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

Photo: getty
Surviving Infidelity When Your Cheating Spouse Won’t End The Affair
Heartbreak

Surviving infidelity is not easy and if there are trust issues on one partner's side and a refusal to end the affair on the other, moving forward will prove impossible. 

So, if you've discovered your partner cheating and you’re not prepared to let go of your relationship yet, it is important to know what to do if your cheating spouse can't end the affair. 

RELATED: 8 Things You Should Know About Cheaters, According To Science

Relationship problems often contribute to reasons why people cheat. Discovering an affair can be painful and when you try to protect yourself, it can prevent your cheating spouse from letting go of the affair, especially if they turned to the other person to escape problems in your marriage.

Resentment and mistrust can get in the way of surviving infidelity, which can make it difficult for an unfaithful spouse to let go of the affair.  

If your cheating spouse continues any kind of relationship with the other person in the affair, it will destroy any chances of your relationship surviving the affair.

If you want your marriage to continue, then it should be non-negotiable that the affair should discontinue in order to prevent further damage in your relationship. In saying that, this is not always achieved so easily.

For trust and security to be rebuilt, it is essential that the unfaithful spouse take responsibility and end the affair. This is the first stage of dealing with an affair.

If a person who cheated finds reasons to stay in contact with the other person involved in the affair, then they are most likely still holding on to the affair or attached because they have not let go of the affair.

Be careful, though. They can convince you that it is a friendship now or that they are just work colleagues.

If your unfaithful spouse wants to maintain any kind of relationship with the affair, it is likely they haven’t left that relationship and are still holding on to them as a source of security. This can prevent you rebuilding trust in your marriage.

Not letting go of the affair will only distance your partner further from your relationship.

Realistically, how can a person stop having intimate or emotional feelings towards the other person in the affair, if they maintain contact with them? Any attempt to maintain contact is simply a way to protect that relationship because they are not ready to let go of the affair yet.

As a couples therapist, I have seen that it is extremely dangerous to give in to this request, and it will possibly set you up for something you may regret.

You can enable an affair to continue by letting them get away with it, so they know how far they can push the envelope.

RELATED: 13 Subtle Signs Of Cheating You Probably Never Thought Of

If your cheating partner is serious about saving your marriage, he or she will do everything to protect your relationship, not the affair. In order to deal with infidelity, it is essential that you set the conditions of safety to protect your relationship.

If you ask them to give up the affair, they can do it begrudgingly, especially if they’re not ready to give up the affair. This can lead to resentment and anger towards you for making them do something they do not want to do.

If you put your needs on your partner for them to give up the affair because you fear losing them, then it takes their choice out of the equation. They don’t make the decision to leave the affair on their own accord, so they’re less likely to stick to it. It can feel like they’re just trying to appease you so you won’t leave.

If you leave the choice up to your partner to decide if they will stop contact with the other person in the affair, you are putting the ball in their court. They can take free reign and do whatever they like and push the boundary as far as they can to get away with their behavior.

If you ask your partner, they will do what they want, because you’ve put your needs onto them and expect them to do something, instead of taking control over the situation yourself.

What can you do if your unfaithful partner can’t let go of the affair?

If your partner wants to save the marriage, then you can manage the situation to deal with the affair. Take the matter into your own hands.

In order to hold your partner accountable and put the responsibility back on them, you can let them know your boundaries and limits.

For instance, you can say, "I am not prepared to work on this marriage if you stay in contact with the other woman." In this way, you can protect yourself and your relationship, so you have the best chances of surviving infidelity and dealing with an affair.

If your cheating spouse is reluctant to do work within your boundaries or justifies keeping the relationship with the other person in the affair, you have to ask yourself why you would put up with this.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Hey You! Want more of YourTango's best articles, seriously addictive horoscopes and top expert advice? Sign up to get our free daily newsletter!

Why would you put yourself through the pain or agony of knowing that the other person is still in the picture? What risk does this have on your marriage in terms of regaining trust?

If your unfaithful spouse lets go of the affair, it is important to address areas in your relationship that led to the affair in order to rebuild your marriage and seek professional help if the issues cannot get resolved.

Often an affair is a way to escape from unresolved issues within the individual or relationship.

In dealing with an affair, it is easy to protect yourself from the fear of it happening again by monitoring your partner and taking out your anger on them, in order to teach them a lesson. This can worsen the chances of your unfaithful spouse letting go of the affair.

Insecurity and mistrust can prevent the marriage from surviving an affair if the trust is not restored by the unfaithful spouse.

So if you have trust issues, it's time to learn how to trust again. It can be unhelpful to keep bringing up the affair or let anger and resentment take over, once your partner has been open and honest and ended the affair.

However, if lies and dishonesty continue, it reduces the chances of your marriage surviving an affair.

An affair can disrupt your entire world and the ways you protect yourself can prevent your cheating spouse letting go of the affair. Sometimes anger and anxiety can ruin your chances of rebuilding your relationship, especially if your fear of losing your partner takes over. 

Instead of putting your needs for the relationship on your spouse, tell your partner what you are not prepared to put up with, in order to protect yourself and your marriage. In this way, you are setting firm boundaries and limits on their behavior, and they must become accountable to the marriage if they want to save it.

The more you accommodate a person who cheats, the more you leave your destiny in their hands, not yours.

RELATED: How To Know If Your Relationship Can Survive After Cheating

Nancy Carbone is a relationship therapist and has a M Soc Sc (Couns) who helps individuals and couples deal with infidelity and marital affairs. If you are feeling stuck in your relationship contact Nancy at on her website or sign up for her newsletter for free relationship tips.

This article was originally published at https://www.counsellingservicemelbourne.com.au/. Reprinted with permission from the author.