Women caught in the middle of an affair face a predictable pattern before it’s usually over.
Stage 1 detailed here, is about what happens before an affair starts and how the foundation is being set for an affair to happen, Stage 2 occurs once the affair has turned from friendship with another man to affair.
1. Most affairs begin as friendships, and most men and women are unsuspecting of the vulnerability they face when they are friends with the opposite sex.
Friendships are the foundations of soul-mate relationships and this is how many infidelity situations begin. Many times, a woman and man found each other because of the same employment, common friendships, neighbors, or the same church.
Yet, the unique bond that an emotional affair requires, develops from a need and willingness to care for each other. A concern or compassion for the other person can easily be twisted and open the door to infidelity if one is not careful.
If you missed the other stages of the affair start here to read more.
Or the reasons why women have affairs, click here.
2. A friendship becomes an affair the moment a man or woman feel a love for each other, and openly express their feelings to the other.
Their platonic friendship and care for each other can quickly open a can of worms as the other person now knows their feelings and an affair can quickly gain speed at this point.
What seemed innocent enough (expressing one’s feelings for the other person) has now opened a Pandora’s box and if the other party’s feelings are mutual, they will find a growing emotional dependence upon each other that makes ending the friendship unthinkable.
Many women will tell themselves that it’s okay as long as it does not become sexual. Yet, as two people continue to express feelings of devotion, they eventually become increasingly affectionate which will inevitably lead to the temptation being too much to resist, and the couple becomes sexual.
The woman then is bewildered that it came to this and wonders how she could cross that line she thought she’d never cross. Yet at the same time, surprised by the intense feelings and exciting experience it produced.
3. At this point, most women in an affair feel an identity crisis.
On one hand, she knows what she is doing is wrong. She knows that infidelity goes against everything she believes in.
On the other hand, she feels excitement and renewed youthfulness that someone desires her. As the affair continues though, the chasm between what she believes is right and moral, and her own experience of desire widens, and her heart is torn in two. Her previous feelings that she could never be one to have an affair, coupled with societies belief that ‘bad’ women commit adultery and ‘good girls’ would never do that, only cause the divide in her heart to grow.
At this point, the guilt will either cause the woman to seek help to end the affair, or she will try to silence her inward shame and guilt by justifying her behavior. Her fault finding in her husband usually increases now, as well as identifying all the weaknesses in her marriage, as she seeks to find ways to internally justify her actions.
It is the increased lying that turns an otherwise honest woman into a master of deception. Each lie envelops her like a thick fog that clouds her reasoning and judgment and enables her to maintain her lifestyle of cheating.
There are always moments when the fog lifts and she begins to see the web of deception she is weaving. There may be a reality check when her secret threatens to be exposed (i.e. seeing someone she knows when she is with her affair partner). But soon enough the fog of deception blinds her again as she seeks a way to feel better and get her emotional need “fix”. She begins to feel confused about what to do.
4. There is also the lie that nobody will be hurt if nobody finds out.
It is a lie that I’m sure many in affairs, through the centuries, have believed it. This is why the secrets continue, sneaking around only increases the initial thrill as one knows they’re partaking in forbidden fruit. Obviously, for an affair to continue, it must be kept from the unsuspecting spouse. However, most spouses eventually discover the secret infidelity and the lie that nobody has to know, is exposed.
Most secret affairs are discovered and leave behind in their wake torn apart marriages and brokenhearted children as they watch their parents argue on the brink of divorce. The ramifications to our actions always go farther and deeper than we ever thought about or planned for (i.e. spouses, parents, relatives, friends, children, churches, etc…)
Even if two lovers were able to keep their secret hidden, their own hearts are torn apart from the deception and tearing away at their own core values and integrity. That cannot be minimized, as sin always costs us something. We like to think it won’t, but it always costs us something, and often much more than we ever bargained for.
The bible says “The thief (the devil) comes to steal, kill and destroy.” (John 10:10). Make no mistake about this, there is an evil force in this world, Satan, and his greatest goal is to destroy you and me. He hates marriage and families and he seeks ways to trap us, if we allow him to. We like to think we’re too smart for that but he knows our weaknesses. If he can find ways to steal, kill or destroy us, and our families, he will do it. Be alert and guard your heart to that.
5. Is an affair as fun as it seems?
For all the “fun” that people think adulterers are having, I’m here to say it’s more heart wrenching and painful than any momentary thrill. Yet, the bible does not deny that sin is fun, for a season. If it weren’t, then sin would not be as rampant as it is today. But for moments of pleasure, comes much more agony and heartbreak. Marriages and trust are destroyed, women’s own hearts torn in two, reputations ruined in an instant, children disillusioned and disappointed and friendships forsaken….just to name a few consequences.
Personal note: When in my own affair, I was honestly wracked with guilt. The feelings of being wanted and the illusion of not hurting anyone as long as nobody knew was often abruptly lifted by reality when I’d have moments of clarity that I was living a lie and what I was doing went against everything I believed in. My faith and relationship with God had drifted so far that I now found myself doing things I thought I would never do. I remember many days of deep sobbing when the fog would lift and I would think about what I was doing. The guilt was overwhelming and there were many days I would tell God how sorry I was. Yet, I still found it hard to break it off completely. I don’t know how many times I would call this man and tell him it was over, that we had to stop. My family didn’t deserve this, yet I allowed contact to happen again as a drug addict allows just one more hit. Some days I would look in the mirror and say out loud “who are you?” I didn’t even recognize the person I’d become and that was a very scary place to be.
At this point I started to notice the chains that bound me. Because when I wanted to stop the affair, I found it beyond my ability to do so. I thought it was because I was ‘in love’ but in reality I allowed myself to be bound by a sin that became greater than my own ability to stop. The ‘fun’ became less and less as the pull to continue became stronger. I would never have believed that if I didn’t experience it myself and as time went on like this I became more miserable and depressed. What started out as making me feel good about myself ended up making me feel worse than I’d ever felt in my life and the guilt was all consuming at times.
6. For most women, at this point in an affair, the difficulty of maintaining a second life becomes more challenging.
A woman will work hard at coming up with a story to be with her lover, but then she has to remember the story she told and hope she doesn’t slip up and be caught in a lie. She may start to demand some privacy from her spouse so can have more freedom to be with her affair partner. This is usually one of the biggest red flags to a husband that his wife is not being honest with him and having an affair, as she never needed so much privacy with her phone or whereabouts before.
7. Separation from her husband usually follows and real life shines light on the affair.
Many women will tell their husbands that they need time away, to sort out their feelings. Even if the husband does not know for sure about an affair, she now needs some space and distance to continue the secret affair and not have to keep track of her lies. Upon a marital separation, the affair partners are able to be together more easily and frequently.
They were able to live in a fantasy world free of real life responsibilities before and now they have more time together with more normal life situations to arise. The unfaithful wife will begin to see qualities in the other man that she didn’t notice before. Spending more time together among more real life scenarios now begins to shine light on their differences and small arguments may develop between the two. The thrill and excitement begins to wane and she may begin to have more second thoughts about being in the affair. If still separated from her family, she’ll begin to miss her children whereas it was easier before to put her needs ahead of them and enjoy the bliss of no responsibilities.
This will lead many women to desire to end the affair for good as she experiences more feelings of disgust than pleasure, and decides it’s best to break off the affair.
She now attempts to enter Stage 3 of an affair- breaking off the affair.