More than friends: Recovering from an Emotional Affair

For Sally, it all started when she finally got on facebook after attending a school reunion.

At first, she added her extended family, old school friends, neighbours, friends and a few local mums from the coffee group.

After a few months, she reconnected with most of her old school friends, including her former boyfriend, Harry.

She hadn’t seen or heard from him in many years and found herself excited to accept his friend request.

Once connected, Sally spent time looking at Harry’s photos of him and his family. She thought to herself, what a handsome guy he still is. Her husband, Allan, had let himself go.

As she found herself thinking about Harry more, more, she started noticing things about her husband, she disliked.

One day, Sally saw that it was Harry’s birthday, so she decided to write him a little birthday post on his wall. Little didn’t she know that a short post would prompt Harry to send her a private message in response.

Sally was nervous. She remembered their trip to Greece well. It had been years since Sally and Harry dated, but the feelings came back like it was yesterday. She found herself on cloud nine over her memories of their young love.

She decided to wait a day or two to message Harry back because she didn’t want to look eager. She kept her response short update on her life and her family.

Harry messaged her back.

And so, it began.

She liked his pictures

He loved her posts

Messaging went from a daily occurrence to an all-day event.

They shared about their families, their children, jobs. As the days and weeks went by, their facebook messages became more intimate. They became better friends. They knew a lot about each other.

They became more open with each other about the hard marriages they were both “stuck” in and about their growing feelings for each other.

However, they were ready to agree that they had somehow fallen in love again even though being miles apart- all via Face book messenger.

That is until one day when Sally left her facebook account open and her husband, Alan, saw a message from Harry pop up.

Alan clicked on the message, and there it was: Six months’ worth of daily messages between Harry and Sally.

Alan read through the messages and felt shocked, stunned, and hurt by the things Sally said about him. Had he become lazy, fat, and mean?

And then Sally walked in.

Alan, with tears in his eyes, looked up from the computer and asked, WHY!

Recovery from the emotional affair

Instead of letting this emotional affair destroy their marriage, Sally and Alan decided that they wanted to work on their relationship. They wanted things to change, and they were hopeful that things could improve with the right knowledge and resources.

To heal from the wounds of this emotional affair, revive their dying marriage, and protect against the danger of future affairs, Sally and Alan did three things:

First, Sally cut ties with Harry and unfriended him on Face book. That was a boundary she needed to set.

Second, Sally and Alan worked on meeting each other’s needs. They engaged a Couples Relationship therapist to work through their needs, and they began to implement small things into their marriage to help them feel connected.

How the Story ends

Along with nurturing their marriage, Alan and Sally set other boundaries to protect against future affairs and to re-build trust in their relationship.

It took time, but Alan came to completely forgave Sally and regained his trust by honouring the boundaries they set together and seeking to meet Alans needs.

A connection was something that had been missing in their relationship for a very long time. After many months of healing, their relationship was better. They felt more intimate on all levels- emotionally, physically, spiritually, intellectually.

Sally and Alan committed to continuing to intentionally working together to create the marriage they wanted.


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Ann Jay

Ann Jay is a Wellington Relationship Counselor who provides marriage counselling, couple's counselling, and relationship coaching for couples and women either in a relationship or single. Her goal is to help people create healthy, loving and fulfilling relationships and experience the love they deserve.