“Why can’t I get over my Affair Partner?”

greif2This post was generated by a number of things that I’ve been seeing on blogs and message boards.  Waywards (former cheaters) lamenting about their ex-Affair Partner.  Most of them stating that they are trying to make amends to their spouses (or in some cases, the spouses still don’t know about the affair) and recommitting themselves to their marriage, but still unable to “get over” their ex-Affair Partner.

Some  are still clearly in love with them, to varying levels, and their longing for what they had with their ex-lovers is poignant, raw and clear in their writings.  They still feel stuck.  Not 100% sure what they really want.  Their ex-Affair Partner is still, at some level, a life option to them.  Perhaps a safety valve. A back-up plan. Or perhaps who they’d secretly would rather be with if the financial, familial, social difficulties and complications of a divorce could be somehow neutralized.  I see it everywhere. They carry a “torch” for this person, large or tiny, secretly or openly.  But a torch nevertheless. A torch that can undo their marital recovery.  You can’t really recover until you get past your affair, your partner and your addiction to both.  It’s not merely an obstacle — it’s a game-changer.

griefThis, however, is not the case for me, as anyone who has read my blog knows. I don’t want her back.  Under any circumstances.  Do I sometimes have a twinge of feeling for her somewhere at a remote outpost in my psyche? Yes.  But it’s barely a flicker.  So I’m not in the position of the people I’ve described above, although I truly understand their feelings.

So what DOES one do?  Your head and heart desperately want to be in the “right place.”  You want to erase the past and the hurt it caused and fully commit yourself to a loving, satisfying marriage. You want things to not go back to the way they were, but to be better!  You want your spouse to essentially make you feel how your ex-lover made you feel — loved, desired, appreciated, wanted.  You SO want this.  Yet you still feel the tug of past feelings for “her” or “him”.  The longing. The torture.  The sadness.  The loss. And you don’t dare say it out loud.

It’s a breakup, like any other.  If anyone knew the secret to how to instantaneously get over a breakup, that person would be the richest person alive.  And the heightened nature of an illicit affair, especially one where you rarely see the person due to distance or circumstances, may make the breakup seem even worse in many ways.  You are holding on to an illusion of a relationship more than the actuality of it.  How does one get over a fantasy? I have to believe it’s hard.  I wish there was a way to merely say — “well, it was an affair, and it was WRONG, so just get over it!”

But it simply doesn’t work that way — I’m sure that you’ve been through other breakups before, where you felt like total shit and missed them for weeks and weeks. Well, this is a breakup. And there’s no way to get over it instantly, except to go through it.

Get your head on straight.  Your affair was real, yes, but it was rooted in fantasy and maybe even more so now.  An extramarital obsession is usually a form of fantasy – the love object — your ex-Affair Partner –  fulfilled all your unmet needs and possesses all the qualities your spouse or partner does not have (in your eyes, at this moment). Usually there is a certain amount of projection, of giving your external focus qualities they do not necessarily have – where there is doubt, they get the benefit.

Recognize however that to some extent you’re probably over-romanticizing your ex-lover.  You’re not out of the affair fog and you may not be seeing them objectively.  Understand that the qualities you have placed on him or her probably belong more to fiction than to reality, and try to divorce this fictional crush from the real person.  You are purposely ignoring their poorer characteristics.  Remind yourself what they were.  There were probably red flags and you likely ignored them because you were getting your needs so fully met by your affair partner.

Understand that what you had during the affair is UNLIKELY to continue if you had them in a legitimate, day-to-day relationship, with all of its attendant difficulties.  The heightened awareness during an affair — the stolen moments and days or weekends of nothing but sex, passion and happiness are very unlikely to continue in real life.  It was part fantasy, part reality.  But recognize the part that is an unreal illusion. It was a relationship, but it was in a bubble, shielded from many of the problems of ‘real’ relationships. As I blogged about previously, few illicit relationships make a long-term, successful transition to the “real” world.  Your odds are better flying an airplane without an engine.  Keep that in mind.

Affairs are generally an escape from a very unsatisfying reality in our lives.  Even after they are gone, they still become a mental escape.  Keep that context in mind.

