How to Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself After He Leaves


Feeling sorry for yourself when a relationship ends – especially after your boyfriend or husband leaves you – is a normal response. But who wants to struggle with self-pity for months or even years after a breakup? Certainly not you! These ideas on how to stop feeling sorry for yourself will help you pick up the pieces of your heart.

I know it’s not as easy as simply getting over the one who got away, moving on, starting over. The 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.

We 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 agree that the relationship is over — go easy on yourself. Give yourself the kindness and gentleness you’d expect from a nurturing mom or loving best friend.

Take time to scroll through the reader comments on my articles. Often you’ll find consolation and comfort, such as in this article:

“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 a Breakup — 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 was in foster homes a lot growing up, 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. Not much I want to remember about that! It took me a long time to learn how to stop feeling sorry for myself because of the pain I suffered…but then I realized something. Getting over feelings of self-pity is all about your expectations.

Think about what you expected from your relationship

How to Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself After He LeavesThink 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.

Ask yourself if you were ignoring the truth

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.



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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?

Grow forward with wisdom

Back to my experience with a bad childhood: I didn’t expect to be raised in a normal, healthy, happy two-parent home because I was too young to expect anything from life.

But as an adult, I thought everybody else in the world had normal, healthy, happy two-parent homes. I thought everyone else had good childhoods and wonderful memories of family vacations (like you see on Facebook a million times every second). So, I felt sorry for myself because my expectations were wrong.

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.

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 He’s 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.

What were your expectations of this relationship? Were they realistic, or were you letting your hopes and dreams take over?

Take time to examine what your expectations were. This will help you stop feeling sorry for yourself, and start growing forward into a new season of life. If you feel stuck in the past, read How to Let Go of Someone You Love.

xo


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852 thoughts on “How to Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself After He Leaves

  • TTSP

    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

    • BAF

      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
      xx00

    • Felk

      TTSP, sorry you’re going through this, but you certainly didn’t let us down. We’re always harder on ourselves in these situations. My main thought is that setbacks do not usually erase all of the progress we’ve made. You have made a ton of progress over the last 9 months or so. Really. The fact that you had gone so long shutting down the physical part of your affair is a ton of progress. One moment of indulgence doesn’t erase all of that progress assuming you get back on the plan of cutting out your MM. As someone who hasn’t had other addiction, I’d imagine it is the same for other addictions. While it probably can be really disappointing to have a drink after you’ve been sober for months, as long as you continue along the path of sobriety, that drink is merely one drink across many months. I do not mean to minimize the danger of feeding an addiction, but I also think people can beat themselves up a lot for one “mistake” when that is all it is. Of course, as the dopamine is triggered again, you’re probably going to crash again (as it sounds like you’re doing) and then it can be tempting to go back because the low feels suck. But if you haven’t talked yourself into taking that week off of work yet, now might be a very good time.

      All of the above depends on how committed you are to detaching from your MM and moving on. You’ll have to ask yourself a lot of questions about why you invited him back to your place. You know it was more than just wanting the “crazy good O.” And, of course, part of the problem is that he is still in your life. Even if you’ve cut down communication with him, as long as you’re still communicating with him, there are going to be feelings. If you were still in love with your MM when you tried to end the affair (and you were), you can’t just be “friends.” When there is that passion/addiction/in-love present, every contact with that person sparks those brain areas and tempts. So, now the question is… can you go full NC? Do you want to go full NC?

      I’m really not trying to pile on (just trying to help), but I’m guessing most of that rage you felt is for you and not for him. It’s easy to want to be mad at him, but much harder to be mad at ourselves. I’m not sure I see your MM doing anything “wrong” here. As long as you’ve kept in contact with him, he is going to find it hard to detach, too, and he’s been pretty clear about wanting a relationship with you. If he’d promised not to pressure and broke that promise, that’s one thing. But I think you’ve told us he said he can’t just be friends with you. He seems to have been clear. He cannot pressure you if you do not let him. Most, he cannot pressure you if you go full NC.

      This is addiction. Sobriety is the only answer if you really want to kick the habit. I know you know. I can’t remember if you’ve mentioned that you’re seeing a therapist, but that might be a good idea now, too.

  • J

    Hi ladies,
    Just wanted to say hello to everyone on here. I’ve been reading felk, baf, ttsp, Lois, nomad. Haven’t heard much from life lessons. I hope everyone is well, often I want to write in or comment, but it’s so hard with a busy work schedule.
    As for my mm, well he’s still living alone in his apartment, 9 months now. He hasn’t filed for divorce and says that he is planning to do that. His W still calls him and begs for his return, still after all this time. But I guess from her point of view, she must think there’s a chance or he would’ve filed for divorce. She’s still bed asking him for favors around the house or help with the pets, and he always says yes. He says that he can’t be mean to her and that he doesn’t want to appear cruel in the eyes of his children.
    I have told him I’m not doing anything to change my situation until I’m sure with him. He mainly understands but sometimes gets upset with me. I do however have trust issues with him. As you all know stemming from his constant flip flops. He feels I should be long over that by now and so many months later. But I’m not.
    At times, things come back to me that I found especially mean and thoughtless. Times he pushed me away in the past, or detailing sex with W, or walking away leaving me crying. I’ve tried talking to him about these things. He tries to be understanding, but then says but those things happened so long ago. He’s right. But it’s like something will happen to trigger a memory that was very painful. Then I feel very hurt by him all over. It’s almost like PTSD. I do hope I’ll fully heal from these painful memories. Sometimes when I think of something he did, it disgusts me. And I realize that i was so in love and addicted to him that I allowed these unforgivable things to be forgiven. But were they really forgiven if I’m still hurting from them now? Other times I do understand that he was just trying to push me away and honor his marriage. He was very confused and was trying to make his marriage work. And I get that all. I guess I wonder if he could hurt me so much in the past, could he do it again? Can I ever truly relax with this man? Just something on my mind today. But we’ve had great times recently and he’s tried hard to make up for all of that. Hope to hear from you all soon. And more updates on your situations.

    • Felk

      Hi J, Good to hear from you. I think your hesitations are well-founded and suggest that you’re being smart about moving into this new relationship. It sounds like you’ve put your foot down and will not move forward with your MM unless he divorces his W. Is that correct? In other words, you will not take steps to leave your marriage until he formally does? I don’t blame you for not trusting him given all of his back and forth when he was still with his W. And, yes, he was struggling and trying to work on his marriage and was indecisive and all of the other hard things that we all go through in an affair, but there are ways to treat others well (even in hard situations), and I know you feel he didn’t treat you well many times during your affair.

      From reading your message, it sounds to me like you are heeding warning signs about your MM. It sounds like you haven’t entirely forgiven your MM for the way he treated you, and, of course, I think that’s something you should work out before you leave your marriage and start a life with your MM. I still think you would benefit from therapy. I think your question about “if he could hurt me so much in the past, could he do it again?” has an easy “yes” answer. When someone is capable of that kind of hurt, why wouldn’t you think they could do it again? I think another way to say it is… if you were hurt that much by things he did, why wouldn’t you think you are still the same person who could be hurt by things he does? In other words, it might be his actions or your interpretations, but you two are the same people. I think one of the hardest things in starting a life with an affair partner is the trust issue. You ask if you could ever truly relax with him? Only you can decide that, but it doesn’t sound like you have or will. If you haven’t over these 9 months that he’s left his home, what will change? Even if he divorces his W, my guess is that he will still be involved with her because of their children. He will not abandon her entirely, and will you be able to live with that? Or would you always be insecure and jealous of their interactions? And… it would be understandable if you felt that way given that you started your relationship as an affair? You know your MM is capable of betraying those who he loves most so I think it’s entirely smart to wonder if you could ever truly relax with him.

      I don’t know how much these things are still bothering you. I don’t know if they’re slowly getting better over time. It sounds like things are a lot better with the two of you, but it also sounds like you don’t entirely trust him still. It’s not a good way to start a life with him. Are you ready to leave your H when your MM gets a divorce? I can’t tell if you’re simply waiting for him to file for divorce or if you’re delaying because of all of your other doubts?

      My situation is mostly the same. Things are much better with my MM now (than compared to a year ago, for example). We’re back in the affair, and he seems clear he wants that. We’ve gotten to a place of pretty good understanding, and he’s been pretty lovely lately. The communication is still lower than I’d like, but he’s been doing little things here and there to show me his interest (which is what I asked him to do several weeks ago). I know I still want more (time/attention/talking/etc.) with him, but I also know that things can quickly get bad for him if he starts losing that balance between us and his marriage/family. I don’t want things to get bad again. They’ve been good for a while (even through some jealously I had a month ago), and I’d like to keep it that way. Affairs are hard and there will always be sacrifice. I still feel insecure at times, and still miss all the time we used to spend together. But for now, I’m willing to sacrifice some time/closeness to continue this affair as I still can’t imagine not being in a relationship with him.

    • BAF

      Hi J It is nice to hear from you. I am weaning off of this board as my recovery demands I think now about about the POST affair period which I am in. I must not linger in the ideas of affairs too long. I can not re-choose the affair so I must move forward mentally and emotionally and it takes work. Sometimes when I am on this board I get to wishing or imagining my affair could still work. It’s so easy to feel seduced by such thoughts when you have a mind like mine. 🙂
      Your situation seems both good and bad. Is he waiting for YOU to make a move before he files papers for divorce? This you must ask him. Have you two talked about a timeline for a future? Can the two of you start to imagine the way a future together would look? Does his exW know he has a relationship with a new woman? Or has he kept that from her? I think this would be very important for me personally. I know you have uncomfortable feelings about your MM but are you really ready to stay in a marriage with your H at this point?
      I would think you would benefit greatly from seeing a therapist on your own and then maybe also going to couples counseling with him? Would he agree? Could he afford to pay the visits? I remember you had an issue with hiding therapy visits from your H but your life is really in limbo until you figure out what is going to happen next isn’t it?
      Hugs BAF
      xxxooo

  • TTSP

    Hi BAF and Felk,
    Thanks for your kind, encouraging words below. Today I write with a bit of a heavy heart because it’s the dreaded Sunday, I’m around the PMS time and I think I’ve officially entered no contact territory. I trust I’ll be ok and this is the phase where I’ll truly heal and move on. As soon as he realized that there was no hope of getting back together he completely retreated. It’s very evident that he is not interested in friendship which in the end is best for everyone. Still, I feel frightened to be on my own especially during a very intense period at work. The work load is heavy and a lot of the responsibilities are ambiguous so I’m feeling particularly fearful about getting through the next couple months successfully. I’m really hoping that after a few weeks of no personal interactions at all I’ll adjust quickly. When I read about Nomad and BAF rising up from no contact I see it is very possible with great rewards. Also, i’ve been reading about the willingness to take a loss and be alone in pursuit of healthy love. I must want the healthy love more than I want to avoid the pain of grieving. An ending is an ending and that doesn’t mean one foot in and one foot out. My Dad told me some time back that we’d never be friends afterward.

    As for a new job I’m taking steps to get there. I worked on my resume yesterday, bought a test to take a certification I should’ve done years ago. I still plan to take a week off to focus solely on my job search, researching companies, preparing for interviews etc. I have friends and family that I’ll turn to during this transition. I wish I had more people that I could open up to completely but maybe that’s on me to establish more intimate emotional relationships with people. I wish a great Sunday to everyone 🙂

    • Nomad

      Hey TTSP!

      This too shall pass! Monday will come. PMS will be over. Whatever it is. You’ve us here! We trust that you’ll be ok.

      What do you mean by you’ve officially entered the NC territory and how is it linked to your PMS? Has it been always such a cycle and you’ll resume contact and feeling the addiction after the PMS hormone wears off? What makes him completely retreat and have you been taking him back or reciprocating each time he’s back? Is your mm like mine? Giving crumbs? Fundamentally, why makes u decided to quit him? What must you do in order to continue with him? Why are you frightened to be on your own? Does he help you a lot at work? (He’s the reason why I couldn’t function and deliver at work, I let my bosses down) . By the way, How long was the record of your longest NC? Was he always the one who reached out?

      I tend to ruminate and feeling all the anxiety and vulnerability around the PMS period too! Everything is gloomy and I just wanted ex-MM back for that instant gratification. I just live a day at a time. Bottom line is I’ll not reach out. Since he’s helping me by disappearing, I shall seize the time and space to live a normal life. Baby steps. Mundane and boring, so be it. Least I can eat, sleep, deliver at work, go for manicure/pedicure, hair spa, 1hr basic yoga weekly, stop crying and stay sober for longer duration. I’m training myself to get used to being by myself and grow to become comfortable by myself. For example, having a coffee and a dessert by myself, holding the fort at home when H is overseas, having lunch by myself etc. Just doing things by myself. Stick to our decision and we can only get better. I’m trying! It’s never easy but it gets easier when he helps by disappearing and not reaching out.

      It’s been 42 days of NC. Did he care that I’m alive and well? Has he found my replacement? Or Has he settled for less and slept with his W? see, I’m wasting my time overthinking. Fact is he’s gone. I have no choice but to let go. I still think of him everyday. I’m not done healing. I’m working decently hard to move on. I know I’ll never want to befriend him. Impossible.

      TTSP, what have you decided?

      • TTSP

        Hi Nomad,
        You are now on 46 days….. incredible. How are you feeling? I suspect you’ll have good days where you think you’ve done more healing and other days where you feel like you’ve taken a few steps back. The grieving process is up and down with a trend going upward. Did you both block each other and agree to no longer speak? What will you do if he reaches out again?

        For me I have decided never to go back to an affair. Have we gone no contact? No, we have been on calls at work and IMed during our working day. I’ll see him next week in the office since we have colleagues flying internationally to visit our team. Regardless, I’m determined to stay away from a romantic relationship with him. He has to find someone else to provide his emotional and physical needs.

        To your questions the longest we have gone no contact is around 5 or 6 days. 95% of the time he is the one to initiate during those off periods but not because he is so in love with me. He is addicted to the highs of an affair. It’s so evident to me. I think he likes me yes but he’s also terrified of never having a romantic connection again in his life. Why he doesn’t try to make the most of his primary relationship I can’t tell you. I suppose once a couple loses the intimacy it’s hard to recreate. Who the hell am I to say since I haven’t been in that place. I do hope he finds what makes him content. It can’t and won’t be me. I don’t want to miss out on a potential available man that can give me a proper commitment and future. Unlike a lot of the other mm I’ve read about mine didn’t retreat or disappear. He would act aloof the day after we were together in the beginning but once I called him out on it he stopped pulling away immediately afterward. Did he give me crumbs? Yeah, he wanted me to subsist on scraps even though to him he was giving me all the time, energy and resources that he had. I don’t deny that he was attentive for a coupled person but that’s far from satisfactory and I was just done. In my mind I’m done and in my heart I’m close to done. In my body I’m still attracted to him but I can live with that.

    • BAF

      TTSP
      I know you are scared. I know how hard the first few days are going to be for you but yes you can do it! Believe it.
      First things first: BRAVO you for letting a relationship that can never make you happy go! That is a heeluva hard thing to do because as we all know, some of the ‘feel goods’ are still there as we part with an affair partner and we might even still be in love with the person. So it’s very painful at first but it gets better. I like Nomad’s advice for you to take Baby Steps. Yes. Baby Steps.

      In the book I read “How to Do No Contact Like a Boss” it even has an entire schedule to help you transition for the first 30 days. It is important for you to manage your time and also not to over-schedule! It is very important that you plan some “down” time for yourself. You will need it to grieve. The grieving takes a lot of energy too. The more down time the better. So get your work done yes but also leave time for relaxing, meditating, yoga, sleep, etc. and doing NOTHING at all.
      See if you can find a buddy to help you through some of the stress at work. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! And trust the process. This person will appear when you start expecting them. Trust that your HP will be there for you. Another thing that would be wonderful to find or have would be a real life buddy who can hug you and encourage you through the times when you are very down from the break-up. A real life person would be so helpful. Someone you can confide in.
      PMS will pass. But the ups and downs of the beginning of No Contact are pretty fierce. So be ready. Prepare like a camper going out into the wilderness. What will you need to survive?
      Line up a bunch of silly movies to watch and get some popcorn ready and just be ready to be let everything go and hang out on your pajamas sometimes. There are many many tips to survive the beginning of No Contact. But the biggest one is to remember this”. Yes You Too Can Do This! It’s in you to do it. You can look around on-line for other forums of people going “No Contact” too…

      As for being only platonic friends after an affair I have yet to see that work. So you are not alone. I do not think anyone here (or on any other discussion boards I have seen) has ever pulled that off right after an affair. It seems just plain impossible to do. Maybe somewhere down the line you and your now exMM will be able to do that but there is NO way to do this right after an affair. And no contact is easier than trying to pull off such a friendship.

      Hang in there TTSP! Maybe you also want to start a new journal? Anyhow today is the first day of the rest of your life and that life there are surely suprises and other good things waiting for you. Just expect them and be on the look out for them! They will come for sure. Good things will come your way again.
      warmest BAF
      xoxo

    • Felk

      TTSP, I know you’re feeling it right now, because you’re realizing that you really have to go NC if you’re going to heal. It’s a tough (but good) realization. Your MM has retreated for his own mental health as well. It is not because he doesn’t value a friendship with you. It is because he knows that he cannot have a friendship with you without wanting more and I am sure that hurts him. I know it’s hard to lose the relationship with him, but I do think you have to give that up with him to get more with someone else. You want more. And you will find more. But I think that can only happen when you are really done with your MM and ready to let him go for good. “For good” being the operative words because it is going to be good for you eventually.

      Try to give yourself time with NC, too. You say that you’re hoping you’ll adjust quickly, but you might not. Just try to be patient. You’ve been patient for so long and taken so many big steps to be done with this affair. Just a few more. I think one of the hardest thing is really making that decision to be done. You were still hanging on, hoping for that friendship with your MM. And there are still reminders of him since you work together (even if you don’t see each other at work much because you work remotely). As long as he is “around,” it will be hard to be done with him. Going NC is a big step towards being done. But I also think there’s something to just deciding to be done and knowing you are done. Unfortunately, I also think it’s one of those things that’s hard to know until you know. But you’ll know when you’re done.

      And you’re also taking the steps for the new job. No more interactions with your MM in any way is ideal for you moving on. That week off seems like such a good idea for so many reasons. Try to keep your eye on the prize. What are your goals and what active steps do you need to take to reach those goals? And I’m not really asking you to report those here. 🙂 Just saying that helps me. To think about what I want and to be honest and realistic about how I get to what I want.

  • lois

    Hello, everyone. I know it has been awhile since my last post. I have tried keeping up with posts which has been easy the past week as Nomad stated it has been quiet. I hope everyone is well and really proud of those who have made the decision to be done and continue to persevere through the pain. It is a difficult decision to make and takes lots of courage and strength…so kudos! Nomad…wow, 30 days!!! Felk, it seems like things are good well with you and MM. I am glad you finally talked about the jealousy and you had every right to feel that way. I understand all too well. There is not too much to report with MM as it nothing will ever change with him or us and will continue to have our peaks and valleys in our relationship. He has been better about some things and does not more often. The less communication has been tolerable but there are still days like yesterday where I want more and it bothers me. I know he cannot give it. I have realized it is matter of how much I am willing to accept and put up with to continue in this relationship. I have been more honest about my feelings with him and let him know when I do not know appreciate his radio silence. For the most part, I do not text him to just text him…if I am thinking about him, I send him a smiley face and sometimes he sends one back and some times he does not. He told me last week that he was struggling again and apologized for his radio silence. I texted him and no response and this time do not text again asking if he was okay, etc. the next day he texted me to apologize. He said the lady from work had contacted his preacher about their affair and tried to cause him problems again. I asked if he was struggling because of us and said no, it was just dealing with the drama from her again. I left it alone and him alone to deal with it his struggles. We texted later in the week and things were okay. Yesterday was a tough day for me and reached out to him. He was busy with his kids so felt down in the dumps. He texted back once but that was it and has been radio silence. Today, I am still unsure about things and its hard because my heart misses him but my brain says why keep putting yourself through this endless cycle. I know, it has to be decision of my own and every time it seems to be so close to being there and get sucked right back in. Sadly, I fell in love with him and enjoy the times we do have together. I enjoy the bantering. When things are good, they are good…but when they are not, it does affect my life. I can see it but do not know what to feel the pain of letting him go. I know that sounds horrible. Hindsight…if I would just do it eventually it would go away but staying in it I know it will never stop the times of hurt. Like I said, I am just down in the dumps.

    • Felk

      Hi Lois, good to hear from you. Sounds like things are about the same for you, which, as we all know too well, is good and bad. It sounds like you’re dealing with the lower communication okay, but it also sounds like there are times of frustration, as you knew there would be. I find myself in the same position. I generally deal with the lower communication fine, but there are periods of time when I want more communication for various reasons and then it’s harder. It sounds like you needed your MM when you had a rough day and he wasn’t there for you. One of the hardest things in an affair… the low access and not having this person when we want them. I also know the thoughts of wondering if it’s all worth it when you feel those lows. Not that you’re at your lowest low now, but just the hurt of missing him or the feeling of rejection when he doesn’t respond as you’d like. Makes you question it all again. I know it. I’ve done some of that questioning recently because of the jealousy stuff. I believe my MM isn’t interested in this other woman (and he’s really been kind of great over these last few weeks), but just going through all of that made me think about how insecure I feel at times with my MM and how much I don’t like those feelings. I’m not ready to end it, though. I still like the good times too much, and it still feels like it would be too hard to not have him in my life as more than a friend. But I also know that I want to give myself time to deal with the jealousy. I don’t want to pressure myself into feelings better suddenly just because jealousy can feel weak. I want to be honest with my feelings to myself and to him, and not just try to present myself to him as this person who can handle anything or who is always willing to be the understanding one. I did that for way too long throughout the affair, and I can also see that you’re trying to be better about letting your MM know how you feel, too. I know, with certainty, that I will be happier if I am more true to myself this time around.

      As for your MM’s struggles, wow, that woman told his pastor about his affair? That’s pretty awful. Assuming everything he’s telling you is true (and I know he’s not always been honest with you), that’s messed up. Why is she still going after him? Do they even have contact anymore? He left the workplace, right? It’s definitely an odd story, but, even if it’s not happening exactly as he’s saying, I can see why it’s causing him a lot of stress. And I know you want reassurance that it’s not because of your relationship, because I know you must worry that the strain of the other affair might make him want to quit your affair. That’s the thing with affairs, though. There’s so much strain in so many ways. I think about all sorts of things that could come up in my MM’s life that could lead him to realize it’s all too hard again.

      So, have you seen your MM over the last month? Since you two had sex and decided to try to make your relationship work? I didn’t know if texting was the only communication you’ve had? If so, that’s really hard. If not, it’s hard, too. It’s all hard. 🙂

      • lois

        Hey, Felk. I honestly was floored when he told me that the ex-coworker had contacted his pastor and find it hard to believe she would do such a thing but she has done some things that I would not have thought she would have…so who knows. They do not have any contact with each other but if it is true, she probably did out of spite of him getting the job after trying to prevent it from happening which I know was true. I guess since his wife was out of town on trip with their oldest daughter the pastor felt comfortable in saying something to him because apparently this was a few weeks ago. What I found odd was his church has been preaching on the 10th tenth commandments and a few weeks ago it was about thou shall not commit adultery…it just seemed to be too coincidental but maybe she got on facebook and thought this would be perfect timing. I do know…it just seemed odd. We have been together since the last time about a month ago. He has been very busy with work and kids. His wife left for several days on school trip with their oldest. He is trying to work at his new job and still do is side business along with his kids are involved in dance and sports. So, texting has been our only communication which has not been much at times. It does help keep the intensity of things down but there are times when I really miss him especially when weeks go by. I am good for about 2 weeks of not seeing him as long as we have somewhat decent communication but then after that it starts to wear on me…my mind starts wandering and we all know our minds can play hell on us. I know, he is busy and works until 5 sometimes 6 in the evening…it’s about 20 minute drive for him to meet me, so there is 40 minutes round-trip in driving. Then, he has kids with homework, so I get that he is spread way too thin on time which is why I cut him so much slack on not being able to meet with me. We live in a rural area where everyone knows everyone, so it is not like we can meet for drinks or anywhere in public without people seeing us together which would cause both of us issues. It is hard to balance our situation but when we are together it is really nice. I like being with him…our situation just sucks at times because I think he wants to be me more too. We are supposed to get together tonight but trying not to get my hopes up because things come up with his work and kids….part of it! How are things with you and MM?

        • Felk

          Lois, that’s some crazy stuff with the ex-coworker who still seems angry. I’m surprised she hasn’t told his W. And I’m sure he’s scared about that. His W doesn’t know about the other affair, right? Although maybe you don’t know if she knows. I’m guessing your MM doesn’t tell you everything going on there (and that’s understandable).

          It’s funny what you say about how two weeks is your limit and then it starts to wear on you. I’m okay with some amount of low communication and then, at some point, for me it’s usually a week, it just doesn’t feel good. I like to get alone time with my MM every 1-2 weeks, and if 2 weeks go by and we haven’t had alone time, it is really notable to me. I really start to feel that strong missing and, honestly, rejection. And it sucks, 7 years into this, that I’m STILL feeling rejection at times. And, yes, the mind wandering. When too much time goes by, your mind starts creating all sorts of scenarios about our MM not wanting us anymore. About a month ago, when we had some good talks about us, I asked him to more consistently show me that he wanted this, and I can tell he’s been trying. But, of course, it’s never enough. It can’t be in an affair.

          That’s extra hard for you and your MM being in a rural area and not being able to easily meet up. My MM and I don’t have that problem. Because we work together, we can easily go for a drink after work and, even if seen by other coworkers, it doesn’t seem a big deal (but we’re in an urban area and we’re rarely seen anyway). Were you able to meet up with your MM yesterday? I hope so. Going a month without seeing each other is hard. On the plus side, I think it shows his interest in you that he wants to continue this affair even with the distance and challenges. I’m sure you hang onto that, too, as I hang onto all sorts of reasoning like that (for example, how my MM is back in this affair even though he could have ended it as he tried last year).

          Things with my MM and I are pretty good. Or maybe as good as I could expect. We had alone time at my house a few times a month ago and we had some really good talks about our relationship. Then the jealousy stuff happened, but he has been really responsive since and I think he’s trying to show me that he’s into me. And it’s working. I believe he wants me (and no one else). Like, yesterday, he invited me to go to a work event with him and that was a rare thing for him. It felt nice, and I know it was hard for him to do (even though I wish it wasn’t hard and he thought it was easy to ask me to spend time with him). So, we had a nice two hours at this event yesterday, just talking and joking and no pressure. It felt good. BUT… today, I stopped by his office to walk to a meeting we were both going to and he was eating lunch and he was all, “can’t a guy eat his lunch in peace?” Granted, his door was closed when I knocked and went in (there’s a window and I could see he was eating), but I just asked if he was going to walk to the meeting. When he made it clear he wanted to finish his lunch, I closed the door and walked down to the meeting. Then, when he came in a few minutes later he made sure to sit as far away from me as possible. It was so intentional and just mean, but that is him. He can so quickly feel smothered. He had to assert his independence in that small way, simply because I imposed on his closed-door lunch. And stuff like that makes me feel so pathetic. I know I shouldn’t feel pathetic because I just did something normal (and arguably nice), but he can so quickly make me feel like I pathetically want him more than he wants me. I know it’s hard working with a significant other, and, if I worked with my H, I’d want all sorts of distance because it would be smothering to me. But with my MM, it feels different because we get so little time together. This is not the first time my MM has intentionally put distance between us at work because he feels smothered. It always makes me feel like sh*t, too. And, if I didn’t know better, I’d think it was also because of his invitation yesterday. You know, the poor man is suffering because he worked so hard to show me attention yesterday. He deserves space. (See me rolling my eyes.) Like a re-assertion of control (over his feelings). Blah. Your MM seems similar in that he seems to get overwhelmed by his emotions and takes a lot of space to deal with them. These men, right? 🙂

          I think there’s a lot to what BAF says about owning one’s decision to be in an affair. I know that I’ve been comfortable with our affair from the get-go. My MM has not, and so he has so many more struggles than I do. But I didn’t waver on my interest in being in the affair until he started pulling away in 2017 before the break-up. And then all that second-guessing and doubt feels awful. So, no wonder my MM struggles so much. As we are in this affair again, I want to be committed to it and sure again. I don’t want to waver and doubt and wonder. That’s why that jealousy stuff sucked so much. The jealousy stuff made me wonder if I wanted this relationship because I would not tolerate my MM being interested in someone else. I believe my MM is not interested elsewhere, and so I am back to simply wanting this affair. It does me no good to doubt. I can see how it does my MM no good, but his personality is different. I think you and your MM are like me and my MM in this way. I think you’re much more sure than he is, and I know how hard that is.

    • BAF

      Hi Lois Your affair sounds more or less the same however you are in a much better place that it was a few mo the ago. I am sure it is very hard with the low communication. Try not to take to too personally. It is not you. It is the situation. And you did not want to end entirely it seems. At least the two of you are in some kind of communication now as opposed to a few months ago. So aren’t you better off overall?
      I think anyone staying in an affair one has to make many compromises. It sounds to me like a very good idea to make list for yourself of the reasons you want to stay in your affair so that when times are tough you can remind yourself why you are staying. In other words instead of having a list of reasons to leave your MM, have a list of reasons you want to stay with him.
      As for me I persist in reading my list of reasons why I do NOT want to return to my affair. The list helps.
      Hugs,
      BAF
      xoxo

      • lois

        Hey, BAF. Thanks for your response. I enjoy hearing what you have to say. I hope all is well with you and your family. You are right and things are in a better situation than a few months ago which was horrible. It does help having less communication because it allows me to keep my feelings in check more. Of course, there are times when it is difficult and some days it is worth it and some not so much. He has been better in some ways. I still have my doubts about some things and hindsight should always go with my gut instinct…LOL! However, I do enjoy his company when we are able to get together. I understand as I told Felk that he is spread too thin with work, home, etc., so I do cut him slack on being able to get with me. I do feel that if he could meet more that he would most of the time…he has his days as do I. The less communication has helped cut down on the anxiety of waiting for him to text back which is a good thing for me. There are still times but not nearly like it was. I am not chasing after him and has caused him to text me more often than he used to. So, you are right…I do not need to take things personal as it is the situation and I am still trying to find balance in this situation. Thanks for your advice. Take care!

        • BAF

          Lois, I also think that if you own your decision to be in the affair it will be easier on you. This is because to will keep you from being a victim of the his behavior no matter what it is. Thinking positive and remembering why you want to be in the affair might just be the trick for staying in it for you. As long as you are willing to cut him slack for all his other life priorities then perhaps you can find a way to negotiate with him that he also meet you somewhere along the line of what you need as well. You and Felk would seem to be in the same boat on this configuration.

          I am struck by the role of religion and the pastor in your story for the simple reason some priests and pastors do not keep their vows either. And many hypocritical church goers live their own lives of “sin” too. Even as they “report”on others. But that’s another topic……

          Thanks for mentioning my family. They are well thank you. And I am blessed to have two beautiful sons I adore and get along really well with. I noticed how my affair ate into other parts of my life….ate up my time as I was often in states of worry or confusion or anger. Personally, I am glad my time is my own now having left my exMM. This way I can be more myself with people I love. But it took me a long time to reach this point.
          warmly BAF
          xoxo

  • Nomad

    Hi! It’s been quiet here for almost a week? How’s everyone? BAF, Felk, TTSP, Hope and all?

    I’ve marked 30days of NC. 🙂
    It’s not easy but it is what it is…

    • BAF

      Nomad, thirty days is AWESOME. A real achievement! No it is not easy but after the first 30 days it does get easier. The second thirty days is definitely easier.
      I have been doing better and better. Ever since I enrolled in an online program for people who have left narcissists I am less and less tempted to wonder if I “did the right thing” by going No Contact. I am finally getting it that “No Contact” is the moment recovery begins from toxic and painful relationships. “No contact” is the moment I elect to stop the pain. To think for myself and about myself. To heal.
      He can not try to manipulate my emotions when I am ‘no contact”. And if he ever comes to the door I have learned what to do. I will not answer. Ever.
      Do you think of unblocking him sometimes Nomad? If yes that is normal and I have done it too. Many times. But the farther out I get from my relationship with my exMM it gets clearer and clearer that I did the right thing for myself. Focusing on his needs only screwed me up emotionally at the end so bad. The affair left me with low self esteem and self hatred not to mention shame and guilt. And depression.
      Now, I am focusing on MY needs. My desires for my life. He complained over and over and over again about his relationship with his W. And his life. and I listened and tried so hard to be helpful. But he is too lazy and complacent to leave his marriage.
      In the end that’s where he will remain. Happy or not happy he will stay there. He will never be mine. He will stay with her and with his family always. And I can do much better than to enable him for life. Let her have him and him have her. Let them work out their stuff. I don’t care about all of his problems anymore because I got so sick of all the drama.

      Work and friendships have improved dramatically for me in some cases. I am looking back less and less and looking forward to the future more and more. I know how hard it is for you to. It also takes real guts to go No Contact. But in the end you will be really proud of yourself for saying ‘NO’ and be able to do so many more things in your actual “real” life. Many hugs to you! xoxo BAF

    • Felk

      Hi Nomad, it still amazes me how long you’re able to go with NC. I know you don’t always feel like you’re being strong, but it really is so strong. And it is the path to really being done with your MM. As you say, it’s not easy. Really not easy. Do not forget that and try to be kind to yourself if you find yourself second-guessing or wishing you’d done something differently or wondering about him or anything. Compassion for ourselves in these hard times is not overrated.

      As for me, it’s all mostly the same as last week. My MM and I had two good talks last week about my jealousy of him and that coworker. He was very reassuring about how he had no interest and it was just a friendship. He said good things, and I didn’t think that these were things he was saying to “play” me or trick me into complacency so that he can pursue this other woman. I don’t think he’s interested. At most, I think he likes that she gives him a little attention, but generally I just think it’s a coworker who he talks to about work once in a while. I have coworkers like that. Male coworkers. And I’m trying to be fair to my MM and see this relationship as the same thing as another male coworker of mine (who has expressed interest). So, even though I think this female coworker is pursuing (subtly), I also trust him when he says he’s not interested and that she has not expressed anything beyond a work relationship with him.

      My MM was out of town over the weekend at a conference (not with his W), and he was unusually communicative and affectionate. I could tell that he was trying to show me his love because he knew that I was feeling insecure. My MM very, very rarely texts me, but he did while he was away. My MM also very rarely asks me for a drink (it’s always me asking him), but he sent email and asked. My MM also very rarely initiates saying sweet things in e-mail, but he sent an email when he returned telling me how much he thought about me while away. It matters a lot to me that he’s responding this way to me expressing my concerns and my jealousy. I needed his affection, and he could have gotten defensive or could have felt that I was being controlling, but he was just responsive. And I think it’s because he’s felt jealousy more than I have in our relationship and he can sympathize. He’s been understanding, but he’s also asking me to understand how he might feel similar jealousy when I have a drink with a male friend. I think I’ve had a bit of a double-standard where I think it’s okay for me to do (platonically), but I don’t think it’s okay for him. I never really realized I had that double-standard until I felt all this jealousy stuff these last few weeks.

      Of course, I’m not entirely over the jealousy. He and I talked about it again today (while we were out having that drink), and I know it will take me some time to recognize that they are just platonic. I mostly feel okay about it, but it’s hard in an affair where you already know someone is capable of cheating and you also don’t have the same access to this person (to know/ask what they’re doing every day). I think what’s making it harder, too, is that we’re just finally getting fully back together after all that break-up stuff from late 2017. I still feel a lot of the trepidation from the break-up, and we’re still communicating a lot less than we used to so that just adds to all of the unknown. But, it’s as you said a week or so ago… if I want to be in this affair and I believe it’s platonic, then I just have to trust. Otherwise, I will be miserable. I will talk about it with him more (as we have planned to), but I do generally trust and I have told him that. I’m trying to do this all with eyes wide open, and I know that can be hard in the thick of it. So, I continue to appreciate all the support (and honesty and tough love) you all have given me and continue to give me.

    • TTSP

      Hi Nomad,
      Thank you for asking. 30 days is a huge mountain. I have never gone 30 days no contact with mine but think if faced wth it now I’d be minimally fazed. I think like any addiction the first two weeks are the hardest. Still, it’s not a linear recovery and you’ll have shockingly despondent, dejected moments. For me I’m so gearing up to get a new job. One of my single friends sought out a new life and career in another state to get away from her affair. She had other reasons but this created a forced ending for both sides.

      I spent a solid 6 months emotionally and mentally detaching from my person or ex mm. I still care for him, have love for him and wish him all of the best but I’m no longer moved by what he does or doesn’t do. I did a lot of mediation, prayer, visualization and internal work to let go. Also, I worried that if the wrong person was taking up space in my heart how would the right person enter my life? I understand for those that are married it might feel more challenging to let go because you have no incentive to keep yourself available. Your life is fairly static and you don’t need an open heart. How are you feeling internally? I believe you went 90 days around the holidays and have a lot more confidence in your determination and strength.

      • Felk

        TTSP, all of this sounds so good. It sounds like you really are detaching from your MM. To hear you say that you’re no longer moved by what he does or doesn’t do is huge. Oh, the freedom in that. I also strongly believe that you couldn’t be open to someone new until you no longer had your MM taking up that space. It’s hard to really give yourself to another person if you’re hung up on someone else.

        I know you’ve mentioned a new job before, but how close are you to making that happen? I know that has to be really hard, but I hope it is a good career move for you and I know it will help you be done with your MM. You and I have talked many times about the difficulty of working with our MM not only during the affair but, much harder, during the break-up. I know that one of the reasons my MM and I didn’t move on and are now back in the affair is because we work together. I’m not saying we couldn’t have tried harder to end the affair if we really wanted to, but I’m just saying it’s a lot more difficult when you’re around each other almost every day. So, forcing that ending by leaving the job seems a big step in the right direction for you.

        • TTSP

          Felk,
          You’re right about not being able to give yourself to someone entirely. Plus, I think people can pick up on something and likely won’t stick around if they can consciously or subconsciously detect distance.

          I’m not close. I’ve updated my resume but every weekend I’m so burned out from working 60 hour weeks I feel like I have no energy to give elsewhere. I’m in this perpetuating vicious cycle. I think I need to just take a week staycation, find a recruiter and prepare for interviews. Once I get over the preliminary steps I’ll be ready to take the plunge. It’s all on me.

          Fortunately, we’re not around each other since we work virtually. We still attend calls together and I find myself waiting for his IM because he was my moral support. We would talk about everything and he was my go to for all matters. I feel that void so I’m still having a tough time from an emotional standpoint. I would love to be able to have IM banter. When we have he turns it into missing the snuggles and physical part and wishing we could have what we had. He said he is having a hard time separating the two and won’t ever see me as just a friend. I believe him when he says he’s having a hard time making the switch.

          I can see how people with forced interaction could easily fall back into an affair. In your case it sounded like things got too intense at one point but now you have the right balance to still enjoy the relationship while staying in reality.

          • BAF

            TTSP,
            Girl you are making some heroic progress! Thinking about a new job and a job change has to feel scary at times, especially without the endorsement and support of your extra special IM buddy your exMM. (I assume he is not cheering you on but I could be wrong). Anyhow what I am trying to say is that venturing into a new and unknown job search territory means risk taking and possible rejections and is daunting for anyone. Let alone someone trying to leave an affair. It has to feel especially hard for you as a solo activity that can not include your exMM in your future plans.
            I am thinking two things: One is can you find another person who you can chat with lots while you go through this process? Maybe someone else who is also going through the same thing. Or your friend who accomplished this? A support person is critical during a job search.
            Think positive and imagine you are going to find your Dream Job! What will that feel like? Imagine a highly positive outcome!
            The other thing is this: Is your industry always prone to 60 hour work weeks? Do you enjoy working that much time? It leaves little time for socializing and dating when you have those kind of work hours. Might there be a job for you with fewer hours weekly that you want? Try to look for something that you really like in a future job and imagine yourself truly loving it.
            Hugs BAF
            xxxooo

          • Felk

            TTSP, it’s really hard to change jobs so I can understand why it’s taking a while to get that going. Much like leaving a relationship, there is a lot that is scary about leaving a job that you’ve been in a long time. As you know, continue to give yourself time to make these big steps when you’re ready, but there may come a time when you do just have to “take the plunge” and fully commit to making it happen. Again, like relationships. 🙂

            I understand why your MM can’t just do the IM banter and have it be platonic. My MM and I weren’t able to make that switch. As with your MM, it’s not like the feelings went away. You chose to end the relationship for very good reasons but falling out of love was not one of them. So, the feelings are still there for your MM and every interaction just sparks them. And then if the conversation is fun and playful banter? That sparks those feelings even more. I’m thinking it would do the same for you, too. Wouldn’t that playful banter make you miss him and want him again? Maybe not, but it does seem a bit dangerous if you are trying to separate yourself from him and find new love.

            I don’t know if my MM and I have the “right” balance, but we have found a balance that seems to be working reasonably well. He has been more attentive and communicative since we had those long talks a month ago (and I asked him to be a little more consistent in showing me he wants this relationship), and I have tried to continue to give him space (to help him balance at home) and trust our relationship (as he asked me during those talks). We did get too intense before, and we’re trying to do better this time around. My MM is definitely better at slowing the intensity, but I have seen the benefits of that over this last year and a half.

  • Felk

    Ladies, thanks for all of your replies. It helps so much over these days. I figured I’d just write up here to update you all at once on our conversation yesterday (and today). I think I told LL yesterday (before our talk) that he’d sent an e-mail Sunday night that was really loving. He showed more reassurance and sent a song (which is a thing we do). It helped a lot going into Monday’s conversation. We had about two hours to talk, and he was warm and reassuring throughout. I worried he might get defensive or cold, but he didn’t at all. He explained their relationship (friends/work colleagues who text a bit and sporadically go for a coffee or a beer), answered all of my questions (no, they haven’t done anything else; no, they don’t go out at night; no, she hasn’t invited for anything else; no, he doesn’t mention her to his W), and offered a lot of reassurance. He reassured that he was not interested in her. He stressed how he wasn’t attracted to her at all. He said all kinds of reassuring things about how he felt about me and us (and how he felt about me relative to anyone… including his W). I asked directly for him to tell me if there was “something” there. I told him it was a scary question to ask, but I needed the truth. He said there was “nothing.”

    I told him all of the things about how I didn’t want to be a fool, and sit by while something happened. I said all of the things about how T is interested in him and is pursuing, even if he doesn’t see it. He said he didn’t see it. He said there was nothing flirty between them. Said he never got that sense from her. He acknowledged that she might be attracted to him (but he joked that he thinks most women are!), but he said that she never acts that way (as far as he can tell). I listed many behaviors that I thought indicated her interest in him, and he acknowledged some of them but also said that I might be reading into others. That’s fair. We certainly can distort, but I told him that I was sure, even if I was reading into a few of the behaviors. She is interested. Ladies, I know interest. And my friend, B, sees it, too. He said he would shut it down if he felt she was pursuing. I want to believe him (and I wish he would have said he’ll shut it down now, but I wasn’t asking him to say that and he’s not the type to say that immediately… I’m just hoping he’ll shut it down soon enough).

    We talked about his past jealousy of my male friends and drawing those parallels helped him see a lot of what I was saying. I also asked him how he would have felt if Friday’s situation had happened in reverse, and he knew he would not have felt good. Related, I have a male work friend who I message with (just mostly joking about work stuff) and I have had a drink on a few occasions (like two years ago) with this guy. Totally platonic on my part. This married guy was interested, but I shut it down (explicitly) when that became clear. I also was madly in love with my MM at the time so there was no chance, but I still IM with the work friend plenty. My MM knows about these things because this work guy had mentioned it to him (we’re all friends). I didn’t know my MM knew about the drinking, but I had told my MM about messaging this guy on occasion. My MM compared his relationship with T to my relationship with this guy. If it’s the same, I have nothing to worry about. I feel nothing beyond platonic friendship for this other guy, even if he’d be open to more if I were willing. It may be like that with T and my MM. But am I okay with that?

    Today, I followed up with my MM with a few more questions, and told him that the jealous feelings were lingering a little and it would take me some time to work through them. Told him it was really that, even though yesterday’s conversation went really well, I didn’t want to be a fool so I wanted to think about it more. He gave more reassurance about how he feels about me and about his relationship with T. He talked about how he thinks about my relationships with men and how he tries to trust and handle them. I understood, but I still just need time. I told him that the part that was sticking with me most was that he is having drinks with her alone. And he pointed out that I have done this with male friends (and that is true), but I said, “But I do not do that regularly with any male friend.” And he made it very clear that he does not do this regularly. Phew. Yesterday, I hadn’t asked him about frequency because I didn’t want to hear it and I also didn’t want to sound like he had to report his every action. Like, yesterday, he jokingly asked if I wanted to see the texts she sent. And I really do not. He gave me some detail about the texts (mostly about work), said they were never flirty/sexual, and the exchanges didn’t go on long but did happen a few times/week. I talk on IM to my male best friend every day (not the work guy, another guy). This guy has been a close friend since college, and we’ve IMed almost every day for 20 years. Completely platonic (he, his W, my H, and I are all good friends and hang out all of the time). I’d be SO jealous if I knew my MM did something like that, so why can’t he text another woman (as my male friend from college has been doing with me for 20 years)? Clearly, I like male attention, too. I’ve seen many of you, understandably, write about the red flag of my MM liking other women’s attention, but I’m like that, too. How can I judge? Or, maybe, that’s exactly why I can judge? 🙂 Takes one to know one?

    I am still thinking about it all. We’ve had good talks. He’s said reassuring things both days (and none of it ever felt fake or like he was simply trying to tell me what I wanted to hear because he said plenty of tough things, too). We even talked a little today about why I didn’t just ask him not to hang out with her anymore. At first, I jokingly said, “Yes, please, feel free to stop spending time with her.” And he asked again why I said I had no intention of asking him not to hang out with her. I told him that I probably would ask or hint at that more if the situation were different, and he asked why. And I told him that I felt I didn’t have that right like I might elsewhere (implying my H). And he said, “But we’re in a relationship.” As BAF has mentioned, our MM often don’t want to acknowledge things like that out loud, and it felt so good in that moment to hear him say that.

    But I’ve felt a little odd last night and tonight, tbh. I’m not sure how to describe it exactly. It’s not exactly betrayed, but I feel cautious or reluctant or something. I have never wanted to compete with another woman for a man’s affections. And maybe I don’t have to now. But that’s what I’m trying to decide, I guess. If I believe I have to, I don’t know how I can stay in this affair. Maybe it’s a double-standard where I think it’s okay for me to have friendships with men, but I’m not sure how I feel about him developing a friendship with T. Or maybe it’s simply because it’s an affair it’s all too insecure, and I don’t want to deal with another layer of insecurity on an already tough situation. We all know I’m not ready to end my affair, but this definitely feels different. I don’t feel scared or weak. I just am not feeling that shine for my MM right now.

    The way I feel now reminds me a bit of when my MM did a work betrayal about 3 years ago. That took many conversations across several weeks for me to feel okay about what he did. It was a violation of trust, and I wondered if I could feel the same way about him after that. I felt he worked hard, though, to show me love. I know I want the same now. Across two days, he’s doing well, but it’s not enough yet. We’ll see.

    • Nomad

      Felk, after reading your updates, here’s what I think… you want him then just forgive and forget, don’t repeat my mistake of dwelling and refusing to let go. Don’t push his limit before he gets drained of keep reassuring you and be pissed of this lack of trust or faith you have in him. That was how mine snapped and got pissed of me not trusting him. Well, I really cannot trust him. So don’t push him away back to his W or another innocent drink with T. He has been “amazing” since that email to reassure you, followed by 2 days at work spending hours to talk to you when he could have strive harder to clear work so that he can go home earlier to his family. (My mm had been “withdrawing” to clear work and not “wasting” time to lunch with me and whole of last year, we barely lunch for few times and took leave only once?…during the first year, we would seize every opportunity to lunch at least twice per week, especially on a Fri to assure and fuel me over the weekends). My point is, just forgive him on the account of his patience and reassurance, and enjoy the moments like when he said “But we’re in a relationship.”…that was really sweet…his feelings ought to be real or else why would he bother? so believe him when he said “nothing”. Seems like I was wrong about him…

      If only I can find a way to stop feeling that shine for my Ex-MM. Why EX? it has been 22 days of NC. He did not reach out and each time feels so real that “THIS TIME” this is it…

      • Felk

        Nomad, you are absolutely right. I do believe it’s a situation where you either forgive and forget or you end it. Jealousy is brutal and will destroy you and the relationship if you let it fester. Either you trust the person or you don’t. I am choosing to trust him. It’s understandable for my feelings to linger a bit, and I’m glad that I talked to him about it yesterday, too. I did not want to ignore feelings that seemed important to me, and there were a few more things I wanted to say. But, yes, after yesterday, I didn’t feel that I needed to ask him more or hear more from him. I felt that I needed to just think it through and either be okay with it or not.

        22 days of NC is great again. It is amazing how you do that. You show such strength, and you really know what you want and you ask him for it. If he cannot give it to you, I hope you can keep sticking to the NC. You will lose the shine for him over time. It just takes a while.

        • Nomad

          Felk, you asked how I did it. Just remember the sadness, jealousy, anxiety, insecurity, losing myself and sleep, his BS guilt & fear, and being the last option on his list (can’t even squeeze into the top 5 priority like family, career, investment, hobby, sleep/nap). Most of all, I’ve problem believing him. Thinking about literally getting nothing out of him physically not there, emotionally drifting away and mentally fading. Simply: what is he giving me? (crumbs at most) what do I want? (full time lover) can I live without this fantasy? (better than last Mar I supposed) when was the last time we laughed together (valentine’s day? and NC 10 days later because nothing has changed).

          We both wanted this but couldn’t fix or grow it like yours.

          Then I don’t want it just like TTSP. I refuse to give him that convenience, that best of both worlds, the waiting. It’s very hard to deal with his withdrawal. My life came to a standstill or fell backwards whenever I let him back in.

          I will stick to NC. what’s 22 when he was capable of casting me aside for 90 last end Aug to Nov. But this past week hasn’t been good, I find myself hoping he would reach out.

          • Felk

            Nomad, those are all good reasons to quit your MM. For many months now, you have told us about how he can’t seem to give you what you need. And I am glad that you stand up for what you want and you do not simply give in and make it easy for him to have whatever he wants without giving what you need in return. If he cannot make you the priority you need, then it is good that you are trying to be done with him.

            I know you are feeling some pain right now because he has not reached out and he has blocked you, but maybe you can look at it as a blessing and know that you can finally go NC for real? I know that is easier said than done, but you have done 90 days of NC, I know you can do that (and more) now.

  • Nomad

    Felk… hugs… i know it is very difficult for you since Fri and especially when communication has been so low and he couldn’t assure you desperate enough compared to before The Break when you knew you were his priority. If he could do it then, why not now? What has changed? Can you see the red flags? Sorry but I’m under the impression that you tend to find excuses for his behavior and defensive about some of his behavior which I deemed as unacceptable. Perhaps that explains why mine didn’t work out and because you have been so trusting, understanding, accommodating and patience, you might have touched his heart but I thought you are settling for less because you clearly wanted him. Felk, Parton me if I’m too direct with my views.

    I’ve been through what you just did, twice. First was when I first came here in jun 2017 after my birthday in May, we had a good time and then I suddenly executed nc. A week later, I found out he went with a single female client rep who obviously fancied him and they went for beer 2x in that Week. He explained he was too heart broken and needed someone to distract. BS. I read their WhatsApp and exploded. I discovered things that were deal breakers (no sex but obviously she was very much into him, sending him pic of her lunch, what she baked, days she was on leave, stress and sufferings at work etc). Clearly unacceptable no matter what he insisted was platonic. I said we also started platonic. I didn’t believe him when he said he didn’t notice she set her eyes on him. He rather txt her and met her because they had nothing between them, he had no guilt to catch up sung hey whereas i was different, we were lovers and he was always tormented by guilt and fear and he needed to withdraw from me. BS. I thought I could forgive and forget but 2 yrs down, I really couldn’t trust him. I often wonder how did he manage to nc from me for 90days? He must have many such spare tyres to distract him and help him fade his addiction from me. He clearly enjoys attention and punishing his W for wasting him. Although he denied enjoying attention from other women, he was exhausted from having to keep reassuring me, deal with my possessiveness and not trusting him. What he did back then to prove his innocence was to text her back saying his W (actually was me witnessing him texting to her) read all their WhatsApp and found it inappropriate and was VERY mad. That was how I “moved on” from that episode but things were never the same again. He was offended. I actually couldn’t let go. I kept suspecting they continued the flirting. I hate it when h called me possessive. Being his lover who f*** him so many times in 2yrs, I’ve every right isn’t it? Well, truth is, he doesn’t owe me any commitment. We are not legally married and I actually can’t claim for his loyalty or faithfulness. He can go anytime when he lost the newness, he’s exhausted of talks after talks after talks, reassurance after reassurance after reassurance. I gradually realized he was withdrawing from me because the reality overpowered the fantasy, he was avoiding the same futile talks, he’s bored with the sex if too frequent, he’s avoiding dealing with me (in reality). I was understanding and attractive in his imagination and he only needed me mentally to boost his ego. He convinced me with his busy schedule and work stress, his guilt and his fear, until the second trigger last Aug when he flirted with SF on how much he liked her in the clothes she wore and how she posed for her profile pic. SF was uncomfortable and told the few of ex-teammates that he must be drunk to spouts words that made her hair stand, short of saying he was preying on her. I caught him twice but how many more? I didn’t know. He insisted he was innocent and I was the only one after 90days nc sep to nov last yr, after his family trip and mine which was another Mc in dec. he started to pursue with poems in Feb. Today, we Mc since 26 Feb. I found out he blocked me on last Sat. I told myself I will let whatever negativity recess but not too long.
    I don’t think he stops reaping attention from other women or preying on others, he just stops telling me, he just becomes more careful with his words not giving his greed away, he just be mindful to keep a safe distance from me, avoiding to deal with the real me who thinks I’ve rights over him as a wife. He can walk away anytime! He can conveniently cover up with morally right excuses! He actually has a better deal with whoever more convenient and no expectations, suits his requirements of low communication, come and go as he wishes, always behaving sweetly in the fantasy version.

    Yes, he blocked me. Was I hurt? Is this it? The finale?? Well, there’s nothing I can do but I must keep moving on, be mindful not to waste time ruminating. I did but I’m trying hard to snap out of this. I wrote down this note to remind myself:
    He makes me sad
    He makes me feel used
    I cannot trust him
    I cannot believe his words
    I’m better off without him and could achieve more when i free up the time and emotions wasted on him into something with better returns
    He is not there when I need him
    He is not what I wanted him to be
    I cannot and I refuse to accept low communication, near zero affection and attention, it’s far from uplifting my life, it’s actually a mental torture!

    Felk, I don’t believe he isn’t aware that T set her eyes on him. I don’t believe he’s unaware of your jealousy. I don’t think he’s doing all these to spite you but for selfish reasons like the attention and taking a break from you after the intensely great week with you. But I think he can at least avoid T now that he learnt about your deal breaker. That much I would expect him to do for you. But, beware that he might continue his friendship because you will be choking him with possessiveness if you insist to fault him or accuse him of something you made it up in your mind. Mine asked me what is there to be possessive about? Why do I think highly of him that he could easily hook on another? Like you, i was jealous and yet I’ve no legal rights. I couldn’t understand why he rather spend his time on other “platonic” females than having a coffee with me, or how about going home to the kids? Whenever we met after work, he would forefront tell me he couldn’t stay out too late, he was working overtime other nights so coincidentally the night when we met, was the night he planned to go home early to coach kids etc, I was sick of his lame excuses. His guilt of meeting me and not other women, his deliberate justification to meet other women because they are platonic but I was different.

    Felk, come what may, just download whatever you are feeling. Think for yourself. My guess is he’ll still want you, he’ll say things you need to hear to pacify you to keep you. But like BAF & Kub, I see red flags. More importantly, I am speaking from my own experience. I feel you.

    Breathe deep. Think for yourself. Do not fear of losing him. I wish I’m wrong about your mm.

    I was always the one who wanted to let go and moved on (with great difficulties), to execute nc, to block and avoided contact. He returned each time but not “This Time”. He blocked me. That helps. He’s not returning this time because of the harsh words I’ve said to him on 26 Feb: “I’m better off without you and my feelings/addiction faded with time and distance. You make me sad, your desultory messages and minimal effort make me VERY sad” this time, I sounded rationale and asked for his respect on my decision and feelings (yes I’m faking it but I must stop participating!).

    Sorry if I didn’t help much by giving constructive advice but least you know I am feeling you after going through somewhat similar experiences.

    • BAF

      Nomad in all your time away from your MM you have grown tremendously. You fight for yourself so much better now. You call your own and his behavior out more and you call it as you see it. You have more clarity and more realism. You remind me of myself because you have gone back to him, again and again, but you have also learned so much and taken your power back too. One bit at a time. And you have learned to exit the affair very quickly again and again. You are not allowing him to make you his hostage. Perhaps you are not done yet. It took me so. damn. long. to be done. But I do have faith you now know the way OUT of the affair just as much as you know the way IN. NC is good for all exits. You can grow a great deal during NC moments so you can strengthen yourself and heal. Then If you go back to him you are that much stronger.
      And you will exit that much quicker.

      IMHO your MM’s “NC” of you is just might be the latest game on his part. He is mirroring you in fact. I recognize this because my exMM mirrored my actions, my words, and my reactions a LOT. I sometimes thought he was just copycatting me. Last serious talk we had about love he was quoting me from something I said TO HIM about 4 years ago. When I said it, he looked like he could not understand me. I said how “real love was like a precious plant that needed daily care.” He not only remembered this but he quoted it back to ME 4 years later. Because he knew I would be impressed. And I was! But he was not trying to speak about love because he cared about the definition of true love. He only cared because he figured he could get me to admire him if I realized what a good memory he has etc.. And how he can talk about what true love is. It took me a long time to unravel all this nutty behavior. I am still unravelling a lot right now. But I can SEE now. I am not in the fog anymore about his narcissism and I can see how our relationship dynamics worked much better.

      Also in text and emails me he would parrot me. Often verbatim! He would say things back to me that he knew I wanted to hear. Its part creepy part pathetic and me? I fell for it. Also pathetic. Duh. Now I know that certain types of people excel at using words without ever truly meaning them. Their text and emails and phone calls sound utterly authentic and heart felt. But they are not. Their talk is cheap like I said to Felk. Your MM might be one of those. Did he know about going NC before he met you? Did he ever mention implementing it in previous relationships or in any other previous context? If not where did he learn this? Just know he might be copying you because he is still in the affair. He might want no contact with you yes. But also he might in a weird way be leaving in a way that he connects with you. Twisted I know. But we humans make everything complicated. Especially in affairs! The best thing you can do is this: Let him go NC. Let him implement it this time. Let him think he ended it this time. Try to not take it personally and think to yourself: Who cares?
      You only need to do two things: KEEP STAYING AWAY from him. And keep growing in your own life 🙂
      hugs BAF
      xoxo

      • Nomad

        Thank you BAF!!! Your words about how much I have grown really warmed my heart! Yes, I am not done but I have definitely made progress! Was it during the 90days of NC, I drowned myself working very hard, sleeping 2-3 hrs 7 days a week and neglected my family so much, isolated myself and just kept working my ass off. In a way, it helped me to distract and I was in the pay-back mode so just last week, i was informed that I got my promotion! it was a record breaking in the organization because typically, one needs to work for average of 3-4 years to get the promotion but for me, I was on probation for a year (my darkest rock bottom days for 6mths whereby I couldn’t sleep and function) and 3 months after my confirmation, i was recommended. This came as a surprise and a bonus! Strangely, it was after the announcement of my promotion, I started to think of him more and more each day. I wanted him to know about my promotion, to prove to him that I wasn’t ruined and I have bounced back from the setbacks; but also to share my joy with someone dear (him in the first year). The promotion is a manifestation of I am better off without him and I could achieve much more when I shunned away from dealing with his guilt, fear and busy schedule BS. I am not sure quicker exits means what? that i have grown stronger? sometimes i really don’t know what I want especially on bad days. I don’t like it when I forget about his bad treatment or blame it on my ridiculous and unrealistic expectations of a MM.

        But somehow, I did have some bad moments after finding out that he blocked me this time. It is not the first time he blocked me but other times I could be strong, I could thank him for blocking and helping me to move on, the perspective was totally different from this time. Is it because I somehow sense that he is not coming back? I wanted him to come back this time and I needed to say things to him. I counted…22 days of NC since I said to him I am better off without him, get lost with the desultory and pathetic text if he cannot do better.

        BAF, some interesting views of yours that he is mirroring me, I didn’t think of that! now why does he want to do that? not that I will reach out, he knows I won’t, then why is there a need to do that? what is he trying to achieve if he is indeed mirroring me. Is he angry that he’s being blocked and by blocking me makes him feel better and in control? what is his desired outcome of this latest game?

        Before me, he was never blocked by anyone, I doubt he know about NC from the behavior he exhibited (resorted to alcohol, was miserable and trying all ways to find me etc.) when I first NC him in Jun 2017. He never ever mention implementing it in previous relationships or in any other previous context and I am quite sure he learnt it from me. YOu think he’s still in the affair? sorry to nag but you still think he is coming back, with him blocking me since Sat? oh no, he is copycatting me and twisting the way I am leaving him??? I really can’t lay my fingers on what he’s trying to achieve.

        Pardon me for my ranting, not sure what’s wrong but not life threatening… I am living and aware that the affair is go going gone …
        Yes, I will press on and KEEP STAYING AWAY from him. And keep growing in my own life.

        • BAF

          Nomad, Your promotion says it all! Wow what a great achievement! I too have had great success while in the misery of NC. This kind of misery motivates me evidently. Seems like it does you too. It is a sign of how much energy our affairs can consume and how destructive they are. In NC I always make creative and work strides. I like working hard and seeing results. It is so rewarding no? Yes you have made great progress.
          I have too. Coming here to this forum can be another addictive activity for me as it can get me thinking I could have somehow still held on to my exMM if only I had acted differently, if only I had done x, y, z…But this thinking is also a trap. I try to remember I need my energy to heal so I don’t waste it on mental traps such as this but it is a huge struggle sometimes.

          Also I too always wanted to share my promotions and my good luck with my exMM. I would want to feel my happiness and achievements with him! But truth be told he was not the right companion for this. Sharing success with him was always another emotional trap as he would be secretly jealous and never let me truly shine in his presence. This was his game of manipulating how much “good fortune” I was “allowed” to feel before he would remind me of something utterly depressing. Or before he would re-shift the focus onto himself.

          Yes Nomad, quicker exits means you “turn over” faster. You might be attracted and go back but then you get out before too much damage is done.
          I do not say this to encourage you to go back. I just say this so you do not keep beating yourself up when you do. As for mirroring it is a way for him to subtly get your attention by copying something you have done. It is a compliment when you think of it. Knowledge is power.

          Now that I am healing I see my exMM was actually following many of my moves. He was not always making the first move. But he was never going to let me know that so I had to figure it out myself. I always had more power than I knew.
          Truth be told I do think about and miss him sometimes yes. But I do NOT miss the affair whatsoever. I never want to go back into that ocean of emotions. I never want to have another affair in my life. Too easy to drown there and give up all my energy to a lost cause.

          Nomad, try to detach a bit from your exMM and see the dynamics for what they are: games and more games. Try not to personalize it as much. These are unhealthy patterns of relating. See them for what they are. Own you own need to participate but gently mother yourself and tell yourself “no”. Mother yourself and tell your own wounded ego to calm down as you would tell a young child. Somewhere along the way we were surely hurt or wounded. We surely have unmet needs and desires and we have been wounded in the past. But the affair will not heal our pain. The belief that it will is the part of us that sends us back to the affairs. We don’t need to live by our egos alone. This is what I am learning. Ego gratification is low level living. There is far more to life and living!
          hugs BAF
          xoxo

  • Laurie Post author

    Here’s part of a really interesting comment from a woman whose married man left his wife, and moved in with her:

    “Three & a half weeks ago my mm left his wife and moved in with me. He finally did it, I first thought. The handsome, built, sweetheart of a man I am so head over heels in love with left his wife for me. He is not divorced yet, but she and he have worked out a schedule for the kids so that they both have equal time with them, and he has been living here full time. My dreams have come true, right?
    Wrong. The last couple of weeks have been full of turmoil. We are butting heads on so many issues, the kids are having trouble transitioning, and we fight more than we don’t.”

    The rest of the comment is here:
    https://www.theadventurouswriter.com/quipstipsrelationships/how-to-get-over-a-married-man/#comment-708746

  • Felk

    Ladies, I am struggling. As I posted here a few days ago, my MM and I had some really good alone time the week before last. We had several hours across a few days with him at my house and good intimacy with touching and sex and laughing and talking. We intentionally set aside time to talk about our relationship, and I thought that went really well. Too well, almost, where I was feeling the reality of this past week as it seemed he got a little more distant (or he was just being normal low communication and it felt so different from the previous week). Last weekend, we made plans to get a drink Friday (yesterday), but Tuesday he had to cancel that plan because of a work meeting that was scheduled. Fair. He offered time Monday or Tuesday of next week.

    Here’s what happened… I ended up making plans with a female coworker to grab a quick drink Friday afternoon before a 4:00 work event that she was going to attend and I said I’d go with her. His meeting was at 2:30, and I left work around 2:40 to meet my friend and walking through the parking lot, I see him driving up in his car. I’m confused thinking he should be at that meeting. He pulls up to me, rolls down the window, and explains how the thing they thought he was needed for wasn’t ready, etc. and so he didn’t need to be there. He left. Now, sure, immediately, I’m thinking, “Is he going to ask me to get that drink we had planned?” And then I think, “Should I invite him out with the coworker I’m drinking with?” But he didn’t and I didn’t and because I’m standing by his car in the parking lot, other cars started to come, and we just said we’d talk later. I text him immediately as I walk away just making a joke about how he’ll have to finish telling me the meeting story (he was frustrated about how they told him he needed to be there and then told him to leave). He texts back asking me to go for a drink right then. I was pretty happy he did that because it would have been weird otherwise knowing we originally had that plan and now he was suddenly available, but I told him I’d made other plans with that coworker. I was sad to turn him down, but I was trying to be a good friend to the other person and not change plans on her and invite him along. It would have been fine for me to do so (and he may have been hurt I didn’t), but I just tried to keep the plans I’d made.

    So… fast forward about an hour to that 4:00 work event and who walks in? My MM. But who walks in with him? That other (single) female coworker who I’ve felt some jealousy about. The one who I’ve mentioned that I know likes him and who I know texts him (and who he never mentions to me). Now, as I’ve told you all, I don’t really think anything is going on with them, but, as you know, affairs get in your head and make it tough for trust and I’ve felt some apprehension about this coworker’s interest in him. So, they walk in and I look at him with this blank face and we didn’t make eye contact although I’m sure he saw my face, and she comes and sits next to me and my other female coworker (who I’ll call B) and he sits in the row in front of us (doesn’t even acknowledge me). This coworker, T, who walked in with him makes small talk with me and B. T asks B if she has any plans that night, etc. B asks her the same question in return and T talks about some wine dinner she’s going to later (T is really into wine and does these wine dinners all the time). Fine, normal conversation. I’m a little peeved through this event, but I calm myself down realizing they just coincidentally walked in together and it’s no big deal.

    Event ends at 4:45, he walks out quickly. T, B, and I make some small talk, and I go to the bathroom. I text my MM and tell him that I know it is unlikely he is available (figuring he has to go home to his W and kids as he usually does around 5pm), but I ask him if he has time to grab that drink. And here is the crushing blow… he writes back that T had asked him beforehand to get a beer and so they were meeting at X bar and he told me I was welcome to join. I cannot even describe the pain of getting that text. See, I knew she liked him and I knew they texted a bit, but wait, what? They go for drinks alone? Like, had I not texted him and asked for a drink would he have invited me? (No) And had he not invited me, they’d have just been having drinks alone on a Friday evening! So, hell yeah, I said I’d join them. B was still with me (and we’re all friends who’ve been out before plenty of times) and the two of us joined them. I also texted him before B and I drove over to ask if he had time to talk after the bar (because you know I was feeling tons of bad things and needed to clear the air). He said it depended on how long we were there (because, yes, I know he has to get home). Fine. I wasn’t counting on time with him after, but to walk into that bar and see him sitting with T at the same table he and I sat at not three months ago where he told me that he enjoys time with no one more than me, wow, did that hurt. So, we were there for about an hour and a half and then T had to go to her wine dinner and the group broke up. During that time, I watched them very closely (as he knew I would). She definitely wanted me and B to know that the two of them talk (as she told plenty of stories referring to my MM already knowing about them), and she gave him a lot of attention. All of this I know. He was attentive but he wasn’t really flirty with her. BUT… he did taste the beers she ordered upon her offering. The closeness of that really hit me hard (because I always ask to taste his beers when we’re out). He seemed uncomfortable with the time at the bar (which he should be as he HAS to know I would not be happy), but we both play it off well enough. I know I wasn’t looking at him as much as I normally would, and B said he was looking at me so much. B said he wasn’t into T and, if anything, he was intentionally trying to make me jealous by the way he talked to her (which that pisses me off if he is). But B agreed that he seemed uncomfortable and likely knew I was mad upon arrival. So, we all leave around 6:45 and I text him asking if he has a little time to talk and saying I understand if he doesn’t and I get a one word reply: “Nope.” So cold. What did I do to deserve that? But I know what I did. I made him feel bad for what he knows will make me feel bad. He always gets defensive like this when I feel bad. He shuts down, and it sucks. I’m the one who walked into an awkward situation. I’m the one who found out he’s drinking with this coworker and he KNOWS that is not going to sit well with me, and I get “Nope.” Look, I get he has to get home, but the coldness is so brutal when I’m hurting, but it is him.

    Now, in my rationality, I don’t think there’s anything between them beyond exactly what I saw. A single female coworker who’s interested in him and a man who likes the attention. He has never been deceitful about this sort of thing (as far as I know), and I believe he was genuine the previous week at my house about how he feels about me and wanting us. But… wtf? You know? I know I’d recently mentioned on here that I’d been feeling some jealousy and I wanted to talk to him about it, but I haven’t brought it up. I’ve been scared to seem possessive or irrational, worrying about things I need not. Of course, I now wish I’d said something during all of our talking that previous week. I’d thought about it but decided against and I’m kicking myself. But I know I can’t think too much about “if only” because I chose not to for plenty of good reasons – we had already talked about so much, things were good with us, there wasn’t a lot of time left when I thought to bring it up, I want to trust him and let him have female friendships, etc.

    I have already composed an email that I will send today finally bringing this up with him. I will mention my jealousy and confusion and hurt. I will tell him how foolish it felt to sit in that bar and realize he and T have had drinks alone. And I will not tell him the next sentence that is “and I wonder what else they have done that he hasn’t told me.” I will not write that sentence because I don’t think they’ve done anything else (and they honestly do not seem that close), but you know I’m thinking it and it is going to be a painful weekend for me until he and I can really talk on Monday. I will send this e-mail hoping he will reply something to explain and reassure, but that’s not really his style. His style is to be defensive and that’s what I expect. I also am worried that he will say, “I don’t like that I made you feel that way but I didn’t like feeling guilty for something I didn’t do and this is why we shouldn’t be having this relationship.” But I can’t act out of fear anymore. Fear kept me from bringing this up sooner and we obviously need to talk about it. And if it ends our relationship, then that is what needs to happen. B reminded me that he loves me and all of those things and that he is just withdrawing because he knows that he hurt me. But I am scared. I am scared that he will say he is overwhelmed again (after all the closeness of the previous week), and I am even more scared that he will say that there is more with T than I see. I really don’t believe there is, but, of course, that is the scariest part right now.

    Three hours of sleep last night and I expect the same badness all weekend until we can talk. Sending that e-mail will help me a little, but his reply will matter a lot more.

