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Emotionally Cheating
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An_255000 posted:
A year ago my marriage imploded. We had had problems for a long time but it all came to a head and got very close to being over last year. The basic underlying problem (although there were many other smaller problems over the years) was that I had acted without thought for my husband many times over the years and have had emotional affairs as well.

We have been together for 17 years, married for 12. I love my husband more than anything. When we were younger I would go out with my girlfriends to the bars frequently and flirt with other guys, sometimes physically (touchig their chest or arm while I talked, dancing with them, etc.) and generally just behaving disrespectfully to my husband. I didn't think it was any big deal - just having some fun because I knew that I loved him and was only ever going home to him and only ever wanted to be with him for the long term.

Over the last decade or so I have reconnected with a lot of people on facebook and had what are considered emotional affairs although at the time I thought that I was just "friends" with these men and even now I am having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that my behaviour online can actually constitute an affair because I always believed myself to be the type of person that would NEVER do that!

I have admitted to him that I was a horrible flirt at bars when I was younger and drinking. I have admitted that I have had extended contact and relationships with 2 men (one of whom I have known my entire life and used to make out with when I was younger and one of whom was an ex boyfriend from university). In addition, I have admitted that many of my other 'friendships' with men could very well have been considered inappropriate under the new light with which we are now viewing our relationship, although, again, I didn't see it that way then.

I have cut off all contact with anyone that was a problem in the past. Off facebook, no other contact. I don't drink and go out hardly at all now anyway but I have promised not to drink in mixed company as it hardly helps the problem.

I am a very outgoing, gregarious, funny, attention seeking person. This adds to my inability to really parse out what I did that was wrong and what he is mad about for no good reason. I have always been closer with males than females and this also hasn't helped the situation.

We are at the point now where he says he forgives me for what he knows about BUT he doesn't believe me that there isn't more to divulge. He wants me to be "accountable" for my actions by talking to him about details but I don't feel I have anything to tell him/give him that will satisfy this.

I was NEVER EVER physically unfaithful - not even a kiss was exchanged with any other man except for him in the last 17 years. He doesn't believe that. He says that my actions and my lying about it for so long makes it impossible for him to believe anything that I say.

But I wasn't physically unfaithful, my actions were on the low end of the scale in terms of emotional infidelity (I didn't think scornfully of him in favour of them, I didn't pine away for them when we weren't talking, etc.) I talked to them when it was convenient to do so and I THOUGHT that we were friends and that my behaviour was okay. Yes I knew it would make him angry but I thought that was because he didn't understand that I could be "friends" with men and ex lovers and still be in love with him 100%.

SO . . . what do I do from here? He wants more from me and I just don't know what to do. I have no lurid stories to tell him, I can't think of anyone else I may have talked to or flirted with or anything that I can divulge. I've consented to the fact that I may very well have talked in appropriately or flirted with others over the course of our relationship but that it was "okay" to me so I can't remember specifics to talk to him about.


Thoughts?
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mademistakes responded:
I left out the fact that we also had no sex life to speak of. It was very sporadic and never fulfilling. I was not into it at all. The first couple of years were good but then sex was quite painful and so I just stopped having it for the most part. That was a horrible terrible decision for me to just decide that it was fine not to bother and that it was okay. It was NOT okay and it totally eroded the foundation of our relationship. So, that is a huge factor as well.

Since everything blew up last year that at least has been 100% fixed. I have no idea why (although I do believe that eventually whatever physical problem I had clearly morphed into a psychological block when it came to sex) but we have an amazing sex life now and I want it as badly as he does.
 
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navcaru responded:
Personal opinion,
It will take time, and work, when he asks questions about it, don't deflect or become annoyed, answer honestly follow up with a compliment about him. He needs to feel appreciated I think, his world has been shifted and it can be hard to bounce back. Have faith in the two of you, from what you are saying there is a whole lot of love to save. The heartache will pass, there's no exact equation for this, and no one should dictate how long the healing process for this should be. Keep reassuring him of your love, additional flirtation or affection can be a big help. If you don't have answers be honest, say exactly that, ''I can't recall specifics but please understand I never meant for this to happen and the only one that means anything to me is you.'' That line can go a long way, find different ways of saying it and express it with actions too.
I wish you all the best!


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