More Like, 'my Affair Had Me'

my affair did have me - for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. it chewed me up, spit me out, and i have yet to recover. we were in love, and probably still are (i definitely am) but ultimately it was my choice to end it - i didnt want to end my marriage for various reasons and knew that this was no way to live. i have ok days and i have terrible days and everything in between and i do a lot of thinking about myself and the men in my heart and love in general. one of the things ive come up with is that the phrase 'im married, not dead' exists for a reason. i think were all susceptible to having feelings for other people, and the reasons we choose to act (even if we didnt 'intend' for it to happen, at some point we still made a choice) on those feelings are deeply personal and varying and yes, sometimes it is indicative of a deeper problem in the marriage and sometimes its indicative of a deeper problem within ourselves. once we do take the next step with someone and find ourselves in a relationship we feel all types of things, some of them having nothing to do with the person were with as much as it seems it is at the time. those of us who think affairs are very uncharacteristic of us will have to do even more mental and emotional acrobatics to justify our feelings, and often those acrobatics involve words like 'soulmate'.

none of this is to say that we dont genuinely feel that way or that we dont ever meet people that may have been a better choice for us than our current/primary partners. but at the end of the day, no matter who were with, we will experience problems and temptations. its so rare that you hear affair stories with happy endings - although there are some out there- and i think that thats in part due to the fact that when people leave one partner for a new one they often do so under the guise of finding this magical one-of-a-kind connection with someone else and maybe dont put in the effort required to maintain a healthy relationship, believing instead that this connection, this love will carry them through. and then, when they begin to experience some of the familiar trials and tribulations of a normal relationship - to include being attracted to other people - its that much more devastating to them, especially as that magical but somewhat contrived based on the situation chemistry/connection/etc the two of them shared is not as dramatic, as intense as it once was.

so my thinking is this. the decisions you make should be about your marriage not about your affair partner. its very very difficult to truly understand what your affair relationship will turn into in the context of 'the daylight', and really there are so many people that you can find yourself attracted to (mentally, emotionally, physically) - the challenge with regular dating is that we make that decision, whether attraction is a possibility, very quickly. we dont have time to truly let things develop. it is so rare that we find that 'love at first sight' connection and even when we do there are often so many reasons to ignore our feelings or write them off when were single and looking for our ideal partner. but the fact that so many affairs blossom between coworkers, neighbors, people we spend significant time with is a testament to the fact that sometimes when we get to know someone, even someone we would never really have been interested in, a kind of chemistry can develop that we cant simply ignore or write off. if you think about it, not since college have we been in a situation where were able to slowly develop feelings for people we know, and as such, as adults when we date we make these snap decisions of yes or no, potential or no potential. then we finally settle down and when we find ourselves once again in a situation where feelings can slowly develop, maybe we read more into those feelings than we should...?

i think those of us who have found ourselves in these dramatic, intense, heartwrenching, soulshaking affairs should consider that many, many people out there live full and happy lives with one person while carrying a muted flame for another. many people have first loves they never truly got doesnt mean theyre not happy with their current partners or even that they'd want to be with those they still think of, but just that life and love and the human heart are very, very complicated things. when we break up with someone it is always devastating and its so hard to imagine life at the end of the tunnel as being anything close to happy again. but it probably will be. look around you, look at what others have gone through, what they've gotten over. so again, it shouldnt be about your affair partner but about your current partner - can i be happy with him/her long term if affair partner isnt/never was in the picture? was this affair about something intrinsic to my primary relationship and can that thing be addressed and fixed? and if it cant, is it a deal breaker?

affairs can sometimes wake us up to see problems in our primary relationships that we were unaware of and i dont think this is a bad thing. i think we owe it to our spouses, if they are truly innocent parties, to try and honor our marriage vows of loyalty and fidelity. at the same time, we owe it to ourselves to be truly happy in life. if our spouses are abusive or a problem is unfixable and a deal breaker, then the affair may have been a well needed wake up call to leave.

my last thought on this is that if you wouldnt be happy with your decision to leave your spouse if the affair partner relationship were to fall through for any reason (to include random death of your new partner - hey you never know) than that is a big red flag that you shouldnt leave. good luck to all of you out there suffering, hurting, confused. i hope we all find the potential for happiness in our lives and are able to realize that potential. may you all be happy and content with all of your decisions.
IJustWantYouToKnowWhoIAm IJustWantYouToKnowWhoIAm
36-40, F
22 Responses Dec 26, 2011

I still love her to is it every really over?

