A previous post riffed off a podcast by Joe Beam about limerence affairs, and the phases that they pass through. It seems to be a post that resonated with a lot of readers, and to judge from my inbox there are unfortunately a lot of people out there in this unhappy situation. Understandably, they are struggling to make sense of what is happening to them and their spouse, what to do about it, and what it all means for the future of their marriage.
Given that I am not a marriage counsellor (in any professional capacity), I thought it would be useful to reach out to the folks at MarriageRadio.com for a follow up, and put to them the questions that I most commonly receive from people who have written to me since that post went up.
Coach Lee was kind enough to reply, and share his own experience of coaching couples and individuals who are labouring through the impact of limerence on their marriages.
Here are his As to my Qs:
1. In your experience, what proportion of affairs involve limerence?
If it is a long-term, emotional affair, it usually involves limerence. Short-term affairs or one-night stands rarely if ever do. That is because limerence takes some time to develop. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but a one-week fling that ends can escape the limerent impact. I won’t say that it always escapes it, because sometimes a person can build up the experience and the lover to the point that they think themselves into limerence.
2. Do you think that limerence is a symptom of martial problems or the cause of them?
Both. Usually someone has to be primed to be a host for a limerence affair. Let’s take the example of a sexually neglected husband. Don’t get me wrong, I work with equally as many wives who feel sexually neglected, but for this example, let’s say that a husband is often turned down for sex by his wife.
She often doesn’t realize that she is making him feel undesired, undesirable, rejected, and even ugly. The negative impact on a marriage is usually tremendous. It impacts him emotionally to levels that are often discounted as simply not getting relief of a sexual urge. It’s more than that and will be taken personally and internalized within him. So he has a negative association with his wife. She makes him feel bad about himself and, to quote one man I worked with, “She made me feel like I was disgusting.”
Now let’s say he meets a woman who shows sexual interest in him. Usually in a very short time period he feels valued, wanted, important, and special. She makes him feel handsome and desired. He associates positive and joyful feelings with her. Emotional and physical intimacy is likely to follow.
In that case, limerence is a near slam dunk. The wife holds the cards of a past that made him feel that he was disgusting. This new person, now the limerent object, is on the other extreme, reaching beyond sex to the point of making him feel loved and precious. In a case like that, it’s not even a difficult decision unless there are children involved and even then, most people can only take so much rejection by the person who vowed to forsake all others but is also now forsaking them. Some report feeling zero guilt in pushing forward in full force with the affair.
I’m not suggesting that this is the only reason for a limerence affair, but it is possibly the most common.
3. How big a betrayal is an emotional affair that has not become physical?
Limerence almost always has a physical element. If an affair is confined to emotion, first, I would have a healthy dose of skepticism to that claim. Yes, it’s possible, but it’s often claimed that an affair isn’t sexual in an attempt to soften the reaction of the wronged, spouse. However, if it is a purely emotional affair, betrayal still exists. Purely physical affairs are easier to pull out of than emotional affairs. A true limerence affair involves both emotional and physical intimacy. Intimacy with another, be it physically or emotionally is the betrayal and emotional betrayal is as brutal, at least, as the physical counterpart.
4. How long do limerence affairs typically last?
I talk about this in my article at https://myexbackcoach.com/what-is-limerence/. My stock answer on that is two months to three years. If the first six months the two lovers can be with each other often and easily then it becomes difficult as there seems to be a lengthening impact because the two have developed such intense limerence. Whereas, if the two don’t have as much heart-to-heart and body-to-body time, if they are found out or something comes up that makes the relationship significantly more difficult, it’s easier for them to back out and to have a relatively quick recovery from limerence.
5. Does waiting for the limerent spouse to “snap out of it” work?
That’s the deceptive part in terms of the videos and articles I’ve read online about limerence. There are a lot of people peddling false hope that what the other person is feeling is “just limerence,” and therefore, the relationship can’t last. The spouse wanting to save their marriage is often given some false hope in that.
