Why is ending an affair so tricky? It was supposed to be just a fling, and last only for a short time. You didn’t expect to catch feelings, but you made a wrong turn somewhere down the road. In order for your life to go back to normal, you know what you need to do – end the affair.
The question is, how on earth are you going to do that?
Ending a relationship can be extremely difficult for both parties involved, but someone has to do it. Since you’re the one reading this article, I assume you’ve already chosen that it’ll be you. It’s going to hurt, that’s inevitable, but you’re doing it for the greater good.
Honestly, an affair can happen to anybody, so stop with the guilt-tripping already and take back control over your life. You made a mistake, you’re right about that. That mistake may cost you every single beautiful thing you have in your life.
But it’s a bit late to think about the consequences of the affair right now, am I right?
It is what it is. Take the risk (another one), come clean to your spouse about your weak moment, and try your damnedest to fix things. Nobody can do it for you, just like nobody cheated instead of you.
Now, I know there are a lot of questions running through your mind right now. But the first and most important thing that we have to figure out is how to end the affair. I’ll guide you through some steps towards ending something that wasn’t supposed to exist in the first place.
I know you love the person you’re married to, but because life throws us a curve ball from time to time, it’s not necessarily the end. If you truly care and want to solve the problem, dig down to its root.
I know you can do it. I mean, you’ve just made the first step.
Why is it so difficult to end an affair?
There are a couple of reasons it can be difficult to end an affair. The first thing that comes to my mind is that you don’t want to be labeled as a cheater.
But, let’s be real, you already awarded yourself that label. The moment you started the conversation with someone with the intention for it to go further, you were already there. There is no downplaying that.
You know that there are different kinds of affairs and each one of them is tough to cover. It requires a lot of effort to keep it a secret for a short amount of time, let alone if it goes on for months or even years. Eventually, someone will slip up.
A man can be unfaithful to his wife, and vice versa. A couple also doesn’t necessarily have to be married to call it an affair; the two can be in a serious long-term relationship.
Whatever the reasons are, deep down you know that nothing can justify cheating. You set some boundaries in the beginning, yet at some point, you decided to cross them.
How can you forget about the beautiful memories you shared and the intense feelings you have for the other person? How can you cut out someone who once was the love of your life, even if fleetingly?
Is it possible? Can you do that? Is it possible that someone can appear so ethereal that you forget about the one you dedicated your life to? One part of the movie Before We Go perfectly explains it all.
Brooke: It’s possible, isn’t it? It’s possible that you could meet somebody who’s perfect for you even though you’re committed to somebody else.
Nick: No, no, see, I think if you’re committed to somebody, you don’t allow yourself to find perfection in someone else. We love who we love, it sucks.
Running away is easy. Not facing your problems and just sweeping them under the rug is even easier. But, at a certain point, you have to figure out what you want to do and put your cards on the table. Here are the steps you can take if you truly want to end that affair.
10 steps to successfully end an affair
Of course, it’s not going to be easy and there’s a long road ahead. And I truly hope you’re ready.
Ending an affair sometimes can feel like you’re actually going through a divorce with that person – you may want to rip your heart out of your chest. It may be the worst experience ever, but you’ll survive it. You’ve been through worse.
You’ve realized there are more important things you have to fight for. Your spouse, your kids, your family. You cannot allow yourself to lose all of that for something temporary. Who knows what could happen if you don’t end it now?
Maybe you’ll wake up one day and figure out that you want to save it all, but at that point, it will be too late.
The best option you have now is to fight for what you believe in and for the one you love. And if you think that an affair was a huge mistake, ending it shouldn’t be a problem. Here are 10 steps that will help you get through it as smoothly as possible.
1. It’s your call to end the affair
First and foremost, you have to realize that it’s your call to end the affair. Nobody is responsible for ending it more than you are. Your lover may not know how things are, and it’s possible that you never mentioned you’re already in a relationship with somebody.
I mean, you thought it was something short-term, so your personal life was not worth mentioning. Who could’ve ever thought that you may start liking this person? Better yet, who could’ve predicted that you’d share personal details. But you did, except perhaps for your relationship status. And well, now you’re screwed.
