How To Get Over An Emotional Affair
So you’re having a long distance affair. It is this distance that can make the need to end it seem less urgent, but it’s even more urgent because the ability for the emotional pull to trump the physical is huge.
Emotional affairs are just as intense, if not more so, than purely physical affairs. You are depleting your emotional reserves and leaving little to nothing for the family that awaits you at home or for yourself if you are single and your affair partner has a family.
If you have a spouse and a young child or children you are likely extremely emotionally unfulfilled in your relationship. You aren’t motivated to end the affair because nothing has happened that’s really ruffled any feathers on either end yet, or served to threaten to reveal the affair that is silently disrupting the family unit. Your spouse may not know, but the heart cannot lie forever.
You are too comfortable. In fact, the fact that your spouse is unaware of your infidelity shows that you are good at being bad and you can consider yourself a graduate student of cheating, but it will eventually take its toll.
Emotional cheating vs. Physical cheating
Not every affair exclusively involves sex, however you’ve already shared a great deal of emotional intimacy with your affair partner, which goes to show that an affair can work out just fine with or without sex being the major catalyst. It largely depends on what you both bring to the table and what you expect to take away.
The distance can cause you to let your guard down a lot more, even going so far as to presume that it’s not “that bad” because the affair is more emotional than physical, it is long-distance instead of close to home. Your affair partner may be married with a child like you, thus allowing you to make further excuses as to why you continue to engage in an extramarital affair you know is sapping not only your mental, but also your physical energy. What it’s doing in effect is drawing you closer together to the person you will eventually vow to get away from. But how can you when the emotional intimacy is set, in a solid state, with no need for compensating things physically because in your mind you are addicted to the feelings this individual evokes deep within you.
If you had an actual friendship from which to build the emotional relationship, it will make parting that much bitter. That’s the part that sucks. That’s the part that you don’t want to actually deal with because it means severing a link with someone you care about.
What you will experience is the beginning stage of separation anxiety. Somewhere in the back of your mind you’ve made the decision to end the affair “one of these days.” So, now, you have this feeling somewhere in your mind which will eventually get to your heart and when the two match up you’ll be ready for the hardest part of all… the actual separation.
Those words you so love reading from your affair partner, and their romantic utterances of affection; telling you things about yourself that you already know like how you’re beautiful, handsome, sexy, intelligent, alluring, sensual, etc. are all things that fuel your addiction to the fire of the affair. The fact that they’re someone you know and someone you consider a friend is where the confusion comes into play. You don’t want them to stop telling you these things. In fact, you are in such a unique position because not only are you a cheater, you could also be the other woman or man. In which case you have to look at things from both points of view, because both points of view heavily affect your world view and your chances of success in ending it or leaving your old life behind.
You are weary and tired because you are giving your energy to someone who is in no position to accept it. But you are also hooked on this artificial adrelenine rush that causes an unquenchable thirst. But you are not getting a return on the energy you are expending, which is why affairs are so draining. You’re investing in a lost cause. And even if you were in a position to risk turning this person into a real, potential partner, how much would you trust them and yourself when you get right down to it? There would lie an air of distrust and that’s even more wasted energy. Worrying about something you have absolutely no control over. What you do have control over is what happens within your family structure that’s legally recognized and that would not endanger your relationship, your dignity and most of all your future with your family.
Affairs often manifest as addictions… which is reminiscent of the vacillating you’re doing between feelings of numbness and intense craving. That’s addiction… and it’s up to you to find out what about this affair, and others, if any, cause you to have these periods of intense craving.
There is no easy way to embark on a journey of healing and redemption (to oneself) which will likely take more than a year, and quite possibly more than two, at the end of an affair. You have to decide whether you want to save your marriage, your relationship and yourself and for whose benefit, and allow that honesty to be the reason that prods you along in the process.
Letting go begins with accepting the emotional hurt and pain that is sure to follow… you have to know what’s coming, you must endure it because you’ve earned it and brought it upon yourself and possibly your family. That entails coming up with methods to combat the feelings overwhelming you to a point that you simply give up and continue hurting yourself and your family.
That’s the greatest detractor all wrapped up into one four-letter-word. Just imagine how much of an impact it would be on your life if you were to make the decision to leave your spouse or your non-affair partner for this other man or woman. If you’re committed to them, that’s out of the question because the number one aspect that makes a marriage work is commitment. That’s it. Cheating is a betrayal of that commitment, even if your partner is not satisfying you emotionally or physically, they deserve to know they aren’t doing the job no matter how much it could devastate them. Odds are, they may not even realize it and will work with you to resolve.
Those conversations will be difficult, but equally emboldening. Honest, open communication is exhilarating.
The Hard Part
Criticize your actions, come to terms with who you have been as a person in the relationship (a cheater), call your selfish, destructive side out, be more raw and real with yourself than you’ve ever been before and make the decision to work on the addictions and issues that cause you to even consider cheating in the first place. Do these things regardless of whether you decide to come clean to your spouse (that’s a personal decision), find out what it is that you need, crave, and desire in an emotionally and physically satisfying relationship, determine what your spouse is not providing — you must recognize this if you’re serious about stopping. If you never recognize it, the pattern will continue.
Take back control of the energy you exert and give to other people… make sure you’re not giving of yourself emotionally and physically but getting scraps in return — that goes for your partner and the other man or woman.
Just know that deep down it will be a constant struggle, a work in progress that requires time, discipline, devotion, honesty and faith in yourself to get better and do better.
Take it one step at a time, one day at a time. Affairs tend to control you after awhile. It’s time for you to take that control back.