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Sadbutmad posted 12/23/2019 21:05 PM

This is a first for me. I have been married 5 years. Recently started an affair with a co worker. We only see each other when we travel. Its been an up and down roller coaster. There is a 22 year age gap... me being the younger one. He is also married. I have no kids, he has grown kids. I dont know why this started. Ever since then I am questioning my marrriage. After everytime we ďseeĒ each other, he gets paranoid and backs off. Me on the other hand I dont feel bad at all for what Im doing. I feel bad for not feeling bad. I know deep down logically it would never work with this older man but I cant stop the fantasies. I try and back away and not contact but drinks tend to make that hard. All I think about is him. I cant even sleep anymore. He is actually a very very nice person. Sounds naive but he truly is.I just dont know what to do. Someone with any advice welcome.

JBWD posted 12/23/2019 21:23 PM

He is actually a very very nice person.

Doubt it. A very very nice person doesnít betray his spouse, nor seek out others and encourage them to do the same. You two are, on some level, using each other- Whatever has led you to lie to someone you have pledged to honor, itís got very little to do with anyone but yourself. That same selfishness is why you donít feel guilty.

Your post is titled ďLeave or stayĒ but youíre really doing nothing but defending the person you described above. True, it wonít work with this older man- But what youíre doing to your partner is far beyond ďnot working.Ē Come clean with him. Make your mind up if you want to try and recover from betraying a person you vowed to honor, and honor him with the truth.

Youíve arrived at a place where people are eager to help you recognize the severe mental gymnastics youíre employing to explain away a terrible decision. I can tell you though, that no one here is going to sit back and pat you on the back for betraying. Questioning your marriage with honesty is one thing, what youíre doing now is completely erasing your partnerís right to decide. Heís owed better.

You state you donít know why youíve done this- Thatís hardly a reason to do anything in this life, and if you figure it out maybe you can stop hurting people- A worthy goal indeed. But regardless you have a lot to figure out and it starts with ending the bullshit, giving your partner the truth, and owning your decisions.

BraveSirRobin posted 12/23/2019 21:37 PM

The first thing you need to do is accept that this man is not what you are after. What you're addicted to is the feelings you get from the affair. You're 22 years younger than him. He feels mature, powerful and sexy, still able to pull a young woman into the sack. You feel sexy and powerful, too, with both a husband and a lover, especially a lover who is willing to put his marriage on the line because you're just that irresistible. He's not paranoid after you guys get together; he's sexually satiated enough to realize just what he's at risk of losing -- his wife, his family, his friends, possibly his job, certainly half his bank account. The hormones die down, and he realizes that a roll in the hay isn't worth it... until the next time he wants that rush of feeling alive. You are toxic for each other, and it's so hard to see because it feels so damn good in the moment.

I'm surprised that you don't feel guilty at all, though. Quite frankly, that should scare the crap out of him, because usually, what keeps these things from blowing up is mutually assured destruction. You're a much bigger risk if you don't mind losing your marriage over the affair.

Tell us more about your marriage. Affairs don't just happen, even with some drinks in you. They're a choice. What are your initial thoughts on why you chose to cheat?

Sadbutmad posted 12/23/2019 21:42 PM

You are right. Really pointless to try and defend that person. Im in no way looking for a pat on the back. I have exhausted my best friend with advice. I guess the leave or stay refers to both my partner and AP. I am obsessed with this man. I could say Im in love but i know its not love. I am really not sure whether I can ever tell my partner. This is a viscious cycle where he backs off and then comes back around. And I get angry and tired of being dragged around but its such a differnt type of relationship. Do I even have a right to be angry? I want things to continute with this man. I miss him and have told him I want to be together but im told it would cost too much to get a divorce. But on the other hand I know deep deep down it HAS to stop. I canít find the strength.

Sadbutmad posted 12/23/2019 21:51 PM

BraveSirRobin
What you say seems so spot on.
We dated during college on and off for about 3 years before it was consistent. I was going to classes and eventually graduated. He on the other hand, partied and did not graduate. He treated me pretty badly the first few years of our relationship and I eventually had enough. Changed my number and blocked him. He eventually got back thru, we lived together and I was eager to get engaged. I have always had a problem with drunk texting an old flame and have done it every now and then since before we were married. But never cheating. It started with a snapchat affair with an old flame that turned into physical but I felt awful afterwards and ended it. We have a good sex life, I have a job that pays more than him and ever since he has this low self esteem about him. He is jumping from job to job trying to find something that pays more. Its a huge turn off. He has sort of turned into a negative person over the last few years. The A has only been going on for 6 months or so. He is very attractive and is really good to me.