    • TTSP

      Felk,
      I’m sorry you went through that experience. Anyone in your position would feel pangs of envy and jealousy including your mm if the shoe were on the other foot. I’m 99.99% confident he isn’t involved with her. He doesn’t seem like a man that could or would want to juggle multiple woman. I wouldn’t be crazy about them texting since she likes him. There’s a very personal element to texting especially if they have banter. I’ve texted here and there with married friends to firm up after work plans. We never had the back and forth dialogue and our relationship was purely platonic. I’d be curious what their texting involves? Do you think he’d try to make you jealous? No cool if that was an underlying motive but he’d never admit that anyway. You could put a brave face on and pretend like it didn’t faze you but that keeps you standing still and it’s disingenuous. It won’t resolve the feelings you’re going through currently. If you want to know more about their relationship you have to ask. Since you two are romantically involved I think it’s fair game. How would he feel if you walked in with a single male coworker that liked you? He would be mad as hell and he knows that your response is completely rational. I detest when men get angry at you bc they feel guilty about their behavior causing you pain. Seriously, you’re going to turn this around on me. If you weren’t at fault and didn’t have responsibility here you wouldn’t be getting defensive. Their egos take over and it’s not pretty.

      I hope when he responded “nope” you didn’t say anything in return. There’s nothing worse when you feel sad, insecure and confused and they give you a cold, cavalier, callous attitude. It feels like a million daggers being driven into your body. They break your trust when they behave and communicate with indifference. He is who he is and I’m sure he’s a good person with a big heart. Still, it’s devastating when men withdraw. I’ve found the best thing to do is walk away and let it pass. You want to scream and cry but the emotions just create bigger problems in the moment for you both. He’s not willing to engage and all you can do is take a different action if he wasn’t receptive in the past.

      Did you send the email? He’s probably anticipating something. Something I’ve passed along on this board that I’ll reiterate bc it’s relevant here… whenever I felt like there was an imbalance or he wasn’t giving me the attention I needed I would take a few steps back and give him space. I wouldn’t be cold or indifferent but I wouldn’t initiate any contact or plans. I found that giving someone space gives them room to grow closer. I tried to use it as a way to assert my independence and reset myself by directing my energy into other people, things and myself. Also, by concentrating on everything else in my life I found that my world was still enriched and full without him which is something we all need bc it’s easy to get so wrapped up in the highs of the affair. You’re an incredible woman and he’s very fortunate to have your closeness. These experiences can really turn your world upside down. Try to enjoy your weekend 🙂

      • Felk

        TTSP, thanks so much for your response. You know, in these moments, how far a simple gesture like your response can go in helping someone calm down and think through. I have had a friend to talk to about this thankfully, but having you ladies who have gone through it helps so much.

        I did send my MM email yesterday and he responded kindly. He seemed to be unaware that I was even upset at the bar on Friday, and my friend, B, said that she thought I was acting very normally. So, maybe I played it off even better than I thought! I, of course, have to hide such things in public, and, as my MM said, maybe it shows something important that he didn’t notice… because he wasn’t looking for it because he didn’t think there was any reason for me to be upset because he’s not into her and he was just happy I showed up. He essentially said that to me in many fewer words. 🙂 My MM also offered some reassurance essentially saying there is nothing between them, but I will need to hear a lot more from him. We can’t do it over email. Email doesn’t work for what I need to ask and what I need to hear from him. But email was a good start for him to calm me a bit this weekend. Not entirely, though, of course. Jealousy is brutal, and I don’t like that they text and possibly have hung out alone. But I don’t know how often either happen. We all know how this can start small and grow, and that is exactly what I want to point out to him (and try to prevent)… or find out it’s happening and walk away. I will be no part of him starting this with someone else. If there is one thing that will actually get me to end ANY relationship, it’s seeing my man pursue someone else. I know that sounds obvious, but I won’t put up with this at all. Done. I have to be the one. And I know that also sounds complicated in an affair, but the reason I am not jealous of my MM’s W is because I have always felt that he wants me and not her. I told you that he recently said that I was the one for him (and he has said things like that all along), and he reiterated that when he was at my house recently, too. That is what I need in a relationship. To feel I am the one. So I will not sit around if there is anything at all between them. They can be friends, of course, but if I think he wants something more there, hell no.

        So, it seems his “Nope” really wasn’t out of coldness or anger, but, in general, would have been nice if he offered more there. And, no, I didn’t respond to his “nope.” Left it at that. I think you all know that I am not the type to come back with angry or even sadness at that moment. I felt anger and sadness and was pretty devastated but I talk to my friend and then I sent him a calm email.

        But, yes, we have plans to talk tomorrow, and I will ask questions. Hard questions where I’m not sure I’m ready for the answer but where I will need certain answers to continue this with him. Unfortunately, I cannot really enjoy my weekend with all of this on my mind. Jealousy is the worst, and I have trusted my MM throughout our affair. Finding this out on Friday, that maybe he has gone for drinks alone with this woman on more than one occasion (and horribly my mind wonders if it’s more than that, too) is denting that trust a bit. I will (likely) believe him if he says it’s nothing more than that, but I will need that reassurance (a lot) and I will let him know how it hurts and how it concerns me given we know how affairs start.

        • TTSP

          I’m pleased for you that he responded promptly. There’s nothing worse than pouring your heart out only to wait for x number of days on a response. What I gather is that he isn’t interested but it still calls into question why he’s texting and hanging out with a woman. I think it bears further discussion like you planned. I’m also suspicious of any married person hanging out with someone of the opposite sex. Now mind you I’ve hung out with married coworkers in my partying days and we were absolutely nothing but buddies. All parties had zero romantic interest. When one person does have interest it opens the door for curiosity. I just don’t see him spawning another relationship. Sorry for going back and forth but life really does run on a continuum and it could range from totally innocent to dangerous territory. I think it’s the former on his part.

          I totally see your point about wanting something really special. The reason I stayed in my ordeal for so long was the tantric sexies and out of this world personal connection. If it was just some run of the mill relationship it probably would’ve faded with the sunset. Speaking of that…. I have to make a job move this year. I’ve been talking about it for some time but now the move is imminent. I don’t feel completely free and extricated from the situation. We IMed for most of the afternoon and for him, if there is no hope of any resurgence of a “relationship” we need to go silent. He said a friendship is only with the intention of something more happening. There you have it. I’m bummed that he isn’t willing to accept that he can’t and won’t give me what I want. I accepted it, supported his life and chose to end as graciously as possible. I wanted a nice, smooth transition but it has been anything but seamless. For anyone wondering about a friendship, you can’t have one if both sides aren’t on the same page. If one wants out and one wants in, game over 🙁

    • Hope

      Hi Felk, I am really sorry you are upset. I can imagine how hurtful this situation must be for you. You are not the one to get jealous easily, in past many of us have been jealous of mm’s wife but you have always been the rational one. I know you have mentioned in past about jealous towards certain colleagues so this might feel like a worst fear come true to you. Now mm’s meeting being cancelled sounds genuine and may be he is telling the truth. You might be right, mm walking in with T might be pure coincidence. It must have definitely hurt to know that he made/agreed to plans to have drinks with her but the fact that he invited you seems positive to me. Seems like he values you more and so he should. The alarming bit for me is when you mentioned that T speaks as though she is frequently in touch with mm but he never mentions anything to you. This seems bit suspicious to me. May be your mm is like mine and doesn’t want to talk openly about it but still it doesn’t sit right with me that he never mentions anything to you about interactions with T especially when he talks to you openly about his marriage which I assume is a much more difficult topic? Now the upsetting part obviously is when he coldly said no to having a chat, at least apologise, give a reason, give assurance. You don’t ask too much from your mm Felk, this is your right. He knows how you feel, he knew you would be feeling awful and as your lover it was his duty to reassure you. I feel you should bring this up with him. Affairs only work well when both parties needs are met and right now he is not meeting yours. Saying no coldly feels like a cowards way out to me, sorry Felk just saying it as it is. You have dealt with so much of his baggage and now was his chance where he simply refused to even try. My advice is to convey your feelings to him, by all means I feel you should send that email. I do think he loves and needs you, even if T is flirting I don’t think there is anything going between them.
      Try not let this ruin your weekend Felk, try and distract yourself. Sending you hugs.
      Hope xxx

      • Felk

        Hope, thanks so much for your reply. As I told TTSP, it helps so much to talk it out with you all here. I feel your reassurance about his love and that matters a lot. I don’t think there’s anything much between them either, but I also don’t think it’s zero or else he wouldn’t be spending time with her. I think he will reassure me that he’s not interested, but I also think she will continue to pursue and unless he stops spending time with her, that is dangerous. I will not ask him not to spend time with her, but I will also make it clear to him how it makes me feel and my concerns about it. He will understand, but I’m not sure he will stop spending time with her (or at least not right away). It will threaten his independence. And then I will have to decide if it is acceptable to me. This could be a deal-breaker for me. I will not sit idly by.

        So, yes, you’re right that I’ve never been jealous of my MM’s W. He always made me feel like I was the one, and still does (compared to his W at least). And, yes, this is my worst fear come true. Well, “worst fear” would be finding out they’ve done something physical (which I am sure they have not given his email response), but next to worst fear was what happened… finding out he was spending time with another woman. Alone. And likely not telling his W. I am not an idiot about such things. Even if nothing has happened (which I believe nothing has), these could be the makings of something and I want him to know I know. And I want him to reassure me and then make choices to pull back from this other woman. The latter will take time, but when partners care, this is what they do. We, at first, may get defensive but if we don’t want to hurt our other, we make those choices. I will trust as much as I think he deserves that trust, and I will not if I feel he does not. Trust is the biggest thing here.

        I don’t like that I don’t really know the extent to which they are friends and spending time together because my MM hasn’t said anything, but my MM and I have generally had a rule not to talk about other-sex friendships because of how jealousy can fester unnecessarily. We have always acknowledged that we know others will be interested in us and we don’t need to remind the other of it, but we have also reiterated our exclusivity (outside of our spouses) to each other. I do also think he’s stressed this privacy policy more than I have, but I feel it’s worked for us. I don’t want to feel jealousy and I haven’t felt it much. But I also don’t want to be the sucker who gives him license to do whatever he wants behind my back. Also, we have not talked much about our marriages. So, although he’s said some things recently (that I invited), generally we keep our marriages private and separate, too.
        It’s been a good policy.

        I’m not saying he’s not capable of cheating on me, but I don’t believe he is doing it now. I believe that he is liking the attention of another woman who he is not interested in. But I see the danger there and I don’t like it, and I will tell him. And it is about being treated with respect. Although we expect our partners to show a lot of respect without us asking for it, at times we have to be clear on what we need from our partner and where lines are drawn. We get selfish and push boundaries and he is doing that, and I will make clear that I will not stay in the relationship if he is showing interest elsewhere.

        As I said to TTSP, his “Nope.” was annoying, but given his e-mail response I don’t think he knew I was upset and I don’t think he intended that “Nope” as cold or mad in response to thinking I was upset (because he didn’t think that). I understand that, and get that I may be making more out of it than it is. Jealousy can do that, but once jealousy takes root, it’s vicious. So, I want to clear the air as quickly as possible. I will ask direct questions about their relationship. I will ask hard questions that might have scary answers but that I need the answers to before I can continue this relationship. He and I went through this once in the other direction when he got freaked out about me going to a conference years ago. I’ve mentioned this yearly conference before (just went in February) and it’s where I see a MM that I had an affair with in graduate school 20 years ago. Nothing is going on with this MM, but my MM got SO jealous and in his head and worried that he confronted me one year upon return from this conference and there was nothing going on. I think I reassured him and generally I don’t think he’s worried about it (too) much after that. I hope. But it was an ugly, long conversation where he was feeling hurt and scared and asked me direct questions (about if I’d had sex with the MM at the conference), and I will do the same with my MM. I hope it won’t be an ugly conversation, though. I do have a different approach to these things than my MM. 🙂 My MM was accusatory and angry. I do not feel that. I feel hurt and scared, and, well, confused. I want to hear what he has to say about this friendship. And please trust that I am no fool about this sort of thing. As a cheater, we know the signs. We are probably especially attuned to the signs and it might be why I am reacting so strongly this weekend. And why he’s reacted so strongly at times. Slight signs can be VERY threatening when you’re attuned to those signs. He and I have done well with trust over 7 years but we’ve had blips and this is a blip… and I hope it’s not more.

        I do think my MM loves me and wants to be with me, but I also think he’s “flirting” with danger and I want to voice that and hopefully convey that I will not sit around for him to have his cake and eat it, too.

        Thanks so much for your words. I am scared for this conversation tomorrow. I am scared he will catch me off guard saying something about their relationship that hurts more than I can handle in the moment. But I also know that I can no longer continue without asking about this friendship. It has crossed a line (and probably did a while ago but I was too scared to mention it) where I need information. And reassurance. A lot of reassurance.

    • LifeLessons

      Felk,

      I am so sorry to hear that you are experiencing this right now. Its not a good feeling although I do not think he has any serious involvement with her. I know you have helped me to realize on many occasions that the likelyhood of my MM juggling me, his wife and another is very slim…so I do not think he has the capacity to juggle yet another coworker. However, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a right to be in your feelings. I would feel the same way considering this person likes him. I wonder if he wants you to feel jealous a little ?! I don’t know that he would purposefully do it but there are things my MM does for attention…that i would’ve thought was beneath him. I hope you are able to talk to him face to face to express how your’e feeling. I hate having to wait to talk about my feelings. I will admit Felk, I was shock to read that you were feeling a little jealous, you don’t seem to get jealous about things. However, again…i totally understand your point of view. He could’ve at least had a conversation with you before he headed home. I hope you didn’t allow this to mess up your weekend. Did you send him the email ? Has he replied ? I would like to know what he has to say…
      Did T tell someone she communicates with your MM outside of work or work related things ? I am curious about what they would have to talk about…does she know of anything between you two ? Could she be trying to make you feel jealous…women do things like that!
      Let us know how the conversation goes…

      • Felk

        LL, thanks for your thoughts. I see that most of you are saying that he is unlikely doing anything with this coworker, but I see most of you are also saying that it’s not cool and a potential red flag. Yeah. That’s pretty much how I feel. I don’t think anything’s happened and I actually don’t think he’s interested in her, but we all know where these “innocent” things can lead the more you spend time with someone. And it’s exactly as you all have said… the problem is that T likes him and it seems he likes this attention. That’s a dangerous combination.

        I think TTSP also asked if he was possibly doing this on purpose to make me jealous. My friend, B, has been saying that for a few weeks now. As you say, I wouldn’t have expected it from him, but I guess we all do things like that at times when we’re worried. Maybe because I show such little jealousy he wants to feel that? He has definitely expressed more jealousy in our relationship than I have. I dated a guy back in college and was so frustrated he wouldn’t show any jealousy, and that led me to do more and more with other guys to try to get him jealous. So, yeah, it’s possible my MM is doing it (and he might not even know it). My only hesitation there is that he hasn’t really said anything about her, and I’m not sure that he knew that I knew they texted. But, sure, if he knew, then it’s possible he was happy I knew?

        T not only has told B (like two years ago) that she texted with MM but she tells me, too. And, no, T does not know about me and MM. She is definitely into him, though. 🙂 It seems like they mostly talk about work-related things from what T says (and from the conversations I see when we’re all out together), but I don’t talk to T a lot. But whenever I talk to T, she mentions MM and lets me know they’ve been talking. Definitely trying to “mark her territory” not knowing that he’s already with me. I know she’s been jealous of my friendship with him, though. I can tell when we’re out in a group. B notices how she looks sad when I show up and he gives me attention. So, I know that’s why she tries to let me know they talk… to compete. Mostly, I’ve ignored that for the last year, but now I can’t ignore any longer.

        I did email him, and we exchanged a bit of email over the weekend. I was really direct about my feelings, which is not something I would typically do in an email like that. He responded offering some reassurance and it was a good reply. I replied, and then he replied again with a lot more reassurance. So, that helped a lot. We’re going to talk today after work. We have a few hours so that’s good. It’ll be a hard conversation. I hope he can say more of the reassuring things I need, but I honestly don’t know how this conversation will go. I will not be the idiot who sits by, but I will also try to trust him if I think it’s warranted based on what he says. He and I have been through tough jealousy stuff before (his jealousy), so I hope this conversation goes as well as it has in the past (with me being understanding and reassuring). You know I’ll update all of you after that conversation. 🙂

        How have you been? We haven’t heard from you lately, and I’m thinking that’s good!

        • Nomad

          Felk, your talk will turn out fine. He’ll reassure you. He’ll tell you they are platonic; he didn’t feel she’s preying in him; he doesn’t have the bandwidth to cope with another woman; he’ll be adamant that they are innocent and he doesn’t like our possessiveness and even his W doesn’t question him about other female coworkers.

          To that, I’ll say to him every affair starts with innocent “friendship”, just like we did. Even if he didn’t realize her interest, can he keep a distance for your sake? Because you are in an affair, he doesn’t go home to you and sleep next to you every night, hence the jealousy that brews from the insecurity of when he’s leaving. He already showed signs of leaving anytime, you are under his mercy, you are the one walking on eggshells. I can never imagine mine asking me if not for the affair, can he repair his marriage. Does it mean that the moment his W takes him back, he’ll leave? You are aware that he will never choose you? Mine said to me before that he’ll drop me if he’s forced to do so. He did it tactfully by saying that he’s never my choice too if I’m forced by circumstances.

          Because of all the reality checks, I’m always chosing to leave to protect myself. I don’t want to get hurt but I failed miserably. I can’t watch him fading away or withdrawing while I keep falling deeper, and it is not up to me to be honest. His withdrawal helped to calm the addiction and force me to stop wasting time and emotions. I’ll take him back if he shows me he loves me and wants me enough. But he’s back for fantasy and sex. He’s back because he’s upset at home or he’s bored and his W is not giving him what he needs. Because you have history with him, you understands his constraints and he knows you wants him at all cost and against all odds, it’s convenient and easier to trust you and continue with you. Someone who loves him so deeply, who wouldn’t be moved? Of course he’s back also because he feels for you. But there’s no newness and the thrill during the initial courtship exploring each other. We can’t behave, request, talk like his W. They do not need another W. I do hope he’s compassionate and sensitive towards you and what you deserve.

          I’m where I am because I’m ridiculous with my expectations of an affair. I couldn’t relax. I couldn’t be that understanding. If I love him so much, still hoping and wishing, I don’t know why his poems and having sex on Valentine’s Day still ain’t enough. I want to be his only love but he’s married, his family and career and colleagues or any platonic female coworkers would come before me. I couldn’t accept low communication and it saddens me to receive his desultory messages.

          Felk, I know you’ll handle the situation rationally and reasonably. Let me be the lessons you’ll learnt and not repeat.

    • Kub

      Omg Felk this must be one the worst kind of situation a woman get through and considering that we are all in a relationship with a married man the situation even gets more f.cked up.
      Felk one more omg, because such a good person you are. I admire you the way you analyze the situations and take the good sides every time. But for gods sake… how long will you continue to put yourself into this position?
      Lets assume that I am the bad cop in here okay? And I want to be completely honest with you because I think thats what you deserve. And I know that you would not get wrong anything what I will say because I know that you know, I want the best for you. Even a woman who can put up with these things deserve way more better things.

      First of all I will not say to you that he is innocent in here. What diminishes this innocence is not that they are involved something more or deeper but it is about that he likes a woman around that he knows she likes him. He is clearly keeping her around because he likes the attention. It may not contain more, but do you know is there a boundary? As far as I remember he is not fan of getting involved with you or a divorce, so that makes me think that he is into relationships that he does not have to be committed. And this woman sounds just like his type. I am deeply sorry but I do not think that he has this ethical or moral principles like you do, he is not thinking like you are. So I see that you are focusing on that they can’t be having something more but what I am trying to point out that, so far yeah you maybe right, but for how long? Or will this be limited with this B woman only? Can you tell? To me, if he is seeing this woman that he knows that she liked him… Well thats being an ass. Sorry but not sorry, I am just getting pissed and pissed at this man because of the situation he puts you every time!

      Second. Yes I am sure that you had a magical hours but darling it seems that this man does not address this memories to the same place that you are doing. What I am trying to say that you seem more connected to him, than he is connected to you. But what I remember from previous talks of ours, you were okay with this, right? I remember me mentioning that you are not together because he does not want to, not because you do not want to and your relationship status is decided by him and I again remember you saying that you were okay with this because you trusted him. That brings me to saying that no matter how beautiful the times you spent together stays at that time interval for him. You choose to hold onto that memories but its not same for him. And since he has mentioned you about this many many times unfortunately there is nothing to say for him. Actually seriously you can’t blame him on any topic. Because he chooses not to involved with you and then how could you even ask him what he is trying to do!

      To sum up. Unfortunately I think this may get worse. Because you are choosing to be in his orbit, no matter what, without putting boundaries or demanding what you deserve. He does not have to force himself to be with you, you are all kind and welcome him anytime. Maybe I am wrong but to me men can give on women the easiest who gives up on themselves for men. To rephrase, if you dont stand up for yourself you will be the he will give up on first.

      Maybe he is not give up on you. But he does not seem too connected to you, as well. So what I would recommend you from deepest of my heart to give up on this man before its too late. Before he crashes you even more. I wish you could see the ways he is truly hurting you, harming you. I feel very sorry that you are having a horrible weekend. But please make it stop. Make something for yourself, not for him.

      Once again, sorry if I am ahead of myself but I feel very sorry for you and very PISSED at him.

    • BAF

      Felt I am really sorry you had this uncomfortable experience with him. I think TTSP and Hope say it all. I am not sure what to add here to their words as they cover a lot.

      To me personally this behavior is a red flag that he is capable of behavior that truly hurts you. And then gets cold (No empathy). Not too long ago he did hurtful behavior when you and your husband went out of town remember? I can not remember the whole scenario but I believe he payed games with the same after school crowd and meeting up with them and not inviting you that time no? (Correct me if I am wrong).
      Felk I know you know this logically: He can be punishing and he flips the script to make it all about you in an accusatory tone rather than empathizing with your feelings. He plays game with your feelings. He likes low communication. He also likes female attention even from a third woman. I know you have been patient and kind and understanding of him.

      But that does not mean this relationship with him is good for your emotionally or psychologically. It does not mean he can give you this kind of love back. Only you can make the determination whether this relationship is harming you too much. You have said you both have narc traits. Right now I see that more in his behaviors than yours. But of course I am not there in real life to see. You have said he is not a full blown narc but any narc traits are surely worrying as he capable of what looks like gaslighting you (reversing a script and blaming you) and also lack of empathy when he know you are hurting (the “Nope” is so classic.) And he needs more “fuel” from other women. After the weekend you were away with your H he confessed to his “badness” and you accepted but certain types (narc types) depend on this forgiveness mechanism in their partners. They bank on it.

      I know you were suffering. I also know I have separated from a narcissist and thus I am hyper aware of these traits but beware: those folks with narc traits can cause damage as well (!) to one’s psyche. I am 100 per cent sure of this last fact as I am in a program for leaving a narc and I am learning a lot about the traits and how they manifest in any intimate relationship. I am sounding this alarm for you, and ALL of the wonderful ladies here on purpose. I am simply saying: Beware. Narcs are also highly prone to cheat so some of what we are finding out here when we get into affairs with married people is narcs! Or people with a few very harmful narc traits! These men will never let any woman go. She must leave. (or we can reverse the genders) We are all here much more valuable than having this type of person in our life in an intimate relationship!
      Just sayin’
      xxx000
      BAF

  • Felk

    Hi Ladies, always seems a good sign when there isn’t much activity here. Seems maybe a number of us have settled into situations that are working well enough, whether or not that means we’re still in our affairs. For those of you no longer in the affairs, you always sound so strong to me and I feel some envy reading about how you’re extricating yourself from the situation. I know it’s still a process and it’s not easy, but you all always sound like you’re making progress.

    As for me, you know the situation. My MM and I seem to be in an affair again. But, as expected, it’s still difficult. Last week, my MM and I had a lot of time for talking about our situation. I asked him for that time, and we tried to be open and honest with each other about all sorts of issues. I thought all of our talking went really well. It felt honest but it also felt warm and close. We talked about our marriages and how they haven’t changed much. He was still asking me if I thought his marriage could be repaired if he quit the affair. It’s a hard question to hear, but I understand why he’s thinking it. I couldn’t answer for him, but I told him that in my situation I don’t think my marriage would improve much. I think it would improve a little as I’d have more time and mental energy to give to my H, but I told him that the small improvement wasn’t worth giving up the affair. It’s honest. I think he’s less certain than I am in my choice for the affair, but he’s having sex with me a bunch of times last week so he’s, obviously, still choosing the affair.

    I also tried to be honest about how it’s still hard for me when he gets distant and how it’s especially hard after all the confusion of last year. I told him that I still get confused when he pulls away and wonder what we’re doing or if I’m misunderstanding our relationship. He was really good about this. He knows he pulls away. He said he does it when it gets too intense, but he reassured that he won’t go too far and that he thought we had an understanding that we both still wanted this (even with less contact now). It is helpful to hear, but I still struggle a lot because we’re not communicating as much as we used to. I also feel torn on whether or not it’s fair for him to pull away. I simultaneously understand why he needs to do that to maintain his marriage (and his mental health) but sometimes think it’s unfair in our relationship and doesn’t treat me with as much respect as I want. Ah, affairs. I asked him if he could try to reassure more especially when he knows he might need to pull away and he said he would try. Won’t hold my breath for that one, though.

    I also asked him what I could do to help make it easier on him, and he said that it was me recognizing that sometimes he needs to pull away and it doesn’t mean he doesn’t want the relationship. He wanted me to give him that space and asked that I try not to worry at those times. I liked that answer, but definitely easier said than done.

    That time together felt really good. Lots of open talking, touching, sex, and just sharing time together for many hours. He said good, reassuring things that help me know he wants to continue this, but as you read above, there is still something missing ever since the break we took in 2017. (Yeah, he’s calling it a break.) And, as usual, when things go really well, I want more. I’m sure he does, too. Difference is, I try to find closeness and he pulls away. And that’s where we are this week. Blech. I’ll say that he’s not pulling away entirely this week, but it’s clear that he wants a little space after the intensity of last week. And that’s sad. And I know you all have been there.

    So, that’s my non-update. 🙂 Everything pretty much the same. The highs and the lows that I keep choosing, yet often having thoughts about being done with all of it.

    • BAF

      Felt
      I am glad you had your talking time with your MM. I know you wanted this. And it seems you are back in full swing sexually as well. I know you wanted this as well. Good luck on this bumpy ride you have chosen which is any affair. If anyone has been patient and ready to listen closely to your affair partner it is you. You have far more emotional patience than I could ever have. That is a skill you have. But please don’t try to be too understanding or too patient to your MM as any MM might get far too used to this gentle treatment (IMHO). And still not return the patience or kindness back to you. Many of us here have experienced this. I could not love my exMM into him showing me a healthier love. But for so many years I thought I could.

      Two things you wrote struck me as a bit odd. It may be nothing but I will bring them up here:
      First you wrote: “He was still asking me if I thought his marriage could be repaired if he quit the affair. It’s a hard question to hear, but I understand why he’s thinking it.” My personal response to this is: “HUH?” “He has been talking to you about this for some time?” For me this question seems totally inappropriate. And a little cruel. You say it was “difficult to hear”. This is what I mean I do not have your emotional patience. So please take my words with a grain of salt. For me this question would be insulting and I would be angered. To me he is a married adult and can figure out the consequences of his affair just fine without his mistress answering such a question! And isn’t he putting a kind of responsibility for his actions in the affair on your shoulders? But again this is just me and you obviously do not feel the same way about it. Neither should you as we are all different as people.

      The other thing you wrote is this:
      “I think he’s less certain than I am in my choice for the affair, but he’s having sex with me a bunch of times last week so he’s, obviously, still choosing the affair.
      For me, this is not so obvious that he is “choosing the affair.” I think he is definitely choosing the sex with you, but to me, it’s not quite clear whether he is choosing the “affair” or not. He seems to me to be waffling in this area. I mean an “affair” as I think most women here would define it. (But I really should not be speaking for anyone else but myself here). To me calling something an “affair” means both parties assume some amount of responsibility and commitment towards each other.

      My exMM therefore always hated that word (affair) as he was trying to be as little responsible and committed towards me as he could get away with. To him, an “affair” with responsibilities and commitments meant him having a “second wife” and hell he never wanted that. He wanted to do as he pleased. He wanted his freedom. At one point he told me “You are not my wife”. That triggered one of our infamous long periods of NC.

      All along, I had wanted to call us an “us”.
      It really comes down to you how you and your MM both define the word “affair”.
      Throughout my affair my exMM played along with me saying this word “affair” but it really scared him deep down. Every time I would bring it up he would shrug and say “whatever.” His famous saying was “Why can’t you just: ‘Let it Be?’ ” Aargh. But he would jump into bed with me and have sex with me frequently. Passionate awesome sex. He held off on gifts some of the time *but not all) and him being able to say “I love you” was also a big point of contention between us we would argue about. But everything else was like we were passionate lovers. TTSP reminded me of the bonding hormone we women feel after sex. It sure is true in my case. If I am having a lot of sex weekly and it’s with my exMM in particular I always felt I was in love with him and falling more and more deeply in love as well. As you know he told me last summer I was making “assumptions” about our relationship and I felt such utter shame and idiocy. I really crashed emotionally.

      But this was his way to keep control of the situation. To do a mini “discard” of me to show me who was “boss”. During our affair, I was “not allowed” to make proclamations about our relationship. Only he had had the permission for that. I was in utter pain and shock last summer. But this year, I can thankfully see what a narcissist he is and how predictable such a person is. It really was my inability to cut through my own denial about our relationship that led me to such misery as well as his unloving actions towards me. Both/and. But now I know I did not deserve one iota of his emotional abuse! And I did not cause my misery on my own, though he tried repeatedly to say it was “my fault”. I look back and I really can see the emotional abuse I was ready and willing to put up with over the years. It makes me sad and depressed. But I do understand what it is in me that associated love with pain and that was my childhood. This vulnerability made me ripe for the type of affair I got into.

      Hugs,
      BAF
      xoxo

      • Felk

        BAF, you say really good things and I understand your hesitation about whether or not he is “choosing” this affair again. I appreciate your caution and I want to hear that because I don’t want to be taken advantage of. I feel that I’ve asked him this directly, and he seems to have said he’s in this relationship again. I’m not sure if I used the word affair during our recent talks at my house, but I wanted to be clear with him that he’s choosing this again. He said he was. He said he thought that was our understanding, even if we are communicating less.

        I do know how these MM shy away from this word “affair.” My MM didn’t say it for a long time in the beginning of our relationship. It probably took him close to a year to comfortably use that word, but he uses it although not often. You know he also tells me he loves me, and I believe him. He doesn’t say it a lot, but he seems to say it with sincerity. But I don’t think you’re wrong in not being so certain he’s choosing the affair. Sometimes I’m not sure, too, and that’s why we had those talks and I asked directly. I’ve told him that it doesn’t feel like it sometimes, and it’s because of the lower communication since the “break”. Everything does feel less certain still, and I don’t like that. So, I don’t think your hesitation is unwarranted. And I’m glad you say it to me. I don’t want to be a fool or be used. Be with me because you want to be with me (and you want no one else… outside of your W which I will allow 🙂 ).

        As for the marriage talk, we really don’t talk about our marriages a lot. We both are very private about that not only for ourselves but out of courtesy to each other. This time he said those things asking about his relationship with his W because I invited that conversation. I wanted to get really honest about what he was still thinking about everything (and it’s related to that question about whether or not he’s choosing this affair). So, no, I don’t want to hear too much about his marriage, but I honestly do not mind it and also invite it sometimes. Especially because it’s infrequent. It helps to know a little, and, also, while I don’t want to give him too much advice in his marriage, I get why this is really complicated and how he might feel there is no one else he can ask such a question except me. He’s certainly not getting online and finding a forum like this! I don’t want to be his therapist, but I do also feel comfortable talking about the complexities of marriage with him.

        You may have read my other post about the jealousy issues arising on Friday, and your words about not being too understanding or too patient are resonating with me. On this, I will not be too understanding. I will confront. I will ask directly. I will wait for the reassurance that I need to continue this relationship. I am scared of things he might say, but I am not scared of him ending it with me. And that is strength. I am more scared that I might end it with him. I’m not saying I’m going to. I’m not close to that at all. I don’t want that. But if I felt that he had interest elsewhere (and I don’t think he does… in any meaningful way), I would not stay. And I’m a little scared our conversation tomorrow might lead to that. Again, I don’t think so, but I’m trying to prepare myself for the worst so I am ready for this conversation.

        • BAF

          Felk yes I am being cautious on your behalf. I do not want to see you hurt. You are too good of a person for that. I am seeing yes several red flags. I want to remind you of the episode you went through with him around Feb 13. That was only a few weeks ago. I really did not like how he handled himself. That was the beginning of my feeling ‘red flags.’ He was being critical of you, teasing you in a way that does not sound affectionate, even criticizing you for the way you smiled at him that morning. (That last one is classic Narc by the way). At one point he brushed off early from a meeting the two of you had saying he did not think it was necessary or something like that.
          I realized how arrogant this man can be!
          In the flurry of posts between us all, Hope (I think it was) suggested that your MM might be punishing you for going away, or punishing you for not wanting to leave your husband. (This behavior could be sub-conscious on his part but it is still damaging to another person.)
          He was punishing him for “making him have hard feelings” of missing you too. This is all very emotionally immature.
          To me, I starting seeing him as acting overtly manipulatively (rather than his covert version) and cruelly when he needed your attention. When HIS needs are not being met in a way that he needs he gets peeved and YOU are the brunt of his frustration and anger. So not fair.
          I know he sent an apologetic sounding email to you and you were reassured. But I also know how well my exMM could convince me of anything. He was a freaking expert! And I would forgive him and go back in to the frying pan.
          I recognize the length of my affair makes me the biggest sucker for punishment of all of here (lol) but I did not read my exMM’s behavior as manipulation for many years. He was always so good with his words and I believed him. So I am saying: Beware! Talk is cheap! I was in complete denial about that aspect and always went along with whatever plausible excuse he had for me.

          Another thing I find a red flag is that your MM broke up with you but has now rewritten history and is calling it a “break” as opposed to a “break-up.” You suffered mightily when he broke up with you. I remember this clearly. Now what does he have to gain by saying it was a “break”?
          Doesn’t this make him look “better” (nicer) in the whole situation and you the “worser” for all the unnecessary emotional suffering?

          I personally I think that’s gaslighting. But Felk you are the one who knows him in real LIFE. I know you love him and it is not easy telling you my truth from my perspective. This is my point of view and you are free to take or leave my assessments.
          But truthfully,I urge you to have the greatest caution with him. Talk is cheap and some of these MM are expert liars for very obvious reasons…they are in affairs! I know there are MW on here too who are having having affairs. But I think there is a huge difference in the male hormones and sex vs the female ones and sex. Females literally BOND with sex. There is a hormone we feel which causes us to bond. Men can be much more detached from sex than we are.

          Felk, it may sound extreme, but don’t be afraid to tell him now you are the one who needs a “break”. And then let him go for a couple of weeks with no contact other than the obligatory nod. He will not leave you. I almost can guarantee it. But you might get a needed ‘time-out.’
          Take good care of YOU Felk,
          warmly BAF
          xxxooo

          • Felk

            BAF, you may have seen my update yesterday, but I wanted to respond to your message, too. I appreciate your honesty and experience so much. Your perspective always gives me things to think about, and you know how much I like to think these things through. 🙂

            It’s funny you wrote that thing at the end about not being afraid to take a break. My MM is away at a conference now, and Wednesday night I was feeling the relief of knowing I’d have 2 days at work without him around. This week has been emotionally taxing, and it’s nice to just have this “free” time. I’m not wanting to take a break longer than this four-day weekend, but I will take these days of NC to relax (and think).

            My MM does seem to punish at times. It’s rooted in insecurity. I don’t think you’re wrong with what you’re seeing. In February, I think he was punishing because of jealousy, but sometimes he seems to punish simply because he is overwhelmed with emotions and he doesn’t know what to do with it. As you say, “making him have hard feelings.” I don’t like that part of him, and it’s one of the many reasons I don’t want to leave my H for him. But since I’m not ready to leave my MM, I’m also trying to push back more and directly confront him when he seems to be unfairly punishing. Like your MM, my MM is good with manipulation, but so am I. I think my MM and I both are trying to get control in this relationship and we’re both just scared sometimes (and act out of fear). Neither of us is used to being out of control and affairs are different in the sense that you can’t have the same access to another that you’re used to. Generally, though, I think my MM and I try to be honest and kind with one another. It would not have lasted this long without that. I think his words and actions over the last few days have shown a lot of responsiveness to my needs. As Nomad warns, my MM will not react well if I get possessive, but my MM has reacted well to talking about the situation and reassuring me on how he feels about me (and T).

            That said, I hope you know I’m not a fool. I know who and what I’m involved with. I know the warning signs that I saw, and that’s why I said something. And I did not let my MM tell me differently. I told him I was sure T was interested, and I told him over and over. Hopefully, my MM will be responsive in his behaviors and back off with T, too. At this point, if I choose to stay in the relationship, all I can do is trust (but I will remain aware if it seems my MM is taking advantage of my trust). I don’t think my MM is lying about T. I don’t think he wants more there than a little attention, but I also hear your caution. I feel it myself. I’ve felt it for a week. As cheaters, we know deception so you know I will be keeping an eye out.

            Your words help me to not get complacent, too. It was everyone’s words on here (about warning signs) that led me to say more to my MM on Tuesday. He said really good things Monday, but there was more I wanted to say about not playing me for a fool. I think he understands what I’m going through because he’s felt more jealousy than I have through this affair, and I think he’s trying to be responsive to what I need. I also think he’s the type who would end our relationship if he wanted to start something elsewhere. You know how cold he can get and how he can shut down if he wants to. I can do it, too, and I’ve done it in many relationships. I’d also leave if I wanted someone else. So, no, I don’t think he wants T. But, yes, I also think he was hoping he could continue his flirtation without me saying anything. But now I’ve said something, and now it’s on him to make it clear he wants me and not T. And then it’s on me to decide if he’s made it clear. 🙂

            Thanks so much for your continued support.

  • Felk

    Thought you all might find this interesting (especially the MW on here)… https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/02/women-get-bored-sex-long-term-relationships/582736/

    I know we’ve talked a lot about how stereotypes suggest it’s going to be the men who cheat in relationships, but seems women not only also want to look elsewhere but want to do so more than their male partners. Also, might help explain why some of the MM struggle with the affairs more than the MW do?

    • TTSP

      Thanks BAF and Felk to pointing us to good reads. I’m going to download the Do Not Contact and the Art of Not Giving a F books. I read the article around women getting desensitized to a long-term partner. I have not been in a relationship longer than six years. I think what this goes back to is the fact that no single human can provide everything to another human. A spouse is supposed to fill that romantic role but after some time the love morphs into something deeper and that doesn’t necessarily fill the need for budding excitement and lust. We all crave newness and in affairs I think the married person wants both the spouse and the lover because their human needs can’t be met by a spouse alone. Even when I talk to my Dad who has a great marriage, he informs me that you have to find common bonds outside of sex because that fades drastically after five years. He personally chose not to seek an outside relationship to have that part of his life fulfilled. He’s also pushing 70 and they got married in their 40’s. I can see how an affair would be incredibly tempting even when you love and respect your spouse. While pursuing an outside relationship is a breech of vows, it doesn’t automatically make that person bad. Life is so complex, hard, confusing and every couple/individual has to make their own rules and decide what is best for themselves. I’m not touting an affair but I can understand how they develop so readily.

      • Felk

        TTSP, what you say about marriage and affairs is just so straightforward and really rang true for me. I do think that, for most people, the marriage changes into something deeper as it continues but it loses that newness and excitement that people long for. Some people (like your dad) are able to not act on that desire while others choose to act on that desire. I have never thought it made me a bad person, though, simply because I’m having an affair. It is a bad thing I’m doing, but it doesn’t make me a bad person. I know some people on here might feel differently about affairs, and I get that. For me, it is just one part of who I am, and, yes, it’s not right to do to my H since he is expecting fidelity, but there is so much more to me than this affair.

        But even if we can understand why they develop for so many people, there’s still no denying that they’re a mess. 🙂 You’d think with something this common, we’d have figured out how to do it better by now!

      • BAF

        TTSP
        You are welcome. Affairs are very very complex. As I have said before I do not think sexual electricity has to die out even in a longer relationship like a marriage, but there are certainly roadblocks to keeping that chemistry alive in a “daily” relationship. Many factors. I have spoken to my therapist a lot about this too. She says both people have to be willing to do a lot of openness and honesty in a marriage or long term relationship if this is to occur. A lot of work being vulnerable and intimate with your spouse or significant lover. And this doesn’t not occur all that often: two people have to be willing to do this, willing to try, despite their normal anxiety and fear.

        But clearly I digress.
        I am neither married nor in an affair at this point.
        My topic is not this.
        I must focus on my recovery and my road ahead. It is not easy.
        I am trying to stay OUT of my affair long term. And to heal and to have a better life.
        I am in a program now for continued NC (long term) because NC is a butt kicker when the person is close by physically and when there is a pattern of re-opening the affair. (That would my former affair). This program is specifically for people who have left narcissists or people with many narcissists traits. There are certain dynamic is relationships to narcissists that are common to all. But anyone can be there.

        I have learned my addiction to the idea of my exNarc (It is much more a fantasy idea and a dream than the actual man) is MORE addictive because toxic relationships like mine have higher highs and lower lows and the cycles really mess with the brain. This is true of all toxic relationships. In the past I had a habit of returning to my exMM again and again after time has passed…one year two years etc. And even after new relationships have occurred in my life that. And even after he has know about other men. And my exMM too has had a consistent habit of returning to the affair. He will never say “no” as long as I follow his “rules”. LOL. He is every bit as addicted having ME the person he needs me to be as I am to HIM being the way I want him to be. So much projection really. It goes both ways.
        I sometimes wonder about how he is tolerating NC etc. I sometimes think how “cruel” I was to leave him this way.
        blah blah blah my mind chatter goes on and on…..
        But that is not my job anymore.
        My job is how I am doing not wondering how HE is doing. He is married for one. I have had to break a co-dependency I had in this relationship to him too. I was always more concerned in the relationship with his needs and wants over my own. I thought that made me a better lover.
        To this day I still wonder sometimes how he is feeling about “us” or the lack of “us” etc. Then I force myself to STOP. I tell myself “If you love someone let them go”, and many other good slogans.

        So I am learning how normal it is to feel longings and reflect back on the good times.
        even though there were so many bad times. And I am learning how I must not let thoughts of my exMM thoughts linger in my brain. I must find the new thoughts. The new thoughts create the new feelings. It is a slow process. Many people have talked about wanting to one day feel totally “neutral” about their ex-affair partner. I really hope that is my case one day. I would love for this to happen.
        But I am not neutral yet. Not even close. And I have to accept the thought that I may never feel neutrality towards him. Yet I must live my life.
        What I am beginning to feel instead of neutrality is some small moments of “acceptance” some small moments of “peace”. It is in some ways a lot like putting alcohol down. To this day for example I do not feel neutral towards alcohol. Why would I? The healthy fears and bad memories I have regarding alcohol help keep me sober.

        Yesterday I read something so healing some wrote:
        I understand it this way:
        “In between all the chattering words of my brain I am learning to find the beauty and the space I need to heal and rebuild my life.”
        “In between the words’!
        I love this!
        Courage to all!
        Hugs BAF
        xxxooo

        • TTSP

          Hi BAF,
          What you said about letting someone you love go is music to my ears. I feel that way also and it gives you a sense of confidence and comfort in your decision. I think when there is addiction you need all the assurances that you made the right choice. The highs are oh so high with a huge rush of those feel good chemicals. I can connect to that bad feeling and guilt kept me coming back for many months. I told you mine used whatever tactics he could employ to keep me coming back because the addiction was so strong for him. It was strong for me also but I had more to gain by leaving and he had a lot more to lose just like your mm. I’m sure yours had withdrawals and went through the same discomfort we all do in the grieving phase.

          I think indifference or no resentments is a healthy target. After 20 years you have to give yourself a lot of time, TLC and work You’re heading in the right direction and seem to be making great strides in a fast period. The proximity aspect is challenging but not insurmountable. Sometimes you have to avoid for awhile. Think about past relationships where you healed and moved on and this will also be the case for you here 🙂

          I hope my message about not automatically labeling people in affairs as bad didn’t come across as offensive to anyone. I think people are quick to cast stones and I should’ve said that until you’ve been in someone else’s position you can’t say what you would or wouldn’t do. No one ever dreams of being unfaithful or being the side person. I don’t think anyone is immune from on affair on either side. They start to form before you’ve even technically cheated. Mine certainly did and while I wouldn’t repeat the same behavior with someone new, I also don’t think i could’ve learned without having gone through it.

          • BAF

            Hi TTSP
            I am glad what I said about letting someone you love go is music to your ears. I think it is dignified to let someone you love go when this person can not meet your needs in the way you need. Letting them go also means freeing them from the bonds of a relationship you actually both know can not work. It is an act go generosity and kindness I think and far better than clinging to someone who can never make you happy. But affairs are so tough. The person you love and have decided to let go of may feel stuck in an unfulfilled marriage and required to stay out of duty. And then will beg you not to let go.

            For a very very long time I stayed in my affair because my understanding was that my exMM was not happy at home but he was “stuck” there. After 20 plus years that reason rings very hollow however. When kids grow up and reach their twenties that reason also lacks common sense.

            TTSP it is sooo true that the highs are oh so high with a huge rush of those feel good chemicals in affairs. Especially if one is dysthymic to begin with or has low neurotransmitters, low thyroid, and or other hormones that are off. There really is a biochemical change with the high of the affair and it is really true the withdrawals of an affair are excruciating.

            Because we are both single I can relate to the tactics used by your MM and how hard, in a work environment to ignore such overtures. I really believe we have to find other ways to get the highs our brains miss and crave when we stop affairs…but ways that are not so self -destructive and/or destructive in general.

            I like what you said about no resentments being part of a healthy goal. I can actually relate to having let go of huge resentments towards my exMM in short but steady stages over the years. Today I see him an a man with human problems and a human life. I see myself the same way. A few years back I could still feel very strong negative emotions: seething anger, jealousy, bitterness, injustice and more. I have very very worked hard to let these emotions go. I think you too have mentioned how draining and toxic they are. Agreed. Thank you for saying that after 20 years it will take me time to heal. Yes I agree. I am impatient some days but I agree.

            One emotion I still do feel is “hurt” and “pain”. I don’t blame him exclusively anymore as I know I too had a role in the affair. This forum has taught me about seeing his perspective as well as mine in a more logical fashion. But the logic does not take away the hurt feelings. I do wish I had taken better care of myself during the entire off and on affair we had. And gotten less hurt.

            When you say: “I hope my message about not automatically labeling people in affairs as bad didn’t come across as offensive to anyone,” I am not sure if you were meaning me? I don’t think the words “bad” and “good” are necessarily the way to go about labeling our human behaviors. I think we need to see our behaviors in the context of how we affect ourselves and our lives AMD how we affect others.
            This is the “responsible” view and I know you will probably relate to this: when I first got sober, I had really know idea I had been hurting others as well as myself. I was in a very self-centered mindset and did want to view the emotional wreckage around me that I had contributed to. Neither did I feel like doing the Steps and letting go of this kind of selfishness, let alone eventually making amends to others. Alas it is all part of the way to recover from alcohol addiction and is tried and true. I think love and sex addictions wreak emotional havoc as well. For ourselves and for others.

            Today, it is very hard for me to not care whether my behaviors have a possible negative consequence for others. In fact almost impossible. As a sober woman, I know my actions have consequences. Other will yes be affected by my choices.

            Thus, in my affair especially in the second decade, I really DID feel badly for the wife of my exMM when it came to my behavior with her husband. Many times that I left the affair was because of the guilt I felt about hurting her. Sometimes I would dream about her and I could see the guilt in my dreams as well as in my complex emotions. I spoke to my exMM many times about this and he on the other hand claimed he felt absolutely NO guilt towards her.

            This actually bothered me how he felt no guilt and I spoke to him about it. I never knew my exMM was a narcissist until one and a half years ago. That is a very long time to not know. I learned it here on this forum in summer of 2017. At first I did not believe it. Now that I understand his narcissism I understand his lack of guilt and his lack of empathy for her. I realized he eventually acted the same exact way with me: lacking empathy and guilt.

            In the past I had thought that any frictions we had were all “my fault” and that it was me that needed to change to become a better lover for him. Twisted I know. But I really was “in love” with him and always trying to love him the best way I could. Empaths and Narcissists are like magnets drawn to each other. Each one has a role that fits with the other personality type.

            I could never imagine myself being with my exMM “full-time” and simultaneously having an affair with someone else. This to me this was inconceivable. I would be far too concerned about how such an affair could hurt or harm Him. It is not a question to me of being “good” or “bad”. To me it is a question of who one is as a person and what kinds of actions and behaviors one is capable of taking. Getting and staying sober has also hugely influenced my thinking and acting a great deal. When I make choices that don’t feel great to me, I really feel it and I also know the I will have to take “corrective” actions sooner or later. So obviously I felt a lot of mixed emotions in and out of the affair and I had a lot of guilt.

            Another thing for me is this: Being highly sensitive, I know for me I would feel utter devastation to find out someone was secretly cheating on me. It would be a true emotional bottom for me: a deep betrayal of my trust and value in the relationship. Thus I am loathe to want to do something that I know might cause another person so much harm too. Again this is just me.

            As for you saying: “I don’t think anyone is immune from on affair on either side.” I do agree with you that people will always feel romantic and sexual attractions to other people, even when coupled up or married. This is a normal part of life. But this does not mean an affair has to happen. It takes an extra bit of willingness on the part of both affair partners to actually cross that “invisible” and “forbidden” line. After that line is crossed it seems it is often very hard almost impossible to “uncross” it no?

            I would love to hear any of your thoughts.
            Hugs BAF
            xxxooo

          • TTSP

            Hi BAF,
            Once again you are very insightful and wise. I’m over the reasons why they need to stay. The point is we want and are worthy of 100%. They may also not want to let go because it allows you to heal and move on to someone else. They have that option but it’s a lot less probable.

            Like you I’m highly sensitive and my body chemistry is off. It could be hormonal, low neurotransmitters, adrenal-thyroid, etc. For some reason I am dysthymic and each day varies. I don’t know what I’m going to wake up to in terms of mood. Some days I feel like everything is pretty decent and other days I feel really off which is not fun when your job is high pressure and demanding. I can’t coast for a day. Whoa is me lol. My ex mm also has functioning depression and we can relate very well. While I don’t doubt that the praise he sung for me is true, it was also clouded in fantasy land. He doesn’t see that but I do which allows me to detach more readily. I can see the forest from the trees. He also has a lot more to lose. By leaving I have a lot more to gain bc I open my heart up for someone else to enter my life. You do get a sense of freedom when you leave an affair.

            I had/have the resentments but am working toward forgiving him and myself. I think forgiveness is the closest to closure we’ll get here. Still, 20 years is not just a fling. That is some serious investment of time regardless if it was on and off. No one wins in affairs. Everyone in the triangle comes out of with a piece of their soul missing. The two lovers mourn the loss of their affection and what could’ve been if time and space were altered. The spouse on some level has to feel the emotional distance from their cheating partner. The energy they’re giving to someone else has to be at the expense of the marriage. I never felt good about “being” with a mm. The guilt consumed me and canceled out the honest life I was and am trying to lead. They rationalize it by saying they’re not getting the intimacy at home. Each couple is their own entity and no one can decide what works for them. They have to figure that out together or with the help of a therapist.

            Logic doesn’t defy emotions and there’s no way to guard yourself from pain when you’re sleeping with a person. Women bond through sex especially when they orgasm. I can totally relate to the accountability aspect here and owning your part. We do that as part of addiction recovery and there’s a very valid reason for all the steps. You want to keep your side of the street clean and do everything you can to do right by your God and others. Through my recovery I’ve found a much better way of living. An affair does not align to my life purpose and goals. I want to live honestly in that I feel good about my actions and how they impact others. I hear the same from you 🙂

            I’m sure you couldn’t see yourself with him full-time because you see how he responds when the going gets rough. He seeks comfort outside of his home. I’m not saying I’m holier than thou but you get some insights as the other woman. I can understand not being fulfilled at home and absolutely needing that closeness. I can see their side in that you’re kind of screwed if you grow apart and discover you’re not really right for each other yet you’ve built this whole empire together. It’s emotionally and financially devastating to unravel that web. The way I see it is I only have power over myself. If I try to reconcile it all in my head I go mad. It sucks to have feelings for someone that is unavailable. Invariably we got hurt but narcissists, affairs and secrets are fraught with drama. When we remove the drama we find peace. Healthy relationships have a common quality in that they involve minimal drama and revolve around stability.

          • BAF

            TTSP It’s so good to hear from you and from another person in recovery. The high sensitivity you speak of and body chemistry being off is also something we share. I think many people in recovery find out they are suffering from some form of mood disorder (whether mild or severe). And many have hugely sensitive systems like ours. It’s no joke as you know.
            First I want to ask you of you have been to a doctor to check your thyroid levels? Maybe you are already being treated for thyroid? I am and Armour thyroid (which is what I have taken for the last ten years( has made a huge difference in my energy level, joy level, cognition etc. (I have low thyroid). I also am in treatment for dysthymia and take medication. Are you on medication for this or have you tried? For me it made a huge difference. Not that I don’t get depressed anymore. Hardly.

            But I dont crash down as low anymore. Come to think about it the year before I met my exMM I had a major depression event. It was really so frightening. That is when I had to go on medication. When I met my exMM I was 9 months into being on medication but still pretty emotionally shaky. The highs of my love for him in the beginning and the sex was something I soon could not live without. I got very addicted. But so did he. Like your Mm mine also has mood disorder issues.

            I had never experienced love like that before. But soon the crashes of realizing he was not leaving his W any time soon really wrecked me emotionally. Even on medication I had huge feelings of depression in my affair as well as all the highs. I would pop back up when things were going well between us. But looking back things only went well if I “played along” and did not rock the boat too much. And I always felt inner shame to not stand up for myself more often with him. And to tolerate so much frustration inside myself for him and for the affair. I suffered mightily in these periods. I feel now that I gave up too much of myself and my identity for him.

            I found out that if you have chronic dysthymia you can go all the way down into a major depression when and if events in your life overwhelm you for whatever reason. The brain knows the “way” the “route”. So surely I was playing with fire. But I persisted because the highs of the relationship were so euphoric I guess.

            I really like your idea that “forgiveness” might be all we can ask for in terms of closure. Good thinking! Forgiving ourselves and forgiving the affair partner. I like that.
            Wanting 100 per cent of a person (and not just the crumbs) is healthy for us as women too. And it is not too much to ask. I used to think I was so “selfish” wanting my exMM all to myself. And of course my exMM would explain to me how I was the lucky one as I was “free” whereas he had to go home to the “jail” of his marriage. ha. But I was devastated to learn how well he lies. I am still devastated to learn he is a narcissist and how well he can manipulate me and how well he knows my buttons. Then again I know his buttons too. I didn’t realize our relationship dynamics for such a long time. But again your word “forgiveness” works well. For myself as well for him.

            It is interesting to me that you can detach from your MM more readily than he can from you. And that he is also depressive. That shows strength and wisdom on your part. It is true you have more to gain than your MM from you leaving. And he seems very uncooperative when it comes to your dating anyone new. He knows that this is an untenable situation for you too no doubt.

            I agree with your words: “I never felt good about “being” with a mm. The guilt consumed me and canceled out the honest life I was and am trying to lead.” Amen to that. But I went back and forth so many times over my 20 years. I honestly thought until a couple of years ago that he was the love of my life and that we would live happily ever after one day. We would have to! Otherwise what would all of my precious time invested in the relationship had gotten me? Nada.

            I think that is all my addict’s brain talking. I too feel “If I try to reconcile it all in my head I go mad. It sucks to have feelings for someone that is unavailable.” The madness can not be undone I am finding. But yes I have choices as an individual being and I am also responsible for my well-being. So that is the hope. Not him finally realizing he can not live without me. Too little too late as far as I am concerned. And I can not have a relationship with a narcissist. No one can. Our time is over.
            Hugs,
            BAF. xxxooo

      • LifeLessons

        Felk,

        I am so sorry to hear that you are experiencing this right now. Its not a good feeling although I do not think he has any serious involvement with her. I know you have helped me to realize on many occasions that the likelyhood of my MM juggling me, his wife and another is very slim…so I do not think he has the capacity to juggle yet another coworker. However, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a right to be in your feelings. I would feel the same way considering this person likes him. I wonder if he wants you to feel jealous a little ?! I don’t know that he would purposefully do it but there are things my MM does for attention…that i would’ve thought was beneath him. I hope you are able to talk to him face to face to express how your’e feeling. I hate having to wait to talk about my feelings. I will admit Felk, I was shock to read that you were feeling a little jealous, you don’t seem to get jealous about things. However, again…i totally understand your point of view. He could’ve at least had a conversation with you before he headed home. I hope you didn’t allow this to mess up your weekend. Did you send him the email ? Has he replied ? I would like to know what he has to say…
        Did T tell someone she communicates with your MM outside of work or work related things ? I am curious about what they would have to talk about…does she know of anything between you two ? Could she be trying to make you feel jealous…women do things like that!
        Let us know how the conversation goes…

  • BAF

    If anyone is interested or needs this information: I have just found the best resource on “No Contact” I have seen in an ebook form. It’s called How to Do No Contact Like a Boss and has special chapters for intuitive, empaths and highly sensitive types. It is such a great read. And a fast one too. Hugs BAF xx00

  • Nomad

    Felk, I feel you when you said to Lois “There’s the sadness that you simply miss this person who you used to talk to more and who you are in love with. And then there’s the insecurity that *this* time they’re not coming back.” I didn’t want him to get tired of me, I didn’t want to deal or live with this insecurity, hence, I am always the one leaving and failed. But I will not give up leaving. Very soon, he would be sick of this cycle and he would lose his steam and we should be ending soon. Each time I thought we have ended.

    Once again, I chased him away, I blocked him on 1 Mar after I tried breaking up with him over WhatsApp on 26 Feb. I just felt that it isn’t working for me. He just couldn’t make me his priority. It is either busy or his guilt that is always holding him back from making effort to connect with me emotionally and physically. Communication was near zero whenever I was being “tricked” to return to him, the last round was his poems and his “sincerity” of trying his luck to reach out until I caved in. I did. He explained that when I was back, he felt he was then able to focus on his work knowing I was there. I asked him exactly what he wanted from me because whenever I was back, he would mia, sending desultory messages once a day as if checking if I had snapped and blocked him again. I did snap. On 26 Feb, he text me “hope you have a nice day” and he called but not to ask me out, just to do his part that he did call and checked on me. I was disappointed and I vented on him. I told him his messages and his calls made me sad, they were pathetic and triggered all the negativity that I was better off without him. I said it wasn’t working and whenever I needed him he was never there, never available. Time and distance calmed my addiction and it is clearer that I am better off without him. I asked him what he wanted from me, he said we were supposed to uplift each other, understood our complicated situation and constraints yet we could uplift each other, knowing that he was there mentally as physically was a challenge for him. I said I couldn’t, I didn’t know how to and now I do not want to. HOw to uplift when communication had reduced to drips drops, I no longer know anything about him (he said it was a chore to update me his daily nothings and he didn’t need another wife and even his wife doesn’t bother to know about him). I am no longer waiting for him to share with me the thoughts he was formulating 10 days ago. I just wanted to break up and start living. I didn’t just wait for 10 days but more than a year for him to be open and honest about what is going on and where are we heading to. So, I learnt something new. He just needed me to be there MENTALLY and in his imagination. He would imagine me in my daily routine, working at my desk , going to my usual lunch hangout so he didn’t have to ask me what did I eat, where was I etc. which then seemed to me, he wasn’t curious about me, he didn’t care. I told him to keep me mentally then. My absence doesn’t affect him, so is my presence. Now I get it. When I left, he would pursue me. When I returned, he would mia but claimed that we were working things out, milder and more stable compared to the first year when our addiction for each other was at its peak.

    Felk, after reading what you are going through since both of you sort of got back together, it became clearer to me that I am not able to be as understanding, patient and accommodating as you. Each of us is different and for me he’s like a benign tumour, stressfully disturbing but not fatal. However, I chose not to live with it. I chose to go through an operation to get rid of it. That is me. But because of the addiction and the high that I had experienced before, I felt weak at times, I still miss him. However, I could quickly wake myself up to reality that he is not what I wanted him to be, he can’t and he doesn’t want to do that much for me simply because I am not his priority, not even the top 5. We can’t return to the fantasy anymore. I will not beat myself for missing him, missing the good times. But by not letting go, I am still suffering… NC is never easy. I have gone through 90 days of 100% NC thinking that was it. He said he tried so hard to assure me that his heart is still with me, he missed and he loved me, yes he said that when he called on 26 Feb. But he has no plans to meet or buck up! what is the whole point of returning??? Yes, he would come back, he did this many times since things headed south since Jun 2017 and for most of 2018, he was blocked by me. It just boosted his ego that when he wanted to come back, he easily could do so, keep calling and try a little bit harder, a bit more stunt like a poem. Yes, he did repeat there is no other woman and when it comes to romantic love and sex, I am his one and only and his last one in his life.

    Sorry for ranting… I missed him and I did wish he would email me saying something sweet like “Baby, I miss you, can we talk? please” It is day 6 of NC and I have blocked him. I didn’t want to let him make me sad but reaching out and by not reaching out. No voicemails and no emails from him, perhaps he has reformulated some thoughts and finally letting me go because he is making me sad. *This* time, he is not coming back, is he? Lara? Felk? is he coming back? Why can’t he come back properly?

    • Felk

      Nomad, the insecurity in these situations is so brutal, and it’s true on both sides. Our MM are insecure, too, and they struggle a lot to deal with that insecurity. It’s one of the many negative emotions in the situation that they don’t like dealing with, but, unlike us, they are less willing to admit it (at least most of our MM) and they show it in other bad ways. When your MM says that he could focus on work again, knowing you were there, it’s his way of saying that it helps to lower his insecurity and anxiety. My MM has many times said that he much prefers when we’re at work than the weekends because he likes just having me “there” (not with him but just in the same building at work). I don’t think your MM means anything bad by it. I think he’s just trying to tell you that he feels better when you are “back.”

      It seems like your MM has disappointed you again, and you are not happy with the communication or with how often he is asking to see you. If your MM really is never there when you need him, it doesn’t sound like a very good relationship. If he really is still just giving you crumbs when you have made it clear you want more, I don’t think he’s going to change. He’s been like this for a long time now. It sounds like your MM wants a different relationship than you do. It seems like your MM needs and wants less communication than you do, but I think he wants a relationship with you. It’s just that he doesn’t show it enough for you. I don’t know how you can be happy in that situation. I know you are trying to block him again, but it also sounds like you are trying to get him to come back again. It sounds like you want him to beg you to be with him again. I know that would feel good, but he has done that many times over the last few months and it only seems to make you feel terrible after. Why do you want him to come back again? I know that you are in love with him, but I ask that because he HAS come back many times (even with poetry) and talked you into spending time with him again. But each time you seem disappointed and unhappy that he is not doing enough. Each time you seem upset with yourself for being “tricked” by him. Then why keep going back?

      Nomad, he will not do enough. He has shown you that many times. At this point, either you adjust your expectations for what can work for you or you continue this miserable back and forth with him or you try to be done for good. You ask “why can’t he come back properly?” The answer is because “properly” means something different to him than it does to you. He thinks he’s trying (and he is). He thinks he’s showing you that he loves you and wants to be with you, but you are telling him that he needs to do more. He can’t or he won’t. Either way, he’s not going to show you more than he’s doing. I commend you for continually holding him to the standards that you want, but, at some point, if he cannot meet those standards and you are unhappy, you probably just have to quit trying. I know you keep trying to quit, but he keeps pulling you back it. It also seems you enjoy him trying to fight for you. I get it. I know it must feel good when he seems to desperately want you back, but I do also think that there may come a point where he does get tired and he gives up. Maybe that’s what you want, too. Maybe that would offer you relief.

      You ask if he is going to come back again. I really don’t know. It does seem that people get tired and quit after trying over and over. But your MM may not be done trying yet. What I do know, though, is that if he comes back, he will disappoint you again. He has been honest with you about what he can offer you. It either is good enough for you or it’s not. He will not come back “properly.” I think it is up to you to decide if what he can give you is enough or if you just want to quit him once and for all. You did 90 days of NC. You can do it again.

    • BAF

      Yes Nomad he will be back.
      Your relationship is entrenched enough that the cycle will be quite endless.
      Only you can stop it. IMHO
      I so identify with your pain and frustration!. And the addiction to the repetitive cycles. So very much.
      Hugs and courage to you.
      xx00
      BAF

      • Nomad

        BAF, there’ll come a time when he’ll stop. I had always believed you in desperation since 2yrs ago when you were certain that he’d be back. Yes he did, few times and even after 90days of nc. Has anything thing changed? Nope. You’ve been withnessing how my story has predictably unfold: the addiction faded, we are clearer with what he wanted from me (low communication but ever ready to wait on him, at his terms only) – best of both his words, we are heading towards natural death or he cut me dead now for good! He finally pulled off plug “This” time and he is finally done after coming near 3yrs! The poem and the miserable good mid morning/have a great day desultory text didn’t work for more than 1 week.

        We cannot compromise so the deal has to be called off. Like Felk, I would love to be his lover but he wasted me. Just when we thought he’s coming back, he blocked me.

      • Nomad

        BAF, I actually read up about why an ex would block you. Few scenarios but the one that suits him is all about control. However why would he need to block me knowing that I am always the one blocking him to cut him off and start afresh, move on and live. I rather not receive his drip drops because they are pathetic abs depressing; why would he need to block me knowing that I’ll not reach out, so far I’ve stick to my gun, I’ve not reached out and he knows.

        On a positive note, he probably block me because he’s feeling compassionate and kind towards me, he has decided to set me free. He wants me to know he’s out of my life by blocking me.

        Yes I know I’m supposed to have moved on and I should demonstrate strength and indifference by now. Yet I’m ruminating why he’s blocking me when he has no reasons to do so? I didn’t haunt or pester him.

        What do you ladies think? Is it more of loving me and setting me free because I’ve told him I’m better off without him OR it’s about control, blocking me to gain control (but why? What’s the logic?)

        Hmmm I will not check if he has unblocked me… I’ll talk myself into him helping me to move on 🙂

        Thanks so much for listening, because we understand each other, we are in this together!

  • Kub

    Hello everyone

    Here I am, not remembering when I have first started to type here… I think growing up is really painful. So far in my life I liked the way I am after ‘growing up’ but the phase itself is so hard.
    So if you will excuse me I would like to do an overseeing of my life for past 3 years. Because I am step by step getting rid of the memories of my relationship with my MM and the feelings are really confusing… I feel like I need to open the bıx of warms.
    It is a beautiful Sunday today in my city. When I go back for 4 years, I do not even remember how my life was like before him. I remember the beginning and the on-going but not before.
    Most of the time I am confident with my decisions and feelings. I convince myself that I have really lowered feelings for him and that is not a lie. Because for a long time I was in a place that, I was questioning everything between us. There was something in my hands, in my head, in my heart, in my brain, in my words that prevented me to continue. To continue with him to the daily life. So I know I have made the correct decisions but sometimes, somethings hunts me down.
    Going back to the past, what I am 100% sure about men is that when they want they come after it. So to me, if he would wanted he would be with me somehow. I know he had reasons but just because of that I know that he did not really wanted it. He liked the thrill, the adventure, the feelings but when it was at a point that he had to do more… That point got us to worst situations.
    He became something else. He asked for more, he forbid me from everything. Going back now I am thinking was they a desperate way out for him? Because every other day we had something about me, that he did not like, that he claims that he can not be with me if that thing keeps going on… Was he just trying to make me perfect so when he get a divorce he would not regret it? Or was he trying to push thing to a line that intentionally will make us fall apart?
    Or am I just being so paranoid? I don’t know. But what I know is… He did not want enough.
    I tried so hard. So hard to be the woman that he really wants and come after. I compared myself so much with his wife I became obsessed. Everything with him was something that hurted me, but nothing more. It was true love from my side but I came a point that I can say for a relationship love is not enough! Maybe this is too strong argument that I am saying, but think about it. Whenever you had love was it enough? Or did you need trust, confidence, respect… Love makes people go to a point sometimes we regret it. Sometimes because of love we get so broken heart and say something that we will regret or do something, etc. But when you have respect to the person you are with that makes you stop before that point comes.
    So what we had with my ex-MM was just love, nothing more unfortunately.
    I am packing somethings and when I do I see some notes. Some memories. Mostly pain… My heart is broken many many times for last 3 years. I loved so much but with this pain I grew up. Now I am questioning if I could go back to the beginning, would I still go through this relationship?
    I dont’t know…

    • Felk

      Kub, I think what you write makes a lot of sense. I think it is understandable to be confused about everything that happened in the affair because it is confusing. I think both people in the affair are trying to make sense of a difficult situation, and sometimes we don’t always treat the other person well because we are desperate and insecure. I think that was how your MM was acting. I think he was so worried that you would find someone else (because he was married and you were not) that he tried to hold onto you very tightly. But he was controlling and put you down so that you would be desperate for his approval. He made it sound like you were the one who needed to change because HE was insecure and that was how he felt strong and powerful… in a situation that makes us feel weak. My MM also did controlling things to try to get some control in a situation that makes us feel very little control. Your MM always seemed very jealous and possessive from what you said, and, again, I think it was so that he could have you right where he wanted you and you would not leave and find someone else. He was scared to lose you so he tried to control you.

      I think what you say about love is right. I don’t think love is enough. We need all of those other things – support, respect, trust, openness, etc. – to have a healthy relationship. We need to be able to depend on the person to be there for us. Affection and love are also important, of course, but they can’t sustain a relationship alone. When my MM ended our affair in Sept 2017, he said that he loved me but he didn’t think love was enough. It was sad, but he was right. He wanted more. We had respect and trust (as much as you can in an affair), but he wanted us to have a real relationship and we couldn’t. So, it hurt too much to not have the other things while you’re in love with someone. We have all felt that in affairs. We all know how terrible it feels to be in love with someone while not being able to have all of the other wonderful things that go with a relationship.

      I can hear that you’re still trying to sort through all of the feelings about your ex-MM. As you know, a lot of us on here are doing the same thing. It takes a long time to “get over” an affair because of its intensity. It is an intensity unlike most other relationships. It is the highs and lows that create a powerful addiction that takes a long time to recover from. And, as we recover, we replay the years and the moments and we question and we wonder. It’s all part of the process, and hopefully you are learning from it. Learning what you want to do differently next time. Learning what you want in a relationship partner and how you want to be treated. It sounds like you have made a lot of good progress, but it is a long journey.

      • Kub

        Hello Felk

        I have written many things in here but its gone or didn’t posted at the first place. Maybe because of my internet connection, etc. Anyway…
        What you are saying about my ex-MM are really true. I agree that because of his lack of trust, he made me suffer. Suffer really bad. And all his argument was, you will be married this person, I want you to know who I truly am in advance bla bla. Just coverage to his acts.
        Just I really do not feel love for him anymore. I feel sorry, I feel anger but not the love. Its like all of my love is dissipated. I am confused but not like the old times. In the past I would have been in his arms so far but I really can not find any reason to be with him anymore.
        According to him, he is in the same way like me. I get it and dont feel bad about it. But a voice in me tell not to believe him. I am a bit scared of him because he is tented to get aggressive during break ups 🙁

        I really dont know what to do with that! I am scared to meet with someone else.

        • Felk

          Kub, it’s great that you no longer feel love for your MM. It’s the love and feeling in love that keep us hanging on and going back. I think it’s also good that you feel anger. I think that’s normal and good in the process of moving on. Of course, I hope soon that you will no longer feel anger or anything much for your MM at all.

