Trying to recover from his emotional affair

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-16-2011
Trying to recover from his emotional affair
4
Tue, 09-13-2011 - 1:41am

Hi all,

I posted on another forum about a week ago but thought I'd write an update. I found out about 10 days ago that during a rough patch in our relationship in which we were trying to decide whether we would stay together or not, my boyfriend was carrying on an emotional affair with a woman he works with. I suspected something inappropriate was going on at the time and he always denied it. Not feeling secure (and wondering what was "wrong" with me that I couldn't just calm down and trust him) was the cause of much heartache for me.

Things had gotten much better over the last few months; we both did a lot of soul-searching and re-dedicated ourselves to the relationship and have since then been very happy. That is until 10 days ago when I gave in to a temptation and read his email when I was at his house alone and found out that during the time I had suspected it, they were having what I would consider an emotional affair. He ended it months ago, I saw that clearly in his emails. He insists that there was no physical or sexual relationship and I saw no evidence of one in their emails.

I love him and want to move forward; I believe our relationship (in its current incarnation especially) is strong enough to survive this. What I'm having trouble with is the pain of sitting at home alone remembering his words to her, thinking about the intimacies they shared, wondering how I can ever know (or trust to a reasonable degree) that he's being faithful to me from now on. I couldn't get ahold of him during the day today and it was all I could do to talk to myself down from going to his work to "see" for myself that nothing inappropriate was going on (this is irrational, I know); I didn't of course, but the feelings of wanting to, of not trusting him, are devestating, not to mention deeply intrusive.

Sometimes I feel like everything's fine and it's not a big deal, and then sometimes like tonight I don't know what to do. He has been totally supportive and un-defensive through the process and will talk to me about it ad nauseum, I know. I've talked to my regular counsellor about it as well as close friends (he hasn't talked to anyone but me, though I'm encouraging him to). The logical, rational part of my brain knows we need time to work through this. And the emotional part of me feels like a big mess. I'm so hurt and angry at them for carrying on as they did, and at him especially for participating in making me feel crazy for suspecting there was something wrong at the time.

I guess I'm looking for advice, for things that have worked for you, in blocking out the details and moving forward. Right now I'm sharing what I'm going through with him when I go through it (I'll email or call and he's always up for talking) but there's a part of me that feels guilty about that, feels like it's putting too much on him. I know that might be irrational too, but it's just hard to see someone you love so much suffer (even if their suffering is a result of their own stupid choices).

Wisdom? Guidance?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-13-2011
Tue, 09-13-2011 - 2:37pm
It just sucks doesn't it? The questioning you put yourself thru, the feeling that you are not quite sane, trying to get past it all, but like a pesky gnat won't go away? What I learned post dday was that every time, and I mean every time I felt in my gut something wasn't right, it wasn't. Many things happened years ago and when my husband confessed I knew back then something was off, wrong. Thru this whole process I have learned that my gut has never steered me wrong. You read the emails... Was there anything in there that you didn't know? That you asked and he didn't divulge? Did you tell him you read thru them? I take it you are not married but are in a committed relationship? Do you feel you got down to the bottom of why he did that? What he got from it that he wasn't getting from you? (in his eyes). People who cheat have poor boundaries with the opposite sex. They may be flirts and believe it is harmless. There also seems to be progression of sorts with some people to where the poor boundaries, flirting, inappropriate chatting turns into an EA and then to a PA. Infidelity is all abbot the betrayer and what they want and feel they deserve. They don't usually think about what their partner might think and the few times they do come up, they can justify what they are doing to themselves so that they can continue. So if he is remorseful, full of guilt and willing to be committed 100%, he has to be willing to do anything and everything you ask for as long as it takes to help you get past this. Trust is the foundation for any relationship. I think that by tackling the issue as your triggers arise is a good thing. You are strong, not weak. You are facing this head on. I think it will just take time, time will reveal all, it always does. You are already strong and intuitive. He has the greater burden, he should be doing things to re-establish the connection you need to take baby steps forward. Good luck.
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-16-2011
Tue, 09-13-2011 - 3:58pm

Thank you, still.standing, for your caring response. Yes, it really does just suck! Thank you for reminding me that I’m strong as sometimes it really doesn’t feel that way.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-13-2011
Tue, 09-13-2011 - 11:57pm
Red- you are so on top of the game. You really really are. He is very lucky to have someone as levelheaded, practical, straightforward, loyal and honest in his life. One of the rules for the betrayer is to " be emotionally available" because if we are left alone to figure out what happened on our own our heads take us all over. Have you read the wikihow article entitled " how to earn your spouses trust after infidelity" article?It gives the betrayer good advice but it also gives you good insight on what you can expect from him. As I am struggling with the whole issue of trust myself, I wish i had better words of wisdom for you. The fear of getting hurt again is very difficult to contemplate. I know that I MAY give some trust back but never to the level it was. Time is what we need and what we do with that time as well. I hope that you get what you want with your relationship. You are not crazy or irrational by any means. You are entitled to be wary. I read on one site that asked, when will I stop asking questions? The expert advice was this: you will keep asking the questions until you are satisfied with the answers.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2008
Thu, 09-15-2011 - 3:30am
Sounds totally normal to me! There's no time frame on this crap, it takes as long as it takes. He caused a trust issue and it's nagging at you - is he behaving or isn't he? Do I know it all or is he hiding things? It sounds like he's trying to clean up his act and treat you right now, but stop being so hard on yourself. You didn't do anything wrong and it's unrealistic to think you can just snap your fingers and WILL it all away. It's going to take some time for you to be able to feel okay with him again, if that's what you truly want now. Seeing a therapist could go a long way to help you decide what's in your best interest, that's what matters now.