Still struggling

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2014
Still struggling
9
Fri, 06-06-2014 - 4:42pm

I have been lurking on this and other affair related boards for awhile- but this is my first post. 

I was in an A- that ended a month ago and if it wasn't for TU's Tough Love letter- I would still be drowning in a sea of tears, depression and loss.  That letter so helped me gain perspective and see the light and for that I am so incredibly grateful. 
Despite that I am still really struggling.  I truly believe everything in TU's letter and recognize intellectually that my feelings for the AP are self-indulgent and probably off-base- but we truly believed that we were perfect for each other.  So much so that he was in the processing of divorcing and I was looking for the easiest way out of my marriage.  We both have kids- he was in the process of buying a house in my town so my kids wouldn’t be displaced, we had determined the best custody arrangement so that we could co-parent.  Delusional as it probably was, we truly thought that we would be better, more present and effective parents for our kids if we were couple- we would raise each other up to be the best we could be (in everything, not just parenting).  Now, looking at the destruction we would have caused with the belief that it was the right thing scares the crap out of me.  Still, it is so hard to move on from this intense love I feel for him and I know he feels for me.
I found this quote that perfectly describes our relationship better than I could: 

"Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.” 
So what happened?  As he was leaving the marriage last month, separation papers signed and he was moving out, his wife begged him to try to stay and work it out.  She had been doing this for a few weeks but he was not giving in- both because of me and because he had tried to get the marriage to work for 2 years and nothing had improved.  She said something to him that clicked and he called me hours before I was supposed to get on a plane (we live in separate cities) to see him.  I was so crushed; I felt abandoned and lost.  My future, the one we had been planning together, was now blown up.
After reading TU’s letter- I felt so much clarity.  I became grateful to my AP for having the wisdom and strength to break things off before we couldn’t turn back.  I love him more for it and know that the path we were on would not have ended well.  We would not have been able to live a life of bliss that we imagined knowing how many people we would hurt to satisfy our own selfish, self-absorbed, needs.  
He is now trying very hard to make things work with his wife.  He told her a little about me (which I am angry and confused about)  and understandably she is threatened.  A major issue is that we work together and need to talk so no contact is difficult.  I believe that she has forbid him as of yesterday not to talk to me- that he can only email.  I know NC is important to distance myself, but I am having trouble with this on so many levels.  First, I just lost my best friend.  I need him right now and I know he needs me.  We are completely in agreement that we can not move forward as a couple that it is very important that we make our marriages work.  We are united in this- no matter how difficult or painful it is. But,  my exAP knows me better than anyone, he knows what I need and I truly feel like if I had that guidance that I could take it back to my marriage to help it.  Understandably, his wife doesn’t agree (my husband doesn’t know anything about my A)- what wife would?  The other issue I have with this, and I know that it is none of my business anymore, but I feel like her forbidding him is putting him back on the wrong track with her.  She is controlling- it is one of their issues and I feel like he is giving in to her again and I just want to be able to tell him that.  But, another part of their agreement is that anything we talk about (if we do talk again) he has to relay everything back to her… so no way can I tell him.   I get all of this- intellectually- I get it why it has to be this way,  but my heart doesn’t, I’m crushed.  
Anyway, that is my story.  I am very grateful to this board, I have gotten so much from it just as a lurker and I wanted to share in hopes anyone else had more to add to help me through what has been the toughest time of my life.   
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 06-06-2014 - 4:58pm

I can see that it would be very hard to end an affair if you believe that the AP was your true love. Since you can't go completely NC due to work, then I think you just have to limit your contact to strictly professional issues and have no contact other than that.  What he does now in his marriage is just not your business--he has to try to make it work by himself.  if he thinks his DW is too controlling, then he can say that.  I can see why she doesn't want him talking to you on the phone--if there are emails, she can read them.  Of course she feels very threatened right now.  I'm sure you could understand that, so she is trying to control what she can.  As far as your marriage, the person you should be talking to is your DH if you feel that there has been something missing.  I don't say that you have to tell him about the affair, but you could tell him that you haven't been too happy and if there are issues, you need to bring them up--if necessary, you go to a marriage counselor.  Using the exAP for advice is just a crutch.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2014
Fri, 06-06-2014 - 5:39pm

Thank you for your response. 

I completely understand the wife's position, for the record- she doesn't know about the A- he told her that there was deep friendship and that we were exploring taking it further.  Still, if I was in her place, I am sure I would be doing the same thing.  My head tells me this, I wish my heart could believe it.   There is a part of me that hopes it doesn't work out with them.  That I can't make my marriage work either and that organically, we end our marriages and find a place together in the future.  My goal for the next few hours, days, weeks is to stop that type of thinking.  I know it is not productive or healthy..again it is heart vs. head. 

I have a wonderful husband- he is kind and loving and a good father.  If it wasn't for the intense connection I had with my exAP, there is no way I would want out of my marriage.  I know that my DH will never be my exAP, but my hope is that with some work we can find some of the intmacy and connectiion that I had with my exAP.   

