Surviving an affair
By Herbert Mtowo
Many a times people ask, whether they are married or going through courtship, they ask now and then,” How do you help people to survive an affair, “Tell me what would you really tell a couple when this actually happens to them? I am often asked this so many times in my travels and conversations with many people, black or white rich or poor. We all at one time or the other face infidelity issues of our partners, talk me good people what are your reactions and how do you handle such sensitive relationship matters?
Both men and women have different reactions to these issues, some they go nuts, to even want to kill their partner or the one they were cheating with. With men this might be very difficult to take, some may never recover and others may hurt for a very long time. Others can even begin to abuse drugs, alcohol ,withdrawn from any social activities. With women the reactions vary too, cause of how they are wired, but most women recover early from infidelity than me, not that they would not have been hurt by the cheating of their partners. But it is common knowledge that both male and female experience the same betrayal, and both feel rejected and mistreated. I am going though to dwell not on the reactions or other matters, but mainly on survival skills during this period, and how your relationship can forge ahead despite cheating. What has made infidelity such a thorn issue now is the dreaded HIV/AIDS, so we need to look at it and deal with it, amicably.
It is important to take note that people who are caught in the web of an affair need tender loving care especially the betrayed spouse. At the same time, if you discover that your spouse in an affair, do not resort to hand wringing or hysterics. If you want to save your marriage and relationship it is time to act and act decisively. The first question that you must ask yourself and be able to answer is this one:
Do you want to survive?
Be able to ask yourself if you truly want to survive the storm. Most possibly your marriage/relationship has been in serious trouble for a long time, whether or not you realized it or not. The truth is one of you or both of you had unmet basic needs, which gave the affair a chance to develop. They vary from sexual needs, financial needs, lack of affection etc you name it. Most pf the time the wronged person will be tempted to point an accusing finger and almost always prematurely and foolishly, simply wants to call the marriage/relationship quits. Are you aware that affairs start mainly because the Love bank accounts have slowly and gradually emptied without somebody checking on the love deposits. Difficult to comprehend as it seems but that’s the reality, the victim of an affair often has to ask these questions: 1. How did my account get so low in my spouse’s investment account bank? 2.What are the needs that was failing to meet ?
Don’t put up with affairs.
A lot of religious people tend to spiritualize affairs and most people feel trapped in such set ups. Affairs must be cut in our relationships, it takes you and you alone to cut affairs. You may have failed to meet certain needs for your spouse, but that doesn’t mean he (or she) is not also to blame or responsible for the extremely destructive behavior. Marriage is an exclusive relationship in which two become one and should stay one and three is a definitely a crowd.
The challenge is with most women, whereby they decide to put up with their husband’s affair, in order to stay married. I don’t buy into this theory at all, infact I am one who strongly believes love must be tough. Those who have strong religious convictions tell me; “My church doesn’t allow divorce “ “God wants us to stay married !”Yes the bible clearly teaches against divorce, I agree .I do sympathize with these view points, because they are similar to my own values and convictions. But at the same time people must understand that once an affair has begun, the marriage or relationship has already been breached. The truth is hat God had joined together some man or woman has put asunder. Yes it can be healed and restored but one must be prepared to take definitive action. I encourage and urge women a lot to take a very hard, independent line and be willing to separate from their partners temporarily until they can solve this matter and put their house in order. I tend to think most women are too soft to their partners that’s why affairs will always be tolerated. Women must be able to make it very clear to the straying partner that they will not put up with this lifestyle. Love me faithfully or go after your mistress, men must be told you cant get away with affairs. Most men don’t want to hear this, but believe you me it works.
Know what to expect in affairs.
Am sure we all know that most affairs do not lead to divorcé, they lead to reconciliation. But during the months or years that lead from an affair to reconciliation, the whole process can inflict almost unbearable pain to you. If you do prepare for what is to come you will not only suffer less, but your relationship/marriage has the chance to survive too. Sounds confusing to say this but this is the truth, the best ways to prepare yourself is to know what to expect. There are common threads in affairs, on of them is the spouse’s resistance to give up the lover. Most affairs are addictions, so one must stay from the addiction if they want to control the addictive behavior. The best way to become disentangled in an affair is to avoid all contacts with his/her lover/That’s were most struggle here, to cut ties with their lovers. Time and again, people in affairs fail to make drastic and decisive breaks with their lovers. They can go on the wagon for a while, but they inevitably they find their way back to their lover’s arms. The permanent effect of an affair cannot be ignored. The cheating spouse rarely falls out of love with the ex lover. The feelings may lie dormant, but ready to snap back as soon as they are reacquainted. The investment love account for the ex lover remains very high and vibrant because few opportunities for balance withdrawals exist. It must e noted in relationships that only unpleasant or painful experiences can withdraw love units, and most of the times it’s a proven fact that when a lover is in competition with a spouse, unpleasant experiences are deliberately avoided.
Be advised that the lover will simply never be able to take the place of a spouse, but the spouse can always take the place of the lover. Hope you remember the 80-20 principle from the movie, “Why did I get married, by Tyler Perry.?” Take time to watch the follow up version “Why did I get married too.” Profound truths in these to those I relationships .Don’t lose the 80 % you have for the 20 %,it’s a regrettable swap.