Reader Question: How Do I Prevent an Emotional Affair?

Reader Question of the WeekEmotional 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. Here’s a woman I feel great sympathy for. She writes:

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.

How to Prevent an Emotional AffairI 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. “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 them.

So the fact that you are attracted to someone else is simply because there are many different people we 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 can be 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 these thoughts, and that this attraction, is something that happens, and we have no control over it.


These thoughts come, and you can do nothing to banish them.

Yes, you can! We have control over our thoughts. We can choose whether to entertain them or not.

2 Corinthians 10:5 says:

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.

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. Gary Thomas outlines the science of this in his book Sacred Search. 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 your marriage a priority; not seeing this guy as an awful guy.

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.

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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  1. Is there some way this could be broadcast to the WORLD?!!! Put it on every front page, begin every news program with it. This is so important for people to hear, especially with facebook and spouses having their own phones and passwords for work. My husband’s affair was with a woman he worked with. He works about an hour from home and our children are involved in many activities, so we don’t really socialize with anyone he works with. I do not go on his work email or phone because it is passworded and because he has so much important work information and I would not want to accidentally disturb anything. BUT, this gave him the freedom to start an emotional affair so easily which lead to a physical affair. Funny thing is he said she resembled me and that he knows if we had met on our own, we would have been great friends. Any surprise he was able to have an affair with her instead of confronting me with the problems he felt there were in our marriage? Thankfully today is 7 months since it really ended and he and I are on the path to having a better marriage than before. But only because I have really begun to be honest with him. I came close to losing him and although I wouldn’t want to live without him, I realized I could survive by putting my trust in God and not man. I am no longer afraid to put him in a bad mood and instead hide my true feelings about things. I have started taking ownership of my feelings and when I feel that my boundaries are being overstepped I speak up, not out of hate or to blame him, but to explain to both of us why certain actions offend me and cause me to get hurt which is really the root of my anger. He says he respects me and I know he does, but I have been trying to politely explain how his actions don’t always match his words. He still hasn’t really opened up to me about anything much, but I have talked to the woman he had the affair with and he is right, when I don’t think about them together, I know we could have been good friends. Like I have told him, if he had only been open and honest with me, introduced her to me so she saw me as a real person, she and I might have become friends instead of them getting involved, and she could have been my connection to his world of work, which I am really not a part of. Maybe not, if like this woman in the reader question he could not get her out of his mind, but because this attraction led him to believe our marriage wasn’t right for him, that our problems were never going to get any better, what could have happened will never be known.

    Sheila, I recommend your blog to everyone I know. You touch on subjects I think everyone needs to be thinking and talking about. Thank you for the time and effort you put into this for all of us for no charge. I know I wouldn’t have paid to subscribe to something like this, because money is always tight and I would not have felt it was something I needed to buy for myself. Oh how wrong I would have been!!! Your words have played a big part in me being able to take ownership of things I did or didn’t do that allowed our marriage to be in the position it was in when this temptation arrived and to work through my hurt so I could get to the point of forgiving him and still respect myself. You are a blessing to so many!

  2. I am currently caught up in an emotional affair. this guy is in my church. He is divorced and i am not. We both feel absolutely terrible after engaging in long chats via email and texts, ( some conversations were quite sexual in nature). When we see each other usually on sundays, We can’t take our eyes off each other. There is undeniable chemistry here. I don’t want this to go to physical. We have discussed how wrong we are. Yet, we continue. I crave his conversation, compliments and sense of humor. I’ve tried ignoring his texts and emails, avoiding eye contact at church, but this makes the feelings stronger. He has told me he has tried doing the same thing. I really want to get this man out of my system. He’s like a drug, i feel like i cant go with out contact from him. I am currently seeking help from a minister outside of my church. I love my husband and would NEVER leave my family.

    • I would suggest you find another church. Do not allow a crack in your marriage foundation to grow. Sheila probably said that, but I am repeating it because it has really made me think about how easy it is to allow temptations to grow.

      • Yes, I’d agree that’s likely a good idea. The main thing to remember, though, is that the feelings do NOT magically disappear. Even if you pray a ton for them to disappear, they don’t disappear unless you ENGAGE IN THE FIGHT. Don’t just pray and wonder why God doesn’t work: actually take every thought captive. Whenever you think of him, pray instead or text your husband or do something else. Do not entertain those thoughts. If you develop a discipline of fleeing the thoughts, then you’ll find the feelings start to diminish. But the main thing is to FIGHT!

        • Great advice, Thanks, I am ready for the fight. I have been at my church for 20 years. I don’t want to leave my church. I’m praying that a change will come and my emotional affair person will leave. I’m so upset with myself for letting this happen.
          I really want to tell my husband, but I don’t know how. Any advice?

          • Anonymous says:

            I can only give my perspective. The biggest setback for us wasn’t really the emotional affair. That was very difficult to take as a husband, but the worst part was having it kept secret from me after the fact, and then being lied to.

            I would never presume to know how you should tell your husband. Maybe confess it to a trusted pastor or friend first, and ask them to sit down with you when you do it. It is very hard experience for both the person confessing and the one hearing it. I wish my wife would have told me the whole story, truthfully, from the beginning, however hard that would have been for both of us.

    • You need to consider leaving your church. Even if you don’t do that, you have to cut off all contact with this man. That means removing his phone number from your phone, never calling or texting him again, and never speaking to him at church. Tell him not to contact you ever again and if he calls or texts, don’t answer and tell/show your husband. You need to tell your husband of your attraction and have him hold you accountable. Let him check your phone so that you can’t secretly contact this other man. Stay next to your husband while at church (if you stay at that church) so that you don’t have an opportunity to talk to the other man alone. Whenever you think about the other man, purposely replace the thought with a good thought about your husband and your determination to stay true to your marriage.

      DO NOT PRAY FOR YOUR FEELINGS FOR THIS MAN TO BE REMOVED! Praying about your feelings gets you thinking about your feelings and thinking about the man you shouldn’t be thinking about. Praying for the feelings to go away also tends to make you think you’ve given it to God and now don’t have to do anything about yourself. It’s God’s problem now, and if He doesn’t magically take away the feelings, you think that means you can indulge in them. That is a very dangerous idea. Instead, pray for your marriage to be strong. Pray for a greater appreciation for your husband. Pray for wisdom and strength in general. Pray for your children and for the example you will set for them. But don’t spend even one moment asking God to take away feelings without you having to do anything about them.
      Lindsay Harold recently posted…The Bible is NOT a BookMy Profile

  3. Anonymous says:

    I would say that the main thing to do is confess your situation to your husband, and seek counseling. As a husband who just found out about an emotional affair ten years after the fact, I can tell you that, in my opinion, “protecting” your spouse is not protection at all. It’s dishonesty, and it’s destructive when the truth finally comes to light.

  4. I’m involved in a long distance emotional affair with an old friend. It started innocently on Facebook at a time when my marriage was struggling. My husband found out and while the other guy and I have stopped talking periodically and continuing to try to stop its so hard. We have thought that it would have been great if we ended up together but now we are both married with kids. We love God, we love our families and we know its wrong but its so tempting and so hard.
    I like the idea of praying every time I’m tempted to talk to or text him.

  5. Wonderful and smart article.

  6. My boyfriend kept close with a female friend who was and still is emotionally intimate with him while they were both single even though she wanted to have sex with him (he turned her down not because he wasn’t physically attracted, but because he thought she couldn’t remain faithful. Fast forward A year, and they both find partners. Fast forward another year and both are on marriage tracks. She is his hairdresser but give 1 hour hair/cut massages to her clients (a lot of men). He tells me nothing is going on sexually and that he loves me. My gut says it is more although I do believe him he won’t go all the way. I am the bad guy for suggesting they still be friends but no hour over the shirt massages once a month. What are your thoughts? ~Laura

    • I wouldn’t even suggest they remain friends. They should cut off contact with each other. If there is closeness and (at least on her part) a desire for sexual contact, they can’t be just friends. There’s too much attraction to stay just friends. Thus, they need to stay apart for the sake of their other relationships.

