I have been really focusing so much on the emotional affair that I can’t think straight.

emotional affairBy Linda

I have been struggling with a lot of emotions lately.  So many thoughts are going through my head and I am having difficulty sorting everything out.  I really don’t know where to turn and what to think.  I know that I have been really focusing so much on the emotional affair and on Tanya that I can’t think straight.

It has caused the pain to return.  So much so that I feel the same way I did two years ago. I can’t understand why, but I can’t let it go.

The other night I read a book about love and it mentioned that in love there is always ambivalence.  How we cope with the ambivalence can cause  problems.  The book discusses triangle relationships (affairs) and that when you are feeling unsure you will turn to another person or activity, etc. to escape from thinking about your ambivalence.

The book mentioned that the betrayed will do the same.  They will think about the affair partner or the emotional affair so much that it distracts them from thinking about the things they really need to focus on.

They think that their spouses are cheats, liars and betrayers.  All those things are difficult to think about.  They forget that they were unhappy before the affair started, and focus on other things to avoid thinking and dealing with those facts.

This information really hit home for me and I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t let it go.  Why do I continue to focus on Tanya and the emotional affair? Doug says it seems as though I am trying to sabotage our relationship. I disagree.  I think I am trying to avoid thinking about what really happened to our relationship.

See also  After the Affair: I am Angry

I don’t want to think about the implications of this emotional affair.  I was living in a fairy tale.  I was the princess and Doug was the perfect prince.  I never believed that he would do these things to me. I totally trusted him and believed he was committed to our marriage.

I have realized that I have to face the fact that he is not the perfect man I imaged him to be and I wasn’t the perfect wife.  We weren’t living the fairy tale I imagined.  I have to mourn the death of those silly fantasies that I always believed.  For me that is very difficult. I have always tried to live an honest life and I always expected the people around me to do the same.  I have to let that go.

I also have problems feeling the same way about Doug that I felt before the affair.  I will never be able to look at him the same way, and that really disturbs me.  I told him I will never be able to look at him the way Tanya did and he deserves to have a woman look at him that way.

I need to totally change my expectation of love.  I need to understand what love really is.

I told Doug I need to put this triangle (the affair) behind me and focus on falling in love with him again.  Falling in love without expectations of perfection or other illusions, but with who we really are.

I really just want to start over again with Doug. I want to look at the man that I am married to and love him for who he is, even with the mistakes he has made.  I want to look at him and see all the good things he has done to make things right since his emotional affair. I want to move on with a realistic notion that he will not be the perfect man, and I will not be the perfect wife, but that is what will make our love and marriage stronger.

See also  The Emotionally Unavailable Man


    33 replies to "The Emotional Affair Still Causes Pain"

    • ruth

      I have been struggling even though my husband is really trying. My father in law was brought up here from fla to go into assisting living facility. He is 90 yrs old and was living with a women since my mother in law died 15 yrs ago that is only 65. My father in law came back because he didn’t want to burden her with all of his illnesses, but after only 3 weeks here he hated it and wanted to go back to her. He told my h that he misses her and all of his friends. My h hates this women and conciders her a gold digger. M h was so happy that he came back. When my father in law said he wanted to go back all my h could do was say its your life do what you want “I understand it hard to leave your friends”. When I asked my husband if he misses his friends and Tammy ( the friends where theirs together not mine, I was not included) Instead of looking at me and saying no Ruth I am here because I love you and I dont ever want to go back to that life again he said yes I do miss them I have no friends hereing here. Do have any Idea how that hurts and I know he didnt mean it in a bad way it was just that he didnt think of how I would take that statment. So I told him how can you blame your father on how he feels when he is not betraying anyone? I keep taking one day at a time but I have come to understand, in my heart nothing will ever be the same and I will allways carry this burden in my heart, yet the pain will ease but it will never be gone as long as we are together because the trigger for me is just looking at him. So my trigger is there everyday. If I could block the last 3yr out of my mind maybe I will finally be at peace. I love my h and I have decided to fight for real love not a fantasy but so badly I want the kind of love he gave her to me. I want to be worshiped just like she was. I dont think I am there yet but getting there. I have put a sheild around my heart because I dont turst him yet. I always will wonder if in 5 years from now if he ran into her would his feeling return. Was his love for her true love and we all know true love never dies. That is the million dollar question that I will never know. Thats what I need answered to reasure me that she really wasnt the love of his life. Doug and Linda I know I have said thank you so many time but I will keep saying thank you. There are days I come on here and its like Linda is in my head with the same questions I struggle with. You have the most wonderful way of expressing yourself. Thank you again and again.

