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.

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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.

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.


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

  • Lois

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

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

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

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

    • Lois

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

      • Felk

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

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

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

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

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

    • Felk

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

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

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

      • Lois

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

        • Felk

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

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

    • BAF

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

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

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

      • Lois

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

  • Kub

    Hello everyone,

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

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

    Thanks again !

    • BAF

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Kub

        Hello BAF

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

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

        • BAF

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Felk

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

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

      • BAF

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

      • Kub

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

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

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

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

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

        • Felk

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

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

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

          • Kub

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

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

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

            Anyway… Thank you again being here for me 🙂

          • Felk

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

  • Lois

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

    • lois

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

      • Felk

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

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

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

        • lois

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

          • Felk

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

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

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

          • Lois

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

          • Felk

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

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

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

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

    • BAF

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

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

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

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

      • Hope

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

        • Felk

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

  • Life Lessons

    Hey Everyone!

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

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

    Your thoughts and comments ?


    • Felk

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

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

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

      • BAF

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

        • Life Lessons


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

          • BAF

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

      • Life Lessons


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

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


        • Felk

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

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

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

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

          • Life Lessons


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


          • Felk

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

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

  • Lois

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

    • Felk

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

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

      • Lois

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

    • Life Lessons


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

    • BAF

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

  • Life Lessons


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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Life Lessons


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    • Felk

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

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

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

  • Kub

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

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

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

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

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

    • Felk

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

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

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

      • Kub

        Hello Felk…

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • Felk

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

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

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

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

          • BAF

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • Kub

            Hello Felk

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

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

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

          • Felk

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

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

  • Lois

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

    • Felk

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

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

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

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

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

      • Lois

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

    • Lois

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

      • BAF

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

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

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

        • Lois

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

          • BAF

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

      • Felk

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

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

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

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

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

  • Life Lessons

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

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

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

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

    Take Care,

    • BAF

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

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

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

    • Felk

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

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

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

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

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

  • Life Lessons

    Hi Ladies!

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

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

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

    Hope all is well everyone

    • Felk

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Felk

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

      • Lois

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

        • Kub

          Hello Lois

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

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

          • Lois

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

        • Felk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • Nomad

            Felk, Lois,

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

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

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

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

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

            You have to decide.

          • Nomad

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

          • Lois

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

          • Felk

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

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

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

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

          • Felk

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

  • Lois

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

    • Felk

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

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

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

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

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

    • BAF

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

  • BAF

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

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

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

    • Felk

      BAF, I saw this yesterday and thought of our current conversations (and many other conversations):

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

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

      • BAF

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


        • Felk

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

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

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

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

          • BAF

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • Felk

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

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

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

  • Kub

    Hello ladies

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

    • BAF

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

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

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

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

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

    • Felk

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

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

  • 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

      “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

      • BAF

        What I meant to say yesterday is we that split ourselves from ourselves in order to be in the affair (any affair) in the first place, so this emotional habit dies HARD in us. When we try to break off an affair or go no contact the first thing we try to emotionally do is bargain with our separate parts trying to make some kind of “deal” within us of of some kind. Because we have gotten good at this. We try to hold onto the cake and give up the frosting for example. I totally get your booty call wish. I did that often with my exMM over the years when trying to take distance from him at the same time. I also became in my affair very good at talking myself into that line of thinking.

        I would say to myself: “Why can’t this one time just be a booty call?” and then proceed to invite my exMM back in to my life for another great night. Meanwhile I was cutting the rest of myself and my buried feelings in order to make the booty call possible. At first after doing this I would be in complete denial of my those other parts of me. I would be “fine”. I would talk to him and things would be “fine”. Then, I would feel after said booty call, HORRIBLE. After 24 – 48 course my emotions would flip-flop on me completely and I would find myself either enraged as you describe, or totally depressed and devastated. Or a mix of both. It is like I was two people in these episodes. It really brought out the “bi-polar” in me. The emotional downs were horrific.

        I think by being in affairs we get very used to ignoring parts of ourselves. We become experts at letting parts of us get satisfied, and feel some happiness and joy, while burying other parts. We “compartmentalize”. As females we might even see this as a good thing (to compartmentalize) because we see the men in our affairs as doing the same thing so “why can’t we?” etc. etc. But little do we realize that our affair partners being able to compartmentalize is NOT a thing we want actually want to emulate. It is not emotionally healthy behavior any more than ours is. So when we try to explain ourselves with this affair partner he might not understand us. The “compartmentalization pact” is really the glue that holds any long time affair together.

