Because one question people often ask:
‘is it okay to keep my affair partner as a friend?’
Many people try to stay friends with their affair partners, after they’ve broken off the affair.
The statement ‘…but we can still be friends’ has probably followed more break-up speeches, than any other in existence.
It sounds nice in theory, but is it really possible to remain friends with your affair partner, after you’ve ended the affair?
As you might guess, my answer is absolutely not! But let’s dive into a few top reasons why I believe it’s disastrous.
“Breaking up with your affair partner” series.
Part 1: 11 lies that sabotage your affair break up.
Part 2: Proven advice for breaking up with affair partner.
Part 3: Sample good bye letter to affair partner
>Part 4: 6 simple reasons staying friends after your affair is disastrous
Part 5: What No Contact With Affair Partner Means.
6 reasons not to keep your affair partner as a friend.
1. Your best efforts didn’t keep you out of the affair in the first place.
This is not to sound harsh, because I’ve been there too, remember. But it’s a truth worth speaking to.
You and I made vows to be faithful and true to our spouses on our wedding day.
If you’re like me, you likely meant that with your whole heart.
We never imagine we’d end up being unfaithful.
But for whatever reason, at that point in time, it happened and we crossed the line.
Why then would it seem possible to NOT get entangled back into the affair again,
since your best efforts to resist didn’t work out the first time?
It’s self-deception at it’s prime, to think you’ll suddenly be able to resist the temptation now.
Even when you really believe you want it to be over.
Keeping a friendship with your affair partner keeps the possibility for the affair to start up again.
It happens all the time.
2. Remaining friends with him hinders any chance of rebuilding your marriage.
Your marriage stands no chance of working, as long as the affair partner is in your life in any way.
It’s hard enough healing a marriage after infidelity,
but staying ‘friends’ with after an affair with your affair partner will make it impossible.
You’ll always be distracted by his influence in your life, still whether you want to admit that or not.
Also, comparing him to your husband will be an ongoing battle in your mind as long as he is around.
And your heart will remain torn and divided while the AP is in your life, even if you try to remain ‘just friends’.
Your husband also needs to see and know that you choose HIM and not the other man.
This is especially true in betrayed husbands as their wife’s affair jolts their manhood unlike anything else can.
Choosing to remain friends with your affair partner sends a clear message to your husband that he really wasn’t enough.
He’ll continue to internalize the belief that you won’t choose him when things get tough.
see also, healing your marriage after infidelity.
3. Your husband can’t heal, or trust you, as long as the AP is still in your life.
Similar to the last one, but this is specifically about your husbands healing and his trust in you.
It’s important to understand the trauma a betrayed spouse goes through when they learn the one person they
trusted more than anyone, has been unfaithful to them. (This is the same whether they’re a betrayed husband OR wife).
That trauma takes time and effort to heal and trust doesn’t occur overnight.
When your husband learns you’re trying to ‘remain friends’ with this person, who played a part in the reason for
his trauma, his anxiety will only increase in a hyper alert state every day while you’re still in contact with the AP.
It doesn’t matter what words you say to try to reassure him that you’re being faithful and committed now.
As long as he knows you’re still talking to your affair partner, he’ll always be worried the affair will resume….
and he’d be correct in that concern. Just as you would, if the roles were reversed.
Read, 5 ways to help your husband heal after your infidelity.
4. Insisting you can ‘remain friends’ only reveals a hardness in your heart.
I know you may have been good friends before the affair, and you want that back again,
without all the drama the affair caused.
But the reality is, it’ll never be as it was once that line was crossed.
It just can’t.
When we insist on getting our way, and argue that ‘we can handle it’ ( in spite of overwhelming evidence to the
contrary), it only reveals a stubborn hardness in our hearts that’s unwilling to humbly accept another way.
I get it, I also defended my ‘right’ to have ‘him’ as a friend. I insisted I could handle having a close friendship
with the opposite sex, but deep down in my heart I knew I couldn’t.
I knew it had become out of control, if only in my thoughts (this was before the actual affair even occurred).
It was obvious to everyone else that I was in dangerous territory, but I didn’t want to admit it.
Why? Frankly, a hardness of heart and wanting my own way.
What about you? Really examine your heart and motives for WHY you want to stay friends with him.
You might also be interested in reading: What do you want your life to be?
5. Healing your heart only occurs when you see your worth apart from him.
There’s a healing within our own souls and spirit
that needs to occur after our infidelity, which many people don’t acknowledge.
The effects of the affair likely left you torn up inside, to some degree or another.
You can’t betray your own values and beliefs without that soul disconnect and pain;
no matter the reasons you gave to justify it.
Yet how many of us, otherwise very strong women, felt we needed the validation and approval of a man to feel valued and special?
Sweet friend, you’ll never heal your hurting soul, as long as you cling to someone else-especially if that someone
came through an affair.
It’s just not going to happen, no matter how much your brain argues with me that you felt great and loved.
Sure, some part of you felt alive and wonderful, but it was a temporary facade and a coverup
of what you were really longing for within.
