There are a ton of articles circulating around the net about how to stop an affair. I obviously can’t say that my research has led me to read all of them, but I feel that I found a very powerful tactic that might be something to consider for those of you who are facing this issue. The tactic is…Exposure.
The more Linda and I read the stories from betrayed spouses of how difficult a time they are having while their cheating spouses continue to carry on their affairs, the more we lean toward ‘tough love’ type tactics. And the tactics that Harley recommends are probably the toughest we’ve seen.
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.
Please note: Exposure is a very powerful tactic and should be considered very carefully before acting upon it. It is not going to be appropriate in all situations and there could be consequences that need to be thought through in advance.
Since affairs thrive on secrecy, Harley believes that exposure is your most powerful weapon against them. Exposure is certainly no guarantee, but Harley believes it is your best bet at killing the affair and making it possible to save your marriage.
Harley adds that exposure will make your spouse furious, but the ultimate goal is to save your marriage and not to avoid your cheating spouse’s anger at all cost. Harley believes your marriage can survive the cheater’s temporary anger, though it cannot survive an ongoing affair.
“Exposure is very likely to end the affair, lifting the fog that has overcome the unfaithful spouse, helping him or her become truly repentant and willing to put energy and effort into a full marital recovery.In my experience with thousands of couples who struggle with the fallout of infidelity, exposure has been the single most important first step toward recovery. It not only helps end the affair, but it also provides support to the betrayed spouse, giving him or her stamina to hold out for ultimate recovery.”
How to Stop an Affair by Exposing It
Here is an excerpt written by Dr. Harley that explains the exposure process:
The reason for the wide exposure is not to hurt the unfaithful spouse, but rather to end the fantasy. Your spouse’s secret second life made his affair possible, and the more you can do to make it public, the easier it is for him to see the damage he’s doing. Keeping it secret does damage, but few know about it. Making it public helps everyone, including the unfaithful spouse and lover, see the affair for what it really is.
You should target the parents of all concerned, family, close friends, children of the affair partner, workplace (if a workplace affair), spouse of the affair partner, pastor, Facebook friends of the affair partner.
Exposure should be done immediately. The longer you wait, the more entrenched the affair becomes. There is never any “perfect” time to expose, so don’t delay while looking for an imaginary perfect time.
Expose on the SAME DAY – or as close as possible – in order to achieve a tsunami effect. The “affairees” should be completely taken by surprise. Doing this creates a powerful hit on the affair and prevents the “affairees” from pre-empting you.
Spouse of affair partner– Give your full name, phone # and email address. Tell the other betrayed spouse (BS) all about the affair and offer to share all evidence with him/her. Offer to follow up to ensure that contact is truly ended and ask the other BS to do the same. The other BS will be shocked when you tell him, so be sure and give your email address and phone # for follow up questions. ALWAYS GIVE THE OTHER BS YOUR WAYWARD SPOUSE’S PHONE # IN CASE HE/SHE WANTS TO CALL.
Parents, close family, friends – Tell them about the affair, giving them names, general timelines, etc. Explain you are attempting to save your marriage and would be willing to forgive your spouse if he/she ended the affair. Ask them to use their influence to persuade the wayward spouse (WS) to end her affair. A way to save time is to call both sets of parents and send an email to the other close family and friends. (Template letter posted below.)
Parents of affair partner. Give your full name and explain why you are calling. Ask them to use their influence with their son/daughter to persuade them to leave your spouse alone. It might also help if the PARENT of the WS calls them too.
Workplace exposure: Expose to Director of Human Resources, a key VP and both of the “affairee’s” supervisors using the template letter posted below.
Facebook exposure: Should be done to the affair partner’s Facebook friends via private message. This is a very, very effective exposure because it is a collection of the affair partner’s closest friends and family. SPACE THE PM’S OUT 60 SECONDS APART SO FACEBOOK DOES NOT SHUT YOU DOWN FOR FLOODING. Before you begin, copy and paste all the contacts into a WORD doc. Change your Facebook picture to a picture of you and your spouse and children. (Template letters posted below.)
Expect your spouse to be FURIOUS and to make all manner of threats, “I was going to work on the marriage, now I am not!!” “I cannot trust you” “You have to pack and leave!!” “You have ruined any chance you had!!” Do not let this bother you!! Just imagine that you have taken the crack pipe away from the crack head. Of course they are angry. But it will blow over. Don’t laugh, don’t fight, don’t attempt to reason with them, and most of all, don’t be SCARED! Your marriage can survive some temporary anger but it cannot survive an ongoing affair! The madder your WS, the harder you hit the target!
The goal is to save your marriage, NOT to avoid your wayward spouse’s anger at all costs.
Just say, “I am so sorry you are upset.. Can I get you a potato chip?”
Common Exposure Mistakes
Not owning it. A common mistake is telling the WS that you got the idea to expose on the internet or some other place rather than taking ownership of your actions. Then the discussion becomes “Who???” When the WS is told where you got it, the WS is forever jaundiced against the source, which harms future recovery chances. You need to OWN IT. Saying somebody told you to do it does not work for 5 year olds and it won’t work for you!
Keeping exposure a secret. Yes, you read right. But we have had exposure targets say “Okay, I will keep this a secret!!” And they never tell the WS they know. That defeats the entire purpose. If that person won’t help you by speaking to your WS, at least TELL the WS that person knows.
