My personal success story (so far)
I am a 45 year old man married for 27 years come August and I am currently surviving an emotional affair by my spouse, thanks in no small part to websites and articles like husbandhelphaven. I have learned so much about myself, my spouse and our relationship. I and we have a long way to go but we are on the right path. Now, on to my story. Who knows, maybe it can help someone else in my shoes someday.
My wife and I both married and had children young, but despite all that we had a good strong marriage. Over time our interests changed and we spent less time together. She got a job and was working some nights and when she got home didn't really feel like doing anything. The intimacy lessened more every day. The little things like hugs, kisses in passing and holding hands or cuddling went away. I would try but she wasn't into it. As a result I pulled away, I found other things to occupy my time like online gaming. It got to the point I was giving her none of my time because I felt she wasn't interested and didn't want my attention. Somehow this was not a red flag to me as it happened so gradually over time, like sitting in water that slowly comes to a boil and not realizing until its to late that your burning. The effect of this was she felt neglected and unloved and grew unhappier by the day. She started really pulling away in the fall of 2015, finding more and more reasons not to come home, started staying up late when she was home and not coming to bed with me until I was long asleep. Now this was a red flag I couldn't miss, and I got depressed. This went on for awhile with several unsuccessful attempts to find out what was wrong. Finally in May of 2016 (yes, some six months after noticing her extreme pulling away) I confronted her and she finally confessed she wasn't happy, that she felt neglected. I told her I still loved her and how I had felt pushed away and she dropped the bomb. I don't feel the same way, I don't love you any more, she said. From that point on there was crying, attempts at communication, yelling and fighting. I wanted to talk about our issues but it was to hard for her. I didn't have many friends and I wasnt a social networking guy, i wasnt even on Facebook. So I had noone to talk to. I decided to look up a old high school male friend that i had lost touch with but had always considered a true friend for someone to confide in. So I got on Facebook for the first time. I didn't friend alot of people because that wasn't my goal, i still wasnt a social networking kind of guy. I did friend my wife, who was a longtime facebook user and addict. I reviewed her feed and noticed some relatively harmless but inappropriate comments by one of her male FB friends. I confronted her about him. He is a cousin to one of her real life and FB friends and is harmless. There is nothing between us she tells me just my friends cousin and we just joke around and post memes. I believe her that at the time that was true. I keep noticing more inappropriate comments both new and older and I continue to ask her about them. His relationship status is 'in a relationship with you know who you are'. Red flag to me, I ask about that specifically and the next thing I know he blocks me. Turns out she told him my concerns and he was freaked out that i looked at his profile. At this time it was a harmless friendship that i just hadn't known about but she disclosed when i asked. I was angry that she had told him about our discussions and told her so. (i had no idea what an emotional affair was then) I also told her i was uncomfortable with a man that made inappropriate comments to my wife hiding from me by blocking me. She got him to unblock me and things continue on. Over the next few months I continue to try to talk about our issues and its just too hard for her. In December of 2016 we separate our finances and i set up support payments, i secure an apartment and prepare to move out. My move-in date for the new apartment is Jan 4 2017. I think the reality of my leaving changes something for my wife. She breaks down about losing her best friend and doesn't want to lose me. She shows some real feelings for the first time so i decide to give her a second chance. I cancel the apartment and I stay, with the idea that finally we will work on us. And we do. From that point on until now we recover. At the beginning of February she unfriends the male FB friend that had been an issue as he had blocked me again and that was inappropriate.
At this point there was no infidelity or any other relationship killer on the table, we had just grown apart so it was pretty easy to get back to a comfortable place and I was happy again.
Last Monday (April 3) my wife went to a concert with a female friend and i stayed home with our dogs and youngest son. As I'm getting ready to go to bed I check my messenger almost by accident (i never really used it and never check it, I'm not a socal networking guy remember) and I have a connect request from that male FB friend of hers along with a few mesages.
March 6 "Ask your wife what she has been doing for the past year and a half. I'd be interested in what she tells you. No need to contact me back. I already know. Thats all."
