It’s always interesting to go back and read posts from the past – especially from the early days – as it truly proves just how far we’ve come over that period of time.

This post is from November 5, 2010 and it’s titled, “Making Progress After the Emotional Affair.”  Linda shares some things that helped her to turn her affair recovery in a positive direction after a rough stretch where she was feeling sad, helpless and defeated.

Please share your thoughts in the comment section on anything that might have been a positive catalyst for you in your own recovery and healing after an emotional affair – or physical affair.

 

making progress after the emotional affairMaking Progress After the Emotional Affair

A month ago I was going through a rough time. I was feeling very sad, felt helpless and didn’t know if I had the strength to continue to fight the feelings associated with the emotional affair. I contributed my emotions to the two year anniversary of Doug telling me he didn’t love me anymore.

I was frustrated that it had been two years and I had not progressed the way I had hoped. I believed by this time the insecurities, the loss of trust, and the constant thinking about the affair should have disappeared, or at least not be still so painful.

I was frustrated enough that I came very close to calling the doctor and asking for anti-depressants. I also considered looking for a good therapist who could make me feel alive again.

Luckily some good things happened – mainly because of this web site – that helped me feel happy again. I now feel like I have found my old self again and I also believe that I finally have my husband back – the husband that I have known for the majority of our marriage.

I want to thank everyone and share some of the things I have learned in the last month that have helped with my recovery from the affair.

Some of the things I’ve learned after an emotional affair…

The first thing that made me feel better occurred during my interview with Dr. Huizenga. Simply enough, he asked me how I was doing. I responded that there were good days and bad days.  He told me that it had “only” been two years and if I was 80% there, I was doing a good job.

His words helped me realize that this is a very hard journey that takes time and patience, and if I continue to make improvements then I am doing fine. It’s one step at a time. His words helped to take the pressure off because I feel I don’t have to set a time limit on my recovery. I just need to continue on a positive path.

The next thank you would be to Jeffrey Murrah. He constantly commented to me that by keeping the fantasy of the affair alive hinders recovery and allows Tanya to live “rent free” in my mind. This advice made me finally realize that by allowing her to enter my marriage and my mind has taken away my happiness. I am not going to allow her to enter my life anymore!

I started thinking about what she would think if she knew I still looked at pictures of her. She would probably believe that she is still a part of our lives and that she was more important than she should be. By constantly talking to Doug about her and their relationship, I was keeping the fantasy alive for Doug and myself.

I was guilty of comparing a real love relationship to an illusion, when I know there is no comparison. I know what Doug and I have is so much better. I have stopped talking and thinking about her and the emotional affair, and as a result, our relationship has improved immensely.

I also read some inspiring books about love and relationships that were recommended by some of you and have been immensely helpful to me. There are four of them: “Real Love”, “Loving What Is”, “The Four Agreements” and “Love Must be Tough.” These books helped me to see everything in a different light.

The books helped me see love, myself and Doug in a different way. I learned how so many of my behaviors were based on fear and contributed to the distance I felt in our relationship. I learned that real unconditional love begins with loving myself and not based on how Doug makes me feel. Rather, real love is caring about the happiness of another person without any thought for what we might get for ourselves.

I also took the advice that maybe in some ways this website was not healthy for my recovery. Therefore, I will now concentrate most of my post writing towards helping people get past the affair and helping them improve their marriages and lives, rather than dwelling on my feelings and emotions during Doug’s emotional affair.

I also came to the realization that initially this website was beneficial because it allowed me to express my feelings and pain, but I found that maybe I was using it to throw the affair in Doug’s face. I came to this conclusion a couple of weeks ago when I was typing a post and Doug asked “What did I do now?”

The post was about our neighbor and had nothing to do with him, but his words helped me see that many times I was being unfair to him. At times I said things that should have been put to rest a long time ago. Continuing to bring up the emotional affair and making him feel bad kept a wall between us in our relationship.

These last few weeks I have felt like a new person, and as a result Doug has become a different person as well. I can say that I feel he is back to the way he was years before the emotional affair. This is partially due to the fact that he doesn’t feel as though he has to walk on egg shells waiting for me to have a meltdown or bring up the affair one more time. He sees that I am happy, so he is happy too.

  • For more books on relationships, affairs, marriage and love, check out “The Library”

 

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LINESPACE

    22 replies to "Feeling Better After an Emotional Affair"

    • tryinghard

      Linda, I like the part where you said “dwelling on my feelings and emotions during Doug’s affair”. That is like a light bulb moment for me. The word “dwelling” is huge! Yes that is what all of us trying to recover is to stop “dwelling” in the past and what was. Needless to say it’s good to keep it way in the back of our minds.

