Online Affair and What Could Have Happened

Karen10125February 20, 2013

my husband had an online affair a couple years ago with someone he knew many years before and reconnected with on FB. It lasted for about 4 months before he made a mistake and got caught and I saw a message that I shouldn't have. He's truly sorry and has done everything he can to regain my trust. I believe our marriage is good now, but what I can't stop thinking about is would this have gone to a physical encounter had he not been caught. There were discussions of business trips and that sort of thing, but he claims it was only to make the online chat fun and exciting, that it was never actually going to come to that. There were also some phone calls. What do you think? I'm especially interested in what the guys on this forum think. I just need to know, I think I already do though :(

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If it is truly over, and he has really done everything that he can to repair it, then you need to stop agonizing over it, forgive him, and move on. If you cannot do that, then you will never love him like you should.

My wife of 20 years never forgave me for the tiny little slights I committed against her. We had no abuse issues,drugs, or money problems. Instead, we had tiny little issues. But she never forgave me for ANY of them. She convinced herself that she does not love me anymore, and she ended up having an emotional affair (or possibly more) and perhaps may still be involved to some extent. I don't know for sure.

But one thing I have learned, is that to deny forgiveness is to plan for a breakup. If he's honest and good to you now, then forgive, and move on. If not, the bitterness in you will destroy your relationship. You need to decide what you will do.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 5:20PM
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thank you OldXRGuy, First I am very sorry about your own situation, I will pray for you. I know you are right. I know that I only have two options, forgive him completely or move on. There's no in between. I do realize that. I think however that in order to forgive him completely, I need honesty. For me, as much as it might hurt, I'd rather just hear the words "yes, I would have eventually met her in person and there would have been intimacy". I think knowing the truth gives me back some of the ownership i feel I lost in my marriage. Does this makes sense? And then maybe I'll never know the truth and i just need to forget about it instead of putting myself thru this. It's hard though. I do love him very much though and I know he feels the same.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 8:38PM
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I understand the desire to know everything that happened.
But I also know that focusing on the unknown takes away from your ability to focus on him, and your marriage, now.

I thank you for your prayers. I wish a million more people would pray for us too. And since you mentioned it, I will follow your spiritual lead and tell you that I watched the movie "Fireproof." I am currently doing the Love Dare. (Day 6.) I suggest you do the same. When you see what God's plan for marriage is, and understand the roles of husband & wife, you'll see how to prevent ever having another issue like this again.

You may also find a couple other books relevant. "The Resolution for Men," and "The Resolution for Women." They also have some very telling words about forgiveness. If you both read these books, and talked them over with one another, I believe it would be extremely powerful for your marriage. I believe the details in his past would fade to irrelevance for you.

God Bless You and your Husband. I will Pray mightily for you and your husband too!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 1:38PM
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Thank you so much OldXRGuy for the movie and book recommendations, I already placed an order. And thanks especially for your prayers. Best of luck to you, I hope your wife realizes you deserve another chance. We all do.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 8:11AM
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It is likely that if the relationship had become would have repared your relationship just as you did with the emotional betrayal.

You can turn anyone into a total "monster" with what ifs, so best to leave what never happened alone. Either you have repaired, or you haven't - if you haven't, know that you can.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 9:03PM
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thank you amyfiddler for your words of wisdom, i appreciate it.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 11:19AM
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Do you think that it would have turned physical? I mean you read a message...did it seem like they were headed down that road?
Does it matter, since it didn't actually happen that way? Nobody truly wants to hear their significant other say, yes I wanted to sleep with this other person...So why ask a question you don't really want the honest answer to? I will never understand this about people. If you are happier not knowing the truth, then why seek it?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 1:30PM
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I'm NOT happy not knowing the truth, that's just it. Yes I do believe if this had continued and opportunity had presented itself for an in-person encounter (they live in different states) there would have been a physical affair. He says no, of course he does, but he also said that during this time he did fantasize about this person from his past. Anytime he tells me the truth, I feel a lot better because when this happens to you, the worst part of it all (at least for me) is the deception. So once the truth comes out, I feel that at least I'm no longer being deceived. I don't know if this makes sense or not, but it's how I feel.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 6:39AM
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The truth helps build trust. So yes that makes sense. Are you continuing to hold on to the what if?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 3:09PM
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My mother gave me a very good suggestion when I was moaning about my husband. She said: "You are dwelling on his faults, not his good characteristics, think of the good things he does for you" That changed my outlook on all the problems I have had with people.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 5:38PM
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Karen, I just read your post as I was searching for some answers for my own situation (my husband also had somewhat emotional affairs for about 10 months, but with several women on Facebook that he did not know in person- who all lived in various states and countries). I found out 2 months ago and I feel the same way as you: that I just want to know all the truth, no matter how much it hurts (it can't be much worse than the current thoughts and feelings I have). What caught me by surprise is that you found out about this a "couple years ago". Has the pain gotten significantly less since then? Is there a reason that you still haven't fully trusted/forgiven him? Do you have any other or any recent suspicions??

