Marriage Missions International

Getting “Unhooked” From An Emotional Affair

Image credit: Freeimages.com

Image credit: Freeimages.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Comments

1,628 Responses to “Getting “Unhooked” From An Emotional Affair”
  1. Trying from United States says:

    Hi Laura! Thanks for responding. I cannot go into details, but to say that last week I went through an unbelievable experience that has produced fresh raw pain! However as almost a week has past, I can rejoice in these facts.

    1. I knew I would get through it!
    2. The waves of grief were shorter, and I didn’t try to fight it, just waited until it passes.
    3. I was kind to myself. When I started feeling emotional, I would find somewhere to be alone for as long as it took to work through my feelings.
    4. I’ve gone through the whole day today so far without crying. I miss him terribly, but I can quickly turn my thoughts into prayers for him.
    5. The “line in the sand” has been drawn at last. He knows I will keep my marriage covenant, and never leave my husband.

    I really cannot say more. Since I live in such a small community, we’ll continue to see each other, sometimes more often than others. Thousands of times I’ve desired to reach out to him in the past week due to trauma and illness in his family. But I didn’t.

    So I live in the will of God, remaining in a state of the “unknown” and yet KNOWING God is in control of ALL things. Trusting God to heal and provide in much greater and powerful ways than I could ever imagine. I’ve struggled immensely with my marriage lately and so this has been another step of Trust…to commit both relationships to my Heavenly Father.

    I love you and pray for you all. I thank God for each of you, for your support and understanding, and for the TRUE love of Jesus that shines through each of you!!

    We serve an awesome and Loving God! I will leave you with this verse: Heb. 11:35-37: “so do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.”

  2. Trying from United States says:

    Hello to all….I’m wondering how Elaine, and Heartache are doing this week, and am praying for each of you. I’d like to share a few more thoughts about the events of last week. When he and I first started talking, we reconnected immediately as if 3 years hadn’t gone by. This was a huge red flag to me that NC will continue to be so important for me in our small community. This is long, so don’t feel you have to read through it all, but I do hope my words can help someone else.

    SDN, I’m so thankful if what I post is helpful. I recall so many others over the past 5 years who have helped me immensely, and I’m grateful to God if I can pass it on.

    1. My “rebound time” is much quicker. I’m able to carry on my daily life this past week without too much disruption. It has helped that I’m working temporarily again for a few months. A chance encounter, a text, a glance, a comment or a simple hello would send me spinning. This time I’ve made the time to journal extensively; writing down my thoughts, my memories, my emotions as they come. This has served a two fold purpose. It removes the whirlwind from my head, and also helps me identify what it is I’m feeling, and whether those feelings are based on Truth or lies.

    2. The first 2 or 3 days after our conversation when the pain and emotions were intense, I would actually allow 5 minutes to grieve several times a day. I’ve learned this through some of the information I’m learning about grieving a sudden death. There are so many similarities between the sudden end of my relationship with OM…. I do feel I’ve been grieving in a like manner. Even thought he is on my mind a lot, I celebrate the hours that go by without thinking of him.

    3. The world goes on. There was a time when I felt like it wouldn’t. Even as recently as 6 months ago, I had such a hard time just getting through a day. I was so focused on what I didn’t or couldn’t have instead of all the blessings I DO have. God is merciful, patient and kind to us.

    4. I’m a very poor, weak woman who has allowed emotions, instead of Jesus, to rule my life for a time. In this period of pain, sorrow, and testing, my love for Jesus and my faith has grown stronger. Once again, He has patiently taught me that His love is the ONLY love that endures forever. As my love for Jesus deepens through trial and suffering, it’s that same love that gives me the courage to say “No” to contact from the OM. I may love OM, but I love Jesus more!

    Eph. 3:18-19—“And may you have the power to understand as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep HIS love is for us. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.” NLT

    “May the God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. “…Eph. 1:2. Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer –by Keith and Kristin Getty
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOVGChMsPsg

    • SDN from United Kingdom says:

      Beautiful.

    • SDN from United Kingdom says:

      So, there is no real need for me to post here as my feelings are pretty much the same but I just find this site SO addictive. I find myself thinking of the advice, friends and emotions that I have found on this site when I am busy doing my chores.

      I find an ever-need to log on. Such a beautiful feeling. I mean personally, I didn’t even know that there was a term given to what I had to endure.. The ’emotional affair.’ I didn’t know that there were so many others who go through what I have. Its uncanny. And here again I have the compelling urge to express my gratitude for this site.

      When we have indulged in these measly ‘affairs,’ what to us seemed so real and intense, to society seems SO immoral and digraceful. No one will ever understand. So we go through the feeling alone. We harbor the negativity. We relapse. We feel awful. We celebrate in some days that go well and then drown in the sorrows of other days. What a sad predicament to be in. PRAYERS- most powerful tool to get through these emotions we feel.

      I feel SO sad and peturbed to establish that some people on this site are still recovering from an EA for YEARS. Trying so hard to maintain no contact. My prayers go to you people who are suffering for so long. May it all be a distant memory. Something that you will get over. Just a phase in your life. I pray and hope for me, it stays in the past.

      I pray that I don’t have to try too hard to forget and make immense efforts in maintaining no contact. I pray I forget on my own. I pray that instead of making an effort to forget about the OM, I find myself making an effort to remember him. How beautiful that would be? Thank you for the strength guys. I have dusted myself off and have started again.

      • SDN from United Kingdom says:

        Hey friends. So since my terrible relapse on Mon I have been praying and meditating and feeling OK. God clearly got me through these few days wonderfully. Grace of God. NO Contact! Gonna do this again seriously. I have to update that; today the OM texted me (much to my UN expectation) and I ignored it. As much as I so, so, so wanted to respond I did NOT. Instead I relished in the fact that it will somehow make him ponder. Almost as tho I had the upper hand by ignoring him.

        As someone once said on this site- the OM also wants us to fill his ego. Today’s text proved that. I refuse to be a door-mat. He remembers me only when he’s alone OR needs an ego boost. When I made up my mind to NOT text back I couldn’t help but yell silently, YES! Was so, so happy for the progress. I thank you guys for all the advice.

        Trying, your exact words to me ‘ignore him’. I lived by it. May God be with us ALL and give us all the strength to maintain NC! All my love and prayers to you all.

  3. WP from EU from Netherlands says:

    Dear all, Thanks so much for all your comments, prayers, scriptures, and honesty.

    SDN UK said, “No one will ever understand. So we go through the feeling alone. We harbor the negativity. We relapse. We feel awful.” So true… One who has not gone through an EA cannot understand… but on this site are people who DO understand, and who do not judge… Worth gold!!!

    • SDN from United Kingdom says:

      Hi WP. I noticed that you haven’t expressed your story here. I respect perhaps you may not feel comfortable. However, let me enlighten you, I too started with just reading the comments and gaining my strength from here. I liked the fact that I could relate to the feelings here. However, when I started typing out my feelings on the forum, I started feeling at ease with my emotions. It was very theraputic for me. Even if no one responded, it was a healthy way for me to just get the feelings out. We are all here for you. All my prayers and blessings to you all, SDN

      • Mary K from Kenya says:

        Hi all, SDN, the wonderful song ‘we fall down, but we get up, for the saint is just a sinner, who fell down… and got up.’ The most important part is to get back up. Thanks for sharing. The nature of my work is such that I’m not able to practice NC. However, I try to keep it professional. Last week I failed. He initiated contact asking me to pray coz he’s unwell. It seemed innocent enough, but it sent me on a week long tailspin… I realize now from reading some of the posts here, that he is just using me in his moment of weakness. My mind understands this but my heart is refusing this truth coz, he is after all, a pastor! I foolishly want to believe that he needs me as his friend.

        • SDN from United Kingdom says:

          Hi Mary K. Beautiful and authentic words. I love the words to the song. Very inspiring. I mean it helps me overcome the guilt. I can’t imagine what u r going through. In fact I believe you are only free and in a safe place when you have NC. I am so sorry that you can’t practice that. However hard it may be for you, find your strength in God. Pray everyday. I notice that even when some days are good I have to always maintain my prayers strong because a relapse is always close. May u b blessed Mary K.

