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AP got back in touch. Confused and hurting. Back at square one

Comesinwaves posted 2/8/2021 05:23 AM

If you read my previous posts, I mentioned I have been trying to get over my AP and refocus on marriage. We have been NC for 8-9 months now (AP and myself). No messages, no meeting up, totally cold.

I have tried therapy, tried throwing myself into my marriage. Tried to focus on the kids. I have tried to love my wife and my life. I want to so badly. But I feel unhappy with how things are still.

I have also not stopped thinking of AP. Not for a single day since I last saw her.

And then, out the blue, she messaged me. We kept it all pretty formal, hope you are doing well and so on. I (naively) suggested maybe being friends, and then she revealed she had intense feelings for me still and so upon reflection, thought it was best we were in no contact still as it hurt too much otherwise.

I am so very confused you guys. Is this meaningful? That after nearly 9 months, we both still have such powerful feelings? That even this very minimal contact could stir me and I believe her like this?

There is a big part of me that thinks I am spending my life with the wrong person and that AP is 'the one'.

I am exhausted from missing her and thinking about her. And if pressed, would have to say, I think I am still in love with her.

On the other hand, I cannot stand the thought of abandoning my family. Of being the cause of yet more hurt and putting us all through a lot of suffering because I have selfish desires

I know I should stay NC. But it seems to not be working for me. If AP still have feelings like she does, then does this mean we had something real?

I am confused and feel back at square one. Now not hearing from her feels like a hole in my chest every single day.

I am at a loss at to how to move on. Does anyone think that I should just tell AP I love her still and to make a go of it? Or do you all think I need some new tactics and more time to get over her?

ff4152 posted 2/8/2021 07:30 AM

2x4 coming your way

IMO, your claim of wanting to go NC is full of baloney for one simple reason, you had not blocked your AP. Why is that? Because youíre not serious about NC, working on yourself or your marriage. Youíre simply leaving all of your options open.

If you want to be with your AP, great. If you want to be with your wife, great. But you canít have both. I canít tell you if your feeling for your AP or wife are genuine but based upon my own experience, probably not.

If youíre that unhappy in your marriage, leave. But be a man about it. Try and have some semblance of integrity and not cheat while youíre doing it. Let your wife go so she can be with someone who truly honors and cherishes her.

Comesinwaves posted 2/8/2021 08:07 AM

ff4152 - to be clear, I do not want to ever cheat again and will not. The only way I would be with AP is if I ended my marriage.

I am just so confused over my feelings. I don't kno
what is real, what is my brain playing tricks, who or what makes me happy.

I feel absolutely lost. Every day feels painful. I leave and I lose my home, family, financial stability. I stay and I endlessly worry I let the love of my life slip away.

I feel broken and lost and so endlessly confused.

I want to get over AP - why can't I? Nothing works.

Comesinwaves posted 2/8/2021 08:13 AM

What makes me so sad is this was the first time I have felt OK and happy again (in the months we have been NC)

I hate that having her out my life makes me so miserable. It should be a relief! I hate that just one simple message from her can make my heart race like that and make me feel so damn happy.

I hate feeling like this for someone I ultimately cannot be with

hikingout posted 2/8/2021 08:30 AM

I have tried therapy, tried throwing myself into my marriage. Tried to focus on the kids. I have tried to love my wife and my life. I want to so badly. But I feel unhappy with how things are still.

I think this is where the problem is. I did this too, btw. You are looking at external things and asking those things to make you happy.

The truth is, even if you were with your AP, as time wears on you are going to find yourself in the same position.

Stop putting pressure on yourself to feel any certain way. Instead, put pressure on yourself to figure out how to make yourself happy. Joy can exist in any circumstance. You are focusing on the exact wrong things.

I know I should stay NC. But it seems to not be working for me. If AP still have feelings like she does, then does this mean we had something real?

No, it doesn't mean it's meaningful. 99 percent of the time what you have is an addiction. If you work on what I said above, you will figure that out. You are working on the wrong things.

Also, in your other post you are talking about all the stuff you do and all the stuff your BS doesn't do. And, while that might be a true story, I ask you to start challenging it.

