My Process for Forgiving the Emotional Affair

forgiving the emotional affairLinda shares her process for forgiving Doug after his affair.

Recently,  Doug and I recorded a session for the Affair Recovery Group where we wrapped up the topic of forgiveness after the affair by sharing some of our own experiences and opinions with respect to this very important topic.

A question came up where I felt compelled to explain my process that I went through when I was working on forgiving Doug for his emotional affair. We figured it would be helpful to share with all of you as well.

First of all, let me explain that I felt forgiveness was vitally important to our affair recovery.  The process for me was a long one – more than a year and a half – and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

I never thought that I would have to consider forgiving such actions that I could never tolerate, or thought I would ever have to consider forgiving in the first place.

At one point I even thought that it would just be easier to let the emotional affair go and move on. But I couldn’t.  If I didn’t forgive I would remain in pain and wouldn’t be able to move forward to improve our relationship.  Basically, there would have remained a wall between us if I chose not to forgive.

My process may not be what the therapists or infidelity gurus tell you, but it worked for me.  As we have mentioned before, it’s important to not forgive too soon.  Let your feelings and the pain guide you.  You will know when you are ready to forgive.

So here was my process for forgiving the emotional affair:

You must know for certain that the affair is over. There is no possible way to even consider forgiveness it the affair is still happening.  Doug showed his affair was over by being totally transparent and making a sincere focused effort to mend and rebuild our marriage.  I’m not too proud to admit that I continued for a time to check phone records, computer history and such as well.

There needs to be open and honest communication about what happened during the affair and what led up to it. I needed to understand the reasons behind his actions. I think that this was probably the hardest to accomplish because I received the details in bits and pieces over time.  It was also very difficult to decipher what was real and what wasn’t because of the inherent fantasy aspect of his emotional affair.

Figure out what you are forgiving. I had to get a handle on all of the lying, resentment, and other strange behaviors in order to understand why he was acting that way.  Was this the real Doug, or was this just an isolated incident?  He had to show me that it really wasn’t his real character. Do not forgive the event.  Forgive the person.

Doug had to show me real sincere remorse together with an understanding of the pain his emotional affair caused me. There was to be no minimizing of the affair or the affair relationship.  They were not “just friends.”  One thing that we should have done but didn’t, was Doug should have actually verbally asked for forgiveness.  Likewise, I should have done the same for my contributions to the deterioration of our marriage. Saying your sorry is just not enough – especially if the sorry comes with conditions.

Forgive yourself. This is almost an entire process by itself.  For me it was about forgiving myself for what went on in our marriage before the affair, and then for how I handled things after the affair.  I took a lot of the blame for the affair and beat myself up about it as a result.  Becoming educated about affairs and practicing honest communication is essential.

Eventually there came a point after Doug’s emotional affair where all the pieces fell into place and I was able to forgive. Almost immediately there was a tremendous sense of relief. The pain was diminished and I was able to look at Doug in a better light. It’s tough to always think of your spouse as a bad person who could hurt you in such a terrible way.  Forgiveness was the key to get me past this.

For those of you who have successfully forgiven your partner after the affair, please feel free to share what your process was in the comment section and what it meant to you. You may also want to click the following link for more posts about forgiveness.

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The Real Journey to Forgiveness
It’s for You, Not for Your Spouse

There are misconceptions about forgiveness that cause many misunderstandings and also serve as roadblocks to the healing process.

We clear up the misconceptions, provide the real scoop on forgiveness, and show you how to get rid of lingering feelings in such a way that allows forgiveness to become a healing force in your life.

 

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32 Responses to My Process for Forgiving the Emotional Affair

  1. ruth February 24, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    For the last year I was on my way to forgiving until last month I found out that they have been having contact when I thought there was no contact. There will be no forgiving for a very long time now, if ever.

