3 Reasons it’s Hard to End an Affair
A post from Steve, one who knows.
Why is it so hard to end an affair?
This blog post is written to the spouse who had the affair. It’s out in the open now, you’ve said you want to work on your marriage, and you can’t understand why it’s so hard to end the affair for good. Ending an affair, especially one with deep emotional and/or physical connection, will be painful. It is not as simple as just walking away. It requires commitment and perseverance. Here are three reasons I believe it’s hard to end the affair.
1. You’re addicted
I’d be willing to bet that no matter how hard you try to rationalize it, deep down you know what you did (or are still doing) is wrong.
The truth is that you’re addicted to a fantasy world. In an affair, the normal rules of life and relationships don’t apply. The secretive nature of the relationship lends itself to being surprisingly open and forthcoming with the affair partner because there is little risk. You know that if things go bad, you can leave. But if things go well, you get what you want.
At the root, you’re addicted to being understood and accepted, but you’re seeking that acceptance in the wrong place. That freedom of being your true self is what needs to happen in your marriage… the union that God put together.
Just like any addiction, breaking the habit is difficult and you will experience withdrawal. There is a void in your life. The desire to relieve that pain will be strong, but don’t think for a second that small doses of the affair partner will help overcome the addiction. It won’t. In fact, it can reset the clock on healing for the marriage. Even though it will be difficult, share your feelings with your spouse as you go through this time and work through them together. One of the most humbling moments for me in those early weeks after “the reveal” was my wife consoling me over the loss of my girlfriend.
2. You feel justified
Why should you have to give up what makes you happy? Doesn’t God want you to be happy? Maybe you think you met your soulmate or that you married the wrong person and you deserve better. Or even worse, you think you can just continue with the affair and live multiple lives.
However you justified it, if it doesn’t align with God’s word, it’s sin. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24.
Having an emotional and/or physical relationship with someone other than your spouse is wrong. There is no way to justify it.
3. You feel guilty
This is a tough one to admit, especially to your spouse. Even though having an affair is wrong, a very real relationship has taken place. A connection to another person has built over time and there will be guilt involved in ending the relationship. The fact is, the affair partner is a person too, made in God’s image, with feelings. And you, being in a relationship with them, know and care for them. So, it will hurt you to know that you’re hurting them. But I assure you, ending the relationship quickly and permanently is best in the long run for everyone. Continuing communication only makes things worse.
When my wife and I started down the path of rebuilding our marriage, I experienced withdrawal and it was validating to hear that it was common. Knowing that others had walked the same path was comforting and gave me hope that I’d be okay. Going through withdrawal of any kind isn’t easy, but the end result is worth it. Remember to fight for your marriage and communicate your desires and struggles with your spouse.
If you want to hear more about the details of my affair and how we recovered, watch here.