Can A Relationship That Started As An Affair Become A Healthy And Successful Relationship?

I had an affair. I was married, they were single (divorced many years ago). It started as a friendship. The friendship grew. We had a common interest which allowed for seeing one another in a group setting on a regular basis. From the moment we met we had a connection. I can't explain it. We were drawn to one another. We brought out something in one another and everyone could see it, even before we could. People assumed we'd been friends for years, even after we first met, because being together was so natural and easy. They always made me smile, and I did the same for them. We would joke and flirt, but it was harmless, or so we both thought. The comfortable friendship grew over the course of a few years. In time I came to realize I was looking forward to seeing them. Turns out they felt the same way. Being around them was effortless, comfortable, they felt like home. I couldn't wait to see them and hated to leave, as did they. We only saw each other in the group setting and were never alone. Yet, when we were together it was like everyone else disappeared, it was just us, and nothing else mattered. We began texting occasionally and would see each other once a week at our common activity. We talked about our lives, our families, we opened up and shared with one another. We became good friends. And of course there was plenty of flirting and inuendo. Before I knew it I craved being with them.

One night after they made a flirtatious comment I admitted to them I think about them more than I should. They in turn admitted they too had feelings. We knew we couldn't act on the feelings and that it was wrong. I had never even looked twice at another in the many years my spouse and I had been together. Now, this friend became all I could think about. When I was with them I felt like I was finally the person I was supposed to be. I felt emotions I didn't know I was capable of having. I've never felt so confident and vulnerable all at the same time. They made me feel alive, like I mattered, like I was wanted. My marriage had problems and had problems for years but I didn't want to admit it. The intensity and desire between my friend and I grew more and more until one day we finally gave in to them.

It was supposed to be just a kiss. You can tell a lot about a person by the first kiss. If the first kiss was bad then we would know there was nothing and we could let all the sexual tension go and go back to being friends. Oh but that first kiss...words cannot describe it. The kiss ignited a desire we couldn't contain. Once we gave in, it overpowered us on every level emotionally, physically, spiritually...We became deeply in love, yet both struggled because we knew it was wrong and yet every ounce of our being together felt right. The physical was the most intense exhilirating experience either of us have ever had or knew was even possible. Even more so was the emotional. The desire to sit on the couch and cuddle or just watch tv was equal to the desire to make passionate love. It was never about just sex, althought the sex was mind boggling & earth shattering! It was companionship, love, sex, joy, happiness, intrigue, emotional, comfort, friendship; it was real and raw and beautiful. One of my most fondest memory was just laying in each other's arms, on the couch (fully clothed), with a gentle kiss to the forehead. It was simple and peaceful and so pure. Being together was everything either of us ever wanted. It was truly love. We saw a future together.

After a few months the desire to be with one another more and more was so intense it was killing us. We knew we had to stop, although we didn't want to, because the guilt and desire were too much. We knew it was wrong and tried to stop a few times but kept getting drawn back into each other. They were the better person and broke it off, telling me they would always desire to be with me and love me but they could never ask me to leave my spouse and that I needed to figure out what was best for me. They loved me enough to give me what I needed instead of what I wanted. I was reluctant and kept trying to find ways back to them, but they kept to the moral high ground. We continued to be friends. They still continued to let me know in little ways they desired and cared about me, but never crossing a line. We still texted and flirted some, but not as much as we had.

After the physical affair had ended I really took a look at why I strayed and what I really wanted. The friend and I stopped talking for a few months to allow me to work on my marriage. My spouse and I separated. Not because of the affair (they still don't know), but because our marriage was broken. Prior to the affair I wasn't strong enough to leave my marriage. I was complacent and felt stuck. The affair was what I needed in order for me to face my marital problems.We went to counseling. When that didn't work I filed for divorce. After many months of not seeing or talking to each other, the friend and I began talking again prior to my filing. Mainly just every day friend stuff, nothing too intense, but the intense feelings still existed between us. They've been keeping a safe distance, being a friend, but nothing more, no inuendo or flirting. We admitted to one another the friendship is difficult because we both still have feelings. The divorce was amicable and mutualy agreed upon. When my divorce became final the friend pulled away. They blamed themself for my divorce. They felt they stole me away, felt guilty, and struggle with feeling wrong when they see me. I know I left my spouse for me and because the marriage wasn't healthy. I explained that to the friend. If I never see or speak to my friend again, I won't regret leaving my marriage. Even though the affair was wrong, I'm thankful for it, for what I've learned. I didn't leave for them, I left for me.

The friend told me I need time to heal and to get comfortable with my new life before I can be in a relationship. At first I took this as rejection, but upon further reflection I took it to mean they still want the relationship, but are putting aside their wants for my needs. We continue to be friends, but at a distance for now. At first it hurt that they didn't want to just jump into a relationship with me. But then I realized how much they must care for me to give me what I need even when it's not what either of us want. They remain single and still care for me and want to be with me. They don't want to be the reason I divorced (or blamed by others), they don't want to be the rebound, and they don't want to pursue a relationship until I have had the time I need to heal, even if I don't realize I need or want the time. They said they know from their own experiences that I need time. They still find subtle ways to show they care, but do so from a distance. They obviously care about me to not take advantage of the situation or of me. If we rush into it, it won't be successful and we will both get hurt.

They're patiently waiting for the right time. My question is, can that happen? Can there be a right time? Is timing truly everything? We love and care for one another and only want what is best for each other. If they set me free will they come back to me or allow me to come back to them? Our friendship remains in tact and our feelings still exist. Is it possible that one day down the road when the timing is right we can try to be together the right way, even though we started out together the wrong way?
AffairtoRemember AffairtoRemember
10 Responses Jul 30, 2012

I know exactly how you feel. I am currently in the midst of an affair with a man who has been engaged to his fiancee for six years and I've been married for two years. My problem is, I don't know how this other man really feels about me. He says he loves me, that he has thought about us being together, having a future together, but he's still with his fiancee, and he's told me we couldn't leave our significant others because it would kill us both, but I don't know if I can risk staying in a marriage where I am unhappy or risk being with this other man. And then there's the issue of me not knowing his true feelings for me and whether or not he really wants to make this work between us.

This is hitting me so hard because i am in the exact same situation, almost to a T, other than i am the single guy who just recently stepped back to allow her to attempt to fix her home life. She is married to an alcoholic who cheated on her right after they got married 3 years ago, they dont have that deep connection and she feels stuck. I hope with everything inside me that it will work and i have to give her space. Not sure if you are still there but i would love to ask you a few questions.

I don't know if you are still here. What happened?

this was beautiful and emotional to read. I too have realized problems in my relationship for years. Just started a new job and meeting this coworker who instantly clicked with me. Within the first 2 shifts we had we were sharing our troubled pasts. Who does that? lol. I think about him every day. I look forward to working with him. I fantasize about a relationship with him. I need the emotional security that I have never had with my partner. But I feel stuck now that I have a child. Your story is what I dream about every night. It's what I hope can someday happen to me with this man, and I know it's wrong but you know what? there are so many people to meet on this earth. Even if you are taken, who's to say you are happy? You might just bump into someone who can make you feel whole. That is something that I would leave a marriage for. This story also affirms my decision to not get married. I do not want to be tied to anyone via paperwork and go through that whole ordeal. I wish you luck with everything. By the sounds of it, this new man is going to be incredible for you and he is showing so much restraint in the name of love. Just keep waiting it out. He would have really stepped out of your life drastically if he didn't want you anymore. He is just giving you time :)

Thank you for sharing. If he is the right one, then it will work. Good luck x

I think you are wise in how you are going about it. You do need to heal. I want to take for your post because it sounds so much like what my love is feeling. We had known each other since we were 13. We have through the years bumped to each other and I will admit there are has been a click each time. However, there would years pass, then facebook came along...and well I am totally in love with this man. I have been divorced several years. I am not still sure I want to marry. He left his stay with me. Not a well thought out plan. The marriage part had been over for awhile, but the connection of the years and family was not. I don't think he saw that...although I warned him. I never asked him to leave...I would have never asked that. I actually tried to encourage his marriage before he left...but anything happened. I had too...if I was a true friend. I even distanced us. Somehow we always ended back together. It is terrible to have such a thing to become public. His wife made sure everyone knew it...and that it was me. That was her right. An affair was never my intention. He and I lived together for a short time...and after an agrument he moved out. Now if I tell you that I don't miss him...I do. I know that some of you think that this is my punishment...let me tell you there will never ever be another person that love this much. NEVER! But if I don't let him heal, our relationship will never work. Now we do see each is a slower pace...He and I of course are paying our dues, and will have to answer for this. I hope that one day he finds he way back. I think he will. I have to let him do this. We stay in contact often. If I needed him, he would be right here. We still spend the night together on occasion, but not what you think. I think just holding each other is so comforting. It happens, it is wrong, but no one is a saint. So I am hopeful that one day, we will be together....even if this is the way it will be...I love him...and I know he loves me..that is all that matters.

What you describe in your story sounds similar to mine in how you feel and how it developed. I am the woman who has told him to figure out his life. He is desperate that I might not be available once he is single. But fact is, I love him deeply. After being widowed and knowing him for years already, I am not envisioning that any man will be able to step in and win my heart with the security and intensity that this man has. I would be very interested to know if this love of yours worked out. I am having a hard time envisioning her waiting much longer to be with you. She sounds very staunch. I have sent my man away but only because I WANT him so much, I want to have him in the way that will set us up for the best success given our beginnings and our previous family involvements. He wants to marry me, be a father to my son and have me be a mother who can nurture his children (his wife is not an emotionally connected nurturing person). He will likely end up with most of his kids and his wife will likely be rational about the split as she is that kind of person and so is he. What happened to your love? Please give an update and I hope it's good news!

I am truly thankful for your post, I believe your experience has helped me to put the pieces together in my relationship life. I wasn't sure how to evaluate what's been going on, where to begin -but this experience is written so well that I understand how everything fits.
Yes, it's usually about how whomever is having the affair is in a relationship or marriage where they feel unfulfilled, but I needed to see beyond that. What the "other" means to me and why, how long they have had meaning in my life, and what happens when I end the broken relationship. What I need to do for myself.

Your post isn't a map for someone to read and follow, but it helps find the answers he or she needs in his or herself.

I was looking for other experiences like this affair was discovered after only 2 months, but even though I ended my marriage right away, he waffled back and forth for a year and a half. We've been together a year (as soon as he filed) and their divorce still isn't final. Things on my side are going pretty well (my friends are accepting, my kids love him, I get along ok with my ex) but I still haven't met his kids, his ex has a hysterical fit any time I cross her mind, and his family refuses to meet me...he says things will get better with time, but I feel nauseous when I think about trying to continue to build a relationship with this much baggage....

Can I ask how you are doing now? Im going through something similar now. It never croased my mind that i would fall in love w a man that claimed his marriage was over anf was separated. Both of us a year and a half. out from separate from our ex's. On my end my ex and I both understood it was a blessing to move on w life. On his end, separated but divorced now final was of 6 months but in a huge state of depression. He turned around and cheated on me w her. My heart aches. He apologizes profusely. That he has now hurt both of us but is madly in love w me. I don't know what to do.

Sorry for the typos. My phone changes words on me.

I think so i married the man i had an affair with love him with all my heart but there's always a thought is he going to cheat on me the way he did with his wife to be with me i dont know if its true what comes around goes around