    • NotBroken

      Linda… I think about the EA and the OW a lot also. I think its normal. I don’t believe that I am thinking about it because I’m subconsciously trying to block out anything. I think it’s just something I’m so curious and angry about. Who wouldn’t think about it constantly?

    • Karen

      Linda: I respect you so much and have learned so much from you. I’m 4 1/2 months post D-day and I also think about the OW and the EA way too much, and it pains me to read your posts, especially since you and Doug have done so much healing. I’m finding I feel a profound sadness off and on that this happened in my marriage coupled with a lot of regret thrown in. I so wish I could rewind the years and do things differently. . . . I wonder if I could let go of the regret if my “obsession” with the EA and the OW would diminish. . . .
      The sadness is quite overwhelming at times 🙁

    • Jennifer

      I’m with Ruth. Sometimes I think Linda is inside my head. Thank God its her doing the blogging and not me. I’m not so eloquent.
      My H just took off out of town spur of the moment to where his EA partner lives as well as the woman he has been texting constantly. His family also lives there, but I am skeptical as to his intentions. I am nervous as hell right now. What can I do but send him on his way and wish him well? I’m hoping he won’t be gone long. And I’m hoping I can get my emotions under control before he gets back. Ugh. Wish me luck everyone. I wish you were physically here with me. I could use a shoulder tonight.

      • Jana

        Jennifer, I think it is time for you to move on. You are beautiful and kind. I can tell by the way you write. Wish him well and move on with your life. There are times, like in Linda’s and Doug’s case when fighting for your marriage is so worth it. However, there are times that when fighting for you and your happiness is worth even more. Be HAPPY! You deserve it. Trust me, there is a man out there looking and waiting for someone like you. Ready to make you feel the way every and each one of us deserves to feel. My husband had an EA at the beginning of this year. I caught on to it right away. I asked him to put down his stupid I-Phone many a times to no avail. I finally got sick of it and started to prepare my departure. In March, before confronting him with all the facts I had gathered, I cleaned my junk from the garage, my drawers and my closet. This helped me prepare for my big bang. Slowly but surely I fell out of love with him. When I realized it, I decided to tell him how lonely, betrayed, etc., etc., etc., I felt and that our marriage of 15 years was way over. That I no longer viewed him as my husband. I described to him what had been going on between him and the OW. Did not skip a detail. The facts became bigger than life. So much so, he ended up with diarrhea. He was in disbelief. I told him I was out. He asked for an opportunity to make things right. I stayed because I was going through a lot of other stuff and could not make a move at that point. I decided to stay, but I kept the OW under my watch and every time I could inflict pain by making a comment or texting her back from his phone with a dry, clear cut response such as “don’t wish to speak with you anymore, just spoke with your husband and what we are doing is wrong. he does not deserve this” gave me great pleasure. Yes, she is one of our best friend’s wife. Reason why this EA is haunting to me.

        Needless to say, that relationship is over. However, even though a part of me wants to put everything behind and move on with a new relationship with the man I have been dating for the past 20 years (my husband), there is a part of me that craves a new beginning, a new romance, a new man, one that will be crazy about me in a way that I do not feel my husband was or ever will be. I say we all move on.

        • Jennifer

          Thanks for the encouragement, Jana. I never thought it would be so hard for me to work on ME. It’s been more difficult to do that than it has been to continue loving him. I want that new romance and that adoration you’re talking about, but not from anyone else. I still want that from my husband. I’m not ready to give up yet. I know I may be my own prisoner at this point, but I just can’t call it quits yet. Maybe I have to get my own self in order before I can feel confident enough to make him leave. Right now, I still love him (I guess more than I love myself) and I can’t walk away from our family yet. Still struggling to work on me and letting the rest ride for now.

