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. 


Understanding The Mind of The Love Sick

Not every affair has the characteristics of limerence, but many do. And those affairs that do have characteristics of limerence they do not necessarily last for many years or go through all the steps listed below. The limerent affairs that last for years are those where limerence has reached its full peak. Understanding limerence may be important to understanding who your spouse was during their affair. 

Limerence is commonly known as infatuation, lovesickness, romantic love, love addiction, or obsessive love. More clinically, by Wakin and Vo (2008) limerence has been defined as “an involuntary interpersonal state that involves intrusive, obsessive, and compulsive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are contingent on perceived emotional reciprocation from the object of interest.” Limerence is what many people experience when they “fall in love” or have a “romantic relationship” with someone. 

Limerence researcher, Dorothy Tennov suggests that limerence is a “certain state that some people were in much of the time, others in some of the time, but still others never in, or at least not yet.” 

Dorothy Tennov also describes the following signs of what a person is experiencing with limerence. 

  1. Intrusive thinking about “love object.”
  2. A longing for reciprocation from the “love object.”
  3. Based on how the limerence experiencer interprets or perceives the “love objects” behaviors it will significantly alter the limerence experiencers mood for good or bad. 
  4. Limerence experiencers will only have one person they have a love addiction too unless it is in the early days of limerence or it is an experience of fading limerence. 
  5. Daydreaming about the “love object” returning your “love and affection” can cause you to feel relief from the “pains” of this limerent experience. 
  6. People who experience lovesickness or limerence tend to be shy around their “love object” and fear the “love objects” rejection. 
  7. Adversity can intensify the limerence i.e. being broken up by the “love object,” them telling you they don’t like you, finding being with them a challenge can intensify the feelings. 
  8. Individuals stuck in lovesickness find themselves preoccupied with looking for signs that their love is returned, wether those signs are realistic or not. 
  9. When you are experiencing limerence their is tremendous heartache when you feel uncertain about the future with your “love object.” And when you are uncertain if they like you or love you back. 
  10. When an individual does feel like their “love object” likes or loves them back they have a feeling of walking on air. 
  11. When an individual experiences obsessive love, other concerns in life are placed in the background. 
  12. Individuals experiencing infatuation, they emphasize the attractive positive qualities (and even the average qualities) while largely ignoring the negative qualities of their “love object.”