Jump to content
imalittleteapot

I'm having an online emotional affair- and I don't want to end it.

Recommended Posts

Hello! I've been a poster in Depression Forums before, in the past. I've struggled with depression, of course, and my depression has had a detrimental effect to my long-term marriage. I'm still married to my college sweetheart for 22 years. I do not plan on ever leaving, because we have a solid, comfortable family life.

Yet, there's been this empty lonely void inside of me that I've tried to fill with entertainment and hobbies. My recent hobby over the last month or so has been making quite a few new 'pen pals' through a popular messaging site. These pen pals of mine are usually men. And of all my new casual chat buddies, one man in particular has become a daily online friend and confidant over the last weeks.

Because of this man I've been corresponding with, I've felt more bubbly joy and excitement than I've felt for years. I'm stuck in a dead end job and even THAT is no longer depressing me. I feel more confident and attractive after having exchanged photos with this man. He's funny, sweet, kind, and full of whimsical quotes and fun questions. He's shared his childhood and life circumstances. We share the same geeky, dorky sense of humor. We're very different in ways- he's an urban professional, I'm a small town woman who was a stay at home mom for years, now I have a modest-paying job. He's a different race than I am, and that makes him even more enticing. He's taught me about experiencing racism and has many interesting anecdotes. 

Our online friendship is mostly platonic, but it does have a flirty element to it, with all our joking around. :) He's trying to take it in an even more flirty direction, wanting me to share sexual thoughts and his as well. I know that if I cross that line it will be a serious betrayal to my husband. 

I know I should stop writing to this man, because it IS an emotional affair. We'll never meet, he lives in another region of the US and I have no reason to travel. It will never be a real life physical affair. My husband does not know of my online friendships, and I rationalize it by thinking it's just a 'role playing game' or 'he's just my pen pal.' But he has done wonders for my self esteem, and my depression has been lessening- the depression that had me crying almost every other night for a few years. Mornings not wanting to get out of the house. Now I work full time, I have energy to deal with the job, I've made more strides with my hobby as a creative writer and indie novelist. I've felt uplifted over the last month or two, and I think my joy is a direct result of these men I'm corresponding with and this guy, especially. He's like a soul friend. We have a 'heart' connection that's fun and interesting. 

I worry that he will eventually get tired of my reluctance in wanting to 'sex talk'. He may decide to just stop writing me. And when that happens, I'm afraid I'll end up being more sad than I thought I would, because I've had so many funny and warm exchanges with this guy.

I don't know what to do now. I'd like to enjoy this friendship as it is, while it lasts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can certainly empathize with you for what you are going through. Very definitely.  

I think your feelings make sense given everything you have described in your post [ and I'm the last person on earth to offer relationship advice ] !        I know it is a tired and worn-out cliche to say this, but it is really the only thing I can think of to say:  my heart goes out to you ! ! !

- epictetus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can appreciate the openly honest way in which you talk about this relationship, what it's awoken in you but also your realization that it may cross a boundary. 

You're feeling good about yourself and that's terrific. What are some qualities you've noticed in yourself that perhaps faded from awareness along the way until someone pointed them out to you? How many can you name? What if these qualities exist independently of the person who reminded you of them?

I'm sorry I can't offer you any practical advice on something so delicate as personal relationships. Maintaining balance - whatever that means to you - between your core beliefs and these parts of you that need to be nourished seems like the middle way through.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think we all get different things from different people.  Matters of the heart and relationships are not my forte.  I think it is good that you have someone to satisfy a need that you have. 

I do not believe in cutting ties most of the time.  As doing so can make someone butthurt and they may be in power over you tomorrow. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's very dangerous territory you're treading in. Definitely do not cross any boundaries or start talking sexually with this man. Keep the boundaries strict and strong. It is Ok to have a new male friend who has helped to revive you and lessen your burdens, but it is a completely separate thing to start down the road of a real emotional affair. No good will come of that. And if he drops you as a result? Then he wasn't a true friend and you know what his true intentions are. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

This is a tough one, for sure.  Nor do I think that any judgment is appropriate.  Even though I'm a month late to the party, what concerns me is your safety.