I think most of us in this situation ask the same question over and over.

I find it interesting that people talk about love and affair in the same sentence. There is never anything loving to those who are violated by the knowledge that their partner cheated. That statement may sound black and white but Life is not black and white is it? But here's a thought, be with someone who is of the same mind and believes as you do. Then from the start you both know the rules. A lie can always sound resonable and manipulation can sound like caring. Wanna be a cheater be with a cheater. What I find interesting is that in many affair stories the one who is not walking the walk always wants what is real and true and loving. True love comes from within a person and is a measure of many ingredients of which dishonesty is not one of those ingredients. All affairs are only shadows of love. Your story sounds like all the others except you have mastered the art of sounding reasonable. But, hey, You made it sound pretty good. If your partner shared their story I don't think they would find your story reasonable at all.

The problem with affair is that the cheater always seeking his own desires. Yes, t's your life, you are free to do whatever you want. You have the right to seek your hapiness. But what about your partner's rights?! Is it fair to violate his/her rights?!
Not happy with your marriage?! Then go talk with your partner to solve the problem, or end the relation for good. Don't be so selfish to seek only your happiness and forget your partner's. Be fair, and let him seek his own happiness as well.
OP.. I wish you the best in your marriage. Yes, your affair was wrong. But you did the right thing to end it. I wish you a happy life with your husband.

While I appreciate your well wishes, I must admit that I am envious of one who has lived a life so conducive to black and white thinking of the type your represent in your comment. Must be lovely.

There is no black and white. There is always a hint of gray, and that is what most people do not realize. I feel your pain.

transference and guilt here Ijustwantyoutoknowwhoiam.

Wow this makes so much sense to me. A real eye opener! Thank you so much for sharing!

You make some good points but I disagree with others....I am on the other side, I am a man and a woman co-worker, who is married, sought me out....we had an affair and we both fell in love with each other....but she is now back with him - but we talk everyday and she admits that I am the better man....

It is hell when you are the other person because when the married person goes back to their spouse, "we" are left alone again....we have to cope with all the pain by hurts like hell knowing the person you love is in the arms of their spouse again...

i'm sorry for what you're going through and i can imagine how much that hurts. the fact that she sought you out and then went back to him must make you feel almost tricked or cheated - i truly am sorry. i can't speak for her but i do know from my own experience that it sometimes is more complicated than it seems and it isn't always your choice to make. you will move in time, but despite what you see right now, her heart may always be stuck.

i'm not sure what you disagree with in my story, but to clarify, he was married too and he sought me out. and while yes, i was the one who made the choice not to leave my husband, i miss my friend every single day and will always love him. but like i said, its not always your choice to make. life is complicated. not everyone gets a happy ending.

I find your comments those of a genuinely honest, intelligent and forthright person. You are right there is no easy path through this thing called life and we all suffer in relationships that are not in the least perfect.
Yes, we can try to make all things amenable by accommodation, but we often fail often but divorce, when children are involved, presents a different dynamic and one that cannot be easily accommodated.

Dalliances are those momentary escapes into a fantasy land trying to reclaim those childhood expectations now long diminished. They can however, if not handled properly and without a set rules of engagement make life even more complicated.

I wish you well and fully understand your motivation and solutions to your dilemma.

I'm positive that the pain you feel and being alone with it are exactly what her husband was feeling when she left him for you... if not more. It's just so very sad for everyone involved.

Sorry for your pain. I guess that's the risk one takes when they are OK with having an affair with someone who is "making themselves seem available" but they really AREN'T? The pain I put my husband through was WAY more important to me that the pain i put the man I had an affair with, through. He knew what he was getting in to. My husband was blind-sided. It's complicated and ugly, but looking at it truthfully is the only way to heal. There are lots of reasons people cheat and lots of reasons why they go back to their spouses.

