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General :
EA :: more excusable than a PA ?


 Iwillgetthrought (original poster New Member #79096) posted at 12:09 PM on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

The one thing that I'm still struggling with , 1 year after Dday , is whether I'm just blowing things out of proportion.

In our 27 years of marriage, H has been infatuated by at least 3 women that I know of. The last one seems to be online. I don't think they met up --- just through chats etc. (apparently about politics & music !!!)

There's been no sexting, but some pretty romantic messages went through (no ILU's). In each case, once the EA was found out, it seems to have stopped.

For me, knowing that H was romantically inclined towards another woman and went out of his way to chat them up/call them etc. ---- is WAY worse than any ONS. I've decided to separate because I know that this isn't going to stop and I just feel shattered after every episode. H, on the other hand, thinks that these are 'harmless' and other people (including some of his friends) do much worse.

Just wanted to know if there are other Bs's , whose WS have had pure EA's and what's their take on it.

posts: 31   ·   registered: Jul. 9th, 2021
id 8686743

GoldenR ( Member #54778) posted at 12:52 PM on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

For me they are. Everyone has their own feelings regarding this.

posts: 2642   ·   registered: Aug. 22nd, 2016   ·   location: South Texas
id 8686746

The1stWife ( Member #58832) posted at 12:59 PM on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

Here are the red flags 🚩 from your post:

Not the first time

He doesn’t think there is anything wrong with it

He uses his friends’ behavior as a comparison b/c their behavior "is much worse"

IMO you are not blowing this out of proportion or overreacting. If anything:

He continues to disrespect you

He continues to cheat knowing it is wrong

He doesn’t seem to get it and never will

You do not have a monogamous marriage. He’s a liar a sneak and a cheater.

I hope he can live with that. Because you should not have to.

My H was the same way. No such thing as cheating if there is no sex. Well after his last affair and I told him I was D him (not as a threat snd I meant it as I had my plan B firmly in place) it took him one year and many changes to get me to Reconcile.

My H admitted he was disrespectful and unkind when I confronted him. He was arrogant about it and flaunted his last affair in my face. Had me “audition” for the role of his wife while I knew I was being compared to the OW.

Don’t be me. Don’t allow this to continue. You deserve better than this.

[This message edited by The1stWife at 1:02 PM, Thursday, September 2nd]

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 10504   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8686747

landclark ( Member #70659) posted at 2:22 PM on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

No, an EA is not more excusable than a PA. No amount of infidelity is excusable at all.

I will be honest that over the years, I found little indiscretions like you describe. Nothing that was in my mind really bad (it could always be worse, right? that is what I told myself.), but it definitely crossed a line and he was betraying me and the marriage. I ultimately found out that these little things I was able to justify or excuse away were just the tip of the iceberg, and there was a lot more he was hiding. I almost wonder if he intentionally let me catch these "little" things to throw me off his scent (probably not, but I can't help but wonder).

So don't dismiss these things or try to rationalize that well, it's no so bad, it's better than X, Y or Z. It is bad. Any amount of infidelity is bad. Period.

I agree with 1st Wife. He keeps doing this, and he will keep doing it. The fact that they stop immediately may indicate that he's just in it for the thrill and no real feelings, but that's not a good spot for you to be in. He needs to find other ways to get thrills that don't hurt you or the marriage.

Me: BW Him: WH (GuiltAndShame) Dday 05/19/19 with TT through August
One child together, 3 stepchildren
Together 13.5 years, married 12.5 First EA was 4 months into marriage. Last ended 05/19/19.

posts: 1911   ·   registered: May. 29th, 2019
id 8686764

LostOpportunities20 ( Member #74401) posted at 2:24 PM on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021


I personally think EAs are just as bad as PAs - there is often the same level of lying and sneaking involved (other than the physical sex).

As a teen, I was taught a saying - "there is cheating of the eyes, cheating of the heart, cheating of the feet, cheating of the hands, cheating of the tongue - what happens with the loins is just a confirmation of all the cheating that came before".

For me it is just as bad.

BH (late 40s)
WW (late 40s) EA 2008, EA/probably PA 2009

Confessed the first, I caught her the second.

R only in as much as we'll stick it out. Too late to start over.

posts: 106   ·   registered: May. 7th, 2020
id 8686765

EllieKMAS ( Member #68900) posted at 3:29 PM on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

EA, PA, ONS.... They are ALL infidelity and NONE of them are 'okay' or 'more excusable' in the slightest.

You're not overreacting.

"No, it's you mothafucka, here's a list of reasons why." – Iliza Schlesinger

"Being weird is just a side effect of being awesome."– Unknown

posts: 3138   ·   registered: Nov. 22nd, 2018   ·   location: CO
id 8686775

13YearsR ( Member #58259) posted at 3:30 PM on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

My H had three As. Two were strictly physical and one was EA/PA. I barely thought about the PAs. It's the EA that hurts the most. The attention that he paid to her. The time he spent. The romantic words. The cute nicknames.

So, yeah, an EA is just as bad as a PA, if not worse.

