Your Secret is Safe with Me with Dr. Marie Murphy | When Your Affair is Over, You May be Bored

183: When Your Affair is Over, You May be Bored

Mar 06, 2024

Engaging in an affair or something that counts as infidelity can feel exciting and entertaining – for a while. It can bring you immense benefits, leave you feeling fulfilled and stimulated in your day-to-day life, and everything can feel GREAT.

But over time, you may become stressed and overwhelmed by what you’re doing, and the deception can become a heavy burden that leaves you feeling exhausted. To cope with this, you put an abrupt stop to whatever you’re doing in the infidelity department because you need RELIEF. It is just so damn STRESSFUL. Can you relate?

Being done with the burden of all the stressful, exhausting, and unpleasant elements of infidelity feels truly amazing. But what happens when you start to miss the excitement of your infidelity situation?

What happens when you start to feel bored, restless, and dissatisfied with your new life? And how on earth do you deal with these feelings?

If you experience boredom after you’ve stopped engaging in infidelity, you may not know what to do with yourself, and you are NOT alone. Post-infidelity boredom is a thing, but fortunately for you, I have some recommendations to help you deal with it.

In this episode of Your Secret is Safe With Me, I share why you might find yourself feeling bored once you end your infidelity situation, some examples of what this can look like and indications that you are feeling this way, and how to examine your overall satisfaction in life as a whole before making drastic changes in your relationships.


Are you ready to resolve your infidelity situation in a way that you feel great about?  There are two ways we can work together:

Why wait any longer to find some relief and a clear path forward?  Let’s get you the guidance and support you need today!


What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How to tell if you might be subconsciously trying to stir up drama for yourself in the wake of your infidelity situation coming to an end.
  • Why you may find yourself missing your infidelity situation, even if there were elements of it that stressed you out or were deeply unpleasant.
  • The difference between being bored because you can’t physically be excited all the time and being bored because you are dissatisfied with your life in a significant and persistent way.
  • How, sometimes, infidelity serves as a great way to avoid dissatisfaction in your life and how to establish where you may need to make changes in other areas.

Listen to the Full Episode:


Featured on the Show:

Are you ready to resolve your infidelity situation in a way that you feel great about? There are two ways we can work together:

Resolving your infidelity situation may take some effort. And it is also totally do-able. Why stay stuck for any longer?  Let’s find you some relief and a clear path forward, starting today.


Hi everyone, I’m Dr. Marie Murphy.  I’m a relationship coach and if you are cheating on your partner or engaging in anything that you think counts as infidelity, I can help you deal with your feelings, clarify what you want, and make decisions about what you’re going to do.  No shame, no blame, no judgments.  A lot of the so-called advice that’s out there for people who are engaging in infidelity is little more than thinly veiled judgment, but that’s not what I provide.  I give you guidance and support that respects the fullness of your humanity and the complexity of your situation.  When you’re ready to resolve your infidelity situation in a way that’s truly right for you, I can help you do it.  There are three ways that you can have me as your coach.  You can purchase the DIY version of my program, You’re Not the Only One.  You can join the secret society/group coaching program version of You’re Not the Only One.  Or we can work together one-on-one.  All of these options are great, they’re just great in different ways, and you can learn more about each of them by going to the services page of my website,  Let’s get to work and find you some relief and a clear path forward.


If you are having an affair, or engaging in anything you think counts as infidelity, you may be getting very significant benefits from whatever it is you’re doing.  And it is fair and reasonable to really appreciate those benefits.  AND, concurrently, you may also be really stressed out about whatever you’re doing in the infidelity department.  You may really enjoy some aspects of what you’re doing, and you may also may find some elements of your situation pretty torturous.  For example, a lot of people don’t love engaging in long-term deception.  A lot of people feel like they’re living a double life when they’re engaging in long-running infidelity, and although that might have been sort of exciting at one point, after a while, many people find it exhausting.  And that’s just a short list.  People find all kinds of things challenging and unpleasant about engaging in infidelity.  If you’re in this kind of a situation yourself, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.  And what happens is, sometimes people start to feel really, really, really overwhelmed by the less-than-fun, or the less-than-enjoyable aspects of their infidelity situation.


