Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


14 Ways to Recover from an Emotional Affair

posted by Beyond Blue

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An anonymous reader writes:

Over the last several months, I began an online relationship with a man. I was taken aback by our ability to connect. It was uncanny to me how much we understood each other. The sense of completeness is there when I am chatting with him. I feel validated, understood, and special. I want my marriage to work. Cognitively, I understand that the relationship with my online friend is not complete and based on false circumstances. It’s not real life. But my flesh is weak. I miss the conversations and the feelings that I got from this man. It is almost like an addiction to a drug and I am having a horribly difficult time breaking the habit.

I know this woman is not alone in her struggle because I read a few comments or e-mails like that every day from readers. Boundary issues are extremely difficult when you have two human beings who crave friendship and intimacy, but are vulnerable to the complications that sexual attraction can cause in an uncommitted relationship. With the growing trend of social networking sites like Facebook, emotional affairs are more rampant than ever. And even if the two persons involved haven’t crossed the line into a physical affair, these relationships are still just as challenging–sometimes more–to dissolve and recover from than a romance based in the bedroom.

To help all of my readers who struggle with this issue, I have compiled these 14 tips to overcome an emotional affair: techniques to let go of the pieces in these relationships that can entangle a heart in sadness and distract a person from the goodness of the committed relationship she is in.

1. Distinguish romance from love.

In his book “We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love,” Robert A. Johnson distinguishes human love from romantic love. This is helpful for chicks raised on too much Disney: who believe that two people can fall deeply in love with each other after a three-minute duet like Sleepy Beauty and her Prince did. Or for women who read too many books like “The Bridges of Madison County” and “The English Patient,” where the mystical lover makes one grand entrance, followed by hot, steamy sex. And then he disappears for the rest of her life.

Johnson defines human love (committed, normal love that we see in every day life) as “stirring-the-oatmeal” love. He writes:

Stirring oatmeal is a humble act–not exciting or thrilling. But it symbolizes a relatedness that brings love down to earth. It represents a willingness to share ordinary human life, to find meaning in the simple, unromantic tasks: earning a living, living within a budget, putting out the garbage, feeding the baby in the middle of the night. To “stir the oatmeal” means to find the relatedness, the value, even the beauty, in simple and ordinary things, not to eternally demand a cosmic drama, an entertainment, or an extraordinary intensity in everything.

2. Schedule some obsessing.

As I wrote in my “15 Ways to Stop Obsessing,” sometimes the best treatment for fantasies is to pencil them into your schedule. When you find yourself fantasizing about an intimate moment with the woman who has custody of your heart, don’t yell at yourself, “Snap out of it!” Simply say, “Thought, I appreciate your coming, but I’ve scheduled you for 7 this evening, at which time you can totally distract me if you want.”

Dr. Christine Whelan, who writes the “Pure Sex, Pure Column” on BustedHalo.com, explains the logic of allowing a bit of fantasy. She writes:

If you are trying to banish a sexual fantasy from your head, telling yourself “I’m not going to fantasize about her” or “I won’t think about what it would be like to be intimate with him” might make it worse: In a famous psychological study from the 1980s, a group of subjects were told to think about anything but whatever they did, they were not supposed to think about a white bear. Guess what they all thought about?

3. Be accountable.

This technique is especially effective for Catholics whose first lessons on human morality involved scary confessions. Do I have to tell everything? What if he sends me to hell? Even when I stopped going to confession regularly, I could hear the devil and angel duking it out on my shoulders, one guy telling me that he was going to go rat me out to the pope, the other guy telling me hysterical St. Peter jokes.

Moreover, accountability has always worked for me, even when I’m free from the nun with the ruler, because, as a stage-four people pleaser, I crave a good report card. So I better make sure I have a few people in my life passing out such reviews: my therapist, my doctor, my mentor Mike, my mom (she can still read my voice like a map, dang it), my twin sister, and my best friend. By giving them the skinny on what’s really going on inside my margin for error decreases ten-fold.

4. Invest in your marriage.

The best way to prevent an affair is to invest in your marriage. And the best way to recover one is to invest in your marriage. It’s a simple physics equation: the energy and time you supply to one relationship has to come from another one. That is, you can’t build and nurture a true partnership if you’re spreading intimacy over too many places.

After a violation of trust–and according to marriage expert Peggy Vaughan an affair is more about breaking trust than having sex–the best reconciler in a marriage are small acts of kindness. Because for most spouses, “I’m sorry” doesn’t cut it. Contrition needs to be supported with evidence: backrubs, special dinners, cleaning toilets, a listening ear. To quote Robert Johnson again: “Jung once said that feeling is a matter of the small. And in human love, we can see that it is true. The real relatedness between two people is experienced in the small tasks they do together: the quiet conversation when the day’s upheavals are at rest, the soft word of understanding, the daily companionship, the encouragement offered in a difficult moment, the small gift when least expected, the spontaneous gesture of love.”

Here’s a thought: whenever you are tempted to send a heartfelt and kind e-mail to a special someone, send it to your spouse instead.

5. Replace it with something.

Whenever I grieve the loss of an important relationship in my life–whether it be a friendship that falls apart or a loved one who passes unexpectedly–I’ve found it helpful to immerse myself in a new project, or new challenge. A few years ago, when I was severely depressed, I realized I was clinging to certain relationships because I had no adult interaction in my day: the oldest person I talked to (until Eric returned from work) was 4.

So I pursued a tutoring position at the Naval Academy–in an effort to place myself in a stimulating environment that would force myself to stretch a little. The job didn’t take away all the sting of grief, of course, but it did help to distract me in a positive way.

