Marriage Missions International

Getting “Unhooked” From An Emotional Affair

“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

1,274 Responses to “Getting “Unhooked” From An Emotional Affair”
  1. Laura from United States says:

    Woke up this morning and remembered other parts of my journey –painful parts and lessons learned along the way. Focused my mind on gratitude for my blessings, rather than on what I don’t have, can’t have, shouldn’t have. It’s an old lesson, but just getting there in my head again this morning brought such a sense of peace. Gotta find a way to hold on to that. Prayers for a week full of blessings and moments of peace for all of us. Laura

    • Trying from United States says:

      I have had some flashback moments also this past week, both the pain, and the fleeting temporary, empty “rush?” –not sure that’s the right word –as part of my prayer for reality. I remember distinctly telling myself one day last week. I DO NOT WANT TO go back there again –but the pull is strong. Only by God’s grace, one step at a time.

      • Running Man from New Zealand says:

        Hi Laura & Trying. Yes, I too got hammered pretty good for about a week not long ago (nothing to do with drinking or drugs :-) Brought on by a dream, in which I was confronting my EA as to her responsibility in the whole thing (basically not taken any) so I awoke quite shaken. Then the flashbacks began. However, I have managed to etch out some meaning and try to deduce some insight from what followed, hence you see me here once again.

        Trying, I have a family member in the medical profession, who I’m fortunate to be able to share basically everything I’ve been through, and get a good deal of feedback from her on these things. She is able to research etc. The grieving process can be complex, painful, but can be analyzed if you like, and you can be helped. I’m not sure if I’ve properly cried in 5 years. I can’t say if it’s good or bad, but I know, if I was to get in contact with those ‘feelings’ I’d probably bring the whole house down. Anyway, once again, I’m rushing off, but I have been thinking and pondering, so will eventually share I hope. Blessings. RM

      • Running Man from New Zealand says:

        One last thing for now… a direct quote form NCIS (the original) tonight (yes, I know it’s only a tv show – lol) One of the main characters is suffering badly after one of his team left, a woman he was very close to. He was brooding over this, and it was affecting is work. However, wise comment was made by one of the other actors who noticed his condition “think about those around you who are still here (not dead or gone) and think about those who rely on you”. Ten out of ten I’d say! RM

  2. Running Man from New Zealand says:

    A quick update on complex grief disorder..I think when you read some of these, you will be quite shocked to find it is very much what we are experiencing, some more so, some less. It is of course, generally related to death, but as we know, we have been through something very similar. By the way. CGD is an atypical response to grief. Here are some identifiers:

    The person has been bereaved (i.e. experienced the death of a loved one) for at least six months. At least one of the following symptoms of persistent, intense, acute grief has been present for a period longer than is expected by others in the person’s social (or cultural) environment:

    -Persistent intense yearning or longing for the person who died
    -Frequent intense feelings of loneliness, or that life is empty or meaningless without the person who died
    -Recurrent thoughts that it is unfair, meaningless or unbearable to live when a loved one has died, or a -recurrent urge to die in order to find (or join) the deceased
    -Frequent preoccupying thoughts about the person who died; e.g. thoughts or images of the person intrude on activities or interfere with functioning

    At least two of the following symptoms are present for at least one month:

    -Frequent, troubling rumination about the circumstances (or consequences) of the death (concerns about how or why the person died, about not being able to manage without their loved one, thoughts of having let the deceased person down, etc.)
    -Recurrent feeling of disbelief or inability to accept the death
    -Persistent feeling of shock; feeling stunned, dazed or emotionally numb since the death
    -Recurrent feelings of anger or bitterness related to the death
    -Persistent difficulty trusting or caring about other people, or envy of others who have not experienced a similar loss
    -Frequently experiencing pain (or other symptoms) that the deceased person had, hearing the voice of (or seeing) the deceased person
    -Experiencing intense emotional or physiological reactivity to memories of the person who died or to reminders of the loss
    -Changes in behavior due to avoidance (or its opposite, excessive proximity-seeking—refraining from going places, doing things, or having contact with things that are reminders of the loss; feeling drawn to reminders of the person—wanting to see, touch, hear or smell things to feel close to the person who died). Both symptoms may coexist in the same individual.
    -Duration of symptoms and impairment of at least one month

    Symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other major areas of functioning, where impairment is not explicable as a culturally appropriate response

    While there might not be a direct correlation between all of these things, I think I recognize quite a few in my case, even though most of them, thankfully, are further behind me now.

    • Trying from United States says:

      RM, Thanks!! I could tell you spoke with knowledge of medical authority, so thankful you have that resource. Almost frightening to me to read the list and see so many familiar behaviors. Like you said, most of it is in the past, but this morning I just burst into tears, and laid my head down and sobbed…

      So to answer Laura’s question, I’m ready to work through this with my counselor to get past the sadness and the unpredictable, unstable emotional turmoil it causes, and if he feels necessary to tell hubby (with another present), I will. I feel it’s time, and I just want to be free. I’ve been considering going back since last fall, and one day last week after “brief renewed contact”, and knew what I needed to do –process this with a professional.

      Laura, I would love to directly address more of your post later –and always, praying for peace with thankfulness for the support found here.

    • Sad from South Africa says:

      Dear Running Man, Thank you for this. As the wife that was cheated on I want to add (if I may) that the “victim” of adultery experiences much the same symptoms… as it feels like your mate (the person you had come to know and love deeply) has died … I wrote a little poem shortly after I found out….

      MISSING PERSON

      Has anybody seen him?
      Please if you have, contact me
      I would like to have him back
      My life has just not been the same
      since he’s left …

      He has the following features
      and you’ll be able to spot him quite easily:
      He has smiling, gentle eyes
      Is soft spoken, tender and loving
      Faithful and true to himself
      Hopelessly romantic and goofy
      Loves his wife and adores his kids

      Please if you see him
      Could you contact me?
      He has gone missing…
      And an imposter has taken his place

      This imposter has
      his eyes, his hands, his voice
      But these eyes are not smiling
      This voice is not gentle, the hand holding mine
      Somehow, feels alien
      This imposter treats me like some stranger

      I miss him…
      and I’d do anything to find him again
      So please if you do spot him
      Let me know
      I just want my husband back…

      I have taken to come here to read your post because I become totally depressed when I read the post on the surviving infidelity part. It first I thought you ladies just want to hold on to these feelings for the men you had to let go off, but after reading some more, I realised that all of you are just trying to cope with it and to let go of it in your own way.

      • Laura from United States says:

        Dear Sad, Thank you for sharing your emotions through this poem. As I read it, I could see and feel myself in the person of your husband — the one that disappeared through the cheating and the lies. Your pain is so evident; the loss so real and I can sense a helplessness, too. My husband doesn’t know, however, I thank you for opening my eyes even more to his pain; the pain that would slice through him if he knew. This post helped me a great deal.

        I was utterly stunned, too, by your closing. To say that you now understand our perspective and our own pain…all I can simply say is thank you. May I ask how your husband responded to your poem? I pray he is finding his way back to you.
        Laura

        • Sad from South Africa says:

          Dear Laura and Newseason, thank you for your encouraging words. I haven’t visited the site in a while and only saw your posts today. My husband and I are trying to work through the devastating aftermath of his affair. He never gave me the impression that he was considering leaving me for her and he told me that even while he was in the midst of the affair he kept asking himself why he was doing it because he loved (still loves) me.

          I want to believe that God will take what the enemy has meant for harm and turn it around into something good and positive. I’ve also learnt ladies, that we are all human. What makes me think that I would have done a better job letting go of an emotional attachment than any of you? My husband and I became detached and distant from each other because we were so different and started to live separate lives (and we had a new baby right there in the mix lol and we’re tired and sleep deprived), so I could very well have fallen prey to an emotional affair if the opportunity presented itself. I’d like to think and tell myself that my commitment to him (my husband) is pure and will not be shaken, but I suppose I’ll never know. I wasn’t the one who was tempted during the trying times in our marriage.

          And Laura, my husband cried when he read the poem and he told me that he wanted to return to me. He wanted to be that person that I knew again. The sad part though, is we both knew it can never be. We’ll have to look at our marriage from a different perspective -God’s perspective. He’s not saved -so when you pray can I ask that you pray for his salvation and the restoration of our marriage. Sincerely in Christ!

          • Newseason from Australia says:

            Dear Sad. Thanks for your brave post. I do really feel for you and the others who have shared their story on this site. We all come from different scenarios but we have this in common -our faith and our desire to be whole in Him and to work through the pain of relationships and to restore our marriages. I’ll definitely be praying for your husband’s salvation. I am glad that he has realised that he loves you and wants to be with you. That is a good start. I am glad too that he was responsive to your poem. It was beautiful and also described some of the pain I have felt in my journey.

            My husband is a Christian -I am thankful for this but it’s hard to know how he’s feeling after what we’ve been through. I don’t blame him and I know I can’t force anything to happen. I do pray for him and for our marriage. We’ve started to go out more and also to spend time with other couples (friends). This has helped. For many years our kids dominated our lives -we have 3 kids in their teens and have been very devoted parents. Somewhere along the way we neglected our relationship, drifted apart emotionally and then my EA occurred (which I’m no longer involved in). Anyway Sad, please pray that we will continue to grow closer as a couple and to God. I really appreciate your posts. May God bless you and your marriage. Love and prayers, NS xx

      • Newseason from Australia says:

        HI Sad. Thank you for your post. I loved reading your poem. It made me feel like crying. Even though my journey is different to yours I have felt the pain of being married to someone who is no longer the same sensitive soul I once knew. My husband withdrew emotionally years before I became acquainted with the other person. For a long time I tried to connect emotionally with my him, prayed, went to counselling etc but to no avail. Nothing changed.

        I became very disheartened, very disappointed with God and vulnerable and unfortunately this was the time when an inappropriate emotional connection developed between me and a work colleague. It wasn’t right and as you say most women and men on this forum are trying their best to let go of these feelings. My husband has shown grace and patience through this torrid time but I am not sure if he has processed things and he doesn’t want to talk about it. So all I can do is pray for him.

        We are doing our best to work on our marriage but it is hard. God is slowly helping me to depend on Him for the emotional fulfillment that I sought. After reading your poem and hearing about your experience I totally understand how you would be feeling the symptoms of chronic grief too….. there is no discrimination with pain. Please know that I am praying for you. Blessings, NS

  3. Newseason from Australia says:

    Hi Trying, RM, Laura and others. Thanks so much for your posts. Trying, I really feel for you right now. I can see you are at a cross roads. Seems like there are a few complicating factors in terms of telling your husband. I will be asking God to give you His wisdom, words and sensitivity while you discuss this with the counsellor. These things are so tricky but I understand the reasons why you want to bring things into the light… the counselor will hopefully have the knowledge and experience to advise you on this… I looked at the website setttingcaptivesfree, which was mentioned in an earlier post. Looks like there is some good food for thought there.

    Running Man, thank you for uploading the info on complex grief. I read through the symptoms and felt quite emotional too. It does help to explain some of the whys of the pain and struggle.

    Laura, I am praying for you too in the battle. May God continue to guide us all.

  4. Running Man from New Zealand says:

    Hi Trying. Yes, I spent some time in the medical setting also, which was useful in approaching thing from this clinical angle. To be honest, the more I read that list, the more I can see that it is identical to my symptoms. I can say without question, I have this. It is actually amazing to finally know and give it a name. I’m quite speechless actually. RM

    • Cindy Wright from United States says:

      Running Man, I wish you’d do some more study on this and write a blog on what you find, combining it with what you’ve personally learned about trying to break away from an affair –whether it is psychological/emotional, and/or physical. It might help others in their journey of breaking free. If it looks to be helpful, we’d be interested in posting it on this web site. I wish I could say that we could pay you for it, but even we don’t get a salary (and I put in a good 40+ hours a week). Every penny that can be scraped together goes into the web site (and we pay into keeping it up, as well). But I believe this type of article could truly minister to those who need it. Please prayerfully consider it. It may be added therapy for you and also therapy for others who read it. And of course, you can keep your anonymous name. You can send it to us through the “Contact Us” feature. Please pray about it. Thanks!