The reason for this is that limerence is not good or bad. In fact, the married couple going through this crisis likely experienced limerence together when they first started dating, courting, etc. Limerence is intended to bring two strangers close or else why would two people who don’t know each other want to see each other and make such effort to be together?
Limerence is intended to bring two people to a future place where commitment, friendship, companionship, and a family-like love exists and takes over as limerence fades away. That doesn’t mean there is not romance and passion, but it isn’t coming from a state of limerence.
So the danger is that the limerent spouse will develop those other forms of love – friendship, companionship, commitment, and a family-like love – for and with this other person. The good news is that there are ways to re-attract the straying spouse out of limerence and I go over that in my upcoming Emergency Marriage Kit.
6. Finally, what is the most important piece of advice you would give to someone whose spouse is limerent for an affair partner?
Be careful. Some armchair coaches or your favorite aunt might encourage you to play hardball with this person.
You risk making yourself a villain to your straying spouse. I’m not suggesting that you protect your limerent spouse from the consequences of her/his actions, but I am suggesting that you don’t attack or meddle in the illicit relationship. The risk is that you could make limerence stronger because the two of them will feel that it is the two of them against you and maybe even the entire world!
You also don’t want to create drama and fighting because that makes it even easier for the straying spouse to see the limerent object as the better choice. You don’t want your spouse to see this other person as a source of nurturing and peace while you are a source of drama, yelling, anger, and attacks.
Is that fair? Probably not but that is your reality. As limerence fades, and it often happens in steps or moments where he/she feels outside of it and can be logical again, your straying spouse can be rational and see what is being lost. This can increase the rate at which limerence declines.
That is, again, why it is important to let the limerent spouse experience the consequences of their actions. This will often happen without much involvement from the spouse wanting to save the marriage. The best thing that you can do is to improve yourself. Become the most attractive you can be physically, emotionally, and intellectually. This is often a somewhat long road so understanding that is important as well.
Coach Lee is a relationship expert and developer of the Emergency Marriage Kit. Subscribe to his YouTube channel at http://YouTube.com/c/myexbackcoach and visit his website http://myexbackcoach.com.
This makes me so so sad. My situation is almost exactly as described in point 2. And yes, I’ve largely felt zero guilt despite knowing my SO is a great person in many other ways. It’s hard to describe the endless negative effect of being in a marriage without physical intimacy for many years (not through my choice) at a relatively young age. My LO is a “bad guy” and I know that. But the attraction of “being” with someone who endlessly expressed how attractive he found me and could openly express sexual desires was very hard to resist for me. Only geography saved me from making an EA/online affair a PE.
Yeah, it’s a depressingly common situation, and as Lee says, a contributing factor in many affairs. It’s easy to see how as a limerent, getting that attention would send you into the cycle.
I also think there is another nasty twist that limerence can bring. I posted about it here, but the bottom line is that limerence really boosts libido for many people, and some can actually come to inextricably associate limerence with sexual desire. Those people are doomed to lose attraction to their spouses once the limerence subsides and affectional bonding takes over.
That’s one of the few blog posts that I hadn’t read Dr L – so thanks for linking. Oddly enough I’d come to Esther Perel first before finding out about limerence.
But yes – the underlying message – to act with integrity is the way forward. I am trying my best right now and battling on with NC.
How is the NC going? I am 4 weeks into NC after a very short lived (4 weeks) all encompassing LE. I called NC due to the extreme detrimental affect it had on my mental health causing physical symptoms.
LO had no idea about my limerence. Neither of us spoke about SO’s either. So perhaps not stating boundaries increased the fantasy, with the added amplification of the secrecy and wonder!
Help me ! I had an online affair . The affair has ended .but I can’t connect with my husband I’m so frustrated
Older and wiser says
This rings true but an additional important point is the husband’s unfortunate victim mentaliity. He does not examine his contribution to the state the marriage is in. A marriage become sexless for a reason and it is up to both parties to talk about it, communicate and examine their role in bringing it to that stare.