  4. WP from EU from Netherlands says:

    Hi WP, UK, and everyone, True… I would like to share my story… I’m married with a wonderful wife for 35 years, whom I love very much. We have 2 grown children and 3 grandchildren.

    I was on the social media… starting as friendly chatting with the OW. But when I started looking forward to seeing her online, and being disappointed when she wasn’t there… well, then I knew.

    I had no idea what an EA was. I had to figure out the terms and abbreviations on this site. I have learned a lot from this experience, and from reading all your messages and those from this site. Feelings were very strong! I was scared, but at the same time I really enjoyed our conversations. I knew it was wrong, and told her that… she did agree, but we were in too deep. I would bring up my wife every so often, and state that she is my great love, that she comes first, and always will. Still it was impossible to break off the conversations.

    I told my wife, we talked about it and got on the computer and wrote a letter to the other woman (much younger than I, a single mother raising a small child, difficult circumstances). I care a lot for people, I cannot stand to see people hurting. Probably that’s why I fell for the emotional affair in the first place. I told my wife her position with me was never under threat, and never will be. This is true.

    I never met the other woman (fortunately!) since we live far from one another. It was all on the social media. I had no idea how difficult it would be to write that letter with my wife. That excercise brought us together in a new way- now almost 2 months ago.

    I’m not normally a judgemental man, but I could not understand how someone could get into an affair, unless their marriage was really bad. But now I understand how this can happen even in good marriages! So I have a lot of compassion for everyone who struggles with maintaining no contact. Take care all. More later…WP

    • SDN from United Kingdom says:

      Hi WP. Thank u for your response, not only did it make us understand your story or learn a lesson from you, it has also helped you to get some emotions expressed. Your story seems to be very inspiring. You dealt with it in a good way. Glad that you and your wife have an understanding and were able to work with it better.

      I for one could never ever tell my husband. It would hurt him terribly. Like Laura, I too have a husband who doesn’t pay much attention to me. I constantly am in need of love, attention and affection in fact my character is such that no matter which man is with me, I think I will never be satisfied. It is so hard to overcome something so natural TO MY character. But I know the only way to overcome this is to find the satisfaction in God.

      I am 26 years old. Married to a wonderful man. We have two beautiful children. I am blessed and envied I’m sure. But no one knows what goes on in my mind- My needs, my desires, my wants. If people knew, they would look down upon me. My biggest fear is having gotten over the OM in time. Falling trap to ANOTHER OM. What if? I can’t allow it. I am at the peak of my life. My son is 3months old, I will pursue my career in law soon and that means I will be going OUT to work. What happens if another man gives me that attention? It’s going to be so challenging for me.

      The OM that WAS in my life I too met on social media and met him physically just once. That meeting just made my attraction to him so much more intense. It seemed to be a connection like no other. How I longed to be with him. Intimately. My thoughts exactly- if on text and in each others presence, things are so deep and intense, how more intense and ‘beautiful’ will the physical intimacy be??? My husband shows almost no intimacy towards me unless I initiate. I HATE my predicament. Sometimes it seems so hard to get over. Almost impossible, oh well. I can only try and try and try. May you all be blessed. SDN

      • WP from EU from Spain says:

        Hi WP, Your comments ring a bell with me… very much so. I recognize very much what you are saying… re. needs desires, wants. I am similar to you in that way. Without a doubt, your position is difficult –a severe test of character in which you have done very well!

        Men need to be told what their wives need and want. They’re not very good a recognizing the “hint.” Perhaps I need to speak for myself only here…?

        NC is so hard, but so important! It’s the only way… Please do not think about how wonderful the physical intimacy would be… SO Dangerous! (It would probably not be THAT great anyway… let’s be realistic!!)

        I keep visualizing the pain and fallout if I would every have another EA –my wife, my children, the pain caused to them. This cannot happen. Losing them… no –that is not worth any OW, or EA. Take care…

      • WP from EU from Spain says:

        Hi SDN from UK- sorry for the typo error in my first reply….I wrote “Hi WP” Should be “Hi SDN/UK.”

        I so recognize your position…and have great respect for your transparency. Keep up with NC, connect with friends…get into your hobbies…but really express yourself to your husband…you will know how to do this…Men need to be told… you will know what to tell him and what not to tell him. Pray for guidance. I’m sure all who read these texts pray for you too.

        I keep thinking of how DESTRUCTIVE an EA can be. That helps me a lot. Hope it helps you too. WP

    • Trying from United States says:

      WP, thanks so much for sharing your story! It has, and will, bless many. Honesty with our human weaknesses is so freeing and healing. And what a huge blessing to work through this with your wife, not something either of you wanted to do, and yet you are “doing what it takes to honor and maintain your marriage.” The lasting rewards from doing this will far outweigh any satisfaction received from an EA. Praise God!

      • WP from EU from Spain says:

        Thank you Trying… I certainly hope so!! Thanks to all –so helpful all your texts… Thank you!!

  5. Mary K from Kenya says:

    1 John 1:9 is a scripture I memorized as a child. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Father, I realize that what I feel for this man is sin in your eyes, and I confess it in this public forum. I will no longer rationalize or excuse it. You, oh Lord hate sin, and it separates me from you. This for me would be the greatest loss. My salvation and walk of faith is worth more than life itself. I turn away from my sin, and flee. Thank you for your undeserved grace upon me and all who have bared their hearts in this forum.

    Help us all to learn how to resist the Enemy. Give us a way of escape in our desperate moments. And help us to tap into the Counselor and Comforter that you have given to us.

    In the words of a great song by William McDowell I surrender all to you, everything I give to you. Withholding nothing.

  6. WP from EU from Spain says:

    Hi SDN from the UK, Trying from the US.. and ALL, I wrote before, “More later..” Well, here goes:

    As I mentioned before, my EA was all social media. When I reread my post I realize it sounds easy… I told my wife, we wrote a letter to the OW and now all is well. NOOO!! It wasn’t THAT easy! To be honest with you, there were 3 OW’s- a young mother raising a child by herself, an older woman caring for her sister and 2 young children by herself, and a young woman out of work, who is a very talented artist.

    My wife knew I was on the social media, and knew I was talking to friends online- because I told her from the beginning. She didn’t really like it but she trusted me. Somewhere in the course of several months our conversations became more personal. We shared personal stories, hopes, dreams, more emotional things. I looked forward to seeing them online; they said they really liked talking with me. The young mother had had a failed relationship from which her son was born, she told me many things about it, and about herself. SImilar accounts from the other 2 OW’s. All this time intimacy was building, I really enjoyed talking with them all. My wife cautioned me- “you are spending too much time online!” I told my wife that I cared about them “in a right way” which I wanted to be true, and which was true, but at the same time I knew in my conscience that I was in too deep. I tried twice to stop talking and twice it didn’t work, we connected up again. I cared for them more and more. I stated that my wife is my great love, that she comes first and must come first. This is true and always has been. But still, my care for these precious people had become too personal; it was out of balance.

    I was abused as a child (age 12 to 14) and was told that “You could have stopped it.” (Back then sexual abuse of any kind was just “not talked about.” Even now, with boys, it’s still “hush hush.”) Also at 12 I was sent away from home to go to a boy’s school because we had very poor schools in our area after grade 6. That 6- year period between 12 and 18 taught me 2 things- “don’t trust people,” and “no one really cares.” (Teenage boys can be very cruel. Enough said?)

    These experiences gave me a deep compassion for people who are in trouble, people who hurt, people who feel misunderstood, and people who are lonely.
    I want to take away their pain, to help them feel cared for.

    These experiences also raised the question, “who will EVER care for me?”

    I came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ after a bad car crash, several other very close calls, and after my sister and other Christians told me the basic gospel message. I was 24 at the time. It has taken more than 30 years for me to “personalize” the love of God…to apply it to ME, to really BELIEVE it.