          Is your MM still in your life? Are you still in contact with him? I’m asking because it sounds like you’re still afraid that he will interfere in your life. It sounds like you think that he might react badly if you start dating someone new, but how would he know if you started dating someone? Your MM does sound scary, and, like BAF says, if you’re able to change jobs, that might be the best solution to getting away from your MM and starting to meet new men. I know it is not easy to just pick up and change jobs, but sometimes it is the best solution to getting away from a possessive man.

    • BAF

      Kub you are still young and as such there is hope for you! You are doing such a great job trying to manage the intensity of all the emotions an affair provides.
      Brava!
      Your brain can be retrained perhaps easier (?) than those of us who are older like me. The length of the affair will also play a role. I say this as I would to a daughter.
      At any rate it is VERY important to understand that affairs like we are talking about are highly addictive. HIGHLY.
      I would venture to say that most of us here have “low” neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, etc) as addictions are a maladaptation to brain chemistry. Maybe we were sort of “normal” before we got into the affair ( not me LOL but maybe some others here) but the affair with its drug-like high and excruciating lows is precisely what causes our brain function to change. And worsens the chemical imbalance! Every addiction does this: Food, alcohol, sex, love addictions…all the same for the role they play in our brains. Some are process addictions and others substance addictions but essentially they are the same. Addictions provide short term relief to the brain but long term they worsen the chemical imbalance.
      Thus, of course, withdrawing from an affair is excruciating but also so necessary to give the brain a chance to rest and reset. Both love addiction AND sex addiction exists. Sad but true. (Look for info on the internet)
      Hopefully this information will help you realize how normal it is to look back and wonder, to review the good moments of the affair, to wonder why it can’t be like that all the time, etc.
      Both therapy and 12 step programs and medications can help us as we try to break free. And a lot of hard work and support from others!
      Going back to the affair simply means our brains get re-addicted to a lesser or greater extent. It is complicated but simple. Love addiction or sex addiction elate our brains for awhile. Then we crash. Really truly crash. And then in pain we crave more contact with the affair partner….Like cigarettes…alcohol and everything else.
      We crave contact with the “beloved”….
      I say this with 21 years into and out of an affair.
      Many hugs!
      xx00
      BAF

      • TTSP

        BAF,
        You put forward some very informative posts. I struggle with dysthymia and anxiety. Both have gotten less severe and more manageable in my sober life. I’m sure that is no surprise. There are biological, chemical and external factors at work but what you described regarding low neurotransmitters wouldn’t surprise me. I found a fix but sought it in an unhealthy place. I replaced one addiction with another although I used prayer, meditation and talking/reading on here to extricate myself. When I go completely no contact at some point that’s when the withdrawals will take full effect. Thank you for a good lesson here.

        • BAF

          TTSP and Kub,
          Thank you for your responses.
          I wish it were not so but I am realizing after all these years of my sobriety that most of us are “poly-addicted”. So we can put down one substance in one recovery and then easily pick up another process addiction or another substance. Very Very easy to do for some of us (eg me). Luckily, after awhile it gets easy to spot. Unfortunately for me it has taken me 21 years to but I figure “hey” at least I got there! It really struck me when Hope’s therapist had her watch that video and the specific content of that video. What the brain does in break-ups to cope. TTSP: I too am dysthymic and had both anxiety attacks and long bouts of depersonalization as a young person (before age 21). I know my brain was adversely affected. And I know my external circumstances (my family life) were pretty f–ed up. My new thing is to try and blame myself LESS and try to accept MORE that with my brain chemistry seeking highs is pretty normal (even though I am on medication!)
          I am even addicted to art and blazing sunshine so it is a matter for me of trying to stay balanced. The affair however was really not good for my brain. Getting into any addiction (for me) feeds my brain chemistry problem in a really negative way and I get worse with addiction not better. And I have realized the affair was not good for HIS (my ex MM’s brain) either! He too has an addict’s brain and now his son suffers from severe drug addiction. I think this is no coincidence and that genetic factors are also to blame for our brain chemistry problems. I realized my exMM and I are both sex/love addicts (in the affair at least) and we became co-dependent in our relationship as well. Exiting from such a thing is as hard as quitting drinking I have realized this past half year. Maybe even worse. The hardest part is dealing with sightings of the person and conversations with the person. And I need constant support to stay away from my exMM. Try reading this article on Love Addiction at Brain world. “In Love with Love: The Science of Love Addiction” and as for Sex Addiction try this”. As for Sex Addiction and the Brain try reading at Hired Power: “How Does Sex Addiction Affect the Brain?”
          There is so much info available on the web. I am finding that part of my breaking my addiction to my exMM a narcissist is dealing with my denial. Eating Disorders also affect the brain. I have had those too.

          I am sorry to be “Debbie Downer” here on this forum but I say all this to help myself as much as anyone else here. I can get quite easily triggered to feeling longings and desires to return to my exMM as absolutely illogical as it sounds! So I must repeat my recovery knowledges even to myself constantly. If anyone else has my brain chemistry I hope it will help you as well. Falling “out of love” like Hub as mentioned, has helped me the very most. I have to list the bad points of the relationship and repeating them to myself constantly. And my AA mantras and slogans. And prayer and meditation. I have to remember my bottoms in the affair as much as I have to remember my last drink 18 years ago.
          Hugs to you!
          xxxooo
          BAF

      • Kub

        Hello BAF

        I don’t know if it is because I am an engineer but I really love the physical explanations of our situation! Thank you. I sincerely thank you. Most of the time it makes me to realize the scope of my feelings and normalize them in a way that I think I can handle or control them.
        Day by day I feel less addictive but mostly because I feel the love less. I do not feel love for him anymore, I think so many disappointments made me this point but it feels like waking up from a nightmare.
        I am saying nightmare very sadly because no matter what he was there for me always. But the worst thing is the monster that he became after a break up. He is aggressive, insulting me at the work environment… He makes me intimidated and scared. He has nothing to loose. His wife is even accepted him with everything but for me that is not the case. I have a job, I am successful and single, I am scared when I meet some guy he will reach out and try to ruin everything for me. That would not be the first time!
        But I am patient. I will wait for everything to go away…

        But thank you for being here for me 🙂 and 21 years? Oh my god, it is long. Very long time to handle this kind of things. How did you managed it?

        • BAF

          Kub this monster that he becomes? Mine was a monster last summer too; that is for sure. Break-ups with certain types of me trigger in them some strong emotions like insecurity and jealousy that they can not handle and it sets off their anger (or in extreme cases) their rage. Mine was an alpha male type so the emotions are all deeply buried until they are not and then they come out all at once in some kind of very nasty behavior. It is no joke to be around this type of person. It can also be very suffocating. Stifling. Have you considered changing your job? I would think by working elsewhere your desire to date would be much much easier to implement. And you will need to date and see other men eventually!
          I too have my ex in close proximity but I stay clear of him as much as humanly possible.
          I schedule any other men (like my current FWB who I see once every 3-4 weeks) coming to my house carefully so as to be the least likely for the exMM to directly observe from his restaurant in case he might be looking out his giant window. I refuse to give my exMM’s Narc personality that much power over me anymore. But I am also careful (and realistic) because I know from experience a jealous or enraged narcissist is definitely not what I feel like dealing with. I read something in “Medium” today about becoming a “Grey Rock” with narcissists. I think it was pretty good. It is about going totally “neutral” around such volatile personality types. I stay as clear of him as possible. This is me of course. You must decide what works for you.
          Hugs BAF
          xxx000

    • TTSP

      Kub,
      I just want to say that I was the single woman in my past whatever you want to to call it with a mm. It’s never about not being good enough or wanted or loved. He most likely loved you but the majority of men aren’t going to toss aside the years of emotions, finances and life investment in someone for an unknown prospect. If there are children in the picture you can bet he’s not going anywhere. It just doesn’t happen unless they are discovered and forced to leave the marriage. Even then there are no guarantees he won’t leave the mistress either. My mom’s friend saw a mm for 10 years and after he divorced his wife he broke up with her too. The good news is she met someone else and married him so we will have our happy ending. Something that really helped me get over the emotional hump is to remember that I never had a fighting chance to “win him over”. It just doesn’t happen. I also read this article every time I get down about myself as a reminder that I am lovable and nothing I could’ve done would’ve changed the inevitable ending. https://www.yourtango.com/2017305192/why-men-will-never-leave-their-wives-their-mistresses.

      Would I change the past and undo the affair? No. Would I enter into one again? Hell to the no!

  • Lois

    Update: hello everyone. It’s been awhile since I’ve been here as I was trying to sort things out in my head and needing time to think. I hadn’t been in much contact with MM either for the same reason. He contacted me a few times. We finally had our talk yesterday. Although neither of us said the love word, we did agree we both have strong feelings and talked about whether we could handle knowing our relationship could ever be anymore than its now as neither plan to leave our kids and marriages. We talked about how difficult it is to want to be with each other at times and can’t which he says causes him guilt. We talked about him ignoring my texts and how he needs to talk about how he feels more. I admitted that when I want him and can’t be with him how it bothers me and sometimes it causes me to withdraw from him. I told him that he is on my mind often and told me to just text him. This opened the door up for me to talk about ignoring texts and etc. It was a really good talk. I do feel better for the most part and we seem to be on the same page. We agreed it is going to take effort from both of us. We did have sex which was amazing but it was planned. We just got so wrapped up in our feelings that it generated the closeness. Basically, we agree that we both struggle. He more than I but we have to communicate better. I’m totally going to go into things with MM as before but hoping to find a balance that will work for us. I had to figure out what I was willing to settle with and think I’m good with things but with little less communication to avoid more expectations. I know there were times I would contact him just to make sure he was still there and realize it was causing me problems. If I want to say hey that’s fine but not because I’m feeling insecure and need to know he’s there with me. If that makes sense. We shall see how it goes. In the end, I know I’ve done a every thing to try to make this work. Thank you

    • Felk

      Lois, I’m glad that you got to talk to your MM. I’m sure you are happy and relieved given that you did not want this affair to end. Even though I know you were getting to a point where you weren’t sure if you could handle his distance and MIA anymore, it was also clear that you were still very in love and had hope that he’d want to continue your relationship. I hope you got to say many of the things you wanted to say (without fear). I’m glad that you were able to be honest about how it bothers you that he ignores your texts sometimes. It seems pretty important to be honest with him about how his MIA bothers you. Did you get any resolution on that question about whether or not you could handle knowing your relationship will never be more than it is now (because neither plan to leave your spouses and kids)?

      I know you are still trying to make sense of it all and are hoping that you two can find some balance that works. You know how well I know this situation (as my MM and I continue to try to figure it all out). Please recognize the problem, though, in saying you two need to communicate better as you are trying to accept less communication from him. Given that I am in the same situation, it causes all of the problems that you would imagine. When my MM tried to end it a year and a half ago, we cut down communication drastically and it was excruciating. Although we were still trying to maintain a friendship, it was a dramatic reduction in communication that we both needed to calm the addiction. It was very painful withdrawal, but eventually the addiction calmed and I got used to lower communication. Maybe you are at that point after many months of your MM lowering communication. I hope so. Having lower expectations for communication helps. That said, it’s still hard. There are still so many times that I wish we were communicating more than we are. But, it seems your MM needs that lower communication (as my MM did). Your MM seems to struggle a lot with the guilt and not being there for his family so he will go MIA again. That is a certainty. For as much as my MM has told me who he is and what he needs, I still find myself being disappointed/frustrated/insecure when he goes MIA. There’s the sadness that you simply miss this person who you used to talk to more and who you are in love with. And then there’s the insecurity that *this* time they’re not coming back. It’s as you said… you’d text him just to make sure he was still there. It’s that underlying fear that they won’t be that makes affairs such specific torture. But we continue to choose to put ourselves in this situation. 🙂

      Of course, as we’ve been talking about for months, I don’t have any easy answers. Honest and consistent (even if low) communication seems the best answer to me. It’s good your MM also said that he knows this will take effort on his part, and I hope that “effort” means the same thing to both of you. Good luck.

      • Lois

        Hey Felk. It was really nice to finally get to say what has been on my mind. In my last post, I has a few grammar errors. I hadn’t planned on the sex but it just happened after both of us talked about feelings etc. Regarding your question, I am not sure if I totally found my answer as to whether I can handle knowing what we have is all we would ever have. Part of me says yes that other part says maybe…but neither is a no…if that makes sense. There are times when it’s good the way things are bit other times I do want to be the one who he lays next to each night. I just know it’s not in me to hurt people and it would hurt mine and his kids. He doesn’t want that either. Honestly, I don’t know if I could hurt my husband. I’m not happy with him but gave been with him for 34 years…since teenagers. There are things about MM that not sure I could handle as I know he texts other women. I don’t have to worry about my husband mainly because he really doesn’t have any friends. He’s difficult to get along with buy has gotten some better over the last 5 years of going to church. He’s still an ass. I do love MM but had really gotten to the point of having enough of how things have been. We have talked and shared we need to make an effort. I sent him a smiley face yesterday and told him that was my symbol for him sort of like batman sees his. This was my way to let him know I was thinking about him. He liked the idea of it. He in return will try to more attentive and express his feelings. We are trying to find a balance and it’s possible that we can’t but both agreed it was worth a try. I can’t handle how things were between us and will not go back to feeling like that…I deserve better. As far as communication, I do think less would be easier for both of us…just like the smiley symbol. I don’t necessarily need him to respond to it…if he does great..if not, it’s okay. I sent it because I was thinking about him and wanted him to know. In the past, I would text just to be texting with no real purpose other than to reach out and hoping he does the same. So, when I say less communication. I mean to eliminate texts that are of no real purpose only to feed my insecurities. I have to let go of some of that because it was causing too much anxiety. This last time was the closest I’ve ever been to being done with MM and if it wasn’t for him reaching out. I’m not sure if I would have this time so I feel better that he has at least made an attempt unlike the past. Now we both know the guilt mm deals with so he may already be feeling it especially since his church preached on adultery today. They stream it live and the preacher is actually pretty good. I uses to listen to him so I would know how MM would be to kind of anticipate his moods. Yes I know very pathetic…the addiction makes us to do some crazy things. I enjoyed listening and sometimes like to hear what he says. Like today, I never knew masturbation was also considered adultery. I’m sure every denomination have different of opinions but was giving an example that the preacher does make me think too. That’s what is so weird about me being in am affair. I was raised in church and really what I’m doing with MM is the worst thing I’ve ever done in my life. I try to be a good person. I have a very caring and compassionate heart for other people so I know how wrong all of this as I watched my dad do this to my mom for years and always despised people like me now. I just didn’t understand but do now that life happens sometimes and people grow apart. Its a complicated situation and don’t have the answers except when things are good with MM he does bring happiness into my life. We have our problems and the situation sucks at times especially when I want to be with him and there’s not enough time to make it happen. I’m not sure how long we will try to balance things but this time he has made an effort…we shall see. I do plan to have more honest talks with him because I think we got in a bad place which is why I think we need to communicate better when things bother us. He commented about how our minds wander and thought being upfront on things would help that. So I do plan on communicating my feelings more but not texting randomly to make sure he’s missing me, etc. Hope this all makes sense. My mind us going in different directions.

        • Felk

          Lois, I can hear so much of my situation in yours. So much of what you say and just your overall tone in this message is similar to what I’ve felt so many times throughout this last year and a half with my MM. I can hear a lot of relief and cautious optimism in your words. I know that I have often felt that same way after a good talk with my MM. I feel the relief that he wants to continue and that the anxiety is quelled, and I feel the optimism that, this time, it might work. You’re riding high on all the good feelings of the shared understanding and desire. Of course, there is the “caution” of knowing we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves because we’ve been down this road before so we don’t want to say that we know this person has changed or that we’ve figured something out, but nonetheless we are renewed and optimistic and have energy for the relationship once again. I know it all so well.

          In these periods of renewed optimism, I often feel like I can handle the lower communication. I feel like it is enough and that it is better than losing my MM altogether. I think you have a good plan to try to accept the lower communication and not text him randomly to make sure he’s missing you. I know the “checking he’s still there” messaging all too well. It’s not good. I hope your smiley face code to let him know you’re thinking about him will work for you. I know today you did not need a response, but I know that, for me, these things only go so far until I do finally want a response. Until there has been no response for too long or not a substantive enough response or not a sweet enough or flirtatious enough response. Or I’ve been initiating too often and he hasn’t in a while. I say these things because it just keeps happening over and over. Things are good until they’re not, once again. And I hope you can hold your MM to improving communication. One of the hardest things in accepting lower communication is that it runs contrary to communicating better. I, too, want to improve communication with my MM if we are in this affair again, but I have yet to make that happen. 🙂

          I hope you don’t take this as me trying to be a downer. 🙂 I know how good you must have felt after that talk (and the awesome sex) with your MM. I’m just trying to tell you what I’ve gone through and how, even when we lower expectations, it all seems to go pretty much as it has been. But, like you, I want to continue the affair, despite the challenges, because when things are good they’re very good. And, honestly, lately, it’s not simply the highs. We don’t have nearly as many as we used to since we don’t spend as much alone time together anymore. There is just a lot I like in my MM, and we get along very well. It’s just hard to lose that source of happiness in my life… so I continue to put up with all the hard things.

          Like you, I know I can handle the affair knowing it cannot be more (I am not a definite “no” on that), but I was also curious if your MM thought he could handle your relationship knowing it would never be more than this? That is the part that my MM struggles with. I also don’t think I would want the affair to be more. I don’t think my MM would be a better partner than my H. That’s probably another reason I know I can handle the affair without wanting more. If you and your MM were honest about your relationship not being more, though, that is good. That is something my MM and I need to be honest about and we have not. And I think it’s because he wants more (and I don’t), and we’re both scared to say that out loud. Continued best to you in this situation. I know how hard it is.

          • Lois

            Hey, Felk. You are so about things. It’s so nice to have someone who understands. MM is the one who asked if I was okay and could handle knowing things could not be anymore that what it is. I told him that I was good with me and never expected him to leave his family. He said if kids weren’t involved it would be different. I told him that I could never be the reason for him hurting his kids. He said he wanted to make sure because of comments I had made. I later texted him and told him that I didn’t want him to think I didn’t want to be with him but knew it was a line we could never cross. However, I was teasing him yesterday and said let’s run away. He responded yeah right and what about work and family responsibilities. I said, that’s easy I will bring you back. I was just kidding with him. He said it would be nice but life is too crazy. I finally texted…you know I’m just joking right? He said yes but it would be nice. I just got the feeling that he would very much like to be with me and aggravates him that he can’t. This is something I plan to talk about with him because maybe at times he does feel this way which causes him aggravation and maybe guilt. I don’t know. It just seemed odd. Has your MM ever mentioned feeling like this? Just curious since they have similarities. I don’t know if I would want a relationship with MM like I have with my husbsnd. I know he has been texting female coworker about going out with us again so not sure I would ever fully trust him. I haven’t texted any today bit things have been hectic. I’m really trying to not text as much but not to the point that’s painful. I’m actually doing okay with it. I just haven’t texted nonsense to just be texting. We shall see how it goes. How are things with you and MM?

          • Felk

            Lois, once again what you write about your MM is very similar to things my MM would have said or felt in response to your joke about running away together. First, I will say that my MM has said many things like that to me over the years so it’s not that he doesn’t say or feel these things. But I know all too well about how something that I say that seems nice and sweet to me can make my MM feel bad because it frustrates him that it can’t happen and reminds him of the difficulties of our situation. An example might be me suggesting that we sneak out of our houses and meet up late at night. I’m just kidding and just trying to express that I miss him and want to see him, and just want to flirt with him a little and hear him say he wants that, too; but sometimes those things can frustrate him and make him feel like I’m talking about things that can’t happen. It seems like your MM got like that, too. Like he took it all a little too seriously. Like he couldn’t just joke playfully about something that sounded nice. And, sure, maybe there is a little bit of seriousness to your joke and maybe he can tell, but it sounds like he is a lot like my MM and can quickly go to the negatives and complications of the situation. My MM has, as recently as yesterday, reminded me of how he likes to keep things simple (in life) and one of the hard things about the affair is that it adds complications. So… maybe it’s more of the thing about how women multitask better? I think our MM just more quickly get overwhelmed by the situation than we do.

            Also, you say your MM was the one to ask if you were okay knowing things couldn’t be more than they are. I wonder if your MM was asking because he’s not sure if HE’S okay with it. I say this because this is the type of question my MM asked me many times throughout our affair in one way or another. When I’d hear my MM ask that question, I’d always respond as you that, yes, I’m okay with that and I wouldn’t expect him to leave his children and I just want to be with him in any way I can, etc. But I’m not sure that’s the answer my MM wanted. I think he wanted to know that I wasn’t okay with it and that I wanted more with him. Granted, I think he was VERY conflicted about this, and I don’t think he wanted to up and leave his children, but I also know he finds it harder to say that he’s okay with knowing the situation can’t be more.

            I also felt the things you were saying about quickly trying to make sure your MM knew you were just kidding and that you aren’t really that delusional about running away. There were plenty of times through our affair where I’d try to make sure my MM knew I was grounded in reality and wasn’t trying for something more than I knew we could have. But, then, honestly, at others times, I know my MM wanted me to hope for more than we had. Affairs are a complicated thing to navigate. It’s probably as simple as saying that there are no easy answers. 🙂 A sweet statement can be interpreted sweetly one day but make him sad another. And that’s probably true for us, too. There are probably texts that my MM could send that would make me laugh and make me feel nice that he’s thinking of me and then there are probably other days that the same exact text could make me feel that he’s not showing enough attention.

            Things with my MM and I are good (for now). Thanks for asking. He came over yesterday, and we had several hours together to talk (and have sex) about a lot of issues that had been on my mind (and clearly his, too). As I’ve said, I’m trying to be better about encouraging more direct/open/honest talking and less talking around as he and I can tend to do, and we were really good about that yesterday. We were open and honest but also stayed playful and warm. I think we both felt really good after all of that talking, and we made plans to talk more soon. These talks, of course, don’t really offer any grand solutions (because there are no grand solutions in an affair outside of ending it, continuing it, or leaving your spouses), but these talks help offer understanding of what we’re thinking and feeling and of expectations for the relationship. I know the talk yesterday also helped offer me reassurance that my MM wants our relationship, and I know that was what helped you last week, too. Getting that reassurance is so helpful given that our MM can go MIA and make us insecure. I think sometimes just as I don’t understand how my MM struggles with some of the aspects of our affair, I think my MM doesn’t understand how I need so much reassurance since it is so obvious to him that he is in love with me and that hasn’t changed. But that’s why communication is key.

            I also understand what you say in the end about trying not to text too much. I know how hard that is when you’re feeling happy and close and you want to just share with your MM. Yesterday, after my MM left, I feel a lot of pull to reach out to him, whether it’s through text or email (which is more common for us), and I have to rein myself in. We had a short text exchange after he left, and I had to leave it at that, even though twice later, I wanted to text him something quick and funny. I stopped myself because I’m trying to respect the lower level of communication he’s said he needed. This is hard stuff.

    • BAF

      Hi Lois,
      I just want to say I am so glad you finally got to talk with your MM as this is what you wanted. We all deserve being listened to. And you waited a long time for him to come around. I hope you remain in better spirits as the time goes on. I know from experience how hard an affair is. Since sex happened there is no doubt you probably feel a greater bond to him as sex does that to many of us. Then again we also know that there are no guarantees and also no “carefree” days in an affair because of the nature of these relationships.
      Many hugs,
      BAF
      xxxooo

  • Hope

    Hi BAF and Felk, Replying to both of you here so our conversation doesn’t get lost. Thank you so much for your help🙏🙏 both of you have helped me numerous since last year. I went to the counselor, told him everything I could, cried my eyes out. I was surprised I said something to him that I had never even said to myself before, I told him ‘my life right now is so different to the life my 18 year old self had imagined, life did not go to plan and I don’t know how to fix it’. Wow I didn’t know I felt that way, sure my life is messed up but that statement hit hard. Made me think we all had dreams as teenagers of our future, our relationship, our love life and how different things are!

    I feel better, BAF you are absolutely right counseling does help in dealing with breakup. More than a year after break up I am still feeling the pain. Felk, BAF I told ex mm that friendship is too difficult right now. I honestly feel drained because I still love him and knowing what’s going on in his life only makes it harder and he still feels the same, shocked that I can’t let out friendship carry on and still confused as to why I was never able to keep the affair going. Something you said stuck with me BAF, I too cannot stomach the word love right now, it has brought more pain than happiness. I was watching an educational video on breakup and the psychologist said when we are dealing with heartbreak our mind can’t be trusted to think rationally, it will keep replaying the situation in which you broke up or it will keep idealising the ex or it will come up with reasons as to why they would have behaved they way they did almost trying to justify their actions until we cave in. Our mind will try and feed the addiction, hence making us re read old messages or bring up memories and this is true in my case! So I did what he suggested, I made a list of all the reasons why the relationship was bad for me, all the times he made me feel bad or hurt and boy is my list long!🙈 Right now I am trying to do what the counselor suggested, I am trying to surround myself with people so I don’t feel sad about everything that has happened in life. It’s hard because I don’t have any family in this country and friends are busy at work and with their lives but I am trying. I am part of a Mums group and trying hard to bond with the Mums but I get excluded (I am ethnic, I don’t get invited to events by the main ‘organiser mum’, I had to ask her if I could come along and she hesitantly said yes but I never got the what’s app invites 🙁 I don’t know why I have rambled on about this sorry!)

    I am coming to terms with living my life alone with two girls, it’s hard but as you both said one day at a time, I’ll work on taking care of myself and my girls. Every morning I remind myself of three things I am grateful for on that day. I just realised both of you have helped me so much, you both helped me deal with a miscarriage, an abuse relationship, provided support during tight finances, given advice regarding separation and now in dealing with an affair breakdown. I am so grateful to have your support. Thank you so much. Xxxx

    BAF how are you going? How are your sons? Sending you hugs. Felk how are things now with mm? Is he still distant? Take care both of you.

    Lots of love❤️❤️
    Hope

    • BAF

      Hope I am so excited you got to the counselor! What a great step! Brava. It takes courage I know. It takes courage to admit to a perfect stranger all the things you told him and I am so glad you seem to be so happy you could let your true feelings “go” and be “truly seen” in the session with him. I am glad you spoke about the affair and that even one year after break-up you still have pain. How true for so many of us here.
      Hope for you, this step is huge and makes the affair all the more real because now someone who has your confidence in the real world knows your truth and you do not have to suffer alone with it anymore. I really think the affair break-up pain we feel in isolation really is too much for us at times. I love the fact that your counselor showed you a video on break-up. We have all been talking here about our mental states post break-up and how negative the mind can be in these situations.

      And of course you have other serious issues on your plate as well.
      Have you asked you H to leave the house? It seems maybe you did as you mention a separation in your post.

      I remember when I first got on my own away from my husband at the time, I felt a giant relief. His mental illness and his addictions were too much to bear after a while. I stuck it out with him for several years in this condition and while he sought help, until I started falling apart and I had to ask him to leave. This was such a rough part of my life. I felt terrified to be on my own in a big city with no close family nearby as a single mom. I felt anxiety as well. I had just been diagnosed with a serious depression. And put on medication. So it was one mess of a time period. I tell you this so you can see you are not alone.

      I stayed very close to my kids and that helped. About 6 months into my separation is when I met my exMM. I think when I met him I thought my problems would be solved. Here was an alpha male and business owner. He seemed so stable and together to me. And he wanted me to stay with him “forever.” He was so confident and sure of himself and of everything. I simply fell madly head over heels in love with him. Anyhow, when our relationship started having huge problems is when I could see he was not going to leave his wife. I started drinking….and drinking….

      Hope I tell you all this so you will know you CAN and WILL deal with your situation! You will find your way. Believe it. Believe in yourself and your power as a resilient woman AND a new mother for the second time. New mothers often kick ass when it comes to strength because we fight like hell to protect our kids. I think you have seen that side of yourself already. Find one or more support groups! Ask the counselor if he knows of any. The Mum’s group you have right now seems iffy in their support…if you do not feel included then perhaps you ought to leave it and find another group. This is your right. You might be able to find an abuse group and a postpartum group.

      When I started hitting my bottom I did reach out and find groups for myself including AA and therapy. I also got my sons and I into family counseling as soon as their Dad left the country. They hated it but it really helped the three of us. One day you will maybe do the same.

      Hope try to think ahead to brighter days and the end of all this pain. This too shall pass! as we say in AA. (TTSP). This weekend my two sons are visiting here with my new soon to be daughter in law! It took a long time but you know what? Everything turned out well in the end! My life feels good and I think I did everything I could even though I made some really poor choices along the way. I know I am only human and that WE are only human! Don’t torture yourself with self regrets etc. Life is what happens while we are making plans for it. (I think that is how the saying goes). So just take it slow and easy…one day at a time…and soon you will see you will better and stronger! Hugs BAF xx00

      • Hope

        BAF and Felk thank you so much for your support. BAF you are right, yes the mind does play tricks during these times. Ex mm sent an email on Sunday questioning few things, wanted to know what went wrong, he said I decided that if our circumstances didn’t change I didn’t want to continue. Truth is now I don’t want to continue either way (I know he never will take the leap of faith for our love) but now I feel like I don’t want that, I am too tired/exhausted and it’s a little too late, I waited long enough. He wanted to understand why I couldn’t continue I think so I replied back, told him most of the things I experienced and he was shocked I think. I told him how I got my first panic attack a day before his holiday, how I sat in colleagues car numerous times listening to stories of his marriage only to cry on the train on my home, how it made me feel like a cheap motel girl when he rushed me out of his house after sending a night there, how when my daughter was sick I wanted to call him he straight up said ‘when your kid is sick you go to a doctor calling me doesn’t change anything’, how he not once took me out in public, never a card or flowers (I didn’t say this part). He said he knew some of the problems I faced but didn’t know it was this bad. This is the thing right I feel so many mm’s don’t realise the havoc they cause in our lives. I don’t know if telling him this will show me in a bad light or now make it all less attractive but I thought it was important for him to know. He apologised of course but then said ‘you have kept me young, thank you for that’ wtf?? Honestly I don’t even know what to think of that. The day before that he said if we were ever together there is no chance he will tolerate my H’s interference (I don’t know where this is coming from because surely ex mm will never leave his marriage so what’s the point of bringing this up now?). I know my h has been abusive and may be that’s why he said that but it still didn’t sit well with me. He is the father of my kids and no matter who I am with my H (or ex H) will always be there. It feels like mm is being a hypocrite, so I am supposed to be okay with him sleeping in bed with someone else, him going on luxurious holidays, listen him tell me about the holiday, listen to his ‘we’s but there is no chance he can tolerate my H’s interference if we got together?? It feels like he is making me feel like it’s my fault/my situation’s fault that we can’t get together. ExMm is a good man but feels like he was gaslighting me there, making me think it’s me not him? I may be wrong but it’s what I think, what do you both think? I think now finally it will stop. I have mixed feelings but I am staying strong. I told him there is no way I wish to deal with the negative emotions that come with being involved in the affair while raising my two kids. Also my H has left the house, I am going to drop his surname. I’ll try and find other Mum friends or groups.

        On a positive note BAF congratulations on your son’s engagement!!!!!! Exciting times, you will be one of the BEST mother in law!! I am very happy for you and your family. Is this the same son who went through a bad break up? If yes good for him. I know you must have raised very caring and respectful boys.

        Felk you are absolutely right about time and conscious distance being the key, I’ll try and practice it as much as possible. Good on you for standing up for your needs and planning to be more direct with mm. Yes lowered communication is often as issue, if you feel low because of it something needs to change. Yes jealous is another big bad monster. Yes absolutely a simple reassurance goes a long way. I know how difficult it is to have these conversations with someone who doesn’t open up easily. Ex mm was like that. But you can do it Felk. I know I keep saying this but you are a very understanding person and you will always try and understand his side. Good luck xx

        Take care lovely ladies.
        Lots of love,
        Hope xoxo

        • BAF

          Hope
          I am really glad you got to tell your exMM how it was for you in the affair. It is honest and you were able to speak your truth. This is very strong on your side. It is always so hard speaking the truth in an affair as there is so little precious time for serious talk it seems.

          It sounds like he (your exMM) is trying to understand, yes, but it also seems he was not very tuned into your feelings during the affair. Now that you are out of the affair and you do not want to go back in, he is more willing to listen to you perhaps. It is always hard to tell in my opinion. In other words, it is always hard to tell after an affair ends the motives of the affair partners after the ending. For example, are his (your exMM’s) motives good and he does really want to know about your feelings and reasons for exiting? Or is he merely trying to gradually seduce you back into the affair?

          As for you listening to his marriage stories (tales of woe) I did that too. But I now realize I should have set a boundary where I did NOT want to hear about his marriage. It hurt me too much. I think in the beginning we might feel it brings us closer to the married person. But after a while, I knew too much and could read between the lines. And this caused me more pain than anything else.

          Your exMM also seemed rather callous when it came to your daughter and her illness. Mine was like that too. I think married people especially those with kids of their own, can only empathize so much, but really, they also have lives and issues at home of their own. We might think that since we listen to our exMM’s talk about their problems at home, that they too can listen to us in return. I found out in my affair sadly, that was not the case for me (or usually not).

          Finding out my exMM is a narcissist has helped me understand his lack of empathy. But it does not take away the pain inside I have of having been ignored when I needed him. Or other pains I suffered in the affair. For me the pain pleasure ratio was 50-50 for years. It was up and down all the time. I think when the pain started being MORE than the pleasure is when I started wanting out.

          Mine hardly ever apologized. (Only once in awhile if he was truly trying to seduce me back in.). And it used to work too! Don’t feel badly if you respond to some of your exMM’s emotional gestures with new kind feelings towards him. Sometimes, after having been starved enough of emotional affirmations I would treat any small emotional crumb from my exMM as a real treat to be savored! This is the nature of some affairs like mine where the partner is so self-oriented.

          When you talk about your exMM’s feelings towards your H I just chalk that stuff up to the same jealousy so many of us feel in affairs. We are not secure in affairs so we get jealous and do not want interference from the spouse of course!

          If you know you are done this is best for you because it is clear to you and to him. The waffling back and forth is what I did and that got very messy and trying. It is MUCH better if you can be strong enough to decide and then to stick to your decision. Your exMM does not seem to offering you much in my opinion. Now that you are single you do not need to get stuck in a no-win situation where there is no future for you. My two cents!

          Hang in there and stay strong Hope!
          xoxo BAF

        • Felk

          Hope, I’m glad you got to say all of this to your MM. These endings are rarely easy and clear-cut, and we often have things we want to say to the other as we end. I also think it’s kind to your MM to give him these reasons, if he is asking. Not that you owe him anything, but it might help give you both some closure if you feel you’ve said all you need to say. With your MM saying that he didn’t realize how hard it was for you, one thing I’m noticing with you, Lois, and in my own situation (and probably others on here) is that we probably don’t say as much about how hard it is during the affair as we should. In my situation and Lois’ situation, we are dealing with MM who express the struggles such that it seems to give us little room to express our concerns. I’m not blaming the MM. I’m saying that I made this choice not to express as much… because I felt I could handle it, because I didn’t want to burden him more (and was scared if I did, he’d be too overwhelmed and end it), and because I didn’t want to “waste” time talking about the problems when we had so little time as is. Of course, I said many things over the years, as it sounds you did, too, but it also sounds like we hold a lot in to our detriment. Whether we think we need to look strong, whether it’s fear that our MM won’t handle our concerns well, or whether it’s simply that we don’t think it’s our place to complain given that we’re not in a “real” relationship, we keep so much in. And it’s no good. I thought I was doing what was best for the relationship, but I should have expressed more and I’m trying to do that now with my MM. I’m trying to be more direct about how I feel (for example, telling him it made me nauseated when he had to cancel plans last week). It was scary to tell him that, but I wanted him to know that this is a physical/emotional thing for me, too. I know he knows that, but he’s also said things through the years about how the affair seemed easier for me and how I seemed to handle it all better. Many times I told him that I wasn’t sure that I handled it better and that maybe I just kept more quiet about my concerns (or maybe I really did handle it better), but he had the view that I handled it better because I was more quiet about it. And I think it made him feel a little lonely in his struggles at times, too. Like I was handling it all fine, and here he was struggling and wondering why I wasn’t struggling more? I’d tell him I was, but because I didn’t express it as openly and with as much angst as he did, he thought it was easier on me.

          As for your MM’s comments that you’re struggling to understand about you keeping him young and about your H’s interference, I wouldn’t put too much weight on them. He’s reacting to a lot of things you’re saying, and it sounds like he’s feeling sad/hurt that you don’t want the affair to continue, too. I think he’s trying to understand your reasoning (as we all try to understand the other) so that he can maybe find some peace and let go… or, as BAF says, so he can try to win you back. I think his comments about your H’s interference are just the typical jealousy in these situations (or honesty about the complications in these situations), but it could also be a little that he’s shifting the blame to you. It may be a coping mechanism for him. It’s not cool, but my MM also had a way of shifting “blame” to me at times when I was upset about something he did. It’s just a little hard to know what your MM meant by that comment without more context, but my guess is that he was just trying to rationalize a bit given the news that you wanted to cut off all contact with him. It sounds like he was trying to convince himself that it wouldn’t have worked between you two anyway because of your H. It sounds self-protective so he can feel better about the affair ending.

          I know it is hard, but I HOPE you can stay strong. It will be hard to cut this person out of your life, especially while you’re going through other hard changes right now, but it sounds like you’re making positive steps to do this. Focusing on your kids, going to therapy, trying to find a mum’s group that works for you. As usual, try to go at your pace and make decisions to reach the goals that you want. I’m trying to do the same. I want a more open and honest relationship with my MM. I want better (and maybe a little more… but it doesn’t have to be a lot more) communication. We talk well, but I think we can do better. So, next week we’re getting together to have some open and honest talking, and I hope I can stay strong and ask him for what I need (and also really hear what he needs).

        • TTSP

          Hi Hope,
          I feel like you were telling my story when you talked about the excruciating pain caused by lavish vacations, holidays spent with families, sleeping in bed with someone else and the “we” everything. Mine would use the excuse that she is like any other family member and it isn’t romantic at all. I told him that did not quell my pain one iota. Quality time is everything and she gets all of the love, time, attention, resources, money. I left out the money part but like you I resented not receiving gifts, flowers, dinners. I also never got an I love you. Maybe that was for the best. I think you also told me your mm never verbalized the words to you either. If that doesn’t cut to the core…The whole arrangement sucked and I never regretted divulging the soul murdering aspects of the affair. He accused me of lashing out and while I took ownership of my role, free will and accusatory, aggressive approach, I meant what I said. He apologized profusely and put forward his perspective on the pain he had faced throughout. It’s crappy for pretty much everyone in the web.

          Do you now feel a sense of closure by opening up so completely? Going no contact isn’t easy especially since he was in some part an emotional support system. The good news is you only have to think about each day as they arrive. What are your daily goals and what are the tasks at hand. That’s what matters. Also, you have two beautiful girls that are gifts from God and they will fill your soul with love. I try not to think about forever and set small targets to achieve like a week or two. What you said about the gaslighting or what I call “flipping the script”, seems to be a male trait I’ve dealt with from several men. They take your grievance and turn it around to make you out to be the villain. I think Felk put it nicely that they shift blame. For instance, I at one point said that I felt used to replace the sex he wasn’t having at home. He turned that into a character assault instead of apologizing for making me feel badly and reassuring me that our relationship was more than sex. It’s incredibly selfish, master manipulative behavior. Good people can still do bad things including me when emotions are running rampant. It happens to be a pet peeve of mine because it invalidates my feelings and acts as negative reinforcement for open communication.

          You are very strong and seem to be doing all the healthy things to take an active role in shaping your destiny and building a positive life for yourself.

    • Felk

      Hope, I’m glad you told the therapist about your affair. It sounds like you also shared other good honesty that is important in getting to healing. With regard to talking about the affair, it’s not only something that you know you need help getting through but it’s something that you haven’t been able to talk about much with anyone. I don’t know if you had any friends you told about it, but, if not, talking to us on here isn’t much. Sure, it’s helpful but it’s not the same as pouring your heart out to a therapist. It’s not the same as really talking about everything you’re feeling and thinking about the affair, and, as we’ve said on here at times, that’s one of the hardest parts… that you can’t talk about it with other people. I have a friend who knows about the affair, but she’s tired of talking about it over six years so I don’t talk about it much anymore and then it can be hard dealing with it all alone (and that’s why I came on here!).

      It also sounds good that you told your MM that you need a break and that the friendship is too difficult right now. I know it’s hard for him to understand because he’s not the one who wants the break, but I assume he also “understands” at some level why you need space. I hope he respects that, but, if not, I hope you’re able to stick to the distance. When you get to the point of the relationship bringing more pain than happiness, that’s a pretty good sign that something needs to change. I’m glad you’re taking those steps. Those really difficult steps. And I like what you write about the addiction and how, unless we really take distance from the affair, our brain will continue to feed that addiction by reading old texts or emails or just going to happy memories. I know I did that A LOT at the beginning of the break up… especially the happy memories part. I’d get lost thinking about the good times, and it was so painful to “snap out” of those memories into reality. I finally got to the point where I stopped myself from doing that. I stopped lingering on the good memories. I’d allow myself to have some, but I’d cut them off pretty quickly and I’d remind myself of the bad things, too. Just as it sounds like you’re doing with making a list of all the bad. It takes conscious effort to get over the affair. It is not so simple as to say time will heal. Time helps, but it’s time plus conscious distance that is really the key. Obviously, I wasn’t able to do it as my MM and I are back in something, but the conscious distance after he tried to end us a year and a half ago really did help calm down the addiction.

      But this is one of the reasons I want to have a serious talk with my MM. We’ve set aside some time for it soon, but it’s a long time coming. I know that there are still a lot of times I feel bad in this affair and I need to be honest with him about how his behavior is contributing. Even though he and I have had these talks before about the lowered communication over this last year and how he needs that to maintain the balance between the two relationships, I’m ready to be more direct about what I need. I am okay with much of the lowered communication (and I understand there are compromises we make in affairs), but sometimes it’s too low. Sometimes it doesn’t feel consistent and fair, considering that we are still in an affair, he’s still kissing and touching me at times, and he’s still telling me lovely things about how I’m the one for him.

      The other very hard thing I want to be honest about is the jealousy I feel about other women at work. This is a complicated/delicate conversation as I do not want him to feel accused of anything and I also don’t want him to feel that he can’t have friendships with other women. It is simply that, in an affair and especially with our lower communication now, it can allow for some insecurity that can be fueled by hearing other women at work mention texting him or something like that. I’m still not entirely sure how I’m going to bring this up because I know that I wouldn’t want my MM suggesting I couldn’t have friendships with other men at work, but I also know that jealousy is something that gets to him (and he doesn’t say it) and it’s something that gets to me and I’ve been quiet about it, too. I think it’s something that we don’t say out loud because we’re both trying to respect the other’s right to have friends, but I think we’re not acknowledging how a little reassurance can go a long way it letting the other know there is nothing to worry about. It seems a good idea to bring up, but I know that jealousy conversations are delicate so I’m a little hesitant here. Generally, though, I think I’ve erred on the side of not bringing things up either because I didn’t think it was my place or I didn’t have that right because it was an affair or because I was scared of his response or because I didn’t want to “waste” time on hard things; so, it’s that idea that I’ve “erred” in not bringing up more of these things sooner, before they fester, that is making me want to say something now.

      But back to you. Surrounding yourself with close others and distracting yourself with social activities is a good suggestion. I know I went out of my way to do this after my break up, and I’ve now created a really close friendship with someone at work that likely wouldn’t have happened had I not been looking to distract myself from my break up and create positive social experiences to help me heal. I’m sorry that your Mums group seems a bit discriminatory. It’s hard enough dealing with your affair and now you have to deal with discrimination on top of it! But good for you for pushing a little and asking to be included (although it sounds like maybe the organizer still isn’t including you). I’m sorry you have to deal with that. And I know you’re saying that your friends are busy with work and their lives, but, if they’re your friends, they will be there for you, too. Try not to be scared to reach out, and you never know how much a friend might be looking for someone to talk to, too. Just keep giving yourself time, try not to be hard on yourself for change not happening quickly, and keep making conscious choices to do behaviors to help you heal.

    • Nomad

      Hope, let’s be hopeful. I have also come to terms that it is not working. He is overdue in my life. I feel sad whenever I think about him, hear from him. I do not want to deal with jealousy, anxiety, insecurity, his guilt (conveniently became a legit excuse for his withdrawal) and I told him most of all, I do not trust him and I do not believe him. That is the deal breaker.

      You really need to give up the time, space and emotions wasted on him and channel them to someone worthy. This someone could be your family (100% worthy), your boss, or your work who could give you recognition, appreciation and monetary rewards like a good performance bonus. It is hard to quit an addiction. It is still hard for me but compared to a year ago, I became more sober and receptive to reality. Why do you need him? are you better of with him? does he really love you or you keep finding excuses for him? can you compartmentalise and balance between fantasy and reality (family, job, aging body, health etc.)? You definitely must try to calm down the addiction with time and space in order to find yourself and assess the situation. If I can do it, so can you Hope! I am not 100% done as you might have read that I caved in after his last poem whereby he said something like his love has grown deeper for me, he was crazy for and still is (mid Feb), not sure about now after I chased him away again.

      Counselling didn’t quite help me. They key takeaway from the counsellor was, all affairs would end somehow, all affairs are fantasy. I have eceived no instructions to heal a broken heart. For me, it was his withdrawal (since Jun 2017) and hearing rumours about him preying on others (last Aug) that broke my heart to the rock bottom. At that point, it was either I ended my life because I have wasted so much or I reborn. I tried the latter by deciding to quit and deciding to start paying back to my boss and my job for those times that I couldn’t function at all in the office. Definitely his mia helped. That 90 days helped. I didn’t expect him to return. Nothing has actually changed when he returned. He so-call return was exactly what Felk’s mm was doing. I couldn’t accept. It wasn’t what I wanted from him – affection, attention, romantic love. I told him if he couldn’t be sweet with words, then don’t bother to text me like he would to a colleague asking about how’s life, how’s the weather and have a nice day. I have deleted his poems. I left no trace of us.

      Seriously, ask yourself, are you better off with or without him. I know you are trying to surround yourself with people so you don’t feel sad about everything that has happened in life. Just come here, we are here. If you can’t bond with the Moms, so be it. Don’t let them add to the heartache that you are trying to deal with. I know because I was isolated by colleagues, especially during the darkest days where they shunned me because I looked horrible, I looked negative and depressed. But now, things have improved a little, they asked me for lunch once! Give yourself time ok? if you can give mm so much time and chances, why not yourself and the real people that you live with. Focus on your girls and yourself. Set realistic goals like eating regularly, eating nutritiously, sleep well, sleep enough, just that for the time being.

      Hugs and stay hopeful!

  • lois

    Update: MM and I still have not been able to make connections. I have been upset to find out that female co-worker who used to work with him has been texting him and he is planning to meet with all of us for drinks. I am tired of trying for the both of us. Here is what I am thinking about sending him but will probably wait a few days to let my emotions calm down. I have not spoken with him since Monday. What do think? I do not want to come across as being jealous or needy. Someone at work told me things which has bothered me. I have marked out names for obvious reasons. The situation is talking about the friend who betrayed me and had affair with him that caused him to lose job.

    After reflecting upon things, I should have discussed the things **** said with you instead of trying to deal with it on my own. Obviously, I have not done so well as it has remained somewhat in the back of mind. Like you, I have learned to internalize things which isn’t always a good thing. It’s difficult for me to admit when my feelings have been hurt as to me it shows weakness and vulnerability. I’ve always considered myself to be a strong person. Lately, it seems like I’m slipping backward because I allowed myself to get too involved and trusted the wrong people. Although I am friends with many people, there are only a few who have managed to break down my barrier. The situation with **** has weighed heavily on my heart and have been really hurt. She was my friend. I had grown fond of her children especially ****. In the back of mind, I knew she had issues but don’t we all. I respected **** and believed he would never betray his word. It was difficult to do what I felt was right and was emotionally torn. I tried to stop all of it and felt like I had failed everyone. Then, the situation with **** happened and once again found myself being hurt. During all of this, I was struggling with my own issues at home, worrying about you and the possibility of our situation being found out and/or ending. It’s been overwhelming at best . However, I would have not done things any differently and don’t regret doing the right thing. My mom taught us to look beyond a person’s faults as we all them but try to find the good. Unfortunately, what happened with the **** situation caused me to doubt the good in people and **** seemed to reinforce my mistrust. However, I can’t let what happened change me and neither should you. There’s no doubt you were wronged but nothing can change what happened. Unfortunately, **** will probably continue to be a bitter person while blaming everyone else for her unhappiness. In the end, we have been hurt and you have suffered more than one person should have to endure. With all of my heart, I hope we can put all of this in the past and that you take this opportunity with your new job to get back that part of you that was taken. I am hopeful things will get better for the both of us. Although I have enjoyed having you in my life, I had not given it much thought until a few weeks ago when you commented that you understood if things were too much for me because of my anxiety issues. Then last week you misunderstood my bitmoji and thought I had given up on us. We have not been in a good place for awhile and have needed to talk about things. I admit last week you did put forth an effort to make that happen and it meant a great deal to me. However, it was after a weekend of ignored texts and unanswered questions along with issues at home. I just mentally was not in a good place. Although I kicked myself in the butt, I think it was for the best that we did not meet because I have been able see things with less emotion and have realized how much of me has been given in this relationship or whatever you want to call it. I feel for the most part I have been very understanding about our situation and have not expected you to put me before your family. However, I cannot and will not take a backseat to other people especially when I have asked for weeks to have time to just talk about things. We have not been together since the first of December. Yet, you can manage time and commit to going out with of all us. I am not a jealous person but please put yourself in my shoes. I get that you are going through troublesome times and have truly tried to be understanding and supportive. I am dealing with my own issues as well as health concerns, so I understand life happens and sometimes we do not handle our feelings well. I just do not have in me anymore to put forth the effort for the both us. If I thought things would change, I may feel differently but do not see it happening. I am tired of having my feelings hurt and tired of being hurt. I am tired of thinking about things and not sleeping because it is weighing on my mind. I am tired of wondering and guessing about your feelings as you say I am important yet, your actions speak differently. I just do not know anymore and feel you no longer need me in your life. Thus, it is with a heavy heart that it is best we do not continue our relationship, so we can both move on and hopefully find peace as well as happiness.

    • Felk

      Lois, it is a powerful letter, especially the end, of course. I think that you are fair and honest and vulnerable, but, most important, you are direct about how this is not working for you. I have many times composed this letter in my head to my MM (and, yes, have even typed it out once or twice over the years) and have not yet been able to bring myself to send it. Although I know there are differences in all of our situations, I have seen many similarities between your MM and my MM, and much of what you say to him resonates with me. As we have talked about for a long time now, the hardest part for you and me has always been that we are certain we want the affair but we are with MM who seem to struggle with making that decision (although they cling to the affair and cannot seem to let it go). We have struggled to understand why our MM have so much difficulty deciding to be in the affair, but the bottom line is that they do. Whatever the reason is, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that they are struggling and that struggle translates to pain for us (as it leads them to go MIA). And it is not that we are not sympathetic to that struggle, but it is simply that some situations have too much pain for a person to bear and maybe you have reached your limit?

      And that part of your letter where you say you have been trying to find a time to get together with him for over two months yet he can find the time to get together for drinks with everyone? Oh, do I know that frustration. SO many times during my affair did I feel that my MM was making choices for time with others when he knew that time could have been spent with us. Most of the time, I was able to remind myself that he is allowed to have a life and that going out with a group or with a buddy (the truth) is always a better story for his W than going out with me (and having to lie). But sometimes, the hurt feelings crept in when it felt like he could have made himself available for me and he didn’t. Ultimately, it’s not that your MM is finding time for this group drinking and not you. It’s that it’s one example of the many times it’s felt like he has not found time for you. Also, I like how you phrase that part about how he did offer to find time to meet last week but how it didn’t work for you. You cannot be expected to be available the ONE time he asks for time with you, especially if, emotionally, you know it will not go well for you. But I think you tell him that very honestly and it takes away his, “Well, I tried to get us together last week!” excuse. He has not done enough. Do not kick yourself for not jumping at the crumb he threw to you. Give yourself credit for taking care of yourself first.

      I hope you can send this email. I hope this e-mail is intended as the compassionate ending it sounds like and that it is not an attempt to make your MM fight for your relationship or convince you that he does want your relationship. I guess I still do hear that a little at the end of your letter. And I only say this because I worry about it prolonging the pain for you if you are sending this letter with hope that it will be the thing that gets him to show he wants you. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with one last-ditch effort and, if it doesn’t work, maybe it what you need to really be done. I believe pretty strongly in fighting as much as you want to fight as long as it still feels worth it and it’s not hurting you (too much) to fight. We all have different limits and different situations. You have to do it your way so that you can feel good about your decision and so that you can know you did everything you possibly could to make it work. As always, after you send this e-mail and after giving him a short period of time to respond (which it seems you want), I would go NC. Give yourself time and distance to calm down the addiction.

    • BAF

      Lois I think this is a very powerful letter. In fact I think it is two letters. The second one begins with “Although I have enjoyed having you in my life….” This is of course my opinion. It seems to me that everything after these words is very powerful and entails the intimate relationship between you and he only. Would you consider sending this part alone I wonder? This out that mentions only you and him? I am simply posing the question so you can think about this.

      The first section talks about the issue of xxxxxxx and her betrayal etc and I think it is less important for him to hear than the second part. I say this only because the first part concern you and him and others. Where the second part is only about you and him. You have been trying to make the emotional room for just the two of you since Dec 1 and even earlier. It has been so hard for you. So why not respect that need in yourself by sending him something about you and he only? The other affair he had and his firing really are not your issues at all as I see it. They are his to take care of. Yes I know you worked together. But he is an adult. You have your won troubles.

      You have been kind and so generous in your ability to help him with those issues, And he no doubt appreciates you for it. But his problem (from your perspective) has been in his reluctance to giving weight and importance to the relationship between the two of you. One you have put enormous time and care into. So I would think about sending the second half separately. Just my two cents. You deserve it.

      Finally this”. “Thus, it is with a heavy heart that it is best we do not continue our relationship, so we can both move on and hopefully find peace as well as happiness.” You can leave off this line of you feel you are not truly ready. It is a break up statement as you know. If you wish, you can simply end with the words “in your life” and then let him respond if you wish. Then when he responds you can have the last sentence ready if you need it. Just a thought. There is much at stake emotionally here for you. Do things the way YOU need them to be.
      warmly BAF
      xoxo

    • lois

      Hey, Felk and BAF. Thank you, thank you, thank you…I really appreciated your opinions and suggestions. I have not sent the letter and going to wait a few more days to let my emotions calm even more. This was not meant as a last attempt…I am tired of feeling this way. I had not texted him since Monday and it is now Thursday mid-day. MM texted last night that he had buried all week and hoped all was well. I did not respond. My H and I had a huge fight and was not in the mood for dealing with men. Then, MM texted again at 7:30 am good morning…I replied about 2 hours later same here with smiley face. I have been busy with work all day. I did send a follow up text hoping work was going well and thanked him for checking in. Honestly, I was hesitant to even do that much because I do not want to get sucked back in again. He may very well be busy but my mind cannot take all of it especially with having issues with my H. I deserve to treated better by both MM and H…so I am aggravated and think it is best to calm my emotions and really think about things. When I send the letter, I want it to be about standing up for myself not based on emotions of anger, hurt, loneliness or the affair addiction..if that makes sense. I taken things into consideration and it helps to hear things from others because it puts things in different perspectives. Felk, you are right and it is easier for him to be honest about his whereabouts by having drinks with co-workers as opposed to making a lie to meet me. BAF, I have removed the first half of the letter and will wait for a few days to send it. I figured it would give me a chance to think, re-read and modify if need be…just want to do it for the right reason. I really appreciate you ladies…THANK YOU!

      • BAF

        Lois glad I could help you. I think you are very wise to wait and let your emotions cool down. Yes, Very wise. You say you want to stand up for yourself and by all means I support you in that. Whether it is with your H or with your MM, standing up means so much to your self esteem no doubt.
        I am the same way. What you have to figure out is this: Are your trying to stand up for yourself and be heard? Or are you done trying to be heard and you are also done with the affair? Or if you are heard then are you willing to stay in the affair?
        I ask these questions deliberately as they are two very different things. And no doubt your MM will “try” to say he hears you (even if he exaggerates).

        I found in my affair that my frustration with not being heard grew to such a level that I felt I would explode. My exMM was just so bad at hearing me sometimes. I would often leave him in total frustration and anger.
        However when he would try to hear me out I would tend to soften and to get re-involved with him as a new level of trust would be formed. (Or so I would think). Then he would tune me out all over again anew and the whole thing would start all over again.
        For me, not feeling heard was a huge deal. Of course I was dealing with a narcissist. And was raised by one. And finally I know what a trigger that is for me. I realized not being heard is really a huge deal for ME regardless of who I am dealing with but especially in the affair. In a love affair not being heard to me is super painful.
        You might find some things about yourself like this out too and then be able to better assess what your needs are right now. And what you ought to do.
        Hugs BAF

      • Felk

        Lois, like BAF said, I think it’s a good idea to wait to calm your emotions a bit before sending the letter. Although emotions can inform, they can also lead us to act in ways that we regret. So, I’m definitely not saying ignore your emotions, but also try not to act impulsively based on them (and I don’t think you are). As BAF has been saying, too, I think sending an “end” email is pretty different from sending an email that simply wants to voice your feelings (and be heard). I do think you can voice your feelings AND end it, but I also think you also have to distinguish those motives for yourself first. Are you trying to end the affair with this e-mail? End it on your terms (explaining what did not work for you)? Or are you trying to see if he is willing to do the things that aren’t working for you? It honestly sounds like a little of both. 🙂 I get it. I know how hard it is to end these affairs, but there is also a lot of power and strength in ending it on your terms and being done (as BAF and TTSP have done). You have tried in almost every way to make this work. You have asked your MM so many times to get together, and it still seems like he makes little effort to do that. Even his text “checking in” is sucking you back in to the emotional turmoil… but sucking you back in to what? An affair where you wait and hope for him to act and he hasn’t. I guess the question is if you are done waiting. And you know I don’t say that to be harsh. I say that to try to help offer perspective (and to help me look at my own situation honestly). The affair is clearly taking an emotional toll on you and your marriage. Not to say that your H is treating you well, but you know when you’re emotionally spent from your affair, it can leak over into your marriage.

        I think we can also ignore that emotional toll, to our detriment. You and I have talked about how we could “handle” the affair better than our MM, but can we? Maybe they’re just more honest about the emotional toll and aren’t willing to put up with it, while we are willing to put up with it? But should we? I’ve said this before, but when my MM said our affair was unhealthy back in Sept 2017, I knew he was right. I hadn’t said that word out loud before, but it was unhealthy… emotionally and physically. The ups and downs do a number on our physiology and it’s no good. And why are we willing to endure that stress on our body? And this limbo period that you’re in is probably even worse for you emotionally than the affair. The affair is hard enough, but this waiting/hoping/anxious/sad period you’re in? Takes an even bigger toll, I think. I say a lot of this in hindsight as it was hard for me to be honest about it when I was in the thick of the affair. Now, I pay a lot more attention to the physical signals my body is giving me about the stress and how it probably means that something needs to change. I’m sure you’re already thinking about these sorts of things, too, but maybe we downplay how much the stress is affecting us and think we can tough it out (when either we can’t or we shouldn’t).

  • Nomad

    Dear All who still remember me…(Felk, Lara, TTSP, Hope, Lois, LifeLesson…)

    I am back after a 6 months hiatus and while I couldn’t catch up with all of you, I did read the recent ones from Felk, Lara, TTSP and Lois. I came here around the same time as Felk, Lara and TTSP? sometime in Jun 2017.

    My last post here was near end Aug 2018 after the ugliest fight with mm but that wasn’t the darkness period, rather, it was an awakening period for me. The darkest period was when I first came here, couldn’t function at home and at work, I totally lost myself watching mm withdrawing himself and crushing my life. We nc for 90 days until the 90th day, a day before I left for my year end holiday, he rang my desk, which I thought his number wouldn’t flash across my caller id on my desk phone anyone. He somehow found out that I was leaving the country the next day for 3 weeks. He himself was also going away for 10days to Japan, a gesture that I had imagine him pampering his W by spending a bomb to fulfill her wish of going further and a more expensive trip and also to celebrate his birthday. During the 90 days of zero contact, I thought this was the end. With each passing day, I was convinced this was the end.
    (Recap: I heard from others that he was physically close, flirted and preyed on my ex-supervisor during a company drinking function, second time I “caught” him “cheated” on me and of course he denied, denied commenting on her profile picture and how much he liked her in her outfit, her pose, and staring at her alluringly and at the same time I received a whatsapp from him saying he wished I was there, he was drinking and feeling alone. Those who were there said that he was behaving abnormally high and flirtatious. Upon hearing this, I confronted him and we had the most furious and ugliest argument over whatsapp. He felt insulted and that I was possessive and he was sick of me not believing him. I blocked him until late Oct as I have this tendency to forget the bad and the sufferings after some cooling period and I found out that i was actually being blocked too. There was no need to block him because he didn’t reach out for 90 days)

    Why did I say it was awakening during the 90 days. Out of sight may not be totally out of mind, I still think of him every day, but what i had experienced was what TTSP had experienced, gradually we accepted that the affair is bad for us, we must let go and move on, enough is enough. We made effort to stop wasting our time and emotions. I worked hard to distract myself and decided to work VERY hard to pay back the time and opportunities that I have lost at work since Jun 2017 (when he started to withdraw after the honeymoon period, lost interest and reality of life sank in). My work performance suffered. I couldn’t eat, sleep and function. I couldn’t go out. I was intoxicated and addicted. I couldn’t find the reason to live another day. I just want him back at the expense of my self respect, self love and dignity. I let him come and go as he wished. He pushed his boundary and each time I accepted it. Communications dwindled, no more addressing me baby and it was unnatural for him to say he loved me even though I asked. He was totally cold and distant, not even crumbs. I have no answers to many questions and was in denial that it wasn’t love although his actions were clear. He chose not to be open but evasive. I spent most of 2018 blocking him – weeks in Jan, Feb, Mar, mid may to whole of June, end Aug to mid Dec. Communication came to a total breakdown and I realised I do not miss him but I missed who I thought he was. The real him was cruel and selfish to me. I do not feel his love but lust. Fast forward, thanks to him for “dumping” me for 90 days, I bounced back. I have achieved much more at work and gained recognition from bosses and was given more opportunities to grow and shine. I did it and am very proud of what I have achieved at work. Having said that, I still think of him every day. Just that I grew to accept the reality over time and I must not waste time and emotions on a worthless mm. It was never easy to quit an addiction. I do not know where did i gather the strength to push on. I just lived. I just worked non-stop, weekends and sleeping 2-3 hrs turning myself into workaholic. I found new goal to achieve (more bonus? good performance rating? promotion? learn new things?) and accepted that he is gone and my life as busy but boring. In short, I survived because I have realised, accepted and decided. I started living and just be. I quit all social media and stopped coming here. I was very much alone and adapting to being alone. H and I were normal, as family as close friend, I have accepted that we no longer have passion or romance in our marriage but I want to appreciate the security and the compassion and living with H till death do us apart. I can count on him to grow old and fat together. He would kiss my forehead when I was sleeping. He would say he loves me very much when we cuddle. My mistake was I keep focusing on things that I do not have and taking my blessings for granted. For 90 days, I lived a normal and mundane life but was real, down to earth and peaceful.

    Just when I thought life is what it is, he rang me the day before I departed. We met and I was holding back my emotions and words, I hid well. Obviously he missed me. He wished me safe trip. After my return we met before Xmas. He didn’t wish me on Xmas and New Year. I was angry and hurt. I made a new year resolution on the eve to stop the affair and so I blocked him everywhere. He rang my desk and I didn’t pick up. He MIA for 1 week in Jan and then he started to call my desk, from once every few days to few times a day. He was persistent and I thought he turned mad desperately trying to hunt me down. He has handed over all his projects so he has no reasons to come to my office anymore. I felt safe. In the past, I would cave in the moment I saw him appearing at my desk. He ever said hurtful things like no need to unblock him, he liked the peace and he got used to me blocking him. In apr 2018 day before my study trip, we met for coffee and he looked into my eyes telling me it’s over. He did not explicitly address why he was withdrawing but I know he couldn’t cope with my jealousy, anxiety, insecurity, felt guilty for ruining my life (?), unable to meet my high expectations (I have settled for much much much less by then, like Felk’s story, we could whatsapp for hours every day, we couldn’t get enough of each other, meeting lunch every other day, stealing kisses every corner, and then it started to go downhill till desultory text like “have a nice day” once every few days and totally missing on weekends).

    Fast forward, I failed my new year resolution. After my trip, we met twice in the room and I was so insulted and felt used when he refused to come even though we were near climax and he was already bursting at the brim (he didn’t want to enter me, he didn’t want to come, reasons? he felt guilty and he would mia if he come inside me. I couldn’t understand his logic. For the first time, I stormed off the room leaving him dressing up and checking out. I said to him, I am sick of dealing with his guilt and being tricked to respond by merely few missed calls which does not mean love but NOTHING. I told him it is unacceptable to come and go as his wish. I am not a convenient store and I am not easy. Don’t take advantage of him and don’t come back just because he is free and he is bored. I am not an object. I stormed off but cry no tears. (Throughout I was still blocking him from new year eve till mid Jan) Apparently, he ignored my words, he confidently knew that I would be there with open arms to take him back. He would mia when he couldn’t handle, he would withdraw and be back when he missed me enough and when he started to enter his fantasyland. He has proven time and again that when he wanted to pursue me, he could do it effortlessly (yes calling me few times a day for few weeks were effortless because he could just dial my no and try his luck isn’t it? TRYING HIS LUCK)

    So, where am I now? After I have stormed off on 15 Jan, i totally ignored him, his attempts to call my desk few times a day and I turned off the ringer, pull off the cord. I worried he might find reasons to turn up at my office but he didn’t. Then he started to email me asking me to unblock him and hear him out. I ignored. I blocked him on office IM also. But starting from 4 Feb, he left me a voicemail asking me to hear him out. Email and voicemails are tactics that he didn’t used for a long long time (last used Dec 2017). Starting from 5 to 12 Feb he started sending emails to my personal email. He wrote few poems and his emails would come after 11pm. There was one that came in at 5.30am Sun telling me he has been checking if I have unblocked him. Let me share 3 poems – his very first on 4 Feb and his last on 12 Feb (last because i caved after receiving the last poem). First received after he left a voicemail “As I sat alone, you’ve been on my mind, reaching out to you, reaching within, Yes, it is still you” “please unblock me, let me speak to you”; second reads “Need to hug the woman so close, need to kiss the woman so dear, for the seasons come and go, the feelings stay so near”; his last reads “A word, that brings back the memories of past and present we created. A thought, that remembers the love that has grown deeply for you, and you grew to have for me. Locked eyes, that tells the tale of two islands, bridging with heart and soul. Locked lips, the unspoken feelings that brewed from the warmth of the softness. I was crazy for you, you were crazy for me. Heart pounding day and night, subsiding only when we meet in the middle and in the heart-filling nights. I still am, today, crazy for you.” I lost. I was swayed. But I resisted to respond. On 13 Feb, he emailed me at work asking me if I read all his emails sent to my personal account and if we could meet on 14 Feb. I called him and we spoke for an hour. I told him I am better off without him and I do not want us anymore. He asked what must he do so that we can compromise and he still cannot let me go. I wasn’t happy to hear this honestly. I felt that I am being sucked back to the black hole. He said we should meet to talk. Perhaps I was under the dizzy spell of VD, we met and we had sex (6 months later). He thought he has done his job of getting me back. I thought that was the most romantic parting gift. I didn’t block him since then. Every day, he would make effort to whatsapp me once “hope you have a great day at work”. Today I snapped. I replied “don’t bother to whatsapp me if you cannot be loving, natural and different from a colleague, I am really better off without your crumbs. If this is at best, your best effort, and what I have to accept then I rather choose not to. I am sorry that you cannot meet my minimum expectation even though you must be trying so hard. You are cold and distant and I do not feel you outside the room. I no longer want this miserable pathetic attachment to you. It works for you but not me. NOthing has changed. Time and distance taught us different thing. I became more sober whereas you re-entered the fantasyland, imagine all the good things about us until you meet up with me, your fantasy bubble will burst when I started to drain you with questions, why did you, how could you etc.” He replied “not at best. love you, miss you not because it was VD. Sorry I had to rush some work, let me address, pl give me some time” NOw, his standard reply has always been “let me address, let me digest, let me internalise, pls give me some time to address” but he almost never get back and conveniently left it unaddressed. Then for the rest of the day, he went away.

    Just when I was typing here (near midnight), his text popped in asking me how’s my day. Again, he said pl give him next few days to address, thoughts are formulating. I replied “i no longer need any explanation or address if you agree to part for real. Just stop and you may go. I have given you at least a year” he replied “Negative” (implying I am being negative). I replied “Goodbye”

    How I wish he could love as I enjoyed falling in love with him. He can be naughty and fun if he wants to. Busy is a lame excuse. My fault that I caved in time and again. But I am also mindful to keep going, keep detaching so that I can restore my sanity, peace of mind, self respect bit by bit. I am convinced that i could achieve and gain much more without this addiction. YOu really need time and distance for a change. I was left with no choice but thanks to him by giving me no choice and so much pain, I decided to turn the pain into power and become better. Today, the worst is over but he is not exactly making it any easier for me. The difference, I no longer care about how he feels and am no longer trap in the fear that he would leave if I am vulnerable and truthful. I refuse to compromise and accept what is against my heart. Of course, i will be sad and grieve if he is back after a few days telling me he has decided to leave for good, because he cares about me and my wellbeing, so he agrees to leave for good, then he would wish me well, take care and other cliche parting words. Perhaps when that happens, I will be here and please cheer for me that he has set me free…

    • Felk

      Nomad, of course we remember you! I’m glad you were able to take a break from this site, and it’s good to get an update from you. But I’m sorry to hear that you’re still going through it with your MM. It sounds like you were able to get a lot of distance from him last year and to put a lot of energy into work. It sounds like that was all very good for you professionally. It’s also so impressive that you went 90 days with NC. That is a long time. You also sound very strong, even though I know you are hurt and angry. It sounds like you were clear to him that he needed to try harder, and it sounds like he was trying with the phone calls and the poems in the email. It sounds like he was really making it difficult for you to be done with him. I understand. When your MM tries that hard and says the right things, I know it is hard to ignore. I can hear that you are still angry that he is not meeting your needs. It sounds like you have told him what you need and he is not doing it? I’m sorry.

      I know he will keep trying for a while. I know he will still keep trying to get you back and he will not make it easy, but I hope you can stay strong if you do not want to be back together with him. I also hope he will just let you be free if that is what you want. It is GREAT that you are no longer trapped in the fear of him leaving. I am sure the 90 days of NC helped with that. As you said, “you need time and distance for change.” It is absolutely true. It was a lot of painful time and distance last year that helped calm down my addiction. My addiction is not over and my MM and I are still doing something, but it feels easier now and the time and distance helped a lot. Your strong words make me want to be stronger with my MM. Thank you for your strength.

    • BAF

      Nomad!! So nice to hear from you! I am BAF now (Brave and Free) the former “Lara”. I read your words with so much understanding and empathy. June 2017 is a while ago right? It has not been easy for any of us here to proceed calmly after these affairs that have gutted us in one way or another. A sad club we are in some ways but strong! And so much wiser! every day.

      I remember well your 90 days and the incident at the very end of it. And before that I remember when you were totally crushed by the affair (your words). You write with great passion whether it is coming from your joy or your despair and I do love reading your words and the way you describe things.

      So first of all if you count all the days last year that you were strong and independent from the days you were totally wrapped up with your MM you will see what enormous progress you made last year! Giving up all social media and focusing on your job gave you new possibilities and successes. This is wonderful to hear and something I too have experienced. Out of my affair I have more successes in my life in my career, in my family, with my friends, and more. Especially on the job and at work I would say. This is because I let the affair consume so much of me mentally and emotionally. Out of the affair I found I could place that energy elsewhere and find success in new areas. In the affair mush I was too drained to properly function often. Sounds like that happened to you too. And your people at work noticed! That is awesome work, Nomad.

