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Kalmarjan
Virtual wrote:
Thank you all for your feedback. Any more input from the WS's perspective? Can you really have a good time with your spouse while engaging in an emotional (and sexual) relationship with an AP? Was everything a lie in our time together while he was with her?


It's tough to say, but I also don't think it is an all or nothing proposition. I think the reason an affair is so insidious is because you start off having emotions for both, but your brain can't reconcile that, so you end up finding fault with one of them so you can have only one.

So, I think that's how you can "love" both. I mean, in some cultures it's normal to have more than one wife or husband. How do they get along?

I think the problem we have is we forget that love is a verb. We assume that since we are with the person, it should all be magical and therefore it's impossible to have anyone else in your life. Thing is, that's not so. It is possible, but the guilt drives you to chose one. (That is, unless you are allowed by your culture to have more than one.)

Polygamy is taught, it's not an instinct. The feelings of hurt, of pledging yourself to someone for life come from our religion, and other religions don't follow the practise. It's not just a male oriented thing either. Polygyny (a woman having more than one husband) is prevalent on several cultures around the world.

I'm not saying it's a traumatic event, infidelity. It is. Especially when you consider that someone vowed to hold to you true, and they lied. But the question is how is it possible to love someone while you love someone else. It is possible, just not in the way that an affair brings that about.
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Virtual
Can you explain that last paragraph? I'm not sure I understand.
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Kalmarjan
I'm saying that while Polygamy can have people who love multiple other people, I don't think that their relationships start off like an affair - that is through lies and deception. The husbands and wives all know about the other, and welcome them. Where that would be impossible in an affair situation because one partner is sneaking behind the other's back.
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Virtual
Got it. Never thought of it like that. Seeing those pictures of what I thought was a happy time (and he says was a good time) just confuses me. It's hard to digest that he could pursue someone else while I was still very much in the picture. How blind I feel. It's as if that time was fake, which is why I wondered what to do with the photos. We looked happy and I thought I was. He says he was. But how can that be if he was developing something with another.
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UrbanExplorer
Simply put, he likely still loves you and did even when the affair was going on. To me, the affair felt separate from my marriage, like I had two lives.
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Kalmarjan
UrbanExplorer wrote:
Simply put, he likely still loves you and did even when the affair was going on. To me, the affair felt separate from my marriage, like I had two lives.


Yeah, exactly. But you were living the two lives at the same time...

If it helps, here is an excerpt from my journal that outlines this... The first is from the beginning of Dec 2013.

.... Oh my god. I think I like (*AP) Not sure what I am going to do. She is like a drug,,,....

Four days later,

.... I am worried about (AP) . It seems like I may be falling for her. What? Exactly.....

Four days after that,

.... Wow. I think that (AP) loves me, or is falling in love with me. I am not sure what to do. F+ck me... this was supposed to be easy!

DAy after...

Dayam.... So, things are starting to heat up with (AP) I am not sure how I feel about that. She wants all of me... but there isn;t all to give... yet?? I'm so confused and conflicted...

You get the picture. All this time, i still love my wife... But it's ALL out of control. Logic has gone out the window, and I was convinced that I was in love with this woman. She "got me" etc. I was so confused. I literally had feelings for two women at that point. One was familiar, my wife. But I was so angry at her. And the other felt... Good. Intoxicating. Without a string attached. Or so I thought.so,as I started down this confusing path, I literally stopped thinking. It was all reaction at that point. It's like when you've lost all steering, and the only thing you can do is try to steer it into the ditch so no one gets killed.

It's going to suck, hurt... But not dead.

I don't know if that makes any more sense.

It's all to say it's super confusing, and chances are good if your WS is caught up in that, his head isn't on straight. He has her up on a pedestal at that time. So, he can't see all the faults. Or, he does, but forgives them at that moment because she's up there on a stupid pedestal.

It's what guys who always were the nice guys to girls do. They put the girl before themselves in a knightly effort to be the fixer, that guy. It's just that he has to see her off that pedestal to start realizing that those things he ignored are actually things he doesn't like.

For example, my AP flat out told me two things when we started fooling around. 1) she regularly did drugs. 2) that she regularly slept with older/married men.

I mean, those two things, I NEVER thought in a million years I would ever think a woman that didn't care about doing those things would be for me. I mean, come on. Totally not me. But I had her so high up, so haloed, even though my brain was saying WTF?!?! I was consciously saying oh, she's different now because I'm helping her. Hell, I remember she even gave me a Cd that one of her exboyfriends left her. It wasn't even my music, and an era before me, but she gave it to me like I was gonna be cool with that.

