You have gotten yourself in a big mess. Whether you are the cheating “wayward” spouse or the affair partner, your affair needs to end and you know it, but you can’t quite figure out how to end your affair. Ending your affair feels overwhelming and impossible and a little tiny corner of your brain is saying “Do I really have to?”
The answer to that is a resounding “Yes, you do.” You are hurting many people by continuing your affair, one of whom is yourself. You are better than this. You deserve an honest, nurturing relationship, not this nightmare hell of lies, deceit, guilt and shame you have built for yourself.
How to End Your Affair
To the outside world, ending your affair is an event. For you, it will be a process. Here are the steps to end your affair:
Decide. Now is good. Decide emphatically.
You will be re-deciding this on an hourly, sometimes minute-by-minute, basis for a period of time. Stay emphatic with yourself. You may find this information on personal boundaries helpful.
Identify your support system.
Who is going to help you through this? Your spouse may or may not be on that list. Notify those people of your decision and ask them to give you support and hold you accountable.
Communicate your decision to your affair partner.
Your communication should be clear and unambiguous: “This relationship is over. Do not contact me again.”
Institute no contact.
It is impossible to overstate the importance of establishing and maintaining no contact. Your efforts to end your affair, however Herculean, are doomed to failure if you don’t have a no-contact policy in place.
Deciding to enforce your no-contact policy is the most important decision you will make every day.
There are three types of contact:
• Work: Take whatever steps are available to minimize physical contact with him or her. Talk to HR and ask for a different work space, as yours is too hot/cold/windy/sunny/noisy.
• Home: If your affair partner lives near you, figure out a way to get in and out of your house or apartment without running into him/her.
• School: Drop the class or ask for a transfer to a different section,
• Recreation: Give up the activity for now.
• Email: Block your affair partner’s email addresses.
• Cell phone: Assign your affair partner’s numbers to a name like “Do Not Answer” or “I’m Worth More.” If your cell phone carrier allows for it, block texts from your affair partner’s number.
• Facebook: Block your affair partner on Facebook and other social media.
• Get rid of anything that reminds you of your affair partner. Pictures, emails, gifts – all of it has to go. Anything that might trigger fond memories must be discarded permanently.
• Assign a mental image to your affair partner that you find repulsive, like a three-inch cockroach. Don’t worry about whether that image is fair or not – it’s just a tool.
o Take care of yourself emotionally and physically as best you can. Be alert to signs of depression and seek medical help or counseling.
o Do not decide to divorce at this point. You are not in your right mind – a condition we refer to here as “foggy,” a state caused by the biochemistry of affairs. Don’t decide anything you don’t actually have to decide.
o Enforce your no contact policy as if your affair partner is Hitler at your border.
You may find this information on emotional memory management helpful.
You’ve Ended Your Affair
OK, it’s over. Don’t you feel better? You have done the right thing for you to start healing yourself and your marriage.
There is a lot of stuff you are going to have to address – should I confess? Should I confess what my spouse doesn’t know? How and how much information should I give? If my spouse wants to communicate with my affair partner, how will I handle that? Will my marriage survive this? Should my marriage survive this?
Do not get bogged down in any of that until you are completely certain that your affair is over, as the enormity of it might weaken your resolve.
Rest assured there is plenty of information on this site and people who have walked your path and can help you decide what is best for you and your marriage.
Now get yourself a username, log in, start a thread under SOS, and let us help. This is the best support system you will find — it’s tragic that we know what we know, but the knowledge gained at such a high price is given meaning by helping others.