12 Things You Must Consider When Rebuilding After Infidelity

Limerence or romantic love grows in stages. First the betrayer is content to see the affair partner now and then. But as the addiction escalates, they need more and more of their “drug.” As the addiction grows, they feel the need to be with their affair partner more and more until it develops into a craving and eventually they feel like they can’t not live without their affair partner.  

If the betrayer is uncertain if they want to give the marriage a second chance or be with the affair partner, they need to follow the advice given below.  As limerence, this addictive romantic feeling grows the betrayer is more likely to want to leave the marriage and have a much greater potential for having a “relapse” much like a drug addict would. So how does a betrayer end their feelings of limerence?

These things I’ve written below are not suggestions, if you are serious about rebuilding the marriage you need to follow what I am laying out. Remember this addiction can be ended, it just takes determination and time. 

  1. Remove all evidence of the affair partner, throw out cards, letters and delete them off of all social networking websites i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. 
  2. Don’t call or write under any circumstance. If you see them at work or on the street you need to depart immediately. I’ve worked with couples where the briefest contact with the affair partner can fire up the brain chemicals associated with romantic love and you’ll be very close to having a relapse. 
  3. You need to have a note card that you carry with you that has written down the negative traits of the affair partner. When you find yourself thinking of that person pull out the note card with their negative traits, this will help you overcome the romantic attraction and feelings you have of that person. 
  4. Next you need to spend regular time fantasizing about walking arm in arm with your spouse. 
  5. Stay busy. Keep your mind on other things. Reinvest yourself back into the marriage. Stay busy rebuilding the marriage. 
  6. Distract yourself from the affair partner. Call friends, go back to church, get involved in hobbies, etc. But don’t ignore your spouse while rebuilding the marriage. 
  7. Start exercising. Any kind of physical exercise will make you feel better. Physically strenuous exercise is known to drive up levels of serotonin, endorphin and dopamine in the brain giving you a feelings of euphoria and calmness. 
  8. Have a proper diet. Avoid foods that you know will harm your body, especially avoid sweets. 
  9. Stay out of the places you and the affair partner went. Go to new and different places. Don’t listen to the same songs. In a word, avoid the people, places and things that can trigger a desire to be with the affair partner. 
  10. If for whatever reason you are very tempted to contact the affair partner you need to think it through. What will happen if you contact this person? What will happen to your family? What impact will this have on your spouse as you two are rebuilding the marriage?
  11. Antidepressants. Commonly people who are have recently ended an affair have difficulty remembering events or duties, obsessive thinking about their problems and their pain. Their mood is altered, struggling with despair, anxiety, fear, anger and maybe other disabling mood states. Also, problems in the body can arise, and depressed people can have trouble eating, sleeping, or engaging in sex. Many contemplate suicide. What people find themselves experiencing on antidepressants is they are able to sleep through the night, eat, and go about life in a more timely and effective manner. Eventually you become less impulsively drawn to contact the affair partner. Medications do have side effects and they are not a magic bullet, but remember what they promise is better than going back to the affair partner or contemplating suicide. 
  12. Nothing beats your the romantic feelings you had with your affair partner like creating that kind of romantic love with your spouse. 

 

Love Addiction Is Killing Your Intimacy

For a description of the term, "Limerence" read the earlier blog post called "Madly In Love With The Affair Partner?" dedicated to understanding what it is. This type of affair is one of two ways it may be experienced for those having an affair. Not every affair has limerence as a component. 

This type of limerent affair is really about the experience of “love addiction.” Those experiencing this type of affair have a repetitive pattern of moving from one relationship to the next, because the love they are looking for doesn’t last. This type of affair isn’t necessarily about sex. It is about finding the one right person who can make them happy, unfortunately they never find them, so they continue searching. Because the betrayer is on a never-ending search for the“right one,” it prevents them from making a full commitment to the marriage. 

The person experiencing this type of affair may be uncertain if they want to continue in their marriage.  After having been with their spouse for only a few years they can decide their mate isn’t “Mr. or Mrs. Right” they continue their search for the “One.”

The experience of falling in love isn’t really true love at all. True love is a choice that is made long after the feelings have faded. Those feelings we experience when falling in love eventually fade, and their supposed too. Because true love is experienced when you don’t feel like it. 

This type of affair occurs with both males and females. 

The betrayer tends to only see the positive qualities of the affair partner, they are infatuated with. At this point they are incapable of judging their negative characteristics. While they may see the defects, they won’t give these defects consideration.

At times this occurs even when there may not be an actual relationship with the person they are “infatuated” with. It can be more like an obsession about another person.  

Those experiencing this type of affair may complain about the lack of romantic love in the marital relationship.  

Madly In Love With The Affair Partner?

This type of affair is one of two ways it may be experienced for those having an affair. Not every affair has limerence as a component. 

This type of limerent affair is characterized by the betrayer believing they are "madly in love" with the affair partner, and they are willing to risk everything to be with their affair partner. With this type, betrayers feel love sickness when they are not with their affair partner and feel powerless to stop this love addiction to them. (Read earlier blog posts of limerence for a complete description of what they are experiencing.)  

It is not uncommon for them to feel guilty about what they are doing, but at the same time, they feel they are no longer in love with their spouse and know that they will never be happy unless they are with their lover.

This limerent affair is not necessarily based on sex, but on the powerful emotions they experience with this person. In this type of affair, betrayers have most likely made the decision to leave their marriage. They believe that they can never be happy unless they get to be with the one they love.

Many times there is a pattern of the betrayer swinging back and forth between their marriage and their affair partner. When they are at home, trying to do what is right, they are miserable and feel they will never be happy. When they are with their affair partner, they are ecstatic, but may be feeling so guilty that they can't stand it, so they move back home only to feel miserable and to realize once again that they can never be happy unless they go back to the affair partner. The betrayer's in and out stance can continue for years. Betrayers often seem incapable of making a decision about what they are going to do. Even though they don’t want to be in the marriage. 

This situation is not hopeless, even though you probably have been told numerous times it is by your spouse. While this description may cause you to believe your situation is hopeless, please know that it is not. 

Often times with this type of affair, the betrayer has a very difficult time completely cutting of the affair partner even after the affair is "over." This may also be because the affair partner is also experiencing limerence. 

Part of the process of working through this type of affair is the betrayer needs to understand what they are experiencing. They may continue to believe the affair partner is their soul mate, until they understand what limerence really is and how to get out of it. Until that is done this dance of insanity will probably continue for a long time. 

Should You or Your Spouse Take a Lie Detector Test & Other Common Questions

There are many words to describe an affair. It is often called a fantasy, a break from reality, infidelity, some call it unforgivable, everyone calls it painful. But what it truly is deep down to the core is a lie. In counseling part of what we do is work with the couple to rebuild trust. Sometimes we recommend that the betrayer should take a polygraph also known as a “lie detector test”. This is another way to help the betrayed spouse feel at ease with the truth the betrayer is telling them. If the betrayer is with holding parts of the truth the polygraph will help bring that to light.
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7 Steps to Separating From the Affair Partner

Here are the rules for separating from the affair partner: 1. Allow your spouse to participate in the severance. By allowing your spouse to have a say in how it is done will help your spouse find closure as well. Also, because the affair involved so much secrecy, this moment of truth is refreshing for them. Remember you and your spouse are a team. 2. Make it a clear, absolute, severance. There are a number of ways to separate from the affair partner that we will talk about but, however it is done, don’t let there be any question whatsoever that there is a glimmer of hope in the world that there could be anything between you again...
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The Affair Trap

Did you know that most affairs are not actually about sex? Surprised? You may also find it interesting that most people who have had an affair believed it would never happen to them. It doesn’t matter if you are religious, a good person, or a smart person. Affairs have very little, if at all, to do with the type of person you are. So you may be asking, “what are affairs about anyways, if it's not just sexual addiction, and what types of people have them?” We will tell you. Affairs are about many different things. Reasons can vary based on circumstances and what is going on inside the heart and mind of the person who has the affair. Let’s look at a few different ways a person falls into the affair trap:
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Boundary Building & The Right Connections

Boundary Building & The Right Connections
Bad Connections In any affair the spouse who is straying from the nest is usually sharing more time, information, and feelings with someone other than their spouse. If you are not sure if you are doing this then ask yourself “Does the person I am talking to know more about my spouse, relationship, or feelings than my spouse knows about this person?” If you find yourself talking more to someone else than your spouse you are creating a “bad connection”. You are connecting more and more with this other person and “disconnecting” from your spouse.
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Successfully Manage Your Guilt

In order to successfully understand your guilt you must understand the stages that we go through in the guilt process: Denial. We may be shocked and numb at first because the guilt is so uncomfortable. We may deny responsibility at first. Processing. Over time, we are able to accurately assess the harm done and legitimately assess our responsibility. Lessons are learned and emotions are neutralized by no longer looking at the situation with faulty thinking. Resolution. In this third step, we express appropriate grief for the hurt we have caused and make appropriate amends. We no longer feel the need for guilt and self-punishment. We are now able to truly think about and elevate others.
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How To Get Busy Getting Back To Life When Your Spouse Has Left You

How To Get Busy Getting Back To Life When Your Spouse Has Left You
Part Two: GET A LIFE The 3 step process we talked about in the last newsletter 1. Stop the Chase, 2. Get a Life, and 3. Wait & Watch is going to save you from becoming a statistic. We talked about when your spouse is leaving or has already left and how most people pursue, reason, chase, beg, plead, and implore the other the stay when they are faced with this life altering moment. This is normal, however, so is divorce. We all know the staggering statistics about divorce in Oklahoma and how we rank number one in the nation when it comes to divorce. In this newsletter we will talk more about stopping the chase and getting a life. Sticking to this process can make or break your marriage at this point so it is very important to stick with it even though it is hard and could be the hardest point in your entire life.
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HOW TO GET YOUR SPOUSE BACK - Part One: STOP THE PURSUIT

Part One: STOP THE PURSUIT If your spouse has told you in no uncertain terms that they are leaving, they’ve mentioned that separation is the best thing right now, they would like a divorce, maybe they’ve already filed for divorce, or maybe you sleep in separate rooms and have virtually no contact. One of the first thing that likely runs through your mind is "oh no, is this the end?" The answer is "no" it's not over. You AND your relationship are not hopeless or helpless. This technique we are going to talk about for the next couple of posts is known as the Last-Resort Technique and was coined by a lady named Michele Weiner-Davis. Here is the formula:
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How Do I Know If They Will Cheat Again?

Everyone who experiences cheating in their relationship goes through different feelings as they begin to dissect their emotions after infidelity. One question many people have is how do I know they are not going to hurt me again? That is a valid question. One that each individual must answer for themselves. It takes work and guidance to pick up the pieces and make things right. The following are steps “the participating partner” or partner who violated the trust of the other partner should go through in order to begin to answer the question above. These are just a few steps to get you moving in the right direction.
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What You Need to Know about Love

What You Need to Know about Love

People compare and confuse the intensity of being "in love" during an affair with the secure, comfortable feeling of reality-based "loving" that occurs in long-term relationships.

The feelings of being "in love" is linked to Stage 1 idealization, passion and infatuation, which are just fleeting feelings....

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Stay or Go? 7 Questions for Betrayed Partners to Ask!

So many people ask us should I stay with someone who hurts me?  How do I know if they will cheat on me again?  Am I doing the right thing by working on this relationship?  

These are all good questions worthy of consideration.  But we want to give you 7 questions you can ask that we think will really help you to sort out whether or not this is a pattern that will continue or if it was just a mistake that probably won't happen again.

Ask yourself these 7 questions to help you sort out the facts from fiction:

Is this infidelity a part of a larger picture of cheating and lying?

Do they keep secrets about other aspects of their life?  If you've caught them lying to you about other things or if you've simply found that they've cheated before, you want to be cautious about letting them back into your life without some serious consideration.

Sometimes a person will show their true colors in other aspects of their life.  Do they feel that it's okay if a friend is unfaithful?  Do you hear them talking about unfaithfulness in other situations as though it were no big deal?  This can reveal a lot about a person's attitude towards respect of boundaries, honesty, and fidelity.

Has this kind of thing happened before?

Seems like a continuation of question one but really, ask yourself, have they been unfaithful before?  If they have then consider what they've done to prevent this from happening again.  Are they open to taking steps to make sure it doesn't happen again or that the vulnerabilities that were there that lead to the infidelity are fixed.

Do you trust your partner to tell you the truth about other things?

Are they honest with the little things?  Do you find that they lie about other little things in life?  When someone can't be trusted with the little things they certainly can't be trusted with the big things in life.  So look at this very carefully.

Is your partner generally dependable and trustworthy?

Can you depend on your partner to do what they say they will do?  When you ask them to do something are they consistently dropping the ball and making excuses?  Trust your gut.  Are they dependable?

Is your partner understanding about your pain? 

This is really important.  If they can't step back and try to understand how you feel then they may not care.  But on the other hand they may not have the skills to understand your pain.  That's how couples counseling can really be helpful and transformative.

Is your partner willing to help your anxiety by being accountable?

This is a BIG one!  If they are not willing to be open and completely transparent then something's fishy and not right.  That means passwords and curfews for a while...whatever you need to feel like they're being honest and consistent.  Obviously these things won't fix the relationship long term but while you're in the healing process you want to feel like they don't have anything to hide.  If they are willing to do what it takes to help you feel at ease then consider what they may be hiding.

Are they willing to work on the relationship in counseling?

Now we aren't saying you should leave them if they don't want to go to counseling.  Many people are afraid to face a marriage therapist.  That's why we have the online video orientation, so you can help them feel more at ease about trying counseling.  But if they aren't willing to fix the underlying issues in the relationship then you're setting yourself up for failure.  Remember: you can't expect to do the same things you've always done and get different results.

Stay or Go? Questions for Involved Partners

It is important that you do not make the mistake of deciding on the basis of comparing an exciting, illicit romance with a stable, long-term marriage. 

  •  Picture yourself with the affair partner in a longer-term committed relationship.
  • What would life be like 5 years from now; 20 years from now?
  • Ask yourself whether the affair partner wants to have children. If you already have a family, do you want to be raising another family in the future?
  • What would it be like for you and your affair partner to raise stepchildren together?
  • How would your children handle your marriage to the person who broke up their intact family?
  • What were the things that attracted you to your affair partner? If these traits were to become exaggerated, would you still be attracted? For example, if you like the fact that your affair partner is always frank and direct, imagine what it would be like to be with someone who’s brutality honest. 
  • What will it be like when the passion of a forbidden love wears off ten years from now? Imagine how forlorn you might have been if something had prevented you from marrying your spouse. You probably would have believed forever that you had lost the one true love of your life.
  • Would you still want to divorce your spouse even if the relationship with the affair partner doesn’t work out? 
  • Visualize where you want to be 10 or 20 years from now - where you want to be living, how you want to spend your time, and what gives you pleasure. 
  • What happened to the dreams you once had about what it would be like to grow old together with your spouse?
  • Remember marriage counseling can help you avoid divorcing and help you rebuild your marriage. 

7 Surprising Facts About Infidelity!

The following 7 facts often surprise people about infidelity.  So many people have been completely lied to and have no idea what really causes people to cheat.

  1. A happy marriage is not a vaccine against infidelity.
  2. The person having the affair may not be giving enough at home rather than not getting enough. 
  3. It is normal to be attracted to another person, but fantasizing about what it would be like to be with an other person is a danger sign.
  4. Flirting is crossing the line because it is an invitation that indicates receptivity. 
  5. Infidelity is not only about love or sex - it’s about maintaining appropriate boundaries with others and being open and honest in your committed relationship. 
  6. You do not have to have sexual intercourse to be unfaithful. Passionate kissing or oral sex is a violation of your commitment to your partner. 
  7. Emotional affairs are characterized by secrecy, emotional intimacy, and sexual chemistry. Emotional affairs can be more threatening than brief sexual flings.

Remember marriage counseling can help you avoid divorcing and help you rebuild your marriage. 

1st Steps to Healing After an Affair

Knowing the true story behind a trauma is the only way the victim can stop obsessing and begin to heal. Because affairs are secret, betrayed partners can’t resolve their grief over their loss of innocence until they know what really happened. Unfaithful partners who lie about the details cause more harm than good because the only way to restore a betrayed partner’s sanity is to be honest about what has, up to now, been concealed. A key question that must be answered for the betrayed partner is, “How do I know you won’t betray me again?” They can answer this by knowing what led to the infidelity and what kept it going.
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Are They Cheating? How To Know For Sure Without A Lie Detector Test.

Are They Cheating?  How To Know For Sure Without A Lie Detector Test.

Do you think your spouse is lying about an affair?  Are you thinking about asking or demanding a lie detector test?  We know it's tempting to get a lie detector test because it seems like the easiest way to get the truth...but think again!  Even if you get some truth out of them you won't achieve the healing you deserve with a simple test.  You need more.  You need an expert at body language, an expert at knowing when someone is really telling the truth about their feelings about your relationship, you need experts at healing your heart after discovering the truth.  You need us!  Read about the warning signs you're being cheated on...

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