It's over... my story of how emotional affairs ended my marriage
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Old 06-16-2010, 09:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy It's over... my story of how emotional affairs ended my marriage

My wife of many years had four (that I know of) emotional affairs over the last five years of our marriage. The first time, I noticed her chatting in an online game with a particular man ALL the time. Just constantly. She insisted it to be platonic, and I believed her at first, but the suspicion grew. Eventually I broke down and read some chat logs & found that I was right to be suspicious (I'll spare the details). I confronted her, she apologized, said she gave into the fantasy of it, and I forgave her. We moved on, but a sliver of the distrust stayed with me. Now, repeat the above situation three more times, almost verbatim. The second and third times were with a second man who came along (also from an online game), and then a fourth time with yet another man, an old friend of hers. Each time I confronted her, each time she apologized, each time I forgave her, and each time a bit more of the distrust stayed with me.

At the beginning of this year, she began being more and more close with a (single) male friend of hers. She insisted it was platonic, but there was just so much communication between them (texts/phone calls) and she was so secretive about it that I couldn't see it possibly being anything innocent. Lots of "i'm going out to the store" and a corresponding phone call to him during the time she was gone. Over these months I became obsessed over checking phone records & chat logs - many times a day some days. I invented ideas in my head (e.g. what if my children aren't really mine?). Every time her phone would buzz, I would cringe. Though I never found specific proof that there was anything inappropriate going on, and she never confessed to anything, the situation recently finally became too much for me to bear - I broke down and confessed all the monitoring/spying I had done and after a lot of tears we both came to the sad realization that no amount of therapy or marriage counseling would ever persuade me to trust her again.

The divorce is proceeding, and I have to say this: at first I was a wreck. The shock & initial pain were almost unbearable. However... they've quickly worn off, and my judgment is clearer now than it has been in years. I can see that, while it's sad, this is the best possible thing that could have happened for me, because the now the distrust is gone and I can live a real life.

I hope I don't sound like I'm advocating divorce. I'm not. What I'm saying is this: Don't make the same mistake I did. I told her I forgave her, each time, but it wasn't true forgiveness. It was just a way to smooth things over. Before our marriage ended, it looked fine on the surface but was rotten underneath.

People make mistakes, and people deserve forgiveness. Nobody is perfect. But through it all, you CANNOT go through life with distrust in your heart. The stress will eat away at you and you will be absolutely *miserable*. If you have secrets, get them out. Like getting an infection out of a wound. If you have doubts, get them out. If the doubts don't go away, don't hide from them or be ashamed of them. Talk more. Don't let your spouse tell you that you're paranoid, because the feelings are REAL. Your feelings of doubt and distrust are REAL whether you're right or not. Talk through it, get help now, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

If only someone had told me this 5 years ago.

C
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: It's over... my story of how emotional affairs ended my marriage

Don't worry..it would have ended in a PA if it already hasn't happened..technology can be a real marriage killer.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: It's over... my story of how emotional affairs ended my marriage

I feel for you. Its really very hard to forget and trust completely again especially if the one who betrayed you is the person you love the most.
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Old 06-16-2010, 11:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: It's over... my story of how emotional affairs ended my marriage

5 years is not enough time to know each other better. Learn more about her. Sometimes the only barrier that makes things complicated is because of lack of communication. Issues can be resolved only if there's a channel that will help clarify the conflicts and there will be solutions to be decided and implemented.
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Old 06-17-2010, 12:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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5 years is not enough time to know each other better. Learn more about her. Sometimes the only barrier that makes things complicated is because of lack of communication. Issues can be resolved only if there's a channel that will help clarify the conflicts and there will be solutions to be decided and implemented.
Thanks Marga. Actually the major breakdown happened on our tenth anniversary. The affairs didn't start until after 5 years.
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: It's over... my story of how emotional affairs ended my marriage

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My wife of many years had four (that I know of) emotional affairs over the last five years of our marriage.

...after a lot of tears we both came to the sad realization that no amount of therapy or marriage counseling would ever persuade me to trust her again.
and

Quote:
... What I'm saying is this: Don't make the same mistake I did. I told her I forgave her, each time, but it wasn't true forgiveness. It was just a way to smooth things over. Before our marriage ended, it looked fine on the surface but was rotten underneath.

People make mistakes, and people deserve forgiveness. Nobody is perfect. But through it all, you CANNOT go through life with distrust in your heart. The stress will eat away at you and you will be absolutely *miserable*. If you have secrets, get them out. Like getting an infection out of a wound. If you have doubts, get them out. If the doubts don't go away, don't hide from them or be ashamed of them. Talk more. Don't let your spouse tell you that you're paranoid, because the feelings are REAL. Your feelings of doubt and distrust are REAL whether you're right or not. Talk through it, get help now, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise...
Cthru I would like to point out something to you just to be sure that you (and some folks here) are not carrying a burden that isn't theirs to carry.

Your wife committed adultery FOUR TIMES during your marriage. Each time she committed adultery, she did not take the steps necessary to look at herself, admit what she was doing wrong, and change herself. Neither did she do the work to reconcile the marriage and rebuild trust!

Instead, she did the exact same pattern over and over...and destroyed more trust each time.


The reason I point this out is that I agree, it will eat you up inside if you have to live the life of checking on your spouse and not trusting them. BUT I think this is really important: in order to trust them, they have to act in a trustworthy manner!!!!!

It is 100% REASONABLE for you to distrust her. She treated you dishonestly and did not act in a way that built trust! In fact, she acted in a way that directly and deliberately DESTROYED trust. So the fact that you were distrusting is not a "fault" that you have as an individual, and I personally do not believe you should feel guilt for responding in a way that is perfectly reasonable and normal. It's situational distrust.


This reminds me a little bit of what a disloyal will say (in righteous indignation) when the loyal spouse exposes the affair at work: "How DARE YOU drag my name through the mud at work!!" No it's not the loyal spouse telling the people at work that drags the name through the mud--it's the disloyal spouse choosing to commit adultery! Telling the truth does not do harm.

It's very similar here. The disloyal says, "How DARE YOU tell me you forgive me and then violate my privacy by snooping! You must have a trust issue!" Nope. It's not that the loyal is paranoid or has a psychological issue--the disloyal actually behaved in a TRUST-DESTROYING WAY!
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: It's over... my story of how emotional affairs ended my marriage

Well done, cthru. It must have taken guts to realise the truth about the future and to take steps to end your sham of a marriage.

Good luck in the future. I hope you meet the person you deserve to meet.
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: It's over... my story of how emotional affairs ended my marriage

Thank you all for your input, it's been really helpful.

I realized the title of my post was wrong. Emotional affairs didn't end my marriage. It was my wife's unwillingness to respect our marriage and my inability to recognize the problem until it was too late.

There's a reason someone coined the term "seven year itch." It happens to every relationship, at least a little. She was just not mature enough to resist the temptation, and I wasn't strong enough to insist that we fix the problem when it began.

Be strong.
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Old 06-17-2010, 05:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: It's over... my story of how emotional affairs ended my marriage

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Originally Posted by cthru View Post
Thank you all for your input, it's been really helpful.

I realized the title of my post was wrong. Emotional affairs didn't end my marriage. It was my wife's unwillingness to respect our marriage and my inability to recognize the problem until it was too late.

There's a reason someone coined the term "seven year itch." It happens to every relationship, at least a little. She was just not mature enough to resist the temptation, and I wasn't strong enough to insist that we fix the problem when it began.

Be strong.
You are! Well done, cthru.
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Old 06-17-2010, 07:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: It's over... my story of how emotional affairs ended my marriage

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People make mistakes, and people deserve forgiveness. Nobody is perfect.
C
I would like to clarify something about this statement. To me, if someone expresses genuine remorse, tells the truth about what it is they are doing that violates their marriage vows, AND promises to not do those things again (and actually keep that promise), then forgiveness may be granted and a reconciliation worked on.

If those steps are not taken? Then what is the point of forgiveness?
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Old 06-17-2010, 09:21 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I would like to clarify something about this statement. To me, if someone expresses genuine remorse, tells the truth about what it is they are doing that violates their marriage vows, AND promises to not do those things again (and actually keep that promise), then forgiveness may be granted and a reconciliation worked on.

If those steps are not taken? Then what is the point of forgiveness?
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Old 06-17-2010, 10:19 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: It's over... my story of how emotional affairs ended my marriage

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If those steps are not taken? Then what is the point of forgiveness?
The point of forgiveness is to clear the present of the shadows of the past. What the one forgiven does with that forgiveness is up to them - but the one doing the forgiving is showing a willingness to move onward.

You can always forgive - but it does not mean that you have to live as though nothing happened. It just means that you no longer hold past actions against the person you forgave. You can certainly use your knowledge of how they acted in the past as information to help in the decisions you make now (and in the future...)
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