  2. Norwegian woman February 24, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    I haven`t forgiven yet, but I will write anyway. I am still struggeling with trust, checking e-mail, computer history and so on. What is bugging me the most, is that allthough he seems transparant and tells me that this is something I will never have to deal with again, he never initiates talks. He still minimizes the affairs, he still can`t tell me what he felt and so on. It`s like a record playing; Now, I can see how wrong it was and sometimes his answers to my questions are answered as if he posessed this knowledge when he had the affairs. It is allways me that wants to talk, that have problems letting go. Suddenly words or situations pop into my head and my day is ruined and the more I keep it in, the angrier i get. And I have to talk to him about it, and his response is to reassure me that this is a stage in his life that is over…
    Some days ago I was so disappointed in him. Me, trusting him, is a big issue and there is a woman at his work that my stomack tells me to be aware about. Before christmas they had dinner delivered at work(all the employees were there) and the two last persons to leave the buildings that evening was him and this woman. He told me that someone had to take care of cleaning up and putting out candles and so on. Of course, I cannot accuse him for anything, but i told him that I did not like it, and that my stomack told me to be aware. He couldn`t believe what he was hearing and told me to stop being so sensitive, cause there was nothing going on. But I asked him to never ever get himself in a situation with her, that I could feel uncomfortable with. I asked him to avoid being alone with her both in private, job parties and at work.
    This week he told me that the two of them was arranging a party at work. I told him how dissapointed I was that he didn`t respect my wishes. He got angry and told me I was over sensitive and that he couldn`t engange in anything at work because I was paranoid. I told him that of all the women at work, the only one I have told him to stay away from was her. There are several women, and next week he is going to another town on a conference with two other female workmates, but I don`t feel worried at all. It`s just her. And he HAD to engage in throwing av party at work with her……
    So….. I really want to trust him again, but i struggle so hard with it because I feel that his response to me is superficial, allthough he is very loving and caring, and I see that he really doesn`t follow up being trustworthy. I know that if HE doesn`t understand his actions and feelings, he is in great risk at doing it again. And this last demonstration of him not taking my feelings seriously, was really a blow to me. I have had a couple of really bad days….

  3. Lori February 24, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    Linda, I must say that this is a great post. You are very lucky that you and Doug were able to recover from the affair, I wasn’t so lucky. My pain is very deep and there isn’t a minute I don’t think about him and wishing things were different. I have forgiven him and I did want to work things out with him. We weren’t married and part of the moving on process included things that you mentioned in this post. However, because we weren’t married, it was easier for him to walk away from me, and me from him. He insisted that he remain friends with the EP, and not just regular friends, but ‘very special friends.’ He also has never addressed my issues and concerns and ever felt remorseful. He’s told me he’s sorry, but he only said it for hurting me – he never addresses the individual things he did that greatly affected me, such as: the negative names he called me, the lies and the sneaking around. Also, I don’t think I forgave myself – especially the part where I read his emails that discovered the in-depth knowledge I had to his EA. I thought I was wrong for taking a peak, although I didn’t need to look at their emails to know what was going on. It was all in front of me. I wanted him to read this blog, but he now thinks that he knows his boundaries with her and that they are just friends. He’s admitted to me in the past that it was an EA, but now has changed his mind. I wish things were different, but we don’t agree on this. And when I go to sleep at night, I think that he never really loved me, he never proposed, he had this EA from the beginning, but it stopped for 2 years, but then he went back to her; erasing our past. Sometimes I think I’m lucky that I wasn’t married to him, but most of the time I just feel sad. Being betrayed like this is one of the worst things in the world, and he doesn’t understand this one bit, because if he did, and if he truly loved me, he would have done the things listed in this post to help move us to forgiveness together! IMHO

  4. karen k February 24, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    My journey to forgiveness of both my CS and the OP:
    D-Day of my H’s 2-year EA – May 28, 2010
    Rage, Hurt, Pain, Thoughts of Divorce, etc.
    Found this site (a godsend) – started research, reading, etc. on affairs
    Focused on taking care of myself 🙂 Realized it wasn’t my fault
    H broke off contact – with my prodding and help (tough love)
    Long, intense talks with H about EA and our relationship and what each of us needed and were not getting from our marriage
    Watched DVD on forgiveness
    H showed some remorse and asked a few times for forgiveness
    Lots more reading and research on EA’s
    Realized forgiveness was for me!!!
    Separate opportunities occurred to forgive both my CS and the OP (another godsend) – forgave both of them at different times – immediate sense of relief for me!!!
    Up and down days since then up till today – still having triggers, flashbacks, very slow-building trust but moving forward slowly in recreating my marriage.

    The only thing I might add to Linda’s post is from what I’ve read on forgiveness (not directed strictly at affairs) is that to heal and move on completely, you must forgive, even if the person doesn’t ask for it or show remorse. How this forgiveness affects or allows for moving on and continuing in a marriage where an affair has happened but the CS won’t take responsibility or see forgiveness? I don’t know. It’s so, so complicated by economics and children and many other issues. That’s why affairs are so devastating.

