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Jennifer, School Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 397
Experience:  Extensive experience fostering family relationships through consultation / counseling.
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My husband had an emotional affair with achurch member about

Customer Question

My husband had an emotional affair with achurch member about 8 months ago. It lasted for 2 months. We are very active in our church. I volunteer in several activities and my husband is on the church council. The other woman is in the worship band. Their affair started on Facebook. We have since closed all Facebook accounts and the thought of Facebook is very negative. I suspected just about the whole time, anyway, I could go on and on about things that happened. Even his mother asked about their talking so much in church without me around. I found my "proof" in my husband's e-mail. More info there I can get into. Once again-the main thing is that I see her in front of me (in the band), have to listen to her solos, etc. Her mother also treats me differently. We have stopped all communication with her and my husband has tried so hard to show his love for me and I do feel closer to him but I hate going to church. I showed the e-mails ti our marriage counselor, my individual counselor and my psychiatrist. She prescribed Xanax and that makes me sleep all day after church and I miss out on our 3 kids (16, 16, and 13.) I can't get the affair out of my mind. My husband gets so angry when I bring it up. Our kids were baptized at that church. They had their First Communion there. They were confirmed there and our youngest is in the last year of the Confirmation. My husband and I met there and were married there by his father ( a retired Pastor). All 3 professionals I talked to stated that she was manipulative in her e-mails. Actually, 4 of them did (I switched individual counselors when she changed her practice to children only) Switching churches, seats (we always sit up front in front of the band since I got a lot out of the music) would cause so may questions. I did write her a message on Facebook sying that through the grace of God I forgive her. In reality, I don't. I hate her and her smug attitude. I know she thinks my husband has only stopped "talking" to her because of me. She never apologized to me. I had invited her into our home before the affair to comfort her when her husband left her because he had an affair. I could tell the way she looked at my husband and the way they talked that there was an attraction there that night. She "friended" him a couple weeks after with a private message. They never posted on wall, they communicated in private messages and on Sundays. Like I said, it would be unexplainable why we would change churches. We tried to find another church and the kids complained and complained. She has never been involved socially with people from church until my husband. After the affair was found out, She "friended" his best friend, also a married man. No affair there though. I don't know how to get over this. I know what to do but I can't get past the hurt. I keep getting told by my counselor and Pastor ( my husband admitted the affair to him when I was present, not his father) that it is "choice" I have to make to "Let it go". I can't. Bitterness has set in. No one knows in our family although some suspected and he told his brother. I hate seeing his brother now because I am so embarrased. How do I get rid of the bitterness. I read my Bible, several books, etc. and it is OK until Sunday rolls around or it pops in my mind and I can't get rid of it. Please help
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Jennifer replied 6 years ago.

Hello and thanks for using! I hope you don't mind that I've switched us to Q&A mode -- I'm having difficulty getting answers to post using "chat" mode this evening. Hopefully that won't be a problem here.


First of all, I'm terribly sorry to hear about the emotional affair your husband had and how it's impacting both your relationship and your ability to attend the church you love without thinking about it. What's unfair about that is that when you go to church, you're going there for spiritual fulfillment -- not to be reminded of any personal relationship issues that have caused heartache. I imagine that's very difficult for you and cause for further resentment.

It's very normal for you to feel various strong emotions at once while going through this. Anger at the woman from your church and at your husband for allowing this to happen. Grief over the loss of what your marriage was prior to all of this happening. This is not to say that it can't be rebuilt, though, and that trust cannot be established again. It sounds like you're already on the right road in that he's working hard to cease communication with this woman and making you the priority in his life. I'm also glad to hear you're working through all of this in individual and marital counseling.

I wish I had an easy answer for how to put all of this behind you. However, as I mentioned before, in many ways you are grieving. Grief is not an easy or quick thing to work through and unfortunately tends to crop up at unexpected times in unsettling ways. The good news is that it will get easier. Continue doing what you're doing (counseling, spending time with your husband, making efforts to connect with one another and show your love for one another) and remind your husband that expressing your feelings about all of this -- as difficult as it may be for him to hear -- is only going to bring you closer in that it allows you to have open, honest communication with one another. Ask him how he is feeling as well. Talk about what might help you both to feel more secure in your relationship and closer to one another.

I do wonder if attending another church would be easier for you. I understand it's not what your family wants, but perhaps you could try another church periodically to see if there is another that is an equally right "fit" for you and your family. If not, is there another service on Sundays you could attend (earlier or later)? Lastly, you might try a cognitive exercise to refocus your attention when you find yourself thinking unwanted thoughts on Sundays. When they creep into your mind, you simply tell yourself, "No" or "Stop." Some people find a visual image helpful (a stop sign or a steering wheel, for example) followed by a pre-determined phrase you've chosen to help you through that moment. This phrase might be a reminder of your husband's love for you. Or it could be a reminder of why you're there and how important it is for you to focus on that instead. Experiment with self-talk to see if there is something that helps you through that moment and leaves you feeling in control of your thoughts / feelings.

In the meantime, I'd suggest you begin journaling if you're not already. Sometimes writing down all of our feelings during difficult times can help to sort through it all. Reflecting upon those pages later can help us to see that we are, in fact, making progress (even when it feels as if it's a snail's pace!) I wish you the best of luck with all of this.

Jennifer and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
We actually quit marriage counseling because we were at a better place and I hated going there and dredging it up again. She was also my individual counselor and I tried her suggestions and they didn't help. She said I have to make a "choice" to forgive. I try but I can't seem to do it. I think I should try seeing a Christian counselor but not sure if it is covered by insurance. It is so upsetting that THEY brought this into the church and I have to do the work of "trying to fix the hurt". She shows no remorse and I can't deal with it. I want to confront her in a non- threatening manner but I am afraid. My emotions change daily. I know that God says we need to forgive and He will forgive us and I feel that He won't forgive my for my unforgiveness and hatred /bitterness towards her. My Pastor told me that God loves me and he is there as a Pastor and this hit him like a tsuanmi. He can't offer christian counseling because he is "unqualified" and couldn't recommend anyone. He also said I should be glad it wasn't a physical affair and I have to "Let it go" I tried journaling and it kept making me relive it. I started a gratitude journal and that helped but I have been too depressed to write in it. I am also on Lexapro and Lamictal for mood swings. I am wondering about confronting her mother about the "awkwardness" and I realize that she had nothing to do with this. We were really close attending Church retreats etc. I thought it was ackwardness when our Pastor suggested it but she doesn't acknowledge me anymore at social events etc. even if I look right at her. I try to say hi and give her our usual hug. She has no problems with my husband though. I was never close with her daughter. She chose to become "friends" with my husband. Now she is trying to participate in church activities with "our friends" and I feel like I have to exclude myself. Once I didn't take Xanax and had to leave in the middle of the service. My husband knew what was wrong and didn't follow me to comfort me. He stayed with the kids. I didn't think I would have to tell him since we are presenting a united front.
Expert:  Jennifer replied 6 years ago.
If you think a Christian counselor may be a better fit, then by all means look into finding one. I often tell people that finding the right counselor is like shoe shopping -- Keep looking until you find one that feels right! Her suggestions are probably very good for some people, but perhaps they just weren't the right solutions for you. That isn't to say that you're not doing it right or that there isn't someone out there that can help you to feel better while you navigate the healing process.

You certainly could confront her, but consider what that would do for you... Would you feel better or worse? What if she continued to NOT show remorse? That's certainly a possibility and I think then the stress of confrontation and lack of closure would only make you feel more bitter. I do think that confronting her or her mother about the situation may only feed it more power than it already has. At this point, you have control of the situation in many ways... Your husband has ceased communication, stopped chatting with her on Facebook, ignores her at church, and you simply avoid her on Sundays. A confrontation at this point may make things even more awkward instead of clearing the air -- particularly if she doesn't respond in the way you'd want her to.

Try not to feel guilty for any of the feelings you're having. My personal belief is that God knows we're human (and subject to feel things we don't want to feel sometimes). You're working on it... That's definitely a step in the right direction.

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