“Sometimes when we cheat, we’re running away from our partners. Sometimes we’re running away from ourselves and the person we’ve become.” Esther Perel
Some affairs lead to lasting love; most affairs don’t. You’ve probably read lots of reasons why, but here’s one reason why most affairs don’t last that you may not have considered.
The struggles inside our marriages have been there for awhile, worsening over time.
But our desires continue to be present.
Oh, we’ve tried to push those desires away to make this marriage work, but the longing for more is ever-present:
More connection to the person we promised to love so long ago.
And more desperation.
All the negative emotion we’re feeling represents the gap between what our hearts’ desire and our current experience in our marriages. And the wider the gap, the more hopeless we feel.
- We’re feeling lost and alone.
- Sad and confused.
- Even a little angry and resentful.
It is in those lowest moments where affairs often begin to form.
And who we meet inside of that affair is oftentimes another broken version of ourselves – the very person we’re attempting to run away from. We think we’re running from our spouses and into the arms of the answer to our prayers.
But that’s typically not the case. Here’s why:
We attract to us that which we are.
- Someone who is emotionally healthy will attract to them the people and experiences that reinforce that emotional health.
- Someone who is not in a healthy place emotionally and mentally (literally at our lowest and most confused) will only attract others that are also unhealthy emotionally and mentally.
The person who will willingly enter into an affair with someone who is married is likely just as lost and confused as the person who is having the affair.
And this will feel like home because it fills the gap.
You’ll understand one another deeply because you’re both hurting deeply.
It will feel like two puzzle pieces that fit together so effortlessly.
But what we have likely found is essentially the same version of ourselves.
The version of self that is at her lowest, most confused and most hopeless.
The version of self that is running, distracting, doing anything she can to avoid looking at her marriage and making difficult decisions.
The version of self that has forgotten how powerful she truly is.
If this resonates with you at all (or even if it simply scares the shit out of you), stop and ask yourself if you’re running from your partner or if you’re attempting to escape the empty and distant face staring back at you in the mirror. And if it’s the latter, let’s talk about how to bring her back to life.