    So when I began talking with the OW’s, our conversations struck a chord with me in several ways… They clearly cared for me, and I for them, and we felt understood. Their loneliness was being relieved… Our conversations awakened strong feelings- even though my marriage is basically very good. This surprised me! And scared me! I was SO torn because I knew my wife was hurting. I KNEW there is NO easy way out of this. So, we wrote a letter to the OW’s together. I had no idea how difficult it would be! There was no way to avoid deep hurt. I pray for these 3 often, virtually every day. My wife prays for them too (she’s a very prayerful person.)

    I have to leave this with God now. This is the only course of action possible and it asks for a higher level of trust that I have had to deal with so far. That was 2 months ago. It still hurts when I think about it. It’s getting better though- I never want to hurt my wife like this again. I also know God cares for these special people far more than I, and will hear our prayers.

    God, in His mercy, gave me a special gift a while back- a vision of a waterfall under which I was standing. He was washing me clean, spending time with me and telling me I am His own- even ME! Even after that experience when I was so young. Even now, as I’m writing this, I’m not ashamed to admit, the tears come yet again…… I was finally able to talk about it around 30 years later. Not long ago a friend drew a sketch of the waterfall and included a rainbow. I look at the sketch from time to time. It helps me get back on track. God, and God alone, in His great mercy, is busy with healing me. He gave me a wonderful, caring wife as part of that process.

    This is why I like the name “WP” which means “Work in Progress;” still unfinished, but that’s OK. God in His mercy accepts us when we cannot accept ourselves, and picks us up when we fall.

    • Trying from United States says:

      Thank you for the bottom of my heart, and all those who will read your testimony! God is glorified and praised for the work that only HE can do in our lives. May your story draw many to Him and give us all hope. There are so many common threads in your story… I truly believe that MANY will be blessed by your willingness to be open, vulnerable, and raw. And God’s healing power is once again lived out in the lives of those who accept His free gift of salvation and cleansing.

      • WP from EU from Spain says:

        Hi Trying, Thank you!! It does me so much good to say these things, even though it still hurts. Thank you for your comments; they’ve done me so much good. I hope that many are uplifted and feel better about themselves, and feel closer to God if they read this account.

        I care so very much for the 3 OW’s, and also for the children. I pray that God looks after them, protects them, surrounds them with His angels and gives them peace. I pray this often for them all. I hope they understand.

        To Laura, and SDN from the UK and all of you… nothing is impossible with God… NOTHING. My situation felt hopeless for so long. God is never too late. I feel very safe here. This site is very special. Thanks to you all. WP

        • SDN from United Kingdom says:

          Hello. Work in Progress. Beautiful confession. I loved every bit of it. I read it twice. Thank you WP for your words of wisdom and upliftment. I feel for you, truly. And I sincerely hope that with TIME you move forward. Your story is similar to all of ours in many ways but also very, very different. More specifically, the part about you wanting to ‘save’ (own interpretation) these OW. I find it fascinating. I wonder what sort of person you are to be that way.

          But as read on this very site… you may hurt this ‘friend’ by not contacting them but no friendship is ever worth maintaining if it’s to the detriment of the holy relationship OF God’, that being MARRIAGE. I didn’t know that there are so many topics on this site. It keeps me busy every single day and also gives me peace of mind.

          Trying, I hope you are doing well. Laura, I hope to hear from you. I somehow feel we’re in the same boat. All my prayers to you all.

          • WP from EU from Spain says:

            Hi SDN from UK, I don’t want to give the impression that I set out to “save” the OW’s. I hope I’m not THAT arrogant. That was certainly never the case. As we began to talk, I recognized myself from earlier years in them: lonely, misunderstood and hurting- with no way out that I could see. When we continued talking, we really connected with each other; it was so wonderful to feel I was doing someone else so much good. It was also so wonderful to feel appreciated by them and cared for by them.

            You say you wonder what kind of a person I am? I’ll tell you what others have said about me. “You are very kind. You have a big heart for the poor and lonely. You care so much for people. You’re a very good man. You don’t look down on people who have a lower position than you. You are very giving.”

            Here’s what I would like to say about myself: I’m very thankful for the above comments from others. That is God’s work primarily. I’m a sensitive and emotional person, as I’ve recently been discovering. That’s not so easy for a man, but that’s how God made me.

            I was emotionally shut down for many years as I guess you can imagine. I also grew up in an environment where it was far easier to “go with the flow” rather than “stand up for” what I wanted or preferred. So I learned to adjust. I learned that far too well now that I look back. So again, This is why I use the name WP- “Work in Progress.” Still unfinished, needing to learn. If my texts help other people to feel better about themselves, that makes me VERY happy.

            To Trying, Laura, SDN / UK, Mark K, and everyone… take care… WP

  7. WP from EU from Spain says:

    Hi SDN\UK… Thank you…! Yes, you see, that’s the problem, these friendships WERE a detriment to my marriage, they WERE hurting my wife. It’s true that the OW’s and I had strong feelings for each other. So, I knew these friendships were going “off the rails.”

    Your interpretation of “saving” these OW’s- yes, I see where you’re coming from. I cannot stand to see people hurting or lonely. I want to help them. No one was there during those years for me. How I wish they had been. That together with the “feeling alive,” which comes with a new relationship, all these factors work in the same direction, as I’m sure you can imagine.

    Also, what do you talk about after a while? Once you’re through the initial phases of learning about each other, etc. a real identification sets in. Emotion and feeling enter the picture. Expressions of deep care are expressed. This is what happened with me. Then I realized, “I’m in too deep here.” I identified with them so well, and they with me. They always knew I was married. I just cared for them too much. And they for me. This just should not be allowed to happen when one is married. But I could not “reverse direction.”

    I care for them, and the children… yes, definitely. But I care for my wife more. One cannot have both, not like this. It’s just not God’s way. So… The letters together with my wife to the OW’s.

    I’m a person who needs and loves a lot of affection- both verbal and physical. I’ve told my wife this over the years and she has been very giving. I also know that I cannot expect my wife to meet all these needs, that our final satisfaction is achieved through making the Love of God one’s own. I also need to be a better husband for her. I pray for guidance with this…

    I’ve seen a picture of a triangle, man and wife are the two corners of the baseline. God is the third corner at the top. When man and wife draw closer to God, they necessarily draw closer to each other. I like that simple illustration.

    Hi Trying… Your words here: “…and yet you’re “doing what it takes to honor and maintain your marriage.” The lasting rewards from doing this will far outweigh any satisfaction received from an EA” have been a big help as I have read and thought about them… thank you!

    Hi All, There must be some reason why less than 5% of all affairs “last” and why only half of these really “survive” whatever that means. I’ve read the reasons, maybe on this site, and they do make sense. But the simple fact is, this is not God’s way, period. I want to stay within God’s way. There I am safe. Thanks to all for your tests, I reread them a lot. They’ve done to much good. Thank you all…!! WP

  8. Jan from United States says:

    I am so thankful to have found this site! I am struggling with the aftermath of a very brief, but very intense emotional affair. I’m so aware that my sin was 1st & foremost against God, & also that my selfishness caused my wonderful husband pain. Yet I STILL battle the temptation to talk 2 the other guy, 2 fantasize about him. Please, please, please pray 4 me? I came so close to contacting him yesterday, the desire to do so was almost obsessive, & that really scared me. The only thing that prevented it was me going to God’s Word & reading or meditating on certain verses every time that temptation came up. But it was SUCH a huge struggle!

    I’m also seeing a Christian counselor twice a week (once alone & once with my husband). I do NOT understand why this is such temptation for me – never thought I’d even be tempted to have an affair…the whole thing caught me totally by surprise & then once I realized what was happening it’s like I had absolutely no self control for a while, I’m just appalled at myself. It’s like my mind & emotions are totally betraying me!

    My husband (who is an amazing, godly man) is really trying work on things to better meet my emotional needs (which are many due to emotional & physical abuse in my past, & ongoing painful family “drama” from my adoptive family, stress at work, my daughter’s recent wedding – she just got married this past weekend after only 10 weeks to plan the wedding). Yet I still have these really strong feelings I’m fighting. I just wanted to talk to others who might understand…. What helps you the most?

