When something as traumatic as infidelity occurs, we typically gain important knowledge along the way. Here are 47 lessons learned from an emotional affair.

lessons learnedBy Linda

I know that we all are at different stages in the healing process from either an emotional affair or a sexual affair. A common thread that we hear regardless of what stage one is in, is the fear that things will never be the same again in the marriage or relationship. 

The fact is that things will indeed never be the same again, no matter how great the recovery.  The affair happened. It is there and always will be.

That being said, when something as traumatic as an emotional affair occurs, there are typically lessons that are learned by all parties involved.   These lessons are not necessarily from books, websites or counselors, but from deep within ourselves. These lessons can be used as our relationships evolve into something different than what they once were.

A while back we discussed some of those lessons and we want to list some of those that were mentioned.  I counted 47.  These are the words of many who walk in the same shoes as you.  Feel free to add your own lessons learned in the comment section.

Lessons Learned From an Emotional Affair

  • I have learned that I need to be more aware of how cruel and manipulating people really can be.
  • I have learned that we can never really know someone. There is always going to be something that we keep to ourselves.
  • I have learned that I let so many things get in the way of living my life to the fullest and enjoying what I had and who I was.
  • I have learned that you can never let anyone, your spouse or your children, define who you are or who you are being.
  • I have learned the only way to find true happiness with yourself or anyone else, is to be the real you.
  • I have learned that you must communicate your feelings no matter how valid you or anyone else feels they are.
  • I have learned that trust and security are a myth.
  • I have learned that I will no longer play second fiddle to a second class person.
  • I have learned that I really thought he/she was a better person than she/he is turning out to be.
  • I have learned I am a better person than he/she obviously believes me to be and I do not have to stand for what he/she is doing to me.
  • I have learned that life isn’t fair.
  • I have learned that wake up calls provide an opportunity for reflection and improvement.
  • I have learned that marriage is hard work.
  • I have learned that forgiveness is ever harder.
  • I have learned not to settle for a mediocre marriage and life, as now I want the best of everything.
  • I have learned that love does not conquer all.
  • I have learned that our negative behaviors have painful consequences.
  • I have learned that I am very strong and resilient.
  • I have learned how to ask for what I want and need.
  • I have learned that I am responsible for my own happiness.
  • I have learned not to take anything or anyone for granted.
  • I have learned that everything happens for a reason; you need to feel the pain of the past, learn from it then move on to a brighter future.
  • I have learned that the love I feel for my husband is so much greater than the pain, the lies and the insecurities.
  • I have learned that our past may have been was clouded with doubt, but our future is clear and hopeful.
  • I have learned not to believe what my husband says because I find he is still lying.
  • I have learned to trust my instincts because they are always right.
  • I have learned that if you really love someone you will do anything to make them happy.
  • I have learned not to be afraid.
  • I have learned not to put someone on a pedestal, as everyone have feet of clay and can fail.
  • I have learned that I really can stand on my own two feet, can do things alone and that I must take care of myself and not wait for other people to do that.
  • I have learned not to trust anyone anymore until they show me they are trustworthy.
  • I have learned that although I thought I was a good listener, I wasn’t and am since much more alert to everything that is said or done by anyone.
  • I have learned to voice appreciation more actively and find small ways of affirmation to reinforce my commitment to our marriage.
  • I have learned that my perfect life is not at all as it appeared.
  • I have learned the difference between forgiveness and forgetfulness.
  • I have learned to be thankful for those things in my life that are good.
  • I have learned to expect less so I won’t be disappointed.
  • I have learned that the lack of quality communication of emotional needs is a road to an affair or break-up, or both.
  • I have learned to be honest with myself, my wife and our relationship.
  • I have learned to let go of my fear of confrontation within our relationship.
  • I have learned to be more in tune with my wife and her feelings and needs–as well as my own.
  • I have learned that everything that I’ve ever wanted and needed was right under my nose all along. The grass truly isn’t greener on the other side.
  • I have learned that I am much stronger than I ever imagined.
  • I have learned that I love my husband and he loves me more than I ever imagined.
  • I have learned that I have to be okay with not trusting as much as I did before.
  • I have learned what my husband really needs from me and how to give that to him.
  • I have learned that I can and will survive this!

