Ending any affair is difficult in its own right, but breaking off an Internet affair has an added layer of complexity that must be handled discretely. Information exchanged on the Internet leaves leaves a digital trail that can easily be accessed or circulated.
Cut All Ties
Ending an Internet affair requires that you end all contact with your online lover. Whether you've been physically intimate or primarily have shared a distance-based emotional connection, you must cut all ties to break off the affair. This includes blocking and deleting the other person's contact information, unfriending the person on Facebook and other social media sites and breaking any connections that you share on message boards, Twitter or other websites.
Prepare for Retaliation
Breaking free from an Internet affair leaves you vulnerable to the fact that your ex can easily reveal intimate details about you using Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media. You can circumvent this to some degree by blocking your ex from your online accounts, but he is still capable of mentioning the affair publicly on his accounts. Text messages, instant messages and chats can all be logged and publicly displayed if your ex feels so inclined.
Talk to Your Spouse
If you are married and your spouse does not already know about the affair, chances are that she will learn about it after you have broken things off. Letting your spouse know firsthand about the affair and what you intend to do about it may soften the blow if the affair becomes public. Your marriage will face ramifications from this revelation, but revealing it on your own terms helps you have some control over what may transpire in the aftermath of the indiscretion.
Examine Your Actions
If you are married, you broke your vows when you engaged in the affair. Ask yourself why you got involved in the affair to begin with. What did the affair give you that you were not receiving from your spouse? How might your own behaviors have led to problems in your marriage? Examining these questions with yourself, your spouse and a marriage counselor may help rebuild your marriage after an affair.
Breaking off your Internet affair is just the first step in a change in your life. You must be willing to accept and then change the behaviors that led to your affair in the first place. This may include going to counseling and scaling back your Internet presence.
Anthony Oster is a licensed professional counselor who earned his Master of Science in counseling psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has served as a writer and lead video editor for a small, South Louisiana-based video production company since 2007. Oster is the co-owner of a professional photography business and advises the owner on hardware and software acquisitions for the company.