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Old 11-06-2012, 02:43 PM
 
9 posts, read 23,653 times
Reputation: 30

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Hi, I'm new here; a 35-year-old woman, married to a man seven years, no children. We are having (and have had) lots of marital issues regarding what I see as emotional/verbal abuse on his part (not name-calling, just things like emotional manipulation, not 'hearing' what I say, twisting my words, or giving me the silent treatment as "punishment"). Anyway, we are in marriage counseling and I don't know if our marriage, such as it has become, is going to last.

This all is the background for what I can only describe is an 'emotional affair' I recently found myself engaged in online. The catch: It was with another (married and straight) woman. We had become good friends (best friends, in fact) and no one seemed to understand me as well as she did. I have had 'feelings' for women in the past (I suppose you could call them 'crushes') but I always brushed these off from being too lonely and friendless as a child and didn't take them seriously, even though the feelings I developed were very strong, even almost obsessive. I considered if I might be bisexual or even lesbian in college, but only in a theoretical way (I read about it)...never actually had any type of relationship with a woman. Once I met my would-be husband, I forgot about all of that and figured I had at last found the man for me. Of course, this was in the infatuation stage of our relationship, before all of this emotional/verbal degrading started (that happened after we got married).

So, back to the emotional affair: My friend and I never met in person, but chatted for hours online. We were intellectually and emotionally compatible, almost eerily so. My husband often got jealous of the time I spent online talking with her. She, unlike me, was/is happily married to a man who she feels the same 'connection' with as I felt with her. She said that our friendship has strengthened her marriage to her husband. Meanwhile, I felt the opposite situation was happening in my marriage.

I slowly found myself developing increasingly strong feelings for my friend. We 'flirted' at times, though, to her, it was in a lighthearted, joking way (by contrast, I saved the comments in a Word file to make me feel all warm-and-fuzzy when I needed a 'boost' and to feel good). One time, one of our flirtatious conversations went too far (for her taste) and she stopped it, saying it felt "all wrong." Of course, I had wanted it to continue. That's how I knew there was something /different/ about what I was feeling for her.

Over time, she developed a bona fide-girl-crush on another woman online, which naturally broke my heart. My friend would clue me in on all of the things she was feeling for this other woman, and I tried my best to act cool about it, but I was reeling: What did this other woman have that I didn't?

My hurt must have been obvious, because my friend finally called me out on my crush, saying that she had always known I had had feelings for her. She said that there was nothing wrong in admitting being bisexual, and it need not change the status of my marriage, because I had already been living with it (and in denial about it) for years (she knew my history of crushing on women). She said she was interested in me becoming more fully myself, and that my crush on her didn't really bother her; she just wanted me to stop trying to 'drop hints' to her about my feelings without actually admitting to them (because she could see right through me). She told me that she had known that to get me to come 'out of my shell' and be 'real', that how she interacted with me would have to impact me in a 'love' sort of way. She said she might have run the other way if it was another friend of hers who had developed deeper feelings for her, but since it was me, and she "thought I was worth it", as a friend, she was willing to be the object of my affection if it meant getting to know the true person. She said, "I know the power of someone finally understanding you; I felt the same about my husband." (My friend also thinks I should leave my marriage and find someone with whom I am more compatible).

I was both relieved and embarrassed that she had found me out and apparently had known about it before I was even willing to admit it to myself. Now that we are in the open about it, our friendship has remained intact, but there is virtually no flirtatious stuff anymore, and she seems to have pulled back quite a bit. Her crush on her other woman friend has also waned. I have since admitted my bisexual tendencies to myself. But I don't know where to go from here. There seems to very little written about same-sex emotional affairs. Has anyone else experienced this, especially when married to a man? How did you handle it? Did you tell your husband, or keep it to yourselves? Have you discovered/acknowledged a more complex or different sexual identity as a result? Thoughts and experiences welcome.
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Old 11-06-2012, 03:01 PM
 
838 posts, read 1,110,026 times
Reputation: 695
sounds like she's playing with you...
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Old 11-06-2012, 03:32 PM
 
12,296 posts, read 7,568,522 times
Reputation: 9298
It's just a fantasy.
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Old 11-06-2012, 03:50 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
1,454 posts, read 1,639,286 times
Reputation: 1947
OP, I see a couple issues at play:

1) You are setting your marriage up for failure. I totally understand that you're in a difficult marriage (and have been for some time), but can you not see that this "emotional affair" is getting in the way of reconciliation? If you're not interested in saving the marriage, then do what your online friend is suggesting and bail. Nothing lost but time (and likely money).

