Marriage Missions International

Getting “Unhooked” From An Emotional Affair

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“How can I get unhooked from an emotional affair?” There is not easy way, and it will involve a process of time. In that process, several practices are important. First of all, separation is important. The emphasis here is on abstinence and sobriety. You don’t indulge yourself with the other person’s presence. You must stop exposing yourself to this shared life experience. The contact is what keeps these feelings alive; you need to stop feeding the compulsion.

I hasten to add that you just can’t bury these feelings. Therefore, the next step is identification. What is the “something” this person touches inside you? What unmet need does he tap into? Sometimes the infidel can process this with a spouse or a same-sex friend, but other times that will need to be done with an experienced counselor who is committed to restoring the marriage.

My experience is that the longings that underlie infidelity go back to childhood; the infidel brings them with him or her into the marriage. They often were touched upon or satisfied in the initial phases of the relationship with the spouse, but over time have been buried by the crush of life’s responsibilities.

The next process is exposure. Don’t allow these longings and feelings to remain a secret. The longer an infidel allows these feelings to continue as a secret, the more he or she will idealize the person the feelings are attached to. Idealization means this partner becomes perfect, and as a result, no one else (e.g., the spouse) can measure up. The partner is beginning to be seen as “all good,” and therefore the infidel will have to see the marriage as “all bad.”

As mentioned earlier, if you encapsulate these feelings at this point, they will only lie dormant to be triggered again later. I usually encourage the infidel to share his feelings with his spouse, after seeking counsel. After all, the spouse has been involved in this story already (in that all affairs are a triangle, even if the spouse is unaware) and might as well know the secrets that are occurring in his/her marriage.

The next concept here is to journal. Write down the feelings you are experiencing in this rather involved and tortuous journey. Feelings don’t have to control an individual, but their influence is strongest when they are held in secret. The longings that have led to this emotional affair are a part of the childhood magic; journaling them gets them out into the open, into the adult realm.

The next step is displacement. Use this process in tandem with some of the other processes. Here you do something else in lieu of focusing on the partner. You can exercise, get involved in spiritual development, or take on different projects or hobbies. This is the “doing” part of healing.

The final idea is to grieve. Though this is extremely difficult for the spouse to observe, it is important and necessary. Many times this needs to start with a “good-bye” letter (written to the adulterous partner). Most infidels find this very painful to do. It seems so unnecessary initially, because (seemingly “nothing evil has happened,” since they didn’t have sex. Only after thorough processing, and the passage of time, will the infidel be able to look back and see how befuddled his/her thinking really was.

This is also a good time for the infidel to review his/her “loss history,” and this leads naturally to grieving. What other significant caregivers, friends, loved ones, or pets has the infidel lost that parallel the lost feelings in giving up the affair? The infidel will probably want to do this in private and only later will be able to share the depth of the experience with his spouse.

(A caution here: The depression is not about what you feel for the partner, but just what you are feeling, period. Keep the partner out of the equation-it will make it easier for your souse to listen to your feelings, and easier for you to connect with the feelings in your heart that need processing.)

The Healing Process: Neither your partner nor your spouse can release you from the emotional hook you’ve experienced. Many spouses caught in this kind of emotional affair have found portions of The Serenity Prayer helpful:

“Lord, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Be careful of changing the components around. Don’t try to change the things you cannot change-that will only lead to frustration and anger. On the other hand, don’t accept the things you should be changing —that will only lead to feelings of victimization, a sense of “What’s the use? I can’t lick this, so I might as well give in.”

Time, the healing process, always requires a backward look. Encouragement is not usually the result if you look to where you need to be, feel like you ought to be, or even want to be. You will see the feelings diminish as you look backward to where you were three, six or nine months ago.

Rebuild and concentrate on the lost relationships that contributed to the vacuum that the emotional affair filled. That could require quite a search on your part, some intense conversations (even confrontations) with people in your life, a lot of focused reading, and even some trips/visits to significant places in your childhood.

