Getting “Unhooked” From An Emotional Affair

unhooked emotional affair Dollar photoclub_102643162.jpg“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.

To get unhooked, 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. 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). He or she 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 to getting unhooked 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 it will be 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 they 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. 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.

This article comes from the excellent book, TORN ASUNDER: 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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Filed under: Emotional & Physical Affair Emotional Infidelity

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2,116 responses to “Getting “Unhooked” From An Emotional Affair

  1. Briefly, thanks so much for your prayers. I have told my counselor and also my mentor that I am telling my husband this weekend. This is a huge step of Faith for me. Our relationship is congenial right now, for that I am grateful. God has daily and hourly walked me through this Valley, and time is healing my heart somewhat. I have seen OM momentarily each week in church, and he is heartbroken. Your continued prayers are requested. I am so thankful for this website!!! I hope to share more of my journey later. God’s grace is sufficient!

    1. We are upholding you in prayer. You may want to post it on the Prayer Wall that you can see on the Home Page. We have faithful people who pray for the requests posted there. I’m sure you can use all the prayer you can get. God bless!

    2. Hi Trying, You’re at a crucial turning point… and you will come through the tunnel, and out the other end…this is perhaps the most difficult part of ridding yourself from the hold of this powerful addiction…and you CAN take this step! Scary, but the freedom at the other end is more than worth it :))

      1. Hi WP, Trying, Laura, Trying, you have made some real progress in this Emotional Affair. Hope you can stay out of contact with OM; it sure helps with the healing.

        WP, you are doing so well and have moved on from the EA for such a long time now. Keep up the good work! I am improving and have stayed out of contact with OM for about a month now. I have successfully deleted email, pictures, etc. It is somewhat of a numbing feeling. I still am quite teary at times but know that I am making progress. In a way, it feels like cleaning house with my heart. The Lord continues to be my rock and is helping me move in the right direction! God’s blessings and peace to all who visit this site!

        1. Hi Elaine, So good to hear your news! Thank you :) You are doing so well! Yes the emotions can catch you unawares, I know. I still have that stab of pain when I see a car which looks like hers. But it’s far better than before… sounds like where you are right now! It does get better… Thank God. Deleting the emails, photos, tel numbers and the like is difficult for sure. But the alternative as far worse. Anyway, many thanks for letting us know how you are… You are not alone you know.

          Trying… what’s happening with you??? How are you??? How did your conversation go ??? Hope you all are well… WP (Work in Progress) (still)

          1. Quick update. I have been swamped! Told hubby that weekend, and asked his forgiveness–God is so merciful. He did not want to know who I was involved with, has agreed to forgive me, but that will take time. One week later, husband injured at work, and off the remainder of the week! Time together was good, but we have a very very long way to go. My biggest temptation is OM will NOT give up. Continues to try to message, text, stop at work, talk to me in church…

            Elaine I know you know the struggle! I am in weekly counseling, and daily accountability with him, and my mentor, so all in all–I am making progress in the right direction, and for that I am very grateful! This has been such a gut-wrenching experience, somedays dying a thousand times to myself, and resisting the desire to reach out. Once again, he is so close, so available, so unavoidable in my small community… But God is faithful and just to deliver me.

            Yet 1 Cor 10:13 has been TRUTH over and over again in my life. God DOES make a way of escape with every temptation.
            Continue in prayer for us! All 4 of us! Our spouses, and OM and I. He continues to remain deceived, justifying our relationship and wanting to remain friends. Thanks in advance!

  2. Hi Trying…Very good to hear from you! I have the strong impression that God is closer to you than you are aware… that He walks with you holding your hand, that He is allowing this scenario to unfold for His reasons, that your work here is not finished, but rather that you are being prepared. OM’s close proximity, the fact that he is not giving up, that you have to deal with this temptation and look for the way out and follow the way out… this is not happening by coincidence at all!!

