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EA :: more excusable than a PA ?

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DevastatedDee ( Member #59873) posted at 5:47 PM on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

The PAs hurt me the most, but had it just been EAs, I would have still been unimaginably hurt. It's like comparing the pain of a 3rd degree burn on 50% of your body compared to 55% of your body. Both types would have met the marriage ending category for me. I knew of the PAs first, so the EA stuff was just the cherry on top.

An EA is well worth ending a marriage over. It's all cheating.

DDay: 06/07/2017
MH - RA on DDay.
Divorced a serial cheater (prostitutes and lord only knows who and what else).

posts: 4435   ·   registered: Jul. 27th, 2017
id 8686830
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PSTI ( Member #53103) posted at 6:05 PM on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

For me, the lying is the worst part over and above anything else. I view lying as cheating.

Me: BW, my xH left me & DS after a 14 year marriage for the AP in 2014.

Happily remarried and in an open/polyamorous relationship. DH (married 3 years) & DBF (dating 2 years).

posts: 697   ·   registered: May. 6th, 2016
id 8686835
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ShutterHappy ( Member #64318) posted at 6:27 PM on Friday, September 3rd, 2021

I think the most important part is what YOU feel about it:

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

Then the answer is EA is worst.

Don’t doubt yourself. Those are your boundaries and you are in the driving seat. You choose what is a dealbreaker.

I’m pretty sure whatever you decide the whole community here will be behind you smile

Me: BH
Divorced, remarried.
I plan on living forever. So far so good

posts: 1431   ·   registered: Jun. 30th, 2018   ·   location: In my house
id 8687053
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Throwaway999 ( Member #72413) posted at 10:22 PM on Friday, September 3rd, 2021

My Wh had both multiple long term EAs and PAs. I think what hurt me the most apart from the betrayal and lies was that his one AP was his “best friend” she knew all about me and all about the daily lives of my kids….knowing about my kids daily lives was the ultimate violation for me. I felt more violated by that then anything else…maybe it’s just me but my kids are mine and joys and sorrows are private, he shared their lives with a stranger without my consent. It is unforgivable to me.

Me - BS
Him -WS (passed away Aug2020)
DDay1 - 2011 EA with AP1
DDay2/3 - found out in 2019 about EA/PA same AP1 -3 yr LTA affair ended 2016/2017
DDay4 - found out after he passed away about LTA with ex-wife same time as his first affair with AP1

posts: 516   ·   registered: Dec. 29th, 2019   ·   location: Canada
id 8687083
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This0is0Fine ( Member #72277) posted at 11:23 PM on Friday, September 3rd, 2021

Tried to take a month off the forums, and I barely made it three days. laugh

Like I say in my profile, it's not a competition. No affair is "excusable".

The infidelity you experience is the worst, and sadly we almost always still do some self minimization (at least it wasn't also XYZ!).

My fWW had an EA and tried to take it to PA twice, and was rebuffed by her AP.

So it's sort of both and not at the same time. Her intent was to have a romantic and physical affair with another man and she failed to complete that intent. If she had succeeded, I don't think I could have made it to or through R. But I could also be wrong about that, because if you tell me before the whole thing happens what she would do, I would say, divorce.

So we all perhaps have more flexibility, forgiveness, and resilience than we thought. Much like an untested boundary doesn't show devotion, an untested boundary in the other direction, of challenging what we can or can't accept is a fiction until it becomes our reality.

Only you can decide if the betrayal and aftermath you have experienced can be overcome. Only you can decide if your WS has done enough to make recompense and become a safe partner.

While there is so much the same in every story of infidelity, the particulars do matter. They matter to the BS and the WS. What can be accepted and allow for forgiveness to be earned is always sensitive to that context.

[This message edited by This0is0Fine at 11:24 PM, Friday, September 3rd]

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

posts: 1325   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8687086
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78monte ( Member #72572) posted at 1:29 AM on Saturday, September 4th, 2021

None are more excusable than the other.
For me however, had it been emotional only, it would be easier to get through.
My wifes was physical and emotional, the 2 together for me have been devastating.
Not only did she fuck him many times at the motel, she made love to him as well(by her own admition).
After the deed was done, they would stay and cuddle in the bed until the 4 hrs was up.
Knowing all this kills me inside.
It's hard to believe after being together over 30 yrs, the person you love could do this to you.

posts: 1151   ·   registered: Jan. 14th, 2020   ·   location: Canada
id 8687091
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achilles1101 ( Member #74132) posted at 3:50 AM on Saturday, September 4th, 2021

The PA part is what killed me. Not just the PA, but that she did things with him that she wouldn't or hadn't done with me. Also things that we had only done with each other she did with him. That hurts. I apparently was nothing special even after all these years. Left my self worth battered and bruised, but maybe I put to much emphasis on the physical. Hard not to as it is so entwined with the emotional.

