What to expect?

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anonymous user
Registered: 12-31-1969
What to expect?
Mon, 08-13-2012 - 9:47pm

I'm new to an affair and new to the board. I'm glad I have found this forum...I've been searching for weeks for a community like this to vent and learn. I've been lurking for days and soaking up a lot of experiences that both relate to mine and in some ways don't. I amthe other woman. Different than most here I am single and he is married. I'm in my 40s and he is in his 50s.

From what I am reading its not much different than most affairs. We met at work about 7 months ago. The flirting and tension mounted...we became fast friends...working about 3 or 4 hours a day together. Finally the physical started about 3 months ago. Now I am confused.

He says he loves me. I believe him but I don't think his intentions are leaving his wife...but after 3 months who would? His kids are grown (from his first marriage) so staying for the kids is not an issue. Are there other reasons a married person would not leave an unsatisfying relationship rather than because of the kids?

I'm not ready to give up yet but I find the relationship becoming unsatifying...no weekends etc.

i broke up with him 2x already and find myself at square one. I know he doesn't want to hurt me and would respect my decision to end it (i think). Its hard because we work together..NC is not a possibility and I so want him! 

What reasons would he stay in the marriage if not for kids? Wht should I reaonably expect after 2 months?

What should I expect?



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2010
In reply to:
Mon, 08-13-2012 - 10:28pm

Hi!  I'm glad you posted.  Yes, there are reasons why some men stay in their unhappy Ms even after the kids have gone.  There was a poster on here...gabby I think?  Anyone remember her whole username?  But she was with a MM who had grown kids and he was in an unsatisfying M, but he never wanted to make the move to get out of his M.  He promised to marry gabby, and he led her on for a long time. He gave her a ring and everything.  Eventually his wife actually divorced him and he STILL refused to leave his R with her behind!  He continued to pursue his W and spend time trying to win her back while he was still telling gabby he wanted to be with her.  I'm not saying your AP is misleading you like that, but it just shows how some people will stay for reasons the average outsider can never understand.  But here are some of the main reasons I have seen listed here on MAS why married AP  (especially a MM) might not leave a subpar R:

1) It is comfortable.  Men especially seem to value this.  Knowing what the schedule is, the traditions, what to expect---it seems like many men put a high value on this.

2) The risk factor---staying with his current W is a "known evil."  He understands what to expect from her, and while it might not make him happy, he is probably used to it to some degree.  But if chooses to go through the very disruptive process of a D to be with you, he is facing the unknown.  It might be bliss, or it might be more of the same thing he has now in ten years.  It might be worse.  I have noticed that women seem more willing to take that risk, but men seem much more cautious about it.

3) His ego and the way others perceive him--  I have heard some of our guys on here talk about how part of their self worth in our culture is linked to how well they provide for their families.  Even if the kids are gone, he vowed to take care of his W and be her partner.  Abandoning that responsibility weighs heavily on a lot of men, even when having sex with another woman doesn't seem to bother them so much.  So even if he loves you, his primary obligation is to her, and if he drops that obligation, he is going to lose face with family, friends, and people in his community to some degree.  

4) The technical difficulties of ending a M-- It can be really complicated for a lot of people to get a D.  The financial part alone is enough to scare many people away from a D, especially if the A isn't really harmful, but just unsatisfying.  Then when you think of splitting up the holidays with the grown kids, finding a new place to live, deciding who gets which of the friends...it's a very tiring process.  If he is in his 50s, he may not think all that disruption is worth the effort.  The average life expectancy of an American male is 75, so if he is mid 50s, he knows he statistically has about another 20 years of life to live, and most people do not imagine that the last 10 or so years are driven by much passion, I think.  I can see how a 30 year old might be more willing to make that jump when it is a change that will affect over half his life, but even I at age 36 have seen how my desire for comfort grows stronger every year.  I can see how a man in his 50s would decide it might be too late to rock the boat when so many habits have already been so deeply engrained.

Ultimately, it comes down to the strength of his feelings.  My XAP once told me that he loved me, but NOT ENOUGH---not enough to break up the world he had created for himself.  Is it a perfect world?  Not at all, but it must have some strong sort of appeal if he wanted to stay, especially when he had other options offered to him.  

I think where you are at in the A now is very, very typical.  After the thrilling rush of the first 3 months begins to simmer down a bit, usually the man starts to come out of the fog first, and often it does lead to a big jolt for the other AP.  As you said, when the AP cuts back contact, it hurts and you want things to be the way it was before.  I would say your experience is exactly normal, and nearly textbook.  Not that it helps, eh?  

Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
In reply to: xxxs
Tue, 08-14-2012 - 12:11am

85% will not leave their M.  The reasons you have been given are accurate.  Many women know that the M is not going to meet all their needs too.  Think of an affair as sex and conversation:nothing else. 

Let's face the fact that a person's beliefs have an powerful hold on that person.


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-15-2012
Tue, 08-14-2012 - 9:33am

Male here.  I won't leave for a couple of the reasons that you mentioned above.  Yes comfort and routine definitely have their place.  Yes there are definitely some technical difficulties ending a marriage.  Money, kids, extended family, etc..  That being said, if the marriage did come to an end, I would definitely pursue my affair partner.  I would not go back to my W because obviously I wasn't totally happy there, so why go back?  I guess I can understand that some people stay in unhappy relationships because they've become familiar and comfortable.  I mean look at abusive relationships - whether it's mental or physical abuse - it's not healthy, but it becomes so familiar and comfortable that people stay.  I guess I'm smarter than that and if I have an out, aka divorce, then I'm out of there.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-18-2009
In reply to:
Tue, 08-14-2012 - 11:59am


He can love you, and at the same time love his W, just in different ways. The sex in the marriage is almost gone, and here you are, new and young.. he doesn't need to compliment you much any more.. what else a man would want?

There is a case here like yours, which has been dragging for 5 years now. Why he doesn't leave W (although I'm pretty sure she knows about the A)? Apparently because he doesn't want her to have that "that fine piece of property"!

don't blame yourself for squashing the romance, it's not your fault! Get yourself out unless you think he's the greatest thing since sliced bread and is "out of your league".

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
In reply to:
Tue, 08-14-2012 - 1:37pm

My friend (divorced) started having an affiar w/ a MM in 2003--which I remember because it was right before my wedding.  they had been friends for quite a while--both families were friends.  At first she thought he was waiting until the youngest child went to college, then that time came & went.  He never actually said he would leave his DW--he just said how unhappy he was.  Money was never an issue.  he's a very well off orthopedic surgeon so he could afford to give his DW the house and pay alimony & have a lot of money left over--his parents are very well off.  Now since my friend even knows the DW, she knows for a fact that they have a terrible marriage, has seen them arguing together, etc.--so staying w/ the DW really makes no logical sense.  They didn't have one of those affairs that was seeing each other every week it was more an occasional thing.  Now it has not only faded out but she says he is now acting cold to her which doesn't make sense since they were friends before they started the affair.  so you just never know why someone won't leave the marriage--her guess is that the Dw is mentally ill & he is afraid she'll kill herself if he left & the kids would blame him.  Seems as good an explanation as any because he's definitely unhappy.