List of Advice to Affair Newbies

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2010
List of Advice to Affair Newbies
19
Tue, 10-09-2012 - 12:33pm

I see so many people new to As who have similar concerns and worries, the same ones I had 4 years ago when I first started coming to MAS for advice.  There is so much I have learned since then, and much of it I wouldn't have realized without this board and the support and advice of others on here.  I was thinking it might be nice to create a list of things all newbies in an A should be aware of.  Of course, to some degree, every relationship is different, but there is sure a lot of good knowledge that can apply to almost every A.  And then, when we get a newbie who is asking the question, we can refer him or her to this list as required prereading. :smileyhappy:  Also, my entries are are targeted more at women who are in an A with MM, since that makes up the bulk of the newbies who are here for advice. So I will start with a few of the main things I have learned:

1) Your A is not totally unique.  If you are like 90% of the people who had affairs over the history of time, your A is basically going to follow a pattern that is very familiar to MASers.  First, there is mad infatuation (I never loved anyone like this, the sex is so amazing, he just gets me like nobody else, we have so much in common).  Then there is wanting more, followed by pulling back.  Then, basically is the longest phase of dissatisfaction interspersed with some good times.  We can even almost give you a timeline! LOL...

2) Don't try to read his mind.  You simply can't do it, and any time you spend trying to come to conclusion about why he didn't call you when he said he would will probably be wrong.  And more dangerously, we usually let our analysis fall on the side of what we want to think (i.e. he pulls away because he feels too much, and it scares him).  We can imagine oursleves into entirely different As than our AP thinks we are in. This leads to #3...

3) Actions mean EVERYTHING in an A.  I guess this probably goes for all Rs in generally, but in an A, where the whole R is shrouded in some mystery and a need to lie to keep it a secret, words don't often mean that much.  Actions show you if somebody cares.  If he says he loves you, but he doesn't call you for a week after sex, he's lying.  If he says he doesn't care about, but he texts you every day just to chat, he's lying.  People may try to manipulate you with words, but actions are harder to control consistently, so pay attention to what the actions say.

4) You're not going to find something to fill that hole in your heart in an A.  Most often, although our APs may add joy and fun to our lives, you will find you have ended up with two holes in your heart.  If you are in an unsatisfying M, finding an AP is not going to solve that problem. You will just end up with two separate problems.

I'm curious to see what others have to add to the list!

 

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-06-2012
Tue, 10-09-2012 - 1:49pm
Great list so far. I am in an affair which i am finding out is a whole different beast. Hopefully there will be some things added to the list about EAs. I agree with yoy totally about actions. My AP and I rarely talk about our feelings for one another but rarely does a day go by that we dont chat anmoat days its for hours.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-18-2009
Tue, 10-09-2012 - 4:52pm

CC->Don't you think the A was good in a sense that helped you regain your self-esteem?

JJ->Lists are good, better than shooting people to an article or a book.. and speaking of a book, I'm writing one on As, maybe you can be it's editor and translate it to English :smileywink: Although I'm seeing red flags in your posts... words are missing from your sentences here and there. I can come up with a list of possible reasons :smileywink:

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-27-2009
Tue, 10-09-2012 - 6:12pm

5) If you're in an A with an EX remember there's usually a very good reason why they are an EX.

katuk
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2010
Tue, 10-09-2012 - 11:55pm

"I guess what I would add is learn how to respect yourself more...my affair started at a point in my life where I had extremely low self-esteem, and less than a year later I've grown a lot as a person and wish I hadn't put up with the crap that I did."

That is a really good one, cc!  It was one of the hardest lessons I learned from the A.  I was ofetn shocked how little I had learned to settle with during an A.  I hear a lot of women on here wondering about how they may be normally strong, confident women, but an A has a way of turning a strong woman into a needy, passive crying lump...lol.  The worst part to me was that all of that putting my own needs aside was for NOTHING.  It didn't help the A...the A still led nowhere. I wish I would have been less accepting of bad behavior earlier on.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2010
Tue, 10-09-2012 - 11:57pm

LOL! It's an occupational hazard, lannmann.  You know how the shoemakers kids never have shoes?  I get so tired of making correction all day that I don't even proofread my own stuff most of the time.  It feels so...naughty!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2010
Wed, 10-10-2012 - 12:19am

I'd say the honeymoon stage lasts between 3 months-1 year, with about 6 months or so being the most common time when I see things really starting to shift in an A.  It doesn't mean a break up is imminent (although that happens sometimes if the woman doesn't like to put up with crap).  It is just the time usually when one AP (usually the woman) really starts to get dissatisfied with the status quo or the R, and many APs will respond by pulling away.  After that, the break up time varies a lot, depending on many factors like changing marital status of one of the APs, the ability to accept the limitations of the A, general temperment of both APs, etc.  

