You’re in love, but you know you need to end the affair. These suggestions aren’t just “tips on how to break up.” Rather, they’re ideas for healthy endings that will help you see the your affair in a different light. Ending an affair is about rebuilding your self-respect and focusing on why you can’t keep cheating.
You are not alone in your search for ways to end an affair. Read through the comments on How to Stop Dating a Married Man; you’ll see how destructive and painful affairs are. You’ll also find hope and help for saying goodbye to someone you love but can’t be with.
Here’s a different perspective on why it’s crucial to end the affair now, before it’s too late: “I’m trying to figure out how to spend the rest of my life without my husband and best friend,” says a reader in response to When Your Husband Still Works With His Ex Affair Partner “We’ve been through so much in 38 years of marriage but he left me for a woman at work. He said he wanted to end the affair with her but she already left her husband and kids. Now he’s consumed with guilt and thinks it’s better to leave our marriage than her. My husband is devastated with guilt and shame. Our kids are grown but heartbroken. How do I grieve, forgive, and move forward with this huge hole on my heart?”
This reader adds that she and her husband have a marriage of roommates. They sleep in separate rooms, have no intimacy, her husband has cheated as well. She’s never loved her husband, she said, and she needs help healing after the end of her affair.
10 Tips for Ending an Affair
There are no easy tips on how to let go of someone you love. You know this isn’t a healthy or good relationship – and you know you’re cheating. And yet, you feel love and chemistry with your affair partner.
Ending a love affair hurts — even when you know the affair has to stop. There are no scripts or formulas on how to end an affair when you want to continue…there is only faith and the hope of something more. You need to reach for something healthier, bigger, and more fulfilling than this affair, which is destroying your self respect. You have to focus on something better than cheating on your partner, and leading the person you love into more darkness, destruction and pain.
1. Face the destruction, damage and pain of cheating
The fact that you’re “having an affair” (as opposed dating a guy you like or love) means you or your affair partner is committed to another person. Either you or he is married, which means you’re both cheating. You are both lying, betraying, and hurting innocent people. An affair means the person you’re involved with is married or committed to someone else. Maybe you, too, are married.
When you want to end an affair with someone you love, focus on why you need to stop cheating, lying, and stealing what doesn’t belong to you. What are you unleashing in the world, and how is it affecting your heart, spirit, and soul?. Why have you chosen to have an affair? Think about your motivations, unmet needs, and weaknesses. Go beyond the “I can’t end the affair because I’m in love” impulse. Be a bigger, stronger, wiser and more compassionate person.
If you’re struggling with guilt, read How to Forgive Yourself for Having an Affair.
2. Decide why you want to end the affair
Maybe your affair partner is breaking off the relationship. Even if you don’t want the affair to end, you know that it’s not right, good, or healthy in the long run. Grieve your loss, but don’t focus on the pain of breaking up. Instead, focus on the emotional and spiritual freedom that the end of an affair brings. You won’t be chained to lies, betrayal, and cheating after the affair ends. You will be free to rebuild your self-respect and create a fresh new life for yourself. Remember that learning how to end an affair involves staying focused on why it’s time to break free.
3. Be firm about ending the affair
Breaking up is always hard – and ending an affair with someone you love is no different. You know you need to stop because cheating is painful and destructive. And your endless searching for tips on how to end an affair is redundant and unnecessary. Why? Because you already know how to break up with someone. You just don’t want to do it. You haven’t been firm with yourself or your affair partner; you’re allowing yourself to go around in circles. Instead, you need to permanently decide that the affair is over. Stick to your decision, and clearly and firmly communicate your decision to the person you’re cheating with.
4. Prepare for a period of grief
In How to Recreate Yourself After a Relationship Ends I describe why it’s hard to end even the unhealthiest relationships. One way to end an affair is to think about the most difficult thing you experienced — and survived — in the past. Remember how you dealt with the pain, tragedy, hurt, and negativity. Reflect on how you grieved, healed, broke free. How did you recreate yourself and start over? Time helps, but you have to actively move forward.
5. Allow others to react
If your partner, children, family members, and friends learn that you cheated, ending the affair may not be the hardest part. Worse might be the reactions and fallout of the affair. Cheating is devastating for everyone; prepare for the worst possible reactions. How? By accepting that the consequences of an affair are painful and even devastating. Remember that recovery doesn’t happen overnight. If your children know about the affair, they’ll never look at you as a parent the same again. They’ll never see marriage or relationships in the same light, with the same innocence and trust. This is the reality of cheating. It’s ugly, but facing the truth will help you end the affair even when you’re still in love.
6. Speak with honesty – and with wisdom
As painful as the truth about your affair is, honesty is better than lies. But be careful – this isn’t a blanket statement for all situations and all people! Think carefully about who you’re honest with, why you believe the truth is worth telling, what you will say, and how you will say it.
If you’re searching for tips on how to end an affair because you don’t know what to say to your affair partner, think carefully about his or her personality. Will hurt feelings turn into a need for revenge? Be cautious. This is why it is important to figure out why you got involved and why you want to end the affair. Get clarity and insight into your own motivations, so you can be honest without making the breakup more painful than it has to be.
7. Expect the breakup to hurt – but you know that you will heal
Ending an affair and healing won’t happen overnight. You’ll grieve the breakup because you love him. You’ll regret letting him go. You’ll wish you were back together, and you’ll cry yourself to sleep at night. But, you will heal and move on! You will be proud of yourself that you had the courage and dignity to end this affair, and you will find someone who treats you with respect and love.
Read Emotionally Detaching From Someone You Have to Let Go for practical tips and emotional support.
8. Cut off all contact
Protect yourself from his texts, phone calls, Facebook popups, emails, Facetime prompts, Tweets, blog comments, or notes at work. You’re just setting yourself up to be drawn back into cheating. Don’t let him con his way back into your life – this is one of the times you can’t be friends with your ex. It may seem cruel to both you and him, but it’s the best way to stop dating a married man.
It’s painful and depressing at first, but it does get easier. The sooner you start letting go, the sooner your heart will begin to heal.
9. Make significant changes in your life
After you end the affair, you need to refresh your life. The reader who commented on my “how to stop dating a married man” article needs to decide if she wants to continue living in an empty marriage, or if she should start over. She needs to start finding her identity in healthier, more respectable ways. She needs to change her life, and reconnect with herself.
Ending an affair is the perfect time to start reconnecting with God. Who is He to you, and what does His presence mean in your life? Taking care of your spiritual health is the most important thing you will ever do, for it has eternal consequences. What could be more significant than that? If you want to know how to end an affair, take a moment to pray for guidance. Ask for strength, wisdom, power, and healing in your life.
10. Learn about letting go and recovering
If you don’t think you can end this affair because you love him, read How to Let Go of Someone You Love. You may feel like you can’t live without him, but you know the truth. The truth is that you CAN live without him and you will be happier after the affair is over.
In Torn Asunder: Recovering From an Extramarital Affair, pastor and marriage counselor Dave Carder helps readers sort through the factors that contribute to infidelity and map out a recovery process for both partners. With compassion and wisdom rooted in the Bible, Carder offers insight for the victims of adultery and the individuals who had the affair. It’s helpful to have a roadmap or recovery process when you’re learning how to end an affair with someone you want to be with.
Believe it or not, the grief and suffering you feel when an affair ends is the perfect time to get emotionally and spiritually healthy. You’re at a low point in your life — and it can be a time of healing, growth, and renewal. Ending the affair may give you a chance to renew your faith and recommit your life to something meaningful and deep.