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How to End an Affair

You messed up, you realize it, and know you know what you need to do. Here's how to end an affair and start doing right by those you hurt.

Most people who are cheaters never really imagined they'd end up in that role. After all, only seriously sick, warped people will go into relationships just to hurt the person who loves them. Sometimes, despite the best of intentions, sexual or emotional attraction happens, and people end up making huge mistakes. 

The thing about cheating is that cheaters know it's not the right thing to do. If you're reading this article, you probably already know that you've done wrong by not one, but two people — possibly more. In order to make things right, you need to choose one person to stay with and end the affair. 

Ending an affair isn't easy, regardless of what people may say. Here's how to end an affair as smoothly as possible. 

The first step of ending an affair is making a firm decision to do it.

Don't worry about how to end an affair quite yet — make a commitment to yourself and your relationship first by solidifying your decision to pull the plug on the affair. Obviously, this is easier said than done. 

Affairs are not easy to end, because they offer something regular relationships can't: fantasy. Affairs are thrilling. They often have a lot of excitement that regular relationships don't have. They offer a break from the "real world."  

Moreover, your affair partner is a person that you bonded with, whether you like it or not. They will be hurting, crying, and pleading with you to choose them over your partner. Prepare yourself for that; it won't be easy to see. 

It's worth pointing out that being a partner to a married man, or having an affair outside of marriage, can and will eat at anyone with a conscience. Ending the affair will give you peace of mind and will let you go to sleep at night without issue. 

First, you need to come clean about the affair to all parties involved.

Before you learn how to end an affair, you need to learn how to come clean to your main squeeze. This is, of course, assuming that you weren't caught cheating. If you were, your main squeeze knows. 

Admittedly, this can be very difficult to do because it may end up with the person you're actually in a relationship with to leaving you. Many people won't ever see you the same way again, either. No matter how gently you do it, admitting the affair to your partner will hurt. 

As hard as it is, you owe some honesty to your partner, for more reasons than one. 

More often than not, partners have an idea when they're being cheated on. They may even be searching up signs of cheating online. Telling them the truth gives them the honesty they need, and also makes them realize they weren't "crazy" for suspecting you of cheating. 

Additionally, telling your partner about the affair puts some fire under your butt. Ending the affair becomes a lot easier when you realize how much is at stake. 

Call up your partner and explain that it needs to end.

I'll be the first to tell people that they should never meet up with an affair partner in order to break up with them. This is because affair partners are much more likely to do anything possible to change your mind, including making claims about you that aren't true to your significant other. 

The crux of understanding how to end an affair is realizing that you also owe your affair partner an explanation. There are certain things you need to make clear to the affair partner if you want to break up with integrity and do right by them at the same time. Here are some points you need to drive home:

  • It's not their fault. Assuming they didn't go out of their way to try to seduce you, you need to explain it's not their fault you're leaving — or their fault that they're a side piece. It's on YOU, and you need to own up that it takes two to tango. 
  • Your partner was not the one making you end it, it's your decision because it's doing wrong by them. Even if this isn't actually true, it may help them realize that they need to break it off with you. Their real soul mate is out there looking for them, and won't likely date them while they're being a side chick to you. 
  • You chose someone else, and that nothing will change that. In cases where the original relationship is not the right one for you, it's important to just say that you chose someone else. You need to make this a finality. It's done. Nothing they can do will win you back. That alone can dissuade some drama. 
  • No, you can't still talk to them. This will just destroy any kind of potential for healing in your main relationship. You can't be friends with an affair partner, sadly. This can be particularly painful for those who engaged in emotional affairs.
  • You're sorry for hurting them. Don't say you want to be friends. Say you're sorry. That's all. You feel bad, because you did bad. Nothing you can do will change what you did, but you can end it now and let them go on without you. 

One phone call is all you need, and after that, you need to just block their cell phones' numbers from your plan. If your affair partner goes off the deep end and threatens suicide, call 911. 

Once all that's done, you'll need to do the next part of any standard guide on how to end an affair...

Cut off all contact with the affair partner.

Any guide on how to end an affair will tell you that you need to go totally no-contact. This means blocking them on social media, ignoring their phone calls, avoiding their regular hangouts, and everything else. It's not easy, but it has to be done. 

This is both for your romantic partner's good and your own good. Any door left unlocked will end up causing rifts between you two, and could send you back into an affair. 

Take time to heal with your partner, and don't be shocked if they go through all different kinds of grieving.

Affairs are emotionally devastating. Being the victim of cheating alone is bad, even if it's just a one night stand. That's why so many relationships that were wrecked by affairs end up in breakups. Your partner was betrayed badly by you, even if it just seemed like an innocent sex session to you. 

Your partner may not feel beautiful anymore. They may feel angry at you, themselves, or your affair partner. There's a good chance they will not want to touch you or sleep with you for months. In some cases, they may want to stay with you for a month, only to realize they can't get over it, and leave. 

This is totally, completely normal. 

It's going to be hard to deal with, and at times, you will just want to tell them to "just get over it." But, you can't. In life, you have to deal with the consequences of your behavior — and this includes having to deal with a partner who's in serious emotional pain because of something you did. 

Thankfully, there are ways to encourage healing. Be honest about the affair. Talk to your partner and ask what you can do to make them feel better. Give them your Facebook account, if they ask for it. Heck, even going to therapy is a good idea. 

The key to learning how to end an affair the right way is to learn to be patient, and to work with the wronged parties to make things right. It's not easy, and it won't take a short time. However, it's often the best way to make sure that you end up living a life with integrity, and stay a worthwhile partner for the one you love. 

Read next: Belle
Skunk Uzeki
Skunk Uzeki

Skunk Uzeki is an androgynous pothead and a hard partier.  When they aren't drinking and causing trouble, they're writing articles about the fun times they have. 

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How to End an Affair
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