How Do I Prevent an Emotional Affair?

by | Jul 8, 2019 | Marriage, Uncategorized | 29 comments

How to prevent an emotional affair--and how to get attraction under control before it harms your marriage!
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Emotional affairs. They’re heart-wrenching for everyone.

Every Monday I like to put up a Reader Question, take a stab at it, and then invite you all to chime in in the comments. Today I’m going to tackle what to do if you feel drawn into an emotional affair, and we’ve got a really tough reader question that shows just how important this topic is.

She writes:

Reader Question

I am happily married to my husband. I don’t want to leave him, I’m very attracted to him. We’ve been married for [redacted] years and he has become more caring and loving than he was in the beginning. I know that he is who God wants me to be with.

The problem is, there is this man from church who I’ve developed an attraction to. I didn’t mean to, and I’ve tried to reason the feelings away. This man has never made a ‘move’ on me, or anything. My husband thinks he talks to me a little too much, so he likes me to only talk to him when he’s around and I comply. I find myself looking forward to seeing him, dressing up “for church”… It really makes me dislike myself. I’ve prayed about it a lot.

The other day I asked my husband what he would do if I died. He said that he didn’t know, that he’d miss me terribly, and that he’d get lots of help from family and the church. Then he asked me what I’d do, immediately my mind went to the man at church and how I’d want to marry him. I don’t even really know the man that well. I only know his major interests. I didn’t tell my husband that, I just said that I didn’t want to think about him dying, and I don’t want him to die, it’s the truth.

Help. I hate having these feelings. I want them to go away. I keep praying about it, and limiting talking to the man. I try to only talk to the women at church now, because he is popular with the men at the church. How to I stay emotionally faithful to my husband? I hate the thought that I may be having an emotional affair.

Wow. Okay, I know she’s not alone, so I want to give some practical help today.

I want to say something right off the bat that people may be surprised to hear:

Just because you are attracted to someone else DOES NOT mean that there is something wrong with your marriage.

Did you hear that? Let that sink in. I think we sometimes believe that attraction can only happen if we are unhappy, or lacking something. But you are not DEAD. You are simply married. And sometimes we meet someone who pushes all the right buttons.

We’re then thrown through a tailspin of bewilderment. You thought you were immune to this, because you have a great marriage. You’re in love with your husband. How could this be happening to you?

So here are some thoughts, in no particular order:

1. Temptation is Not Sin

Jesus was tempted. Feeling attracted to someone is not a sin. And it really can happen to anyone–even someone with a good marriage.

2. Temptation Does Not Mean there is Something Wrong with Your Marriage

As soon as we’re tempted, and feel attracted to someone else, we often start to look at our marriage and figure there’s something horribly wrong. There’s some unmet need, and my subconscious is trying to point it out to me.

That could be true, but from the women I’ve spoken with I’d say that’s not necessarily true at all. Your marriage very well could be fine. It may not be, of course; but being tempted does not mean that something IS wrong with your marriage.

When we are attracted to someone else, the worst thing we can do is to then assume that we are unhappy with our marriage. That makes us start to doubt our marriage even more, or even look for things that are wrong with our marriage that explain why we’re feeling that attraction. “I must find my husband lacking if I’m attracted to this guy.” No, that’s not true. You just may very well fit with that other guy as well.

I am not one of those “there is only one person out there in the world meant for you” kind of person. I believe that God lets us choose our spouse, and that it is then up to us to become the best spouse we can be. Perhaps it’s because my grandfather was married three times to three wonderful but very different women (they all kept dying of cancer on him). Were those last two marriages substandard because the first was the love of his life? No, I don’t think so. He was happy in all three marriages, because he decided to love those women and be the best husband he could for each of them.

So the fact that you are attracted to someone else may simply be because there are many different people you could have potentially worked with.

Now, perhaps there is something wrong with your marriage. Hopefully this, then, will be the nudge to start addressing that problem by going to a counselor, talking to your husband about it, or doing something to change the dynamic. But it does not necessarily mean something is wrong, and assuming your marriage is on the skids is the worst thing you could do at a time like this.

3. You Are In a Battle

You are not to blame for being tempted. This does not mean there is something wrong with your marriage. However, what you do with those feelings is something for which you are held to account.

