How to End a Painful Affair

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An affair is a painful and delicate topic that has the potential to destroy even the strongest of marriages. If you have been involved in an extramarital affair and are looking to put an end to it, you may be unsure of how to proceed and worried that your spouse will not forgive you. If you feel alone, take heart in the fact that an estimated 30 to 60 percent of individuals will be unfaithful to their spouses at some point during their marriage. However, you do not have to let your past mistake control the future of your relationship.

Reveal Your Affair

The first step to ending your painful affair is to be open and honest about it with your spouse. While you should not reveal unnecessary details that may hurt her, it is essential that you do not try to undermine the significance of the affair. You shouldn't keep anything secret in marriage, according to Willard F. Harley, Jr., author of "His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-proof Marriage." If you object to your spouse's scrutiny, she will most likely think that you are hiding something.

Get Rid of Memorabilia

Get rid of anything that might remind you of your ex-lover, including e-mails, messages, gifts or anything that connects you to her whatsoever. A complete cleansing of not only your physical environment, but also your heart and mind is necessary, according to Suzie Johnson, a relationship expert and founder of the website "Go Ask Suzie.” You must get rid of any potential triggers that may cause you to think about your ex-lover and return to her. For example, if a certain song reminds you of your experience with her, make sure to erase it from your music library.

Examine Your Marriage

To end your affair, you need to examine your relationship with your spouse to make sure you will not be tempted to fall into the infidelity trap again. There was a problem in your relationship that caused you to be unfaithful to your spouse; fixing it will enable you to avoid returning to your ex-lover and focus instead on pleasing your spouse. You should sit down with your spouse and talk about what you want in your monogamous relationship, according to Tammy Nelson, Ph.D., and sex and relationship expert. You will have gained valuable insight into your own desires during this painful affair.

Let Go of Excuses

It is necessary that you let go of any excuses you have for falling into temptation repeatedly. You must avoid convincing yourself that your affair is okay, according to Johnson. Your wrongful actions will never produce anything but a bad result, and will continue to cause pain and sorrow in your marriage. Your relationship with your spouse may even end if you continue to make excuses for yourself. Stop allowing yourself to make mistakes repeatedly, and instead, take responsibility for the mistakes you have made. Your spouse will appreciate your honesty and your firm decision to change.