Don’t trigger yourself.  The more you can control your thinking of the other person, the better off you’ll be.  Send all their emails and pictures to a new email account that you don’t use.   Don’t purposely go to places that remintriggerd you of them.  I think that it just takes time to train your mind away from thinking about them.  Don’t blog about them (in any way that seems sentimental, anyway).  If a song comes on that reminds you of them, turn it off.  Remove and block them on Facebook so you’re not tempted to even look at their page.  Delete them from your phone.  If you can’t throw their gifts in the trash, put them in a big box, seal it up and toss it into the attic for some better point when you can deal with them.  Distract yourself from thoughts of him or her. Think about something else instead, something that you want to put more of your personal time and energy into. You invested an awful lot of “psychic energy” into that relationship, and it doesn’t just go away when you decide for it to.

It’s normal to grieve.  I’m not suggesting that you don’t need to grieve, or that you have to act like none of this happened. But I am saying that every time you wallow in those sad, unrequited love feelings, you’re strengthening them. If you find them unpleasant and want them to go away, you have to stop feeding them. You can’t make it stop completely, it will take time, but this is how you do it faster.

Sometimes we WANT to hold on to our pain, as strange as that sounds.    There is something alluring about wallowing in our own suffering over the “lost love.”  It feels almost noble.  Like a movie.  It makes us feel alive because we FEEL.   But it won’t be good in the long run.  It will ruin your healing and your marital recovery.  Guaranteed.

Count your blessings. This may sound trite, but whenever I felt a positive thought about my ex-OW, I tended to purposely list all the great things in my life, and remind myself what a fine woman my wife is.  Focusing on what you have will tend to snap you back to reality.

Give it time.  I once read it takes 1/2 as long as a relationship lasted to get over it.  I largely believe that’s true, but when it comes to an intensely emotional and physical affair, it might not be.  However, I do believe that if you follow some of the concepts above, all you have to worry about it time. Your feelings for him/her WILL dissipate.  You won’t forget them, but over time, they will find an appropriate context and compartment in your psyche. You will see them as someone who once “was” but not longer makes sense in your current life.  You don’t have to hate them, and I doubt you’ll ever merely feel neutral about them, but the sting of loss and of their memories will eventually dissipate to a minor pin-prick.



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34 thoughts on ““Why can’t I get over my Affair Partner?”

  1. Yes, well. It is now hitting me. Just how much l lied and deceived. These last five months. On a scale l cannot begin to tell you. Our one and only meeting required the planning of a military operation. To invent a ‘plausible reason’. For me to travel 500 miles from home and stay away for four nights! And l did it. I pulled it off. And there is now a gaping hole in my life. Because once l had left the house the phone was switched on. The secret phone. ‘Morning :)) darling. How did you sleep?. ‘I love you’…My partner was just an ‘obstacle’..God forgive me.

  2. My tactical operation of lies went on for 4 years… I now know it was an addicition and the real world is where you need to live. You truley reap what you sow. On my way to recovering but have to live with 4 years of lying and not sowing the right farm…Selfish

  3. I’m right at the beginning of this. It’s so very, very hard. I wish this feeling on no one. Sure, I’m the architect of this situation, but it doesn’t make the outcome any easier.

    I think I lived the fantasy life of every 40+ man out there: a no-risk, full consent affair with a gorgeous woman half my age. I should be grateful, yes? But, no. And it’s not the guilt – it’s just that it had to end. It’s an addiction. It’s easier to justify than shooting heroin, but it’s still a physical need that has suddenly been cut off. It’s harder than you think.

    Some who read this will feel less than sorry for me. I understand that. But, those who are in this, or are about to be in it, take heed: it is worse than you imagine. I’m not sure how to come back to “reality” from here. I know it’s out there, but all I see right now is her. I’m truly lost. And I’m sorry if you are, too. It’s a ridiculous place to be, but it is so hard, nonetheless.

    • I thought your reply might spark some comments from women! You are essentially confirming their worst fears: That men can be lured away from their wives by a younger, hotter woman! Ah well, it’s the same that men think about women who “fall” for older, unattractive, but wealthy men!

      That aside, I’m glad you commented. yes, it IS like an addiction. And the outcomes can be devastating not just for yourself, but those around you. When one gets involved in an affair, the results can be horrible, unpredictable. And the effects lasting and negative.

      Thanks for having the courage to come here and admit it. People NEED to read what people like you and I think — hopefully it will help some avoid affairs altogether.

