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5 Keys to Recovering from an Online Affair

Last Updated: July 8, 2015

Dan Wobschall
Dan Wobschall

Dan serves as the Director of Gateway to Freedom, a 3-day intensive for men, and also serves as a Sexual Integrity and Recovery Mentor. Gateway to Freedom is a ministry of Be Broken Ministries. Dan speaks nationally on Sexual Integrity Leadership team. Prior to his engagement in ministry, Dan spent 32 years in public safety. He & his wife Julie have been married for 34 years and live in Orlando, Florida.

One of the biggest lies I told to myself while in adult chat rooms was that I was not really cheating because I was not actually physically with the women. No matter how many times I told myself that story, it didn’t change the fact it’s nothing but a lie.

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In my case, it opened the door to an online affair that lasted more than a year. An affair of this type is different than a physical affair, but can still create an emotional bond.

The wound that we create in our spouse when we let someone else into that intimate part of our lives is very destructive. Trust is destroyed and rebuilding that trust will take a long time.

The violation of the emotional boundary can be harder for women to recover from than many physical boundaries that were broken. In our marriage, that was certainly the case.

Once the affair was exposed, I realized it needed to end. I had to take radical and immediate steps to stop it. Was it easy? No. The emotional bond was real and it was going to hurt. Did I deserve sympathy? No.

These steps are a must.

  1. Immediate cessation of all communication with the other person. Change your e-mail address(es) and password(s). Give that new e-mail account information to your wife, including the password.
  2. Be aware, certain things may trigger unpleasant memories in your wife’s mind. Be sensitive to them. Songs, names, places, and so on. Avoid them like the plague whenever possible.
  3. Install Covenant Eyes software on all your computers with an Accountability Partner in place.
  4. Spend time with your wife that would have otherwise been in front of your computer. This helps rebuild trust. It can open up communications in areas that have been long closed.
  5. Create open access to computers. Move them into common spaces.

This recovery process will take time and it will be bumpy. Keep communications open. Be transparent with your time.

These steps are a critical starting point. Doing these things will begin to restore trust. It won’t happen overnight, but if you are honest with your wife, it can return.

Photo credit: idogcow

  • Comments on: 5 Keys to Recovering from an Online Affair
    1. AnonymousT

      If your wife had the choice to talk to the woman you committed the online affair with about Christ & she knew she was very open to talking & listening about Him, but being that this woman was also the past threat to your marriage, do you think your wife would/should still do it? And, if so, would you want your wife to tell you she was in communication with the woman even though it was required by her that all communication with this woman be ended?

      • I’m not sure there is a “should” in this circumstance, beyond what conscience dictates. If a wife feels compelled to do this, I see no reason for her to avoid it, unless her demeanor would be impacted by a sense of jealousy and revenge. It takes very emotionally composed and forgiving woman to have such a conversation with someone she knows was once a temptation for her husband. That would be my biggest hesitation in the whole matter.

        Would I want my wife to tell me that she was communicating? Yes, in the interest of full disclosure, I would.

        I interviewed a couple a while back in this situation. The man was a pastor who had an online affair that turned into an in-the-flesh affair. A child was conceived as a result of the adultery. This brought the pastor to the breaking point. He confessed to his wife. They went down a very long road of recovery, and today their marriage is thriving. Moreover, the child born as a result of the adultery has been embraced by his wife as their son and she has an amiable relationship with the mistress. You can listen to the first part of that interview here.

    2. Kay

      I’d love to hear from your wife’s point of view. These steps are a good reference for men but what steps did your wife end up taking once she was delt this situation?

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