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Wayward Side :
My Emotional Affair

Topic is Sleeping.
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 Bulcy (original poster member #74034) posted at 1:56 PM on Tuesday, February 21st, 2023

From Late 2015 to summer of 2017 I was involved in an emotional affair with a work colleague. I have mentioned this before and indeed it is included in my profile (which I should update). I'm attempting to do a deeper dive into this affair and use this to help understand my whys (for full disclosure, I've a new IC having used past counsellors to either blow smoke up my ass or to tell me how well I'm doing in the work I have done, while not giving them the full story. I told my last counsellor what was happening, but omitted details or let her believe I was doing better than I was in my recovery. Hey, I'm as guilty of that on here too).

I has difficulty initially in accepting the sexual nature of my affair. There was not "sex" and by this I mean - No PIV, no oral, no kissing, no hand jobs nothing that would be considered sex in the usual context. I did however have sexual fantasies about this woman, I planned a sexual encounter (in my head), there was physical contact (brushing up against her while working together, grabbing her hand while walking to the local store, nudging one another, that sort of thing. I certainly used the "no sex" as a massive minimiser to help with my justifications and lies about the level of my involvement with her.

She joined the company on a similar paygrade to me, although at the lower end of the scale due to her lack of experience. I was initially attracted to her and given this was not my first affair, I set about my plan to establish her interest in me. I spoke to her and tried to befriend her, I offered advice on the first couple of days on the general working of the office and where was a good place to get lunch. She seemed to respond to this and I thought I noticed her talking to me before anyone else in the office in the morning. I made the decision to target her further and an opportunity cam up to give two new members of staff training on the budget process. I offered to help her (here is one of the justifications I used later - The other more senior staff members did not like her, they saw her as opinionated and probably manipulative. I saw this reluctance to work with her as an opportunity for me to be closer with her). Over a period of a few weeks we worked very closely, to the point I was doing both my job and helping her with hers. She was chatty and very open with her body language. (another justification I used was that she was this friendly because she was foreign and therefore was probably this flirty with everyone). We would take coffee breaks together and chat about personal things as well as work. I did brush my knee against hers when we were working together at the same desk and she did not seem to reciprocate, but was still flirtatious. Additionally she was very vocal in her thanks for me supporting her and made not so subtle references to others in the team who were less supportive.

I was enjoying the attention and the flirtatious behaviour. This was ticking a few of my emotional needs that I did not or chose not to recognise. I have a need to be liked, I have a need to be validated and thanked, I want recognition for work done and for being a team player (even if this is just part of everyday working life). She supplied all of this. At the same time I was once again starting to distance myself from my BS. My BS of course also offered me this validation, but I did not recognise this. I've always said about every affair that I was keeping my two lives separate, something which with the benefit of hindsight is utter bullshit. I did, after a few months, back away from the pursuit of a sexual affair (or so I told myself. I was still looking for signs of her interest and was having sexual fantasies about her which led to masturbation). I did go full on in the emotional element of the affair in the early part of 2016. We had some important work to do and again, I was working with her to get this done. The deadlines were tight and we did, just, manage to get the work completed. Other members of the team did not hit the deadline and as a group we were called into a meeting and given a collective dressing down (again with the benefit of hindsight, this was not too harsh or unusual). She was upset by this and wanted to speak to me in private. She told me she was really upset by what had been said and that she was regretting her decision to take the job. She said she was considering her options and was thinking of leaving. She then cried. I tried to comfort her by saying that the dressing down was not aimed at us and that she has only been with the company a few months. I told her that I was there to help her with any work that needed to be done (yes, I was effectively doing her job for her). She was very thankful and smiled at me. (KISA?)

After this our dynamic in the office and outside the office changed again. We started exchanging e-mails about other team members and began exchanging text messages. Conversations became a lot ore personal and she would as questions about my BS and tell me things about her BS. We would go to lunch together and continued working on our budgets and monthly reporting as if we were a team. She was becoming more efficient at her job, so I found ways to get to spend time with her. I would check in on how her monthly reporting was going and show her elements of my role which she was not party to. I would tell her about target I had to hit and how I had achieved them. We also continued to have negative conversations about the management and other team members. I would express frustrations about elements of the role and that I wanted things to change (It's worth noting that my BS was unaware of my frustrations at work other than "I've had a shitty day, my boss is asking for lots of stuff). AP was supportive and offered ideas on what I could do to help hit deadlines of make the job easier. I appreciated this and told her that I found her so eay to talk to.