At the time, I was like, ah, it's all good. I even played the stupid thing!

So, if your husband was anything like I was, then he was spinning. He didn't know water he was coming or going.

So, that's how you do it. You kind of give up. You hold onto what you have with your wife. For me, I have to be honest. I may hate my wife sometimes because she infuriates me, but I LOVE that woman. I always have. I really couldn't stand completely losing her. I hoped against hope that when the dist settled we could at least be friends. (Wow, stupid bone headed thought on my part... But I didn't WANT to lose that friendship.)

This is also why I think it's imperative to do the self work. I still struggle with low self esteem because of the choices I made when I had my affair. I still regret so much, and it holds me back because I'm not confident anymore. I mean, I made the biggest mistake ever (tm) and it's hard to feel like you can ever come back from that. That's why it's critical to stack the deck against it ever happening again. Do you think I'll ever get into a situation where I could have an affair again?

As if. Do you know how close I came to losing it all? For what? Someone that I tried to make into a version of my wife? Hell no... My wife is so much better at being her.

Sorry I'm. Babbling. I had to just to give you insight into the thought process.
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UrbanExplorer
Taking the issue of secrecy and betrayal out of it, I see no reason why it would be impossible or surprising to have romantic feelings toward more than one person at once. Limiting them to one person is more cultural or religious than it is innately biological or psychological. We usually love both of our parents, we love all of our children, we love our friends, and many of us still carry some loving feelings toward someone from a past relationship.
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sunflower07
UrbanExplorer wrote:
Taking the issue of secrecy and betrayal out of it, I see no reason why it would be impossible or surprising to have romantic feelings toward more than one person at once. Limiting them to one person is more cultural or religious than it is innately biological or psychological. We usually love both of our parents, we love all of our children, we love our friends, and many of us still carry some loving feelings toward someone from a past relationship.



Well, I think you are talking about different kinds of love. Romantic love is generally only between two people. I've thought about this a lot actually.

There are 3 different types of love in marriage.

First there is a very basic sexual need sort of love. This is primitive. Even lizards do it.

Then there is romantic love. This is the powerful love that occurs in a different part of the brain. Oxytocin and dopamine are released and are powerful as we all know. In fact, these chemicals are addictive. Some people are more affected by these chemicals than others.

We know that people that have problems with drug addiction often have had things happen to them during childhood change the chemistry of the brain. For instance, women who were sexually abused as a child are more likely to be drug abusers. Something happens to the brain chemistry. For men, young boys exposed to violence at a young age are more likely to abuse drugs. There is just something about how these chemicals work in the brain.

I know my WS has something that makes him prone to addiction. I think that is probably one thing that made him so influenced by the feelings of romantic love that he had for the AP.

The last kind of love is attachment love. This comes from a higher center of the brain. This is probably the love that a WS feels while they are having the romantic love feeling for the AP. This is how there can be confusion for the WS. They probably feel two different kinds of love for two different people.

Unfortunately, too much attachment love tends to kill romantic love.

The big question is how do you keep balance in all three?

I've become a big believer of lots of touch and sex in order to bring back the feelings of romantic love between my WS and I. Things we did when we first met without thinking about, we now do intentionally.

Stimulating the production of oxytocin and dopamine can be done. Things get more powerful as you continue. Sort of like tricking the brain.
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Virtual
Interesting opinions. I really appreciate the input. My H says he never loved the AP but had 'fun' with her and it was 'exciting'. He 'liked her', he said. He talked to her a lot and began sharing his work stories more and more with her and asking her opinion more than mine. He also says he was able to express feelings with her that he wasn't able to do with me because she had no history. It sounds like he liked that clean slate. He attempted to break it off 1 week before DDay but since they work together I think their conversations continued somewhat. She didn't want it to end...still doesn't probably. He is still her boss and is trying to have mainly phone contact with her or group contact but the situation makes me anxious and unsteady. She is married as well and her H isn't aware of the A. He has been looking for a new job but at 50 years old and 20 years there, it's been challenging. As much as I appreciate hearing your thoughts I must admit it saddens me to hear how enthralled you (Kal) were with your AP and I hope my H wasn't in that deep. But on the positive side it also shows me that there is hope that the AP can be out of the picture and not held in high regard at some point. Thank you.
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TimT
Virtual wrote:
...Any more input from the WS's perspective? Can you really have a good time with your spouse while engaging in an emotional (and sexual) relationship with an AP? Was everything a lie in our time together while he was with her?

