Can a relationship survive an affair? Should they be given a second chance? Is it sensible to continue or is it an act of madness setting yourself up for more future pain?
This is important to read for anyone wanting to deal with an affair, stuck because of an affair or wanting to affair-proof their marriage.
People that have affairs who are caught and then are sorry may want to keep their marriage, BUT they will be unaware what they have unleashed not just on their relationship and partner but on themselves too.
In simple terms, an affair will at some point create emotional chaos.
Having met hundreds of men and women who have chosen to have an affair, they have all shared something interesting.
If they’d have known the living hell they were about to create they would never have made that choice. It seems that many people who choose an affair are totally disconnected from the consequences.
I remember one person tell me that being caught was like waking up only to find they were holding a hot coal.
What’s interesting about affairs is very few couples that marry their affair partner actually result in a relationship that lasts, I’ve seen statistics as low as 3-5% that actually make it, but why is that?
These numbers don’t surprise me at all because most people are unaware they are using an affair as a solution to a problem not a quest for lasting love.
I’ve seen it all from housewives using their affair as their own survival oxygen tank, to love and sex-starved men using other women for what they are lacking at home.
I’ve seen people using sex workers and massage parlours, I’ve seen sex addicts coming clean to their partners and open relationships gone horribly wrong.
I’ve seen people addicted to porn, and people unaware that their secret emotional connection is still an affair even though there is no sex. Yes emotional affairs will affect how they behave in their marriage.
The truth is affairs create a betrayal that compounds problems they don’t solve them.
If the person doesn’t define their problem how will they know if the action they are about to take (I.E. their affair) is going to be the right one?
Of course, that would take logical thought and the powerful emotions at the root of affairs are not logical at all.
In most cases, the affair really isn’t about the person they are having an affair with, this is one reason (of many) why affairs don’t work.
With the injection of powerfully addictive (short-term) chemicals all designed to attract two people together, the affair is really about how these two people feel about themselves.
So in the short-term, they become highly addicted to each other.
Of course, they are under the illusion the other person is making them feel amazing, but in reality, their new partner is merely an anchor of pleasure created by a chemical cocktail of drugs that will hamper their ability to create good decisions and that lack of understanding will drive them to their own self-focused needs.
This is why they call these couples crazy in love.
Some people once woken to the consequences of their actions will say their affair actually meant nothing.
They say it because for many it’s actually true.
Of course, it’s a totally unhelpful sentence to the partner who’s life has been shattered, because hearing those words really doesn’t help them heal, in fact, at that moment it actually makes it all worse.
“So you risk everything for what now equals nothing to you, but I’m still left with a mountain of pain and thousands of unanswered questions my mind won’t let go of”.
Some may suggest the affair they are in is what they want and their partner is now in the fight of their life to get them to see reason.
Do I stay? Should I go? What do I trust? Maybe I just need to be on my own?
How does a person make the right decision with so much pain and confusion and the promise that say’s “I love you and I’ll never do it again” but it carries no weight whatsoever.
If you have had an affair and you want to win your partner back or you’re suffering and not sure what to do the solution is in these 4 core shifts other affair problems might require a different solution.
- Helping the victim of the affair learn how they can start to trust their decisions moving forward – affairs cripple the persons’ ability to make safe decisions as their mind swings violently between running and staying all at the same time.
- It’s also about helping the partner who had the affair learn what their new role is – After all the pain and the upset must be shared and dealt with together. If a person is left to deal with the pain of an affair on their own it will never go away. This is why couples suffer for years if they didn’t deal with the affair properly.
- It’s also about understanding what the couple did that took one person to that place where the next step that felt right was infidelity.
- Then it’s about affair proofing the marriage so two people can use the affair as a wakeup call that what they were doing before was leading them to a significant collapse their connection.
In essence, it’s critical that the couple gain clarity on all these areas.
The affair is, in essence, a wake-up call to either get the hell out of there or take a moment to learn what they are truly capable of achieving with the right knowledge.
I remember one couple on their first call with me you would have said they are at the end, he was shaking with worry, she simply could not get her head around the question “WHY?”.
Fury was the best word for her external emotions and his weakness fuelled her even more.
But by choosing the courageous route to explore their relationship and themselves on a much deeper level they found patterns of disconnect not just in their relationship, but also in their relationship with themselves.
Neither had been happy and for her, the solution had been emotional detachment with a commitment to stay in the marriage for the sake of the children.
He had replaced his pain in the marriage with the excitement and passion of someone new. He never expected to be caught.
By learning that their relationship before had problems it helped them move towards wanting to work on their connection.
This lady would naturally have waves of anger, fear and insecurity, but her husband learnt how to protect her so she could start to trust that no matter what she threw at him he was always there for her.
He learnt how to take responsibility for the pain he caused in her and they began a new relationship that was significantly more connected than the one they had before his infidelity.
Their work was tough, the rollercoaster was full-on, but the rewards are high when the truth is the goal.
Every affair situation is different and so requires a different strategy to help the couple into a better place.
For example, a woman that had an affair and isn’t sure if she wants the marriage back would need a very different strategy to the woman who will stop her whole life to save her marriage from her affair.
The man that is stuck not wanting to hurt either woman so is not sure what to do requires a very different strategy to the wife who accepts her husband affair on the belief he must be ill. In her mind to have an affair he must be ill and so she lives with the other woman in her life for years waiting for him to be better.
The key is to get clarity on the real problem so the next steps are leading the person, or couple to intelligent decisions rather than out of control emotions reactions.