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When the Wrong One Feels Right

Question

Suzie, I have been trying to end the affair for months now. But every time I try, I just can’t seem to do it. He makes me feel so good. I just have a hard time believing that something that feels so good can be wrong. I know he’s the wrong man, but it feels so right. I know many people judge me, but if they knew what I was feeling, they wouldn’t want to walk away either. Can you help me understand what’s going on?

Here’s why I say that:

It’s the nature of affairs to stir up strong, intensely pleasurable feelings — all of which are further intensified (even fueled) by the fact that they are forbidden, mysterious, and secret.

No surprise here.

The attraction to the forbidden, the secret, and the mysterious is a well-known human tendency.

For example:

  • The things we can’t have (usually) are the very things we tend to want more of. (forbidden)
  • The more restricted the information, the more powerful it becomes. (secrets)
  • The less we know about a thing, the more we seem to want to know about it. (mystery)

This is why affairs hold such a dangerous allure in our culture; Not only do they stir up our emotional appetites, they simultaneously promise us a way to satisfy those appetites. But do they really? (More on this later.)

For now, I want to make another thing clear:

Falling in love with the wrong person doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t make you an unworthy person. It doesn’t make you a stupid person. In fact, all it really makes you is human and therefore capable (like all of us) of making poor decisions.

There’s good news about that.

The fact that you’re capable of making poor decisions also means you’re capable of making good ones… provided you’re willing to come out of denial.

Today We Come Out Of Denial Of The Affair

What is denial?

Denial is the decision not to know. It’s a type of voluntary ignorance we use to hold off facing a truth we would rather not deal with right now.

Denial is a decision

Is denial useful?

Of course it is! Every one of us has been in denial about something at one time or another. In fact, entire industries have sprung up to help facilitate our need for denial. The brilliant comedian, George Carlin, once joked, “California spent millions setting up an 800 hotline to help people come out of denial.” (So far, no one has called.)

Why is denial so powerful?

It’s powerful because it provides us with an airtight bubble of protection. It’s like a safe house we run to whenever we want to hide from a reality that threatens or overwhelms us.

So, what’s the problem?

The problem is… reality doesn’t change just because we deny it. What’s true doesn’t become untrue because we can’t handle it. What’s inappropriate doesn’t become appropriate just because we wish it to.

Bottom line?

Denial is deception, not safety. It’s procrastination, not progress. We can stay in denial for as long as we want, but when we finally come out, the truth will still be the truth. Un-embellished. Impersonal. Unchanged.

So, knowing what we know about denial… Why do so many people postpone ending the affair, when deep inside, they sense it’s the right thing to do?

That’s a very good question, and I have a theory about it.

Here’s my theory: I believe once emotions get involved, the line between what is right and what feels right gets blurred.

Think about it this way…

Imagine an adult telling a child that eating too many sticky buns all in one sitting will make them sick. (Any grown-up knows this is a fact.) However, think about how this information is processed from the point of view of a child.

In a child’s world…

Sticky buns are a glorious feast of sweet, sugary deliciousness, that gives the child nothing but pleasurable feelings. Therefore, the child’s natural urge is to try to experience those pleasurable feelings for as long as possible, and as many times as possible. 

Come out of denial

So, the information the adult shares about what will happen (the truth) directly contradicts the child’s experience and desires. And so the rational voice of the adult becomes the enemy, and the child will do almost anything to have her way.

Result? The child throws the mother of all tantrums.

Now, if that child happens to have a mother like mine who believed in the teaching-by-experience method, then that parent would strike a deal with the child. She would agree to buy the child one dozen sticky buns as long as the child agreed to eat ALL of them in one sitting. And then, the wise parent would sit beside the child and watch as she polished off sticky bun after sticky bun… patiently waiting for the inevitable reality check.

As you probably guessed, that’s a true story.

By the time I got to sticky bun number four, heaven had turned into hell. Sugary sweetness became unbearable — the pleasure became poison. I just couldn’t go on. But my mother insisted. “Keep going!” she said. “You fought for this. You cried for this. So keep going.” By sticky bun number five, I was in agony. “No, Mommy!” I cried. “I don’t want any more. Please, Mommy, no more!” Eventually, she let me off the hook. I never actually had to eat all 12 sticky buns. But there was a moment that terrified me when I thought my stomach would burst into pieces.

