoping he will say what I want to hear? (That he is leaving his wife?). Not really because I don’t think he ever will. And he especially will never leave if we get intimately involved again (sexually I mean) . I have said that before. What else am I hoping to hear? That he is love with me? He will never arrive and say it after banging on my door. That is not how he does things. He was banging on the door because he was clearly agitated and I wanted to know why?

      But I do finally believe he does “love” me since being on this blog and observing him better and seeing his behavior towards me and seeing things from his perspective better. This is new since a year ago when I started writing here and of course it feels good knowing this. Does he love his W too and thats why they are holding hands? Probably he loves her too. As I am not married I cant say with sureness how any marriage goes. If it is more of a friendship than a gesture of romantic love of course I am relieved (my “ego” is relieved I mean). The rest of me is still hurting.

      The affair as it is was with this man was never enough for me. It never felt enough. It felt like crumbs and unfair. I tried so so many times to change my way of thinking about it and to view the affair with him as an “extra” thing like a special dessert LOL. I really think this is because of the very specific nature of our interactions together” my exMM and me. It is the personality dynamics we have together. These dynamics do not allow for the kind of detachment that would be helpful here on MY part at least. With another man it might have been different. Likely different! Because I am very open minded actually.

      I do NOT like being in an affair. I do NOT like triangles. I really prefer to have my own man. And it is so much easier leaving the affair if he doesn’t love me. And I AM jealous of her. As I would expect she is of me. Even if she does not love him in the way he wants her too. She has her side of the story too. And being married to a cheating husband I would listen to her side too. On the other hand would he really truly make a good partner for me if he was NOT married to her? I am NOT SURE. Lets face it. He is a cheat for years and years. How could I trust him?

      I feel what he wants is “us” back where we were when I did not question his feelings for his W so much and when I did not NEED as much from him. He wants us back no doubt. But I am not there with him. I hit a wall again a couple of years ago being in an affair with him and don’t feel like staying in a non-committed affair with a married man indefinitely. Even if he loves me. And maybe that is scaring him because now he is letting me know he is more vulnerable than he seemed for so many years. Now that he is finally letting down his guard. This has given me a new perspective and has confused the hell out of me.

      So if he “loves” me that makes me hang on and hang out more than I would normally do at this moment. At the very least I need some time to re-process my thoughts and my feelings. Both with him and without him. But If that sounds like a contradiction it is. Because it is confusing for me too and I tend to be on the “vague” side when I don’t know what I am doing!.

      Many hugs Butterflies are Free aka Lara xxx000

  • Felk

    Lifelessons, that’s a lot. 🙂 But, your detailed information helps us give the best analysis of the situation. And it seems you give a fair breakdown of what each of you say. First, my guess is that your MM is not seeing other women. His joke about “you think I have enough for her and you and someone else” is kind of true, but it’s also that he’s in love with you and he shows that pretty clearly. Not that it means a man can’t have another woman, but the way he gives you so much attention, you seem to be his priority right now. I think it’s as he says and he has friendships with other women. I can see why it bothers you, though, if he gets a call from a woman who’s not his W (or if he confuses something he thinks he did with you that he clearly did with someone else). This happened with my MM, too. He would ask about something we did together and it was definitely not something he had done with me, and then I knew it was something he had done with his W and he was mixing it up with me. Usually, I just joked about it with him, but, sure, the reminder hurts. That’s definitely one thing that’s hard about affairs. The suspicion. Since you know your MM is a cheater (not only because he’s cheating on you but because he’s told you he’s done this before), it’s understandable to be suspicious of him cheating on you. And you’ve been cheated on before so you’re sensitive to those cues. Also, affairs are hard this way because you don’t get the same “claim” on someone as you do in an exclusive relationship. Of course, any H or W can cheat, but when you’re the other woman, you have even less say in what that man does and you have even less information about where he is and who he’s with. It’s hard. Takes a lot of trust. I don’t blame your suspicions and questions, but, at some point, you have to trust or end the affair. It’s miserable to keep being suspicious.

    Second, your MM is likely being honest about how it’s hard on him, too. In different ways, it’s hard for the single person and the married person in an affair. One of the hardest things for the married person has to be the threat of the single person finding someone new. There are so many times that he must wonder what you’re doing and who you’re with. And, like you, he feels he has no say in who you see or don’t. And it does seem like you tell him often enough that you’re available (for other people). I understand that you don’t want him to think you’re just waiting around for him, but from his perspective it must be hard to hear that you could be looking elsewhere.

    I also understand a lot of what your MM is saying about marriage. I don’t know exactly what leads any one married person to cheat (and I think there are a lot of different things), but I do think that plenty of married people are just going through the motions after a while. I think what keeps many people in marriage is the investment, kids, and the fear of starting over. Of course we care for our Ws and Hs, but we are not in love with them the way we used to be. That’s true for most married people. If you have a good marriage, you’ll settle into a caring and comfortable love that is good enough. But, for some people, that will lead them to cheat because they will look for that passion elsewhere. For other people, they won’t cheat, whether it’s because it’s not in their personalities or they don’t value the passion the same way. I wouldn’t say that marriage eventually feels like a business deal exactly, but the passion and love do change and that’s hard for a lot of people to handle. The more you go into marriage expecting fireworks forever, the more disappointed you will be.

    It sounds like you’ve been having good conversations with him, though. It sounds like he’s honest and willing to talk about these topics with you. This seems good. The difficulty, as always, are the things above… will your jealousy get the best of you? Will his jealousy get the best of him? Will you be able to trust each other? Will you eventually want someone else who can be there for you when you text and call?

  • Butterflies Are Free

    Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well! Or at least pretty good! 🙂
    I have been trying to wean myself off of this board a little bit as I feel being here triggers me to think a lot much about my exMM at times. Then again I DO need all of your support and suggestions here. How much time to spend here is a balancing act.
    I have been working on my art and going forward with my repairs on my house, my car and other things. I too am mostly off of (paid) work in summer. I had reached three weeks (!) that I blocked and walked with my exMM. There were some hard days but mostly okay days for me. But I am also dealing with strong emotions now that my younger son has moved away to take a new job in a smaller town. So it had been feeling like a lot of “loss” at once. Both trying to leave my exMM and trying to let my son “go”. (Altho my son says he misses me a lot too and we are texting and talking a lot, woohoo!)

    The way I cope is trying to read my healing books, do morning meditations, stay close to my HP all day, and move forward with my life in various ways! Repeating my infamous mantras. Mostly this works but of course there are moments when I burst into tears anyhow. Tears for my exMM, tears for my son leaving, tears for the difficulty of “love and loving”….and so on.

    I decided on Sunday to play with my three year old neighbor outdoors. She is a RIOT! I had decided to do so as playing with young children always makes me happy! She was near her father. But he and I were not interacting much. (Except he was photographing her with his cell phone as she was playing).

    About an hour later I heard some loud banging. I had no idea what it was, I poked my head out my window and there was my exMM banging on my door loudly. (I do have a doorbell btw) There were so many people around outdoors (I live in a large city and in summer time everyone is outside on the sidewalks streets etc.) I did not want a scene. So I told my exMM to please come into my house so we could have our argument in private. Because I knew we we were going to have an argument. It was clear neither of us was happy. But it was too late to try and ignore the man as he was standing right there.

    This man is so hard to get a distance from. I feel like I can not get away from him or the relationship. I sighed and groaned so loudly when I say him and asked him what was he doing? And why was he there? And what did he want? I was quite pissed. I kept asking him “What does he need from me?” “What does he expect from me?” I said to him that I have done my very best in what has been an impossible situation but there is nothing more I can do” etc etc

    I am not sure he was listening very well to me. (I would say he was hearing bits and pieces but he was too involved with his own emotions to be able to take in mine). I guess ditto for me. we were both in upset frames of mind. He wanted to know why I had blocked him. “Why did I have to go and do that?” I said I needed to protect myself. And I reminded him he knows this already. He said he had been trying and trying to reach me.
    And he also wanted to know why I had not waved to him earlier in the day when he waved to me??
    Here everything stopped.
    I said HUH? WHAT? When were you waving to me? I never saw you. (It was true)

    He mentioned that I was sitting with a “man” when he waved and that I had ignored him.
    I told him I was in fact playing with the delightful 3 year old who lives next door to me and her father was watching over her as we played (nothing to do with me and him). But now I understood my exMM was feeling jealous. That’s a new development. In the past he would never admit to feeling jealous or say anything to suggest he is jealous.

    I told him I had blocked him to protect myself from his mind games with me. I said he tells me he is so unhappy with his W yet he has no problem holding her hand on my street. I told him he was a “MIND F–k..”
    He said he had been trying and trying to call me and could not believe I had blocked him again. Blah blah blah.
    It was clear to me that we could not resolve much in the heat of these emotions.
    I was saying I felt betrayed so by his words and actions never lining up together.
    He was saying I was making “assumptions” about his marriage but I did not know the “truth.”
    I said that their relationship looked close and at much more than friends to me. Or at least he does a very good job of pretending to her that all is fine. So I revealed I am jealous too.
    Affairs bring out the very worst in us I swear.
    I let him see me having these very strong feelings and saying them out loud to him with less than the usual amount of caring about how I looked to him or what he thought about me. This part is new.
    I was just letting my words go.
    He said: So are you saying I ruined your life? I am a MIND F–k and I ruined your life?
    I kind of lied and said “YES”. I was really pissed at him.
    But then later I said very clearly to him ” NO ONE has the power to ruin my life not even him!”
    I said “I am strong in myself and I can recover myself no matter what anyone says or does to me.”
    I also said “I have changed so much since we first met”. I am not longer “WEAK”. I am “strong”. He said he was glad to hear that!
    huh??
    He said “I don’t know his situation and that how could I make these assumptions about his relationship with his W?” AARGH. And that I always “jump to conclusions with my thinking.”
    And I told him he always twists my words to make it look like everything is MY fault when he is the one who is married and trying to lead the double life with me.

    It all stopped when my other son came home. We had to make it look like a “normal” “neighborly” discussion at that moment. So the argument ended with no resolution.
    He said he wanted to talk more later this week.
    But I don’t feel the conversation really got us anywhere. Am I missing something? Is this “process” truly good for either of us? I feel like we go round and round and round. And we never get anywhere.
    Where can these talks go? I don’t know really. Where is the place in the conversation that we can both be happy enough to let this relationship truly go? Say goodbye to the affair? Once and for all?
    And still be neighborly?
    Is it even possible? Am I making progress? I have so many doubts sometimes.

    I knew summer was going to be tough on my block trying to deal with him. Now I am simply dying to get away again from here again. Even a trip to the other side of town felt good to me today. But I have no more real trips planned til August. July is feeling very very LONG to me.
    When I think how long we have been involved off and on I feel truly pathetic I must say.
    And I feel so ashamed of my actions with him over the years.
    aargghhh
    Time to go see my therapist for sure.
    Hugs and much love Butterflies are Free aka Lara xxxooo

    • LIFELESSONS

      Hey BAF,
      Sorry to hear that youre feeling pathetic about how you have been in this affair. I think you beat yourself up waaaay too much. Try to be kind to yourself! I get it, i understand why you feel the way you feel. It has been a long time and maybe youre feeling like you shouldve shit or got off the toilet. Well listen, in my head there is no cut and dry in an affair. It is complex by all means necessary therefore, there is no way to determine how you will get out of it, how long will you stay in it, will he really leave his W, will he someday choose you,…you didnt truly know what all this turn in to. I think you have tried and tried with him. However, now its time for you to choose you!! I think opening the door was your way of seeing where he was at this point (considering he has been blocked for a while) in that moment it was still about him and choosing him. He is aware that this has always been more about what he wants and less of what you want and you deserve better than that…even whithin an affair!

      I feel that you need to really truly have a come to Jesus or HP moment and decide if you want to continue cat and mouse with him or if you want to move on. Do you want to leave the dooe open for you guys to try to build a friendship or try to build a cordial relationship, since you may see each other from time to time. Are you even open to that ? I know none of this is easy for you. I dont want my MM to leave his W but I can only imagine how you feel after giving putting your time, and energy into someone who will not choose you and I dont mean choose you to be with but just make efforts to hear you out and be empathetic to the way youre feeling.

      I feel that you and him really need to sit down and you tell him everything on your mind….you tell him he is not to speak until you are completely done. Once you have spoken your piece you tell him to think wisely before he speaks and then listen to what he has to say without interruption. I dont think for a second that he doesnt love you and care about you a great deal but he has been able to manipulate things for so long that he is placing value in you. He need to hear that! He may not be the most empathetic or sympathetic guy and unless he is completely “dead inside” he doesnt lack the ability to understand and feel where you are coming from.

      You tell your MM dont make me (your 🤔🤔anonymous friend) 🛩come down/up to your (anonymous) 🌇city and rip him a new one👊. I am 4″11′ & I possibly have a short people complex😡😠 (aggressive, bold,semi-confrontational) I am not easily intemidated either…if he continues to play these games he will have to deal with me😒😐
      Just kidding…I wanted to add some form of humor because i know you are down and I really wish it was an easy fix or a definitive solution to this but it isnt. If you knew how short I was but how tall my perdonality is you would definitely see the humor in it lol
      Anyway…You just have to P.U.S.H (pray until something happens) through.
      Hugs Hugs Hugs xoxoxoxo
      God Bless BAF😘

  • Felk

    Kub, no need to worry about being too harsh or saying anything hurtful. I know that your comments come from a good place and you are just trying to help. I don’t think any of us ever says mean things to each other. Yes, the comments might be hard to hear sometimes, but I know you are just speaking from experience and trying to give good advice.

    First, remember that I am married, too. Second, I do not want my MM to leave his W. I never did. I think that matters a lot in what you’re saying. Yes, I’d agree with a lot more of what you’re saying if I was single and hoping my MM left his W. I am not single. And I never wanted my MM to leave. I was not jealous of his W. I liked our relationship “on the side” of our marriages. If anything, I liked it more than my MM did. I handled it better. He was more jealous, and he found it harder to have a marriage and an affair at the same time.

    Also, I did not end it with my MM. He ended our affair because he found it too hard to be away from me. He wanted more and more time with me, and he was giving me more and more time… and that was damaging his marriage. His W got suspicious and started to confront him about how he was acting. This put my MM in a position where he had to choose… leave his family or leave me. He couldn’t keep doing both. So, many of your comments and questions would be more relevant if I had wanted him to leave his marriage or if I was the one to end it. If I had been the one to end it, yes, all of the same reasons to not be in the affair would still be there. But, since I wasn’t the one to end it and I didn’t want the affair to end, I still would be happy to be in the affair.

    So, as someone who is married, I knew the affair was wrong, but that didn’t stop me. It still wouldn’t. Similarly, I didn’t feel guilty about being with a MM. I’ve said that here before about how I didn’t feel bad about what our relationship was doing to his marriage. I didn’t want him to leave his kids, but I trusted that he was being a good dad (even if he wasn’t being a good H for his W). All of that is still true. I wouldn’t feel guilty about hurting his marriage. He is hurting his marriage (and I am hurting mine).

    But, I do understand your questions about my friendship and the concerns about how it seems nothing good can come from it. My answer is that I believe good things can come from it. That’s why I keep the friendship (and I think that’s why he does, too). Maybe we are both holding onto the affair a little, but I think we are trying to get to a friendship (like what we had before the affair started). I know it’s not that simple. But I have had boyfriends who I broke up with and then eventually formed a friendship (like we had before the relationship). I know those relationship were different, but I think that’s what my MM and I are hoping for.

    And, yes, you are right that the fact that it would be too painful to go NC is evidence that we’re not just friends. I know. I know we both still have strong feelings. I know it is not innocent. I know we are both still lying to our spouses when we spend time together. But it is changing over time. That is undeniable. There is more distance. There is less communication. There has been no touching for months.
    But, yes, we may be stuck in this friend/flirt dilemma for a long time. For now, we think it’s worth it. I will talk to him about it more. We usually are pretty honest about how we feel and the struggles we have. I want to keep talking about how we make this friendship work. I think he does, too. I think the fact that we’re both still holding on matters. It is not just one person pathetically holding on. We both are trying, and that makes me think something can work.

  • Felk

    Thistooshallpass, good to hear from you again. Remind me of your situation with your MM. I thought you two had ended the affair but were still talking? Am I mis-remembering or confusing you with someone else on here? 🙂 So, yes, I work with my MM, but we are teachers so we are off for summer break now. He ended our affair in September, but as you all know, it’s been a slow break-up where we have still spent intimate time together (having sex in January and kissing in February). No physical lines have been crossed since some hand-holding in April, but we still see each other every other week, spending a few hours together (usually getting some drinks). We text very little (and that was always the case in our affair), but we exchange e-mail here and there (and some of the e-mails are long). We used to chat online multiple nights a week during the affair, but that has stopped entirely. That was one of the hardest adjustments. Going from so much communication to so little practically overnight. The hardest part is definitely losing how often we talked. I miss the physical intimacy, too, but it’s been harder to lose how much we talked. For a few weeks in June, we were exchanging e-mail every other day and that was feeling more “normal” again, but then that tapered off. My guess is it started feeling too good for him and he had to back off (again). I will see him tomorrow, though, for our usual few hours of talking and laughing.

    So, where are you in your relationship with your MM? Is it still a sexual relationship? Ending a relationship with someone you work with is really hard. That has added a level of complexity to my relationship with my MM. It is likely why we are trying to remain friends because it’s hard not to if you work closely together (as we do). Even though we are trying to retain the friendship, there was still awkwardness at work across the months of the break-up. Every day it felt bad/weird to me. Every day it felt like I wanted us to be the way we were but we weren’t that way any more and it was hard feeling that and interacting with him. He’s told me that he felt the same way. Over time, it gets less awkward, but it does still feel awkward at work. Honestly, I feel better with him outside of work (this summer) than at work. Of course, I’m hoping that will slowly get better at work still, but we still have a ways to go until it doesn’t feel awkward. There has to be a lot of effort from both people for it to work, and I think he and I have that.

    You know that the main complexity is if you work with this person you have to decide either to keep it professional only (which is a good idea but very hard) or, as my MM and I did, to be friends. And, if you decide to be friends (which is understandable given that both people may want to hold on), you continually remind yourselves of the good times and the feelings you have for each other. Because we work together, there is no period of NC. Yes, the summer could have provided one, but, by this time, we’re several months into the break up and it’s easier now. I know you say you could handle a friendship, and I believe you. I know I can handle a friendship. And, yes, as Lara and others have pointed out, I know he and I don’t have a real friendship yet, but I can handle this and I can handle a just-friendship. I’m just not sure my MM can. He’s trying, but he seems to struggle more than I do. He seems to need more distance after we spend time together than I do to “recover” from the tough feelings. I get tough feelings after we spend time together, too, but I accept it more as a price you have to pay if you’re trying to remain friends. I think, for him, it’s also as you say with your MM, that there is more temptation for wanting to kiss and touch. I want to kiss and touch my MM very much, too, but I think I can draw a line between the two better than he can. And I also think we could kiss once in a while and not get back into the full-blown affair. It’s been pretty clear that my MM thinks that kissing would automatically lead to sex. I don’t think that, but, of course, I understand his worries. I just think that he and I are built a little differently in that regard.

    As for your question about whether or not our bond would be severed if one of us changes jobs? I’d think so. I don’t think either of us is close to leaving our job, but early in the break-up, I worried my MM would try to look for a job elsewhere because the pain was too great. We were both suffering a lot early on (as is to be expected). I can understand someone needing to have total NC under those circumstances. It is really hard seeing that person every day and not being able to be together as you were. As I think it is in your case, my MM and I broke up when we were in love. We didn’t end because we were losing feelings. We ended almost because the feelings were too strong and he couldn’t handle being apart any longer. It was affecting his marriage, and he had to choose me or his family, and, of course, he chose his family. It sounds like your MM would do the same (and you would want him to). I don’t feel the guilt you do about your MM’s W and family, but I think my MM’s W treats him well. I wouldn’t have wanted my MM to ruin his marriage/family. I wouldn’t have wanted him to do that to his children. But, to end a relationship when you’re so in love, ouch. And we’re still in love. Ouch.

    • Thistooshallpass

      Felk,
      My MM does not want to end it and I’m in the middle. I love the physical and emotional support we provide each other but hate the guilt, fear and extreme limitations that are imposed on these relationships. I have tried to end it unsuccessfully more times than I can count on my hands. We don’t talk for a few days or a week max and he ultimately comes back. I don’t blame him bc it takes two to tango. We are equal partners in this sitch. I capitulate and give in each and every time. I like the chemistry, conversation, companionship, sex, lunches, dinners, outings that we do spend together. I don’t like the toxic nature of a secretive, duplicitous relationship. I hate the idea that our “love” could potentially devastate his fam and ruin his life. I don’t want that risk on my shoulders. If I mess up my own life that’s one story. To put someone I care for very deeply at risk of losing it all is not something I want to continue taking on. Additionally, I resent the pressure he indirectly places on me for his happiness. There are several key qualities that are missing from his marriage. I was going to say his W but he has to own his part in the relationship as an equal contributor. Long story short we have still had a physical and emotional relationship. I understand his bind and have accepted the fate of us. I’d love to meet an available man that I connect with as deeply and am actively dating to find that “soulmate” connection.

      I’m going to ask you a few Q’s that you are of course not obligated to answer. I understand you love your husband and don’t want to leave him. May I ask what is missing from your marriage that you get from your colleague? Is it the newness, chemistry, lust, budding romance factors that dissolve over time in a long term relationship? I’m asking bc I thought a marriage would give someone 90% of what they need in terms of romantic companionship. I am mature enough to not believe in sweeping generalizations thus I ask. I used to think that one person could fulfill all or most of our needs. Do you find that not to be the case?

      From what you’re telling me your mm didn’t end it out of guilt. He took a step back and ended things out of pain of sharing you with your husband. I can only share my perspective but I find it excruciatingly painful to have physical/emotional intimacy with someone that has a spouse. Also, you don’t get a view into their real world. You have no visibility into their home, friends, kids, etc. Even if they aren’t sexually active with their spouse it’s all the time, energy, money spent with someone else that hurts like hell. My theory is that your mm felt that sting very deeply and couldn’t cope with it anymore. It takes a lot of internal strength to sustain an affair. Do you feel goodish about your friendship now? Again, sorry for inundating you with Q’s.

      • Butterflies are Free

        TTSP
        I really appreciate that you have such a great way of describing the paraxial nature of what you feel in your affair. You express both the good parts AND the bad parts really well. I feel you have really found your words when it comes to your affair over time. And that you have gained some clarity. You also seem to care very deeply about not wanting to hurt him and his family via a “discovery day”. That part is very responsible. And shows you have deep feelings for him. I do so much identify with the off and on nature of your time in your affair. And your conflicts over being in the relationship.

        I think you also nail another thing when you say: “Additionally, I resent the pressure he indirectly places on me for his happiness.” I know what you mean exactly. There are unspoken pressures on you as an affair partner for his happiness that might be “left over” needs and expectations projected over from where they were aimed and failed elsewhere (with his W). I too have been realizing how much pressure that felt like to me. Its Baggage with an upper case B if your are a single one in an affair.

        I think it is wonderful that you’d love to meet an available man that I connect with as deeply and am actively dating to find that “soulmate” connection. Are you taking steps to date yet? I swear I need a push off the cliff on one of these days.

        BTW I totally get what you say when you write that you find it excruciatingly painful to have physical/emotional intimacy with someone that has a spouse. I so agree which is why I do NOT like being in an affair. I know I have been in one off and on for many years but it was never something I liked being in. I much prefer one one on one relationships and have had a few successful ones during this time (when my exMM and I were in our “OFF periods”. I urge you to try and find someone if just for the sheer pleasure of having someone all to yourself. Even if only for a little while.

        I also identify with this very much: “Even if they aren’t sexually active with their spouse it’s all the time, energy, money spent with someone else that hurts like hell.” But for the married person the single person who wants to date can also feel hellish. In fact neither affair partner can “rest” as one can in a secure and trusting relationship. The only thing I have been wondering lately is this: With many people saying in marriage the love between tow once passionate partners “changes” then how secure is any relationship I am wondering? And why get married? If the “love” is going to de-charge and change? I sure hope there are long-term passionate married people out there who can prove this theory wrong. At least I hope so! I am assuming we will not find them here however! 🙂
        Did you AP (affair partner) cheat before you do you know? How long was he faithful to his W before he cheated? Why specifically did he decide to cheat?
        Do the answers to these questions bring you any comfort I wonder? Looking forward to hearing from you.

        Hugs, BAF aka Lara
        xxxooo

        • Thistooshallpass

          Hi BAF,
          Yes, I am online, communicating with guys and going out on dates. I was seeing a guy for a couple months but there was some lifestyle differences and I ended it with him. I’m getting a new haircut and highlights and plan to take some updated photos for my profile. My mm goes insane and gets incredibly jealous but I’m doing this to meet a mate and have a real relationship. He can’t expect me to stay single for him. My frustration is I’m not finding the chemistry I’m seeking in a man. I’ve had sparks and great connections with single men so I know it’s not an availability thing where I’m only turned on by attached men. If I knew that I sparked with lots of guys I wouldn’t fret. On the plus side I’ve met some kind man and it restores faith that there are good men out there wanting to give me a true commitment.

          I have to admit talking to my mm about marriage does not give me much faith in the institution. I think for a lot of people the relationship morphs into a partnership and the lust dies. My Dad said a couple usually sustains the lust for about five years and then it fades. He said that is the unfortunate part but if you still have a connection, attraction and fun together you’ve got something beautiful. I’m sure everyone can tell a different story as to why they were unfaithful. My mm never cheated before me but we were the perfect recipe for an affair. He was bored, lonely and unfulfilled in his marriage. I was out of a relationship when I started working for him. We developed a connection pretty quickly and I found myself incredibly attracted to him. I could feel the electricity between us and one day we took the afternoon off to take a long walk and chat. We were very flirty and talked for four hours straight. He gave me his personal email address and I gave him mine. He messaged me that night and the affair commenced. In his case she put on a lot of weight in the last ten years and he lost all attraction. They never had very good sex and without physical intimacy the emotional connection unraveled. They didn’t put enough energy into keeping their relationship nurtured and it eroded over time. They’re good people, wonderful parents but the passion is dead and thus why he got involved with me. I wonder if other single women would’ve had more scruples than me? Why the F would I do something so foolish? I try to not to harbor regrets but I wish we had simply admitted our attraction and agreed not to act on it for the million reasons it’s a bad idea. Now we’ve both been trapped in this too good to leave and too bad to stay situation. Since I report to him I would prefer that he ended it. I’m scared to end it and not bc he would dole out retribution. It would just be ugly. He is emotional and his ego would take a beating. I just don’t want to deal with the residual consequences. IDK about you but I’m highly confident if they weren’t in close proximity we would’ve bailed and stayed the course. Never devalue the power of access and convenience.

          • Felk

            TTSP, I think a lot of us know your “too good to leave and too bad to stay” situation. It’s an addiction. Yes, we are in love and there are genuine feelings, but we have become addicted to the highs (because of the lows). We know it is bad and wrong, yet the pain of the withdrawal and the ecstasy of the highs keep bringing us back. The only way to break this is to stop. You know this. I know you’re in a tough situation because he is your boss. Even when you end the affair “on good terms” as my MM and I did, it was ugly. It wasn’t ugly because we were fighting, but we were both hurting so much to be around each other and be broken up. It was tough to go to work every day. It took me months before I wasn’t feeling distracted and awful all day at work. But… we get through it. Yes, it’s understandable to be scared of the consequences. It will be hard, but you will get through it. And so will he.

            To hear you talk of wanting another relationship, I think your affair is holding you back. I see you saying you’re dating and talking to other men, but maybe you’re not finding that chemistry you’re looking for because of your affair? If you’re in love with your MM, how can you really find that with someone else? I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s very hard to really spark with someone else when you’re in love with your MM. That chemistry and connection are out there for you, but you have to be free of your MM to find it. I’ve said it here before that we can trick ourselves into thinking our MM (or MW) is the perfect person for us. We can idolize our chemistry. We do this because the nature of the affair (the excitement and attraction caused by the forced time apart and the competition for a mate) creates an different brain response than a “normal” relationship. I believe you match well with your MM, but there is nothing extra special about the chemistry with him except that it’s an affair. You can find that chemistry with someone else and have a close, loving, supportive relationship.

            Now, will the chemistry last your whole relationship? Probably not. That’s what your dad’s saying. That’s what we know from most married people. But, yes, you can find closeness and warmth and love for the long-term. And that can be enough for many people. But I’m not sure you can find this WHILE you are involved with someone else. It’s hard, but you have to make the hard decision to be in pain (and cause your MM pain) so that you can eventually be free of the affair. Knowing how much it can hurt typically keeps us from ending it, but knowing how much it can hurt can also free you if you know what to expect and what you have to get through.

  • LIFELESSONS

    Hello Beautiful Ladies!

    There are so many things on my mind today! I had a great weekend surrounded by friends that are more like family. There is a group of us, we all went to private school and have remained friends for over 25 years. It was so nice to be around so much love and peace. Of course, I didnt share any details of what is going on with MM and I. I told a few of them about him early on but I quickly recanted my story, telling them it didnt last long. Neither of them judged me and they told me they would be there for me when needed. However, they were very shocked by it considering how often I had been cheated on and didnt think I had it in me to get caught up in anything like that…

    Lets rewind and go back to Friday…
    I spoke to MM in the morning as he was on his way to work. We talked for about 20mins and ended the conversation on a good note as we normally do. I took my kids out for the day because I was off. Later that evening, I planned to check out a Cigar Bar (No, I dont smoke) because they were having an event called 1st Fridays where you pay a small fee and can eat all you want and drink all you want. A friend and I went to check it out and there were lots and lots of men but we sat outside because the smoke was so heavy in there. Well MM called about 15mins into me being there and asked what I was doing. I told him I was at the Cigar Bar and he said oh and named it and I said yes. Him and I talked about it before because I went one other time on a week night when there was no event happening. Once I told MM where I was he said oh I was omw there too…I scrunched my eyebrows in and in my head, I said you are fucking lie 😒 but i replied by saying, oh really and he said yea I was suppose to meet “” there. I said oh ok! He said yea let me call you back and see if he still there. I said ok but I didnt see him here and i know what he looks like. Well he hung up and called back a few minutes later. He said, well Im about to turn on so and so street because “” didnt answer the phone. I said oh, he said I should come by there and he asked how much it cost etc. I said are you coming ? He said well I dont want to impose on you and i fed right into it by saying oh youre not imposing its fine. Well within 20mins he was there and I told my friend I would be right back. I got in his car, we rode around to the back of the parking lot. He told me how him and “” the same guy who was “supposedly” going to meet him at the Cigar Bar had went to the distillery. He said they went a little earlier and he showed me what he got and he said he went to see his mom too. Now, in my head…I am confirming the fact that he was never meeting anyone at that place I was at. He just said that he was on his way because that is where I was. I remember when I told him I went there the 1st time, he said well I know most of the guys there. Most of my buddies hang out in there. He has never mentioned that to me before and even when he said it, I just felt like he was saying so i wouldnt talk to any of the guys there. Anyway, back to us sitting in his car. We were just talking and his phone rang, it was a lady. He answered, they didnt talk long and they hung up. So a few mins later i said babe do you have another girlfriend and he looked at me and said outside of you?!…NO and I said are you sure, he said Babe you think I have enough for her (wife) and you and someone else?! He said babe you know how crazy my time is. I said, I guess. I said well I dont normally say much to you about us but this is challenging at times and he said i know. I said its not as easy as it was in the beginning and then you went on vacation so. He said what does that mean, i said I couldnt really talk to you and he said but I called you everyday and i said no you didnt. He said I did call you while I was gone and I said yes the first day. He said well Im sure I wanted to call you everyday. He said well you know I smoke a lot so I really thought I called you more than once. He said babe are you sure and he pulled out his phone and said let me check the call log and I took the phone from him and said there is no need to check…im sure I didnt get more than one call but its all good now. He said well I am sorry I didnt call you enough. I said also when you come over my house I need more than 20minutes of intimacy and more than and hour of your time afterwards. I said I almost feel like you know its going to take at least 20 minutes to satisfy me and you relax for about an after after. He said i dont plan that out babe, I promise. I said uh huh we both chuckled (we were very smiley and kissy the entire time we were in the car, there was no attitude during the entire conversation ) He said text me when you get home please, I said for what, youre not going to get it. He said youre right but I will get it in the morning. I said ok. I went back to my friend and she said I was gone for a long time and I said no I wasnt (didnt feel like it was that long until I checked the time) it was about an hour. Well I got home and still had a little buzz from my drinks so i text him. I said Im home. I sent another text that said, “Oh & so I don’t forget…I didn’t ask you if you had another gf to bs w/u I asked because there are countless times you obviously have me confused w/ someone else and I blow it off…My memory is like an elephant, I don’t forget much!!” Immediately after I sent it, i wished I could reach into the phone and snatch it back because I didnt want to be that person. The jealous insecure crazy cant stay in her lane of other woman land. Well guess what it was too late and the message said delivered.