And so sometimes, people decide to put a stop to whatever they’re doing in the infidelity department.  Because it’s just so damn stressful!  It can easily start to seem like it doesn’t really matter HOW you resolve your infidelity situation, or what choices you make about your relationships, as long as the stress associated with the infidelity comes to an end.  And of course, sometimes people get caught cheating, and that’s what prompts them to effectively stop engaging in infidelity.


No matter how or why you put a stop to whatever you’ve been doing in the infidelity department, you may feel pretty great.  Being done with all of the elements of engaging in infidelity that can be stressful and exhausting and unpleasant may feel AMAZING.


And this can be true no matter how you ended your infidelity situation, or what choices you made about your relationships, or about whatever behaviors you were engaging in.  For example, maybe you were in a committed relationship, and you were having an affair, and you ended your affair by ending your relationship with the person you were cheating on.  And now the relationship that used to be an affair relationship is still going, but it isn’t an affair anymore.  Or maybe you ended the affair relationship.  Maybe you did that, and you stayed in your relationship with the person you were cheating on.  Or maybe you ended your affair relationship and you also ended your relationship with the person you were cheating on.  Or maybe you wouldn’t characterize your infidelity situation as an affair, but whatever it was, you put an end to what you were doing that counted as infidelity, one way or another.


And upon doing any of those things, you may have felt pretty great.  You may have felt immensely relieved, or unburdened.  It may have felt like a huge weight was lifted off of your shoulders.  If you are no longer engaging in infidelity, you may have relieved yourself of certain stressors, and that may seem like a huge win.


Furthermore, if you made well-thought-out decisions about how you wanted to end your infidelity situation, you may also feel really great about the choices you made.  That’s fantastic too.  But it’s important to point out that even if you didn’t choose to end your infidelity situation for reasons you had thought through and felt amazing about, you still might feel a LOT of relief by having put an end to the stresses that can be associated with infidelity.


And the relief you feel when you don’t have to contend with any of the challenges or drama or stresses that can be associated with actively engaging in infidelity may carry you pretty far.  For days or weeks or maybe even months, you may be so glad to feel relieved and unburdened that you’re totally content with whatever decisions you made that allowed you to stop engaging in infidelity.  And enjoying that relief can be wonderful.


But there may come a point when you start to miss the excitement of your infidelity situation.  There may come a point when you feel really bored in the absence of your infidelity situation and all of the drama that came with it.  Even if there were elements of that drama that you really didn’t like while it was all going on, you still could miss it once it’s gone.  Because we may prefer feeling entertained to feeling bored.


Excruciating drama, as unpleasant as it may be, is still very exciting in a way.  It’s kind of like finding a TV show, or TV channel that you can’t stop watching, or you can’t stop coming back to.  You may not like it, exactly, but you also can’t seem to tear yourself away from it.  And metaphorically speaking, when you find the affair TV channel, or the infidelity TV channel, your brain may want to just keep on watching it!  And once we turn that channel off, our brains may be PISSED OFF at us.  Even though we were the one who had to deal with all of the drawbacks associated with our infidelity drama, we may have also been very entertained by our infidelity drama.  And once the novelty of relief and calm and a lack of drama has worn off, our brains may be like, wait a minute.  I’m bored.  I want the excitement back.  I want to turn on affair TV again!  Let’s go back to that infidelity TV channel, why don’t we. 


It's really important to know that this can happen, and that if it does happen to you, it’s not a sign that there’s anything wrong with you.  Post-infidelity boredom is definitely a thing.  Even if it’s excruciating entertainment, infidelity situations often provide a lot of entertainment.  And lot of us don’t know how to function all that well in the absence of entertainment.  A lot of us don’t know how to deal with life when nothing all that exciting seems to be happening.  A lot of us don’t have much of a relationship to contentment.  A lot of us don’t really know how to generate our own satisfaction.  A lot of us don’t know how to tolerate boredom – especially when it comes on the heels of a lot of excitement.


So if we are experiencing boredom after we’ve stopped engaging in infidelity, we may not know what to do with ourselves.  And in this state of boredom and restlessness, we may start to do all sorts of interesting things.  For instance, we may question the decisions we made about our relationships.  We may re-engage in a relationship we ended, or thought we had ended.  We might be receptive to another person’s efforts to reignite a relationship that we thought was over.  We might pursue other forms of infidelity, just to see if that helps us feel more invigorated.