      Yet your MM always seems to find a way back to you. (Remember my words, lol?) How convenient it is that he becomes available to you when you are no wanting to be available to him. Affairs are so often cat and mouse games aren’t they?
      It sounds like you were very strong and resolved in your NC periods. Yes in great pain too. But you made it, which tells you how strong you are getting. Brava! Yes when we go NC or when we become less involved in the affairs often a ‘new’ woman seems to crop up, seemingly out of nowhere sometimes. She will catch our attention…this new threat to what we perceive as ‘ours.’ “Is she our replacement?” we will wonder in secret torture. And is she “better than me in some way?” “Does he like her better than me?” We can absolutely torture ourselves with these thoughts. This has happened to me too and many others here I think. Since there are no guarantees in affairs there are no hard and fast rules about affair partners either. This is part of the affair hell is what I think.

      As for you “thinking about him every day” I am afraid, my woman, this comes with the territory of an affair. Even away from them we still have no answers and no proper closure and so our minds reach and reach and twist and bend and reach for some kind of soothing answers for ourselves. Reasons we decided to let go of the affair. Reasons we fell so hard in the affair. Reasons we loved her or him so much and yet still we are apart. And so on. So often there are no such thing as clear thoughts. Only longings and self doubt. And memories.
      That is why I still use this thought: “Made a decision to let go of negative thoughts” so often, and sometimes all day long, to calm my mind.
      I am convinced most affairs are a special kind of emotional hell.

      I think your exMM was trying to perhaps put some of that in words when he was writing the poems to you. Some of it is rather cliche but poem number three would get to me too. He really nails something about the intimate moments in an affair. And how these moments are so hard to replace after we have experienced them in the heat of an affair and then exited the affair.

      And yet, Nomad, to survive you must ignore the poem, and ignore the words. You must move forward and onward or get caught up all over again. It takes so much energy I know.

      It sounds like your exMM has some of the same personality traits as some of the other MM’s here. Distant, aloof, and usually not emotionally available. Until he (they) IS (ARE) available and then boom! We are wanted and badly!

      I guess it is time for me to consider what are my similar traits with others here? If so many of the MM’s are similar does that mean we women have similar traits too I wonder? What about us that got us into the affair situations is similar I wonder?
      To better take care of myself, I think it is time for me to see my role in what happened in my affair that last so long to learn what it is I need to learn. For example: Did I let him push my boundaries? Yes. Did I let him come and go? Yes. Did I “forgive” him again and again hoping things would be get better? Oh hell yes. Did I accept him acting selfish? Yup that too. The hopeful thing I have left now, that I am out of my affair for the past 8 months is this:
      Why did I do that?
      To have some answers about myself would help me love myself better in the future.
      And that is my goal.

      Nomad, you, too, must figure out how to best take care of YOU in this situation. It sounds like you know. You know you need to stay away. And yet you have those moments of doubts just like all of us. Even in the worst case situations like mine (an off and on 21 year affair with a narcissist) I know I will face my inner doubts and my irrational longings to go back to him sometimes. I just cant let myself indulge in that fantasy anymore, however.
      Many hugs to you and best of luck keeping yourself safe!
      BAF (aka Lara)

      • Nomad

        BAF! (I am so used to Lara)
        Thank you so much for your affirmation that I am on the right track. I have deleted his poems. I have clearly spelt out to him to stop reaching out. It is not working. It hurts but it is for my good in long run. I too, can’t let myself indulge in that fantasy anymore. I have woken up actually but his return would feed my fantasy at most a week and I am back to the reality again. I need to block him because it saddens me if he reaches out or not, either way. I wanted him to want me but time and again, he failed my expectations. I do not know why he couldn’t give me what I wanted, it is not that I have asked for the sky. It wouldn’t kill him to give me some verbal assurance? and talk less like a colleague? how else can I continue with desultory message and at one point, I turned into a masochist! Get real, he will not and he cannot give me what I want, so why am I hanging on? When I decided to quit, was I lying to myself? because I am still tempted to go back to him. Gosh, who can make this easier? him? me? Yes I let him push boundaries although I kept telling him not to take me for granted, I am not always there waiting for you with open arms, by now, he knew these are empty threats. Am I really so unforgettable or the love is so deep that he would always return? or is he bored? or he’s back to crawl back his ego and punish me the moment I caved in?

        Did yours reach out in 8 mths? I am a little skeptical because 8 mths is nothing compared to 21 years!!! Do you think yours will be back? I am not 100% sure if I can keep myself safe. FOr now, I need to block him to feel “peaceful” and “safe” so that I can work and sleep, so that I will not wait for his next desultory text like good morning, hope your work is smooth this week.

        Tomorrow is Monday…honestly I would be sad if he didn’t reach out but I will get used to it.

    • TTSP

      Hi Nomad and welcome back. You are an inspiration for me reading about the no contact for such a long period of time. You were able to redirect your energy on your job and advance your career. Congratulations to you on finding the fortitude to fight hard for yourself. You have to believe you got over the biggest hurdle and while he has still caused you some grief and agony, it’ll never be the same as before. I believe once you reach your breaking point and take a concerted effort to reinvent yourself you never truly go back. You may have resumed contact and met up with him but it’ll never bring you down like before. Now you are in control of you.

      Seems like you have also seen all the wonderful aspects of your marriage with a caring husband. I realize the married ladies on here are missing that romantic element and that can’t be easy. I’m sure that is why these mm have invested in other relationships because humans want passion, romance and excitement. All of that aside, it’s still so challenging to get involved with someone that on one hand brings you an immense high but also causes the lowest of lows. Keep in mind that it happens to both parties. Unhealthy situations breed unhealthy behaviors. When people are confident, safe and fulfilled in a relationship they act accordingly. When they aren’t and emotions are running high it brings out the ugliness in all of us. I’m not saying you acted ugly but I had many emotional breakdowns both internally and outwardly. They know what to say and do that sends you writhing with anger and frustration you can’t control. It felt very helpless, hopeless and confounding. You want the feel good they bring so badly but the negative hits you so hard you can’t get off the floor. They’re hot, cold or lord knows where when they disappear. Mine never disappeared but we certainly had knock-down-drag-out fights that left me feeling stripped away down to nothing. The great news for you is you have the power over your emotions, choices and how you respond to him. You took that time away to grow stronger and build yourself up. Yes, if he decides to leave for good you will want him to fight for you. He’s doing you a favor although you may feel rejected. He isn’t rejecting you but the situation. If he does fight for you it’ll lead down the same road. You’re doing better than you give yourself credit. I used to see this as a zero sum game but in the end no one really wins.

      You have given us all hope that if we have to end contact we can do that. You’re a good role model about what we can do when we’re in a dark place.

      • Nomad

        TTSP
        First of all, I really love reading what you have to say each time. Your struggle was somewhat similar to mine – wished to cut him dead but couldn’t.
        Honestly, I am not too proud of my NC for the longest time because in the end I still took his call. I thought I could handle and I could be cool to show him that I have moved on and proven that I am better off without him. I can only say that the worst is over. I have recently figured out that all he needed from me was some mental attachment and imagination. It is not always about sex so he claimed but I still think it is as that is the only thing his W has deprived him. I am not 100% done yet, I am still under his mercy if he tries a little harder (a long poem? but I turned ugly and warned him not to ever try those tricks).

        I feel you “Mine never disappeared but we certainly had knock-down-drag-out fights that left me feeling stripped away down to nothing. ” Again we are both drained. Each time, I think he will not be back. Maybe it is *THIS* time. He would reach a point whereby his fed up also right? it would be easier for him to find someone younger and sexier, no strings attached, less demanding and less insecure.

        I really nailed it when you said “if he decides to leave for good you will want him to fight for you. He’s doing you a favor although you may feel rejected. He isn’t rejecting you but the situation. If he does fight for you it’ll lead down the same road.” I am at this same junction again. It does help to think that he is rejecting the situation. Or he has decided to be kind to me by leaving so that I have no reason to be sad again.

        How’s your situation now?

  • BAF

    TTSP
    I am am answering your 2/16 post up here. Thank you for your condolences. It has not been an easy year for sure. Time and love soften the wounds. But the pain of missing someone who is departed really does not not go away. If the people that love us are there for us during the mourning process, we get through with their support and help and love. And by knowing how much they miss the departed as well. It is more of a group mourning process than leaving an affair partner.

    Leaving am affair partner is dreadfully lonely unless we have real life friends who will support and love us. It is a solitary event with no consolation from the people around us. A secret relationship lives in secret but also dies in secret. The people in our real lives have no knowledge of our pain and sadness or if they know about the relationship, they may have little compassion for us because of the taboo of affairs.

    Yes a narcissist leaves wreckage in his/her path. And yes as an empath I loved believing I could love my exMM back to happiness and part of the wreckage is the loss of that fantasy. Part of what I am dealing with is my own perfectionism and wishing I could have done something differently and better. My mind gets caught sometimes which is why I have to practice my mantras and my slogans. Perfectionism is my enemy in the healing process. Admitting failure and defeat is my friend.

    As for him bringing booze to me, it is a very good example of our former dynamic. I explained many times about recovery to him. But it did not always “register” with him. Sometimes yes and sometimes no. He “half-listened” many times. I just chalked it up to his having a “short” attention span. But this was a wrong assumption. Now I can see he is so self absorbed most of the time that the facts about me didn’t really exist in his head. My role in this was to imagine I could say it better, do it better, so our relationship could improve. I was supremely hopeful about “us”. I was going to “fix” us. Until I wasn’t. Sigh.

    Instead of seeing the red flag that he was not “getting” me, I thought I was not communicating well. As I have said, this kind of dynamic is very old and deep for me. My mother is a narc too. I am “trained” to blame myself deep in my brain. It is my fall-back position. It is a very hard thing to get out of and to repair but I do find I am making progress. Therapy helps of course.

    I do not know what “level” on the scale either one (my exMM and my mother) is as a narcissist. I know my sore point in these relationships is constantly feeling badly for the person and trying to love them into wellness. And always forgiving them. Being patient and kind to a fault. Obviously my own life becomes unmanageable in this process as I too often forget about myself and my needs. And I become an expert at pushing my own needs down to let the other person go “first”.

    Thank you for understanding why I can not stomach the word “love” right now. Love in my life has been quite painful in some of my most intimate relationships. Yet the thought in my head persists that it is me who “failed” not the other person. This does damage to me in addition to the damage that comes with the former. It is a double whammy and self-destructive. But again, I am working on it.

    Getting the narcissist to stay away is kind of simple. I guess I have had a lifetime of practice when I think about it. Number 1 is to stay “neutral” around them and try not to feed their egos (give them any sort of fuel). Acting like I really don’t care is pretty devastating to a narc who is used to me being all soft and caring all the time. Usually when I become neutral; I get a very angry reaction and the narcissist will recede in anger. Narcs prefer any kind of emotional reaction including anger to “neutrality”. But sometimes that does not work. Then I get cruel (option number 2) on purpose if I have to. I might have to say something demeaning. Insulting. I don’t like being this way but I have trained myself to do it in the past half year. I have to be tough and even willing to be cruel. Being kind and loving will never work with the narcissists in my life because this is what they thrive on. (And being loving and so kind is what I thrive on too).

    By the way TGSP, feel free to give me a pep talk! LOL. I can always use it.

    In your case thank God/dess you can work from home! Not seeing him for weeks must be VERY helpful if your goal is putting distance between you so you can properly heal. No contact outside of work sounds extremely sensible. The former communication you were having with him sounds extensive and I have no doubt you are in pain. Scaling back form that kind of contact is so painful. And the trust and friendship built in those moments is no longer there by conscious choice for self preservation. How hard is that?

    But good for you. You are making your own life opportunities more possible by defining what you can and can not tolerate in terms of your contact with him. As far as emotional voids you mention: I do think in affairs we are all very often filling exactly those: emotional voids. With people we are comfortable with for whatever our reasons. This was true of my exMM and me too. So so very true.

    We have our work cut out for us finding the people places and events we want to see and experience outside of the affair, and after an affair ends. The emotional voids persist and we must find another healthier way. I know my FWB will not last forever. But getting back into some kind of social and sexual contact has really helped me not lose myself in sadness. I need to keep one foot in front of the other despite my feelings because I know my nature (which is addictive) and I can become consumed with my feelings and pretty depressed. I am also making a bucket list of things I have always wanted to do right here in my own city and one by one I am doing them! This is helpful too.

    One thing you say I do not understand:
    “I would like to get to a place where I could revel in his “u” and “we” successes.”
    Huh?
    And on the matter of him not able to face you dating. Omg the irony of some of these MM’s! They can cheat on their partners yet can not face some of us with “other” men. I have to smile. How ironic no?
    I can only give you this advice: IGNORE him on that point!
    My exMM is/was the same but you know what? He made his choices. I made mine. Simple. Your MM made his choices. You are a SW and now you must make yours too. It is not only your right but your responsibility. I think affairs for SW’s can sometimes derail us from our life purposes because the affairs consume us so much emotionally and mentally. Make the choice to lead your life the best way you know how! Do not short-change yourself or cut out opportunities for yourself. Life has much that is joyful and pleasurable in it. Live those parts! ( My turn to give YOU a pep talk) lol

    Lastly will a “friendship” post affair lead back to sex? Simple answer: YES.
    Hugs,
    BAF
    xxx000

    • Hope

      Hey BAF and TTSP so sorry to jump into your conversation but just wanted to thank you both for your advice🙏BAF you are incredible, you have been through so much and have still come out strong. Not only have you come out strong you help women like me so much, thank you so much for the other day as well. Your pep talk has gotten me some really tough days.

      My finances are slowing improving, thank God🙏. I didn’t get a chance to write here but I did ask ex mm why he never offered to help a while ago, his answer was that after I gave birth he was holding on to 1000$ cash and wanted to give that to me (we met once after I gave birth in a public place) but couldn’t because he thought I would find it weird. He said when I told him about my struggles he got angry with himself as to why he didn’t give me that, ‘that money is yours it’s not a loan, you can keep it, it’s not much but it might help you a bit in some way’. I am never going to take it, I never wanted his money. I don’t know I still feel it hard to believe. My gut feeling tells me when I straight up asked him, he got scared of losing me and the chance to have sex and this was an attempt to convince me, I may be wrong but I find it hard to believe him. Anyway we did speak in between but I have decided recently I don’t think I even want the friendship.. it brings more pain than anything good. I still end up waiting to hear from him, he still goes mia it just doesn’t feel healthy. Right now when some days I feel so low I just want to leave everything and go away having this volatile friendship makes it worse. I decided that and the next day I got a call confirming my first therapy session (been waiting 2 weeks for this) I thought this was some kind of a sign from God? I don’t know but it just felt that way. Your words made me think BAF am I living the best life I could being in this up and down equation with ex mm? Answer is no. Do I want to spend the next 30 or so years of my life just waiting for few moments here and there? No. You are absolutely right, friendship with ex mm will lead to sex one day and I don’t want to go there again.

      BAF silly question I am wondering do I tell the therapist about the affair as well? I am worried I am going there for postnatal depression, how many women have that because of an affair? I don’t know if I am even allowed to discuss that, I have never had therapy before and this feels like this session is to help deal with motherhood (not an affair?).

      It’s great to see you going so strong BAF, I’ll pray for you. May you always be free from your narcissistic ex Mm’s clutches🙏

      What you said about narcs and about what your ex mm did sounds awful. But I love how you bounce back and don’t let yourself go into self pity mode, I wish I am able to do that someday. I was also feeling guilty because I tried to end the affair many times without warning, does that mean I basically came and went out of his life as I wished, starting to think I really do have some narc tendencies. Somehow he always gave crumbs, we never did anything else in the affair other than sex and he always wanted to sext, I did those things hoping one day he would change, bring flowers on my birthday or take me out for dinner but it never happened leaving me frustrated and prompting me to end things. How I wish I had never gotten into this mess in the first place, the lows are definitely not worth the highs for me.

      My little one’s reflux has gotten better, thank you God🙏I am slowly starting to get through each day alone with my two kids in a better way. Now I just need to use therapy and get stronger. Somehow I feel therapy is the only way to get mm out of my life. Thank you so much for listening.

      Take care. Love,

      Hope xxx

      • Felk

        Hope, it’s good to hear that you’re making some progress with finances and that your baby’s reflux is improving. It’s also great news that you have an appointment with your therapist soon. My own two cents is that I think honesty with your therapist is the best strategy. Obviously go at your pace and reveal as you’re comfortable, but a therapist should be a nonjudgmental space for talking through whatever you think might have contributed to your postnatal depression. I think it’s completely reasonable to think your affair is related so it not only seems fair to bring it up but important.

        It’s also good that you got to ask your MM about the money thing, as it seemed that issue was bothering you. I think, in affairs, we have a tendency to not bring up issues that are bothering us because we either think we shouldn’t bring it up (because it’s an affair and we don’t get to have the same expectations) or we don’t want to waste the precious little time we have together talking about serious things. At least I know that’s what’s kept me from holding back a lot in my affair and I’m now thinking that, if my MM and I are to have any chance at a reasonable relationship, we’re going to have to be more open and honest about our feelings. I know this will be a challenge to him as he is less expressive, but I don’t think all the silent struggle is serving us well. Or maybe it’s simply not serving me well? Either way, I am going to continue to push for openness and honesty and I’m going to lead by example. If it doesn’t help, then at least I will feel better that I did not silently let problems fester or silently accept treatment that I thought was unfair.

        And it sounds like, by bringing up this money issue with your MM not only did you get to hear him say something nice that you kind of wanted to hear (that he had been thinking about your financial situation), but you also got to see that you don’t really trust or believe him. I think that’s part of why we need to have direct conversations like this. I think that we can build up an ideal in our head about the other and it can come crashing down if we don’t “check in” along the way and have honest conversations about what we’re feeling or if something’s bothering us. As you know, I have the tendency to give the benefit of the doubt, and I think that goes a long way. I think that’s important as part of trust in a relationship, but as BAF has pointed out to me recently, I might go too far with that and I might push away some nagging concerns that I need to address with myself and my MM.

        If you really are feeling that your MM only wanted you for sex, I think you’re right that the friendship probably can’t work. Not that a friendship could work if he wanted more than sex, but a “friendship” between the two of you sounds like him waiting until you’ll have sex with him and you hoping that the two of you can have a more meaningful relationship. Obviously, I don’t know the two of you besides what you tell us here, but it doesn’t sound like you are getting what you want/need from him and it is mainly causing you pain to be reminded of that with your continued relationship with him. I hope I am not overstepping too much by saying that now may be a very good time to eliminate both toxic relationships from your life (your H and your MM), focus on yourself and your job and your children and your healing, and then, maybe, at some point in the future, finding a man who can be for you what your MM and H could not. I know it’s easier said than done, but it does seem you’re thinking it. I continue to wish you the best, and think your slow progress is a good sign for what’s ahead. Just keep taking it slow and be kind to yourself.

      • BAF

        Hi Hope,
        I am unable to write much more this evening as I already wrote to two people here and then I saw your post, But I do want to say this: YES absolutely tell your therapist about the affair YES! And ask them if they know anything about affairs and how chemically addictive they can be? You might have been trying to “self-medicate” with your affair. I know I sure was in my affair to the narc! Self-medicating. The highs and lows of the affair produce adrenaline and powerful chemicals in our brains like dopamine. Most people who suffer from depression (like me for example) have LOW dopamine levels. So I can get very addicted to anything that makes me feel “good”. See what I mean? Only therapy and medication really work for the long haul but hell we try to get our brain highs any way we can! Lately my brain “high” has been watching Game of Thrones. Funny perhaps but true. As an artist I adore the sets and scenery and colors and landscapes. That is also why I am an artist.
        But many people who have low dopamine do not necessarily feel better with art. Maybe they like high speed bicycling (those bikes at the gym) or maybe they like rock climbing. Anything to get the brain chemicals to charge up so we feel better! And more alive! It is actually an evolutionary thing I have read. So yes tell the therapist about the affair because without it your brain is missing the chemical high. And post partum is a period when our hormones go crazy often resulting in a temporary low (a depression). So imagine the two things combined! And add to that lack of sleep caused by a baby with reflux, See wg=hat your brain is going though? But Hang in there Hope! This Too Shall Pass! xx BAF
        Do some internet research on brain health and how to eat and live for a better functioning brain. Also there are supplements you can take too. Ask your therapist about SAMe. You can find it at any good pharmacy Rite Aid Duane Reed etc I believe.

      • BAF

        Hope BTW. I would bet there are many more women with post partum depression who have had affairs break up recently that we could even count. Probably many of them hide the fact. But believe me, You are definitely NOT alone in this category!. Especially given your H’s tendencies towards having untreated anger management issues. That is scary and you were dealing with it and your other child as well! In other words you were naturally to an affair as a “self medication” method as was I too. We try to find ways to feel better in really hard situations. We are only human especially when things at home are going south.
        BAF xxxooo

  • TTSP

    Felk,
    I’m responding at the top as a lot of us are doing to avoid scrolling. I’m not sure why your mm gets mad when you email him. It seems like a misguided emotional response to an event. He’s probably translating his sadness into anger because that feels less vulnerable and more manageable. Also, the email is a reminder that you’re away with someone else. Still, communication is key and he could easily say that he would prefer not to think about your primary relationship. I also took issue when my mm would travel and he couldn’t comprehend why it was any different from being local. To me it was something I coveted not only with him but in general. I wanted to take big, lavish trips with someone I loved and he was doing that very thing but with someone else. It was like a quadruple hit triggering a host of ugly emotions I could not process comfortably. I could not cope without having major anxiety. The difference is I would divulge all of this to my mm whereas your mm appears to struggle with opening up and being transparent about what is going on inside. You have to fill in the blanks. I wonder if he experiences something similar to what I described? If he does, ok, but why when he can travel with his wife? I would ask him if he prefers space when you’re away. If he does than he has to abide by that rule during his travels. If he wants to go incommunicado that’s going to become a drag for you because you want to stay connected.

    To your Q about the solution and how to sustain your relationship…. are you comfortable taking a pulse check on your relationship with him? Are you willing to ask him if he’s content with where things are at and how they are going? Maybe he does want a divorce to pursue a relationship with you. He may not disclose that desire when he knows you have a firm stance to stay married to your H. Ideally he should clarify his perspective so you two can decide if you’re on the same page or not. If he wants a divorce to be with you than you are at a stalemate. He either accepts your position or he doesn’t because you don’t plan to upend your life. My ex mm and I used to check in regularly and talk about our present state and future plans. He laid out his intentions and I expressed my needs and desires. As far as affair partners I had a solid companion. He wanted to spend as much time together as possible and communicate nights, weekends and holidays. That’s his personality and a must have in a romantic partner for me. If we were both married could we have salvaged and continued a relationship indefinitely? Possibly, although he is jealous and couldn’t even cope with me dating.

    I would ask your mm how he’s doing with everything and inquire about what you both could change or continue to do more of to keep your relationship alive, thriving and fulfilling. I know it means more serious talks but I’d rather stay in front of all of this than revert back to the past. If you guys want something different you probably want to identify the disparity now. What do you think? Felk, listen to your gut here. Your intuition will always guide you.

    • Felk

      TTSP, Thanks so much for your reply. What you say about how hard it was on you to watch your MM take trips with his W (while you wished it was you) is similar to what I think my MM feels. A few times throughout our affair, my MM said that out loud, but other times he would just withdraw in himself or find something to get mad at me about when I’d go out of town. But there were also times that he was eager to communicate with me when I was away. It was a little unpredictable. It is frustrating that he can’t just be open with me about how hard it is when I go out of town. He also didn’t want to communicate much when he was out of town, too. So, he wasn’t a hypocrite about it. Twice, near the end of our relationship, I didn’t even tell him I was going out of town because I didn’t want to deal with his angst. It should have been a sign to me that we had serious problems if I couldn’t be honest with him about going out of town, but I was so desperate at the end, I wasn’t ready to heed those signs. I mean, I *knew* it was bad, but I was too scared to have a conversation with him about it.

      I really appreciate your advice about what might work to sustain the affair. I definitely feel comfortable with a “check in” with my MM. I particularly like your advice because it matches what I already did last night. Last night, I sent him an e-mail saying that I want to talk about our relationship. I said that on Thursday at the end of our date, said we need to get honest about what we are doing (and he did ask if this was working for me). So, I followed up with an e-mail last night saying that I want to talk. He has not responded yet to that e-mail (usually takes him about a day… which is always funny/awkward considering we walk by each other’s offices a bunch of times today), but I suspect he will be open to talking. Thursday night, he pointed out that we do well with talking and, over this last year, he has seemed to like when I suggested we “check in” about what we’re doing (because it does seem more confusing now). Throughout our affair, we’d also have these check-ins here and there. Although he did frustrate me a little recently when he suggested it was redundant to keep trying to talk about some of our issues. I pushed past that and didn’t let him derail us, but of course that comment stuck with me. I know he is a little scared to have too many serious talks because they are intimate and that leads to closeness and struggle for him, but how can we be in an affair and not have these talks once in a while? He knows I need this (and he does, too). I also want to *try* to do this better than before. If there are problems from before that we are trying to avoid, then let’s talk about how we can do this better. For now, we’re kind of making it up as we go along and it’s working okay, but I think we can do better.

      I also liked reading your advice this morning because I was feeling a little nervous about sending that e-mail to him last night. I had second thoughts about how maybe I was pushing too much or it’d make our situation worse if we brought some of these things up. But I’m trying not to be controlled by fear anymore (the whole do-it-better thing). So, I went with my gut/brain, and knew that I wanted to talk openly and honestly. I have been saying to him for several months that we just need to get all of this out in the open about what’s working, what’s not working, and what we want in this relationship. We’ve done it a little here and there, but we haven’t given the time to this conversation (mainly because we don’t talk as much anymore and because it’s been confusing to know what exactly is going). I think we also have to get honest about the scary marriage stuff, and I have thought that for a while, too. I brought that up to him in early January, saying that we never did talk about that directly before and I think we should.

      As for your situation, I can hear how you needed to end it with your MM. As a SW, I can understand how you couldn’t stay with a man who could not offer you more. I can hear the agony of him living his life with his W, while you wanted to be with him. It’s good that your MM was honest with you from the beginning, but I know it was still hard to fall in love with a man who would not leave his marriage for you. I honestly don’t know if my MM wants to leave his W eventually, but I have long suspected he does and that he felt I did not want to leave my H. Thing is, when things were really good a few years ago (before he started pulling away in 2017), I was considering leaving my H. I didn’t really tell my MM, though. I didn’t hint at it until well into 2017, just two months before he ended our relationship. Maybe it was too late. Maybe my MM knew it was still unlikely. Maybe my MM knew he couldn’t leave his W/children. I don’t know. Because we’ve never talked about it. I’d like to. I hope he wants to, too.

      I don’t know if we need to have this marriage conversation now, but it feels like we need the “check in” about what we’re doing, what’s working, and what’s not working. About how we make this work if that’s what we want, at least for the immediate future. Ah, so much easier said than done. 🙂

      • TTSP

        A lot of what we deal with in these relationships is paradoxical. You are constantly bombarded with contradictory emotions and experiences. On one hand you want this person you care so much about to have a great life and on the flip side you hate the idea that they’re enjoying their life where it doesn’t include you. I know you aren’t particularly envious of his wife at all but in an all fairness you probably wish you could spend more time with him. That was the case for me. I envied the quality time but not the relationship.

        Almost every way you turn you’re faced with some conflict in your head. You want to hear from them when they’re away but you also don’t to get a message because it reminds you of their absence. For me I couldn’t wrap my head around any of it. Those ambivalent emotions lead to some hypocritical behaviors as you’ve attested to with the merry christmas text and then some push back on the email you sent.

        May I ask if you told him whether it was working for you or not. That’s great he is receptive to check ins. I’m not shocked he slipped in the comment about redundant chats. See my comment about hypocritical behavior in these things. He’s probably guilty of rehashing issues that bother him although he may be more of a retreater and shut down when something is disturbing him. Either way some topics require extra validation even if they can’t be fixed. All you have is verbal affirmation sometimes. Maybe you can talk about whether you’re both just feeling pretty good about everything in general. I think I’ll do that in my next relationship just to show that I care about his happiness. It doesn’t necessarily have to be heavy between you and mm.

        I could see how the marriage talk would be very scary. That is a life altering subject. What if one side says yes I’m leaving for you and the other side says no I’m staying. I heard something like only 5% of relationships that spawn out of affairs work out. It’s irrelevant as you’ve stated numerous times that your H is a good soul and great partner for you. Hypothetically if you both were to leave and get together would you ever really trust your mm? I thought about that with mine and I’d always be looking over my shoulder. It’s such a high risk proposition with a very low success rate.

        I allowed it to happen so the onus and burden lies with me. I’ve contemplated every permutation here and even if he divorced he would leave a wreckage in his path. His kids would hate me and he’d take at least two years to settle all his emotions and finances. I think it would be disastrous but I’d be a liar if I didn’t say that it hurt like hell to fall for someone who chose not to go for me. Objectively I respect why and would do the same but emotions don’t operate on logic. I hate when I think I’m over someone and have a good grip on it and then slide backwards like it just happened. Moving on does not happen in a straight line. I’ll use that as a reminder when I think about being friendly or hanging out.

        • Felk

          TTSP, my MM has pointed out the paradoxical nature of affairs so it is another thing the two of you think about similarly. I am not sure I feel it the same way. Although I recognize a lot of difficult things about the affair, they are not my focus and I mainly feel the affair is good or I wouldn’t be in it. It’s hard to explain because I know there is plenty of bad that comes with the good, but it is just that the bad is in the background… or that’s where it used to be until my MM starting pulling away in 2017. Then the bad became much more central.

          The hypocritical behaviors frustrate me because they create a double standard for our behavior where he can do something and I can’t or sometimes I can do something but sometimes not. I tried to point this out to him on Thursday, and I will point it out to him when we talk more. It’s one of the hardest things about the affair with him, but it’s been even harder in this post-break-up whatever we’re doing. He even joked at one point on Thursday about how he could tell me exactly how I should have written that e-mail while I was away. He was joking because he knew he was being picky about something that is difficult, but it was not the first time I have told him that he’s unfairly suggested there is one exact right way to do something. I won’t exaggerate and make it sound like he does this often, but he does it enough such that it’s frustrating and it’s especially hard when our relationship is already strained by less communication.

          It’s funny you ask if I answered his question about whether or not this was working for me. I sort of did and didn’t. I told him that it was working better now than a year ago, but that’s all I really said. I think we said things about wanting to talk more about that, but I can’t remember why the conversation changed at that point. I know that I sometimes cut off my full answer because I don’t feel we have time to get into it. I think we’re going to try to dedicate several hours to talking about all of this soon. I also like what you say about how, even if you can’t solve something immediately, it might still be important to talk about it again and again. A “check in” like you and your MM did. I think my MM can feel some futility in rehashing (although you’re right that he does it plenty), but maybe we can frame it differently in that we’re trying to make sure the other person is okay with it all. I’m not sure how he’ll feel about this, though. Lately, he seems sad again (about us), and I’m not sure where it came from. Just a month ago, he seemed pretty happy about us again. I’m not sure if it was me going out of town or if it was simply that as he got happier about us, that made him sad again realizing we couldn’t have the relationship he wants?

          I’m not sure of the data on how many affairs turn into successful relationships between the cheating people, but I’d imagine it’s a pretty low number. There are many reasons I didn’t think it would be a good idea to leave our marriages. Not only is it that I think my H is a better partner, but, even when I was really feeling I was being unfair to my H and it might be best if I leave him, I thought about the mess of ending two marriages, especially since my MM has two kids. It is a very difficult way to begin a new relationship with all that baggage and mess. Talk about a strain on a new relationship. And it’s also the thing you said about trust. How could either one of us fully trust the other knowing that we started this as an affair? How could you ever feel secure in that marriage? I don’t know if I’m ready for that conversation with him yet, but I think we should have it eventually.

          For now, I’d like to start out with the what’s working? what’s not working? Can we make this work? Do we want this to work? That is a big enough conversation. I’m also going to try very hard to be open to the answer “maybe we can’t make this work.” In 2017, leading up to the break-up, those conversations were so scary that I broke. I couldn’t think straight in those conversations because I was so desperate to just hold onto the affair but I was also feeling that he was done and I quit. I didn’t want to beg. I just gave up (after many months of trying). Months later, of course, he asked me why I didn’t find a way to stop him from ending our relationship. He was being playful, but it hurt to hear because I’d wondered so many times what I could have done differently. I just don’t want it to be that way this time. I want to not be (too) scared, and I want to be honest about what we can do to make it work, and if it doesn’t work, maybe we have to accept that there’s nothing we can do.

          Although he is good about talking to me, it does often feel that he’s holding back and he’s scared to be really honest. That can make it hard for me to be honest if I feel he’s holding back. It makes me not want to be vulnerable, but being scared didn’t work in 2017 and led me to feel pretty miserable for many months as he pulled away. We tried to “check in” many times with each other, but I don’t think either of us was saying all the things we needed to say about what we wanted and what could work. There was so much fear. I don’t know if it will be different this time around, but I figure it’s worth a try and it seems he does, too.

  • Lois

    Hello everyone. Sorry I have not been on here to give you an update. MM and I still have not made connections to talk. He cancelled last week. We have not texted much as I have been trying to get my emotions under control and figure out what I want. In my heart, I know my feelings have grown and love him but I’m so tired of not knowing his feelings. Yes I know he cares as we’ve been together for almost 3 years. However, he has also ended things how many times during this period and has broken my heart. I know he’s been through lots but I have more been supportive and understanding. He texted me friday after cancelling the dat before. I was with my H having dinner and was still aggaravated with MM. So for a change i didn’t respond to his medsage until Saturday afternoon. We texted back and forth. Then, he went MIA for the remainder of the day which was okay knew he was spending time with his kids. Anyway, he texted Monday wanting to know if I was busy. I saw his message but waited about an hour before replying. Honestly, I just wasn’t in the mood and seemed to be a good place with things. I had been struggling and missing him really badly. I had been feeling depressed about the situation and the uncertainty of things had been weighing on me. I didn’t want to meet him and have all of those feelings to come back. I was torn because of me wantes to see but the other part just wants the hurting to stop. I asked if we could another night and we planned for Wednesday. I figured this would give me a few days to see if my feelings would change about meeting him. Wednesday came around and texted him that afternoon if he still could meet. I had decided to go ahead if he was still available and if he wasn’t no big deal…at least convinced myself it would not be a big deal as I have learned to not get my hopes up with him. He replied that time would be tight but he was available. I told him didn’t want him to feel obligated. He said or wasn’t that but all four kids had homework. I told him that it was okay and he needed to take care of them. I really didn’t care and understood. He asked about meeting tonight and replied not sure would get back with him. Well today is vday and figured he would not be available so didn’t get back with until late this afternoon. He said he was having dinner with girls and asked what I was doing. I told him probably same and enjoy his evening. I’m still torn as I do want to see him and talk about things. I just don’t want to take any steps backwards. I’m still in a good place with things and have realized maybe things do need to be done. Then, there are moments when I miss him and can’t imagine him not in my life. It’s a complicated situation. I am just guarding my heart as I don’t want to feel depressed and miserable anymore. Guess I’ll see how the next few days go and take one day at a time. Thanks for all of the support and will keep you posted.

    • Felk

      Lois, I can see that you want to meet up with your MM, but that you’re also trying to make sure that you’re in a decent mental/emotional place when you do. I definitely know this feeling well. When my MM and I were in the thick of the break-up and trying to figure everything out last year, there were plenty of times that I delayed emailing him to ask to hang out because I just wasn’t emotionally in a good place, even though I wanted to see him. That I had to be strong enough before I could spend time with him, even though I desperately wanted to. It was as you said… trying to get emotions under control because the desperation is terrible. You’ll have a better and more honest conversation with your MM if you’re not feeling desperate and emotionally out of control. Of course, whenever you meet with your MM, it will be emotionally hard. So, keep taking your time and do not rush. He is not rushing. As you can see, he is prioritizing his family and then seeing if he can meet with you. There is nothing wrong with that, but it highlights how you should also not prioritize him but yourself and your family.

      I think you will need to see him soon enough, though, to decide what to do moving forward. Right now, you are still holding on and hoping. You haven’t let go, but all of the distance is helping you calm down the addiction (I hope). I think you have to meet with him to talk to find out if he’s willing to put the effort in that you need or if you really need to let go. Of course, my guess is that he’ll say something that isn’t clear and you’ll still be confused, but you can at least try to get some clarity. 🙂

  • Hope

    Felk I am replying up hear so conversation doesn’t get lost. I have to go for school pick up so I am so sorry if my answer seems short. Xxx
    First of all I am really sorry for what happened, I can feel it in your words how upset you are. We all knew your Mm was punishing you, we all guessed it and I think by now we can predict ‘the patterns’. You knew that’s what he was doing. I am saying this again sorry but boy I used to the same to my ex Mm most times I got jealous, only difference being I would apologise constantly after doing so. I used to feel so guilty after on. At the beginning mm said it few times he couldn’t take the stress and thought it was best to end things if it was going to so stressful (this was roughly few months into the relationship). But once we were both in love he didn’t, not once even after numerous difficult conversations. My point is you both have been together for 6 years if still bringing up something that has upset you so much calls for him ending it then it isn’t right. I don’t think he will ever end the relationship (even if he threatens and yes I feel what he did last year was a more of a threat than break up. I think he had full intentions of getting back but wanted you to know ‘his value’ if that makes sense). My smal advice absolutely ask him, please do Felk or else he will keep treating you badly. If you don’t say anything this will happen again, your mm is a jealous person.

    Felk you are one of the most reasonable person I know. I know you will ask calmly, try and understand his side.. I know that much about you by now. So yes please ask him, if he can’t take it too bad, you both have needs and feelings. He needs to consider your situation just as much as you consider his. For now just take a deep breath, chin up and keep going with your day/night. This is just one of those shitty situations that come with affairs and as everything this phase will pass too.

    Sending you hugs xxx
    Hope

    • Felk

      Hope, your perspective is really helpful because it seems you understand my MM because you did these things to “punish” your MM at times. I get it. I understand the jealousy and how upsetting it can be, and how we can punish the other to not only take out our frustration on them but also as a test of our love. In being critical of me on Monday, it was clear that my MM was also wanting to hear how much I missed him (based on the questions he was asking). Through asking me critical questions, he not only gets to punish me for making him feel bad but he also hopes to get reassurance of my love (which I gave… because that is kind… and I didn’t immediately realize what he was doing).

      Although my MM doesn’t apologize constantly after, as you say you did, my MM does rebound with a lot more closeness and attention after. He will sometimes directly apologize and sometimes not. Not only did he send that e-mail Monday night, pretty much recognizing that he was a jerk (without saying that exactly), but he also responded to a separate e-mail of mine on Tuesday with a lot of going-out-of-his-way to be cute. I know when he’s trying, and he’s trying now. Of course, this “rebound” behavior can trick me into not really holding him accountable because I can say to myself, “Okay, look how much he loves me. I don’t need to say anything.” Or this “rebound” behavior can lead me to think the fight isn’t worth it because he’s apologizing and I don’t want to waste (the little time we have) fighting. But I know that doesn’t hold him accountable, and I need to. I appreciate your advice, and I will (kindly) call him out for this behavior and tell him that it is simply mean and unfair. I think he knows it, but he will be defensive. As LiveHappy warned, he will try to turn it against me or try to make me fearful in some way. I expect that (but recognizing it in the moment and remaining strong is the hard part). But it is his insecurity, and, as you say, he is going nowhere. I do think the conversation will go okay because he’s already recognized he messed up, and we both usually can talk pretty calmly and with understanding. But sometimes he can get defensive when he feels he’s already “apologized” (which he has not) and I am still upset. As best I can, I will try to push through his defensiveness and try to get to some mutual understanding about how that time apart is difficult for both of us.

      It is interesting how you’ve said a few times that you think his break-up attempt in 2017 was him trying to get me to see his value. Some things he has said since do make me wonder. I guess I can see it both ways. I do think some of him wanted to really end it. As many of us have contemplated in our affairs, things get really difficult and you do genuinely contemplate ending it. But I do also know that he has alluded a lot more than I have to leaving our marriages and maybe he was frustrated by his perception that I wasn’t going to leave mine and he was trying to get me to realize I could lose him if I don’t leave? I don’t know. All I know is that didn’t work. 🙂 I want to leave my H even less now than I did two years ago.

      • BAF

        Hi Felk,
        It really strikes me when you say you: “Through asking me critical questions, he not only gets to punish me for making him feel bad but he also hopes to get reassurance of my love (which I gave… because that is kind… and I didn’t immediately realize what he was doing).” You MM him an assurance of love that so many of us give the MM’s in our lives. As women we so often want to be loving and kind and supportive. And to iron out any conflicts. It’s cultural as well as it is in our genes. And because you are in the field education I imagine you have an extra tolerance for all kinds of human behaviors, and an extra ability to respond to others in tough situations with patience and love. (I know I do too, after working so many years with so many students of all ages from the littlest ones to adults. It’s an occupational skill set I think.)

        However I urge you to see your kind reactions as possibly enabling his bad behavior and emboldening him to continue. There is nothing you can do to change who he is and what he is made of emotionally. (None of us has that power). However your MM does (in light of your recent events) seem to have a bit of a nasty streak when it comes to his emotional responses and I would urge you not to let that slide.

        It is not okay for him to punish you because he can not deal with his own emotions (in this case his jealousy). Especially because he and you are both married. And because he broke up with you to supposedly “better handle” his marriage and kids. Moreover, If he put you through all that hell of the break-up and if any part of his breaking up was actually motivated by some of his jealousy, that is a giant red flag. I urge you to beware as he is immature emotionally and could really have a very unpleasant effect upon your even and balanced temperament. Beware my logical woman! Try not to overthink this. IMHO you are better off simply feeling the impact of his behavior to your own psyche. To understand what it is that is happening to you viscerally I mean. And then to make a reasonable plan.
        Just my two cents.
        Hugs BAF
        xoxo

        • Felk

          BAF, I do see my kind reactions, if I don’t also call out his bad behavior, as enabling him. It caught me off guard a bit when I was with him Monday, so I didn’t immediately say something. Of course, he didn’t just yell at me. It’s a passive/aggressive attack where he asks questions and then they get more critical and then it’s clear what he’s doing. But it takes me a minute to recognize it because, of course, there’s warmth and rational words from him, too. I did call him out in e-mail Monday night, though. I was direct about how I felt his behavior was unfair. I know we will talk about it further tonight when we are out.

          I also am not making excuses for him when I say that he is generally kind and tries to treat people well. Yes, he likes control. (So do I.) Yes, he can be selfish. (So can I.) And, yes, he can get mean when he is jealous. (I do not do that.) I know we can tend to focus on our MM’s bad behavior without recognizing we might do some of the same things or without taking into account the complexity of the situation, but, of course, it is not an excuse. He did not treat me well on Monday, and I have let him know and I will talk to him about it tonight. You are entirely right that it enables his behavior to let it go. Even though he cannot make big changes in who he is, he can make small changes to treat a person better or just apologize sincerely. He doesn’t act this way often, but it is unfair nonetheless.

          And you are right that I just need to feel the impact and be honest about it to him. I will try that tonight. I suspect it will go reasonably well, as he knows he messed up. But, because people don’t change entirely, I suspect he will be a bit defensive and possibly try to turn it on me or make it all about his struggles. We’ll see. You know I’ll try to be strong. I feel strong and ready for this conversation.

        • TTSP

          Hi Felk,

          Did you and MM have a fight? I couldn’t find any posting about an altercation but from the comments above it appears there was some conflict. You don’t have to get into if you don’t want to but I was surprised that something went down. I guess I’m not totally surprised since these situations are filled with complications. Did you two breakup and how are you doing?

          BAF,
          How long have you been apart from your MM? Do you feel mostly over it like that uneasy, knot in your stomach is gone?

          I tried a friendly thing but I can’t hear the “we” and “us” talk. Being friends is a form of self-inflicted torture. I told him I want no contact so let’s see how things go from here. I have a feeling that when I do feel better I’ll realize that the only reason I wanted a friendship is because I was afraid to truly let go 100%. A friendship is like weening and to really heal I have to cut all ties.

          • Felk

            TTSP, my MM and I didn’t exactly have a fight, but I was upset with him on Monday for what I felt were unfair critical comments/questions about something I did. And I think he was critical because he doesn’t handle me being out of town well. Long story short, he and I spent some alone time together (in his car) Monday afternoon to just spend some time together, be close, and listen to some music (or so I thought). But he was being a little distant and he brought up an e-mail I sent while out of town last weekend. Last Friday, I sent a short e-mail to him just letting him know that I was thinking about him while away (I sent him a song we like and said some words about not liking being away from him). On Monday, he questioned my phrasing of not liking being away from him. I was surprised by this questioning, but I answer honestly, figuring I’m getting tired of playing our elusive game of how we like to talk around vulnerable things. So, I told him that it was simply because I was missing him and I feel that more strongly when I go out of town. Like, there’s some psychological thing where I miss him more the farther away I am. He questioned that a bit and was his cold/matter-of-fact self saying he didn’t feel the same way so he didn’t understand. He said me being out of town for the weekend is just like me being at home with my H over the weekend and what’s the difference? He said he misses me equally. I just said a little more about thinking it was just a farther away thing, but also said I miss him the other times, too. And then he questioned whether or not I thought that was normal. That pissed me off. I didn’t get mad in the car right then because it caught me off guard. I just answered it like, “Yeah, I think it’s normal for people in a relationship to miss each other when someone goes out of town and sometimes express it. Do I think it’s normal in an affair? I don’t know what’s normal in an affair.” And then I felt pretty judged. Not only does it seem pretty normal in general, but affairs are hard and it felt pretty unfair for him to say all that he was saying when I’m just trying to do my best in a hard situation, just like him. Yes, I like more contact and attempts at closeness. He knows this. Seems pretty “normal” for me to say what I did in the e-mail.

            So, I didn’t get mad at him in the car, but I drove home pretty upset with the plan to e-mail him that night. He beat me to it. He sent a playful e-mail saying nice things to me with a pretty apologetic tone. He knew he messed up. He knew he was harsh. He SO rarely sends those kinds of emails so it says something that he recognized it. I responded telling him that I didn’t like what he did and that it felt unfairly critical. He didn’t respond to that e-mail, but we had a date last night and he had already alluded to talking about this further on Thursday.

            We had 8 hours together yesterday. As usual, it was a really nice time of talking, dinner, show. We always do that part well. He was affectionate and touching me and hugging me. Put his arm around me as we walked to his car at the end of the night. But… the plan was to talk about Monday issues when we got back to his car at the end of the night. We talked for an hour and a half. I really appreciate him staying out late to talk longer with me because he knew I wanted to, but I can’t say the talk was very satisfying. It was mostly him being a little distant and lamenting our situation, as opposed to offering closeness or apologies for how he treated me Monday. He just continued to say he didn’t understand the way I felt when I was out of town and he thought it didn’t make sense to say it given how it contrasts with our situation – where we would not normally be together over the weekend if I weren’t out of town. I pointed out things he’s said that seem to “contrast” with our situation, but he still says them and they’re still lovely. I told him that it felt like he had the space and freedom to express when he was feeling things but I didn’t always. I told him he was punishing at times of my expressions, where I don’t give that same punishment (because I’m trying to give him credit for saying things and understanding the context of the relationship). He still thought there was a difference between what I said and other things we might say, but bottom line is that he was missing me while I was away and he did not like being reminded of me being away so he got critical of me for making him feel feelings. Sure, he didn’t say that. 🙂 But I know that’s what it was.

            We also had to cancel our plans (at my house) next week (due a scheduling conflict with his kids), and so he was lamenty about that, too. He was in a bit of a woe-is-me mood last night and that’s hard. He’s distant at those times, not wanting to touch much (although he was touching me plenty when we were out), and just seeming sad and like our situation is hopeless. Now, you know I understand it’s a tough situation, but I eventually said to him, “If you aren’t happy in what we’re doing, why are we doing it?” It was more of a rhetorical question, but I don’t want to deal with this sadness. Sure, sometimes I understand, but, once again because he’s all sad, he can offer me little for how he made me feel bad Monday. He gets into his, “The reality of our situation…” stuff and it’s frustrating. Yes, I know the reality of our situation. If we’re going to choose to be back in this affair (I said, “And we need to talk about how we keep pretending we’re not back in this even though we are back in this.” He agreed.), he needs to come up with a way to accept it, put effort into it, and try to make the best of it.

            We said we would talk more about these issues, but last night didn’t feel great. It’s hard to end a fun night with heavy things, but I knew I didn’t want to ignore it. And I know if we don’t address the hard things head on, they will fester. Let’s be honest about the problems and our feelings and see if we can make this work.

            Thanks for listening to that. It was more than you asked, but just getting some of my thoughts down in writing after last night. I’m sure I’ll write more later about the whole conversation. 🙂

          • BAF

            Hi TTSP,
            I have been apart from my MM since last summer. I don’t remember the date of the “big argument” we had. The one when I finally comprehended the extent of his narcissism. And the hopelessness of it. But I believe it was late July. Basically I was an empath in love with a narcissist for many many years. I am still an empath. That has not changed. And he is still a narcissist too.
            But I have managed to put a giant wedge between us.
            In one way our ‘natural’ dynamic of attraction …that chemistry between us is always going to be the same. However I do not want to be in that relationship any more. At all. I admit defeat now. I admit having to let go of having to “win” or be “right” anymore.
            This was a key first part for me: admitting utter defeat and failure at achieving what I thought I could achieve with him.
            Oh well.
            (Of course its a giant “ouch”). But I have a actually lost three close people in my family this year (to death) and so I think I am truly different with pain at the moment. I think I am less afraid of it to be honest..
            The exMM and I have had some limited contact since July but I have truly changed and because of this the entire relationship dynamic between has truly changed. Therapy has helped me with this inner change. In any relationship between two people, when one changes drastically the other one is forced to do so as well.
            You ask if I feel mostly “over it”?
            Not exactly. I still feel some bitterness, some hopelessness and some anger. Some despair. Some grief. Some depression. etc. etc.
            I also sometimes feel that “natural” and ‘fatal’ attraction towards each other sometimes. We were together a long long time. I can’t erase everything. But what I do not feel for him anymore is “love” in the romantic sense. For me this is huge. I can feel love for him as human being in general. I can wish him well. (almost, lol)
            But I do not feel romantic love towards him anymore.
            Our former empath/narcissist attraction dynamic is deeply embedded in both of us. But that doesn’t mean the relationship needs anymore time. It does not.
            I am working on managing my emotions and trying to also push myself forward. One step at a time.
            What I feel (on the positive side) is some closure that he will never change and there is nothing left for me to do. There is no more compelling reason to stick around. When I stick around him, I get hurt. It is as predictable as the sun rising. I tried and tried to love him and I got hurt. Every time.
            What is also gone is my “hope”. My “interest” in him is also gone as I have had enough. I have seen enough. It feels like “game over” if that makes any sense. Now we have some kind of uneasy truce.

            In the meantime, I have been having an FWB arrangement with a friend of mine for a while now, a couple of months. This I recommend for you too! :). It is a breath of fresh air. It is working well for me. It is a mellow easy thing with no pressure. I am totally burnt out on “love” for the time being. I feel no need to “fall in love” with anyone new and neither any need for anyone to fall “in love” with me.

            I am feeling that in affairs many of us do many ill-advised things in the name of “love” and for me personally I can not stomach that word “love” at the moment and “love” is not what I feel towards anyone at the moment. What I am working on is that ever elusive “self love” for me I need much more of self-love and less of the kind that comes from others.

            As for you, I can see and read you have done much heroic work in managing to change the nature of your relationship even as you have had so many strong emotions. It is so difficult when the person is nearby as in yours is and was also my case. Oh how I know. You are trying to wean off the intensity of the “love” affair, maintain some kind of workable friendship and also get your work done! And meanwhile you have to see him at work, perhaps daily.

            The emotions in doing something like this are so very intense. Do not underestimate how hard this is! You are doing a very very hard thing. Excruciating at times. But you will survive! You say being friends is a form of “self-inflicted torture” yet you also said you enjoy having him s a mentor. I totally get it. You will find the way that works for you. If you fall down just remember to get up, dust yourself off, and keep moving!
            Inside yourself, you know the answer.
            Perhaps you can stay away from him 100 per cent. Perhaps not. The office is a hard place …so HARD. I urge you to go with what you want. Try it! See how it feels. Do not be afraid of pain because hell, lets face it we get used to pain in these affairs anyhow don’t we? Pain becomes our middle name as we navigate these relationships because as you said, no one’s needs get entirely met in an affair. Perhaps you can come up with a new numbered list for the rules of friendship after the affair? It would be interesting for us here to discuss this. How is it done? What are the boundaries? etc etc.
            One rule would seem like a no brainer to me:
            “He is NOT allowed to use “we” and “us” talk.
            🙂
            Yes maybe you were afraid to let go because you were afraid of losing him entirely. But maybe there were other reasons as well?
            Perhaps you could make a list of the pro’s and cons of a post affair friendship?
            There is no doubt that for any of use this type of friendship is very difficult however. Normally in these situations, the “friendship” is really never neutral and almost always leads back to sex. Or some form of physicality. It might even be impossible for this to not occur. I have no idea. Just my own experiences and those I read here. Thoughts?
            Many hugs,
            BAF
            xoxo

          • TTSP

            Felk,
            Your mm sounds similar to me in his attitude about everything. I used to get pissy and irritated when mine would call and email on his vacations. The truth is I was envious that I wasn’t the one traveling with him and someone else got the majority of his time. Also, a part of me felt like I was subpar since he didn’t choose to go out of town with me. I did however appreciate the effort to show his care, thoughtfulness and attention. I’m sure your mm feels jealous of your husband for the time he gets with you but you’ve already figured that out. Also, he may ask why you even bother when you wouldn’t have been together anyway. I used to do the same on weekends and holidays. I thought why even go there if it can’t happen anyway and he would say he liked talking to me and staying closely connected. Your mm might have the same futility mindset in his head.

            I do see why you felt unfairly attacked. He could’ve just said he missed you and wished he had traveled with you. Call it vulnerable but love is vulnerable. When people hide what is really going on it comes out in passive aggressive behaviors and/or words. Also, he is married so what does he expect? He chooses to travel with his wife just as you still want to travel with your husband.

            You had a really nice date with dinner and a movie and that is something to revel in together. Felk, I really think he gets down bc he wants a lot more with you and you both can’t have more. He has a very difficult time accepting what is available whereas you try to savor and relish the what you do have. I also played the realist of the two parties quick to point out the pitfalls, shortcomings and deficiencies. He loves you a lot and I hope he can come to terms with the terms and conditions of your relationship.

          • Felk

            TTSP, it really does sound like you understand the mindset of my MM and that you did similar things at times. I appreciate your insight. I have “known” my MM thinks this way when I’m gone, but it is hard for me to understand at a deeper level because it’s different from my feelings. So, while I can rationally “know” it bothers him a lot when I’m away, I don’t understand why it doesn’t feel good when I contact him while I’m away. And, yes, it does feel a little good. He said he likes it and not. He said he feels ambivalence. For me, it is just nice to hear from him when he’s away or like when he texted me on Christmas. In a way, sure, it makes me think about how I wish I was with him (and that’s sad), but I mostly focus on how it’s sweet that he let me know he was thinking about me because that’s the best we can do in an affair.

            Of course, what I don’t like is that he sends me a text on Christmas but gets mad when I send an e-mail when I’m out of town. How is it different? It’s not. It’s him wanting control of the situation and his feelings. I get it, but it’s not fair. I tried to point that out to him on Thursday, but I’m not sure I felt a lot of understanding from him (although we’re going to talk more). I do know he’s being passive/aggressive to hide his vulnerability about how much he wishes we were together. I just wish he could say that. I know that I try to be vulnerable to get him to express (and he will a little), but it takes a long time for him to tell me those kinds of things about not wanting to share me. It took almost a year of our break-up before he told me that was a main reason for the break up. He’d mostly said the break-up was about him not being able to separate the two relationships and feeling bad about not treating everyone well. He was also worried about damaging his marriage/family. I understood all of that. Finally, a few months ago, he said that it was also that it was becoming too hard to share me with my H. I always kind of knew he felt that way, but it took him a LONG time to say it out loud.

            Everything you say is things that I know he feels. I know he was envious when I traveled with my H, even though I’d tell my MM that I’d rather be with him. Either he didn’t entirely believe me or he simply was sad it wasn’t him. Just like your MM, I would tell my MM that I just liked staying connected when away because I missed him. My MM doesn’t understand that approach (although he has liked some contact while I’m away… but it’s hit or miss).

            Yes, I also think he gets down because he wants more and we can’t have more, but what’s the solution? I feel I’m a realist, too, so I don’t think it’s that he’s playing the realist and I’m not. To me, it feels like optimist realist v. pessimist realist. I recognize the reality of the situation and try to make the best of it (although he says he does, too). But, as you point out, it seems he spends more time on the shortcomings and deficiencies than I do. If you understand his perspective, how do we make this work? Short of us leaving our marriages (although that’s what I think he ultimately wants), what would have worked better with your MM? I know you’re in a different position because you are single and my M is married, but I would value any advice you have (understanding that my goal is to stay in the affair). Is there something that your MM could have said or done that would have shown understanding of your feelings (short of leaving his marriage) that would have helped you sustain the affair?

          • TTSP

            BAF,
            Thanks for your forthcoming response. You write very eloquently and are able to express your feelings so clearly. I’m very sorry for the people that passed in your life. Tragedy seems to come in waves. I hope you have loving friends and family around you to lean on while you’re grieving. Time and love heals all wounds. I inserted the love part but it’s oh so true 🙂

            As for your ex mm it sounds like you’re also recovering from the wreckage that a narcissist leaves in his or her path. I’ve dealt with people who are higher on the narcissistic scale but not full blown narcissists. From what I’ve picked up these people use others for their own gain and take no accountability for their part. They do not apologize, admit fault or accept any criticism. Anyhow, you’re painfully familiar with these traits and the charismatic side that these individuals employ to win people over. They can really mess with your head especially when you’re placed on a pedestal for some period and then body slammed to the floor by their gas lighting and stonewalling. Also, what kind of person brings over a bottle of booze to someone who is recovering… That alone speaks volumes about him. I’m glad you’re not his spouse and that you’re out. How could she not become a complete head case surrounded by that dysfunctional behavior. He must have some redeeming traits but those get marred by his self-involvement.

            How did you get him to mutually agree to stay away? Sorry I went on way too long about the narcissism. Also, you’re doing incredibly well for the length of time you were together. You are one tough woman with a lot of fortitude and tenacity. I’m sure you’re soured on love due to all of the heartache you’ve gone through in the last year. Anyone would be burned out. Focusing on your own self-care sounds very sensible and nurturing. Your hope will return and with the FWB arrangement you’re already opening up your space for someone else. I don’t mean to give you a pep talk. You’re having fun, moving on and taking great care of yourself.

            Luckily, I can WFH most of the time and don’t have to see him for weeks. My rule is no contact outside of work. He would email and call on nights and weekends in secret. I don’t want any part of that because it keeps us connected in an affair kind of way and I’m filling an emotional void in his life and my life too. I can’t lean on him like that if I’m truly going to exit. I would like to get to a place where I could revel in his “u” and “we” successes. He also said he can’t face anything about me dating and seeing someone. So, I’m not sure if a friendship will ever really work unless we keep it superficial and stick to the pleasantries. As you rightfully pointed out it leads to a greater risk of having sex again. It’s not like when we part ways we lose the chemistry, attraction, lust factor, etc.

  • BAF

    Felk I am answering all the way up here as I am simply too lazy to keep scrolling down all the time LOL. This is going to be quick: It’s your comment on how the MM’s here seem NOT to be able not to multi-task like we, the MW and SW. You write below” “I am not entirely sure what it is that overwhelms them while it does not overwhelm us in the same way.”
    I honestly think, having two grown sons that I interact with a lot, that the male brain is wired or works differently. My sons were raised by me, a female, and in a very progressive and nurturing and female-oriented environment. Now they are 28 and 31 and you would hardly know this fact. I say this because our brains are not the same at all I must say. And the one thing that drives them a bit nuts about me is my constant multi-tasking. I swear I can think sideways, up and down, and every which way. They can only think straight.
    It bugs them because their brains absolutely don’t work like mine does. It bugs me because I find them too “plodding” sometimes. But actually together we make a better team than any one brain type alone. My sons are all about: “one thing at time done very well” over my “ten things at a time (all different) done fairy well” LOL. Their way seems to mimic so many males I know who are the same way. When I try to focus hard on one thing at a time (the ‘male’ way) I find it quite relaxing I must say. Far less stressful. But as soon as I am alone and/or with other women, I go back to the multi-tasking consistently and constantly. Whether this is my nature or my nurture or is evolutionary or a bit of all, I always find our brains are different (my male sons and I). So I think in a way it’s almost amusing that men find themselves so often in affairs (relationships which require a lot of multi-tasking) yet they are also pretty terrible at multi-tasking. Oh the irony of it all. Hugs BAF. xx00

    • Felk

      BAF, yeah, there is definitely something different with men and multi-tasking (research backs that up), and that’s probably one reason why the MM can’t handle these situations as well. Why they are more easily overwhelmed and go MIA to “separate” the two. I don’t know if it’s nature or nurture either, but either one will lead to brain differences.

      It was pretty funny to read you say that you will do “ten things at a time (a different) done fairly well.” Me, too. I’m all about doing a lot fairly well and not worrying too much about doing any one thing “perfectly.” My H is the same (as the other men we’re talking about). Much better at doing one thing at a time and SO often forgets things when he’s asked to multi-task.

      And, yeah, it is pretty funny/ironic that these men are choosing these affairs even though they’re so terrible at multi-tasking. 🙂 I don’t think they realize what they’re getting into! I think the allure/the addiction is such a strong draw that they don’t realize how strongly they’re going to feel. Then the “need for separation” between the two relationships begins in earnest. Early on, it’s probably relatively easy to separate as you still feel more strongly for your spouse, but as the affair continues and feelings grow for your affair partner and you want more time with that person, the challenges mount. Then your spouse starts noticing and putting pressure on (whether directly saying something or indirectly just wanting more time/attention), and then the multi-tasking gets even harder. This is true for both people in the affair, but it seems women handle these competing and challenging emotions better than men. Fascinating. I don’t think there’s any research on women being able to emotionally handle affairs better than men (and likely because of prevailing stereotypes that men have/want affairs more than women), but that would be pretty interesting research.

  • BAF

    Hi Hope
    I am responding to you up here so our conversation does not get buried.
    I want to tell you first of all that I am so happy ! to hear you have seen the maternal nurse. Now you have a diagnosis and some help coming your way. This is huge. I was also diagnosed me with postpartum depression after my second son was born. In truth my marriage to my crazy exH probably was a contributing factor but there were other factors as well, some form childhood and some genetic. That is when I found my therapist as well, in that period. I hope you will share you safety concerns about yours and your children’s safety with your counselor. This is an important step in documenting what is going on. And it is important for You to hear yourself speaking out loud so that you yourself can hear the words and comprehend your own distress (if this makes sense). Often times we hide our distress even from ourselves and it only makes everything worse.

    You are being very wise about the MM too. I can understand him being older…perhaps a father figure of some kind? I know my exMM was my (perceived) “rock” in my life a way that is hard to explain. Even while going though all our drama over the years I felt he was someone who I could lean on for support, familiarity and even comfort. Sometimes he was not actually that helpful. But I was not very logical about this because emotionally, I felt I needed to cling to whatever stability I felt he provided me. One of the hardest things I had to face about him last year is that I had to realize he was never as strong and together as I thought he was in my mind. I had “invented” some of that strength. And that I was MORE strong than I ever gave myself credit for. I had “invented” some of my own weakness too. I think you too are strong Hope, probably much more than you give yourself credit for. In getting treatment for your post part that you will be able to get stronger a little at a time and with counseling you will begin to see some options for yourself! Please keep us posted!
    Hugs BAF
    xoxo

    • Livehappy

      Hi all. I am new to this particular post but have been reading older blogs for months about affairs. Like many of you I find comfort in the similarities we all have experienced but also find myself getting incredibly angry for allowing myself to be so incredibly stupid and gullible to his lies. I am having a terrible time right now with many horrible thoughts going through my mind. I feel at my absolute weakest and am looking quiet desperate. I have been involved for 3 years now. It has gone from complete euphoria with a gradual decline and now complete absence by him. He told me by text 2weeks ago he loved me, for me to relax, that I am a part of this, and he knows what he is doing…eluding to us being together. And has ignored me ever since! I asked to see him to discuss things and he said that he has been busy and help knows I’m busy as is the rest of the world! The world??? I’m competing with the world now??? He has a full week next week and will be on business the following week. That was 2days ago and I have been ignored ever since yet again.
      I know I need to end this and oh lord have I tried. I feel so bad about myself and he has made me believe that there is no other man good for me but him! He has made me feel worthless because he doesn’t seem to even want me let alone have an ounce of care. If this is love I really do not like it. My new motto is live happy because that is what I need to do. I just need to figure out how.

      • Kub

        Hello ! and welcome among us !

        I have read your post and I wanted to reply as soon as possible because we have all been there and I got really huge support from here and I want to give that back to you.

        First of all you may be familiar with 5 stages of grief. If you are not please search for it. To me, the better the more I know what I am going through. It was like a light to the end of the tunnel for me knowing that there exist people who can recover from them. So maybe this would be helpful for you too.
        Second of all please try to quit blaming yourself. Trust me there is no good can come out of it. Please try remind yourself that you did best of you in every cases. Sometimes you tried to quit, sometimes you loved to the deepest your heart. But whatever you have done in the past there is no chance to change it now. What you can do is change your possible future. So ı think the hardest but the best is to forgive yourself at first. And by time it will lead you to forgive him, too. I know this may sound crazy and impossible but believe me thanks to all the love we had, we can get a closure. You will get your whenever you are ready. Just know that you will have and the timing will be set by you. But sincerely… Do not blame yourself contentiously. It may even lead you to make worse decisions.
        And the last but not the least. This is a golden rule (to me !) men like to chase. Just cut the contact. I know you said that you ignored him but if you can continue that you will see how thing will turn around. Maybe not in one day, in one week but eventually he will want to remind himself to you. He will want to feel your love, feel the thrill of your relationship so he will definitely come to you. Ah. If not, than you will be the luckiest person because the sooner you stop the connection the more time you will have to heal. I know it is so painful not to hear from him but looking at the past and thinking all the mistakes I have made… I wish at least at one of them I would not reach out him, or he would not reach out me. The biggest weakness of myself was never being able to say no and standing behind my darkest experiences. But if he would not reach out to me, I would suffer definitely but would also get it over eventually. Because it is a phase…
        So if you keep telling yourself this mantra, that this will all be gone and this is just a phase, it may be helpful. It has been last Thursday I have heard my MM and god knows whenever an e-mail comes up I jump. But it does not hurt as it used to. I know that he can handle with this absence and discommunication, too. So with fewer pain… I can go through the days.
        to sum up.. What helped me the most was getting socialized. It is hard. You will definitely be want to alone but if you can understand what kind of a situation you are than I think you should let yourself be in crowd. Sure, you will feel alone though but trust me it is better to be with people and try to fit in to talks than being alone at home and think of him. Listen some foreign music that you can not understand so just enjoy the rhythm. Watch sit com ! Laugh a lot. A recommendation : unbreakable kimmy schmidt. That woman thought me a lot.

        one last think (I promise). You are special. You are not worthless, definitely not. Do not let him to put the price of you. Believe that you deserve better. Maybe not in one time you will be able to disconnect with him. But if a part of you says it is done ! It will be done… We are all here for you. Come here and instead of texting him, pour your feelings to here.

        See you !

      • Felk

        Livehappy, welcome to the board. I’ve been on this board for about 1.5 years, after already having been in my affair for about 5 years. I am a MW having an affair with a MM. And, like you, I first came to this board when things had gotten a lot worse with my MM. I came to the board after my MM said he wanted to end our affair (given overwhelming angst/tension and not falling out of love or finding someone else), and I was looking for support from people who had been through it or were going through it.

        Of course, it’s hard to know about your situation with the information you’ve provided (are you married also? how often do you usually communicate? Is two days of no communication common? when he hints at being together in the future does he suggest he’ll leave his W?), but it sounds like you’re noticing changes in your MM. You suggest a gradual decline and now his absence. That is what happened in my affair, too. There was an increase in the feelings/love/addiction over about 4 years and then the next year was the gradual decline as my MM became overwhelmed with maintaining two relationships. After about 9 months of a gradual decline (with my MM still saying many encouraging things about how he wanted the affair, like your MM reassuring that he loves you), my MM ended the affair… or tried to (we’re back in the affair again).

        Again, it’s hard to know if this is typical behavior from your MM or something is changing as you’re saying, since I don’t know much your situation. But, even if you’re exaggerating (in your head) how bad it is, you are probably accurately noticing something changing. You are paying attention to your feelings. And your feelings are saying that you feel dismissed and ignored and disrespected by his lack of contact and his dismissive response to your concerns (telling you to relax! Ugh). It sounds like you need a conversation with him to express some of what you’re feeling, but it also sounds like you’ve found it hard to get time with him lately. This is the mess of affairs. I don’t know how many times I felt this over the last 6.5 years… something important to talk about and can’t find any time to talk. 🙁 Best of luck to you, of course, and I’ll help as much as I can, even if it’s just “listening” to you talk it out.

        But, if your MM makes you feel bad about yourself, then it’s also important to pay attention to that. The euphoria of an affair can trick us into putting up with the bad treatment, but I’m sure you are recognizing that there are plenty other men who will treat you better. Of course, it’s MUCH easier said than done to just leave the affair, but other women on here have done it successfully. It takes hard work, but it can be done if you want it. And I’m thinking that, because you are here now and posting, that you’re getting close to (trying to) being done with the affair even though you know how hard that is.

        • LiveHappy

          Thank you for responding as this board makes me feel validated and a bit more calm when I am in distress…which is all too often!
          I will give you some background on my situation. I had recently moved to a new city with my family about 6 years ago. I have been divorced for about 10 years. We lived apart for a couple years after the divorce but I could not bare the thought of my kids being raised by another woman nor another man, I just could not handle that idea. So after a couple years my ex and I moved in together to raise the kids. I never loved my ex (not even on my wedding day! but I felt obligated to go through with it). We lived together in separate rooms and co existed for about 9 years. I WAS MISERABLE but for my kids I had to do it and I would honestly do it again for them if I had to. I acquired a new job through a new friend I had met after the move at my kids sporting event. And that is where I met my MM. I knew and saw him as I saw everyone else there…a coworker, nothing special. I never looked at him any differently didn’t think of him outside of work, nothing. Just a guy I knew. We talked a lot about different things but again, I did not see him as anything but a coworker I talked to him like I do everyone. He and all my colleagues thought my ex and I were married and I let everyone think that because it was just too confusing and hard to explain our situation. Well, I finally had enough of the misery with my ex and could not take his controlling, mean soul, crap of a person he was/is any longer. I left! So, I confided in my MM for no other reason than I was telling people and I told him too. On the spot he looked at me and asked “would you like to go have a drink with me one day”? I was so shocked and speechless! I just kept asking “what”? “Me”? “What”?. But said yes still not really thinking much about it. The way he carries himself is he is a super nice, well dressed, family man and you would never imagine he would step out on his family, at least that is what I believed. We then started talking/texting then meeting in random shopping parking lots to just talk for a bit. He told me that he had been watching me for years and knew everything about me and what kind of person I was. He said he knew the first instant he saw me that he knew we would be together…he still remembered 3 years later what outfit I had on, my sunglasses, my hair, just everything. I didn’t even remember seeing him! We were slow to have sex but we were so very close otherwise. Anyway, he has promised me that he will leave his wife (I never asked him to). He bought me a promise ring. He said he would not mind if I got pregnant (I got on birth control within a couple weeks). He has promised to marry me, he has given me dates of him moving out and they have all come and gone. He has two kids but they are grown and in college. I never really had a typical affair with him like a lot of you ladies. I did not get trips, nor bills paid, nor nice restaurants (twice in 3 years) nothing really…mostly parking lot conversations and sometimes he would come to my apartment for a couple of hours. He now hardly texts, calls, we go months with not seeing each other. I am once again miserable. I do not know what I am hanging onto with him. I think I just feel bad because he is kind of acting like I did not exist and it makes me feel like I am not good enough. He even promised me that he would make sure my daughter went to college and that he considered her his daughter (he has never met her). I feel he took this all way too far to not come through with anything he said. I have asked him to end it he refuses and says he loves me. I do not believe him though. We may get together to talk this week (have not seen him since beginning of Dec.) to see where we go from here. I told him that if it is decided to end it then he needs to. He said no. I need him to end it for some reason, it is important to me. He started it…he can end it!