I have two thoughts after reading the answers:
1. I find it interesting that Coach Lee says that an emotional affair is as brutal as a physical affair for an SO, yet the PA seems to be “more demonized” as being the more wrong thing to do (especially when it comes to legal applications, divorces and stuff)
2. With regards to his answer to Q6, what a spouse can do, a thought I had: there are so many situations in life where you just have to keep your emotions under control and do something against your impulses, and it’s the hardest thing to do. Be it not attacking a spouse that is in limerence, be it getting over limerence itself, be it trying to get an ex back after he/she broke up with you (I’ve been reading through coach lee’s articles). It always comes down to handling your emotions, not to react on impulse and to think long-term and strategically. If there is one skill I want to learn after my LE it’s to manage my emotions. I’m sure that can be learned to a certain degree.
Interesting thoughts, Sarah. I think there is a range of opinion on point 1, and it will depend on the nature of the EA. If it’s full on declarations of love then that’s obviously a big betrayal, but there aren’t as many simple red lines as for a PA, so maybe that’s why people demonize it more. If you’ve got physical, then there’s no grey area left.
As for your second point: yep. Totally agree. Developing the ability to heed your emotions, learn from them, but make purposeful choices rather than rash choices is sooo important.
“yet the PA seems to be “more demonized” as being the more wrong thing to do (especially when it comes to legal applications, divorces and stuff)”
Higher risk of unintended long-term consequences. Unplanned pregnancies/children, sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms are rarely used perfectly and are not infallible.
Why, fear god why, would anyone ever want an ex back? Seriously whether they dumped you, you dumped them or it was a mutual thing -keep moving on! Plenty of other people out there. Oh or be single!!! That’s probably the best idea!
My wife is divorcing me, she has been cheating on me for a year before she asked for divorce, I only found out about her affair after she asked for divorce,
It’s been a year we are going through divorce and two years since she is with a still secretive boyfriend.
Best way to handle I think is focus on your life as much as you can , see kids as much as you can, don’t force yourself to see kids when you feel down , nobody wants to see a depressed father and unfaithful is only going to get a ego boost from seeing you depressed and emotionally drained. Somehow , somehow betrayed , me in this case and others as well in their situations, has to find a way to like themselves again and we have to trust ourselves and move on without ever looking back, once a married woman crosses the line and sleeps with another man it’s all gone and done. Looking back and putting her on a high seat only is going to make us weaker and weaker and feel and look crazy, it’s a life changing trauma without a doubt, however life is still good and goes on and we have to go with it and find a hot we betrayed s deserve .
DONT LOOK BACK thats my advise , it’s only going to keep hurting every time you look back, see your children and be as non-emotional as you can.
I agree with Coach Lee. A few things have happened since I disclosed things to my wife. Some of which I talked about in “Should you disclose to your significant other?”
My wife discussed this with her therapist. The therapist told while she was a “rebound” relationship at the time, 30+ years together and standing beside each other should put that to rest. My wife asked why I keep circling back. I asked her if she wanted the truth. She said she did. I told her because the first two years we were together, I was happier with LO #2 than I’d been in my life until I met her. The subsequent 3 years sucked but the first two were great. My wife asked why I didn’t think of the time she made me feel like that. I told her because I know why I no longer have that with LO #2 but I don’t know why I don’t have that with her. Thinking of the good times with my wife only served to remind my of what we don’t have now.
My wife asked what the appeal of LO #4 was since she “isn’t even all that attractive.” I didn’t choose to argue that point. I told her that initially, we clicked over mutual interests. I thought she was attractive, smart, funny and she seemed to like what I had to say. When her relationship collapsed and she reached out, I responded to it. She hit a trigger in me. There was a Thought Catalog article that talked about what each MBTI type secretly fears. An ENTJ’s secret fear is powerlessness. ENTJs hate to think they can’t influence,fix,or achieve something.
LO #4 made me feel empowered. I may not have been able to make my wife’s or kids’ lives better but LO #4 was telling me I was making her life better and I liked it. She sang to me.
My wife asked again if I thought the EA would have gone to a PA if she’d been closer. I said I’d like to think it wouldn’t but given my experience in the past, I wouldn’t want to test it. My wife didn’t really like the answer but she accepted it.
