Let’s begin with a simple definition. An emotional affair is any relationship where we go outside our marriage to have our emotional needs met. This is by necessity an egregiously broad definition. The difficulty comes from the fact that we are created for relationship. It is our position in the relationship that determines whether it is an affair or not.
Examples of Emotional Affairs
Consider for a moment a wife who loves listening to live music, and a husband who doesn’t. He doesn’t engage with her and she feels lonely. She finds a friend who also loves live music and they begin going out on weekends. In the absence of her husband’s attention, she becomes attached to this friend, begins preferring her over her husband and choosing her needs over his.
Or a husband who works on a Bible Study with a single theology student who goes to his church. She is lively and interested and genuinely appreciates his mind. Things are okay at home, but this woman makes him feel alive in ways he hasn’t felt in years, or maybe ever. He begins to find reasons to text her and meet with her, and his interest in spending time with his wife begins to wane.
Or a pastor begins counseling a single woman, who is attractive and genuinely interested in him as a person, or damaged ...
This article references the book, Mending a Shattered Heart, edited by Stefanie Carnes
Finding out your partner has been unfaithful is devastating. If the behavior proves to be the result of a sexual addiction, there can be even more overwhelming feelings of shame, confusion, loss, and pain; sometimes there are symptoms of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), such as hypervigilance and intrusive thinking.
Sex Addiction Criteria
Following are ten key criteria for sex addiction. If someone meets three or more of these ten criteria, he or she would be considered a sex addict. These criteria need to be present over a prolonged period of time (e.g., six months) and not be part of a major mood swing, such as in bipolar disorder.
1. Recurrent failure to resist sexual impulses in order to engage in specific sexual behaviors
2. Frequently engaging in those behaviors to a great extent or over a longer period of time than intended
3. Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to stop, reduce, or control those behaviors
4. Inordinate amounts of time spent in obtaining sex, being sexual, or recovering from sexual experiences
5. Preoccupation with sexual behavior or preparatory activities
6. Frequent engaging in the behavior when expected to f...
No one wakes up one morning and says, “Today, I’m going to destroy my marriage.” So why do people have affairs? The roots of infidelity are actually most often found in the defensive structures we build in response to childhood trauma.
Let me show you what I mean. Imagine a young girl with a father who is distant, dictatorial, doesn’t come to recitals, and a mother who is only half-present, caught up in her own sorrows or preoccupations. Her father may tell her many times that he loves her, but deep down she has never really believed it, and while her mother loves her, it only goes so far.
In her early 20s she meets, falls in love with, and marries a man with some of the same qualities as her father, and when he tells her he loves her, at her core she doesn’t believe it. After a few years of marriage, she meets a man at work who shares her love of music. The temptation to stray will be stronger if it is something she doesn’t share with her husband. Because he isn’t close to her, the man’s interest in her bypasses the defensive I’m-not-lovable structure, and she begins to crave his interest in her like a drug. The affair is already well underway.
Consummation of the relationship is not only a foregone conclusion, but by this point almost an afterthought...
Jennifer cannot forget the day she saw a racy text from a female co-worker on her husband’s phone. As she looked through his text messages, she could see many exchanges between her husband and this other woman – and the texts were not about business. When she confronted her husband, he told her it was her fault that he had to seek out another woman’s affection. He blamed her for his unfaithfulness. Jennifer kept hearing his harsh words repeating themselves over and over in her mind.
Michael is trying to focus while at work, but all he can think of is finding his wife and his best friend in bed together. He is consumed with intense anger and he feels as if someone had punched him in the stomach. How could the two people he cared for the most do this to him?
When You are Confronted with Your Spouse’s Affair
You feel like a nuclear bomb has just gone off in your life. How could this happen? You are reeling as you take in the fact that your spouse has been unfaithful. If you are in this situation, you are no doubt experiencing a wide range of intense emotions and pain on many levels. You may be feeling overwhelmed and hopeless. You may wonder whether you can survive now that you know about the affair.
Yet even in the midst of all your pain, God’s presence ...
By Erik Mildes, MA, LMHC, Seattle Christian Counseling, PLLC
How do I forgive my husband for having an affair?
This article is written from the perspective of a woman whose husband has cheated on her. It is certainly not the case that only husbands cheat on their wives. Wives cheat too. Perhaps a second article will be written from the perspective of the cheated-on man. But for now, we look at the issue from the perspective of the woman, whose husband has broken his vow. I suppose I am writing from this perspective first because, as a man, it seems only fair to endure the scrutiny and need of forgiveness first.
I suppose every married man needs forgiveness. At least, that’s what St. Matthew would say if he were writing this article. He doesn’t mix his words: “I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)
The truth is, there isn’t a married man on the face of this earth who hasn’t had a lustful thought about someone other than his wife. So, according to Matthew, every wife is a victim of adultery.
But that’s not really the kind of adultery you were thinking about when you Googled this topic, is it? You’re talking about an actual affair. You’re talking about finding the strength to offer forgiveness to someo...