First of all, with a husband who has been cheating on her, who has some knowledge something is off but doesn't know what, is it possible that she can't connect with you because she doesn't trust you? Is it possible that she is depressed over the state of her marriage and it's causing the lethargy you are seeing? Is it possible it's simply easier for her to focus on her kids because when she focuses on you too much what she wants is not there?

There is no introspection at all here about how you are contributing to this. It's simply easier for you to live in your fantasy bubble than to really address what is happening.

You speak of talking about all your unhappiness. What have you done to create boundaries? What have you done to create a safe space for your wife to be vulnerable in? Connection is about vulnerability, and neither of you are willing to go there. Intimacy must be created, and it's best when both people are happy. In your marriage noone is happy and probably everyone is blaming it on the marriage rather than fixing the two parts of the whole.

You have been in IC all this time? Or not at all? What have you really done other than leave, find out you can't stand to leave, but then fantasize about leaving anyway?

I do not believe you have ever gone NC. Maybe you haven't had direct communication with her, but you haven't done anything beyond that in which you shut the door on that opportunity. You are listening to the story you have in your head. In the post I last participated in, you really didn't take anyone in other than Lucky because somewhere in all that it made you feel like you have permission to do what you want which is to stay in your fantasy bubble.

Comesinwaves posted 2/8/2021 09:08 AM

hikingout - not sure what you mean when you say me and her have not gone NC? We have not been in touch or seen each other in 9 months.

You have been in IC all this time? Or not at all? What have you really done other than leave, find out you can't stand to leave, but then fantasize about leaving anyway?

Yes, IC for 3yrs. Not very helpful.

Maybe I do want permission. Maybe it is all a fantasy. Or maybe she is the love of my life. Maybe she makes me really happy. Maybe I made a mistake breaking up with her.

My point is, I am feeling lost as to what is real. I am scared I am going to spend my life thinking what if with her. But know would be same if I left.

I thought after 9 months, the feelings would pass. But it seems like it hasn't for either of us. She said she can't be in any contact as feels too much still.

I guess I thought the door was shut and she felt nothing. What has thrown me is that she said she does have these intense feelings still.

How can I be fully present in my marriage when I'm in love with someone else? How can I stop being in love with her?

I want to feel this way for my wife.

hikingout posted 2/8/2021 09:36 AM

hikingout - not sure what you mean when you say me and her have not gone NC? We have not been in touch or seen each other in 9 months.

1. I am going to guess you check in on her somehow - looking at her social media maybe? I am not trying to shame you, it's just if there is any contact in that way, you are feeding your addiction.

2. NC is also mental. You need to learn how to change the channel/close the door mentally. I know this is easier said than done.

I guess I thought the door was shut and she felt nothing. What has thrown me is that she said she does have these intense feelings still.

Limerance is cured by two things:

1. Security that you do have this person. (We always want what we don't have)
2. Time, average limerane lasts for something like 3.2 years or something.

It also has roots with OCD. They treated me for OCD because of the compulsive/obsessive thoughts I had about AP.

How can I be fully present in my marriage when I'm in love with someone else? How can I stop being in love with her?

You must begin challenging the story you tell yourself. Work on debunking yourself. Cognitive dissonance makes us justify our behavior. We tell ourselves stories so we do not have to be the bad guy of our own story.

When we learn to be objective observers of our thoughts, then we can see we create our own thoughts and they are not based always based on truth. Our thoughts create our emotions which is even more reliable.

I want to feel this way for my wife.

I do not really think you do want that. I don't mean that in a mean way. What you want is to escape the reality of your life. You blame your wife for that reality. The truth is we are responsible for creating the life we want.

I have been where you are. I do understand how painful it is. But you have to decide to do something different. And, right now the things you think and project onto your AP makes you high. It's the easiest way to feel better.

The truth is we want and love what we truly invest in. You are really there going through the motions. I think your IC probably sucks and maybe you should hire someone who specializes in this more.

In the other message I gave you the exact steps I used to get out of this. What have you even done towards that? This other stuff is easier to focus on.

People do not make other people happy. We make ourselves happy and then find a companion that enhances that, not completely supports it. I am guessing your wife suffers from that same perspective and that is why she has given up. She doesn't have you.

