Making a Decision When There’s an Affair

“But when we reduce the conversation to passing judgment, we are left with no conversation at all.”  Esther Perel

It’s not uncommon that my clients have had an affair at some point.

I appreciate that they feel safe enough to share that with me (there aren’t a lot of places where they could share that without fear of judgement and criticism).

Without a doubt, affairs create a great deal of mental clutter that makes it trickier to get to clarity. It’s not impossible; but it is more difficult.

Here’s why:

The client is constantly comparing two incomparable things.

  1. They’re trying to compare how they feel when they’re with their husband and their affair partner. Except one person you’ve lived a life with, endured hardships with, paid bills with and raised kids with; and the other…you haven’t.
  2. Also our marriages feel safe, known and predictable. But affairs are made up of all the ingredients that give us the dopamine hit and make us feel alive:
    • Adventure and mystery, because everything is new
    • Passion and excitement, because you can be someone with this person that you cannot be in your marriage
    • Danger and risk, because it’s a secret

The path to clarity when there’s been an affair is: 

  • Get crystal clear about what you really desire for your most intimate relationship, and
  • Determine whether or not it’s possible to have that with their husband

If the answer is yes, fantastic! If the answer is no, then you do have an answer you can live with.

Most don’t think it’s possible to have their deepest desires met with their husband because it’s not what they’ve ever had with him previously. But just because you haven’t yet experienced it doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Let me explain…

If you’ve only ever eaten apples, you would probably think they’re really good.

But along comes a peach and all of a sudden you had no idea what you were missing in peaches! You wonder how you ever felt satisfied with an apple after eating a peach. You think the world begins and ends with a peach (but that’s only because you’re so accustomed to apples).

Here’s a secret: There are way more than two options. You could create something that tastes like grilled pineapple – either inside your marriage or with someone new. That is possible. Just because you haven’t experienced it yet doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. There are people out there – right now – enjoying grilled pineapple and wondering why you would bother with apples or peaches! (And if you’ve had grilled pineapple, you know what I’m talking about!)

Affairs bring drama and excitement, but they also bring exhaustion and confusion. To get to real clarity so that you’re moving forward in one direction or another, we’ve got to tease apart what the affair has helped you to realize about your desires and your current experiences to date. 

If you’d like to explore if there’s a fit for you and I to work together, you can complete an online application for a complimentary Truth & Clarity session here. 

affair