4 ways to show your partner that you’ve changed for the better after your emotional affair.

emotional affair

By Susie and Otto Collins

She didn’t mean for it to happen. It just did.

When Ellen first became friends with a guy in her spinning class at the gym, she had no idea this would turn into an emotional affair. They began scheduling work outs at the same time and would talk and laugh as they exercised. Afterwards,they often spent even more time together in the health club’s juice bar.

When Ellen and her workout buddy began texting one another throughout the day and evening Ellen’s husband Jack felt uncomfortable. He wasn’t much into exercise and it felt threatening to him that Ellen would become so close with another “health nut.”

The final straw for Jack was when he and Ellen were away for what was supposed to be a romantic weekend and she refused to turn off her phone or to ignore texts from this other guy. There was no romance that weekend; it was mostly arguments and cold silence.

When Jack told Ellen he wasn’t willing to share her with another man, she finally admitted (to herself and to Jack) that this was more than just a casual friendship. Now, Ellen is trying to repair the damage done to her marriage and prove to Jack that she is changing.

Just like Ellen, you probably didn’t intend to have an emotional affair. It just happened.

If you are trying to show your partner that you’ve truly ended the affair and that you’re making real changes, you may be confused about how best to do that. Because trust and your whole relationship are so fragile, you don’t want to do anything that will drive your partner further away.

See also  Discussion: Should a Cheating Spouse Confess?

It’s encouraging to remember that trust can be rebuilt a little at a time. In every moment, make sure you are helping to repair the damage and move closer again.

Here are 4 ways to show your partner that you’ve changed for the better after your emotional affair…

#1: Be transparent.

After an affair, it’s a powerful act to be transparent with your partner, but be sure to think about it first before offering. Some people resist transparency because, to them, it feels like they have no privacy. Don’t promise unless you are fully on board.

When you say you’ll be transparent with your partner, this means you have nothing to hide. You give your partner complete access to all of your accounts and you answer any and all questions truthfully. You can set up some boundaries about how transparent you’ll be. If you do, help your partner understand your reasons why so that he or she doesn’t think you’re keeping secrets.

#2:  Get (and give) feedback.

It’s essential to the healing process that you and your partner keep communicating about how you feel about what happened and what’s next. Without interrupting or defending yourself, listen to how your partner feels and find out some specific ways you can prove that you are trustable again.

If you talk about what motivated you to cheat, take full ownership for your actions first. Share about how you felt and what unmet needs you were possibly trying to fulfill through the affair, but don’t use these as excuses or ways to shift blame. Stay open and choose words that will communicate your truth in a way your partner can hear.

See also  Talking About the Emotional Affair Still Stirs Up Past Pain

#3: Be honest (especially when it’s difficult).

In addition to communication you and your partner have related to the affair, always be honest. When you show that you are no longer hiding how you really feel and what you really think, your partner will start to see that you’re serious about being completely honest and open.

This can be uncomfortable, but if handled carefully and compassionately, you can tell your partner literally anything and cultivate trust and respect. These are both necessary parts of healing your relationship.

#4:  Be confident about your own changes.

Look at the affair as your starting point and acknowledge how far you’ve come since then. You be the one to recognize the changes you’ve made.  Even if you don’t list them all off to your partner. This will help you repair trust in yourself which is also important to your relationship.

If you come off as confused or unsure about whether or not you’re really changing the habits that led up to the affair, your partner will know and it won’t make it easier for him or her to trust you again! But, the more confident you are about what you’ve learned and what you’re doing differently, the more this will shine through.

Whether it was you or your partner who had an emotional affair, rebuilding trust is up to both of you. Find out how to “Rebuild Trust After an Affair. ” Get the free report by relationship coaches and authors Susie and Otto Collins. For more about how to rebuild trust, visit: www.relationshiptrust.com.


    22 replies to "4 Ways to Show Your Partner That You’ve Changed After Your Emotional Affair"

    • Strengthrequired

      There is some good advice. I just wish I could feel all the changes being made by my h.
      I guess I am in one of those moods again, where I am lonely. My h is away unto 2-3 times a week, I have no one since we moved because of his ea, my good friends are no longer in our life, yet my h still has his. He still works in the area where the ow lives. He tells me he is too tired to drive home, et he can go out and meet u with his friends “so he says”..
      I feel guilty for thinking that maybe he is still seeing the ow, and these feelings f distrust, and then I feel bad because I need to give him the benefit of the doubt that he is telling me the truth and because he works so hard, he should get time to see his friends.
      He told me today I didn’t have any friends because I didn’t want any, I told him that isn’t true, I’m just in an area now I know no one. I have the kids 24/7, there is the trust issue now due to my h ea, just not sure who I can trust anymore. Then of course my friends have turned away from us because of my h ea.
      So why do I feel like I lost in all areas of my life, yeah sure I apparently have my h still, yet he is hardly around, ki have no family except my kids around me, and I know no one.
      The main person I need is my h, and he is barely around.
      So am I stupid for asking myself, have I made the right decision fighting for my marriage. When I wonder just how much my children and I are needed in my h life.
      See where I start feeling guilty, because my h works so hard, and is trying to repair the damage caused by his ea, the financial loss and our business.
      So here I am feeling alone and wondering is this what my life is from now on. If this is what I have to look forward to for the rest of my life. Emptiness and loneliness. With a whole in my heart that I’m not sure will be repaired, and don’t even know if my h can help repair it.
      Yet even though I feel so down, so hurt, feeling like I’m the discarded piece that is there only for convenience, and because of the children and feeling shoved to the side out of the way, I still feel guilty for thinking these thoughts and worry about my h and his health.
      So looks like this is my life….why does this have to feel so damn hard.
      So don’t think there is much proving from my h side right now, I don’t see him enough to know for sure.

      • Recovering


        Do not EVER feel guilty about thinking he may be still seeing the OW, and certainly don’t feel guilty about being upset that he is willing to go out with “friends” instead of coming home!!! THAT is the EXACT trap that I was in! My husband worked full time and was going to school 4 nights a week, and I thought that he just needed some down time “with the guys”. Little did I know that that is where the whore was all of the time too!! Had I told him exactly how I REALLY felt – that I missed him too, and I wanted him HOME and that I didn’t want him to go out…. maybe he would’ve felt more loved and not done what he did, or at least he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to have SEX with the OW!! I felt like I was being a good wife to him, but loathed myself for giving up even more of the time I should have had with him to his friends. I was offended that he would even mention going out, but wanted to not be the nag! You need to be true to YOU and stand up for yourself!! Too tired to come home? That man needs some Mort Fertel!!!!!

        As for the ‘show you’ve changed’, my husband does most of these thins. He doesn’t like to talk about the cheating, and when I flip out, which is less regular now, he always says to me “but it wasn’t like that” but he doesn’t elaborate to what it was actually like. I don’t know if I care how he was with it, I just want the confidence to believe that he REALLY loves me now, and that he really DID love me the whole time, but just couldn’t deal with the guilt he would feel if he faced reality – otherwise he would’ve left, right? Otherwise he wouldn’t have dumped the whore and told her he loved me the day I found out about the cheating, right? Feeling like a nutjob today… too much stress in my life lately I guess and it always seems to make me weak in this area and drag me back to being unsure about myself.. and him…

        • exercisegrace

          I agree with Recovering. I erred on the side of being “too” understanding. And as strange as it may sound, even my husband has said to me recently…..”You supported me to your own detriment”. And I did. Working long hours? Missing kids’ school and sports events? Missing family time? Not one peep out of me. I dutifully shouldered the load, and told him how proud I was of him for working so hard to support his family. Sadly, he took my allowances and turned them into “she doesn’t love me” and ran with that. He and his parasite each grabbed a shovel and proceeded to make mountains out of molehills. NEVER again. It is perfectly OK to say that he needs to come home. Please don’t allow him to put this distance between you. Tell him you KNOW it’s hard to deal with the aftermath of the affair, and the emotions. That perhaps even you yourself wish you could just get away from it all, but you have to spend time together to heal. It is necessary. Blessings friend.

