Marriage Missions International

Getting “Unhooked” From An Emotional Affair

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Comments

1,449 Responses to “Getting “Unhooked” From An Emotional Affair”
  1. Lisa from United States says:

    Ruth and Trying, It is of great comfort to me to read your posts and know that you’re praying for me. I’m struggling with tremendous guilt of knowing I’m the cause of all of this. My heart hurts when I see the raw pain in my husband’s eyes every time I look at him. I know he wants to ask me more questions about the details of the affair. Quite honestly, I just don’t think I want to answer, as I feel and know it’s going to give him images just like Sad had posted… that she can’t erase. I’m scheduled to talk with a counselor on Monday. I’m praying that she will help me (and my husband) get on the path of recovery.

    As many have posted before, this is so much an addiction or obsession. My thoughts drift to the OM many times throughout the day. I’ve realized my obsessive thoughts of him have and do distract me from my relationship with God. This whole experience has been very much a test of my faith. I do find Running Man’s posts to be very healing and uplifting and do reread them often. I do pray for God to give us wisdom and show us the way we need to go. Lisa~

    • Ally from United States says:

      Lisa- I can so relate to struggling with what and how much to tell your husband now that he knows. In a way, it’s freeing to know they know, but at the same time knowing that it may and can cause such hurt is devastating. It’s good that you are going to a counselor both together and alone. Hopefully this will help you get this through this and know what you should share.

      My personal thought is, you should tell him a lot. Maybe how it started and why you feel you began developing feelings for him. Because maybe getting to the bottom of this can help you determine what it is that you need to work on in your marriage and in your life personally so that you don’t feel pulled into a temptation like this again.

      It may be hard and even difficult for you to both share and your husband to hear, but in the end, it may draw him closer to you because of your honesty. He’ll see you’re being sincere and desperately want to repair the damage that has been done to the marriage. But of course, the repair can take time and it may take time for trust to be rebuilt. I’m guessing we all know that’s obvious. ;) But I do hope this at least helps and my thoughts and prayers for you.

    • Ruth from United States says:

      Lisa, I don’t know about you, but in a way I think the guilt is good, at least initially. It shows you care about your husband and that you acknowledge what you did was wrong. But I’m realizing the need to forgive myself, especially since I know God forgave me the second I repented, and my husband has even forgiven me at this point. Continually beating yourself up only depresses you more. If you can forgive yourself, you will have more strength to work through this.

      I’ve been struggling with thinking about OM on and off too. Some days it’s just a glimmer, others I find myself obsessing again. I’ve been trying to convince myself I don’t care about him at all, but then realized that doesn’t help because it’s just not true. Is it possible to continue to care about and miss a person we aren’t supposed to be with? I’m not sure, but lying to myself that I don’t care isn’t working, and probably not that healthy either. It seems like just accepting the position we are in and dealing with it as best as we can (therapy, being open & honest with spouses, praying) and TIME is the best plan. It’s so hard to be patient when we just want this to all be over!

      I’m finding this site to be a form of therapy too, just being able to be honest and get feedback is so valuable in the healing process. It’s helpful to get the thoughts out of my head, kind of like journaling I guess. My best wishes for you, Lisa!

    • Sad from South Africa says:

      Dear Lisa, I have so much empathy for you and especially for your husband. I read somewhere on this website that asking your husband if he is sure he wants to know (when he asks questions) before you respond (because once you told him you can’t “untell” it) is probably a good idea. Just withholding information from him at this stage will just further damage the trust relationship between you. Perhaps your therapist can help you find ways of being honest with him without leaving him with images that can’t be erased.

      And Ruth is right – you cannot undo what you did, so beating yourself up is not going to help. The best thing you can do right now is actively work at saving your marriage, at showing your husband that you want him to trust you again. The feelings and thoughts regarding the OM will probably stay with you for a long time, but you don’t need to dwell on them. Try and find ways to dismiss the thoughts or to distract yourself. I’m praying for you and your husband.

  2. Trying from United States says:

    Ruth and Lisa, My dear kindred spirits, I’m so thankful to see you post again and to read your hearts. All I can say is “I’ve been there. I understand. I have felt almost every emotion you have re: OM.” Please know that you’re not walking through this crisis alone.

    Ruth, You’re so right! God’s will is the preservation and restoration of BOTH of your marriages. Satan wants to destroy BOTH families. That is fact –and at a time like this, we must grip tight to the Truth of God, and deny emotions and self. I can so identify with your discovery of ‘part of you that is ugly’ –not the woman you used to be. I remember that day so well –when I finally quit denying and accepted responsibility for my own actions. Step by step! Keep doing the right thing! I’ll pray that you can do God’s will in telling your husband about the recent contact. I’m guessing he may find out, especially if you have been very transparent up until this time, but God’s timing is perfect –seek His will first, and what will be the best choice for your marriage
    .
    Lisa, your pain is so real; yet it can be used as a tool in God’s hand to help us face reality. I would highly recommend that if you reveal more details to your husband that you do it with a third party (pastor or counselor) present. This is truly a Major test of faith, but we have an ADVOCATE with Jesus. Continue to turn to God for your strength and wisdom. His Word promises He will never leave or forsake us! Many of the concepts of faith that I had learned and known for years, have been put to the test these past few years as I’ve walked this journey. But one thing is for sure –God is faithful to His children! His promises ARE true.

    And yes, I believe Runnning Man has gleaned great wisdom from his trial, and I praise God that he’s willing to be used as a mouthpiece and as a servant to the rest of us, giving us courage and hope at a time when we need it the most.

    Continued prayers (especially for Monday’s appointment, Lisa) –Even though there is much pain in your hearts right now –please believe: You’re doing the RIGHT thing –honoring your marriage by ending the relationship, and desiring restoration with your husbands! God will bless and honor you for that!

  3. Ally from United States says:

    Oh, you guys! I’m glad we can be here for each other and understand what each other is going through, even if we’re in different cycles of the healing process. While I feel like things were going so well, I also had a recent set back. It’s so frustrating! But I do feel, as I mentioned to Ruth a moment ago, that I do think it’s an ongoing “recovery” cycle and as we get stronger we can “rebound” quicker from the setbacks.

    Recently, the OM began contacting me. It started because of my birthday a couple weeks ago. He called and I talked with him briefly- pretty platonic and quick. But then he began e-mailing me. Initially, I responded back to his e-mails, caught him up on a new job I had and other things. He asked if he could meet me for lunch and I told him “no”. I then told him that I needed to stop the communication again. That I’m afraid of where it will go and that I’m not strong enough for that temptation. He tried e-mailing and even calling after that, but I have since ignored those efforts. And it’s so hard! I don’t know why I feel badly about it, but I do. I want to talk to him, but I know it’s not right and that it will only make it harder to stop again.

    So now because of that, he’s been on my mind more. I have journaled about those feelings and I really do know deep in my heart he’s not right for me. The person I’m with now is a great man. He’s aware of my past and that he’s reached out to me as of recent. I just can’t let a relationship that is past impact a relationship that is my present and possibly my future.

    As Ruth mentioned, it’s hard to stop even talking to them. It’s mourning and end of something, someone I once cared about. But I also know I’ve done it with previous relationships and friendships. I’ve mourned them and moved on. So I’m not sure why this one is more difficult. I’m strong in that I’m not contacting him, but I do get pulled in when he reaches out. Probably because he knows I won’t. So I guess, I just wish he’d finally let it go, so I don’t have to feel so torn every time he may contact me…and I’ve told him this. Since I’ve ignored the last several efforts, I’m hoping it will stop (even though it’s sad at the same time).

    Please pray that this will be the stopping of this and that I can go back to what I was able to do before- continue to move forward and get past this. However, the good thing is, it doesn’t occupy my thoughts as much as it would have in the past. So I do feel there is progress. Last year, it would have been so difficult. Maybe the goal is that we do need to train our minds to “bounce back” and find ways to train ourselves to occupy our thoughts elsewhere so it can be easier each time we have a chance encounter.

    Anyhow, thought I’d share this update. Hope this helps others see that you’re not alone in your struggle…although, it’s frustrating that it can pull us back into the web so easily.

    • Ruth from United States says:

      Ally, I’m sorry you’re dealing with contact again from the EA. But it sounds like you’re staying very strong as difficult as it is. I’ve been praying for you to continue being strong and for him to cease contact.

      It’s good to hear how after time the “rebound” becomes easier. It can be so frustrating and spirit-breaking when we feel like we’re doing well and there is a set back. But I will keep it in mind that it will get better and easier, as long as I am committed to moving on. Hope you are doing well!

  4. Laura from United States says:

    I just wanted to pop on and send everyone my love and prayers today. I’ve been on every day, reading and absorbing and appreciate the raw honesty in which we all share and encourage each other. Have a blessed day.
    Laura

  5. Trying from United States says:

    Ruth and Lisa ( and all who read here), I have been thinking about you daily, and want you to know that you are in my prayers. I want to encourage you to rest in the promise that “God’s timing is perfect.”

    Whether it’s a ‘chance’ meeting, or confessing contact to your husband, I believe that God, the Creator of the universe is in control of all things, and He will not give us more than we can handle with His grace.

    I am reminded of the days when I compared my wounded broken heart to the physical process of a wound. The size of the injury/incision depends on the rate of healing. If all the proper care and parameters are in place, a one-inch incision would heal within a few weeks. To the other extreme, a gunshot wound to the abdomen that requires surgery and then is left open to drain and heal from the inside out takes MUCH MUCH longer to heal. Our bodies and our hearts/psyche are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ –and the Great Physician wants us whole and healed again. Healing is possible, but the treatment and healing rates are very different for each of us.

    I’m feeling blessed by the principle of No Contact, as it has been much less the past week. Reaching the place of social acquaintances again in our small community, finding myself able to respond with kind detachment to a brief public ‘hello’ –reminding myself how thankful I am for God’s intervention and mercy in removing me from a path of destruction are all blessings of healing, and I am thankful.

    Hold fast to the Truth, and know you are not alone in this journey…

  6. Ruth from United States says:

    Okay, I have to admit that the No Contact rule (or as I like to call it, focusing on my family) is really starting to work. It’s been less than 2 weeks since I talked to OM, but since I know there is not any possibility of intentional contact from either of us, I’ve been dwelling on him and our EA much less. I know I’ll eventually run into him accidentally in our town, and that may be difficult, but I know now nothing will come of it so it seems easier.

    I’m still dealing with the desire for validation and occasionally imagine scenarios where I can be tough and strong if I run into him, but those are lessening too and I know in my heart that these thoughts are completely unnecessary for healing. Sometimes memories of our time together creep in, but I don’t feel the strong need to still have a relationship with OM (even platonic) like I did initially, and I pray that need never returns.

    I think I’m finally letting go the guilt, and forgiving myself. Also some anti-anxiety medication I’ve started has been helping me tremendously. I’m not a medical professional of any sorts and wouldn’t recommend any medication without therapist & doctor consent, but it’s really been helping me in combination with therapy. I’m feeling calmer, less anxious, and more focused.

    It’s been a good week overall, and I’m praying my healing continues to progress as well as praying of all of you on this site.

    • Ally from United States says:

      Ruth, That’s great news! It does sound like you’re focusing on the right things. And I like how you call it focusing on your family, as opposed to No Contact. That’s probably exactly what will help you in moving forward and getting your thoughts off of him.

      I, too, have remained strong and not responded to my AP and I’m so glad I didn’t respond! Each passing day has caused me to think about his recent communication less. I’m hoping that he won’t resurface again to cause me to go through this all over again! It seems just when I’m at really good place, he does. So just prepare yourself for that and just keep resolving yourself to move forward, like you are now. You’re doing great, keep it up!

      • Ruth from United States says:

        Ally, Glad to hear you haven’t responded to AP. I imagine each time you resist you gather more strength. Good for you!

  7. Laura from United States says:

    Since our personal contact a couple of months ago, I’ve re-resolved to actively avoid. We’ve only seen each other from across a crowd a couple of times, and it’s been really nice having the break from the raw emotions I had felt again. It hasn’t been easy to follow-through, but the more relaxed I felt, the more motivated I’ve been to continue avoiding.

    But then recently I was approached by someone about helping with a charity project. The OM is also involved, and I knew that up front. Long story short, I decided to do the project.

    Why I chose to do it: First and foremost, I separated out the OM, and really wanted to help. I’m inspired by the work this charity does and it coincides with other work I already do. It’s a good fit for me. If he wasn’t involved, I honestly wouldn’t have thought twice. My part will help a lot of people, and to say no just didn’t seem right. It seemed like the unselfish act is to put my own issues aside for the benefit of others. In addition, there is no valid reason why I would say no.

