Are You Secretly Having An Affair With Food, Shopping Or Something That’s Supposed To Help Your Life?
You didn’t intend for it to happen. You didn’t mean to hurt anyone. You don’t even know how it happened. But somehow you ended up having an affair.
Strangely, it wasn’t even all that clandestine. At least not in the beginning. You were just going about your daily life, doing the things you always do. Hit the gym before work. Grab a port-a-meal so you can do some shopping on your lunch break. Stay late at the office to start a new project. Come home and do some online shopping while clearing out the leftovers in the fridge.
Having an affair is dramatic, emotionally intoxicating, fantasy-filled, risky, driven by passion and lust. Right? But you’re not feeling any of those things. You’re not even cheating. There’s no other guilty party — it’s just you.
Just you…and a bevy of escape artists cleverly disguised as good-for-you little helpers.
For people on the hurt side of marital or relational infidelity, it is often the emotional affair that stings more than the sexual cheating. Emotions run deep. They can sweep even the least vulnerable into their snare with expressions of compassion, understanding and safety. They last. And they can be all but impossible to resist.
Unless, of course, you are trying to resist them.
What do you do when feelings and emotions are just too painful to face? How do you divorce yourself from them when they are always with you, screaming for attention, unwilling to leave?
When emotions aren’t communicated, but are instead stuffed down inside, they end up finding a way to get out. They either ooze out, like ribbons of Play-Doh being squeezed out of the toy “factory,” or they explode out. Anger. Isolation. Addictions. One way or another, they escape.
But not without a good fight from you. This affair you’re having isn’t about passion, it’s about pain. It’s about throwing yourself into anything that will keep you from having to go home to what feels like a forced marriage with the Devil.
You’re not looking to rock the boat. You don’t want to hurt anyone, and you certainly don’t want to do anything “obvious.” But there is no one whom you trust enough to listen with compassion. You feel so unhappy, but don’t know why. And sadness is such a challenging emotion to express. Anger is so much easier.
But wait a minute. Didn’t you pick up a dozen donuts at the store because, by kismet, they were “right there” when you walked in? There’s nothing like a good carb-y, gluten-y donut binge to glaze over your misery. And besides, the sooner you consume them, the sooner you can get your pantry back to its nutritious profile.
Then there’s that new fashion app you’ve been meaning to load onto your phone to make shopping quick and easy. It’s almost time to rotate the clothes in your closet, and last year’s wear needs a makeover. Aww, heck, you need a makeover…
…so you book your spa day online while the rest of the world sleeps. You’ll double up on your workouts starting tomorrow — those donuts will be none the wiser.
But that’s tomorrow. Tonight, you’re still hungry.
What is all this about? Why are you secretly having an affair with food, shopping or other things that are supposed to help your life?
When you feel emotionally out of control — when your feelings have you and not vice versa — there is a pervasive sense of emptiness. You don’t feel grounded, so your emotions are all over the place. You have lost your ability to manage the relationship between your thoughts, feelings and actions.
You crave. You’re not hungry, but you crave.
And you can be filled in any number of ways — although “stuffing” your emotions usually leads to over-filling. There is binge eating. Compulsive buying disorder. Compulsive exercising. Over-working. Self-deprivation. There is no end to the ways you can stuff “fillers” into the hole caused by the deep pain you feel.
For a brief afterglow there is calm, even relief. Serotonin can douse you with a blanket of feel-good for a while, giving you a false sense of a good mood.
But then there is the let-down, even the guilt. The pounds pack on or dangerously fall off. The new clothes remain hidden and unworn, labels unremoved. Your social life is on a treadmill. You binge when no one is watching…
…which means you are alone…having an affair…with things that have no feelings. And all because your feelings are overwhelming and out of control.
It’s safe to come out of hiding. Your feelings do matter. By allowing compassionate support to go into the pain with you, you can learn how to manage your feelings in a healthy way.
We are here to provide that support. Can contact us here now.