Emotionless Fiancé led to Affair

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Dear Hoopers,
I was with my past boyfriend/ fiancé for 7 years. I loved him to pieces. We were best friends. So comfortable with one another. We laughed, had sex regularly, had great friends, and similar dreams. We met in college and moved to Dallas to live together when we both graduated. We made great friends and established a life there. We were happy. I have always been afraid of marriage because I’ve seen so many fail but I felt safe with him. My only complaint was his lack of emotion. I had seen him cry one time and I don’t even know if it was actually a tear. There may have been something in his eye. He was always just stone cold. We laughed and knew how to be happy, when we argued we’d raise our voices but always apologize afterwards…but he never expressed worry or sadness to me. I’d ask him why he never cried and he just said it’s not him. He was very prideful.

My job was really crazy the last year we were in Dallas–I worked almost every day and we rarely saw each other. During this I left him love notes almost every day to make sure he felt cherished. I left work at work and made sure to focus on him every chance I got. We still had sex regularly. We finally decided I needed to leave that job and we wanted to get out of Dallas. We picked up our things and moved to Denver where he could get stationed as a pilot and I would find a sales job. It was right before we moved that I met her. I met a girl named Lauren through my old job. She was gay and beautiful. I didn’t think anything of it–we were very good friends and I was at this time happily engaged. Not planning a wedding because we didn’t have money and marriage still scared me but I was thrilled and felt so lucky to have found him, my best friend.

Lauren and I talked about my relationship all the time. She became my therapist. She knew me so well and could read my emotions and body language. I didn’t think anything of it until one night after a few too many drinks I kissed her. She tried to stop me multiple time but I was persistent. So she gave in. I returned to Dallas to pack my fiancé and my things and prepare for the move to Denver and couldn’t get her off my mind. We moved and started settling into our lives in Denver and I continued to talk to Lauren. I fell in love with her. Hard and fast. I loved my fiancé so much but she understood me. She connected with me emotionally and expressed her emotions. She was so different than him. Lauren and I began seeing each other in secret. My fiancé and I continued to have a “great” relationship…good sex, laughter, motivation for life…but we didn’t have the emotional conversations I didn’t realize I needed. I tried to talk to him about needing more emotion and feeling anxious about not knowing the inside of him and he didn’t take me serious. He called me silly and grabbed me to cuddle. I didn’t want to cuddle. I wanted my mind stimulated and my emotions fed.

The guilt of this affair grew on my heart. I had never been with women. It was so foreign, exhilarating, and incredible. It also didn’t feel like cheating because she was a woman. She was just my best friend…who I slept with (after having to learn what sex with a woman entailed) and I loved it. The guilt continued to grow and I eventually convinced myself, with her help, that I shouldn’t be engaged or get married if I’m able to do this to him. I shouldn’t be okay with sleeping with a female behind his back for 4 months. And if he truly loved and knew me, he would know something was wrong. I finally sat him down one day and told him I had developed feelings for a female and I was scared. He didn’t flinch. We argued and talked for a month after this. He never shed a single tear. We ultimately decided to split and he still didn’t show an ounce of fear of living without me. I came home one day from work and he had taken his things, our dog, and left. He moved to Seattle with his best friend. He didn’t even say goodbye.

I decided to leave Denver and move to the beach once our apartment lease was up, 2 months later. Lauren and I tried to date and are still trying. I love her very much but I also feel very broken. I don’t feel ready to love someone else. I feel guarded and still very in love and hurt by my ex. It’s been an entire year since he left and I still cry. I can’t seem to let go of the way he left. The way he didn’t say goodbye or shed a tear. I have put Lauren through hell with my confusion and hurt. I know I love her but I don’t know if I want to end up with a female for the rest of my life. I miss my fiancé to my core. I miss him and everything about us. I want to go back so badly and undo it all. I know it happened for a reason and I know I felt neglected at the time and was filling the void with her but I don’t understand why this had to happen. If she’s who I am supposed to end up with then why has it been so hard for me to let go of him? Why did I have to fall in love with her? Why can’t I just be naive again? And why am I so scared of relationships now? She is infatuated with me and willing to do anything in the world to end up with me forever and I keep pushing her away because I don’t know what I want. Please help. I’m going crazy and so tired of fighting with her and crying over him.
-Emotionless Fiancé led to Affair

