was in a 12+yr affair with a married woman 3yrs younger. it started when I was 33 and ended at 45. this affair lasted thru 2 of my long term relationships of my own.
we met only 5 times in those 12 years, but we'd talk for hours upon hours each day, to the detriment of our daily lives. we'd forego sleep, and our daily tasks in our own lives, just so we could talk.
we'd talk for months at a time, with months/years between when we'd "break up" or part ways... each time, thinking it was the last time. We probably did this a dozen times during those 12 years.
we ended it as suddenly as we started; or perhaps it was ending as each time, she asked me to leave my relationship for her. Of course, she wouldn't leave her safe relationship either, unless she was sure i'd leave mine. After the last time when I rejected her, b/c the gf at the time was going thru the death of her parent, she said something broke inside of her, but honestly, I think it was happening for a while. it was just the straw that broke the camel's back.
it came to halt, after we met for the last time. We finally had a "vacation" where it was just us for 10 days. 10 days of intense sex, loves, hates, fights, etc.
Chicken or the egg, i'm not sure if she became the way she did b/c of our 12+yrs of interaction or if she was going to turn out like this anyway. She became more and more superficial year by year... obsessed with her looks, losing weight, getting affirmation from anybody "worthwhile" in terms of her looks. She looked gorgeous with 1.5hrs of makeup and hair and all that. She looked great in clothes; outside of it... (shrug)... but i believe i purposedly blinded myself to her faults b/c somewhere along the line, i really fell for her.
the ironic part was... for so many years, it was the other way around... karma, right?
at any rate, eventually, it came to a screeching halt when i realized 2 weeks after we met for the last time, she already had another guy lined up to "date". i was floored. but taking a look at the whole 12 years, i can't say she's an evil woman or anything like that.. she's just a woman with low self esteem who was trying to escape a marriage where the man genuinely loved her, but incapable of giving her the attention, love, sex she wanted. But at the same time, unwilling to leave the monetary benefits of that relationship unless she had the equivalent set up and ready.
it's hard to sum up 12years worth of knowing someone into a few paragraphs, so there will be misunderstandings all around, but that sums up what happened.
I'm sure there are intricacies and subtle info i'm not aware of or simply not remembering, but basically what was said and done was... she had moved on to something she felt she truly wanted, but honestly, she doesn't really know what she wants... she has no peace with what she has and is constantly seeking new ways to be happy; but currently, i'm just working on my own end of finding peace and happiness that truly lasts that requires reality and real life work to make it happen.
All affairs are fantasy. a very VERY few select affairs may turn into great loves, but the odds are stacked against you.
Affairs don't involve real life, no matter how many hours each day you talk about sex, desires, loves, thoughts, hurts, pains, history... those connections may be real, but it exists in a bubble called "an affair". When reality hits it, VERY VERY few affairs survive reality.
The only way our affair lasted so long... was b/c not enough reality burst our affair. who knows, perhaps if we had commited sooner and met that reality head on, perhaps... mebbe perhaps, we'd survive... like i said, after 12+ years of my rejection to join her, i wonder if she became the way she did.... b/c of how i treated her.
it's just gonna be one of those things, where you'll never truly know, but you gotta move on and find some sort of peace.
ending an affair, voluntarily or involuntarily, is one of the worst experiences of my life... its painful and you feel like you're going thru some chemical dependency withdrawal... and in some ways you are... dopamine/seratonin/ocytonin.... etc... but you'll survive it. for those who are thinking about it.
b/c in the long term... you screw yourself over with affairs.. esp if you're with someone and you have it, b/c the more you have affairs....or meet someone... 1 person or a dozen.... it slowly seperates you from the person you're with... until one day, that person can no longer join you on your journey... b/c you've changed.
I also feel some guilt over that... for 12 years, we sexually satisfied each other... and emotionally... and i know that changed her.... to a point where even though their relationship had problems to begin with... i may have inadventently destroyed any possibility of rectifying it.. obviously it was her choice as well.. but i have to accept the possibility that i may have played a role in it, as well.
as for me, i'm trying to reconnect with the relationship i've had for over 10yrs... and i'm slowly started to see again why I fell in love with her. I was crazy about her at one time, but whenever we ran into problems, instead of being an adult and addressing them(even if rejected multiple times) i ran back into my affair.
it involved sex, but it was also emotionally connected and that's why i'm currently working on feeling that love again. they say you can't choose who you fall in love with or love... that's very true... i'm hoping i can fall in love with my current relationship of 10yrs again... no sure bet. that's what i mean by screwing yourself over.. sexually, emotionally, mentally.... that affair you have damages everyone around, but especially you... even if you choose to love the person you're with again... and that person NEVER finds out about your affair(s)... you've changed and you realize you've gone on a journey without your true partner.
even if you're in an unhappy or even abusive relationship... GET OUT... then be single... then seek out someone... b/c you're almost always guaranteed to ruin the next relationship no matter what type of relationship you're in.
of course there are exceptions, but that's like 1 in a million. i know, those of us in emotional affairs always feel like we're different.. mebbe you are, mebbe you're not... but the difficulties you have is nothing compared to the difficulties you'll experience after an affair. for yourself, if no one else.
we all have our special affairs that are different from others... special reasons or circumstances, but one common theme is the same... there's something about your relationship you lack and you seek it in other relationships (abusive, no sex, not enough sex, not the right kind of sex, not the right kind of emotional connection, etc)... you lack something in your current relationship and so no matter how you and the affair met... how coincidental or fated, you were ripe for an affair b/c something in your current relationship was lacking or something you don't want to face and it's easier with an affair.
my affair had a husband who was good on paper, but lacked emotional connectivity and sexual chemistry. We had both. We thought it was enough. it wasn't, b/c those weren't the real problems. Those were just the symptoms, not the reason.
anyway, good luck to you all in all your thoughts... I have no judgements about any of you, or why you do it, done it, or keep doing it.
I don't have that right. All I can do is share what i've learned and hopefully, you don't go thru the inexcrutiating pain i went thru or if you already are... hopefully, this can help you in some little way.
Funny thought... as i went thru months of pain... i suddenly realized how much pain i must have put my affair partner thru each time i rejected her. and I'm also realizing, thankfully, the pain i've caused my current relationship with my affair.
I realized I was always thinking about my pleasure, my happiness, my hurt, my pain... i became quite unaware of my partner's pain or my affair's pain... sure i felt guilt, but not enough to stop and not enough to enjoy it.
Good luck to you all!