Midlife affairs are common. Roughly forty percent of my midlife crisis cases are about working through the repercussions of a midlife affair. Just the fear of an affair can ironically destroy a relationship. Even worse most people aren’t prepared to deal with the aftermath of an affair. The turmoil of emotions between you and your partner creates a blizzard of conflicting problems. Let’s go through and help you pull together some answers for your most challenging moment ahead of you now.
Affairs have two sides, The person in the affair and the partner. This article is written to help the partner. If you are within an affair then start with this article: I’m in an affair. Be careful how you approach your partner, you are each in a very different state of mind. It’s all too easy to push too hard at a moment when your relationship is most fragile.
How Long Does the Affair Last?
A midlife affair typically lasts between 3 months to two years. Here are the numbers I see from my personal experience in helping people
- Roughly 1/3rd of these affairs tend to be short term. A moment of weakness which I use to help two people learn and repair their lives.
- Another third will be more intense but still, burn out roughly around 7 to 9 months of time.
- I find that 90% of midlife affairs will fail over two years time.
How Should I Approach the Affair?
You should first pause.
Often directly confronting the affair will do the exact opposite of your intentions and cause more problems. A midlife affair might seem to be the main problem for you to solve in a relationship breakdown. Ironically an affair is the symptom of deeper problems within a marriage. If you take a step back to focus on problems that led to the affair, it becomes possible to work in a nonconfrontational manner which has a better chance of repairing your relationship. When working with a person, I first address any issues of pain, emotional turmoil, and broken communication structures. Often just a fear of an affair causes overreaction and overly aggressive repair attempts. A light approach is most successful in dealing with affairs.
The second step is to avoid bad advice.
When you ask friends for advice, the advice you will get is what they would do in this situation. The biggest problem is that they’re not you and are in a different state of mind. Most advice from other people will not fit your timing nor situation and will cause more problems for you.
Even worse, most of the cultural common sense advice you have been taught in life is wrong (too confrontational, judgmental and not flexible) and creates more conflict. The average person isn’t prepared for dealing with being cheated upon by their partner.
Don’t underestimate the finesse you will need to approach this time. The fact is, once you are reading this, it means you have entered a difficult situation, with many consequences that will affect the rest of your life.
The third step is to get some experienced help.
It takes skill, deep patience and kindness to work thru the complexities of a midlife affair gracefully. Since you will likely be in deep emotional turmoil, finesse will be hard to achieve on your own. As a result, an experienced guide is often the advocate you will need to help you navigate the, all too often, counter-intuitive choices required to move through the overall process ahead of you.
The fourth step is understanding that timing is everything.
Timing is everything when working out solutions. Pausing one week could save a marriage, yet for someone else, they may need to act with surety at that same moment to shift everything. Pause the wrong week, and everything is over. Force a response at the wrong moment, and everything is over.
While healing an affair is a process that takes dedication and measured responses over one to two years to fix. All it takes is one wrong statement, and everything is over with a single mistimed statement or action. When you are in the middle of emotional turmoil, it’s impossible to get the timing right. If your emotions are roiling, do your best to pause to buy yourself some time.
The fifth step, start with personal counseling rather than couple’s counseling.
Affairs come out of other problems. Be careful not to push the other person too hard in finding help, since that usually makes them run away from you faster. You can easily start with yourself. First, get help to identify where the disconnects are within your relationship. Take some time to cool down from your fears and emotions. Work on strengthening yourself, understanding your options, and establishing a strong baseline for yourself. This person will help you time your responses in handling the affair.
You can occasionally suggest other helpful resources or teachers to your partner but do so lightly. Chances are they will need a different type of teaching or assistance to help them move along. Pushing the wrong type of advice only pushes a person further away from you.
Now you are ready to tackle the affair more gracefully and directly!
Discovering an Affair
One of the worse moments in a person’s life is when you catch your husband or wife cheating on you. Most people fall back to the standard tools taught to them by society to handle the after-effects of a midlife affair: anger, judgment, hate, despair, or punishing your partner. The post affair situation commonly ends up as an emotional battlefield with no winners.
