3 Tips to Help Your Relationship Survive an Emotional Affair

I define an emotional affair as a relationship in which one or both parties are involved in another significant relationship where there is emotional intimacy, sexual chemistry, and romantic feelings, without the relationship having been consummated.

Frequently in emotional affairs, the partner who didn’t have the affair experiences the same degree of betrayal and breach of trust as he or she would if a spouse had a physical affair. At times, an emotional affair can feel even more damaging because someone else has met the partner’s emotional needs.

If you or your partner has had an emotional affair, your relationship can most certainly survive and perhaps even become even closer than it was before the affair.

Here are some tips to get you back on track:

Tip 1: Be willing to look at the affair in the context of your relationship.

Emotional affairs don’t occur in a vacuum. If one person is looking outside the relationship to get emotional needs met, it may be likely that person’s needs aren’t being met within the primary relationship. Be willing to honestly consider what had been going on in your significant relationship prior to the beginning of the affair.

“Joanne” and “Jeff,” both teachers at an international school, recently came to see me for therapy because Jeff had an emotional affair with Eileen, another teacher at the school. When Eileen was in the process of separating from her husband, Jeff had become her confidant, and the relationship deepened from there.

When Joanne found out about the affair, she was furious, hurt, and felt out of control. She made going to therapy a condition of continuing the relationship. As we began to work together, it was revealed that Joanne had given birth to the couple’s first child a year ago. Since that time, Jeff reported feeling left out and uncared for as Joanne had been preoccupied with the baby’s needs. He was missing the easy companionship and enjoyable sex they had before. However, he never told this to Joanne, and she had no way of knowing how Jeff was feeling.

Here, the context of the relationship was the birth of the couple’s first child and Jeff’s feelings of isolation and exclusion when Joanne’s attention was diverted to their baby. Because he didn’t share this with Joanne, his emotional needs went unmet within their relationship. Once this came out in therapy, Joanne was able to acknowledge Jeff’s feelings, and together they came up with strategies for Joanne to meet Jeff’s emotional needs and vice versa.

Tip 2: Talk about your feelings and needs with your partner without judgment or blame.

This is often easier said than done when strong feelings are present. Accusations can be flung, which rarely help couples resolve anything.

When I work with couples, I teach a communication model called nonviolent communication (NVC), or compassionate communication as I prefer to call it. Using this model, couples learn how to identify and express their feelings and needs to each other without blame, then to make a request of their partner, which can be answered yes or no. I find when people take responsibility for their own feelings and needs and communicate them directly to their partners, they can be heard in a non-defensive way because there is no judgment involved.

It is a very simple model that looks like this:

  1. Observation: I make an observation about what I heard or saw the other person say or do, like a video camera recording the action. A video camera has no judgment or blame; it’s simply recording. The statement starts with, “When you do or say ________ …”
  1. Feelings: I name the feeling I experienced as a result of the observation. An example would be, “When you say I don’t care about you, I feel hurt and misunderstood.”
  1. Needs: This refers to common human needs that we all experience. Examples are needs for acceptance, love, understanding, collaboration, harmony, happiness, peace, etc. Now the model looks like, “When you say I don’t care about you, I feel hurt because I have a need for respect and understanding.”
  1. Request: I then make a request of the other person that can be answered yes or no, using the phrase, “Would you be willing to ________?”

In Jeff and Joanne’s case, after the sentence in the third category of the model (needs), I would ask, “Would you be willing to talk with me more about this without blaming me so I can better understand what you mean?” This puts the whole conversation in a different light and can elicit a very different response than when I’m simply told, “You don’t care about me.”

When an emotional affair has occurred in a relationship, it’s essential that both partners learn to express delicate and vulnerable feelings without judgment so they can get past the accusation phase and arrive at some solutions.

Tip 3: Be open to coming up with new strategies to solve the underlying problem.

In Joanne and Jeff’s case, the underlying problem was that, since the birth of their son, Jeff had felt excluded and hurt by what he perceived to be Joanne’s inattentiveness. Because Jeff didn’t want to feel more vulnerable, he didn’t express his feelings to Joanne. They first needed to identify the problem and then communicate their feelings and needs to each other.