      • Tryinghard

        WOW. Not coming home because he is too tired and staying in the same town with the OW would be a huge red flag for me. It would be a deal breaker. What kind of work does he do that he can’t even drive home? Maybe you should check it out? Have him followed? We all want to “trust” what they say but as we have said before they are good liars. Trust but verify. It just sounds odd to me.

      • Rachel

        I’m with trying hard, have him followed. Hire a private detective. Or like what my kids wanted to do to their father, download a tracking device on his phone. What a guy!

        • Strengthrequired

          I just can’t bring myself to do that, I would rather leave then do that. I know if ihe is still being unfaithful, it will show itself, it has every other time. Only takes one slip up, or the ow having someone call me like she has before.
          Thank you it does feel good letting it all out.

    • Gizfield

      I totally agree with Recovering, you hsve NOTHING to feel guilty about. Trust must be earned, and every infraction takes you back to zero trust with me. with all the lies he had told me, I will never “trust” my husband again, and he knows this. If he could earn it by the year 2113 he would be doing good, lol. It’s not a given for anyone. I do not believe in unconditional love, it’s a go pass to treat others how you want. No more.

    • Gizfield

      I’m noticing that I see a pattern of lots of cheaters had complete “trust” from their partner before seeing out. I know mine sure did. I wonder if anyone has ever done a study of trust as a contributing factor in adultery ? I’m gonna research that. Maybe I should get a Masters degree in psychology, and that could be my thesis . :~)

      • exercisegrace

        Giz, I’m pretty sure I qualify for an Honorary Doctorate in Infidelity. You bring up a very interesting point. I would LOVE to hear others chime in. I had TOTAL and I do mean TOTAL trust in my husband. I let him start a business with this woman. I let them travel on business alone. I let them go out for lunches and dinners alone. I BELIEVED every word he told me, until the evidence was overwhelming me. And EVEN THEN I swallowed the lies.

        A less trusting person than me would have set them up, figured out a way to “catch” them. I can think of a bunch now. Sadly.

    • Gizfield

      Damn autocorrect, that should be “stepping out “.

      • Tryinghard

        LOL. I’ve read so much I think I should go back to school too but I’m already too educated. I feel like now I just don’t have anymore answers only on a higher level!

        The book The Monogomy Myth makes a good case for this notion of trust. We assume monogamy . Well why not they did too and we were. I think we need to keep it simple. If we would assume they were having an affair we would have listened to those red flags and stopped it.

    • Gizfield

      Funny, Strength required. My husband had presented himself as one of those poor down trodden “good guys” you hear about so I bought into it fully. Lol. He was a salesman by day. When I recall him bragging to Tramp how how much freedom he had, I want to puke. He is/was also in a rock band. Good god, could it get much worse ? I was busy with a full time job and a preschooler. No family help so I quit going to his “gigs”. I know he came home at all hours. I saw emails inviting the chick to hear him play. He claims she never did. Riiiight. Most gigs were near her house, which was also between his work and our house. I told him I DONT believe his denial and never wil l. I can’t prove hes lying, and he can’t prove he’s not. I go on the Reasonable Person standard, guilty til proven innocent. Just the way IT IS …

    • Gizfield

      Oooops, sorry that last post was intended for Exercise Grace’s Infidelity Doctorate comment.

    • Gizfield

      Trying hard, I’m going to check out the Monogamy Myth. I’ve been researching limerence heavily too. Totally fascinated.

