Are They Thinking About Their Affair Partner?

The short answer is yes. The longer answer is, yes, because you cannot have a relationship of that magnitude and simply turn it off.  It’s a process to break free. It will take strategy for sure and it will take rock solid commitment to the process. There will be ups and there will be downs, as there is when healing from any life changing event. However, it’s more than possible for your spouse to break free from the hold of their AP.

It’s been 8 years since our own F5 tornado touched down in our lives.  We call that D Day. For the first 6 months or so post disclosure, I played with my phone almost every day, all day out of habit. My AP and I texted all day every day and life after the affair was radically different. Samantha was not in a place to talk to me that often, and unlike some of you, I had lost all of my friends and didn’t have anyone to talk to on a daily basis. Part of recovery for the unfaithful is to have other same sex friends to contact and communicate with instead of the AP. There was no one, so I replaced talking to the AP with praying, music and trying to formulate a new career out of the ashes of my life.

I thought about my AP all the time. One day I was talking to an older man who provided some clarity and direction. When I confessed I was thinking about my affair partner, he simply replied “Samuel if you said you weren’t I’d call you a liar.” He was right. Some days it was more than others, some days it was all day. I hurt for what I had done to her and what I had done to her family. Sure I missed her company, and sure I missed her attention and falling all over me with compliments, applause, assurance and passion. Yes, all of it was true, and remains disturbing to this day.

But I was with Samantha. And quite frankly, Samantha hated me at the moment. Yes, hated me. She shares that quite frequently when she speaks to other women, as it was part of the phase she was in. 

Though I was missing my AP and still had a connected bond with her, I was with Samantha. I wanted to be with Samantha. I chose Samantha. I was committed to doing all I could to at least see if our marriage could be saved. I wasn’t sure Samantha could get over the pain she was in, but I was willing to do whatever it took to save us, even though I was bombarded with thoughts about my affair partner.

For you betrayed spouses please understand your mate is from time to time thinking about their affair partner. But, if they are with you, they are trying. They are doing what they can to be in the right place and I know it’s gut wrenching to believe their minds are wandering. However, it is part of the inevitable process of breaking free from an illegitimate bond they have with someone they should have never had bonded with in the first place. Choices have consequences, and if they are giving it an effort, often times we need to enjoy the progress, though you long for perfection. One of the worst things you can do is say “Are you thinking about your AP?” Then when they answer honestly, you may blast them and they’ll never want to tell you the truth ever again. It’s even more destructive for them to constantly tell you how much they are thinking about their AP and remind you of their selfishness and destructive behavior. The unfaithful need a place where they can process things, and find the light of truth. It’s a vital piece to the puzzle and is now far more available than it was 8 years ago.

If you are an unfaithful spouse, it will get easier as you shift your focus. There is a strategy to help you through this ordeal. You’ll need help from others who have gone through it before. You’ll need to understand you can control what you do with your thoughts and you can break free, over time with the right strategy, and finally gain a sense of peace. I’d give up any hope that it will be instantaneous or overnight, but clarity and peace of mind is available for you.

To this day, I can think of my affair partner if I let myself. I don’t want to, but sometimes I do. If I think of her at any time lately, it’s only a sense of grief for what I did to her, but I have entrusted that to God to bring healing to her. He’s far better at healing than I am. 

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thinking about the affair partner

This article is a tough one. So would it be true to say you could miss your affair partner to this day if you let yourself? As a betrayed partner I find it even hard to accept the fact that my husband could look back and feel sorry for what he did to the ap. I see it so differently. She willingly entered into that type of a relationship with a married man and that was her choice. We are nearly two years post d day. I have on occasion asked my husband if he thinks about the ap but his answer is he just thinks about how stupid he was and how guilty and ashamed he feels. Is this something we need to continue to talk about?

