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Are you having an emotional affair?
An emotional affair is a non-sexual relationship where a level of intimacy has built up. It might have a lot in common with a normal friendship, but there is often sexual chemistry and a level of emotional intimacy that may not be present in the person’s committed relationship. Someone having an emotional affair might engage in secrecy around the relationship, even lying to their partner about spending time with that person. Signs you are having an emotional affair Because there’s no physical intimacy, emotional affairs can be tricky to identify. However, there are signs to look out for that might suggest this is something you’re involved in, including: Spending more time with the other person than with your partner. Thinking about the other person a lot. Sharing things you would normally only ever share with your partner. Having less time to spend with your partner [1]. If these signs are familiar, you may be involved in an emotional affair. Why emotional affairs happen Emotional affairs can happen when there are communication difficulties in a relationship. These difficulties are a normal part of life, and building a stable relationship isn’t easy. It’s not something we are taught to do in school, so it is understandable if you find it difficult. Many people do [2]. In a stable relationship, couples work together to build meaning. They maintain their connection by talking regularly, being practically minded, and focusing on solutions when problems arise. It’s OK to recognise your partner’s faults, as long as you see them essentially as a good person. Having a network of friends and family around you and anticipating change so you can pull together during uncertain times, can also help to support a stable relationship [2]. If these things break down, or if they weren’t there in the first place, you might find yourself looking elsewhere for a supportive emotional connection. Impact of an emotional affair Emotional affairs can have unpleasant consequences for you and your partner. If unaddressed, it could even lead to a breakup [3]. Research into online affairs gives a good idea of how emotional affairs can affect a relationship. Emotional affairs can lead to the development of physical intimacy down the line [3] but even without physical contact between the people involved, they can still cause great relational distress. In the aftermath of an affair the partner often experiences emotional hurt and loss of trust. They can experience a fear of abandonment, low self-esteem, and decreased sexual confidence. For many it can lead to a decision to end the relationship [4]. Cognitive dissonance For the person having the affair, emotional affairs may also result in something called cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is a way of describing the uncomfortable feelings you get when your behaviours don’t match up with your beliefs [5] – for example, you have made a commitment to be monogamous with someone, but you are sharing intimate moments with someone else. Cognitive dissonance can lead to discomfort, stress, and unhappiness. Despite this, there is evidence that couples can repair and improve their relationship after an affair if they both actively work on recovering the relationship. If your relationship is repaired in this way, you could enjoy the benefits of a closer relationship, increased assertiveness, and a greater appreciation for each other. It can also result in couples taking better care of themselves, and realising the importance of good communication [4]. Things you can do to help when you find yourself having an emotional affair Gain better insight into your thoughts and feelings If you think you might be having an emotional affair, it can be helpful to try and gain perspective on your own thoughts and feelings. One way to do this is with a pros and cons exercise [6]. Get a piece of paper and make a list of the pros and cons of staying with your partner. Then make a list of the pros and cons of leaving your partner. When you’ve done this, take some time to notice how you feel about the situation. Improve communication with your partner If you decide you want to stay with your partner, look for ways to be more open. Romantic relationships require work to succeed and thriving couples take time out of their day to talk about both big and small things. Open communication can bring you closer together. If you are not happy about something, tell your partner promptly. When problems come up, think practically and focus on solutions. Once an issue has been resolved, let go of it, and avoid the temptation to bring it up again [2]. Figure out your values Figuring out your values can help you think about what you want or need. It can make you more aware of what’s important to you and help you make decisions about how to behave. Let’s say ‘Loyalty to my partner’ is one of your values. Now imagine that someone you are attracted to at work asks if you want to go for a coffee. You could respond in one of two ways –  you could choose to turn away from your values by accepting their offer and indulging in a bit of flirtation over a cup of coffee. Or you could choose to turn towards your values by refusing the offer or inviting others along to reduce the intimacy of the situation. Often decisions like this are not black and white. However, being aware of your values means you’re more likely to behave in a way that honours them. Values exercise Have a think about what your values might be. They could be things like acceptance, honesty, courage, or patience. Make a list and label each value to indicate its importance to you with a ‘V’ for very important, a ‘Q’ for quite important, and an ‘N’ for not important. Repeat this exercise to remind yourself of what is important to you [7]. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re not sure what to do, you can check in with your values, ask yourself what you really want, and make an honest decision. These are just some techniques we have found that have proved helpful when you find yourself in this situation. Try them out and let us know how you get on.By Helen Molloy References [1] Moultrup, 1990[2] Barlow et al., 2018[3] © 2002 - 2023 American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy[4] Adrian et al., 2005[5] Festinger 1957[6] Linehan, 2015[7] Harris, 2022
Article | emotional affair
Healing your relationship after an affair
If you’ve had an affair, there may be a question mark hanging over your entire relationship. If you and your partner have decided to work things out, the following tips can help you both to overcome the effects of the affair and start moving on together. When you first admit to your partner that you’ve had an affair, it’s natural for them to feel lost and confused. Their safe connection with you has been threatened, and it can lead to a ‘fight or flight’ reaction. They may feel angry and behave aggressively or they may shut down and be unable to communicate with you at all [1]. Affairs leave people feeling emotionally vulnerable, so your partner may become insecure and clingy to protect the relationship [2]. They may repeatedly ask for reassurance that you love them and are still committed to the relationship. Try not to get frustrated - give your partner time to react to the news without criticising them. After the initial shock and rollercoaster of emotions have died down, you and your partner can both begin thinking about how and why things went wrong in the relationship and how you might move beyond the problem [3]. Revealing an affair can cause your partner to become extremely aware of your behaviour in the relationship and they may start to analyse and judge your actions [1]. They may become more suspicious of you, even when you are behaving normally. For example, if you are trying to be considerate and leave the room to answer your phone, your partner may worry that you are trying to talk to someone in secret [4]. How can I help us move on? One of the best things you can do is try to understand your partner’s point of view. Encourage them to talk about their feelings, even if it hurts to hear. It is also important for you to communicate your own feelings. You will both need to find ways to overcome the mistrust. For example, you may consider sharing the password to your Facebook account or giving your partner access to your phone. These things will only work if the decisions are made together, so make sure you discuss these ideas thoroughly and come up with a plan that works for both of you [4]. As well as talking things through together, several studies suggest that couple therapy can be an effective way of coming to terms with an affair and moving on together [5] [6]. In a recent study, couples who had successfully dealt with an affair recommended seeking support from people outside of the relationship, as well as talking and listening to each other. References [1] Oka, M., Sandberg, J. G., Bradford, A. B., & Brown, A. (2014). Insecure attachment behavior and partner violence: Incorporating couple perceptions of insecure attachment and relational aggression. Journal of marital and family therapy, 40(4), 412-429. [2] Johnson, S., Makinen, J. A., & Milliken, J. (2001). Attachment injuries in couples relationships: A new perspective on impasses in couples therapy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 27(2), 145–155. [3] Olson, M. M., Russell, C. S., Higgins‐Kessler, M., & Miller, R. B. (2002). Emotional processes following disclosure of an extramarital affair. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 28(4), 423-434 [4] Brimhall, A. S., Miller, B. J., Maxwell, K. A., & Alotaiby, A. M. (2016). Does it help or hinder? Technology and its role in healing post affair. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 1-19. [5] Dunn, R. L., & Schwebel, A. I. (1995). Meta-analytic review of marital therapy outcome research. Journal of Family Psychology, 9(1), 58-68. [6] Baucom, D. H., Shoham, V., Mueser, K. T., Daiuto, A. D., & Stickle, T. R. (1998). Empirically supported couple and family interventions for marital distress and adult mental health problems. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 66, 53– 88.
Article | cheating, counselling
If trust was broken by a previous partner
What am I up against? If someone put your heart in a blender during your last relationship by either cheating on you or breaking your trust, it can be hard to trust someone else with your (now-liquefied) heart. If that’s you, you’re not alone – betrayal tends to have this effect. A betrayal teaches you to be cautious and reminds you that your trust is breakable. When dating or starting a new relationship, try to bear in mind that any potential partner deserves a clean slate and a fresh chance to earn your trust. How can I deal with it? Try not to test them A very important element of any relationship is the demonstration of commitment [1]. But seeing as you’re just dating (which is considered by most as a BETA test for a relationship), you can’t expect them to provide those signs of commitment yet. If they haven’t made any promises to you or committed themselves to you, then you’re not yet in a position to expect loyalty or faithfulness. Be aware of your own vulnerability and emotions When people feel betrayed, they’re often left with a sense of vulnerability and weakness – sometimes long after the thing happens. But, by coming to terms with how that betrayal has affected you, you’ll be in a much better place to start dating. You’re that much more aware of things like your own self-esteem, your sensitivities, the affirmation you need, the need for exclusivity, etc. For example, you may recognise that moving slowly is good for you, or you may decide that you’re not ready to date at this time. Consider letting your date know If you decide to tell your date that you’ve been hurt in a previous relationship, try not to place any expectation on them to heal you. Rather, tell them that you’re working on it. If they choose to be supportive, then great. This becomes you two against the trust issue, rather than one person on their own dealing with an issue that affects both parties. Couples who refer to themselves as “we” more than “I” or “you” are better equipped to deal with conflict resolution and positive problem solving solutions [2].  