    • WP from EU from Spain says:

      Hello Jan from the US, First and foremost, you should know that you’re among FRIENDS who are faced with many struggles similar to yours. I’ve found this site to be very helpful and encouraging. You’re very welcome to read my recent posts which reveal a similar history to yours- (abuse, etc.) so I won’t repeat those things here. I completely understand your comment on emotional needs, as I have the same.

      You say, “…the whole thing caught me totally by surprise & then once I realized what was happening it’s like I had absolutely no self control for a while, I’m just appalled at myself.” I couldn’t have said it better myself! Same thing with me!! By then I was in too deep… You seem to be doing VERY well with a difficult situation.. I have great respect for you.

      The advice offered at the opening page of this site is very good. I’ve had to read it several times to take it all in. The stories and texts here are all from people just like you, who are willing to share their experiences for the good of all.

      Yes, it’s an ongoing battle to steer clear of the OM- the first days are VERY difficult. Every day you stay away is territory gained. The pain begins to subside, and the feelings become less intense.

      After a week of reading many posts here and on other sites, as well as navigating though my own situation (you can read it here above) I find the following have really helped me:

      VISUALIZE THE DESTRUCTION caused by an EA or PA. I really don’t want to cause my wife more hurt than I have already. One thing very apparent is the intense pain caused by these relationships to everyone! not just to the betrayed spouse, but also to the cheating spouse, children, family friends, etc. etc. This I really do NOT need! now or ever!!

      GET INVOLVED with family, friends, hobbies, church, etc. Occupying you mind with these and other healthy activities leaves less room in your mind for thoughts of the OM.

      TALK with your spouse as much as you can, when you can. Open yourself and take the risk of being vulnerable (SO difficult, but very necessary). Only you will know how and when to do this- what to include and what to leave out. God’s Hold Spirit is your best Counselor here.

      TALK with trusted friends as well- certainly the people on this site are beginning to feel like friends for me- but of course face to face with your own longer term trusted friends is excellent too.

      One person said, “If you want to make your marriage ‘affair-proof,’ invest in your marriage. If you want your marriage to recover from an affair, invest in your marriage.” That certainly makes a lot of sense. So that’s what I’ve been doing. So far so good, thank God…!!

      Lastly, I don’t want to give the impression that I have all the answers… for SURE I don’t. I have so much to learn, you all have helped me so much.

      • SDN from United Kingdom says:

        Hi work in Progress. I hope you’re doing well and gaining strength day by day. Yes, I fully agree with you and the addiction to the feeling of a ‘new relationship’ and the thrill and excitement that comes with the territory. I also craved that excitement. Where you wanted to ‘save’ people. I wanted to be saved. I did this by becoming unrivalled to the OM.

        I became absolutely seductive, ‘sexy’ and witty. I established what turned him on and kept him gripped to me ALL just so he could give me that attention I longed for. I wanted to be saved from my boring marriage and frustrating life. As thrilling as it was… the sadness and anger and stress I felt with the OM in my life surpassed the happiness and peace without him in my life.

        I really like your description and explanation of the Triangle. It is beautiful. I love the concept.

        WP, you are so right. After every day of NC, we get stronger and the pain isn’t as intense. All my prayers and blessings to you.

        • WP from EU from Spain says:

          Hi SDN from UK, Thank you VERY much, Yes I am doing better.

          Your statement here is KEY for me: “As thrilling as it was… the sadness and anger and stress I felt with the OM in my life surpassed the happiness and peace without him in my life.” This is very true! Also for me, now that you say it and now that I think about it. Helps me SO much! Yes, the stress certainly surpasses the thrill…. and that helps me to stay away… I don’t want the stress…. the more I read the more I see how badly these things go. NOT ONCE have I read “Oh it was wonderful- now I live happily ever after with my affair partner!” Yet the temptation is still strong… I HATE this….

          I have been reading some of the other articles on this site…in “Emotional and Physical Affairs” (right column) then, in that section: “High Price of Emotional Infidelity” with the account of Joe and Karmen (on the Dr. Phil show)… Ohhh SO SAD….!! I NEVER want to go through that…!! Even more, I do not want to put my wife through that! Not to mention the children…..

          EA’s are horrible. All I want to do is to get away from the pain and the temptation. Someone once said “You didn’t really need the affair partner. You just needed to be healed.” Mmmm…. need to really think about that. I’m concentrating on my marriage.. I do love my wife so much. Trying to do the things I have been recommending on this site. It is also true that the thrill ALWAYS fades. Real life kicks in. I have to remember these things…..

          Thanks so much for your prayers and blessings. They are worth gold…WP

          • SDN from United Kingdom says:

            Hi Work in Progress. I am so glad that through my oWn terrible experience I can help another like I have helped you. I see my words resonate with you and others. By acknowledging this to me makes me believe in my own words more. And yes, so it’s official the stress and lack of peace does outweigh the thrill. That cheap measly high isn’t worth it.

            WP, EA are horrible. It’s an addiction, just like a drug addiction. So hard to beat temptation. Let us relish in the days that pass, and counting…

            You tend to say a lot about how much you love your wife. We all love our spouses very much, I’m sure. But I think the need for the OM/W has nothing to do with our spouse. It’s something that’s deep within us — void perhaps. As you have been abused, so have I. I had a very tough childhood, very abused by my dad. The man who was supposed to protect me and love me hence time went on and I kept looking for that ‘love’ elsewhere. My husband is wonderful. But I will always want the excitement of the OM, even if the OM rejects me, then accepts me, then rejects me ,then accepts me.

            I love posting on this site. Make things clearer for me. Will remember to post my feelings here too when I have the urge to contact the OM. God forbid! TC you all. Blesssings and prayers with you, SDN

    • SDN from United Kingdom says:

      Hi Jan. Thank you for sharing your story here. Personally I love relating to people who I see go through the exact same thing as me.

      I’m so sorry that you’re in that phase where you’re being tempted so badly to contact the OM. If you could go up and read my recent experiences over a week ago, you’ll establish that I too had that compelling urge to make contact. I prayed and beat temptation for that day. It felt good. HOWEVER 2 days later, alone in my thoughts, idle mind, after 4 weeks of NC, I relapsed and contacted the OM, much to my detriment. If you read my comment that day I practically begged people on this site to help me for my relapse. I felt absolutely bad. It was horrible. But I PRAYED.

      My darling Jan, let us be each others strength. Pray, Pray, Pray through your temptation. Cry if you have to. Let the temptation pass through. It won’t last long. I promise. But it IS reoccurring. So keep praying. It also helps to go through all the different sites on this website. It helps big time. You gain wisdom, and friends. May you b blessed and find the strength to overcome your pain.

      • WP from EU from Spain says:

        Wise words SDN…. Very true… So nice to interact with others on this site…. Jan, SDN, you are not alone….
        WP

    • Trying from United States says:

      One thing that has helped me so much is working on establishing, or in my case re-establishing, some close friendships with other women. Most don’t know of my struggle specifically, but just that I’ve gone through a rough time in my life. It has always been difficult for me to maintain friendships with other women. I’m in a family of all men, so it takes effort and time on my part to reach out to other women. For many years I was focused on raising my family and let my friendships slip. I’ve contacted several Godly women in the past few years, and just gotten to know them better. Also, I have one who knows some of my story who I can trust with confidentiality that I can reach out to anytime. I joined a small group women’s Bible study 7 years ago and those women have become like sisters to me over the years.

      I was also in counselling for 3 years or so …that was essential to my understanding WHY and HOW I could have ever gotten so mixed up. I’m still in the healing process, but at least I can identify most of the time when I’m seeking affirmation in the wrong places for a married woman.

      Jan, I’ll try to respond more later, but one of the best ways to understand and heal is to trust God to lead you through the process. He’ll place people, words to songs, Scripture, encouragement, chastisement, and provide for you needs in His timeline. How amazing that the God of the Universe knows the number of hairs on your head and mine! We can trust Him to “never leave or forsake us” as long as we Trust Him.