          • Domini

            Jennifer….you and I sound like we’re in the same place. I feel for you and feel the same way you do. I want my husband to love me again too. I can’t even imagine another man in my life…I’m not sure i ever would…Good luck to you. I hope we both find the strength to do whatever is right….

            • Jennifer

              I just got back from counseling. I wasn’t liking my therapist until today, but she said something that really stuck with me. “It’s YOUR marriage, too. Be an active participant.” I don’t have to just ‘wait’ on him to figure this out and start acting the way I want. I can be loving and be a good wife (which is what I want to do anyway). She suggested I take lunch to him at work and call ahead to make sure he’s available. If he says no, just say “Ok. We’ll try again later.” To let him know I will ask again. All I’m asking is lunch, right? Maybe I’m still on a positive high, but I feel much better having a ‘plan’ rather than just constantly waiting on him to do something.

        • NotBroken

          Wow Jana. Well said.

    • Jenn

      Linda, you do inspire me, and so many are in your same shoes. I find it hard to deal, because I was truly happy in my marriage before the affair. My husband survived thyroid cancer, I cared for him and met his needs during that time, myself being 6 months pregnant when he was diagnosed. I had our new baby, and thought everything was finally going to settle in our lives. She was 2 months old when the affair started, and everything I had given to him and thought I would get in return in terms of being cared for after getting through it all never happened. Instead, he chose to seek a “light and fun” diversion from the events of the past year. He never once stopped to think that I was by his side through it all, putting on a happy face when I was terrified I might lose him to cancer. Goodness, this is terribly hard. You are doing a good job, and Doug seems to care about getting your marriage where it needs to be. My husband doesn’t understand that I need some of his attention right now, expecially when I feel so isolated and uncared for.

    • Doug

      This is a comment from “Just Me” – it came to our email for some reason:

      I’m 8 months out and these are the posts that scare me. I’m 50 and keep hearing 2 to 4 years for healing. Do I really want to go through all this for 2 to 4 years? My answer is no. There is no quick fix, I realize that. What I am having the worst problem with is his decision to go to someone else instead of coming to me. For me, I don’t have the patience or the love anymore to work through this. I have been working on me and we will be divorcing. My heart just isn’t in it to work it out. I understand the materials I’ve been reading & see where things went wrong. I can also see where it could be possible to work on things, but I don’t see him ever understanding the depth of the pain he has caused. Especially when he doesn’t consider what he did an affair. Kissing her and texting her I love you for 6 months constitutes an affair. He doesn’t see it that way. And I don’t see me accepting what he’s done.
      Anyways, Linda..I like your site and I really enjoyed your webinar with Dr. Bob. My heart broke when you cried and I’m sure everyone else cried right along with you.

      • NotBroken

        Linda… where is the webinar with Dr. Bob? Did I miss it? Is this the webinar about confronting the OP?

        • Doug

          We should be able to get it posted this week. It is about confronting the OP, but there is more to it than just that.

    • ZazA Nkosi

      Hi L. It is painful and I can safely say I feal the pain with you. It is true, no matter how much we try, this will always come back to haunt us somehow. You know I am still fresh after the discovery and for some reason in the 8 weeks of counselling, I sleep sound asleep at night, no clenching of teeth as much which caused a lot of headaches. During my last session, I cheered at the end of the session, that I did not shed a tear till the end. I am somehow empowered in one way or the other. This affair has brought out so much onto the surface and I vowed that all this will make me a better, a Better wife (to him or not) a better mother to my son and an overall good, bubbly self I have always been. I have decided I will not let the OW take everything from me. She may have a chunk of my husband but I will not let her poison my body and kill me from heart a attack and deprive my son of a mother. I am on my way to equip myself with a lot more that I never realise I should equip myself with. Somehow, good will come out of this with my husband or not.