    • Strengthrequired

      Thank you everyone for your support. Our business is where we used to live, over an hour and thirty min away, can take up to two and a half hours at times. It also just so happened that the ow lives locally to where we used to live. The reason for our move, I was having many anxiety attacks, was always anxious, lots of chest pains, etc i wasn’t coping at all living so close to her. My home was no longer my home, I hated living there.
      Due to our business suffering because of everything, my h does work long hours, and I know he is still very depressed and stressed about trying to get back on our feet. I also worry about his long trip home after leaving so early in the morning just to get to work, then working late then driving home. I would never forgive myself if anything happened to him on the road driving home. I know there has been occasions where he had to pull over the side of the road and sleep.
      I have to be flexible with him right now, until we get back on our feet and our finances in better condition, yet it is hard. So of course any friends still left talking to us are still near work too, so at times he goes out with them to get a break, which I know hasn’t been very often, but these are the times it gets to me, because if he is so tired to drive home, then why go out. As you al said we are trying to repair the damage of the ea, we both need to heal, but this is where I have the difficulty because he is barely home. I blame myself because if I didn’t get so bad living where we were, which was near the business then he would have been home every night.
      So I have done this. I have made it harder on us.
      He stuffed our finances up because of his ea and the state of his head was in, her msnipulation didn’t help his mind at all, is why we have almost lost everything, and I know he feels guilty about it and is trying hard to fix it, I see it when I hear the excitement come into his voice when he gets a huge paying job. I know how stressed he is, each time we feel like we are seeing good changes in our finances, we get pushed back a step or two, so I’m trying not to get him anymore stressed, because I know he isn’t able to handle much more.
      He knows now there was and probably still is an bad eye on hiim/us, he mentions it often, he only has to look in the direction of the ow, because it only started once she came back into his life.
      So I am trying to be supportive right now, otherwise if I can’t be supportive of him, he gives up and we go bankrupt. That then rubs more salt into his wounds.
      So this is where it leaves me, putting my healing aside, my trust issues aside, tom make sure he is in the right frame of mind, our finances are in a better position, before I can be harder.
      I hope it doesn’t come to that, I hope he automatically makes the changes. I know that once things have improved, if it continues like this, I can’t stay living like this, the changes have to be made, I’m tired of feeling worthless, all because of this dam position the ea has put us in.
      He has opened up more to me, I can only put my faith in god that our marriage will beat this. My self esteem is at a low point right now, I too am worried about where we are headed, I have so much anger, sadness in me and I am trying to hide it, so I look strong.
      I just want this nightmare to be over, I hate not feeling like I can trust my h.
      I do know if my h is still in contact with the ow, it will come to me, it will show itself, that’s when I’m done. That’s when I walk away with my head held high, no matter how painful, but that’s when. He then needs to play by my rules if he doesn’t want to lose his family, like he keeps telling me.
      I just wish I could really feel it, not just when he is home, but when he is away from home too.
      I have told him, because the chest pain still continues even since the move, that I think my heart has something really wrong with it, it isn’t strong, it is weak. I need him to understand that, because if something happens to me he needs to be easily contractable for our children.
      He just gets upset and tells me to stop talking like that, I’m fine, I will be ok. He doesn’t want to think that anything could happen to me, but in all honesty we aren’t young like we used to, people are dropping off all around us. Maybe this is my midlife crisis, starting to happen.

      Thank you all for giving me that ear to vent. I truly don’t have anyone anymore, yet the stupid ow has everyone around her, makes me sick, she has lot nothing and I’m still suffering from the aftermath she caused.

    • Gizfield

      Thats a very dangerous situation you are in, him that distance away where she is and it all happened. Spending that much time apart is very harmful. Would it be possible for you to go there sometimes. I dont want to upset you but it’s hard for people to change unless they are feeling some pain. At any rate, it’s not fair for you to be left alone taking care of everything. Been there, done that.