  5. Jessica February 26, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    I don’t know how to forgive him. I keep bringing it up and I know it spoils the mood. If I go one day without bringing it up that’s good but the obsessive thoughts still continue in my mind. Its over with him and the OW. He tells me he lives me is a better dad then ever before but I just can’t believe he would be the cause of so much pain to me. Maybe with more time it’s been seven months now but at this time last year was when his EA started so now there are so many triggers

  6. Beth August 9, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    It has helped me so much to read through all of these posts. I find this site shortly after I discovered my husband’s emotional affair 6 months ago. As many others have already said, it seems as though you have written my story. I never considered even the possibility that I would have to deal with infidelity, let alone learn how to forgive. My husband and I are in a pretty good place right now. We have been to counseling nearly every week since March and it is really helping. As you ahve stated, I have also had to look at myself and change who I was and how I contributed to the situation. My husband has truly worked to repair our marriage. It was a definite struggle in the beginning – he actually pulled away dramatically and continued to hide things. Over the last several months, he has taken responsibility for his behavior, the deception, etc., but there is a piece of me that believes he still may not truly “get it.” I don’t know if he understands how severely he damaged me or our marriage and I don’t believe that he feels the need to ask for my forgiveness. I think that he has already moved past it and it “over it” and would much rather never talk about it again. He has told me he is sorry and I truly believe him, but I don’t know if he is necessarily sorry for the right things. That is what is holding me back from forgiving him.

    I suppose my question is for Doug … did you ever really “get it?” If so, how long did it take and how did you get there. My husband and I no longer discuss the emotional affair unless we are in our counseling sessions (and that has worked out better for us that way so far), but I wonder if that is the right thing to do or if we should be talking about it more, to help us both move forward. From your perspective, what did it take for you to realize what you had done and how to make things right? My husband admits that he still “feels something” for the other woman and I wonder how long that will continue or if it will ever go away.

    Any insight is appreciated and I am already so thankful for how open you have both been with your experience!

    • Doug August 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

      Hi Beth, Thanks for sharing, and I’m happy that you and your husband seem to be on a solid road to recovery. I’m horrible with time lines, so I’m not sure I will be of much help, but to answer your question, yes I do feel that I “get it.” I realize the irreparable damage I’ve done to not only our marriage but to Linda and her self-concept. That being said, I pretty much “got it” in theory right away, but early on chose to ignore it due to the emotional affair and the “fog” I was in. After the affair ended and we started our recovery process, over time, the damage I caused became much clearer and caused me much more guilt, and I guess you can say I “got it” more from a practical standpoint.

      I think I got there mainly through the conversations that Linda and I had where often she displayed intense emotions and pain, and how deeply my emotional affair has impacted her in so many ways. During these conversations she would often tell me what she needed, or at least gave me clues to what she needed to forgive and to heal. Was I always successful at giving her what she needed? No. But I think the effort was there and she realized that, and it helped.

      I think that you going to a therapist is great, but I also think that if you are having a hard time forgiving him, based on what you said, you need to have more heart to heart conversations at home. He may hate it, but if he realizes that it’s what YOU need and that it can only help you to heal faster and more completely, then he should be OK with it.

      It’s tough to say how long he will still have feelings for the OP as everyone is different, but as your recovery process continues and your marriage strengthens even more, I’m betting those feelings will fade away altogether.

      Two books I recommend: “Torn Asunder” (and the accompanying workbook) by Dave Carder and “How Can I Forgive You?” by Janis Abrahms Spring (both in “The Library” at the top of the page) really have some great info and advice on forgiveness and other related issues. I hope that helps! Best of luck to you!

  7. suziesuffers April 16, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    I’ve been told that forgiveness is to never bring up the sin again. What does forgiveness really mean if we still are working through the pain and triggers of the affair and need to discuss it with our spouse? This was the biggest issue with my husband. Of course, he wanted forgiveness in order to NEVER discuss it again. Even though he said to me Forgiveness is not forgetting, his definition of forgiveness was to never bring up the inequity again…..so I guess I wasn’t going to forget his trangression, I was just never allowed to bring it up to him again. His issue was that I was talking about this all the time (and I was, his years of alcoholism and cheating…and then sobriety and cheating had destroyed whatever self esteem I had when we got married…..I had somehow lost myself and was defined by my husband even though I was very successful in my career, I had lost all my self esteem about my appearance and my personality in his eyes). He is divorcing me saying that my inquiries/investigations of his email and phone records were intrusive. That when I was crying about my hurt that even though to my face he was telling me how “real” I was incomparison to the affairs he’d had, that it endeared him to me even more because of my “real” emotions and heart……but that turned even though he never said anything to me until the divorce…that he felt I was reigning hell down on him by “berating” him about the affairs and everything he had done over the last 30 years (all the affairs I was now brave enough to address……and question his honesty about the ones never disclosed….which to this day I don’t know if I ever got any real truth). I don’t know what forgiveness really means at this point and how you work on the pain of the affair if you can’t talk about it.

