Marriage Missions International

Getting “Unhooked” From An Emotional Affair

Image credit: Freeimages.com

Image credit: Freeimages.com

“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!

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Comments

1,570 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.

    • SDN from United Kingdom says:

      I can relate to you.

  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

        • Trying from United States says:

          Laura, Thanks!! I, too, finally started journaling my feelings a few days ago. It helps to get the spinning crazy thoughts and questions on paper and out of my head.

  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

    • Laura from United States says:

      Hi Elaine, I’m so sorry it took me all week to respond to your post. How has your week been? Have you been able to maintain no contact? At four weeks in, I can imagine it might be especially challenging as the reality of never talking to him set in. However, on the other hand, I can also imagine that at this point, you might be feeling stronger and perhaps a sense of freedom from all of the raw emotions. Please let us know how you are doing.

      You made the ocean analogy. I can relate to that one, especially early on after the end of the affair. I would try to just ride the waves of emotions; some being so overwhelming and painful, but then having those feelings subside a bit. However, even in calm waters, there is the powerful undercurrent that can pull at you no matter how strong you try to be. It’s so hard. And the lack of control we have over the depth of emotion can be disheartening. But the wave analogy is good, too. It brought me hope that I could get past the severe pain when it came (sometimes still comes).

      Thanks for all of your comments and support of my getting rid of the old communication and email. I hadn’t looked at any of it for a very long time, so it’s not been hard. I’ve been in counseling twice since this affair. Both times specifically for the impact the affair had on my life. I went right away after the ending cuz I was a complete wreck. I went for about a year and it was very helpful to me. I sought out counseling again a few years ago around the time my exAP and I were thrown into a highly charged situation with a mutual friend. It was with a different counselor and I struggled a lot with it. She was pushing me to tell my husband about the affair and that wasn’t something I would consider. I’m not saying she’s wrong, it’s just not an option for me, so I quit seeing her.

      You, Trying, and I all have the commonality of seeing our exAPs in the community or social circles and it is so hard. Right now, I have the opportunity to see him every day for the next month or so. In order to NOT see him, I would have to stop doing something that I really love doing; something that feeds my soul; something that is MY daily routine that he just happens to be involved in right now.

      I’ve tried still doing my routine and have seen him many times in the last two weeks (not spoken though), but I think it’s better for me to just stay away until his time there is through. I’ll still see him around town regardless, so sometimes it seems silly to work so hard to limit contact when it will happen anyway. That’s where I get confused. Why should I give up what I love when we can’t go full no contact anyway? What’s the point? However, seeing him every single day for an extended period, is obviously not healthy when I still care too much about him.

      Elaine, you said keeping busy helps. I have a very active and full life and yes, it helps. But my thoughts drift to him often daily. Basically still just wanting to check in and find out what’s new or to simply share something that happened in my day or get his point of view on something. Just the simple stuff. I’m fading, so am going to sign off. Take good care, Laura

      • Laura from United States says:

        It happened again! It happens every single time I resolve to limit all contact that I have control over!!! As I said in last night’s post, it’s better for me to stay away from seeing him every day and that’s what I decided to do. I prayed about it in church this morning and felt strengthened by God to get through the temptations of the next weeks. Once these weeks are over, I can go back to my normal routine and the exAP won’t be around.

        This afternoon, I was at a store that I don’t frequent often and guess who pulls up next to me? This store isn’t in his part of town either, so this was completely coincidental. We stood there talking for quite a while; just catching up with each other. We have these conversations, usually by phone, about twice a year.

        It just happened, so I haven’t processed the emotions yet. I’m so frustrated! This has happened so many times before! Trying, you’ve commented on it before in some of my posts. I think you made the connection for me one time that every time I try to sever ties a bit, he pops up to ask a favor or such and the connection is there again. I’ll have to look back. It may have been last year in January; or sadly the year before, that you noticed this.

        At church today, during the sermon, something the pastor said made me think of the line, “Oh the tangled webs we weave.” I visualized a spider’s web as I prayerfully asked for strength to get through these next weeks. I saw myself cutting away some of the threads (meaning limiting contact), leaving the remaining connections sparse and thin (the random contact) so as to not have as strong of a hold on me. And then this happens. The busy spider is weaving threads again, connecting us. I don’t see us ever NOT being connected through friends, community, church, etc.

        I just want to scream! I want all the anxiety and pain to go away! If we have to see each other, then I want to be free of the emotions that are attached to him; the longing to know him and his thoughts and how his mind works. Free of wanting to connect with him on the deeper level we shared before.

        I know that so much of what I’ve said is wrong and not supporting the whole idea of unhooking. I get that. But I’m so confused and frustrated and in pain right now and just needed to write some things down. I so appreciate the support I’ve received over the year from those of you who have reached out and given me so much wisdom. Thank you. Laura

        • Trying from United States says:

          Laura, I completely understand what you are saying. I don’t understand why this happens. We’re being tested for our faithfulness. And yet when I think I get it right, some meeting occurs that sets me back. How to be free of the emotions, and the genuine caring for them, their lives, etc. I believe Cindy Wright had a post a little while back about the random meetings and how we can handle them. I should try to find it. Or if you do, post the date.

          Last week, I’ve been bombarded with struggles, really wanting to talk to him, trying to pray for their family, keep the proper perspective, sensing that there is trouble again. I’m a person of deep caring and compassion, and I don’t know how to stop being that. So the pain is part of who I am right now. I have to accept that, and do what I can to cope with it. I canceled an evening yesterday. I needed to sleep, to be restored in body and soul, and that cannot happen when you are constantly serving others. Burying the pain doesn’t work. Taking it out on your family doesn’t work either.

          Finding way to surround myself with true and helpful things, looking for ways to bless my husband and family, and praying for peace. Our trials do draw us closer to God!

      • Elaine from Canada says:

        Hi Laura, Trying, Ruth and all who post here: Laura, I really appreciate your recent post to me. I totally understand the struggle that you write about. It was very surprising and unexpected that you bumped into OM while shopping. Sometimes it just can’t be helped that you will have contact with them. And when we try to exercise no contact they are on our radar. You’re handling yourself well. I did seek help a few years ago from another professional and I was counselled to continue taking part in those activities that I love to do. And of course you should do the same. A lot of our lives are centered around our church life, faith, family and friends.

        I have not had contact with the OM for about 5 weeks. I was tempted to contact him but did not. At this point I still miss him but am better able to focus on the family and faith. Things are okay with the husband but lack of validation, being ignored and not being appreciated continue. There are good things about the relationship, he does sometimes pay attention to me and spend time with me but I initiate that.

        Anyway there has been an unexpected turn of events. I’ve heard from another staff member that the OM is returning to my school and will be working at a temporary position on March 24. I really wasn’t expecting that at all. I was pretty resigned to the fact that I’d probably never see him again. This will mean continued contact for the time being. I need to be careful to keep my boundaries and to know that this is not God’s plan for life. I’ll keep you all posted and pray for continued NO Contact for each one that posts here!

  12. Mjo from United States says:

    Oh my, in my head, I have thought “I am not alone”…. and finding this site… oh, I really am not alone! In May 2013, I connected with my high school sweetheart and first love. I have been married 38yrs. He married at age 49 to a “mail order bride.” We shared with each other the regrets of not staying together when we were younger. He expressed that he loved me still and never found anyone like me.

    He also said he did not love the woman when he married her and does not love her now. He cares about her and spiritually is committed to the “Vow” he has taken. He lives on one side of the country… I on the other. He came to where I was twice… until she found out. Before this all started, my marriage was deteriorating for about ten years. I have hung in there.

    So, when my first love and I connected, it was amazing and wonderful and powerful… we even talked about being together. But voice of reason struck us. Knowing we love each other and trying to do what is right with both of our marriages, he has stopped communication, but I attempt to continue e-mailing him and writing letters. His only comment has been “this is hard for me too.”

    I have thoughts of him every morning, noon, night. I can’t get him out of my head. I can’t stop him in my heart. I’ve tried life coaching, therapist, Christian counseling… alcohol to dull the pain. I’ve gotten on my knees before My Savior …asking forgiveness. My husband knows about the affair, but doesn’t know my continual obsession in my mind.

    How do I get this man out of my head?? I say I’m not going to write a letter or email… there was no closure, and that haunts me. Knowing he loves me kills me… and I love him, but we cannot be together. And yes, maybe, we would not be good together …how do you battle the “first love” thing when you still love each other?? Any counsel to help me move on… I need to move to a resolve. Thank you. Mjo

    • Trying from United States says:

      Welcome! You definitely are not alone in this struggle. You are in the right place for Godly advice and counsel. I don’t have much time for a reply but would encourage you to read as many of the old posts on this blog as you can. There is a lifetime of good counsel from the past few years of many who have travelled this painful path.

      Be thankful he has the resolve not to contact you. My first prayer would be that you also would determine in your heart that you will not initiate any more contact of any type. That is your first step. It is what is keeping things alive in your head. You will most likely still think of him and “talk to him” in your mind for a long time. If you must write to him, delete the email or burn the letter after you write it.

      Baby steps towards victory! I will be praying for you, and please feel free to post. Another strategy that several of us have used is to come to this website when we are tempted to contact the OM. Read, cry, post, do whatever it takes until the urge passes. It has helped me innumerable times over the past 5 years. Praying for your peace one day.

      • Submissive from United States says:

        One scripture for all you ladies and gents on this page. Proverbs 4:23, “Keep thy heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.” Ladies seek Jesus to clean your heart and to confess these things to your spouses. When we confess our sins, He is faithful and Just to forgive. At the same time though your husband is your head and keeping secrets will not ease your pain but make your burdens greater… saying this in love ladies. Repent and confess to your spouses and turn from the sin. This is when true healing will come. :)

  13. Ruth from United States says:

    Laura, Trying and all, The last time I posted here was early August of 2014. In total, I haven’t spoken with or even seen the OM in over 9 months. It was so strange reading my own posts from last year. I feel like I don’t even know who that pathetic person was. Why was this so hard for me? How could I ever try to substitute another person for my husband? I guess if I knew those answers, my EA never would have happened, but still, it’s very confusing.

    Anyway, my main reason for posting is to try to reinforce the NO CONTACT rule. This was so hard for me to understand in the beginning, but I’m positive it is the only reason I’ve gotten my true self back and I hope everyone who is in this awful place can commit to it. I’m sure it’s very difficult if you’re in a situation where you cannot completely avoid seeing the person, but reinforcing to him/her that you cannot continue any kind of friendship is a necessity for truly moving on.

    I’ve been fortunate that I haven’t even glimpsed the OM in 9 months (strange since we’re in a small town), but my husband had to be in the same space as him last month for a kids event. I felt so bad and apologized to my husband that this was ever an issue. I found myself getting mad at the OM for affecting my husband like this, and also mad at myself all over again. My husband assured me it’s okay, but it obviously bothered him and ruined his evening. Goes to show that even almost a year later I’m still dealing with the fallout from my terrible decisions, and I worry that this will never cease. Hopefully, with more time, we can all just roll our eyes at an OM spotting and move on without the hurt. Hopefully.

    Yikes, didn’t mean to type this much, but I really hope all of you can really commit to NO CONTACT -it gets SOOOOO much better with time, trust me. I’m completely numb to this person and have zero feelings for him, absolutely no interest in having any kind of friendship that I thought was so important before. We all have plenty of friends, we can certainly live without this one! Prayers to you all!

    • Cindy Wright from United States says:

      Thanks Ruth, for coming back and for encouraging those who are still struggling. It’s, and you are, such a blessing to all who read this.

    • Molly from United States says:

      I think each and every situation has unique components yet the basic truths offered on the site have proven to be effective. No contact, Journal, talk to a counselor, find a friend that can be an accountability partner in a kind but tough love way, write to the OM to get the rambling one way conversations out of your head and then practice blocking. Self reflection is great but at some point you have to get the guy out of your head. I Am ashamed to admit how long it took for me to acquire and stick with blocking – over 18 long months. At first it was a challenge but every week was easier than the previous and within a month or so Of never entertaining thought of him for more than a 10 seconds, I could tell that I was in a much healthier place. Like Ruth I now look back and feel foolish. The feelings that developed over a span of years were real as was the deep hurt but it was all wrong, not God’s plan for my life and in the end hurt a few people and benefited no one. Yes it boosted my self esteem in some ways and opened my eyes to how I could possibly better my marriage but I wouldn’t pick this route. I wish I could offer a new piece of magical advice but the best I have is to allow yourself to process and evaluate but then block, block, block. Consider it this way, if you feel you get some comfort out of thinking about him or the used to be/ what if scenarios, you can always go back to that but challenge yourself to 30 days of blocking to see for yourself if it is freeing.

  14. Diaz from United States says:

    I was cheated on just recently by my girlfriend of 6 yrs. We have a 2yr old daughter together but she stays with her folks and I live with mine, which isn’t very far from one another. The day she admitted that she was seeing someone else caught me by surprise yet I had a my suspicions long before she said she actually started seeing him on regular basis. I just denied the notions because she was so eager to want to move out with me that I played off as some little eye candy crush.

    I was able to convince her to give some closure but it always felt like if she was holding back. Is it wrong for me to push the issue until I get the full picture of why? We’re working through this one day at time but it always seems that once we move forward we end up at square one. We still do care for each other and are pushing through this together. I love her and our daughter without question. I don’t even know what the guy looks like and she works with him still. I guess what’s eating at me is that I don’t even know if things have or haven’t changed between them.

    • Pie lady from United States says:

      I am glad to read these comments and know that I am not alone. My situation is similar to Mjo. I’ve been married for 31 years and am basically happy, with children and a couple grandchildren. A couple years ago, though, my first real boyfriend and first love and I reconnected. He was married years ago but was widowed.

      He and I talked about regrets that we didn’t marry each other. How different our lives would be if that were so. He and I agreed recently that we need to emotionally let go, but it’s so hard. I’ve prayed about this so many times, asking God to give me a renewed love for my husband, and to look to my ex as only a good friend. I think this will take more time. Thank you ladies, for all you’ve shared.

      • Pie lady from United States says:

        I really hope someone else comes on. I’d like to talk to someone about this

        • Cindy Wright from United States says:

          Dear Pie Lady, I have also been hoping that someone would respond to your plea. But it must be that those who can are busy in some way. How I wish I had magical words, that once they’re said, you can agree and all will go away and be better –that you won’t be plagued by the thoughts and questions that are haunting you. But we both know that this isn’t the way that life on this side of Heaven works. This is the tough stuff, when it comes to emotional issues –particularly those that are connected to anything of an addictive nature. Forbidden or unfulfilled “love” can go the same route of other addictions. We want what we know we shouldn’t have and try to rationalize that maybe it’s not as bad to give in as it is.

          I don’t need to tell you the consequences. You already know them. But unfortunately, you opened up a type of Pandora’s Box and as a result, the “need” to have what you know is wrong, won’t be quieted as easily. I know this from personal experience on many levels. When you feed a temptation, and go farther than you should, backing up and going in a healthier direction is all the more difficult. That’s just the way it is. I wish it could be different. But it isn’t.

          Please take some time to read through as many of the comments you can within this thread. I believe you will be able to glean the information you need –you may not want it, but you need it. Your name and the specifics of what you’re going through may not be mentioned, but I believe that enough of the important stuff will be.

          You need to starve your thoughts, not run with them. Do what you can to distract yourself with good stuff… don’t even allow yourself to go down the imagination trail of “what if’s” and “why not’s” “why can’t I/we” and “if only’s.” Those are thoughts that can sabotage your going in a healthy direction. They will feed the imagination monster that you’re battling with right now. And the more you feed it, the bigger and fiercer it will get and the harder it will be to quiet it. But, on the other hand, the more you feed that, which you should, the more you can replace those unhealthy thoughts and actions, with good ones –good for all.

          I can’t help but think of something that Diane Sollee said, “What we really need is a time machine so that people entering into an affair could flash forward and see themselves, their kids, and their lives at the other end of this ‘tunnel of love’ –at the end of the lust.” It would help, if we could, because believe me, we see the destruction on the other end over and over and over and over again, and it isn’t pretty. Please fight this thing. Don’t feed it; starve it. It won’t go away easily or soon, but it’s not good to do what is wrong, no matter how much you want it. I pray strength for you, and help (as you read other comments, and pray, and contemplate all you’ll take in by this).

          • Pie lady from United States says:

            Thank you so much, Cindy, for your response. I really do appreciate it. I know what you’re saying, and you are right. It just feels so, so good, for someone at my age (in my 50’s) to hear my ex boyfriend tell me things like I’m beautiful, sexy, etc, like he did so many years ago.

            Of course my husband will tell me these things too, but he’s expected to since we’ve been married so long. When someone else –someone I loved (and still do) finds me that attractive, when at the same time I see signs of aging in the mirror, it’s so terribly hard to not yearn for that attention that he can give. I know I need to fight this for my family, though. Thank you for the encouragement.

  15. Elaine from Canada says:

    Hi Pie Lady: I appreciated your comments, your total honesty. It certainly does feel fantastic to be thought of; it’s exciting and and gives us a “high” that we don’t get from our husbands, especially when we have been married for a long time. But as we all keep saying blocking, stopping our minds from going “there” is the best for our marriage relationships. It sounds like a lot of memories/nostalgias are going on with the OM. No contact and putting our energy into our home relationship is where we need to be. This is what the Lord wants for all of us.

    This week the OM in my life came back to my work place. It has not been easy. He come back to take a temporary position after being transferred due to a staff illness. I did not contact him in the 6 weeks that he was at another school. It was really hard, mind over matter but I kept the no contact for that time. Now I have him coming to talk to me in my class, looking at me a lot. Yesterday he seemed really nervous talking to me but I felt quite relaxed about all of it. It felt good to catch up but I know I must do my best to block my emotional attachment to him.

    • Pie lady from United States says:

      Elaine, thanks so much for your reply. I’m sure it wouldn’t be easy to have to work with him. I don’t have that situation. I will not happen to run into him. I last saw him three months ago, and I last spoke to him nine days ago, very briefly. I’ll need to see him at least once again; no need to explain why. Hopefully all will go well when I do see him again -I’ll be strong.

      And yes, there are many memories of 33 years ago when I was with him. And you know, when he and I got reconnected after so many years, two years ago, all of those feelings came back along with the longings. It’s some tough stuff. And he doesn’t have a wife to cheat on. I don’t know if that makes it harder or easier. Well, thanks again. I hope you can continue to be strong despite having to face him everyday.

      • Pie lady from United States says:

        Elaine, how long have you been married? Is this the first time there has been OM in your life? I really didn’t expect this to happen to me. My marriage was not and still isn’t suffering. I wonder if it’s a type of a mid life crisis.

        • Elaine from Canada says:

          Hi Pie Lady: To answer your questions… we’ve been married 20 years, had our ups and downs but we seem to be in a pretty good place right now. Last week we celebrated our anniversary with a trip to the Art Gallery and a nice dinner out. This is my second emotional affair. If you look at my previous posts there is a little background on the first EA. The first one lasted about 4 years and it was really rough.

          It is good that you have a solid long term relationship with your husband. Be thankful for that! It will help you navigate through this process. From my experience with the EA I think it would be difficult to be good friends with him. It will be easier for you to stop contact when this is possible, then the feelings for him will diminish.

          My goal is to be polite, somewhat distant but set my own boundaries with the OM when there is contact at work. Easier said than done! If someone could comment on having to work with the EA partner but keeping it on a strictly professional level, that would be appreciated.

          • Pie lady from United States says:

            Hi Elaine, I will look over your previous posts about your first EA. This is the first one for me, and it was extremely intense at times. Hopefully, I will learn from this so that I’ll be on guard so as to not let this happen again, with God’s help. There are lyrics to a song that has helped me a lot-

            Well everybody’s got a story to tell
            And everybody’s got a wound to be healed
            I want to believe there’s beauty here
            Cause oh, I get so tired of holding on
            I can’t let go, I can’t move on
            I want to believe there’s meaning here

            How many times have you heard me cry out
            “God please take this?”
            How many times have you given
            me strength to
            Just keep breathing?
            Oh I need you
            God, I need you now
            Standing on a road I didn’t plan
            Wondering how I got to where I am
            I’m trying to hear that still small voice
            I’m trying to hear above the noise

            How many times . . .

            Yes, my husband and I do have a good marriage and have learned to communicate well, and he’s been much better at trying to please me. So, why am I still hanging on emotionally to my ex? Why can’t I be happy for him if he can move on without me and maybe even find a woman who he can be happy with?

  16. Running Man from New Zealand says:

    Hi again to all. I have been away from the forum for quite some time, but have a quite intense but useful chapter to report on this topic. I’ll post here shortly. I’m always amazed at the greatness of our God, and how this is all powerfully entwined in spiritual struggles, and battles for holiness before our Awesome God. Reporting soon… RM

    • Trying from United States says:

      RM –I always appreciate your insight. I’m a very weak state of faith for several months now… questioning everything I have believed in spiritually so I have felt I have no business advising anyone on anything, but I would appreciate reading of your experience.

      • Running Man from New Zealand says:

        Hi Trying. Thank you for your comments. I feel for you, as I know things can be very tough working through these very complex issues. There is nothing simple about this in one sense, and yes, it can get difficult. I really need a little more time to pen my thoughts, but suffice to say, every case is different, although the general issue is a common experience. I’ve often said this: if you are His, you ARE His (if that makes sense) -you are truly His possession, and treasured, far more than you treasure yourself, and far, far greater than you EA, or best friend(s) treasure you. We’ll never fully grasp this here, but it’s a fact.

        This being the case, He will never let you slip so far that you’re too far away. Ultimately, He’ll return you to Himself in fullness. How long, and through what path, we cannot say, but He will honor His promise, His covenant, His child!

        Again, it is the difference between “state” and “standing’. Our ‘state’ (feelings, environment, condition) goes up and down like the waves of the ocean, and we can feel lost, lonely etc etc… however this NEVER changes our STANDING with God. We’re fully justified, fully loved, fully forgiven, fully saved, fully washed, and complete in Christ! Jesus accomplished all this on the Cross. This is the bedrock we can then build upon to come through the crisis of an emotional affair (or sin of any kind in fact). Hold on to this Trying. I pray God will bless these truths to you. I’ll post my other thoughts later. Blessings RM

      • Running Man from New Zealand says:

        Just a brief note: I don’t really like saying the word ‘secret’, or ‘quick fix’, or ‘solution’ when dealing with this issue, but if could bring everything to a fine point, I would say this: the answer to these issues is totally wrapped up in understanding the existence of God, His nature, and the relationship of men and women, boys and girls to this holy God.

        It finally comes down to A) being found in Christ – being absorbed with Him, so much that we are lost in Him! He becomes everything, and we become nothing, not focusing on ourselves, our problems, etc. When we become Christ focused, our problems become small, very, very small indeed, and our minds, hearts and will expands into the everlasting God.

        Then B) Worship. When we find ourselves ‘lost in wonder, love, and praise’, especially in the company of other Christians, this does have the effect of taking us out of ourselves, our problems, and lifts us above this world of time, into the eternal.

        Lastly, I like to think that there are really NO goodbyes. Everyone lives forever. Souls were created immortal. They cannot die. So, again, things brings clarity, and we ask ourselves, “where am I headed? After this life is ended, I will enter eternity. Am I prepared? Who will be with me there? I will stand before God, to give an account of my life. What am I doing now to prepare me for that great day?” Thus, we’re forced to think different thoughts than what we might otherwise think… this is the healing that is then aided by the divine influences of the Holy Spirit Himself!

        If we are believers, He lives in us, and He will work to sanctify us, and bring us finally to Heaven, and perfect bliss. Remember, just 1 hour in Heaven will make up for years of torment and troubles upon this earth we currently inhabit. Blessings. RM

        • Trying from United States says:

          Thanks so much for your encouragement, RM. I know I am HIS… I’ve been listening to the devil’s lies way too much lately.

          • Running Man from New Zealand says:

            Dear Trying…you are not alone…I can relate. I have been privately in tears at least twice this week over this issue. And I have not seen this person for over 6 years now! It leaves a scar for sure. I’ll try to sit down and recount how things have gone for me recently.

        • Beth from United States says:

          Excellent words, so encouraging.

  17. Trying from United States says:

    Elaine, Pie Lady, Laura,RM and all who seek support, I have been in hiding and dealing with pain, and therefore not coming to this site. Sorry… this is a difficult time of year for me, many memories cropping up, but not as intense as in the past.

    Elaine, I am so interested to hear from you, and wondering how the past 2 weeks have gone (since March 24). You have been down this road before….

    Pie Lady, The advice from Cindy was very valuable to me as I read through it and processed it. One phrase stuck with me “imagination monster”. That resonates with me today because any relationship I can claim the OM is present only in my imagination! I do see him around the community, sometimes more often than others.

    From my experience with 1st EA starting 5 years ago, many circumstances change. Even though EA #1 and I still live in the same small community, our children are grown, we no longer attend the same church, and I rarely see him or think of him. If I do, it’s more out of curiosity, and without concern or any feelings of affection.

    How have you been doing since your last contact with him? You have an advantage if he’s geographically further away, and I’m thankful for that. I have the song you quoted memorized, and it is so very true for times like these.

    RM, speaking Truth to myself, and discarding the lies of worthlessness and self pity are my challenges. These ideas feed on the “ego boosting” that we felt from the EA, and when I turn to those memories, I’m lying to myself. My worth is found in Jesus Christ alone. A fabulous new song by the Keith and Kristin Getty expresses this so well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfFrJHuptUQ

  18. Elaine from Canada says:

    Hi RM: You have said it so eloquently… thanks so much for your heartfelt post! It’s good to get your perspective on this very difficult issue, knowing that there is a much greater gift in heaven for us. You are also right in saying how important it is for us to surround ourselves with other Christians and keep our focus on what is really important in life.

    Trying, I’m so sorry that you are in a difficult place right now. That hook can cut so deep and take hold of us. Stay strong in the Lord and keep yourself involved in what you know to be true and real, unlike those “lies’ that take hold of our hearts and lives.

    I too am having my trials with the EA …the OM had himself transferred back to our school. We have 80 schools in our district so he had opportunities to go elsewhere but decided to take another temporary position at my school. He visits me in my class about 2 times a day and continues to conveniently bump into me in the hallway. I NEVER go to his office or go out of my way to seek his company. At times my feelings are completely out of control -that’s what I’m feeling inside. I’m doing my very best to leave him but it’s not working at all!

    Blessings to all who visit this site!

    • Pie lady from United States says:

      I’m doing alright, Trying, thanks for asking. It’s easier to not have much contact anymore. Another thing that makes it easier is that my husband and I are doing better than ever in our 31+ years of marriage in the area of sex. It’s amazing that it took this long for things to be fantastic. I did talk to the OM once since I last posted, and it went fine. I still will see him once more. And yes, it’s easier that I will likely never bump into him. That did happen back in 1994 or so, but after that I hadn’t had any contact until we reconnected. God is very good -He is helping me through this.

    • Trying from United States says:

      Dear Elaine, Thanks for updating. I’ve been thinking about you a lot. You may have to be more direct with OM. I did with EA #1. I remember that phone call very clearly. I had done my best to keep things limited, but he kept seeking me out. I finally just asked him to please respect the boundaries that I had set for my marriage, and one of them included no personal conversations with men other than my husband. Thankfully, he honored that by not speaking alone to me anymore, but he did continue to follow me, stare at me, etc when we were at events (you know the routine). I eventually removed myself to a different part of the building whenever I saw him heading my way, and with time, he stopped. We’re now on speaking terms, but see each other very rarely, and limit our conversations.

      I may be stating the obvious but The more you two talk, the deeper the bond goes. I see that now with hindsight. I thought our conversations were harmless, just 2 friends sharing. But once that line is crossed, and a glimmer of attraction on one party or another is sensed… we need to RUN the other direction.

      It can so awkward and feel so rude, but Laura and I have discussed setting and keeping wise boundaries many times on this blog. And that’s what’s happening when we put an end to these relationships. Honoring the boundaries of his marriage and ours. I have referred to a fabulous article by Nancy Leigh DeMoss on boundaries if you are not familiar with it already, and have referenced it in the past in my posts.

      • Elaine from Canada says:

        Hi Trying:

        Thanks for your insights. Yes, I’ve certainly been down this road before. We have a small school and I will inevitably bump into any of the staff during the day. Of course with the OM it feels different than the normal working relationships I have with the others.

        It’s a bit strange the second time around. His behaviors and interaction with me are very similar to the first man. Both are from similar backgrounds in which some of the men like “the chase”. With the first man I arranged to meet with him face to face asking him to stop what he was doing and later I also sent him an email. Unfortunately, he continued to want interaction with me and was very aggressive about it. I suspect in this case it wouldn’t make a whole lot of difference.

        I did have some success when I left school for the weekend. He came into my room like he usually does after school and I told him that I had to leave to go to the office which I did so there was no conversation at that time. I also exited from another door so I didn’t have to see him. I’m better with creating distance and avoidance than confrontation. I do see the big picture though……his position is temporary and it’s likely that the person on sick leave will come back before the end of the school year. I do understand those boundaries as I have talked to my counsellor about that.

        Thanks for caring!

        • Pie lady from United States says:

          Trying, I am doing well in my marriage and family, but the problem is my heart still longs for my ex boyfriend. It’s very hard to let go completely emotionally, to not want him.

  19. Toys from Australia says:

    Hi, my name is Latoya, I’m married with one daughter. I’ve been with my husband for the last 3 years but married for only 2. My husband and I both attend church and are very committed to ministry and serving Christ etc. He is a very hard working man, dedicated to me and my daughter and completely goes out of his way for anyone and everyone especially us.

    About a year ago I had a guy friend I knew from high school (I’m 30 now) add me on Facebook. I hadn’t seen this guy for years, since school really. We never spoke much at school only here and there, but over all not much. I did have a major crush on him in junior high before we went to senior high school I was not really attractive back then very tom boyish. I kinda think he knew I liked him but was never really interested.

    Anyway, when this guy added me on Facebook years later, I’ve changed now and looking very slim and attractive. He private messaged me saying hi how are you, it’s been ages since I saw you last, looks like you have a man in your life etc. When he sent me this message I thought to myself wow? You’ve never really spoken to me in the past but now you’re reaching out to me out of the blue? And in private message as well, that’s kinda odd. At the same time I did get butterflies. Deep inside I knew that if I had messaged back it could possibly start something. I didn’t want to jeopardise my marriage so I never responded to his message.

    A week or so later he put up a random picture of himself on f.b and to my surprise he looked really really hot and attractive. I really don’t know where this idea came from but for some reason when I first saw this picture I kinda got that sense like was he trying to get my attention Or?? Anyway this is where I got more butterflies I don’t know why but it made me feel tingly inside… eventually I got over it. I never said anything and moved on happily.

    Now, the last few weeks out of nowhere I’ve been thinking about this guy a lot. I’ve tried resisting the thoughts and temptations in my head but it’s been hard. I don’t know why I’m suddenly getting these butterflies for this guy, I knew from school? I really love Jesus so much. I’ve even admitted to God of having desires for this guy; he just keeps popping up into my head. I’ve actually had desires to even want him physically. I’ve allowed this lust to enter my mind and heart. I feel like an adulterer; I feel stuck. I keep away from this guys Facebook page or looking at any of his photos because I don’t want to burn with more feelings. I won’t write to him because I’m shy plus it’s all in my head and it’s just a fantasy.

    I love the Lord so much. I want to do nothing but the right thing by him, and by my husband and my daughter. I can’t seem to shake this guy off my mind. Although it’s been a few weeks he’s always stuck to the back of my mind since the last year etc. He’s also engaged now.

    I’m not sure what to do. I keep telling myself it’s a passing phase and that I’ll move forward from this, but for now just stay away from him, stay away from his Facebook page and stay away from trying to private message him. That’s all I can do till I overcome this desire. I don’t know how to break this to my husband. I don’t even want to say anything to him or how he would react if I told him what I am going through.

    I don’t want to divorce my husband; I love him dearly. He is the best man I’ve ever been with. His family is beautiful, our friends all love us together. I pray to God that the butterflies or whatever it is that I was/am feeling towards this guy I knew from school, I can have toward my husband instead because that is all I want. I made a vow to my hubby when I married him and I want to stick by it till our dying age. Any advice will be great.

    • Trying from United States says:

      You are doing the right things by staying away from any sign of him. You are being tested in your faith, but continue to pray and confess your desire for this man. We can be attracted to many people in life, but it sounds as if you have a wonderful husband that you love. You have the right idea to focus on your husband, and with time, your attraction for other man will fade.

      Stay strong, and go forward in the courage of the Lord. You can overcome this with God’s grace.

    • Beth from United States says:

      I agree you are doing the right thing. I let the messaging go way too far in my situation and now I’m horribly depressed and going to need medication to get over this. My counselor said it’s not bad to have feelings for someone else, but it’s what we do with those feelings that is the problem. Keep praying and don’t message him, that is where I went wrong. You are wise not to start.

  20. Elaine from Canada says:

    Hi Trying: I hope and pray that you’re feeling well now and enjoying the beautiful springtime weather! Have you had interaction with the other two men? Also, how is your marriage going these days?

    Last night I was in the arena sitting with my husband watching my son’s game and #1 showed up to watch, his daughter was doing the time clock. I didn’t have any conversation with him because I had to leave early to pick up my other son from dance class. Afterwards I felt happy and thankful that there was no interaction because I know how difficult that would would be. I hadn’t seen him in about 6 months.

    There has been another unexpected turn of events with #2. He became very ill a couple of weeks ago and was taken to the hospital. He stayed in ICU for a couple of days and is recuperating at home with pneumonia. We’ve been in contact with 2 short emails and he hopes to be back at work in a couple of weeks. I’m staying away from any further contact so that he can be at home with his family. It’s difficult… I had thoughts of him not making it. Anyway I’m doing my best to respect his privacy with him wife, daughter and Mother in law.

    • Trying from United States says:

      Hi, Elaine, Thanks for asking about me. I’m facing the depression and anxiety better with the change in weather. As I’ve said before, spring is my favorite time of year, however, the last 3 years have brought so much emotion with them, as this is the time that OM and I got really close. I can truly say that I have more joy and less emotion than the year before so I know there is progress. I’m here on this blog today, because of yesterday. I have not seen OM 1 for 3 months so that’s good. re: OM 2, I’ve struggled some due to a brief casual conversation in public setting with his wife and he yesterday. Yet, I know life goes on. Forgiveness and grace is critical. Forgiving myself is critical. Hubby and I had a good weekend, and it makes life so much easier! So a huge praise for that!

      Re: your friend–it’s so interesting I had a similar experince with #2. A close family member of his had several medical crisis, and it was so difficult not to reach out to him in support during that time. It seemed to be a rude, uncaring thing on my part not to offer support, YET… The factor of respecting his privacy with his family and his own support system is vital. I felt it overrides my opinion on the matter, and so I am thankful that you have chosen to do that also. Each right choice is a step in the process of being free. Stay strong in the Lord!

  21. Claire from United States says:

    Hello All! I am new here but reading all these comments, over a year’s worth, has been an “please, let me have found help in these people!” moment. It seems I have differences from some here. I’ve only been married for 5 years, I’m in my early 30’s. My husband is amazing in many, many different ways.

    Judge as you will, but in my down time I’ve always been a fan of playing the game World of Warcraft (trust me, I’ve heard all the jokes and whatnot). Through this, I’ve enjoyed meeting people from all over the world. My husband and I love Disney and have met people who have taken us on private tours, etc. Anyways, about 3 years ago, I met someone in this game and there was an immediate connection. I told him I was happily married and we began to be friends. We had no idea what the other looked like and just got to know each other through talking. I found myself looking for his advice and emotional support and sharing frustrations with him as he did with me -at the time, I was a recently unemployed accountant that my husband, while supportive, was frustrated with.

    Eventually we exchanged phone numbers and emails. We were talking out of game. Then, many months into it, he said he loved me. I couldn’t believe it. I found myself returning the love. I have no idea what this man looks like! It didn’t matter. It was finally discovered that he is a big Asian guy and I’m a small German woman. It didn’t matter. I’d never felt like this for anyone. It was his mind, his heart, that drew me.

    We continued our emotional affair for years. As we live on opposite sides of the country, it wasn’t feasible to meet… until, early this year for two nights. It was everything we’d hoped for. Then, sadly, as life does, his work began to take all his time and I was left with nothing. Our arguments over me wanting time he was giving to other priorities and not me… it was painful beyond belief.

    Last weekend he ended it with me and hasn’t contacted me since. I’m beside myself with grief. My work has suffered, my actions are just “going through the motions.” My husband believes I’m depressed and am losing too much weight over it, which I am. I don’t know what to do. This man I wanted for everything. I’m considering therapy, medication, prayer… all of it, none of it, I don’t know know what to do.

    There are immature wishes mixed in as well such as “I hope he’s hurting like I am” “Come crawling back to me please!” Of course I haven’t said this. But to literally be out of contact with him (other than while we’re sleeping) for more than an hour each day in 3 years… to nothing… I’m hurting so badly. The guilt, the pain, the…everything. I don’t know what to do. If anyone here has any advice, I would be eternally grateful.

  22. Beth from United States says:

    Just knowing I’m not the only one going through this helps. I appreciate everyone who wrote on here. My counselor says I shouldn’t tell my spouse. Do you agree? My spouse would flip out. He thinks I’m having a midlife crisis and am depressed.

  23. Running Man from New Zealand says:

    Hello again to all. Hello also Beth and Claire. I while ago I promised to share my most recent thoughts/events on this issue, so here goes. As we have all noticed, this ‘condition’ is a combination of psychological, spiritual and situational circumstances that make it a complex issue to combat and work through. We have always noted that the very best thing you can do if considering, or in the throws of an emotional affair, is to get out…to run. You will regret with many, many tears and heartaches, every day you add to the affair. Every word is yet another sword you are constructing for your own piercing. Every discussion, phone call, email, is building a level of intimacy that you will find almost impossible to recover from when the time comes (and it ALWAYS comes) for you to exit the relationship finally.

    I will share with you what I think are the most pertinent dangers of these relationships.. I have been out of my relationship for almost 7 years now, and have had plenty of time for reflection, visited counsellors, and had fantastic Christian input from family members who are very wise. I am also a committed Christian, who the Lord Jesus Christ graciously saved from a life of godlessness at the age of 20. Without Him I am nothing! I was a happy person (and still can be thankfully!) and was happy in my marriage of around 17 years at the time of meeting my particular affair partner.

    Like most of us here, we have particular life circumstances, that have shaped our personality, and often, these circumstances have given rise to a measure of instability in our lives, perceived or not. In my case, I have never known my father, having left when I was only months old. I was quite oblivious to the role this upbringing brought to the table when I began to open up so wide to my EA partner. My wife comes from a stable background, and brought up in a Christian home, and does not really ever feel lonely. I can tell you that after about 6 months of being quite well, I’m in the middle of a very lonely place, which is an unpleasant feeling. But again, we must know ourselves in order to understand and process all we have been through.

    This is where Christianity comes in. Not just religion, or church, but knowing the Living God, through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. It is Him alone that can comfort. He is the God of all power isn”t He? Then there is nothing beyond his power. Even this. However, I know He sometimes allows us to be broken. It is a mystery. I do not understand of course, but it is there: all things work together for good. Both good and bad things. An EA is no exception. ALL things. I am the first to say I feel very weak at acknowledging this plan at all times. How we need great faith. Pray for it! For the unbeliever, there can obviously still be assistance. This is why God in His mercy has gifted people with skills for counselling, healing and wisdom in untangling the thorny issue of an improper emotional attachment that is blown apart.

    Some recent thoughts follow, rooted in a Christian understanding of our lives here in a fallen world. I acknowledge the special position of a Christian as a chosen and beloved child of God, destined for Glory, and harassed by the world, the flesh and the devil. We are pilgrims on our way to the Celestial City, to eternity with God, and we are strangers here, in a war zone, and particular targets of Satan. He will do his utmost to discourage, depress us, and if possible, to cause us to bring dishonour to God’s holy name. As I will show, an emotional affair/physical affair is actually a masterful plan, perhaps THE most destructive a believer can ever be exposed to while earthbound.

    1) DISTRACTION. I am convinced that the first key strategy. As I look back over the many years now (I was fully involved in an extremely intense EA for several years, with the person becoming a family friend, living only minutes away, and was initially a work college). I recall our very first talk. It was about the Lord! As she was a new staff member, I was so excited to know she was a believer. I was at a spiritual high-point. I had started an outreach for children with my wife, I was opening at church, been asked to be an elder, and was beginning to preach. I was spiritually so invigorated and truly felt happy and useful to the Lord. I was NOT conscious of any loneliness, had never once considered an affair, and did not lust or even look at other women lustfully by God’s grace. It was only a few months until I would pop in, just steps away from my office, to talk with this woman. Life, children, etc etc. You know the topics!! Innocent topics, but every single word building intimacy, connection, and eventually, emotional dependance, and finally, full-blown, grown up feelings which you never knew could or would happen! Within a very short space of time, my mind had become totally absorbed with this new ‘friend’.

    My love for God had drifted, my focus changed, and without knowing it, it was all about her. Without doubt, she wanted me to have feelings for her. Looking back it was obvious why. She had a distant husband, she was adopted, and had been through an abortion and a failed marriage beforehand. The more we talked, the more I wanted to ‘fix’ her issues. Christianity was prominent, but slowly the ‘issue’ became prominent. The ‘affair’ took over, and my mind became so twisted, confused and agitated. The more I could not have her, the more I was beside myself. The more she put up a wall, the more I broke. I was TOTALLY distracted by another human being. A PERSON other than God, or my wife, had become centre stage. And still, this ‘person’ can get front and centre if I’m not careful.

    If Satan can create a distraction, then he will, and a PERSON who you have strong feelings for, with the added twist of inability to ever obtain this person, is perhaps the ULTIMATE distraction of mind, leading to very protracted healing processes, and difficulty recovering. The perfect distraction from unpolluted service and love to God Himself. I fell in this way.

    2) DISSATISFACTION. You will all know, that once you have met your EA, everything else seems to disappoint. All you want is to be around them constantly. Part of this is due to the knowledge that you can’t touch, you can’t have this, and it is ultimately out of bounds. You also have gone too far to turn back, and have invested too much emotionally to have them or your walk away right now. You are in it supposedly forever, but as God will not be mocked, this sin is always eventually exposed in some fashion, and things fall apart, generally very badly. You grow discontent with your current spouse, simply because the EA partner is now there, on the scene, and ‘gets’ you in ways your spouse seemingly can’t. If you have an EA (like I did) who points out weaknesses in your spouse, your trouble intensifies, as you will probably believe them.

    Satan and his demons delight in nothing better than to pour contempt upon your God-given spouse and diminish them in your eyes. What a disgrace and pollution of the marriage covenant. These are the very seeds of destruction being planted before your very eyes. And you are a willing participant. It does not get any worse than this I’m afraid. From now on, you are dissatisfied, discontent with what was previously your delight and happiness. Your infatuation (and it is really just that, coupled with lust and heady endorphines) has created in you a desire for those intense feelings of youth to return, and the excitement your EA produces cannot of course be replicated by your spouse. Godly contentment is great gain, and, as Paul points out, he was able to be content in EVERY situation. But your EA has created intense dissatisfaction with your lot in life, which, ultimately, is dissatisfaction in God Himself, and leads to nothing but further sin. Recognise that satisfaction is found in trusting God, and realising His immense love, and recognising that you have swallowed poison bait, that will only lead to bitterness and loss. I foolishly listened to the voice of this supplanter, and began to act unkindly towards the true love of my life. It is horrible to recall, but this is what always happens.

    3) DESTRUCTION. Ultimately, I strongly believe that there is NOTHING so damaging in Satan’s arsenal than an affair. This is the poison arrow that if embedded in the believer, has the potential to DESTROY EVERY RELATIONSHIP they have. Every single one!! Left to fruition, an affair of any type will shatter each and every family member you know, the relationship with your church friends, your close friends, and even your colleges and work mates. I can’t think of another form of ‘attack’ or ‘trial’ that can produce so much damage. It can involve the police, the judge, and the hospital!! Not only this, if left to mature, your relationship with God will take a massive hit. Destruction is the end game people. I said only last night to my spouse, in tears, that I came within a whisker of this very destruction. I was but an inch away!! I was teetering on the edge, and almost lost EVERYTHING. Satan is the deceiver, the destroyer. Be so very careful.

    God is gracious. He forgives, He heals and restores. I am so thankful for this. But I have become wise through much pain. As a little back story, when I began to preach, I focussed on spiritual warfare. I was interested in preaching on this subject, and studied it, in a healthy way, so as to help the congregation battle against the world, the flesh and the devil. So cunning and deceptive is Satan and his minions, that before then end of my planned three part sermons on this issue (over several months) I had been totally defeated by the devil, and fallen into a mighty snare.

    Pray for your children, and yourselves, to be kept safe, and God will spare them from these temptations. He is mighty and able to save!!

    I have some more to say about what occurred 6 months ago in an effort to move forward, which I may share at a later date.

    Blessings, RM

    • Trying from United States says:

      RM, thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this. These words are thoughts and ideas, truths of God that have been swirling in and out of my brain for the past 2-3 years as I have struggled in this battle. To see them verbalized in print, in organized fashion, is such a blessing. I have not been open with anyone about my struggle for quite some time, and things can get so muddled.

    • Trying from United States says:

      RM, I think this post is so valuable as a testimony to anyone dealing with this issue. I wonder if Steve and Cindy Wright would consider posting this as a separate article.

      I printed a copy and reread it several times today. Some of The things I highlighted were the thoughts of our love for God drifting and our focus shifting as we discussed innocent topics, yet building intimacy and connection with each word. The concepts of distraction and dissatisfaction are so on target! I found these things to be very true. The comparison to poison was vivid. I, too, was at a very high point spiritually when I first became involved with trying to “fix” the mess of a life my EA had gotten himself into. And how I also lost my focus on Jesus, justifying and excusing all types of nonsense!! “I became wiser through my pain” by God’s grace and I thank Him! Blessings and peace, Blessings and peace to all,

      • Running Man from New Zealand says:

        Thank you, Trying, for your gracious and kind words. I’m so thrilled that what I wrote has been some help to you. I felt liberty during typing that post, and I was so thankful to have put down my thoughts then and as I did, as it is, as you point out, so very difficult to express and organise this topic.

        Yes, I recall Steve and Cindy at one point mentioning an article, and I too think this might be useful for some folk. Ideally, I’d like to add one more section, which I have come to only this last week, which I believe is so central, and possibly the summation of this journey for me. And then, I would like to add previous information, particularly regarding Complex Grief Disorder, which so perfectly explains so much of what we battle. I think, with these kinds of ‘sections’, it would help cover, in some measure, the wide gamut of all this.

        So thanks for the encouragement! This might actually help me to finally do that! Blessings to you again, Trying

        • Cindy Wright from United States says:

          We would love to add this as a separate article with the extra section you mentioned. If you would put that together and send it to us through the “Contact Us” web site feature, we would love to post it. Thanks for encouraging others as you are… such a blessing!

          • Running Man from New Zealand says:

            Thank you Cindy. I appreciate the encouragement, and yes, I will work on getting this together. RM

    • MHT from United States says:

      RM, thank you so much for this! It’s well organized and helps me put concrete words to how I ever got to the place that I did. It also confirms and validates the No Contact I’m trying to adhere to with (from) my EA partner. I’m immensely grateful that you shared it.

      Thankfully, OM and I only have the opportunity to see each other once a year during a multi-day conference in our profession. Even though I maintained contact with him throughout the year, I honestly thought the physical distance was enough to keep things under control. After not seeing each other for two years (he missed a year, then I missed a year) I thought things had fizzled out on their own.

      Unfortunately, when we both made it to the conference again, all those feelings came rushing back just as intense, if not more so, than the two years prior. Temptation during the conference was like a roaring fire! I asked and prayed for guidance and wisdom while we were there. God provided me with a strong Christian friend that was a good distraction and gave me a lot of good things to read and think about both at the conference and once I returned home.

      OM and I agreed that we needed to cool things down after the conference. He agreed to no contact, but is not honoring it. Mostly recently he tried to contact me about a professional matter, but considering our mutual circle of friends/colleagues, I’m not the only person who could assist him. It feels like another ploy just to talk to me. There’s a part of me that wants to talk to him, but the other part of me knows it’s best not to.

      I already shared with my husband my feelings the first time I met him and confided in him my feelings this time too. Before, I wasn’t ready to let go of OM because he was filling a need that was sorely unfulfilled by my husband, but this time I’m strong enough that I can let him go. It will be hard because we’ve grown closer over more than 5 years, but I have to. I just have to.

      After going through some of the exercises in this article and then reading your post, I know this is the right thing to do. Things are still not ideal between me and my husband, but I know that I’m honoring him and God by recomitting to our marriage. I get how Satan was trying to destroy two families and multiple relationships therein. He truly is prowling around like a roaring lion and will devour us if we are not on guard.

      Thanks again for your words. They’re truly helping me get through this shadowy time in my life. MHT

  24. Elaine from Canada says:

    I’m thinking and praying for all of the people that post here. Thanks RM for your insights, thoughts and feelings about this difficult problem that we all face. I’m requesting prayer for next week. I’m anticipating a really rough ride as I’ll be saying good bye to him forever. Love to you all! Elaine

    • Running Man from New Zealand says:

      Elaine. Thinking of you at this difficult time. Prayers….RM

    • Running Man from New Zealand says:

      I wasn’t going to say anything, but It’s quite strange Elaine, that I had also purposed, in my own way, that this week is my final goodbye to these issues of the past. Let’s ask together for prayer and strength, that God will allow us to put Himself back at the very core of our lives once more.

    • Trying from United States says:

      Elaine, please know you have been in my thoughts and prayers as the school year comes to a close. I was anticipating you would have final closure! Rejoice! (through your tears) that you can be rescued. Be thankful (through your pain) that you have been spared more heartache. I will pray for God’s grace and strength to give you courage in doing the right thing.

    • Laura from United States says:

      I’m sending my prayers for you, too, Elaine. It will most likely be very sad and difficult, but peace and contentment will be waiting for you. It’s there for all of us. My favorite prayer– I hope it brings you come comfort.

      May today there be peace within.
      May you trust God that you are exactly where you
      are meant to be.
      May you not forget the infinite
      possibilities that are born of faith.
      May you use those gifts that you have received,
      and pass on the love that has been given to you.
      May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
      Let this presence settle into your bones,
      and allow your soul the freedom to sing,
      dance, praise and love.
      It is there for each and every one of us.

      • Trying from United States says:

        Beautiful!! Thanks for sharing this Laura! Miss you. I’ve been a fairly good place the last month, but these last 3 days sent me to this website, and once again God provides the encouragement and reinforcement that I need to continue to seek Truth and live it!!

        And I found a new song this a.m. –once again God’s longsuffering and love rescues me! “My Soul Longs for the Lord” by Keith and Kristen Getty https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avFBQh0iWMI&utm_content=bufferbbfff&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

        • Pie lady from United States says:

          I’m doing ok, letting go emotionally from my ex, whom I was reconnected with on Facebook. But just two days ago a stranger, a friend of a female classmate Facebook friend, started messaging me because Facebook suggested my friendship to him. He admitted right away that he’s so attracted to me, that I’m gorgeous and that my ravishing beauty is breathtaking. He’s divorced, a couple years older, and attractive. However, I was able to get through to him that he doesn’t have a chance because I’m married. He at one point told me we could still have a thing- unexpected things happen.

          Although it would have been very much fun to start having a new chat buddy, I thank God that He gave me the strength to resist. I think I learned enough from reading these posts and from my previous experience. Thank you, those of you post and will read this for your encouragement and understanding.

          • Elaine from Canada says:

            Pie Lady, you are making the right choice by resisting the temptation of the other man. Those desires can be SO STRONG that we find ourselves not thinking straight. Thinking about you and hope that you’ll continue on the chosen path.

            Laura, Trying, RM, words cannot express my total gratitude and thankfulness for your responses! I am in awe over the kindness, compassion and Christian love that you’ve shown to me. I’ve been finding it difficult to pray during the past several days. I’ll post at a later time.

          • Pie lady from United States says:

            Thank you, Elaine. I will pray for you to as I know you’re missing him. I’m sure that was extremely difficult to say goodbye to him.

  25. Christal from United States says:

    Thank you .I could use more help and advice from a discussion forum.

  26. Trying from United States says:

    I come to you all in great sorrow and ask for prayer at a very vulnerable time! It gives me strength to know that people around the world will pray for me. A close family member died instantly a few days ago, and we are reeling with shock, etc. Very exhausted and weak as we walk through this valley. We rejoice that he is with Jesus, yet we sorrow for those of us that remain. My private prayer request to this group as my ex EA has reached out to me. I wanted him to, I’m sorry to say, in my humanness and pain. I responded briefly, but I know this morning with all of my heart, I cannot go down this road!!! My husband and sons was with the family member when he passed so it is very traumatic for us all.

    Pray first of all that I can turn to Jesus for my comfort, and that satan will not prevail in this very private trial of mine. And that the support and comfort that my family needs from me will not be hindered in any way.

    God bless you all and through my tears I thank you in advance. Hug those you love extra tight today!! You never know when it might be the last time!

    • Elaine from Canada says:

      Hi Trying: My heart goes out to you during this difficult time and my deepest sympathy to you and your family. The grief can be more heart wrenching when the loved one passes so quickly and then those of us who are left are feeling incredible sadness because of the fact that we never had a chance to say good bye to them.

      I had this experience when my own father passed away – he went for a walk and died in our backyard (probably a heart attack). It took a long time for my mom, brother and I to process the grief but down the road, months later, we felt thankful to God that he didn’t suffer for a long time. This will be a process, a journey, and I know you will get through this with your family, friends and faith community. The shock is so hard for us to take. I hope that you don’t have to have any more communication with the OM during the next while as that will make this situation even more complicated. I’ll pray for you!

      I said good bye to the OM last week. Unfortunately the deep, and intense feelings which had not been expressed erupted like a volcano from the both of us. After that happened I had decided to cut all contact with him. Anyway, he phoned me the next day, we talked some more and have decided that no contact is best. I plan to do my best to stick with no contact. My thoughts, feelings and emotions for him are very raw and I suppose will continue for the next while.

      After the first affair was over I was successful with the no contact. Because of my choices I felt proud, confident and my self esteem improved as well. Unfortunately OM#1 continued to try to see me, talk to me when we were at our son’s games but I walked away from that (most of the time). This went on for a long time. I’m hoping I can get past this affair too. The no contact thing really does take nerves of steel and a lot of faith in God!

      • Running Man from New Zealand says:

        Hi Elaine. Your ‘goodbye’ episode is so significant. The emotional exchange must have been extremely intense to experience. Yes, the emotions will be so raw. As I said, this past week was also my exit moment strangely. However, my EA partner is quite the opposite of yours. She is a ‘stuffer’ and while I have gushed in the past, in floods of tears, she keeps everything very tightly bottled up inside, and thus is the type that ends up on medication etc. Not to say that there is any ‘right’ way of handling this, but in some ways, I’m quite glad she didn’t really express her emotions in the years since. There was enough emotional expression during the time I knew her.

        I’ll post my experience shortly. As you said… massive self-control required, plus, and most importantly, as you say, faith in God. Let me add a couple more things in a separate post I’ve been thinking of. Blessings to you. A big week for you! RM

      • Laura from United States says:

        Hi Elaine, You have had such a difficult few months and have worked so hard to honor yourself and God. These affairs most definitely rob us of our confidence and self-worth. You reflected on how much this improved after affair #1. So when you are feeling weak, try to remember just how good it will feel when you persevere through NC with this man. Take each hour and each day as it comes. Distract yourself, keep yourself busy, journal, pray, sing and dance around the house.

        It’s easy to wallow in the muck, so consciously avoid that. Plan things to do that are fun and playful, things that remind you of being young. Take risks and find adventure in healthy things, rather than in him. Your heart and soul deserve so much more. Thank you for keeping in touch and continuing to share your journey. I’ll check in with you soon. Laura

    • Running Man from New Zealand says:

      Hi Trying. This is indeed very traumatic, and it doesn’t at all help that you have already felt vulnerable. Your headspace sounds to be good however, and we do pray you will feel supported and be able to manage what is a very difficult time indeed. Thoughts and prayers. RM

    • Laura from United States says:

      Dear Trying, My heart is grieving for you and your family today as I read this. I’m so deeply sorry for your loss. And for your husband and children to have witnessed it. That’s a whole other level of pain and tragedy for all of you to process through. Please know that you indeed have people out here praying for all of you.

      Your EA reaching out to you, AND your desire to have him do so, is a human, caring reaction. Regardless of the distance and attempting no contact, of course he would reach out. Any decent person would, in my opinion. In the midst of all your suffering, please don’t beat yourself up for replying. However, definitely guard yourself from turning to him for comfort because he will most likely check in with you again this week.

      I will pray for you to have strength during this vulnerable time. That God gives you everything you need to heal your own grief and also to support your husband and sons.

      • Trying from United States says:

        Thank you all! Today is almost over and I’ve battled many times reaching out to him, and have not. Our family is taking things moment by moment, and we can tangibly feel the prayer support of believers around the world. It gives us the strength to take the next step.

  27. Running Man from New Zealand says:

    I was thinking of a few little ‘sayings’ that may be helpful in warding off impending contact, wistful thoughts, romantic day-dreaming, or reliving the past with rose-tinted glasses. I have found that it’s useful to bring the mind action with great concentration and focus. Very hard to do! You really have to think straight, as we have been so duped by this, we surely cannot see well at times. We recall only the ‘good times’, and believe that it was ‘true love’, perhaps the ‘love of our lives’ etc, for reasons I’ve already mentioned in previous posts.

    However, in reality, we have escaped so much damage, destruction and spiritual decay by fleeing, breaking up with, or distancing ourselves from this person who has rocked us to our foundations. However, if we’re thinking biblically, with a Christ-honouring heart and mind, we begin to peel away the fiction, and the truth remains.

    The reality is, it is far better to quote the following to yourself:

    “I have lived to fight another day”

    OR

    “I dodged a bullet here”

    This is scripturally far more accurate than beating ourselves up with regret, or with shame for not recovering more quickly.

    See that God has indeed spared you so much! You could have lost everything, and be an outcast from all you once held dear, and most likely, not with your EA partner, but on your own. More, you could never really speak honestly about spiritual things ever again, as you would have crossed a big line, had you moved in with your EA partner or similar. Right now, though battling, you are actually free, and have not ‘lost’ anything!

    Most of us have not lost our spouse, our children, our home etc etc. God stopped us from going so far as to be virtually destroyed. OK, so we lost a “friend”…but is that so bad? Were they really a friend? Or were there other agendas in play… spiritual agendas beyond our understanding?

    Also, consider those in parts of the world where children grow up without even knowing a family, let alone a family who prays and cares for you lets say. We are so blessed, if we have a roof over our heads. Sometimes I have to really shake myself, as I’m so caught up in my pain, that I don’t see how much greater suffering those around me are in, and that in many ways, I can be so thankful that God has blessed me with loving, caring, sharing people all around me… and I have to tell my wandering heart and mind to get back into line!! I am very lacking in this area still!!

    And just briefly, apart from recalling those two little ‘mantras’, I would say the book of Psalms is our healing balm. This is THE book in the Bible where every spiritual malady, from loneliness, depression and affairs, is outlined, and God’s remedy applied for us all to read. This book, along with constant prayer, while driving, walking, etc etc, even if it leads to tears, is your shield. Remind yourself, this is not forever, and as we know, life is brief, and can be so short, and we can stand in God’s presence even today… nothing is certain… so view EVERYTHING, in the light of eternity.

    Who knows, Christ might return, and I don’t really want Him to find me still grieving over the past…however, it is He who will wipe away every tear… and as I’ve said before… being BROKEN, is very, very often, what He does to His choicest vessels! To purify, remove SELF, and to lead us finally, to find our all in Him.

    A little rushed, but I do hope it is of some use to someone here, as it is to me, when I feel drawn to think and dwell on the emotional headspin of the past. Blessings. RM

    • Laura from United States says:

      **See that God has indeed spared you so much! You could have lost everything, and be an outcast from all you once held dear, and most likely, not with your EA partner, but on your own. More, you could never really speak honestly about spiritual things ever again, as you would have crossed a big line, had you moved in with your EA partner or similar. Right now, though battling, you are actually free, and have not ‘lost’ anything!**

      Gratefulness for being spared the pain of what could have been has often been a part of my thoughts. You shared it perfectly.

  28. Laura from United States says:

    My own update: Two months ago, exAP contacted me about something that occurred in our social circle of people and he brought up our current, so-called friendship. We ended up in a fairly intense discussion that finally brought up a bunch of underlying stuff that had not been hashed out over the post-affair years. It was good in that things that needed to be said were finally said. And in some of his words, I had an a-ha moment of clarity that brought him down from the short pedestal I had him on.

    The ‘can we be friends’ issue, a true friendship (including a couple’s friendship), was also thrown back and forth, and I’m ashamed to say it is something we are pursuing.

    My one and only friend who I’ve confided this in, holds me to a very high standard and calls me out on my stuff. She asks why it’s so important to maintain the connection. She asks why I would risk having him and his wife in my life socially. I don’t have answers that appease her or help her understand. I don’t have answers that help me understand.

    Regardless, I wanted to be forthcoming and honest with all of you who have prayed for me. Although I know some on this forum will see me as fraudulent and insincere, I still hope to be a friend to all of you and support you on a healthier and holier path than the one I’m choosing.

    • Running Man from New Zealand says:

      Dear Laura. Thank you for having the courage to give us the update. It is brave, and it is best to be honest all around in the end. I know you’ve heard so many sides of this over the years. And one of those things is that we cannot and will not judge you, if not only for the reason that we too have either thought this, or acted upon it in some way. You know, when my EA and I were all ‘on’, I started counselling, (initially in relation to redundancy -that was in fact the Lord removing me from her work environment as a specific answer to prayer 6 months before!), and the counselling developed into primarily issues around improper / misplaced emotional attachment. My counsellor advised me that we should pursue the ‘friendship’ route, but as you’ve probably heard me say, this only prolonged and intensified my emotional investment in her, to the point that when we exploded apart, it was like death upon death.

      That prolonging, was around 1 year extra, and things become very difficult indeed. Now that I was away from working daily with her, it was a year of intense trauma, and trying to stabilise in a new situation, outside of my working comfort zone, made things far worse. In the very last week before we ‘broke up’ (exploded) things were on the verge of becoming physical, and I have no doubt, that if the Lord had not intervened, sexual immorality would have resulted. It was bad enough that we had become close enough to talk about such issues (in the context of our marriages generally) but far worse would have resulted.

      I know you know this, so I’m not judging you, but we’re so very weak. Friendship just isn’t possible with the opposite sex. I believed this, but didn’t follow my own mantra back then. It’s wrong, but I probably come across almost impolite, silent and ‘unfriendly’ at times when I’m alone in the staffroom at work, and a woman walks in. I might say hello, but I’m really not interested in pursuing anything further. Part of me wants to talk more, and wants friendship, but I recall where it leads.

      I know the pull… believe me! I have often craved (and am shamed to admit) the possibility of going back in time, and ‘somehow’ making everything RIGHT! Somehow, being able to have my cake and eat it too!! To have her as a true ‘friend’ and not allow any of this other stuff to have occurred… but it’s just not reality. We could never make it happen. We have become bound up with this person, and we all know it leads to further intimacy, and eventually, physical. The emotional is the siren going off… the physical is the explosion that ruins everything, and is often non-recoverable. In my case, I’d be out if we had slept together.

      I don’t like ‘rifts’. I’ve never really had a rift so bad that I couldn’t even meet a person or their family in the street without almost running the other way, or hiding immediately. But I now have a huge rift between two families. As I said previously, I should be (and am) thankful for this rift. As they are DANGER to me. The HEART says “I LOST something in losing him or her”…but the rational mind should say “I GAINED by losing him or her… I gained my family back, my soul, my life… even if I don’t FEEL it right now.”

      Yes, as you say, risk is the word. I know how much you want him in your life. You know, my EA to this day, has denied me ANY closure from her side. She will not tell me anything with honesty. I actually have come to intensely distrust her. It has been a very hard thing to handle. But I’m almost thankful she hasn’t opened up again. For if she had, she may have reciprocated, and I could be worse of. Wanting ‘one final’ hug… to say goodbye or some such danger.

      I urge you finally to consider the following: to suffer the BIGGEST temptation is FAR FAR better than committing the SMALLEST sin. This is Biblically accurate. In other words, it’s better for us to battle, struggle, and even feel a failure, than to scum to temptation, and fall into sin. Try to consider the eternal consequences, and where it might lead you finally. Laura, I understand… I too feel so weak at times, and far, far from putting into practise what I know is true. But still, better to ‘suffer’ than to ‘sin’. If your right hand offends, cut it off.

      Lastly, I read this last night, and I don’t read it as often as I wish I had during these past few years. I have added ‘man’, as it applies to BOTH men and women of course. As I read this last night, it pricked me to my very soul… it speaks of ALL the things we have been saying… making a bed of nails for ourselves to lie on. How the Holy Spirit speaks! Here are his words to US: Warning Against Adultery – Proverbs 5

      “My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge. For the lips of a forbidden man drip honey, and his speech is smoother than oil, but in the end he is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. His feet go down to death; his steps follow the path to Sheol; he does not ponder the path of life; his ways wander, and he does not know it. And now, O sons, listen to me, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. Keep your way far from him, and do not go near the door of his house, lest you give your honor to others and your years to the merciless, lest strangers take their fill of your strength, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner, and at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, and you say, “How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof! I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors.

      “I am at the brink of utter ruin in the assembled congregation. Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well. Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife/husband of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love. Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman/man and embrace the bosom of an adulteress? For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths. The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.”

      And Proverbs 2 backs this again…

      “Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words, who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God. Surely her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. None who go to her return or attain the paths of life.”

      Dear Laura, I’m just trying to help you, as much as myself. I pray God will bless these scriptures to you, and in some way assist you in this real battle. Blessings. RM

  29. Running Man from New Zealand says:

    Dear All, Recently, the Lord graciously used one particular hymn to minister to me in a most powerful way. I was blessed by this hymn from the author of the well-known hymn “Amazing Grace” – John Newton. John Newton, by his own admission, was a vile and reprobate man writing: “”I sinned with a high hand, and I made it my study to tempt and seduce others.” He took up work with slave-traders, but quickly became a beggar himself. During a violent storm on a slave boat journey, God opened his heart. The amazing story of his life are recored in the the Works of John Newton. At 82, Newton said, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things, that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour.”

    Newton’s tombstone reads, “John Newton, Clerk, once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa, was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he had long laboured to destroy.” His words in his hymn, “Amazing Grace” leaves us in no doubt of the convictions of his heart and soul.

    This hymn is considered by many to eclipse Amazing Grace in its depths and theology. I trust the Lord will use it for any who listen. It applies to our struggles so powerfully! Here’s the link: https://youtu.be/UrNZOxVq54Y

    • Trying from United States says:

      Elaine, how are you doing? Have you been able to maintain No Conact?

      Our family has made it through funeral services and final goodbyes. There has a huge outpouring of support from our community and church friends from around the nation. And now it is Monday morning and life goes on. Thanks for sharing our experience with your father. We know things like this happen, but until you go through something yourself, there is no comprehension to this level of grief.

      And likewise with the pain of “getting unhooked” from an EA; until you go through it, the private grief of this patricular “good bye” is impossible to understand. My ex EA was present throughout the services, etc, but did not talk to me and I know I will be so thankful for this someday.

      My hubby and I are getting through all this fairly well. I was so concerned that this trauma would cause more damage to our marriage, but we have pulled together and shared our grief and so is another component of all of this I am thankful for. I ask for our continued prayers for strength to continue No Contact.

      • Tillie from United Kingdom says:

        I’ve been involved in an EA for two and a half years. It has all but finished my marriage. My husband has tried to make amends, but it’s too late. He should have been a better husband; now it’s too late.

        I live with the guilt and the pain every day. We live on different continents, talk on the phone every day, and text constantly. We also pm each other 4-5 times a day. He is my rock, and everything to me.

        He is married too. His wife found out 6 weeks ago, my husband a year ago. He thinks it’s over. I know what I should do, but I’m too weak to do it. I’m ruining my life, and my family’s. Any advice and support would be welcome. I’ve prayed to God to make me stronger and a better person.

        • Running Man from New Zealand says:

          Dear Tillie. Thanks for sharing your painful story. It is indeed traumatic, and as you know, really serious. You’re pretty much as far into this as you can go, without moving in with him. This is as far into an EA as I was, and by this stage, they’re ‘everything’ to you. We can relate. I spoke with my EA partner almost every evening, for at least 1-2 hours, and my wife trusted me to do this, as she had become a ‘family friend’, but now, a great enemy of me and my family.

          You’re embedded with a great poison arrow, that will be most painful to remove, and sadly, you’ll almost feel it’s impossible to remove, without mortal wounding! This is the truth… I’ve been to the very end of this and hardly made it back in one piece. I know exactly what you feel. So do the others.

          However, as much as I’d like to advise you otherwise, there’s NOTHING else you can do but REMOVE it. This is the only solution. If you are serious about your faith, and honouring the marriage covenant, and concerned about sin, then you’ll immediately see the need to end this, and turn to recovering your marriage, or failing a recovery, avoid adultery and sexual immorality, even if separated.

          However, there ARE steps to lessen your pain greatly. Firstly, you must PLAN this removal in great, exhaustive detail. This will enable you to remove the arrow very delicately, and avoid so much damage. My extraction was completely unplanned, resulting in huge damage, as the arrow literally exploded within me.

          To plan this:
          1) First, see the council of a at least one, preferably several, very wise, experienced Christians. Not liberals, but solid, Bible believing Christians who you can trust, and who rely and believe in the Bible as the sourcebook, and guide to life.
          2) See to it that Christian counselling starts immediately, and with full disclosure to the counsellor.
          3) Begin to gather a strong support group of family, or friends, who can be right there as you take the next steps.
          4) Ask your mentors to advise you how best to ‘unhook’ and ‘remove’ the arrow. They know your circumstances, tolerance levels, and the best ‘way’ to go about informing everyone what is about to occur
          5) Pray for wisdom, or if you can’t pray, ask others to pray for you earnestly.

          Please let us know your further thoughts on these things. I hope this helps initially. Regards. RM

      • Elaine from Canada says:

        Hi Trying: So glad to hear that the service for your loved one has gone well. I know that you felt God’s presence and guidance during this difficult time. Also, from what you have said, it seems to have gone well with the EA being there too. I think he was being respectful by not talking to you, being there and showing support for you and your family. You have both handled the situation very well.

        Thanks for asking about me. It’s been a really rough road. I’m riding that wave of feeling really emotional and missing him a lot. I want to talk to him and then he’s not at work. I have been continuing with no contact but he has not, well at least not totally. He left a short note on my desk last week. I didn’t respond and don’t plan to. It’s really difficult but I know it will get better with time and that my feelings and love for him will fade.

        • Trying from United States says:

          Elaine, how are you doing? Hopefully summer is keeping you occupied and focused on your family. That has been the case for the most part for me, also. Thinking of you.

          • Elaine from Canada says:

            Hi Trying: I hope and pray you’re managing the grief that you are now experiencing. It’s a year of firsts… missing your loved one at Christmas, Easter, other special days and thinking about them on their birthday. It’s a difficult road that we all travel at some point and we’re so fortunate that we can feel thankful that they are with the Lord up in heaven.

            Have you been in contact with the other men? The flirting that you mention can be deadly as you know and I think that sometimes that happens in the interchange and we don’t even realize that we’re doing it until later. It effects us for sure and sends messages to the OM.

            Thanks for asking about me. The other man has initiated contact by phoning me several times, left a note on my desk at work, and also popped in to see me on my last day at the end of June. He has also pushed for intimacy, which I refused. That would be so wrong and I’d feel extremely guilty if that happened. It’s his birthday next week and I’m undecided if I should phone him. You can give your opinion on that one.

            We have a family vacation planned in the mountains and also I have initiated a getaway with hubby for 5 days while the kids are at our church camp. Hopefully that will go well -we haven’t been away since we became parents. The relationship is in quite a good place right now but privately I’m still teary about the OM.

            Laura, and RM if you’re on this site I would like to hear about how things are going with your spouse and interaction with the EA partners. Blessings and bye for now.

  30. Trying from United States says:

    Thinking of all you have gone through this to some degree…..now I have another man, whom I am embarassed to say I have flirted with in the past, “contacting me”…..What is it with this stuff at such a hard time when I feel so weak!!? Rhetorical question….I know the answer. But I was taken off guard by this.

    So grateful for God’s much needed grace. I will not respond anymore to his messages. I know I am just seeking validation when I am feeling so weak. My hope is in Christ alone! Blessings and peace to all!

  31. Feeling defeated from United States says:

    So glad I came across this discussion and this article. I’m a woman who loves Jesus. But my relationship with Him is now suffering because of an EA. I’ve struggled with a certain kind of man since I’ve been married. A man who is a good, strong leader and who takes control. I went through some horrible hardships at my church when I was finally exposed with another guy. I felt so much shame and pain and humiliation.

    I don’t know why this need is so strong in me. Everybody tells me that my husband is a good man. And he is. He’s just never taken control of anything and left all that responsibility to me. We have three grown children and two grandchildren. It’s been a struggle for me to take on all of this and have needed to lean on Jesus a lot to get me through. I worked at home for a number of years on a business I started. Then I got a call about a job. At the time, our finances weren’t good (another thing we are both bad at). I decided to take the job. This was last October.

    My supervisor is very attractive. Right away, he started paying attention to me. He would come to my office periodically to help me. Whenever I needed something, he would show up right away to help. I caved in. I never thought I would be in this place again. I’ve tried numerous times to let go but I’m in too deep now. We’ve shared a lot of conversation. I’ve told him too much. I text him often. It’s getting to be more and more. The hardest part is that I love my job. I don’t want to quit. I don’t want to tell anyone because I don’t want to go through what I went through last time at my church. And my husband wouldn’t handle this very well.

    Me and the EA are both afraid of our feelings. He’s been really good about not taking advantage of me. He probably could have if he wanted. That’s probably another reason I’m attracted to him. He is protective and I feel safe with him. I have spent a lot of this weekend in prayer, but it’s been hard to keep my focus off of him. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for all your comments and honesty. It’s hard to find that in the world I live in.

    • Trying from United States says:

      I don’t have much time to answer you now, but I would encourage you to start reading back several years on this thread. I’ve been through 5-6 years of struggling with EA and I can identify with you in many areas. There is a wealth of information and support on this website, very Biblically based and read, read, read as much as you can. The other resource I would highly recommend is Every Woman’s Battle …it gets into the “why we do this to ourselves” issue. You seem to have a good understanding and self awareness, however, you know from reading the article above, the only way to break free and become unhooked before it goes any further is to go “NO contact”. I’m so thankful you’re a follower of Jesus. Your communication with Him will be hindered until you discontinue the EA. But pray for grace and strength. It IS sufficient as many of us can testify. It IS possible to end the EA, painful; but possible! I will pray for you!!! And feel free to post as you can.

      • HeartAche from United States says:

        Hi everyone… I was searching for hope and I found this thread. I’ve been having an EA that went physical with a man I adored for about 6 month. He said he loved me and he was going to marry me and the very next day he said that he broke it off with no reason. I love my husband but this guy just made me feel alive again and happy.

        I’m a Christian so the guilt of the whole thing is awful. I’ve cried for 3 days straight since he left. My husband is trying to comfort me not knowing what’s wrong and that makes me feel even worse. I don’t understand why he cut it off but I know it’s for the best but the pain is AWFUL. I’m in misery and I feel guilty asking God to take it away because it was such an awful selfish sin.

        We’ve had no contact because he won’t talk to me at all… I was weak and texted, but no response. I just want to live again and feel free from this pain of not having him in my life but I don’t know if it will ever go away. Any words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

      • Feeling defeated from United States says:

        Thank you so much Trying, for your response. I really need your prayers. Thanks for praying for me. It’s crazy but I really feel God with me through all of this. It’s like He understands. He’s not judging me. I feel like I’ve been brought through the wringer. This has got to be the worst place I’ve ever been in. I can’t help but think it’s a trial to see what I’ll do.

        The truth is I wish I didn’t have to wake up again tomorrow. I have no desire to live anymore. The high that you get when you have this EA really screws your whole life up. Cuz nothing else can measure up. I felt the presence of God today at work because I really tried to, and I actually felt peace for once. Not this constant hole that I needed to fill that never satisfies. The good thing is I’m actually growing to hate this EA. It’s like he’s just trying to get me to like him so I fill up his ego.

        This world is so messed up. I’ve been too sheltered from it. I’ll try to spend some time reading through these threads this weekend. I want this to end once and for all. Please, whoever is reading this, pray for me. I have a close relationship with Jesus and I can feel the prayers. I felt them after the first time I wrote on this post. I’m feeling a bit stronger today. I’m hoping that will grow.

        • Trying from United States says:

          My heart aches for both of you. I DO know what you mean when you say you have never been through anything this painful before. I felt that, also. Gutwrenching anguish. Looking back, I felt so hopeless at the time, but healing is possible. I am 3 years past from my last EA, and I still have rare days where the tears come again. The first 6 months were VERY Very hard. There is the promise in God’s Word that He will not give us more than we can bear, and it is true. Often when we are at the end of our human strength is when we are most open and aware of God’s prescence and power in our lives. Our utter need for HIM! We are NOTHING without Jesus.

          The EA dulls our senses, strokes our egos, makes us think we are finally “happy”, and we may be for a time. But at WHAT PRICE? The cost is so high!

          This is too big to walk through alone. I would encourage you to pray about telling a mature woman in Jesus what you are going through. I was in counselling several years and the wisdom and accountability that it provided was vital to my healing. I also had one mature Christian woman that I could rely on to remain confidential (I live in a very small community) and I confessed to my pastor.

          I did not tell my husband details, but I did ask him to pray for me as I was dealing with some very tough issues. He suffers from mental illness, and my pastor and counsellor felt it would be too much for him to know specifics unless he asked for them. He did not. I do not know your marital situation, but I would encourage you at some point to be open with your husband about what has happened.

          Heartache, even though your heart is breaking right now, I am thankful for your sake that all contact has been cut off. It is for the best, and you will see that some day. Even though you are miserable right now, please realize that these are natural consequences of giving your heart to another man….

          Feeling, I do believe God will never leave or forsake you as you seek Him. I also believe the Bible tells us “He pities us like little children”…and I am thankful if you are feeling that. You are correct in your assessment that the OM is most likely ‘using or manipulating you.” This is so often the case. Another reason to break it off as soon as possible. Re the job situation: that does make it more complex. There was another person who posted here about 4 years ago who was involved in a relationship with a co worker. Her name was Layla, if you can find any posts by her, that may be helpful. God will guide and direct you each step of the way as you completely surrender control to HIM. Praying for your healing,

          • Heartache from United States says:

            Thank you for your words of wisdom Trying. I have been married for 11 years. This has killed me because I just can’t tell him, but he knows something is wrong because I have cried for a week now. I hate that I ever fell into this guy’s trap and I hate that I gave my heart to him so quickly. I will never understand why he could not respect me by breaking it off instead of basically disappearing, and I feel if I had the closure from him I needed it would be so much easier to heal.

            We are both in our 30’s so I would think he would be mature enough to do that. Why can he not give me that…I don’t know…I would give the world to know why he can’t just give me closure and let me move on. He was married as well. I am going to seek counseling because this is too much to bare alone. I pray over and over for God’s forgiveness and peace but I have yet to feel it. I feel my sins are far greater and I feel I don’t deserve HIS peace through this grief. I just don’t know what to do…thank you again for your help.

  32. Trying from United States says:

    Hi Elaine, I just saw your reply from July 9. Somehow I missed it a few days ago when I was on this site. I am thrilled that you have a vacation/or are possibly back from it with your husband. It is wonderful to have uninterrupted time with them if the children are elsewhere. Also a good time, to go completely NO Contact. No calls, texts, msgs for ANY reason :) to the OM. I am thankful to hear that you have refused him so far. Keep doing what you know is right.

    We are moving through our grief. But it brings it own share of challenges, but I have had no further contact with OM. I am having a good summer for the first time in 5 years! The “anniversary days” bring some sadness but nothing like previous years and I thank God. Let me know how you are doing as you can.

  33. SDN from United Kingdom says:

    Hi all. It’s such a great pleasure to read what you all have to say here. Feels nice that there are people who go thru the exact same emotions with regards to an EA. I am not a Christian but I do read a lot of Christian literature. For me, all God is one.

    I’ve been involved with a EA since 2012. It is the most painful thing I have ever experienced in my life. The OM lies, uses me to fill his ego… All the flattery most definitely came with a high price. I still fantasize about him but its been 3 weeks since our last intense contact and I’m feeling a bit stronger. My heartfelt prayer to each one of you on this forum. May you all find the strength to move past this phase in our lives. It is only temporary and a test from God. Please pray for me to move forward, be strong and ultimately prosper without him. Thank you to RM, Trying and the others.

  34. Mary K from Kenya says:

    Hi all, It happened To me! I’ve not been able to go through all the comments here, but I can tell that I’m among friends. My name is Mary from Kenya and I stumbled into an Emotional Affair, and didn’t even know what was happening to me. I have been a Christian for most of my life coz I was born again at 8 years old. I’m now in my mid thirties and married for 13 years.

    I was baffled to realize that my new found friendship with my former pastor, was not what it looked like on the surface… Ours is a multi-faced interaction coz, first, although we are not in the same congregation, he gives me spiritual counsel, and I consider him my pastor. Next, our families have enjoyed a close fellowship for a number of years, and then, I am his son’s teacher, which means we have frequent contact.

    It has been a difficult journey but this website has been a great resource to help me understand what I was experiencing. Many thanks goes to Cindy, who answered my SOS email. Because I’m still going through the process of detaching, I don’t have answers yet, but I’d like to share how I think I got myself in this mess…

    1. I didn’t think that it was possible to be attracted to another man especially coz my marriage was at an all time high. Intimacy is great, our friendship is great, kids are doing well, business is flourishing, and I love my job.

    2. Nobody ever told me about the concept of emotional affairs.

    3. I allowed respect and admiration for my pastor to turn into attraction.

    4. I allowed him to confide in me. I justified it by telling myself that I could be there for him purely as a friend. Where do pastors go when they are stressed? Surely he needed someone to talk to and a shoulder to cry on… I was flattered that he chose me to speak to especially coz I’m like 7 years his junior. I felt affirmed and useful

    5. I have told myself that I’m the one with an issue, and that he, as a pastor is above temptation, so I’m safe.

    6. He was there for me when I was going through a 6 month treatment period, in which my husband wasn’t supportive. He was probably just doing his pastoral duty, but I enjoyed the personal attention.

    As I said, it is still a work in progress for me. I’ve enjoyed every time we have time to talk exclusively, and as much I’d like to excuse him and heap all blame on myself, he does initiate some of the conversations… I’ve received a lot of counsel through this site and from Cindy but I find myself going through a good two weeks, then falling hard with a brief encounter or phone call…

    • Trying from United States says:

      Mary and SDN, You both are very welcome here and you ARE among friends. I appreciate your comments and am thankful if any of the trauma and pain that we have been through can help some one else. We do not judge one another. God and His Word is our judge, and those are the standards that have helped many of us walk through this difficult trial.

      It occurred to me that this group is my EA support group. I do not know if there is an actual organization, like AA or the Recovery groups, that meet with those who are struggling with similar addictions. But I rejoice that this blog can help act the role of a support group for those of us who have experienced an EA.

      Thanks so much Mary for your list. Very insightful and helpful. I, too, never had heard of EA, and definitely never thought I would fall for another man. SDN, I will pray that you can move forward. 3 weeks is a great start to going No Contact. The next challenge is not to respond if he reaches out to you. Ignore him. Two simple words…yet only by the grace of God have I been able to carry this out. My phraseology is blunt, but what you really are doing is honoring the boundaries of your marriage. Each time you do this is a step forward…and in my experience, it has been a step by step experience.

      God is good and He is faithful when we submit to His boundaries. He promises us the Grace to walk a pure life without lies and deception, without secrets and guilt. I want to encourage each of you to realize that coming to this website and reading and/or posting, you are taking a step in the direction of freedom.
      My prayers are with you all! Blessings and peace.

      P.S. Laura, if you are ever on this site anymore, please give me a brief reply. I really, really wish I could talk to you.

      • Mary K from Kenya says:

        Thanks Trying for your kind words, and RM for your wisdom and insight. It’s helpful for me to know that this is a process that could take years. I’ve been trying NC by speaking with his wife instead on matters relating to teacher-parent issues. It has worked so far, but I’ve found myself missing him so bad, it hurts. I just learned today that he’s unwell and really wanted to reach out but I know where that would lead, so I didn’t. Instead, I just said a prayer for him.

        I like the wealth of wisdom found in the book of Proverbs and try to read one chapter everyday, corresponding with the date. It’s a great and easy way to feed on the Word daily. Chapter 14 always challenges me. A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands. My prayer for us all is that we realize that every thought we enyertain or contact with the OM is a brick torn off from our marriage foundation. May the Lord help us to build up and not tear down! Thank you all for sharing your stories. Each of them is inspirational, and yes, this truly is the AA of EA. Let’s keep each other in check, and in prayer.

      • Laura from United States says:

        I’m here, Trying… I think about you and pray for you every day. I’ll post soon, my friend. Always, always know I am here for you. Laura

        • SDN from South Africa says:

          Hi Laura. I’ve been reading your older comments on the site and have realized that the circumstance you have with your spouse is so much like my own. We want to be noticed. We want to be loved and spoiled and remembered. I am truly suffering. My husband does not give me the kind of attention I need. This is why I fell trap to the attention and flattery of the OM.

          Yesterday I was absolutely close in contacting the OM, telling him I miss him. It was a compulsive feeling. I knew it was wrong, it would be to the detriment of me, and that the hard work of 3 weeks of no contact would be in vain had I texted him. I wanted to do it fast before my brain could stop me.

          Then I prayed a quick, quick prayer. God give me the strength and wisdom to resist temptation. I STILL wanted to do it. However I seemed distracted and then the feeling subsided. After about a half hour, I thanked God for helping me. It ws a test for me. I felt so good. However, I miss the OM like mad. I ‘loved’ him. It makes me so sad that I can’t have him in my life because it’s ruining me. Yeah, just thought I’d express these thoughts here. Thanks to you all. X

      • SDN from South Africa says:

        Hi Trying. Thank you for your words of wisdom. I’ve read it so many times and really absorbed every word of advice, literally. This forum is a blessing to people like us who have wandered off God’s path. Thanks again Trying. I hope things are going good for you.

  35. SDN from United Kingdom says:

    Hey guys. I’ve made such a huge and terrible mistake. Tomorrow would have been exactly 1 month in NO CONTACT. I contacted him today. He did not respond. I feel so, so, so, so, SO BAD. I feel SO down! I’m such an idiot! That’s how I feel. I just wanted to move forward and now messed up.

    I failed. I need the strength. The wisdom. I need to move forward. This needs to always feel good. For 3 years he has been making me feel good when he texts. And now it feels like I’m missing something. I need your help. I am praying so hard. I wish could turn back the hands of time and didn’t contact him. I feel so so foolish. I wish something could just erase the OM from my life forever.

    Its such a misery. Its so painful. I wish didn’t text him. I’m in tears. He does this to me. That effect. Why canhe jst be straight with me. Direct. Why play games. I’m not a toy. Laura, Trying, RM.. Anyone. Please speak to me. I feel so horrible.

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