I wish

I WISH my husband felt ashamed, but he either ignores me when I mention her or gets angry. He has to see her every day because they work in the same office. I have no way of policing their interactions. He SAYS he doesn't have any communication with her, but that's ridiculous in my book. They see each other every day at work. I can't monitor his cell phone either because it is a company phone and I have no access to the records. So I'm sure he thinks about, sees her, and talks to her every day, no matter what he tells me. It's his second EA with her, I found out about the latest affair by peeking at his work cell and after confronting, he promptly deleted any communication and pics between them. He feels no shame about what he has done to our marriage and just says he called and texted too much. I firmly believe he still.thinks about and talks with her daily. It is hurtful but I have placed our marriage in Gods hands and at least I know I upheld my vows and can stand before God one day and say that. He and the AP will never be able to do that. I am trusting that God's plan for me will unfold as He intends. However, I have to say that these past 14 months since confrontation have been the most brutal pain I have ever endured and I am praying that it molds me into a stronger better person. He and the AP willingly and knowingly entered into this relationship AGAIN without any thought to the consequences and pain it would inflict on anyone else. Yes, I am POSITIVE that he still thinks about and talks to her and it is beyond my control and I have had a hard time coming to grips with that. But slowly but surely I am finally getting it... I can only control myself and my thoughts... Not his. I have to just pray for him and let God deal with him.

tough one indeed

anonymous...a tough one indeed. for starters, i had initial sadness for what i had done to my ap as i was so filled with resentment towards my wife. i was heavily conflicted indeed, due to my own deception and disconnectedness with samantha for what i had done. so my empathy was wrongly towards my ap initially than it was towards my wife, and when it finally hit home towards samantha, it was a waterfall indeed. even now i try to live under the waterfall of humility for waht i can do and who i can be if not careful. it's not shame, its humility and awareness. its going to be incredibly difficult to find empathy towards the ap for what she did. its understandable that you would feel that way. you can find a sense of forgiveness though, and compassion for how deceived she was/is etc. i think two years post d day it's probably not something you need to continue to talk about, as he is more than likely heavily filled with guilt and shame for what he did. that's highly normal, and a process to walk out, but he's chosen to be with you. . 2 years is not a ton of time at all, but is enough for him to have heavily detoxed from his ap. yes, i can still think back upon times with my ap, but they are no longer filled with only joy and happiness, as i realize how much of a fantasy it was and how 'unreal' the whole thing was and how it was selfishness and deception. so, the initial joy of missing her is quickly ruined by how completely fantastical it all was. can i miss her, sure, but it's more out of escapism to real life issues now, and not real at all. its letting my mind wander and become undisciplined and simply wanting to check out. he will be able to do that to, however, its more of a mind wandering, let your thoughts wander, than it ever is some yearning or longing to be with his ap. the fact is, he's with you and though his mind may wander from time to time, it doesn't minimize how deeply he wants to be with you and make his marriage work. early on though, when someone says they are not thinking about their ap, it's probably not accurate as it requires a detox stage to break free from them. as the space increases between now and the affair, his heart is getting more and more healed creating the opportunity for you both to forge ahead, reinforcing the intimacy which is based upon understanding the process to healing. again though, two years, though it's a good amount of time, is not long enough to truly experience the fullness of healing you will as time and the process works for you.

Tough indeed

First and formost I would like to thank you for your honest blog about being the betrayer. It gives me some insight as to what I would like to think my husband is feeling. My D day was nine months ago and the hurt now is as raw as it was on D day. I'm in disbelief that my husband can inflict such pain and and victimize our children. However, I find myself thinking about the ap more than my husband. The affair took place throughout the twelve years of our marriage and the ap stalked me for ten of those years which he was aware of and it wasn't until discovery , then it began making sense. He is at the bottom of the barrel and wants redemption and now I read this article and realize he will entertain thoughts of her every now and then regardless of the risk that he put my life in. How do I deal with my husbands unstable affair partner?

stalker....

wow anonymous, I'm so sorry. that is a pretty compelling story. for starters, have you read this article? I'll post it here to read. then post another comment to give you some thoughts specific to your story.....