    Where I failed in my decision-making: I should have waited at least 24-hours to respond. To really give myself time to weigh it all. I’m a quick thinker and make decisions in my life quickly. I think that sometimes it’s more important to slow down and give things more consideration. I’ll have to learn from this. Outcome: This will mean a few meetings or so with both of us in attendance. Contact should be minimal. But it does link us in yet another way for a significant length of time.

    Reflection: There have been pivotal moments over this journey where I TRULY have separated and worked on NC. I can name about four. And it’s been in those times that he and I have been either pushed together due to circumstances, or in this case opportunity. It really makes me wonder, as I have before, if it’s Satan at work time and again, or if God is teaching and guiding me (or him or both) through it all. NOT to be together! I don’t mean that!! But leading us to learn and grow in Christ as we face our temptations, fears, vulnerabilities and such. As I was praying on my decision last week, knowing I’d be seeing the OM in a meeting coming up soon, I heard God say ‘Trust Me.’ He has spoken these words to me before out of the blue during specific times in this journey and they have brought such peace. I’m trying to let go, trust, and move forward.

    So, I’m clearly not a role model of how to get unhooked. I know it’s my salvation that is most at stake here in this life. I’ll continue to act in faith and do the best I can on this journey. But I also help recognize that my decision is hugely disappointing to some of my friends here who have supported me, and others who read. That saddens me.

    Ruth and Ally, your recent posts make me smile. I’m so happy you’re honoring your commitments for NC and are feeling the peace and grace God has to give. Stay strong and remain faithful. Many blessings to all, Laura

    • Ally from United States says:

      Laura- Don’t beat yourself up too much. At least you took the time to reflect and see what you could have done differently. I’m guessing that’s a HUGE step compared to where you were at other times. I understand, though, why you may feel you took a step back by doing this project. I had a similar situation happen in the fall.

      I went to an event that I knew the OM may be at because we are both involved in that community, but felt that I was moving on in my life and I shouldn’t refrain from doing something/getting involved in something that I would regardless if he was there or not. And of course, because of it he did begin contacting me again and I responded. We started talking through phone and e-mail for almost a month before I finally had to end it again!

      So I guess my caution is if you are to be involved in a project that he’s also going to be involved in, is to create a plan of action so you’re prepared and don’t get sucked back in. For example, try to make sure you’re around others and limit contact with him (if you can’t avoid it) to only when others are around. I had wished I had prepared myself more, but I didn’t fully prepare myself and I fell into an old pattern.

      I’ve had similar thoughts that you have had- about the temptations. That we can be doing so good, not really thinking of them, and then BAM- there they are again. Ugh! I don’t feel God brings us temptations, but he does allow them and I feel they are from the devil. I also have read that he knows where to tempt us where we are most vulnerable, or even where we may feel we don’t have an issue (pride). I guess that’s why they talk about being prepared with the full armor of Christ in Ephesians 6.

      Ephesians 6:10-18: “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, and against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In additional to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for believers everywhere.”

      I guess what I usually need help with is holding up the shield of faith when dealing with this situation. Knowing that I need to repel the advances and/or reject the thoughts by thinking of truth, but also by knowing that God will get me through this and one day it won’t be as much of a struggle. That one day we’ll come out the others side and realize what it was all for and what our being steadfast in our resolve for NC has brought us to. I’m not sure what that is now, but I do feel God is teaching us something as he allows us to be tempted.

      Stay strong Laura! Be prepared and not discouraged, you’ll get through this. And don’t feel like you’re letting anyone else down. I think the fact that you’re being honest with yourself and others is something that will make you more admirable. Praying for you and pray for me (all of us), too! :)

    • Ruth from United States says:

      Laura, It may sound cliche, but I truly believe that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. Sometimes we may not want to handle things, or they may be incredibly difficult, but I’m sure if you dig deep, you can deal with this situation with grace. I don’t think you should have to give up everything that is important to you, especially when you are helping with charitable causes, but pray hard and be prepared before every meeting where you know you’ll see him.

      I’m not experienced with this myself as I only saw the OM once and proceeded to connect with him the next day, but since then I’ve been slowly building myself up so if/when I do see him in person again, I will have the strength to do the right thing. Build yourself up with God’s strength, and you will be able to handle this! Many best wishes and prayers for your own personal peace and strength.

  8. Laura from United States says:

    Thank you, Ruth and Ally, for replying so compassionately and honestly. I was expecting (and deserved in many ways) to be criticized, but both of you reached out in support and offered concrete advice for the future. Thank you so much.

    Ally, thanks for sharing your similar experience and letting me know about possible pitfalls. Where and how to be on guard and using scripture as my guide. I’ve been doing a lot, a lot, A LOT of reading and praying about tests, trials and temptations and the differences among them. It opened my eyes and my heart to new knowledge and that brings me strength in my faith and path. My plan is to always cc others on any necessary email correspondence and only go to meetings with others present.

    Here are a few meaningful links I found: http://www.acts17-11.com/tests.html, http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/1524-spirit/devotionals/by-love-transformed/8578-the-difference-between-trials-and-temptations and http://hungryforgodsword.blogspot.com/2009/09/difference-between-testing-and.html

    The first one has an interesting and helpful chart towards the end that helps clarify the origin of each. I know temptations don’t come from God –but He does allow them. I know I have lessons to learn about all of this.

    My marriage, in general, is going really well. We hit a small speed bump this week; just a difference of expectations about how to spend our free time. But instead of reacting quickly, I held my tongue and waited. I wanted to make sure I knew my role as a wife in this particular matter and figure out what actions I can change rather than pointing the finger and laying it on my husband. I took days and read Christian books about being a Godly wife, prayed a ton for the right words to say, and my husband and I talked yesterday. It was great! He usually shuts down, but he hung in there. I really believe God helped me find the right time and the right words to help us come together and resolve the issues. It’s been a good two days. Thank you again for the continued support. Prayers for all, Laura

  9. Ruth from United States says:

    Feeling a little wistful today. 3 weeks since last contact (phone call), and I’ve been doing really well. Then this weekend we had a big event at work that OM had worked on with me earlier this year. I knew he wasn’t going to attend (good thing) and the event went wonderfully. I had a great time with my husband, but I found myself missing OM and wishing he could have been there and experiencing it as well. I’m also having difficulties with one of my employees at work and OM used to be a confidant for me with this situation, and I find myself wishing I could talk with him. I’M 100% CERTAIN I’M NOT GOING TO CONTACT HIM – these instincts are much more manageable now. But I’m disturbed that I’m finding myself desiring to talk to him at all.

    I’ve been making a point of talking through work issues, etc. with my husband more, and he has been great with supporting me and has been opening up much more to me too (this is hard for him). I know I was using my relationship with OM as a source for this type of comfort, and I’m glad I’m starting to give & receive it with my husband. This has been helpful in trying to unhook from the emotional connection I had with OM. But I’m disappointed that I’m experiencing these feelings for the last couple of days.

    Praying for strength to continue to not initiate any contact. Here’s another “but” – if I were to randomly run into him today, I’m not sure I’d be able to resist the temptation to talk with him. Other days I was sure I’d be okay, but today not so much. I don’t know if I’m fighting Satan or simply my own weaknesses, but for now I’m glad these are just thoughts and no actions, at least I’m making headway there! Wondering how everyone else is doing and praying for you all!

    • Laura from United States says:

      Hi Ruth, Thanks for sharing your emotions and thoughts on this day. First of all, the wistfulness is normal. There will be moments or days like this for sure. Especially since your memories of him were triggered by this event you worked on. I understand your disappointment and feeling like perhaps it was a setback, but emotions and thoughts are human and not sinful by themselves. It’s when we dwell or act on them (fantasizing, replaying moments shared, contacting them) that opens the door to Satan and sin. Congratulations on not contacting him! That is such a positive step. Don’t beat yourself up over knowing your had a moment of missing him.

      It’s heartening to know you are turning more to your husband, and even better, that he is showing up in support and friendship! I also really started doing this about 8 months ago and mine has come through so often in ways that I hadn’t seen before. This was one way I decided I needed to start working on my marriage more. Instead of turning first to friends for the emotional support I needed, I started with my husband. It gave him the opportunity to know me more, to be present and aware of what was happening in my life, and gave him the chance to more fully be my husband and partner. In turn, he shares more with me and it’s helped build our bond. I feel like I’ve shortchanged him for years in not relying on him more.

      That doesn’t mean I don’t miss the OM and struggle with memories and wishful thinking, especially since we’re still in contact. But without these marriage strengthening experiences, our marriage would be heading toward failure. Some of us wives have to learn to trust our men more. Especially those of us who are independent in nature.

      Just remember to keep your boundaries up around your heart and you marriage. Protect both at all costs. No contact + building bonds with hubby = stronger and faithful marriage

      Also beware of other, different men who might catch your attention during this transition out of your affair. In wanting to replace the ‘high’ of the affair, you are that much more vulnerable to enter into another relationship. Even more vulnerable, I think, then the first time. This would be Satan at work trying to weaken your resolve to return fully to Christ and a faithful marriage.

      I’ll be praying for you, Ruth. For all of us. Laura

      • Ruth from United States says:

        Thanks Laura – it’s hard to not be frustrated, but I’m trying to give myself some time to move past this. Your point about independent women trusting our husbands more is so true. My husband does have a very hard time opening up, but I realize I started closing myself off too which made our communication worse. This “polite” way of communicating with no real depth between us for the past couple years definitely led the way to satisfying this need elsewhere. What a dangerous place to be – I didn’t even realize what was happening until it was too late.

        Your advice about the potential for another man to “catch my attention” startled me. I hadn’t even considered this, especially since my husband & I are addressing our communication issues and have been closer than we’ve been in a long time. But clearly if it happened once, it could happen again, so it is helpful to keep this in the back of my mind just in case.

        I’ve still been missing the OM, and some days think WAY to much about him, but I’m trying to celebrate the days when I feel victory over this temptation and take it one day at a time. 4 weeks without any contact and counting!

        • Claire from United States says:

          Happy for you Ruth. Four weeks is a long time. Along the lines of the topics in your email, I too have failed to give my husband the attention he neeeded and was seeking. I tend to get lost in my own world of work, mom duties and various functions. I have a lot of daily demands and can easily stay busy from morning until night. But in recent weeks my husband helped me refocus by expressing that he doesn’t feel like he is part of my life or important. This was hard to hear because he rarely expresses deep feelings and I thought that I was doing a good job juggling it all, hiding my sadness that the OM isn’t in my life and giving my husband a little of my time. This realization helped me to refocus and block thoughts when tempted to think about the OM. It’s of no value and benefits no one. Keep counting the weeks and then months. Its gets better. I promise.

          • Ruth from United States says:

            Claire, Thank you for your note. I’m happy to say I’m now at 6 weeks of no contact; the fact that we haven’t accidentally bumped into each other in town is helpful, still not sure how I’d do if I saw him. But little blessings add up! Your life sounds exactly like mine (and many others, I’m sure) in that we’re so busy juggling everything that we don’t realize when something is missing. What happened to me is after several years of struggle after having kids, we agreed to work on communication but were merely being polite with each other, not arguing as much, but also not really communicating. I know now that this need I had for real communication, being trusted with personal feelings, feeling open to discuss whatever was in my head, etc. is why I got inappropriately involved with this other person to begin with. It wasn’t about attraction, sex or passion, simply enjoying a closeness in a relationship that I was craving from my husband.

            Although my husband doesn’t have the same need for open communication, he was craving my time and attention and I wasn’t giving him that. I have been realizing recently that any time I spend thinking about OM, wondering what I would do if I saw him, wondering how he’s doing, etc. does take away precious minutes from my husband. The other day we were traveling in our car and my mind started to wander. But then a voice in my head told me to focus my attention on my husband, and we ended up having a really nice conversation while the kids slept. Nothing mind blowing, but these simple conversations were also a part of what was missing, and we would have missed out on this had I kept obsessing about the OM.

            I guess we are all a “work in progress” and still have a lot to learn about relationship building. I keep praying that God helps me to stay on the right path, and when I do, the results have been wonderful. Best to you, Claire, in your journey too!

  10. Milah from United States says:

    Hello ladies, wow it’s so nice to see I’m not the only women out there who has this problem. I can’t find a support group anywhere for this type of addiction. So thank you Marriage Missions and thank you ladies for being open and honest and sharing your experiences.

    I met my husband when I was 15 and he was 10 years older then I. He gave me attention and affection and I fell for him. We got married when I was 21. For the next 2 years I was madly in love with him. But soon found out he may have cheated on me. To this day he denies it. But I think in that time I lost a lot of my feelings for him. We stayed together but lived almost separate lives. I was in church ministry and content he was out fishing and content.

    I met a man at church and over a 6 month period we became too close of friends. I didn’t know how to set boundaries. I told my husband about my feelings and stopped going to church. Satan planted in my head God was mad at me and wanted nothing to do with me; I feel into deep depression. I was miserable everyday of my life. Three months passed and I see him, and can’t help but socialize. We talked here and there. In the next 4mos we ended not able to fight the temptation to take our relationship to the next level. It was Christmas and lasted one week. I felt so guilty I told on myself.