      I understand the “obsessive nature” of this temptation –I’m guessing you’re a woman who’s used to being in control of yourself and your life, and this is very out of character for you! I was that same woman… I did and said awful things when I was deceived and in the middle of the EA. Everything I criticized or judged other people for struggling with –I was doing! One lesson through all of this is to see others with eyes of mercy as they struggle with life …we have no clue what people are struggling with and why they do the things they do. Jesus calls us to love and forgive! Just as He loved and forgave us!

      Prayers and blessings! Please feel free to post as you can. It has been helpful to many of us to post here instead of contacting the OM …but please know that you’re not alone in the battle. There is HOPE!

  9. Susan from United States says:

    I won’t go into detail now, but I have been in an EA for 2 1/2 years and it has been SO HARD. I will tell my story later, but just want to say I wish I had found this site much earlier… at least I have now. The isolation of secrets is so very hard. I am just thankful to find this site. Thanks, S

    • WP from EU from Netherlands says:

      Hi Susan from the US, Of course Susan, you are among friends here. All of us have dealt with similar things, and all have come to the same conclusions you have stated. This is a site where we share stories, ask questions, and support each other… very helpful. You do not have to walk this difficult road by yourself! People will not judge you here.

      Reading the advice given at the beginning was very helpful for me, as well as reading all the personal accounts in this section. There are other portions of this site… more for you to absorb from there.

      Take care… hope to hear from you… WP (Work in Progress)

    • Trying from United States says:

      Susan, I welcome you, and weep for you. My prayer is that Truth will set you free. You’ve found a great place to get an education on a topic many of us had never heard of until we found ourselves where you are. But the longer you’re in a relationship, the “deeper the hook” is imbedded in your heart. If you’ve ever gone fishing, you know the trick to getting the hook out of the fish if it’s in deep. I say this not to discourage or scare you… but to give you hope! I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe that the Creator God of the Universe led you here …to Biblical Truth, and a community of believers who will love and support you in this trial.

      Share your story when you are ready. There is a form of healing that occurs with telling it. And know that you’re loved and prayed for!!

  10. SDN from United Kingdom says:

    Hey friends. WP, I hope you are doing better. These past couple of days have been amazing. It’s by God’s grace that moved swiftly through my days without much thought on OM. I kept thanking God for that. I also kept reading through different sites on EA. I find that the more wisdom I arm myself with, the less weak I become. Or should I say the stronger I become.

    However, today for absolutely no reason, not even ‘intense curiosity’, I logged onto FB and checked out his profile. I felt and still am feeling a bit low about that. Not exactly a relapse but I could have done without it. I don’t understand why I always go there. It hurts me if I see something I don’t like. Then why do I still log on? Please help friends. Let’s unscramble the dilemma. Perhaps state the obvious.

    • WP from EU from Netherlands says:

      Hi SDN, Trying and all, I’m doing well, thank you… but it’s not easy. That sounds SO familiar SDN… (your latest post). I KNOW what you mean when you say, “Not exactly a relapse but I could have done without it. I don’t understand why I always go there. It hurts me if I see something I don’t like. Then why do I still log on? Please help friends. Let’s unscramble the dilemma. Perhaps state the obvious.” My reaction is:

      It becomes more and more apparant to me that this is really a COMPULSION, a DRIVE, which we don’t like, something almost DISSOCIATED from ourselves but, which pulls us where we don’t want to go (yet feel irresistably compelled to go). You said in an earlier post, “But I think the need for the OM/W has nothing to do with our spouse. It’s something that’s deep within us — a void perhaps.” THIS rings VERY true with me… You further imply that this void stems from the abuse we experienced when we were young. I would agree with THAT, as well!

      Trying, you said, “I understand the “obsessive nature” of this temptation.” implying an “addiction” SDN, you said, “WP, EA are horrible. It’s an addiction, just like a drug addiction. So hard to beat temptation.” So now what? We need HELP and SUPPORT… we cannot do this completely alone…

      Trying, you said you were pursuing friendships with more women. Great idea! You feel you can talk in confidence with one good female friend- that is a great step forward for you…

      I am spending time on this site, and prayerfully reading the content here. Perhaps we need to better understand / appreciate who we are in God’s eyes, redeemed, ransomed, deemed righteous and blameless… to concentrate on the Love of God, and pray that He would FILL this void.

      People used to tell me that “God loves you.” This statement would always leave me very frustrated since I had no idea what that meant in everyday life. Now I’m just beginning to “get it.” I think more often of the things Jesus did and said. I try to imagine what He was like as a person. I’m sure He was a wonderful storyteller. The “down and outs” of the world, the forgotten, the forsaken, the despised and the depressed felt comfortable with Him. I think of the agonies of the long night before the crucifixion, as well as the terrible event itself, and I have no words to describe what I feel. The words “grateful” and “thankful” fall FAR too short. Only HE can fill the void, only HE can make things right, only HE can wash us clean. (I’m thinking yet again of the waterfall…) I can only be thankful that He gave EVERYTHING… for ME… and for YOU… and ask Him to help me live my life in a way, which pleases Him…

      Whatever it takes, I want to be able to say to myself that my wife CAN trust me… THAT keeps me off FB… I’ve also decided that I would only do or say those things to other women that I would do or say if my wife were with me at the same table.

      It’s good to spend some time here on this site and share where we are… It remains difficult. but NOT impossible. We’ll get there… Hope to hear from some of you soon, WP (Work in Progress)

      • SDN from United Kingdom says:

        Hi Work in Progress. I always look forward to your advice. Especially when you quote our own convictions and interpret it for us. Makes us believe in our own words more. First and foremost I’d lilke to bring something to your attention. You said you love helping people and that’s why you tried to ‘help’ the OW. It was a dishonest way of helping them especially since even you got emotionally attached and addicted to them. Here you are on this site doing exactly what you like doing, i.e. HELPING People. You are doing it in a healthy way. You are sharing such an ugly experience to make a beautiful difference in the lives of us all. We gather strength and comfort from other people’s experiences.

        I am always on this site or other similar places, and something I read recently which resonates for me and which is helping me every time my mind lingers to something about the OM: People who have engaged in EA and who want to practice the NC rule must remember that when we miss these people and in terms of an ’emotional’ affair it is the FANTASY we miss and not the actual PERSON. It’s nice to remember this because the next question would be WHY do I have this ‘fantasy’? We can all answer this in a subjective context to ourselves. The OM only filled a void, only played a role in our fantasy but we don’t love them. It was all a lie. Something lacking substance. We saw only the good. It was an illusion portrayed by social media. We choose what we want to put on social media.

        The above I am hoping is good food for thought. Just thought I’d also add that I’m doing so much better after my relapse almst 3weeks ago. Gosh feels like it was more than that. My prayers and blessings with you all. SDN

        • WP from EU from Netherlands says:

          Hi SDN, Yes definitely food for thought. Thank you for your comments… The more I think about it, the more I see what you’re saying and agree. Certainly true for the social media EA’s. I would imagine it’s far more difficult when you have an EA with a person you actually meet and know. I didn’t start out conversing with the social media OW’s with the objective to help them. Rather, we just began talking… then they expressed themselves to me… I understood so well how they felt… and we established a bond that way. They felt understood by me… and vice versa. Then the emotional attachment grew, and… well, you know all about that. On the one hand, it was wonderful to have such an understanding with these people. On the other hand, I was scared of where it was going. I was VERY stressed!

          Interesting you say you look forward to my advice (Thank you!)… but I’m not intending at all to “give advice” as if I’m better than people here and know how it all works. Noooo… Far from it! I’m only expressing myself… trying to get a better grip on this annoying “void,” which I don’t really understand. (I’ve never had counseling… maybe that’s why…)

          My abuse was bad. I remember it very well. You say you experienced similar things so I know you understand. The event(s) I can handle… But far worse though, I felt completely forsaken by those who should have been of help. THAT has taken it’s toll. For so long I was convinced.. “No one REALLY cares..” Psalm 27.10- “My father and mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up” strikes a deep chord. I love my parents very much… and I do honor them (carefully consider their advice) but there is still a gap… However!!… God has taken me a long way forward.