Affair Partners: Eight Reasons Not to Confront Them
Last week, while I was at the credit Union, I was stopped by one of our mentors. I’m sure the tellers had their antenna tuned all the way up since we were discussing infidelity and ways to respond. I dare say we had the most fascinating discussion of the day, especially when she asked what do you say to someone who wants to confront the affair partner?

Normally, when someone comes in asking what I think about talking to the affair partner I tell them, “not much”. Rarely have I seen much benefit, and I’ve certainly witnessed a great deal of harm.

What’s the driving force when we feel a compulsion to speak to the other person (OP)? Typically it’s to feel better, to take away a bit of our pain. We think somehow that course of action provides more benefits than the alternative.

To begin, affair partners can lie. It is interesting how often a hurting mate believes the affair partner will tell them the truth and sorrowfully see the error of their ways once they realize the pain they have caused. It is not uncommon for the affair partner to lie and manipulate the situation.
How much information do you really want? If you think you might be able to get more information from the affair partner, you're right, but it might not be what you want. If you are married, then you’ve probably already experienced that you and your mate have different subjective realities. You can have vastly different recollections of any event. For that reason alone you can certainly gain a different perspective. At the same time if all your gaining is details about a specific event, your not gaining anything new. It’s difficult enough to process the information from the perspective of your mate, much less the information from the perspective of the affair partner too.
Talking to the affair partner is comparing apples and oranges. One of the most difficult pieces of an affair to discern is motive. Frequently, there is a compulsion to discover why this has happened and one thing is for certain, the answer does not lie in the affair partner. All too often I’ve worked with people who have talked with the affair partner and made the mistake of assuming their motives must have been the same as those of their mate, or they assume the affair partner somehow understands their mate’s motive. In reality, the affair partner has created an illusion of what your mate’s motives are. So please don’t think the causes and motives of the affair partner match those of your mate. That’s no more likely than the probabilities of your mate really understanding how their betrayal has impacted you.
Vengeance doesn’t work: When you’re really hurting, it’s really tempting to think about making the other party experience the same pain that you’re going through. The only problem is this course of action lowers you to their level and results in self-inflicted injuries. Don’t compromise your personal integrity by acting in ways you normally would never approve of. Injuring another will never bring the peace you seek and it will only lengthen the amount of time it’s going to take to recover.
Don’t gratify their hostility by acting as if you’ve been gotten. You don’t want to act in ways that allow the other person to believe your mate was justified in coming to them. If you act like a crazy person in confronting them you only give them justification for their actions.
Trying to get them to “get it” is futile. One of the most common motivations for confronting the other person is to try to get them to see you’re a real person and that their actions are destroying real lives. Personally, I don’t think you’re going to have any more luck getting them to understand than you’ve had at getting your mate to get it. The defense mechanisms put into place to justify the affair in the first place are most likely still in place after the affair. You’re not going to be the person capable of breaking through their denial.
It tends to perpetuate the problem. If your mate is trying to break off the relationship with their affair partner talking with them doesn’t help the process. In fact it is almost guaranteed to create more contact. They’ll either contact your mate telling them to have you back off, or they’ll use your contact as a way to try and guilt your mate into trying to gain comfort. The goal is to break off the relationship not to perpetuate the fight.
What do they have that I don’t? At times curiosity drives the desire for contact. You may be asking, “What does the other person have that I don’t?” “Why would my mate choose them over me?” I seriously doubt you’ll ever find the answer to those questions by contacting the other person. Motivations for affairs are complex, and meeting another person will normally not answer your question. In reality, it’s far more likely to confuse the issues. I found that people always affair down. They never have an affair with someone better than the person with whom they’re married. So I’d suggest not lowering yourself to their level by interacting with them. Have more respect for yourself.