    You have now, and also will have, a powerful story to tell with conviction for those who will need your insight and help. You are “abiding in the shadow of the Almighty” and you are “covered with His pinions,” and “He will not allow you to be tried beyond what you are able.” To use your own words, God is also “so close, so available, so unavoidable in my small community,” Thanks for your words. “His eye is upon you.” ~Work in Progress

  3. I’ve been sitting in my car at the gym….frozen in action for 45 minutes…. stuck in a mix of emotions. Anger, hurt, pain, shame, confusion, exhaustion, fear — wishing I had the solution to take it away. I should go in and sweat it off but the emotions have drained me. So I’m just sitting here doing nothing but thinking and processing. Almost texted him. Almost called him. Came on here to see if anyone has posted lately, but it’s been a long time. But thought I’d reach out anyway. Here is safe. Here I’m supported. Here I know the emotions are understood. If I write here, then maybe I’ll stay strong and not reach out to him. I’m so incredibly sad I allowed this into my life. Allowed him to own such a big part of me for so so many years.

    1. Oh Father, Come near to Laura and help her to be strong and resist the temptation to make contact. Let her feel Your loving presence in a way that she has never felt before, so that she begins to know more of the infinite measure of Your love for her. Calm her emotions and fill her with Your peace. Show her a glimpse of Your plan for her life, Your perfect plan for her, and draw her forward on the path that You have laid out for her. Heal her of her pain, and give her an overwhelming passion to live fully for You. I bring these requests to You on the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus, Amen!!!

    2. Stay strong Laura!! You can do this…. I hope you see this very late note- I haven’t been in this site for some time…. but you’re not alone!! Yes you’re safe here, and yes you are understood, and Yes, others have travelled the same road you are now trying to navigate. It gets better!! IT REALLY DOES. But no contact is the very best way. I know this all too well. It’s been many months now…. and the force of attraction does ebb away over time.

      It is sad that this has entered your life, you’re right about that… but now you can turn the thing around- talk with your firends and family, occupy yourself with other pursuits. Talk to others on this site, and make use of the support group here. There are many who pray for you, and think of you. Don’t give in…. It gets better….
      Hope to hear from you…. I will be back to this site very soon.
      WP (Work in Progress)

      1. Thank you M and WP for reaching out in support. It means so much to me. Honest truth here, my former AP and I have never gone NC. We are so both so tightly engrained in the same community that it was not possible to not see each other. So we have tried the friends route. But that’s just been this push and pull all these years. And I just keep getting hurt over and over. I offer way more support as a friend than he does. He only comes to me when he needs encouragement or some help with something and rarely can be bothered to reach out to see how I am or ask about my life. So it’s so unhealthy. He has joked before about being narcissistic, and I’ve laughed it off with him, but yet that is what is revealed to me time and again through his actions. A close friend and colleague of his is also a friend of ours (no one knows of the affair at all). This mutual friend recently shared some difficulties he is having working with the exAP and quickly talked about narcissitic traits. This is someone who knows him well and is also now calling him narcissitic. So now I’m wondering if that isn’t what I’ve been dealing with all these years. But then I remember the tender side, the vulnerable side he would share. I also know he is going through a lot of challenges right now (via the community grapevine today), and I worry about him and want to reach out. My stomach is in knots.

        Although we see each other a few times a month at events, we have not spoken in over half a year. That’s completely my doing by avoiding, taking different routes, coming late, leaving early, etc. Please remind me this is the right choice. I know it’s the right choice.

        But how do I get rid of the hurt that he can’t be bothered to reach out to me? He has said he wants to be friends, but doesn’t make any effort and it’s painful. Like I’m not worthy of the time or effort.

        See how warped my head is about this? I set my boundary, then am hurt he doesn’t try to cross it. So stupid!

        If anyone new is reading and trying to get unhooked, I cannot stress it enough, go no contact. Cut all ties, block all numbers, don’t hesitate.

        Laura

        1. Oh Father, come close to Laura and let her feel Your presence. By Your Spirit, encourage her to stay on the narrow path in her life. Show her that Your heart is to walk with her in her life, in a way that no earthly man can ever walk. Teach her to be close to You in the spirit, that she may learn to share the deepest desires of her heart with You. Calm her heart, and draw her close, to relax in Your loving arms. May her affections be for Jesus, to know Him and to follow Him fully! Oh Father, I ask You to give Laura a taste and a craving for all that You have for her, so that she craves the inappropriate affection of others no longer. I bring these requests to You in the name of our Precious Lord and Savior Jesus, Amen!!!