          You say, “it is the FANTASY we miss and not the actual PERSON. It’s nice to remember this because the next question would be WHY do I have this ‘fantasy’?” I would say for me it started with the abuse at age 12… and experiencing complete “forsaken-ness.” It’s not a fantasy for me but rather a “void” which is… most of the time in the “back row” but sometimes moves to “front and center” when I am alone, or when I feel far away from my spouse (this is rare). Being close to the OW’s very unexpectedly filled that void… the fantasy filled that void… which I never anticipated or sought. Therefore it was very hard to write those letters… but write them I did… and I’m happy about that. I felt I was going back to the “void” but still… writing the letters was necessary of course. Making the break was necessary of course.

          Now when I’m alone, more often I experience solitude and peace… rather than a screaming void and feeling forsaken. When I express these things, I also experience solitude and peace. The void is absent… a most wonderful thing!

          I like how you say, “The OM only filled a void, only played a role in our fantasy but we don’t love them. It was all a lie. Something lacking substance. We saw only the good. It was an illusion portrayed by social media. We choose what we want to put on social media. Very true SDN. You say this very well. You have a way with words and expression. Have to think about this for a while. Such a help… worth gold. Thank you for your prayers and blessings. It has been a very good excercise to really put these things in writing. I’ve never done this before.

          I am very happy you are doing better after your relapse (3 weeks ago?? already??) Really!! I mean what I say… Means alot… your comments… WP

  11. WP from EU from Netherlands says:

    Hi SDN, and everyone, SDN- These sites are really good!! have read them thoroughly and bookmarked them as well. Thank you for forwarding the links!

    Also helps to spend some time here on this site as well…It’s good to read others’ experiences, and realize we are not alone, that we can share our defeats…AND victories!! No matter how big or how small. God did not make us to be islands. Here are some other links which were helpful for me… just to understand and give these things a place:

    Dr. Phil – Shows – Couple Follow-Ups
    “Flirting with Disaster” Dr. Phil – first story on this page
    http://www.drphil.com/shows/show/108

    Affairs of the Heart (7 parts- see the others on the right side – very good)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4X7KB6Xdcg

    “Emotional Affairs – Jimmy Evans” A lot of sites by this pastor on the subject…. also good…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBZ1XjBitYA

    A lot of material which was helpful to me.

    I hope you all are doing well.. May God surround each of you with His angels, may He protect you and give you peace. WP

  12. WP from EU from Netherlands says:

    I too feel sad sometimes. I too read the comments on this site, and on other sites, to help me get back on track. I realize all too well that any EA is not good, that only heartache is lurking in the shadows. We all know that, yet it remains difficult. Hope to hear from some of you soon… to know how you are doing… what’s happening. WP

    • SDN from United Kingdom says:

      Hi work in Progress and the rest of the crew in the same boat. Ahoy mateyS! Thank you for the links WP. I did not yet get a chance to watch the shows.

      I hope you all are doing fine. You know what’s so amazing WP, is we can actually counsel ourselves from the material we find on the internet. Now don’t get me wrong, sure it’s only a contributing source that we use to overcome our addiction. But isn’t it amazing? I feel so empowered when I read all the stuFf I come across on the many different sites about EA.

      Recently I feel I’m in such a safe place with this whole EA. I won’t talk too soon tho because of course, there’s the ups and downs. It takes a great amount of effort to remember why I’m doing this –pulling away from the OM and claiming my life back. I’m also very scared of relapsing but in all honesty I recall what I felt the last time I relapsed and I don’t want to put myself through that ever. Here again I must stop and not talk too soon. The more time that passes the better I feel AND the greater the chances of me relapsing.

      How you ask? There’s always the temptation lurking to prove to myself if I really REALLY did progress. To prove that, I think it’s human nature to want to converse with the OM/W to check if we feel the same, to check their FB page to see if our feelings change. DON’T EVER! I memorized the reasons under why we should maintain NC policy. One that resonates is any new contact (even if checking their FB page) means new hurt, new illusions, new disappointment! How beautifully said. And simple. Why must I concoct an opportunity to hurt myself again? Never! I won’t. It’s not worth it.

      I love this site! Even if I come here just to offload my mind off all thoughts. I do so. Like just did now.

      WP how are you doing? How else do you cope? I think that when we’re idle and lonely even for just 5 min. It’s dangerous. We must constantly remind ourselves to maintain NC. It take not even 10 secs to create a text to the OM/W. Fatal! Absolutely. My sincerest prayers and blessings to u all. I think of u all often. My pillar of strength. Let us do this, shall we? SDN

      • WP from EU from Netherlands says:

        Hi SDN, and everyone, I’m doing fine… but, as you say SDN, I need to be on my guard… Your words here: “…any new contact (even if checking their FB page) means new hurt, new illusions, new disappointment! How beautifully said. And simple. Why must I concoct an opportunity to hurt myself again? Never! I won’t. It’s not worth it.” Well said!

        I read these sites, and other sites… I read people’s stories, and the same thing comes up again… there is pain and heartache on every “EA path.” Yes, I think we can counsel ourselves with talking to one another and building each other up with this and other sites, our own experiences, but especially the Word of God and prayer… You… AND we… ARE empowered when we read internate material, share what we learn, share our victories and defeats, and pray for one another. Isn’t this what the “Body of Christ” is about? Galatians 6.2: Bear one another’s burdens, and so fullfill the law of Christ… means just this don’t you think?

        I promised my wife I would stay off FB. So far so good. However I do get email notices of activity on my page… and I do see efforts to contact me by one OW. This hurts. It’s hard not to go in and talk to her again. I talked to my wife about it… we agreed not stay off FB. This is hard for me… She… of all three … was the one who really wanted to stay friends… and not overstep the line into true “emotional affair” status. If I talk to her again… I know where it will go… right back onto a lot of time talking, loss of my wife’s trust, more hurt, heartache, stress, misunderstanding… NOooo… I don’t want this!!

        As you say SDN, “I love this site! Even if I come here just to offload my mind.. Like I just did now.” Same for me! I gain strength from your words… and the messages others leave here. When I come here I always hope there is a new addition…

        Yes SDN… “Let us do this, shall we?” Thanks for your prayers and blessings… I hope to hear from you and also from others… soon. As you say… Let’s claim our lives back!! WP

      • Trying from United States says:

        “One that resonates is any new contact (even if checking their FB page) means new hurt, new illusions, new disappointment! How beautifully said. And simple. Why must I concoct an opportunity to hurt myself again? Never! I won’t. It’s not worth it.”

        –I am a living testimony that this is so very, very true! I share this in deep pain, but pray you’ll have compassion on me. To summarize for those of you newer on this site…I developed a close personal relationship with a male friend who was going through marital trouble, ignorant to the signs of EA (or choosing to disregard them?) 3 1/2 years ago. It lasted 7 months. We haven’t talked or had contact for any length of time since then, but live close by, and frequent the same social events so we do know the basics about one another’s lives and families through our shared acquaintances.

        One month ago, we were both in the same place at the same time without our spouses (unplanned meeting,)–and we talked. A long time. One on one in a public setting with many others around, BUT…

        In the long run, I think I’ll be thankful, as we had no closure 3 years ago. That night I was able to make myself very clear that I’ll never leave my husband voluntarily…no matter how troubled my marriage is. But the price I’ve paid –was it worth it? I definitely had some questions answered that have haunted me for 3 years, but was it worth it? Because our conversation also generated more thoughts and questions!! Isn’t that how it goes??? Was it worth it?

        I have a scar that was reopened… and it hurts. A lot some days. Journalling has really helped. I often turn to that to express my thoughts, and try to work through the emotion in private places to spare my family. But back to school time again, and I’m alone much more –and so true, SDN, alone and idle are a bad combination with this struggle. I’ve gone to sleep and woken up crying the past 2 days and I don’t want to deal with that type of depression again!! So I am logged on here :) And hoping and praying that someone can learn from my mistakes.

