For those of you who might have difficulty with traditional journaling, I wanted to relate a method that worked well for me. I have trouble with the “Dear Diary,…”, day-to-day approach and, instead, simply created a single document that I would update with insights and thought-developments as they occurred. So, instead of having my thoughts on, say, the many ways affair has affected my marriage strewn about over several months of occasional day-entries and mixed in with all the other related-subjects flogging my traumatized brain…I have a section subtitled, “How Your Affair Has Affected Our Marriage”. I then edit and develop this section as new discoveries, realizations and thoughts come to me. Sometimes I think of a better way to say something. Sometimes this might involve editing-out things I may come to feel are no longer valid or were flat-out inaccurate when I first wrote them.
The sections in my doc are: 1. What Happened (from what she told me and what I found out in their email conversations); 2. Why It Was an Emotional Affair (Being an EA my wife tries to retain some plausible deniability. This section, for me, is where I make my case with sub-sections like ‘It involved the two of sharing about how your feelings for one another went beyond friendship’, ‘It involved privately heavy-flirting and sexting’, etc); 3. “What I Believe – What I Don’t Believe” (where I draw out solid implications and respond to her countless implausible explanations); 4. “Going Forward – Moving On” (where I write what this has done to me, to us and to our future – what has changed, how I feel and how I see us ‘carrying on’ – and especially what resolutions and commitments I’m making to take care of and protect myself.)
Eventually, I think, the document begins to approach a ‘finished’ state where your updates to it are fewer and you begin principally using it as a reference for how you feel about what has happened – as a tool for making some sense of it all and staying focused and grounded in your understanding.