Online Affairs: The Struggle is Real


how to have an affair

How did I get here? It was the question that reeled in my mind as I sat on my bed weeping. My husband’s side of the bed sat cold and empty. You see, eight months prior, I worked as a social media manager at my company. On one particular day, I received a Twitter post that said, “Let’s chat sometime.” It was a prominent industry person. We set up a business call. He emailed me immediately afterward and said he wanted to stay in touch every so often. I was flattered.

However, I soon found out his interest went far beyond professional. And his “every so often” turned into daily online chats, filled with sweet talk about my looks and my body. I was a 40-year-old mom of three, and he thought I was hot?  I was hooked. Our escapades quickly escalated to sexting and weekly FaceTimes. I had my cake and could eat it, too. After all, it was only virtual. Right?

That is until I was caught—by my husband. Then reality hit like a brick. At that point, it might as well have been a physical affair. My actions were shocking, out of character, and hurtful to him as a man. So he packed his bags and left.

That’s not the end of the story—thank goodness! Learn from my mistakes to prevent this from happening in your marriage.

1. It’s easier than you think.

Social media, texting, and any type of digital communication make online affairs all too tempting and all too easy. Harmless joking via emails with a male coworker turns into flirting. An old flame connects with you on Facebook. Someone you met on a business trip always views your profile and comments on your social media posts. I get it. It makes you feel good. But it’s very dangerous. Take it from me; many of these men won’t care if they—or you—are married. And without the physical aspect, online affairs seem safe, not “real.” But it hurts just as much as if it were. Just ask my husband.

I’m so grateful that he found it in his heart to forgive me and was willing to do the hard work to make our marriage work. It’s a long, emotional road to soul search and rebuild a relationship. But it’s totally worth it.

Perhaps you find yourself in a similar situation or about to cross the line. As a woman who felt empty in my own marriage relationship and who’s come out on the other side of an online affair, my hope is that these simple things will help you.

2. Guard your heart.

It has to start with you. In the book of Proverbs in the Bible, it says to guard your heart above all else. In other words: garbage in, garbage out. Intentionally do things that will keep your mind and heart in the right place like:

  • Encourage yourself. Place sticky notes with verses and inspirational sayings on your mirror or any other place you will see them. This will help you keep positive truths circulating in your mind, rather than negative self-talk. When you don’t feel good about yourself, the attention you get through online relationships is intriguing and fills the hole in your heart. Bottom line: It’s a false confidence that will only lead to hurt.
  • Be accountable. If you have thought seriously about pursuing an online affair, she can encourage you and pray for you. When you admit your temptation out loud to someone else, it’s less likely that you’ll follow through with it.
  • Remember your vows. After several moves, our wedding pictures got stuck in an unopened box in the attic. We didn’t have any of them out. When my husband and I were in the middle of our healing process, one of the most precious gifts I gave him was a collage of our wedding photos that we hung in our bedroom. Something simple like this is a daily reminder of the covenant you made to each other. Remember: Forsaking all others as long as you both shall live?

3. Encourage your spouse.

Let’s face it: After kids and a metabolism that seemingly slows down more each year, your body probably isn’t quite the same as it was while you and your guy were dating. And it’s likely that your husband’s isn’t either. Often we hear more about women that suffer from low self-esteem and body issues. But your husband might feel self-conscious, too. (Guys just don’t verbalize these feelings as much as we do.) It’s important to take that second look at him. Let your husband know through your words and actions that he still turns your head. {Tweet This} (Try these 10 compliments for your husband.) And talk to him about this because it’s important that he does the same for you. If you know he still thinks you’re sexy, you won’t go looking for it somewhere else. The flirtatiousness between the two of you will help bring back that spark that might have left long ago.

4. Be transparent.

As mentioned earlier, there are so many avenues that can cultivate online affairs. If you find yourself on the edge of an online affair, just talk about it with your husband. It’s going to be uncomfortable and embarrassing. But it’s healthy to open up communication about what might not be working between the two of you.

5. Seek help.

If you’re already tangled up in it, seek wise counsel. If you’re open to it, a trusted friend or a counselor can help you navigate through and offer advice about how to carefully approach the subject.

6. Resist temptation.

If another guy starts to give you a little more attention, just walk away. Tell your coworker that you‘re uncomfortable with all the emails. Don’t respond to the comments that business colleague posts or unfriend him. If you find yourself dangerously close to an online affair, just get off of social media or cancel your email if possible.

7. Get offline.

When I had to disappear from social media, it felt like the only source of my confidence was being ripped from me. So I know how you might be feeling right now. But it’s the best thing you could do. It’ll honor your husband and make any contact with the other man impossible. Then your attention can turn away from fantasy to help build your reality into something even more amazing. How do you ensure your marriage is safeguarded?

Comments


  • Andi

    Great article. I think it will help a lot of people.

  • Lottie

    Quite a good article, except for the part where the author states “learn from my mistakes”, an affair is not a “mistake” it’s a deliberate CHOICE and CHOICES to continue it. So perhaps she should re read the part about “accountability” and be accountable for her own choices rather than minimising them and her own accountability as “mistakes”

    • anonymous

      Things like this are hard to talk about….and admit, especially as a Christian. Perhaps she didn’t have someone she felt she could trust. Yes, accountability is important, but you don’t know the situation. And the enemy is sneaky that way. He can make you believe a lot of lies about yourself and circumstances! Is it “right”? No. But nobody is immune to mistakes/bad choices…and the advice given in the article is good and sound. (and well said in a short blog form!)

  • Jessica

    The author is sharing her heart; she’s putting her very delicate story out there in hopes that someone else will not make the same choices or series of choices she has made. You’re right, they were bad choices, also known as mistakes… and if she did have an accountability partner in place, maybe she would have made better choices. But that’s not her story. We’re all at fault for making bad choices at some point in our lives. There is none righteous… but Christ came to redeem our messy story and turn it into a beautiful one…. full of redemption and grace and new beginnings.

    • Lottie

      A mistake is not noticing the red sock in the white wash that comes out pink…..turning left when you meant to turn right. Any affair is a choice not a mistake and whilst we don’t know her situation, really we don’t need to know it not does her situation matter because everyone, Christian or otherwise knows an affair is wrong. It’s not about being righteous and yes none of us are immune to doing bad things and we’ve all made bad choices but were talking here about affairs as bad choices not a mistake. The two are not the same. There’s many marriages that go through full rough patches. There is NO justification for an affair. It’s solely down to the adulterer and what’s lacking in them (self esteem for example) or personality traits – selfishness, entitlement, greed etc that enable them to slide down that slippery slope. Zero to do with the situation, spouse, crap day at work etc. cheating is 100% the choice of the person doing it. If they’re lucky and their betrayed spouse offers the gift of reconciliation then they’re very blessed indeed. I felt the article was quite good as I said already but I did read some minimisation of her actions and choices within that. I doubt she’d like it if the shoe was on the other foot.

      • BJ_Foster

        Lottie – I understand what you are saying, but the technical definition of a mistake is “an action or judgment that is misguided or wrong.” That seems to me to be exactly what the author was talking about. You may classify a mistake as only a light-hearted mix up like dropping a cookie on the floor, but the definition includes more serious matters as well. I don’t see a minimizing by the author. Any article that starts out with “How did I get here? … as I sat on the bed weeping…” is not minimizing the wrong that was done. I think we are getting caught up in semantics. Ultimately I think you and the author agree that this was filled willful choices; bad choices that resulted in terrible pain and consequences. The main intent of the author would be for others not to follow to same wrong judgment that led her down that road.

        • Lottie

          Bj I think you’re bringing the semantics in here, and whilst we all generally agree that we get where the author is coming from and advising or warning people against any type of affair I still stand by what I say. Dropping a cookie on the floor is an accident, and in no way was her marriage and whatever state it was or wasn’t in to blame for her choices to sext with a man other than her husband. Cheating is always 100% on the cheater and their issues, choices. How did she get here she asked herself weeping on the bed?. Solely all down to what she chose to do is the answer. I feel the “learn from my mistakes” part of the article would have read better if she’d said something like “learn from my destructive, selfish choices that almost blew my family and marriage apart but by the grace of god and my husband did not”. That sounds far more accountable to me. I don’t know if any of you have been betrayed but anyone who has been cheated on and was told by the cheating partner that it was a “mistake” – it’s just an insult to them. Cheating is never a mistake, always a choice, an active choice to choose someone and value the false ego kibbles they provide over your spouse and kids. She does not say that she told her husband it was a mistake and I do see some ownership from the author, which is good and yes it’s hard what she’s written about but she knew when she was doing it it was a choice, a wrong one, not a mistake and only through her husband catching her did it stop. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and I’m happy her husband chose to offer her the gift of reconciliation I hope she keeps that at the forefront next time her marriage tide is out. Her husband deserves more kudos though, it would be interesting to hear his side of the story, and if he feels what happened to him was the result of a few “mistakes”or was it happened through a series of choices.

        • God’sGirl

          You are absolutely correct, BJ, and sometimes people let their own experiences cause them to perseverate on a related topic and that’s exactly what’s happening here. Regardless of whether or not you have been cheated on, it is a mistake AND a bad choice. I do not understand this determination to force people to accept that it is in no way a mistake. I understand that it’s a choice, but it is also clearly a mistake as well. Also, you are very misguided if you think that the other person’s words or actions can’t have an effect on what someone does. Yes, it is ultimately the responsibility of the person who makes the wrong choice, but as you (Lottie) alluded to, until you have been on the other end of it – until you’ve had a child who was emotionally and physically abused or some other similar horrible situation – do not be the one trying to force an opinion on others. And whether we like it or not, that’s all it is — your opinion in this case, not fact. We all need to respect each other’s opinions and stop subtly criticizing and patronizing others who are making good points but not using the words you are trying to assert are the only right words when such is not the case. Be blessed.

  • Janelle Keith

    The courage felt from the writer in this post is amazing. Such a delicate story to share but how healing the suggestions can bring to a broken relationship. Thank you for posting this and being vulnerable.

  • Aurora

    Temptation is out there. The enemy knows our weakness. At any given moment we can be seduced by whatever our weakness is. Especially in this age we live in…—> “If it makes us feel good, go for it…” and then we become bound to whatever we allowed to control us. Until we are exposed. The shame, the guilt, the heartache within and the heartache brought to others because of our choices, then the pain in having to let go what became part of us. The tear, the rip, the feeling of emptiness once again. The chaos, the confusion, the fear– it’s the fruit of our actions, the consequences of sin.

    It all reminds me of how WE cheat on God. How we become consumed by the world around us and barely remember Him. Some kind of crises brings us back to Him, and He so lovingly embraces us as His child. If we remain in Him we survive the bumps and bruises to reconciliation with the ones we hurt and with our relationship with God. You see, in life it’s all about building relationships. Strong relationships like the author has said about being able to have an accountability partner. That is KEY. Someone who can breathe truth into your life when darkness tries to suffocate you. Life is all about drawing closer to God each and every day and remembering Him and honoring Him in all you do and say because the closer you get to God, the uglier sin looks.

    I’m so thankful you were able to conquer the tactics of the enemy by allowing God to fill that void and bring you and your husband closer together because of this. You are very blessed that you and your husband have the God glue! God bless you! So proud of you for sharing your story and shedding the light on the subject! <3

    • Janelle Keith

      Aurora, your words are spot on! And very true, God wants a holy convenant with us and how easy we forfit that close relationship with our online loves! Great line and word of truth: “the closer you get to God, the uglier sin looks!” That’s a keeper!

      • Aurora

        Thanks Janelle, i appreciate your words of encouragement. <3

  • dylliann m

    I am actually going through this right now with my husband. I found him cheating on me after my birthday. It feels no less horrible any other way. I’m going to have him read this article and maybe understand how I feel. He believes that since it was just online that it doesn’t count. Well it does. Sharing personal thoughts, pictures that are never ment to be given to anyone. It’s cheating one way or another. We have been talking through it as best as we can and I can definitely say when I first found out I wanted to throw something at him, yell, scream, just anything in anyways to let out everything. I cried but stayed as calm as I could. It’s hard either way you look at it. It’s not something I wanna deal with but I wanna save my marriage. I wanna trust my husband again. It’s only been 2 weeks and I think everything is finally taking in full effect. I pray for anyone else going through this.

    • anonymous

      Dylliann – I am the author of this blog – and my heart aches for both of you. My advice: keep fighting for your marriage. Find a good Christian counselor so you each can work out things on your own and with each other. He might be resistant at first. Your husband’s confidence and “manliness” is likely being held in this online relationship right now. It may not be easy for him to let it go. I know it hurts you. But pray for him and show him how much you care even when it hurts. (that’s what my husband did for me) It’ll be a battle he’ll need to choose to fight against. And he can only do it with God’s strength. I know from experience.

      It’ll take a lot of time, a lot of talking, a lot of crying, a lot of forgiveness – on both sides. It’s not going to be easy. But God can restore. I will pray for each of you.

  • Suzanne

    Thank you for this, my husband and I are now separated after 28 years of marriage. I left because I just felt so dead inside after everything that had happened. I am still deeply hurt by all of it. My husband had been leading a double life on line for years, when I found out accidently I was beyond broken. The letter I found to a old girlfriend made me look like such an awful person. I’ll never forget how it felt like my heart had been ripped out my mouth. We have tried everything to work through what happened, I’m the one who is filled with such unforgivness. My husband was my life from the day I met him. My life, my home, my finances, my emotions are in complete devistation for all that has happened. I also can’t believe how happily all his old girlfriends on FB were so ready to be with a married man. We are separated, living in separate states. At one point he begged me to come home, I sadly asked him where are all the women now that you blew our savings on? He said none of them were real. They were real to me and so were the things they said to each other. I’m 56 I feel old and completely empty, and worn out by the experience. I spent 28 years helping him better his game and career, now I’m out trying to support myself on 10.00 an hour, I’m not kidding when I say my retirement home may very well be the back seat of my 40 year old car. We stopped talking about important things, and like it or not I was as board with sex as he was, yet I never considered looking for it somewhere else. I don’t know how my story will end, what I do know is none of it was worth it.

    • anonymous

      Suzanne – thank you for sharing so openly. And I’m so sorry to hear about your situation.

      That story you read….was my story. I, like your husband, made terrible choices. My confidence in my myself became completely wrapped up in those online relationships, and I didn’t want to let go.And he is likely in the same place. But he has to own up to it, not because he feels guilty because of being caught but because he knows it was WRONG. I will pray for you and him that God would work in miraculous ways. He can restore. It doesn’t happen overnight. But it can happen.

      I praise God for my husband’s love and forgiveness. It was what saved me…and us. It took a long time and a lot of counseling and work to get to where we are today – in an even better marriage than where were were a few years ago when this happened.

      You are a beautiful woman, Suzanne. God made yo for such a time as this. You probably question these things right now. That’s understandable. Ask God to help you forgive every day. Cry out to Him – yell at Him even! He’s a big God and He loves you. He’ll lead you to what you need to start taking steps towards forgiveness.

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  • Anonymous Wife

    Hello. I am going through this right now and it is very difficult. A few weeks ago I stumbled upon my husband texting someone, a name I did not know, right on my couch! Well, after a few screaming matches he finally fessed up to the online happenings. It had been going on for a few months. All I wanted to do was find this person and scream at her! Well, that did not happen. But unfortunately what did happen was me finding out about another online happening a few months prior. Of course, my husband does not believe he cheated on me. He was simply discussing our relationship looking for advice, which lead to sharing pictures of each other and then daily conversations about each other’s life. But he still denies it is anything more than harmless texting.
    Yes, there has been problems in our relationship but never have I traveled down the affair road. Other distractions of keeping busy but a vow is a vow.
    He stresses to me that something like these past two situations will never happen again. He tells me that it was just these two situations. He is talking to a counselor, which is awesome. But I can’t stop thinking about what happened, how to trust him again, how to have faith our marriage will survive.

    • anonymous

      You are right – it very difficult! When you are in the midst of this stuff you think it’s “safe” because it’s not physical. I swore this guy and I were just “friends,” too. And it’s totally natural for you to feel the way you do. Your husband. has to come to the point of realizing it is real…and hurtful to you. Having experienced this personally, I’d recommend both of you seek counseling – together and separate. It did a world of good for my husband and me. We learned so much about ourselves and how to relate to each other so our marriage could thrive. Both of you have to be willing to do hard work every.single.day. There will be a lot of up and down emotions – alot of wanting to just give up. But let me tell you this — if you can choose to forgive and work at your marriage…it is SO WORTH IT. Our relationship isn’t perfect, but we are now in such a great place, on the other side of my online affair…. because we chose each other again. I will pray for you and your husband!

  • Anonymous M

    I swear this story was about me. I too had an emotional affair that included periodic sexting, and video chatting (illicit exchanges). I was happily married, or so I thought, for 24 years, and the offer seemed to come from out of nowhere.

    We met while on vacation, and became fast friends. It was actually my husband that befriended him both at the resort and on a popular social media site (making the affair, that much worse) and I followed suit. We all enjoyed each others company immensely. There was a connection. It wasn’t until we returned home that myself and the other man, reached out to one another and began communicating innocently at first.

    I am a good person. I swear it! I had always been loyal to a fault. The affair lasted just under three months, when as expected, this fellow distanced himself from me. He is single, having no responsibility to anyone; and not wanting to be, non other than to himself. I understood that from the start and accepted it. His perspective was, or so he painted “the picture”; of the exchanges being “fun”, not an affair. I was flattered; you see, he is also in the entertainment business; claims to have diverse sexual interests; and wanted me to be a part of that. I swallowed that ideal of “the picture” hook and line. It felt hot! I thought I wasn’t hurting anyone. Hell, how could it be hurting anyone, if it was making me happier in my life? I did not understand why I felt no guilt. To this day, I still can not believe I was so stupid. Gullible me! That was 3 months ago when he lost interest.

    I became obsessed with getting him to reciprocate interest again, dropping him a line here and there to see if he’d respond. When he did respond, I wouldn’t delete the text messages, as I once had, even though the responses were less than significant. My obsession got me caught, as my husband noticed a text from the guy one day, read it and came to the conclusion that “something” illicit was going on. I could not lie, so I came clean.

    I had never seen my husband shed a tear in all our years together, but he did on that day. I finally felt the guilt, that I should’ve felt from the start. It is unfortunate that it was at the expense of my husbands feelings.

    I immediately cut ties with the person in question, and am still working on my marriage with my husband. Thankfully, he is the forgiving kind, which is better than I deserve.

    The strangest thing about the experience was that a lot of things were going “my way” at the time. I changed my diet, got fit, lost weight. My sex life got better with my spouse. I felt sexy again, he complimented me, showered me with compliments and gifts. It was as if our marriage was new again.

    It torments me that I still craved that attention from the “other” man. I feel I need a connection with him to feel better about myself. I know that is twisted, but that is how addiction affects us. I know that now.

    I am not sure if I will ever forgive myself for my indiscretion. It eats at me daily that this other person can go on with life untouched by his actions, whereas I feel like my life/marriage is in shambles, although we are “working” on it. In a different situation, the memories might fade of this “other person”, however I am reminded of him daily. Actors, popular tv shows, hispanic males, “his” city (which is a main hub of the country), and sunny destinations, all remind me of “him”. It is torturous, but I am hopeful.

    I only share this in an effort to let people know, who find themselves in such a position, you are not alone. I myself, am finding that out,.. I am not alone in stories like the one published here. I am human, and my action/reaction was not as uncommon, as I once thought. I am trying to forgive myself and attempting to find closure. In fact, I even sent the above mentioned individual a text, saying goodbye one month later. I suggested he stay away from married woman, because it is unfair that he can inject himself in a persons life and then walk away untouched for the sake of “fun”. It is so selfish.

    I hope in posting this does not put me in a position of being judged harshly, as I am proof that you never know what you might do in any given situation, nor what your state of mind might be. Had I felt more secure in my marriage and most of all myself, I likely would not have accepted this persons advances. Understand, that I do not condone my behaviour, but this is my attempt at healing.

    Please be gracious to others. Treat others as you wish to be treated.

  • Anonymous M

    I swear this story was about me. I too had an emotional affair that included periodic sexting, and video chatting (illicit exchanges). I was happily married, or so I thought, for 24 years, and the offer seemed to come from out of nowhere.
    We met while on vacation, and became fast friends. It was actually my husband that befriended him both at the resort and on a popular social media site (making the affair, that much worse) and I followed suit. We all enjoyed each others company immensely. There was a connection. It wasn’t until we returned home that myself and the other man, reached out to one another and began communicating innocently, at first.
    I am a good person. I swear it! I had always been loyal to a fault. The affair lasted just under three months, when as expected, this fellow distanced himself from me. He is single, having no responsibility to anyone; and not wanting to be, non other than to himself. I understood that from the start and accepted it. His perspective was, or so he painted “the picture”; of the exchanges being “fun”, not an affair. I was flattered; you see, he is also in the entertainment business; claims to have diverse sexual interests; and wanted me to be a part of that. I swallowed that ideal of “the picture” hook and line. It felt hot! I thought I wasn’t hurting anyone. Hell, how could it be hurting anyone, if it was making me happier in my life? I did not understand why I felt no guilt. To this day, I still can not believe I was so stupid. Gullible me! That was 3 months ago when he lost interest.
    I became obsessed with getting him to reciprocate interest again, dropping him a line here and there to see if he’d respond. When he did respond, I wouldn’t delete the text messages, as I once had, even though the responses were less than significant. My obsession got me caught, as my husband noticed a text from the guy one day, read it and came to the conclusion that “something” illicit was going on. I could not lie, so I came clean.
    I had never seen my husband shed a tear in all our years together, but he did on that day. I finally felt the guilt, that I should’ve felt from the start. It is unfortunate that it was at the expense of my husbands feelings.
    I immediately cut ties with the person in question, and am still working on my marriage with my husband. Thankfully, he is the forgiving kind, which is better than I deserve.
    The strangest thing about the experience was that a lot of things were going “my way” at the time. I changed my diet, got fit, lost weight. My sex life got better with my spouse. I felt sexy again, showered me with compliments and gifts. It was as if our marriage was new again.
    It torments me that I still crave that attention from the “other” man. I feel I need a connection with him to feel better about myself. I know that is twisted, but I guess that is how addiction affects us. I know that now.
    I am not sure if I will ever forgive myself for my indiscretion. It eats at me daily that this other person can go on with life untouched by his actions, whereas I feel like my life/marriage has been damaged, although we are “working” on it. In a different situation, the memories might fade of this “other person”, however I am reminded of him daily. Actors, popular tv shows, hispanic males, “his” city (which is a main hub of the country), and sunny destinations, all remind me of “him”. It is torturous, but I am hopeful.
    I only share this in an effort to let people know, who find themselves in such a position, you are not alone. I myself, am finding that out,.. I am not alone in stories like the one published here. I am human, and my action/reaction was not as uncommon, as I once thought. I am trying to forgive myself and attempting to find closure. In fact, I even sent the above mentioned individual a text, saying goodbye one month later. I suggested he stay away from married woman, feeling that it is unfair that he can inject himself in a persons life and then walk away untouched for the sake of “fun”. It is so selfish.
    I hope in posting this does not put me in a position of being judged harshly, as I am proof that you never know what you might do in any given situation, when in a certain state of mind. Had I felt more secure in my marriage and most of all myself, I likely would not have accepted this persons advances. Understand, that I do not condone my behaviour, but this is my attempt at healing.
    Please be gracious to others. Treat others as you wish to be treated.