Give yourself some time It’s natural to want to push forward into the new and leave the old behind. Past might be past, but (to quote The Lion King) the past can hurt. So allow some healing space, and take it slow with anyone new. If they don’t take the time to understand and be supportive of your choice of pace in the early days, this could be a warning sign about the future prospects of the relationship. References [1] Gabb, Klett-Davies, Fink, & Thomae, 2013; Reynolds, Houlston, & Coleman, 2014 [2] Simmons, Gordon, & Chambless, 2005
Article | breakups, trust, YPc
Dealing with jealousy when it first starts
What am I up against? Jealousy is renowned for its negative power. Everyone has felt it swell up inside them at some point or another, and although short bursts of it can remind you how much you care for someone, prolonged jealousy can be harmful to a relationship. How it manifests and how it’s triggered will vary from person to person. But one research study has found that, generally speaking, the triggers between men and women are profoundly different. “Young men on average fear their partner having sex with someone else, whereas young women on average fear their partner falling in love with someone else". (Groothof, Dijkstra, & Barelds, 2009) How do I deal with it? Trust is slowly earned and quickly broken If you’re feeling a lack of trust between you and your partner at the start of the relationship, it may just be that trust still needs time to be established. If one or both of you have been hurt in previous relationships, it may take longer still. Being in a relationship is risky for anyone– everyone is quite aware they can get hurt even if they’ve not been hurt before. If you’re dealing with past betrayals, it’s easy to get stuck with memories of what went wrong. A partner can assist with this healing process, but it shouldn’t become their responsibility to ‘fix’ the other person. When jealousy triggers control, take caution When you enter into new relationships with past betrayals inflicted by ex-partners, there are a few ways you can play it. You may choose to tell your partner about your previous betrayal, and allow them to earn your trust while working it through with honesty and sensitivity. Of course, it’s possible to have a balanced relationship without mentioning the past betrayal, as long as you treat your partner with respect. Where the jealousy gremlin does the most damage is when you seek to control the other person, to appease your uneasy feelings. Be very wary of exhibiting controlling behaviour. Be mindful of online social networks Social networks like Facebook can crack open a window into what you’re doing, who you’re flirting with, and even where you are.  One study (Muise et al, 2009) argues that the wealth of information about our partners can contribute to an increase of jealousy. Research also shows that women are more likely than men to monitor their partners’ profiles.  If you think you're detecting flirtation on your partner's activity, stop and give yourself a minute. Come off the social network, clear your head (maybe make a cup of tea or something), and return to it. If you still think there's a lot of flirtation going on, ask a friend who is neutral and doesn't revel in drama to give you an outsider’s perspective. You might find that you’re overreacting to something quite harmless. Text is easy to misread. Equally, if you think your own social network activity might trigger jealousy in your new partner, just be mindful of how your interactions and statuses may appear. You may well be perfectly innocent but there’s no harm in being considerate and thinking about how your words and pictures may come across to others. Keep an open and honest dialogue Talking to each other about what bothers you and giving each other a chance to respond can be hugely helpful for both sides. It’s useful to talk about things you have noticed and don’t like, rather than allowing a catalogue of complaints to build up in the back of your minds. Also, remember to talk about what boundaries you would like to have in place. Being clear about what you do and don’t find acceptable lets your partner make an informed choice about how they behave and how it might affect you. Accept what you cannot control Although it's not easy, it’s possible to ease jealousy by simply accepting that it’s not your job to control someone else’s behaviour. Your partner will make friends both online and offline, they will likely have drinks with colleagues and share jokes with attractive people from time to time. This is where trust comes in. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt, in the same way you hope they will do for you.     Remember that jealousy isn’t pretty Another problem with jealousy is that it’s rarely attractive. You wouldn’t write a dating profile that says: “I go to the gym three times a week and I’m the jealous type”. Jealousy tends to come hand-in-hand with neediness, insecurity, and emotional baggage.  While some reports say jealousy can make for more intimate and passionate sexual encounters, there’s little evidence to suggest that it’s helpful for maintaining a healthy long-term relationship. If your partner is struggling with jealousy, turn your attention to supporting them and building up that trust.
