December 11, 2013

Ask Licia: Adultery, Adrenaline & Going AWOL.

Hi Licia,

My issue is one of resilience.

I committed one of the top 10 mistakes (I’m pretty sure it was #5 on the list)—I got involved with a married man. It was passionate, intimate and stressful.

And then it ended and it was one of the most painful things I have ever experienced.

It brought out feelings of guilt, sadness, anger, frustration, etc. Some of the most painful realizations are that I felt I had to compete for love—and I lost—and we both held on too long which created suffering and pain that was unbearable at times.

At the end of it all, I got a huge gift basket of things to work on and I’ve been working to do just that.

I’m doing really well. All of that pain really pushed me forward. I am also working to sever my attachment to him. I know I can’t make him do that for me but I can move forward and let go of him in kindness. I work really hard to avoid him and cut off contact but its not 100%. It is difficult to watch him suffer but he’s a big boy and he made his choice. I miss him but I don’t miss all that complexity—or do I?

I feel now like I’m attached to the misery. Does it feel romantic?

I love that I was inspired to change by the experience and I changed a lot. I love him but I feel confident that I can let him go. I think I may be attached to that pain. Maybe I identify with it somehow. I think I may be a little bored by the loss of it. I definitely don’t want to get stuck here either. At least the last place was full of wondrous lessons, frustrated love notes from him and a troubled feeling of love.

What’s going on? Why would I choose to attach myself or identify with pain? What can I do to move out of this new place quickly?




Dear Peg,

Thank you for your question.

As I read through your situation I am transported to experiences that I have had in talking with friends of mine who are an Army Ranger and Navy Seal respectively. These gentleman that I know are both a part of a group of highly trained military soldiers. They are some of the most intelligent of people. Their ability to work through tactical military obstacles and come out the other side is amazing—all the while functioning in high stress predicaments that feed their adrenaline day in and day out while deployed.

Their daily life, I can only imagine, is like being living, breathing, real life Supermen.

The way they speak of their time “over there” is a passion in which any woman would hope to be spoken of. They attach themselves to the art of war and that art is their muse. Moving them through and giving them purpose and fulfillment.

The drama of deployment keeps them afloat even when they are Stateside. However, this float can only last so long. Without the drama that is deployment they must look for other ways to keep the adrenaline pumping.

The pumping continues through the capacity of their love relationships.

You see, my friends are married to the military—they are Special Forces to the core and everything else is a runner up replication to their jobs. The girls in which they choose to spend their lives replicate their military life. There is passion, sex, love, friendship, pain, desire, wanting, separation, anger and frustration.

There is a lot of drama.

In the time that I have known them this is how it has always been.

These are good girls. They are strong girls. I am sure they know what they are signing up for when they get into the relationship and they do it anyway because they, too, love adrenaline and drama and passion and secrets. They, too, are good at tactical maneuvers and nuancing stressful situations to win a war.  In fact , I am sure they may have also been elite in their ranks had they signed on to serve their country.

Peg, I tell you about these friends of mine, not because I think you are in the military and can relate in that way, but because I think you are addicted to the adrenaline of this affair. Just as my friends and their girlfriends have maneuvered and planned and waged battle, you do too as does the man in which you are involved.

It feeds you (both) in a way that gives you purpose which is why you linger on.

I see the strides made to move away from the situation and how you are working towards next steps, however, by keeping tethered to the relationship there is a certain sense of of pleasing action that happens for you when a call comes in, or an email arrives.

The heart starts racing and the interest is piqued. There is excitement.

So my advice to you is this: If you really want to move away from all of this—cut him off completely. Like a drug, you will continue to go back for a hit time and time again if you don’t. You have already done a great job of acknowledging what you have learned from your experience—pat yourself on the back and move away.

When you keep the lines of communication open and make yourself available (even if only minutely) there is always going to be a sense of secrets, drama, tactical action. There will always be the “what if” and “when” in the back of your mind.

As to the movement out of this place—quick and silent into the night, I say.

Grab your energetic things and go.

As you leave, turn out the light before closing the door—there is nothing left to see or do here.

Your mission is complete.




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Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: elephant archives





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