Affairs bring a multitude of loss. What seems to be an isolated relationship with muted impact on those around you becomes a full-force terrorizing demon when revealed. All significant relationships are changed in the wake of the revelation. Nothing is the same afterwards. The changes bring feelings of death.
In his book, A Grace Disguised Gerald Sittser tells his story of coming to the 'best' way to deal with his losses (they were deaths, not affairs).
He says, "I dreamed of a setting sun. I was frantically running west, trying desperately to catch it and remain in its fiery warmth and light. But I was losing the race. The sun was beating me to the horizon and was soon gone. I suddenly found myself in the twilight. Exhausted, I stopped running and glanced with foreboding over my shoulder to the east. I saw a vast darkness closing in on me. I was terrified by that darkness. I wanted to keep running after the sun, though I knew that it was futile, for it had already proven itself faster than I was. So I lost all hope, collapsed to the ground, and fell into despair. I felt absolute terror in my soul.
A few days later I talked about the dream with a cousin of mine, who is a minister and a poet. He mentioned a poem by John Donne that turns on the point that, though east and west seem farthest removed on a map, they eventually meet on a globe. What therefore appears as opposites--east and west--in time come together, if we follow one or the other long enough and far enough. Later my sister, Diane, told me that the quickest way for anyone to reach the sun and the light of day is not to run west, chasing after the setting sun, but to head east, plunging into the darkness until one comes to the sunrise.
I discovered in that moment that I had the power to choosed the direction my life would head, even if the only choice open to me, at least initially, was either to run from the loss or to face it as best I could. Since I knew that darkness was inevitable and unavoidable, I decided from that point on to walk into the darkness rather than to try to outrun it, to let my experience of loss take me on a journey wherever it would lead, and to allow myself to be transformed by my suffering rather than to think I could somehow avoid it. I chose to turn toward the pain, however falteringly, and to yield to the loss, though I had no idea at the time what that would mean."
Although, Sittser is dealing with unexpected deaths these words still apply to dealing with affairs. Ones world is forever changed. The best way to deal with it for the marriage to have the best chance of surviving
is to turn towards the pain and walk into it as Sittser did. Healing comes with facing the truth, grieving the losses, and honoring a vow to be courageously honest regardless of the cost.