March 9 picture of my wife smiling and happy next to the male FB friend who is whispering in her ear with the caption "Good times. tell her hi." (at this point i recall she has told me there had been no real life contact only FB messenger joking around)
March 10 nothing but a thumbs up emoji
Wanting more information to confront my wife and to get independent stories I ask him for more information but he doesn't respond that night (it was after 10pm) the next morning he had blocked me again.
When my wife gets home from the concert an hour later I confront her. I tell her I want the whole truth but I don't tell her what I know or how. So she proceeds to tell me how she met with her friend and this man for dinner and shopping in a neighboring town (that her and I frequently visit) on several occasions and that he had listened to her and showed her attention. She had begun meeting him there without her female friend to walk thru shops and talk (the same shops we used to go thru). This was happening some time between that May 2016 and February 2017 but she is unclear on dates. She swears it was emotional only, there was no sex or physical actions. Im still devastated and can't believe it went on that long and am doubtful that there wasnt more physical actions. She assures me she has severed all contact since some time ago (she was unclear when at first "i don't remember") and is very visibly remorseful and willing to own her mistakes and do anything to repair us. (at this point we had been doing just that and were happy, but there was an emotional affair i didnt know about) Im in shock, angry, hurt. We talk all night. I ask her alot of questions and get alot of tickle truth that night.
They had met between one and two dozen times over maybe 6 months (we've narrowed the meeting times down to june 2016 to November 2016 with no contact starting feb 2017).
There had been shopping trips where they walked and talked. sometimes about general stuff sometimes just about her troubles with me. he listened to her and told her things she wanted to hear.
there were lunches and dinners. sometime he paid for her, sometimes she paid for him.
he had kissed her. on multiple occasions
she had kissed him back. on multiple occasions.
he had told her he loved her.
she had told him she loved him.
he had tried to touch her breast on multiple occasions but she stopped that.
she swears i now know everything, that there had never been any sex. that he had never succesfully groped her or her him. she is dedicated to us, to doing whatever it takes to repair my trust, she is remorseful, she owns her mistake and takes all blame, she refuses to shift any blame on me.
But she let him take my place in our life! Went places we went, sat in my truck and talked to / kissed him. Told him she loved him!
Over the past week i have felt extreme mood swings...hate, love, fear, despair. jumping from one to the other sometimes in mere seconds. I do love my wife but how can i forgive? how can i forget? we read online about emotional affairs both together and separately.we share our findings and talk. she is transparent, she answers all questions without hesitation and without getting frustrated with my process. we find out not only what an emotional affair is but that there was physical contact (kissing) so it was a physical affair too even tho there was no sex. we find the affair was textbook to every description we find, both what had happened and what we are going thru now.
I've read alot of material since then, everything on husband help haven concerning emotional affairs. I am still reading everything i can find. we both want to survive this and we are both willing to do what it takes. her for her emotional affair and both of us to fix our relationship issues together like we should have done before the affair. i found out on Monday the 3rd, it is now friday the 7th and we and i know we have a long way to go to rebuild trust but we are confident and committed that we are on the right path and to stay on that path. i still have triggers (how can i sit in the same truck where they kissed?), mood swings, mind movies (so, so much worse than reality), everything that goes with being a betrayed spouse. on Monday and Tuesday i couldn't even comprehend a pathway to forgiveness. today i can envision that. i haven't yet done so, it's way to soon for that but understandng is coming. there is hope. forgetting is an issue i am still a little hazy on. those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. i don't think either of us will ever forget, or that we even should. but i do think we can get to a point where there is forgiveness and there will be no need to open old wounds on a regular basis. Trust is something i will struggle with for a long time. How can i trust her again? How can i trust that she had disclosed everything? If i find out new information about the same affair that she didn't disclose how will that affect me and us? This and so many more things we need to work thru. Its going to be harder than anything we've ever done, but it's worth it.
But, know this:
I love my wife, unconditionally. I think I'll keep her.