    • Greg April 16, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

      Very simple Suzie, you are right. It is not possible to work on the pain of the affair if you can’t talk about it and you cannot forgive until you have been able to get rid of the pain. What he really means is that he doesn’t want to feel the pain of having to think about what he did to you over all the years with his drinking and affairs. It is very painful for him and he doesn’t want to deal with it so he wants you to stop reminding him, failing at that he now wants to divorce and run away so that he does not have to work on himself. He would rather bury it in a box far inside his mind and never open it up again. Trust me on this one as I’ve recently had the top to my box blown wide open and am now having to deal with everything I put in there over the years. It’s painful far beyond what my wife’s EA was and sucks to the extreme. I’m willing to deal with it because I love my wife and kids too much to just close them off and run away. Your husband will have to decide what he loves more, you or protecting his ego.

  8. Brianna June 5, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    I am going through a tough time right now too. My husband was deployed for almost a year. and i recently (3 weeks ago) found out he had been seeing someone from his batallion. He said it was never physical but i finf it hard to beleive him. I found an email he sent to her with a picture saying “its not much but something for you. Im going to miss you so much. I love you baby!”…..He was out of the hosue for 2 days and i told him i was going to try and get over it. Unfortunately 3 weeks later i still cant. He gets upset because i think about it and bring it up. He is still messaging this girl on a daily basis. He claims they are just frineds but i cant help but think otherwise. Today i gave him an ultimatum that if he continued to talk to her i wouldnt be able to move past it 100%. He of course got upset and said it was over and that i have issues to resolve. My question is wheter or not i was in the wrong when i told him i would try and was unable to. I think i tired to forgive him before i was ready. Idk what to do now. He has no where to go and we have a child together. I do not want a divorce but i also do not want to stay if hes not willing to let this other woman go.

    • Doug June 6, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

      Hi Brianna, I’m sorry for what you’re going through. You are not in the wrong one bit. 3 weeks is no where near long enough time to remotely get over this. He needs to get a clue and understand the hurt he has caused you and agree to talk about his affair and what it means to you and your relationship. He also must stop any contact with the OW.

  9. Gizfield June 6, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

    The issue that needs to be resolved is him bringing another skank into your marriage. You have done nothing wrong. Stand your ground!

  10. Brianna June 6, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    He refuses to talk about it. Get s upset when ever i bring it up and throws a fit. Everyone close to me that ive spoken to tells me i need to just move on because i deserve better than him. He treats me disrespectfully, goes out and doesnt come home till 5:30 in the morning drunk. I spoke to him today telling him i still wanted this marriage to work and he will not take responsibilty that he has issues also. Says its all me about how i do or say things. He gets irritated at the smallest stuff, has told me i was a whore and that i tricked him into being eith me. That we dont know eachother, and how he cant talk to me because we do not have the same experiences. Ive made an appointment to see a therapist to fix my self esteem issues because he has knowcked me down. My heart tells me to keep fighting but my mind is telling me to let go. I just dont know what to do.

  11. Brianna June 6, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    Also, should i confront this woman. She knows hes married and has kids. Thier relationship started about half ways through the deployment. He says it just happened and that i was always unavailable to talk to him. He was in Egypt and i was here taking care of three kids (two from a previous realtionship) and working and going to school. He felt a connection to her and apparently still does. He claims they only talk about random stuff yet will delete the messages from his phone.

  12. Undecided July 11, 2014 at 6:32 am #

    I am still reading through the advice on this website, never realising there were so many people in the same boat.

    My H has been in an EA for almost 3 years but they decided to meet last year. They were seen by a family friend on their 3rd meeting and he had no choice but to tell me, d-day was just over a year ago. I still have very bad days as he is in contact with her every day. He says he only talks to her about work – and his phone bills show that – yes I do look at them, that does not make me proud of myself. He has never stopped telling me he loves me and I believe he does, However, since before d-day he has been working out, lost loads of weight, wants now to go to a gym, go for meals with a friend – and I will let him go but I don’t know whether to trust him – it’s sooo hard keeping the ow out of my mind he has told me things about their meetings when I ask but is not open with me if I don’t. He says he doesn’t want to talk about it or her as both are irrelevant to him. How do you learn to forgive if they continue to have contact and how do you stop the jealous feelings? She is the total opposite to me physically, (younger and fat, and nothing to look at) he said it doesn’t matter what you look like but wants me to be ‘more of a woman- make up, heels, skirts etc’, which I have done, and do. Not long after d-day he said haas she been a stunner he would have struggled to stay.

    How do you stop being so wrapped up in what happened?

  13. Undecided July 11, 2014 at 6:38 am #

    Misspell – should have said ‘had she been a stunner’

    He has not read any of this site, he is only interested in dealing with his own ‘problems’. Is there any point in staying together?

    How long after d-day did you come out of your ‘fog’ doug?

