The Other Woman

We have been having an affair…

Dear Positive Way,   My love and I are looking for guidance.  We have been having an affair for eight months, friends for two years.  He is married.  We did not plan on falling in love.  Unfortunately, his wife found out.  We have tried to end it but we can’t.  Not about the sex, we are best friends.  He won’t leave because of his feelings of obligation, but we can’t be apart.  We need serious advice.  Is it the fact that he’s afraid of change, or needs to figure out what he wants and whom he truly is? We never wanted to hurt his spouse, still don’t.  My take on his reluctance to go either way is that he is waiting for me or his wife to end it.

Please help!  I need to know how to cope when he goes off on his guilt trips with himself. He needs serious guidance. Thank you
BTW, neither of us is proud of this situation.  Signed, Queeny.

Survive an Affair

Dear Queeny, it would be nice to be able to give you a few tidy bits of advice and everything would be okay but I’m afraid that just is not possible.  There are no shortcuts or neat ways to undo what you have done.  That said, however, here are some things for you to consider as you, your lover and his wife make some very important decisions going forward.

The emotions of cheating and of an affair

You are already experiencing some of the emotions.  Here is a list of what at least one of the three of you is going to experience to varying degrees at various times.  It will be useful for you to be aware of them so you can decide whether or not to let the emotion rule your decisions or to bring some reason and logic into the equation.

  • Lust
  • Love
  • Envy
  • Denial
  • Betrayal
  • Anger
  • Furry
  • Hate
  • Sadness
  • Sense of loss
  • Remorse
  • Jealousy
  • Mistrust
  • Fear
  • Unworthiness
  • Obligation
  • Guilt
  • Emptiness

Of all of the powerful emotions on this list, only one is truly part of a good foundation for a healthy and long-lasting romantic relationship.  Most of the others actually work to break up relationships or are the wrong reasons for founding a relationship.  Which emotion is the “good” one?  Think about it.

All of the negative emotions will conspire to drive the love out of any relationship.  Self-love or self-esteem suffers almost immediately and without that, a person cannot truly love another.

You asked about how you can cope when he is consumed by guilt.  The answer to that can only be found when you determine what reaction/emotion his pain is bringing forth in yourself.  Once you know what that is, you may be able to find ways to deal with it.  Counseling may be appropriate.

Affairs are about choices

Affairs are all about choices.  You say that you did not “plan” on falling in love but the truth is that you both allowed the circumstances to occur.  You both chose the situations, the feelings and the actions.  It all may have been easy because it felt good.  Not much of what happens now will be easy or feel good.  Let’s face it, affairs are selfish acts.

You have to make some choices now.  If you are a true friend to your lover, wouldn’t you want what is best for him even at your own expense?  Or are you committed to doing only what is best for yourself now?

A friend would end the affair, have no more contact and let him work out his relationship with his wife.  Put yourself in her shoes.  What would you want if you were her?

Our opinion is the best way to heal an affair is to avoid them in the first place.  Failing that, it is time to accept responsibility and accountability and do what is best for each individual involved.  As a practical matter as long as he is consumed by guilt that will be a central point in any relationship you try to have with him.  Try to survive the affair.  Then you can reevaluate once everyone has made their long term wishes known.

Survive an Affair

This is a very complex and difficult circumstance.  Our research shows that intense counseling and/or therapy is often needed by one if not all three parties in the affair.  Unfortunately this dire need for professional assistance does not mean that the help will actually be sought out and used.  It usually isn’t.

He and his wife must work through the issues without you.  They must work to see if they can or should salvage their marriage.  If they cannot, then you will have a lover who is on the way to healing.  If they can, then you have avoided stretching out a relationship that was probably not going to last anyway.  Wounded adulterers who have not healed from the pains of their affairs do not readily make good spouses.

Recovering from an affair – serious advice

Everyone is hurt in an affair.  Everyone in the family is hurt.  Many people around those hurting are hurt.

Recovery is a process that requires time and effort.  Recovery involves:

  1. Admitting the truth,
  2. Becoming self-aware,
  3. Learning self-acceptance,
  4. Accepting forgiveness of self
  5. Forgiveness of others and
  6. Learning what must be done differently.

When these six steps are completed and self-esteem is rediscovered, one has the possibility of creating new and healthy relationships.

Living life is about making conscious choices and exercising free will to do the right things for yourself and others well being.