Do you believe an affair starts in your thoughts?
The Think-Feel-Act Series:
>Part 1: 5 ways your affair started in your thoughts
Part 2: The real reason you can’t get over your affair.
Yes, they can, and they ALL do. Let me show you how.
This is Part 1 of my series about how our thoughts direct our lives.
The 5 ways your affair starts in your thoughts is part of a universal law that’s been around forever,
but many of us often weren’t aware of it.
Some call it the Think-Feel-Act cycle.
Basically, our thoughts create our feelings, and those feelings contribute greatly to our actions, or behaviors.
Like gravity, which finally had a word put to the concept that always existed,
“Think, Feel, Act” has always existed,
but we’ve often been unaware of it in our own lives.
It’s the framework, which states how our behaviors can be traced back to the beginning to our thoughts.
But I’m going to introduce you to the
Think-Feel-Act Model, which incorporates the:
5. Results cycle.
I’ll explain that more in a moment.
I believe this concept just might be the single most important key to your affair recovery, whether you’re the unfaithful spouse, or the betrayed.
It’s a tool you can use to get over heartache faster, and one that you can apply to many areas of your life.
But I’m going to direct this post to my other unfaithful sisters
because many of you are still struggling, and I’ve been where you are; I know the struggle and pain.
I used this concept as a huge first step in getting over my affair, and it was the beginning of the positive results I started to see.
Let me explain further of how affairs starts in our thoughts.
How many times have we ended up doing or saying something that we wondered how in the heck did I get here?
What made me do this? (that thing-whatever it was, but for many of us in this community, it’s an affair.)
So, the question many women ask me, and I used to ask myself, is
‘Why in the world did I have an affair?’ “what made me do that? I don’t understand why I’d do such a thing, what’s wrong with me…?”
Or, various versions of that question.
I can give the top reasons why women have affairs, and I did give them. You can read that post here.
But those were symptomatic of the other issue.
The reasons “why women have affairs” can frankly be as varied as our preferences for certain flavors of ice cream.
Yet, if we look deeper into WHY we actually had the affair, there’s a common thread in all of us.
All affairs starts in our thoughts.
Depending on how far out you are from your affair, you might not even remember what your thoughts were before the affair started.
Maybe you blocked that part out in all the chaos that your affair caused within you and within the results that came because of your infidelity.
But many of you, like me, can trace your affair back to the beginning-before it started-and you can remember what your thoughts were.
The Think, Feel, Act cycle works like this.
We have a thought, which led to our feelings about something, (our thought’s create our feelings), which inevitably lead’s to our actions or behaviors.
There is a life coach, Brooke Castillo, who I’m learning a lot under her teachings.
She’s observed the Think, Feel, Act cycle and has added 2 additional pieces sandwiching the framework that I think are really helpful
in understanding how this works in our everyday lives.
She added the pieces: a neutral circumstance (before the thought occurs) and a result (which is at the other end after actions.)
Once I saw this, I was able to understand my behaviors, and saw how my original thoughts led me to feeling a certain way,
which resulted in my behavior (or the action I took).
This applied to me for past actions and current ones I’m working on changing now.
Think of a bike, and how it’s built as a frame, brakes, handlebars and wheels.
So let me explain why I like to call this- The BICYCLE CONCEPT.
(‘Circumstance, Think, Feel, Act, Result Cycle’).
1. The Circumstance = the whole bicycle.
It’s neutral. We can all agree if a bike was sitting in front of us, it’s a fact, there’s a bike there.
2. The handlebars are like your thoughts that will steer you in whatever direction you’re telling yourself with your thinking.
3. The wheels, are like your feelings, and they’re just going to go wherever you steer them with your handlebars (thoughts).
4. The action is how you got the bike moving (putting our feet on the pedals).
5. The result is your destination. Where are you going to end up after riding this bike?
So,If you don’t like your destination (the result) you need to decide to stop (the brakes=another action).
and change direction of your handlebars (changing the thought-replacing it with something else for a better result).
I hope that makes sense.
If you find yourself always questioning why you keep getting the same results in your life,
no matter how much you think you really want to change…
consider your thoughts.
What’s the story you’re telling yourself about that circumstance?
If you keep thinking those same thoughts that you did before the affair started, you’ll keep producing the same results.
Some questions to consider:
What was the circumstance that precipitated your thoughts?
Did you believe you deserved a break and something for yourself because of what your circumstances were at the time?
What were the feelings you had before the affair, or when it began?
What were the thoughts you had that led you to those feelings?
Can you see how those thoughts led to your feelings, maybe of desire to be wanted, or to feel special?
