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After reading my earlier post, But My Affair Is Different, I talked to a woman whose husband continued to describe his past affair as a special loving relationship. This conversation occurred during a recent Open Care Q&A session. Listen to the entire conversation using the player below. Here's how the conversation started:
Caller: Your latest article, But My Affair Is Different, resonated with me. That's what my husband has said about his affair. He's recommitted to the marriage and cut off contact with the affair partner, yet he still says, "It was real love. It was something different. Mine was special..." Does that ever go away? Because it hurts me to hear him say that.
But My Affair Is Different
I've heard this story before: you have a strong emotional connection with your affair partner and believe your affair is uniquely wonderful. Even though your affair is probably among the 96% destined to fail, you remain convinced (like so many before you) that yours is an exceptional experience. But belief doesn’t change the fact that it almost certainly is not.
I know this because I once told that story, too.
Triggers for the Unfaithful Partner
Someone recently asked this question:
"We, the betrayed spouses, experience triggers that make us feel the pain again and again. I wonder about the ones who had the affair. Do they get triggers that make them miss the times with the affair partner?"
People who have been involved in an affair in which emotional connection was experienced will certainly experience "triggers" after the affair is over. This will be especially true if the affair was discovered and disrupted before it ended on its own.
But let's draw a distinction between memories and triggers. There can be many memories of an affair or the affair partner without having any significant emotion attached to them. It's been more than 20 years since my affair, but certain memories about it still pop into my head (especially considering my line of work). But those memories do not carry a sense of longing... missing the other person.
The following was written by a person working to recovery from their affair:
I personally believe there are wayward spouses and affair partners who are better fits than the spouses... You need to determine which one you really want to be with. You won't be able to figure that out if you are involved with both at the same time, and eventually a Dday will occur and then you will be forced into a decision you may eventually realize was not what you wanted.
Unless otherwise noted, articles are written by Tim Tedder, a licensed counselor and creator of this site and its resources.