        Laura, I know you can identify… years of praying and wanting the feelings for this man to disappear… but they don’t. So learning to live in grace, accepting the pain in our hearts as part of this stage of our life’s journey, trying to make the right decisions to honor the boundaries of our marriages, falling down…sometimes very hard…and getting back up again–knowing that because of the mercy and grace of Jesus–we will survive.

        It makes me long for heaven so much more… to be free of these earthly struggles, to win the victory found through Jesus Christ, No more tears or crying… to see our loved ones face to face again… To be with Jesus. Forever.

        • SDN from United Kingdom says:

          Hi Trying. I’m so heartsore that you’ve been crying these past few days. Who better to know that feeling than your EA ‘colleagues’? My sincerest prayers to you. May God give you the strength to pass through this phase in your life. Do not forget the words: ‘this, too, shall pass’.

          Trying, I don’t know you from a bar of soap but I feel absolutely sad that EVEN after 3 and a half years you’re ‘trying’ to cope, trying to get over the OM. My feeling for you is as strong as if it is me who was walking your path. Yes, we are all in the same style of predicament but THREE AND a HALF YEARS is… insane.

          I’m so tempted to ask WHY? I had an EA for 2 and a half years and only very recently did I feel the urge to walk away. As mentioned in my previous post I feel as though I’m in a safe place NOW. I pray and hope that for me, it does not take as long as 3 and a half years to move forward.

          HOWEVER Trying, I feel your pain. I’ll keep you in my prayer. I always wondered why you, Laura and RM are silent on this site and I deduced that if you all are not here it’s a good thing. It either means there is no need OR, it means you relapsed and as I would think ‘floating on cloud 9 illusions’… Trying, Pray Pray Pray. Come here and vent. Arm yourself with words of wisdom. Rationalize on why u should let go of the EA.

          I think for me and in my case, I involved myself with a very self centered man. He truly was an illusion. Lies, lies, lies. I knew they were all lies but somehow I wanted the attention so badly from HIM only, so the lies didn’t matter. However as I learned more and more the sort of calibre that the OM had and as I felt more destruction in my life, the tears, the anger, the jealousy… I said to myself, I HAD ENOUGH! So based on all the BAD, it was easy to walk away. His so-called ‘love’ for me was a lie. He used me to fill his ego. He wanted to always know how handsome he was. Having a married woman ‘love’ him made his ego sky rocket. He was a selfish man. I pity the women he’ll ‘indulge’ with in the future. He’s always in need of flattery, comfort… Almost as tho he IS a lonely man with low self esteem.

          Trying, YOU, WP, ME and the rest of the crew have been SAVED. If GOD could show us the kind of destruction the EA would have caused our famalies had we pursued the OM/W… I’m sure we will be floating to recovery. It would not be as hard as it is now. Let us always remember that it’s in the best interests of US, our peace of mind and our famalies that we keep away from these OM/W. Who do we have, if not our families??? We’re rich only if we have our loved ones near. Imagine if we were to lose a child or our very own spouse?

          Let us let go of the OM/W and LIVE every day as tho it’s the last. Let us relish in the delight of our God given partners and children. Our parents, our tru friends, our pets. Remember that Satan put these OM/W in our lives to pull us apart from God and to make us unhappy. Let us shame the Devil!!! My Prayers with U Trying. Please vent more often. We are here just for that. SDN

          • SDN from United Kingdom says:

            Hi WP. It’s good to know that you’re doing well. I think that in terms of progress we’re both on the very same page. I think it’s imperative that you do without these e-mails from FB telling you when you have received posts and inboxes on FB. If I stand corrected, when deactivating FB, it does give u that option.

            No contact WP… 99% compliance is non-compliance. It’s on the site that I shared with you all via links. Don’t forget that these e-mails are a form of temptation. You shouldn’t be aware of these OW for a very, very, long time until you fully recover and heal. We’re all broken right now. We cannot think straight. It will give you more peace of mind in the long run if you do away with the notifications you receive via e-mail of activity on FB. Consider it. I too also wait for new additions on this site. Ever ready to help as well as just express my feelings.

            WP, I hope you regain your strength and willpower. My heartfelt prayers and blessings to u ALL. SDN

        • WP from EU from Netherlands says:

          Hi Trying, SDN… and everyone. Today is not a good day. The pain is back to be honest… I’m struggling with feelings…. one, an overwheming desire to make my marriage the BEST… and to this I am committed, and with other feelings, for the OW’s in a funny kind of way, since I haven’t contacted them at all since 10 June, and again once in late July when my wife was with me, as we had agreed. Today I was visiting another site on marriage, and saw a video… the woman speaking looked SO MUCH like the Social media OW…. it was uncanny. Also I received another more recent email notice that one OW was trying to contact me, as I said above in my last post. This hurts.

          As you say Trying, it has reopened a scar… I understand VERY WELL what you’re expressing. And yes… it hurts. Of course anyone here who has experienced these things will have compassion on you! I certainly do…

          SDN, you said last 7 August, “My biggest fear is having gotten over the OM in time. Falling trap to ANOTHER OM. What if? I can’t allow it… I’ll pursue my career in law soon and that means I’ll be going OUT to work. What happens if another man gives me that attention? It’s going to be so challenging for me.”

          This I understand. Now I’m scared of anything and anyone which awakens these emotions again. I have read so much, and all this material points to the same thing, how devastating affairs can be… I for sure do not want to travel that road any further.

          SDN, you asked, “How else do you cope?” Here is my answer below. (I’m not “giving advice” here, I’m just answering your question.) :))

          It has been a great help to disclose my social media OW’s with my wife (carefully/ prayerfully of course). Also to listen to her side and her reaction. That was good. It means I don’t have to carry this alone. Now I don’t keep bringing it up…

          I’ve also expressed to my wife the things I NEED and WANT in my marriage… I NEED affection and physical intimacy in a more spontaneous way… I NEED her to listen to me better…. and she has done the same with me. (She NEEDS more leadership… more of a “take charge” bearing. She NEEDS me to pay more attention to her when we’re out with friends). We both know that our marriage is worth far more than the inevitable and unavoidable heartache of an EA. So… we’re both working at it… AND it’s starting to pay off… :))

          I continue to read marriage material on this and other sites… to gain a better understanding of the dynamics of affairs, the whys and the hows. You, SDN and Trying have expressed things very well! Your messages really resonate with me! Also Jan, Susan and Laura..Mary K…. I wonder how you all are…

          I set before me the destructive results… and the statistics. and determine that I will not go there. I think of what I have to lose if I allow myself into an EA again. Lose my wife, my children, family, friends, finances, etc. etc.

          I try not to be alone too much. As you say Trying, “I’m alone much more –and so true, SDN, alone and idle are a bad combination with this struggle.” I think of my waterfall (my post WP from EU from Spain August 10, 2015 at 12:55 am).

          I take my wife out on little outings… I express myself to her… tell her how I feel…

          And now I notice that 3 hours have passed since I started writing this. The sharp pain has lessened considerably… now that I’ve been busy expressing these things. I hope to hear from you all soon… you all are such a help… Thank you for listening… WP

  13. WP from EU from Netherlands says:

    Hi SDN, Trying, So nice to hear from you both…

    Trying, I too feel your pain very much with you as you go though this phase. I can only echo SDN’s comment, “This too shall pass.” It’s good that you log on here and express yourself. This is actually where I’m now journaling… all these texts are my “journal entries.” It does help. I hope you come back soon. Everyone is here for you.

    SDN, your comments are “spot on.” Yes, 99% compliance is NO compliance… obviously very true. I’m getting rid of the email notices. Thanks. I hope to hear from you soon again.

    I’ve been spending time on the following site: See what you think… http://beyondaffairs.com/

    More later. Thanks to you both… and to everyone. Talk soon, WP

    • SDN from United Kingdom says:

      Hi Work in Progress. Sigh! I acknowledge your previous posts. Not in the mood to elevate anyone or comment on anything. Woke up this morning feeling a bit down. Just a tad bit. I guess there was my good day and now it’s my bad day. Of course I’m missing the ‘fantasy’. I wish the effects of the EA would just fade. It’s such a curse. I have no desire to contact the OM but sometimes if I see something on tv, it triggers a memory.