I find when people take responsibility for their own feelings and needs and communicate them directly to their partners, they can be heard in a non-defensive way because there is no judgment involved.This paved the way for them to strategize about effective solutions. Jeff might have said, “When I come home from work and tell you about my day and you don’t listen, I feel hurt and dismissed because I have a need to be heard. Would you be willing to tell me when would be a good time for us to talk if you’re busy with the baby?”

Joanne, for her part, would have heard it was important to Jeff to talk about his day, and she may have been willing to make another time. When Jeff swallowed his feelings instead of expressing them, there was no way for Joanne to know there was a problem, so of course no solution could be reached.

Indeed, a relationship can survive an emotional affair if both partners are committed to finding a way past it. If you find this too difficult to do on your own, often just a few sessions of couples therapy can kick-start the process.

Note: To protect privacy, names in the preceding article have been changed and the dialogues described are a composite.


Rosenberg, M. (2003). Nonviolent communication: A language of life. Encinitas, CA: Puddle Dancer.

© Copyright 2016 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Dhyan Summers, MA, LMFT, Trust Issues Topic Expert Contributor

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • Sandy

    January 11th, 2016 at 7:03 AM

    Am I the only one who in some ways think s that an affair like this would be more difficult to handle than a physical affair? I mean, sex is sex and you can honestly have sex and it not mean anything. But when you make that emotional connection with someone, that is pretty difficult to sever and in many ways might be even tougher to overcome.

  • Dhyan Summers

    January 11th, 2016 at 10:14 AM

    Hi Sandy,
    As I mentioned in the beginning of the article, sometimes an emotional affair can have even greater consequences than a physical affair as the breach of trust can feel greater if your partner has connected with someone else on a deep emotional level. So no, you are not alone in this feeling, and that is one of the dangers of an emotional affair to one’s primary relationship.

  • Sandy

    January 11th, 2016 at 2:38 PM

    Didn’t mean to come on so strong and defensive, it’s just that I have had this happen to me, both things actually so it is sort of a sore spot with me.
    No affair is any better or worse than the other. It is all a definite breach of trust in any relationship

  • Dhyan

    January 11th, 2016 at 4:24 PM

    I couldn’t agree with you more.

  • kit

    January 12th, 2016 at 8:44 AM

    I can see how it could be very easy to get sucked into something like this. I think that especially when you are feeling avoided and lonely there will be a tendency to latch onto something an calm, and that is when many relationship develop a big problem such as this. If more of us would be willing to talk to our partners instead of shutting down when things get rough I think that there would be less of a tendency for these things to occur.

  • Dhyan Summers

    January 12th, 2016 at 11:33 AM

    Hi Kit,
    I agree with you that communication is key. If the lines of communication are open, couples can usually resolve their differences within the relationship.

  • Theresa

    January 12th, 2016 at 5:37 PM

    Marriage is about committment through good times and bad. It is about working together to make it through hard times. I think in the scenario, the husband showed that he is willing to wander rather than stay committed and work through the issue. His lack of committment to the marriage is the first thing that needs to be addressed. Having a child creates enormous stress in any relatiinship- it’s not an excuse to abandon your spouse. This was selfish and childish and points to more than a lack if communication.

  • Dhyan Summers

    January 12th, 2016 at 8:41 PM

    I agree Theresa that the husband wasn’t honoring his commitment to the marriage. Yet, both of them wanted to stay in the marriage and work this out, and I am honor bound to help couples work on their marriage when this is what both people want.

  • danisha

    January 13th, 2016 at 10:59 AM

    So I know that this is wrong but we are human and none of us are perfect. If you are in any relationship then you expect that the treatment that you receive form the other person will be at least what you offer up to them. So what if neither spouse is offering up what the other needs,and one of them gets pretty weak and goes elsewhere to look for that. How is it just that one person’s fault when really neither one of them was holding up their end of the bargain? I mean, we are human and most of us want to experience affection form another person, so it is sort of a no brainer that if you are not getting that at home the tendency would be to wander and look for it somewhere else.

  • Tami

    January 14th, 2016 at 1:34 PM

    When it comes right down to it, if it’s is going to work after you go through an experience like this then it is going to take both of you coming together, admitting your faults, and then working again together to get rid of those past faults and hurt. It is never going to be a thing where one can blame the other and one person takes all of the blame. If you do then then that is terribly humiliating one person and leaving the other to gloat. That will just never work unless you are simply committed to living in a totally unbalanced relationship.

  • Dhyan Summers

    January 14th, 2016 at 4:33 PM

    Hi Tami,
    I wold think that if your primary relationship isn’t working out, that the two of you could talk about it first. If after talking about it, either with your spouse or together with a therapist, the issues can’t be resolved, then maybe the two of you shouldn’t be together if the relationship can’t seem to meet basic needs, like affection, intimacy. etc.

  • Dhyan Summers

    January 14th, 2016 at 4:35 PM

    Sorry, last comment was meant for Danisha .

  • Dhyan Summers

    January 14th, 2016 at 4:37 PM

    This comment is REALLY meant for Tami: I agree with you completely. It takes two people to have a balanced relationship and both need to be committed to making it work.

  • Trace

    January 18th, 2016 at 3:13 PM

    I know that you have to go through and do all the work, but then what happens when you feel like you have exhausted all measures and the person still has not come back to you emotionally? Does this mean that it is time to call it, that you have put up a good fight but you can’t do anymore?

  • Dhyan Summers

    January 18th, 2016 at 7:54 PM

    Hi Trace,
    Will your partner consider couples counseling? If the two of you can’t work it out by yourselves, counseling can be helpful. At least you’ll know you have exhausted all possibilities. If your partner refuses to get help, then you have to decide if you want to be in a relationship with someone who is not emotionally available to you. That can be a tough call. You might want to consider seeing a someone for individual counseling to help you make the decision. Best to you,

  • Trace

    January 19th, 2016 at 2:22 PM

    Thanks for the feedback We have reached a bit of an impasse, but you know, I feel like we have done it all except counseling so maybe it is worth trying. I am not sure what she really wants to do or how she feels about it because we just kind of stopped talking a while ago and well, it’s pretty awkward. It’s like a game of chicken gone wrong, with both of us waiting for the other to make the next move but neither of us doing much of anything. I am afraid that all of the inaction is not doing us any good though.

  • Dhyan Summers

    January 19th, 2016 at 4:41 PM

    You might suggest counseling to your partner and see how she responds. If you’d like, I’d be happy to schedule a free 30 minute initial Skype session with you so you can see if it’s something you want to pursue.

  • Anom

    June 14th, 2016 at 4:09 AM

    One night after a party my wife lost her virginity and became pregnant a fellow college student. She next saw the daddy in the hospital the day after her daughter’s birth. He told her to give up the baby for adoption and left. She kept the child and never heard from the father again.
    Flash forward 45 years. Her middle age daughter (graduate with doctoral degree) traces down the birth father. She and her children and her husband met the biological father and his girlfriend. My daughter then arranged for my wife to meet the biological father to have a 3-way conversation about the conception, birth, and early years of her life. This is said to have been a sentinel event in the daughter’s life and brought great closure.
    Well now the biological father (and girlfriend) are a part of the family circle. The family all stays in the daughter’s large house for family events. My wife and her former lover are together at these events and have one on one conversations on the patio until 2-3 in the morning. This happens 3-4 times when there is a family event. She says they are just talking about the daughter and it is important to help their daughter with “closure”.
    Any helpful comments would be appreciated. I think this is an emotional affair and I am very upset by these goings on. How do I confront her?

  • Dhyan Summers

    June 14th, 2016 at 2:37 PM

    It sounds like this could be an emotional affair. It depends on if this meeting any of your wife’s emotional needs or not. I suggest you talk about this with her in as non-confrontational way as possible. And to let her know the feelings that this brings up in you. Using the NVC model it would go something like this: When I see you talking with x until 2 in the morning, I feel ___________ (hurt, left out, insecure, etc.) because I have a need for _________________ (inclusion, consideration, security,etc.) Then make a request starting with “Would you be willing_______________?” You can Google NVC for more info. Let me know how it works out.

