Can't escape my imagined affair
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Old 06-13-2011, 11:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Can't escape my imagined affair

OK ladies, I need some perspective on this, I've been confused to a greater or lesser degree for some time now:

I have a wonderful other half, he's a great guy, and my best friend. We're not married but have been together since our mid-teens (each others' first love) and we're both now in our late 20s. We don't have kids. We don't really fight (we're both quite easy going, him especially). He's very supportive, and he tells me all the time how he thinks I'm beautiful, buys me flowers etc. You're thinking lucky girl yeah? So what's the problem?
Well for the last 3 years I've had strong feelings for someone else. In some ways I've done the right thing about these (avoided flirting like the plague, tried my best not to think about him, even went as far as to quit my job so I wouldn't see him). Yet I still can't seem to stop thinking about him. I saw him recently again at a night out with my old colleagues, and I'm back in that vicious spiral again. I'd never previously met anyone I just plain LIKE as much as him, we're just on the same wavelength, and thinking about him makes me go all warm and happy (in that pathetic way that people get when they're in new relationships and reality hasn't yet hit). I made the decision that I simply had to stop thinking about him, and that any potential future we might have had together if things had been different will never ever happen. Yet I still just can't shake those feelings. I thought they would go away, but after 3 years of self-discipline and working at my actual, real, loving relationship, I keep finding myself back in the same place. Does anyone have any tips as to how to forget someone, or at least not think of them so much that you end up making yourself unhappy?

Then there's also the fact that as much as I love my partner, he doesn't really turn me on any more. It was never a blazing sort of romance in the first place (we were both awkward adolescents at the start after all) but we both enjoy sex and in many other ways we're a well matched couple. I just don't really get the hots for him, which makes me feel like a terrible person. I'm not sure how much of this is what you just have to expect after many years with someone, being so used to their touch. Does this happen with everyone after a certain amount of time? Some of it might be to do with underlying problems between us that have to some extent been resolved - for a while I didn't feel I respected him a lot (he was for quite a while unemployed, sitting at home smoking weed and playing the computer and not putting a huge effort into getting work). He's a very caring person, but I can't help but feel sometimes that our future together could be a bit lacklustre - I'm the one that tries to drive us forward, get us out doing things. He's happy to spend all his free time at home playing on the computer. I think he'll grow up a bit in the future if we do end up having kids etc. But I think it's safe to say I'll always be the one making things happen.

People ask me when we'll get married as we've been together for so long. But to be honest, even though I like the idea of marriage as a concept, the idea still scares me. Is my inability to escape this imagined affair standing in my way of really committing long term to my relationship, and ruining in my head what is ostensibly a good partnership? Or is the fact I can't shake it something I should be taking as a signal that maybe staying with him isn't doing the best thing for me in the long term? Or is all this confusion maybe just a product of the depression I've been dealing with for several years, and now am beating, thanks to the support and love of my partner, who is the one person I truly trust in this world?

Any thoughts, or advice based on your own experiences would be hugely appreciated. Thanks x
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Old 06-13-2011, 11:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can't escape my imagined affair

I think that you seeing the crush guy recently was a trigger foryou.

You have been with your boyfriend for a long time now and since you were in your teens. You're almost 30 now. A lot happens and changes in that time.

Search within yourself to see if you really want to be in your current relationship. Lack of respect and emotional intimacy definitely lead to less desire for sex with a partner. It sounds like you did a lot of things right (by quitting your job and going no contact with the crush guy).

My advice is to find out what YOU want and go from there. If you see a future with your boyfriend, be open and honest with him about what you feel is lacking and what you want more of in your relationship. Be honest. True intimacy comes from total honesty. If you decide you are unhappy in your relationship, let your boyfriend go so that both of you can move on in your lives.
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Old 06-14-2011, 01:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can't escape my imagined affair

My high school sweetheart & I stayed together for nearly 10 years before I had the insight & courage to end it. He was a nice guy and we were very close but in those years we both changed and grew up into the adults we were meant to be. He was kind of "unmotivated" like you describe and I finally realized that this was not the spouse for me. I was out getting my PhD and he was playing video games, bouncing around jobs.