6. Stay with the loneliness.

I’m not a big fan of loneliness. Because that aching hole in your heart feels too much like the scary black chasm of depression. But they are different beasts. One can be treated, the other must be felt. Writes Henri Nouwen in “The Inner Voice of Love:”

When you experience the deep pain of loneliness, it is understandable that your thoughts go out to the person who was able to take that loneliness away, if only for a moment. When you feel a huge absence that makes everything look useless, your heart wants only one thing–to be with the person who once was able to dispel these frightful emotions. But it is the absence itself, the emptiness within you, that you have to be willing to experience, not the one who could temporarily take it away. When you can acknowledge your loneliness in a safe, contained place, you make your pain available for God’s healing.

7. Outsmart the body.

A little biology lesson here. When you are infatuated with someone, your brain chemistry whispers lies into your ears that can have you doing really stupid stuff. The spike in dopamine and norepinephrine produced with heightened sexual tension might tell you that all your troubles would end if you only kissed the handsome guy you just friended on Facebook, or ran off with the barista that makes you a perfect cappuccino.

Most people who have experienced an emotional affair describe it as a head rush. Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University, author of “Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love,” explains why:

Love is a drug. The ventral tegmental area is a clump of cells that make dopamine, a natural stimulant, and sends it out to many brain regions [when one is in love]. …It’s the same region affected when you feel the rush of cocaine.

Thus, identifying the physiological components of infatuation can be a strong ally in fighting the war against infidelity.

8. Detach

The Buddha taught that it is attachment that leads to suffering. So the most direct path to happiness and peace is detachment. I know that to be true on so many levels. In his book, “Eastern Wisdom for Western Minds,” Victor M. Parachin tells a wonderful story about an old gardener who sought advice from a monk. Writes Parachin:

“Great Monk, let me ask you: How can I attain liberation?” The Great Monk replied: “Who tied you up?” This old gardener answered: “Nobody tied me up.” The Great Monk said: “Then why do you seek liberation?”

9. Treat the addiction.

Categorizing an emotional affair as an addiction is helpful in two ways: first, it depersonalizes the experience, making it easier to let go of, and it also provides some tangible steps a person can take to kick her habit. Craig Nakken, author of “The Addictive Personality: Understanding the Addictive Process and Compulsive Behavior” defines addiction as “a pathological love and trust relationship with an object or event … the out-of-control and aimless searching for wholeness, happiness, and peace through a relationship with an object or event.” Addictions induce a trance-like state that allows the addict to detach from the pain, guilt, and shame she feels. Temporarily. Until reality hits.

It makes sense that so many depressives and alcoholics find themselves in toxic relationships. Nakken explains that the “addictive logic”-buying into false and empty promises, a false sense of intimacy and fulfillment–stays with a person long after she has broken off the relationship or stopped her destructive behavior. She is vulnerable to it resurfacing in a different form or with a new person at any time and especially during stressful periods. Which is why recovery never ends. It’s a way of living that involves one smart decision after another that fosters true intimacy.

10. Surround yourself with friends.

For a person who has just broken off an emotional affair, friends aren’t optional. They are a life-support system. In his book, “How to Break Your Addiction to a Person,” Howard Halpern writes:

The value of this network is so great that having it or not having should not be left to chance. It can make the crucial difference in your success in ending the relationship. IT has many specific and even specialized uses, but overriding all else is that when you are terrified of being all alone in the universe, it can give you the comforting assurance that there are other caring people out there. And this assurance, by making you feel reconnected to the web of life, can firm up your determination to make and sustain the break.

Safe friends are especially important if the relationship you are mourning formed at work, among mutual friends. You’ll need to befriend colleagues who are not connected to him in any way, or hang out with your non-work friends, safe folks, until you feel strong enough to socialize with friends who might talk about or involve him.

11. Think with your new brain.

In his bestselling classic “Getting the Love You Want,” Harville Hendrix distinguishes between our old or “reptilian” brain that is weighted down with unconscious baggage from our pasts and reacts automatically in fear, and our new brain: the “analytical, probing, questioning part of your mind that you think of as being ‘you.’” Harville theroizes that when we get sucked into intense, emotional relationships that hurt us our old brain is holding the helm. It wants to recreate the pain of our past in order to heal the wounds.

So what we have to do is to squeeze some of the rational and cognitive skills of our newer brain into the old brain before the unguided driver gets us into too much trouble. This means to apply a little logic or to fill in the details of our love story. For example, you think this guy on the Internet is your soul mate. Okay, then visualize what you would have to do to spend the rest of your life with him: give up the marriage you are in and everything it provides you, disrupt the stable home life of your children, disrupting their lives in a negative way, and so on. The new brain can also remind you that no one person can make you happy. That job is all your own. You may very well think this person can fill the hole in your heart. But once you are there, having given up so much of your life to get there, you will realize it wasn’t him after all that you needed. It was some self-healing.

12. Help someone else.

When I’m in pain, the only guaranteed antidote to my suffering is to box up all of my feelings, sort them, and then try to find a use for them. That’s why writing Beyond Blue contributes a big chunk to my recovery, why moderating Group Beyond Blue has me excited to wake up every day. When you turn your attention to another person–especially someone who is struggling with the same kind of pain–you forget about yourself for a split moment. And let’s face it, that, on some days, feels like a miracle.

13. Write about it.

If you get the feeling your friends are quite over hearing about your emotional affair, try putting your emotions to the page. In an August 2003 issue of Australian Journal of Psychology, University of Texas psychologist James W. Pennebaker summarizes dozens of studies linking expressive writing to improvements in immunity, academic performance, social behavior, and mental health. In a 2003 British Psychological Society study, results indicated that writing about emotions might even speed the healing of physical wounds. If journaling about pain can heal your knee scab, think about what writing might do for your broken heart.


14. Let yourself grieve.

A relationship without sex can be every bit as intense as one involving lingerie. A special connection between two kindred souls needs to be grieved just as a marriage or committed partnership.