    My husband stayed (Praise God) but then down into depression again due to breaking it off with the friend. 6 mos later another we run in to each other and another round of the same thing. This time I convinced my husband we must move 1000 miles away, so we did. A whole year goes by nothing; not a peep from the friend so he was finally not on my mind everyday anymore and we are doing ok.

    6 mos ago I get an FBI message from him. He said I just need to talk to you just this once. Because I never truly dealt with the underlying problems of why the emotional affair started in the first place, lodged deep down I still had a lot of feelings for him so I gave in and we talked for a few hours laughing crying sharing deep secrets. I am zapped back into his trauma. I once again said this is it – no more! But after that my heart mind and soul was Hooked again.

    Now last week he fb me again same thing but this time because I’m under so much stress with work, school, and being very lonely due to having no family or friends here I gave right into him. So we spent 2 days getting caught up. But he is moving to another state was getting everything shut off so I told him it was a good time to move on and forget about me. He respected me and said ok.

    But this has been going on for 4 years and it gets harder to say goodbye every time. I can’t do this anymore it’s so painful to keep doing this; I need and want him to be gone forever from my life. I wake up thinking of him go to bed thinking of him. I dream of him. It makes me so mad at myself that I do this. I need some self-control. I want God to put a new heart in me one that doesn’t even acknowledge him as a part of me. This has made me into a sad, lonely, lost little girl. My character has really made a turn for the worst. I can’t be effective for The Lord like this; that was always my highest level of joy is when The Lord was doing his work through me, so please give me some advice, encouragement – anything. I am desperate for a touch of Jesus in my life!!!!!!!

  11. Britnem from United States says:

    I am happy I found this article. I’ve been dealing with some extreme depression this past week (thanks to my ocd) that I’m having a hard time to overcome. Seeing people with similar experiences really helps me feel less alone. I really let my emotional affair get out of hand, and it went from one person to another the length of a summer. I was obsessively in contact with this said person, without the significant others knowing.

    While he truly believed I was happy with him, which I was, and I’ve still yet to figure out why exactly I felt I needed to confide in another man. It doesn’t help, that this was a year ago, yet the guilt has just now surfaced. I do not long for the men I was talking to, it never really was a deep relationship; I simply thought it was.

    I can’t remember a lot about it; including how long it went on, but then I remember small things randomly throughout the day that sicken me. Little things I said, or he said, or times that I found it necessary to interact (like during vacations) times where I took attention away from my love for some selfish affair. I’m unsure I’ll be able to let this go without therapy. My love has forgiven me, but I just can’t forgive myself to allow myself to grow with my significant other.

    It’s unfair to drag him through this depression when he has done no wrong. I feel selfish telling him every detail because it will only hurt him. So I’ve tried to leave out the small stuff just so he could see the main picture. I’ve never really had to deal with guilt in my life, so this feeling has definitely taken a damper on my self-worth. Again, thank you so much for sharing your experiences.

  12. Ruth from United States says:

    Help! Had a horrible day at work, and wanted nothing more than to talk to the OM. I had to restrain myself from contacting him several times, with success I am happy to say, but it is so hard. Just craving his friendship and camaraderie, could use a few prayers for strength to keep from contacting him or connecting with him if I randomly see him anytime soon. Thanks!

    • Laura from United States says:

      I’m sorry you struggled so much yesterday, Ruth. However, you made a great choice not to reach out to him. Turning to him to share with and as a means of support will only hold you to him. He became your ‘soft place to fall’ and in these vulnerable times, it’s imperative that you learn to turn towards your husband and family rather than away from. Strengthen those bonds while releasing the other.

      We KNOW how difficult this is. I fully understand it. I’ve been in the same boat lately having lost some loved ones, and it’s taking everything in my power not to email or text just to let him know and get his support. And in my situation, he’s available to do this since we’ve remained in contact. I know he’d respond and I’d get the ‘fix’ I need. So it’s doubly hard. I’m really trying to limit things to the bare minimum necessary.

      I was reminded yesterday of a woman who was influential in my life a while ago. Reminded of her strength of character, her ability to love and serve others without complaint. Reminded of how much I wanted to emulate her. That has brought me some relief from the desire to contact him. To act as she would; to act in faith to my vows; to become the woman I’ve wanted to be.

      I pray, Ruth, that this issue at work resolves itself and that you can find the strength to continue making the healthiest and holiest of choices. I’m so happy you posted here instead of emailing him. Rest in the peace of that. – Laura

    • Ally from United States says:

      Ruth, I can so relate! Why are we having such difficulties with this lately? I’m curious if others that have been struggling with this for some time also have intense desires to reach out or talk to the other person. It’s funny because sometimes I feel I’m doing so good and being so strong and then all of a sudden when I least expect it, it’s a huge struggle!

      • Laura from United States says:

        Ally, I am one who has been on this path for a long time. However, we never went NC, so that didn’t set me on a path for healing from the start. That’s where my perspective is coming from.

        I’ve done an enormous amount of reading about affairs and recovery and you know how they say that once the ‘fog’ has lifted, you’ll see the other person for the man or woman they really are; not the fantasy? Well, for me, that never happened. Perhaps the consequence of staying in the same circles, but I think not. Since our affair, the OM has taken on new directions in his life that are so admirable. Yes, I know his failures in life, but he has turned that part around and really is doing amazing work for others. Yes, he’s ‘just a man,’ but in reality (not my fantasy), he stands out among many. So as far as my desire to still reach out. I fight it every single day. I miss him daily. Laura

        • Ally from United States says:

          Laura- That’s my concern! That it will continue to be an ongoing battle regardless of time. I have gone NC, numerous times and this has been going on for 2 years now! I just want it to stop. And there are things that I have told myself on why it wouldn’t work, but then if I see him at an event it all comes back. Or even if I don’t, I still catch myself thinking about him or wanting to talk to him, etc. And I know he feels the same because he will reach out and try to restart contact. Even recently.

          How do you fight it and has your relationship with your husband increased? I guess I ask, because sometimes I wonder if it’s still there, does that meant that these were true feelings and maybe we would truly be happier with these people. Awful, because I feel the answer is no. But sometimes I wonder.

          I guess I’m thinking aloud, but really appreciate any help! As I mentioned, some days I’m doing so great and some days, not so much. Today I’m okay, but earlier this week …not so much! Thanks, Laura and to anyone else who has insight or wants to share! :)

          • Ruth from United States says:

            Laura & Ally, Somewhere in these posts, someone mentioned that any attention we give to our EA partners, even if just thoughts, is Satan directly trying to tempt us. Forgive me for not quoting this wise person correctly, but that is the gist of it. I read back through my “Help!” post at the beginning of this thread and realized that the pain I was going through, the longing for contact with OM was Satan whittling away at my resolve and hard work. I wish I realized this at the time, but I’m trying to make the effort to remind myself of this when I’m having a hard day, or putting too much time into thinking about OM. It’s hard to tear myself away from my own thoughts and “needs”, but easier to resist if I see it as Satan’s work.

            [Interesting, as I'm typing this message, a certain song that OM & I shared -and both listened to too many times thinking about each other - just popped up on my music station. Really Satan? That is just too obvious of an effort. Skipping the song now, and feeling a little bit of victory.] Prayers to us all to stay on the right path, and put our husbands, partners, families, selves first over this unhealthy obsession.

  13. Laura from United States says:

    Hi Ruth, Ally and all who post…Trying, I’m worried about you. I hope your long silence here means you are in a good strong place and don’t need the support right now.

    Ally, I started a new thread here, but wanted to respond to your last post about my relationship with my husband. These past years haven’t been easy. He does not know about my affair and we’ve dealt with many changes in our lives. For the first time in our long marriage, a few years ago we’ve had the hard discussions questioning our commitment to the marriage. Things have been better overall and the first half of this year was really good.

    But I’m hitting a wall so to speak. I’m lonely in the marriage like so many other women talk about. We get along great, laugh, and have similar values. We are a good team. But even when we are home together, he never suggests doing anything together. There doesn’t seem to be a desire to spend time with me. But yet I know he loves and cherishes me, too. It’s hard.

    I want to feel wanted. We just went for a drive and grabbed a bite to eat…my suggestion after being home all day. I shared that I was thinking too much about stuff and being too’in my head’. This was my way of trying to open up about some things on my mind, and he doesn’t even respond or ask about it. I think deeply about stuff, but can’t share any of it cuz there is no give and take or emotional support. This isn’t anything new. Sometimes he’s great and other times he’s not. But I’m scared, I want more and I have thoughts that I’d rather be on my own sometimes.

    This week has brought a lot of unexpected contact with OM, and that has stirred up some stuff for me, so I’m sure that’s impacting my reactions right now. But it’s not just that. This is an ongoing issue in our marriage.

    I can’t say it again loudly enough: Whatever stage of affair you are in– no contact is the only chance you have to forgive yourself and find peace again. And even then, it’s no guarantee.

    • Ruth from United States says:

      Laura, So sorry you’re feeling despondent. I understand what you’re going through regarding an emotionally unconnected husband, it is so hard to know if they truly want us, understand our needs etc. I’m certainly no pro at this, especially since I’m only about 3 months into my “healing” with my marriage. But have you told him directly, not in a round-about way, but in a “this is serious” direct way exactly what you wrote above? Being a team is important, but knowing you are wanted, loved and cherished is equally as important, and that quality time with each other has to be a priority.

      Recently I told my husband exactly what I felt I was getting from the other relationship, what was missing from our marriage. He was genuinely surprised as he thought he was communicating his feelings to me (really??) but now sees the need to express them, really open up, being vulnerable with me, expressing his emotions, etc. This is hard for him and I know it will take time, but his efforts and progress (albeit slow) are appreciated and I’m feeling more and more connected to him, while simultaneously unhooking from the OM. I don’t think we’d be doing this well if I wasn’t so direct.

      I wonder if your husband (like many) is absolutely clueless to the signals you are sending and your needs for more together time? Would an open, direct conversation be helpful to you? I know he doesn’t know about your EA, and I’m not suggesting you tell him or not, but knowing how you feel might open his eyes and work harder to spend time with you. My thoughts and prayers are with you today!

      • Laura from United States says:

        Thanks, Ruth, for your quick response, honesty and sharing of your own experience. We have had very direct conversations and he really does respond and works to make things better; to be everything I need him to be. Yesterday I was really sick (chronic illness flare up), so I know my perceptions were skewed. I was in my own little pity party and needed a perfect response from him. And when I didn’t get it, it sent me spiraling and dwelling on all the negatives.

        I’m not negating the fact that it isn’t an issue in our marriage, but last night was not a true representation. We had a big fight a few hours ago…he was so angry and hurt. I was scared he wanted to just walk away. But I prayed and prayed to have God take away his anger so we could talk. For God to give me the words and tools I needed. For God to heal us.

        Basically, honestly, I am a spoiled brat. That’s what God revealed to me in those moments. I have not been doing my part of taking care of my own emotional needs. These past 8 months, I’ve uncharacteristically shut myself off from a lot of people who love me and feed my soul. I did it in reaction to a male friend who was starting to cross the line. So I got it in my head that to prevent this from happening again or ever, I needed to withdraw. I remember thinking that I need to be fully content with just my husband.

        But in that shutting off, I quit reaching out to girlfriends and sisters, too. I realized today that I need them in my life. It was so unfair to put the pressure on my husband to meet every need. He said that in our fight, “I obviously don’t meet all your needs and don’t know that I ever will.” That’s when it hit me how unfair I’d been, how demanding, and how I’d quit making sure that I was bringing my healthiest self to the marriage.

        I know it sounds like I’m carrying the full burden of this. God sure did smack me hard on the head while I was sitting and praying while my husband stormed a bit upstairs. But my husband does have a moral obligation to improve, too. He knows this.

        God answered so many prayers today in just an hour’s time. I saw more clearly who I am. He reminded me of what an amazing man my husband really is. He took away the anger and gave us both a chance to talk, listen,find common ground, and hold each other once more. And when the time was right, my husband used his quick wit to make us both laugh like he always is able to do. That’s been a huge gift over the years.

        So, I have some soul searching to do. I have to revamp some priorities and use my time here on earth more purposefully for God. That will fulfill the piece that is missing. I know this. Continued prayers are greatly appreciated on this journey. God Bless

        • Jessica from United States says:

          Dear Laura, Ally, Ruth and others, I’m so thankful for this forum. Reading through your comments has given me a tiny bit of hope in this time where life feels so hopeless. I’ve only been out of my EA for about 6 weeks. It’s been the most painful, wrenching thing I’ve been through–I miss talking to the OM so much.

