This is part two, that was drawn from the same forum discussion I had with people who kept asking questions, and I kept answering them. As I said in Part One, some things never change, and the information provided here in this two-part Q&A session has not changed. I have edited for flow, continuity, and for better understanding of the subject matter.
Is it true that the midlife spouse will start to look at the affair partner the way they looked at the left behind spouse prior to the emotional bomb drop. I’ve heard that the affair partner will also be demonized with the projections once they are the focus and not the left behind spouse. Do you know if this is true?
Considering the affair itself is an exact “mirroring” of one person to the other, and “likes attract”, which is the opposite of what is “normal” that is bound to happen in most breakdowns that occur within the area of the midlife affair. As the midlife spouse has become different (or the opposite of what they were), they choose someone most “like” themselves in these areas.
As the affair breaks down, the midlife spouse, for the first time, sees themselves clearly “mirrored” within the affair partner, but, they still can’t look at themselves directly, nor within. At that point, the affair partner can be viewed as the one who “dragged” the midlife spouse into this.
Instead of taking equal shared responsibility, because the midlife spouse still wishes to be seen as the “good” person, every bad thing that exists within the midlife spouse is “projected” upon the affair partner, if only to make themselves feel better for a short time. It is also done in this way to make the midlife spouse look good, the affair partner look “bad” to try and “minimize” their own part in this.
The midlife spouse who does this is still trying to escape responsibility for their part in the affair when they demonize and project the affair partner, with all of their weaknesses, shortcomings and failings.
Some will also go the route of demonizing the affair partner with projections because they really can’t stand themselves, and the reality of what they’ve done hits them hard; this is actually the BEST option that can happen within the midlife spouse, although, it still won’t change what’s done. While it certainly doesn’t help to blame the affair partner with all of the responsibility for what has happened, or what is happening, this can happen to help the midlife spouse gain the necessary strength to end the affair–once the affair partner in question shows their “true colors” and the left behind spouse begins the show as the better option.
On the other hand, the midlife spouse may not say anything at all, at least, not to the left behind spouse, but you can be assured emotional detachment very similar to what happened with the left behind spouse goes into process as the affair is breaking down. The affair partner does not help matters as they do and say all the wrong things to try and “keep” the midlife spouse in question, which can help to speed up the breakdown.
In addition, bear in mind the midlife spouse, again, must be emotionally ready to end the illicit relationship because the affair is only a symptom of deeper issues, not the root cause. Most of the time, there are various issues within the midlife spouse that “fuel” the affair–once these are faced, and settled within the midlife spouse, the affair partner is no longer “needed” in that aspect.
When they try to take the ‘easy’ way out to keep the drama down, it never comes out quite the way the midlife spouse would want it to. There are serious consequences for affairs; and part of these consequences is the mess involved in getting rid of the affair partner, and this is never easy, nor should it be.
The total drama that results is one aspect designed to teach the midlife spouse a very hard lesson so this mistake does not repeat itself again, ever. It is not enough to just exit the affair; there must be an incentive given, and lesson learned and driven home, that is not easily forgotten–at least not for some time.
Once the “fault” within is processed, and the issue/issues finished, learned from, settled, etc., this event will be among many forgotten after the crisis is done. If anything were remembered beyond a small fact or two, something would be wrong. As long as memory remains, something “leftover” still needs to be processed, settled, and eventually healed.
Rest assured, God does not “overlook” any of these things, and the consequences can be devastating in many ways for the midlife spouse.
Do you think the affair partner ever heals from their own brokenness?
This is the shortest answer I’ve probably ever given in my life as an advisor; but the short of it is, based on what you already know thus far in regards to the crisis/issues/emotional problems within various people; if you really think about it, you already know the answer to this question; why ask me?
I will give you a hint disguised as a question: Who is the only one who can fix a person going through various issues/crisis/emotional problems, etc.?
The answer is this: It is up to them, and no one else, because it is up to individuals to figure out, face, and “fix” themselves. If they are willing to do that, and do the work within, they will eventually heal their own brokenness, but they have to want to. If they do not want to and do not do the work within, they never will. They will spend their whole time cycling in and out; making the same mistakes every time– the only difference will be the partner they make these with.
That is something no one but God and themselves have any control over. People can influence and advise; but no one has the power to fix an individual person from the outside. Again, each person must learn to fix themselves from the inside. If they will ask the Lord to help them, He will assist, but not do it for them. God truly does help those who help themselves.
HB, I think I would add that the affair partner is not likely to heal themselves while still in the affair, or even if the affair turns into a marriage after the midlife spouse gets a divorce.
You are absolutely correct. I had covered this before somewhere else; treating this particular subject as a whole other kind of aspect; and it is a possibility of its own within the crisis where the midlife spouse goes on to marry their affair.
Nevertheless, whether the midlife spouse marries their affair partner, or not, both people will STILL be charged with the task of having to face the aspect of healing themselves or NOT. Sadly, the midlife spouse stands a better chance than the affair partner of getting this done; simply because the left behind spouse is the stanchion, whereas the affair partner usually has no one to really help them. However, if they do have help of any kind; they’re either too weak or too stubborn to utilize what’s at hand. Consider this, as well:
New relationships do NOT fix “old” problems.
In fact, I had also posted before on a couple I have been observing for a long time. The midlife spouse went on and married his affair partner. While he is trying to move forward, his current wife is sabotaging him in every way she can. Their marriage is more like a teenage romance, than a marriage. It gets interesting, right down to mode of dress for both of them. Both are still deep in replay, even after 10 years of being married. They are still together; but their lives are strange. There is constant fighting, so you know they are both miserable with each other; but they so far, they do not have any signs of going into marital breakup.
Incidentally, the affair partner the midlife spouse gets involved with was not what I was focused on while explaining the dynamics of the affair. I was just explaining the affair partner in general, how this relates to the midlife affair, the midlife spouse issues, the affair partner and the midlife spouse in the aspects of issues/emotional damage are so much alike in so many various ways.