How to End an Affair – The Right Way

how to end an affair

 

Okay, so you’ve decided (or your spouse has) to get off the fence and break things off with the affair partner. Fantastic! Before you do however, read this article to learn how to end an affair – the right way.

By Doug

Let’s start this off by considering the following brief scenario…

Dan has been in an affair with Sherri for the last 17 months.  After much thought and consideration – not to mention a lot of waffling back and forth between Sherri and his wife, Lisa – he finally decided to end the affair. 

So, on a Friday he went to Lisa and told her he decided to stay and that he wanted to work on their marriage.  He was going to break things off with Sherri permanently later that day after work (they are coworkers).  

Lisa asked Dan how he intended on doing it.  Dan’s response was that he felt he needed to do it in person so that there was no misunderstanding and that there can finally be some closure for he and Sherri.

Lisa wasn’t exactly thrilled with the idea of them meeting one last time in person.  She felt that it should be done by letter or text – short and sweet.  She voiced her displeasure to Dan and of course an argument ensued.

Dan was adamant about doing it his way, and though Lisa was steadfast in her view that he not do it in person, she wound up relenting.  Dan headed off to work.

Later, that evening around 7:00, Dan returned home to Lisa.  It had been a long anxious day for her. 

She immediately asked Dan how it went.  He calmly told her that he ended the affair with Sherri at a park they would often go to near their work. Then he quietly put his work stuff down on the floor and headed down to his basemen ‘man cave.’

The case study above is a representation of similar stories I hear from many, many people during mentoring sessions.  And though it is wonderful that Dan and other wayward spouses make the decision to end their affairs, there is a right way – and a not-so-right way – to do it. (I’m not going to say that there is a wrong way to do it, since it is being done in the first place.  And that’s the important thing.)

 

Featured Download: “The Top 10 Reasons to Leave Your Affair Partner Now”

If you’re the unfaithful, get it, read it and carefully consider the advice. If you’re the betrayed, give it to your unfaithful spouse.

 

What Was Dan’s Big Mistake?

Before we talk about how to end an affair the right way, let’s first touch on what Dan should have done differently.

The main mistake that he made was that he did it in person. The second mistake is that Lisa was not involved in the process.

I can tell you that in my situation, I ended it with a phone call.  I did not do it with Linda present and that was a mistake that caused her undue stress and uncertainty for a long time.   DO NOT repeat my mistake!

Dr. Frank Gunzburg says in How to Survive an Affair:

Do not meet with your lover in person to end the relationship. This never turns out well. Often the lover will try to convince you to continue the relationship or at least have one last sexual encounter. (After all, if the affair wasn’t fulfilling them on some level, they wouldn’t have been involved in it.) In addition, there is no practical way to be honest about this kind of meeting with your partner without arousing suspicion. Because ending suspicion is such an important part of the healing process, a meeting like this can serve no good.”

We often compare an affair relationship to that of an addict or an alcoholic.  Having a relative who works in the addiction rehabilitation field, I know that most addicts and/or alcoholics do one thing before they finally agree to enter a rehabilitation facility – they get stoned or drunk off their ass “one last time.” 

It’s obvious that the affair partners should not be given the opportunity to end their affair in the same manner, and “doing it” one last time.

Also, I’ve talked to many a betrayed spouse who is tormented weeks and months afterwards by the fact that since they were not present, they really do not know what was said at that final face-to-face meeting. 

Did the cheaters promise to love each other forever and if their marriages didn’t succeed, they would get back together?  Did they discuss some master plan for continuing to see each other on the down-low? 

As Dr. Gunzburg suggests, meeting in person to and an affair breeds suspicion and creates a barrier to trust.

 

 

How to End an Affair

Last week I had a conversation as part of the Affair Recovery Movement with David Feder, a therapist in the Toronto area who specializes in treating infidelity.  I wanted to get his perspective on this topic, so I posed this question to him:

“Is there a process you recommend for the person to end their affair the right way?”

