Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Breaking Up

Ending an affair is rarely easy. It's more complicated than a normal break-up between unmarried folks who are dating because you have more to consider.  Will the other person still keep your relationship quiet if he/she is really upset? Will the other person accept that the relationship is over or will s/he stalk you for months, putting your marriage in further jeopardy? It's a minefield.

The times I have been dumped (yes, there have been a few stupid men who actually chose to dump me...hard to believe, I know) have been interesting. You may remember that P chose to just disappear and impose radio silence.  Everything was fine one day and then he was gone.  That's a coward's way out.  All he had to do was tell me he was done, but he chose to run away and hide. I can respect someone who is upfront about things, but I can't seem to work up much respect for someone who hides instead of telling the truth.  For gosh sake, since you put your cock in every possible place on my body where it will go, over a period of months, the least you can do is talk to me to tell me when you want to move on.

Another one, prior to P, told me he loved me one day, and the next he said he wanted to see other women.  What he really wanted to say was that he didn't think we were a sexual match, but he still loved me.  WTF? That was a mind fuck if I ever I saw one.

Fortunately for me, most of my affairs over the years have ended well. They either slowly faded out, which was fine because there was no emotional attachment, or we were able to speak honestly with each other and move on with nice memories. Sometimes, they never really end, and we still chat from time to time but we just don't connect for sex anymore for a variety of reasons. That's good, too.

Recently, a close friend shared his break up experience with me. I asked if I could share it with you because it is chock full of lessons about how to handle (and how not handle) a break up. He agreed, so I'm going to give you the short version of their story, and then I'll share some of my thoughts and suggestions.

(To my friend: If I get some of the details wrong, I apologize.)

So, he started seeing this woman several months ago.  They met on AM and, fortunately, they both have equal risk of exposure (both are pretty high profile in their communities; both are married, etc.).  You'll see why this matters in a moment.

The beginning of the affair was great. Great sex. Fantastic sex. They were compatible in many ways, including beyond the bedroom, and it was a very good experience. I wish I could share some of details of their sexual experiences, but I can't, so you'll have to trust me. They were hot.

They developed an emotional attachment. She was more attached than he was, but they both cared for each other.

Then summer came, and the summer months wreak havoc on schedules for families that have children. They weren't able to see each other nearly as much. In fact, they could barely see each other at all. They both became frustrated. She started getting a bit emotional about not seeing him.

He jumped on AM one day "just to look around." Why? Because that's what serial cheaters do. While he was on AM, he saw a profile that seemed oddly familiar.  Yes, it was her.  He messaged her, identifying himself, letting her know that he knew she was looking.  She gave him some lame excuse.  Whatever. Getting together was still difficult.

A few weeks later, he got itchy and went back on AM and started hunting. He messaged several women. Soon thereafter, one agreed to meet with him at a coffee shop. It turns out that the woman was her.  She had been deceiving him on AM, trying to trap him into a meeting with another woman so she could prove that he wasn't as committed as she was and so she could prove that his excuse about not having time to meet was a lie. He was busted.

Okay, I would expect that things would end now.

Not so fast.

She started sending him a series of angry emails accusing him of breaking her heart, of being deceitful, of luring her and making her fall in love with him, of toying with heart when he knew she had been hurt in the past...and on...and on...and on... Email after email. She called him names. She talked about hurting herself.

It was ugly.  Very ugly.

I'll tell you how it ends in a moment, but first I want to share some thoughts.

1. What's with the whole junior high thing about "I caught you talking to another girl?" Oh please. She knew he was a serial cheater when they met.  Did she think she would change him?  Seriously? Hahahahaha. He caught her trolling, too, but he didn't freak out.

2. Stalking is bad.  Let me repeat that.  Stalking is bad. Pretending you are someone else online for weeks for the purpose of luring a guy to a meeting and then following him there to catch him trying to meet someone is freaky and it borders on stalking.  Don't do it. If you're that upset by him trolling, walk away.

3. The hate mail thing is just dangerous. Escalating the issue to that level accelerates the infidelity version of the nuclear clock. It heightens emotion and brings both parties closer to the last thing they want - exposure. When you escalate the emotions like that, you risk that the other person will conduct a preliminary strike, exposing you before you can expose them. That didn't happen in this case, and my friend handled it very well.  He let her rant.  He did not ignore her.  His replies were brief and kind, not inflammatory. He never told her to "calm down." He didn't even start to make his case until it was clear that she had calmed down.

4. Threatening to hurt yourself because of the breakup or actually hurting yourself and telling him about it (or documenting it with photos so he can see your angst) is crazy.  I mean that literally.  It is a big red flag for a serious emotional disturbance. That is also scary. On the one hand, he probably cares about you and is really worried. On the other hand, he may think, "Shit! If she's crazy enough to do that, what else would she do?" Things have just escalated. See number 3, above.

5. You'll be tempted to go on a rant telling him how you feel and how he hurt you, but don't. It's not going to change anything. It's not going to help. Find a friend and share it with him/her.  Then refocus on your life and try to let it go.

So, how did things end with my friend?  Well, she sent an email asking to meet him the next day.

Uh oh, I thought. This could be bad.

They agreed to meet in an isolated spot (not a hotel room) so they could speak freely.

No witnesses. This is looking worse by the minute. This has all sorts of potential to go badly.

I waited through the time they were supposed to meet, hoping I would hear from him. Finally, I did.  They talked for a few minutes, and then they fooled around in her car.


So, it was a break up that ended up not being a break up, or maybe postponing the real break up.  No one knows. She's lucky that I am not my friend because that kind of drama is not okay in my book.  We have too much to deal with in life as it is, don't we?

If you want to break up with an affair partner, remember these guidelines: Be direct.  Be kind. Be honest. Be brief. Here are a couple of examples:

"These past few months have been great, but I've decided that I need to stop fooling around and refocus on my family.  I'm so grateful for you and the time we've had together, and I'll always think of you fondly."


"These last few months (or weeks) have been awesome, and I've enjoyed so much about our time together, but I feel the need to move on now. Thank you so much for all you've done and been for me."

You can vary it, but you get my drift.

The less emotionally entangled the two of you become, the easier the break up will be. The more emotional entangled either of you is, the more difficult it will be.  Keep that in mind as things are moving along.

Stephen Covey said "Begin with the end in mind." I don't think I'd go that far, but it will behoove you to keep one eye on the exit if your affair lasts more than a month.

Now that I've said that, I can admit that I am completely unprepared for the end of things with JJ. However, for those of you wondering if I wrote this post because things with JJ have turned bad, you can relax. All is well.  We finally talked and all is good. In fact, I hope to see him this week. Reconnecting after a significant amount of time apart should be very, very sweet.

Besides, don't you know that JJ Loves Kat?  ;-)


Luna Moon said...

I had an affair breakup that ended frighteningly bad. Although I *thought* I had let him down gently (I had, I really had!), he simply couldn't accept it. He emailed my husband and adult son with an incredibly long and inflammatory missive that undoubtedly would have ended my marriage had my son not intercepted my husband's email and deleted it.

All he had to do was google their names in order to get their email addresses.

When you become so intimate and share so many details with someone, you have to keep in mind that you're setting yourself up for a possible disaster. This is the risk we prowlers take.

Mrs. M said...

Hi! I just found your blog and I love this post! I am currently involved with a married man (his wife has no idea), but I am in an open marriage. My husband knows and supports.

Things are weird for us right now (not sure why) and while I don't think things will be ending right this second I do see the end in sight.

These general rules when having affair, are ones that I follow often. I do NOT want to disrespect someone's life, or make them think that I will let their cat out of the bag.

It would nice if all people could treat others with such respect.

Thanks for sharing this!

Kat said...

Luna- That's a horror story if ever I heard one. Eek! Thank God it worked out ok and that your son intercepted the email. I'm wondering, though, about how you addressed the issue with your son. Would you mind sharing that?

Mrs. M - I'm with you. If people would just treat each other with respect, we wouldn't have to worry about this sort of stuff.