BraveSirRobin posted 12/23/2019 21:51 PM

Are you familiar with the phenomenon of limerence? I feel like a bit of a cliche bringing it up, because I just recently asked the same question on another thread. But if you feel helplessly obsessed with this man even though you know how bad he is for you and your marriage, Google limerence. There's a subreddit and a dedicated forum out there that may be useful to you.

BraveSirRobin posted 12/23/2019 21:58 PM

I've also set you up a bit by asking about your marriage, because there is no marital problem that justifies cheating. Counseling, yes; divorce, yes; but not cheating. If he's not living up to your expectations as a spouse, you try to communicate and work together to fix it, and then if that fails, you file. You have no kids and aren't financially dependent on him, so why did you cheat instead of walking away?

Sadbutmad posted 12/23/2019 22:11 PM

Wow. I am definitly a Limerent. I have never heard of that.
And yes, no problems in the married are cause enough to cheat. I almost wonder if my job has caused it in some way. I travel. I had a small crush on this man for a while before.
My spouse and I are currently going thru some big changes as far as building a house. I guess I just feel like I would be letting a lot of people down if I were to leave. I also feel if I can just end this and focus all my time and energy on him and our marriage, I can find my way back.

EvolvingSoul posted 12/23/2019 22:58 PM

Hi there Sadbutmad,

Welcome to SI. Your realization that you are in limerence is a step in the right direction. It's realizing that your situation isn't unique or special. I understand how compelling the feelings the affair brings can be and that's why educating yourself about the nature of infidelity and how it affects the people involved is so crucial. It was the thing that helped me the most in the earliest days after ending my very long affair.

You don't see it now, but the choice you face isn't really between BS and AP. It is about mental health or not mental health. Even were your AP to give you the opportunity (and I don't think he will) he will never be a mentally healthy choice for you. He's not a nice guy. He's getting his perceived needs met at other people's expense (even yours) and he's fine with you doing the same. He has no integrity at all and he's okay with you destroying yours. Right now your brain is working overtime to try to square those truths with the intense feelings flooding your system when you are in contact with him. Realize this: the intensity of a feeling is not a basis for its validity.

I would recommend reading "Not Just Friends" by Shirley Glass as a good general education about infidelity and how it impacts the people involved. It will help give you the language and context to think about and discuss what has happened. Then, if you truly want to find your way back, be honest with your husband about the affair. If you want to try to work things out with him, then read "How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair" by Linda MacDonald.

Focusing on BS and the marriage while you are still lying to him is a dead end on the healing path. As another poster pointed out, the problem is not the marriage. You're going to have to figure out why you chose hurting and harming the person you care about and your own integrity so that you could have the feelings you want. All those things you described about your husband and the marriage are things that surely made you feel crummy and tempted to relieve those crummy feelings by having this affair. Tempted. They're why you felt tempted. The thinking that actually allowed you to go through with it, though, that's something else. That is what you're going to need to drill down on if you want to become a safe partner for your BS or anyone else in the future, if you want to rebuild your integrity.

I hope you stick around. Read lots on this board and also I think reading the posts in Just Found Out will be a wake up call as to the amount of damage you are heaping onto your BS and the marriage as long as you continue with this affair and continue to lie to him. There is a way back, sister. It's a tough road but many have forged the path ahead of you and there is help and support here if you want it.

You are at the beginning of the healing path. Will you step on?

Proceed with conviction and valor. Best to you from a fellow EvolvingSoul.

BraveSirRobin posted 12/23/2019 23:00 PM

It's not your job. It's not alcohol. It's not the construction project. It's not your husband's career, or lack thereof. It's not Snapchat. It's not old flames. It's not your coworker. It's you. And until you figure out why, you will carry these issues with you wherever you go, whether it's running to someone or running away from them. The only person you can't get away from is yourself.

FoenixRising posted 12/23/2019 23:19 PM

My sweet foggy friend...

This is going to be hard. Messy and just awful. Gently, you are so blind to the destruction you have already caused just having this affair. Your poor BS. My stomach hurts for both of you knowing what you are inevitable to endure.

Please tell your spouse. End it forever with AP. He is nothing. Itís the fog and fantasy that youíre obsessed with. Whatís wrong at home that youíre trying to escape? How are you not feeling bad about the possibility you could be exposing your spouse to STDís? Or that youíre sharing yourself in a double life with some old guy with wrinkly balls over him, the love of your life? The one you vowed NEVER to do this to? If you donít pull your head out of your arse, youíre going to lose everything. That idea shoukd resonate with you more since your selfish and wayward. We adulteresses never seem to feel bad for what weíre doing to our spouses until were exposed then have to watch the destruction weíve caused within our spouses, our families, friends, parents.