  5. Running Man from New Zealand says:

    Hi Cindy, New Season, Trying & Laura. Thank you for your updates and comments. Cindy, I would be interested in that idea. Thank you. If it would help contribute, that would be excellent, as I too can recall the first day I came across this site, and how thankful I was to have found it, and found a place to try to unpack everything I was going through. It is so confusing, especially early on, that shedding any light on things, and even being able to give it a name, can actually be a huge release. Yes, I will prayerfully consider, and see what I can find on that topic, because, yes, as you say, breaking free from this can be very difficult indeed. It is always very comforting to know you are not alone, and that the way you think and feel and process, is not unique, but others also experience it likewise.

    We are in the process of a new business venture, so I just need to work in with that, but I too would benefit from the experience. I’m very much in the stage of getting everything crystal clear, compartmentalized, and understood, so I can really, finally move on and draw a final line in the sand. Thank you again Cindy. Blessings. RM

  6. Laura from United States says:

    Hey all, Just thinking about everyone and hope it’s been a good, strong week for you. Mine’s been a bit up and down. Some stress on the home front –just life stuff, nothing marriage related or such –but we are blessed in many ways so trying to focus on that. Also working on quieting myself more, praying and reflecting on priorities. Randomly crossed paths with him today, although he didn’t see me. It was SO random –and reminds me that I can never distance myself from him completely. However, I’ve had moments of peace and strength this weekend as well. And the journey continues… Laura

  7. Running Man from New Zealand says:

    Sad, Laura, Trying, Newseason. I will post more shortly after re-reading your posts etc. But just a quick thought. I encountered this saying recently, and I think it’s very good for our circumstances: “It is better to be honestly unhappy, than to be dishonestly happy.” In other words, for us, most of us are in the phase of having confessed this sin, and even brought it before our partners, and sometimes wider circles. We acknowledged our part in it, confessed our transgression to God, and were honest it all that. We unburdened all the dishonesty and guilt, and yes, now, many of us are ‘unhappy’ as there obviously is a lot to be sad or unhappy about. Firstly, we sinned greatly against our heavenly Father. We are His sons and daughters, and we did something that is so far from behaving has his family should do. We recognise this, Then we are sad as we shattered our marriages, trust etc, and may have even brought the name of God into disrepute.

    Ok, so we were honest enough to accept all that. That is a HUGE start, and the saying goes, even though we are ‘sad’ or ‘unhappy’ now (when if we are honest, we felt incredibly ‘happy’ during some stages of our EA) we are HONESTLY sad or unhappy. This is a far, far better state than the first: being ‘happy’ but deceived, deluded and dishonest with all around us, and with God. We go through this life, often in a veil of tears, as did our Lord, and we encounter trouble and sadness, but REJOICE! This is a righteous sadness in some ways, and is a sign of spiritual life. Rather be sad here, in this life, and happy in the next, than sad for all eternity.

    So this ‘sadness’ or ‘unhappiness’ can in fact be a comfort, as we know that we have done the right thing. And what does the Bible say to us here? Wonderful promises to all His children when they are wayward (and we ALL are wayward, affairs or not!!) He says to us: if we confess our sin, He is faithful and righteous to FORGIVE us our sin and CLEANSE us from ALL unrighteousness. It does not matter what you have done, there is the promise. It stands there for us loud and clear. So, honestly sad, leads to this verse of scripture, and all that it means from God’s perspective and our future HAPPINESS.

    Yes, we wish these feelings were not implanted in us, yes we want to go back in time, and yes, we often long for some kind of ‘intimacy’ that seems to be lacking either before, or now, but with clear conscience we may feel low at times, but we can recall the time we honestly faced our EA and broke entirely away from it.

    The longer I live, the more I am becoming a ‘futurist”. A person who lives in the future. This is where we are heading, and is of course the major problem with the world around us who do not consider their ultimate destinations, and take no thought for their actions and thinking in the present, and deride us for looking to the final day when we stand before God, books are opened, and everything we have ever done, thought or spoken is laid bare. How much better it will be then for us who walked through this brief, transitory life ‘honestly sad’. He knows our thoughts from afar, and captures our tears as if in a bottle. The love and forgiveness of God to those who love Him will not be lost on us in that awesome moment that hurriedly awaits us all. Blessings, RM

    • Trying from United States says:

      Absolutely the confirmation I needed to be reminded of. I have my appointment this week, and honestly!! I have been entertaining ideas of not being completely honest with him. I’m deceiving myself, aren’t I? But thinking of “leaving things out”. Yet, the main reason for my visit is to seek assistance in pursuing truth, and living it –not living a ‘two-faced existence” anymore. I’ve always hated secrets, and yet I’m keeping so many I don’t hardly know what’s real.

      Thanks so much for taking the time and sharing your wise insights, RM. I will print this one to reread later. That has always helped me so much in the past, to have a paper copy of some of these posts.

      Laura, the “random” ness in seeing one another is part of the ‘honest sadness” I believe we face for the time being. I’ve had several opportunities this week to practice boundaries, and am thankful for tiny successes. Yet I know I have much room for improvement until this heart is healed, and whole again. Prayers appreciated for this week’s appointment that I will be honest with myself first, and then with the counselor. As always I’m praying and thinking of you all too. Thanks for your support. I’ve very busy with work, but am thankful that things seem to be letting up some, and I’ll have the energy to focus on seeking Truth in my life.

