QUESTION: Today, I officially broke it off with the other man. For the past six months I was sinning and I never once felt good about it. I did contemplate leaving my husband but I just can’t do it.

Being part of this group and finding MarriageHelper.com early on let me know that I wasn’t alone. Reading all the material and all your posts really have saved me from making a series of monumental mistakes that would’ve ruined the lives of the people I love the most. I hope with all my heart and soul that everyone’s significant other will feel what I feel today and know the pain they’ve caused.

Every time I read a post on Facebook about what a cheating spouse did, I imagined the pain my husband felt and I’m heartbroken. It’s excruciating to know what I’ve done and how others are feeling on the other side. I have great fear for what will happen in the coming months. Healing. More pain. More regret. But I have to face my consequences. It’s the price of losing sight of what’s really important. I am wondering if you have suggestions on to help me get over the other man so that I can focus on healing my marriage, my husband, and myself from all the hurt I’ve caused. I want to stay in my marriage but I regret to say that it still hurts that I can’t have the other man as well.

ANSWER: As one who has been where you have been, I thank you for telling us this. It helps others. It also gives strength to carry on for those of us who work so diligently to help others. It touches us deeply to know that we a part in your decision.

Now, may I tell you a little about what may happen next? Not saying it will, just offering it in case.

Though it hurts some whose spouses are in limerence to hear this – and I hate that it will hurt them – I wish to speak to your emotions, not only for you but for others who read this who are in similar situations.

Though limerence by its very nature is relatively short-lived (typically lasting somewhere between 3 months and 36 months) it is a very real and intense emotion/feeling. When a person decides to leave a limerent relationship, or if they are the one abandoned by the other, the emotions don’t immediately disappear. It’s not unusual for either or both parties to go through a type of grief process. We humans grieve when we lose something or someone we value deeply.

You will likely go through a process similar to what’s known as the Grieving Process. As/when/if you do go through this process, consider my responses to the steps you will likely go through.

1) Some days you will feel strong and very good about your decision to end the relationship. Other days you’ll wonder how in the world you ever thought you could leave it and that you desperately want it back. Recovering from this is often a three-steps-forward-two-steps-back kind of thing. If you have these vacillating emotions, contact someone to talk to or have coffee with until you get your emotions back in control.

2) There will be “triggers” that will flood you with emotions about the relationship you ended. A song. A place. A line in a movie. When you discover what these are, avoid them. For example, the dial on the radio can change to another song very, very quickly. Switch immediately without allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by continuing to listen.

3) Jealousy may hit you hard, especially if you hear the paramour is seen with someone else, or if you see him with another woman walking through the mall. If you feel it, that doesn’t mean you aren’t sincere or real in your decision. It just means you’re human. When it strikes, if ever it does, don’t be alone. Find that person to talk with or have coffee with. Make sure it’s someone who will listen, but who also can help you think of other things in life – someone who will hear your pain and gradually move you to more pleasant things. How do you find someone such as that? I suggest you find a happy older woman who has learned from life and still has a sense of humor, as well as the ability to empathize.

4) You may dream about him. The dreams may have a sexual nature. They will likely most often be about the friendship part of the relationship that you lost. The sharing, understanding, and transparency. When you wake, don’t ponder the dream. Accept that you miss the friendship and move on.

5) Every once in a while you’ll feel you have a very good reason to contact him. It might be to check on him. Maybe to tell him happy birthday. Whatever the reason, don’t. Never. Not once. It will make things worse for both of you. It will definitely make the healing process longer and cause you to feel pain you don’t need to feel. It also hurts him because it will give him hope.

6) If you are part of anything that causes you to be in his presence – work, church, social groups, whatever – make arrangements as quickly as you can to end that. Tell your pastor the situation and ask him to recommend a good church. Start applying for a new job TODAY. If you can, quit immediately. If you cannot, do everything you can to keep yourself from direct contact. If in the same room, be polite, but do not do anything – tone of voice, lingering look, whatever – to open the door for him to think you are wanting to get back together with him. Even if you are struggling with that very feeling, don’t give him any clue that you are. If you’re married and it’s at all possible, have your husband drop you off to work, meet you for lunch, and pick you up after work.

7) You are not alone. Your decision was a good one. If you believe that there is a devil, then expect the “bad guys” to come at you to do anything and everything to make you want to contact your paramour again. Don’t be surprised if something happens that creates within you an almost overwhelming desire to talk with him. It may happen to you or in your life, or it may happen to him or in his life. If something happens in his life that causes you to want to help him or be there for him, you must leave it to others to care for him: You’ve lost that right. He’s also lost his right to take care of you. Find your sustenance in your marriage, if you are married, and in your family and friends. He must do the same.

8) Time heals. The limerence will fade with time. There will come a day when you no longer feel at all the emotions you once had. You’ll have some good memories about him. Don’t dwell on those memories. Don’t ever expect to be friends with him. Not ever. For his sake and the sake of your own marriage, that can never happen.

9) On bad days, don’t look back and wonder what it would have been if you had stayed with him. You’ve made the right choice. You can never know what would have happened if you had remained with him. We can tell you that the odds are extremely high that it would have ended badly. However, your mind will want to assign good possibilities. Don’t let it. It’s over.

10) When you heal enough, reach out to others who are in limerence and hurting their own marriage or the marriage of their paramour. We who have been there are the ones others will listen to because they know we understand. We don’t judge them. We empathize with them. But we also let them know the benefits of doing the right thing….even when it hurts.

Many couples find a faster route to healing comes from attending our three-day workshop for marriages in crisis. If your marriage is in danger of separation or divorce, call us at (866) 903-0990 to speak with someone or use the form below to request more information about our Marriage Helper 911 workshop for troubled marriages. We can help you save your marriage even in cases of infidelity, loss of trust, anger, sexual problems, and other issues. (If you’re thinking your spouse would never come, contact us by phone or the form below and we’ll tell you what others who felt the same way did to get their spouses there. We have strategies that have a strong history of getting your spouse to the workshop.) We will keep everything you tell us completely confidential. Our motivation is to help you determine if this workshop is right for your particular situation. We also offer solutions for couples who can’t attend the workshop.

If you and your spouse cannot attend a 911 weekend, or your spouse refuses to get any marriage help, there is still hope. Check out our Save My Marriage Course – where you’ll learn how to bring your spouse back to the marriage. Click the banner below to find out more about it. 

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14 thoughts on “How To Get Over Limerence After Ending An Affair

  • August 18, 2015 at 8:41 pm
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    I appreaciated you transparency and boldness. I am in the same situation like you, and i need help. I was married for 13 yrs. And i had an affair and my husband asked for a divorved becuse he said there was no more trust. I love him but he dont want anything to do with me. So since the man i had an affair continued to reach out to me, well i decided to stay connected to him and i decided to have a relationship with him and he has proposed to me. I am so scared, because i have tried to leave him many times but i get lonely and start thinking about him, when my ex husband rejects me. What do I do. Help :'(

    Reply
    • December 9, 2016 at 12:18 pm
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      Don’t make any attempt to avoid the suffering over the loss of your marriage because that’s legitimate suffering and you need to accept that consequence . If you try to escape the suffering by any alternate method or distraction you will wind up in bondage and despair. The other man is not the solution . Moving through the legitimate suffering is the solution.

      Reply
  • August 21, 2015 at 5:30 pm
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    What if children are involved ?how do you avoid them then to end the limerance?

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  • September 29, 2015 at 7:08 pm
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    What if there was a child out of the affair? how do you deal with this?

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    • October 1, 2015 at 2:23 am
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      That does make it more difficult. It depends if you are the one who had the affair or your spouse, and are you the father of the child or the mother if it was your affair.

      Reply
  • September 21, 2016 at 3:03 pm
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    Dear miss/sir,

    Thank you for creating a non-judgmental site about cheating. I’m married for 9 years now with a wife a love dearly and we have a young son I adore. Without looking for an affair I met another woman. We share a common hobby and do so for more than 2 years. Although I’ve always liked her, I’ve never seen her as a potential lover. Though there always was a mutual attraction at a “friendly+” level. One month ago we ended up having sex and it felt great. Now everything is changed. I can’t look at her with the same eyes anymore. Nor can she. Since then I’m glad when I see her (we keep it on a friendly level 95% of the time), but when I’m not with her I feel a very strong, almost debilitating anxiety. Towards my wife and son I feel a deep guilt, but when I see her the attraction is at a uncontrollable level. From the start I’ve been honest with her, telling her that I’ll never be the man next to her on the couch, that I’ll never give up the life I’ve built. She respects my honesty and says she’s ok with it.

    My head says that I should end this before it turns ugly and ends up destroying my marriage. But… Thinking about ending it makes me feel incredibly sad inside. Although it has lasted only but a month, it feels like it’s tearing me apart. My lover is a fantastic woman I respect very much and I’m sure it’ll hurt her as well. The jealousy you wrote about I feel as well. Thinking about her meeting another man in the future feels excruciatingly painful.

    It’s very hard to quit my hobby because I practice it with other friends I meet there. Leaving without good reasons, would lead to questions.

    Can we become “friends” again over time? She has just left her partner and is living alone. We’ve talked about it. Becoming “friends” again like before. I’m befriended (read: we can talk without having negative feelings) with 3 of my ex girlfriends I’ve had long relationships with, so I guess it is possible.

    What could you give me as advice?

    Reply
    • December 9, 2016 at 12:28 pm
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      The longer you remain in contact with the woman the more you will suffer. There is a high cost associated with any type of contact and you have to be honest with yourself about that . Be careful not to attach any type of exaggerated meaning or specialness to the relationship because that is an illusion which will keep you locked in. The truth is that you are suffering with distracting intrusive thoughts. The truth is that you are guilty . The truth is that having another woman appeals to pride. The truth is that you yourself, your wife and family are being compromised by your divided attention. You will suffer and the payoff is not worth the cost!

      Reply
  • April 19, 2017 at 5:35 am
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    Hello… this is so strange to reach out about because I should be ashamed, I feel.
    My husband and I have been together 4 years, married almost a full year. We’ve lived together about our entire relationship. In the past, before finding out about my limerance, he never shared feelings with me or affection in general. Sex was a chore for me and only to satisfy him. He had a bad alcohol problem. We have a child together and I also have a child from a relationship in my teens, whom he’s been a stand in father for since we began dating… However, once he found out about this new man, he decided to change. He said things like “I didn’t know I was neglecting you this badly that you’d go find comfort with another man.” The other man, I met through mutual friends. We clicked instantly and his morals are what blinded me in, what felt like, a positive way. He knew I was married but I hadn’t voiced I wasn’t unhappy and had wanted to leave for a long time before him. He never made physical advances toward me. Always a gentleman, but our attraction to each other caused a static anyone around us could feel. We eventually kissed, which I initiated, but that’s all we’ve ever done. We’ve talked about sex and lusted for one another but he made it very clear that God would never want him to lay with another man’s wife and that he had to wait until the divorce was final. I was ready to leave my husband. Then, he changed… but this time, it’s different. He, so far in the past two weeks, has quit drinking and been so clingy, which I always longed for from him. Very loving, catering, and affectionate. However, it’s almost like I have no idea who I’m sleeping next to. I ended things with the other man. Blocked his number and blocked him on all social media. However, I cannot stop thinking about him. I miss him. His smell, his touch, his voice, the way he would be as busy as he could and still manage to text or cal me all day. The words he spoke were what I’ve longed for for so long but now that I’m receiving it from my husband, I feel distant. I don’t know how to love my husband now in the way he’s loving me because for four years, I’ve been so used to being left alone with the two kids for him to drink and him putting his friends first. I’ve grown numb to him. I don’t sexually lust for him the way I do the other man. He used to be the only man I ever wanted and now that he’s reciprocating the feelings, I feel unhappy. He’s “changed” before. He’s quit drinking and been nicer, but it’s all gone right back to old habits after three weeks or less.
    Thoughts of this other man keep me up at night. When I’m alone, he’s the one I want to talk to or call, because I physically and emotionally and mentally long for him. I find myself annoyed with my husband now. However, I will not contact this other man or open up the door for contact to happen until (if it ever happens) I am divorced. I do find myself looking for him when I drive around town to run errands or go grocery shopping at the only store in town, where I know he shops at least twice a week. Please help me. I feel like I’m drowning in lust and guilt.

    Reply
    • April 19, 2017 at 5:39 am
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      I *HAD voiced I was unhappy with my marriage and wanted to leave….

      Reply
    • April 21, 2017 at 4:50 pm
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      Thank you for your transparency.

      Are you available to give us a call at 615-472-1161?

      We would love to speak with you about our Decision Point Course.

      Reply
  • April 21, 2017 at 8:21 pm
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    I need advice badly as I am in a situation where I can’t talk to anyone. My husband and I have a beautiful marriage and have been married for 21 years. We are best friends and are very affectionate and loving with each other. Five months ago, my mother-in-law passed away. A day after she passed, my husband’s ex-girlfriend (who was close to his mother as they attended church together) called to offer her condolences. A few days later, she called and asked him to meet for dinner, which he did. I didn’t think anything of it because they really haven’t communicated in 25 years except for times we have run into her over the years. Since my mother-in-law’s death, they have been texting and calling each other every day. They have gone to dinner or lunch about 6 times, bowling, and to a lecture. A month after they started communicating, I read a text that she sent my husband claiming her undying love for him, and that her passion is so deep for him,. She wants him badly, but she knows that it wouldn’t be right and that it would destroy our marriage. I was furious, but my husband told me it was innocent and that she has just never gotten over him. He told me that she would love to get back together with him, but she would not hurt our marriage. After that initial text, she sent two more texts that were very inappropriate that I found on his phone. She was talking about how if he wasn’t married, she would be kissing him and feeling up on him. She also said that she wished I would do something unforgivable, so unforgivable that he would leave me and get together with her. I told my husband that if he had to speak with her about this and put an end to these texts. They have continued to talk and see each other. Last week, they went out to dinner and he didn’t come home until 2:00 a.m. The next day when I came home from work, I saw a text on his phone from her that was very sexually explicit. She was describing how much she enjoyed their sex the night before in graphic detail. I freaked out! My husband told me that she was crazy and that he had not cheated on me. It was just her fantasy that she was describing. (I believe him because the things she was describing are things that he wouldn’t do.) He assured me that she is just crazy. I told him that it was over between them. He left that day and went to her house to tell her that I read the text and that I didn’t want him to see her anymore. She cried and cried, and told him she felt horrible. My problem is – my husband refuses to stop the friendship with this woman even though she is madly in love with her. He says that he has no friends and that the only friends he has are my friends. This is one person who is HIS friend. She is someone that he has known since he was 15 years old. She knows his family and everything about him, and he loves having someone who calls him and wants to hang out with him that is strictly his friend. He tells me that he would NEVER leave me for anyone , especially not her. He tells me that he knows what she was like when they dated and he knows why they broke up. He says he would never go back with her. With all of his assurances, I am very uncomfortable with this relationship. I also feel betrayed and hurt that he would continue to be friends with her when he knows the pain she is causing me. I don’t want to lose my marriage, but I don’t want to be in pain the way I am. Can someone please give me some advice?

    Reply
  • September 4, 2017 at 6:46 pm
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    I know this is an old post but I am hurting and while searching for answers to what is happening to my emotions I found marriagehelpers.
    I am in bed numb. I am an emotional wreck. I ended a 1.5 yr affair 2 days ago. I should never have gotten involved but my marriage was in a downward spiral from my husbands 2 yr midlife crisis. I was starving for the attention and fell so hard for this man. It was time to end my relationship but I am so sad to have lost what I considerd the love of my life. I know now that what I have experienced is limerence. This is the first I have heard this term but I fit every stage completly. Please can someone tell me how long this pain will last? My husband has worked so hard to repair his part in our marriage problems. I know once I am able to put this affair behind me I will be able work on falling back in love with my husband. I hope this makes sense I haven’t slept in 3 days and my mind is muddled. Please advise me how I should go forward.

    Reply
    • September 19, 2017 at 4:06 pm
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      Dear De,

      I have little to say but want to let you know I will be praying for you. All that comes to me is to practise thankfulness. Thank God for your many blessings and do your best to ignore thoughts that lead towards pain and spiraling down. So wonderful that your husband is on board to do his part! Not all is lost. <3

      Reply
  • September 23, 2017 at 7:42 pm
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    I have been with my wife for 18 years and we have a beautiful son who I love very much. We had a happy relationship up untill 8 to 10 years into our marriage when i started to see that she is acting weird. Example: sometimes i would come home and notice that the basemrnt lights where on, i would ask my wife if she had been in the basement today and she would say no… fine so soon after talking to her about it I saw her go into the basement and use the washer and dryer….. a few minutes later I saw that the lights where all on….. later I asked if she was in the basement and again she said she was not in the basement all day…. it’s like she is not aware of what she does some times….so little things like that go on for years and I have been just shrugging it off thinking its her just being stresued from work….. but now her temper has gotten worse her mood is constantly shifting and she is becoming more and more like a teenager….. 2 months ago I found out she was having an affair with another man that has been going on for close to a year now. I felt like a building fell on top of me… I confronted her abut it and she tried to lie about it but i had evidence she couldn’t deny. ….. when the smoke cleared she finnaly told me why she did it. She said that I have been taking her for granted and I haven’t been showing her that I loved her and we argued alot. I understood what she felt and I explained that she didn’t make things easy for us when she constantly lying a d throwing fits when things don’t go her way so to make things short…. it was a two way street and we didn’t handle our differences well… but still I didn’t deserve being cheated on….. as time goes by and I try to talk to her she is showing signs of her going through something more…… she acting irrationally towards me ad our son….. she said she dosnt love me anymore and she wants to spend all her free time with that other man. She is also is neglecting our. She leaves him alone for hours and he is only 15 years old….. when she gets upset she uses fowl language at me and our son. My son and I can’t talk to her…. everything sets her off….. I think she is going through something and I feel powerless….

    Reply

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