Let me answer that from the perspective of both an ex-WS and now a counselor to couples struggling through affair trauma. It's a question I hear a lot: While the affair was going on, wasn't every investment my spouse made in me or our our marriage fake? Was everything s/he did with me a lie?

No, not necessarily.

True, some affairs are born out of marriages in which the spouses have become so disconnected (and maybe even antagonistic) that there is no real affection felt by the wayward spouse toward the betrayed spouse. But that is not usually the case. Believe it or not, many unfaithful partners still love their spouses even while an affair is going on.

They are certainly not loving them well! But there are many who still do still care for their spouses and experience moments of genuine connection with them. I know it's crazy, but there is not a whole lot about affairs that make logical sense.

In those cases I think it is better to look at the expressions of love as damaged, not false. So when your spouse tells you that they really did enjoy the time spent on a trip, or the things that were shared on another occasion, or whatever... that is often quite true. 

You do not, however, need to go back and try to figure out which experiences were genuine and which were not. They were all broken in some way, but most of them had real value, too. The future of your relationship has less to do with trying to sort out the real from unreal during the affair (it's much to confusing and all mixed together) and instead create a clear understanding of what your new marriage is going to look like.
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UrbanExplorer
sunflower07 wrote:



Well, I think you are talking about different kinds of love. Romantic love is generally only between two people. I've thought about this a lot actually.

There are 3 different types of love in marriage.

First there is a very basic sexual need sort of love. This is primitive. Even lizards do it.

Then there is romantic love. This is the powerful love that occurs in a different part of the brain. Oxytocin and dopamine are released and are powerful as we all know. In fact, these chemicals are addictive. Some people are more affected by these chemicals than others.

We know that people that have problems with drug addiction often have had things happen to them during childhood change the chemistry of the brain. For instance, women who were sexually abused as a child are more likely to be drug abusers. Something happens to the brain chemistry. For men, young boys exposed to violence at a young age are more likely to abuse drugs. There is just something about how these chemicals work in the brain.

I know my WS has something that makes him prone to addiction. I think that is probably one thing that made him so influenced by the feelings of romantic love that he had for the AP.

The last kind of love is attachment love. This comes from a higher center of the brain. This is probably the love that a WS feels while they are having the romantic love feeling for the AP. This is how there can be confusion for the WS. They probably feel two different kinds of love for two different people.

Unfortunately, too much attachment love tends to kill romantic love.

The big question is how do you keep balance in all three?

I've become a big believer of lots of touch and sex in order to bring back the feelings of romantic love between my WS and I. Things we did when we first met without thinking about, we now do intentionally.

Stimulating the production of oxytocin and dopamine can be done. Things get more powerful as you continue. Sort of like tricking the brain.


My feeling forced into touch and sex for months is what has derailed our reconciliation. It feels like someone laying claim to my body by saying, "You had sex with someone else, so now you must have sex with me when I want it." Perhaps there is a gender difference in play.
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sunflower07


My feeling forced into touch and sex for months is what has derailed our reconciliation. It feels like someone laying claim to my body by saying, "You had sex with someone else, so now you must have sex with me when I want it." Perhaps there is a gender difference in play.[/QUO


I remember feeling like this during my marriage!!!! There were too many times I withheld sex from my husband. While this didn't cause my husband to have an affair, it certainly gave him some ammunition.

However, I have now come to realize that having sex is an obligation in marriage. I hate saying it that way but it really is. Not to exciting when you think of it that way. Even as a BS, I've had to push myself in this area and you are probably right that it is different for men and women.

I really had to detach from the emotional piece and just have sex for the sake of sex. First time in my life I was able to compartmentalize it like a man! Ha!!

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UrbanExplorer
I always thought my marital sex life was very good until my affair came out and I lost my autonomy about it.
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sunflower07
UrbanExplorer wrote:
I always thought my marital sex life was very good until my affair came out and I lost my autonomy about it.


It sounds like your husband is holding you as an emotional hostage because of your affair. I don't think that is right or healthy either.

I've really tried to avoid doing that with my husband but I can see how it could happen even more if the wife had the affair. I could so see my husband doing that with me if our situation was reversed. Although he told me if I had been the one who cheated, he would have been gone along time ago. Really?

Talk about having a double standard!!
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