Married and Having an Affair? 5 Pieces of Advice to Keep You Grounded
Are you married and having an affair?
Do you find yourself, to your surprise, straying from your marriage?
Are you wondering how you got there and what to do next?
Let me help!
When we are in the throes of an affair, we often feel like we are drowning. The highs of being with our person are amazing but the lows that follow can be all consuming.
And, chances are, we haven’t had an affair before so we are most likely feeling way out of our depths as to how to handle it.
Let me share with you advice culled from years of working with people who are having an affair, for those who are married and having an affair, so that you can take a good hard look at the choices you are making, for the present and the future!
#1 – You are not soul mates.
I know that it feels that way.
I know it feels like, after years of marriage with someone who just doesn’t get you, finding someone who does feels like such a gift. It feels like you finally have a chance at the happiness that has been out of reach for so long.
Most people don’t set out to have an affair. They usually start with two people talking about mundane things. Those mundane things shift to more personal things, things you don’t share with your spouse. Before you know it, you feel very attached to your person and are having an emotional affair. More often than not, that attachment becomes sexual in nature and the physical affair begins.
And you are sure that you have finally found your soul mate and that you are totally justified in having this affair. But this, I am afraid, is just an illusion.
What you are in fact feeling right now is that initial excitement that we feel at the beginning of every relationship. That period of time when we stay up all night talking, when every day feels brighter, when the sex has never been better.
Over the course of a relationship, that initial excitement transitions into a more comfortable attachment, one that leads to a committed relationship. With people who are having an affair, that transition never happens because there is no committed relationship, just two people who are meeting clandestinely, having a relationship outside of marriage.
So, understand that while you think you are soul mates, you are really two people who have an intense emotional and chemical attraction, whose time together is always exciting because it is an affair!
#2 – You might hurt your children.
One thing that people who married and having an affair don’t think of is the effect that the relationship might have on the children.
I have a client who was having an affair with a friend’s husband. The families spent a lot of time together and, before the affair, that time was healthy. But, as the affair continued, the married couple having the affair brought a different energy to the get togethers, one that the other spouses and the children didn’t not understand but felt.
The families started spending less time together and the children suffered because of it.
I have another client who was in the same situation and they were caught. Their children had to deal with the emotional and societal fall out that was the result. They didn’t understand what was happening, all they knew was that things were bad. And I can guarantee that, as a result, those kids were destined to repeat the same mistakes when they grew up.
So, as you move forward with this affair, think about the effect that it might have on your children, both in the short and long term.
#3 – You aren’t addressing the issues in your marriage.
For many people who are having an affair, they are disconnected emotionally from their spouses.
One of the reasons they are drawn into an affair is because they feel angry/lonely/resentful in their marriage. They would like to address those issues, to make their marriage strong again, but its way easier to get involved with someone else instead of dealing.
I have a client whose therapist told her that, by continuing her affair, she was having her emotional needs met and that was keeping her from trying to make her marriage a happy one. The longer the affair continued, the less she required from her husband. Their marriage was suspended in a bad place, with no hope of change.
It’s important that, to have a happy marriage, our spouses meet our emotional and physical needs. If you go outside of your marriage to have those needs met, your marriage just might be doomed.
#4 – You won’t ever be together.
For many married people who are having an affair, they believe that they will ultimately leave their spouse and be with the person who is their soul mate. And that is goal that they are working towards every day, or so they believe.
The reality is is that leaving a marriage is very difficult. The societal, familial and financial issues that arise paralyze people, leading them to stay in a marriage, even if it is not a happy one.
Divorce can lead to substantial financial issues that affect both spouses. Divorce means visitation with the kids, not seeing them every day. Divorce means having friends needing to take sides. Divorce means letting go of traditions.
It is way easier to continue the affair and be in a marriage that is ‘good enough’ than to take the steps to get a divorce. And, if one person is willing to take the step and the other is not, that will lead to even more unhappiness, this time in a relationship that is meant to cause joy.
#5 – You will be caught.
I know that you feel like you are being super careful. That you are using an encrypted app to communicate, that you meet places where you know no one, that the stories you tell your spouse about why you were late are readily accepted. But the reality is is that the longer the affair continues, the more likely it is that you will be caught.
Don’t kid yourself – you will be caught. People make mistakes, the world is small and karma is a bitch.
Being married and having an affair are way more common than most people think.
15% of married women have affairs and 25% of married men do. And more than 50% of marriages end in divorce.
I am hoping that, if you are reading this article, you are considering what to do about your affair – if it truly is something that you want as a part of your life. I know the ups are amazing but how bad are the downs? Pretty bad right?
So, keep in mind that you aren’t soulmates, that you won’t ever be together, that your children’s health is at risk and that you will be caught.
Are any of those things worth the risk that you are taking every day? Think about it!