August 23

What to Do If You Suspect Your Spouse is Having an Emotional Affair

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adultery, cheating, dealing with divorce, deciding to divorce, divorce blog


It usually starts out innocently enough. Your spouse has to get an important project done and needs help from a co-worker. It’s only natural that they would talk about their personal lives when they are spending so much time together. Or maybe your spouse is scrolling through social media one day and finds that a former lover sent him/her a “friend” request. So they start to talk “for old time’s sake.” That’s all it is, just talk. But you can’t stop that nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach that something’s off. Then one day, it hits you. Is your spouse having an emotional affair?

Closeup of upset beautiful woman whose husband is cheatingWhat is an Emotional Affair?

In the past, most people defined an affair as a sexual relationship between two people, at least one of whom was married to someone other than their affair partner. Most sexual affairs, but not all, have an emotional component to them as well. But just having feelings for someone else was never technically classified as “an affair.”

Now, that’s changed.

In today’s world, we expect that our spouse will not only be sexually exclusive with us, but s/he will be emotionally exclusive as well. We’re no longer okay if our spouse happens to fall in love with someone else, so long as s/he doesn’t have sex with that person.

An emotional affair then is an inappropriate emotional closeness with someone other than your spouse. That emotional connection in turn affects the level of intimacy, emotional distance and the overall dynamic of your marriage.

In short, an emotional affair involves your heart, but not necessarily any other body part. To say that an emotional affair isn’t sexual, however, is not necessarily true.
Woman spying on her husband holding hands with another woman

Is an Emotional Affair Really Cheating?

According to world-renowned couples therapist, Esther Perel, infidelity contains one or more of these three elements:

  • Secrecy;
  • Sexual Tension; and
  • Emotional Involvement

Interestingly, this definition of infidelity does not require two people to actually have sex. Having a secret emotional relationship constitutes infidelity just as much as “hooking up” with someone outside of your marriage.

What’s more, an emotional affair can be just as hurtful, sometimes even more hurtful, than a full blown sexual affair. More than anything else, the secrecy of the emotional affair is what makes it so devastating. It’s also what makes it a betrayal.

The fact that your spouse may not have had sex with his/her new “friend” isn’t nearly as hurtful as the fact that s/he lied to you about his/her relationship.

What’s more, just because two people aren’t having sex, that doesn’t necessarily mean that their relationship isn’t exploding with sexual tension. As Esther Perel so aptly puts it in her ground-breaking book The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity,

“Clearly, affairs can be sexual without a penis entering a vagina, and in such cases it is more helpful to call a spade a spade.”

Sometimes, the lack of physical contact is exactly what makes a relationship erotic.

Smiling woman having coffee and emotional affair with a manBut We’re “Just Friends!”

Some relationships really do lack the sexual tension that characterizes a typical affair. People joke about having a “work wife” – someone they spend a lot of time with, but aren’t involved with romantically. Sometimes those relationships are truly platonic.

After all, just because you spend a lot of time working with someone doesn’t mean that you are having “A Relationship” with them.

What makes the difference between a working relationship and an affair is the lack of ANY of the three factors Esther Perel has identified as characterizing infidelity.

The spouse in the working relationship isn’t hiding any part of that relationship from his/her spouse. S/he is not sending furtive texts to their “work buddy” in the middle of the night. S/he is not sharing personal secrets and long-held dreams with their co-worker instead of with their spouse.

A truly platonic relationship also lacks the sexual tension that characterizes an affair. Neither person in the relationship is flirting with the other. Neither is making inappropriate remarks or sexually-charged suggestions to the other.

Finally, in a truly platonic relationship, the emotional connection that the people in that relationship share is typically minimal. Sure, they care about each other. But they care like you about a parent or a sibling. They don’t care like lovers care.Shattered pane of glass - dealing with infidelity that shattered you

Why Does Emotional Cheating Hurt so Much?

At its core, an affair – any kind of affair – is a betrayal of trust. When you discover that your spouse has been calling, texting, or spending time with someone else without your knowing about it, you feel violated. You feel like someone just hacked into your body with an ice pick and pulled your heart, and your guts, out right through your skin.

It feels that bad.

What makes that feeling even worse in emotional affairs is that the offending party might not even think they did anything wrong.

“I didn’t touch him/her! Why are you so mad? We’re just friends!”

Or, worse yet, the offending party may get mad at YOU for being “controlling,” “petty,” and “insecure!”

So, on top of dealing with your own emotional devastation, you — also have to deal with your cheating spouse’s anger, denial, and defensiveness as well. That makes recovering from an emotional affair pretty much impossible.

After all, if your spouse can’t even acknowledge your pain, s/he certainly can’t help you work through it. What’s more, if your spouse cares more about staying connected with someone else than s/he does about staying connected with you, your marriage isn’t likely to last very long. (Sorry!)

Woman hiding cell phone from husband - signs your spouse is cheating8 Signs Your Spouse is Having an Emotional Affair

Because emotional affairs can so easily masquerade as “just friendships” it’s often harder to figure out when your spouse is involved in a relationship that may have crossed the line.

Even still, the warning signs of an emotional affair are strikingly similar to those of a sexual affair. Here are eight of the most common signs that can tip you off to the fact that your spouse’s “friendship” may really be more.

  1. Your gut is screaming that something is wrong.

It’s easy to dismiss the queasy feeling you have in your gut that something in your marriage is not quite right. But often our bodies are better at knowing the truth than our minds. If you’re not a suspicious person by nature, yet you just can’t help feeling that something is going on with your spouse – pay attention!

  1. Your relationship with your spouse starts to get more distant.

 While every relationship has its ups and downs, if you feel like your relationship with your spouse is starting to grow cold, it may be time to dig into what’s going on. If your spouse is suddenly “too busy” or “too tired” to spend time with you, that may be a sign that s/he’s getting his/her needs met elsewhere.

  1. Your spouse starts being secretive about his/her cell phone.

Any significant change in your spouse’s cell phone behavior can be a huge sign that your spouse is having an affair. Maybe your spouse suddenly starts locking his/her cell phone when s/he’s never done that before. Or you may notice that your spouse suddenly stops answering his/her cell phone when you’re around.

  1. Your spouse starts spending lots more time at work.

Even in today’s internet age, a significant number of affairs still happen in the workplace. While every change in your spouse’s working hours doesn’t necessarily mean that s/he is enjoying a little “bonus time” with a co-worker, it can be a sign that you have problems at home.Man's hands typing on laptop computer

  1. Your spouse starts spending way more time on the computer.

With today’s technology, you can have an affair without ever leaving the house. If your spouse starts spending more time on the computer for no apparent reason, you may want to pay attention. That’s especially true if your spouse doesn’t want you “bothering him/her” while s/he’s on the computer.

  1. Your spouse is spending a lot of time with someone other than you.

 If your spouse is spending more time with anyone other than you, that’s never a good sign. While your spouse may need to work closely with a co-worker or colleague, when s/he starts spending a significant amount of his/her free time either talking to or being with that co-worker or colleague, that’s a big red flag that their relationship may have gotten a little too close.

  1. Your spouse talks a lot about his/her “friend.”

 If your spouse starts sharing a lot of stories about his/her “friend,” especially stories that are very personal, it may be time for you to go, “Hmmm.” One of the hallmarks of an emotional affair is sharing stories with your “friend” that you normally would share with your spouse. If you find that your spouse seems to know a whole lot about his/her friend, you can bet that your spouse has spent a significant amount of time talking to that friend.

  1. Your spouse stops talking about his/her “friend” altogether.

 Sharing too much about “ a friend” isn’t the only signal that your spouse’s relationship with that “friend” has crossed a line. Your spouse’s radio silence about someone that s/he used to mention can also be just as telling.

Close up of upset man whose wife is cheating

5 Things to Do When You Think Your Spouse is Having an Emotional Affair

  1. Talk to Your Spouse About His/Her Relationship

Telling your spouse that you think s/he is a little too close to his/her “friend” seems like the obvious way to address your issues. The problem is, that conversation may not go the way you think.

Often, spouses who are involved in emotional affairs don’t think they’re doing anything wrong. Because they’ve never touched the other person, they don’t feel like they’ve cheated.

Rather than going ten rounds with your spouse about whether his/her new relationship is really “cheating,” focus on how their relationship is making you feel. Let your spouse know how deeply his/her behavior is hurting you. That alone should change the conversation from one of accusation and blame (“You’re cheating!”) into something more constructive.

(NOTE: This may not happen in one conversation. It may take several conversations before your spouse realizes how much his/her relationship has hurt you. That having been said, if you’ve tried having this conversation many times, and you’re still getting nowhere, you might want to go to #2.)

  1. Get Professional Help

Sometimes the break in your relationship with your spouse runs so deep that you and your spouse just can’t get past it yourselves.

Maybe your spouse won’t acknowledge there’s a problem. Or maybe s/he thinks it’s YOUR problem. Either way, going to couples counseling can help.

A good marriage counselor can often work wonders, especially if both you and your spouse are willing to put in the work to save your marriage. (It also helps if you haven’t waited until your marriage is on life support before you start counseling!)Silhouette of a hand reaching out to help a man get up. Divorce Counseling and Support concept.

  1. Get Support

Regardless of whether you’re going to marriage counseling or not, getting support for yourself is just as important. That’s especially true if your spouse is denying that you have a problem.

When you feel like your marriage is being compromised, and your spouse is telling you that you’re over-reacting, it doesn’t take long before you start to doubt yourself. You start to second guess what you see and feel. Unfortunately, that only makes you feel worse.

Having someone you can talk to, someone who will listen to you and let you know whether you’re crazy or not, can be invaluable. In a perfect world, that someone would be a professional therapist. But a trusted friend, or a close family member, can also help.

(NOTE: At this point it would probably be best to limit your support group to just one or two people. This is not the time to circle the wagons and tell everyone you know that your spouse is having an emotional affair.)

  1. Set Ground Rules

If your spouse is involved in a relationship that you’re not comfortable with, and s/he is not willing to change his/her behavior, you may think that your choices are to either accept your spouse’s behavior as it is, or get a divorce. But you may have other options.

To explore those other options you need to decide what you are and are not willing to tolerate. Maybe you want to have an open marriage. Maybe you are willing to let your spouse have outside “friends” if you can, too. Or maybe you’re not okay with any of this, and you just want to have a traditional marriage. Whatever you decide is fine. The point is to consciously explore your options and make a decision about what you want.

If your spouse will have this conversation with you, great! If not, have the conversation with yourself. Identify your boundaries and let your spouse know what they are. Then (and this is the hard part!) you need to respect your boundaries, and make sure your spouse does the same.

  1. Don’t Make Rash Decisions

 When your marriage is crumbling, you are not in the most stable emotional place to start making big decisions. That’s especially true if you don’t know for sure whether your spouse’s relationship with his/her “friend” is actually more involved than your spouse will admit.

While it’s easy to rush to the conclusion that your spouse is cheating and your marriage is over, that might not be the right conclusion to draw.

If your spouse is willing to talk about the situation and go to counseling with you, that’s a good sign. If your spouse denies everything and tells you you’re crazy, that’s not a good sign. But, it’s also no reason to rush headlong into a divorce. Instead, get yourself into therapy, take some time to clear your head and think, THEN decide on your next steps.

Rose on a black background circled in barbed wireAn Affair By Any Other Name is Still an Affair

 Can two people of the opposite sex (or similar sexual persuasion) ever have a purely platonic relationship? If you watched When Harry Met Sally you may think the answer is: No! But life is rarely as simple as it looks in movies.

The truth is that, when lines in relationships get crossed, people get hurt.

While some people think that a physical affair is the worst thing that could ever happen to their marriage, others disagree. They may not like the fact that their spouse is having a fling, but as long as there is no emotional connection, they’re willing to turn a blind eye.

What you’re willing to live with in your own marriage is intensely personal. You can draw the boundaries in your marriage wherever you and your spouse choose to do so. The key is to draw those boundaries consciously and intentionally.

If your spouse is involved with someone other than you, and you’re not okay with that, it’s time to have a conversation with your spouse. If your spouse won’t listen, won’t go to counseling, and won’t work on your marriage, then you may have a decision to make.

No matter what you do, remember that it takes two people to make a marriage – but three can be a crowd.

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  • Very informative and appears to evidenced based. My marriage has all the signs mentioned here to make me solidify my suspicions. It starts with the classic Facebook friend request with a former friend or acquaintance I’m not sure which it is. They spend endless hours on the phone both with texting and phone calls.
    He visited her in her country recently, I dI’d not worry about his going home thats where we are from and his reason was that he was visiting his children (these are his children from a previous relationship, who are all adults ). On his return to the USA the “friend” called he refused to answer. She called a second time, I said see so ans so calling ansanswer the phone he did not. The following day I called her let her know that I’m am married to the individual she has been calling and that he refused to answer because I was beside him. My husband got so irate he immediately asked for a divorce and said he didn’t want me doing anything for him. No washing, cooking, nothing.
    I was taken aback by his response because he kept saying that they were not friends; but I keep asking why this response because I told “your friend” that I’m married to you . We have been married for 25 years
    I guess my question here is am I wrong in letting the other woman know that I’m married to this man? Secondly I have no desire to mend this broken marriage should I start a conversation to see where he is at with the divorce process? We have not spoken since the incidence. We have two adult children together.