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. ~ Gloria Steinem

DDay 2004 Successful R and going on 33 years married

posts: 438   ·   registered: Apr. 13th, 2017   ·   location: TX
id 8686776

sisoon ( Guide #31240) posted at 3:41 PM on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

I have not had experience with EAs as a BS, but I believe I would feel betrayed if my W were exchanging intimate romantic messages with anyone but me.

Ten years after our wedding, I was on a temp assignment away from home that was going to last 14 weeks, with a company-paid trip home after 8 weeks. I developed a crush on a classmate, and I knew that I was doing something wrong just by having the crush. After 4 weeks of class, I paid my own way home, reconnected with my W, and that ended my crush. But I knew from the start that the crush was wrong, and I knew that any attempt to connect privately with her would be a betrayal (which is why I never connected privately with her). So I avoid EAs as assiduously as I avoid PAs.

The question I have is: Are your H's EAs OK with you? If so, why?

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 25978   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8686780

stubbornft ( Member #49614) posted at 3:43 PM on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

Each and every person is different and gets to decide what they can or cannot get through with a WS. My WS had emotionless infidelity. I could not handle if he had an EA or a PA with emotional intimacy. Not to say what he did isn't awful and comes with it's own set of awful issues. But an EA would be too much for me to handle, personally.

Me: BS 40
Him: WS 51
He cheated with massage parlor sex workers
Dday 01/19/2021

posts: 801   ·   registered: Sep. 14th, 2015   ·   location: TX
id 8686783

HardKnocks ( Member #70957) posted at 4:05 PM on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

None of it is excusable.

Betrayal is betrayal.

But the emotional aspect of an affair, for me, is much harder to tolerate.

[Edited to stay in my lane and keep it personal.]

[This message edited by HardKnocks at 10:37 AM, September 2nd (Thursday)]

BW 30 year marriage.
DDay2 2/20 5 month PA
My Ducks are Aligned and I'm Good to Go! :)

posts: 304   ·   registered: Jul. 7th, 2019
id 8686793

Mr. Kite ( Member #28840) posted at 4:21 PM on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

I know they are both a type of infidelity but I wonder if men in general consider PA's worse than EA's? That's how I feel in my situation. I don't have the answer, just asking.

"Looks like I've been fooled again.
Looks like I'm the fool again.
I don't like it, I don't like it." Tom Petty - Fooled Again

posts: 1112   ·   registered: Jun. 18th, 2010   ·   location: Mid-Atlantic
id 8686796

LostInHisFog ( Member #78503) posted at 4:26 PM on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

EAs share the same equal footing as PAs for me.

The sheer effort, time and money my STBXWH put into his EAs rips my heart out and will haunt me for life. The effort he put into making time or stealing time, the obsession like need to reach out and share things I had no clue about (like a major promotion I was kept in the dark about for six years because more money meant more gifts & financial support given to her without me knowing) and the compassion, understanding & bond he forged with his EAs... I am having a hard time moving past the effort he put into the EAs because not once had I ever experienced that same effort and that cuts deep, they also exposed how little I knew him. it’s silly but after learning about the details of his EAs I kept thinking of that couple game where you’re asked lots of "How well do you know your spouse" questions and I knew I wouldn’t even get one right, even if a hundred questions were asked.

No, EAs are just as bad as PAs

I edit because I'm fluent in typo & autocorrect hates me.

posts: 147   ·   registered: Mar. 14th, 2021
id 8686798

Underserving ( Member #72259) posted at 4:40 PM on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

I guess I’m an outlier. I’m not nearly as bothered by him saying the words "I love you", the phone calls, or the text messages saying how amazing she is, as I am by the fact he fucked her. Maybe because there weren’t any dates, gifts, romantic gestures, or anything like that the sex upsets me the most. He also never initiated sex with me leading up to the A, and especially during it, so yeah the sex destroyed me more than anything.

There was a 24 hour period I thought he had only talked to her over Snapchat, and never actually met up with her. It hurt me, but nothing like learning he actually had sex with her. Two very different reactions.

Now that’s not to say you don’t have a right to be hurt, or to want to end the marriage. He still betrayed you more than once. I just personally feel the added layer of sexual betrayal fucked me up way more than the emotional betrayal. That’s just me though.

BW (32)
Found out 3 years post end of A
D-day 12-9-19
Meh-ing through R

Infidelity brings out the cuss in me. I’m not as foul mouthed in real life. ;)

posts: 647   ·   registered: Dec. 9th, 2019
id 8686804

stubbornft ( Member #49614) posted at 4:49 PM on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

I wonder if part of what bothers us most is what was most special in our relationship. My WS isn't great in bed. He was a good friend he was fun to hang out with, we had a ton in common. The sex was good (not mind blowing) and I was extremely attracted to him, but it was not the most special part of our relationship together. So the fact he was slinging some of his low quality D didn't cut deep lol. But if he had given someone else what I considered to be the most sacred part of "us" which was our friendship, laughter, common interests, that would have cut me deep.