Anonymous Limerent says
“There was a Thought Catalog article that talked about what each MBTI type secretly fears.”
Could you post a link to this article, please? I don’t like not knowing stuff about myself, so I would be interested in my secret fear!
As requested: https://thoughtcatalog.com/heidi-priebe/2015/10/here-is-what-each-myers-briggs-personality-type-is-afraid-of/ Maybe, I was a little off and it’s not such a “secret” fear.
I wouldn’t put a lot of stock into this but I find MBTI types interrsting. A lot of businesses spend a lot of money having their people take the test.
LO #4 said she was an INTJ and it seems to fit. I don’t know for sure but I’d bet lunch LO #2 is ESFJ. The article says ESFJs fear, “Being isolated or disconnected from others drives an ESFJ mad – and being genuinely alone in life is a truly fearful thought to them.”
LO #2 once told me her greatest fear was to grow old and die alone. She recently remarried at 64. It doesn’t mean she still won’t grow old and die alone, she just might do it as a widow vice a divorcee.
Anonymous Limerent says
Apparently, I fear ‘lawlessness’. It doesn’t really relate to my LE, but it holds.
On point 1, the proportion of affairs that involve limerence, I find it hard to square the maths away. 5% of people have experienced limerence, I think that stat came from Tennov, but it was maybe a later study. 20% of adults admit to an affair according to yougov in the UK. So either limerence is more prevalent than the 5% figure or we might all be in danger of labelling other factors as limerence.
On the emergency deprogramming course, Dr L talks about monsters and treasures. This section of the course I found difficult when I was in the fog of things. LO was the be all and end all, I’m very ashamed to admit. I struggled with thinking of my treasures even though I had so much to loose. What a fool I was to put everything that is precious to me on the line for absolutely nothing.
The other day I was sat with my family and we were laughing playing games around the table and there in the moment a coldness went over me. I could have lost this, I took it all for granted in the name of limerence.
Whilst I still crave LO and I really do somedays. I remember the importance of why I can not give into these false ugly cravings. Because that is what limerence is to me now, an addiction, something that takes control of me, ruins my days, strip’s me from natural joy, makes me feel worthless, ashamed and insecure. If anybody is struggling remember the important people in your life and what giving into your LO could cost you.
Very valid point, Rachel.
I have the same thought now whenever I give into some LO dreaming… it is what it is, a fantasy in a non-real world, under ideal conditions. Do I want to give up everything for LO? No way. But I think when I was in the fog, I actually would have given that up if LO asked me to. Or would the smallest suppressed bit of sanity in my brain have held me back from making that mistake? I don’t know. But I am convinced that LO and I wouldn’t work out in this reality under these conditions.
It’s scary where the mind can take you. I like to picture it sometimes and let that thought seep in. Nightmare!
Just becuase this is all in our heads does not make it any less painful though.
Also let’s hope our rational brains would have kicked in. I always knew deep down LO wasn’t the man for me
As ever Rachel and Sarah this has helped me. I’m still fairly close to the total fog and still entertain thoughts of throwing everything away for LO (if he asked me). It just doesn’t make sense on any rational level – our “happily ever after” just can’t stack up for so many different reasons. But my brain still craves it. Need to spend some more time getting through Dr L’s emergency deprogramming course!
You’ll get there SGL. Is there anything that can keep your focus. So you have children? It ain’t easy but sure will be worth it.
I’ll let you know when im there. Have you thought of marriage counseling as I know you said your SO doesn’t make you feel great and desired. That’s though.
I found imagining that and letting it sink in to also be helpful.
I promised myself that whatever happened, I wouldn’t leave SO for LO (or any other man). If I needed to leave SO then it would need to be for me alone, with no prospect of any future relationship.
As that didn’t sit right, then staying is the right option.
I know DrL does not agree, but I think limerence, if not a mental illness, is at least a mental disorder. I imagine people have it at different level of intensity, sometimes dependent on your LO. It takes over your rational thought. You can’t rely on the strength of your will power, logical thinking or love for SO and family.