    • Since you have already decided that you want a divorce, there isn’t much point in worrying about whether you were right or wrong in letting the other woman know that you are married to your husband.

      While you definitely need to talk to your husband about getting a divorce, the wisest thing is to get your ducks in a row first. Find out what will be involved in a divorce in your area. Talk to a lawyer (but don’t file anything yet!). Talk to a therapist. THEN talk to your husband. It will be a more productive conversation if you know what you’re talking about, and what the two of you need to do, before you start talking about divorce.

      Good luck!

      Karen

      • Read your page and my gut is telling me my husband is doing the same thing a d its eating me up inside. We been together for 15 years married 2 years this past week a d he decide to go on a business trip same place he took me 17 years ago the week of our Anniversary. My gut been telling me for several years. Haven’t had sex over year in half then he has it right before he goes out of town. I always want sex he dont. Please help me answer what you think.
        Thanks

        • What you should do depends on what you want.

          If you want to deal with your husband’s affair (if he’s having one), you first have to KNOW whether he’s having one. If you want to know whether your husband is having an affair (whether it’s an emotional affair or a full-blown physical one) you’ve got to be ready to deal with the consequences. Once you know your husband is having an affair, and he knows that you know, you’re going to have to DO something about it. Either you will both commit to working on your marriage, or you’ll get a divorce, or you’ll continue to live in limbo. The difference will be that both of you will know the truth.

          If you don’t want to deal with the consequences of your husband’s affair (if he’s having one) then you probably don’t want to know whether he’s cheating or not. Remember, once you KNOW the truth, you have to deal with it. And, contrary to what a lot of people think today, you don’t HAVE to know.

          Women throughout history have turned a blind eye to their husbands’ affairs. I’m not saying that’s right. I’m also not saying that’s wrong. Living with a spouse who’s stepping out of your marriage may not be something you’re willing to do. That might not be the kind of marriage you want. Or, you might decide to live with it. After all, once the truth is in the open, you may be facing a divorce you don’t want. Whatever you do, it’s a choice. So step one is to CHOOSE what you want.

          Step two is to deal with the consequences of your choice. If you chose to do nothing, then you have to learn to live in a marriage where your gut is screaming at you and you’re ignoring it.

          If you chose to discover the truth, and you’ve discovered your husband is NOT cheating, then you need to look inside and figure out why you thought he was. You may have some trust issues you need to work on.

          If you chose to discover the truth, and you’ve discovered your husband IS cheating, then you have to deal with that. Maybe you both go to marriage counseling. Maybe you work on your marriage some other way. Or maybe you get a divorce. That sucks, but is it worse than living with the suspicion that your husband is being unfaithful and not doing anything about it?

          That’s your question.

          Best,

          Karen

    • im so sorry you go throught this pain i yself am in a 25 yr marriage all has been wonderfull untill about two yrs ago i lost custody of our 16 and 17 yrs olds and iour marriage went to hell now he calls me crazy and stays on facebook sendind nasty msgs to younger women like 20 and calls me crazy or complains why he cant have female friends …hevcan as so longn i meet them and approve of theirv reolationship ,.ibfeel so lost dont know weather to leave or stay

      • I can hear how much pain you are in. The decision of whether to divorce is really hard. Having someone to talk with about it can help make things clearer. That makes making a decision easier.

        You might want to either talk to a therapist or a divorce coach. Either one can help you figure this out.

        Best,

        Karen

  • Thanks Karen! I love it when you top listed to communicate with your partner about the things you’ve noticed about him/her. Great job.????????????

    • My husband has a friend at work they dont see each other often since they have completely different schedules. However she is the social butterfly flirt attention seeker howdo I know this? 4 yrs ago he mentioned a new worker every day was a new story. One day got caught with someone texting supposedly the husband finds the phone. Next story they think its someone at work but not sure. Next story itd an old fling husband knows from phone continuation. Next story she cant handle it they take her away on a stretcher . Next story well her husband hit her a few times so they had problems. Next story they thing it may be someone at work. I started to get really uncomfortable with all these stories. How was my husband’s involvement I thought they dont work together. I felt like all these stories were insane since I saw her on a cruise shortly after this insanity with her husband looking like the perfect wife and her husband surely didnt look like the devastated hubby. I met her in person and she was very touchy when speaking to my husband so naturally after all these past stories I dont trust her. He tells me she is just stupid and tries to never mention her again he knew my boiling pot overflows the thought of her. All forgotten o fond he occasionally text her she has no problem sending him kiss icons text. I tell him I looked in his phone plays it off. 5 years later I get in his phone and although his texts and phone calls dont seem inappropriate he deletes them every time I figured out how to find it all. I confront him and he tells me stop with her she is actually a great person but never fess up he delete anything to do with her. If he has nothing to hide then y hide it. She meets my son at our daughters wedding and her first words in a flirtatious way ito meeting him him me and your dad have a lot of fun at work. To top it off she never came up to me at the wedding to say congrats my husband spent no time with me at all and I sat by myself. They were together talking alone here and there. I am beside myself confronted my him telling him I feel disrespected and I dont buy that there is nothing happening. She recenlynwas in the hospital and he text her several times seeing how she is and called her all deleted on his phone. He went nuts and screamed at me and said I am insecure and a nut and he will not defend himself I feel he is choosing this friendship over us. Now I dont trust him at all and I think about it all day long. If I had solid proof I already know my decision I would leave. My husband is always wanting an intimate relationship with me so this is where I’m confused or may be over reacting?? Ir have they had an affair and realized to much to risk since the job they have they need to survive it’s not only about us the spouse there are homes families so I feel like it’s now become emotional or they figured out a way to do both keep it simple and are happy with the occasional meet up and keep the texts and calls going. I just want to know. At this point I feel like it’s no different then a full blown affair. After all he says only contact is only work related (but they dont work together during the week) and I am a nut. My gut tells me I am not wrong. I didntvwake up one day and say let me see… I think this week I’ll pretend my husband if 34 years likes another. I just feel it and I see that badly language the few times we have all been together. I am at a complete loss here with this. I am not an insecure nut case I feel he should not call her text her joke around with her he would never stand for it if the other way

      • It sounds like you need to have an honest conversation with your husband. The problem isn’t simply that he seems to be emotionally involved with someone else. The problem is that it bothers you. That’s why you feel disrespected. If he’s not willing to talk with you about this, and to stop his behavior, then you might want to see if he’ll go with you to marriage counseling. It seems like there are some issues the two of you need to work out. A good marriage counselor can help you get to the bottom of them.

        Best,

        Karen

  • Quick background: Wife and I, married for over 12 years – now have 2 kids – 7 and 2. We love each other tremendously, and I think no matter what, at some level that will never go away for either of us.
    So – for months now (maybe starting feb/mar of 2018 is when it started to hit me) I have been feeling us getting distant and i feel her getting disengaged from everything – including me and the kids, anything home related, avoidance of any ‘normal’ day to day stuff you would think happens in a normal household where both parents are working and have two little kids.
    The distance keeps on growing and growing, and finally, about a month ago – i kind of exploded and told her how i feel. I told her that I even thought that she’s having an affair, and that this is not just usual doldrums relationship problems of a long marriage with kids.
    She’s said she’s not sure what happened, that she agrees to some extent, and that she’ll try working at all of it again, that she’s been going through some funk and she promised she’ll start working at all of it again. I have never had any reason to not believe her, and i honestly think it’s helped us talk through a lot of it and helped us kind of see what is happening and to work on it. That’s great.

    Now, here’s where it gets more interesting. End of September, wife starts texting with a new friend she made at work – a much younger girl. From there on out, throughout whole October they’ve been texting each other literally 200 to 600 times a day, EACH DAY, perhaps even more. I consider myself a non asshole and not one of those controlling types at all – i am a big believer of everyone having friends and having their own things and circles and what not. But this particular relationship between her and this new friend – for some reason, it all started screaming RED FLAGS to me from all direction. I dont know why, but i think because of the previously mentioned issues, I have been on ‘high alert/over analyzing everything’ mode to begin with. That being said – within matter of 6 weeks, they have become so close and like i said, the texting just will not stop. It literally happens at any and all times of the day, everyday. hundreds of texts are exchanged.

    About 10 days ago or so, i told her that I am concerned about this, and i think you might be having an emotional affair with the person. And that it is devastating and soul crushing for me to see this happen, and I haven’t even yet recovered from you disengaging yourself from me! That none of this felt ‘normal’ to me, that something was just off, and that it didn’t feel or sound like a normal friendship, and that every single cell in my body is screaming RED FLAG and i don’t exactly know why.
    I mean – within matter of 4 to 6 weeks, you become so close that you have to text each other hundreds of times every day, and that is all on top of when you see her at work every day, and then i am sure you are texting her on weekends, nights, evening, morning and all the other time in between? Just something doesn’t feel normal about any of this. I know for a fact that for ex. at nights, she would say ok i am going to bed and stuff, then head to bed and be up another hour or three, texting with her!
    She agreed that the friendship happened real fast and yes, it is weird. but she continues saying that they r just friends. She says that they have a lot of playful bantering going back and forth, etc etc and that they r just friends, and that they have just connected and that i have nothing to worry about at all. She gave me all indications that she’s gonna work on cutting down the texts and things like that. She continues ensuring me that she is committed to our relationship, and that she’s continuing to work on things – and yes, i do see her try and actually making efforts to do things she hasn’t done in months.

    but here’s the thing: i am having problem trusting her. I suspect it’s because I have been so traumatized over the past few months just from feeling so emotionally disconnected from her, from feeling so distant and lonely from her. I know she’s trying, but i don’t know if she really is trying hard? This relationship with her new friend – i can’t seem to come to terms with it. I know she’s still texting her and stuff, but to what extent i don’t know – i feel like she’s kind of ‘avoiding’ doing it in front of me or when i am around and things like that. which in itself is even so more hurtful. I know she loves me, but I just can’t help but shake this nagging feeling that something is off with their relationship.
    I am hurt, devastated and in some ways ashamed of myself because of what this has made me like (paranoid? overthinking? not able to move on and stuck in this thought?), but i know, i FEEL, that she’s so connected to this new person all the time, and i feel so hurt and low in priority and just all these negative emotions are constantly in my head now, i can’t get rid of any of them. Having a real hard time in general, with life. I think i have made it clear to her how much this relationship with her new friend has been bothering me, and I don’t want to continue bringing this up with her all the time either cos then i’m afraid she’ll just totally shut down and keep on doing whatever she wants to do without talking to me at all, and that’s the only last thing i feel like i have left with her, that i can do.

    If i was in her position, and if i knew that my not exactly normal friendship with someone is bugging the hell out of her – right or wrong, i would do everything in my power to try and alleviate her concern and make sure she’s aware of what I am doing and things like that. I would do that because i love her and i know how much it would mean to her. Is it not normal for me to have similar expectation from her? How can i make her realize that a new person who came to her life barely 7 or 8 weeks ago is ruining my mental sanity and totally breaking me down? How can i i make her realize that the fact that she says she’s working on it, but at the end of the day is still probably doing the same thing, is absolutely killing me? How can i tell her that while she thinks what she’s doing is good enough for me to shut up, it’s just not working for me?
    Am i too jealous, overthinking things and an absolutely asshole for thinking this obsessive/excessive relationship of hers with her new friend is absolutely destroying me? Should i wait longer to keep on reminding her ‘hey remember, you said you were working on certain things and this is one of them?
    I am absolutely distraught about this and can’t live like this much longer. i feel there’s a lot of unsaid things between us surrounding this new friend, that we are both avoiding for the sake of sounding like assholes all the time.
    Your thoughts/comments/concerns? looking forward to it.
    thanks for listening.

    • I think you’re probably right. My guess is that there are a LOT of unsaid things between the two of you, both about your wife’s new friend and about a lot of other stuff too.

      At this point I strongly suggest that you start seeing a marriage counselor. There are probably a lot of issues you and your wife need to discuss. It doesn’t sound like you’re being particularly successful talking about those things on your own. If one of you shuts down then the conversation ends. Important things are left unsaid. That doesn’t help. That’s why going to a counselor might be the best thing you can do. The counselor could help guide your discussions so that the important things DO get said, and you actually start to deal with them.

      Are you too jealous? I don’t know. From your perspective, I’m sure what you’re doing seems rational. Maybe it is. Maybe she’s the one who’s being unreasonable. Again, I don’t know. But that’s why I think you might benefit a lot from working with a counselor – someone who is neutral and can see your relationship from both sides.

      Finally, if you’re interested, you might check out The State of Affairs by Esther Perel. In this book she talkes about infidelity and emotional affairs. Reading the book might give you some perspective on your situation, too.

      Hope this helps.