    Saturday…
    I got up the next morning and text him saying gm u up. He said yes but didnt call me right away and he normally does on a saturday morning when i send the gm message. I said call me please. He called right away, I said what are you doing he said outside, i said o ok youre outside he said yea are you going to ask me if im outside with my other girlfriend (he said in a real assholish way) I said are you being smart…he said no I am being facetious because you pissed me off with that message last night. I said well i wasnt trying to make you mad he said i wasnt mad, i was aggitated. He said you know good and well I dont have another gf. He said I told you in the car I have plenty of women friends and I have been friemds with for years. He said I even told you while we were sitting in the car, that once you come to one of the events I have you will meet some of the women but you wont come to the events. He said you only said that because (lets call her)”mary” called the phone. He said that is the only reason you even said something about it and i said that is not true I thought about it before but wasnt bold enough to say it aloud. I said you say stuff to me sometimes and I am like I dont remember that so i wonder if it happened with someone else. I said most of the time when those thoughts arise, I tell.myself that it really doesnt matter because you are not mine and never will be so there is no need to mention it. We were both using outside voices lol but still not loud enough for my kids to hear me. I said do you get it and he said its not for me to get. He said, I am about to get in the car I will call you back. I hate when people do that. Its almost like saying I am about to close the cabinet door let me call you right back. Well he called back within a few minutes and he said babe guess what my uncle having my school reunion at his house this year. I said oh yea, he said its going to be so nice!! We talked about that and other stuff. We laughed and joked as if we were not involved in a tense conversation 10-15 mins prior to that. He said he would call me back once he finished cutting his uncles grass and he called back…he said babe I want you. He said I just wanted to call you and tell you that and I said it is so funny because I had the phone in my to tell you the same thing. I said when will we see each other. He said probably next weekend when the kids are gone so i can spend some time with you…more than 20 minutes we laughed. He said he had a cookout to attend that day so he know he wouldnt see me. Well we ended the call on a good note. I too had plans and proceeded with my day. He called me around 1am and i answered but it was loud in my background. I was playing cards, drinking with friends and having a good time. He asked what I was doing and I told him. He said oh ok, he said well I didnt want nothing, i was on my way home about to get on the highway. I said oh ok do you want to stop by here and see me ( I say anything when I drink = wreckless drinker lol) he said no I am going home. I said ok he said well go ahead, enjoy yourself. I will call you later. I said really he said Babe I always do. I said ok!

    Sunday…
    Didnt hear from him but it was no big deal because I had plans to hang out with my friends/family again. I text him once I was on my way home and he text right back and said we r out eating, ill call you back. I said ok np…he didnt call back that night, I was a little annoyed but not that much.

    Monday….
    Text him around 5pm, sent a hey with a wave. He called me he said he was still at work but he was about to leave. He said didnt you tell me you were going out of town and I said yes he said when, i told him in 2 weeks for my bday. He said where are you going and I said i dont know. He said that doesnt make sense, is someone taking you. I said yea! He said oh ok who ? I said my girlfriends he said o ok thats cool. While we were talking he said I am always throwing it out there that I have to deal with a lot from him but he thinks we both have to deal with things. I said, I dont and he cut me off…he said yea i know you dont ever see it from my perspective. I said you cut me off, that is not what I was going to say. I said I get it but i just dont think its the same. He said, I have to deal with you hanging out whenever you want, you say you going to a Cigar bar and I have to say ok. He said you think my W could say she going to a place like that where I know its nothing but men there. He said I have to deal with calling you and u dont answer but you wait at your own leisure to return the call. He said, but I cant ask you a lot of questions about where you are, who youre with and why you dont answer me everytime i call. I said but you know I am not dealing with anyone else at the moment. He said yea but every chance you get you make sure you tell me you are open and available to meeting someone else. He said you think I want to hear that. He said it is things I have to deal with and its just that simple, you are not the only one who has to deal with things. I said again, I dont feel its the same because I currently am not seeing anyone so it doesnt matter how often i hang out or if I couldnt answer right away. You know it has nothing to do with another guy
    He said, my buddies told me it was going to be different dealing with someone who is single. He said they told me you would eventually want more time as time went on. I said what else did they say, he said they told him once I meet someone it would change what we have regardless of what feelings we have for each other. He said you know i have emotions too but I show them differently….
    I made a comment about men cheating, he said he thinks most men are good, if they have a woman that does most of the things they like (especially sexually) they are good. He said he cant speak for all men but he said he believe the majority of men dont cheat just because they can. He said it takes time, energy, and money. I said well why not put that into your wife. He said me and I said yes you. He said I tried that. I said well you stop trying at some point and as a husband its your duty to keep trying. He said, if it was that simple he wouldnt be dealing with me. He said she says NO way more than she says yes and he has tried with her but she wont change her ways. He said I have tried to tell you marriage is a business deal and I said to you. He said no, it is to a lot of people. I told him a few of my gf’s whom been married over 10yrs said the same thing. They dont sleep with their husbands often but they still go on vacation, they go out time to time but no one is leaving. He said i told you its in investment. I said well call me naive but I dont want that. I want my husband to love me he said it does start out as love and then it becomes a business deal years down the line. He said babe, you know I mean no disrespect when I tell you if my W and i had sex regularly I wouldnt have to go outside of my marriage. I said yea we have talked about that. He said I am getting old, I dont have the time, the gas, the money to spend on dates but I have tried and she is still the same. We talked a while longer about other stuff and eventually got off the phone.

    However, in hindsight…I have more questions for him, I am sure this will not be the last time we talk about this….what types of things come to mind after reading this ??? Thoughts, Advice, anything ?!

    • Butterflies are Free

      LL The thoughts that came to my mind reading this is it seems like pretty much “normal” affair relating (IMHO). I mean there are no huge surprises here. You both acknowledge the situation and admit its difficulty. But you also have fun together and talk about other things. I think you are very patient with him even when he does not call you (like on Sunday nite) and even if he says he is “not” stopping over to see you (Saturday nite). You give him some rope. He also gives you rope because you admit going to this cigar bar and there are lots of men there and it is clear he doesn’t really love the idea but he lets it go. I like that he expresses his feelings about it to you. Obviously his friends and him talk about affairs as they were preparing him for what it would feel like to have an affair with a single woman (who might find someone else). A lot of what you describe reminds me of my affair in the early days (years).
      I think I have said this before: Everything is okay on this level because you are not too deeply in love with him yet. If possible it might be nice to try and stay in this stage as longs as possible! Because if/when you fall deeper in love you will want more and more of him. It’s natural.

      Your MM also says most married me could be happy if their wives had more sex with them. I used to here this too from my exMM. Then later yours says many marriages become like business relationships. So in a way he contradicts himself here. Mine does this too. It really does seem like so many men enter affairs to have more sex or better sex. I would really love to know the truth about these wives that take them for “granted”. Is it true these wives do that? I wonder?
      What I think is this as a woman: when I do not want a lot of sex with a guy its because he is getting on my last nerves or he has pissed me off about something or he is acting like an a–s. Something has happened between us that ruins the sex moment.

      So if these wives are like me too (as a woman) then these married men are only telling us half the truth about their situations when they say their wives “don’t want sex”. What they are FAILING to tell us is WHY? don’t these women want them? What did these men do in the marital relationship to turn them off? Is it just the habit of seeing each other too often? Or is it something more? I think the latter. I think these women as wives also feel probably taken for granted (just like their husbands do). In a. marriage there is much to take care of besides the love and passion and these can go by the wayside when times get stressful and bills pile up or someone loses a job etc.

      These couples need to work out their problems together or maybe go to counseling but doing so takes time and energy and even money. And maybe only one person is interested in doing that work. So the affair happens because it’s easier and faster solution in a way. So I wonder what would happen if you ask your MM a little bit MORE about why the sex died down in his marriage? Or maybe you prefer not to go there which is understandable. MY exMM says it was NEVER good. That he married a virgin and that they never had a chance to check out their sexual compatibility due to religion preventing them from having sex before marriage. Thats what he says anyhow. I sometimes believe him and other times I am too annoyed at him to care. lol

      Hugs BAF aka Lara xxx000

  • Felk

    BAF, thanks for your good questions again. You ask things that I’ve been thinking about a lot and that I’ve been trying to sort through. I’m going to try to be very honest with myself in these responses.

    I get what you’re saying about not talking to my MM about us. I get that it increases intimacy, and I get that it could make it harder on both of us. So, why do I want to? I think the pros outweigh the cons. So, complete honesty, sure, I want some intimacy and it feels nice to share closeness once in a while. It also is nice to not feel alone. It can feel pretty pathetic missing him, but to know that he misses me and feels similar things can help ease that pain. My guess is that he wants to know these things, too (since he was the one who brought it up last week). But, the main reason is because I like talking about things. I like working things through in conversation. I want to find shared understanding. To hold back and to be silent all these weeks doesn’t feel true to me. I want the friendship with him to work, but I also can’t just do it on his terms (which is to be distant and silent). He knows this about himself so he has encouraged me to say whatever I want to say when I want to say it. I want to trust him with that. Part of this is respecting his style, too, but I also know that if we are to have the friendship I want, I have to be able to be me. And “me” involves talking about things. It may be a mistake, but we always need room to make mistakes if a friendship is going to work. If we are not going to do NC (which it seems neither wants), checking in about us once in a while feels normal to me. And I say “normal” keeping in mind that there is no rulebook for what we are doing. You are right that I do not need to do this. I want to. And I am definitely the type of person who regrets inaction more than action.

    So, why do I say NC isn’t an option for me? I’ve considered going NC and wondered if it would be better. I just don’t think it would be. I think it would cause me more pain than what we’re doing. I think the slow transition to the friendship, while difficult, is less painful than NC for weeks. I think both can get us to our goal of a friendship. I know you have doubts about the current path leading to a friendship, but I have more confidence that it’s possible. I know it may be slower this way, because we’re still feeling all the feelings, but, for me, it’s less painful. I also don’t think NC is necessary. If I don’t want NC and he doesn’t want NC, why do NC? I think we can get to the relationship we want with the path we’re on. I don’t really worry that he would find someone new if we went NC. I also don’t worry that he’d start enjoying his W more. I probably worry a little that his feelings for me would die (even though I know you’re right that they wouldn’t). It’s mostly that I think it would create an awkwardness or a distance between us that I don’t want. Even if I can’t have more, I like spending a few hours with him every few weeks. I like the closeness that maintains in our relationship, and, yes, that’s about retaining some feeling of control.

    And, yes, the disaster I fear is that we will end up crossing lines, it will cause him tension/angst, he will say that a friendship won’t work, and it will be worse than it is now. I don’t fear us crossing lines and him pulling back. I fear crossing lines and him saying that we cannot be friends. It is that pain that I fear. I don’t think this disaster is inevitable. Not at all. It’s possible we won’t cross lines. It’s possible if we do cross lines, he’ll handle it fine. I’d like to believe that, if we were to get close to lines crossing again, that we will have talked about it ahead of time and that we’ll be somewhat ready for how to proceed. We did that in the 8 months leading up to our affair starting. We talked a lot about it. We talked for another 3 months before we had sex. You know that I don’t believe it’s all destined misery in affairs. Even though affairs are difficult, there are varied outcomes. I don’t want to sound blindly optimistic. It’s not that. It’s that I’m also not pessimistic in thinking we’re doomed to failure. Not only do I see a lot of progress in my healing, I see a lot of progress in our relationship. Yes, there are still difficult things, but he and I have come a long way since the misery of last September.

    • Thistooshallpass

      Hey Felk,
      I haven’t been on this site for some time but I’m curious how you and other regular members are doing? You have all been motivating, inspirational and incredibly helpful in understanding these relationships. I believe you work with your mm. Do you think your bond would be severed if one of you took another job outside of your employer? Also, do you guys text, call or chat in any way outside of the office? I ask bc that would be hard to give up. Whenever I’ve attempted a friendship with someone I’m attracted to we end up sleeping together anyway. It happened with my ex for a solid year after we broke up until he eventually met someone. Anyhow, I was seeing someone for a couple months but we didn’t spark and I absolutely need chemistry for romance. Dating has helped keep me grounded in reality though. My mm flipped out when I was seeing this guy and would write me at all hours of the night. He called and left voicemails about how devastated he was about me developing feelings for someone else. He couldn’t sleep, eat, blah, blah. I felt a glimmer of power but for the most part that time sucked and stressed me out. Long story short I’m not seeing that guy anymore and my mm is on some 3 week vaca. I wish he’d just call it quits with me. Don’t get me wrong, he provided a lot of emotional support and physical attention but he’s still married. I do have love for him but this can’t go on forever. Like you said, it’s not all pessimistic doom and gloom. I learned a lot and grew both personally and professionally as a result of him. He has said the same in return. I’m thinking about this a lot as he is away bc it would just be infinitely easier if he made the move. He won’t unless by some miracle he has a major rush of guilt. IDK, I want an exit strategy that doesn’t require the anxiety and awkwardness that comes with breaking up with someone you work with. I have not been able to admit this until the summer but I do love him and I feel like letting him go is demonstrating my love for him. He has kids that he loves dearly. They would be devastated over this relationship. I don’t know his W but she sounds like a really good, caring, giving person. I hate the idea of hurting someone else (multiple people) and potentially ruining his life. Sorry for rambling. I definitely feel better than I did six months ago but I’m not free and in the clear yet. I could handle a friendship but he said no in the past. It’s all or nothing and he said he can’t be around me without wanting to touch and kiss. I may be forced into NC…

      I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and not allowing this to consume all of their thoughts.

      • Butterflies are Free

        Hi TTSP
        You ask a lot of great questions here and also make some great statements too. You asked:
        “Do you think your bond would be severed if one of you took another job outside of your employer? Also, do you guys text, call or chat in any way outside of the office? ”
        As for the first question I went through my exMM having a second job that took him away from here a lot for many years. (He was here only on weekends in that time period) No our bond was not severed but yes the affair became easier to manage as it was MUCH easier detaching from him by NOT seeing him so much on a daily basis. And I could live my life in peace easier and date easier as he wasn’t around my house all the time to see me with other men which was very very awkward for both of us.

        As for texting calling or chatting outside the office that does not apply to me as I am neighbors not co-wrokers with my exMM. But any contact while he is at HIS home with his W AND FAMILY is a no-no. When he is there we do not communicate at all. When he is near my house we do. One of us getting away from here would make our situation easier for sure. You said: “it would just be infinitely easier if he made the move. He won’t unless by some miracle he has a major rush of guilt. IDK, I want an exit strategy that doesn’t require the anxiety and awkwardness that comes with breaking up with someone you work with.” I totally relate to this! I wish mine would do the same and just cut the cord and go home to her. What makes it so hard is him holding out and holding on. Then I start holding out and holding on too. And then we can not get off the affair merry go round. For me it is not that hard to Block and Walk if he does not love me. He is a narc and I can easily list all his bad traits! But if he does have love for me, it it so much harder for me energetically speaking to “leave him, especially in his misery”. I am very co-dependent with him at times and forget his unhappiness is NOT my problem not can I be the source of his happiness!.
        hugs BAF aka Lara xxxooo

    • Kub

      Hi Felk

      First of all I would like to remind you that we are all here to support each other. We are going through similar phases, doing similar mistakes, making similar progresses in our lives.
      And I would like you to forgive me if I will make you hurt or sth. Because that is not what I want to do. I know you will do the best, you will give the right answers to yourself.

      From what I see here… Break up is a painful process. During that phase I questioned myself countless times about why am I doing this, why am I breaking up with him. Because he was the best relationship I have ever had. Then my answers were fixed on one fundamental point that I could not overcome. He is married. No matter what happens, this is not a correct way to be in a relationship whether you are married or single, it also applies for you too. Maybe it can be said that since I am not married I should not comment about this topic. But the thing that we expect from the person across, we should be doing it first; which is loyalty. I am not sure about your status, if you are married or not sorry. But he is married, and you wanted him to break up with his wife and to be with you. Why? Because it was not working when he was married. Because this is not a normal, healthy way to have a relationship.
      So coming back to the beginning, what gave me strength for this break up was the fact that he was/still married.
      So I wonder why do you tend to ignore this situation? I mean he is not less married since you were going this phase, everything is same. Why… Why did you break up with him at the first place? Because he decided to stay with his family. This is still same. Nothing has changed accept you missing each other every day. So if you broke up with him at the first place then why do you now starting to go backward? If you are willing to go back, why did you push yourself so much to be at this point? I honestly can not understand you at this topic. Everytime you are mentioning about your friendship and how much you enjoy it… But I feel like you are in some kind of denial. Why do you deny the fact that this is wrong, this flirtation, this communication, this moments that shared is wrong and probably nothing good can come out of this? I am sure again you will mention about how good friends you are at this point, but really? Can you call this friendship? Or, once again, is this a cover in order to stay in communication? I know it was a long relationship… But please try to think in different aspects of you.

      Next thing… You have said that you prefer to stay friends since him not being in your life is more painful. Actually this the proof of that you are not friends. You are still filling that gap with him. But my dear, fact is a fact; break up is a break up. How long you have decided to be friends? I don’t know. But I think you did not break up with him. He just put his family as his priority but it seems that you did not face with break up. Felk I think you should at least try to let go of this friendship idea and go through a real break up phase. I have mentioned, of course you can be friends. As long as no feelings exists. If something exist then this is not a friendship. If this is not a friendship then it is wrong. Believe me, very wrong. It is not some innocent feelings. It is chosen on purpose and you would not want to be that kind of person. At the beginning we tricked ourselves into this innocent feelings but we know everything about it anymore. So we also know this is wrong. Again going back to the beginning, you must suffer. You must suffer to be free. Otherwise you will always stay in the middle of this friend/flirt dilemma which will prevent you to grow, get better. So I think… Don’t be frightened of the pain, at least not be frightened to make you prefer to stay friend with him. You can do this. Even though you love him, since he is a married man you can get over him.

      So. I wanted to be honest with you because I think this is what you need right now. I hope you would not question my purpose.

      Take care

      • Thistooshallpass

        Hi Kub,
        I’m so glad I read your post today. I needed to see this as I desire a friendship but in actuality I just don’t want to let go of him entirely. If I didn’t have any feelings I wouldn’t think twice about ending all contact. I can’t speak for Felk but being in a work situation poses an additional challenge. It’s always the risk you take when you get involved with someone at work. I’m at a place where I think I could safely get through the pain of detaching. It would sting like hell at first but gradually dissipate with time. I used to have false hopes of us but that’ll never happen. He’ll stick around for the kids, his commitment and the recognition he receives from his other family members. In ten years they’ll recognize they have just been coexisting and have nothing without the kids. It’s a sad predicament but one he could’ve addressed ten years ago. I’d most likely do the same if I were in his position except for letting the relationship slip. There you go…

      • Butterflies are Free

        Kub you make a mention of something important here and that is the morality our choices. The ethics of our decisions. And it is sobering to understand in the light of day that we, as humans, have aspects of ourselves that are downright nasty to others at times. We are not all light and love. Not by a long shot. We can be thoughtless and cold and cruel and selfish in our behavior towards other people even as we declare we “love” others.

        I have always tried to apply this in my life:
        Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
        The Mosaic law contains a parallel commandment: “Whatever is hurtful to you, do not do to any other person.”
        But in getting involved with another woman’s spouses I crossed a huge line. No doubt about it. And I seriously don’t think anyone here would like to have this happen to them while married. Unless they hate their spouse truly. They would not want to find out their spouse has a secret passionate lover stashed away out of sight. No way.

        I for one would NOT want that to happen to me. Ever. If marriage is all about loyalty and trust then imagine what it feels like to have those broken by the person you share a home and bed with. If you need to know any more about this topic, just google a “betrayed spouses” forum or blog to see the disasters caused by an affair getting discovered. OMG it is NOT pretty. It is actually pretty horrible and tragic.

        The marital boundary line we all cross when we enter an affair might seem blurry and grey when we cross it and this can lead to all kinds of trouble for us. Because really it ISNT all that blurry after all. Because there IS such a thing as right and wrong, common decency and respect for all the parties concerned in an affair (not just the two affair partners). Even if it gets a little confusing sometimes. And it does.

        The reasons you decided to end your affair are the best ones there are. He was and is married. Taken. And not going anywhere. This is the reason to end in fact. Even more than any characteristics or personality traits. Any ability you two had to get along or have the best times together. Married means taken means unavailable. Married means financially, emotionally and psychologically tied up with another person. And maybe with children too.

        The rest is excuses and rationalizations. We who are here and in affairs are dancing on a formidable boundary line where other people can get very seriously hurt for a long long time by our actions. It makes me think. And I know it has made you think too. You have suffered, clearly, in doing what you decided to do, but your reasons are all the right ones: Solid reasons. This will help you so much to move forward! Believe it because they will for sure! You have suffered but you will be so glad you made the efforts you did to do the right thing for you and for others.
        Many hugs Butterflies are Free aka Lara xxxooo

  • Felk

    BAF, wow. It’s been 2.5 weeks since you blocked your MM? That’s excellent. Really. I know time sometimes feels like it’s going slowly for me when I’m feeling the pain, so I’m sure you felt some of that. However, it also seems like you’ve kept yourself busy and you are still convinced it’s the right move with your MM.

    It sounds like you’ve spent some time thinking about how he wouldn’t make a good relationship partner for you, getting honest about his behavior recently and through your affair. I also understand how it feels like you’re going through another divorce. You were in a relationship with this man for 21 years. It seems completely reasonable that it would feel as momentous as a divorce to end this relationship. We know that ending some relationships is also comparable to the mourning of losing a loved one. Do not sell short the emotional investment that you have put into this relationship and the time that it takes to recover from that loss. I write that sentence not only for you but for me, too. I still put too much pressure on myself to “get over” my MM hoping it will be faster than it is. It is a slow process, and rather than get frustrated by how you’re still feeling sad, make sure to look back on how far you’ve come. I really do understand how sad it is to let go of something that you not only hoped would happen but something that you enjoyed for so many years. But, I think you know that the affair was the fantasy and what you’re seeing now in your MM is the reality.

    As a side note, I wanted to add that, after I wrote that response last night to your message about my friendship/disaster situation, I felt pretty pathetic. And I mean that in a good way. I mean that reading your response and typing my response (and getting honest with myself about how much I was still hoping) made me feel pathetic for still holding on and it was another wake-up call to try to stop. It renewed my commitment to stick to the friendship and stop trying to get him to do more (like coming to my house). I know it will not be easy and I know he can derail my plan if he gives me reason to hope, but I woke up this morning feeling pretty good about continuing to try to accept the friendship and the end of the affair. I don’t think I can do NC for 4 weeks as you suggested, but I know I can do more to stop making it harder on both of us.

    • Butterflies Are Free

      Felk you are showing great progress,,,,BRAVA!! Sooner or later you must make a decision that you can implement and stick by. Kub expressed this as well. Only you know when you are ready.
      I do think having very limited contact with him for a period of time would work wonders for you both.
      It would give you each a chance to experience some healing.
      You mention wanting to “check in” with him about your feelings regarding your break-up of the affair
      but I think personally this is the wrong conversation to have right now. Because it takes you both backwards.
      IMHO, The only conversation now should be working towards the more “detached” friendship you both want to build. One day the topic of the affair will come up for sure. But for the time being why not let all that talk and all those thoughts go QUIET for awhile?
      I am trying to stress I feel you need to each give each other some personal space to do this. “Checking-in” as you are describing will only add fuel to the affair which you are trying to drop. Honestly you do NOT need to talk to him about this.

      As a side topic I do wonder what makes you say always say NC is not an option? What makes the idea of a NC period so frightening or awful to you? In fact he is not going anywhere and neither are you. You will still work together in the fall. So I am wondering why it is so hard to imagine a NC period? Are you worried his feelings towards you will die? I doubt this would happen. They might change but they will not die. But he will not lose his feelings for you. Or are you worried he might seek another extra-marital lover? Or are you worried he might start enjoying the company of his wife more? Going NC for awhile might mean a “loss of control” over the relationship for you?
      You might not like the idea that you are giving him “free reign”?

      Lastly let me understand this well:
      When you mention the “disaster” waiting to happen you mean the disaster that would happen for you emotionally if you resumed the affair and then he pulled back again? IS that the disaster you mean?
      I think it is a given he will do this. The MM’s we are involved with here all do have some similar behavioral patterns. And they do tend to jump in with both feet then withdraw in various ways leaving us all feeling like crap. We call it their “guilt” “indecision” about having an affair etc. and we thus excuse it a bit. But always remember this: It hurts like hell to be on the receiving end of such behavior. I can testify to that based on my MM’s recent behavior.

      I hope this is helpful. Much love, BAF xxxooo

  • Felk

    BAF, ah, yes, the paradox of denial where you can’t know you’re in denial. 🙂 I get it, but it’s also true that sometimes people really aren’t in denial when they say they’re not. 🙂 I don’t think I have much denial (but below I admit some). I’ve admitted to still wanting the affair. I’ve admitted that we’re not yet in a friendship if we still have feelings, are discussing those feelings, and are lying to spouses about seeing each other.

    I also don’t think I’m in denial about how hard it’s been to attempt to transition to a friendship. You and others on here have described many problems with trying to be just-friends and I am encountering some of those problems (like still wanting more every time I see him). I feel how difficult this is almost every day. Even though I feel a lot better (and it means a lot to me that you say you see progress), it is still hard. I know I’ve said that I want to try to avoid a disaster with him and I mean it, but it is also honest to say that I’m not sure I am strong enough to make those choices. That’s not denial. That’s the opposite of denial. I admit that I may not be able to do the things I need to do to avoid the disaster. I am still in love.

    If anything, maybe I’m in denial about the possibility of the transition to a friendship working. I don’t think I’m in denial about this difficulty and how it might lead to disaster. I don’t think denial is the problem. The problem is that I can’t go NC (even for 4 weeks). I’ve thought about it. He’s mentioned it. Neither one of us is willing to do it. But is NC the only solution? Is that the only way to transition to a friendship (even though I’ve transitioned to friendships with exes without NC)? Probably not. Is it the best way? Probably. But it’s not the only way.

    Yes, I want more. But, if I can’t have more, I want a friendship. What’s hard right now is that, yes, I am still holding on to the relationship and I can see he is, too. He is trying harder to let go, but he’s not letting go. When I see him holding on, it gives me hope. It makes me think we should not give up. Far from denial, that is sad honesty. I am not afraid of “relapse.” I am happy to be back in the affair. I am afraid of disaster if we are not careful in crossing lines again.

    I’d like another conversation with him about all of this. I’d like to know where his thoughts are. Those talks are scary because they are intimate, but I don’t like going all this time without checking in. I’ve always thought we’re better served by talking. As you can see, I talk a lot here. Might be good for me to say some of these things to him.

    Thanks again for talking it through with me. You say good things that challenge me to think, and, although I like to talk like I know exactly what I’m doing, I don’t. You all have been so helpful to me.

  • Butterflies Are Free

    Hello everyone and Happy day after the 4th! I hope some of you had a great day yesterday.
    It is 2 and a half weeks since I cut my phone text Facebook with my exMM. I have seen him once or twice but only briefly and from afar thank goodness. No eye contact thankfully. He seems to be hiding out inside the restaurant or maybe its is so hot he wants to stay in withe AC. Whatever.

    I feel like I have done so many things in 2 1/2 weeks my son moved away; I took two small trips with friends; I went to a BBQ in another state yesterday. I really have been having some fun and not thinking about him all the time at all. Of course below the surface I have another level of feeling stoo:
    I am very disappointed sad angry etc. But in a way I feel like I am dodging a bullet.
    The last few weeks he has NOT seemed like someone I would want to spend my life with anymore. It is so weird and so sad. I am holding him to a higher standard now as someone I would actually consider living with and being with FULL TIME and he is coming up short. Based on all his recent actions towards me I do not have the confidence anymore that he would be right for me or that it would be a good idea to have him around in my life all the time. In particular nothing he did convinced me he would be supportive of my work and attentive as well as caring towards my emotions. I think I am ready to start a new list of things I need to find in a “theoretical mate”

    My exMM seems like nothing but an unresolved emotional mess right now and it is starting to feel like my husband did to me when we s[;it up. So now in a weird way I feel like I am going through another divorce! I know it’s only :in my head” but I am re-feeling the feelings of wanting to be free to live my own life and NOT be responsible for a partner’s welfare and happiness.
    My therapist says this is big PROGRESS for me.
    And this is “NORMAL”.
    But I know I am not wired for “normal” so it’s a new realization to me that the exMM needs to show respect and support and admiration for me to make my actual “list.” And he is coming up so so short.
    Pathetic. But also SAD.
    Hugs BAF/ Lara

  • Kub

    Hello everyone

    I just wanted to ask you that is it normal to have tension before meeting with a guy?
    Not too much but I feel anxious and I want to call it off but I push myself to be on a date. I am not sure if it is too much.
    I want to go back home and shut down the world. I want to be alone…
    Not that I expect something from this relationship but flirting, dating… I saw my ex-MM today. I am not sure if I am thinking selfishly but I felt like he looked so miserable. That did not hit me too much but kinda hated myself because I have started to date with men 🙁
    What am I doing friends? What is these feelings after this time.