Why would a mentally healthy person not only have these thoughts, but act on them for any chance to be with LO.
I can say over and over, that I want my marriage and SO, over my relationship with LO. But I know deep down (because I’ve already been there) that when LO wants to be with me, I will sacrifice anything to be with her.
I know I could never handle LC. Sometimes this takes drastic measures to save your sanity and family. I initiated moving 700 miles away from LO (to place of SO’s choosing). I have to walk away from all my friends, since all my friends are also LO’s.
Rachel: “If anybody is struggling remember the important people in your life and what giving into your LO could cost you.”
This does help and what I’m holding on to now to get through this NC. But I know I would cave if LO contacted me, over my initiated NC. I can only hope she loves me enough to not contact me, as I told her NC was to focus on my marriage (which is true).
@rachel – my SO has said he will consider counselling. He’s trying to make an effort on the intimacy side as I was able to reiterate how important that is for me. However in fairness to him – he isn’t in full knowledge of all the facts. Yes my kids are a big factor in staying but keeping that mind only helps so much.
@sophie – it is very wise to weigh up your relationship on its merits alone. Leaving a SO for a LO is more than likely disastrous. Certainly in my case there is no real prospect of being with LO. Nor would I want to, logically. To be honest I am though at a crunch point of weighing up whether I do want to continue in my marriage. But I feel I need to get through this limerence to have any proper clarity. It is a possibility that I decide I can’t live this kind of life.
Bob – for me right now limerence feels undoubtedly like a horrible mental illness. It really does. Like you I feel that if my LO broke our NC and said he wanted me I’d be gone like a shot. Which is utterly insane. I hope you’re ok. I had a good day – better than in a while. But struggling tonight. Feel really quite desperate to be done with this. It’s so exhausting. I hate it.
SGL “But struggling tonight. Feel really quite desperate to be done with this. It’s so exhausting. I hate it.” There are definite periods of time which are worse. When things are not great with SO, that can make the longing for fantasy with LO seem even more heavenly.
I had marriage counseling with SO 2 years ago right after PA ended. SO asked for it, because I was distant and detached during the 8 months with LO. It was a very good experience and really helped my marriage.
I agree limerence makes us think insanely. Why would I even think of destroying my 38 yr marriage with someone I love, for a fantasy with LO. As much as I may truly love LO and think I know her, it would be crazy, destructive and immoral to throw away what I have for the unknown. Yet, even as I write this, if LO said she wanted me, I’d go. But maybe if it really happened I’d come to senses.
If your thinking divorce, please try to convince your SO to go to counseling (without mentioning divorce, once that word is thrown out it can’t be taken back and causes sometimes irreversible harm). Tell SO what your feeling, what you hope to gain from counseling. If he still wont go, start going by yourself. That may make him realize how important this is to you. Talking to a 3rd party with professional insight and experience is invaluable.
Hope you make it thru the night without too much emotional anguish. Sleep is very important to resist the lure of fantasizing about LO.
@Sophie: You speak my mind. This thought kept me from talking to LO about a life with LO. I always told LO upfront that I would never leave SO for another man. And saying that to LO preempted him ever saying a word about leaving SO to be with him. I later asked him why he never did, why he never thought we could be together, why he never thought I could be his shot at happiness (instead jumping on his new LO instead). He said because I told him pretty clearly that it wasn’t going to happen and that I wouldn’t have left. So he never challenged that. I am very happy about that. Imagine if he did, I am not sure I’d have been strong enough to resist.
I don’t know if one reason I am struggling with letting LO go is because if I had wanted to, I could have been with LO (no guarantee if it would have worked). But I have actively chosen not to be with LO due to the high price I’d have to pay.
I am not sure why that doesn’t make it easier to let LO go. But deciding against LO puts me in limerence misery, choosing LO would have undoubtedly put me in even bigger misery, for sure divorce, hurting a whole bunch of people, for an uncertain relationship that may or may not have worked. So my rational brain made the right decision, I think my heart just needs to catch up on it.
