The Detox Continues…. I’ll never forget talking to a friend of mine early on in recovery, and I said to him candidly, “I’m still thinking about my affair partner all the time.” Having gone through it before, he very pointedly, but graciously said to me “Samuel, if you said you weren’t thinking about her, I’d call you a liar.” It’s part of the ripping away. He went on to say “It takes time and it takes consistency, and doing exactly what you’re doing: being open with another man about what you’re dealing with.” Fact is my friends, and I know a ton of you are betrayed spouses, that if your spouse says they are not thinking about their affair partner (when it was a long affair, over a consistent period of time and they have broken it off fairly recently) then they probably are lying. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s very likely they are afraid to tell you they are detoxing. Don’t be offended by this. It’s normal, and Samantha and I almost never talked about it early on. I think she knew I had to be feeling some sort of sadness, but allowed me to deal with it differently than her pounding me about it. Samantha did however ask me if I loved my affair partner. I remember the conversation as if it was just yesterday. I did love my affair partner, but had no idea what was truly going on. I loved the fantasy of the life with the affair partner. I loved how the affair partner made me feel about myself and life in general. I loved the idea of always being wanted, always being celebrated and admired. I loved these almost imaginary aspects of my affair partner yes; but did I love my affair partner the way I loved Samantha? No. I truly didn’t, but at that time I was nowhere near healthy enough to totally grasp the difference, and your spouse may be there too. It just might be too early on to understand that concept, quite honestly. If you’re a betrayed spouse, you may have to draw some very clear lines and stay consistent with the tough love approach to get them to understand they can detox, but there must be forward progress. Not perfection, but progress. I was on my phone so often with my affair partner and texted with her so often it was ridiculous. Driving to work every day, I would constantly look at my phone out of habit, and believe me no one was calling me now. It was tough, but didn’t last longer than a month or so. It was more out of habit than any sort of anticipation or longing for my affair partner to reach out. The detox continued, and I was breaking away. I had two friends I could reach out to and talk to on this level. If your unfaithful spouse who is trying to detox doesn’t have another same sex figure to talk to and vent to, it could be dangerous. They need someone who they can be safe with and vulnerable with, who is pro-restoration and has only the best interest of your marriage and your spouse in mind. Anything short of that can be even more problematic as I know many of you have experienced before. If they need an avenue to experience this sort of support from other same-sex supporters, I’d highly recommend Hope for Healing. Tough love may be the way to go to help draw some clear lines and let your spouse know that the time for bearing fruit in their recovery is NOW. As you’re patient with your spouse and allow them to break away and grieve, they should simultaneously be open to getting healthy and getting insight on what you need, what the marriage needs, and what recovery needs if it’s going to be developing in your life. Detoxing is gruesome friends. I actually hate writing about it, as it is difficult to relive some things, but I think it’s the right thing to write on for today. I only hope it’s been helpful for you both.