          1. Thank you M… Your prayers are beautiful you know…you have a special gift here….WP (Work in Progress)

        2. Hi Laura,
          So good to hear from you. You have analyzed your situation rather well. In one way you can be thankful that he doesn’t reach out to you more and ask about how your life is going. That would make it all the more difficult for you. You mention his having narcissistic tendencies, seems that this is probably accurate. From what you say above, it seems that he is “feeding off of you,” more than “contributing to a relationship” (with you) even though you know this relationship is not healthy. He is taking advantage of the kindhearted person that you are. Seems very one sided.
          Your policy of “by avoiding, taking different routes, coming late, leaving early, etc.” is very good, but now you have to go the rest of the way toward complete NC. Yes, may I remind you that NC is the best way!! I have travelled this road myself, and have gone through the same merry-go-round that you describe.

          You ask, “But how do I get rid of the hurt that he can’t be bothered to reach out to me? He has said he wants to be friends, but doesn’t make any effort and it’s painful. Like I’m not worthy of the time or effort.”

          There is only one way out of the “cycle of hurt” you are experiencing- that is complete detachment. The hurt DOES ebb away, it DOES become less intense.
          It’s like getting rid of weeds in your garden. Don’t water them or feed them! Then they must wither away until they become a distant memory. As long as they are fed and watered, even at a minimum level, they will stay alive and bite you.

          You do not want to measure your personal worth by the degree to which he reaches out to you. He has said he wants to be friends (feels good for you- very understandable) But then he doesn’t reach out (this hurts- also understandable- ONLY BECAUSE you are measuring your worth by his actions! – the lack thereof)

          We must never forget our true worth- in the eyes of Jesus the Son of the Living God, YOU are worth His suffering on the Cross, His humilation, His hurt and His pain. You are worth all that to Him!! Wow!! When I think about that, it takes my breath away…..

          Your words here below are very well said: “See how warped my head is about this? I set my boundary, then am hurt he doesn’t try to cross it. So stupid!

          If anyone new is reading and trying to get unhooked, I cannot stress it enough, go no contact. Cut all ties, block all numbers, don’t hesitate.”

          You should take your own advice here Laura. And you CAN!

          So many here who know where you are, and so many here who pray for you to realize your own worth, and break out of this cycle…… You can do this Laura…. every day of NC is a day closer to dead weeds, a day closer to freedom

          Enough for now. Hope to hear from you soon. I’ll be back soon.
          WP (Work in Progress)

          1. Dear WP, I’ve read and reread your response at least eight times over the last many days. Thank you! I just haven’t had the time to really sit and reflect and reply. But finally wanted to take a minute to let you know how much I appreciate you being here. I’ll be in touch soon. God Bless, Laura

  4. Hi Laura, So good to hear from you… thank you so much for your reply. Your earlier comments hit home so very well… I know exactly what you mean. Every so often even now, the temptation to tap out a text on the phone and reach out comes back, but I know all too well that that guilty feeling will be not far behind if I give in. I do not want to feel guilty- the price is too high. Freedom is a valuable commodity- hard to gain and very easy to lose. It is so good to have that freedom, and I don’t want to give it up. Even writing these things gives me strength to stay away and win another day. God knows your struggle, and He is never far away. He knows who you are, and your “sitting down and your rising up.” (Ps 139:2-3) He knows all your ways very well, and He is always with you, especially when you are in trouble. (Ps 91:15) He is pleased with you and has given you “thirst for righteousness” which He promises “shall be filled.”(Matthew 5:6) You are on your way to a better day!

    Thank you for your comment in your most recent reply yesterday … it means a lot :) May God bless you too :) WP (Work in Progress)

    1. Once again, I’ve reread your reply, WP, many times over the past weeks. It has brought me such clarity. The word FREEDOM really hit the spot. I do not feel free, but I know by not reaching out I am much closer to that end of the spectrum than if I contacted him. And that makes me hopeful.

      I’m going to ramble a bit, if that’s okay, and share a bit more of my insights about different aspects of this. Things I have never shared.