Now reflect on where those feelings led you… did it occur quickly, or over a long period of time of thinking and feeling this way,
when you eventually had the affair?
Monitor your own mind.
Stop it when it starts interpreting a circumstance in a way you know will produce negative feelings and results later.
My personal story is so clear of how my thoughts led to my feelings, which drove my actions to having the affair.
(Read the 34 warning signs of emotional affair, and you’ll see what those thoughts, feelings and actions that often occur before a physical affair occurs).
See if you relate to these warning signs too).
But my thoughts were also the reason I kept relapsing back into the affair and acting out over and over even when I felt like I wanted to stop.
I kept thinking, and constantly told myself, I couldn’t stop.
For example, I remember vividly telling myself- and saying out loud-
“I don’t think I can live without him. How can I just stop talking to him forever? This is too hard, I should just choose him and get it over with because
I’m always going to fail my marriage and go back to him.”
Was that true? NO !!
It was only a thought I told myself, which led to my feelings in believing I couldn’t live without him, which eventually led me to resuming contact in some way.
But here I am 12 years later, no contact, and I’m happier than ever.
And certainly MUCH happier than I was when I was in contact with him.
Wow, eye opening isn’t it?
I finally figured out what taking every thought captive means.
I got just what I kept telling myself. UNTIL, I started taking my thoughts captive and saying
“NO, I don’t want to be in this affair anymore. I have a wonderful husband and kids that I don’t want to lose, I can live without (the affair partner),
I did it before and I can do it again!”
Then I created some other tools to keep me on that ‘bicycle’ going to that destination that I wanted to go (a healed marriage),
to shut up the thoughts that wanted to barge in and take me back to the affair.
I’ll share those tools with you as part of a future program & small group that I’m creating to help other women stop their affairs
and heal their marriage and their shame.
In my next post, Part 2, I’m going to go into more depth and examples of each one of these parts.
I’ll take that bike apart and break it down, so you can understand each part of this concept even more, and how it applies to your life everyday.
Part of that post is a story of how I had to use this concept to redirect my thoughts just today! I’ll share that story with you.
What about you? Do you relate to this concept? Can you see where your affair started in your mind first?
Leave a (anonymous) comment below to share your thoughts!
If you’re the unfaithful wife needing help and answers, click here.
If you’re a betrayed husband, click here.
Even though it’s too late now to have so much valuable information, I’m glad I found you Debbie and your website. I’d like to think had I read all this deep ingrained knowledge years ago, it would have steered me away from thoughts that lead me down such a “destructive hole.” Thank you Debbie for coming forward to help others.
Debbie Rose says
I’m so glad you ended up finding me now my friend. We can’t change the past, but today is a new day. It’s never too late to turn your life around and you also can use your experience and
the hard lessons you’ve learned to help others.
I had an affair for 4 years with a colleague. The whole time I was held captive by my own thoughts. Now my husband knows and we’ve been working on the marriage. I am devestated for what I did. I am devastated at what this did to my husband. I’m feeling completely lost on whether we can heal. I love my husband. My affair partner was always a mistake. I know that. But I fell victim to my own thoughts and fantasies time and time again. I fell back into the affair in what I call a cycle of thoughts. When I was clear of mind and could see that my thoughts were controlling me I’d stay my distance. I’d stop myself. But then I would feel myself slip into negative thoughts again. I’d think negative thoughts about my marriage in an effort to justify the unjustifiable. Then I’d think about my affair partner and I’d feel safe in this place where I’d feel accepted for my flaws. And that felt good. Sigh….it was all awful. The only way to end it was to come clean. Which I didn’t even have the courage to do because I’m a spineless piece of shit. He discovered tests on my phone that I purposefully did not delete. I let him find out. Which is worse than having told him. God help me. I’m a pathetic human. Anyway it’s been 3 months of no contact and I am so releived to have him gone from my mind, my phone, my life.
Debbie Rose says
Mary, I’m glad to hear the affair is over and you’re learning about taking your thoughts captive. Immerse your mind in God’s word and allow His love and forgiveness for you
really sink in. You are not all those terrible things you’ve called yourself so that’s step 1- STOP the accusing words to yourself. Everytime you think it- say STOP! I am a child of God and He loves me..
Practice self-compassion and kindness. You made a huge mistake and you’re not taking that lightly. You’ve asked God to forgive you but now allow Him to heal your soul and your marriage.
When we speak words over ourselves that the enemy would speak- not God- you’re only agreeing with the enemy of your soul and that hinders your healing.
You are loved and important to God.