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Wayward Side :
Can’t let go of AP

Topic is Sleeping.
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 Firefly4 (original poster new member #75638) posted at 9:30 PM on Sunday, October 11th, 2020

I had an affair with a friend I have known for 3 years.’ I confessed when my husband confronted me. I am in therapy, husband is in therapy. We are going to couples therapy. My husband wants our marriage to heal. I just don’t know if my feelings for my husband are still there. I am having such a hard time letting go of my AP. Every time I think I am ready I just can’t do it. I am really not sure I want to let go and if I am staying in my marriage out of guilt or if I really want to try. I feel awful and conflicted. Anyone else been in this position?

posts: 4   ·   registered: Oct. 10th, 2020
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Lostallalone ( member #69792) posted at 9:59 PM on Sunday, October 11th, 2020

You didn't give much detail but I have this for you.

First are you still active in affair?. If so your counseling is disingenuous. You must be NC to give your M a chance.

Second your feelings for AP is not real emotion but fantasy. Call it like limerance or affair fog but it isn't real world feelings. Affairs are when the two of you are acting and behaving perfect. If real world issues were injected into this relationship it would feel the same as your marriage.

You have said nothing about your husband. His feelings. You seem only concerned about how you feel. This is ok for a narscistst but is that what you are.

How do you stop being selfish???? By start giving.

How do you stop being a liar???? Start telling the truth.

A rock feels no pain...and an Island never cries

posts: 135   ·   registered: Feb. 16th, 2019   ·   location: Indiana
id 8596573
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 Firefly4 (original poster new member #75638) posted at 10:51 PM on Sunday, October 11th, 2020

Thank you for your very honest response. My husband has been amazing and I am a complete a-hole for what I have done to him. He wants us to stay together and is very willing to work on our relationship. I just wanted to know if anyone else has been so conflicted and how they handled it. I am not making any excuses. What I have done has devastated him. He absolutely didn’t deserve it. How do I get the feelings back that I once had for my husband. Will those feelings return?

posts: 4   ·   registered: Oct. 10th, 2020
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JBWD ( member #70276) posted at 11:31 PM on Sunday, October 11th, 2020

How do I get the feelings back that I once had for my husband. Will those feelings return?

You acknowledge that love is not passively received. You state that you are afraid you won’t “get these feelings back.” I suspect (not to be snarky but based on new posters here- Among them ME when I got here) that at this point in time if pressed on why you cheated you might include the statement “We were drifting apart.”

If you re-assess how you understand love, and how you understand what you THOUGHT it was BEFORE, you’ll find that you based love not on freely giving, but more based on what you RECEIVED from relationships.

NC needs to be a thing and now. I didn’t and it destroyed most of my life. Even if you don’t R, the person willing to accomplice himself to your betrayal is certainly not a person worth sharing life with.

All this leads to the fact that you need time to heal yourself. That needs to be independent of the fear of loss and the false sensations of affection you TOOK from your AP. You will need to get to the point where you understand that you might wind up alone, and be at least able to live with that.

I’ll post some tips from my experience in a bit..,

Me: WH
(Multiple OEA/PA, culminating in 4 month
EA/PA. D-Day 20 Oct 2018 41 y/o)
Married 14 years
Her: BS 37 y/o at D-Day
13 y/o son, 10 y/o daughter
6 months HB, broken NC, TT
SUCKED at growth and rebuilding

posts: 908   ·   registered: Apr. 11th, 2019   ·   location: SoCal
id 8596590
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Snowyjune ( new member #72831) posted at 11:39 PM on Sunday, October 11th, 2020

Real love shouldn't be at the expense of anyone else.

What you have with AP is not reality, and your husband is the only one that will be truly hurt and broken beyond belief (not just you). The wounds we create are permanent.

Trust me.

Whatever you are feeling now, it wont be there days/ months/ weeks later. Believe me.

Reality with the AP is delusional, even if he is your friend.

Granted you might not feel what you want to feel for your BH now and it confuses you. But at least give him the dignity to choose his own path, instead of blindly leading him down this path of no return.

Keeping both with you is torturing everyone.

Your relationship and love for your husband should take centre stage, instead of the what ifs and not.

Go hard NC. It will hurt and you will feel lost.. but i promise you that if you and your hb work on yourself and each other, it will be better.

Dont be like me. Everyone deserves the choice and the truth at least.

The grace BH is giving you to continue loving you, are all limited.. and one day, when you come looking, when you finally decide, it wont be there anymore.

