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4 Ways to Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself After He Leaves

When a relationship ends – especially after a man unexpectedly leaves – how do you stop feeling sorry for yourself? You don’t want to struggle with self-pity for months or even years after a breakup…and yet you can’t change your feelings. 

These ways to cope with self-pity, self-hatred, shame and other feelings connected to feeling sorry for yourself will help you pick up the pieces of your heart. After you read my tips, look at the comments. You’ll meet women who are healing after different types of breakups — and none of them are feeling sorry for themselves. Their advice will help you move on from a relationship when you’re still in love.

Learning how to stop feeling sorry for yourself after he leaves is a process of changing how you think. Your feelings of heartbreak and abandonment after someone breaks up with you are deep. Being left by someone you love triggers past memories of rejection and loss. This is why you feel sorry for yourself…and it’s also the key to healing and freedom.

You feel sorry for yourself because you were created for love. We humans need each other! We need to love and be loved, to be in relationship with one another. When we’re rejected, we’re cut to the core. A breakup is an incredibly painful experience, and it needs to be grieved like any loss of a relationship. So, when you feel sorry for yourself after being left by a man — even if you know that your relationship had to end — go easy on yourself. Give yourself the kindness and gentleness you’d expect from a nurturing mom or loving best friend.

This advice from a She Blossoms reader may help you heal:

“I am so sorry you are going through this,” says Hannah on 7 Ways to Take Care of Yourself Through the Divorce Process. “I know how you feel and how it hurts! The same thing happened to me, and I felt sorry for myself for a long time. Please keep praying. God is with you, believe me. He will help you through. It seems at the moment that the pain will win, but you will come through this! You are not alone. You are valuable and a beautiful woman who will find love again one day. Your husband is the one who lost everything, not you. Stay strong, and reach out to people who love you.”

After He Leaves – How to Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself

I started my first diary when I was 10 years old, and I still have it today. I have no family photo albums, heirlooms, boxes of childhood stuff — nothing but a stack of dairies from my childhood.  I grew up in foster homes, and my mom often walked away from apartments without taking anything with her. As a result, I have nothing from my childhood.

Not having any tangible memories from the past isn’t a big deal to me, because I had a painful childhood. I didn’t want to remember my past — but even so it took me a long time to learn how to stop feeling sorry for myself. I didn’t grow up with good parents, roots, family or even a childhood home My feelings of self-pity lasted far too long! Don’t let this happen to you.

My tips on how to stop feeling sorry for yourself after he leaves are based on seeing and changing your expectations.

1. Consider your expectations of your boyfriend and relationship

Ways to Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself After He Leaves
How Ways to Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself After He Leaves

Think back to when you and your boyfriend first started dating. Or to when you and your husband said your wedding vows! What did you expect from your relationship with him? Maybe you thought you’d be together forever — especially as a married couple.

Or, maybe you thought you’d be the one to break up with him because you always knew the truth about your relationship. Maybe you feel sorry for yourself because he had the strength to break up with you, and you couldn’t do it.

What was the biggest surprise about your breakup? How did it go against all your expectations? Thinking about this can help you stop feeling sorry for yourself. It gives you something to hold on to, to move towards.

2. Admit the truth you were ignoring

Sometimes we know something is true — a relationship isn’t working out, a boyfriend isn’t being honest, a marriage is dull and lifeless — but we refuse to admit it. We don’t want to face the truth, because the truth hurts. And when we’re forced to face the truth, we feel sorry for ourselves. We’re consumed with self-pity and even self-loathing, because we know better. We know better.

What were you ignoring about your relationship? Was the breakup a true surprise, or did you see it coming? How can this help you stop feeling sorry for yourself, now that he’s gone?

3. Decide that you’re tired of feeling sorry for yourself

Back to my experience with a bad childhood: I finally, finally got tired of feeling sorry for myself. It was like a sore tooth — I couldn’t stop poking at my feelings of self-pity. Finally, I got sick of myself. And I realized that my beliefs were wrong. I thought everybody else had normal, healthy, happy two-parent homes. I thought other people had good childhoods and wonderful memories of family vacations and Facebook moments all the time. I felt sorry for myself because my expectations were wrong…and I got tired of it.

Now, I know better. I know my expectations of my mom and my childhood weren’t realistic. I also know my expectations of other people’s healthy, happy two-parent homes also aren’t realistic. Other people are dealing with relationship breakdowns, separations, divorces, family estrangements, betrayals — even if they look normal, happy, and healthy on the outside.

4. Let go and grow forward

Now that my expectations are realistic, I’ve grown into a new sense of wisdom and acceptance. I’m healthy and prepared for anything life has to offer. I have a strong relationship with Jesus, and know the Holy Spirit is guiding my life. I learned how to stop feeling sorry for myself by letting go of my expectations for my life and accepting whatever comes next.

If you’re still feeling sorry for yourself for a long time after he leaves, perhaps you expected your relationship to change who you are. I expected my family to change who I was; the truth is that nobody but God can do that. What about you – is it possible that you’ve been feeling sorry for yourself for so long that you don’t even want to stop? Perhaps your self-identity and self-esteem was wrapped up in your relationship. When he left, he took the best part of you with him…and now it’s easier to stay stuck than try to move forward.

How to Let Go of Someone You Love She Blossoms eBook

Learning how to let go of someone you love is one of the best ways to stop feeling sorry for yourself when he leaves.

I wrote 75 How to Let Go of Someone You Love: 3 Powerful Secrets (and 75 Tips!) for Healing Your Heart to help women break free from painful losses, breakups, and crushing disappointments. These practical tips from relationship counselors and psychologists will help you start loosening unhealthy attachments to the past.

Don’t give the past – or someone who hurt you – the power to hold you back from blossoming into who you were created to be.

It’s time to stop feeling sorry for yourself, and start growing forward into a new season of life! Decide that you will examine your expectations, pursue healing, and take time to work through the pain of letting go. Even these simple thoughts will help you stop feeling sorry for yourself and start growing forward into a new season of life.

In peace and passion,


P.S. You may find When You Feel Homesick for Your Old Life helpful if you long for things to be the way they were.

Is your relationship in trouble? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage from relationship coach Mort Fertel. It's free and helpful, no strings attached.

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1,124 thoughts on “4 Ways to Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself After He Leaves”

  1. I’m trying out a new theme, and have not been able to figure out how to move the comments box to the top of the page! I have a support ticket in, but it’s been taking awhile for them to respond.
    As a short-term solution, you could carry on the conversation on a blog post that doesn’t have so many comments….here’s one I recently wrote that doesn’t have a comment yet:
    As soon as I figure out how to move the comment box to the top, I’ll do it 🙂
    All good things,

  2. Hey Ladies, I thought the comment box was gone, but I now see that it’s at the bottom of the messages. Maybe Laurie can open up a new page for us if this one has become too “full”? Or maybe we could start chatting on one of the other existing pages? I’d love to keep in touch with you ladies.

    I wanted to give you an update on things with my MM. We’re just about 3 weeks post-cheating-reveal, and things are about as good as I could have hoped. Things are okay. Nothing terrible. Nothing great.
    We are not back to “normal.” We are still talking things through, but he is doing and saying all of the things I need. I’m not saying that is impressive or he should be praised. I’m just saying that he is doing what I need him to do if I’m going to stay. He has been contrite through it all. He has apologized many times (and continues to). He has seemed straightforward and honest about everything that happened and how he feels now. I don’t feel he’s holding back or hiding anything (but, of course, he’s lied once and he could again). He wants nothing to do with this woman anymore and I believe him. It was a nothing fling, and I believe him. But let me be clear that is not the same thing as believing he’ll never do it again. I know he has that capability. He says all of the things about why he doesn’t think anything like this will happen again. He also says that he doesn’t want to threaten our relationship again. He’s backing off from the coworker who I’ve said is pursuing. He is clear that relationship is not important to him, and he’s told me that he doesn’t want me to think it’d be worth threatening me or us. He has said all the things about why he wants me to stay and what he loves about me and us. He has initiated email many times. I know BAF said that I was starved for this attention, and, sure, these words from him feel nice, but I don’t feel desperate like I did 2 years ago. So, I don’t feel I want to stay because he’s showing closeness. It’s not like I think this closeness will last forever or he’s suddenly going to lavish me with attention. I want to stay just because I enjoy us (the addiction still has hold of me), and he still feels worth it. I know some people wouldn’t think that after cheating, but I look at cheating differently (as a cheater) and I’m in an affair. I want to try to work on this with him because I just like what we have too much. Yes, I feel it’s been threatened. Yes, I wonder if we can even get back to “normal.” But, for now, I want to try. We’ve had 7 years and we’d just gotten back to things being good with us, and I don’t think I’m ready to be done. I believe this woman two years ago was nothing, and it’s over and done. I believe he wants me. But I also know he’s a cheater, and I am not so foolish as to think he is not capable of this again. I guess I believe, though, that the odds are low (enough). If I stay, I have to trust. I can’t stay without trust. Right now, he’s working to rebuild that trust. It’s slow. There’s no rushing back. We just talk across these weeks (and hold hands a bit… no kissing… no sex… nothing like that at all). Maybe I’m kidding myself and we won’t be able to move on from this, but it already feels like we will. Or maybe he’ll be cheating on me again in a year, but that’s a risk I’m choosing to take. I don’t even want to make it sound simple. It’s not been an easy three weeks, and I don’t think I’ll feel things are back to good for a while. But I know I want to try.

    What’s funny is that we’re dealing with this cheating thing and then, if all of that gets resolved, we still have to deal with all the other hard things of being in an affair. 🙂

  3. LL,

    I’ll provide my opinion as a single gal. 1. No financial obligations from a significant other unless you’re sharing a living space. I think in my affair we split things fairly evenly although I did complain to him that I expected him to contribute a bit more since I was giving myself for less than a full relationship. That reasoning didn’t go over very well bc the fact of the matter is I resented not getting everything I wanted in general. I submitted so that falls on me. No one coerced me into sticking around for a less than fulfilling relationship. My decision, my consequences.
    2. No way Jose. I’d be worried about his wife picking up on the chemistry. People can see when there is “something” between two people even if you try hard to act calm and cool. I’d also be worried about feeling incredibly envious that everyone thinks he’s madly in love with her and you get zero recognition. There’s something special about the world knowing you are the one someone loves. When you are the dirty secret you feel invisible. I’ve posted on here about lack of recognition and I remember Felk acknowledging that with her coworkers. I mainly felt it with colleagues because it’s an honor and privilege to be someone’s special person.
    3. Bringing up that topic is a double edged sword. On one hand you want them to have some possessiveness and jealousy because we associate that with a form of commitment. On the flip side it makes you question why they haven’t stepped aside to demonstrate their love by doing what is best for you since they can’t give you everything you want and deserve. I found whenever we had those convos he never said or did anything that brought me to a better place. I always felt worse. It’s a lose lose discussion. Often we enter into these discussions secretly hoping for validation.

  4. LL, as usual these are just my opinions and others may look at these differently…

    1) I never thought my MM should have a financial obligation to me. I don’t know if I’d feel differently if I were single, though. I might feel that my MM should take me out on dates sometimes, but I’d also feel that I should take him out sometimes. I’m all about women paying equally in relationships. 🙂 This is just my personal philosophy. I would not think that my MM should pay any of my bills, though, even if I were single. If he is not creating those bills, I don’t see why he should pay. Again, this is something I’ve always believed. When I was dating men before I was married, I did not ask them to contribute to my bills and I wouldn’t have expected them to ask me to contribute to their bills if we lived separately. Sure, I could see someone offering to pay for gas if you are always the one driving to them or something like that, but, otherwise, I think your bills are your bills. Of course, I like when my MM offers to pay for a dinner here or there, but he and I typically split evenly.

    2) With this one, I think I’d continually side with you not going. Just doesn’t seem necessary and only seems like it could make you jealous if you see your MM with his W or seems like it could cause some suspicion for your MM’s W if you’re talking to her H. I know you’re thinking that you might go because she’s mentioned it two years in a row, but I don’t think she’d think it’s weird that you’re not going. You could be busy or maybe it’s just not the type of event you’d like. There are plenty of “normal” reasons not to go so I don’t think she’d find it weird. If anything, if I thought my MM or H was interested in another woman and she showed up to an event, I’d be even more suspicious. I think, in general, always safer to not be around the MM and his W if you can prevent it.

    3) I get why you’re a little sad about his response. I know I’d feel the same way. I’d want my MM to show some jealousy or dislike of me dating other men. But from everything you say about your MM, it sounds like he’s rather practical in his approach to the affair. He’s always sounded reasonable and fair and that he tries to treat you well (even if he messes up sometimes). So, my guess is that he’s 1) trying to just give you fair advice because you’re asking, especially because he knows he has no right to ask you not to date, and 2) probably trying to act like he doesn’t care because he knows it would make him vulnerable to show jealousy and probably because he doesn’t think he has the right to ask you not to date. I know I’ve talked rather coolly about stuff to my MM at times because I didn’t want to show vulnerability or because I didn’t feel I had a right to impose. And I’ve noticed my MM doing the same at times. I think my MM and I also just try to honestly offer advice to the other and we try not to let our personal feelings get in the way. Not saying that’s the best approach or that it’s always possible, but sometimes we do that. I think that’s what your MM is doing. I think he would care if you started dating someone else, but I think he’s trying to be fair knowing he has a W. Obviously, you should pay attention to other signals he’s giving and if you think there’s a problem you should say something. But if everything’s as normal, I wouldn’t read too much into him not acting more jealous. Did you bring it up with your MM hoping he’d show jealousy? Or did you really just want to talk about it with him? We’ve all done plenty of things in relationships to try to get our others to show interest, but sometimes those things backfire and make us feel worse. 🙂

  5. Hello…..
    I am interested to see how you all will respond to this…there are a few different situations I would like some insight on

    1. Do you think the MM should have financial obligations when it comes to you ?
    Ex…if you ask for money, he should give it to you. If you need a bill paid he should take of it. He should just offer you money because you’re involved with him in some way. Is it a conversation you have in the beginning of the relationship or at some point in the relationship
    Thoughts ??

    2. My MM’s lodge is having a all you can eat/drink party this weekend. He told me she (his w) asked him to invite me and she told him last year to ask as well. I have never gone to any of the events. I told him, I would go if I had a friend to attend with me…I found a friend that would go with me. However, I’m thinking I shouldn’t go. I’ve never gone to anything before now and I’m sure it’s not the best thing for me to do….I think the only reason, I considered it is because she has asked 2 years in a row and I think I just have some guilt so I’m thinking does it look weird to her that she keeps asking me to come out but I won’t….thoughts??

    3. I talked to my MM the other day and I told him that me and a friend of mine were talking about us being single and there are no available me anywhere. He said I wasn’t going to find a man in the place I go or the area I typically go to. He said we needed to go to specific events that is known to have descent men, places where I would have to dress up, do my hair, wear heels etc. I told him I’ve been in mommy mode since I was 19 and I’ve never been the type do a lot of partying and he said right. Him giving me that advice made me feel like maybe he didn’t care that much about this anymore I’d he was willing to share insight on how I could meet someone else. I asked him if he still wanted me to let him know if I met someone else and why would it matter. He said yes he would want me to tell him and it would matter because he doesn’t want to step on the guys toes or make me feel awkward about it. He doesn’t want me to feel bad or anything. Although, I know we are not in a real relationship…I don’t know if I wanted that to be his response. I understand what he said but maybe I wanted him to act jealous that I would speak about meeting someone. I know that’s silly but I can be honest here.

    Anyone who is available to give some feedback, please feel free to reply…I’m open to all responses.

  6. Felk,
    Thank you so much for your words. They mean a great deal to me.
    Yes I was in the affair the longest. Damn. Truth. I am glad my tough love and straight forward approach have worked for you. These are things are things I developed here in conversation with all of you. Sometimes a spade is just a spade. It helps none of us to call it a diamond. I have gotten to the point where I must call it like I see it. I am tired of fooling myself.

    Part of the trick to healing from an affair is not only to find a way to quit the addiction , which is huge enough, but also to find a way to stop the mind from self-devaluing and self-hating ones now self after the affair is over. This is very very hard. And I don’t advise anyone does this alone. A LOT of support here and in ones real life are needed as one stops the denial of the affair and transitions back to the real world. The addiction is every bit emotional and psychological as it is biochemical. Denial is the food that keeps every addiction alive. Healing is like emerging from a fog.

    So, I must look back at over 20 years and say: “I forgive me.” And really mean it. NOT so easy. We all have to do that eventually because affairs are not forever unless someone leaves a marriage or relationship for the other and the affair becomes a real life relationship. The rest is fairy tale land including the “love”.

    It does zero good to quit the addiction and wallow in severe pain or wallow in self-hate and low self-esteem. I think this aspect might scare off many people who might like to quit the affair, but can not handle their own thoughts afterwards. This is why we need a great deal of support to get over the hump that are minds do to us telling us we are worthless when we are not in the affair. Telling ourselves we NEED this person to love us. We NEED this person in our lives or we will fall apart. Nope. we will not. Nothing can be farther from the truth
    Instead we must say this:
    Okay I f–ed up. I accept this. I have some character flaws and now I need to learn how to fix them. This will take some time. Fine.
    In my affair I hurt others too even if they do not know the truth about what I did. Even if I think they deserved it and I hate their guts, lol.
    Now I must reassess my adult actions based on their possible consequences.
    Now I have to forgive me for being human, and now move forward making better choices for myself based on what I know.
    For me it means (for one thing) to stop allowing myself to get manipulated. I need to stop the sort “go along to get along” thing I have been doing all my life. But there is more. And that’s okay. It is what it is but I can grow and I can change.
    And that’s more than okay.
    Thats why some people say even a toxic affair is a gift we should be thankful for. Because it teaches us so much and makes us better humans!
    Live and learn!
    hugs BAF xx

  7. TTSP, Thank you so much for your post. Your words make me feel very good! I am also glad you understand the time comes to leave for awhile from this blog.
    Yes we agree: Affairs suck. This much I know.
    I am so impressed! you have that made that plan to leave work and look for new work! Woman, you rock! This took courage, strength, and skill. And no, I do not think it is in any way unfoolish of you to leave your job without having a new one yet. You have extenuating circumstances and need to get out.
    I am 100 per cent sure you will find a new one and I hope it is less than 60 hours a week as that sounds insane. You need time to play and time for yourself and working so many hours makes it hard for such things. I know you will progress rapidly when you leave that workplace and do not have to deal with your MM daily!
    I am sooooo much happier away from my MM. I really dread going back to my house and having visual sitings of him. From now on, I am planning to have have my life in this new state near my younger son and half my life in the old place near my older son. I just have to work out the work and money details.
    This way I can build something brand new. Also this way, I can always get away from my street if I need until he loses his lease which he definitely will in a couple of years as the landlord has told them already. Never thought I would be waiting for that day but yes I am.! You too will be happy to get away from the no win drain of an affair too, I have no doubt. And you deserve your own man and to build your own life with him!
    Hugs BAF xoxo

  8. TTSP, if you have saved for a year of expenses so that you can look for a new job, I think it is VERY far from foolish to quit your job. It sounds like you have been wise in your saving and knowing what it really will take to not only rid yourself of your MM but to give yourself time to find a new job. I think you have known for a while that the only way to truly move on from your MM is to leave your job. Any tie to him has continued to hold you back from complete progress. And you know that’s no judgment as we all know how hard it is to completely cut ties. In addition to leaving your job, it sounds like you’re going to try to do the very scary thing of going complete NC with your MM. With these decisions, though, I can hear that you’re really trying to be done once and for all. You will have all my support as you go through this.

  9. BAF, I feel all the things others have said and more. You have offered so much personal experience that has been helpful, but you have also offered a combination of compassion, support, and tough love that I think is the most useful in these situations. The tough love and straightforward approach has been particularly helpful for me.

    It is not only understandable that you no longer want to post here, but it is a reflection of the tremendous accomplishment of really being done with the addiction of an affair. You were in your affair the longest of all of us, and, thus, had a lot of history to overcome. And you did it. You did it not only by seeing your MM for what he was, but you did it by seeing what you are, too (a person who deserved better). I know both of those took a long time, but the latter is really reflected in your recent professional accomplishments, too. Best to you moving forward.

  10. BAF,
    You’ve been one of the most creative, insightful, wise, thoughtful posters here. You’ve helped me and so many others do the right thing for themselves. I completely understand why you’re moving on and choosing to look ahead instead of behind you. I wish you so much love, success and prosperity in your new chapter in life.

    I couldn’t agree more with what you wrote here as that has been my personal experience. “My recent situations with my workplace and my readings and writings here have shown me once and for all that affairs SUCK and I would never recommend getting into one, not even to my enemy. There are far better ways to handle marriage sexual boredom believe me. Or being alone as single person.”

    Another point I’ll add is that if they did work, none of us would be here. For those that can’t get over the obsession and addictive nature that causes you to think you can’t live without that person, try mantra meditations which for me is mind over matter. I would say out loud every day three times in a row, “I cleanse, release and free myself of the pain and burden of any unhealthy relationships with unavailable people.”

    Also, you really have to want to move on to get over an addiction or at least get to a state of acceptance. The universe gives you what you believe, think and act on. For me I’ve been able to save up to a year of my expenses and plan to leave my employer at the end of September to look for a new job. I’ve been talking about it for a year. My position demands 60 hours minimum a week and I can’t realistically work that many hours and look for a job or have much of a life for that matter. Plus, it’ll get me away from my ex mm and give me the necessary time off to recharge. I realize some might call it foolish to quit without another job lined up but sometimes you have to take a leap of faith. I’m so ready to cut the cord.

    Nomad, I promise if you stay on course and continue no contact you’ll eventually get to a place of indifference. With some relationships you require more time to heal and move on. Healing is not linear either. You trend upwards but some days are really shitty and you miss them like hell and feel so icky inside about thinking they’re happy as can be. Don’t assume anything. You never know what goes on in someone’s head or their home.

    I have a feeling I’ll continue posting because I’m going to tell my ex mm to never contact me when I leave. I will ask for support like Hope to stay strong and not respond to any entreaties. I may have to block his number and email since I don’t trust him not to reach out. Maybe he’ll respect my wishes and choose to move on for himself. I’ll find out soon enough.

    Thank you Laurie for managing this site for us to post.

  11. LL thank you for your words. I appreciate them so very much! As I just explained to Hope it is time for me to spend some solid time away from here. I will check back in in a few months no doubt but it is time for me to be in a place and in a conversation in which my life references do not always have to refer back to him. I want to really forget about him for awhile and I really want to concentrate on building my art business and focus on that. Being here triggers me sometimes and I think about the affair too much here. I am now over one year out of my affair and I must train my mind to have lots of new and interesting life thoughts that have nothing to do with him.
    I said the same thing to Hope 🙂

    You can also see in my post to her I have some very nice family news. I am also learning how to handle my mother who is now a widow and my original narcissist like a “pro” most of the time. Tonight I confronted her on the way she speaks to me and she actually apologized and backed down! Wow.
    Plus soon I will have a daughter in law and “inlaws”. A new chapter!
    LL I wish you too: love, peace, joy and success! I also wish you the very best for your children. Yes you too will get to the place I am. With a little hard work we can all get there!

    As for you and your MM I can only say I advise you to get out and free yourself for the relationship you truly deserve! Your MM might be a very nice man and you may love him but but but…
    the man is a liar and a cheater and would never treat you any better than he is treating his wife as this is who he is. You deserve so much better LL you are a very capable and strong woman.

    Sure with the affair, you have freedom to raise your kids alone and freedom to see men on the side. I have been there and done that. I get it. But do not lose your prime years to a married man! Don’t get complacent and don’t wait around to see ‘what happens’. I can tell you what ‘happens’: Nothing. LOL. Zero. Nothings changes except we all get older. Affairs are a waste of precious time.
    When a woman goes through menopause (and I did a while back) she becomes much wiser and calmer. I look back on all my wasted time in my affair and think I acted like a rebellious teenager for a quarter century or something.. My My my…..
    But I have to let it go.
    Healing is the best revenge there is for wasted time. Living well is the best revenge.
    Live and learn!
    Many hugs and much love,

  12. Dear Hope I will miss you too. You are so welcome for the advice. You have helped me too, especially in seeing how awful the behavior of my exMM really was. Of course I had a had a hand in being in that situation too. And I had a hand in getting out. Yay!

    I will check back in in a few months no doubt but it is time for me to be in a place and in a conversation in which my life references do not always have to refer back to him. I want to really forget about him for awhile and I really want to concentrate on building my art business and focus on that. Being here triggers me sometimes and I think about the affair too much here. I am now over one year out of my affair and I must train my mind to have lots of new and interesting life thoughts that have nothing to do with him.

    I too believe Melania Tonia Evans’s videos are so helpful. She rocks! The most useful videos to date for me have been the one about boundaries and the one about being an empath. I was blown away watching these and I felt she was speaking directly to me.

    I do not think your MM needs to be a narcissist for you to benefit greatly from her approach. You just need some kind of toxic relationship. Your MM’s manipulations are one example.

    My younger son is getting married in one month! My older son now has a steady girlfriend. 🙂
    It is a very exciting time and I am spending a lot of time with my younger son pre-wedding and in another state away from my exMM. I love this other state. I feel like I can finally breathe! This state will slowly but surely become my second home I am sure. I have friends and other family here as well. In this state men have been flirting with me and I feel lighter. I do think another relationship is possible. I just want to fix my insides more so I do not choose another toxic situation. Goddess knows I have made some pretty laughably awful crappy choices! :). But I have learned a lot and can offer others some perspective.

    MM I can only say this: If your MM is not offering you a stable and true life as a partner to you and as a father to your children, RUN do not walk, in the opposite direction. Get AWAY from him. He can only bring you Down. And really Hope, you do not deserve any more pain. You have suffered long and hard enough! Cut him loose! Love and Hugs BAF xoxo

  13. Hi BAF, Thank you so much for your advice and help these past few years, you have really helped me a lot, guided me a lot, cleared so many situations for me, led by example and been such a positive influence on me and so many others. I am sad to see you go but you are right, sometimes distance is needed to continue healing. I watched Melania Tonia Evans’s videos, she is one remarkable lady! Although ex MM didn’t show/have many signs of narcissistic behaviour he is very good at manipulating conversations, starting off with compliments to then try and get me back in the affair. He has tried this several times in past few years and it worked many times before but now I am able to identify the signs. Thank you for all the tips. I will miss you, you are truly an amazing, caring, kind and compassionate woman. I wish you all the happiness in the world because you deserve it, I how you find your dream man someday too. Best wishes for you and your sons.
    Lots of love and hugs,
    Hope xoxo

  14. BAF,

    I don’t know if you will get this as I read your message to Nomad and it seems as if this thread is no longer of interest to you…at this time
    I just wanted to be able to tell you how proud I am to hear you speak with such power and wisdom. Its admirable to see how much you’ve blossomed over the past few years. I can truly tell by your words how much you’ve grown and how your brain is no longer reacting in an addictive manner but in more of a logical way. I’m sure I will get to that place…it takes some of us a little longer than others…besides, each individual has their own journey to conquer. I do appreciate all the advice, articles, insight, love, care and genuine concern you have displayed here. I wish I could give you a huge hug and kiss on the cheek lol as you take your “extended vacay”

    Remember to be kind to yourself as you continue your journey of recovery and self love. It’s a beautiful thing to do for yourself. Brave and Free is truly what you’ve become.
    Wishing you love, peace, joy and success


  15. Nomad
    Are you a narcissist? Most narcissists simply never ever pose that question. However take this test to know for sure. There are many more tests on line.

    In any affair there is a much higher than average chance one partner has narc tendencies or is a full blown narc, or both partners are. Narcissism is not a desired state nor a desired value. It reveals the weakness of the person not the strength.
    Narcissists are built up by others who are also weak in self-love and self-esteem. The narc has low self esteem not high. The person attracted to the narc also has low self esteem.
    These two people only appear different on the outside.

    You must figure out who is who in any affair (including yours) and ask yourself why the affair seems to self-soothe the two people involved? Why is the affair so seductive? Why do these two people really feel “better” in the affair? What are they getting?

    Healing from an affair means dropping the illusions and seeing through to the emotional truths of the people involved for what they are. That’s when healing can begin truly. One has to let go of all the lies and all the denials one has within him/herself about love and about the affair. One has to see why the affair is just another harmful but feel-good drug after all.


  16. Nomad, I think what’s so hard about some of these situations is that we often don’t know what we’d do unless we’re really in them. Sure, maybe some people know with certainty they’d leave (or stay) if a partner cheated, but I think, for most of us, there are so many factors involved… including whether or not we think they’re genuinely apologetic and contrite.

    I know all sorts of things can trigger thinking about your ex-MM again, but I’m sorry my story’s doing that for you now. I think it’s hard to know if you’re a narc simply from what you’ve written over the years (I haven’t thought you were), but it’s pretty rare for people to truly have narcissistic personality disorder. As I think BAF has mentioned before, one of the best ways to know if you’re a narc is by answering this question: Are you a narcissist? Narcissists usually say “yes.” I don’t think I’m a narcissist, but I have those tendencies. My MM does, too. It’s a tough combination in a relationship. You can take the Narcissism Personality Inventory online, too, if you want to fill out a common measure of narcissism.

  17. LL, it seems you understand. I think we’ve looked at these jealousy issues pretty similarly. I have rarely felt jealousy about my MM’s W. It is something that I’ve just accepted as part of the affair. You also seem to have a high tolerance for the possibility that your MM could have had sex with someone else. I understand you don’t want that, but it seems you understand it could happen and it could mean nothing… at least not what your MM has with you. My MM kept it from me for two years, and we were happy again this summer. I have always said to my H that if he was going to have a fling with someone (and it was separate from us and he didn’t want to leave me), then I didn’t want to know. That was hypothetical, of course, but now it seems true. I’d rather not know this about my MM. Yes, the truth had to come out once I had an STI and I’m glad he told me, but I think not knowing was better. Sure, maybe this truth coming out will be better for our relationship in the long run, but it’s definitely going to take a while if that’s true. It would seem to me that, most of the time, when infidelity is revealed, it is more harmful to the relationship than helpful.

    I don’t know if “cheating” is the right word for it, but I definitely feel betrayed. Not only by the unprotected sex and STI exposure, but because of the relationship he was building with her even if he didn’t have sex with her until we were broken up. I know there was an understanding that he would not be having sex with other people while with me so it is possible for him to “cheat” on me. And even if sex happened after we broke up, I do feel he cheated emotionally, but I know there’s all sorts of technicalities and I’m not going to get hung up on the word. It’s a betrayal, and that’s what I’m dealing with.

    I really do understand when you say that you can’t concern yourself with what your MM is doing and you just have to focus on how he treats you. You will drive yourself insane if you worry too much about what your MM is doing when you’re not around. I also understand the way you separate sex from more than sex. While I am hurt by what my MM did, I really do believe him that this was nothing to him. He didn’t share with this woman what he shares with me. He gave her much less time (MUCH less time). There were no concerts or dinners or museums or anything. He was not in love with her. I know this. But, yes, he liked the attention from another woman for a while and it led to sex. I’ve done it, though, so I know. I’ve had the fling that meant very little to me. What I have with my MM feels very different.

    I also understand what you say about how this is how you feel now, but it might change. That’s all we can do is guide our actions by how we feel now. It’s too hard to anticipate how we’ll feel in the future. You do what works for you now and you try to change that if it stops working for you. It sounds like things continue to go well for the two of you, and that you try to stay realistic about the affair. You have always seemed to stay realistic while also holding your MM accountable for treating you well. I know affairs are a mess, but when we fall for someone, it can be really hard to quit.

    I don’t think this will end us either, but right now being happy with my MM again feels far away. Like you say, I hope it’s a wake-up call for me to hold him more accountable for treating me well. I had been starting to do that this summer, but I have to step that up quite a bit. It’s already felt like I’m doing that over this week, but I hope I can maintain it and not fall into old habits. I think work will be a little awkward for a while, too, but not sure it could be any other way having to work next to the guy that cheated on me!

    Your words help me a lot. Thanks.

  18. Felk,
    I’m sorry that I was harsh. I might have processed the same way as you did had my exMM was contrite and apologetic.

    BAF, do you think I’m a narc? But I was the “victim” who was ghosted and thrown crumbs. I’ve been ruminating about my affair since I read abt Felk, I’ve been thinking abt MM for the past few days hoping he’d reach out. My story stopped 6mths ago, I’ve nothing new to say… sorry abt my ranting.

  19. Nomad, you definitely don’t need to apologize to me for any words you’ve said. I can tell they come from a good place. All you’re trying to do is give advice based on what you went through and what you’re hearing about my situation. I know it sounds like I will stay with my MM based on what I’m saying. I think you hear that because that is what I (sort of) want. But what I want is for it all just to go back to how it was, and that’s not possible. What I want is just to stop feeling the hurt about what he did. But that is going to take some time. You heard me say it for about 6 months through 2017-18 about how I just wanted the bad feelings to go away and how hard it was that it was taking so long. I don’t feel nearly as bad this time, but I don’t like these bad feelings lingering. Yesterday, at work for the first full day, I was kind of a mess. It wasn’t terrible or anything, but it wasn’t great. On the one hand, I know it’s not reasonable to be over the bad feelings immediately. What would that say about me or our relationship if I could just “get over” this in a week? But, yet, I sit at home last night just feeling the hurt and blah. And then I wonder if those feelings will ever really go away or will I always be uncomfortable about what he did? Will I always have less trust than I did before? And I also feel pathetic about missing him last night. But of course I miss him. When I found out about the cheating two years ago, our relationship went away (at least for now). I can’t feel the happiness I was feeling this summer. I don’t want to send him playful email as I would have a month ago. I don’t want to go to his office just to chat, as I would have yesterday had this never happened. So, of course I miss him. I will not beat myself up for feeling this, but I also want to make sure that these feelings don’t send me back running back to him because I want those feelings to go away. I am trying to just deal with the bad feelings and let them run their course.

    Yes, I may stay. I think I still want this relationship with him. But, right now, I’m still not sure how that happens or what that looks like.

    As for you, I still think what you did and continue to do was so strong. You had standards for how you wanted to be treated and your MM didn’t meet those standards so you left. He came back to you and instead of just accepting the crumbs he wanted to give you, you held him to standards of better treatment. You are so honest about how it is still hard on you, but you also know you do not want to go back. I understand if you don’t want to come back on here much because it’s a trigger for the thoughts and feelings about him, so I appreciate you popping in to try to help me.

  20. Felk,

    You are always very rational and I love that about you. I know there can be a lot of judgement with all of this. I have a few friends I’ve talked to about certain with my MM and I know people want what they feel is best for you and no one wants to see someone they care about settling for less than what they deserve…but as the person in the situation you know how you feel and your limits and even if you don’t know…when it’s time to move on and walk away, you will do just that.

    I’m hoping you had a good first day back to work and hopefully the rest of this school year isn’t too awkward for you all. There are so many pieces to this whole thing as I said…I don’t think it will end you all but it’s a wake up call. It’s so ironic that I was just having thoughts about my MM “cheating” on me and come here to read this. I told myself how silly I was for calling it “cheating” because he is not my man for me to consider him cheating on me. At least that is the way I processed it in my head. I created a story about him being out with another woman and assumed he was lying and cheating on me. I later found what was going on with him from his son and of course I felt better but foolish…Foolish to think he has to be faithful to me when he isn’t faithful to his W. Foolish that I created a story that was no where near the reality of what was really going on. I wasn’t going to approach him about how I felt because I did that last year and it made me feel silly. His words to me back then were…Babe, I am getting older and I don’t have the time, energy or money to put into another woman, I told you from the beginning I was looking for one person not multiple people. I’m sure there were other things he said to me back then but I don’t remember all of it. There has never been an agreement between either of us about whether or not we would sleep with other people (outside of the expectation of him sleeping with his W) I wouldn’t have thought he needed to sleep with someone else if he has 2 women he’s sleeping with but my thoughts about that has changed…
    I’ve been telling myself (prior to reading your post) I cannot worry about what he does with someone else, it cannot be my concern. I am interested in the way he treats me and the way I feel when we’re together. I don’t know if that will always be my thought process but as of now…that is the way I choose to look at this. I don’t know that I care so much about the act (not saying that I don’t care about the act, I just think men can sleep with women and have no emotional attachment but when they invest time into them it has a different meaning…my thoughts) of sleeping with someone else..its the thought that he could potentially put the same time, effort, and energy into someone else that makes me uncomfortable. However, I remind myself that he isn’t mine to have claim over. He doesn’t have a commitment to me and I try not to have those expectations. This is not to say that I will always view it this way. From what I can see and what I know about dealing with him or any man…the longer I deal with a man, the more my feelings grow. I know I have moments where I feel like I’m really his girlfriend and I almost want to slap the s#@! out of myself lol for thinking like that and I can tell he feels like he is my boyfriend all the time! He has said it over and over again. In conversation, I’ve said to him..what are you going to do when I get a real boyfriend and he said…whatever, you’re my girlfriend. In the beginning we talked about if I met someone..he said he felt that I should tell him about it. However, years later…I’m not sure he really enjoys hearing about me and another man. I have a male best friend whom I share this MM stuff with and I love his insight from a males perspective. I listen to my girlfriends and trust what they say but it’s so nice to have a males perspective because I feel he has more insight to give. I wouldn’t go to him for too much girl advice but he is helpful and help me stay on track with the reality of this MM situation as he is also a cheater so….

    I appreciate you being honest with us and being true to yourself about everything…

  21. Nomad I no longer think staying in an affair while married is the best of both worlds. Perhaps once upon a time I used to think that someone might be very clever and maybe could pull it off. Now I know for sure I was still in total denial when thinking that.
    Affairs suck. Period. Staying in an affair requires staying in mind blowing denial.
    While not married myself when having my affair over many years, I I too caused harm being with a married man with a wife and two children. There is no doubt about this. I accept this.

    Nomad, I came to Laurie’s blogs to learn how to leave an affair: to leave a married man and to leave a love/sex addiction specifically. I did not come to learn how to stay in an affair.
    I did not want then and do not want now advice on how to stay in an affair but I have veered a bit off track with some of my discussions I see now. Now I am grabbing ahold of my wandering mind and forcing myself to focus.

    I think my time here writing must end now as I have achieved my goals and need to move into my life more and more. I wish the best of luck for everyone here.

    What I have learned very well thanks to all of you and your situations is this:
    I do not wish to endorse in any way staying in an affair for anyone here. Not one person.
    I dont think normalizing affairs is good for any of us here.
    And not one of us would want to be cheated on by a spouse over the course of months and years.
    I have come, in my recovery, to see affairs are selfish. Narcissists and narc types are the best at selfishness because they have no or little conscience. But why do we want to admire narcissistic behavior? It is a sign of the times perhaps that cool and rational selfishness is now seen by some as a virtue. But in fact it is the opposite of a virtue. It is much more of a character defect or personality flaw than a virtue.

    Narcs like to think the rules do not apply to them as they consider themselves to be “special”. They go to extraordinary lengths to proves their specialness to the world. Narcissists excel at appearing rational and cool. But it is all an act. Inside they are empty. They have very low self esteem and have vacant interiors.
    And sadly the day comes when the shit hits the fan and they learn the world is the same for them as it is for everyone else. But by then they have lost many friends and hurt many people and may find themselves alone a lot.

    Narcissists must have their supply to feel normal. Supply means their adoration from others. They love to often come off as super rational and in control and so calm an intelligent. Again it’s all an act by the narcissist who delights in duping all the others. They are not team players and have little or no empathy. They often brag about being narcs as well. (Meaning the rules do not apply to them). Others might place them on a pedestal but it is all an act.
    It is the weakness in the others that gives the narcs the feeling they are great.

    Nomad do not fall into the trap of thinking anyone else is better than you at having their cake and eating it too. You did not fail at having an affair. You should feel damn proud to be out of it. And you should try your hardest to not compare your success and failure at having an affair with anyone else. Try this instead: How many braves souls went NC and got out??? Smile. 🙂

    Affairs are very serious addictions and extremely hard to get out of.
    You are a miracle of strength to be out of yours for 6 months Nomad. But you must now try to drop the idea that it works for some people. Nope affairs do not work. Show me any affair and give it time and this truth will be proven to you again and again. I promise! My recent situations with my workplace and my readings and writings here have shown me once and for all that affairs SUCK and I would never recommend getting into one, not even to my enemy. There are far better ways to handle marriage sexual boredom believe me. Or being alone as single person.

    When it comes to narcissists take a careful look at all the men we are all speaking about here and at all of us women involved in affairs here on this blog. And of course include yourself. Then think of others you have known about in affairs. Ask yourselves: Who are the overt narcissists? Who are the coverts? How do I truly know? Take your blinders off. Be open to reality. What you see might surprise you. To see the truth will set you free. And will help you heal, Nomad. To really heal you must really let go of the idea that the affair was ever a good idea. It was not.
    Take care.
    Stay strong Nomad.
    Keep on fighting for yourself!
    And to everyone else: Thank you for all your support, and help and comments. And for your hugs and love! They have meant so much to me over the many months I have been writing like a fiend and healing here. Now as part of my continued recovery I am leaving for an “extended vacation” in order to continue to develop my life in non-affair ways. I wish you all the very best!
    And thank you Laurie for this amazing and generous space to write and heal!
    BAF xxoo

  22. BAF, yes, I will likely stay. I don’t think I’ve really denied that. I have felt unsure. That was honest. I’ve gone through so many emotions since finding out last week. I’m trying to pay attention to feelings, but I’m not great with bad feelings. I want them to go away, and sometimes I think them away. It doesn’t really feel to me like I’m justifying. It just feels like I’m thinking things through and coming to a place that I’m comfortable with. I’ve always said that I try to guide my actions by the goals I have in mind. What do I want? And then I try to do the things to get me to that. For now, I probably still want to be with my MM, so I will probably do that. Part of me being unsure isn’t whether or not I’ll stay, it’s how this will work if I stay. I expect I’ll stay, but can it last or will something always be lesser after this and will that end us?

    You are right in what you say about how I’m liking his attention now. I’ve thought of that. When he sent me a heartfelt email Saturday night, I cried a lot. The crying was sadness and anger and missing. I’m clearly missing that closeness from him. I feel the things you said… that I’m getting this “supply” from him and it will keep me right where I am. I’m trying to pay attention to this. I don’t want to be so desperate for his attention that I’ll let him do terrible things only to enjoy his remorse. I am familiar with the cycle of abuse, and how women in abusive relationships can tolerate the abuse because the making up feels so good. I’m not saying I’m in an abusive relationship, but I also know how desperation for closeness can make people put up with bad treatment (like my H puts up with me). I will likely stay with my MM, but I will try to hold him more accountable moving forward.

    I also think you’re right about how this isn’t “true love for non-narcs.” True love is probably hard in an affair anyway, but my MM and I have something and I don’t know what word to give it. It’s not just 7 years of talking. It’s not just 7 years of sex. We date. We got out for lunch and dinner and to museums and concerts and festivals and overnights. To me, it feels like being in love (but, no, it’s not the same love I feel for my H).

    When you say I’m perfect at this, I hear your frustration. I get it. You’re watching me make a choice that you think is bad. You’re watching me go back to this man who not only ended our relationship two years ago but then slept with another woman. I just don’t feel like I’m making a decision out of desperation, though. Yes, I’m hurt, but it’s not like two years ago. I feel like I just want this affair with my MM. I get too much enjoyment out of it to let it go. I know I’m risking my marriage. I’ve been doing that for 7 years. Is it disrespectful to have sex in my home? It’s disrespectful to have sex with another man for 7 years. Period. You ask whether or not these affairs are worth it, and I get your question. Really. There is so much pain and difficulty involved, but obviously there is something that we get from these situations and we stay in them. I know it might be different if you’re single or married and with a MM. Maybe I don’t hold my affair to the same standards because I’m married? I’m not saying that’s right or wrong just that maybe that’s why I can stay if he had sex with someone two years ago? I don’t know. I just know that I feel his remorse. I believe it meant little to him. I believe it is different from us. I believe it is over. I believe he wants me. That doesn’t mean he won’t cheat again, but I think there is more enjoyment for me in this relationship still.

    I do appreciate your words and your advice. You were blunt, but you’re just trying to help.

  23. Yes, I’m also certain that Felk will stay with him, at all cost.

    She’ll talk and continue living in the best of both worlds.

    Hope you’ll not get hurt any worse… I’m still feeling the heaviness and heartache triggered by your story … nevertheless, thank you for letting me expressed my thoughts and making me realized I’ve overestimated myself thinking that it’s unlikely that he could f*** another, not for a long time … he must be feeling what I’m feeling despite 6mths of nc, he needed to heal before he could f*** another … but if all mm are the same, your story is a manifestation that I was foolish to think he’s still mourning over the loss, that till he heals, he cannot bring himself to f*** another. I do believe he did love me but guilt and shame got between us eventually. Our affair had run it’s course and I thank him for not reaching out.

    I’m feeling sad for myself, not so much for you because you still are able to put yourself in his shoes, to not hold him by unreasonable standards (by the way, affairs has no or little standard and technically no trust), to put it all in the context of the situation (now it’s a curable STD, what if it’s terminal or you got pregnant?).

    I’m sorry if I said things that you already know or you don’t wish to hear. We’re like a family here, since I joined JUN 2017 when I hit my rock bottom, hence I spoke without reservations.

    You are very understanding, patient, accommodating, wise, rational, cool… I can’t be all those, that’s why I dumped me and then still missing the affair and wishing he’d reach out but also thank him for not reaching out. On the contrary, I see sheer determination and strength in you to take him back. It’s like I can see a forever in the 2 of you… not sure if you’d call me being judgmental, I’m also going to be brutally honest… you have no boundary and baseline, I think that’s dangerous and you might get hurt again and then you get numb. Having said that, since you can righteously analyze the situation and talk it out with mm, I want to believe that I’m wrong, that the capacity and depth of your love and forgiveness will see you two through…

    Take good care… i may be away for a while as I’m already nc for 6 mths, nothing much to contribute, returning here reminds me of the affair and the sadness is stilloverwhelmingly raw… and anger follows because he has moved on and found new lover to distract and self soothe whereas I could still feel the heartache…

  24. Felk I am going to be brutally blunt here:
    As I have now read over your responses from everyone below I know for certain that you will stay with your MM. You might hem and haw a bit and say you are ‘unsure’ and that you need more “honest talks” with him, but you will stay with him. This crisis has given you a lot of attention from him, something you missed during all that low contact. And now you have him begging for you. This is what you wanted and needed from him. And now he is talking to you for hours on end. You love all these talks. You were missing this. You needed ‘supply’ from him. And now you got it so you aren’t going anywhere.
    The crisis scenario and definition and content matter, in fact, far less than your desired outcome. You are indeed every bit the narc-sort of personality that he is; it is true. Yes you are both cheaters as you say. I see he is mirroring to you a reflection of your own needs and this is too addictive for you. You need this too much and you can not quit because when he broke with you the first time you felt a horrible pain you had never felt before in your life.
    It does not matter that you know on some level that you are mistaking this mirror for truth. You can not only understand it, but you are very likely you doing the same for him, reflecting his needs back to him. You can become for him something ‘special’ etc.
    It is hardly the definition of true love as defined by Non-Narcs, but it seems to work for the two of you as you share the Narc way. I will not spend any more time here trying to give you the reasons to do otherwise. Nor will I interfere or give advice. You are already sure what you will do. And you know how to Not listen yet sound perfectly reasonable at the same time. You are perfect at this and so is he, I would wager. I have heard enough Narc-speak in my lifetime to know this non-verbal tongue.
    Live and learn as I always say!

  25. Hi TTSP you mentioned twin flames
    I love this article on the topic:
    The Narcissist – Soulmate, Twin Flame Or Cellmate?
    by Melanie Tonia Evans
    I have edits below but you can find the full article on line.
    “Are narcissists Soul Mates that we were meant to get it right with, but just couldn’t … or are they Twin Flames; deeply impactful souls called forth to surface and purge our darker pieces that they reflect, so that we can evolve?” (edit)
    “Or, are they a hideous and terrible mistake of humanity that we just happened to get tangled up with, and found it so difficult to separate from?” (edit)
    “And … this is a question so many people ponder …”
    “Why do narcissists feel sooooo familiar to us?
    So many people, on meeting an impactful narcissist in their life, said that they felt a deep soul connection … even akin to a deep soul remembering.”

    “It really does stand to reason, that the narcissists we enmesh with are not luke warm connections. If they were flaccid and unimportant we would not be stuck in the traumatic, painful dances that we are … leaving us with ultimately the choice – stay and be destroyed or leave and save yourself.”

    “Logic would have saved us, we would have easily been able to ascertain that their malfunctioning behavior is not good for us and leave.”
    “Soul Mates
    To me, a Soul Mate is someone who mates with your soul for the purpose of evolving your soul.”
    “This is what I deeply believe … when have become our own Soul Mate, meaning when we have fully mated our own soul (self-partnered), we will also attract and be attracted to and have the chance to maintain (if we are prepared to engage consciousness in our journey of “relationship”) a love-relationship with a healthy, fulfilling and pleasurable Soul Mate.”
    “It all begins with Mating One’s Own Soul – to be-come to ourselves what we wish to receive from another.” (edit)
    “In essence a Soul Mate romantic relationship is the joy and gift that we come to experience when we have self-partnered, healed our own traumas and up-levelled into BEING the partner that we wish to receive.”
    “Twin Flame”
    “Here we are examining an intense, powerful, archetypal and alchemic aspect of relationship.”
    “I believe the Twin Flame experience for anyone who goes through it is life changing – for good or bad. Sadly, many people don’t understand the truth or true recovery necessary from a Twin Flame relationship, which is a make or break experience.”

    “These relationships are for a BIG cause – they are not just about personal healing and evolution, they are also designed to bring forth collective healing and evolution. As such, if you awaken to the truth, survive and then heal from a Twin Flame relationship, you have also helped free an aspect of humanity from the shadows into the light.”

    “This is the alchemic part of Twin Flame relationships – they hold this truth: The greatest of light is mined from the deepest of darkness.”
    “And the irony is that we think we are needing to free ourselves from the other person’s darkness, yet ultimately what we discover is THAT happens organically and ONLY when we free ourselves from our own.” (edit)
    “One thing is for certain … MANY narcissistic relationships come in on this level, and I will go as far as to say that everyone who has a Soul Contract with a Twin Flame is a Lightworker who is here, at soul level, to help evolve humanity at this time.”

    “The real question is this: Have we woken up to this yet?
    There is so much pain in these relationships until we do get it, because the bond feels inseparable. We cling to Twin Flame relationships, assigning this person as our Source of love, approval, security and survival in EVERY area of these topics where we have not as yet become that whole Source to ourselves.” (edit)

    “We think that loving this person is our way to salvation – until we realise that it is only through turning within and loving and healing our broken parts back to wholeness that we can be saved.”
    “We no longer feel helplessly addicted and traumatised. We no longer want them, miss them or hold them accountable.
    Instead, all of that is replaced by a deep sense of awe and gratitude that this Soul Contract happened to awaken us to Who We Really Are.” (edit)
    “As such a Twin Flame relationship will present you with the following:
    A deep Soul recognition, bond or familiarity.
    The faux promise of whatever it is that you feel you “want” in order to feel more whole.
    The deep undercurrent of pain and fear of everything regarding the topics of love, approval, security and survival that still feel shaky within, that you have not awakened to, addressed and healed yet.”

    “How Twin Flame relationships unfold is this:
    Love, trust, teamwork, respect and kindness becomes seriously comprised.
    The union creates stress, pain and loss.
    You fear and dislike who you start becoming in the relationship.
    Each person within the relationship tries to change and control the other and cannot accept that person “as is”.
    Repeat and escalating conflicts lead to non-resolution, greater cracks and even more toxicity.
    Neither party works at expanding personal and relationship consciousness healthily. (If one party did the relationship would terminate).
    Obsession, discard and other love interests are common patterns.
    The old personal painful patterns that you may have struggled with previously are MEGA-present in these relationships, and intensify.”
    “Let me share with you my story, regarding narcissist number 1 – the twin flame husband….”

    For more of this article please look it up. I have learned a great deal from this truly empowering woman! BAF. xx

  26. Fell, I have a couple of points in response to your latest words:
    One is this: You said “There was an intimacy in that behavior that felt bad. But it was more than that, of course. After seeing that, then a bunch of other behaviors that had been bothering me for a year come to the forefront.” What bunch of other behaviors are you talking about? I noticed you mentioned he and this woman still have a relationship together and you said it feels like he wants his cake and to eat it too with her. Yes Felk I would totally agree with this and I really at this point would not believe the word “platonic” means they could never have sex. The sharing of beers and sitting at your special table was a huge red flag. Many people can have sex with so-called “friends” myself included. Thats where I get my FWB men 🙂

    As for the OTHER woman one he actually cheated with I find it to be a red flag that he tells you he stayed in contact with her since then because he was afraid of the possible consequences if he did not. Is he saying she would perhaps blackmail him in some way? This is sounding like Lois’ MM here unfortunately.
    In fact my exMM always talked about women I suspected always insisting they were “just friends”. And he made sure to make me feel bad about my asking about his whereabouts but now I see it was all to very convincingly to stop me from suspecting him. When in fact my instincts were dead on. I deadened my instincts to keep the supposed “peace”.

    I get you are still talking to him and wanting to tell him how you really feel etc. But this is an elaborate form of denial and justification. We have all done this who are here. We want so much to hear them convincingly declare their love for us and deny they have needs or desires for others. And there is the addiction part. Breaking out of an affair is very hard work. Still…..

    He WILL convince you because you feel you are still in love with him and you do not want to feel the searing pain of reality. And because he knows he CAN convince you. He is confident believe me. Didn’t he already say that he assumes most women will be attracted to him? That is a confident man.

    If you want to believe him, that is your business. I get it. But beware. He is not going to be truthful Felk and don’t forget you, too, started as “just friends”. This seems to be his MO. No thing you ask him or tell him will change him.

    Point Two: I do not wish to intrude on the privacy of your marriage but I do find it quite surprising you use condoms all the time in your marriage. Of course that is your choice. But I have never known a man to prefer to use a condom over being “naked” during sex and it would seem therefore unusual to me that your husband would be okay with always using condoms. I say this to also say it is odd that you are not using condoms with your MM but you are with your H. I get it and am not trying to accuse you as well all do weird things here. But maybe it is time to rethink this? I mean the reasons and the emotional behind these actions?
    Most men I have known have always felt much more intimate not using a condo.
    Lastly I would unfortunately agree with Nomad about being with your MM and having sex in your home and in your H’s place being a bad idea basically. I get why you need a place to hang out in private and have sex etc. but I do also feel it is disrespectful of your H. And a huge boundary cross that would devastate your H should he ever find out about your affair.

    I do not say this to make you feel badly. Only to get you to think about the enormous lengths you have gone for your MM at the expense of your H. Is it worth it?
    All of us here have hurt others in getting our needs filled. All of us.
    Some of us have felt more guilt than others. W heather or not we feel the guilt or no is not the point however. We do all of here engage in actions that gave harmful consequences here. We do act selfishly.

    But perhaps it is time for us all to ask ourselves is it really worth it?
    Are these narc type men or full blown narcissists worth the effort? Are the lies the manipulations and all else really worth the horrible consequences including the way it makes most of us feel so defeated and depressed and betrayed etc.?

    In my opinion: sadly NO. I have realized that not enough good comes out of an affair to make it really worth it for me in the end.

    On another note I want to say that in two schools where I work affairs between other people (not me) have reaked major havoc on my workplaces. At one site there was a person fired; a person unfairly blamed and spit out and transferred against her will; and many other persons quitting…not to mention feelings of so many people getting really messed up over what happened.
    Now, I can not return there either because the new person in charge (an a–shole) does not want the arts in his school. I am annoyed no end I can not back there as I was very closely working with some of those people for 6 years.

    At the other school there is less overall havoc caused by the affair but people have lost positions and again I can no longer work with some very talented people because of what happened.
    It has been crazy to watch all this play out and KNOW as much as I do about affairs. I could see the fall-out far far in advance of others. In the first case, the affair was only one part of the cheating of the male involved. He was also hitting on all the younger and pretty new teachers and making them feel uncomfortable. Anyhow…I will get and adjust to new schools and life goes on….but what a mess, especially in the first school.
    Live and learn!
    Hugs BAF xx

  27. Lois, sorry to hear that nothing much has changed with your MM. It is confusing to me why your MM met with you twice and, both times, suggested that he wanted to give more effort only to go MIA almost immediately. Sure, he’s not dealing with things well. That’s obvious, but why even bother to tell you that he wanted to try? I’d guess he was hoping saying the words would help him do it, but it seems it was wishful thinking. I do think your MM will continue to be this way, though. Of course, it is up to you when you’re no longer willing to put up with it. It sounds like you’re slowly getting to NC with going 4-5 days without contact at a time.

    Also, I’m sorry you’re going through crap at work. The school year is starting for us again, too. Meetings start tomorrow, and it’s going to be weird to be around my MM in that setting. Thanks for your thoughts, and I’m just taking it one day at a time. No rush. Sorting through my thoughts and feelings. I really am trying to pay attention to my feelings given everyone’s advice. It’s funny because I really can’t even put a word on how I’m feeling. Blah is my best word. It’s not miserable. I’m okay-ish. Just blah. 🙂

  28. Hello, everyone. Life has been busy with work and school year starting again. Nothing really has changed with MM as I he has not made any effort to communicate. I texted him one day last week and asked what was going on. He said he has been reclusive and not dealing with things in his life very well. He is worn out with everything. He mentioned not knowing who to trust anymore, so I replied including me…I am like the last person he needs to worry about. He replied no it did not include me but whatever he has still gone MIA and not putting forth the effort that you said he would. It has been about 4 or 5 days since I contacted him with the last message being a smiley face and he responded with one back to me shortly after. Honestly, I do not what I am doing except taking a day a time and really thinking about things especially after reading Felk’s post…my heart is broken for you! I have been in that situation where MM could not take stress of our relationship and said he needed to concentrate on his marriage…it is brutal to go through it but to find out he was another woman and the way you found out…I am so very sorry! It has given me food for thought as I too have concerns about MM and other woman. I do feel he has narc tendencies and enjoys the attention of other woman…otherwise why would he stay in contact with them. I have guy friends but MM relationship with other woman is different as I do not go out for drinks or lunch with them. He wont go with them alone…he insists on having someone else there to avoid people thinking it is more. I do not know there are some things my gut tells me is wrong about MM and for good reason, it’s just for a long time have chosen to ignore it. I do feel there is a part of me who gradually letting go more and more as the days of NC keeps increasing between periods of contact. A few months ago 4 or 5 days would have killed me and now it is not too bad…I have my moments. I keep reminding myself he is NOT going to change and it will continue to be this cycle with me always being the person being hurt and ignored. Ironically, I am the one who does not know who to trust anymore as things at work have been horrible with the back stabbing, etc. I am the type of person who you never have to doubt what is on my mind and if you do not want the truth, do not ask me. It really hurts because part of me does not know anymore if his feelings were ever really true or has he been manipulating me with his narc tendencies. Like I said, I just do not know but have been really thinking more and more about things along with weighing the benefits to him being in my life which is very limited. Felk, my thoughts and prayers are with you in whatever you decide. Hope everyone else hangs in there and know together we can get through anything!

  29. BAF, thanks again for helping me sort through it all. Of course, I don’t know if your exMM or Nomad’s exMM cheated, but as you’ve told me… follow your instinct. If something seems amiss, it probably is… especially in our situation where we are, by definition, with a cheater. And it doesn’t mean he’s cheated, but it might be that he was trying. Like in Nomad’s situation. Maybe her exMM never crossed that line, but his behavior at that BBQ certainly makes it seem like he was looking. And that’s what I saw with our coworker. He didn’t cheat with her, but I saw a willingness to put himself in situations with a woman who was interested in him. I felt the red flag, but it took me a long time to confront him on it. Yesterday, I told him that I wished I had said something a year earlier about her. His relationship with her had been bothering me for a while. And obviously that wouldn’t have stopped his cheating, but I simply didn’t like that I ignored my instinct out of fear of confronting him and not wanting to smother. He made me feel that, though. For years, he punished me for asking questions about his whereabouts and availability that made me back off from these types of questions. We talked all about that yesterday.

    Thing is, I rarely suspected or accused my MM of anything. Not until this past March. What you remember about what sat so wrong with me is how he and the coworker were sitting closely at that table at the bar and how she offered for him to try her beer and he did. There was an intimacy in that behavior that felt bad. But it was more than that, of course. After seeing that, then a bunch of other behaviors that had been bothering me for a year come to the forefront.

    Narcs cheat. I know this. My narc tendencies are what make me cheat. I told my MM yesterday that I didn’t know how I could trust that he wouldn’t cheat again given who it seems he is as a person. His narc tendencies. He knows he can’t say anything that would make me suddenly believe he’d never cheat again.

    When I say the things that sound self-blaming, some of them are and some of them are just wishful thinking. Wishing I had done something different in hindsight. I know we can’t change the past, but we can learn from what we could have done differently. My MM is to blame for cheating and, most importantly, for not telling me that he had unprotected sex with someone else before we started up again. But, if I stay with my MM, I want to learn from this by paying more attention to the bad feelings and speaking up. I want to hold him accountable for treating me better, and if it doesn’t work for our relationship, then we should end. As one of you said, I probably make too many allowances for how affairs have different rules. Maybe the rules aren’t all that different and good treatment is just good treatment. I do self-blame a bit for having unprotected sex with him, though. That is a choice I made, and it is a risky choice. I believe I deserve blame for that. It’s not just that I could expose my H to something if my MM cheats, but I could expose my H to something if my MM’s W cheats and passes it along. I was careless and arrogant with this, and, if I stay with my MM, I will change this. And if anything good comes from my MM’s cheating, it’s that you all are getting tested now! 🙂

    All that stuff you wrote about our MM telling us what we want to hear is giving me pause. People with narc tendencies are manipulators. I know this because I am. We are good with words. We are good with talking around and directing conversation and reading others to exploit weaknesses and to pay compliments. My MM is definitely good with words. I am trying to be careful in talking to him these past few days and paying attention to his words and whether or not they feel manipulative. I said that to him Friday. I asked him to not try to manage me or the situation and to just speak honestly. I don’t know if he will entirely (the temptation to control is strong), but so far he seems pretty contrite and forthcoming. He seems appropriately chagrined, but as my friend B said, “He’s smart. He wants you to stay. He will say the right things.” It’s true. But the right things can also be genuine. As someone with narc tendencies, I do apologize sincerely at times. My words aren’t meaningless.
    We all can be tricked by words we want to hear that feed our ego, but I have mostly taken what my MM has said throughout the years with a grain of salt. Yes, I believe he loves me. We can love someone and cheat. I’m doing it now to my H. So, I know actions matter and words alone can’t fix this.

    Today I feel mostly the same as the last few days. I just feel unsure. I woke up this morning thinking about how thoughtless my MM’s behavior was in exposing me to STIs, the utter selfishness and arrogance that requires. I’m no paragon of virtue, but I went 100% condoms with my H in 2014 for a reason. In the least, I was trying not to expose my H to something outside of his control. I feel unsure because I know I’m in love with my MM. I know I want things to just go back to being good, but I simply don’t know if that’s possible. Right now, I feel disappointed in him and a little disgusted by him. I can’t be with someone I don’t respect and that’s where I am now. I know that might fade and he may make amends sufficiently to me, but I will continue to take it slow. I have no plans to rush any decision one way or another. Thanks again for all your help.

  30. Sometimes when I get down about the whole affair thing I have to be truly honest with myself. There’s no winning here. Even if two affair partners decided to pursue a real relationship together how much trust would they ever have? I would be on edge constantly wondering who he is talking to when typing lengthy messages on his phone? Who is he spending time with on those business trips? When he claims to be going into the office, is he actually taking secret trips to some woman’s place? Obviously we all got involved because we had powerful romantic connections with these men. There was something rewarding here or we wouldn’t have continued on. The conversations are deep and meaningful and last for hours. The sex is out of this world. You feel like you’ve found your twin flame.

    Then there’s that big nasty emotional price you pay throughout the relationship in the form of every ugly feeling you can imagine. Nomad, great to hear from you. 6 months is remarkable! Thank you for sending good vibes our way. Right back at you and everyone else here. I find these experiences really conjure up some major insecurities for all of us but they are impermanent and do not define us. Anyone that gets involved in an affair is bound to question their worth, self-esteem, sanity, value. I love the reassuring words of peace and living a good life being the best revenge.