Article | jealousy, YPc
Cyber snooping and stalking
What am I up against? Most of us walk around with little computers in our pockets, broadcasting our lives and even our whereabouts. And while this is indeed a marvel, it’s also how cyber snooping and cyber stalking are afforded to us. A study carried out in Amsterdam [1] suggests that the wealth of information available to us about our partners creates a strong temptation to snoop, which in turn can exacerbate jealousy issues. Cyber snooping can include monitoring a partner’s Facebook, keeping tabs on their movements via Foursquare, or even tracking them via GPS. Whatever form it takes, it’s usually unhelpful for a relationship. How do I deal with it? 1. Assess why this might be happening If you or your partner are struggling with cyber snooping, it might be tempting to call it insecurity, but the cause may be more complicated than that. If one of you has had experience of trust being broken, or an ex-partner who was secretive or manipulative, this can increase the need to try and control a partner. Experiences from childhood, such as a parental separation following an affair, can also have huge effects on people’s behaviours, attitudes, and ideas about what constitutes ‘normal’. We often refer to these buried causes as hidden issues, and such issues need to be uncovered by the person who has them. 2. If you’re the one snooping Although it's not easy, you can ease the need to monitor your partner's activity by accepting that you cannot observe all of their behaviour. Your partner will make friends both online and offline, they will likely have drinks with people after work and share jokes with attractive people from time to time. You can’t control what happens offline, so don’t bother trying to control it online. It’ll only feed your need for more control which you ultimately don’t have (and can lead to controlling behaviours). This is where trust comes in. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt, in the same way you hope they will do for you. If you think you're detecting flirtation on your partner's activity, stop and give yourself a minute. Come off the social network, clear your head (maybe make a cup of tea or something), and return to it. If you still think there's a lot of flirtation going on, ask a friend who is neutral and doesn't revel in drama to give you an outsider’s perspective. You might find that you’re overreacting to something quite harmless. Text is easy to misread. 3. If they‘re doing the snooping If your partner’s cyber spying is affecting you, it might be worth having a conversation about how it makes you feel. For best results, try not to be accusatory. Take an interest in what they’re saying, even if they become defensive.  You might learn an entirely new reason for their snooping. Perhaps they’re uncomfortable with you being friends with your ex on social media, or maybe they find your photos a little inappropriate. It may be that you can make a compromise here. Equally, if you think your own social network activity might trigger jealousy in your new partner, just be mindful of how your interactions and statuses may appear. You may well be perfectly innocent but there’s no harm in being considerate and thinking about how your words and pictures may come across to others. 4. Remove temptation If you or your partner are struggling to stop checking Facebook, refreshing the GPS signal, or chasing each other’s social trails, then consider deleting the apps and restricting the time spent online. It might seem a bit drastic, but it could turn out to be quite freeing; by removing yourself from a situation that isn’t doing you any good, you’re giving your relationship a chance to grow.
Article | jealousy, social media, YPc
How can I deal with jealousy?
Jealousy can be a strange and powerful feeling. It’s closely linked to self-esteem [1] and may reflect how confident you feel in your relationship [2]. The more confident you are that your partner is committed to you, the less you’ll worry about them leaving you. If you’re not secure in the relationship, then it may not take much to set off your jealous feelings.  Jealousy itself won’t necessarily do your relationship any harm [2], but acting on jealous feelings can be very destructive [3]. Left unchecked, jealously can lead to behaviour that you might not be proud of – seeking constant reassurance, making accusations, becoming possessive, and even threatening to break up [4]. The following tips can help you boost your self-esteem, increase your confidence, and start to deal with your jealousy. Accept the jealousy The next time you feel jealous, remember that it’s just a feeling and you don’t have to act on it. This might not be easy – if your usual responses have become ingrained over the years, it might take you a few goes to change things. Breathe slowly, and notice the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing. You may feel angry or anxious – that’s OK. Just accept that it’s happening and give yourself a chance to reflect before you act. Talk to your partner When difficult feelings come up, it’s usually easier to deal with them straight away [5]. Talk to your partner and try to focus on describing your own feelings, rather than their behaviour. Let go of blame, and explain to your partner that you sometimes get upset or