If you start dreaming about the guy, or dressing up for the guy, or thinking about what you will say the next time you see him, you have crossed over from the temptation to the actively participating in the fantasy. You’re having an emotional affair (an affair of the mind). And that’s dangerous–even if he’s not reciprocating.

What I’m getting from this letter writer is the question, “how can I make this go away??!?” And I understand the feeling. You just want this horrible reality that you’re attracted to this guy to go away. You want these thoughts to vanish.

But the problem is that we begin to think that our thoughts and attraction is something that just happens, and we have no control over it, these thoughts come, and you do nothing to banish them. Because you feel that there is nothing you can do against these thoughts. 

You are not powerless, though, against thoughts or attractions. 

2 Corinthians 10:5

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

This is an empowering message if you’re struggling with unwanted thoughts or attractions! We DO have control over our thoughts. We can choose whether to entertain them or not.

We take every thought captive. We choose what to think about. If a thought enters your head that you know is wrong, replace it with something else. Pray. Sing a worship song. Make that your prompt to text something nice to your husband. Seriously, every time you think about this other guy, go text your husband and tell him something new that you love about him. Whenever you think about this man, go and hug your children. Choose to replace the thought.

Why don’t we do this? Because the thoughts are actually fun. Infatuation is fun. Infatuation is heady, and more intoxicating than a drug. But it’s not real. What’s real is deciding to love someone, day in and day out. So recognize you’re in a battle and fight! If you engage in that fight for long enough, by praying and taking every thought captive, you’ll find that your thought patterns do start to change. But don’t expect it to be easy. You have to FIGHT!

4. Don’t Convince Yourself He’d Be an Awful Husband

I think often we feel, “oh, if I saw his flaws I wouldn’t be attracted to him anymore.” I think that’s a wrong way of looking at it. You see your husband’s flaws, and you’re still attracted to him, but that’s because you have decided to love him. If you decided to love this other guy, chances are you could overlook his flaws, too.

Stopping the infatuation with the other guy does not depend on seeing him as a horrible human being; it depends on seeing your husband in the right light, and taking your thoughts captive. Don’t think about how this guy probably snores and farts in his sleep; think about how much you love your husband, and how you will remain faithful. Fight the battle, ladies!

If you left your husband for him, you would open yourself up for a world of hurt. You’d hurt your families. You’d hurt your kids. You’d hurt your husband. And you’d hurt your relationship with God.

It isn’t about whether or not he’d be better with you than with your husband; it’s that you’ve already made a vow to your husband, and to break that would have serious awful consequences. So fight! Fight FOR your marriage way more than you fight AGAINST this guy. Make strengthening your marriage your priority; not seeing this guy as an awful guy.

If you want some practical ways to fight for your marriage, I have a free 5-day emotional connection e-course for married couples. If you’ve been struggling to connect emotionally with your husband, or you feel that there are barriers to emotional connection, I seriously recommend trying this course! (And again, it’s free!) 

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5. Set up Boundaries so the Attraction Does not Become a Full-Blown Emotional Affair (or worse)

Set up boundaries in your marriage. It sounds like she is already do this: she’s not talking by herself to him very much; she’s trying to keep her husband near when he’s around. She’s trying to make sure that they don’t develop a real relationship that could blossom into an emotional affair–or worse. Good decisions!

I’d encourage anyone who is tempted by an emotional affair to set up some serious boundaries and do not let yourself be put in a compromising situation. Don’t text him–even if you can think of a legitimate reason to do so. (We’re on a committee together, and I need to tell him about the next meeting. I can text him then, right?). No. Because chances are you’ll start trying to think of more “legitimate” reasons to text him. Don’t friend him on Facebook. Don’t be alone with him. If you are on a committee with him, consider leaving that committee. If you work with him, consider leaving that job. I know that not all of these actions may be possible, but what I have found is that when you put distance between the person that you think that you are emotionally attracted to, and put your energy into your husband, that attraction wanes.

How to prevent an emotional affair--and how to get attraction under control before it harms your marriage!

6. Love Your Husband Wholeheartedly

Dedicate yourself even more to loving your husband. Make your sex life great. Flirt with him. Nurture your marriage every way you can. As you find yourself spending more and more time with your husband, you’ll likely find your attraction to the guy diminishing.