Moving forward into 2016 I got a new car, one which could be linked to my phone. One afternoon, after a team meeting, she called me while I was driving home. She wanted to discuss something that had been said to get clarification. However this discussion was short lived and we continued the conversation for a few minutes talking about our plans for the evening. The calls continued, initially once or twice a week, but by 2017 were almost daily. Especially when I was working in a different office. The calls were rarely about work and began to get very personal. She told me about a previous job which se was claiming unfair dismissal from, she spoke about her mother and how she did not like her husband, she compared what I did around the home to things her husband did not. She even told me she was bored at home and wanted to go out more to have fun.

IN 2017 I was feeling disillusioned with my job and started to look for another. Again AP was more involved in this process that my BS. I told myself that AP knew more about the field that BS so she was a better person to talk to NAD that she was easier to talk to anyway. I arranged interviews and wold discuss the job spec with AP and call her after the interview to tell her how the interview went. BS knew I had an interview and I sent her a text message afterwards, no more than this. Telling myself that this was enough for her to know given she is not an accountant and additionally she was going through some tough times in her job, so I did not want to burden her!

In addition to the calls, the text messages and e-mails had continued to increase in volume and inappropriate content. I had always hidden behind the fact that no direct sexual advances, so therefore everything was "harmless flirting" or "banter". As is often the case, it's only with hindsight you realise the levels of bs you tell yourself. I was now deleting calls and ending them at a "safe" distance from home as well as deleting the volume of text messages and e-mails. I, of course, knew that the relationship was inappropriate and as such started to hide it. Of course I denied this and minimised it after d-day.

In 2017 we were all invited to a conference, in the UK and about 10 miles from where I live, but we were offered the chance to stay over as this was over three days and others on joining the conference would be from Europe and the US. I saw this as a chance to move the affair into a physical one. AP was mentioning that she was bored and wanted fun. I suggested we could have a few drinks while at the conference and let our hair down (I made this suggestion on a group e-mail so as to hide my intentions). The conference was due to happen at the end of August 2017. d-day happened in mid august. It followed a phone call from AP where she hung up when my BS answered, this and BS piecing together changes in my behaviour and other indicators. I was challenged after a work party and, of course, went into denial mode and deleted even more mails and texts. The next work day I spoke with AP and told her that BS knew of the affair. AP went into denial mode, but agreed to no longer send text messages, mails, phone calls and contact with me other than work related (this NC was broken at times and I delayed me changing jobs while I sought out a new better role. It took six months before I got a new job and I saw AP most days during this time.

I agreed with BS that I should not stay over at the conference and I mailed the group that I was cancelling my room. AP immediately mailed me back to try and talk me out of this as well as saying so in the office. After a couple of days, she too cancelled her room.

On leaving the job, I spoke with AP on my last day and told her that I believed there was an affair and that "if things were different" I would have/we could have had a more formal relationship. She agreed. Additionally on my last day I went to a leaving lunch with my colleagues (AP included) despite telling BS that I would not do this. I do not know how much my colleagues knew of the affair, but have high suspicions they knew something was "odd2 between us. I did ask a colleague after I had left (one who left a week after I did) and he denied any knowledge or that he heard any office gossip.

I've been thinking recently about the affair and how this was in my head. That despite planning to make a move sexually I did not. I had told myself that she was not interested and indeed was unaware of my intentions, but this is clearly untrue. There were too many "subtle" discussions and give her asking me to stay at the hotel despite knowing about being caught, shows she knew more than she was willing to discuss. Also give she cancelled her room once she knew I was not going to stay, tells it's own story.

I'm currently struggling with owning the true intentions of our conversations and that we never spoke directly about a sexual relationship. I feel I am in denial to myself that these "subtle" conversations were not at all subtle and that we both knew exactly what we were saying and what we were after.

I think I'm after thoughts from other WS who have been involved in an emotional affair and how they filtered the bullshit out and recognised the real intent.