  31. Nomad and Felk
    I am having this horrible new awareness of the type of men we have probably been dealing with.
    Felk you say: “but it’s that this (the woman your MM cheated with) was a relationship developing over a period of years. This was not just someone he picked up in a bar for one night. This is someone he was enjoying time with repeatedly before he had sex, and that hurts in addition to the sex.”
    Yikes. This is the worst case scenario for any of us.
    These words really cut me to the core as it relates to my own experience with my exMM. And Nomad it sounds like your exMM too, Now I am truly wondering about the excuse they all seem to use when they ghost us or say they need to go low contact with us or need a cooling off period with us because they say they feel so much guilt and feel they need to go back to their marriages and family…
    I know for me I believed those lies but felt something was wrong. But I did not want to believe the worst, that he would “cheat on me” too. I got duped into thinking we had something special that he did not have at home.
    But now I think I was duped and he was lying.
    It really hurts to see the truth but what I see is my own inability to see the truth because of the pain involved so I went along with his rationalizations.
    What if all the excuses are actually just a way to say they are not looking for actual “serious” affair “relationships” but still want to just continue f–ing around? with other women that have already lined up?
    My exMM always had his “back up” women who would hover near by. I accused him so many times of lining them up and he went on and on and on saying “I did not trust him” and “it was all in my head”. And I did not trust my gut feelings!
    Now Felk your MM’s behavior has me thinking mine was lying big time and I bet he did cheat on me and probably multiple times. Most NARCS cheat! Duh.
    More knowledge is power though. I see how hard I tried to not trust my feelings.
    Live and learn!
    Best BAF xx

  32. Felk you said: “Sadly, I just trusted when he told me nothing was going on with the coworker and didn’t pursue further or ask about anything else.” Please stop blaming yourself for not “thinking” of everything! This statement you made as well as the one Nomad mentioned about you saying you were “also responsible for the unsafe sex” is you taking on too much blame IMHO. It is usually easier in this kind of hellish situation to blame OURSELVES than blame our partners. Our anger at our partners can frighten us into doing this self blame thing because women are not so supposed to get “too angry” and so it is safer to self-blame.
    Honestly he knew how you felt about safe sex so it was on him to mention to you what had happened. But of course he was not going to do that if he felt that was going to drive you away from him. So he lied. This was predictable in fact.
    Also he is another thing to think about in this mess: Our lovers and especially pour affair partners usually tell us what they know we want to hear. They too use their instincts and watch our reactions to given statements. I believe your MM used statements like “you are the one” with you because he knew you would love to hear these things. He knew from your reactions to his words. In a way we can’t blame our affair partners when they want to flatter us with some small white lies or half truths as they are trying to woo us into the hot and passionate sex they know the affair can provide. we do the same thing back to them often.
    But alas we are ALL easily swayed with these kinds of statements which massage our egos and make us feel so great. This is the problem with being in “love” in affairs especially. We are quite vulnerable to small lies in fact or huge lies because the affair is fantasy based anyhow.
    This is the nature of being “in love.” Damn how that love can burn us though.
    I hope this helps somehow as you sort through things. BAF xx

  33. Nomad, THANK YOU for the compliments! I am glad I inspire you. Likewise you inspire me! 6 Months way to Go Nomad! I love your post below when you describe your process of saying “no” to yourself and of accepting it is over. It reminds me a lot of my process as well. we must write down all the horrible things about the affair too and read the list when needed! I love when you say: “There’s less sadness and disappointment, no jealousy, no, possessiveness, no insecurity, no anxiety, no walking on eggshells when he’s ending because he’s sick of the situation.” This sounds glorious to me after dealing with my exMM. I can not say that I feel that great all the time or that I am “neutral” yet but I have learned this. My exMM was a gift. He got me to see my own wounds much better and then I took the steps to start to form a better relationship with myself and to heal. In my future I now imagine a new man who will actually love me for me, not use me for ego stroking and sex. It is hard to admit to myself but my exMM was all about me making him feel good and I was all about helping my lover feel good. We were a perfect match. But that is because I asked for too little. Far too little. At first, I did not know any better but now I sure damn do! 🙂
    Hugs BAF. xx

  34. Hi Felk So many people are chiming in her to help you. This is is wonderful and I am sure you are reading and thinking. I wanted to reiterate one point. You said: “You’re probably right about my lingering jealousy, too. Not that there is anything going on with this coworker, but that his behavior with her showed something that I knew was dangerous. I didn’t really “know” he was doing this with someone else, but what he was showing with the coworker was showing me that he was definitely capable of doing this with someone else. (YES!!). My instincts were right about what I saw with the two of them. ((YES!)) I saw him acting in a way that didn’t seem right given all the things he was saying to me.” (Yes Yes and Yes!!) Trust your instincts Felk as they are working!
    I know how he reassured you and what words he said. I am sure all of us here were reading with great interest what he would say to you. He seemed to reassure you (and maybe me too, sort of). But I remember you said it was “your table” that he sat at with her and I think they were maybe sharing a beer? Or liked the same beer? Or something like that. Something like that. It struck me as very odd behavior for a man so “in love with you”.
    I caught a man cheating on me in the exact same way. He did all the things for this new woman that he had done with me. I questioned him about it a great deal and he managed to reassure me a great deal. And I believed him that it was platonic. But nope. I found out later he had been indeed cheating with this other woman using the same exact technique he had used with me. Even worse when she found out I had been with this man before her she went on competing me with me incessantly for his attention right in front of me. Thankfully I was not in love with him and dropped out entirely. But I was indeed humiliated and felt awful that he had done this to me. A year or so later he did the same exact thing to HER. She fell apart completely as she WAS in love with him. I did not feel very sorry for her however I must say.
    It was a ways back but I will never forget how humiliated I felt with that guy.
    Anyhow now I too want to now get checked for STD/s! I know for sure my exMM would cheat on me. That is who he is. So why did I trust the no precaution sex with him? Duh……I am an idiot. 🙁
    Of course I have not had sex with him for over a year. But still!
    Live and learn is my new motto! Pay attention to your feelings and instincts Felk! Talk is cheap! When I was not paying attention to my feelings with my exMM I also stuffed my feelings when it came to other harmful people in my life. When you dull your feelings for one person, tour feelings for others will dull as well. Sad but true. best BAF. xx

  35. Hope, I appreciate your words, and your advice is really good. It is what I am already trying to do. I am not pulling punches, even in my calm talking with him. I am trying to make clear what a big deal this is to me, but that can be hard with no yelling. 🙂 I am direct and to the point about how I feel and how this hurt me. I said some pretty hard things in email yesterday about how his actions are making me reevaluate our 7 years together. How his behavior makes me call it all into question, and it makes me wonder what all his lovely words meant because how could they mean what I thought they did? I wasn’t trying to be mean. I was trying to be honest so he knew what I was feeling and how much this hurt. I’ve said similar things in person. I’ve pushed him if I thought he was justifying or lying to himself. I feel I am voicing my concerns without hesitation. I feel like I’m bringing up related issues from other aspects of our relationship. I’m letting him know that there is more I need were I to stay. I’ve let him know that the way we were doing it doesn’t work for me. He will have to be more open. He will have to be more forthcoming. He cannot hide behind his need for privacy. He will not change entirely, but I told him I need more. These traits didn’t cause his cheating, but they make it easier for a person to cheat. Offering information can offer some comfort to assuage fears of what another might be doing (when you can account for their time). This is not exactly why we disclose our whereabouts and plans to our partners, but it’s part of it. I’ve wanted him to be more open throughout our relationship, but now it’s a necessity and I will no longer tolerate his withholding of information. I told him today that I thought I was being respectful of his space (that he asked for) by not pushing for more information when it felt normal for me to have that information, but no longer will I ignore my feelings about how I want that information (and it seems reasonable to ask for in a healthy relationship).

    I will take time. I will not run back to him. But, yes, this will unlikely end our relationship. Or maybe it will. Maybe we will try, and it won’t work. Maybe he won’t be able to give what I need. Maybe there is nothing he can give that will repair the loss of trust. We’ll see. Going back to work this week will be an interesting test.

  36. Nomad, thank you for all of your messages. I do plan to focus on myself and my needs. I have done that in talking to him these last few days. I have said so many things that I’ve wanted and needed to say for years. I don’t like that this is what it’s taken to get me to be strong enough to say all of this, but I’m glad I’m finally saying it. I’m clearly at the point where I can’t stay in the relationship without saying these things. I’m not saying that this repairs everything immediately. I’m just glad that I’m saying these things now and he is listening. You’re right that I should not be afraid to lose him, though. That was pathetic. It was an immediate reaction to the sadness and threat of it all. I no longer feel that. I feel that I will say the things I need to say, and he must work to keep me if he wants me.

    I see what you’ve said about focusing on my H and quitting the affair for the sake of my marriage, but I’m just not in that mental place. If I were to quit the affair now, it would be because I didn’t want it. My friend B has also told me to be done with my MM and focus on my H (who she likes much better… she knows them both). It’s not that simple, though. I don’t want to focus on my H. If I did, I probably wouldn’t be having an affair.

    As to your other questions, sleeping and eating was rough for the first few days, but it feels back to “normal” now. This is not the misery of 2017. I am able to work, laugh, and do the things I need to do. I am able to interact with my H as usual. As for my MM, I do think I know him. As I said to LL, he is a cheater. I know this. He is arrogant. I know this. He is many other things. I have been in this affair for 7 years, and I get a lot of enjoyment from my time with my MM. There is a lot I like about him and our interactions that I don’t have with anyone else. There is enjoyment I get with him that I don’t have with my H. For 7 years, I have thought he was worth the risk to my marriage, and I don’t think his behavior two years ago is going to change that. Rebuilding trust is really hard. I don’t think this is going to happen overnight. I know he has to work for it, and I know it may simply be something that can’t ever be fixed. I can only know with time. But I have felt his sincerity across our talks since he told me Thursday. He has seemed genuinely remorseful. I know I can’t really know for sure, but we judge as best we can. He has not been defensive or angry. He has been contrite, apologetic, and open. He has come to me with email (instead of making me come to him). He has asked for time to talk, instead of making me ask. He has said he will talk as much as I want. This is anything amazing, but he’s doing what he should be doing if he wants to try to fix this. He has to continue to show me this, and I plan to go slow.

    I know it can sound like I’m justifying his behavior in the way I talk about it, but that is just who I am. I’m not justifying his behavior. I’m trying to see it for what it is (to me). I try to understand why people do things, and I try not to hold people to unreasonable standards. I try to put it all in the context of the situation, and take the perspective of the person and put myself in their shoes. I also may need different things from another than you or anyone else. We all have to set our own standards for a relationship. So, I may see that he did this because he was selfish and weak and wanting attention from another woman (and he is a cheater), but that may not be a reason to end it (for me).

    Also, I’m a cheater. I’m not blaming myself or justifying his behavior by picking on my own. I’m saying that it’s pretty awful for me to cheat on my H for 7 years. I think this can sometimes get lost as we focus on the bad behaviors of our MM and not on our own bad behaviors. Not that this defines who we are, but that is also true for our MM. I’m not saying I deserve to be cheated on or that I can’t be mad because I cheat, too. Not at all. I’m mad and I get to be mad. My MM knows this. It’s just that I don’t think my MM is a bad person. No more than I am at least.

    That’s smart that you booked your gyne appointment. I know how we trust in relationships, and I am certainly not the first person to catch an STI from a person who I thought I could trust. Of course, I hope all is well after your appointment. I also saw your message about staying firm in your NC with your MM. Those were all good reasons not to contact him again despite the urge you felt.

  37. Lifelessons, thanks for your words. You really sound like you understand what I’m thinking and feeling. You get how complicated this all is. First, the practical stuff… I’m pretty sure the HPV is from my MM and not my H because my H and I have been together for 16 years and I don’t think he’s cheated. I know I can’t know with 100% certainty, but for many reasons I don’t think my H has cheated, and I know my MM has. Also, yes, I know HPV can come from skin-to-skin, but transmission is more likely with unprotected sex and my H and I have used condoms 100% of the time since 2014 and my MM and I used them intermittently. Again, seems more likely to get this from my MM. Also, I know HPV can stay dormant for years, but 15 years is unlikely. So, could it have come from a previous partner of my H’s? I guess. But is it more likely it’s from my MM’s most recent partner or his W? Yes. So, that’s why I think it’s from my MM. Yes, I have done A LOT of reading about HPV, and I go to my doctor on Friday for the follow-up colposcopy to biopsy the abnormal cells, and I will ask her questions, too.

    Also, my H and I have used condoms 100% of the time since 2014 because my MM and I had an STI scare (just a yeast infection but I wasn’t sure at first). With that STI scare, I realized I wanted to minimize any transmission to my H were something to happen with my MM or his W cheating. I also wanted to minimize any transmission to my MM (and his W) if my H cheated on me. And, no worries, I do not think you’re saying I deserve this by going unprotected. But, yes, I know my choice was risky to have unprotected sex with my MM and risky choices have consequences. Clearly, were I to stay with my MM, we need to go 100% condoms as well.

    As to how I’m feeling? I’m feeling okay. I started out with a lot of numb, then sad, and then angry. Now, I think I just feel cautious/hesitant and unsure. It’s gotten easier over the days. We’ve talked a lot. He came over again today for several hours. He’s continued to tell me what a mistake it was, how sorry he is, and how he hopes I will want to continue our relationship. Those are all things I need to hear. I’ve asked a lot of questions and he’s seemed to answer honestly and thoroughly. We’ve talked through all sorts of issues, and even issues not directly related to the cheating but related to other ways he acts that can affect issues of trust in a relationship. We’ve talked about the coworker and my concerns about her, and he’s been really responsive to what I’ve been saying. But mainly we talk about the hurt I feel and the trust issues this raises.

    Like you say, it’s causing me to pause. I don’t think it will end our relationship, but I need to take time to see how I feel with him. I’d imagine the feelings of betrayal will go away, but if they don’t, I know I can’t stay. I’d imagine he will work to gain my trust, but if he doesn’t, I can’t stay. And you are absolutely right that we have to remember that they are cheaters. I am a cheater. We can lose sight of these things because we are enjoying the relationship, but he is willing to cheat on his W for 7 years. I am willing to cheat on my H for 7 years. That means we have traits that allow us to lie to a person we love for a long time. That means he could do this again.

    In your situation, I think you should have the freedom to sleep with others. Your MM is sleeping with someone else (his W) so why can’t you? But I also know what you mean about how he might not see it that way. Affairs are tricky. Even though I knew my MM had a W, I also expected him not to cheat on me with anyone else. I think we can have expectations in affairs. Do you have an understanding with your MM that you won’t sleep with others? I don’t think you’ve ever said that, but I get why you might not want to tell him.

    And, yes, I do have two friends to talk to about this. They’ve been very helpful. One of the friends is in the “leave him!” camp and the other is much more “Okay, if you stay…”. They are both really great in giving non-judgmental advice and talking it through. Just as you ladies have been so supportive, especially because you’re in an affair (and they are not).

    Work meetings start on Wednesday and it’s going to be interesting.

  38. BAF, I’m so so so proud of you on your success and I’m truly inspired by your strength to heal and recreate a new life! It consoles me to know that I’m not alone and I’ll get there just like you did! 🥳 I’m not totally done yet as I’m still thinking of him everyday in different shade, I’m not indifferent yet and on some days, I’m hoping that he’ll reach out. But then I’ll feel nauseous whenever I recalled how he flirted and blamed me for being possessive.

    Anyway, He’s done with me. We will continue to keep the door shut.

  39. Felk,
    Hope you are feeling better than yesterday…
    Quick one to your reply to BAF.

    I didn’t like it when you took the blame for being “careless” resulted in the infection. I would’ve done the same. We simply trusted them more than they deserved.

    Second, you will have more talks, but you are not sure what will come of it. Key is, can you still believe what comes out from his mouth after this seemingly fated reveal? Telling you it’s about time to focus on yourself. I can understand and resonate the disappointment and sadness. I really do. I was crushed. I was pathetically licking my own wound… while life went on well (or not) for him. It’s unfair. Please be kind to yourself Felk.

    Thanks to you, I’ve booked an appointment this fri with my Gynae for a PAP. There was NC in last aug to dec and we did it in Feb for the last time. It didn’t hit me until now. Shivers…

  40. Felk,

    I have been trying to commit to writing here for almost a month. I’ve checked in time to time to see what’s going. I caught a glimpse of your post about your MM and it shocked the shit out of me. I was recently in my head about my MM cheating on me and I calmed myself down by remembering he has a wife so if he was dealing with someone else, it doesn’t matter because his W exists. I know that doesn’t help you but it made me relax a little but the story was still in my head and it’s a story I created. He helped me to gain insight on what was really going on the 2 nights I assumed he was cheating on me and his kid also cleared it up without knowing he did. It was just shocking to see what info your MM told you about his behavior.

    I know you will take your time to figure out how to move going forward and I don’t know what advice everyone else has given you but I think we are all clear about the fact that they are cheaters and of course Liars. They have to lie in order to cheat. I have convinced myself that as much as I think my MM might love me, there is a strong possibility he has slept with others during our time together. I don’t know if want to know the truth but I can remember times where I felt like I could place the night he had sex with someone else outside of his W and myself. I think your situation is challenging because there are a few factors…
    1. The STI
    2. The break up that he initiated
    3. Followed by the 3x “cheating”
    Now, I know you’re reasonable so you understand having unprotected sex comes with risks. This is not to make you feel bad or anything…please don’t be offended!! I’m not saying you should’ve gotten an STI just because you had unprotected sex but the reality of taking such risks is that or pregnancy. He has a lot of responsibility in this as well. I am not sure if I understood in one of your post…you use protection with your husband? If so, why is that ? Does your husband know you have come in contact with HPV ? You think MM is the reason behind the HPV ? I have done minor research on both HPV and HSV and it’s hard to determine which partner is responsible for exposing you to it. It could go undetected for years making it hard to determine who you contacted it from. I actually have a few friends whom have HPV and there is no way for them to figure out who exposed them to it. Even with a condom you can still be exposed…its a skin to skin infection. Using protection helps but it doesn’t guarantee you won’t or can’t be exposed. Does he still have a relationship with the person he slept with ?

    Sorry, I have so many questions! How are you feeling ? Is this taking a toll on you ? You handle everything so well and it’s amazing to me but this is rough and I am curious about how you are doing. Do you have someone to talk to you ? Have you done and research on HPV, asked your doctor tons of questions ? I know you share here but it’s nice to have someone to share with that can give you commentary in person.

    Again, there is so much for you to think about and so many things for you to put in perspective. I don’t know that this result in you leaving him for good but it will definitely cause a pause in your relationship. I think we get so comfortable with them that you ultimately forget this person is still a liar and a cheater and they can not be completely trusted and neither can we. We don’t trust ourselves, how can we really put so much trust in them that they wouldn’t do something like this. I really am sorry this happened and sorry you’re going through this right now. It’s a delicate situation to process. I felt bad that I slept with someone during my break up with MM last year. Recently I slept with someone else and him and I were not on a break up…I am single and feel I have a right to do that but I don’t think my MM would take it lightly if he knew. We tell each other how much we love each other. He has knows most of my free nights without the kids are spent with him and I don’t think he would suspect I’ve had sex with anyone else. I’ve alluded to the fact that he is the only person I’ve been with in the past few years. I don’t know that I would be honest with him about it, if he ever asked me. I admire your MM ability to tell you the truth as he could’ve lied about it. All of this is very complex and there are so many gray areas. Praying you make a choice for you that you will be ok with….
    Chat with you soon!!! xoxoxoxoxo

  41. At this very moment, I suddenly have the urge to reach out very much. I could use another phone to call him since he blocked me. I could email to his work place. I could easily find a way but what’s holding me back?

    1) With time, I’ve gradually adapted to a new lease or chapter of life. The addiction faded very slowly. Life has been mundane but is peaceful. There’s less sadness and disappointment, no jealousy, no, possessiveness, no insecurity, no anxiety, no walking on eggshells when he’s ending because he’s sick of the situation. I’m still making conscious effort to snap out of rumination. So, the key is to evaluate with your heart, what’s left? This relationship serves what purpose. I’ve decided to let go, move on before I became the dumpee. I crawled back my pride and self respect. I blocked him and cut him off first. I refused to let him be and eventually ending us.

    2) With time, it comes with clarity that I was feeding his ego and sexual needs. She can be anyone as long as she makes him feel desired at his convenience. Long gone was the love bombing phase. He gives me nothing. Dynamics have changed.

    3) With time and clarity, I practice Acceptance. I’ve no choice seriously but to Accept that it is over. Holding on is going to hurt more. Holding on is fighting a losing battle. He’s going to be selectively honest. Talks are empty. Face on with the reality. Fantasy does not last. Fantasy because neither one of you is going to leave the spouse to be together. Fantasy because we are addicted to fall in love with them. LOVE isn’t painful and devastating. But, reality will eventually get in the way. It’s not worth the talks and risk, eventually he’ll be enlightened. Talking is draining especially when trust is betrayed albeit the lies or secret were exposed much later, eventually he’ll back off and find someone new to distract.

    4) I’m not reaching out because I HAVE COME THIS FAR!!! 6 months. Take each day as it comes. I’m not going to dwell or overthink about what if… I bumped into him, should I be silent or should I ask him who he has been f***ing around. But then again, will you believe his words? I won’t unless he surrenders his phone to me. Everyday counts… and the best revenge is to live better than yesterday.

    Sending positive vibes to all of us here.

  42. TTSP Thanks so much for the compliments on my art work and career, When you said this:
    “How many talented individuals have produced their best work during periods of intolerable pain and trauma” I was laughing out loud pretty hard. But of course it is not so funny. Just very very true. Yes so true. And I do have an outlet for my feelings with art making.
    Thank you for saying I am strong. I have heard others say here I am strong as well. I don’t know about me being “strong” as I have said to Hope and others. But I suppose I am full of grit and determination if pressed up against the wall. 🙂
    I share my successes here in the hopes that others will have hope as well. I lost 3 very close people last year to actual death and one to death of a “love” affair. That was rock bottom for me no doubt. And that was me pressed to the wall. But here I am a year later in pretty good shape!
    And the last thing is this: If I really wanted the misery of my affair back again I could beg and plead and he would take me back no doubt. Because some of these affairs (many of them) die off very hard. The faulty patterns are so entrenched! But that doesn’t mean I would be happy with him or in the affair in my future. I am just saying that even with no contact and complete separation there are always slivers of room to wiggle back in for more misery. Real death is far more terminal.
    But each day I just choose not to do that one day at a time. I hope to one day have a much healthier love life! SO I dont feel like going backwards anymore. I keep repeating: Made the decision to let go of negative thoughts….”
    Best, BAF x x

  43. Hope thank you so much for your compliments! It means a lot to me. Reaching a new career level has helped me enormously in emotional terms. It is easier now for me to understand my bottom line in what I need in a relationship based on who I am in my life. Rather than me defining my needs based on an affair and what I was able to get out of it. (Which was very little of what I actually needed deep inside myself) See what I mean? It has made me more confident and happy as well. I have gotten a lot of help from the Melania Tonia Evans thriver TV series and blog. She is a good fit for me as she states that our previous relationships are all “gifts” to us and help us evolve to higher states of being. Toxic relationships are the biggest gifts and in her thinking, bear the most fruit in terms of our own growth. It is a way of healing I can identify with and feel comfortable with. It also emphasizes turning to a Higher Power which is a lot like a 12 step program. But of course one must first work through all the negative emotions: the anger, disappointment, jealousy, grief that negative relationships always present to us. It is “school” but a very difficult class. But learning the lessons means one is much less likely to unconsciously pick another toxic relationship up!
    I hope you are able to have less and less contact with your exMM guilt free! You deserve space to heal and grow just like we all do. BAF xx

  44. Felk,
    Go to your H and seek comfort. Do you feel guilty towards him? do you want to quit the affair for the sake of your marriage and your H who loves and respect you, and grow old with you.

    This reveal may be a blessing in disguise, before it is too late. It is still not too late to return your heart and soul to your H. Let it be a lesson learnt and a wake up call, and start afresh with H. Also, it is rather “disrepectful” to meet MM and have sex at home, which is supposed to be sacred place for H and you, don’t you think? Why would you want your home to be reminded of mm? especially when he is capable of breaking your heart?

    I agree with BAF that he is a cheater, if not for the STI, the co-worker may soon brew into something behind your back. There is no quick solution, what matter the most is you. We are not there to witness how much time/effort and how hard he tried to assure you, keep talking to you, address all your doubts. We only know that much from what you posted here. Only you could feel his “sincerity” and the depth of love for you. I think BAF and myself couldn’t see it in this virtual space. In any case, I do hope that you do not keep justifying that it is normal for affairs having some exceptional rules, and therefore keep settling for less and losing sight of the purpose of this relationship. What do you need him for? Is he worth the risk and forgiveness? Stop focusing on him, stop explaining for him, stop justifying for him. Focus on you. Can you eat, sleep and work? Can you face H? Are you able to smile again? do you really know him and love him for who he really is?

  45. Felk,
    My heart sank and ached for you. Hugs…If you could remember my story, his ghosting and “cheating” (no concrete evidences like yours) on me were the deal breaker. If this is not a deal breaker for you then I am not sure how are you going to protect yourself with boundaries and self-love. I am not surprised that you are still thinking of continuing with him. I love your honesty and hope you pardon me with my raw opinions here. I am not as eloquent but I can resonate with your disappointment and sadness… I was all that you are experiencing now except that I was hysterical and you are calm.

    To me, you seemed to have lost yourself and your baseline. You are still trying to be understanding and defend him. He cheated on you. He was supposed to quit you and repair his marriage but he cheated on you. How could he and how did he do that? But words are meaningless, whether you exposed him there and then or 2 years later. Fact remains, he let you down. When your affair was at the peak of the intensity, he needed to break up with you as he couldn’t handle the guilt and shame. You let him be but he didn’t do what he was supposed to do. So what was this having sex with another? Once is a stupid mistake but THRICE? is he a sex addict or what? why didn’t he use you but another? That was how much he cared about you. What exactly was his explanation that he f*** another and 3 times. How many more are there? Would you think that ignorance is bliss? that you rather not found out?

    How could you not known about the other woman but only the co-worker whom you are wary of and jealous of and been talking to him about? To get another woman to bed, other than the professionals, it takes time and effort to build up the excitement, attraction and then lust. So who exactly is she? how did he get to know her? have they been platonic? While you and his W sucked him dry, how did he manage to sweep another off and have sex for 3 times? Why didn’t he channel the time that you have given up, back to his family? He may be cliche but really, what was he thinking and why did he do that? You are the most understanding and rational lover I have come across. How could he have the heart to do that to you? It is an unforgivable betrayal to find solace and distraction with another woman and knowing that it would hurt TWO women whom he claimed to love and in love with. He chose to break up with you and he chose to cling to someone else. I distract myself from the mess and turmoil by turning myself into a workaholic. We all find ways to distract ourselves but what he (and my ex-MM) did was so lame, selfish, and degrading.

    Like you, I believed that my ex-MM wouldn’t be interested in that with anyone else while he was in love with me, but ghosted me because he was in such turmoil, mentally drained with guilt, shame and fear, and dealing with my anxiety, jealousy, mistrust etc. Jun – Dec 2017 was my low. 7, Jun 201I caught him flirt-texting a sales vendor, went drinking with her twice to distract himself because I dumped him. In Sep 2017, he was flirting with my ex supervisor, sat close to her, skin to skin, telling her how much he liked her in her blouse and her beer pose in her whatsapp profile pic. I got to know about it in Aug 2018, one year later when my ex-supervisor accidentally blurted to another co-worker about how he made her hair stood. I wasn’t sure if she was flattered or frightened by his gestures and words. But on the same night, he texted me to say that he wished i was there with him. He was drinking alone in one corner. Pack of Lies! I was told he was behaving all time high, drinking, dancing and mingling taking selfies. I know how it hurts when he was finding comfort with another woman while I was devastated about his withdrawal and ghosting hurts a lot. Unlike you Felk, I cannot get why he would try to distract himself from the mess he had made of his life. I cannot get why ending us and losing that would get him to cling to something else, because he was supposed to use the time/emotion that i unwillingly gave up, to try to repair his marriage, to go home early to spend time with kids. It is still hurting me whenever I was triggered to recall his betrayal that he (rather) wanted another woman in the first place. It seems that he enjoyed the attention, leading women on and the hunt. I, too, gave him up so that I gave him the space to focus on his marriage, and he went to another woman with that freedom. Until today, I am still feeling sad and disappointed. I am still thinking of him EVERY day but I have accepted that it is over.

    Take you time to feel, Felk. Yes, I am sorry to say that I do think you are pathetic to fear that he would seize the opportunity to end the affair. But, he has been assuring you and acting that he was so afraid to lose you isn’t it? Can you still continue this fairy tale with the current dynamics? If his W also found out she has contacted STI, is he going to expose the one with 3-night-stand or you? what if she found out about you (she tracked him down to your house)? would you be able to be understanding if he said to his W how this other woman (you) meant so little to him and how it is nothing like what they have invested – youth, marriage, kids, family, house etc. Or would he muster the courage to divorce and be his love of this lifetime (you)?

    Felk, I wish I could be there to hug you and sit with you in silence…I used to think that among us, yours a fairy tale in the world of affair. It is you who made it possible. Did you ever think that he will disrespect you? get sick of you? get tired of keep talking to you for hours and hours when he could have been home bonding with the kids, chatting with his W on the daily nothings? He has to do all these to keep his marriage and family intact! If you are minded to stay with him, you will come up with 101 justifications to do so. I just wanted you to know, we are here behind you. You are not alone.

    Sorry to say this, he reminds me of my ex-MM and both of them are scumbags.

    It has been 6 months of NC for me. He has cut me off. He is still blocking me and perhaps forgotten that he kept me blocked. I tend to think that he has found my replacement. If i ever get to talk to him, first thing first, I would want to ask him who did he last f***? me in Feb? his W or another? If for some reasons, he f*** another, he is filthy to me and I will not order him to f*** off. Your post shook me in a way. For him to cut me off, he would prey for another woman to distract and feed his ego, satisfy his sexual need that his W deprived him. I now know that I was naive to think that it was impossible for him to f*** another, and he must be still healing from our breakup.

    Do you really know him? is it important that you know all about him? or you just need to know enough to continue this fantasy. Lots and lots to think about. YOu may be still in a state of shock or numbness… perhaps few more days to let the truth sinks in…

    Stay Strong Felk, I know you will!

  46. BAF, you say all good things. I appreciate you looking out for me and asking important questions. My MM definitely knows he has to worry about his W getting a positive HPV test. HPV is a little odd in that it can stay dormant for a while so it all depends on the timing of the pap. It’s possible she’s had it and her body cleared the infection before her next pap (because she is over 40 and may not be getting yearly paps). Or it’s possible it will show up in a pap soon and she will confront him. He has said that he will admit to the sex two years ago if that happens. I guess it’s also possible that she’s already had a positive HPV test and is also cheating and didn’t tell her H!

    My MM and I started having sex in 2013. In 2014, we had a bit of an STI scare (it was a yeast infection but I wasn’t sure initially) and since that STI scare, I have exclusively used condoms with my H. I have not wavered once. Since I’m not on birth control, it was rather easy to tell my H that I didn’t want to be irresponsible anymore. In the past, we’d sometimes have sex with condoms and sometimes not (rhythm method) or maybe start sex without a condom and then get one as things continued. After 2014, I changed that and condoms only with my H. No penetration at all without a condom since. So, at least I have that slight comfort knowing the likelihood of passing anything to him is low (especially given how infrequently we have sex). My MM cannot say the same about his W. And, in addition to HPV, he and I have to consider that this woman could have given him other STIs as well. I have had no symptoms, but I will be going back to the gyne this week for a colposcopy (to check the abnormal cells on my cervix from the HPV) and for a full battery of STI testing. I am feeling more anger (than sadness) these past two days as I think about all that he’s exposed me to. And I take some blame, too, in not only having an affair but also not being more proactive in getting tested or asking him directly last year in December when we started having sex again (if he’d had sex with anyone else during our break).

    You are right about the three-night thing vs. a one-night stand. For me, it’s not as much that he had sex 3 times, but it’s that this was a relationship developing over a period of years. This was not just someone he picked up in a bar for one night. This is someone he was enjoying time with repeatedly before he had sex, and that hurts in addition to the sex. Especially since the build to the sex happened while we were still together, even if the sex happened after the break up. But, one night stand or this 3-night thing, I’d probably be hurt and angry anyway.

    And it is entirely clear to me that he used sex to self-soothe. And you are also right about the doubt I would have to have for any deep feelings from this type of person. I have already told him that. I told him that it wasn’t that I don’t believe he feels the things for me that he says. It’s just that I’m no longer sure what those feelings mean since it seems that we were not entirely on the same page. Ironically, I have never told him things like “you are the only one for me” and “I want only you” because I didn’t believe I could say that honestly given my love for my H. But I believed my MM when he said those things to me. Or I believed they meant the same as they would mean were I to say them to someone, and that’s the part that I don’t think is true. I think those words me something different to him, and it all feels less special now.

    You’re probably right about my lingering jealousy, too. Not that there is anything going on with this coworker, but that his behavior with her showed something that I knew was dangerous. I didn’t really “know” he was doing this with someone else, but what he was showing with the coworker was showing me that he was definitely capable of doing this with someone else. My instincts were right about what I saw with the two of them. I saw him acting in a way that didn’t seem right given all the things he was saying to me. Sadly, I just trusted when he told me nothing was going on with the coworker and didn’t pursue further or ask about anything else.

    He and I will talk more this week, but I’m not sure what will come of it.

  47. Hi Felk, I am so sorry you are going through this, this must be such a tough time for you. We are all here for you Felk. I agree with what BAF said about letting yourself feel and I am glad you are trying to do that. My advice will be Felk regardless of what you choose, whether you choose to continue the affair or end it make him understand/realise that this is a big deal for you. My advice will be to put some temporary distance between you two, withdraw a little bit, he needs to realise that if he treats you like this again he could potentially loose you. It’s great that you are discussing this with MM but Felk sometimes only some distance can send a clear message. Even if you think he realises that some distance will help you think clearly. It’s great that both of you spent last 2days discussing this in person. I am bit shocked to be honest, you went through so much heartache, we both were miserable in our relationships around the same time. To think that he is capable of having sex with another woman in that period is a low blow. I now understand your decision to not leave your H for Mm. As BAF said please don’t rationalise this too much and allow yourself to be guided by your feelings. I think often when we overthink we subconsciously justify Mm’s actions. If you wish to continue the affair that’s fine too but please allow yourself to feel and voice your concerns without hesitation. Hope you feel better soon Felk. Write here, we are all here for you. xxx

  48. Hi BAF, Congratulations on York brilliant achievements, you should be so proud!! I am so glad you sold art work and were written about in art journal, that’s huge!! Glad people are looking at you as a distinguished artist, so they should!! Congratulations!!❤️😘
    Also a big thank you for all your help and advice. Hugs xoxo

  49. Felk Something is also haunting me in your story is this: Has your MM also passed the HPV to his wife, the mother of his children? Is he worried about this? What will he do? I ask as she would need to take a her own doctor about this and to find out oil the type of HPV known to cause cervical cancer. I would think he would want a healthy mother of his children. The decision he makes regarding this issue might also give you a better indication of how he really treats the important women in his life.

    Also, I find it surprising that you never have unprotected sex with your H. Is this because he perhaps cares about your health a great deal? I am just wondering.

    A man who can break up with a woman he loves, to protect another woman he loves (but differently), but still wants to dabble around with other casual sex is, yes, a cheater. That much is clear. He is also a person who uses sex to self-soothe. Deep feelings of loyal love would wax and wane with this type of person. And he would not need to be in love in order to have sex. All this is simple logic.

    A one night stand is a one off type of thing like you know. He did not have a one night stand. Three times means he was willing to see where it was going and went back for that reason. Then stopped when it was not going well enough to continue. In a way it does not matter. What matters is how you feel Felk. As for the woman at work you mentioned having some lingering jealousy feelings towards, I find it interesting that you had just recently mentioned your feelings about her to Hope. Right after you posted that, you found about this 3 time affair thing with a different woman.
    This tells me your instincts about were correct, despite his reassurances to you. Your instincts are working, which is always such a great sign.! Trust them and your feelings!
    best BAF

  50. BAF, thanks so much for your support. I really can feel it, and it seems like you know me so well even though we’ve never met. I love how honest we all can be on here, and I think that really does give us a sense of who a person is. I know you can hear it in my post a few days ago (and you’ll hear it here) that I’m approaching this with a lot of rationality and analysis. I love your advice to pay attention to my feelings. Honestly, I am trying to. One of the things I’ve been talking to my friend B about is how I know I just need to give this time and see how I feel. That I can’t just figure this all out this weekend by thinking it through (no matter how much I want to be done with the bad feelings). I will only know what I want to do when I sit with my feelings, and, especially, when I pay attention to how I feel when I’m around my MM at work. We go back to work next week for opening meetings and then classes start the following week. I want to see how I feel when I’m with him at work or with simply knowing he’s around in the same building. I want to see how I feel with him around that coworker who he’s friends with (who he and I have talked A LOT about these last few days… I’ll get back to that). I want to know if it feels like I will always be sad or distrustful if I stay or if it feels like we can repair.

    So, yes, my MM and I sometimes have unprotected sex. I do not have unprotected sex with my H, though. My understanding is my MM has unprotected sex with his W, but the understanding was that if we were having unprotected sex, we would not be with anyone other than our spouses. He knows this was our understanding so it’s not like he tried to pretend it wasn’t when he admitted to the fling two years ago. And, yes, I knew this was a risk when I chose to have unprotected sex with someone having unprotected sex with someone else. I take some blame for this, and that’s why I’m probably less upset about the STI than I am about the knowledge that he had sex with someone else, even if technically when we were on our break (or whatever we’re calling it).

    If I’m paying attention to my feelings, I feel disappointed and sad/hurt. I feel disappointed that this is who he is. I kind of knew this is who he was (as he is a cheater and has narc tendencies). I am similar to him so I get it. Back in 2005, I made out with another guy when I was head-over-heels in love with my H and we were just two years into our relationship (pre-marriage). I get how flings happen. But it’s that I believed my MM wouldn’t be interested in that with anyone else while he was in love with me, and it’s that I believed that he ended our relationship in Sept 2017 because he was in such turmoil over separating our relationship from his marriage. And I know the latter is true. I know that is why he pulled away from me in 2017. I know our affair was really intense. I know it was hurting his marriage. But he found solace and distraction with another woman and that hurts. As you say, fall of 2017 was my low. I have never felt so miserable, and to think that he was finding comfort with another woman while I was devastated about our break-up hurts a lot. I get why he would try to distract himself from the mess he had made of his life. I get why ending us and losing that would get him to cling to something else, even as he knew he left us to try to repair his marriage. I get how they are separate for him. It just hurts that he wanted another woman in the first place. It’s also what you say about him taking advantage of my love. I told him that. I gave him the space to mend his marriage, and he went to another woman with that freedom. If I stay, do I simply remind him that he can treat me poorly and I will stay?

    He and I have talked for many hours across the last two days. He is contrite and apologetic. He listens to me and answers all my questions. He tells me he wants me to stay but he also says he knows he has no right to ask that. He says that he knows he can’t just tell me it will never happen again and that he has to show me over time. He says all the things about how this other woman meant so little to him and how it is nothing like what we have. That feels good and hurts more all at the same time. It makes me question what his words have meant to me all along. In May 2017 he told me “What do I need to do to convince you that I want just us?”, and now I think about how, at that same time, he is building a relationship with this other woman that will eventually lead to their sex 6 months later. In fairness, though, isn’t that what I’m doing with my H? Leading him to believe he is the only one for me while I have a 7 year affair? However, simply knowing I am doing it, isn’t the same as wanting to stay in a relationship where I know it’s been done to me.

    Yesterday I asked him what he would say if I asked him never to talk to this woman again (he told me they still have a little contact as he’s been afraid to cut it off entirely slightly fearing what she might do if he did). He said he already decided when he left my house Thursday that he was cutting that woman out. That’s good. But I’ve also talked to him a lot about the coworker who he has had drinks with alone. I’ve talked to him about the path it seems he’s choosing again. How he says there’s nothing with this coworker, but if he keeps choosing to drink alone with her at times, how does he know it won’t turn into more? I know he’s trying to assert his independence a bit in defending this friendship, but yesterday that felt a little like he still wanted to have his cake and eat it, too. Like, even if this friendship is nothing, maybe he just has to give up drinking alone with this woman to show me that he recognizes it makes me anxious? Or better… that he should give up drinking with this woman because maybe it would lead down a path he doesn’t want and he can show that insight now? I know… easier said than done. 🙂 I don’t know if I could give up all platonic male friendships if my H asked me to if he caught me cheating.

    All of this to say… I don’t know what I want to do. Fortunately, I feel no rush to make a decision. I feel like I can sit with my thoughts and feelings as long as I need. (For me, that is usually not long.) I will admit the most pathetic part is that I worry a little that he’ll end us before I get a chance to. Like, maybe he’ll think this weekend, “This is too risky. What am I doing? I already got caught by my gf. I don’t want to get caught by my W. I need to end this affair.” And I feel pathetic worrying about that. I want him to desperately want to be with me now. I want him to beg me for forgiveness. I want him to be apologetic until I’m ready for him to stop. And I want to be the one who ends the relationship if it’s going to end! I know I can’t care about this, but I wanted to be honest with all of you as we seem to say our honest pathetic things here.

    I know I may stay with him. I know I am considering if that’s possible. I know I still may be able to enjoy a relationship with him because affairs are different and we hold them to different standards. But I also know that, despite those different standards, his behavior still may have crossed a line that we can’t come back from. It’s all especially sad given how well things had gone this summer.

    One of the good things of finding this out is that I’ve been MUCH more honest with him. It’s given me the freedom to say the things I’ve wanted to say on many topics. As the wronged party, I feel like I can say whatever I want now and I have. Now is the time to ask for all the things I need. But is it even possible to work through your partner cheating? I had one boyfriend who fooled around with another woman, but we were already at the end of our relationship so, sure, I ended it when I found out, but we were already done. What do you do when things are good and you find out about something that happened two years ago (when things were bad)? Did my MM learn (as he says he did) and come back to me because I am the one he wants (as he says)? Will I always wonder and never be able to truly trust his feelings for me? Will I always feel lesser with him because he was able to do this to me? Or will I punish him forever, making us both miserable? Plenty to think about. Thanks for reading all of that.

  51. TTSP, Thanks so much for your kind words. So succinct and to the point, and saying what I needed to hear. There is just so much understanding in your words about how complicated this situation is. And I especially love that part about how this gives me all the information I need to get closure were I to end it.

    I will take any advice, but, yes, I am just letting it soak in. It has been a pretty numb feeling for three days now. I just feel like I’m thinking it all through and trying to sit with it to see how I feel. I know for my MM this fling was 2 years ago, but for me it is like it happened last week. For him, it is truly over and done, but for me it now calls into question our whole relationship and whether or not he is still the person I thought he was. Or maybe whether or not I still think we can have the type of relationship we have enjoyed for many years. I honestly don’t know if that’s possible after this reveal, but that is what I am taking time to think about. I will say more in my reply to BAF about my conversations with him. He was here for 4 hours on Thursday and 3 hours yesterday. We have done a lot of talking and probably will continue to (if that’s what I want).

  52. Felk,
    I anticipate you’ll get a lot of responses from your last post. First, I’m sorry you had to go through that heartache of learning that he had a quick fling after you broke up in 2017. Second, you are so impressive to handle it like a zen, gracious woman. You are such a wise, collected, emotionally intelligent, poised person. You demonstrate that time and time again.

    I’ll keep this short because you didn’t solicit advice and you probably want to let this all just soak in. I’m glad that your primary partner is a trustworthy, dependable, open communicator. Whether you keep the relationship with mm as is, change the dynamic or end it, I think this news will ultimately give you any type of closure and confirmation you’ll ever need. Everyone here will give you all the virtual support we possibly can.

  53. Felk that is a whopper of a of a story. I am so sorry you have to go through this. It sucks to now to have to take care of a STI for one. It means your health has been affected by his decision making. I am assuming you always have unprotected sex? Many of us believe the married person in the affair we are with is “safe” to sleep with using no condoms. This is because they often reassure us they are married and have not been sleeping around with many partners etc. But then if they do decide to sleep with someone else and again they go with the unprotected sex decision, but the new person is carrying a STD, then we are screwed. That is when our trust in the person becomes a bad health decision for our selves. Of course this is doubly bad for any unsuspecting spouse as he or she is then twice exposed to potential STD’s.
    I too want to think before commenting on the rest of your story as I want it to sift through my mind a bit. But I will say this: Felk you like science and evidence as you have said. And I am an artist. We might be quite different in temperaments. You more towards logic and me towards emotions. But the most evolved people are a balance of both. At this moment I absolutely DO urge you to feel your feelings and not push them away with logic and analysis. You need your feelings right now. They are trying to give you valuable insights in addition to the information your mind is giving you. You need to stop thinking and simply FEEL your feelings for a bit in my opinion.

    I say this as you often seem to want to remain emotionally stoic and analytical even in the midst of highly emotional events in your life and in your affair. IMHO< This is not the time to think too much. I really do think you must try and allow yourself to FEEL. I can not tell you what the right feelings are. No one can. But instead of asking your MM about his feelings I really recommend you concentrate on YOU. And your feelings.
    In the aftermath of your break-up you said you were more distraught and felt more pain than you had ever felt in your life. You spoke about that numerous times here. Numerous. You can look back and read your pained words. You were so willing to let your MM go back to his family and to fix his marriage if that was what he needed. You were so loyal (!) and patient for months on end as you assumed your MM was meaning his marriage and then might come back to you which he did. Your MM was the direct beneficiary of your kindness and maturity. You encouraged him to mend his marriage and be more present in his family.
    But your MM seems to have had another "track" in mind during this period of time, during the beginning of the break-up. It is like he boarded a train for Canada and you saw him board that train, but secretly he somehow he ended up in Mexico.
    Felk, I know you recognize yourself as a cheater and say you can understand a cheater since you are one too. This is an oversimplification however. Not all cheaters act alike just like not all married people act alike. Your cheating and his cheating were not in sync in this time period. (See above)
    As an artist I have gone more in the direction of the left brain. But I think you might want to shift a bit towards the opposite hemisphere the right brain. Much valuable information can come to you by way of your your emotions. Please do not cut them off or think you must hold them in for any reason. Screaming at the sky is very very valuable tactic sometimes. And not being calm and analytical all the time lets a partner know your deepest emotions are in fact involved. These include anger and disappointment and even disgust. We have these emotions for a reason. They are red flags that give us an indication how we might then want to act. we can not choose our feelings. They just "are". But we can choose how to act with them.
    I hope you will understand what I am saying here.

  54. Excellent, insightful, moving messages from everyone recently. Felk, I like what you said about them expressing their willingness to open up to us more than others. I also interpreted that to mean they are shut out with their spouses and that behavior does not foster open communication. If I was the spouse he would do the same with me. Mine has a good relationship at home and has not pointed fingers. He admits that they both neglected their relationship needs and have been in trouble. He speaks highly of her aside from wishing she took care of her physical health. The point is patterns are set and why would I be any different.
    BAF, you’ve made incredible strides personally, professionally and internally. Congratulations on your esteemed status in the art community. How many talented individuals have produced their best work during periods of intolerable pain and trauma. You are so strong. I can’t say I’d be able to harness that energy toward something meaningful. You rock!

    Hope, I’m not surprised in the slightest that he would beseech you to continue some sort of relationship. He hasn’t reached your state of acceptance, forgiveness and recognition that the relationship has expired. It’s selfish but he’s probably desperate for your connection. You were his saving grace to a life that isn’t totally fulfilling for him. For me personally I would have a very hard time not responding to an email. I’d have to block after I asked for no contact. Even that is going to be difficult.

  55. Hey ladies, well, this is not going to be a happy post… found out today that my MM had sex with another woman during our “break” two years ago. I found out because my pap at the gyne revealed I had HPV. I have always had normal paps, and now I was HPV positive. Found out Monday. Aside from the frustration of knowing my MM gave me an STI, for the past few days I’ve had to wrestle with the possibility that this was not from his W or from his past sex partners pre-W but from a more recent encounter.

    So, I asked him directly today. He was a little vague and deflecting initially, but when I asked directly, his face dropped and I knew. Now, you all know me, there was no yelling or crying. Just calm. 🙂 Just calm questions about who/when/why, and it’s all very trite and cliche. Really. It was a short fling (sex 3 times) soon after we ended in 2017. It was someone he knew and had emailed with a bit before and had drinks with on occasion (see why I didn’t like him drinking alone with that work colleague!). I know this woman very loosely, and I knew of their friendship but didn’t know it was as close as it seems it was. All the cliche stuff about… it was stupid… I was dumb… I regretted it… it hasn’t happened since… it meant nothing… I don’t feel anything for her… it’s not like with you… I love you very much… what we have is different… you’re everything to me… and on and on.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think he was lying. I don’t think “cliche” means “fake.” It was just all cliche. He essentially had a three-night stand because a woman gave him attention. Look, I’m a cheater. I get it. I get why people give into temptation. I get how people can be so addicted to the high of attraction from another that they are willing to take risks. I get how a person’s selfishness can cloud judgment. And I get how a person’s narcissism can make them feel invincible. I’m having an affair. I know how all of this happens. My MM has those narc tendencies. He likes women liking him. He likes the attention. And why he felt he needed to do this with someone in addition to me and his W (while he’s trying to repair his relationship with his W!), I don’t really know beyond knowing that I want more beyond my H so why would I not understand him wanting more? It sucks for me. It feels like crap. But I also understand.

    And technically, he didn’t “cheat” on me, but not only did he expose me to an STI, but he was flirting with and hanging out with this woman while he and I were together in 2017. Before he ended it. When he was feeling all that tension about balancing me with his W. I don’t even need to go into all the cliched explanations for why he did that when I specifically asked about how he could do this as he’s telling me he’s in love with me and ending it with me because he needs to work on his marriage. So, that’s the part that’s not sitting well with me. It’s that he started forming this relationship with this woman while we were together, even if they had sex after we ended. It’s that I thought his feelings for me would have prevented that, as they have for me. I haven’t had interest in any other men while with my MM (including my H). It’s that I trusted those feelings, as we have to do in an affair, given how much time we spend apart and how we don’t have the same promises as in a marriage. And now I don’t know what his feelings about me mean. Not that I don’t believe he loved me (or his definition of it), but it’s that I now know that wouldn’t stop him from cheating on me. And, yes, I get we can say that he was doing this to his W, but we all know that when marriage stagnates it’s different. He loves her but he doesn’t have that burning in-love that he had for me. That I thought would stop him from doing anything with anyone else. And now I don’t know what to feel about how he feels about me.

    He wants our affair to continue, of course. He said all those things today. He hopes I will see this three-night fling for how he sees it… something that is over and done with and meant little. But as I know you will all say to me, he has shown his colors. He has shown he is capable of this. And once someone does that, how do you trust them? Even if I am in love, how can I be happy with him after this?

    Lots to think about. You all know I am not the “it’s over!” type person, and I need to think things through a bit. I may decide this can’t work for me anymore, but there will be no angry phone calls with me dumping him. 🙂

  56. Hi Felk,
    Thank you for your compliments.
    I have been achieving success on the outside because I have been transforming so much on the inside so much this year. I have been working really hard on healing. I have gone from the victim mentality (which I was quite unaware of) to a far more mature mentality that includes leadership in my field which is, in fact, where I actually belong given my long background in art, hard work to date, and age. I would say I am exactly where I should be. I am not trying to brag but am saying my success is not really a surprise given I have been working so steadily and hard over so many years.
    But (!!) the preoccupation with my MM and pleasing him had really gotten in the way. And distracted me big time from myself and my life. Especially because there was no pleasing him in fact. Or only pleasing him for a moment if I submitted to all his conditions. Then he would move the bar. I always felt like a hamster on a wheel with him. I felt like I had to always be on my toes.
    I can not blame him anymore because it is wounds in me that led him to me and me to him. I have yet to call him a “gift” Lol but he did in fact awaken me to my own wounds which I am still working on.
    Over they years, I was so preoccupied with getting it “right” for him and being the “better more loving more patient woman.” This took so much of my energy. I was obsessed with proving to him how much I did love him and how patient I could be.
    Even more than I realized as I was never happy with myself and always trying to be even “better” with him.
    It is weird how these things work. I would never say every affair is like this but any affair with a narcissist IS like this if one is on the other side. The narcissist was never going to tell me how great I was. He was always going to leave a door open, so my self doubt could eat away at me. And I had self doubt in spades. These are very old patterns in me from childhood and I can own them now.
    The mind trap of an affair with a narc was an escape from my life in fact. An escape from the hard work of art making. An escape from promoting myself and having art exhibitions and all the work they entail. And all the rejections they entail all the way. An escape from dealing with others in my life and any problems I might be having with them. Escape! As I have said many times I adore escapes! lol. But they usually ‘cost’ me a lot.
    Being successful in art is not an escape. It is actually application of my energy to something I am pretty good at. But this something can bear me results, actual results. The success makes me feel nervous as well as proud, frightened I might have a creative block, as well as trusting that I will not. But the engagement with my career is so different because I CAN accomplish something because it is a real thing!
    With the relationship with my MM I simply could not. I could not change a damn thing ever. I do want to re-state for myself here I DID totally love my exMM more than anyone else in my life. Despite all his flaws and despite all of mine I felt we were such a perfect fit (except when we were not which was often lol). My imagination for our love was maybe misguided but it was hugely there in my mind and heart. I really truly loved him. And I was willing to go all the extra miles for him because I thought it was worth it. I thought “we” ere worth it. I was all about trying to get him to see how much “we” were worth it.
    It still makes me so sad that it was all a haunting illusion and that we were never going to be happily and carefree together. Ever. I have read about narcissists and their partners. I was a “second tier” source of supply for him, his wife was the first tier. In a way I was more protected from his abuse for a lot longer as he was no doubt aiming more of the abuse her way. In the end, however, I knew he really did in fact “care” about me because I started getting some of the real emotional abuse too. How ironic that I knew that I mattered to him by feeling his emotional abuse:
    his petty annoyances with me, his indifference to my feelings and life so often, and his discarding me only to be hovered again later. And how ironic that the more emotional abuse I put up with the more I thought I was proving to him my love and worthiness and that he should choose to be with me! Yikes. I had a truly misguided definition of love. I am still working on this.

    Live and learn! One day I hope to be able to say, yes he was absolutely a gift in my life that awakened me to my now need to heal my inner wounds! That will be a happy day!

    Felk you are right that when your MM said: “I’ve never opened up to anyone else like this” or “I feel closer to you than I’ve ever felt to anyone” were not really compliments. Well they were complimentary in a sense (!) but these statements imply a lack of communication skills for someone who is already married. And yes that could lead him or any one of us to an affair. Unfortunately marriage does not come with an instruction manual. Neither do affairs for that matter as we can see here.
    As long as you enjoy being the recipient of all his inner truths and revelations (since he can only tell ‘you’) the longer you might stay in the affair. This is because being in such a position is a feel good and gives you a sense of power (for now). And then the good/great sex adds another reason to stay.
    But like Hope this behavior on his side (your MM’s) can have a down side too. It can mean a person is emotionally shut-off at home and has driven his/her spouse away emotionally and now thinks they need an affair partner to fill in those gaps he/she created, perhaps unconsciously.
    I used to say affairs made marriages better for many people. But Felk you taught me something. I did not mean “marriages” like loving unions when I said this. Loving unions would of course suffer with a third party involvement. But what I meant was marriage as an institution. I meant someone (for example) who is afraid of intimacy in their marriage might find an affair a safer place to be “somewhat more intimate”. Meanwhile at home that person could simply play the role of a “married person” in the institutional sense but not try to fix the intimacy issues in the marriage because it is too frightening or whatever. That is why I have said affairs in my opinion can make marriages (as in the institution of marriage/ the lifestyle of marriage) better. A third party can fill in a gap is what I meant. Anyhow take care!
    Best BAF

  57. BAF, congrats on your professional success. That’s really great that you’ve been able to achieve such a big goal of yours of finding success in the art world. More importantly, it’s great that you’re feeling confident in your talent and seeing yourself as the gifted person others clearly recognize. Maybe you would have done this anyway, but it all does seem related to finally freeing yourself of your MM.

    I also liked what you said about how manipulative people and unhappy people likely get less happy as they age. I’d think that was true. I also liked what you said about recognizing that if your MM treated you a certain way then he likely treats his W that way, too. So, if he paints it as an unhappy marriage, you have to ask yourself what role he played in creating that unhappy marriage. My MM never really complained about his marriage to me (and generally I thought he had a decent relationship with his W), but I did realize that the compliments my MM would give me like, “I’ve never opened up to anyone else like this” or “I feel closer to you than I’ve ever felt to anyone” were not really compliments. They were more a reflection of his inability to be open in a relationship, and I realized that he was likely quite closed/distant with his W creating barriers that likely led him to cheat.

  58. Hope, I don’t think you should beat yourself up for replying to his long email. When someone sends a heartfelt email and we care about that person, it’s hard not to reply. Not that you have to reply or that you owe it to him, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with replying to a heartfelt email due to caring for the other person and trying to help them get some closure, too. I know it prolongs things for you and you want to be done with the affair, but we know that these endings are not always smooth and sometimes it takes a while to end. It sounds like you responded openly and honestly, and that’s all you can do. You don’t want to play games or be manipulative. You want to end the affair/friendship, but it sounds like you are also trying to let him down gently. Hopefully, that is enough. I don’t know why he only responded with a few emojis. My guess is that he doesn’t know what to say and he’s dealing with a lot of feelings. It’s also possible that he’s trying to get you to respond again and ask him what those emojis meant. That is manipulative, so if you have told him in this email that you need to be done with the relationship, then it might be time to block his email from your inbox. Just keep trying to remember that there is no exact right way to end a relationship. You have been kind and fair to your exMM, so now just try to do what’s best for you. I do think he’ll respond again so you will probably have to be direct again in asking him not to contact you anymore (or you’ll just have to block him).

    As for my situation, I appreciate your words about my MM’s interest in me and no one else. Heading back into the school year is bringing up some insecurity and jealousy issues for me again, and I know I need to address them with my MM. We dealt with a lot of this back in March when I first found out that my MM had gone for drinks alone with this coworker, but I think there was more that I wanted to say that I needed to process and think about and now it’s time to talk again about trust and our expectations for exclusivity in this affair. I’ve felt a lot better about us this summer, and I feel that trust growing again, but I clearly am still uneasy about his friendship with this woman and I have more questions to ask. And in these times when I get insecure, I do start wondering if it’s all worth it? I don’t think I’m close to ending the affair, but I’ve been having some thoughts lately about whether or not I’d just be better off ending the affair. I’ve been thinking about risk to my marriage and how I don’t want to lose that. I’ve also been thinking a bit about how the affair still holds me back from enjoying some things in my life (like traveling with my H). And, like I said, I’ve been thinking about the jealousy and it’s not something I really want to deal with. So, I will talk to him this week about some of the things on my mind and I’ll hope to get some resolution or peace, but we know it’s not always that easy.

  59. Hope, you can read about emotional manipulation all over the internet. Here is one article at Psychology Today: “14 Signs of Psychological and Emotional Manipulation
    How to spot a manipulator”. I have had many such people in my life beginning with my family of origin. I do love my family, but I can also now see the head trips I got over the years, especially as the eldest child in a large family.
    I know I have aspects of my personality that draw such people to me, and me to them, but therapy can help a lot if you are pre-programmed this way. If you are not programmed this way, then it is simply a matter of reading a lot about emotional manipulation (particularly in a love relationship) and seeing the strategies to cope with such a person. Such people are always very draining emotionally. You will know because you will feel so sucked dry and so exhausted after an encounter or conversation with such a person. Any type of contact will feel very draining. They may even threaten they can not live without you. It gets very serious at this point.

    My MM fooled me because I did not see the emotional manipulation nor the emotional neediness. I only saw the bravado and confidence. When I started healing from the affair I can see how often he used triggering words with me to try and get me to behave in a certain way. This means he wanted me to agree with him and his assessments of everything again and to not think so much for myself.

    Last year when we had the unkind words that led me to leaving him, I had called him out for being a “head trip”. I had told him he was “messing with my head”. I did mean these words but he was furious. These words just flew out of my mouth but little did I know I was hitting his very sore spot. He got VERY angry at me, more than I had ever heard him before. He lashed out saying I was “imagining the type of relationship” we were in. He insulted I was more in love with him than he was with me. This hurt like hell and really spun me around even more but I knew intuitively to get off the phone and not stay and argue that point. He was looking to mess my head up even more not less. He was not acting like himself at all. I had never (consciously) experienced him this way ever. But I would bet that subconsciously I was experiencing him this way for a long time and did even know or understand the damage he was causing to my self esteem.
    Much of my writing here is about warning others.
    I really do think emotional manipulators become more and more unhappy as they age and as they find their tricks don’t work so well anymore. This is what happened with my exMM. But they can be very nasty lashing out. There is nothing I could do in my power to change him however: not his depression, not his lashing out, not his emotional manipulation, not his unhappiness. That is when I realized he had probably already been treating his wife this same way for years and she had probably pulled back in self-protection.

    I think we must be very careful when men (or women) claim they are unhappy at home and with their spouses. That can be a red flag that they have done things at home that have made their spouses retreat. And that they will act out the exact same dynamics with an affair partner eventually. A person is a person. Eventually we get to see the same person that goes home to a marriage and family. We do not get a “different” version of an affair partner for very long. In the beginning yes, but not over many years.

    Remember, I was in my affair/emotional relationship with my exMM over 20 years so I come from a place of seeing what happens over time. I realize now I had hit one of his “buttons” and perhaps in the past some other woman maybe even his wife, had already accused him of the same. I now know that when a man complains about his wife (or a woman about her husband) beware! They might be the one in the relationship that is the more difficult partner. They may lack communication skills and conflict resolution skills. Their partner might have long ago gotten sick of some of the dynamics. Of course the sex in such a scenario will no longer be great.
    And then, they have an affair and meet people like you and me!
    I do not mean to say all affairs are the same. I just mean to say we must listen very carefully when a married person expresses unhappiness with their spouse to us. What are they actually saying???
    I hope some of this helps you to beware your MM and his emotional manipulations. It can be dangerous for your own well being to be torn up by such a person.
    PS Hope on a closing note I will say that my solo exhibition which closed very recently exceeded all my expectations big time! I sold work. I was written about and put in an art journal. I was on the radio. It was so much growth all at once and very unbelievable to me.
    Now people are looking to me as a “distinguished” artist, something I yearned for all my life. But much more importantly, I am beginning to own my inner feelings of pride and accomplishment inside myself. And I am beginning to believe I am wroth my best effort! It is an amazing journey and was very fueled by by break up last year and my losing my father. I say all this to say remember Hope: There is HOPE ahead! Life goes on after the end of an affair and you can not only survive loss, but thrive. Hugs, BAF

  60. Hi BAF and Felk, Thank you so much for helping me. You are both such strong women. BAF your survival story is I incredible, with all the hell you have been through you are still determined to not let it affect your life anymore, hats off to you.
    Felk I am so glad that things are going well between you and your MM, yes affairs rarely run smoothly all the way but in your case there is something in it for both of you. I am glad the relationship is able to give you a sense of security and comfort in what you both have. Yes low communication is difficult but as you say it also gives you time to focus on yourself and enjoy other things. Hope it stays that way for you guys for a very long time. I think your Mm isn’t interested in the coworker, as you have said in past it’s his nature to be friendly but that’s about it. He is interested in you Felk not anyone else, you both have been through a lot and are still together. Wishing you both lots of smiles and happiness.

    BAF I am really sorry about how cruel and manipulative exMm was to you. It’s surprising that your Mm said something similar to you (apologising for wasting his time). My exMm is also always very vague and will hint at things instead to saying things directly. It was much harder at the beginning, if I didn’t complain or if things were good between us he would occasionally share something personal but most times he wouldn’t. I felt like I had to win the closeness and his trust. You are absolutely right about emotional affairs being much more harder to end. Another reason to avoid friendship with exMm. Interestingly exMm never said he was sorry for holding me back instead he often said ‘we love each other so much it makes no sense as to why we can’t keep seeing each other’ of course he only still wanted just the affair. You and Felk are right, he is being manipulative even though he himself might not be aware of what he is doing. I am surprised, how am I not able to identity his manipulative behaviour?
    He sent a couple of short emails and then after few hours a long heartfelt email. I was bit surprised because I thought he was still angry with me for trying to put an end to our friendship. I felt compelled to reply because I knew he would be waiting, I knew I shouldn’t have replied but I felt incredibly guilty reading that email. So I replied back I also still had feelings for him and I do still love him too but as he said our complex situation made any relationship between us unworkable for me. I took a lot of courage for me to open up and be truthful. I was sick day before yesterday, had terrible pain in stomach, I told him about that too. He just replied with few emojis. It’s just a weird feeling but for the first time I felt like he is playing games? I may be wrong but it felt that way. I will look into how to block his email because his emails are still difficult for me to read. It will be painful no doubt but I am determined to move forward.
    Thank you for listening. Hugs xxxx

  61. Hope, I’m glad that we can offer some help. I know how helpful it is to get objective advice because when you are in the thick of the situation, it can be hard to see clearly. This is where counselors come in handy, too. 🙂 I have no doubt that your exMM is very sad. It also may be true that you are the only thing that makes him happy. The problem with that, though, is that it’s because of choices he’s made. It’s up to him to fix his life and to address his own happiness. We are not responsible for another adult’s happiness, and especially not if it’s at the expense of our own. It’s a tremendous guilt trip, though. It’s something that works so well for keeping people in relationships longer than they want to be. But he is responsible for his own happiness, just as you are responsible for yours. Which means that you have to make the choices that you need to make to find happiness. I do suggest you go full NC, but if you are not able to do that, I suggest a firm and clear response to him that you need to be done with the relationship entirely for your own sake and the sake of your children. As BAF has warned, your exMM may become even more desperate and manipulative as he recognizes that his pleas are not working and you really are done. I don’t know if he’ll do this. He may just finally go NC, too. But please be ready for his communication to get even more desperate (yet another reason to see your counselor).

