emotional infidelity
Less often means more when facing emotional infidelity. Learning a specific skill such as "backing off" enhances one's chance to save the marriage.

As you may remember, our 25th anniversary was a couple of days ago, and in celebration of that we are taking off for a few days to enjoy some sun, surf, beer and boats.  It’s just the two of us alone for 3 whole days.  We can’t tell you the last time that has happened!

It just so happens that Linda’s brother is going to the same place we are (totally a coincidence), so we will be hooking up with him and the “other woman” at some point.  It should be interesting and we’ll be sure to give a full report when we get back on Monday. (Click here if you’re not familiar with the story of Linda’s brother)

In our absence, we have a guest post from our friend and mentor, Dr. Bob Huizenga, author of Break Free From the Affair.  Thanks to Bob for the following article:

Emotional Infidelity: A KEY Tactic to Save the Marriage

by Dr. Robert Huizenga

Hearing that your cheating spouse is “in love” with someone else is devastating. I hear often, “I can handle her having sex with someone else. I think I can live with that. But, for her to give herself emotionally and “love” someone else…man, that is hard.”

What can you specifically do to increase the odds of saving the marriage?

So often the offended spouse reacts with intense feelings and pulls out all stops to “win her back.”

He applies pressure. Begs. Cajoles. Makes promises. Gets in her face. Sends flowers. Arranges for dates. Talks to her family and friends. Calls her on the phone. Asks questions… daily, sometimes hourly. He is on her like a fly on doo-doo.

It doesn’t work.  Why? Well, for one reason she has found all the stimulation and excitement she supposedly needs in her new found “love.”

At a deeper level this is confusing enough for the cheating husband or cheating wife. Any additional input will be overwhelming and she is liable to close the door on the marriage even further. Plus, she is really looking for some stability, some solid centered core that will hold her firm when the wind of drama entices her and blows around her.

If you bombard her with your neediness, you are certainly not the person who can help her in ways she really seeks.  She also is liable to create a polarity and begin comparing you to him. With your neediness dripping all over you, you don’t stand a very good chance of coming out on top. Sorry!

Here’s a tactic that helps solve the dilemma and gives you a greater chance of saving the marriage.  It’s called “back off!”

Stop pressing. Slow down the pace. Be silent – most of the time. Stop making requests. Stop asking questions. Stop trying to wiggle out some assurance. Stop being a pain!

Remember, this “in love” state will fade. You need to have the confidence that it will. You need patience. The relationship will run its course.

She needs the space. She needs some quiet moments to truly hear herself and face the emptiness within. There will be a voice within her that says, “This will not last. Is this what I really want? At some time I must live in the real world. Where is this taking me? Is this where I really want to go? Why am I so dependent on him? Why do I feel this empty pit in my stomach when I’m not with him? What does this say about me?”

This is her opportunity to learn about TRUE love. Don’t get in her way.

I know. I know. This is easier said than done. But, you must do it. It is vitally important that you learn to quiet yourself, control yourself and keep on the straight and narrow path.

At this point with those I coach, I teach them a skill called “charging neutral” to help “back off.” Use that skill.  This will take some effort. It might take some coaching or therapy. It most likely will demand that you get to know yourself better, that you gain more confidence in you – apart from what she does with him – that you build a strong foundation under yourself that can weather any storm.

This is your opportunity to grow to another level.

Oh, by the way. She will notice! And….she might like it.

Backing off does not mean that you don’t have anything to do with her. Quite the contrary. You want to maintain your contact with her, but it will be QUALITY contact. It will be contact that does honor to you, confronts her with the reality of her decisions and works toward resolution for the marriage.

Summary: Less often means more when facing emotional infidelity. Learning a specific skill such as “backing off” enhances one’s chance to save the marriage.

For more information of Bob’s book, click here.