  8. Laura from United States says:

    Running Man, your post has sent my thoughts into so many different directions –your most insightful post (for me) to date. Thank you for sharing all of this. The more I practice behaviors that are in line with God’s plan, the more ‘honestly’ I know I live. Every time I deny the urge to drive by his work, or frequent a lunch locale I know he goes to, etc., it builds on the strength and wisdom God has given me. Every time I deny thoughts of him by saying a prayer or distracting myself some other way, God graces me with a sense of peace and contentment, and I know I’m on the right path.

    Here’s my question to you, though. I haven’t confessed to my spouse and won’t. The damage to do so now would be a thousand times greater than if I had done it then due to the nature of our relationships since the affair. Putting aside the arguments for telling my husband (he has a right to know –I do struggle with that), in any of your opinions, can I still truly live ‘honestly’ (happy or sad) without disclosure? I have confessed to a priest, I continue to confess my ongoing thoughts, feelings and behaviors that are immoral to a priest as well, and I told a trusted friend.

    How does one return to a state of grace and Christian living after living in mortal sin? This has been a hard thing for me to understand. How can I have sinned against God, broken my vows, lied to all, and then go on and at some point consider myself a Christian again? At my most recent trip to the confessional, I confessed how I can’t seem to let go of this sin –my thoughts and feelings for this man. The priest asked if I truly believed that God had forgiven me, and my answer was no. He said that that is the devil working in me. That Satan is using this to keep me separated from God in my faith. I hadn’t thought about Satan’s role in this. Have never really bought into (or focused on) the evil spirit side of Christianity. It has given me a new perspective this past month.

    So, RM, your post had me linking so many of these subtleties together. I’d appreciate any additional insights any of you have regarding these points. I’ve learned so much from all of you.

    Trying –I’ve been thinking about you all week. What has transpired? What’s going on in your heart and mind? I pray you are safe, feeling God’s grace and love no matter what you’ve decided to do. -Laura

    • Trying from United States says:

      Laura, Thanks for your thots and prayers. My appointment went well as far as getting the counselor updated since my last session which was quite a while ago so I am thankful for that. What I was not prepared for was the emotional exhaustion that follows from these meetings (I’ve gone through this before). I think I keep things stuffed inside for so long I become numb to my feelings, and then when I start talking again, the floodgates open. Unhealthy for sure, but one of the reasons for my delay in returning.

      I, too, have a very difficult time forgiving myself. I seem to think of it as a character flaw, when most likely, it’s definitely a tactic of satan to disrupt my relationship with God. Several times on Sunday, there were references made in services and in Scripture to the forgiving nature of God if we confess our sins, He removes them from us and forgets them. So one thing I would like to discuss in counseling is the nature of true vs. false guilt.

    • Running Man from New Zealand says:

      Laura, Trying. I will definitely reply very shortly. Yes, I fully understand what you are talking about re forgiveness, so I’ll respond as best I can. It is such an important topic. Write soon, RM

    • Sad from South Africa says:

      Dear Laura, I’m reminded of a verse in Psalms where the psalmist says something like when I was quiet about my sin, my body wasted away. In my opinion you will never be able to experience the fulness that the liberation of Christ’s forgiveness brings until you’ve made restitution with the one person that you have hurt most through this… and saying this I don’t mean to make you feel bad or anything. It’s just my opinion. I can understand and appreciate that you don’t want to hurt your husband any more than you’ve already done, but I just think, yes, God has already forgiven you and he has forgotten about your sin, but YOU will not be free until you have “made right” with your husband? I don’t know, just my opinion.

      On the other hand, I sometimes wish I never found out about my husband’s affair. But I know if he had kept it from me, we (our relationship) would anyway never have been the same. One can’t love completely and truthfully whilst keeping secrets from the one your are to be one with. Just my thoughts -hoping that you won’t feel that I’m condemning you.

      • Laura from United States says:

        Sad, Thanks so much for your honest perspective. I don’t feel condemned by you at all. In reading your last posts/replies, I am awed by you. When you first posted, a while ago, you were understandably angry. Through your hurt, though, you’ve been able to see things from different perspectives and empathize with the different roles played in infidelity. This shows tremendous strength and courage — maturity and grace. Thank you for recognizing that those of us who deliberately turned away from God and our vows have been hurt and permanently changed by our infidelity.

        I hope you and your husband continue to grow together from this and can weave together a life of love again based on faith, friendship and trust.

        • Sad from South Africa says:

          Dear Laura, Thank you. I wish I were all those beautiful things you said of me, but sometimes I just feel like a scared, rejected little girl not worthy of my husband love and commitment. I know the journey will be uphill but I pray that I will be able to persevere and not run away when the pain becomes too much.

          I pray that you will learn to love your husband with a deep and abiding love and that God will redeem the time and emotion that you have wasted on the other person. Thank you for helping me in this battle with your encouragement and honest posts.

  9. Running Man from New Zealand says:

    Laura, you raise some very challenging and real issues above. I do feel for you as you struggle and deal with them. It is not easy, as all of us here know, and it is laced with spiritual battles that seem to permeate struggles of this kind. The question of forgiveness is such a big subject, I feel I will struggle to adequately portray it here, but I will try. Let me kick off with one of your statements, which I think is an excellent starting point. You ask “how does one return to a state of grace” after living in sin of this kind. It is a powerful and searching question!! It struck me that the answer to that very question lies within the question itself, which is quite a relief, as I didn’t know where to start :-)

    I know you believe in God, and you believe in sin, heaven, hell, forgiveness, and judgement. This is key to moving forward on this topic. Next, I would take it that you understand that God is pure, holy, and without sin, and that nothing even tainted with sin can enter His presence, let alone commune with Him forever in eternity. Therefore, we immediately notice a problem. All of us, Christian believers or not, have sinned. The Bible declares that all of us have fallen short, and are, in our natural state, outside of God’s grace, and NOT in “a state of grace.” This has been the problem with the human condition since the fall, outlined in detail, in Eden, where we rebelled against God. Since that time, sin has plagued our world, our minds and hearts, condemning us in the eyes of God, and making it impossible for fellowship, and GRACE to be restored to us. Our condition since that time has been nothing but a state of enmity or hostility toward our Creator. It is the story of every individual or nation and the root of every evil and vice in our lives and the lives of those around us. With sin entered death, disease, sickness, and sin is the constant wearying blight on us all. Worst of all, sin separates us finally from God for all eternity.