WH (50's)

Multiple sexual, emotional and online affairs. Financial infidelity and emotional abuse. Physical abuse and intimidation.

D-days 2003, 2017, multiple d-days and TT through 2018 to 2023. 28 years of destructive and health damaging choice

posts: 364   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8778710
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Lostwings ( member #79902) posted at 8:34 PM on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2023

This was a very honest , dig deep confession Bulcy.
This by it self is like paying in full!

I hope your BS read this and will appreciate your honesty in past infidelity and your honest intention to better yourself as a person and a husband .

I will show your statements to my WS. He still needs to learn how to dig deep into his inner self .
Thank you .

I thought it was love at the end of the rainbow , but a banshee came and almost destroyed my pot of gold . In R.

posts: 107   ·   registered: Feb. 7th, 2022   ·   location: United States
id 8778899
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 Bulcy (original poster member #74034) posted at 10:06 PM on Thursday, February 23rd, 2023

Lostwings,

Please show this post to your husband. I hope it will be of some benefit to him.

I need to add that to get to this level of openness and self reflection has taken me over five years and that I'm still very much work in progress. Even in the post above, having reread and discussed with BS I have minimised some of my writing.

- My wife was going through a crap time at work too, I knew this. I did not bring my thoughts and feelings to her, despite knowing she would have supported me. Yes, she is not an accountant, but she is more than capable of showing me some empathy and asking questions to help me come to a self reflected conclusion.

- I was having sexual thoughts about another woman, despite my BS practically begging me to be intimate. I was not reaching out to others because of a lack of attention from my BS. I rejected her and despite this justified to myself that I could act out. This applied through all of my infidelity. BS is and always was there for me. Not only did I make up justifications that were just not true, I then made them true by forcing them onto BS. She has always been there to support me, wanting sex, wanting affections and wanting to give it, she has always been the one to tell me I've done a good job. I chose to ignore this for my own selfishness.

- I ignored the obvious pain caused by me still working for the same company, in the same office and with my AP. I held out for the "perfect" job before leaving and as such the affair continued. I lied to her and me about the professed NC. While the more obvious communication (text and phone calls) stopped, we were still talking.

There is likely to be more that I will add to this post over time as I work deeper into my whats, hows and whys

Doing the work is hard, I've half arsed my way through any recovery. I'm now in a place where I'm willing to do "the work" and I cannot express how tough this is on me. All the FWS posters on here have said it is a long hard road and I ignored their advice because I knew I was capable of doing it without really putting in much effort. Of course I was wrong.

I struggle and need the support of my BS, SI, my IC and my own self belief to actually make the improvements necessary. I thank you for your kind words and I will keep hold of them for a time when I feel they are truly deserved. A time I'm in a place similar to the true FWS on here. I'm determined to get there.

WH (50's)

Multiple sexual, emotional and online affairs. Financial infidelity and emotional abuse. Physical abuse and intimidation.

D-days 2003, 2017, multiple d-days and TT through 2018 to 2023. 28 years of destructive and health damaging choice

posts: 364   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8779043
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MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 4:47 PM on Friday, February 24th, 2023

It's good you posted this. This is a perfect description of my slippery slope into my A. The "well it's not physical" to the "harmless banter" all of it is spot on.

I tolerate a lot less shit in myself and in those around me because of this. "Odd" vibes... let's say I have a finely tuned radar for myself and for others now.

I think emotional A's are the hardest to come to terms with- it's so subtle and there's no glaring evidence. I definitely had work friendships that I leaned on more than my H with in terms of emotional support. The inappropriate jokes (not directed at me, but said in my presence- me being "one of the guys") I was able to put off as, "I work in a plant, this is just how things are here." That didn't have to be the case, I could have excused myself, changed the subject or found other work. There's always a better (if more difficult) choice.

It's good you're seeing this now and coming to terms with it. I think these "micro A's" - friendships I had without sexual component, but emotional support more from them than my H- are a slippery slope to the full blown A that I ended up having. It's the frog in the pot analogy- slow boil. The fishing, the testing of boundaries, the casual offers or finding time alone... most of my friendships at work didn't have that, but it was easy enough to do and justify to myself once my H was in his own EA with my friend. If I had boundaries to begin with, it wouldn't have been so easy for me to slide. If I had boundaries to begin with, I would have called my H on his shit and (most importantly) myself on mine a LOT sooner.

