Yes, having an affair is exciting. It can be life-affirming, deeply satisfying, comforting and energizing. But every day you’re having an affair, you’re also digging a deep, wide and piranha-infested moat around yourself.
This is exactly what happened to me when I was having my affairs. One day, the loneliness of having an affair hit me like a Mack truck.
The loneliness of having an affair
Here’s how it happens.
Lying is isolating
Lying is a condition of life.
Studies have shown that most people lie once or twice a day. Those lies are typically along the lines of “These chocolate chip cookies are delicious!” or “Sorry I’m late – I couldn’t find my car keys.”
The big lies, though, are saved for the people closest to us – our partners and friends.
When you’re lying about where you’re going, why you’re going to be home late, what that credit card charge is for, who you had lunch with, etc., you are lying to your support network.
These are the people you confide in and celebrate. You offer and accept each other’s advice. You move mountains for each other.
But now you can’t. Now you’re creating distance with each lie you tell.
As the lies begin to stack up, the closeness and trust evaporate while the truth threatens to suffocate you.
Living a double life is exhausting
Keeping your real life and your affair separate are exhausting. You have to be vigilant to ensure the two parts of your life don’t collide.
When I was having my first affair, I was always on high-alert. If I wasn’t checking a secret email address for the latest love note, I was thinking of where we could meet and not be noticed.
Sometimes we really raised the stakes. He’d come to my house in the middle of the day, or I’d go to his when his wife was out of town. All the while, we were covering our tracks and lying to everyone.
The second affair was much more intense. Video calls lasted three or four hours almost every work day (we both worked from home). Then I’d have to work nights and weekends to catch up.
Emailing, texting and IM’ing all day every day. Planning business trips. Not sleeping from the stress.
It was a constant adrenaline rush. The rush of doing something forbidden, the rush of getting away with it, and the rush of having so much fun …. I nearly had a nervous breakdown.
Talking to … anyone … is risky
If you’re lucky, one or two friends will swim across your moat and stick by your side. But even confiding in them is risky.
What if they have a little too much to drink one night and they let something slip? What if they can’t carry the burden anymore? What if you get in a huge argument and they spill the beans?
Your therapist is the only person who will keep their lips zipped. But that’s your therapist. It’s a professional relationship.
The inability to freely talk about this big thing happening in your life is awful. Just like outright lying creates distance, so does lying by omission. The longer the affair goes on, the lonelier you will become.
I don’t want anyone to be as lonely as I was, which is why I built The Shelter. This membership-based community is where people having affairs can talk freely with others. Join us.