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POLL RESULTS: Revenge served cold: (29 comments)
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POLL: Revenge served cold

Monday, May 11, 2009 - 12:00 AM

A reader writes...Q: My husband and I became friends with a younger couple in our neighborhood about two years ago. I noticed that the other woman and my husband always sought each other out no matter where we were to talk and be close. He assured me that they were just friends, and I trusted him. After noticing that he was being very sneaky with his cell phone, I ordered copies of his cell-phone records. To my horror, I found that they had been having an "emotional affair" for at least six months. He said it had nothing to do with love, lust or sex, just two friends talking. Here is my problem: My husband is adamant that I not tell her husband. He says he's sorry and that it was a terrible mistake on his part. He has begged me to forgive him, but I don't know if I can ever forgive or forget. Do I just live with it or do I tell her husband and get the revenge I so desperately want?
POLL: Is an "emotional affair" worse than a physical affair?
 
2% (24) I'm female, and I say yes
 
5% (55) I'm female, and I say no
 
9% (96) I'm female, and I say it's the same
 
8% (91) I'm male, and I say yes
 
41% (420) I'm male, and I say no
 
32% (336) I'm male, and I say it's the same
1022 people have voted in this poll. (This poll is not active.)
Khrys
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Mar 2009
Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Monday, May 11, 2009 - 12:44 AM (#47745)

Revenge rarely makes anyone happy in the long term. If you want to tell her husband because you want him informed, by all means go for it. But if you just want to get back at the Other Woman and your husband... Don't. For starters, you and your husband are supposed to be a team. Just because he's forgotten that doesn't mean you should. If you still love him, which I'm assuming you do, you should forgive. Don't forget, but forgive, which means don't throw it in his face constantly, but don't be afraid to look for signs of it happening again down the road.

Secondly, if you want to really get revenge, sleep with HER husband, then get a divorce and take your husband for everything you can get. That's a REAL revenge scheme.

But again, revenge only ends up hurting everyone. If you tell him, tell him for the right reasons, not just to get back at that man-stealing hussy down the road. Tell him because you're concerned about his safety, since people who cheat can bring back sexually transmitted diseases, and if she's done it once, she may well do it again!


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CasualNotice
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Monday, May 11, 2009 - 07:57 AM (#47750)

Okay, first.."Emotional Affair"? Aren't we being a little possessive? If you took standard marriage vows, it's reasonable to expect physical fidelity, but demanding to be your significant other's only emotional outlet is beyond the pale.

You'd do better asking yourself how your lines of communication got so weak that another woman became his primary point of verbal contact.

You'd do best seeking couples' therapy and dragging him with you so you can repair those lines of communication.


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mechgogo
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Monday, May 11, 2009 - 08:28 AM (#47751)

Casualnotice hit it on the head. As your husbands wife you have every right in the world to tell him who he can and cannot be PHY-SI-CALLY intimate with. Expecting to be able to control who he can and can't have an EMOTIONAL relationship with is both unreasonable and indicative of some pretty serious trust and insecurity issues. Best thing you can do for yourself and your marriage is accept that while you are the only person your husband is having sex with, you may not be the only one is emotionally close to. Then get yourself to a counselor. There's some deeper issues going on here if you honestly feel threatened by your husband having a platonic friendship with another woman. And for Gods sake whatever you do DO NOT go to her husband. All you'll be doing is stirring up needless drama and getting everyone involved in the matter very rightly pissed off at you.


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ElBueno
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Monday, May 11, 2009 - 09:03 AM (#47753)

If you distill it down to the spirit, the situation is thus: The husband was doing something with another woman that he didn't want his wife to find out about. That's as good a definition of cheating as I've ever heard. No, it was not sex, and might not even be considered infidelity, but it was still a violation of trust.


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smparadox
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Monday, May 11, 2009 - 11:12 AM (#47755)
In Response to ElBueno (#47753):

Either the husband was doing something that could be considered cheating, or we have an abuser/abused dynamic here that is the opposite of the stereotype - the wife wants to cut off the husband from his friends and family, and is successfully convincing him that he deserves to be controlled. Either way, my advice is to go ahead and get revenge, break up the marriage, and at least one of the two will be better off. Which one depends on which scenario.
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Justaman
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Monday, May 11, 2009 - 12:25 PM (#47759)

No marriage is perfect, and many people feel they should be able to fulfill all thier mates needs but it is not often true, I hold that if you love or lust after another human being other than your spouse physically or emotionally and you take steps to make contact happen, then it is cheating; even if those steps are electronic, otherwise it is not. I once was in a long-term relationship with a woman, and we had an elderly neighbor. After helping her with some chores around the house, we began to be close. She was really cool and I felt that I could get a “woman’s take” on things with years of experience. She treated me like a foster son and a couple nights a week I would go over for dinner (boy could she cook), and even invite her over to watch a DVD with us. My girl eventually became jealous, and even thought I had sexual feelings for her! It was a shame, because I did stop seeing her, and ironically enough, without the advice of a good female friend I found it harder to work through our problems and eventually lost 2 relationships. It is important to have friends of the opposite sex, especially when you are in a relationship, so I wonder exactly what those text messages said that threatened her so much.


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akkhima
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Monday, May 11, 2009 - 12:48 PM (#47760)

I have to disagree with some of the comments here... I think an emotional affair is much worse than a physical affair.

A marriage is not only about who you will have sex with for the rest of your life, it's about who you will be in love with. The words "Honor and obey" are strictly about emotions and love. When you commit to a relationship, you are committing to that, too.

Now, this has nothing to do with who you will be friends with, who you might talk to or who you confide in, but if he had such strong feelings for the woman that he had to hide it? He was definitely stepping outside of "just friends talking".

Whether or not to tell the other woman's husband I'm not so sure on. I think I would want to know if I was that man.


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Azerik
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Monday, May 11, 2009 - 01:52 PM (#47762)

The concept of fidelity in marriage is one very dear to me, and I do admit to having a very strict interpretation of it.

That said, an "emotional affair" is just as much of a betrayal of the marriage contract as a physical one. I'm not talking about being friendly with someone, or having an "emotional connection" it is the intent behind it that matters.

If you are doing all the things involved in cheating *except* actually doing the physical deed, then the infidelity has already happened. While the physical matters, it is the emotional betrayal that the physical act represents that is the real problem.

It is possible for men and women to be friends and not be skirting the line of cheating. If he were simply being friendly with her and possibly being a supportive ear when she was having trouble with her husband that's one thing. Clandestine cell phone conversations...that is what you do in a "real" affair.

Intent is what matters. If you are unhappy enough in your marriage to seek emotional fulfillment outside of it, then you ought to either seek counseling or start divorce proceedings because you have one foot out the door already.

As for the revenge, forget it. When you divorce him it will come out anyway. If you don't divorce, then it serves no real purpose. The other guy will find out about his wife's proclivities eventually.


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ErikTheRed
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Monday, May 11, 2009 - 02:53 PM (#47763)
In Response to Azerik (#47762):

Wow. This is messed up on so many levels it's like an Escher drawing. Let's just go through the problems here:

1) Your husband feels he can't let you know that he has a female friend.

2) Your husband has a female friend anyway.

3) You don't feel you can ask your husband if he has a female friend, you have to go sneaking through his cell phone records.

4) You throw a conniption fit when you find out that your husband is doing something that he should reasonably be able to do.

What the hell is an "Emotional Affair" anyway? Do you both think that when you get married you're not allowed to feel emotions towards anyone else? Are you a couple of die-hard, deeply committed Trekkie Vulcan Cosplay lifestyle freaks or something?

You see, for the rest of us in the human race, we have these things called "friends." Sometimes they're the same gender as us. Sometimes they're the other gender. And sometimes you live in places where they try to create additional genders, but that doesn't seem to be in play here. Anyway, once you have these friends you often wind up discussing things like the weather, your respective lives, baseball games, and your feelings about the weather, baseball, and your lives. This is normal. There's nothing wrong with it. In fact, it's deeply messed up not to have these sorts of relationships and interactions. Your life will not be complete without them.

So we get to the two of you. You both have very serious problems. Your husband is a henpecked wuss who lets your smother him and deny him a life and then apologizes to you for having one. This is very bad - he needs therapy stat. However, you're a jealous, vindictive little shrew with anger management issues and that's much worse. Should you get divorced? Certainly, because he deserves much better than you.


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TheOriginalJes
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Monday, May 11, 2009 - 05:02 PM (#47764)

-"... or do I tell her husband and get the revenge I so desperately want?"-

So who are you really mad at, anyway?

Do you think that disrupting another marriage, even if it is already as messed up as your own, will make *your* husband feel the pain you feel?

What if he's been telling you the truth? If you go blabbing, how do you know that you aren't setting off a wife-beater bomb?

Have you ever considered that, if you are friends with both of them, that you should act the part and talk to the wife?

There's a lot you haven't told us about the situation. The only thing you're clear on, is that you want to hurt others.

Think about that for a while, then get back to us.


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Bdave
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Monday, May 11, 2009 - 05:46 PM (#47765)

yeah this sounds messed up, WTF is an "emotional affair" anyway?
now look if your husband is talking to her and telling you things he doesn't tell you well.. all I have to ask is.. How often do you and your husband talk?

not about making plans etc, I mean solid honest to god conversations?

because guys need a willing sympathetic ear to listen to em, and they need to be the "strong sympathetic male ear for a female" from time to time too.

BTW it seems to me wanting revenge on the other woman is OUT OF PLACE.
don't blame her for your husbands actions.


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Veldan
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Monday, May 11, 2009 - 10:02 PM (#47766)
In Response to akkhima (#47760):

Did it ever occur to you that maybe he hid it from his wife because he was expecting this exact reaction?

---

Not a good sign for the relationship and they definately need to work on their communication, without further information though you can't leap to a conclusion.

Unless those messages were saying "I love you, i will always be with you" i think you may be over reacting to the whole situation.

Perhaps talk to your husband first?


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darkraven911
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Monday, May 11, 2009 - 10:26 PM (#47767)

What we have here is *ahem* a failure to communicate.

It's on both sides. What no one seems to have touched on yet is that if he is looking elsewhere for an emotional connection, then there may be other problems in the marriage at large. He should not be sneaking around, no doubt, but she also might want to try and figure out why he is so in need of such a connection that he needs to be shady about it.

I would strongly recommend couples counseling. There may be unresolved issues in both parties that could be addressed. This shouldn't be about revenge, but about measureing of the health of the marriage and acting accordingly.


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Caffeine
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Tuesday, May 12, 2009 - 07:38 AM (#47771)

What the hell is an "emotional affair"??? Is he in love with her or are they friends? Or is there any other option I am not aware of?

Apart from these questions, I think the more important question is why your husband felt he had to lie to you/hold information from you. Are you maybe driving him away?


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Jorn
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Tuesday, May 12, 2009 - 07:45 AM (#47772)

Disclaimer: This is purely theoretical, and I am posting it purely to offer an alternate perspective:

My wife and I became friends with a younger couple in our neighborhood about two years ago. The other wife and I became friendly, and would spend time talking whenever we all got together. My wife took note of this and confronted me about my contact with the other wife. I assured her that we are just friends, which is in fact the case, but it was obvious she didn't believe me, and regardless wanted me to cease all contact.

  I chose not to, but to avoid drawing the ire of my wife, I did not go out of my way to draw attention to the fact that I had a female friend who was not her. This seemed to be working well, as my wife didn't bring up the subject again for almost six months, after which she comes at me with a copy of my cell phone statement (not sure how / why she had it) accusing me of having an affair! I told her this was not the case, that my friendship had nothing to do with love, lust, or sex, but she refused to believe me, demanding I beg for her forgiveness. Now she's threatening to tell the other husband that I've been having an affair with his wife, apparently hoping to break up their marriage and get me beaten. I can tell she wants to hurt me. Should I try counseling- try to save my marriage, or should I just try and move on, and maybe find someone who doesn't think that having a friend equates to having an affair?


--
Sa souvraya niende missain ye; I am lost in my own mind.
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TheOriginalJes
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Tuesday, May 12, 2009 - 11:17 AM (#47774)
In Response to Jorn (#47772):

Maybe you could ask you wife if she also reads Courting-Disaster...


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Lachesis
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Tuesday, May 12, 2009 - 11:34 AM (#47775)

ok, is it just me, or are most of the male responses here beating on the wife's actions because THEY happen to be clueless?

yes, Virginia, there IS such a thing as "emotional infidelity". it's when your SO starts talking, texting, e-mailing on the sly to someone else, investing time and devotion to that person and making sure that you, the other half of the supposed pair, are unaware of the interactions.

yes, it's possible that communication between the two of you, as a couple, isn't as strong as it once was. OR it might just be the other party's mid-life crisis and desire to recapture the "lost virility" of their past and their might-have-beens.

it might even be the (unintentional) groundwork that's leading up to The Real Thing infidelity.

and "forbidding friends of the opposite gender" can even be a non-issue.

i didn't have to check on phone records; my husband is terrible at being a liar, and admitted everything the first time i confronted him. i've never curtailed his friends and acquaitances. he just decided that an old "dated when we were kids" who resurfaced recently might deserve a little more follow-up. (i'll give her the credit for putting the brakes on anything physical. it's a wonder she still wants to talk to him, really.)

emotional infidelity could probably be described as an extraordinarily selfish desire to have your own emotional wants and desires fulfilled, without caring if your partner is left out of the loop.

women, by the way, can be as prone to it as men. in fact, i'm sure there are previous threads around here that are classic examples. so guys, quit stomping on the women for being "controlling bitches". it's so far from the truth, it ain't funny.


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Azerik
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Tuesday, May 12, 2009 - 12:22 PM (#47776)

An "emotional affair" is (to my mind at least) one that exhibits all the symptoms of a "normal" affair, but without the actual physical consummation. That woman that you met in World of Warcraft that you have been playing with for hours upon hours while ignoring your real spouse, long intimate conversations in game, phone calls out of game, exchange of email, perhaps a little "cybering"...*that* is an emotional affair. There is no actual physical cheating, but all the intent behind it is there.

Ultimately sex is important in marriage not for the actual mechanics of it, but for the emotional intimacy that it represents. So if you are engaging in that level of emotional intimacy with someone else it really is an "affair" even if you haven't actually gotten naked together.

Now, on this particular individual situation, I don't think that enough information is provided for anyone to make a really accurate judgment. My take on the situation is that the wife *is* being overly controlling and is probably blowing this out of proportion, but likely the husband has crossed that invisible line that demarcates the "friend" boundary.

While it is possible for men and women to be friends and just friends, the extra dimension that is introduced by the possibility of a sexual encounter means that there is a line that would be considered "cheating" if it were crossed (note: I imagine the same could apply to homosexual situations, but I have no experience there so I'm just gonna deal with what I know).

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, has feathers like a duck...it's probably a duck even if it hasn't actually hopped in the pond and gone swimming yet.

And for the record, I'm a guy. I detest the entire idea of infidelity and I don't think that physical consummation is necessary to make it infidelity.


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TheOriginalJes
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Tuesday, May 12, 2009 - 04:43 PM (#47777)
In Response to Lachesis (#47775):

Maybe everyone (you too, Lachesis) could try staying with the actual post.

She is certain that it IS an emotional affair. She BELIEVES she is right and he is wrong. She WANTS revenge. She's ASKING if she should get it.

Most of the comments are speculation as to the nature of her belief. Her question is about what to do next.

If you want to know why she believes what she believes, ask. If it's important enough, she'll leave a reply.


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Veldan
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Tuesday, May 12, 2009 - 08:03 PM (#47780)
In Response to TheOriginalJes (#47777):

That's true Jes.
However, i think the advice for her actions was given and these posts are simply moving on from it.

Basically, she shouldn't be looking for revenge, she should instead confront her husband in a more open, less accusing manner OR talk directly to the other woman and find out if whatever emotions her husband is having are being returned (why harm an innocent woman? To her the messages could just be idle chit chat) before she goes running to the other womans husband.

In any case, revenge is a petty action that leaves no one feeling better. It often hurts but playing the role of the bigger person and overcoming this as a couple or moving on would be the wiser path.


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TheOriginalJes
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Tuesday, May 12, 2009 - 08:53 PM (#47781)
In Response to Veldan (#47780):

I know.

It was a not-so-subtle jab at Lachesis for being the only one guilty of what she's complaining about.


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TheOriginalJes
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Tuesday, May 12, 2009 - 08:54 PM (#47782)
In Response to TheOriginalJes (#47781):

And, I'll admit, it was poorly worded. It was the end of my workday.


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stuckinontario
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Wednesday, May 13, 2009 - 10:24 AM (#47785)

I think what he's done is worse, but I may be biased as I've recently gone through a similar situation with my ex.

After having two kids, we'd grown apart a bit in recent years. She met some new guy from her work at a staff party & started hanging out with him a lot before eventually leaving me, all the while protesting that they were "just friends" whenever I confronted her about their relationship. It was becoming clear that she was avoiding me & preferred to spend her time with him instead, & that was where the problems started. Friends I'm OK with, but this was something else - something more.

Only after moving out did she change her story, admitting that she has feelings for him, & although I do believe that the relationship wasn't a physical one, the way she behaved over the last few months screamed "affair" & certainly hurt, even if it was only an emotional one.

So, yeah. To me, having a physical affair pales in comparison to an emotional one, since it speaks more of intent. Forming an emotional bond usually takes a lot more effort than simply hopping into bed with someone, & therefore the betrayal cuts far deeper.


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femme
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Wednesday, May 13, 2009 - 01:39 PM (#47788)

I'm not sure anyone else has commented that he's lied to her (not just "hidden something") about what he's been doing for half a year.

I'm amused at the poll results at this point--over half then men voting think that an emotional affair isn't a big deal. I'm going to go ahead and say that it is. This is straight out of psych101--men go nuts when women sleep with someone else, but women can forgive it if their man makes that mistake. Women, on the other hand, go nuts when their man has an emotional affair with someone else. So maybe this isn't such a big deal to the man, but it certainly is to the woman; she feels like he would if she'd slept with someone else. She's half the relationship, so in terms of what it's going to do to their relationship, it really is comparable to a physical affair.


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femme
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Re: Revenge served cold (Score: 1)
posted Wednesday, May 13, 2009 - 01:42 PM (#47789)
In Response to femme (#47788):

After reading other comments: yes, someone did mention lying; yes, I was off topic, and I apologize for that.


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