In the case of an emotional affair, guilt can impede the grieving process. Since a person feels as though she is wrong to have had these feelings to begin with, she often won’t allow a time of tears and loneliness that are necessary for healing. But just because the relationship happened outside of a committed relationship doesn’t mean the heart isn’t broken and needs some repair work. Also, an emotional affair rarely happens overnight, and neither does recovering from one, which is why you need to be as patient and as gentle with yourself as you would a friend who just ended a primary relationship.



  • Your Name

    Excellent article! So many women (and men, too) look to the internet to find someone to fill a void in their lives. You addressed some really great topics and resources for women who find themselves in this situation.
    I also suggest another book for women, in addition to the really great ones you’ve already mentioned. It’s Ready to Heal by Kelly McDaniel. Kelly is a therapist, writer and speaker. She designed a program called the Relationship Restoration Program in San Antonio, Texas, and she is very active in women’s issues.
    Ready to Heal is truly one of the best books out there for women who find themselves in the spiraling cycle of love, sex, or relationship addiction.

  • @imarriage (Marc)

    Right on key…this is a growing concern with the myriad of social networking avenues via smartphones, online, etc. We simply can’t unplug…
    I believe Kelly was at the http://www.smartmarriage.com conference this year in SFO. I’ve been going to that conf for years and this is definitely a hot topic.
    Marc
    http://www.marriagetweets.com

  • A hurt wife

    Therese,
    Thank you for writing about this today. I am coping with this right now as I discovered my husband has been having an emotional affair with an old flame. You’re absolutely right when you say that an EA can be just as damaging as a sexual affair. We’re deep into counselling to try and mend the broken trust, and to reestablish our lost intimacy. I’m hopeful, but I must admit that I’m wary.

  • http://wow yousayisayweallsay

    I know someone personally that is having an online, chat love affair. I personally see this as a threat when you put time and energy into a smoke scream. There is differently,issues. And above all dangerous. We need to find satisfaction in the arms of Jesus. We hide behind the reason why we feel, whatever and so we react on those feelings and even tell ourselves that it is okay. That is the point FEELINGS. That change, we feel that we have a life of that is boring. We are unsatisfied with whom we are with and what we have.Where as if someone else wishing to have what we have. Feelings— loneliness is how we feel it can be based on a mate not having a mate or having one that is not who they once were.Having a life not having a life. It is that sense of lost. We get lost, we get comfortable, we image what we do compared something or someone to what we have. I love God,and I am thankful for what I have. I could have something else and would be saying LORD WHY ME??? Fill your bucket with Jesus He is always there He want to fulfill your every need and desire.When satisfied with Him you will not look for everyone and every thing to satisfy you and when these feelings occur you can look to God for the answer, and to He fill the void, He will lead you. We cause a lot of our own pain and disappointment. He no what we need, we think we do.

  • So Hard to Let Go

    Letting go has been pure hell. My wisdom and better judgment says redirect all thoughts and feelings away from the affair. Five counselors, months of seperation for 20+ year marriage, a forgiving wife, and still I long for the closeness and intimacy of what I have come to realize is my beloved. My feelings, emotions, and body is a wreck. Love the recovery tips, heard them said in different ways for nearly a year. I am so weak.
    My source for healing is ultimately found within. This is so hard to let go. And in the process I will likely lose my marriage.

  • Bill

    I am deeply involved in an emotional affair . I don’t even know for sure if my”friend” feels the same as me . Which is very scary . She works as a waitress and I see here 4 days a week where she works when have lunch. She did flirt touching when we first met , which has ceased , but she sets down with me for a little while each time I go before I leave . One time she said “I can give you a little time” as she sat down . She hold glances I give here that are more than normal glances , for a little while anyway . To show how trapped I am I enjoy thinking about her and think about her off and on on the 3 days a week I don’t see her . We are both married – I at 53 married 33 years , and she is 40 married 20 years . This article gives me some ideas to get free , but the larger part of me does not want to let go of friend at all . I am beginning to take “risks” in what I say to her . I have asked her to lunch alone away from her work . Did this after she stated at bill pay counter that she wante d to have lunch and she was or acted frustrated that with the holidays she didn’t know when she would have time. She brought up the lunch thing out of nowhere ( I am trying to sort out if it was alluded to that day while having lunch . I was cAught WAY OFF GUARD by this . I called her from my work later that afternoon and told her I would really like going to lunch with her . Her response was , well I’m not sure , sort of cold . I don’t oknow and wonder If I am being manipulated as well as manipulating here myself to make this affair progress . I have , by her request, taken my wife there for lunch . Don’t know what that was all about . I nedd help desperately – Bill

  • Karen

    My daughter has just ended an emotional affair but not after her husband found out about it. She is heartbroken that she has hurt him so much. Not to make excuses, but she craved attention from someone who would say nice things to her which her husband has not done. He grew up in a non-emotional home where both parents are alcoholic. He drinks heavily on the weekend but thinks that is OK because he doesn’t drink during the week. My daughter and granddaughter came to stay with us for a few days and my daughter realized that she belonged home with her husband and loves him. She asked if she could come home and he said no that he had to work through some things.
    My daughter said she is going to fight for her marriage, recommit to God and be the wife and mother God wants her to be.
    She asked her husband today if she could come home and he hesitated showing her that he did not want. She is depressed. It is very hard for me not to say anything. I wish she would just go home anyway and talk to her husband.
    Do you have any advice for my daughter or even for me?