Here are the main points that came from that segment of our discussion:

  • The BS needs to know – and be a part of – the ending an affair planning process.
  • It is not a good idea to end the affair in person. Instead, do it by email, letter, or text. (Or, you can choose to not contact the affair partner again at all.)
  • Ending an affair by phone is OK, but the betrayed spouse needs to be on an extension or it needs to be held over speaker phone.
  • This is not a time to unload on the other person. Ending the affair is the only goal.

Here is a sample statement that is respectful, clear and concise that can be made when ending the affair. 

“I can have no further contact with you in person or by social media, or any other means.  Our contact has to end (and must be permanent).  I’ve decided to work on my marriage and stay with my spouse. I hope that you can respect that. If you attempt to contact me I will not respond.”

  • There also needs to be conversation as to what should be done if there are any attempts at further contact by the affair partner, and what the faithful spouse expects the unfaithful spouse to do if this were to occur.
  • The two spouses decide on how the letter to be sent. If by regular mail, it should be done together.  If via email, then send it with both spouses present.
  • Then you block the affair partner’s cell number, unfriend him/her on Facebook and other social media accounts – and go no contact.

You can listen to the rest of the segment of our conversation below.  It’s only about 7 minutes in length. (By the way…Here is the link to David Feder’s website)

 

Keep in mind that the purpose of the final correspondence is primarily to begin to re-establish some semblance of trust with your spouse.  Therefore, the unfaithful partner needs to consider the betrayed partner’s needs in this process above all else.

Some Additional Things to Consider

It is key to understand that not every scenario is cut and dry and that things can turn sideways in a hurry.  This is usually the case when ending the affair is done in person or via the telephone. 

If you are ending the affair in either fashion then it’s likely that you will encounter a myriad of possible reactions and responses by the affair partner.

You may face anger, rage, hysterics, crying, pleading, etc.  You need to consider this in advance and have a plan as to how you are going to react and respond.  This again, would be something you’d want to discuss with your spouse.

In general, you want to make it clear to the affair partner that you are ending the affair permanently and unconditionally. You must make it clear that you will not respond to any attempts at further communication. It is quite possible that you will have to repeat these statements/demands numerous times during your final contact.

Your tone should be firm and matter-of-fact.  Make it business-like.

Keep in mind as well, that if she/he starts to pepper you with questions about why you want to commit to your marriage or how you plan on doing it, you do not need to answer.  Rather, all you need to do is repeat that the affair is over and that you want to make your marriage work.

Since many affairs develop in a work environment and the affair partners continue to work together, you need to set some ground rules as to how things are going to go down should there be continued unintended contact. 

For starters, you must be clear that you cannot – and will not – be friends with them and that you cannot respond to them in your usual way.  In fact, you may come off as being cold and distant whenever there is contact.  (Remember that it might be necessary for you to quit your job or be relocated in some way, as it is best that the no contact rule be withheld.)

Further, make the affair partner aware that being alone with them in any fashion is inappropriate.

Try to end the conversation as fast as humanly possible.  Get to the point and get out of there (or off the phone)!

There.  The affair has ended.

It quite possibly will be a huge weight off of your shoulders. (Then again, you might also feel like crap.)

Often things do not necessarily end there, as the affair partner might try to contact you in some way.  You need to have a plan for that possibility, and it needs to be one that you discuss with your spouse.  You both need to agree on how you are to respond should that happen.

So, there you have it. That’s how to end an affair – the right way.  I intentionally am not addressing all the stuff that happens next with respect to affair withdrawal, healing and recovery, as we have numerous posts already that get into all of that.

Suffice to say, the hard work will now begin.  So go and do what you need to do!

Please feel free to share your experiences in the comment section.  Thanks!

 

 

Photos:

Ricardo Liberato
Adam Kuśmierz

 

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17 Responses to How to End an Affair – The Right Way

  1. Tom November 6, 2018 at 6:16 pm #

    My CS simply blocked his number on her phone, after a 3 year EA. But she hasn’t given me access to her computer or phone. Should I insist? Or ignore it and continue to recover myself?

