💔 We’ve all heard the stories – a seemingly happy marriage suddenly shaken by a powerful attraction to someone other than your spouse. What do you do when you’re caught in this emotional storm? Do you hide it, run away, or face it head-on? The choices are never easy, and the pain can be overwhelming for everyone involved.
🌿 The Quest for Happiness: In today’s fast-paced world, we often hear that life is too short not to pursue happiness. Following your heart might seem like the right path, but does it guarantee lasting joy? Surprisingly, research suggests otherwise. Studies show that a significant percentage of people who divorce regret their decision within a year, and new relationships formed in the wake of a divorce have a limited chance of lasting. Perhaps, following our hearts isn’t the key to happiness because emotions can be fickle, and the allure of the unknown can cloud our judgment.
🧡 The Real-Life Story: Let me share a story (identifying information has been changed) from my practice. There was once a hard-working man who found himself caught in a heart-wrenching dilemma. He had fallen in love with someone from his church group, a person who was also a close friend of his wife. The pain and chaos that followed were unbearable for both of them, as well as their family and community. His once-strong marriage seemed shattered beyond repair.
🤷♂️ Caught in Limbo: This man, torn between two worlds, couldn’t find peace. He longed for his children and his wife, but his heart was fixated on the person from his church group, someone his wife considered a dear friend. He wasn’t happy; he was miserable, betraying his conscience and those who mattered most to him. He believed that ending his marriage would end his suffering because being with this person felt like a blissful escape.
🤔 Is It Love or Something Else? I had to be truthful with him, even though it wasn’t the answer he wanted. I told him that what he was experiencing wasn’t true love, but something called “limerence.” Limerence is an overwhelming infatuation, an addiction to the thrill of a new connection. It can make you forget the reality of your current life, leading to irrational decisions.
🌈 Breaking Free from Limerence: To regain clarity, he had to break free from this addiction. That meant cutting ties. Limerence typically fades within 18 months to 3 years, but he couldn’t afford to wait that long. So, he chose to end all contact with the person from his church group, someone who had been a friend to both him and his wife. It was tough, as she didn’t make it easy, but after two challenging months, he emerged with newfound clarity.
🌟 Rekindling the Flame: His marriage transformed in ways he couldn’t have imagined. His wife’s bold move to confront the situation head-on dismantled the fantasy he’d built. The affair was out in the open, and the secrecy was gone. Everyone knew about it, and he was no longer sneaking around. He had to face the consequences, and that brought him back to reality. His wife had to begin healing the betrayal of two people – her husband and her lost friendship – as well as others who had known about the inappropriate relationship but who did not have the courage to speak truth to either this woman’s husband or her church friend.
🌹 Healing Takes Time: Despite their progress, their journey isn’t all sunshine and roses. Trust was broken, family relations strained, and healing remains a work in progress. Prevention is undoubtedly easier than the cure in such situations.
🔒 Protecting Your Marriage: The biggest fear for this couple now is how to safeguard their marriage from future threats. The answer lies in boundaries. Setting parameters to protect your marriage is essential. Close friendships with the opposite sex can sometimes lead to trouble. Be vigilant and limit emotional intimacy with others. Shirley Glass’s book, “Not Just Friends,” is an excellent resource to identify when a friendship crosses boundaries. In our sessions at Embrace, we work on protective measures as both spouses walk and secure the perimeter of their marriage.
🗣️ Speak Up: If you sense your spouse is becoming too attached to someone else, don’t hesitate to express your concerns. Request transparency and communicate openly. It may be time to make some difficult decisions, and you should be prepared for any outcome.
💪 Let Us Help: If you find yourself in a similar situation, we are here to assist you in navigating these turbulent waters. Remember, it’s possible to rebuild trust, heal wounds, and rediscover the love that brought you together in the first place. 💖
At Embrace New Life / Counseling & Wellness, we believe in the power of healing, growth, and renewed love. 🌻✨