      Karen

  • My husband and I have been married for 31 years. Six years ago we lost our oldest daughter at the age of 24. My husband was very good friends with the owner of his company, like brothers they would say. The man died suddenly a couple of months ago. Now my husband works for the wife. I have recently found that they are constantly on the phone. He would drive around in his truck all hours of the night for hours talking to her. He came home late one night and told me he had to help her son fix something at her house. (son doesn’t live with her) He called and told me he was on his way home and then it took him 2 hours to make that 45 minute drive. He came home and told me that he left a tool in his truck that her son needed and had to turn around half way home and take it back. And that was a lie, he drove around and talked to her which he admitted to. He sees nothing wrong with this because they are talking about his friend and her dead husband. He told me he would scale it back but not stop that they were “good friends”. When I ask him how his deceased best friend would feel if the tables were turned he said it doesn’t matter what he thinks he is dead. He says he just doesn’t know what he is going through right now. But he won’t give up their “friendship”. I am now starting to suffer physical effects of the stress I am going through. He talks about getting a apartment and us “maybe” going on dates. He wants me to have the house and he will pay the bills. I feel he wants his cake and eat it too. At what point do I leave and start taking care of me??? Everything I have read said that it is hard for marriage to come back from this. He has made it clear he has no interest in a marriage counselling.
    Thank you for any help.

    • My condolences on teh death of your daughter. I can only imagine how hard that is. I’m so sorry.

      You asked,”At what point do I leave and start taking care of me?” I can’t answer the first part of that question. When you leave is a very personal decision I can’t make for you. But when do you start taking care of yourself? That starts now.

      First, with all due respect, you need help. You’ve been through a lot with the death of your daughter. Just because your husband won’t go to marriage counseling, that doesn’t mean you can’t go to counseling yourself. Doing that would give you someone to talk to, and probably help you work through a lot of what you’re going through right now.

      Next,if you haven’t had a serious conversation with your husband about how you feel and how his current behavior is hurting you, now is the time. It’s also time for you to sort through how you feel about all this. What are – and aren’t – you willing to put up with? Do you want to live separately and “date?” If not, tell your husband that”! I don’t know if it will change anything, but if he knows that his fantasy of “having his cake and eating it too” is not going to happen, that may make him think differently about what he’s doing (or not).

      As for whether marriages can come back from this or not, I can’t say. But, in the long run, is that something you care about? Or, is what you really care about whether YOUR marriage can come back from this? (Probably the latter.) Obviously, I can’t say whether your marriage will survive this or not. But your first decision is whether you want it to. Then, after you decide that, you can start to figure out what you want to do.

      Finally, I know this is hard. Like it or not, you can’t change your husband or his behavior. All you can do is work on you. So, for now, focus on that. Focus on getting yourself into a better place emotionally. Once you do, you’ll be able to figure out your next steps more easily. If you try to figure out everything all at once right now, you’re just going to get overwhelmed.

      I wish you the best.

      Karen

  • Hello Karen,

    Your blog is very informative and helps me identify that my wife is having an emotional and basically a sexual affair. My wife and I have been together for 3 years, two years in a relationship and coming up on our one year wedding anniversary. When we got together I knew that she was bisexual and I came to terms with that later in the relationship. We have had two sexual encounters with a third woman party, I personally didn’t like it because I felt as if all the intimacy was gone between us during this time.

    Well it’s been some time since then and I have told her that she needs to be honest and upfront about when she has a desire to seek out sexual contact with a woman. I think that a ‘no strings attached’ encounter would be most beneficial for us simply because the lack of emotional bonding between her and the third party. Recently she has made a new friend, my wife is quite the social butterfly and I admire that about her. However this new friend is more than just a friend, my wife and I have argued and I essentially had to force it out of her to get her to admit that she is fantasizing about women and that she wants to have sex with this new friend. I try to be supportive of her bisexual behaviors but she has been spending copious amounts of time with her friend and has been acting like she’s hiding something.

    So I dig into her phone one night, I shouldn’t have crossed that line but I discovered that she has been deleting her conversations with her friend and I found naked picture of her friend in her phone. I feel betrayed because she lied to me about it saying that it was purely platonic so I confront her and she attacks me. I know there is an emotional bonding and a sexual bond growing as well, she says her and her friend haven’t had sex yet, that is something that is to be preformed with me present and interacting. My wife says she had a bond with women that she can’t explain and that she loves me and I have nothing to worry about. I feel threatened by this new friend and I don’t believe I should allow a sexual experience to occur because of the emotional attachment the two women share, at the same time I don’t want to control and push her friend(s) away. I am torn because I want her to feel fulfilled and whole but I don’t want something else growing further between her and her friend because it affects our intimacy, trust and love. I feel like I get the leftovers of their encounters and I don’t know what to do about it.

    Thank you for writing this, it helps me a lot.

    • What you are feeling has little to do with sex, and a lot to do with trust, and the boundaries you want to draw in your marriage. The problem is not that your wife is bisexual. The problem is that she wants to ACT on that bisexuality and have sex with someone else while she is still married to you. The problem is also that there is a growing emotional bond between your wife and this other woman. THAT is what seems to be bothering you the most.

      I have no idea what your deal was with your wife when you married her. If having an open marriage was something you both agreed you could do, then the fact that your wife wants you both to sleep with “her friend” isn’t surprising. On the other hand, if you got married with the understanding that the two of you would be devoted only to each other for the rest of your lives, then your wife is the one who is now trying to “change the rules.” Either way, it wouldn’t matter that much IF you both agreed about what you wanted to do, who it was okay to sleep with, and how emotionally involved you could get with someone outside your marriage.

      The problem is that you don’t agree.

      It sounds like it’s time for you and your wife to have a serious, heart-to-heart conversation about what marriage means to you. What are the rules in your marriage? What are the boundaries? What do you both want to do while you are married – both with each other and with other people? I don’t mean just sexually either. Is it okay for one of you to fall in love with another person? THAT is probably the real issue. That’s what you’ve got to talk about and deal with.

      It won’t be an easy journey. But the longer you let this go without dealing with it, the more hurt and betrayed you’re going to feel.

      Karen

  • Hi Karen, I run over your blog and found it comforting knowing that alot of people (wives specifically) go through this phase. I have been married for 18 years with a six year old lovely daughter. Our marriage was based on unconditional love and sacrifices. The ups and downs we passed made our relationship stronger than ever until just few month ago i realized him being too comfortable talking to a female colleague. I would often hear them conversing via phonecalls. I didnt pay much attention at first, but when i noticed that the lady and my husband was talking like they are the closest of friends i warned my husband to be cautious. I told my husband that their openness could lead to a different level. I told my husband that his being nice might give a wrong signal to her colleague. My husband would only answer me “am not doing anything wrong” and “she knows im married” stuff. Though nothing intimate, the lady would often message him and call him out of working hours to discuss her day at work or non sense things like ahe cant find her wallet And etc. My husbands call register would also show an almost 15 min of conversation. Just a month ago i cried so hard to my husband and told him how its affecting me as a wife. We had a heated argument but eventually settled it by going through an agreement that all communications between him and the lady would be visible. Until i found out that he dropped the lady (work related accdg to him) to her home and just a few days ago i discovered him deleting phonecall registers and messages deleted. When i confronted him, he told me he did so to protect me from not fussing over him and the lady again and that i am his wife and there is nothing between him and the lady and he loves me… i asked him why he broke our agreement to keep their convos open to me and if he had shown me the messages and qould have told me that she was texting a non related issue then i would have known what to advice him.. but he got angrier at me saying that he knows me an would have started a fight again if i saw those messages and calls.. i am so deeply torned and hurt but is keeping all the pain in my heart. I love my husband so much and is so scared of lossing him. I asked him if he wants to end our marriage but he answered me no and that he wants to be with me until were old and gray..and just last night i discovered another 13 min call from his phone.. but kept quiet and just cried myself to bed. Pls advice karen much thanks—

    • Oh my. I wish I could say that keeping everything to yourself would make things better, but I’m afraid that’s not true.

      What your husband doesn’t understand is that he may not be physically cheating on you, but his behavior is a breach of trust. That’s especially true because you told him how hurt you were, and how much it bothers you for him to continue talking to this other woman. But he won’t stop. What’s more – he AGREED to stop! So now, instead of just acting in a way that he knows is hurting you, he’s actively lying about it too!

      I can hear how torn up you are about all this. I can’t say that I blame you. At this point, I would suggest seeing if you can get your husband to go to marriage counseling and talk about what’s going on. Clearly he doesn’t understand just how much this is affecting you. But, if your husband won’t go, then you’re in a bind.

      You can’t force your husband to stop talking to this woman. You can’t force him to go to counseling with you. All you can decide is what you want to do about it. When you’re asking yourself that question, start by asking what YOU are willing to do to change. (I know. YOU are not the one carrying on with someone else. But hear me out.)

      When people cheat – whether it’s an emotional affair or a physical affair – they often say the same thing: “Being with the other person made me feel alive again!” They get something from the new relationship that their marriage no longer was providing. So, if you can, be brutally honest with yourself: was your marriage lacking in any area? Answer that question – not from YOUR perspective, but from your HUSBAND’S perspective.

      Were there things that you used to do when you and your husband were first married that you don’t do anymore? Have you changed physically? (I hate to sound sexist, but biologically speaking, men are very visual. Have you gotten too comfortable with the way you look over the years?)

      Please understand, I’m not suggesting that if you just lose weight or start dressing better your husband will suddenly stop talking to this other woman. (I’m not even saying that you need to lose weight or dress better! I have no idea! It’s just an example!) But what I am saying is that, if you start working on yourself and improving yourself, in whatever way you see fit, you might be surprised at the result. If you start focusing on being happier independently of your husband, you will start to feel better. When you start to feel better and stronger, you will change. When you change, your marriage will change.

      If you focus on trying to change your husband, it won’t work. If you nag at him or beg him not to see this other woman, it won’t work. The only chance you have of making your marriage change is by changing yourself. While I can’t promise that if you do that, your husband will never talk to this woman again, I can say that it’s probably the best shot you’ve got.

      Hope this helps.

      Karen

    • “.. Kept quiet and just cried myself to bed.”
      This happened to me for 3 days after I discovered the online emotional relationship between my husband and his HS gf who is based in the US. I did not talk to my husband for 3 days and he slept in the couch in our receiving room. I also snatched his mobile phone and did my data gathering; using his phone and dowloaded all relevant files. Armed with info and upon the urging of my elder son to settle things with my husband and forgive him and give him another chance, we had a serious talk and agreed to reconcile – on my terms. I think the song Greatest Love of All says it – learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all. If you allow others to disrespect you, how can you respect yourself and give the same respect to others? I wish you and your hubby well but… it seems he is not doing his part to preserve a marriage based on honesty. Will you endure a one way relationship? For how long?

    • Ada,
      I have been exactly where you are. My husband had an Emotional Affair with a female work college and it all started with her phoning him and talking for 2 hours at a time. When I complained he said I was Jealous and insecure and had too much time on my hands. We have been married for 35 years and this other woman was 12 years younger than him. Apparently he told her that I had complained about her phoning him and she told him I was being silly. After all, what’s wrong with having friends. Well nothing is wrong with having friends if you in a stable relationship. But when your unhappy in your relationship and your complaining to my my husband about your partner not meeting your needs. And your telling my partner that he deserves better, there becomes a problem. I got sick of trying to get him to listen to me, so I rang her. Big mistake. I should have rang her partner and told him what was going on.Long story short. She leaves her man. Hooks up with another man, runs away with him to start a new life. Sounds romantic doesn’t it. Wrong. She discovers she doesn’t know this other man and leaves him and who is the first person she calls. My husband of course. She has lost everything and looks at my husband like he can save me. He can keep me. He starts hiding his phone and acting very strange and is disconnecting from me. I put up with it for a while because I don’t even know she is back. I later find out the txting was starting at 3am every day and ending when he got home from work. And he was deleting everything. I can’t take the silent treatment and I confront him. He doesn’t want to tell me at first and can’t look me in the eye. I persist and out it comes. She is back! I don’t love you any more! I am in love with her! Were sole mates! I said Ok. I want you to go and be happy. I said, If you think she can make you happy then I want you to go and be happy. He said to me, I thought you wanted to go, I thought you weren’t happy. He then tried to blame me for what he had done. I don’t know what to think now. I think he was hoping that if he treated me badly enough I would just leave and he could move her in to our home. I raised our kids in this house. No way was I letting her move into my home. Delusional. But thats the nature of an Emotional affair. He went off to work the next morning telling me he was thinking he would move out in a few weeks. He rang me that morning and said that he did love me and didn’t want to leave me. He then rang her and ended it. I think me standing my ground, made him wake up from his affair fog and realise what he was about to loose. I just know that it wouldn’t have lasted with her. Her past history was like one train wreak after another. Anyway that was 18months ago. There has been no contact with her but I still keep a very close eye on things. You become like a detective. Maybe one day I will regain that unconditional trust that I once had for him. It still hurts like hell. But it dose get better.

