The elders of a Native American tribe once advised, “Before you judge a man…walk a mile in his moccasins. “I believe that piece of wisdom is as important today as it was back then. So, it’s with a spirit of non-judgment that I answer questions sent in by affair partners.
You can read my answers to five questions sent in by affair partners who found themselves dealing with the harsh realities of pain & hurt after ending affairs…and needing to know how to better deal with the grief, heartache, guilt anger and disillusionment that so often accompanies the later stages of infidelity or an indiscretion. How do you survive an affair with a married man? Read my answers to others needing to heal the hurt after ending an affair.
In this article you will find
How Am I Supposed to Live Without Him?
My biggest fear was that somehow I would never feel whole again. He had filled a great big part of my life… a part that I never even knew I had. How am I supposed to live without him when I feel so empty inside?
If I could reach out through this computer and hug you right now…I would. I would hold you gently in my arms and rock you like a baby. I’d tell you… I’m sorry you’re hurting. I’m sorry you didn’t have the happy ending you hoped for. I’m sorry that letting go of the wrong man doesn’t always come without emotional pain. And although the road is going to be difficult for a while…don’t despair. You’ll get through it.
Here’s the thing: Heartbreak is a universal experience.
I’ve gone through it. Just about everyone you’ve ever met has survived it. And although it feels like the time between hurting and healing may drag on forever, it won’t. Your healing is assured. You will mend, and you will recover. The road might be long, but it won’t be forever. The end of suffering isn’t a promise — it’s a guarantee.
And believe it or not…
There will come a time when this will all make sense to you. When you will look back at this time and see it for what it really was — a learning experience, nothing more and nothing less.
However, when you’re in the storm, sometimes it can be hard to remember that behind all these dark clouds…the sun still shines.
So, keep in mind as you go through the dark days that may lie ahead…
Dark clouds do NOT put out the sun.
When you end an affair… in the short term, it feels like you’ve lost. But in the long term, you’ve actually won. You’re like a lottery winner who has hit the jackpot but doesn’t know it yet. The emotions stirred up by the end of the affair are simply dark clouds. Don’t let them frighten you.
Like a fast and furious summer storm, they pass, leaving behind some amazing rainbows.
Where you thought you lost, you’ll be rewarded. Where you felt empty, your cup will be refilled and renewed. And where you thought you would never feel whole or normal again, you’ll discover a strength, a maturity and a level of self-esteem that surpasses anything you could have imagined for yourself.
The Paradox of Affairs
The ending is really a beginning.
In other words, the affair might be over…but your life has only just begun. As you close the back door to the affair, you automatically open the front door to the rest of your life.
As Confucius said:
There are three methods by which we learn (and thereby earn) our wisdom: (1) by reflection, which is noblest; (2) by imitation, which is easiest; and (3) by experience, which is the most bitter. Yes, this learning experience was a bitter pill to swallow… However, just because the medicine is bitter doesn’t mean it isn’t healing or helpful.
Here’s what I believe.
If you let them, your wounds can be transformed into wisdom. Rather than being something you go through…this experience becomes something you grow through.
So, to answer your question…
How do you live without the wrong man, without the wrong relationship or without the wrong situations taking up space in your life?
The answer is simple but not easy: You have to let go.
You have to trust that as you let go and take that leap of faith…the net, the wings and the right person for you will appear.
But don’t simply take my word for it. I want you to test it out for yourself.
Allow yourself to let go of the fear, worry, and doubt…that the holes in your life will never be filled.
Let go of the attachment of trying to fill them with inappropriate relationships…and see how quickly life surprises you.
Here’s the bottom line: You can’t have the “right relationship” while the “wrong relationship”…because the “wrong relationship” is taking up so much space in your heart and in your life. Embrace the power letting go after the affair, and watch the goodness of life rush in to fill the emptiness inside.
How Do I Get Over My Affair Partner Faster?
I’ve been getting over an affair for a couple of weeks. I haven’t been able to sleep. I feel like I can’t go on. My world is dark and lonely. My husband and kids can see that something is wrong with me, and I’m scared to death they will figure it out. I am so sad that this is now affecting my family, but I don’t know what to do. I need to heal this heartache as soon as possible. What should I be doing to help get over him faster?
I often compare an extramarital affairs to a hurricane for two key reasons…
Reason 01: Hurricanes begin harmlessly as relatively small disturbances. However, if the conditions are right and these little disturbances get the fuel they need (mostly warm air and wind), they begin to grow. The more fuel, the more growth. The more growth, the more powerful. The more powerful, the more dangerous they become.
Just like hurricanes, most affairs begin as harmless little flirtations. And without additional attention or energy, they simply fizzle out. However, if conditions are ripe and the right fuel is given to these flirtations (namely attention, deception and secrecy), they begin to grow. The more attention, deception and secrecy they’re given, the more they grow…and the more they grow, the more dangerous they become.
