Let’s talk about these 7 warning signs, and reasons, for affair relapse.
Read the entire ‘Affair Relapse Prevention’ series:
>Part One: 7 bottom line reasons for an affair relapses.
Part Two: 10 secrets on how to prevent affair relapse.
Part Three: The importance of knowing WHY you want to stop your affair.
1. Your thoughts are still all about him.
You’re still allowing your mind to think about him, wonder about him,
and likely telling yourself how much you miss him and can’t live without him etc…
ANYTHING that paints your AP in such a positive light, in your thoughts, will eventually come out in your feelings and then actions (relapse).
Eventually you’ll have this crappy life, wondering how you got there.
Trace it back to your thinking, because you acted upon your thoughts (results).
Read this post on 5 reasons how your affair started in your thoughts, for more explanation.
Also the real reason you can’t get over your affair. It explains in more detail the ‘bicycle concept’.
You might think “I just can’t help myself, I can’t control my thoughts.” But that’s not true.
You’re just not used to taking control of your thoughts yet.
You can take your thoughts captive, there’s a ton of ways to do that like meditating on scripture,
exercise, or replace the thought with something else.
You don’t have to be tossed back and forth wherever your thoughts take you –
that didn’t work out too well so far right?
So be aware of where your brain goes.
Think about what you’re thinking about.
Not just about the AP but old behaviors that also set you up for this. More on that in #7
Even talking about him to others, in any positive way, is taking up air space that he shouldn’t have right now. Harsh? Maybe.
But it’s time to get real serious about how much we’re putting the AP on pedestals.
Nobody can compare a relationship with an AP to a husband. The husband couldn’t stand a chance!
The affair was a fantasy world, not based in reality, and fueled by secrecy not real life.
Who wouldn’t look wonderful in those circumstances?
If you come from faith, praying and asking God for help and renew your mind in God’s word, will
all help your mind stay the course, and not drift again.
2. You don’t have an actual recovery plan, or a support system, in place.
I can’t overemphasize enough the power of being a part of a small group support.
Being willing to be seen and honest with other women like yourself is a critical piece of affair recovery, but it’s often missing.
I’m convinced that’s what kept me from being able to get past my affair quicker.
We were meant for connection with others, and especially at a time like this.
Also, having a specific recovery plan in place is important.
I’m working on writing down a clear affair recovery plan to help women heal from their affairs,
and will be releasing that in the future.
But for now, you can read affair recovery type of books and try to find a supportive,
non-judgmental person to be accountable to,
especially in the early months.
You can request to be put on my waiting list for the when my course and support group re-opens
for those women who want to know how to end an affair or just move forward and heal after they’ve already ended it.
or join my AMA Women Facebook group, only for women in recovery from their own affair.
3. You don’t have a strong enough “WHY’.
Why are you ending the affair? Why will you resist the temptations to call him?
Are your reasons and motives for ending the affair and working on your marriage really clear to you?
You may have felt you were ‘supposed’ to, or you did it to save the marriage. Well, what happens when you have a fight with your husband?
Especially in the first years of recovery- it’s going to get rocky.
If you ended the affair for your husband than you’ll likely relapse when it gets tough.
You have to get to the place where you strongly believe the advantages of ending the affair
outweigh the disadvantages of staying in it.
If you’re not there yet, then you don’t have a strong enough ‘why’.
Write down your reasons for both to help you figure it out.
Sometimes, when we’re in so much internal pain, and feeling withdrawal, it’s hard to find our ‘why’.
One thing I found helpful is picturing the woman I want to be, a woman of integrity and honor.
I want to live in my purpose and have a life I can be proud of, and to be the woman God smiles down at.
That can’t happen if an affair continues. What’s your ‘why’?
4. You’ve kept a crack in the door open.
If you haven’t truly followed any particular recovery plan- or gotten serious about the No Contact rule,
then you’re leaving yourself wide open for relapse.
Ending contact means all contact–
and a important piece of that is taking the steps to ensure it’ll be more difficult to resume contact, when you’re tempted.
If you leave open opportunities for contact to possibly occur, you’re setting yourself up for relapse.
This is the time for drastic measures Ladies! What is your recovery worth to you? (Yup, I’m giving some loving tough love here).