  • Me and my husband have been married for 11years and we have two children together my husband soon to be ex husband are divorcing back and april 2018 we were going easter shopping with his mother and it was 4 of us of all we had two cars we were going in and i got in the car with my soon to be ex husband brother wife so we were in the car and she just start talking to me some of the stuff she was talking about i knew about from before and some she said i didnt know any of it i went alone with her and was like ok yea i knew that because some of the time when i didnt say anything she would stop and say you did know right she told me it was on facebook about different females he had been with on there i dont have facebook because when i had it i did see alot on his page i delete my page i didnt want the hurt from his page anyway she said alot about him on there it made me super sad but next thing i know jeremy was with her friend and they have a baby girl no talking no anything could have help that

  • You nailed it, Karen! All your observations on how an emo relationship starts and develops up to the time a husband thinks he is not at fault is so very true. It happened to me and my husband (58 yo) after more than 3 decades of marriage. Worse is that his own brother connived with my husband including his HS batchmates to hide the online relationship (the woman is my husband’s ex GF in HS). The group got reconnected because of a HS reunion – the other woman did not attend bec she is based abroad. But I am a smart girl, an empowered one. I was able to download all their chat messages for 2 months and threatened to expose them to their families, relatives, superiors, and church leaders. My husband begged to be forgiven and vowed never to get in touch with her and her friends again, online or face-to-face, and he did. I got in touch with the aging woman (58 yo, married thrice but separated with 2 children out of wedlock) online and sent her back all the indecent pictures and emails she sent to my husband with whom she is head over heels with. I told her what my husband said, “She is just a past time flirtatious woman when I am bored because I will never fall for someone like her – from a dysfunctional family, psychotic woman, has had many husbands, etc. It was just playing around.” She committed suicide but survived. Now, my husband grants every wish I have and promised never to do it again until his last breath. I am also monitoring all my husband’s online interaction and he knows and allows me to. I think he learned his lesson the hard way. I have forgiven him but I have not forgotten his moral lapse.

      • But it was a very painful experience for me. I did not realize I have that capacity to fight back. Indeed, hell hath no fury like woman scorned. I also learned to forgive. Through the many online literature I read, I learned that forgiving does not mean excusing (or forgetting) what happened but actually learning how to manage your emotions so that you can move on to more productive things. I truly and sincerely believe that my husband is a changed man because I saw him suffer emotionally because of embarassment from his children. We had a heart-to-heart talk and I am also working on being a better partner/wife, because I am also not perfect. Now, he never liked to talk about it and wants to forget that, in his words, ” very shameful” experience.

    • I was amazed to read your blog and find out I was not crazy. My husband passed away when we had been married 39 and a half years. He died from injuries he receive when our home caught fire and was totally destroyed. Two years before the fire he took a job to supplement his retirement income. Almost from day one he came home talking about Pat. At first it was not very flattering. He made remarks about her not being good looking and very know it all. Within the first couple months that changed. As soon as he would get home he would start telling about all the funny and informative things she said. Then a switch went off in my head and I wondered if anything was going on. One night we were going to dinner and he made a strange turn and I asked what was going on. He said he had told Pat where we were going and she wanted to go too. I said hell no and he got mad and headed home. Another time he said that one of the other guys said they should get a room. When ask why that was said he said they were just talking quietly together. Finally when he would not stop talking about her I screamed that was enough. I did not want to hear her name again. He said I was jealous and he had no idea why. He became move separate from me. When I would enter a room he would leave. Long story short things got worse and I said I had had enough. I planned on taking my life. After a very bad weekend I found her name and phone number in his notebook. I blew up. She happen to call his phone when he had forgotten it on the kitchen table. She hung up when I answered. I called right back. She did not answer so I left a message. Very plain that I was not happy. I did not mention it that night. The next day I asked him if she had mentioned my message. He said yes and she had cried all night. Needless to say that weekend was terrible. Finally he agreed to have nothing to do with her again and that her had never even held her hand. He wanted me to see the doctor and if I did he would never speak to her again. Things went back and forth until the weekend of the fire. We went camping and he was very distant. I asked if he was that way because he wanted to be with Pat again and he said maybe. Half an hour later the garage blew up when he opened the door. He was still conscious in the ambulance but by the time the doctor got done with me they had put him in a coma that he never came out of. Six weeks I sat by his bed hoping one of the ten surgeries would create a situation where they could wake him up. It never happen and he got worse daily. I finally decided it was time to take him off life support. I never got to say good bye. But even worse I feel we never settled our differences. He was my soul mate for over 39 years and I feel that I will never be able to find out if he was still in love with just me. I hope anyone who reads this will not leave things unsettled. Tomorrow may not come.

  • My S/O have been together for 5 years. About 4 months into our relationship he told me about a women he used to work with and they text once in a while just say
    to say “hello, how ya doing and so forth”. They rarely talk or see one another as she lives about 100 miles away. He also told me his old girlfriend found some of their texts and went crazy and demanded they stop. He agreed, then went out and bought a secret cellphone. I remember be conflicted about this because on the one hand he told me about her but gotta say my gut just kinda tensed at his dishonesty with the secret phone. Initially he would answer her calls even if I was around and they would chat maybe 15-20 minutes. She usually would carry on about horrible her boyfriend was to her and so forth. He would console her, tell her she deserved better. My gut gave me no reason to worry… and I have known the code to his phone almost from day one. About a year into our relationship he showed me a text she sent him. It basically said ” I hope Barb knows how lucky she is to have such a wonderful, amazing man as you in her life… you are every women’s dream…” I kinda of chuckled and said, “Ah, the women has a mad crush on you!!” And he denied it and said, “No she doesn’t!! We are just friends!!” And again I laughed and said, “I beg to differ… women can read between the lines and she’s totally in to you!!” Now I was not threatened or upset about the text because 1) he showed it to me 2) she acknowledged me and that we were indeed a couple…. To this day I’m still not sure why he showed that particular text to me…. but I do know that after that day he showed it to me he basically never spoke about her again, never talked with her around me again, it just stopped… Over the next few years I asked him a few times what was going on with her, you never mention her anymore. Well, he really said nothing, just kind of shrugged his shoulders and said she was fine… And my gut still did not give off any bells or whistles… So fast forward to the end of June 2018.. my parents flew in for a visit and I needed to use his phone because mine was broken.. now, as I’m talking with my father, my boyfriend’s phone beeped and vibrated… And I liked at the screen and POW!!!… There it was, a good night message from his “just friends “….I was in shock as I read it, “Hi sweetheart, hope you had a good day… just wanted to tell you good night and I’m thinking of you and miss you…. take care, sweet dreams sweetheart❤❤????”….!!!! I think I all but hung up with my father and for the first time ever, I opened up his text messages between them and had to sit down because I thought I might fall down as I read the messages… my boyfriend wakes up every morning around 2:00am to be at work by 4:00am… and let me tell you that every… single… morning he sent her a “good morning” text, usually by 2:15 – 2:20… He would say things like, ” good morning good looking” “good morning sweetie” “good morning sweetheart”..”are you doing okay? Do you need anything” ” I hate seeing you so miserable and unhappy” “are you staying warm? You need an arm strong heater ” “I wish I could make you feel better!!” ” Give me a call tonight before 7:00, I’d love to talk with you” “Haven’t heard from you in 2 days, are you okay? Is everything alright? Please tell me hope I can help you so you’ll feel better ” and on and on, every single morning and of course various text during the day just letting her know he was thinking of her…. and her messages were much of the same, “good morning you amazing man” “morning sweetheart, just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking of you, as always” “have a good honey, hope to talk with you and see you soon, I miss you” “you are such an amazing man, in every way”….. and the were always emoji kisses, red hearts and red lips. He is not one to “chat” on the phone, basically state your business and be done with it. There was one phone conversation between them that lasted for one hour and 45 minutes….!!! Usually they were around 45 – 50 minutes….(and I found out the extent of it because at I found the initial texts I asked him if I could look at the messages between them and he said yes)… and dad able to see that he had been to get place, they had been going out to eat and she was suing her old employer and found our that he had attended the trial to which she said, ” oh sweetheart, thank you so much for being there for me!!! You are my best friend in the whole world!!” He replied that he just wanted to see her happy and if she needed anything just let him know (I know he had loaned/ given her money on several occasions throughout the last 5 years)…. So when I confronted him about all of this, these lies, he ended up yelling and screaming at me while telling me that they are “just friends”!!! I told him the “terms of endearment” were unacceptable and he said he would talk with her about that…. I finally had to ask him about a week later if he had spoken with her. He said yes, he had talked with her about the terms of endearment, that it upset me and they needed to “knock it off” and then he changed the code on his phone and refused to tell me what it is…. and as I have stated, not once during the last 5 years have I ever snooped in his phone, never thought it was necessary…. so he has a secret code now and his phone is glued to him like a colostomy bag, turns the phone face down and will just peek at it if it rings or text comes in and will quickly turn it back down without answering it… and I don’t know why I won’t confront him about who it is?!?! In my youth (I’m 61 agnes he’s 64) I would have stood up for myself but for some reason I can’t do it…. I’m miserable because I know they are still texting and taking and whatever arms he made it perfectly clear he will not give this woman up, they’ve been friends for, well sometimes he says 10 years and other times it 15 or 20 years…. everything fiber of my being says, “run Forest..RUN”!!!! I told him I will NOT share my man physically or emtionally…. And yet, here I am….

    • Okay, first of all, let me start by saying how sorry I am that you’re in this position. I also want to let you know that, since you asked for my opinion, I’m going to give it to you honestly. But it definitely falls into the “tough love” category. So if you don’t want to read it, hit the back button on your browser right now and forget you ever asked me anything.

      Is your S/O having an emotional affair? Of course I can’t know firsthand, but from what you’ve written, it sure sounds like it. Is the affair just emotional and nothing more? Who knows?

      What I DO know is that what he is or is not doing is not the only issue here. I don’t mean to be harsh, but you’re also playing a role. (Sorry!)

      At this point I think it’s fair to say that in one way or another he’s involved with another woman, and you know it. So now the only question is: what are you going to do about it? Are you willing to stay in this relationship if he doesn’t give her up? Can you trust him even if he does?

      You said that in your youth you would have stood up for yourself. Well, they say wisdom comes with age, so why aren’t you willing to stand up for yourself now? Do you think you don’t deserve to be respected in your relationship? (You do!) Do you think you’re too old to find another man? (You’re not! … and trust me, I’ve been on the planet for a long time myself. A 70+ y.o. friend of mine whose husband died years ago recently found love with a 65 y.o. divorced man and they’ve now been together for two years! So love isn’t bound by age!)

      As for your S/O, trying to change him is not going to work. The ONLY person you can control is yourself. So you might get farther trying to figure out why YOU are willing to settle for this kind of a relationship rather than spending your time trying to figure out what HE is doing. (With all due respect, it sounds like you already know what he’s doing!)

      Again, I don’t mean to be harsh. But you asked.

      Karen

      PS: Working with a good therapist might help a lot. You’ve got to get to the bottom of what’s holding you back from listening to your gut and standing up for yourself in this relationship.

  • My husband and I have been married for 6 years but have known each other for 13 years. My 2nd marriage and his 3rd. We were very close friends before starting our relationship. I have never been happier. We were best friends and we never fight. We are able to talk on the phone all the time because he is a local truck driver. A few days ago I caught a glimpse of his pictures in his phone while he was sending his buddy a text. I’m not a jealous person and I don’t go through his things. I waited till he was in the shower the next morning and looked on his phone to confirm what I thought I saw. Sure enough, he had 2 pictures of a woman that he had taken recently. The picture didn’t show her face, it was focused on parts of the body that he is sexually attracted to and she was wearing something that he likes. She was fully clothed and you could tell that she was at work. I was crushed. I couldn’t breath. I confronted him right away without thinking. He said it was innocent and she was just a friend. I called him a liar and he left for work. I figured out that she works at the truck wash that he goes to at least once a week. He also parks his truck next door. I looked at the phone records and he has been calling her every day (even when he’s home) for at least the past 6 months. Sometimes calling 2 or 3 times a day. The conversations are usually less than 5 minutes at a time but sometimes they have lasted for about 45 minutes or so. He calls her alot when he first leaves the house in the morning but thats not the only times. It’s just one of many patterns that I’ve noticed. We have talked and he maintains that they are just friends and he gets a kick out of talking to her. I told him that you don’t have to have sex to cheat but I don’t think he agrees with that. When I said that I was going to go talk to her, he got really angry and defensive. That is the only time I have seen any emotion out of him during this whole situation. Even when I was crying, he just ignored me. When I asked him why did he do this and hide it from me and what is the problem with me or our relationship, he said that he is happy with us and doesn’t have any problem and that our relationship is good. He said he just didn’t give any thought to telling me about it (but he tells me about everything else). I’m confused because I thought our relationship was good. I do just about anything he asks and I tell him everything. I had complete trust and faith in him. I can’t stop thinking about it and my gut is telling me that there is more to it. He has been answering my questions and told me that he is sorry but I don’t know that I can trust or believe anything he says now. He said he will stop calling her but he’ll still see her because that’s where his company sends him to get his truck washed. I really don’t know what to do. I feel stuck and alone.
    I’m really glad I found this post because now I don’t feel like I’m over reacting.
    Thank you

    • No, you’re not over reacting! What you’ve described has all the signs of an emotional affair.

      Here’s the thing: even if what your husband has told you thus far is totally true, and he isn’t having a physical affair with this woman, what’s troubling is that he doesn’t seem to be too upset that YOU are upset by what has happened. What’s positive is that he said he will stop calling her. But the fact that he will still see her is harder.

      The reason you’re so upset is because what your husband did was a breach of trust. He did something and hid it from you. If he really thought there was no problem with what he ws doing, why did he hide it? Why did he get defensive when you said you were going to go talk to her? Why does he have pictures of her body parts on his phone?