At the end of the day, I am not sure it's not better for you to go ahead and get a divorce from your wife. When you are married, it's more about being the right partner than marrying the right partner. You are not really not interested in being that for her, and you are blaming her reaction on her.

When I talked to you about your whys, I didn't hear back. But, the reality of it is is you have convinced yourself that you are entitled to do this because you are the breadwinner and you do more than your share.

My suggestion is that you hold your boundaries and do only your share of the work. For a long time I used to think my husband only loved me for what I could do for him. My counselor had me stop doing everything and slowly add things back. What I learned is that my husband loved me for me. I created the narrative that he only loved me for x,y, z. You are telling yourself a story of being a wallet and the person who does everything, how would you reconnect with a woman who was like that? In other words, start by telling yourself a different story about your wife. A more objective one.

So you have been in IC for 3 years, and have been NC for 9 months. When did the affair originally begin/end?

MrCleanSlate posted 2/8/2021 09:51 AM


You had a choice when your AP messaged you - ignore/delete/block, let your wife know and decide together how to deal with it. OR, as you did and engage the AP in conversation. Man you went along with it because you wanted to.

So you play this fence sitting game which is not productive for anyone.

Everything you write suggests you want justification to leave. So man up, tell your wife and leave already and deal with the consequences.

Or, do you not want to lose this little fantasy of yours? Because putting effort into your home life and M would require effort, no?

JBWD posted 2/8/2021 19:41 PM

Hikingout is giving you lots of goodness.

The process of figuring out how you gave yourself license to do what you did requires some effort. Even if what you describe with your AP is genuine and you would do right by the situation, you place your AP in an unsafe relationship if you canít understand how you validated and rationalized betrayal when you hop from your failed M to a toxic relationship.

What I want to ask you in summation is based on this quote:

Or maybe she is the love of my life.

IF she is the love of your life, do you honor her by keeping her a secret and refusing to commit to her the way you claim to often entertain?

LifeDestroyer posted 2/9/2021 08:45 AM

Do you truly think that you can be the husband your wife deserves and the father your children deserve if you stay? Do you truly think you can do everything you need to do to become a safe partner? Do you truly think that you can comfort and reassure your wife when she triggers, whether it be from her own affair of from yours? Do you want to be that man? Do you think you can be that man? Do you want to try to be that man?

You keep saying that you don't want to lose everything, your kids and home. I get that, but do you really want your kids to see you not truly loving their mom and yearning for another woman? They'll know something is up.

Your wife and kids both deserve to have someone who wants to be there with them, be a family with all of THEM.

sundance posted 2/9/2021 19:00 PM

I thought after 9 months, the feelings would pass. But it seems like it hasn't for either of us. She said she can't be in any contact as feels too much still.

I went 2 years with absolutely no contact with my AP. And then, BAM!, contact broken, and A ignited again. Seemingly right where it left off.

I'm not surprised you have strong feelings still for AP. To me, 9 months is nothing.

Perhaps it's best that you leave this support group and attempt to figure things out on your own. Sometimes, the only way people learn is FROM their own mistakes.

I seemed to be one of those people.

I shunned good advice until I was convinced of my own "outcome". I'm not exactly "sorry" for the lessons I learned along the way. Personally, in my situation, I thought my initial "gamble" was worth it. (I was wrong, but that's another story)

To me, you seem to have a lot to lose if you leave for AP (and things don't work out in the future). It's a HUGE GAMBLE.

But, I get that life is short. I get that right now you want a different future for yourself. I get that most people do exactly what they want to do (despite facts, statistics, and double-blind placebo studies).

And that's as close as I'll get to giving you "permission".

DaddyDom posted 2/10/2021 09:18 AM

Let me ask you something... please choose from this list...

1) The lying, sneaking around, secret-keeping and constant need to cover your tracks and hide your double life
2) The joy of having sex with someone else while telling your spouse and kids you are out doing something else really important
3) The loving feeling you get when you think of the AP's spouse or yours and you realize how much they don't matter and how easy they are to fool
4) That sense of "I'm a good person" that naturally comes when you are sexting your AP while your spouse is sitting just across from you
5) The knowledge that nothing in the world could possibly come between you and the AP since your relationship is built on betrayal, lies and "mutual use of each other"

Of the five topics above, which one do you feel makes you miss this love of your life the most? Which one is your spouse not currently fulfilling for you that you simply can't stop thinking about or living without? Is there perhaps an STD that you wanted but never really achieved?

