I was in a workplace affair 25 years ago. I loved my husband, we had a great sex life, he was/is very handsome and had a great body. We had a ton of fun together and had started a family. The only thing at that point that was missing was real intimate conversation. We were busy, it wasnt his thing, and I needed it desperately. I did tell him this often but it came off as whining or neediness I think. What I SHOULD have done was get him to MC where we could have figured out how to meet each others needs properly and learn to communicate and love in a mature fashion.
What happened instead was a coworker saw a vulnerability in me and worked at it. He figured out that need for conversation and provided it- as a friend, then as a good friend. Soon he became the person I saved my thoughts and stories for. He seemed to "get" me so perfectly....We socialized in groups together- still innocent nothing going on here just friends...eventually we acknowledge we cared for each other but would never cross any boundaries- I loved my husband. Then we were out as a group, crossed the line, I vowed never to cross it again but the fog by then is pretty thick. The dopamine is roaring through you and you feel like an addict that cant do without. Because I was immature and selfish and lazy and feel good driven I continued.
I never thought of what it could do to my family or my husband. Not once-except somewhere in the back of my head i knew not to go PIV or oral as I thought that might be a deal breaker for him if he found out. I never wanted to leave my H. I wanted my cake and to eat it too. I wanted - like a selfish child-everything I wanted.
I broke the A up after about 6 mos because I couldnt take the psychological dysfunct of it all. My actions were not on parallell with my values, my love for my husband, or the view I had of myself and my marriage. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. It brought me to my knees to pray for the strength to do it. I did it. I went to confession where I was told to say some hail mary's and be a good wife, I went to IC where I was told to keep it to myself as it would serve no purpose except to hurt H. I didnt tell. I lived with that secret and it prevented me from having a full loving relationship with H. After coming on TAM for other reasons - I suspected H of having an EA with a coworker- I read all the threads and realized the true depth of what I had done to him and how wrong and selfish it was to keep that knowledge from him. I had never truly thought about how it would make him feel knowing what i had done but I realized I owed it to him so I disclosed.
His feelings and his pain were identical to yours even 25 years later. It was as if I'd shoved a knife in his heart and kept twisting it all through the day every day. A little less and less as time has gone by. I promised I would tell him whatever details he wanted to know and I would be honest no matter how much it shamed me -we both felt physically sick -I told him I would do whatever it took to help him feel safe within the marriage- take a poly, give him access to my phone, etc..I told him very honestly that I never loved this guy- I loved the way he made me feel (seen and heard) at a time when I was feeling invisible within the marriage. I knew I would never allow myself to REPEAT my infidelity. I NEVER did before or after that guy. It was situational- I realized what I wanted was for my H to give me what I was getting from OM. I never wanted anyone else I only wanted MORE from my H. I also realized that I was capable of doing what I did so put safeguards in place so it would never happen again. MC, IC, no OS friendships...
In the beginning H felt like you- he often felt like throwing up and sometimes physically did. He cried away from me, yelled at me and called me names and swore. He had never done that before. He wanted to leave me but didnt want to. H often tells me that he is still hurting (a year and a half later)and trying to deal with the pain I caused. We have been going to MC, IC, a weekend marriage retreat, I went to an IC relationship retreat on my own, we have read books, church based marital therapy courses....(this was also in an effort to deal with his recent EA)
It is a rollercoaster of emotions. Not an easy road. We BOTH know we love each other still and want to be together. What we didnt know and are still figuring out is how to get there in a healthy way. We want a better marriage, a more intimate marriage, a happier marriage where WE learn to meet each others needs and find out what they are.
We will make it because we both want to. We love each other above all else. My point ....under the right circumstances it can work out. There are successful reconciliations. Ours is still a work in progress...
If my H had discovered my A 25 years ago while I was still in the fog what should he have done?
1.Say from a position of strength-I am not interested in sharing my wife. He can have you. I'm filing for a separation.
2.Let me know that he was going to DNA the kids, get tested for STD's to show just how much I had destroyed his trust-and how disgusted he was with me
3.Serve me with separation papers.
4.Go on a vacation and dont tell me where or with whom.
5.or/and as part of the 180 make sure there is a possibility I could suspect he was seeing someone else.
This would have shocked me out of my fog, let me see exactly the impact my actions and selfishness have had and experience the consequences for them, allow me to feel what its like to not have your cake, there is no better way to understand the devastation an A has than to experience what it feels like to even suspect your spouse is having one. I know this from experience.
Hindsight is 20/20 and of course I dont really know what would have happened if he'd done that but I suspect it would have forced a come to jesus moment....(to borrow @arbitrator
s words) Your wife will either be devastated and feel like she has lost her world prompting proper remorse (I think likely) or she could see this as her exit affair and not fight you on it and continue with the guy (it will never work out-he is only providing something your not- you have been providing all the rest)
Sorry so long, very sorry if I triggered anyone, I was trying to let you see things from another side- there is still hope, there are things you can do (also get yourself in IC asap) This experience is similar to having PTSD- you will need support