What do you think? Have you ever been in danger of an emotional affair? How did you extricate yourself? And what boundaries for marriage work best for you?

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Found this helpful? You should also check out:

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Arwen

    I always try to make your marriage posts relevant to me as a single woman and i needed to read #4 multiple times. Whenever i get rejected by people or organizations i try to console my hurt feeling by thinking something awful about them. If a Christian guy i like doesn’t reciprocate, i’ll usually say, “He probably watches porn everyday, and who wants to marry a porn addict anyways, especially after reading all those comments on Sheila’s blog from hurt women.” I justify the pain by assuming the worst of another person. “I’m glad i’m not like that sinner.” I’m working on changing such attitude.

    P.S. I think we deserve 2 podcasts this week for skipping on 4th July. 😀

  2. Anon

    Great advice! Emotional affairs can quickly escalate into more and then one can be trapped.
    What’s that saying about sin? It will take you farther than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay and cost you more than you wanted to pay.
    And even if you’re never “caught”, you will pay. Dearly.
    Psalm 1:1-blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord….
    To me, that shows a progression of sin and we have to run at the first sight/smell/sound of the sin. So that we don’t walk around in it and eventually stand in it before taking a seat and getting comfortable.
    (Not that I think the writer of the question specifically is at that point-it doesn’t sound like it)
    Another thing I think we have to be so careful of. Never, ever say “I would never….” (pride) I truly believe satan hears that and takes it as a challenge. Pride goes before a fall. We as humans are not above ANY sin. Only by using the power of the Holy Spirit can we avoid pitfalls. Not by our own strength or righteousness.
    I wish I had known this so long ago.

  3. Daydreamer

    This resonates with me. I have struggled at various times wth this. Each time with men that I never see (they live in another state) but that I have had attraction for, for over 10 years (longer than I’ve even known my husband!). Thoughts pop up and I start daydreaming. Normally it is when life is stressful and/or my husband and I aren’t in a very good place.

    • Julia

      I can relate. I struggled with those same feelings for years, and this past spring I developed an inappropriate friendship with a man online, a married, non Christian man I knew I’d never meet in real life. Even though I knew it was a sin, I was thrilled with his flirtatious manner and enjoyed the virtual ‘friendship’ with this man while feeling lonely in my marriage.
      Recently, I made the choice to cut off this emotional affair. I let him go, after 3 months of this online relationship. I feel relief, but I’m also devastated with the shame. I haven’t told my husband. I wish I could erase the feelings from my mind, I don’t know how to approach him about this.

  4. Phil

    As a man who has struggled in the past with both lust and one sided emotional affairs I would say the article is spot on. Boundaries is the best place to start. Today when I have an issue at say a prty or gathering I go to my wife when I have attraction issues. What that means is I dont go and say hey that woman over there is dressed a bit in a way that I am attracted to her. Instead I go to my wife and look at her, Be with her, talk to her. Its just that simple. I have a new issue I have been working on and it is a person I work with on the phone and order parts from. We have a long history together and its never been inappropriate although the conversations have been hilarious at times over the years. Lately she has been opening new doors and they are provocative in nature. I have to be careful because the relationship is professional. Anyway, I am grateful for this article because while I don’t necessarily have an attraction to this woman (we have met). The thought could be very dangerous. I am not quite sure how I am going to handle this just quite yet because I have become more straight forward professional and less chatty with hopes it will go away. She just did it to me again here a few minutes ago – so I will have to ponder my approach to get her to stop….

    • Tu

      Hi, Phil. Some thoughts. I had a Pastor who was helping my husband with some issues while he was struggling with SA. he started checking on me after my husband’s counseling went south.
      I was cautious with these conversations from the beginning because he was a man and married and I just knew how tempting it would be for me to get too close to anyone because of my situation and the whole male/female dynamic.