worried about losing them. Be clear that you’re not asking them to change anything, but that you’re trying to deal with some unpleasant feelings. Listen Give your partner a chance to respond. You may find it helpful to ask what would be the best way for you to talk about similar feelings in the future, so you can build up your own way of communicating about your feelings as a couple. Tackle negative thinking Like other forms of worry, jealousy can lead you to focus on the negative, and misinterpret your partner’s behaviour. Remember that your jealous thoughts don’t necessarily reflect reality – you may think your partner is interested in someone else, but that doesn’t make it true. Take some time to reflect on the deeper feelings behind your jealousy. If you are truly afraid of losing your partner, ask yourself why your confidence has been rocked, and what you can do about it. Tackle your assumptions Sometimes when we have low self-esteem, we can read meaning into things that have nothing to do with us. If we’re feeling down, we might see someone yawn and assume it’s because they find us boring when, really, they might just be tired. The same can happen in your relationship. When something happens that makes you feel jealous, ask yourself what else might be going on. Sometimes people dress up to feel more confident amongst their peers, and not to attract a new partner! Develop your communication skills You can improve your confidence in the relationship by working on your communication skills with your partner. Make a habit of praising each other, planning fun experiences together, and being on the lookout for positive behaviour from each other. Over time, this can help boost your self-esteem and strengthen your relationship. Accept uncertainty You can never know for sure that your partner won’t leave you. It’s instinctive to want to protect yourself from the fear of rejection, but uncertainty is a part of life and a part of every relationship. When you accept this, it can give you a new sense of freedom to stop worrying about what your relationship might become, and get back to enjoying what it is. References [1] DeSteno, D., Valdesolo, P., Bartlett, M. Y. (2006). Jealousy and the Threatened Self: Getting to the Heart of the Green-Eyed Monster. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91 (4), pp.626-641. [2] Sheets, L.V., Fredendall, L.L., & Claypool, H. M. (1997). Jealousy Evocation, Partner Reassurance, and Relationship Stability: An Exploration of the Potential Benefits of Jealousy. Evolution and Human Behavior, 18 (6), 387-402. [3] White, G.L., & Mullen, P.E. (1989). Jealousy: Theory, Research, and Clinical Strategies. Guildford, New York. [4] Carson, C. L., & Cupach, W. R. (2000). Fueling the flames of the green eyed monster: The role of ruminative thought in reaction to romantic jealousy. Western Journal of Communication, 64, 308–329.  [5] Theiss, J. A. and Solomon, D. H. (2006). Coupling Longitudinal Data and Multilevel Modeling to Examine the Antecedents and Consequences of Jealousy Experiences in Romantic Relationships: A Test of the Relational Turbulence Model. Human Communication Research, 32: 469–503.
Article | jealousy, trust
0 4 min read
Jealousy and affairs
Most of us experience feelings of jealousy in our relationship from time to time. Sometimes, it’s just a fleeting feeling that’s easy enough to let go of; other times, jealousy can take hold, settle in, and turn to anxiety. Mild feelings of jealousy can be useful. A little bit of jealousy might remind you not to take your partner for granted – but when jealousy won’t let go, it can become extreme or obsessive. Jealousy, left unchecked, can ruin a relationship. Where does jealousy come from? Often, it's linked to something in your past which has left you with a sense of insecurity. If you're insecure in your relationship and very dependent on your partner, then you may have more triggers and be more likely to become jealous. You may find it helpful to explore where your feelings of insecurity come from. If it’s something you’re able to identify, try to accept and own it. Have an honest conversation with your partner about your insecurities, and explain that you’re trying to work through them. Affairs People have affairs for a variety of reasons. It isn’t always about sex, but an affair is usually a sign that something in the relationship is not right. An affair is a breach of trust between partners. Trust is essential in any relationship, and it's often taken for granted. Finding out that your partner has had an affair can be a huge shock. If your partner has had an affair, you may feel insecure and jealous for a long time. You may choose to end the relationship but if you and your partner both want to try and repair the damage, it’s likely to take some time before you feel confident in your partner again. There’s no set time on how long it will take to rebuild your relationship, but it is possible to recover if you’re both willing to move on from the affair and work on the underlying issues. Many relationships do survive affairs and can sometimes end up being stronger over time. As time passes, trust can be restored and you may find yourself feeling more secure in your relationship. An affair will nearly always bring about a change in a relationship, but it doesn't always spell the end.
