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Emotional vs. Physical Affair

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SK1976 posted 7/18/2013 11:28 AM

What do you think is worse - an emotional affair or physical affair? Which do you think is tougher to get over? My husband committed an emotional affair, and in trying to decide what to do (R vs. D) I find myself trying to justify that an emotional affair isn't as bad. What do you think?

OldCow18 posted 7/18/2013 11:34 AM

Idk, my WH husband had a PA, with no feelings whatsoever. The fact that he could turn it off so quickly is helping me in regards to R, but I think any kind of A is bad, not sure one is worse than the other.

So, while I sit and have the mind movies of his hands on her, I take .01% of comfort that she didn't have his heart.

confused615 posted 7/18/2013 11:39 AM

Betrayal is betrayal. It all hurts. It's been said that the "worst betrayal" is the one you are dealing with.

It all sucks.

ETA: There are alot of BS's who come to SI and believe their WS "only" had an emotional affair...only to find out later it was a PA.

Usually if the WS and AP are in close proximity,it turns out to be a PA.

[This message edited by confused615 at 11:40 AM, July 18th (Thursday)]

1Faith posted 7/18/2013 11:57 AM

IMO, there is no worse. They both suck.

They are both acts of betrayal. They both rip your heart out.

You are hurt and we all want our WS to be better than they were/are during the A.

Completely normal to try and justify the A, especially when you decide to R.

Good luck. Read all you can in the Healing Library.


KeepCalm_CarryOn posted 7/18/2013 12:11 PM

This tends to come up every so often and you'll get a wide variety of answers but much like confused said, betrayal is betrayal. Really, in the end, it hurts either way, infidelity is infidelity.

Reality posted 7/18/2013 12:15 PM

There isn't a "worse." There are issues particular to each: STDs, etc. But they both are betrayals, both horrifically painful, and can tear down trust and a relationship just the same.

Whether a spouse is using sex with other people to fill a void or emotional connection with other people to do the same, it ends up looking the same from where we all stand.

Broken is broken is broken.

I will full out admit that I'm relieved my WH's multiple affairs were not PAs, but that's because sex is a massively loaded issue with me starting with CSA connections. I've done the conflicted about sex bit; no more thanks.

I will also full out admit that the language, the THINGS my WH said to all those women, will haunt me just as much as my memories of prior physical abuse. "Being drawn to you more than anyone ever in my life" being offered to someone else and telling them how controlling I am while I'm sleeping trustingly cuddled in bed against him. Telling me I'm beautiful and mean everything to him and telling all of them how he's never been happy with me.

Shrug. A kiss or sweet words. Spending time in bed or spending all day talking to them. It's still all giving other people things that betray everything we trusted.

LearningToFly posted 7/18/2013 12:25 PM

My WS had an EA. It really hurts because he has had a problem with being emotionally close throughout our marriage. His affair was mostly online with a girlfriend from the past (38 years past). They met in person twice. He really believed that he was connecting emotionally with her and she was meeting all his needs. To this day, I can feel that he believes he has lost the love of his life. He said some very hurtful to me things in his emails to her, things like he never felt love the way he did with her, that he understood now what the feelings a person should have to marry and he didn't have them with me, that he married me because he was confused, that he wanted to be a better man than he is with me so he is working on honesty. They also shared sexual fantasies and got "tingly." I read all those emails and now he says I am taking them out of context. Ugh.

Ironically, it was after he told me about the affair - claiming that he wanted to commit to our marriage again, he met up with her in person for a second time to "say good-bye" He says he held hands with her as they walked on the beach, read her a poem claiming that she was his soulmate and it was "a waste of love" that they couldn't be together and kissed her. To me, he may as well have slept with her, he lied to me and kept the lie a secret. I found out when reading the secret email account 6 weeks later.

Cheating is cheating. For some reason, some people give a pass to EAs. I think they are just as damaging.

Your husband was unfaithful to you. He broke your marriage vows. You don't have to decide to R or D yet. How is your husband behaving now? Can you talk to a counselor?

[This message edited by LearningToFly at 4:54 PM, July 18th (Thursday)]

darklilly23 posted 7/18/2013 13:53 PM

I think like some people say often a EA is just a PA waiting to happen.

My stbxh always said "why can't we move to OWs state?" As if my distrust proved I was wrong and a bad person.

So after things went to heck and he is "exploring his feelings with OW"
He says "well the difference is that I am no where near her."

To which I said "oh yah, what the he!! Do you think would be happing now if she lived in the same city?"

DEAD Silence....

Him- "well I glad we don't have to deal with that".

Lol like it was pea sized hail or something....

[This message edited by darklilly23 at 2:02 PM, July 18th (Thursday)]

wanttogoforward posted 7/18/2013 14:43 PM

I don't think I can compare them.... everyone has their own opinion.... but they both hurt like hell... I've been through both.... and this last EA was the straw that broke the camels back... and up till then I'd been a very strong "camel"... it nearly destroyed me.... still don't think it would've been much different if he'd had sex with her...who knows... maybe someday I'll discover it was also sexual...

Either way it's the most painful thing to ever go through...

HurtButHopeful? posted 7/18/2013 15:10 PM

I don't know which is worse. My H had an EA, and it shattered me. He FIL with OW, rewrote our M history and told her details about our M life, and about me. Then he asked me for a D to M her.

Had he had sex with her, and not L her, I would still have been devastated every time we were intimate.

With an EA, my only consolation is that at least she didn't get that part of him. Also, I don't have to deal with mind movies, or compare myself to her physically.

stunnedin12 posted 7/18/2013 15:19 PM

DarkLilly23 ---- like it was pea sized hail or something....

For some reason this really struck my funny bone!

ANYWAY - he betrayed me. He lied to me, he continued to lie to me, he tried to make me think it was all in my head. He tore our marriage into bits and did it in the name of "fixing me".

EA is awful because he used to get that shitty grin on his face when a text would come in. (the a*ss)

PA is awful because I am the only one who is supposed to have his hands on my body.

Deanna posted 7/18/2013 15:56 PM

My husband had an EA and they kissed. The kiss didn't bother me near as much as the EA part of it. All the lies, changing marial history, treating me like shit, the fun he had, calling her his best friend, well I think you get the idea.
Had he have had the EA and slept with her it would have been a deal breaker. And yes, I do believe and EA is just a PA waiting to happen.

sickofthelies posted 7/18/2013 16:17 PM

My FWH had an EA and It was so difficult to deal with because he was emotionally connected to another women. From what I've experienced that seems far worse to recover from than a PA. I think it makes it harder for a WS to disconnect from the AP.

cannotheal90 posted 7/19/2013 13:44 PM

When my H cheated, it seemed to have begun as as emotional affair and then escalated. In my opinion, any emotional affair has a very high possibility to become a physical affair. To me, it was worse knowing my husband was connecting with someone else on a level we never achieved. I would have preferred him have a one night stand with 5 people than that. That probably sounds horrible but that is how I feel.

purplebreeze posted 7/19/2013 17:16 PM

My husband had an EA. I found out before it was physical, but knowing about the sexting they shared, the feelings, what was going on in his life etc (all things he wasn't sharing with me) was horrible. He told me that his friends, his work, his family etc were none of my business. To this day, I will not ask a question about any of these or start a conversation. If he chooses to talk (and he is sharing more), I listen. I can't even see him naked in parts of our bedroom without thinking about the photos he shared with her.

MediumRare posted 7/19/2013 17:21 PM

Comparing EA to PA is almost like asking what is better- being shot in the head with a shotgun or rifle.

Interesting thing is how many WS's chose to do both.

pewpewpew posted 7/19/2013 17:44 PM

Betrayal is betrayal.

It does not make any other situation less if there was sex or no sex. Or whether there was 'love' or no love.

The fact is someone we trusted, shared our life with - deceived us. Betrayed us. Lied to us.

I could deal with infidelity. I am human (although have NEVER cheated) and see where WS choose the wrong path.
However, the lying, and denying is what makes my skin crawl!
If I had deceived my WH so badly, I would be full of guilt and could not imagine lying to his face!

Holly-Isis posted 7/19/2013 18:14 PM

Wen MrH told me he was in love with my friend, I was devastated. I told him I knew most guys don't think much of having sex, but love was a whole other issue. I told him I wished he had just screwed her and called it a day.

Fast forward 7 1/2 yrs. I find out about a 2A. This one he admits he had sex with. Nearly two months after that, I discover he did screw the first xOw, but told me he loved her because he figured it would be less hurtful. His logic was that he would be more hurt if I had sex with another guy than if I loved him, so I must feel the same.

Guess what? It all hurts in its own special way. ONS, LTA, EA, OEA, all hurts. It all shows the BS how selfish the WS is. It all changes the M we thought we had and the future we planned for. It all makes us look at ourselves and wonder if we are special anymore.

scissorhands posted 7/20/2013 00:34 AM

As said above, both are betrayal.

courageouscat posted 7/20/2013 01:04 AM

Both destroy marriages, both damage relationships. Who knew that an "innocent" few week EA could blow up a whole family.

My WH told OW that I would almost be ok with a small physical infidelity, but "this"...what they were engaging in would destroy me. It did. We haven't really recovered. My WH's relationship with his kids is forever altered.

He and OW never came in contact physically. (Not since their college romance) But they pledged their souls and love to one another; said they would wait for one another. Where does that leave us, his family?

So, I can't compare. Either way it's destructive.

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