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  • Writer's picturePaul Hopkins

Tough questions but good answers!

Q. If you think about the whole journey, what is one of your biggest regrets?

A. I could not possibly define one regret as the biggest. However there are a few regrets that stand out.

1. Damage!

Damage that I have caused to my wife. Knowing that I have taken away her trust in me, which she found so valuable in so many ways.

I was never in her eyes capable of doing such a thing. I was different! But I failed, and I am no different! That is a huge regret. Plus the fact that I never realised that was how she felt before the affair, I will never be the man that actually thought I was. That hurts and if only I realised that before the whole affair, then maybe it would have made my choices either harder to make or it may have taken away the choice that caused the damage.

2. Creating so much hurt. The people you actually affect when you have an affair is a lot more than you realise. Not just because of the affair (that is bad enough) but also all the time that is wrapped up in discussions around the affair. Friends and family can only take so much! And at some point, they will tire of your inability to listen, your constant questioning and wining. I believe there has been damage done to friends and no doubt some of them do not keep in touch as they may have branded me as a burden?

That is a shame, however I have learnt a lot and hopefully I will be there for someone in the future. That part I do not regret.

Regrets run deep and regret can sometimes be the wrong word. There are poignant moments where you are physically and mentally drained from that constant battle of addiction and inability to decipher any situation. Every minute of every day is consumed by thoughts of the affair partner.

It is strange to say that is not a regret, although some people will not be able to comprehend that I say that! Those that do not understand will throw stones and refuse to try an understand. That is fine. But let us remember no one is perfect.

The affair journey was not good. However as a learning curve it was important for me. It taught me many things:

· What love actually is

· What addiction is

· How a confused mind is a lost mind

· How consuming an affair is

· What loss feels like

· What marriage actually is

· Which aspect of life are important and which are not?

And so much more

Q. You talk about some very sensitive subjects and some of your answers may not sit comfortably with your wife. How do you feel about that?

A. I have often thought about that and I have pondered long and hard about some of the answers I give, wondering how my wife might feel about the answers. Not just the answers from this blog but also the whole description in my book.

But the truth is, I have to be honest. How can I help myself or others if the answers are just the ‘what I want to hear’ answer?

Yes, some of the topics will sting. No my wife does not want to hear certain answers, but the truth is. It happened. There were feelings, decisions were made, but now we have to live with that. We do live with that, but we live with the right frame of mind.

We could be bitter, twisted and look for every negative for years to come, but why would you do that?

We chose a path and we want that path to be a good path. We don’t hide truths or feelings we may talk about it at times but in the right way.

So in answer to your question. Yes, it can be uncomfortable at times, but the answer should be truthful.

Q. How did you get over your affair partner?

A. That is an interesting question. Because who said that I did?

A lot of affairs run their course and fizzle out. The average affair last 2 years! Can you believe that?

My affair lasted 9 months.

What does that mean? That means, that I never had a chance to get over my affair partner. Because most of my moments were high.

So for our affair to actually end, meant a lot of pain. Please do not take that out of context as my wife had been through more pain. I realise that, but I am just trying to help people understand what this looks like for someone who is going through it.

To me it was like a bereavement and to be very honest I struggled to get over that. It is now four and a half years later and there are moments that still cause a flutter.

But lets us be clear, the flutters are less often, do not last nearly as long, do not hurt as much and do not lead me away from the place I am in now.

I ask myself will it ever be forgotten and I feel that the answer to that will be no. The affair is a part of my dna now.

The truth is it was an amazingly hard up hill struggle to get over my affair partner and at times my wife and I thought we would not make it particularly in the first year. The first year was so hard for us both.

Q. What are the keys to making it through the first year?

A. Perseverance, communication, make new memories, clear the mind, do not dwell, talk to a really good counsellor (who has cognitive skills). Be determined, treat your partner like they are special, do not guilt trip yourself, Distance yourself from things that remind you of the affair, remind yourself of the lessons you have learnt, dwell on how you now understand and how that is going to make you a better person.

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