(Closed) I’m having an emotional affair with a married man and I feel utterly lost.

posted 7 years ago in Relationships
Post # 3
1022 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

Please, please PLEASE go to counseling. THIS WEEK. You’re not a bad person, and God doesn’t hate you. But you NEED someone who can help you through this, week by week. I promise it will help.

Post # 4
5993 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2010

so you have never actually met this person?  although you are in an emotional affair – you are not the person who is breaking marriage vows so this is not all your fault, you are not morally obliged to be faithful whereas he is so put some of the guilt where it belongs

either way please speak to a professional and work on your own emotional and physical health, you cant be expected to carry someone elses baggage in your current situation

Post # 5
2496 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

I agree.  You aren’t the only one at fault here.  However, you need to stop immediately, get help, and let him know that it’s done.  I would also suggest that you change phone numbers, and tell someone in your life about it so they can hold you accountable to not have ANY more contact with him.

He will have to decide on his own how to handle his own guilt and whatnot.  You don’t need to do anything other than stop contacting him in ANY format, and get some counseling yourself.

Post # 7
1022 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

@GuiltyGuiltyGuilty: I know it will be the hardest thing for you, but this is really his battle and essentially you don’t even know him. You are young, you will find love. Even if he had never entered the picture, you would be a serious candidate for counseling because you are going through TOO MUCH. Bulimia, self esteem issues, depression, parent’s divorcing, etc- you need help. You will be so glad you did.

In the mean time, I suggest you do confide in a close friend or family member- as a PP said. They will be able to “have your back” so to speak, and be there for you when your therapist can’t. You CAN’T do this alone…but you CAN do this.

Post # 8
2496 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

@GuiltyGuiltyGuilty: Honestly, the easiest way to break it off is by saying, “sorry, I can’t do this anymore, figure it out for yourself.” And then getting someone to hold you accountable to NOT talk to him.  You can’t do this alone.

Plus, yeah I know his wife sounds like she’s neglecting him, but really, do you know that?  Do you know her side of things?  Have you seen them together?  Either way, it’s wrong cause he chose her and is committed to her.  And would you honestly really want to be with someone who cheats on the person they committed to?  How do you know he’s not also calling other girls behind YOUR back.

Really, hun, he’s NOT worth it.  However much you care for him, he’s not caring for you by using you for emotional support when that’s not your job, and he’s definitely not caring for his wife.  Do you really want to spend this much time and energy into a person like that?

Post # 9
6256 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2014

You DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT need a man in your life right now. Married, attached, or single. You sound like you have WAY too many issues. We all do at some point, but do you really think it’s fair to Ryan for you to be bringing this amount of crazy to the table when he sounds like he has his own crazy to worry about right now? And vice versa, do you think it’s fair to you to be his emotional dumping ground?

Let’s even set aside the elephant in the room that is HIS MARRIAGE TO A WOMAN THAT ISN’T YOU. You are having a really, really rough time in your life right now. Do you have any idea what it’s like when two people who are both this mentally unstable get involved with one another? You’re in for a real Sid and Nancy good time, complete with broken dishes, screaming and possibly physical abuse. Women who grow up being abused tend to attract abusers. Do you really want to be with someone who’s fragile in this way? Not saying he WOULD ever hurt you, but if his emotions are such that he’s stepping out on his wife, going into fits of depression, etc…the odds are probably much higher.

Think about this. When you are hurting, are you going to want someone who’s there and ready to comfort you, or someone who will just tell you to go away because they have their own shit, or that you DONT EVEN KNOW WHAT REAL PAIN IS, or that they can’t handle being your rock because they’re just sinking sand, too?

Let Ryan go so that he can work on himself, too. Nothing I know of God suggests he would ever bless a relationship like this, so you’re not only holding one another back in mental health, you’re poisoning one another spiritually, as well. 

I had basically this same relationship in my early 20s. I started out with 8 plates, 8 saucers, and 8 glasses. It was incredibly dysfunctional and sometimes violent; at the end I had one plate remaining. I keep it with me, even though it has no mate left, to remind me not to ever, ever again do what you’re doing now. Work on your own self for the time being. It’s the best investment you’ll ever make, and it will make you worthy of someone who also has HIS shit together. Once you’ve removed the toxic influences from your life, the crazy will begin to abate and you will feel better, I promise.