      • Lol, ok, I realize I was probably way more sarcastic than I should have been with him. I see a lack of remorse & something of a self-pitying tone to his posts, and it annoys me more than it should. Maybe that’s my own insecurities being channeled in the wrong direction or something. Let me try again…

        The gist of what I wanted to say to him was that if what he valued most about his AP was her youth and attractiveness, he needs to know it’s mostly about his self-esteem. It made him feel good about himself that she was attracted to him, and now he feels bad because she apparently isn’t feeling it any longer – or at least not strongly enough to continue on with the affair. You never know what her motivation was in the first place, but if she never spoke of long-term commitment, she probably never considered it, and I’m guessing she’s easing away now because she knows he has & isn’t comfortable with that.

        His biggest problem now is still self-esteem, and it’s going to be worse at this point. I don’t know his marriage – I just know it can’t be good. Maybe his wife knows that & maybe she doesn’t. But I do know that if he doesn’t want to keep doing this sort of thing over & over again, the marriage is where he needs to turn his attention next. Fix THAT problem before you perform anymore backassward temporary repairs on your life and muck it up any worse than you already have. If you value the marriage & still care for your wife, see what you can do to fix it. But understand that you can never really connect with someone deeply enough to have a mutually satisfying & fulfilling relationship that will last a lifetime until you are willing to open up with them, and share everything about yourself with them. That means the good and the bad. Unfortunately, the bad carries with it the possibility that it may drive them away. But you have to suck it up and brave that possibility if you want to really make it work & be happy.

        What you do when you tuck your tail between your legs and slink home, hiding your feelings and keeping this from her, is like tossing a living room rug over the top of two inches of sewer muck. the muck is still, and always will be, there. You’re just hiding it, and hidden or not, everything that comes into contact with it is still going to be contaminated. My advice is just don’t do it. I know you’re hurting & don’t want to make it worse, but have the courage to fight for the marriage you want, even if it means the one you’re in has to end. All my best to you.

      • RWS, I appreciate the compassion and understanding in your response. This blog is only meaningful if those who wish to participate do so in such a manner.

        My example, though somehow stereotypical, is but one in tens of thousands who stray. I am not a unique snowflake, nor am I justified in my actions for that reason, either. No matter who strays, it is highly personal and highly contextual. And in an anonymous forum like this, to give too much context away is to reveal the person(s) completely. That is something that, I think, none of us are wont to do.

        I, as well as others here, are looking not just for outside understanding, but to understand ourselves. We know we have participated in something reckless and destructive. We have reasons for this, and none are exactly the same, nor are they easily deconstructed by those who would judge based on little evidence.

        What we do have in common is the pain, confusion and hollowness in the aftermath of our affairs. Again, those aspects are unique to the respective event(s), and therefore should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis – not with the broad brush of judgement and vituperation. That does not help me, and I can’t imagine an individual that would find any assuagement in such an approach.

        We are human and fallible. Whether you have strayed or been the victim of one who has strayed matters not in the sense that the playing field is level for us all. None of us are above fault. Perspective is everything.

        That said, I am still confused an hurt by my AP, my spouse, and my own actions for all different reasons. Such chaos makes the day-to-day more than difficult to navigate. If I sound like I’m pitying myself, well, you can receive it that way, if that’s your frequency. That perception is unfortunate, and does me (and those like me) no good.

        A last note: I decided to post here in hopes of some feedback with which might illuminate a path back to normalcy. But, rather than a light, there’s been shouted curses in the dark. That’s not what I came here for.

    • I know exactly how you feel. My affair just ended after five months. We saw each other in that time maybe seven times but talked every day via text. I miss that constant communication with him and our weekly meetings. I find it so hard to function on a daily basis. I too am truly lost and never thought it would be this hard to get over it and carry on. All I think is of him day and night. I don’t want to feel this way and I know we will never be together. Yet I can’t seem to move on.

    • I’m right there with you. Exact same situation. I’m 46, she was 23. Sexy, gorgeous, mysterious, amazing sensuality. Seems like a fantasy, right? I thought while I was in it that it was worth it; that the positive would outweigh the negative once it was over. Maybe it was. But now I’m really struggling with the loss. Home doesn’t feel like home. The imaginary bubble she and I were in when together seems the norm, not my home life. It’s an awful place to be, self inflicted of course, but still awful. Adding to the pain is that wife doesn’t know and is being so supportive of my sudden “depression”. I can’t focus on my kids, my job, my marriage, anything. It’s torture. Well deserved, but torture just the same.