  • needhelpplease

    After a big fallout with my husband of 12 years, I met a sweet guy. We kissed only, and wouldn’t let things go any further. We really clicked. But after the 2nd “date” I told him I couldn’t see him anymore and that I wanted my husband to move back in because of my kids. He was disappointed. We saw each other a few times after that. But then he started pulling back. He said I need to make a decision and that he won’t wreck my marriage. He didn’t want to sneak around. He wanted an actual relationship. He was really decent and didn’t try to take advantage of me at all. I emailed him a goodbye letter saying that I’ve decided to give my marriage a chance and that I wish I still had him as a friend. He replied saying that he’ll always be my friend. Now I send him emails, but he hardly ever responds. I don’t know if he’s sick of me, or if it hurts him to be in touch with me since we can’t see each other anymore. I feel like I need closure but I don’t want to ask him how he felt about me, if he still thinks about me. He ended it kind of abruptly, saying “no matter how he feels about me, things can’t go on the way they are.” He told me on several occasions that I mean a lot to him and stuff like that. Is that true? What reason can he have to lie if he didn’t even try to sleep with me? Now I feel like I’ve been dumped without knowing if he did it for my own good or if he was just sick of me. I keep hoping to hear from him but I don’t. I want to get him out of my mind but it’s so hard. I know I should focus on my marriage and not him. I love my family to death and I have no intention of getting a divorce. But I really wish I knew what this guy is thinking. What do you think? I keep checking my email only to get disappointed each time. I want to just close the account but I don’t know if I’m ready for such a final move. I’m just desparate.

  • Bill

    NeedHelpPlease -
    Firstly know that you are not alone with your heart felt conflict . There must be millions of us – Trapped or recovering. This emotional addiction is insidious and SO damaging . STOP the emailing , as much as it will hurt , as much as all your being cries against it – Stop for your own sanity . I wrote a letter ( the only way I could do it) to my emotional manipulator partner . I told her I was committing head adultery with her and just could not continue as much as I wanted to .
    I fell ” in love” if you will with a woman who knew how to play a man like a harp . She had me so wrapped around her finger , So trapped . I have told my wife what happened and is happening . That for me was the beginning of freedom . Still my EP lives in my head rent free . I never believed in 33 years of marraige anything like this could happen to me – I feel so foolish and so used and so hurt -Hang in there my friend – keep asking for help anyway you know how till you get it
    Bill

  • Danville Girl

    thank you for this, there is often much written for the deceived partner, but not the deceitful (the category I fall into). I am going through this, currently ‘taking some space’ from my emotional affair. It is devastating, I am having great difficulty realizing that it was based on wish and want, rather than reality. Moreso, because what I am feeling now is so painful. I miss him terribly and rely on any scrap of strength I have to not contact him right now.
    Worse, I feel unworthy of my husband. Perhaps I am.

  • Your Name

    I am 33 years old, I have two kids(6 &2). I have been married for a while. we are both professional. Recently I have found out that my husband had an affiar with a rep for about 2 years. She is young and beautiful. Since I have confronted him and going through….I have not seen any more contact with the girl(3 weeks now). He never admited, he said he has seen the girl may be couple of times in the gym. He says I am sensetive and geting crazy. There was nothing, I love you and I never cheated on you. I have lost my trust. No one knows what I am going through. I feel humiliated. I am trying to put everything behind. I can not enjoy anything, kids, food,…I have started taking anti depressent medicine. I am getting worse and worse. Any advice?

