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Hello all,


I am in my forties, married with kids and found out this year that I had no idea who I was. I met C at work a few years back. We had been very casual friends over that time. Within last year she left the company and we exchanged email addresses. The few months prior to her leaving we became closer friends. After she left the emails became daily, then came lunches and breakfasts, walks, phone calls, IMs, daily texts, gifts and holding each other. We didn't go a day without a good morning and goodbye. All this time it has been platonic. This went on for 7 months. It was wonderful… the best time of my life. Three weeks ago we had a serious talk about what we saw as a future and we both agreed it was not good for us. I love my kids and just couldn't do that. I am so confused now. What C showed me was that I had a huge part of my happiness closed off. Right now I am crushed. We have not talked in these last three weeks. My friend I shared my life with is gone... I know I cannot talk to her if I am serious about not messing up my family, but everyday I think about her, every day I just want to see how she is... How do I find happiness now? I don't want to forget her or this feeling...I miss her constantly...I don’t go a day without missing the happy we had… so lost…

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Why not work on getting that feeling with your wife. You may not have had a physical affair, but you certainly had an emotional one. If your marriage is unhappy then either work on fixing it or start the process of ending it. People think they are doing their children a favour by staying in an empty marriage..but children learn relationship skills from their parents and can end up bringing those dysfunctions into their own relationships when they get older. So talk to your wife and decide if this relationship is worth salvaging.

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I agree. You need to decide if you can work on your marriage to get those elements present in it. You know it was an emotional affair .. holding another woman when you are married is not a platonic friendship by any means. But these things happen. The key for you now is to look clearly at your own situation and address it clearly.


It will take some time to get the other woman out of your mind, as is the case with any breakup. But you know it wasn't the best thing to do, and that is a start. One way to try to get her out of your mind is to dedicate yourself to the work you need to do to reflect on your marriage and if/how you can make it better.

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I have been in this exact position, but mine did go on to a full blown affair. I love this woman, but I am marrried to a good woman and I have 2 great kids. I have broken it off with the other woman and I am trying to reconcile my marriage. It is not easy, and I miss this other woman every minute of every day - but I know if I go to her, I will always know that I gave up something good to be in a situation that will ultimately be n easier. There is no quick solution - you are in a very tough spot, but if it were easy to pick up and leave, you would have done it by now right. Find the happiness within yourself first - until you do that, you won't be able to offer anyone anything.

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Thanks whereverugo. More than anything I need to hear that I am not crazy in loving this women.


No redhearts. No way am I telling my wife. I have had very good advise from different people that this always ends up bad.


I miss C most when I am by myself. If you have been through this then you know, loving someone and have them love you is more than most find at this point in their lives. I am sad, I wish I could go back. I need to get through this part first before I can even consider fixing my marriage. I don't know if I even want to. I love my kids more than my life itself, but I woke up when they were teenagers realizing that I have no life of my own. C filled that for me. Not sure if my wife can do that, there are many issues there. Every day is heartache and confusion. I will write more later. Now I have to do the dishes....

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I cannot believe I am giving advice when I struggle with this myself, but I disagree with what you said above, and I have come to learn this - you are looking for C or your wife to make you happy, which is impossible if you cannot find happiness within yourself. I have made the decision to stay with my family, but it is not easy - I miss her! My advice - stay busy, find things that interest you - learn about yourself - who are you? Aside from C, your wife, and kids. I decided to train for a marathon - I always wanted to do it, so now I am, and its all about me. I coach the kids, I read, and I still miss her, but it helps. And most of all - DO NOT TELL YOUR WIFE - that is crazy!

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Three weeks ago we had a serious talk about what we saw as a future and we both agreed it was not good for us.

No...it would be very bad.


She would be starting her new Life with a cheater...and she would never really know when you might do the same thing to her...eventually.


The issues you have with your wife are where you need to focus your energies. C was just a pleasant distraction, someone that made it easier for you NOT to do the Hard WORK of fixing your marriage. It takes TWO people to do that...and if your wife is oblivious to your unhappiness....then you should be talking to HER and not C.


It's all Roses and Sunshine in the beginning....but you would find that what you gave up ....wasn't worth the price.

I miss C most when I am by myself.

....hmmm...of course. No one's admiration and desire to bask in. Validates your sense of self...but it is empty.

I need to get through this part first before I can even consider fixing my marriage. I don't know if I even want to.

You have to CHOOSE to do so...it won't happen any other way.

I love my kids more than my life itself, but I woke up when they were teenagers realizing that I have no life of my own.

How many women do that all over the world each and every day?

C filled that for me.

How precisely? What was so different?

Not sure if my wife can do that,

It's not her job to fill your void nor validate you. That is up to you to do.

there are many issues there.

Always are...what has been done to address and resolve them?

Every day is heartache and confusion.

...and the beat goes on..

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I've never posted in anything like this before. I guess I wasn't sure what I would get. I was not looking for validation of where I am at, but simply some empathy. Thanks whereverugo, hearing from you did that. I expected to share some misery and happiness just to get through the day to day until I could stand a little stronger.


I understand that I need to take it all if I put my story out here, but I am not looking for advice or criticism, because really none of you know my life, what I found in myself when I was with C, and what I have struggled with already. Today I am going to continue to grieve the end of a very special relationship, this wonderful person that came into my life. I had know idea how much of who I am I had closed off over the years.


If I sound like a nutjob...well then....I guess I am clearly representing myself.

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I don't think you are crazy. However,

I don't think it's really C herself that is giving you these feelings. I just think you like what she represents, you just get the good of her without the hard work. The attention with no real effort. The fun without the problems.

After you have been with her a while, have a child, you'd probably find you have just as many issues with her or more as you do with your wife.

The only reason she is being idealized is that you are only seeing the good parts of her and only the bad parts of your wife- so neither one of them is getting a fair assessment. Meanwhile, the real issues in your marriage and within yourself are being ignored entirely.


I know you say you don't want to tell your wife.


So she has no idea how in trouble the relationship is, thereforeeee thinking nothing needs to change. I think if you want to try to salvage this, you need to talk to her.

Yes, it will be horrible. And yes she will be hurt, maybe even hate you for a while. But if you really want to have a good solid marriage and really try to resolve this issue, that is what I think you should do.

I think so many marriages end because some issues are never spoken with a partner being too concerned about "Hurting feelings". But HOW on earth can you solve an issue in a marriage, if one party is not even aware there IS an issue in the marriage ? Or at least an issue this big ?

Whether or not you tell her is your choice. But I think you need to understand that if she never knows, nothing will change. IMHO, If you can't tell someone about a problem in Any relationship (romantic or otherwise) you probably don't want it to change or get better that much.

It's like having a leaky faucet but not calling a plumber expecting it to magically fix itself. But if you really wanted to fix it you'd call. It is going to very unpleasant paying the bill and it will be hard to compensate for a while BUT in the long run you'll have a better faucet.

So is it worth calling a plumber to really fix it even though you'll have to deal with unpleasantness or do you just wait and do nothing until it breaks entirely and there's no going back ?


Your choice.

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My wife knows our relationship is having problems. We have been back and forth with this over the years. There is more here than I am ready to share yet, even in an anonymous forum. I am the one in the relationship that usually says sorry. I am the one that tries to make things better. This last year with C, I know my personality in marriage has changed, I have been standing up for myself. This has hurt the marriage more. Now for everyone that has been reading this thread, my goal is to get things better in my marriage and take care of my kids. I strayed...yes...however there are years of me not saying what I was missing, and years of letting myself fade. I need now to get through the loss and get my head straight there before I can make another try with my wife. If I tell her now it will be too soon after C. I can barely keep my heart in check on a drive to the grocery store. I will be a blithering idiot if I tell my wife now... I just don't see how jumping from one emotional wreck to another is a good thing.


On a very personal note, I know my feelings for C where real, as where hers for me. I am not naive to think that love in that early carefree phase lasts forever, but isn't it wonderful when something special like that happens? I just really miss her. All the stories of heartbreak in this forum are real pain. Grieving the separation of an affair partner is real. I wonder every day how she is doing. I miss her laugh, her smile, her words....I can't bring myself to look at anything she has ever given me because I will lose it once again. I know time heals these wounds, but in feeling the pain I still feel her close. I feel like I was underwater for years and finally was able to breathe with C.


...i miss her

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Your feelings are real, of course. You need to do the kinds of things you would normally do to take care of these feelings in the context of a breakup, namely -- take care of yourself physically and mentally, keep yourself busy with things in your life, stay active, and avoid too many reflective moments alone. And, give yourself a timeframe for your grieving -- a couple of weeks, a month, whatever, and stick to it.


Once you're past that, you need to work on things with your W. That will be very hard to do if you do not tell her about C at that time. C will be a big secret in the middle of your marriage, and that will impede efforts to try to deal with the kinds of things that have over the years undermined your marriage.

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Once you're past that, you need to work on things with your W. That will be very hard to do if you do not tell her about C at that time. C will be a big secret in the middle of your marriage, and that will impede efforts to try to deal with the kinds of things that have over the years undermined your marriage.


I agree- If you do want to work things out- You should tell your wife.

I am sorry to say that a lot of people will not make a real effort to change unless they believe losing their spouse is a real possibility.

And you need to pinpoint for yourself why this happened and you allowed it to go so far. It's something inside you to figure out as well.