After all is said and done, some of you will still feel an overwhelming need to confront the OP. For some it will be driven by a need to get the crazy compulsion out of their head. For others it may be a need to face their fears. There can be any number of reasons, but I do suggest you try to get your mind off the OP and onto your recovery. The last thing you want to do is let another person have the power to control your peace of mind.

continuing for the stalker..

anonymous, I hope the article helped. for starters, if she is still stalking you, I'd get a restraining order immediately for both protection and legal concerns as well. you may also take different steps to protect yourself as well if you are concerned. in terms of your husband, though he may think about her from time to time, keep in mind, it's a wandering and it's a distraction, not a yearning. if he was really yearning to be with her, i dont think he would have made it this far into recovery without a slip up or without great conflict internally. also, keep in mind, when i think of my ap, it is a distinct reminder of what a screw up i can be. there isn't this glorious love story to dwell upon. it's a beacon of failure and reminder of how my choices can completely wreak havoc upon a large sea of people. so please know, its a humbling thing to have in your memory. i know one time samantha and I were talking, then joking, then she said something like "maybe i'll have an affair...." I chuckled, as now we were fighting, and I said "good luck, you'll hate yourself trying to live with the condemnation and shame you carry around with you for the rest of your life....." she was stunned at what I said. it's true. there isn't this x rated movie of incredible pleasure in our minds, its more failure and shame. so there is great momentum to not think of our affair partner, precisely because of what it reminds us of. i sure hope that sheds some light on it. let me know if you'd like to talk more.

Stalked

Samuel, once again thank you for your input. I did file a ppo against the ap only to have t denied. Obviously the courts did not feel that she was a threat. Although I have not seen her for a couple of months but I believe she is trying to avoid me because when I saw her at the supermarket twice and I called her out as a home wrecker and many other names that I don't care to mention. It is so unlike me to behave this way but the betrayal has brought on a very negative behavior. The irony is that my husband is a detective and I would always tell him that I'm constantly running into this person everywhere I went. We were introduced to her once before we were married. Yet he put my life at risk for so many years. At this point I feel he should be tormented by his thoughts and what he has done to our family. If I have to live with this hurt for the remainder of my life then he should as well. It's just how I feel.

stalked continued

its sad the order was denied. now a days one never knows and i sure would have granted it. at any rate though, you'll need help to move forward. to say ""At this point I feel he should be tormented by his thoughts and what he has done to our family. If I have to live with this hurt for the remainder of my life then he should as well. It's just how I feel"" is vengeful. now, keep in mind, i understand it for sure and get the feelings. i would say that too i'm sure, HOWEVER it wont last friend. pain that is not transformed will be transmitted to the ones we love most, including our kids. i'd highly encourage you to get the help you need to heal. i know what you mean for sure, but i think there is a better way which will offer far more peace of mind and far more life-reward if you will. i'd consider taking the harboring hope course offered here, as well as consider the ems weekend for you and your husband. the only way you wont hurt and the only way he wont stay disconnected from it all, is qualified, expert help from those who have gone through it and are professionals. i hope that makes sense. happy to help in any way i can my friend. thanks for reaching out.

Stalked

Thank you for the blog and all the honest thoughts and and feelings you put forth to help individuals in this situation. I will take any advice you have to offer.

I get what you're saying

I get what you're saying Samuel, and I usually find your articles very insightful. But I have zero sympathy for the grief of the unfaithful spouse over his affair partner. Seems like we're setting the expectations for the betrayed spouse pretty high in asking that they accept the betrayal and deceit, then sit quietly while listening to the unfaithful talk about their grief over the loss of their affair partner? Is it not enough that we sacrifice our pride and dramas for our marriage by giving the unfaithful a second chance? It's not enough to feel the stabbing, throbbing, burning pain of knowing that we aren't "good enough" for our unfaithful spouses, that the person we trusted and put huge amounts of faith in had no difficulty causing damage equivalent to placing the betrayed spouse in a wood chipper. We should also pat you on the back and listen to how much the affair partner meant to you? Do we really need to magnify all the ways we feel inadequate as a betrayed spouse by hearing all that was so special about your affair partner? Sounds like a personal problem to me.

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