  • TJS

    I have been married 14 years. I have known my husband for 21 years. I am one day out of the final night of an emotional affair that had been developing over the past several months and intensified and accelerated over the last few weeks. I am in intense emotional pain from this experience. So is my husband. I have never seen his body shake uncontrollably the way it did the moment he realized what I have been up to. I have gone from several months of euphoria to the shock of my life – being caught sending my unknowingly last email to the man that I had convinced myself was my true love. Eight years ago, we worked together in a separate setting from the current one. We were not well acquainted, but I had feelings for him and I felt a chemistry with him that resulted in my fantasizing that he would kiss me someday. I do not know if he had any feelings towards me at that time. I believe I was just another coworker to him, and we went on with our professionalism, with me keeping my secret wish to myself. That shared work setting ended, and we were not together again until this past year. Over the years, I recalled my little kiss wish every once in a while. My marriage has not been happy for pretty much the duration, both before and after meeting this new man. I would never have thought of seeking out a relationship, however. I just allowed myself to have dreamy thoughts about made up situations to escape the loneliness and sadness of an unfulfilled, unloving, dispassionate marriage. All the while, my husband has been sad, depressed, and feeling rejected by me. His self concept has been crushed, and his sexual desire has gone down hill. He has accused me of not loving him for years. I kept denying it, and convincing myself that I was a good wife, and maybe I just didn’t have a sex drive that matched his. In the recent several months, I have been going through a new stage of confidence in my life. At the age of 39, I feel the most physically attractive that I have ever felt about myself. I am skyrocketing in my abilities at work and endeavors outside of work. I feel like I’m reaching the summit of my life and I am a shining star to those around me. This has drawn in the interest of many men in my immediate circles and outside as well, and a good handful of them have had the confidence to tell me directly how they feel about me. They have enough information about my marital instability that I think they saw a crack in the door and a possible opportunity. It has been overwhelming for me to learn of the attraction they have felt and their forwardness in telling me. They have laced all of their admiration with words that made me think it’s okay. It’s just human nature to have these feelings, and when you love someone, you need to tell them, because life is too short to let those opportunities pass you by. In response, I have gained an extreme amount of confidence and a new feeling of being a sexually desirable woman. I recently had some professional photos taken, and my sister commented that there is something different going on in my eyes and my body in those pictures that she has not seen in me before. Signals of sensual invitation flowing out of me. I have been thoroughly enjoying being this new sexually desirable and desiring being. It has fed my hunger to find what I thought was real, true love. When I read about the definitions and profiles of an emotional affair, I see every single sign of it in my recent relationship. I know it was wrong, and I knew at different intervals during it that it was wrong, but I was so hooked, and I’m still going through withdrawals. I made several comments during the relationship directly to the man that I felt like I was on drugs or intoxicated. Every word he spoke and wrote to me, every time I heard his soft, gentle voice over the phone, every time he would walk around the corner at work, glancing to see if I was in my office, every time I saw the light on in his office as I passed by, every moment he stayed late at work to talk with me, all of this and more, my heart would leap and I would get the most intense buzz from the top of my head, buzzing through my brain, and a hot glow throughout my whole body, making me feel totally aroused and wanting him. I craved at least a kiss from him with such intensity, I thought I would just crawl out of my skin, if I couldn’t have it. I planned and schemed ways to be alone with him and when I got those opportunities, I would try everything I could to entice him into a kiss. He was strong and would never go there, although it took everything in him to hold himself together against it. During all of this, we convinced ourselves that it was healthy, beautiful, a gift, and wonderful real love. He is also lonely in his marriage, but he won’t leave her because his children really need him. I believe he is mentally divorced from her, and he needed this relationship to give him a sense of living again. We both felt that way. We used words like that. Lifeline. Feeling alive again. And, it did feel that way. Apart from each other, we lived in shades of gray. Together, there was sunshine and rainbows, creativity, liveliness, laughing, sparkling eyes, dancing souls. We called ourselves Twin Brains, because we thought and talked so much alike. We commented often about how struck we were by the way we understood each other so naturally. He is a real person who was very real to me. He said I was part of his real life and he writes real songs for me. We shared alot of music. Both writers, both poets, both enjoying music and admiring each other’s talent. But, late on July 9, 2009, I had come home from recording a song made from lyrics he had written to me. It was going to be a surprise for him. He still has no idea that I made his beautiful words into a song, and as much as I still want to share it with him, I’m sure I cannot do that now. I was just about to hit the send button on a message I was sending him. I thought my husband was in bed and was either watching a movie or sleeping. I only needed a few more seconds, and the message would have been sent, then deleted, trash emptied, computer off, and me walking into the bedroom smiling and satisfied, looking forward to the morning and seeing another email from my true love while my husband went off to work. I was even planning a time for a sweet phone call that afternoon. But, fate stepped in, and my husband, with some kind of sixth sense, barged in while my message was still on the screen. He recognized immediately that it was an unfamiliar looking email account, which I had secretly opened a few weeks earlier. I tried to cover it up and demand that he respect my privacy and leave the room while I finished up my business. My world crumbled beneath me, and I knew it was going to be all over. We did not sleep at all the entire night. It was hell. And all the while, I was worried about my ‘love’, who was sleeping peacefully, dreaming about me, and would wake up not knowing what had happened. I dreaded the moment when he would feel the same shock and despair I was going through, and have to start accepting that this was over. I have sent him farewell voice mails, full of apologies and asking forgiveness for my part in this entire situation. I have sent him a farewell email, trying to acknowledge how wonderful I felt throughout our relationship and how much I still value him and wish the best for him. How much it pains me that we cannot do this anymore. He is still a real person with real feelings, and I will always care about him. It is so hard to turn away from him, but I need to put my husband first now, and it’s going to take a lot of work to rebuild. We actually have to start completely over, because our original marriage was not based on a firm foundation. I have to face the reality, that if I could choose all over again, I would not choose him. We are not compatible and I do not naturally desire him, but we have young children, and I have grown into a fuller, more mature woman with an understanding of my own sense of sensuality that I did not have for the f
    irst 14 years of our marriage. I will pour myself into reading anything I can about recovering from an emotional affair and preventing it from happening again. I will seek counseling again, that I hope will be more helpful than previous counseling we have had. Everything within me wants to go back to the feelings I got from the man I fell in love with, but I need to take my time and take the steps I can to repair whatever is going on inside of me that will break down this family. I have lived a life of relatively few issues and I’ve never done anything wrong. I have always had this creeping feeling that someday something big would change my life. When I look at the magnitude of what I’ve done here, and I can admit that it fits into the category of infidelity, I am stunned. For those who are in similar situations, I can say that it does help to start the healing process to distance yourself from the euphoria and look at it for what it is. I want so badly to believe it was good and that it’s okay to seek more of it. But, the repercussions are too dangerous. I want to hold onto every scrap of it, but I will take the time I need to let those things go. Like I said, I’m only a day out of this. Maybe I’ll write more here when more time has passed that might help someone again. For now, I ask anyone who is so inclined, to please pray for me and all who are struggling with this problem. There is healing and forgiveness on the horizon for us all.

  • NMJ

    Thanks TJS for your post. I just recently discovered my wife was having an emotional affair with a friend of mind. It’s crushing… Almost every single word you have written is the exact same situation my wife went through and is going through. Reading your words are like reading a letter from my wife. I know it’s 100% both our fautls for creating a situation for this to happen. Kids, work, limited time makes the internet an easy way to escape… I know there are a lot of lonely married people out there wanted closeness again with someone just to feel alive again. I have learned that an emotinal affair is only the sign of the deeper problem in a marrage. What is so scary is that our marrage has been really good and this still happened. I understand how hard you must work to keep this on the right path all the time (again why the internet make it so easy for this to happen). I know for me I’m crushed because I alwasy thought I was trying my hardest to be a great husband and father… But the biggest miskate for me was not understanding how much a women craves an emotional bond with someone on a daily basis and need attention. If shes not getting the attention from her husband then that only opens the possiblity of getting it from somewhere else… and we all know there are plenty of guys that want to give women attetion. I’m pretty sure will make it but everyday is a struggle to push onto the next. I know I will always battle the thoughts of her wishing she could see him or wishes she was with him. In the future as we have small dissagreements I will think she wants to run to him and talk with him. I do hope that with time her wanting of him will slowly dissappear and our love will grow even stronger and i will be the man she wants to come home to and share her trouble with… Thanks again and I have to say its so weird to read your words… I almost thought my wife had made the post.

