Saturday, September 27, 2008

How to Stop an Affair

How does one stop an affair, this is a question I've been wondering about. Many people would just say simply-you just stop. But it doesn't seem to be that simple. The affair and whatever you get from it is intoxicating and addictive and like many addictions, it is very hard to give up a habit on your own.

In my opinion, it seems like the only way to really truly end the affair is to be discovered. Sure, you might stop at some point on your own or because it was stopped by your "Other", but if it is not discovered and just ended by you, I think the baggage sticks with you. You still have everything still locked away inside you, this thing you did, this thing you had. Perhaps you are truly sorry and repentant, but its difficult to find forgiveness for something that is still kept secret.

And on the topic of secrets, secrets are poison. They change you and who you are a lot of times. How many people stop an affair and then spend their days trying to make it up to their unknowing spouse. Racked with guilt. That person becomes "the Spouse who had an affair" and I argue it changes the real you and it turns you into a ghost in your relationship.

A friend of mine recently found out her husband cheated on her many years ago and never told her. I was able to have a long conversation with him and he was telling me even though the affair stopped, the thought processes, the secrets and all that junk that goes with it was still in the head.

My response to him was to say that neither he nor his wife really knew who he was in their relationship. That the husband he was, was a husband that was keeping secrets and coping with baggage, not a free human be to live and grow and love.

This comes to a question I have. Do you tell someone about an affair, even if its over. Before I had committed my own adultery I would have said telling your spouse was selfish and only a tool to try to rid you of your guilt. Better to suffer in silence and not cause pain to your spouse.

I completely reversed my opinion on that after my own incident. I see now that keeping secrets and living in a marriage based on a huge lie is no way to live. Your marriage is a shadow of what it could be. I know if I had never told my husband and worked hard with him on coming to terms with why it happened and trying to forgive myself, I would have lived in our marriage as a ghost. And a marriage based on a lie has a sinkhole as its foundation. (Oddly, I always said if my spouse committed adultery, I wouldn't want to know. I didn't think I could forgive him. I sort of suck that way. lol!)

Of course I'm open to opposing opinions, but I'd like to hear mainly from people who are no longer in the affair. I think, for the most part, if you are still in the midst of your affair, that your judgement on these matters is off. But that is just based on my own experience. So if you had an affair in the past, did you tell the truth and if it was discovered, did you come clean with total transparency? (and when I say transparency, I don't mean all the nasty details, I mean disclosing all lies to your spouse).

1 comment:

nosgirlnow said...

I recently just ended an affair that had lasted 6 weeks. I had never cheated on my husband before or had thoughts of doing so until my marriage became essentially sexless. I love my husband but feelings of bitterness and anger made me feel like I 'deserved' to have some sexual pleasure. If my husband wasn't going to make any effort to meet my sexual needs I would find someone who would. I found a Christian man that was in a similar situation. For six weeks I had the best sex I had ever had in my life. We fell madly in love with each other and that scared the hell out of the both of us. Neither of us really wanted to change our marital status. We were getting way over our heads with the emotion that comes with incredible sexual compatability. Then six weeks to the day God severely convicted both of us while we were in bed together. God made it clear He wasn't pleased with what we were doing. So.... My lover and I cried in each others arms for two hours, agreed to part ways and quietly ended the affair. It's been three weeks now, I think about him every day. I'm functioning and trying to put my heart and mind back into my marriage as completely as I can. Will not coming clean and not telling my husband destroy me from the inside out? For now, I don't think so. I will not be telling my husband that I cheated on him. I have asked God to forgive me and He has. I know my husband pretty well and I think he would divorce me if he found out. I made a mistake, I don't feel permanently ripping my family apart is the right answer to the error I made. In the future, if I feel God wants me to tell my husband, I probably would have to obey Him and do what he asks. For now, I am currently not overrun with guilt feelings. That may change in the future. I can tell you I had horrible feelings of guilt off and on while the affair was taking place. If your having an affair you are doing a fair amount of lying and you are deceiving your spouse as long as you continue your infidelity, that I had a hard time with. I used to think people that affairs were just scumbags but I offer no judgement of course today when I hear about someone that has had one. In my case, I was hurting from the lack of affection I was receiving from my spouse and so was my lover. We both thought having some great sex on the side was the answer to the holes we had in our marriages. Wrong. The guilt I would have felt if we were discovered would have been catastrophic for both families. That would have been a hard pill to swallow. In the future, if I can't work it out with my spouse and I continue to be miserable being married to him, I'll choos to bite the bullet and divorce him rather than deceive him. Affairs are messy and hurt everybody. I was lucky, I only harmed my self and my lover, the outcome could have been much worse.