      Now, whether your husband is willing to change and put all this behind him forever, who knows? But, what will probably help you a lot is going to a marriage counselor who can help you deal with this issue so that you can trust each other again … because here’s the truth: it’s great that your husband is answering your questions now. But unless and until you can rebuild your trust in him and in your relationship, you will suffer and the relationship will not grow. Unless and until he understands the effect that his behavior had on you, he is not likely to change it.

      The bottom line is that you’ve both got some work to do. The good news is that, if you do it, you can absolutely put your marriage back on the right track.

  • I believe my wife is having an affair. She is on meetme type apps reaching out to anyone and everyone who is willing to talk to her. She is doing things in secret, leaves the house for hours and does not tell anyone where she is going. One time I followed her to a hotel and when i confronted her she had a possible legitamit reason why she went there for 2 hours. Her interest in me is lost. She wants space and unconditional freedom to see who she wants and do what she wants, even though she knows I am against it. A friend said I should kick her out so she can figure it out, do i have the right to do that? Should I let this play out? Or start the pursuit of divorce? It hurts so bad.

    • Oh my! I know it hurts!

      Unfortunately, I can’t tell you whether you should kick your wife out or nto. That’s a legal question. To get an answer to that you need to consult with a good divorce attorney in your area.

      I also can’t tell you whether you should start a divorce or not. That’s not my call to make. It’s yours.

      What I can tell you is that gettinga good therapist for yourself right now can help you sort out your emotions so that you can move forward in your life. S/he can help you make whatever decisions are right for you. S/he can also help you deal with the pain.

      I wish there was more i could say. But all i can tell you is that I’m sorry.

  • Hi Karen,
    Thank you for exposing the real pain of emotional affairs. I’m wondering if you could please give me your perspective on my situation. My husband has been working at his job for almost a year now, in a medical/office setting. I thought we are pretty open about everything, and he knows I want to know details of who he works with, such as male/female and ages, just to get a picture of who he’s around every day, since I’m a stay at home mom. I guess you could say I’m insecure, but somehow knowing those details helps me feel more comfortable and involved. I never knew he had a female co-worker, in the same position, and who is his exact age. I think he might have told me about her, but said something like “she’s probably (ex. 30 or 40) years old and getting married”. I never heard a word about her, until about 7 months after he started working there. My husband told his co-workers that I’m pregnant, and the same day, this female coworker pulled my husband aside and said “you beat me to it!” Because she is pregnant too, a week further than me. We even go to the same OB. For months after that, my husband would frequently bring her up in our conversations about my pregnancy (which weren’t many), like comparing us. Saying “she’s feeling sick too” (she even gave him some pregnancy suckers for me), and “her ultrasound was amazing” and “she doesn’t like our doctor”, etc. Until one day, it just hit me. I thought OMG he’s falling in love with her! He can’t stop talking about her! Something just clicked in my heart, and I felt so betrayed. I confronted him, he denied any feelings at all, and I told him I want to enjoy my pregnancy, like he should, and stop thinking about hers. I asked him to not talk to her about it anymore, and I didn’t want my body to be discussed with anyone I don’t know. He said “okay”. Then randomly, I thought to ask him if he has her phone number. He did. Apparently, around the time they found out we’re both pregnant, she gave him her phone number and said “if your wife wants to talk about pregnancy, or we could all get together (her husband too), and if we want to switch working weekends, whatever”. At least that’s what he told me. He said she gave him her number, and he texted her to give him hers. I asked to see those text messages, so a day or so later my husband gave me his phone. Conveniently, those dates of texts are deleted. I know with his phone, he has to delete messages to get new ones. But during that exact time frame? It doesn’t feel right to me. So anyways, now, 5 months into our pregnancies, my husband tells me she still will approach him and start to talk about her pregnancy, and he says he will just give her one word answers or walk away. But it’s hard for me to believe him, my husband has always told me little lies here and there, or not given me the whole truth about something. So my heart isn’t believing anything he tells me right now. I feel depressed, because in the beginning of my pregnancy, all he could talk about or think about was hers. Even without her, I noticed he wasn’t really acknowledging this pregnancy, then I realized it was probably because he was more interested in hers. I’ve been feeling neglected by him, so all of this just kind of explained everything to me. Do you think my husband began to get too close to her? Do you think he still is, and just doesn’t want to tell me? I feel like my feelings for my husband have changed since this. I never worried about him cheating on me, I never thought I had to. Now I find myself doubting everything about him and our relationship. (married 6 years). I wish I could just enjoy my pregnancy. Heck, me and this coworker will probably be giving birth at the hospital at the same time. And it doesn’t end here, because then our kids will be the same age, for her to discuss with my husband. This is so hard for me, especially right now. I don’t know what to think or believe. Please help. Thank you for your thoughts!

    • I don’t know what your husband is doing, but I can tell you for sure that you’re driving yourself crazy!

      Are your fears well-founded? I don’t know. But until you can get to the point where you’re not obsessing about this other woman, and what she is or isn’t doing or saying to your husband, you’re never going to be happy.

      If you haven’t thought about marriage counseling, you might want to give that a try. You might not think you need it, but if you’re feeling depressed, feeling neglected by your husband, and your feelings toward your husband have changed, then you really should consider marriage counseling. You’ve got to be able to dig to the bottom of your husband’s relationship with this woman. You’ve got to be able to voice your concerns in a safe, non-judgmental space. And you’ve got to get help learning to let go of your mistrust. A marriage counselor can help you with all that. S/he can also help your husband understand the depths of what he’s done. S/he can help him learn what he can do to help you get over your mistrust.

      Hope this helps.

      Karen

      • Hello, I been married for 16 years now with my wife but together for over 22 years now. Lately I felt her very distant and out of focus. If i confronted her about it and she said I was being insecure and needy. That she has never been the type to be all over me and to get over it. She has always been cold with me and I’ve never can understand why. Recently I started to feel that something was not right. So when I would try to go through her phone she would make a big ordeal and began accusing me of being insecure and jealous. That if I continue this our marriage wasn’t going to last longer for not trusting on her. Well it got to the point where she would start sleeping on the couch with my 11 year daughter watching tv. Her excuse to not come to bed was I was too tired to come to bed. All to avoid any intimacy because she felt she wasn’t in the mood. Well I decided to go thru her phone records and found out this specific number that she had been texting for about 160 message per day from 630 am to 430pm mon- fri. My schedule is from 3 am to about 4pm. When I confronted her she said its a “man” who she hired to make random wood decoration for her business. She owns her own party decoration business. So then I looked his number on the internet and came back to an address I seen on her Gps before and it striked a red flag to me. Well when I decided to ask her who lived there she became very upset and began screaming that she’s had it, that I am crazy and jealous and obsessed with finding out what she’s up to. That she couldn’t be with someone like me anymore because I was out of hand. Then she took the kids and left to her sister’s house for the weekend. When she came back I already had destroyed all his work he had build for her in the past because I felt betrayed. She accused me of being crazy again. Well I called this guy and he told me they were old friends from high school and in fact I know his sisters. That only work related message were sent. All this was for about six months total. So I called his wife whom told me that my wife is crazy and that she can’t stand her because of her, their marriage is broken. Meaning to say my wife has been coming around him for the past 22 years looking for him. Through his sister she knew his whereabouts. And that’s how my wife found out he was separated from his wife and she came to look for him. Now my wife admits she was just using for free labor work done and that she has never slept with him. That when ever she went to his house she had our kids with her. That she admits that there where some conversations uncalled for and that she even went as far as to ask him was he being nice to her because she hadn’t slept with him? Now she is denying anything to do with him. I am at lost for words I would have never thought my wife would go look for her ex from high school. His wife called me recently to try to convince me that she actually believed her husband and that nothing actually might have happened that its my wife like always causing problems for them as usual. I don’t know what to believe anymore. My wife reacted mad at me like it’s my fault and dont care about my feelings nor wants to be with me anymore. What shall I do here?

        • I think you need marriage counseling. You’ve got to get to the bottom of what’s going on in your marriage. You’ve got do deal with the feelings that both you and your wife now have. You feel lied to and betrayed. She feels whatever she feels (probably like you were obsessive and crazy.) But the bottom line is that you two need to start talking HONESTLY to one another and deal with what’s going on. Otherwise, your buried emotions will continue to fester into a huge sore in your marriage.

          I strongly suggest that you two find a good marriage therapist in your area and start working with him/her. That’s really your best bet.

          Good luck.

          Karen

  • Sadly, by all accounts and based on your narrative itself, it is the end of the road for you and your partner. You may not want to share your man with another woman but your man willingly and knowingly shared himself with this other woman. Am sorry to say this, but, until when are you willing to suffer? Let him go. He is already madly in love with the other woman. You deserve someone who will love you and RESPECT you.

  • I have been married for 23 years and I’m not sure when it started but I noticed my husband being secretive with his cell phone. A couple of months ago I walked into the garage and he quickly clicked off of something and when I confronted him and asked him for his phone he quickly cleared something out. Fast forward to 2 weeks ago, he was traveling and making his way back on Friday. I knew he was going to drive a couple of hours and stop for the night then make his way the next day to visit some old high school friends and see a show. I had an odd feeling about where he stopped on Friday night and even more so when I called him that night and he was out at really loud bar “by himself.” Then when I called him several hours later he was in a Lyft making his way to his hotel. When he got home Sunday morning I checked his wallet for his receipts (which I never do.) Sure enough the receipt from the restaurant he was in Friday night clearly showed two people had dined (2 entrees, 6 drinks, and an appetizer.) I confronted him with it and long story short I discovered he had met this woman at a concert over the summer. What they had I would constitute as an emotional affair via a business networking website. I became an absolute banshee, I researched the woman, her husband etc. I contacted her husband just to confirm that she had come home Friday night but he could not confirm it because he was on vacation. The husband and I texted back and forth I relayed to him everything I was told. My husband told me that he was breaking all lines of communication. I believed him but was still devastated that they had this relationship since July of 2018. We were on the mend I thought until I asked him if he had contacted her and he said yes, just to make sure she was OK when her husband came home on Monday. This woman’s husband sounded so devastated I started to become fearful that he was going to come after my husband. When my husband said he had contacted her I asked him if I could read the email he sent and her response. I want to mention that I shared all of the texts that went back and forth between this woman’s husband and me with my husband. Anyway, my husband showed me the supposed email he sent to her and said he had deleted her response. This didn’t sit well with me at all. I discovered a way to retrieve all of his deleted emails. When I retrieved the deleted emails I found that he had not cut off all communication with this woman at all and that my husband basically relayed everything that was said between me and this woman’s husband. He said he did this because he was fearful for her and wanted to make sure she knew what was discussed. I, however, saw it as a way to get their stories straight. I said to my husband if what you told me was truth and what I relayed to her husband was truth (based on my husband’s words and recollection), why would the other woman need that story if that was the true story of what they did. My husband swears nothing physical happened. They met in July, had this ongoing communication through the business networking site (he deleted all those messages, btw) and saw her for the first time 2 weeks ago when they had dinner.
    My question for you is: should my husband let me read all the correspondence between them if we can get them from the woman? I’m so devastated I don’t even want to get counseling, I just want to make plans to mediate and divorce. I’ve never distrusted my husband. We’ve been together for 30 years and I’ve never suspected him of anything like this.

    • First, let me say that I’m so sorry this has happened to you. After 30 years, I can completely understand why you’re devastated! But if you want to have ANY hope of saving your marriage, or even of just making sure that you’re making the right decision by getting a divorce, you need help.

      I understand that you might not want to get counseling. But a good counselor can help you understand what happened and WHY it happened. Whether you stay together or not, having that kind of knowledge can help you immensely as you move forward in life. Even if you don’t go to marriage counseling, consider going to individual therapy. If nothing else, you’ll need support as you go through your divorce.

      As for whether your husband “should” let you read all of his correspondence with the other woman, that’s not my call to make. But, maybe it would help to ask yourself this question: If you did see all that correspondence, would it change anything? If you’ve already decided you want a divorce no marter what, then what difference does seeing the correspondence make? Other than increasing your pain, and giving you more information that you can use to torture yourself with, what does sharing that correspondence do?

      I’m not saying that you’re wrong for wanting to know everything. That’s normal. But “knowing everything” can be incredibly painful. Wouldn’t knowing WHY your husband started this affair in the first place help you more? At least then you could understand what went wrong, even if you decide you don’t want to fix it.

      What you’re going through is really, really difficult and painful. At this point, you want to do what you can to STOP the pain. Whether you get divorced or not, focusing on what you need to do to heal will ultimately help you more than digging out every last dirty detail of what your husband did or didn’t do.

      I know this probably isn’t what you wanted to hear. (Sorry!) I hope it helps anyway.

      Karen

  • Karen,
    How do I recover from an online emotional relationship my husband had a year ago? We have settled our differences, my husband has been fulfilling all his promises (no contact with the woman, etc), he has been a devoted husband by all accounts and very repentant, but how come a year after, when I see a trigger (scene on TV about a philandering husband, how innocent online interaction can lead to infidelity, etc) I get emotional and make side comments about, I pity that suffering wife, must be very hard on her like what I went through… or Dad – you shd watch and listen, to learn… etc. Is this normal? Usually, my husband would just keep quiet. Should we see a marriage counselor? Can you advise me techniques on how to avoid being emotional about it? How can I forget such betrayal? Is it really difficult to forget? I hope other women can share their own experiences so I can lean from them as well.