      Although we see each other at church regularly from across the room, we have not had a personal conversation in eight months, the longest we’ve ever gone. I’ve wanted to reach out so many times and fix this rift between us and have drafted many emails. Aside from it being so wrong based on marital vows, I know that there really is nothing left to say on my part. FINALLY, after all these years, the pain I will feel if I were to reach out and reconnect on a personal level, trying again to hold on to a so-called friendship, outweighs the desire to do so. Barely, but it does.

      What makes this time of year so difficult is the increase in church liturgies with Holy Week and other things. So I do have to communicate with him via email about business, I’ve kept it minimal and there is always someone else cc’d. Only once did I ‘fail’ because he was not around for a long time when he should have been and I emailed him asking if he was okay. Three short words. He replied and we left it at that. Now this season is drifting back to regular life and it’s so much nicer not seeing him as often. I KNOW he will try to connect and talk, if we cross paths, and I’m determined this time to not go there. We ran into each other in the community this weekend, passed each other in a slow moving parking lot. A simple hello and that was it. I think he is confused by my distance and huge wall, but he shouldn’t be. I’ve expressed myself so clearly enough in the past. This is where I think his arrogance and narcissim raise their ugly heads — I don’t think he respects my position and pushes boundaries knowing how I feel about him.

      He reminds me so very much of my dad. This is the insight I had several years ago. My dad was a charming, strong man – a leader – outgoing – could talk to anyone – commanded attention. Yet with us, kids, he was hyper-critical, nothing was ever good enough, quick to anger, we weren’t allowed to show much emotion (except love and joy). He also never gave much of himself. Only did (does) things when they suited HIM or if HE could benefit from it. He was (is) selfish, but yet he was playful and loving, affectionate, taught us so much about the world, traveled with us, and some of my best parts come from him. But I learned in early adulthood that he was so insecure, and that is where is faults came from. It helped me learn early on that it wasn’t me, it was him. Yet at the same time, the drive for perfection to earn his approval and affection, were already ingrained. It’s taken me a long time to separate that. I attribute most of my growth to my husband. He loves me, every bit of me (faults and all as I say) and has taught me not to be so tough on myself. He is there through and through. I can honestly say he reveres me and only ever looks out for my heart, soul, safety, comfort, and happiness. How blessed am I? And I really had grown into a strong, confident, loving woman — and that woman is still there.

      More succinctly about dad, I grew up thinking if I didn’t perform to his standards, I wasn’t worthy. I had to earn love, had to earn attention. So that led to feelings of unworthiness. Going back to a previous post from earlier this month, yes, I’m basing my worth on the attention from this former affair partner. THAT is how it connects to my dad, how he connects to my dad.

      So being raised in a critical household can leave a girl searching for love in all the wrong people. That’s what happened to my older siblings. All of them have been married multiple times, mostly wrong because they were very nice, yet very timid weak men. So when it came my time to date, I also dated extremely kind, yet quiet timid men. When I met my husband, he was different. He was a man’s man in the best of ways. Strong, smart, funny, playful, wouldn’t let me get away with my BS, respectful of all, full of integrity, honorable in work and personal life, and so much more. I chose SO WISELY! And we really do have an amazing relationship.

      So in my weakness a decade ago (I’ll share another time how it was connected to a developing illness), I was drawn to this other guy. Stunningly handsome, someone I never imagined I could be with, and he has so many amazing qualities too that I admire — so smart, quick witted, affectionate, leader, good dad, protective, and more. But he also reminds me of my dad in that he can be hyper-critical, quick to anger, and only does things that suit HIM.

      Therefore, over the last few years, I find my interactions with him leaving me feeling vulnerable, immature, and weak as if I’m 17 years old and back home again. I have kept going back, accepting the crumbs he offers (just like my dad!), in search of acceptance and a return of honest love and appreciation. I chose to have an affair with someone who was so wrong regardless of our situation. It’s like I worked so hard to make the right choice in a husband, having watched my siblings all fail and falter, and then I turned around a chose an ass anyway. And chose to risk everything for him! And have continued for a decade to risk everything to maintain some sort of relationship under the veil of friendship. It really makes me ill.

