The Loneliness of It All - Part 2

What happens when the unfaithful is lonely?

As we discussed last time, loneliness can be one of the most excruciating elements when trying to heal from infidelity. Between the isolation and the silent suffering, the pain of it all is only exacerbated when you’re alone in your life’s deepest pain.  It can be dangerous for both spouses in their own ways when you’re alone.

Part of being alone is good as it forces us to process information, wade through emotions and actually hear from God or our conscience. Without this much needed time alone for Samantha and me, I don’t think we would have been able to really find the space and time to decide what we wanted to do. The loneliness provided a backdrop of sanctification and sobriety which although painful, was a necessity. Without being alone we wouldn’t have had to push through the barriers we both felt in our marriage and in our own lives. We had to get back to the basics of putting our marriage first and putting each other first in our lives. It was necessary time, but it was a difficult, desert-like time as well.

While loneliness always serves a purpose, it is also a season filled with the potential for disarray and poor choices. When you’re an unfaithful and you’re lonely, you’ll be tempted to relapse or seek out another illicit outlet for your perceived unmet needs. When you’re lonely and you don’t have a safe place, you’ll be tempted to eventually give way to the loneliness. You will make poor choices out of a need for validation or in an attempt to fill the void that either the affair partner was filling or some other lesser supplement was filling. There will always be another affair partner waiting for you in the wings if you don’t have a plan and aren’t dedicated to your own recovery. It could be an actual affair partner or it could be the affair partner of working overtime, alcohol and drug abuse, escapism or any other sea of alternatives that medicate but don’t really heal. When you’re lonely and you don’t have a recovery plan in place you’ll look to fill the gap some way, somehow and it’s almost never in a good way. You’ll also be tempted with self-pity if you’re not careful. It’s easy to fall into shame and self-pity when you’re an unfaithful. After all who’s going to feel sorry for the unfaithful, adulterer? Not many I assure you.

You’ll probably also be given towards self-comfort as well. Early on, it was like my own heart and emotions were screaming for self-comfort in some way or another. I had looked to my affair partner to comfort me more than any other relationship and that was gone overnight. To say there was a gap in how I found comfort and affirmation is an understatement and if it wasn’t for Rick, two other gentlemen and the EMS Weekend I don’t think I would have ever made it.

Unfortunately, we unfaithfuls hear the statement ‘it’s not about you’ often enough to finally scream back sometimes, ‘well it would be nice if it was about us sometimes.’ The obvious retort is, ‘well the affair was long enough for things to be about you wasn’t it?’ Game. Set. Match. Yet when we’re engulfed in isolation and loneliness, we’ll be awfully tempted to keep making it about us. As long as we keep making it about us, the unfaithful, we just can’t get healthy and we can’t help our spouse heal and we’ll prolong the pain for everyone involved. Loneliness provides a canvas for either gut wrenching, life changing transformation or repetitive relapse or the switching of addictions. We’ll no longer be addicted to our affair partner, but perhaps we’ll try and find a lesser type of addiction to divert our efforts and self-worship.

It’s difficult to not allow ourselves to be absorbed by self-pity and self-absorption. When we’re alone, feeling abandoned and not pursuing outside help, we’ll lose vision or find it incredibly hard to find any tangible hope for real healing and restoration, let alone that we won’t be forever lonely and abandoned, on an island, left for dead. I was watching the show Intervention tonight and one of the subjects was bawling about how hard it was to go and get help and the interventionist looked her right in the eye and said “welcome to recovery.”

The truth is recovery will have moments of elation and moments of desperation. You’ll feel like you’re on top of the mountain one moment and then the next moment you’ll feel like getting in the car and never, ever, ever coming back. If it’s hard, it’s doing something to you. If it feels like you, the unfaithful, are dying inside, perhaps you are. Perhaps the part(s) that need to be starved to death are in fact dying, slowly but surely. Your spouse and children hang in the balance of your everyday decision to push through, live clean, refuse to give up and find that next degree of strength.

Community is vital when you’re suffering. It’s why the EMS Weekend  and the EMS Online course on the site are so vital. They provide an opportunity for community that will not only suffer with you, but also provide a life giving setting of other hurting individuals who are slugging it out with life, consequences, anger, uncertainty and confusion. When you have a sense of community standing with you, and a proven protocol to follow, healing is as much as fifty to seventy five percent easier. I know from my own experience the healing salve of community and expert help and I hope you’ll take advantage of so many viable places to find support here. 

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