This really resonated with me. I am intrigued to know how you are feeling a couple months on?
Applies to women/wives who don’t step up to their responsibilities within a relationship too.
This is exactly where SO and I were before, and during most of my LE. Getting this breakthrough was an absolute gamechanger in our relationship.
How did you get this breakthrough Sophie? I’ve read this post before. I know Lee posted it. I think if I asked my SO to read it he would just feel attacked and defensive.
I had already disclosed about LO and we were due to start marriage counselling. I asked SO to read something similar, but prefaced it with “I appreciate what you do do, but there are still ways I need to feel more supported”
It is difficult, and it probably helped that the counsellor also quite quickly brought up something similar within our first session!
Definitely difficult to get this sort of open communication going, but worth it. We also both read “Hold Me Tight” by Dr Sue Johnson which was a helpful starting point. Ironically LO saw me reading that and said his wife had suggested that but he didn’t want to as he would do it and she wouldn’t open up.
Another clear sign that SO is better than LO!!
Thanks for sharing that Sophie. I’m glad things are much better with your SO.
Sounds like we are all having the ups and downs but hanging on….
LO wanted lunch with me today at work as she has asked before but i have made excuses so felt compelled to say yes this time (as we have not spoken about about how i feel so she proibably has noticed my LC) . One hour with her on a 121 was tough and I just feel im not my jolly self around her – which is what i was when i was when i didnt know about limerence and in the ‘liking’ phase…now that my brain is in the ‘wanting phase’ i feel like a different person. She hasnt noticed me being difference – I think I do a good job of hiding it but I feel Im not my happy self around her cos I know its an addiction and that im not making things good for myself – but obviously i like the ‘hit’ im getting at the time but its short lived.
THis is the issue with LC – but i have to ride some of these out as she aint got a clue (well we have not spoken about it) about my feelings.
Keep looking forward though
Hi Kevin. That sounds tough but like you handled it well. LC is so tricky (I have no experience of it but you know 🤷♀️) The only thing I’d say is that it’s natural for us to worry about our LOs but we’ve really got to put our own well being & mental health as the number one priority. Yes it’s hard as your SO won’t understand but potential downside to you of that “hit” is surely greater than any hurt she may feel. Just a thought. Keep on going.
I’m checking in. LC really didnt work for me because of the “push/pull” effect. I’m closing in on 4 months NC this week. I see LO occasionally on social media, but do not seek her out. When recently asked about LO, I responded, oh, I’m involved with other projects now… Yes, I do occasionally have thoughts, mostly about how much better I’m doing.
Just venting. LO is so confusing, hot and cold. I swear I’ll not let any wish to be close to him ever influence any decision I make again. FU LO!
Wishing everyone the best.
Never once in my whole time of dating and courting my SO did I ever feel bad because of him the way I feel bad at least half the time because of LO. Limerence is really a miserable addiction.
I thought this the other day. Limerence is far from love. I try and see LO’s hot and cold behaviour as a massive unstable flaw. It used to drive me mad now I really can not be bothered to care, it’s boring.
Thanks a lot, Rachel. Interesting perspective.
I will try that!
If you’ve been a great spouse and your spouse has sexually betrayed you and is “limerent” for someone else, play nice. Let the limerence fade from your spouse and let them realize it was actually you they loved all along. Once they are happily with you again, looking forward to your lives and dreams together, destroy them.
Not helpful that’s purely vengeful. Deserving as the cheating partner may be to loose his/her life that was taken for granted, the “destroy them” suggestion isn’t good in the long run for anyone, including yourself. Then again everyone’s situation is different.
Cheating isn’t solely a insufficient partner problem, it’s also a character problem. You had to launder money from your company because of the crappy conditions set by your boss? Does this same scenario apply? No. Quit your job or talk to the boss right? Reconciliation is possible, but ask yourself this betrayed spouses. Considering the consequences the cheater faces are minimally your problem, is this relationship acceptable to you? The cheater is depressed, broke, scared? Not your problem. Grey rock. Child support, settlement , and rearing children is your problem. Let the cheater show you how sorry they really are with a postnuptial agreement that outlines what you will get in the event of a divorce. Betrayed spouses, if you want to reconcile, that’s fine, but talk to a lawyer anyway to see what your rights are. Either way, there’s a way out and up. Hang in there.
