Health knowledge made personal
Join this community!
› Share page:

How to End an Affair

Posted by Jennifer .. Patient Expert

You are having an affair, you know it is wrong and part of you wants to end it but you can't seem to stop.

How do you end the affair?

I'm going to approach this topic from two perspectives, the emotional and the concrete.

First a little background, regardless of the excuses/justifications for your affair, the answer to your underlying problems is not to have an affair. An affair is an easy way to cover up the problem just as is substances abuse, shopping addictions, or various other activities in which we engage to hide our pain or problems.

But often when one is in the midst of the affair one can't see it. Why?

Because those endorphins that flood our brain during the attraction phase of a relationship are POWERFUL. It feels fabulous to be in that stage of romance. We like it and it is rather like an addiction, pulling us onwward and nearly controlling our thoughts and desires. We feel creative, sexy, wild, empowered, and we have more energy that we ever though possible.

Sometimes the lure of someone new seems better than one's long term relationship that may have moved out of that wild and crazy attraction phase. Maybe the relationship has wilted and suffered over the years. Perhaps the daily demands of a family have thwarted the passion and love that once existed.

So, yes it is not always easy to pull oneself away from an affair, but it is possible and you can do it.

Somewhere deep down, people know an affair is not the answer, nor is it the decent, healthy, honest, moral, or holy way to live.*

So how does one end the affair?

First lets talk about the emotional component.

Start by bringing into your mind the heartache that WILL come when the affair is discovered. Affairs don't usually end until the people are caught. (Unless you read this article and stop the affair today). Think about the pain your spouse will be in when she/he discovers what you are doing. Think of the heartache, the sorrow, the devastation. Think of your children and how they will feel about you. Think about how it may be to actually end your marriage, the divorce, the sorrow, the consequences in every area of your life.

Now, it is easy to dismiss all this but I want you to take it into your heart and ponder it for a while. Allow yourself to really feel what it will be like. Where will you be when you have the discussion to divorce? How will you tell your children you were unfaithful to your family? Where will you live after the divorce? How often will you get to see your children? How will your parents and friends feel about you? What consequences may come forth in your religious experience? Keep in mind that the person with whom you are having an affair will not seem so wonderful to you once that attraction phase is gone, and in spite of your belief that he or she is your soul mate, those emotions are a result of the endorphins currently flooding your brain... nothing else.

Remember the fact that an affair is a selfish behavior that puts your pleasure over the love of your spouse, children, and family; and in most cases over ones sense of morality and decency.

Now, please remember this:

This is not a time to feel sad and remorseful because your affair is ending. You do not mourn or whine. It is a time to celebrate that you have the strength to make the right decision. It is a time to praise yourself that you care more about your family than you do about the affair. Rejoice that you have made a decision that will save your marriage and allow you to recommit to your life partner.

Now, lets discuss the concrete dynamics of ending an affair.

You stop the affair today. Right now.You get up your strength, clear your head, and right now decide it has ended. You don't need to meet one more time, you don't need to explain anything to anyone.You just stop.You call and tell the person it is over and that is it. No elaborate conversation, no tears, no excuses or reasons or justifications. You are clear and blunt and decisive. (I'm not suggesting one is rude or cruel but there is no need for discussion, indeed it is not appropriate and may make it more difficult).

For example:

"I have decided to end this affair and will no longer be seeing you. I wish you the best."

Simple. Memorize the above if you need to. Or come up with a simple statement of your own but be clear and strong.

If you are having an affair with a co-worker or someone you see on a regular basis, do what you can to remove yourself from the situation.

You never allow yourself to be alone with the person again. NEVER. You do everything possible to NOT see the person or engage in a relationship of any sort.

You do not keep seeing each other as friends, you do not allow for temptation, you do not keep it going in your heart.

It is over. Done. Finished.

Promise yourself that from this moment on you will invest in your marriage, make it wonderful, find fulfillment in your family. You will do everything that is necessary to have a healthy and happy marriage.

You can do it! I know you can!


*Whether one frames the experience in religious or secular terms, there is a sense of living in dishonesty and guilt that is clearly uncomfortable.