      If your boyfriend won’t prioritize your relationship over his relationship with that other woman and stop interacting with her, don’t marry him. It’s that serious.
      Lindsay Harold recently posted…The Bible is NOT a BookMy Profile

  7. My friendship with a man just jumped to this dangerous territory this weekend. No, that’s not true–I had been letting him hug me way too much for months. Even so, I kissed HIM. Then I said, ” we just cannot go here” and let him kiss me.

    After a weekend filled with remorse, I am waiting for him to return my call so I can ask his forgiveness for my part in this. I am also rearranging our work so that we will only see one another when others are present.

    How did I get here? I love my husband and have tried for years to builds strong marriage. Even so, he has consistently chosen work over me. It feels bad to keep suggesting doing things and being told he doesn’t have time. I try to remember that I can offer up my loving gestures “as to The Lord” but it is hard to see lonely years stretching out. I will have to keep trying.

    • Meredith, I’m glad that you’ve realized that what you did was wrong, and that you’re rearranging your work schedule.

      One thing, though: please don’t talk to him and have him return your call so that you can ask for forgiveness. That’s just going to build more intimacy because you’ll be talking about it. There’s no need to talk about it. You don’t owe him anything. If he wants to approach you, then you can say, “no more.” But don’t call him or initiate conversation. Just change your work schedule and leave it at that.

      And as for your marriage, now’s the time to really, really work at rebuilding the friendship and trying to find some common ground. It sounds like you really need it! I know it seems lonely, but sit down with him and tell him that you need more, and then try to start doing things that he enjoys with him. I really hope that helps, and wish you all the best!

      • A rather unhappy update:

        As part of backing away from anything inappropriate with my male friend, I asked my husband to work on reconnecting with me . He says he is willing, but he is still so distant. We set a plan to go through a marriage book, but he “forgot”. I always knew that I would be able to tell if he was unfaithful because I knew it would just tear him up inside. He made an odd comment, though, that made me wonder. Now I know what’s going on–not an affair, but internet porn. I haven’t talked to him about what I know yet–I am so hurt that he replaced intimacy with me with fantasies on the computer, but I know that I filled that emotional void with an attachment to another man. I have been working on our marriage for so many years and am so tired. Last night, I wanted to get sick when he came to bed after I was pretty certain he had been watching porn (I was right, I checked his history later). It was very hard to have any sort of intimacy with him.

        How do I start this conversation with him? I am so hurt that I don’t know where to start. I am guessing that this has been going on for a long, long time, and I feel like a fool. We know a mature Christian couple who I know would be willing to walk through accountability with us. I am sort of angry with the husband, though, because he is a man who seemed to have an experience where God changed his attitude about being a workaholic and harsh with his family. Even so, he would joke with my husband about his (my husband’s) out of control work schedule, rather than say, “This is causing your marriage harm!” I was already considering talking to them about my husband’s lack of time for his family and the sort of “wink, wink” attitude about being a workaholic among our circle of church friends.

        For the first time in my marriage, walking away seems like a possible option. My kids are grown and I cannot imagine living the rest of my life with someone that I cannot have true intimacy with. I am not talking about a fantasy of ending up with my male friend, but just admitting the truth of my marriage seems better than living this lie.

        • You both need to find counseling individually and as a couple.Pornography addiction is incredibly hard to break free from. You need counseling to provide space to process your feelings. There are also resources on the web, Unintended Journey is one group.

  8. This is so interesting. I have been having an emotional affair for over 12 months. We are both married. I told my husband this time last year when it had first started…he was gutted. Then after a month or so it started again.
    I think it’s on a natural finish. At one time we would talk several times per day. We had one “lunch” together, nothing physical. Now it’s days/weeks between the odd text, no calls or meeting.
    I decided this week “enough”! My question was whether to tell that to this guy or not but I see your advice would be not to. I feel like I owe him that because despite not much contact now he says he will always love me and I am “his”. I am cringing writing this.

    • Hello Sabrina,

      I learned something a long time ago–a person cannot “fix” something if she can’t honestly see what is going on. I also think we do things for reasons. It seems to me that your husband is doing something different, so it seems as though this other friendship is ending naturally. It seems like if your needs will not be met again, even though you love your husband, you might find yourself in this situation again. I recommend being prepared for what is bound to happen–your hubby gets busy and distracted. You seem torn up about it so I recommend not only reading Merdith’s words about avoiding emotional affairs, but also practice doing these things in your mind. Find a way to communicate to your husband your needs as well as practice, practice, practice remembering why you married him. Good luck!

    • You do NOT owe this other man ANYTHING. He is not your husband. You are already taken. He has absolutely no right to your time or any explanation. Cut off all communication immediately.
      Lindsay Harold recently posted…The Bible is NOT a BookMy Profile

  9. Thank you Laura.
    I’ve tried many times but this time I feel a change in myself…more determination. I will use your advice. Thank you.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I’m having an emotional affair with an old friend from high school. We connected in Facebook, but it’s been 23 years since we’ve actually seen eachother. He says amazing things to me, things my husband hasn’t said for a very long time. He makes me feel special.
    I need to find the will to fight. Right now, it’s just not there. I’m so selfish. I want to be loved for who I am. This man makes me feel that way. My husband is often critical, and I feel suffocated when we are together. I hate this. I want it to all go away. Please help me; I don’t want to hurt my family.

    • Sometimes we have very strong ties to old friends. I did. The Lord can break your ties to this old friend. Find a female friend you can trust who is willing to pray for the breaking of these ties.

      You ARE special, even when you don’t FEEL it. Your connection to your old friend is much simpler than your connection with your husband. You haven’t seen the old friend. (DON’T see him now.) You do see your husband. Your husband may be critical. But that does not excuse your behavior.

      You MUST break off your relationship with your old friend. Invest in your relationship with your husband. Is there something he’s asked you to do (that’s not hurtful to you) you could do to please him? Are there changes you know you need to make?
      Start working on those. See a counselor yourself if you need help sorting through things in your life.

      Whatever you do, STOP investing in the old relationship. Unfriend him. Don’t talk to him or message him. Find someone to keep you accountable to do these things. Continuing the friendship DOES HURT your family by taking you from them. END IT NOW.

    • Not again says:

      Hi, I have been married for 21 years. After a couple of brief affairs I decided I was done, the grass was definitely not greener. My marriage is not perfect but I am more prayerful that God will help me improve/strengthen my marriage. I stumbled upon a former male colleague whom I worked with several years ago and we have re-established. Although he is married too, he has made it clear that his is not a happy one.

      We have been communicating quite regularly via text. Red flag is this man showers me with compliments, in fact I have told him that I am fully aware that he is flattering and flirting with me. I also made it clear that I am not interested in an affair in case that is his goal. He has promised that he considers me a friend, he cherishes me as a friend and wants nothing more. Despite his marriage issues, he claims he does not condone extra marital affairs.

      As mentioned above, I am not looking for that excitement outside marriage. I know I am an attractive person, I am confident and have a healthy self esteem. Therefore although I am flattered by his unending compliments, this would not justify a reason to have an affair with him.

      But I am human and my concern is I am sort of attracted to him and have even gone to the extent of fantasizing what it would be like to consummate. Could be because physical intimacy within my marriage is lacking, like with many other marriages, the spark dies.

      I know I can easily block communication from this man, I can delete his number, I can tell him that we should never communicate, but supposing he genuinely wants friendship and nothing more. Then again supposing he has other motives. Am just so confused.

      What do I do?

      • Hi there! I think it’s great that you’re being convicted about this. I think if you’re starting to fantasize about him it’s best to cut off communication. There really is no reason for a man to pursue a friendship through text with a married woman, so even if he is “only” interested in friendship, that still doesn’t matter. That’s inappropriate, and you know you’re in a danger zone, and it’s best to stop it now!

  11. I have found myself in this situation and it developed into a physical affair, but not to the point of intercourse. Emotional affairs are so dangerous. My marriage was as close to perfect as one could get before this happened and I was very close to God. Slowly it developed and I had wished I would’ve told my husband sooner, at the first signs. I knew they were there and I didn’t know what to do. My husband would have and had I been open and hi eat with him my marriage wouldve gotten stronger. But I was scared and ashamed, so I didn’t. My fear paralyzed me so that I didn’t stop him when he kissed me or told me heiced me and it became an overpowering infatuation for me. My husband discovered it and one and a half years later we are still working on healing.

    I encourage you to tell your husband. The 2 shall become 1. Let him know into your deepest part of you and set boundaries together.

    Shannon Etheridge has a book called Every Woman’s Battle, I highly recommend this book. Many women struggle with this and we need to be aware of the things inside of us that lead us into these situations and prevent us from shutting them down the minute the first temptation appears. God is stronger and he will see you through this. He will offer you an escape from temptation. 1 Corinthians 10-13.

  12. Blessed says:

    How to avoid something turning into an emotional affair: One, Admit your feelings to the
    Lord, even though yes , He knows your heart. Secondly, tell Him the desires of your heart in light of Biblical wisdom you are afforded. Thirdly, praise God for the prayers He is going to answer. He WILL answer even through the weakness, and when you see it happening, praise Him over and over! We don’t need to pray for wisdom in a situation like this–we have it already through His Word! Never give up pleasing God, and knowing He delights in our coming to Him for help.

  13. Kathryn says:

    I need help! I am so jealous of my husbands co-worker because he told me that he wanted to be sure he filtered their relationship through the lens of our home/his prioritized relationship with me. He did this out of an honest heart of
    love and desire to protect our marriage, but I feel completely crushed. He’s never said that about anyone else, so that makes me think there must be an attraction there that he has decided that he will not allow. But, I am CRUSHED that he could ever find another woman attractive. How stupid of me, he’s only human! Yet I seriously feel so downtrodden. How do I stop obsessing about it and feeling like I have to compete now? I’m just so sad, though he did nothing but what he thought best and most honorable by telling me he wanted to be sure boundaries were well established!

    • It may not be an attraction on his part. It could be that this woman was showing interest in him that he wants to avoid.

      Of course, even if it is attraction on his part, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t find you attractive (even more attractive) or that he doesn’t love you. In fact, he prioritized you over the other woman. You won. Keep that in mind.

      Also, keep in mind that attractions that aren’t fed die. Now that he’s staying away from the other woman, any attraction he may have had for her (if it existed), is likely to die naturally. Attraction is often a brief interest that fades away over time if we don’t dwell on it or make room for interaction with that person. So it’s not like you’re going to be competing with another woman in his mind forever. He’ll get over it – probably very quickly.
      Lindsay Harold recently posted…The Bible is NOT a BookMy Profile

  14. How should you handle it when the person you are attracted to is the spouse of your best friend?

    • It may be necessary to put some distance between you and your best friend – perhaps only see your friend alone, not with his/her spouse. Stay away from the person you are attracted to in order to reduce the temptation and kill the attraction.
      Lindsay Harold recently posted…The Bible is NOT a BookMy Profile

  15. Sheila. As usual, awesome topic and candid, honest and Biblical. Love your steps, but am not clear on one thing and maybe you cant answer for me… talk to my spouse or not? I suspect this is just starting for me amd want to steer clear. Thankyou.

    • I’m not sure, L. I think it’s important to tell someone–maybe a friend who can hold you accountable? A lot of whether you tell your spouse or not depends on where you are in the relationship right now. I’m not one who believes that total honesty is always the policy–not if it will hurt the other person and you have accountability elsewhere. On the other hand, if your relationship can handle it, it may help to increase intimacy. So it really depends I’m afraid!

      • I did talk to my husband after I asked him to read this article. He’s so good to me and offered grace, but there is still pain, I know. Although I don’t believe I’ve walked down the path, I can see warning flags. We are at an amazing point in our marriage – so I was very surprised to realize this (only because of this article of yours – I am not sure I would’ve realized the danger in my thoughts and attitudes if I hadn’t read the article). I am so in awe of the way God works. He is so gracious and loving. I believe me talking to my spouse was good (I prayed beforehand) and has/will make our marriage even stronger. Thanks for your obedience to the Lord in writing TRUTH and for your ministry. A few weeks ago I bought 3 of your books – just based on the wonderful Godly content of your blog. Thank you again. I will pray for you and your ministry to continue in integrity, truth and Godliness.

  16. anoyomous says:

    I wish there was an easy fix for any of you with your emotional affairs and I am glad I’m not alone in this. I need to fight. It is So So so difficult to change my thoughts of this guy at my work. I seriously lay down at night and think about things we’ve talked about, looks he gives, possibilities with him. I’ve never met someone who is so attractive and that i can look in the eye. I’ve never been in love equally with someone. It’s been one sided everytime. He doesn’t say he likes me but he really shows it. I am in an unhappy marriage. The void is an emotional connection and intimacy. I am not comfortable with him and we have allot of water under our bridge.. His family and mine. We all ‘put up’ with each other. That’s it. It’s not true love. I walk on egg shells and am fake around them. I see them constantly. He won’t cut the apron strings. Yet won’t have a thing to do with my family. I am in a bad situation. Think about how I can leave daily. I say things to him such as I want to die just to escape. Our intimacy is very awkward. I don’t enjoy sex because of past issues. I never really was attracted to him. My self esteem is super low. I’m going to try getting my hormones right staying this month and possible depression meds if needed. The doctor knows everything. I just find myself thinking of this guy at work. I’ve only known him for two months and we have everything in common. I fell fast. He didn’t come into work one day and I freaked out and face booked him.. Where did you go!! He came back and said he was off work BC of the flu. We don’t talk outside of work. He is afraid BC I’m married and doesn’t say much to me anymore after that message. He says not to feel embarrassed. I just have to say to myself I’m at work for my family and myself. Not this guy. Change my thoughts. I just can’t stop finding myself in emotional affairs!! I’m not even looking for anything physical. I got caught up in two other emotional affairs 2 years ago that wouldn’t go away. They still haunt me. We were both married and it had to end. So.. Here’s to hoping this article helps me and maybe one of you as well.

    • Hi There,

      thats why they call it temptation. I never had such a bad attraction ever. I am in a relationship. I too am attracted to one of my colleague. The attraction and the pull is just too much. I can say its a attraction at first sight. The day he joined office, and the day he crossed that front door, somehow my eyes stopped at him. He is 2 years younger to me. But absolutely got killer looks. i never had seen somebody so handsome and so attractive. The way he smiles and talks to me, his eyes twinkles. I wont say he too has feelings for me, rather he is like any charming guy. He does gives me a lot of attention. He asked me for movies and dinner and i did accepted and went with him in the beginning. it was completely decent kinda meetings. He doesnot flirt even, but it seem he likes my company.

      I always knew it, but i was so much smitten by his charm that i always look forward to meet him in office. I do get dressed up, started working out. Oh yes, he is very fit, got a nice physic and great height. I am a bit plump, and short too. When he talks to me he comes closer, and because of our height difference he towers on me and looks deep into my eyes. At night i recall all those moment, i go across our messages over and over again, i even have started recording our calls to listen to it.

      But then one day i have realized that this is it, i will become mad if it goes like dis, as if i was living two lives. So then i decided to stop it. First, i have strted avoiding him. Then it didnt worked out. Then i kept myself busy in my work, home. And stopped giving him attention. The less i saw him, the attraction goes weaker with it. He still is the same, gives me attention. But i am controlled now and enjoying the attention.

      But its my little secret, and it something never failed to bring smile on my face whenever i thought of those moments. Its like an anchor to my happiness.

      And thank you guys for sharing your stories. I had never told this to anybody.


  17. April koseoglu says:

    Thank you so much this article. Amazing advice!.

  18. Victoria Nojang says:

    Sheila I will please like to find out this cause it is very important to me. If a woman marries a man she never truly loved, probably because he stuck to her when she needed him the most. Then when she eventually starts learning to love her husband, her ex and one true love gets back to her life. And his mere presence causes a blast on her emotions, would the fighting principle apply under this circumstance, where she is caught between reason vs emotions?

  19. I am single, just graduated from school, yet to serve (NYSC),no good job yet, and am born again. After some time now I ve been so disturbed with emotions,, there is this my christian sister whom I ve develop so much interest on, cos we do see at times in d church.. She is also an old secondary friend, but we lost contact for some yrs before.. Now am so much attached to her emotionally, to d extent that I can’t get rid of her memory, even when am busy,. Something tells me, its love, d oda tells me it lust,. Am afraid cos I don’t want to hamper my relationship with God,. Cos I am not financially ready for marriage, thus having an affair with her might take a long time,, so I decided to keep my feelings all to my self, without letting her know.. Some weeks later I felt she was avoiding me, wen I asked her she said she wants to cut down her cost of expenditure, since we do talk on phone.. So I said okay,. But I observe that even wen I do d calling she is still reluctant to answer, after so much persuasion, she now told me that she has falling in love with me, and that she is scared of what this may transpire into, that’s why she is trying to avoid me.. I smiled,.. And I also told her what I ve been hiding as well, that is , my feelings, she then ask me what I want her to do now, I told her we should give ourself a try, by going into a relationship, but she was trying to refuse, bcos of these reasons,; she is a year older than me(been an african,), she is scare of hurting me or me hurting her, and she is scared of offending God in course of the relationship… And now am really confuse, cos me as well am still observing these things, is just that am so much attached to her emotionally,,,, pls advice..

  20. I would encourage everyone to PREVENT it!! My husband and I from time to time talk about “Hey, is there anyone you are attracted to at work?” This is a difficult conversation but we have always been honest, and we have both found that bringing it up SUPER EARLY is so helpful! The earlier you confess that there is even one thought there, the less pain and the easier it is to run away. I had one conversation with a manager at my old job where I felt it was too emotionally deep. I came home that night and told my husband. My husband and I talked together about what I should do in the future, and from time to time he would ask me about the manager. I ended up not working on any more projects with him and everything was fine. Being honest early is so much less painful.

  21. Just found out an hour ago my husband of 2 years is cheating! I found text messages confirming meeting after work and late night texts after I’m asleep. He had an emotional affair 5 months ago with someone else. Minister in training, but has no self control. Father help me!

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  1. […] Saskatchewan. This week’s offers a snapshot through the years of technology and how it could move the boundaries of safety in guarding your marriage–and even make it easier to have an emotional affair, or actual […]

  2. […] seem more likely to get mixed up in emotional affairs. They feel it isn’t sin if there’s no touching involved. An affair is not defined by whether […]

  3. […] 2. Dealing with a Guy You Feel Attracted To–and Preventing a Full-Blown Emotional Affair […]

  4. […] love” with someone, and doesn’t know what to do. Physical affairs often begin as emotional affairs, and if he feels “in love”, he may think he needs to confess. But that doesn’t […]

  5. […] the other person doesn’t value or understand us, to work through that seems exhausting. And then we meet someone we can talk to, who’s new and therefore exciting, and we convince ourselves that life would be easier if we […]

  6. […] are things which don’t fall into these categories that may be more harmful if shared, like if you are attracted to someone else, if you doubt that you really love your spouse, or even if you feel like your spouse is no longer […]

  7. […] road, does not mean that it wouldn’t develop if you started talking to him all the time. So don’t take the risk, and keep your eyes on your […]

  8. […] struggling with your relationship and with accepting your husband, and if you’re struggling with feeling emotionally drawn to other men, it’s probably wise to avoid even […]

  9. […] an entirely different story, and I’d point you to some of the articles I’ve written on emotional affairs and on discovering your husband is having an affair. But let’s assume for now that the […]

  10. […] “Falling” Into Sin with Emotional Affairs […]

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