We have a terrific topic for today, and I hope you all respond to it if you have any words that can help.  But before we start the new topic, here are two last letters on the subject of emotional infidelity:

It is obvious that talking with your husband has been ineffective. He has decided there is nothing wrong in what he is doing. Denial is a typical thing. Therefore, what has your bishop suggested? If he is not presently working with your husband to resolve this betrayal of trust, he certainly should be. It is time to confront the issue head on before it becomes bigger than it already is.
An Opinion from Missouri

Bringing the bishop into a situation like this is a good idea, Missouri.  He has stewardship over the family and can therefore give advice that is not just practical, but also inspired.  Thanks for the suggestion.

Our last letter is from a husband whose wife had an emotional affair, and who has survived to tell the story.  Here is what he had to say:

About eighteen months ago I went through a similar situation after my wife was contacted by an ex-boyfriend on Facebook. After the initial claims of “just catching up” their association then escalated into something much more intense, with texting, phone calls and then meeting up _ all without my knowledge.

The claim by “Three is Not Company’s” husband that he has “done nothing wrong” shows a complete lack of understanding about the meaning of marital fidelity.  Emotional infidelity is just as damaging to a marriage as sexual infidelity. In my case, to know that my wife had been infatuated with another man, had met him in secret, and had shared intimate thoughts and feelings, was completely devastating (and indeed, sexual infidelity was an almost inevitable conclusion had the relationship continued). It is the betrayal of trust that damages the relationship, and this is just as much so in emotional affairs as it is in sexual affairs.

Eighteen months on our relationship is a lot better, my self-esteem is improving, and I am feeling more secure again, but still hardly a day goes by without my thinking about what happened. Although my wife acknowledged immediately that what she had done was wrong, I believe it took a while for her to fully realize the impact of her actions on me and on our marriage _ so be patient.

In the case of “Three is Not Company,” the husband needs to come to terms with what he has done.  He may need counseling, and probably needs to talk to his bishop. Once he has done this, the rebuilding of the marriage can start.

Somewhere along the way I came across this quote, which has really helped me:

To avoid getting pulled back into the past, set your mind and heart on creating new memories together. Exploring new happiness will help your relationship mend and move on greatly. Go on dates, get romantic and become better friends than before! Make a permanent note in your mind that nobody is perfect but everyone deserve forgiveness for their mistakes. Try putting yourself in your partner’s shoes and think about the pain and regret they are going through and how much they love you. He or she knew it was wrong to do before they did it, but probably felt it was their only way to cope with their troubles at the time. If you have been genuinely apologized to and promised that it will never happen again, then open your heart and give him or her a chance. You obviously love your partner and he or she loves you, which is why you have decided to forgive and move on. So work as a team and be each other’s strength in putting the past behind you, looking at it as a learning experience in which will assist you in making your love affair-proof from this point on.

Good luck!

Wiser Now

What a great letter, Wiser!  I tried to give attribution to your quote, but although I found it in several places on the internet it was always without attribution.  So unless anyone can come up with an author, the quote remains anonymous.

By the way, your letter on forgiveness provides a great segue into our next topic.  We’ll let the reader present the topic for us:

This is a pretty heavy subject, and because of the sensitive nature of my question I just can’t blurt this out in Relief Society.

  Because I am sure I’m not the only one with this question, I hope you will be able to ask for your readers’ suggestions in helping me and others trying to become better disciples of Jesus Christ.
My question is simply this:  I know the Lord has commanded us to forgive others, and I know why.  I also have a deep and abiding testimony of the power of the Savior’s atonement.  But I need to know how to forgive.  

How does someone forgive the deepest betrayal?  I’m not talking about a neighbor who didn’t wave at me, or a friend who forgot my birthday, or an unkind comment at church.  I’m talking about the real sinned-against offenses that shake our very core and bring us to our knees in broken hearted anguish.  The sins that cause us to weep in the night, and in the morning, and in the afternoon.  The sins that force us to cry out to the Lord for His divine help.  I’ve received that help, and know it is real.  
But I also know that to truly feel whole again, I need to forgive those who have hurt me _ not just say I forgive, but I need to completely forgive, deep down to the depths of my soul.
I’d like to know if anyone has any specific suggestions or resources that have helped them find peace, and enabled them to forgive the offender.  
There you have it, readers.  Wounded has a legitimate problem, and it needs more than a band-aid.  If you have experience in forgiving others and would like to share it with Wounded, please send your advice to [email protected].  Put something in the subject line to let me know your letter isn’t spam.  And be sure you let me know how you want your letter signed.  If you don’t provide a signature, I’ll make one up.  (Just another free service provided by Meridian Magazine!)

Until next time _ Kathy

“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”

Catherine Ponder