          I’m still having a hard time letting him go and accepting that he’s not going to be in my life. The only days I feel okay are the days I let myself hold onto a fantasy that maybe someday we can be close again. I’m feeling especially sad and broken today because I’m trying so hard to tell myself that it’s really over.

          So, I’m thankful to read your words and hear about your struggles and victories. Thank you for the advice and experiences you’ve shared.

          • Ruth from United States says:

            Jessica, I can definitely relate to where you are at with being six weeks out. It is very difficult, but congratulations on making the right decision to end the EA.

            I’m looking at 4 months out now, but have only been actively sticking to the “no contact” (or as I like to put it, focusing on my family) for two months. This has been very difficult, but with each passing week, I found myself “unhooking” more from the OM and connecting more with my husband. It took me awhile to understand the real importance of not being in contact; I mistakenly thought I would be able to handle a “friends only” situation with the OM, but looking back I wasn’t even close to ready. Pretty sure we’ll never be able to be friends again, but with time it hurts less.

            I found this site to be very helpful in working through this situation, as well as marriage therapy and some anti-anxiety medication (would never recommend this without doctor and therapist consent of course). After getting out of the fogginess of the affair time, through the aching hurt that I couldn’t talk to him, to the intent on focusing on my marriage, I’m now at a peaceful place of acceptance and moving on. I haven’t seen the OM in over 2 months, and if I run into him I know it’ll shake me up a bit. But gone are the desires to be with him. I’m done with wasting time on memories. I found this takes great discipline, but also a lot of forgiveness of yourself and patience if you slip. Someone said that with each slip it gets easier to move on and it’s so true! Do what is best for yourself, your marriage, your family, and you’ll get there. Peace and prayers coming your way!

          • Laura from United States says:

            Hi Jessica, Welcome, and I’m glad this forum has been helpful to you. We all are at different stages of affair recovery and some of us more successful than others. So hopefully you can continue to draw strength from our collective experiences.

            Six weeks out is a really tough space and time. The realization that it’s over does hit hard and the desire to contact and hold on to any piece of it gets overwhelmingly strong. Remember that emotions are fleeting, that panic you might feel one morning that fills you with a need to call him, can subside by the afternoon. And everytime you don’t act on your desire to reach out, your faith in yourself to be strong and living a life of values is reinforced.

            The key is to have some specific actions you can take when the pain sets in. Pray, journal, call a friend, work out, bake something for the neighbors, go to church, do something creative, turn on upbeat music and dance, get outside to hike or such, etc. Getting physical is the best way to change your mindset. It physically changes the body’s chemistry and can change your emotions. Plus you feel stronger, more secure in yourself and more able to face challenges.

            Are you married? Kids?

            No contact is key to a healthy recovery, as Ruth’s latest post can attest. My OM and I remain in contact, and it’s caused me distress over the years. On one hand I’m thankful we are friendly and are still in each other’s lives in a small way. But on the other hand, this connection has cost me so much. Stay strong, Jessica. You can get through this.

        • Ruth from United States says:

          Laura – what a good discovery, that you were expecting your husband to fulfill 100% of your needs rather than spread them out through friends and family. Some of us do have very high expectations of ourselves, and therefore of our spouses, but nobody can handle being everything to us so reaching out to your other positive relationships is key. I hope you’ll find that you can ease your emotions with your husband, releasing him and you of the burden of fulfilling all your needs and that your relationships with friends and sisters are helpful in moving on.

          I wonder, do you think you were also substituting the OM as a confidant and emotional support rather than turning to your friends and sisters? I ask, because I definitely found myself drifting from my great friends of 20 years, possibly out of guilt (I didn’t tell my friends anything) but also because I thought those needs were being satisfied by the OM. Now I realize I need them, my family and my husband to fill me up, not leaving a gaping hole for an inappropriate relationship to fill.

          I hope you are feeling and doing better, sending prayers your way…

          • Laura from United States says:

            Thanks for the support and feedback, Ruth. During the affair is when I definitely started to pull away from others. LIke you said, perhaps out of guilt. But for me it was more about being home and/or alone in order to connect with OM (phone, email, quick meeting, etc). Or to be alone to spend my time thinking about him/us. T’hen about a year after affair, I had some health issues that isolated me from others, too. So those two things combined, had me lose some close friendships.

            Then last year, that other male friend and I ended our friendship to prevent crossing boundaries. But I think I had come to rely on him too much too meet some of my emotional needs. Not to the same level as the OM, but it had the possibility to turn that way, so we shut down the friendship. So like I said, I decided to become a home body who tried to put my husband and me in a bubble thinking we should be completely happy just the two of us. Unrealistic and unfair.

            I”m working on ways to develop myself and find ways to fulfill some new dreams. Today is a good day. Thanks for the help all.

    • Rose from United States says:

      Laura, I am new to this site but have been searching for help. I feel I am in the same predicament as you. The horribly sad thing is that I am a pastor’s wife of a large church and I help women through these similar situations. However, I have no one to confide my own struggles to. It just helps to know I am not alone.

      I wish I would have never opened up to this guy. The lack of approval and attention from my husband propelled me to be deceived by the attention and attraction to another. I know it’s so wrong. I’ve already decided many times to not contact, but I have been so weak. I could never tell my husband. He would never forgive me and no one else would either. I’m dealing with this all on my own. I’ve tried many times throughout our marriage (21 years) to share my needs and feelings, and my husband is emotionally distant and is unable to connect with me. Hopelessness, resentment, and utter despair has contributed to my emotional affairs and now this one that was taken even a step further. I need a lot of prayer, help, and encouragement. I want my family, and I want to do right and overcome this.

  14. Ruth from United States says:

    It has been two months since the last time I stupidly called the other man, absolutely no contact since then, not even an accidental sighting (thank you God). This past week my children spent the week with their grandparents and my husband & I spent some amazing time together. We went on fun dates, talked without interruption, had the most amazing sex we’ve had in our marriage, and I found myself grinning at him and “flirting” with him like I did when we first started dating.

    This week has been instrumental in my being able to unhook from the OM. I found that when my mind did wander to memories of him, my reaction has been strangely different. Rather than the wistfulness and even sadness I was feeling before, I felt completely disconnected, almost like those memories weren’t even mine. Does that make sense? If I picture him, nothing stirs in my heart (I was never physically attracted to him, but emotionally like many of us). I feel completely neutral, not angry, just indifferent. The most amazing thing is that other than prayers and connecting on this site, I didn’t intentionally spend the time feeling differently, it just sort of happened as I was focusing so much on my husband. I was worried that getting back to a normal work and family schedule would set me back, but so far, so good.

    I wonder how I’ll feel if I run into the OM or see him or his wife. I’ve only seen her twice so I’m hoping I won’t recognize her if I do -wimpy of me, I know, but true. There is still some guilt lingering, and I’d prefer not to see him as it has made this process better. But at least I won’t feel the temptation to talk to him, desire to hug him, etc. – those feelings are gone as far as I can tell. THANK YOU to all of you who pushed me to honor the “no contact” rule -it seems so obvious now how important this was to moving on. Even thought it’s only been 2 months since no contact, they’ve been two very important months in my healing. As well as spending quality time with my husband and spending time on memories with him (we have 20 years worth!) rather than memories of the OM (only 6 weeks worth), this also has been very helpful.

    I’m still going to check in on this site here and there, hopefully as a source of experience or comfort :) and will continue to stay on guard with the OM and anyone else who enters my life so this situation is never repeated. Prayers and peace to you all!

    • Laura from United States says:

      Ruth, I am so happy for you! What an amazing journey you’ve had and the reconnection with your husband sounds like it came and just the right time. You are showing others how valuable no contact is and that will help many who walk this path. I am thankful for your time here on this forum and the support and guidance you’ve given to me and others. I will keep you in my prayers. God bless

  15. Running Man from New Zealand says:

    Hello to all on this thread. I haven’t posted for a while, as I’ve been doing really, really well, and am very thankful. I feel a bit pathetic today about being one of the very few men on here! But sometimes, we too need to unburden ourselves in some way.

    I dreamed about her two nights ago, and I always find the next few days challenging. It stirs things up. My dreams are never of an intimate nature whatsoever, but always involve ‘seeking’. I’m always trying to see or find her. They always involve this without fail. It fits in well with the symptoms of complex grief I’ve often talked about. In this dream, I got the closest I ever had to her, and we saw each other, and I cried painful, heart wrenching tears in my dream. I’m working through that, generally by ignoring it and moving on.

    I’ll be honest. I really, really miss the friendship, the phone calls, just talking about life, kids, work etc. In times like this, I still find myself wishing I had the ‘contact’ of that kind of ‘friendship’. But I’m also in a good enough space to say to myself, “If this separation from her is good enough for God, it is good enough for me!” In other words, I’m settled that God Himself wants it this way, and that is ALL I need to know.

    On another note, I recall an interesting bit of psychology from a ‘sitcom’ of all places. A woman was discussing her relationship with a certain man, and if she loved him. She believed that she didn’t love him, but ‘loved who she became in his presence.’ That is both perceptive, interesting and worth exploring isn’t it?

    After pondering that a little, I came to the conclusion that I too must have liked being like that around my EA partner, but with the added element of this: “I also hated who I became around her” because, looking back, I can now see how shallow, deceptive and broken I was becoming. I was ignoring my own, God given wife, family, children and faith, by falling in love with ‘myself’ and ‘another woman’. — Strength to you battling friends. RM

  16. Running Man from New Zealand says:

    Dear Diary: this weekend has been so hard. After months of great progress and forgetfulness, a horrible nightmare triggered it all over again. I had no control over that dream, and am so annoyed, frustrated, angry and sad that it would effect me this way. I feel like such a failure today. So weak, so pathetic, so useless and faithless in my fight. But then I recall the progress, the freedom I have experienced, and recall the words of kind friends who encouraged me in the past when I felt down…”it is only natural….don’t beat yourself up…you have come so far….I’m so proud of you….you are so strong”.

    I confess, in my weakness, I looked up every electronic image and reference on the web for her. I hate myself yet more for doing so. I could not concentrate on my family, and it was obvious I was down. My wife eventually asked me why I was so. I opened up just enough to cue her into issues with the past. I told her I feel I don’t fit in anywhere. That I feel alone, lonely and friendless. I said the upheaval of the past, all those years ago sometimes returns and knocks me down. Initially she was annoyed that I would bring this up, and rightly so I guess, but in her patience, she began to talk to me about letting go, about true friends, and eventually, how wrong my ‘friend’ was, in that she wanted something from me that was evil. And that really, many men have few if any friends who are close.

    While it was hard to bring this up, after months of freedom, it actually helped. I’ve always know that we need ‘input’ when this returns. Our own thoughts get corrupted and confused, and we need outside information to redirect and heal us. My wife told me there is nothing I can do about the past. I told her I wish I never met the other woman, and that things would be totally different if I hadn’t. I was happy, but now feel broken, lost and wistful for the happiness of the past.

    It is so horrible to feel chained by this again… I cannot focus on my children, my day, my family, my Lord. I even wished I could go back in time to repair this, but I know this is so wrong to even contemplate! I told my wife I love her, and she knows it. I told her I need time with her, and feel very displaced. I have had to restart my life, in almost every single area since those days. I still feel I lost so much back then. But I remind myself it is an illusion. I am looking for something elusive, something that doesn’t really exist. My wife said I just need to move on, and that she needed me to, and was over hearing about it, as it can get her down too. I acknowledged this.

    I felt better having some input from her, and I know I need some connection again somewhere, somehow. I need to build up friendships and relationships in my family. I need to focus on my work, and my own children, and my wife. I still want to have a final, closing conversation with my EA partner, to tell her the damage she inflicted, by seeking to sexulize the friendship, and say my final goodbye, and tell her of the error of it all.

    I’m trying, but I am still shocked at myself after this event. I need to put it away, once and for all. It is self-pity perhaps, it is being stuck in the past.

    It is a life-sentence in some ways, as I know I’ll never be the same, but am reassured that all things work together for good to those who love God. I must seek Him more. There are terrible things occurring in the world, and I’m stuck focused on this. I want to move on. Lord, help me to do so and grant me peace in my heart once more.

    RM

    • Laura from United States says:

      Dear Running Man, I’ve been trying to pen a response to your post from the 7th for three days, but haven’t been able to organize my thoughts. I really, really needed to connect with someone here that day and was so grateful you had posted an update. Thank you.

      I’ve now just read this additional post and want to send you love and prayers. I’m not in a good place right now either and can relate to so much of what your wrote. I don’t have time for a full post right now, but wanted to remind you of how far you’ve come and the growth you’ve made over these years. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself some time to negotiate the emotions this dream and the images have brought forth. Sharing with your wife was a good thing.

