Advice / Perspectives

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-03-2013
Advice / Perspectives
7
Thu, 01-03-2013 - 7:20am

Hello, I am new to iVillage. I have lurked on and off for a while and I am hopeful of measured and supportive thoughts and advice on the EA I have been involved in on and off for about ten years now. I'm not sure what I want from this, but getting it all down will be a start!

I first met my AP when we worked together. At the time I was single and he was involved. We began a short but incredibly intense physical affair, ended mostly because I moved countries. At the time, I felt that my leaving was good timing as I felt there was no real future for us. I was heartbroken but felt that in time I would be fine and move on.

My AP and I were very occcasionally in touch over the following 3-4 years, via online chat. Generally he would behave vaguely flirtatiously and I would decline to reciprocate and that would be the end of the conversation, after some general chat. Over that time I met my now DH. Around the time of our wedding (four years ago now)  I was in contact with AP, mainly via email. He seemed to have changed significantly in his interactions with me and did not attempt to flirt. During this time, AP was single for a while, he is now in a relationship again.

Shortly after I got married, I began to suffer from anxiety and depression, which led me to seek counselling. It turned out that my AP had also been in therapy and we began to speak online more often about our experiences. There is a lot in my childhood that I continue to work towards moving past with therapy - it is a long journey and it means a lot to be able to talk to someone with similar problems. I should add that at this time, there was nothing in our conversations that I wasn't sharing or wouldn't have shared with my DH. Things continued like this for some time. About nine months ago, one of our chats went decidedly sexual. I ended the conversation before it really got out of hand but I felt completely sick and stressed for days afterwards. AP and I discussed this later and concluded that it was wrong and that would be it, no more flirting. But it brought back so many feelings and memories of our physical relationship from years before. My DH is aware of this chat and it understandably upset him but we got past it, after some hard discussion. AP and I saw each other in real life a few times about 18 months ago (ie before the first online sex-related chat)  when I was the country that he lives in. We talked and talked and there was absolutely some 'spark' still between us. On one hand I was relieved that nothing happened, but I also came away feeling confused and almost regretful that nothing happened. 

However (and I'm sure you can all see this coming) in the last few months things ramped right up to pretty much online 'sex' between us (just typing, no video or voice calls). I called an end to the sexual part of our relationship a few weeks ago but I am missing it. We still chat a couple of times a week or so but I realise that even after all these years, I still want this man intensly. I keep coming back to a feeling that our original relationship was never fully resolved. My poor lovely DH doesn't deserve this at all - he is nothing but wonderful to me and I love him. I think that DH is emotionally what I need and want and AP is the physical / sexual partner I want. 

Anyway, as I said, I don't really know what I need from this community - your thoughts would be appreciated though. I am grateful for a place to write this all down. I am between therapists at the moment and am not sure if I can be completely open with someone new for some time. I find therapy to be hard work and it takes me a long time to be open and honest (long term consequence of childhood!). Thank you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-23-2007
Thu, 01-03-2013 - 9:04am

Your AP is your drug of choice. You are an addict when it comes to him. The only way to get over an addiction is to stop cold turkey, go through the withdrawals and never contact him again. Do you really want your M to work? If so, you have to cut your AP loose for good. Your H may be a great man but I am certain that he doesn't want to share his life. You have been pining over this guy for a decade. That is too long to hold a torche for someone who can't give you a real relationship not hidden in the shadows. I will bet the farm that while you think you and your AP have this great love connection, he is trolling around making several women believe that they are "special". He is the ultimate unavailable man who lures in women like you who can't let him go. I am willing to bet that if you talked to his Sig. Other you would find out just what kind of man you are truly dealing with.

Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
Thu, 01-03-2013 - 5:24pm

 Your conundrum is not new to humans.  Most women love the "bad boy" who brings excitement and sexual pleasure.  The H rarely matches up to that excitement.  Now you have a choice or choices.  You owe it to yourself to make a choice.  It depending on your background and culture may not need to be an either or.  But it does need to follow the rules,etiquette and decorum. 

     It must be said the many of the responders are American.  That too needs to be in consideration.   This is more than right or wrong.  It is choosing a path.  What do you emotionally,sexually,economically,socially want for your life.  

chaika

Avatar for khatru1
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2004
Fri, 01-04-2013 - 3:46pm

It's very rare that one can find a partner that truly fille 100% of ones needs. No one is without flaws and therefore you can always find someone else who will be better then your SO in some areas. The possibility of attraction to others obviously exists your entire life, and therefore a chance or tempatation to have an A will always be there. There is no easy fix, no pill. It comes down to individual choices you make every day. You have to decide not to pursue something with a perspective A partner.

