We received a question from a reader regarding last week’s newsletter:
Are you talking about the death of the marriage or the death of the affair?
Thank for writing and asking your question. Actually when I wrote it, I was referring to the death of the affair partner. That is, in many cases when there is adultery, emotional ties develop, affections grow, bonding takes place and care remains for the person with whom the affair took place. If a couple is going to recover from an affair, the partner who committed adultery must say good bye and grieve the loss of this person. Depending upon the depth of friendship, this can be a long process.
So, to your point, there are multiple deaths or losses to grieve. The two most primary are the marriage that will never be the same and secondly the loss of an adultery partner with whom affectionate bonds may have developed. Many times, once the cat is out of the bag and their sin is exposed, the adultery partner’s marriage thrown into crisis and their drama naturally becomes a point of interest to the adultery partner. It is tempting to want to text, e-mail, call, face book, drive by etc… to see what is going on and if they are okay.
It is critical that all communication cease, for any communication with the adultery partner only adds stress to your own marital recovery. If you really want your marriage to recover from an affair, you will have to prove yourself over and over that you are done with the other person and that you will not see them ever again. Get into counseling and talk with your pastor as well. They can help you deal with grieving the loss of someone who was so captivating and so idealized.
What do I mean by idealized? When a person is seen through the ideal lens, they are only seen as all good… no faults… no weaknesses. They have put their best foot forward and have only let you see the “good foot.” In time, you would have come to see their ugly foot as well… eventually it comes dragging in and it can be very unattractive. Just like looking at a hairy ugly Hobbit’s foot in Lord of The Rings, it can be shocking and given enough time, these weaknesses would have contributed to the erosion of yet another relationship.
In order to see the adultery partner clearly, we must see them as a promise breaker, liar and lousy parent. What I mean by this, is that they are idealized when the affair starts up, yet in reality they are breaking the vows they made to their spouse at their own wedding; lying to their spouse and leading a double life, and they are forsaking their children as they dream and plan their next adultery session. Not a pretty picture, but an accurate one. Consider the affair partner dead and buried.
It is only then, that you can grieve the loss toward healthiness.
Thanks for listening.
Love and Blessings,
Milan & Kay