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Is it Possible to Get Over Emotional Cheating in a Relationship?  E-mail

Hi Maria,

I was reading many similar stories to mine and am seeking some sort of closure.

The history here is my husband and I have been married 25 years. In about our 12th or 13th year of our marriage, my husband had an affair for about 1 year. He finally told me because the woman apparently broke it off because he would not leave me. We had our 2 young sons at that time. We did extensive therapy together and alone and decided to stay together and work things out. It went well and we did. I thought we were doing very well.

Apparently, not well enough or my husband is a habitual cheater. About 6 years ago, he got involved with a coworker but this time kept it only on an emotional level. It went on for 3 years until he told me finally. It got really bad in about 2009 where he was going to leave me for her. I played God unfortunately. I told him lies about her that I said I had heard from people I knew that knew her. He believed me and also at that time, the other woman quit her job and took on another job. She also sort of dumped him. It was either get a divorce or don't bother me in her book.

At that same time, I was kicking him out. I had become strong without him but then when I realized he wasn't going to be able to go to her, I took him back and we worked on our marriage. I did have to watch him go through a "break up" if you will with her and he was very depressed. It was actually quite sick that I stayed.

In the last year, things have been much much better. He actually loves me I feel and has been working extremely hard to redeem himself.

I just can't find how to get past the hurt though and I obsess. I had not been spying on him at all during the past year and that helped. BUT, yesterday, I snooped on his work computer he had brought home. I found that in Jan. and Feb. of this year in his history of the internet, he has searched her about 10 times. Once was 2 days after our 25th anniversary.

I freaked out yesterday, told him I snooped and saw that. He said it was just curiosity and that he has no intentions of finding her.

This is almost the stick that has broken the camel's back - I don't know if I can stay with this man. And if I leave, how the hell do I do that!!! I'm 52 and have been with him since I was 26.

Do you think I can get over this and how? And if not, how do I move on with a break up from him? I'm so confused and sick over this. Or is this a normal thing that someone will do ... search a past lover?

Thanks for any advice you have.


The goal of this website is to give support to people who are feeling depressed and unhappy with their lives. I am living in Europe and English is not my native language, I wish you will excuse me if I make some grammatical errors. I decided to write in English because I wish to reach as many people as I can around the world.


Maria's Reply:

Is it Possible to Get Over Emotional Cheating in a Relationship?


Dear Friend,

Thank you for your email. I understand why you felt hurt when you found out that your husband had been searching for that woman online. I have been in a similar situation and I know well how much pain such a discovery causes. From the point of view of your husband, however, it can be that the significance of that incident was not as great. Many people go to a so-called "idle" mode while on computer. In today's world where Google is providing access to practically limitless database, it is not uncommon to do random searches for matters and people who are not in any way part of one's everyday life. I am not saying that searching for this woman would have been such a random sweep for your husband, considering their past it is clear it was more than that. All I am saying is that if he truly had wanted to get in touch with her, he most likely would have done more than just couple searches online.

It can very well be as your husband said, that he was merely curious of what that woman was up to (of course his curiosity is flavored with the fact that he had been emotionally involved with her). Whatever the reason is, what matters is that this discovery caused you pain. Your pain is an indicator that you are not yet over what happened. This is not surprising at all considering that you were betrayed in a very profound way.

Emotional cheating can be more painful than physical cheating

You wrote: My husband is a habitual cheater. About 6 years ago, he got involved with a coworker but this time kept it only on an emotional level. Dear Friend, emotional cheating is just as serious as physical cheating. In many cases emotional cheating is causing even more pain than sexual affair because emotional involvement increases risk that one's partner may indeed leave one for the Lover, not to mention that it is also very painful to think that someone we deeply care for is suddenly withdrawing his or her love and giving all his or her affection to another. So please do not underestimate the significance of your husband's emotional affair: It was just as wrong as if he was having a sexual affair. The fact that the affair went on for several years shows that your husband did not feel significant remorse during the time he was involved with this woman. Unfortunately quite a few people are like your husband in this regard: They keep the affair going until they get caught or something else happens that forces them to stop the affair. It is very difficult to resume trust towards such a person.

Is it possible to get over an emotional affair and resume trust?

Dear Friend, you were wondering can you ever get over the betrayal performed by your husband. As I said, it is quite difficult to learn to trust again after being betrayed in such a profound way. You also said your husband is a habitual cheater. It is extremely devastating emotionally to remain in a relationship with a person one cannot trust. You deserve to be treated with respect in your relationship. Your husband's behavior shows he does not respect you and is unable to put you as a priority, instead he is pursuing his own pleasures on the expense of your happiness.

Cheaters are often somewhat selfish people. Selfishness is a personality trait and it is quite difficult to change one's personality in a fundamental way. You and your husband are no longer young adults. If your husband has not learned certain things in life by now (such as respect, honesty towards his spouse) it is not likely he will suddenly change his ways and become the dream husband you always hoped he would be. On the other hand, it is impossible to know whether your husband will cheat again. But because of his past behavior you might never be able to fully trust him and if you remain with him you might always be on your guard.

Dear Friend, in the end I wish to remind you of a very important thing: You are not old! Being fifty in our days is quite different than being fifty say a hundred years ago. You are still living the peak years of your life, you have a lot to look forward to. The worst thing you could do is to remain in an unhappy marriage just because you feel you cannot learn to live without your husband.

If you live to be a hundred years old, you still have half of your life ahead of you. If you live to be 80, you still have as much life ahead of you as you have now spent with your husband. Do not let your husband ruin the rest of your life by forcing you to live in an unsatisfying relationship. You deserve so much better than that! If you read the stories on my support websites, you see that there are so many women who have ended their unhappy marriage around your age and have not regret it, on the contrary they often wish they had left sooner. Please do not be afraid to leave to seek your own happiness should you feel that the separation is the best option for you.

Warm hug,



It helps to know we are not alone. To read more stories of people who are experiencing problems in a relationship, visit section Personal Stories.



If you wish to submit your own story to get feedback and support or if you wish to contact me for any other reason, please send me email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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