I’m curious as to how much of your husband’s anguish would be attributed to what was “in your head” versus your actually engaging with your AP on the basis of your infatuation…giving him your number, telling him that you had a crush on him and “really, really, really, really” wanted to see him, etc. My wife had an emotional affair with a coworker she was infatuated with and sexually fantasizing about. I told her straight up that her infatuations and fantasies were a matter between her and God and were none of my, her husband’s, business. I claim no right to police her mind. And having worked in boring office work for 30 years, I knew what an infatuation was. I knew, from experience, that they die a natural death after a few weeks...unless they are nurtured. Unfortunately, my wife crossed-the-line and shared with her coworker about how she felt and, she claims, he reciprocated. Just like that, her coworker became her emotional affair-partner and her infatuation became an interactive 5-month-long emotional affair.
It was the sharing with another man that emotionally killed me and damaged what, we used to tell one another, was our great and ‘special’ marriage. And it matters little that this engagement was non-physical. Stereotypes about “the only thing men are interested in” being BS, sex isn’t the be-all and end-all regarding how significant your engagement with another man will be to your husband.
Lastly, there is an unintended consequence of less-than-total transparency and honesty peculiar to an emotional affair. In a physical affair, the betrayed spouse can imagine ‘how bad it got’ with little input from the WS – especially if they read some of the testimonials about how cheating sex can be pretty intense and mind-blowing. A BS knows what their WS is like in bed. But in an emotional affair there is a much wider range of possible interactions and things being said – degrees of ‘how bad it got’ from saying “You’re such a nice person” to “I love you and I wish I wasn’t married”, from sharing photos of sunsets to sharing porn selfies. And when a WS believes she needs to lie, back-track and stonewall regarding the details of her emotional affair (as mine did), the BS considers the continuum and thinks, “Oh my God!!!! It was THAT bad?!?!?!?!”.
So I wanted to ask if are you certain that what was “mostly in your head” is the principal source of your husband’s pain? Does he say this? Does your husband feel that if your infatuation had stayed in your head, not been expressed to your AP in any form (number-giving, etc) and, therefore, likely lasted some fraction of 3 months…would your husband still feel the same way? …still be just as devastated?
I ask because I’ve made the distinction between what happens in a person’s mind and what they allow to transpire with the object of their infatuation the dividing line between what is not cheating…and what is.
Thank you for your response and for the sage-advice you’ve imparted to would-be wayward spouses in your post. Truly, it is gold.