The Pain of the Betrayed After an Affair

The Pain of the Betrayed After an Affair

What Past Clients Have Told Me

An affair can the most devastating person experience the betrayed spouse experiences in their lifetime. I’ve had people tell me they would rather go back to Iraq and be shot at than to experience their spouse’s betrayal again. I’ve had a woman say that her husbands affair was worse than her child passing away. Just because an affair is so devastating doesn’t mean a marriage can not be rebuilt. An affair can be put behind you if the trauma is properly dealt with.  

If the Involved spouse doesn’t really know how traumatic their actions have been for their injured spouse, that can serve as a severe hinderance to recovery. The involved spouse just won’t “get it” and fail to be a resource of support and compassion....

Read More

Healing Shame

Healing Shame

A common roadblock to rebuilding after an affair is the relentless emotion of shame in the betrayer. Most people are aware of how painful an affair is to the betrayed spouse, but few are aware of what it does to the spouse who had an affair. I’ll try to give a nice concise summary. Commonly the betrayer starts with guilt and a harsh critical voice of self-hatred. Many times betrayers refuse to think or discuss the affair because doing so brings up such strong feelings of disgust that is directed at themselves. They are in pain when discussing it because they do not want to see their injured spouse struggle with the devastation they caused and they don’t want to think of themselves as someone who could do something so inhuman. Once guilt has crossed the line into shame, spouses who had the affair commonly feel repairing the marriage is hopeless....

Read More

Why Emotional Affairs Kill Marriages

Why Emotional Affairs Kill Marriages

Although some would not consider an emotional entanglement an affair, this type of relationship can be just as devastating and destructive as a sexual affair. Emotional affairs are not commonly discussed, and frequently, their lack of sexual involvement is used as a rationalization as to why it’s not an affair. But technicalities in no way absolve the reality of the situation....

Read More

Affairs With Shared Interest...Just Friends, Really?

Affairs With Shared Interest...Just Friends, Really?

In this situation, the betrayer is involved with the affair partner, but at the same time, the betrayer does not want to leave the marriage. The betrayer considers the affair partner a soul mate. 

These affairs frequently spring from a relationship in which the two individuals share something in common such as music, art, movies, video games or another interest. Typically, this interest is something they don't share in common with the spouse, so they turn to the affair partner for understanding, companionship, and support....

Read More

Revenge Affairs...Do They Work?

Revenge Affairs...Do They Work?

This affair occurs after an injured spouse feels like they are not healing and they want to make their betraying spouse understand the pain they are in. Typically this occurs after several months of trying to recover from the affair and they feel like are not getting answers as to why it occurred. The betrayer may have an affair in this scenario for several different reasons i.e. to boaster their self-esteem, feel desired, or they rationalize, "I'm a person too you can't keep treating me this way.".....

Read More

When Marriage Burn Out Leads To Infidelity

When Marriage Burn Out Leads To Infidelity

Most affairs have characteristics of this type of affair, but this also can be its own separate category. 

This is an affair that occurs because the spouse doesn’t care about the future of the marriage. They have reached a place where they simply don’t care about being with their spouse. The betrayer feels beat up by the negative cycle the couple has experienced and as a result they start to feel resentment, alone, sad and simply start caring less about the marriage.....

Read More

Sexual Abuse "Affair"?

Sexual Abuse "Affair"?

This type of affair occurs when somebody has been raped or forced into sex by another individual, but the spouse doesn't believe that he or she has been taken advantage, as a result the spouse was sexually coerced is in a horrible position because they've been sexually assaulted and their spouse believes they were an active participant in an affair.  Characteristics include...

Read More

When It's Normal To Cheat

When It's Normal To Cheat

The Philanderer’s Affair occurs because the betrayer believes that having an affair is “normal.” These betrayers are different from sex addicts and those who have one night stands. They believe that cheating is a way of life. They were probably taught cheating is okay by a parent, coworker, or friend. They live by the motto, “As long as no one gets hurt, it’s okay.” Often times couples who have clearly defined “roles” as a husband and wife, (such as the man is the provider and the wife is a stay at home mom), can easily fall into this trap. As distinctions between roles diminish and spouses share roles affairs of this type will be less likely. This type of an affair feeds off of their being an unequal share of power in the relationship.....