I can honestly say that in 4 years of being on this site, I have never seen a single AP leave his W during an A and stay away from her.  I have seen a few women women leave their Ms to end up with their single APs, and I have heard of a lot of men discussing leaving their Ms, but it just doesn't happen a lot around here, so I can't say how it would change the timeline, because I can't remember a case where it happened.  Can anybody help my memory out?  Have you guys seen anybody on here whose AP left his W for good?

I know it does happen though, because I know people in my life who left Ms for an AP, but I don't know the details timewise for them, so it's hard to predict.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-15-2007
Wed, 10-10-2012 - 12:29am

Cowgirl,

I don't think anyone can answer that question.  I think the advice here is great as far as not losing yourself in the A and placing more importance on actions rather than words.  I don't necessarily agree that every A is the same.  A friend of mine is M to a man that started as an A.  With them, leaving took place early on, and he'd already come to terms with it before they met.  They've been together 12 yrs now.

I really think what's important is balancing your feelings with what you want.  Don't accept things you normally wouldn't just because you're crazy about him.  And don't be afraid to stand up for what you want just because you know he's not going to give it to you.  In your A, things have been moving along nicely and you seem happy.  Don't worry about a timeline other than your own.  If he doesn't separate, you can re-evaluate where you're at with things then.

In fact, that's what I'd add here, is to constantly re-evaluate the A - literally make a brutally honest list of the good and the bad, and not based on past behavior but what is currently taking place. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-22-2012
Wed, 10-10-2012 - 10:09am

I know of 5 people/couples in my personal life that have left spouses for APs (and the 2 APs were single and the other 3 were married). Maybe I live in a bad area for this! Two happen to be related to me....maybe it runs in the family! :smileyhappy: Anyway my advice would be something that a recent poster said frequently- now granted he wasn't in an A and actually stopped posting here as his intentions for being here were getting strongly questioned, but I think he was spot on when he encouraged clear communication to the AP about what you want and need in the relationship. JJ has said that you shouldn't put up with cr@p that you would not put up with in any other relationship. I think if you are clearer with your communication and expectations up front, you may either 1) get rid of the AP who is only going to bring you misery or 2) have a more fulfilling A. For lots of reasons, the dynamics of an A make it difficult to communicate how we feel and what we want. And you may not exactly know what it is exactly that you want right out of the gate. It may take several months to figure that out. But eventually that needs to be communicated clearly. And ongoing communication that is direct and matter-of-fact needs to occur. Not nagging, just straight-forward this is what I want....this is what I'm looking for in this relationship....etc.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2010
Wed, 10-10-2012 - 12:31pm

In my experience, it's almost as if men start to realize they are going to start having 'two' girlfriends/wives, etc. and realize they don't want the drama of expectations from both women. So during this period it's the OW that gets the shaft, mostly because we've been understanding, willing to take crumbs for so long, that the AP assumes we will just stay calm. Then the men usually attend to their confusion, or attend to whatever is going on with their wife/gf and either to try to remedy things or desparately try to keep them from becoming suspicious.

OMG! You put that perfectly, cc!  I think that is exactly what happens most of the time.  And sometimes, it does make me giggle to imagine how it must feel to be the OM.  He has this sweet, doting sex kitten who is all about pleasing him, then BOOM!  Suddenly he has another W.  I'm sure he must feel pretty darn perplexed about what happened!  

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2010
Wed, 10-10-2012 - 12:41pm

I know of 5 people/couples in my personal life that have left spouses for APs (and the 2 APs were single and the other 3 were married). Maybe I live in a bad area for this! Two happen to be related to me....maybe it runs in the family! :smileyhappy:

---Same with me!  I have two cases of it in my family.  I was pondering this, and I wonder if it is something about the nature of the R or the people in the As who actually seek out a place to vent about it?  Because those two couples I know would not be the type of people to seek out an online support group.  They'd probably just tell the other AP to hit the road if he or she was not up to standards for them.  Not sure about that...just a theory as you are right, getting together with an AP officially does seem to happen much more IRL than it does on MAS.

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