[This message edited by achilles1101 at 3:51 AM, Saturday, September 4th]

Me: BH 56
Her: WW 49 Midlyfewife
Married 20 years, two children
D DAY 1: May 2019 confronted with evidence of PA, sexting, copped to one incident and the sexting
D Day 2: April 2020, after contacting OBS, confessed to 4.5 year long PA, AP much younger

posts: 338   ·   registered: Apr. 1st, 2020   ·   location: NorCal
id 8687099
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sisoon ( Guide #31240) posted at 5:13 PM on Saturday, September 4th, 2021

It's not that ILY can be said in an EA. Rather, it's the secrecy, sharing of innermost thoughts, and fantasies of going off into a perfect future - that requires either leaving or deceiving one's BS.

I knew my crush was somehow 'off'. I loved my W, we had a 4 year old. Nothing had come between us for 12 years ... and yet I had fantasies of leaving her. As I say, I knew something was wrong with my thinking, but I couldn't turn it off until I saw my W, which means some part of me thought it was OK.

If I had done anything to get the object of my crush to buy into my fantasy, it would have been an EA.

Don't discount EAs. They are very dangerous. The BS in an EA decides how much it hurts, but it easily can hurt enough to make you think you and/or your world have been destroyed. If your H has an EA and you're just mildly annoyed, you may be just mildly annoyed - but my reco is: don't discount your pain because you can think of something worse. An EA can and usually does bring as much pain as you can take.

And 'It's OK because other people do worse' just doesn't fly. That's not remorse. That's thinking that defeats R. It's enough to show the WS the door. If you're not ready to end your M, ask your WS if it's OK to find a young guy for a weekend of sex - after all, that's not as bad as spending 10 days with 2 men to serve you.

[This message edited by sisoon at 5:24 PM, Saturday, September 4th]

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 8687134
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Notaboringwife ( Member #74302) posted at 7:07 PM on Saturday, September 4th, 2021

I've decided to separate because I know that this isn't going to stop

It hurts when a significant other is not stopping a hurtful behaviour. If his behaviour hurts and keeps hurting, then that behaviour is inexcusable.

Sometimes they need to be shaken out of their complacency. I don't know your full story, but if you've made your decision to separate, then do so. With no regrets.

I separated from my husband for 3 months after D-Day. Best decision I ever made for healing myself and regaining my self worth.

That move shook my husband out of complacency, or affair fog or whatever else you want to call it. It shook me to my core..I had a breakdown.

I think if you go with your decision, there may be a few possibilities for you to consider down the road:

He truly and honestly may want to reconnect with you, having changed his behaviour.

He may show you he wants to reconnect with you, but will revert to his hurtful behaviour in time.

He may no longer care to reconnect with you.

You may feel there is a load off your shoulders. A type of relief.

You may feel scared of the unknown.

You may go divorce.

You may go reconciliation.

Wishing you the best....

"Healing is not about moving on or "getting over it," it’s about learning to make peace with our pain and finding purpose in our lives again."

posts: 208   ·   registered: Apr. 24th, 2020
id 8687140
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jb3199 ( Member #27673) posted at 2:09 PM on Sunday, September 5th, 2021

Without a doubt, the PA hurt me the worst.

I always knew that a PA would be a dealbreaker. I can't believe that it hasn't been, to this point, but I don't know if I'll ever experience trauma again like I did when I had my D-day. I sure as hell hope not.

About 3 years later, I discovered that the affair didn't end when I thought it did. It was also the first time that my WW said "I love him." It was recanted shortly afterwards, but I've got to tell you---that hurt way more than I thought it would. Way more. Even if it wasn't really true---to hear it from her hit me in a way I wasn't expecting. Not like the PA devastation, but 8+ years later, and it still bugs me.

I still have to think that if my first D-day was the EA, and hearing ILY, it would not have had the same effect as the PA. But I'll never know.

BH-50s
WW-50s
2 boys
Married 28yrs.(together over 30yrs.)

All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary Puckett
D-Day(s): Enough
Accepting that I can/may end this marriage 7/2/14

posts: 3816   ·   registered: Feb. 21st, 2010   ·   location: northeast
id 8687207
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Tanner ( Member #72235) posted at 3:17 PM on Sunday, September 5th, 2021

Over a year my WW had EAs and sexting partners, when it wasn’t enough she started a PA. When I finally got the timeline I was pissed off about all of it, but the knowledge of another man having sex with her is by far the worst.