Article | jealousy, trust
0 3 min read
“Girlfriend cheated, I can't get over it”
I met the perfect girl about two years ago who ended up being my first love and first serious relationship. She became my girlfriend, my best friend, my EVERYTHING! Then almost a year into the relationship I was going through some stuff that made me very stressed out and less available to spend quality time, which put a huge strain on our relationship. My girlfriend began to go out with her friends all of the time and I never thought anything of it because I trusted her and was busy myself so I wanted her to have fun. One day later on down the line I see a picture that she was tagged in on Facebook with this guy behind her dancing with her. We had a rule that we wouldn't dance with anyone else and when I questioned her she said they took the picture right when he got behind her to dance with her... Being the (dumb) trusting boyfriend, I accepted what she said without question and just asked her to remove the picture. Then a couple of weeks later, she had a falling out with her roommate who supposedly posted that my girlfriend cheated on me on Facebook and my girlfriend told me about it and how it wasn't true and being once again the (stupid) trusting boyfriend, I was receptive to what she said without question. Cheating was something that i didn't think she would ever do because I knew that she loved me dearly. I began to feel myself becoming more and more unhappy primarily due to the great amount of strain that was put on our relationship because of what I was going through. My girlfriend was somewhat supportive but complained and didn't like it at all one bit. I thought about things for weeks and decided to break up with her because I needed time and didn't wanna do anything bad to her like cheat or anything. She was heartbroken and begged for me back but I refused. Months later I tried getting back with her and she was not making it easy for me at all. There was another guy who she was seeing but she still loved me and it showed and I knew I just needed to be patient so I was. She then decides to get some type of birth control that required her to have an STD test and come to find out she has syphilis and I was likely to have to it as well because we had sex on several occasions. Being focused on wanting to get her back I completely brushed that off when she told me and she felt like she couldn't make me wait for any longer because I was the best thing that's happened to her and she dropped everyone and got back with me. Weeks following I found out that she lied about a guy she said she didn't have sex with and that she cheated on me back when I was going through that stuff and her roommate had posted it on Facebook and told me it wasn't true when it really was. I was completely crushed! I couldn't do anything but want to work things out because I had just gotten her back and wasn't ready for things to end. She made a 360 degree change  for the better and has shown me that she was sorry and loves me and would never do anything like that again. It has been seven months and still to this day, I can't seem to forget about it and I feel like its preventing me from moving on with her. Things will be good for a couple of weeks and then something will happen or I'll see something that reminds me of what she did and it just brings me back to the situation and how much it hurt me. Still to this day there has been a lingering unhappiness that I just can't get over because of what she has done and I do not know what to do with myself! I wish I could just get over it so I can move on with this girl and my life! She has done everything she possibly can to show she is sorry and to make things better. Although I do want to move on with this girl I'm not most concerned with that. What I'm mainly concerned with is what the best thing for me to do for MYSELF is. Advice would be greatly appreciated.. I have been having way too many sleepless nights..Thanks! By the way... my girlfriend and I are both in college. I'm 20, going on 21, and she's 19, going on 20.
User article | cheating, trust
Community posts
I cheated on my husband. What's next?
My husband and I have been married for ten years, together almost 20. The last few years we have been disconnected. We haven’t prioritized our marriage and I slowly pulled away focusing on myself and our boys (ages 8 and 6). We seem more like roommates and get along well when we do activities with the boys. I met my affair partner about 9 months ago. We started talking and he would disclose his unhappiness in his marriage. I started liking him about 2-3 months before the affair started and my marriage seemed to get worse so we started texting and becoming intimate immediately. I feel like I am starting to fall in love with my affair partner. Our personalities are similar. We have many of the same thoughts and feelings. Both of us said we haven’t felt a connection like this, and we have never liked someone so much, so fast. We discussed how we could picture playing house together and how it’d be nice for his son, who’s 3, to have siblings. Despite these feelings I broke off the affair a week ago. I was in turmoil from the beginning, and it got worst as I told my husband I am going to see a therapist. My husband questioned if I loved him and I said I don’t know, I don’t really think so. He seemed devastated. My husband professed his love and after a long talk he told me he wants to be with me. I felt even more guilt and figured I should work on my marriage for my kids’ sake and to see if we can rekindle our love. My husband has been putting more effort by giving me hugs and kisses , asking how I’m feeling ,and cuddling. He’s been more receptive to doing at home date nights, too. I’ve asked him questions to help build an emotional connection but can’t help but think how my AP would respond, thinking he’d give me more of a response sharing his thoughts and feelings whereas my husband’s answers were more vague. My husband wants sex again and I’m not ready. Not sure if he’ll be patient enough with me. Anyway, I am sure it’ll take time to get over my AP but wonder will I truly get over him. Can I rebuild my relationship with my husband?