  4. This is probably going to come across as mean-spirited or judgmental, but seriously dude, get real. It’s a bit of a stretch to say that every 40+ man out there fantasizes about having an affair with someone half their age – gorgeous or not. It makes you seem shallow, like you’re a bit of an ass, frankly, and like finding yourself in that situation is the answer to all your prayers – something you’ve aspired to all your life. I don’t know, if that’s your fantasy, why are you still married? Do you think that all your wife has ever wanted in life is to be deceived and manipulated by someone she has made a lifetime commitment to? To wake up someday (probably the day she finds your bags packed and you headed out the door) and realize that she has been living a lie?

    I read and commented on your other post about getting over the other woman, and I totally get it that it’s too recent to have your head clear. But if you plan to stay in your marriage, then you need to learn something from this aside from how to successfully deceive your wife, or that terminating an affair can be painful. if you want to know the fastest, most effective road back to reality, I’ll tell you what it is, and I kid you not, it is 100% guaranteed to get you there. Tell your wife what you have done. Make a full confession, and then carefully watch her reaction. I can promise you, when you see firsthand, the devastation and pain that your actions have caused, it will have such an instantly sobering effect on you, you will feel like an entirely different person than you are right now. Truth and reality are synonymous. You can’t have one without the other.

  5. I read this page all the time to try and get it through my head. I want desperately to start this process. I am “the other woman” and I am married as well. I still “talk” to my affair partner. We worked together and I am the one who left the work place and I still have not settled on a new job. My husband knows about the affair we had, but he does not know we still talk to each other now… It is an addiction – it so is, I’ve never had an addiction before. Also, I am the person who said “this would never happen to me” and I judged those who would get themselves involved in this type of thing. So please do not come to this site to judge. If anyone has had an addiction, than they know it takes everything in your being to get yourself out of it. I fell in love with this person, first we were friends and as any affair typically starts, we began to discuss personal relationship issues (red flag) and than it quickly turned into an affair. This all happened before I was married… the person I married was the person I also cheated on with this man. Complicated – I know. Anyways, my point here is that I’m having a hard time with it – its becoming the norm in my life. I’ve gone through several counselors, had gone back to church and that helped for a bit.. it is very hard, even after you feel you’ve tried “everything”. Good luck to all who are out there struggling with this addiction or anyway, we all need help.

    • If you’re looking for help – I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Dr. Kevin Elko (he is a behavioral psychologist who does a lot of consulting work for professional sports organizations & motivational speaking), but you might find some of his principles helpful. He I know people recommend a lot of books and reading materials to others here, and maybe less than half of them are ever even looked at, but I wanted to recommend his writings to you. I like “Nerves of Steel”, but he has a really good newsletter you can subscribe to as well. Also, here is just a 6 page paper called “Five Questions That Will Change Your Life” – in pdf format, available here: http://www.drelko.com/Five%20Questions.pdf

      There’s a lot of sports & business/professional analogies in his writing, but many things that apply to personal growth as well. This quote especially resonates:
      “In our time there have been two great discoveries about how our minds function. First is the realization that individuals can change the way they think. It is this choice to change the way you think, more than anything else, that changes life. The second great discovery is that we attract into our lives not only what we love but also what we fear. Thoughts that receive our attention, good or bad, fuel our unconscious engine, driving our future and the events that happen to us in the real world.
      There is a huge mind-matter connection, which simply means that what you think, what you say to yourself, what you believe impacts your life in powerful ways. Be careful to fuel your mind with facts.

      THE QUESTION: Am I telling myself facts?”

      I know a *little bit* about addiction. And I know that there is no hope of recovery for anyone struggling with an addiction of any kind until they are willing to remove the thing they are addicted to from their lives in every way. If you’re addicted to alcohol, you can’t spend your days gazing into the front window of a liquor store and expect to recover. Another thing you can do is seek support from the people who are closest to you, and let them help you. Your husband could do that – support you & help you to overcome your addiction – if he was aware of it & knew you needed his help. Of course, he could also be disgusted with you for deceiving him, and turn away from you entirely. But you already know that, which is probably why you continue to deceive him. Coming clean with others about our addiction means that we are almost certainly going to be forced to confront it and do something about it. The thing about telling yourself “I’ve tried everything” – it’s self defeating when you really haven’t done that at all.