Dday Sept 7 2019 working toward R
BH 54
WW 47
M 30 years, 4 kids 2 grown, twin boys 12 yo 2 grandkids

One day you will tell your story how you overcame what you are going through now, and it will become part of someone else’s survival guide.

posts: 710   ·   registered: Dec. 5th, 2019   ·   location: Texas DFW
id 8687214
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CaptainRogers ( Member #57127) posted at 3:33 PM on Sunday, September 5th, 2021

Whether EA or PA, our MC explained it to my wife this way:

You (my wife) freely gave something to an outsider that not only belonged to your husband, but it was what he DESIRED. Regardless of whether it was physical or emotional, you withheld it from him and freely gave it to another.

********
As far as one being more "excusable", they are both betrayals. They both hurt. Deeply.

Ultimately, there's no need to get into a contest about what pain is worse. We all feel things differently as individuals. It all sucks.

BS: 42 on D-day
WW: 43 on D-day
Together since '89; still working on what tomorrow will bring.
D-Day v1.0: Jan '17; EA
D-day v2.0: Mar '18; no, it was physical

posts: 3001   ·   registered: Jan. 27th, 2017   ·   location: The Rockies
id 8687216
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jaynelovesvera ( Member #52130) posted at 7:24 PM on Monday, September 6th, 2021

My wife collected a few types of infidelity

EA check

Same-sex PA check

ONS check

PA check, check, check

PA/EA check

Serial WW all the way

I think it's highly subjective. For me, the EA was the least difficult, followed by the same-sex AP. Next up, the ONS but it was complicated by being with a "friend" of mine.

The three PAs, one was made more difficult by being with my relative. Another by being with someone that seriously impacted my body image. The third, she tried to get me to be friends with sort of.

The worst for me is the EA/PA. It is several magnitudes worse than the PAs. They are several magnitudes worse than the ONS and same-sex PA.

It is all difficult, but my gavest wounds were predominately sexual contact, with the EA/PA combining all the pains for me.

[This message edited by jaynelovesvera at 7:24 PM, Monday, September 6th]

BH

Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you. Jean-Paul Sartre

posts: 387   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2016   ·   location: United States
id 8687303
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scaredwoman ( Member #78680) posted at 5:15 PM on Tuesday, September 7th, 2021

No affair is excusable, whether physical or emotional. It's betrayal. Never acceptable in a marriage.

posts: 150   ·   registered: Apr. 20th, 2021
id 8687416
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emergent8 ( Member #58189) posted at 6:08 PM on Tuesday, September 7th, 2021

No affair is excusable. Each is a grievous injury and I do not believe in pain Olympics.

My husband's A was mainly physical but not a textbook PA (like a ONS or a prostitute situation). It was a married co-worker and it mainly consisted of blow jobs and oral sex in the backseat of her car. There was never any "I love yous" and never any intention to break up either marriage. Obviously there was some flirting and texting back and forth but no deep emotional connection. They intentionally didn't speak about us - their betrayed spouses (I guess that would have ruined the mood? I don't know). He said he always knew that they weren't compatible and post D-Day he dropped her like a hot potato.

Because there was very little emotional element to the A, I often feel like I am lucky compared to a lot of the BS here. (How insane is that when it was, without a doubt, the most traumatizing thing to ever happen to me). Because there were minimal feelings, there was minimal affair fog. I do believe that made it easier for us to heal. I know I would have been absolutely crushed if I had somehow learned that the emotional element of the A was more significant than it was.

You (my wife) freely gave something to an outsider that not only belonged to your husband, but it was what he DESIRED. Regardless of whether it was physical or emotional, you withheld it from him and freely gave it to another.

I really do think that this is relevant.

[This message edited by emergent8 at 6:15 PM, Tuesday, September 7th]

Me: BS, Him: WS. Mid-late 30s.
Together 15 years, married 5 (11 m at D-Day).
D-Day: Feb 2017 (8 m PA with married COW).
Currently 4 years (and two kids) into R and optimistic.

posts: 601   ·   registered: Apr. 7th, 2017
id 8687420
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DoinBettr ( Member #71209) posted at 7:11 PM on Tuesday, September 7th, 2021

I think very few of us will know this as much as JayneLovesVera.

So, I will take his word for it.

I do think an EA is easier to get beyond than a PA due to the health factor being brought in.