  • Belle

    July 13th, 2016 at 3:12 AM

    My husband had an emotional affair last year. He “broke up with me” and I verbally agreed. However, we did not take steps or make plans to separate our lives in that discussion, except that I would call a councilor (which he agreed to) . Three days later his “affair” turned sexual. Fast forward 10 months… We have tried couples therapy, individual therapy, are medicating for anxiety and depression, and trying couples therapy again. The sticking point for us is that he won’t let go of his affair partner. I want her cut out of our lives, which means zero interaction and communication. He thinks that’s a “black and white” fallacy and that I’m not being fair (seeing things in grey). I understand that he is still in love with her and cannot switch that off. But for me, to fully commit to our relationship means to be fully committed. In his mind he says he is… But I just don’t buy it. I want to salvage our relationship but at what cost? :'(

  • Dhyan Summers

    July 13th, 2016 at 8:34 AM

    Dear Belle,
    I believe that in order for your relationship to work and for trust to develop again, your husband does need to break off completely with the woman he’s in a relationship with. If he’s not willing to do this, you’re sacrificing your truth in order to be with him, and in my experience this doesn’t work.
    My best to you,

  • Antje

    October 26th, 2016 at 1:46 AM

    A acquaintance (swinger) manipulated my husband and my husband welcomed all her attentions since we had some issues in our marriage. They had sex and fell in love with each other, but she broke it off after they got caught by her husband as he checked her cell phone. My husband and I reconciled and we both work hard on our marriage. A few months ago her husband and her called it quits. The affair happen in January and ended after 5 weeks. My problem is that I cant forgive her what she did to me and the entire family. All I can think off is hurting her as much as she hurried me by throwing herself onto my husband since we all hang out together as friends. My husband is full of guilt and regrets. He is so ashamed, and don’t know how or what else he can do to help me heal than to ensure how much he loves me and how much he appreciates it that I stayed by him after all. I can’t get her out of my mind and it’s not helping that she only leaves 10 min away. I need help ?

  • Linda

    March 22nd, 2017 at 4:55 AM

    In February this year I discovered my husband was having a emotional affair with a woman he meet through work. ( he had known her for 5 years and said that they had only exchanged numbers last year when she was leaving her job)
    He said it was a friendship but hid her number under a man’s name in his phone and deleted her texts everyday, except on the day that I caught him out. I am gutted by this betrayal and need help to move forward as he has told me to “build a bridge and get over it”. Easier said then done. He will not seek any help with me. I rang her and told her how they had both been deceitful and I promised her if she contacted my husband again that her husband and family would also be feeling like mine do right now. How do I move forward please? I am feeling worthless and need help.

  • Dhyan

    March 22nd, 2017 at 8:34 AM

    Dear Linda,
    For your marriage to heal from this betrayal it would be best if you could go to marriage counseling together. Tell your husband that you need his help in building a bridge to get over it, and the help you’d like from him is to go to counseling together. I would be happy to see you both on Skype.
    If your husband still refuses, I suggest you enter individual counseling to see where you’d like to go from here. Sounds like you need clarity on what you can now expect from your relationship with your husband, and in fact if you want to continue this relationship when there’s been a breach of trust. Again, you can either find a therapist in your area, or I can work with you online.
    My best,

  • Jochem

    May 9th, 2017 at 12:31 PM

    A half year ago I founded out my partner was seeing someone else. After asking her about it first she denied everything and made up some lies. If I told her it didn’t sounded believable she got angry and said she told the truth but I didn’t want to believe in her truth… I let it pass by. But 2 months ago I noticed that this emotional relationship was still going on. Because the man lives abroad it was just WhatsApp and Skype messages they shared. I saw a Skype message by accident when she asked me to fix something on her laptop. When I asked her about it she got angry and came up with a strange story. But I felt there was more. So because she wasn’t willing to talk about it I started to check her phone. After some time she admitted finally she was having an emotional affair. Only she didn’t see it that way. she said she didn’t had feelings for him, but just wanted to be there for him because he was dying. But she could see it hurted me so she promised to stop. I believed her but I developed the habit of checking her phone so I founded out it didn’t stopt. After confronting her again with her behaviour she got mad saying that I’m the one not trusting her and I shouldn’t check her phone. The only reason she kept on having this Afair was to find out that I kept on invading her privacy. I admit it wasn’t right to check her phone. But whenever I wanted to talk about it with her she told me stories and got mad, changed the topic to me not trusting her… She tried to run away from her behaviour. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to be the control freak that checks her phone and invade in her privacy. But I believe her when she tells me that she doesn’t love that person but only me. So I want to talk about why she still wants to talk to that men like that if it’s not for love

  • Jaime Y.

