Have you recently had an affair, or perhaps are you in the middle of one? If you are I know you’re struggling, looking for ideas for surviving the guilt of infidelity.
I have had many clients who have had affairs and, while from the outside they might seem sexy and exciting, from the inside they’re scary, overwhelming and fraught with guilt. That’s not to say the sex isn’t good but the guilt that comes with having an affair can sometimes be more than you can bear.
Fortunately, I have many clients who have been able to let go of the guilt they struggle with. Let me help you do the same.
#1 – Accept that you are human.
One thing that we all forget about is that we are only human.
We are raised to think that we are special, that we are different, that we can handle things that other people can’t. And while to some extent this might be true, because everybody IS different, the truth of the matter is that we are all only human and we make mistakes.
People who have affairs are People who are often not happy with their lives. More likely than not, people who have affairs are struggling both in their personal lives and in their relationships. They don’t feel good about themselves and/or they are struggling to find happiness with their partner.
It’s a horrible, horrible place to be and, if you are in that place, what I suggest is that you cut yourself some slack. You are only human. You are going to make mistakes.
You are a person in the world, one trying to manage the insecurity and unhappiness in your life in a way that allows you to survive. Some people drink too much, some people eat too much, some people drive their cars too fast and some people have affairs.
You are not alone in the world. Plenty of other people are having affairs right now and feeling the same sort of guilt you are. So, let yourself off the hook, know that you are a good person but that you have made a bad choice.
We all make bad choices sometimes and none of us should be forever condemned for it.
#2 – Recognize that it’s not all your fault.
I know you think that this affair is all your fault. You are the one who met someone else, developed a connection with that person and perhaps embarked down the road to a sexual relationship. Yes, you did that.
But you didn’t do it in a void. As I stated above, people who are having affairs are often people who are deeply unhappy in their relationship. And they aren’t the only person in that relationship.
Relationships are comprised of two people and two people are responsible when relationships start to suffer. Perhaps your husband works all the time and you are lonely. Or perhaps your wife has become detached and refuses to talk to you. You feel like you’ve tried to fix things but you haven’t had much success.
Most people don’t intend to have affairs. They just happen. And they happen when people are vulnerable. All of my clients who have had affairs are people who were in a relationship that wasn’t working and it wasn’t working because the TWO people in the relationship were not willing, or able, to repair it. And then infidelity can happen.
Yesterday, I was talking to a client of mine who carries a tremendous amount of guilt about an affair he had and I asked him to think about why he had an affair. What was going on in his relationship that gave him the space to have an affair? He responded by saying ‘Nothing. My wife is perfect and the affair was all my fault.’ I pushed back and we dug a little deeper and we realized that she repeatedly did things that made him feel insecure about himself and that led him to move towards someone who thought he was amazing.