15 Important Things I Learned After Having An Affair

I’m sure at first glance this title already has women (and men) thinking nasty thoughts of home-wrecking sluts. Unfortunately, the affair partner will always be cast out from society, often times acting as a scapegoat for the cheating spouse. My story is like many others, but due to social pressures many men and women do not feel comfortable speaking on the topic. It is my hope that this article will give insight to those who have been in similar situations as myself.

I have never been viewed as a naïve young girl. Even as a teenager, friends and family spoke about my maturity and old-soul tactics. I was living in a city far from home, and unaware of my partner’s status. Before I knew it, I was head over heels for this man—willing to compromise my most fundamental beliefs. After the affair ended, I struggled a lot as would any individual stuck in a twisted love triangle. As cliché as it sounds, I am a firm believer in “everything happens for a reason.” With many hours of therapy and reflection, I was finally able to express what I learned from this situation. Whether you’ve been cheated on, the cheater or the affair partner I hope this list will help give you a new perspective on your future and past relationships.

1. Listen more, judge less.

Everyone makes mistakes, big and small. Giving people you know and love an understanding, non-judgmental front is so important for honesty and growth.

2. When you’re lonely do not go looking for a quick fix.

Even though I was unaware of my partner’s status in the beginning, upon discovery I still chose to remain with him. I had been living in an unfamiliar city for a long time, and the loneliness took over. If you are considering having an affair, STOP NOW. Pick-up a new hobby or social club. No man or woman is worth the emotional turmoil of an affair.

3. You’re so much stronger than you ever thought possible.

It does not matter who you are in this equation. You will be surprised by your emotional resilience.

4. One choice will not define the rest of your life, learn from it and move-on.

I cannot express enough the importance of self-reflection.

5. Love is wonderful, even the most twisted of kinds.

Prior to my affair, I had always been very guarded—never allowing myself to become emotionally involved in a relationship. After experiencing such a warped version of love, I realized I am now, more than ever, open to experiencing love that is 100% raw with everyone. Do not close yourself off from the possibility of new relationships.

6. You’ll have flashbacks for a very long-time.

Again, learn from it, write about it, reflect and move-on.

7. Take responsibility for your actions.

Decide what is important after the affair is publicized and take responsibility for your actions. If you need help, get it. Many will say the affair partner goes unharmed, but that’s not true. If you do not learn from your past mistakes, you will repeat them.

8. Only keep people in your life who are positive.

This applies to dating, friends, colleagues, etc. there is no room for negativity. Look for people who attribute positive things to your life.

9. A few moments of lust does not trump—nor will it ever—years of hard-work and dedication to a relationship.

If you’re already taking part in an affair and cannot seem to stop, just remember rarely does the cheating spouse leave their husband or wife for the affair partner. Too much negative history and baggage follows any affair. Do not assume divorce will lead to your happily ever after—a cheating spouse and affair partner’s relationship seldom survives this type of emotional toll.

10. When you fall in love again, remember to work at it every day.

Make the next one count.

11. Time really does heal all wounds.

Take as much time as you need to heal. There is no time-limit. There are no right or wrong answers. Every situation is different.

12. Choosing to enter an affair is bad, but how you handle the aftermath is key.

People judge no matter what you do or say, unfortunately, that is part of this one choice. How you handle spouses calling, the break-up, and mending on your own truly shines light on your character.

13. You’re a still a good person.

Do not let one bad choice define the future you.
After the affair, respect the decisions made by the couple.

14. If a couple decides to stay together and work through the affair, respect the decision.

Realize you are the toxic being cut-out. You will need to learn how to mend on your own. If it helps, write an e-mail or letter to the cheating spouse in order to express yourself. Take responsibility and apologize for the part you played.

15. Even after everything, you are still 100% deserving of a fulfilling relationship.

Many may disagree with this statement, but it’s true. Thought Catalog Logo Mark


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