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. 

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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.


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.

Workplace ap

My wife has come clean about her workplace romance. I found out the there was an escape plan and I threatened to leave and she ask me to stay. He's showed up at our home twice now, one time I caught and confronted and he said that I hadn't a clue. She's since said its over but it's very hard to trust that. They communicate via work email and see each other at the office. I'm doing what I can to be strong but it's been very difficult.

that's tough

steven, that's tough my friend.  get the right help asap brother.  she will need help to stop the affair and keep it ended.  here is a series on ending the affair you both should read:

that will help big time.  but she need something like the hope for healing course on line or you both should consider coming to the ems weekend.  she won't be able to simply 'turn if off like a light switch' as affairs don't work that way.  i hope that helps you.  reach out anytime.




I recently told my spouse that I'm moving forward with divorce due to the fact that after 11 months after discovery she continues to lie and communicate with the affair partner. We have been going to couples counseling and she has also been going to a counselor on her own. She continues justify the affair and shows no remorse or empathy. Her go to response is "I don't know. She doesn't want to lose me and she doesn't want to lose him either. We've been together for 7 years and we were barely married a year when she decided to have an affair. We were in the midst of trying to have a child when she began this affair. Her much older boss was fired after their romance was discovered. He is married as well with 3 young children. I feel that either our counselors are a waste of time and money or she is unable to be helped.


brian84.  i agree my friend.  i would put your foot down on the divorce.  i bet, after you do that, she will then pursue you and chase you.  we want what we can't have.  if you empower her ambivalence, she will stay ambivalent.  if you draw clear boundaries, then she will have to respect them.  she may actually not pursue you and go be with the affair partner, and if that's the case, you can now put the marriage to rest and heal and start that new chapter.  if she moves toward you, i would still divorce.  then get expert help and see about dating again, remarrying and doing it the right way from the beginning with a fresh start.  i'm sorry for the delay, we had a server issue and i didn't get notified about the comment.  thanks for being here. 


Your story sounds like mine.

My husband and I have been together for 8 years and married for 2. My mom got really sick and needed surgery in October of ‘22. She had complications and I sat in icu until December of ‘22, when she passed, after having to make the gut wrenching decision to have her dialysis stopped due to the quality of life she would have.

My husband started his affair in October. D-Day was at the end of February. I have been patient. But, first thing, I told him me or her. He didn’t seem remorseful. He a couple days later said he wanted our marriage and agreed to counseling. Here we are in April, he is still angry when I try to talk about it outside of therapy. I was not given proof he stopped talking to her. Just wanted to give him some space on that and tried to trust that he actually did stop talking to her. Well.. I had a gut feeling and since I don’t know his phone passcode I decided to try a code I think would work on his iPad. I was right, not only did he lie to our therapist (we only saw her once so far, tomorrow is our second session) and even told her that he wasn’t having contact with his affair partner.. but he is in a full blown relationship. Saying I love you. Being there for her when she’s frustrated about work. My mom had been dead a month and I was crying and he told me that it was annoying. So he was there for her and not me. He cried this time being confronted… but… I’m scared they were tears from being caught. He still hasn’t apologized. I don’t know how to ask for proof he’s putting in the work because I don’t wanna push him away. I’m just shocked and I don’t understand.. like I feel he should’ve just left instead of marrying me 2 years ago. This is a mess. I’m sorry for what you have endured. I’m sorry for everyone that’s heartbroken. It was nice to see I’m not the only somewhat newlywed.

ADHD ...

We've been struggling a lot before my husband got into his affair with a co-worker for almost 1 year. On D-day (when we were on vacation with the kids, he purposely left a message with her on his phone because he knew I was suspecting ... she claimed to be pregnant and he got panic), right after I discovered it, I told him I want his Mom to be informed and asked him to stop seeing her for 1 month to "clean up" with me. I gave him 2 months to move out and to agree on our kids and financial situations. I also sent her a message to say he'll be hers in 2 months. Meanwhile, 3 weeks after D-day, I gathered by myself lots of information, including the fact that he also brought that woman to our home. My reaction was more than ...violent. I thrown everything away (littereally everything from the kitchen and bedroom). Within 3 weeks, I bought a newly built condo for me and the kids and moved out, leaving him the "dirty" house. It's truly dirty.

Now I realiazed my reactions really hit him. He went no contact since D-day and her too because she also has a family and did not want her husband to know. I think they were both ...scared.

My story is complicated ... He called a therapist right after D-day. I contacted another one and met her weekly during 6 months. After 4 months, she suggested we see a couple therapist as I love our children and since D-day, they still don't know what is going on. They are 3 and 7. Even at the condo, I still let him come see the kids and sleep over with them. I had moments where I was very angry but after that, I felt pity for him ....

We are 9 months after D-day now. Our couple therapist uses EFT. We are still in the attack-withdrawn danse and we have discovered he might have ADHD ...

I've been reading a lot about ADHD and effects on marriage ... I can totally relate and realize why I became such a nagger ... the question is how can I forgive after many years suffering from his ADHD without knowing and ultimately, it took an affair for me to realize I was not "crazy" ?

Any of you had to deal with such an aftermath?


my husband had an affair for almost a year. he said he ended it. I said no contact or I leave, I spent a year trying to heal. recently found out that he slept with her again this year. She's pregnant and now we are waiting to find out if it's his. he has ADD. Ever since he started his medication, he is a different person. I want to leave but I can actually feel the transformation in him for the first time. We have 4 children and have been together more than 30 years. It took an experienced therapist to help us. Not sure what I will do if the baby is his. Trying to live in the present. We both worked on our old way of being and identified how that didn't work for us and then developed a new way of being for each of us that we committed to. He says he is here with me now fully. It's just hard to forgive the multiple levels of betrayal. I have been hurting for over a year and it took him all this time to finally tell me the truth. Now I am supposed to understand and believe he is different. Trying. Best of luck to you.

Husband Affair with Co-Worker

My husband of 15 years has been having an affair with a co-worker now for almost 6 months. We have remained in the same house he has slept in the extra bedroom. Then they have a fight/disagreement and he says it is over and he is home. This has happened now for the 3rd time. He says he loves me, wants our marriage to work and loves being with me and but he cares about the other person and they are just friends. I have explained that you cannot be just friends. They both talk at work , text message each other and fb message each other. I have told him that if he does not cut off communication and visiting her at her home our marriage is over. It is going on almost 3 weeks and he has not been to her home but see's her at work and still the communication is there. He is not willing to get help and I guess expects me to just see how it all turns out. I have told him I love him this is not the point. The point is I know what I will accept in my life and what I will not. I deserve to be treated with respect. To me if he loves me as he says and would be devastated if I left then why not get help. I am just confused and how I should handle and how I should feel. I try to just act as if all this does not bother me but deep down my heart is breaking. As, I truly love this man.

Hard to read

I read this post and felt a bit infuriated.

A woman who allows a man to put her last and keep an affair partner while ‘deciding if he wants to come home’ is insane. Women need to have dignity. If a man cheats on you, why would you want to be with them if they choose between you and the affair partner. To me, this is not a choice they get to have anymore.

I don’t like this post because it makes women look desperate. Love is a two way street, it’s not one sided. Know your worth and have dignity.

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-D, Texas