Q&A What Is My Husband's Addiction?

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My husband has the same pattern pre-dating our 25 years together. It's very much the same each time and he never recognized it until d-day of his most recent 3-year-long emotional affair. In this one they did proclaim their love for each other and it was headed toward becoming sexual but in all of the past ones it was never about romance or sex. The pattern was always the same though. He was dating a nice, loving woman who was pretty crazy about him, then he'd have a secret female "friend" on the side. Often someone who was dating one of his guy friend's but was going through relationship struggles and personal problems. He'd sneak around to "help" them emotionally. It was always secret from his primary partner, always got very involved and would often include flirting, talking every day, being incredibly emotionally intimate and of course distancing from the primary partner. This had ended most of his relationships before we met me. He now sees he got a lot of validation and ego boost from this secondary person. It's happened so much that he estimates that now that he truly knows what an emotional affair really is he's probably had about 30 in his life. About 5 were while married to me. He and his therapist are working on his boundaries with other women, his history, etc and I know that is his work to do. What I am confused about though is, what in the world is this? It's not just low boundaries, it's not sex addiction, it's not even really love addiction. What do I call this? It seems like some kind of addiction but what? Maybe it shouldn't matter to me to know what it is but it just seems like it would help me to make sense of it.



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