My wife has been involved in an emotional affair for seven years. She is planning to move out this week to get space and figure out what she wants to do. She would leave me if he asked her to. I am starting therapy to try to deal with this and I would like to know if my marriage can be saved at this juncture. -Despondent Spouse
First, it would be important to get to the root of the emotional affair. Seven years is a long time to carry on an affair. I would seek to find out what she was getting out of the relationship with the other person. What are her expectations about marriage? Some people look for the excitement and intensity that comes from the infatuation and newness of an affair that cannot be sustained in marriage. If you can be open to hearing her needs and understanding what she was seeking, you can make some determination of what things you might be able to do now to save the marriage. Ask her what she needs to put her feet back in the marriage. There might be things required of her rather than you. Ask her if she is willing to go to counseling together. Let her know that even if she’s not sure she wants to save the marriage, at least a counselor can help the two of you figure out what happened and why, and how to go forward from here.
The marriage can be saved if:
Unfortunately, many of these things are not in your control, ie: what your wife is willing to do. This marriage could be saved if she were willing to join you in your commitment to work on it. Your wife needs to take ownership of her own choices, the affair is not your fault. But if you want to get her to turn back toward the marriage, it would be important for you to also take ownership of your choices that had a negative impact on her or the marriage (which does not mean taking blame for the affair).
All the best,