Right now, I find it hard to trust my husband, mostly because I'm worried of being hurt again and it seems that I'll be safe if I don't trust him or fully forgive him. I often feel like I want him to feel the pain I'm going through AND keep myself less vulnerable emotionally, so I have been heading toward having emotional affairs with others too (people that I know)... I can completely see my fate becoming like OldXRGuy's wife :(

I know that's not good, but I feel like what has happened cannot ever be undone.... I don't want to trust him and find myself deceived AGAIN in a few years from now. I hope your situation (and OldXRGuy's) turns out well.... It would be helpful of you could give an update about how things are going, and if they are indeed better, what has helped.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 11:38PM
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Kim -
the problem is less that you dont trust him....

you dont trust yourself. To trust again. To take care of yourself. To do what you need to do to take care of yourself. To pay attention and discover what you need to discover, should it be an issue.

Learn to trust yourself - do things today that demonstrate a new healthy boundary, and that demonstrate that you will take care of yourself.

When you trust yourself, you will give yourself permission to trust him again - because you can trust that if he is unfaithful, "you" will be "ok."

Plus, you need a reason to believe that he "gets it" and understands himself enough to know why he did what he did, and reason to believe he's not going to do it again. If he hasn't offered that to you , you have no reason to trust.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 12:30AM
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Amyfiddler, yes unfortunately I do hold onto the "what if". I wish I didn't. EmmaR, thanks for sharing your mom's advice, I love it and I can see how it can help with all relationships. Kim000, sorry you're going thru this. I think your situation is a little different and here's why. First I don't know how your husband was chatting with these women but mine reconnected with someone thru Facebook. He knew her 25 years ago, as teenagers. They went their separate ways and this was like some sort of rekindling of feelings, they were never intimate in the past so it became a fantasy. She was married too. The fact that it was one person, someone he knew, and there were affectionate emails and chats exchanged is what makes it so bad, I think. For your husband if he was chatting with multiple women and it was just some lustful hobby of his and he didn't know any of them, it doesn't seem as bad to me. I don't mean to miniize your situation, but I would rather my husband did that because I think then that the likelihood of it becoming a real physical affair is a lot less. Honestly I would have preferred my husband had a one night stand with a hooker over this. Yes, its been 3 years now and when it first happened I wondered every day if and when it would get better. It has gotten a lot better but it does take time. I think the trust is almost completely back. On a positive note, my husband has gone overboard in showing me how much he loves me, wants our marriage to work, is sorry for what he did, etc. etc. He says it was just a fantasy thing he got caught up in and never would have let it go further. Do I believe him though? I don't know. I honestly believe that had the opportunity presented itself it would have been something he had to get out of his system and he would have risked his marriage for it. And she was very forward with him in her emails so it wasn't like she was pushing back. I have to live with the fact that it didn't happen and life is too short for me to be stressed over it. I have to say though that there are times when I want to do something like contact her husband or her employer or children and make her life unpleasant for a while like she did mine. I'd like to think I'm a bigger person than that, but I don't know. If might help me get some closure too.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 2:25PM
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I also meant to say that what Amyfiddler says is true, it's about you, more than him. I had to get stronger because of this ordeal. Kim, please don't cheat on your husband because of what he did to you. Two wrongs don't make a right. You'll only regret it and then have even more to worry about.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 2:37PM
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Hm. I wonder, Karen, if what you are stuck on is the wondering about your husband's character. Meaning, is he the type of guy who WOULD have been sexual with her?

