Are They Comparing You to Their Affair Partner? Of course they are, is the harsh, straightforward answer. The cold hard truth is, they are in an affair, and they are in their own mind, happier when they are with their affair partner. Most definitely they are comparing you to their affair partner. However the fact is, you can’t win in this game. It’s destined for failure. The reason you can’t win is you are competing with a fantasy, and in our own fantasies we get to play God. Both in life and in fantasies we can’t beat an all sovereign God and in the mind of an unfaithful spouse, they are typically captivated by the emotional or sexual component (or ‘hook’) that the affair partner has in them. They play God and design their own euphoria. To compare a spouse who has other responsibilities and real life with bills, expectations, mood swings, deadlines, kids, diapers, work, stress and overall normalcy with a fantasy of non-stop affection, a Romeo and Juliet mentality of ‘the world is against us, but we’re destined to be together’ (not to mention emotional and/or sexual adrenaline) and no expectations except to make me feel better about myself… how can you compete with that? You just can’t. I encourage you not to even try to compete with such a fantasy. It’s not real life, and later you’ll hate yourself and have more to work through in your own healing if you stoop to the affair partner’s level. You may have some very hard conversations with yourself and reevaluate what is lacking in your marriage, sure. I would encourage you to not compare yourself with the affair partner, but to simply say “how can I be better?” It doesn’t assume that their affair is your fault, but perhaps it would be wise to (at the right time) ask yourself what drew my spouse away? I’m sure there may need to be some changes in your marriage and perhaps this affair is the opportunity to see a reprogramming of sorts to the way you do marriage. They will still need to take responsibility for their choices, and will have a lot of work to do emotionally. That’s a fact. However, to not take ownership of your own failures or struggles is short sighted and will complicate matters down the road as you venture into recovery. Getting back to toxic comparisons though, my affair partner threw herself at me. She would turn on a dime for my attention and for my affection. She was just as unhealthy as I was. Samantha couldn’t compete with her, and honestly she didn’t try. Once we were able to gain some momentum in pursuit of restoration, there were some significant times where she had to have some very sobering conversations with Rick and myself about changes she needed to make and where she had let our marriage become vulnerable. Keep in mind, vulnerability does not guarantee infidelity. My affair partner didn’t have kids. My affair partner didn’t have the responsibilities a married woman with three kids had, nor did she have a ministry, another business and people clamoring for her husband’s attention. She also didn’t have a husband who traveled once a week on a plane. In fact, my affair partner was the one traveling with me most of the time. She enjoyed the best of my time, and Samantha received the left overs. Unfortunately, I also for a time received Samantha’s leftovers. Marriage is real life. Like all things that matter in life, marriage also requires hard work to love the one you have chosen. Affairs are fantastical, selfish endeavors which don’t reflect what real love is like or requires or expects.