And the interesting thing is, this can happen even if you are as sure as you can be that you made choices in the service of resolving your infidelity situation that you felt really good about.  AND, sometimes when post-infidelity boredom occurs, it IS an indication that you might not be all that satisfied with the choices you made.  We’ve got to be really attuned to the fact that both of these things are possible. 


Sometimes when we’re totally stressed out by our infidelity situations, we make hasty choices about how to stop engaging in infidelity because we just want to put an end to all of the stress associated with whatever we’ve been doing.  But putting an end to the stress you’re experiencing isn’t necessarily equivalent to making decisions that you truly like in the long term.  And, on the flip side of that, feeling bored after you’ve resolved your infidelity situation isn’t necessarily an indication that you don’t like the choices you made.


So what on earth are you to do with yourself if you’ve ended your infidelity situation, one way or another, and you’re finding yourself bored?  I might also say restless, or unsatisfied, or discontented.  How do you make powerful use of discretion to assess what’s going on, and what you want to do about it?


I’m going to give you some recommendations, but first, I’m going to tell you what boredom in the wake of your infidelity situation can look like.  Sometimes we act on boredom by questioning the decisions we’ve made, or second-guessing the decisions we’ve made about our relationships.  Now, sometimes it’s useful to revisit decisions we’ve made.  There is a time and place for that, and I’ll say more about that later.  But indulging in haphazardly entertaining your doubts about your decisions without thinking critically about what you want and what you’re going to do about it is RARELY a beneficial thing to do.  That said, your brain may find it VERY entertaining to do this.  So that’s one thing to look out for.  If you are indulging in doubting your decisions, that can be a manifestation of boredom.


Another possible indication that you’re feeling bored is that you’re looking for ways to engage with the person you ended a relationship with.  Let’s say you ended your relationship with your affair partner, and you told them you didn’t want to talk to them anymore.  Even if you TOLD them that, the idea of seeing them or talking to them might seem really compelling to you.  It may seem like you actually NEED to talk to them.  For example, maybe you still have some stuff of theirs.  You may start to think that you HAVE to find a way to give their stuff back to them, even though they can definitely live without the stuff of theirs that you still have, and even though the two of you said you weren’t going to connect anymore.  If you wanted to, you could make it seem like a matter of life or death that you still have half a pack of gum that was originally theirs.  If you wanted to, you could make returning that half pack of gum to them seem like a mission from god, or the gods, or the cosmos that you absolutely have to fulfil in order for all to be right and good within the universe.  Right?  I know some of you know exactly what I’m talking about. 


Or maybe you decide that you’ve had some revelations about your relationship with your former affair partner that you absolutely HAVE to share with them, even though the two of you agreed that your relationship was over.  This can seem really urgent too.  If you’ve been in the habit of sharing certain things, or certain kinds of things with another person, NOT sharing those things with them anymore can seem like a really big problem.  And the solution to that problem might seem really obvious to you!  Of course you should get in touch with your supposedly former affair partner to tell them about the insights or revelations you’ve had.  It may seem like it’s absolutely ESSENTIAL for you to do this.


Here's the thing people, it is not essential for you to give your former affair partner their half pack of gum back.  It isn’t essential for you to give them their favorite jacket back.  It isn’t essential for you give them their whatever back!  If you happen to have one of their kidneys, we might need to have a different conversation.  But you probably do not HAVE to give them back any of their stuff, and you definitely do not HAVE to share the mind-blowing insights you’ve had with them, no matter what they’re about.  But your mind may tell you otherwise!  And this can start to seem like a really dramatic situation!  You said you weren’t going to see them anymore, but you just HAVE TO – for this one last thing!  That can keep your mind busy for days.  So if you’re telling yourself you HAVE to tell your former affair partner something, or you HAVE TO give them something, consider that these may be indications that you are bored, and are looking for entertainment.