What does happen to couples that have healed is they find that their relationship is truly different.   Since Doug and I have been through hell and back after his emotional affair, our relationship has taken on a whole new character.  After forgiving each other, it is easier to remember the past without reliving the pain, but that doesn’t mean that we have forgotten the lessons that we have learned along the way.


    21 replies to "47 Lessons Learned From an Emotional Affair"

    • changedforever

      Wow…this obviously is a list from that of a CS as well as the betrayed….but just to clarify before I forward this…when ytou list ‘i will no longer play 2nd fiddle to a 2nd class person…’ are you referring to the OP as the 2nd class person? (I hope…)

      • Doug

        Yes you have that correct, Changed. –Linda

        • changedforever

          Thank you for sharing this list…is it something that took you & Doug a while to create…? How long? Or is it mostly from you & Doug sprinkled with some lessons learned from others? Really important for me to know this as your story is so similar to ours…and we are just 5 months past my DDay…thanks for this Linda!

          • Doug

            Changed, The lessons are a combination of our own – both mine and Doug’s along with those from many of our readers. As you can tell, many of us share the same lessons and have shared the same experiences. – Linda

    • michael

      I have learned that hurtful honesty is easier to forgive than dishonesty discovered.

      • changedforever

        I only wish i’d had to suffer the hurtful honesty vs. The other…but something tells me the pain’s probably the same…yet the ‘hurtful’ option in the ‘long run’ recovery might be ‘better’ to deal with….wow, hope you didn’t have to suffer both….can’t even IMAGINE going down this road…again.

    • michael

      Not that it applies in your case.
      Yes my first d-day was riddled with hurtful honesty.
      Then a claim by her to change.
      Then repeated discoveries that showed even after her claim of being willing to change, dishonest discovered several times. They hurt worse.
      The discovery that she had spent time with him not once but at least twice.
      The discovery that she was using my sons phone to hide her communication. Then upon the death of a close friend the discovery that she was using his phone also.
      Just to name a few. The last on that list was 6 months after I thought she had ended her affair. And painful discoveries still happen as little as a month ago. Over a year after my first d-day.

      • sunshine1487

        I feel your pain… My husband did the same thing to me. We are now 6 months past d-day and I just found out yesterday that his EA was also a PA. It’s like reliving it all over again.

    • Yuki

      I have learned to express love for my husband not just in the ways I am familiar with, but in ways that he will receive and understand it.

      • JustFoundOut

        That is something I to am learning as well

    • Amy

      I have learned that both spouses have to learn to be completely SELFLESS after both have been SELFISH (whether conscious or non-consciously) for many years. It’s a new beginning which means the marriage will have to take a completely different route in order to have even a chance of forgiveness & healthy relationship.

    • Julie

      I am having a horrible time dealing with my Fiancée’s EA with an old co-worker. I am crying as I am typing this. It ended about a year ago and he wants nothing to do with her, but the pain is still so raw. Some days are good and some days I break down. I replay the times he snuck out with her and the texts I saw. I wonder if I will ever feel like me again? Thank you so much for your blog, it has helped me so much.

    • The Home Life

      I have learned that being left to my own conclusions is far more painful than knowing the full truth. And, not to expect mutual friends to pull your spouse away from the fire they are playing with.

    • D

      I have learned that I can handle more than I thought I ever could. I never in my life thought that I would be in this position and I am shocked at how I can hold it together for myself and my children. I know that this sounds like it is all about me too. Well dammit, he wasn’t thinking of me and I need to look out for myself and kids now.

    • S

      Wow – I was shocked at ‘I have learned not to believe what my husband says because he is still lying” – I guess I was hoping that things would be different – I found out about my husbands EA with an old flame in December – which he ended completely (as far as I can tell – and I check a lot of sources)- but he won’t talk about it anymore – he says I need to let go since he has – but I still find myself struggling with they why, how could he, and why he seems to think I’m overreacting because I’m so hurt by it. Oh, and he won’t call it an affair since they didn’t have sex – it was all online, messaging, on the phone, texting – but he told her he loved her, wanted to be with her, dreamed about her at night (okay – so you can see I’m still obsessing about it) – which to me is CLEARLY an affair – but to him it’s not. I though we had dealt with all these issues before (I spent most of December and January and February seeking resources for help) and March and most of April was fine- but now I’m struggling again – which is why I started looking for more resources for me – and I know this is a lot to put in a post – but I guess I still don’t know what I’ve learned – and in reading your list – that one spoke to me. Because what I want to learn is how to trust and believe. But I am definately learning that forgiveness is harder than I ever realized. Sorry to kidnap your comments, but I needed somewhere to vent. I’ll be here a lot I’m sure!