Dear Emotionless Fiancé,
This much is very clear to me. Your boyfriend/fiancé wasn’t the right person for you. Every person is different regarding what they want and need in a relationship. Despite your boyfriend being a great friend and companion, he lacked the emotional depth that you desired. You were able to get by with the aspects of love that he was able to offer for several years, but once you experienced the care and concern that Lauren had to offer, you simply couldn’t go back to an emotionless relationship.

Lauren didn’t come on to you sexually, you instigated the sexual contact even after she tried to stop you. This was meant to tell you that something was wrong with your relationship. Lauren was absolutely right to push you to make your relationship with her known to your finance. You were cheating on him and it wasn’t right. Revealing your relationship allowed you to come clean about what was going on, but it also allowed you to see your motivations for cheating on him. When he stared at you blankly and couldn’t express any feelings towards you, he revealed the heart (or lack thereof) of the problem.

This doesn’t mean that you should have cheated on him but should help you to understand your behavior. You were right to express your desire to have more from him emotionally and to see how he would respond. Based on his responses through all of this, my guess is that this emotional flatness is part of his personality style. This doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with him, this just means that this is (part of) who he is. Someday he will find a wonderful partner that will find the balance of his good and not so good personality quirks to be perfect for them. But that will not be you.

This doesn’t mean that you should have cheated on him but should help you to understand your behavior.

-Dr. Ryan

You seem a bit torn in trying to figure out your relationship with Lauren. If there is any time to give that relationship a shot this would be it. But I do have my doubts that this will be a successful long-term relationship. Given that it started while you were engaged to someone else and the fact that you don’t see yourself being with a woman in the long run, this relationship could be compromised.

Regardless of what you decide, I think the important take away from your relationship with Lauren is that you need serious emotional depth and reciprocity from your partner. If and when you are looking for a new partner, make sure that you don’t sell yourself short for someone that you just have fun with. Look for the genuine depth that you seek. Also, know that your romantic partner likely won’t be able to meet all of your emotional needs. There can be many kinds of relationships in your life. In addition to your romantic partner, you will also need friends who can provide a different kind of enjoyment and emotional dynamic that you can’t get from your partner.
-Dr. Ryan

Dear Emotionless Fiancé,
What a story. In emotional turmoil it is easy to look back at the stable life and wish that you hadn’t left. You had a new city, a fiancé, a job. But still things weren’t right. There are many moving pieces to this puzzle, but one thing that seems clear is that there was an emotional void in your relationship that may never have been filled. You experienced these offsetting characteristics from the beginning with him and all the way to the emotionless departure. As you stated you needed your mind stimulated and emotions fed. He couldn’t do that for you. Lauren could.

You have to give yourself time to work through this. Moving to a new city, falling in love with someone from the same sex, cheating on your fiance, breaking off an engagement; it’s a lot! One of these is a big deal, so the stockpile of life events is overwhelming. It’s understandable you feel confused. Happiness is about feeling comfortable in our own shoes. The moving pieces will all start falling into place once that happens. In time, I encourage you to try to find the silver lining. Lauren helped you open your eyes and fill an emotional void that you had in your relationship with your fiance. Had she not entered the picture, where would you be now? Whether the relationship works out or not, you must give yourself time to grow and find happiness.

We can torture ourselves with remorse over the road not taken or over how poorly we navigated the road we did take.


Why Why Why? Don’t let self-judgment and regret get the best of you. We can torture ourselves with remorse over the road not taken or over how poorly we navigated the road we did take. It gets really easy to beat ourselves up in time of uncertainty. But, what if instead you made the decision that you are exactly where you need to be right now?

Trade in doubt for appreciation. Be thankful for the happiness that your fiancé brought to your life, growing up with each other and the love you shared during your time together.  Be thankful that Lauren entered your life to show you the gap that existed in that relationship. Be okay with where you are right now. You will get through this and be stronger on the other side.