Okay, I'll stop now, I really didn't mean to be harsh, or snide, but I do want to be real. Because as harsh as those things might be, they are nonetheless very, very real. They are the things we need to keep in mind when the "the fog comes rolling in" and we start to fantasize about the escape the AP and the affair offer us.

I think, for most people, the affair represents this fantasy, this "escape" from the pressures we face, from the shame and bad feelings we carry, from the negative viewpoints we hold of ourselves, from life, from everything.

When your AP reached out to you, how did it make you feel? I mean, really this time? Were you excited? Curious? Did your heart skip a beat? Were you suddenly happy? Intrigued? Was part of you disappointed that she said it's still over? If she had said, "My god I need to see you and I need to see you now because I love you so much and my heart just can't live without you", is that something your heart secretly wanted to hear? Do you still want to be wanted? Do you still want the excitement? You still want to feel loved and desired and special? Do you want new options in your life, a new chance, a new path?

You need to be really honest with yourself about what you are actually getting from all of this. And yes, I know, you probably are already aware of all these things, the real question is, do you know it in your heart and soul, or just in your head? Is it still just lip service to yourself?

Thoughts of the AP go away (very slowly, over time) as respect for yourself returns. Right now, there are needs, your needs, that cannot be fulfilled by you for whatever reason. You need them to be fulfilled externally. And external validation is a losing game, because your intrinsic self-worth will never be enough for you (unless something changes), and external validation is not something stable that you can count on. SO what to do?

Well, you need to be able to fulfill your own needs. You need to be enough, for yourself. You need to stop living as a victim, as someone limited or defined, and instead gain a sense of self, a sense of pride in yourself and in who you are, and realize that you are someone of intrinsic value and worth. It is good to love others and to want them in your life, but it is not good to NEED others. No one can truly love someone else unless they love themselves first, and that is the part you seem stuck on right now. At some point, you need to get so sick of being this unhappy and unsafe person, that you actually make the changes needed. When you wake up and think to yourself, "If I am never in another relationship again, that's okay, I will be happy and I will be okay".

My advice? Try not to focus on your marriage for now. To be honest, in this state of mind, it won't help anything anyway. Don't misunderstand that statement as "give up" or "leave", don't do that! Rather, stop trying to control or change the relationship, that is a failing path. Focus on you. Focus on who you are, who you want to be, and what is acceptable and unacceptable in your life. If you have a daughter (and if you don't, pretend you do), and that daughter was in a relationship with a guy who was treating her the way you treat your wife, how would you feel about that? If she was acting the same as your AP, how would you feel about that? If either of those scenarios makes you a little angry, then stop and turn that around. Why are you allowing it in your own life? Why the different standards?

Breathe. Keep going to IC. Do something every day just for yourself, something good, something positive. Even something as small as letting someone in the line ahead of you at the store is a good start, and when you do, say to yourself, "I am doing this not to feel loved and appreciated by the person I let in front of me, rather, I am doing this because I take pride in being someone of good character and quality and because I value my own sense of decency and the value of others in this world". If you let someone in line and then tick off a checkbox saying, "See, I did it. Now others should see me in a better light." then you are doing it wrong.

Best of luck to you. Give yourself time, give yourself healthy boundaries, give yourself a break, and give yourself permission to be unhappy or uncomfortable for a while not defining yourself as a bad person.

forgettableDad posted 2/10/2021 16:33 PM

How can I be fully present in my marriage when I'm in love with someone else? How can I stop being in love with her?

I want to feel this way for my wife.

I hate to break it to you mate but you don't have a marriage. You've torched your marriage. What you have is a fake relationship with the person you're calling "my wife" and a fake relationship with the person you're calling "the love of my life". And mostly a fake relationship with yourself.

Yes, IC for 3yrs. Not very helpful.
When you don't want to get better even the best doctor won't be able to help.

I know I should stay NC. But it seems to not be working for me. If AP still have feelings like she does, then does this mean we had something real?
Stay? You've not gone a day yet.