    September 1st, 2017 at 10:31 AM

    Hi, I need some advice before my marriage is irreparable. I’m married to a man for 7 years together for 17, who is a football coach and runs a team with a woman. Initially we all ran the team and worked well together until my son stopped playing for the team and I took a back step. Since then the said ‘woman’ I prefer to refer to her as a tramp, saw an opening and began an emotional affair with my husband which was fully encouraged by him. I had a gut feeling they were speaking and in touch much more than he let on and I checked his phone to discover only two days worth of messages as he’d been deleting them daily, archived his whats app messages and the level of interaction and contact was ridiculous. sending picture messages, selfies, fun comments, discussing our marital problems and slagging me off not to mention two hour conversation one day in the middle of the day? and this is about a kids football team they train once a week and play once a week. I confronted my husband and he said they were just friends, I told him to get shut of her or our marriage was over. He chose to keep his ‘friendship’. So 4 months down the line we are trying to work through things as I refuse to accept her in involved in my life. I’m riddled with anxiety wondering if hes texting speaking and I cant cope anymore. I want my marriage to work as I accept im not perfect and probably neglected him in the emotional department but im so hurt, and willing to try and fix it but on the condition he no longer sees or speaks to this woman. The problem my husband has is he runs a team with her which he loves to do its his hobby, but im at the end of the road now as he wont give her up for the sake of our marriage and family and home. Need advice and help. Both willing to get outside help but he wont lose the friendship just wont be as ‘OTT’ and wont be controlled. Help!

  • Dhyan Summers

    September 1st, 2017 at 12:22 PM

    Dear Jaime,
    The one ingredient that’s a non-negotiable for recovering from an emotional affair is that the the partner who’s had the affair must agree not to see the person he had the affair with again. I would suggest that you tell your husband that for your marriage to recover he has to agree to have no contact with this woman even if it means resigning from coaching, which I understand he won’t be happy about. As long as he’s still seeing her in any capacitiy, there’s no hope of rebuilding trust. I’m available by SKype should you and your husband, or just you want a session.
    My best,

  • Jaime Y

    September 2nd, 2017 at 3:14 AM

    Thank you, this is my feeling as i’ve tried his suggestion of him toning it down and him not being on his phone as much, which to be fair he isnt at night. But now I worry abut his talking texting in the day at work!, the damage is done as i’ve seen the level contact is during the day as well as night time, like i say one day 2hr15 minute conversation one day, day after 30 minutes day after that 50 mins, and I get the odd text. Its ridiculous, he just says I give him reasons to speak because ive blown my lid over it and told her husband what’s going on, he always backs her in a argument as he saw it I was trying to break up their marriage up by texting her husband, Im guessing the reality of it is that there cosy little affair was uncovered and he wasn’t happy. Every single person ive told this too agree with me but he doesn’t and cant understand why im not happy just to accept he’ll still be friend but on a more platonic level. Well to me if he feels comfortable enough to take the piss out of me and call me and laugh about it and chat about our marriage problems to the very person who’s causing them scream disloyalty and disrespect to me. I’ve had enough. I do want clarification im not going out my mind as this has been turned around on to me and its ‘my fault’, as I say im not perfect and failed him as a wife! Im not happy to let this continue the anxiety is killing me. He says hell only talk about football and not us to her… I cant trust him to do that. Ive seen too much… and even when he does talk about football the speak in such a loving caring way to each other I feel like being sick. I accept its over as he wont stop seeing her as he wont resign, funny thing is last year he resigned for a lot less. Im being made a mug of and need to get my life back on track.