    I am doing well, thanks for asking. Things with my MM are going well. I’ve gotten to a good place psychologically this summer. My trust in him and us is in a good place. I’ve been more honest and direct about my feelings, and he’s responded to that well. I’ve also felt much better with the lower communication. We all know it’s not my ideal, but I see the benefits of how it helps me not obsess of him and the affair and helps me enjoy my life when he’s not around. I also see the benefits of giving him space. He is happy and at ease with me now, which is a far cry from his angst two years ago. Ironically, giving him space has made him act with less coldness and distance with me. There will be hard times again, I know. Affairs do not run smoothly indefinitely. But, for now, I think we are both happy (enough). I am a little worried about the school-year starting up again in a few weeks and how that increased contact will put more pressure on both of us, but all I can do is continue to trust and communicate if something is bothering me. I am also a little worried about that co-worker who was pursuing him earlier this year, and I hope he has shut-down all of that. I just don’t want to go through that jealousy again. I will have to rely a lot on that trust I feel, so I’m glad it’s built up over the last few months.

  62. Hi Felk, Thank you so much for your advice, support, insight and understanding. You and BAF have always been so kind to me and helped me focus on myself and my kids. You are right Felk, I will book an appointment to see a counselor next week, if she suggests medication then I’ll give a try(she did suggest in past a while ago due to my periods of sadness). You are right, may be he made contact because he is hurting and needed that reassurance. You and BAF have helped me understand that some statements made by him were slightly manipulative, I never could’ve seen that myself without you guys, thank you. Also, I feel less guilty now about the whole situation. I tried to be friends with him just so it will be easier for us but he has a way of always trying to get me back into the affair. This was making moving on harder as I wasn’t giving time for my wounds to heal properly. Thank you for understanding that I am trying to punish him and for also reminding me that I am not responsible for making him happy, I have always felt pressured about this because he has regularly conveyed to me how sad he is when he feels I am not in his life (when I refuse to go back into thr affair) how it is the only thing that makes him happy. I will try my best to focus on my kids, my work and myself and will try hard to find other distractions.
    Hope you are well, how are things between you and your MM?
    Take care, hugs Xxxx

  63. Hi Hope
    You are very welcome for the help. I don’t know about me being so “strong”. I have survived many things. But my therapist is telling me lately to realize I have not only survived but thrived. I have a hard time taking in compliments but it is getting better! I ha ve a very good friend who has survived and thrived as well. I think we both agree the key is being able to ask for help and get the help! The people who want help are the ones who heal and grown. Those who shut out help stay stuck in my opinion.
    Anyhow, Hope, yes of course it was manipulative of your MM to apologize saying he was “sorry he wasted your time”. Those are loaded words Hope and he knew unconsciously a sympathetic ear like yours would only feel terrible guilt and reach back out Tim. him. And feel like is is You that needs to apologize! NOPE. You don’t need to apologize at all, Hope.
    Think about it: How could you respond without feeling sorry for him? Many of us would feel sorry and guilty hearing such things. At least I know I would feel pity if I heard that from my MM. And by the way, yup I DID hear that from my exMM. He wanted more attention and for me to feel sorry for him. So he would say all kinds of provocative things. And it used to work til I finally understood how he interacts. What I never heard from him, however, was him taking responsibility for his role in the affair.
    Instead it was all about my cruelty and my various flaws. But I have learned so much in this past year, one day at a time.

    What would be more helpful from your MM would be something like this: “I am so sorry I have caused you pain in what has become such a hopeless situation. I never realized I would hurt you like this. I have been so wrong in trying to hold onto you now, especially now you that have such responsibility alone for your two children, and so much on your plate with your exH”. Something like that would be more mature IMHO.
    Instead he says very provocative things about your love being the only thing he has…(he can not breathe without it) which is only alarming you and making you feel much more guilt!
    He may not realize what he is doing but it does not matter. What matters is the impact of his words on YOU.
    As for emotional affairs, in my experience they die even harder and even slower than the sexual ones. For me the emotional ties were never actually broken with my exMM even though I withdrew from the relationship physically and sexually so many times. In the end the emotional ties were even stronger than the physical ones. I ned saw that one coming. Even broken up, my exMM wanted me to stay semi-available as his go to person for the “happy part” of his otherwise “miserable” existence.
    At first I was so honored to have that role! “Imagine me being that powerful” I used to think. And “he needs me!” But his willingness to take into account my needs was NOT provided back to me. Instead I would hear how he was married and unhappy and how he was doing the best he could blah blah blah. And how his W did not love him and on and on….Yet he was never going to leave her I realized after years and years.
    What I had to realize in the end is that emotionally manipulative people do not express things on the “up and up”. They are very indirect and vague often and they “hint” at everything. They might not even be aware of this themselves but it doesn’t make it any easier for those dealing with such people to deal with.
    My exH is another person who did this sort of thing to me. Of course I know now, more and more that it is what is deep inside of ME that attracts me to this type of person. I have wounds inside of myself that must heal before I can be attracted to and want to be with a better type of man.
    But that’s okay because at least I can work on ME rather than trying to change them. See what I mean? There is hope in healing and moving on from situations that are so deeply stuck in the mud. At least for me there is. I hope this helps! BAF

  64. Hope, it’s not surprising your ex-MM reached out. We’ve seen it with many other women here. He reached out because he’s sad and missing you, and, yes, he’s being manipulative and hoping to get more contact with you. Hoping to get you to stay in his life. It is human and understandable, but it is selfish. It was especially selfish for him to write that part about wasting your time. That was manipulative. He knows you do not feel that way, but he is desperate right now and needed to do something to get you to respond, and a comment like that often works. It worked to make you feel guilty and to make you want to respond to let him know that he did not waste your time. He got you to say the nice things to him that he needed to hear to soothe his pain right now. It’s “normal” in this situation, but it doesn’t mean it’s fair or kind.

    You were already feeling guilty about considering ending your friendship so it’s not surprising that you responded to his manipulation. And I don’t even think he knows he’s being manipulative. I just think he’s hurting and he was simply hoping you would respond. Unfortunately, the only way to stop this communication is to stop responding. You may need to block these messages – block his number on your phone or in your email inbox if that’s how he sends them. I think that’s the easier way because it can be very hard to see those messages even if you tell yourself not to respond. You can ask him not to contact you, and, of course, he should respect that, but it doesn’t mean he will. So then YOU have to take the action to make sure contact ends.

    Try to keep reminding yourself that you do not owe him a friendship. It is sad when a relationship ends, but it is okay for him to be sad. He is a grown man who made a choice to have an affair. There are consequences to these choices. We have all felt them here. It’s not that you want to punish him. Not at all. It’s just that it is not up to you to make him feel better. You get to choose to end the relationship if you want. And even though that decision may cause him pain, he knew what he was getting into. We all do when we get into a relationship (and especially an affair). People are allowed to break up with us. You are allowed to break up with him. Please do not let him make you feel guilty. Keep focused on how you need to move forward in your life for you and your kids. And, yes, see your counselor again. That would seem really helpful when trying to leave the addiction of an affair and an abusive H, and it sounds like this person has already been helpful to you. I’m sorry you’re feeling the anxiety again, but hopefully by standing firm on ending this friendship you will soon be able to feel some freedom from the affair.

  65. Hi BAF, Thank you so much for your advice and support, it really helps put things into perspective. I never thought of it that way up until you mentioned, you are right. I was feeling like a horrible person who has done an awful thing to the man she loves when he apologised for wasting my time. If his intention was to get me to reply then it worked because I did send him 2 messages after but he was very short which made me feel worse. You are right BAF interactions/friendship could easily become an emotional affair. I am responsible for me and my kids, not him and not his happiness. He recently told me before NC that our love is the only thing that makes him happy, that he couldn’t breath without it so I was feeling very guilty for ending the interactions knowing that he relied heavily on them. Another reason I struggled so much to go ahead with NC again and decline the friendship request, I was finding it difficult to do that feeling like I was hurting him on purpose. You have made me realise BAF that there is a fair chance he said those things just to keep me close knowing those words will get me on an emotional level. Thank you so much for pointing that out.
    I remember you mentioning your ex husband, he is an awful man and I am so sorry you had to go through all that pain and suffering. You have done such a great job raising your kids, you should be so proud BAF. I will definitely get the NC book by Kim Saed. I am also going checkout the videos by Angelica. I have looked towards exMM for support in past (just by texts) but you are absolutely right, I need to break the pattern if I want a change.
    Thank you BAF. I am hoping to see my counselor again next week and I will check again regarding medication.
    You are such a strong woman BAF and we are very lucky you are here. Hugs xxxx

  66. Hope I knew your MM would reach out to you again. This is par for the course. It is only YOU that can stop the communication patterns by not responding to him. And I know it is truly difficult to do such a thing, but then again it can be done! By saying he was sorry he “wasted your time” I feel your MM is being immature and selfish (in my opinion) and trying to get you to respond. He knows as you do that the two of you shared deep feelings. He also does not want you to “leave” him even as a “friend”. He does not like you setting new boundaries. So he uses words he knows will get to you on an emotional level. Maybe he uses them sub-consciously who knows?
    Hope remember: what was once a sexual affair can easily become an emotional one afterwards. Believe me I have been there done that. The emotional affair is equally if not even more hard to break.

    I absolutely recommend you buy this book: “How to do No Contact Like a Boss” by Kim Saed. You will find a free youtube video from her too about this book. It explains the reasons why No Contact is for YOU and your mental well being. You are not alone in experiencing anxiety attacks after trying to break off an affair. But your case is also complicated by the violent husband you just left and the fact that you have two small children. That is a lot for one person to deal with!
    I was in your shoes too once leaving a husband I could no longer be married to and also having young children on my own to raise. That is when I met my exMM. And the rest is history. My exMM felt like the love of my life and my stability and my hope etc. But in the end he was none of these things I found out. So Hope try to step away now! Try not to waste all the time I did waiting for him to make the choice to leave his marriage and be with me.
    I would recommend you seek counseling and medication (if medication is recommended). Counseling in which you can tell your whole story about both your H and your MM and where you can get support. I think this is is extra-vital for you, as your are a new Mom especially and with so much responsibility! Mothering young children is not for the weak and can be very draining as well as emotionally isolating. Your MM can seem like an easy way to get some adult support (by the phone). But you must try to break that patterns as you are clearly showing emotional distress symptoms when you get “dragged” back in. Shut that door for awhile and walk away! Remember this: he is already married and he has more support at home than you do! You are not his counselor and being as much older than you as he is, it is high time for him to start to manage his own problems! Think of yourself as a young woman who has small children to raise and is on her own. Think of it this way: he has no right to drain you emotionally or otherwise. He has made his life choice and is a big boy. Step away entirely from him for awhile and you will see he WILL survive!
    My exH surely did! He threatened suicide while we were still together and while I was trying to break up with him. But this was all about him getting ME upset and depressed and anxious and fearful. And it worked! Emotioanally manipulative people often are not even aware of themselves and their actions on a conscious level. They just do what they do out of their own deep unmet needs. But this is NOT your problem. Hope your only “problem” in life is to take care of You and your Babies. That’s it. I feel your exMM is unfairly putting more on your plate than you can handle right now. Just my 2 cents! I hope some of this helps.

  67. Hi all, I thought I’ll just write my thoughts here. I am doing well, exMM did contact me, BAF, Felk you were right. He was very short (very unusual for him) just said that he hoped I have a better week and that he was sorry for the pain he caused and for wasting my time. I thought of not replying but for some reason I convince and reason with myself and end up replying. I am good with Nc I think but if he messages I feel guilty for not replying if that makes sense. Anyway this has caused more anxiety in me, at times I have difficulty breathing if there are certain triggers. I’ll may be see my counselor next week and go on medication for a bit. I am worried about the side effects especially because I am still breastfeeding but my counselor told me there are medications I can take while breastfeeding. I feel like I have tried hard but may be medication will help with the anxiety.
    I am a bit sad because I had made a lot of progress but the friendship dragged me down again. Even though I have been careful to avoid meetings/sex it’s still causing issues. Now I find myself doing what I shouldn’t, overthink things like why was he short? Why didn’t he say more?etc. sometimes I feel like may be Mm is doing it on purpose. He knows I will wonder why he did that and wants me to realise that I miss him too. I may be wrong but that’s how I feel.
    On a positive side my kids are doing well😊Older one loves her little sister, it’s very sweet to see their interactions. I am trying to focus on my kids and work but to be honest someday are hard, somedays I feel like I just broke up again.
    Thank you for listening. Hugs xxxx

  68. Lois It sounds to me like you are taking one step at a time to move away from your MM. Have you ever seen a movie called “What About Bob?” It is a pretty hilarious story about a patient (Bill Murray) who has to learn to take “baby steps” to cope with his anxieties and problems when his therapist takes a summer vacation. I often think any recovery from any set of difficulties is like that. Baby steps. Your suicide survivor story is powerful and shows your strength and determination. And you help others who are in this boat. How amazing! And strong.
    You say you still suffer from some anxiety and depression and that some days very hard. I think there are a lot of us like that here, Me for sure. The feel goods of the affair are addictive precisely because we have these chemical imbalances to begin with. Do you take any prescribed medications for these conditions? If not you might want to check into taking them, even short-term as they might help you in your transition away from the MM.

    I also really really relate to the feelings you have of your kids being not around so much. That leaves a huge vacuum. I remember this well and it is hard to cope with after all the hands on parenting and joys of the earlier years. While your kids go through this it can feel like they are abandoning you. And in a way they are leaving yes. But for a good reason: to develop their own individualities. I want to tell you that they do come back! But there is a long period of time from teens years and throughout college where they can feel like strangers sometimes.
    It is really important for you to find new activities that fulfill you while they develop. Things for just YOU. Things you have been wanting to do but put off as the kids kept you so busy. An affair can never fill this hole. It is too big if a hole to fill in my opinion.
    Your MM may or may not be able to handle an affair. What I feel from your words about him is that he is avoidant type of person and does not meet his issues head on but rather slips and slides sideways. And then he blames others when things do not go well this way and he falls on his face. Just my take. Of course we all have our issues and I am not meaning to judge. I am just saying that an avoidant would never make a great full time partner as this type off person always tends to disappear in the clutch. This type is inconsistent and unreliable like clockwork.
    Finally, I can not imagine what your co-worker did that was so upsetting to your MM but honestly it sounds like another example of him finding a way to avoid your affair and its real issues. Again just my personal take. I hope some of this is helpful.

  69. Lois, I hope the reason you don’t have the gut-wrenching feeling is because you’ve gone through this before and you’re just tired and done. But I think part of the reason might be because you still haven’t accepted/decided it’s over. It seems you’re getting close but aren’t exactly there yet. Spamming his number is good. I definitely know the misery of waiting for someone to text and hoping each text is him when it’s not (and, thus, the repeated feeling of disappointment). It’s a good step in the process, but as long as you think there’s a possibility he might text, you’ll keep checking your spam and putting yourself through that. But maybe that’s what you need to go through? Maybe you just need to be reminded a little more about why this affair isn’t working for you. No matter how much we all wish we could just rip the band-aid off, it doesn’t seem like most relationships end that way. Just follow whatever process works for you.

  70. Honestly, I am not sure what I’m doing as I spammed his number and find myself checking my spam messages less and less. Like today, I checked this afternoon and wasn’t surprised he had not made contact. I have gotten to a point that it’s easier not to check because then it isn’t doesn’t bother to know he hasn’t…if that makes sense. If he does happen to contact me then I won’t be as tempted to respond because I won’t know about it. It also helps me from checking my phone or being let down when a text does come and it’s not him. I do feel I’m slowly pulling away but think that’s something I’ve been doing for awhile. I have composed several emails but it’s been a way to express my feelings rather than contacting him. It’s been 3 days of NC. I have really thought about things and don’t want to be waiting around like in the past and welcome him back with open arms. It’s not okay to go Mia especially after just like you said he said he was willing to put forth more effort. I’m sorry he’s struggling but life happens to all of us. I understand he doesn’t deal with things well but I have tried and have been more that patient and supportive and understanding. I don’t have that gut wrenching sickening feeling but maybe it’s because things haven’t necessarily ended. It’s strange. Hopefully, I’m not setting myself up for more pain by not just texting it’s over and letting myself mourn the loss. I’m trying to get myself pulled together and I’m getting there…it’s a slow process but I’m not that same wrecked person that I was the first time, or second or even the last time he ended things. I have grown and a little less of me has gone back. The only thing I do know is that I don’t want to continue this for another 3 years…enough is enough.

  71. Hope, I’m glad you were able to be honest with your MM about how the affair let you down. Sometimes we sugar-coat things too much because we’re worried about hurting another’s feelings when what we really are doing is hurting ourselves by withholding the truth. By being honest with your MM, you not only let him know that the affair was no good for you but also you say out loud the reasons why the friendship can’t continue. It probably helps make it all more real for both of you, and that’s good.

    I do think NC will be easier for you this time, and I hope that your MM respects the NC (although, like BAF said, he may try to contact you again and I hope you are ready if that happens). I do also hope that you some day find the love you are looking for, and it is absolutely true that the best way to find that is to make choices in your life that get you to that kind of love. You have already made HUGE steps by leaving your abusive H and your MM. You are taking active steps to get rid of relationships that were no good for you and to make room for healthier relationships. You are showing that you know you deserve better. I think you have a lot to look forward to.

  72. Lois, I’d been wondering how you were doing. It seemed the last you posted here was that your MM was struggling once again, and it sounds like that hasn’t changed. And that must be extra frustrating since you had JUST spent more time with him where he was saying that he was going to try to put in more effort. I can hear that you’re trying to realize that he isn’t going to change, and that he is simply a person who has too much going on in his life or he can’t deal with all that is going on. It doesn’t seem he’s cut out for an affair, but, honestly, it seems like he’s overwhelmed by many other things, too. My guess is that he tried to use the affairs he’s had as an escape from being overwhelmed elsewhere, but he ended up just adding to all the stress in his life. And I don’t mean to make you sound like a burden. I believe he has genuine feelings for you, but it all seems too much for him. It sounds like you are slowly getting to the point of realizing this and stepping away. Maybe it’s more of a slow stepping away this time than trying to cold-turkey NC? Either way, I hope you make the choices that are best for you.

    I’m glad to hear that you’ve found ways to cope with your depression and anxiety, and that you seem to have a rather different outlook on life than 30 years ago. I can imagine that going through this affair this last year has not been easy on top of depression and anxiety and your boys growing up. Getting old is hard. There are so many changes not only to our own health (I remember you said you recently got not-so-good news) but to the health of parents, other family, friends. There are changes to our marriage that can feel not so great after many years. There’s your kids growing up. I don’t mean to make this all sadder. 🙂 I’m saying that I feel these things, too, and I understand how your affair gave you some happiness among all the changes that don’t always feel great. There’s plenty to embrace about getting older, but there’s a lot that’s hard and I get how some of these things are hitting you right now. I hope that you can continue to look at your MM’s struggles honestly and move forward without him. I do think you’ll be happier when you’re finally free of that relationship, but I know it is easier said than done and there’s mourning that you have to go through. I’m happy to give whatever advice I can to help you through.

  73. Thank you Felk. I am glad I was able to be there for you, you and BAF have helped me so much. I am glad that Mm hasn’t reached out this time, it makes it easier to maintain the distance. I think he has respected my wishes too, although I am not entirely sure that’s the only reason he hasn’t reached out. I also told him I wasn’t interested in being with him or my soon to be ex husband, that both relationships have let me down one or another and have been full of constant compromises. Although this is the truth I think it must have stung him a bit, he disliked my husband with passion, my husband was violent in our marriage and Mm have always thought he was heaps better to me than him. I didn’t mean to compare him to my husband but I was honest that I didn’t want either relationships. I am sure he must’ve felt blinded by my admission and I do feel bad for hurting him but I have been meaning to put an end to the friendship for weeks. What you said has really helped me and stuck with me, Mm made his choices in life and I need to make mine to get me where I wish to be in life, thank you. I am feeling free, although it still hurts and of course I miss him but the friendship made me miserable from time to time. I don’t like the constant ups and downs, I rather would not know about his life.
    BAF I am finding videos my Melanie helpful in healing, thank you for that.😊❤️
    NC has gotten easier with time for me, I remember doing this couple of years ago and I felt like a zombie trying to get thru my days but now it’s heaps easier. I have learnt to focus on my kids, work, exercise, etc. In some ways I am excited about the future, who knows someday I might find a man who will love me and happily commit to me without asking me to live in the shadows.😊
    Hope Xxx

  74. Hello everyone. Life has been crazy with classes starting up for the year along with family stuff. I’m doing okay and appreciate your insight on things with MM. I haven’t been in much contact with him and have been focusing more on myself. BAF, the suicide survivor statement…it’s been over 30 years since the day I made a choice to end the pain but God had something else planned and wasn’t my time. I have recently been active in helping others and was guest speaker at last year’s suicide awareness march. I have gone through hell on my life but maybe that’s why I view life so different…love sunsets and rainbows, fishing…nature. I still suffer from depression and anxiety but have learned coping methods over the years. However, I have days that are quite difficult and takes everything in me but push through. I feel having my kids helped my outlook on life but it took being married 8 years before I decided to have kids…best decision ever! Now I’m dealing with the struggles of my older leaving home and my youngest two never being home. I’m lonely so have too much time on my hands thinking about MM. Things in my life have drastically changed over this last year and there’s been lots of hurt pain and loss. I know MM and spend very little time together but it was some happiness and for awhile it was really nice. I have come to realize MM has too many issues and struggles. Regardless if his feelings are genuine, I know things are not going to change and cannot do this for the both of us. I don’t have the energy or mindset to keep putting myself through it. MM is struggling again as the anniversary of his brother death and the past year of hell because of the work situation. Then recently the employee from work getting arrested for something that we never saw coming and unforgivable. MM has himself in reclusion and guess needs space. I don’t know but texted him that hope you can find some peace and if he needs anything I’m here…that was a couple of days ago. I’m doing okay. I just know that if it’s not this it will be something else again and again and again. The last we ended, I has gone over 10 days of NC and was starting to feel better. I don’t want to feel this way anymore. I have tried but like you guys said…some people just can’t be in an affair and MM is that person. With everything that has happened with my coworker, my trust in people has weakened even more and realuze it’s best that I start paying attention to those gut feelings which includes MM and his genuineness. Sorry, my mind is going in different directions but I’m muddling my way through things. I feel that I’m going in the best direction for me and it’s time to think about things other than MM. His actions these past few weeks have spoken volumes. I don’t want to continue being pushed away every time life happens. I’m taking one day at a time. I’m hurting and it is hard but know this will eventually subside. However, if I continue in this relationship, it will never get any better and will continously keep this cycle going. Let’s face it as long as I sit by and allow him to do as he pleases and continue to treat me the way he does and then he is allowed to come back…he will continue why would not he. Its not going to be easy but either us feeling like this time and time again. Thanks for all of your support and advice. I’m going to need even more to get through all of it.

  75. Hope, I can say the same for you and your support over these years. You ladies have helped me so much in thinking all of this through. I’m glad that your MM has respected your wishes (so far) and has not contacted you. I am sure it is sad for him, but he has made his choice (with his marriage) and there are consequences for our choices. We don’t get to have all we want all of the time. It has sounded like he was rather respectful and caring throughout your affair (if I’m remembering right) so I hope he continues to honor your request to end the relationship entirely. I know it’s hard, but it almost sounds like you are already feeling free. 🙂

  76. Hi BAF and Felk, Thank you so much for your support, your understanding and perspectives. BAF I am so glad I was able to support you because you have always been there for me in tough times. So have you Felk, last couple of years would’ve been even more difficult without both of you.
    I have been wanting to end the friendship and contact for weeks now but felt incredibly guilty knowing how much it hurts him. But you are right BAF, it could be a way to manipulate me. I am so glad the people in rehab picked up on the emotional blackmail your ex husband was putting you through and I so glad it’s all behind you. You are a very strong woman to have endured all that and to still keep moving forward and help other in process.
    I am feeling ok, Mm has not contacted me this time to check how I am doing, etc. which is good because in past this has lead to friendly conversations again. As youa nd Felk have said I am trying to focus on my kids.
    Hugs xxxx

  77. Hope
    It is so wonderful to hear you are taking steps to take care of yourself with your MM. It took courage to tell him the truth! It shows you have power and strength! I would not be too surprised if he tests your new boundaries so be mentally prepared for this. You feeling guilty about another person’s (your MM’s) feelings and welfare signals to me he is emotionally manipulative. This behavior is called emotional blackmail at its worst and my ex husband did some really serious emotional blackmail in my marriage. Thank goodness people in the rehab where he was for a month caught on and explained it to me. And they explained to me how to set a boundary with him. And keep enforcing it!

    People do it all the time (in varying degrees) and I get that. But you must try and see the tactic clearly for what it is in order to be able to take the stance you need to keep a distance from him without guilt. He is not your “problem” and you love can’t save him, even if he implies this.

    I completely agree with you that a friendship after an affair is devastating when deep down you want to be part of the other person’s life. It goes both ways and the pain is real. I have yet to hear somewhere here talking about complete neutrality towards an ex MM but that is the state one would have to be in for a post affair friendship towards to work. Even after a year out of my affair I am more neutral towards my ex MM but nowhere near actual neutrality. I don’t know if that state actually exists in fact.

    I hope that your MM does in fact love you enough to see he must let you go or that you will suffer more. This will be a test of his behavior in some ways. But not matter what he chooses to do, you must try to stay focused on you and your two beautiful children!

    And Hope, thank for so much the support you have always given me with my exMM. I always have felt you really ‘got’ the relationship I was in with him as a true narcissist and the deeper emotional/psychological mess involved in this type of precarious situation. I so appreciate your support! I have been exploring many ways to heal from being in such a harmful type of relationship and my newest favorite person is Melanie Tonia Evans (look her up on youtube, radio, web etc etc.) I have a feeling you will like her too. warmly BAF

  78. Hope
    It is so wonderful to hear you are taking steps to take care of yourself with your MM. It took courage to tell hime the truth! It shows you power and strength! I would not be too surprised if he tests your new boundaries so be mentally prepared for this. You feeling guilty about another person’s (your MM’s) feelings and welfares signals to me he is emotionally manipulative. This behavior is called emotional blackmail at its worst and my ex husband did some really serious emotional blackmail in my marriage. Thank goodness people in the rehab where he was caught on and explained it to me. And t hey explained to me how to set a boundary with him.

    People do it all the time (in varying degrees) and I get that. But you must try and see the tactic clearly for what it is in order to be able to take the stance you need to keep a distance from him without guilt. He is not your “problem” and you love can’t save him, even if he implies this.

    I completely agree with you that a friendship after an affair is devastating when deep down you want to be part of the other person’s life. It goes both ways and the pain is real. I have yet to hear somewhere here talking about complete neutrality towards an ex MM but that is the state one would have to be in for a post affair friendship towards to work. Even after a year out of my affair I am more neutral towards my ex MM but nowhere near actual neutrality. I don’t know if that state actually exists in fact.

    I hope that your MM does in fact love you enough to see he must let you go or that you will suffer more. This will be a test of his behavior in some ways. But not matter what he chooses to do, you must try to stay focused on you and your two beautiful children!

    And Hope, thank for so much the support you have always given me with my exMM. I always have felt you really ‘got’ the relationship I was in with him as a true narcissist and the deeper emotional/psychological mess involved in this type of precarious situation. I so appreciate your support! I have been exploring many ways to heal from being in such a harmful type of relationship and my newest favorite person is Melanie Tonia Evans (look her up on youtube, radio, web etc etc.) I have a feeling you will like her too. warmly BAF

  79. Hope, this is so incredibly strong for you to tell him that the relationship is not working for you. I know it won’t be easy, but I think that if you really want to be done, NC is the answer. I think that is especially true in your case because you tried a friendship and it wasn’t working. It was just making you sad hearing about his life and longing for the things you can’t have. My guess is that your MM was sad, too. He may have been happy to have the friendship over nothing, but I bet the friendship also was hurting him. So, even though, yes, he will feel pain (as will you) at ending the friendship, in the long-run I think you both will feel a lot better. And I think this is especially true for you because you are so much younger than he is and you have your whole life ahead of you. Remember that he has made choices in his life to get him where he is. They are his choices. And now you are making choices… choices for getting a life you want.

    Focus on your kids. Focus on your job. And it’s great that you’ll be starting up full-time again soon. Distractions matter. Going slowly matters. You know you’ll feel pain, but it will be less and less over time. You’ve taken the hardest step. Good for you.

  80. Hi Felk, I am glad you had a good chat with MM. I am also glad that you both agreed that the burden is bit more on you than him. You are honest and not expecting much in thinking he might not do much to change that. But as you say as long the situation is making you both happy and you both enjoy the closeness it’s all that matters.
    It is true Felk that I maintained friendship with exMM mostly because of guilt, I felt like after he told me how sick and miserable NC made him feel I couldn’t do that to him again. But the friendship made me more miserable at times I think, it is very difficult to be his friend and hear about his life when I know deep down I desperately wanted to be a part of it. The friendship defines ruined my progress, I was doing well before. But I did tell him day yesterday that it is difficult and I can’t do it anymore. I was finally able to do this after speaking to you, BAF and TTSP so thank you so much for your help. I feel like I am starting from scratch again but it’s a start.
    I hope you have a lovely time with MM next week.
    Hugs xxx

  81. Hi BAF, Felk and TTSP, thank you for your kind words and understanding. Thank you for listening, I told exMM that the constant interaction is getting too much to bear, I told him I needed to be alone again to heal, move on and hopefully someday find someone. Without your support I wouldn’t have been able to say this without feeling immensely guilt over cutting him off. I feel relieved, I will be a long road ahead no doubt but I look forward to getting to that phase again where I feel indifferent and am actually able to enjoy few more moments in my day without feeling the sadness of missing him. Lesson learnt, friendship after affair has a big risk of ruining the progress made. I am bit excited as well about the unknown, I am not ready to date anytime soon but one day I am looking forward to finding a new man. Right now my girls are my focus and always will be. I have also realised many times we idealise MMs, they are often not as perfect as we make them to be. I know I used to idealise MM in the beginning but over the years I have also seen glimpses of his stubborn side, side that snaps and many times refuses to apologise. Thanks again for encouraging me in not feeling guilty in taking care of me, I have been struggling for weeks if not months with this friendship thing.
    BAF kudos to you are being able to get your exMM out of your life, he sounds like an awful man. I have heard you speak of him numerous times and he sounds like anyone’s nightmare, a true narcissist. You are a beautiful, strong woman who deserves the world.
    Also I am planning to study further 🙂 another thing to look forward to. TTSP thanks heaps for your concern, I used to work with exMM years ago but not anymore. We do not have any common friends, he is 33 years older than me, we met at work 4 years ago when I was trying to escape a physically violent relationship. I have a full time job but am on mat leave, I will be joining back full time again in few months. Take care lovely ladies Xxx

  82. Hi TTSP
    Nice to hear from you! Wow you copy-pasted a very long piece of what I wrote. Thank you for the thumbs up (implied). By saying you went through that too makes us both warriors no? Warriors of the dark.
    I am becoming more and more aware of how many forms of damage the long-term affair I had can cause as I come up on one year of being out of mine. For example: All the times we recognize the affair is no good for us, then we vow to get out. Then we get out. Then despite all logic we go back in. And we get stuck all over again. The unintended consequence of this behavior repeated over months and years is we start to not believe in our own selves. We start to feel weak inside. We know we are in a harmful situation emotionally and psychologically and we know we are being harmed. But we keep breaking our own promises to ourselves. Over time, this adds up to a real loss of self respect I am afraid. Not only are we not sure whether our MM really does love us, and whether we should be sharing him with someone else, but we start to doubt our own inner voices. This is devastating to us. When some of us go NC we are left with our own thoughts which keep screaming at us telling us we are fools, we are weak, etc. This is soul killing for sure. Our own souls! Our minds can get very vicious I have found and mine aims straight at me!

    Anyhow for me the damage was done over all those years I spent in my affair…a lot of damage yes, in and out of my affair….trying so hard to find a combination that worked….never ever being able to find it. And never able to get back to the honeymoon stage either. So often in my affair I would wonder: where else can this “us” “we” go??? I would wonder who even knows about this “us” and how can I lie to everyone I know?

    But I could not get out despite the tidal wave of depression in me lurking, and despite all the logical and rational reasons I had to get out and STAY out. Thus I agree with you, the affair brought out the dark in me which was maybe already there, but the situation mega-enhanced it. Like magnified it times 1000. Not to mention those years I could have spent looking for a real soulmate/partner/lover/whatever and practicing these healthy relational behaviors. Instead I practiced self hate. On a grand scale. But no more!

    Now to the “paintings” of mine: my new “babies” so to speak. Yes! I have had a solo show with much un-anticipated success! This is not the blog to be discussing art but I will say that my self hate from my affair (and inside me) made me disbelieve in my talent. I have been making art for years quietly and in the dark but I doubted I was any good. So what a surprise to find people think I am talented and want to buy and write about my work. It is really crazy! I ma having to adjust to happiness! It is the weirdest thing, very hard to describe.
    Sometimes in the stress of all this success, (because the territory of success in art is such an unknown quantity) I just want to feel the arms of my MM again. The deep hugs….the feeling safe and warm (for a minute or two, lol) I know the thought so well. It is a longing from deep within me that still tells me we could make it as a couple. That I still love him and him me. But I do not put that thought into action. I simply can not. And I do not breathe life into it either. I just let it be and it passes away. In actions, I put one foot in front of the other instead, building what I hope will be a long and successful art career, by taking little steps daily. It is working. Funny huh? Inside me, I still feel like a fake sometimes, and I certainly feel like I don’t deserve it. (My self hate in much smaller doses). And I KNOW for sure my MM would be jealous of my talent and try to compete with me. So much for the “happy couple” dream. A narcissist and or selfish/self-centered/cold/aloof man would be all wrong for this new artist self that I am becoming. And now I am so invested in this new idea and IMPLEMENTATION of a brand new self that I am simply not going to give my power away to any such person no matter how badly I might feel I want to have sex with him! HA! My radar for good partners was never working very well in my lifetime for so many reasons but today, I just acknowledge that as one of my life’s unfortunate realities and move on.
    I hope this helps in whatever way it can. I know there is no easy advice to give to you at this point. When you find a new job I hope you will shout with joy!
    Warmly BAF

  83. TTSP, Things are still going well with my MM. The whole summer has been pretty consistent with seeing him and with our interactions being pretty enjoyable. I like that he is still in my life in this way, and I like that he seems happy (and not full of tension) now. But I do find it challenging to have lower communication yet still have all the intimacy we have once/week. We do email in between seeing each other and that helps, but it’s still much lower than before. Maybe that’s what is necessary to sustain this affair? If it all gets too intense again, won’t he just get miserable again and then won’t I get miserable again? I don’t want that. It’s just a delicate balance, though, and why affairs are a mess.

    Not everything in that essay I posted fit my situation and we can’t have the same expectations of an affair, but some of those behaviors of that guy in that essay were similar to my MM’s and I know it’s not just how he acts in the affair. It’s how he is in marriage, too. The guy who is not really emotionally available and fears vulnerability so he makes you seem needy for expressing emotions and wanting emotions expressed. I know that guy. As I’ve said before, my MM does express well enough for me to stick around in the affair but I know he wouldn’t make a good spouse (for me).

    I’m really not sure how to answer the emotional distance/disengagement question. Part of me feels like I’m doing that slowly over time as we communicate less. That it would be unlikely to feel as engaged or emotionally close if we are talking so much less. I think I feel less negative impact from his actions, too, but I guess I’m not sure on that one. Maybe we haven’t put that to the test lately. But the other part of me thinks that I’m still as in this as ever. Sure, maybe a little less so after all I went through the last two years, but I don’t feel anywhere close to wanting it to end. I am a little nervous about school starting up again in about a month because that can make me feel worse about our little communication given how he will be nearby five days/week. I also have had a nice break from jealousy this summer, and I don’t look forward to feeling that again if I see that coworker pursuing him again. I’m not sure if she still will. I hope he shut that down last spring when I mentioned my concerns to him about her, but only time will tell… and I don’t look forward to it telling me something I don’t want to know. 🙂

    So, best I can do is try to continue to be strong and have the relationship that I want to have (while also respecting his wants and needs, too). I do hope that leads me to continue to ask for what I want and hold him accountable (which means be ready to walk away if he isn’t treating me well).

    Sounds like you’re making your own progress by pursuing a job elsewhere. How is that going? How have things been with your MM since you two had that fight a few weeks ago?

  84. Hope, the idea of addiction has seemed to fit my experience in this affair. It is the intermittent communication. It is the extreme highs of the excitement and sexual attraction (and, yes, of the intimacy and closeness, too), and it’s how those highs are sporadic and inconsistent that form this addiction. And then it’s the pain of the withdrawal that maintain this addiction. As long as you are in communication with your MM (while you’re still having feelings for him) the addiction will continue. I get what you’re saying, though, about how hard it is to cut him off not only because you care about him but also because you’d feel guilty. For me, it would be less about the guilt and more about how it makes me feel good to continue to talk to him, but you make it sound like it really is mainly the guilt keeping you there. Is that true? I just ask because different reasons may lead to different solutions. If it is mainly that you are enjoying it and still getting something positive from your conversations with him, then that might be harder to quit. I can hear you want to try, though. If you’re saying it was better when you were not in contact with him, then you have those feelings to think about to motivate you to try to get there again.

    And, yes, I did talk to my MM last week about his “burden shift” comment, and I think we both agreed that, yes, there is more burden on me now than on him (but we didn’t agree whether or not there’s really been a shift… because I said that I think there has always been more burden on me than him). I also said that I do not feel that the burden difference is very large, and that I also feel less burden now compared to before. However, since we agreed that there was more burden on me than him, I did say that I thought it would be fair for him to give more to make it more equal. He didn’t disagree (but I’m not sure he really is going to change anything). It was a good talk. Felt honest and strong (from me) while still playful and close. We’re also going to continue talking about it this week as he had to leave as we were still discussing last week. Thanks for asking.

  85. Lois I am so sorry to hear about your health and whatever issues you may be facing. I know that few kind words would help you so much from coming your MM. But whether you hear them or not from him, please know that there is support for you here. You have been through so many stresses in your life and come out so strong. And so loyal. And patient and forgiving as well. These stressors have been transformed in you into something far greater and far more noble. This is obvious in your writings! Please know how much you bring to the table. You are able to offer a lot to someone else.
    Sadly it does not seem like your MM is up to the task. For many people stressors are endless. They can easily become a way of life. A kind of escape even though it might not seem like that from the person’s point of view. And some people do not grow or learn through stressful times. They can stay stuck in their development for whatever reason. Life is on life’s terms for all of us. We must face whatever is in front of us and decide what choice to make. No matter how hard the choices are.
    I say this as I have no more advice for you at this point. I just hope and pray you will find a way to do the thing that is best for YOU in your life and for your health. That you have the strength and clarity in you to decide.
    warmly BAF

  86. Hi BAF,
    I copied and pasted something you stated because this is precisely what I went through after 2 years in and out. “A longterm affair becomes a little less exciting each time the partners face the reality that the affair is a kind of fantasy relationship and will never be totally fulfilling. New longings get created I think as time goes on. Longings for the desire for the relationship to be a ‘real’ one. The honeymoon part of the affair. The woman off starts to feel it is all about the sex maybe and starts to question the male who then says, “No of course not” etc. Still the lower communications and the absences make the heart go on yearning for more . And the more never comes. I know this all so well. It does not mean the affair is necessarily over. It just means the affair (at least mine) started to feel kind of melancholy even on the greatest of days. The loneliness and the secrecy of the affair can also start to become too much to bear. One can feel sad a lot in an affair even if the partners are not fighting.”

    The secrecy of having no one to tell about your sorta love life and the overwhelming melancholy you experience wishing this relationship was real becomes so depressing. I think both sides wish they had the positives of the affair (chemistry, lust, highs, connection, romance) with their primary partner or with an available partner for the single person. At least that is what came over me time and time again. Once I became grounded in reality I couldn’t continue living in fantasy land. I never dealt with the communication delays or MIA behaviors. Mine was full on committed to the affair but for me it only reminded me of what was missing in my life and what I still long for now. I want a partner to buy a house with, walk down the aisle, experience major milestones together, spend holidays and special occasions as a couple. I want someone to share life with and what comes with an affair is only the superficial side of romantic relationships. Yeah, it’s great at first but in the long run it is completely unfulfilling and leaves you constantly chasing something richer, committed and more consistent. I’m having a low day so I think I’m reflecting. I’m not sad about the end of an affair but sad that I don’t have what I’m really after. At least now I’m making room for the right person. To Hope’s comment about feeling worse communicating than no contact I have to agree whole heartedly.

    I didn’t see anything about the gallery, art exhibit, etc. you were producing? Did you have an opening? I’ve been to the art district where I live but I’m not too familiar with the organization and behind the scenes happenings. Are you pleased with the turnout and results?

    I don’t want to make you repeat yourself. How is everything going? I tried to stay up to speed in the posts. I like what you brought up about the other person not giving enough when you aren’t asking for anything unreasonable. Men have often branded women as needy when in actuality they’re just not emotionally available to women. I’ve seen it countless times with women who are independent, self-sufficient, educated, kind-hearted, giving and loyal. Their significant others don’t reach out very often, don’t initiate plans regularly and respond to messages with delays I’d barely be ok with from a friend. That doesn’t make you needy but it does instill fear in people to ask for more. I hope you’re enjoying your summer Felk! Do you think you’ll find it easier and more doable to disengage or emotionally distance yourself? I’m not saying that is what you should do or what you need to do but a point you inserted there. To me that means feeling fewer and less negative impacts by his actions or lack thereof. What are your thoughts? I think you’ve already done some of that.

  87. Hope, the deep dark hole of trying to maintain a friendship after an affair is something I know very very well. I tried many many times to just be friends with my exMM and to be supportive of my exMM as he was in so much family crisis pain etc. And he said he “needed” me in his life. But friendship with him (for me) is always such a black hole of dark and very depressing emotions partly based on the fact that our relationship could never become a ‘real’ relationship. And I was listening to him complain about his wife. So being in a “friendship” (post affair) with him made me feel suffocated and trapped. And dark and depressed too. And unworthy of real love. You can really see this in some of my art works. Even my 30 year old son commented at my exhibition recently that some of my paintings looked like I had experienced an “existential crisis” in my life and I just agreed with him but said no more. He knows nothing about the affair.
    And in trying to be ‘friends’ with my exMM I felt I could not openly date right in front of him (he works next door) and how was I ever going to find a real partner if my dating was going to cause him even more distress and jealousy? Was I going to have to hide my dates? And waiting for the texts was excruciating. Frequently he would call and text in this friendship then I would not hear from him. But the worst part of it all was getting even closer romantically as “friends” and him still gaslighting me saying that was all my imagination. A black hole of a relationship even though I too loved him. And a very enmeshed and unhealthy relationship even as “friends”. And yes he is a narcissist. Even knowing that, I loved him.

    Hope, it is a really hard situation you are in. You are going to have set some boundaries you are comfortable with when you are ready. If you are anything like me you will finally do that when the pain of the interactions with him (even as a friend) are too much to bear. I think that “talk is cheap” when it comes to taking actions in affairs even if those actions are make good logical sense and are good for us! I think many of us really only take actions in affairs when we feel a pain that is so bad that we are forced to take actions. Because the pain starts to make our entire lives overwhelming. Just my two cents. Just know you are doing great trying to stay away from the sex with him (that is no small feat!) and are trying to be kind by being his friend. He is clinging to you and you are reluctant to dump him cold. I get it so much. It is not “you”. It is the situation you have chosen to be in for whatever reasons. What I mean is we all make these affair choices and usually they come from unconscious places we are not even aware of. It takes LOT of inner work to find the causes and to make ourselves less prone to self-destructive choices like an affair. Do not beat yourself up in any way! Setting boundaries with him will be real growth for you when you are ready. In the meantime explore the internet and your community for all the healing sources you can find so you can wean off of the relationship without guilt. Many hugs!

  88. Hope,
    I’ve been following your comments here and your story sounds familiar to mine. Even if you remain friends it still feels like an affair because there are secret exchanges and emotional dependencies. Even when you remove the physical something doesn’t feel “right”. You’re still kind of trapped. Mine has also used the coercive, cajoling tactics to keep the contact flowing. The reality is we are not responsible for anyone’s feelings. That includes spouses, family members, friends, etc. No one else is responsible for our feelings or happiness. We are responsible for our actions and the resulting consequences. Still, your well-being and health is number one. No one but you will look out for you best. Your family and friends will have your best interest in mind. I know it’s a lot easier to say just go no contact but when you’re receiving messages from someone you care about and love, it feels nearly impossible to cut the cord. Do you two work together? Do you hang in the same circle? What in your mind are the repercussions of ending all contact with respect to your network of friends, family and coworkers? I ask because it’s a little less daunting when you have a completely segregated relationship that doesn’t touch anyone or anything else.

    When I told mine about the emotional impacts of the affair he acted shocked too which annoyed me. What the heck do you think the other person goes through? Anyhow, yours may go through withdrawals and misery from the distance created by ending your relationship but that is why it’s called a breakup. I feel like men use these manipulative strategies because they are needy from not getting what they require at home and they’re scared to be without. Saying I can’t breathe without you and I’m sick feels emotionally immature. Telling you that he loves you and your friendship is important to him is the healthy version of that former statement. To me if you love someone you’re willing to let them go if it’s in their best interest. These men don’t see it that way. I do and you do. I can totally relate to the daily emails. Mine did that on his family vacation in Europe and didn’t like that I replied when it was convenient for me. I’m still trapped in mine but I’m actively pursuing another job somewhere else. I think that’ll give me a free pass to exit. Can you reduce your communication to maybe once a week? If he asks for more you can tell him that your daughters are your number one priority, you’re investing your energy into them and job searching. Right now you are not available to give him anymore. No one and I mean no person can argue with you putting your children first and finding full time work as highest priorities.

    I’m not out of the weeds either and I think we have similar experiences in this arena. I’ll respond to others later.

  89. Hi BAF and Felk, So nice to hear from you both, thank you for your advice, for listening and being there for me, even though we have never met each other we still understand each other’s struggles.

    BAF congratulations on your art exhibition, it’s fantastic what you have achieved and you should be so proud, you go girl!

    Felk did you manage to talk your MM? Hope it went well.

    BAF you are right, I feel guilty to cut him out again. Last time I did, he opened up about how miserable it made him, he said he felt like there was a concrete block in his stomach, he felt sick for days. It was unexpected, I told him there is no way I am going back to the affair, told him how miserable I felt at times, the panic attacks (my first ever) when he went on holidays, etc. He was shocked too as he didn’t know about any of it and felt terrible. Anyway I feel like we got sucked into maintaining a friendship and I am struggling. NC worked relatively well for me, it brought the much needed peace. Of course I still felt some pain but I was at peace and was present in the moment, not waiting, not checking my phone, I was actually able to enjoy few moments in my day.
    The problem is he has been so careful and has made sure he does or says nothing that upsets me so I am struggling to find a reason to cut him off. I care about him, of course I do because I still love him very much which is why I am struggling as to how I can go NC again? I am struggling to take care of me without feeling the guilt. He is old, probably doesn’t have many years left and I don’t want to be the reason for his pain.
    But this friendship is stopping me from moving on. To be honest the things that he says are not making me feel good anymore, on contrary I am very aware that they are pushing me into this deep dark hole again, I struggled hard to come out of it and now I feel like I am watching myself go down that path again.
    Being able to contact just couple of days a week is good idea BAF, may be I’ll just that. Felk you are right, emotions have been triggered, we both revealed how we felt in the last 4 years and I think we are both shocked with how much hurt each of us has experienced.
    Few months ago I was hopeful of a future, even meeting someone one day and now I feel like I am back again in the same hopeless situation.
    Thank you for listening, hugs xxxxx

  90. Felk, I understand why you picked the article you did in some ways because in it there is mention and discussion about having one’s needs as a woman heard/met with by a man. But the woman’s situation in this article is too different for me to find it very useful to be honest. Bravo to her for dumping him though. There were many red flags and she did the right thing. There was his cheating and his mother who seems to have been ‘tone deaf’ to her would-be-daughter-in-law as well as her son’s emotionally vacant behavior in the relationship. No doubt the mother would have made a very difficult to MIL with clear expectations for her son’s wife. There was also the author’s realization that her innermost emotional needs could not be met by this man. Luckily she listened to herself. And got out!

    But, sadly, affairs have other unspoken rules.
    For one thing, a woman in an affair is afraid to ask for “too much” very often because she fears appearing “needy” like the wife. A woman in an affair also might worry about the other “competition” around the MM. Maybe others are attracted to the MM too so she must always try to be on her best behavior keep things light and fun with him, etc. For a woman in an affair (especially in this culture with its deeply embedded patriarchal thinking) asking for her innermost emotional needs to be met can be a deal breaker. I swear asking for money would be easier. That is why the “I love you’s” in an affair can be so infrequent. Everything has to be kept on the ‘down low’ and all very ‘hush hush’.
    Sorry to say. Certainly there are compromises to be made etc. But the key is most MM’s do not want “another wife”. And most do not want to leave their wife and family any time soon or tangible. And they do not want their wives to have any “inkling” of the affair. And so the low contact, the distance and aloofness, the less than 100 per cent emotional involvement.
    Therefore it is is clear to me that anyone who is such a person’s affair partner must walk a thin line for sure. Like razor thin. Can one ask for more of what one truly needs in an affair? Sure, but very very carefully.
    Affairs favor men generally speaking and male relating. Surprise. Surprise. Not.
    I am so glad I made it out.

  91. Lois, dang, it really sounds like you’re going through a lot. You’ve said a lot recently about your own struggles, and now you’ve gotten some bad news about your health. In July 2017, my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and that pretty closely coincided with my MM ending our relationship (Sept 2017), and, honestly, it took me a while to notice how the stress of the two things together was hitting me. But once I noticed (maybe the next summer?), I knew I really needed to focus on healing (from the break-up) and on me. I’ve already talked here about how the stress from the affair (in the bad times especially) was affecting me physically, and then to add other stress was just no good. I’m 44 and I’m pretty healthy, but I started to worry about long-term consequences of heightened stress. I don’t know if your current health struggles are stress-related, but, regardless, I hope you are able to take a step back and look at all the ways the stress in your life is affecting you. Sometimes we think we’re successfully juggling all the stressors when, in reality, we’re taking a lot on and hurting our body without noticing right away. And that’s no knock on how you handle stress. I, too, pride myself in handling stress well, but sometimes it’s just too much for us and we have to admit it.

    I definitely think you handle stress better than your MM, but it sounds like you both are dealing with a lot right now. Why the news of this coworker’s arrest hit your MM so hard and “pushed him over the edge,” I don’t know, but it’s sounded like he’s had a lot of stressful life events lately, too. And if he can’t handle the stress as well as you, it’s understandable that he’s overwhelmed. I know you want him to be able to handle stress better, but I don’t think he can and I don’t think this will change. So, now you have to ask yourself if that is something you want to deal with?

    But, over these months, when I hear about your MM not responding to heartfelt email or texts, I think that’s a deal-breaker. Of course, we all have different deal-breakers so maybe it’s not yours. But it’s just so selfish, and almost cruel, not to respond to a text that you know deserves a response. You didn’t just send him a “Hey, thinking about you” text. You told him you got some rough news from the doctor and you were struggling. ANY good friend would respond in a reasonable time period. This is friendship 101. So, it’s not even about making excuses for your MM (like, maybe he was in an all-day meeting) because this has happened over and over. This is not the first time he’s treated you this way. When he is stressed, he has nothing to give others. I was just talking to a friend last night about her boyfriend being this way, and she was so tired of having to be there for him when she needed him to be there for her. Of course, we can’t expect the same level of support in an affair, but there are bare minimums and responding to a text about health concerns is the f-ing bare minimum.

    Whether or not your MM is suffering from PTSD, who knows, but it’s clear he’s struggling. And those struggles are going to keep hurting you because he does not handle them well. The affair adds to his stress and he withdraws from the affair when it all becomes too much. I think you will continue to feel the pain of his abandonment if you choose to stay in this affair. He just doesn’t seem to have the ability to maintain an affair right now. Yes, he may say that he “wants” to, and he’s not lying. Or maybe he’s lying to himself that he “can” put more effort into the affair. He cannot. He shows you that every time. I hope these behaviors continue to motivate you to be done with him once and for all. It will not be easy, but you’ve started this process once before and you can do it again. You deserve better. Just keep reminding yourself of that.

  92. Lois, it struck me that you said you are a suicide survivor. This is big thing. What do you mean exactly by that statement? When you compare how you handle stress and how your MM does he sounds to me like the typical male who can only handle a few (maybe even only one thing) at a time. I don’t mean to be sexist toward men here. I see my adult sons and how they cope and I see there seems to be differences with how I cope. (Or it could be how we are socialized). I don’t mind “winging it” with things, where they hate that approach for example. They are more methodical planners. I am more of an explorer where they are more deliberate in their choices. Then again it could be because I am an artist and ever curious. I am sure I might be stereotyping men here but I do not mean to. I am just reflecting on the difference btwn you and your MM.
    I see you juggling your many stressors and demands on you successfully and him, not so much. If you are trying to stay in the affair and do a lower contact type of thing (like Felk) then please remember she might wait a week to have contact and that is is hard for her sometimes. You too might have to wait more than you are comfortable with. Those gaps in time might seem very long and vacant to you and you might be tempted to text him etc. You are probably better off trying to give him space and seeing how he reacts. I am saying this so you can prepare yourself for this kind of waiting for him to contact you. It will not be easy but perhaps you can strategize the way you will spend the time when you are not in contact? Felk is correct and I did say the nature of affairs changes with time just like a marriage does or any other love relationship. A longterm affair becomes a little less exciting each time the partners face the reality that the affair is a kind of fantasy relationship and will never be totally fulfilling. New longings get created I think as time goes on. Longings for the desire for the relationship to be a ‘real’ one. The honeymoon part of the affair. The woman off starts to feel it is all about the sex maybe and starts to question the male who then says, “No of course not” etc. Still the lower communications and the absences make the heart go on yearning for more . And the more never comes. I know this all so well. It does not mean the affair is necessarily over. It just means the affair (at least mine) started to feel kind of melancholy even on the greatest of days. The loneliness and the secrecy of the affair can also start to become too much to bear. One can feel sad a lot in an affair even if the partners are not fighting. I hope this might help you. BAF

  93. Hi Hope! It is nice to hear from you. Being friends with your ex MM could yes, hinder your progress. Then again he says things to you which I imagine are so wonderful to hear (about what your love to him means/meant). These words might be especially warming to your heart if you have indeed split from your H and are now on your own with two young ones. I say this because our needs go up under stress, and when we are in the midst of break-ups. I am wondering if it might be possible to tell him that you can only accept texts on certain days of the week? Maybe Wednesday and Sunday for example. This way you begin to wean from the daily contact and so does he he. And you get to heal faster on the days you are on your own. But you don’t lose contact completely? Just a thought….No matter what please do not feel sorry for him or obligated to him for your friendship. I know it’s a cold hard truth for him but he DOES have a wife and family and he DOES have choices. There is nothing you can do. I had to get “cold” like this towards my exMM too. I felt so badly when I did it. But it freed me to go on and live my life finally. And he does have a wife whatever that means. Let her handle him. It is not my job really and truly. Take care of YOU Hope. BAF

  94. Hey ladies, I read this today and thought it might resonate with some of you. Many of us have talked about accepting less and being scared to ask for more (of not wanting to be needy), and I think this piece says it very well. Just to give you an idea… “That I wanted someone to articulate that they loved me, that they saw me, was a personal failing and I tried to overcome it.” Oh, how many times have I tried not to be too needy with my MM to my detriment?


    As I read that piece, I know it is why I would not leave my H for my MM. Not that my MM is all that piece says, but he is enough of it and I know that’s not what I want in a partner. Just think about how I’ve recently said my MM hasn’t said he loved me in nearly 3 months. Yeah. Maybe he’s enough for an affair and I’m not saying I want to leave the affair, but reading this reinforces my attempts to not act out of fear and ask for what I need (and hold him accountable to meet reasonable needs). And I also hope thinking about things like this help me disengage from the affair over time (especially if my MM doesn’t do better).

    On the flip side, I am cold like this to my H at times. I do tell him that I love him often, but I’m not nearly as supportive of him as he is of me. So, just putting it out there that I’m not glass-house-throwing-stones at my MM but saying that I know that I want to be married to someone less self-absorbed than I am. 🙂

  95. Felk, I’m definitely in limbo again but my emotions are conflicted about mamy things right now. A friend at work over 18 years of friendship was arrested this week for something I would have never ever believed he was capable. This guy worked for MM for a few years and he too was friends with him. All of us are in shock and disbelief. MM said this has pushed him over the edge…not sure what he means by that and frankly dint care right now. It’s the family that has had their lives wrecked. It’s not about him and him dealing with life struggles and this being what it takes to end the affair or not have contact. I can’t deal with this right now and it’s not fair to me. I’m saying it’s all about me because it’s not…im just looking at how MM is reacting and using this to isolate himself even more from me and whoever else or maybe it’s just me. It’s just another example of how he deals with things. I need him right now but instead of he is being self absorbed and self centered. I texted him yesterday after reading the article about the arrest and leaving my dr appointment with not so good news. I told him I was really struggling with all of it…not one response…nothing today. It’s all hit me that MM can’t truly care about me…he is only out for himself. I would never not respond to someone who texted me they were struggling no matter what I was going through. I undersrand he has lost his brither and was 1st anniversary of his death and he stil needs with emotions if what happened with his job last year. He even made the comment that he thinks he is suffering from ptsd. Please…I have seen my mom beaten, put in hospital, been hospitalized myself trying to keep my dad from hurting my mom until I was 10 years old. I know ptsd and know the trauma that goes with it. As you can tell, I’m hurt and feel so much pain about the stuff that has happened. I’m feeling foolish to have let my heart and trust in the wrong people. I have to hey myself pulled together and in the process need to let go of MM. I an hoping these feelings remain so it helps to truly be done. I know in my heart that this isn’t love or for that matter even caring for me. Just please keep me in your prayers. It’s going to be a tough road but I am survivor.

  96. Lois, it sounds like you’re in limbo again, as you were months ago before you decided that you couldn’t take it anymore and you sent him that email trying to end the affair. It’s sounds like you’re in a sad/disappointed and tired/frustrated state. That’s no good. It’s too much negativity, and it’s probably harder to find joy in other aspects of your life. It’s not the excruciating misery of ending the affair so maybe that’s why you prefer this? My guess is that it’s that glimmer of hope and knowing he’s still in your life that is holding the misery at bay. I think that’s why you don’t end it once and for all.

    It’s good that you’re contacting him less, though. Not putting yourself through the pain of weak or non-replies. Giving him a chance to initiate and show that he’s putting in the effort. If he doesn’t put in this effort, though, I hope you can be done with him and find yourself and your joy again.

  97. Hey, Felk. You are absolutely correct and he is never going to change…yes, he has gotten better about some things but not enough. It is really strange but to answer your question about how I am feeling…I am really not fretting over his actions because in my head there is no doubt he is self-centered, self-absorbed which is the total opposite of me. I am not hurting but am saddened and somewhat disappointed in myself. I cannot be disappointed in him as it is my own fault for thinking he would ever change…obviously he is one of those who cannot handle stress much less an affair. Maybe, I am numb because deep down there is still some residue of hope but do not think it is the case this time. I know, when he ended things the last time, I was starting to find myself again and foolishly let my feelings take care over…I know what needs to be done…I know it my mind and heart…and cannot explain why I don’t and free my mind and body of the negativity that seems to be dragging me down. I have contacted him for about two days and think it’s best for both of us right now.

  98. Hope, my MM and I will talk about these things. He’s good with conversations, even if we only get to have them once/week during the summer. 🙂 I’d imagine we’ll talk about this tomorrow when he comes over, and I’ll try to be strong and not scared to say what I want to say. It’s worked pretty well this summer, but I know I still have some fear lingering in the background when it comes to him.

    I’m glad that things are going well with work and that you have plans to go full-time when your daughter is 1, but I can hear you’re frustrated that you feel you’ve lost some progress with moving on from your MM. It sounds like you’re still holding strong in not giving in to seeing him, but it also sounds like it’s bothering you that you have a friendship with him. Or, rather, more than a friendship. Sounds like all the emotions have been triggered again now that you’re talking to him every day. I believe your MM means it when he says that he can’t imagine life without you, and I can also imagine how hard that is for you to just cut out of your life. I know there is strength in you saying that you were happier when you went NC, so what is stopping you from doing that again? Like, all cards on the table, what are your reasons? I’m sure you’ll have reasons we’d all understand so no shame. Why do you want to go NC? And why do you not want to go NC?

    As someone who has never gone NC, I’m not sure I know the best strategy to go NC. I think the best way to go NC is cold turkey, rip the band-aid off. But I’m not sure that works for everyone. So, maybe, in your case, the best way to go NC is with very slow steps? Like, you slow down your responding to your MM. Or you don’t initiate a text when you otherwise might, like sending a good morning or something. Then slowly less texting until you can fully go NC. But that’s if you truly want to go NC. If you’re not ready, I don’t think those things will work. Right now, I can hear that you sort of want to go NC and sort of not. 🙂

  99. Lois, I’m glad you were able to talk to your MM again and it sounds like you thought the talk went well at the time, but now you’re not so sure. It sounds like you two had sex a few weeks ago and now you’re still not getting much from him since? That is hard. Do you now have enough evidence that this isn’t going to change? That this is who your MM is? It sounds like you know the type of man he is but yet there’s something that keeps you from really accepting that he is this person who will continue to disappoint you. I’m sure it’s the good times of before leading you to hope you can get back to that, but if you read what BAF wrote to me recently, affairs change over time just like other relationships and we often lose a lot of that initial excitement. I’m also guilty of holding onto how things were back then, but maybe now you’re seeing that THIS is who your MM is and that fun guy before was honeymoon-stage affair guy?

    From everything you list going on in your life, it definitely sounds like he simply handles stress less well than you do. I don’t think there’s any changing that. Maybe he’s just not cut out for an affair? I think a lot of people think they can handle an affair, but it’s pretty overwhelming after a while. So, as usual, it comes back to either accepting that he will be this MIA guy who is often a downer and absorbed in his own problems or cutting him out of your life entirely. I know you want an in between, but I think everything your MM has shown you over your relationship is that he is the former so you have to choose between accepting that or quitting.

    I think it’s back to that question… what are you losing if you end this with him? Someone who makes you feel good once a month? Is that worth all the pain you feel from him ignoring you, making you worry that he will end it, not supporting you, and generally making you feel unvalued? So far, it’s seemed you’ve answered “yes,” but I wonder how much longer you’ll think it’s worth it. It still doesn’t sound like you’re ready to be done, but I hope you’re not feeling too much pain or anxiety about his lack of effort over these weeks.

  100. Hello everyone. It’s been awhile and apologize but life has been hectic. MM texted a few weeks ago and asked to meet. We did and has another good talk about things. Things did heat up with us but wasn’t planned it just happened given the emotions flowing. He’s been busy with work as have I plus I’ve been dealing with health issues…nothing too major but feel stress is causing it. MM said he was willing to try to work on showing more effort but have yet to see it. I knew going into this how he was about not texting or sharing his thoughts…guess I thought he would change over time once trust was built. I do think he has issues that need to be addressed because he always seems to be struggling with something. I know he doesn’t handle things well and gets overwhelmed way too easy. I have not really given myself back into things with him because the fear of being hurt and being in that state of depression isn’t where I want to end up again. I can’t let myself get that close because let’s face it what we have is what we have and can never be anymore. I read felk post and often times feel her mm and mine are similar in how they react but unlike MM in my life felk mm seems to be considerate of her feelings and has shown he’s trying. It has been one year anniversary of mm brothers death and everything that happened with work. He’s really struggling and admitted it. I haven’t contacted him much as he handles things differently. Although I understand his pain, I have also realized that if it was not this it would be something else. I’m mentally not up to the challenge. I feel for him but have my own life struggles. I don’t want to lose him but have been thinking what would really lose. I’m not upset with him grieving because he has suffered. It’s just his outlook on life in general…it’s sad that most of the time he seems to be struggling with something. I have struggles but it’s different for me. I think about others more than myself. I have things going in my life, son leaving home, other sons who are now driving and no longer home, miss the days of sports and them needing me, mom who I take care of and having major health issues, my own health issues, work issues with new boss and work drama with coworkers who can’t get along, friend 13 year son has cancer, my sister getting beat up by boyfriend, the list could go on…but none of things can I control. I have all of these people who depend upon me for so many different things and support that I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself and what use would it be anyway. MM seems to wallow in self pity. I try to help others who are going through life struggles because I understand hurt and pain…if I can help someone than it makes me feel good inside. If that makes sense. The trouble is that I care too much and often it’s not reciprocated. I expect mm to think about me and helping me through my tough times but it’s never going to be that way. He thinks of himself and what hes going through…just like most people do. I just don’t know if I mentally able to keep giving and not getting anything in return. I knew this day would difficult for him and it has to be difficult for him. The times that I have texted…he has responded. He did ask how I was doing but replied he was in my thoughts and wished could heal his hurt. I am an open book and don’t like to lie. I disn’t think it was a good time to say I’m doing okay with all of my life struggles and trying to keep positive thoughts about what is good in my life because that’s how I am doing. I don’t know where life will take me but know from past experience and being a suicide survivor that there are much worse things in life and no one knows until you walk in that person shoes the hell others go through and never know it.