Part of what gave me the strength to break it off was these crazy feelings I had for a guy I met while away at a conference. Nothing happened, but like you say I could not forget it. It plagued my thoughts. I called my mom from the conference "freaking out" because the feelings were so strong and I was so confused. It made me start realizing that I needed something different in a man. I needed a guy who was strong & independent, someone who was able to take care of themselves and possibly me if need be. I needed a guy with intelligence. I needed a guy with more motivation. Does this guy you have a crush on exhibit some of the qualities you find lacking in your boyfriend?

The marriage thing seems to be an indicator too I think. Even though we were together for so long I never wanted to get married, it just never felt like the right thing to do. When I met my husband it was totally different!

It was so hard to end it because we'd grown up together and were like family already. But in the end I knew it wasn't right. It broke my heart to leave him but it was 100% the right choice.

Change is hard but its also usually very healthy... good luck.

Last edited by VeryShyGirl; 06-14-2011 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:57 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can't escape my imagined affair

Hi, thanks for your replies both of you. I think I have a lot of thinking to do.

Quote:
My advice is to find out what YOU want and go from there. If you see a future with your boyfriend, be open and honest with him about what you feel is lacking and what you want more of in your relationship. Be honest. True intimacy comes from total honesty (Jellybeans)
I agree with you there. Honesty is very important to me. We've made progress through brutal honesty in the past, although it's horrible to say to someone here are the things about you that I don't like. You're almost hoping that the other person comes out with a similar list about you, but he didn't, he's happy. At one point through all of this I told him I had feelings for someone else. He didn't ask who, which I thought was a bit strange - I'd have wanted to know! I think I really need to get my own head together before I consider bringing things like that up again though. It broke my heart to see his reaction, and I wouldn't want to put him through that needlessly again.

VeryShyGirl - it was very strange for me reading your post - your experience sounds very similar to mine, even down to the fact I'm doing my PhD at the moment. I do wonder whether we've grown into such different people that although we're best friends and love each other very much, we're maybe not best suited for each other anymore. Are you still in touch with your ex? Has he found someone else? I worry that if I was to leave he wouldn't meet someone else because he doesn't get out and socialise very often.

Quote:
I needed a guy who was strong & independent, someone who was able to take care of themselves and possibly me if need be. I needed a guy with intelligence. I needed a guy with more motivation. Does this guy you have a crush on exhibit some of the qualities you find lacking in your boyfriend?
He definitely does, he's got more "fire in his belly" - owns his own business, he's very sociable and argumentative (I like that in a man) and strong-willed. But being into him makes me pretty unhappy, I'm going to let things settle down a bit (as you said jellybeans, seeing him was definitely a trigger), and hopefully I won't see him for a while. That might give me a chance to focus on my relationship and figure out what on earth it is that I want for the future. I hope I can learn to be content with what I have, because my bloke really one in a million and has been a rock to me, he deserves my whole heart. But if in time I can't give him that he deserves the chance to find someone who can too.
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can't escape my imagined affair

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Originally Posted by little sketchy View Post
Then there's also the fact that as much as I love my partner, he doesn't really turn me on any more.

This would also happen with the imaginary lover. All relationships start with the help of mother nature and then the labor of love needs to happen.

Love is more than attraction.
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:02 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can't escape my imagined affair

I'm not going to offer any deep advice, nor am I om going to try to analyze what you're feeling.....

All I want to say to you is.... QUIT WHILE YOU CAN!!!!

Talk yourself out of this. It's a dangerous situation, that grabs hold of your inner self, and twists it like a pretzel. You won't think straight for months. Your mind will wither away, you'll hate your husband for no apparent reason, other than because he's there.

Step back to reality, and tell yourself, that you're acting like a little girl, who thinks she's living her life in a romance novel.