      Keep fighting girl and keep it real. Wishing you both well and hope this too shall pass oneday…

    • D

      I hate to say this Linda, but part of what may be keeping you from totally letting go and moving on is this website. A large key to any healing I have achieved is in accepting what happened and focusing on this moment. In this moment there is no affair, no OM, no secrecy, no sex between them, no emotional connection, no contact, no lies. All of that existed in the past. Do I have fears that they could start up again; fears that she thinks of him; fears that she prefers him over me, or worse yet that she simply doesn’t love me anymore? Yes, but it’s fear based on assumptions or projections of a future that doesn’t exist. Right now, in this moment, she says she loves me, she wants a future with me, she is working to overcome her guilt and shame, her character flaw. I am working on me, on the kind of life I want. I cannot depend on her to make me happy, to validate me, to love me because moments change all the time. The work on ourselves we always talk about is acknowledging the strength within ourselves.

      I can’t come to this site everyday, but because it makes me dwell on the affair. Unfortunately, while you and Doug are doing an amazing service to many hurt souls, it does seem to come at a cost.

      • S


        I cannot begin to explain to you how much I appreciate and agree with this comment. It’s only been 4 months since I found out (Father’s Day…I asked, she admitted to it). After a month of what my spouse correctly calls “survival mode”, I quickly fell into some very difficult bouts of depression. It’s only been since this past Friday that I finally came to the realization that I must start by loving myself again. That, and I cannot ‘control’ the situation. If it IS going to happen again, I am going to make darn sure that I’m in a far better place emotionally.

        In addition, I agree that although Linda and Doug have undoubtedly done some wonderful things for others, it might be a good time for her to step away and take care of her own situation. In fact, maybe it’s a great time for all followers of this blog to send a quick post in support of Linda and Doug, and a thank you for the help they have provided.

        Re-visiting the past, which is unavoidable on a blog such as this, is rarely…if ever…beneficial.

        I am a Christian. I say that because it is the one place in which I have found help, not to somehow say “I am special or I am better” than those who don’t believe. Prayer, and my belief that there is something greater than me to live for, is what has prevented me from doing some VERY desperate things. I know this might sound kooky to a great many of you out there, but I have found my defense against the bad thoughts. I simply speak His name when I’m under attack by the memories of what happened, or when my imagination gets the best of me, and let Him put up the defense. For me, it has worked without fail as long as I remember to do it.

        This is hard. And there’s no one who can really comprehend how hard it is until it has happened to them. And even then, we all deal with these things differently. I really have no idea how my marriage will turn out at this point. Honestly, it will be up to her to love me unconditionally again. I always have and always will love her completely.

        One way or the other, I am bound and determined to fall back in love with myself. And, hopefully, with my newfound defender by my side, I’ll come out of this a better man.

    • Jane

      Linda. Thank you for putting yourself out there. It is very brave. I am almost 9 months out of my EA and it pains me to know that my husband is still hurting- that I am still hurting. I want it to go away. I want him to be able to look at me like he used to- but I am afraid he never will. I am afraid this will hurt him forever, no matter what I do. You stand on the other side of this… what advice do you give me? A woman who fell in love with another man and who so desperately wants to forget him and pour herself back into the marriage?

      • Linda

        Jane, giving advice is very difficult for me because I am on the other side, but here my thought on the matter. If you truly understand the pain and devastation that your affair has caused your husband, marriage and yourself I feel it should be easy to let go of these feelings you have for the other person. If you have let go of the fantasy of the relationship and the person and have realized that your husband is the person you want to be with, then you need to let him go. This advice is from a person who lives with the pain, insecurity and loss of trust everyday, but if I were in your shoes I would hate the man who was a part of this terrible destruction. I know it is difficult to blame him since it was a joint venture, but keeping those feelings alive only allows the fantasy to continue. Until you forget this other man it is almost impossible to move on. Linda

        • NotBroken

          Linda… I was going to say the same thing. I think she needs to let go, and reading the words that she was in love with this man, was horrible to read. I just thought to myself how can you love him? What about your H and the love you have for him. It’s very disappointing to read something like that. It makes me sick.

