How to End an Affair

Three Methods:Think It ThroughBreak it OffThe Aftermath

Perhaps you are ready to end your affair because you're worried about hurting your partner, or you're tired of being the "other" man or woman. Having an affair comes with a social stigma attached, but it's still a breakup, and it can be as hard to end as any other type of relationship. This article provides insights on ending an affair as gracefully as possible.

Method 1
Think It Through

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    Spend some time alone. If you've been trying to balance a relationship with your partner and a relationship with an outside party at the same time, chances are you need some space to think.
    • Do something neutral that feels like you. Go running, go to a coffee shop, or go for a drive. Don't go to a regular rendezvous spot you shared with your lover, and don't stay at home if you live there with your partner.
    • Allow your true feelings to rise to the surface. Why are you ending your affair? Why are you sure this is the best way to move forward? Come up with a clear answer that will help bolster your willpower when it's time to take action.
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    Make a plan. Decide how you want to orchestrate the breakup. Depending on the nature of your relationship with the person with whom you are having an affair, this may be a complicated matter. Consider these factors:
    • How close are you to this person? If you've only hooked up a few times, you may be able to make a final phone call to break it off. If it's someone you've known for years, your feelings may strong enough to merit an in-person breakup. If you decide that's the case, proceed with caution; seeing the person may shake your resolve to end the affair.
    • If you're ending an affair with someone you work with, you won't have a choice but to see them. Make a plan that will allow you to end things in the least dramatic way possible.
    • For an in-person breakup, choose a location that's fairly neutral. An out-of-the-way park, for example, is a public place where you're unlikely to run into people you know, but also unlikely to fall back into each other's arms.
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    Set a date. Decide exactly what day and time you plan to break it off. Make sure the person you're breaking up with is available then, and make firm plans to have a conversation, whether over the phone or in person.

Method 2
Break it Off

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    Have an honest conversation. Tell the person with whom you've been having an affair why you are ending it. Remember that this should be the last intimate conversation you have with this person. Say everything you want to say, and allow the other person to speak as well.
    • Don't allow the conversation to go on for too long. As with any breakup, the longer it's drawn out, the more confusing and upsetting it becomes.
    • Make it clear that you don't plan on communicating further, unless you know each other from work and must communicate in a professional setting.
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    Be prepared for a range of reactions. Hopefully the person with whom you're breaking up will take it well, but you should be prepared for him or her to be extremely sad or angry that you're breaking things off. Stay strong, and just walk away if necessary.
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    Avoid the temptation to hash it out again. It's normal to feel sadness, and you may want to reach out for comfort, but you risk reigniting the affair if you ask to have another conversation.
    • Help yourself out by erasing the person from your email chat list and social media sites. Delete the person's contact information from your phone.
    • If you have to see the person at work, keep things professional at all times. Avoid one-on-one conversations, and don't go to lunch together.

Method 3
The Aftermath

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    Consider your partner. If your partner knew about the affair and encouraged you to end it, tell him or her that it's over. There may be a lot of work to be done to patch up your relationship. Your partner will be angry, and you may feel guilt for a long time to come. Stay strong in the knowledge that you made the choice to be honest and take action.
    • If your partner did not know about the affair, consider whether you want to tell her or him. There's risk involved, yes, but if you plan to continue the relationship, it's best to start from a place of honesty.
    • Another reason you may want to tell your partner is so that he or she doesn't find out from someone else. If the person with whom you had an affair is very upset, she or he may try to get in touch with your partner.
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    Allow yourself to grieve. Breakups are tough, no matter what the situation. You relied on someone to meet your needs, and now there's a gap in your life where that person used to be. Take care of yourself.
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    Move forward. Guilt is a healthy emotion to have when you feel you've done something wrong, but long-term shame won't help anyone at this point. We're all striving to be better people, and we all make mistakes that hurt others. The best thing you can do is move forward and try to live more honestly in the future. Be more upfront about your feelings with yourself to prevent this from happening again down the road.


  • If you are concerned that the person with whom you are breaking up may have an extremely angry or violent reaction, do not make a plan to see him or her in person. It may be best to cut off all contact. Tell someone you trust what is going on. Seek the help of authorities if the person keeps initiating unwanted contact or threatens you.

Article Info

Categories: Commitment Issues