Thank you to those who suggested this topic for a post. :-)
http: / / theartofintimacy. blogspot. com/ feeds/ posts/ default? alt=rss
Answers (23)
Sort by: Newest first | Oldest first

I agree completely.  However, when both parties have fallen deeply in love, or at least believe they have found their soulmate, how do you get rid of the hurt and pain left in one's heart?  How do you move on in your life and not look back, think..what if, etc..?  Thanks

Dave in Dallas

If the affair was serious, this would be an extremely cruel way to end it. People make mistakes. Now that you've decided to end the affair, it doesn't mean you can treat your lover like crap. Sorry, it just doesn't. It could send that person into a deep depression. I'm sorry, but you DO owe them an "in person" break up. YOU DO! The are no more evil than you are! You both made a mistake. But at least let the person know you were NOT playing a game, that they meant something to you, that you didn't just use them (and shame on you if you did, give them a chance to tell you off if you did!). Thank them for opening their heart to you, explain you have realized it is wrong, this hurts you to break it off, but it is the price you both must pay for the mistake..the hurt you are feeling now. Say good-bye, that it is final. But if you really want to be nice, allow them to put all their feelings into one last letter, after it has sunk in. You owe them that. Promise you will read it but will not respond. Don't just treat the other person like crap all of a sudden. No one deserves that.

Have been in a relationship with my boss for 5 mths.  Before he was my boss we were co workers. Friends. We started emailing one another at night.  Discussing our personal and marital problems.  Have serious discussions we can never have with our spouses.  After the first 3 mths.  we met in his office after work.  Made out.  4th month.  Oral sex.  Currently we meet when we can and have sex.  Continue to talk to one another every night via email. Neither one of us sleeps with our spouse.  I care for him deeply.  He says he cares for me.  We have even discussed marriage.  Neither of us is in a position for a divorce.  Maybe in a couple of years.  I am so emotionally attached to him it would break  my heart if it ended.   Should I end it now. Wait to see if our marriages end then reconnect?  I don't want to lose him.  I have not choice at the moment but to continue working with him..

I know that an affair is wrong on many levels. However, I do not believe when two people meet after they have been married and they find a connection that it happens on "accident". It does not sound to me like you are one who seeks an affair, it found you which makes it a different breed. This is only my opinion. Sometimes life throws the curveballs at you and you actually find your soul mate in someone you are not with. If you strayed to be with that person then the marriage was not good any how and how can you get back love that is gone?

Why should people separate from the love of their life for morality, religion, or family? You do not choose who you love it chooses you. Not all affairs are ugly, they are wrong, but they happen and the lord brought that person in your life too. I am sorry for people who have been cheated on it is sad, but what kind of life would they have with someone who does not love them anymore and never will not like that? Face it, this is how things go no matter how people look at it. It still does not change how you may feel for him or her. Why should "I" be unhappy when everyone else (who is passing judgement) is happy in the direction their life took?  Maybe the marriage was the mistake?

It is clear that some of us define love differently from others. I believe true love is NOT how a person makes you feel. That in itself is selfish. True love is wanting the best for the other person even if it means sacraficing your own. You should help that person be the God wants the to be. Yeah, this world has become so de-sensitized to adultery because we see in on TV everyday. It's in every love song. No matter what it is still wrong. And to address the issue of finding your soulmate after still made a committment/covenent with another person. You signed the contract so you are accountable to that perosn. It's no different going to Planned Parenthood, bring a child into the world then deciding that parenting is to hard or you don't want kids at this stage in life. Do you abuse or neglect the child for your own selfish reasons? No, you stick to your committment! I say to the people who are a  part of the adultery, what permanent good comes from the affair? Stop short changing yourself, you deserve more! And stop believeing that all affairs happen because a spouse is unhappy. That's not true in most cases. People cheat as a coping mechnism for other issues. Some cheat just because they can and others are looking for someone/something to fill a void in their lives. No, cheating is not going to stop but all involved need to really take a look pass the fairytale. You don't want to be hurt so stop justifying why another person can be.

What if the lover don't want to end the affair? Instead of letting you go, they resorted to emotional blackmailing, e.g. texting or calling your spouse, threatening to expose the affair to family and friends and even sending private photos taken during the affair to everyone you know? How can you end the affair even if you wanted desperately to without everyone knowing it that you've done that thing?
I am sorry for what your up against. I was in something similar. What worked for me was to tell my spouse of the affair and everyone of importance to me. Yes,I went through hell at home for awhile. But the reward was my lover could no longer black mail me and my mariage was made stronger. The lover is now no part of my life. It wil be hard but the reward will be worth it. Besides you don't want your lover telling your spouse first. It should come fro you.
I dated someone for many months before I found out he was married.  I didn't choose the situation.  However, after recovering from this finding, I made a choice to continue seeing him (although I also started to casually date others).  This married man and I are now more friends than lovers, and we do meet for sex, but it is paramount to me that he keeps his marriage intact.  My feeling is that it is better for him to see a sane woman than one who will freak out if he decides to end the relationship.  I do hope when (not if) that day comes, it will not be done cruelly and with no chance of contact of any kind in the future.  I would hope that there would be enough trust that he would know I would honor his decision.
Akmashley...I'm very much on the same page as you.  I was on both sides of the coin.  My wife cheated on me with another man after being together for 10 years and married for 3.  She told me that she fell out of love with me for various reasons and didn't seek an affair, it just came upon her.  I didn't understand this completely until I later met a married woman and the connection was so strong, we could not control the emotions.  She thought she was happy in her marriage, as did my wife, but the universe brought us together and soon we were in a full on relationship.  I now fully understand what happened to my marriage and why it ended.  I"m very happy that it did end because I always knew something was off with her and I but I was affraid to face it.  Her affair; her falling in love with another man; helped the both of us to wake up to the truth.  I thank God that I didn't waste years and energy on a loveless marriage.  The affair did hurt, but it was for the best.  Sometimes things just happen for a reason.  Unfortunately for me, the married woman I am seeing is not strong enough to realize this and is choosing to stay in her marriage to please her family and to not face the pain of divorce and the realization of a mistake.  I do not harbor any ill will towards her.  Every person is different.  She is unwilling to make herself happy.  She would rather stay in the relationship she obviously does not want in order to keep the peace.  I'm okay with this as I do not want to be a homewrecker.  SHe needs to come to this realization on her own, as my ex wife did. 

Dear Angelbaby,

 I had an affair after 10 years of marriage and fell deeply in love with him.  He was a widow and had his own issues but I know he loved me to.  My husband found out and the destruction it caused was horrific.  Our children have also been going through hell.  I ended up moving out and realizing that the person I have been with for the past 13 years and my children deserved better.  It breaks my heart everyday and I cry not to talk to my affair, but it doesnt compare to the pain I caused my family.  After 8 months of separation I am now begging my husbands forgiveness and trying to make it right.  I too told my affair that I wasn't sleeping with my husband, but it was a lie.  Not that we did all the time but it did happen.  In conclusion.  Affairs always get found out and they always cause horrible after effects.  You have to make a decision and stick to it.  It took me way to long to make that decision and I pray it is not to late. 

My affair found my wonderful marriage. I am still trying to recover several years later, but I can't get him out of my head. He is having the same struggles as we talk on a very light level four or five times a year via email or phone. We broke it off for our families, but I'm wondering if either of us will ever be happy again.

sitting here reading all this - been in an affair for a year and i m so in love and today tried to stop it . I am in a relationship for 17 years and stopped having sex the moment i met mark , he is married . He promises me nothing but i sit here just hoping - cannot imagine him not in my life and i also email and talk to him more than anyone i have ever met. It controls my whole life but cannot leave him
I sought an affair with an unhappily married men after 16 years of marriage with my husand. Why? Perhaps it's an excuse, but I found out my husband was bicurious many years ago and caught him in many lies over the years based on his curiosity. I never caught him cheating but I can't tell you the pain and anxiety it caused. I questioned whether our marriage was just a lie. Over the years he has proven least I haven't caught him in any more lies and have no proof of any infidelity. I haven't been looking for any proof but I also wasn't looking before when the deceit surfaced. Fast forward several years...we love each other and he is an awesome dad, husband, and provider. Sex sucks. He had trouble maintaining an erection for a while, then things returned to normal. The past year, he has suffered from premature ejaculation...30 seconds and it's over. He compensates by making me feel satisfied in other ways but I missed sex. I thought I could have casual sex with a friend of mine. We were both very attracted to each other. He swears he was faithful until me. We both suffered with guilt for a while but not enough to end things. Sex was amazing. An hour later, he'd still be the Energizer Bunny. Emotions got involved and the "L" word was said. I moved out of state due to my husband's job, and the communication between me and my lover suffered. He barely calls or texts. I know he is extremely busy but a quick phone call or text once a day isn't much to ask for. This is not a new complaint for me. I finally had to just end my suffering today. I was tired of the excuses and lack of time. I can visit when I want but it's tough for him to get away due to his job. He owns his own business and works all the he took on a coaching job on top of it all. Leaves no time for me. Just tired of being miserable. I'm miserable with and without him but not ready to wreck my family. Love my husband but can't see another 30-40 years of less than mediocre sex either. I don't know what the answer is.
I don't know any answers to any of this. The advice here and on another website ( doesn't seem to address the depth of affairs. Or that some people simply CAN be married and content because they made the right choice or knew what they wanted or are wired to want less from a marriage....or a million other things.  The rest of us have to muck through marriages where sex sucks or someone can't meet the partner's need, or in my case, a change of religion for one of us stressed our marriage beyond the point where we can't handle it without outside help.  Divorce would ruin us for a while, but long-term it might be best.  Regardless, neither of us has the courage to divorce now.  This recipe started an online affair for me.  Recently cut it off, but I foresee it happening again, because despite marital counseling we can't seem to make things work. And we won't divorce.
Life and sexual relationships are complex, n'est pas?  Just read the above experiences. In most cases the old Nike commercial is the answer: "Just do it"! There are certain circumstances where some win-win choices can work out.  Not easy, however.
 I am married but have been in a relationship with another man whose wife had an affair years ago. He is now divorced. He has asked me to marry him. I have told him I won't leave my family. Recently he has cut back on communicating with me. 
I know it can't work. I love my husband and my children. I have decided to end it as this situation is causing me such sadness and anxiety. I don't know how long it will take me to get over him, but I knew going into this that in the end someone was going to be hurt. I don't want to hurt him; I don't want to be hurt either, but better me than my family.  
 We haven't spoken in over two days now and I am missing him so much I feel sick. I am going to pray my way through this and ask that my desire and love for him be taken from me so that I can renew my love for my husband and try to reclaim the good that was in our marriage before any of this started. 
 I wish I could go back to before and make the right decision, but I didn't and now I will spend my life wondering what could have been and missing a man that wanted to spend his life with me. It's a terrible, terrible thing being in love with two people.  The thought of losing contact with him breaks my heart. I should never have let this happen. 

this is KATE I am here looking for Zoe , Alex, Gem and the others from Jen's official blog the art of intimacy which shut down. 

The blog shutting down was bad for me. I am lost without my support system. If any of you are out there I'm here and have opened an account on here to vent about my ending my affair with a wonderful man. I love my husband but cant get rid of the feelings for this other man. He continues to pressure me, I've been pretty strong.  It's a killer. he's killing me softly:(


Sadanna.. how are you , your story touched me. I hope you're doing better



It's so hard isn't it.  I'm back with my family but still think about the other man all the time - I know he still feels the same about me but he has started to date now which is his way of dealing with it I guess.  I feel like I'm watching a car crash happening before my very eyes.  It's a wierd feeling - saying no to something you want but needing to do what you think is best in the long run - putting the kids before me. I'm not a martyr but I know that the guilt of being with this man and putting kids through so much disruption and my love (not 'in love') for my partner would not help in the new relationship.  That's what stops me leaving.
I am very most impressed with a lady spell caster who brought my husband home after a divorced signed by my husband a week ago. this spell lady got all the details correct from the situation to the physical descriptions and did a spell that made my husband nullify the divorce. Word are not enough to appreciate this spell lady powers I will continue to thank you for reuniting my family forever. I would bravely recommend this lady to anyone experiencing family trauma, her email is i met her through a friend that she has helped before.
NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
Post an answer
Write a comment: