What follows is a collection of seven of the most frequently asked questions for affair partners I’ve received over the years. You’ve probably asked yourself at least a few of these questions, and I’m here to help you answer them.
Hopefully, you’ll read some words of insight and encouragement to help ease your suffering and confusion, and better understand your own situation
In this article you will find
7 Most Frequent Questions for Affair Partners
What do when you’re in love with a married man?
Help! I’m in love with a married man. I didn’t intend for things to get so serious. But now, I can’t seem to help myself. Can you advise me on what to do when you’re in love with a married man and how to stop it?
The fact is… VERY FEW women deliberately or intentionally start out to become the third wheel. Sadly, there’s no denying that it still happens to women all the time… and when it does, they discover they’re living the dysfunctional version of the happily-ever-after fairy tale.
What’s the dysfunctional version of the happily-ever-after fairy tale, you ask?
We all know the functional version of the fairy tale. It’s the one where Cinderella overcomes great adversity to meet the love of her life, get married, and live happily ever after. But in the dysfunctional version…
Things get twisted.
In this version, instead of falling in love with the prince (who is available), Cinderella falls in love with the king. But since the king already has a queen… rather than becoming a wife, Cinderella becomes a mistress. Instead of having her own castle, attending her own balls, and being the pride and joy of the entire kingdom, in the dysfunctional version of the fairy tale, Cinderella becomes the king’s dirty little secret.
Of course, the king promises Cinderella everything will be OK.
He swears that one day (when the time is right), he will leave the queen (whom he really doesn’t love anyway), turn his back on his subjects and give up his kingdom for her. While she waits for the right time to arrive, he hides her away in a tower at the far end of the kingdom and visits her occasionally. But as the years go by… the right time never seems to present itself.
And there’s always a legitimate reason why. Things like… parliament is in session, the country is at war, the queen is sick, or the country is in debt. The days turn into months, and the months turn into years, with hundreds of wrong times but never the right time for him to leave.
Obviously, you can see why this version of the fairy tale never got popular, right?
But let me ask you this.
What if you were a friend of Cinderella’s, and she called you for advice about what to do in this situation? How would you advise her? Would you reassure her that she should continue to be patient? Would you try to convince her to keep waiting… because happily-ever-after will come… someday? How would you advise her to handle being in love with a married man? Would you try to convince her that the love she feels for him makes it “OK” for her to place her life on hold, waiting for him? Probably not, right? Well, guess what? I can’t tell you that, either.
What I can tell you is this:
Since you’re loving a man who is already married, you aren’t actually in a relationship. You’re having an affair (read that again).
Having an affair is NOT the same as having a relationship. (It’s important for you to understand the two are not the same.)
What’s the difference between an affair and a real relationship?
The difference is the foundation on which they are built: One is built to last, while the other is built to pass. This brings to mind another fairy tale. Remember the tale of the three little pigs? One little pig built his house with straw, one built his house with sticks, and one built his with bricks. And what happened when the Big Bad Wolf came? The two little pigs who built their homes of straw and sticks discovered they couldn’t withstand pressure and adversity.
Our relationships are tested in a similar way.
Those relationships that are built with the “straw of fantasy” and the “sticks of deception” quickly fall apart under pressure. Those that are built on love, trust and honesty… survive. The house of an extramarital affair is built on the fantasies of what “could be”. They have wishes for roofs, deception for walls and emotions as their foundation. Since all emotions wax and wane, this means all affairs are susceptible to disillusionment. This is why affairs are NOT to be confused with real relationships.
Real relationships are built with the solid bricks of honesty, forged in the fires of reality and emerges from the shared experiences of dealing with ordinary life. A real relationship isn’t perfect. It’s not always pleasant, and it may even fall short in many ways. However, since it’s rooted in reality, it has a staying power that is hard for outsiders to comprehend.
Keep in mind…
When you step into the role of the other woman, you cross the line from the functional version of the fairy tale… to the dysfunctional version.
Here’s the good news:
If you cross the line in one direction, you can always cross back. No matter what decisions, emotions, secret longings, feelings of love or romantic yearnings got you where you are… know this:
Right now, you can make a new, better decision for yourself. You can stop it, let go of this married man and reclaim your happy dream.
You can have the “happily-ever-after” fairy tale. (You simply have to be willing to begin again.)
What If This Person Is My Soul Mate?
How can I be sure this person isn’t my soul mate? How can either of us be sure? How can anyone say that what we feel isn’t good, pure, honest and real? I can honestly tell you that what we have is more real and more beautiful than any other relationship I have ever had. Who are people to judge us? Just because he’s not available doesn’t mean that what we have isn’t real. Couldn’t it be a matter of the right people meeting each other at the wrong time?
First off, let me make a few distinctions here. The capacity to judge your feelings (or anyone else’s) is beyond me. When it comes to judging other people’s feelings, I’m not sure there’s any yardstick or measuring tool that could accurately do that. The fact is, I can’t experience your feelings. I can’t feel or know your reality. I can’t know your heart. (Only you can know that.)
This is why I’m convinced that feelings are never to be judged — only actions should.
Here’s a true-to-life example of what I mean:
Recently in Leeds, England, a 29-year-old female schoolteacher was caught having sexual relations with a 15-year-old male student.
The citizens of Leeds were outraged!
Many demanded the courts throw the book at her. “It’s a black-and-white case of child abuse,” some pointed out. “After all, she’s a 29-year-old adult female with enough reasoning and intelligence to know better.”
This story got me thinking about your question…
One might ask, who are the good citizens of Leeds to judge those feelings? How could they be sure these two people weren’t divinely destined to be together? On one hand, the teacher is convinced she’s in love with her student. On the other hand, her student is convinced he’s in love with his teacher. They are both sure their feelings are good, honest, and pure. Deep inside, they know what they feel is real.
Once again, I’m not sure there’s a way for any outsiders to say whether or not someone else’s feelings are real. That’s why, in the eyes of the law, it’s not the schoolteacher’s feelings that were being judged… it was her actions. (More on this later).
Let me give you another example. (This one is a bit more bizarre, and yet, it makes a valid point.)
Have you ever heard of objectum-sexuality (OS)?
The term describes the sexuality of people who have a tendency to fall in love with inanimate objects (like cars, pillows, the Eiffel Tower, the Berlin Wall, iPhones, etc.). Believe it or not, in 2008, a man from Korea actually married his beloved pillow. (All kidding aside, it was a tearful and moving ceremony.) And a woman named Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer has been happily married to the Berlin wall for more than 20 years. Now, if you were to ask either of these two people… they would tell you that what they feel is as strong, honest, and real as being in love with a human being.
What does all this have to do with you?
Well, here’s the connection: Who are we to pass judgment on whether or not a person who identifies as objectum-sexual’s feelings are real, good, honest, and pure? There’s just no way for us to tell what’s going on inside of another person.
Now, back to your question.
Who are we, as a society, to pass judgment on whether or not your feelings are good, honest, and real?
I don’t believe we can.
However, rather than asking whether or not your feelings are real, a better question to ask might be whether or not it’s appropriate for you to act on those feelings…. because it’s one thing to have real feelings, and it’s another thing entirely to act on those feelings.
Think about that schoolteacher again.
At some point, she went from being a private citizen to becoming public enemy number one. How did she get there? How did she arrive at that place? It happened the moment she made the choice to act on her feelings. At some point, she must have rationalized to herself that just because her feelings were both strong and real, it qualified them as appropriate. So, by mistaking intensity for appropriateness, she gave herself the green light to express her feelings sexually with a minor.
Just because emotions are strong doesn’t mean they’re appropriate.
If you don’t believe me, watch a toddler in the supermarket throw himself on the floor screaming for that sugary snack his mother withholds. His desires are intense, his feelings are real and his emotions are strong… but the way he’s expressing them isn’t appropriate.
So, who determines what’s appropriate and what’s inappropriate?
There are two answers to that question.
Of the two…
The one for you to be most concerned with (in my opinion) is your own personal standards and boundaries. (Your personal standards determine your values, priorities, and what’s okay vs. what’s not okay with you.)
When you violate civil (or social) laws, you face the justice system. But when you violate your personal standards, you also pay a price. What’s the consequence of violating your own boundaries, integrity and core values? The price is guilt, loss of self-respect and loss of self-esteem.
Think about this.
Strong feelings… intense feelings… powerful feelings… should not be judged. (We agree on this.)
However, when a person makes the choice to express their feelings via inappropriate actions and behaviors (for example, having relationships with minors or attempting to have sex with The Berlin Wall in broad daylight), the reality is that society DOES judge those actions. And how do they respond to the argument for how strong, intense and pure those feelings might be? Those arguments are simply thrown out the window.
So, what do you do if you don’t want your actions to be judged? You keep them a secret, right? This is exactly what extramarital affairs are all about.
So, another good question to ask yourself is this:
What personal standards or boundaries have you violated in order to justify this affair?
There are two possible answers to that question:
If after taking an honest inventory, you arrive at the conclusion that you are NOT violating any of your boundaries, core values, or priorities then do yourself a favor and click the close button on this article right now. (You and I have gone just about as far as we can go together.)
If after taking an honest inventory, you arrive at the uncomfortable recognition that the very nature of the affair itself (its secrecy, deception and lack of availability) DOES, in fact, violate some of your core values, boundaries and personal standards… then continue reading (because I have some really good news for you).
Here’s the thing.
Very few things can stir up emotional intensity… like an affair. The forbidden nature, the secrecy, the mystery and the thrill of uncertainty can detonate explosive emotions of indescribable pleasure. And yet, regardless of how strong or how powerfully they manifest, there are only two ways you can express your emotions — appropriately or inappropriately.
Here’s the good news:
If you’re capable of reaching such dizzying heights of emotions in an inappropriate relationship, then there’s no doubt you can do the same in an appropriate relationship. In fact, I will go out on a limb here and say that you could go even higher when things like trust, honesty and transparency are fanning the flames. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself this question (and since no one is listening, you can be honest):
Are you really being fulfilled by the affair?
My guess is, you’re not. How can I be so sure? Well, the biggest clue is found in the nature of affairs themselves: because they are clocked in deception and secrecy. And since true fulfillment requires authenticity and honesty, the two cannot go together. It only goes to show that an extramarital affair can’t deliver true satisfaction any more than drinking seawater can satisfy thirst.
I believe that everything in life is a teaching opportunity. In my opinion, things don’t happen to us — they happen for us.
In your case, I wonder…
What is this experience (with all of its emotional intensity) really here to teach you?
All worth considering, don’t you think?
Can You Help Me Get Past These Feelings?
I have feelings for a woman that I work with. I know we’re both married and what I feel is crazy, but I can’t seem to stop thinking about her. Suzie, it’s to the point that it makes me light-headed to even be near her. I know there’s no chance for us…and I am sick with wanting her. Can you help me get past these feelings?
I’m sure that you’re already aware that wanting what you can’t have is the type of fixation that acts like a drug on our nervous system. It’s been called many names: the forbidden fruit, the chase, the thrill, the challenge, the prize. Because wanting what you can’t have is brought on by the idea of winning the unattainable, it causes your whole world to narrow down to that ONE thing (or person) to the exclusion of everything else.
Sometimes, this type of desire can become so intense that it crosses the line from a want to an obsession (as in stalking). But obsession, desire, and attraction (no matter how intense) is NOT love.
Don’t be fooled. Love is not a feeling. (Feelings come and go.) Love is a decision.
What’s the secret to reversing your way out of this type of intense attraction/obsession?
The answer: Shift your focus from wanting to having, and the same thing that got you into this mess is what will get you out of it.
Here’s what I mean.
Remember when I told you that obsessing is caused by narrowing your focus to one thing or person, to the exclusion of everything else?
In your case, you’ve built everything up to unrealistic proportions. Chances are, you’ve given this woman power, abilities, and skills she doesn’t even have. Essentially, what you’ve been doing is obsessing on wanting what you can’t have.
So, in order to get out of this pattern, you’ll need to focus on the exact opposite… wanting what you can and do have.
Happiness is wanting what you have. Unhappiness is wanting what you can’t (or don’t) have.
Whenever you find yourself thinking about this woman (or anyone) whom you know to be forbidden or emotionally unavailable… STOP… and say to yourself… “I am focusing on the wanting and not on the having. This will only lead to unhappiness. And I want to be happy.”
Wanting is a fantasy; having is reality. One brings peace and gratitude; the other brings misery and emotional suffering.
Therefore, wanting isn’t nearly as rewarding as actually having.
I Would Love To End It. What Should I Do?
I’ve been having an affair with a married man for the last three years. I would love to end it, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. What should I do?
Read that question again. Your answer is staring you in the face. There’s a part of you that knows you deserve more. It’s the part that says… “I would love to end it.”
Put a full stop to that sentence.
Focus on the part of you that would love to end it. That voice that’s telling you that you can’t… is a voice of weakness and low self-esteem.
You are stronger than you know.
Why Do I Keep Going Back?
I’ve tried to end this many times. Every time I go back, I can’t seem to let go. Help!
Are you willing to face the truth head on? If so, then stop and ask yourself this question: In your heart, do you believe in abundance, or do you believe in scarcity?
Here’s the thing.
Life… will not argue with you. If you want just the crumbs, then you can have them. If you desire the whole cake, you can have that instead.
It’s your choice.
Remember… in life… we don’t get what we want. We get what we’re willing to accept (be it the cake or the crumbs).
The question to ask yourself is this…
Why have you been so easily satisfied with the relationship crumbs, rather than going for the whole cake?
Personally, I believe this is more about having “courage” than it is about lack of control.
Today is the day to come out of denial.
End it now, and opt for more and be courageous enough to ask life for the whole relationship cake.
Why? Because you deserve it. (You really do).
Does Not Ending This Affair Make Me A Bad Person?
I know the right thing to do is to end this affair, but for some reason, I just can’t seem to get myself to do it. Deep down, I feel like this makes me a bad person. What do you think? – Lisa P.
Lisa, knowing what’s right and doing what’s right are two entirely different things.
One is all about thinking. The other requires action. Not ending the affair isn’t about being a bad person. It’s about making poor decisions. So, the real question is this: What’s allowing you to continue to willingly make poor decisions?
My guess? It’s some type of fear… which leads me to believe that this is more about self-sabotage than anything else right now.
Here’s the thing about sabotage:
It usually shows up just before a person is about to make a major breakthrough.
It often happens right before that “key” meeting, right before a big promotion, right before the wedding, and even right before the right man walks into your life.
It’s worth asking…
Why does self-sabotage seem to often show up just before we’re about to have a breakthrough?
Here’s my theory.
I believe self-sabotage can be some kind of last-ditch attempt for us to try and stay in our comfort zone.
In other words…
Self-sabotage is often an unconscious act of rebellion against both growth and growing up. So, in a way, sabotage is actually a sign that we are about to grow.
Rather than ask if you’re a bad person (which you’re not), think more in terms of what would allow you to continue to make a bad decision.
If you can’t come up with a good reason for making this specific bad decision… Then chances are good that there’s some type of self-sabotage at work behind the scenes. And if that’s the case, then taking the time to do a self-sabotage inventory can reveal where those bad decisions are coming from so we can remove them.
AFFAIR RECOVERY QUESTIONNAIRE
Take inventory of your life right now and see if there’s anything "major" the affair is distracting you from having or doing.
Think back to the days and months before the affair to see if you were on the verge of any major life-changing event.
Go back through your personal history and see if there have been other times (or other things) you’ve let "stop you" from going after something you wanted.
Remember, at the end of the day…
if we want to feel good about ourselves when we are by ourselves, then we have to believe we are making good decisions. And a big part of being able to make good decisions is finding out where our bad ones are coming from.
Why Do I Keep Going Back?
I just can’t seem to say no to him. I feel like I have no will of my own. I feel like such a worthless person for letting this happen. I used to be one of those people who were against this kind of thing. In fact, I despised women who got involved with married men. I felt they got what they deserved. How did I let this happen to me?
Remember: There’s a big difference between being a bad person and making a bad judgment. When it comes to sexual emotions, attraction, and temptation, we’re all vulnerable. No one is immune. Therefore, it’s not our job to judge or condemn (especially when the person who’s fallen short is us).
Let me ask you, can you be willing to (just for one moment) lift the harsh self-judgment and contempt?
Why? Because all of that judgment, disgust, and self-loathing you’ve been directing toward yourself doesn’t do you any favors. In fact, all it’s doing is draining your self-esteem even more. And whatever cost us our self-esteem also costs us our feeling of self-worth.
So, the question becomes…
What is your self-esteem worth to you?
To find out, ask yourself these three questions:
These are questions that every woman must answer (regardless of whether she’s in an affair or not).
Why is this important?
Happiness without honoring yourself is impossible.
Therefore, every woman must honor herself and acknowledge that her self-esteem is a priceless gift only she can give herself.
Until we speak again…
Remember… Love Wins!
P.S. Here are 3 more ways I can help you break free from the affair.