Am I crazy to think I can have my cake....?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-18-2013
Am I crazy to think I can have my cake....?
Sat, 06-01-2013 - 2:20am

First off -- my apologies.  I am clueless to all of the abbreviations that seem to be the norm on here....and I do not know where to find the secret code!

I began communicating with an old fling a couple of months ago -- almost 25 years ago, from college.  The texting and conversations got ridiculously hot.  He is a 90 minute flight away, and I saw him two weeks ago.  It was great.  Really great.  More of an emotional connection than I anticipated -- we talked for hours and hours, and the sex was I knew it would be.

We text regularly.  He is encouraging me to think about my life in ways I haven't pondered since we were friends when we were kids.  He has me reading books on Zen and meditation, and I am trying to carve out rare moments for myself to explore meditation.  He asks difficult questions, is patient when I am afraid to answer, and listens when I do.

Am I happy in my marriage?  Obviously not.  But, I do have a level of comfort financially and a role in my community that I don't think I can give up.  And to further complicate matters we are on the verge of opening a business and my husband is resigning from his salaried position to run this new venture.

I feel like I can manage this.  That I can have both.  Obviously I cannot see my fling very often...hard to make excuses to fly out of town.  But I feel that he is giving me something that I really need right now.  He is helping me to remember "me".  The friendship in and of itself is illicit -- I know....but I have a level of honesty with him (yea, I know it is ludicrious...after almost 25 years) that I don't have with anyone else.  I guess I don't have anything to lose with him and I don't have to pretend. I do worry that I could easily fall in love with him...but think the geographic distance will help to maintain an emotional balance.

So -- is it possible?  Can I juggle this?  I appreciate insight and feedback.  :-)


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Sat, 06-01-2013 - 1:42pm

Normally I do not judge people wanting to become involved in an affair.  I do, however, take offense in what you wrote as you grossly mis-represent Zen meditation and self-discovery. 

We text regularly.  He is encouraging me to think about my life in ways I haven't pondered since we were friends when we were kids.  He has me reading books on Zen and meditation, and I am trying to carve out rare moments for myself to explore meditation. 

Kids are honest.  If they don't like someone, they don't pretend they do in exchange for "financial comfort".  Zen is also about honesty, courage, kindness.  And a de-emphasis on carnal pleasure.  You are not being honest with yourself and your husband that the marriage is in trouble (and you need to either work on it or end it).  You do not have the courage to face the loss of financial comfort and status to follow your heart.  It is extremely unkind to your husband to let him leave a position to run a business with you when you are having an affair.

So go ahead and do whatever you want to do with your life, just don't claim that your action is a result of Zen meditation, because neither you nor your friend got the slightest idea what Zen is all about.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2010
Sat, 06-01-2013 - 2:28pm

Interesting that you have this great honesty with a guy you haven't seen in 25 years, but not with the man who has been providing the financial security that you are unwilling to give up. And that AP (affair partner) is encouraging you to become more spiritual and deep thinking, but that pondering doesn't include questioning the value and sanctity of your marriage. Does AP have any misgivings about being a party to something that could potentially devastate another man and a marriage? Is he also married?

You might be able to juggle it without your husband finding out but it seems pretty inconsistent with the "enlightenment" that you say you have started seeking. And just wondering, but what would happen to your "role in the community" if it becomes public knowledge that you're cheating on your husband? Just know that these things that you don't want to give up may ultimately be lost if your husband finds out and you have an acrimonious divorce. And no telling if this guy from your past has the staying power to be there for you if your marriage crumbles. Make a decision based on what is best for yourself in the big picture, not just what feels good now.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-18-2013
Sat, 06-01-2013 - 3:12pm


I need to clarify a couple of things.  No, I don't know anything about Zen -- I just started reading.  But I do know that I am not living a particular truthful and honest life...with our without the affair.

Yes, AP  had tremendous reservations about taking things to a sexual level.  But when we saw each other we went there.

And my H is not leaving his position to start a business with me -- He is leaving his salaried position to start a business, that will inevitably involve me.  This is his dream, not mine. I love my job and am passionate about what I do...and this new business will mean I am spread very thin trying to manage my own work and help out with his project.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sat, 06-01-2013 - 3:56pm

What Redmamma said reminded me of something that I read in a book by the Dalai Lama on happiness.  He said there is a difference between happiness & pleasure.  You have pleasure during the times of an affair when you're together and having great sex--or when people say take drugs, or do things that are obviously making them feel good in the moment.  But these things do not give you happiness which I don't think you get when you are doing things that 1) hurt someone else and 2) are not in accordance with your own moral standards.  I do think that you either decide to stay in the marriage and put some effort into doing that or you be honest that it's not working out and leave your DH.  Financial security must be good and all but it is worth it to be unhappy in your home every day?

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-01-2011
Sat, 06-01-2013 - 8:14pm
  1. You asked a very simple question.  So the very simple answer is yes, you are crazy To think you can have your cake and eat it too. You simply need to go to some other boards on here and see the complete devastation an affair brings to everyone involved, including yourself.  Amazingly to yourself.  It destroys everyone in its path eventually. Maybe not in 3 months or a year or two years, but it will. And when it does, there are amazing people on the after the affair board that will be there for you.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2004
Sun, 06-02-2013 - 2:44pm

You have gotten some very good advice and I am sure that it is not what you wanted or expected. You are going to do what you want to do regardless of the consequences. One thing which no has asked is What does your BH deserve? Does he deserve to be deceived by someone he (apparently) loves and trusts? Think long and hard about what you are doing because you are ringing a bell which can not be unrung.