Well, what did you think was gona happen. I think the 2 of you should be together go fight for her. Prove to her you are the better man and you will never let her go. Why dont you do some reasearch about affairs and educate yourself about them. It will help you to see the truth about what affairs are really about. You can continue to suffer hanging on to a lie or set yourself free. Stop talking to her and you will be amazed in 90 days how different you feel. You might even realize that you dont want to be the kind of person who hurts others so selfishly and realize just how selfish your lover (not) was. I know you may think me abrupt here but I am saying this for your own good. Become what it is you are looking for and you will attract something real. OW just want your body and you feed her ego, that is not love.

2 More Responses

Well said.

This is a good share. thank you. Time, opportunity, and proximity. The ingredients to all relationships licit or otherwise. But in the end if you are married, and you choose to stay married then definitely you must give it your all, really focus on the marriage, give your spouse the TOP that you need to actually have a relationship.

It just takes time to get back in your marriage after the affair. It takes time to readjust to the high you get with your mm. I'm trying so hard. Some days are better than others.

Educate yourself about what an affair is really about. If you went outside the marriage find out why you did and don't stop until you get the answers that will help you. Books, counseling... if your marriage needs changes find out what they are and talk about it. Be brave. What do you have to lose. You could gain true joy and find happiness in your marriage, or, if there is really something wrong that won't change then you will at least know what it is and beable to make a decision about what to do about it.

Indeed some days are better than others, I think I know how you feel on that score.

i wish you both luck with moving forward and coming to a place where you are satisfied. for me, its not a matter of transferring time and attention etc from one relationship to another.

I believe you are talking about true intimacy here. There is never intimacy without honesty.

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Thanks for the advice and great story. I've never had an affair and probably never will. BUT I'm already having marital problems so now I know what to consider before I even think about having an affair. Cheers!

Please, don't entertain the thought. It changes your life. Keep your innocence about you. Please.

Don't get me wrong quietstorm48 I have thought about it but I will never have an affair. You posted great advice and it is something that I will keep in mind when I think about what it would be like to have an affair.

all marriages have problems. Confront your husband and tell him you are unhappy. Work it out and hang in for as long as you can. But if you are that unhappy that an affair sounds good then leave. Very few affairs, if any, ever make a person happier.

Great story and advice indeed!!

This has to be one if the best summations out there. Thank you

thank you! it helps to know others relate, when you are going through this it feels like you are the only one in the world who knows this pain.

There's a lot of us walking this road.

thanks for your story. I am going through this right now. Have been having an affair with a wonderful man who is married. I am married too. I have always doubted my husbands fidelity, there have been some real iffy fibs and things I found out, lots of secret female freinds and I think he has always had serial flings or at least emotional affairs. I never had anything concrete til 4 months ago then I found out he was seeing someone for definite. I have been seeing my other man a work collegue and freind for 18 months on and off. A couple of weeks ago he finished with me which is the 3 rd time for the same reason that he doesnt want to/cant leave and though he loves me he cant live the double life involved in the affair. I think he means emotionally and physically, theres not enough time and emotionally its very draining. Everytime we are together its ok for a while and then 6 months in it feels like I need more and I want him to give more time, or leave or stop with all the car park meetings and have a proper relationship and he cant do this. It hurts to say he chooses his life and not me but he has kids and I know Im being selfish. i love him but wonder what might have been. I like my life but dont love my husband. I wouldve liked a family life with my other man but he made made me no promises. he says he loves me and doesnt regret it as he has good memories. I do regret it though. If I had my time over I would have kept the freindship and not complicate it with sex. Affairs are full of intensity of feeling and I have said and behaved differently than I ever would have in marriage and I believe my other man did too. Like escapism, there is a drama going on all the time and a battle to see each other and keep it secret. I love him and miss him but craved a normal relationship with him. Maybe I was looking for a way out of my own circumstances. I wish most of the time we had kept our strong freindship though as I have had to go no contact or it will rip me apart and Ive lost my best freind in many ways. affairs are addictive and in the midst of it you talk yourself into it being reality but it really cant. The longest I spent with my lover in the last year was 3 and half hours. It was days after this he ended it and he says hes done the right thing. I love him but the right thing to do is let go x

hey, sorry to hear what you're going through. i can imagine how much it hurts to be able to see a better life but have it right outside your grasp. maybe your relationship with this guy is not meant to be but he is there to show you you can have more than you currently do. it doesnt sound like you have children and you say you dont love your husband...are you considering leaving and trying to find someone you do love, who can satisfy you? if not, why?