Enjoy the process and reschedule the experiences that made your marriage good in the first place. Here I encourage couples to each identify the “eight greats” of their marital experience. Independently, each spouse should identify the eight great experiences, or highlights, of their marital history, then decide together on five that they’d like to repeat. You see, shared history is a critical component of intimacy. Rare is the spouse who won’t join “the almost infidel” in this endeavor and experience recovery from close call. Why, most of us had close calls ourselves.

Some Cautions for the Infidel: Temptations do not an identity make. Some people struggle with the same temptation for years. For instance, just because someone wants to smoke again because he’s tempted doesn’t mean he’s a smoker. Don’t let the temptation to return to the partner shame you into feeling “What’s the use? I might as well give in. I’ll never be free of these feelings.”

Second, remember that in periods of high stress, difficult emotions, transition, and marital dullness, you will feel an increased desire to return to the partner or to renew thoughts of him/her. At times, infidels report that they have yearnings to think about this person just to see if the feelings are still “available” as in the days gone by. This “testing” is common to obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and the intent is to prove to oneself how far one has come in the recovery process.

Be careful —this process can begin to mimic the destabilization process of a Class 2 affair described in chapter 6. As mentioned there, such practices only intensify, rather than lessen, the attraction —and the hook goes much deeper.

Some Encouragement for the Spouse: First, remember that these longings were present in your spouse before you entered his or her life. You didn’t create them, and you probably can’t fully satisfy them.

Second, you did tap into those longings early in your relationship in some fashion. The longings were present in the initial feelings of what love is all about. For whatever reason, the infidel settled for the initial feelings of what love is all about and superficial satisfaction of those longings, versus deepening and maturing them. This is not your fault. Many times it is the result of a combination of circumstances: work, school, family, and so on. But the exciting thing is now you both can go deeper in your love for each other.

Last, both of you will eventually forget the partner. The memories of this experience will fade in the same way that a widow or widower forgets about the loss of a good first marriage if the second marriage is a pleasant experience.

It is possible to rebuild after an emotional affair has been discovered. Work through these steps and you will make progress. This is the kind of stuff emotional intimacy is built on, and that is the key to any good marriage.

The above article comes from the excellent book, TORN ASSUNDER: Recovering From an Extramarital Affair written by Dave Carder, published by Moody Publishers. This book is very comprehensive and is a great practical guide for dealing with extramarital affairs. It’s very comprehensive because it carefully sorts out the different kinds of affairs and deals with each kind —giving very practical and insightful information. It doesn’t lump all infidelity together “giving over-simplistic spiritual answers.” It’s practical because “it deals with daily, gut-level issues both partners face.” We highly recommend getting this book!

There are a couple of parts that especially stand out and set it apart from other resources. One in particular which is EXCELLENT is titled: “When Your Spouse Doesn’t Want You Back: The 90-Day Experiment.” We wish we could have put this portion of the book on our web site but it’s too long to be able to honor the author’s copyright privilege and it really can’t be shortened to do it justice. You really need to get the book to have this as well as the other helpful information. (If you’re dealing with this problem and you can’t get this book in your country then please contact the publisher at the above web site and see if there’s something that can be arranged.)

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Comments

1,476 Responses to “Getting “Unhooked” From An Emotional Affair”
  1. Trying from United States says:

    I’ve mentioned this before on this site, and I know the Wrights have a link to a radio program that this author did
    http://marriagemissions.com/guarding-against-emotional-fantasies/ but the book–“Every Woman’s Battle” by Shannon Etheridge was sooo valuable in helping me analyze what was happening in my life. I read it 3 years ago when I finally could admit I had a problem, and re-read most of it again this summer as I struggled with guilt, depression, and confusion. I am not entirely free, even today, yet I celebrate each victory, and rejoice that there is HOPE!