Definitely cutting yourself off from all contact is the only way to go. A drug addict can't just cut down, an alcoholic can't just have 1 drink. By continuing to attempt to have platonic chats, you are putting the fox in the hen house and expecting it not to have a chicken dinner. I am assuming since your mini D-Day with your H, 9 months ago, that he is unaware of your recent chats because I would be very suprised he would be ok with you having any contact with this other guy right now.

In life we cannot always have it all and this is one of those times.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-03-2013
Sat, 01-05-2013 - 1:45am

Many thanks for your responses. 

Words like 'addiction' certainly ring true. I am an all or nothing kind of person when it comes to substances / habits. I am aware of what I need to do however I haven't yet got the whatever-it-is that I need to go no contact. My other problem is I genuinely care for him as a friend and I want for him the same things I want for all of my friends - a happy life. I am willing to remain platonic if that means we stay in contact. Obviously this has potential for disaster. I guess that rightly or wrongly I see this as more than a 'fling' and I also believe that people in our lives are there for a reason. I don't mean to sound flaky and blindly in 'love' (this is not love) and although I imagine a life where we are together I know this won't happen. I wouldn't trust him - I know too much about him and his weaknesses. Also, I believe that because we are still talking platonically then there is more from his side than just looking for sex. He is generally the initiator of conversation by the way.

I don't believe that there is anyone else that he is involved with (as in, another 'other' woman) but really that is immaterial. My DH does know that I still talk to the AP, in fact I often make a point of telling him so that I don't feel like I am keeping a secret. The platonic talks only, obviously.

To others reading this board who have had a spouse / partner cheat on them, I am sorry for the pain and anguish that it has caused for you. I have had it done to me in the past too. I have been in the triangle on all sides at one time or another. I just think that human emotions and attractions are unbelieveably complex and you cannot tar everyone with the same brush. 

Avatar for ratherbeme
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-23-2010
Sat, 01-05-2013 - 8:57am

MsDawkins,

Nice job covering your a if you really believe that.

You are in an A.

All the nice talk about understanding it, is hypacritical. What are you asking? What do you want?

If you are looking for approval, go to the MAS board.

You are just in an A, and as long as you enjoy getting crumbs, and giving crumbs of life, then you are good.

Sooner or later, your H who 'understands' will wake up and really understand that he doesn't have all of you. That he is getting crumbs too.

In Affairs, someone always gets hurt.  Realizing that, you get to choose who it's going to be.  

Who are you choosing?

We only miss what could have been. I know I don't miss what it really was.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2010
Sat, 01-05-2013 - 9:39pm

If you really want this man to "be happy" then set him free. Cut off all contact so he can focus on finding an IRL relationship if that's what he wants. Even if he prefers an online affair with a married woman you owe it to your H to commit 100% to your marriage. Plus, your husband's happiness should come before the happiness of this other man.

You know that there's no good future in remaining friends with this man, it seems to come back to an affair with time. I think you are kidding yourself in thinking that you can somehow maintain a platonic friendship, its not just about your willpower. And why would a "friend" encourage you to cheat on your husband? Friends are supposed to want what's best for their friend. Wanting you to do something that could destroy your marriage doesn't sound like he cares about what is in your best interest.

Avatar for khatru1
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2004
Mon, 01-07-2013 - 4:11pm

I believe while yes you can have platonic chats, you clearly want more and he clearly wants more. You admittedly put the kabosh on the intimate stuff, but I am sure he wanted to keep going. Maybe you don't have any delusions of granduer as to this being ever able to develop into something more than it is right now, and you recognize it for what it is, it still does not make it right. Yes I think there is more than just sex between you, but I believe he is hanging in there thinking and hoping that you will again have a moment of weakness and agree to be intimate again. Hard for me to picture how your H is ok with your chatting with this man that he knows you had a very inappropriate conversation with.

This is the place to unload about your A, and that seems to be what you have done. I don't think anyone wants to judge you here as bad or terrible person, but they will let you know how they feel about your actions. I think we are trying to let you know that what you are doing is questionable at best, walking the razors edge. I think most would agree life and relationships are not smooth sailing and temptation exists for almost everyone. We can all understand the attraction to others. So I guess that leaves you with continuing what you are doing and being able to live with it, or cutting off contact.with AP.