Many of us do not understand the meaning of an emotional affair, so let me start with that. This is when your partner emotionally engages in conversation with someone else, which can cross the line. Your partner often may not realize they are emotionally cheating as there is no physical intimacy involved, but that does not make it ok.
I have been married for over three years now, and never did I dream that my husband would be emotionally engaged to someone in my wildest imaginations. When I accidentally discovered this, it shook me to the core. It took me some time to come to terms with this reality and understand how to deal with this.
It is not the first time he has done this. His first emotional affair happened 1.5 years back with one of his colleagues. The only difference is that he engaged with someone from social media this time.
When did this actually start:
The first time when this happened, we were newly married, and I was in marital bliss. Like every other married couple, we did have our issues, but I assumed this was a phase that would pass. I thought he knew this too, but I never figured that instead, he was busy ranting his emotions and having flirty conversations with someone else. It shook my belief in marriage to the core. To add fuel to the fire, I was at my in-law’s place when I discovered my husband’s emotional affair and could not react appropriately. On top of that, my mother-in-law constantly blamed me for different things that were too much to bear.
When we came back home, I tried to be as normal as possible, but that incident did not leave my mind for months. I held that resentment inside me for a very long time because I could emotionally not get over it. I just exploded my feelings to an old friend of mine. He had been in my life for over six years now, so I just felt comfortable sharing what I felt about my husband with him. Also, my husband’s affair made me feel inadequate as a female, which is why to hear comforting and appreciating words from someone felt like music to my ears, and I needed that to stay sane.
Unfortunately, my husband saw my conversations with my friend and disapproved of them without understanding why did I go there in the first place. He assumed I was emotionally cheating on him and asked me not to converse with my friend. For the sake of my marriage, I thought I should stay away from him and focus on re-building our relationship.
Sadly, the pandemic hit the world right after this, and we both were stuck to stay together 24/7. This meant more arguments and fights. Our mental health was affected, and we were in a negative space for a while. The most challenging part of this entire episode was that I somehow did not feel intimate physically with my husband, as that broken trust did not let me enjoy any moment together. The funny part is that he conveniently forgot everything as he acted as if nothing wrong had ever happened. Instead of understanding my mental condition, he would be concerned about why am I not intimate with him anymore? This is why I pushed myself to forget the past and start fresh with him.
When did it happen again:
We did make some progress, but then reality struck again when I realized he was chatting with random ladies on a social media platform. Well, one lady in particular. His messages did not suggest it was an affair, but the tone of the conversation and the context clearly showcased that he was trying to impress this girl. I am not against him having female friends, but why would you want to impress a girl when you are married? Friends do not impress friends. You just need to be yourself when around, and he clearly was portraying to be someone else.
Upon asking, as usual, he was in denial. After a few hours, he acted as if he loved me so much and there was no one else. Honestly, I did not know what to feel as my emotions for him suddenly died or got replaced with hurt. Initially, I thought I pushed him to be like this because he was unhappy. But the truth is I am unhappy too, have been for a long time. I have also had thoughts of connecting with pals who made me feel good about myself, but my integrity towards marriage did not let me do that. I continued to be unhappy, but not unfaithful.
I know emotional cheating happens in many marriages, but it is easy to blame yourself for your partner’s emotional affair. You may assume that you have pushed the other person to do so, but that is not true. If your partner is unhappy, they should speak with you about it, try to make things better, and work on the relationship. Jumping ships is not how marriages work.
What do I see in the future:
Currently, I live with my husband, and I feel indifferent towards him. I have not yet decided can I forgive him or trust him ever? My mind clearly tells me, once a cheater, always a cheater, which is true in my case.
It may take me some time to process all the information and understand what I truly want in this relationship. I want to live a happy life, and if I can do that being detached from him, I will do that. I may eventually forgive him one day, but he will never regain my respect and complete trust. That ship has sailed long ago.