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Dealing With Infidelity: How to End an Affair

"I cheated on my husband," "I cheated on my wife" — What's next?

recovering from an affair, marital infidelityRecovering from an affair requires severing all ties with the outsider person. Learn what you need to do to stop completely the marital infidelity and convince your spouse whom you have cheated on, that you are serious about rebuilding your marriage.

As a busy marriage and family therapist, people tell me things others would never hear. "I cheated on my husband" or "I cheated on my wife," are words I am often told. These confessions are heartfelt. Yes... most people who get trapped in the addiction of infidelity are usually 'good people.' Now they need help exiting from the marital infidelity. Why did it happen? Here are 11 most common reasons why people cheat on their partner.

Dealing with infidelity when the affair continues

The next issue after the confession, "I cheated on my husband" or "I cheated on my wife," is the status of the affair—are we in a period 'after the affair' or is the 'marital infidelity still continuing?' This distinction makes all the difference.

After the affair

If the affair has not ended and the individual wants to repair the damage or end the risk that the affair is discovered, then the first thing that needs to happen is that he or she needs to end the affair. Unless the involvement with the other person stops, the marriage is at risk of being destroyed, along with each member of the family! 

When I know my client is in the phase 'after the affair,' I know he or she is ready to work on repairing the marriage. The couple needs to talk calmly about what happened and the betrayed spouse needs to be convinced that an affair will never happen again. If we are not in the phase 'after the affair,' then the first step is to end the marital infidelity.

Dealing with infidelity when the affair continues

Ending an affair demands decisive action. Anything less will not succeed. 

Philandering is similar to an addiction. Half measures won't help. The only way to achieve the desired result is with a total cessation of the act of betraying your partner with an outside lover.

As soon as I hear, "I cheated on my husband" or "I cheated on my wife," I tell my client that I can only help you with your marriage problems if the marital infidelity has ended. I know from experience that I, as a therapist, cannot end the affair—only my client can! 

Infidelity is wrong for many reasons, but I also know it is easy for a person to fall in love with more than one person. Fortunately, most of us resist this urge... but some people don't.

Recovering from an affair

You have fallen in love with another person. This does not mean you are sick or evil. What you are is foolish… and because of this, you have made a bad decision that has lead to a relationship tragedy.

Recovering from an affair requires that you sever your relationship with the outside lover. You must end the marital infidelity. There is no other way!

Yes… you may have strong feelings of affection and empathy for your 'lover' who will be referred to as the 'outside person,'  but you need to step away from your feelings and do the following:

-Never see this other person again.
-Never talk to this other person.
-Never fraternize with this other person.

You achieve this when you:

-Change all your contact information so the outside person cannot contact you.
-You never initiate contact again.
-You refuse to be in the same room with the outside person.

Recovering from an affair demands that you prove to your marital partner that you have done all this. You prove you have severed contact with your outside lover when you:

-Encourage, or at least cooperate, with the checking of your devices (you hand over your devices and passwords to your partner so he or she can check that you are telling the truth and there is no contact!).
-You report immediately to your partner any attempt by the outside person to contact you.
-You change jobs if you and the outsider person work together.
-You throw away any gifts, trinkets or paraphernalia you have received from the outside person.

You need to steel yourself and do the right thing regardless of how you feel. This is absolutely the only way to fully end your relationship with this other person and to do your part in recovering from the affair and in rebuilding your family. 

Once you are on you way to recovering from your affair, you need to strengthen your marriage or committed relationship and make it a top performer. If you are the partner who cheated, don't be surprised if your partner needs you to prove that the affair if over. It is necessary to prove to your partner that the affair has ended, this aids their emotional healing.

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Get the tools you need to survive infidelity:

Click: Learn how to survive infidelity

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About the author

Abe Kass, MA, RSW, RMFT, CCHT., is a Registered Social Worker, Registered Couple and Family Therapist, Certified Hypnotherapist, and award-winning Educator. He has a busy clinical practice in Toronto, Canada and throughout the world using the phone or Zoom.

After many years of clinical practice and research, Abe concluded that practical solutions requiring a focused effort of no more than a few minutes a day for very specific relationship problems were critically needed. GoSmartLife Publishing House has been created to fill this need.

Topics: How to deal with infidelity, How to save my marriage after infidelity, After cheating how to rebuild trust