    So the great question for us becomes, “how does one, while in a state of hostility and sin, become restored, become forgiven, become reunited with the Creator, God?” This is the ULTIMATE question after all is said and done. Well, we have the promise given immediately to Adam and Eve, right after their own rebellion: “one will come from your seed, who will crush the serpent, and defeat Satan.” So the stage is set, and God has promised not to abandon His creation, but rather, will HIMSELF provide a way for restoration, for grace, and for sin to be dealt with.

    Bear with me a little longer, as I try to answer your question. Next we notice God declaring His standards by which men and women are to live, in the 10 Commandments. Lying, stealing, murder, idolatry, adultery, covetousness, are all outlined. But frighteningly, when we come to the New Testament, Christ Himself explains these commandments. He expounds their true meaning. Far from nullifying the law, Jesus amplifies it in this way: He teaches (in the Sermon on the Mount as it is referred to often) that if you even lust after another person, you have committed adultery in your heart, and that even hatred is the sin of murder in the sight of God. Suddenly, the commandments have become completely impossible to carry out. Surely, his listeners would have gone away with a heavy heart: “how now is it possible for me to be sinless and pure before God? Even my thoughts are enough to cast me into hell for all eternity. I am hopelessly lost. I have broken every commandment, every day, day without end. Is there any hope at all!!!???”

    Which of us either “before’ or ‘after’ this emotional affair could have honestly said they lived the Sermon on the Mount in victory? All of us are condemned in that sense. God’s standard is perfection. It is too high. So what chance have we AFTER our sinful event? Obviously it is all the worse, if it could even get worse.

    But here we have the clincher, the closer, the victory of it all. Christ became the SECOND Adam. A human, a man, who came from above, so sinless, and perfect. God had declared us all in a state of rebellion, but, by His love and mercy, sent HIS Son to earth, that, instead of you and I having to pay for our sin, Christ took the punishment upon the cross. It was there the justice and mercy met. For at the cross, righteous blood was shed, and such is the power of this blood, that any who believe on Him who died, have forgiveness of sins, and fellowship with God is restored.

    When a person truly believes, and is regenerated, the Holy Spirit enters that person, the scales of ‘unbelief’ are taken away from their eyes, and spiritual life begins. And this is my point: at that very moment, a STATE OF GRACE begins. Let me put it like this: you and I are taken out of one kingdom (the kingdom of this world, of Satan himself) and TRANSFERRED into the Kingdom of God and all that entails. You no longer are a citizen of this fallen, dark world, but are made a citizen of Heaven, a son or daughter of God! This is the mystery, and victory, and incredible reality of salvation, shown and preached all over the world in the gospel message (which is sadly perverted or even neglected today).

    So Laura, what does this mean for you? If you are a daughter of God, and have been made an heir to Heaven, then you will have already confessed your sin, and asked Christ into your heart. It is God who does this, as it’s as powerful as raising the dead to life. If you are truly saved (the Bible calls it being ‘born again’) you are in a state of grace, no matter what ‘hell’ is being let loose around you or inside you. You have been TAKEN from that old kingdom, and are now, still, a child of the King. It doesn’t matter what is occurring, God has paid your debt in full. Nothing is outstanding at all. Past, present, future sins are paid in FULL. You can rest the full weight of this on the Bible itself.

    When the believer sins, it’s doubly difficult because he or she knows that not only have they sinned against a holy God, but also, since they are his adopted child, they recognize they have sinned against their Heavenly Father. Then finally, they realize they have sinned by doing something that a child of God, who God lovingly saved and has cleansed, should not have done.

    But the believer must not stop at that. They must go on to the next step, which is to realize that they were made partakers of GRACE right back there, when they first believed. The blood of Christ paid for ALL their sin. They hate sin now, and hate it even more when it is a sin against their Father, against Christ, but it is tempered with the incredible fact that they NO LONGER bear ANY punishment or condemnation for sin, but rather, grieve and CONFESS this sin so that fellowship with God may be restored. All the punitive elements are removed once that person was grafted into the kingdom upon their regeneration. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in your salvation.

    The whole discussion of RECOVERY from an emotional affair (or any form of gross sin) is NOT complete without a FULL understanding of what I’ve poorly tried to outline. It’s the very antidote to Satan’s deception and continued work in trying to side-line us yet further, and crush and depress us, rendering us useless in God’s kingdom.

    If you’re familiar with my story, this is the common theme from the very beginning, and in fact, I believe it all stemmed from a satanic attack, devised very carefully to destabilize me and render me ineffective for God. This is the only avenue left for Satan in the life of a believer. He cannot rob us of our salvation, but he will continue to tussle us up as often and as forcefully as he can. So we must resist him, and a big part of that is recognizing the ‘mechanics’ of salvation, and think through what has been done for us, so that we can regain a grip on reality, and remember WHO WE TRULY ARE in Christ. Forgiven, redeemed, restored, debtors to grace and, sons and daughters of God. His blood does not fail, nor does it ever bounce like a bad cheque. It is paid, and dealt with, and our sins are cast as far as the east is from the west.

    God sees our sins no more, but we must confess them yes. To God, and sometimes to others. You have your reasons for not telling your spouse, and they are no doubt wise and good reasons. I too would have liked to have softened my blow, but I confessed in a complete breakdown, and it all came flooding out in a wave of guilt and tears. What is right for one marriage, may not be right for another. But the very crucial thing is being right with God. Whatever it takes, it must occur, confession, conversion, repentance, it does not matter, but only that we are right with Him. The believer must confess their sins, while the unbeliever must first repent of their sins, and be ushered into the Kingdom by trusting in Christ’s atoning work on the cross. Satan is overcome at that point, and new life enters in, resulting, finally, in eternity in glory!!