Ask me how I know this.
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can't escape my imagined affair

Yes, I am still in touch with him... after a rough few months we have since maintained our friendship, he's like a brother to me now. No... its been about 7 years now and he isn't with someone else, although he did have a 2 year relationship in that time. He is antisocial, stays home all the time...I still help him out often when he can't seem to organze his life. At some point you have to realize that staying with someone because you can't bear to think about what they'd do if you left, how bad it would hurt them, isn't fair to yourself. You & this guy have a strong bond, but that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice yourself for his happiness.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:02 AM   #8 (permalink)
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This would also happen with the imaginary lover
Yeah I get that feeling. The shine will come off of any relationship eventually I know. But I feel like I'm too young to be content with companionship, that's for old ladies! Kidding aside, I really have no idea what I want.... whether it's a chance to be single for the first time in my adult life, less responsibility in a relationship, or just to be happy with what I have, cos I know I'm pretty lucky. I hate hormones!

Quote:
Step back to reality, and tell yourself, that you're acting like a little girl, who thinks she's living her life in a romance novel.
Echoing my own thoughts there for the last couple of years - I thought I'd managed to do it, but I keep relapsing. Yep, ****ed up on fiction alright - must stop reading the erotic novels! Always have had a bit of a problem with reality.....
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:09 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can't escape my imagined affair

Try asking yourself this:

Your boyfriend comes home and announces that he's met someone else, has fallen in love, and that he's leaving you.

How do you feel?
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can't escape my imagined affair

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Your boyfriend comes home and announces that he's met someone else, has fallen in love, and that he's leaving you.

How do you feel?
Hard to say, hurt and scared I imagine, but probably somewhat relieved too. But that's just how I feel just now, it changes all the time.
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Old 06-17-2011, 09:37 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can't escape my imagined affair

Have you talked to your boyfriend about how you feel?
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Old 06-17-2011, 11:52 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I'd told him before about my feelings for this other guy, but that was about 2 years ago now. Since then we've had various heart-breaking conversations about me not being happy (without bringing up the crush) and he's known that at times I've been considering perhaps needing time apart. But then I give him mixed messages - trying to be really affectionate, telling him how much I appreciate his support. He probably has no idea I'm still feeling like this when I say things like 'I don't know what I'd do without you'. I know, it's not fair. But I always mean what I say when I say it, my emotions just swing so wildly. I tell you, I'd never want to be with a woman like me - his endurance is a testament to his good heart!
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Old 06-17-2011, 11:54 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can't escape my imagined affair

Your relationship has fizzled short of marriage. And I'll bet that this guy just happens to be the next interesting guy that wandered into your radar now that you're ready to move on.

I think you ought to end your current relationship since in a decade you have not really been all that thrilled.

It's nobody's fault, you've just grown apart. It happens.

Thank the stars you have no real entanglements.

And once you part? Feel free to explore things with whomever you wish to.

You do owe your current guy an explanation though. He may surprise you and actually agree.

If not? That's life.
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Old 06-17-2011, 04:29 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can't escape my imagined affair

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Originally Posted by little sketchy View Post
I'd told him before about my feelings for this other guy, but that was about 2 years ago now. Since then we've had various heart-breaking conversations about me not being happy (without bringing up the crush) and he's known that at times I've been considering perhaps needing time apart. But then I give him mixed messages - trying to be really affectionate, telling him how much I appreciate his support. He probably has no idea I'm still feeling like this when I say things like 'I don't know what I'd do without you'. I know, it's not fair. But I always mean what I say when I say it, my emotions just swing so wildly.
Time for a 2x4:

You need to be honest with him. Stop joking him around. If you dont want to be with him, make a decision and tell him. The absolutely cruellest thing you can ever do is string someone along who loves you. You're not being fair to him or you.

To me it sounds like you're done but grasping at straws for anything that might make you stay. You are betraying yourself and him as well. He thinks you're totally into it and you aren't. That is wrong.
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Old 07-02-2012, 01:30 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can't escape my imagined affair

Does the OM know how you feel? Sorry if it has already been said, but are you sure he would want a relationship with you? Would he just use you and toss you aside? You are infatuated, but are his feelings even close to matching yours? I know you have been trying to avoid him, but if you had space in your relationship would you run to the OM?
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