Friendship...

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Friendship...
5
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 3:45pm
I saw XMM again today (as usual). I'll recap briefly - last week, XMM and I ended up having a long emotional conversation... and it really tore me up to talk to him like that, even though he was talking about another woman part of the time... Just felt more of an emotional connection to him at that time than I probably did the entire time we were in our EMA (physical EMA ended in December). It seems like somehow he has become more honest and even somewhat needy of a trusted person to talk to, as his marriage is on its last legs right now (nothing specifically to do with me). We've gone up and down and from not speaking at all, to just saying "hi", to some heartfelt talks, and some anger, and all ranges in between, since I ended things with him in order to re-invest in my marriage.

Anyway, today... again had another long heart to heart talk... He asked me how I'm doing, how I'm "really" doing, how things are at home... and he talked about his stuff at home and how much he wants to leave his W, but he's trying to, for once, NOT be impulsive about a big decision... It really seems like we've reached a point now where he's not trying to get me back, not flirting at all... we're not mad at each other anymore - I think we both finally see each other honestly for who and what we are... all too human in so many ways... no games going on here that I am aware of, which is a nice change...

So I'm wondering... I know NC is the best way to get over an EMA. And I do know that I'm hardly claiming to be 100% healed emotionally... and last week I felt so torn up after our talk. But today, I don't know... it felt like two good friends supporting each other. It didn't feel inappropriate... And I don't feel all torn up inside by it. I think I am one of the few, if only, people he could possibly talk to about his feelings - and yes, that is because of our "history" and because he knows that I won't betray him (call his W or anything) or be shocked that he had an EMA (or should I say EMA's)... And in a similar way, he understands more than many would, what I am going through now and he is truly honestly happy for me that I'm working on my marriage and that I realized I belong with my H.

Is it possible to reach that point where you can be supportive friends but NOT fall back into anything physical or even just inappropriate? I am not talking about having an emotional affair - not at all what this is about... but I will always have some kind of connection with him because of what we shared and what it meant to me. So can I be a friend to him when he needs one? This is a man who does NOT openly share or admit any feeling or weakness - he tries to be tough and keep everything inside and tell everyone he's just fine no matter what... but I know that is just his cover - true of so many men... Can we become friends? I did talk a little to my therapist about this, and she felt that, as long as I didn't feel like it was drawing me back in, there is no reason we can't talk and be supportive of each other. That's the big IF though - IF it doesn't cause me pain or draw me back in. Right now I think that might be possible... so this is the place for me to ask since I'm sure many of you have tried friendship... given time, can it ever work as friends?

Glinda

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 4:17pm
Yep, sure sounds like we've got a lot of things in common with our 'friends,' doesn't it? It may be possible to be just friends. It depends on where both of you are in the affair recovery.

I know that in my case, I'm much more able to handle it than he is. (I'll refer to him as GB because that was a nickname of sorts I had for him. Means Greedy Bastard! LOL) He is still quite drawn by the physical that was once between us. I was greeted with a hug at my initiation. I took it as a hug between friends as I would with any male friend. We said good bye with a similar hug. Still no sexual responses on my part so I think I did fine! (I'm a big one for touching! And, touching doesn't mean sex!)

He's working on his marriage though I know it still won't be a good one no matter hard they 'try' because they aren't really trying. We've talked about. If I gave the word, he'd be out in a heartbeat. I wouldn't before andI'm certainly not going to now. I told him years ago that he'd have to leave her for himself, not for me. But, that's way off track for this string!!!

We've been through most of the same stages you two have been from not speaking at all, to just saying "hi", to some heartfelt talks, and some anger, and all ranges in between, since I ended things with him but the difference is that I was reinvesting in me which is much more important than just my marriage. By reinvesting in me, I can revise how I look at my relationship with Sean.

I do have to say that if it weren't for the love and support I have from Sean, I'd probably still be with GB, probably even living with him whether it was good for me or not. Sean's been wonderfully supportive throughout the whole ordeal with GB. Pretty darn lucky I am to have that, especially considering the affair was off/on for at least 9 years and Sean knew almost every time it was 'on.'

Anyway, if GB and I can be friends and be supportive of each other without it infringing on our home-lives, we'll be okay. It'll be easier on our business relationship if we aren't so strained in the personal one.

~Chris~

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 6:43am
THanks for replying Chris... Your history with GB goes back so much farther than mine with my XMM... it amazes me what emotions we have gone through in such a short time - seems like years, but it was just over a year ago that the flirting started, and the actual affair didn't start until fall... and it's not quite 4 months since I ended it...