    I’ve gone on too long, and wish I had the brevity of explanation that some have, but alas, I take a little longer. Suffice to say, feelings of ‘guilt’ about your thoughts or feelings are a good sign, and a starting point, as they lead us to consider all of the above, and show us that even our thoughts are enough to separate us from God forever. But then, move onto the cross. Understand what took place there, discover what it means to partake of His blood, and be ‘washed’ by it. Ignore the scoffers and mockers. They are everywhere, and a dime a dozen. Pay them no heed, but press on and fight the fight of faith, which will result in God wiping away every tear, and welcoming us, battered and bruised into His kingdom for ever and ever!! Blessings. RM

    • Laura from United States says:

      Running Man… Thank you so much for the time and effort to clarify your thoughts on forgiveness and the fullness of God’s grace. It’s a weighty subject for sure. I’ve often thought about those that have committed more heinous and violent sins –you hear how some ‘find religion’ and become reconciled with God. How hard that must be for them, if I’m struggling at this level. However, the path of forgiveness, from sin to a state of grace, is the same for us all no matter the size or level of sin.

      I do fully believe in the cross; the life, death and resurrection. The gift that was given to us. And as a Catholic, we partake in the life, death and resurrection at each Mass. We eat of His holy body and drink of His precious blood through the Holy Eucharist and this nourishment leads us to live our lives more fully united with Christ.

      I think a big part of my struggle is the consideration that all of my continuing feelings for this man and any thoughts I have about him or our time together are sins. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and realize that thoughts and feelings in and of themselves are not sinful. Acting upon or indulging in them is. This is a huge difference, albeit a subtle one. I’ve felt that until my feelings for this other man stop (which I don’t see ever not caring for or loving him) then I continue in sin. But that’s not the case. However, indulging in it is wrong. That’s the part I need to work on in order to remain in union with God’s plan for me.

      I will write more in a general post to all. Thanks again, RM!! I pray you are well.

  10. Allison from South Africa says:

    Hello everyone. I am amazed and humbled to tears to see love, kindness, encouragement and wisdom between complete strangers sharing similar pain.

    My story is no less similar, although I am divorced from nearly 12 years of marriage to an unbelieving, dangerously abusive spouse and now I find myself “in love” with my friend who is married to an unbeliever. He is saved. He is previously divorced and there are children involved on both sides, and way too many hearts at risk.

    We’ve cut ties many times before but something keeps drawing us back as if it were meant to be, but I’m coming to realize that maybe this was something we both convinced ourselves of as we were both unhappy in non-Christian homes. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I cannot be involved in any of the reasons as to why he wants out, or leaves eventually, and so I really need help to learn how to “unhook” myself from this thing that feels so right… :’(

    Please help me. I have not been in the presence of God for too many years, (due to the abusive non-Christian environment) but am slowly getting closer to God and the more I learn, the more I realize how wrong this is but I don’t know how to stop it.

    So much strength to you all. You are God’s perfect creation. Grace upon your lives for sharing in this brave, brave way!

    • Trying from United States says:

      Alison, Thank YOU for your bravery and courage in sharing what is such a heart-wrenching discovery in your life. You are right –that since he’s married (no matter how miserable his circumstances are)–in respect for him and the vows he made to his wife –You cannot have any part in his decision making re: his marital status.

      I’ve learned this first hand–I had very pure, good intentions to help my Christian brother and sister repair and restore their marriage. It was truly my heart’s intent and desire. But as he and I grew closer, and shared more of our respective miseries–our hearts bonded—we understood one another’s struggles so well (or so it seemed at the time). I prayed and prayed for God’s help and wisdom in navigating this tangled web; but I eventually chose to ignore the Biblical principle of respect for my marriage and his –because we had gotten so close.

      The pain once all this was realized has taken me 2 years or so to deal with. I’m only now going back to my counselor; only now able to even speak of this for the first time with anyone. The anguish, the shattering pain, the crushed heart I had when we had to separate has drawn me to the ONLY true source of love and strength–Jesus. He has been so merciful and gracious; patient and kind; Loving me at my worst, and helping me through the horrendous emotions of letting go of something so dear to us. But because of His love and sacrifice for me–I’m willing to sacrifice my own desires to follow His ways.

      You have taken the HUGE right first step–acknowledging this issue. This forum has been such a support to me over the years (4-5); But I’ve found the most benefit from professional Christian counseling. I have a wonderful older Christian woman who has mentored me for many years, and she listened as I told her about “my friend”–but she recognized it was too big for her to handle, and too serious, and constantly urged me to get help.

      So, Alison, I don’t know what Christian circle you belong to, but I pray that God will provide someone–preferably a mature Christian woman or counselor–to walk through this with you. There are many books and wonderful resources available if you’re a reader; and this website is loaded with Biblical teachings re marriage and really any relationship we encounter.

      I will pray for you as you begin this journey. I can’t tell you how–but God can. Pray for His wisdom in how to begin the process. In my case, and also Running Man, another individual “forced” us apart from our EA, and we never did get a chance to resolve things. In other cases, it was a mutual decision on the part of both individuals.

      This is one of the most difficult tests of my faith I have ever experienced; and yet our sufferings are sent to draw us closer to Jesus and refine and polish us. One step at a time, desiring only God’s will be done, and I know He will give you the grace for each moment.

      I came to this blog tonight–feeling sorry for myself, missing my friend, and feeling lonely–but God is good, and He has granted me the opportunity to encourage and pray for YOU!! And I’m going away blessed!! We’re NEVER alone, no matter what our hearts tells us, when we know Jesus as our Savior and Lord.

      May grace and peace envelope you, and may you rest in HIS strength and faithfulness as you journey this path of righteous living. In Christ’s love, Trying

      PS–Post as you can. This has been a great source of relief at times, just to “tell someone” our struggles and what is on our hearts and minds. There has been an ebb and flow of activity over the past year on this forum, but usually one of us checking in at least every week or two.