  2. Trying from United States says:

    Thinking of everyone, and praying that Victory in Christ is yours. Three days ago, I was hit with huge waves of emotion and nostalgia. I didn’t know why–I have kept boundaries, discarded thoughts, working on freedom as my goal. After several hours, it occurred to me. We had put up our Christmas tree and started decorating the house. I have many memories of ex-AP during this season, and something deep inside me was triggered again. What a relief to identify that, and I was reminded of the words below…

    “Second, remember that in periods of high stress, difficult emotions, transition, and marital dullness, you will feel an increased desire to return to the partner or to renew thoughts of him/her.”

    The rest of the day was a challenge for me, but I knew what I was facing, and with God’s grace, the rest of the week has been much better so far.

    As blessed as this Christmas season can be, it can also be a very difficult time for many. Satan will use anything to discourage and disturb us, but take heart–as always, with anything, God’s grace is sufficient!

    • Laura from United States says:

      Hey Trying ~~Through your pain these last few days, there were many blessings. The gift of being able to step back from the nostalgia, identifying its trigger, and making steps to move through it is wonderful. You could have chosen to just ‘go there’ in your mind and heart and relive the past, but you’re consciously working to honor God, your vows, and yourself in all ways.

      I faced many weeks of serious illness this fall and was very isolated as I tried to rest and heal. During this time of weakness, both physical and emotional (scared and lonely), I spent too much time in my own head. Like you, the emotion hit and I missed the connection we shared immensely. I didn’t handle it as honorably as you and initiated some personal contact (whereas our contact is generally limited to just hellos and such when we run into each other). A week or so after, when I was finally starting to feel better, I was kicking myself. I realized that I had only reached out cuz I was in a weakened state.

      When I face these times of illness (about 3 times a year), I KNOW I’m not myself. The illness I have literally changes my brain chemistry. I become insecure and hypersensitive. Some of it is loneliness, some of it is sadness, some of it is feeling sorry for myself. I’ve learned to not to act on these emotions during this time for the most part. But this time, I did act by contacting him. So your quote above rang so true to me. Thanks for the reminder. We need to be MOST on guard when weak (for any reason). But gosh, that’s when it seems hardest. Praying we all continue to be open to God’s love and grace as we move through this Christmas season. Laura

      • Trying from United States says:

        Thanks Laura, for pointing out progress and the benefits and blessings we have from knowing the Truth. I have had a good 2 weeks, and then today, we were at the same event –just a brief hello as we crossed paths. I feel so weak and stupid that something that neutral could make me cry –yet I came home, and I’m sad. Sad for so many things, and its been so long… This is the cross I bear because of my choices.

        But I just pray that Jesus will continue to give me the strength to turn sorrow to blessing, to continue to seek Truth, to continue to be faithful to boundaries and respect for marriage –his and mine. An acquaintance of ours died suddenly this week, and I have really done a lot of soul searching about how I will be remembered when I’m gone.

        Laura, I hope and pray you’re feeling better now. I know how weak I still feel on certain days, and pain and uncertainty just magnify those feelings. I have a sticky note on my desk with 2 words on it– “Recommit constantly” –that is the path we walk these days. – Praying the the love of Jesus would fill our hearts and mind, and grant us peace during this Christmas season and all year through –day by day, moment by moment.

  3. Dian from Canada says:

    So I discovered over 100 emails in less than a month to my husband’s 13 year old student who is now in his mid 40’s. She lives far away. The emails became increasingly flattering to each other and were filled with praise and “connectiveness on how important they were to each other.” They would be sent at 1:40 in the morning and would greet each other with “good mornings.”

    My husband hid them but when he was discovered said he wanted to send just one more… saying they would stop. He showed me a sample of what he wanted to say. To me it was just another way of staying connected.

    He mourned visibly for days and after two weeks I was beginning to relax. Then he felt he had to send another one, explaining to her how the writing might be misconstrued and might hurt people and that he wouldn’t be writing any more. He kept this a secret even after I had asked him to tell me of any further communication to which he agreed. Then he’s saying he doesn’t want to email anymore now but doesn’t have any confidence he will keep that promise. I’m about done. He gets very angry with me if I seem sad or untrusting, yells, calls names… you always… etc.

  4. Elaine from Canada says:

    I am a Christian, involved in my church. I’m a part of a Bible Study and sing in my Church Choir. My children, 14 and 12, attend church with me and my husband does not attend church. He is positive about us attending church. I posted here quite a few years ago because I had an emotional affair with my son’s hockey coach, probably about 2008-2010. Thankfully that is long over. I don’t have to see him and I went to see a counselor and worked hard to improve the marriage. It’s not a bad marriage though but he’s very involved with his work and my son’s sports and often times doesn’t spend a whole lot of time with me. I continue to take the initiative to go out on dates and have intimacy with him.

    Enter a new staff member this past September. I teach music and ESL, enjoy my job and have good relationships with my staff. Anyway this man and I clicked right away. I wasn’t looking, nor am I still looking for an affair partner in my life. The other man came to my room probably at least twice a day talking to me. We talked about lots of subjects and developed a strong chemistry. Once or twice I felt like he was going to ask me to lunch. Thankfully that didn’t happen. The effort was always on “his” part and I never went to his office to chat.

    Anyway, he has been transferred to another school and I may never see him again. I have tears in my eyes as I type this. I know it’s probably better if I never see him again as I’ll get over him faster but it does still hurt. The emotional affair cuts deep even though in this cast it’s not physical. I really wasn’t expecting this to ever happen to me again after the painful circumstances of the previous emotional affair.

    But he made me feel so special and I looked so forward to our chats. I’m thankful it never went physical but I’m pretty sure it was headed that way. It really is best that we don’t have any communication now. I’ll do my best to get through the pain with prayer and God’s guidance. Anyway, if someone would like to comment, please feel free.

    I really appreciated this website some years ago. Laura, Maureen and another lady, can’t remember her name, she was a court reporter were helpful, caring and kind with the comments. Also, Cindy who works on the website, replied as well.

    • Trying from United States says:

      Elaine, I remember you well! My heart goes out to you, and I can so relate. I also had to go through this situation, emotional attachment to a man other than my husband TWICE. At the time, I truly thought we were just friends, but that bond was formed. The pain when it was severed was much deeper than the first time because we shared so much more. The second time ended in 2012 but I still am socially connected to him and his family, so it has taken a very long time to heal.

      I am thankful your friend has been transferred out of your life. It will make “NO Contact”–easier. Settle it in your heart that this will be a process. I will pray for you, and I would encourage you, (if you can find my posts from 2013 and early 2014) to read some of my experience. If not, I will be glad to share it with you again.

      You are wise to recognize that you have bonded with him, and that is not God’s perfect will for your life. I had to reference and re-read the articles and advice on this website many times. And adopt personal boundaries for myself and my marriage. I still struggle with many things as my marriage is troubled, but I don’t experience the excruciating pain and hurt anymore. Praying for your healing.

  5. Elaine from Canada says:

    Hi Trying: I found your post yesterday morning and was deeply touched by your words! It meant a lot to me! I did go back to read some of your and Laura’s posts from 2014. There were some good and helpful exchanges between the two of you. It has been quite a few years of difficult but thoughtful and prayerful time that you have spent on this site. I’m so sorry that you’ve had a difficult marriage and that you continue to have contact with the OM and his family. But I also think you’ve managed to distance yourself from the “feelings” that you had for him.

    I was wondering two things -were your Emotional Affairs with two different people or the same person twice at two different times? I also wanted to know if when the affair is over and I really do think it’s an affair that didn’t become physical, did you observe the pain on him too? I saw that twice on my friend when he told me that he was leaving and then later in the school hallway he looked like he was going to break down but held it together. He left it with me that he was going to come back to visit and that he was going to try to come back if there was a job open.

