The Three Symptoms of Affair Withdrawal


When you end the affair, you might get a feeling of withdrawal. Being in an affair is a lot like being addicted to a drug. This means that when you end the affair you will have to go through the uncomfortable experience of withdrawal before you can be clean again.

There are three major emotional symptoms of affair withdrawal: anger, anxiety, and depression. Why you might have these emotions should be fairly self-explanatory at this point.

You can expect to have intense withdrawal symptoms for about three weeks. You may continue to feel some symptoms for up to six months, but they should gradually diminish in intensity and frequency over this time period.

During this time, you are in a vulnerable position. Like an addict, you might be tempted to use your favorite drug again. You might be tempted to contact your lover again to help calm the force of your withdrawal symptoms.

Doing so is a little bit like a heroin addict in recovery who says they are just going to do a little hit to make the pain go away. This is clearly a terrible idea. If you do this, it is likely you will be tempted to start using again, end up back in the affair, and undo all the difficult work you have done up to this point.

Do not, I repeat, do not attempt to contact your lover. This will destroy your relationship.

Instead, reinvest in repairing your relationship. This is liable to be difficult as well, particularly if you have just informed your partner about the affair. If you are talking to your partner at all, it is likely that your communication is negative and difficult. It is unlikely that you will be getting a great deal of positive feedback from your partner at this point and this is bound to make you feel emotionally disconnected. This could worsen your withdrawal symptoms.

If you feel that you have had your needs met in this affair in a way that they haven’t been met in your relationship, there is going to be a time when you need to address those problems with your partner. That time isn’t now. I say this here to help you have hope that you can get what you need out of your relationship and not feel compelled to continue going outside it to fulfill those needs.

“…your book describes exactly what should be done.”
“I think you hit the nail on the head when you said to sort through your emotions instead of asking questions about the affair. I think people don’t know what to do when they are so numb from finding out, but your book describes exactly what should be done.”

Remember that you are going through this painful time for a reason: you want to heal your relationship. You can look at this difficult period as a necessary step to straightening out the mess you have made of your relationship. Like an addict, there may be a period of time in which you suffer. Going through that is the first step to putting your life back on the right course.

Keep in mind that when you maintain the course of recovery through this rough period, the reward is a relationship that is better than you ever dreamed. Use the strategies you have learned up to this point to overcome your negative feelings, and hang tight in your determination to rebuild your relationship. Your efforts will pay off.

None of this will be easy. You will likely face quite a lot of emotional difficulty when you end the affair. Nonetheless, it is necessary to face this pain in order to restore your relationship.

Dr. Frank Gunzburg is a licensed marriage counselor in Maryland and has been specializing is helping couples restore their marriage for over 30 years. He is also the author of How to Survive an Affair, a step-by-step healing system that can help a couple repair their relationship after it has been survive an affairshattered from an affair.

If your relationship has been damaged by an affair and you would like a step-by-step system for repairing your relationship, then please visit Dr. Gunzburg’s site for more information:

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  1. Diane says

    Yes there are two sides to every story. If the needs of one partner are not being met by the other partner,then they have an obligation to speak up and make the other partner aware that there is a problem and try to work on it together. I think that the majority of the time the other partner isn’t even aware that a problem exists. And they are blind-sided by the affair. The cheating partner had a choice before he/she cheated. To shed light on the problems in the relationship and try to fix them. If the problems can’t be fixed, then the choice is to either stay in the relationship or end it. Cheating should not be an option. If you are so unhappy and unfulfilled in the relationship then have the guts to say so before you cheat!

  2. Lyn says

    It is always so much easier to see the situation from the damaged party’s point of view and give sympathy to their situation as their plight and betrayal is obvious, their hurt is undeniable and often their hate is incontravertible. However, a loving relationship that has broken down because one or both partners aren’t being ‘loved’ or ‘accepted’ or ‘satisfied’ or ‘appreciated’, etc. has two parties that are hurting. Yes, one has sought to find an alternative way of gaining whatever they were missing. For the cheating partner to give up whatever they were getting from the affair has implication for the ‘innocent’ partner. Can they (in the long term) put into the relationship the things that their partner had the affair for in the first place. In giving up the affair and attempting to put things back together there is a deserved level of sympathy which will be very hard for the injured partner to accept. Certainly the majority of understanding and sympathy will go to the betrayed partner but that partner is not without responsibility themself. Whether they witheld what their partner needed or wanted or simply did not know what their partners needed or wanted in the first place makes both partners responsible (only one may be to blame) in some way for the affair. There are always two side to any story and if you can’t see the other side of the story then it is unlikely there is anyway forward for the relationship. I suggest that people who have been hurt but don’t take any responsibility for what went wrong should not read information that supports the guilty party, as they will not accept that there may well have been something that they did or more to the point didn’t do that led their partners to ‘stray’ in the first place.

  3. Lols says

    This is disgusting that there is even any sort of sympathy for the people who have hurt their partners. I am currently trying to get over the affair my boyfriend had an I think it’s awful that websites make out that people must be feeling so bad from ‘affair withdrawals’. do you know how to overcome that….BE FAITHFUL IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s not that difficult to respect and not want to hurt someone you love. Anyone who says otherwise doesn’t deserve to be trusted or to have a loving relationship

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