      That sick feeling really hit me after our last conversation. And I keep trying to hang on to that ill feeling. Knowing that if I reach out, that’s what’s waiting for me — aversion therapy I guess. However, I know I am NOT immune to him. I see him, hear about him through others, and worry about him. I care, that’s real and honest, and I get lost in not knowing what to do with those cares and worries. Where do I put them? Lately, I just realize that unresolved pain is the price I pay for the affair. So I accept the cost and try to distract myself.

      One last thing if I may, please, that I just need to share and ask for prayers specifically. The last two months have been extremely stressful. Two things: 1. There is an infant in our family that is critically ill and the worry is deep all day long. 2. It was also the busy season at church with lots of visual contact with him and working hard to avoid.

      I usually do not suffer anxiety, but it’s been through the roof! And quite honestly, I’ve been drinking a lot more to alleviate it. Not a ton, but instead of one or two glasses of wine, I may do three or four over the course of the evening. And at social gatherings, I tend to get buzzed far more often. I also do so many other things (exercise, volunteer, crafts, hobbies, time with hubby, family and friends) that helps, but it’s been worrisome to me. So please pray that I find healthier better ways to deal with this all on a regular basis. I really, really, really, do not want to become an alcoholic.

      So there is some of the nitty-gritty, more than you ever needed to know stuff of it all. I’ve been on this journey for so long now. I wonder if that is one reason why I can’t let go. It’s a part of me…? hhmmm? More to think on.

      Thank you so much for reading and hearing my words, my story. I appreciate all the prayerful support anyone can give as I pray for all of you here as well. Laura

      1. Hi Laura! Many thanks for your insightful reply, which I have had to reread several times to absorb all the details. One of your opening sentences is the key to getting out of this vicious circle… “I do not feel free, but I know by not reaching out I am much closer to that end of the spectrum than if I contacted him.” And you have not had a personal conversation in 8 months!! This is excellent news Laura… really very good :) If you “cave” and contact him… those 8 months can disappear in 8 minutes!! Please stay on course and don’t do something you know you will regret :)) But I don’t think you will. You seem to have a strong will, but your strength has been tested… affairs are terrible temptations and can be very powerful, as you and I both know.

        I think of an affair like a sheet of ice on a lake. It is hard and unyielding; it can look beautiful and feel good, but it is cold inside. It seems that nothing can break it… but when the sun comes out, and the weather warms… it is remarkable how quickly it disappears. The warmth of the Spirit and the strength of a contrite heart… NO ice, (or affair) can withstand these superior forces.

        “I’ve wanted to reach out so many times and fix this rift between us and have drafted many emails.” And yet you know that it you “fixed the rift between us,” it would go very wrong very quickly. You would feel guilty, you would be contacting him behind your husband’s back… and… and… then you would have to climb out of the quicksand all over again!

        ——- Why do you want to fix the rift?———

        “…the pain I will feel if I were to reach out and reconnect on a personal level, trying again to hold on to a so-called friendship, outweighs the desire to do so.”

        ————— Well said Laura———————- I can follow your relationship with your Dad pretty well, since it mirrors my own experience in some ways. Of course the dynamic between Dads and their sons is different from that between Dads and their daughters, but there is significant overlap. You are very fortunate with your husband (unlike your siblings) as I am with my wife. (None of my siblings did very well either, same as with you.) I know what you mean when you say: “It’s like I worked so hard to make the right choice in a husband, having watched my siblings all fail and falter, and then I turned around and chose badly anyway. And chose to risk everything for him!” And you are amazed at your own willingness to risk everything for a guy who is clearly wrong for you and more so since you are married to a quality husband!

        I had the same thoughts thinking, “I’m crazy to feel so much for this other woman when I know my wife is the best!” And yet I couldn’t get out, the hold was too powerful. I know you know what I am trying to say. I cared too much. Same as you.