  14. Shellz July 15, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

    I am going thru a similar experience… My husband and I met a woman thru a mutual friend at a concert last month. She got pretty intoxicated and was hanging on my husband quite a bit. I admit it was no big deal because I am not a jealous person so it really didn’t bother me. I ended up FB friending her and said we should all hang out sometime again because we did have fun with her and our friend. Within a week I started to have this 6th sense something was amiss. I didn’t check up on him because it’s never been necessary. I have been thru the mill in 2 previous relationships where I discovered a great deal of social media and phone texts/calls with women that ultimately became lovers of the men I was with. But I have never had a fear of that with my now husband. So when I noticed he was saying, go on to bed I will be in soon and then not coming to bed for hours or early morning I had the immediate red flag go up. Last week I asked him who he was textng and he ignored me. Later that night I woke up on the couch and he was in bed. His phone was lying there and I looked. All of his texts were erased (he never does that and is notorious for leaving hundreds in his phone all the time) except for 2 new ones from a Man’s name .. one that said yes and the other said When? I got on our phone account and realized there had been nearly 400 texts in 13 days between the 2 of them, late at night and picture messages from her to him. I was sick .. and I knew right away it was this woman because she lives in the adjoining state less than an hour’s drive from us and I knew it would be her area code. I checked online and sure enough it was her. I was awake all night sick from what I learned but I didn’t wake him.. I waited til morning when he got up and confronted him. He confessed immediately and swore they had never met up and that it was innocent and they mostly spoke of the guy who is our friend (we are aware she is in love with him but he is not recipricating) … he admitted she sent photos of herself and had asked to meet with him and he says he declined. Regardless the deception of him speaking to another woman behind my back while I am in bed and going to such great lengths to hide it is eating away at me. Mainly because apparantly at no time did he ever feel he was doing anything wrong and that is my greatest hurt. He has apologized profusely, claimes he has ended the contact (as far as I know he has though he has a work phone thru his company and I am obsessing that he may be talking to her thru that phone and i have no way to check on that) … he swore it would never happen again and hasn’t happened before … but I am having trouble accepting it. I contacted the woman myself and she tried to lay blame on him but I let her know I was aware she was texting him first late at night and sending photos and she never responded again .. I have checked up on the cell records. I have no access to his email and FB and I dread asking because I am afraid of what I may see though likely he has deleted it all. It didn’t go on long and he knows I am the kind of woman who will find out anything so deep down I don’t think it will happen again but I don’t know how to let go. We have been together 3 years.. married just under 1 year and the last year has been rough for us. An accident, a home robbery, surgerys, time off work and medical bills. I was hoping our upcoming 1st anniversary would be a time to get back to where we were, renew a little bit, but now I dread even going home and looking at him. I want this to work out but I don’t know where to start.

  15. Strengthrequired July 15, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

    Shellz, I just wanted to say I’m sorry for what you have been through, but also sorry that you have found your way here.
    One thing that you need to remember and know, over 400 texts and pics through the night or day with another woman is not innocent. It’s not innocent when the texts are deleted. If it was innocent there would be nothing to hide.
    Your h needs to lose this woman’s number, and be completely open with you.
    I know you will get some great advice here. Hugs to you.

    • Jan October 7, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

      Hi Shellz. My situation is so similar to yours. I just posted my situation, and I want to believe that my man really does love me but when I think about him wanting to keep in contact with her, I get upset all over again. He really doesn’t see that he’s done anything wrong (except the explicit email part). He can’t see why I can’t “let it go” because “nothing is going on between them, they’re just friends”.

      My heart is with you, I know it’s an extremely difficult position to be in. I was just divorced 3 years ago after a 30 year marriage, and I’m not inclined to put up with this. I will probably be leaving this relationship very soon, even though I love him.

      Good luck, hon!

  16. Hurting August 20, 2014 at 2:33 am #

    Hi, I stumbled across this site tonight because I too am having a hard time forgiving my husbands emotional affair. The thing that makes it very confusing for me is the affair ended in november 2011, but i just found out about it about 2 weeks ago. I found some emails that go as far back as 2008. The emails are of sexual nature and some lead me to believe there was physical contact. He denies that it became physical and that the situations they described were fantasy, but I find it hard to believe. The part that bothers me the most is he wrote poetry professing his love and they talked about being soulmates. He never said anything negative about me in the emails that I found. In fact, He wrote that he doesnt “have any real reason to turn away from my wife”. And then later wrote, “I have decided not to worry myself about this, and do what I feel is right…whatever that might be.” I know that he wanted it to become physical, and he has even admitted to me that he feels like he could have built a life with her. My confidence is completely shattered. I want to separate, but I dont want to hurt my kids. We just had our third child, he is 4 days old-talk about perfect timing, so i am an emotional hormonal wreck. Ive tried talking to my husband about it but he seems irritated when i do. And he defends their relationship. He considers her aa good friend and says she was there for him. He doesnt understand how that hurts me. I asked him to remove her from his facebook and to never contact her again. She is still his facebook friend. When I ask him to explain to me why. He says he doesnt see how thats important and that he loves me and we should just move forward. Im afraid that I wont be able to. He says that whatever I need to move forward, just do it. At this point I dont know what I need, and I think its pretty messed up for him to leave me emotionally like this. Its just making things worse. I dont know what to do. I just want to feel better for me and my kids. Any advice on how to heal without the help of your partner? Because I think thats my only option at this point…