      WP, I admire your guts in exposing the EA to your wife. I could never. My husband doesn’t deserve to know. It will hurt him. I rather feel every bad emotion that comes with the withdrawal from the EA x 1000 than tell my husband and hurt him. It’s not his fault that I always had issues and a void within myself. WP, you remind me of my worst fear – falling into another EA. I pray that I don’t give in to any future temptation. I’ve bookmarked the site you shared with us all. Will dig deeper when I have more time.

      Trying? How are you today? I hope you find the strength to overcome the depression you’re going through. My prayers and good hopes go out to you Trying, WP and the rest. SDN

      • WP from EU from Netherlands says:

        Hi SDN, You’ll know best whether or not to tell your husband. But if you can talk to SOMEONE… a trusted friend, or a family member, that would be a big help I think. Then you’re not carrying this alone. you can make yourself accountable to someone else.

        See what you think… Perhaps you can make promises with a trusted friend on this site… and make your promises easier to keep? Just an idea… You take care of yourself SDN… WP

  14. Trying from United States says:

    Hi SDN, WP, thanks for your concern. I’m ok. I need to clarify several points I believe. My EA is over, and has been for 3 years. We see each other at church events, but have kept very strict boundaries (no one-on-one conversations, no sharing of personal news, no emailing or texting, no Facebook). I formed a very deep bond with the OM that has not easily broken due to the length of time and the closeness that developed during the time of the EA. Also, you mentioned that you had online relationships and only met once, but how that meeting intensified the attraction. Imagine days, weeks, and months (for some of us, even years) of physical and emotional meetings in person. The bond is very strong.

    My husband has chronic mental health issues that he refuses treatment for, and has not been a reliable source of emotional support for the 26 years of our marriage. I’ve developed chronic pain in the past 4 years that I’ve had to learn to live with, and satan has used these 2 factors as tools to tell me “I’m weak and vulnerable” —and I’m without Christ. This experience has been a major trial of my faith. After 38 years of living as a believer in Jesus, you’d think I’d have it straight by now, but I know my faith has grown in ways I could never imagine because of the EA experience.

    Many people develop too close of a relationship with someone they already know. There have been those that have posted that have had EA with a brother in law, or other distant in law. There’s the case of the wife’s best friend being found in bed with her husband, the kind neighbor, the pastor, the single woman with the married man, your children’s teacher, the counselor, the stay at home dad on the playground, the co-worker, the boss! I’ve met someone from each of these categories on the website over the past 5 years. These are people we ALREADY know —but boundaries around our marriages are not kept, and relationships form.

    There will be “triggers” —WP, you experienced one with seeing a woman who looked similar —it may be a song, a scent, a phrase, a time of year, a holiday, a color —anything that brings the memory of that individual to the forefront of your mind. Sometimes you can identify what the trigger is, other times you are blindsided. The test comes with our choice of response. Human nature would want to immediately reach out to that person. And in a healthy relationship that’s a wonderful thing to do —reach out and let someone know you are thinking of them! But we train ourselves with an EA, to ignore our instinctive response, and that can require a lot of grace and discipline.

    Last point, and really a life lesson for any tough situation, Laura, RM, and others of us visualize the ocean. Some days are much stormier than others, with huge waves crashing against the shore, tumbling and tossing everything in their path. The next day, it’s smooth and calm with a gentle ripples splashing along the beach, beautiful to behold and very different from the day before. The phrase that has been the lifeline for me is “ride the wave” –The intense longing, sadness, desire to break NC, the emotion DOES NOT LAST. As WP mentioned yesterday, it passes with time. I typically don’t post on one of the “stormy days”… and yet, like I said yesterday, if I can help someone else… by sharing the experience.

    I think of the account from the Bible of Peter and his friends, when they were out fishing one night, and Jesus came walking to them across the water. He told Peter to get out of the boat and come to Him. Peter walked on water as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus. But as soon as he looked down at the waves, he began to sink! I had taken my eyes off of Jesus, and was looking at the stormy waves. God is merciful, and gracious, full of mercy and patience, and when we TRUST HIM, we are at peace.

    • WP from EU from Netherlands says:

      Hi SDN and Trying… (here mainly for SDN: later mainly for Trying,) Thank you, SDN, for your latest post. I return to your posts and re-read them often. I thought I should tell you that. It’s not my wife’s fault that I always had issues and a void within myself. Oh yes, I know what you mean with this “void.” I have that too… you’ve read my previous posts. It’s wonderful that someone else understands this “void!”

      SDN and Trying, There’s another reason why yesterday was a BAD day. I believe there was the potential of another EA with a coworker. Yes… that has been in the background. We do like each other, and had written just a few texts earlier this year, but then had no contact at all for about 4 weeks since we were both on holiday. I had lunch with her last week, and suggested that we have lunch once or twice a week. THAT I felt VERY bad about, KNOWING I shouldn’t have done it… so I FULLY understand how you felt with your relapse, SDN. I felt the same! Yesterday I ran into her in the lunchroom (unplanned) and sat down with her and a friend. Then went with her to her car because she was leaving for the day. She told me her doctor was really interested in her, and that she didn’t want a wrong relationship. I told her… yes, I don’t want a wrong relationship either. I felt good about saying that to her (and meant it!). Later that day she sent me a message saying that a lunch meeting for next week wasn’t possible because she has a doctor’s appointment. I felt VERY relieved. But yesterday my feelings were basically AWFUL. TODAY I had no contact with her her at all. So… mixed feelings today, but not so good in general.

      So later today I told my wife. (It was DIFFICULT!!) But I HAD to do it. I had told her about this girl 4 weeks ago… telling her then that “I had a feeling this could go wrong,” so it wasn’t completely new for her. Still, I told her basically what I wrote here just now, and promised that I would have no further contact with her, even though the co-worker and I had both stated we don’t want a wrong relationship.

      My wife and I prayed. She was happy I told her… (even though she said her heart stopped for a minute when I began my story), for our marriage, for me, for her. I feel like a weight has lifted from my shoulders. No secrets, and I feel so much better… knowing that I’ve done something RIGHT.

      Maintaining no contact will be easier now since I have promised my wife. I know this since I have promised my wife I would not go into FB… that promise has given me strength to stay off FB for 2 months now. SO I know it will be the same here. I need that extra help. I doubt I could do it without the promise.

      Staying away will also be easier because I really do NOT want any more of these confessions with my wife! Enough is enough! Every day is a “little victory” when we arrive at the end of that day with zero contact with the AP, regardless of what our feelings have been doing during that time. Today is a “little victory” day. My feelings may be up, down and sideways, but I am happy with what I have done with my feelings today. The last days have been BAD…. but today has ended pretty well.

      Hi Trying, (also SDN) I have the HIGHEST respect for you, Trying, in your very difficult situation (also for you SDN). Trying, In the first paragraph of your text here, you say, “Imagine days, weeks, and months (for some of us, even years) of physical and emotional meetings in person…” I’ve done just that, and have wondered how anyone can cope with such strong feelings. I have had just a hint of that with the coworker.

      You are NOT “weak and vulnerable!” and you are NOT wthout Christ! Please let these words BURN into your mind and heart… your 38 years as a believer have made you into a real example… certainly for me, and I’m sure for anyone else who reads your posts. Your words about triggers are so true! You have a way with words. You describe these things very well! I like your analogy of the ocean… storms and calm… also very true.

      I return often to your posts too….. and read them again and again. Your words (SDN and Trying) help more than you know. I stay occupied with work tasks, I think of scripture in my mind, I think of the Christ Who died for me, I listen to other people when they want to tell me something… I play with my daughter’s dogs… I remember that yes, these feelings will pass… that ALL storms have an end… that the calm DOES COME. Hope to hear from you both, and others… soon. WP (Work in Progress)

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