Highthoughts

Emotional affair and children

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I have had an emotional affair. Looking back I believe the reason it started was in dealing with depression. I'm not a very good communicator with my husband and often feel like he is annoyed or upset with me. I had a friend from high school that I felt safe talking to about absolutely anything, partly because there was no investment. I could say anything to him and if he didn't like it, oh well. He wasn't my partner so there was no risk. But it developed into more as I went to him to get the attention/comfort/ etc. I should have sought from my husband. It went too far and we had a "sexting" affair. We never had sex, but there were photos/videos exchanged and we met in person as well.

My problem is this. My husband is an amazing man. He is a leader in the church and a wonderful father. Our issues are all about communication and my inadequacies in everything. We have three young children. I fear upon learning of my affair that he will immediately want a divorce because that's the one reason Christ said it is okay to divorce. I fear he will see it as just the consequence of my action. And I fear my children will suffer greatly.

I'm considering just carrying on as if it didn't happen. Repenting as much as I can and just trying to be the perfect person on the outside that I failed to be on the inside. Isn't it better to go to hell myself than for my kids to suffer through losing a parent and all of that?

Any advice is appreciated. Anyone out there survive something like this? 

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2 hours ago, Highthoughts said:

Anyone out there survive something like this? 

I know of a few marriages that have survived things like this. In fact, I have a good friend of mine whose marriage actually vastly improved because her husband stepping out was "rock bottom" and they built up from that. While I don't know the details of her marriage, what I do know is that she was brutally honest with him, and he was brutally honest with her.  They went to counseling, and decided to "stay together for the kids." (her words). Eventually she forgave him and they have a very happy marriage. So marriages can survive this. 

 

2 hours ago, Highthoughts said:

Isn't it better to go to hell myself than for my kids to suffer through losing a parent and all of that?

My friend, you need to forgive yourself. I sense a lot of pain in your words. That's a "good" thing, because it means you won't do it again, but remember that we are all human and that God doesn't want us to suffer enterally. He is one of forgiveness and love. I'm praying for you and sending love. 

Edited by MormonGator

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This is a good thing to lay bare to your bishop.  Go seek his counsel.  You need to do more than just figure out how to handle this in your marriage, you need to avail yourself of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ and be cleansed of this sinful burden.

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7 hours ago, Highthoughts said:

Isn't it better to go to hell myself than for my kids to suffer through losing a parent and all of that?

No it isn't. Heavenly Father's goal is to have ALL His children return home - including you.

Once we return home and have a full understanding of our Eternal nature and the Savior's love, the suffering your children (may) experience in this life will pale in comparison to the sadness they will feel if you can not join them in the Celestial kingdom. Remember the joy over one soul that repents? You are that one soul at this time. Any price that may be paid today on earth (marriage, husband, children) will be swallowed up in joy and forgiveness in heaven.

So, do what you need to do with humility and a broken heart. Tell your husband you need to tell him a story, and he will have to tell you how it ends. As a couple, you may or may not choose to share this with your children. But whatever happens, make and stick to a commitment to confess to your Bishop and repent while you patiently and meekly endure all things. It's ALWAYS worth it.

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Delete all evidence of this activity and never tell anyone. 

You have a responsibility to your children that overrides all other considerations. You need to keep your family intact, if possible. The fact is, you did not have any sort of physical relationship. Over time, any guilt you may feel will be wiped away by the fine family you will raise. You will not go to hell by taking my advice  That’s total nonsense  By raising a great family you will have repented  

Dont do anything stupid like talking to your bishop. He will likely have you tell your husband, destroying all. 

Go to an independent counselor if you must talk this out with somebody.  

Edited by mrmarklin

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16 hours ago, Highthoughts said:

Isn't it better to go to hell myself than for my kids to suffer through losing a parent and all of that?

No it's not. God does not want you to go to hell, and you won't be doing yourself or your children any favors by not completing the repentance process. Remember what God tells us in John 3:17

"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."

Repentance can be tough, but God sent his Son Jesus Christ into the world to save you as an individual, as well as all of us. His whole goal is to bring you eternal life, not have you suffer in misery for the rest of your mortal life. The only person who is telling you that you deserve eternal misery is the devil. Tell him to go back to hell where he belongs, take a deep breath, and find some time to tell your husband. It will be difficult and he may well be very hurt. But you cannot build a solid relationship on lies. I would rather my wife tell me something like this so we could work it out and come out stronger on the other side. Especially since it did not get physical, I think if your husband is truly the great guy you think he is he will be able to forgive you in time. Talk to your bishop too. You will be amazed at the feeling of relief you receive the moment you talk about this to an authorized servant of God. God is waiting to forgive you sister. The question is will you let him? I know you can do this and I will be praying for you. 

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8 hours ago, mrmarklin said:

Dont do anything stupid like talking to your bishop. He will likely have you tell your husband, destroying all. 

Go to an independent counselor if you must talk this out with somebody.  

Some things to keep in mind as you sort through all the differing advice you're getting here:

- Emotional affairs are no small sins.  You have betrayed your husband and your marriage vows.  The spiritual impact of your actions won't go away on their own.
- Counseling can help sort through why you did it, help you grow past it, help you heal.  But it can't make things right with God. 
- mrmarklin is unable to predict what your bishop will tell you to do.  He might be speaking from some collection of anecdotes, but he cannot truthfully tell you the bishop will likely urge you to destroy your marriage.  It is possible that dealing with the spiritual aspects of this will involve only you, the bishop, and the Lord.  Bishops are not in the habit of destroying families.
- Confession is a critical element of the repentance process.  Without it, you can't complete repentance.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-19-repentance

Quote

We Must Confess Our Sins

Confessing our sins is very important. The Lord has commanded us to confess our sins. Confession relieves a heavy burden from the sinner. The Lord has promised, “I, the Lord, forgive sins, and am merciful unto those who confess their sins with humble hearts” (D&C 61:2).

We must confess all our sins to the Lord. In addition, we must confess serious sins—such as adultery, fornication, homosexual relations, spouse or child abuse, and the sale or use of illegal drugs—which might affect our standing in the Church, to the proper priesthood authority. If we have sinned against another person, we should confess to the person we have injured. Some less serious sins involve no one but ourselves and the Lord. These may be confessed privately to the Lord.

 

Edited by NeuroTypical

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You have great advice above.

I'd like to add this:

Trust your husband.  Trust that he cares about your children as much as you do.  Don't dishonor him by ripping him of his agency to do what is best for the eternal family when he has not actively done a thing to destroy it yet.

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I am currently going through something like this.  I had similar thoughts about sacrificing my own salvation to keep the family together.  But I got caught by my wife, in January.  She was understandably hurt, devastated.  I moved out of the house for a couple months.  But we are working together.  Our relationship now is stronger than it ever has been.  There is still a lot of work for me and for us.  These types of secrets should not stay secret, and often they can't.  I've been going to meetings, groups, therapy to get help (most of my issues are tied to compulsive pornography use).  And one message comes over more than any others.  Be honest.

There was a great quote in last week's Come Follow Me Sunday School lesson about repentance.  Near the end, look for Elder Kevin R. Duncan.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/come-follow-me-for-sunday-school-new-testament-2019/42?lang=eng

I hope you have the courage to do what is right.  It will be difficult but worth it.  

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32 minutes ago, dprh said:

There was a great quote in last week's Come Follow Me Sunday School lesson about repentance.  Near the end, look for Elder Kevin R. Duncan.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/come-follow-me-for-sunday-school-new-testament-2019/42?lang=eng

I hope you have the courage to do what is right.  It will be difficult but worth it.  

This is soooo appropriate for this situation - Paul's Letter to Philemon on behalf of Onesimus!  Paul and Onesimus trusted that Philemon - himself a Christian convert - would do the right thing by Onesimus and forgive him, thereby fulfilling Paul's promise that Philemon's forgiveness would not just gain himself back his slave but gain himself a brother forever.

Edited by anatess2

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"We Must Confess Our Sins

Confessing our sins is very important. The Lord has commanded us to confess our sins. Confession relieves a heavy burden from the sinner. The Lord has promised, “I, the Lord, forgive sins, and am merciful unto those who confess their sins with humble hearts” (D&C 61:2).

We must confess all our sins to the Lord. In addition, we must confess serious sins—such as adultery, fornication, homosexual relations, spouse or child abuse, and the sale or use of illegal drugs—which might affect our standing in the Church, to the proper priesthood authority. If we have sinned against another person, we should confess to the person we have injured. Some less serious sins involve no one but ourselves and the Lord. These may be confessed privately to the Lord. "

 

You have done none of the above sins, and are now remorseful,  Presumably you have repented and confessed to the Lord.  Don't make more of this than it is.  I personally wouldn't take the chance of destroying a family unit by "baring all".  I don't think you've done anything that bad, really.  Not a lot more than a routine fantasy. many of us may have.  The point is that you have stopped.  And in twenty or so years, no one will ever know the difference.  You can then joke with your husband about the so called emotional affair you had back in the day.

And no, if you take my advice, you are not going to hell.  Where do people get these ideas...………….:eek:

Edited by mrmarklin

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2 hours ago, mrmarklin said:

"We Must Confess Our Sins

Confessing our sins is very important. The Lord has commanded us to confess our sins. Confession relieves a heavy burden from the sinner. The Lord has promised, “I, the Lord, forgive sins, and am merciful unto those who confess their sins with humble hearts” (D&C 61:2).

We must confess all our sins to the Lord. In addition, we must confess serious sins—such as adultery, fornication, homosexual relations, spouse or child abuse, and the sale or use of illegal drugs—which might affect our standing in the Church, to the proper priesthood authority. If we have sinned against another person, we should confess to the person we have injured. Some less serious sins involve no one but ourselves and the Lord. These may be confessed privately to the Lord. "

 

You have done none of the above sins, and are now remorseful,  Presumably you have repented and confessed to the Lord.  Don't make more of this than it is.  I personally wouldn't take the chance of destroying a family unit by "baring all".  I don't think you've done anything that bad, really.  Not a lot more than a routine fantasy. many of us may have.  The point is that you have stopped.  And in twenty or so years, no one will ever know the difference.  You can then joke with your husband about the so called emotional affair you had back in the day.

And no, if you take my advice, you are not going to hell.  Where do people get these ideas...………….:eek:

Are you a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

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13 hours ago, mrmarklin said:

"We Must Confess Our Sins

Confessing our sins is very important. The Lord has commanded us to confess our sins. Confession relieves a heavy burden from the sinner. The Lord has promised, “I, the Lord, forgive sins, and am merciful unto those who confess their sins with humble hearts” (D&C 61:2).

We must confess all our sins to the Lord. In addition, we must confess serious sins—such as adultery, fornication, homosexual relations, spouse or child abuse, and the sale or use of illegal drugs—which might affect our standing in the Church, to the proper priesthood authority. If we have sinned against another person, we should confess to the person we have injured. Some less serious sins involve no one but ourselves and the Lord. These may be confessed privately to the Lord. "

 

You have done none of the above sins, and are now remorseful,  Presumably you have repented and confessed to the Lord.  Don't make more of this than it is.  I personally wouldn't take the chance of destroying a family unit by "baring all".  I don't think you've done anything that bad, really.  Not a lot more than a routine fantasy. many of us may have.  The point is that you have stopped.  And in twenty or so years, no one will ever know the difference.  You can then joke with your husband about the so called emotional affair you had back in the day.

And no, if you take my advice, you are not going to hell.  Where do people get these ideas...………….:eek:

I think it's more than that. 

I think it can be a tricky situation from what the Original Post described.  It sounds as if she is going through emotional abuse from her husband and that it MAY be somewhat severe.  She stated that she felt she was inadequate in everything.  That says something wrong may be going on in the home.  With a husband like that, it is possible that he is actually NOT the great leader that many think he might be.  I've known TOO MANY so called leaders in the church that I do not know WHY they were selected as they were some of the worst humans around and at times criminal.  AT times it seems the Church does NOT base selection of leaders on righteousness, but upon nepotism, money, and connections.

Nevertheless, we try to hope that the Lord is behind such selections and I do feel this is so, but at times it is hard to understand how.

I'd suggest professional counseling. 

It is very possible if she tells her husband that he will want a divorce.  It will be unrighteous of him to do so (as you are correct, it has not been blatant adultery...yet) as it would be biblically unjustified...but from her descriptions it sounds as if his pride and desire to abuse may get the better of him.  That makes confession difficult.  When the other party that was wronged is ALSO participating heavily in evil activity and are not righteous or humble, it can make it very hard to confess a sin to them.

That does not excuse the sin she has done.  It went a little more than what I would qualify as a simple emotional affair.  There were pictures traded from the sounds of it.  This means that pictures could also eventually make their way out to the internet.  I understand this is a popular thing for people to do these days.  Eventually someone they know may find these pictures.  The adversary seems to take delight in tormenting individuals, and in the strangest ways many times finds ways to reveal sins that people want to keep hidden.

The thing for the Poster to ponder is who they would rather the husband find out from...them...or others? 

Normally, my thoughts would be with the general consensus of the thread, and I feel overall that this is the course the Original Poster should take.  They should probably confess this to their Spouse.  This will at least absolve them of their need to confession, though they may also need to have 911 on speed dial just in case.  At times when a spouse is an emotional abuser, it can turn violent in these situations (if I am guessing the situation in any remote way close to what it is from some of the language they used in the original post).  The sins of their spouse do not justify their own sin, and in this situation I think confession to their spouse is probably for the best. 

Even from a non-spiritual viewpoint, as I said, who would they rather their spouse find out...themselves...or others?  This is something that many times one cannot keep a lid on no matter how much they wish for it to remain 'secret' as the secret is already shared with someone else.  They are relying on their own plus another's ability to keep that 'secret' and in most instances where one is already willing to cheat....even emotionally...they will let those secrets out.

Spiritually, I feel confession would also be important on this as they have broken a tryst with their partner.  They have lied and distrust has arisen.  In this situation I can see it being even harder and tougher to confess than it normally would be.  If the husband has as much love for their kids as the wife seems to think she does, than hopefully he will humble himself as well and try to forgive.  If he cannot, then considering what appears to be emotional abuse, in some ways it may be for the better if something is done to jar them to a situation where that hopefully would end.  If she is subject to emotional abuse, it is also very possible the children may also be subject to emotional abuse.

Once again, I would highly and strongly suggest counseling from a professional.  It may be that a counseling session would be more appropriate for confessions as well in this particular situation if there IS emotional abuse.  (Discuss it with the counselor so that they provide the opportunity to get everything in the open).  This could provide a venue under professional control where such confession could come out with a better result or outcome. 

I am NOT a professional counselor, but I see how this situation could be very difficult.  I see that the OP does not appear to have come back since their initial posting, so I am unsure if ANY of our posts will be read by them, but I think from their descriptions the best course of action is to go to marriage counseling for both of them as soon as possible.  I also agree that they Poster needs to tell their husband about what has occurred, but caution could be something to consider after feeling that there are several clues of pretty strong emotional abuse occurring in the marriage.

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On 11/3/2019 at 2:42 PM, Highthoughts said:

I have had an emotional affair. Looking back I believe the reason it started was in dealing with depression. I'm not a very good communicator with my husband and often feel like he is annoyed or upset with me. I had a friend from high school that I felt safe talking to about absolutely anything, partly because there was no investment. I could say anything to him and if he didn't like it, oh well. He wasn't my partner so there was no risk. But it developed into more as I went to him to get the attention/comfort/ etc. I should have sought from my husband. It went too far and we had a "sexting" affair. We never had sex, but there were photos/videos exchanged and we met in person as well.

My problem is this. My husband is an amazing man. He is a leader in the church and a wonderful father. Our issues are all about communication and my inadequacies in everything. We have three young children. I fear upon learning of my affair that he will immediately want a divorce because that's the one reason Christ said it is okay to divorce. I fear he will see it as just the consequence of my action. And I fear my children will suffer greatly.

I'm considering just carrying on as if it didn't happen. Repenting as much as I can and just trying to be the perfect person on the outside that I failed to be on the inside. Isn't it better to go to hell myself than for my kids to suffer through losing a parent and all of that?

Any advice is appreciated. Anyone out there survive something like this? 

If someone must go to the bishop to confess viewing pornography, sure one must go see the bishop for sexting, even once.

I remember once speaking with a couple. The husband had cheated on his wife and had been addicted to pornography for years without her knowing. He eventually told her, confessed everything. By the time I had spoke with them, he had been clean from porn for 2 years and was no longer cheating on his wife. 

They told their story and she told how difficult it was and all the things they had to do and work on in order to keep the marriage going and overcome this trial I’m their life. One thing they said (and is VERY common among sex addicts) is that in order to overcome the trial, they needed to become experts in communicating.

I asked the wife “Do you love him more now than you did prior to knowing everything?”. She immediately started crying and said “absolutely”.

You made a mistake and you continued to double down on that mistake. You need to bring it to the light. Saying that you don’t need to confess this to your bishop or to your husband is a strictly unsaintly thing to do.

You have a responsibility to your children that overrides all other considerations. You need to keep your family intact, if possible. In order to do that, you must confess. If you don’t, you will spiritually die and will likely not find ourselves with them for all eternity,

Of course, if you don’t believe in the teachings of the church and you think it is all hogwash, go ahead and keep hiding it. But if you have faith in Christ, faith in the restoration, and faith in the plan of salvation... you need to confess or you may very well lose everything.

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33 minutes ago, Fether said:

I asked the wife “Do you love him more now than you did prior to knowing everything?”. She immediately started crying and said “absolutely”.

Wonderful that it had a happy ending-you would think that issues like this always end poorly, but obviously not! 

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1 hour ago, MormonGator said:

Wonderful that it had a happy ending-you would think that issues like this always end poorly, but obviously not! 

It’s actually interesting. I was a part of a group sex addiction recovery group (not 12 step) a while back to deal with my porn usage. There were people everywhere from occasional pornography viewers to consistent adulterers to a homosexual husband that abused his adopted son. Some were single, some married, some came alone and many came with their spouse if they had one.

We had a lot of recovering addicts who had been sober for years come and speak with us. in every case where the addict was repentant and the spouse wanted to work through it, they said their communication had never been better and have never been more happy in their marriage. Many of the couples I. The group shared very similar experiences in their journey.

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1 hour ago, Fether said:

they said their communication had never been better and have never been more happy in their marriage.

Beautiful.  As someone who has been married for 17 years, I can say there is no greater blessing than a happy marriage. 

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On 11/3/2019 at 1:42 PM, Highthoughts said:

I'm considering just carrying on as if it didn't happen. Repenting as much as I can and just trying to be the perfect person on the outside that I failed to be on the inside. Isn't it better to go to hell myself than for my kids to suffer through losing a parent and all of that?

This is what you need to do. No one is going to hell, but you will potentially destroy your relationship with your husband and kids if you go down the road of confessing all. Get on your knees beg for forgiveness, delete and remove any and all contact with this individual and move on with your life. I would recommend counseling based on the communication problems you have with your husband but do not destroy your family over this.

 

 

6 hours ago, Fether said:

if someone must go to the bishop to confess viewing pornography, sure one must go see the bishop for sexting, even once.

Do you need to confess to your bishop for viewing Poronography one time? I'd say no. While the OP has a more serious issue there are other people involved their small children whose lives would be greatly disrupted by a divorce and untold levels of damage to their psyche if she were to confess all.

 

6 hours ago, Fether said:

You have a responsibility to your children that overrides all other considerations. You need to keep your family intact, if possible. In order to do that, you must confess. If you don’t, you will spiritually die and will likely not find ourselves with them for all eternity,

I agree with the part in bold, but not the latter. you will not spiritually die. Don't be selfish.

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1 hour ago, omegaseamaster75 said:

While the OP has a more serious issue there are other people involved their small children whose lives would be greatly disrupted by a divorce and untold levels of damage to their psyche if she were to confess all.

She sent nudes of herself to another man. At what point would you say she have to confess? If she had been in an active affair for 6 years, then should she confess? Or no cause it would tear apart her family?

The fact that confessing would risk the marriage is reason enough to confess

What your saying doesn’t seem like a faithful answer at all, but rather the answer of a heathen that is just trying to avoid rocking the boat. Had an emotional affair been the end of the issue, then we can have an open discussion about whether a confession to the husband is necessary. But the fact that she sent nude photos of herself to another man alone mandates a confession to the bishop and husband.

All will be known in the last days. There will be no secrets.

So it comes down to this. Is there a God or is there not? If there is no God, then keep it a secret. Don’t say anything. If there is a God, The husband will discover her unfaithful actions in the end and she will be under the condemnation of God. This (meaning the stain of sin and the eternal feeling of shame) can ALL go away through confession. Admittedly there will be scars, but those scars will heal.

now @Highthoughts, I want to end speaking directly to you to clarify things that may have been misinterpreted in my explanation above. You are not a terrible person, though you have done something terrible. YOU need to love yourself. You deserve so much good in your life. You deserve every good thing God has in store. Though this may be more difficult for your family, there is no downplaying the shame and guilt you feel right now. You deserve to get better and to heal from the spiritual pain you are going through right now. Don’t let others downplay the pain you feel by saying “it doesn’t matter, you don’t need to tell anyone”. You know (not that) deep down the seriousness of what happened and what you have to do.

you have already caused extensive damage... It is up to you now on what other consequences you will face. Tearing apart your family for this time on earth is awful, but pales in comparison to losing your family for eternity. God loves you so much and wants you to make the right decision here.

I think it would be fair to call this a faith crisis as you decision will show whether you have faith or not in what you are taught. Is there a God? If so then confess. If there is no God, don’t worry about confessing and continue on with your life.

If you go forward with confessing, strongly consider finding a good marriage and family therapist. If your husband refuses, get one for just yourself.

Edited by Fether

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3 hours ago, Fether said:

She sent nudes of herself to another man. At what point would you say she have to confess? If she had been in an active affair for 6 years, then should she confess? Or no cause it would tear apart her family?

The fact that confessing would risk the marriage is reason enough to confess

What your saying doesn’t seem like a faithful answer at all, but rather the answer of a heathen that is just trying to avoid rocking the boat. Had an emotional affair been the end of the issue, then we can have an open discussion about whether a confession to the husband is necessary. But the fact that she sent nude photos of herself to another man alone mandates a confession to the bishop and husband.

All will be known in the last days. There will be no secrets.

So it comes down to this. Is there a God or is there not? If there is no God, then keep it a secret. Don’t say anything. If there is a God, The husband will discover her unfaithful actions in the end and she will be under the condemnation of God. This (meaning the stain of sin and the eternal feeling of shame) can ALL go away through confession. Admittedly there will be scars, but those scars will heal.

 

So much this. That was why I asked if @mrmarklin  was a member of the Church.  I can't imagine ever telling someone they shouldn't seek the counsel of their bishop over something like that.  "Not going to hell" isn't equal to "pleasing to God".  How can you continue progression without repentance?  How can you be repentant if you are lying to your spouse?

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