    • Lynsey

      Strengthrequired, I agree with previous comments that your H should make every effort to come home. Don’t make excuses for him. He owes it to you to do everything possible to help you heal and to repair your marriage. My H commutes 1.25 hours (one way) to work each day, and comes home everyday. We have dinner together and talk each night which is one thing we are doing to repair our marriage. And it’s working. It is imperative that your H do whatever is required to keep you happy, healthy (both physically & mentally), and to earn your trust back. Good luck to you!

    • Strengthrequired

      I often wonder if I made the wrong choice at moving, the only problem s I just couldn’t stay there anymore, I was slowly going insane. At least where I am I feel calmer, well most of the time.
      I don’t like the situation at all, I often tell him I’m worried I’m going to push away from him. That all this time apart is going to do that, just like it did before the ea. The only thing is I trusted him then.
      He tells me it will all be ok, he lights up when we talk about our future, which gives me hope. While I see changes with him, I am ok, if the changes stop then that’s a problem.
      It amazes me on how much this ow damaged us. This is the hardest thing I have ever done.
      All I know if he doesn’t want us, then just let us get on with our life, maybe I could have been in the same situation as my sil now, moved on to a new relationship, as her marriage broke down around the same time I found out about my h ea over a year ago. Yet I know it wouldn’t have been like that for e anyway, 22 yrs married, I can’t see myself with another man.
      Sad hey. I have told him, I would sell what we could to get our debt fixed up it doesn’t matter if he stays or not, in would still help him. I told him he can have no stress and live with a clearer mind, he can be with her, if he wants her he needs to let me go. I told him that i don’t care about anything as long as he is happy, he doesn’t have to stay with me, because I will still do as I said. This was ever since I found out about the ea. He won’t leave, he offered to even put everything in my name if that’s what I thought. He swears he doesn’t want the ow, he seared he doesn’t want to lose our family, he swears he has no feelings what so ever for the ow, he swears he has stopped all contact. All I can do is try and trust, help my h through the other side of the financial problem, as I know that is where our problem lies right now.
      I have to much respect and love for my h to not see that through, I need to make sure I see that he is healthy and strong before I make any decisions that could break his spirit further, because I know if I didn’t wait, I shudder to think what would happen to him. I need to give him a chance to prove himself come the time we are more stable.
      Doesn’t say that I’m not worried that there still may be contact with her, it’s on my mind. I would know I’m not worth it, our family isn’t worth it to him if he still is. Just to clarify something, about me respecting my h, it’s true I do, I respect him so much, I don’t respect the choice he made with the ow, but as a person, the man I have known for so long, I truly do respect him. Trust in the other hand, that left the building, I’m hoping to get some of it back with time.

      Lynsey, if my h was working a normal 9-5 day job, I would definately expect him to, unfortunately it is our business, hen has just one worker, that helps him through the day, my h does all the quotes, all the ordering, all the manufacturing, all the installing, he does all the chasing up of funds, as he is worried about me being abused by some of the customers, he handles all the complaints if any, all the emergency jobs, when a problem arises, all i do is the bookwork and typing out his letters.
      We can’t afford to get anyone in to help him right now, who is experienced, so literally he is run off his feet. So I know he is exhausted, and with doing all that each day, him trying to cram everything in, which is physically impossible, he still tries. So he keeps working back to get as much done as possible. That’s why I can’t expect him to drive home, he may not get home until midnight each night, so he is worn out mentally, physically.
      When the ea was in full swing, he couldn’t concentrate on the business, he couldn’t concentrate on us. He was so depressed, trying to figure out how to fix himself, he would just sit at the factory and think. He was not capable of working at his best, so of course everything went down hill financially from there.
      So now, here he is trying to get us back on our feet, after the aftermath of the affair. So we are all still suffering the effects.
      Yet it is hard, we will be relocating the business, but we also need time to do it, he just doesn’t have it right now, being so snowed under.
      Although I want my h home every night, I know what our situation is, he is the only income provider of our family, at the moment, so I do need to give him time with his friends, that rest from driving home, yet i miss him and I want to heal, but know I can’t until the rest gets better.
      Sorry for the long post, I hope you all understand now why I need to put my faith in him. His health is far more important to me, than what his has done in relation to the ea, even though my mind keeps going all over the place. Sometimes I am ok, other times, I’m like this.
      Thank you all for your support.