    Thanks for your clarification

    Jaime x

  • Debby

    September 5th, 2017 at 3:06 PM

    My husband of 27 years had an emotional affair with a coworker. Everything she did amazed by husband. She is also married for over 33 yrs. I found out by dropping by the bar after work and seeing them together, also text messages. We live in a town of 5,000 people, a few friends of her’s said she just enjoyed flirting and the attention and was nothing to worry about. We are all in our late 50’s-mid 60’s. I told my husband to stop hanging out with her, he said he isn’t sleeping with her so nothing is wrong. We saw a marriage counselor, they said he needs to stop all communication with her now and forever. My husband says he loves me and doesn’t want a divorce, but he still doesn’t think he is wrong. What do I do with this mess? I love him and I would have to give up my way of life if I divorce him, I do not want to do that. Thank you

  • Dhyan

    September 5th, 2017 at 9:30 PM

    Debbie I agree with your marriage counselor. Unless your husband stops all contact with this woman your trust cannot be repaired. He has betrayed you, that’s what he’s done wrong.

  • Nancy

    September 7th, 2017 at 5:13 AM

    My partner and I are in a long distance relationship. He met a woman at work who shared common interests and reminded him of me. Last October after we had a week away together she came over to his house and despite knowing about me confessed her feelings to him. He didn’t tell me about this until February this year as it was not something to discuss over the phone. We spoke and offered her to meet us and talk to help her through her situation, she is younger and I saw what happened to my sister in a similar situation so I thought I could help her get over it. She refused and kept trying to convince him that he really loves her, despite him choosing me. We agreed that he would limit contact with her, they work in the same office. Earlier this year his Mother fell very, very ill and I wanted to go spend time with him because he was very vulnerable. I went through a similar situation last year so I knew. He didn’t want me to come because I had exams coming up, so we agreed I wouldn’t come. The woman showed up at his house and we agreed that as long as boundaries were maintained it was okay as a lot of his friends were coming out to support him. We spoke a lot during that time with him sending me photo updates etc constantly to reassure me. Turns out they cuddled and he kissed her on the cheek. He confessed that the cuddling was not intimate they just held each other and he started feeling guilty about it so he put a stop to it. I believe that he is telling the truth. He has cut off contact with this woman because of his guilt and her continued pursuit of him. She would show up at his house expecting him to make love to her because they cuddled and no matter how he tried to set things right she kept coming onto him. I love my partner and he loves me. How do I move on from this moment? He thinks we have gone deeply into everything and we should move on. I agree but how do I move on?

  • Dhyan Summers

    September 7th, 2017 at 10:28 AM

    I think it’s difficult for you to move on as there’s been a breech of trust on the part of your partner and you haven’t recovered from it. There might be something you need from your partner to make you feel more trusting. Long distant relationships are difficult at best, and when there’s been a breech of trust it becomes more difficult. I’d be happy to meet with you or with you and your partner online to se how you can both take this forward. My best,

  • Simone

    September 18th, 2017 at 2:18 PM

    My husband of 12 years was texting, calling and having an emotional affair with a woman who we both new as an old friend and work colleague of his. I found his texts and queried their appropriateness and he sent a text to her to end it asking her to not message or text him anymore. He lied about all the previous texts he had sent and would only own up to them when I called him out on them. Yesterday he contacted her again by email under a mans name. I asked if he had spoken to her again and he categorically denied it, we have 3 small children and are now living apart as I cannot trust him and do not know what to do. A divorce would break my children’s hearts but I cannot see how we can get past this?

  • Dhyan

    September 18th, 2017 at 4:03 PM

    Simone, your husband would have to agree to stop all contact with this woman, and to go to couples therapy with you to repair the breach of trust resulting from this relationship. If he’s in agreement about these two issues there’s a chance your relationship can be put back together. Please let me know if I can be of further help.
    My best,

  • Simone

    October 7th, 2017 at 4:31 PM

    Hi Dhyan

    I confronted my husband about the texts etc and it turns out he has actually had a sexual affair for five months. We have moved countries so it was over physically but he obviously was still in contact with her. He has cut off all contact and is going to counselling with me but I have my doubts as to whether I can ever trust him as I had to drag the truth out of him.