    • Felk

      Kub, I guess I would ask what kind of tension are you feeling? Is it a nervous/anxious because you are excited and like this guy? The normal nerves we feel going on a new date? Or are you feeling conflict because of your feelings for your MM still? From what you say about wanting to go home and be alone and that you saw your ex-MM today, it sounds like it might be the thoughts of your MM?

      I think it is good for you to get out and date new people, but it doesn’t help you if you are not ready. If you will be on that date and thinking of your MM, then you cannot have fun on that date. It’s possible that you are hesitant because of how you were hurt by your MM or you are hesitant because you are clouded by thoughts of your MM after seeing him today. If you need time alone and you know you cannot enjoy the date, you should cancel the date. But, I know that we can look for small excuses to dwell on our MM when it really is better for us to go out and distract ourselves. I know there is no formula for when we should be ready, but it sounds like you have made great progress moving on and shutting out your MM. I know it can be scary to go out and date because it reminds us that our affair really is over. I know you may also feel this tension for your date tonight because you may feel that you’re not entirely over your MM, but going on dates will help you get over your MM. I’m not saying that you should use other relationships to get over your MM. You have to heal separately, but, at some point, getting out and meeting new people is part of that healing.

      As for your MM looking miserable, please do not feel guilty for moving on and dating. Your MM could not give you what you needed so you HAD to move on. Dating is normal. Please do not feel that you are not entitled to be happy if your MM is miserable. He made his choices in the relationship, just as you did, and we have to move on as we see necessary.

      And, because you think your MM is miserable, you may wonder if he misses you and wishes he was back together with you. I know this all too well. When my MM told me last week that he missed me and still had all the same feelings for me, I had all the thoughts again about how we should still be together. So, I wonder if seeing your MM miserable made you think those things, too? They are dangerous thoughts, though. Just because our MM are miserable, it doesn’t mean they want the affair again (my MM is still trying very hard to not get back into the affair) and it doesn’t mean that the affair is good for you. You know why you left the affair. It was no good for you. Your MM wasn’t going to leave his wife and he didn’t treat you well. We were so addicted to these relationships, that just seeing this person can trigger that brain chemistry again. My guess is that’s what’s happening to you today and it is temporary. Keep having NC with your MM and go on your date and keep trying to move on.

    • Butterflies Are Free

      Kub YES this is normal. Of course!! I always want to cancel dates too. Just try it out. If you don’t like it then make a quick exit stating you have to be somewhere else or do something else etc. GOOD LUCK!! I cant wait to her about it. Hugs BAF/Lara xxxooo

  • Butterflies are free

    Life Lessons this is in response to your post down below from:
    July 4, 2018 at 10:20 am
    First of all Happy Fourth! U hope you had sone fun and celebrated despite the situation you are in with your MM.
    I know in the beginning of the affair, you couldn’t see this far ahead. None of us can. You say: “It didnt cross my mind that someday sooner than later, I would begin to have so many feelings and care about so much.” Yes the continued exposure to the situation wears down our common sense in time and then all of a sudden we wake up and realize a new reality: We are in love with a married man! Duhhhh. It hits us like a ton of bricks because our denial has been doing a really great job of convincing us that we are “strong enough to handle an affair” or that “we are not really that in love after all”. It is amazing how our denial plays these games with our heads.
    Anyhow it is is smart to take your time to write down what you want to say to him. Take your time and be sure to really feel your feelings and to be willing to try and explain them to him. But this may or many not help you decide what is best for you to do. Because while the two of you are an “us” you still are NOT on the same page together at all.

    As for figuring out what you “need” remember there is a tricky part here: What you need today or tomorrow is NOT going to be what you need 6 months from now when you are deeper in love with him than you even are now. I know it sounds insane but as your feelings grow so will your needs and so will your expectations. So it might be a good time to consider whether there is any way for the two of you to stop this affair from growing any bigger until there is some kind of “plan” in place??

    I laugh as I write this as I know how affairs are but maybe it can be done? I mean you can’t undo the feelings you already have for him and him for you but is there any way to keep a lid on this so it doesn’t continue to explode anymore outwards? Maybe there is some kind of compromise type of relationship you can design for yourselves while you try and talk and figure things out?
    I know I never thought of this back in my early days of my affair and I had no one to talk to or advise me. My feelings for my exMM kept growing and I kept getting further INTO the affair for along time.
    Knowing what you want is another hard thing to know because this will change in 6 months time, or in a year’s time. But it is never too early to start thinking and planning.

    As for the call from him and her: Yikes. This is not easy I know. But the part with your eyes rolling back into your head made me laugh lol. She obviously trusts you a great deal and suspects nothing. He trusts you as well and has allowed you to be right in the middle of this type of conversation with her. I am really not sure what to say here except the obvious: you are being triangulated big time! (It’s a therapeutic term) and refers to a common type of relationship between three people as opposed to two people and the three people makes the relationship inherently UNSTABLE. Did you ever hear of this? It might be good to google it and read about it. Many of us here are being triangulated and it somehow feels comfortable to us because it is familiar from earlier in our lives. But it does not feel good and it’s not stable.

    As fro thinking about your future: Do you think you will still be together when your boys graduate? Do you see yourselves together that long? You ask:” Will she become suspicious and wonder why we dont talk anymore and/or avoid each other”. Dont worry about that right now. Is this the last child leaving the house? Are you willing to stay with him that long to see if he then proceeds to leave his W for you? Is that your hope I mean? I wish I could say it was not a risky plan but it IS a really risky plan. Because we have seen over and over here how many of the MM’s DO NOT LEAVE. aarrghh

    As for me I can say that I am growing more and more appreciative by the minute of the OTHER relationships I had during this 21 year period. The longest one was 2 1/2 years and I DID fall in love but not as hard as with the MM. Still it was a real one on one relationship and I never cheated on him with my ex MM. In fact I never spoke at all with my exMM during this period of time. Lately I was thinking of how careful I was NOT to let him treat me badly! And he treated me WELL!! It sounds like a different woman right? I feel like I was another person then too. But honestly it taught me so much I am just realizing now. SO my free “advice” to all the single women here who are seeing MM’s is KEEP DATING OTHER MEN! Stay in circulation! Don’t give up all of your time for a MM because it is too risky. We do not have time to waste by waiting on men who may or many NEVER leave. Try to not commit yourself to the MM. Try to keep your options OPEN. I know not everyone can do this but if you can do this I think it helps a lot to give yourself some much-needed options. And I seriously do NOT think you need to have permission from any MM to do so! Just think about it! Staying in circulation also lets the MM know he has to HURRY UP if he wants you. I swear staying in an affair reaches a point where the MM just gets so used to the situation that he will never want it to change. And why should he? Like I said, my MM always has thought it is easier for me to stay his “mistress” than for him to have to divorce. Its a lousy place to find yourself.
    Many hugs BAF xxooo

    • LIFELESSONS

      Hi BAF,
      I actually enjoyed being off work. My kids and I went out to see the fireworks yesterday. We do that every year and its always hell getting back home due to traffic but we enjoy it…
      You said something about the two of stopping the affair and my eyebrows immediately scrunched ul amd then I continued to read and noticed you had to laugh a little yourself knowing how easy it is to say that and how challenging it is to do it. However, I think thats good advice!
      …never heard of triangulated and I will look it up. If you couldve seen my face in person you really wouldve cracked up laughing.
      You:
      Do you think you will still be together when your boys graduate? Do you see yourselves together that long? Are you willing to stay with him that long to see if he then proceeds to leave his W for you? Is that your hope I mean? 

      Me: I have thought about this and I think I am complacent enough to allow this to go on for that long. As I read what I journal and think about the different emotions I go through, I realize I has so many mixed emotions about it. I have never really wanted him to leave his W for me and if he did I wouldnt want him. He said, youre just speaking hypothetically. I said well I just feel like I wouldnt want to break up your relationship with her. I shut the conversation down because I didnt want to talk about it. He is a certified cheater! Do i really want to get in a real relationship with someone like that…NOPE! I dont think I would trust him and I dont think he would want to be in a relationship. I think he would want to experience the freedom of the single life for a while. For the most part, I try to be realistic in my thinking about “US” but he is attentive and affectionate and I love attention so its like as long as he can show me some type of attention and figure out how to spend time with me, I am ok but then I have my moments where I want him to stay over or just spend an entire day with me and that hasnt happened. I am not sure if we will stick it out 3 more yrs but I am open and have been open to meeting/dating other people. He is aware of that, I make mention of me wanting to date and meet other people but it seems that the guys arent available and he jokes around and says things like when you meet someone, I am still going to be right here “poking” you and I say well…I am not a cheater so, not sure how that will happen…
      You:
      Is this the last child leaving the house? Yes, this is the last child to leave the house.

      My MM probably thinks it is easier to deal with me on the side then to leave his W also. He feel that financially he would be screwed if he left. He didnt tell me that but that is an assumption I made from a comment he made during our “pre-sex relationship”
      They enjoy having all of their needs fulfiilled by any means necessary.

      • Butterflies Are Free

        Hi LL, I did not mean to suggest you should stop the affair. What I meant was could you somehow get it to chill out a bit rather than escalate? I m thinking you are very new to saying you might also feel love feelings and with that said the floodgates for many newer and deeper feelings often happens. And with that comes there greater wish and greater expectation for more and frequent contact etc. I am not sure what I am saying is realistic but I thought it was worth the suggestion. You admit you are pretty “complacent” for now and not looking to exit the affair anytime soon. Besides the usual warnings to anyone in your shoes there is not too much more I can add. Hugs BAF aka Lara xoxo

  • Butterflies are Free

    Lifelessons I am answering you up here as I cant stand scrolling down after awhile. :).
    *This post: LIFELESSONS June 29, 2018 at 8:19 pm”
    I am glad you are journaling and I am glad you are thinking. You say you don’t know how much longer you can stand being “Woman Number 2”. Yes I get it. This is an issue for those of us who are single and in affairs with MM’s. We do not have a “Number One” in our lives. I think It makes us much more vulnerable because we naturally will get more to thinking and wondering: “Could this MM actually be Our Number One?” As time goes on we get deeper and deeper into the situation even tho we may have never intended to. Certainly this was my case. I never thought I would fall in love with my exMM. He was NOT my type even. Yes all the love stories and romantic stories DO come to play here. We feel like we can be ourselves with the MM and they feel more and more like someone we can not live without. And the birds seem to sing more sweetly too lol.
    But can we remain at position Number 2? Really that is us being cruel to ourselves isn’t it? Isn’t that us allowing ourselves to be ‘used’? Isn’t that us not daring to go out there and find our own man?
    Or ..??? hmmmm….
    Thats for each of us to figure out on our own and DAMN it has yes taken me yes 21 years and so many tears (with several long term break-ups) to get me where I am today which is STUCK. Sigh.
    Maybe if it wasn’t a “secret” relationship like it was for so long I would have exited sooner? I am not sure. I have felt truly in love with my exMM since very very early on. Yes soulmates.

    I was really laughing when I read your friend’s description of love it is “revolving” hahahah. That sounds a little too fly by the seat of your pants (and convenient!) for my taste. Do BOTH of those women know about each other? Often times one knows (the affair partner) and the other does not know (the wife). I feel really yucky about this aspect. I do not like being in a position to hurt her. I hate it actually. I don’t think he treats either one of us very well.

    YES! you will learn to communicate better with your MM and yes in a way there’s nothing to lose. However it sounds like you are both too far into it for there to be “nothing to lose”.
    But, alas, there IS something to lose and thats of course the love and attention (and probably great sex) you have been receiving from him that is increasing too. That’t the problem with affairs. We might want them to just “stay” in one place. But they rarely do! The longer they go on, the more they progress and we get more and more involved with time. And then getting out of them can be excruciating.
    “Affairs are like lobster pots” says Go Ask Suzi: “easy to get into and very hard to get out of.”
    What was once a casual and maybe “kind of innocent” “fling” (ahem) now becomes something capable of causing deep pain for us, our MM’s, their families, etc. And yes there is usually a “family” isn’t there? Isn’t that the number one reason we hear MM saying they will not leave their marriages? Personally I think there might be more to it than just the “kids” but whatever the reason if your person who you hope will be your Number One already has a Number One, and does not want to leave that person (forget about the kids for a minute) then we need to step back and figure out what we honestly want to do. Yes of course we can talk it over with the MM. But in my experience such talks are often not all that helpful. That is because the MM usually does not want the single woman to leave! And why would he? So he will do everything to stop you from leaving.

    So in my case we experimented with me dating and even me having full time non-cheating relationships with other men! But in the end we always got back together.
    You say your friend said: “he possibly can fall in love with girlfriend on the side and when there is a little drama from her and his wife is taking care of his needs and things are good at home then he is “in love” with her. I said what?! He said yes, people love more than one person at a time. I said ok!”
    This is not really what I had in mind when I meant people can love two people. I mean love two people BOTH simultaneously (like polyamory) which I also tried. Polyamory is MUCH harder than the “revolving love: idea as you must be fully accountable to both people! I found it hard as hell not to prefer one person (my MM) over the other one if you see what I mean.

    I am VERY glad you plan to talk to him however. What do you plan to say? Do you know what your truly want yet? Or is it too early? Don’t rush yourself on this point or it will likely backfire.
    You say:
    “I notice you said he recently mentioned he loves you, he is unhappily married, and he wants to leave her but you dont believe him.” YES
    You say:
    “Is this something he has said he would do over the years and just havent done it ?” No.
    You say:
    “I’m curious as to why you dont believe him.” It is in my deepest gut. I do not think he has the emotional tools necessary within himself to make such a drastic change. He is too deeply insecure and too deeply afraid of change even tho he is a Narc and he comes off as an ‘Alpha Male’. I also think he is hoping that if I know how really deeply unhappy he is then I will return to him. Because I am single and I have less to lose than he does by leaving a marriage. (That has always been his thinking). He might even casually threaten to hurt himself in some way I have been thinking lately.
    He is “that type” moody/depressive/angry when things are not going his way but unable to take actions to improve his situation without extreme guilt. As you can see I know him pretty well by now, lol. I know me pretty well now too. I am hiding the deep and terrible pain I feel in Blocking and Walking from him but what else can I do? I am worrying more about how HE feels than how I feel too often.

    LL, with your kids the same ages and his W liking you, it wraps you up even MORE into the fabric of his AND HER life. I had this happen too. And now I can see some deep regrets he has about not leaving his W sooner and some things that have perhaps happened with his adult kids (not good things) as a result of the strife he and his W have had at home. LL: Play your own scenario forward in your head and see where it takes you. It is NOT always better to stay for the “kids:. That is what my exMM is admitting now. Actually I knew it all along as I was divorced. But he was very stubborn.
    Sigh…
    Many hugs to you in this process! This is anything but easy LL! BAF aka Lara xxooo

    • Felk

      BAF, I like what you say about how you might have left sooner if it wasn’t a secret relationship (an affair). It’s a really interesting insight, but I think it’s true that we put up with worse treatment in an affair (and I’d say that both the MM and other accept worse treatment) because we HAVE TO in an affair. We can’t have the same expectations in an affair as we do in a “normal” relationship, and so we settle for less than we normally would. And it hurts. Not all of the time but sometimes. The highs are so high, but the lows keep happening throughout the affair because we can’t have the person as much as we want (and that’s true on both sides).

      So, yes, I think we put up with worse treatment for longer in an affair. I also think it’s that we’re less likely to complain to the other person than in a normal relationship because we don’t want to waste the precious time we have in an affair on an argument or even a sad/hard discussion. So, we suck it up more than we normally would. Yes, of course, we say things and we voice concerns/problems and we fight. But, I think we do it less or maybe even less forcefully when we do it. So, it’s not only that we have to accept less in an affair, by definition, but we also complain about it less (even if we think our other is being unfair) because we don’t want to waste time with fights. And it can reinforce our other’s bad behavior that we might have stopped early on in a normal relationship.

      As I’ve said, I don’t think my MM would have made a better partner than my H. If my MM and I had been in a normal relationship, I would have said things to him much sooner, more directly, and more often about his unsupportive behavior and his lack of openness at times. And either that would have improved or it would have led to our break-up sooner. What we are willing to tolerate in small spurts is much different than on an everyday basis. Or what we are willing to tolerate when we know this person isn’t our primary significant other is different.

      Like you, I also think that people can’t “love” two people equally simultaneously. I think we can have different types of love for people at the same time. My MM can love and care about his W, but he was madly in love with me. Just as with my H… I loved him, but I wasn’t lusting for him and attracted to him the way I was to my MM. I’d think it was that way with you and your MM and his W, and LL’s MM and his W. Early in the affair, yes, maybe I was “in love” with both my H and MM, but then that changed over time. Our affections and attentions shifted from our spouses to each other and, to me, that seems consistent with not being able to be “in love” with two people at the same time. And then bring on the problems! 🙂

      • Butterflies Are Free

        Felk I totally agree with what you say in these 4 paragraphs with little to add. So true!
        hugs BAF

    • Felk

      Maybe I could ask you all for some help? Do some thinking out loud? You know that my MM and I are trying a friendship. It seems to be working. It was rocky for months as we went through the break-up. Still lots of feelings for both of us, as expected. There was some hand-holding, touching, kissing, and even sex over those months since Sept, but, in early May, we had a good talk where I tried to get more clarity on “are we going to keep touching/kissing or not?” Of course, there wasn’t a clear answer, but it seemed that we were going to try to move away from touching/kissing. Although I’d love to keep touching and kissing, thinking about us as “just friends” has helped me a lot. It has helped me expect less and given me more ease in our interactions. I’m hoping that’s helping him, too.

      Since that talk in May, we’ve spent time together about every other week. We e-mail here and there (and it’s usually light and playful things), and we text our “usual” about once/week. When we spend time together, it has felt easier for me and more playful than months ago. Except for last Monday, we hadn’t really talked about our relationship since May and have just had nice times together talking/laughing as we used to. Monday was also a bit more flirtatious than our usual lately. Just more comfortably joking about past sex and things like that. He also e-mailed me Thursday while out of town with his W (and that surprised me).

      On Monday, we talked about our feelings as we talked about whether or not he’d be comfortable coming over to my house. I want to do this as “just friends.” Yes, I know it’s not what friends do, but he and I will always be more than friends. I think that he can come to my house, have some lunch and talk and enjoy as we used to… without getting physical. You know I’ve said I can separate these things. He is hesitant (but still not ruling it out), and he mentioned that his feelings for me haven’t changed so he thinks it would be hard to come over as it would hurt too much knowing we couldn’t be as we were. He said he was still attracted to me so he thinks it would still be a problem. I think that, if we draw clear boundaries and are committed to not crossing lines, we can enjoy some flirtation and friendship without introducing the problems of the affair.

      Here’s the thing… he’s still holding on. I know it in his playful responses to my e-mail, in him initiating texts, in him not ruling out coming to my house, in him saying he wants to keep doing nights out alone, in him continuing to go drinking with me for hours in the afternoon (even though we’re on summer break from work) and lying to his W about where he is, in him saying he can’t imagine us not spending time together anymore, and I know it because I’m still holding on, too, and we agreed that we likely feel the same as the other.

      I just don’t know what to do about it. We are still in love. Neither one of us denies that. He thinks going back to the affair would cause the same problems as before, and I want as much as we can get (even if that only means him coming to my house and not crossing physical lines). I think if we are both still holding on like this that it means we want more. I think if he were really committed to ending it, he would. I think we should stop denying we want more and go with it. I think we are prolonging the inevitable of getting physical again.

      But… I don’t want to be foolish. I don’t like holding back the way I feel, but if it is necessary for this friendship, I will. I really will. I’d rather we act on how we feel, but I can rein it in if I’m going to jeopardize the friendship (drive him away permanently). So, tell him how I feel and suggest we go back to the kissing and touching or continue to suppress the feelings, hope those feelings go away, and focus on the friendship? Or something in between? Focus on the friendship, maybe hint a little at more, and just see what happens?

      Also, I say the friendship is working, but is it? You all know I feel a lot better, and I feel he and I are more “us” now. We talk and laugh more like we used to over these last two months. My only hesitation to declare the friendship “working” is that we are both still feeling everything we’ve always felt and are we just slowly headed back to what we were? Or are we doomed to a friendship of wanting more forever? Or it is slow progress to a just-friendship and I should be patient? Thanks for reading and any thoughts you have.

      • Butterflies Are Free

        Felk, I have read your words and am trying to think of what to say. I don’t want to sound harsh or like a know-it-all. Obviously I have my own issues with my exMM and my life. I am talking from my personal perspective based on the the years I have spent with my exMM.

        To me, based on my personal experience, your affair has never been over really. I know you talk a lot about transitioning to “friendship”. And you have a way with your words that is very, very convincing indeed. You can be a very logical and persuasive writer which can be a good thing. I think you’d make a fine lawyer as well as a teacher. But you might also be an expert at convincing even yourself. 🙂

        I know in my affair and post affair I, too, go into all kinds of rationalizations and reasons for things. I also go into major denial regarding my painful emotions I am finding. (Thanks to this blog). I think most of us here are dealing with personal rationalizations and denials for various reasons. A lot of it is because these are secret relationships that must be hidden from the world. “This is all taboo.” These affairs are secret, intimate relationships that cross major boundaries. And its not something we feel necessarily proud of. So I am not saying this to you to single you out. We are all in the same misery boat together.

        So your “friendship” with the MM consists of you spending secret time alone with him every other week and some of these times you are drinking together (which is a MAJOR way to let down your guard and all inhibitions). And, unsurprisingly there are some physical nuances/elements to it that can easily catch fire. Of course there are! Can you see why?
        Would his W or your H be happy knowing about this or watching the two of you engage with each other? Of course not. The two of you are “too close” and “too intimate” not to be a threat to a spouse even without sex.

        So Felk to me what you have is NOT what I would call a ‘friendship”. To me, it’s still an affair plain and simple. I already know an affair can have periods with no sex! But these pass.
        However our emotions lock us into an emotional affair just as much as the sex locks us in a physical affair. We can get in very deep with an emotional affair and then we can trigger that pesky brain addiction very easily I am afraid. The brain lights up in emotional affairs too just a little less.

        And now you are inviting him into your home???
        No Felk bad idea. (This is my humble opinion only). I am not sure of you went there in the past, but letting down that boundary is a very bad idea. Your H lives there too and if it were me I would not want to bring the MM into my home. Isn’t your home your sacred place with your H?
        You are still in the affair and it can flip over very easily back to the physical very soon. I feel it coming from your words. Do you? Or perhaps you do not see this coming? The friendship you have is not neutral. Can you see that? I think the problem is that you still WANT the affair. So to you, the friendship is one way to keep the affair on a slow burn. But you secretly hope (and I think you know) the kind of “friendship” you have will lead you both back into the affair.

        I also think as you are a self-admitted narc you DO really enjoy the attention of your MM. I really do not know for sure of course. But I DO know narcs very well and I DO know they absolutely thrive on attention from others on being noticed, on getting admiration from others. You must beware this trait in yourself because it ought not dominate your rational thinking. I am sure you really enjoy all the attention and reactions from him. And perhaps you are addicted to it and thus ?need” it? I know my exMM is like this exactly. We ALL have traits in us that we need to watch in ourselves as they can become weaknesses for us. One of mine is co-dependency and one of yours is being a narc. :). None of us is without some flaws of course as we are all HUMAN.

        Perhaps at home you felt your H was not showing these traits to you any more? Regardless, you have never wanted your affair to end. This has always been clear. I think for you this ending of someone swooning over you (the MM) is perhaps too difficult to bear. So you basically encourage him to come back. You have made it clear to him and to us that you are more than willing able and ready to re-engage with him. So don’t you think it will happen? One of these days? And isn’t it what you want?

        You have stated no “conditions” for going back to the affair: no complaints or major conflicts to iron out. You are not jealous of his W most of the time and neither do you need him to leave her. So, from your point of view the break up made little sense as all was going “fine” as you say. You had no big problems with the affair. So in many ways, you make an ideal partner for an affair. Can you see this?

        You do not cause the usual “emotional problems” (as other affair partners) as you do not want to leave your H. In addition, you are not only willing to be mature “mature”, but also “discrete” etc. You do not cause “scenes”. Think about it. This means a MM (any MM) would see you as a low risk affair partner. I know my exMM would have LOVED and ADORED me to act and behave in such a non-possessive manner.

        But of course I am me and I must live according to my inner world not anyone else’s. I want my exMM to LEAVE his W as unreasonable as that sounds. I have waited all these years to say this. Now I know for sure. His kids are all grown up and his W is working. He could leave now if he had the strength. But I don’t think he does. But for me having an affair with him while he stays married is now OVER. I have reached my limit of my tolerance.

        And let’s never EVER forget: the brain addictions that so difficult to fight. It is the same for ALL of us here! We miss those brain buzzes. Life feels flat without them. And the MM’s feel them too and hate the void of no brain buzzes just as much as we do. We all feel more energized and more alive by those brain buzzes!

        You ask”
        “My only hesitation to declare the friendship “working” is that we are both still feeling everything we’ve always felt and are we just slowly headed back to what we were?” YES.
        “Or are we doomed to a friendship of wanting more forever?” YES. BOTH/AND!!
        Or it is slow progress to a just-friendship and I should be patient? NO. IT IS NOT SLOW PROGRESS TO A FRIENDSHIP BECAUSE YOU SAY YOU ARE STILL BOTH “IN LOVE” AND YOU ARE INVITING HIM TO YOUR HOUSE. THE AFFAIR IS ALIVE AND WELL BUT HAS SWITCHED FORMS TO AN EMOTIONAL ONE FOR THE TIME BEING.
        I hope this feels helpful and not harsh.
        Many hugs and much love, xxxooo
        Butterflies are Free
        aka Lara

        • Felk

          BAF, you do not sound too harsh or like a know-it-all. Everything you say sounds fair and like you’re just trying to help me think it through. I appreciate that. It seems you have a pretty good read on me… which is kudos to you (and it makes me feel like I’m being true to myself on here). 🙂 My H has also said that I’d make a good lawyer. The only part I’d disagree with you in what you said about me being logical and persuasive is that I don’t think I’m lying to myself. I don’t deny wanting to be back in the affair, and, at the same time, I am genuinely willing to attempt a just-friendship if that’s all we can have. I also don’t think I’m in denial about how hard this transition has been. It’s getting easier, and I do feel SO much better, but it’s still hard, and I keep saying that.

          I see what you’re saying about how it’s still an affair because we’re lying to our spouses and there are still all of these feelings. How it’s an emotional affair now. But, what if it’s part of the transition away from the full-blown affair? What if this is just a stage on the path to being friends? And, when I say that, I don’t mean to sound naive. This is not denial. I’m just saying that it might be understandable that people who transitioned from a relationship to a friendship would go through a period of slow cooling off where there still were feelings involved. Maybe it makes sense that it goes from emotional + physical to just emotional to nothing? (Yeah, I know. I’m not entirely convinced either, but it seems possible that’s how it could happen. I’d probably believe it more if the feelings weren’t so strong.)

          As far as inviting him to my home, that’s nothing new. We came to my house all of the time during the affair, and he’s even come here a few times since the break-up. It is definitely not a sacred place with my H (although my MM feels a bit uneasy here). Where I may be naive is that I’m not sure I can see it flipping back to a physical affair soon (even though my friend who knows about the affair predicted that would happen, too), but I do want that, yes. I’ve never denied that. I’m honestly okay with either, though. I’m okay with a just-friendship, and I’m okay with it going back to an affair. Sort of (see paragraph about being scared about starting the affair again).

          Your comments about my narc tendencies are spot-on. I have admitted this. I very much like his attention and affection. But it was not because of a lack from my H. My H is very in love and attentive. I guess I just wanted more or wanted it from someone different. The affair started slowly at work so it wasn’t like I was seeking it out. Things were good with my H when the affair started. I think it’s just you start to like this attention from another man, and then, with narc tendencies, it’s an intoxicating boost to the self-esteem and you don’t care about the hurt/harm you are doing to your spouse/marriage. But you are absolutely right that it is a weakness, too. Those narc tendencies keep me wanting my MM to want to come back. To have him swooning and giving me the attention again. I think this is part of the addiction. I know that’s still there, and I know that danger quite clearly now. But… to be fair, I also felt intimacy with him. It is not just about attention/attraction, I hope you know. He and I match very well and enjoy each other very much. I genuinely miss him (and do not simply miss his attention). My guess is that all of this is pretty similar for him given his narc tendencies, too.

          And the way you describe my feelings and actions in the affair is pretty accurate. I think I keep expectations reasonable, I don’t demand too much, I wasn’t very jealous, and I wasn’t trying to get him to leave his W. So, sure, I can see why my MM could still be drawn to an affair with me. However, I also genuinely worry about pursuing an affair again. I don’t think he’s as cut out for an affair as I am. Sure, it worked for five years, but he always struggled more with the time apart from each other and with guilt about not fulfilling obligations at home. So, if we were to go back to an affair, what would be different? Would he suddenly be okay with everything? Unlikely. And then I’m setting myself up for him to end it suddenly again, and possibly with greater consequences as he may say we can’t even be friends because it would just lead back to the affair. This is a real worry for me.

          I also think about how he tried to end the affair for really good reasons… he didn’t want to risk his marriage and hurt his children. Although I don’t think I’m this selfless, at times I think about drawing clearer boundaries for his sake. So as not to tempt him further. So as to make it easier for him to stick to his decision to end the affair. I know he is a grown man who can make his own decisions, but I know I make it harder for him at times. Like when I invite him to my house. He has always told me that he wants me to be me and he will make his own decisions, but I know I have a tendency to push when I want something.

          But the biggest honesty is that I don’t know if I’m strong enough to avert this disaster waiting to happen. I want to try to avoid this, but I don’t know if I can. When I say I’m trying, I have not texted him since last Tuesday, and I have only sent e-mail once in that time, too. I’m trying to keep some boundaries. Of course, the best option is NC, but you know I’m not going to do that and I want him in my life. So, I spend a lot of time thinking about how I can have him in my life and how we can avoid the disaster that was last September. I do not want that pain ever again. If anything, I think he’s in denial about how this affair is going to happen again. Or maybe he’s not in denial and he is fearful of this, too. I’d like to talk about this with him, but, if he’s not ready for that conversation, I’m not sure it would do much good.

          • Butterflies are Free

            Felk I am glad you did not find my comments harsh. Where I think you are in still in denial is that NO neutral friendship can directly follow an affair. You ask” “But, what if it’s part of the transition away from the full-blown affair? What if this is just a stage on the path to being friends?” My answer to you is this: It is not. It is NOT.

            I have asked my therapist about this so many times over the course of my affair. I have been with her for years and years and I trust her implicitly. She has always said this: It takes time (months at the very least) for each person from an affair to process the feelings of regret, grief, sadness, abandonment, etc. after the affair is over. And this must be done alone and in one’s own time. This painful stuff must be all processed and let go of by EACH affair partner FIRST. Then IF AND WHEN the two people are ready (and she says this is a big “if) then they can embark upon a new, affair-free friendship. A boundary can be set where both people agree to NOT bring up the affair to keep both people feeling safe and comfortable.

