So, let’s say a spouse is already in an emotional deficit and has chosen to not have the conversation mentioned in part 1 with their partner. Now, they experience the feeling they’ve identified as missing from their partner with someone else during their day. It’s like a drug. It’s an addictive experience. Author, Karen Young, explains it like this:
“…neurochemicals – dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin – surge through the body, igniting the euphoric feelings that come with falling in love and focusing energy on that one special person. Serotonin is involved in mood regulation, social behavior, appetite, digestion, sleep, memory and sexual desire and function, so there is likely to be sleeplessness, loss of appetite and increased passion. The area of the brain involved here is the same area that lights up when a cocaine addict is injected with cocaine. It’s by no beautiful accident then, that falling in love brings with it a giddying, addictive high.”
It’s easy to pursue this new person because a surge of positive feelings are produced that you may not be experiencing with your spouse. Every decision to talk to them, every decision to text, write a letter, give a gift, have coffee, or sex will reinforce the belief this new relationship is better than the one with your spouse.
When ‘WE’ is replaced with ‘ME’.
It becomes more about you and your feelings of gratification than the destruction your causing at home. If you’re still reading, this is a good place to remind you this blog comes from a place of love and hoping to create understanding as to how to avoid getting to this place – or if you’re in this place, how to get out of it.
Just like a series of choices drew you into an affair, a series of choices can help your relationship heal from it. Give your spouse a chance. Once the affair is revealed:
For the relationship to have a fighting chance all communication must be cut off with the outside person.
Take full responsibility for your actions. You are responsible for your decisions, regardless of what you perceive your spouse has done. Don’t fight their response. They are entitled to their feelings; make room for them.
Listen to your spouse (and kids if necessary and age appropriate). Try to understand and accept what they may be feeling. Even, if something is brought up 6 months later – listening is loving.
Be ridiculously accountable. This is necessary for trust to be rebuilt. Your spouse wants GPS on your phone – do it. If they call, answer. If they text, text back. Rebuilding trust is key to repair and it’s going to take an enormous amount of commitment.
This is for the spouse who has been hurt – at some point you’ll have to make a decision to stop punishing your partner and forgive them. It’s going to be hard, because until then you’re going to have bad days. Go your hardest – get it all out – but at some point you’ll need to stop. The future of your relationship depends on it.
Together, create a vision for the future of your relationship. This is the long-term goal. It’s when both of you are able to assess how you may’ve contributed to the original dysfunction (before the affair occurred). Some couples aren’t able to get to this place for 6 months to a year.
If you’ve been hurt – or are the one who did the hurting – the process of reconciliation will not be easy and quite possibly the hardest emotional thing you’ve ever done. It’ll take time and patience. If you think having a counselor would be best in helping you navigate this journey please give Amy Wine Counseling Center a call at 832-421-8714. We’d be honored to help.