    • Doug November 7, 2018 at 5:30 am #

      Hey Tom, Yes I would insist. Transparency is vital as it helps to rebuild trust. In the meantime, keep working on your own recovery.

      • Tom November 11, 2018 at 9:03 am #

        Thanks, Doug. After all the research I’ve been doing I guess I knew that was the right answer. Just needed some confirmation. Keep up the life changing work. This is a growing insidious danger that is not very well known yet. That makes it more dangerous as folks fall into that emotional addictive trap unknowingly and unwittingly and suddenly their lives explode. Not to mention those lives that are connected to them. STAY STRONG!

    • Hopeful November 7, 2018 at 12:24 pm #

      I agree. I know in this day and age people are so protective of their privacy. My therapist said my husband lost all of those freedoms and rights when he cheated on me. He threw that away. Now it is whatever I need to feel safe otherwise trust can never be established. My husband goes by the rule that anything he says, does, texts, types, emails etc… should be something I or our kids could see. 100% transparency and authenticity.

      The flip side to this is with technology if someone wants to hide it and find a way to cheat I think they can. It is easier than ever with hidden apps, burner phones, easy access to free emails.

      Personally I had all passwords to phone, emails, bank and credit card accounts. There was some comfort in that. Over time once I felt okay the last thing I wanted to do was check. It was a process I had to go through though. In the end I told him I am not going to be a private detective in my home or this relationship. It was up to him to do the right thing. But that discussion came with time.

  2. TryingHard November 7, 2018 at 10:26 pm #

    Tom— yes you should absolutely insist on that information. She can’t possibly expect any kind of “privacy” after what has happened.

    So nope nope nope nope. Total transparency. She can’t do that? It’s a deal breaker. She’s pushing your boundaries. What do you have to lose by implementing boundaries? People that have nothing to hide, hide nothing. My h can look all he wants at my social media accounts, email, text, phone etc. that’s how it works

  3. Exercisegrace November 8, 2018 at 8:13 am #

    The right way to end an affair is however your betrayed spouse TELLS you to end it. If you have a spouse willing to forgive and work on the marriage, you have to be willing to do things their way. Because following your own way led you down a disastrous path. I was “lucky” and my husband’s affair had been over for a year by the time d-day happened.

    Here’s my side note, and it doesn’t apply to everyone. Ending an affair can put your family in danger. Someone who is willing to cheat has shown their character, and there can be an even darker side than the obvious.
    My husband’s affair partner made our lives a living hell. She stalked and harassed me and our two older kids (teenagers) on social media, we dealt with anonymous death threats, she hired an attorney, made wild grossly untrue accusations and tried to ruin us in any and every way you can imagine. We had to alert the kids’ school because she infiltrated private social media groups under a false name, and we were terrified that she knew where our kids were and what they were doing with school, sports and church groups. There can be a much darker side to affairs, and we have lived it. The AP should get ZERO consideration at the end. After all, they gave you and your children none during the affair.

    • Hopeful November 8, 2018 at 3:18 pm #

      Exercisegrace, That is horrific. I know for me anything I was going through did not matter as long as my kids were protected through all of this. I did have some stress and still do at some times since one of the ow is friends with some of the parents of one of our kids best friends. Luckily they are not close but I hate that photos get posted and I know she could see those. But not even the same as what you are saying.

      Both ow reached out to my husband at one point for a legitimate reason. He showed me right away. I wanted to have us say something to them. He felt that he should block them and say nothing. One then had a friend contact him. We blocked that number. His take was we should avoid engaging in every single way with them since who knows what they will say or do. And he admitted who knows what their narrative is or they would be willing to say or do anything. These women are/were sketchy. I trusted him with this aspect to not engage with them. For us it has been the right decision. They have faded into the background.

      Great advice and I hope you and your family are safe now.

  4. Soul Mate November 9, 2018 at 2:42 pm #

    I can say with much relief that my H told his AP the very next day after DDay. I guess you could say that from the very start I did everything wrong as compared to all of the professional advice that is given.