      He would call only at night and send messages via Facebook. It looked good on the surface, but something in my spirit didn’t feel right.
      He never came out and asked me to be sexual or anything, but he kept telling me how “beautiful and fine I was” or “how my husband should be happy to have me” it seemed like he was grooming me with his conversations.
      I asked about his wife and family a lot to make sure he knew I wasn’t going to do anything sinful if that where he was headed.
      Listen, I knew that this emotional relationship was headed to an affair if I didn’t wake up! God had been trying to warn me in my uncomfortable feelings and in the word for awhile.
      I knew what it felt like for a woman or two to chat up and cheat with my husband and I didn’t want to sin nor hurt another person.
      I told my husband that the Pastor wouldn’t leave me alone and I needed him to speak to him. Why I couldn’t stop alone at this point was because of my own vulnerability caused by the hurt of my husband’s SA and lack of rebuilding trust. I felt discarded and traumatized and I was easy prey for such a seemingly wonderful person as the Pastor.
      They had words. He was very nasty to my husband. It’s over and he’s left me alone. I dodged a bullet! It was God, but I had to be willing to hurt the man’s feelings.
      You’ve got a decision to make: Keep chatting with this woman who really isn’t a friend, but an emotional affair partner in disguise. She knows you’re married and could care less because she wants you. This won’t end well and my husband would tell you he wished he’d ran. Hurt some feelings. Dealt with his addiction. If he’d did the right thing, we wouldn’t be struggling like this. He filed bankruptcy two years ago, he lost our family home, I’m struggling with PTSD and other medical issues, and our children who have autism are suffering emotionally as son has left the family.
      So, I’d tell anyone,, RUN.

      • Phil

        Tu – thanks for your story and words of wisdom. The relationship I have is strictly professional on my end and unfortunately I allowed myself to become vulnerable by being funny and nice and having a good time. I spoke to a friend of mine yesterday after I posted my dilemma and we devised a plan. I am simply going to start out with I cant go there as my response when/ if she continues her overtures. If it continues I will have to address it with her directly. I have a right to not be made uncomfortable even though I have no intentions of acting on her “offers”. Unfortunately I cant run because it is part of my job. I believe if it comes down to addressing directly that will end the issue. If not I have a really good resource who will take care of it for me. I am so sorry for all the pain you are walking through. Life is hard sometimes. Thanks again

  5. Natalie

    This is a great article!!! Since kindergarten, I’ve always been crushing on guys (lol, I started young). In college while dating my husband, I learned first-hand a lot of what you wrote about (mostly that finding someone attractive is not a sin and doesn’t mean your current relationship is in trouble, and the importance of setting boundaries). If I find my mind lingering longer than usual on someone, I ask myself why that is? What is it about them that is attracting me so much (considering that I only know the side of them they show the world and don’t really know “them”)?

    Are they just super duper ridiculously attractive? If so, great, and let’s just keep it at that and acknowledge God’s beautiful creation (I guess this kind of objectifies/compartmentalises that person, but if that’s what it takes for me to not start thinking more about them, I’m fine with that kind of objectification). In cases like this, I sometimes mention it to my husband too. That helps me process my feelings too, plus my husband gets a kick out of it. He says my inner art history major is coming out since the beauty-analysing part of my brain is being applied to a person irl. There’s nothing wrong with liking beauty & expressing my feelings to my husband and having his feedback reminds me of that.

    Is it just that I’m around them a good amount of time (like I was with my super cute supervisor at work before I got married) & I’m spending more time with them than with my spouse? If so, I know that it’s not that I’m really attracted to them. I just find them physically attractive & I’ve also been away from my spouse for too long, so time to start spending some more quality time with my spouse and reminding myself again why I love him so much, since clearly my subconscious needs some reminding.

    Or is it that I’m looking at this other man & comparing my husband to him? I’ll admit, this has been a hard one for me over the past several years as my husband has gotten larger and larger. It started out with me looking at a fitter man and thinking “I remember when my husband used to look like that. I hope he gets back to that soon. That’d be nice” but has morphed into longer lingering thoughts that I find are harder to put aside. When this happens (in addition to prayer, which I do in all circumstances above, too), I just remind myself that I’m not actually attracted to this person. I’m attracted to their physique and am also mourning the loss of my husband’s desire to keep himself up physically not only for his own health but also for me as a way of continually wooing and attracting me even though I’m now his wife and not just his girlfriend. So I let myself mourn a little and pray about it and then pray again that God would somehow give my husband the motivation and will-power needed to change his life habits.