    • I’m the last person to judge you for your actions. Mine are at least coeval with your own. And even that is not fully correct, because circumstances are never the same for each individual.

      What I do know about is the pain. It hurts. Was it ever really worth what we put ourselves through? The payoff was fleeting, but the fact remains that the payoff was our drug. We were able to tough out all the bad feelings, the anxiety, the forced duplicitousness, in order to be with that other person for just a fraction of time. That’s addiction in a nutshell. I never knew that until I was suddenly in it. And we fall victim to our own design.

      I wish I could offer you some kind of salve in this tough time. I don’t care how you feel about your AP or your spouse right now – you are in pain, and that’s what needs attention. But, I am going through a similar thing, so my perspective can only be one of empathy. That said, know that you are not alone, and that you will get through this. We will both come out on the other side wiser than we went in. And, as a result, we can be far more wary of the extramarital. We know what kind of toll it takes upon a person. It diminishes you, and makes you feel worthless. You are not.

      • mementomori3, thanks for that.. I really needed to read that.. Several counselors later and no one ever put it that way. I think we need groups like this with people who have actual experience and are brave enough to talk about it. Everyone else who’s making comments like – “just get over it”.. Its like telling a addicted person.. stop smoking or stop drinking. To the person who said “tell your spouse the truth and than you will stop”, news for you, its not always that way. Anyways, thanks again, I think I will resort back to this board when feeling tempted to talk to the person – even alcoholics have sponsors. Maybe this will finally be the changing factor for normalcy! Good luck to you.

        (please put from anon again -thanks)

      • I can give you all some first hand experience in addiction. I’m a recovering alcoholic and have been sober for the last 17 years. Booze and prescription drugs. The physical withdrawl from those was horrendous. It was a while ago, but I don’t remember the mental torture like I’m going through now. The mental obsession with my AP is completely overwhelming.

        Sure, the fact that this beautiful young woman was interested in me is the hook. Most beautiful, sensual woman I’ve ever been with by far. She NEVER, though, made any references to us being together long term nor did she even pursue the affair. As a matter of fact, she tried to end it several times but I pursued her relentlessly, persuading her to continue. She’s married as well (although living an ocean apart). This obviously points to a tremendous self esteem deficiency on my part. What I don’t understand is, where did that come from? I never cheated before my current wife. Never. And the pain is from the loss of AP, not from the guilt of what I did.

        Truthfully I’m not sure I would have ended it any time soon if AP hadn’t first by lying to me about leaving the country. I’m in total hell. I have enough self awareness to know that what I was doing, how I’m feeling, and the what I feel my heart wants is wrong. I’m under no illusion that I’m in the right here by even a centimeter. Yet I’m completely buried in obsession with AP.

        Support of people who understand, like those on this site, gives me a bit of a respite. I want to follow you all out of the tunnel into a happy marriage. My wife is a good woman. She doesn’t deserve this. Self serving a bit, yes, but the actions and behavior are mine. Hurting her if I can fix this without telling her, seems more appropriate. Part of the steps of recovery are to make amends, wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. Her, my kids, everything, would be destroyed. Do they deserve this because of my poor judgement and lack of self control?

        Ultimately I know I must suffer through this. I did it 17 years ago and can do it again. But I can’t do it alone. People need support for things like this, not necessarily to commiserate, but to have that objective, learned voice when they are feeling the urge to stray. That’s how AA and other recovery programs work. I’m just happy you’re all here, whether you’re reading what I write or not.

  6. I agree with TLynn–I am in the same situation and feel so alone at times. I am not looking for any sort of validation for my horrible and selfish choices. But the pain and loss is so very real. There are days when getting out of bed and putting one foot in front of the other are almost impossible. I cry alone in my car and feel so angry at myself for all the pain I have caused with my selfish behaviors. Yet, I still miss the OM very much at times. My rational mind knows it was fantasy, and the longer I go with no contact, the more that will come to light.
    And my spouse and I both want a good marriage. I always wonder why my spouse did not cheat and I did–we were both in the same shitty marriage.
    This was not the first time I had cheated. I have learned that D-day can be so devastating for all involved. I was the perfect wife. After being caught, I said and did all the right things. Went to therapy, apologized to everyone–the AP spouse, my parents, my spouses parents. Swore I wound NEVER NEVER DO IT AGAIN. The focus was on my bad behavior rather than why are marriage was so crappy in the first place. I had been married and faithful for 15 years before the first affair.
    Anyway, if the problems of the marriage are not addressed with both parties taking the responsibility, the marriage has no chance.
    I again found myself lonely and looking for a distraction. This time, my spouse even condoned some of the behaviors. I met a man on-line and he was married. We bonded and you know the rest.
    I separated from my spouse and began divorce proceedings. We had never gone this far. Then the clouds began to clear a little. Was I really wanting to lose my marriage, spouse and children over a man I did not even know. Was I going to look at this OM in 5 years and cheat on him or vice versa. YES.
    Many problems stem from the fact we don’t speak to our spouses and tell them why we are unhappy. What we need. We feel they should just know. I never really gave our marriage a chance.
    I am scared. I miss the highs. I so desperately want my marriage to be happy. I know it can not compare with a fantasy and get angry with myself for missing the OM.
    But it is so nice to know there are others like me. Good people making some really bad choices. I come here and read when I feel weak. Keep posting people.

    • There is that illusion in affairs that this other person “just knows” what to do & say. That they “get you” on a level that nobody else ever has. It really is an illusion. Reality is all the stuff that goes on in a relationship with someone you live with, raise kids – whatever with – and the exciting, feel-good moments are much more rare. Someone you have to steal time with is putting in the utmost effort to make that stolen experience ideal, mostly for themselves, and you are doing the same. You try to present yourself in the most favorable light, and you usually end up lying to each other more often than not, which makes it anything but an honest & open relationship with someone who sees you as you really are & wants you anyway. But as long as you aren’t lying to yourself, there’s hope. Find a good therapist. And don’t be afraid to comparison shop until you find a good fit. Don’t settle for someone who isn’t getting to the heart of your problems & helping you find constructive ways of dealing with them.

      And to T Lynn on her comment above (I presume you meant me & what I said to mm): I did not say “tell your spouse the truth and than (sic) you will stop”. I said that telling her was the fast road to reality – if that is indeed what he really wants. Not that it’s going to magically make him feel better, or that he will instantly be over the OW. He is still going to need the time & effort to recover, but coming clean with his wife would remove the blinders & drastically shift his perspective from self-absorbed, to one that encompasses her feelings and the consequences of his actions. There’s nothing more sobering or real than that, and nothing will ever get better until they both openly acknowledge the problem and deal with it honestly.

  7. I am going through this right now.

    My situation wasn’t like your typical affair. It was in some senses but in many ways so different. I’m a younger woman who fell for an older man. I fell for him because of his personality, it wasn’t really about the sex, though of course that was a part of it, that wasn’t what drove me to do what I did. He’s married, I was in a relationship.

    I made the painful decision to end things with my AP and my partner. My partner never knew. Still doesn’t. I am many miles away from them both, I left the situation and left the town. Right now I’m still in touch with my AP though.

    I realised I wasn’t happy or in love with my partner. I realised sneaking around with my AP wasn’t going to make me happy. It did short term but I knew in the end we’d get caught and hell would break loose.

    Even though ending things was the right decision, i feel like a part of me has died. I have an ache in my heart, it’s been some weeks since it all ended, but as time passes it’s not getting any easier. Only one trusted friend knows. I am considering counselling, because i’m struggling each day, it is affecting everything I do.

    and I know being in touch with my AP isn’t helping with my recovery, but I don’t have the strength to cut ties completely.

  8. I would be interested to know if there are any statistics out there regarding how long the average affair lasts and also how long the “affair fog” lasts. My husband is still in contact and having trouble “letting go” of his other woman although he claims that the affair was over in October. He says that he feels signs that he starting to emotionally let her go but at the same time he claims that they were twin souls and that he never felt this degree emotional intimacy/connection with anyone else and that he feels that he has never really been himself before in a relationship, which after 20 years of marriage really hurts. However I have put my big girls panties on and accepted 50% of the responsibility for the state of our preaffair marriage and he shows signs of accepting his 50%.
    One of the things that I find incredibly frustrating is that his criticisms of me appear to be more pertinent to his affair partner’s behaviour. Obviously I don’t know her and I hope that I will never need to. She may be a very wonderful individual who fell off the cliff. But I have seen a few red flags in her behaviour that would indicate otherwise. (And actually of the three of us I reckon I’m the one that is behaving pretty wonderfully and what better way is there to assess an individual than their actions.) Why can’t he see this, will he ever and how long will it take before he realises that actually I’m not the big bad wolf just somebody who was trying to make the best of life (living in foreign country with husband weekly commuting and having unresolved childhood trauma, mentally handicapped son etc) and that I’m human and didn’t always get it right. But boy did I try. And for the record I wasn’t having my needs met either but I didn’t have an affair.
    Sorry, I feel bit better now.
    Anyway to all discovereds out there (cheaters is kind of inflammatory) please cherish your spouses, your second chances and be grown up about your screw ups. To all discoverers (I refuse to be a victim) accept the preaffair marital deficits and concentrate your efforts on building something better. Something wonderful. Something that will actually make the lessons of the affair worth it. – I just want a genuine opportunity to do this!
    Back to the original questions. I know that crystal balls don’t exist but ball park statistics would be a help.