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If life with your wife is such a misery, then I don't understand, with this new-found standing up for yourself, that you don't just pack it in and be with the woman you say you love. Your children will survive divorce...plenty of children do. What good will it do to put patches on a marriage when your heart is elsewhere? If you say this other woman is the love of your life then those feelings are going to haunt you every single day you are with your wife. You will be with your wife in body but not in spirit. I think I would rather be alone than in a marriage with a man who is only there for the children while his heart lies elsewhere. So if you try to patch up the marriage without telling your wife about your emotional affair, the patch up is under false pretences. She doesn't have the full picture to decide for herself whether SHE wants to salvage the marriage. You are taking away her right to choose the course of HER life. Two wrongs don't make a right...yes, maybe she wasn't the ideal wife...but you weren't the ideal husband either. To deny her the right to make a decision based on ALL the facts is wrong.

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What good would it do to tell your wife about your emotional affair? If you're going to change your attitude and truly commit yourself to your marriage, I don't see the point in bringing in this information. You said it was an emotional affair, not a physical one, so if that's true, I think you can learn from what you've done and work on your marriage. It's amazing how a marriage can change if one person (you) changes his attitude. Try doing nice things for her, and every day, ask yourself how you can make her day wonderful then follow through by doing whatever you can do to make that happen. It sounds corny, but try it. She may open up and become a different person with you over time. It certainly would save the heartache of a divorce and the hardship it will cause to you and your children. I've been through a divorce that didn't turn majorly ugly, and it was still a devastating period for all.

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I've only seen a couple of us here, 40's, with children, coming out of an emotional affair, and that's u and me and whereverugo. I have no magic words for you other than I really, truly, understand. Mine was almost 3 years ago, and I remember the feeling of living my life in real time for the first time - not just "waiting" like the rest of my life before and after felt. It was a happiness I never ever wanted to forget no matter how much pain it caused me. Something about an emotional affair, the lack of physical contact gives it an intensity, that makes the loss of it in the end so painful. The feeling of "waking up" when my kids were teenagers and realizing the incredible loss of self for the first time. I remember that too. I remember realizing that my life had become so completely about taking care of everyone else, that when I asked myself the question, " What do you want to do?" I had no answers. I hadn't let myself want for myself in almost 20 years. I was barely a person anymore.


So I can say I understand, I can say, you're not crazy, I can say this does not make you a bad person or even a bad husband, although their are others who want to stick you with the painful label of "cheater". You can control your actions, but not your feelings. You are only guilty of loving someone inappropriately, or against the rules, but you probably never saw it coming until it was too late. Sometimes circumstances get you.


So work on your marriage, your future lies there. You will not recapture the happiness you had with the emotional affair, but you can keep it as a sweet memory and recreate a quieter but more sustainable happiness with your wife and family. And wheverugo, I'm proud of you. I think you made the right choice and I wasn't sure u were going to for a while. Do you feel good about it?

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You will not recapture the happiness you had with the emotional affair, but you can keep it as a sweet memory and recreate a quieter but more sustainable happiness with your wife and family.


I disagree. I don't think he's a bad guy or anything BUT I think holding on to the memory as a golden perfect memory is a horrible idea if he truly wants to move on. Then he will never be able to put his all into his marriage, there will always be a piece of him that is withheld, and that is not fair to his wife.


You're basically saying, "You'll never feel the same kind of happiness with your wife, ever" Ouch. I would not want to be in his wife's position in a million years then. I'd rather he leave me than pretend to love me.

If I thought I had reached a point with my marriage where my husband could never be, never wanted to be or never tried to romantic with me ever again-

and just went through the motions with another idea of a perfect woman that does make him happy in his head- or that he will always look at her as "Better"- I'd want out. That would be way too painful. I'd want to be free to find a man that wants to have that kind of happiness with me and not someone else. If he does not think he can let this perfect idea go, then he needs to let go of his wife so she can be loved as she deserves. No one wants to be a contingency plan.

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Thanks lostandadrift.


Your words are very helpful. I liked your description, "living my life in real time". That is exactly what my days were like. When I was seeing C every moment held new promise. I did not see this coming, but when it did it was like walking into the sunshine after a long cold winter. What I know now is I am a different person for being loved again, anew. There are milions of people on this planet and to connect deeply is so rare I will keep this memory as sweet. I am going to try to work at my life and marriage. I know that there may come a time I need to tell my wife about the straying of my heart, but right now I am sure it will do more harm then good. No, I do not feel guilt for loving C - I always will love her.


So you all know I did not come here first to share my thoughts. I have a very good friend that has been great in keeping me sane. I am also seeing a therapist to work through all the stuff that is a lot deeper than I am willing to share here. Wish me luck. I think I am going to stay off the board here for a while. There is enough going on with my life to be blogging away my heart. Thanks to those with kind words.



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I wonder if by kind words those are the posts supporting you and basically patting you on the back for having this emotional affair and encouraging you to keep a special place in your heart and remember fondly this woman who captured your heart like your wife never did and never will. I am with Tangi39...I would rather get divorced and be single than to be with a man who, on a quiet evening sitting by the fire with his wife, has a smile and a faraway look in his eyes as he remembers the wonderfulness of this other woman.

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