            I do not think you are being naive when you ask the questions about your ‘friendship” with your MM because you are simply too intelligent for that. :).
            I think its denial. Pure and simple. I think so many of us have this very same denial because we actually secretly WANT the MM back! We yearn for him; we want him back; and our denial says its okay and that we should simply just resume the affair! “What the hell. Go ahead and have the sex.” (Thats what the denial says) I am talking about THIS kind of denial. We who are all have various degrees I would wager. Why else would we need to be here? 🙂

            You did not have a period of time to let the affair be completely OVER. Now what you talk about together (you and him) is the AFFAIR and the affair feelings etc. So you are rehashing much of the affair. You have not put a boundary around what WAS the affair and embarked on a new and fresh friendship FREE of the emotional ties of the affair. Instead through your many talks about your mutual feelings about the affair you are cementing an emotional affair which as I said is still an affair but without the sex (for now). I don’t think this period will last without you having sex again, however. I think you know this. That is why I say your affair is not over. Neither one of you is letting it die but in particular YOU because you never wanted it to end in the first place. You ask:
            “Maybe it makes sense that it goes from emotional + physical to just emotional to nothing?” My answer to you is NOPE. Impossible chemically and psychically and emotionally speaking.

            You say this, which is very BRAVE of you: “I think it’s just you start to like this attention from another man, and then, with narc tendencies, it’s an intoxicating boost to the self-esteem and you don’t care about the hurt/harm you are doing to your spouse/marriage.” Are you still sure you want to continue to do this harm to your marriage? I know this must be a tough point to ponder but since your H loves you and since everything was going fine between you and your H when the affair started, do you really want to follow your narc tendencies or might they blow up your marriage at one point? And leave you devastated? You say” “My H is very in love and attentive. ” Can you afford to have that shaken up? I imagine you will say “but we will not get caught”. And that might be true. Or not.

            You also say your MM has NARC tendencies too! Thus your affair is made up of TWO people who both crave more attention than just a marriage. Your H is in love with you and your MM is in love with you as you say. But your H is not a narc I assume? Your mm is in love with your attention to him no doubt. He can not bear to lose that “high” for him as a narc. Is that how your H is wired as well?
            You are a grown woman and know you could damage your marriage with your affair but perhaps the risk-taking is another source of thrill (and thus addiction) for your brain? Most articles say risk-taking and thrill-chasing is an adrenaline rush for people. And oh don’t I know that. LOL

            You say very honestly”
            “I know he is a grown man who can make his own decisions, but I know I make it harder for him at times. Like when I invite him to my house. He has always told me that he wants me to be me and he will make his own decisions, but I know I have a tendency to push when I want something.” Yes you DO make it harder for him and YES, inviting him to your house is still a VERY bad idea in my mind. Even if he was always there before your “affair break-up” a lot. Maybe especially if he was there a lot. And you say: “But the biggest honesty is that I don’t know if I’m strong enough to avert this disaster waiting to happen. I want to try to avoid this, but I don’t know if I can.” Yet Felk, you are setting it all up so that this disaster WILL most likely happen IMHO. Because you want it to. This is right back to the addiction and the brain surges. The “waiting for “it” to happen time”….the “not knowing what will happen time”….the “passion building time”…are all very addictive. So addictive! It takes someone like me (a “real” “true” addict to see those highs so clearly. Crystal clearly. Oh how I know!

            Thus as an addict speaking to another addict, I know I can not persuade you to follow any course of action (designed by ME) in this matter. YOU will decide. I have no doubt about it.
            That is okay with me. I hardly know how to give myself advice sometimes. 🙂
            Which is why I have turned to the spiritual in my life to help me cope with all my addictions and impulsive actions and everything else. (Beside having a therapist).
            You might try therapy too Felk? Altho I know in my heart true narcs never go to therapy as they never think anything is wrong. I am so jealous of this trait by the way!
            Basically I think what you want in this affair, you will try to get.
            This might be true of many of us here but with you it’s upfront and direct. Easy to hear. And I think your MM will act and function the same if he is a narc.

            But what is SO CLEAR to ME personally now is this: I am breaking through MY denial of what it means to say “I love a narc”. In my case I have said he is a narc and I have been the empath. People here have pointed out things about him that are RED FLAGS. And I KNOW it! Yet I still “love” him. Or do I? My denial about the red flags is massive. But it is shifting now. I have blocked and walked and don’t feel all that badly. Yes I have had some times of feeling like running over to see him ASAP and hugging him and kissing him and telling him I forgive him. But I have not acted on those feelings. Yes I felt the waves of depression for an hour or so but nothing too earth shattering. I have left this man so many times I am quite used to being on my own without him now.
            Now I am trying to ask myself this: What does it really feel like to love this man? My MM has no doubt LOVED me swooning over him…something his W stopped doing long ago. (Or so he says). But now I am thinking: What is this “LOVE” experience really feel like for ME? Am I happy? Or am I used to feeling miserable? I honestly don’t know anymore. This affair has gone on too long….I lack clarity! SO mostly right now, I am still leaning so much more about what it truly feels like to be an “US” even with no contact at the time being. I am learning I like the idea that I can be a butterfly and simply fly away to another flower. And be free to not have to swoon over him to get my own “fix” of having this man in my life. My secret security fix. And maybe I can learn to swoon over other flowers and other things! And to not need the so-called “stability” I feel as partly been my reason for being in this affair?
            Hmmmmm……
            Many hugs,
            Butterflies are Free
            aka Lara

          • Felk

            BAF, I get what you’re saying about my denial. I know that’s a possibility, but it doesn’t feel like denial. I think about these things a lot. I try not to lie to myself. I figure it does no good unless I’m as honest as I can be. I do want a relationship with my MM again. No denying that. But, I also want a friendship if more is not possible, and I do think a friendship is possible. However, what I probably haven’t been as honest about is how I have not fully committed to the idea in my head. How I haven’t entirely given up on the possibility of more with my MM. How I don’t look at our interactions as just-friendship yet. So, yes, I guess we don’t have a “friendship” yet. I will not deny that. He and I still have feelings for each other, and he is still being careful not to spend too much time with me. If it were just a “friendship,” we’d have no problem spending time with each other. I also try to limit my contact with him, but it is mainly because I’m trying to honor this attempt at a friendship and not push too much. I guess I’m also trying to limit my pain. I know that the distance has been good for me, even if I want very much to contact him (right now and every moment).

            To me, it feels like he and I are putting up all sorts of boundaries. Nothing physical has happened in over two months. We *only* see each other every other week. We don’t text or e-mail much. Are these not boundaries? Maybe they’re not big enough, but they feel like boundaries to me.

            I think you know the answers to your questions about my marriage. Of course, I do not want my H to find out, but if I am still willing to be in the affair, I am still willing to risk my marriage. That has not changed over these six years. I wish I could say otherwise. That would make this all easier if I could feel that the risk to my marriage was too great, but I don’t feel it. Now, I still feel that the pull to be with my MM is stronger. And you are right that my H is not a narc. And it is why he’s better for me than my MM. 🙂

            But as for the disaster that I am trying to avoid, I feel pretty torn. I know the pull I feel to keep trying to spend time with my MM, but I also think a lot about how I don’t want more pain. So, no, the risk of losing my marriage isn’t what keeps me from pursuing my MM, but thinking about the pain I could feel if we start up again is what makes me hesitate. I know you can hear I still want the affair. I do. But, I also very much do not want that pain again. I am in a MUCH better place these last few months, and I want to continue on that path. I guess I just want to believe that he and I have more options than doom and disaster. It is partially ego but it is partially that I know myself in relationships. I know that I can be patient. I know that keeping him in my life matters more to me than having sex with him again, so I am quite willing to back off if it will help our friendship. But, I also know that keeping him in my life right now will make me want to have more. It feels like a catch-22 with no good solution. I know that he and I both think we can “solve” this. I’d say that’s narc tendencies, but I think that’s what most people in love think.

            For now, I will not invite him to my house. I say “for now” to be honest about how I don’t know if I’ll go back on that, but, for now, I will try to give us more distance and space to heal and more room to work on a friendship. The addiction is strong, but my desire not to feel that pain again is pretty strong, too.

          • Butterflies Are Free

            Felk Of course your denial does not feel like denial. That is why we call it denial! 🙂
            I think you are making great progress however and I urge you to reflect upon these words of yours: “But the biggest honesty is that I don’t know if I’m strong enough to avert this disaster waiting to happen. I want to try to avoid this, but I don’t know if I can.”
            These are powerful words.
            You also say: “But as for the disaster that I am trying to avoid, I feel pretty torn.”

            If you REALLY want to avoid this said disaster and you REALLY want to transition to a neutral and emotionally safer friendship I think there are OTHER ways to get there. Perhaps you could totally cut contact for 4-6 weeks days weeks for example to have a period of time where you BOTH and EACH get to process letting go of the relationship but each on his own with her/his own support system. Maybe 4 weeks is not enough. I am just throwing that number out there. You do this with the mutual agreement that when you each are done mourning grieving letting go of the affair and what it meant to each of you on YOUR OWN,
            and neither one of you wants the affair to happen again and means it, then you begin to build a neutral friendly activity friendship together preferably with other people involved as well. (Or some form of this plan) You would be agreeing in essence to develop the kind friendship that would not raise eyebrows for your spouses. In other words you would aim to “normalize” your relationship within the greater social construct/context.

            The denial you and all of us have is the small voice that says NO to such a simple logical plan. And its there because we really do not want to end the addiction/affair whatsoever and we come up with intricate plans to keep it going whether we want to admit to or not. It is very similar to alcohol addiction I must say having been there too.

            For a true and lasting neutral friendship to happen you must do much more than as you say: “However, what I probably haven’t been as honest about is how I have not fully committed to the idea in my head.” You must not only choose to change what is in your “head”, Felk: You must choose where to go with your FEET. You must decide to take certain ACTIONS which are the opposite of vague, let’s see what happens kinds of decisions. In other words like Kub said you must DECIDE and then IMPLEMENT.

            But none of us here can make you do this or convince you to do this. And only you know if you are ready. You say: ” I don’t look at our interactions as just-friendship yet. So, yes, I guess we don’t have a “friendship” yet.” This is true. But its also because you have not let go of the affair yet and you have not processed the break-up as an “ENDING.” The interactions you are having now make a neutral friendship impossible by definition. It seems like you are trying to convince him to have some kind of ‘friends with occasional benefits” kind of relationship. That would be fun for a little while maybe but is also emotional dynamite.
            Again it is your life and YOU get to decide.
            But what you seem to want to avoid is a “relapse” and I am speaking to that part of you.
            As for you NOT inviting him (the MM) to your house I think that is very wise for many many reasons. Bravo to you!
            Hugs BAF/LARA xxxooo

      • Kub

        Hello Felk

        I have read your post and I would like to share my thoughts on your situation.
        If you remember you and I had a conflict over this being friend with your ex topic. Maybe I am old fashioned person I don’t know but I think… It was clear that all the tension between you and your ex would not go away if you keep hanging as friends. Even maybe trying to stay friends could put more heat in it because even though you want to otherwise, deep down you want to be together. Limiting yourselves as friends even maybe heated up some feelings, that is how I feel about friendship.
        Because I am thinking myself, trying to stay friends with my ex, I could not do it because;
        1. Expectations. No matter what you can not lower your expectation from each other. Because there is history, there are shared things btw you so maybe you are okay with your expectations from him but what about him? Is he in a place like you are?
        2. Tension. If sex was good (I am sure that it was) then trying to hands off must feel like torture. This is not a usual friendship as you say, so we know at some points you are not friend. Because friends do not have sex, right?
        3. Time. Even if you are 100% consistent with staying friends. Did you give enough time to each other for being friends? Or are you using friendship as a cover over your unfinished feelings?

        I think you know what to decide best. You know the truth deep inside of your heart. Maybe it is not the time for taking an action, but day by day you will be on the edge of a decision. You will be have to take a decision.
        I just think the sooner the better you make a decision because these tries also tires you, too.

        Love, Kub

        • Felk

          Kub, thank you so much for your comments/questions. They’re so good. It never ceases to amaze me how much we all go through similar things, and we really do understand each other’s situation even if our situation is a little different. At first, I thought the tension would go away with my MM because that’s what’s happened to me in past relationships. I’ve usually been able to let go pretty easily, even when I didn’t initiate the break-up. So, even though I knew this break-up was different, I thought I’d be able to move on fairly quickly. Nope. Now, I think I’m hoping that the feelings will eventually fade (or fade enough) if we transition to just friends, but that’s why I sent that message to all of you. It’s been 9.5 months, our communication is so much lower, we only see each other every other week for the last two months, and I still feel all the same things (and he said he does, too). And I’m not sure what to do with those feelings. Also, I hadn’t even considered that trying to be “friends” could make the heat between us even stronger because we are holding back something we want. Wow. Thank you for that insight.

          As for your three comments/questions, 1) I think I have lowered my expectations, but you’re right. We still have expectations that are different from a friendship. At least I know I do. I’m trying to change them, but some of those expectations are still there. I don’t know where he is with expectations. It’s a good question, but I put pretty low demands on him now so I hope he doesn’t think I expect too much. However, does he want more? That’s the hard part with expectations. You have to keep telling yourself that you can no longer expect more. Is that what he’s doing, too?
          2) The sex was REALLY good. You know how it is in an affair. A lot of passion. And, yes, every time I’m with him I think about how I want his hands on me again. I would guess he has similar thoughts. And, right, that is not common in a friendship. 🙂
          3) You ask a really good question about whether or not we’re using “friendship” to just stay in this affair in a different way. Lara asked something similar in her message to me. I’m not sure. Honestly. I know we are trying to stay close, but we really may be trying to transition to a friendship. Maybe that’s naive of us and we really are just hanging onto the affair, but I do think there’s an honest attempt from both of us to just be friends.

          I see you say a decision needs to be made at some point, but what decision? I can see how we might need to make a decision about entering the affair again, but, other than that, I don’t think we’ll be making a decision not to be friends. Thanks so much for your questions and comments. You really do seem to understand the difficulty of this, and thank you for helping me think it through.

    • LIFELESSONS

      BAF,
      I appreiate everything you said. You truly are a strong woman. I admire your strength…i know it may not feel so good knowing you put in 21 years (back and forth) but in my eyes, it takes a hell of a woman to do that. I think we ALL are much stronger than what we give ourselves credit for. There are so many people who cannot deal with just daily life, or daily life as a single parent (let me tell you that aint easy) without throwing in the towel or checking completely out so in my book you are truly phenonemal. Im sure there was plenty that came along with the 21 yrs but you are here to tell your story. YOU ARE HERE! People take their own lives behind stressful situations (mental health disorsers as well) but something in you continued to be proactive vs reactive and youre here. I am sure non of ithas been easy…however, you continue to grow and learn!

      I honestly didnt think i would fall in love with my MM (hell…I am still partially in denial 🤦🏾 about my feelings) but here I am. Lara, I know I cant remain as number 2, you know how I know ?! Because I have been cheated on several times and it has never felt good to be in a position where it wasnt just ME. Although, I was #1 in those situations and the ladies knew about me, I didnt know about them…it never feels good to know you share a person you are in love with. It definitely seems like torture! You are right about “wanting the affair to stay in one place’ I just want to go back to the way I felt 4 months in with him, I wasnt attached, I didnt pay him as much attention as he paid me, I was very clear about what this was not so it made things easier and more transperant.

      As far as communicating my feelings to him, I honeslty think it will not matter and that is what keeps me from expressing them. I think he cares about me ,maybe his “love” is real but at the end of the day he has his “forever person” or “his person” or “his provider” so I feel like he it doesnt matter. I am sure he will try to fix it but within a few weeks it will be back to whatever..

      Your MM sounds like a real piece of work! A lot of us are so afraid of change and what it means. Tha anxiety of it, drives some of NUTS! I think this is part of the reason so many people cheat…anxiety and fear! I think there are those cheaters who just do it because they can and thet want to. However, I think the majority just didnt wait to marry the “one” they jumped in with the person whom they felt fit their need/want at the time. I see it in my generation. People are so fearful to wait for what is suppose to be theirs, we are so anxious we jump on the first thing smoking and 10 yrs later (not even 10 for some) we find ourselves needing someone totally different than what we have. I have seen this more often than not…there are so many people in marriages that they are screaming to get out of but the fear of the unknown keeps them “stuck” (NO JUDGEMENT…of course) and they are trying to keep up their end of the deal by staying married, although theyre not faithful. Anyway, Lara…

      The fact that you have been able to block him and walk away speak volumes on how much you have learned/grown. Again, your strength drives you to be able to accomplish this. You say, what else can you do?, nothing…you are doing what you need to do for YOU at this point and that is all you can do. For years you have likely catered to him, met his need and neglected yourself in many ways. You are taking your POWER back and I am happy for you.

      His W liking me, the kids being friends, at the same school/same classes, they will likely graduate HS together in 3 yrs and MM already talks about how he is going to make sure they (his kid and mine) pull up to Prom with a nice ride etc. Our kids are so close, he came back from Vacation saturday and called me within an hour of them being back home…i knew because his son had already called mine to let him know they were back. His son has grown to be really fond of me and comfortable around me. I often times wonder to myself…WHAT THE HELL were you thinking getting involved with him of all people, why couldnt have an affair with someone who has no connections to you😩😩

      PS I babysat my 6 month old neice this weekend (so cute/smelled so good) so I am beat! I dont know if I completed all of my thoughts lol but I have to go to sleep…it is 12:48am July 2 and I have to work in a few hours so I will chat with you later!
      God Bless xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

      • Butterflies Are Free

        LL I truly appreciate you calling me “strong”.
        I don’t feel strong right now. I feel stupid and dumb and “what the hell was I thinking”? etc.
        Its funny I was VERy afraid to say “21” years as I thought people would judge me the way I judge myself, So THANK YOU for saying I am strong. Maybe I am! Today was my sobriety anniversary…17 years without a drink. So with 21 years off and on with my exMM I can see I met him in a very turbulent and scary part of my life. He was my “rock”,,,my “stability”…I had two young boys and a manic depressive and drug/alcohol addicted exH and I was so scared of being single Mom alone in a huge city. So at first my exMM was a great stability for me. HUGE. He helped me to “stabilize”. That’s the good part. I am grateful I had him around when I first became a single Mom. But then because of my unhappiness being “Number Two” my drinking escalated. A lot. And I got more and more emotional. A LOT! Part of this escalation was realizing I was truly in love with him and he would NOT be leaving his W for me. I had a very hard time with that realization. I still do to be honest. It shocks me almost. Like WTF? What is wrong with him? What is wrong with me that he still can not “choose” me? How stupid can I be? etc. etc. etc.

        LifeLessons I want BETTER for you than this! I know I do because honestly I suffered too much. Obviously that was my path and I do believe it lines up with my astrology chart and maybe your chart looks just like mine LOL. But truly I hope you find a solution that works for you and keeps you knowing how worth it you are to have a HAPPY and cheating free relationship too! I finally believe this for myself as well. I think I would make a damn good partner for someone but this thought has come to me very late in life and love! Better late than Never however.

        You too are a single Mom and VERY entrenched in the life of your MM and his W. This spells trouble with a capital T. I too was entrenched like that at first. Our kids were very young however like 4-5 years old. I want better for you because my time with my exMM did not end with us being together and I have some regrets I got so stuck on him. For so long. But yes I knew his kids his W his brother in law father in law and more. The men are all pretty “macho” and come from a Southern European background. “Cheating” was no big deal to these guys. I thought I could never fall in love with such a man. My ex H had been a true artist…a painter…..he was very non sexist. So how could I fall in love with my exMM? Well I did fall and HARD.

        I LOVE what you say about marriages and how people settle in with the wrong person and then regret it ten years later. I had not thought of that but yes…how true! How absolutely true so then cheating (having an affair) is easily explained.

        You say: “The fact that you have been able to block him and walk away speak volumes on how much you have learned/grown.” I hope you are right. It is only VERY recently that I have been able to put my needs FIRST ahead of his even. In 21 years I had never done that. I always put him first ahead of me. Then for a little while I was considering BOTH of our needs. Now I have swung all the way over to what I call “selfishness”: Putting my needs first.
        Clearly I have a problem with co-dependency! When I talked to Felk about me thinking it was unkind to block and walk him, I was so surprised to hear her point of view that I was being kind NOT unkind. I had not considered that I was being KIND to me, and even KIND to him by letting him go.

        I hope you are better able to take care of YOU then I was. When you said you were “accommodating” I thought of me. I was that way too. And you said you might be able to leave things the way they are and not rock the boat. I too did that. A lot. Its funny but you can not prevent your own growth and so when I started feeling his treatment of me was unfair to me and unkind to me, I HAD to accept these feelings as mine. Am I making any sense?

        Not wanting to be Number Two anymore was a slow slow evolution. Missed birthdays missed Christmases, missed Valentine’s Days, all these things wore me out after awhile and they will wear you out too. I promise this part unfortunately. Number Two starts to really suck at a point. You will start to hate the situation and hate HIM and Hate You etc.

        There’s the fact that I was so supportive of his career but all the money he made one to HER and his family. grrrrr….. And then the fact that he went out of his way to buy her nice things and take her on nice vacations to placate her while he and I did nothing together! How can you go out on normal dates in an affair when someone might see you? You can’t. grrrrr. So we have never been to a movie together. An exhibition together. We have been pretty much nowhere together except with each other alone and in secret when time would permit. That gets old I must say. There’s also the fact that they still slept in the same bed and still had sex obviously. Little by little my intolerance of the situation grew and I started little by little I was worth more than the situation I was in with him.

        And of course I am in therapy for years and years. More and more I can see the way I behave in adulthood as having been totally conditioned by things that happened to me as a child. I did NOT have a happy childhood and spent a lot of time alone. Now wonder I found an affair to be “comfortable” for a long time because I did not having to be “on” all the time. I could just chill out and do whatever I wanted when he left. In the beginning I actually loved the fact that he would leave and I could just be alone and relax. Without the pressure of him being there all the time.

        LL please share what you are thinking as you read this? Is this helpful to you I hope? I share my experience as these “secret” relationships are so hard to navigate as they are secrets and thus taboos.
        Many hugs and much Love
        Butterflies are Free
        AKA LARA xxxooo

        • Felk

          BAF, if I can reiterate, you are acting very strong by blocking and walking. It is a very hard thing to do. The easy thing is to just keep things as they are, hoping they will change. Instead, you are taking active steps to make change. That is the strength. The strength is also in breaking the pattern that has been going on for a long time. For recognizing honestly that he will not leave his W, and that you no longer want to wait for him. Right now, it may feel that you are still waiting or that you haven’t fully accepted it’s over, but you are taking big steps that will get you there. Sometimes our feelings lead to action, but sometimes our actions change our feelings. Even if you were not entirely ready to block and walk, taking that action will make you feel stronger in the long run. And I think you’re recognizing that you may have made a damn good partner for him, but that he would not have made a damn good partner for you.

          That’s related to the part about your MM being a macho guy, and how you never thought you’d fall for that kind of guy especially since your H was pretty different. I think there are aspects of both types of men that we like. It makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint. On the one hand, we want the type of guy who can protect and compete for us… the macho guy. On the other hand, we want the sensitive guy who is there to help raise children. My H is the sensitive guy, and my MM is more a man’s man (although he’s still leans on the sensitive side). I really do not like the overly-macho guy so it makes sense that both of my men lean on the sensitive side, but I’m also not surprised that my affair guy was different from my H in a lot of macho ways. My MM is colder, more dominant, more private, less comfortable sharing feelings, and generally looks at sharing feelings as if it’s a weakness. I have always recognized these traits as things that drew me to my MM in the way a woman might be drawn to a man who shows these masculine traits. But, I knew I never wanted to marry a man who was really like that. That type of man makes you feel bad about yourself and cannot give equally in a relationship. I don’t want that for a H. And I think you’re recognizing that you don’t, too. For an affair partner, though, it’s kind of perfect for me. He gives me some things my H can’t and it matches me in a lot of ways, but I don’t need to rely on him long-term for support. Of course, I can see why this would be harder for someone who was single as you don’t have a H to get those other needs met and you keep hoping your MM can fulfill them.

          That gets me to the thing you said to LL about how we settle for the wrong person in marriage. I don’t think I did that. My H is right for me. I am not interested in finding better. Yes, sometimes I wonder if I should be married (to anyone) given my tendencies to cheat, but, as for who I married, I did not settle. But, in May, my MM said almost exactly this to me about himself. That he married the wrong person, but now he had to accept settling for “good enough.” While it made me feel good (to know he still thought I was better for him than his W), it was also confusing why he wouldn’t want to continue the affair if he thought he was settling. There is no doubt that many people feel they’ve settled, and this is what leads to affairs. It wasn’t the case for me, but I know you are both right that this happens a lot and, Lara, this definitely seemed to happen to your MM. I’m not sure about LL’s MM. It’s hard to tell right now what he feels about his marriage, even though he is in love with LL. Nonetheless, whether these MM feel they settled or not, they are unlikely to leave their marriages and that is something that’s important to know going into an affair.

          • Butterflies are Free

            Felk Like for LL, I thank you a million times for telling me I am strong. I do not feel all that strong. I was wondering: “Why not?” I think my automatic answer is that if I were truly strong then I would have stayed/ hung in/ and then “won” the guy! I would have “won”! Doesn’t this sound so ridiculous? I know. But my ego has taken a hit and I am confusing my ego strength with my ACTUAL strength I think.
            Affairs scramble us often because parts of us get hurt in them.

            You are right I no longer want to wait for him. I have absolutely lost my ability to be patient any longer. And to be accommodating any longer. Now I am remembering some of the OTHER men I had relationships with during this 21 years. They almost ALL treated me better than my exMM has ever treated me. And any man that knew of my exMM would say to me : How could you allow him to treat you with such disrespect? How could you allow that when you so much better? I could only shrug my shoulders. And say: “You don’t know him like I do”.

            But now that I have blocked and walked I am remembering these mens’ words and actions with gratitude. My exMM really hasn’t been that nice to me overall especially considering what I have gone through in trying to stay connected to him. I have expressed these struggles to him repeatedly. And tried to be honest with my feelings to him. Last week when he ignored me the day he was supposed to call me and work on something together it just his same ole same same ole behavior. He was hoping I would overlook it. Forgive him. No doubt he might be shocked I blocked and walked like I did. Or maybe not. It really doesn’t matter what he thinks. I had to save my self respect. I would not allow a date to do this to me (unless he apologized and had a grid reason) but no apology ever comes from my exMM. And then I forgive him but WHY?

            And in his mind, it is never his “fault” if he doesn’t call me.
            It is because “he was busy” and couldn’t I see that? But how could I know that if he didn’t tell me? So around and around we used to go with these arguments. In the end I would forgive him and feel badly I did not understand he was busy!
            I would drop protecting my own self and point of view in the process just to KEEP THE PEACE.

            Felk how right you are that we make many concessions in these affair situations. After 21 years of making these concessions I feel like my self esteem plummeted to sub zero category. And not just within the relationship but OUTSIDE the relationship too: in work areas, art making areas, and more.
            Felk you say: “Right now, it may feel that you are still waiting or that you haven’t fully accepted it’s over, but you are taking big steps that will get you there.”
            Yes I think I am still kind of waiting or haven’t fully accepted its really over. (Denial!) (It protects me from the pain I am feeling)

            You say” Sometimes our feelings lead to action, but sometimes our actions change our feelings.” I had not thought of that before. Thank you,

            And you say: “And I think you’re recognizing that you may have made a damn good partner for him, but that he would not have made a damn good partner for you.” YES I am slowly beginning to realize he would NOT make a good partner for me “full-time” or “forever”. My love truly blinded me to some pretty glaring red flags I am afraid.
            Hugs BAF
            aka Lara

          • Felk

            BAF, I get why you don’t feel strong. I have had the same thoughts about “winning,” and, sure, it’s about ego. Our ego was hurt by the rejection. For me, the other reason it doesn’t feel strong to “choose” not to talk to my MM is because it’s not what I want. Even though I know it might be the best thing for me (like blocking and walking for you), I feel that pull to contact him. I have always felt strong by doing what I want, but, in this situation, chasing a man who does not want to be chased is not strong. So, we know that strength is walking away. Saying that you will not longer put up with the crumbs. Even though you still feel the pull, it’s strong because you’re not taking the easy route to just stay and wait. Like your MM taking the easy route and staying in his marriage.

            There is so much you say in your post about how your MM treated you unfairly, how he put so much blame on you to just accept his bad behavior with no apologies. We know that part of the problem is that, in an affair, we have to accept worse behavior than we would in a “normal” relationship. The problem is that we can go too far with that. We can confuse ourselves with what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. And the more we fall in love, the more we accept. Of course, we pushed back. You tried to hold your MM accountable. I did, too. And, yes, some of it we do have to be understanding about. But we can point out plenty of examples where they expected us to be more forgiving than we should have been. Where they expected us to accept their behavior with little or no explanation and it was unfair. I think we all have those examples in an affair. But you put up with it for a long time, waiting for your MM to leave his W and he never did.

            I also understand what you say about still being in some denial that it’s fully over. I know that feeling. I think our brain slowly lets us come to terms with the reality. We kind of know it’s over but it slowly sinks in. There is still some denial. I get it. Early on in the break-up, I figured that I felt my lowest on the days when reality was really sinking in. Now, though, you and I are long past those “low low” days. It still isn’t easy, but we know those lows and we know how far we are from those.

            With the feelings/actions thing, I not only believe that actions can change our feelings but there’s science to back that up. Our feelings definitely lead us to action, but our actions also change the way we think and feel. The more we do something, the more we think and feel consistently with that action. That’s why blocking and walking is so important. The more you take action to remove yourself from the situation, the more you will FEEL removed from the situation. We like our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to agree with each other so our thoughts will change as our actions change.

    • LIFELESSONS

      BAF,

      You wrote: That’t the problem with affairs. We might want them to just “stay” in one place. But they rarely do! The longer they go on, the more they progress and we get more and more involved with time. And then getting out of them can be excruciating. This is so true! In the beginning, i couldnt see this far ahead. It didnt cross my mind that someday sooner than later, i would begin to have so many feelings and care about so much.

      I have began writing down what I plan to say to say to him and I havent decided when i would say it and I dont want to rush. I would like the timing of it to be right…I guess as right as it could get because in an affair the timing of things seem to matter. I really want to be forthcoming about how I feel about us and the things I need. Sometimes it feels like his needs are the ones being met and mine go unnoticed and then there are times when I am so content with the amount of attention and the amount of time we spend together. I know you asked if I knew what I want yet and i am still trying to figure that out. I know what i dont want but it is hard to figure out what I actually want. Therefore, i will continue to put my thoughts on paper.