ME: WW
D-day: 23 Aug 2019
5 months of EA/PA
TT for another 4 months
D-day 4: Apr 2020

posts: 46   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2020
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irwinr89 ( member #42457) posted at 12:00 AM on Monday, October 12th, 2020

WS Only

[This message edited by SI Staff at 6:23 PM, October 11th (Sunday)]

posts: 55   ·   registered: Feb. 14th, 2014   ·   location: Miami
id 8596596
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 2:44 AM on Monday, October 12th, 2020

When you say that you're having a hard time letting go, do you mean that you're still actively involved in the affair, or that you can't get the AP out of your head? Are you still in contact with them? If so, is your husband aware of that?

[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 6:24 AM, October 12th (Monday)]

WW/BW 51 (Me)
BH/WH 51 (TimeSpiral)

posts: 2038   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
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crushed13 ( new member #72921) posted at 3:40 AM on Monday, October 12th, 2020

I am in the minority but I do not believe that the feelings you have for AP are fantasy, limerance or false. It is a relationship that may not have been tested by ‘babies and bills’ but it doesn’t mean the love isn’t real.

I do think you should go NC with your AP while you decide what to do. And, I would advise you to consider if you would still end your M to live your life alone/single. It’s good that you are both in individually counseling and marriage counseling. Be honest, with yourself and your husband. He’s understandably devasted - don’t drag him along if you know in your heart it’s over for you.

posts: 2   ·   registered: Feb. 28th, 2020
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 Firefly4 (original poster new member #75638) posted at 7:28 PM on Monday, October 12th, 2020

My husband and I are going away next weekend and I really do want to see if the feelings I once had will come back. I am not ready to give up just yet. I know one weekend away isn’t going to magically change how I feel but does anyone have suggestions as to how to reconnect?

posts: 4   ·   registered: Oct. 10th, 2020
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blahblahblahe ( member #62231) posted at 8:11 PM on Monday, October 12th, 2020

Perhaps you might want to try adulting. The world of fantasy for one often causes chaos for others and eventual consequences.

Your posts sound like you are very young and very much self-centered, in whatever relationship you hope to have with whomever in the future this perspective shall need to change drastically.

posts: 298   ·   registered: Jan. 11th, 2018   ·   location: Europe and USA
id 8596764
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Jorge ( member #61424) posted at 8:23 PM on Monday, October 12th, 2020

I am in the minority but I do not believe that the feelings you have for AP are fantasy, limerance or false. It is a relationship that may not have been tested by ‘babies and bills’ but it doesn’t mean the love isn’t real.

Agree wholeheartedly. The fantasy is getting the dopamine high created by a relationship that can be had without the relationship problems that come from life day to day stuff. It's a life of no kids, no bills, no extended family dynamics and no stresses that define normal life.

AP's are like a vacation that people often want to think is real. It's similar to moving to Jamaica because of how it made you feel when you were there, and thinking if you moved there you would feel that way all the time.

It's easy to feel great over a glass of wine while sitting two feet from one another at a table with a candle between the affair partners, then go home to a wife or husband who's stressing over a spreadsheet wondering how to make ends meet......... or is upstairs giving baths to kids while keeping the other ones in line ....or is passed out on the couch from working 10 hours a day not including the commute.

Husbands ands wives don't seem too attractive when wearing battle scars that come with overcoming life's stresses and challenges. They're like the 10 year old family SUV that has french fries in between the seats and sand grains in the cabin from last Summer's vacation. When compared against AP's immaculate two seater convertibles that has no real function in the day in the life of a family of three, the family SUV stands no chance in uplifting the spirt of living of the WS.

AP's are rarely if ever projected in the same way the spouse of a proven couple would be, but waywards can't or won't see it until the AP becomes permanent of which such time warts begin to show. Having to deal with finances, illnesses, kids and conventional family challenges is what's real. AP's rarely have to pass this test because they're already held high on a pedestal after not having to do much other than kiss, have sex and give or receive compliments. For this they receive love, sex and affection, without having done much to earn it while the betrayed husband or wife has proven themselves not perfect, but highly worthy of being a real life partner.

I do think you should go NC with your AP while you decide what to do. And, I would advise you to consider if you would still end your M to live your life alone/single. It’s good that you are both in individually counseling and marriage counseling. Be honest, with yourself and your husband. He’s understandably devasted - don’t drag him along if you know in your heart it’s over for you.

Self honesty is paramount. If you can't find the value in your husband's love for you or can't feel it for him, consider ending it with him so that he can find the same love for himself you have allegedly found for you. Yes, he will be devastated, but not as much as he would having to compete for his own wife who's heart yearns for another.

Lastly. I was your husband twice, accept we weren't married. It hurt tremendously and in both occasions the best thing for my recovery was ending the relationship, as it allowed for immediate recovery. It's the old ripping off the band aid that inadvertently tears the scab off as well. But, it was the best thing for both parties. Your husband will be emotionally damaged, but when placed against the fact he'd have to manage your heart belonging to another, he'll see in time it's best for him to move on even if he doesn't want to. In time, a year, 2 or 3 years down the road he will see it and be better off for it.

posts: 693   ·   registered: Nov. 14th, 2017   ·   location: Pennsylvania
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Buck ( member #72012) posted at 8:38 PM on Monday, October 12th, 2020

FWIW, I struggle with the same thing firefly. I had 2 APs a few years apart. Second A lasted roughly 5 years. I am having a hard time completely letting go of her too.

It’s been a struggle. She seems to haunt me and she’s often in my thoughts. I understand the fantasy aspect of an A, but I also understand that it may be possible that AP might make a better partner for me. I seemed to be more compatible with her than I am with my wife.

I’m not just talking about sexual things either; I’m talking about stuff I’ve learned trying in recovery. Things like similar love languages, attachment styles, or even personality types.

The shit thing is an A is a horrible way to start a new relationship. It’s not fair to anybody involved and the outcome is almost always shitty. I totally see that now, but it doesn’t change how I feel about the other person.

posts: 331   ·   registered: Nov. 4th, 2019   ·   location: Texas
id 8596773
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pinkpggy ( member #61240) posted at 9:16 PM on Monday, October 12th, 2020

You have not given a time frame for your affair length, how long has it been since dday, when and have you gone No Contact with the AP.

It took me a full year to get over my AP. My feelings just didn't come back for my husband magically. My feelings became different feelings mixed with guilt, shame, feeling like I needed to prove myself to stay, trying to get him to love me again, and the fact that I had an affair changed the dynamic of our relationship. He could not love me the way he did before, I could not love who I turned him into. You can't just hope feelings come back. You have to work at it together, and separate. You have to build a completely new relationship.

One 4 month EA/PA
DDay March 2017
Separated (my choice) August 2020 and working towards divorce.

posts: 1914   ·   registered: Oct. 30th, 2017   ·   location: North Carolina
id 8596778
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leavingorbit ( member #69680) posted at 9:29 PM on Monday, October 12th, 2020

Hi, Firefly. I agree with other posters that feelings don’t magically come back. Marriage takes work, relationships take work... dishonesty and inauthenticity in intimate relationships are about avoidance, IMO. So I’d ask, what are you working on in IC? What do they say?

When we drop fear, we can draw nearer to people, we can draw nearer to the earth, we can draw nearer to all the heavenly creatures that surround us. - bell hooks

posts: 233   ·   registered: Feb. 7th, 2019
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MyAndI ( member #75422) posted at 5:44 AM on Thursday, October 15th, 2020

Firefly4,

There can come a point where the BS offers you the door if you are not committed R. Your BS is in survival mode. If you do commit to R there will be anger stage in your BS at the six-month to one-year mark.

The BS will put up with a lot, but there does come a point.

Is your AP married, is he ready for you to be a permanent part of his life? Are you observing NC?

What steps are you taking to focus on your BH?

I failed at R

Survived Infidelity as a BH, WW had a six-month EA/PA, then I had an affair of my own many years later that lasted three-years, never thought I'd ever cheat.

posts: 140   ·   registered: Sep. 13th, 2020   ·   location: USA
id 8597705
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 Firefly4 (original poster new member #75638) posted at 12:01 AM on Sunday, November 29th, 2020

I have finally gone NC with my AP but I am ashamed to say it was pretty much the final straw or my H that finally made me wake up. He found FB messages 2 weeks ago between my AP and I. I wish I had been strong enough to do this on my own. I hurt my H so much and I am so mad at myself. I am committed to working on my marriage. I think the affair fog has finally lifted. I was at a point where I didn’t think I loved my H anymore but have realized that it is myself that I do not love. My H has been amazing. Any advice for what I can do to help him heal and heal our marriage?

