I was - and still am - having an affair. I tried to break it off but failed. My primary reason for seeking counseling is to learn to deal with a breakup. I've never been able to do it. I had a terrible 7 year relationship in the past because of this. I may be married because of this. My marriage is now ending because of this. My wife still doesn't know about the affair but my feelings for her are nowhere to be found, the desire to find them is not there. I tried to split with the other woman over the period of a month but couldn't stay away. She began a relationship in that time and is now torn between the two of us but with my situation I can't ask her to commit to me. I move out next weekend. I've been telling myself (and others) that my wife and I are just so different (plus she is 11 yrs older than me) and holding each other back. I think the truth is I'm leaving her for a woman I can't have and don't even know if I really want. My emotions are intense and my judgment is clouded. How do I end an affair?" -Rick M.
I hear some positives things, despite the fact that you're having an affair, your marriage is failing, and you're moving out. It's good that you recognize the pattern of broken relationships that is partly due to your struggle with breakups. Another positive is your awareness that at the moment your emotions are very strong and your judgment is not good.
Seeing patterns we create in our lives as well as recognizing when we can't see things clearly are important pieces to our being able to discover how to change our lives. Many men who are having affairs have particular difficulty with these two. You're way ahead of where many people are at when they first come into counseling.
I'd suggest that rather than try to push things with either your wife, or the other woman, you just let things settle down. Go ahead and move out. Give yourself some space and time to figure out what's really the best thing for you.
One thing I know from working with married men having affairs is that you're really going to have to work hard not to pursue one or both of these women. The potential loss of both of them, and realization that you could end up all alone, could propel you to pursue them when the best thing maybe just to sit still.
Men in the middle of affairs really need the professional wisdom of a counselor, who's experienced in guiding guys through these challenges. Having a trusted confidant and partner to walk along side you is invaluable. Many of the men I've worked with will tell you that it's the best investment, yes investment, you can make with your time and money.
-Kurt Smith, Marriage Counselor
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