Wife having an emotional affair. How to handle it?
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Old 06-07-2010, 06:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Wife having an emotional affair. How to handle it?

First, I'd like to offer a little bit of backstory.

My wife and myself have been married for just over two years. About a year ago, she began complaining of pain all over her body. Fast forward to this February, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. She's only 23 years old.

She fell into a state of depression for a long while and we grew distant. I was there for her the best way I knew how, but since we didn't communicate very well throughout the process, we failed at meeting the emotional needs of one another during a tough time.

In April, she began talking to a guy she works with, whom I actually know. They had worked together for three years but never really spoken much to one another. When she began to have insomnia in relation to the medication for her arthritis, she began devoting her late-night time to talking to him on Facebook chats.

Initially, it didn't bother me because the common belief was that the guy, whom I will refer to as Jim, was gay. As days passed, she began to spend more and more time online talking to him, and instead of doing it right next to me, she would sit in the recliner in the corner of the room as if to hide the chat.

Then came the point where she began to hang out with him more frequently. At first, other girlfriends from her workplace were present. As time drifted into late April, I began to suspect she was hanging out with him alone.

My suspicion began to take a life of its own when she "went out with the girls" to say farewell to another female co-worker who was moving the next day. I found out, however, that plenty of guys were around, including Jim, when a mutual friend posted pictures on Facebook.

As the month of May rolled around, she began to grow more and more distant. Still talking to him online, she began to lie to me in order to be around him. First, she began to use the "going out with the girls" excuse, and while one girl from work was present, he was there as well.

She began to claim she wasn't taking lunch breaks, yet I found out otherwise when I went to her workplace to get money from her for lunch and she was walking in with Jim with food in hand. I confronted her about lying to me.

She assured me Jim is "just a friend," which I know is never a good sign. As my suspicions grew, I began to log her Facebook chats without her knowledge.

She has continually assured me that she feels our marriage is getting back on track, slowly but surely, yet she told him in their chats that she was pretending everything is ok to make me happy.

Fast-forward to last night, she was again up late. I got up at one point to grab some water, and she acted very jumpy, making me suspicious. I just got home from work an hour ago (she is at work right now) and checked the Facebook log. Indeed, Jim and my wife confessed immense feelings for each other, of which Jim said they could never act upon.

She confessed to him that she compares me to him all the time, and can't stop thinking about him.

This hurts!

I don't know what to do... on one hand, I feel like I should say something and ask her to cease all non-work related contact with him, but on the other, I feel as if she has to come to this realization on her own. The fact that she hasn't left me tells me that she doesn't want to throw away our commitment to one another in one day.

Based on their conversations, I have deduced that nothing physical has happened, although it doesn't make the pain any less hurtful. I don't know what to do.
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Old 06-10-2010, 01:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife having an emotional affair. How to handle it?

Ive been through this before. Ive made all of the mistakes that you should know about so you dont make them.

First of all, do not kick her out of the house.
2nd, do not get angry in front of her.
3rd, find out what is missing in your relationship. There is obviously an emotional need that she needs that is not being met.
Look at your relationship with her... are you too controlling? If you don't give the cows enough of a pastor to graze in they will stick their head through the fence to eat the grass on the other side.

Whats nice about this situation is you have all of the cards in your deck. DO NOT LET HER FLIP THAT ON YOU.

You need to ask yourself if this is something you want to work on. Do you want to stay with a cheater? You have a moral dilemma.

You're going to have to make up your own mind on that and do NOT allow yourself to have your thoughts swayed one way or another by anyone else other than you.

Finally, sit her down and confront her about it. Remember, she doesnt know that you already know the answers to the questions you will ask. Use that wisely. Maybe it would be a great time to see how far she will take it to lie to you. Once you've seen enough, tell her what you know.

You don't have to tell her how you know that information.

Ask her if she loves you. She might, but she doesnt respect you at all. You have now lost trust in the relationship. Shes living in some type of a fantasy world.

Theres a lot of routes you can take this but one thing that must happen is she has to completely stop talking or seeing this guy. If that means she has to change jobs than thats what needs to be done.

If that means you have to move than so be it. Her love bank will never close and now that there are feelings involved... its going to be a tough road ahead, for the both of you.

Marriage counseling is a must here. Go seperatly at first and then eventually start having sessions together.

Also, both of you need to read the book "His needs Her needs".