It is just so hard to give up on the dream- even though I know it is the right thing to do.  I keep rereading TU's letter so that I don't lose perspective.  

Thanks again for your response.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Fri, 06-06-2014 - 11:44pm

Just understand ONE thing.  IF you were his true love, the answer to his prayers, the be-all end-all in his life, then he wouldn't have backed down at the last minute.  He was "in love" with you, as you were with him.........but that's not true love.  If he loved you so deeply, nothing, including the end of the world would have changed his mind.  His wife's begging wouldn't have stopped him.  I'm sorry this happened to you, but maybe it was something YOU needed to appreciate your husband and the life you have now.  I've seen a couple of affairs like this.....one man went so far as to tell his children to pretend he was dead.......because he would never see them again.  Both couples got married, and one marriage was over in less than a year, and the other after a couple of years.  Both couples were miserable.  It's one thing to sneak off to a romantic evening together, it's quite another to have to pick up after him, to clean the bathroom after him, to wonder why he's 10 minutes late, and assume he's cheating, because that's how YOU got him.  Fix the problems (if there were any) in your marriage.......and get on with your life. Be happy!

Avatar for wClarity
Community Leader
Registered: 11-04-2012
Sat, 06-07-2014 - 1:49am

Welcome to EAS, Ollie4me:

I'm sorry that your xaffair partner pulled the rug out from under you. Stories similar to yours usually go either way. At the last minute, someone pulls out, or, they go on to forge a relation...and that can go either way. It can turn out badly with divorce down the line, or, with two mature adults at the helm, they can navigate with care and consideration of everyone involved through the expected and unexpected turbulent waters and make for a reasonably smooth transition as the families meld together. I know of two such cases who were able to accomplish this and they are happy and so better off and so are the kids. I'm sorry your love wasn't strong enough to give it a go. Please do not blame his wife for putting the kibosh on your plans. Again, had your love been strong enough, it would have endured. 

And that quote...crumple it up into ball and throw it in the trash. It's all very nice for single, available people to consider about each other...not to be fantasized about and attached to an affair partner by a married woman. Don't be taken in by the silly notion that we can have only one soul mate because you want it to be so.

I don't say any of this to be mean. I say it to give you a different perspective.

You say you've been reading here and you have a letter/or words from TU's writings, an older poster here...so I am assuming that you've experienced some ups and downs...some periods of rockiness in your affair relationship to seek us out.  Am I wrong in assuming that? 

You seem to understand why he needs to go NC...I know you don't like it, but it's good you understand it. If he is willing to stay in his marriage, then he needs all his attention and focus on it.  I'm sure you can understand that as well.

I know it hurts...I really do. Whether or not the relationship was inappropriate or not, and although you both put the applecart before the horse...making plans before any of this was a sure things...before you both had signed, divorce papers in hand, it is still a painful loss...for both of you.  Right now you must find your own way...and he will have to do the same.

For now, you have to grieve it out. If you can sit with a therapist to help support and guide you (along with our support and any other support system...like a good friend), you can get yourself back on on solid ground and then be able to make some clear-headed decisions of where you go from here and how to handle your marriage.

Please keep reading in our healing library and if you have not yet check out the Baggagerclaim site, I strongly suggest that to.

Keep posting in for support. I'll be hitting the sack shortly, but will check the Board periodically tomorrow to see how you are holding up.

I'm glad you posted in. I know how much better it feels to get it all out. And asking for support is a good first step, too. You're going to be okay. I know you don't feel that right now, but you will get through this.

((hugs))

Clarity

Community Leader,

Ending an Affair Support Board

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2014
Sat, 06-07-2014 - 8:18pm

Thanks so much to everyone who posted. 

I feel like I am on a roller coaster. 

Clarity- to answer some of your questions. I am pretty new to the site- I came to the site before we broke off the A to see if there was any, just one or two positive stories of people who were in A's, split up their families and were able to make a go of it.  As I am sure you are aware, there are very few of those.  I came back and found TU's letter in the resource area that gave me great perspective.  We both agreed that we could never regret splitting up our families for our relationship- we recognized the damage we would be doing and that would be hard to overcome.  We knew we needed to go about the breakups with care and concern and if we really thought we could make our current marriages work then we needed to try for the sake of our school-aged kids. We never wanted to have any regret.  We were completely aligned on this, so I wasn't really shocked or had the rug pull out from under me- it was just that I didn't think it was happening that day. We were going to go on one last trip and decide how to proceed. I was more invested in making my marriage work or trying than he was- like I said, he was moved out, the legal separation documents had been signed (divorce in his state starts with separation docs- so in his mind, the marriage was over).  His DW and him had been actively using that "conscious uncoupling" program- he was done.   I was honest with him the day before and told him I was worried about him being out of his marriage and me being able to really try in mine- knowing he was available- so I asked him to try one more time.  He said, he didn't think he could do it, that it would be disingenuous.   When his wife begged him, and with our conversation the day before, he felt like he better try.   I am grateful for his wisdom and courage, because I don't think I was going to be able to make the break to try to work on my marriage without him taking the first step.  So that partially what is so difficult.  I put him in this place- he was done and out of the marriage and I asked him to stay and to try.  So he is and so now I have to too.