      Your MM seemed like a handfull. He would possibly threaten to harm himself ?! Wow! Seems like his mental health wasnt always stable. You have taken on so much over the yeara of dealing with and again, you are still standing. I know I said it in another thread but your strength amazes me and it gives me hope. I can understand how you feel about blocking him and feeling bad about it, however sometimes you have to the thing that you dont want to do in order to free yourself a little. I dont know if you will be able to keep him blocked forever but this time is the time you needed for you. You deserve that! We are such nurtutrers and willing to put our wants/needs/desires aside to satisfy someone else but we need to nurture ourselves as well.

      Him and his W called Monday night. He knows I did not like it…not one bit! He called but she was in the background saying, make sure you tell her this and make sure she knows that (it was in reference to our boys going a sports camp) and the three of us have to work together to get them there and pick them up. While he is on the phone giving me the information, my eyes were rolling into the back of my head lol I said are you done ?! She was in the backgroumd saying wait did you tell her where it was and I said can you text me the info and he said ok. When he text me the first thing he said was she told me to call you…I just sent a thanks for the info text. I am definitely wrapped up in this and i will be so happy when our boys graduate in a couple of years. I think about how akward it will be when we no longer have any dealings with each other. Will she become suspicious and wonder why we wdont talk anymore and/or avoid each other…I dont knw why i worry about that. I am not sure he is actually staying for the kid, but he tells me all the time how he cant wait for the his kid to graduate and go off to college. He always says he has just a few more years but I dont think its reference to him leaving her after that. I think he will just be happy to have the last one out of the house.

      • Felk

        LL, I not only think it’s good that you plan to tell your MM how you feel and what you need, but it’s also good that you are taking your time to think about it and write it down. Of course, tell him when it feels right to you, but, if anything, I’d say that sooner is better than later in affairs. I think we can let things go too often in affairs or I think we wait, only to find that we’re not going to have a chance to talk again for a while. My MM and I got better at this as we went along, but there were still many times that I probably should have just said something at the time instead of waiting until a “better” time. Sure, a few times I was glad I waited (because maybe we didn’t have as much time as we needed in that moment), but most of the time, when I’d delay conversations, it would just make me feel worse and wish I had said something. Again, that’s not to get you to rush and it doesn’t seem that there is a big hurry in your situation. I only give my experience to say that we can tell ourselves to wait for a “right” time, but in a good relationship, most times are the “right” time if something is important to say.

        And, yikes, to your MM calling with his W in the background. I am sure he is just trying to make things look normal to his W, but that has to be very awkward for you (and him, too). Good for you for getting off the phone quickly.

        • LIFELESSONS

          Felk,
          I dont think I will have to wait too long to express my feelings to him. I know you are not trying to rush me but just saying dont allow that to be an excuse and hinder me from talking to him?! I will not, I was trying to hold off until we had a chance to see each other so that we could talk face to face. We normally dont go too long without seeing each other. However, we talk on the phone a lot. I was tempted to talk to him yesterday but he was home and so was she therefore, i figured we wouldnt be able to have a full conversation about it.

          ….when I tell you, i rolled my eyes so hard once I realized she was talking to me from the background. I feel like he felt it because he text me and said, she told me to call you. I didnt say anything out of the way while we were on the phone, I wasnt sarcastic or anything but he knew I was annoyed!!!

  • Nomad

    Felk,

    I really love and appreciate what you’ve written here, I’m saving this post because you’ve vicariously described the pain, struggle and sense of defeat/loss that I’m feeling. You are right that it’s hard, very hard after 1.5 mths of forcing myself to quit mm and move on. Just live. Just distract. Just breathe. Kill my curiosity wondering what he wants and any false hope that he reached out with purposeless messages out of love and not lust. We know it’s lust.

    Your guess that misses me did comfort my heart. Still I know his choice. He ought to know we cannot be friends and better to cut each other dead. I’m happy to know he misses me. But I’m sad to be still thinking of him everyday. I want sex with him but not feeling being used. I want to fall in love with him and take care of our relationship. But it’s hard for me to deal with jealousy and insecurity (abandonment), for him to overcome guilt and fear. When we were mentally and physically drained, we decided it’s over then we should stick to our decision despite the pain and withdrawal syndrome. He could do better than what he’s doing now, back for whatever reasons which only caused me more pain. He should know he mustn’t talk to me. I’ll hate him for using me just for sex. I’m not after that 2hrs of ecstasy irresponsibly.

    I let him go back to his marriage and he should be grateful. I’m sure abstaining from having sex with me is less tough than living a lie.

    Let’s assume he misses me, wants some time with me , but it is entirely on his terms. It’s when he wants and it’s what he wants. He gives me crumbs because he gives as little as possible to get me to come back to him. How could he not be able to imagine my pain? How could he bear to hurt me and put me through such torment. As much as affair is wrong, how could he not know using me at his terms is very wrong too?

    Felk, you nailed it when you said it’s really brutal during the break-up when i am already in so much pain.

    I have been ignoring and avoiding him. I blocked him after the project ended yesterday and fought against the temptation not to catch up with him. Yes, part of me couldn’t bear to leave but I’ve to else my effort since 16 May would be wasted.

    You said Usually when men pop back in like this, it’s because THEY are hurting and they want you to make their hurt go away. Are you sure they are hurting? I tend to think that he’s shallow and wanted cheap thrills and abused my weakness.

    I stared hard at your sentence “…but I also think that he has no intention of getting back into the affair.” It’s a good reminder. I’m over analyzing his desultory messages. If he said he realized he loves me, I would have run back to him. It’s a blessing he’s making it easier for me by test messages.

    Yes, I’ll block him for 6mths if he continues to behave like an asshole. There’s another gathering in July but I’ve decided not to go. No difficulty to make that decision now compared to the bbq in Mar. I’m still angry whenever I think about his dec holidays and he’s taking leave now and then. when he’s withdrawing, he’d say he’s busy surviving, no time, no mood and no money to enjoy life, no love at home, low libido etc. he’s just want to leave. I would prefer his honesty.

    I’ve blocked and it’s a clear signal from me that he should stop stirring up my emotions (I think he knows I’m still affected, the fact that I resorted to block him). Does anyone still think he’ll be back? I want to stay strong and safe. I want him but i can’t. I can only forget…

    • Felk

      Nomad, I love your word “desultory” to describe his WhatsApp messages because that’s exactly what they are. They offer little beyond crumbs. They are impersonal, and they make you wonder why he’s sending them. I’m sure they made all the thoughts start up again for you about “does he want me back?” “Is he just checking in on me because he feels bad?” “Is he missing me and hoping to get sex again?” It’s just so selfish of him given that you told him not to contact you again 1.5 months ago. He is the one who ended it. You have poured your heart out and asked him to try again, and he declined. Then you made it clear that you needed to end it and you told him that you were done and not to contact you again. And now he is. He is ignoring your requests because it’s always been on his terms. And he thinks he can still have it that way. I’m so glad that you’ve blocked him.

      Everything you say about why it should be over is correct. You wanted more than he could give. The jealousy of his W was miserable for you. And if you are both mentally and physically drained and decide it should be over, it should be over. He does know he shouldn’t contact you, but he probably feels he can still get what he wants. He is still feeling things as you are and he wants you to make it all better for him… but on HIS terms. He wants to feel that you still love him and then he can go back to his family. I know it’s human, but it’s also cruel. You have given him so many chances and he does not deserve any more. And, yes, I do think that part of the reason he is still contacting you is because he is missing you and hurting. Just as it hurts us, I think it hurts them, too, to have lost a relationship that they enjoyed (even if it also caused pain and hardship). However, just because he’s hurting, I don’t think he’s coming back to start the affair again. I think he’s just coming back to temporarily feel better and then he’d abandon you again. I know it’s hard to read those sentences about how it doesn’t seem he wants to start the affair again, but I don’t think he does. It seems like what he did in May. He comes back to you, makes you feel good, enjoys the sex, but can’t give you any more than that. If he really wanted more, he should say that in his messages or he should make it clear to you in some other way, but he’s not doing that. He is putting it on you to do the emotional work by sending these desultory messages and hoping YOU will say more. Then he can feel good again.

      I also think it’s a really good decision not to go to that BBQ if he’s going to be there. Give yourself distance. Why give yourself the reminders of pain seeing him and, worse, seeing him act like he doesn’t care. If you can block him for 6 months and not have any contact with him outside of professional contact, that will be really great for your healing.

      • Nomad

        Felk,
        You are so good at words and reading my mind. Yes to all that you have guessed about what has been infesting my mind, all that impersonal messages making wonder “why he’s sending them, does he want me back, is he just checking in on me because he feels bad, Is he missing me and hoping to get sex again, is he regretting, has he realised it wasn’t lust or addiction?” T even asked me what would i do if he said he has cancelled the dec trip. NEVER! he would rather break my heart than to upset his W’s mood.

        I never know how much he loved me. We fell in love but it was limerence. At the beginning, we were effusive about telling each other love you, miss you, you are my best and my last (love), wish we had known each other earlier, I was the one and he would hav married me etc. etc. all the sweet talks and affection and attention swept me off in a mind blowing manner! but then gradually he started to hold back because he made a “mistake” of raising the bar too high and he was exhausted to keep assuring and pacifying me for he has other more important things which he has neglected since we started. He neglected his work and kids. He would “assure” me there was no intimacy between them. But he’s tired of having to spit out words I wanted to hear.

        Apr this year, he did look into my eyes and said “it’s over” when I dare him to say to my face. Felk, I am really touched that you remembered my story in such great detail, how many times i foolishly believed things would change, he’s back for good but yes, I gave him many chances and I lowered my bar until our relationship died, we stopped deposting into our love banks and all i was desperately holding on to was memories…happy memories, the high he made me felt and that I would never find anothher man who could make me feel alive (not that I would or I could find another mm). I went with him to the room the last time in May just because he said let’s seize the moment. My terms was if we could work things out and be together again, we go to the room; if it’s over, then we shouldn’t. He avoided answering me for days. I seized it because I missed him and I hoped we could continue.

        I blocked him but it saddens me when I think about how long it will take him to realise I have blocked him and is he going to try other means to come back, I want him back but I don’t want him back. Give me a few days, I know I will thank him for not trying hard enough. I will adapt to life without him again. OUt of sight out of mind. I want him to register that he shouldn’t contact me, have some mercy on me, and that he is can no longer get what he wants from me, at his terms, especially not over a few impersonal text.

        Felk, I am so grateful to you for reminding me the reality whenever I am feeling weak and confused. You said “However, just because he’s hurting, I don’t think he’s coming back to start the affair again. I think he’s just coming back to temporarily feel better and then he’d abandon you again. I know it’s hard to read those sentences about how it doesn’t seem he wants to start the affair again, but I don’t think he does.” I need this! I really need these words to slap me awake so that I could get real and stop imagining things. They are hard words but they are the truth. I hate to see him acting like he doesn’t care and have moved on long ago. I couldn’t tell that he’s hurting. Hurting? I am hurting and it’s stressful.

        I know for the next few days and weeks, I would feel weak until I have waited enough to accept that he’s gone.

      • Nomad

        Felk,
        I am grateful to you for bringing me back to reality, always. I need those words despite harsh “However, just because he’s hurting, I don’t think he’s coming back to start the affair again. I think he’s just coming back to temporarily feel better and then he’d abandon you again. I know it’s hard to read those sentences about how it doesn’t seem he wants to start the affair again, but I don’t think he does.” I must not lose sight of the reality that his desultory messages triggered my false hope and vulnerability but they meant nothing. He is not coming back. He does not love me enough to want us. He chose the easier way out. He doesn’t care about me else he would want to see me in peace and live a normal life, sleep well and work on my marriage (rather, accept that my marriage is normal after 20 years). I thank you for remembering my story in great detail, for understanding me and my situation.

        (earlier on i actually replied a longer post but there was a technical error and so I typed the above which is much shorter)

  • Butterflies are Free

    Hi All,
    I am hoping and praying I have turned a corner since coming home from my last trip. I am back now at home and he is next door but I DO NOT feel it! I do not feel him. Could this be my turning point? I really hope so. Because this relationship will not go anywhere else. It will NOT move forward. He is too stuck on “her” and stuck on being angry at “her” and wanting to stew in that and unable to move out of his depression and anger at his situation. I know this because I have offered help repeatedly but in the end he can not mobilize himself. It is really sad actually. And being a narc he does not know how to get REAL with himself or how to look within. And will he go to a therapist? A narc? Nah. He thinks he knows it all. I can not be possibly “right” or can I? I think he sees I am right and have been right about so many things now that we can both look back. But it does no help to us. I have landed myself with yet another man with emotional problems who is unable to try to get better.. There is a clear pattern here for me and I hope this is a turning point and I can now let go. Haven’t I don’t this before? Yes I have.

    Felk you had asked me some questions below which I answer here as they have been very helpful to me! (And thank you :). )
    You say: “BAF, my guess is that the hardest part for you in this is that you felt this relationship with your MM was destined. That he was your soulmate.” YES YES. I allude to it but have been in denial about it because it is so painful. Now I say YES its true. It is all over our astrology chart as well.

    You say: “You allude to it here and there in your posts, but you don’t say a lot about how difficult that I know that’s why you tried so hard to make it work for so long. It’s not just the addiction. Or maybe it’s the addiction that makes us think this person is our soulmate, but I know you had genuine feelings for this man for a long time.” YES YES YES

    I really cant thank you enough for these words. They are almost all true and on point! I need to hear that. I need to hear it was not just addiction and I need to hear I did my best. And I need to cry because yes he was a soulmate. YES. My difference in thinking with you is semantics really:
    I do not believe I have only one soulmate for example. I believe I have several. And I do not believe finding a soulmate for me means I must live “happily ever” after with that person. I personally believe my soulmates are here to TEACH me something. And it will likely be wrenching and painful as well as possibly healing and wonderful. Maybe I have learned my lessons with this man and now I can move on? I really really hope so.

    You also say: “I also know how strong it is for you to block and walk. I know how strong it is to make choices that are best for you because I know that is not your tendency. Your MM was still hurting you as recently as last week when he blew off last Monday. That is no good for you. That is not something you should continue to put up with. And there is certainly nothing you owe your MM anymore. It certainly does not seem like he treats you as if he owes you anything. Over these months, I can see how you’re seeing this more and more clearly every day.” YES I totally agree with you. YES
    Thank you Felk and thank you ALL! for all your on-going support and help! Many hugs BAF aka Lara
    xxxooo

    • Felk

      Lara, I can hear your strength and clarity in these words. And it’s great that most of this post is about you and not about your MM. Also, I do hope this is a turning point for you, but I find that I usually can’t recognize my “turning points” until some time after they happen. In the moment, I’ve often thought because I felt better that day or had some clear thoughts that day about why we can no longer be together that it was a turning point and I was moving on, only to feel bad again a few days later. I’m not saying that is happening to you, but I’m just saying that we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get to the “turning point” that it can be extra sad when we feel a setback. I know that we long for the freedom of no longer caring about our MM and truly being able to say that we are over that relationship, but that can lead us to put pressure on ourselves to heal too quickly. So, please continue to take your time, especially since it seems rather new that you are coming to terms with your MM not being a soulmate and not being right for you. Or, from the way you say it, maybe he was a soulmate of yours and you have done all you can with that relationship.

      As for the addiction stuff, I think it’s important to understand that, yes, we are likely addicted to the high of being in love with these MM but we are also genuinely in love. As we’ve said many times on here, because of the nature of an affair and how it stays exciting and the desire is never sated, the high of being in love remains and the addiction is strengthened. But, that doesn’t mean that we are not in love. It doesn’t mean that we didn’t or don’t have genuine feelings of love and caring for our MM. It’s just that, as part of falling in love and starting to care deeply, we also formed an addiction because we weren’t in a “normal” relationship where those feelings could habituate and calm down over time. I would find it hard to believe that your MM was not in love with you, too. He would not have continued this 20 year relationship otherwise. That he could never use those words, though, is a problem, and one of the many reasons you blocked and walked.

      • Butterflies are Free

        Felk I really thank you for these words. Of course you are right and I am putting pressure on myself to be at a “turning point” already. I feel impatient and agitated I am in this relationship so long. I feel like I have put in enough time already! But it was really something for me to finally not feel him ?through the walls” for one day and not to be wondering if I would hear from him. Of course I will hear from him one day. But in the meantime I want to focus on how I am feeling and how I am doing. I also like your explanation of the addiction vs love description. I fowl kind of far from the addiction stage for him truth be told. But that doesn’t mean I am not acting out my addictions in other ways in my life. This is a rough period of time for me but not the worst I have been through with regards to this affair. Not by a long shot. Last summer was much much worse in terms of sheer pain intensity! It really is so nice to know that the pain can lessen! PHEW. Hugs BAF aka Lara. xoxo

        • Butterflies are Free

          Felk in my haste (lol) I forgot to say this:
          You say” So, please continue to take your time, especially since it seems rather new that you are coming to terms with your MM not being a soulmate and not being right for you. Or, from the way you say it, maybe he was a soulmate of yours and you have done all you can with that relationship.”
          This is how I feel it and see it: I think he was a soulmate of mine and I have done all you can with that relationship.
          I am very sad to say. BAF aka Lara

        • Felk

          BAF, I can understand that, after 21 years, you’re ready to be done and are agitated that it’s not happening quicker. But, it’s probably exactly because you’ve been in it for so long that it’s going to take a long time to really be done. It sounds like you’ve been making this effort for about a year now. And, while that might sound long, with a 21 year relationship, it seems pretty normal to take at least a year to get out. I think about how it took me 2 years to get out of a 5 year relationship a long time ago. Or how 9.5 months after my break-up with my MM, I’m still not over it. I think a lot of us on here can give those examples, so give yourself time. And you know it probably takes longer in an affair than in a “normal” relationship because of the addicting quality of affairs.

          Like you, I feel much less pain now, and it is really nice to be past that intense pain of last year (or even earlier this year). Now, it’s mostly just that he sits there on my mind most of the day. It’s not great, but it’s not miserable and painful all the time as it was for months early in the break-up. I still want to get to a point where he’s not on my mind all day, though. You know I worry that, with our friendship, we are in danger of prolonging this “on my mind all day” thing. I’m sure he’s concerned about that, too. However, my hope is that I can shift the “on my mind all day” unease to more of a happy “on my mind” thing. It already feels like that’s happening so I’m hoping we can stay in that direction. The trouble, of course, continues to be that I still do want more with him and it’s hard to ignore that feeling. It doesn’t feel desperate anymore, but I don’t like that the feeling sits there.

          It’s interesting what you say about the addiction, too. That you don’t really feel that with him anymore. That’s really good. I think about where I am on that path. I don’t feel that intense craving/void that I felt for months after the break-up, so it feels like the withdrawal symptoms are fading (or mostly gone). But, I still feel happier than I’d like to when he texts or e-mails, and he’s still on my mind all day so that still feels like addiction stuff. I also don’t “crash” after spending time with him like I used to, so that’s good. But we also haven’t had a date in two months so maybe I just haven’t done something to trigger a crash. Granted, in the past, just going for drinks with him would make me crash and that type of crash hasn’t happened in a while now. Like you, I wish this would all just move along faster, but I can’t deny the great progress that has happened over the 9.5 months and I just have to expect to continue on that path slowly.

  • LIFELESSONS

    So…
    This is DAY#2 of vacation for MM. I was thinking about everything Felk and I have been discussing back and forth. I was questioning how I could love this man whom can never be more than a secret ?! I decided to write to myself daily to see if/how I was feeling as the days goes with no communication from my MM while he is on vacation with his W. I love to reflect and I like to be in tuned with my emotions. So, today I was asking myself questions like: What do love/like about him, how do you feel when you are with him/not with him, what do you want to come from this…
    I thought about it and I think he definitely fills a void. When I first noticed him in 2015, I thought he was attractive but he seemed very aggressive and antisocial. We talked one time and he was telling me something about the sport our boys were playing. From there, I think it was hello or 2 and thats it. However, the second season they played together he engaged me in conversations and I thought he is very attractive and he can hold a good conversation. He gave me so much needed attention, he called daily, he text daily, we hung out and i thought he is a real cool dude, i like him! It wasnt in a sexual way, it was more so in a I can talk to him about anything. Well we slept together and he was able to be pretty consistent until he wasnt. However, he was very honest from the beginning and the guys I dealt with in the past were liars, he was a gentleman when we were out together, he is affectionate, he also calls me regularly, its like clockwork most of the time. Those are things I like and they are simple things. When we had our 33+ NC & 2 months without seeing each other and we reconnected things were different, when he saw me he he was so happy which made me feel really happy, he hugged and kissed and hugged and kissed me at the batting cage. He made sure to bring me my own gloves so i could bat with him (although, a year prior to this i told him, I dont know how to do it) and he showed me how to do it. That was a pivotal moment for me, from there my feelings started to change. From that day we saw each other often and each time it was so much love between the both of us, he was very affectionate, being sure to kiss me every chance he could, holding my hand while we were in the car and out of the car. He would just about pick me up (literally) every time he saw me. He made sure every moment he had a chance to see me, he could see me. He offers to take my son to the barber shop with him and his son, I know this is weird and bold but he almost always invite me to the functions his group has, although she will be there as well, he has told me before he didnt want me to think he was spending so much time with her and not spending time with me but of course I tell him NO. Now, he tells me she asks for me to go! He told me a week or so ago and he reminded me that him and her decided they need to do something local for my son to participate. I dont if she is the one coming up with these things or if its his attempt to make sure I dont feel completely left out…Anyway, Once he decided to tell me he loved me I knew I loved him as well but I didnt want to believe I did. I wanted to believe it wasnt love but who am I kidding, I love him! Now, that I have really come to grips with this fact…I know it will be such a challenge to get over him and such a task to let it go. Just as Felk said, I will want more, I already want more. I got use to seeing him often when we came back from our break and although he has made the attempts to see me we havent been able to spend as much time together over the last 2 weeks and I dont like that. I am careful about the things I nag or complain about, because I know what this is and I know I cant always have my way. I was wondering do/did you ladie make your MM aware of how you felt about him ? I never talk about my feelings for him to him. The most I have said to him is I like you, like a lot and when he said you love me just as I love you, I simply said yea youre right. I do express my discontent when we cant see each other or havent talked to each other but I didnt think it was necessary to express my feelings to him. Although, sometimes I want him to know how challenging this is for me. I was wondering if any of you have ever told your MM you are on a site like this talking to other women who are in the same situation ? I was just curious…i havent mentioned this to him at all and didnt plan to.

    Thanks for allowing me to vent!

    • Butterflies are Free

      Hi Lifelessons did you see my response to you buried down below from June 27? I wrote it before I read what you said joust now nut I think it still holds for what I want to write to you! Hugs B.A.F. aka Lara

      • LIFELESSONS

        Hey Lara,
        I did reply to you. I didnt see what you wrote until after I wrote the thread above here…it does still fit with what i am saying here.

        • Butterflies are Free

          Hi LL I believe I wrote again yesterday as well. LOL It gets confusing with these buried threads. Hugs BAF aka Lara xo

    • Felk

      Lifelessons, like you, I like to reflect and think about all the nuances of my relationship with my MM. It helped me keep my expectations reasonable during our affair, it helped me understand our break-up, and it’s helping me transition to a friendship. I think the better you know yourself and the situation, the better prepared you are for what might happen.

      As for your questions at the end, yes, I told my MM how I felt about him. We said “I love you” many times throughout our years. I wouldn’t say that either one of us is effusive with that kind of talk, but it felt to me that we both were clear in expressing how we felt to the other. Sometimes I wished he would have told me more about what he was feeling about the whole situation, but I knew how he felt about me. However, even though I wished he’d have opened up more about how he was feeling about how hard everything was, we talked about our situation a lot. We both liked talking about these things, and we found it important to check in on how we were feeling once in a while. I felt we were both responsive when the other person wanted to talk. And although I’m more of a talker, many times he’d open up first and it’d get me to open up. That happened again Monday when I saw him and he said the things about still feeling all of the same things for me. It got me to tell him that I still feel all of the same things, too. So, as Lara said, it seems helpful that you two would talk about your feelings and the situation. It seems important to be honest about the challenges that you both are facing. It seems it would help you both keep your expectations reasonable and help to give each other the benefit of the doubt when things don’t go as expected. It also seems good to share feelings. I know it can make us vulnerable, and part of the reason we’re having an affair is probably because there is safety in having a part-time relationship, but if you want a good relationship (even in an affair) it is important to be open with love and affection. I felt that from my MM, and he was clear that he felt that from me. Over time, if you don’t share your feelings, you may build distance you don’t want. Or, if you don’t share feelings that you wish you could share, you might build resentment that you aren’t getting what you need from the relationship. Or, if you are worried that by sharing your feelings, it will make you too vulnerable, then you don’t have enough trust in your partner to handle your feelings with care and how can you have a good relationship?

      Have I told my MM that I write on here? No way. Although I say it’s important to share feelings with your MM, I’ve bared my soul here! 🙂

  • Butterflies are free

    Just checking in to say I have flown off to another location away from my block and my drama at home. And I feel really Freer and happier than I have been in a while. It is really great to get away from that Long term, often on love drama that has taken so much time in my life and still it’s going absolutely nowhere. Yes he found a way back to me and said the words I had never heard that he might leave his marriage and for a few minutes I wanted to support him in his process and believe him and his words. But I guess it was all just a game to get my attention. Pathetic. Yes he found a way back to me and said the words I had never heard that he might leave his marriage and for a few minutes I wanted to support him in his process and believe him and and his words. But I guess it was all just a game to get my attention. Or maybe he’s Utterly unable to make a move on his own behalf. In which case I really prefer if you leave me totally alone. Directions I don’t think he would leave me alone, I blocked access with the phone and Facebook. I hope he will get the hint and leave me alone. I really have tried my best and I have Suffered all can suffer
    Now my plan is this: I want to get away from my block this summer as much as I can knowing that I feel psychologically and emotionally better away from him. In addition my youngest son did in fact move away to a new city! It is scary for me to have him farther away. On the other hand he’s exploring nature and finding a place that he might Be very happy with with his serious girlfriend. This place might become a place I too can escape to. This gives me something to look forward to And the idea that my future could be brighter! Much love, butterflies are free aka Lara xoxo

  • Kub

    Hello everyone

    This is like 6th post I am writing and desperately hoping this will be published.
    It has been so long since last I shared with you, so I will give a brief over last two weeks.
    Actually I think I am officially changed my status to dating. It is not like in every two days I am seeing someone or sth but I am giving a shot to different opportunities.
    For example last week I was out with a foreigner who was visiting my workplace for a training. He needed a guide in the city and I offered help. Honestly I was not planing something too much with him, just spending some time with a man; I want to understand myself. I want to understand the point I am standing inside of my heart, my head. Actually it was a great 4 hours even though I don’t think it can go any further (from my side) but he offered me a job in his company. So I want to give it a shot, just I am trying to make sure that not to look like I am trying to get advantage of this flirt. I dont want to create an opinion like I wan to work with them because he liked me. I liked his job description, he is the second highest person in his company. So he is allowed to let me in, but that must be based on my experience and skills. So I will take my time for this opportunity.
    My ex-MM and I… barely see each other. For last two weeks I think for only 3 seconds we saw each other. In daily basis I am cheerful, energetic, and became real me. The Kub I was missing, looking for. I am more focused, more self-aware. Just only sometimes… It is like my phone running out of battery sometimes and needed to be charged. I have people around me, every day of my week and almost every weekend of this summer is set for an activity. Sometimes family, sometimes girls and sometimes men I am with. But just at some moments… For example yesterday I was on instagram and saw a couple kissing. It was like a flashback to memories. I have nothing, no item, no photo after him. Nothing but the memories inside my head. Actually I am better anymore, not that distracted by my thoughts. But sometimes. I just feel like it should not be like this.
    This was love. The very true, passionate love. How did it ended up like this? How we, us, my love, my only love and I become like this? This two people who don’t look in the eye anymore. Who don’t support each other anymore, who don’t say good morning my pumpkin in the morning, who don’t have coffee together, who don’t argue about some classic stuff, who let the places go which were that secret destinations. Who let this love go from their hands.
    I think.
    I think.
    I think a bit more.
    How did we ended up like this while we love each other so much? While we were so ready to make big decisions in our lives.
    I am thinking his reactions after break up, my actions after break up. Now I know that I can not be with him anymore. This is not because I am stubborn just because I know, something in me is broken. It is broken to the ground so I can not put together my feelings, my thoughts for him and this love.
    I can trust neither him nor his love. I am not mad at him, nothing. Time took away most of it. I have just lost everything on him.
    I can not feel the love, I can only feel the exhaustiveness left from him.

    So to sum up. I am putting together my life. I am tired because of living the life, seizing the moment. Not because of a third person or a child or a marriage. Thats better. Way more better.
    The rest of the bumps… I am preparing myself to confront.

    Thanks everyone!

    • LIFELESSONS

      Kub,

      You sound like you are in a good place for the most part. Putting more focus into you and the things you want and enjoy. Staying busy is really important for me. An idled mind is the devils workshop. When you are busy with your life any enjoying even the smallest of things. It helps to keep your mind off of the MM. I think you are doing the right thing, scheduling and planning your fun. I wish I could get some dates going. I would love to know what it feels like to just date different guys. I have always been a jump in relationship type of girl. Hope you continue with this spirit!

      Wishing you a fun and adventurous summer!

      • Kub

        Hello Lifelessons

        Thank you for the support.
        I am reading your posts, and I realize we are/were in similar phases.
        One of the things I would like to share; being in a relationship with a married man puts you in solitude because there are lots of lies and secret. It was fun at the beginning but after a point it became a wall between me and my social life. The ticker the wall gets the less air I could breathe and my relationship collapsed mostly because of the pressure I was feeling.
        And I was also feeling ugly. Very ugly and alone 🙂 Like I was sick and people were trying to avoid me.
        But by time, by more chance I give people around me I realized that it was not like this. I was created that wall around me and I put reasons between people and me. I wish I could be more honest back then to people that close to me.
        But what happened is happened. And I have started to re-build my life from a wreck.
        Lucky it did not become so hard. Somehow maybe just because it was the right time, every thing I did for friends in my life came back to me.
        And today even though I feel sad and lonely(still) sometimes I know this will pass. I am trying to be happy with my solitude and enjoy it. I am trying to enjoy the chance of being free.
        I want a relationship. I want a man that I can trust and share my life. But I know it will take some time so I just spend some time with men, that is all. No thoughts in my mind as being lover or having some casual sex because I know it will not help but make me feel sick. So I just spend some time just as I spend with a friends.
        So I can suggest you to same thing too. Yes you are comparing etc but there is a fact that noone will be like your ex-MM and that is a good thing 🙂 If you become more careful you will have a new relationship better than your ex-MM; because (hopefully) next person will not be married.

        Anyway I explained a lot 🙂
        Thanks again for the support

    • Felk

      Kub, great to hear that you are starting to date and that you might have a new job opportunity. Is this related to your move out of the country? Also, really great to hear that you feel like you’re back to your old self. Cheerful and energetic is how I feel, too, and it’s nice to be back to that. That’s who I am.

