5 reasons knowing WHY you want to stop the affair is so important.
Read the entire ‘Affair Relapse Prevention’ series:
At the very core of relapse prevention is knowing WHY are you doing it?
Why do you really want to end your affair now,
and not ever relapse back into it again?
Here’s the 5 reasons knowing why you want to stop the affair is vital.
Here are a few questions to think about:
- What’s your reason that you’re willing to end all contact with the affair partner and face recovery?
- Will that reason (your why), get you through the tough times when you’d rather give up and go back to old behavior?
- What’s going to be your motivation to keep going for the long road ahead in affair recovery, when you face the next fight with your spouse?
- How will you react the next time you feel lonely, or bored?
What will you do when hit with triggers that would have made you call your AP before?
1. Common reasons people give for why they’re ending their affair,
and pursuing recovery:
- Because my spouse found out and wants me to.
- I don’t want to get a divorce.
- I don’t want my kids to suffer from a broken family life.
- My friends and family will judge me if they found out.
- I’ll lose my job.
- My church will find out; my ministry is in jeopardy.
- I have deep guilt and shame
- I know this isn’t pleasing to God or my values.
- And so many more…
Do you relate to any of those reasons?
2. Why some reasons aren’t sustainable for long-term recovery.
You’ll see in #1 the first reason many people end their affair, is because their husband found out and they want them to end it.
On the surface, that sounds like an honorable reason, and it is honorable to end it. But there needs to be more.
Let’s look at some of these reasons and put them through the test.
A. “Only doing it because my husband found out and threatened divorce.”
What happens when you get in a fight with your husband?
Healing from infidelity, and restoring your marriage, is hard work.
I’m not going to sugar coat it.
There will be some tough days as you try to reestablish trust and connection again.
If your motive for ending your affair is only for your husband, what will you do when you have a fight?
The temptation to run back to your affair partner will be even stronger if you haven’t established a better reason within yourself.
B. “I don’t want to get a divorce.”
Will that alone be enough reason to keep you strong when you want to call the AP?
Or as in the last one, when you’re arguing with your spouse?
If you don’t have a more solid reason,
your brain will find ways around this by coming up with ways to just be more careful- to hide your affair better.
C. “My friends, family or church will find out.”
The truth is, if the affair continues, they’ll likely found out anyway… if some don’t already know.
The shame of public exposure can force you to finally end it- or, it can have the opposite effect of pushing 2 affair partners together.
Consider this phenomenon: Many times, 2 outcasts will cling to each other with a mindset that
“nobody else understands us or what we have.”
So, even after discovery from others, they may sometimes continue the affair anyway.
You’ve got to have a more solid reason to not contact your AP, than just because others will find out.
By now you might be asking what do I mean by ‘a solid enough reason’?
If our reasons for change is only because we’re seeking others approval, we risk failure.
The motive to change has to truly come from within us… we have to OWN our WHY.
3. Are you willing to make the painful jump to freedom?
Just this morning, I was watching a show about a plane crash.
(I have to admit, I’m slightly addicted to the show ‘air disasters’ even as my family thinks I’m weird for watching it.)
In this episode, two planes collided on the runway.
One plane had so much fire erupting in the cabin, there was only one way out, through the open door.
But the problem was, it was a 45-foot drop to the ground below.
They risked breaking many bones, or even death, if they jumped.
But to not jump meant certain death by smoke inhalation or burning from the flames.
Ending all contact with your affair partner is kind of like that.
Sometimes, in the beginning, it feels like either choice is a hard one to make.
- The time we spent in the affair, clouds our judgment so much that it becomes hard to discern truth from deception.
What may seem obvious to outsiders to ‘just jump and get off the burning plane’,
becomes difficult when you’re the one that needs to do it.
- If you don’t OWN your WHY, you’ll likely change your mind when facing the uncomfortable decision of the 45-foot jump.
Even if the alternative is certain misery, or worse.
- You have to really OWN your why, with everything inside you…
to the extent that you’re willing to walk through the pain of your HOW much it’ll hurt later.
Because the honest truth is-
there will be discomfort, internal pain, doubts, loneliness and shame when withdrawals kick in, and it’s feels too hard to do.
4. Feelings have nothing to do it.
Many of us have a mistaken belief that if something is the right thing to do, we’ll always feel so happy to do it,
and everything will be rainbows and unicorns. I think I had that belief in my younger years.
But most things worth having, are NOT going to be easy,
and you won’t always feel like doing them.
But the end result is always worth it.
So what will be your motivating reason why you want to stop the affair?
- Maybe you’re caught up in thinking you CAN’T change where you are now because your feelings are still intense for the AP,
and you’re just not feeling as much for your husband anymore.
- You might think you’re being hypocritical to say you want to work on your marriage,
because your vision is for a happy marriage but you’re not feeling all the things you think you should by now.
That’s not hypocritical.
It’s wisdom to not be led by our feelings,
because it’s likely our feelings that led us into the affair in the first place.
- Our feelings can often lead us where we don’t really want to end up. When we commit to the type of life we want (our result),
we’ll get there faster when we first change our thinking.
Just like I explained in my posts “5 ways your affair started in your thoughts.” and
“the real reasons you can’t get over your affair”.
Once we change our thinking to be in line with what we really want for our lives,
our feelings will eventually catch up.
So, don’t wait for your feelings to tell you what to do, or you’ll end up with a very chaotic life.
- Especially in recovery from infidelity, we often have to choose to do the right thing at first, even if we don’t feel like it.
If your WHY is burning strong within you, trust that your feelings will catch up to your decision.
Our feelings always follow our thoughts.
“The truth is, just because something WILL produce the kind of life you’ll eventually want,
doesn’t mean you’ll always feel like doing it.”
5. Have a vision of what you want your life to be, and what kind of person
you want to be.
- Ask yourself:“What will I gain AFTER THE UNCOMFORTABLE PART is over?
What is it I’m really wanting from my life?
Will I find that life, if I make this jump and refuse to take the ‘easy’ way by staying where I am? (i.e. in the burning plane?)
- Write it all out, the type of marriage you’d love to have, the type of family you really want your family to be,
and even what type of person do you want to be?
Keep the end goal for the life you want in the forefront of your mind.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- How do you feel about yourself when acting out with the affair partner?
- Do you later experience guilt and shame?
- Do you believe you’re worth having the type of life and relationships that you envision?
- What changes can YOU make to be that kind of person you can be proud of and not live in shame?
“If we don’t envision where we’re going, we can’t possibly get there”.
If you can keep the goal in your mind; the reason you’re going to walk through the difficulty, you’ll have much better success.
I used to tell myself:
”I’m going to face pain either way. I might as well face the initial pain,
and take the risk that I’ll eventually have the life I want. Because this isn’t living either.”
How about you? Have you discovered why you’re ending your affair? Are you tired of the secrets and lies of living like you have?
Remember that quote I started this post with, and put it somewhere to remind yourself everyday:
““Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”