        TTSP, as a single woman you have no other relationship to fall back upon to at least provide you with some of the things that your affair does not provide. So the buried parts of yourself, your hidden needs never get taken care of. Your needs for emotional and financial security. Your needs for consistency, and for a future with someone. Your needs for a solid and enduring partnership and for building a life with someone together. These are no small needs.
        So altho the “booty call” (with someone you know so intimately) can feel so great temporarily, the
        happiness never lasts, because back in the real world your MM is married and unavailable to the rest of your needs. And you have no “fall back guy”. No wonder then your emotions have such enormous swings. No wonder you feel enraged! I totally get that. I would even say that is pretty normal! So bravo to you for feeling all your feelings and not just some of them! In the recovery we are both in, that is progress! Feeling our feelings: This is one of the goals in alcohol recovery.
        But I think the reason that so many people take so long to leave affairs or even never leave affairs is the fact that the compartmentalizing they are doing and that their partner is doing works “well enough” and because leaving is too painful. The affair becomes “not great, but good enough”. To stay in an affair with “caveats” is to do some deal-making within yourself. I know this very well as that is what I did for the longest time.
        Leaving such such a relationship is so much much harder than it looks however. And I think it gets harder the more time you spend in the affair because your actions “train your brain” to rationalize your reasons for being in the affair. Our brains get used to the compartmentalizing.
        So going no contact is absolutely excruciating in the beginning. You have to retrain your brain entirely to do it. But then it gets better. Much much better.
        For me, having been there and done that I can only say you will know when you are truly ready. You probably have to hit some kind of bottom first. I know I did. I reached an emotional bottom in my affair. Lucky me. LOL. When you reach the bottom the only way up is through he pain and out.
        Hugs BAF

        • Felk

          BAF, so very this: “But I think the reason that so many people take so long to leave affairs or even never leave affairs is the fact that the compartmentalizing they are doing and that their partner is doing works “well enough” and because leaving is too painful. The affair becomes “not great, but good enough”. To stay in an affair with “caveats” is to do some deal-making within yourself.” That compartmentalization stuff was spot on. I do it. My MM does it. And it’s a constant struggle because compartmentalizing denies fundamental aspects of ourselves and (healthy) relationships in an affair. We can only have so much. We can only be ourselves to a certain extent because it’s all so limited in an affair. And how can that ever feel good? Like, in the long run. It can’t.

          Really like the things you say today. That’s why NC is the best answer to leave an affair. It is not what I wanted (but my MM and I also have that “back-up” relationship you speak of), but it is what’s best for really being done with an affair. You have done it. And I still hope, soon enough, you really get distance from your MM and he no longer works near your home.

          • BAF

            Felk Thank you. Yes that compartmentalization is very hard. I think it might work best if one’s life has others in it who are very close, male/female etc. Yes you and your MM have done it. My exMM and I were doing it for some of our years together as well. But not that easily as I always wanted “more”. But he did not/could not offer more.
            A single person in an affair has more gaping holes in their time which means wider spaces in which to feel the negative emotions of an affair like the loneliness, the insecurity, the lack of availability, the low communication that come with being in an affair.
            While I agree with you that NC is the best way to go I you yourself have not chosen that for reasons you have explained. You really don’t want your affair to end.
            I think many people are in your shoes probably. Like you, they prefer to try to stay “in” if possible; if they can find a way to combat the obvious negatives of an affair.
            No Contact is the way to go if you KNOW you want OUT of the affair.
            It is very drastic and very clear and strong and might be theoretically the hardest at first. It causes shock and anxiety and depression at first. One might need a therapist and meds to supplement as the affair partner is then 100 per cent gone. And one grieves that loss.

            But it really does get much better with time. I have found that like the deaths in my family I have experienced this year, we humans really can and do process grief and the loneliness and distress it brings if we have a support network. I think that is part of our human nature.

            Maybe not so many people are ready for this final No Contact step, however.
            I really get it. But for me, I simply can not allow my head to contemplate the compromising and compartmentalizing I did for so long in my affair anymore. My head needs to stay on the straight and narrow “No Contact” page in order to heal. Otherwise me thinking about my former affair and affair partner can suck the recovering energy I badly need right out of me. Even now. I don’t right now miss my exMM nearly as much as I do miss the fantasy that we (he and I) could work out together. That enduring hope I had for so long. I miss that. It kept me going. The illusion. But I am trying to replace this vague longing with experiencing tangible new things that can and do make me happy.