The answer is yes. Sorry. What if he were to say to you, rather than "I NEVER would have done that." instead to say "I realize I am imperfect and I must protect our marriage by staying far away from the line so that I don't ever have to worry about crossing it."

To suggest that one is not capable of a sexual affair denies reality. I think that might be what you are fighting with internally - because you know that such a level of denial does not create any safety for you.

Really and truly, the final act of a sexual experience does not, would not change the level of betrayal for you. It hurts the same way, and requires the same thing for repair.

In some ways, remaining fixated on the "what if" may be stopping you from paying attention to the "what is", be it positive or negative. Perhaps you struggle with intimacy. Perhaps he does and you are rescuing him from it. Perhaps there are deeper issues you are not addressing, so the "what if"keeps you superficially fixated on something that allows you to avoid harder things. ?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 4:56PM
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First, thank you Amy for taking the time to post your thoughts about this. I appreciate your insight and hopefully this discussion will help someone else as well. You're right, whether there was a sexual experience or not is irrelevent, it hurts just as much because of the betrayal. And you're right, I know where this would have led, deep in my heart, I know the answer is yes and I think I eluded to that in previous posts. As much as it would hurt, it would actually help me to hear that truth from him. Just like it helped with some of the other things he came clean on. What he says about that is that he's not going to admit to something that he doesn't believe himself. Personally I believe that most men, if given the right opportunity, along with a woman of no morales constantly pressuring them, would eventually give in. I hope I'm wrong, but I've worked with mostly men for years. They're just different than us. And that's why I believe women need to take the high road and do the right thing when a man is married, even if she's the one being pursued. Not saying men shouldn't be held accountable, but let's face it, they are just different creatures and that's reality. One thing I have to say that as far as intimacy goes, our love life was good when this happened, better than good in fact, and it's just as good if not better now. That's never been an issue, we both agree on that. That doesn't make sense, even to me. Seems like there must be a gap somewhere or he wouldn't have wandered. But he didn't go looking for it, it just came about with a facebook friendship, a few off the cuff remarks that led to other things. We do have other issues in our lives though that have nothing to do with infidelity or intimacy or marriage and I need to give that some thought. Are those issues affecting our marriage in some ways, as you pointed out? As for the "what if?", it's like disease that can't be cured. A part of me wishes it had gone all the way, then there would be no what if. I know that sounds bizarre and I really believe that God put a stop to it before it destroyed our marriage. My husband feels the same way. As far as him admitting it could have gone further, he has said that yes, given all the right circumstances, i.e. they end up in the same location together, they meet up for lunch, there's alcohol involved, they end up in her hotel room, he has a weak moment, etc. etc. that yes, intimacy would have occurred. But he says he never would have put himself in that situation in the first place. She did invite him to meet her on a trip and he said he declined telling her he wasn't interested in anything beyond the online relationship. He also said that initially, before this relationship got out of hand online, when they were talking she brought up getting together for lunch or dinner if she was in town and he was agreeable to that. But he said once things got out of hand, he told himself that could never happen now because he felt he could have a weak moment if she became persistent after dinner or lunch. So I don't know, I have to believe part of this. I am not stupid though, I know how men think and he is a very sexual person so ... life goes on and I can only hope things get better and better for me, and any woman or man who has to go thru this.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 8:46AM
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You DO both need to understand why he engaged in the affair. That is an important step for him to take, because knowing, would allow you to feel safer. Otherwise, everything becomes random and unpredictable.

What was the alter ego that he got to explore while engaged in the affair? It was less about who SHE was and more about how HE got to feel about himself.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 3:39PM
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Random and unpredictable. That's what my husband is, until like a bolt of lightning he hits the thing you had an affair with. He almost has been like Zeus with his thunder bolts this last year, An old boy friend felt this, his father felt it to, I was caught in the side wash and it hurt.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 10:16AM
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