There is a risk of pregnancy and the passing of STDs that start to add uncomfortable and potentially long term damage to the BS.

That being said, it is like trying to determine the caliber of gun you want to be shot with.

It is going to hurt, the intent to end the marriage was there, if just in the back of their brain before they crossed the line.

I did kind of want to gently ask you, if the messages didn't have ILU, pictures, or descriptions of sex what about them is making you feel insecure. I agree, his deleting them is the worst part. It shows he doesn't want you involved in that half of his relationship. I just wonder if you have thought about marriage counseling with him? I also wonder if you have ever strayed? I say this because you talk about traveling for work and not sleeping together for 20 years. That sounds like you 2 have way more problems than you are telling us.

Review your messages with your male colleagues and check to see how charged some of them are and why you 2 are so detached from each other. Just, something smells off on both sides here. Spouses who travel for work, don't have a strong sexual relationship when they reunite, and suspect each other of cheating, in my experience have both sides checked out, doing things they shouldn't. Sorry for accusing you if I am wrong. I just wonder where you are putting your time if not into the marriage? Just like he isn't putting it in.

[This message edited by DoinBettr at 7:55 PM, Tuesday, September 7th]

posts: 591   ·   registered: Aug. 7th, 2019   ·   location: Midwest
id 8687433
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 Iwillgetthrought (original poster New Member #79096) posted at 1:10 AM on Wednesday, September 8th, 2021

@DoinBettr

I did kind of want to gently ask you, if the messages didn't have ILU, pictures, or descriptions of sex what about them is making you feel insecure. I just wonder if you have thought about marriage counseling with him? I also wonder if you have ever strayed? I say this because you talk about traveling for work and not sleeping together for 20 years. That sounds like you 2 have way more problems than you are telling us.
Review your messages with your male colleagues and check to see how charged some of them are and why you 2 are so detached from each other. Just, something smells off on both sides here. Spouses who travel for work, don't have a strong sexual relationship when they reunite, and suspect each other of cheating, in my experience have both sides checked out, doing things they shouldn't. Sorry for accusing you if I am wrong. I just wonder where you are putting your time if not into the marriage? Just like he isn't putting it in.

The messages were a part of it (the part that led me to find out that something was up). Basically, he was video-chatting to a woman, (3 times a week as per his admission , which in my opinion was probably 6 times ---- he lies a lot), whom he had apparently connected with online, for about 4-5 months before he was found out. The messages were in the nature of 'I keep thinking of you', 'talking to you is the highlight of my day', 'you're the most exciting thing that has happened to me in my life' etc. etc. The details are in my profile.H seems to be always looking for the high of a new romance. We've been together for 35 years and other than maybe the first few months, he has never really been able to have any kind of a meaningful conversation with me. Neither with my daughter. Our conversations are purely transactional. I had sent him a long mail pointing out this lack of communication & other stuff that we need to improve on after DDay 1. All I got back in reply--- after a lot of nagging --- was a one liner from his iphone, saying that I was enough for him.
I have never strayed. I'm an introvert and I'm naturally careful with boundaries with co-workers. Also, never really got hit on either (I probably would have been flattered but not gone any further). I do have a lot of interactions with co-workers of the opposite sex but never been interested in any of them. Somehow, I always felt that I struck lucky and beyond my league with my H (though that was before this last episode)

As to why no sex in 20 years, can't really explain. We just stopped, never spoke about it . I deeply regret it now but it's too late.

Looking back, we didn't have the greatest of marriages and I was definitely 50% responsible. He was out 4-5 days of the week. I was managing my own work, child, in-laws etc. while he was able to focus 100% on his work and ((I felt) party with our common college friends every week in other cities. The resentment showed. But on DDay, H admitted of his own accord that he thought we were in a much better place of late (prior to latest DDay). Also, I had this belief that we were in this marriage for life and no matter how much we may fight etc., we were still loyal and exclusively devoted to each other. He still tells me that my daughter and I are the most important people in his life. If it had been this one glitch , maybe I would have put it down to a mid-life crisis and moved on. But if you read my profile, this has been a recurring theme. I can no longer take the lying and the emotional hammering that I get every time and the current absolute lack of trust.

H is not interested in MC. Any discussion of these EA's is strictly off the table.

posts: 31   ·   registered: Jul. 9th, 2021
id 8687513
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DoinBettr ( Member #71209) posted at 3:48 PM on Wednesday, September 8th, 2021

I did read your profile, it was helpful and where I got the messages not having those words and the dry spell sexually for more than half the marriage.