You "hate" this situation but love the drama. You've done nothing but whinge about poor little old you. But I doubt anyone here is going to validate your behaviour. You're a liar and a cheat. You're in love with a liar and a cheat and a woman who was willing to shit all over your wife - a much better woman - and your kids. What exactly do you think the nature of your relationship is going to be?

Why did you even marry your wife? Were you in love with her as well?

I'm sure all of this is offensive. I'm sure you're different and your love is real. And intense. And if only the world could see it everyone would understand... But if that's the case, why do you hide your affair? Why did you even start an affair? Surely a love as pure as this - your wife would understand. Why did you not immediately file for divorce and marry your AP?

The reality, whether you want to look at it or not, is that your relationship with your AP is built on broken foundations. As I said, you're both liars and cheats. And until you fix that - no relationship will be honest.

MyAndI posted 2/12/2021 21:03 PM

CW, Wherever you go there you are. You will still be unhappy looking around the next corner for something to make you happier. The grass isn't greener, it would be for a while and then it would turn brown when the day-to-day responsibilities of life have to be managed.

[This message edited by MyAndI at 10:10 PM, February 12th (Friday)]

MyAndI posted 2/12/2021 22:35 PM

CW, you also have to tell your wife that OW came calling, right away.

Mrs Panda posted 2/16/2021 20:24 PM

Yeah yeah. Same story weíve seen here. That was me 12 year ago and many other Waywards here. Itís impossible to see when you are in it. The OP drips of love, sex, the perfect person! Everything you are missing in your current partner.

Except itís not your current partner lacking. It is you.

You can run off with OP. 5% chance you will ďmake it.Ē I remember googling that statistic when I wanted to run off with OM. 5% chance of success. Would you have an operation that only had a 5% chance of success? Whatever success means.

It bears repeating. In an AFFAIR, you only see the best in the OP. The romance is founded in lies and deceit. Some people find that exciting. Or not. Either way it is a bad bad start. Two damaged people forming a union does not end well. 95% of the time.

I like statistics. And numbers. Itís a mathematical reality this this wonít work out. If you keep dragging it out itís 100% your marriage wonít either.

So. Have you, 1) admitted the contact to your spouse?
2) realized that you have NOT been NC. Mental contact counts. FYI. More on that later.
3) realized that the white knuckle stuff doesnít work. You have not scratched the surface of why, why. You are only trying superficially.

I hope this helps. Really. 12 years ago I was given some harsh words. I could barely read them. I looked away. I read. I read again. I eventually saw the truth.


etaoin posted 2/19/2021 19:25 PM

I can relate. It took me a long time for the longing to stop. There is an old saw - right person, wrong time. I believe that some affair partners would, if you were both single, be a good fit and could lead to a good life. That is not the norm, but statistically it cannot be impossible. So maybe that is you. But the odds are way against it.

I thought it was me, but as the years roll along, I got to realizing that despite my feelings at the time it could not have worked. As the A went on over time, the perfect person I envisioned was in fact not such a great person after all.

One of the strategies that may help is to not look at all her great traits, but look at those annoying things, then picture what life would be like over the long term.

I will give you an example. I bought my AP an iPad. A day or two later I got her a case for it. To say she made it clear that she would not accept it because it was the wrong color would be an understatement. She was firm, and made it clear that it was my problem to solve. She behaved as if I should have known better. At the time I just took it. Much later, I realized what a self entitled ingrate she was. How would it be living with someone like that? All the time.

You don't say if your AP is married. But if she is, you have to consider that if she would use and betray her H, why would she not do it to you?

This is one small example, but surely your AP must have something that annoyed you or worse.
Something that gave you pause or made you cringe. Focus on that kind of stuff, think it through. If you do, and it will take time, you will start to see her clearly. When you see someone you cheated with, discount the sweet lies, quit what psychologists call "overlooking" and you will probably come to the conclusion that you dodged a bullet.

But it will take time, and the best way to maintain in the meantime is NC. AS I was told early on, not that I listened, NC = no new hurt.

Trust me on this. The surest way out of this hell is to show resolve. And understand that you need her about as much as a long term addict needs another cigarette.

You will get there. Just keep at it.

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