Recovering From an Emotional Affair

Healing the Hurt of an Emotional Affair

Not all affairs are physical, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t hurt. Sometimes we feel like we are the ones who did something to encourage the emotional affair, sometimes you might be the one who had the emotional affair. Whatever the case – healing and recovery needs to happen for a marriage to survive. We have some advice from the Divas to give you some tips on how to recover from emotional affairs.

Fabulous tips about recovering from an emotional affair.

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The first thing you might be thinking is what is an emotional affair and how can I recognize one? We love this list of signs from Monika Lewis at Focus on the Family. She says that, “…these signs may indicate that a relationship has gone too far:

  • You share personal thoughts or stories with someone of the opposite sex.
  • You feel a greater emotional intimacy with him or her than you do with your spouse.
  • You start comparing him or her to your spouse, and begin listing why your spouse doesn’t add up.
  • You long for, and look forward to, your next contact or conversation.
  • You start changing your normal routine or duties to spend more time with him or her.
  • You feel the need to keep conversations or activities involving him or her a secret from your spouse.
  • You fantasize about spending time with, getting to know, or sharing a life with him or her.
  • You spend significant time alone with him or her.”

Tips on healing from emotional affairs.

These warning signs can help you recognize an emotional affair and start the process to reconnect with your spouse. This process is not going to happen over night – it will take time and it will hurt, but you have to invest in your marriage! When discussing this topic as a team, Diva Becca said, “We talk about forgiveness in the Reclaim Your Marriage program and how it is a decision, not just a feeling. You may still feel hurt for a long time, but you can still make the decision to move forward and try to reclaim your marriage.”

We love that perspective. It is important to let your spouse know how hurt you are, but as Diva Caroline said during our Diva discussion, you also need to make it “clear that this [trust] is going to be rebuilt.” We do not give up on our marriages – recovery and healing are possible!!!

Discussing emotional affairs in a marriage and how to heal

Many Divas commented that when a marriage goes through something as difficult as an affair {emotional or otherwise} professional help is a great option. It is totally understandable to need someone to talk to in order to process the feelings that an emotional affair produces, but take care that it is someone outside of the situation. Diva Heather suggests that personal counseling may be a good way to start, then bring the spouse in and start working on growing together, not pulling apart.

Are you struggling in your marriage? Check out The Dating Divas Marriage Club for even MORE great ideas for working on your marriage!

Whether you turn to professional help or not, have a heart to heart with your spouse. Share how much you truly love them and work to discover what went wrong. We can’t expect to be able to fix and avoid something if we don’t know the cause. Diva Chrissy suggests removing the triggers for the emotional affair. This could be the social media platform that helped start the affair, a cell phone, and sometimes the physical environment. Don’t play the blame game on each other, just look objectively at what happened and go the opposite direction.

Healing and recovering can happen after emotional affairs.

 The final and most important tip from the Divas is echoed by Therese J. Borchard and Beliefnet, “Invest in your marriage!” Diva Tara was really struck when Borchard pointed out, “The best way to prevent an affair is to invest in your marriage. And the best way to recover from an emotional affair is to invest in your marriage. It’s a simple physics equation: the energy and time you supply to one relationship has to come from another one. That is, you can’t build and nurture a true partnership if you’re spreading intimacy over too many places.” {Italics added}

Fight for your marriage! A great book on the subject is Steve Baker’s Stop Emotional Affairs. If you are looking for more ideas on how to keep your marriage strong Catharine’s 16 Ways to Protect Your Marriage is an essential read. And for more tips on avoiding potential pitfalls, read The Social Media Marriage Mess. Keep coming back to The Dating Divas for more ways to strengthen the most important relationship in your life and take a look at the Reclaim Your Marriage Program to help give you a fighting chance!


Borchard, Therese J. “14 Ways to Recover from an Emotional Affair – Beyond Blue.” Beliefnet. Beyond Blue, 16 Feb. 2011. Web.

Lewis, Monika. “The Truth About Emotional Affairs.” Focus on the Family. 2006. Web.

About the Author: Shanelle

I am a reading, singing, shopping queen! (I'm very lucky that my handsome hubby likes shopping as much as I do) Married for 7 years and ready for forever, I love spending time with Brigham (my husband), our girls, and our new baby boy. I teach high school English and in the summertime we love to go on adventures in the great outdoors.

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4 Responses to Recovering From an Emotional Affair

  1. Thank you so much for this thoughtful post, Shanelle! This is real-life stuff, and it is SO important that we let people know about it. Marriages aren’t all about cute little date nights and fun printables… there are real struggles out there! This is definitely an extremely serious issue and you covered it beautifully!

  2. We have a close friend that was caught up in an emotional affair that eventually turned into a physical one. He broke it off but it’s completely devastated his marriage and they are on a long road to recovery. Any kind of affair, even an emotional one, just isn’t worth it if you want to stay in your marriage. Best of luck to all those couples out there working their way back from something like this! XO

  3. There is nothing like the pain experienced by discovering your spouse’s infidelity (emotional or physical) – and I pray that you never have to. I would like to stress the importance of professional marriage counseling for affair recovery. The injured spouse is basically in shock and the unfaithful spouse is confused. A mediator can make all the difference since the marriage counselor is most likely the only person thinking clearly at the moment.

    1. Thanks so much for that insight, Calista! We definitely agree that a mediator could make a big difference in how the conversations play out. Thank you!