after the emotional affairA 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 the emotional affair…

The first thing that made me feel better was 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.

See also  Abandonment and Rebuilding Your Marriage After an Affair

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.

See also  Discussion: Do Cheating Spouses Regret Their Actions?

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 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 information on Dr. Huizenga, check out his website at: www.break-free-from-the-affair.com

See also  The Emotional Affair Still Confuses Me at Times

For more information about Jeff Murrah’s book go to:  www.surviveyourpartnersaffair.com

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

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LINESPACE

    17 replies to "Making Progress After the Emotional Affair"

    • Michael

      Good for you,
      Love to hear it.
      One day at a time….

    • Alice

      Linda,
      You said in your post that you considered looking for a therapist……does that mean through your whole struggle you’ve never seen a counsellor? Dr.Glass’s book “Not Just Friends” mentions that affairs are extremely difficult to work through even WITH regular conselling. If you’ve gotten to this point without any therapy, Id say you’re doing a fantastic job. Afterall, it’s only been two years. You should be proud of yourself. You are one strong lady.

      • Doug

        Alice, Thank you for the compliment. Doug and I went to a therapist for one session about 2 years ago. We have pretty much just used the books, ebooks and resources mentioned on this site. I guess you could say we were our own therapists, with help from many of you. Working on this site alone has been therapy for us. – Linda

    • Deflated

      Linda-I honestly don’t know if I would have the same strength you have had to overcome this devastating event. I know Doug’s EA was a lengthily one as compared to my husband’s EA (3 mos.-its has been 3 mos since I found out). I know how I felt when I found out about the EA and even though it was short-lived the pain is just as excruciating.
      I believe I have made progress in overcoming this life changing event. I no longer think, dwell, wonder etc…about her or the EA. I am focused on strengthening my inner self and my marriage.
      My husband and I are seeing a therapist and so far it has been very productive. I know my husband loves me and truly regrets what he did and how it affected my world. I gave him the image of a glass house shattering to bits after its been hit–that’s how I truly felt inside of my world. So many bits and pieces there was no way I could put the pieces back together again but then again I did not want to rebuild that glass house again. It was too fragile as it represented my vulnerabilities. I wanted a stronger foundation. So as I am working on building a stronger confident inner me my husband helps me by providing the material and tools needed. Similar to a general contractor and subcontractor relationship-one that works together and not against each other.
      We are also both working on reinforcing our relationship foundation and putting up “fences” so that we are never put in this position again. I have to say that I like what both my husband and I have built. Sure there are minor adjustments that need to be made but the overall construction is solid.
      Best of Luck to you.

    • Alice

      This might sound stupid……….. but perhaps you could shift your focus from the anniversary of Doug saying he didn’t love you, to the anniversary of the day that Doug truly realized that you were the best thing in his life.

      • Doug

        Alice, that is a good idea, we are trying very hard to make new memories and start over again. I know it is important to focus on the positive that is happening so that was a good reminder. Thanks, Linda

      • Anne

        Alice, I don’t think that sounds the least bit stupid. The 1 year anniversary of my finding out about what I thought at the time was an EA was this past 10/11. We consciously turned it into an anniversary celebration. I was in Maine for a writers’ retreat, and my husband flew up so we could drive home together. That first d-day was lovely, I even got him an anniversary card! The d-day of finding out it was actually a very brief and pitiful PA was 10/30, and again, we choose to make it a day to celebrate the beginning of our new marriage a year ago.

        It’s been a very hard journey with a lot of talking, reading, therapy, and going to a retreat together focused on getting over affairs, but it’s been worth every minute. I have actually come to the point where I’m grateful for everything that happened. We might have otherwise continued to drift apart if things hadn’t changed. Now we’re closer than we ever have been.

        Peace.

    • Sharon

      Linda, My husband has been having an emotional affair with a gym instructor for 8 months. He takes 4 or 5 classes a week with her. I just went in to one of the classes this week and she came over and introduced herself to me and made a big deal to the class that I, his wife, was there. Do you think it’s a good idea to continue to join the class to make myself visible to her. My husband doesn’t seem to have a problem with me there and he did invite me to come in. I am just unsure as to his motivation. Does he want me there to hinder her if he doesn’t know how to distance himself, or does he want me there to show her what I am like and they can bond over discussions about me. She is in great shape obviously, but not attractive really. I am in great shape also, a size O after 4 kids and I do work out at the same gym 4 x a week. My insecurities are making me nuts. I did use Mort Fertel’s program and private sessions with him that have helped me a lot.

    • Donna

      WOW! well done Linda on the revelations that you have had. I love Alice’s idea of remember ing the day Doug realised how precious you are to him. Anne, that is so great about your marriage, continues to give me hope in my marriage. And Deflated… I htink you should change your name to inflated 🙂 sounds like you are on the greatest path, love the comparison of construction… so great.

      I wish I was at that stage that a lot of you women are at,. I see the positive and teh small efforts my husband is putting forth and I am grateful to them and probably need to celebrate those things more than looking at what he is still not doing. He is 3 weeks NC and I have noticed that the withdrawals have set in. This I am finding hard, I think the only thing that gets me though is tha he does not live at home, so I am not seeing it all the time. We are not a conventional separated couple, he comes over nearly every night for dinner, watches dvd’s with me once kids are in bed etc… we are still intimate and we have the best talks at those times! Then we spend every weekend together, and we go to parties together as a couple.

      He says he is in love with her, I hate this and just agree as I figure there is no point fighting him on this, he is set in his mind.. and maybe he really does, who would know anymore. Says she has made him to be a better person, he thinks better of himself etc…

      I am finding it hard to act as if all is okay and Iam fine when I am crumbling inside. We have not had counselling wither. His 17 month EA ended 3 weeks ago. My husband doesn’t want to go to couselling, sys it is not for him and no amount of asking will alter it. Says he needs to work on loving himself first before we can work on us, however by him working on himself, he says is working on our marriage.

      I need the tools to stop asking him questions, I don’t know how to do this. I need the tools to be able to allow him without me worrying to have his “me time” as he calls it.

      I am so stressed it is pathetic, my body is ion knots and my head aches constantly. I have turned to chocolate, and thankk goodness have stopped that as I don’t want the pounds to creep backon as well I know I am destroying my self this way.

      Anyway, well done Linda, Iam really pleased for you and everyone else. You really are all my inspiration!

      • Doug

        Donna, may I suggest that you go to counseling on your own. I wished that was something I would have done in the beginning. I believe it may have put me on the right path, without all the trail and error and emotional turmoil. Most of the comments from spouses who went to therapy said it was a positive experience and appeared to learn a lot about themselves and the affair. It may allow you to gain some control over yourself and the situation. I also recommend reading the book Love Must Be Tough. Linda

    • Anne

      I’m sorry to hear you’re at such a rotten, tough stage, Donna. I had many of those long days and nights. One thing I’ll point out and admit is I didn’t have the courage to come to a website like this until I felt a lot more stable. I think you’re making an incredibly smart and supportive choice for yourself to reach out for help NOW. I had a wonderful circle of women, we happened to be doing a 9 month series of monthly calls together, and that support was a lifesaver for me.

      I also agree with Linda on this one, going to some kind of counseling on your own would likely do a world of good. I didn’t believe this no matter how many times I read it until I experienced it, but our spouses DO notice when we find strength within ourselves, when we come to peace with ourselves.

      A huge turning point for us was over the summer when my husband was lying about smoking, sort of unrelated to his affairs but he did smoke with them and hide it from me. This time, he had a terribly stressful job, turned to his secrets, and I caught him. All of that had happened over and over again throughout the years. This time, I calmly said that’s it, we’ve talked about this and what it would mean, now you have to move out. He was out of the house for three months, and in that time I realized I would be perfectly fine if we didn’t make it. I would have missed him and been sad and lonely for a long time, but I would have made it. I truly believe he saw that change in me and finally realized he had to stop with the secrets. So taking care of yourself, whatever that means to you, and getting support are crucial.

      I figured if we made it and I was stronger on my own, our marriage would be better. If we didn’t make it and I was stronger on my own, whatever form my life took would be better. Either way, the hard work is worth it.

      I hope this is ok, but a source that really helped me and my husband was the Beyond Affairs Network. The couples retreat and support calls were amazing. They have meetings in bigger cities for betrayed spouses, another source of support.

      Peace.

    • Lori

      I know this is an old post, but it’s the one that spoken to me the most so far. D-day for us was 6 months ago after my husband got FIRED from his job due to inappropriate behavior with the OW (not quite what you think – no physical stuff, but about a picture he took of her that got out and made people question). So now he’s been unemployed, we’re dealing with the financial stress of losing our primary income (thank God I work and it’s not a bad income, but it’s part time and much less than he made). I’ve been obsessing about the OW this whole time, and can’t seem to stop what I know is destructive behavior – looking her up on social sites, looking at phone records and emails. Linda’s advice to stop feeding the fantasy makes sense, because it seems to be damaging me way more than him. Also, I recently came to the conclusion that I can’t be happy in or out of this marriage unless I am happier with myself – so have committed to exercising more, eating better, and taking more time out for me. I guess the major issues for me at this point are anger (just boiling below the surface, waiting to be let out over the tiniest things) and lack of trust in everything he does, despite his apparently genuine committment to me and our marriage. I just feel like nothing will ever be the same again, like I am now damaged goods, and will never be able to fully trust him, or anyone else, for that matter. Is it true that time will heal this? Hard for me to believe…

      • Doug

        Lori, I’m sorry to hear of what you’re going through. Yours is just another example of the collateral damage that can occur due to an affair. Work hard at taking Linda’s advice about feeding the fantasy, as it can consume you. You sound as though you are doing the right things.

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