  101. Hi Felk,
    You are welcome🤗I think you are right, it might be a case of him not wanting yo open up. Whatever the case I do think this is unfair to you (the burden of low communication and not saying he loves you, him holding his feelings back). I hope you are able to discuss this with him as this is important to you.
    Me and my girls are doing well😊. Working 2 days a week has brought some income again and it’s good to not to have to worry when buying essentials. I am looking forward to joining full time again when my daughter is 1. I do feel I have gone backwards in regards with ex MM, hence why I have stayed away as I didn’t want to hinder others progress. I am still friend with ex Mm and many times he says things like my love was/is the only thing that makes him happy or that he can’t imagine a life without me or he needs my love yo breath (something like that). Although I know he means it and it is great to hear at the time, I feel bad that I am not able to cut him off completely. I was happier or more present when I did NC but now I don’t know how to go back to that? Because I know he desperately needs this friendship. He has made few requests to meet and I have declined those but I feel like I am back in the affair, feel like I am stuck again in the affair even though this is friendship. We haven’t had sex for a very long time but it still feels like that. He messages me everyday and it’s a lot to take on especially when I am trying to move on. And then somedays he is busy and I immediately think he must be busy with his wife and it still hurts/stings. So yes being friends with exMM is hindering my progress but I don’t know how to put a stop to it?
    I really hope yourMM is able to provide explanations and is able to communicate more. Take care and thank you for checking in on me xoxo

  102. BAF, So true that it’s best just to go to the source and ask instead of speculating too much. But, for now, let’s speculate… 🙂

    I agree with most of what you said. I think you’re hearing those words similarly to how I am. Bottom line is that he thinks the burden has shifted from him to me because I’m the one who is working harder now. This is more on his terms now, where I’m giving him more space than I would normally want. As you say, since I was willing to get back into the affair even after he lowered communication, I was saying that I was willing to give more space to make it work. It’s true, though. I am willing to give more space to make it work. It’s not ideal for me, but was it ideal before? There were ways it was better and ways it was worse. I miss all the highs, but I don’t miss all the lows. And when are affairs ideal? I’m not sure it’s really me proving myself to him, but I think it’s him setting the terms of the affair.

    I also agree with what his “caught up in it all” meant. It means that he doesn’t want all the intensity of before because he felt out of control. He felt he was hurting his W and family too much. I think he also felt he was hurting himself too much wanting something he couldn’t really have. He’s probably trying to avoid the highs and lows of the addiction, too.

    The funny thing is that I thought he had more power before the break up, too. He feels it’s shifted now, but I always thought he had more power and the relationship was more on his terms. I thought that because of his kids. He had more to lose. He also had a tighter schedule and less availability. It always seemed to give him more power. I think I also worried about the relationship ending more than he did. I worried about that for the first four years of our affair. I know he worried about me leaving given some things he said, but I think he was always more likely to end it than I was. Not until 2016 did I feel pretty secure, and, of course, that’s when it became overwhelming for him. I felt more sure he wanted the relationship, and he felt that, too… and then he realized we probably couldn’t have any more than we already did (and he saw all the damage he’d done to his marriage).

    I know he wants things to be fair and he wants this affair to continue, but I’m not sure he’s willing to take on more burden. It’ll be interesting to hear what he says. I’m not sure what the “solution” is, if anything. Right now, it almost feels as if he’s told himself to stay firm on not planning things with me more than once/week and to not text me or otherwise increase our communication beyond what it is. Maybe that’s how this works. Maybe that’s how he prevents his emotions from getting to where they were before, but it’s sad to me that he’d try to prevent his emotions from getting to where they were before. But MUCH sadder to me would be ending the affair.

    The things you say about how he feels he doesn’t have to win me over anymore are interesting. Sometimes I see him put in a lot of effort, and other times I think that he doesn’t care to put in the effort that he knows I want. Whether it’s that he knows I’m not going anywhere (although that was true all along) or it’s that he finds it more risky after his W showed suspicion, I don’t know. Or maybe it’s also that he’s realized I don’t want to leave my marriage and he’s stopped hoping for that? So maybe it’s a combination of not having to win me over anymore and feeling that level of effort is too risky (or too pathetic) now?

    So, as usual, we decide what we’re willing to handle in a relationship. We ask for more if we feel it’s fair to ask for more, and we leave if we don’t feel we’re being treated fairly. As I’ve said all along, I think this is particularly hard in affairs when it’s hard to know what is “fair” given all the constraints. But I think how one feels is a pretty good guide of fair treatment. I know I didn’t like how it felt after he said some of those things last week, so we will talk. Thanks for helping me think it through.

  103. Felk
    I agree you need to talk to him and that you and we should not second guess what is in head when he says things to you. Having said that I think when he said:
    ” it was no imposition and that he doesn’t feel the same burden in our relationship as he used to.” I would take that (personally) to mean he does not have to work so hard to prove himself to you anymore, as he knows he won you over already, and that you are rational, patient and reasonable with him. You have already told him you are not going anywhere and he strongly feels this. And he also knows you will give him space when he needs it.

    When he says” I’ve recognized that he doesn’t want to get caught up in it all again” to me personally he means you have understood that he does not want all the drama of the early affair, the highs and lows, and the addiction too. ‘Caught up in it’ implies the part of the affair that was too far out of control for him to sustain personally.

    To me when he said” He also said things about how he thinks the burden has shifted in our relationship from him to me” I take that to mean me sees you are the one doing the foot work more now to prove yourself to him. (See above) The tides have have turned in his mind since your break up. He did the breaking up. Then you did the standing up for “us” and the patiently waiting for him to return and the wanting of the affair even on new terms.

    To me this mean he thinks of you as having more of the burden to adapt to make this new structure work. He sees you as more of the the one proving the new affair is ‘sustainable’ for the two of you.

    Unfortunately even in affairs, the glow of the early affair months/years are limited to the earlier parts of a long-term affair. After awhile there are substantial changes to the earlier structure and the functions of the relationship due to the emotional and raw instability of the affair to begin with.

    As for the “I love you’s” I think in affairs those words are tricky and emotionally so loaded that many times, one or both affair partners avoids them for obvious reasons. BAF

  104. Hope, thanks for your comments. Yeah, I know all too well about avoiding conversations due to fear or because I don’t want to “waste” our precious time together. But now that we’re having a go at the affair again, I’m trying to be better about not letting fear dictate my actions and about recognizing these conversations as important instead of wasting what little time we have. My MM and I do pretty well talking, but we both can shy away from hard conversations at times. However, he’s always willing to talk when I tell him there are things I want to talk about. I’ve already brought up the burden comments to him (in email), and he’s said he’s happy to talk further so my guess is that we’ll do that this week when he comes over. He also said that he didn’t mean to imply that the burden shifting from him to me is good for us. He said he was just thinking out loud and checking in about the balance. Thing is, I know he wouldn’t think a burden shift was good for us because that’d be unfair; but I’m not sure he’s willing to make the changes necessary to equalize that burden more. I’ll be curious to hear what he has to say this week. It’s not even like I feel that great of a burden in our relationship now, but I do feel it’s more on his terms with the lower communication and I think he can do better. However, what if the truth is that imbalance is what it takes to make it work? It’s probably idealistic to think that everyone can equally get what they want in a relationship, and that’s probably especially true in an affair. I don’t say this to sound resigned to the idea that I should accept less than I deserve. I just say it to be honest about affairs and wonder out loud if the (im)balance my MM and I have now is the best it gets? As I’ve said, he’s in a good mood now almost every time I see him. I don’t have to deal with his moodiness of before. I don’t have sleepless nights of anxiety wondering what was bothering him *this* time or if he is going to end our relationship because it’s all too much for him. Now, he’s just happy when we spend time together. He’s responsive to email, and he’s playful in the email, too. But I feel the sadness of the lower communication, too. I will talk to my MM and I think it will be a good talk, but, unfortunately, I think we’re just bound to struggle once in a while in affairs.

    With the “I love you,” I’m not really sure why he hasn’t said it in a few months. In the past, my MM had said it was a hard thing to say and duh. But my guess is that his reluctance now is wrapped up in him not trying to get too “caught up in it all again.” I think it’s a control thing. I think you’re reading it right. I hope it’s not him punishing me for not wanting to leave my H, but we do all sorts of things to our others to “punish” them when they hurt us. Maybe it’s just him not wanting to open himself up knowing that I don’t want to leave my H? I’m sure there are plenty of things he hasn’t said out loud about his jealousy about my H.

    How have you been? Last we heard, it sounded you were making good progress moving on from your marriage and your MM. I hope therapy is going well, too.

  105. Hi Felk, I couldn’t find a reply button hence replying to you here. I am so sorry you are struggling a bit. I hope you feel better soon. I can completely understand the sting we feel sometimes when our MM say things. Although it may not have been his intention to upset you but it did and he needs to know. So often we try to hide things or avoid bringing things up in fear that it will push MM away but it’s no good in the long run. It will keep bugging you my advice will be to talk to him. I am confused about his burden statement too, if he meant that he knows you struggle because of low communication but are doing it to keep the affair going then that’s unfair. If he knows you struggle then he should share the load.
    You are a very rational person Felk so this will be a calm discussion if you decide to have it.
    Also, the not saying he loves you part is weird. Could this be a control thing? My ex Mm is a private person, there were times at the beginning when I told him I loved him and all he said was I am glad you do. He said he loved me in texts but I felt he struggled to say it in person, could be the guilt but then my exMM has never told me he feels or felt guilty. As years passed he happily said he loved me in person looking into my eyes, I am sure he still will if we ever meet.
    With your MM Felk I feel and this is just my gut feeling, I feel he punishes you for not choosing him and choosing your husband. I could be wrong but I see it as a control thing. I hope you are able to chat to him, don’t be afraid Felk it’s your right to talk about whatever upsets you. Good luck Xxx

  106. Butterfliesarefree/ BAF

    Nomad I will be brief: Do you want your pain back? Then by all means unblock. Do you want healing from the affair and moving on? Stay blocked. And think of this: a blocked number does not mean one has cut the other person off for life. It means peace of mind for the owner of the phone. It is very easy to get around any blocked number: Just use a different phone to call the person! Blocking is to: avoid daily temptations, avoid daily painful encounters, avoid daily drama, avoid giving a person space in your inner sanctum (your phone) anytime that person feels like contacting you. A blocked phone sets a firm boundary. It means no spontaneous spur of the moment contact. That is what a blocked phone does. NC (or No Contact ) involves more than simply phone blocking. A blocked phone gives emotional and psychological space to the owner of the phone. I hope this is helpful. BAF

  107. TTSP, thanks for your comments. Yeah, it was that somber feeling after we spent time together. Sometimes I feel completely happy after we spend time together and those feelings last for days, and sometimes I feel down right away… and this time it was some of the “when is the next?” feeling. I think what contributed this time was also the vulnerability I felt asking him for time alone at night and my MM’s comments about not getting caught up in it all. I am pretty sure he meant it in a protective way of telling himself that he’s trying not to have things reach the intensity level they did before. I get it. I get how bad it was for him (and then me) in 2017. It was just a little sad to hear out loud how intentionally he’s trying to control his feelings for me. All along, though, he’s been bothered by how strongly he feels for me and as someone who loves control, I know he works hard to not only make sure I don’t see his feelings too much but that he doesn’t let them “take over.” I know this about him, but it’s still sometimes hard not to read that control as cavalier or not caring as much as I want him to. When, in reality, he cares a great deal and works very hard not to care. 🙂

    You’re also right that my MM feels the same sadness as I do when he leaves (if not more). I know this. He has told me this. It has sometimes surprised me how down he’d get right before or after leaving. Before he left Wednesday, he told me again that he did not want to leave and then he amended it to, “Well, it’d be okay if I left, if I were coming back later tonight.” It was sweet and it’s what I need to hear, but he’ll say that in one breath and then in another breath remind me of how he’s trying not to get too caught up. Ugh! But I know both are true. I know he feels the “I don’t want to leave” and because he feels that, he tries hard to control those emotions.

    And, oh my goodness, do I know about our MM trying to suggest we feel things more intensely than they do or get more down than they do. My MM likes to say that to downplay his emotions, of course, but MANY times throughout the affair he’s said that he thinks it’s all harder on him than me. So, um, yeah, I’d guess he felt the bad feelings more than I did in our first go at this before the break-up. But I think that’s what he means by the burden is now greater on me. That it was harder on him before, but now that he has his sh*t under control, maybe it’s harder on me? And, unfortunately, I think he might be right. Although it feels less hard on me now than it did before, I do think we’re doing this more on his terms and so it is harder on me than him. I want to talk to him about it more.

    As for the “I love you,” I’m not sure if I’ll bring that up. That’s a tough one. I really want the person to say it if/when they want to. Back when things were more intense, he said it probably once/month. So my expectation isn’t greater than that, and that frequency felt okay to me because I knew he said it genuinely. I think there is danger in bringing it up because, if I do and then he says it, I may feel he’s only saying it because I asked him to. I don’t know. Maybe I should just say it to him as I want to, and not worry as much about him not initiating it. There are limits to that, though. I shall think more.

  108. Nomad,
    I wouldn’t unblock him until you feel like you’re indifferent toward him. Maybe you aren’t ever totally indifferent but moved on as best as you can where you don’t think about him daily and regularly. That is my measurement. What if he contacted you and started the hellish cycle all over again? He’s probably scared and just as messed up as the rest of us. That is what these things to do to each and every one of us regardless of status, background, race, age or gender. When I read about seeing a pic of him looking happy I cringed. It’s so painful to think of someone moving on even when you have already moved on. Even finding out about an ex friend or ex boyfriend disturbs me. There’s just something about it that is unsettling but I try to wish everyone the best and send out good vibes. Even my ex mm I do hope he has a happy, prosperous life outside of my line of vision. How are you doing?

    I’ve said the same thing about it just being about sex and got the same response that it’s a lot more. Yeah, they open up and reveal their deepest, darkest secrets but like you said it doesn’t make you feel special or standout. Hey, people share their innermost secrets with a bartender lol. You have to check in when you notice a deviation in patterns or something different. I think for most women our language of love is quality time which is limited in an affair. That lends itself to a host of insecurities, doubts, questions about where things stand and what you mean to each other. You seem to be doing ok with it all. It’s good to hear from you.

    I remember feeling totally somber after a day of spending time together. When is the next and how long would we have to wait? Your mm feels the same when he says goodbye to you for the night. Oh yeah, I know the sting from multiple occasions. You wonder if they don’t think before they speak or is this just a character trait of being tactless. I could see how “not getting caught up in this” might make you feel like a burden or less significant than you are. Maybe he meant not getting too emotionally attached since you’re both married. Still, delivery is everything and if you’re already feeling vulnerable and sensitive, those words will hit you in the gut. The burden thing might be that the relationship is more challenging for you. My mm used to caveat his emotional distress with comments about how I get down more often and more intensely than him. That used to piss me off to no end so I hear you on the insinuation that you’re having a harder time with everything. It used to make me feel like he was saying he had the upper hand. I love you is one I have only dabbled in once in the affair. He gave some roundabout non-answer so I left that alone. How do you broach that subject?

  109. Hey ladies, I’m struggling a little today. I know it’s the normal ups and downs of an affair, but feeling some of that down after yesterday. My MM was at my house for 3.5 hours yesterday, and it was really good. We had our usual nice time. Lots of laughing, talking, and good sex. I also saw him Monday for a few hours for lunch. We haven’t usually seen each other twice in one week over the summer, but I’d asked if he could find time this week and he did. So, yesterday, like I said, was good, but maybe some of that good is getting to me, I don’t know. I still have some difficulty with having all that nice time together and then nearly nothing for another week. Some weeks it feels okay. Some not. Even though my MM sent me email last night (which is rare for him), I was reminded of how little communication we will have until next Wednesday. I guess I am feeling some self-pity.

    I also was feeling vulnerable about asking him for some time at night in a couple of weeks. My husband is going out of town for a few nights, and I mentioned it to my MM. I don’t like asking him for this time. It always makes me feel really vulnerable because of the high odds of rejection, but I ask because it would be lovely if we could find that time. He was clear that me asking isn’t a problem and that he wants that time with me, but he said he didn’t know his availability and he’d have to get back to me. That was all fine. But I was feeling vulnerable, and already mentally preparing for the rejection. During the conversation, when I was saying that I find it hard to ask because I don’t want to impose, he said that it was no imposition and that he doesn’t feel the same burden in our relationship as he used to. He said things about striking the balance better now (and I know we’re doing that), and he said nice things about how I’ve recognized the space he needs. He then said something about how I’ve recognized that he doesn’t want to get caught up in it all again or something like that, and that hit me. You know how there are just these things that they say that sting? That was one. I just felt like, “Huh? Aren’t we already caught up in it all again?” Or “What do you mean? What is getting ‘caught up in it all?'” Something about that (even if that wasn’t the exact phrasing) just made me feel that cheap/mistress-y stuff again. Maybe it just highlighted how he wasn’t investing in us in the same way he used to. I know that is true, but I guess I didn’t want to hear it out loud in that moment. He also said things about how he thinks the burden has shifted in our relationship from him to me, and I didn’t like that either. I’m not entirely sure what he meant by that, but I plan to talk to him about all of this because it’s not sitting well with me. I think he means that because I’m giving more space (which he wants), it’s easier for him and harder for me. That might be true, but that’s unfair and I don’t like that… especially if he’s so aware of it. You know I recently asked him to step it up a bit and give me more because of the space I’m giving him, so I will be reminding him that, if he were doing that, the “burden” should be equal.

    And that gets to… one of the things he isn’t giving me is the “I love you.” He hasn’t said it in 2.5 months and I’m starting to feel it. I know he infrequently says it, and in the past I’m sure we’d gone 2-3 months without him saying it before, but I felt it then, too. It just doesn’t feel good when he doesn’t say it for a long period of time (even if he is saying other nice things). And then I don’t want to say it, and then that doesn’t feel good either. So, I may say something to him about this, too. I find that a really hard conversation, because I really want people to say “I love you” when they want to. But there is a point where we need this from another in a relationship, and I am at that point. I’m not sure how I’m going to bring this one up, and I might chicken out, but I’ve already brought up the burden stuff in an email I sent last night in reply to his.

    Okay, just needed to type that out. Get some of the thoughts/feelings out of my head.

  110. Kub, I’m sorry you don’t have the freedom to write here as you might want, but I’m very glad that you enjoyed your vacation. I’m also really glad to hear that you’ll be moving away in a few months. I know it’s scary, but, as you say, you’re young and it’s a great time to take this opportunity.

  111. Nomad, I think all of these reasons we’ve suggested, including your friend’s suggestion that your MM didn’t want the temptation or he didn’t want to break his NC, are the reasons your MM blocked you. I think your MM cared for you a lot, but you have said many times that the relationship wasn’t working for you. You told him that he couldn’t give you enough. You blocked him. It makes sense that he blocked you, so that he could move on and stop hurting, too.

    I don’t think it’s a good idea to unblock him, though. I don’t think if you unblock him that it will send the message that he is irrelevant to you now. He’s clearly not irrelevant to you and is still causing you pain. TTSP was saying that she unblocked people when they really were irrelevant. When it wouldn’t cause her pain anymore to get a message from that person. I think NC is still the best option for you, and blocking him is still a good idea. I’d also agree with your friend that you should try to avoid all triggers (don’t check on him and his W). Seeing pictures of your MM and his family is hard when you’re still trying to move on. I can think of a few pictures that my MM’s W put on FB during our break-up. I will not forget the picture she posted the day after he told me he wanted to end it. It was a picture of them dancing together (cheek-to-cheek) in college. I ran to my bathroom to vomit. Not my proudest moment, but my stomach was already such an anxious mess that whole week and then that put me over the top. 🙂

    My best advice to you is to get back on your NC plan of removing him from your life, and that includes continuing to block him and avoiding triggers that make your thoughts go to the sadness and jealousy. Try to stay away from the negative thoughts that can creep in about him not loving you. It’s not true. He did love you (and he likely still does), but he is trying to move on just as you are. Continue to focus on your job and your family. Just last night I was thinking again about how I don’t want to lose my H, and how I continue to put my marriage in jeopardy because of the affair. From everything you said, you have a H who loves you and you don’t want to lose him as well. I know it’s hard to think about the positives of ending an affair when you’re hurting, but one positive I focused on was how I was happy that my H never found out and that I did not lose my marriage in addition to losing the affair. Maybe even make a list of benefits to ending the affair (I’ve done that) to help give you that boost of encouragement right now.

  112. Hello everyone!

    It has been a while and I needed to take my time to came back here.
    Because unfortunately I am being stalked from this platform, so everything I type here I know that my ex-MM is reading anyway.
    No matter that we are drifted apart. He just randomly opens up the blog and read my posts. And if there is something that pisses him of he reacts.
    And I don’t want his reactions anymore.
    It has been more than 2 weeks since our last contact. I am doing fine and got used to this. And the first week I was abroad, really far from here. Hence my head was really steamed off when I got back. I was so relieved, relaxed. I realized that my real problem is him being around me all the time.
    So I set my timer.
    It is 80 days from today.
    After 80 days I will be living in Hamburg!
    And I know it will be the best for me. I have some hesitations for my career change but I need a challenge and I am 27 so I still got the chance the restart from everything with my life.
    So guess what? I am taking my chances !

    I will keep you updated but not sharing so much details about my life. I know that you will understand my situation.


  113. Felk, TTSP

    One week has passed since my last rumination trigger. I am grateful for your kind words and I read it to pull through the bad moments. Work was stressful but it helped to distract.


    Thank you for feeling my pain and sadness and that I couldn’t even look at his number when I accidentally saw it from my colleague’s whatsapp. Thank you for saying that he did not block me for all of those “negative” reasons I had wildly imagined. Thank you for assuring me that he does not hate me and does not have a new lover. I blocked me because it was too painful and I was too choked to be stuck in the vicious cycle and the anxiety caused by his ghosting. I am not too sure if he blocked me for the same reasons I blocked him. On surface, he must have somehow know that I am moving on and I am promoted and I am very busy at work involving in many key projects. I hope that the addiction is as painful and as hard for him. But like you, you didn’t believe that your mm was suffering during your break. It seemed that they couldn’t wait to run away from us in exchange for inner peace, finding back their moral compass. Good that you heard the truth from you mm that it was hard for him. Still, he didn’t love me enough to continue to want me. I will try not to read anything extra into him blocking me.


    Yes, I thought it sounded backwards that I should take his blocking as a compliment.He blocked me because I am still affecting him, it could be he is avoiding the pain or he is cutting me off to start afresh. It has been 5mths of nc, he probably forgotten he left me blocked. Nothing to spite after 5 months of NC. But I smiled when i read what you wrote “He saw you blocked him and thought well I’ll just block her right back.” I think he ever said that in Feb when I tried to text him and found that I was blocked. I should’ve probed for the rational back then.

    You said “once I had moved on I removed those bc it was irrelevant so clearly yours has not moved on.” so is he thinking that being blocked by me is a compliment because he still in my mind everyday? so shall i unblock him to send the signal that IT IS IRRELEVANT to me now? and I have successfully moved on and I am done, and it is no longer hard for me?

    Yes, I was crushed when I found out last week he blocked me after 5 mths. Both Felk and you said that there’s no way he has a new lover. Hey, if he is addicted to attention, validation and sex, and craving for the high, he would look for new source, I bet he will! To me, it was a serious and intensive 2 years affair but I am not sure what was I or us to him. Time and distance helped me to see much clearer.

    Felk, TTSP
    I have a friend who thought that he reason he blocked me is because he didn’t want to risk it, after 5 peaceful months. He doesn’t want to rock the boat should i reach out (which I never the one to reach out first so it is why this time it is working). She told me not to check on him and his W again, after so many months. His W’s facebook profile pic is their family of 4 smiling broadly at the airport. Recently, she post pics of them having fun at the carnival. I saw him in the photo after 5 mths. He was looking fitter (I thought) and happier and he was playing games with his girls under the hot sun. I imagined he must have resumed his marathon running and gym work. I got jealous over his W. I didn’t avoid the pain, I let it hurt, let it sank in, this too shall pass and here I am , another week of NC….shall i unblock him?

    Hugs to you.. sending +ve vibes

  114. Hi LL, Good to hear you got a needed break from your MM. 10-12 days of NC is impressive. Also, I think you were on vacation so I hope you enjoyed your vacation!

    From what you describe, I mostly believe your MM. But I understand why you asked him. I find the need to “check in” here and there, too. I need that reassurance at times. Affairs are hard, and there is another person (or two other people in my case) involved. It can make us insecure so we check in to make sure the person still wants this complicated situation. We know women are taught to express feelings better than men, and so women typically end up doing most of the emotional maintenance in heterosexual relationships.

    But, like I said, I mostly believe the things your MM says. Obviously, you have to be the one who assesses this because you’re in it, but the things he said seem consistent with everything he’s said in the past. I don’t think he looks at your relationship as just sex. He contacts you nearly every day from what I understand. That’s not just sex. 🙂 I understand you feeling this, though. When my MM and I started having sex again on the regular, I needed to feel it wasn’t just sex and that was harder with the lower communication. So I’ve asked my MM to make it clear to me, and he’s been trying. And the part about your MM noticing that you don’t come see him on your days off from work show you that he’s paying attention to this, but he just doesn’t say it as often. I think the summers ARE harder, too. That’s the case for my MM and I. My MM’s W is a teacher, too, and so she’s home during the day in the summer in addition to his kids being around. It’s a lot harder for him to get out to see me so we’ve mostly stuck to once/week this summer. Just last week he said that he noticed this summer seemed longer than usual and it was cute. Like you, I can get a little, “Why aren’t we doing more date nights?” but I think it’s just hard to find the time for that in an affair and probably especially in the summer. Although that can bother me a little, I’m trying to trust how I feel in the relationship as an indicator of the relationship health. I feel good. Two years ago, I did not feel good. I knew things were in trouble but I wasn’t really sure how to fix it. We needed a break. (A very, very painful break.) But now I feel good most days. Sure, there are still times I really feel the struggle of an affair, but he seems happy and I feel good so I think we’re finding that balance. However, if you don’t feel good about something, that’s when you know something is off or maybe you aren’t getting treated the way you want or, just maybe, the affair is wearing on you and it’s just not enough anymore?

    I believe the things your MM says about caring about you and arranging his situation such that he can be there for you in an emergency. That’s no small thing. I also believe the things he says about how he gets vulnerable with you in ways he doesn’t with his W. It’s the same for my MM. I like that my MM opens up to me more than his W, but I think affairs make that easier on some men. So, I don’t really think it’s anything special about me. Sure, it could mean I’m a “better fit” for my MM (as he says), but I think affairs provide a safety for men to be vulnerable that a marriage does not. And I also think women are often the “boss” in marriages and men clam up to keep her happy. My H does that. I’d guess my MM’s W is mostly “in charge” in that house, and so he may not feel he can express as easily and then he thinks it’s “special” that he can open up to me. I don’t think anything’s really improved in his marriage the way you say, but I believe your MM has a good marriage. Or good enough. He’s seemed committed to his marriage and family, as my MM. Improved? No. That doesn’t happen in long-term marriage over time. 🙂 It’s possible as your MM got comfortable with you that it helped him feel more comfortable at home. Like, if he knows things are good with you, when he’s at home he can just focus there and not feel stress there. That’s some of the balance my MM and I had to sort out in the last two years. But I can’t imagine affairs ever really help a marriage. My affair has hurt my marriage and my MM’s marriage even if we’re still keeping our marriages “good enough.”

    I think it’s good you say something to him once in a while. It prevents you from being taken for granted, and I think you explain it to him well. We need reassurance because we just don’t get the time from the other person as we would in a “normal” relationship. And as the single person in the affair, you will need more reassurance than the married person.

    As far as him being a liar because he’s lying to his W, I get what you’re saying, but I also think it’s different. Maybe it depends on the person, but I don’t feel nearly as much incentive to lie to my MM as I do to my H. I need to lie to my H to maintain the affair. But what do I need to lie to my MM about? Yes, there are a few things (like he doesn’t know our coworker knows about the affair), but I don’t think I’ve lied directly to my MM when he’s asked something. My MM hasn’t asked about our coworker knowing (why would he?), but if he did, I would lie. I wouldn’t lie about my feelings for him, though. Yes, there may be times I hold back because I think the truth might be hurtful, but I would do that in any relationship. But, for the most part, even when hard and not what he wanted to hear, I’ve told the truth to my MM and I think he’s done the same (because he has said a lot of HARD honest things to me). It’s always seemed like your MM is pretty honest with you, but I get that you want to protect yourself by being cautious.

  115. Hi Ladies,

    I am just checking in…the last time I was here, I was taking a much needed break from MM. It was about 10-12 days NC. We are talking to one another regularly. I told him I think things have changed at home for him and it affects how he is with me. I told him I think when we first got with each other he had more of a need for this and now it’s more like a want. I told him I felt that him and her are on really good terms and that’s fine but I was wondering if this is still something he wants to pursue. I told him that I know he doesn’t like that I say this is just about sex at the end of the day and without it…what do we have?! but I feel like that is the case. I said its not like we are doing a lot of dating right now, when you come over you’re not staying the weekend or staying the night. You stay for a while but you must go home. He said he doesn’t understand why I think this is just sex…he said he cares about my well being and the well being of my children. He tries to be as supportive as he can towards both of my children and he makes sure his household is set up in a way, that if I ever need him for emergency purposes such as car broke down, kids need to be picked or need someone to keep an eye on them, his wife would never question it. She would be encouraging him to help me or trying to figure out how they could help me. He said he set his house up in a way that allows him to be supportive towards me. He said it pisses him off that I think this is just sex. He doesn’t know why every year around this time I start acting like he doesnt care about this or want this. He said I know June is a busy month for him and he had a lot of things to take care of. He said the summer is harder for us to connect because my kids are always home and he doesnt understand why I don’t see it that way. He said we both know I have this small window of opportunity for him to come over but when I take off I never come to have lunch with him at work. He said I make up reasons to be off and then won’t take time to come see him (I do notice that if I take off and don’t tell him and then I mention it, he gets upset about it) he said you have a job where you can get time off, you always have enough time to take off…so much so that when the Holidays come around you can start taking off Mon/Friday for a month or 2 so I know you have time that you can take off and come down to eat lunch or take a walk but you don’t do that and then you want to act like the only time we link up is for sex. I said I understand but I when I take off I actually have doc appts or something like that. He said ok. He said well I am just saying it’s not all about sex, I talk to you about things i will never talk to her about. I talk to you about things that make me seem vulnerable and I don’t do that at home..he said he feel like he is more nurturing to me and men are not really nurturers and I said huh…he said I can honestly talk about how I feel about certain things with you. I said…hmmm ok! I said, I don’t always see those things as something that makes me stand out or something that identifies how you feel about me so I’m glad I inquired about it. I said I am sorry if you are offended by me checking in every year or every few months to make sure we are good. I feel like sometimes I need that reassurance because we are not in the house together, we are not always able to see each other or talk all the time and that can come off to me as you’re no longer interested….

    That was the basis of how that went. We have seen each other a few times since then for just a brief moment and we’ve talked but no sex in about 45-50 days. I am still not convinced about all of the things he said…I think some of it has some truth to it but if I be honest with myself I have a hard time believing him because my mind knows he’s a liar..he is lying to his wife whenever he has an opportunity to get with me so it’s just hard to think that he wouldn’t be lying to me as well. Me not believing him whole heartily keeps me safe emotionally…well…to some extent!
    Hope everyone is enjoying the summer! Talk to you soon

  116. TTSP, yeah, I get what you mean with the difference between knowing that your MM will not leave his W and having to hear about things they may plan in the future. It would have been a gut punch for me, too, had my MM said something about him and his W retiring to Italy. While it is quite unlikely he and I will leave our spouses for each other, I still want to believe he wants me in his life for the long-term. If he were to mention moving away with his W, it would make me feel disposable and that would feel pretty awful. As you say, there’s an implicit agreement that we just don’t say those things out loud in an affair. I think as best we can, we try to keep our marriages separate from our other. Your MM definitely messed up in saying what he did.

    I also hear you on the secret thing. I know I feel that way about my MM at work sometimes. Especially when that coworker is around who likes him, I wish he could make it clear to her that it is me he is into. He sort of does, but sometimes it’s not enough for me and I wish she could just know that he’s in love with ME. 🙂 I know my MM has felt this, too. He has told me that he wishes he could talk about us to others. He wishes he could publicly be together with me. It makes sense. I don’t think it’s messed up to want that. It’s not just that we want to be able to publicly express our love, but it’s ego-related like you say and we feel a self-esteem boost from others seeing that someone loves us.

    The things you say about your MM’s personality remind me of how complicated affairs are. We are SO in love with these men yet they have traits we’d never want in a long-term partner. I know that I would be lonely with my MM, too. I think part of why we are so in love is because it’s a fantasy relationship that is based on a lot of highs.
    So, maybe it isn’t simply that you and your MM met at the wrong time? Maybe he is not the best person for you? I don’t think my MM is the best person for me.

    I wouldn’t go so far as saying that I’ll be perfectly okay if my affair ends, but I think you’re right that something changed after going through that pain in 2017-18. It is a level of pain where, after that, not only are you probably more guarded but you are better able to handle it. That said, I think I’d still be in quite some pain were we to end any time soon. I feel like we’re finally getting back to us again.

  117. HI Felk,
    You said something below that I hadn’t considered. I’m ok having awareness of something like him not leaving his wife for me. When it is thrown in my face i.e. I have to hear it verbally, I feel gut wrenching pain and my worst fears as a woman come flooding to the surface. Honest communication is necessary but I personally would’ve refrained and kept that comment to myself. Even you who isn’t jealous of the W might have felt the sting from that remark. I’m actually not jealous of his W either. I’m envious that she gets the time with him and everyone thinks she is the one he is madly in love with. I know otherwise. He loves her but he’s not romantically interested at all yet others think she’s the lucky winner. That bothers me too. I want to say… well, actually no everyone, it is me that he’s elated with and incredibly attracted to physically and emotionally. We just met at the wrong time and he already had a commitment.

    Talk about my ego going crazy but I want the public recognition she has when secretly it’s for me. I don’t know if that makes sense but I think I take way too much stock in what others think and my public image is out of control. It’s like I have this resentment for not getting any recognition. How messed up is that! Secrets, secrets are no fun. Secrets, secrets hurt someone.

    You’re totally right that the reality of a divorce especially on both sides and with kids involved would be a dreadful mess. Hypothetically I’d choose my current spouse unless of course they were emotionally or physically abusive. Even if I met someone incredible I’d pass and wouldn’t go through the hell of a divorce or take the risk on someone new. As far as whether someone would be a good partner I can say with absolute certainty that i would be lonely with him. He’s constantly caught up in his head, gets bored easily, isolates. He’ll be physically present with you but not really there. We took a day trip in Spain together. He was a completely different person around me on that day trip from the day before. He acted like I was just a colleague and the day before was all affectionate, touchy feely, passionate and romantic. It was a total head trip to me and when I confronted him about his completely different attitude toward me he got all defensive and said that I need way too much validation and attention. IDK, when I reminisce I realize more and more that he would not give me the consistency and stability I require with people. Sorry to ramble on but it helps me/you to feel grounded when you really look at it holistically.

    My impression by what you say and where you are is that you’re enjoying it as much as you can. That being said… if it doesn’t last forever and can’t be sustained for a long time you’ll be perfectly ok giving it up and moving on. You’ll miss him and crave the interaction, closeness and bond you share but it won’t be the end of the world. I think you’ve gone through the worst of the recovery in 2017 and a part of you let go. I think once you go through that pain with someone you still carry them in your heart and have love but it’s never what it was before. You appear to be in a good place and have a solid relationship at home to have a happy partnership.

  118. Hi Nomad,
    This might sound backwards but I would almost take it as a compliment. If he wasn’t hurt or upset he would have no need to block. I know personally that I blocked my ex boyfriend from everything because it was so damn painful to even think of him. I was hurting so badly when he met someone else I wanted to do everything to remove any remnants of his existence. Your ex mm could also be doing it out of spite. He saw you blocked him and thought well I’ll just block her right back.

    Also, once I had moved on I removed those bc it was irrelevant so clearly yours has not moved on. Still, I remember a couple years ago when I discovered my ex mm blocked me on his phone I was completely crushed. He removed it when he realized we wouldn’t be able to talk on the phone or text (duh) but it just means the ending of the relationship was and is still very hard for your mm. And there’s no way he has a new lover. I think the majority of folks that get involved in a serious emotional long term affair don’t get involved in another one. The exception is men or women who have flings on the road while traveling for work or something. Those are different than relationships with the same person.

  119. Nomad, I’m sorry you were feeling a lot of pain and reminders again. I know you’ve tried to avoid the triggers of your ex-MM and we all know how important that is when you’re going NC. When I was in the break-up phase, I removed pictures from my phone to get rid of reminders (and it even took me like 2 months to remove those pictures because I couldn’t even look at the pictures to remove them without feeling tons of pain) and I didn’t listen to “our” songs for like 6 months. And I still sometimes avoid “our” songs when I’m just not in the right mental place for it. I am sorry that you saw something on your colleague’s whatsapp that led to you falling down the rabbit hole. But… you know I am here to say that your MM did not block you for all of those reasons you say. He does not hate you. He is not disgusted with you. He does not have a new lover. No. He blocked you for the same reasons you blocked him. That’s it. He saw that you were moving on so he is trying to move on. The addiction is as painful and as hard for him. I am sure. My MM said that to me during our break. I found it hard to believe when my MM said it. I thought he was handling it so calmly and cooly. I thought he was “fine” with our break up. I thought he didn’t care. I thought he was moving on. No. He was miserable, too. Your MM blocking you is simply him trying to move on as you’re trying to move on.

    Yes, you might be hurt that he’s trying to move on, but that is normal for him to try to move on. Try not to feel bad that he wants to heal, too. The affair was not working for you. You told him this. He tried to respect that (eventually) and be done. Try to understand that he is simply trying to avoid pain just as you are. Didn’t you “block him forever,” too? Please don’t read anything extra into him blocking you. There is nothing extra. You are both trying to end a very hard situation.

  120. Typo: I am used to having him blocked.

    Now, that was what I said to TTSP the night before.

    Tonight, I am having a hard time. One of my ex colleague’s whatsapp showed up his profile pic and I happened to see it. I couldn’t help it or rather I thought I was ready and steady and thinking it was harmless to check his profile pic on my phone. Gosh! I couldn’t see his profile pic! The only explanation is that he blocked me. I have been blocking him since 1 Mar 2019. The last time I checked was in early May during my birthday and I thought ok, I suspected he blocked me but fine, it was still in the early phase of the nc (2 months at that time) and it would help in my healing and moving on. Tonight, I felt horrible because he is still blocking me. Why? there is no need to fear that I will haunt him and expose or blackmail him; or does he hate me? does he feel disgusted whenever he thinks of me hence need to cut me off? Why is he blocking me? it hurts my ego really. or has he forgotten that he is still blocking me. For me, I didn’t forget but i refrain from going to the privacy setting of whatsapp. I just left him blocked. So I haven’t been checking on his whatsapp status and stopped stalking his W on fb but tonight I went berserk, seething in anger, yes, just when I was so proud of myself, making good progress, attaining inner peace and indifference blah blah, telling TTSP to decide and stick to decision blah blah blah. I have been fooling myself isn’t it? after 5 months of absolute NC, I am still not done and he is!

    OMG! I have the urge to contact him and I want to see him. How could he cut me off, have me replaced and he is a happier man at home? and eating whose cake? I have a hunch that when he sees me, he will be relieved that the nc saved him, or he will avoid me. I must not stoop so low to reach out. I will never get a truthful answer. I will never know what’s in his mind and it is not important anyway. What’s more important is what is on my mind. How quickly i need to snap out of this!

    It is such an humiliation if he is blocking me forever. I will not beat myself up letting curiosity killed me.

    Sorry ladies, I am feeling horrible and it may seem I am acting childish in this block and unblock strategy. This says it all, his determination to cut me off for the sake of his sanity, family or new lover. ouch!

  121. TTSP
    Thank you so much for your compliments regarding my exhibition. It is a gigantic enormous milestone for me and I am working so hard every day simply to not self-sabotage my success….Yes! simply to be present for those who want to visit the exhibit and those who want to purchase my art. Yes! People want to buy my art. This has never quite happened this way. Ever. I swear. I am in a sort of daze craving self-destruction of some kind as that is where my first instincts usually go….My previous modus operandi was always “self destruct” before some one figures out I am a fraud, etc. But this is all changing one day at a time!

    So I wanted to say this to you as a recovering alcoholic as I am. I was telling a friend of mine today (while I am visiting my family of origin in another state….) that no amount of therapy will ever be enough to untangle all the dysfunction that was my childhood that I “ingested” as a highly sensitive, empathic artist. . And no amount of alcohol or drugs will ever numb me enough either. My childhood was incredibly stressful for me and led me to drink and smoke pot among many other things.

    Now 18 years sober I understand how utterly stressed I was while still living at home under my parents’ roof for so many complex reasons. So now when I visit I am starting to have some compassion for this child version of me. However what always drags me down as I am trying to heal is the exact opposite very dangerous thoughts: the drink signals arrive! And the thoughts and images of my exMM appear! And while I am at it why don’t I just run this red light cause no one will see me? This is my brain on fire. 🙂

    TTSP I am saying my long dysfunctional affair is intricately tied into my long dysfunctional childhood. And to my drinking mentality. Maybe yours is too. Maybe not. These pains and wounds are all so wrapped up and so tied up emotionally in me in ways that are so subtle so insidious I can barely put it in words here. (This is what I put into my art and poetry because I have no other way to express it)) But all this trauma is stored here in my poor body where all the unmet expectations, all the rejections, abandonments and betrayals are stored on a cellular level. I am releasing these toxins slowly but in the meantime other toxins appear to me as “good or great ideas”. Does this resonate with you?

    Suddenly my exMM appears to me as the number one sexiest man on the planet and I have to have him one more time. Or two. Or maybe a bottle of wine. Or three. You see what I mean? And I want a very VERY fast sports car and I want to go as fast as hell!

    These childhood painful feelings are so well stored and hidden in my body and cells and that they will never ever be a match for my logical brain. And did I tell you? My brain is on fire anyhow. The deepest of my feelings can NOT be talked out of and these feelings include my insatiable appetitive for my destructive (to me) relationship to my exMM. Never think your mind is enough to beat an affair. The mind is more like a computer…it does what we program it to do. But our minds can not outthink us on childhood wounds or trauma. No way.

    Just like the mind will never (alone) convince an alcoholic to stop drinking. No can do. Either grace or therapy or deep self healing and feeling (over time) and/or other professionals and other healing modalities ….might get you out. An affair is one mind f–k of a drug convincing us to go against our higher instincts by luring us into our lower ones. I know you will get this as a recovering person.

    TTSP: Beware all the lower powers! Pray to the highest power you can believe in and try to understand you are a wounded self leaving the most difficult entanglement there is to be had on this earth: a sexual/romantic/maybe even karmic affair. Which has to end. End. Holy hell of pains.
    This is true pain my friend. When you do get yourself out of this you painful relationship for good, you WILL emerge a warrior woman I promise you! And you will help so many others in this boat too!

  122. Thank you Nomad. Five months is very commendable. You are right that it is a blessing when they don’t reach out and initiate contact. It does take more strength or a different type of strength that I haven’t had to exercise before. I’ve given up other addictions but this one has baffled me. There is a huge reward to getting together and then a big crashing low when they disappear or go off and do whatever it is they do with someone that isn’t you. It is a very vicious cycle that I’ve allowed especially when I do start to heal and he pulls me back in through many different maneuvers. I’m not a fool. He wants a full blown side thing while I’ve wanted out for a ridiculous amount of months. I’ve tried to extricate myself and unless you’ve been in it, which you have, all it takes is one exchange and you end up back in the infinite loop of yo-yo affair land. I’ve tried various flavors of friends only, lovers only, friends and lovers, rules here and there but in the end nothing works for me and it doesn’t work for him. He’s just so desperate to fill the holes in his life he’s willing to live with the miseries if it means he gets his voids filled. When i say misery I mean with me going out with other men. He had meltdowns and emotional breakdowns but that of course was ok bc I’m introducing new people into the equation and his life is static. Also, he thought it was an unfair comparison bc my new prospects meant physical and other intimacies that he doesn’t have at home. The problem is when I’d lose my $hit for the many reasons these situations make you unhappy ex: big lavish vacas, he’d act like I was being unreasonable that I couldn’t just be ok with everything. It was acceptable for him to spiral but not for me bc his partner was already there when we started. What kind of logic is that? Just because you don’t have a physical relationship or the emotional closeness doesn’t mean everything else you share is meaningless. Long story short he’s leaving tomorrow and I’m time boxing my grief to a week. Enough of this nonsense. I have to act my way into different thinking. What that means is spending time with available men and never again spending any alone time with him. He doesn’t need to be confiding in me and I don’t need to be confiding in him. Neither of one us has that privilege any longer. Work has been crazy hellish busy but I’m setting a goal of getting back online by July 19th. Sometimes I remind myself when someone is done it’s not bc they lost interest but bc it’s too painful to for them to stay in touch. Thank you for your post here. I sooooo needed to read this. Big hugs to you. I also hope the separation has improved your relationship with your partner, friends and family! Like you said we get so lost in this and lose sight of those who we can genuinely trust. I’m embarrassed how long this cycle lasted and no one aside from the folks here know that we remained in touch on and off. Everyone else in my life assumed we just kept a working relationship when we were still IMing, emailing and talking on the phone. I’ll definitely check back with everyone here.

  123. Nomad, I understand what you say about being thankful to your MM for not reaching out. How it was his not reaching out that helped you heal. Of course, you need to give yourself credit for the NC, too, but I know what you mean. I think my MM shows greater strength and discipline than I do in not only giving us that break in 2017 (for about a year) but in also keeping consistent with low communication now. If it were up to me, we’d probably be back to our old pattern by now and he’d be struggling and I’d be anxious and it would be worse (or we would have ended again). I’ll give myself credit for giving him the space he’s asking for now, but I think that if he showed signs of wanting more communication, I wouldn’t put the brakes on. So, your advice to TTSP is spot on. It’s hard to move on if her MM is still asking for time alone together. It’s just too tempting to pass up when you’re in the throes of the addiction.

    I can see you don’t want accolades for going 5 months with NC because you’re still trying to move on, but I think there is strength in what you’ve done so far. Yes, you still feel weak and sad and sometimes hope he’d contact you, but you have stayed true to your decision. I think there is also a lot to respect in you ending the affair because he wouldn’t give you what you needed. You didn’t stick around to continue feeling lesser and like he was giving you crumbs. You say that your ending is due to his “kindness” not to contact you, but you are also not contacting him. Honestly, I think you showed the greater strength giving him the ultimatum and being clear about what you needed, and then telling him you were done when you felt he could not meet your needs. I know you still feel weak, because he’s still on your mind every day. But memories are fading. Baby steps. There will come a point when you no longer feel sad or weak.

  124. TTSP, I know how much you want to skip to the “indifference” part of a relationship ending. I longed for that so much after my MM tried to end it two years ago. So many times, in my pain, I’d think about how much I just wanted to stop caring about it all. But, as we know, when you end a relationship when you still have strong feelings for someone, it takes a while to get to indifference, and it’s REALLY hard for that to happen if you still have contact with the person. I can think of one relationship where this happened to me (where we ended while I still had strong feelings), but it was a “normal” relationship with no addiction really and so it hurt when we ended but it only took a couple of months to get to indifference. In an affair, with the addiction, I think it’s much harder to get to this “friends” stage, if not impossible (as BAF has pointed out). As you say, the “friends” stage is often an avoidance tactic for facing the reality of the end. You’re trying to hold onto whatever you can. In my situation, I wanted to hold on, but I have a H and wasn’t looking for another relationship. You want a healthy relationship so I think the only way to get there is to stop holding on. The hard part is that the feelings don’t really just go away. You have to actively help them go away. In my break-up, even though I wanted to get to indifference, I was so scared to lose the feelings. I loved being in love with him and it was weird to think about the void that would be there if I wasn’t in love with him anymore.

    I can also hear in the things you say that you still wish he’d choose you, even though “logically” you know it can’t happen. I’d imagine that’s why his Italy comment hurt so much. It was the reminder that he wasn’t going to leave his W. I know you two had a good relationship, but we often see that good relationship outside of the barriers of a real relationship. This is the fantasy world of an affair. Yes, you two connected on a deep level, but what would your relationship be like if you really had to be together day in and day out? This is where I know my MM would not be as good as my H. My MM and I have a great time together. We match on a lot of characteristics. We laugh and enjoy conversation in a way my H and I don’t. But being with him everyday? No thanks. He’s selfish, controlling, closed, and unsupportive. Like you said, how could we really trust each other knowing that we’re both cheaters? And all the things you say about the difficulty of divorce. The mess of both of us going through divorces, especially with him having kids. We can get in our heads that it would all be bliss if we could just be together, but that’s not reality. The divorces would cause so much stress, even if they were relatively amicable. We’d cause so much disruption to our social networks, too. What would it be like integrating him into my friend circles when they’re all mad/sad about losing my H from our friend circle? And our families? My family loves my H. For all of these reasons and more (how much would my MM’s kids hate me for breaking up their family?), you can see why relationships that start from affairs are unlikely to be successful. I think my MM got a little too caught up in the fantasy and that was part of his struggle a few years ago. Maybe he’s more realistic now? I don’t know. My MM says I’m the one for him. So, sure, maybe he thinks I’d be a better relationship partner than his W, but what about all the other baggage?

    It’s as Nomad said, you have to be done or not. But being done means being done. In-between doesn’t really work in these situations. Are you ready to be done? What steps do you have to take to try to be done? Have you started NC with your MM?

    I’ve obviously chosen the “not done” route. 🙂 My MM sometimes talks about it like he had no choice given the feelings he still had for me. I like to believe it’s a choice, but whatever way we frame it, we’re back in it. Yes, I feel more at peace than I have in a long time. Even including when things were good pre-2017 pulling away and eventual end. I don’t feel the anxiety I used to feel, although I do feel a little more nagging jealousy than before. The low communication allows my jealousy (of wondering if he’s with other women… I’m not jealous of his W) to get the best of me sometimes. But, yes, in 2016, my MM was considering leaving his marriage. He didn’t really tell me this, but I know that based on many things he’s said since. Things were really good with our relationship, and he was wanting more and more. He was withdrawing at home, and his W noticed. She asked him if he was having an affair. His marriage was in trouble. He said things to me like, “I’m finding it harder to reconcile the contrast between how I feel for you and our time apart.” But he never said directly that he wanted to leave his marriage. He was too scared I didn’t want that, or he was too scared to actually break up his family. I’m not sure. Ultimately, he decided to focus more on his family and try to fix his marriage. He sort of told me but not. He told me the balance wasn’t working for him, but I was so hurt by him withdrawing that I couldn’t see how much he was struggling. I could see it, but all I could think about was how it was affecting me. I got so scared by him withdrawing that I wasn’t honest enough with him about how I was feeling. Maybe the break was inevitable. I think we needed a change, but that is pain I have never felt before. Now that he is happy and eager and at ease, I can see how much he needed to fix the balance issues. And, of course, I like very much that he still wants to be with me after sorting things out at home. I still wonder where we’re headed, though, and how long we can sustain this. I don’t get caught up in that, but I also don’t want to ignore it and am trying this time to be more proactive (and direct) in talking about things with my MM.

  125. TTSP,

    You said you “couldn’t trust him not to get bored with me and seek comfort elsewhere.”

    I trust that he’ll get bored and jump ship. He doesn’t need another wife. I let go and moved on because he left me with no choice. It is futile.

    You haven’t hit the rock bottom. Perhaps this is the usual fight and he’s letting u simmer down. You’ll calm down and start I miss him too. I know your heart and mind are not in sync. But you are treating yourself badly. I’m aching for you.

    I left (with dignity) first because I didn’t want to be the dumpee. He already started to ghost me.

    Life is short… I’m sagging everywhere, head to toe, I can be comfortably naked to my H but not to mm. To be in his fantasy, he would prefer a figure perfect isn’t it? I don’t feel proud of my body and this is another deterrent for me. I am used to having blocked.

  126. TTSP

    I can relate to what you have been going through lately…hugs…

    Firstly, I tend to think that he was simply tactless and careless by sprouting nonsense like moving to Italy with his wife right in your face. He was being casual and if you look at the bright side, he wasn’t walking on eggshells with you. I know it hurts to hear it there and then but what to do, you are not done yet…

    Secondly, it is very difficult if you are still seeing each other. NC, time and space is the only solution. It is even more difficult if he is not helping by choosing to be selfish and greedy, having the cake and eating it too, and keep disrupting your healing.

    Having said that, you have to decide: let go and move on OR choose to continue on his terms. I thought you and I were similar. We wanted so much to leave, we were angry, sad and felt trapped in this vicious cycle. We were bored so we were very addicted, and we kept hoping that he would realise we were the one. We lost ourselves and affected our lives negatively at home and at work. We lashed out on them in fear, insecurity, jealousy and anxiety. We drained them mentally and lost our allure, hence they needed to mia and would be back when they forgot how we suffocated them and when they needed our validation and sex or whatever they are not getting from their wives. Do you see all these? given your dynamics with him, do you think things will improve say with a make up sex? or him sweet talking you and you can press the reset button?

    As sad as I can feel even today and still thinking of this person EVERYDAY, after coming to 5 months of NC, it is the NC and him not reaching out (thanks to him) that sobered me up. I am not sure how did he manage to stop reaching out this time. My parting words were: You make me sad. I could achieve much more without you. You weren’t there whenever I needed you. I cannot trust you. I don’t believe you…. and I blocked him since 1 Mar until today. He did not reach out at all. I think he blocked or deleted my no. In the earlier months of NC, I checked that I couldn’t see his profile pic on whatsapp. My point is, he played a big part in my healing by not reaching out. I had imagined he must have found my replacement, some mw who is more understanding yet thrilling, more convenient and less drama, or he is now a happier man at home. He must be relieved and thankful that I have exited so that he can regain his inner peace and family bliss. It is VERY difficult for me to choose my dignity, in fact, he left me with no choice but to leave, before he got sick of me. I thought he had been ghosting me since 2018.

    Today, I can say I have shifted 80% of mindset to focus on myself (in oppose of hoping and waiting for him to realise and come back, ruminating how could he cut me off, compartmentalise my existence, how could he not reach out etc). What calms me. What helps me to sleep. What is more rewarding. What distracts me. When I think about how i cheated on my H, in the name of love for mm, I feel ashamed, regrets and disgust. I do not want to imagine what would happen if we bump into each other. I avoid talking to co-workers who still keep in touch with him. I avoid triggers at best effort. I avoid testing my level of indifference. Please don’t say I rock because I am still not done. On bad days, I am still hoping to see his no flashes across my office phone or his email in my personal mailbox. Fact is, he did not reach out and he is done. I just live and let be.

    Sometimes, I envy Felk who is still with her mm.

    Sometimes, I am so thankful that I no longer have to suffer over his month long vacation in Dec, pampering his W to overseas vacation and celebrating his birthday, worrying that he would dump me after that, getting upset for clearing leave NOT for me, rather stay at home to clear leave than planning anything with me, he must have planned all these by now after taking his bonus and pay increment. I am never in his plan.

    The sadness can be still overwhelming but I turned myself into a workaholic to distract and drown my pain. You see, it has been 5 months. Memories are fading…I couldn’t recall the song (lyrics and melodies) that he wrote for me and sang for me on my birthday in May 2017. This is progress.

    Sorry for nagging but you have to decide and live each day sticking to your decision as much as you can. I am telling you, it is not up to me really. I owe it to his “kindness” to cut me off.

    TTSP, be strong.

  127. Thank you for those that commented on my post. BAF, your exhibit sounds incredible and I’ve never met an artist that showcased their work for others let alone critics. It sounds intense but incredibly rewarding. There’s something about seeing a project through by giving it your all that makes your life more purposeful. Congrats on the sobriety date! What a huge milestone for you. Keeping the affair secret is incredibly isolating. Now you have renewed energy to put into your art, the presentation and many other fruitful endeavors.

    I can’t believe how high the emotions run. This really brought up some messed up, dark, childhood $hit. I have been trying to heal old wounds. For me it is working through feeling unloveable. I don’t know if that originated from having an absentee Dad or a Mom that struggled with depression and couldn’t be there full-time. Either way that’s for a therapist to address. Feelings are not facts. Now I want to skip through the icky emotions to the other side of indifference. I think that is why I hung onto “friendship”. It’s an avoidance tactic from facing the music of a real ending. Keep going strong. You are a motivating force to me! You have moved on to much greener pastures.

    I wish my heart would catch up to my head. My head is saying there was no hope for anything and this is analogous to no longer spending a lot of hard earned money on lotto tickets. Do you like my analogy? lol The odds of winning are practically nil. Even if he went through a divorce he’d need a lot of time to recover and get back on his feet. Plus, the chances of relationships succeeding that start as affairs are really low. I suppose this sounds santimoneous but I couldn’t trust him not to get bored with me and seek comfort elsewhere. Maybe I’m trying to make myself feel better.

    Nothing works for us but a legit ending. I can finally admit here that endings hurt even when they are the best outcome for everyone. Emotions just don’t follow logic. I’m sad that I can’t have a real chance at a relationship with a man that I truly liked. I think he really liked me also. I’m also sad that a friendship is out of the question. We both knew our fate going into this. He never deceived me with false intentions. He also knew that I would continue on with my life. It all felt so good to connect on a deep level and not something you find every day. I will find it with someone available 🙂 We did conclude on the highest note possible for an ending. Now the waiting game of feeling better. BAF, Nomad and Hope all let go, moved on and are doing better. I’m not even going to entertain what he is thinking bc I’ll go down the path of this must be so easy for him blah blah which does me no good.

    You certainly come across as feeling more at peace with your relationship. Aside from the communication frequency everything sounds as good as it can be. I didn’t know his marriage was in jeopardy a couple years ago. It has to be a strange set of emotions to want two worlds but I suppose that’s where open relationships and polyamory originated. As long as you’re feeling fulfilled and the benefits outweigh the costs. I just hope that he isn’t forcing a relationship dynamic where he feels “in control” by pulling away and going MIA. Love, care, romance, like, etc. are vulnerable. They’re hard to contain without drawing energy out of the relationship.

  128. BAF, just more kudos to you for all you say about your art exhibition. I also know the fear involved in inviting others to view your work, especially the critics and the writers. But I’m not sure there’s anything stronger than opening ourselves to judgment as we share ourselves openly and honestly with others. Like, really opening ourselves to judgment. Showing others who we are without blindly expecting them to approve but trusting them to be fair (and being open to their feedback). So hard but so strong. And it’s just lovely to see you focusing on yourself, and I really even hesitate to mention your MM because this all just feels so separate from him now. Not that you have forgotten that your MM is part of your past, but it’s really feeling like the past now. And I do not doubt what you say about how you could not have done all of this had your MM still been in the picture because of his selfish neediness, but I think that just reinforces what I’m seeing in how little he is “present” in your life now. So happy for you on all fronts (including 18 years of sobriety).

  129. TTSP, it sounds like you’re still struggling to be done with this affair. I don’t mean that as any brain-buster insight on my part as you’ve admitted as much, but I mean it sounds like you just still have so many emotions to deal with related to your MM. You lashed out at him not really because of that thing he said. Yes, it hurt, but you lashed out because you’re still holding in all sorts of emotions around him. You’re trying to have this platonic relationship that you know can’t work. You both feel too strongly about each other still, and that’s why you both cave into the feelings at times as he asks to see you alone and then you agree. Most of the time, though, it sounds like you’re trying to hold it in. And in trying to hold in all those emotions, well, they’re going to come out at some point. 🙂 Try not to beat yourself up too much about the mean things you said to your MM. It sounds like you took ownership of that and apologized. Also, it sounds like that incident is getting you to take another hard look at your relationship with your MM, and I’m sure you wished it didn’t happen that way, but if this incident helps you to really think about your feelings for your MM and possibly recommit to your efforts to be done with him, then maybe it needed to happen.

    It also sounds like your MM responded well to your apology. I know that can be hard, too. I think a kind response is better in the long run, but in the short-term a kind response can make us feel more guilty for lashing out and, worse, can make us miss this kind person who we are trying to leave. I sympathize with the double-edged sword of a kind response. However, in the long-run, I think it helps to have a kind response because then the hot emotions aren’t hanging over both of you. Anger can certainly be useful in a break-up, but it generally sounds like you and your MM had a good relationship, and I don’t think either of you wants to leave with anger. It seems you have mostly tried to end this on good terms.

    I know you’ve tried to be friends with your MM, but it sounds like you realize it can’t work. I know that’s a tough realization because he has been important to you for a long time. You lay it out in such an honest way saying that he can’t ask you to stay single and you can’t ask him to leave his family. You want a real relationship partner, and he can’t be that for you. He wants you to be his exclusively while not giving you the same in return. You can’t be that for him. You realized last year that the affair no longer worked, but you’ve tried to hold onto some sort of friendship with him. But as long as you two are near each other, you’re going to feel those strong emotions for him and you won’t be able to move on. I know it’s sad and scary to be done with him, but I think that’s the only way that you find a healthy relationship for yourself. I agree with your girlfriend that you will be happier in a new environment. It doesn’t happen overnight, but you will be happier when you are no longer reminded of your MM day in and day out. Sometimes we have to get to that mental place to take action, but sometimes we have to take action to get to that mental place. What I’m saying is, you might not get to a place of being ready to leave before you get a new job. You might need to get a new job to get to a place of being ready to leave. You have made MANY steps of progress towards being done with your MM, but maybe the next step has to be finding a new job.

    As for my MM and me, I think you’re right about him limiting our exchanges so he can maintain control over his feelings. He has said as much. The honesty is that I wish he wouldn’t control his feelings so much because I like when he shows all of that desire. 🙂 But the other honesty is that if he starts doing that again he worries his W will notice him disengage and his marriage will be in jeopardy again (as it was two years ago). It’s just hard to keep reminding myself that his distance is not a lack of desire but rather an attempt to maintain our affair. When we see each other, he’s really great. He’s happy and eager and lovely. I haven’t had to deal with his angst/guilt/tension in a while, and so maybe we really are finally striking the balance that works? While I don’t prefer the lower communication, I certainly prefer not dealing with his moods when we’re together. As for communication across weekends/holidays, it’s mostly the same as it has been over the last year. His communication is low in general so it’s not really different across weekends or holidays. It’s just still a bit sad to not communicate more, but you all know I wanted back in this affair and I do genuinely feel like myself again. So, even though it’s hard for me to see that the low communication is good (for me), I can’t deny that I feel better than I have in about 2.5 years.

  130. Felk,
    What I said was far worse. I’m very distraught over my behavior. Today my anxiety is so high and I’m flooded with a range of emotions from sadness to fear and confusion to despair. I should’ve just kept my mouth shut and acted like a lady. He probably thinks I’m a psychotic, raving lunatic. I hate falling outs and unnecessary conflict. I could’ve just said those words hit me hard. I’m going to need some space to let this go. Nope, I acted like an a$$hole. That’s not who I am and I hate that I said such ugly words to someone I care for.

    He’s leaving in a few days to go on his annual family trip so I suppose the timing is good for both of us. On one hand I feel like my drastic move was necessary to solidify an ending but I was hoping it would be an amicable settlement. Endings don’t have to be ugly. I sent a brief apology email earlier today. He responded and I think it was the best message I could’ve asked for. He thanked me and praised me for apologizing. He also said he was sorry if his remark hurt me but he didn’t mean to make me feel badly. He also mentioned being shocked by my aim to hurt him. He said he wrote a really lengthy letter but cut it short to keep it constructive and healing. He wished me all the best so….. case closed 🙂 Universe/God was looking out for me. It was a very pleasant surprise. I think a cordial, professional relationship is possible during my remaining time there.

    I haven’t gotten involved with a recruiter but I have a friend that has used the same guy for years. He offered to introduce us. I’m posting my resume on Indeed and adding it to my LinkedIn. I talked to a girlfriend today about job searching and she thinks I’ll be happier just by getting into a new environment. She also had an affair at a former job so she understands the pain points all too well.

    Are you two staying in touch over weekends and holidays? Are you noticing an increase on his side? My instinct always told me that he limits the exchanges to try to maintain control over his feelings and not because he doesn’t want to communicate more. How about the times you get to see each other?

    Thank you for your response. I’ve wanted an ending to the affair for a year to pursue my own dreams and to remove any risk of him ruining his life. I don’t want any part of that. Anyhow, we’ve tried friends and he pushes for more. I stay strong for a period and then eventually give in to spending one on one time bc I’m lonely, the chemistry is crazy and we have great fun and conversations. The absolute fact is we can’t be friends bc we end up back in an emotional entanglement. Second, it hurts him too much to know about me dating and it hurts me too much to be the unchosen one regardless if all the reasons are perfectly rational. I feel unwanted, unloved and rejected. He feels betrayed and heartbroken by me seeing other men. Neither side is even remotely reasonable. I can’t ask him to throw away his entire family for me and he can’t ask me to stay single for him when he chooses to stay married. It’s a stalemate scenario.

    Anyhow, how did everything go between you and your mm over the holiday break? Did you hear from him? Have you two made plans? Are you feeling less angst about him settling on an arrangement that works for both of you to sustain a relationship?

  131. TTSP you asked about my art exhibit and spending time with I trust and care? It seems I was finally ready to put this solo exhibition together and to focus on me for once. But that involves many others too as I had to work with several people to produce this exhibition. And I still am working with several others. And I had to explain to some of my friends that could not be available for a while while I put this exhibition together. That is new behavior as I am usually such a people pleaser. Now I am scheduling times to take various people to see the art, including some critics and writers. Honestly I am shocked to see myself this proactive and this self affirming. My work is partly autobiographical so it is scary as hell to have people come and see it. But I am getting much better at this.
    This is a whole new level of behavior for me and this is just very very different! I have never experienced this high professional level before in my life. And I am pretty calm. (And terrified sometimes but it passes, lol) This kind of self care along with maintaining good relationships with others while I install and all the art stuff is very new to me. (Think obnoxious/pushy artist demanding the curator and director do everything for him/her. This is NOT the model of behavior I have chosen at all.) I am trying to work people in a warm and rational way.
    I celebrated 18 years sober a few days ago! Sobriety and therapy have gotten me to places I never even dreamed possible. I truly mean this! It is like a sea shift in me lately. And there have been people rooting for me too in these past weeks. People who actually want to see me succeed! All of them had not one whiff of the fact that I was ever in an affair. I had to keep that tortured secret for so long. And I have no doubt that this exhibition would have been 1000 times more difficult had I still been in my affair. Because I would be still trying to placate my exMM whose ego would have been wounded by me succeeding. And then trying tp put on the show too…I think it would be impossible to still be in my affair and do what I am doing now in fact.

    TTSP Please do not beat yourself up for “non-sober” behavior. Remember it is “progress not perfection”. My exMM said some horrible things to me and I responded in nasty ways too. It is water under the bridge at this point. We would always apologize to each other and you can too. But that will not change the difficulty of leaving an affair. These affairs are very very high emotion situations. They trigger us on the deepest most fragile levels. I don’t think the “best” sober person on earth would glide though such a heart wrenching situation. It is impossible given our deepest human feelings longings and desires. It is great you can feel these feelings now, your innermost feelings! In sobriety we want to celebrate having feelings having pushed them down so long so go ahead and have all of your feelings! You just dont have to act on all of them. :). That’s the key. And remember feelings are not facts. BAF

  132. TTSP, it sounds like you recognize that both you and your MM spoke without thinking, and it shows how the emotions still run high with the two of you. It’s not surprising given that you work together. The feelings weren’t just going to go away overnight. You always knew this, and it’s amazing you’ve mostly stopped the affair given the constant temptation of him nearby. Your MM spoke quickly and selfishly because he was feeling defensive/protective after the rejection he felt hearing your words about you finding a new job and moving on. Then you spoke quickly lashing out against him because you were feeling defensive/protective after the rejection of his words about Italy. I don’t know where you two go from here, but my guess is that you will speak again soon enough.

    That’s really honest to admit that his words sparked your deepest fears. I think that honesty helps a lot in moving forward, but, of course, it takes more than just acknowledging that the fears are there. It does still seem that the best thing for you is getting your MM out of your life entirely. How are things going with finding a new job? I think I remember that you’d finished updating your resume and were starting to look for new jobs?

    The things you say about my situation are spot on. It’s hard to define quantitatively how much contact/communication is enough to get the closeness we need. We simply know when it’s enough. I think, in an affair, it can rarely be enough just given the natural constraints of an affair so we are always left wanting more no matter how much we get. I think about the intensity of my affair three years ago, and I still wanted more. He still wanted more. And we were spending SO much more time together than we are now. 🙂 In general, my MM is being responsive to me asking for him to show that closeness now, but, of course, there will still be times that I want more and I will be frustrated with him and with the situation. The joys of an affair.

  133. Lois, I get why you texted your MM and suggested meeting up next week, but it’s not putting the ball in his court if you’re doing those things. 🙂 I wonder how long it would have taken him to send you a text or if he would have asked you about your schedule if you hadn’t texted him first? How long would you have been waiting? I also know the difference you describe between aggravated and heartbroken. You’re not heartbroken right now because you have hope again. Your brain is getting those dopamine surges to feed the addiction once again when you have contact with him and you know that you have access to him again and it isn’t “over.” It happened to me once my MM and I seemed back on the path to getting back together last summer. My bad feelings went from misery back to the “regular” insecurity and frustration again.

    I don’t really see how some of the NC is you since you’re the one always asking for more communication from your MM. It doesn’t seem in all your talks with your MM that he is ever waiting for YOU to contact him. It doesn’t seem that he’s confused about how you feel. It seems that he is simply struggling with figuring out how to do this affair. Yes, sometimes you don’t contact him because you need a break from the waiting/hoping/rejection, but I don’t think that’s the same thing as your MM going MIA… especially because I doubt he looks at your behavior as you going MIA. I say this because this is what my MM is like. When he goes 3 days without emailing or texting, it’s him going MIA, not me… even though I am not texting or emailing, too. I’m the last to have emailed. You’re usually the last one to text and then not hear back from him, even when it’s something that he should respond to. You did go NC when you ended the relationship a month or so ago. That was NC for real. 🙂

    It does seem you two still have more to talk about, if this is going to work. It seems like he’s back to his usual and I don’t see what’s changing for him, but I hope you can ask that directly if you see him next week. I know you are hopeful again, but please pay attention to how he’s acting this week. He may not be able to give much more than he has this week, and you have to think about whether or not that is enough for you. As I said leading up to your first talk with him, what could have changed for him over the last few months that he’d suddenly be able to do more? It seems his life is as busy and he still has a lot of guilt about balancing it all well. I’ll also suggest again that you make sure to keep sex out of it. I know it’s tempting because the longer you go without sex with him the more you miss it (and the stronger the pull feels when you’re around him). I also know it’s probably tempting to think that, if you have sex with him, he will remember what he’s missing and he’ll want to be in the affair again. But if you’re honest with yourself, you know that the latter isn’t true (he’s not in this affair with you for only sex so sex will not “bring him back”) and you know that the former is dangerous for making you hurt more if have sex and he isn’t ready to change anything to be back in the affair. Continued good luck to you and I’m glad that you’re no longer feeling the misery. I know how nice it is when that’s gone, but try to continue to act to have a better relationship with your MM and not simply to avoid the misery of a break-up.

  134. As you know, mm has mentioned getting together this week. I ended up sending a text about something can’t remember what it was but it generated us texting back and forth. He wanted to know my schedule and told him had to help get hay in from the fields. The next day, I told him that I was off bUT could meet. He didn’t respond and later asked if he had a busy day. He replied stupid busy. I replied maybe one day next week but it was his loss…joking with him. He replied yeah I know it is and trying to figure out a way to do it. I replied it’s okay understand. Enjoy your holiday with kids. We can try one day next week. If you get to missing me you could always text to let me know…Hint hint lol. I haven’t heard a word from him since this is day 2 of NC. I’m not chasing after him and left the ball on his court. You are right it’s time he shows me. I have had a good holiday break. I haven’t been heart broken just kind of aggravated. In my heart, I know he has to want this or it will never work. He has to put forth the effort. However, I have also thought about maybe some of the NC has been me not wanting to contact him to get all of those feelings surfaced knowing we can’t get together. It’s like once let those feelings loose it’s harder to contain especially when you know it can’t be. So it’s easier sometimes for me to bury my feelings and try not to think about MM to let from missing him because otherwise it hurts. Hope that makes sense. I know he has often told him he too buries his feelings so maybe when he goes MIA it’s because it’s easier than having to deal with thinking of not being able to get together. I don’t know about him but it seems like that it what I’ve been doing to him. We shall see how it goes. Just seems like a game of chess and waiting for him to make his move. Hope you have a wonderful rest of the holiday weekend.

  135. Hey TTSP. It’s good to hear from you but sorry to hear MM words hurt so badly. I can understand why and it would have hurt me as well. Were you telling him you were moving? Or considering moving to change careers? If so, he may have said it to counteract what you were saying? I know MM and I have both made comments about living in a one room shack in the middle of nowhere. Neither of us meant anything by the comments just meant it would be nice not dealing with people, jobs, drama etc. He may have just said without any meaning. When you were talking did you mean to excludes him or were you just thinking out loud? MM and I recently talked about how there isn’t a future for us…neither want or can leave our situations. I am not sure I’d want to for MM. He seems to have lots of issues. I don’t know what it means for any type of relationship because it’s something that can never be and both recognize it as well as the need to sometimes take a break to keep from letting things and feelings takeover. It’s definitely complicated. Are you wanting to end things with your MM? Happy belated 4th of July.

  136. Hi BAF,
    Thank you for your perspective including showing me another angle to the other side. I could see how a narc or someone with those tendencies might try to one up you to not look like they are left behind standing still. I don’t know if he was speaking hypothetically. I’ve heard similar lines about escaping to a cabin in the woods. This time though he made it a point to include being whisked away by his wife. I guess I’m not as cozy with everything as I thought I was. I wish I hadn’t taken the bait but I was seething and we still had to walk back to the office so I couldn’t run. Instead I made some nasty comments bc all I could think about is how I wanted him to feel the hurt he just unleashed on me. Needless to say it was far from sober behavior. And healthy people/relationships bring out the best in you. I’ve had other platonic and romantic relationships with people that knew how to stir some serious rage in me. Those are toxic and no good for either party.

    How is your art exhibit going along with the time you’re spending around people you trust and care?

    I wasn’t sure if if was a protective mechanism on his part but it lacked good judgement. We’ve always talked about protecting each other even though I’m 100% responsible for my feelings just as everyone is else is fully responsible for their own feelings. Where I went wrong is not pausing and considering that it was most likely hypothetical. Instead I saw black and expelled vitriolic words with the underlying intention to cause him pain that he had just inflicted on me. It was immature, cruel and poor communication. I have a lot of work to do on expressing myself in a loving, compassionate manner. I own my faults and he has a right to be angry by what I said.

    Where he could’ve improved is by stepping outside of himself for one damn minute to consider my feelings. He lacks sympathy and immediately goes straight for the defense instead of trying to defuse an emotional situation. He can still stand up for how he wants to be treated but also recognize my feelings. Instead I am looked at like my feelings are completely invalid and he plays the victim card like he is an innocent bystander in the line of fire. If he had even attempted to say, “I’m sorry for hurting your feelings. I only meant it as a fantasy so slow down. Please don’t snap at me and get worked up when you haven’t heard the entire story.”

    We wouldn’t had a completely different outcome if he responded with a compassionate approach. He screamed I don’t deserve this, went silent and that was the end of that convo. We haven’t spoken since it went down. If I even suggest the above to him he’ll come back saying how he’s tired of having to reassure me and that I’m insecure. Yeah, no $hit the past affair caused some insecurities. There is no recovery without some stressful exchange so maybe he’ll just stop talking to me forever due to anger. If it were anyone else I’d initiate an apology but with him it’ll ignite the fire. To your question about why it hurt me so much…. it triggered my deepest darkest fears of being unwanted and unloveable.

    For you…. great courage speaking up about what you would like to see improve between you two. Asking for what you want takes guts and is not easy to do. People aren’t mind readers so it’s the best way to show love for him and for yourself. Now it is up to him to take that request and apply some changes in your relationship dynamic. The strange thing about frequency and communication is that it is hard to define quantitatively or just in words in general. It is also the biggest complaint I hear from my girlfriends that are single, in a relationship and dating casually. For women, having consistent, daily contact is what makes us feel connected. We are social creatures and the expectations from a romantic partner are much higher. It’s hard not to place a direct relationship with the frequency of contact and how interested they are in you. It’s not the measurement to use but women tend to associate it with the strength of their relationship. Also, it’s a bonding mechanism and keeps you feeling close. All I can say is that when I get it I’m really happy and when i don’t I feel very lonely in the relationship. It’s a BFD but the good news is that he is not your primary partner. If he shows some improvement you can probably feel satisfied even if it’s not to the level of what you’d want in a full-time relationship.

  137. TTSP,
    Happy Fourth of July first of all. I just read you words and was thinking about them and how I would react. You say “We were talking and I mentioned feeling a little lost about career, where to live and my next move, etc. He chimes in and says yeah I don’t want to have to decide my path forward. I wish “insert wife’s name” would just say let’s move to Italy and I’d go in a heartbeat.
    I totally understand that this statement enraged you. Yes I would react as well. Yes I would feel insulted and rejected.
    You say:
    “It felt like someone said you’re a nothing, worthless piece of crap and I don’t care if I ever see you again.”
    Again I completely understand your response. But since I have already been through scenarios like this with my exMM only to find out he was lying about wanting to leave and get away with his wife I have different responses too.

    I feel it was his way of protecting himself AFTER I said I was heading in my own life direction during one of several discussions about this. Bottom line is he did not want me leaving him so he became immediately punishing towards me. Being a narc he could not stand to hear I was going off in a new career direction or that I needed to think about my life apart from his. He was the center of BOTH of our worlds. SO I was breaking the rules thinking carefully about myself. His needs were number one. SO when I would mention being nervous about my own career my own projects and choices he would react by saying he and his W were going to retire far away. Maybe in Europe. Or he was going to retire sooner than expected and move away with her. It was a very immature response to me needing to actually be able to lean on him a bit. He could not stand that I was choosing independence so he would lash out like this. I say all this as it strikes me that your MM might have had a similar reaction upon hearing you contemplate your own life without him in it. As a narc this is the way he would act.

    Yes you have both agreed you have no future together, etc. But that is the logical mind not the seething red hot heart which has its own impulses. Its own reasons and methods. I hope this helps. It sounds (to me) like your MM can’t handle you leaving IMHO. And he acts out in very immature ways when his security is threatened.. Otherwise he is completely tone deaf and selfish. BAF

  138. TTSP, that is a hard statement to hear and it would have hurt had my MM said it, but my guess is that your MM did not mean it the way you took it. My guess is that your MM was either speaking flippantly (and it really was just an off-handed joke that really did not mean he wants to move to Italy) or he was speaking protectively knowing that you were talking about leaving the job and going elsewhere. Also, you said you were telling him you were lost on “where to live.” Were you suggesting to him that you might move away? If so, he might have felt defensive thinking, “If she can so easily move away from me, I can move away from her!” Even if you weren’t suggesting moving far away, he is hearing that you want to leave this job and that might be hurting him in the way that you’re saying his words hurt you. He might be wondering what he’s going to do once you’re gone, and he might have made that Italy comment to try to show he’s not pathetic and just waiting around. Most of all, I don’t think that statement means that you are nothing to him. It could mean very much the opposite.

    I can’t exactly remember when my MM said it (I think it was when we were having the break-up talks in 2017 and he was really struggling with balancing it all), but my MM said that he wanted to just move away from everyone and live in a cabin in the woods all by himself. That was hard to hear. I know he was just saying it as more of a metaphor for how overwhelmed he is with trying to make everyone (me, his wife, his kids, himself) happy, but it struck me. I remember thinking, “He wants to get away from me that badly?” and “Does he mean it? Would he really be happier all alone?” So, sure, a part of him probably did want some alone time given how overwhelmed he was feeling, but I mostly chalked it up to him just saying one of those things people say when they want to flee from it all (but can’t).

    I think the question is why did this comment by your MM hurt you so much? You both have accepted that there is no future for you, and you have said many times that you want to be done with him and want to move on and that you are trying. I can see the steps you’re taking for this. Isn’t part of moving on accepting that your MM may no longer be in your life at some point? I am not saying this is easy (and you know this is not something I want in my affair), but isn’t this something you will eventually need to do? I know it was really hard to hear your MM say that, but he has to move on, too. I don’t think your MM really meant that he wants to move to Italy, but maybe there is a part of him that wants to get away from you if you are moving on from him? I know that hurts, but I could understand him wanting that if it hurt him too much to watch you move on. When you yelled at him for being callous, what did he say? Did he explain? From what you’re saying, though, it doesn’t seem whatever he said made you feel better. Ultimately, if your MM’s comment is yet another thing that helps you be done with him, I think that’s a good thing.

  139. Lois, that has to be pretty frustrating that your MM kind of went MIA again right after you two had a good talk about what you needed and how he was going to try to put in more effort. Maybe he has a different idea of what more effort means, but I know I’d be pretty disappointed if he suggested meeting this week and then didn’t follow up on that offer. You were the last one to text him on Monday so I don’t see why you would contact him about meeting up this week. It’s on him to contact you not only because it’s his “turn” to text but because he was the one to suggest meeting up AND he is the one who needs to show more effort.

    I know you’re frustrated and you want to contact him to say wtf? but at some point you really do have to put the ball in his court. At some point, you just have to let him show you the effort (or not). Also, in fairness to him, his effort might not be reflected in an immediate change given that he really could have had a particularly busy week. I know you don’t want to wait too long, but I also think it’s fair to give him a little more time to show the effort he said he’d show.

    A few weeks ago, I asked my MM to give me a little more. I told him now that we were back in the affair (and having sex again regularly) that it wasn’t feeling great to have such low communication/contact. I told him that I didn’t have some specific amount or type of closeness I needed, but that I simply needed him to do a little more (however he wanted to do it) to show that he wanted me/our relationship. I told him that the higher communication before was part of what showed me that so if we’re going to keep the low communication, I need to know in other ways. That night my MM sent me a long email about all the things he liked about our time together that day. It was very unlike him and very sweet (showing he was trying to give me more). Then he offered me a little more time than usual the following week (two days). But then for the next two weeks, he sent no texts and was even slower than usual to respond to email so I was left feeling like, “wtf? We’re back to the same ol’ after just one week of effort.” Of course, I wanted to say something to my MM like, “We have this conversation two weeks ago and now you’re not emailing me for 4 days?” But I decided to be more patient, and I decided that I didn’t want to push any more than I had. At some point, my MM just has to show the effort (or not). So, I’m trying to give him the space to show that effort because, well, it will feel a lot better if he does it without me asking again. I’m also trying to see effort on his part that I might not have “counted” before because I can’t forget he has more responsibilities than I do (since he has two kids). And, yes, I’m also trying to hold him accountable for showing effort so I will say something if in a few weeks it feels like nothing has really changed.

    So, at least for now, I say give your MM a little time to show you some effort. What more is there to say at this point anyway? I don’t think there’s any doubt that he knows how you feel and what you want. I do hope you are done chasing. And if your MM does contact you about meeting up this week, I’d again suggest against physical stuff. It seems you two still have a bit to sort out about your relationship and what effort he is even able to give (and if that’s enough for you). Look at how frustrated you are after just a few days. Adding sex into the mix just makes it all more frustrating and harder in the long-run if you haven’t gotten to a “good” place in your relationship.

  140. Lois you ask some questions and I will give you my best feedback. If it is not what you want to hear or what you believe then by all means do whatever YOU think is best. Just pay VERY close attention to the little voice in your head. That voice is trying to get your attention. That small little quiet voice is much more powerful than you might think!
    You ask:
    Should I contact him and ask what is going on that after we had talked thought things were going to be different?
    No No NO. In my humble opinion leave him alone and let him gather up (or not) his own energy and resources to contact you. You must not take the lead on this as by waiting you will see what he is really made of. Try to wait and see what he does and do not reach out first.
    Or should I just wait and see if he bothers to contact me and let him know then how I feel?
    Yes you must wait. I know it is hard. Try your best to distract yourself with anything you can…the holiday your family Netflix whatever! waiting is very hard but you must give him rope to hang himself as we say where I am from. Do not help him.
    “With all of my heart, I hope and pray that how I am feeling now will continue so I am not starting at ground zero again with trying to be done.” YES.
    I totally agree Lois!!

  141. First, happy holiday week to those that celebrate the fourth. I truly cherish long weekends and I’ll be off for the rest of the week 🙂 I felt compelled to write here because I’ve gone back and forth on how or whether to sustain any type of relationship with the mm or just cut the cord completely. Today he said something that traveled very very deeply down to the core. That must be the universe saying be done forever.

    He has praised me up and down and talked about how much he values me in his life. I’m such a beautiful person inside and outside. My future husband is the luckiest man…Blah blah. I’m not trying to talk myself up because I think I’m a good soul but an average person just like everyone else. So… to get to the gist. We were talking and I mentioned feeling a little lost about career, where to live and my next move, etc. He chimes in and says yeah I don’t want to have to decide my path forward. I wish “insert wife’s name” would just say let’s move to Italy and I’d go in a heartbeat.

    Now, given our history and the meaning behind those words it didn’t even cross his mind that it might be a little painful for me to hear that. It felt like someone said you’re a nothing, worthless piece of crap and I don’t care if I ever see you again. Now, he doesn’t owe me anything nor have loyalty to me. We both concur that there is no future between us. I’m fine, accepting and ok that he has his destiny and I have mine.

    Something about it really struck a chord and I wanted to slam his face into the pavement. I seriously felt rage like I hadn’t felt in ages. It scared me and I lambasted him for being insensitive, heartless and callous. Would any of you feel completely insulted/rejected/dejected if your mm that you’re still talking to said, “Hey I hope my spouse decides to move us to another country. I’d be happy to go.” What does that say about what you mean to him? To me it says you’re nothing and I couldn’t give a crap about having you in my life.

    Man’s rejection is God’s protection and the universe gave me a big loving gift here. I needed something to push me over the edge from transition phase to nothing. Felk, BAF, Lois, Nomad would that have cut you like a knife? I have to keep that statement close to my heart anytime in the future when he tries to befriend me and want to go for walks, coffee, lunch or just have personal chats.

    I’m not going to let it ruin my beautiful summer weekend. Thank you for this forum and your kind responses.

  142. Hello everyone. Thanks for the responses. I felt good about how things went and was proud of myself for not giving in especially given the fact that MM has been distant again. I did leave on a trip the day after we met for the weekend and did not contact him but he did not me either. I texted him Monday to let him know I was back and several hours later he texted to apologize for the delay but was covered up with work. He did not ask about my trip but texted my trip was wonderful with my mom and have not heard a word. Honestly, I feel he needs to put forth the effort as he said he was willing to do for this to work. I am not chasing after him; therefore, I have not let all of those feelings resurface because until he proves he wants this to this work…I cannot keep torturing myself. I understand he is very busy but it does not consume that much time to say, glad your trip was good…miss you…when can we get together…etc. When we met, we talked about meeting up this week before the long holiday weekend. If his guilt has already pushed him away after only a few days, then I am definitely glad things were not physical with us because he would have gotten his way once again. To be honest, I am not sure that we need to physical contact even if we were to meet this week. I feel how things have been the last few days should be talked about as this is why things were not working for me. I am willing to be patient and understanding but he has to give me more than he has been or it is not happening. With all of my heart, I hope and pray that how I am feeling now will continue so I am not starting at ground zero again with trying to be done. Should I contact him and ask what is going on that after we had talked thought things were going to be different? Or should I just wait and see if he bothers to contact me and let him know then how I feel? Any thoughts? Thanks!

  143. Lois, like BAF said, it’s so good that you were able to say the things that you wanted to say. It is hard to be honest when we’re scared and I know you don’t want to lose this relationship, but you have to be willing to lose a relationship to stand up for what’s best for you and to be true to who you are. If you can’t be yourself and ask to be treated as you feel you deserve, then what kind of relationship can it be? It’s so great that you stuck to your plan of a short meeting, honest expression of what you need, and no physical! Your MM was flirty because he missed you, and I think he was thinking you’d end up in bed again together. I think it was pretty important for you to show your MM that you weren’t just going to be available for sex every few months when he misses you enough. And I’m not saying that’s all he wants you for, but I’m saying that it’s important to show your MM that you need more if you’re going to be in this relationship and you’re not going to simply do this on his terms. You showed him that today, and I hope you can continue to stand up for what you need and hold your MM accountable for treating you better. It’s not easy, especially when you’re missing him, too.

    It’s good that he said he would put in more effort. I hope he will, but this is the hardest part. It sounds like you MM was honest about the struggles for him. We know it’s the guilt he feels about not being a good husband and father. It is the same for my MM, and it is also that part about the feelings getting out of hand. When that happens, they feel out of control, and when they feel out of control, I think they reach for what feels safe – their family. It’s good that he was honest about this, but I’m sure there’s a lot more you’d like to talk about with him before moving forward. My advice is take it slow. That was something I had to remind myself over and over when my MM and I were easing back in. I still have to remind myself. 🙂

    I’m glad you were able to have a conversation you’ve wanted to have for months. I hope you can sleep well tonight.

  144. Lois, BRAVA!! You set boundaries and you stuck to them! And you set a definite time frame and I am very sure that helped this situation. It seems went quite well! I know it is far too early to celebrate but I do think you and he made good progress during this talk. I also think it was brave of you to tell him all of your feelings. Not only did you do that but he did NOT get up and leave in the middle of it. :). That took guts. I know how hard it is to tell the truth about how we feel when we are afraid the other person might leave us if we are honest. I think you should be very proud of yourself! BAF

  145. Oh and nothing happened between us. I gave him a small kiss on his check and told him thanks for coming. He took my hand and held it for a second. You could tell he was legit and wouldn’t have taken much for things to have heated up. However, my purpose was to talk and was sticking to it. BAF, I stuck with it like you said and didn’t cave in to the desires. I set those boundaries before we met and felt it was important to stick to it. That was a major step for me.

  146. Well, I took your advice. I texted MM to confirm we were meeting and explained I wouldn’t have much time. He said he was still good with us meeting. We texted back and forth. I explained that we need to just talk because his feelings were unclear and things had been working for me. He agreed that we did need to talk because he has missed me. He made a couple of flirty comments but told him that we just needed talk. He got the message and agreed. We did meet and had a wonderful talk. I expresses my frustration about things and how I didn’t appreciate the drama with other lady at work. I told him everything. He said it was difficult to express feelings bit understood what I needed. He agreed to put forth more of an effort. He was honest and said at times it gets to be too difficult and can’t let us get between him and his kids. I was totally okay with this because I had already told him there is no one worth me giving up my kids. He said at times the feelings get out of hand and he has reign those back in because he knows what we have cannot be anything more. We talked about lots of things. He asked when he could see me again and planning some time next week. I’m going into this guarded bit can say I’m glad that I went because if nothing else I stood up for myself and he knows exactly how I feel about things. We shall see what he does…will keep you posted. Thank you again.

  147. Lois, I hear your dilemma. There is a lot of danger to meeting with your MM. All the addiction feelings will come to the forefront (for both of you). You will likely touch and more. This has happened before. You two meet like this after a long time apart and you’re flooded with feelings. While that can feel good, the problem is that the feelings can make you scared to say the things you wanted to say. Or they can make you more agreeable to the things he says. Or they can make him agree to changes that he will not make once you two part (as he has done before). Also, if you touch/kiss/sex, you will, once again, think that he wants to be with you and you might get in the cycle of waiting for him if there is no real discussion about what would be different this time. So, if you see him, stay away from the physical stuff. No “the passion overcame us.” You know how to put the brakes on if you want to. 🙂

    But I know you really want to see him. Seeing how you drove by happy hour a few weeks ago looking for his truck after you told yourself not to go shows me that you want to see him. I don’t think it’s you “sucking it up”. I think it would be you seeing him because you want to see him. I don’t think it’s you hearing what he has to say. I think you frame it that way because it makes it easier to agree to see him because you feel you’re being kind to do this for him. I think if you agree to see him, it’s because you very much want to see him. Do not beat yourself up for this, but try to be honest about what is best for you. If it is best for you right now to talk to him in person, then do that and own that decision. If you feel it really is not good for you right now, then tell him you are not ready to see him and send an email. Do what is most likely to get the goal you desire. What is your goal?

    This reminds me of when my MM came over to my house a few times during our “break up.” Both times (November 2017 and January 2018), I was hesitant. I extended the offer, he agreed, and then I debated whether or not this was a good idea. I knew I wasn’t ready. I knew I was a mess. I knew I was still desperate to get back together. Remember how miserable you were just a few weeks ago before your MM gave you some hope? You weren’t sleeping. You weren’t focused on anything. You were consumed with missing him. Are you in a good mental place to talk to him? I know you feel a little strength right now because he is giving you hope, but I know all too well how short-lived that “strength” is if you aren’t mentally ready for the relationship to be over. Both times, of course I invited my MM over. Despite my “debate” and knowing I wasn’t ready, I also knew there was no way I was turning down the chance for him to come to my house again. I missed him too much. In November 2017, we just talked. It was good-ish. It helped a little (while hurting, too, because we didn’t get back together which is what I wanted), but things were soon bad again because he was still struggling a lot. In January 2018, we had sex. That was bad. Not the sex. 😉 But he got more distant after because he was more confused and it was terrible for me. After that, he didn’t come over for another 7 months… until we were both in a much better mental place to be alone together (and we did not have sex for another 4 months).

    So… being alone together can put a band-aid on the hurt, but it can also lead to more hurt if you two don’t really talk honestly and openly. Is your MM capable of open and honest? My suggestion is that, if you end up meeting him, you stick to your plan to be honest about your feelings and about what you need to make this work (and about what he is willing to do to make it work). You will worry that you’re going to scare him away if you ask for too much, but how can this work if you aren’t honest about what you need? Always remember… it wasn’t working before. Something has to change. Talking in person can also hurt if the other person doesn’t say what you want. Most every conversation I had with my MM early on in our break up was REALLY hard, and he usually said a mix of lovely and hard things that almost always made me leave the conversation feeling there was no solution. Do NOT go into this conversation with your MM thinking that he’s ready to get back together. He might be, but it’s often not that simple. Try to really listen to what he’s saying about the struggles and barriers. It can be hard sorting through all their evasive maneuvers, but I wish I would have listened better to the struggles and not just focused on “so, do you want to be together?” Because if I would have listened better (in 2017), I would have recognized that when he said he wanted to be together, it didn’t necessarily mean that he could. So, when my MM and I decided to give the affair another chance (last fall), I asked him why. I asked him what had changed in the year since he ended it? Why now was he able to be in the affair and not then? I think this is pretty important to ask your MM because he hasn’t shown that he can be in the affair this last year.

    And the hardest thing… how do you do this in one conversation? You can’t. You may leave this conversation feeling more confused than when it started, and then what? Need #1 for me would be to get your MM to agree to have more conversations in person to sort it all out before you two agree to anything. Best of luck to you.

  148. Lois,
    Personally, I think you should go and see him in person and take the email with you and refer to it as you speak to him.
    I do not think canceling the meeting is a good idea UNLESS you are done with this relationship.
    If you are done, then don’t go. But you seem to not want to end things just yet. You seem to want a compromise of some kind with him. So I say go and see him in person. Once you have finished speaking give him a chance to also speak and wait for him to say something. He needs to speak. You must determine if he seems willing to compromise.

    I also think you should set a firm time limit for the meeting and be careful not to let it go on too long. An hour? an hour and a half maximum? Set a firm limit on the time and keep all physical contact to a bare minimum. When the time is up tell him you must go and then do it. Get up and leave! This is just my two cents. If you think you can do this then go and see what it feels like to try and hash out a plan.

    I also think Felk will weigh in with some good advice and has navigated these waters. Lastly this: Lois, if you end up in bed it will really not be good for you at all. It will shock your system and put you sliding backwards. So do not let it happen! Make yourself a promise and keep it! BAF

  149. The reply button is gone…lol. thanks for the advice and habe thought about things. I texted MM that we needed to talk about things and didn’t send email. He agreed to meet Thursday but now I’m having second thoughts about seeing him. It’s partially because of fear what he’s going to say but the other part is losing the progress made as I know once I see him all of those feelings will resurface. If things don’t work out, I just don’t want to start from scratch…if that makes sense. Should I let him know my plans have changed and send him the email? Or should I sick it up and mee him to hear what he has to say? I have a feeling it will be expressing my feelings and getting very little put of him as he does not talk about his feelings which is part of the problem. If he wants to be with me and willing to put forth the effort needed to making things work for both of us, then he needs to prove it. Sending him in the email explains what I need and if he can’t do it then there’s really no point to us meeting, right? Or I am just trying to talk myself out of seeing him. What are your thoughts?

  150. Hope, I missed your writing on June 15 somehow so I thought I would just say a quick hello here! You are welcome for any advice. Working two days a week sounds really good for you as Felk mentioned below! Are you still apart from your husband I am wondering? It sounds like you are staying strong in dealing with your MM. GOOD for you! You are very wise to not meet him in person. A meeting like that will trigger romantic or sexual feelings for both of you, even if you both try your “best”. At least that is what always happened with my exMM. You sound firm in not wanting your affair back and oh how wise that is. It will save you so much heartache! I love the mindfulness practice you are doing. Indeed that is a great idea and very helpful for minds that are stuck running in circles over the affairs we are having. I am so happy to hear this. Yes affairs can her very damaging, I agree. Who knew they would be so hard to break off?
    For me it has taken almost a year for me to realize that despite all the pain of my affair ending and the affair have taken place in my own home and neighborhood, and backyard literally, I have rediscovered that I DO love where I live all over again. without him. It has taken a really long time for me to appreciate my neighborhood for its good qualities after me associating my neighborhood so much with my exMM whose business is next door. Thankfully he shares ownership of it and is here half the week only. I allowed the affair to really “boundary cross” into my life and my home (which is my sanctuary!) and I left no protection for ME. I had no where to run to as I associated my house with HIM. aarghhhh. But it is so different now. Now I simply would never even dream of dating anyone that lives close to me. I need my own space and my own protection from the world. My exMM took advantage of how much I (stupidly) opened up my entire world for him. No more.

    Be very careful of your friendship with your MM and keep your psyche safe from too many triggers of the affair. Keep parts of your world and life off limits to him! Especially your kids if you can. Don’t let him invade your life is my advice for you. I am glad you can see he is not perfect. This will help you. The pain of not being able to be part of his real life goes with the territory of loving a person who is already married and taken. It is a real heartache but don’t let the sadness draw you back into the affair. The pain of not being able to be with him can only lessen if you manage to keep staying away! If you go back you only go back to an even worse pain. Trust me on this one. Been there done that!
    You are so wise to see that he tries to seduce you still ! by saying “only you understand him”, etc. No doubt he would rather have you back so stay strong. Don’t be that person who stays because he “needs” you! I was that and more, Hope! I was there for my exMM so willingly! It is actually no compliment in the end to be needed so badly when we are not allowed to need them so badly back. That is what I have found anyhow. BAF

  151. BAF, yeah, seems the reply button has disappeared! Maybe we’re reaching the limit on this page and we’ll be moved again soon? I know it took you 21 years to get out, but you got out of a relationship that was unhealthy. Narcissists are particularly difficult to leave because they can make their partner feel so small. They are so effectively manipulative. Took a close friend of mine 9 years to get out of a relationship with her narcissist. And you are very honest about how this started with your mom so, unfortunately, you were particularly vulnerable to your MM. But you got out and you inspire a lot of people on here. You’re right that all of our situations are different, but I think we all find the pieces that fit our situation and try to use that.

    Yeah, I guess my MM and I are attempting some sort of level-headed compromise, but we’ll see how long “level-headed” prevails in the emotional terrain of a relationship. 🙂 I still find the affair difficult, but if I don’t make it sound that hard, it’s because it’s a lot easier now relative to 2017 and 2018. We’ve come a long way. I’m still trying to sort out whether it’s better now (in the level-headed phase) or before (when the intensity was greater). I’m trying to learn from the past, but I’m also trying to let it go. If this is going to work, I have to stop thinking about what was and focus on what is or can be. Easier said than done, but that’s one of the things I’m working on now.

  152. Lois, I gave you that advice about the email thinking about my own situation in 2017 and some of the regrets that I had. I find regret difficult because I think we act as best we can in a situation, especially if we are not impulsive people. I am not typically impulsive. I think a lot about what I do, and so I try not to beat myself up too much about what I should have done differently. But, in 2017, I didn’t like how scared I got. I was acting out of fear so much that it wasn’t good for me, my MM, or our relationship. But, mostly, it wasn’t good for me. I wasn’t acting from strength as much as I did in the beginning of the relationship because the addiction made me so scared to lose those good feelings. The addiction made me scared of the lows that I’d grown familiar with throughout the affair, and I was scared to experience those more intensely if I lost the affair. It took me being out of the affair to see how bad it had gotten. In 2017, I knew I was scared and I knew I didn’t like how I felt, but I just couldn’t think with the objectivity I needed. That’s what distance from the relationship and what all of you have helped me with so much, and that’s what I hope I’m helping with when I give you that advice for your email. I can hear in your words that just a few weeks of distance have given you some objectivity, and it sounds like you’re trying not to get stuck in the same misery as before.

    This new version of your email sounds stronger, IMO. You are more direct right away about how things were not working (for you). You are clear about how you want to be with him, but you are also clear about how you need more clarity. You are understanding and fair. And you are clear at the end that, hey, this might not work for both of us, but this is what I need, and, if you want this affair, you have to let me know. And, just in case you worry, no, you are not asking too much. Most important, you need to be happy with the email. Our MM’s silence can be very punishing, but if you act from strength, you will be much less likely to regret. Their punishing silence only works if we let it make us feel as if it’s a judgment on who we are. It is not. It can feel that way, but it is not. It is a comment on their insecurities and difficulties in communicating, and, when we act from strength, we recognize that. So, I can’t guarantee that your MM will give you the answer you are hoping for. Affairs are hard, and he may simply find it too hard. But I can guarantee that if you act from strength you will feel better about doing all you could to save the relationship even if it doesn’t work. It’s not an easy place to get to when we’re scared, but the more you act from strength, the more you recognize that, if the relationship doesn’t work, it is not a relationship you want.

  153. Hey, Felk. After thinking about things and realizing you are exactly right…nothing has changed except i know there was some peace felt when things ended rhe last time. I didnt have the anxiety of not knowing how he was feeling or waiting/hoping he would text. Now, im back to feeling those things. If he was willing to make an effort, i will give things another try but things have to be different. I revised my email. What do you think?

    Although it has been nice having you somewhat back in my life, my mind and heart seem to be still conflicted. The distance between us has given me time to think about our situation and have realized how things just were not working. My feelings for you have never wavered. I want you in my life but need to know you feel the same. I’m reluctant to get back involved as your feelings are still unclear and texts have been kind of vague. It’s been several months of not knowing what was going on and trying to be patient as you struggled with things. The anxiety of not knowing your feelings and waiting/hoping for you to reach out was too stressful. During this time, I also struggled with other things in my life that had to take precedence such as my kids and my health issues. I know and understand that we do not always handle things the right way and often times we are in survival mode. However, the lack of communication seems to intensify an already complicated situation. I did not know that you were having to travel as much as you have been with your job which probably has not gone over too well with your family. I also did not realize you felt the same way about not being able to be with me. I know you tend to bury your feelings. I do understand because there are some things that I have not been able to be totally honest with you about as far as my feelings. All I do know is that you are who I want in my life and understand things can not be anything more than what they are…I am okay with that as long as you feel being with me is worth the effort because that is what it is going to take for things to work. There are going to be times when it is impossible to balance but we have to communicate things better. You are who you are and would never want or expect you to change the person who I have grown to care about. However, I cannot do this by myself and there are times when it would help to know what is in your heart. We have been together for three years. I have not given you any reason to distrust me or think that I would ever purposely say or do something to hurt you or your family. It is not who I am. I don’t have the answers but feel being with you is worth the effort. If you do feel the same, I am willing to give things another go. If not, I understand and will continue to put distance between us.

  154. Lois, my first thought is, “Your MM was away from his family for a week and he didn’t contact you? After he left you with those texts about possibly wanting to continue the affair?” I know he had 14-hour days, but, well… it seems you know. So, my main thought is that, yes, if he wants the relationship, he should show that. He needs to show you the effort. He needs to show you that he’s committed to the affair and that it’s not simply going to be more of the same where you have sex and then he feels guilty and then you barely have any contact for months. Unless that’s good enough for you. If you’re okay with that, that’s up to you. Has he asked to see you? Has he contacted you since Friday? Once again, YOU are the one sending him email.

    I know you want to send this email, though. I get it. It weighs on you, and you don’t like to be passive. You seem like the type who regrets inaction more than action (I am the same way). As for your email, I think you need to say what matters to you. Say the things that you want to say, but try not to act out of fear. I don’t blame you for being afraid. In your position, I would be, too, but it seems you are holding back in your email. I see you being understanding of HIS things once again while not really telling him how bad his low communication and MIA feel. I know this is the temptation in this situation given that you do not want to scare him away, but my best advice for this working is for you being honest about what you need. Of course, though, you have to say it the way that is true to you. And if this email is true to you and makes you feel most comfortable, then send this email. Send the email that you will not regret or wish you had done differently.

    It is good you are not hurting now the way you were two weeks ago, but that’s only because you have a little hope now. That hope has given you some relief. You are feeling good about his contact and his flirtation. But unless you come to some solutions for real change in your relationship with your MM, you will soon be back to how you were months ago. If you want a different relationship with him, you have to take a different approach. What is he willing to do differently this time to make this work? What are you going to do differently this time to make it work? For you, does it mean being more honest about what you need? Can you do that? Can you hold him more accountable to treat you well? For him, can he give more? Is he willing and able? How? Why couldn’t he before and now he can? What about the guilt? Did that go away?

    In the other post, I see you saying that you’re not sure if you want to go back to this relationship, but I see all evidence that you do. 🙂 Your email says that. Your actions say that. Maybe it’s the case that you don’t want to go back to “this” relationship and you’re hoping if you go back that it will be different. I’m just not sure the relationship will be different unless your MM works to be different. I know this all has to be very complicated and stressful for you right now, but try to simplify it by thinking about what you want/need from your MM and not being scared to tell him. Act “as if” you are creating the relationship you want and being the person you want to be. I know it is scary to ask for what you need, but you’re only going to be treated better if you MM knows he can only have you IF he treats you better.

  155. Hello everyone, where did all the “reply” buttons go? Hmmm. Anyhow Felk I am replying to you up here. Thank you for being impressed 🙂 Yes I did see him for who he was, took a stand, and left him but in my mind it took me one helluva long time to get there! I did so only after many years and finally finding this place on the internet. I think that was late spring or early summer of 2017. Someone on this site had been describing being discarded by her narcissistic exMM. It was very devastating to her. She was having a conversation with someone else. I read that conversation over and over again and then started doing some research. And checked with some real life sources. And then I started to piece the painful reality of my situation with my exMM together. Where I had seen “hope” for us, suddenly I was realizing there was none. He was never going to change despite me trying everything to get him to change. This was a slow evolutionary process.

    I also started realizing my Mom and my exMM were so similar in ways in how they devalued me and/or often made fun of me. Mocked me in a way. And pointed out all my flaws. In order to survive in my family of origin, I had maladapted: I had learned to internalize much of this self diminishing language rather than getting furious and directly approaching my very scary mother. (or my very scary exMM)
    To me they were scary because every time I had tried to stand up for myself I got beaten down even worse than the last time (psychologically). My siblings and my departed father in my family of origin all tried to confront my Mom in vain as well. Narcissists are very scary to approach and will almost certainly abandon you (discard you) of you dont agree with them so there you have it.

    Anyhow, I was ripe for my affair with my exMM as he felt like “home”! If narcissists were to only discard and then leave you alone for life they would not be as harmful. But, in fact they discard you but will BE BACK. But being in the empath role to the narcs in my life I had learned to always be patient to a fault, kind, forgiving, loving, extra loving, to not yell or beg our plead or get too angry, tried to be better than the narcs, tried to behave “better” and ultimately I tried to CHANGE the narcs in my life with all my “love and kindness”. I tried and tried and tried to “love” these people into loving me back. But it never worked. It was never going to work out either but I had that script from childhood and it needed healing.

    It took me more on and off again from summer of 2017 before I finally quit him last August (or late July) 2018. I must check that date. And since then I have been done. I have been “acting as if” it is the best thing for me even when it does not “feel” that way.

    It is imperative for anyone dealing with a narc to get some kind of help because the gaslighting and the finger pointing will do you in every time. My art work is about breaking free basically but I dont get into specifics in the exhibition materials. Yes it does seem people are responding favorably which is a surprise to me as I thought my work was maybe too difficult to like.

    Like I said to TTSP, I think it might be easier to leave an affair in a black and white situation like mine, when finally one realizes the damage being caused to oneself (if that is what is happening in fact). But there are many different affair situations here and I have come to realize that one size does not fit all. I do not know how one leaves an affair other than mine. But I do know how I left mine and why.

    Felt your newly designed affair has been a sort of level-headed compromise. You have never said you wanted to leave your affair. Only your MM said he wanted to leave and you needed to cope. And you did. He does not sound like the man you would want to be married to so this is a big plus for you. On the other hand you must keep up desire for your H even when your are not feeling it. I am sure this is not easy. Then again it isn’t that hard seeming (sounding) for you either. (As a reader I mean). So as long as you are in that place I imagine you will stay there.

  156. Hey, ladies. MM contacted me today. I composed this email…what do you think?

    Honestly, I am not sure where to begin as my mind and heart seem to be somewhat conflicted and reluctant to let myself be hurt again. However, it has been really nice talking with you and have missed you so very much. Although my heart was relieved to know you were going through similar emotions and had reconsidered our situation, the distance between us has given me time to think about things. My feelings for you have never wavered and there is no doubt I want you in my life but want to make sure you feel the same. As you know from my last email, I was slowly making progress in letting you go and was reluctant to make contact. If it wasn’t for ???? expressing her concern about something being wrong, I probably would not have done so. My feelings for you weighed upon my heart as it bothered me to think you were hurting because of us. I wanted you to know that things hadn’t been working for me either and there were no hard feelings. I was hoping this would ease your mind. It’s been a couple of months of not knowing what was going and trying to be patient as you struggled with things. During this time, I have also struggled with other things in my life that had to take precedence such as my kids and my health issues. I know and understand that we do not always handle things the right way and often times we are in survival mode. However, I do feel we need to communicate better to help alleviate some of the stress with our situation. I did not know that you were having to travel as much as you have been with your job and it probably has not gone over too well with your family. I also did not realize you felt the same way about not being able to be with me. I know you tend to bury your feelings. I do understand because there are some things that I have not been able to be totally honest with you about as far as my feelings. All I do know is that you are who I want in my life and understand things can not be anything more than what they are…I am okay with that as long as you feel being with me is worth the effort because that is what it is going to take for things to work. There are going to be times when it is impossible to balance but we have to communicate things better. You are who you are and would never want or expect you to be any other way. However, I cannot do this by myself and there are times when it would help to know what is in your heart. We have been together for three years. I have not given you any reason to distrust me or think that I would ever purposely say or do something to hurt you or your family. It is not who I am. If you are willing to work on things, I am too but felt it was important for you to know where my heart is on things.

  157. Hello, all. Let me tell you the latest with MM. He was gone all last week on business trip and did not communicate much except a text on Wednesday and asked how is trip was going. He replied later and said he had in the air and headed to his next stop. I replied safe travels and left this at that. Friday evening MM texted that he finally made it home. I replied that’s good. He said it was 14 hour days trying to get things taken care of to get back. I replied that sucks. He flirted a bit but did not take the bait and thanked him for letting me know and glad he was home safely. He replied with another flirtation comment, so I replied jokingly but nothing more. I have contacted him since and not sure that I will or least have not felt the need so far. I cannot say that it is over because he is still in my heart and think about him. However, I also keep thinking about how it was not working and not sure I want to go back into it. As Felk and BAF said, things have not changed except maybe his mind has but for how long this time. I have just kind of stepped back and want to see how he handles things. If he is truly interested and wants to figure things out, he will contact me. If not, then it only proves his feelings and hopefully it will be what it takes for me to be done. I am not hurting like I was and back to being numb again…not sure that is a good thing but taking day by day. We shall see what happens and in the mean time, I am trying to use the what if approach and taking it slowly. Felk, I hope your MM gets back with you…it sucks when they do stuff like that. Take care.

  158. Hi All (BAF, Felk, Lois, Lifelessons, Hope and others). How’s everyone doing? I tried to scroll through the posts but couldn’t piece everything together. BAF, I think you’ve stayed detached and continue to move on 🙂 I loved the slogan “Act as if”. Felk, is everything well at home and with your significant other? Hope, from what I saw you’ve shown me that staying friends after an intimate relationship can be very difficult. I absolutely have to keep that in mind when I think….. oh maybe I could have a friendly thing. Glad to hear you’re feeling pretty well and very self-aware. I’ve been working 12 hour days but finally got the resume updated and am looking for a recruiter to get me in for interviews. I stepped away from the forum here bc it served as a reminder of what feels tragic. I missed the connections, helping others and writing for therapeutic reasons. With my situation I think I’ve followed the same on and off patterns as others. I know why, what to do and have acceptance but I allow someone else to influence me and convince me otherwise. I can resist and hold my ground until I don’t. I’m not a victim. I own my life, decisions and results. This has been an addiction I haven’t been able to kick forever. I will but I have to act my way into different thinking. In my heart I know I have to rip off the bandaid and be done forever. When I look at it as infinity I get so weighed down so I’ll start with just for today. Hugs to everyone on the path here.

    1. TTSP, it’s been a while and I too stayed away from this forum for similar reasons as you. I’ve ripped off the bandaid and I’m done. The only feeling I’m feeling about that person is sadness. It’s as though I’ve recovered and stabilized, and learning to live with the cancerous cells which are dormant and under control for now.

      NC since end Feb.

      Sending positive vibes to all here, who’ve walked the Joubert with me since my lowest in Jun 2017…

      1. Hi Nomad,
        You are a rockstar! Do you feel less anxiety and more in control of your emotions? I can face sadness but the panic attacks, neediness, rejection and worthlessness drain the life out of me. I’m so happy to read your message today. Sending positive vibes to you and everyone here.

      2. Nomad You ROCK woman! I am really impressed: Good on you.
        So nice to hear about your continued success. Sending positive vibes right back to you! BAF

    2. TTSP it is so nice hearing from you! Working 12 hours sounds very rough but GOOD for you! on getting your resume together and getting ready to start looking for a new job. That is progress! I hope you find a great recruiter now! I also hope there will be lots of opportunities for you in the near future and reasons for hope and joy. I know many people here are off and and on again in their situations. This is happily no longer true for me as I am DONE. But there were many many break-ups and reconciliations in my affair before I reached done. It was not 21 years of clear sailing. But, I finally reached a bottom. They say it takes at least 7 tries to leave an abusive relationship. That was certainly true for me.

      Once he treated me as badly as he did last summer I realized he would always have that capacity to treat me that badly. It was “in him” to act like that. A line was crossed for me that could never be uncrossed. In that moment, thankfully, I finally understood how emotionally abusive he can be. I had not seen that as I had always blamed myself for everything. He knew this well. So we had a clear pattern. Empath/narcissist. Everything was “my fault.” It was a shock for me to see him so clearly and it hurt me like hell. But in the end I am a person that knows when something is getting too harmful for even me. Being sober helps a great deal of course. I do in general accept far too much bad treatment in my love life and I thought it would never happen like that with him. I thought he was different! But when he did what he did last summer was the end for me. I knew I was done.

      I realize now it may be hard for others to find a bottom when the case is not as clear cut. My situation became very black and white to me and so the bottom was clear. I can see this now, with time passing for myself. Listening to others here including yourself I can see there are different possibilities for how these things go. I do think “Act as If” is perfect for anyone really ready to leave. Or anyone ready to take real time off from an affair with no contact. (No texts phone email social media etc etc) “Act as if” is something you are familiar with no doubt. So you know how it works too. 🙂

      “Act as if” will save your butt when you hit the pain of withdrawal. And I think it works if you work it! But I do think one has to reach a bottom first. Only when an affair has made us truly miserable and ready to quit can it work. Affairs can go pretty long before this point is reached unfortunately. And I was very protective of my affair for years and I would absolutely not listen to any advice given to me about why I should leave the affair from well-meaning people.

      I have seen my exMM a couple of times here and there. Nothing has changed in him however. Not a crumb of a thing. He says he has changed. He says he went to therapy and got meds. He says he is much more ‘mature’ now. HA! He is a natural salesman. He talks that same persuasive, good talk . He is an expert at making himself out to be a successful, strong, and charming man. He has charisma even now in his mid 50’s. He sees himself as very handsome and as a “lady’s man” (his words). And in some ways he is! He has confidence in himself with women and always gravitate towards him and he loves every ounce of attention he gets from them.
      Over the years I endured many many other “other women” around him. I never talked about that here but I can say been there done that. Especially when he was younger and even more handsome and appealing.
      But now I can see the very sad and pained man behind this facade. I do not like seeing it. Everything in me wants to run to him and to be helpful and to be supportive but I have learned to “act as if I don’t care” and keep MOVING not paying him any mind. Neutral passings, even emotions, don’t pay him any mind. And now I can just imagine how terrible it would be living with him, being his wife. No thank you!

      So I simply accept that my “natural instinct’ towards him needs ‘retraining’ lol and I am doing that in a program for women who have left narcissists. I tell myself my radar is broken with him etc. We all have the same story in some ways, I swear. Women (or me) who have loved and finally left narcissists. The pain seems much the same and the reality never changes.

      In the meantime my art work and work in general has thrived. I have grown as a woman and as a free woman! a great deal. I am working on a solo exhibition at the moment! But this has been also a tough year. I will be glad when the one year anniversary of this break-up and also my father’s departure is over (August). The two occurred very close in time for a very good reason no doubt. Hugs BAF

      1. BAF,
        Thank you for your hopeful, inspiring words. You certainly had a rough year. While grieving doesn’t occur in a straight line, I believe you’ve endured the hardest part. Do you have anything planned for the anniversary to take your mind off of your Dad and the ex?

        I sympathize with the narcissist recovery. I don’t have direct experience with a narcissist relationship but one of my exes that I lived with for a couple years used to gaslight me and that is emotionally abusive behavior. They make you think you’re imagining things and the problem resides entirely within you. I don’t dispute that I played a role and both sides need to take accountability but narcissists never admit fault. I’m sure when they’re full blown narcs they really do some serious damage to the psyche. I’ve read that narcissist can infiltrate anyone’s life no matter how healthy and strong that person is emotionally. They are con artists/posers/sociopathic and that’s what they do best.

        You are the winner in this scenario. Let his wife fix this broken person. Don’t get me wrong. 21 years is a long time and you must’ve had really wonderful moments. Pain has a short term memory though. I’m so glad for you he isn’t continuously wearing on your soul. You do have to hit bottom when the pain of continuing any behavior is far greater than the fleeting “euphoria”. As they say, recovery is not for people that need it but people that want it.

        I’m really thankful to have all of you on this site to relate to, provide suggestions and receive advice.

        1. Thank you TTSP! You are right the grieving is not linear. But you know what? It is a zigzag in the upwards direction so over time, things DO get better. But not all neat and clean and linear. You asked me about my plans for the anniversary? I had not thought that far but should do that. Good idea! I am not sure. One thing I have gone all out for recently is a solo art exhibition I am having and orchestrating. It is amazing to watch myself “act as if” I AM an artist worthy of viewing. 🙂
          I am becoming a “professional artist” even though I hardly inside feel it in my self some days.

          The low self esteem I felt in the relationship with my exMM pre-dated my affair. So it is quite a trip to watch myself act as if I DO care about my needs and wants. It is very unfamiliar and scary sometimes but not nearly as bad as being in my affair and wondering what my exMM would do next.
          It is unfamiliar and un-intuitive for me to take good care of myself. But even an old dog can learn new tricks. HA!
          You are right: “both sides need to take accountability but narcissists never admit fault.” That is why the empath in such a situation must LEAVE. Because the narcissist will never change. He/she is not a truly relational person. The longer you stay with a narcissist the more damage to your psyche. I agree with you:
          “when they’re full blown narcs they really do some serious damage to the psyche.” But I have learned in the months following my split with my exMM that my original narcissist was my mom not my exMM so you see I was quite unaware (unconscious) of what I was getting into with my exMM as it was so familiar.

          You said: “I’ve read that narcissist can infiltrate anyone’s life no matter how healthy and strong that person is emotionally. They are con artists/posers/sociopathic and that’s what they do best.” I would say that is mostly true. Although inside, narcissists are empty and not happy campers.

          The problem with people trying to leave a narcissist (either male or female) is that the deep down familiarity with this type of relationship and the abuse becomes its own noose, holding the person there in the cycle of abuse. I thought I could not leave is what I mean. In my head I thought I could only leave for awhile. But that I would always end up going back to him. Because I thought that he was really the only true ‘one’ and I would always love and forgive him. I thought it was my job to take the higher road and be as unselfish and as loving as I could possible be in my affair.

          Now I know I will not go back. Ever. (But it’s one day at a time). Everything happens when we become easy to learn and to go to the next level. The HP is not wishing misery on us for any reason.
          I wish you coming very soon: the most amazing job offers and new and bright possibilities! BAF

          1. BAF, I am still impressed that you are completely done with your MM. You saw him for who he was, you took a stand, and you have continued to educate yourself about narcissists and work hard to focus on yourself and move on. It is great to hear that you are doing a solo art exhibition, and even if you can’t always see your own strength my guess is that a lot will see that through your work.

    3. TTSP, good to hear from you. It sounds like you’re still on this rollercoaster a bit, but you’re vague so maybe I’m misunderstanding. What I do understand, though, is that this is a hard addiction to kick. I do think the best solution is NC and done forever, but not all of us have that option (if we work with our MM). So, good to hear that you’ve gotten your resume together and will be looking for new jobs soon. I know that’s a scary and exciting prospect at the same time, but if you want to be done with your MM for good, getting that distance from him is important.

      Things are mostly good with me. MM and I are back in this, and might have found a balance that works. I feel better than I have in a long time, and that includes when we were in the affair. Him ending our affair in 2017 helped us reset a bit. It helped me calm down the addiction, and it seems to have helped him, too. I don’t feel the insecurity and fear that I used to feel. Yes, some of it’s still there… it’s an affair… but I don’t feel the rapid highs and lows of before. I feel like myself again, and I don’t remember the last time I could say that. I act with much less fear now. I didn’t like who I was at the end of the relationship two years ago, and I don’t want to be that person again. And, yes, things are better with my H. Ending the affair temporarily forced me to get closer to my H again. Things are nowhere near back to where they were before the affair (I still don’t want to have sex with my H), but I closed some of the distance I had put between us. I don’t want to paint it all as roses (because having an affair still creates problems for me), but things are generally better.

      1. Felk,
        You have always been so sensible in everything you do. I admire your ability to stay grounded in the face of difficulty. Better is fantastic! I hope you’re getting more time and communication. Maybe the compromise in the amount you communicate serves as a reminder why you choose your H and not the mm. I found that I often overlooked compatibility issues because the rush was so high. I dismissed his messiness, moodiness, large ego, aloofness amongst other negative traits. Not that anyone is perfect but a man that doesn’t communicate, runs from his problems and retreats during rough periods is just not what I want in a partner.

        1. TTSP, you are right. Years ago, my friend (who I told about the affair from the beginning) asked if I’d leave my H for my MM, and I didn’t think so. I told her that he was too emotionally closed for me to be happy in a relationship with him. He is too scared/insecure to open up to another person for fear that it will diminish his power/control. And, related, he’s not a supportive partner. He does not like to praise/congratulate another for the good things they’ve done; and, if anything, he likes to find a way to knock the person down a bit. I get it because I’m a bit like that, too. So, it’s definitely no good to have two people in a power struggle in a relationship. There’d be plenty of good times in a relationship with him, but there’d be too many bad times. I recognize that. If anything, I think he idolizes me a bit and gets stuck in the fantasy. He continues to say that I’m the one for him. Maybe that’s true for him, but it’s not true for me (and I’ve never said that to him).

          So, things are “better” but it’s not all smooth sailing. Right now he hasn’t responded to an email from 4 days ago. I don’t know why. Usually he responds in 1-2 days. So, I’m annoyed given that we JUST had a conversation not two weeks ago about how it doesn’t feel good when it feels like he disappears. I JUST asked him to do a little more (given that we’re now back in this). He seemed responsive. I saw him twice last week (which was an increase in what we’ve been doing lately). And now this. If he’s out of town, he didn’t tell me (that’s another problem). If he’s not out of town, wtf? Did he think after seeing me for two days he could then disappear? Was that the trade-off? No one gave me the memo. I will remain sensible about it all, but as BAF has pointed out, maybe I’m a little too understanding at times.

  159. Well ladies. I ended up sending MM an email after having another night of not sleeping. I felt compelled to express my feelings. Shortly after I texted him to let him know to check his email. He immediately responded and thanked me. I told him that I was sorry but had to pull myself together before being able to make contact. I’m not sure if his reply which was about an hour later was in response to my text or email. This is what he replied.

    Believe me….I understand. I’m probably not handling my emotions the right way….I always seem to bury them….

    This was my email
    Hey, I was reluctant to make contact for several reasons as I’m trying to do what needs to be done and push through my emotions. It’s not been easy and find you on my mind quite often. I have been taking things day by day and allowing myself time to work through the times of sadness. It is more difficult letting go of someone who you don’t really want to but things weren’t working for either of us. There have been times I’d given anything for you to have reached out to me but that’s been part of the problem. It’s too difficult for you and keeps you from communicating what’s inside your heart. I have tried to be understanding and know I am a complicated person as well…that’s why we are like peas and carrots. Lol. I have recognized and appreciated how much you have tried just like sending smiley faces. However, in trying to give you space to deal with whatever struggles it was, I realized that people make time for those things of importance. I understood the situation with your work and family responsibilities as there is only so much time in a day. I also understand there are times of guilt that causes you to push away. I was and have been willing to work around many things because having you in my life was worth the effort. Unfortunately, I don’t think it is that way for you and your silence has only reinforced these thoughts. It’s okay because it has also made me realize why things weren’t working as it takes two people wanting the same thing. I know we couldn’t have anything more than what we had and was okay with it. Yes there were times I wanted more but realized if I wanted to have you at all that I had to be content with what we had. Yes there are times when I am with my family that you are in my mind which has caused guilt. I don’t feel being with you made me less of a mom because my kids have always been my priority. If nothing else, I think the happiness from being with you helped me get through rough days and was able to put a smile on my face around my kids. My relationship with (my husband name) hasn’t been good for some time otherwise things with us would have never happened. You are not the cause or reason for our problems. It is hard being with him when you are in my heart and sometimes causes guilt because i wish it were you. However, I am not in a position to make life changes and even if i could not sure i have it in me to hurt my family. I look at things differently and can either go back to the life before you and muddle through things or I can have passion in my life with you and muddle through things. For me, I wanted you but it doesn’t seem to be that easy for you. I’m not saying that it’s easy because it’s not there are times it’s quite difficult and as you said at times impossible. However, my feelings for you made it worth the effort. I don’t have any regrets only that we couldn’t find a balance that worked for you. I wanted so badly to see you yesterday but just like this message was reluctant as I didn’t want to lose the progress made. Its been difficult and stil struggle with things. Im trying to do whats best for both of us as i cant keep hanging on when being with isnt worth the effort. I went down to spokes but couldn’t do it. I ended up taking a drive instead as my heart was once again torn. I’m trying but it’s hard when you are who I want to be with. I don’t have the answers and know our situation was difficult. Just know I don’t have any bad feelings…it’s just the opposite as I have and do miss you greatly. ☺

    Do I regret sending it a little only because it sets me back and habe start at day one all over again…then again, it only confirms my thoughts and feelings that to him it wasn’t worth the effort. I have no other choice nor reason to mourn someone who doesn’t want to be with me. I’m sad but what can I do except move on. I’m not even sure if his text was in response to my email which reiterates his inability to communicate and that’s not what he wants. It does hurt that after 3 years and everything we’ve been through and I’ve supported him through all if his trouble that is all I get in response. It really makes me mad but what did I expect to happen. I keep telling myself be still my heart….this too shall pass. I hope because it sucks.

    1. I’m struggling today and had made such progress. If anyone here is considering to contact your MM, Please Don’t! Although I thought it would help ease my mind to get my feelings off my chest, it was a mistake. I’m back to day one and hurting like hell because after 3 years of being with him and being so supportive I get his brief text reply and don’t even know if it was on response to my text or my email…once again vague. I don’t get it and really hurts yet I need to use this hurt and anger to start fresh and stay committed to ending this heartache. I so wish things were different but can’t do it anymore. I’m so tired of hurting and putting myself out there to be hurt by this man who has some serious issues. My heart has been crushed once again. Ladies you were right and so wish I’d listened. My coworker was concerned about him which made me feel badly that it was because of us. I shouldn’t have not have put his feelings before my own because once again I’m left hurting and who knows what is going on with him. It was foolish of me…I cant keep doing this to myself. I know it was a set back but pray it gets easier and stop caring about him.

      1. Lois, try not to beat yourself up too much for sending your MM that email. You sent it because that is what you needed to do for yourself. You needed it to be consistent with the caring person you are when you heard he was struggling at happy hour. You needed it to get some things off your chest and express them to your MM. You needed it to see, once again, that your MM could not respond in a way that works for you. And you needed it to feel like you’ve done everything possible to save the relationship. You needed it so you don’t think “what if” I would have tried harder.

        I’ve said it before, but I would text my MM in the beginning of the break-up until I learned it was too anxiety-provoking waiting for a response or too crushing to get a blah response. I would have teary conversations with my MM about how the end of our relationship felt wrong until I learned that we both needed that break-up and it WAS the right thing for both of us. I would read through old emails and chats until I learned it was just too painful to be reminded of what we once had. We all break-up in our own way and do what we need to be at peace with it. As you’ve read on here over the years, no one has done a clean break the moment they decided the relationship was over. But that is why we all encourage NC as quickly as you can get to it. Holding on to something that is over is more painful that letting it go, but it takes a while to learn that lesson. It took me about a year to learn that. And even though I’m still with my MM, I had to let go of what we were. I had to let go of that intensity. I had to go through withdrawal from the addiction. And it hurt. Worst thing I’ve ever gone through, but I am honestly so much healthier now. It’s as BAF says, it’s hard to see now, but there is opportunity to grow in this. Take your time. Give yourself time to mourn and, unfortunately, to be in pain. It sucks and every day you will wake up wondering when the pain will end until you no longer wake up wondering that.