Have you 2 ever had a vacation away with just the 2 of you? Space to just connect without external influences?

I can see how he can see these as not being EAs. I can also see how the messages are putting conversation that has been missing from the marriage outside the marriage. Being an introvert means that at some point you have to trust someone, it just takes time. So, aren't you more open and trusting with your husband?

I think your college friends are an outlet. I think his work is an outlet. If he is more of an extrovert, then he needs to get charged up by someone and you mention this isn't you. How can this be changed? Sorry, if this seems accusatory. I have dated introverts in the past and as an extrovert, it may feel like you are holding back with him too. He seems like he wanted you to catch him in this EA that has boundaries for him. That way he can lawyer away within the details of it not being sexual. Just they are not the same boundaries you expect. He likes getting caught because then it charges you up and you engage with him. Even if it is to accuse him and fight more.

That is why I was asking about where you put your energy in the marriage? FYI - If you are dead set on divorce, I am ok with that, but I think you 2 are doing this to force an interaction. A conversation about the lack of openness in the marriage. You said he doesn't want to talk about the EAs. That is why I mentioned the vacation. Be sure you 2 set aside time to be open with each other. I know some people are uncomfortable with this, but find time to be physically naked around each other.

My friend's wife says she has to have a drink or 2 to be naked around her husband and they have 4 kids. I asked how that happened. She said she doesn't feel comfortable because she doesn't look like she did when she met him when she was in her 20's. I think this kind of thinking is people building walls. It probably is what built up the sexless wall after a fight. You or he got mad and decided you weren't going to have sex until the other person came to you for it. Making it a power play. Weeks became months, then he for sure and possibly you were hurt. "Why didn't the other person want to be with you?" This power play went too far, but this became the new normal.

Normal isn't going to fix your marriage.

Like I said, get away from your responsibilities, without a schedule and focus on just each other in a foreign setting. It probably will surprise you that over all your years, you fit well together, you just got comfortable staying in 1 place. Explore together. I bet the younger versions of yourselves come out a little bit and remind you 2 why you have stayed together over all this time.

[This message edited by DoinBettr at 6:45 AM, Monday, September 13th]

posts: 591   ·   registered: Aug. 7th, 2019   ·   location: Midwest
id 8687565
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 Iwillgetthrought (original poster New Member #79096) posted at 3:09 AM on Sunday, September 12th, 2021

@DoinBettr, thanks for the long message. Thank you for a very different take on the situation. We are empty nesters and do go on vacations together. I’ve tried to get my H to talk to me / to mail me if it’s too difficult to talk but he simply won’t . Maybe because after every Day, I came up with a snarky comment for everything he tried to say (which wasn’t much). If he's not willing to put himself in the slightest uncomfortable or vulnerable position, what's the point ? Any attempt on my part to be reconciliatory is seen as an opportunity to rugsweep and just move on.

posts: 31   ·   registered: Jul. 9th, 2021
id 8688126
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DoinBettr ( Member #71209) posted at 6:55 AM on Monday, September 13th, 2021

If he's not willing to put himself in the slightest uncomfortable or vulnerable position, what's the point ? Any attempt on my part to be reconciliatory is seen as an opportunity to rugsweep and just move on.

I see this as automatically going to the divorce route because you sense the distance. The distance needs to be fixed, but it isn't going to fix itself. If vacations aren't doing it, have you tried counseling? I think with your ages, it sounds like your husband and you have some old fights right. There is some grudge holding that occurs. Counseling to air those out and try to find a happy middle ground with those out of the way is really helpful to most marriages.
Sorry if this is pushing you in the wrong direction. I just didn't see your marriage as unfixable because guys are usually more sexually charged when they are starting an EA. These feel more like infatuation.
This might be useful to discuss. Ask him why he respects these girl's opinions and why he doesn't have those discussions with you.
Maybe it is your snarky responses or maybe he wants something he hasn't figured out yet.
Like I said, I think a little counseling would do you 2 wonders.
As I said before too, maybe comment on how sexy he is. Everyone feels uncomfortable in their skin. We have a sweet spot in our 20s where we are the sexiest we will ever be, then we are chasing money and popularity. Then when the looks go and we get money and popularity, we want our looks again. It is kind of a viscous cycle of putting ourselves down. For a while my wife and I had a homework assignment from some marriage boot camp thing that involved us writing out a full, 5 or more word compliment to each other via text. They were funny or really hot sometimes. It depended on the day. After a while, sometimes you go and reread the really good ones.

posts: 591   ·   registered: Aug. 7th, 2019   ·   location: Midwest
id 8688236
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