  • marie

    March 14th, 2018 at 9:53 AM

    My husband admitted to an emotional affair. We agreed to counselling and have been seeing someone since I found in in November. He agreed to stop being in contact with the woman, but I found out in January he still was. He had flat out been lying to me. Again, he said he ended things, but I feel unbelievably betrayed and I wonder if I will ever be able to get past this, and trust him again.

  • L H

    December 4th, 2019 at 8:54 PM

    I was wondering if you were able to work it out with your husband who lied about stopping his emotional affair? My husband of 27 years was married for about a year to a woman that cheated on him. For 30+ years he never even mentioned her but good old FB brought them back together. He left his FB page up and I saw a chat box with a days worth of messages. I was trying to do the right thing so instead of giving into my impulse to snoop I confronted him. He said it was just then hashing out the past and has no idea why he was still talking to her. He would cut it off because she meant nothing. By the time I got back to my computer he had erased months of communication I asked him if I could read. I got over it after a struggle but in the next year or so I asked him several times if he had been in touch and he said no. He has always been a great husband in my eyes and after having a rough childhood, he was my comfort. Really the only man I actually truly loved and trusted. We became empty nesters and had a coupe of wonderful years together. This year while on vacation, I discovered that he was still in contact with her. Several groups of texts I was able to get off his phone this time before he erased them. He was using his work email. There was only a few conversations over the last two years that he failed to erase. I confronted him and he admitted it happened and that it was stupid and swore he would completely cut it off. I let her know that I was aware now and if her husband wasn’t aware, she may want keep her distance. I am just shattered because not only did he keep going but he lied to me and made me feel like a bad wife for asking. I had completely put my trust back into him and our marriage just to be betrayed again. He does not admit it was an affair and does not think it was a big deal other than the lying. We both went to a counselor but he got no wear and stopped. He can not or will not tell me why he didn’t stop. He says he truly does not know and feels horrible and wishes he could tell me why. I don’t buy it! You have to know how or what you were feeling over the last three and a half years. Anyway, we are trying to find a marriage counselor
    but there appears to be a shortage in our area. Every day that goes by without answers is eating at me while I try to pretend to have good days. I don’t know if I can forgive him if I don’t know why he did it because I cannot rebuild trust without answers. Please tell me you were able to work it out and if so, how and if not,,Im sorry.

  • Anon

    August 24th, 2018 at 1:00 AM

    My girlfriend of 4 years was absolutely crazy about moving in together and getting married next year. Then she went on a family holiday with her parents and sisters. When she came back she was very distant, she told me that a worker at the hotel was trying to get her to cheat but she told him that she wouldn’t. They continued talking after she came back (the conversation was fairly normal) but 3 weeks later she told me that she missed him. I told her that I need her to break off contact with him – she did so immediately. they are still connected on social media but there is no communication between them (she says that she is connected to over 100 people that she doesnt even talk to). I sat her down and told her that i still feel like she’s being distant and she apologised and she started acting better (I have seen gradual improvements over the month since she’s come back). The thing that still bothers me is that she wants to go back out there next summer (I should point out that the mother and her siblings feel exactly the same way). The rest of her family don’t understand the obsession of wanting to go there again. We are moving in together next week and I just feel like now the destination is her emotional affair. I guess when she’ll be back to her normal routine of study and work she’ll calm down. I’m obviously a little concerned about how i’ll react if she does go there with the family again. They are even considering to go without the father becase he’d rather not go. Am I just overeacting because i know that she had an emotional affair? When I ask what I need to do to make her feel appreciated and accepted she tells me that I’m already doing everything I can. It doesn’t help that the family are all constantly refuelling themselves on the holiday fumes. I wonder if its really something about the holiday or because everyone’s lives are about to change with her moving out.

  • Jim474

    December 15th, 2019 at 7:08 PM

    Do not move in together. Seperate tell her to figure out what she wants and in the mean time you start dating again. You can always get back together if you want. The old saying let them go if they come back they will be yours forever.