    • Getting over betrayal IS hard! The fact that your husband’s relationship was an online emotional relationship with another woman rather than an in-person physical one doesn’t really matter that much. What hurts is the betrayal of your trust.

      Here’s what you need to know: unless you can truly forgive your husband (and by that I mean FEEL the forgiveness, not just say you forgive him because that’s what you’re “supposed” to do) your marriage will never be what you want. (Sorry!)

      Marriage counseling would be a good option for working through all this. You need a safe space where you can openly express your feelings and work through them. You also need, with your husband, to learn how to re-build the trust that his emotional affair damaged. Doing that is entirely possible. A good marriage counselor can help you do exactly that.

      You might also want to consider individual counseling as well. While the marriage counselor can help you work on your relationship, an individual therapist can help you work on your own emotional reactions and your emotional triggers.

      Hope this helps.

  • My husband had a “friendship” with a woman where he worked. It became emotional when she revealed to him she had siezures and asked him to help her keep it a secret from management. We were having sex one night when he rolled over and was crying because he felt so special that she chose him to confide in. They had worked together for years. She is married and had 2 children. After this revelation I was very hurt and began by being understanding. Then we would take rides, going to a close lake to find their boat, binoculars out to try to find her. Bought a car just like hers, bought presents and cards for her kids, not his own, helped her when her husband wouldn’t, like picking up lumber and deli pit to her. They spent lots of alone time in a work truck, they were battling management together. When she was in the hospital he drug me there and I sat in the waiting room while he was in her room, he would take me to work parties and sit with her and her friends and ignore me. Was I pissed and hurt, oh hell yes! We had many many fights about it, me saying if she is just a friend then end it, it’s killing me and our marriage, he never would, saying she needs me. This went of for 20 years, and yes I feel like an idiot! Her husband hated him and there were rumors about them around the office which I found out about. He would play songs on the radio, like Bonnie Raits let’s give them something to talk about. Then we were building a new house blocks from here, a neighbor asked me why there were two power company trucks in my driveway for an hour today….he sai he was showing her the house….I flipped out! He stopped talking about her all the time, but was still in the emotional affair with her, and would sheepishly mention her at times. When we moved in the house he wanted to have a party, inviting ppl from work. No one came, but her…without her husband! This woman had no interest in him sexually, I know that, but she was using him and he loved it and it just destroyed our Marriage any love I ever had for him. I found an old love, we fell in love all over again and I divorced my husband. The ex was also a very verbally abusive man , I walked on eggshells my whole marriage. When I left he keeps telling our adult kids I walked out because of his innocent friendship, so I could marry this new man. There is so much more to the story, but it would take forever to type it all. This was a 50 yr marriage, I took so much the last 20 yrs to keep my family going, kids, grandkids..zthen one day I just couldn’t take it anymore and began to detach. I coulda stand being in the same room with him and his negativity, fault finding, tantrums, being blamed for everything, never living up to his standards…I am happy now, but this is still on my mind….guess I haven’t totally healed yet

    • Thank you for sharing your story. You’ve certainly been through a lot! I know it must have been hard to leave – and it probably still is.

      Healing takes time. But if you keep working on it, slowly but surely that, too, will come. Meanwhile, hang in there!

  • I recently learned that my husband bought a secret cell phone a year ago. I saw a transaction from a phone company on our bill and when I asked him about it he told me it was for work for international calls. I let it go, but then started googling the company and found out that that company does not support international calls. Did some more digging and found out that he purchased a new cell phone (he’d lost his first one) and he has been paying for the cell phone for over a year. The app that we use to keep track of our finances – he deleted all the transactions every month. He has had a secret 3rd (he has a personal and work cell) phone that he must leave at work. I’ve never seen the phone and he’s never mentioned it.

    We previously had a fight over him texting and meeting up with a former ex. I confronted him when I saw an email where he had reserved a hotel room to meet his ex. Whether or not he took her to that room I don’t know, but he denies that he even reserved the room and says he was at the bar w/ coworkers who could vouch for him. But I have a screenshot of the email confirmation in his trash. This has only been the one thing that I ever blew up on him for and I can’t think of any other reason for why he would get a secret phone other than to communicate with his ex. He says he’s happy in our marriage and acts like it (affectionate and good tome), except for lying and hiding these things. I’m so conflicted because on one hand I am so upset (feel betrayed and can’t trust him) but on the other he is good to me. Please advise!

    • Whether you want to admit it or not, your marriage is in trouble. (Sorry!)

      I have no idea what’s really going on. The problem is: neither do you!

      So far your husband has lied about having a cell phone, actively goes into your financial app and deletes the bill every month, reserved a hotel room somewhere, and might have been meeting up with a former ex and lying about it! No wonder you feel betrayed and can’t trust him! Whatever he is doing is very intentional and consistent. I know you may not want to see that or believe it. I wouldn’t either. But, from what you’ve written is there any other conclusion you can draw?

      If you want to save your marriage, and your husband agrees to go to marriage counseling with you, that would be a fabulous idea. You need to clear the air and start being honest with each other. Otherwise, you’re going nowhere.

      If he won’t do that, you have a choice. You can continue to live as you are, without expecting your husband to change. (Because he’s not likely to magically change all by himself.) Or, if that’t not the kind of marriage you want, but he’s not willing to work to make your marriage better (or even admit there’s a problem!) then you have to assess your options. That may mean pursuing a divorce, or at least a trial separation.

      I’m really sorry to be the bearer of bad news. But it sounds like you already know something is going on, Your husband may be good to you, but is this the kind of marriage you want?

      Best,

      Karen

  • Hi!
    I still cannot comprehend it but my husband got involved into immotional affair as well. He is highly moral, honest and sensitive person. We have been married for 10 years, no kids but mortgage and beautiful house. He told me 2 weeks ago that he started to talk to this girl from work after he kissed her on xmas party n she pushed him away. She offered a drink, he said yes n we we go… after 2 months of txting and phone conversations behind my back he is totally hooked up- he says that she fulfils all his emotional craving and intimacy is just as he always wanted. To be honest, we drove apart for the last two years, ex was rare, cause he would winge about my body and lack of sex and romance… he said he did not look for this relations, it just happen n they feel extremely guilty. But in his eyes she is nice kind person, and he knows her really well thou sawherafew times. It devastated me, I never had such pain in my life! We talked about it a lot, I booked a counselling. Day before it, he had a drink with his brother and when cane back home we had a talk. He told me not to have high hopes for counselling cause he is intensely attracted to her and not textin her for a daymakeshim phisically sick. He said that these feeling cannot be wrong as it feels so right, but us are wrong. It ripped myheart, I felt I lost him. I could keep that night, I had awful panic attack which made him really angry. Next day wasawful, counselling was awful, she basically said that they happy to help us to end our relationships. He was happy to continue but I on this stage could not deal with pain. I told him to go to her and live with her, I knew he would burn himself and regret, butitwas the only way out. He had to understand his feelings. So he was gone. He did not go to her (she lives with her boyfriend, they have mortgage too), she blocked me on Facebook (I know her name and age 25 agains my husbands 33) after I mentioned her name to him. He moved out to his friend (though I though he would go straight to her) and I don’t know what is happening now. We still in good contact, he cares a lot about me, we always had a very caring relations. I feel like my whole life went down, I need him. He said he never slept with her, they just couldn’t. He protects her (says it’s his fault she hooked up on him, she was unwell, slept badly n woke up in cold sweat thou still goes to work!!!) and tries to talk aslittle as possible about her.
    I try to keep contact and be nice, but I really need him.
    Do I have a chance still?

    • I wish I could answer your question, but it’s not one I CAN answer. The only one who knows if you have a chance is your husband.

      You said you need your husband, but you didn’t say why. The truth is that being needy is not attractive! The best thing you can do for yourself, and for your relationship, is to become stronger and more independent.

      If you need your husband financially, start working on finding a way to support yourself.

      If you need your husband emotionally, get a therapist and start working on dealing with your emotions. There’s nothing wrong with wanting your husband. There’s nothing wrong with loving him. But feeling like you NEED him is not the best. Plus, your neediness may actually drive him away.

      Can your relationship survive this? I don’t know. You and your husband have a lot to sort out. If he is willing, I would strongly suggest that you start working with a marriage counselor. That can help a lot.

      I wish you the best.

      Karen

  • I just confirmed my suspicions recently about my wife of 18 years having an emotional affair. I have sensed that things were “off” for quite some time. I thought that perhaps it was because I was on the road for work or that it was because of the financial stress we had placed ourselves under. I went through our phone records and found that she had been texting another man anywhere from 750 to 3500 texts in a month. She has also been on the phone with him on a consistent basis with conversations ranging from 5 minutes up to 4 hours. They would talk almost every day when I was gone for work.These calls seem to happen at all hours of the day, along with the texts. Calls would be made up until 2 a.m. while I was on the road working, and start again at 6 a.m. When I confronted her about this, she got rather defensive and stated that they are only friends. She doesn’t even talk to her sisters this much. A couple of days had passed since the initial confrontation, and she tried telling me that she wasn’t hiding anything because she knew that I could look at the phone records at any time. I told her that it was not appropriate and that it needed to stop. After several low-key discussions, she finally put an end to it and told him not to text or call her anymore. I have not found any record of anymore conversations over the past couple of weeks, but I still don’t feel right about the whole thing. We have been trying to move forward with our relationship, but I keep being consumed with SO many thoughts. What did they talk about? What pictures were exchanged? Does his wife REALLY know what was going on, as my wife has stated? What does he know about my wife and our relationship? Is she still in contact with him? She has a work cell, a work phone, work email, and personal email…all of which I have no access too. The other man does live a LONG ways away. They met at a work convention and he is a customer of the company she works for. What do I do to move forward???

    • The best thing you can do to move forward is to start working with a counselor/therapist. (Sorry! I know that might not be what you want to hear!)

      Here’s the deal. Cheating is cheating. An emotional affair is a betrayal of trust. Whether your wife ever slept with this guy or not is not what matters most at this point. What she did hurt you. You need to deal with that pain, and repair the relationship, if you want to move forward in a sustainable way.

      Working with a marriage counselor can help the two of you explore what happened to your marriage, and figure out what each of you you has to do to repair the damage and rebuild trust. It will take time and it will take work. But sweeping this under the rug or pretending that everything is okay simply because your wife may not be talking to this guy at the moment, won’t repair your relationship.

      You have to work on your marriage. She has to work on your marriage. Just getting rid of the guy isn’t enough.

      Hope this helps.

      Karen

      PS It doesn’t matter that he lives a long way away. He lived a long way away when she was spending hours talking to him on the phone. What you’re worried about is that she will do the same thing again. That’s what hurt you.

  • Monte,
    Just friends? Phone calls with a MARRIED man at 2 AM fully knowing own husband is out of the house, 750 to 3500 text/month, 5 mins to 4 hours of regular phone conversations? Friends? Tell-that-to-the-marines. 🙂

  • Rosalyn,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I am glad too that you were able to settle your differences.
    After I discovered the cache of “chat scandal,” I mentally – tortured my husband about it. You see, he is very active in our local church and very respected. I told him – would you like your orgmates to know the details of what you did? Would you like me to share with all your relatives here and abroad your immorality? Would you like to lose everything you have now? There. It woke him up!
    I totally agree with you when you said – ” I still keep a very close eye on things. You become like a detective. Maybe one day I will regain that unconditional trust that I once had for him. It still hurts like hell. But it does get better.”
    Women should be empowered.

    Reply

  • Hi Karen.
    My husband and I have been having some issues for the past couple of months. In December, he lost a very close friend and hasn’t been the same since. He isn’t wearing his wedding ring and we haven’t been intimate in almost a month. We have a mutual friend who has two children (we have 2 and one on the way) and he has been spending a lot of time with our friend and her sons. I’m just wondering if I should talk to her because I don’t think my husband would react very well if I accused him of this, or should I just wait it out and see what happens?

    Thank you.

    • Ouch! That’s a tough question.

      First of all, I question whether this person is really your “friend.” If she’s getting involved with your husband, what kind of a friend is that?!!

      Of course, the question is: Is she involved with your husband? You don’t know.

      I don’t think your answer is to do either of the things you suggested. What you might want to try is dealing with your husband directly and asking him what’s wrong. It’s fair for you to tell him about the changes you’ve seen in your marriage. It’s fair to tell him how you feel. It’s fair to ask what’s going on. What will make him go crazy is if you ACCUSE him of something that may be completely wrong. So, don’t do that. Don’t accuse. Have a conversation.

      Hope this helps.