If you’re even leaving a tiny crack open
(only texting him sometimes to ‘see how he’s doing’, leaving his number hidden in your phone still,
or keeping gifts or mementos he gave you etc… you’re making it harder to resist relapse.
But we can do all those things on the No Contact checklist, and our hearts could still be
determined to contact him anyway, right?
Which leads me to the next point.
5. You’re not really serious about ending it yet.
When I kept going back to my AP, after I thought I truly wanted to end it, it would confuse me.
I didn’t understand how I could do something I thought I didn’t really want anymore.
I felt like I was serious about it, I didn’t want a divorce and I wanted my family intact.
But if I were to drill down to the real center of my reasons for relapsing, I would’ve found
that I just wasn’t serious enough about it yet.
I would have argued with anyone who told me that at the time, but my actions proved it.
The results we have in our life is proof of what we really believe.
Sometimes we have a just small part of us that feels justified in having the affair because
we’re always giving to everyone else, or ‘the way he treats me’, ‘we have such a connection I don’t want to give up’ or…fill in the blank.
Or, we think as long as nobody finds out about it, then nobody will get hurt. (which is what our early affair brain told us).
Listen, that never works. It almost always comes out, especially if you and your husband have been trying to work on things.
A wayward wife is not too hard to spot, my friends.
The bottom line way of knowing what your belief system is, and how serious you are about your recovery,
just look at your actions.
What are you doing? What do your actions say about your belief system or seriousness?
You’ll know right away if you keep relapsing.
6. Not being patient enough to ride out the waves.
The waves of withdrawal, loss, impatience and that come with recovery, that is.
People often get impatient when healing is not occurring fast enough for them, their husband, or in their marriage.
It’s normal to feel temporary depression, especially as your dopamine levels return to normal, but serotonin is still low.
But too often people interpret those feelings as “LOVE” or ‘missing him because of how wonderful he is’…
but to be honest with you, it’s more likely the dip in dopamine you’re feeling.
That’s not to say you don’t really miss him, but remember being in a Limerence state still can easily
cloud your judgment of what’s really going on.
Read this post to identify the obvious signs of limerence and see if you’re still there.
Sometimes we get impatient and go back to old habits, when change isn’t happening fast enough.
It’s like being on a diet and wanting to lose 50 pounds in 2 months. It’s not gonna happen, girl.
If those are someone’s expectations going into the diet, they’re going to be very disappointed and likely
want to give up even trying to lose weight.
But, if that person takes it a day at a time, doing the next right thing each day, those little habits compound upon each other.
They’ll eventually lose weight and it’ll be the right way of doing it.
7. Old behaviors and habits have crept back in.
What was happening within yourself, or in your life, right before you had your affair?
It may seem insignificant, but it’s the little things that can trip us up. There’s an old saying in recovery circles:
Be aware of HALT: Are you Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired?
These little things can be the catalyst for other small behaviors, or attitudes, to creep back in-
which can create vulnerabilities to relapse.
Other behaviors that are bottom line reasons for an affair relapse is pride, anger, resentful, shame
(because shame turns us inward), and being secretive about other things….
These are all examples of what leads people into affairs, and also what facilitates a relapse.
It’s very easy to minimize the small things, but it’s often the small things that add up and cause a relapse.
It’s a common recovery principle no matter what you’re trying to get free from.
- Be aware of what you’re thinking about. Don’t let your thoughts take over and stop yourself
from thinking about the affair partner, at all.
- Find a good support group that you can join and follow a real recovery plan to get over your affair.
- Make sure your WHY you’re doing this is solid and the right reasons to carry you through the rough patches.
- Have you left any possibility that contact can be made easily again?
Although it comes down to our heart, having a solid No Contact Plan is important.
- Do you really want to be well? How serious are you about it? Your actions will follow your beliefs about that.
But you can change that if you don’t like your current results.
- Be patient and remember, recovery work takes time.
It’s not for the faint of heart, but the rewards are wonderful if you stick with it.
- Going back to old behaviors will set you up for relapse. Practice the HALT principle
to identify times you might be most vulnerable. (Are you- Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired?)
How about you? Leave a comment and say which one of these you’re working on now and what’s the hardest to get past.