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Grieving the Loss of your Affair Partner

To save my marriage I was called to allow my wife to grieve the loss of her affair partner. It would have been cruel and unusual punishment for me to listen to all that she missed about him and the relationship. Yet, it was necessary for her to have someone with whom to share that particular loss. For the desire to see him lessen, she needed to voice that he touched something deep within her soul, wrong situation that it was, and that she would miss it.

I didn't like this part of the healing process at all. I wanted her to be able to yell, scream and call him a jerk. Even if I felt he was a jerk at the time, I still had to acknowledge that my wife has exquisite taste and wouldn't choose a man without any redeeming qualities. My part in this aspect of the grieving process focused around coming to a shared definition of her affair and acting on that message.

Ann appreciated having fun. Like I said in the previous post I had become Mr. Serious Christian always seeking to be right and moral and forgetting about being dependent on God and having his lifegiving grace flow through me. She also wanted to be pursued and romanced. I had neglected and chosen not to do this for the most part. We 'needed' to have family time not romance time I rationalized. Ann did not feel I valued her or appreciated her as a woman. This is central to what she communicated to me by having the affair.

I was angry knowing that she found these important aspects of marriage with another man. I had a choice to make to let my anger become frozen and turn to bitterness (a quote from Henri Nouwen) or to allow my anger to lead me to my hurt to lead me to looking at my own failures in our marriage. I then chose to grieve and repent of my failures which gave me the freedom to truly pursue my beautiful, glorious bride in the midst of my pain, anger and my desire to forgive.


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I just discovered the "Marriages Restored" blog today. I haven't gotten too far into it but it appears to be a blog by a couple who had experienced infidelity. It appears that the wife is the one who committed the [Read More]

Comments

How do you live day by day with the same person knowing that they had an affair with another man how do you over come that. When you marry dont your vows mean anything to you, you dont cheat on your spouce u love your spouce with all your heart and soul

Stacy, You are right. It is best to honor one's vows and never have to deal with the turmoil of an affair. I think the evil one's most effective tactic in our culture is cultivating a desire for 'success' and busyness.
My wife and I lost track of what is most important in life and ended up having to face her affair.
I am able to live with her because deep down inside I know that I need a Savior every bit as much as she does. Just as many of the splinters on that Cross belong to me as belong to her.
Also, she is a changed woman. It took the explosion of the revelation of her affair and the death of her dad to cancer to really plow up and soften her heart. She is beautiful outside and inside and there is nobody else on earth with whom I would rather journey the rest of my days.

Ben

I just found your site today, and read the whole thing in one sitting. I totally understand when you said "I had become Mr. Serious Christian ". My husband has decided to attend a seminary, and it is exquisitely clear that this means this school, this profession, these schoolmates mean far more to him than I ever shall. Even when I was diagnosed with cancer while pregnant, he would not even think about taking a break from school. Is he having an affair? Not with a human, but I certainly think that I have been replaced in his heart by what he feels will be the best thing ever - his impending profession. Your site is an interesting read, thank you for sharing with the world!

Thanks bc,
Prayers and blessings for you to be the number one ministry of your husband and likewise he to you.

I had an emotional affair with my pastor. What's even worse is I am a staff wife. My husband is our Music Minister. It all came out about a year ago, and we are all still on staff together but it is terribly uncomfortable. He has never acknowledged his wrongdoing, and it is hard to listen to him in the pulpit. Any help from godly council would be appreciated. Email and name withheld. Just post.

Lynn, It does sound like a difficult situation for you given that he seems to have dismissed the relationship. What happened when the emotional affair was revealed? Any repercussions with church leadership? What kind of conversations did you have with your husband? What are you and your husband discussing now? How have you grieved the loss of the closeness with the pastor? What keeps you and your husband at that church?
I am more full of questions than answers. Prayers to you as you deal with this pain.

No one at the church is aware of the situation. My husband and I are doing super. He has forgiven me and our marriage is stronger than ever. I continue to grieve the loss of the relationship, because we had been really good friends for a long time before things got too far. Our families were close. I long for things to be like they were "before." We stay there because we feel like that is where the Lord wants us.

Lynn, What's your husband's relationship with the pastor like now? What conversations have they had?
The sad part of this is 'before' can't be recaptured. It is a huge loss since the four of you (I assume the pastor is married) had a good relationship before.
I am curious as to what made the relationship inappropriate and how the pastor was confronted about it.
In an ideal atmosphere I would hope the leadership of the church could address this with the pastor and some avenue of growth and restoration could be set in place for him. If he doesn't admit the need for restoration that does make it tricky.
This feels like one of those times when the church gets put ahead of a pastor's relationship with God. A church in many ways can only go as deep as the pastor is willing to. It sounds like you feel that as you listen to him preach.
If a man isn't willing to admit his wrongdoing, he doesn't bring the darkness into light, then he doesn't allow God's grace to transform him.
So, as for you sitting in church on Sunday and listening to him I don't know how to make that easier for you. I don't know that it should be easier. You had your part in this and need to look at that, sorrow over your sin, heal and make appropriate changes. It's also true that he is the person in authority and bears greater responsibility to what happened.
My heart goes out to you.

I hope someone could answer my questions.
I had a 5 year relationship with a man that had relatonship and sexual addiction. We tried several times to find the answers to these problems through therapy. I finaly found a male therapist who worked with us all summer. My partner never could say the words "addiction" until our therapist guided him to accept that his entire life had all the signs. Two weeks ago he said he wanted to try with a woman he had been seeing for the last year behaind my back. He went to therapy with her once and swore that he was not going to see me anymore. That lasted one week. I found out this by talking to her on the phone. Why do I feel so betrayed by him? He said he was going to go in recovery so he could be with her. Why can't I be happy for him? I love him with all my heart and want him to be at peace. But I can't find peace for myself right now. I gave so much to get him to this point only to lose him. Can someone tell me what I should do for myself.

Thank you. God Bless.

I just found this website and blog and it's been so helpful. I'm just coming out of an emotional affair, and it's reassuring to have recognized that, despite our guilt over the pain we caused, we still go through out own pain of withdrawal. I noticed in Lynn's post that her emotional affair has not been acknowledged by the man involved. I'm in a similar situation. For one thing, this man is not a Christian, so I allowed myself to get into into alot of New Age type thinking, so it was not just an emotionally affair but also a spiritual affair. He even told me once that my guilt was from my 'religious conditioning'. He even knew my husband was jealous of him. He's out of the area now, but in an email he told me I did nothing wrong and in his eyes he did nothing wrong because he saw what was happening and if he had acted differently I wouldn't have grown and he hopes my husband learns from his pain and grows too. Talk about playing God! I've stopped any contact, am getting Christian counselling and my husband and I are going through the painful process of dealing not just with the affair but all the problems in our marriage that led to this, his part and mine. Still it's frustrating on a human level to not have the reality of the situation acknowledged by the other person...it feels like there's no honest closure. I've realized the closure will not come through this man, but through God. I still have human frustration, anger, and left-over emotions, so it's good to have Christian support and sharing.

Kathy, Thanks for your words. My heart will be with you as you and your husband heal and grow together.
Rosemary, You had a five year relationship with this man. Ending it will bring pain and loss even if some of it was dysfunctional. The same with him lying to you after the amount of closeness you had for five years. Betrayal really hurts and you were betrayed.
As for what to do I can only encourage to move into your pain, grieve your losses and continue to grow on your own so that your next serious relationship is with a more emotionally healthy person.

I am in the early stages of recovering from an affair with my pastor that lasted for nearly a year. It happened while I was the secretary at the church. My husband and I were deeply involved in our church and really loved it. This pastor and his family were close with our family even before the affair and our children are best friends. Seven and a half weeks ago, I was ready to leave my husband just to get away from the stress of our deception, but we decided to confess instead. (I haven't talked to him since) He confessed in front of the church while I sat at home and cried. My best friend is the church administrator so I hear a lot of what's going on at the church from her. Basically the church decided to forgive the pastor and "restore" him by keeping his family in the church and to bring him back on staff in two years. (as dictated by the denomination) The interim pastor is the pastor's father. As you might imagine, I feel "discarded", as though my family doesn't matter. We are basically on our own. A few people have contacted us, but it is clear that we are not welcome because the priority is restoring the pastor. This hurts so much. And I am conflicted because I love this pastor so much, I want what is best for him also. Even after nearly 8 weeks, I am grieving this man and our relationship. I know we made the right decision, but I just don't know how to move forward, especially with my husband. I feel so little attraction for him--it seems hopeless. I am keeping my eyes on God, but He is hard to see in this situation. Any thoughts?

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