  • hurting at work

    I’m hurting deeply right now. My husband has been ill for two years and prior to that I felt happily married and satisfied. But I met a co-worker four years ago and recently began having feelings for him. He admitted to feeling attracted to me and we even went as far as hugging and kissing. But my co-worker admitted that it was just too hard for him to do this to his wife and kids and therefore it needed to stop before it got worse. I know I should feel the same way, but my emotional tank is empty not having my husband as healthy as before. It hurts really bad to see him everyday and know that he tries his best to avoid me and treat me like a friend again. I don’t know what to do. It’s like I’m addicted. I look for any moment to talk to him or run into him. I just hope that this too shall pass.

  • Molly

    What a helpful article, I am contemplating showing this to my husband who was having an emotional affair until August when everything hit the fan. I’m having a lot of trouble grieving and getting over everything (especially lately) and found this in a search to help myself. I am glad to have found this though and maybe I should show my husband who is lately experiencing some sadness and grief and feels bad about those feelings.

  • Confused

    I am a 33 yr old married full-time student with 2 children. Earlier this year our marriage went through what I call a defining moment in which my husband decided that he wanted out and even went as far as saying he hated me and my teenage daughter (not his whom the issue was about).
    Basically the teenager got with the wrong crowd got into trouble at school and he flew off the handle told her to get out the house @ age 12 and all sorts of crazy stuff while I was stunned and did nothing. When I took up for her he went balistic! Prior to all of this he was getting tired I do belive of the responsibilty of having two kids and me being in school full-time which is very demanding. He later told me he was jealous and trying to aid in my failure. I almost dropped out of my fourth semester it was just too much for me but GOD carried me through I cried everyday for about a month and a half and still cry often. It is though we are strangers and I don’t feel fullfilled he talked to me any kinda way prior to this and did not respect the marriage.
    In the mist of all of this I met a guy who is also in a relationship not married though, I am crazy about him this emotional affair has progressed over the past 4 months…I know it is just infactuation, but part of me wonders if there could be more. What am I missing, I know a marriage should not be like mine we aren’t even friends anymore. The trust on my behalf is gone because he wanted to run out on me in a crisis. I always think that he will do it again.
    I am so confused as to what to do now. Its like I want to make it work but I feel nothing anymore, I want the kids to have a family but I want to be happy in the process. He is trying to make the marriage work but I feel I have nothing left to give. I wonder sometimes if it is because of my emotional attachment to the other person. But honestly if I did not have him I don’t think my marriage would have lasted this long because at least he could make me smile for some part of the day.
    I feel so ashamed and awful for my actions, but I also feel that if my husband would have given me more over the past 5 years of marriage maybe I would not have looked elsewhere, prior to this incident I never even looked at my emotional affair in that way he was just a guy I saw on a daily basis, but the pain I felt made him more and more attractive not to mention the attention he gave and still gives. We have discussed intimacy but I don’t wanna even go there I know that would be the worst. Its like I just want out so that I can have time to sort through my feelings.

  • Magical Winds

    Well I am dealing with my former husband walking out of a storybook marriage after 24 years due to a plane accident and depression. He was “working” his way back to me, so I did nothing to “rock the boat” but in the end, he met a drunk and he took me for one heck of a ride. I lost everything! EVERYTHING. no alimony nothing. Left me with gutting our log home and 10 acres and having to sell my roots. Its been allmost 6 years and I am 59 trying to start over. I was a stay at home mom, and can’t compete with the younger job seekers with degress. Just can’t wait til the time comes when I can collect HIS SS and have a decent income and stop living like a gypsy. The economy has really hurt me as far as finding work. I won’t have anything to do with men. I had my greatest love and now I guess the universe has other plans for me. let this be a lesson to all you women…stash some money away. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

  • lauragirl

    NMJ–those first words of advice–the are for AFTER it’s over, and you didn’t say that it was!!!! That is sad and hurtful. I know you are probably the best dad you can be and try to be a great husband. You both can meet once a week and ask her, her feelings…what does she want, her needs, her dreams, and vice-versa. START IMMMEDIATELY AND ASK HER FOR A DATE; I LIKE WEDS, MYSELF. GO SOMEWHERE YOU CAN TALK..MAYBE A EARLY MOVIE FIRST, OR HER FAVORITE…THEN, GO TO A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN ENJOY AND TALK–MAYBE GET A LIL DRINK, FACE EACH OTHER, HOLD HANDS, AND TALK..JUST TALK….LET HER TALK…A LOT….WITHOUT FIXING IT OR INTERUPPTING (IF possible). You absolutely need a marriage counselor–even a rabbi or priest will work…Let her tell u everything shes feeling, dreaming… We have a heavy world going on inside, that needs to get tapped into.. Please start getting help now, trust me, if you value her, AND WORK AT IT- she won’t have to go somewhere else for it..AND I’M BEING BLUNT, CUZ I KNOW. IF YOU DONT DO THE WORK NOW, YOU WILL LOSE HER…ONLY IF DO THE WORK, WILL IT WORK…NOW ITS UP TO YOU, BUDDY..MY BEST WISHES ARE WITH YOU–UR WIFE WILL FALL IN LOVE WITH YOU ALL OVER AGAIN!!! WRITE ME BACK THE GOOD NEWS!!!!!!

  • lauragirl

    re emotional affairs, simply put, folks are somehow really talkative and real over the internet or phone, but if often changes in person…you can fall in love online, of course, but you have to know a person before you truly know. How do you think that they get those poor young girls to meet them?? Be careful…

  • lauragirl

    Ms. Borchard, that was really simple and wonderful advice…I always try to be celebratory, but now I know that the “oatmeal” part is ok. I would say, old sock, but with oatmeal, I’ll think differently. I just found out about your “Pocket Therapist;” Going today to get….great book…your’e wonderful–thanks for helping..Happy Valentine’s Week…..Laura

  • marie

    Therese, I think it’s so important to DISCOURAGE impure thoughts…!
    Matthew 5:27-28) 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery;’
    28 but I tell you that everyone who gazes at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
    In the area of purity, banishing thoughts (replacing them with other thoughts) is absolutely the only way to AVOID A SIN. We can’t help impure thoughts that pop into our heads… but to deliberately entertaining them (which is what you are advocating) is A SIN and would certainly (due to the nature of sexuality) increase the odds of more and more obsessive thoughts in this area.
    I loved the other suggestions, and I appreciate your tackling this extremely important subject.

