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The 4 Stage Addiction of an Affair

A while back, I gave a lecture about affairs and the problems of destruction

they leave behind. After that lecture, I received many emails, but one was

gut-wrenching. She could not let go of the lover,

but she could not let go of her partner either, and she saw no way out. This woman

was totally desperate. Today on Reaction Reset, I'm going to talk about how

affairs happen, what is behind an affair, and also how to stop it if you're in it.

Affairs can be exciting and they're energizing, but affairs rarely turn out

well. In fact, people get in one, they can't get out of it and it ends up (when

they finally come to their senses of what's going on) they've left a path of

destruction not only for themselves but for everyone whose lives touched theirs.

I think what's really important is that we never really think about what's going

on in our brains during an affair. Today I'm going to talk to you about how

affairs are like addictions, and why they're so difficult to let go.

Stage one of the affair is a stage that is often begins subtly. Basically what's

happening is you're starting to make compromises. You're making compromises to

be with this other person, you're willing to take very few risks, but you'll take

some. This person in stage one is often referred to as a friend and that's why

it's pretty subtle yet. This is a stage when you begin making little changes in

yourself. You may take more time to look at what you're wearing. You may start

wearing a different cologne. You may start wanting to go to the gym to look

your very best. Often you'll buy new clothes and it's specifically in line

with when you see this person. Now, whoever your significant other is in

this stage, they may want to say something. They'll notice a little bit.

But they're afraid if they confide in

you or say something like, "Why are you always getting dressed up?" Or, "Why are you

so close to this person?" That they'll appear jealous or be accused of being

jealous, so they just assume it's nothing, This part of it gets swept under the rug,

which makes it even worse and more likely that you'll continue to go deeper

into the addiction. In stage 2, you begin boldly crossing

lines. This is where you are really starting to get committed to this person.

You may start a secret email, you'll change your number so you can text them.

You want to spend time with them, you're willing to take risks that will

jeopardize your partner in order to be with this person. This is the stage lots

of secrets happen. You begin developing a secret life. Don't forget what you're

doing physically is being orchestrated by your brain chemistry and the

addictive component of this. This is where you start feeling like this person

is essential in your life. This person becomes a major, major person in your

life. They begin having more influence over you. In stage 2, if they're upset you,

can't sleep. This is a stage where you will get up at night when everybody's

sleeping so you can go out and text, or if you're

on a vacation, you will leave your family to go and communicate with this other

person. Basically, you are having a lot more dopamine and endorphins -

that's a feel-good hormone and that's why you feel really good. But along with

that it also causes an excessive anxiety because you begin worrying what will

happen if you lose this person. It's important you remember that at this

stage, you're not worried about somebody finding you - like if your wife finds out.

What is more likely is you're worried this person will grow tired of you, so

you may not be sleeping as well. You may lose concentration; you can't focus. It's

in stage 2 also that you began separating from your spouse.

If you're actually married to someone, you may grow more hostile toward

them. Basically there's a separation now, because your brain is convincing you

that this person is your soulmate; they're the love you never knew about.

And you begin actually believing you cannot live your life without this

person. The next stage is stage 3, and stage 3 is when you're now in a pattern.

You're having active physical and emotional intimacy and sex with this

person in stage 3. Your lover's flaws begin to be more prevalent. All the lies,

all the secrets are becoming harder and harder for you to sustain. You're

starting to kind of think about this more in stage 3. You have

an increased sense of panic and loss because you're so distant from your

spouse. You're worried, "What if this doesn't work out with my lover, then I

will be alone." So the idea of withdrawal, of actually cutting the affair off, is

terrifying to you. At the end of stage 3, the majority of affairs are noticed. It's

at this point that the person has to make a big decision. If you're far enough

along that you understand this was a fantasy and that you see enough flaws

with your lover that you can actually make the break to break that affair off

to save your marriage, your marriage still has a really great chance of

making it. If you cannot, this is where the majority of marriages end. Two thirds of all

marriages where an affair is happening are salvageable.

During stage 4, you're beginning to come out of the haze of the affair. If your

spouse or significant other is still invested enough in the marriage, your

marriage can make it. However, you are still vulnerable to falling back into

this old addiction with your ex-lover, so it's important that you understand in

the stage of addiction which you have - you are in recovery. And

remember, addictions never go away. New skills are learned to manage them. Stage

four is also the time to look at whether or not your marriage can be saved.

It will mean you being vulnerable and totally honest and understanding that

you have to rebuild trust with your partner. More of the weight is on your

partner and the reason is because they have to grieve the loss of who they

thought you were. Then they have to relearn how to trust you. So going

forward - what your partner needs to fill trust with you again - it's essential that

you invest in it. Own it, and carry through with it. Affairs almost always

end. They may take months, years, but in the end only ten percent of affairs go

on to marry. If they do marry, they have a 75 to 80 percent of divorce so it's much

wiser that you get out of your addictive affair and that you work on establishing

trust and honesty within your marriage and humility. It's so important.

Remember, change your reaction change the world