TimT

 Which do you think is worse? 57  votes

 An affair that is only emotional; no sex. 12 votes
21%
 An affair that is only sexual; no emotional attachment. 1 vote
1%
 They are equally damaging. 44 votes
77%
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An affair that is both emotional and sexual does the most damage. But what about an affair that is one or the other? Which do you think is worse?
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Dandelion
For me, the emotional ones are worse. WH had a purely SA years ago and that one was much easier for me to forgive. The emotional affairs take commitment. I could feel him withdrawing from his children and me as he became involved in his EA. It hurt so much. 
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Ttsd
For me, either is a betrayal that cuts deep into the core and value of our marriage. The fact that he goes elsewhere for either is unforgettable and possibly unforgivable. Still deciding on that.
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TimT
Ttsd wrote:
The fact that he goes elsewhere for either is unforgettable and possibly unforgivable. Still deciding on that.


I would never insist that someone forgive; that's a personal matter that must come from their heart. But I do have an opinion. I don't think your husband's behavior is unforgivable. For your own sake I hope that you can, eventually, find your way there. But forgiving and trusting are two different things. You may find yourself unwilling to ever trust him again, even if you're willing to "let the past be the past." 
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Sharon
In my experience talking with people, it seems like women generally struggle more when their partner has an emotional affair; and men struggle more when their partner has had a sexual affair. Again, that is a gross generalization, and only reflects my limited experience. However, they are both damaging in their own arenas, and will effect different people to lesser or greater degrees, depending on personal experience, and the degree of intensity of the extra relationship-whether sexual or emotional.
So many variables to each situation...
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Bustedsmiles
Unfortunately, I have experienced the trauma of both a purely sexual affair and one that was both emotional and sexual. For me, the one that had the emotional attachment is the most devastating. That feeling is compounded by the fact that for 24 years I thought I was just married to a man that could not open himself up emotionally to anyone. I had resigned myself to the fact that my husband was just not an expressive person and my emotional needs were just not going to be met. Then he had an emotional attachment to someone else, wherein he was expressive and supportive and emotionally available. I am finding it very difficult to cope with the fact that he gave her (and she took from me) the understanding, time, recognition, expressions of love that I was begging for all those years.
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Anna26
You took the words right out of my mouth AHmember24!  My husband is the same, hides a lot of his feelings, can't open up to me emotionally.  He doesn't seem to be able to cope with the stresses of life, when it really gets bad, in the same way I would, by talking about it.  That seems to make him more at risk of the kind of affair he has had, in this case both sexual and emotional. It's like he needed a release from all his problems and found it there.  I don't understand this because like you, I have a great need for that emotional connection, just to know that someone 'gets' what is going on in my mind and will allow themselves to connect with me on deeper level.  And I have never got this from him.  I would only be guessing as to whether he was able to do this with her.
Maybe we expect too much, but it saddens me to think that someone else may have received all the emotion that should have been mine.
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TimeToFly
Although my ex-husband's affair was both sexual & emotional I know the emotional side of it was incredibly strong. She lives in another country so they weren't seeing each other that often to have sex but the connection that they formed emotionally seemed impossible to break. My ex-husband even said how strong that bond was between them. I don't think I will ever fully understand this. I suppose even if they eventually go their separate ways (which I highly doubt as they are at the four year mark right now with this affair that has turned into a relationship) I think he will always be connected to her in some emotional way. It saddens me to think we were together for 30 years between dating & being married & yet he seems to have formed a stronger connection with her than he ever did with me. 
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HonestWife
Well my wh has had both. The only reason I wrote emotional affairs are worse is bc he has been trying to sleep w this woman as well--the whole time. So even though he hasn't had sex, yet, he certainly has tried but it is only her saying no to physical that it hasn't happened. As soon as she says yes, he will jump in bed with her.

But the woman he slept w for 3 years means nothing to him so it doesn't bother me as much. If that makes any sense!

Good grief. This is so painful.
Trying to make marriage work after my husband's 15 years of affairs. Just found out. Currently in house separation.
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CrippledLamb
I've heard that there is a bit that has to do with the sexual activity level of the BS prior to the marriage regarding how damaging a sexual affair can be - not discounting in any way the devastation and work needing to be done - but for a BS who was a virgin prior to being with their spouse, the loss of specialness or ruined story goes to a whole new depth of challenging.
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Processing4Growth
I personally have found the emotional affair aspect far more damaging than the sexual. My wife was in an emotional affair that became sexual. Although the sexual aspect is painful and very hard to deal with, it has been the emotional affair that has been far harder to handle. The irrational conversations that result from the hooks of emotional affairs result in some of the deepest wounds. There is something about knowing connections that were meant for only you were going to another person. I think knowing that some of those topics were around your "failings" and that those topics brought the two even closer together is also very hard to accept.
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SAM2015
My husband had a purely sexual affair, I know this because he saw 2 prostitutes over a 2 year period. He cut it off immediately when I confronted him and has done everything I have asked since I discovered his secret. I have been told an emotional affair is tougher to survive, but although it's been 1 year, I find myself heartbroken over what he's done. The craziest part is in the 20 years we were together, we treated each other with kindness and respect (or so I thought). It is completely out of his character. He was a wonderful father and husband. He had incredible work pressure and didn't share it will me because he was embarrassed. we started therapy the day after DD. some how we are closer than before. We share our vulnerabilities and worries. We have fought very hard to stay together. I pray one day it won't hurt so much. It is very scary to be betrayed by someone you felt was your partner in life. When we took our vow I never imagined the extent of betrayal he would come to inflict.
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TimT
SAM2015 wrote:
My husband had a purely sexual affair, I know this because he saw 2 prostitutes over a 2 year period. He cut it off immediately when I confronted him and has done everything I have asked since I discovered his secret. I have been told an emotional affair is tougher to survive, but although it's been 1 year, I find myself heartbroken over what he's done. The craziest part is in the 20 years we were together, we treated each other with kindness and respect (or so I thought). It is completely out of his character. He was a wonderful father and husband. He had incredible work pressure and didn't share it will me because he was embarrassed. we started therapy the day after DD. some how we are closer than before. We share our vulnerabilities and worries. We have fought very hard to stay together. I pray one day it won't hurt so much. It is very scary to be betrayed by someone you felt was your partner in life. When we took our vow I never imagined the extent of betrayal he would come to inflict.
Has he given you any real insight into WHY he did this? Have you been to counseling together? I'm always curious when an affair happens "out of character" because the reasons are usually a bit easier to get to, but perhaps that has not been the case in your situation.

Thank you for posting. (And welcome!)
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SAM2015
We have been in therapy for the entire year since DD. we started the very next day. We had never been to therapy in our 20 years together. Although at times it's very hard for me to believe, it's sounds like he hid his work stress, pressure, worries from me. He owned his own business for many years and didn't want to be a failure. Slowly it ate him alive. He wanted an escape. He told me everything when I confronted him on DD. to my knowledge there hAve been no lies since. He has begged for forgiveness and he has thanked me many, many times for giving him "this life".
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UrbanExplorer
My husband seems more hurt that my affair had a sexual component, while I feel that the emotional connection is far more of a threat to our marriage.
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