Physical vs. Emotional

Right after the revelation of my affair, my wife and I both started reading books about recovering from an affair. Every book, it seems, draws a line between the physical affair – that is, sex with someone other than your spouse – and the emotional affair – loving someone other than your spouse.

The thing I find odd is that these books, written by or about Christian men, were all about physical affairs where the cheating men didn’t love or even have strong feelings toward the women they were cheating with.

How is that even possible? One-night stands or sex with a prostitute I understand can be strictly physical. But how is it possible to have sex with a person for YEARS without forming an emotional attachment? I have to take it at others’ words that it is not only possible but apparently the norm.

For me, I was already close friends with Scarlet and well on my way to being in love with her before we even kissed. By the time we had sex, I was in love with her. Within 48 hours of that first time, I had told her I loved her and she said she loved me. That’s not to say that I didn’t find her very attractive physically, but I don’t think I would have strayed physically if my heart hadn’t already started to stray.

I wish I hadn’t loved her. For me, for my wife, and for Scarlet, it would have been easier if we hadn’t been in love. A simple sexual attraction that wasn’t resisted would have been easier for all of us to recover from. On the other hand, as strictly emotional affair would have been harder to get over than a strictly physical affair. But since I don’t do things by half-measures, I did both and now we have to get over not only the fact that I had sex repeatedly with another woman, but I also shared my heart with her. The memories of both are far worse than either alone.

Anyway, I don’t get it. I don’t think I could have done one without the other – the two are too closely linked. Which means if I’m to stay on the straight and narrow, I can’t let my eye or my heart wander. It’s not enough to keep from lusting after a woman with my eyes, I have to keep from letting myself care too much about them in my heart.

Advertisements

About Anonyman

Recovering adulterer and husband of an awesome wife who has given me a second chance. Sinner and Christian, saved by grace alone. I cuss a lot
This entry was posted in The affair and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Physical vs. Emotional

  1. Nephila says:

    I don’t like the distinction either, because I don’t think there is ever really love for the affair partner. There is “emotion” or there is straight out using someone. But never love. Because if you had loved her the *last* thing you would do is make her a liar and a cheat and stain her character forever. Same for her about you. Real love doesn’t want the beloved to be a scoundrel. Real love would not love the cheat, so it wouldn’t create one. Yes there are players who have casual sex with anyone who will be no strings attached. Think of it like college. There were always men and women who would screw anything that let them. They grow up to be serial cheats. I’ve never known a person like that, but they exist.

    Most people who cheat fool themselves into thinking lust is love, shallow friendship is love, and by shallow I mean, you were fine with cheating for and with her and wanting her to do the same (as per above that’s not love).

    No I don’t think you loved your wife either during that time or you would have had more loyalty. No I don’t think you loved yourself in that time because you would have had more self respect. Pretty much it is always shallow selfish love that isn’t really love for anyone.

    I don’t like the distinction emotional vs physical because I think it’s really a division between players and selfish fools. It’s difference in cheater not in behaviour primarily.

    And don’t fool yourself that physical cheating is any better. Yeah my husband told her he loved her blah blah. His words sounded pat and she coached him what to say to get his dose of flattery back. Literally. Doesn’t bother me at all that he said those things- love that evaporates as soon as you’re about to lose your wife is not love. Not really. But those mind movies of them physically? Those will haunt me forever. That’s much worse.

    Like

    • Anonyman says:

      I freely admit that I was a fool, but no matter how many times you comment on my posts, you will never convince me that what I felt was not love. It would sure as hell be nice if it wasn’t, but it was. No, it wasn’t pure or sacrificial, and I was selfish in pursuing it, but it was love and it was friendship.

      You seem to be trying to see my affair through the lens of your husband’s affair. While there are some similarities, they are not the same. I would thank you to not presume to tell me what I am or am not feeling, or what I felt or did not feel during the affair. And for that matter, I’m sorry the physical aspect of your husband’s affair hurts you more, but for both myself and for my wife, it is the emotional aspect that has been harder to get over. If you cannot accept these simple statements, even if they don’t make sense to you in light of your own experiences, then your comments will not be welcome. I’m getting really tired of posting on MY blog and within half an hour hearing from you why I’m wrong.

