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February 20, 2021 8:13 am  #1

When there is an emotional affair

I am posting here because I am trying to make my relationship work. My partner has described himself as Bi in the past and has had hookups with men before we got together but my main issue now is an ongoing correspondence ha has had with a woman. 8 years ago when my partner was married, he had a passionate affair with a woman that ended abruptly when she lost her son. They remained in contact via a special gmail just for them that I discovered recently. This is what I would call an emotional affair; their correspondence is full of "I'll never forget you", "love you still", "we had something so special", hearts etc. His engagement in this dwindled as our relationship began but he did remain in contact even though his comments are more platonic. My problem is that he concealed this for a year and he chose to lie to me in response to a direct question about being in contact with anyone he had an affair with in the past and if any of these people were in town. He made the choice to lie knowing that I have past issues with lies in relationships that have caused me trust issues. I can't get past the feeling that he chose to conceal that relationship in order to keep it rather than choosing honesty with me. I feel second priority, second best, it has cut me deeply and I have told him so. He says he is committed to me, that he doesn't know why he lied about it and he has apologized and written her at my request to tell her about us. If someone lies about an emotional connection outide the relationship, with a man or a woman, how can they be trusted again? Is there a process we can work through as a couple to get there?

Last edited by Hawklover (February 20, 2021 9:02 am)


February 22, 2021 1:20 pm  #2

Re: When there is an emotional affair

So sorry you're facing this, Hawklover.

My situation is similar to yours, but flip the genders. Wife has been found having a few emotional affairs. One was seven years on the side (!!) using similar language to that you shared. Keeping this other party on the side as a back-up at best. (I then stumbled upon her also having girlfriends in the same week, which is whole other story...)

The most helpful thing for me was reading this book, "Not 'Just Friends': Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity". It explains why emotional infidelity is much more damaging and the steps forward. This includes how to repair the damage, or signs if a partner is unwilling to take ownership and it is time to walk away.

Here's a quote:
A useful measure for whether a relationship is a friendship or an affair is the degree of secrecy that surrounds it.

Lies of omission involve the intentional exclusion of important information, whereas lies of commission involve the intentional generation of false information. He is doing both across a long period of time. This does not occur by accident.

Your husband is very aware of why he did it. His denial of the truth, and refusal to own up here, isn't a great sign. A pattern of lying is hard to get past, and even if he did, you will still be frustrated and paranoid for some time. You deserve honesty. As much as it would hurt for him to say "I wanted a plan B" or flirting on the side, this would help you ease your worries.

Wishing you brighter days ahead.


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