        There is only one way out, and I have had to learn this the hard way. You need to take your eyes and thoughts off of this man and place your care for him on the alter. Colossians 3:2 …Colossians 3:3… your life is hidden with Christ in God. You need to ponder and appreciate the love of God for you, Laura. It took me years before the love of God became more real… I think it took so long because I did not know whether my father loved me or not. So I had to earn that love, but that was impossible. So I did not really have a concept of the “love of God” until more recently… as I ponder the crucifixion, and the fact that our Lord KNEW what he was gong to experience, but He went though it ANYWAY. He could have refused. But He didn’t. He went through it for Laura. For you. Read Psalm 139. Especially Psalm 139:15-17. Then go look at 2 Timothy 2:19 – the phrase “The Lord knows those who are His.” He knows you believe, He knows you care, He made you that way! He gave you a wonderful husband… see Proverbs 18:22. Your husband obtains favor from the Lord because he found a Proverbs 31 wife… you!

        Allow God to look after your affair partner and leave that entire part of your life with God. Turn away from it, devote yourself to learning the love of God, to being that Proverbs 31 wife to your husband, and to your job… and the ice will melt, and disappear.

        As I write this, I think briefly of the person I cared so much for… and I still care… but I know No Contact is the best way. So I turn my thoughts away, and I trust God again, and I can taste my freedom once again. Freedom is priceless, and can so easily be lost. Guess I have been rambling as well, but I feel my comments are correct here, so I will leave them alone.

        Your very ill infant in your family… our son was injured in a kickboxing contest a few years ago, and the doctors said his blurred and double vision could not be fixed. We prayed for his eyes… we trusted as best we could… but no real change. We prayed, then I was distracted, we prayed some more… and two months later, he came to us and said he could see normally! No ill effects. And the doctors don’t have an explanation. Our daughter was in a sometimes life threatening, very abusive relationship, which lasted 8 years. We saw no way out. 4 years ago she finally left, soon after her daughter was born. She was able to get into a house with high security features, and is now married with a fine young man, and they have a daughter now of their own. We have other stories too… we’ve been Christians now for 40 years. God knows where you and your family are, and He is aware of all things. I grew up in an alcoholic household. No, you don’t want to go there. For sure. But that’s a story for another time.

        Go to those Bible references, find others of your own, spend time with your husband and get to know him in new ways :)) Let the warmth of the Spirit and the strength of your contrite heart melt the ice of this affair, and hold onto the freedom you have gained :)) When you know your actions and general direction are right in the eyes of God, it is a most wonderful realization, that you are repenting, and turning, and obeying the Christ Who died for you. See John 14: 21 and John 14:23.

        Take care Laura, you are precious in His eyes. WP (Work in Progress)

        1. I am in tears… broken down with faith and thanksgiving for your words that grant me such peace. I need to reread, to absorb, to ponder, to read the scripture you quoted and referenced, to breathe and think — but my heart is filled with appreciation for you, WP. For taking the time to really read and listen to what my heart and soul and mind were communicating. Thank you… from the bottom of my heart. I will be in touch. With prayers and much gratitude, Laura

          1. You are most welcome Laura :) Yes I look forward to hearing from you, and how things are going with you :)

            Perhaps take the time to write these special Scriptures on cards, and other references of your own… or even on your phone if you have a Notes section. Then you can pull them out at any time, and after a short while they will be “written on the tablet of your heart.” See Proverbs 3:3-8 and Proverbs 7:1-5; of course Psalm 91:1-4. “A shield and a bulwark.” Bulwarks are the heavy fortified walls at the top of a castle designed to protect the archers and other defenders from the enemy climbing ladders from outside- their goal being “to kill and destroy.” Sound familiar? See John 10:10.

            I have always liked that word “Bulwark” – it gives such a vivid picture of our “Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days…” :)) from “Oh Worship the King” an old Episcopal hymn :)

  5. Hi WP, Laura, and all who visit this site, It has been a really, really long time since I have posted. I have read your recent comments, WP and am so happy for you that you have kept yourself on the straight and narrow. It has been a long and difficult road but you have done it with God’s help. And you can really see and understand the value and necessity of staying NO CONTACT with the other person. May God richly bless you in your life journey!

    Laura, I sooooo understand your troubles!!! And I can really relate to what you are feeling when you wonder how you could let the affair take over your entire life. What has helped me is counseling, prayer, focusing on the husband and my sons. After the EA I really worked at spending quality time with my husband, keeping busy and being as productive as possible in my everyday life. There has been little contact with the EA partner. I still miss him a lot, think of him often but I can really block him out of my thoughts when I psych myself out to do so. It is a struggle and not easy that’s for sure. The highs that we get from the EA are wonderful at the time, short lived and superficial but lows are absolutely devastating and sometimes it is so difficult to get back on track.