Youíre best bet is to get yourself out of this steaming pile of shit that you think looks so green and bountiful and go start watering your own grass. OR, leave your husband. You have no kids. Let me him go be with someone who loves him enough that the idea of hurting him through infidelity, Rips her heart out so much that sheíll be faithful. He certainly deserves that over ĎI feel bad, I donít feel bad Iím fucking someone else.í Just my 2 cents.

[This message edited by FoenixRising at 11:21 PM, December 23rd (Monday)]

hikingout posted 12/24/2019 05:07 AM

I also had an affair with a much older, married man. I thought he was very very nice. His wife found out and he dropped me faster than you can say hot potato. The spouse finding out is always a spray of cold water, reality versus fantasy- and reality will win every time.

I also felt numb and didnít feel badly during the affair. I am a warm and loving person but turned very cold and uncaring during that time. I had stored up a lot of past resentments and it fueled a sense of entitlement. Justifying and compartmentalism can really distance you from whatís really in your heart. I got in IC and I learned a lot. I recommend you do that immediately. Here are some lessons I learned but there are many more:

1. I was trying to fill a void that I have had to work hard to figure out all the components of. And even harder to learn new things that allow me to create my own magic in life instead of seeking it from situations, others, etc. i thrives on chaos during that time, figuring out why.
2. My resentments were about my own expectations rather than anything else.
3. I am responsible for my own happiness and I was not managing that correctly by honoring my own boundaries. And made it worse by not honoring my integrity/morals.
4. I was projecting who I wanted the ap to be. Love is about making the other person happy - in an affair we only care they show up and make us happy.
5. That love is best experienced by giving and effort. If you had done that with your husband you may have gotten another picture. If you had worked on your resentments and been honest with him the result would be less complex.

All in all, I would recommend IC, NC with AP, confessing everything, and not making any rash decisions in the state of mind you are in. Not everyone is meant to reconcile and we canít tell you thatís in the cards. My guess without the longevity of marriage and kids you will have your work cut out for you. But love is a choice and you can choose it with your husband and align your thoughts and behaviors in that direction. If you canít make that choice then itís tome to cal it a day because itís going to take more work and pain to get to the other end of this with him than you probably ever put into anything in your life. But a commitment in that direction is required- otherwise you are wasting both of your time.

hikingout posted 12/24/2019 05:07 AM

I also had an affair with a much older, married man. I thought he was very very nice. His wife found out and he dropped me faster than you can say hot potato. The spouse finding out is always a spray of cold water, reality versus fantasy- and reality will win every time.

I also felt numb and didnít feel badly during the affair. I am a warm and loving person but turned very cold and uncaring during that time. I had stored up a lot of past resentments and it fueled a sense of entitlement. Justifying and compartmentalism can really distance you from whatís really in your heart. I got in IC and I learned a lot. I recommend you do that immediately. Here are some lessons I learned but there are many more:

1. I was trying to fill a void that I have had to work hard to figure out all the components of. And even harder to learn new things that allow me to create my own magic in life instead of seeking it from situations, others, etc. i thrives on chaos during that time, figuring out why.
2. My resentments were about my own expectations rather than anything else.
3. I am responsible for my own happiness and I was not managing that correctly by honoring my own boundaries. And made it worse by not honoring my integrity/morals.
4. I was projecting who I wanted the ap to be. Love is about making the other person happy - in an affair we only care they show up and make us happy.
5. That love is best experienced by giving and effort. If you had done that with your husband you may have gotten another picture. If you had worked on your resentments and been honest with him the result would be less complex.

All in all, I would recommend IC, NC with AP, confessing everything, and not making any rash decisions in the state of mind you are in. Not everyone is meant to reconcile and we canít tell you thatís in the cards. My guess without the longevity of marriage and kids you will have your work cut out for you. But love is a choice and you can choose it with your husband and align your thoughts and behaviors in that direction. If you canít make that choice then itís tome to cal it a day because itís going to take more work and pain to get to the other end of this with him than you probably ever put into anything in your life. But a commitment in that direction is required- otherwise you are wasting both of your time.

BraveSirRobin posted 12/24/2019 05:22 AM

^^^^

Sadbutmad posted 12/24/2019 12:28 PM

Hikingout
I am currently in therapy. We actually went as a couple back in the summer. I have mostly been going by myself. He says I need to go see a divorce lawyer and get out. I should have prefaced my early relationship with my husband. Im pretty sure he cheated, probably multple times. I know it was just while we were dating and not even engaged, but maybe a part of me is revengful because of that?
I should also say we experimented with adding people to our sex life, only twice and as fun as it was in the moment, I would definitly not do it again.
I try to have NC with AP as much as I can. And we dont even have to see each other in an office setting and rarely have to talk regarding work so it should be easy, but sometimes its not.
I have to say im probably never going to tell my spouse. He would not work things out and he would definitely tell my APís spouse and ruin his life too.