    • Elaine

      Linda and other wounded spouses,

      I am one of you-13 months into this journey and finally coming out on the other side. This has been the worst and best year of my life. I have cried more tears in this year than my entire 43 years and have learned more about myself and relationships in this year than in all my 43 years. I can say I am a better, more confidant and loving person because of and despite my husband’s affair and I doubt I would have found this wisdom without it. Ever since D-day, I have had a fierce determination not to let their behavior or choices change me for the worse. If I was changing, it was going to be for the better. I have read thousands of pages and have spent more time thinking and discovering things about myself than I ever thought I would. I loved Byron Katie’s “Loving What is” and “Real Love” by Greg Baer. They have taught me so much about accepting reality and loving unconditionally. Which doesn’t mean accepting destructive things in your life but does mean being at peace with your life no matter what the circimstances. Your hurt and pain really is in your thinking and perception of any situation. Take this opportunity to find your strength and happiness inside of you because that’s the only place it’s ever been and ever will be. Then you can go out and enjoy life without expectations or disappointments in how others are behaving.

      Take charge of your life and happiness and stop letting other people control how you feel about yourself. I, for one am not letting him, her or anyone else dictate how I see myself, my life or my possibilities because THEY really have nothing to do with me, those are my choices and responsibility and it is so freeing to know it’s all in my control and always has been. I was giving my freedom, happiness and peace of mind to them everytime I would get upset or try to control their choices and I have now taken it all back, they can’t have it anymore.

      Little did I know, as I gradually started to change my thinking, my husband did notice (so did my 3 boys) and wanted to know how I was doing it. He was attracted to the confidant, happy, peaceful person I was becoming. He felt I had finally set him free and he was able to make a choice without feeling forced or guilted into a decision. He could feel confidant that his choice to come back to our marriage was solely his. We are still working on issues, but I know we are both changed for the better forever because of his affair and how we each chose to deal with it.

      I hope all of you, Linda included, find the peace and happiness that is inside of you, waiting to be found, no matter what is going on in your life.

      • Linda

        Elaine, thank you for the inspiring comment, I am going to copy it and keep it in my wallet. I need these daily reminders of where I want to be and what I need to do to get there. You have learned so much in a year, I hope you can continue to help all of us with you great advice. Linda

        • Jennifer

          Me too, Elaine. Beautiful story. What a strong woman.

    • Domini

      I’ve been doing way too much thinking about this other woman, the way my husband may still feel about her, the things hey did together and his desire to live me for her…..until I called him out and then he changed his mind. It’s been 6 months now and I’ve run the entire spectrum of emotions. I try to focus on gratitude for the opportunity to set things right and have my husband back, but that’s easier said than done. At first, I was stronger than I am now, and in the middle of last night, while I was laying there awake and thinking way too much, it dawned on me. My husband is “that guy.” You know the one. The one that you see in movies, the one that has the ability to totally break your heart. Probably 8 years ago, in the midst of our 4th child, money and business issues, a pain in the butt teenage son, and all of the other stuff that life has to throw at you, he turned on me! I actually remember the night….when all of a sudden, we were no longer a team, it was all my fault and I was doing everything wrong. It wasn’y the argument that got me, it was the way he talked to me, with so much animosity in his voice that it wrecked me. Without even realizing it, from that point on, I think I started to shut him out. I know I wasn’t doing it on purpose, but to protect myself, I began to stay away and stay angry most of the time. It was easier than dealing with the realization that this man that I had given my entire life and heart to, could hate me, even if it was just in that moment, as much as he did. Now after finding out about his affair, before I even confronted him, I made a decision. I decided to allow myself to open my heart back up to him. It’s not easy, I had built a pretty good size wall and tearing it down has left me more vulnerable than I want to be. It wasn’t until last night that I figured out why I did this in the first place….it’s because my husband is the “one.” I can’t stand the idea of living without him! So now that we’re stuck in this weird, after the affair, limbo place with me trying so hard not to block him out to protect myself, I find myself still madly in love with a man that I’m not sure even really wants me. I’m exhausted by this….can someone please tell me if they think I’m doing the right thing? I hate these feelings….Will they ever go away?

      • Jennifer

        I think you are totally doing the right thing. You may not see the results of your “opening up” right away, but don’t give up. Complicated things like this take time and lots of it. It is also wonderful that you were able to look back and recognize where the relationship went wrong, on his part and yours. That takes some serious introspection. It’s a long road but after all, what matters in life is sticking to what we believe in. If you believe in your marriage, then go for it!