          • Felk

            BAF, as we have talked about before on here over the years (!), it does seem there are some differences for people who are married in affairs and people who are single and with a married person. And there are harder and easier things on both sides, but, yes, I think one of the “easier” things being married and having an affair is that I have someone else to fill some of the void that I feel when not with my MM.

            I guess I also feel like I’m making a conscious decision to stay in my marriage, and that I am not waiting/hoping for my MM to leave his W. Yes, I know some MW on here, like J, have wanted their MM to leave their Ws, but it’s seemed that most of the MW on here aren’t waiting for that. Unfortunately, I think that my MM was hoping and living in the illusion/fantasy for many years that we both would eventually leave our spouses for each other. I still wonder if he thinks that. The way you describe that illusion, though, feels accurate. I think it is something that gives us hope in an affair. Keeps us going. I know it did/does that for my MM, and it probably did it for me a bit, too. Maybe it wasn’t exactly the hope that my MM would leave his W, but it was hope for more. Constantly hoping for more. I still feel that. It still is difficult often. I am still stuck in the fantasy in my head and find it easy enough to ignore the reality of the hard stuff I feel nearly every day. It is an amazing thing that we are willing to put up with so much bad for so little good.

            I guess it’s seemed to me that you’re done with your MM. Last summer seemed to be the last straw of many last straws. And it’s been so long with NC now that it seemed you were happy with and doing well with your decision. It’s really impressive because all of us on here know how hard it is to leave an affair.

          • BAF

            Felk Yes I am totally No Contact now including all social media blocked, phone blocked, walking the long way around the restaurant etc. It has become a force of a habit to stay NC. And I keep my thoughts as much away from him as possible because it upsets me too much.
            In an office or work situation I have read there is a way to go LC (Limited Contact/Professional Only) that I think can work if one is ready.
            I stay NC long term by shutting down my fantasy that the “more” is ever coming and by accepting the relationship had gone as far as it could go. But it’s not like an ordinary break-up is it? Because we never really get the chance to the test the affair relationship in real life. So who knows how we would have made out in real life? Lately I am even painfully aware of the fact that I do not think it would be a happy or healthy relationship for me at all even though I was pushing for it.

            I can not understand how I could spend such a long time wanting a man that probably would never make me happy but I did. I know his narcissistic traits were un-healthy for me. And yet I persisted. I am working on this now in therapy but it is really a difficult thing for me. I think the highs of the relationship were just so overpowering I persisted in my fantasy. An affair is an addiction after all. Felk you say you have never had an addiction but affairs are addictions for all of us. An is a mental, emotional, physical, psychological and of course sexual addiction. Even when there is low contact the drive to persist in the belief that the affair will work persists. And the drive to be with the person no matter how infrequently. Even now, it is very easy for me to stir up my mental addiction even while in months of No Contact to my affair partner. This is the reason I don’t like talking about my affair or him anymore.

            I wanted my exMM to leave his W in the end of my affair (over the past few years before I went NC) but before that I did NOT want him to leave. For years, I did not want him to leave. I had young kids and so did he. It was MUCH easier to stay in the affair when I did not want him to leave. But it still was very very hard. And me too, I always wanted “more” as well. “More” for me meant more attention to me, more reaching out to me, more and longer time spent together, more time after sex to just hang out, more time to think about my daily life….so many things etc. But with raising kids and working my time was pretty taken up anyhow.
            In the affair, I was still always waiting for this “more” and hoping it would come. It would cause disagreements between us and he would blame me saying “I knew what I got into” and I always tried to rationalize and to believe him. I never realized how normal it was to want “more.” Therapy helped for this.
            For his part he did not want “more” but he did want the affair. Eventually I got to feeling used by him and blaming him. There was just no easy way out of these feelings it seemed. He would try to be more attentive but then his boundaries around his wife and family would get even tighter too, especially as his adult son began having serious issues. Last fall we spoke a couple of times briefly. He was so very upset I went no contact and he said he was deeply hurt etc. That he needed my support as a friend. This was very hard for me to hear and to say “no” to. But I said NO. I have to take care of ME.
            Otherwise who will? I finally realized I was giving him too much of my life energy.

