The Ask Affaircare Series started because our readers have questions. About Affairs. Reconciling. Marriage. Divorce. Christianity. The Bible. And God. Initially, we tried to answer each question through e-mail, but we quickly realized that there were many people asking many similar questions, so we started this weekly series!
It’s not our goal to make you agree with us, but rather to explore what the Bible says in thoughtful, and clear manner. Additionally, we try to write our answers in a loving but truthful manner (Ephesians 4:15) because we know there is a real person – with real struggles and dreams – behind every single question. Thank for you visiting Affaircare. Keep those questions coming!
Our question today comes from a Disloyal Spouse who just can not break it off with the Other Person. He writes:
Hi, I just found your site tonight and I’m really struggling. I’m the disloyal spouse and I’m still in phone contact with the OP which is my ex fiancée. My spouse knows about my affair, which lasted years. I’m still very much in love with my ex, although I’ve tried to not be. I can’t let the ex go, I’ve tried and tried over 18 yrs. I keep flip flipping back between the both of them. I have left my spouse a couple of times for my ex. I am now back in the marital home since March 2014 after moving out and into my ex ‘ s place for 2 months. My heart is with my ex, and I have a hard time being intimate with my spouse, to the point of hardly ever. I’m very depressed over what this situation has become. Don’t know what to do anymore.
Unhappy in life
Dear Unhappy in life,
Actually, yes, you do know what to do. The problem is that you don’t want to! You write that you are depressed over what this situation has become, and that is quite understandable – and something you can easily overcome. But I have to make a couple of things clear. At Affaircare, we approach reality from a Christian viewpoint, which means that we understand very clearly what is right and what is wrong in this type of situation. We know the solution, and, we know that the solution is both possible and also fulfilling. This means that what we expect you to do is specific and clearly laid out by God in Scripture. Moreover, your depression is self-inflicted and as such, your choices will determine whether you continue in depression or move out of it.
The first thing I’d like to point out is that you are not acting like a man (you aren’t acting like a woman either, so do not misinterpret what I’m saying.) There is an old saying: “A man is as good as his word.” In biblical terms, this is found in Deut. 23:23 “…You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth…” You are only as dependable, credible, trustworthy, and respectable as your ability and desire to keep your promises, and this is something that God promises He will help His children fulfill.
In this instance, you have made a promise to your wife, and you have backed out on your promise. You have not kept your word. You are a liar. You are sinning. Of course, the idea of sin will only bother a Christian, but the rest of this appeals to nearly all walks of life. No wonder you are depressed – you know deep inside that you are a liar, untrustworthy, lack credibility, and respectability. If you didn’t feel depressed, there would be something really wrong with you!
Interestingly, feeling depressed because you realize all of these things is a good sign: your conscience is working and you know the correct path to take. You can overcome this. The fact that it bothers you is actually a good thing!
But there is more. You write that your “…heart is with my ex…”, that you are “…still very much in love with my ex…” although “…I’ve tried to not be…” Again, it’s understandable why you would feel depressed, and let me say that there is a solution to this. Keep in mind that what you are talking about is NOT love! It is familiarity, lust, admiration, affection, and any number of other emotional states. You have chosen – even if not with explicit intention – to feel these things about a person from your past, rather than giving them to your wife. In this, you are cheating. You are not giving 100% of your loyalty and affection to the person you promised to give these things.
Love is none of the above. It is an action. It is how you treat others. You promised to love your wife – that is, to treat her in a way that is best for her – and yet the only person you are really loving right now is yourself: you are chasing after what you have determined is best for you. And you’ve shown how bad you are at even that simple activity – you feel depressed because it isn’t working!
On top of this, there is a strong possibility that you enjoy the lure of forbidden activities. That is, you get a thrill out of cheating, out of the actual sin. Adam and Eve were tempted in the same way – and gave in the same as you. Its a very human characteristic. The one thing they were forbidden – that was the one thing they wanted most – because it was forbidden. That is fallen human nature at its strongest.
So you have chosen to give into temptation for the sake of fulfilling what makes you feel good. And this calls up the first point we brought up: a man is only as good as his word. No one says it is easy to do the right thing. Sometimes it is hard. But a real man will do what it takes, because it is the right thing to do, even if it is painful or difficult. What you have chosen, instead, is to worship your pleasure. You do what it takes to feel good – and, ironically, you find that it fails at every turn. What a surprise! You feel depressed!
Yes, you know what to do. You have three choices:
1) Stay the course, keep doing what you are doing, and quit complaining about feeling depressed. That’s the consequence of the choice you made, and no one is interested in your self pity.
2) Divorce your wife, and run to your lover. It’s almost a forgone conclusion that this will end up in failure, but this would at least free your wife from the anguish of being chained to a dishonest, cheating, self-centered fool who refuses to act with love toward her.
3) Drop your ex, turn to your spouse for forgiveness, do the right thing, and take the consequences, however painful they may be in the near future, knowing that as a real man, you are taking steps to build credibility, trustworthiness, and respecatbility. And, if you are a Christian, know that God has promised (and cannot fail) to pull you through and bless your choice. Your depression will end, and you will find life much more satisfying – once you have done the hard work
David at Affaircare