    Anyways, would love to read your comments, let me know how you are making out. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

    1. Hi Elaine, Laura, and others who read these posts:

      Thank you Elaine for your comments, but I need to qualify them somewhat. I have not “stayed on the straight and narrow,” since I did have emotional affairs (details in earlier posts) which took a long time to break. I am no saint. AND.. I have a wife who is much more of a saint than I. I am now free from the grip and cage of an EA, but I have to tell you that OW sent me a text out of the blue about two weeks ago. It was DIFFICULT not to slide back. I mentioned it to my wife straight away, and agreed to resume NC, which I have maintained thus far. Anything less just postpones the inevitable and increases the pain. It’s easier this time around, and I’m happy to say the the time of missing her was far shorter than I anticipated :) I also know how it feels to be calling and texting when my wife isn’t around, and I really DO NOT EVER want to go there again!

      Your comments to Laura are a good description of what has worked for me too, except for counseling which I did not have. I’m rather poor at prayer I should add. But I DO pray… :( But is this easy? Nooo.. we all know how very binding and powerful these forces can be. I might add, that people who judge others who have been in affairs do not know what it’s like. If they did, they would drop to their knees and plead, “Lord, guard me from falling, guide me by your Word, and may Your angels watch over me. ‘Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.'” (The rod in Ps 23 is used to give a spanking, and the staff is used to help one walk. Interesting.)

      Hi Laura… I hope you return and let us know how you are. We all understand where you are, and want to support you, help you and be there as far as possible for you. You’re not alone!! You CAN do this… you CAN. You’re a quality person, a special daughter in God’s eyes. See yourself as He sees you, clothed in white by His Son. A work in progress. A work not finished yet, but “I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

  6. I do not know how to get out of my emotional affair. I keep reading the comments, watching videos and I don’t think I am capable of going through the grief and awful feelings of losing this person. I do not know how to get out of this; it seriously hurts so bad. I am at the point where I know I fully love this person; I know it’s wrong. I am Catholic. Have not acted physically on this. I just don’t see myself ever being okay with them not being in my life. I’m so confused.

    1. Brandy, Getting out will be a difficult and painful choice for you to make, but I guarantee that years from now you will look back and be very glad that you made the choice to get out. Be praying daily and asking Jesus to come close to you and give you strength to overcome the struggle. He WILL answer your prayers. Invest in your marriage relationship. You WILL be blessed for doing so. Read God’s Word daily and let it speak to your heart. It will be by the strength and healing and love of God that you will be healed of the desire for the emotional affair, and not by your own strength. Cling to the Lord and cry out to Him continually. He will be there for you!

    2. Hi Brandy, Not so long ago I was in the same place you are describing now. I had the same thoughts you are having now. You ARE capable of letting go. The sooner you make the break, the less intense is the pain, and the shorter is the time needed to recover. Affairs are addictive really, and the emotional forces are powerful.They are NOT impossible to break!

      You say you do not know how to get out of this, but… I think you do know. Make the call, write the letter/email, and break ALL contact. It hurts in the short term, but the joy of doing what is right, and the freedom of not having to sneak around to call and make contact is well worth it. AND the destruction of your family is virtually inevitable if you do not break free. You know it’s wrong–you said so yourself. It was NOT easy to finally break free, but break free I finally did, with God’s help.

      You have read the comments and watched the videos… that’s good. All these were written and published by people who had the same conflicts you have now. Just as intense, and just as difficult. Do what you know you have to do. Yes the pain will be there, but it goes away more quickly than you think. I was pleasantly surprised to be honest. It was not as bad as I thought it would be.

      M’s post is very good- so I won’t repeat it here again. Read it often, and do what it says. Please let us know how you are getting along, will you? You have an army of people behind you here on this site. You’ll get there… WP (Work in Progress)

  7. Hi All, It certainly has been a long time since anyone has posted on this site! I do miss the interaction with people who have posted in the past. Would love to hear from WP, Laura, Trying and anyone else who would like to share.