  11. Laura from United States says:

    Hello Trying, RM, Sad, Allison and all… I’ve been battling a cold for a couple of weeks and my computer was broken, so I had no way to post in private. I check in daily, though, on my phone for updates and encouragement. It’s just too much of a hassle to try and type a post by phone. Sorry about that.

    Allison –welcome. I’m glad you found this site for support. In just a few words, I could hear your deep pain and sorrow. We all have some different experiences and perspectives, but we all can acknowledge the range of emotions that infidelity brings. In addition to reading posts here and contributing when you feel like doing so, I encourage you to find a trusted Christian counselor who can guide you soon. Sharing your story and your struggles will help you find the perspective you need to discern God’s plan for you. I get the ‘meant to be’ feeling for sure. I think we all do. And I have no doubt that many of us could have had committed, loving relationships with those we chose to have affairs with, IF we found those people first. However, no matter how much it feels ‘meant to be,’ it’s sadly not. God instituted the sacrament of marriage just for this reason. All of the commandments and His laws are to help bring order to our chaotic world. To bring us peace. If you were to now go with this man, it would be tainted –it would not bring order or peace, I don’t believe. (And this is something my AP and I spoke about often.)

    Trying, where are you in your journey? How often are you seeing the counselor? I applaud your courage to do so! I went to one two years ago, when ‘he’ and I were going through that issue with a mutual friend that brought me such emotional upheaval. But I quit. The counselor was pushing me to leave my church; pushing me to confess to my husband, and I just couldn’t. Talk about a character flaw (your reference re: forgiveness). I’m so weak. So I’m very proud of you (hope that doesn’t sound condescending!) to be willing to do some hard work.

    Update on me: This winter proved to be very challenging health-wise and so very busy. I decided in late January to slow down some and focus back in on what I think is God’s plan for me. I’ve been a daily Mass goer on and off since college and have made a point to start attending regularly again since January. It grounds me and reminds me of what my focus should be each day in regards to patience at work, giving those who count on me what they need each day, helping me take care of all the things on my list, and more. It’s the only time I can really experience sitting in the silence of God’s house and escaping the noise of the world for 30 short minutes. I may not always be attentive or reflective as I should, but there’s always a moment when I know God is there with us. The last three weeks have been a bit challenging, though, as my exAP is coming daily also now. I thought about not going daily anymore, but I’m not giving up what brings me peace and purpose. I’m avoiding him when exiting to eliminate the temptation to talk or connect and that’s been a good plan.

    I was thrown off guard, though, last week when after church, a church friend told me he thought that “John” was distracted by me and my appearance. He had seen “John” checking me out repeatedly that day. I didn’t even know what to say. But it did open up a bunch of old feelings that I’m trying to rein in.

    My husband has been working longer hours (not by choice –nature of job), and there are times I’m lonely. I have a boatload of great friends and lots of family that I can busy myself with, but I’m trying to not just stay busy. But that has brought this sense of loneliness. However, instead of turning to others and other activities to fill that void (isn’t that what the affairs did for us?), I’m sharing these feelings with my husband. He can’t change the work situation, but he does reach out more. We text, we talk, we’ve been going for walks when we can, and just connecting more. I realize that I had hidden my vulnerable feelings before. Not wanting to put demands on him with my needs –I’m supposed to be independent and strong, right? However, when I leave him out, he doesn’t know who I am. And when I leave him out, he doesn’t have a chance to be the husband he wants to be. I never gave him the chance six years ago when my emotional life and needs were changing. I turned to someone else to fill that void. I’m praying I will never turn away again. The pain is too deep. Hugs, Laura

    • Laura from United States says:

      I’ve been thinking about and rereading my post. If I’m truly being honest, I glossed over the effects I’m feeling in regards to him so noticeably showing his attraction to me. He’s been good all this time about never commenting on my appearance and having walls up in that way. I’ve seen it in his eyes a few times, but never blatant.

      So to have someone else notice that he was looking at me; so much so that it distracted him from his duties that day, sends me back in time. To the beginning when there was an obvious attraction we both recognized in each other for years before we ever even spoke to each other. It has emotions and physical reactions coming to the surface — vulnerability, desire, rapid heart, etc. There is a rawness to what I’m feeling that I’ve kept hidden and in control for so long. I was tempted to call him today. To tell him what someone else saw. I refrained; a small victory.

  12. Laura from United States says:

    Just checking in. Trying… I’m worried about you. You have been heavily on my mind for a week now. Praying all is okay and you are finding some peace.

    I heard someone today refer to the idea that are some things in life that cannot be fixed. There are experiences that just need to be endured. There are some things we just have to bear. After the psychology movement of the seventies, I think this concept has gone by the wayside. People now want to always come to terms with things or find meaning or have closure or such. Maybe the pain we’re feeling from our sin and the residual pain of wrongly caring for someone else from afar just has to be endured. It is what it is. Move forward and move on as best we can.

    I’m still struggling, but am not as raw as last week. Have squashed the emotions again and keep the wall up. It’s become a way of life.

    • Trying from United States says:

      Thanks, dear friend! Your words have helped me immensely. There is tons going on with me right now, but this issue never goes away for long. I’ve been dealing with work and family problems, and you would think that would be enough! But NO, my thoughts and my heart keeps longing for my “friend” –how I wish we could talk through some of this, and over and over, I tell myself –NEVER! DON’T DO IT!

      I’m sorry I didn’t reply last week. I did read on this site almost every day, but I was sinking deeper into depression as the week progressed, until Friday when I finally hit bottom. PRAISE GOD for the gift of my husband who is “back among us again” as I like to term it; and he was supportive, willing to listen, and very patient and kind as I crawled back out of the ‘black hole”. I’ve had a better week.

      I’m so thankful I’m plugged back into counseling again. We actually have spent our sessions dealing with some of my other challenges, but several weeks ago, we did visit a little about the ex-AP and how to let go of the past. It was very freeing to be able to just say what was on my mind without fear of judgment or rejection. We haven’t gotten to discussion about telling DH yet. There have been more pressing matters.