While I'm relatively comfortable sharing my stuff on DF, I'm also cognizant I'm on the interwebs.  My IP address is all over things.  Perhaps it's only a half-measure, but I keep many personal details anonymous, the level of anonymity depending on the site (and, tbh, I don't have a family about which to be concerned).  I probably should just go back to the VPN I was using a few years ago.

What sets off my alarms is the urban professional/small town woman matchup.  As a lifelong city guy, my spidey sense tells me this doesn't add up, nor that he's somehow providing fulfillment you're not finding IRL.

In stark terms, I'm concerned you don't know anything about this guy.  Reality is he could be a stalker.  He could be particularly skilled at manipulating your emotions, particularly if you're in a vulnerable space (i.e., the "empty lonely void" you described).  The details he's feeding you about himself, including pix, could be complete fabrications.  Given your marital situation, you could be in a position to be blackmailed.  And, yes, he could be using a VPN himself.  He may not even be in the same country. 

I don't normally give specific advice on DF, but I'm making an exception this time because I believe what you've described is serious.  Cut it off.  Block him.  You do NOT owe him notice or an explanation.  It sounds like he already knows and can even infer a lot of details about your life and that of your family.  Frankly, just get off that app.  At the least, blank as much as you can in your profile including pix.

If you've maintained copies of chat windows, etc., save what you can, perhaps on a flash drive, and lock it up for safekeeping in case you become, say, an identity theft victim.  Hypocritical as it probably sounds coming from my mouth, get a VPN.  They can start as low as USD3/month and it would be good for your family anyway.

In a much gentler sense, I'd like to suggest you at least consider some healthier alternatives that are based in reality, such as perhaps some therapy for yourself.  For example, what's missing in your relationship?  Look, I know from my experience and that of my brothers and sisters here quite often we might feel compelled to do something, anything, to dig ourselves out of the hole.  Or that we can engage in self-destructive behaviors as coping mechanisms.  I, for example, remain an "enthusiastic" smoker.  In years past, it was sex.  I get it.  You're in good company here.

Edited by MarkintheDark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

U think that's a normal thing.

Cause if your couple does not understand you,that's not a healty relationships.

We live in a wornerfull time where we can find some friends or couples while we sit on the couch.

There are so many forums and web-sites to find sombody and it's great.

 

Edited by 20YearsandCounting
remove link

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my opinion, we are foolish to think that one person will be able to meet all our needs. I am married and my best friend is of the male gender.

My husband is a wonderful man, but in some ways we are not of the same wave length. He is conservative and I am liberal. He is not interested in talking deeply about philosophical and religious topics and I am. He in not interested in my post-mortum examinations of movies and tv shows and I think that such analysis increases my enjoyment of them. He is not chatty and I am. Because of all these things, for a long time my emotional needs were not being met. Then I met my friend.

There is an archaic term that has always resonated with me - kindered spirits. My friend and I can easily be described as kindered spirits. He is all of the things in the above paragraph that my hubby is not. If he were a woman - no one would think our friendship was strange. We have lunch together several times I week, attend a bible study group together and go to church together. He knows my husband (at least tangentially) and is decent friends with two of my three children. 

Due to some situations in my past - I have a tough time trusting women. I have always been closer to men. (I guess the exceptions would be my sister and my daughter). I have come to peace with that - and if anyone has a problem with it they can take a flying leap.

All that being said - it seems like your online friend is pushing you beyond your place of comfort. Do not allow him to pull you into doing something you are not comfortable with. If he chooses to stop contacting you because of this decision - that would certainly be unfortunate - but if he is not going to respect your barriers then he will be taking more from you than you are getting from the friendship.

As to the safety of online friendships like the one you are describing - I concur with what @MarkintheDark said above. Be careful about what and how much information you divulge - because you never really know who is on the otherside of the keyboard. I have had some fairly close friendships with people online - I often divulge the city and/or state I live in (you cannot complain about the cold if they do not know you live in the north) - but things like address, phone number or even personal e-mail stay private. Often an online alias is also helpful (like JessiesMom 😉 ). Take care of you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with @JessiesMom.  Keep good boundaries and be discreet.  I have a gaming friend who I think came across my linkedin profile.  But I did not bring it up and this person has not crossed my boundaries.  But friends are hard to find and it is easy to get isolated. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...