      • JustFoundOut

        OF course you are going to still bring it up! Look at what he was saying to her? It shook your self confidence to the core! But the thing of it is…is he giving you reasons to suspect that he his still seeing her on the sly? If not then have you started some sort of couseling, praying..something? I’m here with you. I just discovered my husband’s EA a few days ago.

    • Been there

      Been there myself….It was only an EA but yes it still takes part of you away in the relationship. When they tell someone else they love them and want them .He says it was a mistake wants to be with me and a few months later i find out he still giving her hopes that they can be together. Why ask to have me back and hide this behind my back? Tell you why…he was jelous of me being with someone else and moving on! Thats so selfish! I tell him ok we will see then again he starts saying to me that it may be better to be just friends. So i said ok i can do this go and find what you think is missing but dont expect me to be here waiting. Then when i finally ask him how he does it how can you just let go after so many years and want someone else cause i want to move on. I found it hard to just lovce another out of the blue! When i said that all of a sudden this is what he wants not someone else. So I am on the stage and playing it my way. I have taken my time of deciding how i should handle this and when i should move forward with our marriage. I say when and what im going to do and if im going to do it. I have with held hugs, some kisses, and sex. When he tries i say say im sorry but im just shut off from you right now after what you did i closed myself off from getting hurt again.So you either wait for me now to decide how to fix my feelings or go and hope that person or persons has what you need. It has worked so far he stays away from talking to anyone who shows any interrest besides friends its killing him that im here and he cant have what he used to have before this all happen. He must learn that sorry doesnt cut it. Im hurt and if he loves me he will wait for my heart to mead. I deserve it!

    • Been there

      Ladies it has worked. He has even asked me to remarry him. Needless to say i turned him down. Told him its not that easy to fix things he will have to win me back. Today he is still here working his little heart out! Its worth seeing him do all this after what he has done 🙂

    • Lost33years

      I have learned not to believe my husband as he still withholds information and he lies and hides. I have learned my husband is mentally sick as those of us who wouldn’t/could’t ever be so ruthless so cruel and calculating as to deliberately abuse and inflict a lifetime of pain for ego stroking and sex and a fake life with total strangers. I know I will never openly freely and innocently trust him or his I love you

    • Paula

      I have learned that there is no such thing as an emotional affair without sex involved. There can be sex without love but there cannot be an emotional affair without sex. The ONLY very unlikely exception is if the “emotional affair” is discovered before there was time to consummate the relationship; however, any strong attachment doesn’t happen without following through with sex in some form. I have learned if you believe the lie that it was only an emotional involvement, you will be hurt again for believing that lie. Did Doug ever pass a polygraph? Until the results are published that he did actually take and pass a polygraph proving he did not have any form of sexual behavior with his “emotional affair partner” then he will always be doubted much as Bill Clinton is.

      • Truthseeker

        I have learned that no matter how much you want the whole truth , you will never receive it.
        4 1/2 from D.D.
        I have learned that the cheater got to have his cake and eat it to.
        I have learned that 2 cheaters can talk about making plans about leaving their spouses, while deciding MY FUTURE!
        I have learned that the WORD LOVE means nothing to someone who throws that word loosely to a scant whore he meant in line.
        I have learned when even evidence of the hotel bill, isn’t enough for him to say he met and slept with her.i have learned you can NOT love your wife , or respect and be in an affair..
        You stopped when you stepped out of our marriage!
        I learned that your spouse can live with you , sleep with you, and still carryon behind your back , as in two separate lives and act like he is normal!
        I learned that people don’t give a crap about how much they can hurt you , ripped your soul out , trample it and still continue to lie!

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