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Wayward Side :
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 GhostRider72 (original poster new member #82299) posted at 4:08 PM on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022

Are there others who’ve had online/emotional affairs with no physical sexual contact? I never met my AP IRL. We were online friends whose communication frequency went from occasional to daily to multiple times a day. Though some times we’d go days without communicating. There were no set times or expectations. There were times we exchanged nudes, as a way of fishing for compliments and validation. There were also some other messages that were definitely over the line. Again, we never met. We never had plans to meet.

It ended when my AP’s spouse discovered we were regularly communicating but "nothing bad." Which I assume means none of the more inappropriate things. But my AP was directed to block me from all social media and did so.

While it was ongoing I was in denial as to the appropriateness of our "friendship." My spouse knew I was friends with the AP but did not know the content of all messages. But now that it’s over, and I am dealing with the emotional pain of it being over, I realize it was more than a friendship. I also realize given that it was exclusively online (we never even texted each other) it was most likely all fantasy and mostly made up in my head.

Clearly that fantasy appealed to me. I was able to use it to avoid the problems in my marriage. I was able to use it to shore up my need for validation and attention. And clearly that was not healthy.

So my path forward seems two-fold. First I need to get over the A. Put it behind me. And second, I need to engage more in my marriage and work through the problems.

I don’t know what I am looking for. Advice? Someone to yell at me? Someone to tell me I’m a terrible person? I don’t know. But it was good to get that all off my chest. Thank you for reading.

posts: 2   ·   registered: Nov. 2nd, 2022
id 8763263
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DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 6:48 PM on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022

GhostRider72

Welcome to SI. First, some standard stuff. I strongly recommend you read a book called "how to help your spouse heal from your affair" by Linda McDonald. You can find it online, or if you look, you can find it as a PDF (for free) online. It is a quick read, the entire book took me about 2-3 hours to read cover-to-cover, and it is essentially "the handbook" for waywards such as yourself to start understanding what your spouse needs from you right now, and how you need to focus your thoughts. Another "must read" is "Not just friends" by Shirley Glass, and that book applies to your situation in particular.

The other resource I highly recommend is "The healing library" which is linked to at the top of this page. There are articles and stories there for both the BS and WS, and I suggest you read both.

So my path forward seems two-fold. First I need to get over the A. Put it behind me. And second, I need to engage more in my marriage and work through the problems.

While both of these are true, the real work you need to be doing, now and in the potential future, is to work on yourself. More specifically, figuring WHY you cheated. You are on the right path already, having acknowledged a need for validation, attention, and escape. But those things are the "end of the story". In order to change the end of the story, you need to go back to the beginning, and rewrite the story that exists in your head currently.

The thing is, everyone here, even the BS's, have a need, to some degree, for validation, attention, and escape. The difference is, they have found ways to obtain those things in their lives without using infidelity as the tool to get them. Emotionally healthy people need those things, but they are able to live without them as well, or simply provide it for themselves. In the most basic terms, what they have is "Self-love" and self-respect. They have a sense of integrity that is primary to their lives, and they have empathy for others that directs how they treat others, and themselves.

For example, I am going to assume that you are not a murderer. But why not? You probably have the brains and the ability to kill someone if you wanted to. But what stops most people from killing others is simply the fact that it goes against every fiber of their being to do such a thing. They could never live with themselves if they hurt another person in such a way. It would haunt them day and night in fact. But... every WS here, including you and me, chose to cheat, chose to lie, chose to do something we knew was wrong and that would decimate the person/people in our lives. We chose to put our own needs over the welfare of the people who loved and trusted us THE MOST in this world. We broke their sense of safety, of trust, of reality even. If your own spouse could do this to you, treat you like shit and kick you to the curb with a knife in your back... can you trust anyone then? Relatives? Friends? Community?

So the real question is, what about you, about who you are and what makes you "you", allowed you (and motivated you) to have an affair? This isn't about your marriage or your spouse. Had you married someone else, you most likely would have cheated on them too, simply for the fact that it is "who you are" and "what you are capable of". You cheated on your spouse, yes, but even before that, you disrespected yourself. People who love and respect themselves, who have integrity, decency, empathy and compassion would never be able to sleep at night even at the mere thought of an affair, much like the example of murder above. You would never consider murder. Most people would never consider infidelity. So why did you? Why did you not only consider it, but do it?

For me, this took years to answer fully. I had to see a therapist, go back to my childhood, and begin to understand why I was unable to love myself or have the simple self-respect to not be a bad person. How did I go from thinking I was a good person and a great guy, to being a liar, cheater, and emotional abuser? That is the work you have before you.

Last thing. I can't promise you'll save your marriage or not. No one can. But what I can promise you, is that if you don't figure this stuff out and do something about it, then every relationship (or even if you remain single) will be impacted by brokenness that led you to this, that still exists, right now, today, in you. Your spouse has no reason to forgive you or accept you unless something changes. Promises mean nothing, she's already been fooled once. So you need to show her. And if she leaves? Then you need to survive and thrive despite that. So get to it.

Keep coming back and letting us know how you are doing.