    The moment that I was able to confirm my worst fears and was able to track down who she was I called her right away. Before even talking to my H and telling him that I knew who she was. She answered the phone, I told her who I was and me being a straight forward person with absolutely no fear of stating what’s on my mind asked her if she was screwing my H. Of course she denied it and said she “missed her friend” and that he would never do anything like that. That he loved me and his family and talked about us all of the time. Well I told her that he was NOT her friend but my husband and if she valued her lifestyle, her job and her physical appearance she had better crawl back into the sludge hole she came from and stay away from anything that belongs to me! We hung up and she called me back crying and begging me not to report her to her superiors at her job. It “was the only thing she had” since she is a single woman who gave up the only child she ever had for adoption. (Funny how the only thing she was worried about was her own livelihood and not my H). This woman has a TS clearance and is a case manager who works in a federal position reading others background investigations and granting them high level clearances. I told her she should have thought of that before she took advantage of her position to seduce my H and cause him to lose his job and possibly his family. Still she adamantly stated there was no sex involved and they were “just friends”.

    Then I went home from work and confronted my husband. He adamantly expressed his love for me, told me she meant nothing to him, that he always loved me and never wanted to leave and the next morning he took it upon himself and took me into our office picked up the phone and conference d her in and told her straight up to never contact him in anyway ever again. That I was present listening. That it was over and he was sorry and he hung up the phone. The End.

    What I’ve found going through this absolutely disgusting experience is that there is no room for being nice, complacent or neutral. And there is no one that can make a person stay in a marriage that they want to leave. With that being said, I gave my H an ultimatum (her or me) and he chose me and our family without hesitation and I’ve accepted that and will honor my marriage by treating my H like a man. And expecting him to live by his word and his commitments. If he cannot do that, then our marriage would have been over at that very moment, as I expect him to also respect me moving froward as he has most certainly done and still is.

    As far as the parasite goes, I warned her. I texted her a few times and warned her again. Then I wrote her a nice long email and reminded her again 5 months later. That was the last time I reminded her and now I’ve let it go and am working on my marriage and healing our family. I have no problem being the crazy wife that would get revenge in anyway I can. None! Bunny Boiler be Damned!

  5. Exercisegrace November 11, 2018 at 11:24 pm #

    Thanks Hopeful! It actually got much, much worse. I just am cautious about being too specific, and her identifying me online. She is a true psycho. Do the parents of your kids’ friends know what happened? Maybe that would make them more cautious about posting things she could see. It is truly awful the situation our husbands have placed us in. It never really ends. I’d love to say I think the OW will never bother us again, but I still look over my shoulder.

    • Hopeful November 12, 2018 at 12:19 am #

      I am so sorry and yes your case sounds much worse. I can understand being extremely cautious. Someone like that would troll around finding a way to get at you and hurt you. It is disgusting that these people exist and target people who do not deserve it in any way.

      For us no one else knows. Well unless the ow have told people. My husband hid it from anyone since he was so embarrassed. I do not get the impression that these parents know. We have had some other “scares” where one of the ow has started working with someone I am close to recently. And this person has very few FB friends. I am not on FB much, I try to limit my time due to the affairs, but I was on one day and one of the ow kept popping up as a suggested new friend. I figured it out quickly this person who posts and comments on my page often works with her now. Ugh. So far no worries. I did tell my husband once I figured it out. He felt horrible but we created a plan for both of us if we were to be in the same place as her. He doubts she would be confrontational. We are lucky with that so far. I think the benefit is the least crazy of the two ow that lives closest to us seems to want to live a normal life. My husband does not think she will want to say what she did either. But one never knows.

      Then I still often think about the health implications. As we have discussed on here using protection does not guarantee not transferring any diseases etc. I try to stay positive. When my husband was initially saying he is clean and everything is fine etc with some crazy mentality about it all I laid into him and said it is on him if the mother of his kids dies from cancer due to him having sex with these ow. Well that set in and since then he has realized what he did. It was like I verbally needed to shake some sense and reason into him.

      Are you able to relocate at all? Or is she the kind of crazy that would track you down? I have even wanted to relocate and have a clean slate with no bad memories.