Post # 10
10714 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2012

I don’t put all the blame on you… I put a lot more of it on him. Married means for better or worse and if he needs out he needs to let his wife know he needs out not cheat on her emotionally and hurting 2 people in the process. First of all, he was married but on an erotic website picking people up? I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a few other girls he was talking to on the side. I met my ex Fiance while he was still with his g/f before me and we ended up sleeping together that first day… guess what!? He did the same thing to me a few years down the road… I follow that rule “if they cheat with you they’ll cheat on you”. I know you don’t need that pain, you can do better than a married man who hangs out on the internet to meet girls. Please cut him off and focus on you.

Post # 11
4803 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@Ms.Pink: This exactly. Even before this situation it sounds like you were in desperate need of counseling, please go get yourself the help you’re crying out for.

And a couple of things I hope you’ll consider:

-You don’t know anything about his wife. Only what he tells you – you don’t actually know her and have absolutely no way of knowing if what he tells you about her is the truth.

-Even if it is the truth, he chooses every day to stay married to her and keep you as a secret on the side. And that says a lot.


Somehow you’re convinced that this is all your fault, that you’ll make his depression worse, leave him in a time of need, etc. But none of this is your responsibility, because he is married, and he is the one who has betrayed his wife. Yeah, I’m sure he says that he’s planning on leaving her, but there will always be an excuse for why he can’t do it right now. You will never be this guy’s priority – even if you were, he sounds like a jerk and I would never be able to trust him. Walk away. Get counseling.

Post # 12
677 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

You are not the person he needs to fix his life, and he is not the person you need in yours. You care about each other but its not doing either of you any good in the long run. I went to counselling when I was having stress and panic attacks and it really helped, and I think both you and “Ryan” should get it. Its not going to be easy, but you are already aware that there is no future for the two of you. Maybe his marriage is awful, but thats his job to fix, and you need to step out of it. You need to work on you and not worry about anyone else for a long time. Find some good friends and keep yourself busy, maybe a pet. Loneliness is a killer and will wear you down, keep good, positive, uplifting company all around you. I will pray for you tonight, that you find the kind of people in your life who will help you heal.

Post # 13
706 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Please get counseling now. Please try and let go of this incredible burden of guilt and self-loathing that you are carrying around with you. You are punishing yourself more than anybody could ever punish you. You really need to see someone about this, regardless of what happens with you and Ryan. I wish you the very best and envision a future with you happy, contented, with someone who treats you with the love and respect you deserve and most importantly, a future with YOU treating yourself with the love and respect you deserve.

Post # 14
1686 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

The self-flagellation needs to stop. Comparing yourself to Biblical whores is way over the line into melodrama land.  Okay, so you made a mistake taking up an online affair with a purportedly married man. I say purportedly because what we do know for 100% sure about “Ryan” is that he’s untrustworthy. (He’s e-cheating on his wife.)

It really sounds to me like “Ryan” is using you for his own emotional excitement (and some phone-fun sexy time). That’s the whole point of emotional affairs–the rollercoaster of ups and downs, want and need, and the guilt, too. It’s the excitement of “new love” wrapped in one big old fantasy package where nobody ever has morning breath and everybody always wears their sexy undies. It’s both intoxicating and toxic.

What I mean is, the Ryan that exists in your head is not the real Ryan, the day-to-day Ryan. It’s an amalgamation of the best bits of Ryan, the ones that he has shown you online, and your own ideals and fantasies. His “Guilty” is the same thing–99.44% fantasy girl.

He has no right to use you like that. (And, conversely, you have no right to use him like that.) The relationship may be based  on fantasy, but the emotions and guilt are very real, and this interaction is wrecking you. You need to end it.

But you know that.

I’m not really sure what you’re looking for in your post here. Absolution? Advice?

My advice is to explain gently, but firmly, to Ryan that this relationship is emotionally destructive to you, and ask him not to contact you any more. Block his phone number, block him on IM. Set up a filter so his emails go directly to spam. Either avoid any online communities where the both of you hang out or make a new account.

Then make a plan to get yourself out of your house, because that sounds like a toxic situation. (Why are you, as an adult, still living with people that physically abused you?) Find a job, find an apartment. Standing on your own two feet and taking care of yourself is a pretty big injection into the self-esteem pipeline.