    • Monica October 6, 2016 at 3:56 pm #

      I discovered my husband had at least 1 or possibly 2 “confidants” in which he claims he only talked to her ( ill call them a her because of the fact that I dont have proof there was more than one)as a way of coping with the problems we had in our mairrage. There is so much pain associated with discovering your significant other looked beyond the mairrage to find happiness. My problem was that my husband never wanted to talk about it. At first when I finally found phone records and proff he had denied everything. Even when the proof was right in his face he still tried to dismiss it and finally claimed that nothing intimate ever happened. To this day he has never talked to me about anything just that yes he spoke to another woman for months ( obviously I had the proof) and she just offered advice and was a friend. At the time I was receiving anonymous texts warning me that my husband was having an affair to open my eyes. At the time I didn’t believe a word of it and changed my number. But the doubt had crept in and then I discovered the phone records. CountleSS rumors have gone around that he did have intimacy with so and so…..he denies everything and has begged for forgiveness of the EA and has said we need to forget the past and move forward to be happy as the “new us”. But I am tormented with the thoughts of what actually happened. How do I move forward and forgive? When I don’t even know what I am actually forgiving. 2 years have passed and it seemed like we were doing well. But just a month ago I eased dropped on a conversation he was having with a buddy and I heard him so proudly admit he had 2 chick’s on the side at one point and was bragging about how he had a way with words when I came to wooing a woman. Although he never said I had sex with X woman to me it was a blow especially since I thought the incident had stayed in the past and we were on our way to getting past them. I was shattered all over again only to discover how he felt about them and how his ego was boosted by the reputation that he had made for himself. When I confronted him he said he was exaggerating and when guys get togetter they say a whole bunch of “bull shit” and it’s just a male ego thing”. Never the less to hear it from his own lips drunk or not the damage was done and my wounds that were trying to heal were slashed open again. He has sworn to me that he is sorry for the pain he has caused me that all of that business is in the past and that the “new” us is better than ever and that I’m so beautiful and he don’t need anyone else. But my insecurities and my ego are sunk so low and I can’t get past the what ifs, what actually happened. And I find it so difficult to move forward and truly forgive. And as a Christian i feel terrible that im having difficult forgiving him. Everytime he walks out the door I panic. How can I live like this? We have been married for almost 13 years now and have 3 kids. The thought of divorce is so sickening to me. And I love my husband so much. He has promised that he’s sorry and that we need to move forward. HELP

  17. Jan October 7, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

    I am having a difficult time thinking about my part in the “email” affair that my man had with a friend of his that he has known for 25 years. They were never intimate (they were both involved with other people during the years), but the emails that they had been sending each other for 10 years “crossed the line” at one point.

    My man and I met 2 1/2 years ago, and for 11 months I didn’t know about these suggestive emails, where they would describe what they would do to each other if they were together (he lives in Canada, she lives in California), he told her he was thinking about her in the shower, she sent half naked photos of herself, she mentioned whipped cream, etc. etc. I checked his email for some reason (I’m not proud of that!) and found all these emails back and forth, and was totally devastated. They had also planned on her coming up to visit him for a few weeks, she had her plane ticket, and a few months before she was due to come up, he met me. He told her that she couldn’t come, because he had met someone special. She was pretty upset. (She is married to someone, btw).

    He told me that after he met me, he couldn’t figure out how to stop the emails back and forth and so they continued.

    He did tell her at that point that they could not be friends for a while until all this between him and me was straightened out. A few months later they were emailing again, but not the suggestive ones of before. Mostly her telling him that she wanted her best friend back, and why couldn’t I see that nothing happened between them, after all, she was 3000 miles away!

    I checked his email again and found that he was emailing again and he again told her that they could not be friends. Again, a few months later, he had initiated email conversations once again.

    I read about everyone’s affairs on this blog, and Shellz’ experience is very similar to mine. My man had 490 texts from her last month, and he sent 306, but they’re all erased. He does not think there is anything wrong with staying “friends” with her. I am grateful that I am not married because I am seriously thinking of leaving this relationship, because it is so difficult to think about him being in contact with her, and I did nothing to cause it, since it was going on before we met. Any comments?