      I really feel like I/we have made a turn around the corner for the good in truly moving past this mess. But every time I think or say that, something happens. Every time I think she is gone, there she is again like a piece of nasty gum on the bottom of my shoe! You are right that by giving her any space in my mind I am keeping her alive and am giving her power.

      My New Year’s goal is to go a month without any mention of the cockroach! And really by now she is such a moot point.

      Wish me luck:)

    • Tiredofitall

      This hit a note with me too. I am one year post d-day & still find myself perusing pictures…maybe weekly would be a safe time to say. I also have a calendar with every minute the two of them talked recorded and find myself studying that every few weeks reminding myself if my reality vs. my husbands. I think sometimes I want to pain to be fresh so I am not fooled again. I feel so stupid that I thought we were SO happy and he was in a full blown ea. I want to take the leap of faith and get real close a few weeks at a time & then I am right back to being scared to death. I just told my husband last week that I was going to put that calendar away where it was not easy to get to. It sounds like a little thing but to me it’s huge. I have carried it in my work tote for over a year….

    • CBB

      Dear Linda Tx again for the post. I completely agree. Even comming to read this blog sometimes feels like dwelling, it actialy triggers the emotions again. But it also feels like a safe place to vent, and I know we all need that.
      I understood the message of not giving her a thought in some earlier posts, but as the OW is a co-worker and part of most of our social life I find it very hard to draw a line. I just recieved a friendshiprequest on facebook?!?!. maybe you’re better close to your enemy? Somehow I don’t trust her. Every oportunity she gets she finds some way to provoce me.

      • Mona Lisa

        CBB,
        I’m not sure if you are aware of this or not, but fb will send out automatic friend requests on your behalf. I have had this happen to me serval times in the past year. If the ow has been trolling your Facebook page, there’s a good chance that the request you received was automatically generated and not sent by the ow. You can google this if you want to find out more info on it.

    • allayfig222

      Linda. This is the best post for me at this stage in my recovery! I am 2.5 yrs since the first DDay (there were 2 more) and she is still dwelling in my head, even though I know she is neither prettier, thinner or smarter than I am and I know he had absolutely no desire to be with her physically (she lives in another state). So what am I jealous of? It is she who should be jealous of me–my husband has tried to be more than the ideal supportive husband he was before the EA. He does not know (or will not examine) his reasons for the obsessive contact they had on email/text/facebook/phone and that disturbs me, but every time I bring it up, he feels like a heel and a failure and I think I may be doing it to punish him. It’s time to stop, just as I have finally stopped reading the texts of the emails that alerted me to the affair and the phone records (and that was difficult to wean myself away from).
      Thanks for saying what I needed to hear!

    • emotionalrollercoaster

      I was doing good until I learned she filed for a divorce. My cs is still with me, he says he doesn’t want to be with her,yet still texts her. Her husband has taken the kids and said his lawyer will get the text messages and read them in court and bring my cs in court. Cs is really worried. Has anyone been through this,having text messages read in court?

      • exercisegrace

        I hope this will be a wake up call for him. To see what the affair has done to another husband and his children. To another family. He most certainly should not still be texting her. Hugs my friend, that must be so hard to deal with.

      • Rachel

        Emotional rollarcoaster,
        My ex husbands soulmate was subpoenaed to court along with the cell records.
        My ex wouldn’t move with my requests so this was our next step. The minute she was subpoenaed is when my ex started moving in the right direction. The ex’s lawyer even said, what a difference a subpoena makes.
        Good luck.

    • gizfield

      No, but I’d sure as hell like to. If you dont want it used in a court of law against you dont write it. sounds like that lady’s husband means business.

    • tryinghard

      Depending on the state you live in, ie in Illinois you can still file for a divorce on the grounds of Adultery so the texts would be admissible as evidence of adultery. If the grounds for divorce are not adultery I don’t see how the texts would be admissible. But maybe! I hope so, it’s what they both deserve AND BTW why is he still texting her??????

    • exercisegrace

      Great post and very timely for me, as I am nearing the two year anniversary of D-day. I too have been very down lately about the backward steps I still take. Several statements you made hit home for me:

      “I was guilty of comparing a real love relationship to an illusion”

      I know what they had was NOT real. More importantly HE knows it. He can’t believe what he ever saw in her, and how he could fall for all of her lies. She was a selfish manipulator. Real love is nothing like that.

      “At times I said things that should have been put to rest a long time ago”

      When I get angry and hurt and I let the pain get the best of me, I hurl that at him. Shaming him does neither of us any good. It does absolutely nothing for our rebuilding process. He carries enough (far too much, actually) of his own guilt and shame. He doesn’t need me to throw any more.