      I’ll respond more later, but wanted to let you know you are not alone and are loved and supported here. Laura

  17. Trying from United States says:

    RM, Laura, and all… Out of the 7 billion people on this planet, God has given us (those on this forum) the ability to encourage and strengthen one another. I’m writing a few words because I’ve experienced 2 very similar reactions.

    RM–I too am beating myself up again, obsessing about the past, and for the first time, not wishing I could go back to THAT time, but wishing I could erase the past 3 years, and go back to the time BEFORE I got involved with EA. Unfortunately, I know now –“there are no do-overs”; only picking up the pieces and trying to move forward.

    Laura—I, too, have done some deep soul searching after an incident about 10 days ago with my husband. I’m seeing some glaring faults in myself that he has tolerated and been so patient with. I’ve blamed him for so many things in our marriage …AND I have also lived under the falsehood that he should provide for all my needs!!! I’m not a very good friend –it takes a lot of effort for me (in my selfishness) to reach out to people–and so I think its been easier to expect him to do it all, instead of owning the responsibility I have to keep myself healthy; physically and emotionally. When he isn’t able to do that (I recognize no human can) –it again was easier for me to blame HIM than to look inward.

    I’m once again thinking of “natural consequences”. We’re living the reality of our mistakes. I found this advice from Cindy Wright in a response last fall as I just ‘randomly’ logged on to this website looking for encouragement. “When you give it (your heart) to someone who doesn’t cherish it and entangle it with someone who isn’t yours to have, the tearing apart is all the more painful. Whether this man has ‘MANY good qualities’ …they are not qualities that are yours to live with.'”

    For some reason this spoke to me, this morning, once again reminding me I have no right to “love” someone who is married. The untangling can cause so much pain… I know my struggle is due to some information I’ve learned about his family, and once again, I watch from a distance. I’ve learned my lesson –I will not become involved.

  18. Trying from United States says:

    I know this is a spiritual battle–and we are tired of the fight. But at the very end of our church service yesterday, we were reminded not to take the “easy” way out, but to stand our ground, to stand firm on the principles of Truth, to face our battles with God’s power, and to claim the promises found in HIS word. The enemy of our souls is seeking to destroy us, to rob us of the peace and joy that we once experienced. Stand fast!

  19. Running Man from New Zealand says:

    Thanks you Laura and Trying! I appreciate your input. Yes, there is definitely a large element of spiritual warfare associated around these issues. You just have to look at the news and the enemy of souls is extremely active right now. And there’s no sign of it getting better. I want to be part of the solution, part of the great army of God’s people, active for Him. These flashbacks to the past are no doubt designed to knock us down, de-focus us, and render us useless in spiritual things. The Pilgrim’s Progress would be a good read for us all, I’m sure! I’ve made some progress. I feel, as it’s so common, that we need to ‘ride it out’ and as time passes, things do get better after an episode. I actually wrote a ‘final letter’ to my EA partner, listing all the hurts, the learning curve, the damage, the healing that I’ve been through. It helped. I’ll post my progress later as I’m praying for a victory, large or small, so long as it’s preparing me to serve Him again!! RM

  20. Running Man from New Zealand says:

    I have a couple of questions for the forum:

    1) Do you think it is ‘right’ for a Christian believer to pray for their Emotional Affair partner? I find this a very difficult question actually. On the one hand this is the very person that caused them / resulted in them sinning, with the specific sin of emotional infidelity, lust etc. (and usually some form of physical, even if handholding, kiss, caress). On the other hand, we are instructed not to hate even those who cause us great harm, and pray for those who we class as enemies. I could imagine there are some that may have or do pray for their ‘ex’ along with their families. Personally, I believe my EA partner is a non-believer, although she would most likely deny this. I am not the judge – God alone knows her heart.

    2) I wrote a 3000 word ‘final letter’ to my EA (who I have not seen for 6 years) to finally say everything I wished. I never got a chance for closure, and to say how this has affected me, and how I feel my particular EA sexualised me, and deliberatley seduced me, knowing full well my marriage woudl be at risk. I was ‘foolishly’ trying to help her with her non-believing husband, and did not realise how I would eventually fall prey to her charms. I want to tell her this, as I am convinced she has and probably is, doing this to other men. I almost feel I can ‘help’ her, but again, that is not my main intention. I want my EA partner to hear me out, while I read the letter over the phone, for one FINAL conversation. Even if I don’t get a response, I want a chance to finally tell her, graciously, the impact upon me, and kindly, warn her to be careful, and to turn to the Lord – I don’t want to preach, but inside, I know the Lord is what she really needs, although she claims to be great, and moved on!

    My question is: should I call her to read my letter? I felt sick all day, contemplating phoning, as it is very, very nervewracking.

    RM

    • Running Man from New Zealand says:

      I’ve answered my own questions after some thought:
      1) answer: it depends – in my case, probably no.
      2) No … I’ll expand later if I get time.

      • Trying from United States says:

        RM, I haven’t been on this blog all week, but I’m thankful to see God at work. I’ve really struggled with depression/chronic pain this week, and sometimes coming here is too overwhelming. Yesterday was a good day (once I got moving!) –and I’ve thought of you all often.

        So many times once our thoughts are on paper, problem solving becomes clearer. I, too, have intermittently struggled with no closure –how much I wanted it. Doubly difficult because I still travel in the same social circles as EA. I DO pray for the family, spouse, and children as I’m still aware of some of their specific needs, as I hear them in a community setting.

        Writing the letter had to be therapeutic –I’ve done that also –but I burned mine! I wrote it with that intention based on my counselors recommendation. It took me 3 days of carrying it with me until I was able to surrender the past, all the unsaid words, all the pain, and follow through with my plan. This was 4 years ago with the first EA I went through.
        I haven’t done that this time… I should consider it as I’m very visual, and I still carry with me the memory of the small pile of ashes that the letter was reduced too.

        I, too, “know” that my ex-EA did and still does experience many “faith” challenges –but I’ve had the opportunity to in the past to point him to the Lord many, many times. So I can take heart that: 1. No prayer is lost 2. The work is the Lords –it is not in my place to say anymore. 3. I can glorify the Lord more by keeping honorable boundaries in my marriage by NOT interacting with him; then anything more I can say.

        I will continue to pray for you as you walk through this valley, and learn from the struggles you have shared. Thanks for posting. Our faith is refined in the fire. “Trying to do what is best” I feel I am more vulnerable right now also due to another life change –unemployed, at no clear direction as to what I should be doing in the future, and also unclear what I should be doing about my health.

        • Running Man from New Zealand says:

          Thank you Trying. I’m much better now. I’ve learnt over the years that when the bucket of the past gets stirred, it’s only a matter of time before the waters calm. The main thing to remember is to stick it out until it does… and remember that! If we forget it, and are absorbed in the pain of the moment, we can make rash decisions we’ll regret. Forgetting the calm that will return is fatal. We need always to remind ourselves that in a few days, these thoughts will decrease, along with the pain it stirred up, and the memories will fade once again. It’s the old ‘waves’ scenario all over again.

          Here’s what happened for me: I wrote my final letter (as suggested on this site actually) with the intention of phoning my ex-EA partner and reading it out to her. I wanted her to hear my ‘impact statement’. I waited three days, then took my old phone to work, planning to call her after work from my car, and read this out to her. I was torn about this, but as usual, the ‘pain’ drives you to want to ‘fix’ it, and I thought I might get some relief from years of torment over this, by delivering my letter to her verbally.

          Thankfully, God intervened in my plan, and His timing always amazes me. I was driving to a spot I’d picked out where I was going to park my car, not far from home, to make contact (I felt sick I can tell you -it’s like contacting the dead actually!). I parked my car, and stopped the engine. I was literally reaching for my old phone, when my wife calls me on my regular cell. She asks me to pick up one of our children from school. She’d be very thankful if I would, so I agreed, and my plan was thwarted. I was actually very calm about it, and relieved actually.

          That evening, I plucked up courage to ask my wife what she thought of my plan to contact this woman to deliver my speech. I can tell you, what happened next really polarized this, and although very hard, was exactly what needed to happen. I should not have brought up the topic of the past, so long ago it is now. But I foolishly did, but I was hoping for some relief! I once again got a first hand glimpse at the extreme anger my wife had towards this woman, and to the hurt of those times. I once again saw the IMMENSE damage I did to her, my marriage and our relationship. It was heartbreaking. I realised in an instant how wrong I was to even entertain that thought. It upset my wife so much, it was horrible to watch. I don’t blame her for a moment! I had dragged up the past, and forced her to relive some of it all over again, years later!! I had brought this woman back into our home!!

          All is not lost, for we who know the Lord, know God works in mysterious ways. This welling up of emotion by both of us (I threw something into the sink -I NEVER throw things) -proved how damaging an EA is. It reminded me to be so very thankful to God for preserving my marriage, despite what I’d done. Although it took us both back there, to those horrid times, it also was so wonderful to observe the incredible speed in which we made up, moved on and hugged and forgave! Of MOST importance was the vehemence with which my wife actually told me this: “if you ever contact her again, that’s it!” While shocking, it was the EXACT answer I needed to hear. I knew immediately that I must make extra effort to move forward, even if it means sending the letter by post, but I must not talk with her ever again. Final.

          We reaffirmed our love to each other verbally, and we had a great weekend just past. Interestingly, my wife spent several hours watching something she found: True Tori. I can tell you, the story of Tori Spelling and her husband’s, full-blown, sexual affair, is remarkable watching. We actually watched a couple of episodes together on the couch. If you watch, you’ll be amazed as you will TOTALLY relate to what is occurring to them both. You’ll be right there with them. I couldn’t believe they were so open and actually filmed the very events this blog discusses. It is RAW! Tori explains in painful detail exactly what this did to her, her heart, her dreams, her marriage, and Dean is painfully struck with so much guilt and remorse he shakes!! It is us all over!

          My wife commented that Dean reminds her of me. He struggles with insecurity, needing physical reminders. He always wanted more of this from Tori, and he also struggled greatly with addictions. Thankfully, I avoided that, but am alot like him in other ways I feel. This made him vulnerable. Tori has lots of issues to, so it is a revealing bit of TV.

          On another note, this is very good: http://www.ccef.org/puritan-resources-biblical-counseling. The Puritans lived a long time back, but were incredibly masterful physicians of the soul. This site gives you a very valuable insight into who they were and how they dealt with people. There really is no equivalent today, so weak and sloppy our counselling has often become. These godly saints devoted pages to each condition Christians battle with. I have several of these books, and I intend to read them again. Brilliant minds applying Christian truths to the soul, in loving ways, and fully aware of spiritual warfare.

          Trying, I know what you mean about letters. I too found my heart was in each letter I gave to my EA partner during that time. I asked her to throw them all away, and part of me died there. I also burnt a letter I wrote with my counselor. At that time, it didn’t seem to help, but this time, my letter writing did. I do hope the Lord is with you in this time of unemployment and with your health issues. These are not easy times for you. I pray you would find peace and know the Lord’s hand with you. Blessings, RM

        • Ally from United States says:

          RM- I’m glad you you answered your own questions. You haven’t talked to your EA in so long that I think talking to her would only sink you back into the feelings you’ve been having. Wondering, questioning, etc. It’s therapeutic to write and get out how we feel, but I think depending on how things ended with our EA’s, communicating with them can be very dangerous. And based on how you’ve described her, she may not react the way you may hope and that may hurt you even more. So I’m glad you didn’t decide to move forward with that.

          As far as the other question, praying for the EA’s- why not? I think perhaps if we’re asking for strength for us, maybe it is good to pray for them, too. I’ve actually done this. Sometimes it actually makes me feel good. In fact, I think we’re even asked to pray for those that have hurt us. Maybe then God can work in her heart and she come can come to the realization of the things that you wanted to share in your letter. Maybe then will she realize how her actions can impact others and take personal responsibility. But maybe not. That is between her in the Lord. But I feel if you pray for her, maybe in a way that will be like releasing her from you and giving her to God. Just a thought.

          To the others- I’m sorry I haven’t been on recently. I’ve stayed off for a few reasons: 1) Because I was trying to remain strong and while sometimes this group can help, sometimes I worry it makes me start thinking about the OM. 2) Because the OM was trying to interact more and perhaps I felt guilty that I wasn’t being strong.

          Anyhow, I’m hoping my lack of response to him will cause him to stop contacting me. It’s funny, he reaches out and then he’ll continue and say things to make me feel badly for how badly he’s hurting. Yet, he’s still married. He needs to work on his marriage and not continue to try to have me as a distraction for dealing with things there.

          That’s what I realized I was to him… a distraction. And maybe that’s whats they were/are to us. When we don’t want to look inside and realize what we’re struggling with in ourselves or with our relationships, we distract ourselves with something else. Something/someone that makes us feel good. He did that for me. And I did that for him. Do any of you think that this may be what you did, also?

