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Staying friends after an affair?

Posted by: Anonymous
Sat 14, Mar 2009 at 3:54pm
Sex/Intimacy and romance, Affairs and Jealousy, Friends & Family

I have been married for just under 20 yrs, with one daughter aged 16.
In recent years our marriage has grown stale - my husband works shifts, and this means we get very little time together. We seem to have gradually drifted apart on both emotional and physical levels.

I have made a life for myself and through this have recently had an affair which lasted a few months. In that short time I really felt a connection with the guy, we spoke/txt several times a day and despite both having families managed several liaisons for intimacy.

At the outset we both agreed we would never leave our families and it was all to be a bit of fun. Famous last words I know as I definitely started to have feelings and instead of being fun it became a worry as I knew it would never come to anything, however somehow I didnt have the 6strength to end it because he made me happy and whenever he sensed this was how I was feeling he made it clear he wanted to continue - I made him happy too, and I genuinely felt he cared about me.

About a month ago the affair ended abruptly due to his wife suspecting. She threw him out initally although he is now back in the family home haviang convinced her it was all in her imagination. All contact between us ceased.

I was heartbroken - not just for the loss of someone who had filled every day for the last few months, but for the upset from the fall out for all concerned.

My extreme reaction at home, weeping all the time, meant my husband confronted me as he had suspected I was playing away, but he wasnt angry more concerned as he said he loved me unconditionally and was prepared to forgive and forget. He said he understood people lose their way sometimes. He has said he is very hurt by what I have done and its the worst time of his life.

My problem is now that despite my lover saying he would disappear from all the circles where we came into contact, he has now reappeared. The first time was a complete shock for me and I could tell he felt awkward. I just kept communication light and kept my distance. In the last week he has gone out of his way to come over and speak to me -still small talk, no referrals to what we shared but the way he looked at me across the room made me think he still felt something.

A close friend has said that its highly likely that the feelings we both had will exist for a while - the affair didnt end because those stopped, it was the circumstances.

My one wish was that our families wouldnt get hurt and that we could remain friends after it ended. I cant decide whether his recent behaviour is an acknowledgment of trying to go back to being platonic friends again. That said, it doesnt allow me to move on and try and work things out with my husband, who after all has been unbelievably understanding. And I realise I am deceiving my husband again now as I have not told him this person has surfaced again.

So my question really is, can we go back to being friends - or is the fact that we have now crossed the line mean that this is realistically impossible.

  This was of help to 0% of people  


  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    It sounds impossible to me. The temptation will remain, and if that does go away, then there will still be feelings of regret / shame / longing.
    It sounds like you have a chance to really make a go at your marriage, to perhaps move forward with your husband past this mistake, and perhaps make up for neglecting your relationship. Don't throw this away, it's precious, and you sound lucky to have an understanding and forgiving husband. Perhaps try marriage counselling to help you get over this?

    Fri 20, Mar 2009 at 11:14am
  • User-anonymous Emilysmiles Flag

    It's not possible to stay friends after affair because the temptation and the unfinished business are still there.

    When I ended my affair (to a guy I was very physiclaly and mentally attracted to), I decided not to have any communications with him and although difficult but it kind of worked. Then two months down the road, he started sending an innocent text followed by a short email and so on and I thought its OK, I am strong enough to continue a platonic friendship but I am wrong. Our conversation soon lead to more touchy subject and now he is asking to see me again. I am once again in dilemma and distracted from my otherwise good, stable marital life. I wonder how am I going to overcome it this time.

    Tue 14, Apr 2009 at 2:49pm
  • User-anonymous ontheroadtohealing Flag

    It won't can never stay friends..and I suggest avoiding all contact.  for me as a single male, i was involved in an affair with a married woman for 9 years, who felt stuck in her marriage due to having young children..three times we ended it as friends and always ended up back together intimately...emilysmiles is right..there is always unfinished business..
    its hard because on occasion i see her in public..not sure if it is hard because i miss her or hard because she seems seemingly happy with her husband and family..
    we vowed that we were best friends..but i know i never can see her again..its a daily struggle..but seeing her is worse..i know with time, i will be able to move on..

    Wed 26, May 2010 at 11:03pm
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    Hi. I just read your post even though it's two years old now.  I hope things have changed, and that you have ended the so called "friendship."  I can tell you from experience (experience of one being betrayed) that it is so wrong to expect to be friends and further the relationship with this guy.  How would you feel if the shoe was on the other foot?  I am so sick of people who have an affair and still expect the world still be served to them on a silver platter after the fact!  How could you even think that this would be okay??  Please don't say that you are working on your marriage if that other person is even remotely still in the picture.  You're just using him as a fallback just in case it doesn't work out with your marriage.  That's not really being fair to God, your husband, your daugher, your families, friends, acquaintances, etc.  Please take a lesson from the celebrities who have gone through this.  Their careers, life, etc. are NEVER the same.  They will always have a blemish on their record, even when they actually do repent and try to do right.  I
    I can't even begin to tell you (from the other side's perspective) the HELL I have been through because of the affair itself, the lack of support I had on my end in trying to get through it, the fact that they thought it would be okay to remain friends and I was treated like dirt because I didn't support their feelings about their friendship, the fact that for YEARS I felt I had to contend with all of this for the sake of my six children.  It affected my family, I lost friends over this, people treated me like I was the one who committed the crime.  I almost lost a baby over the whole ordeal (premature - 3 mos - literally almost died the first night).  Don't think for a second that an "innocent" affair or friendship or whatever you want to justify it as will not affect anyone.  It has been eleven years now, but the tremors are still there after the initial earthquake.  Oh, and I did my best to try to forgive.......not just him, but her too.....she was my supposed best friend.  Believe me, I tried for about three years, but it always was about him to her, and vice versa.  ALWAYS.  So, I cut the ties..........and now that the dust has settled a little, things might be better..........I think.  Will never know for sure, too much has happened....afraid to totally trust again.  So you see, it's not like this is a 70's show where everything wraps up nicely at the end of the story.  This is reality............just thought you might want to see from the other side what thoughts and feelings there might be.  Hopefully though, you made the right decision before now and ended it completely. 

    Wed 8, Jun 2011 at 5:18pm
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    Dear anonymous,
    I feel really sad reading your post.
    I'm sorry that life hasn't been kinder to you. You sound such a caring person who feels they have experienced hurts beyond comprehension. 
    Thank you for letting us all know the 'other' side of the story. It often gets forgotten in the drama of everything else. I hope things work out for you.

    Wed 8, Jun 2011 at 9:04pm
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    Read the book:
    Not "Just Friends": Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity

    Thu 1, Sep 2011 at 12:52pm