You are not quite sure how you got yourself into the affair, and even less sure about how to get out of it. You love your paramour but hate the sneaking and cheating. You vacillate between ending the forbidden relationship and giving yourself totally to it. You feel intense emotions for your lover, but even as you tell yourself…or your lover…that everything is going to be wonderful, deep within a small voice says that it will not be.
When together with your lover, you feel an amazing blending of ecstasy and peace.
When alone, you feel guilt-ridden. Sadness and shame surface sporadically because you have not defeated your feelings of guilt about what you are doing. Instead, your own morality and integrity have tunneled deep inside you to war with your soul.
Your conscience wants to end the affair while your heart finds incredible fulfillment in the illicit relationship.
Earlier you tried a few times to end the relationship, but each time your willpower faded and your emotions dragged you back. You felt responsible for your lover; you feared that they would be decimated, or get sick, or lose everything if you went away. At times, you feared that if you ended the relationship, your lover would be so distraught that they might destroy you, your reputation, your family, or your finances. Though you wanted to do the right thing, ending the relationship was too difficult emotionally, mentally, or physically. With time, you gave up the idea of ending it and evolved into the situation that now controls you.
Secretly, you wish that your dilemma would somehow resolve itself without your having to do anything. You find yourself thinking that if your lover would walk away, you could get past this, but the idea of losing your lover terrifies you. If either or both of you are married, sometimes you think that if your spouse or your lover’s spouse found out, everything would be resolved without your having to make hard decisions. The situation would be bad for a while, but you would accept whatever path available to you after the shouting subdued. Maybe that would mean staying with your spouse. Maybe it would mean divorce occurs and you could be with your lover. Maybe it would mean being alone, but even that sometimes seems a better state than what you are in now.
Though you do not wish to admit it, occasionally you fantasize about your spouse or your lover’s spouse having a car accident, or dying from some natural cause. That would make things easy. Your children, friends, church, and everyone else would be by your side in mourning, and later all would rejoice in your marriage to your paramour. No one would ever know about the affair.
Those fantasies make the guilt worse. Sometimes you wonder if you are the same person you used to be, or even if you know who you are.
You may feel great love and trust for your paramour, but deep within there is fear.
You fear the future without your lover. You fear your future with your lover. You fear losing your children. You fear what you are becoming, and fear that you will never again be who you were. You fear God. You fear that if you do not end the affair, you will lose connection with certain family members and friends.
In contrast, you fear that if you end the affair, you will never feel this level of deep love ever again. You fear that this is your one chance in life to have what others may only dream of, and that opportunity will never come a second time. You fear that if you abandon your lover, some other person will come into their life and have all the happiness and fulfillment that could have been yours.
During all the indecisiveness, one thing remains constant. The affair.
Each day you enmesh yourself more. Each day you feel a little less guilty, a little more assured that this is the right path for you. Each day you become a little more insulated against anyone that could hold you back from the new relationship—spouse, children, friends, church—and each day you become a little more absorbed into life with your lover.
How is this going to end? What will your future be?
Three Possible Paths
Any person’s life potentially has myriad paths and possibilities. However, it is likely that your future has one of three possibilities.
• You will continue in your ambivalent state until someone else makes the decision that will set the path for the rest of your life.
• You will commit to a relationship with your lover and trade your current life for one with him or her.
• You will end the affair in time possibly to restore your life as it was.
Someone Else Makes the Decision
If you continue indecisively, eventually something will happen. Sometimes affairs go on for years, but that is rare, and they never go on forever.
The greatest likelihood is your affair will be discovered.
No matter how careful or cautious, ultimately you or your lover will make a mistake. A forgotten text, a mislaid note, a suspicious sighting of the two of you together, or a thousand other things can happen. When that occurs, you will have no control over what happens next. If you are married, or if your lover is married, hurt spouses will take charge. Friends, family, and acquaintances will enter the fray, each with their own opinion about what you have done and what should be done to you.
Though you may believe that if that were to happen, it would be better than the situation you now have, it will not be. You may well lose your fortune, your family, your reputation, your friends, and your self-respect. Facing angry spouses flanked by modern-day-gladiators we call lawyers is a very unpleasant and expensive experience, financially and emotionally.
You may think that people who love you now will love you just as much if they discover your affair. Prepare to be let down.
You Commit to Your Lover
In an affair, at least one