Breaking off of an affair
is essential to do, before any recovery work can begin.
I think that quote couldn’t be more true for a woman who’s having an affair.
Eventually, her pain of staying in the affair won’t be worth the pain and consequences she’s experiencing.
The pain becomes greater than the pleasure.
She realizes the affair must end, she must break it off for good.
Oh, I know it’s really hard at first.
You feel torn and broken inside, probably even confused.
But if you get real with yourself, my friend,
you’ll probably realize, your affair really does need to end.
The first stage of an affair is filled with deep connection, fun and euphoria.
You might even call him your ‘soul mate.’
But the researchers actually call it “limerence.” It’s that feeling of falling ‘madly in love’.
You can read my post on the 16 undeniable symptoms of limerence here.
Most people don’t understand the incredible pull that’s so strong initially to resume the affair. Sometimes over and over again.
To be honest, you’ll need outside support and your own determination to break free of your affair partner.
I had an incredibly difficult time doing it. You can read my story here if you’d like.
It almost cost me my marriage; going back and forth to your affair partner is
a sure way of risking losing your spouse and family.
The affair fog was just so strong and I felt like I was the only one to go through it.
There’s a lot of reasons it’s so hard breaking off an affair.
Here a few of the top ones:
1. An affair is a fog-like illusion, and that fog eventually must lift.
- The affair is like a fog that you won’t even really know you’re in, if you’ve been the unfaithful wife
(& it happens to unfaithful husbands too). (read this post also on what affair fog is not.)
- It’s often difficult for the betrayed husband to understand how his previously faithful wife could stray from the marriage.
It becomes almost impossible to reach with any logic.
- It’s as though we can’t see clearly while we’re in the affair, our minds become clouded by a type of delusion into thinking
this is real love and nothing else would ever compare to this. It happens to almost everyone who’s ever had an emotional
connection in an affair.
- However, the fog eventually lifts, As explained in the previous post of stage 2 of being in the middle of an affair
- especially since only about 3-5% of relationships that started as affairs really last into long term relationships.
That’s when many unfaithful wives will then see the consequences of their behavior.Hopefully she didn’t give up her family, and run off with her affair partner.
(Yup, there’s many stories like that, but it’s really a sad story because once reality hits, the relationship fizzles out.)
BUT, if you’re willing to face the temporary grief of breaking off your affair, you’ll begin to heal and your marriage will finally have a chance to be restored,
if your husband is willing.
2. An affair can be a very powerful addiction.
- Many chemical dependency counselors will agree that in order for addicts to overcome their addiction,
they must abstain completely from the object of their addiction (drugs, alcohol, pornography etc…).
Most addictions may fall under that solution.
- An affair has many of the same addictive qualities from the surge in dopamine levels.
Many studies have been done to prove the feel good chemicals in the brain increase, such as dopamine and oxytocin levels,
when one is in love ,or has the feelings of love. It makes breaking off an affair tough to do though because you’ll still
be craving those experiences that raised the levels in the first place.
This doesn’t make any excuses for having an affair.
But it might provide some small insight into why ending the affair can be challenging.
This also explains how an otherwise normally moral, value abiding woman, can seem to change overnight.
- Affairs have a common thread in that many lose all reasoning, even changing their beliefs to fit their behavior.
Which is a scary place to be.
(I know, because it started to happen to me. I’d look in the mirror and, with tears in my eyes, say to myself “who are you?”)
- Back and forth with your affair partner just won’t cut it either, my friend. That only prolongs the inevitable, making it even harder to let go later.
And staying friends can’t happen, so the best way to break free of an affair is to have complete abstinence from the affair partner.
Without complete separation and maintaining ‘NO contact with your affair partner’, your marriage recovery likely won’t happen.
3. Affair withdrawal will most likely follow when you break off an affair.
Once you make the decision to end all contact with an affair partner, be prepared for the period of withdrawal.
This isn’t to scare you, if anything, it will help you to know what to expect in the early days or weeks. But you’ll get through it.
Keep your end goal in mind! A life healed and a marriage hopefully restored so you can live a life you can be proud of, right?
Yes, it’s kinda like what addicts go through after removing the object of their addiction. It’s gonna suck for a while.
There will be some grief, just like in any loss. That’s often hard for a betrayed spouse to hear. But just remember, it’ll pass.
But drastic measures need to be taken now.
Many of the steps suggested here or on my NO CONTACT ANTI-CHEAT SHEET CHECKLIST are sometimes hard to do.
But if you’re really serious about rebuilding your marriage, just stick with the plan and don’t resume contact with the AP.
Don’t be dumb like me, I dragged it on for almost a year, and made the healing process much harder because it was hard to end it.
4. Here are some steps to breaking off an affair:
- If you work with the man you had an affair with, the best thing would be to change jobs, so you don’t bump into him.
Yea, I know this isn’t always possible. But if you can do it, and you’re serious about moving forward in healing, try to find another job.
