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Discussion Starter #1
okay so I see thread about coping and dealing with a post affair. But I didn't see man threads about recognizing and stopping an affair. I really hate to see it but am glad a WS is willing to come on and ask? is this an affair. There was one not too recently about a woman getting caught up in an work affair. So IMO from reading all these stories I think that there should be somewhere for Waywards who haven't quite completely screwed the pooch.

The first step in determining if you are getting caught up in an EA/PA is recognition.
Ask your self these questions.
1) Do I find myself seeking this person out more than my normal friends,or family?
2) Do I find that I am not telling my spouse about my interactions with this person for any reason?
3) Do I find myself turning to someone else for support in private matters involving problems in my marriage?
4) Does the idea of not talking to this person upset me more than it should?
5) Am I discussing sexual matters with this person?
6) Do I find myself talking to this person only when my husband is not within earshot?
7) Do I find my self hiding or deleting messages with this person?
8) Have I ever sent this person a Picture of myself that my husband would object to fully clothed or not?
IF you answer yes to one of these questions you are in a bad situation. IF you answers yes to more than one ESPECIALLY 5-8 you are in an Emotional Affair. IF you answer yes to any question 5-8 then you are probably heavily in an EA or are preparing to take your EA to the next level.

Once you realize you are in an EA you should end it immediately. Now comes the usual question.
"How should I end this without hurting my husband or anyone's feelings?"

Unfortunately you can't. I would advise you break contact with this other person formally. This person you are attached to is toxic and ending the affair is going to be an emotional ride for you. So breaking contact shouldn't be complicated with face to face or two way communication. Affair partners get emotionally attached and many will manipulate, blackmail, lie, and do whatever is necessary to maintain the relationship.
What most people here on TAM recommend is a NO CONTACT letter,text, or email.

The email should state how you understand your actions have caused problems in your marriage. Apologize for getting yourself in the situation with him/her. Apologize for hurting his/her marriage. Finally stating that this letter will be the last time we speak and ask that they respect your decision and to not call or attempt to speak to you.

Now comes the hard part. Telling your spouse. You do not know how your AP may react. Blackmail, desperate attempts to win you back, or they may lash out and try to abuse you emotionally. They may find your Spouses phone number and try to contact them. The best way to prevent further damage and ensure your Affair Partner can't blackmail you is to tell the truth as soon as possible.
You need to tell your spouse what happened. You need to show any and all texts, emails, skype, and facebook messages. Don't delete anything. You want to be able to say that this is what happened, this is as far as it got, I am sorry, how can I fix this? Having real tangible proof of what happened is very helpful and will go a long way to showing that you are open and honest.
You violated your Spouses trust in a very bad way. It will take time and counceling.

I would encourage you to not let your spouse just say "I will let this go if you promise not to do it again." Sweeping everything under a rug doesn't help either of you. The one good thing that can come out of a mess like an EA is a marriage that is stronger. Because dealing with the issues that lead you to cheat, and problems that were in the marriage are addressed.

That is my opinion here. I am really just typing up a lot of what has been successfull here. Feel free to voice your opinion.
 

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Badbane,

Good post.
In here, more BS and prospective BS seek help.
Please try some guidance for those that seek find if there is an A?
 

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There is some good advice in that. It's very difficult when you're in the middle of the situation to see when it goes from ok to bad so keeping those things in mind would be useful.
 

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If you even have to ask yourself any of those questions in the orig post, then there's an obvious problem with your own boundaries. Sorry, but that's 100% true.

As simple and basic as this sounds, I find it to be true:
If you want to be faithful and avoid trouble, men can't have female "friends, and women can't have male "friends." Sounds rediculous? Maybe to some people, but marriage is work and very rewarding work... working for something greater than yourself. Sounds too extreme? I don't think so. A simple look at these forums should tell you that.

Temptation is everywhere (MUCH more true if you're attractive/successful/social, travel a lot, or live near ex lovers... but starting or rekindling problem relationships is still at least remotely available to even the sloppiest and laziest of committed people). Cheating with a coworker, neighbor, ex, boss, etc always starts as "just friends" (read the book of that title and read on these forums if you don't get that). The only affair exceptions to the "friends" rule are the one night stand cheaters and affair partners willingly enabling that, but they are people who are just too immature or introspective and probably never should get married in the first place (or have a clearly open marriage / swinger situation, which has all kinds of its own issues).

Married or relationship Guys, look at your female "friends" on facebook, in your phone list, etc. Besides the women in your family, chances are, they are all ex girlfriends, college party friends, or random acquaintance women you would've asked out at some point in your life if you had the balls and/or if they/you were single. Puppy love doesn't end in 6th grade, because you will always have a ****, gentlemen.

It's the same for women: your current "friend" roster consists of ex boyfriends and current or past acquaintances or coworkers who were secretly courting/lusting you or vice versa. You might not have realized it with some of the guys (women tend to be more naive than men in terms of sexual attraction vs friendly behavior). More commonly, you might be in flat out denial ("Tom from work is a sweet guy who just needs to find the right girl, and then he'll stop being silly with me and the other good looking office women"). At the end of the day, it's the facts: your male "friends" want to have sex with you. All of them.

Let's define Friendship: it is based on common interest, activity, and experiences. Time together, mutual disclosure, and sharing of ideas, goals, and struggles is what builds friendship stronger and closer. Trust is the basis of all human relationships. Men will never share nearly as much in terms of truly common mindset and hobbies with any woman (wife included) as they will with other guys. Women are the same. Therefore, why would you ever forge a male/female relationship if your philosophies and interests aren't that similar? The answer is: to get attention, to flirt, and of course to HAVE SEX. Pure and simple. To make children and for our human race to survive. Yes, it's that simple.

Committed Guys: you know damn well that (assuming you want to be faithful to your spouse), you should avoid female "friends" from work/undergrad/etc in any situation where you are alone together, there's alcohol involved, or worse. Why is that... you're just friends, right? Friends have drinks and talk/share together. The problem is, they are potential sex partners. Yes, even the ones who are nowhere near as hot as your wife. You know damn well that some of these "friends" are the first women you'd call to talk and have coffee or drinks with if you got divorced. On the other hand, your guys who you do bowling league, fantasy football, and go fishing with are not potential sex partners (although they, especially if they're single, can still get you into some situations where you have to keep your head about you and your boundaries and priorities strong).

Committed Women: ask yourself why you have your male friends? To have company, laughs, and common goals with? That's what your girlfriends are for. Do you ever wonder why your guy "friend" from college or the office or the coffee shop or your kids' soccer team always treats you nice and sometimes "jokes" about sex, tells you that you look nice, or complains about his relationship or lack of sex? It's a pretty thinly veiled proposition when he gives you the sad eyes and tells you "your husband's a lucky guy" or "I hope I find a good woman like you someday." Well, he's trying the nice guy route in hopes that he can encourage disclosure and then jump in and take a sledge hammer to any cracks in your marriage that you might reveal to him (remember, friends share issues/problems). The problem is, you enjoy the attention, and it's just a "friend," right? Wrong. Go read on this forum.... it's an extremely slippery slope that you shouldn't ever find yourself peering down.

How do you avoid "friends" of the opposite sex? It seems unavoidable with work, social circles, church, etc, right? Nope. My female friends aren't friends. They're acquaintances, and I need to remind myself that sometimes. They all have their purposes: sharing work ideas with opposite gender colleagues, socializing with my buddies' wives and girlfriends when we're all together, or maybe infrequent networking in the community with some moms or random women for the purpose of gaining ideas about activities or resources for my kids. Any texting, messaging, or other contact for personal issues or anything sexually charged is not what I want from those female relationships, and if they don't seem to understand that I will cut them out as an acquaintance (or threaten to tell their bf/husband if they are firmly in my social circle due to mutual good friends or they are friends of my spouse).

The "friends" line is very insidious, and even if you have a secure marriage and good strong personal boundaries and values, you can get sucked into your own ego at vulnerable times. I have done just that, but I recognized it and it set my fences even higher against future female "friend" advances (by them or by me). You have to stop any text or messenger contact, and you have to never be alone together. If the opposite sex relationship isn't critical to your career or family, then it's generally easy (and wisest) to just stop all contact altogether. They say "your problems don't go away when you ignore them," but if your problem is a person, they will go away and look for easier targets if you ignore them. Best of all, enlist the help of your spouse... seems risky, but it will ultimately build trust. Stopping contact with a dangerous third party might mean that you have to drop a class, transfer jobs, fire an employee or babysitter, or other seemingly drastic means. Refer back to your principles: marriage is work, and it's worth it. Again, involve your spouse. You will gain from it.

So do I have no friends? Is my spouse my only real friend and everyone is "our" friend? Hell no, I live my life based on principles, and quite frankly, even the best spouse won't be available or reliable in terms of friendship all the time. My real friends are guys with similar interests, values, and goals... and my wife and my mother and my sisters, my only female true "friends," are obviously very close people who I discuss personal and family issues with. The guy friends, my wife, and my sisters or other family females are the people I go camping with, I go out for drinks with, and I share my real life issues with. Simple as that. Is that too rigid? Well, I love my wife. Ask the thousands of people on this forum or the millions in the USA struggling to end an affair right now if these ideas are too crazy. JMO ;)
 
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