    I find that all potential emotional affairs I experience fall into those three categories, and that’s how I combat them accordingly. I feel like it’s worked so far. As I write this, I can’t think of any man that crosses my mind regularly besides my husband. 👌🏼

    • Tu

      You’ve gotta check out Shannon Etheridge’s book on “Everywoman’s Battle.” She talks about her struggle with being drawn to men and often flirting, too. I think it’s a love hunger issue. Been there

  6. Sean

    Great article as usual. This is a highly underrated website and I wish more Christians would come here to read your amazing insights.

    Fight, fight fight. Thats the key to so much in your marriage. We have spent too long denying the influence of an actual Satan in the mainstream church the last 20 years. Satan is in it to fight, no matter how much we want to deny it. Stak, kill, destroy.

    A few practical things – spouses need to not be creepy, but be a little jealous of others in your house. Mechanics, contractors, designers. If your wife repeatedly has a contractor come to the house during the day, or if your husband meets that one female client for coffee a little too much, you need to pay attention and act. No boiling bunny stuff, just be aware and present and tell your spouse that things are going over a line. Head it off at the pass. Do it now and be unafraid because too many marriages have been wrecked by these “silly” emotional affairs that turn physical and sexual. Fight. Your marriage is worth it. And despite what you think, it can happen to you – or your spouse. Fight for your marriage.

  7. Emmy

    When I was in a somewhat similar situation and I brought everything to Jesus I got really, really big help from this: I realized I was allowed to like this man just as much as I wanted if I loved him as my brother. The very moment I realized this, I was able to appreciate this person and to resist the emotional affair the same time.

    The Idea of loving someone as my brother is highly relevant to me because I have a younger brother who is very, very dear to me. Our relationship, however, is completely appropriate and I would never ever even think about anything between us that would not be appropriate. I still would do anything to help him or to belss him, and I very much enjoy his company.

    I have received great strenght from my love to my brother ever since. I have used it as a model to discipline my thoughts and feelings. It really has worked for me.

    Of course I’m still careful. I don’t go to a man I find atractive and say to him: “You are like a brother to me”. That would be silly and would call for misunderstandings. I keep those feelings to myself.

  8. Laura

    My situation is slightly different, as I’m separated from my abusive husband. But I feel very vulnerable–not to a particular man, but in male relationships in general. And, because of my situation, I have had to be in a great deal of contact with some men, such as my church elders. Something that’s been really helpful for me is group texting. When I need to contact one of them, I just always text the two who are most involved, together. And when someone is comes to my house to help me with something (repairs, etc.), I make sure that either my children are here or they bring someone with them. I feel freer to do what I need to with those boundaries in place.

  9. Steve

    In an old song from the 80’s, Farrell and Farrell sang, “Love is not a feeling it’s an act of your will.” We do need to take every thought captive.

  10. AC

    If you ever find yourself one on one, I’m always a big fan of asking about their spouse or talking about mine. It’s a helpful boundary & brings the spouses into the conversation.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Great idea!

  11. Bumblebee

    “I can’t stop a bird from flying over my head, but I can stop it from building a nest in my hair.” – Martin Luther

  12. Anna Lake

    Emotional affairs…. How do you define one? I have called my husband out in his, basing it on many many articles…. he, and his friend tick the boxes.
    But he disagrees. He has for my sake, cut off all contact, understood that the intense messaging (100-300 messages btn them a day), talking about our sex life and our marriage issues was inappropriate, and apologised for the hurt it’s caused. But says that because he kept asking if I was ok with the friendship, and he based his content of what to share on what he thinks I’ve shared with my girlfriends, and that there’s no intention to have what he calls an affair…. Then it isn’t one. He admits there’s an attraction there, which they both have admitted to each other and their spouses. I feel that all this together screams red flags…. But he doesn’t.
    Every time I put in boundaries, they got upset. When he broke off contact she contacted his mother and friend through “concern” which then blew this whole thing sky high involving his family.
    But he still doesn’t think it’s an emotional affair. He has no friends, and very much poured into this friendship (work colleague, intense since January this year only), which he is now in a deep depression because it’s no longer there.
    He’s seeing a psychologist now, as am I and a marriage counselor together. But he really just doesn’t seem to get it, because it wasn’t a secret. He hates the word affair, because he wasn’t “cheating” on me, in his eyes it would have to be intentional and knowing what you’re doing. He says he didn’t know. Do I push the point? I want to rebuild, but I don’t want to be a door mat and just shove it under the rug.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Anna, that’s so tough! It definitely sounds like an affair. When you create emotional intimacy with someone of the opposite sex that you are attracted to, that’s really an affair. When you get needs met through someone other than your spouse that you really should get met from your spouse, that’s an affair. Secrecy isn’t an important element of it. People for centuries have been open about physical affairs, for instance. That doesn’t make them any less of an affair. It’s good that you’re in counseling together and separately; it sounds like you’re taking the right steps. I hope it goes well for you!

      • Anna Lake

        Thank-you, that’s basically how I’ve been feeling about it too, but sometimes after a conversation I start to wonder if it really is in my head…. But I know it’s not!
        He’s now had time off, change in anti depressants, and continues with psych. It’s all rough, and a long way to go but God will get me through this, get us through this. Thankyou for your work, it’s changing me to help start our new chapter in our marriage together…. The old one has finished! Upwards and onwards!

    • Bumblebee

      One (of many) red flags that popped up while reading your post, Anna, was that he compared the content of the conversations between him and an opposite-sex friend to conservations he thinks you would have with your same-sex friends. Not the same thing at all. Would he be ok with you talking to a male friend the way he talks to her? (And even if he says “yes” without lying, you do not have to be comfortable with him talking about your sex life with another person without your express permission).

      And she is violating appropriate boundaries by complaining to his family that you want him to stop contacting you. She is having an emotional affair with someone else’s husband. She has no grounds to complain that you want the affair to stop. And it’s not like you are isolating him. He still talks to people he’s not cheating with, right?

      I’m really sorry that you are going through this. Praying that your situation will get better.

  13. Sue

    I have been married to my husband for over 20 years and the marriage broke down almost from the start in very subtle ways. My husband would avoid intimacy and by the 6th year, there was completely no intimacy. He had a porn addiction but refused counseling. Recently I caught him having an affair. He does not work and depends on me to provide everything for the family. I feel financially burdened. He takes money from the joint account all the time and is probably spending on some vices or is putting it away in a secret kitty. I have no clue

    I know this is not an excuse but I am no longer attracted to him. Although married on paper, I am so lonely and there is hardly any affection or love. I find myself day dreaming about other guys and how I would be happier with them. The reality is that I would probably be happier with someone out there because my husband has indicated that he finds me unattractive and unappealing and that is why he rejected me. He stays on with me because he looks at me as a meal ticket for life.

    I am miserable in my marriage and I have no way out. My kids want me to stay on with him to preserve the family. I feel like he has deceived me all these years by pretending to love me passionately before marriage and once we got married everything started to unravel. I just wanted to be loved and treasured. I am now in my fifties and I thought that these feelings would die as I got older but it has not subsided. I keep dreaming that someday I will find “the one” whom God meant for me. Please help I know I am sinning against God.

    • Phil

      Hi Sue – I am so sorry for what you are going through. I wish I had answers for you. Lately I have been self talking to myself with a line from The movie Shaw Shank Redemption that was repeated many times through out the movie. The line is this: Get busy living or get busy dying. Now I am not using this line while thinking about suicide. What I am talking about is spiritual death. Part of not being spiritually dead is taking action. Get busy. I know you said you have no way out. I am sure your options that you do have involve pain. However, if you trust in God and you are willing to take the chance and maybe walk through some tough times/pain. I promise you God will help you rebuild your life to something that looks more like happy joyous and free. I pray that you find your way and that maybe…just maybe today is the start of something new for Sue. Take care.

    • Emmy

      Dear sue, you are not making excuses. I believe you have a legitimate reason to divorce this man. He has been unfaithful, he is unrepentant and he does not provide.

      • Anna M.

        I totally agree with your opinion. 🙏

    • Nathan

      Sue, I’m so sorry for what you’ve experienced. No marriage is perfect, but it should be a happy joyous shared experience.

      While I believe that a marriage can survive things like porn and infidelity (I’ve known many that have, and a few that haven’t), in this case I agree with Emmy. From your post, it appears that he shows no repentance and does not want to work on changing and improving himself. Your kids will suffer, but it wouldn’t be right for you to suffer just to keep up an illusion.

