I have been married for more than fifteen years and for the
past two years I have been having a sexual relationship with
someone else. Actually, I have been involved with a total
of five persons since I’ve been married. Although initially
these relationships feel exciting, I am not happy with what
I am doing to myself and my wife. How can I stop having an
affair? Please help me.
Dear friend, you can stop this affair and find inner peace
and happiness. Here are a few suggestions of what to do:
You are to stop the affair because YOU want to stop it. It
must not be because your wife found out or she wants you to
stop. It must be for you first, then for your spouse. If
you are ending the relationship because your wife found out
or just to keep your marriage then when things go wrong
again the chances of having another affair are just a great
as they were before.
Inform your wife of your unfaithfulness. If she is not
aware of your secret lover, then telling her about it might
be painful for her. Seek professional help in doing this.
Do not lie or cover up. If you had multiple affairs do not
lie, she will find out one way or another. It is best to be
open and honest.
Inform someone else. It might be wise that you inform
other important people (not many) in your life about your
affair(s). For example your parents, pastors, close
friend. You need people around you on whom you can depend
and trust and hold you accountable. If you keep them out of
the circle, you might also increase your chances of
continuing in the relationship or having other affairs.
To end the relationship you are to use non-negotiable
language. In other words, leave no strings attached. Do
not say to the lover “I was thinking . . . .” or “My wife
found out, so I . . . .” The message you will be giving
your lover is that all she needs to do is give you some time
and then later try another way so that your wife will not
find out. What you say to your former lover must be clear
and straightforward. Here is an example: “I am informing
you that our relationship is over. Do not contact me in any
way again. I have decided that this is best for me as a
person and I am sticking to my marriage. Goodbye for
ever.” I often recommend that such endings are done, where
practical, in the presence of the spouse, either on the
telephone or in person. After that has been done and you
answer an incoming phone call not being aware that it is
your former lover, what you say first will either be
negotiable or non-negotiable. If you say “I am fine. How
are you?” that is negotiable language. You need not be nice
or courteous on the phone. Just hang up or first say “Do
not call this number again,” then hang up right away. Or
you may warn the person that if she continues to call, you
will call the police.
Refuse to answer all future calls from your previous
lover. If the person calls (identify through your Caller
ID), you MUST inform your spouse each time, even though you
do not answer the call. Note that if you never tell your
spouse when calls come in and you were successful keeping it
a secret from your spouse, one day you will be tempted to
answer and the relationship WILL start again. Your spouse
is your accountability partner.
Get rid of (return or destroy) all email addresses, text
messages, pictures, gifts, tokens, letters, cards, and phone
numbers you received from the person. It does not matter how
valuable the gifts may be; even it is a car or motorcycle.
Sell them and use the money or return it, but do not keep
the gifts that came between you and your spouse.
Take a good look inside your heart. Try to understand the
dynamics in your life that impact your decision to have
affairs. Think about these questions: Do you find it
difficult to share your feelings with your spouse? Did
your own father or mother have affairs? Are your close
friends cheating on their spouses? Is your marriage
starved of affection and love? Are you hooked on
pornography? Do you flirt with other women? Are you
attracted to your wife? Is she sexy enough for you?
Although any or all of these might influence you to have
an affair; none are an excuse to have one. You can choose
to make your own marriage hot and spicy.
Cease all extra-curricular activities. If the extra lover
really damaged your marriage, you are to spend the time
repairing it. In the past if you spent lots of time away
from home, even if the time was a wholesome social occasion
or you were out with friends, I recommend you cease all of
these activities during the repairing time. It may take
weeks, months or even years. Come home right after work.
Go on dates with your spouse. Learn how to laugh again.
Watch movies together. Go places together but not apart.
If you have a child with this lover and your wife agrees to
stay with you, it is important to discuss with your wife the
way forward regarding all communication with, and the kind
of relationship you will have with the former lover. It is
advisable that you never be in the presence of the “extra
lover” without your spouse. Remember, it may be best that
the relationship be professional-like and not
friendship-like, at least at first. If the baby was just
born around the time your spouse found out, you may need to
hold your gut in and refuse to see the baby while the
Go to professional marriage therapy. It may be wise that
you do not try to heal your marriage alone. Seek
professional help. A trained third party may do wonders for
the future of your relationship. You may also go to a
marriage retreat or seminar. Read a book. Watch a video.
If you believe in the power of prayer, then pray. God
can help you. When you are through praying get up and
run. Run fast and don't look back. Get out of
the relationship. Remember God is not going to move
the woman out of your way, but you can use the will he gave
you and get out of her sight.
Dear friends, these are only a few things to help you put a
permanent end to having affairs. It is going to call for
lots of hard work, sweat, and tears. It is not going to be
easy or natural. You must make it happen. Start now.
Barrington H. Brennen is a marriage and family therapist and
board certified clinical psychotherapist, USA. Send your
questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or
write to P.O. Box CB-13019, Nassau, The Bahamas, or visit www.soencouragement.org or
call 242-327-1980 or 242-477-4002