    • Gizfield

      Best wishes to you, SR! Hope things work out wonderfully for you and your family. <3

    • Strengthrequired

      Thankyou gizfield, I hope all works out wonderfully for you and your family too.

      I was thinking how embarrassing it is, writing everything down about what’s been happening that’s shit in my life for people to see. Normally I’m pretty private with when it comes to my marriage and love life, yet here I throwing it out there.
      As if the embarrassment and humiliation wasn’t enough from the ea, I wonder am I making it worse on myself.
      I feel so embarrassed, I feel like a outright loser.

      I wish all of this never happened and it was all just a long bad dream. If only…..

    • Strengthrequired

      I’m talking about the whole ea.

    • CBB

      Hi SR, please do not feel embarressed about your situation, most of us have been there. I think as long as you’re willing to save the marriage the less people knowing, the better. But you do need friends and the only people able to understand the need to ventilate even after 1-2y are those who’ve been there. Not putting him in a public scandal is a way to show you love him. This site is not about bathmouthing our CS it is a place of trust in finding back our own strength. We have some part of the story in common. My H stil works with the OW and she might get dangerous if I put my foot down to strong. I wasn’t only totaly trusting before the EA I actually believed they would feel guilty at the start. My H reacted with a furious denial and called me jealous and paranoid but you could feel his guiylt as he naively tried to mend things between the 3 of us (we were friends not only co-workers). The OW was just playing a game and turned very nasty because accusing her was ‘not done’. This is where I realised I had to be carefull if I wanted to keep my marriage and our buisness. It still is very hard sometimes. (I am already mentally preparing for the next party were she’ll be palming in all of my friends even the ones that didn’t interest her before). But the thought that got me stronger is that he was the one who needed to make the decision. I told him I loved him enough not to throw are marriage away without a fight, but I wasn’t going to be walked over. But he had to chose to fight as well, it didnt mean he was forgiven and we would just move on. If he would leave, for me it wouldn’t releave the pain, I wouldn’t be less angry, frustrated, lonely, drowning in my low selfesteem and eventually would have justified his straying and leaving by becomming a wreck. So I pulled myself together. Organized some time for myself. (even if it was just 5min chat with mothers at school, before I went strainght back to work, now I just leave for school 5 min earlier, I plan a playover for the kids. I know these are new contacts, so not the closessed at the start but it builds up your inner strenght, I call up a friend and invite her over for a drink (so I don’t have to call a BBsitter for the kids). If ever he leaves I’ll be coping and not the wreck I was the first year around. I still get anxious because they still work together, I’m still terrified of the gatherings with our friends, (she’s usually invited aswell). I freak when my H seems too nice to her. But things do feel alot better between us (after 3y) when she’s not around. And I got more respect when I tryed to act more independent /confident. Bit by bit he started noticing me again. Force yourself to become independant (you’ll have to anyway if things go wrong). It doesn’t mean you don’t care or love him. Try to ventilate your anxieties and needs in that way, not begging or being a victime. When he started blaming me for a lack of contacts and friends I replied calmly that I wasn’t the one who messed it up. I have my issues, and we probably lost track of each other, but I was not the cause of this mess, I told him I wasn’t going to blame him for everything nor everytime but it was time he realised he was the one messing with friendships and he is going to have to live with the consquenses even if he didn’t mean it to get out of hand. I was living with consequenses of his actions! and I wasn’t happy with it but ther’s no way back! good luck to you! Read the blogs on taking care of yourself : it works. And in the good times get away from this site and enjoy, come back when you need a place to ventilate but do not be embarressed, they should be!

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