    • I can’t point you to something specific, but I think I read in the past that most affairs do not last beyond a few months. Some go on for years and years yes, but these are the exception.

    • I have read & read, and haven’t yet seen an actual statistic on the duration of “affair fog”. Most of the material out there indicates that affair fog lasts as long as the affair continues, and the rest is usually about what you can do to recover once the affair ends. Marital counseling is your best bet, and he needs to sever all contact. Now. That’s a must & I would insist on it. I wouldn’t even try to save the marriage without it. He isn’t going to come out of it until he stops talking to her, and she is no doubt keeping him confused & feeling emotionally torn – perhaps trying very deliberately to do just that. It happens. But you need the counseling to help you find ways to start effectively communicating with and understanding each other. It’s invaluable; I honestly don’t know how anyone could do this without it. He’ll get a lot of insights into his own feelings & behaviors, and so will you. It really helps. Insist on that, if nothing else, and stay with it. That’s my advice.

  9. I recently split up with my AP after 5 months. In those five months we saw each other maybe seven times as he lived 3 hours away. We would text daily and shared very few phone conversations. About two months into our affair he suggested we try entering the ‘lifestlye’. He said it would enhance what we already had and that his wife showed no interest. I really didn’t know much about it but went along thinking this was a phase and it would pass. We signed up on a website and started our search. He would spend most of the day on this site looking for couples and it soon became an obsession. For me our time was precious and rare that I just didn’t want to share that with anyone. Not to mention I was married and it was hard enough to pull off seeing him when the opportunity arose. I was crazy about him as we hit it off immediately when we first me and the sex as he would say was mind blowing. He fullfilled everything that I was missing from my marriage. But once this obsession started we argued more and i was becoming miserable as I just wanted him. He made it clear to me as he wanted more but would say things that kept me hanging on. Near the end of our relationship his ended up seperating from his wife and things went downhill from there. Some of the things he would say to me were horrible and I decided that I couldn;t do what he wanted me to do and we ended things. Regardless of the situation and all that happened I miss that daily connection to him and feel completely lost without him. How could I feel this way knowing that I was never enough for him? That being with me alone wasn’t sufficient. How could I miss someone so much? Knowing he said things just to get me into a lifestyle that wasn’t for me.

    • You miss how he made you feel when times were good. The “real” him, if you ever saw it, is not what you were so attached to. Probably the only times he was being himself was when he was being abusive & pushing you toward something you didn’t want to do. And he probably treated his wife this way as well, which makes it no big surprise that they separated. Know that the way you feel is withdrawal from those good feelings, but that the relationship you thought you had with this man was most likely an illusion. And it’s entirely possible you weren’t his only AP, his first or last. Someone who has affairs to spice up their sex life is not interested in a committed relationship. He already had one he didn’t do a good job with. It’s highly unlikely he would have done any better with you. I would spend my time & energy trying to figure out why I cheated in my own marriage, and decide if I needed to get out of it or try to repair it. You have a better chance of getting to what you want starting there than you do through extramarital affairs, and counseling is the best place to start.

  10. My affair partner is just over twice my age. Within a year of our relationship, someone from my life contacted his wife and revealed our affair. When she confronted him, he told her that it ended four months prior to her finding out. He was livid. But within four months after getting caught and “banning” me from his office a month before he decided to “walk” back into my life and relive our spark, we have cautiously proceeded with our relationship. My affair partner or “lover” (what he likes to call us), is adamant that our relationship is purely sexual, and that he isn’t emotionally involved. Yet, he has recently admitted that he is willing to risk his marriage just for sex. Am I delusional? Is he delusional? I’m confused.