What else.... Oh, do not confess your love for her at this time. Start making her chase you a bit. if you do that, you're basically telling her "It's ok babey... do that crap whenever you want."

You also will want to snap her out of that fantasy world she is in by telling a couple of your friends, and maybe her parents/siblings about what she is doing. Once its out in the open, its no longer a fantasy. Shell be pissed for awhile but take it with a grain of salt.

Also, talk to this guy the next time you see him and dont threaten him but tell him of how much of a strain this relationship with your wife is putting your marriage under. If he's decent at all he will stay away from her. Obviously, hes not since he willingly putting a marriage on the rocks with the help of your wife.

Those are my random thoughts. Good Luck.
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Old 06-10-2010, 02:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife having an emotional affair. How to handle it?

Just wanted to post an update.

After posting this on Monday evening, my wife found out I knew about her emotional affair. She apologized a lot and cried a lot (I'm sure to be expected since she got caught). She claimed, "I have never and would never cheat on your, although I guess emotionally, I did."

So, my hope was that after talking, she would realize she absolutely has to cut ties with this co-worker on anything not related to work. I made this clear to her. I told her that while it's ultimately her choice, we can't move forward if he is still in the picture, even just "as a friend." I explained that the emotions involved would continue to put a wedge between us until space is given in order to heal.

Since Monday, she has really made it a point to spend time with me. She's spent less time on her computer and texting on her phone. She's also talked very positively about how, while she thinks it will take some time, we will come through a stronger couple.

We've talked about what was lacking in our marriage that caused her to feel emotionally connected to this other guy, and the usual suspects were talked about. Communication issues were probably the biggest thing, and she says that previously, I didn't show her enough affection. My response was that I will work on consciously showing her more affection.

This all sounds great, right? Well, it is, except for the fact that I checked the cell phone call logs online this morning. She spent 3 hours on the phone with Jim. She never mentioned this to me, and after our talks, I would have hoped she would no longer be hiding things from me.

I'm not sure what to do at this point. She's claiming she wants to fix it, and she continues to tell me how sorry she is that she hurt me, yet she doesn't really seem to be willing to do all that is necessary, in this case cutting off contact with Jim completely.

What is my next course of action? I intend to ask her about the phone call when she gets home from work this evening, but I have a feeling she will feed me an answer that basically says they were talking about all that had happened, etc, etc.

Should I approach Jim and ask him to cease contact with my wife? I feel like I need to be fighting for her in any way possible. I'm just not sure what I need to do next.
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Old 06-10-2010, 02:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife having an emotional affair. How to handle it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBMB0922 View Post
Ive been through this before. Ive made all of the mistakes that you should know about so you dont make them.

First of all, do not kick her out of the house.
2nd, do not get angry in front of her.
3rd, find out what is missing in your relationship. There is obviously an emotional need that she needs that is not being met.
Look at your relationship with her... are you too controlling? If you don't give the cows enough of a pastor to graze in they will stick their head through the fence to eat the grass on the other side.

Whats nice about this situation is you have all of the cards in your deck. DO NOT LET HER FLIP THAT ON YOU.

You need to ask yourself if this is something you want to work on. Do you want to stay with a cheater? You have a moral dilemma.

You're going to have to make up your own mind on that and do NOT allow yourself to have your thoughts swayed one way or another by anyone else other than you.

Finally, sit her down and confront her about it. Remember, she doesnt know that you already know the answers to the questions you will ask. Use that wisely. Maybe it would be a great time to see how far she will take it to lie to you. Once you've seen enough, tell her what you know.

You don't have to tell her how you know that information.

Ask her if she loves you. She might, but she doesnt respect you at all. You have now lost trust in the relationship. Shes living in some type of a fantasy world.

Theres a lot of routes you can take this but one thing that must happen is she has to completely stop talking or seeing this guy. If that means she has to change jobs than thats what needs to be done.

If that means you have to move than so be it. Her love bank will never close and now that there are feelings involved... its going to be a tough road ahead, for the both of you.

Marriage counseling is a must here. Go seperatly at first and then eventually start having sessions together.

Also, both of you need to read the book "His needs Her needs".

What else.... Oh, do not confess your love for her at this time. Start making her chase you a bit. if you do that, you're basically telling her "It's ok babey... do that crap whenever you want."

You also will want to snap her out of that fantasy world she is in by telling a couple of your friends, and maybe her parents/siblings about what she is doing. Once its out in the open, its no longer a fantasy. Shell be pissed for awhile but take it with a grain of salt.