User article | affair, trust
I cheated on my partner and told him
I (f24) cheated on my partner (m26). I was dating my bf for 2+ years at the time. He is the sweetest and most caring, compassionate, sensitive, and understanding person I had ever MET. We never ever argue and had always had great communication. But we were long distance and we would try to meet up every month or two for a week, he was away out of the country for work for months at a time. So not only were we continuously long distance, but we'd also have periods of even longer distance in different countries. None of that bothered me before. I'd never have eyes for anyone else. I loved my partner so much because of how much love he gave me. Until I met a guy through another friend that was the polar opposite of my boyfriend. Hanging out with men or women weren't an issue. My partner was not an insecure type and knew I was very social, so he accepted from the beginning that most of my friends were boys from 2nd grade to college with a few sparse but meaningful friendships with girls. Plus, I have a rule to never date friends, so I was never attracted to any (honest). But this friend through a friend was new and I had wanted to be his friend since we had many similar interests. I had good intentions of course. I wanted to believe I was a good person making the wrong decisions. We ended becoming super close since we lived in the same city: going on weekend trips out to other cities to visit other friends, camping trips sharing the same tent, he would help me with everything and be there for me. So, we quickly fell in love. And I - regrettably - cheated on my partner for almost a year(!) with this man. My partner was oblivious because I had so many social outings with pretty much everyone - but this man was a different type of outing. I went to therapy. Came to terms with myself. Broke it off with the other man - going no contact since the flame is still there. Told my boyfriend (he forgave me, thank God/every good thing in the Universe!) and communicated to my partner my faults and what I needed from him to feel emotionally secure in our relationships (the distance was wearing on me). I wasn't the same person I was when we had first met - I wanted a partner by my side and the only person I could see doing that FOREVER with was my boyfriend. We decided that since the distance was going to happen still, for the next few years, due to both of our work, we will *open our relationship*. Which is a little unfair because I am super social, and my boyfriend is very introverted, but I would be happy for him to explore his sexuality/ability a little more. I think it would be a good growing period for the both of us, also knowing that at the end of everything we would end up together. We intend to get married one day but are not looking to that any time in the next few years, DON'T DO WHAT I DID! Do not CHEAT! The amount of shame and regret and untrust in yourself is immense and required a lot of therapy and communication. My partner is somehow insanely (and unhumanly) nice and is a one-off case. BUT ALSO - DON'T DO WHAT I DID - the other man was the love of my life. Don't pass up on an opportunity of a lifetime. If you feel you are in love with the other man - GO FOR IT. I think about him every day. It's contradicting. But when I speak of true love: I cite my boyfriend and what we have. But when I speak of what true love feels like: I think about that man. My life will never be the same. The feelings I had felt, the colors I have seen, the feeling of exploding with desire and the breath that had been taken away has changed my life forever. Life will never be the same again. I know what I did was bad - but I am not a bad person. These things happen. The moral judgement of others will always happen. If you’re in the same situation, forgive yourself, steady your head, and decide the next game plan (communicate with your partner if you're still with them and without - if you've broken up). Has anyone gone through this before?
User article | cheating
New first time parents, no trust
Myself 25f and my partner 25m have been together for about three years. We met during the pandemic online. I took a risk and flew out to meet him during the pandemic knowing that I wouldn’t be able to return home until the borders opened up again (we lived in different countries at the time). Thankfully we hit it off as we had online and started to make plans for us both to move back to my country. The first year was great. He always asked that we start doing onlyfans. And because of my job and being from a small town I didn’t want to take the chance that someone from my community would find the accounts. He kept asking for about a year and I kept giving all my reasons for not feeling comfortable doing it. Eventually though he talked me around and we set up accounts. Things picked up quickly and we were having a lot of fun posting. Initially it was just my own account for the two of us but I encouraged him to set up his own to reach a wider audience. He did and it also picked up very quickly. One day I received a message that basically said they’d had a message from my other account. They sent me a screen shot and it was an account I’d never seen before with a photo of myself and my partner as the icon. I should note the accounts we had set up together didn’t ever show my face but this icon did. It scared me to death. I thought someone had hacked my iCloud or something. My partner helped me to look for this account that had sent the message but neither of us could find it. I was worried sick that all my concerns had come true. After a few hours of me spiralling in anxiety my partner admitted to me that he had created the account during the first year of our relationship. He had been posting all that time that I was giving him all my reasons for not being comfortable with it. This broke my heart. But after a few weeks I got over it. Fast forward a few months and I went to set up cash app. It needed a phone number for the app and mine wasn’t working so I put his in. And it told me that I already had an account and gave me a name. I hadn’t seen this name before. So I put it into google and found a link tree. This lead me to find an only fans, Snapchat and twitter. That my partner had been using throughout our entire relationship. I wasn’t able to see the content but I was able to see captions and they implied he’d been talking to lots of people online during our relationship. It’s worth noting at this point we had just put down a mortgage on a house together. Again I felt so betrayed because again it felt like my trust had