          • Felk

            LiveHappy, thanks for giving more information about your situation. From what you describe, yes, I think you’re reading your MM’s signs correctly that he is pulling away. I know that hurts to hear, but you have already thought this for several months now. I think we all recognize when our MM are pulling away, and it is miserable so we desperately hold on to the affair and try to interpret every positive sign that we can. My MM pulled away for 9 months in 2017 before he “ended it.” I knew during those 9 months that he was pulling away. We even talked about it directly, and, although he would acknowledge that he had to try to separate me better from his marriage because our affair was hurting his marriage/family, he also would reassure about how he wanted our relationship and how he could not imagine ending us. He said so many lovely things in that year that it kept me holding onto hope, even though I knew he was pulling away (with fewer texts, less chatting online, and less time alone together). It sounds like you can feel the same from your MM. He hasn’t seen you in person in over two months? That’s a lot.

            My MM and I never made promises to leave our spouses, so I can see how it’s particularly hurtful to you that your MM has promised these things. There are other women on here (especially J) who have gone through many rounds of promises from their MM. So many of us have felt the “I don’t know what I am hanging onto with him.” Lois has been going through that for months. I went through that in 2017. We hang on because of the addiction. We love that reward of how they make us feel so special and we are desperate to feel it again. And then it’s also as you say… the rejection of them ignoring you and acting like you don’t exist makes you desperately want a sign from them that they want you so you can make the pain of that rejection go away.

            I do hope that you are able to get together to talk, but try not to go into that conversation expecting he will say all happy things that will make you feel better. We often want to have these talks (especially when we are feeling desperate) to just get ANY reassurance that they still want to be with us, but it’s not that simple. He will say loving things that make you feel special, and he will say things that scare you and make you wonder if he really wants to be with you. Is it possible that he is struggling with the guilt of the affair and that’s why he’s pulling away? Maybe he feels like he’s neglecting his family, as many MM on here begin to feel. It can feel terrible to know that’s how he feels, but it’s understandable. Hopefully, he can be honest with you and hopefully you are ready to hear any honesty he may give you (even if it is the honesty of wanting to end the affair). Of course, it will probably be something in the middle where he says he can’t give you the same time as before but he still loves you. That puts you in the difficult position that I was in two years ago as my MM pulled away and I had to choose whether or not to settle for less. I was so in love that I chose to accept less and it was miserable. You seem miserable as well. It is a terrible existence feeling dismissed, so I do hope you’re able to get some answers you want. And, most importantly, I hope you’re able to end it if you do not get the reassurance and treatment you need. Yes, I hope YOU can end it. I know you want him to end it because it’s too hard for you, but he may want you to end it because it’s too hard for him. It is not his responsibility to end the relationship any more than it’s yours. If you feel you are not being treated as you want, then it is your responsibility to respect yourself and ask for more. And if he cannot or does not give more, then it is your responsibility to end the relationship. And you know it’s not fair to say he started the affair. 🙂 It takes two. Hope that helps a little, but I know that talking to him is what you need most right now.

          • BAF

            Hi Live Happy
            Clearly, You have been through the affair “ringer” in your affair as so many of us here. I am glad you joined this board. You will find you have much in common with so many people here and I hope talking things over will bring you some comfort. Affairs are so isolating and this increases our suffering when the affairs begin to go south.
            I have been on this board for awhile (May or June 2017 I think!) I was in and out of an affair with a man who works next door to my house for 21 years. I was having a very very hard time getting out of the affair and staying out until finally last August when he behaved so badly towards me in an argument. I was finally ready to see the damage he was inflicting and to move out of his range of fire so to speak. He has other very good qualities of course and some of them very attractive. And those are the things that attracted me to him. But I finally realized the narcissist part in him needs a kind help that I can not give.

            Anyhow, getting back to your situation, the first thing I notice in your words is this: “He told me that he had been watching me for years and knew everything about me and what kind of person I was. He said he knew the first instant he saw me that he knew we would be together…he still remembered 3 years later what outfit I had on, my sunglasses, my hair, just everything.” I wondered if you think your MM might possible be a narcissist too? These words you write sound sound so much like “love bombing” to me. And the all the promises he made to you, none of them fulfilled now. And the latest distance from him sounds like a sort of “discard” stage where he takes distance inexplicably leaving you feeling unworthy and miserable.
            I could be wrong of course.
            I hope I AM wrong!
            I am merely suggesting It might be worth it for you to do some internet research on narcissist and their behavior in relationships. They are quite predictable after you get more info on them.

            In my case it took me all 21 years to fully comprehend that my exMM was actually a narcissist. I could not see it because I was beating myself up so much all the time I missed it! Yes, my exMM has ‘some’ empathy for others, but not much. He is very self-centered and I realized he can not even help it. It is a personality disorder in him probably caused by childhood trauma. Just like being raised by a narcissist mother traumatized me and led me to him. I was used to being discarded in fact and used to feeling low self esteem in a “love” relationship. I just did not know this!

            So many of his behaviors were classic ‘narc’ including the last argument where he blamed me for calling our affair a ‘love relationship’. He claimed that day BOTH of these words were supposed to be forbidden or something. LOL. I can laugh pretty hard now but damn it was not funny at the time.

            He accused me of making up our affair in a way. It was supreme gaslighting. But he did this not because he was “right” or this was “true”. No, he did this because he was so pissed I called him out on his behavior and how dare I do that? So he did this in reaction to some feelings he had in reacting to me. I ‘injured’ emotionally him and he lashed out in spades.

            Luckily I am in therapy many years. And I have so much help with this. Anyhow the thing YOU need to know is this:
            Is your MM a narc do you think? There is a spectrum from lesser narc to full blown sociopathic narc. Also: Whether or not your MM is a narc or not is actually not YOUR problem. That part is HIS problem. YOUR problem if he is a narc is the damage done to your self esteem and psyche in the midst of such a person. This part would require a great deal of deliberate healing on your part even if you do decide to stay with him. A narc causes emotional damage on all their love partner is all you would need to know.
            I hope this is not too alarming to you. And that it will help you rather than scare you. But in affairs we only see the affair partner part-time and thus we are apt to see only one side of a person until it’s too late. So I hope you will at least think about this calmly.
            Many hugs and welcome!
            BAF
            xxx000

      • TTSP

        Hi LiveHappy,
        First, I love your alias and yes it is up to us to live happy. Do you still work with this guy? I met mine at work when i moved to a new group and he was/is my boss. Mine was very forthcoming about his intentions but I was a fool to think oh maybe he’d see something great in me blah blah. It took me about a year and a half of being together for it to sink in that he’d never give up what he had for me. Even though I would do the same if I were him, it still leads to feelings of rejection, not being good enough and all the ugliness everyone goes through in these positions. I spent about 7 months in a dark phase grieving. Now we’re friends but by definition it’s still an emotional affair. I’m the one who wanted out bc I’m single and want to invest my energy in a single man. He has never made it easy to leave and I’m convinced it is the addictive nature. When people are hooked they will say or do anything to get their fix. Either way I haven’t found a true exit except for finding a new job which I’ve been talking about for a few months and have not taken action.

        I’m sorry that he made false promises to you. I can’t understand why anyone would even elude to such grand gestures. Regardless of his motives or intentions, he didn’t follow through. I think you’re more upset that he is pulling the disappearing act. When anyone you are really into pulls away it’s quite disturbing. I totally get the worthless, not wanted thing but thoughts are not facts. It’s hard to believe this when you’re emotions are firing rapidly but he does care and want you. He’s just married and can’t give the way he would if he were single. All the ugly emotions are creeping up on him and he doesn’t know how to cope. Some people flee because it’s just too painful to face. My now “friend” told me that even as the married person the whole experience is a mind F. Both sides deal with the emotional rollercoaster.

        I wish I could say it’s easy to break free but it’s all really confounding. If you can try to emotionally detach and expect less you’ll start to feel more independent from him. Also, if you haven’t seen him in months have your feelings subsided a little? If I’m apart for someone that naturally reduces the feelings. I hope you get a chance to talk although sometimes there just aren’t enough words to soothe your soul. He’ll say a few things that reassure you and other things that contradict what just made you feel so good. These relationships have repeating cycles of euphoria, despair, distance and reuniting. I would advise anyone to never ever dabble.

  • Felk

    TTSP, thanks for the kind words (and you know you deserve some, too, especially for the strength you’re showing in ending your affair… how is that going, by the way? How do you feel about it all?). You are right in saying that I understand and accept the limitations but also struggle with not entirely getting what I need (welcome to an affair!). It’s all the things you say with the limitations of an affair and how that challenges us daily. Those things have been present from the beginning, though. The thing that is a little different now, after we’ve “gotten back together,” is that I find myself a little more uneasy about his friendships with other women. I still have very little jealousy of his W, but, during the break-up, I worried that he’d replace me and so some of that still lingers, even though his words (and most of his actions) support that he is still in love and wants to be with me. It’s hard not to like when he told me a month ago that he has known for a long time that I am the one for him, but it’s the disconnect between words and actions that is hard sometimes. He says those words but can’t always back that up with action because he’s married to another person. I get it, but it can be hard remembering those words when we haven’t talked or had alone time in a while.

    What I’d most like to improve in my relationship is the security. I’d like to have more reassurance that he wants this. I’m sure I’m still a bit extra anxious after he ended it, worried he might do it again (but there is also a part of me that worries less about him ending it because it’s less scary having been through it once). I think increased communication would help with that. Increased communication not only shows me his interest but, of course, it allows for words to be said that can offer reassurance. It’s as you say, how do you give a relationship life if you’re not talking regularly? Although we talk “regularly” by some definition, the lower communication just makes it all feel more distant and less good to me. It’s not only that I miss him and our time together, but it’s just that I feel less connected to him now in general and that’s sad. I feel I know him well and we have a strong connection, but without more consistent communication it feels like there’s a gap between us a lot of the time. Granted, this is probably what I’ve wanted the entire 6.5 years (more security and more communication) so I’m not sure this is changing any time soon.

    As BAF says in her reply to you, I don’t think he’s worried he’ll smother me, but I think you’re right that he’s worried that he’ll appear needy and he’s worried about being vulnerable. You are also right that he is aloof, elusive, and not always emotional available and he is like that with everyone in his life. He has said the things that a lot of our MM say, “I am more emotionally open with you than anyone in my life.” And while that feels good, he’s still not that emotionally open with me. 🙂 And, yes, it’s one of the main reasons I have not wanted to leave my H for him. Having an emotionally unavailable H and an H who’s scared to be vulnerable sounds pretty miserable to me. That is a man who constantly makes you feel not good about yourself. But, as an affair partner, a lot of what is unattractive in a long-term partner is pretty attractive (the mystery, the dominance, the challenge).

    So, yes, if we communicated more, I’d probably be happier. When we communicate more now, I am happier. This past week has been a particularly rough week of low communication, some based on circumstance and, I think, some based on him intentionally putting some distance because he knew I was going out of town. What is my plan? Not much. Kind of just monitor things as they are. We have some alone time coming up across the next two weeks, and if he seems consistent with as he’s been lately (pretty in love), then I likely won’t say much. I may mention a few things, but if, in our time together, he is showing that he is happy with us and wants us, then I want to respect the balance he is trying to strike with the lower communication. However, if he’s more aloof than usual, then I’ll want to ask him directly about it. He’s had a tendency to punish (with distance and criticism) when he gets jealous, and I don’t want to ignore that if that’s what it feels like this coming week. In general, it’s as BAF says, I am willing to accept the structure as it is because I don’t want to go back to the “bad” of before (that led him to end us).

    • TTSP

      What is the “bad” of before? You didn’t do anything wrong before Felk. I suppose we all take away lessons and try to apply those going forward but you sound like a rockstar partner. From what I read in your words I pick up on cautious and fearful about overly expressing your needs to the point of pushing him away. While I don’t disagree that your light touch has merit, it may also cause you to feel off-kilter bc you’re a little “lonely” with him. I completely get that he’s married and can’t be available to act all the time but so are you and you’re making the effort to talk to him and see him as much as possible. He’s making the effort also but it appears like you’re trying to convince yourself that it should be enough. It’s just not and that’s ok. All of my female friends both married and single like daily or close to daily contact whether that is phone calls, texts, IMs or all of the above. Regular communication is subjective and something that each person and couple settle on together. I’ve been with guys that text and call too frequently, others that leave me wondering if they even like me and some that are just the right frequency and duration.

      My two cents are that he definitely wants and loves you but he has doubts about whether he wants a secret relationship. When you’re together everything seems great. In an affair it’s not the time together but the time apart that leaves us dubious of everything the person tells over and over again with words. If the current structure is acceptable and the benefits outweigh the shortcomings, you are in like flynn. Ask yourself if the status quo is joyful enough to get you over the torment of not getting quite what you need. I do wish for you a chance to comfortably speak your mind without fear holding you back.

      In my situation we’re still emotionally connected and I can’t honestly say that is a complete out. Do I like having him as moral support at work? Yes, I like having him as a friend. If we stopped talking altogether would I miss him a lot. Yes, I’d miss him like hell. Do I think I’ll be ok and he’ll be ok when our lives do go in completely separate directions? Yes, I care for him, have love for him and wish him a happy, prosperous life. It took me 7 excruciating months to accept our fate, learn to live with feelings and genuinely be ok with his life. Will he be ok with me getting seriously involved in a new relationship? No, but if I can respect his marriage than he has to come to terms with me dating.

      • Felk

        TTSP, by the “bad” of before, I didn’t mean that I did anything wrong. I don’t really think my MM did anything wrong either. The “bad” of before is how our feelings and situation got too intense. We were spending a lot of time together and chatting online like 4-5 nights/week. It was an unsustainable level of closeness/communication that was making him feel bad too often – bad about how he was neglecting his W and family, bad about missing me when apart, and bad about not being there for me as much as he wanted to be (although I felt he was doing enough). We had gotten to a point where we wanted so much and it became a problem for both of us. I kept wanting more and more. He kept wanting more and more. And something had to give (given that we were married to others). So, that is the “bad” of before. We are trying to avoid that intensity now. And, yes, I do have to be okay with it. I can voice my desire for more communication if I feel it’s unfair, but I understood that the intensity was too much for him before so, if I want to still be in the affair, I get that the conditions have changed. And, sure, he has more control, but I get to decide whether or not I want to accept it. And I know I’d much rather have what we have now than not. The “current structure” is acceptable to me, and I think it is to him, too.

        And, in fairness, I sound like a “rockstar” partner because it’s an affair and it’s part-time and it’s easier to be on your best behavior. I am not a “rockstar” partner to my H. 🙂

        It sounds like your situation is still tough, but it sounds like you’ve gotten past the really bad of those 7 months of accepting the end of the affair. For me, it was about the same… about 6 months of excruciatingly bad and then maybe 3 more months of difficult, and then finally feeling strength and “normal” again. It sounds like maybe you’ve found a balance that works where you can keep him in your life without the pain of the affair and what you weren’t getting from it. Have you started looking to date others or are you still not really there yet?

  • J

    Hello ladies. Mm still lives in his rental, so we can be together. I still have not told my H anything because I’m waiting for mm to file for divorce in light of all of his flip flops in the past. He was supposed to be going to a lawyer the first of the year. Well, it’s February now and nothing. H was away for a bit, and mm and I spent much uninterrupted time just doing regular things together like cooking and going to sleep together, waking up to each other, etc. It was super nice. We had a wonderful time together and many little issues disappeared. Although I will admit to you all that surprisingly I missed my H quite a bit. It could’ve just been missing the routines, I’m not sure. Well the W keeps constantly calling mm and asking if they can talk, can they try counseling, can they go for coffee. She continues to try guilting him saying he has abandoned the family, including his grown daughter and son. She will not stop. Why this wait still of him not cutting the chords? Yes, mm lives separately from her her. But everything else is still tied up to her. Including finance, medical, all of his possessions are still in the house. Now his dog is sick and in the hospital and W keeps calling crying about that too. And he’s depresssed about that. Recently he’s forgotten some important medical appointments of mine. I was very hurt, as he claimed I’m the most important person to him, but he can’t seem to remember an appointment even. He apologized repeatedly and asked for me to forgive him. I told him that I don’t feel he’s giving me his all, how could he since he’s still so tied up in W. He said maybe he’s subconsciously trying to separate me, he’s not sure. Suggested he may still feel guilt. Said he wants peace of mind and mentioned his fears of his kids hating him. Is it me, or he’s going back again??? Sounds like the same things he said before going back the last time. I was starting to believe him this time as it’s been 7 months that he’s living alone. I asked are you going back? He said no. I’m not convinced. Thoughts?

    • Felk

      Hi J, good to hear from you but it doesn’t sound like much has changed in your situation. Some of that is good (your MM is still living on his own) and some of that is not so good (his life is still pretty intertwined with his W). I can hear your frustration that he hasn’t filed for divorce yet. What is his delay? He says that he’s not going back to his W, but is it that he still feels guilty and bad and is delaying for that reason? As you say, your MM is feeling depressed about his situation and I can also see that making it hard for him to find the motivation to just do it. I know you want him to, but it is a big decision and I guess he still needs time. I don’t know how long you’re willing to wait, though. And I really have no idea if your MM is going back to his W. Him moving out was a pretty big step, but the longer he takes to file for divorce, the more I would wonder (as you are). Is he waiting for you to move out? To also show signs you’re leaving your H? I know you’ve told him that you’re not doing it until he does, but maybe he is scared that YOU are going to back out?

      It is interesting that you missed your H when he was gone (especially since you spent a lot of time with your MM). What kind of “missing” was it? Were you having second thoughts about leaving your marriage? I know that in addition to not thinking my MM is better than my H, it would be very hard for me to imagine a life without my H. I love him, and we get along very well. Even if there is more distance between us now since my affair, we still have a good life together and I don’t think I’d give that up for my MM. So, are you having second thoughts about leaving him (like your life might not be better with MM) or do you think it’s just some sadness about him no longer being in your life if you divorce?

  • Felk

    Hi Ladies, just some general thoughts on this Sunday. I think the thing I have found the hardest, whether in my affair before when it was more intense or now, is dealing with the disconnect between how much I want contact with my MM and how much I have. Whether it was the intense affair before when we were chatting online many nights/week, when we were coming to my house 2-3 times/month, when we were finding time to sneak away from work (whether for lunch or drinks or time in his car) every week, when we were going on monthly dates at night, when we were emailing and texting more often, or whether it’s the less intense version now where we email and text less, where we find time together after work 2-3 times/month, where we come to my house *maybe* once/month, and when we go on nightly dates a lot less, we always want more because we have this messed up situation where there is so much time away from this person we feel so strongly for. (And this isn’t even getting into how part of that strong pull exactly comes from how little time we have together as opposed to coming from genuine connection.)

    So, even with my expectations much lower now than before, I still want more and I still spend too much time focusing on what he is not doing (for me/with me) instead of remembering what he is doing to sustain our affair and show me that he’s in love. For example, last week, I sent an e-mail asking for some time together on Friday (given that it was an anniversary of sorts for us). Asked for some time after work, something that is often easy for him to do for an hour or two. His e-mail response was cute and flirty, but he scheduled a work meeting for that time (something that he seemed to suggest he could have easily scheduled for Monday as well) and wasn’t available Friday. So, I was sad. I wanted him to want that time with me Friday as much as I did. I wanted him to care about spending that anniversary day expressing a little closeness with me. I wanted him to want it enough that he rearranged his work schedule for that. So, I spent some time in that self-pity and frustration with him (and wondering if he was purposely trying to avoid Friday BECAUSE it was an anniversary and he didn’t want to deal with those emotions) instead of remembering that work should come first and I can’t blame him for not rearranging his schedule (and that he’s allowed to deal with the emotions of our affair differently than I do… if it is the case that he was intentionally avoiding that day). And I didn’t spend enough time focusing on the fact that his email was flirty and also suggested another day for us to get together this coming week. Here I am upset that he’s not available at the exact time I ask, and I’m not hearing that he’s trying to find another time that works?!?

    My MM has often told me that he is likely thinking about me as much as I am him. I believe him. He has said it enough for me to know that he feels similarly and has many thoughts of me and us when we are apart. The difference is, and always has been, that I want to reach out when I feel this way. I want emotional closeness. He wants to retreat and try as best he can to deal with his feelings without attempting to reach out when we cannot have that time (in-person) together. He wants to wait until we can have more time together to express the closeness because he feels a lot of ambivalence when we text/email when we are apart. It makes him miss me more, whereas for me it makes me feel better about being away from him. And with a family, I know he has more obligations than I do, and I know it can make him feel as bad that he’s not available (whereas I can get in my head and think he doesn’t care to make himself available).

    I know you all understand very well but just feeling like typing some of it out on a lazy Sunday where I sit and wish he’d contact me, knowing he likely won’t. And then I remind myself that last Sunday, out of nowhere, he did text me, just to let me know he was thinking about me. He does it so rarely, but he does it. As I wrote to Hope earlier today, we can get in our heads with expectations about how the other is supposed to act and miss other signs of caring. I know that I am most at peace with my affair when I recognize these signs of caring AND when I take a look at my own behavior and how he could sometimes misinterpret it as being less caring than I intend. If I am really fair to him, I notice that he is being himself as he always has been and nothing is different. I mean that in a good way and bad way. He is still showing all the signs of interest and communicating with me consistently, and he is still being himself and being more distant than I would like. Maybe that’s the hardest thing about affairs? We keep waiting for things to change and they can’t, given all the barriers that we know we sign up for in an affair.

    • Hope

      Hi Felk, I know the disconnect you feel I went through the same thing with my ex mm and it was one of our biggest problems. He never wanted contact on weekends or holidays and I did, I would send a text, a joke and wait hours and hours checking my phone every few minutes only to hear from him. It was excruciating. I understand what you say about lowering your expectations yet holding out hope and boy does it hurt when they disappoint us.

      As you say there is fair chance that he scheduled that meeting on purpose to avoid dealing with those emotions but wouldn’t you both have to deal with those emotions anyway regardless of whether you both spend the day together or not? Sometimes I feel that your mm pushes you away on purpose, I did that with ex mm… not because I wanted to hurt him, he didn’t want to leave his W but I was ready to leave and when he refused I never really overcame that refusal. Even though we were back together and were going stronger than before I still at times wanted to ‘prove’ to him that he’d be miserable without me in his life and he should’ve considered it when I asked.

      May be wait till you both are together and try and gauge his reaction. I am sure he missed you on your anniversary and thought of you. I know the sadness of desperately waiting for a text on a Sunday, I have been there so many times. Yes one of the worst part of affairs is holding out hope that things will change when in reality they never will. Your mm loves you and cares about you Felk. Yes it is hard not having the same level of closeness, someday when you are together may be tell him how it makes you feel, tell him how vulnerable and sad it makes you feel. He loves you Felk, I am sure he will understand and at least try to send those signals that he cares for you more often. Sending you lots of love and hugs xxxx
      Hope.

      • Felk

        Hope, thanks for your response. I always appreciate hearing others’ perspectives, especially when their situations were similar. It seems your MM was similar with his desire for NC on weekends and holidays. Although it’s understandable that they might need to draw these lines, it’s hard. It’s hard to just put your feelings on hold for that time. Well, we’re not really putting our feelings on hold, but can’t express those feelings and that’s hard to do. It’s also not just the expressing that’s on hold, but it’s simply the connection with the other person. When you’re in love, it’s hard to not feed that addiction.

        I do think that my MM pushes me away on purpose at times. I think there are times that he knows it will be particularly hard for him, and he wants distance so he is colder to me to create that distance. Times when he doesn’t want to be reminded that we will be apart for a few days so he shuts down a little. Unfortunately, I think we’re in one of those times now. I’m not entirely sure, but I’m going away to a conference at the end of the week, and it has made my MM very jealous in the past (he is worried about an ex – like 20 years ago ex – I will see at the conference). You all know he has nothing to worry about as I only have eyes for my MM, but my MM has still been quite jealous of this ex. So, now that he knows I’m going to be away, I’m worried that he is shutting down a bit and getting cold. Not much I can do, though. I will hope he is not punishing when I return, but, if he is, I will then hope that I call him out on it.

        But are you suggesting that you think my MM pushes me away at times to make me want to leave my H or to make me want him more? It sounds like you did that a bit with your MM. Are you thinking that’s why he does it? I’ve never really thought that, but it definitely works! I sometimes wish I could push him away to show him what it feels like when he does it to me, but I just don’t really have that in me. As it is, I think me just being married is enough to make him feel pretty awful sometimes.

        It’s as you say. I will wait until we are together and gauge his reaction. I will be especially curious because I will have been away at that conference, and he is often slow to warm up after periods of time apart. And maybe I will say something to him about how it continues to be difficult for me, too. He knows how much the distance bothers me. That is nothing new. He knows I want signals of closeness, and, yes, I know he will try if I say something. I think what’s hard is because we communicate so much less often now, I’m not sure what to reasonably ask for? I’m not sure when it crosses the line. I do not want to push too much and get close to break-up territory again, and I like that we are back together in some way now. But, as expected, this also isn’t easy.

        • Hope

          Hi Felk so sorry about the late reply. I had my maternal health nurse appt and got diagnosed with postnatal depression but I am going to take help to get better😊

          Answer to your question, of course I can’t say for sure why.. no one can except your mm but yes I do think your mm pushes you away so you want him more. There are so many similarities between what your mm does and what I did in my affair. I am not proud of what I did and I certainly wasn’t planning on playing games or hurting my ex mm but yes I often pushed him away without explanation, especially after we had sex partly because I was always hurt to go away from him and partly because I wanted him to want me more. My thinking was he was the one that didn’t want to leave his marriage, I was ready to leave for him but he wasn’t and it felt awful. No matter how much he did, how understanding he was, how affectionate he was, how loving he was during and after sex it still wasn’t enough because for him what we had wasn’t enough to leave everything to be with me. I may be wrong but I feel your mm might feel similar? I know after my mm refused to leave his marriage I broke it off in one last attempt to make him realise my/our worth. It was painful but I wanted him to chose us. Looking back your mm broke up and then came back. Every time I read about your situation your mm reminds me of what I did. Hope things are better between you both soon. Take Care. Xxxxx

          • Felk

            Hope, I’m glad to hear that you go the diagnosis from your maternal health nurse and I’m glad to hear that you’ve contacted some close friends. Putting a name to the problem can help you get some of the help you need. And with everything you’re going through, you still found time to respond to me. I appreciate it, and I know that, in helping others, we often help ourselves.

            Your insight into your choices helps me about my MM, and maybe he does take some distance because I am the one who seems to want to leave my marriage less. Maybe he is hurt by that and wants to punish me (even if he doesn’t think that’s what he’s doing) or maybe it’s just that it’s hard to leave and be apart as he’s said (and as you said happened to you, too). Or maybe it’s some combination of both as it seems there’s rarely a simple answer.

            I do sometimes wonder if my MM ended us because he got the sense that I wasn’t going to leave my marriage? He never said that, but maybe he just thought it was an impossible situation where we were both unlikely to leave our marriages and it was just too hard to balance both? That’s what it seemed like, but I know that he recently said to me that one of the big difficulties for him was that he didn’t want to share me… so maybe there is something to him wanting me to leave me marriage that he never voiced? He and I have hinted at talking directly about that sometime so maybe we’ll do that sooner rather than later. Not that I want to leave my marriage, but maybe it’s something that we need to talk about? I often feel that there is more we should be talking about than we are, but I know he looks at that a little differently. He likes to talk but he also finds that talking can make us feel closer and can hurt more after. I get it.

        • Felk

          Update: my MM was punishing upon my return from my conference. As I said, I noticed he was already seeming like that on Wednesday before I left, picking on me a lot (under the guise of joking). I sent him a short e-mail while gone (just something sweet to let him know I was thinking about him), and his reply the next day was nice and seemed normal enough. But, we had plans to spend some time together after work yesterday, and not only did he cut that time shorter than our usual time together on a Monday afternoon (with no explanation beyond “I didn’t think we needed as much time today.” Huh? And believe me, I told him that explanation made no sense), but we spent much of that time with him being a bit physically distant and with him being critical of me for a few things (including not responding with more than a smile to his “good morning” in the hallway yesterday). It’s not that he was entirely cold, but he wasn’t entirely warm either. It caught me off guard a little because of his nice e-mail on Saturday, but, of course, driving away from that encounter, I recognized that he was punishing me (or taking out his angst on me) as I anticipated. I got pretty frustrated driving away, and decided I was going to send a pretty direct e-mail when I got home.

          As I composed my e-mail last night, I got an e-mail from him. Now you know how rare it is for him to initiate non-work email. He hasn’t in over two months. His email had a playful and apologetic tone (without an apology). It acknowledged he was colder than usual and joked about his “behavioral observations” (i.e., his “criticism”). He also tried to say a few nice things to me about how much he liked me (and how he hopes I can see that, even through his comments), but it wasn’t enough. I know how rare it is for him to send an e-mail like that after we spend time together, so I know he knew I left that afternoon feeling pretty crappy (even though I said nothing of the sort as we parted yesterday). I like that he recognized that his behavior wasn’t great, but it felt a little manipulative like he was trying to get back in my good graces through flattery as opposed to apologizing for poor treatment. Or maybe not manipulative but at least trying to smooth everything over with some jokes instead of a sincere message about how he asked me to get vulnerable and open yesterday and then he seemed to criticize my response.

          I know this is all based in his own struggles with missing me when I’m away and not liking the feelings he has about missing me (and probably being jealous of that my ex at the conference), but it’s a piss poor way of dealing with it. Mostly, I want to do better, and I’ve said that I’m going to be more direct and have less fear. I had a little hesitation in sending that e-mail because we have plans Thursday night (because I didn’t want to “ruin” Thursday by showing him I was upset), but I realized that fear is part of the addiction. I think we break that addiction when we aren’t fearful of losing something. I’m not saying I’m there entirely, but I’m trying. So, I responded to his e-mail with a little joking, but mainly with direct statements about how I felt (not good) after yesterday and how I felt he was unfairly critical about my behavior in a really damn tough situation. I also acknowledged the part about him being physically more distant, too, and said I wanted to talk more about it. I know we will talk about all of this Thursday, and I felt really strong making this decision yesterday to say something to him. I don’t know how it will go Thursday, but I know that I’d rather say something and have the relationship end than say nothing and feel weak because I let him treat me poorly without saying anything. And, no, I’m not worried the relationship will end because of this conversation, but that’s the kind of fear that is always lingering in the back of my mind and generally holds me back from more honesty with him. Of course, I also genuinely believe we should talk about these sorts of things (jealousy, distance, communication) to try to help our relationship if we want this to continue in some reasonably happy way.

          • LiveHappy

            Oh how I can relate! First, I want to say how sorry I am that you were made to feel that way. I struggle so much with how my MM can sleep with his wife, go to Church, spend everyday with her, etc. but I can not even look around when I am with him. He once yelled and berated me for waving at a young guy in the car next to us because he waved at us. I have never in my life been treated like that. So, you were punished for going out of town. I just do not understand their behavior. I feel that us going out whether it be for work or with friends that it brings out the MM’s insecurities and they realize they really can’t control us, that we really are not theirs. They want us safely tucked away in our home with the curtains drawn. All the while they are out eating or spending some quality family time, etc. while ignoring us! I am so proud of you that you sent the email and you are going to discuss this Thursday! Stay strong and do not allow him to try and turn this on you. This is such a difficult and painful relationship we are in.
            I have faith in you and we are all here for you after you meet him on Thursday!
            Best of luck! : )

          • Felk

            LiveHappy, you certainly seem to understand what I’m going through this week. My MM has shown signs of ugly jealousy throughout our affair (but he has mostly hidden it well). A few times I’ve called him out on it (when it got particularly ugly), but because he hides it well, I only usually see it when he’s really struggling with it (especially when I go out of town… whether it’s for a conference alone or with my H). It is exactly as you say. It brings out their insecurities that they don’t know how to deal with, but they also don’t want to voice openly because it would make them vulnerable to admit that they were jealous. And my MM REALLY does not like the feeling of losing control, and that’s what these situations make him feel. But instead of dealing with it like a mature adult, they take it out on us.

            I love what you wrote about “do not allow him to try and turn this on you.” You REALLY do know this situation. This is EXACTLY what my MM does when he’s punishing. He tries to find things to criticize me for, making me the one in the wrong, when it’s really he who can’t handle it. And, I know SO well him trying to turn it on me when I get upset. So, he will at first be contrite and say he wants to hear what I have to say when I’m upset and then he will make it all about him. Oh, do I know this well. I am ready for it, and, hopefully, I will be able to not stand for it Thursday when we talk about it. I’m pretty good at holding my own, but so is he! When I really know he’s in the wrong (which I do), that’s when I’m best at not backing down and letting him make me feel bad. He will try. He may even go to the tactics of making me feel our relationship is threatened because this is all too hard on him. I feel ready to let him make those threats. I will let him express himself. I will be understanding. I know this is a hard situation we are in. But I will not let him hold me hostage to his struggles at the expense of mine. And I will not let him blame me for his own difficulties in dealing with a hard situation. Hopefully, we can find some closeness in dealing with this together. He is pretty good at that, but we’ll see.

    • BAF

      Felk I can always hear in your words how much you are trying above all to stay balanced in your affair. Each time you feel certain emotions like sadness for example or longings for him, you are very very quick to to see the other side, HIS side. And in calming yourself down. I do not know if you push any of yourself down when you do this. The process seems automatic for you. This is not a criticism. I am just noticing here.
      I also notice you use the words “we” a lot. For example:
      “we always want more because we have this messed up situation where there is so much time away from this person we feel so strongly for.”
      Truth be told I have always found this a bit odd. But perhaps you really do know him so well that you can use use the “we” pronoun so often?
      I have found in affairs too many questions about the “other” for there to be a true “we” but that could just be me.
      Anyhow, he sounds like a man that is prone to taking distance (like so many of the MM’s here) so it surprises me you use the “we” pronoun with such seeming confidence. Again this is not a criticism. I just notice language a lot, and the way people write here and use words.
      Also you say this: “He wants to wait until we can have more time together to express the closeness because he feels a lot of ambivalence when we text/email when we are apart. It makes him miss me more, whereas for me it makes me feel better about being away from him.” This statement makes me think a lot about Lifelesson’s MM. Didn’t he say something sort of similar? I know someone commented on that too. Maybe it was Hope? I can not remember.
      The behavior seems quite illogical in a love affair but given that these are extra marital affairs, it always seem the rules change and “anything goes” in a way.
      And many of the MM’s share these behaviors it seems. Do they feel more guilt? Perhaps.
      In terms of your MM’s availability:
      Yes your MM has a family. How many children does he have? They are sort of young I think? Each of those children requires his time attention and love. Time. He has to take care of his W and do whatever he has to do to convince her he is not having an affair (again). And a wife who has been on guard in the past about affair is always going to be on guard in the future. It’s a definite “thing”. Anyhow more Time he needs to spend.

      All of this time is Time he can not be with you. This is a painful and sad fact no matter how you look at it and no matter how understanding and logical you can be. You are super understanding and very patient. There is really not much else to say. He is very lucky to have such person. And long as you are “in love” you are ready to work on keeping the affair working and on on doing a lot of compromising.
      And this leaves you: VULNERABLE. Yup we are all there in affairs. Vulnerable as hell. As you have been married and more secure for many years, you may have forgotten how vulnerable “love” can leave us and this might be a real kind of a shock to your system. We are not only vulnerable; the entire affair is unstable as a relationship too.
      And like you say:
      “Maybe that’s the hardest thing about affairs? We keep waiting for things to change and they can’t, given all the barriers that we know we sign up for in an affair.” YES YES YES. So Sad but So True.
      Hugs BAF
      xxxooo

      • Felk

        BAF, it’s clear you understand people and these situations well. You really can hear how I am trying to stay balanced. And, yes, it’s a default for me. Sometimes I wonder if I do that to the detriment of my feelings (and heeding what they are telling me), but most of the time I think I’m just being fair and that helps me in a tough situation like an affair. It just seems that we can so quickly get dominated by insecurity and anxiety and sadness in affairs, and taking the other’s perspective helps me a lot. As we’ve talked about recently, we can so easily “fill in the blanks” of time apart with irrational and scary thoughts about what the other is doing, and that’s why staying balanced helps me to recognize when I’m probably catastrophizing and worrying about things I need not be.

        But, when you ask if I “push” any of myself down when I do that, I think sometimes, yes. I think sometimes I explain away some bad feelings that I should attend to, feelings that probably mean I need to speak up and ask for something I need from him. This week there’s a work event that he knows I’d want to attend (and that I’ve attended with him before… not as a couple. It’s not an event like that.). But, did he ask me to go with him or if I was going? No. He sent out an e-mail to a bunch of us saying that people were meeting for happy hour before the event and inviting us all. I was sad to get that e-mail, feeling pretty not special getting the group invite, and feeling especially sad that this was the first I heard he was attending that event (and that he didn’t ask me about it ahead of time). Should I tell him that? Maybe if we were talking more often, I would, but we don’t talk as much as we used to and so it seems odd to me to bring it up if we have no “plans” to talk. I’m also feeling some jealousy about a female coworker (who I know likes him) who will be at that happy hour. I’ll be out of town for this event, and I’m trying to handle my feelings of jealousy. I know he is not interested in her and he’s in love with me, but his distance allows those scary thoughts to creep in. And sometimes I wonder if I should tell him how his distance can lead to these thoughts for me and how I’d appreciate him checking in a little more often? But talking about jealousy is a scary thing. He’s expressed some jealousy (very poorly) throughout our affair, but I’ve mostly kept mine quiet. I guess I’ve mostly felt secure (enough) with him and recognized the jealousy was just a reaction to a tough situation. But, I’ve felt more jealousy since the break-up and maybe I need to tell him that it’s harder now?

        BUT… in fairness to him (time for me to offer some balance…), I think he was scared to ask me about that event because I attended it last February with my H. This was in the middle of our break-up and things were still very confusing with my MM, and so I said nothing to him about the event last year. I didn’t even know if he was going (or if he was going with his W). He went alone. So, this year, I think he was scared to mention it because maybe I was attending with my H again? I think his group invite was his passive way of inviting me and trying to find out if my H was going without asking me. Affairs. Everyone is scared to be vulnerable. I wish there was an easy way to get rid of that, but I don’t think there is.

        You know I don’t mind you pointing out that I use the word “we.” Sometimes I notice doing that and sometimes not. I think I try to be precise in my words, though, and I do intend “we.” I think I’m trying to give a sense of his feelings (that he’s told me), and I don’t think I’m trying to make us sound more similar than we are. I try to use “we” when I know it’s a “we.” And, yes, I guess I do feel that I know him pretty well. I probably have some complicated thoughts on whether or not we really are a “we,” but I have noticed that he likes using “we.”

        And, yes, I think the statement about not preferring to text when apart and waiting until in-person is similar to LL’s MM. He has said some things about not wanting the long conversations over text and preferring to have those on the phone or in person. Everything you say about reasons my MM may not have time available to me are things I understand, but sometimes have to remind myself of. His kids are 12 and 15. And, yes, if his W was suspicious once, she will be watching for those signs again. I am sure he is trying to avoid her bringing anything up again.

        Thanks for all your words. Helps me this week when I’m feeling some sad and jealous things. I will try to focus on our time together next week, though. We have two “dates” planned, including one at night. I need to remind myself of those things to conquer the jealous thoughts (and it’s mostly working). It’s funny how I feel that threat, even given that I know my MM is not into this other coworker. Jealousy is the worst. 🙂

        • BAF

          Hi Felk, I hope that you enjoy your out of town travel this weekend that you mentioned. Sometimes getting away from everything can actually help give us a breather and gain some perspective. In your first paragraph I realized this statement you said, “It just seems that we can so quickly get dominated by insecurity and anxiety and sadness in affairs, and taking the other’s perspective helps me a lot” made me ponder for awhile. I know what you say is true that we can get dominated by insecurity in an affair. But what makes it even worse I think is that the other person, too, (our affair partner) is often dominated by negative emotions too. Thus we try to to see things from their perspective that might be rather warped. Does this make sense? So I urge you to beware over-interpreting his thoughts/feelings/actions actions. And try to see feel your OWN thoughts/feelings/actions first before jumping to understand his position. Try saying “I” before “we” just to acknowledge yourself and your independent identity out loud to yourself.

          For example, It sounds like you feel your MM was maybe feeling some jealousy this week (in your post to Hope). You are using this ‘fact’ to help yourself understand some his actions (and thus keep your anxiety down.) Yet you too are reporting you are feeling some jealousy. Jealousy is the green monster as you said. I agree. It’s a dreadful emotion and in an affair BOTH partners feel it at times causing them to do say and do some hurtful things at times. So in a sense you are unable to feel that relief that ought to come (in a normal relationship) by seeing things from the other’s perspective. If you are both feeling the ‘ugly green monster’ in the same week, then the use of a calm and logical perspective goes out the window.

          And it does not sound like you have enough time with him to discuss all the dynamics. You asked a couple of times in your post if you should “bring up” some of the nuances of the current “affair’ relationship structure that are bothering you. Yet he seems unable to provide the time structure for that conversation. It is a really hard call knowing what to tell you (or many others in an affair when it comes down to it). This is because you have said before you really don’t want to go back to the “Bad” of not having him at all, and thus you are willing to compromise with him in the affair structure as he creates it.

          Will he back up further from you (create more distance) if you were to pose these questions? This is always the danger. (And for all of us not just you). Since the break-up he has held the reins more than you have, because he did the breaking up and because you voluntarily waited patiently. That increases his power (and control) and decreases yours. I do think he likes control from what I am reading here. And unfortunately so do you. But you have relinquished some of yours making this a bit more precarious emotionally for you than him. And maybe more annoyed at times at him as well.

          One thing that stands out to me in your recent posts is that you are not quite as calm and measured as you were BEFORE the sex happened and before the affair “re-happened.” In fact I do not think you really had that chance to re-discuss the sex and its meaning in your ‘new’ relationship, did you (?). I seem to remember you wanting to talk more about having sex but maybe I missed a post and you DID in fact discuss it thoroughly? Am I understanding correctly that it happened in December? Or more recent? Anyhow it is always true that re-having sex with an MM increases the addiction. At first it’s just a wee tiny bit…..then little by little, we can find ourselves returning to all the overpowering emotions and desires. It’s like trying to drink a little bit of wine after one is sober many years. The brain knows the addiction route so well that we can fall into full blown addiction after a few of these sips.
          By the way I DO think that often when these MM do not want to text us (the weekend, holidays, etc) that they are busy with their families and wives and do not want to try to multi-task. They are not as good as us at multi-tasking and they do not want to get caught in the affair either. Many MM’s are not very good at acting out “two roles” at once. So they just disappear from us for awhile and take care of business at home. They go into “at home” role and pretend (outwardly) at least that they are faithful solid husbands and fathers. And unfortunately we are never privy to their home lives no matter what they tell us and no matter what we think. At home, they play another role entirely where they try to erase the fact that they are cheating from their minds. It’s a “pretend” game of course and their feelings inside about us might belie their actions. But on the outside they act the husband/father role and want it to look “consistent” to their families as they do want anyone getting suspicious fo the truth. But, If push comes to shove and they get caught cheating, they will almost always deny our existence. (To protect their marriages and family structures). I have seen it again and again. Sad but true.

          For those of us in long-term affair situations we can only try to keep VERY busy and engaged with our own lives when the MM takes this distance with us in order to do the “other part” of his lives at home. But it is easier said than done! We women are emotional and hormonal creatures after all. Especially “in love.”
          Hugs BAF
          xxx000

          • Felk

            BAF, I was able to enjoy some time out of town with friends, but I’d be lying if I said my MM wasn’t on my mind. It would have been nice to get away without thinking about him, but, yeah, right. 🙂

            I like your comment about the other person being dominated by negative emotions, too. You’re right. Even when things are good in the affair, each person has some mix of sad/doubt/insecurity/guilt/fear just lingering in the background. So, yes, trying to take my MM’s perspective certainly could be difficult because his thinking may also be irrational and not really follow expectations. I try to address my feelings first, but part of my feelings come from trying to know what he is feeling. For example, if we know our partner is content, it affects how we feel. If we know our partner is angry… and so on. So, if I think my MM is feeling jealousy, it actually can help me understand his actions and it does help calm me a bit. But, yes, jealousy is ugly and it can be hard to be logical. And I get what you’re saying about dealing with my feelings as a priority. I know you’re right, and I’m trying to do better with heeding my feelings and the signs they’re giving me. I know that this past week they’re telling me to bring up a few things that are bothering me about his lack of communication at times.

            But easier said than done. You seem to understand the difficulty I face in wanting to talk about some of these things while trying to find that time to talk as he’s cut down our level of communication (and I want to respect that). I have access to him at work nearly every day, but these are not the conversations that I want to have at work so usually we have to schedule extra time and that’s harder. Harder to schedule and simply harder for me to ask for. And there is no doubt he has more control, but he always has. Because he has children and had less time available, he always had more control. And, yes, he likes this control. Works hard to feel under control. Just as I do. I know we are both vulnerable in this situation, but I do feel more vulnerable given the less control.

            I’m not sure I’m less calm than before sex. I think I feel more trust and comfort, and I think that’s been growing for the last 6 months. It’s not a steady direct increase. There are steps back for sure, but generally I’m still feeling better over time. To answer your questions, yes, we have talked about us and the sex twice since it happened in December. Right after it happened, we went on winter break so we didn’t have face-to-face time for a while, but we did get to talk a few times in January about the sex and how we’re viewing our relationship now. Those conversations were good, and I thought he was clear that he wanted to continue what we were doing (having the affair but a scaled-back version). I don’t feel that my expectations have changed that much since sex, but I think there is just the general danger of slowly creeping back to what we were as this continues (and the sex continues).

            The things you say about the MM disappearing and not being as good at multi-tasking and taking on multiple roles is something we’ve talked about before, have seen from many MM talked about here, and it fascinates me. This is what led my MM to try to end our affair in 2017, and is what continues to lead him to want more distance. I am not entirely sure what it is that overwhelms them while it does not overwhelm us in the same way. I think one of the differences is that Ws put more pressure on Hs, and so I thought my MM was getting more pressure from his W to be present/engaged than I was getting from my H. I also think there is a provider role identity that they have that maybe women don’t have in the same way? Not that you do not feel like a provider, BAF, but I just wonder if the different social expectations on men to “provide” for a family make them feel more guilty about splitting their time? For my MM, I also know there was just a personal identity thing that was challenged by him not being the great father/husband that he always thought himself to be in his head. In the beginning, it was a challenge for him getting in the affair because of it. Once he was in, he justified it pretty well to himself because he was still able to separate, but, of course, that all got harder as the addiction grew and then he just started feeling lousy all of the time to everyone (me included). And then I also know that my MM was more jealous of my time with my H than I was of him with his W. So, that jealousy of “sharing” me added more to the negative than it did for me.

            Unfortunately, now, I think the honesty for both of us is that it’s always a little sad. It didn’t feel like that, say, four years ago. But, now, 6.5 years into it something hangs heavier. It is partially because of the break-up, but this heaviness was growing before the break-up, too. And, yes, it is likely the nagging notion that you realize you cannot be with this person who you are in love with and you just can’t shake that feeling no matter how many good times you have.

        • TTSP

          Hi Felk and BAF,

          You are both very wise and every time I read your comments I’m blown away by your insights. Felk, you are very sensible and self-aware which can often cause an internal battle. Do you let the logic prevail forcing you to draw favorable conclusions of him or lead with emotions… I believe what you’re saying is that you understand the limitations and accept them but still aren’t totally getting what you need in your relationship. I hear the same themes from everyone. 1. Even when both parties are in love they can’t demonstrate that love through actions which leads to major doubts. There isn’t enough time or freedom to express your love and that is suffocating to a relationship. 2. Both sides have unease about the other person leaving the relationship due to the myriad of stressors involved. 3. The relationship is so open-ended that there aren’t any rules of engagement or codes of conduct that can be enforced. 4. It’s impossible to define expectations and very easy to feel let down when one or both sides don’t seize an opportunity especially given time is so limited. 5. No one is ever getting all their needs met. 6. Jealousy is abound because your love is spending the majority of his or her time with their partner. Let’s face it… that sucks. Even if you aren’t envious of their spouse or their relationship, you can’t avoid feeling resentful that another person occupies their time and personal space.

          Felk, can you identify what you’d like to see improve in your relationship? What I’ve picked up is that you’d like to have more frequent and consistent communications which is absolutely reasonable and completely rational. How else can you give a relationship life when your time together is so limited and you aren’t talking on a regular basis? How else do people in these scenarios show their love if they don’t email, IM, text or talk on the phone pretty regularly? This might be a must have for you in which case you can talk to him about communicating more frequently. While it would be ideal for him to just take the initiative, he might worry that he is coming across as needy and fear that he’d be smothering you. If this is who he is with everyone than I’m sure you’re relieved that he is not your primary partner. He sounds aloof, elusive and not entirely emotionally available? Is that a fair statement? My guess is if he contacted you more frequently and engaged in intimate, personal conversations on a regular basis (a few times a week at night or during the day and once on each weekend) you’d be cruising along pretty satisfied with him. That’s not to say you wouldn’t have a little pain of wanting more of everything as we all did in our affairs.

          What do you plan to do to address the communication issue?

          • BAF

            TTSP, you are right up there with our wisdom (Mine and Felk’s). LOL. Your first paragraph is really very perceptive and rocks! I love all those numbered items. You really hit the nail on the head again and again. I particularly love Number 3. As I have removed myself from my affair and my blazing emotions have calmed down I have gotten much more logical and practical. And I see Number 3. “3. The relationship is so open-ended that there aren’t any rules of engagement or codes of conduct that can be enforced.” was actually a huge problem for me. Yes it an affair is so open-ended, too much so for me, I have found! Normal rules of engagement and codes of conduct do not apply, and to me, at least, all hell can break loose because “anything goes” regarding behaviors in an affair.

            As for your comments on Felk’s MM the only thing I disagree with that you wrote is this: “While it would be ideal for him to just take the initiative, he might worry that he is coming across as needy and fear that he’d be smothering you. ” You might be right. Any of us might be “right.” But given the patterns of Felk’s MM I see it differently. I think his lower communication this time around in the affair is a way for him to maintain “control.” I feel he does not want the affair to ‘escalate” as he knows it can. I do not feel he is worried about smothering Felk. IMHO, He is more worried Felk will ‘smother’ him (and he will get “caught” by his W is my guess. ). It is a selfish behavior on his part but ‘necessary” (in HIS mind). In affairs I feel we are not really operating as a unit or as a “couple” so much, In reality each affair partner has another “real” life too.

            To me Felk’s MM seems very determined not to want to get “caught” by his wife who was very suspicious last year. We do not know what conversations the two of them had, or the tone of those conversations. But I can imagine how it went. As a result of whatever was said, he broke up with Felk because he thought he couldn’t manage the affair and his marriage simultaneously.
            Many people do this in affairs.

            I think my wisdom on this subject really comes from having spent so much time (too much time) in my affair mess. To me, when a spouse gets suspicious as her MM’s wife did, he has to keep reassuring her MANY TIMES for a long time afterwards. He lives with her and sees her every single day so he has to convince himself he is doing nothing wrong in order to pull this off and make her feel better. I think this is the nature of the behavior of anyone in an affair whose spouse become suspicious.

            A spouse who is suspicious feels very insecure and vulnerable and his/her radar is VERY strong. For a long long time. Imagine being married and suddenly losing some of your trust in your spouse. How would that feel? What would you do? etc. etc. Suspicious spouses keep a very close eye on their partners. (If they still love their spouse and still want their marriages to work). They are highly alert to changes in their spouses’ behaviors. Again this is normal. And of course they too feel the ugly green monster: jealousy!

            So I imagine he (like so many other MM’s and/or MW’s) is trying to keep “control” of the affair situation with Felk by limiting contact and conversation time etc. to keep a rather artificial “lid” on the affair. Not that it works necessarily.

            Just my two cents. I said it to someone else another time: I now believe most people who are in affairs have decided that an affair is the best thing that can work for them to solve ‘some’ of their problems at home. But they have also decided they do NOT want to give up their home lives or marriages for many reasons.
            So an affair ‘works’ until it doesn’t work anymore. When someone’s spouse gets suspicious, there is a powerful outside force that pressures the affair to a great extent I think. It seems just obvious and quite normal to me now (in my much affair-recovered state.). PHEW!
            Many hugs
            BAF xoxo

  • Hope

    Hi all, Hope everyone is doing ok. I have always turned to this forum during difficult times and I need some advice please. Recently I asked my H to leave, long story but he went back to his old ways and I had to protect my kids. I have maintained my friendship with ex mm (even though I know I shouldn’t but I miss our friendship and him) he knew everything that was happening and would check on me via emails everyday, very keen to know everything. Being on maternity leave alone with two kids and having bills to pay is tough. Recently I found out I got paid leave incorrectly and need to payback a substantial amount of money. I have savings but I am worried how I’ll get by.

    I told exMM this, I’ll never take money from him I have few friends and family to help but ex Mm didn’t even offer to help. Hand on my heart if this was him I would’ve helped him with every penny in my account because I love him. Instead mm said my H being the father should pay more than his share to help me, agreed but my H barely has enough to pay his bills after paying his share. So ex mm suggested going back to work, can’t do that because my little baby has bad reflux, she is very hard to settle and I can’t leave her with strangers right now. Anyway I told mm this and he completely ignored this email. Instead he was sexting me straight after that email (he often does that even when I don’t respond). Him not even offering to help felt like a kick in the gut (he is rich). The next day I kept waiting he still didn’t reply to that email instead towards the end of the day he went on a rant complaining about his daughter in law and how it makes him so unhappy. This was 5 days ago and I am struggling to get past it. May be it’s my hormones making me so sensitive, what do you all think?

    – Am I right in being upset about it? Even if this was my friend I would’ve still offered to help. He says he loves me so much, I am the most important person in his life, how can he still see me struggling so much, knowing I am so worried and not offer to help?

    – Shoud I ask him? It’s really bothering me. He has always been stingy, in 4 years that we were together he gave me gift once on my birthday, I was always giving him gifts on birthdays, Xmas, Father’s Day. I am not after money but it’s the thought that counts right. I let that all go but this is tough to swallow.

    Do you ladies feel the same? Thinking from his side yes it might be difficult to offer help while hiding it from his W, I don’t know if they have joint accounts or not but surely if he cared so much he would at least try to help? Or apologise for not being able to help instead of completely ignoring that email? My gut says he is a smart man and only ever wanted sex (it’s clear he is still holding hope it happens again). It feels like him always saying that he will always be there for me has no substance to it, he will be there alright by only via texts and emails.

    Thank you for listening ladies. Big hugs Xxx
    Hope

    • Felk

      Hope, I’m sorry that you’re going through some tough times. I am sure it must have been really hard to ask your H to leave, but, if he was a threat to your kids, it sounds like you made a good (but hard) choice. Of course, now you are alone with two young kids and trying to make ends meet (while you can’t yet go back to work). It is good if you have a few friends and family who can help, but I can hear that it is still quite a struggle for you.

      As for your MM, I feel a few things. First, I get that you simply wanted him to offer. You didn’t want his money, but you wanted him to offer some help. I can see how it seems especially cruel of him not offering since it sounds like he has money. However, not only is him not offering money consistent with how he has not often given you gifts, but I don’t think he has to offer this money. I know you simply want the offer and not the money, but if he were to offer, he would want to back up that offer… and maybe he can’t. Like you said, maybe he has joint accounts with his W and maybe she keeps close track of his spending (for reasons you don’t know)? Or maybe he has always told himself that, even if he is going to enjoy an affair, he is not going to take finances away from his W and family for the affair? Maybe that is simply a line he drew. I know you see him as a friend now, but maybe he still feels it’s wrong to give his family’s money to a woman he had an affair with? We can call that hypocritical to believe it’s wrong to do X while he’s willing to do Y, but we all know people have these lines they won’t cross and it doesn’t always make sense. Or maybe, as you suggest, he simply thinks it’s your H’s obligation to help financially? Although you describe your MM as a friend, you have a complicated history with him as your lover, too, and he may feel he’s in that role and may very clearly feel he’s not your H and, thus, it’s not his “place” to offer money. And, I know that if he can’t offer money, you’d like him to at least explain why and say, “I wish I could but…” to show he is thinking about your situation. However, if he has drawn this line, it may not cross his mind to offer that explanation. Money is a weird thing for people. My H and I help family with money often, but to offer money to a friend crosses a line that is different for me. I have never done it. So, maybe your MM is like this? Maybe it is just a belief of his that really is no reflection on his feelings for you.

      Now, my other thoughts on this are about how it seems your MM sometimes ignores when you talk about your struggles. Of course, it seems pretty insensitive to respond with sexting after you are talking about your baby’s reflux and how you can’t go back to work yet. My guess is that you know that he is sometimes insensitive and selfish like this? But, you also say that he checks in every day about your situation through e-mail, so it does seem that he’s showing some caring. It may simply be that he’s not showing it in the way you want. Of course, it’s for you to decide whether or not he’s being a good friend, and you get to define what that means to you. But, it’s also important to be fair to our friends and recognize that they might be showing caring, even if it doesn’t meet exactly what we want. While I believe your MM wants sex and is holding out hope it will happen again with you, it sounds like he’s showing a fair amount of effort and, in my experience, that’s not just about sex. And, no matter the stereotypes, for men and women, sex is usually not “just sex.” Especially after 4 years together, sex to your MM means more than just sex and it means closeness with you that it seems he values also. But, again, you have to be the one to make this call. If it feels cheap to you and that your MM only wants sex, then maybe it is as you think.

      If you want to ask your MM about it, that can be a tough conversation asking someone why they wouldn’t offer you money. Again, money is a weird thing for people. And even though you’ll try to make clear to him that you are NOT asking for money and simply asking why he doesn’t offer, as you know, it may make him feel obligated to offer you money and I don’t think you want that. Also, you’re pretty upset now, and that’s usually not a good time to ask. Maybe some months from now when things are better, you could ask him a hypothetical question like that just for discussion.

      • Hope

        Hi Felk, thank you so much for your support and kind words. You and Lara have always always been there for me, thank you. Everything you say makes so much sense, it might be difficult to accept but you are right, he doesn’t have to offer. And yes you are right may be he drew a line about not taking finances away from his W and just enjoying the affair. It feels selfish but it may be what feels right to him or his way of dealing with guilt. You and Lara have given me hope, I’ll try not to dwell on this and try to get through this on my own.

        What you say about sex makes sense too, yes I too feel he values that closeness and me but we haven’t had sex in more than a year and no way am I going there. It will make me more vulnerable, having him as a friend is complicated enough.

        You are also right about asking him, it will lead to a difficult conversation and he most certainly won’t say the things that I was hoping to hear making me feel worse. For now I’ll just maintain my distance with him as I have other important things to focus on. Thank you so much for your support Felk. Big hugs xxxxx
        Hope.

        • Felk

          Hope, all the strength and best wishes to you. I know you’re struggling now, but hearing your words to BAF, it does seem like you’re making a plan to try to work this all out over the coming months. It won’t be easy, but it sounds like you are making the decision that is best for you and your kids. What more can a parent do, right? Try to break problems down slowly. Try not to take everything on at once. And, of course, as BAF says, try to find a few close friends who you can trust and talk to about it all. Or just keep talking to us here. 🙂

          As for the sex with your MM, I didn’t know if it was something you were considering. I didn’t know how you defined this friendship, but I completely understand why you would draw a line of no sex. Sex DEFINITELY complicates things more. It will make you much more vulnerable and much more wanting.

          Also with your MM, I’m sure it’s not just the financial things, but it’s that you’d like this friend, this person you have shared so much with, to be there for you emotionally when you need… but he can’t. I know that I have felt frustrated that I couldn’t just contact my MM to talk whenever I wanted. Not like I could any other friend. With him, it’s different. There are different boundaries because he’s married. So, yes, maintain some distance from him if that helps you and focus on all the other things.

    • BAF

      Hope it sounds like you have a lot on your hands. You have asked your H to leave; you have a young baby with reflux and another small child to care for; you have financial worries; and you have a MM who is “tone deaf” to your request for help. This is a lot for any woman to handle and I urge you to first of all take care of YOU. Get as much sleep and proper nutrition as possible. I assume the baby with reflux is keeping you awake many nights. And now if your H is not there to help you although I am not sure how much help he was with the children anyhow. What do you mean “He has gone back to his old ways?” Is he cheating? Drinking or violent around your kids? Are their services near you where you might get some counseling for women with young children (perhaps free) in situations similar to yours? Number one is YOU !! as you are the mother of two young children and they need you. Who might be there to help you out? (I am thinking in terms of a female or two if possible).
      As for your financial situation: If you got paid leave incorrectly that is not your fault. When is the due date for the money owed back? Can you make a payment plan?
      In addition have you and your husband drawn up a formal separation agreement that spells out how all the bills will be managed? I assume not yet. This might be too soon but this document will give you legal protection. (Can you tell I have been thought this?) Once you have a separation agreement the way your bills are to be handled is clearer. (If both parties hold to the agreement). Perhaps you should get a free consult with an empathic lawyer? It helps to get clarity this way.

      Now for your ex MM who still seems to be in your life quite a bit. I do understand you are vulnerable and you need his support right now. This is a hard time in your life and you feel he should be there for you. Understandable totally. But I want to caution you: He is unlikely to be that person you want him to be for many reasons
      As you are reading here about all of our affairs no doubt you can see “affairs” simply are NOT “normal” relationships. Those of us who stay in them are “in love” and not ready to let go. But these affair partners often disappoint us. They might not offer financial help to us for a wide variety of reasons. Remember affairs are not normal relationships with the usual rules.

      To me, it is better if you can come up with a plan independent of your exMM for many reasons. I know how hard it is to be a strong single mother of two young kids believe me. Been there done that. But formulating your own plan will protect you and your family in the long run. And he is not part mom your family. I know much you want to rely upon him emotionally and I know much you wish he would offer his help, especially if he is rich. I know how hurt it must make you feel that he has ignored your request yet he continues to sext you. In and out of an affair for 21 years I went through all of what you’re going through. So many times! That is why I am saying: really I would not wait around for him to hep you.
      I can not tell you how many times in the past with my exMM I was in your situation wishing he would at least OFFER! to help me financially. At least offer! And he too was often stingy with presents. I felt taken advantage of often. And I felt he was selfish bastard often.

      But then finally I just decided to get stronger with my life plan no matter what he did or did not offer me. I went for my second graduate degree and paid for it myself and ignored him a full five years. I realized I could support myself and I had always done okay supporting my two sons with no (or very little) help from my exH. I feel we women do all kinds of things for our kids. I learned to get very tough and you can too.
      SO: In answers to your questions:
      “Am I right to be upset about this?”
      Of course! There is no right or wrong earn it comes to our feelings Hope but I totally understand the way you feel. But affairs are not normal relationships is all I can say.
      Affair partners often disappear when the rubber meets the road in my experience.
      “Should I ask him?”
      What is it you want to ask him specifically? If he saw your request? If he would consider gifting you or loaning you some money? Think about what you really want and feel free to ask. Just please be ready for any answer, including one you might not want to hear.
      “Do you ladies feel the same?”
      Well I think you can tell from my words above that YES I have felt the same. YES it made me bitter and angry over the years. I felt it was one of the great inequities of being in an affair! But then it was ME who chose to stay with him. He held no gun to my head. Finally, I just let it go and decided to take things into my own hands. That was so healthy for me. You can do this too, I actually got two Masters Degrees during my affair. LOL Both increased my income and job security substantially.
      And now I must tell you the very strange outcome in my affair case which I never saw coming:
      1) My exMM is in terrible financial shape now after all those years of him being the “rich one” and me being the “poor single mother struggling one” and having to work so hard while his wife stayed home with no stress. But a couple of years ago, he was laid off and has never recovered his income level. Add to that since she never worked now they have money problems. Now I am the one in the BETTER financial shape than he is. Weird huh?

      2) Also: After all these years, my exMM has a very very troubled son. Yes his W stayed home with both her kids and I thought she had so much more time than me to be a great mother. But I found out their son has had huge problems for the past 5 years. He has been in all kinds of legal trouble and recently even incarcerated. In contrast, both of my sons are doing pretty well in their lives!. They work, one is engaged, and they can take care of themselves and are independent of me. This is never how I saw things turning out. I thought being a single mother made me the obvious “loser”. But no I was never a loser. I just thought in my head I was!

      So HOPE what I am saying to you is this:
      You never know how all this will turn out for you in your life. But I do know this: You do not need your exMM’s help, financial or otherwise. If he offers it, good for you but remember: You are strong enough on your own and you can make your life work out with or without your H and your exMM. Do not ever let yourself think otherwise!
      I hope this helps you Hope.
      Many hugs BAF
      xoxo

      • Hope

        Hi BAF, first of all thank you so much for your support and care, I haven’t told any of my friends about my struggles except ex mm so it means so much to me that you care. Re my H he smacked my 6 year old daughter (a little hard because she was trying to wake him up from an afternoon nap) a few times in anger, it left marks on her skin and that was it for me. I asked him to leave, he was violent in past to me but it had stopped 3 years ago and him smacking our daughter while giving her a similar look just didn’t sit right with me. I have access to my maternal health nurse, I am seeing her on Thursday and I will try and talk to her (hoping my H doesn’t show up to take me there). To be honest I am struggling some days are harder than others. Re my Paid leave, our company doesn’t offer paid maternity leave, my manager didn’t take me off the pay roster so I got paid for couple of months even after going on maternity leave. I brought this to the company’s attention and they asked me to payback this amount before June 30, if I fail to do so I’ll have to pay additional 2000$ on top of the original amount. In Australia the government gives paid parental leave, this paperwork was messed up by my employer so I am waiting for this payment, it will help us get by. My H refuses to formally separate so right now we just have an agreement regarding his share of payments. I know eventually I’ll need a formal separation from him but right now just don’t have the energy or money for another showdown with him. Thank you Lara for your advice it means a lot to me and has helped me so much more than you know xxx

        You are so right about my feelings re ex MM, I needed to hear this!! Thank you for giving me hope Lara, yes I can do this too or at least try to for my kids. Now that I have thought about it I don’t think I need to ask him, what difference will it make? This is how he has always been. As Felk says may be he drew lines to never take finances away from his W for an affair partner. Also Lara I am so proud of you, so incredibly proud of you, I’ll be happy if I become half as good a Mum as you. Thank you for your kind words and support, they helped me through a very tough time. Lots of love and hugs Xxxx
        Hope

        • BAF (aka Lara)

          Hope I so am happy my words can be of some help. You are in a tough situation for sure. Please find some friends you can be honest with. Believe me they will understand you are only human. We all are!

          Regarding your H’s behavior that’s a huge red flag as I am sure you know. Given his past behavior with you I have no doubt you did the right thing asking/telling him to leave. This is wise and good common sense.

          I am glad you are not currently sleeping with your exMM. This could pose problems for you on several fronts. You do not need the burden of second love attachment until you get clean away from your first (I mean your H). Am I making sense? Just put one foot in front of the other Hope and ASK FOR HELP!! I would urge you to find a very empathic (and maybe female) lawyer who is familiar with separation and divorce and find out some facts for yourself. Including whether you want to formally report your H’s behavior towards your child. If you have pictures save them. Documentation is everything. I learned how to keep a journal and to document questionable behavior on the part of my H. Maybe you want a separation that leads to a divorce. Maybe you want a temporary separation that gives your H a specific time frame to get professional help for his anger management issues. In any case you have a lot to think about and you are already tired from being a new Mom so give yourself a break. Go easy on yourself.

          In my case, my ex H was a real handful at times. Imagine a cocaine infused raging bipolar and you get the picture. Visits from him while my kids were young would always be extremely difficult for me. My affair began 6 months after I got separated from H and looking back I can see I felt (dreamed) my exMM was a sort of protective figure for me and for my young sons. My exMM was much bigger physically than my ex H, and of course with him working so close to my house I knew I could call him to help me if my H were to act up and try to harm me or my kids or my house etc.

          My affair was also sort of a mental and emotional distraction for me in the beginning and a way for me to cope with all that stress. Falling “in love” with my exMM seemed to make everything bearable. My life was hard as a single mother but seemed easier with “love”. This went on for a long time.

          You are wise to not have sex with the exMM now. This would make things very messy for you emotionally and maybe put you over the top. Also this is the very last moment in time you want to get caught in an affair by an H with anger issues! You do NOT want your H having any ammunition against you especially if it comes to a custody battle. So girl, be cool, be logical be strong. Act on your on behalf and on the behalf of your kids. Know that there are many single women have come before you and yes you CAN do it! The affair partner might be able to help in other ways at some point in the future but keep things really cool for now and just focus on you, your little ones, and what to do about your marriage! Much love, BAF aka Lara. xxxooo

          • Hope

            Hi BAF as usual your words have encouraged me and given me strength. You are such a strong woman with a very big heart and we are so lucky to have you and Felk on this forum. I took your advice on board, I had a maternal health nurse appt yesterday, she gave me a mental health test and I gave honest answers to the questions, didn’t hide anything. I got diagnosed with severe postnatal depression and as I can’t afford counseling I am on a government plan for cheaper counseling. Thank you for encouraging me. I do realise I need to get better to be able to care for my daughters. I told two of my friends today and they both reached out to me. I will ask for help as I need, thank you so much for encouraging me.

            You are absolutely right, complexity of the affair is the last thing I need right now. I haven’t had sex with mm for more than a year and am not planning to. I have learned to be smart from past experiences, have never met him at home, always in a public place.

            Regarding my H I am still scared to ask for divorce. He is a hard nut to crack. Once I am better and back on my feet may be I will. I am so sorry to hear about your ex H, yes he sounds like a handful! I am glad he is not in your life anymore.

            I can absolutely understand you seeing your mm as a protective figure I did that too. My ex Mm too although much older than me (33years older I think) is a much bigger and stronger man than my H. I can completely understand falling in love making things bearable but we know it comes with a huge price.

            You take care BAF I hope you have a fabulous weekend. Big hugs and lots of love to you xxxx
            Hope😊❤️

    • Lois

      Hey, Felk. I was reading your post and once again could relate to what you were saying. I have been battling the jealousy with female coworker who told me yesterday that she and MM were texting the night before and MM is planning to go to an event with all of us. MM new position at company (have not heard anymore about it) will be a supervisor over the female worker’s ex husband. The female coworker worked for MM when him and I worked together. She is a flirtatious person. She had told me about her going to contact him last week and she did but was not prepared for her to tell me they had texted again the night before. Considering is state of mind and me asking for weeks to meet with him, I really had my feelings hurt. It bothers me when I find out things through other people than MM. I really admire your approach to dealing with stuff like this…I am hoping to find a balance myself with it.