      “the fantasy of the affair”

      affairs are not the stuff of movies. They are not a grand romance. They are sordid, filthy ways to live your life. They bring heaps of shame and guilt and self-loathing. At their core they are nothing more than using someone to self-medicate some type of pain or depression. As betrayed spouses it is so easy and yet so damaging when we write a script that did not exist. We mistakenly superimpose images, thoughts, feelings, motivations, you name it…. from our OWN courtship with our spouse, onto their affair relationship. We forget that OUR experience with our spouse was right, and true. Lived out in the light of the real world. Probably THE MOST interesting thing I have read over and over and over about affairs is both the CS and the BS describe the affair partner as someone they wouldn’t give a second glance to if they were actually single and had the freedom to openly date someone.

      dwelling on my feelings and emotions during (his) emotional (and in our case physical) affair.

      Ugh. hate to admit this one. a trigger can blindside me and if I don’t actively fight it off, i am right back in the moment. The pain, hurt, anger and despair can feel just as fresh and just as debilitating. I have to remind myself often that I am living in TODAY. I have to ask myself what is true TODAY.

      • tryinghard

        EG
        I didn’t realize you are only two years out. I think you are doing great and you think and articulate what you have learned over the past two years so well. I really admire your thought processes.

        I agree with everything you said and the same holds true in my situation. I showed my H a picture of the OW that I found on the company’s computer. He said he couldn’t believe how rough she really looked. He too said he would have never given her a second look where he single. Proof is once it was all out he wanted her away from him. Couldn’t stand the thought of her, let alone be with her. His was physical too. It’s really a strange psychological thing that when it’s a secret all is wonderful with them. Once it comes to light it’s all ugly and sordid and so is the person. I think they could be the most beautiful woman in the world and the same would hold true. This is probably the whiplash of acting in such a immoral manner and I’m not talking religiously speaking. I’m talking ethically speaking.

        One thing that has opened my eyes is the idea of the”fog”. I have never liked that term. I think it’s too soft. Too forgiving and really inexplicable to we BS’s our husband’s poor choices. My therapist has actually driven home the word delusional to me and that is a much more explanatory term for me. Understanding delusion and how a person comes into a delusional state answers so many questions for me. How the affair fed into his delusions about her and himself and how NOT until they are shaken out of that delusional state the affair is never over. I don’t speak to my H in terms of threats or making him feel guilty but I believe all of the negative feelings he has about his affair need to be realized in order to give him the answers he needs as well. Our marriage counselor encouraged his guilty feelings. She said he needed to feel guilty in order to find his moral compass again. I don’t know all I know is I won’t patronize him by not asking questions in order to assuage his feelings of guilt and shame. I think he needs to feel those because quite honestly and I am only speaking for my H, he has a lot deeds for which to feel guilty and ashamed.

        • exercisegrace

          TH

          Thanks friend! It lifts me up to see you write “only two years”, ha ha. I feel that way as well. While my husband has put in a LOT of work, he thinks we should be past it now. He seems to forget that I found out about the affair an entire year after it had ended. In other words, he had an extra year to process what he had been through. That extra year for ME was one of threat, fear and insecurity. While nothing was going on (even by her own admission) I didn’t know that. I was still living in terror.

          Most of the time now, he does not want to talk about it. He will talk about the steps he is taking to set better boundaries, be more open with me etc. so that is a good thing. I know I need to stop “telling the story” of the affair. There really is nothing more to be said that hasn’t already been hashed over multiple times. I know that by continuing to bring it up or talk about, I am just giving it power over me, him, our marriage and our family.

          Interesting comments from your therapist. Ours too differentiates guilt from shame. She feels that guilt is good and something that he should feel. Shame is not good, and something he needs to work on moving away from. Our therapist has also used the term delusional. She says he was in a very sick state of mind.

          • tryinghard

            EG
            I guess I should have been and English teacher. Words are important to me. Words or the cavalier use of words has actually been a bone of contention between me and my H when we “talk”. When he doesn’t want to answer “Yes”, because that is too damning, he will say “probably”. I, gently, told him, “..when you say probably, I am taking that as a yes”.. I also give him time to think about his answers, I know he is looking for the right words. And now I see he uses the word “yes” more often than “probably”. I think that because I speak to him without anger anymore he is more willing to give me the straight talk I need.

            The word “delusional” holds a lot more meaning for me that a “fog”. The CS’s are sort of sick, mentally sick. By their own choice and actions albeit, but the mind can do strange things and that is why we have to be on guard. I understand deluding yourself in order to justify bad behavior. The whole snowball effect. People do it with food, spending, drinking, gambling etc. It starts out small and we delude ourselves into thinking it’s not so bad. I get that. Well snap out of it folks, you aren’t fooling anyone but yourself!

            As far as shame and guilt, I believe it is needed in order to humble yourself. CS’s are on such an ego high from the affair the shame and guilt of it all bring him back to the reality that he is a very flawed individual and NOT the superhero the OW led him to believe in order to manipulate him (at least in MY case). Yes he was very much manipulated and delusional and HE choose that path. She was no femme fatale. He is the gatekeeper of his actions and he did not guard against it. And well I’m sorry but shame and guilt comes along with that problem he caused himself! I’m not saying as wives we should beat the shame and guilt into them, but I think our conversations should lead them to see their acts, as well, shameful! Doesn’t mean we don’t forgive, or act morally superior. or listen without compassion, truth is we all have things to be ashamed of, but the last thing they need to believe is that it was ok because nothing about that affair was ok. I thinks it’s important that CS’s humble themselves. Humble themselves to ask for forgiveness, humble themselves to say I’m sorry (sincerely), humble themselves to put their spouses needs FIRST before their own. To be able to be humble assuages a lot of shame and guilt! I also think we BS’s should humble ourselves as well in accepting the apologies, letting them put us first, notice the small things they do, and yes recognize all the positive changes. No matter how small.

            My husband’s affair was 4 years long. I figure if he could have her in his life that long and fool and lie to me that long, I can take a least that long to sort it all out. I quit putting a time frame on it a long time ago, and I felt SO guilty about not “getting over it” like he kept wanting me to. Like I was letting him down by not getting over it! Hell he wanted me to get over it two months after I found out!! LOL, shocking I know 🙂 I think 2 years is a MINIMUM amount of time to work through it and I think you’ve done great. I know there are moments of clarity and forgiveness and moments of “you freaking asshole!!”

            I’m going into my 3rd year and thank God the triggers are almost totally gone. I hardly have any at all anymore. I’m also letting go of my need for revenge against the OW, well it helps that she has stage 4 cancer so fate took care of that for me! Now my next leap is to go a day where I don’t think of the affair or her and just appreciate the moment. That day is near, I can feel it :0

            Hang in there friend. I know sharing my pain and hurt here has certainly been a catalyst and help for all the positive things in my life.

            • exercisegrace

              TH

              I couldn’t agree more. Words are important to me also. One thing I have learned through therapy is that my husband and I often assign a different meaning to words. Even to phrases, ideas, etc. It is so much more common now for us to stop mid-conversation and ask for clarification. Like many men, my husband isn’t as emotionally articulate. I then jump to conclusions and assign the wrong meaning. I am slower now to respond, and quicker to ask what something means to HIM.

              His biggest phrase was “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember”. I used to want to beat both of our heads against the wall when he would say that. I knew he was hiding something. Ultimately we had a no holds barred session with our counselor, where he owned up to any and all lies of omission and a few outright lies. The biggest being that she had no venereal diseases that he knew of. She told him towards the end that she had hpv. Nice.

              I agree that the CS needs to look the affair full in the face. I insisted that he dig into the whys with his therapist, and that we discuss it. You don’t just jump off the cliff into infidelity without waving a list of reasons why you are doing so. Yes he was clinically depressed and even our counselor says based on everything that was said and done, he sounds like he was mentally ill at the time. I agree, because THAT man bears no resemblance to the man I had been married to for two decades, or the man with me NOW.

              I also think the length of the affair plays a large part in how hard it it to get over. At least it does for me. I run through all the things in our lives that went on during that time and I think……how could he have done that then? or during that? or when we…? And so on. Now I try not to have those thoughts. It’s done and in the past. She is nothing but a whore, who took advantage of him when he was at his lowest point. She was content to take scraps from my table and from a relationship that he told her he would never end. She is the one alone, and my marriage and family are intact. We continue to heal and grow stronger, baby step by baby step.

              I am so thrilled for you to be past the triggers. I am looking forward to that. I know those days will arrive for me too.

      • Strengthrequired

        Eg, two years for me in the next couple of weeks, and can I say, I have been blind sided by triggers since the day after Christmas. I thought I was doing ok, but now this. I hope it doesn’t last long because I’m tired of feeling down.

        • exercisegrace

          SR

          I hear what you are saying. There is just no predicting what can trigger us, and once one hits it seems to produce a domino effect. One thing I am finding to be very helpful. As soon as a trigger hits, I have to jump into the battle immediately and shut down the spiral of thoughts. I ask myself……what is happening TODAY? How are things TODAY? How is he acting TODAY? How am I feeling TODAY? What was my mood like earlier TODAY before this hit me?