Also, talk to this guy the next time you see him and dont threaten him but tell him of how much of a strain this relationship with your wife is putting your marriage under. If he's decent at all he will stay away from her. Obviously, hes not since he willingly putting a marriage on the rocks with the help of your wife.

Those are my random thoughts. Good Luck.
Thanks JBMB0922.

I have made it a point to not be angry in front of her. I couldn't bring myself to kick her out of the house. Being a person that would likely ride this marriage until the bitter end, I definitely want to see it fixed. No one can convince me otherwise, and my attitude is that I want it fixed or I'll die trying. Seems harsh I know, but it's how I feel.

I brought up the idea of counseling to her, she seemed to shrug it off. I'm not sure how to get through to her that it's something we NEED to do.
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Old 06-11-2010, 09:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife having an emotional affair. How to handle it?

Wanted to update on the situation again this morning.

Last night, I purchased the book "His Needs, Her Needs" and we started reading it together. Once it got to the middle part of the first chapter talking about how affairs start emotionally, my wife went into shutdown mode. She said she was done reading and wouldn't talk about it.

Again, otherwise, she's been acting very good toward me, whereas before the EA was exposed, she basically pushed me away.

I'm just not sure what to think or do. Since she won't talk about it, I'm not sure whether she intends to cut off contact completely with Jim or not, or if this has already happened.
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Old 06-11-2010, 10:45 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife having an emotional affair. How to handle it?

Land,
Don't ask her to leave. That is a real dead end. That was my biggest mistake with my wife. You now possess some very valuable knowledge. I expect she shut down because she recogized herself in the book. I never told my wife as she would never hear it or believe it. She is in her fantasy.
Now you know she just won't walk away. And when you talk to Jim and he agrees not to contact her, it will likely still continue. They work together. It is forbidden fruit! You have done many things right so far. JBM gave you good advise. Read, read, read. Don't grovel, beg, or plead. Don't manipulate, convince or coerce.
When you talk to Jim she will be angry. If he stays away from her, she will be even angrier. Go to Marriage Builders and view posts form today by Affair. Plan A. Be strong and confident. She is "in love". Understand that. They all get this way. Start marriage counselling now. I mean today. Contact a pro-marriage counsellor. There is no quick fix. Her feet are in quiksand. This is going to take awhile. Best guess is a couple of months. Worse case is 6 months to a year given your early intervention. You are going to hear some nasty things. Disregard them. Plan what you are going to say. She IS going to manipulate you. Be ready. Do not ask her to leave no matter what she says!! You love her!
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Old 06-11-2010, 01:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife having an emotional affair. How to handle it?

Thanks!

I know for sure I've been able to get her to quit spending time online and instead spend it with me or at least around me. Previously, she had been wrapped up in her own world and had stopped doing anything around the house. While I like to do my fair share of housework, it really became difficult to keep up when she stopped helping and my emotions were running dry at the same time.

In the past few days, she's started doing housework again. She's been going to bed and staying there. One night before she knew that I had knowledge of what was going on, she got up at 4AM to take a fake shower (turned the water on but never got in) and took her phone into the bathroom with her. I assume she was texting him. That type of behavior has stopped.

At this point, in the last few days, the only thing that has really jumped out is the 3 hour phone conversation she had with him on Wednesday (it is now Friday). I keep waiting on her to bring it up, but she hasn't. I'll be watching to see if it happens again, at which point I will ask her if she's talked to him, and when she says no, I'll just hand her the phone logs and tell her that when she's ready to talk, I'll be (insert whatever I'm going to go do here).

On one hand, I feel bad that I continue to monitor her so closely, but on the other hand, I feel as if I must absolutely do this to make sure that she knows that if she wants to continue to contact Jim, she does so with full knowledge that I will know exactly what is going on.

I haven't contacted Jim yet, I've been waiting to see if she will take care of that on her own. I'm not convinced it will happen, but I will at least give her that chance.
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Old 06-11-2010, 02:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife having an emotional affair. How to handle it?

Go to marriagebuilders and find an example of a No Contact letter. Print it out and hand it to her. Tell her that you need her to write one of these, and that YOU are going to read it to make sure it's not a love letter, but rather a letter telling him she chooses her marriage over him. YOU send it to him.

At the same time, tell her that you will not stop improving yourself and the marriage, that you know now how to keep it healthy and keep her love alive. Promise her that you won't grow complacent, you have learned your mistakes, and you'll always be there for her.

Ask her to fill out the Love Buster questionnaire from MB; it will tell you what you do that she doesn't like; work on eliminating those LBs. It will help.

Above all, do NOT MOVE OUT! No matter what.

btw, you DO need to monitor. She is like a drug addict right now, and if you monitor and save her from herself, she will thank you later, once the fog has lifted and the OM is out of the picture, and your marriage is improved. But for now, you have to keep her away from her drug. For her own good.
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:45 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife having an emotional affair. How to handle it?

She says she feels as if I'm just trying to make her feel better now, and that everything will go back to how it was once I feel "comfortable" again. I've tried assuring her this is not the case. I guess the only thing I can do is let my actions show otherwise...
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:59 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife having an emotional affair. How to handle it?

How are you going to stop yourself from being complacent. You pay the mortgage every month because you know how serious the consequences will be if you are not on time. But they send you a bill every month to remind you. Maybe you need to write out a schedule and put it in your organizer. List the things you need to do everyday or once week.. Make it a check off list. Schedule a refresher seminar. I have to do hours of continuing education for my job each year. Isn't your marriage that important.

Last edited by iamnottheonlyone; 06-14-2010 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:15 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife having an emotional affair. How to handle it?

Good point. I really intend to stay on top of things. I also, somehow, need to get her to understand that she has to communicate with me when she feels something is lacking.

I will be having her fill out the Love Busters questionnaire this evening. Hopefully we'll both understand one another just a little better.
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:48 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife having an emotional affair. How to handle it?

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I also, somehow, need to get her to understand that she has to communicate with me when she feels something is lacking.
I just want to point out that this, while you may not mean it, sounds a bit like control.

You can't GET her to do anything. You can offer your perspective. You can tell her what YOU wish for. But you have to be able to step back and let her make her own choices. The questionnaires are used to get YOU to change YOURSELF so that you are the most attractive option for her.
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Old 06-14-2010, 12:48 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife having an emotional affair. How to handle it?

Sure, understandable.

I guess really all I meant by the statement is this:

An example of something small is that we both seem to have differing opinions on exactly at what point laundry needs to be done. I tend to get it done sooner than she will because she waits until she has enough to do full loads instead of partial loads. Apparently, this had upset her in the past. While small, things like this built up over time and I had no idea. It seems to me that if she had brought it up to me, maybe it doesn't build up and we can solve problems more efficiently, as opposed to waiting until the sum of all problems creates one large problem.

I could be wrong. I realize communication doesn't fix everything, so it's more than that, but I do feel that many times, a good amount of hurt can be avoided with communication.
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Old 06-14-2010, 12:59 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife having an emotional affair. How to handle it?

Communication - and I agree, it is the #1 key to your relationship - can be a VERY tricky thing. There is SO much involved in a relationship, and communication becomes part of the dynamics. If her mother criticized her, or if a friend stopped being friends with her, or if she got in trouble at work...because of her communicating something, all of this goes into her data bank of memories. Or if you, yourself, made belittling remarks to her for this or that, or interrupted her when she tried to talk, or accused her of an agenda, or whatever...ALL of these things - this baggage - goes into her thought process before she opens her mouth.

My mother was the 'oh, you're going to wear that?' kind of mom. My DH has interrupted nearly everything I've ever said to him, because what HE thinks is apparently more important than what I'm thinking. My brother has almost never said a thing to me that wasn't a putdown. All of which combined to make me a person fiercely determined to take care of myself and never give opinions (except here, lol) or ask for help. I don't trust anyone.

And because I'm so overly sensitive, when my DH HAS said something about our relationship, I've made him feel bad, so now he never says anything about it and just goes along with whatever I say.

None of this works, right?

But it's all fixable, with communication. But the person has to feel SAFE before they can cross that bridge.

Instead of working on communicating about marriage problems, work on communicating about communicating. Your job, right now, is to find out WHY she didn't communicate. Not to get her TO communicate. If that makes any sense, lol.
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Old 06-14-2010, 01:01 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife having an emotional affair. How to handle it?

The questionnaires will help a lot with that.

Another thing that is often recommended is that you two set aside one hour each week, where you just sit down and look at that status of your marriage. It's a safe hour where you promise to not get defensive, not hurt the other person, but just listen. Talk if you can. But above all, listen. Then maybe go away and think on it, until your next meeting.
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