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    7 replies to "Emotional Infidelity: A KEY Tactic to Save the Marriage"

    • surprised

      Wow – this is so hard. We are 6 mo from the EA discovery. I was doing so well at it for about the last 3 weeks when I found out he had lunch with her Monday. This intimate private time is what led to the EA in the first place & I went ballistic. Morning started with us yelling, me crying, & then both of us going to work. I can’t stop tearing up. Maybe I was over-reacting like he said & it was just a business lunch which would be ok by me if it was anyone but her but since it’s her it’s never going to be ok. Before I left for work I looked up a therapist so hopefully that will help myself get through this since couple therapy was a disaster because the counselor “took my side”.

    • Todd

      My wife has moved out, we are talking trying to move through the situation, without her admitance of any emotional affair, still purporting as “just friends”. Any advise for a situation where there are older (22& 24) kids in the picture that are not willing to “back off”?

      • Doug

        Todd, Welcome. Can you get into a little more detail about what is going on with your kids with regards to backing off? Sometimes the pain and anger is greater with older kids and can be a tough thing to get through. A little more detail might be helpful.

        • Todd

          The girls are stepdaughters to me but I have raised them for the past 14 years with their mother. Was in the delivery room with the younger daughter for a teenage pregnancy and walked the older daughter down the aisle for her wedding. Both have children now and are living in the same area with us. My wife has not been willing to tell any of us where her new apt. is which is puzzling to be alienating those of us who love her the most. Both daughters has seen some relationship building with this co-worker and confronted her on it, to which she danced around it. Based on my reading this morning of the “back off” plan, I am certainly willing to take this approach. I have put me feelings and frustration down in writing to her to let her know that my true desire is to have her share the rest of our lives together. I am fearful that if the girls push for answers, that the recognition of my wifes current choices will be harder to get to. She has told me she is sorry for hurting me and that we can discuss soon. The ball is in her court and I will certainly respond to her interaction with me, but do think she needs this alone time to realize what she left. Thanks for listening.

    • strugglinghusband

      So what happens when you back off and then find out later that there is still communication going on between them? This is what is ripping me apart inside. The idea the EA is married and not going to leave and just a friend is just an excuse in my opinion, and I feel as long as there is communication going on, then my wife is still emotionally connected to this guys life, and that bothers me and I’m having a ruff time accepting that and don’t feel I should have to. Help?

      • Doug

        Does his wife know about the EA and have you given any ultimatums?

    • StrugglingHusband

      The wife knew about the EA back when it was first exposed 7 months ago. I do not believe she knows it is still going on. I want so bad to tell her, just to straighten up the husbands actions as well as my wifes. I’ve been not saying anything, know it’s continuing for the past few weeks, but this weekend it all came out again. My wife says she is glad I found out, but her marathon emailing activity back and forth for hours when I was out of town, just upsets me. She says she is totally committed to our marriage and has done nothing but emailed back and forth just ’cause he makes me laugh’. I’ve not set an ultimatum. I’m seeking counseling to see how I can either put up with this or what, because our marriage other than this contact issue (my wifes latest description of this is that she has this contact addiction. That she has to contact him or see his picture on facebook or she gets depressed??) We are both making appointments today to go see a counselor about it, because we both want our marriage to work. If it were not for this contact issue, our marriage is wonderful with no problems. While I can understand it being hard to let someone (married no less) go, after six months of trying, I’d think / expect progress, vs. the latest AOL email back and forth almost daily and then multi-hour forays when I’m out of town…..just not right. It has brought to light even more how much I hurt her over our 24 years by failing 3 times after promising never to look at x-rated stuff, but each time I did stop for years in between. I know I have that problem eliminated now as a result of our separation and my promise to myself, god, my family and wife. So since we are back together ( believing a divine intervention and realizing that the EA was found out and I was willing and wanting to be there to get our marriage back together) and everything is so good and I’ve changed to be a great husband (her words) I do not want to put up some type ultimatum of stop or leave, yet I can not keep getting hurt and obsession about what could or might be going on when I’m gone once a month or even when I’m home and continuing to feel like I have to look at her phone or computer history (which she erases but our new anti-virus software showed what was up this last time). I want our marriage. She says she does as well, and willing again to go get help? We were separated last year for our 24yr anniversary, and she does not seem to want to entertain any discussions about celebrating our 25th with a trip or something special, so all these things have me thinking about this almost 24×7.

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