So you want to end an Affair? Tools to help you out
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|Sat, 04-19-2014 - 5:16pm|
I posted this on another Message Board and think that this will be useful to iVillage users
Tools for letting go and ending an Affair for good.
A) Prior to Ending Affair
Journalizing - Write about the bad things in the Affair, and the things that you are thankful for in your life.
Maintain a journal - keep it in a place only accessible to you. Secret email worked out fine for me. Anytime you feel the pain of the affair, write down specific reasons why you feel the pain in the journal - things that AP should have done, but is not doing. Note down the things that you are thankful for, specifically those related to your spouse. He/she must have gone out of the way to keep you out of harm's way, to help you when you are dead tired, etc. Have you ignored your spouse, kids, family and work while you are in the affair? Are you thankful for your kids? What would happen if your spouse found out about the affair. Is the affair worth that?
Create Rules about quitting Affair - Rules get triggered when "enough is enough"
I created rules to bring about symmetry in my affair. If my xAP would contact me in 5 days, so would I. While this was not a rule about quitting for good, it hastened the process of quitting for good.
My xAP was hot and cold to me after we resumed the affair. It was almost as though she forgot my son's name even though we were in contact daily for nine months during the initial stages of the affair. Three quitting rules I created were: 1) if she did not call my son by his name, within one year of resuming contact, 2) did not acknowledge my B'Day, and 3) got in contact with me after 15 days. These rules meant that she really did not have a stake in the affair. Without rules, my mind would think that it is okay to ignore "enough is enough." With rules, the stark reality of "enough is enough" comes out strongly. Then, start the No Contact in earnest. Rule number 1 can be when your AP suggests that you look for other partners or that he starts looking for other partners. As soon as an affair partner looks elsewhere, this rule would get fired resulting in quitting the relationship.
Read resources - All affairs eventually cause harm. Resources help in that realization.
There are plenty of good resources available on the Net. These can be divided into two kinds: things wrong with an affair, and how affairs harm the affair partners, marriage, and spouses of the affair partners.
Some of the excellent resources that you should read are:
Betrayed Spouses support on iVillage. http://www.ivillage.com/forums/love-sex/relationship-problems/betrayed-spouses-support
Relationship problems board on iVillage - http://www.ivillage.com/forums/love-sex/relationship-problems
Shove Affair Partner off the pedestal - There must be kinks in the affair partner.
Very often, we tend to idolize the affair partner for the wrong reasons. Make a list of all poor qualities in the affair partner. One for sure is, that he/she is cheating, the same that you are doing. Keep on working on the list. Is he a liar? Is she a sexual deviant? Is he lazy and not a good dad? Be objective about the attributes of your affair partner and note them down in your journal. Keep on adding to the list.
B) Beginning Phases of Ending Affair
Start No Contact - A critical phase of ending the affair, No Contact means No Mental contact too.
In this phase, the goal would be to block all avenues of contact with the affair partner. You must resist all urges to contact your affair partner. The affair partner would be tempted to contact you too. You must therefore block all his emails, his phone numbers, all social media connections. There should be no way that he is able to contact you. You must also delete his phone number, his email addresses, and best, delete the secret email account that you might have had to stay in contact with him. If you can't do that, you must NEVER log into that account. No Contact means No mental contact too. It stops your progress if you get tempted to look back into the history of the affair.
During the No Contact phase, it is critical that you start reading resources on ending affairs, fill the free time with other activities and hobbies e.g., pleasure reading, spending time watching movies with spouse, baking and cooking, engaging in social causes, or increasing community involvement. Keep yourself fully engaged in non-destructive activities. Become a Presidential candidate, if you have to, but, NO CONTACT means NO CONTACT.
This phase is hard at first, but becomes easier with time. The end goal is that there will be no contact with the affair partner EVER again. You must mentally prepare yourself that there will NEVER again be a contact with your affair partner, if feasible. If your affair partner works in the same organization as you do, can you find another job or transfer to another department? Shake the ground under you to adhere to the NO CONTACT rule. When you feel weak, open up your journal and read through all the entries that made you feel that the affair is no good for you.
Erase All Memories of Affair Partner - Memories enable the romanticizing of the relationship.
Memories are like a balm, they soothe the pain. Unfortunately, for affairs, they do just the opposite. You have already deleted all your affair partner contacts and have stopped logging into the secret email account that you shared with your affair partner. If not, you must do that. You know the activities of the affair partner to the minute. Stop looking at the clock and relate that to the affair partner. Destroy all gifts from the affair partner. If the gifts are expensive, store them far away so that you will not see them easily. Shred all hand-written notes. Destroy memories of the affair partner.
Be vigilant about the activities in your mind. As soon as a memory of the affair partner come to your mind, shake it off with some other thought. You can't harbor memories for too long. With time, the response becomes automatic - the Pavlovian conditioning kicks in.
Read resources - Realize that you are not the only one suffering. The suffering is universal.
Other than the resources mentioned previously, start reading forums on how other individuals in the same boat as you are, are doing their best to maintain the No Contact. Follow the advice of the moderators and other seasoned well-wishers on the boards. The relationship problem board on iVillage is a good resource. http://www.ivillage.com/forums/love-sex/relationship-problems
Therapy - Professional help is needed
Why did you want an affair? How did you get sucked into an affair? Was it due to communication issues with spouse, mid-life crisis, loneliness, unmet desires, engaging in a fantasy, sexual addiction, attention seeking, being told that you are the most-beautiful person, or that you are entitled to an affair? What was it? A therapist can help you out. A therapist can get to the bottom of the reasons why you acted the way you did.
C) Continuing Ending the Affair in your Mind
Look deep inside you - a very important phase. Change is warranted and it can only happen when you want to change.
The therapist may have worked with you. Now you know why you engaged in a harmful affair. The knowing makes all the difference. So was it childhood issues? Why did you think that you could have an affair and not cause any pain to your spouse, or to yourself? Go deep inside yourself. Know your limitations, but also know that you can help yourself only when you want to.
Build Intimacy with Significant Other- Affair proof your relationship with the significant other.
When was the last time you two held hands together? Are you giving ten minutes of your undivided time to your spouse everyday? When did you last put your head on your husband's shoulders? Are you making time for dates on weekends? There are plenty of resources on how to build the intimacy with the significant other. Keep up on the hard work.
NEVER again - Realize that affairs are toxic
With the extreme highs of an affair, comes an extreme low. Why would you ever want to engage in an activity that is harmful to you and others? Let go off feelings for the affair partner. Wish that he too does not engage in another affair, not because it would hurt our egos, but because it would do him more harm than good. Affairs are toxic to the extreme. You had an affair, you learned some important lessons from it and now it is time to move on. NEVER again will you seek out your affair partner, NEVER again will you engage in another affair. They all end the same way by making you feel miserable. Promise to yourself that you will adhere with the following: No more sneaky behavior, no more being deceitful to your spouse.