You say you are much more able than GB to handle being just friends... and that's where my confusion lies here. I know I do still have feelings for XMM... I can't just fall out of love with him, even though I see him so much more clearly and realistically now, for the weak selfish man that he is... there is still some affection on my part, and attraction too. Not that I'm going to act on it - I have fought too long and hard to go back that far again. But I'd be stupid to not admit it's still there inside me. Not an issue for XMM - he has such a huge wall around his heart that nothing and no one ever truly gets through to him... he's so afraid of being hurt that he's never taken the risk of being truly vulnerable to another person.

And XMM is a great liar. One of the best I've ever met... I'm sure he could pass a lie detector test without batting an eye as he lied about every answer... So while I think I can tell when he's being straight with me, I also need to remember that there are no guarantees with him...

Most important thing you said though, was about reinvesting in YOU, not just in your marriage. I am working on this too. I am focusing on my marriage, but I know that my marriage will never be ok until I fix what was missing inside of ME. I can't expect my H or XMM to meet all my needs - I have to be content inside my own skin, and then I can give of myself to others... That's why I'm in therapy - not just marital therapy, but therapy just for me... And that's why I'm going back to school too - because I have to make myself happy and meet my own needs and get some self-esteem and confidence outside of my relationship with H and my kids, and not look for that from XMM either.

If I am ok with myself, then I think I can handle being friends with XMM. And I can do so without it hurting my marriage - I don't have to lie and hide and feel guilty about talking to XMM when it's not flirting or having an affair. We do have a history and a secret we share - but that's the past. Constantly being strained and awkward when we see each other isn't helpful or healthy either - I think that just continues to drag out the pain of the affair... this is, as you put it, a reinvention of our relationship, as a "legal" friendship... or am I just rationalizing to achieve the impossible?

Glinda

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 2:03pm
Glinda, always remember that YOU come first! It's great that you are in personal as well as couples counseling. Knowing where you are and where you need to be is first and foremost in getting over any failed relationship. I understand that your feelings for him didn't die just because you chose to no longer be involved with him. In time they may lessen but I doubt that they'll ever completely die. You'd have to be one cold, unfeeling person to do that. I sense that you are not cold in any regard!

GT once said something to the effect that you can't love two men at the same time. But, I know so well that you can! Yes, I loved both Sean and GB all those years. And, even though our affair is definitely over, I still love GB. It's not a romantic, sexual love, but that of two friends who have a helluva history together. On the other hand, the love I have for Sean isn't necessarily romantic either. It's been built on a friendship that started waay back in May of '90. Hmm, for that matter, I still love my son's father but not in the way that I did when we were together. My heart has so much room for love that sometimes it hurts that I care so much for other people!

Glinda, I went the school route, too. Well, at one time or other across the extended time period. LOL Why don't you send me an email about what you're looking in to? I'd love to hear about how you are working onn healing yourself!

~Chris~

GB doesn't have a huge wall around his blocking out others. His wall is a wall of confusion as he still hasn't figured out what (who) he wants in life!

I did okay with our meeting yesterday. I'll go over that a bit more in a new discussion string!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 2:56pm
Quick answer?

No.

Also..this man is married..I dont care if he is on life support marriage wise..his WIFE would NOT want you giving him *support*..and its WRONG.

The need to have THIS man as your friend....KNOWING full well the strength wasnt there IN the affair is opening you to a can of worms.I gotta wonder sometimes..do these therapists give a rats BUTT about someones MATE?

This man has ZIPPO business sharing his life with ANY woman and telling his personal probems to ANY other woman..thats GOSSIP...noy support and maybe if the man spent HALF the time connecting with his wife when he WAS married..than sharing his thoughts with someone else AFTER his marriage is on the skids..he'd develop a backbone too.

I am sorry..this to me is OFF limits..the answer...NO...and plus it doesnt work.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 3:14pm
It's not always that cut'n'dried, Awiagina. As you know, I can't do the N/C thing because of the business relationship. Others are in similar circumstances due to work-related issues. It doesn't make it any easier for me.

But, regardless of that, I would still lend an ear or a shoulder to GB. I know what's going on in his marriage. I know his wife. I know how well she listens (not) when he tries to talk to her. He knows I know this. He also knows that he can trust me with anything, even his innermost fears. The big thing for me is that he is still someone I care about and when someone I care about has problems and needs to talk, I'll be there! Oh, you may think I'm setting myself up for more hurt and heartache, but I'm not. GB and I had a friendship even during the off periods of our long-term affair. Granted, the affair is off permanently, but the possibility of friendship isn't. I could no more turn my back on him than I could Sean!

~Chris~