  • In late January 2018 I had just come home from work and I was making dinner with my husband (of 46 years) when his phone signaled a text message-I looked down & WHAT!! a message from a person I had actually graduated high school with. This person was an idiot, and had recently contacted me because she wanted to sell her (crappy) product in my store. I told her I couldn’t do it because it was not a good fit with the products I was selling. She was a complete psychopathic narcissist when she was younger & just became worse as she aged. She decided to stalk my FB page & become friends with my Husband-then she became (unknown to me at the time) his BFF…they eventually shared phone # & never spoke personally – but text became 24/7 (I eventually through detective work found out) Anyway this evening I looked down and said “who is AH” he immediately became defensive and screamed “why are you looking at my phone” bing,bing,bing bells went off…A few nights later I got up at 1AM for water and his phone was on the counter with a message at 11:30 about “thinking about you” -I picked it up and clicked on it but the message disappeared. Next AM I ask why AH messaging at 11:30 at nite. Again “what are you snooping through my phone for”!!!!!! Nosy, sneak-stop snooping!!! (what?!) In the meantime he is becoming more critical of everything I am doing-I don’t look right, I can’t cook anything right, My hair is gray, criticism from the moment he sees me in the morning until I come in from work and go to bed at night. By now I am extremely suspicious. I go onto his phone records & WHOA they are texting for 3-4 hours a day!!! and FB Messaging in between. So, I tap his phone & link to his FB page & messenger & I start getting all the correspondence they are having back & forth for 3 or 4 days…..I finally tell him I am uncomfortable with the amount of time he is spending talking with this person & he doesn’t even know her. He screams that I will not control who he will be friends with. I am a jealous, paranoid person & will not tell him what to do-they are just friends. I respond that he is hurting me. He says how can he hurt her by just saying “his wife won’t let him have her as a friend”. I say you would rather hurt me, than someone you are “Just friends” with-you are emotionally involved. You are having an affair. He says “what, you are crazy-I never even met her. I respond that the fact that he would choose to hurt me rather than say goodbye to her says a lot about how deep he is in. Over the course of the next few rocky weeks-he tells me he is not speaking with this person anymore-but in reality he begins sending “secret/disappearing encrypted FB messages-I find this out through his phone – because that service uses data & the code for the charge is 32665 & is charged on your phone bill. He did this constantly for the next two weeks. Again I tell him I know he is still in touch & lied to me. He tells me it is because he didn’t want to distress me. Most of their correspondence that I say was about $$ people have screwed her over and owed her, “but she claimed she was not a gold digger…Ummm-right…he told her a lot of personal stuff that didn’t belong outside our relationship & sent back & forth some heated flirting-and it was getting more and more heated daily. I tell him that our relationship should be “we have walls around us & windows that we, as a couple should be looking out of with our intimacy on the inside between us, & now him and her have created walls around them with secrecy & windows they look out of-at me standing on the other side. For over 40 years I have completely trusted this person-I lose 30 lbs & am so stressed I believe I had some sort of breakdown…..anyway, I tell him me or her-but he better realize that she did this to manipulate him into hurting me because I told her sorry a#$ no-and narcissist cannot lose-as soon as he has nothing left-because should he make the wrong decision- & I will fight with every penny we have-which will go to the lawyers until nothing left-she will drop him like the loser he is, and he will die a lonely old man who made a stupid decision based on a fantasy-she never even had a picture of herself online, but he told me she was gorgeous-because someone he knew told him. (Meaning he is discussing her with his friends) I dug up a picture of her ugly, old self & said here is your fantasy miss universe-who you keep comparing me against-he actually recoiled-I mean she is that UGLY! LOL… After a lot of detective work I found how this relationship started & saw that it had been developing for about 4 months-but really heated up in January 2018. He eventually (in July) admitted he knew he had known was doing something wrong, which was why he was hiding it-but it felt good (illicit) & he was in over his head & didn’t know how to stop. He was deeply sorry he hurt me – Problem is I cannot get this out of my head. It has been over for 14 months. But, it is over because I put a block on her from every social aspect – MY trust is shattered. I know for a fact he hasn’t been in contact on his phone, or on the social media networks that I know about-but I don’t trust him anymore & am not certain he doesn’t have a “throw away phone, or make believe media account that they still speak on. A lot of things she posts (news items, memes, jokes) – co-incidentally he also posts – is this a coincidence or are they in contact, am I paranoid…how do I get this out of my head. There are so many crazy things I have done since I found out, I am not sure who I am anymore….Every few weeks I can’t help but bring her name up-because he never told me about their conversations-claims he cannot remember-but he did tell her some things he never should have told anyone, which means there are other more intimate things they discussed & so how can I regain trust…

    • What your husband may not understand is that emotional infidelity is still infidelity! It can hurt just as much as a physical affair.

      You asked how you can regain your trust in him. I’m afraid what I have to say may not be what you want to hear. (Sorry!)

      In order to regain trust you BOTH need to work on your marriage! (HINT: Working with a good marriage counselor who has experience working with infidelity can help a lot!) That may not seem fair to you since HE is the one who was talking with another woman. Even still, every marriage involves two people. If you want your marriage to survive, and if you want to put this affair behind you so that you can be happy again, both of you will need to work on your marriage.

      Your husband needs to work to earn your trust back, and you need to learn to forgive him. (I know. That’s probably not what you feel like doing! Sorry!) Just remember, forgiveness is something you do for YOURSELF, not for him!
      Forgiving him does not mean excusing his bad behavior. It doesn’t mean that what he did “doesn’t count” or doesn’t matter. It simply means that you don’t want to spend the rest of your life obsessing over what happened and making yourself miserable.

      You also might want to check out this post on surviving infidelity. It has a lot of tips in it that might help.

      Best,

      Karen

  • In late January 2018 I had just come home from work and I was making dinner with my husband (of 46 years) when his phone signaled a text message-I looked down & WHAT!! a message from a person I had actually graduated high school with. This person was an idiot, and had recently contacted me because she wanted to sell her (crappy) product in my store. I told her I couldn’t do it because it was not a good fit with the products I was selling. She was a complete psychopathic narcissist when she was younger & just became worse as she aged. She decided to stalk my FB page & become friends with my Husband-then she became (unknown to me at the time) his BFF…they eventually shared phone # & never spoke personally – but text became 24/7 (I eventually through detective work found out) Anyway this evening I looked down and said “who is AH” he immediately became defensive and screamed “why are you looking at my phone” bing,bing,bing bells went off…A few nights later I got up at 1AM for water and his phone was on the counter with a message at 11:30 about “thinking about you” -I picked it up and clicked on it but the message disappeared. Next AM I ask why AH messaging at 11:30 at nite. Again “what are you snooping through my phone for”!!!!!! Nosy, sneak-stop snooping!!! (what?!) In the meantime he is becoming more critical of everything I am doing-I don’t look right, I can’t cook anything right, My hair is gray, criticism from the moment he sees me in the morning until I come in from work and go to bed at night. By now I am extremely suspicious. I go onto his phone records & WHOA they are texting for 3-4 hours a day!!! and FB Messaging in between. So, I tap his phone & link to his FB page & messenger & I start getting all the correspondence they are having back & forth for 3 or 4 days…..I finally tell him I am uncomfortable with the amount of time he is spending talking with this person & he doesn’t even know her. He screams that I will not control who he will be friends with. I am a jealous, paranoid person & will not tell him what to do-they are just friends. I respond that he is hurting me. He says how can he hurt her by just saying “his wife won’t let him have her as a friend”. I say you would rather hurt me, than someone you are “Just friends” with-you are emotionally involved. You are having an affair. He says “what, you are crazy-I never even met her. I respond that the fact that he would choose to hurt me rather than say goodbye to her says a lot about how deep he is in. Over the course of the next few rocky weeks-he tells me he is not speaking with this person anymore-but in reality he begins sending “secret/disappearing encrypted FB messages-I find this out through his phone – because that service uses data & the code for the charge is 32665 & is charged on your phone bill. He did this constantly for the next two weeks. Again I tell him I know he is still in touch & lied to me. He tells me it is because he didn’t want to distress me. Most of their correspondence that I say was about $$ people have screwed her over and owed her, “but she claimed she was not a gold digger…Ummm-right…he told her a lot of personal stuff that didn’t belong outside our relationship & sent back & forth some heated flirting-and it was getting more and more heated daily. I tell him that our relationship should be “we have walls around us & windows that we, as a couple should be looking out of with our intimacy on the inside between us, & now him and her have created walls around them with secrecy & windows they look out of-at me standing on the other side. For over 40 years I have completely trusted this person-I lose 30 lbs & am so stressed I believe I had some sort of breakdown…..anyway, I tell him me or her-but he better realize that she did this to manipulate him into hurting me because I told her sorry a#$ no-and narcissist cannot lose-as soon as he has nothing left-because should he make the wrong decision- & I will fight with every penny we have-which will go to the lawyers until nothing left-she will drop him like the loser he is, and he will die a lonely old man who made a stupid decision based on a fantasy-she never even had a picture of herself online, but he told me she was gorgeous-because someone he knew told him. (Meaning he is discussing her with his friends) I dug up a picture of her ugly, old self & said here is your fantasy miss universe-who you keep comparing me against-he actually recoiled-I mean she is that UGLY! LOL… After a lot of detective work I found how this relationship started & saw that it had been developing for about 4 months-but really heated up in January 2018. He eventually (in July) admitted he knew he had known was doing something wrong, which was why he was hiding it-but it felt good (illicit) & he was in over his head & didn’t know how to stop. He was deeply sorry he hurt me – Problem is I cannot get this out of my head. It has been over for 14 months. But, it is over because I put a block on her from every social aspect – MY trust is shattered. I know for a fact he hasn’t been in contact on his phone, or on the social media networks that I know about-but I don’t trust him anymore & am not certain he doesn’t have a “throw away phone, or make believe media account that they still speak on. A lot of things she posts (news items, memes, jokes) – co-incidentally he also posts – is this a coincidence or are they in contact, am I paranoid…how do I get this out of my head. There are so many crazy things I have done since I found out, I am not sure who I am anymore….Every few weeks I can’t help but bring her name up-because he never told me about their conversations-claims he cannot remember-but he did tell her some things he never should have told anyone, which means there are other more intimate things they discussed & so how can I regain trust…

    • You’ve been through a lot, so it’s not surprising that your trust has been shattered. But living the way it sounds like you are living without getting help will only destroy what’s left of your relationship AND make you crazy!

      I strongly suggest you start working with a therapist so that you can deal with what happened and heal from it. Getting all this out of your head will take time and work. It’s not going to just go away by itself. Unfortunately, it’s not something that one piece of advice on a website will really affect. You need in-depth conversations over a period of time in order to start making sense of how you feel and getting to the point where you can trust again. Working with a therapist is your best bet for dealing with this.

      Hope this helps.

      Karen

  • In a relationship for almost 3 years and engaged for 1 year. My fiance and I were having issues getting along and I noticed he was always on social media and when I saw on his phone that he was texting other women and he told one woman he always had a crush on her and he wanted to spoil her I was furious!
    Of course he tries to say it was innocent and this woman didn’t even know he was in a relationship.

    I just don’t trust him and the fact that he has never apologized or really tried to assure me that he owns what he did and will do whatever to make it right I just need to know what to do

    • I can’t tell you what to do. That’s not for me to say. But I will say that human behavior is consistent. If your fiance is already texting other women and denied it to you, that certainly doesn’t bode well for the future.

      If your fiance is really serious about making things right, then you might want to go to couples counseling with him. That can help you sort through this and work out what happened, why it happened, and what you both have to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again – especially after you’re married! If he won’t go, that tells you something.

      Good luck!

  • Hi Karen, I thought maybe you could give me some advice on my current situation. So I recently friended an old friend/girlfriend from when I was a teenager. (I am 38 now) This was about a month ago and we started texting each other on Facebook a lot and then it turned into texting actual phones then calling and talking for hours a day. This has all been in the span of a month but the talking on the phone only began a week ago. We plan to meet up soon to get lunch. She is married and has an almost 3 year old daughter but she told me not that long after we began messaging that she was having tons of problems with her husband’s family and also just with him. He was maxing out credit cards for an addiction (legal but so stupid not going to get specific) but he spent over 10k without telling her and I guess they have just been having tons of problems in all aspects of the relationship and a lot of them have been going on for a while and she has told him she wanted a divorce before we ever started talking again. They haven’t had sex in several months and they don’t sleep in the same bed. I identify because I was in a relationship for 14 years (married 8 of those years) and i have been through some of the same things she is going through and I am able to give her advice sometimes. She is pretty damn smart though so she usually knows more about it than me. Anyway I don’t think I ever stopped loving her from when we dated as teenagers I never forgot her and always thought about her from time to time and I got older and life went on and I can’t think of another person that has had that much influence on me and when we started talking on the phone everything immediately clicked and we talked for 4 hours straight and it felt like 10 minutes because it was just amazing conversation and we have been talking regularly now for a week for several hours a day. We plan to meet up soon for lunch/etc like I said above and I can already tell I want to be more than just friends with her and I kind of got those vibes from her. So my questions are. Since she has told her husband she wants a divorce and they don’t sleep together should I still feel bad that I am talking to a married worman? Should I meet up with her in person remember she is what I consider a friend and not just a girlfriend. We dated in our teens but after we dated we stayed friends for a time then we drifted but got back in touch every so often this time seems to be a special one I kind of feel she pushed away from him a little more when we started talking on the phone like it’s clear she lets me know she is disgusted by him and she makes comments about cooking for me and my daughter or me coming over for this or that or just hanging out she was talking about her best friend the other day and said “i’m sure you’ll meet her” Just general flirty stuff and other hints that she definitely wants this to develop into something? What I don’t know? She did one time on the phone ponder on whether it was okay that she was talking to “me” another man but she basically just said why should I care and I agreed I said you told him you want a divorce you made it clear the relationship is over(he keeps trying to make it seem like it’s not a big deal or that this will just all just pass while also ignoring the fact that he lied and wasted all that money behind his family’s back) He seems like an asshole and yeah I only know one side of the story I get that I am not stupid which is one reason why I am asking here for some answers and advice Thank you for any help. I really like this girl I may love her I think at least I could get to that point easily. I have known her for over 20 years and while we didn’t stay in contant for most of them I feel like we never miss a step when we pick up and start talking again and this is the first time it’s gotten so possessive so quick where she is calling me every free minute and staying up later than she should just to talk to me and calling me first thing in the morning I think this would already be considered emotional cheating correct? BUT is it because she has already asked for a divorce and does not sleep in the same room as him that I feel what I am doing is okay? and I feel like I deserve the right to meet someone for lunch that I have known for so long and I get that it would probably be frowned upon if she was in a happy marriage but knowing what I know and knowing her attitude about her marriage and the fact that she is just done with this guy and me going OMG is this finally when I get the girl I have basically always considered the girl of my dreams. I only had her for the shortest of times when I was a kid but it was amazing and I have never pined over anyone liked I have over her nor have I remembered so much about someone that was so far removed from my life. I used to think about the fact that I wasn’t with her while I was happily married to my wife that’s how bad that she affected me. I get a feeling everyone is going to tell me this is a bad idea but I feel like I have to at least see her in person once again to see how I feel when I see her. I am not in the best place in my life right now and she is one of the only things bringing me any happiness and it literally came out of nowhere I didn’t have any clue i’d ever be talking to her on this level ever again. Thank you for all help and advice and even if you yell at me and tell me I am stupid 🙂

    • I’m not going to yell at you or tell you that you’re stupid. I am, however, going to give you a little bit of “tough love.” So, get ready!