It’s all on you to call it quits. Be brave and do it. You already took the first step, so this should be a bit easier. Make sure your brain and heart agree on the decision and carry it out.
2. Weigh the pros and cons of ending an affair
Your mind is messy right now, I know. But take some time to weigh all pros and cons of ending the affair. You may struggle in the beginning. However, as soon as you start writing them down, they will just keep coming.
It’s critical for you to know why you want to end the affair, and you have to be sure about it. Do you love your spouse or was the absence of those beautiful feelings actually the reason you cheated? Did you just flirt with a handsome stranger and it led to this?
What are your reasons for finally stopping all the lying, cheating, and stealing of someone who isn’t yours? Think thoroughly and make a wise and final decision.
3. Find all the flaws your lover has
It’s easier to dislike someone when you emphasize their bad personality traits or some weird habits they have. So try this little trick. Find all the flaws your lover has and remind yourself about those every time you think about him or her.
Maybe they are messy and you like things to be in order. Or perhaps their hygiene is poor sometimes, or they didn’t iron their shirt, and most of the time when you meet, it has a lot of wrinkles.
Even if it’s something you’d otherwise disregard, pay attention to it. Every little detail. This way you’ll be able to mask the good things that are keeping you attached to that person.
4. Talk it through with your lover and end the affair for good
Now that you’ve cleared with yourself that it’s time for the cheating to stop, you have to take one of the most difficult steps. Talk with your soon-to-be-ex-lover and explain that ending the affair is the only choice you have. The only right choice.
Honestly speaking, you wouldn’t be googling this if you were sure that the future you have with your lover is better than what you already have. You wouldn’t even think about a breakup, yet here we are.
Be confident when vocalizing your decision, especially if you’ve been involved with a narcissist. They will have a hard time accepting that things won’t go their way. But you’ll have to firmly stand by your words.
5. Get rid of any reminders of them
It’s the same with “regular” breakups. Get rid of anything that reminds you of the person you’re cutting ties with. Delete all the photos, give them back their things, and return all the gifts they gave you (no matter how cool and useful those are).
The memories you created will be a problem since you cannot simply take them out of your mind and burn them. It doesn’t work that way. You have to be patient and fight the urge to go back to the person you were involved with.
I know it’s no easy task, but you have to be persistent for some time at least, if not permanently.
6. Time for no contact
Cut off all contact with your lover. Block them on your social media. If they keep reaching out to you, block their number, or change yours if you have to. The sooner you stop receiving reminders of your affair, the easier it will be for you to heal.
You have to cut all ties, and that may not be easy depending on who your lover was. If they were a coworker of yours, consider asking to be transferred to another department, because staying in contact with someone you had an affair with is simply a no-go.
When you take a step back and create some distance after ending your affair, sticking to the no-contact rule is much easier. There’s a reason they say “out of sight, out of mind.”
7. Be honest with your spouse about what happened
I assume this is going to be the hardest part and it’s probably the one you’re most afraid of. Even if you weren’t caught cheating, your partner probably still suspects you’ve been having an affair. When you love someone, you simply have a hunch that something is off.
Perhaps you’ve already noticed some signs of their suspicion and that’s why you finally decided that ending the affair is the best thing to do.
It’s now up to you to be completely honest about everything that happened. Talk with your spouse and accept that it’s solely your responsibility. Make sure your loved one doesn’t blame himself/herself. If you’re not really comfortable with talking about what you did, write a letter.
Just do it asap, since waiting may cause a lot more pain and harm than it would in the early stages.
8. Be gentle with yourself
There’s no time for sugarcoating things, it’ll only hurt worse. It’s going to hurt you, your spouse, your lover, your kids (if you have them), and the rest of your family. You’ll go on a rollercoaster of emotions together.
But the important thing is you have to allow yourself to feel.
It’s normal that you’ll miss them. Heck, you may even get jealous when you see your lover with someone new. All you have to do is to focus on your needs and the relationships that you want to save right now. You already made a choice and decided to move on, so it’s time to act on it.
Forgive yourself for making a mistake and be gentle. Don’t think negative thoughts because you’re now making a point to solve things in the best way possible.
Make sure you won’t cheat again, and you’ll overcome this. Because, ultimately, the most important relationship you have in life is the one with yourself.
9. Try to save your marriage
The worst decision has already been made, now it’s the time to try to fix things with your spouse and prove you’ve changed. As we said earlier, be brutally honest with the one you love and face those fears. Nobody loves you as much as the one who chose to spend the rest of their days with you.
Give your partner some time to think about everything that happened and if they decide that you can work through it, make sure you really work for it. You may get a second chance, but don’t bet on a third one.
If the reason you cheated was actually the excitement you felt, bring it into your marriage. Try out different things, go on weekend gateways, and enjoy each other as you did at the beginning of your relationship. Make a point to bring that spark back to life and relive your honeymoon phase.
This mistake you made may actually help you to grow stronger as a couple, but only if you both invest in it properly and take care of each other.
10. It takes time for things to go back to normal
Let’s be real here for a second. It’s not just “ending an affair,” it’s a lot more. Your emotions are messed up, your thoughts were everywhere. You’ve hurt a lot of people around you with what you did. It was selfish and you’ve been reckless. It’s harsh, but it’s the truth.
You finally decided that ending that affair you’ve been in is the right decision. It was not an easy task to admit all of it to yourself, to your lover, and eventually to your spouse. But you did it. Now you have to take it easy and deal with the consequences.
Don’t expect your spouse to act as if nothing happened. They will also need some time to clear things up in their head and heart. The trust they put in you has been broken and they have to learn how to believe your words again.
You have to be ready to work harder than ever to win them over, but don’t be surprised if they decline the offer. Some people just can’t tolerate cheating. So, even if you’ve ended the affair and you were completely honest with them, they can constantly think of that old saying, “cheater, repeater.”
Time and space will definitely be vital for your marriage or long-term relationship to survive. Don’t blackmail the person and, whatever you do, don’t try to play the victim. You did something wrong, so you shouldn’t be mad if your spouse is taking “too long” to think about their next step.
At least they haven’t given up on you yet. Don’t force anything. Instead, accept whatever their decision may be.
EXTRA TIP: Ask for professional help for ending an affair if needed
The last thing that I can advise you is to seek professional help if needed. There are a lot of people who have been through a similar situation, and ending an affair is not easy for anyone. You may go through some dark moments, but I promise you’ll reach the light at the end of that proverbial tunnel.
Consider couple’s counseling if your spouse agrees to it. However, I’d advise you to take some sessions just for yourself first, because that way you’ll be able to talk with the therapist and find the root cause of the problem.
I’m sure there are a lot of therapists out there who can walk you through the recovery phase. This can inevitably strengthen your relationship with your spouse if you decide to continue where you left off.
A side story…
I want to share one thing with you before I wrap up. Recently I heard a true story about cheating. It’s been said that when we find someone to be unfaithful to our spouse, they usually have similar personality traits as the person we married. We all have standards, what can I say.
This story actually proves that. A husband and wife were both tired of their marriage and didn’t open up about it for the fear that they may hurt each other. So, they chose another option – an online affair.
They weren’t fighting for each other, even though they knew something was off. Back in the day, you weren’t able to send photos or exchange any type of multimedia content. The person you were talking/texting with didn’t know what you looked like. Something like these modern textationships, I’d imagine.
That could go on until you’d arrange a date and finally meet with someone who completely understands you and accepts you for who you are. So, that’s what they did.
Both of them arranged meetings with their online lovers and guess what happened once they arrived at the meeting point? They saw each other!
Instead of choosing to solve the problems they had, they both chose to have an affair. But as it turns out, they understood each other the best. Cute and weird at the same time, isn’t it?
A little communication can go long way, so choose your partner every morning when you wake up regardless of what happened the day before. And openly talk about what’s bothering you. If the person who loves you doesn’t understand you, who else will?
Fight for what you already have and if there’s truly no hope for it, rather end the relationship completely. At least you’ll walk out with a clear conscience.
Cheating is a choice and ending an affair is tough, so choose to be faithful – both to yourself and the person you said your vows to. It’s really that simple.