Dear Deidre: Our 25-year marriage has been destroyed by my husband’s infatuation with another woman.
Two years ago, he took me on holiday to Tenerife with another couple, who he knew from work.
I’m now 50, he’s 55 and the other couple are in their forties.
It was meant to be a lovely, relaxing break in the sun but for two weeks I watched my husband act out with this woman.
He flirted and laughed with her, and whenever I went for a swim I’d come back to find them chatting intensely.
I’d catch him looking at her over dinner, and staying behind in the bar to talk to her when I went up to bed.
Her husband didn’t seem to notice.
I kept my composure until we got home then told him any fool could see he had feelings for her.
He didn’t deny it – and confessed they had been close for years – but insisted nothing physical had ever happened. I was devastated.
He admitted he had been an idiot. He thought she was unhappy, and he had wanted to help, but ultimately he said he didn’t understand why he had behaved the way he had.
He could never explain it, and shut down any conversation I tried to have.
He promised he still loved me and would stop having contact with her. But I can’t get over it.
People think an affair is just about having sex, but this emotional affair hurt just as much, if not more.
Secrets and lies can destroy a marriage. I thought he was my soulmate but I feel I never knew him at all. Now I’ve had to leave him.
Deidre says: I understand that you want answers about why he fell for this woman – but unless he’s willing to talk, you’ll never know why this happened.
It sounds like he genuinely doesn’t understand his own feelings or isn’t able to articulate them.
So while it’s very sad your marriage has ended, staying with him in these circumstances would be torture.
Would you consider going to couple counselling? If you could both learn why his betrayal happened, there is a chance you could save your marriage and even strengthen it.
You would both probably find it helpful to talk to someone sympathetic outside your situation. My support pack Moving On might help, too.
But if one of you is not willing to take this step, it would be best to move on. You’re right, an emotional affair can be just as painful as a sexual one.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission