Part of dealing with your partner’s affair is having to deal with the images that you conjure up about them and the affair partner. The images that you construct in your mind to fill in the missing 4 gazillion pieces of the jigsaw puzzle are intrusive, destructive and eat away at you. Jealousy can do that.
The anguish that this causes is real, and most who have experienced it will say that they found it incredibly difficult to function, because the images become all consuming.
So why does the faithful spouse find it so easy to obsess over something so destructive?
- Comparing themselves to the affair partner, sexually, physically, and in personality
- Uncovering if their spouse engaged in sexual acts that the faithful spouse never engaged in with the cheater
- An unhealthy way of connecting with the cheater and their affair
- Proprietary feelings towards their cheater and their cheater’s behavior
- Self-pity and wallowing in the nasty details
- Low self-esteem and self-confidence
The destruction can even extend to the faithful spouse morphing cherished memories of their own time with their spouse into images of those same scenarios being played out between the cheater and the affair partner.
Mind Movies: The Hollywood Version
The faithful partner dealing with these mind movies essentially becomes their own version of George Lucas.
They write and produce their own movies, casting Our Hero (their cheater) as the leading role, in an epic tale of true love, romance and all-consuming passion. In this play, Our Hero manages to snag someone who just so happens to be an Adam Levine or Olivia Wilde lookalike. There ensues a tale of soulmatey deep emotional connections, and steamy, mind-blowing spiritual and sexual melding, where two become one … Cue music?
Mind Movies: The Reality Version
This Hollywood creation entirely excludes reality. Like the awkward moment where he tries to unroll the condom the wrong way, or is entirely unable to open the condom wrapper without scissors.
It excludes losing an erection, premature ejaculation, and BO. It pays no homage to the other man frantically brushing his teeth wishing he hadn’t eaten that garlic bread for lunch, or the dog mocking the other woman with its howling as she moans with porn star-esque desire. It excludes menstrual cycles, stubbly bits, and discharge that really should be a cause for alarm.
This movie refuses to acknowledge the farting, belching, oozing ear wax, sweaty crotches, stains on the bedding, seedy motels, rear car seats and passers-by, or the possibility of it being quite mundane and unexceptional sexual fumblings.
Affair Partner Reality Check
The betrayed spouse often rationalizes that the cheater MUST have found someone ‘better’ than them. It invariably leads to a veritable tome detailing how the affair partner must be more attractive, more intelligent, better educated, funnier, deeper, more sexually adventurous or experienced, more caring, a better provider, a better parent, a better housekeeper, more popular etc.
Why would the faithful spouse imagine the affair partner in this way? Well, they initially can’t make sense of the cheater’s reasons for having the affair. The affair partner HAS to be better, otherwise why else would they, the faithful partner, be rejected?
It’s something that most, if not all betrayed partners reflexively feel in the early stages, and maybe for much longer. It’s partly why they need to fill in the blanks. They want to know what was so worth betraying them for.
It’s not until the anger and hatred for the affair partner sets in that they are cast as an ugly, brainwashing thief, wantonly seeking to destroy a family for their own narcisstic and sociopathic ends.
What it Means to “Affair Down”
While neither the Hollywood starlet nor the destructive psychopath are accurate depictions of the affair partner, it is worth understanding that they’re not all they’re cracked up to be either.
It is entirely common (if not typical) for a cheater to ‘affair down’. This is an expression used as shorthand to describe that the affair partner is often less attractive than the faithful spouse. It refers in part to visual attractiveness yes, but very much in terms of personal traits, education, circumstance, and even social standing.
It’s not uncommon for the genuinely handsome/pretty, well-groomed, successful, loving and intelligent spouse to be at home, while the cheater is having an affair with someone beaten with the ugly stick, who looks like they’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards with their armpit hair on fire, noisily gumming and sucking on toffees for hours while scanning the latest copy of Viz for conversation ideas.
Don’t Create the Myth
Find a ‘reality check’ snapshot of this person in your head and mentally tack it to your fridge.
Try substituting that reality into your mind movies, or even peruse a copy of Viz to find Roger Irrelevant, or San and Tray, or even Buster Gonad to find ideas for images to cast in the role of the affair partner. If you have real images to deal with, imagine awkward fumblings, hairy backs, farting, halitosis, genital zits, syphilis … whatever works!
When you can debunk the myth you created for yourself, suddenly you will understand that you are no less today than you were before you knew about the affair.
As for a movie worth watching? I’d recommend that you find some Oscar winners instead of that Rotten Tomato B-flick you’ve created for yourself for private screening.
If you’ve created them, here’s how to deal with them: Coping With Mind Movies