      Like

      • Nephila says:

        You should read up on the fog. You are deeply in it. I stand by the car analogy I made earlier. If your tart had broken your wife’s legs you’d hate her now (who cares what you thought you felt then). Well, she did much worse to your wife and you think you don’t hate her for it. That’s fog. All affairs are the same in key points because all betrayal is betrayal.

        Like

      • damagedbytheageof3 says:

        Just set her to go to spam… That way you’ll never have to see her bile again.

        Love can most definitely grow in an affair. I have no doubt James loved me. No grown man with a mind of his own needs to be coached to say anything.

        Like

  2. Anonyman says:

    I clearly said there are similarities between mine and your husband’s affair, but saying they are all the same is an oversimplification. That would be like saying all murders are the same because they all involve motive, a weapon, and opportunity.
    If you’ve got a good link or two about the fog, I would appreciate them. I am definitely still in a fog, but you and I both already knew that.
    According to you I should hate Scarlet, but I don’t. I know she hurt my wife and me, but that does not automatically translate to hatred. Frankly, I don’t necessarily see this as being a bad thing. What kind of life would we live if we went around hating everyone who hurt us? That kind of blind hatred is what I see on a lot of survivor blogs, and it sickens me.

    Like

  3. Janelle says:

    I believe I read in an earlier post that you had been caught in this affair. Had that not happened, do you feel it would have continued? I am truly sorry for the pain you and your wife have endured from your mistake with Scarlet and hope you, your wife, and your marriage heal in healthier ways.

    Like

    • Anonyman says:

      Well, I wasn’t caught yet, but it was only a matter of time, so I had to confess. Maybe I’ll tell the story sometime.
      When things went sodeways, Scarlet and I were going to end it. The stress of betraying our spouses was becoming too much for both of us. Of course knowing what I know now, I don’t think we would have been able to put a final end to it for some time. Quitting turned out to be harder than we thought.
      I appreciate your sympathy and I do think we are healing. It’s just harder than I ever would have imagined.

      Like

      • Janelle says:

        Ahhh, okay, and thank you. Your affair sounds almost like an addiction to recreational drugs, and getting clean and sober takes time, patience, and commitment to change. I suppose no one ever imagines how hard it will be to quit once they get started.

        Like

  4. let go says:

    Isle, this one breaks my heart. I thought Nephila was wrong to lambast you over and over but I get it now. You cheated and lied to a woman who thought you were loyal to her. If you hadn’t been caught you would still be doing it. How could you? How do you justify doing that to your wife, your marriage. I hope you don’t have children. They become collateral damage.
    I think you are going to contact the ow woman again, and start up again. The affair meets all your romantic ideals. Friendship, love, sex and secrets. How could you? Do you honestly think your wife is going to get over this? She is going to think about this all day, every day for years. She will consider it a good day when she can go for a couple of hours without thinking about it.
    I thought at first that you were so sad because of what you had done to your wife but your grief is over the loss of your lover. What were you thinking? All you had to do was recognize that you were stepping over the line and stopped. Instead you ignored, or never had, boundaries that should have been in place. If you know that you are just going through the motions give your wife a chance to find someone who values her and his word better than this.
    True love means thinking of what is best for the person you love. Obviously you did not love your wife.
    I am so sick of the so called experts that say everyone cheats given the chance. I don’t buy it. Some people honor their word.
    I wish your wife and the husband of the other woman some peace. I hope both of them are happy in their lives.

    Like

    • Anonyman says:

      My wife had a chance, but chose more wisely than I.
      There is no excuse I can give my wife. What you say is true. I betrayed her – the wife who ran from the man she was falling for.
      I will not, however, contact the other woman. I do not wish to do so and I do not want to hurt my wife like that again.
      My wife does consider it a good day when she can go a few hours without thinking about what I did. Fortunately for us both, those days are becoming more common.
      Believe what you like. I know I screwed up and I do not seek any excuses or sympathy for what I did. I’m trying to move on with my life and make my wife happy.

      Like

  5. I completely understand. I’m surprised that a physical/emotional affair isn’t the “norm”. I don’t understand a physical affair without the emotional side but it’s not for me to judge someone who can do that. Actually, they are probably suffering a lot less. They’ve invested less of themselves and their heart is saved. A combination affair is intense and equally painful when it ends especially when you have enough love for your AP and your spouse. Love comes in many forms and many degrees.