            Last fall, I tried lifting my barriers by unblocking my phone for a short period of time but it quickly got emotionally overwhelming for me. I was too overwhelmed waiting to see if I would get the casual “hello” text. And I would wait to see if he would bemoan our circumstances or wait for me to do it. Did he still have feelings for me? etc. And the answer always was: Of course he does. Why even bother asking? SO I could not be his “friend” neither his “support”. I could not just be a “friend”. I realized he was asking me too much. And of course he had no intention of leaving his wife and family. That helped a great deal. I thought to myself: This is not my business. He has a wife. I am an outside always. It sucked.
            I went NC again and since then he has not bothered me because of course he can not. (On the other hand he could try another way I suppose.) But I think he knows I am really done this time. I am so done. And being the narcissist that he is, he can not tolerate that I would not want him anymore. I can barely tolerate that myself. I certainly don’t want to have to keep repeating myself to him “NO” as that is really horrible.
            So he stays clear of me because feeling that rejection for him is too much for him to tolerate. Now he knows he can no longer challenge my needs for “more” because he understands I finally have come to respect my needs as much as his and even more.
            And meeting them is something clearly he can not give. As a narcissist he was always banking on good ole empathic compassionate me to put his needs first. And I often did. But no more. I just finally said: “NO.” I am in a group now for women who have gone NC with narcissists. It has helped immensely to see my dynamics in my relationship to a narcissist are very common.

            So between my needing to control my thoughts and emotions and move into a new life and not think about the affair all the time, and his need to be not rejected from me, the pedestal on which I had put him, we are doing better with No Contact than any other way I feel.
            Hugs BAF

          • Felk

            BAF, everything you say makes sense. I get all of the hoping and wanting and then wondering why you’re with someone who doesn’t seem that great. It is amazing how we can simultaneously recognize that our MM have characteristics that would unlikely make them good long-term relationship partners yet we are desperate for their attention and affection. And, yes, that’s addiction. I didn’t mean to imply that I am not addicted to this relationship. I am. I experience withdrawal when we are apart (and brutally experienced it when he ended our relationship (or took a break) in 2017); and I continue despite knowing that it causes me plenty of pain and unhealthy feelings. That is addiction. And it’s all because of the damn highs that I experience when I’m “using.”

            Of course, there are good things about my MM. I don’t want to paint him as a terrible person. He is not. But I do know that he has traits that I would not want in a long-term partner. I know that he is not better for me than my H, and I only got close to considering leaving my H a few years ago when things were getting really intense with my MM and I was pulling away from my H so much that it simply seemed unfair to continue in the marriage. It wasn’t that I thought I’d be happier with my MM, but it was that I was getting to a point where I was struggling to balance both relationships. Now? That break from my MM did help me get a little closer to my H again, and I treat him more fairly now. Of course, I’m still having an affair; but I’m still sure I do not want to leave my H for my MM. And it probably makes it easier for me to put up with my MM’s bad traits because I do have a (good) H.

            I guess I’m less sure about what my MM thinks. The distance he wanted to put between us when he took that “break” was intended to help him work on his marriage and restore some of that balance he felt he lost. I know he feels a better balance now, but I also know he doesn’t feel that his marriage is what it was before the affair started. He still says things to me about how I am the “one” for him, and it makes me wonder if he stays in this affair for that hope and that fantasy. I know he and I both want more. The addiction drives that constant desire for those highs. But, for me, wanting “more” means wanting more time together, more talking, more texting, more holding and touching, but it does not mean wanting to leave my marriage for him. I don’t know what “more” means for my MM because of all the distance he has put into our affair now. I know he wants more with me, and sometimes I think he’s holding out hope for that fantasy of being together eventually. I’m too scared to ask him about that, but I hope he doesn’t want that fantasy. I hope he recognizes it can’t happen. Wanting the fantasy too much is what made him so miserable two years ago, leading up to the break. I am hoping that this time he’s more realistic, but I’m not sure that’s true and it worries me that we’ll just go back to it being too much for him again.

            I think my MM holds onto the fantasy that we will leave our marriages and be together; but I hold onto the fantasy that we will be together and not leave our marriages. Both are fantasies in that the reality is wrought with problems. In his version, are we happy? Are we happy destroying two long-term marriages, hurting people we care about, breaking up his family, etc.? Would we even work well as a real couple? But in my version of the fantasy, are we happy? Are we happy constantly longing for more and often being disappointed when more can’t happen? Am I happy right now? Not really.