- If your AP has you phone number, you need to block him or change you number.
- If you both attend the same church and he hasn’t left the church, and doesn’t appear to be leaving,
it really would be best to find a new church where you won’t see him.
- Close out all email accounts that he had access to. At least try blocking his email.
Eventually he might try to reach out, and if it happens on a difficult day, the affair could too easily resume.
- Girl, don’t drive near his neighborhood or just so happen to stroll into that favorite bar or restaurant he likes…just don’t do it. It’s not worth it and will set you back.
- Can you move to another city, town or state? Yes, it’s drastic, but sometimes a simple job change is not enough.
Depending on the size of your town, in order to achieve total separation from affair partner, relocating to a new city or state can be really helpful.
(We moved to another state about 3 years from D-Day and it helped us both heal so much faster.
Many triggers were gone (because they stayed back in California!) and we recovered so well afterwards.)
- You, as the unfaithful wife, need to be accountable for your time.
There is no secret life anymore, and you gotta be willing to account for your time, day or night.
(More will be written of this in the stage 4 rebuilding the marriage step).
- Remember that life will get easier and the withdrawal symptoms will subside.
The more important thing for you to remember, is to commit to the no contact, no matter how hard it gets.
5. Getting through the withdrawal phase, after you’ve broken off your affair.
- Remember that getting through the withdrawal phase of an affair is a lot like getting past the withdrawal phase of an addiction (remember #2 above?)
It can be difficult at times, and it’s takes commitment to your goal of marriage restoration, but you will see that goal fulfilled in time.
- In addition, you will find personal self-forgiveness and healing when you begin to keep your commitment of faithfulness and integrity.
You need healing just as much as your spouse. Yes, you should be attentive to your husband’s pain and what he needs you to do to restore his trust.
BUT… you need healing too, you can read this post for more help about that.
When all that affair fog clears, you’ll likely be hit with some sadness as you realize the extent of what you did.
- Friend, it’s okay to feel that. Don’t try to push it aside or run from the pain. Because if you do, you’ll stay stuck.
(just like your husband will stay stuck too if he doesn’t let himself feel the pain and grieve about the infidelity).
So, after you’ve done the hard work of breaking off the affair,
some of the best ways I’ve found to be faithful to your commitment to keep the affair broken off is:
- See a counselor for personal healing.
- get in a support group- either a celebrate or addiction recovery group.
- have an accountability partner or friend you can trust who will be patient, yet firm, with you during your weakest moments.
In conclusion, It is definitely not easy to break free of an affair. (sorry, I don’t mean to belabor that point).
The deep emotional attachment in most affairs makes them difficult to end. Just keep the end goal in mind and realize it gets easier!
Every person’s own history and experience is different and what worked for me may be a bit different than what will work for someone else.
But the principles and methods are similar.
You might like these posts too:
Start Here if you’re new here and have been the unfaithful wife.
If you’re the Wayward wife looking for help and answers, you’re in the right place.
I created this blog because I was once in your very shoes.
It was the hardest season of our lives. Our marriage did survive and I hope to help you too.
READ MORE POSTS FOR UNFAITHFUL WIFE HERE…
Ambivalence is defined in webster’s dictionary as
“simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings (such as attraction and repulsion)
toward an object, person.”
Cambridge English dictionary describes the meaning of ambivalence as
“having two opposing feelings at the same time. Or being uncertain about how you feel.”
If you’ve ever been in an affair, then you are already well acquainted with the word because
you’re probably living daily with ambivalence. But we all know, when in an affair, we can’t stay ambivalent (or indecisive) for very long.
This letter is to any woman who did what they thought they’d never do…especially if you’re a Christian woman.
You were unfaithful to your husband,
and now you’re filled with shame and confusion.
Please know, I write this letter as a fellow christian woman sharing this truth with only God’s love and grace in my heart.
You can read my story here.
You may have felt like a ‘good Christian woman’
for a long time.
Maybe you’ve worked hard at maintaining that image
on social media and in person. READ MORE…
Why is ending an affair is so hard to do?
Especially when you know in your heart you have to break it off.
Do you feel like no matter how hard you’ve tried
you go right back into it over and over again?
I remember that feeling.
I had a phone call from one of my readers last month,
she was asking me for advice on how to end an affair she was in.
For privacy, I’ll call her Sue.
Sue told me about her affair with a man that is friends with her husband and she is friends with his wife.
Looking back to when news of my infidelity came out
to our church, friends and family, people I’d been friends with and loved for years,
were suddenly out of my life or gone silent.
Even my own father, who I love and have been close to my whole life, went silent during that season.
For some people, the disappointment is just too much to deal with. I don’t fault them.
But I’d also never felt so much shame or alone in my entire life.
I witnessed the heartbreak of many lost friendships, gossip and judgment which only reconfirmed my shame and guilt.
But I also experienced the amazing power of unconditional love and forgiveness from others.
For those people I will be eternally grateful. READ MORE…