Heartbreak

5 Painfully Honest Things You Don't Know About Having An Affair

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To the uninitiated, having an affair is all about the intimacy. Don’t get me wrong. Affairs ARE about being intimate. Wonderful, illicit, mind-blowing intimacy. But they are also about so much more. Many of my clients have had affairs and it's amazing how life-altering, almost without exception, these women’s experiences are. Hold on, because what you are about to read might surprise you.

Here are 5 painfully honest things you don't know about having an affair:

1. It’s about waking up

Affairs don’t happen in a void. People who have affairs are often stuck in long-term, unhappy relationships. Intimacy is nonexistent, communication has broken down and love is dead. Then, out of nowhere, someone new appears and changes everything. I have a client who thought her life was fine. She wasn’t happy but she didn’t feel like the absence of love and intimacy was important to her. She had her kids and her friends and her work and, really, what else could a 40-year-old want?

   

   

Until she met him... and he got her! They could spend hours talking about everything and understood each other perfectly. He thought she was beautiful and told her so every text he sent her. Just thinking about him got her body tingling. And when they ultimately had intimacy. Boom! Hello! She had been sleepwalking for years. Getting older every day, just being fine. No longer. She was awake. Every single bitty part of her was wide awake.

RELATED: The 3 Types Of Couples Who Experience Affairs (& The Ones Most Likely To Stay Together)

2. It’s about the best intimacy of your life

Affair intimacy is the intimacy of the likes of which you have never had before in your life. It's better than anything you could ever imagine. Affair intimacy is a drug — a highly addictive, legal, potentially lethal drug. And once you have a hit, there is no going back.

Why?

  • Emotional connection marks the beginning of affairs, ones that can be months or years in the making. And that kind of extended emotional foreplay can only lead to an intense physical connection. Certainly more intense than anything you have had recently or ever.
  • The intimacy is illicit. No matter how old we are, doing things that we aren’t supposed to do is fun. I know someone who perfected the art of being intimate in the pantry. No sheets needed to be changed and there were lots of fun walls and doors to be put to full use. The experimentation was the best part.
  • And then there is the climax. Our lives are dull, routine, chaotic, and jam-packed. The dopamine high from finishing can last more than 5 hours. Imagine how much better grocery shopping or conference calls are when you are experiencing a high as well. Once you have had affair intimacy, it’s virtually impossible to stop. And this is why people don’t and they risk everything to have it. Everything.

RELATED: Statistically, This Is Who He's Probably Having An Affair With

3. It’s about being broken down into a million little pieces

Affairs at the beginning are more exciting than anything you could ever have imagined. And then, not so much. One of my clients had an affair with a stay-at-home dad. They had known each other for years and one day, she needed him and he was there for her. Everything changed. There was a new electricity between them that was addictive. And try as they might to not let it get physical, it did. It did over and over and over again. It was so much better than married people's intimacy and neither one of them could get enough of it.

   

   

Soon the addiction to their affair started disrupting their lives. They would show up late to school functions because they had been squeezing in a quickie. Or they would manufacture late-night runs to the grocery store to spend time together. Their relationships with their friends, at work, with their children, and, of course, with their spouses suffered. They tried to break it off. They knew the destruction it was causing. But, they just couldn’t let go of the way that they felt when they were together.

My client hated herself. The tug of war between the emotional, intimate woman who was in the throes of the affair and the person she was as a wife and a mother killing her. She lost 20 pounds, stopped sleeping, cut off her friends, and ultimately had a nervous breakdown. The thing that started so magically almost killed her.

4. It’s about rebuilding

Do you know how they say sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to start to notice who you are? Imagine reaching the highest heights of ecstasy at the start of the affair only to be plunged to the deepest depths. It is what you do with that free fall that matters most. For my clients, almost without exception, they have used this opportunity to take a good hard look at their lives, to see what is missing, what is broken, and what is repairable. And then they enlist personal trainers, yogis, nutritionists, marriage counselors, and life coaches to help them rebuild. And, more often than not, the rebuilding creates something much clearer and stronger than before.

RELATED: The 2 Main Reasons People Cheat (Over And Over Again)

5. It’s about making a big change

When someone finally starts noticing who they are in the world, they start recognizing not only the need for a big change but they often finally find the strength to make that big change. A client of mine had been miserable in her marriage for a long time. She tells the story about the first time a friend told her to leave her husband as they were driving their sons home from preschool. Their sons are now sophomores in college.

She fell madly in love — and lust — with a man she worked with. She went through incredible highs, sure she had found the love of her life, and then ultimately she crashed and burned because that great love turned out to be just another man. Before she knew it, she had lost a year of her life and her children’s lives. She was wrecked. She did see, at the end of that year, having lived through the joys and the pain of love, lust, and deep emotion, that she had to leave her husband. The words that wouldn’t come out of her mouth for 20 years came out readily — and with conviction.

She knew that she would die, literally and figuratively, if she didn’t get rid of the toxic men in her life and start building a life that would feed her soul. Her affair, and its after-effects, gave her the power to do that. So these are the 5 things you didn't know about having an affair. No one I know who has had an affair set out to have one. They just one day stumbled upon a situation or a person who set them down the path and it changed their life. If you hear about someone having an affair or are considering having one yourself, don’t judge. Affairs are about intimacy, lots of great intimacy, but they are also about deconstruction and reconstruction and finding out who you are... and that is some scary stuff.

RELATED: I Had An Affair — And It Completely Saved My Marriage

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them be all they want to be. Mitzi's bylines have appeared in The Good Men Project, MSN, PopSugar, Prevention, Huffington Post, and Psych Central, among many others.