      Even though its been 2 years ago, these next few months (spring) was when AP and I got very close, sooo… I know I will cycle through some flashbacks, and lots of memories, triggers, etc, over the next 2 months. I know it won’t be as intense as last spring, and I know it won’t last forever.

      You’re so right –there are things we can’t change. Since we live so close together, I’ve always held onto the hope that we could have a discussion to bring closure. But as time passes, and I see a continuation of unhealthy choices in his life, the chances become slimmer and slimmer. Plus, in reality, I’m still way too emotional to carry on a rational, healthy discussion with him. So I live with so many things unsaid. One really unwise habit I have fallen prey to –is often “talking to him in my mind” –when I’m alone, out shopping, driving in the car, basically sharing my life with him as if he were there –AND HE IS NOT, and never will be. I know there are strategies to deal with this, and this was one of my initial reasons for returning to counseling. I’m keeping the relationship alive in my mind; when reality is radically different. The counselor and I haven’t discussed this yet, but I do have hope that I can be helped.

      Spiritually, How are you doing, Laura? So thrilled to hear of your commitment to spend time daily with God. It ALWAYS helps to focus on Him, instead of our circumstances for a time each day. And remember, a wise woman keeps boundaries in place for her sake, and for his. Love and prayers as always.

      p.s. I continue to marvel at your (God’s) timing and ability to sense my need for encouragement. As I’ve said many times before, only the Creator of us all, could know what we need and provide it through this forum when we need it! Our own personal miracle!! Praise and Thanks to Him!

      • Laura from United States says:

        Good Morning, Trying…. I’ve been trying to get back on, but this article was blank whenever I clicked on it from either my phone, iPad or laptop. I emailed them about it, so maybe that helped get it back up. It made me realize that our connection with each other could end at any time and how hard that would be. I’m so appreciative of your friendship and loving, honest support.

        Thanks for sharing about your past weeks. I’m so sorry the depression hit you so hard. When several areas of our lives collide with challenges, it can be hard to find the light some days. But hubby came through for you it sounds like… that is such great news. What has turned around for him emotionally? Do you think he sees you growing from counseling and is feeding off of that? Hopefully coming together to help you with your depression can be a building block for continued closeness.

        Going to church frequently has brought me many blessings. One just the simple blessing of peace and quiet. It’s the only time in my day that I sit in silence. It allows me to reflect on my day ahead… to give thanks, repent, and ask for guidance for the day. And I’ve seen a difference in my interactions at work and at home. I’ve also been more patient with myself and have cut back on my schedule a bit, too, to make life less ‘busy, busy, busy.’

        It’s been five weeks now of seeing ex-AP daily, but rarely do we speak. I arrange it that way. I thought it would be hard to see him so often, but it hasn’t been any harder than the usual. It is what it is. We move through the same spaces in the community, so I guess I’ve just resigned myself to it all. In some ways it’s helped, I think. Like building up a tolerance level. I will admit, though, that I’m nervous about a week from now when I won’t see him daily anymore. I am wondering if I will go through a ‘withdrawal’ period. So pray for me to get through that….. if I don’t feel withdrawal from not seeing him weeks on end, then I will know I have made great progress and growth. It will be a turning point for me, I feel.

        The next months are also the season that we got close, Trying. I have a lot of specific dates cemented in my head of special moments and such. I pray you and I are both able to move gracefully through these months ahead by making new and real connections with those important to us. Making new memories to help replace the old. To hopefully stop the conversations in our head and the tapes we replay in our minds. When you address these things with the counselor, and the strategies to change this, please share what you learn! Thanks!

        Love and God Bless, Laura

        • Trying from United States says:

          I, too, am thankful this page is back online again! I have wondered what it would be like to end communication, yet if and when it happens, that would be a great sign of healing –our ultimate prayer and goal! The past 2 weeks have been hard, but with mixed with bright spots. No explanation for hubby’s behavior because he’s withdrawn again, but I’ve lived in this situation for 25 years, so I don’t try to figure anything out anymore. Just thankful that he was there for me when he was!

          This is a contributor to my struggles, though, never knowing where I stand with him. Another tough issue has been resolved with work; and not in my favor. I’m sad, because I loved what I was doing, but I will not be able to continue after this school year. So this also contributes to my retreat from reality –into my little fantasy world of the past –where at least I have some control, and someone loves me. Just being pretty blunt here, sorry.

          I know that times of stress and change cause a desire to return to a place of “good feelings”–and yet I continue to believe that these trials are sent to draw us to God. I feel so weak and so flawed because I have been given so much–my faith, my family, my brothers and sisters in Christ, my friends, and yet I focus on what I can’t have, and feel sorry for myself. I guess that’s why Paul said, “When I am weak, then He is strong.” Anything good comes from Him, not of myself.

          Laura, I am and will continue to pray for you during the next months. There is a certain comfort in seeing them, even though there’s no interaction. Just a “knowing” of his whereabouts keeps him in my mind. I experienced that this morning. Its been a week or so, and I was missing him, and just a passing random glance, totally coincidental, has helped relieved some of my anxious thoughts –of “how is he?, etc.” BUT I recall last summer when days and weeks would pass with NO CONTACT of any sort between the family or myself; and the relief I felt when I could get to the end of the day with the realization that I hadn’t thought of him once–the entire day. So you may go through withdrawal again in the next weeks.

          I really appreciate what you said about moving gracefully through the months ahead making and maintaining new connections and memories. I have been challenged to renew and spend time with several ladies that I was very close to at one time, and have drifted away from. It takes effort; but I know that I need healthy friendships in place to insulate me against my tendency to get close to the wrong people.

          I know that prayer and drawing close to God is vital, and I have been busy–so with the end of this job in a few weeks, I hope to spend some more quality time with the Lord as I search for His will for my future (again :). . . .

          Have a wonderful and Blessed Easter, remembering the Resurrection of our Savior. In His strength and grace, we press on! With prayers and love,

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