  18. Vickie January 20, 2015 at 8:42 pm #

    Linda this article was very helpful for me. I found out October 2013 that my husband was having an emotional affair. I knew that he and I were not talking much but could not put my finger on what my gut was telling me and then one day, I just picked up his phone and of course it was locked and I figured out this password to discover this texting ordeal. I have never felt so many emotions In one split second. I felt like my heart had been ripped from my chest. Then I was angry because I knew that my husband had been distant and I was so angry. I acted out of anger also, I went in and confronted him and of course he was like she is just a friend and I said that friends don’t tell each other that they love each other. He actually told me that he was trying to get rid of her and that he was glad that I found out because he was sick from what had happened and was very very sorry. I sat and watched him call her and she did not answer and then he texted her that I knew everything and that it was over and he did not want anything else to do with her. He deleted her number as well as telling her to delete his. And I went the whole day without saying a word because I was scared of what I might do. I was so angry. Then I received a text message from the Other Woman and she said can we talk sometime today, I proceeded to tell her on a text message back that I had nothing to say to her. The only thing that I said her was that she was married and had four children and that she should be ashamed of herself for what she has done to have family. She is a preachers wife and she had the gall to tell me that ” I did not know what it was like to be married to a preacher” that she was thrown into this marriage with him and that my husband had been a great friend to her by listening to her dumb whining stories which I could care less about. I finally told her to stay away from me, my family and my husband. Not to ever text me again because I will never feel sorry for a woman who is married that pursues married men. Come to find out she had two cell phones and was texting seven men at the same time she was texting my husband. I am still angry and it is 2015. But needless to say my husband has begged me for forgiveness. He said that she gave him attention. I will never take the blame for this emotional affair but I will take responsibility for the part of putting my kids first and their activities and letting my marriage fall to the wayside. That is one thing that I would tell young parents today. That it is important for you to parent your children and be a part of their actiivties but don’t let your marriage suffer in the meantime. It is what you have left when your kids grow up and move out on their own. Forgiveness, I have tried to forgive and move on. I do trust my husband now because of what we have been through with counseling and everything but I still have triggers and anxiety which I never had before. When I see her in passing in the small town that we live in, I just want to slap her, which I know that my husband should have never took that fork in the road and it is him to blame but in my book I look at it like this. She was married and she knew he was married and had children yet she kept texting him stuff like “if your wife does not appreciate you, she don’t know how lucky she has it. She was boosting his ego and seven others at the same time. He was guilty of enjoying that little fantasy. She did ask for more, and I saw the text message from my husband that literally said that I would never do that to my wife or my kids. Even though the damage that I had experienced was just about as bad as if he had slept with her. I am guilty of neglecting his ego and never told him how much I appreciated him for working so hard and I regret that and I now tell him every day how much he means to me and how much I appreciate him for what he has done for our family. Life is great but I still have my moments which I wish I did not but that is something that I think will take years to get completely over.

  19. Penny March 28, 2015 at 6:16 am #

    My husbands EA played out in front of my face. I witnessed the progressio, I had many discussions with my husband about it and then one day I discovered they had organised a secret rendezvou. I confronted once again and through much discussion and answering questions and he has volunteered information, we are both healing. He has even goNe as far to thank me for “waking him up” he describes the EA like being hypnotised.

    She had kept telling him that their “friendship” was special and he believed her.he was on a high, it was like a rush.

    I had asked him, what is it about the friendship that makes it so special, and he couldn’t answer and went on to say they didn’t even have anything in common.

    He began to ask a few questions himself about the EA. He has become angry with the other person he feels as though he was manipulated by her rnto thinking they had a connection and when it became clear to there wasn’t he was angry.

    I have my down moments but the fact that my husband is being open and participating in the healing process, I feel confident we will over come this this. I have forgiven him for being naive enough to buy some OP nonsense.

    My advice for cheating spouse surrender to the questioning, tell the whole story even the parts that may look bad, go through the pain with your partner, comfort reassure and remember actions speak louder than word. Let them see you making the effort. It makes a world of difference it really does.

  20. Wendy April 8, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

    You have no idea how much reading about your story has helped me. It is so much like what I’m going through with my husband it’s scary! He has been having an emotional affair for 14 months. I found out about it 2 months into it but he could not give her up. He has lied to me for an entire year! I would discover it was still going on, he would swear he would end it, but just continued the affair and the lying. No amount of crying, yelling or threatening him would make him stop. He swears they are just friends but I know that’s a lie. Why would you lie to your wife daily to keep a “friendship”? I’m am still trying to save our marriage but it can’t happen until he ends all contact with her. Thanks again for sharing your story.