    Lots has happened since my last post. There has been emails, phone calls and face to face contact between OM and myself. Most of the contact he has initiated. Today I have decided to block his number and want to stick with this. I think the relationship is toxic and unhealthy.

    I also had a couple of other things to share. My husband of almost 24 years was diagnosed with cancer in August. It has been a difficult road but there have been lots of prayers and support from the Church Community and others. He received radiation and chemo which shrank the tumor. Surgery was 10 days ago and the surgeon was pleased that they got all the cancer. It will be a long road to recovery but it is good that he has a positive attitude.I have really felt God’s presence throughout this diagnosis!

    I also have something really positive to share about another family member…Some of you in the Christian Community will know the program YWAM (Youth With a MIssion). My son is 18 and graduated from HIgh School in June. He has been taking part in a Discipleship Training School and volunteering with the homeless and traveling to a foreign country. The program has been uplifting and life changing. We are so happy. Praise the Lord!

    1. Hi Elaine! Yes it has been a long time…. For quite while I would come back here, but, after seeing no posts at all, my visits had become less frequent…. until now :) So good to read your update…. clearly God is looking after you… and also testing and refining your faith. Your husband and son… and you, are all in His hands- as are all His children. Too often we cannot see the “forest through the trees,” but every so often, when we look back and take stock, we realize that He is never far away :) It is we who stray from Him. On this side of the Pond, things are also good. I have two children, both now with their own families, and three grandchildren. I am going through the changes of retirement… and God has been very good to our family. Your husband’s surgury was now over a month ago- how is he? You sound good Elaine. Hope the others are also doing well….WP (Work in Progress)

      1. WP and Elaine. It is good to have both you back and to hear your updates. Visitors to this post were able to learn a lot through the things you shared in your struggles . . . and your victories. Please don’t be strangers that long again. We missed you. :-)

        1. Thank you Steve and Cindy, So good to hear from you :) Yes I will be sure to visit more often… Cheers, WP (Work in Progress)

    2. Elaine, I’ll be praying for you and your husband…that the Lord draw you closer together and you learn to appreciate each other more and more each day. I am struggling with Motor Neuron Disease (ALS) and the journey has made our marriage stronger. I am in a wheelchair and my wife needs to help me with almost everything…from getting me out of bed in the morning to getting me back into bed at night. We laugh together over the simple struggles of life…like getting my socks on each morning…and that laughter together has been a great blessing. I will be praying for both of you… :>)

      1. Hi M, Elaine, Both your stories are remarkable! For reasons known only to the Most High, some of us lead harder lives than do others….but at the end of the day, when we draw on His mercy and love, and from the support of others, and give of the same, then we can get through virtually anything!

        But also at the end of the day, the phrase “We live by faith and not by sight” still places that eternal question mark in front of us.

        We never stop learning….Thanks, you two- for demonstrating that inner strength and resolve given by God when we need it most. A big help to dissipating those fears which can be so crippling, but which melt like snow in the sun when we remember who HE is and who we are.

  8. Greetings WP, M and Cindy, It has been a blessing to see your kind and caring posts on this site! It helps to know that my family and I are in your prayers. The journey of my husband’s illness has been difficult but also fulfilling in that we have grown much closer as a couple. He is doing quite well and will be having chemo fairly soon.

    WP, you are right, as I totally feel the “strength and resolve” which has been given to me by our most precious Lord. I have done my best to stay strong and positive through this diagnosis and I am proud of my two sons who are also continuing to stay strong and keeping up with their school and work lives and their Church commitments.

    M, I am so glad that you have shared your current health struggles to this forum. You have been wonderful about praying for others who are in need of the Lord’s power and strength in their lives. You are in my prayers with the ALS diagnosis and I marvel at your devoted wife and the humor that continues in your relationship.

    Also, thanks for responding Cindy. I am glad that when I have shared my struggles and triumphs this has been helpful to others. The people who have posted regularly and had a long term EA as I have are incredibly insightful and supportive of this struggle.

    As for the OM, there has been no contact for about 6 weeks. It is very trying at times and also that struggle comes with a good feeling of relief. I don’t know if that makes sense. Some of you will understand what I am talking about. Prayers and God’s blessings to all of you!