ETA - since the sex wasn't the best of my life, I figured I could replace that easily. But the emotional connection I had with him seemed to be harder to imagine replacing. I like this question, it makes me think a lot.

[This message edited by stubbornft at 4:52 PM, Thursday, September 2nd]

Me: BS 40
Him: WS 51
He cheated with massage parlor sex workers
Dday 01/19/2021

posts: 801   ·   registered: Sep. 14th, 2015   ·   location: TX
id 8686805

humantrampoline ( Member #61458) posted at 4:53 PM on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

I have a nephew who was once a meth addict. That doesn't mean it's ok if my children or husband become cocaine addicts or alcoholics. That's a strange way to think.

I agree with everything The1stWife said. You are not overreacting. The fact that your WH thinks it's not a big deal means he willing to do it again. Are you willing to continue to put up with that for the rest of your marriage?

posts: 389   ·   registered: Nov. 17th, 2017
id 8686807

crazyblindsided ( Member #35215) posted at 4:58 PM on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

I ultimately found out that these little things I was able to justify or excuse away were just the tip of the iceberg

This was exactly my sitch. I caught MANY little things that would be considered EA early on, then it ramped up. There may be a lot more below the iceberg or the beginnings of the iceberg. I do believe this behavior can lead to much much worse.

fBS/fWS (me):48 Mad-hattered after DD1
XWS:50 Serial Cheater, NPD tendencies
Together 24 years, Married 19
DD(18) DS(15)
DD1 (2008) COW, DD2 (2012) MOW, False R (2014) Same MOW. DD3 (2019) Webcam girl

posts: 8031   ·   registered: Apr. 2nd, 2012   ·   location: California
id 8686810

AnOminousMan ( Member #79091) posted at 5:05 PM on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

whether I'm just blowing things out of proportion.

It's less important what others feel about betrayal than it is about how you feel. But he has no remorse. That's all you need to know.

Even if we pretend that, somehow, the first time he did this he had no idea that it would hurt you as deeply as it did (I call bullshit), once he learned how badly he hurt you he kept doing it. He knowingly took actions he knew would cause you pain to feed his own ego. Anyone who thinks you are "blowing things out of proportion" is numb to your pain and probably doesn't have your best interests at heart.

H, on the other hand, thinks that these are 'harmless' and other people (including some of his friends) do much worse.

But they aren't harmless. He knows this because he knows they cause you harm. You have told him and showed him as much. I don't think your H cares much about you.

Worse still, he is friends with other cheaters as well. And then he points to their terrible betrayals to say he's not as bad. Pathetic.

You aren't wrong for separating from a person who doesn't care about you and is, at the very least, indifferent about causing you pain so long as he can stroke his own ego. In fact, I would say you have no choice but to do so. This is no way to live. No one who loves you and has empathy for you would tell you otherwise.

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
My story doesn't really matter. I had it way easier than most.
The only thing that matters is can you stare into the mirror and like what you see.

posts: 104   ·   registered: Jul. 8th, 2021
id 8686815

Apparition ( Member #75755) posted at 5:15 PM on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

No, an EA is not more excusable than a PA. No amount of infidelity is excusable at all.

I like this, it's succinct and accurate, with no room for misinterpretation. Infidelity is not excusable, it is ethically wrong, it is the breaking of very intimate contracts, and there were always other options.

Having enjoyed the rewards of my WW's serial EA/PAs, I genuinely believe there is no such thing as a metric we can apply to various flavors of betrayal. I use to dwell a lot more on the EA, but who knows if that was just me trying to avoid the pain of the serial PAs and the gift that brought to my life. Maybe I did feel that pain more acutely, but that in no way makes it a universal metric, or even a metric in myself I can trust. What I do know is no infidelity is excusable and infidelity hurts. You don't have to justify your pain here and you shouldn't need to justify to yourself.

We are not required to live in infidelity of any kind.

Me: BH
Her: WW (expert serial cheater)
Status: Divorcing

posts: 220   ·   registered: Oct. 28th, 2020
id 8686819

HardKnocks ( Member #70957) posted at 5:17 PM on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

It is that way for me, stubbornft.

If any emotional aspect (phone calls, lunches) wasn't a "means to end" so to speak, it would cut worse than it already has.

Ultimately though, it's the betrayal that inflicts the most vicious pain.

BW 30 year marriage.
DDay2 2/20 5 month PA
My Ducks are Aligned and I'm Good to Go! :)

posts: 304   ·   registered: Jul. 7th, 2019
id 8686820

TruthIsPower ( Member #75776) posted at 5:34 PM on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

H, on the other hand, thinks that these are 'harmless' and other people (including some of his friends) do much worse.

Iwillgetthrought, time for hard talk with your WH and setting strict boundaries. You can PM me, went thru this crap. It's a lot!

"Stop giving people the reasons to love you. Not all will see the beauty of your soul. Those who know, those who know who you are, will love you with something fierce and never let you go. Those are the ones worth holding out for."

posts: 95   ·   registered: Oct. 30th, 2020   ·   location: US
id 8686826
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