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This was never a relationship that was built on fantasy or escape- we were completely real with eachother.  I recognize that not living everyday together does make things more perfect and less real.  But my dream was to just live a normal life with him.  To pick up his stuff, get in fights, raise our kids together, etc.  Nothing fancy, I just wanted a life with him.  I have been with my very sweet, kind husband for over 20 years.  But the thing is, it isn't real. We are playing roles in the marriage.  There is history and friendship- but not connection and intimacy.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-10-2011
Sat, 06-07-2014 - 8:45pm

 I believe the feeling you and your xAP have for each other is as real as in a non-A relationship.  After all, love is a chemical/hormonal/organic reaction.  It's the same in A or non-A.  The difference is the social situation, reality vs. fantasy(or alternate reality).  It's hard to end an A because it signifies giving up the dreams you have in an A of the alternative lives you would have with your AP.  This alternative life has all the passion, love, the side of you you like, that you miss in your current life.  Letting it go is like letting some kind of hope for the future go.  

However, fantasy is fantasy.  Turning fantasy into reality, the process itself can turn your dreams into nightmares.  The way I look at it is - ask yourself, how happy are you in your current marriage?  Rate it between 0-100.  Let's say that you give it 50, maybe 60.  Then rate your relationship with your AP, if you find a way to be together.  Let's say you give it a 90, OK, even 95. (Nothing is perfect, right?).  Now, think about how many negative points you would give for all the pain, suffering of your spouse, children, or other family members who you care, and your reputation, hassel of divorce, custody battle......  I would think that should cost at least 20-30 points, agree?  That would bring your happiness with your AP down to 60's range, not much an improvement from what you have now.  And you are not even counting the negative happiness points you have cost your spouse, children, his spouse, children...  So unless you rate your current marriage at 30-40 points or below, this relationship stemming from A isn't gonna work too well.

So I think you and your xAP made a brilliant decision in not pushing ahead when your current marriages aren't dead in the water.  Consider yourself dodged a bullet.  Of course, it still doesn't solve the problem of how to deal with what you have now.  If you have decided being together legitimately is no longer a choice, then you have to either end it or continue the A.   If you decide to end it, I have to agree that given your strong feelings for each other, continued contact of any kind is likely going to lead to either more feeling and pain, or sliding right back into the A.  NC is extremely hard and almost sound inhumane.  But I don't have a better answer.  All I can say is you have to believe in what you decide and be determined.  We are here to offer support.  

Avatar for wClarity
Community Leader
Registered: 11-04-2012
Sat, 06-07-2014 - 9:31pm

This was the wrong site to come to for positive stories of affair turned above board...seeing as this is an ending an affair support board. There is the My Affair Support Board (MAS) and Making a Marriage Work (MMW) - (use to be Making a Second Marriage Work, but I think it was blended with another Board)...you could start a thread on either one of those boards asking to hear from people who's affair ended in togetherness, and I'm sure you will get replies. I think the CL of MMW has such a story.

For now...for support, the My Affair Support Board will be a better fit for you. If your circumstances change and you do actually end your affair and need support to help you through, our door is always open.

I'll say this, if I was your betrayed spouse and ever found out that not only did you betrayed me by HAVING an affair, but you continued to betray me as you continued to talk with your affair partner...while you talked to me about making our marriage work, I'd feel doubly betrayed and it would surely end in divorce...whether you decided you wanted that or not.  And if your affair partner's betrayed wife ever learns that he is still going behind her back and talking with you, all hell is going to break lose...and that could include her outing you to your husband.  So yeh, kinda stupid and delusional thinking on both your parts.

Good luck

Clarity

Community Leader,

Ending an Affair Support Board

Avatar for khatru1
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2004
Tue, 06-10-2014 - 10:54am

You can't really predict how life will be wityh someone until you are actually in it, day to day, 24 hours a day, month after month, year after year. Only then will you truly find out. It's easy to extrapolate from the fantasy land that two people are in, when they only spend relatively limited time together, to this blissful and harmonious life forever after.

The quote you mentioned is nice, but I have the opinion that a soulmate doesn't really exist. Anyone can certainly find someone and be very happy with that person for the rest of their lives, but the idea that this is the only person on the planet that you could achive this with, is really really stretching it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-09-2014
Wed, 08-06-2014 - 1:30pm
Ollie be grateful that your XAP called things off when he did. Imagine boarding that plane and having to deal with that in person with him. He chose to work things out with his wife because deep down he still felt there was a chance to make amends and work things out. You need to move on and accept the fact that he remained and that you both have so much to work on internally. I can imagine how this hurts and going NC is not really possible because of work but do limit contact as much as possible, so to lessen the pain for you. Keep your head up Ollie.