Join a support group for abuse survivors. Join a support group for people with eating disorders. Build yourself a life and community offline.

You do need to talk to somebody professionally. Not because you’re having an online affair with a married man, but because of your home situation, your self-esteem issues, and the unmet emotional needs that landed you in this situation. 

If you don’t have/can’t afford a psychologist, if you’re in college (not sure, from your first post, whether you still are) there should be a student counselling service of some kind. (My sister got marriage counselling at her college through student services, so they deal with more stuff than just academics.)

Otherwise, it sounds like you are fairly religious, so your pastor may be someone you could talk to. (Or if you feel uncomfortable going to your pastor with this, maybe visit another church of your denomination nearby and speak to that pastor.)

A good friend of mine went through something similar, except both she and the guy were married. At its roots, it came down to her being lonely and unfulfilled. My friend got into therapy, worked it out, fixed her marriage, and now she’s really happy. No idea what happened to the guy. He spent a few weeks trashing her online when she ended it, then picked up a new online gf and faded away.

So it’s not just you. I’d hazard that this kind of thing happens a lot, but people don’t talk about it, for the obvious reasons.

Post # 15
3520 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

Part of the problem with meeting someone online is that they can tell you anything they want.  How do you know any of what he is telling you is true?  You are coming undone over someone who is telling you all of this but who has never sat down with you face-to-face… think about that for a second.  Imagine that Ryan is a lonely 56 year old man who is doing this just to have fun… how does that make you feel?  It’s entirely possible.

That said, I agree with PPs that encourage you to go to counseling.  Please work on being happy with yourself, then worry about everyone else.

Post # 16
4415 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

I was in your place several years ago… Not with a married man, but with a man who was in and out of a relationship with a girlfriend. We also met in an erotica site. We also texted all the time, phoned, emailed the whole thing… So I understand how powerful that kind of romance can be… but it’s a fantasy. It’s not real, no matter how real it seems, it is fiction based on pure fantasy.  And it is extremely addictive. EXTREMELY!

I’m not going to let you off the hook. But this man is not the man you think he is. He’s a lying, cheating, selfish, pervert. He is a preditor who is preying on you to get his kinks satisfied on the side. Of course, he’s going to tell you that his wife won’t satisfy his needs, because by telling you that, you feel sorry for him and he doesn’t seem like such a bad person. He’s going to seem wonderful, supportive, etc., because that gets him what he wants–an illicit fantasy affair on the side that he’s able to keep a secret from his wife. 

Here’s another thing you might not have thought of… He might not even be married. The guys you meet on those erotic websites will lie about those kinds of things so that they never have to take the fantasy to another level. I know this, because the guy I was involved with told me he was married at first. And later told me that telling me that he was married rather than living with his girlfriend was easier and safer for him, because he could always end it by saying he wanted to work on and commit to his marriage, and he knew I would accept that because I was a good person… It’s less messy, and it kept a kind of emotional distance there to make it easier to end things.

Same thing with his health issue. He might not be sick at all. It might be a way to suck you in and make you feel sorry for him. That keeps you hooked, but gives him another out if he wants to end it with you. He can use his “illness” as an excuse for not contacting you for days or weeks, and you’ll be understanding and forgiving because afterall, he is sick and you can’t hold that against him. He can’t control that, he’s suffering. 

And this thing about how he had given his wife an ultimatum a year go…that he had been planning to leave her all along…  Why hadn’t he mentioned this before? If it were true, he’d be in the process of getting a divorce now, and he would have told you about it before–after all, the two of you do support each other emotionally, right? 

I’m sorry this is so harsh, but I think someone needs to show you the harsh realities of this fantasy relationship. I’m not letting you off the hook. You need to end it with this man, because he isn’t real. He will steal time from you life, he will feed on your fears, he will make you feel dependent on him, and he will never be the real-life man you deserve. 

It’s an easy little trap to fall into, because these guys know exactly what they’re doing to keep their little online kink going–building a commitment without a real commitment… 

Don’t let him steal any more of your life, because if you continue with him, you’ll be in exactly the same place years from now, no closer to a real relationship and more committed to him than ever–constantly living on the edge of a life, but always disconnected, afraid to lose what you don’t really have. 

You deserve more… 

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