  • Bebe

    September 7th, 2018 at 11:53 PM

    My hysband had emotion towards my sister .age difference is so big (33years ) im so confused what to do

  • Mona

    February 22nd, 2019 at 7:18 AM

    My boyfriend of 2.5 years has done something of this nature on three seperate occasions. On top of that there is a load of deciet and he has even called my friends behind my back and told them he wanted to leave me. However, whenever I explain that it is becoming too hard to be involved in a relationship that has involved so much pain and lying, he apologizes and begs me to stay. I have also tried to ask him if any of his needs were not being met and he swore up and down that I am the best thing that has ever happened to him. I can’t understand it and it just seems to be a never ending loop of pain for me. On the other side, however, he has helped me through so much, he is my best friend and I have never felt so connected to someone. It is also very difficult for me to let people in, so It is very hard for me to just let go and walk away. I am reaching the end of my rope and I could really use some advice! I know I’m very late commenting on this but I am lost and do not know what to do.

  • Tati

    August 23rd, 2019 at 7:01 AM

    I’m going to through the same. 2nd time. It’s been around 6 months. How are things now?

  • Tom

    November 22nd, 2019 at 2:34 AM

    Hi Dhyan, my wife and I are in a desperate situation with her wanting a divorce and clearly being involved in an emotional affair with more than one ex-colleague. I believe that one of these relationships has recently turned physical after the 2 of them kissed – my wife disclosed as part of asking for a divorce that she had kissed ‘someone’ but refused to tell me who or when. I have joined the dots and its clear that its this ex-colleague. My problem is that they are due to meet again next week and I am concerned that now she has asked for a divorce she may feel ‘free’ to engage in a full-blown physical affair. I do not want our marriage to end, and as described in the thread above our emotional connection was lost over time but started with the birth of our first child – I am committed to change, but I fear that my wife sees this as too little too late and is determined that divorce is the only way forward. After 15 years and 2 young children, I just cannot see that we should give up without trying and I’m convinced that this emotional affair is a big part of what is drawing her away from the marriage.

  • Dhyan Summers

    November 22nd, 2019 at 9:18 AM

    I of course don’t know you or anything about your relationship, but I would still venture to guess that the emotional affair your wife had may have been a symptom of a need that wasn’t being met within the relationship. Try talking with her about what she would need from you in order to stay in the marriage. You might also ask her if she’d be willing to go to couples’ counseling with you to try and repair your relationship.

  • Anon

    April 27th, 2021 at 7:29 AM

    I’ve just been going through something similar with my Wife. Earlier this year while we were in lockdown I noticed she was spending a ridiculous amount of time messaging a work colleague. It was relentless.
    Unable to control myself I looked at her phone and found some inappropriate messages nothing x rated but messages that a married woman shouldn’t be sending or receiving to/from a younger male work colleague

    Cut a long story short after her initial denial she admitted they’d kissed twice but both realised it was wrong

    She swears that nothing more happened and they no longer work together but they do both still keep in touch although not daily and not as frequently

    I’ve told her I still see this as a threat (I’ve not told her it’s holding me back from moving on) but I’ve hinted enough that as long as he’s there I feel insecure

    Yet she still won’t cut all contact because as far as she’s concerned I’ve nothing to be worried about and she’s not seeing him

    Am I being unreasonable and demanding here that she should have nothing more to do with him

  • Barb

    October 13th, 2022 at 2:29 PM

    My husband had an emotional affair with a co-worker.He picked her up at times cause they worked away a lot and stayed in motels.They were going out to supper couple nights a week and he was texting her and calling her during off hrs.Then they weren’t working together anymore but the calling and texting continued and more often. Then he was visiting her at her house.Said her mother was there.He lied about how much he was contacting her so who knows if it was the truth or not.Said he wasn’t doing anything wrong and that he was just talking about work but I know him enough to know that there was more to it.Said he had no feelings for her but was always defending her.He is trying and has not had any contact with her but refused to remove her phone number and wouldn’t tell her that he wouldn’t be contacting her again so I did it for him.Still get so angry cause every question asked is always different or he can’t remember cause it had no meaning. To me if it didn’t mean anything he wouldn’t have been doing it to start with.Still having a hard time with this and its been almost 2 years.Don’t know what to do anymore.

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