[This message edited by DaddyDom at 6:53 PM, Wednesday, November 2nd]

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: 1321   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017
id 8763291
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EvolvingSoul ( member #29972) posted at 7:19 PM on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022

Hi GhostRider72,

Welcome to SI. I had a years-long cyberaffair that started in an online roleplaying game. It eventually became a physical affair, but for years there was never an intent to meet up (lied to myself about that) or have physical sex (and that too).

I guess a big question is whether your wife knows about the true nature of your relationship with AP. Does she know nudes were sent? And what do you mean about messages that were "over the line"? Cybersex? Does she know how and why the online "friendship" ended?

I ask because if you're hiding anything from your wife, and you truly want to engage more in your marriage and work through problems, you can't really do it from a place of inauthenticity. It also hinders you getting over the affair because you can continue to romanticize the AP and pine for the feelings you had during those interactions, or even the feelings you probably still have just thinking about the interactions. One of the best ways for knocking the romanticism out of the affair is to drag it into the light.

The statements in your post made me think that your wife likely doesn't know. Some clarification would be helpful here.

Sending courage to you from a fellow EvolvingSoul.

Me: WS (61)
Him: Shards (56)
D-day: June 6, 2010
Last voluntary AP contact: June 23, 2010
NC Letter sent: 3/9/11

We’re going to make it.

posts: 2545   ·   registered: Oct. 29th, 2010   ·   location: The far shore.
id 8763298
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 GhostRider72 (original poster new member #82299) posted at 7:31 PM on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022

ES - no. My spouse does not know nudes were sent. No there was no cybersex. "Over the line" means enthusiastic complimenting. Things like well I don’t know why your spouse won’t [do certain sex act] because if you were my spouse I’d [do certain sex act] any time you wanted me to.

DD - you’re exactly right. I need to figure out how I can get from myself what I need or learn to live without it.

posts: 2   ·   registered: Nov. 2nd, 2022
id 8763299
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Bor9455 ( member #72628) posted at 6:25 PM on Monday, November 7th, 2022

GhostRider,

This suggestion as much for your BW as it is for you, but I think it will help you in self-reflecting on what you have done. Sit down and construct a timeline of the affair using records you have. Emails, chat logs, texts, or other communications as well as you mentioned a game online, maybe there are records of when you first encountered this person or it is based on the date you joined the game, all of which the vendor has in your account details. Sit down and write out the timeline of when you began talking, when you sent private pictures, when you crossed the line into a sexually explicit affair. Get it all out there for you and your wife to see. Put one version together that is perhaps more generalized and one that has all the explicit details, but let your wife have the choice of whether she wants the nitty gritty details or the more generalized ones. I mean, I know yours was online, but an example of what I mean is, one timeline could say, in person meet up at XYZ location and sex happened whereas the detailed timeline could get into the sex acts that happened at said meet up.

The whole point here is that you cannot ask your wife to forgive you if she doesn't know what she is being asked to forgive. Trickling out the truth in little nuggets over a long period of time will kill any chances you may have to create a new, lasting marriage with this woman. Let's get back to my example for a second, let's say you had a physical affair and you counted up that you met in person 15 times for sex, but days/months/years later she learns that there were I love you messages or something relatively minor like pecks on the cheek or hand holding that you held back because you thought it was going to crush her spirit. Well, you'd be half right, her learning of what is a minor detail in comparison to the major sexual infidelity is in fact minor, but to her it basically starts it all over again. It is an indication to her that you and the AP have shared secrets that are only between the AP and yourself, when you pledged to only have that kind of bond with your BW. It will take some time and you should put it together for yourself to understand your behaviors. Affairs, even online, emotional affairs, they happened gradually over a period of time.

I remember candidly the first time that my EA AP crossed the line to explicitly sexual. I had the opportunity right then and there to put a stop to it and yet I choose to let it slide. I remember going to bed that night and feeling dirty about the texts I had just finished sending. Still, the next day and the day after that and for way too long I allowed it to continue and I encouraged it to continue. I look back on it now and I'm disgusted by what I did and how I did it. The thing is, that it was a series of thousands of choices. At any point during that span I could've made a different choice and there were a few times where I did back away and she did as well. The biggest realization for me was realizing that it was all just a made up fantasy world. She was telling me exactly what I wanted to hear and I was telling her the same. None of it was real, but it felt real and still feels like it was real to an extent. We deceive ourselves because we want to escape into that world more than whatever is in front of us in the real world. What really turned it for me was seeing how my EA AP went full on rogue after I went NC. She tried every means possible for about 6 months to reach me. If she truly cared about me as much as she had proclaimed during our affair, she would respect my decision to be with my wife and to be happy with my wife. If you truly care about someone and want them to be happy, you would have the respect for their decision, but she didn't, which showed the truly ugly side or rather her mask came off and I saw her for who she was. It is a tough pill to swallow to look into the eyes of your wife, someone who has brought you so much happiness, joy and possibly children into your life....to realize that you threw it all away/risked it all for a fantasy woman half a world away. Hang in there and keep posting.

Myself - BH & WH - 35 years (05/24/1985)Her - BW & WW - 34 years (05/25/1986)<P>D-Day for WW's EA - October 2017D-Day no it turned PA - February 01, 2020

posts: 268   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2020   ·   location: Miami
id 8764119
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