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Wed, 06-05-2013 - 1:50pm

The answer to your question, "Can I have my cake and eat it too?" is "maybe."  Maybe you can juggle these illicit emails and occasional illicit trips for sex.  Maybe your husband will never know.  Maybe your relationship with this guy will only bring peace and happiness to your life. 

But, realistically, this will not last for very long.  That is one of the many things you need to think about.  Sooner or later, you will forget to log out of your email, or delete your texts, or you'll be called away from your phone just at that moment when you're looking at a photo your AP has sent you.  When this happens, what do you suppose will happen next?

Let's say you are a husband who "worships" his wife, as you've previously said.  And you're obliviously unaware that she had a fling in Vegas once, and that she's havnig sex with some guy you never even heard of.  How do you feel when you are confronted with incontrovertible proof that she's betrayed you?

Seriously, that's a risk worth taking?

You said you already know you need to work on your marriage.  So WORK on it.  No, your H will never be the hot guy from your freshman year of college. Your H is the man you've been with for 20 years and probably have children with, and planned a life with, and are supporting in his new business.  That's called MARRIAGE.

One possible reason why you're able to talk so easily to The Guy From Your Past and to think of him as your new best friend (with benefits!) is that you're speaking with someone with whom you feel you *can* be honest because there is no other role to play, or because you’re now playing the role of Completely Honest, Open Lover (which is an awesome ego boost - "look how honest and free I am, not like other women!").  I'm guessing you haven't made female friends with whom you can be completely honest in a very long time.  Apparently you don't feel you can be completely honest about yourself with your H either.  Maybe you're not even very honest with yourself and that's part of why this whole thing is so exciting:  because you're learning to be honest with yourself.  Being honest is very freeing, but being honest in the context of a “stolen” relationship is limiting.  You’ll never be able to share your insights fully with anyone if you got them through illicit means.

Like a previous poster, I have to take issue with your understanding of the purpose of meditation.  Meditation is meant to bring about mindfulness, which leads to compassion and understanding.  It allows you to be in the present moment, which is not just about *you* but about everything in the present moment.  The compassion and understanding is meant to include, oh, say, your husband.  Christian contemplative prayer similarly is meant to lead to an understanding of God’s will.  Neither includes grasping after what you don’t have, or trying to figure out how you can have what you’re not supposed to have.

If you *genuinely* are looking for self-knowledge, then meditation will help.  So would the Ignatian examen of consciousness (St. Ignatius, in the 16th century, realized that self-knowledge was critical to serving God:  So would a therapist, who can help you understand what’s missing in your life and why you think Smokin’ Hot Lover from the Past is the answer to it. 

Any of those would be preferable to the misconceptions that (1) a lover is going to enlighten you, (2) an affair with limits is going to fill the holes in your life, (3) you can “juggle” people without hurting them or yourself.  All of those are lies.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-02-2002
Thu, 06-06-2013 - 12:22am

Oh Tincie, no matter what anyone says, you are going to follow your heart. 25 years in our lives means so very much.  Maybe I am the minority, but my suggestion is get it out of your system. I fell in love with my college sweetheart 25 years ago and I STILL dream about him!  Im so glad I have never had contact with him because I don't know if I could resist!  Eventually, you will tire of him and return to the love and security of your husband/family. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-25-2013
Thu, 06-06-2013 - 3:07pm

A good way to live your life is to treat other people as you would like to be treated. You can't go wrong there. If you wouldn't want your husband cheating on you, then you don't cheat on him. How do mature people handle unhappiness in a relationship? They work on it with self help books or with counseling. They make a daily effort to improve the relationship. They communicate their needs and ask their partner what he/she needs. If all the stops have been pulled out to achieve success in the relationship, but it hasn't happened, then a divorce is preferential than cheating. 

If money, status and satisfying a lust with someone new and exciting is more important than the feelings of your significant other, you need to do him a favor and let him go so he can live a life without someone who doesn't care enough about him to avoid this behavior. And the other man briefly resisted, but then gave in? He lacks ethics, too, so he's not a man to think you can build a life with. Men who engage in relations with married or taken women are often players who don't want to put a daily effort into being in a real relationship. They often dump the married woman when she leaves her husband for him because he just wanted temporary fun. 

Leave the "I'm the center of the universe and will take and do whatever and however I want even if it's wrong and inconsiderate" to toddlers and teenagers. It's time to be an adult and make ethical choices, even if it doesn't benefit you. That's behavior you can be proud of. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2013
Fri, 06-07-2013 - 8:46am

I feel that this board is supposed to be a source of support for those who cannot turn to anyone else for this kind of support.  Is meant to be anonymous and honest, unjudgemental place....again, a place for support.  Yet it seems most people who replied to your post are non-supportive....I DON'T MEAN they should be condoning what you are doing rather that you have reached out in a place where the people who are replying can't seem to relate to what you are saying.....seems to me that the "All sides of an affair" board can be a very hostile kind of place.  When I read some of the replies to your post it upsets me as it is like the replyees cannot seem to relate at all. 

I am in the same boat as you. Relationships are complex.  Ultimately it is morally wrong to cheat but you are on the right track to figuring out what you really want in life.   As far as meditation and zen, this is great for you to explore, when you feel at one with yourself and the world things will make more sense ...don't let other peoples' judgements stop you.

You have to do what is right for you.