          I think Ruth, you recently posted to Laura about telling her husband what she was missing… and I think that’s hard for us at times. I’m not married, but I am very happy in a relationship that I feel could go that direction again. But I get scared. Scared about getting hurt and being vulnerable and sharing how I feel. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because I know what I’m feeling. But recently I did this with him (after I realized I was being distracted by the OM again) and shared how I was feeling. He was so open and wanted to know how he could help. We have to realize as women, guys expect us to be more open with our feelings (because they’re not) and they also want to fix…so they’ll want to make it right. I’m hoping we all do a better job of trying to be good partners, sharing our needs, and not allowing ourselves to get distracted to not deal with these things. God Bless! :)

          • Laura from United States says:

            These last posts have been weighty, but so full of meaningful insights and growth. Starting with one of RM’s original questions, I was praying for the OM before I met him, when I only knew him from afar. I read something in him that made me think he wasn’t content in the marriage or as a person. It might sound strange, but you can read a lot about someone when observing. I still pray for him and his family and it brings me peace. A lot of us still care about our AP’s and, in my opinion, praying for them is the only thing we have the ‘right’ to do. I want his marriage to succeed. I always have. But that’s the split emotion: both wanting him and wanting his marriage to succeed. So praying bridges that emotional gap for me if that makes sense.

            The letter: I’m sorry your experience RM, caused so much pain. But my heart was warmed by your telling of how quickly you both came together again. That shows the strength of the bond and how far you’ve come. I’m also impressed by your wife’s clear stating of boundaries. She’s obviously a strong and emotionally healthy woman. And a clear boundary like that is just what you needed, it sounds like. I can’t imagine, though, what it was like to see the raw pain on her face. Try to rest in the peace that God had a hand in all that took place. He orchestrated every action and word and will help you continue to work through all of this.

            Ally, I totally understand your reasons for not coming to the site. I’ve felt both of those and that’s why I stay away sometimes, too. And honestly, there has been a boatload of contact lately that I haven’t squashed at all. So I feel the guilt in big ways. That’s why I said a while ago that I don’t think I should even post here anymore. Although technically it’s a far cry from an affair, we’re still attached on inappropriate levels. I ‘hear’ myself offering guidance or encouragement to others, and realize that I need to do all that for myself. I’m reminded constantly of how weak I am. the struggle is ongoing.

            But all is not bad. My husband and I are in a really good place. That helps strengthen me. I’ve also been very busy at work and that’s always a distraction. I’m sorry the OM is testing the waters again. I agree wholeheartedly that my man was a distraction for me. I pray you’re able to maintain healthy boundaries and find something to distract other than him. So many people say, work out, get a new hobby, etc. I do all those things, and the loss of him and the desire to connect always comes back. So I’m not sure for me what else I’m suppose to do.

            Trying, I’m concerned for you and am sending hugs your way. I wish we could lean on each other in person and be accountability partners. I’d be hanging out with you right now and we’d be sharing it all, talking and talking and giving each other strength every day. I’ll pray for you as always. Prayers for health, for career direction, for connection with your husband, for God to take away all your hurts and heal your heart and soul. Love you, my friend.

            Praying for us all. Thanks for being here. Laura

    • Sad from South Africa says:

      Dear RM, sure we are instructed to pray for not only our loved ones but our enemies too, but why keep even her name alive – even in your prayers? God saves by His grace – it is not expected of you to save her soul. Speaking as the betrayed wife, I’m sure your wife will feel betrayed if she knew you were praying for this woman (it’s how I would have felt and I’m not saying this is right, but if there is still so much anger within your wife where she is concerned then I’d imagine she wouldn’t like it).

      Another suggestion I would like to make is that you get a bit more real with yourself regarding “her sexualising you and seducing you”. Yes, I understand that that must have been hard for you but you could have easily neutralized any “unwanted” attention from her by telling your wife about it. So my friend, I think you need to own your stuff (be brutally honest and real with yourself). They way you’ve worded that sentence made it seem that you “blame” her somehow for “making” you fall for her.

      You need to forgive yourself for being weak enough to fall for her sexual advances and for not letting your wife in on her inappropriate behaviour. Otherwise you will not be able to let go of her, because you feel that somehow she has to “own up” to the fact that she caused you to sin. It was your choice at the end of the day. I’m not being cold RM or unsympathetic, just want you to get real so you can heal. Thank you for your honesty and openess here it gives me a lot of insight.

      • Running Man from New Zealand says:

        Thank you Sad. I appreciate your input. Yes, I too am of the opinion, that bringing her up, even in prayer, while meaning well, is, in the light of things, probably wrong. Wrong in the sense that my wife, who God has given me, would not be pleased. Yes, you entrust it to God, then let go. In any other sense, it would be legitimate, but as ‘another woman’ it becomes much more complex, being a married man. I know others my see differently, but I’m in agreement in that area.

        I also appreciate your point of view regarding my owning. I guess I take many of my ‘cues’ from my wife who knows me the best, and I see most of her anger directed to this woman, having seen first hand, the way she worked, and seeing past her lies. If she has confessed, and apologized, as I had done, it would have gone a huge way towards helping, but when the other party lies, it really polarizes things.

        I feel I’ve owned it, but my remaining issues are due to the dishonesty, and lack of transparency from the woman who you might say ‘started’ the ball rolling. I guess I feel I’ve owned it, where she hasn’t, and I’ve paid the price, where she hasn’t. Yes, it might seem resentful and wrong, but there is always a part of you who wants honesty in the closure of all these things, especially where you feel you had tried to ‘fix’ things, when the other party wanted to continue.

        However, I’m ALWAYS conscious of how much ‘more’ I need to really get to grips with my own sin. The Bible tells me that I’m a filthy, sinful, broken wretch, apart from Christ. There is NO good in me. That is my starting point. Then I work forwards, and upwards to Christ. Then I recognise the forgiveness found in Him, and look down with hate upon any sin that would mar this communion. I’m even reading now about sin, temptation, and Satan’s snares, to better understand, hate, and deal with sin and temptation in general.

        I agree. There were so many opportunities to escape, and that’s way I always say RUN, before it goes deeper. I think it was my weaker view of sin, or my lack of depth in understanding my own heart, that led to me not dealing with this sooner. I finally did confess everything, and if I hadn’t, it would probably still be ongoing! I praise God for His extracting me, tho painfully, from the situation.

        Again, thank you Sad, your perspective is extremely valid, coming from you position as the betrayed wife. I know I have barely touched the surface of understanding it from my wife’s perspective. And I often ask God to teach me, gently, what this means as I wish to HATE sin all the more. SIN -if only we all knew what this means! It cost the blood of Christ. There is much more I could add, as I’m absorbing a wonderful old book right now. I’ll input when I’ve learnt, by God’s grace, more about this all important topic.

        Yes sad, we must own our own sin, the hidden morsels of our heart that we secretly treasure, and confess them and drive them out. Sin, the word the world hates, will be the very word that locks them out of Heaven for all eternity. Thank you Sad! RM

        • Ally from United States says:

          RM- I appreciate your responding to Sad, because I also agree that we have to take ownership in our part of what happened. I get your wife focusing mainly on the other woman, and that’s usually what they do as a coping mechanism.

          Maybe Sad can respond to this a little, but I think it’s because you’re the one she has the relationship with, not the other woman, and so it’s hard to blame you and extend all the hurt feelings towards you when you’re the one she still is going to be with. She probably doesn’t understand what caused you to “fall” for this other woman and instead wants to think that she seduced you and you’re being a man caused you to fall. However, it goes much deeper than that. There are reasons why we- both male and female- succumb to these situations.

          Usually we’re not seeking them out, but it happens because we allow this other person to fulfill a need or desire that we have…even unknown. It’s not just their fault, but our fault for not recognizing it and allowing it to get to that point. And then it’s too late. That’s why its so important and crucial for us to set boundaries in any opposite sex relationships- especially if we’re attached and even when we’re not. To protect ourselves.

          Anyhow, I hope perhaps you and your wife are looking to see how you can work on the relationship. Why it was you were tempted in this other relationship and what you may need to change in your current relationship- not just your wife, but you as well to meet her needs. I hope this helps and you can continue in your healing!

          • Sad from South Africa says:

            Dear Ally, I’ve been away a little, but you’ve hit the nail on the head. I found it much easier to blame the other woman -my poor husband was just weak and was caught at a bad time in our marriage. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that it was his CHOICE to make. He (like her) knew right from wrong and yet chose to continue. I also realised that I was enabling my husband to let her carry a bigger share of the blame than necessary. Luckily he also realised this without me having to point it out because he told me that she is not to blame entirely because it took both of them to cheat and he knew what he was doing was wrong but he chose not to share it with me because he was afraid to hurt me.

            RM, you are just going through a dip and I suppose you’ll probably have more moments/dreams/set backs like this, but fact remains by choosing not to continue with the EA you’ve chosen to commit yourself to your wife and your marriage and that took a lot of guts. Just stay strong and put on the full armor of God!

  21. Laura from United States says:

    Hi All, Just thought I’d check in. I’ve been so very busy at work which is good. Gives me more to focus on rather than indulging in thoughts of him. After lots of recent contact, it’s back to none except possibly seeing each other from afar on occasions as usual. It really does help.

    My husband and I are still doing well and working to heal and build after our fight a few weeks ago. I am reaching out more to friends again which is so healthy and necessary. And he has been more attentive when we are together. I am also taking the steps to reorganize a few things in my life so I can be healthier both physically and mentally. Focusing on bringing my best self to the marriage and remaining faithful and grateful for the blessings I have, rather than being so self-centered.

    I pray all of you have had a good week and look forward to the week ahead with hope and faith in God’s grace and love.

    • Ally from United States says:

      Laura- I hope you’re still doing well. I know in an earlier post you mentioned that you felt like you shouldn’t come on and share things because you felt like a hypocrite, but please don’t. We know that it’s an ongoing struggle and while you may still struggle yourself, you are still an encouragement to others. It’s good to know we can be honest about both our struggles and what we’ve been able to overcome. Keep it up! – Ally

  22. Hopeful from United States says:

    It has been quite a long time since I have written here. I am ashamed to say that I’m still contacting my EA – a friend from high school (we got physical twice back then) who I reconnected with through social media. We’ve talked so much over the past 2 years about seeing each other but either our schedules conflict or he has run away from it and by that I mean blocked me from the social media that is our only point of contact or made an excuse.

    Words cannot express the damage that this EA has done. I’m a broken person. It has come to the point where I’m comparing myself to his wife and how much prettier she is and all of the things that she is that I am not, which makes me wonder what exactly does he want from me? We have shared so much about our lives and relationships with each other but we don’t ever express feelings other than we’re attracted to each other and want to meet up.

    Why can’t I just block him from social media to end this and be the wife that I want to be? It only takes the click of a button but I’m too afraid of what life will be like without him. Never would I have thought I would ever have an EA. I feel like a sucky person, a selfish person and I wonder if I will ever be “normal” again. No one knows about any of this and I’m really glad that this is a place that I can come for support.

    • Ally from United States says:

      Oh Hopeful… I’m sorry you’re struggling so much. And I think we can all understand and empathize with your pain. However, you need to find the strength to just block this man and truly have no contact with him. Otherwise, it will only continue to impact you- your self esteem, your marriage, etc. It’s too damaging and the longer it goes on, the harder it becomes.

      I feel with these relationships that sometimes it’s the attention that other person likes. He may see you as someone who’s there when he needs a “pick-me-up” but he doesn’t intend for it to go any further than that. It’s too risky. And that’s not fair to you that you’re allowing him to play with your emotions and feelings. The only way to stop it is to not respond. It’s going to hurt. You’re going to miss him. You’ll wonder about him. But continuing this will only continue to break you more.

      You mentioned your a broken person because of this. So ask yourself… if he’s caused you to not be your best self, why is he still in your life? What was your life like before you started connecting through FaceBook? How would it be any different if you hadn’t heard from him? What is it that he fulfills in you with these interactions? Can you find this same fulfillment somewhere else? With your husband? And ending communication, will it change anything about your life aside from not hearing from him?

    • Laura from United States says:

      Dear Hopeful, I saw this on the day you posted it and had actually been going back to two years ago and rereading posts. I had wanted to see where I was at that time to see if I had made any growth. Anyway… your first post was right there. So I continued reading through all of your posts to remind myself of your story and your journey.

      Back then, he was doing very much what you describe here. Connecting, breaking the bond, and then reconnecting, basically holding you hostage so to speak through the emotional turmoil and confusion this behavior brings.

      It breaks my heart that you’re broken. You’re not alone in that feeling. We’ve all felt that and have believed their to be no way out of all of this pain. If you’ve ever studied any psychology, his actions (reaching towards you alternated with withdrawal) are the best way to reinforce behaviors. It’s the inconsistency that keeps you in the game, like a slot machine. You know there will be a payoff, but you don’t know when, so you keep putting money in just hoping it’s your turn. Sadly, it’s your heart, soul and confidence that are at risk, not dollars and cents.