            I am not ready to leave, though. Far from it. But you were ready and you did it. Blocking him in all formats is the way to move on. Going to therapy is the way to move on. I’m always saying that we have to make the choices and do the behaviors that get us to what we want. You are doing that. (I am doing that, too… because I still want to be with my MM.) The things you say about saying “no” to your MM are powerful statements. I know how hard it must have been when he was appealing to your friendship. When he was showing vulnerability and showing that he needed you. How tempting it must have been to have this cold/proud man say that he needed you. But I’m SO glad that you saw it as nothing more than him asking you to give more than he was willing to give… once again. It was him asking you to provide for him what he could not provide for you. And that’s no good. But it can be so tempting to feel important to someone, especially this type of man. I feel that about my MM, and I wish I didn’t. I wish I didn’t care that this man who is capable of such coldness can show such warmth to me. I wish I could more clearly feel how messed up that is. I can “see” it’s messed up, but I want HIS attention because he’s the type of man who gives it out sparingly. Instead of feeling good about that, I should recognize that a man who gives it out sparingly is a selfish and emotionally immature man. I know he is. And yet I still want him to choose me. Addiction. Oh, and probably my narcissistic tendencies, too, where I want to feel like I can get this cold/closed man to love only me.

            I have been stronger this time around. That, I know. I am less scared now. But I am still not as strong as I want to be. I will keep working towards that. The best I can do is try to be fair to me and to him, and to try to hold him accountable for treating me well.

          • BAF

            Felk the hardest thing for me in going No Contact is saying NO to him. This was excruciating and I have questioned myself so many times. I have wondered if I was being unfair and if I was being too harsh and too cold etc. etc. How much did I hurt him? etc.
            And each time I think about breaking contact I think about saying “yes” or better yet: the eternal “maybe” instead of no. But then I let some time pass and thankfully my mind goes back to “No” again. It is a lot like quitting alcohol for me. Quite a lot like that.
            Very hard certainly but I am getting used to it. BAF

          • Felk

            BAF, I get this. That’s why saying “no” was so big in moving on for you. I found myself abundantly available for my MM. I mean that in many ways, too. I not only mean rearranging my schedule so we could have time together, but I also mean emotionally – and letting him vent and struggle while I held in my own struggles (not wanting to burden him or being too scared to be honest). I found it very hard to say “no” to my MM. He is a strong personality, and I also thought that I didn’t want to waste time with such things and that I could handle things on my own. This time around, I have been more honest and have actually said “no” at times – by not just letting him share his feelings at the expense of mine. I am less scared now, as we expect would happen as we adjust to the first break-up and know that we can get through it were it to happen again.

            I read something over a year ago, at the beginning of the break-up, about how we will lie to ourselves to stay in a relationship. How we will tell ourselves that we “don’t want to be unfair” or “too harsh” or “just want to be courteous” etc. to justify contacting the person one more time. I am sure you struggled a ton with whether or not you were being fair to him by cutting him off, but what is so hard to realize when we are flooded with emotions is that we do not owe this other person anything. You don’t have to be kind or there for him. The relationship is over and, with that, you don’t have to give anything anymore. But we so desperately want time or contact with the person that it is an easy lie to believe – that we are just being kind to do X. I struggled with this through the break-up so much.

            I do think you have to stay on “no” with your MM. I’m sure the “maybe” is tempting, but I think any contact (still at this point) likely brings back too many emotions and is dangerous. I’m glad you always go back to the “no.” Treating it just like an alcohol addiction seems wise.

    • 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

  • 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

      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

    • 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.

      • 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

  • 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

          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

            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

          • 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

      • 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

  • 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:

  • 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

      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


      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’

  • 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

      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.


      • 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

          • 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)…

    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

        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

        • 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

          • 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.
            BAF. xxxooo

      • LifeLessons


        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.

      • 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.
      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!

      • TTSP

        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!

      • 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

    • TTSP

      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.

      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,

  • 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❤️❤️

    • 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

          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

    • 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

        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

    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.”
    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.

    • 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

    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 situations that come with affairs and as everything this phase will pass too.

    Sending you hugs xxx

    • 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

        • 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?

          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.

          • <