Affair healing Blog
The Dilemma: Getting to the painful truth about an affair is essential for healing, but the truth also becomes a source of endless agony for many who have been betrayed. So what truth helps? Can some truth actually harm? How can we know the difference?
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.
Jacob sits at one end of the counseling couch, downcast, head in his hands, elbows on his knees. His gaze finally lifts from the space between his feet to settle on his wife, Cara, curled up in a tight ball at the other end of the couch. "How am I supposed to believe you?" he asks.
She hesitates, obviously frustrated with her inability to convince her husband. "Whether you believe me or not, I'm telling you the truth."
"You told me that before and I found out you were still lying. This whole affair was about making me believe one thing while you were doing something else. So how how can I believe you're being honest now?"
Cara remains silent. Jacob shakes his head, then turns to me as I sit in witness of their struggle. "Do you think I should trust her?" he asks, somehow hoping my counselor's insight will provide him with assurance one way or the other.
I've written openly about my affair story. My past provides me with a particular insight into the experience of an unfaithful partner and how a person can make life-changing choices that spin the heads of confused observers.
Because they prefer certainty over confusion, the onlookers (including the betrayed partner) often seek black-and-white explanations. They do this to understand WHY this happened, or to present a convincing argument that will compel the wayward spouse toward sensibility.
One common explanation of an affair is that it is a fantasy—the experience of something that seems real, but isn't. This condition is also referred to as wandering in an "affair fog." While I agree that understanding the fantasy and fog nature of an affair may be helpful to the unsettled witnesses and victims of infidelity, it will not persuade the cheater to think differently about their experience.