    • Dawn August 1, 2015 at 11:03 pm #

      Wendy, I am in a similar situation. He has lied and covered this relationship, friendship up for a year. This woman knows he has been lying to me and has continued to see him. What kind of woman does that? He works with this woman and claims they are just “friends”. They have drinks off site, go to lunch off site, and go off alone on my motorcycle, always alone. I caught them once with her all wrapped around him on the bike and convinced myself it wasn’t him. The next day I read his text message from her that she finally got a comb through her hair.The image of it all makes me sick. He claims there is nothing happening. But he announces to me their anniversary is this August. I am furious, crushed, angry, devastated, and after 30 years with this man I don’t know who he is anymore. I found his love letters to her and over 100 pages of chat logs from work. How do I even begin to forgive him for all the deception and lies?

  21. Beth April 24, 2016 at 5:19 pm #

    Is there anyone still out there…..pain as I have never known….maybe just emotional but so real that I can’t ever see life again….we have married 39 year! Even he admits never saw this coming…………it has been four months and I am now on meds……great……..still in disbelief
    , and so unsure of what now?,

    • Strengthrequired April 26, 2016 at 5:02 pm #

      Beth, I’m so sorry for you going through this. Understand it does get easier, but also if you read here, these affairs most don’t last. My ch affair lasted more than a year, this was more than four years ago. Thankfully we are still together, the pain does get better, with time. I know it feels hopeless right now, but read the blogs here, read about the 180 on here that so many have found useful. You need to start looking after yourself, get stronger within yourself, do something that makes you feel good about yourself.
      Get inspired by some of the betrayed spouses that have found themselves here, and just read the blogs and comments. So many have been where you are, and have come through the otherside, some still married, others have found a better life without their Cs.
      You will find that we all felt it was useless at the start, and when we felt our down days, there was somewhere, where we could post our thoughts and someone would offer that support.
      Your not alone, and I know you can find information here, that can help you.
      The pain does get better. Remember not all affairs last. Most don’t. You will find that here.

    • Bob April 26, 2016 at 6:01 pm #

      The pain is all to real. I’m sorry you’re going through this. No one deserves to feel the way you feel.

      What now? There’s no telling. Could get worse, stay the same, or get better.

      Amongst all the uncertainty, the only thing you can do is try to take care of yourself and find a way to cope. Meds are a way – a good way. You’ve been injured so medicine is appropriate. So is anything that makes you happy or makes you feel okay.

      That sounds bleak, but it’s the way forward to a better place.

  22. Lindsay June 19, 2016 at 2:19 am #

    I just resently found out about my husbands emotional affair that happened almost 2 years ago. I didn’t find out from him, but one of his friends. I am struggling with forgiving him. I know deep down I want to be able to trust him again, but I don’t know how.
    This also isn’t the first thing to ever make me lose my trust in him. I’ve been contemplating divorce because it just seems like every time I start trusting him again, I find out something else he’s done.
    What do I do? I try talking to him about why he wanted to be unfaithful and we get no where. Everyday is different. One day I’ll be okay, the next is hell. I just don’t understand.

    • 2nd-time hurt September 24, 2016 at 5:06 pm #

      9 years ago , I already forgiven my husband’s 20 months ’emotional affair’ with the secretary and he got his lesson by resigning from the good company. Despite he insisted that there was no sex involved. I chose to trust him, as I love him and my children than my pride.
      Last month, again, I discovered he keeps texting another staff or young colleague almost every 2 hours during office hours. All the concern words , explicit of emotions and non-work related text. He is not a warmth person but quite quiet in nature. Never shows his concern and care even for his own mom. Why is he showing so much care with someone else? Why keep texting in every detail of his life and share every interesting message , some with flirting messages to this woman. Why is her so special and need to invest his time in?
      I was so happened to scroll through the only name in his new phone and felt so disappointed, he betrayed my trust again. After hinted him on history no repeat, he immediately deleted the woman’s text by not letting me know.
      Without hesitation, I find it is time to pull him back from this. He apologized and told that no intention on those texts but merely platonic relationship…..he acknowledged his mistake and promise will come back cleaned.
      Well, I feel hurt. Again. Called me over-sensitive! Really? I do not think I m overly sensitive……

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention My Process for Forgiving the Emotional Affair | Emotional Affair Journey -- Topsy.com - February 24, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dr. Dan Boen, Doug_Linda. Doug_Linda said: My Process for Forgiving the Emotional Affair:   Recently,  Doug and I recorded a session for the Affair… http://bit.ly/i9pdVw […]

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