      Over the weekend, things with MM and I did not go well. We had been texting on Friday and then he MIA. I was worried that something had happened especially after the week of crap with ex-co-worker, so I was really worried. I texted him Friday and asked if everything was okay…not a heard until I sent another text and email expressing my concern. He said there was a major meltdown he had to deal with Friday. Then I saw on FB that it was sports appreciation night and guess what there was a family photo. The week had already been stressful and my anxiety was through the roof. I sent him a funny joke on Sunday to break the ice. I asked if we could possibly talk this week and he agree and stated we still needed to talk. So, I asked him if still wanted me in his life…guess this upset him because he replied why do you constantly ask me this? I was crushed…and tear rolled down my cheek because it hurt me. I would have to ask if his actions were not different than his words. I waited a few minutes and he replied that if the situation with us was too stressful he would not think any less of me for being done. I was so upset and did not what to think. He texted again that he understood the past few weeks had been horrible and apologized for it affecting me like it had with my anxiety issues. I told him that it had been stressful and needed to know how he felt. I was not done but it had been horrible week. I should have not contacted him and continued to give our situation some space but we really do need to talk about things. We have texted some the last couple of days. I told him that sometimes when we are both struggling it’s difficult. I told him that it meant a lot to me that you told me last week how I was the single most important person in his life because he does not communicate his feelings so when he does I know he means it. He replied he indeed did mean it and misses me. He agreed to meet with me on Thursday. Then the situation with female coworker happened yesterday and found myself pulling away from MM and being upset with him about it. I do not know maybe the affair is getting to be too much for me. I know, I am tired of hurting and being hurt. I am hoping we can get together tomorrow but also hoping that I can say what I am feeling instead of holding back out of fear it will upset him. I have to stand up for me and my feelings. However, the jealousy thing with coworker is not something that I feel needs to be discussed…that is my own insecurity as the our situation has not been unstable. Affairs are hard and lots of work!

      • Felk

        Lois, I know the frustration/sadness of finding out things about your MM through other people. That has been my experience for 6.5 years and it hasn’t changed. It has always hurt me, and made me feel like he I wasn’t important enough for him to tell me that thing. But, in my calm moments, I know that it is his issue and it is not that I am not important enough. It is that he is too scared to give up that control. (And, it’s SO much worse when the other person he’s texting with is flirtatious! That’s the same with my MM. The coworker who texts him tries to flirt with him. My MM is a bit flirtatious so I’m sure he loves the attention. I know he’s not into her, but it’s still hard to stomach because I don’t have the commitment from my MM that I’d need to feel zero jealousy.)

        But, in addition to those texts you have to deal with between your MM and that other woman, you have to deal with your MM’s texts over the weekend. Oh, do I understand. I know why you asked him if he still wants you in his life. I get you wanting that reassurance. For me and my MM, the question I have asked him repeatedly is “What do you want?” Like you, I want to hear that he wants the relationship with me. I think for you and I, it is that simple. I could say to my MM, “I want a relationship with you” and for me that means, “I will be in a relationship with you.” But, for my MM, I don’t think it’s like that. Just like your MM. Yes, he can say he wants you in his life, but that is not enough. My MM would say, “Yes, of course, I want a relationship with you but maybe we can’t have that.” I’m guessing your MM feels similarly. So, to them, “What do you want?” isn’t the question that matters. I think it’s more like, “What can we have?” or “What can work?” Took me a while to figure that out (and it’s still hard to shake the “what do you want?” question).

        I also get why “If the situation is too stressful for you…” hurt you. What you hear is that he’s giving up or that he wants you to give up. And then all you feel is fear that he wants it all to end. A few times during our break-up (when we were still in some in-between-who-knows-what), I expressed difficulty to my MM and he’d say something like, “If this is so difficult, then maybe we shouldn’t be doing it.” That really frustrated me. The first time he said it, I just got quiet and scared. The second time he said it, I challenged him on it. I told him that comment stifled the conversation. That it didn’t allow me to feel the freedom to express things that were difficult for me without the threat of him taking everything away. He seemed to understand and he backed off, but after that conversation I emailed him and said, “Remind me to say a little more about that conversation we were having today.” And what I planned to add the next time was, “If you can’t handle the difficulties I bring up then maybe we shouldn’t be doing this.” I was so tired of that threat. I haven’t said that to him yet, because I think he knew I was done with that threat. He may bring it up again, but I’m going to try very hard to say, “You know what? You’re right. Maybe we shouldn’t be doing this.” It is the fear that controls us. We are so scared of them taking away this affair that we are willing to give up too much and I’m trying very hard lately not to do that. I hope you can act without (too much) fear, too.

        I do hope you get to talk to your MM Thursday because it seems you want and need to. I don’t know if that talk will resolve much because it still seems like he’s in a mental place where he doesn’t know what he wants or, more accurately, what he can have. He will likely say some lovely things and some hard things. I hope you can express the things you feel and need without too much fear. I know that I always feel best when I’m able to do that, but I also know that I have not always done that with my MM. I am doing it more now than before, though. But that took a lot of space to get to this point, so I think that you and your MM still need a bit of space to let that fear and anxiety calm down for both of you. Baby steps, though. Although I know there is a lot to say, maybe you can also accept that you might not be able to say everything you want on Thursday. These are big things and it takes time. I often went into these conversations looking for resolution, but I have realized that’s not how it works. Neither one of you will say the one thing that solves it all or makes either one of you entirely comfortable. It just doesn’t work that way. But, if you can speak without too much fear, you will make progress – either progress towards a better relationship with him or without him (but progress nonetheless).

        And, yes, no need to bring up the jealousy about the coworker. That is tangential. Much bigger issues to address.

    • TTSP

      Hi Hope,
      I’m so sorry for the difficult times you’re facing. Life can be beautiful and incredibly hard which I guess forces us to really treasure the good times. People are really weird about money. I’ve heard of family members becoming estranged due to money. It can bring out an ugly side in everyone. I can’t speak to his financial obligations without totally speculating but I will say you can never depend upon anyone financially as an adult except your spouse. That’s just the way it goes. My ex mm didn’t do sh!t for me in terms of gifts and he would spoil his kids rotten. I used to think wow you can’t even shell out $30 for flowers on my birthday. I’m not going to lie, I was let down but the reality is he had no commitment or obligation toward me.

      I can see why you’d feel ignored and abandoned when he didn’t respond to your cry for help and instead sent you some message with sexual overtones. I wouldn’t say anything about the money. Remember that ever individual has their own definition of friendship and what they’re willing to give. Not everyone does and responds the way we do. It’s a tough lesson but our serenity is indirectly related to our expectations. I know you don’t want to hear this and I also struggle a lot with not reaching out during lonely, scary times…. he may not be the right person to depend upon when you’re struggling. I’d start with close friends and family members. I hope this helps and please reach out to this forum anytime.

  • Lois

    Today, I’m struggling and want to reach out to MM as it’s hard to give him space. I know it has to be because we all know he’s got to figure out things. He has been through quite a bit and looking back on the situation realize he doesn’t deal with life stressors. He recently told me he is suffering from some twisted PTSD and has been experiencing anxiety attacks. I’m hesitant to know the truth as I think back on the illnesses he has told others but never told me. I have been reflecting on the past three years we’ve been together and his guilt has remained consistent, so I do believe he has troubles with it. I can understand him going to church and feeling like a hypocrite. I don’t think neither of us expecting things to go this far or feelings to develop but they did and here we stuck trying to figure it out. However, I do think MM has issues other than being with me as he constantly has things going causing the situation with us to intensify his guilt. Or maybe he uses it as excuses. I do not know but trying to use this time to figure out what I’m willing to accept in order to remain in this complicated situation. Is it worth it? As Felk said, I already know the answer to my question about his priorities which I get his family and career should always come first. I do think his time is eliminated as having 4 children who are in sports, dance, cheerleading and the one of his triplets who has been diagnosed with torrents and learning disability. He also has to feel responsible for losing his job because of having an affair….I know it would bother me especially since his wife doesn’t work. I do think he has feelings for me it would be hard not to after being together for 3 years. I am really aggravated that we haven’t had time to talk but maybe he has been busy…maybe he’s not mentally ready to have that conversation…maybe he never will be. I’m really trying to give him space and today has been 2 days of NC. I’m really missing him but don’t want to contact as he knows I’ve asked for us to talk. He needs to decide if he’s willing to put forth the effort like he says he does and his actions reflect it. Right now. He says one thing but acts differently. He has to figure out if he wants this or not as I can’t keep carrying the both of us. It’s just so hard and it worries me that he may decide it’s not worth the effort. If that happens, I have to once in for all be done which is lots easier said than done but I’m building resilience which will help no matter how this plays out. I have to be willing to accept things as they are complicated, he doesn’t share his feelings and hides behind walls when life gives him trouble. I have to figure out what I’m willing to put up with but also need him to decide the same. Thanks for listening. It has kept me from wanting to text him for now on anyway. Lol.

    • Felk

      Lois, I know this struggle so very well. The strong pull to contact this person who you miss so much, but it’s the addiction. I am entirely certain of that. I know you have strong feelings for him, but my point is that the pull is not some indication that you should contact him. The pull is merely your brain addicted to that reward (and desperately wanting to make the pain go away), and you just need to let that calm down with some NC. It is really, really painful. It is withdrawal. I have no doubt that the physical and emotional withdrawal I felt for months after my MM wanted to end our affair in 2017 was comparable to drug withdrawal. I was emotionally and physically unwell for months. But my brain chemistry needed to calm down. I needed to reset after all of those dopamine highs.

      I know you are scared that he may decide it’s not worth the effort, but what other choice do you have? The depths of my misery for many months was that exact fear/sadness that I had lost this wonderful thing with my MM. I felt a void, a hole, for a long time. But, that’s what we need to go through. You can’t get over the addiction without going through the withdrawal. And it is a scary, horrible thing.

      As you talk it all through (which I encourage you to keep doing… that helped me a lot), you know the answers to your questions. You know that he needs space. You know that he knows how you feel (it helped me to hear BAF say that over and over). You know that he would set up a time to see you if he wanted to. You have listed all the reasons that his life is complicated and all the stresses on him (he was looking for a job… and his W doesn’t work outside of the home… and he has 4 kids… and one kid has health issues… and he has health issues). He has REALLY good reasons to need space and need to focus on his family and himself for now. The best advice I can give you is to give him that space, and let him come back to you if that is what he wants. And if he chooses that, you will be stronger than before. If you continue to try to keep him in the affair now, it will just put more pressure on him at a time when he can’t handle it. Isn’t that the most loving/caring thing that you can do? Give him space to handle it, and then he might be able to have the affair. The scary part, of course, is that he might not be able to… but you don’t know that for sure. What you know for sure is that, right now, he is not able to have the affair. I know you say you have to decide what you can put up with, but I don’t think it’s a matter of what you’re willing to put up with. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but I’m not sure you are in that position. He’s dictating everything by giving near nothing. I think it’s past the point of you getting to decide what you’re willing to put up with, and it’s simply whether or not he wants to be in the affair. Now, sure, if you don’t want to give him that power to decide, you can just be done, but it does seem that you want to wait to see if he wants to be in the affair. It doesn’t seem that it’s a matter of what he’s able to give. It seems a matter of IF he’s able to give anything. And, for that, he needs space.

      It was a hard thing for me to understand in 2017 when my MM couldn’t do it any more. Things were fine (enough) for me in 2017 and I could still handle it, but I’ve been honest since and, if you’re honest, you probably need a break. I needed a break. I feel so much healthier now. I sort of knew it at the time but not really. I wanted to do anything to prevent our relationship from ending, but when he put the brakes on (and kudos to him), it was the best thing for us.

      Of course, I can say all of those things, but if the pull is too strong, you will contact him. You may need more signs from him that he cannot be with you the way you want before you really are able to give up trying. You may still be too hopeful to really let go. I get it. I think it will be less painful for you if you “choose” to let go before he makes you feel you have no other choice. But, I wasn’t able to “let go” until my MM said we needed to stop. I saw the writing on the wall yet I still held on until he crushed me. So, it’s not that I don’t understand how hard it is to let go, but, of course, from experience I say that it will be better for you if you choose to let go before he completely crushes you. BAF chose to let go, after many years, and I know she’s stronger for it… instead of waiting for him to dictate again. But, I guess you may need to “really” know that it’s time to give up before you do.

      • BAF

        Lois I am so sorry you are feeling this pain. But I have little to add to what Felk has just written. I think she is right on almost every point. And I do agree you have few options at the moment. To me, either you give him space and wait to see what develops, or you stop waiting any longer and begin to let go. The latter does not seem to be where you are at yet. At all. So really you can only give him space and back off. I too know how utterly painful that is. But what choice do you have if you still want the affair? You might think you will lose him forever by giving him space. But that is your brain addicted mind trying to trick you into contacting him. Your mind will play many such tricks on you like this. Your mind may even seem to torture you for awhile painting one dismal outcome after the next as if it is all true since you “thought” of it. But seriously our minds go a little crazy for awhile when trying to withdraw with affairs. Our denial and our lies to ourselves and even all the negative thought in the world all seem to ball up into one huge Gordian knot in our brains. Its actually quite normal so please try to do something other than think to much at this stage. Try to distract yourself and to not let your brain get the better of you. In most all cases we read about here on this blog. the affair partners always re-appear at some point. They re-surface. Either to say they love us or to say they miss us. Or to say they still feel ambivalent. Or to say we were so unreasonable. Whatever it is, they usually re-appear. That doesn’t mean it all works out happily ever after. But it means they simply do not vanish into thin air. Hardly. Ever. Yours will not vanish either. You two have been at this too long for that outcome.
        Hugs BAF. xxx000

        • Felk

          BAF, really like this: “…painting one dismal outcome after the next as if it is all true since you ‘thought’ of it.” JUST last night, I was thinking something similar to this as I let my mind wander to the possibility of my MM cheating on me with someone else. No real threat or anything. Just let my mind wander, and after I did that, I thought, “Wow, we can conjure up so many ridiculous scenarios in our minds that can really make us panic for no reason.” There is an irony to how our brains are our biggest asset and biggest threat during these times of anxiety and sadness. But, as you have said many times on here, you have to make conscious efforts to think positive and rational thoughts. You have to remind yourself of what you know is true instead of getting trapped in catastrophizing and thinking the worst, worrying about what might be, or thinking about what you should have done differently. It’s hard given all the pain, but making the conscious effort to move your brain away from the negative is a big part of the healing.

          And, Lois, I agree with what BAF says about your MM reappearing. He is unlikely to disappear completely. Yes, he may not “come back” in the way you want, but I don’t think you have to worry about losing him “forever.” And I say it that way because that’s one of the super negative places our mind can go. I know that was the case for me (even still working with my MM, I pictured him never talking to me again outside of work obligation), so hearing BAF remind me that my MM would not abandon me completely was helpful, too.

          • TTSP

            Surprisingly in all the crazy experiences I’ve read and gone through I have yet to hear of anyone ghosting. Maybe that has to do with the addictive nature that makes a resurgence more probable. When I was involved I contemplated whether I’d pull the ghost if we didn’t work together. I read that it’s fair game in an affair but the only time I’d take that approach is if I was involved with someone abusive. Anyhow, to reiterate BAF and Felk, he’ll come around. Remember that when you give someone space (respecting their wishes and not as punishment) you give them room to grow closer.

          • Lois

            Thanks everyone! This pas week has made me realize how complicated and crazy MM life has been and seems to be as the excoworker who caused him to resign from his job is at again. She found out he had accepted another job and had someone contact their HR. The company is scared of liability with him because of the doubt placed on his character. I’m just appalled at the evilness of this person who was once my dearest friend. MM and I have been in contact as he seems to need a friend right now and honestly that’s okay. I think we bother need save from the affair and his well being is what’s important. We have talked about things and he even asked if we could meet. I told him that it wasn’t a good for us right now because we need to tslk about things and right now he needs to focus on figuring things out. I was do proud of myself. He told me that I was the single most important person in his life and have been for awhile. Not sure what that means. Then last night he texted how he appreciates me. He is waiting to hear back from company about job. He found out through someone who works there about the allegations taken to theit HR who called and told him they needed amother security background check before his start date. So it’s kind of a waiting game as he already signed the contract so he thinks they maybe looking for loophole to get out of it. Regardless of what happens with our affair, I know you are right and he won’t totally vanish from my life. We have been quite a bit and want nothing but happiness for him as well as myself. We shall see what happens but right now we both need to a break from the affair. Thanks ladies!

          • BAF

            Felk,
            Yes what dismal pictures our mind can paint when we are in affairs. Essentially we are at risk in these relationships and deep down in our psyches we know it. We know an affair is a dangerous and forbidden thing….enticing but potentially devastating. Devastating emotionally, psychologically and otherwise. It is all part of the attraction of the affair: living life on the edge. So sometimes, obviously, when there is a quiet moment, our minds conjure up dark images. Maybe we are out of touch for the MM for a few days or maybe it is a holiday. We spend some time alone and our minds start chattering at high volume. Dark thoughts. Our thoughts are maybe incorrect but our minds are trying to get our attention. “Red flag!” our minds are telling us. These messages are really coming from a deeper part of ourselves: our inner psyches.
            We think maybe the MM will cheat for example.
            This does not mean he or she will cheat or not. Not literally. But it does tell us we are off balance emotionally in the affair and that we are vulnerable.
            Is love supposed to feel like this? We each have our won definitions of what love is and how it should feel. We each follow our hearts…

            Anyhow I knew this type of mind chattering with bad images and fear for many years in my affair. It was all part of the affair.
            I was constantly thinking about him cheating for years until finally I did not care anymore. But this took me years. I went and out of thoughts like that until finally a couple of years ago, I saw my exMM holding hands on my street with his W. Then all hell broke loose in my mind and heart. It was not a logical thing. It was just me being at total overload with being in an affair. I just could not bear him being married anymore. It felt like someone was stabbing me straight in the heart. It was at this point I finally wanted him to make up his mind (me or her?).

            You sound like you are happily married and feeling quite secure with your MM. This is the best scenario of course. You do not want him to leave his W and you do not want to leave your H. Simple. This gives you quite a bit of power of course and so you are working at “making it work” with your MM. You are using logic and reason to help you navigate the terms. However there are moments when your mind goes crazy. Your mind goes wherever it wants. Deep down your psyche feels some fears and worries that express themselves in your mind with thoughts that are very difficult to push out of your head. This happens to all of us.
            Oh I have been through this again and again and again.
            Our minds are warning us really. The problem is: in affairs things never calm down really. I got used to this state of unease…or I sort of got used to it. My psyche was never convinced totally but I just ignored it. An affair is always uneasy even when its great. It is always scary and risk-taking even at its best. This is how I justified my actions to myself. So our minds try to warn us with chattering insecure thoughts but do we listen? Well I sure never listened until years and years had passed. I did get very good at ignoring my thought however. LOL. But now in retrospect I can see my (love) affair clearer and clearer. All that it was and all that it was not. I say love affair because indeed I was deeply “in love”. But affair love is unlike any other love.
            Hugs BAF
            xoxo

          • Felk

            Lois, that’s some extreme behavior from your coworker who led to your MM’s resignation. She had someone contact their HR department about him? Wow. Are you sure you know the whole story about what happened with your MM and this coworker because that’s some pretty extreme behavior to call another HR department about someone? But, yes, that’s just more stress for him. I’m sure he just wants that all behind him, and it’s not. And I’m sure he still worries it will reach his W and family.

            I know you are happy/relieved that your MM is contacting you, even if it is simply for support. Of course, the hard part is that you are there for him, once again, when he is rarely there for you when you need it. I know you are choosing this, but it will take an emotional toll on you.

            I’m also a bit confused about why you did not choose to meet up with him. Have you made a decision to not see him for some period of time? Is it because he was implying sex? Last week you wanted him to ask you to meet up and now you don’t? You say that you need to talk about things with him, so were you thinking that meeting up meant something other than talking? Or was your MM suggesting meeting up to talk about his stresses and his life, and you did not want to take that on while the two of you have “us” things to talk about? If that is the case, good for you. But just trying to get some clarification as to why you didn’t take him up on his offer to meet.

            And, of course, I know you like to hear when your MM says you are the single most important person in his life, but please try to be very careful with those words and make sure that his actions back that up. I know it is a really lovely thing to hear (really, really lovely), but if you were the single most important person in his life, wouldn’t he be treating you a lot differently?

            Are you really ready to take a break?

          • Felk

            BAF, you understand it well. And, yes, the reason our mind conjures up these scenarios is because we have that deep-down insecurity about the relationship. Now, in any “normal” relationship your mind can wander and you can get irrational at times, but in affairs, it happens much too often. We come up with these scenarios not because our MM are cheating on us but just because there’s a void where that information should be. Because we know so little about where they are and what they’re doing and our brain fills in those blanks. And it often fills it in with “normal” rational explanations but, of course, there is also room for scary explanations, too. The point is that there is that room because we are not central in their lives and we do not have that information. It’s also that we don’t have the security that they will always come back to us, so it’s easy to come up with scenarios that they are choosing to leave.

            It is indeed a warning sign from your brain that something is not right. But, how can it feel right? It is a part-time relationship. You get a piece of a person. And that’s not what we’re used to. That’s not what we expect. My mind conjures up few irrational scenarios about my H. But, yet, as you point out, we accept this ever-present feeling that something is not right because the highs are so good. And, my goodness, does it make us vulnerable. I think that is the hardest part for me. I don’t feel vulnerable constantly, but I feel it much too often for my liking (yet I keep choosing to continue).

            I am happily (enough) married and feeling relatively secure with my MM, but as we’re saying, it’s never as secure as I’d like it. I don’t want to leave my H and I don’t want him to leave his W, but I don’t feel much power still. I think that’s the nature of the situation, too. And, yes, I feel calm and trusting and accepting, but that unease deep-down is ever present. It hasn’t gone away in 6.5 years. Sometimes it’s weaker than others, but it’s always there. And, it is exactly as you say… you get used to it. It feels normal. The “funny” part is that I knew I was feeling better in my affair this past year when the “unease” was just the normal unease as opposed to the misery of the months right after our break up. Like, I can actually make a distinction between bad anxiety (the 6 months after the break up) and “normal” affair anxiety that I have felt at some level throughout all of this.

            Like you, I mostly ignore the unease unless it gets bad (like it did over Thanksgiving for example). It is interesting to consider the relief I would feel if this affair were just gone entirely, but, of course, I’m nowhere close to that. The sadness of not being in love with him is not (yet) worth that relief to me.

          • lois

            Hey, Felk. I have to agree that the ex-coworker has gone to extreme with her revenge for MM. She had gone so far after him resigning that she stole some things from his office and led administration to believe he did it. After she left, the items were discovered in her office and on her computer hard drive. Since we were friends, I know most of the story as to what happened between. So, I do believe her involvement plus another friend who works at the company confirmed that it did happen. Luckily, it seems the company is going to go ahead and hire MM despite her actions. Wow…she is an evil person! There were a couple of reasons for not wanting to meet with MM. First, I think him and I need to have a serious discussion about things and not meet because he is going through an emotional time and wants to talk. I want time to talk about “us” and right now he is not in a good mental state. Secondly, he had implied more than just talking and again, we need to talk about things before that happens. I want time to talk about us not to talk about the newest drama in his life or have to sex…we need to talk but he also needs to figure things out. You are right his actions speak differently than his words which is something that I want to talk about. I do appreciate him expressing his feelings because he does not do that very often. I do believe him but also believe his comment about being emotionally damned. I would very much like to see him but under the right circumstances not because he needs emotional support or sexual companionship. I have asked for weeks for us to talk about things and for right now I am okay with holding my own and standing up for my feelings. I do not want him to think that he can do me the way he has for weeks and I drop everything because he now whats to talk or possibly have sex. Hope this makes sense.

          • BAF

            TTSP Is ghosting the same as going FULL no contact? I am wondering about this. I would think the only one to ghost in an affair would be the one leaving who wants to cut off all contact for good. This is always the final advice given to people trying to leave affairs FOR GOOD but how many of us do it forever I wonder? I did full no contact for FIVE years. No words did we speak. I think even though I did go back into the affair I got VERY strong over those five years on my own. I did not realize this until recently. The longer I go in “no contact” mode the stronger I always get. I think this because when I am forced to find happiness and pleasure in other ways (when there is no affair), my brain registers and remembers those ways internally on some deep level I might not even be conscious of. Now whenever I am in distress over “losing him” I can remember those other ways and I can still be happy. No, not the high of my affair, no. Just ordinary pleasure and happiness, a milder less intoxicating version. At first it’s an acquired taste. Then it starts being the new normal!
            Hugs BAF xxx000

          • BAF

            Lois Again I think Felk has made all the points I would want to say about your situation. I, too, really wonder what went down btwn your ex-coworker and your MM. To me the behavior speaks of being extremely hurt, angry (enraged?), disappointed, jealous, vengeful and more about whatever happened between them. Did he ever make promises to her I wonder of a job nature? I think you might have mentioned this. No doubt, she sees him as having caused her significant misery in her life for her to lash out like this. I dont know if he can legally protect himself from her in some way in the future but if she is might be guilty of libel? I have no idea.

            Anyhow, I can’t help but think about you, too. IMHO you need to watch out that he does not hurt you too deeply as well. I may be wrong in my assumptions but given her actions these are my reactions. I have always thought her reaction to him was perhaps a red flag for YOU. Of course it is never only one person that causes the problem but two. But look how much damage her actions towards him have done to his own career. And yet he brought it on himself by getting involved with her. That was HIS choice. No matter how unreasonable she might be, how unfair she might be, she is now making his life hell on purpose for in her mind she was truly wronged by him. This is food for thought.

            Yes the MM needs your friendship right now. It is not wonder as he surrounded by people he can not trust and unsure of his next move. But as Felk said, this could drain you. Beware! These are not your problems. They are his to deal with. If he is now awaiting another security check I would imagine he is pre-occupied all over again.
            When he asked to meet you was it for sex do you mean? This would seem like a huge jump for him, so I ask. At any rate I think saying “No” was wise on your part.
            You say “I want nothing but happiness for him as well as myself.” I am always struck by how generous this on your part. How loving and kind this is. That says everything about YOU.
            Just remember, treating him so well is no guarantee whatsoever you will get him to do the same for you. This was one huge mistake I made in my affair again and again.
            Hugs BAF

          • Felk

            Lois, you sound much stronger and more sure in this post than you have for the last few weeks. And I hope you take that as I intend it, not to suggest that you sounded weak before, but you just sound stronger. There is a resolute in your words that sounds really good (for you).

            I think it is exactly as you say… you two have things you need to work about about your relationship before you can be there for his emotional issues (with his job and life and whatever else) and certainly before you have sex again. We all know the sex is great, but I cannot stress how happy I am that I had several conversations about “us” with my MM at the end of last year before we had sex. He was at my house four times (in addition to many happy hours after work) across a few months before we had sex. Yes, we fooled around a bit (of course), but it was important to me to talk through a lot of the lingering issues (and mostly, “Um, how are you okay with this affair again? What is different now from a year ago when you wanted to stop?”). As you say, you have repeatedly told him that you need to talk, and now you want to see him respect that need and not simply want to talk because HE has things he now needs to talk about or because he’s missing you and wants sex. I can hear it in your words that you know it’s important to get this from him before you can move forward in this relationship. It was hard for me to not have sex with my MM, but I knew that I would rather not have sex at all than have sex with him again and feel like crap after (like I did last January when we had sex and he was all confused and distant after). And, as you know, when you demand respect for yourself, you are much more likely to get it. (And, of course, if you demand respect for yourself and you don’t get it, then you do not want a relationship with that person.)

            It is exactly as you say in your last sentence. He doesn’t get to treat you this way and then think he can just pop back in for sex or because he needs to talk about his latest life crisis. My MM is good about respecting my need to talk so I do think there are differences with our MM, but I do feel sometimes that my MM is less there for me than I am for him. Like he wants emotional exchanges between us mainly on his terms. I won’t go too far with that because he does agree to plenty of talks when I want to express, but there are times it feels like he is trying to keep the emotional stuff on his terms and his timeline, and that can be frustrating. But I think your MM does this even more than my MM does. And I hear that you’re trying to stand up against this and be clear about your needs and how he needs to respect that, too. How it can’t be all about his feelings and his drama. How, as an adult in a relationship, he has to be there for you, even when it’s inconvenient, sometimes.

            And, I’ll just say, obviously, I don’t know what happened with that coworker and your MM beyond what you’ve told us. I also don’t know either of those people. But, I generally find that relationships aren’t one way and bad behavior isn’t one way. It does seem that your coworker is being vindictive and is out make your MM suffer. If she really did steal things from his office and try to suggest that he did, that’s pathological. But, you know I am left to wonder if he wronged her in some way that you don’t really know about? I guess just from all the things you’ve told us about how he’s thrown coworkers under the bus and he’s lied, too, I’d have some caution about your MM as well.

      • Lois

        Hey, all. There is more history with MM and coworker that hasn’t been shared because it’s a long drawn out mess. MM and excoworker had about 3 month affair and he was supposed to leave his wife but couldn’t do it because of the kids. She told me this which I understood having 4 young kids at home and wife who is from another state. The wife would have left with kids and gone back to her family, so I understood. She never could. She also wanted another baby and her H at the time didn’t want another child. She found out he was messing around with her friend and MM was having issues at home too. He has a daughter and set of triplets all under age 8 at this time. MM supposedly told her that he was okay if she got pregnant. Honestly I’m not sure if this was true because he said having another child was out of the question. I do know excoworker has a tendency to hear exaggerate and hear what she wants. She really does have those issues. Her and her husband went through the divorce because the H found out about MM. However, the two of them reconciled the day of divorce and decided to use them being divorced to file bankruptcy on credit card debt from her previous marriage. She was married when she met her current husband. So there is lots to the story and who knows the truth…who knows of their affair ended after she got back with her husband. I do know her hatred grew but I truly believe that is how she dealt with letting him go…she convinced herself that he was evil so she turned to hate. About a month ago, she apparently interviewed for job at company where MM got job but she didn’t get it. She knew someone who worked there that got her the interview. Well, I didn’t realize a lady who works with me husband works there and told company she wouldn’t be good fit as his wife worked with her and she caused lots of drama. Knowing this makes sense, she thought once again he took something from her that should have been hers…the job. However, he had nothing to do with it. It was her inability to get along with people. I had no clue until all of this happened over the summer how people disliked her. I get along with everyone and known for speaking my mind but never had a clue. So that’s the background on the situation.

        As far as being stronger, I feel that way but have my moments. We texted Friday and talked about meeting up. Then he went MIA again. I worried that something had happened and texted twice then emailed. He finally got back with me and said there was a bad meltdown at his house. Then I saw on Facebook there was a school event where his daughter was recognized and they were there as family. So I have my doubts. I’m trying to stay strong and keeping all of things he has said in the back of my mind about being emotionally damned or me being the single most important person…which is it. I would like to be with him sexually but know it would be the same crap. It already has with his mia. I texted him yesterday and told him things happen and it was my own fault for worrying and caring and how being like that is a curse at times. I am upset bevause if he knew there was a a school event why insinuate a chance of us getting together. Then lying and saying there was a meltdown. He has told me before he had school events. I don’t know…just another piece of the puzzle. As I said, I’m trying to sort things out. I do want to talk but need some time because right now I’m upset and don’t want to react on emotions. I have asked for weeks for us to talk and his life seems to have too much drama which is another consideration. It does get to be too much and especially when it’s not reciprocated. Thanks for listening and will kept you posted.

  • Kub

    Hello there!

    How is everyone doing?
    I know it has been a long time I was here but I have never stopped thinking of you! I hope you are all fine.
    I want to say… It was definitely not an easy year for me, 2018. Still trying to leave behind the marks and the scars of feelings and memories….
    unfortunately I am not able to say everything is on the order but I can say that I grew up 🙂
    It is so true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Going through all that pain and dark times made me stronger even without I could realize. Anyway.
    I don’t want to speak too much about the past or my old relationship but more I want to hear from you!

    Kub

    • Felk

      Hi Kub, wow, long time. Good to hear from you. Good to hear that you feel stronger, but I understand not entirely being whole yet and not wanting to talk too much about that past relationship still. Not talking about it is a way to move on. You know I know how painful these break-ups can be. It’s misery. If I’m remembering correctly, I think you were considering moving to another country? Did that happen or is that still in the plans? (Or maybe I’m confusing you with someone else on here!)

      As for me, it took me about 9 months after the Sept 2017 “break-up” for me to really feel myself again. There are still rough patches (and I still find myself getting stuck in “if only I had…” type thinking), but for the most part things are a lot better. My MM and I stayed “friends” through all the badness of the break-up. That was pain and struggle for both of us, but we wanted to stay friends. Staying friends meant more than just a professional work relationships but A LOT less than before. We cut out so much communication (no chatting online, much less texting, less email) and we spent less time together, but we’d still go for a drink here and there and we would even hang out at night once in a while. That led to moments of closeness and touching as you’d expect, but he maintained that he did not want to go back to the way it was, that it was too overwhelming for him. Slowly, though, of course we got closer and closer again until, over the last few months, we’re back in the affair (by some definition). We had sex in December and I know it will happen again soon enough. We have shared with each other that we are still in love and still want a relationship together, but he still does not want the intensity of before as he said that level of closeness was too inconsistent with the reality of our lives and it felt bad too often. So, for now, this is working for us. We’ve found a balance. We text a little. We email a little. We see each other at work, of course, and it’s all back to normal pretty much at work (except that I stop by his office a lot less than I used to). I’m trying to give him the space he asked for because I want this to work, and he continues to show that he wants it to work, too. It’s still hard. I don’t want to act like it’s all good. There are things that are better now than before (my expectations are lower so I’m disappointed and feel rejected less often and I’m less anxious about it all in general), but I miss him. I miss all the time we had before. He and I both said it felt “better” before (spending all that time together), but we also know that led to the great badness that wasn’t working for him. So, we try this, and we’re in a pretty good place (for now).

      • Kub

        Hello Felk

        Yes, long time but I have never forgotten you 🙂
        You remember very correctly, but I could not move out because of my education. However hopefully this year I will get it through!

        Honestly all this time you were the one I was curious the most. Because I also said this to you earlier, too, how can you manage? Are you sure the definitions hold for you both at the same time? You made dozens of explanations 🙂 But still… And also today, I feel like I saw somethings in your words… And if you do not mind, I really do not want to cross the lines but I hope you know that we want the best for each other… I would like to ask you that, do you realize that your relationship is costumed according to him…?
        I see that it is his words every time who wants to keep things less than before, yes you share the love, the feelings but he puts the boundaries between you. You suffer on this side of relationship, think like this, if he really could keep the distance between you, I think you would be gone so much before. But he comes to you, there is communication more or less and also physical closeness and you say it will happen again….
        But he says he want to keep the distance. What bothers me the most is that the lines are drowned between you by him. I may be mistaken, maybe it is you who draws the lines and tells him to stay in a distance. Or I may be the one who gets thing wrong. But is there any other possibility?
        Cause if there is, than it means that this man is not… How can I put the words more delicately, this man is not the person you might think.
        I always adored you. The way you seize things, your patience, understanding and all of the others. That is why I always get skeptical for this man in your life. I would be happy to hear that this distance exist because you want. Not because he wanted and you go along with it. Because you say you miss him, you seem you are in pain. Than he should stay away from you so you can heal yourself but as long as this continues you will be in pain. It will not get better.

        So… I hope you can be the one who decides for yourself, not him. Or I hope I am getting wrong all of these. Because if not than that may even mean that he is using you. That is a case I really wish would be untrue.

        • Felk

          Kub, you say a lot of things that are right. I don’t think you are reading my words wrong. I think you understand that I miss him and that I wish we had more, but having more wasn’t working. Yes, he prefers more distance than I do, but I want to make the affair work. I would MUCH rather have him in my life in the way he is now than nothing at all. I am a MW. I have a H and a good life. I understand that my MM is trying to balance his marriage and his kids with our affair. I understand that since I don’t have kids (and I don’t have as much guilt about the affair) that it was easier for me. He needed more space to balance his marriage with our affair. It doesn’t hurt me to know that. Really. I am not jealous of his W. I know my MM loves me and would rather be with me than her. I know he stays with her because of the kids. I also know that, since he’s come back to our affair, it is clear he wants this relationship with me.

          So, I understand why you worry that I’m giving up more than I should or that he is drawing lines that I don’t want. Yes, I want more closeness, BUT he gets to draw lines and I get to decide whether or not those lines work for me. We’re in an affair. It’s not clean. It’s not easy. When we spent more time together, it made him feel worse about his marriage/family and about missing me. He couldn’t continue the affair that way. So, how can I ask him for more closeness if gives him so much tension and anxiety? I don’t want him to feel that way. He talks to me honestly and openly (especially when I ask), and he tries to be fair to me. If I thought he was treating me badly, I would tell him.

          Now, I feel less anxious and insecure. I feel more calm and trusting of our relationship since he came back to me. I see the effort that he is putting in to maintain our relationship. Even though we don’t talk as much as before, he does enough to show me that he is still very in love. We probably got too selfish and too caught up in the addiction of the affair and it got out of control. It wasn’t good for either one of us. Affairs are a mess as we all know, so he and I are trying to do this better now.

          I am not in pain. I am strong again. Do I miss him? Yes. But that is inevitable in an affair. I like what he and I have, and, even if we cannot spend more time together, that is okay with me. As long as he keeps making it clear that he is in love with me and is putting effort into our relationship, I am good with what we’re doing.

          I definitely do not mind your words and your concern. Everyone on here has helped me so much, and I always like thinking things through.

    • BAF (aka Lara)

      Hi Kub,
      So nice to hear from you! I am really glad you came back and checked in. It sounds like you have experienced all the ups and downs of a topsy turvy “growth” year. That is good news! I totally understand you when you say you are “Still trying to leave behind the marks and the scars of feelings and memories….”
      Leaving these things behind when we are ready feels like the right thing in fact! Yes pain will not kill you and yes pain can make you stronger.
      I say this with complete confidence as my year has been full of losses.
      I have had three very close family members pass away in a 9 month period, my son move away, my therapist move away, knee surgery, a broken foot and more this year.
      Just one crazy thing after the next.
      And I left my exMM after an abusive conversation we had in July before my Dad died. This was the day I finally saw his narcissism plain as day.
      Now I have a new “friend with benefits” relationship and I am trying to put my life back together a little at a time. There is much to celebrate. For one thing my son who moved away is now engaged and I have gotten to spend time away from my block and my state in another state far away from my troubles and in a new world. I am also enjoying this new casual relationship for what it is: friendship with benefits. No strings. No pressure. No deep intense love feelings. Just having a nice time together and being reasonably attracted to each other :). And then going home and having lots of personal space and grieving space which I need badly at this point. With all the losses I have had I can still see that life goes on and we do keep encountering new opportunities to live and to enjoy life! Hugs BAF/Brave and Free (aka Lara)
      xoxo

      • Kub

        Hello Lara

        I am so happy to see your post ! I can’t tell how sorry I am for all the pains you had to cover. Especially when it is family… I think sometimes life shows us that there are many other things than the ones that we focus the most. Of course not to compare with yours but just trying to do some empathy, when I had different problems I had to concentrate on the other ones and I d spend less time to think of my MM. Sure, for you situation you even needed more support but if you could survive in those times than what is the limit? I think it is way more up now.
        It is one thing to suffer that you can not be in a real relationship with the man you love,but the other and the worst thing is hating him. Seeing that a person that matters you the most, can be an ass, especially an ass to you! That is the worst. The disappointment. Realizing that you were the one who had always more mercy, tenderness, kindness…
        But I am really happy to hear that you have a relationship with really normal expectations, or maybe no expectation at all!
        I believe that the best thing in a relationship can being casual. Just casual. Spending some time, enjoying the company, engaging activities…
        So I think it seriously what does not kill you makes you stronger. And it seems that in your case it make you hell of a rock !

        • BAF (aka Lara)

          Thank you for the response Kub! Yes losing three very close family members and a 21 year affair in a matter of 9 months has been excruciating. Most often I don’t feel I can mourn it all at once. So one day I am morning one thing then the next day something else. This period has been a real kick in the butt for me in many ways.

          But I DO see hope actually. And I ‘feel’ it, even better. This is something that is rather shocking to me. I honestly did not know I had it in me. This “strength” as you call it. I am not sure where this thing comes from. But feeling some joy in the midst of all this loss I know I want to go on living and growing. That makes me feel a great deal of quiet confidence I must say.
          One thing is for sure:
          without the affair clouding my time and energy it has been MUCH easier to be present to my sons, siblings and family members in the process of grieving our mutual losses. And I am being much more engaged with both of my sons in a way that feels good to me. It is hard to explain but I know you will feel me on this. In my affair my “presence” and “availability” were down for a reason that was hidden. My moods were up and down but no one ever knew “why”. Now out of the affair it is a huge relief to be able to be more consistent with those I love. I feel so much less guilt and so much more honesty in my self. And I realize others DO love me. They loved me when I was moody. And they love me more balanced now. They simply loved me. And I always loved them too.

          When I was in my affair my primary question for years was: “Does he “Love” me?” “Doe he?????” And if yes, then “Why can’t he say it to me?” “What is wrong with me that he does not say I love you?”
          Really this question haunted me day and night as if the answer mattered. In fact the answer did not matter. Not nearly as much as I thought. Talk is cheap. And I never even considered that maybe nothing was ever wrong with ME.
          It is actions and behaviors that really count in “love”. My exMM let me down in all kinds of ways so much so that I got used to being let down. Not only in my affair but in other places. My career. My life in general.
          The actions of my exMM were so often arrogant and self-centered but I thought it was my job to overlook and forgive as much as possible. But I took those qualities way too far and started too lose my ability to define myself and to protect myself. This is why I say him saying the words “I love you” or not really did not matter. What really counted is how I changed….how I morphed into a woman with less and less strength and more and more dependency on a dysfunctional “love” relationship.
          The question always should have been: “How is this relationship affecting ME? Am I better person for my it? How? Am I stronger in myself or weaker in myself? How and why?
          Is this man good for me and my life? Why?” etc etc

          You are so right about this part: “Seeing that a person that matters you the most, can be an ass, especially an ass to you! That is the worst. The disappointment. ” OMG I can not even explain how that feels. Very bad is all I can say. Yes disappointment huge. But even worse was my constant constant trying to be merciful, forgiving. loving, turning the other cheek ad nauseam to keep our relationship going. I was the mistress so I thought I had to do everything “better” than “her” (the wife). I thought I could not afford to show my true feelings, my angers, annoyances, my bad days….so many things….
          I thought I had to be so perfect. I never stopped to ask myself what toll this perfectionism was taking on my own psyche. I ignored myself. Simple really. Just deny myself to myself and make his needs more important since he was the married one. After all I was single right? He had more priorities right? This is how I was thinking. I thought I was being “fair” but really I was almost always more fair to him than to me.

          I really think we women are urged in a million and one ways by our society and culture at our most cellular level to act this way when we are ” in love”. At least that is what my dear Father taught me again and again and again. And my two other close relatives that passed. They said “keeping a good man” requires “skill”. I was taught to not say too much in love. To not rock the boat. To not express myself too freely. To be loving kind forgiving merciful and on and on and on. But to bite my tongue and think first not react. All words I took too seriously and I do feel many women do too.

          And yes: now I have a new “relationship” if you want to call it that
          with really normal expectations, or maybe no expectation at all. It is not addicting because the high is not as high as the affair was. But the great thing is the low is not as low either. I really do not want to be “in love” at this point in my life if the truth be told.
          I just want simple pleasures and kindness.
          To be present with people in my life without (!) having to also be some kind of super woman all forgiving romantic sex Goddess to a man hidden from view. Even thinking about that role exhausts me now.

          Am I one hell of a rock? LOL. Maybe in your eyes. Mine don’t really see it that way. Mine see I had to wave the white flag and surrender. But then in that process I became emotionally FREE!
          And like I have always said here, oh how I LOVE my Freedom. I love being free to be ME! Not some perfect mistress I dreamed up. But free to be me myself all my flaws and all. It does take bravery yes. Thats why I say Brave and Free (BAF). I would say I am not sure if I am a “rock” in strength but I DO know I am brave. I do take huge risks sometimes. And they do pay off sometimes! In fact at times I can be rather fearless. 🙂

          Stay in touch Kub! We are here for you if you need help! In the meantime get to know and love the real YOU. we are all special and unique with hundreds of wonderful qualities. Get to know yours!

          Hugs BAF (aka Lara). xxxooo

          • Kub

            Do you know what hit me the most between the words you say… The responsibilities, the expectations from women in this society. I do not care it this is called as feminism and considered as old-fashion but I can not agree more with you.
            It doesn’t necessary to be with a MM; in marriages, in most of the relationships there are some unwritten codes for women. You must keep the man (!). It doesn’t matter how great person you are, if you do not sleep with him, if you can’t satisfy him enough than he looks for more in others.
            I hate this sick idea. Yes. there is a fact that some relationships are just rebound kinda type. But this direct definitions for women sickens me a lot.
            What is wrong with being you? Showing your weaknesses? Showing your anger? Is it too hard for men to love a woman in a way that she is? Why do we have to behave so we can make them happy and stick with us?
            You are so right, I have felt the same thing for a very long time. I had to be better than his wife. So he can see he is with the wrong person. I had to be better than her so I can feel valuable. Irgh. I am mad at me at that times but unfortunately you need to go thorough this phase at first and later you can realize such a fool you are. I am mad at me because I compared myself with a woman so irrelevantly, I put meaningless expectations to myself! I had to cook better, I had to be cleaner, I had to love more and I had to be better at sex ! So he can chose me eventually…
            Oh my god. It was so exhausting. I just wanted to be me and be loved as being me. I think every women need that and that is the most honest and pure version of love.

            Anyway… I am so happy for your current mood. If I were you I would try to be myself as much as possible. That tangled relationships will not make us happy in long term.

            You have the hope for all of us 🙂 Hold on to it !

          • BAF

            Yes Kub:
            I like this “I just wanted to be me and be loved as being me. I think every women need that and that is the most honest and pure version of love.” I am realizing that nowhere in my upbringing or society did I ever get that message. But this what I wanted too. Very badly.
            All the right words are said in our culture that sound very feminist and pro-women but in truth in love relationships, in marriages, in affairs, and especially btwn the sheets it just never felt true to me at all.
            The “He” was always first! And I love your words: “if you do not sleep with him, if you can’t satisfy him enough than he looks for more in others.” This is sad but true. This gets us women unto a subtle war with each other over how to be “the best of the best” and get and keep the man. To me, no matter how an affair starts, eventually a long-term mistress like I was is a pawn in this game of a war.
            As mistress I was the one he could use as proof that he “found better.” I was that proof to my exMM, But I did not ever get the full benefit off his time and his life. I lived on tiny bits of his stolen time. So as mistress I feel like I worked and worked so hard to be the “best” loving, sexy, sexual, patient. kind, etc etc. but in fact I got back very little in the large scheme of things.

            I was hearing how she was a “bitch” at home and how they barely had had sex for years. How they were strangers in the bedroom and he had stayed only for the kinds. And who knows some of it might have been true. Some might have been exaggerated. The man I knew (my ex MM) I could definitely see causing some of his own problems at home. He is not a clear or direct communicator. He does not always handle stress well. He goes into solitude to nurse his wounds. He has some deeply hidden sexist philosophies. And of course he is arrogant. SO maybe he contributed to his own unhappiness is how I see it now.
            So maybe some of the wives of the MM’s here get disgusted with their H’s or wish they were more helpful at home etc. So maybe they sit down and try to talk with their H’s and what do some of these men do in this situation? If this strife goes on for awhile in the home, they might look to have an affair.
            In the beginning of my affair I felt like I got the better end of the deal with my exMM. I figure she good do his laundry and I could do the romance and sex. I’ll admit it was not very nice of me. But over the years I just realized that our culture really favors men’s needs over our own and we women know it in our bones.
            I think it was TTSP who said she was tired of a situation where he MM got 100 per cent from two women while she got ten percent from one man. YES.
            That is why I so much want to be Free to Be Me! Oh, Let me find a man who values Me for Me.
            Hugs BAF
            xxx000

    • TTSP

      Hi Kub,
      I haven’t been visiting this page as often as I used to but I still check in from time to time. I’m doing well this year. I’d say I spent the last six months in 2018 grieving him, the circumstances and coming to terms with the fact that it’ll never be what I truly want and desire. I had a slip up this year but rebounded and didn’t let it weigh me down. We both agreed that it’s absolutely best not to engage in a romantic anything. I think me going out on dates messed with his head too much and we finally got on the same wavelength. It’s just too painful (I speak for me and my ex mm) to have feelings for someone you can’t date honestly and openly. Still, the addiction creeps up and I hunger for the amazing intimacy we had. Either way I know in my heart that I’d prefer a real relationship with some chemistry than over the top chemistry with an attached man. It took me from July 2018 through Dec 2018 when we were on and off to emotionally detach and I’m still only 85% there. I’m happier and healthier now. Do you want to tell us a little more about your situation? If not, understood and glad that you posted and took away some learnings from it all.

      One of my close girlfriends was involved with an attached man at work for a few years when she lived in the same city as me. She came back to visit and we were both commiserating and joking about the unbearable stress of it all. I have no regrets bc I discovered a lot about myself but I’d never go there again.

      • Kub

        Hello TTSP

        I see the time is the best, not fast but it makes you heal eventually. I have no example of my relationship around me, it has advantages and disadvantages. It means that where noone around me that can really understand what I have been through but also that means there is less people who can consider these kind of relationships normal or acceptable lets say.
        What can I say… I think my wounds healed relatively. I do not feel hate of anger. I do not blame him or myself. I feel love, I am not sure if this is good or bad. But more independent love, what I feel.
        I also shared this with him. This does not mean that I do not suffer because of this relationship but it means now I can live my life more with me. I am more in the center and even if I my far faaarrr… away… I think I can keep going on. I am sure he can do that, by the way.
        It is like we hurt each other really deeply. We bleeded. And now we are tired but more calm. We are less aggressive for fights but for the love also. I am not sure if us or our love is getting matured, we left hurting each other at least.
        Actually I realized that he has feelings, too. He has things that he can not change. Do not get me wrong, I do not have piety for him or I am not creating excuses for him. But I know some part of him would want to be with me, however he can’t. So I saw his misery and forgave him. But without letting go of my life, or prioritizing him more than myself… So I stopped causing him pain, on purpose.
        I defined my expectations in life. And positioned him in a place that we can stay in a distance that we can not hurt each other bad, and also he did that, too.

        I talked too much 🙂 But all I can say is for now I am trying really hard to create better options for my life, for my job. I am trying to do some savings, also I spend the summer season by traveling a lot. So I am more in peace inside 🙂

        Thanks again, it is so nice to see your posts I so missed you all !

  • LifeLessons

    Felk,
    All of what you said makes sense. I do understand him but it does not make it easier. The day he did not reply to me, he actually called that night on his way home. He said he had a lodge meeting and he was busy so he couldn’t call me until later that day..

    Here’s the latest:
    Saturday, he knew my kids were leaving and he told me he had a funeral to attend. I was unsure if he would come over or not. However, he had called me what seemed like all day Saturday to let me know where he was and what he was doing. He called when he was on his way to the funeral, when we got off the phone he said he would call on his way back from the funeral. He called me around 11:30 pm he was on his way home from the funeral( him and some of his friends decided to hang out for a little bit). While him and I were talking he said, babe what did you want to talk to me about( i told him I had a question for him but we hadnt had a chance to talk earlier in the week). I said oh ok, well, it wasnt about us necessarily but I was curious about some things pertaining to me so I need you to hear me out as a friend more than a lover I said, there is this guy I use to deal with years ago, him and I went to high school together and he was a really close friend of mine. About 8yrs after high school we reconnected (him and his wife were seperated at the time) we dated for about 9 months to a year but during this time his wife moved from their house which was about 1hr away from where he moved after the separation, she moved closer to him because of their son.
    …..i didnt give him these details about my ex:
    (his wife hated me because he told her when they were dating he adored me when we were in high school, he told her he loved me. Him and her got together right after high school, they got married almost immediately after HS because he went to the Marines. Well later in the marriage, She cheated on him and he moved out, they separated from each other. During this time he got in contact with me..So when she found out the person he reconnected with was me she was livid. She told him he could’ve gotten with anyone in the world but why me. When we were in school, he was a good friend and I was blind to the fact that he liked me. He used to bring an umbrella to school on rainy days because he knew I never had one, he would wait for me in the morning and after school. I just thought he was the best friend a girl could have. ….Anyway, during the time of us dating while he was separated, I met his son and his mom and she said he was in love with me when we were in school. He met my kids, and my mom and things actually fell in place naturally. Well his w hated the existence of me so she threatened him that he would not get to see his son if he continued with me, she told him she would make his life a living hell. This drama went on for a few months. Well before you knew it, he came home one day and said him and her talked and decided they would try to make their marriage work. I was hurt but I took it like a champ. He cried and cried (literally) about how sorry he was for hurting me. He told me he would always be there if I needed him. I was about 27 at that time. We stayed in contact for a few months but eventually I decided to end contact.

    …Back to what info I gave MM. I told MM I reached out to him (my old friend) regarding the Gov Shutdown, I know he works for the Gov and has a high security clearance so I was wondering if he was affected, and if he had any info that would help me help the families I work with (theyre low income families who are worried about their benefits) he assured me that he was ok and still getting paid and he told me to tell the families I work with to be wise about their spending. He then went on to say, “I should have never broke it off with u.. you were so good to me.” Another ex of mine has said the same thing and another ex said something very similar. So, i was taken back a little and he asked if he could call I said I was busy at the time but eventually we spoke to one another. I asked him what was the issue with me when we were together he said it was more him than me, he said I was fair to him and his son, he said i compromised and was always understanding. So I thought to myself…this is the same stuff my other ex said if im so good than why am I single and why did every last one of them choose someone else.. so I asked my MM what did he think about every dude saying how sweet, good I was to them but none of them stayed around, I said tell me your male opinion. He said sometimes men don’t know what they have until its gone. He said some men like to keep an open communication with a women because they want to be able to get back with you and sometimes they come back because they want to be able to sleep with you. However, I realized later that I didn’t ask him the question I wanted the answer to (I do that sometimes with my indirect communication having self lol) I really wanted to ask him, over the 2 years that we have dealt with one another, what are some of the things he see in me whether both good and bad. Like some of the things that may be a complete turn off. I just wanted some feedback. I know i have good qualities but I knw there are things I could work on and I’m currently working on setting some boundaries and direct communication. It’s a working process…but it challenges me when i hear from exes and they basically say I was great but they didn’t choose to be with me. Granted, they were likely not the ones for me but they 2/4 has said the exact same thing of how I treated them great, compromised, took good care of them and treated their kids like my own, they both wanted me to know they felt horrible for hurting me, they wish they had worked it out with me etc. 1/4 wanted to be sure to apologize to me for hurting me and wanted me to know I didnt deserve the way he treated me. He wanted to be sure I forgave him. The other dude was my kids dad and he is just a jerk so even if he felt bad about anything he wouldn’t tell me about it. Well I wanted to hear from MM because I know he is brutally honest so i knew he would tell me about my flaws and all. Well I didn’t ask the question but it opened the door for him to vent as well..

    Therefore, he told me she was upset with him because he didnt come straight home after the funeral. I said well you were out late 3 days this week and yall kind of have a routine. He said yea but she’s upset because she wanted food from the place we go to and she didnt want to drive and get it. I said well thats apart of the routine he said its nothing to get mad about. He said its not like Im going home to a surprise or anything. He said, I was hanging out with buddies and he said let me tell you, my one home girl said she was enjoying her drinks and she couldn’t wait to get home to her husband because he knew what he needed to do once she got home (sexually). He said, I have to sit around and hear stuff like that, it pisses him off that she can never get with him not even 35% of the time. He said, and she is upset that I didn’t come straight home. He said its terrible. I asked why did he think she acts like that, he said he dont know. I said did you cheat on her and she found out, he said, no they have never dealt with that before. He said, she always say he criticize her so she dont want to do it. He said, dont get me wrong, its not just about the sex but she is not intimate with me at all and she is definitely not touching me (private part unless he asks) he said its been years since she touched it without him asking. Clearly he was feeling a way about it too. His tone was a clear indication of how frustrated he was and we have always had that type of communication from the beginning..where he could tell me what was going on. Partially, because I asked a lot of questions because I wasnt familiar with this situation (an affair). So, I knew from very early on that he still slept with his W, it just didnt happen often. I didn’t believe it at first, I just thought hes telling me that so I think he doesn’t sleep with her that often but every so often he expresses his frustration with it. I knew he loved his W and wished she would just be more affectionate towards him…

    I need to listen to what people tell me and pay attention to actions as well. I remember him telling me early on he wasnt just looking for someone to have sex with but he needs that intimacy piece. He told me he was looking for one person to do everything with. He has told me that he doesnt have time to entertain a lot of women, he doesnt have the money, the energy or effort. I didnt want to trust a man that is cheating on his w so it didnt matter how often he reminded me of these things. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I still thought..this is something he does and he probably has someone else in line in case this doesn’t work out…He was looking for a girlfriend all this time and now that I truly realize that…I feel several different ways….
    1. WTF..have I gotten myself into 😫
    2. I am definutely in too DEEP😟
    3. Do we really love each other (that always go in/out my mind)🤨
    4. How long are we going to keep doing this each, before someone decides it’s too much to handle (emotionally)🙄
    5. Does he really view me as his girlfriend and what is going to happen when I meet someone else🤔
    6. How will this end, can we be cordial for the sake of our kids relationship and their relationship with us (we are so entangled with each other’s lives because of the boys)😶
    7.😌 I know I’m not ready to walk away….

    …..Anyway back to this weekend I had a feeling he was coming to my house. He was calling me all day and kept asking if my kids were gone. After he vented to me about her, he told me he was on his way to my house. Once he got there he told me he was on the clock though so i would know he wasn’t staying long but he was with me for about 2hrs. He kept telling me he loved me so much during sex. He says it more often now during sex. I noticed it a few weeks ago. When we were done, he rested on my body and his phone rang, he jumped up, it startled him and myself, It was her I asked if he needed to answer that and he said yes so he did. She wanted to know where he was and he told her he was on his way home he stopped at the store. While he was in the bathroom, I sent him a text that said I love you sooooo much and then I text and said please delete your messages. Once he came out of the bathroom he said babe, I love you more. I said, hmmmm I am not sure about that and we both laughed. I asked him if he deleted his messages he said he did. I have to tell him to delete them because he doesn’t always remember to do that. When we walked to the door I hugged him and told him I love him and he said I love you too babe and gave me a kiss on the lips. He texted me a about an hour later and said babe, I left my glasses so the next day he asked if I could bring them up the road to him and I did.
    Well Sunday/Monday I had been in deep thought about him and what he was saying to me about his W. I wanted to know what was keeping him there. I remember the first date we had and he said it was more like a business deal, he invested over $250,000 in it and he was not willing to take a loss and come out with nothing. I didnt even believe that, I thought it was all BS so he could get closer to me. Now, I’m not sure….I use to think people cheated for sex but the older I get the more I realize that that is not why some people cheat. Everyone has different reasons but I wanted to know from him what keeps him there, I’m not asking because I want him to be with me but just curious about it so Monday morning we talked and I asked him he said babe I dont have time to talk about that, I am pulling up to work, the big boss is here and I need to have my mind ready to go, he said I am literally pulling into a parking space. too early to talk about that, he said he was just pulling up to his job and he needed to have his head clear in order to go in ready to deal with the boss. I didnt like that, I said well that was rude he said I have to go in here and deal with this person and that person and I can’t talk about that right now. I said well call me when you can, I guess I get it. He said thank you for being understanding but we were both being sarcastic at that point. I was being a Brat and I know it. I text him later and said hey I thought it was rude and I was annoyed by it but I do understand. It’s just sometimes our conversations are incomplete so I try to complete them at anytime I can. He is very sensitive so he didnt reply. I am not upset by it either because I know him and he will get over it..so I’m not even concerned about that. I’m sure he will call me tomorrow!

    However, over the weekend I spent a lot of time talking to this ex of mine and found out him and his w are separated again and they’re getting a divorce. He told me they have told their children and everything their kids are 14 and 9. He told me he has always loved me and he learned from the last time that he would completely shut one door before he opened another. He said, he wants me in his life even if it’s just as a friend..he will take me at whatever capacity he can have me. He said he doesnt want to lose me again. He said he knows he will need a year or 2 to get himself together emotionally. He told me he missed me sooooo much over the years and that it took him at least 2 years to forgive himself for hurting me. He told me if I need help with anything to let him know. He has told me that prior to now and I know if I need him he would help me out. He said he is a man with needs but he knows he has a hard time just sleeping around with anyone. He said thats not his style. I know that, he was never a cheater or one that could deal with multiple women at the same time. I told him I understood that and that we need to find him a friend with benefits and we laughed. He kept telling me how good it felt to talk to me. I was able to ask him about some of the flaws he saw from dealing with me during the time we dated. He said he honestly didnt think i did anything wrong, he said I was always fair, I compromised and treated his son like my own. He said the only thing he could say is maybe I am too nice. He said I dont think I took advantage of your niceness and I dont think you shouldn’t be nice but not everyone deserves for you to be so nice to them. I thought to myself, wow I thought I was sweet and I felt that maybe guys take my kindness for a weakness. I thought more about it and I think for me its those damn boundaries or lack thereof. I’m very passive and sometimes passive aggressive and these are things I know about myself but wanted to hear from these men who claim, I’m the best person in the world but they didnt choose to be with me. I was able to set practice my new “2k19 boundary setting skills” I was clear with him about our friendship. I told him I’m not interested in crossing the line with him, we were friends first (from HS) therefore being his friend is easy. I told him sleeping with me is not an option nor is it up for discussion. We agreed that there hasn’t been any love lost but we both know it’s best for us to remain platonic. He kept saying he was just happy to have me be a friend to him, he said he would love to be with me but he respects me and he has grown and learned from the last time so we need to be friends and if it turns into more that’s great but friends is good too.

    Hope it makes sense…I was telling multiple stories.
    Thanks for letting me vent

    • Felk

      LL, there’s a few things going on here. First, it seems like you’re trying to figure out why some past relationships didn’t work, why those exes seemed to say you were great yet ended your relationships anyway, and you’re looking for that ex you called and your current MM to tell you why a man might say you’re a great girlfriend yet leave you? You must know that’s a really hard question for them to answer, but I understand you trying to figure out why you’re seeing that pattern. It’s funny that your ex said what he did about you being too nice, because, not even knowing you well, that would have been my guess. 🙂 Thing is… sure, you could be too nice and too giving and you could make it too easy on men, but I don’t really get that impression from every story you tell us about your MM. Sure, maybe you’ve changed over time and you’ve gotten better at standing up for yourself and going after what you want, but it seems like you do a pretty good job with that now. Do you think that you are too nice and too giving? I know you say that you need to be better about drawing boundaries. It also might not be that you’re too nice or too giving but rather that you choose men who are not ready to give equally in a relationship? So, it seems like you’re too nice when really they’re just not nice enough? You seem too giving because they’re too selfish? Then the question is what makes us choose that type of man (and the answer is usually because we don’t feel we deserve better). Again, I don’t really know, but just helping you think through some of your questions.

      Second, I know you say you were clear to your ex about boundaries, but are you bringing him back in your life for a reason? You called him. I know you are completely in love with your MM and you likely don’t have eyes for anyone else, but is there a part of you that’s looking for a relationship that’s more than an affair? Or were you just feeling a little lonely? Or were you looking to make your MM jealous by showing him you have another guy in your life (just like he has a W)? Just asking. Because we know that friendships with exes, especially exes who still have strong feelings for us, probably don’t stay as friends for very long. 🙂

      Third, I’ll believe you if you say that you asked only out of curiosity, but you didn’t ask your MM about why he stays with his W because you want to be with him? Do you want him to leave her for you? I’m not sure you’ve talked about that much on here, but you two are now exchanging “I love you” a lot and you both seem to be trying pretty hard to make this relationship work. Your MM talks about his investment in his marriage, and even though he mentions the finances, I’m sure he means time and he means the kids, too. Leaving a marriage is hard. Especially if things aren’t terrible. When things are going okay, it’s really hard to walk away from all that you’ve invested. I know. Yeah, your MM and his W aren’t having sex, but maybe things are okay outside of that? My H and I have very little sex (and the only reason I keep having sex with him once in a while is because I don’t want him to ask why we’re not having sex), but our relationship is pretty good otherwise. We talk and laugh a lot. We don’t fight much really. We have good friends and enjoy time out together often. But, like your MM, my H and I are not really that intimate. Even outside of sex, I don’t touch my H much. I just don’t feel attracted to him in that way anymore (because of my MM). Of course, I’m having an affair, so I don’t know why your MM’s W isn’t having sex with him. They’ve been together a long time, though, and passion fades over time. Maybe it fades more for women than men? I definitely hear a lot more MW losing interest in sex with their Hs than MM with their Ws. And it’s not that my interest in sex is fading. I’m plenty interested in sex with my MM, but my interest in sex with my H is zero. Maybe your MM’s W is cheating on him! Or maybe, just like a lot of married people over time, she’s just lost that passion. She loves her H but just isn’t too into the sex anymore. I think that’s a lot of MW.

      It will be interesting to hear what your MM says about why he stays in his marriage, but I would imagine there are a lot of reasons – mostly related to investment and obligation but some related to love, too. And he probably stays out of fear, too. It is scary to leave that comfort that you’ve known for so long. I know why I stay in my marriage, and I know why my MM stays in his marriage (and why he tried to end our relationship back in 2017 to save his marriage… although now he talks about that break-up as him not really trying to end our relationship but just trying to find a balance that could work… I think that’s some revisionist history). But, some of the things my MM says makes me wonder if he is just waiting until his kids are leaving for college and then he might leave his marriage. We have never talked about that (but we have recently said we want to talk about that). It is not wishful thinking. I would MUCH rather have an affair than for us to leave our marriages for each other, but if my MM is wanting us to leave our marriages I want to know. As a MW, though, I think my situation is a little different. Although you’ve never made it sound like you were pining for your MM to leave his marriage, as a SW, it seems like you might want that. Or maybe you’re happy with how things are and it works (well enough).

      It’s funny you wrote about your MM not wanting to talk about his marriage right before he was about to talk to his boss. My MM would say that once in a while with me, too. And sometimes he wouldn’t even be that direct about it. He’d just start getting kind of cold and distant, and then later I would find out he was pulling away from me because he was about to meet up with his W or kids or he was about to go to a work meeting and needed a clear head. I always thought it was pretty rude, too, until he explained it to me. Then, I understood. I don’t need that space to clear my head, but I can understand if he does. Sounds like you told your MM the same.

      And, omg do I know about incomplete conversations and how frustrating that can be and how you try to find any time you can to finish important conversations. My MM and I went through that over and over and over. He was always much better with waiting than I was, and I know I pushed a lot to finish conversations. Now, with how little we talk, it all just feels like one incomplete conversation. 🙂

      As usual, though, it sounds like you’re just thinking things through and you’re just trying to make this work as best you can.

      • LifeLessons

        Felk,

        I was honestly trying to get feedback from them because I thought they would be the best people to get the feedback from. I do not know that I am too nice. I think I am patient and tolerable of others, I think I give most people benefit of the doubt. I think I have fallen for potential versus who a person truly is…with that being said, I actually think that I have been choosing UNAVAILABLE men well before my relationship with MM and that may very well be why they would articulate how sweet and good I was to them but they were unavailable so at that time they couldn’t receive who I am as a person so they took advantage of it. I know I speak up for myself when someone is not treating me the way I want to be treated. I do a lot more now, because I refuse to be with someone who cannot make some type of adjustments or at least try to….

        You said…
        I know you are completely in love with your MM and you likely don’t have eyes for anyone else, but is there a part of you that’s looking for a relationship that’s more than an affair?
        …I am sure I want more than an affair at some point and I know I deserve more than that. However, I contacted the Ex because I thought he could help me and once he told me what was happening with his marriage, I thought WOW..I didnt expect to hear that and of course I forgave him years ago for how things ended with us…he was the only guy I had been with that I thought sincerely felt bad about things ending and I think part of that was because we were friends for a few years prior to us experimenting with a relationship. So when he shared that, I felt empathy for him and genuinely wanted to be of some support if I could, I know how hard it is to get over someone cheating on you (especially considering his W did it before and that was the reason they separated from each other), someone walking away from you, and the disappointment of it not working out the way you intended…Or were you just feeling a little lonely? Hmmm No I wasn’t feeling lonely…Or were you looking to make your MM jealous by showing him you have another guy in your life (just like he has a W)? I told MM for a few reasons
        1. I wanted his feedback because he is brutally honest and I really thought he would have something to say that would’ve been helpful to me and obviously I value what he has to say to a certain extinct.
        2. He gives me info like that so I was just doing the same thing, he makes sure he lets me know when he has hung out with the “girls” or if hes hanging out with them and I let him know about my friends. I think it does make him a bit jealous but thats not my intent (well not this time) I may do something like that, I’m not above it but right now…no, just wanted to share it with him.
        3. I don’t want to keep stuff from him…I do love him and I am not hiding anything so I figured…why not!

        You said…but you didn’t ask your MM about why he stays with his W because you want to be with him? Do you want him to leave her for you?
        …..I asked because I am always interested in relationships and why people do the things they do..I often wonder do we really pay attention to the decisions we make and the things we choose to be ok with due to us not wanting change and or needing to stay in a safe in comfortable space. I honestly wondered if he thought I was asking because I wanted him to leave and I would like to reassure that that is not the reason I asked. I dont wish to be with him outside of our affair…not sure I would be able to trust him😒

        It’s so nice to hear your side of the story being married…MMs marriage could be similar. He may feel like things are ok outside of sex. He could feel that he want to grow old with her as they grow old together sex wont even mean much, it could be what he told me from the beginning that is was more of an investment but I was just curious and wanted him to tell me…I know a few people going through things in their marriage and they’re choosing to stay so I figured I would ask someone I know to give me some insight on why they’re staying. As far as their sexual life, I would love to hear her side of the story as to why she doesnt want to sleep with her husband…I have wondered so many things like, does she like women lol, is she cheating too, did she catch him cheating and he doesnt want me to know, I mean my mind has gone everywhere with this and him and I have talked about it before. I asked him if she was uncomfortable with herself (like embarrassed of her body or sexual skill level) he said he didnt know what her issue is…

        You said…Although you’ve never made it sound like you were pining for your MM to leave his marriage, as a SW, it seems like you might want that. Or maybe you’re happy with how things are and it works (well enough).
        ….I use to think I wanted to be with him but I never wanted him to leave her. I honestly dont think him and I would work outside of the affair, not sure I would trust him or trust how things would go with us if he left his wife for me..

        I am always trying to make this works as best as I can…

        The ex and I have been texting every day…we both set boundaries with one another so that we dont fall into the same situation from the last time. I gave him a few things to think about and try to sort through and he is really having a tough time. He said he is going to go to therapy but I know I dont wish to cross the boundaries with him..especially considering he just got out of a situation. I will likely communicate with MM as needed as far as my friendship goes with the Ex. I’m not sure what that entails because I do think that he will be a little jealous but he shouldn’t be and I dont want him to be. I just want him to listen to me as a friend just as I listen to him…it always seem like men can dish it but can’t take it. I guess, I dont want any surprises and because we live in the same area, I don’t want to run into him if I’m out with someone, so I make sure he knows about my friends. I have a friend (buddy) I have made MM aware of him and one day I was saying to MM something about this Friend and he said, what who is this person and what are you referencing him to, he said, wait let me focus on what your saying so I continued the story and he said well do I know of him. I said, yes babe you do…I told you about him before, and I have talked about you to him hes my friend remember…he said, o ok but it seemed as if he was a little jealous. So…Felk, I dont know if its right or wrong to talk to him about my friends or even potential partners. I think I should keep him aware of what’s going on and I am not good at telling lies or hiding things. I dont do well with omittion.

        • Felk

          LL, I believe that you weren’t really trying to make your MM jealous. That, sure, maybe it’s a bonus if it makes him jealous, but that the purpose of telling him about your conversation with your ex is to be upfront and to talk to your MM as the friend you want him to be (someone you can talk about these things with). I know I like being able to talk to my H about other men (not my MM, of course). I think we want some freedom to talk to a relationship partner about other men, and we want to know they can have those conversations like a mature adult. (My MM is not good at these conversations.) I think you also want your MM to know that you have other people in your life (just as he lets you know when he’s hanging out with “the girls”), and I think that’s important for your MM to know so that he doesn’t just think you’re sitting around waiting for him to call.

