How to End an Affair With a Married Man You Love
Figuring out how to end an affair with someone you deeply care about is not an easy road. The thought of ending it has probably circled through your mind on repeat yet the idea of breaking up with someone you love fills you with overwhelm, uncertainty, and confusion, making it all the more difficult to take decisive action.
A part of you knows you are losing parts of yourself in this affair relationship, but there’s another part of you that feels anxious, hurt, and worries you’ll miss what could have been. Let’s not forget the pain after the breakup feels like it will be so much greater than the pain of just staying in a secret relationship with your affair partner.
While there is no easy or best way to end an affair with a married man, it’s important that you make a firm decision to leave this relationship for your future self. If you’re struggling with this, you’re in the right place. This post will help you explore tools you can use and actions you can take to end an affair for good.
Before we get into the steps that can help, remember: With a little courage and the right support, you can get through this. If you’re ready to start the healing process, book a free discovery call. It’s time to no longer walk this path alone.
Do I have to end it if I get help from you? No, this is about helping you find your way back to your most aligned version of yourself. I’m here to guide you out of confusion and into clarity so you no longer have to be bound down by the weight of a secret relationship.
“There were 100s if not 1000s of moments when I knew the relationship had to end. One that hit me hard however was approx. 4 years in. I was again trying to end it with him, crying and telling him that I hated who I had become in this relationship. I had become weak, pathetic, jealous, and the pain was making me sick.
He responded by saying that he liked who I was. He didn’t mind who I was becoming. He didn’t mind me being small, pathetic, sad, jealous, etc. The realisation that he did not mind me becoming smaller, sadder, more pathetic woke me up.” – Community member
How to End an Affair When You Feel Stuck
Feeling trapped in an affair (whether it’s a physical affair, an emotional affair, or both) can really take a toll on your confidence and self-esteem. You may have tried to end it more times than you can count, and now you doubt your ability to actually follow through.
Does this sense of powerlessness resonate with you? If so, you’re not alone. Many women who attempt to leave an affair with a married man have been where you’ve been, so it’s normal to feel a lack of control.
But the truth is you have more power and agency than you think.
You can move on from this relationship—even if what you’ve tried before hasn’t worked. The six steps shared here can help you figure out how to tell your affair partner it’s over for good.
1: Get Clear on Your Truth
If you’re in an affair with a married man, you’ve probably felt conflicted or caught between two sides of yourself. One side is your higher self (soul), which honors your inner truth and everything you stand for, including in your intimate relationships.
The other side is your animal self (ego). Your animal self is naturally inclined to cling to having your needs of security and comfort met. This side of you is willing, on some level, to maintain the codependent bond that you share at any cost. It takes a level of conscious awareness to remember that when your animal self is making the decisions, they might not always be the ones that actually benefit you long term.
Ultimately, you want commitment or to no longer be in a secret relationship. So ask yourself: Why are you settling? Acknowledging your higher wants and needs and defining where your moral compass truly lies can help you take action on the decisions that are healthiest for you. Allow your truth to be the consistent voice that guides you towards lasting change.
If that still leaves you in the unknown, here are some questions to determine whether you are living from your animalistic self or your highest self.
- Is my affair partner’s potential reaction causing me to stay due to fear of conflict or emotional turmoil?
- Does my decision to stay in this affair compromise my values and principles?
- Do I fear that I won’t find someone else who fulfils my needs in the same way?
- Does staying connected to my affair partner provide a false sense of security or comfort?
- Is fear of change driving my choice to remain in this unhealthy relationship?
- Do I believe that I deserve a relationship built on honesty and authenticity?
- Is staying connected to my affair partner in harmony with my inner wisdom and true desires?
- Will ending the secrecy allow me to feel less compromised?
2: Identify Intimacy versus Attachment
There’s no doubt you feel close to your partner, no matter the circumstances of your relationship. But a good question to ask yourself is about the nature of this closeness: Is it love, or is it unhealthy attachment (aka trauma bonding)? With love comes true vulnerability, consistency, and safety, while attachment brings confusion, second guessing, fantasizing and a connection that doesn’t always feel good.
For example, if you’re engaged in a secret relationship with a narcissist or someone who has narcissistic tendencies, you may be aware of their selfish or even sometimes cruel tendencies. At the same time, partners with prominent narcissistic traits have a charisma that draws you back in. Your relationship doesn’t always feel good, yet you feel an attachment to them that makes it difficult to pull away.
Feelings of desperation, doubt, or uncertainty where you stand in your relationship are signs you may be in a trauma bond with your partner, as opposed to in a healthy bonded relationship.
Remember that you deserve a safe, consistent, stable, emotionally intimate, loving attachment with your partner. Breaking off an affair with a married man is your opportunity to step out of an unhealthy attachment to make room for the kind of commitment you truly deserve.
“My AP (Affair Partner) made me feel bad about who I was as a person. Called me needy, gaslit me, etc.. Said he wasn’t flirting with other women when he clearly was, etc. I always felt weak and pathetic with him. He made me feel pathetic and was very mean at times. It wasn’t who I ever thought I would be with anyone. I am typically a strong personality.” – Community member
3: Consider Actions Over Words
Being in a relationship with a married man can be confusing. He knows exactly what to say to reel you back into the relationship—often just as you’re starting to feel ready to say goodbye for good. When he senses you pulling away, he’ll reach out and say something like:
“You’re my soulmate.”