      I’ve been right there with you. Although the affair is long over, he’s been hot and cold with attention, promises of friendship and such that have kept me engaged. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with.

      None of us can give you any answers, because you know what the answer is. The only chance of survival is to cut contact (this coming from someone who has not done so). You’re already in pain, so why not cut contact, try suffering that different kind of pain, and at least start practicing being the wife you want to be? No secret calls; no secret messaging, etc. At least that could be a starting point.

      I’ll pray for you as you work to fulfill your hopes and dreams for yourself and your future. And I ask for your prayers in return. Thanks. Laura

      • Trying from United States says:

        Laura –such a fantastic word picture –I totally would agree with your analysis. My ex-EA “plays the same game”, but I have painfully continued to refuse to engage. It IS POSSIBLE! Hopeful, please know that we are here for you.

  23. Ally from United States says:

    Hi All, I was catching up on the comments here and thought of you during my devotions today, so I decided I’d share. I’ll apologize in advance for the lengthy post, but am hoping someone might find some encouragement from it. It discussed how when we are tempted God will give us a way out of giving into the temptation, and he does not tempt us beyond our ability. It begins with Jesus asking for death to be taken away from him in Gethsemane.

    ‘Jesus was faced with His own temptation to quit, to not fulfill His destiny, to run from his assignment. It was a personal battle to persevere. Sometimes we face situations that cry out “Quit! I cannot endure anymore!” We want to throw in our towel of what little faith we have left. We conclude that this faith thing simply does not work.

    “Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him”(Lk 22:43). After Jesus asked the Father if this cup could pass, an angel was sent to Him to comfort Jesus. The Father’s answer to Jesus’ prayer was “No.” But, His compassion to His Son came in the form of an angel. Some temptations seem they are more than we can bare. However, God tells us: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it”(1 Cor 10:13).

    If we persevere we often realize later the place of our greatest battle becomes the place of our greatest victory. It would be here, on the Mount of Olives, near the Garden Gethsemane where Jesus ascended and would return triumphantly, not as a sorrowful soul, but a triumphant Savior. The battle He won in Gethsemane would result in the triumphant entry to be Lord of the universe.

    God will use your greatest failure or greatest sorrow to be a powerful force in your life and the lives of others. Your Valley of Baca (weeping) becomes springs for you and others. You will go from strength to strength (Ps 84:6). It is in the dying that the new springs are allowed to come forth and a new strength emerges.

    If you find yourself in your Garden of Gethsemane, lay yourself at the feet of the only one who can sustain you. Entrust yourself to your Heavenly Father. Let Him determine your fate. It will ultimately become a place of victory.’

    Reading this gave me hope and the encouragement I needed. In a previous post I mentioned how my AP had been contacting me. I stopped responding, and even made it clear to him when he tried calling me at work, that I am moving on and yes, I got his messages but I didn’t see any reason in responding because it’s never-ending. It was hard, I felt like I wanted to cry, but how can I truly move forward in my life if I’m having any sort of contact with him?

    I’ve had feelings wondering if I should have been nicer, if I should have talked to him to have “closure”, but I realize it’s just a never-ending cycle. Even if I tried that, which I have before, it just continues. It makes another reason for us to talk. I couldn’t in good conscious continue in my current relationship doing that. And honestly, I’m so glad I was tough and finally just said it brutally honestly to him. Since then, I feel like I’ve been able to be fully present in my current relationship and feel it’s even progressed in a good way.

    I hope we can see that there is a way out. It may not be easy, it may hurt, but we can get ourselves out of this “pit”. But we have to be able to say no and remain firm. I’m praying that you found this as encouraging as I did and can remain firm. – Ally

    • Claire from United States says:

      Thank you for sharing Ally. This is very encouraging and your self-exploring questions for Hopeful, and others, are very insightful. Another question you might ask yourself Hopeful is, if I continue on this path, what position will I find myself in 6 months from now? 12 months? 18 months? Probably a very similar position to the one you find yourself in today. As a visual person I like to think of life in terms of paths.

      I wish that I had the perfect words to convince at least one desperate person to cut off all contact. I’ve been there. It’s a horrible place to be and only a person that has been through the turmoil of an EA can grasp how emotionally traumatizing and all consuming it can be. It often feels like a lose, lose situation, at least until you ask the hard questions and are honest with yourself. After 2 years of no contact there are still short periods of time that I desperately miss him and the happiness he brought to my life. But most of the time I can mentally put him back on the shelf (yes, still multiple times a day) and whole-heartedly thank God for getting me through the worst of it over and over again and for closing the door to the destructive path that I was on.

      There is no easy fix. It took 6-7 months before I could see true progress in my goal to be free of the EA. But I remember that moment. And no, I’m not free today but I’m in a far better place than I once was. Another thought… we all have regrets and try to avoid adding to the list right? If you walk away today, will you regret it long term? If you don’t walk away, will you regret it? Will there ever be an easy time to walk away?

      • Trying from United States says:

        Thanks so much for sharing your input and experience, Claire. I believe that each one that is brave enough to bless others with their experience can assist in their own healing. How we need to encourage and strengthen one another. The posts from those who were further along on their journey have helped immensely to cling to hope, and your post does that for me! Blessings!

  24. Trying from United States says:

    Ally, Claire, and Hopeful- I have not been onsite for a few weeks, but this a.m. I felt a strong prompting to log on. I’m so encouraged to see your posts!! God is faithful, and Ally was right on target with the Truth that God does not give us more than we can endure. Many, many other wonderful nuggets of wisdom that I would love to comment on later. Be thankful and be encouraged and be strong in the Lord–

    Hopeful—my heart is broken for you and your struggles. I’ve said it loads of times; please know and believe you are NOT alone in this trial! I hope to post more later… with prayers for you all (Laura and RM, too :)

  25. Running Man from New Zealand says:

    Precious, beloved Believer, I pray as you read what follows, you’ll be encouraged in your many troubles. Sin has blighted your wings, your joy, your strength, but do not be downhearted. Yes, hate the sin and the self that carried it to completion, but recall that the Lord never wishes his beloved children to be downcast, even though His loving discipline may fall upon them. His thoughts are only love and restoration for the wayward, fainting Christian believer. Christ is still your hope, and faith, although seemingly low, is in no way extinguished. Jesus is your source of hope here -even if barely smoldering, he will not extinguish but urges you to fan it once more into flames of love for Him! More than this, recall -Faith is not your own! It’s the precious gift of God!! It cannot, ever, be put out, although the devil may try it sorely!

    Rejoice then, that your name is written in the Lamb’s book of Life, and that your eternal destiny is secure. No person, no trial, no weapon formed against you will prosper -God has kept you for his own, precious possession. A child dearly loved. The apple of His eye!! Do you believe this? If not, you believe a lie, for the scriptures shout this over and again to you dear precious child of the Almighty! Hear His whispers of love to you today. Fear not bad tidings, or the dark days around us. He has you in the palm of His hand, and will not permit you to ever wander so far that He will not search and find you, and carry you safely home upon His mighty shoulders. Even now, when you feel so lost, He’s covering you with His wings, and gathering for you blessing upon blessing, and an eternity of unmatched bliss. Believe it dear child of God, for it’s as true as the beating of your heart, which also beats only by God’s sustaining grace to you.

    The battle is won dear believer, if only we knew it. We have already inherited the blessing. The land has been granted us, and the possession is ours right now. Is sin troubling you? Is past beating you down? Then remember this: be done with the sin that has so easily entangled you, and caused you so much pain. Banish it from your life, and trust that once confessed, you have a BOLD entrance into the presence of your Father, not because of your righteousness, but because of Christ, the only beloved of the Father, who has entered Heaven for you, risen to purchase your right to be forgiven if you truly placed your faith in His shed blood. Rise up, shout for joy, and rejoice that soon, perhaps very soon, you will see Him face to face and receive the crown of righteousness in the Heavenly City! Blessings… RM

  26. Anderson from United States says:

    Thanks to my father who shared with me about this weblog. This webpage is really amazing.

  27. Laura from United States says:

    Welcome, Anderson –I hope you find some peace and guidance here. Laura

    • Lori from United States says:

      I have had several emotional affairs – not knowing what they were until I started googling about it during my latest emotional affair with a co-worker. I agree completely with the “no contact” advice, but I have two additional pieces of advice that might be helpful to some.

      First is honest prayer. I prayed often to God to help remove these feelings I had for this other person. During prayer I admitted to God what I was gaining from the EA relationship – which in my case was a feeling of intimacy that was, at that time, lacking in my marriage, escaping from problems at home with my teenage children, and a mid-life crisis I was having about losing my sex appeal because I was getting older. It helped that during the prayer, I was honest with God about what I was gaining from the emotional affair.

      The second piece of advice I learned from my mother (that she learned from a therapist) as well as from reading about emotional affairs and how to end them. It deals with the addictive nature of the thoughts of the other person. In my mother’s case, her therapist told her that habitual thinking is like a record player with the needle stuck in a groove. When you are engaging in the habitual thinking, the groove is getting deeper. When the thinking occurs, the technique is to first recognize it: “Oh. I’m thinking about my EA person again.” Then pick the needle up out of the groove and think about something else. Over time, the groove gets shallower and shallower and ceases to be a habit. This technique goes well with what I read on a site about stopping an emotional affair. The woman on that site said that each time she thought about her EA person, she immediately turned her thoughts to her husband – how much she loved him, good times they’d had, how their marriage was getting better, how they first met – anything about him.

      For me, this second piece – the work piece – is crucial. When I indulge in thinking warm thoughts about my EA person, I am still “using”. I’m getting something out of it. So, I immediately turn my thoughts to my husband, and move on. This mental work part is difficult at first, but gets easier and easier over time.

      So, in summary, for me, the steps for “disconnecting from the emotional affair” are 1) no contact, 2) prayer with honesty, and 3) stop the thoughts about the EA person by thinking about my husband. I suppose #3 could be think about anything other than the EA person, but I think thinking about my husband is the most helpful and appropriate. He is the one I’m leaving when I indulge in thinking about my EA person.

      One more note. This step 3 part doesn’t mean that I don’t, at first, grieve the loss of the friendship. It’s just that eventually, if I’m still stuck, I need to get to step 3, pick up the “thought needle”, and retrain my brain to let go for good. And one more thing. Since, I’m an experienced emotional affair person (and NOT proud of it), I do know that eventually, the object of the emotional affair does just become “another person.” Not that they aren’t special – they just aren’t special to me anymore. This last affair is my last affair. I now understand it, and I now have tools that I can use to finally unhook from this type of thinking for good. I thank God for website such as this site that explain what it is and how to stop. Without the understanding of the community, I would still be stuck, and still leaving my husband in my heart and mind every day.

  28. Kate from United States says:

    I believe God led me here today. I’m struggling to end an emotional affair that is incredibly complicated. I work closely with this person in ministry at church and just when I think I’m doing ok I’m forced to be around him. My marriage of 20 yrs is struggling and we’ve had to endure some of the most intense trials of our lives this past year in addition to that. My daily struggle is returning my heart back to a man I no longer respect or even enjoy spending time with.

    I feel like it would be so much easier to let this other man go if I felt there was any hope for love again in my marriage. At this point I am only staying out of obedience to God and because I am holding onto a glimmer of hope that he will make beauty from ashes. Thank you all for your posts as I finally feel I have someone who has been there and knows the daily struggle to press into Jesus and trust Him to heal you. I look forward to reading more posts and gaining from any advice and encouragement you can give me.

    • Trying from United States says:

      Kate, Welcome. I could have written your post as my own story, changing just a few minor details. I, too, struggle with my commitment to a marriage that has grown old and cold, especially now after having my eyes opened to what my “friendship” really was. Bottom line for me also is the covenant and vows I made before God in front of many witnesses, and to my husband. I, too, stay out of obedience, and have seen God work on my broken heart in radical ways. My heart still breaks, sometimes hour by hour, but He is faithful, brings me joy in the most unexpected places, and in the most unexpected things. I’ve learned to look for His touch in my life in simple blessings and beauty. I don’t say this to be proud, but someone called me a “woman of grace” yesterday, on a day that I felt especially weak and emotional, and I know that is God’s grace that enables me to walk this path.

      I am weak and emotional today also due to an incident of ‘random contact” with ex-EA. Its been over 2 years, and I still get nervous when these events occur, but I know nothing happens that is not allowed by God. So today I’m forced to take a deep look into my heart and mind. What I find is what Lori (from post above) refers to. Habitual thinking is the trap I’ve fallen into. My husband has wounded me deeply with hurtful words in the past 3 months, more than ever before in our marriage. I don’t know if I can turn my thoughts to him instead of EA, but I do pray for forgiveness. It’s the staying and knowing, most likely, there is more to come unless he has a radical change of heart. He once again refuses any type of help or counsel.