  6. Chumpedagain November 13, 2018 at 6:32 am #

    Need some advice. I’m on Dday 3. My hubby says he loves only me and doesn’t want a divorce. I told him it was her or me. He says he wants to work on our marriag. My prob is he wants to stay friends with her on fb. He says they have been friends for a long time. Obviosuly I said absolutely not. No contact whatsoever. This has become a sticking point in our reconciliation. He insists he gives me 98-99 % of all he has and all of him. And that 1-2% of being friends with her is all I harp about. He asked me why I can’t just be happy with what he has to offer. He asked why I Obsess over the 1-2% Obviously I told him I deserve 100. But other then that , what can I say to him? I do only think about that occasional 2%. I’m obsessed with it. What comeback can I use.

    • Hopeful November 13, 2018 at 4:00 pm #

      So sorry! I agree with the others. I think it has to be no contact. For me that was a non negotiable. It is 100% in. If he sees it this way he does not understand what he is doing and what he has done to the marriage. Even if there was no physical affair I think many times an emotional one is worse. I think at the core of any relationship or marriage is trust and there is no way to trust him. For us after dday boundaries were very specific. No contact with ow, if they contact you then I need to be told and we decide together what to do, if any other women have contact with you I need to be told, call me on your way to work, way home and at lunch, if you want to go out to play golf, watch a game we need to talk about it in person first. Then I need to know who, what, where, when and why. If any plans change I need to be called not texted immediately. I have all passwords and codes for phones, accounts, banks, credit cards etc. Then there were a set of expectations for around the house and kids. Everything changed. The way we had been operating with me 100% was gone, as my therapist said he threw that away and gave it all up.

      I also will say I think if someone is cheating they are probably cutting corners elsewhere. My husband was selfish and entitled so he did whatever he wanted and he admitted he never thought about us once when making a decision he only thought about what he wanted to do. I think there is a lot more work to do. I would suggest if he will not go to therapy with you to start at least you go. That way you will get support and understanding of what to do and say to tackle these issues.

  7. Exercisegrace November 13, 2018 at 10:01 am #

    You don’t need a comeback, you need boundaries. It isn’t your job to convince him to give up the affair partner. He isn’t “all in” with your marriage, and he’s making that clear. He’s just trying to gaslight you into thinking this should be OK and it isn’t.

    He is the one who cheated. You are the one who sets the boundaries for reconciliation. In my book? If there is still contact with the affair partner then the affair hasn’t ended yet. Ultimately we each have to understand our “deal breakers”. You can’t heal from a situation that is still ongoing. He is cake-eating. He wants all the benefits of being married to you, AND he wants all the benefits of having an affair partner.

  8. Soul mate November 13, 2018 at 10:10 am #

    Wow, chumpedagain, that would be an aweful situation I know I absolutely would refuse to live with. Friend or no friend, it would be me or the door and the parasite would have a very irate wife on her hands that would expose her. Everyone situation is not the same however.

    Maybe you could explain to your H that as long he considers her a priority, you will never heal and restoring trust is impossible. What’s more important? His friendship or your marriage? I asked my husband if monogamy was what he wanted. He said absolutely. So I told him to walk the walk. I’m not a door mat.

    Peace

  9. TryingHard November 15, 2018 at 9:00 am #

    Hi Hopeful—. Heads up here. No in fact you are getting a suggested friend request of her from FB because the OW has looked at your page. She’s FB stalking you. Happens a lot. The friend suggestion has nothing to do with you being a friend of a common friend with her. Unless you’ve gone to her page and stalked her. That’s how the FB friend suggestion works.

    Just thought I’d let you know

    • KeptinDark December 7, 2018 at 9:19 pm #

      Not necessarily, I stalk the OM page frequently to see when he is ever coming back to our town so I can have an unfriendly chat with him and he never appears as a possible friend, even using our joint page which is under the wife’s HS where he went.

  10. TryingHard November 15, 2018 at 9:03 am #

    Chomped— no he has to defriend and block her. Matter of fact Hopeful you should def block the OW in your privacy settings. Then she doesn’t ever pop up

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