Marriage Missions International

The Addictive Power of an Affair

An affair is a very powerful addiction. The craving to be with the lover can be so intense that objective reality doesn’t have much of a chance. The fact that a spouse and children may be permanently injured by this cruel indulgence doesn’t seem to matter. All that matters is spending more time with the lover. That makes it an addiction.

Even the one-night stand may be an addiction. It may not be an addiction to a particular lover, but it may still be an addiction —to one-night stands. In affairs that have low emotional attachment, the addiction is often to the act of having sex itself, rather than to a particular lover.

The addition to one-night stands can also grow from a need to be continually assured of one’s attractiveness. People who indulge in such practices want to feel that they can have anyone they want, even that person over there sitting at the bar. These people who need constant reassurance of their attractiveness must learn some other way to gain that assurance —a way that does not destroy their marriage.

The analogy between chemical addiction and an affair is striking. In both cases, the first step toward recovery is admitting that the addiction is self-destructive and harmful to those whom the addict cares for the most —his or her family. After recognizing the need to overcome the addiction, the next step is to suffer through the symptoms of withdrawal. Addicts are often admitted to a hospital or treatment program during the first few weeks of withdrawal to ensure total separation from the addicting substance.

The way to overcome an addiction is tried and proven —abstain from the object of addiction. Alcoholics, for example, must completely avoid contact with any alcoholic beverage to gain control over their addictive behavior. They must avoid places where alcohol is likely to be found, such as bars and parties. They must even avoid friends who drink occasionally in their presence. They must surround themselves with an alcohol-free environment. In the same way, when a wayward spouse separates from the lover, extraordinary precautions must be taken to avoid all contact with the lover —for life.

Checklist for How to End an Affair the Right Way: Total Separation from the Lover

• Wayward spouse should reveal information about the affair to the betrayed spouse.

• Wayward spouse should make a commitment to the betrayed spouse to never see or talk to the lover again.

• Wayward spouse should write a letter to the lover ending the relationship and send it with the approval of the betrayed spouse.

• Wayward spouse should take extraordinary precautions to guarantee total separation from the lover:

• Change jobs and relocate if necessary

• Block potential communication with the lover (change e-mail address and telephone, cell phone, and pager numbers; have voice messages and mail monitored by the betrayed spouse).

• Account for time (betrayed spouse and wayward spouse give each other a twenty-four hour daily schedule with locations and telephone numbers).

• Account for money (betrayed spouse and wayward spouse give each other a complete account of all money spent, and they make all financial decisions jointly).

• Spend leisure time together with spouse.

 Dr Willard F. Harley is the author of the above information. It comes from the excellent book, Surviving an Affair, published by Revell. In this book you will learn: – Why affairs begin and end – How to end an affair – how to restore the marriage after an affair – How to manage resentment and rebuild trust, plus a lot of additional helpful tips and advice.

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Marriage Missions International