Linda’s post from yesterday was by coincidence quite timely. I received an email yesterday from a former co-worker that the once-manager of our office was moving out of town, and that they were going to have a going away party for him. Though I’ve known this person for probably 15 years and I like and respect him, I didn’t hesitate to decline the invitation. The main reason was that it was highly likely that Tanya would also be there.
When I told Linda about this, she immediately felt a lump in her stomach. The thought of me possibly running into Tanya quite frankly scares the crap out of her. She feels that as soon as I see Tanya that I will instantly relapse back into the emotional affair.
Since yesterday, I’ve thought for a bit about just why I don’t want to run into Tanya. Is it because I’m like a heroin addict or alcoholic where just one injection or drink sends be back into the depths of addictive dependency? Linda of course thought it was because I was afraid to for that very reason. I came to the conclusion that the answer is NO.
Though I have no doubt that I could go to this function and converse with Tanya and leave feeling the same way I do now, I don’t want to put Linda through the pain and agony of wondering whether or not all the thoughts, feelings and emotions about Tanya will come rushing back. She already lives with that fear on a daily basis.
I understand this, I really do. I betrayed her and shattered the trust in our marriage, and she is now guarded, thinking that if an emotional affair happened once, it could happen again, and she can’t go through the hurt and pain again. Who can blame her?
It’s a fear that is one of the biggest obstacles that we have left to maneuver. I feel terrible that she feels that way, but no matter how much I reassure her that she has nothing to fear, or how much I prove to her on a daily basis that I am in love with her, the possibility of starting up the emotional affair again scares her.
I thought also about what if I did go. I honestly think that it would be extremely awkward seeing and talking to her again after all this time. I look at Tanya differently now, as the fantasy has been over and the affair fog has lifted for quite some time – much like how Linda described her feelings towards her old high school flame. I was in love with a feeling – not the person. It’s the same feeling, but with more strength and meaning, that I have again for Linda.
I know that it is easy for me to say this, and I said this to Linda last night…but there has to come a time where the past needs to be let go. I’m not saying she has to forget it. But accept it and not dwell in it. We use the past to learn from our mistakes and understand our failures so as to not repeat them again. We must turn our energies into working at and creating a marriage and life together that is strong now and in the future. We need to look towards the future with anticipation of the possibilities, setting and reaching goals, having fun, enjoying each other, and helping others who are trying to overcome infidelity.
In “How to Survive an Affair,” Dr. Gunzburg says: “Accepting does not mean that you agree with the affair in any way. It does not mean that you just lie down and let your partner walk all over you. It does not mean that you give up and let your needs go unmet.
Rather, accepting that the affair happened is about making a positive move toward a fruitful future. It is about letting go of the affair so that you can move forward. Instead of getting buried by dwelling on the past, you have the power and the choice to make a step and move forward. You can accept the past as a means of learning how to make a better future with your partner.”
Many of you may not agree with that, or are not to the point after the affair where you can do it, and I wouldn’t have said that 2 years ago, but it’s how I feel we need to approach things now so that we can completely overcome my emotional affair and move onward to a great marriage.