posts: 4   ·   registered: Oct. 10th, 2020
id 8612857
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Pippin ( member #66219) posted at 5:01 PM on Sunday, November 29th, 2020

Your feelings can change. It takes time. Feelings emanate from beliefs, and your beliefs about yourself and your husband and your relationship are probably distorted. Getting to the bottom of the distortions will help the feelings. You might feel some pull toward the AP again at some point (or maybe not) - try to remember that what you are feeling has nothing to do with the person you were engaging with (who is, let's face it, a pretty foul person for being with a married woman). It's the shortcut to feeling good about yourself that you miss. Have Maia's survival guide handy if that happens. For your husband - be prepared for a roller coaster. Make sure he has all of the facts, the truth about what happened, and listen to him when he tells you about what it felt like to him, and be alert to things that you notice are helpful to him (though those might change over time, and something that works at 10am might not work at 11am, so be ready for that).

Him: Shadowfax1

"He does His best work with things that we would have thrown away. That's the kind of God He is." Nicole Mullen

posts: 891   ·   registered: Sep. 18th, 2018
id 8612942
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DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 9:03 PM on Monday, November 30th, 2020

@Firefly4,

Ask yourself what you are getting from your affair that you crave so badly. For many (most) of us, the infidelity had absolutely nothing to do with love, nothing to do with our marriages, and everything to do with ourselves.

There was a reason you chose to cheat. And I don't mean whatever excuses came to mind at the time (I don't love my husband anymore, there is no sex, we don't talk). What I mean is, you had choices. For example, if you didn't love your husband anymore, then it would have been a (relatively speaking) simple matter to tell him so, and either work on it, or suggest a divorce. But you didn't make those choices, the choice made was to cheat, and as we WS's all know, that also comes along with lying/sneaking/gaslighting/betraying and other things that none of us are the least bit proud about now. But we all chose to be liars and cheaters when not doing so would not only have been easier, but would have left us with our dignity intact! So for you... why did you choose to cheat? What do you get from it? Do you understand that your strong feelings for someone who is also sleazy enough to sleep with a married woman, someone he professes to care about... THAT's who you can't stop thinking about? It speaks volumes about how you feel about yourself. You just need to listen to yourself, because right now those messages telling you what the right thing to do is, are getting drowned out by your own pain, your own need, your own trauma.

Look, your husband is choosing to stick with you. That's pretty rare. He thinks you are worth the effort. And I'll tell you a secret. He loves you more than maybe even himself at this point, because he is willing to sacrifice his hurt... to be with you, the person who hurt and betrayed him. That is some powerful stuff there. Don't throw that away so fast.

[This message edited by DaddyDom at 4:03 PM, November 30th (Monday)]

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

posts: 1159   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017   ·   location: Marblehead, MA
id 8613214
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Mrs Panda ( member #27303) posted at 12:05 AM on Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

Hi Firefly,

FWW here. 11-12 years out from DDays.

The reality is that you cannot get “the feelings” back for your BH until you are truly NC for quite some time. That means no mental contact as well. Not re-living moments with OM in your head. Not stalking his FB page. Not fantasizing or wondering why you don’t have that dopamine rush for your BH. OM are like a drug- very hard to kick and craving may remain. But very very bad for you.

One advice was given to me years ago and it was silly but when you find yourself tempted to break NC, even mental NC, snap a rubber band on your wrist. Like, OUCH, snap out of it!

So I haven’t posted here in years. But I had a trigger last night. I had to block some crazy person on FB and I went to my blocked people and of course all the way at the bottom is the OM. A teeny tiny little picture. And I confess I was tempted to “peek” at his profile. I felt like I had regressed 11 years. But I did not. Because I know the hell such actions bring and I have changed a lot in a decade. Instead I came here to SI to remind myself what healthy coping is.

If you are lucky enough to R, it is a lot of work. Ever run a marathon? Your BH is likely to go through many stages of grief and anger. This will be hard. Very very hard. You have to put in effort before the feelings come back. If you wait for the feelings, it will be too late and your BH will be gone. Start working on yourself and get to the heart of why you chose infidelity. The key to recovery is to look under every rock.

MP

Me-48 FWW Him 51BH
M 20 years,. Fully Reconciled ❤️.
DDay#1 Nov 2008
DDay#2 Aug 2009 (Prior A from 2001)
"Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand." -Kurt Vonnegut

posts: 2075   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2010   ·   location: NY state
id 8613254
Topic is Sleeping.
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