Doing trickle exposures. Meaning exposing to just a few people but not to everyone that could have an influence. Trickle exposures are a disaster because they are not enough to kill the affair but just enough to infuriate the WS enough to come after the BS. So the exposure essentially only served to beat down the already beaten BS for no benefit.
Eliminating exposure targets. You may think that a person “has no influence over my WS” even though this is a person with long history over the WS. Such as a mother or father. Such targets cannot be dismissed on such a subjective basis because the BS CANNOT PREDICT WHO WILL OR WON’T HAVE AN INFLUENCE OVER THE WS. Sorry, but unless you are psychic and your name is Madame Cleo, you don’t know. Many WS are estranged from a parent, sibling, pastor but that is not a knock out factor.
Threatening to expose. Using exposure as a threat only serves to forewarn the “affairees” and cause them to go further underground. All you have achieved is to give the enemy your battle plan so they can come back and kick your rear tomorrow. It also gives them an opportunity to pre-empt you and tell others you are “crazy jealous”. Then when you do expose no one will take you seriously. Threatening to expose is the equivalent of giving your battle plan to the enemy. Don’t do that!
Deleting or throwing away evidence after the affair is killed. DO NOT DO THIS! You will need this in case the affair starts up again or if you get divorced. Yes, we know you don’t want to be triggered. Fine. Then bag up the evidence and put it somewhere for safekeeping. Do not throw it away!
This is some seriously powerful and potentially explosive stuff! I know that if Linda would have done such a thing, I would have been pissed off to no end – probably due to shame and embarrassment more than anything. At the same time, I’m certain it would have blown up my emotional affair very quickly.
I suppose that there is always the chance that a tactic such as this could only propel the affair partners closer together, but Dr. Harley claims to have a high success rate when exposing an affair using the above guidelines.
Sample Exposure Letter Templates
I also wanted to give you some sample letter templates that might be helpful. Use them as a guide and tailor them to your individual circumstance.
Exposure letter to friends and family:
Dear friends and family,
I am writing you this message because you are an important person in the lives of _____ and I. As some of you know, _____ has recently asked me for a separation, which has shattered my heart. To my shock, I am saddened to have discovered that the reason is because she has been carrying on an affair with a old boyfriend named __________ who resides in ______. He is also married and has young children. The purpose of the separation is so that she can carry on her affair without my interference.
She refuses to end the affair however, I want our marriage to recover from this affair. If you have any influence on her, please do what you can to get her to stop this dangerous affair. I want to stay married, but the affair must end.
As our friends and family, I am asking that you use your influence with ______ to persuade her to end her affair and try to work on our marriage. Our marriage can be salvaged if she would only end the affair. Please support her in doing the right thing. Please support our marriage.
I would so appreciate your support and prayers.
Facebook exposure letters to affair partner’s contacts:
Dear friend of JoeScumbag:
It grieves me to write this letter but I believe all of his friends should know the kind of person he really is. Joe had an affair with my wife, Sally, from Aug until September. I believe that his friends should know this so you can protect your marriage from him. My wife and I have 2 small daughters and this affair has almost wrecked our marriage.
I would be happy to provide the evidence to anyone who asks.
I would appreciate it if someone would notify his parents and ask them to call me at xxx-www-xxxx.
Dear friend of Skankyhola,
It grieves me to write this letter but I believe all of her friends should be aware that _____ is having an affair with my husband, Joe. We have been married for 5 years. They have been having this affair since October according to the evidence.
I would be happy to provide the evidence to anyone who asks.
I would ask that you use your influence with _____ to persuade her to leave my husband alone. You should also watch your own husbands around her because she is no friend to marriage.
I would appreciate it if someone would notify her parents and ask them to call me at xxx-www-xxxx.
Workplace exposure letter :
Note – be sure and send to 3 key people and CC each on the letter. Good targets would be the Director of Human Resources, a key VP and both affairee’s supervisor. This can be sent via registered letter or even via email.
(This letter was allegedly developed by a corporate attorney)
To Whom It May Concern:
This letter is to bring a matter to your attention that may be a violation of your Company’s Code of Conduct and/or other policies, procedures and business ethics.
_____ and _____ are involved in an extramarital affair that is taking place, primarily, in the workplace. Aside from the potential sexual harassment claims this situation presents, it also involves the inappropriate use of company resources and assets. _____ and _____ are using company time and company resources to further their affair. If you check the call histories on their office and cell phones along with their workstation computers, you will find the two of them are spending an inordinate amount of what should be productive work time to further their sexual relationship.
If you have any questions, please call me at xxx-xxxx. Otherwise, I will anticipate a response from you once you have investigated these concerns and taken appropriate corrective action.
Ending the affair letter:
_______, I want you to know that out of respect and love for my wife and children, I have come to realize that I must never see or talk to you again. My relationship with you was a cruel indulgence that _____ did not deserve.
While I cannot completely repay _____ (BS) for the pain I caused her, I will do my best to become the husband she has been missing. I care a great deal for my family and I would not want to do anything to risk their happiness.
I will not make any further contact with you and I do not want you to make any contact with me. Please respect my desire to end our relationship.
OK, so what do you guys think? If you’ve been agonizing over how to stop an affair, does this seem like something you would try? We would also be curious to hear from any of you who have done this – or at least something similar – and what your experiences were.
The Cheater Must Become the Healer
“The Unfaithful Person's Guide to Helping Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair”
If you want to discover the 24 healing ‘tasks’ that the unfaithful spouse needs to carry out, then you should check this program out now.