The second reason is because like hurricanes the most dangerous part is the affair is the part you’d least expect. Here’s what I mean:
Hurricanes have four universal characteristics.
The Eye — At the center of the violent winds, there is a clear calm area called the eye.
The Eye Wall — Around the eye is the dangerous eye wall. As the eye wall passes over land, the storm surge is brought ashore, flooding everything in its path.
The Rain Bands — Another part of this storm is a series of dense clouds and heavy rain squalls.
The Outflow Shield — As the warm air rises, it must eventually reach the top. This out-flowing air creates a roof of clouds called the outflow shield.
Of these four, which do you think is the most dangerous part of a hurricane?
If you said the eye wall, you’d be correct…because it brings on the storm surge. Of every ten persons killed by a hurricane, nine are killed by the storm surge. Because of these powerful waves…boats sink, cars get washed away, beaches get destroyed and bridges get buried. The sad part is most people never see the storm surge coming.
And just like a hurricane…
Extramarital affairs also have four universal characteristics.
The Conversations — All affairs begin with some type of conversation (texting, emails, chatting) that eventually crosses a line.
The Excuses — The arguments and rationalizations used to justify actions, thoughts and feelings.
The Deception — Affair partners must be willing to use some type of deceptive tactics in order to keep the secrets hidden.
The Emotional Arousal — Things that stir up pleasurable emotions, desires and feelings (the driving force behind our actions and decisions).
Of these four things, which would you guess to be the most dangerous? If you said the excuses, you’d be correct. Because the excuses (like the eye wall of the hurricane), is what clears the way for the most dangerous part — the emotional affair.
Let me explain…
All affairs arouse pleasurable emotions.
They trigger excitement, release adrenaline, and give us a rush that makes us feel high. This is why you find yourself thinking about them all the time — day and night. Because thinking, imagining, and fantasizing deliver an intensely pleasurable payoff…which becomes addictive.
When you get caught in this heaven-and-hell pleasure trap (where you want to stop thinking about him, but you can’t), this is what’s known as…an emotional affair. And like the storm surge from a hurricane, the emotional affair is the part that most people never see coming…and yet it’s the thing that causes the most grief, suffering, and devastation.
What can you do when you find yourself trapped in the web of an emotional affair?
Unfortunately, in your case…
It’s too late to shut the door on the emotional storm surge. The good news is, it’s not too late to allow the feelings to subside.
What part do you play in all this?
You’re going to have to make one very important decision: You have to decide which is more important — the fictional partner/relationship, or your real husband and family?
Notice I said “which is more important” (not which is easier, not which you like better…and not who is a better lover). I’m asking you to make a true assessment and then to take a stand, to decide once and for all what’s more important — your husband and family, or indulging in the pleasurable emotions triggered by the affair partner.
To help make your decision easier, I want you to keep these two facts in mind:
Fictional lives should never be given priority over real life.
The reality is that you have a wonderful family right there in front of you who are craving your time and attention. Any time you spend indulging in the fantasy of “what could be” is delusional and doesn’t deserve to compete with reality (because it’s not real). At the end of your life, you won’t regret the relationships you never had. But what you might regret is not being present, not showing up…and not being fully engaged in the relationships you did have.
Romance is a feeling, but true love is a decision.
M. Scott Peck (author of The Road Less Traveled), describes true Love as “the willingness to extend yourself on behalf of someone else’s growth.”
Keeping this definition in mind reminds us that true love comes from our decisions to extend and open our hearts in ways that allow others to grow.
** Notice that true Love is NOT a feeling. It’s a decision. It’s a choice! **
So, when you think about it, how can you possibly extend yourself to your family while caught up in the emotional payoff of an inappropriate relationship? Answer? You can’t.
Just like you can’t ride two horses at once, you can’t have a fictional relationship and a real one at the same time. You MUST decide which gets your attention, your affection, your loyalty and your mental & emotional energy.
Choose your REAL LIFE!
This means you must stop indulging in that part of your mind that’s still wishing, wanting, and imagining life with the affair partner.
This means letting go of the emotional payoffs and pleasurable surges that come with the “fantasy” of what could be (or could have been).
I suggest you become loyal to reality and turn away from any thoughts or fantasies that act as temporary substitutes for reality (no matter how pleasurable).
How Do I Heal My Broken Heart?
It’s been over for nearly a year. I keep thinking that it will get better and that maybe it’s gotten better…but it doesn’t seem to be. Deep inside, there’s this underlying grief. When I’m alone, I find myself sinking back into heartbreak over the loss of what we could have had. Can you please tell me, how do I heal my broken heart?
I understand how you feel. When my father died, I was 15 years old.