    It’s not good for me to think about that now. God’s healing, keeping busy with church, the job and my family is where I need to focus. I’ll say a prayer for you at church today Trying and will continue to post during the next while. I’m surprised that this has happened twice to me, that the hook went even deeper and my relationship with this man felt so deep and real. I do understand how I’m feeling this time around.

    It helps to know that others in the world are experience this pain and that there is help out there.

  6. Laura from United States says:

    I came on tonight for some support without much hope of seeing anything new since it’s been so quiet on here… but instead found two dear friends! Hello Elaine and Trying –I’m still here, too.

    Elaine, my heart hurts for you in that you are struggling with this type of pain again. And I so appreciate and respect the courage it took to post here the fullness of this affair and the bond that you felt with this man. I’m certain you know in your mind and soul that this transfer is a blessing from God, but it will take time for your heart to follow.

    I only briefly addressed it here, but I, too, ended up in a second affair about two years ago. Primarily emotional, but some physical stuff started. I believe everyone is susceptible to affairs, but I think those of us who have already been in one, are even more so. First of all, there was something missing within us or our marriages that opened the door to the first affair. And even though the affair ends and we move on (or try to in my case), the emptiness is even greater. We’re still missing the original thing and, in addition, now we’re missing the high of the affair, this other person’s presence, and such. It’s no wonder that another man somewhere down the line has a place to plant himself in our hearts and lives.

    For me, the second affair partner became a really good friend at first. Both my husband and his wife knew of our friendship; we actually all did things socially together. However, the personal connection between us grew more intimate and soon it got out of hand. His wife started to not like our friendship anymore (a wife’s sense) and we cut ties. We severely limited contact about 18 months ago, and about 6 months ago decided no contact was best for both although we did share simple Christmas greetings but that’s been it.

    It’s been much easier for me to let go of this man. For two reasons, I believe. First, the limited and no contact. Not seeing him is so helpful. Second, although I liked him and cared about him, I knew that what I was really doing was replacing the first affair partner. It’s so pathetic.

    I came on here tonight to read as I needed some support. I won’t go into all the boring details, but nothing in my situation has changed. Although we rarely talk, we do see each other in the community a lot. Our lives are entangled in many ways and we call each other a friend, but it’s not friendship in the true sense of the word. About six months ago, I tried in an email to set a new boundary with him, to cut ties as best as possible, but my efforts fell short. So the subtle push and pull on the connection between us continues, and there has been a renewed attempt as of late to build a genuine friendship. I know myself well, and I know exactly why I can’t let go once and for all. Not so sure what his reasoning is for not cutting off all contact with me. And so here we still are.

    Elaine, I’ve thought of you often over the past years and prayed you were doing well. I’m grateful you were able to make your way out of the first affair, and I’m sure you’ll find the strength to get beyond this one as well.

    Trying, as always, your truth and candor are greatly appreciated, and you have so much wisdom to share. I always feel stronger after having connected with you on here and your words bring me hope.

    I’m looking ahead to the start of Lent next week and am trying to come up with ways to grow in my faith. It’s pretty lukewarm right now and has been for quite a while. I’d really, really like this Lent to be a time of true renewal, so that on Easter, I can celebrate new life with Christ. I want to fully appreciate the amazing husband I have, the life we’ve built, and find peace for my soul finally.

    I look forward to sharing with you both in the days and weeks ahead. -Laura

  7. Trying from United States says:

    I will do my best to reply to you Elaine. It has definitely been a very tough last five years! The second “affair” was with a completely different individual, actually much younger than I. Very similar circumstances to yours, in that I did not initiate a relationship, he did. For a very long time, I refused to recognize that a deep bond had been formed. Only when we no longer were in personal contact with one another, did I realize how much he meant to me. I have grieved long and hard. Too long ,most likely.

    I believe that God is sovereign and in control of all circumstances. There are things He allows in our lives that are so unsettling and unpleasant. I was completely shocked to find myself working at an event Sunday with both men. Again. This happened once before but I knew they were both going to be there, so I had prayed and strategized and was able to walk through it fairly gracefully. So what was I to do? We were at a public event that I had responsibilities to fulfill . Thankfully, #2 kept his distance. I was able to have brief social conversation, and that was it.

    I must confess that I wished it was more, but now a few days out….I am thankful! The less I know about him and his life, I am much better off. And very minimal pain. I see now how he took advantage of my Christian good will and kindness. I have had trouble forgiving him and forgiving myself for not identifying and removing myself from the situation, but I am moving on. I had not seen or talked to #1 for six months or so. So we chatted, but I felt ok. Our families continue to interact from time to time (their kids are friends with our kids)so we have mutual conversation, but its just that for me. #1 did seem to seek me out several times during the day Sunday, but it didn’t really bother me.

    To answer your second question, Elaine. The pain was very evident with both of them. That broke my heart many times over, and also made it harder for me to disconnect. #1 would stare at me constantly, even stopping by the house, until I had to confront him directly and ask him to leave me alone. I believe he had more pain than I. #2 told me once, months after the separation, that he was suffering….it tore me up. Sooo, once again, NO CONTACT, is best. Time does heal. Many of my triggers are no longer there. To keep me chained to reality, I still interact at times with both of their wives. And praise God, we can be on friendly terms, and life goes on.

    This is getting long.
    and Laura I do want to reply to you also.!! Prayers for courage and grace . I will respond more later.

  8. Elaine from Canada says:

    Hi Trying and Laura: I continue to be amazed and deeply moved by both of your posts. I think God has put us here at this particular time to support each other. Trying, I so appreciate your candid post about the EA which has occurred twice with two different men. You are navigating through this process and your steadfast faith is what will get you through the difficult times. It was pretty weird that both men were there at the same time. May God grant you good health in the coming months.

    Laura, as always it is so good to connect with a good friend. You have also had a very difficult time with these two men with the sporadic contact and the feelings that you have for them. It is a difficult road that you travel but I know the Lord will give you strength and guidance. Keep focused on Him! I also wish you better health in 2015!

    I went to see my counselor yesterday and had a good session with her. I had not seen her in about 5 years. The emotional affairs are a result of being ignored and not being validated at home. She suggested a book called “The Five Love Languages” which I am going to check out in the next while. There are Bible verses quoted in it and Christians have found it very helpful. Have you heard of it?

    It’s been a rough week as I am teary quite often throughout the day. I am missing the other man terribly and am navigating through the idea that I will never see him again. I am keeping busy and being productive at home and work. I don’t want to be tempted to contact him as this week I am going to a course at a school not far from where he is now. I need to stay strong! He and I shared a lot and it felt really good to be validated and connected in a deep way. But that is not God’s will for me. He has a wife and daugher who are counting on him.

    Bye for now! Thinking and praying for you Laura, Trying and all who visit this site.

    • Trying from United States says:

      Dear Elaine, I didn’t see your post until a day later. I am very thankful to hear you paid a visit to your counselor. It helps so much to have someone to process the grief with. Celebrate each hour and each day that you are NO CONTACT. Celebrate it with tears, yet knowing you are doing what is right. You hadn’t mentioned earlier whether he was married or not, but I wondered if he was. This is one of the things that has helped me. To keep reminding myself, that he is HER husband, not mine. That I would never want to tear their family apart, or cause the children pain.

      Our emotions can be so intense at times, we cannot reason clearly. I will definitely pray that you can resist contacting him next week. The urge to even “just see him” can be so strong, but take courage, and stay busy, as you have been doing. I am thankful for the observation that your need stems from not being “validated” at home. I can identify with that in a big way,and just hadn’t heard it put in those terms before. It helps.

      I actually took my own advice and went back and read some posts from one year ago. I was in a much healthier place then, I believe, but I was also in counselling and working at a job I loved. Over the summer 2014, I had some really tough life issues strike me, and I really struggled. I am in a better place than last fall, but I was struck by some of my own posts, hardly imagining that they were written by me.n:) hey were, but I was so much stronger then. So it was good to read my own advice, and realize that like Running Man often stated, there is an ebb and flow with this journey. Some really good times, and some really tough times. Each of us will walk our own journey, yet not alone!

  9. Trying from United States says:

    Elaine and Laura, How are things going for you this week? It is fascinating to me how circumstances and life experiences can be so similar. We are all unique individuals scattered around the world, and yet we struggle with the same things. Because we are all created in God’s image, and as King Solomon said–“there is nothing new under the sun”…..we fight this earthly battle.

    Laura, I am thankful for your desire to recommit to the Lord during this Lenten season. Truly, only by God’s grace and mercy can we do anything worthwhile. I agree so much with your observations that we are very vulnerable to second affairs due to the pain and unresolved issues that made us susceptible to the first time. I have recognized I am in pain, physically (chronic) and emotionally–This is my life now. But what I do to deal with the pain is where I have choices. Healthy or unhealthy choices? An emotional dependency on another man is an unhealthy choice. Turning to alcohol or drugs is an unhealthy choice. Losing myself in novels, TV, movies,work –to escape the pain–is an unhealthy choice. Easier?–yes more readily available?–yes

    Herein lies the challenge for me. The doing part of healing–as mentioned above. The displacement of focusing on the other, and actively seeking healthy alternatives, new hobbies, exercise, new friendships, renewal of former friendships, Bible study, counseling, journalling. I must confess I have had some tough memories to process this week. Seeing and interacting with both men last weekend has naturally triggered some. Thinking back on my circumstances and recalling just how I did end up in a second dependency has brought back some pain. I don’t want to ever go back, but I have so many unanswered questions. I haven’t done this in a LONG time, but I actually stayed home from an event this past weekend to avoid any ‘surprise’ meetings. I just didn’t feel strong enough to deal with it.

    Praise God, my hubby and I are actually in a fairly good place (for us)–we were able to take a little trip together, and also are actually engaging in some conversation from time to time. I am thankful, yet fearful, because it never lasts. And I never know when or what will him against me. I am trying to enjoy each day we have.

    Even though I had been on this website for a few years, even though I knew what I was vulnerable to, even though I knew what healthy boundaries were, even though I was seeing a counselor, even though I never thought it could happen to me again–I was hooked again. So, Elaine, I will encourage you to dig deep, and cling to prayer. Journal, or possibly return for a time to counseling. You will get through the heart-wrenching pain of breaking the bond you two have formed–but its a process. Keep in touch as you can! You are not alone!

  10. Laura from United States says:

    Just deleted the secret email account we used that had all of our communication—-finally.

    • Trying from United States says:

      Laura, I am so glad! There are so many fine little threads woven into our lives from these men. Feb. has been a rough month for me. I finally got out my calendar, and I really didn’t remember until I saw the calendar, but last year at this time, he renewed contact, and stirred so many memories. I also resumed counselling at this time a year ago, so I must have been troubled. I am making progress, because I can say troubled, not traumatized… discouraged, but not depressed… struggling but not paralyzed with grief. I celebrate this victory with you!

      • Laura from United States says:

        Thanks for cheering me on, Trying. It’s heartwarming to hear that you are able to recognize your own progress, as small as it may seem at times. You and I are both very hard on ourselves (as rightfully we should be at times), however, we beat ourselves up a lot over all of this and forget to recognize the successes we’ve had. The connection you made to last February to now was interesting and going back and reading about where you were. I’m so sorry it’s been such a hard month for you. I’ve had those really touchy periods of time, too. And when they come on the heels of feeling stronger and making progress, they can feel like huge setbacks.

        You used the words troubled and discouraged. Can you expand on what exactly is troubling and discouraging you?

        My feelings vascilate between resolution and contentment, low anxiety, and disheartenment. As you know, we are ‘friends.’ More acquaintance, than friends. Although purposeful contact is sparse, either one of us can call, text or email and the other will always respond. And we are kind and friendly when we happen to run into each other in the community. So not sure how to describe it.

        Resolution: I resolved years ago that I’d just have to live with my feelings for this man always simmering on the back burner in my life. I waited for that fog that everyone talks about to lift, and it never went away. I like the guy and his qualities a lot, bottom line.

        Contentment (A): There are times I have felt contentment again. Even with this stuff on the back burner, I’m content in my marriage and can relish all the gifts God has given me.

        Contentment (B): On the other hand, there is sometimes contentment over knowing that the other man still cares for me deeply. But that is an up and down ride for me too.

        Low Anxiety: When I know I might see him in church or in the community, half of me hopes to and the other half hopes he’s not there. Cuz when he is there, I’m on ‘alert’ and there’s that heightened sense of awareness. But sadly, I think that feeds a part of me. Otherwise I would avoid those situations. But when I know he’s out of town, I love how relaxed I feel knowing I can move through my space and places without that anxiety. It’s confusing and annoying this wishy-washy feelings.

        Disheartenment: I’m disheartened to realize and learn just how immature I can be to let my emotions lead me so far astray. I’m so smart and know exactly why I’ve been in this situation for so long, but mentally, I haven’t been brave and mature enough to move forward as well as i should have. I let my emotions dictate more than I should.

        I used this space today to sort of ramble and journal myself. Thanks for being on the other end to ‘listen’ and help me reflect. Hope to hear from you soon. Hugs and prayers always, Laura

  11. Elaine from Canada says:

    Hi Trying and Laura:

    I have been rereading your recent posts over the past couple of days and see the insights and understanding about all that you are going through. Laura, I’m so glad for you that you deleted the communication with the other man. That took alot of courage to do that and also to post here and be accountable. You know in your head (maybe not your heart) that it was the right thing to do. This “unhooking” is the most difficult thing to do; it feels like an uphill battle where we wonder if those feelings will ever be completely done. It affects our whole lives, relationships with our spouse, friends and family. I found my recent counseling session helpful. I also started to keep a journal soon after we said goodbye. If you have an opportunity try to talk to a professional that can be helpful.

    Trying, I am so sorry you have been struggling with the EA for so many years. Seeing the other man in the community can trigger old feelings and thoughts of all that you shared with them. I find that if I keep myself busy with my teaching and the family that helps to put things into perspective on what is really important in this life. Easier said than done, especially if you have health concerns. I pray that God grants you good health and that you can put your focus on what is important in life! I also found that taking up an interest like crafts, reading, and jewelry making helped fill the void of missing Him when I wanted to end the first emotional affair.

    It’s been 3 weeks now and I am still missing the other man alot. It’s really overwhelming sometimes and I find those feelings pass eventually. It’s like riding a wave in the ocean and not knowing when that wave of emotion will come again. It helps to take some time to write and think about HIM but also to come back to what’s real and true in our lives and to realize that thoughts about being with him is a fantasy.

    An issue I wanted to mention that goes along the Emotional Affair is getting closure. Unfortunately the first man wanted to keep this secret relationship going and I wanted to stop it. It was very similar to your situation Trying in that he looked at me alot when we were in close proximity, wanted to talk with me and positioned himself so he could be near me when I exited the arena. Some months ago while standing in my kitchen I saw him drive by, slow down and look in the window. I have stayed away from several events that he would attend during the past six months so the no contact was something I carefully executed. I did not want those old triggers to become an issue again.

    I’m so happy and thankful that we can support each other. I was thinking about the fact that we may know each other when we meet in heaven. Trying and Laura may God grant you peace and fulfillment in your lives!

    • Laura from United States says:

      Hi Elaine, I just responded to Trying and now need to run off somewhere. Thank you for your post. I’ll reply soon! Laura

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