      BUT–I do know how destructive and painful being stuck in unhealthy thought patterns is. It chokes me, and also chokes out God’s Word. So, thanks, first of all to the Lord for His mercy and patience, and thanks to Lori and Kate for sharing, and thanks to the Wrights for this website, and to all those who read, cry, and pray over this blog.

      Once again, I have been encouraged and reinforced in the fight to “do what is right”–persevering and recommitting –only by God’s grace! Prayers for all who seek freedom…

  29. Laura from United States says:

    Hey All… just time for a quick check-in. Many good days with a few not so good. However, am making better choices overall and am healthier for it. It’s never easy, though. I woke up today in a funk because of visual contact yesterday. Hate that he has that power still in me. But, those that I came in contact with today at work were upbeat and my day ended up great. My mood turned around, and for that I am grateful.

    Anyone else?

    God Bless, Laura

  30. Kay from United States says:

    I am struggling to become detached from a wonderful man. . . I am married to someone else. Nothing happened except that I became overly fond of him and now, (and this other man and I have never talked about anything in regards to this – I just sense it is mutual) months after confessing a “fondness” for him to my husband, I realize that I love him and want to be with him. I have a wonderful husband who is godly and kind and wild about me; I just wish I were so in love with him. Can anyone make suggestions as to how to get over feelings for someone? It has been months since I have even seen him, and I am still in turmoil. I always ask God to take this away and nothing happens. Any suggestions? Helpful resources and/or books? Thank you.

    • Laura from United States says:

      Hi Kay, First of all, welcome, and I’m sorry you are finding yourself in the same situation as so many of us. It’s not an easy road. I first read your post Friday night and was hit with an instant response that keeps coming up to me as I’ve reread it several times. Love is a feeling, yes. But more importantly, Love is a CHOICE –Love is the the DECISION to behave lovingly, always, towards the spouse we took vows with. So ‘even though’ we have loving feelings for someone else, we swore to only bestow our loving actions on our husbands.

      My Number One suggestion is to NEVER confess these feelings to the other man AND, to NEVER give him the opportunity to express any feelings to you (cut all contact now). THAT was a turning point for my situation and led to the full-blown affair. Our flirtatious communication was going too far, so I told him we had to stop talking completely. He confessed that he loved me, and I was swept away from there, as was he. It sounds so cheesy and corny and stereotypical, but I had no defenses to that. I was feeling deeply for him, too, so when I heard it reciprocated, we couldn’t stay apart at that point.

      Secondly, I highly suggest going No Contact. I haven’t been able to, and it’s cost me dearly. You don’t say how you know this man or if you have to see him (neighbor, work, etc.), so do everything you can to flee. My spiritual director told me that the other day, to ‘flee as if it’s an attacker coming after you with a knife!’ He emphasized his seriousness on this point. It’s helping me a lot.

      Journaling helps, too. Write your feelings out. Write out your prayers to God continuing to ask for healing. It will come in God’s time. That is HIS promise to us. OUR part of the bargain, is to behave according to His laws REGARDLESS of how we feel. Pray for the Grace to make it through each day. ‘Give us this day, our daily bread.’ Pray for your daily bread of strength and wisdom. Writing prayers for me helps me focus my thoughts, rather than spinning, so to speak.

      Your husband sounds like a really good man. CHOOSE to love him, even if the feelings aren’t fully there right now. Find loving things to do for him, even if you don’t feel like it. Actions first, and often the feelings follow. Just like the times you sometimes have to fake being confident when you’re not. And then you do the thing you were nervous about, and all of a sudden, you feel confident. Behave lovingly every day. Wake up asking yourself, “What can I do today to show my husband I love and honor him?” And then do it. Even if your mind gets caught up on the other man. Do it anyway. And with God’s Grace, the feelings will come back again.

      These are just a few things that come to mind from what I’ve gone through and where I’m at in the process. I’ve faltered so many times through the post-affair stage, and still struggle daily, but have begun to see some things in a different light lately. The loneliness is hardest for me. However, I’m choosing to not fill it by seeking male attention anymore. I sit with the loneliness and am learning to feel the pain, instead of masking it. And am slowly finding healthier ways to fill my needs.

      I will keep you in my prayers, and kindly ask you to do the same. Let us know how you’re doing. Laura

      • Rose from United States says:

        Laura, I appreciate your honesty throughout this thread. I feel the same as you. Thank you for your words if encouragement.

        • Laura from United States says:

          Hi Rose,
          Thank you for your kind words. I have been so appreciative of the men and women on this site who have shared their stories and have supported me in my journey. If by sharing my own painful struggles, others find strength or guidance, I am grateful for that.

          On my phone a day or two ago, I saw your other post that shared a bit about your story. I can’t find it now for some reason, but remember most of the details you shared. As a pastor’s wife, I can only imagine the greater depth of your struggle. You and your husband are held up in higher regard–your marriage under greater scrutiny. That’s a lot of pressure, especially if things aren’t as good as they could be. Does your husband counsel other couples about marriage? Does he not see the difficulties in his own marriage? Have you communicated your pain to him clearly? Just some thoughts that came to my mind.

          You didn’t say much about the other man. Is he a member of the congregation? What’s the extent of the relationship and where does it stand now?

          As you know from my story, we have become ‘friends.’ Over these past three months, there has been no contact except to see each other from a distance a couple of times. After some communication this summer, I have been able to see where things stand in a more objective light. I am ready to end this so-called friendship and set some new boundaries. It feels good. I know what I’d like to say, but don’t know if I bother with a simple email or not. Or do I just start behaving within my own new boundaries (limiting contact to necessary business) and let him figure it out. That’s been my struggle lately. Any advice is appreciated.

          I pray all others are doing well.
          Laura

          • Rose from United States says:

            Laura,
            Thank you for your time in responding to me. Yes, we counsel many couples in their marriages. My husband is really good at helping other people. It seems he is unable to see himself, however, and does not to do what it takes to improve our own marriage. Yes, I have told him how I feel; that I need his attention and affection and that I do not feel important to him. Usually, we go about our lives and I have been okay, but over the last year I have been hurt by his emotional distance and lack of compassion for me. The last time I told him how I felt, he just said I was complaining and that I needed to stop being negative all the time. That’s when I really cried and told him I was very lonely and did not feel like he is ever there for me. He just sat there….so I shut down, gave up, I really don’t know what happened. No need to go into our history of constant emotional distance.

            This guy was doing work on our house and church and talked constantly to me about little things….complimented me, asked me questions, was interested in me….totally caught me at my most vulnerable place. I give and give of myself to my family and our church, that I feel so empty sometimes. We began texting and I became blindly emotionally attached. One unbelievable evening my kids were at a birthday party and my husband was out of town…he came over and sad to say I did not resist him. I have texted him the last few weeks that I need to let him go, that I am so sorry, that I know I was wrong….since then he came back to do more work and I did not give in to any temptation, of which I am so grateful. He is not a member of our church nor any church that I know of. He is married with three kids. Every time he starts in with how wonderful I am and I fall for those words every time. I pray and repent and make up my mind every day to do right and to work on my own self.

            Today I have not sent him a text. I have told myself over and over how I would lose my family, my church family, my friends, my whole life. It is so clear that he would not leave his family and I will not leave mine. Yet, he still wants to find time to be together again. I see through it all. I know I was just used, and that true love doesn’t tear you up inside like this. True love is not wrong and doesn’t go against God or His word. It is this ‘something’ that seems to fulfill a very empty place in my heart. I have been praying and asking God to teach me how to allow God to meet my deepest needs. By faith I just know He will hear my cry.

            I love my family. I hate I that I was so weak and hurt and played right into the enemy’s hands. Believe it or not, I have felt so much empathy for women in my church who have had these problems, and I am struggling right along with them to work on themselves as I work on me.

            When I say I have no one to confide in, I mean I have no one in this world. I spoke once to a Christian counselor for an hour. It went very well, but I must pay $110.00 for each session, and I cannot do that. In our position and circle of churches, I would not be forgiven, and I would lose it all even though I am on the road to recovery. I would rather suffer through this completely alone than to destroy my family and my church, which is what would happen. These things are unpardonable. So, I must rely completely on God to get me through this.
            It is indeed a nightmare. Because I wake up to the guilt every day, the loneliness of breaking the ties, the depressed feelings of regret, the endless desires of getting back in touch….and I still have all of my responsibilities.

            So, right now I have decided to not communicate at all with this guy. I see the fantasy and the deception of it all. I am praying through my hurt and resentment towards my own husband and am trying to forgive him and myself, and I am trying to accept the fact that he may never meet my deepest need for love and affection, but the hurt of falling for another man is too devastating to allow that to happen again. Maybe this was a really cruel lesson I had to learn…

            In response to your query….just set your boundaries and let him get the message that way. Every time I try to get across to this guy that I know this would never work, and apologize, he says things to make me melt. So, I have to cut it off with no more explanation…..

            It has helped me so much to just get this out. Thank you for ‘listening.’

  31. Trying from United States says:

    Dear Rose,
    I am thankful you have found this blog, but I encourage you to seriously ask God to show you someone you can confide in, an older mature Christian woman, a counsellor, a trusted friend–I can’t imagine how frightening that must seem, especially in your position, but this is too big for you to carry alone. The Bible tells us to “Confess our faults to one another–that we can be healed”

    You have taken the most important first step–identifying the affair; but next is confession and accountability to someone you can trust. I can understand having a husband that ‘will not hear your concerns”, and I have blamed him many times for neglecting me–HOWEVER , that is not right in God’s eyes. I have made my own choices, and I am suffering the consequences. We are/were deceived into justifying our sin because of our husbands’ faults But–that also is not right in God’s eyes. This is the hardest few years of my life. I cannot imagine that I have not run out of tears yet!!

    My prayer is that God will continue to speak to your heart, and that you will take the next step to “unhooking from the affair”. One step away from the OM, is one step toward doing what is right.

    • Rose from United States says:

      Trying,
      I hear you, but that is impossible for me. There would be absolutely no forgiveness or mercy for me, even though I have repented. I have no one in this world in whom I can confide. No one. I did call a Christian counselor, but I can’t pay $110.00 a session every time we speak. It is very sad, but it is reality. I have never had a trusted person that I feel could help me and my husband through our tough times. This is a very lonely position. I have to believe that God will forgive me and get me through this. I need all the prayers I can get. Thank you for your time and response.

      Rose

      • Trying from United States says:

        Dear Rose, I am soo very sorry to hear of the position you feel you are in. You are not alone, as we all understand what a painful situation you are dealing with. Please feel free to share and post as you need to. Ask questions, post victories, and prayer requests, and know that we are praying for you. I am so thankful for a Loving Heavenly Father who hear and answers the prayers of His children. I have struggled for over 4 years with 2 different affairs, and I just spoke from my own experience that the times of greatest freedom and victory were when I was accountable on a regular basis, and had someone to confess to, and to pray for me.
        Initially, I, too, thought I would never be able to tell anyone, and yet God was good, and He has provided someone for me. So I pray that prayer for you also–our God is a BIG God! and I pray you will find encouragement from this blog. If you have time to read the older comments, there is much wisdom and insight offered from those who have walked this painful path and found victory.
        Peace and blessings,

        • Rose from United States says:

          Dear Trying, Your kind response brings tears to my eyes. Thanks so much. I, of all people understand the importance of having someone to be accountable to, because I am that to so many…the irony of that is quite sad if you think about it. I agree totally with your advice, and I know that only God will be able to help me overcome this simply because I cannot confide in anyone.

          I did have a chance to speak with my husband again about my feelings and he took it rather well this time. I have had inclinations through the years that he may suffer with some borderline personality quirks and also narcissist and/or passive aggressive behaviors as well, which gives me little hope of change if I trust only in our human weakness. However, I am trusting in God and am determined to get through this somehow, someway. I also know satan’s plan to destroy God’s people is to first destroy families and those in the ministry. I know I am fighting a real battle. I appreciate prayers from everyone on this blog.

          I am very surprised that I have opened up here, in that I know anyone in the world can read this. But, it is what it is. It is so awful to feel so alone and that I am going through this nightmare, knowing in my head what is right and what I must do, but feeling so hurt and numb in my heart at the same time. I know I will be victorious in time. God knows the depths of my heart and soul.

          I never intended to willfully sin and to get to this place. Giving up and being hopeless is so dangerous. But I see the temptations and the weaknesses and I do not ever want to take myself through this again. Thank you again, so very much. I have had no contact for 3 days. I feel so sad and empty. I guess I’m going through the grieving part…Determined to win,
          Rose.

  32. Sophie from United States says:

    This article is helpful. To be honest, I’m a woman whose husband is not a Christian and I’m afraid to be honest with him. He’s judgemental of unfaithful women. What should I do?

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