How To End To An Affair In 7 Steps

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How To End An Affair

You aren't quite sure how you got yourself into the affair, and even less sure about how to end an affair. You feel intense emotions for your lover, but even as you tell yourself that everything is going to be wonderful, deep within a small voice says that it will not be.

When together with your lover, you feel an amazing blending of ecstasy and peace. When alone, you feel guilt-ridden.

Sadness and shame surface sporadically because you haven't defeated your feelings of guilt about what you're doing. Instead, your own morality and integrity have tunneled deep inside you to war with your soul.

Your conscience wants to end the affair while your heart finds incredible fulfillment in the illicit relationship.

RELATED: How To Stop Being His Mistress And Finally Walk Away From Your Affair With A Married Man

Earlier, you tried a few times to end the affair, but each time your willpower faded and your emotions dragged you back. You felt responsible for your lover; you feared that they would be decimated, or get sick, or lose everything if you went away.

At times, you feared that if you ended the relationship, your lover would be so distraught that they might destroy you, your reputation, your family, or your finances. Though you wanted to do the right thing, ending the relationship was too difficult emotionally, mentally, or physically. 

You may feel great love and trust for your secret partner, but deep within there is fear.

You fear the future without your lover. You fear your future with your lover. You fear losing your children. You fear what you're becoming, and fear that you will never again be who you were.

You fear that if you do not end the affair, you will lose connection with certain family members and friends. In contrast, you fear that if you end the affair, you will never feel this level of deep love ever again.

You fear that this is your one chance in life to have what others may only dream of, and that opportunity will never come a second time. You fear that if you abandon your lover, another person will come into their life and have all the happiness that could have been yours.

During all the indecisiveness, one thing remains constant: the affair. How is this going to end? What will your future be?

Any person’s life potentially has myriad paths and possibilities. However, it's likely that your future has one of three possibilities:

  1. You will continue in your ambivalent state until someone else makes the decision that will set the path for the rest of your life.
  2. You will commit to a relationship with your lover and trade your current life for one with him or her.
  3. You will end the affair in time possibly to restore your life as it was.

If you continue indecisively, eventually something will happen. Sometimes affairs go on for years, but that is rare, and they never go on forever.

The greatest likelihood is your affair will be discovered.

RELATED: 8 Ways To Stop Yourself From Cheating (Even If You Really Want To)

No matter how careful or cautious, you or your lover will make a mistake. A forgotten text, a mislaid note, a suspicious sighting of the two of you together, or a thousand other things can happen. When that occurs, you will have no control over what happens next.

If you're married, or if your lover is married, hurt spouses will take charge. Friends, family, and acquaintances will enter the fray, each with their own opinion about what you have done and what should be done to you.

Though you may believe that if that were to happen, it would be better than the situation you now have, it will not be. You may well lose your fortune, your family, your reputation, your friends, and your self-respect. 

You may think that people who love you now will love you just as much if they discover your affair. Prepare to be let down.

In an affair, at least one of the lovers is in a committed relationship with someone else, such as a spouse or fiancé. Therefore, an affair is illicit because it violates an existing relationship.

Ending your existing relationship to be with your lover means betraying the promises and commitments you made to your current partner. Or, your lover betraying promises and commitments to their partner.

In time, you will learn that the new relationship is not as perfect, wonderful, or fulfilling as you had imagined. Every relationship brings its own set of problems and miseries.

If you're similar to most, when you finally face all that you lost to have a committed relationship with your lover, the stresses and difficulties that normally attend that relationship will be magnified by your sense of what it cost you emotionally, financially, spiritually, and physically.

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There is a reason that those who divorce their spouses to marry a lover have a much, much higher rate of divorce. Sadly, each one of them thought they were going to be the exception.

There is great value in living consistently with your beliefs and values. It isn’t always easy — actually, it may at times be quite difficult — but the consequences make it worthwhile.

Thinking about staying in your current marriage or relationship may be painful, but most of that has to do with your having rewritten history. Nearly everyone in an affair does.

You’ve mentally exacerbated the bad times and faded the good ones. You’ve misplaced the memories of the happiness you’ve had together and enthroned the nastiness. However, your mind is playing tricks on you to make your current actions doable.

The spouse or partner you may be vilifying now can be the one you love more than any other, but that can only happen if you choose to end the affair and do the right thing.

If you end the affair now, you may well have a chance to save your marriage or current relationship. Actually, not just to save it but to make it better.

Here's how to end an affair, in 7 steps.

If it were everything that it should be, you likely would not have entered the affair. However, all that can be overcome and you can build a relationship that will be better than you ever imagined.

Step 1. Make a firm decision that you are ending it.

If there is anyone you trust, tell that person what you're doing and that you have decided to end it. Let them become your support, your encourager, and, if necessary, your courage.

Step 2. End the affair — now.

Do not put it off because of a special day coming up, or to find a better situation, or to make it easier on your lover, or any other reason. Hesitation devastates. Act now.

Step 3. Tell your lover that it's over.

Whether you do it face-to-face or by a handwritten letter, don't go into explanations. Don't talk it over with your lover. Don't express love, loyalty, or longing. Make it quick, to the point, and without discussion. Sound harsh if need be.

Any other approach will cause your lover to maintain hope that you will change your mind, and that is the cruelest thing you can do. End it quickly and sharply and then end all contact. That is an act of caring and love.

RELATED: How To Cope With The Ending Of A Secret Affair

Step 4. Tell your current partner.

Tell your partner that you have been unfaithful, that it's over, and that you wish to make your relationship work. There are situations where this is not wise, but most often, it is. Use the following three criteria to decide:

  • Confess if your current partner has ever asked about the affair and you lied.
  • Confess if your partner has any possible way of discovering your affair. (As much as it will hurt to hear it from you, it will hurt much worse to hear it from someone else.)
  • Confess if you have emotions that potentially will keep you from developing closeness with your partner. If you feel guilt, shame, regret, fear, anger, resentment, or anything else that negatively affects your relationship with your current partner, they have the right to know what it is and why it exists.

Step 5. Have no further contact with your former lover.

Do whatever you need to do to make it impossible for the two of you to communicate. Change cell phone numbers. Remove Facebook friends. Change email addresses. If necessary, change jobs. In extreme situations, change cities.

Further contact will very likely lead to more involvement. That hurts everyone.

Now that you have made the decision and are doing the right thing, do not allow yourself to fall into any situation to hurt anyone again. Not your spouse, partner, children, family, church, or your former lover.

Step 6. Seek the right help to make your current relationship better.

If it were all that it needed to be, you probably would not have had the affair. This is not to blame your spouse/partner, or to blame you. No blame is needed. There is a weakness and that needs to be rectified.

Seek a counselor, a mentor couple, or an intense workshop that will help both of you to:

  • Understand how the affair happened
  • Repair your relationship
  • Facilitate forgiveness
  • Develop a great future together

Step 7. Help others who are in affairs.

When you heal your marriage or relationship, you will be in a unique position to help others struggling to end their affairs. You will not have to seek them out; they will instinctively find you.

When they do, guide them through making the right decision and following through with the right steps.

RELATED: What To Do If Your Cheating Spouse Refuses To End The Affair

Joe Beam is an internationally-respected marriage and relationship expert, inspirational speaker and best-selling author. He founded LovePath International, an organization that provides marriage help to hurting couples, and serves as its president.