          I also know what you mean about not wanting a real relationship with your MM and not wanting him to leave his W because you know you couldn’t trust him. Even though there is a lot you like about him, if you know he’s cheated on his W before and he’s cheating with you now, you know he’s a cheater and he’d probably cheat on you. It’s similar for me. I don’t think my MM is the “one” for me. I think my H is a better H than my MM would be. I like a lot about my MM, and we get along really well, but as a husband? Nope. And my MM should know I’m a cheater, too. 🙂

          But… how do you find a real relationship for yourself (which is what you say you want) while you’re so in love with your MM? I’m just not sure that’s possible. I guess, at this point, you just want the affair to run its course? Just keep doing what you’re doing with your MM and, while it’s good, stay in it? You know I understand, but my perspective is different because I’m married and I’m not looking for anyone else. It IS interesting that you’re texting your ex everyday now, though… 🙂

          Hard to know why your MM’s W isn’t interested in sex anymore, but could be a lot of things. Could be that’s she’s cheating or interested in someone else. Or could just be that passion died over time in their marriage as it does in most long-term marriages. Or could be that she felt him pulling away and lost interest and got tired of trying and he doesn’t realize that his cheating drove a wedge. Could be hormonal, too. I just think it’s pretty normal in long-term marriages for sex to plummet (even when there’s no cheating). She’s probably still interested in sex just not with her H!

    • BAF

      LL I have read your last paragraph above few times and I am struck by how this relationship might suddenly be a new possibility in your life (even platonic as you say) and might and might represent a real opportunity for you and even your kids. Your Ex is clearly saying he is interested in you and in spending time with you. That might be something very nice for you! A single man with kids is apt to want to do some fun things together once in awhile (maybe with the kids) and you will NOT be “on the clock” as you say. You might also have quite a nice time not having to sneak around. I know as I did this during my very long on again off again affair and I was always happy I branched out and did it. There was so much my MM could never offer me in the way of time, activities, shared interests etc. Inside I was really craving these normal, emotional moments and often not even entirely aware of it! Hanging out with other men and single men (with or without our kids) made me feel much more “normal” even if I still could not bear to leave my MM. You might find the same is true for you.

      It does seem you re getting in deeper with your MM. Are you prepared? Are any of us I wonder? As times goes on in affairs feelings often deepen and then what? The question for the affair partner becomes: “Now what?” Have you any idea what you would truly want in your current affair if you could have anything in the world? As a SW remember you do deserve a relationship with your own person! You might think you are not worthy but in fact you are!

      As for why men did not pick you I wonder if it was always because there was another woman they were involved with and because there were kids were involved too? It is hard to leave a marriage and its daily routines and comforts no doubt. On the other hand perhaps you were not only too “nice” but also not demanding enough “answers” before you get your emotions involved 100 per cent? I am just trying to guess here. I know we are all learning clarity and better communication skills as we speak.
      It is really hard to say why a person chooses one relationship over another and I dont think there is one answer only. Life is complicated and evaluating each relationship individually is what I recommend personally. And tons of self-love!
      I hope this helps.
      Hugs BAF

  • lois

    Hey, Felk. The post thread wouldn’t me reply…so responding here. Unfortunately, MM and I didn’t meet up after his meeting. I texted to see how the job interview went and about 4 hours later received a response but didn’t reply…partly because I was aggravated it was 4 hours later. This is part of the problem and patient is not a virtue of mine. Also know it’s something that I have learn to deal with if we are going to continue. I replied the next day and made a sarcastic comment about sure your phone died. He sent a lengthy text explaining so figured he was honest. We chatted some on Saturday and we expressed more feelings as he once again told me it was more difficult now for him to balance things. I expressed the same and told him felt like us not working together has caused some of it because for me I miss him so much that’s there’s a constant reminder that we not together whereas working together allowed us time together in between times of us being intimate. When we finally do see each other we are on time constraints so it’s hard to enjoy time together. Then it’s hard to make time to see each other which puts more stress on the situation. I’m not sure we can balance things out but told him he was worth the effort to try. He didn’t comment so I said well guess that tells me. He responded of course I do and thought you knew that. I said sometimes and left things at that. We chatted a little last night and told him that if he had time this week maybe we could try to get together. He replied sounds good. I have left the ball in his court and not asking him again. I haven’t contacted him today and not sure it’s even necessary as he knows we need to talk and I don’t have anything else to say in text. He needs to figure some things out as I do because when is enough actually enough…what I’m I willing to compromise to be with him. I do love him and enjoy having him in my life but is it all worth it…not if he’s not willing to put forth effort and his actions tell me he’s not. I don’t want to play games but think it’s important for me to continue to give us both space. It’s hard not having contact but part of me needs to build up a wall of resilience to keep it from hurting and help lower my expectations…if that makes sense. I’m struggling and it’s hard to know what’s best but I have asked for time with him and if he can’t give it to me than I have my answer…he doesn’t want to put forth an effort which means it’s time to let go and move on. It’s easier said than done but can’t keep living like this either.

    • Felk

      Lois, I know the frustration of waiting hours for a reply. And it’s not that there aren’t good reasons for it to take him that long to reply, but it’s just a reminder of how you’re often waiting for him. But, as you say, it is one of the things that you may have to decide whether or not you are willing to accept if you continue this affair.

      If you are honest with yourself, I don’t know if not working together caused this because it seemed that he was feeling a lot of this tension and struggle when you were working together, too. I know that not working together makes it harder to see each other and adds all of those problems you mentioned, but the struggle could be even greater for him if you work together as it could add more temptation and more guilt. Thing is, there are problems if you work together and problems if you don’t! 🙂

      I know you wanted to hear him say it was worth the effort to try and you were frustrated when he didn’t respond. And I know he thinks it goes without saying and replies that he thought you knew he felt that way (after you respond with frustration). I have had that conversation with my MM many times where I ask questions and he says that he thought I already knew. I’m not sure if it’s that I need to hear words more often than my MM needs or if it’s that I say the reassuring words more often such that my MM is clearer on how I feel. I believe your MM wants to try to find something that works, but as I said before I’m not sure he knows what that means right now. He needs to settle a lot in his life, and that will take him time. Time that will frustrate and sadden you. Time that will be painful for you. But that’s what he needs.

      Leaving the ball in his court to set up a time to meet to talk is a good idea because it gives him some of that space we’re talking about, but I know it will be hard for you this week if he’s not texting to set up a time. Either way, hopefully it will give you some information on his willingness and interest in meeting up to talk. Just as he needs to figure out things, so do you. You need to see what you’re willing to put up with, and maybe a first test of that is just letting him respond when he’s ready. If he goes a week without contacting you at all (and you don’t contact him), is that something you can handle? I know it can feel like playing games if we’re intentionally not contacting someone, but you can’t keep doing all the emotional maintenance for the relationship. And you need to see what he is willing to do to maintain the affair. Our MM may feel overwhelmed and guilty and struggling to balance (because it is all too much), but the emotions that get unbearable for you and I are feeling pathetic and rejected (because it is all too little… from him). I know it all too well. The problem is… no one is happy if you can’t find that balance.

      As I’ve said before, though, I don’t know if he’s ready to give a definitive answer right now. I know you want a definitive answer right now, but he seems to continually give messages that he’s not ready. At some point, though, you just have to move on and you can’t keep waiting for him to be ready. You can’t keep going through the pain of his indecision. Hopefully he’ll be able to give you some clarity soon, or hopefully you’ll be able to take a step back to calm down your expectations.

      • lois

        Hey, Felk. I have pulled back the reigns on our communication as I am trying to figure out things as well and hoping to calm down my expectations in the process. MM texted to see how I was feeling which meant a lot to me because as you know he does not initiate conversations very often. We texted back and forth a few times. I commented that his actions were beginning to make me believe he really does miss and want to try to figure things out how to balance things. He replied…that it implies you thought I was lying. I said no….not what I meant and that he is not one to expression his feelings so when he does I doubt him but his actions sometimes says differently. I told him that i knew he must have been missing me because of initiating the text. and he replied of course, I told him it was his fault as I have asked to see him. He said replied…oh that one hurt. I did not reply anymore after that one. He later texted to let me know he had been offered a job and told him congrats! We flirted a bit and have not texted since. Then yesterday, I found out that he texted someone who I work with the same day he texted me…not sure what it was about it. Another coworker mentioned he must have been missing all of us because he had texted the day before which was same day he did me. It made his text to me seem not as special…if that makes sense. I thought he was missing me and was showing he really did care about me and wants to figure things out. I have been second guessing his text to me and maybe I read more into because I wanted to feel it something special when it really was not. I did the same thing at Christmas and thought he texted because of his feelings for me when he actually texted everyone in his old department…I felt like an idiot! I do not know maybe does not feel the same about me that I do him and that is why I has never admitted it except he has deep feelings for me. Exactly what does that mean…he could have deep feelings for others who were in his department and that is why he stays in contact with them. As you can see, I am struggling with all of it and trying to sort it out in my head…maybe I have been delusional about his feelings and that is why he does not want to see me. Maybe he is struggling with letting go of me because I boost his ego and he likes the occasional sex we have which is why he strings me along. Maybe he is manipulative and has used me. I truly do not know. Sadly, I am not sure even if we would talk that I would not still be confused. I do not doubt that he cares about me but obviously he cares about others who he used to work with too. The question is does he feel the same about me that I do him…has he fallen in love me or am I just another ex co-worker who he cares about and does not want to be with in a relationship; yet does not know to end it without ending our friendship or hurting me.

        • Felk

          Lois, it does seem like you’re initiating and responding less and giving your MM some space to initiate (which it seems he is a little), but I can hear your frustration with how he didn’t ask to see you this week. Of course, it’s possible that he couldn’t find the time, but I know it feels like he, once again, didn’t find it important enough to find that time. His initiation of texts to you over the last few weeks does seem to show that he wants to try to make something work, but I think he’s still figuring it all out (like he might have been more focused on getting a new job this week).

          As far as him texting other former coworkers, am I guessing that it was a female coworker that he texted? I know that my MM texting a female coworker bothers me, but if he texted a male coworker, it wouldn’t bother me. I know that jealousy and hurt of thinking you’re not special, but my guess is that it’s just simply normal for your MM to text other people he had friendships with at work. I know that it CRUSHED me to find out that my MM texted (about work stuff) with a female coworker during our break-up (especially when he was near-zero texting me). I was all wrapped up in jealousy about him replacing me, but eventually I got over that irrationality and know that he isn’t interested in her at all. Of course, what helped me is that my MM is expressive and continues to tell me how he feels about me. I also recognized that I text other male coworkers and it means nothing beyond professional friendship stuff. Coworkers talk and text. It’s normal. So, even though I know the sting you’re feeling finding out that he texted others, my guess is that it’s just normal coworker stuff. My guess is that he does think of you differently, but I guess I don’t entirely know. Your MM is definitely elusive and has not been very expressive so I can see why you’re struggling to figure it all out.

          As for your lingering questions in the end about how he really feels, I don’t know. He seems to care about you and like his time with you, but I also know that he hasn’t said a lot more than that. I don’t think he’s being manipulative or just using you for sex, but I also know that it would help for you to hear more directly how he feels. I’m sure he struggles to say some of the words out loud because that would just make it all too real, but you two have been doing this for two years, right? Seems it’s time to say some words. Again, that’s one of those things that you have to decide if you can put up with. Do you want a relationship with someone who can’t tell you how he feels about you? My guess is that he has fallen in love with you, but I’m not sure he can admit that to himself let alone you. I know you want to talk to him to hear him say these things, but, as I’ve said before, we often go into these meetings hoping that *this time* our MM will say the exact thing we want only to have that not happen and feel rejected or confused all over again. If you want honesty, you have to really be ready to hear honesty, and, I’ve found that in affairs, honesty is usually some jumbled mix of things that make us feel good and things that don’t.

          • lois

            Hey, Felk. I really, really appreciate your insight on things as often I do not see things like you do! I texted MM last night to check on him and replied that is was another difficult day but he would be okay and appreciated me checking on him. I replied, glad you are okay and did not know what to think and was concerned. He replied sorry needed to detach from society a bit. I did not reply. I am tired of fighting for the both of us. He has to figure things out! As far as the female coworker he contacted, I was not upset or jealous in that way because I know it was not anything like that. It just made me feel like he was reaching out to everybody and him reaching out to me was not anything special…it was wishful thinking of my part. I am so frustrated and do feel like “us talking” is not a priority to him but I have asked for weeks. I am tired of asking, I am tired of being disappointed, I am tired of caring the load for both of us…he has to want this for it to work. I know, he is going through lots. It seems like he is always going through something…too much drama it seems. Unfortunately, I am expected to understand and be patient while he figures things out…but for how long. I am tired and worn out of trying to figure him out and guess what his feelings are for me. I understand, he probably does not even know himself but have been dealing with this for almost 3 years in May. When things are good with us, I could not feel happier but when things are like they are with him now, I find myself more agitated and have less patience for people including my H and family. I am really torn as to what to do because my heart says do not give up on him as I do love him but the rest of me says move on…get through the pain as the other side is so much easier and less complicated. UGH!!!!

          • Felk

            Lois, you’re certainly welcome for any insight. I know that I have gotten so much help from all of you over the months, and just talking it out helps me, too. Just having others, who understand affairs, to listen is helpful, even if there is nothing you can do. Your MM’s texts are cryptic, but, once again, seem to show that he is really struggling with a lot in his life. Even though he doesn’t say specifically what it is, he is clearly having a hard time. It just doesn’t seem like he’s in any mental place to have a relationship with your right now. I know that’s hard to hear, but he hasn’t shown many signs that he can have a relationship. Maybe he will be able to eventually, but you have asked him so many times to see him and it hasn’t happened. I think you have your answer about his priorities. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about you, but it does mean that, right now, he needs to take care of himself first. Until he’s in a better mental place, he’s no good to you in a relationship and I think you know that. I think you are seeing that.

            It is exactly what you said about “he has to want this for it to work.” I know you want him to want it, but that’s not the same thing as him wanting it. I know I felt that very strongly when my MM said he wanted to end our relationship in 2017. It was excruciating, but I also didn’t want to talk him into a relationship that it didn’t seem he wanted enough. I knew he loved me. But it wasn’t enough (at the time). He had to work things out for himself.

            Also, you say that you’re expected to be understanding and patient, but I’m not sure your MM has asked you to do that. That is something you are choosing to do because you want the affair to work. It’s important to be honest about that. If he were asking you to wait for him, that’s different. He has not given you much lately, and I can understand why you’re tired. I’m not sure how much longer you can keep waiting. Only you know that, but you’ll know when you’re done trying.

  • LifeLessons

    Felk,(I am replying to you here)

    When I asked about the time it took to get to an arrangement, I meant in general. You pretty much answered that question.

    You said, I think he’s acting the same as he always does so this might be the best “balance” you’re going to get. Are you good with that?

    Me…I am ok with this. What you say about as the affair continues we want more and more communication, its true. I think this is why we have had these disagreements because I have been wanting to hear from him more and he has remained the same.

    You said…
    You say you know that lowering your expectations will help you, but how do you do that when you’re in the thick of the affair?

    Me… I think it will help but I am not sure in reality if I would be able to do that. I definitely try not to expect too much of anything but as time goes on your feelings/emotions change causing the affair to go through changes.
    For ex; yesterday I actually called him and we talked for a few minutes, he said he would call me back. I was not sure if he would call back or not..he did call back but then he told me he had to call back. Well he was walking his dog and I knew he was likely going in the house and probably wouldn’t call back. He didn’t! This morning around 9am he text me and said, Hey babe, GM!..sorry I didn’t get a chance to call u back last nite. How is ur day going?? I replied, GM babe thanks for thinking of me its going pretty good. About an hour later I text and said how is your day going but he did not say anything. Lately, I have gotten upset about this type of thing but today I just feel like he may be trying but he is not going to be different when it comes to this communication stuff. I appreciate him trying to do something different but I know it will always be a temporary fix. I actually need us NOT to talk so much because that makes me yearn for it all the time and takes me further away from reality and although it feels good to talk to him often, spend time with him when I do not have my kids…its not so bad for those things not to happen so often. I think I need to stay as close to reality as I can.

    You said…
    You say those things about being used to being on the side where the man is trying so hard and now you feel like you’re the one trying hard. I know what you mean. I wonder if it’s one of the reason we like affairs or we like these men? Do affairs challenge us more than most of our relationships because of all the difficulties built in? Or are we looking for that man who pushes back and isn’t as easy as the other men?

    Me…This makes sense to me, I have told my MM that I love the fact that he is such a “man” it turns me on. He always says what does that mean and I feel it means what you’re saying above but I could not figure out how to describe that to him. It is very different from what I have dealt with.

    You said…
    You ask if you’re putting too much effort into this man, but only you can answer that. From everything you say about your affair, it seems pretty balanced. Yes, you may be more available than your MM (because he’s married), but you have never seemed pathetically available. Maybe it just “seems” imbalanced because he’s not all over you like past men?

    Me… I think, I feel that I put more effort in because I am single and that is the long and short of it! I am single so naturally all of energy and time goes in to him and when I say all, I am being dramatic because I have other things to do besides him but I mean relationship wise. He is not all over me like others guys in my past and he always acknowledge when he is all over me because he knows its not something he does all the time. I made a comment to him about me paying more attention to our relationship than what he does and he told me that was not true. He basically said we both are into the relationship evenly, he said we just show it differently.

    You said..
    You and your MM trust each other. But, there’s a nagging something that doesn’t allow you to trust him as much as you want.

    Me…..you are right again! Lol I think he trusts me more than I trust him. I am trying to trust him but it is hard. I believe he cares about me but sometimes I am unsure about it. I think his communication style makes me second guess thing. Its like, if you cared why wouldn’t you do everything you can to reply to me or talk to me regularly. I know that being in an affair is complex and every affair is not exactly the same. Therefore, you may have some people who can give a lot of time and attention to their affair partners and you have some where they just cannot. He honestly feels that he tries to make sure he does what he can to make this work. I do believe that but I think if I can understand that him loving or caring about me has nothing to do with his communication style, I would be able to see that we are in a “balanced” relationship…well…as balanced as it can be with me being single and him being married.

    You said…
    🙂 I’m not sure it’s immature exactly if you need space. If you’re doing it to be petty to get back at him and try to make him feel the pain of you not being available? Yeah. But, if you’re doing it because you’re mad and you know you need to calm down, then that seems smart and fair. It sounds like it’s a little of both. 🙂

    Me…..it was definitely both, a part of me did not want to give off attitude with him because I knew I would be an impulsive smart ass so I needed some time to regulate my emotions, I knew in my heart he was not just ignoring me but it doesn’t mean that I will not stop wanting to hear from him when I reach out to him. If I am completely honest with myself, blocking him was more about me not having the urge to answer if he called so i could let him see how it feels for me not to be responsive right away…so, ummm yes there was some pettiness in my behavior haha!

    • Felk

      LL, it seems like you understand your MM well, but that doesn’t always make it easier in the times when you feel that he’s not communicating the way you’d like him to. I understand my MM’s communication style. I get that he doesn’t like (or need) to talk as much as I do. I get that he’s less expressive (even though we spent 1.5 hours together yesterday and he was saying plenty of nice things). It mostly works. He’s consistent in his communication and he generally tries to be responsive when I ask (and it seems your MM is the same way). But, that doesn’t stop us from thinking certain behaviors are outside of the boundaries of what’s acceptable for “their style.” Like, yesterday, when your MM never answered your text asking about his day. My MM and I don’t get in long text exchanges, but he almost always replies to my texts (with at least something short). I texted him just something cute/sweet this morning and he didn’t reply. I don’t get it. (And, yes, I saw him in his office at work today.) But, like your MM, I think my MM read that text, thought it was nice, and then didn’t feel pressed to reply. The end. And, yes, your MM will do some temporary fixes, but he will be who he is. The hard part is trusting that he cares about you even when his behaviors don’t seem to be showing it (like when he doesn’t reply to a text!).

      Also, I agree with the things you said about effort and being single. I know how that probably makes you feel like you’re putting in more effort because all of your focus is on him. I don’t have kids and my MM does, so I often felt that I was putting in more effort because I could (because I didn’t have kids to draw my attention). But… I think your MM is right. I bet you both give similar amounts of attention to your relationship, but it just doesn’t feel like it to you because you can’t see how much he’s thinking about you and wishing he was with you when he’s with his W or family. I do think my MM is as in love with me as I am with him (or even more), but, like your MM says, we show it differently. Just yesterday, my MM was talking about how actions speak louder than words but I reminded him that I need the words, too. 🙂

      We soldier on.

  • Lois

    Hello everyone. It has been awhile as things in my life have been crazy and having some medical issues on my own. I think, the last post explained that MM and I had hooked back up which resulted in us having sex…which did not surprise any of you giving that both he and I were struggling with things. We were taking things slow and things seemed to be going well. I made arrangements for people at work to get together to celebrate his 40th birthday. He seemed to really enjoy it. He was distant on/off but I was not contacting him like before. I had my guard up and did not want to get hurt again, so I just really have not allowed myself to get fully back engaged into the affair…if that makes sense. MM was faced with being told he was a disgrace to his family after a cousin’s wife was told he had sexually harassed someone thus the reason for his resignation. He said his family still does not know what actually happened so guess he stays stressed out waiting for someone to spill the beans about his affair, etc. Then, things seemed to start going right back to the old ways…less flirtatious; excuses for not meeting; mia and this time I just asked him what his problem is with me. I have not done anything wrong to be treated unfairly and did not like it. He admitted that he is struggling with everything in life not just me. He feels there has to be more to life than they way he is living and feeling…kind of sounds like a pity train! He wants to be with me but does not want to feel the shame, guilt, anxiety. What do you say this? The problem that when he gets overwhelmed, the situation with us intensifies with him. He said he is emotionally damned either way he goes with us…he enjoys having me in life and brings happiness but also brings the other emotions. I asked if we could meet talk about things and he agreed. I laid awake last night and debating whether I even want to meet him. Is it worth it? I cannot change how he feels or take away the guilt and shame. I did tell him that I felt those emotions are not because of us but for the mistake he made before us by having the affair which cost him his career. He agreed somewhat but the fact remains that it is wrong us to be together…no sh*t! But neither of us are willing to hurt our kids. How do you balance it? Felk, how is your MM doing it? Do you talk less than before? Just curious. Do I even want a relationship with someone who I cannot communicate as often as I would like out of worry that it is too much for him? What causes him shame and guilt? Is it because he thinks of me when he is at home? I do not know but it would help to know these things…which is why part of me wants to meet him? I understand the guilt because at times it does bother me but not like it does for him. Felk, I read your latest posts and wonder if my MM is not feeling like your MM but instead of sharing those feelings my MM runs from it. I am confused and really could some advice. I really do appreciate you ladies!! Normally, I contact him to have a good day etc but not today. I am just kind of blah…..

    • Felk

      Hi Lois, good to hear from you (although I wish it were with happier news). It seems like your situation is about the same as when we last heard from you… a lot of back and forth from your MM. It seems that he simply cannot decide to be in the affair or not. My MM was the same way during 2017 (before he ended our affair), and it was so strange to me. I think this indecision and constant struggle is hard for us to understand because we were clear that we wanted the affair. Yes, we might feel some struggle/guilt, but generally there was no waffling. Our MM waffle, though. I’m not sure why exactly, but I think they find the situation has to be more all-or-nothing than we do. I think we’re more comfortable with maintaining both relationships than they are. I don’t know if it’s the guilt of not treating their W well, the pressures they feel from two relationships (i.e., the guilt of not being there for you AND her), the misery of being in a marriage that they don’t want, or some combination of all of the above, but your MM and mine seem to be more challenged by this than we are. (And, maybe, kudos to them, right? Shouldn’t we struggle more?) Much like your MM, my MM struggles with the difficult emotions that come with the happy emotions. Maybe it’s that they don’t handle the difficult emotions as well as we do? Or maybe it’s simply that we don’t feel those difficult emotions as much as they do? In my situation, it’s both. My MM acknowledges that he couldn’t handle being apart as well as I could. I didn’t like it, but I accepted it as part of the affair. As the affair went on, it got to a point where it was unbearable for him. He didn’t understand why we’d keep getting closer only to have to be apart so much. Also, I don’t think I felt as much guilt or pull towards my spouse as he did. And it sounds like you don’t feel as much guilt or shame either since you seem confused as to why he feels those emotions. I’d think your MM feels shame because he’s breaking his marriage vows (and his covenant with god), being dishonest with his W, and doing something that society generally frowns upon. I’d think he feels guilt because he feels he’s living a lie. That he’s being unfaithful to his W and, in turn, hurting her (while she may treat him well). Of course he thinks about you when he’s at home, and, of course, that’s part of the guilt. The affair is making him less able to engage in his marriage and family, and that makes him feel like he’s not fulfilling his obligations as a husband and father. He has told you this. I know you don’t feel it the same way, but that doesn’t make it any less real for him. (And you can’t discount the guilt, shame, and fear he feels about his previous affair biting him in the ass and potentially being discovered by his W.)

      I know my MM also got more pressure from his W than I did from my H. I’m guessing it is similar for your MM from everything you describe. But, I’m not sure what you do with that? It just seems like it’s something that your MM has to sort out on his own. He has to decide what he wants. Not that you have to just sit around and wait for him, but, well… that seems like what you want to do. It seems like you want to be with him enough that you’re willing to wait through the pain of all the MIA over and over to see if he’ll decide he wants the affair. Is that true? I don’t want to make that sound bad entirely. If you’re making your choices with eyes open, good on you. I was willing to wait for my MM. I knew through the break up that I wanted him in my life whether it was the affair or a friendship, and I was willing to deal with the excruciating pain to get to a place that worked for both of us. I’m glad we have more than a friendship, but I knew I was willing to work on it no matter where we ended up.

      But, you ask whether or not you want a relationship with someone you can’t communicate with as often as you want out of worry that it is too much for him. It’s a good question. Through 2017 (before the break-up), I didn’t think I wanted that relationship. It was clear he was pulling away, and I hated feeling that I couldn’t communicate with him as I wanted to (because it was too much for him). When we ended, I didn’t fight it. It hurt like nothing I’ve ever known, but I didn’t want to talk him into a relationship with me. If he was struggling that much, I didn’t want to force it. And, I didn’t want to keep compromising my needs to make him feel better. He needed to work things out for himself. Now? We talk A LOT less, but it feels okay. It’s a new normal. Communicating as little as we do now would not have worked for me 2 years ago in the thick of the addition. But, after 6-9 months of calming down all of those feelings and expectations (through a ton of pain), now it works. So… unfortunately, I still think that you and your MM have a lot to go through. It’s good that you were direct recently in asking him why he was acting the way he was. Instead of suffering in silence, just ask. It can be hard to do, but we waste a lot of time in these affairs suffering in silence. If your MM isn’t as willing to talk or confront these feelings, though, there’s not a lot you can do; but at least you can know that you stayed true to yourself and stood up for what you wanted. It’s good he wants to talk soon (and I know you want to talk to him), but he will not say anything different than he’s already said. So often we go into these talks hoping that THIS time will be the time we figure it out or he reveals something that makes it all make sense or (sadly) that we’ll say the thing that makes him decide there and then that he cannot be without us… but none of that will happen. It will be him saying all the things he’s said before about the struggle and you trying to figure out why it’s such a struggle for him since it’s not for you, and there will be sweet and warm things and there will be painful things. I have had these conversations so many times across the last 6 years. 🙂 But, if it helps you to talk to him, then talk to him.

      I was also surprised (although I’m not entirely sure why) to read that your MM just turned 40. I don’t know if it was other things you said or I was mixing him up with other MM on here, but I thought he was over 50. I’m not sure if that changes my thinking about his behavior, but maybe.

      • lois

        Thanks Felk, I really appreciate your insight on things. I think the MM in our lives have similarities so it’s helpful to hear what and how your MM has shared because mine does not. That’s the problem I don’t know how he feels or thinks. He says he misses me and wants to see me but then struggles with meeting me. I stay do confused. So maybe you’re right…maybe it’s that he wants something that he can’t have so it bothers him. I didn’t contact him at all yesterday not to even check on him. We both attended a friends dad memorial. It was good to see him and sat next to him. We walked out together. I asked how he was doing and he said the service really bothered him. I know it’s only been 5 months since he lost his brother. I hoped we could talk about he wasn’t in the right mind set. I texted him to see if he needed to talk. Hebdats he couldn’t and explained he found out that his deceased brother wife is seeing someone so he is struggle with that too. I’m struggling with life too as my boys are never home. My oldest is getting ready to move away for college and my twins are 16 and never home. I’m lonely but married makes sense right…not! I’ve been a mom for 21 years and grieving my boys. So I understand his mental struggle. I’ve thought about checking on him but not sure can handle the rejection as he needs to figure out things for himself. So I’m not sure what I will do…I want him in my life but it has to be his choice. If he doesn’t then I need to figure out how to let him go or decide if I’m willing to keep him in my life as a friend. I really appreciate you…thank you. Yes he is 40 and I’m 48.

        • Felk

          Lois, it sounds like your MM is going through so much right now. His job (loss/switch), his fear about his W and family finding out about his affair, his brother’s death, his own health issues, and his affair with you (which threatens his relationship with god). I know you’re going through things, too, but the difference is that the affair (when going well) is something that HELPS you with your other life struggles. For him, the affair causes conflict, even when it’s going well. As he has said for a while, it is adding to stress and, now with all of these life struggles, the affair is overwhelming. He needs to figure things out for himself. He needs to figure out what he wants and what he can handle. He cannot be happy right now, and you can’t be happy with him if he’s not happy. I know it’s really hard to give him the space to figure out what he wants, but the affair can only work if he’s sorted through his other struggles. And, of course, the scariest part is that he might not choose the affair, but he is struggling so much right now and he’s just not the type who wants to talk about it with someone else. I know you want to work this out with him (now), but that’s not how he works. I know you said you want to find a balance that works, but I don’t think he’s there mentally. I think he needs space/time for himself to even be ready to have that conversation about finding balance. He may say he wants it right now, but he’s not showing that he’s ready. You recently told him that you don’t need to talk and that you need to focus on yourself. Did you mean that? Or do you need to talk?

          I know the feeling of no longer wanting the rejection and that’s finally what led me to really give my MM space. It hurt too much to keep trying or keep hoping and getting little in return. After we ended our affair, it seemed my MM was still in love but he was trying to repair damage at home and had to stick to our break up. Your MM seems similar in that he says he misses you and wants to see you but struggles to meet you. To us, it is confusing because if we want something, we do it. I don’t think it works the same way for our MM. Just because they want us, doesn’t mean they think they should spend that time with us… because they are worried about what that will lead to (distraction at home, guilt, fear of being caught, desire for more that you can’t have). You and I don’t worry about those things as much. I don’t know why, but we don’t. They do. But your MM has to feel comfortable with the decision to be in the affair, and he can’t feel comfortable with that until he works some of his life stuff out (on his own… and I know that’s scary).

          From what you write to me and BAF, it seems like you still want to talk to him about your feelings, but I hope you can keep your expectations low about what he can offer right now with regard to his feelings and your relationship. It just seems like he needs time (without much communication/contact) to decide what he wants to do. My guess is that he knows where you stand. He just doesn’t know where he stands.

          • lois

            Hey, Felk. So much of what you say is true; thanks! I have reached a point that talking with him is not a priority right now as both of us some need time/space to figure things out. I have reached a point that my communication with him is minimal. He texted yesterday about using me a reference for a job and then again last night asking for a phone number of someone who works with me. I replied both times but kept things simple. I did not bring up about us talking or wanting to see him…only that I missed him and to hang in there. I read your post about giving him space was easier because you did not want to feel the rejection…that is exactly where I am with things. I just cannot do it and he needs to really think and figure things out as it is not fair to keep putting myself through all of it…over and over again. In giving hm space, he may very well chose to not continue but then, again, I may reach that point myself. I miss him and want to be with him; but not like we have been…cannot do it anymore. Usually by now, I have texted him good morning, how are you doing, have a wonderful day, etc and I am not doing it to punish him…it’s just I do not have it in me to keep putting myself out there to be continuous hurt and rejected. He knows my feelings nothing more needs to be said and he is not going to share, so why put myself through it. I am sad and miss him. However, it feels different this time maybe I am in shock. I do not have the gut wrenching feeling of agony and sorrow maybe because in the back of mind we have not ended things but more on a break…I do not know what to think except I could not do any of this without the support from you ladies. So, thank you!

          • Felk

            Lois, if you are able to continue giving both of you space, I think you’ll feel better about it all soon enough. I don’t mean “soon.” I just mean soon enough. It takes a while. It was initially hard for me to hold back from sending that text or sending that e-mail, but I kept reminding myself that I didn’t want to deal with the anguish of waiting for a reply, interpreting his reply, anguishing over my reply (and how/if he’d reply to that). Soon enough, it felt strong to make the choice to not text or e-mail. Not like I never sent him a text or an e-mail, but I just cut it down considerably (as he’d been doing). I tried to stop sending texts for the sake of maintaining contact or hoping for a reply but rather only sending if I really had something I wanted to share (like a joke from work or something funny to us). And I noticed that it felt better to not be going through that misery of waiting and wondering (and feeling rejected if his reply was too slow or seemed too short or less sweet than I wanted). Those choices and other choices we made gave us space to figure things out (and we sort of have). Now? I send him a text less than once/week (and he initiates a text less than that). It works (for both of us).

            I’m glad you don’t feel the gut-wrenching pain right now, and I hope it doesn’t go there. My guess is that it’s partially that you don’t really think things have ended with your MM and that it is getting easier to separate from him because you’ve gone through it so many times. I’d guess you’re getting stronger and better able to handle it all. Even choosing to not continue to put yourself through his rejection right now, shows how you’re acting out of strength and not fear. I know how much everyone’s support here helped me, so you’ll have all my support.

          • lois

            Hey, Felk. MM has texted a couple of times; couple of times for trivial things…think it was his way of reaching out. I was honest with him the other night and point blank asked what was going on his life that has him so troubled. He replied multiple things; one of which was daughter was recently diagnosed with torrents and learning disability, the issue with his brother’s wife seeing his brother’s good friend, etc. We both opened up about things. I went on to bed and woke up the next morning to him replying later that night. I did not respond like normal and was at a good spot that felt I needed to stop communicating as I had expressed my concerns, feelings, etc. He did too and usually I would respond but did not have it in me to get disappointed again. So, yesterday he texted to see if I was okay because he was worried about me. I explained that I was struggling with things because tired of feeling hurt and disappointed. He asked if I regretted standing up for him and replied absolutely not but do regret at times letting myself get too close to him especially when you pulls away and times when I do not know what to do with my feelings for him and cannot see him because either he does not want to or circumstances we cannot control. He said he understood those feelings all to well. I told him I did not regret having him in life and did not want to lose him. He said he feels the same but does not know how to balance it. I told him it would take effort on both our parts but we could do it. He said he was open to trying. He told me it was his girls’ birthday and would be having dinner and cake. I did not bother him so he could enjoy his family time. I texted him today wishing him luck on job interview and asked how about his evening? He said he was great time with kids and parents. Things like this do not bother me because it is part of him being a dad…family man. I asked if we could meet up and did not reply, so sent him a text stating it was okay that he needed to worry about his meeting today and getting through the day without any anxiety issues. Apparently, he has anxiety that causes panic attacks and says they come on without warning. So, I am not sure if we will meet up later today. I am not sure how we can balance things but maybe less communication from me is the key. It seems like he initiates more when I do not contact him. I do not know like we have talked about before it seems you and I handle things differently than our MM. I want to have a serious discussion with him. In order for this to even a remote chance of working, we (he and I) need to be honest about our feelings and what causes stress for the other person. Does he feel guilty because he finds him desiring to be with me but circumstances at home prevents it? So, he feels resent me toward his family. Does it bother him that I contact him too much? Does it bother him that my life allows me to have more freedom to go have drinks with coworkers? What causes his issues…and maybe we can figure a compromise or solution that would allow him to balance out those feelings. As always, thanks for listening and would love to hear some advice on balancing things.

          • Felk

            Lois, I think one of the hardest things in your situation is that your MM is not very open about his feelings, and so you have to guess a lot about why things are so hard for him (especially because you handle things differently). It’s seems you’re trying to ask him more directly and be more direct about your struggles (and I think that’s good), but a lot of your “conversations” are happening on text and that can’t be very useful for getting much information. Did you end up meeting with him yesterday? Conversations in person are my preference for these big things, but these conversations can also be harder because they get your hopes up more and then the crash is even bigger when your MM doesn’t say all the things you want to hear.

            I know EXACTLY what you mean by “In order for this to even a remote chance of working, we (he and I) need to be honest about our feelings and what causes stress for the other person.” But, from what I went through last year, I can tell you that is MUCH easier said than done. If it was just that simple, you would have done it already, right? I thought that exact thing SO many times thinking a really honest conversation was what we needed, but 1) the truth is that we mainly want an “honest” conversation that leads us to maintaining the affair, 2) when we have these conversations we rarely get that clarity and we get a mix of good and bad from our MM who voice their struggles with the affair that end up making us feel rejected or hopeless or more confused, and 3) we never seem to be able to say all the things we want to say in these conversations due to fear or due to time constraints or due to just not being sure of what to say. I don’t think your MM has the answers to your questions. I don’t think it’s so simple as asking him if it bothers him if you contact him too much, for example. I think he would answer that in a way that was “yes and no” not only because it’s the truth but also because he may not realize how much your communication impacts his anxiety in the situation. He may not know until he really gets a break from it (to realize that works better for him or that he misses it).

            I think part of the problem (looking back on my last year) is that this can’t be fixed/solved in one conversation. Your MM needs time, on his own, to figure out what he wants and what can work for him. He also needs to sort out some stuff in his life (like his job). That is something that needs to happen separate from you and that’s the hard part. I know you don’t want to get too far away from him for fear it will mean the end of your relationship, but that’s what needed to happen in my affair. We needed distance for my MM to figure out what worked for him and what he wanted. And it sucked. Sure, it worked out and we’re good now, but that was a lot of months of pain and worry for me. I also don’t want to give you false hope. You know each of our situations is a little different so what works for me and my MM might not work for other people.

            So, my advice isn’t anything specific that can get to a clear solution rather than just giving your MM some space to figure out what he wants and if he wants to put in the effort to continue to make your affair work. The time apart for my MM and I led my MM to relieving some of his tension by improving the balance between our affair and his marriage/family, but it also led him to realize he didn’t want to give up the affair. He wanted to find a way to a balance that works. It sounds like your MM will get there, but he needs the space to get there. I believe him when he says he wants you in his life. Your MM doesn’t say much so I would believe the words he says. Of course, though, that also means believing the hard things he says about struggling and not sure how to make it work. I don’t think he’s ready right now to come up with a “solution,” but I do know how very much you want one right now. My best advice to you is keep giving yourself space. Slow down the communication, slow down the expectations. Soon enough you will find that it feels better not to expect so much and not to feel that anxiety of waiting and not to feel that rejection of not getting a response (or one that feels good). And if you can adjust your expectations, that could be good moving forward with your MM.

    • BAF

      Hi Lois, I think any meeting with him that he has agreed to with you is worth doing. Why not? If he is willing to meet with you to talk things over then he is clearly interested in communication with you. You just need to decide what your goals are for the meeting. I would aim for one or two things but not more. Keep it simple. Be direct about those things and clear. And, also allow some time during the meeting to just be light and enjoy being with each other if you can. Time to breathe. Try to keep track of how you really feel about him during this time. Try to ask yourself how you truly feel when you are near him. The answers might surprise you. Also keeping track of your own feelings will give him space to feel his own feelings. That is my take on meeting up with him. I hope this helps. Hugs BAF

      • lois

        Thanks BAF. I am struggling with lots of things right now myself. I really appreciate your advice and have given things some thought. He and I really need to be honest about our feelings and what causes us to feel the guilt, anxiety, etc. Only then can we figure out a balance we can live with and if not then we need to figure out things from there. Felk has given me things to think about as well. I will keep you posted. Thanks for everything!

    • lois

      Update…I texted MM and told him that understood his struggles but that I needed to worry about me right now. I told him that it wasn’t necessary for us to talk but I did enjoy having in him in my life but was not certain about all of the added anxiety it puts on me. He replied he understood and enjoys me in his life and doesn’t want that to change…he has to figure out solution to get himself back on track. I told him at some point we could talk and maybe figure a better way to balance things that we both could deal with but right now I’m going to worry about me.

      • Felk

        Hi Lois, I understand the paradox of wanting to and not wanting to talk to your MM. Early in my break-up, when things were the most painful, I very much wanted to talk to my MM about the whole situation but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’d tell him I wanted to talk more about us, he’d agree, and then I wouldn’t bring “us” up. We’d go out to have a drink and we’d just talk about work and other things, but avoid the topic of us. I just felt that it was pointless or that I didn’t know where to start or that if I started it would hurt too much after. So, I really understand you telling your MM that you need to focus on you right now. I think that’s what I was doing. I think I was trying to get to a mental place where it wouldn’t hurt so much to talk about us, and where I could talk with less fear/insecurity and I could be more honest. Eventually I got to that place (but it took many months).

        I think it is really good for both of you to get some space from the whole situation and to help your feelings calm down. I think your MM is a bit lost, and the problem is that it’s not just his marriage and his affair with you. It’s his job and, it sounds like, his life in general. It sounds like he’s just not in a mental place to be a good relationship partner to you (and probably not to his W either). I think that’s where my MM was when he ended our affair. He’d gotten to a point where he felt he couldn’t be good to anyone. He wasn’t happy. And because he wasn’t happy, it was making me unhappy (and anxious and insecure). Space helps clarify. It helps you make decisions away from the emotional domination of the addiction. I’m not saying emotions aren’t important in these decisions, but the emotions of the addiction cloud much of our rational thinking. Let that addiction calm down a bit. It will be painful to be apart from him, but until he figures his sh*t out, it will be continued anxiety for you.

  • LifeLessons

    Hi Everyone,

    Sorry for taking so long to reply. I was exhausted this week. I think I was off for too many days and wasnt ready to go back to work this past week. Thank you for your advice, I always appreciate everyones commentary. I agree with most of what you ladies are saying. I am not too sensitive so none of what you said hurt my feelings. It was actually helpful and made think. I have thought about your comments and it made me take a closer look at the relationship I have with MM. I did some research, looking at the call logs, old messages between him and I (I do NOT delete anyone’s messages or calls) to actually see how much he has changed. In doing this, I realized a few things…
    1. He was definitely more consistent within the first 5 months. He called me all the time and we dated much more back then.
    2. Once he started his new job, he became less consistent with keeping plans and he would contact me to let me know he had to cancel but even then it was not always right away.
    3. He still contacts me much more than I contact him and he addresses that often, in the past 3 weeks I have not called him one time on my own. I called only if I missed the call from him. I do this quite often because I feel he should call me as I dont want her to wonder why I am calling him.
    4. He has always acknowledge his wrong in not being able to follow through on our plans, it has typically been within a few hours, never right away so that is not something that has gotten worse, its always been that way.
    5. Most of his behavior…the inconsistency, inconsiderate, jerkish, asshole, controlling and selfish is apart of who he is across the board with everyone and when I think about it from the very beginning, I realize people tell you who they are and show you very early on but for whatever reason you only see what you want.
    Those are just a few things I noticed as I did my fact checking research!
    Anyway, I think I was not real clear when i posted what I wanted to say to him. It was not a letter that I would send to him, it was really just me trying to organize my thoughts before I spoke to him. When I have to really talk to him I dont send it through messages. I convey my discontent through messages but when i really need him to hear me and feel I have really important things to discuss we talk directly to one another. It doesnt always happen in person either (which sometimes is out of either of our control, because I do not like to wait and can be a bit impulsive when I need to get something off my chest). So, no worries none of that would be sent out to him.
    I see that some of you are feeling like he has gotten worse, and I agree to a certain degree. I honestly feel like he has always been consistently inconsistent! He was more inconsistent over the past 2 week span than what he has ever been but for the most part he is not the most consistent overall. For ex, he does make sure he calls me regularly because that is something I talked to him about. It is something I need from him. However, he may miss a day and sometimes he misses 2 days and I get upset but never once do I call him during the 2 day absence. He doesn’t normally go more than 2 days without speaking to me unless they’re on vacation or I ignored his calls because that happens too when I get in a sour mood. Over the past few months (maybe even 6 months) he has seen me more times than he hasn’t. He has made sure the weekends when the kids are gone he sees me because we talked about it and he hates that my window of opportunity is so small but he has to figure out how to make it work but outside of that there have been times where we were not able to see each other and he would let me know in advance what’s happening that weekend. Thats why I felt things had gotten better. I finally made it to his job for us to have lunch. Even the weekend he disappointed me, he still came to see me on that Saturday just for a few minutes but then it went to sh*t once he said he was coming back the next morning and didnt and then said he was coming again that night and didnt..However, he has always apologized for not coming when he said he was. The lack of consistency with the phone calls was something we talked about back in August. Him and I had a conversation a few months ago about communication and it’s an ongoing thing we seem to talk about because I think he’s just not that great at communicating. When we talked a few months back I told him when he says he will call back, I actually expect him to call back and he asked me why dont I pick up the phone and call him ? He said, I know you may not understand but things do come up and I cant always call right back but if you would call me I will see it and try to call u back. During this time while we were talking he said to me that he knows I have a small window of opportunity and he has to work around that as best as he can and sometimes it will work out and sometimes it wont. He told me he makes sure he contacts me as soon as he can. He said if she is on his heels he may not be able to contact me and he has said every now and again, he leaves the phone in the car so he can have a reason to run to the car real quick to text or call but he said he has to be really careful not to make her suspicious. He has also told me it’s not always easy to create the storyline for him to be out with me for hours at a time and he knows that’s what I want from him and he loves to be with me so he tries. He told me sometimes when he gets in and dont call back it’s because he is extremely tired and may lay across the sofa watching something and fall asleep. He told me, in casual conversations that he realizes he is getting old and cannot tolerate his new job (it’s not so new right now) he said its putting a strain on him and he’s always tired or his feet is sore daily because of all the walking. He said a few other things to me that explains why he handles things the way he do and that it’s not because he doesn’t care or because he didnt put forth some effort but when the time comes and he doesn’t follow through immediately and then contacts me hours later to let me know I dont think about the conversation we had waaaaay back. All I know and see, is him not being considerate of me and my time.
    I think I have been very patient and understanding with him because well…duh…I love him and I am this person in general and this is probably part of the reason I have had unsuccessful relationships due to my inability to set boundaries, being passive passive and sometimes you have to be passive aggressive but at some point you have to be firm about what works for you and what doesn’t. I also think me dealing with a cheater(s) I can see how it ain’t so easy to sneak away and text or call. I was the needy, clingy girlfriend and once I realized there was cheating or suspected it. I turned it up…which means you were not leaving my sight not even to use the bathroom. I was right beside you sitting on the sink talking to you. I was making sure you put the phone on the charger in the bedroom while we were in the livingroom and you were not going to just pop up and say I need to run to the store real quick because I was going with you. I dont knw if she is that type or what their routine is at home but I have dealt with a cheater in each relationship and it was not always easy to see the other women or talk to them once your home. I still dont like it for someone not to get back to me. No matter what, it doesn’t feel good!

    I think overall, its up to me to determine what I can and am willing to tolerate from him and create some deal breakers. Not sure how you do that when you sign up for such a complex situations but I am sure it starts with placing some value in your self and setting small boundaries.
    So that I will work on. I will chat with yall in a few…have to inform of the conversation him and I had.

    • Felk

      LL, I get what you’re saying. It seems like he’s mostly being consistent in his behavior, but some of that behavior is consistently frustrating. 🙂 It was the same with my MM in our affair (and will likely continue that way as we continue the affair). And, yes, the frequency/speed of communication is probably the thing that frustrated me most before (but has gotten better now). For the most part, I think it is a combination of 1) the difficulty of the situation and 2) different styles of communication between you and your MM (as it is for me and my MM). First, can’t ignore the difficulty of the situation. And you and your MM seem to get that. He tells you some of the reasons he can’t just call or text back or why plans may have to change suddenly. Without knowing the exact reason, it can frustrate us, but it sounds like you have a pretty good idea of how hard it can be to contact another person if your significant other is shadowing you. Especially if his W has any suspicion or is just a jealous person in general, she may monitor his behavior more than you know (and more than he wants to say). It’s also difficult because you don’t want to call him, and I don’t blame you. I think you’re being smart about not risking his W seeing you pop up on the phone. It’s smarter to just have him call when he’s able… problem is, that gives him a lot of control about when and how often. But I think it’s a cost of the situation. However, that doesn’t mean you have to put up with bad behavior.

      And that’s where #2 comes in. Yes, you two may have different expectations for frequency of phone calls and texts or how soon someone should call to cancel/apologize; but you get to express your expectations to him and if he is not meeting them, you get to decide if the relationship will work for you. From what you describe (I love your research!), it sounds like he does a pretty good job trying to prioritize contacting you and seeing you, but it sounds like he may sometimes forget or fall asleep or not be able to and it may piss you off and then you two might not talk for a few days (because you’re not calling or texting because you’re mad and then he’s mad you’re not calling or texting). My MM and I had mismatched communication styles, too. I wanted more frequent communication and wanted more information than he was willing to give sometimes, and once in a while we’d have the conversation AGAIN about how I wasn’t feeling respected or valued. Generally my MM was good (as it sounds yours is), but, yeah, it’s fair to express your frustration if you feel someone hasn’t treated you well. I think you (and your MM) do a good job of being reasonable about the complications of an affair, but it sounds like the communication patterns frustrate both of you at times.

      One of the benefits of the reduced communication with me and my MM now is that I’m disappointed less. 🙂 Although I wish we talked more, generally, this is working. My expectations for communication are lower and so I don’t get frustrated with his communication level (and, honestly, the consistency of the communication, even through all the hard stuff last year, has led to a lot of trust), and since my expectations are lower and I don’t get frustrated, he feels less pressure and he’s able to balance our relationship with his marriage and home responsibilities better. It’s weird to say, but we might be doing this better now than we did before. Low communication is hard when you’re in love, but it also keeps those expectations and the addiction in check somewhat. And, I get to see him at work, so I do have “access” even if it’s not alone time. So, even for the 30 seconds I got to see him in the hallway today, that was nice.

      • LifeLessons

        Hey Felk,

        I’m happy you understood what I was saying and I thought you would get a kick out of my ” fact checking research”. I did it because I have a tendency to only see and hear what I want and it sometimes keeps me from seeing the reality of situations. We definitely have different communication styles and it creates frustration between us. I think we both try to be understanding and we try not to let things blow out of proportion. Although, I do not like when we dont have “regular” communication…it does lower my expectations which allows me to stay grounded. I notice that over the Holidays. I didn’t like it but I wasnt waiting for him to call me every day because I knew he wasnt able to but talking to him daily makes me comfortable and it makes me feel like he thinks of me daily and it feels a little more like a relationship versus an affair.

        I did talk to him last week..I believe it was Thursday. He called me and we had normal conversation for about 5 mins and I said can I talk to you ? He said, sure! I said so I know you told me before you don’t have to call me daily but you do make sure you call me almost every day. I can agree that you do call me often and I think I get used to it so when you tell me you will call me back and when you dont call back that day and then you may not call back for 2 days or maybe even…he said no, that’s not true because I never go 3 days without talking to you unless it’s a specific reason I cannot talk to you or something or if you are not answering me when I call you. I said you know what you’re right about that However, when you say you’re going to call me back I get frustrated when you dont call back. He said, I can understand that and I dont do it purposefully. I cannot tell you what happens everytime because I cannot think back to everytime I have done that but on average if I talk to you omw home from work and I say I’m going to call back sometimes I actually can call back and other times she may come out and walk the dog with me so I can’t call you. Sometimes we sit down for dinner and I may play the game with my son or something or just get distracted and forget to call back the same night and then the next day, I may not get to call you on my ride home because sometimes when I get off of work I just want to listen to XMradio on my ride home and there are times my dad, brother or a buddy of mine call and I get caught up with them and before you know it, I’m home and I wasnt able to talk to you and may not have gotten an opportunity while I was home to talk to you but you know I love talking to you. I told you that before. He said, you do all that texting, I’m not a texter..Im old school, I prefer talking on the phone not texting. However, I knw I may miss a day of calling you every now and again or maybe even 2 days but it’s not because I feel different about you in those 2 days. I feel I communicate with you a lot. I felt like what he said was accurate for him. I started thinking about my daily tasks and how sometimes things come up so I miss calls from friends and may not return until days later. I know our time is to a minimum so I try to answer when he calls but I’m not always available either.
        He said it seems like his best is not good enough and I said dont start using manipulation now. I said, your W wasn’t home and you didnt pick up the phone that was not trying your best. I feel it was very inconsiderate, and disrespectful. He said wow! I didn’t know you felt disrespected, I apologize for making you feel that way because I wasnt trying to. He said you are the best girlfriend ever and you act like I dont want to get over there every chance I get but, I do. He said it’s not done on purpose is what I can tell you. He said I know I tell you that all the time and it’s true. I said well it doesn’t feel good. He said I understand how you feel and I promise I try to make sure we’re good with each other. He said you told me a few weeks ago, I was doing a good job at managing everything so I didnt think I was doing anything wrong. I told him I did feel that way but he slacked up after I said that. I reassured him that its not a matter of me not thinking he has a lot on his plate and on average he does figure out a way to juggle it all and I know that can be challenging but I just need us to figure out a way to communicate with one another that fits for both of us. He said ok but I know I may not be able to call daily and I will make sure I try to communicate with you at least by the same day we have the plan made. He said and if you notice I didnt call you, text me or call me. I said well I think I need time to think of what best works for me and we can revisit it. He said ok.
        I said one more thing…the books I write!
        I said I write them to you because I have a desire to get things off my chest immediately. I know we cannot do a full conversation across texting but my thought is, If I text you at some point you will see it and may be able to reply to my discontent through text instead of ignoring it. He said, I reply to you initially but when you decide that you want to debate back and forth, I stop texting. I dont want to argue with you. I prefer talking to you. I didnt say you couldn’t express how you feel, you have a right to do that but I feel like we do better when we talk to each other. I said, yea but it felt like you had an issue with me sending the long messages and he said no I dont but I will not be sending you long messages back, I will wait until we talk. I said, ok.

        Not sure if we were able to really come up with a resolution…
        He called me everyday thereafter, the only day he didnt call me was yesterday.

        • Felk

          LL, it sounds like you had a good talk with your MM. Once again, it sounds like you both got to say things that were important to each of you and to help explain where you’re coming from. It also sounds like you both listened to the other and were understanding of the other’s perspective. Of course, I think this is one of the reasons you two continue to have a pretty good relationship, because you are able to have these conversations once in a while and because you both are understanding of the other.

          I know exactly what you mean about wanting “regular” communication. It is something that was (and still is) really important to me in the affair. It is not only that you miss this other person (and need to feed that addiction), but it’s the insecurity of an affair that makes you need regular contact to make sure that they’re still totally in love with you. Like you said, it lets you know they’re thinking about you and makes you feel more valued/respected (like in a “real” relationship). I also hate “waiting” for someone to call/text/send e-mail. I’ve done that so much with my MM, and, even though I wait less now (because I expect less), I still find myself waiting at times. Waiting for him to respond to a text or waiting for him to respond to an e-mail. Right now I’m waiting for an e-mail, and, unfortunately, I expect to get one today or tomorrow and, if I don’t, it will be sad/frustrating. My MM’s been pretty good about consistent communication lately so I’m trusting (that he will send the e-mail that I expect because we’re trying to make some plans to have some alone time next week). But the “waiting” sometimes is something we do to ourselves. Yes, sometimes we are “waiting” unfairly because they aren’t returning a text/call/email in a timely fashion, but sometimes we’re “waiting” because we’re expecting more than we should (in an affair).

          I think most of what your MM says is reasonable (although the forgetting to call me back because you’re playing video games or you “get distracted” would frustrate me). I believe when he says he loves talking to you and he tries to find time to call/text when he can. Unfortunately, it may not be as often as you like or at the times when you need it. But you’re also fair in recognizing that you get busy, too, and you miss calls, too, and you don’t call back some friends right away, too. It’s good to look at your own behavior and make sure you don’t hold him to different standards. And it’s good you two talked about your long texts. I think it’s fair for him to say that he doesn’t want to get into a long text exchange, though. I understand why he wants to talk on the phone or in person. So much can get distorted over text. It’s not a great way to have a deep conversation, but it’s good that you told him you might need to send the long texts once in a while. Keep doing that if that’s what you need (and it sounds like he understands you might need that… but that he will prefer to respond to the long texts on a phone call or in person). You have different communication styles in that way, but that’s okay.

          As you say at the end, no, you probably won’t come to a resolution beyond trying to understand each other’s communication style. You will have to try to understand that there will be times he doesn’t call when you want and he will have to understand that is going to make you mad sometimes. He’ll have to understand that sometimes you will send long texts, and you’ll have to understand that he will not say a lot in response over text. My MM and I went through this same thing of trying to find some balance of communication that worked for both of us, and, just as you and your MM, you inch a little closer to each other’s style; but mostly, the “solution” is just understanding that your communication styles are different and each person is trying to be respectful of the other as best they can. If you believe that, then things are okay. If you don’t think someone is being respectful, then there’s a problem.

          The problem in affairs is that you can never have what you want entirely. It is that problem that lingers always. I think some people get to arrangements in affairs that work pretty well for both people, but it seems that both people will always have some frustrations because an affair, by definition, involves sharing someone.

          • LifeLessons

            Felk,

            Everything you say is so true. I hope we can come to an arrangement that works for both of us. How long did it take you and your MM to get to this point ? I cannot remember how long you guys have been together but I know its been a long time. I know lowering my expectations will definitely help me feel less anxious. I think i am still learning how this “affair” thing goes and that I will not get everything I want from this, it seems more like you get what you can or what they can give. I am so use to being on the other side where the man is trying so hard to give/do whatever to appease me because they messed up so this is different and its taking some time to figure out…

            I think trusting him would help me to be more understanding to the affair. I think it would make me feel less insecure…there will still be insecurities because its an affair and it comes with it.

            For ex; He has been calling me regularly, Friday he called I couldnt answer due to me attending our boys sports event. We text a few times but he wasnt there because he didnt realize his son had to play as well. Well Saturday he called me to see if I was going to the boys tournament and I said yes. He told me he was as well, so we saw each other there he walked in and gave a hug to the girl on the team (she hugs us both and remember us from her playing rec sports) he hugged my daughter and came over to half way hug me. We talked during the event as we normally do when we are both there. He whispered to me how bad he wanted me and joked about us going into a closet in the school. The tournament ended earlier than we thought so I asked him if he could pick the boys up from the school when they returned so I could run and do a few things..he said yes. We left the tournament at the same time, he called about 30mins later to let me know he was on his way to pick them up and he was going to take them to get a bite to eat. I said ok np! Well I text him about 15 mins after that and said, if it wasnt cold out we could find a place for the two us to chill
            ( he had already been flirting with me throughout the day so I was flirting back) he never said anything so later that night I sent him an emoji with the idk shoulders…Well Sunday he did not say anything either. Well its Monday and guess what he called me at 9am (he was likely on his way to work) I did not see the call right away because I blocked him so when I went to my call log, I unblocked him and I could then see he called me. I was thinking today and I honestly believe he was not able to respond to me for whatever reason. We had some bad weather Saturday evening into Sunday and I truly think he was at home with his family and that’s what he was doing so he was unable to talk to me however Monday morning as soon as he got the opportunity he called me because he was able to. The logical part of my brain understands that and is not upset about it but the emotional bratty side of me wishes it didnt have to be like that lol. I dont know if any of this makes sense to you but it makes sense in my head haha! The immature part of me want to be unavailable for a day or so just because…I know its silly and pointless because he wasnt just ignoring me for no reason he was likely just being a husband. I wasnt even real bothered by it, I think I want to have my way at times and I know that it doesnt go like that
            and I typically get over it quickly but I am trying to pay more attention to myself…
            Anyway, this is what i have come up with for myself to help him and I communicate without the drama.
            Stop Light Rules
            Red: I am upset and need some time to cool down and will call or mesg when I am ready to speak
            Yellow: I am feeling so/so and may or may not feel up to talking in our normal way
            Green: I am available, and feeling great!

            Him and I had talked about something like this before because I told him women should create some form of code for when they are in b#@$h mode versus normal mode because there are times when women and men want the other person to be a mind reader and know how theyre feeling and why they are feeling whatever it is they are feeling and it often times create this tension because no one really communicated with the other person but if you have some sort of code, it may be helpful. So I told him when I get married I am going to let my husband know when I am having an A day versus a B day and if I am having an F day he will know to go to the man cave and we can talk about it later. Well we both thought it was a cool way to keep down on unnecessary conflict. I never thought about using this for him because he is not boyfriend or husband but today I didnt want to talk to him because I needed to clear my own head and I just didnt feel like talking to him…some of this may have to do with me being on day 1 of my cycle (I am noticing that I am much more emotional during this time) I feel silly when I ignore him for a few days and he doesnt even have a clue that I am ignoring him or why I am doing that. We will end up going a whole week of him calling me and me being unresponsive and then he will be upset because he thinks I am not returning his calls etc. #Drama and I know I have drama with me sometimes.
            I do not get my cycle that often (I am sure thats not normal for a 35 year old but its never been normal but I am trying to pay more attention to myself in general and truly learn myself so i can continue to grow.

            Am I being weird ? Does any of this makes sense ? Am I putting too much effort into a man whom belongs to the community (ok, just kidding…a man I share) ? What are your thoughts…

          • Felk

            LL, when you ask for how long it took for me and my MM to get to an arrangement that worked, do you mean during the affair pre-break-up or the new affair post-break? In total, we’ve been doing some version of this for about 6.5 years. So, about 5 or so years of the affair and a year or so after he tried to end it in Sept 2017. I’d say we were in an arrangement that worked pretty well through much of the affair. Yeah, I had some frustrations with his communication, but I mostly accepted it as us having different styles. Our communication pretty much increased across the first 4.5 years of the affair and then took a turn for the worse in 2017 when he started to get overwhelmed. That’s when it started becoming harder for me, as I felt him pull away. I don’t think your MM is doing that (as your check through the record showed). I think he’s acting the same as he always does so this might be the best “balance” you’re going to get. Are you good with that?

            The problem is that as the affair continues, you want more and more communication. I know the expectations grew for me and my MM over those first few years to the point where he couldn’t meet the expectations anymore (because of how much it was damaging his marriage and making him feel terrible that we weren’t together). So, the expectations are probably growing for you, too. If you’re not noticing any change in his communication, are you finding yourself wanting more? It might even be hard to notice. Or if you’re not thinking you’re wanting more, it might just be that your styles are different where it will just always cause you both some frustration (that’s how it was with my MM). I couldn’t lower my expectations, though, when things changed a lot in 2017. You say you know that lowering your expectations will help you, but how do you do that when you’re in the thick of the affair? You try, but then you just feel worse and worse. That’s what happened pre-break up. Now? Expectations have been lowered because they had to be. So, now the lower communication feels okay, but it’s still less than I’d like, which is consistent with our differences all along.

            You say those things about being used to being on the side where the man is trying so hard and now you feel like you’re the one trying hard. I know what you mean. I wonder if it’s one of the reason we like affairs or we like these men? Do affairs challenge us more than most of our relationships because of all the difficulties built in? Or are we looking for that man who pushes back and isn’t as easy as the other men? My H is very giving/loving and head over heels for me. It’s great (and it’s boring now). So, is that why I’m so attracted to my MM who isn’t so available (not only because he’s married but because he’s a lower communication guy)? You ask if you’re putting too much effort into this man, but only you can answer that. From everything you say about your affair, it seems pretty balanced. Yes, you may be more available than your MM (because he’s married), but you have never seemed pathetically available. Maybe it just “seems” imbalanced because he’s not all over you like past men?

            The trust part is so hard. I think it took me about 4 years to really trust (which, not surprisingly, coincided with things getting so good between us that his W asked him if he was having an affair). Of course, we have some amount of trust or it wouldn’t work this long. You and your MM trust each other. But, there’s a nagging something that doesn’t allow you to trust him as much as you want. He’s in another relationship and has shown himself to be willing to be a cheater. That’s hard to trust. If you want to stay in this affair, though, trust helps a lot. If you can mentally get to a place where you accept his communication issues and you can trust him to continue to want to be with you, it can really help with the insecurity and frustration.

            Again, I get why you’re frustrated about his weekend behavior. It would piss me off, too, if my MM’s all flirty with me and then can’t even respond to a text (where I flirt back) across two days??? How do you not find time across two days to just text something simple back? Thing is… that’s his communication style and you know it. He’s explained that, sometimes, he just can’t text back. We may not understand how that’s possible across two days, but it makes sense to him. And that’s where the trust comes in. He called you as soon as he could Monday morning, and then you’re blocking his calls because you’re mad at him. That’s your communication style and he knows it. 🙂 I’m not sure it’s immature exactly if you need space. If you’re doing it to be petty to get back at him and try to make him feel the pain of you not being available? Yeah. But, if you’re doing it because you’re mad and you know you need to calm down, then that seems smart and fair. It sounds like it’s a little of both. 🙂

            As for your communication codes, I say do whatever works, but I’ll also say (jokingly) that your codes will take away the fun of expecting them to know what we’re thinking and then the fun of being able to get pissy when they can’t read our minds!

  • LifeLessons

    Hi Everyone,

    Sorry for taking so long to reply. I was exhausted this week. I think I was off for too many days and wasnt ready to go back to work this past week. Thank you for your advice, I always appreciate everyones commentary. I agree with most of what you ladies are saying. I am not too sensitive so none of what you said hurt my feelings. It was actually helpful and made think. I have thought about your comments and it made me take a closer look at the relationship I have with MM. I did some research, looking at the call logs, old messages between him and I (I do NOT delete anyone’s messages or calls) to actually see how much he has changed. In doing this, I realized a few things…
    1. He was definitely more consistent within the first 5 months. He called me all the time and we dated much more back then.
    2. Once he started his new job, he became less consistent with keeping plans and he would contact me to let me know he had to cancel but even then it was not always right away.
    3. He still contacts me much more than I contact him and he addresses that often, in the past 3 weeks I have not called him one time on my own. I called only if I missed the call from him. I do this quite often because I feel he should call me as I dont want her to wonder why I am calling him.
    4. He has always acknowledge his wrong in not being able to follow through on our plans, it has typically been within a few hours, never right away so that is not something that has gotten worse, its always been that way.
    5. Most of his behavior…the inconsistency, inconsiderate, jerkish, asshole, controlling and selfish is apart of who he is across the board with everyone and when I think about it from the very beginning, I realize people tell you who they are and show you very early on but for whatever reason you only see what you want.
    Those are just a few things I noticed as I did my fact checking research!
    Anyway, I think I was not real clear when i posted what I wanted to say to him. It was not a letter that I would send to him, it was really just me trying to organize my thoughts before I spoke to him. When I have to really talk to him I dont send it through messages. I convey my discontent through messages but when i really need him to hear me and feel I have really important things to discuss we talk directly to one another. It doesnt always happen in person either (which sometimes is out of either of our control, because I do not like to wait and can be a bit impulsive when I need to get something off my chest). So, no worries none of that would be sent out to him.
    I see that some of you are feeling like he has gotten worse, and I agree to a certain degree. I honestly feel like he has always been consistently inconsistent! He was more inconsistent over the past 2 week span than what he has ever been but for the most part he is not the most consistent overall. For ex, he does make sure he calls me regularly because that is something I talked to him about. It is something I need from him. However, he may miss a day and sometimes he misses 2 days and I get upset but never once do I call him during the 2 day absence. He doesn’t normally go more than 2 days without speaking to me unless they’re on vacation or I ignored his calls because that happens too when I get in a sour mood. Over the past few months (maybe even 6 months) he has seen me more times than he hasn’t. He has made sure the weekends when the kids are gone he sees me because we talked about it and he hates that my window of opportunity is so small but he has to figure out how to make it work but outside of that there have been times where we were not able to see each other and he would let me know in advance what’s happening that weekend. Thats why I felt things had gotten better. I finally made it to his job for us to have lunch. Even the weekend he disappointed me, he still came to see me on that Saturday just for a few minutes but then it went to shit once he said he was coming back the next morning and didnt and then said he was coming again that night and didnt..However, he has always apologized for not coming when he said he was. The lack of consistency with the phone calls was something we talked about back in August. Him and I had a conversation a few months ago about communication and it’s an ongoing thing we seem to talk about because I think he’s just not that great at communicating. When we talked a few months back I told him when he says he will call back, I actually expect him to call back and he asked me why dont I pick up the phone and call him ? He said, I know you may not understand but things do come up and I cant always call right back but if you would call me I will see it and try to call u back. During this time while we were talking he said to me that he knows I have a small window of opportunity and he has to work around that as best as he can and sometimes it will work out and sometimes it wont. He told me he makes sure he contacts me as soon as he can. He said if she is on his heels he may not be able to contact me and he has said every now and again, he leaves the phone in the car so he can have a reason to run to the car real quick to text or call but he said he has to be really careful not to make her suspicious. He has also told me it’s not always easy to create the storyline for him to be out with me for hours at a time and he knows that’s what I want from him and he loves to be with me so he tries. He told me sometimes when he gets in and dont call back it’s because he is extremely tired and may lay across the sofa watching something and fall asleep. He told me, in casual conversations that he realizes he is getting old and cannot tolerate his new job (it’s not so new right now) he said its putting a strain on him and he’s always tired or his feet is sore daily because of all the walking. He said a few other things to me that explains why he handles things the way he do and that it’s not because he doesn’t care or because he didnt put forth some effort but when the time comes and he doesn’t follow through immediately and then contacts me hours later to let me know I dont think about the conversation we had waaaaay back. All I know and see, is him not being considerate of me and my time.
    I think I have been very patient and understanding with him because well…duh…I love him and I am this person in general and this is probably part of the reason I have had unsuccessful relationships due to my inability to set boundaries, being passive passive and sometimes you have to be passive aggressive but at some point you have to be firm about what works for you and what doesn’t. I also think me dealing with a cheater(s) I can see how it ain’t so easy to sneak away and text or call. I was the needy, clingy girlfriend and once I realized there was cheating or suspected it. I turned it up…which means you were not leaving my sight not even to use the bathroom. I was right beside you sitting on the sink talking to you. I was making sure you put the phone on the charger in the bedroom while we were in the livingroom and you were not going to just pop up and say I need to run to the store real quick because I was going with you. I dont knw if she is that type or what their routine is at home but I have dealt with a cheater in each relationship and it was not always easy to see the other women or talk to them once your home. I still dont like it for someone not to get back to me. No matter what, it doesn’t feel good!

    I think overall, its up to me to determine what I can and am willing to tolerate from him and create some deal breakers. Not sure how you do that when you sign up for such a complex situations but I am sure it starts with placing some value in your self and setting small boundaries.
    So that I will work on. I will chat with yall in a few…have to inform of the conversation him and I had.

    I apologize if I didnt answer questions you had. I tried to explain everything for everyone on this message. Again, I appreciate you all!

  • Sophie

    My darling friends, Lara, Felk, Kub, Nomad, Lifelessons, Laurie (our rock), and everyone else… This is Sophie from India. Namaste and a very warm hello. Hope you’re all well? Wishing you all the most spectacular year ahead. May 2019 be the breakthrough year for all of us. I’m so sorry for not being in touch for the longest time (promise to definitely rectify that) but here’s a very sincere, heartfelt thank you to all of you for being there in my absolute low phase when my Ex MM’s presence was making me feel so low, so miserable. I always miss him when I hear a melody or a song or sometimes just when everything around me is silent, but I’m fine on the whole. As some of you know, once I got to know his wife and kids well (his wife has no idea about me in the context of being the woman who fell in love with her husband), it gradually allowed me to heal and get better. I wished his wife a happy new year but I have deliberately kept zero communication with him. Glad he isn’t in touch and glad I’m not. The good part: I no longer find it tough to not be in touch. There is zero urge to communicate with him. My marriage continues being a disaster (with a husband obsessed with his dog after the demise of his mother last year). We have two homes (my mum in law’s), where he stays the whole day with the dog while I live in the other house. I don’t have the best marriage and I never will and I have accepted that. I am struggling with depression but I continue to work and pray that I do succeed professionally with my music. I will be recording two songs in the first half of 2019 and hopefully allow myself to create a profile that will help other noted musicians to take note of my talent. I sincerely hope all of you are well.
    All of you are the most significant women in my life, and even though we have never met, i sincerely hope we do cross paths and have a drink or two in 2019 by some stroke of luck. If all goes well, I do plan to visit the US in July to meet my cousin and her baby in Miami so I do hope to meet some of you. Sending you all the winter sunshine from India’s capital city, all my love and best wishes. Mmwwwaaaah to you, my rockstars, Sophie.

    • BAF

      Sophie It is great to hear from you! I think you sound really wonderful. I was posting as Lara last year but my new name is BAF: “Brave and Free.” And those things I am today!
      I am so glad to hear you are totally out of and free from the situation that caused you so much heartache last year! Often times, seeing and/or meeting the affair partner’s wife and kids DOES improve our perspective and clarity. And in your case it seems to have helped you set the necessary boundary to push him away from your heart and keep him away! Not an easy thing to do so BRAVO! To you!
      A hundred times BRAVO.
      You can live easier without the MM dragging you down, and you can also consider how committed you might be to staying in what sounds like a very difficult place with your husband.
      Is the relationship with him ever going to improve?
      Are you able to leave him if you so desire? Does your culture and financial situation allow you such freedom? I know it is not always possible to leave a person and that at times a woman is dependent on her husband for money making leaving a longer term project. (than an immediate one).
      But I ask these things knowing how much happiness freedom might bring you. Maybe it is time to be free and single for a while? 🙂
      Or perhaps I am totally wrong and if so please forgive me!
      Having said that I salute your Music efforts! Bravo! Who knew you had a talent? I do not remember you talking about it here.
      So much great music and art has come from pain. Just listen to all the sad love songs as you know. Remember as an artist you can transcend some of your pain and re-create some of your affair feelings into a musical or artistic form. And you can journal all you want too. :). I know this all too well.

      As I have been writing in these posts since August, my father passed away, and I have learned so many things this year critical to my journey out of my affair.
      In the end, it all came down to one basic thing:
      My love for ME. Not him, but for ME. I have been learning how to love me.

      It was so demeaning and self-esteem killing and utterly depressing for me to be in my affair. Not at the beginning. The beginning was great for many years and I stayed more or less “in love”. Then I started growing and changing little by little.
      And I wanted “more”. And I started realizing I was not getting enough LOVE for me. Not from myself, and not from him.

      I felt more worthy of a true and honest relationship with him. I told him so. He seemed to listen (sort of). We seemed to be on the same page briefly just last April. With him saying he was going to leave his marriage. I was wary. But thought it might work?? But alas. I saw his true colors after all. His lying and his exaggerations and his deflections. He stung me so badly in August denying our relationship and making me feel like the smallest inchworm on the feet below him. Things got crystal clear for me after he did that. His ability to do that. That is when I knew something was very wrong. A giant red flags. The women here helped me see it including you! And PHEW I was finally ready to listen.
      And my father’s voice “all around me” helped me a great deal too. Always telling me to “stay away” from “him”. Again and again and still now. I feel my father’s protection all around me now, as weird as that might sound. And in dreams I have seen and heard the truth. So I am confident.

      Of course it is a much longer story than this but suffice it to say:
      I broke up with a narcissist. DID IT! It is not very easy to do.
      I am OUT of that rat cage I was stuck in.
      I am Brave and Free (BAF) and I have moved on.
      Freedom is not so bad. Solitude is not so bad.
      Saying “NO” to him and really honestly MEANING IT feels fantastic!

      Hugs BAF
      aka Lara
      xxxoooo

      • Sophie

        Lara / BAF, my deepest condolences to you and your family. It must be a rough time and I cannot even imagine what you must be going through. Sending you a lot of healing and many hugs, my friend. Your father is always there for you and yes, I agree his voice will be guiding you always. May you keep finding strength to cope with this irreparable loss. It’s heartbreaking to hear this news but I am sincerely praying you find strength and all the positivity around you. Thanks so much for asking about my situation. Well, despite the fact that I’m a working woman, I am somwhere financially dependent on my husband. I wish i could be “single and free”; those are beautiful, liberating terms but unlikely that I will execute them. Not yet. I love what you say about finding love from within. I have to love myself and I have to continue on this solitary path. I don’t have children, I am stuck in a bad marriage where the man, sensitive as he is, is too consumed with his own things. I have beautiful friends, my niece and nephew, my music and touchwood my health on my side and I have to, have to, make my life work. I have to make music the focal point of my life because success there will provide me with fuel to last me a lifetime.
        Thank you so much and it’s so great to be back. Sending all my love to you and to everyone on this group. You all are my rockstars,
        Hugs and kisses, Sophie.

        • BAF

          Sophie, I can not thank you enough for your thoughtful condolences. Losing my father has made the world permanently different for me in ways I did not expect. I feel you really comprehend the gravity of the loss and the life change that comes with it. And of course it is intimately related to my relationships to all men, especially to lovers and exH, and of course to my exMM who even physically resembles my father and comes from the same part of the world (naturally). 🙂

          Sophie, finding love from within is an inside job and one can do it while married or not. The choices we make in the external world (to stay coupled, to find freedom, to have an affair, etc.) simply reflect our inner beliefs and perceptions, whether they are warped by our pasts or not. Once these inside beliefs and perceptions evolve, the time comes when we might create change on the outside conditions and structures too. Life is a process of letting go what we no longer need. Music and art are some of the finest vehicles for the changes and can transport us in ways nothing else can. Hugs and kisses BAF. xxxooo

    • Lifelessons

      Sophie,

      Happy to hear from you. I dont have much time right now…trying to get myself out the door. Sorry for the rush reply
      Wish things were better for you with your husband. However, good for you for not communicating with your ex MM. Thats such a hard but strong thing to do. I knw we are all much stronger than we think we are. I wish you luck with your music career. Also, it would be lovely to actually put faces to everyone that has been so supportive. Talk with you soon

    • Felk

      Hi Sophie, good to hear from you. It’s been a long time. Of course, great to hear that you are so far removed from your MM now. To get to a point of not having any urge to communicate is wonderful freedom. We know those lows of the affair, especially when it is ending, and I’m glad you are free from that pain now. It’s unfortunate about your marriage, but, if I’m remembering, there were problems before the affair, right? I had some of the same thoughts as BAF about whether or not you could leave your marriage, and I think she says it really well, understanding that we all know sometimes it is not so easy to just leave. If you have to stay, though, it sounds like you’re finding some peace and happiness through your music. While our marriages are a big part of our lives, it is true that we can find joy is so many things outside of our marriage.

      As for me, you were there at the beginning of the end of the affair (when I first came on this site) in Sept 2017. I was looking for a place to discuss my feelings about a situation that I couldn’t talk about with many people. When he said he wanted to end the affair, it was excruciating. Lowest low I’ve ever felt. We were very in love, but that was the problem. The situation had become overwhelming for him such that he couldn’t balance his responsibilities at home with our relationship. He felt he was failing everyone (me included… although I didn’t feel that way), and he (just recently) told me that he couldn’t stand sharing me with my H. He has also made clear that the most difficult part for him was our growing closeness and how we were apart so often. In addition to being apart from someone you love, I think he felt like an imposter at home and he didn’t like how that was affecting him and his family.

      So he made a choice (of course his family) to end our relationship, but that was hard, too. Because we work together, it was excruciating seeing each other every day and not talking. We both tried to put distance between us while saying we wanted to remain friends, especially because we worked together. In the beginning, it was just pain. The sudden withdrawal from the addiction because I was talking to and seeing him so much less and just the pain of knowing I didn’t have him in my life the way I wanted. We would go for a drink every so often and those times were great, but then it would just hurt all over again missing him. We even relapsed and had sex last January after weeks apart on our winter break, and it was so obvious we missed each other but he still didn’t want a relationship and it was painful all over again. But we kept talking through it all. Kept saying we wanted the friendship. He kept consistent with maintaining distance while also offering time for us here and there. We’d even go out at night alone sometimes, and sometimes he’d hold me and sometimes he’d be distant and it was all very difficult, but, as I said on here, I still wanted him in my life and I wanted to work for something good for us. Seems he wanted that, too.

      Eventually, this past summer, we started getting closer again. Maybe it was the extra time apart in the summer (summer break for teachers) that led him back to me, but something changed and he started showing signs of wanting a little more. We only saw each other once every week or two, but we were seeing each other consistently (just going for a drink and talking). We went out at night in August and there was much touching and kissing and then it seemed things were changing. Soon after that he came to my house for the first time in 7 months. There was some kissing (I explicitly said no sex), and a lot of talking and enjoying. Through the next few months it just seemed like it was easier for us. He seemed more consistently to express interest in our relationship (even though still hesitant to get back to the intensity of before), and I started trusting that since he was expressing more. We still talked a lot less than before, but we kept going for drinks once/week and he came to my house about once/month and finally in December we had sex. This was not desperate sex like last January. And I told him again (as I did in the preceding months) that I did not want to have sex if he was just going to get distant again. That it was too painful for me, and if that is how he still felt, I didn’t want it. He did not get distant after sex. He has been communicative, even if still less than before. But he says the things I need to hear (about love and us), and I don’t mean that in a manipulative way. He backs it up with action.

      Last night I saw him again, and as we head back to work next week, we are still talking about finding a balance that works. We seem to both think things have been working pretty well over the last few months where, as he said, he can give time to me and to his family. I know that’s important to him. He does continue to caution about how the same problems remain as before (i.e., we’re still married to other people), and we are worried about our affair getting into the problem-zone again. I was trying to be more direct and honest last night, and I told him that, too, saying that I thought we talked around a lot when we were in our affair before. I can still do better with being direct and trying not to be scared to say things out loud, but I did pretty well last night. And maybe it was my openness last night, but he said something that he has never said before. He told me that he has known for a long time that I am the one for him. Of course, that was a pretty nice thing to hear, but that statement is confusing to me given that it doesn’t seem consistent with the distance he is still trying to maintain somewhat.

      He wants to talk more and I want to talk more about our relationship, and I know we will soon enough. For now, I think we will try to keep the pace we are keeping, which is less intense than a few years ago. But, how long can we sustain that pace as things get better? He was again last night telling me how it feels good to miss me over these last two weeks of our winter break but that it also feels bad to miss me (and that gets us closer to the badness of before).

      Oh, and our marriages are pretty much as before… nothing much has changed. He feels better about being present (and I’m sure about her asking fewer questions about why he’s being distant), and my H and I have increased a little closeness over the last year; but I am still very in love with my MM, as he is with me, so there is a distance that remains in our marriages that I don’t think we’ll ever repair.

      I know this is long. 🙂 But still helps me to talk it out!

  • Lifelessons

    Felk…
    (anyone else who would like to offer advice)

    This is what I would like to convey to MM and this stems from a previous conversation him and I had…

    So, not sure if you noticed but I’m very reflective so thats why its days later and I still have something to say..
    I thought about the conversation, the texts and the delivery of my message..and I am pretty sure I could’ve done a better job at expressing myself than what I did but what was happening for me is…I was in my feelings and unable to speak to u in a logistical way instead I spoke from my emotions…

    However, what I was feeling is… I’m not being appreciated or valued and I feel I’m deserving. I think some of it does stem from it being the holiday season and how it can make you feel (especially with me being single) but in general during this time people spend more time with family and significant others, whether they want to or not it’s just traditional for a lot of people. So, its not that I don’t understand that you can’t be as available for me due to the circumstances. However, when you don’t talk to me regularly, or more so when you leave me hanging (as you did Sunday morning and Sunday night in my opinion) it highlights how this can be! It forces me to remember what this is and what it isn’t and sometimes that hurts. I have to look into my own insecurities and make sense of it. Me, being the person who wants to grow and do better, my mind automatically go into that mode and reflections begins but anyway, in my mind I was thinking about how much value I have, what I bring to the table in any situation and feeling like I definitely don’t deserve to be anyones side dish because I’m worthy of being a full course. I was thinking about how I have always been #1 in any relationship despite the infidelity and that was a challenge but this #2 shit ain’t easy at times and it ain’t easy to take everything in stride and keep it moving like it doesn’t bother me…So, I was definitely in my feelings…I feel like I hold you at such a high regard but it didnt seem like that was being reciprocated..(I mean, I let my daughter stay another night at her dads house, after she begged and pleaded with me to come home and part of that was so I could see you, knowing she wasnt comfortable but I wanted to be sure I made time for you and then you never showed up) So that didnt feel good..anyway..part of my issue is really something I need to work on within myself because I can only change me, not you. With tht being said, I know I really don’t have to tolerate certain things you do, I knw I can ignore you, place you on the back burner and not be available to you as well, whether or not I have a boyfriend, husband, or special friend…you don’t have to be a priority to me but I make you a priority and again thats my own stuff that I have to figure out how to balance. I know that you didnt hold a gun to my head to make me deal with you, I know you don’t force me to continue a relationship with you so please don’t hear this as blame or guilt on you. I do know that things have changed from the beginning, because during that time you seemed as if you didnt like your wife, she was a bitch, and things were sour well I think that made it easier on my conscious, now it seems you guys actually like each other and are a “Happily” married couple, this is just what I see from the outside looking in and not just my observation over the Holiday season but in general over the past year and I could be wrong but it appears that way to me…Therefore, there doesn’t seem to be a space for me if things are good, not saying I want things to be bad for yall. Just speaking my truth…at this point, I cannot just turn off the love and feelings I have developed for you so I deal with all of it the best way I can and unfortunately, when certain things come up such as you not communicating with me about your change in plans, it bring those negative thoughts to the forefront…

    Just so you know, I am not a good arguer, I prefer to talk things out. I am not trying to beef with you unnecessarily, I am not trying to add additional stress to your life, I am not trying to point the finger…I just wanted you to be considerate of my feelings as I am of yours but I know you are who you are and u will continue to be who you are, I can’t control you… so I will do my best to deal with you accordingly because thats all I can do or not deal with you at all and that’s not on the table for me at this time…as far as me sending you messages and you ignoring them, I know you could care less about how it makes me feel or you could care less about making adjustments but I have a need to get things off my chest and because the times I talk to you and length of time is limited and can vary I find it convenient to send it through text. That’s the only way to be sure I get my complete thought out. Because you’ve already told me several times, you DON’T have to talk to me daily, you also told me you can call me just to check in so we may not spend an hour on the phone it could be a quick what’s up, you good….ok! and I get that therefore, I send you a message to get my thoughts out because again talking to you can vary but you may be able to text… just wanted you to have some understanding as to why I have text “books” in the past…or why I communicate certain things through text…

    I debated with myself about how much of what I’m feeling did I want to share with you but u have become a friend to me outside of our situationship so I felt I could trust you with how I feel…

    This is what I wrote down thus far and have not said it to him and now I am feeling like, its almost been a week do I want to bring it up. A part of me feels like yes, it does not matter how much time has gone by, if I need to tell him how I feel then that is what I should do, the other part of me is saying, does it matter to him, will he care, what difference does it make for you to share your thoughts, this is not even a real relationship that you have to get these thoughts across to him.
    Help me sort my thoughts please😊

    • Felk

      LL, you know I know the debate of whether or not to bring up something that’s a week old. So many times in my affair, I let things go because we didn’t have the time to talk about it when it happened and then a week went by and it seemed like I was dwelling on the past if I brought it up. Or it seemed like I was potentially ruining “good” time together by bringing up something bad. I think it’s something that people in an affair have to deal with more than people in a real relationship because we just don’t have the same amount of time together. That said, if something is important to you to say, I am a BIG supporter of saying it. If it’s on your mind this much, it’s probably best to say it, especially if you don’t think that he treated you well. We all know that we have to put up with things in an affair that we wouldn’t have to put up with in a real relationship, but we also want to be treated well within whatever “rules” there are for an affair. And if you feel like you’re not being treated well, then it’s important to say something or else the behavior can get worse AND you feel worse (for not standing up for yourself).

      From what I’m reading, it sounds like your MM bailed on some plans the two of you made (and he didn’t call/text to cancel)? So, first, were these plans clearly set/understood or were you just hoping the plans would happen? If it was definite plans, and he didn’t show up, that’s a problem. Second, when he didn’t show up, did he explain or apologize? In affairs, we know that sometimes plans fall through at the last minute and it sucks, but we expect the person to treat us with respect even when those plans fall through – call/text as soon as you can and definitely apologize. I’m just asking to get a sense of what happened, but, ultimately, it sounds like something he’s done before and that you’ve expressed to him in the past how you don’t like to be treated that way. I think it’s good to say something to him again. I think he sees these plans as looser than you do or he wants you to be more flexible about plans falling through. Either way, it’s important to show him how you’re looking at this situation.

      As for the other things you write about being in a relationship with a MM and having to share him with his W, those are tough honesties, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sharing those feelings with him. Of course, these are things he can’t change and it may make him feel bad that you’re upset, but that’s okay. I know that I have shied away from expressing hurt to my MM at times because I didn’t want to burden him with my feelings, but I know that, a lot of the time, it just ended up worse for me and I should have expressed. Not only would he probably have responded well, but I would have felt better about being true to myself. One thing I am trying in our affair this time around is to not do my MM’s emotional labor. For example, I want to try not to worry about how expressing something important (to me) might bother him. I want to let him react as he needs to react, and I will do the same.

      One thing I will say, though, is that your MM does care. What you say will matter to him. He loves you. He cares. But, that doesn’t mean that he can change his behavior very much. He is trying to maintain his marriage, make sure his W doesn’t get suspicious, and be good to his kids. All of that is going to take priority just as, at times, you will prioritize other things in your life, too. As a side note, I doubt your MM is suddenly in a happy marriage. He may just not complain about his W in the same way he used to, but I guarantee that if he’s in love with you, his marriage isn’t great.

      I think your letter is honest, fair, and understanding. (The one part that might be unfair is the part where you say “I know you could care less about how it makes me feel or you could care less about making adjustments.” I think your MM does care.) The good thing about taking time to think, as you have done, is that it helps you act when you’re calm instead of when you’re angry. Maybe just writing it out is enough and you’ll decide not to send that to him, or maybe you’ll realize that you aren’t being true to yourself unless you tell him how you feel.

    • BAF

      Hi LL!
      I am short on time at the moment and need to think about your words a little bit before responding. But I DO have one “free” piece of advice immediately: Do NOT send this in an email. Have this discussion in real life, face to face with him. I think communicating with most men and even most people when the content is as nuanced as it is here is much better done in person. Especially with men (sorry if I sound sexist). I am basing this on my previous experiences. So first of all I suggest this: Get all your thoughts in order on paper first. Take your time. Write it all down. But then go and have the conversation in real life. Face to face. You can bring “notes’ if you re afraid of forgetting certain things. I think you need to watch and hear his reactions as you speak to him in person in order to get a sense of whether you are being heard and whether he truly is trying to understand your feelings or not. Many hugs, BAF and Happy 2019!! xoxo

    • J

      Hi lifelessons,
      I’ve been reading your posts for awhile and I must say that it seems as your mm is treating you worse. I read your above post and the one below detailing everything that’s been going on lately. I do understand that your mm has a W, kids, job, and you to balance, but that’s his choice and his behavior has been very thoughtless and he’s NOT valuing you or your time. I’m sorry if I’m hurting your feelings. I do agree with Felk that he loves you, but right now he thinks it’s all about him. All of the not calling back when he says, the oversleeping, the not showing up when he says, unacceptable. Yes, things can happen as Felk points out. But with your mm it’s repeatedly and he hardly seems apologetic, and he doesn’t contact you ASAP to let you know about the changes. Anyone can sneak off into the bathroom for a min to send a quick text indicating a change of plans. Not doing so is just rude and careless. And then he makes you feel badly for explaining your feelings saying you wrote a book or that he’s not going to text you back if he doesn’t like what you said. Also very rude. It seems like your mm has changed little by little and is getting worse, sometimes when you’re so close it’s hard to see the changes, which is why I’m confirming that yes he’s taking you for granted. However, we do set the perimeters of how we will be treated, so maybe you’re ok with some of his behaviors, which I would not be. His saying he wants to not talk to you sometimes so he can miss you, but is that ok with you? You’re also a person in the “relationship.” I do not think your mm will react well to your long message. Yes I agree that if you’re not happy it should be conveyed. But based on his past behaviors, I don’t see him changing. And he will prob start saying what you do that he doesn’t like, his other common response, which is also not respectfully listening to you, rather it’s becoming a competition of who is more right/wrong. I agree with BAF that you’d prob be more successful having this conversation in person. If you’re comfortable and ready, and you really feel it, I would tell him that you no longer want to be treated this way, and act accordingly. I’m sorry but his behavior has only gotten worse, it will prob get even worse. You’re single, date other men and say goodbye to this situation. Oh one other thought, I know Felk has never had jealousy of the W and also understands her mm trying to maintain his marriage, well that was never me. I don’t know how you feel on this. I agree your mm’s marriage isn’t great or he wouldn’t be in another affair (unless it’s purely sexual and he’s selfish). However I do believe it’s entirely possible that you’ve actually helped his marriage. He’s getting extra from you, going home happier, you’re fulfilling where his W is lacking, guilt is prob making him act nicer to her. My mm has told me in the past that I made his marriage more tolerable, and he was taking his good feelings from me and bringing them home, even laughing more with his W. Just my 2 cents. Hope I helped a little. Best wishes.

    • TTSP

      Happy New Year all! Lifelessons, I concur with others about talking in person if that is available to you. I respect the need and right to express your feelings in an expeditious manner. No one likes mulling over something for days. That being said, there’s nothing worse than putting your heart on the line only to be met with a man on the defense. They are apathetic and cold if they feel attacked. Maybe I’m speaking from my own experience in the affair and in a traditional relationship but tone, delivery and timing are crucial.

      Generally speaking are you content with the relationship? Life is short and the older I get the more I realize that it’s up to me to pave the way to happiness. If something doesn’t suit me I need to focus on my role and what I can change. Still, I can see how a light casual relationship might satisfy people really well if they aren’t looking for something permanent.

      Have you had a chance to talk to him? I ask because you posted your message on Jan 1. If I understand correctly he didn’t follow through on plans and neglected to give you notice? That’s not cool if you guys had definitive plans. As a courtesy a text, call or message to let the person know you can’t make it is standard etiquette. I don’t have to tell you that. The holidays in the past were rough for me. I was jealous that the W got the attention, time, gifts and everything else minus sex. I was more resentful that he got 100% of two women and I got 10% of one man. Needless to say I couldn’t go back due to the emotional toll it took on me. It conjured up my deepest, darkest, most horrifying fears and insecurities. He still tells me he’s open and wants to be lovers but I can live with being horny over feeling like a nothing, unlovable shell of a person. We’ve emailed here and there but I suspect he’s only reaching out in hopes that I’ll change my mind. I’m probably deranged and still emotionally attached to think we can be acquaintances.

    • BAF

      HI again LL,
      I do think both Felk and J make many excellent points that I agree with. I stand by my first comment to have this as a real life discussion. And carefully WATCH his responses to your words. You cant do that when you send an email.

      I believe you have a lot on your mind and you need a face to face long conversation. While some things you mention are concrete and very hard for you (like you asking your daughter to stay over an exit night at her father’s house and then the MM blowing you off) other things you say are more generalized ex. (“I’m not being appreciated or valued and I feel I’m deserving.”) and I think have been building up inside of you over time. Please try to re-read your letter and highlight for yourself in a yellow marker the most important points for yourself.

      What stands out to me is how many things you have to say and how you have a perfect right to all of your feeling whether or not you believe this and whether or not your MM agrees.
      These comments stand out to me:

      “However, when you don’t talk to me regularly, or more so when you leave me hanging (as you did Sunday morning and Sunday night in my opinion) it highlights how this can be! It forces me to remember what this is and what it isn’t and sometimes that hurts.” How much is “sometimes” do you think? Be honest.

      “I was thinking about how much value I have, what I bring to the table in any situation and feeling like I definitely don’t deserve to be anyones side dish because I’m worthy of being a full course.” Here you sound confident and strong BRAVA!

      “I feel like I hold you at such a high regard but it didnt seem like that was being reciprocated”. This is a big issue in affairs. for all of us here. what does he need to do to make you feel better?

      “So that didnt feel good..anyway..part of my issue is really something I need to work on within myself because I can only change me, not you.” Yes but you are very quick to take sole responsibility here and perhaps “over-try” to be fair to him I think.

      “I do know that things have changed from the beginning, because during that time you seemed as if you didnt like your wife, she was a bitch, and things were sour well I think that made it easier on my conscious, now it seems you guys actually like each other and are a “Happily” married couple, this is just what I see from the outside looking in and not just my observation over the Holiday season but in general over the past year and I could be wrong but it appears that way to me…”
      This was a giant issue for me personally in my affair as it happened to me too. Affairs often make the marriages better for the MM and thus cease to give us a reason to be in them (IF our original reason for being in the affair was because of his unhappiness at home).

      “Just speaking my truth…at this point, I cannot just turn off the love and feelings I have developed for you so I deal with all of it the best way I can and unfortunately, when certain things come up such as you not communicating with me about your change in plans, it bring those negative thoughts to the forefront…”. Please remember that while you can not stop your love feelings you CAN and MUST take actions to protect yourself always. Setting boundaries even small ones can help a lot. Or making new rules for the affair YOURself. Dont wait for him to set the rules. Make some yourself! This will make you an actor rather than a reactor in the relationship and give you more control.

      “I know you could care less about how it makes me feel or you could care less about making adjustments”. If this is true the this is a red flag for sure. Are you saying this because you are angry or because you feel it is true?

      I hope this helps LL!
      Hugs,
      BAF

      • TTSP

        BAF,
        What you said about affairs making their marriage more fulfilling really rung true for me and felt like a kick in the face too often. “Affairs often make the marriages better for the MM and thus cease to give us a reason to be in them (IF our original reason for being in the affair was because of his unhappiness at home).” I felt used and completely undervalued. We’re not here to be the solution to someone else’s relationship even if they weren’t consciously involved for that reason. Effectively the mistress is filling the void and everyone deserves better. Did you have a nice holiday with your children? I know they are adults but they’re still your children. I loved getting away without worrying about him like I did last year. I could actually enjoy what and who was in front of me YAY

        • BAF

          TTSP
          Yes I totally agree with you about being mistresses with them making their marriages better. This for me is a true slap in the face (times one hundred) emotionally. It has dawned on me that this is a form of self-abuse by allowing myself to be in a relationship with someone I allow to continually allow to make me feel this way. It was an addiction to pain in its own way as well as a hybrid of love/sex addiction. So I too had to QUIT it.
          I loved what you said about this: “I was more resentful that he got 100% of two women and I got 10% of one man. Needless to say I couldn’t go back due to the emotional toll it took on me. It conjured up my deepest, darkest, most horrifying fears and insecurities.” Ditto for me! Your words say it all!

          As for this you say: “He still tells me he’s open and wants to be lovers but I can live with being horny over feeling like a nothing, unlovable shell of a person.” This is so damn true! Yes tolerating being horny over acting on those urges is a triumph and wins us time to find something healthier to f-ck. LOL
          “We’ve emailed here and there but I suspect he’s only reaching out in hopes that I’ll change my mind. I’m probably deranged and still emotionally attached to think we can be acquaintances.” I think we are all a bit deranged here for various reasons truth be told.
          But I also see we CAN!! improve on treating ourselves better and refusing to stay in painful, demeaning relationships just to get some of our needs met.
          Thanks for asking about my sons!
          My younger son (the one that moved away in summer) got ENGAGED! over New Year’s! It is a very thrilling feeling and I feel so happy for them! They have been together though thick and thin for 5 years. They also know each other both good and bad, and very well. So I see their love is based on commitment and self respect as well as respect for the other.
          This is a far cry from the “love” in an affair I am afraid especially if you are a single woman and involved with a married man.

          I am still in the FWB thing/phase and I am content……we are just friends but have had sex twice :). It is a far cry from the intensity of my former affair thank goodness! It feels pretty warm and safe and friendly but not pressured romantically. My ex MM lurks at times around the corner like a vampire but he appeals to me less and less the days as a person. All that false bravado and false self esteem is so off-putting after awhile. And too predictable and boring in fact! I can predict his every move due to his narcissism and I do not find this sexy at all when I really admit my feelings to myself.
          Stay well and strong TTSP! There is more to life than our exMM’s!
          Hugs BAF
          xxxooo

          • BAF

            TTSP I wanted to add something as I see my words could have more than one meaning….When I say my affair made my exMM’s marriage “better” I don’t necessarily mean I changed the relationship between them directly. I know a stale marriage does not and can not automatically come alive when a person (married or single) engages in an affair.

            However a hard situation for the married person DOES become more tolerable. A stuck situation DOES becomes more tolerable. A depressed lonely situation DOES becomes happier. Etc. Staying in a marriage one had doubts about DOES seem a little easier.

            An affair can not but help affecting a marriage (or two) depending on how many people are married. But I know you already know this.
            Hugs BAF
            xx00

          • Felk

            BAF and TTSP, I do get how an affair could “help” a stagnant marriage and make it more tolerable. How it could help someone in a marriage where they felt lonely (and trapped). That wasn’t the experience for me and my MM, though. The affair made our initially-good marriages worse. Over time, the affair actually made us feel more trapped and lonely in our marriages. We started getting more and more distant from our spouses over time, to the point where his W said something to him about it (a few times). Sex plummeted in our marriages during the affair. I felt smothered by my H, and my MM and I were constantly thinking about how we’d rather be elsewhere. For me, I handled it by simply getting more distant from my H, ignoring how poorly I was treating him, and pretty much just thinking about the next time I’d see my MM. For my MM, as you all know, started feeling bad about that increased distance at home and how the frustration of us not being together was affecting his marriage and, likely, his kids, so that’s why he tried to end our relationship in sept 2017 (wow, does that sound long ago). But, it was ending the affair that has helped our marriages get a little better (emphasis on “a little”). The affair itself made our marriages worse and made us more unhappy in our marriages.

            I wonder if the difference is that our marriages were good when we started the affair? We weren’t in stagnant marriages and feeling trapped when we started. Or maybe it’s simply that the experience is different for different people and different marriages. So, I say all of this not denying that affairs can possibly help some people feel better in their marriage. It just wasn’t my experience.

    • Hope

      Oh L I just wanted to reach out and give you a hug. Xxxx I am so sorry hun, affairs can absolutely suck from time to time. Just know that we know how you feel, we have felt how you feel and we will always be here when you need.😘❤️

      I am a bit short on time (newborn baby with reflux) but I agree with BAF about saying in person, people can be so hard to read and understand and texts make it harder. If you can please do try and tell this to him in person. I agree with Felk the part about him caring less about how you feel doesn’t sound right, he does care (even if you feel he doesn’t it’s correct to assume so without being sure of it). I agree with Felk I think he does love you, I also don’t think it’s all of a sudden a happy marriage for him, most people don’t get into affairs for minor reasons and once in it isn’t easy to fix a marriage; ask me I have been actively trying to do this for a year. A year without exMM and my marriage is so far away from perfect. I think once you are distant from a spouse it’s so hard to comeback. So please don’t think it’s a perfect marriage, it’s not (I don’t wish ill on the couple just stating the facts from my experience).

      Coming back to the text, he does love you and as Felk said holiday periods are so difficult, the thing that rings alarm bells for me is him saying ‘he DOESN’T have to talk to you everyday’ that’s him being a dick. In any relationship even in affairs two people decide what’s neeeded from it and NOT one. I’d call him out on that too. Take care girl, you are awesome, loveable, kind, caring and compassionate. You’ve got this!❤️❤️❤️❤️

      Felk and BAF happy New Year!! I am so sorry I couldn’t reply to your posts, I am going crazy without sleep and not getting anytime for myself. I read both your posts and and am so glad things are going well with both of you. I wish you heaps of happiness in this coming year. Take Care ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️💋💋💋💋😘😘

      Love,
      Hope.

  • LifeLessons

    Hi Everyone,

    I could not go into the New Year without reaching out to you beautiful ladies. I have not been on here since November so I am sure I have a lot of catching up to do. MM has been as “available” as he could be, considering its Holiday season and his wife is not working at this time so she is home and on his back most days. We just had a disagreement a few days ago about his availability and we have not resolved it..well, he feels we have but I am not done with it. I wrote down what i need to say to him so I can be sure to get my full thought across. On Christmas I text him and said Merry Christmas to him and his family and although he doesnt communicate with me the way I think he could, i love him flaws and all. Well he replied, to me and said, Merry Christmas and I love you too. I was shocked because he does not communicate his love for me straight forward, it is always I love my girlfriend or you love me just as I love you. Although, I said it to him through message, he reciprocated it and that is a first because I have said it in message maybe once or twice prior to this and he has never said it back. Anyway, just wanted to share that!

    I really hope all of you ladies had a great holiday season and Hope the New Year bring you love, joy, peace and prosperity. I do not make New Years resolutions but I always pray for growth, and a peace of mind so that will continue to be a part of my prayers. My kids and I will spend the New Year at our home making memories together…we have not spent New Years in our not so new, “New” home. We have live here for about 16months, and last year they were with their dad and I went out.

    Felk,
    I hope things are still ok with you and MM. I knw the last time I read a post from you, you were feeling a little anxious about your 6 day “vacay” from MM and Im sure this was another break. I know you manage yourself very well and your ability to be patient is amazing to me. You stay grounded in reality and it helps me to do the same (as much as I can) we are human so sometimes our emotions and feelings get the best of us.

    BAF,
    I hope you are feeling proud of yourself, with all of the things you endured this past year (losing your dad and getting rid of MM for good) you managed to stay brave and strong. If you are not, I am! It has been a true testament to what you can do when you really put forth the energy to achieve. You are still here as a positive influence and I appreciate that about you. Continue to stay brave and strong. We need you, and all of your positivity.

    J,
    I feel like its been a while since I have read anything from you, i think your MM finally decided to leave his wife and stop all the “flip flopping” and I do not know if you and him decided to make things official or not ?? However, I know you are married as well so how have things been with you and your H considering your MM left his home ?

    Lois,
    Not sure I saw your name within these last few posts but I know you were having a hard time over the past few months with him not being at the job anymore, his daughter finding messages between you two, you guys breaking things off with one another, you were struggling a bit with NC for long periods of time but you managed to go a few days without sending anything. Well…how are things now ?

    TTSP,
    Hey if I got this right..you are single just like me?? I know you were determined not to go back with your MM and you felt as though he wanted to keep you around because he viewed you as his sex toy…have you had any communication with him ? Have you been dating ?? What have you been up to lol

    Hope,
    Hi..I am not sure we chatted with one another enough for you to remember my story or for me to remember yours but I knw the last time you checked in with us you left a really positive message and said you were focused on your husband and you were expecting a baby. That was a few months back so hopefully you are on here to share greatness with us. Sorry, I havent read through any posts, I just browsed the names to see who I have missed. Again, I hope all is well with you and best wishes for you and your family.

    I pray I did not miss anyone, I really wish nothing but the best for us all. We are all beautiful, strong, loving and caring women who deserve nothing but greatness. Love you all😘😘

    • Felk

      Hi LL, good to hear from you. Sounds like things are good with your MM, but that you’re still working on some availability and communication issues… isn’t that always the case with an affair! But, I’m glad you got the “I love you” for Christmas. I know you know he loves you, but it’s nice to see it in writing, too.

      Things are good with my MM, thanks for asking. Thanksgiving was a little rough, but this holiday has been good. He’s been much more communicative than usual, even sending a text on Christmas to wish me a merry christmas. He’s been responsive and flirty on email, so that’s been nice in these two weeks apart. (And, if you didn’t see it in a previous post, yes, we had sex before the winter break.) It seems we are officially in this affair again, but we’re going slow and, for now, being careful. You know I’m being patient, and it’s been easier than expected. I’m trusting, and his communication is helping me trust. I’m glad my words have been helpful to you. Your honesty and openness have helped me, and I can see all your patience and understanding with your MM, too.

      I hope you have a good time bringing in the new year with your kids.

      • LifeLessons

        Felk…
        I replied to this prior to me posting what I wanted to convey to MM which is posted up above 1/1/19 9:30ish am…not sure why it did not post.

        Anyway, here is my second attempt to remember what I said lol. I did not realize you and MM had sex. I mean…I knew it would happen eventually but you had some questions or wanted to gain some clarity on a few things first. How are you feeling about it ? I am sure there are no regrets but emotionally how are you ? I know thanksgiving was rough but I am happy he is communicating more but you also understand his form of communication making a little less complex.

        Well as far as MM and I go..yes we are still good for the most part. His bday was after thanksgiving and he came over to my house on his bday around 9:30am we were at my house until 10:30am and we went for a drive for him to shop for something to wear (90minute drive both ways) we ate lunch together and got back around 4p. It was so nice to be in his company for that long period of time on his actually bday. Well about 2 weeks after that he told me his W was going to be off because she is switching jobs. He said, they were going on a day trip shopping for Christmas gifts the weekend of the Dec 8th. He did not call me once they got back, he called me that Monday while i was at work so I didnt talk to him, we didnt talk on the phone until that thursday or friday. I didnt like it but I also didnt address it because I was trying to be understanding. Well the following week we didnt talk that much and when we talked he said he would call back but didnt call back. On the 18th he called me at 8:30a and he wanted to come over but I had to get my hair done that day so he didnt come over. Later that day when we talked he said the next time he should talk to me first to see if I have plans because we were both off and he planned to be with me all day that day. Unfortunately we missed each other that day. Well the weekend of the 22nd the kids were gone and I thought we may see each other l, although we hadnt been talking regularly. He called me that Saturday and asked if he could stop by so he could at least see me and touch me and he could get his bday gift (because it arrived after his bday so he had to get it late) and I said yea, although I hated that we hadnt been talking daily as we did before their day trip. He came by for a few minutes and said he would come over that Sunday but he was coming early around 8:30am I said ok..Sunday came and at 9:30 i text him saying, hey do you have to work today ? He text right back and said, I overslept like shit, I am JUST waking up. I said does this mean youre not coming ? He didnt reply so I text about an hour later and said I guess that is a NO. Still nothing from him! He called me around 5p saying he just finished up his event. He said, when are the kids coming back, i said in a few (I honestly didnt know I just said that to him) so I ended up texting my kids dad asking him when were the kids coming back he said he was keeping them until the next day I said ok cool. Text MM to let him know, he said ok I will be there. He called me around 7 or 8 and said, im taking this food home and should be there in a little while. Well he never called back and never showed up so of course im upset…in the meantime my daughter was texting me begging to come home because she didnt want to be at their dads house. Im telling her NO for 2 reasons 1) I wanted to see MM 2) I only get a few hours away from them every other weekend so I wanted to enjoy my additional day.
        Monday he calls early around 9am and said she took his car the night before to go see her sister whom was admitted in the hospital. He said she had the car again and he was thinking he could ride his bike to my house. I said oh..idk what time the kids are coming home but let me ask and i will text u back. I text the kids dad he said they would be back noonish. I text MM and said they will be back after 11 but dont worry about coming down. I was in a mood so i didnt really want to see him..
        Well Tuesday Christmas day..I text him saying hope you and your family have a good christmas, although you carry me at times I love you flaws and all. He replied with the Merry Christmas I love you too. Well he called me around 6p I missed the call because i was asleep. Well i called him 9p ish..he said, she is about to be on my heels so I will have to call you back. Wednesday I sent him a message saying the neglect is real..he said what are you talking about, I called you yesterday. I said well I havent been talking to you regularly and it seems like I am not on your radar at this time so I guess I need to keep your same energy. He never replied. Thursday nothing, Friday I said, are you at least going to come and get your gift in case you dont remember me my name is_________
        He called and said I do remember you and I dont understand why you think you send me those messages and I am going to reply to you. I said well youve been carrying me lately. He said no I havent I said you have been so inconsiderate and I dont deserve that. I said, you couldve called me or text me to tell me you couldnt make it. You did me wrong 2 days in a row. He said I did call you I said yes hours later and then a day later. He said, well at least i called…thats all that matters. I said no its not! I said i will not be able to hear anything you have to say about that unless its an apology because I definitely do not deserve that. I have told you time and time again..my TIME is VALUABLE just as yours and I would like you to treat it that way. He said you act like you dont do anything. I said its not about me its about you being inconsiderate. I said, I know you may not realize certain things because you are juggling me, her, work, home etc. but I have the kids and you (as far as relationships go) so I may notice things more than do. He said, thats not true. I said i may take more notice on how regularly we talk or dont talk. He said, if you think I dont know when we dont talk youre crazy. He said, you dont always call me back, when I call you. He said he knows it only happens about 25% of the time but it still happens. I said that is not true…he said, if you tell me that is not true one more time I swear I am going to hang this phone up on you. I said if I do not call back its out of respect. He said oh I forgot youre the only one keeping track of what we do. I said well I was just saying I may be more in tune with you or us than what you are…I may be more into us. He said, what…we are in tune with each other the same, it just shown differently. I said whatever. He said its the Holidays, thats why you acting like and I already told you she was out of work. He also said he dont have to talk to me daily, he would like to miss me. He said he dont want to talk to me routinely, he does that with her and thats not what he wants to do with me..he dont want to have this routine talk with everyday. He said he would call back but of course he didn’t. (The order of the previous conversation may not be in order but thats the gist of what happened) He called me Saturday and I still had things to say to him about the conversation from the day before( i did some reflecting on what he said, what I said and what I was feeling and wrote it down so I could convey it to him and that is what i posted 1/1/19 9am ish) but once we were on the phone I didnt want to say it. We video talked for a few minutes, he told me he would pick up my son to take him to a party that his son and my son was invited too. I told him I could take him myself..he said, i got it you deserve a break too..I will pick him up and she will bring him home so you wont have to leave out. I said ok. I text him Sunday saying sorry to text early but i figure the earlier I text the easier it may be for you to get to me at some point during the day, I just wanted to share my thoughts with you regarding our talk from Friday. He called me around 2 or 3p and I answered but I was babysitting my niece (11months old) so I couldnt talk to him. He said you want to call me back I said yes and I called back but he didnt answer. He called me Monday after 7p once he got off work and I told him I wanted to talk to him about Friday but honestly didnt feel like it..he said I can dig it. We talked about neither of us having new year plans. He said he was heading in the house and would talk to me later. Tuesday called, i missed it and called back about 10am he called me back within 40mins and said he was cooking when I called but he made sure he left out so he could call me. I said o ok. He said all the kids came over today, I said oh. He said I slept the new year in and I said oh ok, I was up really late. He said did you go out and I said Nope, I was home but because I took a nap I couldnt sleep. He said o ok. He said well I gotta go back in the house but I should be able to call you back in a little while..well….you already know, he didnt call back. I know we dont have to talk everyday all day but I dont like for someone to be inconsiderate…you have to read the message above to help me determine if I should talk to him or if I should let it go…

        • Felk

          LL, as for me and my MM (and sex), no regrets. You knew that. 🙂 I felt good going into it. Much better than last January when we had that desperation sex. This was not desperation sex. But, it also helps that he’s reacting well and being sweet/playful in our communication. So, emotionally, things are good. I’ll get to see him this weekend, too, so two more days and the distance is done (and handled well). Then we’ll be back at work next week, and it’ll be nice (and complicated) seeing him regularly again.

          As for you and your MM, thanks for the full story. It sounds like much of the same thing that continues to frustrate you – that he doesn’t call you back when he says he’s going to or that he doesn’t show up when he says he’s going to. Both aren’t good. As J says, anyone can find 5 minutes to text someone something quick to say that plans are off. (The two of you could even have an agreement that a quick text like “sorry, can’t right now” isn’t meant dismissively but is meant to quickly say that something else came up and you can’t call/text/show up as planned.) So, I know it’s not that plans change (because you seem pretty flexible), but it’s that he acts like it’s no big deal that he doesn’t call back or doesn’t text you when his plans change about being able to come over. Like, the Sunday before Christmas, when he was supposed to come over after he took food home, and then he didn’t come over and then didn’t call until the next day?!? That’s unacceptable. His W took the car to see her sister in the hospital. Fine. How does that stop him from texting or calling to tell you what’s going on? That’s the part that would make me mad. Why isn’t he texting or calling that night? I know he says “at least I called,” but how can he think that it’s okay to call a day later when he’s expected to show up the night before? Especially when it seems he was at home and could have texted. So, yeah, I get why you’re mad and I’m glad you said something to him about it. He is not showing respect for your time. As you said, your daughter is calling asking to come home. Not that you have to let her come home or you don’t have the right to a night by yourself, but had you known he wasn’t coming over, you might have told her she could come home. Yes, you can make that decision on your own without knowing your MM’s plans, but you’re trying to find time to see him in a complicated situation and communication from him helps balance everything going on. I ran into this same problem with my MM sometimes.

          Yes, the holidays can make it all harder. They can make him busier or make him feel guiltier about spending time with family. They can make you sadder about him being with his family or that you don’t have a boyfriend/husband. But, it just seems that the two of you have a different idea about respectful communication. He thinks he’s doing it and you don’t think so. (I agree with you, but I’m just giving his perspective that he thinks he’s trying.) I know it hurts to hear your MM say that he doesn’t need to communicate as often as you do (my MM has told me that), but you still want respectful communication, even if it isn’t every day. Of course, you’d prefer your MM to want to talk to you every day, but I respect his honesty in saying that he doesn’t want that (and probably because he doesn’t want the relationship to go stale like with his W). It’s a hard honesty, but you know you’re having an affair and you will not be his top priority. So, you have to decide if it’s good enough for you and if it’s treatment you’re willing to live with. Yes, you can ask for more, but I don’t know if he’s going to give it… and then you have to decide if you want to stay.

          As for his marriage, I really don’t know. As J says, it’s possible that your affair has made him happier in his marriage because it makes him less bored with life (because he has you). But, generally, affairs hurt marriages (and it sounds like your MM was already unhappy in his when the affair started). So, maybe he’s trying more in his marriage because he feels guilty, but, even after my MM did that, it didn’t change anything about how he felt about his W. For me, my affair definitely hurt my marriage.

          I hear you’re saying that things are mostly good but that he’s still not communicating as much as or in the way you’d like him to. Thing is, I don’t know if he can change at this point. I’m not saying it’s not worth trying to talk to him (I think it is… and in person is always best… but we don’t always have that luxury in an affair), but I think that you know that an affair can’t be as good as a “real” relationship. That is the shit of an affair. And I think it’s often that pressure to try to get an affair as close to a normal/real relationship as possible that is the undoing of the affair (or the marriage). I don’t just mean pressure from you on him. I mean pressure of him on him and you on you. The addiction. The in love. That feeling that makes you just keep wanting more. That’s what MM and I are trying to do better this time around. We’ll see.

        • BAF

          LL I just saw this after I posted to you above. To me, this post and its details make me agree with something J said above: “It seems like your mm has changed little by little and is getting worse”. I know he said “I love you” to you on Christmas and I am sure he does love you, but the word love is not a feeling word but an action word. A verb not a noun.

          Love as a feeling is only a first level of the word. It is a first step, but is mostly about sexual and romantic attraction. It does not include consistent action over time DESPITE what one feels. Love as an action is the fuller sense of the word, meaning that one “loves” the beloved by taking loving actions consistently, regardless of how one feels. In other words, maybe I am exhausted, or annoyed, but I still take the action to “love” my significant other because I am committed to loving him over time. I, in turn, want and expect the same from him. Do you see the difference? Does this make sense?
          I read about this tears ago in “The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck and it stuck with me ever since.
          Some men get very lazy after they say “I love you”. They think those words alone are enough to maintain a love relationship. After they say the magic “I love you” words, they cease trying so hard to be loving.

          It is odd but quite common. A man can think like this: Now that I said “I love you” to her and she said it to me, I can go back to being my own usual (lazy) self and not get so involved trying to prove it to her all the time anymore. She knows it and I know it so why do I have to keep putting is so much effort and proving it to her?

          When a man does this the woman gets totally turned off because he has seemingly stopped trying to please her. She sees him making little effort and he appears low energy towards her and more weak than strong. It’s a classic mistake men can make. This type of man takes a woman for granted at the “I love you” stage.

          I hope this is somehow helpful! I know your situation is very hard for you because your feelings AND actions are BOTH involved.
          Hugs BAF
          xoxo

  • J

    Hello ladies,
    Hope everyone had a relaxing and nice holiday. I doubt the holiday with my family and my H. Mm spent the holiday with his extended family, but did not see his W. He saw his kids on Christmas Eve for a short but nice visit. His W has been hogging their adult children (in their mid 20’s). He’s been overall depressed saying it’s not a merry Christmas. He’s sad, understandably about not seeing his kids as much. Although he did also go out to dinner and a movie with them 2 days before Christmas. He’s also saying he’s lonely in his apartment and he constantly complains about everything about his apartment. His W had a cosmetic surgery last week, related to improving her appearance, she’s completely cancer free. He went to visit her and calls her to ask if she’s okay. He still babies her. For a month before Christmas he went on and on about the gifts he was getting his kids. Researching them, looking around, etc, the day before Christmas he asked me what I want. Seemed rather thoughtless to me. Mm and I have talked numerous times about my comfort level for leaving my H. Ive made it completely clear that I’m not doing anything until he actually files for divorce, which I think is totally understandable after all of his constant flip flops. I’m sure everyone on here remembers all of the hurt I went through with his constant emotional swings and disgusting details of working on intimacy with his wife. The way he would go through phases of having to work on his marriage and then telling me he doesn’t love me. Well I’ve worked very hard to regain trust for him again. At times I still have my doubts based on his everyday communication with his W and his going over there to help her so often. Well recently he has started getting frustrated with me saying that he doesn’t believe I’m ever leaving H, and trying to make me do it now. I’ve reminded him that I’m waiting for him to file for divorce and why. He says he just doesn’t understand that anymore and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t leave now. He said he resents me for having a normal holiday when he couldn’t. He’s also started getting critical of me, as he did in past mood swings. I told him that I don’t believe I deserve to be treated this way, as he’s not trying to talk to me rather he’s acting mad. I told him that I don’t find his behavior respectful and I’m sick of his criticism. I suggested we take some time apart if he wants to. He rudely said yes fine because I’m probably really just looking for an excuse to end things with him. He acted snotty and I haven’t heard from him since. He always runs away from conflict and disappears. Yes I suggested taking some time, but I didn’t mean it in a snotty way like he did. I’m realizing I really don’t trust him still because he’s not reassuring. I actually (embarrassingly) drove by his house with W to see if he went home. I actually think he’s capable of that since I’m not doing exactly what he wants. Also he has these severe mood swings and this could be one of them. I’m wondering if I did leave H, and mm and I had a conflict would I constantly live in this fear that he’s going home to W or he will run away. Thoughts?? Is mm being unfair?? As always, I appreciate your help.

    • Felk

      J, I had a nice holiday with family and I hope you enjoyed yours, too. I think what you write about your doubts and fears is entirely justifiable given what your MM has put you through in the past. You are not being unfair. I think you are being smart by waiting until he files for divorce to say anything to your H. Yes, your MM has moved out and gotten an apartment and that’s an important first step, but it seems he’s still tied to his W and it’s making you (understandably) insecure. It is possible that it’s simply his guilt and his way of letting go, but he really does need to let go of his ties to his W (outside of his children) if he is going to have a real relationship with you. He may feel that moving out was enough of a demonstration to you and now it is your turn to “show” him that you’re ready to leave your marriage. From his perspective, I understand that he is scared and insecure, too. He is lonely and wanting a relationship with you, and he is likely scared that he will file for divorce and then you will choose to stay with your H. I believe you want to be with your MM, but I can understand why he is scared, too. Understandably, you are both in a tough situation that requires a lot of communication and trust. And it doesn’t sound like you have that trust entirely. It’s hard to start a relationship without that.

      Your MM’s criticism isn’t helping, and his pouting and refusal to talk to you after you suggested some time apart are childish. I guess I would suggest approaching him again and sitting down for a serious/honest/calm conversation if possible. Maybe you two need to talk about all of your fears and concerns honestly, and then talk about a timeline for moving forward? Is there a way that you can reassure him that you want a life with him? You probably have already done this, but it sounds like there’s a lot of emotions involved still and you both may need to just sit down and listen to each other for a while. Your questions at the end about whether or not you could ever trust him are important, but if you are going to move on and hope for a real relationship with him, you will have to let those fears and doubts go. It is not an easy thing. Therapy may help. But I don’t know how you can be in a happy/healthy relationship if you are constantly worried someone will leave. He may have the same fears about you, so I think it’s important that the two of you sit down and be honest about all of this. At this point, you can’t be worried that the honesty will scare him away… because, if it does, your relationship had no future anyway. I think your MM wants to be with you, and I think you want to be with your MM, but you have tons of baggage from other relationships understandably. Your relationship started under conditions that cause a lot of jealousy and insecurity and now you have to work through that (alone and together) if there’s any hope for a healthy and trusting relationship between the two of you.

      • J

        Hi felk, thanks so much for your reply. I really appreciate it. I did speak with mm today, I had to initiate and initially he did not respond. Then I tried another 2 times, reassuring him that I am not trying to bail on him and that I am serious about us. He finally responded that he wants time alone. I had to persist that he talk to me and not shut me out. He was rather short initially but told me how the holiday was hard for him and he kept imagining me with my H and said he hardly saw his kids. I tried explaining that this is a temporary situation and I described what I foresee next year. He just said “ I guess.” I asked him if he’s been thinking about going home to his W and he didn’t answer directly. I asked again for a direct answer and he said he’s not going home. He then said he will be going out with his daughter tonight who has depressive problems. I said ok, but told him that he is trying very hard to help his children and his W, and is just tossing my feelings aside. I feel I pretty much pleaded with him to stop shutting me out. I told him that I need him too. He then told me when he was planning on going to the gym and I asked again if he wanted to be alone and he said no. Part of me feels I pushed myself on him. I also feel he was starting done his old path of possibly flipping. I also feel it was emotional abuse by not directly answering me about going home when I first asked. Do you agree? At the gym he acted normal, no deep conversation at all, he was in a hurry to meet his daughter. Then he gave me a hug goodbye. I’m having difficulty forgetting the last few days of being ignored and his attitude. Should I just toss it up to Christmas blues?? Or was this more?
        Felk, I was also wondering what happened when your mm came over? How did it go?? Did you take things to the next level?

        • BAF

          J the first year after a separation is like the first year after someone dies. Each holiday is painful and a difficult reminder that family life will never again be the same. For the first Christmas/New Year separated, he (your MM) is going to be going through this process. You said his wife seemed to be “hogging” the kids but in fact they are not kids and there is no need for any formal or shared custody. Instead the kids are adults and everyone is free to spend time with whomever they want.
          Your MM will now have to win his adult kids over by offering to spend time with them doing new things they can learn to enjoy. In other words, he will have to work, now to re-make his relationships with them happen in new settings and under new conditions. He will have to create new memories for them where in the past his wife may have done much of this work getting the family activities ready for the holidays. He may resent this new workload and be offloading his distress and anxiety onto you by being “moody” but don’t let him! This is his responsibility to figure out. And a new relationship with a woman (when he finally introduces you to them) will be one more layer of the work he will need to do to start living his “new” life. Don’t let him blame you because you too will have to leave a husband and all the traditions you have had with your H to be with your MM. The holidays can be very stressful for new/shared and / or combined families but eventually everyone can get used to things if the adults can all be mature and can communicate well. Of course that’s a big “if”. Therapy would help yes. Its tough on everyone as so many memories are made at holidays and no one wants to give up the way they have been doing things “for years”. But changing means some relationships can actually improve and adult kids can slowly get used to a new life with their parents not living together if one parent does not try to sabotage the other. It is hard emotional work for everyone but worth it in the end, if you and your MM can end up with a partner you truly love, and can tolerate all the adjustments of the people around you I would think. The trick is getting there!
          My two cents.
          BAF
          xoxo

        • Felk

          J, it’s good that you were able to tell him that you see this as a temporary situation and you foresee the two of you together this time next year. I am sure those are helpful words to him, even if he only gave you an “I guess” in response. As you’ve said, he hides when things get tough so that is what he is doing now. It’s good to let him know that you don’t want him to shut you out, but it also could be good for him to have some alone time to think. There’s a delicate balance between respecting someone’s space (which is fair) and not letting them shut you out (which is unfair). Also, your MM seems to react to you giving him space in an immature way, taking it as you not wanting to be around him or you shutting him out, so I think it’s even more difficult in your situation to simply give him space. But, if he’s asking for it, you might want to give a little. That doesn’t mean going weeks without talking, but maybe it means going a few days without talking or only texting a little and not expecting much back from that person?

          As for him not answering directly about going home, I don’t think that was emotional abuse. Of course, if there is a pattern of him withholding information from you, especially if it’s because he knows it hurts you to withhold it, yes, that’s emotional abuse. But, I don’t think that not answering a hard question is emotional abuse. Sometimes people don’t have an answer so they stay quiet, or sometimes they DON’T want to hurt the person with the answer so they stay quiet. He did eventually answer your question and say that he was not going home, so I would believe him unless he gives you signs to suggest otherwise.

          As for the Christmas gift, I get why you were disappointed with his gift and I know it’s not the cost. It really is a case of “it’s the thought that counts” and it seemed like he didn’t put much thought into yours, especially relative to his kids’ gifts and compared to the gifts he’s gotten you in the past. But… I would chalk this one up to him being particularly anxious about spending Christmas apart from his family this year and wanting to pay attention to his gifts for his kids (and, as BAF said, your MM has to work harder to maintain his relationship with his adult children now). If you’ve known him to be a good gift-giver in the past, I would think this year was an exception and an understandable exception given his situation. So, I’d give him a pass this year for the gift.

          I think his behavior lately is Christmas blues and the magnitude of the situation. But he has to go through this. He has made a big choice, and he is going to feel difficult emotions because of it. Of course, though, it doesn’t give him the right to treat you poorly. Try to give him space to be sad and worried, but also try to call him on it when he is being unfair to you. I hope you two can keep good communication open through this, because you both are going through a difficult time and will need each other’s support if you’re going to create a new healthy relationship.

          As for my situation, it’s good. My MM and I have gotten to a good place it seems. So, yes, we had sex when he came over last week. He’s also been communicative since. Because we’re teachers and it’s our winter break, we have two weeks without seeing each other after sex. And the holidays can be particularly tough (as Thanksgiving was), but he texted me on Christmas to wish me a merry christmas and that was pretty unexpected (but greatly wanted). He’s also been sweet and flirtatious over e-mail, so, at least for now, he is staying “close” during this time apart, and that matters a lot to me. I’ve also felt more confidence and trust in us. I know he responds to time apart differently than I do (he likes to go MIA), but I also trust that he’ll be there for us once we see each other again. But, he’s being communicative and it’s nice. Of course, the danger is, once again, of getting back into sex and getting too close and causing problems at home for him, but we’re trying to take it slow and see if we can find that balance of being together without creating all that tension for him at home. For now, it’s working for both of us.

      • J

        One more thing…not to sound like a complete brat, but all the adult children’s gifts he kept talking about. Well he spent around $1000 dollars on them. He gave me a sweater that was on sale for $25 dollars that he picked up the day before Christmas. In past years he gave me very thoughtful and generous gifts. Believe me, I don’t care about the money. But this seems so thoughtless to me.

  • BAF

    Best wishes for the holidays!
    Hello everyone here,
    I just want to wish you all a bright and peaceful holiday this year!
    Thank you all for being here for me when I need it as this forum has been supportive and understanding of my situation/s for a long time since I virtually “met” you all.

    I want to say this to the women here especially:
    It is very easy to get stuck in an affair in mind games and psychological traps in this patriarchal culture of ours. Beware!! An affair can cause us as women to doubt ourselves, shame ourselves, allow ourselves to feel used and hurt, fall into the traps of self-blame, self-hate quite easily. We can feel “less than” in an affair very easily as we are not the primary partner of the man we are madly in love with. Someone else has his time, shares his bed, has his kids, etc. etc.
    Gulp.
    As women this sets us up as “competitors” with other women, even though we might not feel jealous of the “wife” or “girlfriend” we are secretly vying for the same thing: “His love and attention” whenever he can spare some for the “us” (not the “us that is him and her but the us that us “him and us”). This is very hard on one’s self esteem as a woman. We are feeling creatures by nature and by design! We are also caring creatures…witness the compassion on the board. As women we do not need to change anything about ourselves as we are naturally wonderful.

    We are also sexual creatures just as men are and we reason to ourselves: “Why can’t we also enjoy our bodies and passion like men do?” Yet affairs are traps for so many of us here. We fall into destructive and negative thinking and acting patterns: ways of self loathing that are already acceptable in very VERY subtle ways in our culture and in the minds of the very men we fall in love with. Our feeling and giving and sexual natures can become weapons against us in affairs where we occupy a “number two” seat no matter how much the MM might “love us.”

    Anyhow for me I have decided to chop the affair “relationship model” off my my chopping block and try to find something less complicated and more fun. And less “intense”. F–k intensity. I have had a LOT! of emotional intensity all my life and I am just very turned off from intensity right now. It burns too bright for my system.
    Give me the warm glow of sanity please.

    It is not easy to leave a married man I have had such an incredibly long off again/on again history with 21 years GULP. But I really think some of the dynamic of me having to be so patient and kind and understanding and so got at the number two position really started to get OLD. Enough already. He has not made it easy for me to leave either. Generally speaking he wants all the comforts and safety of the affair right back as they were. I can have my misery back any time I wish.

    I also lost my dear elderly father in this same year. A man who always believed a woman NEEDS a man above all else. And he had many daughters, my sisters.
    (I still love you Father!). He and I had endless talks (arguments) about feminism and the role of women. How he hated that word. And those “women!”
    Yet there I was the strong and unconventional daughter. 🙂
    His generation and our culture taught him what he knew and he never asked too many questions as the system automatically favored him as a male anyhow, even if he could never (conveniently) admit that fact.

    I just donated a work of activist art in his name to a very progressive art institution where he probably would never dream his name was going to be on any artwork there. LOL. LOL. But I am sure he was ultimately proud of me for being the feminist that I am after all. As long as I still look for my Prince Charming wink wink.

    As you know I tried a FWB night of light fun recently. I realized I still am a very sexual woman and I am game for sex (without drugs or alcohol or the need for it!)
    A FWB relationship type was always my “back-up type”. Even my marriage was really a really intense friendship with a fellow artist first. I assert myself and am much more my kooky casual self in such situations.

    I feel like I just took a 21 year very in the wrong direction with a “love” relationship and I know that’s a lot of time lost to placing my energy there. My father has been “visiting” me regularly (via his spirit) to tell me what an idiot I am with the exMM. I already KNOW! this LOL
    I agree but I also am not beating myself up about it.
    I chose it. I am trying to accept the word within myself: FAILURE.
    Complete failure as a concept. I did NOT get the guy after all that effort and work and all that patience!
    I chose the affair. But isn’t it okay to fail as woman? Isn’t it okay to fail as a human?
    So I failed. I failed big and intense and hard.
    But I can un-choose it too.
    Very few people know so I guess there’s a plus side to secret failure?
    But this this “FAILURE” was INSIDE of me where I took too much of that emotion INSIDE. This reeked havoc in me in too many ways to mention here.
    But it doesn’t mean I still have to continue down that worn out road with a car that just keeps breaking down every couple of miles.
    It’s like the moment you realize a certain job or a house or a city or a lifestyle simply does not fit you any more and you need to start something new and different.
    Done. Time for something new.
    That’s me right now.
    Like I said to TTSP below:
    “I am just so over the crushing weight and seeming endless gravitas of my intense and utterly failed affair right now. I think I am going to be purely light and very superficial for awhile. Some rest and relaxation is in order here at my house for sure.”
    And: I do not have to trigger a full blown brain chemical addiction to do so and I am sure of this!.
    Phew
    Love BAF
    xx00

    • Felk

      BAF, this all sounds so great. I can hear such clarity and understanding in your words. And that part about failure was particularly great, I think. I think it’s not only human to fail, but it’s important to fail. Failure shows us what we don’t want. Failure can motivate us to do better. We gain humility from admitting failure. We probably also appreciate successes more because we fail, at times. I hear your acceptance and your compassion in your admission of failure, too. You take ownership of your choices, but you also do not beat yourself up for being human and trying to have a relationship that gave you some happiness.

      And you know I liked everything you said about feminism. It is a word I very proudly use to describe myself (and I’d probably argue that feminists were more likely to have affairs!).

      Best wishes for the holidays for you, too.

    • TTSP

      Hi BAF,

      I’m sure your father is immensely proud of you and that you’re gaining as much closure as possible after his passing. That generation did believe a woman needed a man and in that era women and men depended upon each other for survival. My grandma is 94 and she also places so much emphasis on partnership but I think it’s all from a place of goodness. She is also the first to say that marriage is by no means a bed of roses and she would’ve left my grandpa many times but they truly lived by their vows.

      People and experiences teach us so much about ourselves and the world. I don’t consider an affair a failure because there’s typically only one outcome for everyone and that is pain. Whether you’re the adulterer, mistress or person being cheated on, you’re all going through hurt in some form. Success is not a possibility but BAF, isn’t extricating yourself, developing yourself, personal growth and maturity all successes that came as a result of ending the affair. Maybe you entered into it because you weren’t ready for a serious relationship and without realizing the addictive nature got trapped for years. Also, proximity is a huge factor in your ability to break the addiction. I’m convinced that if you have easy access and forced interaction it’s noticeably more difficult to break free. Typically, affairs are filled with intense passion both physically and emotionally and it feels hella good when you’re in the moment. Let’s not deny the major rush when we’re with them. The aftermath…. well you articulated it perfectly and we all are keenly aware of that perpetual hell.

      The drama is exhausting so glad to hear you’re having fun with a casual FWB. We have sexual needs too and if you both aren’t in a place for something committed than it can add some much needed thrill into your life. I’m looking forward to more time and distance from my affair. A few lessons that might help others feel better. 1. You are whole, complete and lovable no matter what happens. 2. Just because someone doesn’t upend their entire world for you doesn’t mean they don’t really care for you and love you. Time, emotions, finances, legal ties, family roots and history hold a lot more weight than an unknown romantic endeavor (the other person). 3. Chances are your current spouse or future spouse is a much better match for you than your affair partner.

      Sending you all good vibes with lots of abundance and prosperity for the new year!

  • Hope

    Hi all you gorgeous ladies how are you all?😊 Felk, BAF, TTSP and J hi!😊
    I hope you all are doing well, Felk I just read your previous post, how are you feeling now? I am sorry you were feeling so low the time you wrote that post, I could sense the sadness (been there done that 🙁 ) there and just wanted to reach out and give you a hug! To be honest Felk I was bit surprised to read it, I have never seen you like this. Just goes to show affairs can break even the most strongest and secure person. I hope that phase passed and you are feeling better. Holidays are always tough for us, how sad is that? 🙁 As long as we take steps and move forward we will get there one day 🙂

    BAF you go girl! Nice to see you so strong. Your words are so inspirational as always. I am glad you now act nonchalant when it comes to exMM (love how you refer to him as exMM and not MM, that’s right sucker you are an ex now!!😄) You are in such a tough situation of not being able to completely get away from him but look how great you are doing! So proud of you BAF.

    TTSP such wise words from you too. I hope you are doing well.

    I gave birth to a baby girl few weeks ago, you ladies are aunties now!!😄 Even though I have to get away from here because many times I indulge in self loathing, I still feel close to you girls, you know me more than many of my friends here. I am adjusting to life as a Mum of two. ExMM still contacts me from time to time which makes moving forward difficult at times but I can’t cut him off entirely as I still love him. Things have gotten better with my H, we have come closer physically and emotionally, of course it’s nowhere near what it used to be before my affair but it’s getting better. I am now in more control of my emotions, just last year this time was such a sad time for me as exMM would disappear, no communication and I really missed him but wasn’t allowed to text him. This year I feel free. I have learnt to focus more on what I have, I try and find joy in little things, try and help others.

    Hope this holiday period is not too tough for you lovely ladies, just remind yourself it’s just a phase and it will pass. Take care of yourselves.

    Love,
    Hope.

    • Felk

      Hi Hope, good to hear from you and congratulations on your little girl. I am sure you are very busy with her, and it’s good to hear, especially with a new child, that you and your H have come a bit closer over time. I know what you mean that it’s nowhere near what it was before the affair, but, like you, I have regained some closeness with my H since last year. And, you know I also understand why you still talk to your MM. For some, it is best to cut the person out entirely, but for others, it is just too hard and you are happier with the person in your life (even if just a little) than not.

      For me, seems you read my post after the Thanksgiving holiday. I was definitely missing my MM, but I wasn’t feeling broken. 🙂 Broken was last fall, for like a month or two after he tried to end it. That was horrible misery. The Thanksgiving stuff was just some “normal” missing him and dealing with the difficulties of being apart and not communicating as much as before. I can “get in my head” at those times, wondering why he’s not contacting me, but I actually stayed pretty rational about his “style” of communication and how he still loves me. I know he missed me a lot, too. When we were finally able to spend some time together, he was pretty clearly showing how much he missed me. He initiated plans a few times and even initiated email! He also came to my house last week and is coming over again this week. He has been responsive and expressive lately. I think those two weeks were hard on both of us, and he is definitely showing he’d rather have time with me than not. I think we’re also both anticipating the difficulty of the next two weeks over the winter break. However, we have already made some plans to communicate during that time. It will be hard to be apart from him during the holidays (they’re tough in affairs), but I like how close he’s been these last few weeks and how it seems we’ll email a bit over the two weeks of winter break.

      I know he will get distant in that time (as is his style), but I will try again to remind myself of how in love he is and how distance is his coping mechanism (even if it’s not my preference). Of course, I remain a bit confused about what we’re doing now. It seems like we’re back in the affair. And he almost seems to be admitting it, although I still would rather talk more directly about it all. I probably will not try to have that conversation when he comes over this week because I don’t want to have a “heavy” conversation and then not see him for two weeks. There is no rush in that conversation, and he is very good about not feeling rushed, too. But since sex is likely this week (we did not last week, but, of course, came close again), you know I want to have some conversations about “us.” For now (and for a several months really) it’s been working to trust his love and desire for our relationship. He has remained consistent in that, even if less communicative (which he needs to maintain his marriage, and, honestly, is good for me, too).

      Thanks for checking in.

      • Hope

        Hi Felk sorry I didn’t mean to say broken (poor choice of words sorry) I meant that even you being so secure and understanding were so upset about it. Glad to know you had a good time with MM last week and are seeing him again soon. Yes I understand how difficult holiday periods are but the good thing as you say is your MM is vocal about how much he misses you too, it’s not just one sided.

        Thank you for your well wishes, they mean a lot to me 😊
        You know your MM more than anyone else Felk, do what’s best for you. I understand your need to avoid heavy conversation before the 2week break, I would have done the same. I am so glad your MM has remained consistent and I can understand how much that means to you so I am happy for you guys!

        Love,
        Hope.

        • Felk

          Hope, no worries at all about saying “broken.” I know you were hearing sadness and frustration in my words, and it was a departure from a lot of my posts lately. It’s great to be so far past the “broken” of last year, but it’s true that there are still hard times in any affair. I know I feel calm/rational/patient a lot of the time, but I can also feel impatient and irrational, too. I can let emotions get the best of me, and that can be hard for someone like me who likes control. The strong emotions might be one of the hardest parts of an affair. That’s the addiction, though. The high passion and the low lows of missing someone when you’re in love and can’t have them as often as you want. This past year has been great for calming that addiction, and my MM and I are trying to be careful not to get back to those problems. It’s a delicate balance, though. We’ll see if we can continue to be satisfied with the less intense affair that we’re involved in now. For now, it seems we can.

          Thanks for your words and your support.

          • Hope

            Thank you Felk 🙂 Absolutely it’s great to get past the broken phase. Last year was hell for both of us, I remember how shattered everything felt. So glad that’s behind us. I did sense some sadness in your holiday post but nowhere near what we felt last year. You sound so much stronger now and I am glad you are feeling better. As you know it’s not uncommon to feel sad around holiday time in affairs.

            You are absolutely right about highs and lows of affair. Can I just say Felk I think many times it’s not you being irrational or impatient or getting into your own head as you describe it, many times I feel you are right to be upset about a few things and I feel it is your MM’s fault at times. I am glad you are both working towards finding a balance and trying to be satisfied with less, that’s a clever approach I think. All the best for this week 🙂 take care lovely 🙂
            Love,
            Hope xoxo