When you discover your partner’s affair, you will go through different stages of emotional grief. Part of the process is not to let these stages undermine your options. The first part of the process to create some space for yourself to process your feelings. Your partner will not be able to match to your needs at this stage.You will feel a need to reconcile with your partner. Be very careful to limit how you work with your partner at first to minimize conflict.
Becuase of the pain you feel now, the pain often pushes a person towards incriminations and regret. At first, you won’t feel hate, since you will work hard to fix problems. Pushing to fix things too soon, causes your partner to reject you more. Initially, your partner will try to minimize the problems and communication back to you. This will cause you to overreact and push harder. It’s very easy to get yourself into a negative feedback loop that destroys your relationship even more. This leads to more pain and eventually after 3 to 6 months of broken down communications hate will begin to bubble up in your gut feelings. People will initially cling to hate because at first it will negate your sad feelings or feeling powerless. However, hate only reinforces sadness over time. The more you feel hate, the more you only feel your loss. Hate allows no room for growth. In fact, hate dissolves the heart away; it eats a person away to nothing. Those resorting to hate often will fall prey to depression and slowly pull away from others.
Part of the trick is to balance out communication in a light manner. Just enough to have a dialogue but not enough to fight over. The degree of communication varies from case to case. A few couples can successfully go into a sincere and open communication process. However, most couples need to go into a lighter communication mode at first.
The moment of discovery isn’t a time to fight over right or wrong nor the affair. However, emotionally you will focus on the betrayal and affair. Realistically this becomes the time repair the friendship and improves how to relate to each other. Due to the extreme emotional turmoil, a timeout is often required between both parties is required before working on true change.
How Do I Confront My Partner?
Listen to this question: to confront is to start with conflict. Confrontation will usually stir up all the problems in play and make things worse most times. Most partners will lie or hide the problems even deeper when you confront them directly. Yes at times you do have to confront a person to start the healing process directly. However, the first part of the process is to pause and center yourself.
Prepare yourself first before any revelations or confrontations.
If you are unsure if an affair is happening, then be careful on how you confront your partner, because if you are wrong, your relationship will not recover from false accusations. Many times fear will make it look like an affair is happening. To act out of fear is to undermine and destroy your relationship.
If you have proof, but this is the first time it has happened to you, then first be proactive in improving your communication with your partner. Your gut instinct will scream to dive right into a confrontation. If you start too soon, your partner will talk around your fears, and you will be set up for a bigger fall later. Take some time to prepare and strengthen yourself, to understand all of your options. Once you start the process, it will be a long, crazy and emotional ordeal. People try to rush through and force quick fixes for the problems. As the next section will illustrate, it will be a two-year process to rebuild trust. Don’t dive into the confrontation right away, so you have some time to prepare yourself to go the full distance.
If your partner has a history of cheating, then confront them and work at solutions.
Should I Confront the Other Person in the Affair?
Never confront the person your partner is having an affair with directly. In all the years I have been helping people, I have never seen this tactic work. In fact, I can safely say that every time this happens, it always makes everything worse.
When you confront the other party of the affair
- If they say no: your partner goes to their defense, which only accelerates your breakup.
- If they say yes and leave: your partner will be devastated, then blame you and work harder at moving away from you.
- If they don’t do anything, you are then entirely screwed over by the situation. Being ignored means that everything stays the same, undercutting your power and authority. Being ignored will create frustration that will spin you around to do stupid things that make your situation worse.
- In a confrontation, you stir up everyone’s emotions even more, and everyone hardens in defensive mode which only slows down healing.
- You stir up judgment, which only forces the situation into more fights that speed up divorce.
- Ironically you break apart the trust your partner has towards you, which makes them less likely to work with you.
- You will often say and do things emotionally that can get you in trouble.
- While this feels like a position of power to confront the other person, it isn’t. Your partner has already started the process of leaving you; you will be giving your partner more energy to leave than to stay.
- You remove the option of fixing the other core problems first and instead force it to be all about the affair first. Even if your partner comes back, in a few years, they will repeat the affair and be more likely to leave the next time.
The Real Truth About a Midlife Affair
Handling midlife affairs are a delicate case by case situation. Most of the time the affair will not be resolved smoothly without outside assistance. The big challenge comes down to trust.
Here is the secret:
Midlife crisis is all about starting a new life. You and your partner are in midlife transformation. Transformation means it’s possible to start and create a fresh new trust between partners, to create a whole new relationship, since you both are in transformation!
How to Gracefully Resolve A Midlife Affair
The ideal process runs like this:
- Remove judgment. No one is guilty.
- Release the Relationship. (All relationships) (This step isn’t always possible)
- A new friendship is a baseline for a new beginning.
- Work with kindness.
- Help each other grow
- In time, if love reignites then remarry, if not then help each other move on
The hardest step is releasing relationships, and this often requires negotiation.
Is this process easy? No, it isn’t. The overwhelming response of our society is to push guilt, to force the relationship and want answers right away. Understand, a midlife transformation process takes roughly two years to grow within. It takes time to grow, find one’s nature and then create a new trust.
But to those who take the time:
Transformation literally becomes a magical process.
Your experience can be the stuff of stories everyone else reads about, and wishes would happen to them.
The only trouble is this: wishing for your story to have a happy ending is not the same as actively changing your lifestyle to create a happy ending.
To live the happy ending is a slow process requiring patience, it means making mistakes and growing from those mistakes. Feeling and lashing out in pain is not the same as working thru your process. It’s a long and hard continued effort. For most people, this will be the hardest test they ever face in their life and relationship.
Hiding from a midlife affair or truth only diminishes you.
Be Brave: so you can live your life and grow.
Right now, it won’t seem possible that the whole midlife affair can ever resolve out gracefully, but having worked with many people, all my students and clients say the same thing, they would go thru the process again: because it allowed them to live again, honestly and completely as themselves truly! In this process, I help free those involved to live in the heart, without fear or hate. The whole affair just becomes a past story to be shed as each person transforms into a newer wiser person.
Many people reading this are probably feeling shredded by the thoughts of an affair. The shredding feeling is your soul-eroding away. Stand up and live your life or watch it erode away in pain.
It’s a personal choice. Sadly most people in modern culture choose a painful path, only because they haven’t been shown this graceful path I am teaching here.
Resolving Affair Video
You can start working with me right now with this 30-minute video. Then as you need more help contact me directly so I can help you solve the harder problems as they come up for you!
Solving MidLife Affair Problems
Learn how to regain control of your life.
This video talks about:
(1) Working with trust issues that arise from a midlife crisis affair.
(2) Changing how you interact with your partner.
(3) The state of mind of you and your partner.
(4) How to regain control of your life.
(5) How long does it take to resolve everything?
(6) How to grow stronger rather than being destroyed by the midlife affair.
(7) Letting go of things said and how to listen.
(8) Dynamics of a midlife affair relationship.
(9) The real dangers of a midlife affair.
(10) How to grow from midlife mistakes.
(11) What are my next steps?
(12) How to take personal control of the situation. Turning it all around to be strong.
I have helped many people thrive in this difficult situation, but it’s a hard path.
Strangely and most sadly people often choose hate and pain as the answer to the midlife affair. Look around at how many bad divorces that happen that end up in hate, and you will know the truth of this statement. Refuse to let pain define your life. I can help you grow and thrive. But the process I teach isn’t for everyone. After helping so many people, I have developed my non-judgmental relationship process to help people through this long and challenging process of rebuilding trust.
To quote one client:
Grace and Kindness were two unfamiliar words to me before Casey came into my life. As a result of his kind and nonjudgmental teachings, my life has gone from a place of chaotic despair to a never before known place of peace and tranquility. Challenging but rewarding the way of the teaching has set me on a path to live to heart with kindness and grace.
If you are ready to step ahead and truly thrive after this midlife affair, then contact me and let’s start now.