Re: Symptoms of Affair Withdrawal Please EXPLAIN!
Well part of the issue is that I am me, and your husband is him, and blueskies husband is him. I happen to be an INFP Myers Briggs personality (Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeler, Perceiver) and thus as an introvert I gain energy by being alone and "recharging" versus being with people and sharing. If my spouse were an extrovert, they might take that as "avoiding them" when in real life I'm just tired and need to recharge. Anyway my point is that all disloyal spouses are not alike--we have different personality types and did it for different reasons and with different results and lengths of time...thus it's about 100% likely that our experiences and "timelines" will be different!!
That being said though, I can share what I suspect will be similarities. The first week of withdrawal is the worst, of course. Envision any drug addict going cold turkey. At first, for like 24-48 hours, the urge for the "drug" doesn't hit or you can somewhat ignore it or put it off...in fact the first couple of days may seem pretty "back to normal" and in a way seem like maybe we're in our right mind :P lol But about the 3rd day or so, the urge pretty much increases exponentially. The next couple days are very tough because about every few minutes you think about the OP and pretty much by habit you pick up the phone to call, or get on email to write in order to get that fix (the "someone thinks I'm wonderful" affair zing). This is usually the time when someone might fall off the wagon--sometimes due to just habit and sometimes because the urge is so strong you just cave in. This is also usually the time during which a disloyal spouse will say: "I can't get the OP out of my mind! How am I supposed to just let them go?" or maybe something like "I can't just get feelings back for my spouse! I don't feel love for them like I do for the OP!" (or something along those lines).
In a way, at this point, it really does become a matter of choice. As a disloyal, I can choose to continue to hold onto the OP and refuse to see that it was about 99.99% "in my mind" and not real at all...or I can make the conscious choice to let the OP go, acknowledge it was mostly fantasy, look at my own self and try to figure out what it was about me that got me to this point, and realize that I may not "feel it" at the moment, but I can ACT loving and the more I do that the more I'll feel it. At some point it really does come down to choosing.
Usually a week or two into no contact--maybe more if you sort of hung on to the memories for a while--the worst of the urge to contact again passes. Again, envision a drug addict going cold turkey. The physical "need" for the zing feels a little better, but then it's more like over and over and over and over the little stuff that you didn't think about hits you in the face. For example, in my personal instance after I had the day when I "SAW" the hurt in my Dear Hubby's eyes and knew I couldn't do this anymore, my Dear Hubby wrote to the OM and said "I am married to her and I'm not going down without a fight. I intend to honor my vows so you better be ready to face a husband who's gonna fight for his marriage." It was sort of his version of claiming things back. Okay he was in 100% and I was in 100%...but for some reason it didn't dawn on me that I would also have to end contact with the people who knew me and OM as a couple. It wasn't malicious or anything, I wasn't trying to hurt Dear Hubby more...but it didn't occur to me that those folks would ask about or tell me about OM and that's like backdoor, third party contact! So I agreed and acknowledged I'd have to end contact with them too--yet at the same time I felt INCREDIBLY SAD because those folks meant something to me and had liked me and whatnot! All those people, who were just bystanders, also had to be cut off...and it was like they were the civilians caught in the bombing! They were hurt because I was selfish, frankly...and that hurt me a LOT! Now I could totally see where my Dear Hubby would see it as a trigger or an insult if I kept them as friends, so it wasn't like that (he had a right); but I felt like a jerk--AGAIN--because I had unintentionally hurt people I cared about. So that sort of thing occurs over and over and over for several weeks as the fog begins to clear. Just as you get over THIS one...another one occurs...and another thing hits you in the face...and another, like ripples that increase and spread out. This is often a time when it feels SOOOO sorrowful and shameful and embarrassing that it's tempting to say "Well screw it, I've messed this up so bad there's no hope. I give up."
This is why I strongly encourage people that as soon as there is No Contact, take some time off as just a couple. Lots of people think: "Oh I couldn't possibly take time right now...I don't have vacation time" or "It's busy season" etc. but you know what? There's a reason!! During this timeframe, if the disloyal spouse is not really feeling feelings yet, and all the loyal spouse is doing is triggering and making demands, and the disloyal also feels hopeless....then they will give up and the marriage will end. By the same token, if they aren't feeling feelings yet, but some time is taken off to take a long weekend and go skiing and then maybe some tubing and hot chocolate, and the loyal has moments of triggers but also moments of showing "hey this person is fun to be with" and there is HOPE that one day maybe feelings could come back...then the marriage may survive.
One thing my Dear Hubby did was to say that we were calling a time out on "being married" until I said, and we were going to just be friends like the way you're friends with your college roommate. He would talk to me about what he thought and felt just like he would have with a "buddy" and likewise I did the same. I even told him once that I felt really sad about losing the friends and how they felt like civilians who got caught up in the bombing...and he didn't yell or say I was selfish. Things like that...I remember and counted it as a positive in his favor. I could talk to him honestly about deep stuff and personal stuff, and I was SAFE doing it!! Then, we did things together we both like (we personally went 4WD-ing, camping, and to car shows...put that's just us). I got to look over at this person next to me and think, "Wow!! I remember liking him! I enjoy him. I think if I keep at it I could love him."
So anyway, I hope that's helpful. I don't know if it's much of a "timeline" but maybe it'll give you a feeling for what it's like.