Affair Love vs. Authentic Love

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Community Leader
Registered: 11-04-2012
Affair Love vs. Authentic Love
Thu, 09-05-2013 - 1:12pm

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Registered: 11-22-2009
Affair Love vs. Authentic Love
FRI, 12-16-2011 - 12:56PM

This article was posted by Married_man11 in our General section on 12/15/11 and has deeply affected many of our readers. Therefore I am copying it in our HL so it can be ressurrected often. It's a keeper as well as a FOG BUSTER! Thank you for sharing this, M_M.

"Love", within infidelity, isn’t. Love in this context is an interpretation. It is an encounter between a person – the object of desire - and an experience – the passion of eros. It can leave one intoxicated with emotion that drives both decisions and behaviors in often inalterable ways. The result of this fusion is one of the most destructive mistakes a human can make. The Fundamental Attribution Error is when you confuse an experience with a person who just happens to be a part of the encounter. You believe you MUST have that person in order to have that experience.

Then, drama of mythological proportion ensues. You collapse two worlds onto one another, failing to distinguish them as two distinct events that just happened in close proximity to one another. You confuse a person for an experience and attempt valiantly to translate that experience into something real. It isn’t real.

You confuse an emotional experience, i.e. the affair, with the person who you are having the affair with and believe you "need" that person to keep and preserve that experience. Willing to risk almost anything to legitimize the affair, you call it "love."

Understanding this distinction can be one of the most important steps to ending an affair and recovering from infidelity.

Love, here, is a personally constructed narrative – a story – which we vehemently adhere to because we need it to be true. After all, so much depends upon it being real. The possibility of "true love", the confirmation that "soul mates" exist, the justification for destroying families, leaving spouses, children, jobs and friends – all MUST be justified with legitimacy and purpose. Otherwise, those of us in affairs are nothing but hedonistic idiots.

The stage is set for grandiosity and narcissistic self-indulgence. On this platform, all manner of illogical and nonsensical choices are made. We are in pursuit of a valid human need - deep intimacy and belonging. Yet, we are moving toward our fated demise. Authentic love, based on friendship, history and seasoned emotionality, can never result from affair love, which is grounded in escape, deception and illicit illusions. Anything based upon deception is destined to fail. Period. Without integrity, life simply doesn’t work.

This is not a moral indictment of infidelity. This is a simple distinction about what is so commonly misunderstood in the delusion and stupor of the affair. The experience can never deliver on the illusions we seduce ourselves into believing.

Affair love is rooted in the attempt to legitimize an illusion. In fact, that’s the source of its power since so much is at stake. A real relationship cannot compete with an affair. The novelty, forbidden, and surrealistic nature of an affair relationship beats a real relationship any day with its sobering demands. Within its pursuit lies everything it means to be human.

Real relationships compete unsuccessfully for the illusion affair relationships deliver - the anticipation that one’s deep longings for contact, wholeness, completeness and soulfulness are met. The affair promises to transcend and annihilate the mundane status quo of so many of our marital arrangements. Nothing could be further from the truth. First, however, you must distinguish between the fantasy of an affair versus the potential intimacy in a committed relationship.

Here’s the straight truth: an affair is a bastardization of every one of those needs. It exploits the normal and natural right to human intimacy by selling a cheap version of temporary escape. It is a shallow relief that barely scratches the surface of authentic love, a commitment to a life partner who knows and loves you despite disappointments. Real relationships have a way of rubbing our noses in the slime of life. It is within the alchemy of that authenticity that true love can be encountered.

Affair love is an illusion, based on a lie, fueled by fantasy, protected by self-justification, insecurity and ego. It NEVER delivers on any expectations. Is it any wonder why real relationships, based on an affair, fail at a rate twice that of divorce?

Authentic love embraces contradiction that affair love cannot. The "contradiction" I speak of here is you. You are a contradiction. As a human being in a relationship, you are going to be inconsistent, hypocritical, have bad days and good, be at your best and often at your worst, and have phases of life where there may be little lovable about you. Authentic love, of which I was surprised by, is a quality and intensity of love sustainable and real because it is NOT contingent upon the emotions or circumstances to be just right.

Contrast that with Affair love, where you are on a perpetual honeymoon and the emotional tone is always courtship behavior. You are insulated from reality because an affair never touches the light of day since it requires deception to sustain it. You always lookgood, sound good, smell good and think you’re good – just like reality… right? It’s a house of cards waiting to implode.

The result is a perfect storm of illusion and flight. The primary relationship doesn’t have a chance to survive because it cannot compete with a fantasy untested by the sobriety of reality. Your affair relationship thrives on the fantasy-based love of exhilaration and novelty.

Soul mates are created, NOT found. True love exists but not for the faint of heart or narcissistically challenged. Success has requirements. So does real love. It requires you to know yourself intimately, all of you - how you’ve been wounded by life and how to evolve as a person capable of loving another. It requires you to be transparent, authentically asking for what you want and being willing to enthusiastically give back. It requires you to grow up. Groveling when things go wrong is out. Keeping your integrity and standing firm on your commitment is in. It requires you to stand for what you know is possible, despite terrible circumstances, and demonstrate the courage of a warrior, even when you don’t feel like it, even when you’ve lost that loving feeling, even when you aren’t getting your needs met on a regular basis.

IF you dare to step into that space, if you have the willingness, guts, persistence and commitment both to developing yourself and investing in another human being in this thing called a "Real Relationship", then, and only then, do you have the right to expect "true love".

Community Leader,

Ending an Affair Support Board

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-27-2013
Sat, 10-05-2013 - 5:34am

That was awesome!!!!!