wow.....i can relate to so much of what you are saying. My 'affair'.....if you could call it that was emotionally intense...highs, lows rows, appologies......none of which happen in my marriage. I felt so alive with these feelings. My marriage is a very even keel, which some people would crave.....but it gets very boring. I guess its the drama of it all i miss xx

my friend and i didnt fight that much, certainly no huge blow outs, although the dramatic partings were certainly low...but i dont know maybe it would have been different if we had been together. its funny you mention it bec ive thought about this a few times actually, my marriage has no passion but is full of love, love like family. and in my other relationship, passion would be appropriate to describe the physical part of our relationship but we were really best friends, in a way that i always yearned to feel with someone. but i wonder sometimes if that emotional bond was appropriately mature either....or if a lifetime of unhealthy love is catching up to me and im reliving the right stages at the wrong times...

Thank you for writing such a thoughtful story. It is very helpful to me. I am thinking of having an affair mysel. The opportunity is here, and if I let myself just become guided by my passions, I could easily let myself fall in and be carried away. But I have hit the "pause" button. I'm in a 30 year marriage, and I love my wife dearly, and I do not want to threaten that relationship. At the same time, I am lonely for affection; my wife is not interested in that; we rarely are passionate with one another. I am torn and pulled in different directions. It is nerve-wracking. I'm not moving ahead on this until I get some more clarity.

good luck. i will admit, i do feel grateful for my affair, for having the opportunity to have a relationship like that. i am not in a loveless marriage by any stretch of the imagination but it is a marriage completely devoid of passion or even the hint of sexuality, or even true intimacy. i dont know how i will go through the rest of my life this way but i am grateful for the opportunity to have shared a 'healthy' relationship with someone else. i wish you luck. sometimes things just cant be perfect and you have to make the most of what you have.

Thank you for responding. It is a real dilemma for me, and I struggle trying to figure out what to do. It is good to hear that you feel that having an intimate relationship outside of your marriage has enriched your life and that you got to experience a relationship with passion and intimacy. That is just what I am yearning for. I crave close physical intimacy with someone.

My affair destroyed my family. I will never forgive myself for being so selfish and STUPID.

Hate to just quote so much of the original story, but it's just so damn true! - and anyone thinking of straying should read it, and read it again: <br />
<br />
"its so rare that you hear affair stories with happy endings - although there are some out there- and i think that thats in part due to the fact that when people leave one partner for a new one they often do so under the guise of finding this magical one-of-a-kind connection with someone else and maybe dont put in the effort required to maintain a healthy relationship, believing instead that this connection, this love will carry them through. and then, when they begin to experience some of the familiar trials and tribulations of a normal relationship - to include being attracted to other people - its that much more devastating to them, especially as that magical but somewhat contrived ba<x>sed on the situation chemistry/connection/etc the two of them shared is not as dramatic, as intense as it once was." <br />
<br />
Also, when one leaves A for B, and the "familiar trials and tribulations" set in, it's very common for A to begin to look really tempting again. Funny how that works.

I am touched by this story. It is so so similar to mine however I am further down the line now. It has been dramatic, turbulent and bumpy and the aftershocks are still there but I have managed to spend a lot of time working on me. I discovered that my husband was loving, faithful and helpful and it was my own fears, doubts and insecurities which eventually led to my problems. It's funny how despite wanting something so much your own bs can get in the way to destroy it at the same time. The biggest thing is fighting the guilt now and the lingering habit of thinking and overthinking, although this experience has been the greatest catalyst for change I have ever had both personally and within my marriage and in time to come I think the lessons will be well worth it, already I can feel stronger and like I'm coming out the other side better. I was afraid when I got married, I doubted my decisions and I felt like it probably couldn't last because of my fears and feelings, now however I feel like we are strong, united and I feel healthier in my head. I am not afraid of the future anymore and despite the pain the best journey I ever took (and am still very much on) is that of getting to know someone very close to me, myself. I hope to retake our vows one day but this time in confidence, joy, security and with faith in myself and my decisions.<br />
<br />
Good luck to everyone. May all who have walked this very painful path learn, grow, love and reach new heights.<br />
<br />

Love this. Over thinking kills a person from the inside. I'm working on myself as well. I'm starting to feel much better

Very well written. Your story helps me. Thank you.