I can still remember sitting on the sidewalk outside of his office and thinking to myself, “How can the world still continue? How can people be laughing and talking? Don’t they know the world has fallen apart?”
I had to get up off that sidewalk and live.
It’s the same for you. Although you’re in an emotional free fall…your schedules, your commitments, and your routines are still here. Welcome them all because surprisingly, these are the very things that can become therapy for you right now.
To further help you heal your broken heart, here are five helpful tips:
HELPFUL TIPS FOR HEALING YOUR BROKEN HEART
Allow the past to be over. Letting go of the past is simply a matter of recognizing that what you’re holding on to…is gone anyway.
Take it one day at a time. Only focus on what you have to do, say, and think TODAY. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Move through life one day at a time.
Remember…there are no ordinary moments. Your whole life is a gift. Your routines and your rituals are your blessings. If you let them, every task can become therapy. Doing the dishes is therapy. Walking the dog is therapy. Anything that distracts you and keeps you busy is therapy. Don’t resent these routines; love them and welcome them.
Help others if you want to help yourself. Maybe it’s time to get re-engaged with your life. You can volunteer, help out, serve, and focus on other people. Nothing heals you faster.
Practice turning down the emotional thermostat. When your emotions get overwhelming or the memories feel like they’re getting the better of you, picture those emotions like a thermostat on a wall…and in your mind’s eye, mentally turn them down. (You may have to practice doing this several times. But I promise, after a while…the feelings WILL return to neutral).
And…perhaps the most important piece of advice I could give you:
Trust your inner healer.
Whether you know it or not, there’s a part of you that knows. If you will just listen, it will teach you how to live, even while you’re falling apart.
Have I Have Walked Away from the Love of My Life?
He swept me off my feet. He made me feel things I never thought I would ever feel. Because of being with him, I discovered that romance is very important to me. I almost wish I had not discovered this part of myself again. It was buried for so long. And my worst moments are when I begin to listen to that stupid voice in my head that says now that he’s gone, I will never experience that romance, attraction, desire, and passion again. I get down and desperate when I think these things…like I will never be kissed again or I will never make love like that again. It’s very hard when I have days like this and remembering the pain of saying goodbye. What do I do when the voice in my head tells me I have walked away from the biggest love of my life?
Facing the vacancy and the empty spot left behind at the end of the affair is the scariest part for most people. The fear of loneliness, the fear of never feeling this way again, the fear of loss, the withdrawals and the pain of saying goodbye…has a way of stirring up grief and anxiety. About the voices in your head, here’s an interesting observation: If you’re the one listening to the voice in your head, then who’s the one talking? This is an important question…and here’s why:
Thoughts (voices in your head) can be random, spontaneous…and irrational. Just because a thought or a voice is in your head doesn’t mean you have to obey it or that what it says is true.
Think about it this way…
You can visit the Grand Canyon, and the thought might occur to you, “What if I jump in?” Does that mean you should do it? Not at all.
We all have lots of thoughts that are irrational, distorted (crazy), far-fetched, illogical, and foolish. The content of our thoughts is not usually under our control.
However, the decision about which thoughts to believe (and act on) IS under our control.
Now, back to your question.
What should you do when those desperate thoughts (voices) start chanting their doom and gloom verses?
Here’s what you do:
Question them. Ask, “Is that really true? Can I really say beyond the shadow of a doubt that I’ll never experience a legitimate romance again?”
When the thought occurs, “What if I have just walked away from the biggest love of my life?”
I suggest you question that thought. Ask yourself, “What if I have walked away from the biggest mistake of my life?”
Here’s what you’ll discover:
When you question irrational thoughts, they don’t stand up. If you can’t be sure that a thing is true, then there’s as much chance it’s a lie.
Now, you have to ask yourself…
Why is that voice so sure? What makes it the authority in your life? What does it know of your future? Your potential? And why are you so quick to believe what it says? Is that the voice of God speaking to you? If you can’t be sure, then don’t be too quick to accept its predictions as gospel. Sounds to me like it’s the voice of sabotage more than the voice of success.
You’ll need to watch out for that kind of voice. It has a way of distorting and twisting reality. One of its favorite tactics is convincing listeners that what is right is wrong…and what is wrong is right.
That’s why you must question the negative voices in your head.
Check its predictions against your sense of integrity and honesty. Ask yourself…Is this true? Can I be sure that what this voice is telling me is absolutely true? If you can’t be 100% sure it’s telling the truth, then don’t be so quick to believe.
It’s your decision.
Are you willing to limit your future based on random negative predictions? Or are you willing to leave the door open for a legitimate, romantic, passionate relationship to come into your life? The choice is yours. And now that you’ve ended the affair…you certainly have the time and space to welcome such a relationship, don’t you?
Until we speak again…
Remember… Love Wins!
P.S. Here are 3 more ways I can help you break free from the affair.