        You know your MM’s communication patterns better than I do, and it’s possible he is just taking a few days to respond to your email. Your email was long and he might need some time to think about it. Or maybe he is the type who would respond quickly and you know you are unlikely to get a response. I’m not trying to get you to hold out hope for a response (as I’m sure you’re doing that anyway), but I’m just saying that he may need a little time to respond to a message like that. I assure you that your affair ending is hard for him, too. Not that you have to feel sorry for him or that you owe him any more than you have given him. But simply that he may need NC as much as you do to get over this relationship. It may be too hard for him to respond as he might fear getting pulled back into all of the feelings again. I think it’s selfish and immature of him not to respond to such a poignant message, but we all get to NC in different ways and for him the band-aid ripping method might be the easiest.

        It will get easier. Slowly. You will stop caring about him and, more, you will stop wondering if he cares about you. Grieve in your way. Feel your feelings. Be sad. Don’t dwell on “what ifs.” Don’t dwell on the good things you lost but think about the bad things you no longer have to deal with. Remind yourself over and over how difficult the affair was with him, especially over the last year. Remind yourself that he was hurting and couldn’t keep doing the affair for the sake of his family. And, hardest of all, think about why it’s hurting so much to lose someone who didn’t even treat you that well. Thinking through this will help you think about the reality of the situation instead of the fantasy we like to believe it is.

        Do you have a friend you can talk to about all of this honestly? You might want to consider therapy, too. I know the pain you’re going through and it’s tough stuff.

      2. Hi Lois,
        I haven’t been in this forum for some time but I read your latest posts. IDK if you remember me but I’ve been trying to kick my addiction for a long time. I’ve done a lot of work but can’t say I’m scot-free. Anyhow, if there is something I’ve learned from all types of relationships it’s that if a guy is ready, wants the relationship and is in a good place, he will make plans with you. I approached that delicately bc in affairs people often want the other person badly but go MIA or don’t make plans due to all of the painful consequences. Yours seems to be bread crumbing you with periodic texts. It happens in all types of relationships. People want that connection but they are also not willing and available (emotionally, personally) to commit to plans. It’s a phenomenon I don’t quite get. He doesn’t want to let go of you but he’s also not going to give you a “relationship”. I guarantee it is not personal and he would be this way with any female. He can’t cope which was also the case with me. You are so into the other person but the rest of the circumstances cause too much pain. It’s not you. It is the relationship that is eating away at him. This could be temporary although history is often a good indicator of the future.

        Have you considered a different approach by letting him do the chasing? Why not? You put your cards on the table. Now it truly is up to him. In the meantime you may want to start the healing process and allow yourself to grieve. If you’re going to commit to letting him go you can’t jump on his maintenance texts. Unless he says he wants to give it a go and shows you through actions like setting a date and time to meet in person, then don’t do anything. You are worth someone that will give you quality time and consistent communication. I realize when both parties are married the time is limited but they still make a noticeable effort. I’m sorry for your pain. I can absolutely relate to wanting more from someone. You’ll miss him terribly during the next few weeks and months but what is worse? The withdrawals will go away but the perpetual agony of getting a fraction of what you deserve and want is intolerable.

    2. Lois, I get it. In my last message to you, I almost wrote, “I’m surprised you didn’t turn around and go to happy hour once you saw his truck drive by.” 🙂 I really get how hard it was to see your MM. Seeing my MM at work after the break-up (the cold way he would leave work without saying goodbye after we’d said goodbye to each other at the end of the day for 5 years) was excruciating. So, I understand why you sent him email after seeing him. When I give advice for NC, it’s sort of in-an-ideal-world advice, but it’s not necessarily the thing that I would do. 🙂 My general advice is always do what’s best for you. We have to do break-ups in the way that work best for each of us. NC is eventually the right thing for most, but how we get to NC can be a different path for each of us. If you needed to send your MM one more message to try to get one more response in the hopes that he would say that he wanted to try to make it work, I get it. If you simply needed to send one more message to relieve some of the pain (even temporarily) by feeling close to him by just writing and sending that message, I get.

      I hope that you did get some relief from sending that message and that you do not hurt more because of it. That is the danger with sending those messages. They provide a little relief (and a little hope… which feels good temporarily), but they can make us feel worse if the response is not what we want. I hope your MM will respond more than he did in that text, but I don’t know if he will. Yes, it may be a sign that he is unable to communicate effectively (as he admitted in the text). Or he may be trying very hard to go NC, too, and responding to you with any more than that text might push back HIS progress. Even if he does respond, though, I think anything short of him wanting to get back together will only hurt more. From my experience, even when my MM responded kindly and expressed that he missed me, he always reiterated that he wanted the break and couldn’t give any more. And that never made me feel better. It wasn’t that I simply needed to hear from him again. It wasn’t that I could take comfort in knowing he missed me. Maybe a little, but not really. I only wanted to get back together and short of that, it all hurt. Of course, that was just my experience and maybe you will get some closure if your MM responds with some kindness (even if reiterating that it’s all too hard for him to continue). Or maybe it will help you if he doesn’t respond further than that text and it will give you the fuel you need to go NC again.

      I know the sleepless nights. To me, the sleepless nights almost felt like I was having a panic attack. I’d get hot and sweaty, my thoughts were racing and I couldn’t calm them down, and I’d feel waves of dread/nausea wash over me periodically. It was the strangest thing to me since I’m not prone to panic attacks. They happened a few times/month for about 6 months after the break-up. I’m thinking seeing my MM at work made it harder so I expect you’ll get relief sooner if you really do go NC with your MM. But I tell you how long it all took for me to let you know you’re not alone and that it won’t be fast/easy recovery from this addiction. It is an addiction, though. Your brain chemistry needs to calm down and reset. That takes time (and pain). Continued best to you.

      1. Felk, when reading your posts it’s like you read my mind as you seem to understand exactly how I’m feeling. It was tough not to turn around but knew I couldn’t as it would send him a message that no matter what he says or does my feelings for him keep me coming back like you said on his terms. The 10 days of NC was quite difficult and not a person to play games. However, he needs to have time without me being in his life to either figure out he wants me in it or life is easier without in me on it. Although he still hasn’t replied to my email and probably won’t, he did text me late last night to let him know he misses me greatly. I replied that if he feels that way that surely we could figure out something because it really sucks being without him. He replied yes it does. I replied I don’t want to lose you and heard nothing back. I’m okay because it was the truth. I don’t have the answers and he doesn’t either. I do think it would help if he’d share his feelings to help me understand what he’s going through. Like with your MM he is upfront with what causes his guilt and what he needs to be able to handle things and you’ve done the same. The difference is your MM had to realize in his own that you were the effort and wanted you too. If my MM doesn’t feel this way, it’s hopeless and I’m only hurting myself which means I have no other choice but to let go. I can no longer and will no longer carry the load for both of us. It’s easier said than done but missing me greatly and wanting to be with me are two different things. I miss having a cigarette every once in awhile but doesn’t mean I want to go back to the addiction because I won’t allow myself. We shall see what happens. As for me, I am not putting myself in a position to be rejected and hurt. I said what needed to be said and there’s nothing left to say. He has to figure what he wants and whether being with me is worth his effort. In my mind I know I deserve better it’s getting my heart to that point but I know it can be done. I managed 10 days of NC and each time less of me has gone back to him. So I know, it’s me to do it but as you said we all take different paths to overcome or get through things. I truly appreciate the support from you and the others…BAF has also given me words of wisdom that has greatly appreciated and helped.

        1. Lois, I do feel like I understand what you’re going through pretty well because there are a lot of similarities to what I went through in 2017 when my MM pulled away slowly for months and then said he needed to end our affair. Although there are and were differences in our situations, we had a lot of similarities being MW with MM. I especially understand that need to feel like you did everything you could to save the relationship, and that’s why I understand sending that email. It’s also why you sent that text saying that you didn’t want to lose him. You’re letting him know that you’re still willing to do this relationship if he is… but I don’t think you’re getting the same response from him. He agreed that he misses you and that it sucks, but he didn’t say that he wanted to figure out a way to make it work… and he didn’t respond to your text about not wanting to lose him. I’m glad you get to feel the relief from him texting that he misses you, but please also pay attention to him NOT saying that he wants to find a way to make it work. Also, notice that he barely responded to your long email. You say it: “missing me greatly and wanting to be with me are two different things.” This is exactly what I went through with my MM when we ended our relationship. He would say lovely things about missing me and still having feelings for me, but he also was careful NOT to say he wanted to get back together. Don’t just pay attention to the things you want to hear or else you’re setting yourself up for another crushing blow. Sure, your MM might reach out in some weeks or months and say he wants to try again, OR your MM will make the decision to focus on his family and commit to that and continue with NC.

          Are you done with your MM or are you waiting for him to figure it out and come to you? These are different, and the latter is dangerous because you are left “waiting.” When you blocked him from your phone, there was less waiting. If you’re not done, you will check your phone more and hope more and it can be continued disappointment when it slowly doesn’t happen. And you go right back to spending a lot of time with your mind on him hoping and waiting for him to contact you. Also, it has seemed that your MM “reaches out” with short texts that can feel good, but that do not offer anything more than a short message. It seemed he did that for months, where he’d send a smiley or let you know he was thinking about you, but he would never plan time to see you. There is danger of that happening again if you don’t block him on your phone and commit to NC. He could send you another “I miss you” text in three weeks and that could get your hope started all over again. The “I miss you” messages show no effort to restart the relationship, but they trigger the addictive chemicals again and set back your progress. You know I know it’s not easy to decide to go NC, but I do worry that you’re going to set yourself up for months of greater hurt by waiting for your MM if you don’t go full NC now. I hope you do feel there is “nothing left to say,” and you can block him and decide, for you, that the relationship is over.

        2. Lois I was thinking about what I would do in your situation and I realized a trick I learned in AA long ago. It is called “Act as if”…I will say more about that in a moment. Your recent communication to your MM that you don’t want to lose him was heartfelt. He heard you no doubt, (as he responded to the first thing you said) but he had no response to your second expression. At least none yet. This leaves you in a tough spot. I know in your heart you wish there could be more to this relationship than this being the final “break-up.” It does not seem to me that you are truly done (yet). It seems more to me that you are done because his behavior towards you leaves you no option.
          But then again who here ever is really really done? Who here has been able to say I am done for ever and ever and…..etc. And then just quit and move on. No one. They say in abusive relationships and with narcissists it takes 7 times at least! For me that was surely true. That is why my affair with a narcissist went off and on for 21 years.

          It is very hard to say NEVER AGAIN to an affair relationship that you are both addicted to and with a person you feel you are in “love” with. It is especially hard if you then then have to return to a lifeless marriage I would assume. And that is why No Contact is so difficult. No contact is so final. Yet there are many people who thrive from that approach. As Felk calls it, it is the “rip off the band-aid approach”. However many others will never be able to rip it off like that.

          In AA they used to tell us even if you can never imagine never taking a drink again, Act as If you can. Act as if you can imagine it. Then Act as If you can do it. Then act as if you are doing it. Then do it. The 24 hours passes! And just keep going with “Act as If.” I just googled the expression and in fact many people use this expression not only people trying to recover from addictions. The little “Act as If” and “One Day at a Time” slogans work together synchronistically.

          You don’t have to actually break-up with your MM forever starting today. Instead you just have to “Act as If” you are breaking up with him for 24 hours. One day only! That is what is meant by “One Day at a Time”. It is brilliant believe me. One day at a time the sober days start to add up. The triggers to go back to drinking become less and less powerful over time. There are many other tools in 12 step programs like meetings and sponsors and fellowship which keep people coming back and staying on track “One Day a Time”. Unfortunately I do not know if that exists for people like us leaving affairs. But I do know Love Addiction Anonymous exists and I am sure that some of those people are addicted to and trying to leave affairs. You can look them up online too.

          Just remember that “Acting as If” and saying you will do so for ONLY 24 hours makes every 24 hours so much more manageable. You have quit smoking and I don’t know how you did that. It is TOUGH! to quit cigarettes. I know that for me to quit alcohol I did use “Act as If” all the time. It is almost like I tricked myself. But who cries? It worked! I have seen it work for many others too. So try “Acting as If” you are breaking up Lois. Give yourself a 24 hour period and Act as If your affair is OVER for 24 hours. And see what happens. You might just be pleasantly surprised. Down the line if he comes back on your terms you may want to re-think. But for now it will make your life much easier!

          Finally this quote I found on the web:
          “Acting as if” is about believing in things that don’t currently exist and that there may not be much evidence for.”
          “When we choose to live with a strong faith in things not seen, not proven, and not guaranteed – we tap into the power of the possible and we supersede the literal and predicable.”
          “Wayne Dyer wrote a great book a number of years ago called You’ll See it When You Believe it.” “So many of us, myself included, live important aspect of our lives with the silent mantra of “I’ll believe it when I see it” and in doing so we hold ourselves back, limit what’s possible, and negate the power of our mind, imagination, and intention to allow and create things, situations, experiences, and outcomes that are new, unpredictable, and even miraculous.”
          “For some of us the idea of “acting as if” is basic and fundamental, for others of us it may be new and/or more difficult, and for still others it may seem out there and quite esoteric. Regardless of how we relate to this idea, we’ve all experienced it in our lives in big and small ways. Kathy Delaney-Smith demonstrates it in the Act As If film in a powerful way through her coaching, her battle with cancer, and how she lives life.”
          “The question for us to ask ourselves is, “What am I acting as if will happen in the most important areas of my life right now?”
          You can surf the web and find plenty of other readings on this slogan 🙂
          Hugs BAF

          1. Hey Felk and BAF. Thanks for your replies. It is has been tough and did not help things that we saw each other on Father’s Day at local store. I was with my husband and one of my boys. I just happened to look up as I was checking out and saw him. This was after the day before when he texted me that he too missed me greatly, etc. Anyway, I texted him and said saw you in the store…he immediately replied and saw yeah me too…it really hurt. I guess seeing with me my H…I do not know did not ask. I foolishly responded and said I understand but it did not have to be this way for us. I replied then why are we? He replied apparently we are not anymore. I replied don’t understand. He replied I mean that I have changed my mind. I replied does this mean you are wanting to figure out something and he said I think so. I replied I am glad and ended the conversation. The next day, I texted him because it weighed on me that maybe he has changed his mind but I am not sure about me. He replied that he was traveling to CA. We did not chat much as he was headed to airport. I texted later that evening to see if he landed and he said it had been a hectic day of travel and still had not made to his hotel. I replied, safe travels and try to get some rest. I have not heard anymore from him and I have not texted him. Then, yesterday at work the other lady who invites him to happy hour etc and he has stayed in contact with told another coworker that I was jealous of her relationship with him. I was pissed…and will not go through this again with another colleague. I was upset that he contacts her and makes plans to have happy hour after months of not having time to spend with me…I think it is fair that I feel that way. This lady is a big flirt and likes the attention of men. Felk, I know you can relate to this situation with the female you have at work who is very similar with your MM. Then, the other female at work who MM still has some contact made the comment that she noticed how giddy the other female was with him at the last happy hour. MM told her about his affair with the other lady when all of the trouble happened last year. He felt she and another male employee of his was trustworthy and told them…the male employee already knew about it. Anyway, this lady commented that a leopard does not change his spots…I have to agree. I think, MM contacts this other female employee when we are on the outs because she is giving him attention that he no longer is getting from me. I do not know…honestly…I am just aggravated. I would like to think he has not used me but just do not know anymore…maybe I have always been another piece to his game…maybe he has several on the side. I just think about the times we were together and felt the feelings between us like him putting his head to my head and just holding me…you could he felt something. Do you think he just has problems? I know he does but do you think that is why he does not tell me the stories about his health, etc that he tells others because he knows they are not true stories and cannot seem to lie to me like that? If he really wants to figure out something, why has not he contacted me? There are so many questions and it is so confusing. My head is spinning in circles and 75% of me says run far, far away and get out of this mess…follow my gut. The 25% says the opposite. It is hard because I do not understand manipulation and mind games as I am a pretty open book…if you do not want to know how I feel, then I do not ask because you will be told the truth.

          2. Lois, as BAF as in her last post, it doesn’t seem you’re ready to end this relationship. I get that because I definitely wasn’t ready to be done when my MM ended our relationship. But I’m not sure your MM is capable of being in this affair right now. I don’t think he’s shown any ability to be in the affair and treat you how you want to be treated. I even find his text comments odd and not convincing about wanting to be back in the affair. I know you are feeling relieved and have hope that he wants to try again. I’m just worried it will all come crashing down on you soon because he’s not ready to put in the effort. I mean, he tells you that he thinks he wants to try to figure something out and then doesn’t contact you for two days? Is he in Canada on vacation with his family? If so, I understand that it might be hard to find time to talk but shouldn’t he be saying something more substantive than his short texts and then nothing? My guess is he’s still confused and overwhelmed and he might even be beating himself up for sliding back again. I know that you are hoping in the last few weeks that he has realized he can’t be without you and he is willing to work for it, but how could his tension and guilt have gone away in two weeks? I fear you are setting yourself up for more heartbreak because I don’t see how things could have changed for him that would suddenly allow him to be in this affair. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but I also know you want us to be straightforward. I think that he is reeling, just as you are. He is hurting, just as you are. And he wants that pain to go away so he agrees, once again, to try to make it work. But, unless he’s made some decision to leave his W and kids, won’t he just be back to the same guilt and MIA as usual? I know you’re hoping he will be different this time, but why? What could have changed in two weeks? To me, it seems his low texting and his non-response to your email are still signs that nothing is different except that he wanted the pain of the addiction withdrawal to go away.

            As for the drama at work, it seems you have enough on your plate with just figuring out what’s going on with your MM. 🙂 I definitely understand jealousy of a coworker who seems to like your MM, but that’s one of the downsides of an affair. Since no one can know about your relationship, other people might express interest in your MM… especially if he’s the type to flirt with other women. Why did your coworker think you were jealous of her relationship with him? That’s an interesting comment so be careful to make sure you’re not giving yourself away (about your affair with your MM). I’m guessing your MM went to that happy hour last week hoping you’d be there and then left pretty quickly once he figured you weren’t coming so I don’t think you have anything to worry about with this coworker… except that I’d guess your MM is a charming man who likes the attention of women and he may text with them because he likes that attention. It seems this is something you’d have to deal with in the affair with your MM.

            As to your questions at the end, yes, I think your MM has issues. He lies to you. He lies to people at work. I remember a story you told about him doing something pretty underhanded at work that surprised you. And, no, I don’t think he lies to others and not you because he respects them less than you. He lies to you, too. He seems to want to make sure everyone has a certain image of him, and he lies to uphold that image. The affair, of course, threatens that image and, thus, he feels so much guilt with the reality of what he’s doing and the idea of who he wants to be in his head. Beyond that, I don’t think your MM treats you well. I don’t think he’s kind or fair to you. “A leopard does not change his spots.” I think he will do a little more in the beginning (as happened a few months ago when he said he wanted to try to figure out how to make it work), and then he will be right back to ignoring you, giving you little, expressing all of his angst, and doing it all on his terms. I know you’re thinking about the times when it was just the two of you holding each other, but how often does that happen? What is the reality of the situation given that you no longer work together, live in a small town, and live rather far apart? I know you believe that “where there’s a will there’s a way,” but I’m not sure your MM has that “will.” As you ask at the end, if he really wants to figure something out, why hasn’t he contacted you? What is HE doing to try to figure this out? Even in the text exchange a few days ago it is YOU trying to work it out. It is YOU texting him the next day. And it is him giving very little in return.

            So, I say all of that thinking you’re more like 75% wanting to stay and 25% wanting to run. 🙂 I hear you trying to think rationally about the problems, but you just don’t seem done with this affair. So, my best advice is, if you are going to try to make this work again, do not act out of fear. This is going to be the hardest thing given how scared you are of the pain of withdrawal and how worried you are that one wrong move will send him running again. But what kind of relationship will it be if you act out of fear? The same misery as before. So, if you’re hoping for something different, then you have to start by being different. Tell him what you need to make this affair work. Don’t coddle his woe-is-me attitude. If he’s choosing an affair, then he needs to step up. Don’t compromise things that are important to you. Don’t agree to terms that serve him at the expense of you. Hold him to expectations of treating another fairly in a relationship. Ask for the things you need… regular communication and plans to see each other (once/month? twice/month?). If he says he doesn’t know if he can do it, then say that you can’t do the affair. Yes, it could scare him away. Yes, he could say he can’t do it. But do you really want to be in the same old misery again where he just strings you along, gives you so little, and makes you feel terrible about yourself? That’s what led you to end it in the first place. So… how do you prevent getting back to that place again? Either you end the affair or you try to do it differently. This is what my MM and I are doing. We are doing it (somewhat) differently this time around. BUT it took like a year of pain (and not being together) for us to get to a place where we were ready. I don’t think you and your MM are there. I don’t mean that in a condescending way. Just observation. You two seem like you’re acting out of pain of addiction withdrawal and fear of being stuck in marriages that don’t make you happy. I don’t think you can make good decisions about what you need when you’re coming from that mental place. You are desperate now. It took me like 9 months not to feel desperate, and that was aided by my MM sticking to our break-up. So… my best advice is to suggest that both of you take like two weeks or a month of NC (real NC) to think about what you want and then make a plan to meet to discuss in person whether or not you can make something work. Yes, NC will be scary because you’ll be thinking that he’s going to decide, in that time, that he doesn’t want the affair, but, for the affair to work, he HAS to have that freedom to think. You both do. You both need to feel the freedom to leave to want to stay. And maybe he will decide he can’t make it work. Or maybe you’ll decide that. But, as best I can tell you, coming together with a clearer head is going to make this decision better for both of you. Yes, you can both jump into bed again quickly and put a band-aid on the wounds right now, or you can give yourself a little time for the wounds to heal and really talk about what might work.

          3. Lois you say, “He replied apparently we are not anymore. I replied don’t understand. He replied I mean that I have changed my mind.”
            As hard as this is Lois, if it were me, I would stop try to stop thinking and try to re-read those words a few times. Many times. I would try not to think beyond him saying these words. And I would try very hard to say no more to him. I would try to back off.
            I know you are very invested in this relationship and in him but I would try to just take these words at face value and try to back off completely. Try “acting as if” as I spoke about above.
            I think you are self torturing yourself with your thoughts about what he meant etc. Your mind (any mind) can go in circles like this forever.
            And he is being vague on purpose and it is hurting you even more than the words above.
            Give yourself a break from all of the thinking in circles if you can. The 75 per cent in you that says “run” is really the majority of the vote in your mind. Listen to it! Give yourself a rest. You need it and you deserve it!
            Hugs BAF

          4. Lois I wrote you earlier about this, “He replied apparently we are not anymore. I replied don’t understand. He replied I mean that I have changed my mind.”
            I am writing to say I took his last statement to mean he was NOT interested in an affair with you any longer. I see now you have interpreted the exact opposite! oooopps. You see this is the problem with texts. They just don’t work for serious communications of any kind.
            But regardless of what his meaning was with you in that text: (and it might be a little go both!) If it were me I would STILL try to back off completely. I think for my own mental sanity I would back off and get used to NC for awhile. That is personally how I would handle this. The games and circles would be too my for my mind. And if he already needs the attention of a new person, I would have an easier time backing off. This is just me.
            I hope this helps. BAF

    3. Lois This is such a heartfelt letter you wrote. You expressed yourself beautifully. I get a very clear idea of what you are feeling and how much it hurts to let this man go. I also get an idea of how you are trying to muscle through this period of letting him go and knowing that things will not change if you return to him now.
      He too must understand your words because you are very clear.
      What else is there to say? I feel you have done your very best at communicating with him and letting him know exactly how you feel. Your letter is not blaming in any way and you are generous with your words.
      Even with all this said, he responded with so little.
      A few short phrases he gave you about his ‘maybe not processing his emotions the right way’ says so much.
      What is so noticeable to me is his silence in the wake of so few words. The silence is very loud.

      He offers so little back to you. You do not deserve to be ignored or put on a shelf for so long.
      You do deserve more from him. You recognize this. Yes you are right that you are leaving him because he can offer you so little. This is very powerful from you: “people make time for those things of importance.” Yes they do. You have waited and waited.

      It is time to move on and let yourself have some freedom from this never ending struggle with him.
      The “serenity prayer” is perfect for times like this. Also think about this: when one door shuts, another one always opens. Shutting the door to him and to the never ending pain you feel by you not getting your needs met with him might just open the door to a whole new source of joy and love for you. You will never know unless you close the door completely. Try it for awhile. Aim for 30 days then 60 then 90 and see what happens. And please beware of “spokes”. An encounter there will set your healing process back for sure at this vulnerable moment for you. I hope these words help somewhat. I know the pain you are feeling believe me. Been there done that so many times with my exMM. BAF

      1. Thanks BAF. It’s nice to know that is how you interpreted the context because it was from the heart. I don’t want him to think it was meant to win him back because that wasn’t it. He didn’t respond to my email other than those few sentences but did send another text yesterday saying he missed me greatly. I concurred and stated surely we could figure out something because it really sucks and he replied yes it does. I replied I don’t want to you lose you and no response. As I said in my post to felk, he has to want it and can no longer carry the both of us. It was not working for either of us. I’m doing okay today but maybe it’s because he gave me hope. I don’t know what to think except taking day by day and see what happens. If he does put forth the effort, I know it’s not going to work because it hasn’t so far and only holding off the inevitable of letting go for good. After bring able to go 10 days of NC, I know it’s possible and know what triggers to kind of avoid. It’s going to take determination but it can be done. It has to be something within me that says ENOUGH and was so so close this time closer than ever before. I really appreciate your support.

  160. Hello everyone,

    @BAF, Felk I can not comment under yours so I continue from here.
    Thanks all for you support first of all. I flash back to last year and I realize when I thought that I got rescued from this relationship I have crushed right after that.
    But the difference is that I really loved him so much, but mostly in the past. Last year was a year for me to feel all the pain as a price of this relationship. I like to consider such phases as in quantity. Such as I had some pain to suffer and after I finalize that phase I am more independent woman from all the feelings that attaches me to him. So I think I paid the price last year. And since I still loved him we got back together or fall apart again repeatedly, I could not stop myself dragging into his gravity.
    However… This time I really feel different. I really focus on negative sides of our relationship or his character. I feel exhausted more than I miss him and our good times. Now instead of missing him I want to be single, free, independent because I really need time to heal.
    Please congrat me because it has been 2 weeks since I have last seen him! During this time after we call it off I did not get into contact with him. I can’t like, I expected him to get into contact with me and sometimes it made me sad not seeing him coming after me. But that takes really short time and I tell myself that it is really good thing that he is not reaching out. Because thanks to this I am getting strong and strong by time.

    Also really these abusive people are the danger itself. They are not only hurting you or breaking your heart but also they make you feel inadequate, wrong, weak ! I was so naive when I was measuring myself based on his ground truth. Can you imagine, he cold me a ‘whore’ because I laugh in high pitch like them? We went to have a breakfast and I laughed at one of his jokes and he stared at me I did something wrong. And started to mumble something about only some kind of women laugh like this. And believe me… It is so mean to humiliate a woman because of the way she laughed. I could not eat anything and could not stop myself from crying. I crying in silence while he was sitting across and having his breakfast. I was so broken inside, not my heart only that’s not some shallow heart break, II just cried. Just cried because that was not the first time he called me a whore and many but many times he put labels on me because of my behavior. Sincerely I am not an ugly or disturbing laugher. Just the tone of my laugh is attention grabbing, I find it very nice also. But he does not want me to get attention, especially of men. And I was so exhausted because of judgements of him. So harsh so mean so illogical judgements of him. If you have been told something many times, after a point you start to question yourself : Might he be right? You can resist to abuse until a point but after that point… Everything starts to fall apart in your psychology.
    There are so many horror stories from my relationship. I dont want to explain all of it right away.
    I am searching for professional help because that kind of supports creates an awareness about myself. Thank you so much ladies, and BAF I will especially check out all the options you have mentioned.

    Thanks again !

    1. Hello Kub,
      I am so happy to hear you are planning to take some steps for yourself Brava! And, I am so glad you are checking out options for getting some help. There are many options available and some are likely to cost very little as there are so many organizations that want to help women in situations like this.
      SO many kudos go to you for not seeing him for two weeks! It also sounds like you are ready to grow and move on to a healthier situation for yourself. Just remember it is : “One day at a time.”

      In your case it sounds like your MM is psychologically aggressive towards you in order to gain and maintain power and control over you. This was true for me as well. To finally get out of my relationship with my exMM I found that I had to change my thinking about who he was. I spent time learning how he (or any narcissist) actually operates and then making my plan. I also had professional help (therapy) and my 12 step groups.

      You will have to figure out not only how to avoid your MM, but also what to do if and when he shows up and demands to see you. I remember last year you talked about him stalking you. You will have to figure out what to do if this happens again. The police station always has someone that handles “domestic violence” and any woman can go there and talk and keep the conversation confidential if needed. I tell you this ‘just in case”.

      I am so sorry to hear about your story with the glove and now this story with your laughter. This is classic abuse as Felk said. Classic. I felt so sad this happened to you Kub. NO ONE deserves this type of treatment but especially in a situation with one’s intimate partner! Think about how damaging this is when it comes from someone you love or once loved.

      It helped me to think of the man my exMM truly IS instead of having my rose colored glasses on about him. Try to do the same and and see the real man you are dealing with. Is this a person you would want your best friend to date? (I ask myself these kinds of questions all the time). Would you want this man to be the father of your children? etc. etc.

      You speak about being so exhausted from trying to please him and I think this is good sign to yourself that this relationship is beyond what you can manage emotionally. Your exhaustion is the clue that you can not cope with the stress of having to deal with his negative and demeaning responses to you.
      I have been there too. So have many other women! Just please know you are not alone. Many women (and in some cases, men) have been affected too.

      Felk said that he might try and come back and I think she is right and you need to arm yourself with knowledge about this kind of relationship. The abusers seem to always “come back” and never seem to get the pain they cause. They are often bull-headed and stubborn. They do not listen to what others are saying. Instead it is all about “them”. So, you might see him showing up just to blame you some more. It is very typical behavior. Don’t give him this opportunity.

      Please keep us posted and start reaching out for help from your circle of friends and professionals. This is doable if you want it Kub! It is not easy but it is absolutely doable. You do not have to ever stay in any type of abusive relationship, not even for another second.
      Hang in there. Hugs BAF. xx000

      1. Hello BAF

        Yes truly I am now focusing on bad memories now. Actually at the beginning I was forcing myself to do like this but by the time passes I automatically remember them, unwillingly. No harm though. My brain reminds me the reasons why I should stay away from him.
        Now I have a daily life, I am starting to do sports this weekend. I know that it has great boost on psychology. At July 3 I will go to Romania for travel and like for 9 days with a girlfriend of mine. Next week I will spend all of my weekend at sea side with family… Just as you said, one-day-at-a-time!!!
        Honestly I don’t expect him to show up again but yeah you are right he is kinda abuser so I should expect everything from him, correct? I feel confident. At least I am more confident about my future. I am slowly building my life and preparing myself for a huge start. I will focus on my career, my life choices. I will take risks for my life. And I know that if not now, then never I will be able to do that.
        It is not an escape from him, or my life here. It is a start to give a better life to myself. I know I am better than that. Please don’t get me as ignorant, I am just unhappy with my job and conditions in my country. So I want better options, a job that I will feel happier.
        Anyway. I know that moving out is not because of him. It’s because of me.
        In the past I could not imagine that I don’t see him for two weeks, or a month. But now it’s different. I put targets to myself to achieve, and I tell myself that it’s already been 2 weeks. Why not more?

        Thank you for some portals by the way, I have started with some 🙂 I am glad that you are here.

        1. Kub,
          Brava! Keep focusing on those bad memories! That is very wise. You will train your brain to remember the bad times not only the good ones which will lessen the grip of any addiction you feel towards him or towards the relationship. The addiction is fueled by the brain’s perception of the “highs” of the relationship. The brain does not get the same kicks remembering the hurtful times, the times you wished you were never there with him.
          A daily life and a new daily routine is perfect! That is a good way to deal with the stress of the break-up. I highly recommend Kim Saed’s on-line programs. You can find her on Youtube too.

          In fact I found a lot of help on Youtube when I was looking to leave my abusive exMM. There are many kinds of abusive relationships and many people sharing about their recoveries from these relationships. Thankfully, social media makes it easier for all of us to share while remaining anonymous. Take a look at Saed’s Narcissistic Abuse Program On-Line. It is for toxic relationships in general. There are some free parts and you can get a feel for her at her website.

          By all mean focus on YOU not on “him”. One of the hardest things for me has been realizing that something inside of ME accepted the terms of my relationship with my exMM. No matter what my exMM did or did not do it to me, in fact, it was ME (or some part of me I did not understand very well) saying yes to engaging with him. That was so very hard for me to understand and to swallow: that I did not protect myself properly with him and in that relationship but it is because there was something “off” inside of me. But I am getting to know myself and that part that said “yes” to him. That part that was “off”. I am coming to know and forgive myself for things I did not understand I was doing by staying in that relationship with him. I hope this makes sense. Getting to know that part of yourself which accepted the harsh treatment from your exMM is key for you to not repeat the same thing again in a new relationship. Getting to know any part of you that is low self esteem or feels you are never “good enough” is key. But even more than all the rest is accepting you are human and you can forgive yourself for any “mistakes” you made with yourself.

          I have finally gained the power to choose to NOT engage with him. You too have this power.
          I have figured out which part of me accepted the bad treatment and why. You can do this too.
          When you really feel this power you too will realize it is all in your hands to take care of YOU.
          The sooner you grasp that we must learn to love ourselves first the faster and better you will feel.
          I promise!

          You never need a reason why you want to end a relationship or leave a job. If your instinct tells you “this is not good for me” or “this is not what I really want” then LISTEN to your inner self. And believe yourself. I have learned that all the answers I need are actually within me. I just need to be willing for these answers to come. I am sure the same will be true for you.

          As far as whether he will come back? I think you need to prepare for this as many ex MM’s tend to come back around “fishing” to see what we are up to, how we are feeling, to know if we would go back to them? Many MM’s do this, but in particular, the abusive ones will always return sooner or later. The reason for this is they can not handle their emotions well by their nature. So sooner or later they will return maybe just to blame us again for their pain. Maybe to beg us back so they do not feel the pain any longer (of missing us). Because BOTH people feel like crap in any break-up. I have learned this. Sooner or later both parties feel the pain of the separation. But the abusers might come back and project their anger or even rage onto us as a way to manage these uncomfortable feelings. Because they can not handle their feelings well. So please be careful and plan for this in case it happens. Have a plan in mind.
          And enjoy Romania and the sea-side! I know that Romania is a gorgeous country! BAF

    2. Kub, it does sound like you are really exhausted with your MM and everything he put you through. It is GREAT that you have not seen him in 2 weeks. I know how hard that is, especially after all that you have been through with him. It sounds like you are now focusing more on the terrible way that he treated you instead of focusing on how much you miss him. The story you tell about him calling you a whore in the restaurant because of your laugh is abuse. He is an abuser. There is nothing wrong with your laugh. Nothing. (How could a laugh be wrong?) He is putting you down to make himself feel better. He is putting you down so you will feel you can do no better than him. He is putting you down because he can’t stand you too happy. It’s all terrible, and it’s all what an abuser does. And he called you a “whore” many times, even though he was the one cheating on his W! But, of course, he calls you names because he’s the one who is doing the bad thing. He has to make YOU feel bad about it. That is an abuser.

      Yes, after he calls you names for so long, you do start to believe it about yourself. You start to feel that he is right and that you are all the bad things he says you are. That is what happens to abuse victims. Abusers tear you down so that you can’t leave them. I am so glad that you have not seen him in two weeks, and I do hope that you can get into therapy. You sound a lot stronger already just being away from him for two weeks, and I wish you the best of luck in continuing to heal. It is VERY hard to get out of an abusive relationship, so congratulations on your progress so far!

      1. Kub I wanted to add a little thing to what Felk has just said: An abuser can not simply change his/her behavior. If you ever hear that promise coming from an abuser that he/she will “change”, please know that is not physically possible to stop being an abuser all by oneself without intervention from a professional (a therapist, psychiatrist. etc.) So no matter how many times an abuser says “this time, I promise I’ll be different!” and how many time they seem sincere (and even they might be sincere in that moment), they simply can NOT stop abusing others without help from the outside. Abusing others has a compulsive and non-voluntary side to it. And abusers can never simply “will” themselves into better behavior. They need help. This is something you might find helpful I hope. And it is never ever the fault of the person being abused! hugs BAF

      2. Oh thank you Felk! When I told this to my sister, she responded as, 2 weeks? You should already have been gone this far, that’s not something to be proud of But I told her that it’s not about how she thinks. I know how hard it’s for me and I told her that you can’t take this away from me, I know how much effort I put into and I am happy with it!
        It’s sometimes hard to explain this situations even to your closest.

        Oh god how many times he did this to me. How many times he blamed me with who I am, my character and criticized me, put labels on me. If I was good in his terms I was the one to get married, I was the one he had plans with. But when I get angry/nasty/out of his limits bam ! Than I was out of his life.

        You know what? I won’t die of pain. It won’t kill me. I will have pain but I will definitely survive. And the more I survive the stronger I become. I know that I will end up with a man who can appreciate me.

        Actually there is a person in my life, he was a friend all this time. Finally he come clean about his feelings. If it would be in different conditions I would really consider to see him as a boyfriend. But I have different plans for my life… And you know what is nice about him, he accepts that I have priorities for my life and he respects them. He just want to be in my life unconditionally. I can’t help and I compare it with my exMM and I see huge gap…

        Thank you Felk, thank you for being here for me.

        1. Kub, I know it’s hard when others don’t understand. Your sister probably doesn’t understand the addiction to an affair and an abusive relationship. It’s powerful, and two weeks really is a big deal! All of us on here know how hard those first few weeks are.

          Your statements about how this break-up will not kill you are so strong. You’re right. You will have pain, but the pain will fade with time. And, yes, you will be stronger because of it. Of course, the pain doesn’t just go away on it’s own; you have to work to heal. Making that list and reminding yourself of how your MM was terrible is one thing you are doing. Talking to friends. Considering a therapist. Those are all good steps that you are actively taking to heal.

          It’s also nice that you have a male friend who gives you unconditional support so that you can see that men can be like this. Abusive men can make women feel as if there is no better and all men are like that, but they are not. Work on healing. Do all of those things you said… travel, focus on you, focus on your career. Remind yourself that you do not need a man to be happy. You do not need a man to love you for you to have value. Love yourself. Know that you have value, and you will be open for a healthy relationship.

          1. Thanks for all the advices Felk and BAF 🙂 Believe me I am trying to do everything we discuss in here. Especially I keep telling myself that, “one day at a time”…

            Today I have started to hammock yoga. I love doing yoga, I have tried many different kind of sports including swimming, pilates, climbing… But I find yoga very peaceful. I recommend it to every kind of person because in yoga you focus on energy inside of you. You get calmer, stronger in your core, way more flexible… You feel the blood circulation from your head to toe. So I took a class with a girlfriend this morning and I definitely can say that I am more energetic. I will continue to class regularly.
            Just half an hour ago I was out with my motorbike, so that I can feel free in the air… I love driving a motorbike. It’s a bit risky until you learn how to drive it but it seems after couple of times I got it and now I drive between work and home…
            Sorry, maybe I should have mention about my exMM but honestly I want to explain about myself more than thinking about him. Did not I miss him? I am not sure. Because now what I see is a wound when I look at him. He learnt lots of good things to me, he was there for me when nobody else was. But. But there is a huge but.
            First of all I could have survived any kind of problems, I didn’t necessarily need his help. I just loved getting his help so that’s why he was there. Let’s be honest, he was there for me whenever he wanted and can. Not all the times.
            And all the good things I have learnt from him. Yes he liked to improve me, that’s not a lie. He was the one who supported me for my master degree or learning how to drive a motorbike. But all the times bad things came from after then. He left me, he hurt me, he insulted me.

            Just to be clear. I don’t blame him. I am not even a little bit angry at him, not anymore at least. I know this is the way he is, this is his character. Every one of use has good and bad sides. This is maybe about how much you can handle the bad sides of your partner. I think I am done 🙁 I am done handling. I am done with being alone, being hidden. I am done with being criticized, being waited. I am done for waiting the times that I will get what I wanted. Guilty! I am not the person I though I would be, a woman who can put up everything for the man she loved. I am also not the woman who told him that she will be waiting for him.

            Anyway… Thank you again being here for me 🙂

          2. Kub, you sound really strong. I don’t know what it is exactly, but there’s just something in the words you use and the tone I hear that sounds like you really are done with your MM. I hope you are, and I’m impressed by your strength. I know it has been a long journey to get out of this relationship, but it sounds like you are now honestly thinking about this relationship and recognizing it as a bad relationship that you are glad to be done with. It sounds like you are trying to value yourself, and you want to put your MM in the past. I hope you can enjoy your vacations and you can continue to have NC with your MM.

  161. Hello everyone. It’s been a tough day as I have had MM on my mind and have been really sad. I think some of the numbness has worn off and reality is setting in that it’s really over. It’s been 8 days of NC which is really good for me. I’m not sure if it’s the longest we have ever gone without having contact but at times those 8 days seem like months. I composed an email to him without any intent of sending it. I just needed to express my feelings and know I can’t contact him no matter what happens. When the emotions get too much, I tell myself be still my heart…this too shall pass. I’m really trying to get through to the other side of not feeling this way and look so forward to that day. I have wondered if he is missing me and thinking of me. Then, I try to redirect those thoughts because it doesn’t matter how is doing or if he is missing me. He should be if he truly did have feelings for me as those feelings don’t go away overnight. If he’s not feeling it, then he never really cared to begin with. He’s going to miss our situation because the sex was great and he was treated well. I can say that it was not reciprocated and he didn’t go out of his way to do things for special for me like I did him. I long for how things once we’re between us when we worked together but those days are gone. Since we live in a rural area, we have to be careful to not be seen by someone. We can’t go out in public because everyone knows everyone. We live in an area with populating of about 8,000 but there are 3 or 4 towns in about 15 mile radius. He lives in one and I another. The only place we can go and not be seen is a place close to me but takes him about 30 to 40 minutes from his house. This is why it had been difficult getting together for the past few months. He spends about 1 1/2 hour just driving to and from. It makes it difficult for him to get away especially with working his new job and kids in sports. I really do understand but also understand there’s only so much time in day and he just doesn’t have time and doesn’t handle the stress of it. So, I keep reminding myself that we couldn’t make things work and there was a happy middle for us. I was hoping we could figure out something but it wasn’t important enough for him. I have realized we all make time for those things that are important to us. If he wanted me, we could have gave figured out something. I have to stay focuse on l what needs to be done and that is letting go. I have cried a few times today so letting myself grieve the loss. I am taking day by day. I’m trying to remain strong but it’s tough at times. Thanks for listening.

    1. There is a group of us that has drinks every once in awhile and MM is invited by a lady who used to work for him. She is the one who plans the get togethers. Last week, we had happy hour and was not in mind set to see MM after the break up, so I did not attend. He showed up later in the evening which is odd because his dad had dance recital that night, so guess he told his wife he was working late…who knows but for someone who needs to be more dedicated why not go home and help your wife with the other 3 kids while she is trying to get the oldest ready for recital. Just seems strange. Anyway, the lady at work had talked about meeting up with a couple of ladies who retired from work. She assumed since MM attended happy hour last week that he would not be interested in going out again, so did not bother to contact him. Well, he contacted her to ask if things were still on for this week even she was surprised and made the statement that something must be up with him…maybe he needs to talk about things. She asked if I would be able to join them and told her no that other plans. MM knows that i usually attend these things. Do you think it his way to communicate? Or am I reading more into than should be. I do not think so because the lady at work is the one who first said his behavior was odd. It does not really matter but was more curious. I have no intention on going and cannot be around him right now. I know seeing him would cause those feelings to resurface and have made too much progress. I do not know maybe I am wanting to read more into it but do not think so. What do you think?

      1. Lois, I think it was a very good (and strong) decision to not attend these happy hours. I know you are really hurting and missing him. I can see in your previous message that your thoughts are consumed with him and what he is thinking/feeling. I am sure you must be really tempted to go to that happy hour, knowing that he might be there, but that will just set back your progress. It will make ALL of your feelings resurface. You would not enjoy your time out with friends. You would be entirely distracted by him there and wanting to talk to him alone after. To what end? It will slow down your healing. If you go to that happy hour, it will be temporary relief seeing him and talking to him (if he does show up). But what has changed? Is he suddenly going to make the relationship work even though he couldn’t for the last few months? Even though you’ve tried over and over, and you compromised more and more? You have the answers you need. You know his situation. You know how he will get soon enough if you get sucked back in again. Is he going because he wants the relief of seeing you one more time? Maybe. Is he going hoping you won’t be there? Maybe.

        I know from your previous message how much you are hurting, and it’s at that time when you’re most vulnerable to giving in to contacting your MM again. A week after the relationship ends is brutally hard. Two weeks after it will still be brutally hard. But it is going to be much harder if you tease yourself seeing your MM and it doesn’t go the way you hope. I know all too well how crushing it is seeing your MM right after the break-up, in a social situation, with no good resolution. Been there, done that too many times in the months after our break-up. Crush-ing. The highs of seeing him, talking to him, and sometimes even getting time alone after to talk about our feelings and then realizing nothing would change and then driving home crying because I was crushed all over again.

        Does your MM have your e-mail address? If so, he knows how to contact you. Try not to obsess about whether or not he wants to go to that happy hour to see you. If he wants to get in contact with you, he will. You have done SO much to try to make the relationship work. Do not give him anymore. If he wants to make the relationship work, he will do the work to make that clear to you.

        1. Hey, Felk. I do not think seeing him is a good idea and do not want to lose the progress made. I have a friend who is a counselor and knows about the situation with MM. She and I spoke yesterday about the situation as my mind was confused and consumed with questions. I cannot let MM consume my thoughts anymore as I have given enough. He does have my email address so he could contact me, if he really wanted to but he wont because that is how he is and why I need to let go. I have always been the one to weaken and make contact with him. I think some of my hurt is him being in contact with the other lady at work. I am hurt because part of me feels like an idiot and maybe he has been using me this entire time. For someone who needs to be dedicated to his family and do the right the thing, why does he stay in contact with other woman. He does not text his other male employees who used to work for him. He only seems to text 2 females from work; one who seems to stay in more contact than the other. I am hurting and it sucks. I feel like it is big mind game and have only been another piece for him to manipulate. I just do not know anymore what is real but do know I cannot be around him. I have stand my ground and do what is best for me. Thanks for listening…

          1. Lois, I’m glad that you have someone to talk to about this (besides us!) and it’s even better than she’s a counselor. I know so well the way our mind can bombard us with questions and what-ifs and concoct scenarios that make us feel worse. In the weeks and months after my break-up, I hated how many times jealous thoughts entered my mind about how my MM might be moving on to someone else or might even simply be looking to use someone else to forget about me. But I reminded myself over and over that it was unlikely. Your MM isn’t interested in these other women (he is just the type who is friendly with women because he likes the attention… just like my MM… and, well, just like me). You’ll drive yourself nuts thinking about other women so try to take comfort in knowing that he had genuine feelings for you, the affair was too difficult, and there is no way he is moving on with someone else this soon. No way.

            I’m really glad that you’re sticking to your decision not to go to these happy hours if you think he might be there. It will do more harm than good when you’re still hurting so much. There were a number of times I was glad my MM wasn’t at a social event or work event during our break-up. I would feel relieved when I knew he wasn’t there so that I could just enjoy myself without being consumed with him (and what he was doing and who he was talking to and why wasn’t he talking to me and should I talk to him and what was that look he gave me and did he smile at me and why didn’t he smile at me and is he happy I’m here or is he upset I’m here and…). I always felt better when I wasn’t around him than when I was, even though I sometimes had the thoughts that seeing him would relieve my pain. This early in the break-up, I know you will feel better if you do not see him.

            He knows how to find you if he wants to. Keep reminding yourself of that. You did everything (and more) to try to maintain the relationship, and he wasn’t willing to do his part. Now, it is up to him. And, as you say, if he doesn’t, it is exactly why your relationship didn’t work in the first place and why you have to let go. Continued luck to you and please keep venting here as you need. It helped me so much to talk to you ladies through it all in 2017 and 2018.

          2. Well, I had MM on my mind most of the day and decided it was best NOT to go for drinks. I didn’t want to start the process all over again. It’s been 9 or 10 days of absolutely No contact. I left work an found myself driving past where they were having drinks. I thought seriously about going in but could not do it. I drive passed it and didnt see his truck. I turn around and was headed back toward the highway and was headed home. I just couldn’t face him and even if he wasn’t there he would eventually. As I was getting on the highway and stopped at the lights, he passes me and I didn’t even look at his way. My stomach felt like someone had punched me and felt this overwhelming sadness. I was thankful for not giving in and having drinks because it would have been much worse. Later, the lady from work texted that he only stayed about 20 minutes and seem overwhelmed. My heart hurts for him but he’s the one that couldn’t balance things. I’ve been tempted to text him to say I’m sorry but can’t seem to let myself for that either. I gave up smoking cigarettes 22 years ago and I enjoyed it. I know all it would take is smoking one and after 22 years would tight back with a nasty habit so I won’t let myself have that 1 cigarette. It’s the same with MM…if I text him, we he even text me back then I’m back to day one and have given weakened once again. If he does respond, I may get that he misseshould and wants me then what? Or maybe he responds that he is doing okay and again I’ve weakened. There’s just too much progress and maybe pride that can be lost. Like felk said, he knows how to get on contact if he wanted to. This is the longest I’ve ever gone with NC and look forward to the day that it’s finally over and no longer matters if I see him because those feelings won’t exist any longer.

          3. Lois, oh my, I know how hard that must have been for you to just keep driving home yesterday after you saw your MM on his way to happy hour. I know that stomach-punch feeling. (And I probably would have done the same as you, driving by the happy hour location, looking for his truck.) You made the right choice, especially since it sounds like your MM wasn’t in a great mood and that would have just made you feel worse. As I’ve thought about your situation, I just keep thinking about how it seems he still wants everything on his terms. I’m guessing he wanted to see you at this happy hour… but, notice again, it’s on his terms, when he wants to, and never when you ask him to make time for you. He seemed to do so little across these last six months (or maybe even more) to try to make your affair work. You compromised as much as you could, getting so little from him. And, of course, you know I understand those choices, but at some point, if he’s not giving much back, you can’t stay. It just hurts too much.

            Seeing him at the happy hour last night is just like texting him. It would have put you back at step one because, yes, even if you found out he misses you or was happy to see you, then what? He still can’t be in the affair. He would still say that things are too complicated for him right now. Nothing has changed for him. I went through that with my MM over and over during the break-up and it was excruciating. Sure, he missed me, but he also was saying that he couldn’t do the affair. I’m sure your MM misses you, but if he can’t give you any more than that, it just hurts too much. It’s just you waiting and hoping, and that’s no good.

            I keep going back to how he can find you if he really wants to. I don’t say that to get your hopes up, but I say that to remind you that it’s been on his terms for a long time and now it’s time for it to be on your terms. If he wants you, he has to come to you. You are worth that. You made it VERY clear to him how you felt and how you wanted the relationship. Do not have any doubts that he knows. One of the silly things I’d tell myself during the break-up was, “What if my MM doesn’t know I want to get back together if he wants to?” So, we talk ourselves into doing things (like showing up to happy hours) to make sure he knows. You know, to give him that one last chance to get back together with us. 🙂 But he knows. BAF told me that over and over. My MM told me that, too. And then you just feel so pathetic for trying so hard still (when the relationship is over). So, yes, you lose some of your pride when you keep making yourself available to someone who isn’t doing the same.

            I second BAF’s idea about making a list of reasons the affair couldn’t work. I’d find myself getting a little lost in the good times, and that was such a distortion of our relationship. Yes, we had good times, but we had plenty of bad times. I did not feel myself for most of 2017 and 2018. I was anxious, scared, pathetic for such a long time. Near the end of our relationship, I couldn’t even fully enjoy the time together because it was too laden with anxiety for me. Remind yourself of that over and over. Do not dwell on the good and then lament how it’s gone. Remind of the bad times and how you don’t have to deal with that anymore. I wasn’t able to do that very effectively at first, but, over time, it legitimately started to feel better that I no longer had to deal with the rejection and anxiety that I was feeling as he pulled away from our relationship. It’s still going to take you a lot of time (and a lot of intentional distraction), but you made a REALLY strong choice yesterday. No contact really is best right now, and 10 days is impressive. It will get easier. Give yourself time.

    2. Hi Lois Bravo for your 8 days NC! This is just the beginning for you and sure there are times you will look back and wonder about things. You will wonder about how he feels about you and if he misses you and I am going to tell you this: What he feels does not matter anymore. It is YOUR decision to leave this man that is matters most of all. Leaving is an action and it requires a clear mind. Try not to get into the trap of nostalgic emotions and longings because they will not do you any good at this stage.

      Whether he has feelings for you or not is simply irrelevant because YOU have made the decision to leave. Once you make a decision as strong as this and as brave as this, you must try not to wonder about his feelings. You gave him his chance over and over again. It is not your problem he could not come to the table with something more in return. Instead he was making one excuse after the next to you.

      I am not trying to sound cold: I am simply saying your decision to leave was based on all the real facts you have about how it was not working, not whether or not you loved him, which you clearly did. Or whether he loved you. The relationship was the problem: the lack of interactions, the very very low communication, the let downs he let you experienced again and again, and so on. Maybe like Kub you should make a list of all the reasons you are glad you left: all the things he did that made it impossible for you to continue waiting on and on and on for him. This kind of list can be very powerful. And it can help you to get and stay angry at him which is a good emotion to feel in the beginning of the NC period. Anger is energizing and anger can help us make tough decisions and stick to them. They say “when anger turns inward, that is depression” and I find this to be very true. For me, it is better being angry than depressed. The depression can lead me farther and farther down the rabbit hole into a pit of despair and inactions whereas the anger can at least get me moving towards solutions and recoveries.

      As for the drinks get-togethers, Bravo for staying away! Those would be very uncomfortable encounters for you to have and again it is too soon for you to put yourself in this kind of emotionally vulnerable position. I too find it odd he wants to engage in these events as he does have so much to do at home like you said. But try to not care what decisions he is making. Try to not care, and try to put all the focus on YOU not him. And try with all your strength to KEEP the focus on YOU! BAF.

      1. Lois well done on staying determined you should be so proud of yourself. BAF and Felk thank you for your advice, it not only helped Lois but also me and I am sure many others reading. It’s good to not loose sight of why things ended in the first place.
        Lois you are absolutely right, by giving in and contacting MM your progress so far might be jeopardised. Even if he replies it might be casual and it might hurt you more. For me I know in past numerous times I tried to break it off and ended up contacting MM. Many times there would be big delays in his replies and then he would tell me that he had a busy weekend some family members birthday, someone’s christening, some friends coming over for the weekend and so on. Hearing that only made me feel worse. In fact after days of NC and slowly starting to feel better I was back up square one. So bravo for staying strong you go girl.
        BAF, Felk thank you for all your advice and understanding. I always try and read this thread and your advice to everyone even if I don’t get time to write back. I am doing well, my kids are growing up, I have started work 2 days a week😊
        I have managed to stay away from MM although he does try to get me back in I think but only on his terms. He casually sends emails as ‘friends’ but I am careful to decline any requests to meet. He is good person and I value our friendship but I am not interested in starting an affair again, I am not interested in hindering my months progress. I am still going for counseling which helps a lot. I also practice mindfulness techniques which are very helpful in getting my brain to stop thinking or running useless scenarios through my head! (Who would’ve thought affairs can be so damaging?! If I had known I would have most certainly stayed away). I wish I could completely cut him off because this friendship also brings occasional pain, unknowingly waiting for his reply, hearing about his family life, it all still hurts to hear about his life that I so desperately wanted to be a part of. But I have realised he is not the perfect man that I always thought he was. This really helps because I know I fantasised the relationship and made it out to be much better than it actually was. At times I don’t makr contact or reply for few days simply because I like the peace, I like not waiting to hear from him and I like not checking my phone. Recently when I did that MM sent an email describing his family commitments, complaining about his daughter in law and how only I truly understand how difficult it is for him to spend an afternoon with her and I thought to myself ‘you know what actually your wife truly understands how difficult it is for you/them to spend an afternoon with dil’. He makes me think only I understand his struggles when I know for a fact that he has a good relationship with his wife, they are good friends too. In past I would’ve just tried to make him better but now I think you know what not my circus, not my monkey. I know he loves me but he comes with too much baggage and I don’t want to go back to how things were last year.
        BAF I am so glad you are going strong with your NC. Felk glad to know things between you and MM are heaps better and to also know that your marriage is much better than what it was last year, may it always stay that way.
        Hugs xxxx

        1. Hope, good to hear from you and good to hear you’re doing well. I’m thinking that being back to work 2 days/week is helping you a lot. Good on you. Good to hear you’re still in therapy, too. It sounds like that’s helping you think through the reality of the affair and how it is not the fantasy we make it out to be when we are in the thick of it. Also good on you for staying strong and declining all requests from your MM to meet in person. And so good for you to see through his “only you understand” stuff. You are ABSOLUTELY right that his W understands, too. I am glad that your MM is a good person, too, because that is not always the case with these MM and they can make it MUCH harder to leave if they are a**holes. I know it’s hard to cut him out of your life entirely, but it does sound like you might be slowly trying to cut him out. You say you wish you could completely cut him out, so my guess is that, if you want that, you will slowly continue to change yourself and your life where he no longer fits. Best of continued luck to you, but it really does sound like you’re on a good path now.

  162. Hey Everyone!

    One more thing I wanted to tell you…a close friend of mine said she was contacting pyschic Wayne for her bday and I decided I would give it a try. I called and spoke to him for 30 minutes.
    **Disclaimer** I do not normally believe in any of that stuff and I lightly follow the zodiac and astrology stuff I did it for shits and giggles!! Well the first question I asked was, Am I going to get married. He shuffled cards and said are you seeing someone right now because I see someone from your past and there is a really strong connection, I like what I see here. He said this is your husband and I said well that can’t be true because he is someone else’s husband. He said he’s getting a divorce, however, he will not divorce her and marry you right away but don’t rush him, let him take his time. He said I can sense some apprehension from you. You don’t believe what he tells you. I said well I am unsure about it because I’ve been hurt over and over again by several guys and also by him. He said well he is not lying to you about how he feels. He really loves you. I asked, will his wife be a problem, he said I can see she has a big b@#^h streak but she will not break you up. He said I can see someone else from your past who is this. I said probably my ex who tries to get back with me every other month but I am uninterested in him. We moved on to another topic about my kids and their dad. He said something interesting to me, I asked about my job and he mentioned my weight. I took notes as he spewed out the information. My other 2 friends and I had a powwow about all of conversations with him trying to determine if it was a hoax. Well the next day I was talking to a good friend of mine telling her about the conversation and how you can’t believe the things they say and I repeated what the pyschic said regarding my kids dad and my son said how did so&so (my son thought my friend said it) know that daddy said that, he told us that the last time we were over his house. I said what??? He said yes that’s exactly what daddy said. My mouth dropped open but I still said to myself..there is no way that’s real. It was just a coincidence. Well after my powwow with the 2 ladies who called as well. They noticed things that he said was unraveling but we were still in a space of can this be real…no it can’t be real. I’m giving you all this information because I wonder if speaking to a psychic is what made me trust the friend more. I would like to say no it’s not but I wonder if subconsciously, I thought oh he’s probably right that’s my husband so it allowed me to relax a little more and lay off of him with, the back up, give me space and handle your divorce stuff. In hindsight, I was pretty certain about telling my friend he needed to deal with his situation and heal before he tried to be with someone else but after a while I laid off of him a little and opened up more instead of staying firm to my beliefs. You all have become my friends over the last 2 years and I really value your thoughts and opinions. I’m so honest here and it’s nice to have a group of people to share with and who share some commonalities with you. I cannot believe I contacted a pyschic as if i have money to waste but it was interesting to say the least. I did send the friend a message last Sunday, it was a short video from Mark Groves from Instagram that someone else sent to me, that talked about being a lover and a warrior within your relationship and determining which one you were and why. It helped me to gain some clairty on why I chose certain men. Check it out
    I can see how guarded I am and this is why I attract certain men. I have shared it with most of my friends but I shared it with the friend because I thought he needed to hear this for himself and thought it was informative. He replied with a thumbs up and a heart which I’m guessing meant he enjoyed it. I am 35 and I am realizing so much about myself which is helping me to grow so hopefully one day soon I will be ready for whomever I am meant to be with. I know you all know that the brain doesn’t really develop fully until somewhere between 25-26 and if you’ve experienced trauma it can take until you get in your 30’s to fully develop well I am feeling like my brain has finally developed lol and certain things are like light bulbs and Aha moments and these are things friends have said to me and things I learned in therapy years ago but I didnt quite understand or didnt want to hear but now that I’ve experienced a little more life, I made bad choices and made good choices I can see certain things for what they are….

    Today Sunday…its been 5 days of NC and I’m wondering if I should wait until the end of June to contact MM or maybe even the beginning of July. I don’t know that may not work because I will be anxious to tell him how I’ve been feeling and need to go ahead and get out but I know the 13th is her bday and then next Sunday is Father’s Day so maybe I could wait until that Monday. I don’t know, I will figure it out and do what my spirit says to do but right in this moment, I am feeling a way about the fact that he hasn’t contacted me. It’s almost like how dare you not contact me although, I need a break from you. I didnt do anything to you so how could you not reach out to me. That is the EGO! Anyway, that is what one part of me feels like and the other part of me is ok with it because its necessary and sometimes things that are necessary don’t always feel good at all times.

    Your thoughts and comments ?


    1. LL, as you probably know from my posts, I’m not religious or into the spiritual/mystical so I have strong doubts about people who claim to be psychics. So, filter everything I say through knowing that about me. 🙂 Psychics tend to ask questions that are vague and general about relationships and they let you fill in the blanks, and then it seems that they “know” something about your relationship when you’ve basically told them everything they need to know as you answer their vague and leading questions. Also, psychics are probably good with people such that they can guess pretty common things about relationships. Psychics are also good with telling people what they want to believe. They give you just enough to go with it, to fit it into your life. It’s not necessarily terrible in the sense that they generally get us to do the things we already were thinking about doing, but I don’t put much faith beyond that in someone who says they’re a psychic. So, yeah, you probably did stick with your friend a little longer because the psychic said things that encouraged you to stay, but I think you already wanted to stay and give him a chance so it was easy to believe the “psychic.” We tend to give more credibility to what people say when it’s what we want to believe and tend to ignore when it’s not what we want to believe. So, the psychic tells you that “he really loves you” and, well, of course you want to believe that. 🙂 I’m not saying your friend doesn’t love you, but it’s just one of those things that we want to hear and believe. So, my best advice continues to be to just go with what you feel and believe. Go with the evidence that you see in front of you.

      And, wait, to be clear on what you wrote, you shared that Instagram video with the “friend”? The married guy going through the divorce that had blocked you recently? I thought you two weren’t talking. 🙂

      As for your MM, as I said in my last response, I think it’s hard to take a break when it’s not exactly the “break” you chose and the one your MM is imposing on you (by not contacting you). It’s not really a break if you’re spending it thinking about why he’s not calling or texting you. I know you were already thinking about taking a break in June, but this isn’t how you wanted it to happen. And won’t the break just end if your MM ends up calling or texting soon? If you’re really choosing to take a break until after father’s day, then take your break and don’t respond to your MM when he calls. Or if he calls/texts, text him that you need a break to think and you’ll contact him soon. Give yourself the break by choice and not simply because HE is choosing not to call you. I know you’re mad he’s not calling. Like, how dare he? I get it. (And, really, why is he being so immature?) But it’s just another reason you need a break. Take the break not because you’re mad (or because you’re mad) and not because you’re trying to make him mad or teach him a lesson. Take the break because you want and need it. Take the break because you still need to sort things out about the other married guy, too. I know you’re strong and can sort through these things. I can tell in the way you write here. But we all need time away to think no matter how strong we are trying to be. Or maybe it’s that we ARE strong because we take time to think. Best of luck to you. 🙂

      1. LL I am wondering if your MM is not calling you because he might be jealous about your other relationship with your friend? Or sad or threatened? Is he not showing this emotion but “punishing you” and not calling you do you think? Just a thought. As for your taking a break or not I side with Felk’s words above. Take it for You but not for any other reason like trying to get back at your MM for not calling you or for being married in the first place. BAF

        1. BAF,

          Well..honestly, I can’t think of any reason he would not be speaking to me and there are parts of me that care and parts of me that don’t. I told him about the friend a while ago and we’ve talked and been ok with each other after that so I doubt that he is upset about that but he did seem a little bothered that I was out of town and I didn’t mention it to him. However, he was going out of town as well so I don’t know if he was really upset by the fact that I didn’t tell him. I had a little bit of a tone when I answered the phone last week and I got off the phone quickly after I answered. He can be a bit sensitive at times so maybe he didn’t like my tone. Who knows?!
          I am not real big on tit for tat so I’m not getting back at him or anything…I was telling Felk in another post. Although, I am not taking some time for myself to make him feel or away or because he is not calling me but I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a way about him not calling me, it’s not primary focus but it’s a thought that cross my mind. I have so many thoughts, feelings, and emotions and just needed to map some things out, check in with myself and create a plan to navigate the different things that’s going on and then move forward.