Zugzwang posted 12/24/2019 14:23 PM

He is actually a very very nice person. Sounds naive but he truly is. And I get angry and tired of being dragged around but its such a differnt type of relationship.

Nice people love to keep their secrets. You are his secret. One he is ashamed of, otherwise he wouldn't back off or he would leave his wife for you. He isn't nice. He backs off every time because he is afraid his wife will find out and leave him. Yeah, that isn't nice. and nice people don't drag people around. Which you have no right to be angry about. You choose to drag yourself around. The only people being dragged are your husband and his wife. You aren't naive either. You just choose to believe that he is nice because you want to leave your husband for him and it makes it easier for you to live with yourself for not feeling bad for what you are doing to his wife and your husband. Neither of you are nice right now. Go NC. Figure out why you don't feel bad for what you are doing.

but im told it would cost too much to get a divorce.
text book bullshit. He is gaslighting you.
I almost wonder if my job has caused it in some way.
Nope. Only you did. With what you lack in yourself. Moral values, empathy, lack of self esteem and love. Lack of respect for yourself and others. You are just using him to fill a void in yourself.

Zugzwang posted 12/25/2019 13:19 PM

never going to tell my spouse. He would not work things out and he would definitely tell my APís spouse and ruin his life too.

This is just wrong on so many levels. It speaks, no yells volumes of the person you have become. You will not tell another human being something they have the right to know about their life? about their marriage? about who they are married to? You are being controlling, deceitful, and manipulative to someone that has the right to make an informed decision about their life. Of course, all you see is your life. What is in it for you...your BS

would not work things out
...so you are being selfish. Oh, the fog is thick...to be worried about ruin your APs life?!!!! Your AP is an adult who made adult cruel decisions. He ruined his life with your help. If your BS found out and told, your BS didn't ruin your APs life. You did and so did your AP.

forgettableDad posted 12/25/2019 17:33 PM

you need to tell your husband.
you need to tell your affair partner's wife.

you need to change your therapist and start
counseling with someone who will help you:
A. Understand why you don't feel guilty (it has nothing to do with the state of your marriage)
B. Understand and deconstruct your ability to lie and compartmentalize.

I could go on and on about the bullshit you've been telling yourself about yourself and your affair partner. I've had an affair. I cheated on my wife. Your affair partner currently is the lowest form of man you will ever have the displeasure of setting eyes on. He is not "nice". And neither are you. You both are sick, you both need to heal and give your husband/wife the opportunity to do the same.

More than that. It doesn't matter if you think your husband has cheated on you because you don't know. You're having an affair because something is broken inside you. Finding the truth, telling the truth and sticking to the truth is the only thing that'll actually help your situation. It's the hardest thing you'll ever do (if you're anything like me and you are).

Good luck. Healing is hard but worth it.

cptprkchp posted 12/25/2019 20:09 PM

I have to agree with every post before me - especially the limerence. I suggest you read in the Just Found Out forum - the hurt and devastation of an affair goes far beyond you and your AP. There are people who have posted just today about being suicidal due to their spouses infidelity!

Iím not trying to be an asshole but you mean absolutely nothing to this man - you are not special - you are merely there and willing to cheat with him. You are going to find out just how little you mean to him when he throws you under the bus when (not if) the affair sees the light of day. He is willing to cheat on the woman he loves, built a life with, made vows to in front of the world, had a family with.. no, you arenít special at all and neither is he.

Iím sure we are all coming off as jerks right now but if you stick around and own your shit you will find yourself much happier - itís a painful process but so worth it!!

WalkinOnEggshelz posted 12/26/2019 16:42 PM

You have said so far:

You want to be with your AP but he wonít divorce his wife.

You donít feel guilty.

You donít have NC with your AP.

You will most likely never tell your husband.

What is it that you are looking for from this site? That is a sincere question. What are you hoping to gain from being here?


You will not be able to authentically find your way back to your marriage until you are honest within it. I didnít think that my husband would be willing to work through this either. I was so certain of it that I didnít even know that Reconciliation was a thing. I assumed he would leave me. He wanted to, but it was because he didnít want to be with someone that didnít want to be with him. We are still together 9 1/2 years after my affair because I finally found the courage to be honest with him and myself. It took years of work, but Iím a better person for it.

Are you willing to put in the work?

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