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          Getting Past an Affair

          November 15, 2002

          If you’ve strayed from your partner — or been the other lover — you know that dealing with the emotional aftermath of an affair isn’t as easy as you may have thought.

          Feeling Guilty and Afraid

          • What is the payoff for hanging onto the guilt? Listen to the messages you tell yourself. Are they keeping you on the right path or are they keeping you from actively participating in your life? If you feel better when you are punished, punishment has become a reward.
          • Do you pull back from hope and optimism? Do you secretly believe, “If I get too happy, something bad is going to happen to me or my family”? You aren’t protecting anyone by withholding who you are. Get back in the game and contribute rather than hide.
          • What kind of partner/parent do you think you are? The people around you who get less than all of you are painfully aware of how much guilt you feel. You’re cheating your partner, your kids, your friends, your church … and most of all yourself.
          • If you knew then what you know now, would you do it again? Sometimes you have to make the right decision; sometimes you have to make the decision right.
          • Forgive yourself for hurting people. There is no lightning bolt of forgiveness. It’s a choice you make to use the lessons you’ve learned in a positive way.

          Trusting a New Relationship

          • Are you trustworthy? If you want a good partner, be a good partner.
          • Are you afraid the saying, “If they did it with you, they’ll do it to you” is true? You can’t control your partner’s behavior. If this relationship is going to work, you are going to have to own your own behavior.
          • Stop being manipulative. Search your character and decide what you have to do to not be vengeful.
          • Control your impulses. Realize that you don’t have the right to hurt other people’s lives because you aren’t getting what you want when you want it.
          • Work out problems in your relationship within your relationship. You absolutely cannot fix a problem inside a relationship by turning outward.
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