          I find this grounds me somewhat and keeps me in the present. The past is ugly, awful, painful and I will never, until the day I die, understand why and how he could have done what he did. Never. So it is useless to revisit it. I’m trying hard to focus on what is NOW.

          • Strengthrequired

            Eg, I have been trying to get back into my positive thinking. It must be working because I’m not as depressed as I was the past week.
            I just have to keep telling myself everything is going to be alright.
            It is really amazing though how quickly a trigger can knock all your hard work to the ground.

    • emotionalrollercoaster

      Rachel,
      When you said your husband moved in the right direction, does that mean he came back to you or went with her?

    • amy

      Hi it was good to read the post. It’s been five months since I found out about my husbands affair with his coworker.

      He still works at the same place but looking for a change. We have had many discussions about how it affected me n the marriage. He wanted us to work n was apologetic.

      He made lot of promises of being better person and making up to me but whenever I asked him to do anything for me to heal he resisted at first and became defensive. He never offered me password to his phone or email on his own, I had to ask him.

      It’s me who is pushing him to b transparent n share things he never does on his own. It’s like working alone in this to sort out the mess he created!!

      Now he does not want me to talk about the other woman since he is looking for another job.

      He is amicable towards me n constantly says he understands the pain he has caused but is unable to be more loving or the way I need him to be.

      He clearly seems to bother about his job than me. He provides financial security but fails in emotional.

      It’s difficult for him to say he loves me as he feels guilty of cheating on me.

      Best part is he preaches that my happiness should not depend on him but myself.

      I already know it but that does not mean he does not do his part.

      At this stage he is so fed up of affair discussion that he is ready to give up on us as he needs peace n tranquillity.

      I feel situation is hopeless. It’s been only 5 months he cannot handle anything n expects me to control my emotions.

      I don’t know what to do…

      • tryinghard

        Amy
        I hear you! At first, and 5 months is really early stages, yes all we think about and want to talk about is the affair. It is constantly on our minds, we are consumed by it and riddled with questions. All day we wait for that quiet moment at the end of the day when we can launch our thousand questions at our CS. I hear you, I did it, I’ve been there. On the other hand all they want to do is forget about it and pretend it didn’t happen! Not a good combination, right?

        First, it’s not hopeless and there are many things you are doing right, but many things probably not so right. I didn’t either 🙂 no one does! You have to work to create an environment where he feels “safe” talking about the affair and this takes A LOT of work on your part and time. He has lots of things he doesn’t think you need to know or he thinks if he tells you it will make things worse. He’s wrong and he will figure that out and he will if you gently guide him in that direction. You are going to hear things you never thought you would hear come out of his mouth. Things you don’t want to hear, so chose your questions carefully. I asked a million questions and had to re-ask them again because I just couldn’t process all that I was hearing! I heard my H story on an 800 mile car trip!!! Try to focus on the positives. I know you need to hear all the loving words and they WILL come, in time.

        My husband acted the same way yours did at first. He admitted and then he wanted to drop it, like it never happened. I tried to give him the space he needed and we went to marriage counseling and a read and read and read everything I could get my hands on for advice. It worked. I learned timing is everything and so is patience and so is perseverance. If MY marriage can survive this I believe yours can too. Hang in there, it does get better 🙂

    • Monique

      I am just past 6 months post d-day. Things will be going very well for a few days even up to a week, before I am hit/sidelined by a trigger or a negative thought which spirals. My husband is regretful & shameful for the EA he had with Sandra Jackson Whitney & says he was never attracted to her. He was attracted to the attention and feelings of admiration. He says it was very easy to say good bye to her as she only pretended to be a friend. He doesn’t miss a thing about her or the relationship as it was all just fake for him.

      I have trouble not remembering things and not letting them derail me. It hurts very much to think that he thought I didn’t care and chose to engage with such a hideous being. Our counselor is very good and is helping the two of us navigate through this thankfully. In addition we are addressing our relationship issues prior and after the EA.

      He very much feels that I should be over all this by now. He has been attentive and loving; planned romantic date nights; put together a lovely picture book of our family and & life together for Christmas. Which makes me wonder – what the hell is my problem?! Do I have one? Am I the one who’s unfair? Sometimes I say yes; sometimes I think not. He really has done a lot of good things to right the wrongs. He is shameful & remorseful. I feel like I’ll take two steps forward but 1 back. And while progress is being made, it’s painfully slow.

      May 2014 be a better year for us all!

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