Lost in the Ozone says
My GF of 4 years (she 45 me 55)out of the blue fell for a man that showed her attention, in our small community is well known to date around and have multiple, non committed relationships. 2 years ago the loss of a teen child living with former husband on the other side of the country caused a major depressive event, I supported and helped her through in may ways. Limerence seems to be the factor here now, complete obsession with the LO, devaluing our time love relationship etc. He dumped her 3 weeks ago, word got back that dating my GF was not a good idea. She blamed me 100% takes no responsibility. Our many talks indicate the risk of losing me is worth the possibility the LO may want her…Very sad. I’m at the crossroad of closing the door, really cutting off contact or waiting it out. I’m very very unhappy to say the least.
Lost in the Ozone,
“2 years ago the loss of a teen child living with former husband on the other side of the country caused a major depressive event,”
Well, there’s no better remedy for depression than limerence, at least when one is experiencing the high of it. It’s better than any anti-depression on the market. Limerence is like that song “I Can’t Feel My Face” by the Weeknd. It’s like a cocaine high. I’m not excusing your girlfriend’s behavior. Just giving some perspective.
Don Penner says
I’m a married 59 year old man coming out of a 2 year emotional affair. I’ve read quite a bit on this site and can identify strongly with being limerent for my LO. It’s painful and very confusing. My LO has completely moved on and is happily dating (she’s divorced) and it drives me crazy. I’m astonished that I still care and think about someone (intensely) that no longer has any regard for me. I have disclosed this EA to my wife and we are desperately trying to rebuild our marriage. It’s very difficult. What made me vulnerable to the EA was neglect in the bedroom for many years (almost a cliche). But I also exhibited some low character chasing this person in the early going.
The payoff for all this is turmoil, regret, mental exhaustion… and disappointment that my dream to be with my LO is now crushed. She has been able to move by freely dating (transference) while I grieve the loss of her with only my marriage to work on. It’s a tough road. Marriage counselling is in play, no contact has begun but overall I’m very sad in these early days. I miss my LO very much.
Any thoughts or advice would be welcomed .
Limerent Emeritus says
If you go to the index and search “Emotional Affairs” you’ll get several hits. There’s also the keyword box you can search on. “No Contact” will turn up a lot of hits.
From what you’ve written, I’d say start here. https://livingwithlimerence.com/the-loneliness-of-no-contact/
“But I also exhibited SOME low character chasing this person…”
“…while I grieve the loss of her with ONLY my marriage to work on.”
Allie 1 says
Are you implying there is something wrong with someone that doesn’t find the pressure of working on a decades old marriage to be comparable to the euphoria of falling in love?
I’m not implying it. I’m stating it. I’m also stating I hope she gets a lawyer and a divorce.
Pursuing a LO for TWO YEARS was the lazy way out.
That’s a pretty unsophisticated take, Marshmallow. It reminds me of the people who state categorically “if your spouse is withholding sex, then the marriage is over. Leave now.”
Don clearly understands that weakness of character was an element of his predicament, but it’s equally lazy to suggest it’s the only relevant issue. He’s been honest with his wife now, and they are working on trying to figure out what happens next.
I hope she gets some good support and advice from a trusted friend and advisor, and makes a purposeful decision about what the best future of her will be. And I wish the same for Don.
older and wiser says
To be fair, the message comes through in the post that there is an underlying devaluing mindset of his wife and marriage in Don that he might want to examine. It has nothing to do with his wife’s value or the value of his marriage. It seems like an implied sense of superiority to his wife that is a weakness in his character and not one a wife should put up with.
Hi Don, and welcome. There are a couple of posts on the site that directly relate to what you are going through, so that could be a good starting point for advice: