Lately I have been putting much thought into my long journey to forgiveness after Doug’s emotional affair, and trying to figure out why it was so difficult to reach.  As a result, I began reconstructing our affair recovery and analyzing each step.

It is ironic how I can now remember the details and the activities so clearly, but at the time I really didn’t understand the meaning and the emotions involved.  I finally understand what Doug was talking about when he explained why it took so long for him to see the emotional affair realistically and clearly.

Doug said that he had to remove himself from the situation and the emotions of the affair before he could clearly see the whole picture. Now I see that I went through the same process in our own affair recovery.

In the beginning I thought Doug and I were on the right path to recreating our marriage, but looking back I now see that we were also creating many obstacles that stood in the way of forgiveness and intimacy.

I was thinking about Doug’s behavior after the affair ended.  He said that he was relieved it was over.  This was mainly because of all the lies and betrayal that were involved.  However, he never really looked within himself and our relationship and how we ended up at that place.  He just wanted to put the affair behind us and move on to recreate a marriage he thought we were lacking.

I think he believed that our love and marriage should be the same as what he experienced during the emotional affair.  I was also in that same frame of mind because I wanted to give him everything he had with Tanya.

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Looking back, I believe Doug wanted to continue the fantasy world he was in by making our marriage an affair. By doing this, he didn’t have to think about, or experience the pain of looking at what was really happening in his life.

During that phase we were putting a lot of effort into having a great time.  We would go out every weekend.  We would hit the happy-hours, listen to bands, go to festivals, etc.  We were always on our best behavior and trying not to show our faults or shortcomings.  So in essence, we had our own emotional affair (though it turned quite physical!).

Doug attempted to keep our conversations superficial and often became defensive if I brought up the affair.  He would say something like “We are doing great now.   We’re happy, so why do we need to always talk about this?”

I think in his mind we were doing great because he compared our new relationship to the feeling he had during the affair and equated those feeling with being in love. For me I always knew there was something missing in our relationship.  I knew I wanted more from our marriage.

I remember reading some of our earlier posts where Doug believed our relationship was great, but in contrast, I was still apprehensive about the void I felt.  I was still searching for something more.  Now I realize what I was searching for.  It was a more intimate, real love between us.

I feel that we have finally arrived at this place, but I think it took much perseverance on my part.  I didn’t let Doug off the hook.   He was happy remaining in the “in love” stage.  Believing those feelings represented real love. Don’t get me wrong though, as falling in love again was needed (and was a lot of fun) but we also needed to take it far beyond that.

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As painful as it was, I continued to initiate the tough conversations about the emotional affair and the issues within our marriage.  If we would not have experienced the pain we never would have experienced the relationship we have now.

    8 replies to "Our Own Emotional Affair"

    • mil

      Hi Linda,
      This is nothing to do with your post really but this question popped into my head today and I don’t know where else to post it.
      Do you think Tanya knows about this website and does she read it?? I don’t suppose you would know but it would be very interesting for her to read Doug’s thoughts on their ‘great love’ and I hope she would suffer pain knowing how you have overcome the devastation she caused and are happier than ever with Doug.
      Sorry if that sounds callous and some of you nice people out there will think I’m nasty and vindictive. Well I suppose I am after the pain and suffering I continue to endure.

      • Doug

        Mil, I don’t think Tanya knows about this website nor do I really care. The only hope I have for Tanya is that she did as much soul searching and work to save her marriage as Doug and I did. It worries me that if she didn’t put any thought into why she was so unhappy with her husband and her marriage that this will happen again. I hate to think that another family would be effected by her selfish actions. Linda

    • Trying2Survive

      It’s amazing to me how much my situation follows what you write about. The “9 mistakes”, “forgiving too soon” and now this one. I am reading one of the books you’ve often referred to (can’t remember the name of it at the moment) and I think it’s helping – but it’s hard to read fast enough. I check in on here to see what’s being written and what’s being said – and you will write something like this that just helps me “wake up” and get my head out of the fog. It’s so hard to understand what’s going on with all the “stages” of this process. You help me see them much sooner than I would ever see them on my own.

      • Doug

        Trying…, Thanks for the kind words. There is a lot of information to process, and at times it seems overwhelming. You may want to consider mentoring at some point too. There’s a page on our blog that describes it. Linda

    • addled and confused

      Linda, I think we’re going through the same thing however he’s still not realizing the difference between love and the affair feeling. We started to really come back out of this thing and then he went and contacted her again this last week. He said he was feeling strong enough to test his feelings. I didn;t take it well, needless to say. How did Doug finally realize that the affair feeling he had wasn’t real love? It’s been a year since our D-day and every 3 months we go through it all over again.

    • Lostinlove

      it’s been four months…….i an no further along……it’s breaking me down….

    • mil

      I’m actually getting worse and it’s nearly 3 years although I discovered their continued secret texting contact nearly 2 years ago. Every time he goes out even to work or meetings I’m paranoid. He even turned down a career opportunity because I was paranoid about any new women he might meet and he said it wasn’t worth the hassle.
      The more time goes on and the more I’m sure he’s hiding lots of intimate details, the worse I am becoming. I am more and more desperate to know the whole truth with every passing day. My whole life revolves around what I imagine to be their great love of the century however much he assures me it was just a stupid ‘game’.
      I know I’m destroying our chance of happiness but I can’t live wondering what really happened.

    • jenny


      I really enjoyed your post and it definitely struck a chord with me. When I first found out about my husband emotional affair I was convinced that I would be able to forgive him. I could fill every void in his life. Our love would be all we needed to bring healing and peace back into our lives. We would be passionate, go out on dates and I would fill his heart with the joy he seemed to have lost. I was naive. We did those things, but the thing I missed the most is just being comfortable with each other. I used to trust in my husband’s love 100%. I felt that he could see me at my very worst physically and emotionally and would still love me.

      I honestly don’t think my husband will ever cheat on me again. I think he understands the devastation it has caused for both of us. I trust him on that. The trust I am having trouble regaining is trusting that I can just be myself, good or bad…beautiful or ugly… or boring…happy or sad and know that he loves me. I think that is the real love you are talking about. It is so much more than romantic love can ever be because it is honest.

      We have had some tough conversations ourselves lately about what led us to this place. My husband, like Doug, has just wanted to just gloss over everything. He kept saying we were doing so well. I think he thought by saying it that made it so. I also still felt a void. I wrote him a letter and explained what I felt like I was missing. I think he is finally starting to get it. I don’t blame him for why we got to this place. We both played our parts, but we need to understand what those parts were before we can move past it.

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