How to End an Affair
As you go through life and relationships, it is inevitable that
you will meet people you will be attracted too outside of your marriage, and eventually find yourself having an affair. And as with all things, affairs do come to an end so here are some guidelines you can follow on how to extricate yourself from one:
Step 1: Make a final decision as soon as possible to end the affair. You have to continously remind yourself that the affair was your choice and the decision to end it is also your choice. This will help free you emotionally so you can take the steps needed to end the affair. You must be strongly committed to your exit strategy. The longer you stay with you lover once you decide to get out, the more miserable you will be. It will be similar to having a root canal, just do it ! You will find out later that this move will be the best for both you and your lover, in effect, both parties can move forward with their lives and try to fix any relationships that were damaged as a result of having the affair.
Step 2: You have to be honest with your lover about ending your affair. No need to sugar coat anything. It is best to be direct, otherwise you might end up sending mixed messages and prolong the breakup process. That means telling your lover that your decision is final, that the affair is over, that you are done. There is no need to be mean or hurtful while breaking off, just keep the conversation simple and to the point.
Step 3: Since this is the last time you will have this conversation with your lover, make sure that you say what you need to say now! This is the closure process so you need to ensure that there are no loose ends. Be honest. Be frank. Discuss the reasons why you would like to call the affair off. You cannot go back and have this conversation again so if you do not do this right and get everything out of your system now, it will haunt you for years. You can remind yourself of all the emotional torment and the destructive nature of having an affair. Remind yourself of all the sneaking and lying you had to do as you hurt the ones you love and the unfairness of it all to them. You might be able to use these factors as you discuss the end of your affair.
Step 4: Plan your own recovery to avoid getting into another messy affair in the future. Having affairs is like drug addiction. You have needs that need to be fulfilled as any other addict, and you need to be aware on how to fulfill them without being destructive. This may mean sex addiction therapy, marriage counseling or one-on-one therapy sessions with a psychiatrist.
Step 5: The hard part. You have to confess the crime to your spouse. Do this only after you have committed to end the affair and you have a recovery play in place and you have executed the breakup process successfully. Coming out clean to your spouse might be the hardest thing to do but it is critical to ensure both of you can move forward with your relationship, this time with more honesty. Do not let your spouse find out about the affair from some one else. If they do find out, the same rule applies - just be honest and true and they will appreciate it more rather than put up with more lies.
It is never pleasant dealing with a breakup, but it may be the best thing for the parties involved. It is rare that both parties will agree on the timing. Usually one party will initiate the ending of the affair, with the other side just waiting but knowing that the affair is over. You may end up hurting each other during the breakup but you will find out that it was the best thing to do for both of you.
If you are on the other side of the equation, meaning it is your spouse that had an affair, you can follow these guidelines on how to handle this:
Step 1: You have to accept the fact that you alone cannot put a stop to your spouse's affair. Your spouse must also be committed to ending it and must make the important changes independently from you.
Step 2: Understand the reasons on why your spouse had the extra-marital affair. Was it a physical affair? Was it an emotional affair? The type of affair your spouse is having, and the reasons behind it, will play a role in deciding how you should handle it.
Step 3: Discuss the infidelity with your partner in a calm, objective manner. Do not lash out or play the victim role. This does not help anything and might just drive your spouse further away. You will need a plan and a set of alternatives to fix your relationship. If the affair was based on physical needs, a few couple-based sex therapy sessions might help. If the affair was an emotional one, you might need to exert extra effort to improve your nurturing skills to support and make possible the emotional development of your spouse.
Step 4: Commit to making your relationship work. Both of you should be on board on this objective. You should accept the fact that you contribute to both the success and failure of this relationship. That does not mean blaming yourself for your spouse's infidelity but it does mean that you need to acknowledge that you may have contributed to the little things that put the relationship at risk which might have made it more vulnerable to an affair.
Step 5: The grieving process. Let your spouse mourn the end of their affair. Damage may have been caused to your relationship as a result of your spouse having an affair but you have to concede that it must have meant something to them and that they will need time and space to recover from the end of the affair without any unnecessary pressure from you.
Step 6: Forgiveness. This is a very important step and it does not matter whether the affair was yours or your spouse. Do not play the blame game. The sooner you can forgive your spouse sincerely in your heart, the sooner you can start mending your relationship and ensuring you address the real causes of why your spouse had an affair to begin with.