An emotional affair leads to divorce

Marriages end in all sorts of ways. Sometimes marriages end in big dramatic ways (Sandra Bullock?). Sometimes marriages deteriorate over time until something happens and one spouse says enough is enough. It’s the straw that breaks the camel back. As Kristi, over at Divorce to Happiness says, when that something happens you know it’s the end. Pippi’s (@runpippirun) marriage had been in trouble for a long time. Knowing her husband’s personality, Pippi was convinced she’d have to be capable of supporting herself if she ever did leave and she spent several years working out a way to leave. Then she had an affair. It wasn’t physical but it brought Pippi to the point of no return. Here’s Pippi:

I was having an emotional affair with a man I thought was my soul mate. We were exchanging emails and we would see each other on a somewhat regular basis. We were part of the same religious community and we would see each other there.

We didn’t see each other as a couple but I had known him for 10 years. He was my former gynecologist. Obviously, with physicians, you don’t date your patients, so I left his practice. I just always had a deep attraction to him. I felt he was my soul mate and I wanted to be with him.

I had a couple of drinks one night and just kind of blurted out to my ex-husband, “I don’t want to be married to you anymore. I’m not happy.” I didn’t say anything at the time about the gynecologist.

After I moved out of the house, I did start dating this man. Then my ex confronted me and asked if I was seeing someone. I said I was and I told him who it was. It was awful. I wish I hadn’t told him because my ex and him ran in the same circles. My ex had kind of looked up to him in the community and for me to date this person was a complete slap in his face.

I dated this guy for a couple of months and found out he was not to be. He was not my soul mate but he was the grease that got me out the door. I didn’t leave my husband for this man but if this man had not been in my life, I don’t think I would have left.

Pippi posted her confession of her affair to her blog. I know there are some who would say that since her relationship with the gynecologist wasn’t physical, then it wasn’t an affair but I’m with Pippi – infidelity doesn’t have to involve sex. Some marriages are able to withstand an affair, for others, an affair brings the marriage to an end.

T has a long series on her own affair posted at Quest for T. I give T a lot of credit for writing this. It was obviously painful and difficult for her to write and then to be willing to put it out on the Internet for all to read.

I am guilty of dating a couple of married guys (true Mr. Unavailables) before I was married. Once I was married though my perspective changed (no surprise there, really). I have been of the mindset that if you’re considering an affair, then it’s time for some serious discussions with your spouse and a marriage therapist BEFORE it happens. Now, I’m wondering, is it really as black and white as that? Aren’t there circumstances, when an affair is understandable?  What would you do?

On a lighter note … did Sandra Bullock know of her husband’s infidelity when this photo was snapped? What was she going to do with that Oscar? What was she saying?

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  • momma sunshine

    Sometimes I think that a physical affair is a lot easier to recover from than an emotional one. I had an affair, too, at the end – it was 90% emotional, only 10% physical (we didn't "go all the way" – as if that matters in the end). I think that it was the emotional connection that I had with this man that showed me what I was lacking in my own marriage, and helped me to decide, finally, that it was time to leave.

  • StudentMama

    mommasunshine is right. I haven't written about my own emotional attachment to another man in my marriage, but I will. It hurt my (ex)husband dearly. When our good friends got divorced, that's when freckles had his affairs – one was physical, the other emotional. Honestly, the emotional one was harder to deal with for me. However, it really brought to life how much was lacking in our relationship. Freckles and I care about each other deeply, but I think the hardest part is that there is just nothing there for a relationship to grow. Freckles doesn't feel that way, but I do…because even when I'm with him – I feel the need to be with someone else. That might be my own issue, but it also is a problem with our dynamic…in terms of chemistry and love – there is something lacking.

    Affairs…while devestating to a family (i know first hand), well…they MEAN something. It is an opportunity to grow, or move on. So while I agree that a conversation should be happening BEFORE the affair takes place…I agree, somewhat, that they provide a lesson to us either about ourselves or our relationship.

    • SinceMyDivorce

      Good point – affairs always MEAN something – that something may not always be obvious. I hope you will share yours, when you're ready.

    • Dubya

      I like that statement in response to affairs… either emotional or physical… grow or move on. But guess it seems these days it's a lot easier for people to "move on" that really try and grow though…

      My emotional growth has come post marriage. While my ex and i both have baggage, I do wish I pushed both of us to fight for our marriage a bit more than we did. I regret not fighting more and I am pretty sure she regrets it now too. I also regret not being a better husband. I assumed a lot of things and didn't let her know how much I cherished and valued her as a partner. I regret not telling her how much she turned me on and how much I appreciated her. I also regret my affair and her affairs. I guess it's little problems that erode into bigger problems that become too big to fix. I think the kindness and communication that successful marriages have are the things that can patch those problems and prevent them from becoming bigger.

      • SinceMyDivorce

        Hi Dubya – it sounds like you've grown a lot post-marriage. I think it's tempting to wonder if you would have been able to save your marriage if you had made those discoveries sooner but it is more productive to think in terms of how you can use that in future relationships. Are you still in touch with your ex? Have your realizations changed your relationship with her?

  • Lillian Selak Ostrowski

    If you come back after an affair that saved you from leaping off a bridge and it still doesn’t work… you suffocate anew. I love him but want to gag during she .