“You’re exactly what I need right now with everything I’m going through.”
“I miss you.”
While these words are amazing to hear, his actions aren’t lining up. But there’s another sign his words aren’t genuine: When you hear them, your body may feel doubt. Intuitively, our bodies know when something may feel good in the moment but in the long run we feel their actions of commitment don’t line up.
When you try to break off an affair, don’t be surprised when your affair partner says just about anything to keep you in their life. Remember that words alone are not enough, and it’s worth navigating this breakup to find someone whose words and actions line up.
4: Think of Your Future
You’ve spent a lot of time focusing on your partner. Now, it’s your time to shift the focus back onto you. Leaving an affair with a married man is an opportunity to take steps towards what you want your life to look like months and years down the road.
Ask yourself: What do you want in your future, and are you heading in the right direction to get there? Breaking off this relationship won’t be easy, but thinking about the bigger picture can help you work towards living in alignment with what you really desire long term.
It’s time to step into the shoes of the future you, and remember that the actions you take now will bring about the results you want moving forward.
5: Confide in a Friend
Hiding a relationship, or the nature of your relationship, can leave you feeling profoundly isolated. Not only are you living with the shame of secrecy, but it can also make it feel like no one truly understands what you’re going through. This isolation and lack of support only deepens your sense of hopelessness—and your desire to maintain a relationship with the one person you do confide in.
Getting out of this isolation is important if you’re ready to break it off for good. That’s why confiding in a friend, family member, or someone you trust is crucial. By finally releasing the truth, you can gain accountability—not from others, but from yourself. You’ve now broken the secrecy and put the reality of your situation out into the world, which means you acknowledge your role in what happens next.
Connection can keep you from feeling drawn back into your affair relationship out of loneliness and will provide the additional support you need to heal and move on.
If you don’t feel safe to share the extent of what you are going through or fear that people wont be able to hold you with compassion and understanding then I encourage you to check out our support community. A place where you can share freely without the fear of being judged or shamed for what you have gone through.
6: Let Go of Shame and Guilt
Dating a married man often leads to an overpowering sense of guilt and shame. You may feel ashamed for not being able to keep your promises, both to yourself and to others. You may feel guilt over the secrecy of your relationship, or how it’s affected other people in your or your partner’s life. This shame can be a heavy burden, amplifying the difficulty of the situation.
Regret often creeps in as you reflect on the choices that led you to this point. You might regret getting involved in the relationship or not leaving sooner, and these regrets can intensify your feelings of hopelessness.
First, know you don’t deserve to be punished for your relationship. You’re not a bad person for being part of an affair. Your situation is the result of unique circumstances no one has the right to judge.
Second, know the weight that you’re carrying from these negative emotions is only holding you back from cutting off this relationship for good. When you drop the guilt and the shame, you restore your own sense of power—and the agency you need to walk away for good.
“I ended it after yet another holiday season I couldn’t be with him. I had just had enough.” – Community member
Ending an Affair for Good
Once you feel firm in your decision to end an affair, there’s more you can do to reinforce your choice even when it gets difficult.
After all, it’s not uncommon for an affair partner to reach out in an effort to rekindle the relationship. He’s having his needs met by you—which means he’s not going to want to let you simply walk away.
He’ll likely leave the door open, which only makes it harder. It’s almost like he knows you’ll be back together in no time. Despite his attempt to continue the relationship, it’s up to you to stay strong and stick to your final decision to move on.
Here are some final tips for ending an affair that can help you see it through:
- Set firm boundaries. When it comes to setting boundaries, don’t be vague or half committed. Remember that once your boundaries are set, you have to be willing to follow through with the consequences of violating those boundaries too.
- Go no contact. Once you’ve decided on leaving a married man, it’s important to completely cut off contact with them. Think about how you can limit exposure to them in your day-to-day experiences. Create distance in every way you can, whether that’s online or wherever you might cross paths in real life.
- Download the “How to End it For Good Without Going Back” workbook. This free workbook contains journal prompts designed to bring you the clarity and confidence you need to leave an affair with a married man.
Finding Strength To Move on From an Affair
Figuring out how to end an affair with someone you love, even when you know what’s best for you, isn’t easy. You may feel confusion, doubt, shame, and even guilt—which only makes it all the more difficult to end the relationship for good.
But remember: You deserve more than the connection you’re settling for now, and although at times the future might seem unclear there is so much waiting on the other side for you.
By getting clear on your truth, identifying healthy love versus unhealthy attachment, thinking of your future, considering actions over words, confiding in others, and letting go of shame and guilt, you can put this affair in your rearview mirror, move on, and make room for healthier connections down the road.
If you’re ready to take an empowered step towards separating yourself from an affair, let’s connect on a call. I can’t wait to answer your questions about the support community and how 1-1 coaching can help you navigate the challenging circumstances of an affair.
More information on breaking off an affair with a married man: