Dear Suzie, Last night I slept so badly that this morning, I woke up exhausted. I finally thought to myself, “Enough is enough! I’m tired of the lies. I’m tired of the promises and all the waiting around. I’ve had enough sadness, enough guilt. I’m done riding this crazy train. I deserve a REAL relationship and a peaceful life. I need to be fully present for my children.” I just don’t know how to end this affair without losing my mind.
- You’ll need the right perspective.
- You’ll need proper preparation.
Let’s begin with the first thing.
Gaining the Right Perspective
The right perspective means looking at the affair realistically (not emotionally) and making your decisions based on rational analysis (not irrational, emotional wishes).
This means you must:
- Come out of denial about the real price you’re paying for continuing to participate in this affair.
- Face the truth (without judgment) about the hidden pay-offs, thrills, and “feelings of specialness” it gives you.
- Put more weight on the actual behavior (not promises or words) and let those actions be the deciding factor.
- Take into account all the ways you’ve allowed lies to replace truth.
- Accept where you’ve compromised, rather than lived with courage.
- Identify those decisions you’ve made based on emotional needs, rather than on integrity.
- Be willing to look at all of the excuses you’ve used to justify your actions.
Here’s the beautiful truth about gaining the right perspective:
Once you begin to compare the reality of what’s happened… to the fantasy of what you would like to happen… the seductive mask of the affair falls away. In its place, you’ll find a shallow illusion that promised heaven but failed to deliver.
Think about it rationally.
The emotions stirred up by the affair might be intense, and yet, intensity isn’t the same as intimacy.
And although the romantic feelings might feel all-consuming, romance isn’t the same as true love. The good news is, there’s a part of you that already knows this. And that’s the part that’s seeking to break free from this affair.
Making the Proper Preparation
I don’t know if you know this or not, but when an abused woman is ready to leave her abuser, one of the key things that improves her chances of a safe and successful breakaway is the level of preparation she puts into her plan.
What do these two experiences have in common?
It may surprise you to learn that many affair partners become so emotionally entangled in the affair that they often experience similar confusing signals to the ones people who are trapped in abusive relationships experience.
For example, in abusive relationships the abused partner becomes so ensnared by the good times that she blocks out the bad times. In other words, she lives on a diet of what could be rather than what is. The same thing happens in many extramarital affairs. The affair partner becomes addicted to the good times, blocks out the bad times, and also lives on a diet of what could be rather than what is.
Another name for this is delusional thinking.
This means being unwilling to face reality (what is), preferring instead to live in a state of delusion (what is not). It’s because of “the similarities” between these two types of relationships that proper preparation is one of the important keys to successfully breaking free.
In order to help you gain the right perspective and make the proper preparation, here are my seven steps to breaking free from the affair.
7 Steps To Emotional Freedom
- DECIDE: You must make a true and irreversible decision to end the affair.
- CLEANSE: You must do a complete cleansing of your heart, mind and environment.
- COMMIT: You must commit to a non-negotiable “Do Not Contact” rule (that lasts forever).
- REMOVE: You must find and eliminate all excuses for failure to follow the “Do Not Contact” rule.
- DETOX: You must allow yourself to grieve the affair, release it, and let it go.
- REDIRECT: You must find support, help, and constructive alternatives to help you redirect your time, energy, and emotions.
- EMBRACE: You must find and commit to a path, plan, or process that leads to true forgiveness, healing, and recovery.
When you end an affair, you don’t lose. YOU WIN! You might be asking “Suzie, what do I win?” Oh, trust me, you get major rewards. For example… you win your freedom, your peace of mind, your sanity, and your self-esteem, just to name a few.
Now, to help inspire you to begin your process now… I’ve included a copy of a wonderful poem I found on the Internet. I wish I knew who wrote it because I would love to thank the poet personally.
On letting go…
To let go isn’t to forget, not to think about or ignore.
It doesn’t leave feelings of anger, jealousy, or regret.
Letting go isn’t about winning or losing.
It’s not about pride and it’s not about how you appear.
It’s not obsessing or dwelling on the past.
Letting go isn’t blocking memories or thinking sad thoughts, and doesn’t leave emptiness, hurt, or sadness.
It’s not about giving in or giving up.
Letting go isn’t about loss and it’s not about defeat.
To let go is to cherish the memories, but to overcome and move on.
It is having an open mind and confidence in the future.
Letting go is learning and experiencing and growing.
To let go is to be thankful for the experiences
That made you laugh, made you cry, and made you grow.
It’s about all that you have, all that you had, and all that you will soon gain.
Letting go is having the courage to accept change, the strength to keep moving and the willingness to grow up.
It is realizing that the heart can sometimes be the most potent remedy.
To let go is to open a door, and to clear a path and set yourself free.
If you find you’re having a hard time letting go of the fear of letting go, read this poem. (I suggest you print it out and keep it close by.)
Until we speak again…
Remember… Love Wins!