Now is it possible that you really do need to see someone you ended a relationship with?  Sure.  Let’s say you left your relationship with your spouse, and the two you have kids together.  You probably have all kinds of reasons why you need to see them, or would consciously choose to see them.  You may have business to attend to with them that could quite reasonably be considered essential, or unavoidable.  Attending to that stuff is one thing.  But it’s another thing to stalk them on social media.  Or to sign up for a bunch of dating apps just to see if they’re on them.  That kind of thing technically is not necessary.  But if your mind is trying to tell you that it actually IS necessary or essential for you to attempt to see what’s going on in your former spouse or former partner’s personal life, I urge you to consider that this is an indication that you’re trying to stir up some drama for yourself.  Which may be an indication that you’re bored, and you don’t know what to do with that.


The next possible indication that you may be bored is a tricky one.  If you’ve ended your infidelity situation, and you’ve chosen to be with one particular person in a committed relationship, but you’re finding that you are VERY interested in flirting with other people, or making out with strangers that you meet randomly, or looking for people to hook up with online, you MIGHT be bored.  These can be indications that you’re bored and looking for entertainment.  BUT, it’s also possible that you really want to be able to do whatever you want with whoever you want!  And that’s a legitimate thing to want to do! 


There may be times in life when you really want to be in a committed relationship – monogamous or otherwise - and there may be times in life when you do not want to be in any sort of committed relationship at all.  Sometimes we experience a lot of pressure to put a stop to the infidelity we’re engaging in by choosing to commit to one relationship.  And sometimes that one relationship is supposed to be monogamous.  And sometimes, choosing one monogamous relationship is a GREAT way to resolve an infidelity situation.  Depending on your situation and your preferences, that may be a great resolution for you.  But sometimes this is NOT a great resolution.  Sometimes what we really want to do is be able to date whoever we want, or do whatever we want with whoever we want, without being committed to anyone.  And if we don’t recognize that this is a legitimate option, we may force ourselves to choose to do something else.  And that may not work out too well.  So if you’re finding yourself wanting to go out and exercise a lot of options in the wake of your infidelity situation being “resolved,” I urge you to consider that this is definitely a legitimate thing to want to do, and you’re totally allowed to organize your life in the service of doing this ethically.


However, if you resolved your infidelity situation by happily committing to a monogamous relationship and now you’re totally enthralled with the idea of connecting in some exciting way with every attractive new person you meet, that COULD be a response to feeling bored.


Because here’s the deal.  ANY relationship that you commit to after ceasing to engage in infidelity may not seem a million percent exciting.  Life within an infidelity situation can be a constant soap opera.  Or a constant emotional roller coaster ride.  And life outside of infidelity can seem boring by comparison, EVEN IF IT’S REALLY PRETTY GREAT.  And it can be all too easy to pin the boredom on your relationship.


Let’s say you ended your infidelity situation by leaving a relationship you were committed to, and pursuing a relationship with the person who was your affair partner, but now is just your partner.  It’s possible that engaging with them under these new circumstances is something your brain finds less exciting than engaging with them in the context of an affair!  You may love them a lot, and really value your relationship with them… and you may just need to detox a little bit from infidelity-related excitement, and recalibrate yourself to this new way of enjoying your relationship with this person.  It is not necessarily the case that your relationship with your former affair partner who is now just your partner isn’t any good outside of the affair bubble.


Being bored in the wake of infidelity drama does not have to be a bad thing, because we CAN detox from infidelity drama.  We CAN adjust our relationship to boredom.


Let’s look at another example.  Let’s say you chose to end your infidelity situation by putting a stop to whatever you were doing in the infidelity department and recommitting to your primary partner.  Even if you made that decision for reasons that you were sure were great, it can be really easy to slip into blaming them for being their familiar old self – even if you also really love them and appreciate and enjoy them as their familiar old self.


Any relationship can seem boring in contrast to the drama of an infidelity situation.


That might sound kind of tragic, but I don’t think it has to be.  Drama is sometimes a substitute for deeper or truer forms of satisfaction.  I talked about this in different ways back in episode 37 which is called “Drama, discomfort, and infidelity” or something like that.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting some entertainment.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting some excitement in our lives.  Fair enough!  BUT.  Many folks find that entertainment is no substitute for the satisfaction that can come from deciding what’s important to us, and deciding to use our time and energy in ways we find rich and meaningful and rewarding.


So, if you find yourself bored after you have resolved your infidelity situation one way or another, the first thing I encourage you to do is consider that you may be in withdrawal from infidelity drama.  And it’s not a terrible thing if you are.  If life seems less exciting now, and you don’t like that, that’s okay.  It might not SEEM okay, but what if it actually is?  Here’s a serious question for you to consider: what if it’s okay if you’re a little bored?  What if it’s okay if life isn’t presenting you with a whole lot of entertainment right now?


Boredom, after all, is a naturally occurring human emotion.  And even though we might not like feeling it, that doesn’t mean that feeling boredom is fundamentally a problem!  We often THINK that it’s a problem to feel bored, but what if that’s exactly why we experience boredom as a problem?  What if boredom is NOT a problem?  What if it’s just an experience we’re going to have every now and then, and it doesn’t have to be a big deal at all?  I think it’s important to look at boredom from those angles.  It’s also important to consider that if excitement gets to be a Thing in your life, boredom might have to be a Thing in your life, too.  What if there’s no way to experience excitement without boredom?  What if the two define each other, or co-create each other?


I think we would all do well to seriously consider these questions, in our stimulation-rich world.  We might all want to practice getting better at tolerating boredom, or embracing boredom – at least to an extent.  Not because we want to resign ourselves to living unsatisfying lives, but because a little boredom here and there isn’t going to kill us, AND we may not like what we get if we attempt to avoid boredom at all costs.  When our objective is to avoid having to feel bored, we may make decisions that we don’t end up liking the results of.


Now, on the other hand, if your infidelity situation has been brought to a conclusion, or a seeming conclusion, and whatever initial relief you felt has worn off, and boredom has set in, and you think you are EXISTENTIALLY bored, this is important to take seriously!  I think there is a really big difference between being bored because we just can’t be excited all the time, and being bored because we are dissatisfied with our lives in a significant or persistent way.  Or a significant AND persistent way.  Sometimes, not always, but sometimes, our infidelity situations serve as great ways of avoiding dissatisfaction in our lives.  To paraphrase Steven Pressfield in The War of Art – which is a great book, by the way, I consider it one of the most helpful books I have ever read – it can be a lot easier to have an affair than to write the novel you know you have inside of you but are terrified to start.  If you have something like that going on, and you end your infidelity situation, you may be prompted to face your existential dissatisfaction all over again, and that may be something that you really dislike doing. 


Now just to be clear, that’s not to say that if you’ve been engaging in any kind of infidelity, there must be some huge area of dissatisfaction in your life that you aren’t aware of, and you’d better figure out what it is.  It COULD be that you are desperate to start making art, but you haven’t known how to begin, or you’re DYING for a career change, but you haven’t wanted to take on that project, and having an affair turned out to be a very convenient way for you to avoid the thing you know you need to take on but don’t know how to.  That’s possible.  But it’s also possible that you were just dissatisfied in your committed relationship and you didn’t know what to do about it, and that’s more or less why your affair started! 


So there’s no super-deterministic message here.  I really want to emphasize that.  But, if you are feeling bored in the wake of your infidelity situation, that IS an excellent indication that you may want to take inventory of your life, and get ruthlessly honest with yourself about how satisfied or excited you feel about all parts of it.  If you find that you’re really not that enthusiastic about your life as a whole these days, it may be that your boredom has very little to do with your relationship, or relationships.  It may be time to think about making changes in other areas of your life.


A lot of people get into the habit on relying on their relationship, or relationshipS, as a source of good feelings – including excitement and entertainment – even in the absence of any kind of an infidelity situation.  And this is something that all sorts of subtle and not-so-subtle messages that are out there in the cultural fog nudge us into doing, so if you’ve been operating in this mode, there isn’t anything uniquely wrong with you.  And it’s fine to enjoy our romantic relationships, and to put a lot of emphasis on engaging in them.  That can be great.  But, when we start to rely on our relationship or relationshipS as our primary or ONLY source of excitement or good feelings or any other kind of sustenance, we’re bound to be disappointed eventually.      


And the thing to be aware of is that when you’re in the midst of an infidelity situation, it can be really easy to fall into the mode of relying on your love life to be a source of entertainment, without even recognizing what’s happening.  And there’s nothing WRONG with you if you have.  But if your infidelity situation has ended, and you’re in a period of recalibration in your love life, you may want to take a step back and decide, intentionally, what you want to expect out of your love life.  Or your romantic/sexual relationships.  And you may want to intentionally decide that you aren’t going to expect your relationship(s) to be a constant source of excitement and entertainment.


So, to summarize, if your infidelity situation has ended and you are bored, check in with your relationship with boredom before you start to scrutinize the choices you’ve made about your relationships.  Examine your overall satisfaction in your life before you make any drastic changes in your relationships.


Now, having said all of that, if you’re experiencing boredom in the wake of your infidelity situation being “resolved,” it is possible that you didn’t really resolve it – or rather, you didn’t resolve it in a way that you truly like!  You may have put an end to the behaviors that constituted infidelity, and in doing so, you may have successfully relieved yourself of some of your problems, but you may not be all that happy with the decisions you’ve made. 


So, for example, sometimes people get caught cheating, and they feel totally overwhelmed by getting busted, and since they were already pretty stressed out about carrying on their affair, they decide to end their affair and recommit to the person they cheated on.  Because that just seems like the most obvious solution, or the easiest solution.  And at first, ending the infidelity stress by any means seems like a win.  But then time passes, and the person realizes that they really miss engaging with their affair partner – and they realize they’re just not that interested in their relationship with their spouse, or their committed partner. 


Sometimes a short-term solution to one problem does not provide a satisfying overall resolution to your infidelity situation.  Sometimes the decision that is most aligned with your deepest desires and your highest priorities is not the easiest path to pursue.  At least in the short term, or in some respects. 


So it is possible that once the dust has settled, and the intensity of the relief that came with putting an end to all of the stresses associated with your infidelity situation has faded, you may have a new perspective.  You may say to yourself, I’m really dissatisfied with the choices I’ve made.  I want to make some different choices.  And that’s fair!  You are allowed to revisit decisions you’ve made.  You are allowed to change your mind.  You are allowed to choose again.  For SURE.


But, if you are going to revisit decisions you’ve made, you want to do that in a really deliberate, conscious, systematic way.  You don’t want to just use “revisiting your decision” as a means of distracting yourself from boredom.


Okay.  It is one thing to hear me talk about this stuff on the podcast, and it is another thing to apply my teachings to what you are actually experiencing within your infidelity situation.  You may want a little more help making use of the kinds of things I talk about in your own life.  And it is my pleasure to provide you with that help.  There are three ways you can have me as your coach.  If you really like learning on your own, and you’re good at holding yourself accountable to learning new things and then trying out the new things you’ve learned, the DIY version of my course You’re Not the Only One is a great option for you.  In the DIY version of You’re Not the Only One, you get videos of me teaching you tools and concepts that I’m not able to teach you on the podcast.  And you get assignments that will help you apply my teachings to your unique infidelity situation.  If you like what you hear on the podcast and you think you need a bit more help to deal with your infidelity situation in a way that you feel great about, the DIY version of You’re Not the Only One may be the PERFECT option for you.


On the other hand, sometimes we want more than an online library of teachings and assignments.  And if you do, I invite you to join the secret society/group coaching program version of You’re Not the Only One.  In the group coaching program, you get all of the online teaching and assignments, and you also get access to regular group coaching calls, which are held in a way that protects your privacy.  On these calls you can request coaching from me, and I will help you deal with the specifics of whatever it is you’re dealing with.  You’ll also get to hear other folks who are grappling with similar challenges get coached by me, too.  Hearing other people get coached is CRAZY helpful.  Sometimes it’s even more helpful than getting coached ourselves.  So come join in the secret society to get all of the benefits of having a powerful set of teachings available to you all the time online, as well as the opportunity to talk things out with me when you need that kind of support.


Finally, I do still offer one-on-one coaching.  When you want it to be all about you, this is the best option for you.  When we work together one-on-one we meet via Zoom, so we can work together no matter where you’re located.


All of these options are great.  They’re just great in different ways.  To learn more about each of them, and to get started working with me in one of these ways, go to the services page of my website,  Why wait any longer to find yourself some relief and a clear path forward?  The rest of your life is waiting for you.


Okay everyone, that’s it for today!  Thank you all so much for listening.  Have a great week.  Bye for now.




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