      Of course, at times, there will be reminders of your MM and your relationship. That will happen for a while, but just think about how differently we react to those reminders now compared to months ago? Think about how it hurts less and we can move on more quickly now. Like you, I also have triggers and reminders that can take me back to us and I might stop and think about how I don’t know how we got here and how we’re not together still. But, those moments don’t feel as bad as they used to. It sounds like you have gotten to a good place where you no longer feel much for your MM. That really is great.

      • Kub

        Hey Felk

        Once again, great point outs 🙂

        Since I read your words I can not be more agree 🙂
        Yes ! Finally a solid thing that I can prove myself that I am mostly over him!
        Sometimes I want to response him, but than I just think shortly about past. Not some specific one but remembering a bad memory, which I am rich in that area, just makes me stop myself easily. I stop, don’t type and don’t sometimes even care!
        Not that my love is consumed for him. But I have found the way to keep loving him without him in my life; which is the best way to do it.
        Should have learned how to distinguish desire from real love. This desire was not the right thing, for loving I can not say that because it is not a true/false thing. But desire was definitely bad.
        Anyway.
        Different options, I will push all of them. I want to live my life to my bones. Because I feel like I have found something was lost.

        Thanks Felk, thanks for being there for us.

        • Felk

          Kub, really like what you say about loving him without him in your life. That’s a great place to be. Recognizing you loved someone while also knowing that person can no longer be in your life. We certainly do that with loved ones who die, and it seems reasonable to do that with ex-relationship partners.

          And, over time, those feelings for your ex will probably go away. You may still have some warm thoughts about him at times, but the farther away you go (whether you physically move or it’s just time passing), the more those feelings will go away, too.

    • Butterflies are free

      Kub you sound wonderful. You are making making amazing progress! You are scheduling yourself with many new activities and people in your life in a way that’s going to guarantee progress for yourself. this is so positive and I’m really proud of you ! I also think it’s awesome that you got an offer For a new job by the new guy you spent four hours with. That shows you have the ability to connect with other men and you’re also talking about dating which I one hundred percent support! Don’t put pressure on yourself to meet another “true love” right away. Instead just try to take the pressure off of yourself and enjoy meeting new man and seeing what different men feel like to you. Let yourself get to know different types of men than you are normally used to . I can’t wait to hear about your progress. As for the sadness and grieving for your relationship with the Mm There is really no way to rush through it But everything does get better with time passing! Hugs Butterflies are free a.k.a. Lara

      • Kub

        Hey BAF

        It is soooo great to hear from you !
        Such a good suggestion which also will make me be more relax around other men!
        Yeah, I just want to enjoy the moment.
        No I am not looking for a deep meaningful relationship right now, because I have other plans in long run. And I really really don’t want some emotional thing get in the way.
        Yeah I think I can connect with different guys, I realized now with your words. Thanks for making me realize the good points in this.
        I like your supports 🙂 Because sometimes I get confused and question myself a lot. But you are objective for me than I am and thats what I need right now.

        Thanks again!!

  • LIFELESSONS

    Havent posted anything in a few days. I have been a little busy and tired once i get home…anyway, MM is going on vacation with his W and kid (the one who is really good friends with my oldest kid). This is the first time, he has gone on vacation since I have been dealing with him. He leaves Monday and comes back Saturday or Sunday. His son told me earlier this month and he told me a few days after that. I didnt think much of it until this weekend. I sometimes, think I am denial about some of this or maybe its a defense mechanism…because I was thinking I wouldnt be affected by him going on vacation. I thought it would be no sweat or major care/concern for me. I was so wrong!! We havent been intimate since early May but we have seen each other a few times in between. First weekend in June was the last time we saw each other…
    So, this past week was rough for us. I wasnt calling him because the week prior, i called and his W was right there so I decided I wouldnt call but I would wait until he calls me. Well, that created drama between him and I. He called me Saturday afternoon, my phone was in my purse so I didnt hear it and once I saw the missed call about 1 or so had passed therefore I didnt call back. Saturday night he called, i was downstairs and my daughter brought me the phone about 10 mins after he called. I sent a text that read, call me back if you can sorry I missed your calls…He didnt call back. Sunday, he called about 9am and I was in my bathroom and once I got to the phone he had hung up, so I called right back but he didnt answer so I sent a text about 5 mins later saying, I called you right back and Happy Fathers Day. He replied and said he was just getting my messages, even the ones from the night before. So we didnt talk that day. At this point we had not talked to each other since Thursday. Well Monday he called around 9a and i was at work therefore, I couldnt answer. He called again around 7p and I didnt hear the phone because my ringer was on silent. I didnt realize the phone was on silent and I put the phone on the charger so when he called, I could talk to him without the battery dying. I text him about 40 mins later explaining the reasons i didnt answer him. He never said anything back. Tuesday morning I was looking forward to a call or text but there was nothing. I text him and said hey I text you last night he said OK and that was it. I knew he was upset with me. Well we ended up going back and forth in text that day and I asked him why was he being so smart, he said, he called me sooooo many times. It went on unil about 9p or 10p Wednesday he called me and I was at a seminar that evening so i text him letting him know why I didnt answer. I told him what I got out and asked him to be available at that time. So, that night we talked for about 10mins he was home so I knew we wouldnt talk that long. He told me he just wanted to be available because he said he would be but that we could talk tomorrow. Thursday came and I couldnt wait to discuss the drama that had took place. When we talked I told him he was being so petty about a few missed calls, he said, “so when I show emotions, its called petty but when you address me about me not talking to you on one day, its not petty”. I said, Im sorry didnt think that was you showing emotions. Now ladies, in my head I said this is some bull shit, he cant care that much about not talking to me. I said to myself he was probably more upset about me not answering vs him not talking to me. However, for his sake I entertained this whole “emotions” thing. He said, he apologize if he said something wrong to me the day after his W answered the phone (recap: that day he told me my timing has been off lately when I call him) but I told him I wasnt upset about that I just felt like I shouldnt call for a while. He said I understand that but the least you could do is call me when you see I have called you. I said ok! We were done with that. He asked me about my plans for the weekend and i told him I had plans. He asked me to ride somewhere with him, about a 90 mins ride. I said ok but I need to be back by a certain time. He said he would let me know for sure tomorrow…he said he didnt know if he would get up on time Saturday. Well Saturday came and he didnt get up in time so he called me to apologize and said he was going to go somewhere closer and asked if I wanted to go i said no. He said he would call back once he got himself dressed because he was just waking up but he didnt message me back until 9p. I told him I didnt appreciate him waiting all day to text back and I said I dont like that we havent seen each other before you go out of town. No reply from him

    Brings me to today…i text him early, telling him to call me..he called we talked for a while and at the end of the conversation I said to him, I cant believe you didnt spend time with me and you are going on vacation tomorrow. He said dont try that crap, he said youre always busy, everytime i try to get with you, you say oh so and so is doing this or im with so and so. He said you will not blame that on me. I said its not my fault, he said yea I know its never your fault and I will call you when im done with this function and hung up. He ended up coming over for about an hour or so….he said he will still call me this week and I said how, he said dont worry about that but I will make sure I call you.

    When he left, i felt sad…I was happy to see him but I was feeling jealous and mistreated. I dont like to admit how i feel about him. Its hard for me to share my feelings with him. He was the one to mention love first and the first time he said it, I didnt say it back because I felt like he was making a general statement…He said thats why I love you so much, in response to something I said. I didnt think he really meant he loves me. The second time he said, i love you just like you love me and I agreed but I wont come straight out and say it. I always tell myself, there is no need to express feelings to him because we are not an item. I didnt think he truly truly had strong feelings for me. I kept thinking this is just a thing for him and he probably has other girlfriends. Sometimes, I still think that! Now, Im starting to believe he may actually really care for me and love me (He calls me his “girlfriend” and hes my “boyfriend”) and I dont want to think he has a true emotional connection to me because I will be too deeply involved and its just a scary thought. Well I am getting sleepy so I better get some rest. Its almost 1am where I am. Talk to you all soon!
    God Bless!!!

    • Felk

      Lifelessons, everything you write about is the difficulty of affairs. First, the difficulty getting a hold of each other and finding common time that works to talk (imagine doing that when you’re both married as in my case). You both have kids and a lot of responsibilities so I can see why it makes it extra difficult to get a hold of each other. It’s kind of crazy/funny to read about how many times you two missed each other’s calls and texts over all those days. That does seem unusual (even though you have normal explanations). It seems like an usually difficulty week of getting in touch with each other just due to bad coincidence, and I can understand that being frustrating for him. You say that you don’t think his emotional response was sincere about you missing his calls. Why wouldn’t it be? Of course he wants to talk to you. He’s in love with you. He’s not simply upset that you’re not answering his calls (because he might read that as you not wanting to talk to him); he’s also upset because he doesn’t get to talk to you and he misses you. I am sure of it. Not that he should be mad at you for having a life and for circumstances making it hard for you to answer when he calls, but he can be sad and frustrated that it’s difficult. But that’s what affairs are. If he’s not able to understand that’s going to happen a lot, he’s not cut out for an affair. There were many times my plans with my MM were changed because of things that came up unexpectedly with his W or kids. There’s nothing I could do about that, and I understood it was part of the deal. It sounds like you understand it better than he does. You sound pretty calm and rational about all the missed calls and texts. I also get why you were annoyed that he was being pouty. That’s fair, too. He shouldn’t take it out on you that circumstances weren’t working out. One of the most important things you can do in an affair is understand that the situation is often to blame for the hardship and it’s not that the other person doesn’t care about you. If you can’t keep that in mind, it’s really hard to have an affair. 🙂 It sounds like you two had a good talk about it, though.

      Second, the difficulty of jealousy of his time with his W. Vacations my MM took were the toughest for me. I’ve told you that my jealousy was pretty low our whole affair. And I saw him with his W plenty, but I still wasn’t that jealous. My MM made it clear how he felt about me and he seemed to be trying hard to make our affair work. That showed me that he wanted me more than his W. I think you get the same feeling from your MM. He may care about his W, but he’s in love with you. However, vacations are hard. I always had this slight worry that the vacations would remind him of how much he loved his family and how the affair could ruin it. I thought he might realize, being away from me, that he was okay without me and that he should re-focus on his family. But that never happened. If anything, his vacations with just his W made him want to be with me more. During some vacations my MM would text or e-mail me throughout, but there were a few when his communication was very low and, although I understood, it was hard. So, the fact that your MM said he is going to try to contact you during his vacation is big. (However, there was one vacation when my MM told me that he would be in touch with me over his vacation and he didn’t. But I understood that it’s hard to find that same alone time to contact your girlfriend on a vacation when you’re probably sharing one hotel room with everyone!) Also, you were mad at your MM for not spending time with you before he went on vacation (so he came over), but it sounded like he invited you to go somewhere closer on that ride with him and you said no. It sounded like he tried. Why did you say no if you wanted to see him before he left?

      As for him calling you his girlfriend, I think he really does care for you and I would doubt that he’s seeing any other women. I guess I don’t know him and he could really be a creep, but it’s just hard for the brain to work that way. It’s hard for the brain to have a spouse AND someone else and then still want other people. The way he calls you so often (and gets upset when you’re not available) makes me think that he’s into you and no one else. So, try not to worry too much about him on his vacation. If he’s anything like me or my MM when we were on vacations during our affair, you spend most of the vacation thinking about wishing you were on vacation with your other person and not your spouse. Seriously. But, yeah, from everything you write, you are in love, too. 🙂

      • Nomad

        Felk, Life lesson,

        He took leave for dec holidays 8months in advance was very difficult for me to stomach and that had ended our affair 1.5mths ago. He hasn’t reached out despite work emails and meetings have been on-going.

        Felk wrote “vacations are hard. I always had this slight worry that the vacations would remind him of how much he loved his family and how the affair could ruin it. I thought he might realize, being away from me, that he was okay without me and that he should re-focus on his family. But that never happened. If anything, his vacations with just his W made him want to be with me more.” Did he wish he went with me? That I’m not too sure. He went for a long wkend getaway in Mar and returned reset, cold and distance. During the 1st yr, he went twice and he would seize every chance to connect, hunting for WiFi, hiding in the toilet, while his W was away, anything, even if a “nc” which meant not convenient. But like you, I’d think the vacation will remind him the right thing to do, he doesn’t need the affection from a lover, he can do without sex, his children can fill his void or he should focus on career to better provide for his family, anything but to waste on a messy and intoxicated life, living in guilt and fear.

        Mid May, I blew up after peeking into his calendar and saw his overseas leave in almost whole of dec, he would be away on his birthday yet when we were in the room the last time, I suggested to take a day leave to celebrate his birthday, he didn’t take that opportunity to tell me abt his dec trip, he was ok that we shall celebrate this yr. when I confronted him later, he said he forgot and he didn’t realize he’d be away on his bd. Lame? Even now when I imagine his dec trip, I am still unreasonably angry and jealous. That anger and jealousy and having to deal with what Felk has mentioned (mm’s realization that family is the only right choice), do helped me in cutting him dead and taking baby steps to live without him in my life. It’s hard to deal with the negativity and insecurity whenever they go on vacation with W. They could replace and imagine us in their head while having sex with their W, I suppose? That’s devastating for me too. They have learnt with ya and applied what they experienced with us on their W and please her? Then they could’ve fixed their boring or non existent sex? no longer needing us? Gosh these thoughts are so wild and toxic but I could be so raw and honest over here, only here, only you could understand in every visceral sense what I’m describing and experiencing.

        I’m still thinking of him every day. I’ll still isolating myself and trying to gain more understanding of myself and clarity of the situation. I’m building walls to protect myself so that no one knows I’m in pain and damaged, no one could hurt me. I want to detach but I’m still thinking of him every day, coming to 2 months since the last time in the room, since I last unblocked him.

        Thinking is not quite the same as missing him.
        I hope he’s regretting for leaving.

        • Felk

          Nomad, good to hear from you. Given that you just ended your affair 1.5 months ago (telling him you’re done and not to contact you), it’s understandable that you’re still hurting a lot. Before that, it was still ups and downs of “ending” while not really ending. Finally, 1.5 months ago, it was a more definitive end so it’s going to take a while to now heal and get to a new normal of your MM not being a part of your daily thoughts. You all know that it took me months to get to a place where I was no longer hurting and missing him every day. It’s hard to put an exact time on it, but I’d say it took 6-7 months to get to not missing him every day. Now, 9 months later, I still think about him every day and still wish we had more, but I feel good. I feel like myself. Everyone’s process is different, but give yourself time. You know that. You are doing what you should be doing. No contact outside of professional contact. Take time to be sad. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to mourn the loss of the relationship. Distract yourself. Refocus your thoughts. Remember all the reasons the relationship ended. Remember how unhappy you were. Remember that his marriage and family were suffering and that was hard on him. Journal about it. Write here. Meditate. Take walks on your own in nature. Exercise (oh, how helpful that was for me… it can be VERY hard to get the energy to exercise when you’re sad but the endorphins work wonders). It takes work to get over someone. Lara (BAF) and I have talked a lot here about the energy it takes to end a relationship and really get over someone. We often think about putting effort into a relationship but we don’t often think about putting effort into ending a relationship. But you have to work at it to get over someone. I know I put a lot of work into healing from my break-up. The easy things for me to do were journaling, writing here, exercising. The hard things for me to do were making extra time with friends (to distract myself) when I really was feeling down and didn’t want to do anything; trying to reconnect with my husband with spending a little extra time doing things we enjoy together; and giving distance to me and my MM by not texting or emailing as much as I wanted to… which you are already doing.

          I know it’s hard to think about him choosing his W and family, but he did. It’s not that he’s falling in love with his W again. He’s not. Sex is not suddenly exciting with her. I am sure of that. But, he chose to uphold his wedding vows and prioritize his family. He likely did this mainly for his kids and that is admirable. That is what he should do, right? As for his W, he may have felt too guilty or stressed by hurting her or feeling pressure from her to show her love. I’m sure she noticed him withdrawing from the marriage during your affair. I’m sure she said things to him or subtly tried to reengage him in their marriage. That pressure was likely hard on him, balancing two relationships. If he is anything like my MM (and other MM we’ve heard about on here), he is not suddenly in love with his W again. He is just trying to do what’s best for his family and ending the affair is a smart thing to do. We all know that (even if that hurts).

          Keep taking your time to heal, and try to refocus your thoughts when you get caught up thinking about him and his W or how much you miss your relationship. Intentionally try to stop yourself from thinking about those things and direct yourself elsewhere. It’s not always easy, but it will work sometimes and it will be helpful in healing.

          • Nomad

            Felk

            It’s hard for me… last Thu, he whatsapp “HI” at 7.30pm and “hope everything is fine for you” at 10.30pm…. after almost 1.5mths of not seeing that familiar no. popped up on my WhatsApp.

            I deleted it and ruminated enough for next few days… I was vulnerable although such text read innocent, friendly and safe even if his W sees it.

            1 week later just last night, he whatsapp “are you ok?” Crumbs…

            Now, what will you do?

          • Felk

            Nomad, I’m sorry you have to go through this with your MM. It would be much easier if he wouldn’t WhatsApp you like that. It is SO strong that you deleted his messages from 1.5 weeks ago. SO strong. I can’t stress that enough. I know how much you miss him so for you to delete his messages, it’s really impressive and shows you’re trying to move on. And then he messaged again last night? That’s hard. I am sure it is making you wonder what he wants. My guess? He misses you, too. He wants to talk to you. He wants to know you still miss him. He may even want sex again. And then he wants to go back to his marriage. That has seemed his pattern over several months now and that’s my guess as to what he would do again.

            We know he misses you. I never doubted that. However, we also know he made his choice to focus on himself and his family. Last time you were together, you tried to get him to commit to more and he did not. He said you should just go with the moment and have sex and then nothing. It was cruel and selfish of him. I worry he would do the same thing again. He misses you, wants some time with you, but it is entirely on his terms. It’s when he wants and it’s what he wants. He gives you crumbs because he gives as little as possible to get you to come back to him. He sounds like Lara’s MM who comes around every once in a while when HE needs something and then is gone when she needs something or when things get too intense for him again. That behavior is hard enough in the affair (when they go MIA), but it’s really brutal during the break-up when you’re already in so much pain.

            You ask what I would do. It depends on how I felt about the relationship. In your situation, I would likely ignore him. I would also suggest that you block him on WhatsApp. Seeing these messages every once in a while will just hurt more and set back your progress of healing. It may feel nice to hear from him hear and there, but that will just keep you reminded of him and will make your healing harder.

            The reason I say it depends is because if he were a caring/kind guy, his messages really may be intended to check in on you and see how you’re doing. I doubt it, though. Usually when men pop back in like this, it’s because THEY are hurting and they want you to make their hurt go away. And then they leave again when they get what they want. I think this is what he’s doing. I think he genuinely misses you, but I also think that he has no intention of getting back into the affair. If you do not want to continue that pattern of pain, I would block him. I’ll be curious to hear if others on here have the same read of his behavior? In the least, block him for six months. Heal, and then, if you still want to check in with him, do it then. But give yourself a lot of space and time to heal before you start talking to him again.

          • Nomad

            I’ll block him after the project implementation tomorrow. I could feel that I’m being triggered again, all that emotional turmoil, gradually being sucked back to the sinkhole, guessing his intentions and curious about his life. It’s none of my business anymore I know…

            It’s very hard especially when he showed up at my desk yesterday, asking me to sign some documents and we had to discuss about work. Just few minutes at my desk. I didn’t look at him. I think I was straight face and professional. I think I did well. I didn’t smile but didn’t look forlorn either. It’s hard to stand next to him and hearing his voice. Neither did we lock eyes or leak any feelings (assumed he should have some residue from his desultory text “are you ok?” last night).

            There isn’t a day which I don’t think about him since I have technically dumped him on 16 May.

            This morning at 8.15am on my way to work, feeling blue, his WhatsApp popped up “good morning”. Fortunately I had meeting and lunch appt so half the day crawled by without struggle or that familiar tension in my heart. At about 3pm, T (my close colleague who knew abt mm’s identity) told me he came. I grabbed my laptop and phone and hid in a secured meeting room to work until it’s time to go home. Even then, I had to check with T if he was still in meeting with her so that I could quickly sneak back to my desk, packed up and left for my dinner appt.

            I’m upset with myself why did I have to avoid and hide. Why must I live in such a unnatural and tensed situation when he might not or likely didn’t think too much about me, not intending to see me. Why am i still affected? 1.5mths of distance still felt like far from attaining detachment and indifference. How did I manage to come this far? Able to sleep, attempted to go out with friends, finding things to do, distract and distract. Why is it still so hard with merely a good morning?

            T later told me mm will be on leave tomorrow morning when the implementation is in the afternoon. I am so curious about where is he going… why ? This is so wrong.

          • Nomad

            10.30am he whatsapp me “How are you”

            Now 3pm he’s few meters away from me. We spoke briefly on work details and eye contact was unavoidable. But I was straight face and professional. I did joke and laugh with other team members. T observed that I stole glances at him and looked sad whereas he was a good actor who acted normal when he’s around me.

            I’m done with testing and done with him. Once I sign off the project, I’ll block. June has been successfully clean. No personal contact and no sex. July would be better. No more work related excuse to meet.

            At 4pm, I left the project site, he last whatsapp me “free to catch up?” I deleted and blocked immediately. 1.5mths on, I’ve sent another big and clear signal that it’s over. I rather hurt than to accept crumbs. Was he serious to get me to bed with “how are you”, “good morning”??? Or he trying for friendship so that he’s less guilty of hurting me by forsaking me? I am confused but I am looking forward to a July without him at all.

          • Butterflies are Free

            Nomad I think Felk is right: Your MM really DOES sound in a way like my exMM. Shades of your mm in mine as well!
            SO you said he is now “popping up: in a new format? I am so not surprised. Had he ever whatsapp-ed you before? If no, you might be flattered he is putting some energy into finding you in a new way and then by him being rather “nice” to you. This is flattering and comforting and you might hang onto these feelings like a life raft in cold water. I know I did just that recently. This is what happened with me and with my exMM as you probably know. Damn it felt so comforting so good to think he really cared and that we had an “us” again. Alas.
            And, the more your MM persists the harder it will be for you to want to stop him. Because it feels so damn GOOD after the pain we are going through right? And don’t we deserve a little “something too”? And you will start really wondering about the meaning behind his pursuit? And whether he might love you after all? And you will think “aha”! he really is not that happily married with “her” after all if he is still out here barking up my tree.
            Nomad, you can do the hard thing and the right thing and block WhatsApp to head off you falling into his energy field again and maybe succumbing to being with him in the hotel one more time for the hell of it. But if you do not no one will judge you here because it really really is tough.
            I really related to your description of simply standing next to him and trying not to leak energy but it seems some energy always gets out, doesn’t it? It seems like after standing like that with my exMM next to each other even in a neutral way I will often have intense and sexual dreams about him the next night. And I will NEEEDDDDD to hear from him more and more.

            But as you can see I got a slap in the face last week that stung like a rattlesnake bite. (I never have been stung by one but I imagine it is awful). Me exMM ignored me the day after he said the night before he was still thinking about me and wanting to be with me sexually and missing me etc etc. How could he do that to me? to Us?
            I may never know for sure but you know what? It sucks big time to have your hopes smashed like that and I truly hope yours does NOT do this to you Nomad. Don’t let him! I am still reeling from the pain believe me.
            Hugs B.A.F. aka Lara xxx000

          • Nomad

            Lara,

            I’m joining you on the block and walk journey 🙂it’s the best decision for the current situation. I went for a 4km walk and gained some clarity that I must not waste anymore time on mm. He’s only back for sex without strings. No big deal now that I’ve blocked him since he’s trying his luck to see if I’m still weak and run to him for the catch-up business. I mean, what’s there to catch up when he has chosen his family. What’s left to say? What’s new to be said.

            You told me before mm is good at compartmentalising so it’s no big deal to stop eating a side dish. I feel you… one moment i felt damn good and the next crushed, knowing I’ve been fooled repeatedly, he’ll be gone again. I’ll do the hard thing and the right thing and block WhatsApp. It’s over.

          • Butterflies Are Free

            Nomad, You are the bomb! VERY STRONG. You blocked after all those fishing attempts? BRAVA! And even after he said to you: Free to catch up?” It must have been so hard to do it but you did it! And I hope it felt great too! Damn, woman, I know it may have been tempting. And you see: These guys DO always come back after all! Do you see what I mean?
            Mine and yours have some similarities. They reappear and disappear like damn Houdini’s don’t they? They come back to “fish” and as soon as we satisfy them a bit, they vanish again for awhile. It is brutal behavior for us to bear. I doubt they make good partners in “real” life.
            You asked:
            “Was he serious to get me to bed with “how are you”, “good morning”???” YES I would say so YES.
            “Or he trying for friendship so that he’s less guilty of hurting me by forsaking me? I am confused but I am looking forward to a July without him at all.”
            I don’t know about friendship with him. I would think not. It seems like sex is very important to any “friendship”with this type of male. Am I right? I don’t know all of these MM’s…..and there are differences. I just know my exMM. I will wait for others to weigh in here.
            For me its a couple of weeks of BLOCK and WALK from my exMM already. I am trying to stay strong. The vacations I took helped! Staying busy with my life helps.
            But don’t think I don’t feel devastated at times cause I do! I feel like hell in certain moments. I feel like I should have known better and what is wrong with me?
            What is taking me so long to get out of this affair for good?
            aargh
            I also feel like he smacked me across the face like I said two weeks ago by getting closer too me emotionally (not sexually) saying he was so unhappy with his marriage….his career. Me listening and being kind and trying to offer help and him seemingly wanting it then WHAM. Shutting me off all over again the day we were supposed to do some career stuff when I was trying to help him. Then holding the hand of his wife the same night.
            It is a total mind f–k.
            I still cant believe he can do this. Like you ask, I ask, does this man not understand the kind of pain he is inflicting on me with such behavior? How can he do this to me? What have I done that deserved this poor treatment from him?
            Do I have “doormat” written on my head?
            🙂
            But alas my ruminating mind is my enemy post affair. My mind thinks all kinds of thoughts and has so many questions and not enough answers. But I need to ignore my mind and then point my feet in the right direction (to BLOCK and WALK) and just keep WALKING!
            PS and remember my motto:
            “Made the choice to let go of negative thoughts.” 🙂
            STAY STRONG Nomad! We can do it!
            hugs Butterflies are Free aka Lara xoxo

          • Nomad

            Lara, thank you so much for your encouragement! yes it is still hard and I am still thinking about him everyday. However I am clear about few things:

            – We can never be friends because it was an affair (he should know too)
            – It is either lover or stranger and he has made his choice
            – I am still working towards detachment and indifference
            – I am not allowing him to come back for sex at his terms; I am refusing being used and getting crumbs
            – Once he is out of my company (redeployment), 100% NC is achievable, out of sight out of mind, it should be happening by end of this year. It is very hard to be working together, still seeing and hearing him. Temptation is always there. I will just press on for a few more months
            – he is bad for me – my mental and emotional state.
            – because I am vulnerable, I need to avoid triggers but I get upset when it is all in my mind and I had to suffer as a result of avoiding him. e.g. I couldn’t attend gathering becuase of him, I couldn’t work at my desk knowing that he is there and might or might not show up. I can sleep and no longer feeling devastated but I am still grieving and angry at times

            Lara, for you it’s a long 21 year, I am so puzzled what is taking you so long to get out of this affair for good? Love shouldn’t hurt this much while it is not a bed of roses especially in an affair. At times I am so scared that I stop feelin angry and started to miss the good old days. I know we can no longer rewind to that day when we fell in love and I was treated like his queen. I know it’s over and we have to stay strong and let go. We must live a better and happier life. I just couldn’t understand why am I still ruminating, hoping and wishing. I know i did well in June – a clean June without personal contact and ignoring his purposeless and inpersonal whatsapp. I am sorry for ranting repeatedly here but I do feel choked.

            Let’s continue our journey to block and walk!

          • Felk

            Nomad, even though you’re still hurting (and that’s normal), that’s a really good list you made in your response to Lara. A friendship is very hard, and he made his choice to end the relationship… and you gave him a lot of chances to come back. He is coming back on his terms, and it’s great that you’re not allowing it, and that you recognize how bad he is for you right now. I also understand that you are frustrated that you still have to try to avoid him, but if you know that seeing him will be a trigger, avoiding him is good. It is NOT a weakness to avoid him right now. It is a strength. It is showing that you are not giving in to the desire to see him but rather you are choosing the path to healing. Many times since my break-up, I’d hoped that I would not see my MM at work. Some days, I wanted to just make it through the day without crossing paths and I was so grateful and relieved when that would happen. Even though we are on summer break now, I still have to go into work a few times and just last week, when I was at work for a short time, I was hoping I would not see him (and I didn’t). I knew we would not have any meaningful interaction if I saw him. It would be cordial and friendly (and even playful, because we are on good terms), but it would be a trigger for me and that’s especially hard when it’s just for a few minutes and I could have avoided it all together. When I choose to see him (on my terms, like going for a drink), it’s different. But, right now, I’d rather not run into him accidentally at work if I can avoid it. So, I understand your desire to avoid. It IS helpful with healing.

            Best, though, is that your MM will be gone in 6 months. If he will be out of your company soon, out of sight and out of mind will happen for you. It’s best to work towards that now as you are, but then, when those six months come, you will be ready for him to be gone. If he keeps throwing crumbs your way over these 6 months if you did not block him, then it would be that much more painful when he leaves in 6 months.

            I think a big reason you are no longer feeling devastated is because you are making choices to give yourself distance. You were direct in ending contact with him 1.5 months ago. You have ignored his WhatsApps. You have been professional at work and kept it at that. You have understood your anger, but you want to heal and don’t want to let him string you along anymore. Of course, it still hurts and it is still hard, but you really sound like you’ve made so much progress. And now you have blocked him. That is really important for getting rid of the triggers and reminders. You are making so many choices that give you strength and it’s sometimes hard to see that in the moment. But you’re doing it. And, don’t beat yourself up too much for sometimes thinking about the good ol’ days. That seems normal, and it’s probably just that we all go back to the good times in a break up. I try not to do it, and I try to direct my thoughts elsewhere when it happens, but I can’t stop myself all of the time. Over time, though, it gets easier and easier to think of the good times without getting sad. Just keep moving forward without him.

            And, sure, now that you’ve blocked him on WhatsApp, he may appear at your desk or call you at work and try to get time with you. He may directly tell you that he misses you and wants to talk. He may get more and more desperate as you ignore him. Sure, he might take the hint and stop bothering you, but he may be selfish and assert his needs and go to you. Be ready for that to happen. I’m not saying it will, but it may. Of course, react any way you want to, but my advice would be to be direct if he does this and either say that you are done and he needs to leave you alone or say that you want to be back in the affair and if he does not want that, he should leave you alone. Be very honest and direct about your needs, and if he can’t agree to that, ask him to respect your decision and to leave you alone. If he does this, my guess is he will try to get you to accept crumbs again, knowing you are vulnerable, so be ready to be direct with him.

        • LIFELESSONS

          Hi Nomad!

          I think its normal to still be in pain. It is a challenging thing to process. I think you have to allow yourself some time to heal. I agree with Felk…she is very good with her words, her and Lara. It would be a good time to try some new things, get out of the house when you can, take long walks…that always help me clear my head! Exercise is a great stress reliever. Also, writing/journaling helps me a lot. I wrote a positive letter to myself so when I get into momemts of feeling low or down I can go back to that and read it, it makes me feel better about myself. I am praying for you Nomad…you have to find your strength and move from there.

          Its funny that you and Felk said similair things about your thoughts when MM go on vacation with their W. It hadnt crossed my mind that he could potential fall back in love with his W while theyre on vacation. He said to me on Sunday, he didnt really want to go because there is no itinerary and he prefers to know where his money is going. I asked if it was just him, her and their teenage son and he said yea but theyr meeting some other people down there. Theyre all staying near each other in a 3 bedroom condo/villa. His son told my son some of the things they plan to do. I remember him telling me a while back, “pre-sex” that it takes for them to go out of town for her to want to have sex with him. So I am guessing they will engage in that and its possible that they could actually reconnect with one another. About a month or so ago, we were talking about something…I think i told him, I hate having to wait for us to be intimate with one another and he dont understand how I feel because he can get it whenever he wants to. His response was, i dont know why you think that, youre crazy if you think that is how it works. He said, its about 5 times a yr. I felt he was being dramatic. I asked him why did he marry her if her sexual appetite wasnt up to his standards (i realize you dont marry peple solely based on their sexual abilities). He said she changed, she wasnt always how she is now. I told him it is possibly menopause. I told him, he should be more supportive instead of behaving the way he does. I suggested, he massage her, be more attentive to her, and slowly he may be able to sexually rehabilitate her. She is 47 and its possible she is going through that phase in life. Early on he talked about her mood as well and I google searched some things about menopause and the onset age, and sent him an article that affirmed what i had already told him. He never replied to the article. I thought it was interesting. I think men are not understanding to the changes women go through during menopause. He told me I am always in help you mode. I want to help everyone and its true. I dont want things to end with him and I but when we were talking about her, it was natural for me to try to fix whats broken in their relationship. So…Who knows what will take place why theyre on vaca…I would be hurt but it would be out of my control.

          Just as I was about to write, he hasnt called me yet…he was calling. I thought I was going to lose what I had written so far because I answered the phone. I said you called, he said yes why wouldnt I ?! I said, i didnt think time would allow you to call. He said, I told you I would figure out how to call you. He told me about how he had to fight traffic to the airport, traffic from the airport to the resort and he was just really tired. He said, they have lots of drinks so I am sure they will have lots of fun. He told me, they have to create the itinerary for tomorrow. Him and his son will hang out at Universal Studios because she doesnt ride roller coasters. So many details I dont need but whatever. He said his W said theyre going to have to do something simple like a local amusement park so my son can go as well. I said, O ok. We didnt talk to each other that long, of course. I am shocked that he called…i dont have a husband and I have never been on vacation with a mate (so sad but true) and i guess in my mind, youre inseperable while on vacation lol. I would think thats the time you have to really be together the entire time. I have only been on vacation with my kids so of course we stayed together…
          I dont know if he will get a chance to call me again while he is away. I dont feel jealous of them and the fun theyre about to have on vacation but I feel jealous about not having someone to share those things with. Theyre married and although he is a cheater, theyre doing what married people do and that is to be expected from someone who is not in a completely unhappy and miserable marriage. I rationalize almost everything…

          Felk, I know you mentioned something about me not being able to deal with someone else as long as im dealing with him but i think i would be open if i could just meet someone. I met someone a few months back which helped me with my NC. He was much older than i am, he was 48 and i am 34. I assumed he would be more settled and mature. He was actually very immature. A close friend of mine hooked me with him because she knows i like older guys and he was very attractive…he didnt look 48, he looks very young. We went out a few times over a period of 2-3 months. The last time we were together was early March and a female he said he wasnt involved with kept calling and she left messages. I could see the call pop up and her name (I knew about her due to info my friend gave me about her being an ex of his) so I asked him, if he wasnt involved with her why wouldnt he answer, considering he answered for other people/females who called prior to her. We went back and forth about it in a non argumentative way but i could tell he was aggitated. Well after that day he never called me again. I contacted him 2 weeks after that asking him about something he was selling and he never replied but him and my close friend have a mutual friend in which he told the friend that he had to let me go because I ask too many questions. When my friend told me that i laughed so hard, because I know I ask a lot of questions and I have always been that way. I talk a lot as you can see from my posts, I give all the details (I have never been able to “make a long story short” haha) my friend didnt think it was funny and she wanted to confront him about it. She didnt like that he had said to someone and that he wasnt man enough to be honest with me. I told her I wasnt really bothered by it. I could tell he had something to hide…I have been cheated on so many times that i can sniff out, when a man is hiding something. I have seen most of the games they play up close and I am not naive or oblivious to the games…
          Anyway…I was open to the idea of having other friend outside of MM and dating other people. I even told my MM that I had met someone that was of interest and he said ok. A few weeks later when he came over, he was mumbling around his words but i remember him saying, “I mean, I know it is going to come a time when you meet someone else, and I cant be mad, I just have to be ok with that” it was so random and he said it as he was getting dressed. I ignored it and never revisted it. I have a few friends that are single, most of them late 30’s and some of them no kids and it seems the dating pool here is dead. It almost seems impossible to meet a nice guy. We try to go to different places, we go out by ourselves, its less intimidating for a man to address you when you are by yourself vs when youre with 5 other women, but it just seems to be a bit of challenge right now. My one friend has met several men on line none of them were sane enough to hang out with more than once.
          I would love to date someone else though, Im sure my MM would be super jealous and not as understanding as I am.

          I was probably all over the place in this post…hope it makes sense!
          Talk to you soon

          • Felk

            Lifelessons, I don’t think you’re alone on here with your traits of being a talker and a question-asker. I’m thinking those of us who come here to write are talkers! First, I think it’s great if you’re looking for someone to date. I thought it might be hard if you were in love with your MM (to really give someone else a chance), but you seem to be staying pretty realistic about the expectations for your affair and that might help you to date and find someone else (since you don’t want your MM to leave his W). When I had an affair with a MM many years ago when I was single, I took the approach you are. I never expected him to leave his W, and I was looking elsewhere because I knew I wanted to find someone else eventually. My MM back then was pretty supportive of me finding a new relationship (but this was after he had moved out of town and our affair went from daily to seeing each other once/year). That affair ended when I met my now-H, and my ex MM was supportive of me finding happiness elsewhere. Your MM sounds like he’s trying to be realistic about that, too. That he knows you might meet someone else and he couldn’t ask you not to given that he is married and not intending to leave his W. However, not getting jealous is easier said than done, especially if it’s just hypothetical for now. And it sounds like you expect him to get pretty jealous.

            It also sounds like you weren’t too worried/jealous about their vacation because your MM didn’t really seem to be looking forward to it. That definitely makes it easier, and that’s consistent with how I felt going on vacations with my H during my affair. I could only get half-excited about it. I was excited to go on vacation, but not with my H. I wanted to be with my MM. Also, I don’t think your MM is exaggerating too much about his sex life. Sure, he might be exaggerating a little with how low the sex is, but sex patterns change quite a bit for married people and we know that when women go through menopause their libido can decrease. I think it’s pretty fair for you to suggest those changes to him, and, like you, I was always kind to my MM about his W. I wasn’t going to talk her down. Now, sure, I didn’t go so far as to help my MM with his sex life with his W, but I understand that you’re staying realistic about it all. I get it. And I think it’s the best way to approach an affair.

            It is especially those things you say about them having sex on vacation that I understand. You’re saying that they’re doing what married people do and that’s how I felt about my MM. I didn’t think too much about what he did with his W because I figured they were doing what married people do, as I was with my H. I figured he wasn’t in love with her the way he was with me (because that’s how I felt about him and my H), I figured he wanted to be with me more, but I understood that he was probably having sex with her, as married people do. I didn’t want to talk too much about that with him, but it didn’t make me jealous to think about it because he definitely seemed like he wanted to have sex with me more (and my guess is that’s still true). There were little things he’d say here and there that would compare me (more favorably). And you know I’m not saying I’m better at sex than his W. That’s silly. Just that he was more into it with me and it’s likely because they’d been married so long and she probably wasn’t too into it anymore. Again, it’s really good that you’re understanding about this. It will make it all easier. But, even with all of this reasoning, you can fall hard and expect more and it can get tough. That’s what happened to me. I stayed realistic with my expectations, with one exception… I was completely unprepared for him to end our affair. I thought we would do it indefinitely. If anything, he got unrealistic with his expectations and wanted more than we could have (given our marriages).

            Once in a while, he said that he thought I handled the affair better than he did, and I think that was true. It definitely sounds that way with you and your MM. But, I always reminded my MM, “Even if I am handling it ‘better,’ it is still really hard.”

      • LIFELESSONS

        Felk,
        Every time you write, you are on point! Are you a therapist ?! Lol You do this so well…
        I think I am afraid of thinking hes sincere because I will fall deeper in love and I am fearful of how devastating it will be to walk away from him. Im sure its inevitable (considering, I am already in love with him) when two people develop such a bond/connection and engage with one another for a long time. Also, I dont want to start creating false hope for myself. Ge has told me, he is looking for another job because he is getting too old to work as hard as he works, he said he is consodering freelancing or a job that requires him to travel. He said, that would create room for him to spend more time with me because he could say he is out of town but spend the weekend with me. I said, oh really…that would be nice. He has told me how much he dislikes that job. He wasnt working there when i first starting talking to him and we went out a lot more. I have never cheated in any of my relationships but I often times wish I had someone too, because I think if i was cheating as well I wouldnt be so afraid of my feelings for him. I think I would be able to tell him how much I care for him and how much I love him knowing I have nothing to lose because I am too married or in a “committed” relationship with someone whom i know I am not leaving. I remember him telling me this is as challenging for him as it is for me. I use to say things like, I cannot believe I am in this situation, this is the worse thing I have ever done, what will my karma be for sleeping with someone elses husband etc. He told me to stop saying those things. He said this aint easy for me either, he said I told you I had one other affair and she was married…so, this is the first time I have had an affair with someone who is single, he said its a lot of pressure! I dont think i asked him to elaborate on how much pressure it was because I made some assumptions. I figured he said that because, i wanted him to see me all the time, I neede him to call me daily, I would get upset if he couldnt keep his plans…we never talked about that again but when we had NC for over 33+ days and didnt see each other from Feb-April we got back together and he has been trying to make sure we spend some time together even if its not intimacy involved. He even mentioned it to me one day, he said, babe we been spending time together right ?!

        When he asked me to go with him on the shorter ride(to a specific mall) I was thinking that is too risky for me…although we go out to eat in the neighborhood, him and his W dont know many people here and neither do I but that particular mall, either one of us couldve easily ran into someone we know.

        I didnt hear from him today and my son and his son is playing the game right now. He told my son theyre leaving at 5am. Im going to prepare myself for not hearing from him so I will not be as upset about it or disappointed. I know he may think he can figure out how to call me but it may be more challenging than he thinks to find a few moments away from her while on vacation. I appreciate all of your commentary…I really do. You make think, and I find a lot of comfort in your words. Wish we could go out for coffee, well…tea, I am more of a tea drinker than coffee lol.
        Talk to you soon!

        • Felk

          Lifelessons, I will take that compliment that I sound like a therapist. Thanks. I get why you’re afraid of thinking he’s sincere. I know you don’t want to fall too hard, and I know you’ve been burned in the past by men. I think your cautions are good. Where can this relationship realistically go if he’s married and not looking to leave his marriage? How much can you get from it? Even if he changes jobs and gets more time with you (which is a big “if”), will that be enough? Usually the more time we get with our MM, the more we want. Will you be truly happy sharing a man with someone else? You can already feel your jealousy with him going on vacation, will that jealousy get worse over time? Affairs are hard. I can understand why you want to be in another relationship and have your MM on the side, but it will be VERY hard to find another relationship when you’re in love with your MM. How do you start with someone else when your thoughts are focused on the MM? For now, it sounds like you’re doing the best you can and keeping yourself realistic about the affair.

          Okay, makes sense why you didn’t go on that short ride with him. Good for you for being smart. Worst thing that could happen is his W finding out. Glad you’re being careful.

          And good for you telling yourself not to expect him to contact you when he’s out of town. Not that there’s a “right” way to do an affair, but it sounds like you’re setting expectations well. I think that’s really important in an affair. Even though it will still be hard if he doesn’t contact you, setting expectations that he might not is really smart. You’re realistic about how hard it can be on a vacation to find alone time to call or even text someone. Honestly, reading what you’ve written about all those missed calls and reasons for delayed responses to texts was enlightening to me. Sometimes, I’d wonder why my MM wouldn’t respond to a text for an hour or so. It was frustrating. I’d tell myself that he was busy or not near his phone or his W was near or he was with his kids or something, but it’s hard continually trying to find reasons in your head for why the person is not texting and you gave me all sorts of reasons to fill in those blanks!

          And I’m more of a tea drinker, too. 🙂

          • LIFELESSONS

            Felk,
            Your questions are thought provoking. I do not (in this moment) wish to be with him if he was ever to leave his wife. I do not think he will leave her and doubt she will leave him. There are times when I think about how much of this can I really deal with and for how long. A part of me feels that (unfortunately) I could really tough this thing out with him, as long as he is able to have consistency with how he deals with me. I am extremely complacent and its not my best character trait but its true. I always try to be honest with myself…especially about who I am as a person and the role I play in situations. However, there are moments where I say to myself, you CANNOT allow this to go on forever because you wont get what you really want out of the deal…which is ultimately a “normal functioning relationship” I want to go on real dates…go to the theatre, day trips, weekemd trips, vacations, etc. I know there are so many things i would like to do with my mate that I will likely never get to do with him. The relationship with him is one of convenience also, I am single, I enjoy attention and most of the time he is able to pay me some attention, he can provide me some “adult attention” not as often as I would like but its amazing when I get it, he is able to give me that “friendship” I desire to have with my significant other (not ideal) as far as us communicating with each other about anything/everything. I am very comfortable talking to him, he knows I ask a lot of questions and when hes annoyed by it he will say so…
            All in all I know I cant be his lady on the side from now until ?, but I think its undeniably possible due to my temperment. The only reason his affair ended with the other woman was because her husband found out and it got really messy. He talked about her a lot in the beginning of our “pre-sex relationship” lol He told me, men have feelings/emotions they just dont show them the same way women do. He said, they did a lot together because his job required him to work out of town, he said he was so hurt when things ended. He went out and got 2 tatoos that resembled how he felt about her and the relationship. One of the tatoos references the sun/moon and how one needs the other but they cant exist at the same time. I was like wow, I said to him then, your W had no idea you were seeing someone else and he said NO. I couldnt believe he was that careful about it. It went on for 2yrs!
            He told me from the very beginning that this (him and I) was the start of something really good. I was so oblivious at that time, I thought to myself yea right…I am not messing with you, youre a married man and I want nothing to do with any of that. Well 1yr 6months later here I am!!!
            ….I dont think I would truly be content with sharing him. He has made reference to his wife and I being sister wives and I told him he was an asshole and he said he wasnt being an asshole. He said, he could probably convince her but I would be the problem. We talk about all kinds of things, that is sometimes just ridiculous and just talk. I told him, men think they want to have something like but I said it would be 2x the nagging/complaining 2x the seeking quality time, 2x the financial expense etc. He said, I think it would work out just fine. Grrrr…should not have gone out with him a second time, that was the start of wha this is now!

            Thats a coincidence- the tea drinkers!

          • Nomad

            Hi life lesson,
            I’m so curious why he is not leaving his wife and haven’t learnt his lesson after the mw’s husband had found out and the consequential mess?

          • LIFELESSONS

            Nomad,
            I asked him early on “pre-sex” why he will not leave her. He told he has invested too much money and he is not willing to lose out on that. He said he has invested over $250,000 dollars. I think he will not leave because he doesnt want to. He is comfortable with her, they went to high school together and they dated during high school. I think there is history with her and he loves her. I am sure he has some insecurities that also keeps him right their with her and possibly fearful of moving on with the next woman.

    • Butterflies are free

      Hi Lifelessons, Nice hearing from you. Mostly you are recounting your week in your post and all the missed communications etc. which to me is pretty normal for an affair between too busy people which is what you are. You both have kids and commitments and so of course they will be miscommunications and lots of phone calls between that don’t necessarily get answered right away. And some bruised feelings too.But at the end of your post you bring up something that I think is more important In the big picture and that is your denial about his feelings for you and perhaps about yours for him too. I don’t blame you for being in some denial. And I don’t blame you in not really wanting to say anything about love back to him because of course that will give him a certain power.
      I’m not sure you will be able to do this but it would be a very good idea to think about where you want this affair to go? Affairs usually feel like runaway trains and it feels like we don’t have any control over what happens. But in fact we really do have some power and some choices. And I’m not meaning to suggest you will get what you want because maybe you will and maybe You won’t. But I am urging you to think at this point in your affair: what do you really want? Because I think when “Love” starts to get mentioned which it has with you, then the affair become something a little more serious and definitely something harder to get out of it. I speak from experience here. So you have every right to take a pause for yourself and ask yourself whether you feel comfortable falling in love with this person who is married? Do you feel comfortable with a married man falling in love with you? If he falls in love with you what do you expect from him if he’s married? And what do you really want from him or from the love?

      The bliss stage of an affair cannot go on forever because reality starts to creep in and human beings do have needs for security with people they love. This is nothing to be ashamed about. I have learned a lot about this in my affair over the years. One of the things I’ve learned is that I wanted him to say the words “I love you” (my exam) but he was resisting saying it because he knew what my automatic response to the words would be even before I heard them myself. In fact we had many fights over this issue. Then, I realized my exam was correct after all. Because when he used the words, I realized that if a man says he loves me I have expectations for the actions he will take on my behalf with those feelings. I was in a kind of denial about those expectations because they live in the secret place in my mind! I didn’t want to be the typical type of female that would expect XYNZ from a guy. I am an independent female after all and I didn’t want to seem weak. But in fact, if a man says he loves me, that secret place in my mind does want security with that person and does expect a person to care about me and concrete ways during the day and night and next day and next night. LOL. So, In a situation with a married person that person you are I may be totally in love with might be totally unable to meet your expectations of what those words mean. Even worse this person we love might be meeting the need of another person who is their legal spouse! Can you handle that life lessons? I think the reason I never asked myself that question is because I did not want to would mitt that there’s no freaking way I could handle it. Now that I know I can’t handle it it becomes a little easier to just say “ No” To continuing my relationship with my ex MM on any terms including friendship, (which is never neutral friendship anyhow) Because I now know that I cannot handle it.

      That is why am saying it is a very good idea for you to ask yourself what you want and what you expect from this affair. If you prefer to have the least trouble possible, You might want the love word to never be used for example. Or you could use the word after you and he have thoroughly discussed what love means to each of you and have agreed it doesn’t necessarily mean commitment to being together.

      Anyway you look at it , LifeLessons, The sooner you become proactive in this relationship for the better for you. Do not be afraid to ask yourself the hard questions and to look out for yourself in all that you do with this man or any man. With love butterflies are free a.k.a. lara

      • LIFELESSONS

        BAF,
        I am replying to you here instead of the thread further down. I know exactly what you are talking about when you mention the “secret spot” in your mind and the expectations that cone along with the words love and I think that is why I was uncomfortable with it. I was shocked he mentioned the words period and it almost or actually it did feel like he was hesitant about using the word love. It was almost like he was testing the waters a little with the way he said it to me. As I said in other threads here, the 1st time he said it it was because I was telling him how I was in the process of helping an adult learn how to read, and that is not apart of my job but that I really wanted to help this person out and I felt that I could and he said, ” That’s why I love you” and I said, what ?! He said it again and he followed up with you amaze me and I said why, he said, ” because you genuinely want to help everyone, you really are sweet”. I said, well I think it’s a gift and a curse and went on to explain why I felt that way. I didn’t acknowledge it but I called my friend who knows about us and told her I couldn’t believe he said anything remotely close to love and me. I said, he probably meant something more on the lines of that’s what he loves about me. She said but that’s not he said and my response was I am pretty sure that’s what he meant by that. You know how people say it in a non meaningful way. She said to me, he likely meant he loves you because that’s what he said and I told her I refuse to believe that because there is NO way he loves me and his W. We went back and forth about it for a little while. She asked what would I do if he said it again and I said I may just hang up the phone and pretend I lost signal, we both laughed. I told her he wouldn’t say it again and she said oh I am sure he will…well he did earlier this month and again it caught me off guard, I can’t remember the entire conversation but I know he said, ” girl stop playing, you know you love me just like I love you” I said huh, he said you heard me and I said but I honestly didn’t (which was true, the phone was breaking up) he repeated it and I said, “Yea, you’re right I love you just as you love me” and within the next 5 mins he was telling me he was outside of my house. I think we were talking about seeing each other but he didn’t tell me he was actually going to come over that night and pick me up. I messaged my girlfriend and I told her what happened and she said I told you he meant it and I told her I still wasn’t sure because I just couldn’t believe someone could love 2 people. I told her I thought it was more of lustful thing. He desires me in a sexual way so he means it in that way. She didn’t go back and forth with me that time she just said he loves you. I wrote about it here and got some commentary from Felk about it and had a better understanding. A part of me wamted him to feel that way and be meaningful about it but the other part of me was so afraid of it. I think it’s because of the “secret spot” in the brain that hears that word and it attaches it to all of these expectations. Love complicates things in my mind and it’s like as if this isn’t complicated enough. I wanted to ask so many questions about it. I wanted to know what makes him think he loves me and what does it mean for our relationship but I didn’t really want to talk about it. Therefore, I didn’t! It’s not like he has just come out and said, I love you so I just felt that he may not mean it…its not like he says it when we see each other or every time we get off the phone. The way he slid it in to me was in a way that wasn’t direct so either he was afraid of saying it or he doesn’t mean it. Either way, I don’t know how to start the conversation in order to see what it means for both of us. How do you suggest, I get this done ? How do I bring it up, Should I write him a letter, should I do it face to face or over the phone, does it matter, I am curious about it and I am sure we can talk about it. I can talk about almost anything but when its time to express my feelings to a man, I freeze…I think its fear of rejection.

        • Butteflies are Free

          Lifelessons, Before you ask him what he meant when he said “he loves you and you love him too” figure out what YOU want first! You need to journal and take time to figure out your OWN feelings first. Just because he said “you love him too” does not mean you do love him too! Its what YOU say that counts. Don’t let him define the relationship unless you are perfectly in agreement with what he says. You ask: “Either way, I don’t know how to start the conversation in order to see what it means for both of us. How do you suggest, I get this done ? How do I bring it up, Should I write him a letter, should I do it face to face or over the phone, does it matter, I am curious about it and I am sure we can talk about it. I can talk about almost anything but when its time to express my feelings to a man, I freeze…I think its fear of rejection.” It sounds like talking to him face to face to face (which is what I recommend) will be a great learning opportunity for you! I know you are scared and have been hurt in the past. So has he! But it always good practice to sit face to face with someone and try to be honest. You do not have to talk about everything all at once in one long and drawn out session. Instead you can break it up into little topics and bit and practice one thing at a time! This is great practice for you for ANY relationship. Of course you and I seem to agree we have some expectations when it comes to that word: LOVE. We who are single might feel differently about that word than those who are married. I know for me if a man says he loves me I can no longer tolerate him loving someone else. How can he love us both? My ego hates this. However people CAN and DO love more than one person. In fact I can even do that with two men quite easily! (Talk about being a hypocrite!)

          So I have finally figured out that I am NOT a person who can handle an affair. After 21 years out seems a little ridiculous to say this no? I can not stand the jealousy. I can not deal with a man who loves me then going back to spend the night in a warm bed with a “her”. UGHG. I hate that in fact. In the beginning I thought I could handle having an affair. I thought it was a temporary solution and I really never EVER thought I would fall in love with the MM because he was not my type at all! . So I thought I was “safe” in the situation. But something happened to me after time spent together and I really DID fall in love. And I told him so.

          The more these affairs go on, the worse things gets in my opinion. Thats why I kept trying to leave and stay away. But I could not get away from him physically as he worked next door. So we are on one after another: reunion, then break up the reunion scenario. arrghhh

          The most recent stage is him telling me he is truly unhappily married and always has been and him almost telling me he loves me and has always loved me. And him telling me he wants to leave her (soon-isn). I think this is true by the way. The part about him being unhappy with her and even the part about him loving me. But that doesn’t mean he will actually leave her. Sadly.

          But he is still not taking the steps he needs to take if he means what he says. I realized his words and his actions are not in sync. Not even close yet. And maybe will never be. I responded by cutting contact and cutting the pain source off from hurting me any longer. I have no more patience in me nor any more waiting time.

          Not easy. LL you have to see yourself in one year or five years or ten years. How long can you see this going on if you ARE indeed both in love? Try to be as honest with yourself as possible. Then bring things up with him in the most comfortable way possible and a little at a time I think. Get advice from others on this too. And gather your strength about you. You will surely need it! Hugs B. A. F. aka Lara

          • LIFELESSONS

            Lara (BAF)
            You made some really good points here. I thought it was a great idea to journal about this. I have started to do so since he has been away on vacation. I honestly dont know how long i can handle being #2 and not get the things i want out of this. You are right, that this will be a learning lesson for me, I am reflective and I recently realized I struggle with direct communication. I am typically sarcastic and its my passive/aggressive way of partially saying what I need to say. I want to improve my communication and who better to practice on…MM, I have nothing to lose with him because he is not mine in the first place. I just spoke to a male friend of mine whom has 2 girlfriends, one he lives with and will likely marry and one who knows about the other woman in his life and has accepted her position in his life as #2…he said something interesting to me about a MM loving both women. He said, its revolving! I said the love is revolving ??! He said, yes. He told me a man loves his wife but “in love” is revolving. Therefore, he possibly can fall in love with girlfriend on the side and when there is a little drama from her and his wife is taking care of his needs and things are good at home then he is “in love” with her. I said what?! He said yes, people love more than one person at a time. I said ok! Anyway, I plan to take all of your advice because I think it is pretty helpful. I will talk to him in person but I will feel him out first….

            You said you finally figured out, after 21 years that you cannot handle an affair….is that how long you were with your MM ?!
            I notice you said he recently mentioned he loves you, he is unhappily married, and he wants to leave her but you dont believe him. Is this something he has said he would do over the years and just havent done it ? Im curious as to why you dont believe him. I now know that this is not easy and I think I thought I would be able to just walk away from him. I was so naive in the beginning, thinking I could actually be friends with a MM. I just knew I wouldnt have sex with him and there was no way I would fall in love with him. I think I may have watched too many movies or something…because in my head it would be over quickly because he likely had multiple women he was just sleeping around with but that hasnt been the case because the “relationship” is still going on. I have so many mixed feelings about all of this. I know I am strong enough to get through this because I have been through worse situations but I actually have grown to truly care for my MM. Our kids will graduate high school together in the next 3 yrs, they are close friends and him and I will continue to see each other and I dont know if I can handle him and I not being able to have some type of relationship but i still have to see him. Grrrr so challenging!

  • Butterflies are Free

    Felk, this is in response to your June 24 post buried below:
    First of all let me say I am still blocking and walking. We had a very brief visual siting today but I quickly moved out of his range of vision. Sitings for me are difficult.
    Thank you for saying: I have tried for many, many years with your MM and I have tried many different versions of the affair with him. You get it.
    When you say, “Trying that hard to make something work seems like the definition of doing your best.” WOW that is a nice thought. You are so right “we want to believe that we can solve and fix everything.”
    Oh yes I really identify with this.
    Who you say: “I didn’t get what stopped working. I was thinking that this week threw me way off as I thought it (a sort of friendship) was “working” too but like you I was naive. The truth is this “sort of friendship” could always include the occasional sexual references from him and that is what had happened last Sunday night. That is why I was extra shocked (thrown off my position) to get so blown off Monday. Maybe it is because I have been refusing to take any of this “innuendo bait?” Who knows. At this point who cares? The result was painful is what I need to know and remember.
    You say: “My guess is that it was similar for you in that, given that the affair went on so long, you wondered why you couldn’t just make it work. There obviously had to be good things there if it worked so long.” Yes this is very true. And, “It’s hard to let go of something you’ve invested so much in. I know.” Yes one hundred times over.
    But the point about blocking and walking being actually KIND is very helpful to me as I thought I was being CRUEL and would get to feel very guilty about it and then let him slowly back in to communicating with me as I did this last time. By the way I blocked FB this time too.
    You say: “I meant that it acknowledges that he probably did his best, and he has nothing left to give also. He is probably exhausted, too. You’ve described how depressed and defeated he seems. In a way, he is hanging onto your relationship, too. So, letting go, is also kind to him.” I really had not thought of it that way. I was thinking I was abandoning him. Like I said I broke up with him the day his father died etc etc. there were many heavy emototioanal things in this relationship from the START that made me feel somehow exiting was not an option. That I “had to care”. But my therapist and you have been challenging my thinking thankfully. For example you ask: “Why are his problems MY problems anyhow?” And I ask: How did I let that happen and why? Obviously I can learn from my actions.
    You say: “If you know the relationship cannot work, ending it is the kind and loving thing to do for both of you. Not that it is your job to be kind to him.” Somehow I thought it WAS my job to be kind to him and to take care of him. Somehow I felt indebted to him. I don’t understand it myself but I felt it was karmic and destined relationship and that I had to be “responsible”. But where was his responsibility to me? Obviously this is something I have to work on to get to a healthier next love relationship. And there will be one!. I am not sure when but I can see it will come.
    I agree I do not know what is best for the exMM. “But being clear in blocking him and walking away might give him the freedom to finally let go, too.” Again I had not thought of that. It all sounds positive actually. Lately I feel relief when he is NOT around my nabe. I wonder if he does too?
    You say:
    “My MM and I are slowly getting there, but looking at this friendship as just a friendship has been important for me moving on and feeling a lot better lately.” I know you are not having the same schedule in summer as you are in the education field as you said. The time off must be very helpful no? I am glad if my questions and comments have helped. BTW I was rather surprised to hear he did not feel proud of yours or anyone else’s successes other than his own but that IS a narc isn’t it? At least it is one aspect of a narc. I am glad your anxiety is lower. I am sure you already know any intimate partner should be encouraging you (and me) when we work hard and succeed at anything. There is something amiss when we do not get the “kudos”….a power struggle perhaps or jealousy or shame etc.
    But with narcs it’s very very tricky as our successes can trigger their sense of shame at which point they MUST push US and our accomplishments back down immediately. This according to my therapist. The Marc must absolutely must be the one getting the attention! In all honesty I think I would find this very tiring to live with which is what I always said Iw as not sure my exMM and I would make a great real life couple.
    You say:
    “I’m hoping that by getting my thinking more clear on our friendship, it will help me and him. I hope that he will feel more comfortable with me and our friendship, and it’s lately felt like that’s the case. It’s still not easy, but it does continue to get easier.” When you say things like this which take him and his feelings so much into account I still get confused how you are a “narc”. You know I have asked you this and I know you have said you are both on a spectrum and of course I do understand that, But if anything you seem (to me at least) to be going out of your way to make him feel comfortable (as well as yourself). Or am I mis-reading you? If my exMM were able to do this I think a “friendship” with would probably be much more possible, but it would still always be very painful and awkward. Because he would still be married (and “unresolved in his marriage”) and I would still be single and “free” in his eyes. Many hugs BAF aka Lara xxx000

    • Felk

      BAF, my guess is that the hardest part for you in this is that you felt this relationship with your MM was destined. That he was your soulmate. You allude to it here and there in your posts, but you don’t say a lot about how difficult that is to come to the realization that he is not. Whatever term we use for it “soulmate” or “love of our life” or “the one,” I know you’re not the only one on here who thought that about her MM and it adds to the pain of ending a relationship with this person. Even if we think it sounds silly to speak of destiny and soulmates, we think these things about people and relationships and to have that relationship end is really hard. I know it is why you have given so much to this relationship. I know that’s why you tried so hard to make it work for so long. It’s not just the addiction. Or maybe it’s the addiction that makes us think this person is our soulmate, but I know you had genuine feelings for this man for a long time.

      I also know how strong it is for you to block and walk. I know how strong it is to make choices that are best for you because I know that is not your tendency. Your MM was still hurting you as recently as last week when he blew off last Monday. That is no good for you. That is not something you should continue to put up with. And there is certainly nothing you owe your MM anymore. It certainly does not seem like he treats you as if he owes you anything. Over these months, I can see how you’re seeing this more and more clearly every day.

      As for my MM, yes, the fact that he doesn’t want to celebrate anyone’s successes is a narc tendency. I have those tendencies, too. But the other things you say about me taking his perspective and taking his feelings into account (and those are very kind things for you to say) are me, too. That’s why I don’t think I’m a narcissist (with a personality disorder), but I’m just above average on the spectrum. I have both those tendencies of narc and then not, and I’d say the same for my MM. He is good at perspective taking and he can be very kind. He has generally seemed sensitive to my feelings when it comes to our relationship. I do think this is why a friendship might be possible. We are trying to be careful, respectful of the other, communicative, and also honest about how we’re feeling. We also do well with not jumping to conclusions and generally thinking the other has good intentions. It doesn’t always go smoothly. We have both stumbled across these months as we try to create this path to a friendship, but it feels like we’re getting a lot closer to understanding boundaries and still being able to enjoy each other as friends do. Or maybe a little more than friends do. 🙂

      Of course, I still feel the risk of wanting more. I saw him today and it was really good, but I want to make sure that I don’t “crash” tomorrow as sometimes happens after seeing him. I don’t think I will. I haven’t felt that happen for several weeks now. I think my brain now “gets” that we’re just friends. But, things still aren’t exactly where I’d like with my feelings. It’s mostly good, but there are still some rough moments. Maybe that’s something I will have to deal with forever with a friendship with him or maybe, as I’m hoping, those rough moments will get lesser and lesser as it seems they have.

  • 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

          • Felk

            BAF, I’m glad your therapist was able to give you clear advice and reasoning for blocking and walking. It sounded like the right thing to do when you mentioned it a few days ago, and I’m glad she was able to reinforce that for you. Of course, I’m sure it was also very helpful to hear her talk you through why you might have been unsure as to whether to block or unblock. It makes a lot of sense that, when we are overwhelmed by other things in our life, it is hard to make hard decisions. As you’ve said, it takes energy to end the relationship and some of your energy is focused on the other major changes in your life. It took me a while to see this for myself, but I’m now noticing how my family issues (just some health stuff with family members) can add to the stress I’m already trying to handle with my break-up. I’ve not only mistaken stress from my family for MM stuff, but I’ve also felt overwhelmed when the two are happening at the same time. Now that I notice this, it is easier to separate the two and deal with each as I need to.

            Your therapist also makes good points about how your MM’s financial and job struggles might make it hard for him to have a positive relationship with you because he’s a narc. He may not only be jealous of your successes and find it hard to celebrate them with you, but he may also take out some of the negativity in his life on you (because narcs do not like to blame themselves). He may also find it hard to be around you now because you always propped him up and now he can’t count on you for that. And I’m not saying you should prop him up anymore. Just saying that his narcissism fed off how in love with him you were. That’s how narcs work. As I said to Hope the other day, one of my MM’s narc tendencies was negating or ignoring my successes at work. He did this for other people, too. He didn’t want to be happy for anyone else’s successes (but he also didn’t brag about his own). When you cannot be happy for another’s successes, it is wrapped up in all sorts of your own insecurity. That’s a narc. You can’t stand any attention not being on you. Sadly, I do this a bit to my H, too. Not as bad as my MM (and I don’t say that just to make myself look better, just to tell it how I see it), but I know I sometimes have difficulty giving my H the credit for the good things he does or for his successes. I am trying to be better, though, and it’s working (a little). 🙂

            Also, I second what your therapist said about your MM coming to your door. Just don’t answer. It will send a clear message to him soon enough. He will try for a while, but then he will stop. You know that your brain will try to talk you into opening that door, and it will use empathy and kindness as excuses to talk you into seeing him one more time. Your brain wants that addiction fed (still), and so hopefully you can ignore the brain signals that will make you want to open that door for him. At this point, though, you owe him nothing. It is not unkind. It is fair, and it is what he should expect given how he treats you and the state of your relationship. Most of all, it is kind to you to block and walk. And that should be your focus… you. If you are ready (or close to ready) to be done, blocking and walking (and not answering the door) are the clearest signs you can send and they will help give you mental (and physical) distance that you need to move on.

          • Butterflies are Free

            Hi Felk I am not flip flopping anymore. I am sticking with the BLOCKING and WALKING. I feel sad I have to do this as I don’t like to take such an extreme stand but for ME it is really the only kind and loving thing to do at this point. I really tried and gave it my best. He leaves me no choice. Hugs, BAF aka Lara xoxo

          • Felk

            BAF, I said it before and I’ll say it again… it is so strong of you to block and walk. He really did leave you no choice. It is what makes sense at this point. He is not there for you. He can’t even treat you with the most common decency of friendship of following through with plans. He comes and goes as it’s convenient for him. He expects you to talk about his marriage (!) with him. And he said he couldn’t promise that he’d want a relationship with you were he to leave his W. It is a one-way relationship, and you know you deserve better.

            You really have done your best. You know I’ve had to remind myself of that through my break-up. Over these 9 months, I caught myself many times thinking about why I didn’t try harder to save the affair when he suggested ending. But, it’s because I tried for the prior 9 months to save it. As he pulled away, we talked about it, we tried, I gave him space, I voiced concerns. I didn’t try harder at the end because I was exhausted. Because it wasn’t up to me to save the relationship. It was up to us. And if he couldn’t do it, I couldn’t do it alone. Just like you can’t do it alone in your situation, and that’s what your MM is doing to you.

            And you know that walking away is the kind and loving thing to do. Not only to yourself (which is most important), but for him, too. Many times I’ve reminded myself of how my MM was in turmoil at the end of our affair, and I want to respect his choice to end it.

            I am so excited for how much mental energy this opens up for other things in your life.

          • Butterflies Are Free

            Dear Felk,
            Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. I needed to hear them! even though I know some things myself I don’t necessary believe them. Case in point: I said “I tried my best.” Well yes I said that but also I was still wondering: Did I really do my best with my exMM? Was there truly nothing else I could do?
            But when you said to me “You did your best” I heard you better if that makes any sense. You reaffirmed for me that I have indeed tried very hard. And for very long. It feels comforting to think I really tried my best.

            Also this time I heard you correctly when you said “It is so strong to you” to block and walk. Yes Felk I am realizing it really takes strength to do this. Warrior strength sometimes it seems. This week I have felt very exhausted all week I must say. I have not had to see him visually yet but that moment will come. And it will be hard as now we will be back to the “coldness” I had hoped we might have avoided.
            But what choice do I have?
            No, he is not there for me. He can’t even treat me with the most common decency of friendship of following through with plans. And more.
            So what choice do I have? Staying in this one way “friendship” means things will only get worse and worse.
            He changed back to a narc type so fast on me this past week I was almost shocked how fast it happened and how clearly I saw it happening. I went from having very high value to having very low value (in his way of being) in 24 hours.
            I do understand you when you say here: “I didn’t try harder at the end because I was exhausted. Because it wasn’t up to me to save the relationship. It was up to us.”
            I so get that now. In any relationship there has to be an “us” meaning TWO people working to make it work.
            Thank you for saying that “walking away is the kind and loving thing to do. Not only to yourself (which is most important), but for him, too.”
            I had never thought of it this way.
            I can not say I want to respect my exMM’s choice to be a narc as I doubt it is a choice but rather a disorder of some kind, but anyhow what choice do I have? I have to accept it as it is not up to me. I can not change him and “love” can not change him either.
            As for him feeling comfortable enough to tell me the details of his marriage I must admit I barely trust his version anymore. Look how he is acting with me! Can it be much different for her?
            Thank you for saying:
            I am so excited for how much mental energy this opens up for other things in your life.
            This IS the exciting part, YES!
            Hugs BAF aka Lara

          • Felk

            BAF, I understand still wondering if you did your best with your MM. But, of course you did. I think we mistake an ended relationship for not doing our best, because it’s hard to accept that sometimes you do your best and you still fail. First, you know that affairs are a mess and they’re almost always doomed to failure. Second, you have tried for many, many years with your MM and you have tried many different versions of the affair with him. Trying that hard to make something work seems like the definition of doing your best. After my MM ended our affair, I had a lot of thoughts of “why didn’t I try harder to make it work?” but that’s just a delusional way of thinking where we want to believe that we can solve and fix everything. I think it was especially hard for me because our affair worked for so many years, and I couldn’t understand why it couldn’t keep working. In those last 9 months as our affair was ending, I didn’t understand what changed. I felt like we were moving along nicely, and I didn’t get what stopped working. But it was naive. The longer we went, the more things changed for us (we grew closer) and in our marriages (we grew farther). My MM was just more honest about the damage being done and how we were creating greater anxiety for ourselves and our spouses the more we continued. My guess is that it was similar for you in that, given that the affair went on so long, you wondered why you couldn’t just make it work. There obviously had to be good things there if it worked so long. It’s hard to let go of something you’ve invested so much in. I know. It’s hard to acknowledge that he has no more to give. It’s sad. And it’s hard to admit that nothing else you could do would work. Because you did your best.

            Yes, staying in a one-way friendship is no good for you, especially if you are hoping for him to do better. If you are willing to be in a one-way friendship (which most of us are not), then fine. But, given your history with your MM, you will expect and hope for more if you stay in a “friendship” and it will be continually frustrating and exhausting.

            When I said that walking away was the kind and loving thing to do for your MM, too, I didn’t mean that it meant you respected him being a narcissist. Can’t respect that. I meant that it acknowledges that he probably did his best, and he has nothing left to give also. He is probably exhausted, too. You’ve described how depressed and defeated he seems. In a way, he is hanging onto your relationship, too. So, letting go, is also kind to him. If you know the relationship cannot work, ending it is the kind and loving thing to do for both of you. Not that it is your job to be kind to him. And not that you know what’s best for him. But being clear in blocking him and walking away might give him the freedom to finally let go, too.

            My MM and I are slowly getting there, but looking at this friendship as just a friendship has been important for me moving on and feeling a lot better lately. It’s taken time to get here, and a lot of your questions/comments a few weeks ago helped me a lot. I was still holding on a little to what might be or going back to what we were, and that was no good. It was no good for me (or him). It was causing me a lot of anxiety given the uncertainty. I’m not saying the anxiety is zero now, but it’s low and it’s because I continue to remind myself that my actions and his actions are just friendship and nothing more. So, I’m hoping that by getting my thinking more clear on our friendship, it will help me and him. I hope that he will feel more comfortable with me and our friendship, and it’s lately felt like that’s the case. It’s still not easy, but it does continue to get easier.

    • 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

      • Butterflies are Free

        Hi Hope! So nice to hear from you. Thank you for your words!
        You ask: “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!).”
        You know I have to agree: he is acting like a moron and yes somewhat like J’s guy. aargh
        All that work to get my attention then he drops me like a hot potato! WTF?
        Whatever it is, this is a major red flag I can finally see clearly. I have no idea what is wrong with him. He says his marriage is so awful because his wife does not love him, and his employment situation is so terrible because he was laid off even when he was such a “great” “STAR” employee and why did it happen to him? etc etc yada yada….. And now the lease for the restaurant will be over soonish etc etc I DO feel sorry for him when he goes this route.
        But maybe he is just playing me?
        I react by offering friendship and a bit career help (but NO love or sex or touching). I feel this was a lot to offer on my part but we go back many years and he is my neighbor. STILL he bolts!
        Is the lack of sex why he bolted? Who the hell knows. Does he have someone else too as an affair partner? Who knows?
        It shocked me for sure but then again so many things with him make so little sense these days that I am just worn out trying to understand. Yes the second hand holding episode was also shocking to me visually because he had just finished telling me about the terrible sex he has with her and how she shows no interest in him and no passion. I was trying to process his words vs. seeing the image of him and her hand holding (like nothing is wrong) and NONE of it computes for me anymore. I can not put these pieces together anymore.
        He even said his daughter is well aware of his marriage unhappiness. But his wife is NOT aware and she would be “devastated” to find out if he was cheating. I want to know this: how can his daughter know and not his wife? (She is 20 and I have no doubt she is close with the mother). His son must know too I guess but is having serious trouble with addictions as we speak. Then I wonder if the family drama is contributing to his serious addictions? What a mess. It’s too much for my head. I don’t know what the lies are and what the truth is anymore.

        So I blocked and walked (again) to protect myself. To protect ME. When I prayed, my spiritual side said: “blocking is harsh” and “blocking is cruel” and “you should not need to block/just set a boundary!” That is when I unblocked for half a day. But then my therapist reminded me (and Felk reminded me and YOU reminded me) I do NOT have to solve HIS and HER problems! I need protection from this psychic and emotional mess myself as I AM so sensitive. An empath can really fry in the middle of all these conflicting statements and emotions. Fry like a scrambled egg, lol.
        I am sure he must be lying but what are the lies and what is the truth? I have no idea. He’s a charmer and when he lies it’s so very hard to tell. If he is a true narc then it all makes sense as it would just be the love-bombing behavior, then me reacting by talking him back sort of, then him totally discarding me as a matter of that’s how narcs always act. If I had slept with him imagine the pain I would be in! But I do not want to sleep with him anymore. I am falling finally out of attraction with this weird creature. His “mystery” does not seem all that “fascinating” to me anymore. His “mystery” and his “charm” that I thought I saw are now morphing into a more real, everyday, highly flawed guy who is partly a total moron I am afraid.
        My judgment is highly flawed as well.
        True narcs are incapable of true intimate friendships or even relationships as everyone is ultimately a THREAT to them. (This is my MOM to a “T”. I can only have a nice conversation with her if I let her think “she knows it all” already. True story! She HAS to be number one or else she will push me down into “my place”. She does the same with all my siblings).
        Hope: Take care of YOU!!! Hope! YOU are number one. Everyone else comes afterwards. We are not super women all of us! We are human. And flawed and we make mistakes yes. But we can also GROW! I think I AM growing now to tell you the truth.
        Hugs
        Butterflies are Free aka Lara! xxxooo

        • Hope

          Hey Lara/BAF it’s always nice to hear from you too 🙂 How are you feeling now?

          The ‘great star employee’ part made me chuckle, yes I think he is definitely playing games to gain your attention. He knows you are a very empathetic person and if he comes to you with a crisis/problem you will try and help irrespective of how badly he treated you previously.

          I don’t think it’s the lack of sex, it’s just who he is. I haven’t had sex with ex MM in months but I feel he is still playing me to get me in bed, may be your ex MM is doing the same? Also I don’t think your MM has someone on side, from what you have told me he would have used that card to make you feel jealous by now. Also given everything he has done to you and his personality, it would be very difficult for someone to put up with his BS.

          I can completely understand the feeling of being worn out. I am glad the hand holding wasn’t as painful..arghh what a tough situation for you to be in. About his wife not being aware of his marriage unhappiness but his daughter is, yes this does not add up but then again many MM are good at lying and it’s hard to tell the truth apart from the fictional stories. Sorry to be blunt Lara but I feel nothing is contributing to his actions, he is just a shitty person who is used to treating people poorly as simple as that. You were absolutely right in blocking him, no good can come from being in touch with this man.

          I think he is a narc too, he uses people as it pleases him and doesn’t have much regard for others feelings. Yes the ‘MM mystery’ turns out to be absolute BS at times doesn’t it? 🙂

          So sorry to hear about your Mom, you have shared with us before but it’s still so heartbreaking, poor you Lara; being a mother I can’t imagine another mother doing this to her kids. Sending you so much love Lara xoxo

          Yes I’ll take care, you take care of yourself too. And yes we will keep learning, keep growing and keep building our lives whatever happens. Hugs xxx
          Hope.

    • Kub

      Hey BAF

      I have had left 4 different messages here for your this post but since none of them is published I don’t want to go back those days but kindly want to ask you how are you about this topic?
      Are you still have doubts to block? Have you or have you not blocked him?

      Because, HONESTLY, he does not even deserve this much of your hesitation and care. But I wonder how are you doing?

      Thanks!

  • 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

          • Hope

            Felk, couldn’t reply to your comment so replying here sorry. It’s good that you and your MM saw each other a lot, once a week (or more) is really good commitment, good on you both. For me unfortunately (or with hindsight fortunately? as it makes staying away easier?) it wasn’t the case, once a month I was lucky. Conversations were strictly during office hours. I remember once my daughter was really sick and I was scared; I said to him I thought of calling him to which he said ‘when your child is sick you go to a doctor, calling me isn’t going to change anything’. Anyway that’s in the past.

            You are right, may be it was the difficulty of the affair but I did think at the time it was lack of effort as once a month or once in 2/3 months didn’t seem good enough to me, I may be wrong. You ask tough questions, that’s really good as it helps in thinking things through but I really don’t know if I wished if ex MM risked his marriage for me? I never thought of it that way, I just felt he didn’t make enough effort; that’s what my gut told me anyway. You are much secure person than me Felk and it’s great that your MM met your expectations, mine didn’t.

            Funnily enough my ex MM didn’t like acknowledging his birthday, he refused to tell at start and I had to kind of force him to tell me that. I can understand you being frustrated by his acknowledging and doing something special only when he wanted, I would have been annoyed too.

            Don’t be hard on yourself for treating your H poorly, many of us have done and I now think it’s a big side effect of an affair, one tends to withdraw from the other partner. My suggestion would be to just slowly try and change that now that you have recognised the problem.

            I think you are right in weighing your affair vs your marriage. Yes with everything you have described it does seem that you will be better off being with your H.

            Yes ex MM does want friendship. Yes I was the one to break it off because it felt insulting after a point and the passion and chemistry no longer made up for the necessary compromises. You are right, I think pain of distance might lessen that pain over time. For me I think this distance is necessary, although exMM is a good person and has treated me pretty well I find that I want nothing to with him most days. I agreed to try friendship after I saw how devastated he was after losing what we had. I didn’t think it would be that hard for him too so was surprised to see him that way. After trying friendship though it has brought the pain again. I agree with Lara, this friendship isn’t for me. Yes I still love him and of course I miss him but I love me too, I love my unborn baby, my daughter and my H. I too am grateful that my H didn’t find out and yes for my sanity I’ll try and stay away again. I don’t owe him anything so won’t provide any explanation, just going to stay away and let’s see what’s next 🙂
            Take care Felk xxx
            Hope.

          • Felk

            Hope, you say that I’m a more secure person than you, but you ended your affair because your didn’t think your MM was treating you the way that you should be treated. There is so much strength and self-respect in that. Insecurity is when we stay despite being treated poorly. At the end of my affair, as my MM was pulling away, I got insecure. I know it’s natural to get scared when you feel someone pulling away, but I look back at those last few months and wish I had acted differently. So, sure, I feel like a secure person, but I think you showed a lot of security by ending your affair. Whether or not you wanted your MM to risk his marriage for you, what matters is that you felt he wasn’t doing enough. He wasn’t treating you the way you wanted to be treated. And you left.

            There is so much about your MM that sounds like my MM, but I’m not surprised. I think that there’s a coldness and selfishness that makes it easier for people to cheat. I’m not saying we’re all like that, but I know I have those traits. So, I think it’s no surprise that we find ourselves in affairs with cold and selfish men because that’s part of why they’re able to cheat on their wives. My MM also wouldn’t tell me his birthday initially. It became kind of a game/joke, but there was something that bothered me about him being so private about something like that.

            And, like your MM, I was surprised by how hard my MM fell for me. I was in love, too, but I was surprised that he got to the point where the difficulty of being apart was too upsetting for him to continue the affair (and that he had considered ending his marriage). I guess I also thought my MM would move on faster after the break-up, but it doesn’t seem he has. And I was surprised that my MM wanted a friendship after the break-up, too. I kept worrying that he was going to tell me that we should maintain a professional relationship only, but he’s been clear that he wants a friendship and he’s backing that up. You’ve heard me say that I want it, too, but you’ve also heard me say how hard it can still be to figure it all out. I completely understand why a friendship isn’t for you. It is VERY hard to ignore the reminders of what was and what could have been. Staying away sounds good for you. And, while it’s hard to let go of being in love, it does sound like you have a lot in your life to be grateful for and to focus on. Focusing elsewhere has helped me over these months. I now (almost) feel like I can comfortably be me again, and I don’t need to seek out distraction. My MM is still there “with” me, but he’s so much farther away than he used to be. That makes me a little sad still, but the freedom in that is so much more important. For 7 or 8 months of the break-up, I longed to be free from the pain and, although it was sad to let go of the relationship, I couldn’t wait until I no longer felt that void. I can finally say it feels like I’m there. Don’t get me wrong. I am not “over” him yet. But, it really does feel better.

          • Hope

            Hi Felk, thank you for your kind words, you and Lara and so many others have always helped me.

            I am sorry to hear about the pain you went through towards the end of your affair. You have shared it before but it still hurts knowing a nice person like you went through the same gut wrenching pain.

            I thought about whether I wanted ex MM to risk his marriage to spend time with me and honestly I didn’t. Yes I wanted him to do the right thing and be with me and would have done the same. But when he made it very clear that he won’t ever do that I never wanted him to risk/ruin his marriage to spend time with me. That being said I feel he just took things for granted many times and didn’t meet/talk even when it could have been possible. Thank you Felk, it was tough to call it tough, toughest thing I have ever done but I knew it wasn’t healthy. He would give me just enough to suck me back in and the cycle repeated until last year when I finally ended it.

            I agree, there is coldness and selfishness that makes it easier for people to cheat. True not everyone might be like that but I know I am like that too. Yes the birthday thing bothered me too, absolutely what’s the big deal in being so private and with the person you are having in sex/in love with!

            In some ways it’s comforting to know the end wasn’t easy for MM either, at least not everything was one sided and that there were/are genuine feelings there. I respect your MM to consider ending his marriage, it’s a very brave move and not everyone has that strength and faith in their love so good him. I know how scared you were about MM ending your friendship and am very glad that he hasn’t and am pretty sure he won’t.

            Yes after months I feel comfortable being me again and don’t necessarily feel the need for that attention. I can only imagine how hard it must be to work with your MM. Seeing him everyday must bring back the memories and of course highlight how much things have changed but you are stronger than you think you are Felk and credit to you for doing so well in such a tough situation. I understand what you mean about not being over it but feeling much better, I do too.

            As for my friendship with ex MM, I don’t think it’s for me. He wanted to friends but then I now think may be he was playing games? He said to me he wished it was his baby and that he would be ecstatic if I thought the baby was ours, a sign of our love which I found very strange. At this point I feel bad for my H. May be I have become cynical but I now think may be ex MM was just saying that to try and get me back? Again just talk but his actions spoke otherwise. He knows I suffer from anxiety so during our ‘friendship’ I told him I get really anxious before hospital appointments (until I hear the heartbeat) I have to go alone as no-one is able to come with me. All he said was he wished he could be there but then never really made an effort to actually be there or drive me to the hospital. I may be wrong in not believing everything he says but surely if a man refers someone as ‘our bub’ (I didn’t say much when he said that but it was uncomfortable) he would try and help just once or twice.
            Luckily this time I am not as upset, it was expected but am not going to entertain this man.
            Take care. Hugs xxx
            Hope

          • Felk

            Hope, working together with my MM was very hard through the break-up. In a way, I liked it, because it kept him in my life and I couldn’t imagine cutting him out entirely. But, keeping him in my life also meant there were so many triggers and reminders of our relationship and it was very hard to keep getting reminded only to then remember that our relationship was over. I know it was hard for him, too. We talked during our break-up about how hard it was and how much we missed each other. He did a pretty good job, though, of sticking to the break up. Yes, we slipped back into “us” a few times with sex (once) and kissing (a few times) and touching/hand-holding other times. But he always got us back on track of letting go and moving towards just friendship. For a while, it was confusing and painful trying to figure out how much contact we could have with each other. Eventually, in April, I told him this directly. He responded really well, and mostly just explained that he’s trying to figure it all out, too. Right now, we’re on summer break so we don’t see each other that much. I think it’s going to go a long way in helping us move on. I still miss him, but the distance over the summer is helping me lose those expectations of him in my life every day. I also try to remind myself that friendship is my goal, and that it would have been much worse had I lost our friendship, too.

            With your MM, I don’t know if he’s playing games exactly, but it sounds like he’s still in love with you and, yes, he was probably hoping you’d come back to him. To me, that’s not playing games. He is likely jealous of your pregnancy with your H. Even though he’s not willing to leave his marriage, in a way, he probably does wish it was his baby. I know that my MM and I said all sorts of “wish” things, even though we were not going to leave our marriages. From what it sounds like, you had expectations for the friendship that your MM could not meet so it does sound like a friendship won’t work for you.

            Right now, my MM and I are trying to figure out what a friendship means for us. I know I still want more contact and communication than he does, but that was true throughout our whole relationship. 🙂 The hardest part is changing expectations from the affair to the friendship. Recognizing that you can’t have the things you did. The person can’t be there for you the way they were. You don’t have access to the person as much as you used to. But how much can you have? That’s what I still don’t know.

            How much are you still in contact with your MM? And are you thinking of reducing the contact or being done with him entirely?

          • Hope

            Hi Felk, I can understand liking to work with MM (I used to work with my MM, he was my boss) and just being pleased with having him in your life in some form (been there done that). I can understand the triggers and reminders and yes it leads to more pain and heartbreak. At least it was difficult for him too (and not just you). From what you have said you and MM have great communication and may be that makes it easier to deal with this tough situation. Yes I can imagine slipping back into ‘us’, we have done it plenty of times before last year. It’s also good that your MM got both of you back into track after that, again credit to him for not being selfish and only thinking of himself. It’s great that you understand him so well. But the dilemma of how much are you allowed to contact him would make it very difficult. Good on you for standing up to him in April (I remember when you did that) it was such a brave move and has no doubt helped you both. I hope this summer break gives you both clarity on what you need and makes things easier for both of you.

            Yes the distance does help in losing expectations. We both were devastated last year when our affairs ended but we have come this far and I believe things will only get better. I like the distance now, I enjoy not talking to him (I am surprised I say that but it’s how I feel). With friendship with my ex MM he always seems to go towards the miss you part, then I had to admit the truth that I miss him too and then of course he says he misses our sex (this is why I have trouble believing him I think, it’s always more about sex).

            With my ex MM, I don’t know why but I have trouble believing him and this only happened this year after we had that distance. You are right I did have more expectations from friendship, being a friend you help each other, be there for each other when you can (and not just send supportive texts). Friends tend to make an effort to help each other, only support I have ever gotten in past 3.5 years is via texts and this why there is no substance for me to his ‘wishes’. No actions were/will ever be taken to support those wishes, it’s just all talk.

            Regarding contact, I haven’t spoken to him at all in days. Because I have been hurt so badly in past by him, now when something happens that upsets me I just shut down completely. He has a bit of ego so usually doesn’t contact unless he misses me badly. I understand and may you are right that he isn’t playing games but somehow it’s hard for me to believe that. I have seen how effortlessly he can be with his wife (I used to see them all the time at work when we worked together) and tell me he misses me. For me it doesn’t add up because I struggled/still struggle to be with my H.
            Hugs xxx
            Hope.

          • Felk

            Hope, I think the communication with my MM was good throughout our affair and was about as good as I could have expected through a break-up. I would have liked more communication during the break-up (because I was missing him so much), but I think we struck a pretty good balance of distance and communication to try to keep our friendship. Now, it feels we’re finally in a place where that balance might work for us. Or, at least, it’s working okay for me (and I guess I don’t know entirely for him). I saw my MM today for some drinks. We had a really nice time. We laughed and enjoyed as we usually do. We also spoke of missing each other and our continued feelings. He even mentioned love. It was pretty nice to hear him say those things. Through this, one of the hard things is thinking he’s stopped loving me so I like it when he tells me that he has not (and it was he who brought those things up today). I know a lot of you on here have said that things like that would make it too hard for you to have a friendship. But, for me, knowing he still has the same feelings as he used to, makes it easier for me to keep trying to do this friendship.

            You speak of you and your MM “slipping back into us” many times, and I know my MM still worries about that. He said that today. He is still hesitant about the time we spend together (and making sure it’s not too frequent) because of the dangers of wanting more. Today, he said that it is still hard to have these nice times together and then to have to leave me. So, as you said about your MM taking your break-up so hard, my MM is still hurting, that is clear.

            If you enjoy not talking to your MM, you have made such progress. And, as you hear above, I know all too well how the friendship goes to the miss you and then possibly the sex. I don’t think your MM only misses you for the sex, but I’m sure he misses the sex. I miss the sex with my MM a lot, but, of course, I miss a lot more than that and I’d guess your MM is the same way. It’s hard to know if your MM is playing games by going a while without contacting you. It could be that he’s trying to get over you. We know NC is the way to do that so he may try to not contact you for a while to give himself some distance to try to heal. That’s what my MM did a lot in our break up. Or, sure, it could be that your MM is playing games by not contacting you for a long time and hoping that makes you miss him and want him more. Wouldn’t be the first time any of us did that in a relationship! We know it’s not good to play games, but, if he’s doing that, it’s a sign of desperation for trying to get you back. As for him and his W, everyone I know thinks my H and I are a great couple. The things we show people in public are very different from private. I still do not want to have sex with my H. Zero. If I told any of my friends that, though, they’d be stunned. I am sure your MM struggles with his W privately as much as you do with your H. I know my MM does.

            It sounds like you continue to know that distance best for you, though. I get this very much. I hope it continues to work for you. I know distance has worked very well for me (and, yes, has worked for making a friendship).

  • 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