But that's where we are. Having to deal with what we've done, looking at ourselves and the world with new lenses. It's either that, or we can choose to stay stuck in the same bullshit patterns of thought and behavior. I'm at the point where the guilt will always be there, the harsh reminder of what I have done and what I could have lost because of it. It's humbling to think of all the grace that's been offered to even be here still in our M.

I thanked my H for staying this morning. He said that it was nice, but where does that leave him. I said, "With a grateful wife who is sorry for what she's done to you. I don't know if that's enough for you, but that's what it is." Up to him to decide whether that is enough or not. I'm still grateful.

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

posts: 1176   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8779250
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 Bulcy (original poster member #74034) posted at 1:31 PM on Tuesday, February 28th, 2023

MIGander,

Thanks for your reply. I do appreciate people taking the time to respond.

I tolerate a lot less shit in myself and in those around me because of this. "Odd" vibes... let's say I have a finely tuned radar for myself and for others now.

I'm still working on my radar. I think it is getting there, I wrote recently about how I sent am e-mail to a recruitment agent and was far to friendly with her. Something that a non wayward would be fine with saying, but a wayward like myself cannot do. I do look at people and their interactions with one another to see if I can spot people acting inappropriately. This I find helps me see my past behaviour for what it was and to try and ensure that my current and future behaviours do not fall below what now need to be high standards. I really hope that I can be better at spotting and stopping behaviours. I am in a new job, so have the perfect opportunity to change those behaviours with a clean (work) slate.

I definitely had work friendships that I leaned on more than my H with in terms of emotional support. The inappropriate jokes (not directed at me, but said in my presence- me being "one of the guys") I was able to put off as, "I work in a plant, this is just how things are here." That didn't have to be the case, I could have excused myself, changed the subject or found other work. There's always a better (if more difficult) choice.

YEs, any work related "banter" is off the table. Being civil with people is ok, but any jokes are a no no. Even with male colleagues. I have to maintain the professional image I (think) I've portrayed up until now and not let myself slip backwards into old habits. It's easy to do, even when I'm trying not to.

I think these "micro A's" - friendships I had without sexual component, but emotional support more from them than my H- are a slippery slope to the full blown A that I ended up having. It's the frog in the pot analogy- slow boil. The fishing, the testing of boundaries, the casual offers or finding time alone...

I don't think I can describe my EA as a "Micro Affair". This and the internet activity had an agenda and this agenda was sex or sexual fantasy. I was not "just" engaging in office banter or jokes. While this behaviour would have been wrong, my behaviour was on a different level. I would be interested in BS and how they feel about the term "micro affair" I get where you're coming from and in the context you describe it seems to fit. However, we know, an affair is an affair. As soon as an office joke becomes fishing, testing of boundaries, finding time to be alone etc, the WS has already crossed many lines into an affair. I know I did and I knew it then too.

But that's where we are. Having to deal with what we've done, looking at ourselves and the world with new lenses. It's either that, or we can choose to stay stuck in the same bullshit patterns of thought and behaviour. I'm at the point where the guilt will always be there, the harsh reminder of what I have done and what I could have lost because of it. It's humbling to think of all the grace that's been offered to even be here still in our M.

This is a really difficult place for me. Looking at what I have done and actually feeling the pain is tough. I am struggling with this and not dealing with it very well at all. I am still getting defensive and feeling attacked or criticised. I question BS's motives and feel that she is only looking for things I have done wrong and pointing these out. This last weekend we worked hard together moving my "temporary" office into a more permanent set up. Through the whole day I was building up resentment as I felt that everything I did was being greeted with criticism. I did not talk about this or think through a "fact or opinion" exercise. I bottled this up until Sunday, let morning, when I shouted at BS, upsetting her at a time she was trying to help me.

WH (50's)

Multiple sexual, emotional and online affairs. Financial infidelity and emotional abuse. Physical abuse and intimidation.

D-days 2003, 2017, multiple d-days and TT through 2018 to 2023. 28 years of destructive and health damaging choice

posts: 364   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8779769
Topic is Sleeping.
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