  • ME

    Emotional affairs and actual affairs happen when a relationship is dying. NO one comes into a marriage thinking we will go into another. Humans are humans and sometimes life directs you to survive. I have met woman who are having actual affairs and when questioned says they avoided a suicide because of it and hence are willing to accept the guilt associated with it. It is wrong and really wrong but circumstances causes it. Nobody is bad all over, the good or bad in us come out based on what your life is dishing out for you.

  • LDgirly

    HI. Good advice, but how do you end the relationship? I know it is wrong, but I like chating with him online. I would never meet him and take it further.

  • Sabrina

    You touched all the bases here and did a thorough and compassionate job of addressing this very important subject. As a narrative therapist, I see the Internet and emotional affairs affecting so many of my clients’ lives, and as a woman who has lived a complex life myself, I understand from personal life experience the intensity and complexity of these relationships.
    Thank you! I will refer to your article again, I am sure!

  • Suzanne

    My husband and I are getting a divorce. Two years ago I found him on dating sites. It broke my heart in half when I saw what he was writting to these women. He even wrote about our little girl, he just did not say he was married. To this day he will not admit it. Says someone just played a joke. I know for a fact not one of his friends would ever do that. Plus our credit card was used for true.com. Two years I tried but you can not heal if it is one sided. Emotional affairs hurt.

  • Shikha

    The idea of sharing and writing about such an intense topic, is well appriciated….
    We all might knew these points in some or the other way but doesnt use them. But it was a well written document which can inspire anyone to get healed from a broken relationship…..
    Really, liked it….

  • http://helped jave

    This helped me. My wound is fresh, and I had no where to tirn

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Deby

    Dr Charles is a powerful man that bring back my husband our love is stronger than ever and my family is happy …Dr Charles don’t forget about you he always keep in touch make sure all is well after a stress full time with a woman turning my husband away from me. Dr Charles is to thanks for the smile on my face and his wonderful work . If you need his help, contact him via his email address. drcharlesspelltemple@gmail.com……………….deby

  • Nicker-son

    he brought back my ex,
    my name is Nicker-son, i had a problem with my wife sometimes ago but never knew what the problem was,i tried to asked her but she refused to tell me what it was as time goes on i discovered she was having an affair with a friend of mine that happens to be my best friend,i was so sad that i never knew what to do next,during my search for a way out i met a friend of mine who had similar problem and introduced me to a man who helped him with his situation,on getting to the man i discovered he was a spell caster i was shocked because i have not had anything to do with a spell caster in my entire life so i tried to give this man a chance cos i never believed in spell casting as i thought it will not work for me but to my surprise i got
    positive results and i was able to get my wife back from him even after the spell caster did all i discovered my wife fell much more in love with me on like before so i was so happy that i never know what to do for him so i am using this opportunity to tell anyone on this blog having similar problem visit rainspelltemple@gmail.com and your problems shall be solved…

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    hey there and thanks to your info ? I’ve definitely picked up anything new from proper here. I did however expertise some technical issues using this site, as I experienced to reload the web site many occasions prior to I may just get it to load properly. I were considering if your web host is OK? Now not that I am complaining, however sluggish loading circumstances occasions will sometimes have an effect on your placement in google and could damage your high-quality ranking if ads and marketing with Adwords. Well I’m adding this RSS to my email and could look out for a lot extra of your respective intriguing content. Make sure you replace this again soon..

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Osceola

    I’m dealing with all the above right at this moment. E-mails were found and read…..I feel so foolish and I agree it is a DRUG, a HIGH that you crave. I guess you could say I am in withdrawal now and it’s very painful but the pain I caused was a real wake up to the reality and seriousness of this which I really thought was a little harmless fun.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Tillie

    I am going through this now,I have been having an emotional affair for 11 months,I love him,but can’t destroy my family,It hurts like hell,We speak at least 3-4 times a day,He lives 4000 miles away.Everyday I try to stop,but am to weak.I wish I had never started this.I dont know what to do..

  • kattie

    Hi everyone,I have just read all of the posts and I am in tears! My life for the past 10 yrs has been,I don’t know how to put it, I guess lonely and loveless. I’m 26 I ve been with my fiance for 10 yrs and we have 2 sons. Our oldest 7 has AS too and my youngest 3 has autism. I feel so lonely in my family, none of them understand me at all and don’t try. I feel like i ve lost myself. I is much harder to deal with my Fiance then my kids of course, because I shouldn’t have to parent him. I don’t want to parent 3 people, I want love. He doesn’t even feel love I don’t think! I’m very sad thinking that I am putting my self in this position, to never put myself 1st or get anything I need or want it life. My family nor his gets it and they say that because he works and takes care of his family with money I should be happy enough. I wish there were groups where iI live but I haven’t found and yet. I’m very happy to find other people out there dealing with this, because living life like this is very lonely. I would love to start talking with some of you,all things happen because great zalilu was very great to me,after he help me getting back my man every thing have be working fine.Please you can contact he for help so you can be happy in your relationship.Email him at;greatzalilu@gmail.com

  • Tamara Williams

    I never believed in spell casting or magic. I felt silly even looking at spell sites online. I have been in tears over the loss of my husband. I found testimonies about Prophet Esene and I have no idea why I searched “spells” but I did. I ordered a love spell from prophetesene@yahoo.com and got my husband back Thanks for simply being legit and delivering where other sites never could. Tamara Williams

  • Mark White

    i want to thank prophet yesufu for saving my marriage, i love my wife very much and we were very happy until she met a guy at work and she started changing, i noticed it and confronted her about it but she denied, all of a sudden she told me she no longer wants to be married to me, she moved out of the house and filed for divorce, i was devastated because i loved her so much and did not want to lose her so i went online and read a blog about how a prophet save a lady’s marriage after divorce. I decided to contact the lady and she introduced me to the Prophet, prophetyesufu@outlook.com, who assured me he will help me get my wife in the next 24 Hours, he told me she would call me and apologise. I believed him and indeed after 24 hours, my wife called me and told me she was sorry, we are back together, we did not go through divorce. We are one big happy couple again. Thanks you Prophet yesufu, i can assure you that he can help you solve any issues you might be facing in your marriage or relationship.