2) If you really feel like you're bisexual or gay, have you discussed this with your husband and/or counselor? (Speaking of, it may be a good idea to seek individual counseling on this...not because you're broken, but because you're married to a man.) In my opinion, keeping this a secret is just as damaging to a marriage as a physical affair. It's robbing you and your husband of intimacy (non-sexual).

Just my thoughts...hope you work it out.

--Dim
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:17 PM
 
Location: NYC
2,432 posts, read 1,454,064 times
Reputation: 2225
what you call "emotional abuse" seems too mild to be called that, unless you are leaving something out. you seem to be making the situation out to be much more one sided than it really is in order to justify your emotional infidelity

now your husband may actually suck and it may be better to divorce - but even if so it seems to me seeking out others while still married isn't a good solution

you'll probably be happier if you just pull the trigger on the breakup

oh, and this gal is playing with you. it's much more serious for you than her

good luck
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:10 PM
 
9 posts, read 23,653 times
Reputation: 30
Thanks everyone for your responses so far. I have considered individual counseling for this, though I'm not sure if I can afford it (I work part-time), but I'll investigate further and see if I can find something I can afford. I do still love my husband, and I hope we can work through our problems. As for my friend, she admittedly became intriguing to me when I was at my lowest point in my marriage (before we had started going to counseling). I have considered the bi or gay idea, as well. Right now, I am wondering if I might be bi, as my emotional attractions to women have been strong over the years, sometimes stronger than my feelings for men, but I still find men attractive. This is also something I should explore in individual counseling.

I definitely can see that my friend is playing with me. She's even admitted to as much: In that conversation that had gone too far that I mentioned in my first post, we were talking about it later on, and she admitted that it might have seemed strange, but it was like she wanted to be there for me in that (intimate) way (through text) because it was fulfilling a need for me, even though she felt 'icky' about it at the same time (she wasn't actually attracted physically). It seems like more of a 'power' thing; I'm the 'passive' one and she's more dominant (emotionally). Still, I have to admit it excites me but I seem to interpret that more as a geunine attraction, where for her it's a mental exercise.
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:29 PM
 
Location: Sometimes Miami sometimes Australia
1,093 posts, read 1,235,458 times
Reputation: 949
I guess you won't know until you try it. Maybe not with her, but with another woman.

Many people discover they are gay at all stages throughout life.

If you try it, please keep us updated
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:10 PM
 
Location: USA
9,864 posts, read 5,268,003 times
Reputation: 7374
Could the OP make up a better story than this?
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:50 PM
 
Location: St. Louis
7,685 posts, read 8,994,143 times
Reputation: 9338
OP, I think I can understand the fantasy part, but I'm thinking that you're not really gay or bi unless you've had some real feelings for real women that you've been around. Have you ever felt real chemistry with certain friends? I think that girl crushes are very common with young teens and I've had a few of them myself but never past 13 or so. I remember that at 12 I had this very obsessive crush on a 17 yo girl at my camp but it never spilled over into sexual feelings and I didn't continue to have them so I came to the conclusion that I'm not gay. Also, I've never had any of those chemistry feelings with any woman that I feel with certain men so that's further proof in my mind. If you have had those feelings then it's possible that you are, and if you haven't, then it's possible that you're just getting lost in a fantasy to get away from the uncomfortable task of working on a marriage that's gone awry.
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:53 PM
 
1,877 posts, read 1,195,562 times
Reputation: 1714
Yes, I have. And I'm not gay. Seriously.
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