      I’m praying for your healing and I hope that you can work through this heart breaking ordeal

  14. Don

    Married 35 years. My advise:
    1) Tell your spouse if you feel attracted to someone else. We hold each other accountable and being open brings us closer together.
    2) NO friends of the opposite sex. We have couples we are friends with, but not individuals.
    3) Never be alone with someone of the opposite sex.
    4) Never text someone of the opposite sex with including your spouse in the text.
    We had serious issues in the early days of our marriage. With clear boundaries we are much happier and closer to each other.

    • Anonymous

      Great comment, Don. Number one, especially. It’s important to talk to your spouse about it, because if they learn of the attraction by other means it is exponentially more difficult to work through. This is what happened with me and my wife. I found out 10 years later, and not from her telling me. Something that could have been a single, tough conversation almost ended our marriage.

  15. Diana Winkler

    Sue, My heart breaks for your situation because I hear these stories every day from women. You don’t have a marriage. You have someone living in your house rent free, mocking and abusing you. Financial abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. It is time to draw a line in the sand. People like that don’t wake up until you pull the rug out from under him. If he is sitting home watching porn, spending money, having an affair, you have to send off a very loud message. Cut off/restrict his access to the family finances, disconnect the cable and wifi. Tell him he has to go get counseling for his porn addiction. You didn’t say why he doesn’t work. If he is able to actually work, then he is required to go look for work. If he is still with his mistress, kick him out. She can financially support him. You are no meal ticket, sister! If he won’t do any of those things to show he wants to have a marriage, then I would say your marriage is over already. It is painful to start over and move on with your life, but you can do it, just as I did. Your children need to see that this kind of behavior should not be tolerated in a marriage. They will have families themselves one day. If you choose to leave, then I would also say to not jump into another relationship without first healing from your trauma and rebuilding your new life. Your fulfillment and happiness doesn’t come from a man. Reclaim your value as a woman of God in Christ. You have your own hobbies, desires, dreams, talents, and awesomeness without a man. He is not your other half. You are complete and whole without him. A husband is supposed to be an equal partner alongside of you in life, looking towards the future together. Until that time comes, whenever it is, find joy in other areas of your life. Today is the day to make a choice to be happy.

  16. Julie

    I can relate to the above post and many others. For years, I’ve struggled with attraction to others, and feeling lonely in my marriage because my husband works 80 plus hours a week and is away on the road often. I developed a habit of spending time on social media and a popular social forum website to ease my loneliness, have ‘fun,’ and unwind.

    About 3 months ago, I struck up a friendship through private messaging with a man who lives in another region of the US. He was also married, but a non-Christian (though he said he had been a pastor’s son and fell away from the faith). He had a flirty, humorous manner and expressed a fondness for casual ‘chats’ with women. I rationalized this by thinking ‘He’s only my pen-pal! I’ll never meet him, because he lives 1000 miles away.’ He kept me company though texting through so many evenings and afternoons I was home alone and my husband was on the road.

    Soon, we exchanged photos, and after that step the flirting began to cross a line into an emotional online affair. He expressed some very explicit things about me and what he fantasized doing with me. Since I had been attracted to his photos, I was delighted by this and started to fantasize about him, wishing we could meet. At the same time God was convicting me. Church and women’s bible study in my community were the LAST places I wanted to be. I wanted to chat with this man instead of spend evenings with my husband when he came home. I hid my activity with a password on all my devices.

    Finally, God began to work in my heart to pull me away from this man. I tried to pull the conversation I had with my ‘pen pal’ back to casual platonic talk about movies and TV and the weather. He began to text me less often. Finally, I decided very recently to cut him off. I explained my feelings about this and he was nice about it. We wished each other well, and the online relationship has now ended. I still have the messages we shared- including the flirtatious ones- in the private messaging on that social forum. I know I should delete them. On the other hand, if I were to confess the emotional affair to my husband, I might want to actually show him these messages. I know he would be heartbroken. I don’t know if I can bring myself to do it.

    Please pray for me. I feel so much shame about what I did behind my husband’s back. We have been married over 22 years and we have 2 beautiful grown daughters and one young teen son. I do love my husband and want to work on the ‘disconnect’ I have been feeling toward him. I want to avoid ever getting involved in an affair, online or in reality, ever again.


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