You’ll never find out what that ‘longing’ was, as long as you’re covering up your feelings (especially with the man
who didn’t have too much trouble allowing it).
You are strong and valuable- apart from him.
As long as you convince yourself you still need him in your life- even as just a friend-
you’ll never fully heal and find that woman within you that you’re meant to be.
6. Staying friends keeps you from letting go of the relationship.
If remaining friends after normal break ups seems impossible to do,
how much more when it’s been an adulterous relationship?
The reality is, it’s usually not done successfully in regular relationships.
(except maybe ‘TV relationships’….Jerry and Elaine in Seinfeld anyone?)
But an affair is a whole other animal, and the addictive nature of affairs already makes it very hard to let go.
Add in a false belief that you can go back to being ‘just friends’, and you’re setting yourself up for a relapse.
Especially while under any residual effects of what happens in an ‘affair fog’,
because affairs are known for distorting reality.
To truly let go of an affair, and face the truth that your affair partner wasn’t as wonderful as you first imagined,
it’s going to take some time away from him.
You might like to read: 5 reasons why ending an affair is so hard.
Healing your marriage after infidelity.
Let’s review the 6 simple reasons staying friends after an affair is disastrous.
- Your best efforts to remain faithful didn’t stop the affair so don’t be deceived that they will now.
- Remaining friends with your affair partner ruins any chance of rebuilding your marriage.
- The trauma your husband feels from your affair will not heal and trust won’t be restored, if you try to stay friends with AP.
- Stubbornness and hardness of heart insists on it’s own way, even with evidence proving contrary.
- Healing your own soul, and recognizes your worth, can never come from another-especially from an affair.
- Trying to stay friends with an AP will keep you from truly letting go of him, and the affair relationship.Letting go of the ties to your affair partner will be painful at first, no way around it, but if you’re still holding onto the hope you can
‘let go’ of the ties to him from the affair, yet still be friends, you’re mistaken.
If you’re the unfaithful wife needing some direction and support, check out my private facebook group filled with other supportive women
just like you for help and connections to find the strength to move forward.
You might also be interested in:
My Unfaithful wife letter.
Thank you so much for your posts and making the sense of the mess, somehow, making it somewhat normal and human and giving hope.
After the affair with my married co worker guy. I blocked him. No contact cold turkey. I know I had to do it for me because it was gong no where. He said he loved me. Which made things difficult. The affair lasted 8 mo. It’s been 6 mo and since the break up. It’s been working so far due to COVID. I don’t know what to expect once we get back to the building. At times I wish he world reach out, but at the same time I’d rather keep it this way. I know we can’t be friends after this cause I know it will be the same vicious cycle and it won’t benefit me like it would benefit him. Just hate that he’s acting like the victim now that I found out he had blocked me. At times I find it funny that he blocked me, but at the same time hurt. Anyways my advice don’t go down this road it’s all lies and if you have low self esteem issues this doesn’t help. It’s all a lie no matter how much they tell you they love you. Love yourself. Grow within yourself. Get closer to the one that will never let you down, that always has your back. The one that will ALWAYS love you….. God
I want to share this post with my wife but I’m afraid she’ll just get mad at me for trying to force this advice on her. Not sure what to do. I’ve shared much of this advice with her in my own words but it was no well received. Not sure what to do.
Debbie Rose says
If she’s still in the affair, then she probably won’t be too receptive to posts like this- as you’ve experienced already. Yes she needs to hear this, but she will probably realize she cannot stay friends
with him. Your focus right now should be on your own healing; taking care of yourself and being the best “Joe” that you can be. Get active and find ways to enrich your life and spirit. Many times an unfaithful spouse
will realize what they’re missing out on when their spouse starts focusing on becoming their best versions of themselves and moving forward with their own recovery. But if she doesn’t, then at least you would have
done what you need to do to heal from this.
Thank you for your post. Its something I needed to read right now as I’ve recently just come away from a situation with a married man (I’m single and not in a relationship) it all happened out of the blue but I was deeply attracted to him and he was with me. It ended pretty quickly due to guilt on both ends but I took it extremely hard and my emotions have been all over the place. I felt we had a bond, I know its wrong but I can’t shift this feeling of hurt, the feeling that I wasn’t good enough so low self esteem doesn’t help. I felt he pursued me for a long time then got what he wanted in the end, I shouldn’t have given in to him but I did but now I feel im the one left feeling hurt, confused and let down, mainly let down by myself, he wants to remain friends, I do too but I also hope he one day becomes single or wants more. So I know we can’t be friends but im finding it hard walking away as well. This post has helped me try clear my head. So again thank you.
Frances Perez says
Hello, I have been married for 20 years. I known my husband for 35 years. We met at work. Through out the course of our marriage he has had four affairs, that I know of. I recently found out he is having an affair with a 24 year old woman. I am devastated. We have one child she is 17 years old. She graduates from high school this year. I confronted him and he says he loves me. I’ve seen text messages he’s sent her asking her to marry him. I still love him and I’m afraid of losing him and my family.