Stop Talking to the Affair Partner!

Often times we get into power struggles when we’re trying to get healthy. Time after time a betrayed spouse will force their mate into the power struggle of “choose me or your affair partner, right here, right now.” While I loudly applaud their willingness to not be codependent and I further support their right to draw a line in the sand, it’s just not usually that simple in many cases.

I’m sure if you’re a betrayed spouse, I’ve already ruffled your feathers this early in the morning, and I’m sorry to do that. I only mean to bring about clarity. Let me explain a bit further.

The fact is, if your spouse has been involved in an affair with one person for at least a few months and it’s now a full blown relationship, you’re competing with a fantasy. An illusion. A farce. If you, the betrayed, move right to the ‘me or them’ mentality, I’m sorry, but I think you’ll lose them or at the very least, exacerbate the entire process. They will typically do one of the following:

  1. They will say “OK I’ll come home and be with you,” but really only lie and continue to see their affair partner behind the scenes without you knowing. Much worse, you’ll find out they’re seeing their affair partner again and be even more devastated and the entire healing process will be delayed once again. You may also give up prematurely and decide they will never change or get it, when in fact, maybe they will if another road is taken.   
  2. They will come home, but grieve the loss of their affair partner continually, possibly continue to contact them via email or secret phone or some other method and resent you incredibly. They’ll probably have so much bitterness and numbness toward you and the marriage that you’ll most likely end up not wanting them to be home. You may even ask them to leave the house again as they just can’t or better said, won’t  get over their affair partner and make any effort to significantly reconnect with you.  
  3. They will not come home at all and though they are not secure in the fact that the marriage is truly over, they don’t want to give up their affair partner and they don’t have any vision for how the marriage could be saved anyway. As one spouse said to me yesterday “I don’t even know how to end the affair! Why should I come home now?” They’re not sure the marriage is over, but their affair partner is like a drug and they have zero idea on how to give up this drug they’re intoxicated by.

To say its complex is a gross understatement. There is, however, hope and a better way.

A suggestion I would make to you would be to tell your unfaithful spouse that you’d like to get help: not just any help but expert, infidelity-specific help. That you’d like to take the pressure off of making any decisions on where they want to be right now, other than the decision to simply get expert help and eventually make a decision. (You’d be surprised how many spouses come to the EMS Weekend still in contact with their affair partner and still not sure the marriage can be saved.)  Surprisingly, after expert help and insight, they begin to see they need to give their marriage a 90 day window with no contact with their affair partner. It’s the job of the expert therapist to get your spouse to see the need for that type of approach, not yours, as in most cases they have so much resentment and bitterness inside them, they will not hear it from you at all. They will block you out and refuse to hear anything you say objectively.

Pushing the unfaithful spouse to choose you or them immediately doesn’t usually turn out well for a variety of reasons of which I’ve only shared a few for the sake of space. I can’t possibly cover every situation, but these are the most typical responses we’ve seen over the years. Every situation is different, yet there are some very solid, universal truths that must be pondered and utilized in drawing clear lines within recovery. 

Add New Comment:

Comments

What about if you are getting help....

I read this post, and all the other blogs, and have been almost daily since d-day November 2014.
Before I found out, I suggested we get help, and as soon as I found out, we were seeing a professional. The problem is, time and again, he would sit in these sessions, and also come home but would still be in contact with the affair partner. He would msg her at night while I was in the other room, he wished he was with her, all this time he would sit in the therapists room saying that I should have been more intimate with him, etc. he would then leave the therapist, go back to work where she would be waiting for him (she lost her job the week after the affair, so she should not have been at the workplace, but was).
He continued to see her, speak with her online and by SMS. Then he was fired from work - which she played a major part in his dismissal. Even after he was fired, he still made contact with her.
There is a lot more to the story of his actions, and I really feel I should give up! Even now, he says he has no contact, but I see little signs, and in his words and actions that there is possibly some contact made with the affair partner, or he is holding to hope that she will contact him.
It's now 8 months since d-day, and 3 months since the last confirmed evidence of contact made.

answerd the other post

kylie, i answered the other post, but I'll say here, that if he continued to do all that, he is in no way safe. the help you did get probably didn't do much for him as he was significantly conflicted and not in his right mind so to speak and wasn't committed to recovery. so please, don't let yourself get taken advantage of anymore. see the other post for more info for you to read as well.

What if you've already made the mistake?

So, I've already laid down the "her or your family" ultimatum. And, just like you've written here, he chose option 3. I've been receiving counseling and am on the road to recovering. I'm also about to give birth to our 5th child. Is there anything I should be doing in light of the fact that I did initially push him away? I want him to know that I am willing to forgive him and I want him to come home to his family, but I also don't want to be an enabler.

Clarity

Thanks Samuel so much for this post. My wife is currently in an emotional affair with a co-worker. She is, of course, in denial that what she is doing is wrong. Thankfully, we were in counseling months before the D-day. She has been confronted to be accountable to her counselor, and by me to stop the deleted emails, texts, phone calls, to be honest, and uphold her boundaries. She has been unwilling and unable to do any of these.

I've been fortunate to have alot of support from our counselors, our pastors, some family and friends. However, I'm receiving two opinions on what I should do; some say confront with an ultimatum, others say get help from professionals and hold on. I appreciated your perspective and rationale. I've wanted to draw that line in the sand dozens of times. Maybe it is the right thing to do for some. Maybe I should contact the AP spouse and family. But I refuse to do so out of fear.

My heart breaks from all the stories I've read on the AR site. I'm still in disbelief that my wife willingly, over time, chose this EA over our marriage. Not sure if she will let go of AP to get clarity for her life, or see how her life longings led her to this place. I love her and like many, praying the fog lifts and she can see things crystal clear.

Blessings to you and your family. Thanks for all of your sharing and insight into this pit of suckiness.

What type of affair was it?

Our free Affair Analyzer provides you with insights about your unique situation and gives you a personalized plan of action.
Take the Affair Analyzer