11.12.2009

The relationship, in a nutshell

A person in a similar situation contacted me on another website and wanted to hear my story. That site is being funky about what it will let me type in its email system, so here is the response for her...and for all of you.

Hi!

I'm sorry it took me so long to respond. I've been away on vacation and this is the first chance I'm getting to really write. My exap was younger than me too. By about 4 years. Seriously, the main reason we stopped talking was because my husband found out. I'm still not sure what would have happened today had he not discovered us.

We met at a place where we both worked. All the staff lived on site, and so it was this college-like atmosphere of parties and social events every night. My exAP was not at all someone I was interested in when we first met in 2000. Soon after we met, he started dating a girl who would become one of my best friends from that place. (incidentally she still is).

It was somewhere in the 2nd year I knew him, when he had moved on to a second girlfriend.... also a friend of mine... that the attraction started. It's a really long story, but we took a damn long time staring at each other over the line, subtly beckoning one another, and then finally crossing it in 2003. Once we did I was in total bliss. I wanted to be with him as much as possible without DH knowing. DH had a job at that time that meant a lot of travel, for weeks at a time... so our only hurdle was his girlfriend, and he wasn't into her at all.

After 3 months of an intense fall, he decided to move to another town. With the girlfriend. And a bunch of other friends who all planned to share a house. We said our goodbyes amiably and vowed to keep our little secret, and never do it again.

That lasted about 6 months. We emailed some right after he left, but it was all totally benign and only about once a week at the most. Then that spring he got a job offer to come back to my state. Not at the same place, but about 3 hours away. We'd see each other regularly on the weekends and I could tell the spark was still there.

On 4th of July of that year, he invited me up to his new place of employment. Others were invited to come with me, but nobody could make it. DH was away on a trip. So I went. And we dove back in head first.

Over our 4 year affair we never again lived in the exact same town. But we made it work. Trips to see other people got secret days tacked on the beginning or the end to meet him in hotel rooms. And our emails were constant.

There were times we tried to end it. Usually it was a one-sided idea. The other person would agree, it would last about a month at most, and then we'd come creeping back into each other's inboxes.

Finally, the last year of our affair (2007), he moved to my current state for grad school. Just 2 hours away. We were able to see each other and misbehave more than ever. Which is why, ultimately, I think DH found out. He could see I was checked out and so he got suspicious... and started watching. He caught me talking about it on a message board (unrelated to affairs). He learned my user name and started logging in to watch the boards when he knew I was posting. I totally hung myself. I thought he didn't care and wasn't paying attention. I'm glad he finally started to... your words about your DH not noticing stung for me. I know that hurts.

Did I love him? Well. Of course I did. There were times in our relationship when I would lie to myself and tell myself it was just lust, or just the grass is greener, or whatever. But yes. Of course I loved him. And I still do and always will. But I also love my husband. In a way I never did achieve with the exAP. And I'm still not sure I ever could have.

I guess the last thing to say is you obviously should take advice from me with a grain of salt, since I'm not exactly where you want to be in 2 years. But, I will say that a few things are essential. One is no contact. The other, for me, has been DH knowing about the issues that led to the affair, and us consciously working on them. I couldn't have given up the exAP on my own. The marriage was too broken. It needed to be fixed, by both of us, for me to stop looking elsewhere.

Clearly I still stalk him and think about him. In that regard, guess I cling to the belief that time is my friend and will heal me slowly. It was a long relationship. It's going to take a long time to get that drug completely out of my system. It's my job to be the smarter one and keep following the rules: no contact and be engaged emotionally with DH. Sometimes the sex drive follows. Most of the time it doesn't. But at least the response is there.

I hope time fixes that too.

Thank you for reading the blog. If you ever want to chat or vent, I'm here.

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