An Emotional Affair: Amy’s Story16 November 2011
If you’ve been around these parts for long, you’ve seen AmyÂ make an appearance. She was one of the original Hot Bloggers. (See my recent recap post of that adventure here.) Like me, she’s been blogging since 2002. She’s a WAHM tech-geek mom, a born-again Christian, married to her high-school sweetheart.
We’re different in a lot of ways, but what I love about being friends with Amy is that we have frank conversations even when we believe very different things.
But when she told me that several years ago she had an emotional affair and now she’d written a book about it?Â Wow. That’s a whole new level of frankness.
She let me read an advance copy and ask questions about the book, which tells the story of how things began, how it came to a climax, and how she and her husband Scott have journeyed on.Â So here’s what I thought about it, and then some questions and answers with Amy.
To begin, I think it’s the rare person who hasn’t experienced a thrill when someone really gets you. And when it’s someone unexpected, that actually boosts the thrill, doesn’t it? Sadly, it can come to feel expected from your significant other – so when someone else goes out of their way to make you feel good, it can boost you up. And unfortunately, that’s where things can start to go wrong.
I was surprised by how bluntly forthright Amy was – not because I expected less from her, but because I can only imagine how difficult it was to write. It’s not at all pleasant to talk about your own mistakes, you know?
I was absolutely carried along, especially in the second half where she identifies ways things went wrong, and matches them up with Bible teaching. Done wrong, that could be preachy or dull, but she’s humble and honest and makes it all make sense in a veryÂ livableÂ way.
Entangled is the story of one person’s experience with aÂ problem we’ve all faced: how we take something that would be fine in small doses and make it bad when we rely on it instead of fixing what’s really wrong. Whether your “need” is attention or food or shopping, money or drugs or alcohol, I don’t think the monkey on your back cares. It just wants to distract you from addressing what you’re avoiding dealing with.
Sarah: First things first. How does Scott feel about the book?
Amy: I felt God led me to write the book. I took that to Scott and he gave his blessing. He hopes our story will help others, but he never would have suggested it. It’s a sore spot that still brings up pain and disappointment for him.
What’s the biggest way in which your marriage is different now?
I love that I can say, “You’re hurting me when you say that” and he understands how devastating it is to me. We still have arguments, but we communicate much better.Â
Do your coworkers know about the book? How have you decided to handle it? [When you read the book, you'll see that this is particularly relevant.]
Some of them know, but I haven’t made a statement or anything. I’ve had a few conversations about it so far. One was from a recently divorced man that said he was looking forward to reading it. The other coworker didn’t know much about the book, or didn’t let on that he did, and I simply explained that it was a marriage self-help book. This area is probably the one I’m most nervous about, to be honest.
When do you think you’ll feel comfortable with your two young daughters knowing this story? How would you make it age-appropriate?
I almost didn’t write the book because I didn’t want the girls to know, but I think there is power in admitting mistakes and showing that God can bring us through anything. I think it will be quite a while before they can understand it. I’ll just have to rely on God to lead on the timing.
Many people go through what you’ve experienced and come out with a different result. What have you heard from people so far? Why do you think you ended up where you are?Â
Only by God’s grace. If He hadn’t prodded me to stop, and hadn’t led Scott to ask what was going on, I don’t know where we’d be. I’d like to think I would have stopped it from progressing, but I never thought I’d do what I did, either.
Almost everyone that reads the book has been through it or knows someone that has. I’m learning that this is a huge skeleton in many couples’ closets.Â
You called yourself a “recovering perfectionist”, which I love. What tips do you have for other “recovering perfectionists”?
What a tough question. A few years ago, I went through a painful process with my mom. I don’t know if everyone goes through it, but we had to cut some ties, and I had to let go of some of my expectations of myself. I worked so hard not to disappoint her, but I had to see that I was really the only one with those expectations.
I’m learning more and more about the phrase, “I can do anything, but I can’t do everything.”
I’m sure you’re as impressed as I am. Amy’s one of those people who doesn’t shy away from the hard work of life. I’m proud of being her friend.
- ReadÂ the introductionÂ orÂ the table of contents toÂ Entangled.
- Click here to buy a copy.
- And I’m giving a copy away, so leave a comment to enter!
Disclosure: Amy has given me the review and giveaway downloads for free. I wasn’t compensated in any way for writing this, nor for calling her a Hot Blogger. It’s all true.