    Like

    • Anonyman says:

      That was kind of the thing: I tried to love both, but the heart doesn’t work that way. To give love to my AP, it came from my wife. In the end I hurt both of them which isn’t really loving, is it? Still, the emotion was there, which was my point.
      If you don’t mind my asking, where you the infidel or the loyal spouse?

      Like

      • I had an affair. I do believe I have love for both “him” and my husband. However, the kind of love and degree of that love are different.
        I believe love can take on many forms. Now, I could easily pick that apart and overanalyze it….I’m really good at that. I could ask myself did I really love my husband if I strayed. Or I could ask myself did I really love “him” if I couldn’t leave my husband.
        Someone who hasn’t been in this situation could easily answer no to both of those questions….and I would disagree.
        That’s the craziness that hits in the aftermath and even during an affair. The constant pull both ways. The heart conflicted.

        Like

        • Anonyman says:

          Yes, I completely agree. The constant pull both ways. Feeling like you’re being ripped in two. Feeling like there’s a right decision, but not a good decision because you’ve made everything bad by falling in love with a second person. At least, that’s how I felt. How could you feel that way if you didn’t love them both? I mean, this isn’t Coke vs. Pepsi.

          Like

          • Nephila says:

            It’s zero sum. You give to her, you’re taking from your wife. And of course I stand by the fact if you loved scarlet you wouldn’t want her to be a cheat. So I don’t believe it’s ever really love. It’s limmerance. I don’t doubt you believe it. And I know you don’t get it (or you would hate her, I assure you),

            Like

    • chely5150 says:

      No he didn’t have enough love for both, he was taking away what should of been his wife’s and gave it to HER, leaving the crumbs for his wife. Sometimes us wives get by on crumbs but it’s not by choice, He had a commitment to his wife and he broke it. It’s deliberate deception, and it’s amazing cheaters can look at themselves in the mirror continue. It’s the sign of sociopath or psychopath tendencies, the descriptions confuse me ..

      “Commitment is the ability to remember that you do love someone, even if your not feeling it at the moment.”

      I forget the author but to ME this quote is the sign of someone who respects themselves.

      Like

  6. chely5150 says:

    Yes, I think I understand what you are saying here. Although I am the wife of the cheater. If I may say that at least you are willing to express the feelings you are having (it sounds like with your wife as well?) and are willing to read and educate yourself on how to come out alive on the otherside of infidelity. My husband does not share his thoughts or feelings with me, although our relationship is improving. I applaud your honesty and hope you do share with your wife. I find it helpful to read the thoughts of other cheaters to help in my understanding of situation. One of the hardest parts is when together and enjoying each others company He can suddenly become very quiet, withdrawn with a sad & depressed look on his face. Could be that he is just trying to solve the worlds problems (that would be my hope), but unfortunately I’m afraid that is not so. That he is missing HER, thinking about HER, wishing he was with HER.. He doesn’t say this it’s just a gut feeling (and so far gut feelings have been on the money) And I wonder why he isn’t with HER. On D-day he said he wanted to divorce and I said fine, but by that night he had changed his mind. Did she not want to leave HER husband? Or did mine just figure out it’s cheaper to keep her? Guess I’ll never really know.

    Like

    • Anonyman says:

      Somewhat. I’ve always had a hard time talking and sharing. I find it much easier to write what I’m feeling than to say it, so we’ve been trying that. Of course, the easiest thing is to anonymously post my feelings to strangers on the internet. Even if my readers reject me and think I’m a horrible person, all I have to do is stop posting to my blog and I’m insulated from that rejection. I think that’s kind of what I was doing with the affair – sharing with someone outside of my normal sphere of friends and acquaintances so if things went badly I could tie it off. It never works that way in real life, of course.
      As for your husband, I know that look because I’ve made it often enough. For me at least, there’s no single cause – it could be remembering what I did to my wife, what I did with the other woman, the memory of who she was, or something completely different. Even on the occasions when a memory of the affair comes up, it’s not pleasant. The whole thing is just drenched in shame, regret, guilt, and pain. It’s not easy to talk about either because I’m the cause of the pain I’m feeling and I’m not keen to share either the pain or the cause. After all, who should suffer but the one who caused this whole mess?
      I don’t know how long it’s been for you, but it does pass. He’s made his choice – it’s the right choice, but it’s not an easy choice. There are no easy choices because the affair has ruined pretty much everything. Just getting out of bed in the morning means putting your life back together one piece at a time. And as you both know, that’s hard. But if he’s remorseful, if he’s keeping his word, if he’s being open and honest with his schedule and with his electronic gadgets, then he’s on the right path. I had to give up a lot of freedoms and eat a lot of crow this last year, but it I knew it was the cost of what I did. But more than that, I knew it was what it took to show my wife I loved her and that I could be trusted again someday.

