Life after affair feels a lot like the apocalypse.
One day you see bright colorful flowers, green trees, butterflies, sunshine and blue skies outside your window. Your life full of hope, a future, a purpose.
Then a nuclear bomb drops.
You look out the window. Nothing but ashes. Everything is burnt to the ground.
Your life after affair, right after, seems to zap you of your purpose. You go from living your life to surviving your life. Are you a squirrel or a person? What happened to those days of planning for vacations, waiting all week for that romantic dinner out Saturday night? Now you struggle just gather the strength to eat a bowl of soup.
What really is the problem with life after affair?
The problem is loss of purpose.
We went from living like human beings with a path that led to tomorrow. We had something to look forward to now we wander around lost without a GPS. No idea what we want nor where we are trying to go.
Can you relate?
Then why do we claim to cite betrayal as the biggest problem of discovering an affair?
Think about it. How have you dealt with disappointment in the past? How do we deal with betrayal?
Caught your child doing drugs with the wrong crowd, do you throw him out or worry about him/her harming themselves?
Your best friend talks about you behind your back. Do you avoid them forever or reconcile?
My point is we know people are unpredictable and when we enter marriage we understand there is the possibility they may cheat and that as long as they still want to stay in the relationship we will find a way to get past their infidelity.
What we actually fear is that the person we married will no longer exist, that they will not go back to the person we once knew and the life we once had will disappear.
It’d be like you suddenly became married to a zombie.
Life after Affair: Married to a Zombie
It’s been over a year since my wife abandoned me to leave for a man in another city. It was February 2015 when I knew she wasn’t coming back. She lied about going back home to visit family. A survey came in the mail asking her for feedback regarding her former employment with her company. I knew she left for good.
Life with her had already been deteriorating for a while.
But even a year after her desertion I think back to our happy moments. I still feel moments of sadness when I think about what I no longer have.
So the emails you, my visitors, send me regarding how you threw all those 10, 12, 20+ years away prompted me to write this post.
What if he/she really did change? Then what is left worth staying in the relationship for?
Maybe your spouse still wants to stay with you. Maybe your husband wants your companionship. Maybe he wants to avoid ending up alone. Will that stop him from cheating yet again? Will he stop his serial cheater ways? Not if he has unsettled issues that he cannot undo.
If not then your choice was like mine in September 2013 when a text conversation appeared on my wife’s phone between her and her apparent boyfriend (different from the one she moved to NY to be with) while she was asleep with my niece in her arms.
The girl I had just shared a moments a week earlier with on vacation walking through the streets of San Francisco, sitting in coffee shops on Market Street, driving through the hills of Sonoma County. The girl I married with whom I went out on all those dinner nights out here in Orlando (yes, coincidence, my name is Orlando), all the fireworks in Disney we watched together and the trips to the beach became a zombie.
A lifeless, shell of the woman with whom I fell in love.
The memories will last forever. I will never forget them. Even the ones when she came back to town for 3 days to visit after she fled when it seemed we clicked again. We had such a good time. Then I saw perhaps for the last time as she passed through the security gates of the Orlando International Airport- waving and smiling at me.
(…pause…sorry that image still makes me stop to gather my emotions. I had to take a second before typing again)
Like it or not people change. Our dreams change, preferences change, tolerance and patience levels change. Our desire and abilities to resolve conflict differ. But for whatever reason, people decide to change their lives- like my now ex-wife.
The last couple of years of our marriage felt like being married to a zombie. She was there, but not there (if you know what I mean). Her mind was on her second life. A second life with him. A second life in a bigger, more exciting city. In her mind she divorced long before she physically deserted me.
So if your spouse truly changed then what do you want to hold onto?
Is it memories or do you really hope the life you had will return. Do you look out the window hoping the flowers and the trees will grow back? Do you wish for sunny blue skies again? Do you risk waiting around for that to happen or move on looking for a new place in your life with a fresh field full of green grass, flowers and trees?
The person you married might be there in body, but maybe not in soul- just like a zombie.
Love the Memories vs Love the Person You Married
Memories you can have with anyone. The person you married loved you unconditionally when you tied the knot- at least that is what you hoped.
Does your husband or wife love you unconditionally? Do they feel remorse? Did they make a mistake and regret it or have they already emotionally left your marriage like my wife?
You have a lot to think about even if you both decide to stay together. If you stay will he cheat again? In fact if you’d like some help figuring out what to do next download a list of questions to ask yourself and report to know what life after affair is like when you stay with a cheating spouse.
Resources to Heal After an Affair
You will process a lot of information while you attempt to stay strong during this whirlwind of emotions. If you would like some inexpensive resources to help you collect your thoughts to know how to deal with life after affair then these two inexpensive books might help, “Surviving Infidelity” by Rona Subotnik and Gloria Harris. “Surviving Infidelity” is one of the most comprehensive books to help you decide whether to stay or move on to a new life alone. I’ve read some of the best tips for affair survival here. The book receives on-going stellar reviews.
If you are looking for help to restore trust and reconnect with your spouse then you might want to check out “After the Affair” by Janis Spring. Or if you deal with both loss of love and abandonment like I had to learn then check out the reviews for “The Journey from Abandonment to Healing” by Susan Anderson.
And if you’d like to review the one of the two ebooks I credit for helping me heal after my wife’s affair then read my Break Free from the Affair review. You could download the ebook version within seconds to read tips to help you process what is happening and what to expect along with a description of the different types of affairs Dr. Huizenga identifies for his each of his own personal patients and what the chances of their marriage surviving on a scale of 1-10 (at the bottom of the page you can download an even more in-depth version of the review).
I also found Dr Huizenga’s book “Save a Marriage” to contain some of the best exercises to help couples reconnect and rekindle their affection for one another.
Now It’s Your Turn…to Leave Your Opinion
In 10 words or less, what do you feel the hardest thing is to deal with life after affair?
(Leave your comment at the bottom of this page after the “Related Articles” section.
Or got anything to tell me personally (only infidelity related feedback or questions)