          1. Hi LL,
            Your comments back to me are interesting. I guess time will tell what is keeping him from contacting you. You seem to be handling it very well at any rate! In the meantime you do indeed have a “break” and time for YOU that you have been feeling you needed. It arrived just at the moment you needed it! You sound very motivated to create a plan and to move forward. I can not wait to hear where your time on your own will lead you and what plans you might make for your next steps.
            hugs BAF

      2. Felk,

        After thinking about the psychic, letting my guard down was definitely a result from that influence. Of course I want to believe he loved me and that there was a possibility for us. I hear what you’re saying and I get the way you feel about it considering the “psychic thing” is not your belief. I’m sure that’s not something I will spend money on again or invest time in but it was definitely a interesting reading.
        As far as the instsgram post, I did share that with the friend who I’m not in constant communication with. I sent it to a few people who I thought would get something out of it and he happened to be one of them. He acknowledged it but I didn’t reply to his acknowledgement because my intent wasn’t to have a conversation with him, it was to give him the information. The things I know about him from us being friends in school and even the conversations we had over the past few months as well as some of the things him and his therapist discuss aligns with the post. Not that I had to have a real reason or explanation for sending it but I watched it 2x before I sent it out to other people both married and single.
        My break….yes I get what you’re saying and this time that I’m taking is not solely based around MM not contacting me, though it is a thought that crosses my mind. For ex, yesterday I was out with a close friend, she has a degree in social work as well as psychology and sometimes I get frustrated talking to her because she goes right into therapy mode but yesterday we had a really deep discussion about my childhood and my relationship with both of my parents in relation to my relationships in general and in the way I think. My dad sent me a message on Saturday stating he feels a way about the relationship he has with his children considering he is no longer in jail and has been sober/drug free for quite sometime. My response to him was lengthy and reminded him that the responsibility was his at this point because I felt that I have done all I can do to maintain a relationship. I have not been mean, disrespectful or rude to him ever. I have gone to him more times that he has ever come to me..part of this is because I have a car but he only 52 and can catch a bus where I can meet him and bring him up to my house. As, she asked questions I realized just how much frustration I have with both of my parents. I have more of a relationship with my mom because she was a constant part of my life. However, I feel abandoned by both of them. My mom was 15 when she gave birth to me and I lived with my grandparents but when she gave birth to my brother at age 19 she raised him. I thought I understood the fact that she was young and wanted what was best for me and although, my grandparents provided a loving and nurturing home I still didn’t receive what i needed from my parents and when i went to therapy years ago I touched on some of that but didnt really delve too deep into it as I did last night with my friend. Once I became an adult my mom and I began to get closer with one another. I would go to her house almost daily and she lived 30mins alway from me, she had a partial hysterectomy when she was 40 and after that her attitude changed. For the past 10-11 years I have noticed a change in her mental health that has affected our relationship. I still communicate with her often but we don’t hang out as much as we did prior to her surgery. I was thinking I was upset about her mental health but what I realized last night is…i am not upset by her mental health, as my grandmother had mental health and I managed, as I have managed other family members with mental health however, it’s the decline in the relationship that upsets me, it’s the feeling of you don’t get to abandoned me for a second time in life and it’s not ok and it’s not a good feeling. Now, my dad is challenging as well and I want him to step up and figure out how to put forth the effort to build the relationship he wants to have but in all actuality he doesn’t have the capacity to do that without some significant amounts of help. He went to jail in his 20s and was there until he was in his 40s and his I am more mature than he is. Both of my parents rely on me to be their advisor, their therapist, there listener and I am tired. I am tired of being the “bigger” person the mature person and I want them to allow me to be their child. I am definitely in the midst of scheduling with a therapist. The same one I saw regularly when I was in my 20s so I can sort this stuff out because I can see that I will never be able to move forward in a way that will bring me the type of relationships I desire. I honestly do not know if any of this makes sense to you but it makes a lot of sense to me. So, back to MM yes he is in my thoughts and yes it’s like, wow he didn’t call me or text or anything but my time right now is not centered on not hearing from him but I would be lying if I said, I have not noticed or wondered what’s his reasons because I know what mine are. When I think oh wow haven’t heard from him, my mind drifts back into but…you have soooooo many things going on and he is the least of the worries because the relationship with him is temporary by all means these other relationships are permanent, my mom, dad, my children and their relationship with their dad and myself and most importantly my relationship with myself.

        Thank you for listening to unleash many years of disappointments and frustrations.


        1. LL, yeah, I get why you let your guard down after listening to the psychic. I know you’re not really into the psychic thing either, but people can get in our heads. Anyone can really. 🙂

          As far as your relationship history with your mom and dad, yeah, it made a lot of sense in explaining why you might keep your guard up and find it hard to trust others. It also makes a lot of sense in explaining why you might go after married men… because they’re “safer”. As you say, you felt abandoned by your mom twice, and, even if you know there are good reasons each time (she was young when she had you and she had mental health issues later), you still are allowed to feel abandoned. And then with your dad not being a part of your life for most of your childhood and now finding it hard to connect with him because he won’t come to you, geez, no wonder your guard is up! You’re protecting your heart left and right. MM offer a safety because you can’t ever fully give them your trust so you can’t ever fully feel betrayed or abandoned. If your MM chooses his W, it’s easier to not feel abandoned than if a boyfriend chooses another woman. When we get into relationships with MM, we know someone else is their priority. We accept that as a condition of the affair (unless they make promises otherwise, which I know some MM do). When my MM and I started the affair, we were pretty up front about not wanting to leave our marriages and understanding that the other had a spouse who was the priority. Granted, that all became mixed up over time and starting to want to leave our marriages, but the point is that I started this affair knowing my MM had someone else. Of course, the problem is that what we think is a “safe” relationship where we don’t have to invest as much or risk getting hurt as much is actually much more insecure than a “real” relationship. So, for me, the anxiety in the affair was way more than in any of my “real” relationships (or at least my healthy relationships). My point is that you think you’re choosing someone safe, but your choice of a MM just continues the pattern of having relationships with people who are unavailable (and who do abandon you over and over in smaller ways) and then you don’t get to experience the love/trust/comfort of a relationship with a person who is truly available to you.

          It sounds like you mostly know all of this (serious kudos to you to recognizing all of this with your parents), but it also sounds like there is still a lot for you to work out. I think starting therapy again is a great idea, especially if you have a therapist that you know and like. As for taking a break from your MM, do what feels right. If you want to contact him and say “wtf? why haven’t you called me in 5 days?” then do it. 🙂 Or if you want to take advantage of his NC to go NC yourself for a while, then do that. I know there have been times in the past when I’ve been frustrated with my MM going no contact for a few days and then I followed up with a few days of my own where I just needed to take a step back because I was so frustrated by his MIA.

          My MM is coming over tomorrow, and I’m going to tell him how I need a little more contact/communication if we’re having sex and being all intimate again. He knows this conversation is coming (because I brought it up a little when he was over last week), and he said he appreciated how understanding I was as he sorted things out over the last two years and he wants to reciprocate. They’re good words, but we’ll see if he can back it up. I need to find a way to tell him that he can’t just walk back up in here and have sex with me once/week and expect that I’m okay with the communication staying as low as it was when we were taking our long break. For me, if we are having sex, I have some expectations for you continuing to let me know you’re in this. It’s like your expectations for your MM to call regularly. I don’t have a specific thing that I need my MM to do, but he needs to step it up a little now that we’re back in this. It’s a little bit complicated because the low communication is helping this work. The high communication was overwhelming eventually (and he got to the point of being completely miserable at home) so we can’t go back to that. But the low communication doesn’t exactly work for me if we’re back in this. Hopefully we can find a middle ground. I was feeling a little scared of being honest with him about this, but I realized I have to be honest and if we can’t find middle ground then maybe this can’t work. No more holding back due to fear! Ask for what I need. Expect others to treat you with respect and you’re much more likely to get it.

          1. Felk,

            I think you do a good job with your words so I know you will be able to communicate to your MM what your needs are. I think that it may be a challenge because the very thing you need or want is the thing that seemed to overwhelm him a bit. I think you guys will be able to find a common ground. I can understand wanting a little more communication as you’re intimate with one another and sex is like a soul exchanging experience and you just need a little coddling after. I know I do not like when my MM don’t communicate with me soon after we have sex. Sometimes, he don’t talk to me later that day or the next day or he may not have a lot of conversation with me and it makes me feel a way but I typically get over it quickly. I know you said you had some fear about talking to your MM but I think the affair has to be accommodating to both people involved and I know it’s not going to always pan out in a “fair” way but I think both parties involved should put forth the effort to do what’s necessary in order to keep things going as smoothy as they can go. You have to be willing to ask for what you want in order to receive it!
            Wishing you luck today. Chat with you soon!


          2. LL, you hit it right on the head with everything you say, and you understand how there’s just something different about the closeness we experience during sexual intimacy and how we need a little more after that. I want a little more communication right after sex (that night or maybe the next day), but generally I am okay and get over it quickly if it doesn’t happen because my MM has been consistent with communication now that we’re back in this affair again.

            Had a good talk with my MM, and he was understanding of how I was feeling and needing a little more because we’re having sex again. We talked about the balance that he needs to sustain this (we can’t go back to the intensity of before), but we also agreed that we both have to have our needs met if this is going to work. We talked really easily and playfully about it all. It was warm and honest, and he sent me e-mail last night (which he never initiates!) and said really nice things about our time together. Usually I am the one to initiate email, but I know he sent it to show that he’s trying to be responsive to giving a little more after our time together. Hopefully, we can continue to walk this balance of not getting too intense (for him) while staying close enough (for me). I’m not naive enough to think everything will just be perfect from now on, but hopefully we can stay talking about it all if either of us isn’t feeling good.

  163. Good evening. I would like to thank all of you for your support and advice as this truly has been a difficult time. However, I am taking one day at a time and have not made any contact with MM. I have moments of sadness and would give anything for him to contact me to say he’s sorry for how things have ended. Then again, I’m so over being done this way that the other part me doesn’t want to hear from him. In the past, I would have already weakened and there have been moments. I just can’t do it. I keep telling myself and reminding myself that it can no longer be. He can’t handle it and it causes me great grief. I’ve tried. I’ve been patient and supportive. I cant give anymore of me especially when he can’t give. I’m sad and do miss him. However, I have found some relief as strangely as that seems. I keep reminding myself that if I give in and even send a smiley face…I will either get hurt because he doesn’t respond and wait anxiously to see if he responds. What if he does respond…I don’t want to open that door back up and lose the progress that I’ve made to move on. There’s too much uncertainty and don’t want to back slide. If I knew things could be different, it may be worth it but it can never be. I loved being with him and sharing laughs. It just wasn’t working for us and have to accept it….and I’m trying. Thanks for listening…I’m saddened but taking baby steps. I too look forward to the day of getting myself back and no longer have this hurt in my heart.

    1. Lois, I know how hard it is for you right now, but it really will get better the longer you go with NC. Especially if you continue to remind yourself of the reasons why your affair needed to end (for both of you). I know you still very much want your MM to contact you, but it will only set back your progress if he does. It will make you hope and wonder once more. You also have the benefit of no longer working together. Him losing his job made your affair harder, but now it will make your healing easier. Not having to see him often is HUGE in moving past this relationship.

      It’s good you’re feeling some relief, too. It took me a while to get to feelings of relief, but I eventually felt relief when my MM ended things two years ago. For about a month or so, it was just pain and misery for me, but as the pain lifted a little over time, I was able to feel some of the relief of not obsessing over this relationship every day. Of not arranging my life around our chatting and trying to plan time spent together. My guess is you’re feeling that relief sooner than I did because YOU were the one to end it. There really is strength in that. For me, one of the hardest things in “getting over” the affair (which I obviously never did since we’re still in it) was simply deciding to be done. I never decided to be done. I hope you are deciding to be done. Like BAF has done, that decision goes a long way in really being done.

      1. Hey Felk. I have my moments of sadness but keep reminding myself that it wasn’t working for either of us. I think some of the reason for relief it’s been months not knowing what was going on with him and being in limbo. He couldn’t figure out things and moSt likely still would be stringing me along. The signs were there and he didn’t give me a choice of being done. He said he needed to be more dedicated to his family and although he loved being with me…he really couldn’t do both. I keep reminding myself these were his words and they were and couldn’t keep going through over and over. I’ve asked him to share his feelings to help me understand but he can’t and that too will never change. I don’t know maybe our situation was causing him grief at home because we couldn’t make connections with his busy schedule…maybe he felt resentment and discontent being home that caused him to feel badly as a father and husband. Maybe he is full of crap and he never did care which I don’t think so…there were times when we were together and you could tell when he held me that he didn’t want to let go. I’m just saying that he could have aleviated some of the stress by just telling me about his feelings. I do think he has issues and not sure what has happened in life but he doesn’t deal with things very well. Maybe it’s just being a man. I miss the good times and the passion. I don’t miss the distance, the unknown and uncertainty so there is good in being done…or at least I keep telling myself that. Lol. I want something he obviously can’t give. I also don’t want to the reason he misses out on time with his kids. Mine are 20 and 16 and wouldn’t trade my time of sports hectic life for anyone and can’t nor wont ask that of him. I am a mom before anything else in life and my boys are my world. I have been spending time with my kids but since the breakup I have been realizing the time wasted on my phone or waiting for him to respond when I could have been shooting basketball or whatever else with my boys. I’m determined to get through and push pass the moments of weakness to know there is more peace to come soon…it’s just going to take time and patience as we as understanding but this time the focus is on my healing my needs and not his. I have thanked God time and time again for opening this door for me to get out and asking him for continued strength to keep going and seeing me through this tough time.

    2. Lois,

      I have been MIA for a few months and sorry to come back and hear you’re going through this with your MM. It is such a challenge to bring any relationship to an end. There are so many different emotions you have to go through to get over it. I still believe each of us is much stronger than we know just based off the fact that we have engaged in relationships with people who were already in relationships and managed that for quite some time. However, you deserve love, kindness, patience, and commitment too. You deserve to be a priority and not an option. You deserve to be valued and held as a high regard
      Therefore, you have to know that you will be ok and this too shall past. It is easier said then done when you have break up with someone and move forward. Taking this one day at a time is probably the best way to go about it. Coming here for positive thoughts and words of encouragement, even therapy is helpful. I know I don’t know all of the ends and outside of your relationship with your MM but I do know that at some point all things come to an end and it is now time to focus on yourself and time to heal. I pray for your strength as the days grows longer, I pray you rain strong and centered in your healing and praying for a better tomorrow today.
      Be Blessed

    3. Lois, Your words tell me you are strong and brave right now. This is all you can ask for. Be loving and gentle with yourself and reward yourself often. Yes do take things One Day at a Time! There is a reason AA and all the other 12 step groups use this slogan. It is powerful. Also the serenity prayer is so helpful: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”. This a hugely powerful prayer. Very. In my hardest times I repeat it to myself again and again. And it helps me. Another thing Lois is this: You Never know what life has in store for you after the affair. I mean this to say: When one door closes, another one always opens! It is hard very hard at the beginning of any break-up to realize this, but never forget there are other, new doors! Your HP did not bring you all the way to the inner realization you needed to end your affair just to drop you in a danders pit. :). Your HP has another plan for you. There is always another plan, another choice. I say this as I have realized that when my affair ended, another new phase of my life began. As hard as it was to say “goodbye” there was no changing my exMM or his behavior. For me I knew I had hit the wall. And there was no changing the horrible way I felt in the end of my affair. I felt like I was being emotionally abused to tell you the truth. What good could possible come of that for me? I knew being hurt was going to weaken me more and more. All my patience for my exMM and all my love for my exMM could never change his behavior towards me. I never had that power. I only thought I did. Do not make this same (very common) mistake. You can not change anyone. You can only change yourself. So, I had to leave. I believe when you put something that hurts you deep down you need to always know know there IS a new thing, a better thing to take its place. It just is. It is the way recovery always works if you let it. Trust the process. Many hugs, BAF. xoxo

  164. BAF,

    Nice to hear from you and thank you for you response. I was definitely feeling burned by the other guy. Someone I’ve known for more than 18 years and someone I once had a true solid friendship with. I understand his need to deal with his divorce first as I was the one who advised him to do so but some of his responses were hurtful and immature. Of course I was distracted by that for a while and now that it’s no longer a distraction i am back to the reality of the affair with MM. I am realizing more and more how guarded I truly am and that’s the reason I attract unavailable men. It’s the energy I am putting out there. It’s not easy to let my guard because of the type of men that I’ve allowed into my life and it starts with my dad and the relationship I’ve never truly had with him. I don’t know when I will be healed or if I will ever be open enough to experience love in its truest form with a mate. I am willing to work towards that. I know I want that and I always thought I was open to love but I see how fearful I really am about loving someone and not expecting them to leave or not expecting them to cause me pain of some sort.

    You said…Do you really want to leave the affair too right now and have to process two sets of grief? Two sets of feelings? I think that will be very hard unless you are sure you are strong enough to take that break. It is up to YOU of course.

    …..You make some really good points BAF and I don’t think I really want to leave the affair right now. I think that I am definitely going through a lot right now (even outside of the 2 MM, I have some personal family stuff going on also) and I’m just overwhelmed. I honestly think I’m strong enough to deal with both break ups and it’s because I’ve had soooooo many disappointments and inconsistencies from men. Many failed relationships and they always leave. Unfortunately, I’ve been through the grieving process of a failed relationship many times. With that being said, it’s not something I enjoy or something I wish to tackle at this time but if I have to, I have faith that i can get through it…I cannot allow it to break me. There will be times of strength and times of weakness but I cannot allow myself to be broken down by either of them so again, if I have to go through both right now I would have to figure it out but I don’t want to. I just need a moment or two to clear my head.

    You said…As far as you asking if you are being dramatic or “bratty” (a word you often use) I really don’t see you as a brat at all. Why do you call yourself that?

    …….I have always been called a Brat & Spoiled as well as other names synonymous to that and when I have asked the people who have labeled me as that, what do they mean..they all say I like to have my way and if i don’t i throw a mini tantrum. I think there are plenty of times I feel the need to have “my way” but I honestly don’t think I ask for anything that’s unreasonable. I think men say that because they want you to keep quiet but I can only keep quiet for so long before i speak up and speak out. I think when it comes to gaining clarity in an affair it is definitely good self care as you pointed out. I know I’m in an affair but just because I am, it doesn’t mean someone get to treat me any type of way they feel necessary.

    How have you been? Do you still see your ex MM ? Have you had any contact with him…how are you emotionally and physically…

  165. Felk,

    You said…So, I won’t say whether or not you should take a break because you have to decide that, but I will ask… why do you want to take a break? What do you hope to gain from it? What is the goal?

    ……..I want to take a break for a legitimate reason. I try my best not to play games with MM because I don’t enjoy people playing games with me. I was feeling overwhelmed with my thoughts and really just needed time to sort them out. I am genuinely working on being less impulsive and in order to that, there will be times where I just need a moment to think and process. I hope to gain clarity on what I need from my MM at this point in our relationship. From what I’m seeing, an affair brings about different emotions and changes throughout the duration of the relationship. I think every so often I have to check in with myself to make sure I’m ok and my needs are being met.

    I know there is only so much I can talk to him about and so much I can share and when trying to figure out what that looks like it’s hard so again taking time to step back and think is necessary. I have shared things with him about the friend and I even told him that I told my friend to deal with his divorce and he finally took my advice therefore we don’t talk as much or hang out like that anymore. So, MM is aware of the friend and I shared with him what I felt was appropriate considering the amount of information he shares with me about his W. I am considerate of his feelings and I notice that he too gets a little jealous but I don’t tell him things to make him jealous. I just want to keep him up to date with what’s happening in my life so there are no surprises. I also did not want to run into him and his W while I was hanging out with the friend so I made sure he knew.

    I think you asked me in another post if I considered ending the affair or something along those lines. I can say, I was really excited about the idea of actually dating someone that could turn into something else. When I first was in contact with the friend back in January I was very clear about him and I maintaining a friendship and I think we both attempted to view it as a friendship just as we had many years ago as teens but because we dabbled in a relationship about 9 years ago and it was a relationship that felt genuine and sincere throughout the time we spent with one another and I think some of that was based on the fact that he adored me when we were in school and he had finally got a chance for us to deal with each other in an intimate way and we meshed well together.

    Anywayl…around March we both started seeing each other more and I expressed to him it was too much time being spent and that he really need to figure out things with his divorce but those conversations didnt always go over well because he felt like he was done with her. He felt that his marriage had been over with for years but they’ve just decide to divorce. I reminded him every chance I could that he really should take his time. I knew they were not living with each other anymore and hadn’t been for a few months but I also knew it was challenging to transition out of a relationship because I’ve done it many times so I could only imagine how it must be to transition out of a 17 year long marriage with kids and a house so I was very clear about the situation with the friend and if I’m real honest with myself he actually told me he hated to admit that I was right but he knew I was and he was being selfish by trying to hold on to me and he said it wasnt fair to me because he realized he was still so consumed with her negativity that it took away from me so he felt it’s best that he deals with the divorce first and my ego was bruised because he finally did what i asked him to do. I just didnt like the way he did it (I reflected over the conversations we had and read all of his and I messages) and he told me in what way he felt best but I pushed because my ego didn’t like it.

    …I said all of this to say…yes I thought about ending the relationship with MM but was not committed to the idea of letting him go. I thought about how I would eventually have to end things with him when the time comes for me to move on with my life. I thought about how I’ve never ever broken up with anyone EVER! I have always been broken up with so I wasnt even sure how you break up…I’m sure that sounds silly but those were things that crossed my mind. I didnt consider breaking up with him because of the friend and partly because I knew the friend wasnt ready for me as I wasnt ready for him. It was just a nice distraction and it felt good. I know that is playing a role in the way I am feeling right now. It’s such a challenge to distinguish what’s reasonable and what’s not reasonable considering its an affair. There is no way to get to a place where its 50/50 because its not a real relationship. I share him with soooo many people and I’m last on his “to do” list and he is not always #1 on mine but because I don’t have a spouse/partner he is further up on my “to do” list.

    So I knew he would call me on Tuesday because they got back on Monday. Well I answered him and I was very short with him as I was walking into my neices graduation. His greeting seemed exciting but my greeting was rather uninterested. I said to him hey, gotta call you back I’m walking into a graduation and I hung up but I think he was still talking as I hung up. I didnt hang up on him on purpose but I literally had to go, I don’t like to ignore his calls if I don’t have to either so that’s why I answered him. However, I think he sensed my discontent with him because he hasn’t called me since. Today is Saturday and its Day #4 of NC coming off a 3 day NC due to their get away. I guess I am taking my break and so is he. I am sad not to speak to him but at the same time, this is what I needed. I’m not sending him long Novels anymore…I am going to express myself to him verbally but when I’m ready. I know June is a busy month for him and her…considering their anniversary, her birthday and Father’s Day all fall in this month along with his weekly softball games and his weekends with his grandbaby. I think it’s ok if I lay back for a little while. I’m not sure he will notice it too much. I will keep you posted though.


    1. LL, those are good reasons to need and want a break. Giving yourself time to think and process away from the pressure of feeling like you should contact your MM is good. You just ended another relationship, you told BAF that you also have some personal family stuff going on, so no wonder you’re a bit overwhelmed right now. If you’re giving yourself a break right now, I hope you’re really choosing that break and it’s not simply something that is a “break” because you MM isn’t contacting you. I say that because you might spend some of this break starting to wonder when/if he’ll contact you and why he’s not contacting you, and then you’re not really taking a break! 🙂

      You say it here and you said it to BAF, it’s so good that you’re always trying to make sure your needs are met. I think you do a good job of holding your MM accountable for treating you well. The hard part, that you seem to really get, is that affairs aren’t like other relationships and we can’t always get the things that we want. I thought it was interesting what you said to BAF about how you know you go for unavailable men because you always have your guard up and are scared to really invest in a relationship because of fear that the man will leave. It makes sense. I’d imagine that’s why a lot of people go for unavailable men. There is a safety in unavailable men because, if they leave, you know it wasn’t you and it was simply the situation. If a married man doesn’t choose you, it can hurt but you can always fall back on the explanation that he HAD to choose his W and family. However, if an available man doesn’t choose you, it can hurt a lot more because there seems no reason other than him not wanting you. There’s also the safety in married men that you don’t have to get too close. You can’t get too close because there are built in barriers. I think that’s what I like about an affair. I like not having to get too close. In a way, there is a less pressure in an affair, but, at the same time, the affair causes me much more stress than my marriage.

      I hope you’re able to take some time to think about the things you want, not just in your affair but for yourself in general. It doesn’t seem you’re close to ending your affair, but it sounds like you hope to be able to do that some day.

  166. Hello ladies…
    Here I am again, continuing the struggle 🙂

    It has been a week with no contact with MM. Last night he wanted to end everything between us. I just said okay, there is no meaning to preventing him to leave, because we are both at the edge of everything.
    Interestingly I am in pain, just like one year ago. It is so bothering to see that I could not move forward, not even a bit. It is also so depressing to realize that the one you think will be there for you is no longer exist. He is no longer exist with his own decision. I can’t blame him, but this even makes me sad.
    I must confess that I thought that I would be stronger in his absence. But I could not even sleep last night. I thought that I was stronger than this. I thought that I am done with him. Now everything around me remind of him which is a significant indicator of my misery.

    Hopefully in 3 months I will move on to another country. How silly I am that I thought we can make this in long distance! How stupid I am that great part of me wanted to continue this. How blind I am that still I see no other man bu him? I really can not answers these questions.
    everything about me that I believed turned out to be something untrue. I am not logical or strong woman. Everything that I am proud of myself is fallen into pieces now. I feel so stupid…

    I know this will pass. I know I will move forward. but I am just so in the beginning of a huge break up sadness again, every year same case with no change.

    I just want me back from him. Just me, myself, my heart. I want myself back.

    1. Kub, I’m sorry to hear that you’re going through all of this again and you’re finding it hard to end the affair. You know I understand this all too well. We can “know” the affair is bad for us, but breaking that addiction is much easier said than done. Maybe it is good that your MM wants to end everything now? I think the last time you tried to end things, it was you who tried to end them. Maybe you need to hear from your MM that he is done? Maybe that will help?

      I know you are beating yourself up for staying in this affair and not being able to get out of it, but try to be kind to yourself and try to think through the reasons you made the choices you did. You can feel silly, but you will get strength from thinking about WHY you kept staying with a man who does not treat you well and cannot give you everything you want. Try not to think of yourself as an illogical or weak person, but maybe just a person who made a bad decision. We all make bad decisions, but it does not make us bad people.

      I really feel your last sentences about wanting yourself back. I know that feeling. I lost myself in my affair two years ago. As my MM pulled away before he ended our relationship and then when he ended our relationship, I was so weak and scared and I wasn’t me. Slowly, though, over time, I got stronger. I stayed focused on things that I knew would make me stronger. Things that would bring me back to me. It took me about a year to really feel like “me” again, but now I do. So, focus on that last sentence of yours and try every day to take steps to make that happen. How can you get back to you? You know the first step is NC. I don’t know how to get you to that step, but that is the first step. It seems you will only be free from your MM if you can no longer talk to him. Yes, moving out of the country will help, but that is three months away and you will need to try to take steps now. Of course, if there is anyone you can talk to about this, I would suggest that. A therapist (maybe even something online?) is ideal, but if you can talk to a friend, that can be helpful, too. Best of luck to you and you know we’ll try to help as much as we can.

      1. Hello Felk…

        Yes unfortunately I am back to square one. Not everything is same maybe but you are right, I am beating myself up about it. A part of me feels sorry for myself whereas other part is angry for feeling sorry. You are right though. I can’t get anything out beating myself up. I can’t win anything and what I did is in the past now. It’s really not easy to move forward but I need some baby steps, right?

        Another yes to your question, this time he wanted to end things up. He was in a vacation with his family (such a coincidence 🙂 ) when they came back from it he did not wanted to see me and wanted to keep things in this distance. Of course I agreed with him. Because sincerely set aside my love for him, this relationship has been exhausting for me for a long time now. If I wanted to stay in it, I had to change so much such as I should not put on any skirts at company or in my neighborhood, I should not talked with some baristas about coffee, I should not study with my male friends and so on. Unfortunately I could not solve this problem, I mean he is the one who is married but I was the one who should give so much compromises not only from my life but also from my personality. Sadly he is always this kind of person who has this high demands and somehow the more I give compromises from my life the more he wanted from me. So to sum up… It was really tiring for me, this I can see now because I am not with him. So when he wanted to keep things like this I agreed with him. Because I know that he is also sickened of this relationship, because even though how many times he tried to change me.. I can’t! Simply I can’t. I see no harm to start a tiny conversation with a barista when I am getting my coffee. But such things broke us apart. Don’t get me wrong, I am not unhappy about it ,just I would wish him to accept me as I am.

        You are right, I have 3 months to leave the country and for this case it is not a short time. Actually I am really considering downloading the app ‘Mend’ but online therapies sound good, I will look for one. There are close friends around me that I can talk and discuss this. At the beginning of our relationship I had no friends no supports. But through the end of our relationship, I got lots of friends and support actually. So I have lots of opportunities and definitely I will use them all.

        One more thing. I had a vacation plan in June. I wanted to go with him to this vacation, but during the planning phase we set apart again and I have bought my tickets with a girlfriend. So we will be gone for 9 days and I am really impatient to go on a vacation like this. But what I will with a huge relief that it was a great thing that I did not plan this trip with him. If I did, now it would be an awkward situation and even worse that plan would put us together, just as happened in our previous cases. So I felt proud of myself not having plans with him. The closest date that we had a plan was a concert which will happen tonight and I already found another friend to go with. So I think…I think I unconsciously left him out of my plans and thinking that makes me feel relieved about it.

        Only this time as in contrast I don’t want any kind of romantic relationship in my life, not even as a band-aid. I really feel so much tired and wanna think of myself but nothing, not another man.

        Thank you for the support and advice Felk 🙂 Glad that you are here for me!

        1. Kub, your honesty here is really good. You have always been very honest about how your MM treats you (badly) and how you don’t like that you put up with it. I do hope your affair with your MM is over, but we all know how these situations go and I know you are in danger of getting pulled back in if your MM comes to you again. I am also VERY glad you have friends to talk to about this and that you have a vacation planned with a friend. Getting away from your MM even for 9 days can help a lot. I do think that therapy would help anyone trying to break the addiction of an affair, but I think in your case therapy might be particularly helpful because it’s not just the addiction of the affair but it’s also the addiction to an emotionally abusive relationship and the low self-esteem that comes from it (or was there before the affair started).

          Your MM seems abusive to me. You have always been honest with us about his abusive anger and his controlling jealousy. The way he expects you to not talk to other men or wear skirts in front of other people is really a problem. Of course, I don’t know where you live and if this is partially cultural, but it sounds like you recognize this as unfair and controlling behavior. As you say, your MM expects you to be completely for him only when he is the one who is married! That is a controlling person. He doesn’t care about the hypocrisy. He wants his W and he wants you, and he will make you feel unworthy unless you do all the things he wants you to do. I have no doubt that he used anger and love and every manipulation tactic to get you to do the things he wanted. I also know that, while you didn’t like the way he tried to control you, in a way you liked it. In abusive relationships, women often feel “love” from their partner’s jealousy and control. Women feel that they can show love and loyalty and devotion to their partner by trying to do all the “right” things, and we know women can feel “good” by being obedient. But this is usually the mind of someone who is being abused and whose self-esteem no longer comes from their own strength but is dependent on another. You have written about this here many times. I know that you thought that if you did all the right things that your MM would pick you. But your MM made you feel like YOU failed to live up to his standards. You say that he is sickened by the relationship because you won’t change enough. He is not sickened by the relationship because you won’t change. He is threatened by your strength. He is threatened that you will not do every little thing he wants. It takes power away from him, and he is the type of man who cannot allow ANY power to a woman. So, he will make you feel as if YOU are the failure, but, of course, it is his insecurities that lead him to belittle the women in his life. I have no doubt he does this to his W, too. I can write these things here and I can know they are true, but I know it is harder for you to believe them because you are in pain and feeling terrible that this relationship is over.

          This is why I am encouraging you to go to therapy. These are deeply rooted issues when someone is in an abusive relationship. It is usually not just the abusive partner that lowers someone’s self-esteem, but it is often that you already have low self-esteem and are vulnerable to this type of man. That low self-esteem now makes you feel that no other man will love you, and it’s part of the reason you keep going back to your MM. So, therapy can help you to get over this man but also help you with your self-esteem so that you never go for this type of man again.

          I also think it’s a good idea that you not have any romantic relationship in your life right now. As you say, you need to focus on yourself. I know you will continue to try to be done with this affair. Best luck to you.

          1. Kub,
            Having read the words between you and Felk just now, I have to say Brava to you for being as strong as you can. And as self aware as you are. You do not need to beat yourself up at all.

            I know how your affair is a tough emotional situation for you. We ALL suffer this way in affairs. No doubt. But affairs with abusers are the bottom of the barrel. The worst! I know as I have been there. To me, your MM does sound emotionally abusive and these are the HARDEST affairs to break apart. Trust me I know. Abusive affairs are more addictive as our brains are more on fire with the highs and lows of the affair driving our brain chemicals faster and harder. The “lows” cause even MORE of an addiction for the “highs”. Does this make sense to you?

            I say “abusive” because the control your MM wants to exert over you is very unhealthy. You have mentioned things in the past about how nasty he can get (and how you both become that way) when engaging with each other. And his anger and possessiveness. Your affair also has the feel of a “love/hate” relationship. That is what I mean by abusive. It can seem innocent and feel normal when in fact it is not. I did not know for years and years that my exMM is a narcissist. (I say “is” because they never change). I had no idea that the feedback I was getting from him was hurtful and abusive. Instead I believed every word. I hung on to any insult he gave to me, and I tried to be “better and better” for him. I tried to prove my love for him by becoming “better” for him. But he did no such emotional work for me. Why would he? I was not insulting him to begin with!

            I had no idea my exMM was dismissive of everyone around him, not just me. I could not see this because I was “in love.” But Kub, it was all a trap. My exMM is not a well-liked person I realized. I saw him one way when I was “in love”. Now I see him as a mal-adjusted person who holds grudges and has a lot of negativity inside him. I can not believe I did not see this in him before. Its because I was believing all the hype: his hype! We women can be very blind in love. Make sure you take off your blinders and try to see your Mm for the man he truly is, Kub. Take a good hard look and ask yourself if you truly admire his behavior? Ask yourself how he treats others?

            I really agree with Felk’s suggestions 100 per cent that you seek out therapy or a support group because I really believe you will need in person help to break out of this. Friends are great but you need someone trained who understands these dynamics.

            If you feel he might be a narcissist (like my exMM is) you can try the help on-line from Kim Said who has a narcissistic abuse recovery program. If you think he is just your “garden variety” controller/abuser I am sure there will be many other resources you can find. If you need an online therapist there are many resources for women as well. Something like Maven Clinic for Women might help? Just a thought. Kub only YOU can take the first step. You need to take care of YOU first. I agree with Felk that a new relationship is not advisable at the moment. Working on the issues that got you into this situation is the speediest and most hopeful way out. It works if you work it! I am getting better at recognizing narcissists from a mile away and now I run in the opposite direction. You can and will heal too! hugs BAF. xoxo

          2. Hello Felk

            It’s almost like you know him 🙂 You have explained every detail in a same way that I would.
            First of all, I am searching for a therapy, about that thing I am trying to make some progress.

            Second of all is that this is the man inside him. He appreciates the relationship with the opposite gender like this, he has explained that he was so jealous of his wife once upon a time (also without the shame he used this fact as a representation of his love for me 🙂 !) so anyway.. Blaming him or myself is really tiring as well, I accept his minus sides just as I used to accept as well. But now I just decide that this kinda person should not be in my life anymore. He is a source of pain and most importantly the opposite of the peace in my life.
            I will not give anymore chance to me, to him, to our relationship. I have accepted that we should not be together. And really him wanting to break up with me started a flow that drags me around with anger, pain, disappointment and finally acceptance.
            I watch Guy Winch almost everyday, there is a TED-x Talk, how to fix a broken heart. I highly recommend it by the way but that speech gives me the closure that I need. Also I follow a instruction given in that video. I have a list with every bad sides of him in my phone and whenever I do some kinda idealization I go and read that list.
            For example this morning, probably I would wake up with a feeling of missing him. But instead I remembered a horrible memory. We were traveling a close city via a ferry and at the last moment he has lost one of his gloves. I ran back to check the motorbike if he had forget it there and because I was rushing so much to not to miss the ferry and I have taken a glove that looked like his. How could I know that belonged to his wife?
            Not only he punished me with his anger, because I did not listened to him and ran back at the motorbike to find his glove, but he also punished me because I have taken a thing that I should no see. It was his anger of him but he put all of it onto me. I did not get the feel angry at him because he was driving around with his wife, I could not find a chance to express my feelings what the damn glove of his wife was doing in a motorbike that we drive together. No. He punished me, punished me so hard I did not talk not even a little during the road and he left me aloe when we arrived. He left me in the ferry. Bu I had to call him to come and pick me up in tears because we want to another city to buy a motorbike for me. And since he knows how to drive it way more better than me I needed him to drive me back to my city. I could not get the motorbike and go back unfortunately. I still feel so sorry for myself.
            So I woke up with this memory. And my heart ached. My heart ached so bad for myself, this was the thing I thought was love. This was the thing I believed to feel valuable for someone. This was the man I love and I believed that he loved me so bad all he was doing was thinking of me and I was mostly mean to him…
            I always believed that he was there for me, not only as a lover but also as a father or brother. But now I see that is not true. That is not loving someone. Can’t be. I am better than that.

            Ps: I really don’t want a messy relationship in my life but when I get married I wanna be with someone who can be a trust-able friend. Not that passion I want.

          3. Kub, the pattern of an abusive man is so common. I don’t even need to know your MM to know your MM. 🙂 But it sounds like you know that he is abusive, too. I know that sometimes that doesn’t make it easier to leave, but it sounds like you are trying to be done with him now. It is SO good to remind yourself of the ways he was abusive when you are feeling sad or lonely or wanting to contact him again. That story you told about how he got mad at you for finding his W’s glove when all you were doing was trying to do something nice for him is CLASSIC ABUSER. Abusers turn everything around on the abused. They make everything the other person’s fault. They make it all about them. They make you feel small so that they can always feel big, especially when they make a mistake. They can never be wrong. They must always be in control. They are dominant. They will push you and push you and keep testing you to see how much they can do to you before you will leave, and then they will beg you to stay. Your MM may come back begging if he thinks you’ve moved on and can live without him. Please be very careful with him. Please cut off all contact from him. Block him from your phone. Do whatever you can to keep him from getting in contact with you.

            Just as you said that your MM used to be jealous of what his W did, he did that to you. This is a pattern for him. He will do this to any woman in his life. He is insecure so he has to make every woman in his life seem lesser than him. I hope you really will be done with him and give him no more chances. I know that is hard to do in an abusive relationship. It is hard to get out. Abusers are manipulative and know how to keep someone stuck in the relationship, but I hope you are done and I hope you can get therapy to help you be done. Therapy can help you respect yourself and help you hold a man accountable for treating you well. It will help you moving forward and finding a relationship with someone you can trust to treat you well.

  167. Hello everyone. MM and I ended things today. He texted yesterday “good morning”. I waited for several hours before replying because wasn’t sure if I wanted to…hindsight I should not have as I felt myself slip back into the same routine. His behavior hasn’t been acceptable and tried last night to text but he was watching hockey game. I texted this morning and no response. I waited until this afternoon and texted him that we needed to talk. He asked via phone or in person. I replied either. I honestly didn’t want to go fir days with all if this on my mind and couldn’t sleep last night thinking about things. I still wasn’t completely sure but also knew I didn’t want to continue as we have been. I texted that things had been difficult. I understood he was busy and the difficulties he has balanacing things and lately seemed it had been worse with responsibilities between work and family. I told him that if being with me was too much that I didn’t want him to feel obligated to stay with me. He replied he had been difficult almost possible to balance it all. He needed to be more dedicated to his family while he loves being with me really can’t do both. I agreed with him and told him I felt it was best for both of us. He replied it really sucks. I said yes but so does wanting to be with me someone and missing them. He replied I totally agree it has sucked. I told him that it was difficult and sad that neither want to lose the other but we’ve tried and didn’t know what else to do. He said felt the same way but right now he needs to bring his family tighter if than nothing else for the kids. I told him I understood and never wanted to come between him and his kids. He told me again it sucked and really hurts. And he knew that about me which is why he feels the way he does about me. I replied, I’m sorry my heart is breaking and blocked his number. Trust me, I have cried all the way home but have kept the things you have said in the back of my mind. What am I really losing? Why do I want to hang on? What about my needs and feelings? Honestly, he will be the one who lost in this situation because don’t know too many woman who would be as patient. I have a long road ahead of me and really could use your prayers. I know, it’s for the best but doesn’t take away the hurt and last 3 years of being together. Maybe it would have been easier to been have told he doesn’t still want to be with me but knows in life you have to make sacrifices for your kids. I don’t know if anything would keep it from hurting except time, acceptance and distance. My heart feels so much pain but my head is saying let it go it’s only a matter of time and it won’t hurt anymore.

    1. Oh Lois, I am sure this is going to be a painful period of time for you. Even though you did something VERY strong (and that strength will help), I’m sure you feel weak right now. Weak because you miss him and are sad and are thinking about all of the “what could have been” and “what should I have done differently.” As much as possible, I hope you will be kind to yourself in this process and remind yourself that you did all that you could have done. You made the decisions that you thought were best for you and your relationship. Not all relationships work, and affairs are particularly tricky. It got to a point where it was all too much for your MM, and I think you’re recognizing that it was all too much stress for you, too. The pain will lessen, though. It will take time. Give yourself time. Try the Mend App. I found that app really useful in 2017. It helps you think through relationships ending, helps you with negative thoughts and “what ifs,” helps you move away from counterproductive thoughts “Maybe I should just text him a quick hello on his birthday just to be nice,” and helps you move on. Of course, that app can’t do it alone, but blocking him and cutting him out of your life will be big steps without the daily reminder.

      Try to focus on the reasons you know the affair was not working for you (and him). He just couldn’t do it. He couldn’t balance family and the affair. He felt terrible about it, and you don’t want an affair with someone who feels terrible and guilty all of the time. Yes, of course, you wanted it to be worth it to him. Yes, of course, you wanted him to choose you over that guilt. But he couldn’t. That’s the part that hurts. But I think you can understand it, and, as you said, you don’t want to come in between him and his family. And his guilt and MIA were making you miserable. They were making you feel insecure and unwanted. That is no good for your mental health. It’s no good for you interactions with your family. It takes you away from giving 100% to others in your life.

      So, try to focus on all the good things that will come from being done with this affair. Yes, there are sad things. There are things you will miss, but try not to dwell on those. Think about how you’ll no longer obsess about texting him. You’ll no longer have to think about when/if you’re going to text him at any given moment and what you’ll say. What is the right thing to say? What will get him to respond? What will not give him stress? What will make him happy? You’ll no longer have to waste time thinking about whether he’ll respond. No more, “why isn’t he responding yet?” No more sadness and disappointment when he doesn’t respond at all. You’ll no longer have to waste time thinking about what his responses mean when he does respond. Is he sad? Is he mad? Is he mad at me? Did I do something to make things worse for him? You’ll no longer have to wonder if you’re asking too much of him. You’ll no longer have to wonder if he wants to see you, wants to talk to you, is thinking about you. All of this time you’ve spent thinking about all of these things you can be done with. Thoughts you’ve focused elsewhere while at work, while out with others, while with your kids, while with your H you can return to being present in the moment. And eventually the sadness will go away, and you’ll no longer have to think about why you’re not good enough. Why doesn’t he want to see me? What is he doing? Who is he with? Why doesn’t he have time for me? You’ll no longer have to feel like shit because a broken man can’t get his life together. You know I type all of this because been there done that.

      Your MM should have ended it with you. He was weak. He was scared. And he still probably was holding out hope that it could work in the distant future, but he was wanting you to just sit and wait while he lived his life and ignored you. Just nope. You know you deserved better and you finally are ending it. You saw the signs from him. You saw him pulling away, and you ended it before you were just strung along for another few months, feeling terrible most of the time and hoping desperately for a text from him. I did not have this strength in 2017 leading up to my MM ending it. I saw all the signs, but I was too scared of the pain. I also held onto the delusional hope even though we were both getting more and more miserable. I’ve said it before, but it took a lot of strength for my MM to end it. He did the right thing. We needed that. We were both overwhelmed. You did the right thing. You and your MM were struggling too much. It was affecting your mental health too much.

      I know there is not a lot that can comfort you right now. I know how much you are hurting, but I also hope you can take comfort in some of the above. I know others on here will also have other words of wisdom as others have gone through it. Be kind to yourself. Know the process is slow. Distract yourself. Treat yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for being sad or angry or wanting him back. Try not to get lost in “what ifs.” Talk to us or talk to a friend if you have someone you can trust with this. You made a strong, hard, good choice. Of that, I’m sure.

      1. Felk, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I have read your post a couple times today as there were times of sorrow. You understand all to well…it’s like you were in my mind thinking about the times he didn’t respond, etc. You’re absolutely right and it has been a waste of precious moments that could have been given to something else. As I said earlier, I have my numb moments and then it hits me that’s over. I start thinking is it really over as we have been in this same dilemma time and time again. I just keep telling myself that it’s never going to get any better…nothing will change. It would be east to go back to the situation to ease the pain but we all know it’s only a matter of time and we’d be right back in this exact spot again. It’s been 3 years of it. Yes he has gotten better about some things but it’s not enough. Someone said one time on here about it being a cycle and will continue as long as we let it. I know it’s not hound to be easy and the numbness is helping me right now. I do worry about weakening because it’s hard and will be difficult. However, I can do it…one day at time and try not to be too hard on myself as we do some silly things in the name of love. I have to be strong and keep reminding myself like you said why it wasn’t and will not work for us. Again thank you.

    2. It was difficult hiding the pain from my family last night and went to bed early. I did not sleep well but tried not let myself dwell on the situation. It’s been hard today and have tried to keep my distracted with work. I have periods of overwhelming sadness but have told myself this will soon pass. I have been hurting for months with the distance so you would think it would not hurt as much. I keep reminding myself this is for the best and in my head it is true. Let’s face it…father’s day is next week, then his brother’s birthday (who passed is the beginning of July), and the 1 year mark of his death is mid-July, so it would be MM having difficulties and feeling guilt…basically shutting down on me again. I cannot take away his guilt nor can or want to make someone want to be with me. In thinking about the things you have said here, I realize that if “our situation” was important to him he would have made time but it was not nor was worth his effort. Yes, it was difficult and almost impossible to balance things at times but when he truly want something; you find a way to make it work. Honestly, I have mixed emotions as there is relief but also grief. There are times when I am numb and think it is okay I have got this…then, I feel this sadness come over me that he is gone. I know it is going to take time and have to remind myself that the ways things were not working and not fair to me. I know, in my heart, I have tried and been more patient than most…some times I feel like a fool for being so patient but it is who I am. I also remind myself that there is no person that is worth not being with my kids, so I have to remember that he too feels the same. He may truly have feelings but as parents, we sacrifice and whether he has a good marriage or not, his kids should always come first as we have always agreed they would. I cannot be upset with him for wanting to be a better father and even a better husband…it just does not make it hurt any less. I know, this time has to be different and cannot give in to my weakness or the pain I am going through right now will be for nothing…I have to figure out how to let go and move on. I am taking one day at time. I greatly appreciate being able to come here and share what is going on inside because I have no where else to go and feel it does help to know I am not alone. Thank you.

      1. Lois I am so sorry you are in this pain. I know how excruciating it is. I have been there, as you are well aware. The pain of an affair ending is really quite brutal and one suffers in silence because no one knew about the relationship to begin with.
        IMHO I don’t think you had a choice. You HAD to break up. There was really no other choice. So please do not torture your mind over whether it was the right thing to do. It WAS the right thing. He really gave you no choice. In the end, you had to protect yourself and take care of yourself. It is a lousy way to end a relationship. It sucks to be honest. But the feelings don’t change anything. You had to do this. SO please don’t second guess yourself.
        I know you waited patiently and you showed great willingness to take the high road with him through his grief over his brother, his losing his job, his having the other ‘other’ woman giving him such a hard time etc. These were very large things in his life and you tried to do did “right thing” (in an affair it is always a hard to define the “right thing” but whatever). But you did patiently and quietly support his process. You were there for him and did not abandon him.

        But in the end he left you holding the bag. I mean he left you holding all the emotions, all the hope for the relationship. All the hope for the love you were left with standing all alone. He left you hanging there with no other choice but to end it. That was selfish of him. He was all wrapped up in himself and his problems. They were real problems but you waited and waited until his behavior made you feel very bad about yourself. And then you HAD to stop it.
        I think your hanging on was you trying to see if there was any hope left. I think your hanging on was also to avoid the dreaded feelings of the break up. It is all very normal.
        Is a therapist an option for you?
        Is there a friend you can confide in? We really do need support during break ups like this and yet how many of us have none because of the nature of the affair

        Yes, you have a long road ahead of me and yes, I will keep you in my prayers.! The truth is you will get through this one day at at time. The first couple of weeks are the absolute worst but believe me it does get better! Trust in the process of healing. It is as natural and inevitable as everything else in life. I know that might not help you today or even tomorrow but keep the faith always that “this too shall pass”. hugs BAF xoxo

        1. Good morning, BAF. I know you understand as well as most of us on here the difficulties faced when being in an affair. It is reassuring to know it does get better and you are living proof it especially after the number of years you were in your relationship. It is hard but honestly, I have second guessed myself on being honest because it had gotten to the point it was too much. It also helps having people like you and Felk who can see things from a different perspective and provide guidance and reassurance as well as bring forth things that I was blinded to because of my feelings. MM has left me holding the bag for way too long and I have been with him throughout his struggles. He is selfish and only thinks of his own problems. I cannot fix him nor do I want to try anymore to help him cope with things in his life. He has chosen his family and should be his wife’s job to help get through the tough spots in life…not me. Although my heart hurts, I do feel some relief and knowing that I tried with all my heart and it just did not work out. Felk is right…he is broken, he is weak and scared…and I deserve better than we could and has been giving me. He has too many issues and it is not my fault. He made the choice of sleeping with his employee…what did you think was going to happen? I do not want to feel unwanted and rejected anymore because he lives with the guilt of what he did and how it has impacted his family by losing a wonderful job, etc. Life happens and life goes on. I just have to remind myself that even if we would get back together tomorrow…it’s only a matter of time before he does it again. I do not want to waste another moment on someone who seems to only care about his own problems and not take responsibility for his actions. If he was truly remorseful, why did get involved with me? Honestly, I do not want to dwell on the why’s or the if’s, just want to take one day time and find me again and look forward to not having the emptiness in my heart. “This too shall pass”…love it!!!! Thank you!

          1. Lois, That is correct his issues are not your fault. And yes if you sleep with your employee you should know the dangers and consequences. He acts like a victim of his life problems but he has also caused them. My exMM is exactly the same way, I needed him to say “This is not fair to you. I know I have problems and I will work on them.” instead of blaming me for needing him. Sound familiar? Anyhow let go of the feelings one day at a time. Let the natural healing process begin. You did your best. You really did. Now it is time to take care of YOU. hugs BAF xoxo

      2. Lois, I’m glad my words were helpful. I found so much support here when I was going through it two years ago, and I’m trying to share what worked for me. I know the difficulty of hiding the pain from others around you (especially those you live with). Although my H never said anything, I wonder if he noticed anything. I really did try to hide it, but I felt numb/vacant for about two months. I was able to force myself to engage, of course, but most of the time I just wanted to be alone so I could really feel my feelings and not fake it. I think there is value in just sitting with your sadness sometimes, but, of course, there are limits to how good that is. Initially, though, let yourself mourn the relationship. You don’t have to just “get over it.” That was the hardest part for me. I wanted to be “over it” so fast. A month would go by (or six months) and I couldn’t believe I still felt so bad. But, as BAF says, time will heal. That is natural. That’s how it works. If you really give yourself distance and NC with your MM, you will heal over time. Slowly, the pain will fade. But it’s going to hurt for a while. And, yes, try not to give in to that pain with a quick fix to make the pain go away. Try to stick to your goal of removing your MM from your life. A text to your MM can feel good for a few minutes, and then it is usually way worse after. I had to stop texting my MM when he ended it because it hurt too much to wait for a response, to wonder what his response meant, or to not get a response at all. The brief relief I felt by texting and sometimes by getting a nice response was almost always overshadowed by the anxiety I felt immediately after sending the text and waiting for a response and the pain I often felt when his text was flat and gave me no hope. And, most of all, try not to talk yourself into texting him to be kind – the ol’ “But what if he’s in pain? Did I abandon him?” We can tell ourselves all sorts of lies to justify sending a text to be “kind” when all we’re really doing is desperately wanting connection again. And, finally, although you are doing this for you, being done with your MM is kind to him, too. He needs to focus on his family. He told you that. So, leaving him alone to do that is one of the kindest things you can do.

        I read many websites for advice on ending affairs and getting over relationships when I was going through it, and one of the best I found had these 10 reasons for ending an affair (I can’t find the link but had copied down the reasons):

        1. Because the person who is willing to walk away first has the most power.
        2. Because the pain of ending is less than the pain of continuing to hurt myself and others.
        3. Because I deserve the whole cake and not just the crumbs.
        4. Because self-esteem can only come from making good decisions.
        5. Because what goes around comes around and I wouldn’t want someone else to do this to me.
        6. Because letting go is a sign of maturity and wisdom and clinging is a sign of weakness and insecurity.
        7. Because my self-respect is more important than self-indulgence.
        8. Because it’s better to live openly than to live as somebody’s dirty secret.
        9. Because leading a double life is exhausting.
        10. Because wrong decisions (no matter how tempting) can never produce the right results.

        I spent time thinking about those reasons and writing about those reasons and how they applied to my situation. Not all of them applied exactly, but many fit well and helped me feel better about the affair ending. I’d go back to that list and those reasons when I needed to. Other things I did? Exercise. That was huge. I’ve always exercised regularly, but in the first few weeks of the affair I didn’t want to do anything. I wasn’t eating much. I wasn’t sleeping well. I couldn’t feel joy. But I made myself continue to exercise regularly knowing the physical and mental health benefits. I also started going for walks on my own last summer (when my H was at work). That felt great. I cut down on alcohol. I was never a heavy drinker, but there is temptation to go to alcohol to numb your pain. I found that alcohol just made me more nauseated (which was already happening due to the pain) and made it harder for me to sleep. As best you can, try to stay away from the “what if” traps. I’d think those “what if” things about what I could have said or should have said differently or earlier or later or… and that’s the worst. It happened as it did. You can’t change it. And you did the best you could. It’s not to say you can’t learn from the past, but in a break-up it’s torture to dwell on thinking you could have changed something to make everything better. At best, you would have delayed the break-up a little longer. There were no “magic” words or actions that would have fixed it in a way that would have worked for you and your MM. Keep reminding yourself of that. Also try to keep in mind that we tell ourselves that the affair partner is special and so different/better than our spouse, but it’s usually not the case. We have a fantasy relationship that is part time and so, of course, we only get the good of that person. And, well, you didn’t even get that much with your MM in the end. And, maybe, try to reconnect with your H. I forced myself to do this with my H. I found a few Netflix shows for us to watch together. We’d lie in bed and once in a while I’d snuggle up to him and he’d put his arm around me, and that connection with another helped. My marriage is not repaired, but it is better than before.

        And best part? You ended the affair. You didn’t sit around and wait. You valued yourself and your kids, and you took action to make things better for you and your family. So, take some comfort in that strength.

  168. Hi it’s me again…I am back so soon 😉

    I am trying to sort out my emotions before I do or say something to MM that I don’t really mean. So you know how I may or may not have said in the previous post that I wasn’t really bothered by him and her going away for their anniversary but I felt a way…well…I can’t figure out if I am feeling a way about them or feeling a way about the way his and I relationship goes or am I just jealous so that’s why I am here to sort these feelings out…
    So, I sent him a message on Thursday asking him to pay for me to get my nails/toes done which is roughly about $60 so my “expectation” were he would take care of that since I “take care” of him and I do not ask for much of nothing and I haven’t pressed him about us hanging out because I was hanging out with my friend. I think hanging out with my friend distracted me which was a good thing. Now that I am not hanging out with my friend anymore, I’m faced with the reality of this affair which is…it will always be one sided. He said he was unable to give me the money because he had too many things to take care of but he should be able to do it next week. Well my mouth said ok I can wait and go next week to the nail shop but I really wanted them done for the beach. However, my brain said this is bullsh@t because it’s just $60 & why do I need to wait when I don’t ask you for anything in the first place, I haven’t pushed you to take me out, I haven’t pushed you to spend a night or spend an entire day with me…I am not pushing for much of nothing outside of a wet @$# and I need to feel like I’m getting something more in return. When I think about the almost 2.5 years that we have dealt with each other it does seem that they are on better terms and I think I’ve said this before. I know he comes back today and I will probably hear from him tomorrow or Wednesday and I am just trying to figure out what angle I need to take with him….
    So this is the battle my brain is having:
    I would like to keep this affair going until it can’t go anymore because I am comfortable to a certain extent. I don’t have anyone to date currently and the dating pool in my area is pretty low almost extinct. I have tried dating sites and they have not been successful, I have been hooked up by friends with people who haven’t worked out and I am tired of that. I don’t have the energy to go out looking for a man and that’s not the way I would like to do that anyway. Although I am not focused on finding someone I miss being in a relationship and it just feels good to date someone. My friend gave me some false hope because he was planning to do things with me and he was taking me out and it reminded me of how I am suppose to be treated and how much I enjoy being out with a man with no fear, no worry, no reservations…
    I feel like I should end it because I don’t want to be a hindrance to their relationship, if they are all lovey. I know some of my discontent with this is that I know theyare intimate when they’re out of town and of that thought doesn’t feel good. Most times I don’t think about it but I remember years ago he said they have sex about 5 times a year, he said she is willing to have sex when they go out of town. So, when he said they were going away, I didn’t think of that right away but that has been on my mind. I have this need to feel needed and if they’re ok then there is no room or no reason for me to deal with him. A part of me feel like I need to be done with this because there is not much for me to gain from it. I am feeling like it’s pointless and there is no way he has real feelings for me and her. I am feeling like he loves his wife and should probably figure out how to just be with her. I am feeling vulnerable and uneasy. I don’t like to feel that way.

    However, sometime in April him and I had a conversation for about an hour or longer..she was at the gym with our boys and he we were talking about how good the sex every time we get together and he said I know I could be intimate with you forever, it’s that good and its genuine and reciprocal. As I said in the other posts we haven’t had any arguments, not many disagreements or anything. He was off a few times in May and he we missed each other because I had to work and the May 24th I had a trip with my daughter but he called to take me to lunch. I know in his mind he tries to get some time with me. I noticed that he tries to make sure he tell me if the plan is not going to work out. He had to do that a few weeks ago, he made a plan to see me but he called to say he can’t be out long so he wasnt going to make it. I wasn’t too disappointed by it and I appreciated him calling to tell me. He make sure he let me know if it’s a night where he can’t be here long and he said he knows I prefer when he can come over and stay for a few hours. I realize that his way of showing he cares for me is not always the way I want to receive the care or love. Him being considerate of my time and being sure to let me know in advance is his way, him calling me regularly is his way, I just learned recently that he cooks breakfast for his family somtimes on the weekend because that’s the way he shows his love and appreciation. Him saying that to me, made me understand that just because he doesn’t verbalize his feelings all the time doesn’t mean they’re not there. He has made breakfast for me and the very last time he did he explained to me that this is not just sex for him, we would still talk to one another but he knows all things come to an end at some point. I didnt take that in, I just thought…well of course you would say that to me because I challenged you about this being a sexual relationship…and honestly it’s hard for me to not to see it as that. I want to believe we have something but its almost impossible to believe that there is something more to us than sex. I don’t know guys…I am trying to wrap my head around things.

    Anyway as far as my contradicting thoughts go…If I could have my way and get what I want from him all the time, I probably would’nt feel like I need to end it. Primarily, because I don’t ask for much. However, I am learning more and more about myself as I reflect. I know I am such a brat and I have to have my way or else I tantrum, I can be impulsive as well so I am attempting to grow, so I am trying to think things over before I speak. However, I know I have a right to speak about how I feel and I have some say so in how I’m treated but I think I am trying to figure out where I am with this whole affair thing. I don’t want to tell him I’m ending things and be right back with him in a month or two. I know in my past relationships I’ve done the back and forth and the men don’t take you serious when you do the back and forth thing at least that’s the lesson I learned from operating like that. It’s almost like they know…she will be back so I don’t have to change, I don’t have to fight for her etc. When I break up with MM I want to be sure I am done and not making a decision based off of my emotions of not getting my way. On the flip side, I do think I should take a break to clear my mind a little…when i was on the beach Saturday, I was relaxed and I thought about things and tried to clear my mind but I need more than a day at the beach. I need a whole vacation!! I feel like June is always a disturbing month for us. Their anniversary is June 1st and her birthday is June 13th, Father’s Day always fall right after her birthday. I will be teaveling to Orlando the last week of June for work. I think if I am going to try to take some time for myself to regroup that this month is the perfect month to do so because he is preoccupied. I will take whatever feedback you all have to offer. It doesn’t seem that everyone is here regularly so whomever reads it and wants to reply…please give me some further insight on what I have said above.
    My questions to you all are…..
    Would you tell your MM you need a break? Why or why not
    How much of what I’m feeling, is ok to express to him?
    Am I being reasonable (considering this is an affair and I know he’s not leaving his wife nor is that the expectation) about this whole thing or am I being dramatic and bratty ?

    Take Care,

    1. Hi LL, I will be brief here as I must be due to a massive work crunch. But here goes:
      I think you got very burned by the situation with this man from your past who came back into your life. And the left you again. That sucks.
      You feel the pain now of what he did and how he acted and this cut you. You can not really share this with your MM as he is unaware as to the full nature of that relationship and because of course he is married already and not only “yours”. So you can’t tell him everything. You have to watch your words.
      You share him with his W because it is an affair. And you are supposed to be the “light and fun” other woman while she, the W, is the “heavy” he needs to escape from. Again this all sucks.
      But I think this new thing with a man from your past was a huge distraction from the affair because you are now starting to realize how hopeless any affair is. Having attention from another male helped you feel things were more “eve”. I know because I did this too. And then the thing fell apart with that man from your past.

      Now you have pangs of jealousy when your MM shows loving behavior to his W and why wouldn’t you feel those feelings? Those are normal and natural. Of course this is going to be really bugging you extra right now because the man from your past is now “gone” again and you are stuck with this affair which you realize is not giving you so many things you need. And part of the reason your MM is happier with his W is because he is having an affair with you. It sucks all around.
      But is it the time to take a real “break”? Something in me tells me no, you are not maybe ready for this break. Think about it. I think maybe you are already hurting too much over the other man from your past. You have to grieve that and let him go and feel all the anger and other emotions you need to feel about that relationship first. That’s enough pain to process for the moment. Do you really want to leave the affair too right now and have to process two sets of grief? Two sets of feelings? I think that will be very hard unless you are sure you are strong enough to take that break. It is up to YOU of course.

      As far as you asking if you are being dramatic or “bratty” (a word you often use) I really don’t see you as a brat at all. Why do you call yourself that? It seems like maybe a label you picked up some place. of course I may be wrong. But feeling a need for answers in an affair, feeling a need for clarifications and reassurances …is that really bratty?? Or is that just good self care?
      I hope some of this helps.
      Hugs BAF

    2. LL, some tough good questions you’re thinking through. Things we all have thought at some point or another. Your questions:

      1) “Would you tell your MM you need a break? Why or why not?” I probably wouldn’t do this because it’s not my style. This works for some people, but it doesn’t work for me. I’m not saying I couldn’t benefit from a break (I benefitted immensely from my MM slowing us down for a year), but I don’t tend to initiate them because when I’m done I’m done. I often don’t feel I need breaks, too. Again, I get that I can benefit from a break (and sometimes I take small “breaks” like not emailing for two days, ha!), but I usually don’t feel I need them. I like working through problems with the person, if I can. I think pretty well on my own, so I don’t feel I need an official “break” from another person. Now, when I went on vacation a few weeks ago, it was essentially a break. My MM and I had very little communication over that week, and I felt very relaxed. It felt nice to not feel pressed to communicate with him. Just as you say about your day at the beach, maybe you should get away for a few more days and try to take a “break”? Sometimes it’s nice just to not feel that pressure of making and waiting for phone calls and texts. So, I won’t say whether or not you should take a break because you have to decide that, but I will ask… why do you want to take a break? What do you hope to gain from it? What is the goal? If the goal is to try to make him miss you, I don’t really support that kind of break. That’s playing games. But if the break is to really give you time and space to think or just see what it feels like to be without communication with him for a few days, then why not? If a break is genuine, don’t worry about what your MM thinks about it. You don’t even have to tell him you’re taking a break. You can just go on vacation and do your thing. Or you can tell him that you need a break to think. Don’t be scared of his reaction if it’s something you need.

      2) “How much of what I’m feeling, is ok to express to him?” For me, the answer to this question is almost always “as much as you want to express.” I know you’re looking for a more, though. 🙂 First, I’ll reiterate the things BAF said about how you don’t sound bratty when you express. Obviously, we’re not there and don’t know how you’re saying the things, but it sounds like you just try to get treated the way you want to be treated. You try to hold people accountable for treating you well. Men will label women “bratty” or “bitchy” or “needy” or all of these words simply to try to control us. To make us feel bad for speaking up. To try to keep us quiet so that they can keep acting selfish. So, it’s good to express what you’re feeling when you want to. In healthy relationships, we have freedom to express to our partner because we trust they will respond well. Second, the more complicated answer is that we can’t say everything we’re thinking to someone. We all know that. There are fair things to express and then there are some things we should hold back out of courtesy. I’d say that you should express if you think the thing isn’t just something that is good for you but is also good for the relationship. For example, you could tell your MM all about your “friend,” but would you be telling him simply because you need to talk about it? (That might not be good and could hurt your MM to hear about another man of yours.) If you want to express that you don’t think your MM is giving you enough time, then you should tell him. That’s good for you and the relationship. Jealousy about his W? That’s tougher. You could tell him about your jealousy if it helps you, but what can he do about that? He has a W. He’s staying with his W, and expressing that jealousy could just make you feel worse if he doesn’t say the things you want to hear. You want to hear that things are still boring with them. You want to hear that he likes you better or something like that. But what if he doesn’t say those things? My MM and I were recently talking about our marriages. We were talking about sex and intimacy with our spouses. We don’t say a lot about these things, but I mentioned that I wasn’t interested in sex with my H anymore. My MM did not say the same. He didn’t say anything. But him simply not saying anything lets me know that he’s still interested in sex with his W and that didn’t feel great. My MM did say that he doesn’t really want intimacy (holding hands, etc.) with his W anymore and that was nice to hear, but what if he hadn’t said that? Then I’d just feel worse. So, I’d be careful when bringing up his relationship with his W. I don’t know if your affair is making his marriage better. I’d find that hard to believe. It seems that affairs divide your attention and pull you away from your marriage. Your affair may make your MM happier in general and that may allow him to be a better H and dad, but that doesn’t mean that it’s making him more satisfied or happier with his marriage. At best in my marriage, when things are going really well with my MM, I can pay more attention to my H. I’m less distracted at home and can be more “present,” but none of that changes that I’m in love with my MM and still feel no passion with my H. I don’t believe my affair helps my marriage, though.

      3) “Am I being reasonable (considering this is an affair and I know he’s not leaving his wife nor is that the expectation) about this whole thing or am I being dramatic and bratty ?” I answered some of this above about you being dramatic and bratty. I don’t think you are. As far as the expectations for an affair, that’s the hardest part. It’s hard to know what you can expect. If you and your MM have an arrangement where he’s supposed to give you money to do your nails every week, then you can be frustrated that he couldn’t one week. But… it’s understandable that his family and W are his priority and he has to give money there first. It hurts, but that’s something that’s a given in an affair. It is unreasonable to expect otherwise. As far as the time he gives you, that’s always hard to know. It sounds like your MM tries to call you regularly and tries to let you know if he has to change plans. He sounds respectful of your time and trying to make you feel important. The problem with an affair is that you are not the top priority so there are plenty of times you won’t feel important. And it hurts. As for just being there for sex, I doubt that’s how he feels about you, but I understand your worry about that. I worry about that sometimes with my MM. We all probably worry about that in affairs. When I told my MM that I no longer have interest in sex with my H, maybe my MM thinks I only want him for sex? 🙂 For some of these things, you have to accept it as part of the affair, but, of course, even in an affair you’re allowed to have expectations for how you want to be treated and how often you want to see your MM. I am struggling with those expectations right now as my MM and I have changed our relationship three times over the last two years. Two years ago, we were hot and heavy, full on in the affair. Sept 2017 he says he needs to end it. We go from crazy in love to barely talking. We attempt to maintain a friendship by hanging out once or twice a month, and talking here and there at work. Then, August 2018, he seems to want more again. The hanging out together slowly leads to realizing he wants the affair, and we start hanging out more and touching more and then sex. But we still talk a lot less in between seeing each other, and I don’t know what expectations are reasonable. I know he needs to strike a balance with us and home or he’ll be miserable again, but I know that I need a little more communication if we’re having sex and intimacy again. So, I ask the same question you do. What is reasonable?

      As BAF said, it seems like you are struggling a bit to be content with the affair after your “friendship” ended with that other guy. You no longer have that distraction to make you feel good and wanted and help you not miss your MM. Now, that’s gone and you’re back to the affair and maybe it’s even harder now that you had a taste of more attention and someone treating you more like you want to be treated regularly. You don’t seem done with the affair, but it will continue to be the same ol’ frustrations. I think that’s one of the hardest things about an affair. That we’re pretty much agreeing to be in something that we know will cause you pain and frustration a fair amount of the time. So, try to be reasonable about expectations but don’t feel bad about speaking up when you don’t think those expectations are being met.

  169. Hi Ladies!

    I really miss you all…I’ve been juggling so much and haven’t dedicated time to actually write to you. I hope everyone has been as good as you can be (especially if you’re still attached to your MM). I am currently still with my MM and we haven’t had many disagreements lately. I think we have come to grips with who each other is and I’m sure we will still have moments of disagreements and I may still have times where I am disappointed but lately it’s been ok.

    In January I started talking to a guy who I was close to in high school and, about a decade later after high school him and I decided to participate in a “relationship”. At that time he was separated from his wife and he professed to that he still loved me the same way he did when we were 16. However, he decided 9 months into our “relationship” that he would go back to her. Throughout the time him and were dealing with each other, she made sure she let him know that if he left her, she would make his life a living hell. Well, he went back and I’m sure mostly because he still loved her and wanted to be sure his family was able to stay together. He was the only man I have ever seen actually cry as he was breaking up me with me. He told me it hurt him to know that he was hurting his friend. He tried to offer to buy me things, offer to still keep in touch, anything to make him not feel like crap but I told him I would be ok and I understood his stance to make his family work. It’s 9 years later and we’ve kept in contact occasionally through social media but I’ve been off of social media for a few years now. He contacted me about 2yrs ago to see how I was doing and he offered to help me move but I told him I could handle it. I allowed him to come check out my new home shortly after we talked. He came over and told me what was going on with his wife and he told me she was cheating again or he suspected that she was cheating again. I said wow!! I thought she would’ve given that up after all these years (when they separated back when him and I got together that was the reason, she cheated on him then but he only told me and a few people in his family that she cheated, he was embarrassed and didnt want people to look at her differently) he said, well I went through her phone today and there was picture of her hugged up with some guy. I said, oh wow! Well we talked for a while that day. Over the course of a week we talked and I told him if his wife didnt say we could be friends then I didnt think it was a good idea for us to be friends. He said, we’re not doing anything and I said yea but I don’t want any trouble from her and you know she hates my guts. During the time we talked he told me it took him at a minimum of 2 years to stop thinking about me daily and wondering what I was doing or who I was seeing, whether or not I hated him and if I was good. He said she spoke of me for about 3 years straight and she would bring me up after every argument and he said it was crazy being in there with her like that especially considering she cheated and he separated from her because of it, he had his own place back then she had her own place, she was dealing with someone else as well but he had to hear her mouth for 3 years. He said his mom finally asked her if she wanted him to come back to me because that’s what she’s asking for if she feels the need to speak of me so often. They had a baby right after they got back together also.

    Let’s speed the story up a little. We were talking recently and he said they were separated again and had been separated for almost 3 months before him I started talking. Long story short him and I started hanging out. We hung out often sometimes 2-3 times a week. I kept telling him that I felt like we shouldn’t see each other often and I said things like, once a week is good, you need time to heal, etc. There was a time I told him I was single and that I am single until I get married. He hated when I would say that and I explained to him often that he couldn’t offer me any form of commitment at this time because he was still tied to someone else. He told me he understood but he is not seeing anyone else and he can’t help that he still loves me and always will. He said he was really excited to think that he had the opportunity to adore, take care of, and love the girl he once loved at 16. He said it was surreal. I told him I understood his excitement and I was excited as well but I’m also a bit guarded because he thought his marriage was over before and it left me in a hurt place. Him and I had been talking to each other since January and earlier this month things went sour. We had an off week with one another my car was sick and she was out of commission for a day. I told him about it in text but he didn’t call to check on me (I know, I am such a BRAT) well that made me feel a way. He could tell in text because he asked if he had done something wrong and I said well I don’t think its wrong but you didnt call to check on me about my car and he said I thought you had it under control. He said he had been going through it all week and I told him I was sorry to hear that. He said he had just realized he had been being robbed for the past few months. He said he tries not to tell me everything that happens with him and her and sometimes it bites him in the butt and other times it’s a good thing. He basically told me that he is a mess and that this mess loves you. He said he doesn’t like to admit I’m right but he thought it was best to figure things with his divorce first. Well I text him later that day to get clarity on the robbery he had been experiencing but he never answered and the next morning, I text he text back and I asked why he hadn’t responded prior to that and he said well I told you that I needed to figure things out. I said oh wow!!! I said well I think if you’re going to move forward in a way where we are no longer communicating with one another you could at least had the decency to have a conversation with me about it. He never read the message…we both have the same carrier so I can see when he reads my message and he can too. Well I called because I was being bratty and needed him to hear me. It went to voice mail and I could tell he blocked me and I called from one of my kids phone and he answered and I said did you block me he said yes and I said but why he said because he didnt feel like the drama and he hung up and blocked that number. I sent him an entire novel about how immature he was and how it wasn’t warranted for him to handle things that way. I had been telling him for months that it was more appropriate for him to fall back a little but he persisted even more which in turn woke the feelings up that I once had for him. I was annoyed, frustrated and hurt because he was always the one that adored me, catered to me, he had been the person who had majority of the qualities I wanted a man to have. Once I cooled off, I sent him a message that basically said, take your time and my apologies for being impulsive but I felt a conversation was warranted. He just said thanks…About a week after that I text him and asked if he still planned on practicing Lax with my son and my “boyfriends aka MMs” son because he told my son he would and since he’s dealing with things I was unsure as to whether or not he would still be willing to work with them on drills. He said
    ……Just to let you know… I’m doing fine.. I will help __________with whatever skills/ drills he would want to work on. I’ll let both of you know when we start practicing in the evenings. Right now, I’m just trying to figure this thing out. You will always be a friend to me… know matter what..I think that’s my issue. This love I have for you… just doesn’t stop..
    I responded to him by saying,
    ……..I am truly lost about what’s happening right now. I wanted clarity, I wanted an explanation and you were not able to provide it to me in the time, I felt necessary. It upset me but once I calmed down I sent you the message last Monday apologizing for my impulsive responses. I know you are going through things and I pray things get better for you. You said you won’t bother me, I never said you were bothering me. I am trying my best not to bother you as your words and actions indicated that’s what you wanted.
    He said, we can talk later if that’s cool..I said yea but I have the Lax banquet tonight and he said his sons was also so he said tomorrow would work better. Well tomorrow came and I reached out and he said he could talk about 15 minutes after I reached out and I was driving at that point so I couldn’t reply but soon as got home I asked him he could still talk, he said he was cleaning his house and I said ok. Well i waited about 2.5 hours and i text and said hey do you know when you will be available, I was as thinking about going out for a drink, I had a challenging day but I don’t want to miss your call. He said, you can go out. I said I know but I really want to see what’s going on with you. Well he was no longer reading my messages so I figured he blocked me and I called and guess what…he blocked me so, instead of me handling him in a mature way…I got on his level and text him from a burner number (an app I downloaded) The messages were not mean or even jerk-ish. I basically told him that I didnt understand why he felt the need to deal with me in a way that seems as if I did something wrong. I said i didnt want to result in sending a million messages but he really doesn’t give me many options here, when it comes to communicating with him. I told him my feeling were hurt by his actions finally replied saying….he is not angry and I was pushy but he will call me tomorrow morning. I text him and said….
    ……..Pushy…that’s what you got out of the messages I sent. Wow, I definitely don’t want you to feel forced into talking to me. I thought you were ready for a conversation with me because you initiated that. When you blocked me, it hurt my feelings. Maybe, that should’ve been a hint to let me know you were not ready to talk to me but in an attempt to be a little more vigilant, I noticed you still said you need time and to avoid any confusion tomorrow you do not need to call me and I will not bother you….Continue to take your time! I haven’t heard from him since. Monday will be two weeks and I think I’m at a place where I think something may be wrong with me. I know I don’t make the best decisions and I am reflective so I know how to take responsibility for my choices but its seems as if I’m always second and never good enough to be number 1. I am not sure if this makes sense to you all. Him and I did have sex in March and it happened one time. I felt bad afterwards. He wasn’t as good as MM and definitely not as big. I don’t regret it either but I felt a little whore-ish because I knew I was going to sleep with MM within a few weeks of him and I sleeping with each other. I got over it quickly. I told MM about him but of course not about us sleeping with each other. MM told me he didnt want to sound like he blocking me from being with someone but he said I needed to make sure that he was divorced before I get attached and I told him I knew that and I had been trying to tell him that since January but he was very persistent and I was really enjoying all of the attention and I love hanging out with someone I care about, it feels good. I also told MM that it was just nice to date someone. He just listened.
    Current Day…
    I am at the beach in Ocean City and it’s so relaxing and peaceful. I talked to MM this morning and he told me he wasn’t able to pay for my mani/pedi this week, he had a lot to pay for. I remembered it was him and his wife’s anniversary so I asked what they were doing he said they were going to a nice restaurant and staying until Monday. I don’t get real bothered by it but I did feel a way. He asked where I was and I said I was in OC and he said oh wow did you leave this morning because I just saw you last night and I said no I left last night he said oh ok you just pretended that you didnt see us and I said yup. He said, so did you tell me you were going to OC and I just forgot and I said no I didnt tell you and he said O ok, well I will talk to you later and I said ok and hung up but because I know him now I can tell by his tone that he was upset that I didnt tell him I was going out of town and he guessed who I was with and everything, it’s just a girl trip and I think those are the things that still confuses me about him. How can he be upset that I didnt tell him and he didnt tell me about him and his wife and I didn’t get mad about it. It’s weird that he gets in feelings about things like that. Even when I first told him about the friend he got off the phone with me abruptly. It will always be weird to me. It still seems like he and his wife are on a good track with each other but we’re still dealing with one another…I don’t know how to end it or if I want to and I’ve never been the one to break up with anyone. They always break up with me😟🙄🤔
    Oh I forgot to say that last Saturday when MM came over he fell asleep and he missed 15 calls from his wife. He got up and had to call her and that definitely made me feel some type of way. He sounded so sincere to her, he said babe I’m so sorry, I didnt hear it go off, when I put the phone in my pocket I must’ve hit the silent button because I didnt even know you were calling. He thought I was asleep so he didn’t know I heard him talking. When I spoke to him the next morning he told me about it. He came over Monday also…
    Anyway, I think that’s all I got!
    Sorry its been so long.

    Hope all is well everyone

    1. LL, no wonder you’ve been away for so long! You’ve been busy! Sounds like things with your MM are the same (and that’s good). It is interesting that you told him about your new man. I would think that would make him jealous, and it sounds like he reacted that way a little even if he is able to listen to you talk about it some. I know you are trying to be honest with your MM about what is going on in your life. It also sounds like you were feeling some jealousy about him and his W, too. Celebrating their anniversary and the way he talked to her on the phone. That had to be hard to hear. As you say, it seems like he and his W are still “on a good track.” I know it’s hard to understand why he’s still in an affair with you even though things seem okay with her. It’s the same with me and my MM. I think we both have fine marriages. I don’t think anyone on the outside would “know” either of us was having an affair. A friend of mine who knows about the affair has seen me and my H together, and she said it’s so odd to know I’m having an affair and to see me act “normal” with my H. It’s complicated. But it seems your MM wants to maintain his marriage. So he does what’s necessary to maintain it, which includes trying to treat his W well, and that’s probably why he generally treats you well, too. My MM and I were just talking about this last week – how we do things to maintain our marriages.

      But to your other man… wow. He just bailed on your relationship… again. This is not someone who would be a good relationship partner (especially not right now). I understand giving him a second chance many years later, but he has shown that he is not done with his W… again. It sounds like things were going well with you two, and then suddenly he decides he needs time? And he does that by blocking you suddenly with no explanation? That’s not cool. Of course, it’s understandable that he’s a mess and needs to figure out what’s going on with his divorce. But the way he pretty much just ditched you (twice) with no conversation is immature and mean. I hope you can be done with this guy.

      That part you write about how you don’t make the best decisions and you don’t think you’re good enough to be #1, well… you’re dating married men. 🙂 How can you be #1 with your MM? He has a W. You know she will be the priority. And with this new guy, he was separated but he was still dealing with his W a lot, so it’s not that you’re not good enough to be #1. It’s that you pick men who already have women! 🙂 My guess is that there is something you like about the challenge of guys who are taken. Or maybe it’s that there’s safety in knowing the relationship can’t ever really become something? I don’t know, but there are reasons that you choose men who are married.

      Just curious… when you were talking to this new guy, did that make you want to quit with your MM? Did you see him less? Did you consider ending that affair? It sounds like you liked this new guy and were hoping that it would go somewhere so I was just wondering if it was affecting your affair?

      My update is really no update. Things are about the same for me and MM. We’re back in the affair, and we have a date or he comes to my house about once/week. About the same as the past summers (except last summer when my MM and I were still figuring things out) since we’re on summer break from school now. Our communication is still rather low, and I don’t love that. I’m finding it a little harder now that we’re having sex again and spending intimate time together every week. But he’s being consistent in planning time together and showing effort so that’s helping me with the lower communication (that he still wants so that he can keep better separation between us and his marriage/family). I’ve told him I’m finding it harder, though, and I’m going to try to keep being honest and not scared to tell him what I need. For now, I’m just trying to not push too much and recognize that he’s a lot busier than I am because he has kids (and remember that his W got suspicious a few years ago and he’s trying to avoid that). Just try to enjoy what we have and be glad that we got back together after last year’s misery. I know there will still be hard times, especially if we start spending more and more time together. I know we have to strike a balance, but it can be hard to keep pulling back. I also still feel some pangs of jealousy for that co-worker that texts him and seemed to be pursuing a few months ago. My MM was good about reassuring me that she is nothing more than a friend, but I know I’m still not entirely convinced. I don’t think they talk over the summer now that we’re all on break, but the thoughts pop in my head and I don’t like that. I’ll probably have to bring it up again with him and that will be uncomfortable. It’s just that jealousy sucks in any relationship, but in an affair insecurity is higher and knowing that our MM are capable of cheating makes us even more on edge when they’re around other potentials.

      Good to hear from you and hope to hear from you soon.

    1. I think about the contrast between how hard it is for me to give space to my MM sometimes (like when I didn’t contact him for a week while I was on vacation last week), and how easy it is for me to put space between me and my H. How desperately I don’t want space with my MM and how desperately I want space from my H. I understand it, but I notice it, too.

      1. Hey, Felk. I have been struggling and trying to figure out what is best for me. Although I do have strong feelings for MM, I also have reached a point that the MIA and his distant mood periods are a bit too much to deal with at times. I understand that he gets overwhelmed and know that he does not it handle it well. I understand he has a busy life but it’s been two months of not seeing each with very little communication on both ends. I understood the month of April and May were hectic because of dance and sports 5 to 6 times a week…he does have four kids, so his life is hectic plus he works all of the time. The problem is when he does have time he seems to let things bothering him that causes him to withdraw, so it’s like I am fighting a losing battle. He is currently gone on vacation and did not even know until I sent him a text. I asked if we could possibly get together when he got back and he said, sounds good. I think, it is the annual fishing trip with his siblings and father but this is the first year without his one brother who passed last July, so I am sure it is emotional. I have not really contacted him much. I sent a text asking how the fishing was going earlier today. I am not sure if he will respond or not as I did send him a smiley face last night letting him know I was thinking of him and no response. I feel emotionally torn. My mind and heart seem to be war with each other as one says to let go and the other says hold on. It is a difficult decision because of my feelings for him but I am tired of feeling this way too. Sadly, I have been to this point with him before and could not quite get over the hump to ending things. I think because it is not really what I want but down deep know it is for the best…if that makes sense. I honestly think he may have some mental issues and struggle with bipolar. He does well for a couple of months then it’s a month or two of him being off then back on again. I know, he struggles with guilt more than me but sometimes things that may cause him to feel guilt one time may not another…depends on the day..it’s weird. As you can tell, I am just as confused with my feelings because when we are together it is really nice but those times are getting less and less. Some of it is because of his new job and traveling, some of it is because of family responsibilities, some of it is because he does consultant work on the side for extra income, and some of it is because who knows why. I have composed another email to him explaining my feelings and why I feel it is best that we would end things. I have composed a goodbye email but not quite ready. What am I waiting for? Honestly, I do know maybe for him to text me that he wants me or a chance to talk to him face-to-face or maybe it’s because I am scared to ending things and do not want to feel the hurt and pain or maybe it’s a combination. It is just one of those days and feeling down.

        1. Hello Lois

          I have read your comment and would like to share some thoughts if you don’t mind…
          I have seen you in me before and even now also. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not such an independent and strong woman who could survive this kinda relationship. I am still in the same pit. Unfortunately for a woman who can organize all other relationships in her life, me, I can’t even make him out of my life and keep him there.
          If you don’t mind, I would like to say some words for your situation.
          First of all, did you realize that you are criticizing this relationship mostly from his perspective? Yes, you are talking about how tired you are bu that is not a reason for you to end this relationship. All the reasons that you count to end your fair is dependent on him. That’s why when he changes his mood, that changes your decision to break up, either. I may be wrong, please don’t get me wrong.
          But what I can see from your words is that out of his reception, you can see how tired you are. But when he is around he is all you can think and since you put him your center too much you can’t think yourself beside him.
          I may not be a person who could give some advice, but for me it was always useful to try to think about myself. Think about how I am spending my time and my life? Last year I have spended half of my time feeling just like a plane crash and other half dragging myself into rebound relationships. Now I can see that I have spent a year being a rack because of all this thing and imagine how else I could spend a year? What could I do? I could be in much healthier relationships…
          Anyway, to sum up. I thing if you try to focus on yourself more than that, i.e. make a list about you and your feelings. That might help…

          I hope you can get over him. I know that you can do.

          1. Thanks Kub. I needed to hear this because you are right about looking at things from his perspective, his busy life, his stress, etc. I don’t think about myself or my needs. Unfortunately, I’m like this everyone and put others before me. I really need to focus on me and find me again. I’m not sure if I want to stay in this relationship if you call it that but know I have to figure things out. Thanks again.

        2. Lois, this is really honest, and that’s a good start. You’re honest about how hard it is for you that you rarely see or talk to your MM, how you don’t entirely understand why he can’t find time for you, and how you sort of want to end the affair and sort of not. You have been in this position before, so, my guess is that, while painful, you’re getting closer to ending it. But, no, you don’t sound like you’re at that point yet. Your last few sentences are pretty honest about how you’re still holding out hope that he’ll come to some realization that he wants to be with you again.

          I guess my main question for you is what do you get out of this relationship? Why are you staying? There just seems SO very little now that it seems that you’re staying mostly based on memories of what was good before and hope that it can get to that again. But it does not seem that you are staying because there is actually good in your relationship with your MM. There WAS good. You hope there CAN BE good again. But is there good now? Does the affair make you feel good?

          I may be projecting from my situation (so please correct me if I’m way off), but it has seemed that you stay in this affair because the prospect of not having that outside relationship and being stuck with your marriage is daunting. The idea of losing the potential excitement of this man who makes you feel attraction and having none of that in your marriage is just too hard. Because I don’t think it’s simply that you don’t want to lose your MM. I don’t think he provides enough for you where it’s simply that you’d be sad to lose that relationship. I think it’s the combination of losing the potential excitement and fun of the affair AND the reality of a ho-hum marriage. Not that your marriage is terrible but it’s also no longer fireworks and fun. So, if you quit the affair… then what? I say these things because that was partially my thinking from Sept 2017 (when my MM tried to end it) until around July 2018 (when it seemed he might not want to end it after all). So many times in those months, I thought about quitting, too. He and I were still holding on by a thread and it was painful. For so long, I was getting so little from him and I didn’t know how it was worth it to keep holding onto hope. But, like you say here, I found it too painful to be done with him entirely. I was too scared to try to let go on my own. For ME to make the decision that I was done. It was partially that I didn’t want to lose this relationship where I was in love (and long conversations and good times spent together), but it was also the prospect of losing this affair and then simply being in my boring marriage. My H and I are friends. We have a good marriage. But there’s no spark anymore. I know that’s normal after many years of marriage, but I also know I helped kill that spark by starting an affair. My H feels the spark. He’s in love. But I don’t feel it. So, choosing to quit my affair meant choosing my marriage… blah. To me, that was part of the fear of quitting the affair. It meant I’d be stuck with only my marriage. I know you have kids, so there is certainly more for you with your family, but I do wonder if part of your fear of ending your affair is having nothing more than your marriage? Having no (sexual) passion in your life?

          I ask those questions not only because I have felt those things, but it’s because I don’t see why else you’d be holding onto this affair that offers you so little. You haven’t seen your MM in months. You seem to barely text. Sometimes you text and he doesn’t respond. All of this sounds pretty lonely. I have no doubt that your MM wishes he could make the affair work, but it just seems like it’s not possible for him right now. Whether it is the stress of the many changes in his life (his brother dying, the woman at the former job still bothering him) or it is simply the stress of having four kids with many activities and a very busy job, your MM seems too stressed/busy to have an affair. It also seems that he feels too guilty to have an affair. It seems that he feels like he’s being a bad father or a bad husband or he’s dishonoring God. All of those are hard to compete with. I know you know all of this.

          I see how your MM is not entirely letting go, but I also do not see him doing much to continue the affair. Of course, you have to decide if it’s enough for you and if you’re willing to put up with it, because he is not going to suddenly change. Please do not hold out hope for that. As I know first hand, if you stay in this affair, you will continue to be sad and lonely. I am sure of that. You will continue to feel as you do in that message above. That will happen most of the time. You will have moments here and there where your MM makes you feel attractive and special, and those times might keep you going, but most of the time you will feel abandoned and confused. I felt this so many times last year (and I still feel it at times now).

          As usual, my advice is to do what works best for you. That’s what I continue to do. I stay in my affair because, for now, it makes me happier than not being in it. But I’m not sure you’re getting much happiness from your affair. Would you say that you’re staying more to avoid the pain of ending than because you get joy from staying? I’m not sure that makes it easier to leave, but maybe it gives you one more reason to consider leaving?

          If you want to send your MM email, sure, go ahead. As I’ve said before, it seems you send these goodbye emails hoping that they will get him to say things to make you think he wants you to stay. I understand why you do that, but I generally think that if you’re done, you should really be done. In most affairs, I think you have to cut someone off entirely to be done. If you’re done, there can be no more email. You should block him. You should ask him not to contact you and be clear that you will not contact him (and then you have to follow through). I think that, if you do that, you can get over him. It may take a year. But it will happen. It is the scary prospect, though, of a year of sadness, I know. But it won’t be a year of sadness. It will slowly get better. But you have to commit to it fully. I think that’s the best way to make it work.

          1. Felk, Lois,

            I’m done. NC for more than 90days since 27 Feb. I even survived my birthday in May. He stopped reaching out. No missed calls, no voice mails, no emails, no poems, nothing on my birthday so it’s an affirmation that I’m done.

            Thank him for not reaching out. It’s unfair to wait and hope while life goes on well for him. I stopped finding out if I’m still being blocked by him. I’m learning how to avoid triggers of negative emotions (sadness, anger, anxiety, insecurity) and spiraling into losing myself. I refuse to waste my life anymore. I’m trying to adjust my perspective (life’s short, embrace the reality) and tune in to myself (be kind to myself).

            Accept that he’s gone, continue to live as if he’s gone forever. I’ve walked your path before but there came a day when no I cut the loss before he spells out words that manifest what I’ve been fearing for the worst and avoiding to see. Words like I’m sorry, we were nothing but an addictive fantasy, guilt is too draining to deal etc. when he can’t do it anymore, the list just grows. If he’s “kind”, he’ll ghost you to a natural death. If he’s “kind”, he’ll set you free because he is the source of your sadness and pain.

            I remembered my parting words: you make me sad, your desultory text make me sad, your withdrawal make me feel used and insecure. I’m better off without you, I could achieve more without you. When i needed you, you’re not there. You’ve chosen to forsaken me. Most of all, I do not believe you, I am unable to trust you. I’m done.

            It’s never easy to let go and move on. I still think of the affair every day but I’ve come to a point that I rather not hear from this person again. Too hurtful and painful. I don’t want to feel pathetic and die of heartache and toxins.

            You have to decide.

          2. Typo: If he’s “kind”, he’ll ghost you to a natural death. If he’s kind, he’ll set you free because he is the source of your sadness and pain.

          3. I really appreciate your input on things and has given much to think about. I haven’t sent email for a couple of reasons. I am not quite there yet and want to be 100% before doing it…maybe 90%. Lol…don’t think I will ever be 100%. I have spammed his number and ocassionally check to see if he’s texted. I have texted him for 3 days so NC has begun for me. I started off checking spam more frequently but have slowly lessened it. I started to block permanently but it actually reinforces I’m moving in the right direction knowing he has not made any attempt. I’m trying hard to not reach out and allowing the hurt and anger of his selfish ways to reinforce my life is better without him. You’re correct and right now I’m not getting anything out of this relationship. I’m already hurting and feeling the emptiness in my heart so why not continue until it no longer bothers me and I’ve moved on so I don’t keep living in this cycle. It’s been 3 years and he has made progress. It’s just not enough and doesn’t feel like it’s worth the effort anymore. When he was at least trying, I was able to handle the mia better than the way things have been. I know it can’t handle stress but I’ve asked very little…to be honest and talk to me about things…tell me what’s going on so I know it’s not me or us that he’s struggling with. I’m taking one day at time and being thankful every day that I go to hopefully ending this pain felt in my heart. I’m lonely. LIke you, my husband feels it but I lost it a long time ago and the affair probably hasn’t helped. I have stayed because of kids but also because we have been together since we were teenagers. I do miss what MM had the passion felt and maybe that’s why I’m hanging on. I do appreciate your help.

          4. Lois, like you, I have to be 100% to send that e-mail, but I know other people don’t have to be 100% done and they’re able to end relationships knowing that it’s for the best. It’s just different styles. That’s why I’ve given the advice to not send that e-mail unless you were really committed to being done. It seems that your personality is similar to mine in that you will stay until you’re done. Right now, it seems you’re still holding on. 🙂 No shame. Honesty is good. If you’re honest with what you want and what you’re doing, it helps you figure things out.

            It also might be that this is your way of really being done. Although ripping the band-aid off is probably best, that doesn’t mean that it works for everyone. You are trying some NC, you have spammed his number, trying not to check too often. Although you still check (so you are still hoping), I know what you mean by saying it helps to see he hasn’t texted. Although you desperately want him to, because he hasn’t it reinforces that he’s still MIA and not treating you the way you want. It reminds me of some things Nomad has said when she was trying to end her relationship. She was “thankful” that he didn’t reach out because it helped her move on and be done. I know you wish your MM would contact you, but I know it will also help you if he doesn’t. The thing is… he probably will eventually contact you and then what? As Nomad would describe it, my guess is he might contact you with a “desultory” text, something that doesn’t in any way make up for the MIA or the distance he’s put between you two over the months but something that will rope you back in and give you hope again. Be careful hoping that he texts.

            Ultimately, it is what you are willing to put up with. He just seems to be giving you so little. Is the little he gives worth all the pain the rest of the time? It seems you’re in between “yes” and “no,” and I know it takes time to really get to “no.” My guess is you’re hanging on because of loneliness in your marriage. It’s hard to believe you’re hanging on because of the good with your MM because there is so little good. My guess is your MM is hanging on for the same reason… loneliness or dissatisfaction with his marriage. He feels the addiction. He feels the pull to you, as you do to him because of that addiction, but because of all the changes and stress in his life, he also feels it’s too hard to give much to the affair. You know as well as I do that if your MM wanted to spend time with you he would find the time. I know that’s a painful sentence, but it’s something I tell myself often in my affair. It’s why I won’t beg for time with him. I will stand up for myself, but I won’t guilt my MM into spending time with me (as I know you don’t with your MM) because we have to let them make the choices they want. But there’s a fine line between not pushing (you say you ask for so little) and being a pushover. My MM also thanks me for asking for little, but sometimes that makes me feel like I don’t ask for enough. Right now, it is clear you are not getting enough. If you want more, you should ask for more and not fear the ask ending the relationship. Easier said than done. Back in 2017, I wanted to ask for more and was so scared (because my MM was pulling away) I didn’t speak up enough about how bad I was feeling. Now? I ask more. I still have some fear, but I am MUCH better about asking and it feels better. My MM is responding well, too. But… I don’t need my MM to respond well. I need to be in the frame of mind of “if he wants to end our relationship because I’ve asked too much, so be it because I asked for what I need.” On the flip side, I think when we treat ourselves with respect, we’re more likely to get respect from others. So, that’s what I mean about not being a pushover. If you let your MM treat you badly, it’s easier for him to treat you badly. If you demand respect, you will get more respect. Of course, you may ask more than your MM can give, but that’s okay, too. Try to have the relationship you want to have.

            Continued good luck to you in trying to figure it all out. I know you’re in a rough spot. I’ve been there.

          5. Nomad, good to hear from you and good to hear that you’ve been NC for so long now. It sounds like you did the right things in trying to avoid triggers, and it also sounds like he’s gone NC, too (which helps you). It’s good that you’ve come to a point where you’d rather not hear from your MM ever again. That is progress. I know it’s still a process and it sounds like you’re still healing, but it also sounds like you’ve come to a lot of acceptance and you’ve chosen you.

  170. Hey everyone. It’s been a while since I have posted as MM and I have been keeping things going but not communicating as much which helped eliminate some of the stress. There have been times of difficulty when I wanted more but knew he was extremely busy with kids…one in dance with practice 4 nights week for recital along with her having volleyball practice and games and two more who also were doing volleyball and not sure about the other one. On top of him working full time and doing part time consulting work so I’ve been understanding. It’s been about a month of not seeing each other but would often send smiley face to let him know I was thinking of him and believe it not he started doing the same to me. Unfortunately, a few weeks ago something happened and he’s been struggling again but said it wasn’t me and believed me because he was sending me the smiley face. I gave him space to deal with issues and we were planning to meet up on Wednesday. He was supposed to get back with me but didn’t and wasn’t going to contact him. He finally texted that he had migraine. The next day,I asked how he was feeling he said physically okay bit not so much the otherway. I asked why. He said guilt that everyone seems to look up to him and he’s let everyone down. I didn’t pry but was caught off guard. I replied I understand. I know it was mothers day, his daughter was graduating from 8th grade, his grandma isn’t well, scholarship was presented in his brothers memory, his niece is graduating high school and struggling with her dad not being there and I also think his kids wantes to go to public school next year but he couldn’t let them because of the situation with affair and work situation. Her sister works there and her kids go to school there so I think he’s fighting that battle. So I’m not sure the guilt is all just because being with me but sure it’s not helping. I sent him a text and told him rhat I enjoyed him in my life and didn’t want to lose him. I also understood that we were both dealing with things in our lives and needed to get through them. I also said that we understood the difficulty of our situation but also know sometimes space is needed to get through the peaks and valleys. I just wanted to let him know where my heart was on things but thought we both needed some space but I was always there to listen. He hasn’t responded and don’t expect him to. I have been done this road too many times and don’t have it on me to fight for something that the other person doesn’t feel the same way. I know he has other things to deal with right now but wanted him to know where I stood bevause that’s how I deal with things. When he gets overwhelmed, he doesn’t handle things and know this about him. It’s not going to be easy but who ever said life was easy. Look forward to hearing from you.

    1. Lois, good to hear from you. Sounds like things have been going pretty “normally” with your MM? Or at least your new normal with accepting less communication, and it sounds like that’s okay with you? You know I’m in a similar situation where my MM pulled back on communication when he tried to end the affair in 2017. Now that we’re clearly back in the affair, I still feel mixed about the lower communication. On the one hand, I know it is better for us because it makes him feel less tension and angst. That’s obviously good for him, but it’s good for me, too, as his tension is what leads to his coldness and things that were hard through the affair. As we’ve said before, your MM seems to deal with feeling overwhelmed the same way my MM does. I would imagine that he not only retreats from the affair, but I’d imagine he gets closed with other people near him, too. That seems the way our MM deal with (hard) feelings.

      But the lower communication is still hard for me because I miss my MM, and it’s a departure from what we had before. I still sometimes wish we talked as much as we used to. Especially our chatting online at night. But, on the other hand, it’s freed me up so much. How many nights would I wait for my MM to show up to chat and he wouldn’t and then I’d feel sad? I don’t have to deal with that anymore. How many times would I cut plans short with my H or other people because I wanted to be around to chat with my MM? I like not feeling that pull anymore. So, that’s what I mean by mixed feelings about our lower communication. I think it’s allowing our affair to work (and that’s what I ultimately want) and I feel healthier now, but it’s sad sometimes to not have more. Granted, it was always sad to not have more. No matter how much we had, and we had a lot.

      Not seeing your MM for a month has to be hard, and it sounds like the communication is rather light in between, too? I know it must be particularly hard then when your MM goes MIA as he did recently. Did your MM ever respond to that heartfelt text you sent? I hope so. I know you said you didn’t expect him to, but, well, maybe you should. That seems like the kind of text that deserves a response. I know we have different standards in an affair, but responding to an honest, emotional text seems like the decent thing to do in a relationship. Any relationship. Granted, maybe this wasn’t one of those texts where you needed a response? That’s fair. If you don’t feel that way, I don’t want to suggest you should.

      But I know all the feelings about not fighting for something if the other person doesn’t feel it. I’ve felt that throughout my entire affair. I have never wanted to talk my MM into the affair. I know it’s why I didn’t “fight” for the affair in 2017 when he tried to end it. I had fought all along, and I was spent. He was tired. I was tired. And I don’t want to talk someone into something they aren’t willing to put the effort into. I still feel that way. I don’t like that we don’t talk more, but I only want to talk more if my MM wants to. And, as you’re saying, you know he’s stressed and busy, and you know how he deals with it. It does no good to pressure him about the affair. He either wants it or he doesn’t. You know what you signed up for, and you also know your limits. You will know when you don’t want to put up with it anymore.

      The part about your MM feeling that he’s let everyone down is similar to things my MM has said (and will continue to say). I’m not sure why these men feel this and we don’t feel this (or maybe you do… but I haven’t gotten that sense), but they feel it. I’d think it’s sexist social obligations and ideas of manhood, but these men feel it. Your MM not only feels he’s letting down his W (by not being a good H) and his family (maybe by not being a good role model, losing his job, having his head elsewhere on days when he should be “present” for them), but he feels he’s letting you down, too. My MM said this to me more than once. Early on, I would tell him that he wasn’t letting me down, but he felt that he couldn’t be the partner he wanted to be. I get that. Later, as he started to pull away, yes, he was letting me down. And, although I never said it to him, I also stopped saying he wasn’t letting me down. So, try to keep your needs in mind through this. We can feel a desire to make everything better (due to fear, due to caring) by reassuring our MM that they’re not letting us down, but if he is letting you down and what you are asking is fair, then you should tell him. And maybe you don’t tell him at the height of all of his tension (or maybe you do), but you tell him. You can’t do all the emotional labor. Not only is that overwhelming, but, much more, it devalues you. It says that his feelings matter more than yours. It says that you will accept poorer treatment than you should. I know it is complicated given the different boundaries in affairs, but always try to remember your value and hold all relationship partners to standards that treat you well. I type that knowing I have not always done that in my affair, but also knowing that I’m doing better now. I am acting less out of fear this last year, and it feels a lot healthier.

    2. Hi Lois
      I can hear and easily imagine your quandary with your MM. You are so patient. I think patience is what it takes in these situations but when is enough enough? Only you can know. A month of not seeing each other is certainly a long time. But in affairs it seems pretty normal too. As time passes do you adjust to life when he is absent? Are you able to maintain your focus on your life? It is really an individual thing. You seem to understand him very well and to know his reasons for not being able to be with you. He does have many good reasons. His children do certainly need him no doubt. And the guilt he feels about everyone looking up to him and letting everyone down is common I think in married men having affairs. The role of the strong, together male head of household is embedded in many of these men’s psyches. Just like the roles we as women take on to be emotionally supportive to such men and to listen to them and offer suggestions etc.
      Does he know your feelings too? Does he feel any responsibility for your emotional well being? Does he understand your own role as a mother and caregiver as much as you understand his? I ask as I think it is often we women who take on such responsibilities but often do not get back the same in return. It is all food for thought. I can not offer advice honestly but I can offer support as you find your way. Hugs BAF. xoxo

  171. Felk I am answering you up here as I got tired of scrolling down. Yes you do get it how hard the saying “no” is to my former MM and the kind of guilt that can come with that. Now I am beginning to wonder if some of that guilt over saying No to my exMM and hating to be so mean to him was also a way for me to avoid some of the other feelings in me that have come up since going No Contact. I am discovering I had other feelings I never even paid attention to while in my affair. Feelings of disappointment in ignoring myself, feelings of self incrimination to take some of the treatment I did in the affair, and many many more feelings I had ignored or buried.

    When I was in the affair or always going back to the affair I was much more in an emotional auto-pilot mode. Without the affair to now clutter up my brain my thoughts turn towards myself and some of the lies I was telling myself about him, about us, and about me, This is what makes No Contact challenging: the focus on myself and my feelings is more difficult to deal with than simply worrying about “his” needs. Now I feel less burdened down and less boxed in by the affair for sure. But I also feel more scared and more alone and sometimes I do not like discovering who I am or what I feel. Some of those doubts I always have about whether or not it is now okay for me to simply ignore him completely after I was so in love with him are made louder by by realizing it IS indeed okay to ignore him now. It IS okay to not help him anymore, not worry about him anymore, not really even care much anymore. I know it seems so cold to me because I am unused to it. But in reality he was treating me this way for much of the affair while he went home to his wife nightly pulling off trying to fake a marriage for whatever his reasons were. He complained endlessly about his wife and their marriage. Now that I don’t listen to this anymore, or care to solve this anymore, there is a brand new challenge: listening to ME and being kind to ME.

    I am glad I have finally reached this spot however. It is hopeful and happier, even if I am scared and lonely a lot too. Truth be told, I was feeling very lonely and scared sometimes in the affair as well. It is not like my affair ever felt like a cozy, warm, or secure place. Ever.
    Hugs BAF xoxo

    1. BAF, I saw this yesterday and thought of our current conversations (and many other conversations): https://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/features/a27259689/toxic-masculinity-male-friendships-emotional-labor-men-rely-on-women/

      There is a lot in that article about the emotional burden on women when we do emotional labor for men (that they should be doing for themselves). And I thought about you recently talking about how you neglected your feelings for a long time with your MM, and you’re still sorting through that. I found myself slowly doing that after the break-up, too. And I’m still doing it. I found myself getting more honest about the feelings I’d been ignoring for all the reasons we’ve talked about – including thinking that we could handle it and we should be there for these men we care about. In the article, they also talk about the ego boost that women get from providing this emotional labor for men, and I liked that part because it’s a part that I don’t think we often talk about when women do emotional labor for others. It seems we mainly focus on the obligation women feel to do this labor without recognizing that women often do this because it makes them feel needed and important. When society assigns part of women’s value to caring for others, who’s surprised? And I know we’ve talked about how these MM, in their coldness, make us feel special when they come to us with their problems. How many women on here have said something like, “He told me that I was the only one he could talk to”? Or “He told me that he opens up with no one else but me”? I know my MM does this, and it makes me feel special, but over the last year and a half, it’s also made me more aware of how emotionally unavailable he is and how it’s fine for me to be there to listen to him but that he needs to do the same for me. And he does it sometimes, but one thing I want to get better at is calling him out for always separating us as me being the one who wants to talk about feelings and him not. I want to be clearer to him that, first, he DOES like talking about feelings and he should stop pretending he doesn’t. And, yeah, we’re different that way and I do like talking about feelings more and his way is less healthy. He knows this, but he still seems to like the masculinity points he believes he wins by being cold.

      As we’ve been saying for years, we should be seeking partners who are open and supportive and make us feel good about ourselves. (And we should do the same for a partner.) I have a H who is like this. Take your time, BAF. Confront all the things that you were neglecting because of your MM. Listen to you. Be kind to you. Put yourself first. I think this group for people who were with narcissists is so good for uncovering all the ways a narcissist can manipulate and make someone feel lesser. I continue to see so much strength and honesty (and recovery) in the way you write about this ex relationship. And part of that honesty is knowing that you’re not fully ready for another relationship yet and you’re still working through things. That’s growth.

      1. Felk,
        I liked this article very much though it is not new or surprising to me. At this point I have total agreement in the idea that most men have no friends and women almost always bear the burden. In our (still) patriarchal society this is the norm. The younger people are starting to really question things more (I mean people btwn 20-30) I work with many people this age and can see the changes and struggles. But at my age I was raised in a society that expected women to bear the emotional burden and I know I resented this from the get go. I know this too because since my father’s passing I have had to reconcile a lot of my feelings about him and our relationship as he was truly a patriarchal type guy but he also always knew I was a feminist. I knew that an artist would needs her own emotional space and I knew that bearing the emotional burdens of a man and all his emotional needs was NOT good for my overly empathic self and especially for my needs as an artist. My father sort of sensed this as well. But he could not agree with me which left us a little at odds, even at the end of his life. I knew I was at odds with the world in general too. To my own father and mother, I was “different” and neither was comfortable with that.

        After divorcing a narcissist/artist (my H) who’s art work became /more important than mine for a number of reasons, I then fell in love with a married man, also a narcissist, thinking at least I would always be able to get my much needed art time with a married person! I think this idea drove me into the affair as well as other ideas I had about why it would work. (I would not have to negotiate parenting my two sons with a new man was another reason). But I knew nothing about narcissists or how much danger I was actually putting myself into emotionally and psychologically all over again by entering my affair.
        Fast forward…..
        In the end after all those years (21 off and on years) I realized I was still on the bottom of the emotional needs heap in my affair! I was still not getting my needs met, not as a mistress. Not as a girlfriend. What was I really? I was a sex therapist, coach mentor etc etc etc
        In fact I was getting very little support of any kind from my exMM. Fab sex? yes always but it became to feel stale and cheap.

        Instead, with the years, my exMM became number one with his needs in our relationship. His W took second place. I became a distant third and yet it was ME who was shouldering so much of his pain and emotional burden! No wonder he did not want to see me go. I thought to myself: “Damn how did that flip around on me?” “How can I still not be more important?” This annoyed me no end and I harbored resentments about it too.

        But after stepping back from him since last summer, and reading about a lot of affairs here and elsewhere, I realized we mistresses never get the good end of the stick because of one simple factor we unfortunately miss completely: This is the simple fact that we are supposed to become “better” than the wives in order to keep the attention of the married men. This need of the MM becomes like a rope around our necks as fas as I am concerned. As for us, we get a bit of a high for being that “special women” in his life and we get addicted to the affair especially the sex so we get very stuck. (This is all my personal opinion BTW)

        The wives who they complain to US about have been less than perfect in meeting in their needs right? They have “failed” in some way, right? I listened for a long time and supported his point of view without ever dreaming maybe HE was also the problem! DUH.
        They have not met their husbands’ needs for physical intimacy needs for emotional support and friendship right? But so many of these wives are already trying to juggle the bulk of parenting their children AND of working for a living to contribute money to the family as well, and so many are utterly burnt out with exhaustion trying to juggle everything. They become colder to the very men we seek to hold onto because they do not feel the emotional support they need to be all things too all people in their own lives.
        They are asked to shoulder so much of the emotional burden in the family, including the in-laws!

        And so often these same men we have the affairs with say they are such “great dads” and never want to break up their families etc but in fact they are not providing their wives with enough emotional support, neither do they truly offer to co-parent on a deep emotional level so these wives do not get burnt out.

        So these men turn elsewhere for their needs to be met (to us) and as a result they still get to eat get their their cake and eat it too. The women? No such luck. The wife at home suspects the man is cheating (and he is) but does not want to rock the family boat and throw the guy out. Her self esteem plummets. Meanwhile we mistresses get a few crumbs of deep emotional support here and there but for the most part these MM’s NEED us to care for them. We become the “one” for him but they do not offer the same back. Our self esteem plummets too often as well.

        Yes there is a hidden reward in this for the mistress. And yes I liked that for a short while (him leaning on me etc.) I was the “one” for him. But as my own needs got stronger and I too needed support I ran into a narcissistic roadblock in both my marriage and then my affair. I realize that my days did not matter as much to my exMM as his days mattered to him and he needed ME to prop HIM up with his troubles during his days. He had no intention of going 50-50 on this and when I pushed he would hurl the ultimate insult: You are getting to be just like a “wife.” I realize a “wife” to a man like this is any woman who has “demands”. How sexist is that? arghhh

        Now that I am out of my affair I see how much misogyny rules thinking and acting in so many affairs. And how much misogyny permeates marriages as well. I listen to my college art students talk about being “gender neutral” or “gender fluid” and or becoming trans-gender and I get it completely. Or they say they are “asexual”. I get it. Why would anyone want to be in a romantic/sexual relationship defined by the toxic traditions of patriarchy? Blech. I really get it. And that has helped me to remove myself from my patriarchal narcissistic exMM even though I do still miss him at times. In a way, being a female who has borne the emotional burdens for the men in my life is all I “know” how to do! So it is not easy staring into a whole new world. It is not easy imagining and implementing a whole new way to relate to someone.
        But the old way was too confining for me truly. In the end I HATED being in an affair but I really was stuffing that feeling deep inside myself along with the rest of the unspoken feelings. And covering it with all my fantasy and hope.


        1. BAF, yeah, nothing really new or surprising in that article, but maybe just more validating of things we’ve been saying. It’s a general problem with masculinity in our culture. Has been for a long time, but, as women get more power, we get tired of it and we call it out. Less likely to just put up with the toxic masculinity.

          All of the things you say about why people in affairs get the short end of the stick are true. It’s true if you’re the single person in the affair, but it’s also true if you’re the married person in the affair. I know there are differences, but I’m second to my MM’s W and family and he’s second to my H. He doesn’t “get” me as much as he wants. He also has to deal with the knowledge of all the time I spend with my H, and that’s really hard on my MM. He does not deal with that well. I think anyone in an affair tries to be “better” than the other person’s spouse, and it’s a terrible way to be. It’s that rope around your neck, as you describe. You can’t be true to yourself because you’re pathetically trying to compete with someone else. Through the years, I’ve found myself not expressing certain opinions because I didn’t want to be like his W. I’m pretty opinionated with my MM, but it’s honest to say that I’ve noticed that I am not fully myself due to fear. I’ve also noticed myself thinking about how his W and I are different (I know her relatively well), and how he maybe he wishes I was like that. And that is useless thinking. And he probably doesn’t even wish that, and if he does who cares. And on and on. But that is the rope around your neck because there is this other person who is constant competition. I’d imagine my MM felt the same. I know he sees my H as competition. I know he hates it, and I’m sure that’s part of what led him to pull back from the affair a year and a half ago. That constant feeling of inadequacy or comparison to another is stressful.

          Of course, I think it’s even harder if you’re single in the affair or miserable in your marriage. I’m not miserable in my marriage so I do think there’s a cushion for me in having a good marriage and a good H. (Now, you know I use “good” loosely to describe my marriage because I’m having an affair… but generally it is a fine marriage where we get along well).

          But I’ve been wondering something else lately, too. I know it’s something we’ve talked about before, but Kub’s recent message reminded me. Isn’t it important to acknowledge the love in the affair? I know it’s helpful to think about the things that went wrong or couldn’t work. I know it’s good to be honest about another’s flaws and how they didn’t treat you well. But isn’t part of asking how we could have been with these men who have these flaws recognizing that we were with these men because we loved them? Because I don’t think we are so foolish as to get trapped into a relationship that doesn’t have love. Sure, it happens, but for relationships that go on as long as we all talk about, I know there is love. With a true narcissist, I am not sure. I don’t know if narcissists can love (anything other than themselves), but I know that you can love a narcissist. So, of course we stay… because we are in love. We use this word “addiction,” and it’s not wrong, but it’s also not mutually exclusive of love. I think addiction and “in love” are the same in the beginning of any romantic relationship when people are falling in love. It’s just that in non-affairs, the “in love” (the addiction) calms down, but in affairs it does not. I hear a lot of women on here beating themselves up for being stupid in affairs and falling for these men, but I think there is more room in the compassion of recognizing that, of course, you stayed… you were in love. And, yeah, the love possibly got toxic, as can happen in any relationship, but it doesn’t mean you didn’t have genuine feelings for another, and that takes time to get rid of. We can talk about healthy love v. unhealthy love, but I’m saying that both are “love” and started with genuine feelings forming. I just think there’s value in acknowledging genuine feelings as one is trying to get over a relationship. It may seem like it makes it harder to get over the relationship if you think about the love, but I think it’s part of the healing. I know this is complicated, and I’m not trying to over-simplify. I’m not saying we shouldn’t examine why we might fall for someone with problematic characteristics, but I’m also saying that there is compassion in recognizing that we’re human and we want to give love.

          1. Felk you ask: “Isn’t it important to acknowledge the love in the affair?” Well of course it is. Of course there is love and part of staying in any affair probably proves that love exists in some form. And that is the good part…

            But part of getting out of any affair is letting that reason to stay (Love) go. Letting the love part go along with the rest is necessary for me to get out and stay out of the affair. And I am learning there was much more than love feelings involved in my affair. These too need to be examined.

            Personally I do not agree with your ideas that “addiction” and “in love” are the same in the beginning of any romantic relationship when people are falling in love. It’s just that in non-affairs, the “in love” (the addiction) calms down, but in affairs it does not.”

            I feel this is quite oversimplified and my experiences in other love affairs in my life even my marriage prove this to me. I did not feel the same level of addiction in my love affairs before my affair. And my feeling of love grew in other relationships more.
            For my own experience, affair love to me is a very special breed of love.

            For me, affair love is mixed with many often unrecognized, negative feelings as well. Feelings like insecurity, anger, jealousy, depression and obsession. And rage sometimes. And my affair “love” was mixed with Huge amounts of lust and passionate/horny feelings that would trump all the other feelings often. And much dreaminess and fantasy. Because I had an escape hatch all the time…an exit in case the going got tough as he was “married”. I could exit easily and like that.

            I stayed in my affair yes because there was “love” felt and given, but also because of other enormous factors, I tried to rationalize and intellectualize many of these other (darker) feelings away using the more comfortable feeling I could admit to which was naturally: “love”. But I was fooling myself about myself. I actually was not as “love-filled” and “light-filled” for my exMM as I pretended I was (to myself) at all.

            I also don’t think it is as easy as calling my affair love “unhealthy love” that started off as healthy “love” and morphed with time into unhealthy love. I think from the very moment I fell in “love” with my exMM I knew in the same instant it was already partly unhealthy because he was married and therefore unavailable. But I liked that. There was something “wrong” and I knew it, but alas, I was attracted to the taboo and to the secretiveness of the affair “love”. I loved the risk taking too. I loved the passion and intensity. I loved feeling better than a mother woman in bed (his wife). And I loved that feeling of being “morally wrong” because it made me feel like I was getting away with something forbidden. SO I can’t say with true honesty that it is the pure “love” that kept me in my affair. I loved the dark side too I can admit now.

            My genuine feelings of love I will admit drove some of my actions early on but truly not for long. My feelings became much more complex rather quickly and “love” was only one of them. I do recognize that the part of me that wants to give love is a good part of me and I can feel compassion for that part. But choosing who will be the recipient of that love is my responsibility as well. That too is a part of me. Currently I am trying to embrace and have compassion for ALL of me both the light and the dark.

            I have learned in leaving my affair that I tried to rationalize my affair using my “love” for him as the “reason” but actually I was in all kinds of denial and ignoring the rest of my feelings. But it’s okay because all relationships with others teach us more about ourselves in the end I think. For me I have been learning that “love” is a more acceptable emotion than others in my psyche, so I must be very careful when attributing “love” as the cause of my behaviors and actions. I am more complicated than that. Lately I am becoming more and more “okay” with myself this way.

          2. Hi BAF, sorry for the delay in the response, but I was out of town for 9 days. A nice relaxing vacation with H and friends (with my MM on my mind throughout of course). I get what you’re saying about “in love” and “addiction.” I really do just mean the early parts of falling in love in a “normal” relationship are similar to the forming of the addiction in the affair. I think I can draw easy parallels with insecurity, lust, jealousy, etc. early in new relationships that eventually go away in (most) healthy long-term relationships when the addiction/in love dies down as other forms of love/attachment grow. This can’t happen in the affair and the “in love” sustains and, with that, comes all the great feelings of in love and all the bad feelings of in love. The highs and lows that sustain the addiction. Of course, I’m just theorizing based on what I know of relationships, but it could be as you say and that the formation of an affair is fundamentally different from the formation of a non-affair relationship. Or, as with many things, maybe it is different for different people.

            I do also get how we use love to justify staying in bad relationships. Not that we do not genuinely feel love, but that we think “love conquers all things” and that is not reality. But we talk ourselves into that fantasy when we feel genuine love. You talk about it well. How it can be really hard to see all the bad things when you feel love. And how we can think we’re bad people to leave someone we love. How we can think “if I love, I must stay” and that is simply not true. I will not forget my MM saying in 2017 when he tried to end the affair that love was not enough. For a long time, I think he convinced himself it was and it was hard for him to say that out loud. I do not think love is enough. Relationships take a lot more than that.

            I also get what you mean about the affair being unhealthy love all along. Unless an affair quickly leads to people leaving their spouses for each other, yes, it does seem to be unhealthy all along. How can it be healthy love when you can’t treat each other in ways we expect in healthy loving relationships? My affair felt unhealthy all along. It feels less unhealthy now, but I would not say it feels healthy. 🙂 Of course, I continue to choose this, and I will continue to think about why.

  172. Hello ladies

    here I am again. I keep going and coming, most of the time I read your posts but unfortunately I can not find time to give some responses… But I wanted to come here and share once again. Because when I stop and take a glance at my past… I realize that even at the times that I am so close to get over my NC, I failed. No matter how many times I tried so hard, pushed my boundaries, changed my life style or blocked him from everywhere. The result is still same. Heart breaks, disappointments.
    The times that I can not say no to him and the times that I regret deeply that I love him. Why so many times? Gush.
    Just to give some updates about my life, this time I am moving abroad. I have to wait until October because I will transfer another university to finish my master degree. I will write my thesis and the semester starts at October. Until than I am preparing my application details, trying to arrange a place to stay. I will need a visa, etc. lots of thing to do!
    Sometimes I become so sensitive and scared, and the thoughts hunt me down and I feel like noone will ever love me like he does. That also applies for me, I feel like I will never love someone like I loved him.
    We are mean to each other. Because with every disappointment we became bitter and bitter. More brutal. Sometimes I think how this can be love? How a person can hurt someone that he claims he loves? How can he hurt me on purpose but still love me? I can not see a way.
    I feel so lonely. So lonely that nothing fills that void inside of me. I have tried many things in the past. To be with someone different, to travel a lot, to be very very very social, many things I have tried. But still that void is not fulfilled. Also being close to him is a danger for me, too. I got some job offers from really good companies in my country but I did not take them because the job content was not satisfying for me. And I did not want to change my life just because to be distant from him. But this time it is different, this offer is the one that I have been trying so hard to get for a while now.
    Now I got the chance. I have agreed with a supervisor from receiving institute. Everything seems very fine for me. It will also be very helpful because I will be so far from him. And god knows that I need this so hard.
    It is so heart breaking, loving someone but getting lots of wound from him, too.
    Gush. Ladies please help me 🙁 Wh y I feel this alone?!

    1. Hi Kub,
      Did you have an episode with him as your first paragraph suggests?
      “I realize that even at the times that I am so close to get over my NC, I failed. No matter how many times I tried so hard, pushed my boundaries, changed my life style or blocked him from everywhere. The result is still same. Heart breaks, disappointments.”
      If yes you are not alone. Falling off the wagon for a day or a week or a minute is par for the course. So please do not focus on that. We all have done that.
      Focus on the fact that you are actively taking steps to move forward with your life! Hurrah! In October you will start a new chapter and YES it will be good for you to get away from him physically. I do think this will truly help. Based on my experience. And going on to get a Masters Degree is fantastic as well! You will be in a place to develop your career and to be independent of him too.

      When you say you are scared no one will ever love you the same it is your fear talking. Not reality. In reality you can move on from this relationship and be happier in a new relationship with a person who can be there exclusively for YOU. You will like not having to share your man no doubt! But getting there is the trick. Starting over is never easy but it gets easier and more and more encouraging as you do it. Take it from me. Baby steps. One foot in front of the other. etc.

      And as for why you are loving a man who is mean to you at times and you are also mean back to him is not surprising either. Both Felk and I were asking the same question: Why are we drawn to these less than stellar men in our affairs? I have no answer really except to say that I know from therapy that our patterns emerge from our pasts. Looking at your own past might help give you clues.

      As for loneliness I hear you loud and clear. I get it! Loneliness is one of the worst aspects of ANY break-up no doubt. I try to fill my time with friends and family. I have also learned from my group of women leaving narcissists that a healing period is required after the break-up in which you get stronger in your own self. They advise no ‘serious’ dating for at least 9 months while you put your own self esteem and identity on the front burner. So while I do try and stay busy I am also not trying to rush into a new serious relationship. I have had a friend with benefits for good, non serious fun but I do not feel ready for an actual partnership yet.

      The same is probably true for you. So do not put any unnecessary pressure on yourself! Try to get as much real life support as possible and take baby steps forward! Many hugs BAF xoxo

    2. Hi Kub, Good to hear from you, except it sounds like you’re struggling. You know we understand the addiction and trying to break that addiction. You can rationally KNOW that your ex-MM is no good for you. You can recognize the signs of an unhealthy relationship. But you FEEL the pain of the desire for him, and that is stronger than knowing. I know this struggle all too well. During my break-up, I had to constantly remind myself of the things I knew to try to work through the hard feelings. I was in so much pain missing him and feeling that void. Feeling alone, as you describe. But I do believe that you have to keep trying to move on. It takes a long time to break the addiction. Especially if you are staying in contact with your MM. It sounds like moving abroad is the best decision you can make. I know you have talked about that for a while, but I think that truly being away from your MM will make a difference. It doesn’t make the void go away immediately, but if you are committed to moving on and truly being done with your MM then maybe you can move on. I don’t know what university you are going to, but most universities also offer mental health services so if you are able to find a counselor when you are abroad, that could probably also be a big help in moving on.

      I know that you are doing good things to try to move on (travel, be with someone else, spend time with friends), but it sounds like there are a lot of issues of worth and self-esteem that you have to work out. It sounds like your MM did a lot of damage making you not feel good enough for anyone else and making you worry you will not find anyone else. And maybe it is not all of your MM’s fault. Maybe you had some of these doubts before you got involved with him and that’s part of what led you to him. That’s why I suggest counseling and working on some of those issues in feeling better about yourself first (before even moving on to another relationship). Try not to be too hard on yourself, and try to remember it takes a long time to get over this addiction. Affairs cause an addiction to another person because of the inconsistency in the relationship, because we don’t have time to habituate, and because there are so many highs. And when an affair is volatile with a lot of fighting (as in your affair), I think the addiction is even stronger because the lows are lower and then the highs feel even better. So, try to be patient (I know that’s hard) and take your time to heal, and try to continue to put distance between you and your MM, and try to look forward to a life in another country soon.

  173. HI Everyone,
    I hope you are all having a beautiful week. Over the last two days we had lovely weather in my city and I was able to take advantage of it to the fullest. It has been quiet which I’ll interpret as positive? Now to my confession which is both embarrassing, sad and shameful…

    I attended a team dinner on Monday with colleagues in town and I invited him over after dinner. Pathetic after that big speech I professed here and to myself about moving on, never looking back and being done forever. I can’t explain what came over me but I thought maybe I could handle it like a booty call. I was feeling randy and I knew he’d give me a crazy good O. After he left we talked on the phone during his drive home. I was feeling ok about it the next day and then today it hit me so hard and all I could feel was seething rage. I seriously wanted to say the cruelest words. I didn’t.

    Without getting into too much into the backstory he has pressured me, implored me and tried to persuade me whenever I’ve opted out of the relationship. I thought I was standing tall and strong and would be equipped to manage his tactics well. When I mention tactics I’m referring to the IMs and phone calls I’ve permitted when he’s down about us. It’s just another way for him to weasel his way back into my life. Again, I’ve allowed it so the onus is on me to draw clear boundaries.

    Now I’m stuck with the setback and low feelings of an affair that we all suffer at one point or another. I’m crossing fingers this is a very short term disruption to my progress and in a few days I’ll be back to feeling unfazed by his actions. Apparently, attraction is still a dangerous thing even when you’ve done most of the emotional detachment. Sorry to let everyone down here…. sigh

    1. TTSP,
      “Apparently, attraction is still a dangerous thing even when you’ve done most of the emotional detachment.” Too often, these two things are unrelated in affairs. Everything is out of whack because of the lack of consistency of the affair relationship I think. Our feelings and values and inclinations and judgements are not integrated. We have cut one thing off from another in affairs within ourselves.

      “Sorry to let everyone down here”. It is only YOU you need to apologize to! Not anyone here. It has happened to all of us at one time or another I think. Just take it one day at a time.
      Hugs, BAF

      1. TTSP
        What I meant to say yesterday is we that split ourselves from ourselves in order to be in the affair (any affair) in the first place, so this emotional habit dies HARD in us. When we try to break off an affair or go no contact the first thing we try to emotionally do is bargain with our separate parts trying to make some kind of “deal” within us of of some kind. Because we have gotten good at this. We try to hold onto the cake and give up the frosting for example. I totally get your booty call wish. I did that often with my exMM over the years when