      Call me old fashioned if you want, but married is married. If this woman was already living separately from her husband (and had been living separately for a long time!), and her divorce was almost over, then maybe I’d have a different opinion. But the fact that she has simply told him she wants a divorce and isn’t sleeping with him, doesn’t mean much. (Sorry!)

      Please understand, I’m not making a moral judgment. I’ve just seen what happens to relationships that start before one person is divorced. I’ve seen them A LOT! They rarely end well! (Sorry!)

      Here’s what generally happens. #1 When he understands that she REALLY wants a divorce (and isn’t just saying that) he may try to get his act together. That may make her feel guilty about leaving him. She also may end up going back and forth and trying to reconcile with him for the sake of the kids. OR, #2 he learns about you and decides that she was having an affair with you and THAT caused her to want a divorce. Then he makes her divorce absolute hell because he’s mad. Then you get sucked into their drama too.

      And those are just 2 of the ways this relationship can go south on you.

      What are you going to do if her divorce takes years? Are you prepared to deal with that? What if she needs money to get through her divorce? If her husband has a spending/addiction problem that could easily happen. Are you willing to support her financially? You have a daughter. What do you want to teach your daughter about marriage and relationships? Kids learn by what they see their parents doing, NOT by what their parents say. Finally, you said you’re not in the best place yourself. What would happen if you put all of the time and energy that you’re about to put into this relationship into working on yourself, so you could turn your life around and be your absolute best? What kind of relationship would you have if you brought your “A” game to it?

      Think about those questions before you decide anything.

      Know too that this won’t be an easy decision. Being in love feels fabulous! It’s amazing! Your brain is flooded with endorphins and other “feel good” chemicals. It’s HARD to let all that go! But if your love is real, it will still be there after your friend is divorced.

      Here’s the truth you probably don’t want to hear. She is still married. She’s still not free to have a real, honest, open relationship with you. The relationship she has right now probably seems amazing to both of you. But it’s easy for something to be amazing when it’s at least partly a fantasy. (Sorry. I know that one hurt.) If you want a real, honest, open relationship with someone, then you have to find someone who is in a position to have that with you. Right now, that’s not her. Maybe someday it will be. But not now.

      All this having been said, it’s your life. You don’t have to listen to me. But, since you asked …

      Best,

      Karen

      PS Should you meet her in person? Your choice. But remember, it’s easier to avoid temptation altogether than it is to resist it once it’s in your face.

  • HELP! I just found out that my husband of 15 years is having some sort of emotional affair with my cousin’s wife. All the signs you mention I’ve noticed and so I tapped into his messenger and saw his posts. Sending nude pics and all. I’m so lost right now – I don’t know what to do. Part of me wants to confront him now but I also feel I should drag this out and see what else is going on. What’s upsetting to me the most is our sex life is regular and creative. We do have three teenage kids and we both feel the pressure raising them at the moment however overall they are good kids with good grades. My head is wanting to go straight to divorce!!! I feel insecure right now and have no trust in him. I don’t think I would be able to trust him again. What do I do…..

    • I forgot to mention that I have discussed with my husband my issues with him and messaging girls. He plays music in his spare time and also song writes so connects to a lot of people in the industry. There were a couple of girl connections I did not like and I told him whilst I trust him, I don’t trust other women and what seems to be an innocent friendship can turn into more. He assured me that it is friends only and he wouldn’t do that – then shifts it back onto me that I’m the insecure jealous one. Things got better but since the weekend I noticed a few signs and hence I tapped into his messenger. He deletes his messages regularly so I’m screenshotting them off my phone as I am in shock and need time to digest this. I don’t know how to confront him when I am snooping!

      • Perhaps it’s time to stop snooping and start confronting! I know that doing that is hard. I know you’re driven to want to know every gory detail about whatever your husband is doing. But stop for a moment and ask yourself why?

        At this point, you know what you need to know. Whether or not your husband’s affair turned physical or not, texting nude pics is definitely crossing a line. It’s not surprising that you don’t trust your husband right now. But, before you dive headlong into divorce, you might want to take a deep breath and figure out whether or not you’re ready for divorce. (HINT: The best time to make a major life decision is NOT when you’re in shock and are a complete emotional wreck!)

        So, what to do? Tell your husband you know what he’s doing and that you’re not okay with it. Find out if he wants to go to marriage counseling. Find out if he wants a divorce. And start working with a therapist or a coach to figure out if you want a divorce.

        If you think your husband will start hiding financial documents if he knows you want a divorce, then make a copy of all of your important documents BEFORE you tell him that you know about his affair(s).

        One way or another though, you’ve got to deal with this problem. You can’t deal with it until you admit it exists, and tell him you know about it. If you’re not ready to do that yet, or you want to get your ducks in a row first, that’s fine. Get a therapist. Find a marriage counselor in case you two decide to work on your marriage. Figure out your financial state. Start learning about divorce. But, try not to decide anything until you’re on a little more solid emotional ground.

        Best,

        Karen

        • Thanks for your help! I confronted him and initially, he denied everything for a good 3 minutes. I stayed calm throughout the process and kept pressing and eventually he caved in. I know the whole story and we have since blocked this woman out of our lives. My husband is a nice person to everyone so if someone keeps messaging him with open questions he will always respond. I think he also had a texting addiction through work as he is going through a bit of a mid-life crisis in his job (and obviously at home) so texting everyone is what got him through his days. He wants to stay in the marriage and do whatever it takes to keep me. He said he has had a huge wake-up call and such a big scare he thinks he has lost me. He thinks it will make us stronger and he said he is going to start thinking with his head and not with his you know what anymore. I can see he is trying but I keep asking – I wonder how long this will last? It did not turn physical with this woman but he was turned on by her as she is into woman (bi-sexual) and she thinks I am attractive so the thought of me and this woman together sparked interest with him. Not sleeping with her but the thought of it all. He said it was all just shits and giggles and both of them said they were happily married just it was sexual fantasy crap. BUT here is the thing I am most hurt about.
          – he shared our private intimate details with her. for example, I sent my husband little snippets of a porn video we made 10 years ago and he loved it but he sent it to her…….
          – I tried anal sex for the first time. I’m not into it but I gave it ago. He told her about it.
          – He did send a photo of his penis to her and saying things he masturbates over her photos – which are just facebook photos. Saying things like she has a calm face and it’s perfect and even suggested that they should have sex and then the next day a quickie. He even asked for more photos of her. And when she was sick in bed once he asked how she was and she sent a photo of her in bed with a cover over her.
          -whenever we had an argument or I was cranky he would tell this woman. He told this woman he meant every word in his messaging so to me, he was real with his words.
          My husband said he is going to man up and own it and he has to live with this for the rest of his life. But basically, he has this sexual fantasy of me and another woman together not a threesome as such just the thought of watching me with a girl. I am not into girls. I am so confused and think our sex life has been a whole lie this whole time. I am also so angry he shared intimate details with her. I seriously don’t know what to do. I love him and I don’t want to lose him but at the same time, I’m angry he did this and especially suggesting to have sex even if it is shits and giggles. I do think that maybe it would have turned physical down the track – he said it would have never but who knows. How do I get over this? I don’t trust him. Do you think I should stay or run for the hills?

          • I can hear how conflicted you are about what has happened. It sounds like you’re angry and upset. I’m not a therapist, but I can tell you that if you don’t deal with your anger, it will eventually poison your relationship. Expecting yourself to “just get over it” is not realistic. Because of that, I strongly suggest that both of you start seeing a marriage counselor.

            I know that he said he’s done with her, so it may seem silly to see a marriage counselor now. It’s not. You need to deal with the hurt, the harm and the betrayal that you feel. He needs to deal with the fact that he did what he did. If you both want to have the best chance of working things out, both individually and together, using a good therapist can help a lot.

            As for his sexual fantasies, people like what they like. It sounds like you feel so betrayed by him that you are wondering whether your whole sex life has been a lie. I don’t know that that’s really true. But I can certainly understand how you feel. Perhaps that’s something else to explore in therapy.

            Best,

            Karen

  • Married 38 years , for the past 4 years my husband has been seeing another woman that he said he’s just friends with ,nothing was going on ,he said.They met at a bonfire ,found out they had a lot of the same interests .Started spending a lot of time together He would still say they weren’t doing anything ,but he was happy doing nothing with her then doing something with meAs i worked in the summer{seasonal] that’s when they would spend most of there time together. He cooked for her ,as i came home from a long day at work just sat down in our home they pop in for a min and he told me he announced he was her escort to a wedding and reception ,off they went i just sat there and cried, She calls he goes ,we have fights he talks to her about them, She uses him I tried tellling him that ,but he didnt care.I told him i thought he was having a emotional affair with her He said she did give him back his spark and was filling his needs I told him i didnt want him to see her any more ,he again said they were JUST FRIENDs and he was going to contuie to see her. after a while of me stating we were married and he shouldn’t be with her ,He told me from day one of our marriage that he never loved me ,he thought he would grow to love me but hasn’t ,That tore right though me, he said he’s been very unhappy ,I then said why did u stay with me for so long? which he didnt answer ,But it did explain alot to me Cause he use to control and manipulate me and bully me i too had to walk on eggshells, But now that he has found someone more to his liking ,hes trying to flip things around, build be up ,show me i am smart that i can take care of myself[ after 38 years of putting me down taking my self esteem away. He was attentive to her what ever she needed he got her ,What about me, His wife. he says he doesnt like buying gifts so no birthday ,anniversaries,christmas, But yet he bought for her The worst was when he would discuss her with me like i wanted to here about them or her and i didnt He once told me he wasnt going to see her any more because she was so selfish it was all about her ,she never said thank u she never did anyhting for him , she never brought him a gift, But look at all that hes done for her, I just smiled and told him it takes one to know oneThat he just described himself and how he felt I have felt !!! Did he stop seeing her NO, He keeps going back for more. He told me that he told her that he has feelings for her romantic feelings ,SHE told him Hes married she should of stopped there and kicked him out but she went on talking to him ,they stayed away from each other for awhile , but i think they are still seeing each other. Emotional affair he had Physical one i dont know He swears he hasnt had sex with her But to much has happed I dont trust him He broke my trust, he broke me. We were thinking about a trial seperation something just between us , I thought it may be a good idea I would like to see who i am and what i can do with out him , get to know me, fix things in me My husband told me he wants a separation so he can do what he wants with who ever he wants and not have to report back to me. I told him that’s not a good reason to get separated . I havent done anything wrong, i stood by him, supported him, i honor my wedding vows , 38 years of my life , i gave him and now I’m being replaced. I have to work out something that is going to work for me , Any successions ? Thanks

    • First, let me clarify. A trial separation is NOT an excuse for two people to do whatever they want outside of their marriage without dealing with the problems that are IN their marriage! So, before you decide you are going to try a trial separation, you and your husband both need to be on the same page about what you’re doing and what the rules are. It sounds like he doesn’t want any rules. That’s okay. But then, why stay married?

      Second, whether your husband has gotten physical with this other woman or not is not the point. He’s in a relationship with her. You told him it upsets you. You asked him to stop. He refused. His behavior is telling you that he cares more about her than about you. (Sorry!) That speaks volumes about the state of your marriage.

      Can you put your relationship back together at this point? I don’t know. Do you want to put it back together? Again, I don’t know. That’s totally up to you.

      What I do know that a trial separation where he gets to do whatever he wants while you hang out and wait for him is probably not the best way to get your marriage back on track.

      Hope this helps.

      Karen