  • Taylor Borg

    My name is Taylor Borg,All thanks goes to Dr.Trust for saving my marriage from toning apart.i feel so grateful and only have good words about a powerful spell caster named Dr.Trust who helped me bring back my wife. We had been apart for 4 months, at first I was thinking if I was doing the right thing by contacting a spell caster, but I so much love my wife and won’t give her up for anything in this world. I decided to contact Dr.Trust through his mail address I found on several testifiers messages online,and I told him about my situation, he laughed and told me my wife will be back to me in the next 48 hours. I felt it wasn’t going to happen at first until my wife called me and was so eager to have me back more than anything on earth.. Now we are together and she cant do without me,and both of us are happy. I feel so happy sharing this testimony because there was no negative act attached to his work. His work was smooth and fast. Thanks to Dr.Trust for bringing back happiness to my life. I swear with my life that Dr.Trust is a man to trust and take your problems to. You can contact him on his e-mail if you really truly want your love back. dr.(ULTIMATESPELLCAST@GMAIL.COM OT ULTIMATESPELLCAST@YAHOO.COM TEL: +2348156885231)..

  • Taylor Borg

    My name is Taylor Borg,All thanks goes to Dr.Trust for saving my marriage from toning apart.i feel so grateful and only have good words about a powerful spell caster named Dr.Trust who helped me bring back my wife. We had been apart for 4 months, at first I was thinking if I was doing the right thing by contacting a spell caster, but I so much love my wife and won’t give her up for anything in this world. I decided to contact Dr.Trust through his mail address I found on several testifiers messages online,and I told him about my situation, he laughed and told me my wife will be back to me in the next 48 hours. I felt it wasn’t going to happen at first until my wife called me and was so eager to have me back more than anything on earth.. Now we are together and she cant do without me,and both of us are happy. I feel so happy sharing this testimony because there was no negative act attached to his work. His work was smooth and fast. Thanks to Dr.Trust for bringing back happiness to my life. I swear with my life that Dr.Trust is a man to trust and take your problems to. You can contact him on his e-mail if you really truly want your love back. dr.(ULTIMATESPELLCAST@GMAIL.COM OT ULTIMATESPELLCAST@YAHOO.COM TEL: +2348156885231)

  • sandra martins

    GREAT MAN WHO HELP ME GET MY EX HUSBAND BACK

    I never use to believe in spell casting until i met Dr wellborn a powerful spell caster who helped me to be a happy person again. My name is Sandra martins and i reside in CANADA. After 3 years of Broken marriage, my husband left me with three kids. I felt like my life was about to end and i almost committed suicide, i was emotionally down for a very long time. Thanks to a Great spell caster called Dr wellborn which i met online on one faithful day when I was browsing CANADA Athrough the internet, i came across a lot of testimonies about this particular Great spell caster how he has helped so many people. he has helped people to bring back their Ex lover, some testified that he restores womb, cure cancer and other sickness, and so on. I also came across a testimony, it was about a woman called Amanda, she testified about how his spell made her to be pregnant after so many years of bareness and at the end of her testimony she dropped Dr wellborn email address. After reading all these, i decided to give it a try and i contacted him and explained my problem to him and he assured me that in less than 48 hours, my husband will call me and beg for forgiveness but i thought it will not work. When he had finished casting the spell, the next day my husband called me and he was begging for forgiveness just as Dr wellborn said. This is not brain washing and after the spell has been cast, i realized that my husband love me like never before and the spell caster opened him up to know how much i love him and how much love we need to share. We are even happier now than before. Dr wellborn is really a gifted man and i will not stop publishing him because he is a wonderful man. If you have a problem and you are looking for a real and a genuine spell caster to solve all your problems contact Dr wellborn now on wellbornspelltemple@gmail.com he will help you solve your problems. Once again thank you Dr wellborn for your good deeds.

    Sandra martins _CANADA

  • Anonymous

    my husband was always cheating on me and even spends nights out. sometimes he even leave for the entire week end, pretending that he has work, but i know he just go meet women, my life was lame until
    i asked robinsonbuckler@yahoo. com to cast a spell for me. so that my husband can be a good man and after his spell, my husband changed automatically, he now spends much more time with me and the kids and we’re a family again,
    Samantha Oscar

  • KristyParker

    I highly recommend Dr Lawrence spell casting service. It worked for me very fast with the custom ritual spells drlawrencespelltemple@hotmail.com did for me. He is great because He really works hard on your case and even now that all my problems are already resolved, I still come to him and make check to make sure everything is staying on the right track. I feel he is more like family to me then my own family. He always puts a smile on my face.

  • stella kyes

    I want to say this appreciation to Dr.Kasee of ONIMALOVESPELL@GMAIL.COM for bringing back my husband who left me and the kids for almost 2 years. i never taught i would get him back untill i saw a comment online about dr.Kasee and i contacted him, after following all instruction given to me by Dr.Kasee, my husband came back begging for forgiveness within the space of 48hours. Thanks doctor your spell is really great. For those of you who have marriage/relationship problem should contacct him for hel via onimalovespell@gmail.com . And experience it your self.

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