      Like

      • chely5150 says:

        Unfortunately he does not do any of the things that a wondering spouse should do to demonstrate that his words are sincere, remorse, transparency,etc. He does work on spending time together and being much kinder- I will no longer accept the emotional abuse from him. I do think that he wants to do the right thing however I’m not sure if he will be able to, I believe he is a sex addict in addition to the (long term) affair. I tried to leave many years ago – I knew the abuse was wrong (it’s the covert kind) tried twice, but was always lured back. I fell out of love with him (LOVE/HATE) and had severe depression, yet he would not let me go. When I decided if this was my life then I was gonna make it better, and it was better. My love re-ignited. I thought we were on the right track until I discovered his affair. I believe he stopped for a while but I feel like he’s seeing her again.

        I gave myself two years before I would make up my mind, not make any decisions in haste to be regretted. It will be one year next month and I’m still unsure where my life is going. All I know is if I find out he’s still giving me the crumbs – I’m outta here I’ve already wasted too much time with a man that I thought loved me . I deserve better than that. I still cannot understand why he wouldn’t let me go before? Sure sign of a personality disorder, pretty sure of that….oh and having to admit to the rest of the world that he’s been a liar and cheat all along. It;s so sad. I forgave for the past but will not live with the same any longer. I hope you continue to show your wife the real you and work on building a healthy relationship. Snap out of the fog-force yourself or face reality of your actions. It tears everything apart!

        Like

        • Anonyman says:

          That is unfortunate. Even if he’s not having an affair, he is trying to hold onto too much secrecy if he’s not being completely transparent. Has he seen anyone for sex addiction? If he is a sex addict, he needs help. Often times the sex addict is afraid of intimacy and rejection, so instead they seek fulfillment through sex with a “safe” person. That would explain why he wouldn’t let you go – he didn’t want the rejection. It may also explain why he kept the affair going – he didn’t want the rejection of the other woman moving on.
          You’re right, though. You’ve been more than fair and understanding, even forgiving him, but if he isn’t going to make a real change there’s not much else you can do. I hope for both of your sake that he gets the help he needs.

          Like

  7. My husband cheated on me for nearly 3 years. Even after I found out he didn’t finish it and showed more concern for than he did for me. The last straw for me was seeing the text to her saying ‘remember it’s you that I love’. I ended up having a total emotional breakdown and was admitted to a psychiatric ward. Still he continued even though I told him to go. For me it wasn’t the physical betrayal it was the emotional one that hurt the most. He told me he loved us both and felt like he was being torn apart. To me that meant he loved her more or he would have ended it.

    Like

    • Anonyman says:

      I’m sorry he put you through that. I know what he meant, but the truth is that the affair is what’s tearing you both apart. I don’t know that he loved her more so much as he loved himself more and didn’t want to do the right thing for everyone. The right thing was more painful to him than maintaining the awful status quo, so he did what was least painful for him.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes you could be right. Did you treat your wife badly when you were having the affair? When I tried to leave he took an overdose.

        Like

        • Anonyman says:

          Having an affair is treating her badly, but other than that, yes, I was short tempered during the affair. If you’ve read the blog, you know I also struggled with depression and suicidal ideation for a long time, but it was never as a punishment or a cry for attention. As bad as an overdose is, I hope that’s not what he was trying to do.

          Liked by 1 person

          • No he just didn’t know who to choose. I have said to him so many times that the man I married 27 years ago died the moment he embarked on his affair. I lived with a cruel monster for 2+ years. At least now I know that it was his way of justifying his actions. It didn’t help that the woman was a master manipulator and sociopath. His actions towards me are the hardest things for me to understand. I am getting through your blog from the start because I want to see things through your eyes.

            Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s