Key Point: An affair is built upon tension. Tension fuels an affair, not love; nothing else. And, that tension resides most powerfully between husband, wife and the affair partner. (Learn more about the nature of this tension in the Infidelity Recovery Center.)
Unfortunately, what is subtly poured into your mind about handling an affair by family, friends and culture only increases the tension; and therefore, the power of the attraction to the other person.
You respond to the affair with what I call the 6 Killer Mistakes – that prolong the affair and your misery. These Killer Mistakes ramp up the tension.
These behaviors seem like a reasonable response to this crisis.
But, here’s the problem: they don’t work. They only make matters worse.
They produce the opposite effect, and drive your spouse closer to his/her lover.
Or, they produce guilt which festers and merely prepares you for another round of cheating.
One of the first steps in coping with the affair is to stop any and all of these 6 Killer Mistakes.
If your pain is great enough you can do it.
In stopping the Killer Mistakes you greatly reduce the tension and with that you see changes.
Here’s what might happen:
You change the rules of the relationship. S/he no longer can count on you to be predictable.
If your spouse has relied upon you to be a “rock” or the predictable one, this will be upsetting. S/he will watch you very closely. You may begin to notice shifts and changes in behavior. S/he may become more talkative, more disclosing and more attentive. S/he may begin to question the wisdom of the cheating.
Your spouse will have a greater respect for you. You approach him/her no longer out of your neediness or as a game player, but as a person taking a thoughtful conscious break from the insanity.
You cheating spouse may be enraged, attempting to elicit the old behaviors. The hidden message: “get back to where you were. I need you there for me to be who I now am. You are ruining my intentions.”
No changes may take place in the relationship. S/he continues as is. This may inform you that s/he is presently self absorbed and incapable of connecting with anyone.
Your spouse may be relieved. This MAY indicate that s/he has little emotional connection to the marriage or relationship and is on the way out. (This is true for most affair types, but usually not for #4: “I Fell out of Love… and just love being in love.”)
I go into extensive detail on these 6 Killer Mistakes in the Infidelity Recovery Center.
The remainder of the 10 Keys to Infidelity Recovery (complete with checklist) are found in the introduction to the Infidelity Recovery Center.