When Doug was going through his emotional affair, it was pretty safe to say that he wasn’t thinking logically. I often wonder how things may have been different if he had been.
I was thinking about this the other day and came up with some questions (I counted 32 of them) the cheating spouse may want to consider when involved in a marital affair.
If you are the betrayed spouse, these questions may also be a good starting point for conversation concerning the affair.
Do you really know the person you are involved with? I’m sure that you feel you know this person better than you know yourself, but you also need to consider that you are only seeing this person in a limited environment. It is easy to base your assumptions on this setting, however you also need to look at the bigger picture. You need to look at the OP’s relationships with the other people in their life. Listen to what they say about these relationships.
Is their behavior with those people consistent with the behavior you see from your affair partner? If you are seeing a positive, easy going person, are their relationships with their family and friends the same, or are they more critical?
Is there conflict? Begin to listen to what your affair partner is telling you and try to base your perceptive not only on how they are treating you but how they treat other people.
Does your affair partner bring out the best in you? Does having the affair partner in your life make you a better person?
Are you being a person who stands by their commitments to their family, work and life, or are you being selfish and only thinking about your own needs? Are you neglecting and removing yourself from your obligations?
When you look in the mirror do you like who you see?
Does you affair partner have your best interests in mind? A perfect example of this was during my brother’s marital affair. One of the most important things in my brother’s life is his children. His affair partner discouraged him to contact them and even sabotaged his relationship with them by saying things that turned my brother against them. If she really cared about him, rather than her own insecurities, she would have encouraged him to be close to his children and nurture his bond with them.
Do you trust your affair partner? Has this a person been completely honest with you? Does this person have integrity and believe in commitment? Does this person respect the boundaries of a relationship and is loyal to the people they are committed to?
Are you knowledgeable about the difference between infatuation and mature love? Have you read books, websites, and other resources that discuss the chemical reactions that exemplifies what is feels like to be infatuated compared to mature love? Do you understand that infatuation has a very short shelf life and is often called “blind love?” Are you sure you are not in this stage and are confused as to what it feels like to be in mature love?
Is your affair partner secure and confident enough to handle all the baggage and history you bring with you from your marriage? Are they able to handle being a part of a bigger family that includes your children, your ex-spouse, friends, etc.? You may leave your marriage, but these people will always be part of your life.
Do you have enough in common to sustain a relationship? I know in the beginning you focus on the few things you do have in common and try to put aside the differences. You need to ask yourself if those commonalities are a passion for both of you. Is this something you want to spend your evenings and weekends doing? Will the differences outweigh the similarities?
Are there other reasons why you are involved in a marital affair? Is there something missing in your life that could cause you to fill this void with another person? Are you only using this person as a diversion rather than focusing on the real problems that exist in your life and your relationships?
Do you want to be with this person because of the way they make you feel? Are they feeding your ego? Do you feel wanted and needed? If your spouse makes you feel this way would you want to be with them? Are you in love with the feeling rather than the person? What would happen if this person didn’t make you feel this way, would you still have those in love feelings for them?
There you have it. I hope that you can take some time to ask yourself – or your spouse – these questions (maybe not all at once!) which should help you uncover a ton of information about the marital affair, as well as about the person(s) involved.
By the way, at one point or another I have asked everyone of these questions of Doug – probably more than once!