Affair aftermath. They're so common, yet few people know how to deal if they're caught out, or selfishly choose to confess to relieve their guilt. I'm often amazed at such optimistic suggestions as, "There's no point in going over it; we just need to move on" and, "You have to promise me you won't ever see him/her again". Sorry, but it's not that simple at all.Perhaps you've had a really exciting time, then got caught. Perhaps the wonderful lust subsided enough for guilt to come through, which then troubled you so badly you felt a need to relieve it by confession, thereby burdening your partner.Or maybe reality hit home when your lover had a bad day or two and got grumpy, just like your husband or wife.Whatever the case, if you've strayed to play away from home, then there are repercussions, no matter what. Some may suggest the best possible outcome is that no one ever gets to know, except that there still are repercussions.You have stored away inside you some pretty exciting memories, maybe an intense connection with someone else.If it was your choice to break this, then you're one up on your ex-lover, who will have to deal with your rejection. Both of you will also need to find a way to let go of the longing that can be generated by those special times; otherwise, that will get in the way of resurrecting the full potential of your live-in relationship.
If there are no exciting memories, why did you bother? If they do exist, then chances are, every time you go to make love with your partner, there they'll be, interfering with you re-establishing some sort of meaningful closeness.
While the odd sexual fantasy being used to titillate is fine for most people, there's nothing so destructive to intimacy as making love time and again to one person, with thoughts and images of another in your mind.
What do you do if that's happening? Persist; this is not telling you your partner is not really the one for you and it's not wise to use the state of your sex life as a barometer of relationship health.
It's telling you there's a need to regenerate the connection between the two of you by putting as much energy into it as you did your affair. Work on your nonsexual closeness; spend time holding hands, looking into each other's eyes, and doing joint activities whether they be cleaning the house together or going to a movie. Recultivate your valuing of this person and what they mean to you.
Now what about the partner, or the victimized one?
If your trust has been broken, then you may well feel devastated, and there's serious repair work to do.
Often we can take trust for granted until it's lost -- and then it's sorely missed. If life has treated you well until now, then this may be your first breach of trust -- a new and very unwelcome experience.
If not, then you already know about the gradual process of building up trust in someone, testing them repeatedly, if not intentionally.Allowing yourself to love this person will have felt like a big risk. Getting hurt will be something you both feared and, at some level, expected -- no less shocking for being familiar.For some, this is the end of the relationship. There's no going back, no second chances; it's over but for the grieving and division of property, kids and wedding photos.Others value so much the strengths of their partner or fear being on their own that they're willing to consider the possibility of a future together.There's no one sequence of events that then occurs. Sometimes tension presides, and communication is limited to household practicalities.Horror of horrors, the children may be used as intermediaries, caught up in adult messes in nightmarish ways.Suppressed rage chills the house, and [insulting remarks may] punctuate the few interchanges that occur.Sometimes couples experience the hottest sex of their lives. There's nothing like the threat of competition or loss to help some harness their sexual drive. It's not likely to last, but it's a pretty effective glue to get through the early weeks.When that form of reassurance has worn off, couples may feel quite lost.
That's when the hard work begins, and often it's at this stage that professional help is sought. One partner is desperate to leave it all behind and get on with what they now really value; the other feels like they're drowning in rage, insecurity, envy or mistrust. Or maybe all of those are swirling around in the current.No one likes to endure a public flogging or be made to eat humble pie and, in fact, that's not what happens. There's simply a high-level attention paid to the experiences of each in order to resurrect intimacy and begin rebuilding trust.That takes a persistent, methodical addressing of the feelings and needs involved.How long until you get back to normal? Deep trust may take as long as two years to rebuild -- far from making up for two years of suffering, but this process may help you achieve the most intimate time of your lives and build a relationship that is better than you've ever had before.Robyn Salisbury is a clinical psychologist and director of Sex Therapy New Zealand, a referral network.Source: Evening Standard (New Zealand). Powered by Yellowbrix.
Source: Relationships & Love