To this day, I’ve never forgotten the nausea associated with eating too many sticky buns. As a matter of fact, as a result of that one experience, I don’t care for anything too sweet… even to this day. 

what to do when wrong man feels right

Now you might think that was cruel of my mother, but I don’t because it taught me a valuable lesson that has stayed with me. 

And here’s the lesson: just because something makes me feel good, doesn’t mean it IS good for me.

The point I’m making is this:

When our pleasurable emotions get triggered (whether by food, drugs, romance, sex, or extramarital affairs), they make it difficult to tell the difference between things that just feel good and things that truly are good.

Why is denial so powerful?

It’s powerful because it provides us with an airtight bubble of protection. It’s like a safehouse we run to whenever we want to hide from a reality that threatens or overwhelms us.

So, what’s the problem?

The problem is… 

Reality doesn’t change just because we deny it. What’s true doesn’t become untrue because we can’t handle it. What’s inappropriate doesn’t become appropriate just because we wish it to.

Bottom line?

Denial is deception, not safety. It’s procrastination, not progress. We can stay in denial for as long as we want, but when we finally come out, the truth will still be the truth. Un-embellished. Impersonal. Unchanged.

So, knowing what we know about denial… Why do so many people postpone ending the affair, when deep inside, they sense it’s the right thing to do?

That’s a very good question, and I have a theory about it.

Here’s my theory: I believe once emotions get involved, the line between what is right and what feels right gets blurred.

The same is true for you.

On this website (and others like it), you’ll find many insights and examples shared by myself and others. If you’re willing to learn from these insights, then you won’t have to experience unnecessary personal pain. In this, I have done my part. The rest is up to you. Are you going to learn from pain or from insight?

The choice is yours.

However, consider this: the long-term prognosis for extramarital affairs is dismal.

According to statistics, less than two percent of affairs ever work out. 

This puts the odds in about the same category as winning your local lottery. 

Now, ask yourself, would you pin all your hopes and dreams on a lottery ticket?

Quote difference between things that fell-good and things are good

I hope not.

And if you had a friend who told you that their retirement plan is to win the lottery and retire in the Bahamas, would you consider that friend to be living in reality, or living in denial? You know the answer to that.

And just in case you’re wondering…

Am I saying that it’s impossible for anyone to have an affair and come up smelling like roses? No, that’s not what I’m saying. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and again. What I’m saying is that the odds are not in your favor — not statistically, not historically, and not realistically. The only way to find comfort in the belief that your situation is unique or special or different than other extramarital affairs… is to live in denial about what it really is that you’re doing.

So, first things first.

You MUST come out of denial.

The feelings, the magic, the ecstasy, the romance, the thrill, the agony, the drama, the lies, the deceit, the secrets, the mystery, the attention, the connection, the high, and the hypnotic spell he puts you under (as intense as all these might feel) aren’t unique. It’s the nature of extramarital affairs to trigger pleasurable feelings. Or else… why would we have them?

But don’t be fooled by the feelings.

True Love (the real deal) isn’t a feeling. It’s a decision. It’s a commitment. And a relationship cloaked in deception isn’t going to satisfy you. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever.

When you accept these facts, you come out of denial and align with the truth. That truth frees you.

Where do we go from here?

Now, you’re at the place in the road where you must choose. Do you want to live in denial, or do you want to align with the truth? You must choose one state or the other. Just like you can’t live in the North Pole AND the South Pole at the same time. To choose one, you must reject the other.

Which state you live in, is your call. But keep this in mind: While living in truth isn’t always easy, it’s the only thing you can actually rely on. Because living in denial (as pleasurable as it might be) puts you on a collision course with pain and disillusionment, while truth puts you on the path to freedom.

So, to answer your question, what to do when the wrong man feels right?

Step One: Come out of denial. (The wrong man is the wrong man, regardless of how it feels.)

Step Two: Put your trust in the truth; it will not let you down.

Do this, and you’re well on your way to freedom.

Until we speak again…

Remember… Love Wins!

Suzie Johnson
P.S. I go into much more depth in my online course, End of the Affair.