  11. Thanks for this blog. I’m in the mess right now, and can’t seem to get him off my mind. I’m separated, and he knew it, so it felt less like and “affair”, and more like the start of something real. But I AM still married, so I know it was verging on deceptive. My husband is still living in our family home, and he doesn’t know about the OM.
    I am a mess. I didn’t have sex with the OM, but I would have. We did have some intimate contact, and many many texts. We saw each other about 7 or 8 times over the course of about 2 months. I fell deeply for this guy. He met all my unfulfilled emotional needs that have gone unmet for so long in my bad marriage. The fact that I have been so emotionally starved for 15 years didn’t help any. I fell hard and fast like a teenager. I can’t quit thinking about him. He has cut contact with me because he said my situation is too hard to deal with. He can’t get past that I already have children (he wants his own), he will eventually move back to his home state, and I will likely be going through a long divorce. The thing is, I don’t know if I will divorce. I am afraid to be alone. I’m afraid I can’t support myself and my kids. I know that I will probably stay in this unemotional, non-sexual marriage because I am a coward, and can’t imagine starting over. Plus, this OM has made me feel like I will never be loved by anyone again because I am “damaged and have too much baggage”.
    My thoughts for him are all-consuming. He has told me he is still very attracted to me, and so I am hanging on to that as if it were a lifeline. As if, somehow by magic, he will call me and tell me that he has to have me, that I am all he thinks about. Which, I know is silly. And childish. I just have never had anyone make me feel as sexy and wanted and beautiful as he mad me feel for those few short weeks. I feel like it was a drug that I have to have just one more time. And then one more time again.
    I guess I should consider myself lucky that we didn’t sleep together, because I can’t imagine hurting more than I do right now. I keep telling myself that if I were to have sex with him, maybe the feelings would go away, or that I would then have the memories of amazing sex, and I could move on. Seeing those words typed, I know I sound crazy, and I STILL can’t help it.
    This is the worst pain I have ever felt. I know its made worse by the fact that I haven’t felt ANYTHING in years. This is the first time I have FELT in years. I’m so hurt, and confused, and sad.

    • Find a really good counselor and get your self esteem back to a stable level. It will take time and patience with yourself. You aren’t the only woman to stay in a stale marriage out of fear and need for security. You can make peace with yourself and your decision. It is totally human to crave an intense feeling that you’ve never had before. Your ego is on overdrive. We all want to feel important and attractive and alive. Mother Nature and biology made these interactions so intense so that we would bond and procreate, even when it makes no sense at all. Google articles by Helen Fisher about rejection and the end of relationships for a complete understanding of what you mind, body and spirit are going through. Unfortunately you have the compounding issues of being stuck in an unfulfilling situation that you may never be able to fix or improve.

      • Thank you so much for you response, lastdance99. I have given a lot of thought to your words. You were spot on, and counseling has helped me. The OM and I never saw each other again, but what I did learn is that I needed to start living my life for ME and my girls.
        I filed for divorce. I am ready to start living again. I’m so glad I found this site, and have found a place to share my story through blogging. I am ready to start that journey, because I think it will help me to heal.
        The last month has been tough, with my soon-to-be-ex moving out, and us trying to figure out how to do this next part. When you’ve been together for 15 years, and married for almost 13 of them, it’s so hard to imagine another life. But I am happier. Or, I will be, I think.
        I didn’t think anyone would respond to my heartache above, and it was comforting to know someone was “listening”.

  12. I posted a few weeks ago about mine….even though we cannot see each other we were still in contact via internet… but I’ve just cut contact. I’m in a lot of pain now. I wanted to stay in contact but it was proving too difficult for me, I’ll always want more. It is definitely an addiction, and I feel now like i’m at the start of going cold turkey. I wonder now if all this pain was really worth it….falling in love with someone I had for a while….but not properly or anymore.

    • It’s not worth it. No way it can be. This type of pain and self torture isn’t how we’re supposed to live. I just want to be back in the spot where my life was simple, easy, and content. I’ve never been overjoyed in my marriage, but it was never awful.

      • I’m still struggling, I think I might benefit from talking to other people who have been in a similar situation, if anyone wants to chat, drop me a reply or a PM …

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