Your post is awesome. I have a similar story but am having a hard time getting over it. <br />
<br />
Are you still around? Would love to chat....

So, to understand correctly did you say your back raising your kid from H#2 with husband #1?

Many years ago I heard that how you get together with your mate is how your relationship will end. As a woman that left her primary mate (great term) out of sheer lack of sexual compatibility for me anyway, ten years later after leaving him, I found that the saying about "how you meet is how you will break up" was certainly true in my case. My second husband also left his primary mate too. I was his fourth wife. What was I thinking? I escaped the abuse but the scars are still there. However I was blessed with my only child through this second marriage so she is definitely the silver lining that was around the 'cloud' of that marriage. He married 6 times. Me, twice was enough.

amethyst, im sorry for what youve gone through and im glad for you that you have your beautiful child. re: the second ex husband, hind sight is always 20/20. did you regret leaving the first marriage in the long run though?

At times I did. But after the birth of my baby I knew it was part of a bigger plan that included us both. Single motherhood is tough. I had many troubles. But would do it again to have her. She is All My World and is my greatest blessing. So no, for that reason alone. However the abuse of my ex proved my favorite saying is true. As Above So Below. The Lowest of Lows combined with The Highest of Highs. She has thanked me for leaving her dad as she was barely 8 when we escaped while he was at work. My life would be much poorer without her in it. I believe I was meant to be a mother as my 1st mate and I didn't want to have children. My 2nd mate already had 4 kids. He wasn't a good provider so I went from "living easy" to "living tough." But I love who I am now as I learned much when money was not my focus and the things that it could buy. I learned that it is what we cannot touch is important in life. Love, wisdom, knowledge. Can't touch them but truly nothing else really matters. So there were regrets as he was a kind man and do wish that I would have left my abusive 2nd mate and raised my baby with my 1st mate as I believe he would have been a wonderful father. But my daughter and I are tight as glue as we have shared everything together, both good and not-so-good things. So the greatest love came from my greatest pain. Thanks for asking and bless you.

thank you! im glad you got your beautiful daughter out of it, and maybe youre right, its all part of the divine plan as you would not have had any children had you stayed with your first husband. you should be proud to know that you are a good example for your daughter - teaching her that while love is complicated and messy, it exists, but more than that, when its wrong youre better off alone. i cant tell you how many people i see repeating the mistakes of their parents - but more often when their parents dont understand their mistakes in the first place. i wish you and your daughter luck and future happiness.

Well, we R human, and only live once. Lets try not 2 live only with the regrets of an affair. Everybody takes something positive from an affair, a lesson, passion, love, sex, intimacy, whatever it was, IT taught us a lesson so it was positive. Remember the positive instead of how or why the affair ended.

Very well written, I'm shocked that nobody has posted comments. My wife and I completed 100 hours of couple's (group) therapy and every couple in our group was dealing with infidelity. Yet all of them were not ready 2 give up on their marriages even is the pain and suffering was unbearable. <br />
In our group we had a wife in her forties whose affair had ended the previous month and she was on Xanax to deal with the pain... She was taking so much Xanax that she was almost catatonic. Every time she spoke U could feel her ex-lover in her thoughts, and in her heart. Her therapy took a long time but she recovered. No more pills, just the scars and the opportunity to patch things up with her husband. <br />
I'm not an expert, but I would venture to say that this particular woman will never, ever, be able to fully recover from her affair. But she functions well and is a loving mother to her kids and tries to be a good wife to her husband.

well i hope well all be able to recover and live full lives free of regret....good luck to you and your wife as well...thanks for your comment and added insight.