How to End an Affair

Do you know how to end an affair? Much like quitting smoking, trying to end an affair is a time of trial and temptation. Unlike nicotine, an affair is something you should quit cold turkey, rather than easing off. Establishing closure with the affair partner means stopping all forms of contact. This helps prevent a relapse. Even with the best of intentions, you will probably desire his or her company even though you’ve decided to end the affair. You’ll be feeling emotionally vulnerable as you try to work things out with your spouse.

As you end an affair, you might be feeling similar pressure or the feelings of loss that pushed you to begin the affair in the first place. This is why making a clean break of things is so important. If you decide to slowly stop seeing the affair partner, you may feel guilty and cross lines you hadn’t intended to overstep; “we’ll just meet for dinner” turns into a romantic evening in the bedroom. Don’t give temptation the opportunity. Even if you think it is kinder to break up with the affair partner in person, it’s really best to keep your distance.

How you end an affair also matters to how you begin to restore trust in your marriage. This will come slowly, probably very slowly, but cutting off contact with the extramarital partner is an important step to start reestablishing that trust. How you break up with the affair partner is important to demonstrate your commitment both physically and emotionally with your spouse.

Wording that final letter can be very challenging. Read on for a list of pitfalls to avoid and why.

How to end an affair — and make sure it stays ended.

1. Avoid using words like “always.”

Using time-sensitive words like “always” or “right now” leaves the door open to future possibilities. This sends mixed messages to the affair partner and makes it sound like you’re not really and truly ending things between you — just for the time being.

2. Avoid using words like “can’t.”

Words like “can’t” imply that the decision to end the affair was not brought on of your own volition, but that it came about due to unfortunate circumstances. Your wife or husband finding out about your affair is not the reason you should be giving to your affair partner for ending things. Don’t blame your spouse at this critical moment when you should be re-aligning yourself with him or her.

3. Avoid involving the kids.

Saying things along the lines of “I want to stay with my marriage for the sake of my children” actually does more to demonstrate your attachment to the affair partner than your family. This is because what you’re really saying is, “I’d rather be with you, if it weren’t for the kids.”

What to really say to end an affair

1. Anticipate future risks.

Affairs often happen because of temptation and fantasy — and they happen in nearly 45 percent of marriages. State that you will ignore any future attempts to be contacted by the affair partner.

2. Accept responsibility for your actions.

Let the other person know you’re ending the affair because you want to, not because you got caught. You made the decision to recommit to your spouse and your values.

3. Set a firm boundary.

Writing the final note is meant to show that the affair will under no circumstances continue in the future. It may seem harsh, but the “cold water” approach is best for both of you. It allows you to move on quicker and is the surest way to minimize lingering emotions.

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