Read More

Affairs With Sex Addicts

Affairs With Sex Addicts

These affairs are committed by individuals who have an ongoing pattern of sexual betrayal, such as frequenting topless bars or adult bookstores, viewing pornography, compulsive masturbation, prostitution, repetitive encounters with sexual partners, and other behaviors that are destructive to both the individual and to the marital relationship. 

These individuals, though in a committed relationship, have never been able to find complete fulfillment from their relationship. Rather, they are enslaved by....

Read More

The One Night Stand Affair

The One Night Stand Affair

Characteristics: 

  • Commonly a one-night stand occurs when a spouse is away from home
  • Alcohol and anonymity maybe involved. 
  • The betrayer gets caught up in the heat of the moment, and gives in to temptation. 
  • It is important to note that a one-night stand is doesn’t happen necessarily because of a lack of emotional connection in the marriage 
  • This doesn’t necessarily happen because the betrayer is dissatisfied with his or her mate, (even sexually). 
  • With this type of affair one of the distinguishing points is the desire of the betrayer to stay in his or her marriage. Their fear and desire to keep it a secret are indicators that they don’t want to lose the marriage. 
  • The core of this betrayal is based on.....
Read More

Communicating After Betrayal

Jack was betrayed by his wife Molly. She had an affair with his best friend, who was his boss at work. As they try to work through the affair Jack feels feels unsafe with Molly. He believes he has no security and feels like he is having to guess what is on her mind. Having to guess only creates more uncertainty and fear for Jack. Jack responds to this uncertainty by questioning, lecturing, blowing up with anger, and experiencing deep levels of anxiety. Jack and Molly are caught in a nasty cycle of criticize/withdrawal.... 

Read More

Why Is Affair Recovery Is So Hard?

Why Is Affair Recovery Is So Hard?

This entry is part 3 in the series of blog post on how what each spouse is experiencing in recovering from an affair can easily turn negative. This entry covers what betrayers typically experience when recovering from an affair. In part 2 I described what injured spouses typically experience when recovering from an affair. Part 1 in this series discussed the 6 components of a negative cycle. 

Read More

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. 

The Moment The Love Sick Fall In Love

As we already discussed in a previous blog post, limerence is the name given to the condition people experience when they experience lovesickness, infatuation, obsessive love and addictive love. 

What a typical limerence experience looks like as described by Dorothy Tennov. Each step listed below builds on top of the other:

  • The experience of limerence begins at a specific recallable point. Typically the moment is when eye contact is made with the “love object.” The “love object” is someone the limerence experiencer is physically attracted too or the limerence experiencer feels like this person is interested in them that is enough to induce limerence.  
  • Thinking about the “love object” becomes pleasurable, with a feeling of freeness and focus on the positive attributes of the “love object.” At this stage it is possible to have more than one potential “love object,” because it is the beginning of the relationship, and limerence hasn’t hit its full peak yet. 
  • Potential reciprocation from the “love object” can be euphoric, there is a persistent review of “love objects” positive qualities, replaying interactions and increased focus of one’s own relevant attributes. 
  • Romantic love or love addiction increases where obstacles exist or when the person experiencing limerence doubts their “love object” feels the same way about them. It is important to recognize that eventually even when the person experiencing limerence does notice the possibility of negative attributes about their “love object” the feelings of “love” do not slow down for them. During this stage attempts are made to improve physical appearance and/or any status in order to increase desirability and there is an increasing fear of rejection. 
  • With doubt and hope about having their love returned, thinking about the “love object” can reach 100% of their time for the person experiencing limerence. This can lead to feelings of euphoria or despair/depression. This deep thinking about the “love object” can be interrupted by activities that helps the person experiencing limerence feel like they are more desirable to their “love object.”
  • When and if the “love object” loves back the feelings of lovesickness stabilizes until the next period of uncertainty. Intensity can increase again once adversity is perceived by the person experiencing limerence. 

Limerent episodes on average have a minimum duration of 1-3 years to 7 years, with a few dissipating within 6 months and some lasting decades.