been shattered. I’d asked for the whole truth after the first incident and was assured I had it. But here I was finding more out. There was another occasion that we decided to explore introducing a third into our relationship for dates and threesomes. So we both downloaded dating apps. By this point my partner had said he was curious about his sexuality. And he had never felt comfortable enough to consider this before. Being bi myself I encouraged him to explore it on these dating apps. I just asked that he gave me full transparency. But I started to realise he wasn’t being honest about it. He was hiding messages and denying speaking to people. And again my trust was broken. By this point in our relationship I really struggled to trust him at all. And I felt really distant from him surrounding sex. We went from having an exciting incredible sexual relationship, to me feeling like just another method he had to get off. And I just felt so much betrayal surrounding the whole thing. I felt I had pushed my boundaries and been very open and honest throughout the whole thing but he wasn’t able to do the same for me. All of this started about 2 years ago and the last incident was about a year ago now. And still to this day I do not trust him to be honest with me surrounding sex. I’m aware that he chats to people online. I’m aware that he hides things from me. But I don’t want to keep rehashing everything. I am currently 9 months pregnant. And he assures me all the time that I am his world and that I know everything. But I know I never will. It is something I have come to terms with by now. But will always be hurt by. And always cast doubt in my mind. I don’t feel I’ll ever feel I trust him fully. But I have chosen to stay. Partly because I love him. And partly because I am too far in now to back out. I am happy 95% of the time. But I will always have this shadow over our sex life
User article | trust, parenting
Wife lied about affair details
Detected from my wife's texts that she was having an affair with her boss, starting from 2014 – 2017. She promised me to end the affair and blocked him and I believed her. All these years I didn't have any thoughts on their affair as I took her by her word and was living happily, understanding it to be a mistake on her part. Anyone can have a fling. Last month I bought her a phone on our anniversary. Out of curiosity I dialled up her affair partner's name and it showed a female name. Being asked, she told me that seeing the name I may get irritated hence she saved by another lady’s name. It was difficult to digest as the truth. Being suspicious, I asked her to give her the full truth again, suspecting it to be a lie. Then she tells me that she is just having a friendly relationship only. I was not convinced hence again asked her repeatedly but she told me it's an emotional affair only. She was lonely, unappreciated by her in-laws and her in-laws heckled her verbally off and on. She also did have the affair to rise in corporate ladder. On further persistent questioning she confessed of minimal physical contact with her boss and supposedly it was his endeavour mainly. She told me they kissed and he fondled her sometimes, only in his car and did all these physical acts more so when simultaneously driving the car himself, but didn't allow her to touch his genitals at any point of time, and she didn't in any way engage in oral sex during entire affair period and that's the full story. I couldn't believe that at all. Further information was not given by her. According to me if you have an emotional affair it's sure to end in physical intimacy. For a few days thereafter, I saw that she was quite morose as her ex-boss had abused her over the phone recently. She has been called some names by her ex-boss hence she stopped contacting him further and blocked him. As of this I called her ex-boss and we met at a restaurant. He was only trying to show that he was not responsible for her current state of mind and they were very good friends only. In between at the restaurant I went over to collect our ordered food and hence they were then alone and talking. As I kept my recorder on I found out that it started in 2011. He was threatening to reveal all. She told him that I didn't tell my spouse that actually I started the affair with you from 2011. On this note I asked her again to tell me the truth but she blocks me out by telling nothing more is there to know. Now I know my wife had lied about duration of affair too. I am deeply scarred mentally. 7 years were taken up from my life when I was thinking that me and my wife were hardworking to run the family and we complemented each other. At any point of time she didn't try to comfort me, understand me and tell me the truth. I'm frustrated, how can I take her above confession and further progress in our life henceforth? Please guide me if you can thanks for your time.
User article | affair, lies, trust, marriage
Office affair
I am working in a biotech company and have an issue. Two colleagues, married to others and one with teenage kids, have had an affair for approximately 2y. It is sort of a public secret, but they have been going about it in his office, dining and sleeping together in town and taking romantic strolls in the city multiple times, so a lot of us have figured it out. I know that it is non of my beeswax, but it is affecting my respect for the two both personally but, also, professionally and, furthermore, it is now generating an awkward and poisonous work climate, since he has now ended things between them. She left her newly married husband immediately after engaging their affair, while my male colleague didn’t. He wears his wedding ring again and seem happy with everything , while my female colleague sits at work looking depressed. I don’t know how to navigate here since I am split between being a professional colleague and disgusted on a personal level due to their action. She hurt her husband, sold their house and moved far away to live a dream and he has lied to his wife and kids for a period of almost 2y and gotten away with it. I don’t feel sorry for either of them but their low level of moral affect my opinion not only of them but also professionally, and I fear it might have a negative impact on how I merit their ideas. Since we are a scientific company testing and discussing new ideas constantly, we need to have a certain degree of trust in and respect for each other and those, for me, has evaporated. How do I separate my professional and personal respect/disrespect here? I love my job and I would be unhappy to quit due to their indiscretion.
User article | affair