        • Domini

          Thank You Jennifer, I know you’re right. Some days are harder than others though. We have a long road ahead of us. Believe me, it was sooooo much easier just to be hurt and angry all of the time. I fight the urge everyday to go back to that just to protect myself and so I could stop fumbling through my days. I can’t though, and I won’t and no matter what happens, whether we make it or not, and he decides to go, he will go as the love of my life and I will be standing there with my heart hanging off of my sleeve.

      • Annie

        I am having the same kind of problem…insecure, unsure, vacillating between being happy that its over, and not believing that it really is. Even if it’s over, does he still love her? He still cares, he admits that…. what to do???

        • Domini

          What is the difference between still cares and continuing to have an emotional attachment to someone else? I know my husband still cares too. That’s what eats me up….Because no matter how hard I try to find some sort of compassion for her, I can’t! I simply want her to go away! Be happy with her own husband and get out of mine’s head! I know these things can’t be rushed, it’s just so hard to be patient. I keep trying every day…I love my husband, for all of the good and bad that’s come our way, and I want his heart back….she sill holds a piece of it. that I am sure of, but I am now unsure of his integrity. I still struggle with the idea that he would have ever done this in the first place!!!! I am hoping he simply got lost and tempted, and the distance I still feel from him is something other than a longing for her. I pray constantly that he will choose our 19 year marriage and 4 children. I guess we are all in the same boat?

    • Rushan

      I,ve read all the comments and I agree with most of them. I am also a christian and that is what helped me through lots of worse times, but still the nagging thought of his betrayal keeps me from getting past it. It was so sad for me that he did it, although he said i’s just friendship, but do you sms all your lady friends: How are you miss you a lot. then phone them 10 minutes later. I don’t think so. And the best is, his 1st wife did it to him. I thought he would never do it to me because he knows how much it hurts. but alas he did it and now I can’t seem to get over it and it is already 1 year and 8 months since D-day. He is telling me how much he loves me and wants only me, that it was only friendship and that he’s gone overboard with the friendship, but I am so unsure. I am giving him all my love and showing him how much I care but in my heart I am still not happy. I wish I can leave everything behind and carry on, when am I going to be able to do that?

    • Jana

      Linda, you are my voice. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing this with us. You are God sent. I pray that we all find our happiness again. Soon!

    • Josephine

      I found out my husband about my husband’s EA about 2 months ago. We have been married 25 years. We were going thru a tough time… children, his stressful job, elderly parents, change of life. I just can’t get over the access this “married woman with 3 children” had to my husband. He spent hours on the phone with her and expects me to believe that I am “making it out to be more than it was”. He just needed someone to talk to about raising children and troubles at home (I guess that is me). He took risks for that relationship – she is a client. He won’t discuss anything else about the 5 months he focused on her. That really hurts. I am stuck feeling less valuable.

      • Doug

        Josephine, He probably doesn’t want to talk about it because he is embarrassed, he feels guilty, and generally just feels like crap at what he had done. Give him some time, but also let him know that it is important to you in order to move on that you know some things. We’ve written some posts about getting your spouse to talk. You may want to check them out. Here is an example: https://www.emotionalaffair.org/8-communication-don%E2%80%99ts-after-the-affair/

        • Josephine

          How long do I wait for him to discuss what was going on? We had problems with communication before I found out about this person, but, as I told him when I confronted him – now our problems involve this other person. He got to act any way he wanted and now I have all these guidelines about my behavior. I have male friends who I interact with in social situations. I have always been VERY careful not to cross “that” line out of respect for my husband AND their wives/significant others. My husband and this woman showed no respect for anyone. Now I have to be nice?

    • Kristin

      I feel the exact same way, josephine. I tried to be considerate of him and his feelings, but he couldn’t do the same. I’m bitter and angry that I have to do sp much work to help us, and I was the only one thinking of us apparently during our marriage. He had several emotional affairs. Now it’s like it’s my fault for not being over it fast enough. I hate the way I feel. I hate crying all day. I hate the anger, sadness, and feelings of worthlessness that I have.
      I really despise my husband for breaking my heart and ruining our marriage. I don’t know how to forgive, even if I wanted to.

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