Hello, I am new to iVillage. I have lurked on and off for a while and I am hopeful of measured and supportive thoughts and advice on the EA I have been involved in on and off for about ten years now. I'm not sure what I want from this, but getting it all down will be a start!
I first met my AP when we worked together. At the time I was single and he was involved. We began a short but incredibly intense physical affair, ended mostly because I moved countries. At the time, I felt that my leaving was good timing as I felt there was no real future for us. I was heartbroken but felt that in time I would be fine and move on.
My AP and I were very occcasionally in touch over the following 3-4 years, via online chat. Generally he would behave vaguely flirtatiously and I would decline to reciprocate and that would be the end of the conversation, after some general chat. Over that time I met my now DH. Around the time of our wedding (four years ago now) I was in contact with AP, mainly via email. He seemed to have changed significantly in his interactions with me and did not attempt to flirt. During this time, AP was single for a while, he is now in a relationship again.
Shortly after I got married, I began to suffer from anxiety and depression, which led me to seek counselling. It turned out that my AP had also been in therapy and we began to speak online more often about our experiences. There is a lot in my childhood that I continue to work towards moving past with therapy - it is a long journey and it means a lot to be able to talk to someone with similar problems. I should add that at this time, there was nothing in our conversations that I wasn't sharing or wouldn't have shared with my DH. Things continued like this for some time. About nine months ago, one of our chats went decidedly sexual. I ended the conversation before it really got out of hand but I felt completely sick and stressed for days afterwards. AP and I discussed this later and concluded that it was wrong and that would be it, no more flirting. But it brought back so many feelings and memories of our physical relationship from years before. My DH is aware of this chat and it understandably upset him but we got past it, after some hard discussion. AP and I saw each other in real life a few times about 18 months ago (ie before the first online sex-related chat) when I was the country that he lives in. We talked and talked and there was absolutely some 'spark' still between us. On one hand I was relieved that nothing happened, but I also came away feeling confused and almost regretful that nothing happened.
However (and I'm sure you can all see this coming) in the last few months things ramped right up to pretty much online 'sex' between us (just typing, no video or voice calls). I called an end to the sexual part of our relationship a few weeks ago but I am missing it. We still chat a couple of times a week or so but I realise that even after all these years, I still want this man intensly. I keep coming back to a feeling that our original relationship was never fully resolved. My poor lovely DH doesn't deserve this at all - he is nothing but wonderful to me and I love him. I think that DH is emotionally what I need and want and AP is the physical / sexual partner I want.
Anyway, as I said, I don't really know what I need from this community - your thoughts would be appreciated though. I am grateful for a place to write this all down. I am between therapists at the moment and am not sure if I can be completely open with someone new for some time. I find therapy to be hard work and it takes me a long time to be open and honest (long term consequence of childhood!). Thank you.