Back to Basics–Step 4 of 7 Steps To End An Affair

You’ve suspected for a while that something is not right between you and your spouse. Maybe they were spending lots of extra hours “at work” but there was no overtime on their paycheck. Maybe they completely changed their music, hairstyle, or clothing choices to something appropriate for someone decades younger. Maybe they were chatting or texting all the time and then deleted everything so you couldn’t see it.

Whatever the reasons, you had a sneaking suspicion something wasn’t right…

If you suspect your spouse is having an affair or is being emotionally unfaithful, do not despair. An affair does not have to mean the end of your marriage. In fact, consider this:

  • Approximately 20% of affairs last less than two months
  • Approximately 50% of affairs last more than one month, but less than a year.
  • The remaining 30% last more than a year
  • Very few last more than four years
  • Around 3% result in marriage

There are Seven Steps You Can Take to End an Affair if you have reason to believe your spouse may be unfaithful.  There is no guarantee your marriage will recover, but these steps will give you the best opportunity to recover after the affair ends.

Step 1) Gather Evidence.

Step 2) Confront.

Step 3) Disclose.

Step 4) Expose.  When someone that your disloyal spouse respects has spoken to them about the affair and encouraged them to end it, but they have hardened their heart and refuse to end it, what’s the next step?  Well just to review, Matthew 18: 15-17  tells us specifically how to deal with a brother or sister who sins.  What closer brother or sister do you have than your own spouse? So again let’s look to God‘s Word for the step we should take next.  Look specifically at verse 17:

15  If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.

16  But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’

17  If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

The next step is to “tell it to the church” and here I don’t think that Jesus meant we should stand up in front of the whole congregation and make an announcement.   The Greek word there is “ekklésia” and it means “people called out from the world and to God” so using some wisdom I believe the author (and God) means that if we’ve already spoken to the pastor, that we should now speak to the elders; if we’ve already spoken to the disloyal’s father (one respected parent), that we should now speak to both her parents and both of his parents.

Make no doubt, exposure is one of the MOST misunderstood concepts of ending an affair.  Many people mistake is for vengeance.  Many incorrectly think I’m talking about airing dirty laundry publicly.  Many think exposure is to humiliate the disloyal spouse.  To all these theories and many, many more like it I can not say a resounding “NO!” loudly enough!!

The number one, main idea behind exposure is to take the boldest, most public step in hopes of breaking up the affair partners and reconciling your marriage.  Thus, if you act out of vengeance or even speak in a way that disparages your spouse, you are shooting yourself in the foot and making reconciliation more difficult.  So if you are thinking that you will use exposure after the divorce to “get back at your spouse” or thinking that you’ll wait until they are up for a raise and then use exposure to ruin their reputation at work–then you are acting out of revenge and not exposure.  The heart of exposure is as discreet as possible, honest (no longer hiding the affair), sorrowful, and looking for assistance through prayer or encouragement … both for yourself (to get through this) and for your spouse (to do the right thing and end their affair and honor their vows).  THAT’S IT!

Exposure does not to drag your disloyal spouse’s name and reputation through the mud, even though they may accuse you of that.  Actually just to be clear, this is why you stay very honest and factual, because your honest speaking is not what’s harming their reputation–their ACTIONS are doing that!   Exposure refusing to keep the affair a “secret” so they can continue in secret and spin a story blaming you for their infidelity.

For this step to be effective, there will be a focused limit to the exposure.  The loyal spouse should contact their own family (parents and siblings), the disloyal’s parents and siblings, their church or place of worship, and the other person’s spouse.  You inform your families and religious leaders that the disloyal spouse is having an affair, that it is serious, that the marriage is in trouble, and ask for help.  The focus and main concern here is to contact those who may be harmed by the affair, give the facts, and ask them either to support the loyal or talk to the disloyal and tell them to return to the marriage.

You may also want to speak  to the loyal spouse’s employer, and under very specific circumstances, the disloyal spouse’s employer.  You would speak to your own employer so they know why you seem distracted, cry at work, and aren’t as productive.  You would contact the disloyal’s employer ONLY IF THE AFFAIR IS GOING ON AT WORK!!  I can not stress this enough–there is no need to contact your disloyal spouse’s employer or co-workers if the affair is with someone on Facebook unrelated to work!!  But…

… if  the affair is between a disloyal and their boss or something they supervise

…if the affair began as workplace flirting and fraternization

…if the affair is taking place during work travel or work conferences

…if the affair is carried along by a work cell phone, work laptop, or work car

…then you may also want to speak to your disloyal spouse’s employer because they are seriously in jeopardy of a sexual harassment lawsuit!  Their property, time, and resources are being used for unwanted sexual contact (you, as the spouse, do not want it) and they need to address it or they could be sued.

Finally you will want to contact the affair partner’s spouse and ask, “Are you aware that my spouse is having an affair with your spouse? I have evidence… ” Nothing ends an affair faster than the other person’s spouse screaming and putting their foot down!

Now, your disloyal is likely to be pretty upset with you for exposing their affair!!   A) Affairs are much more “fun” when they are a clandestine romantic rendezvous and not brought to the truth of being adultery!  And B) you are trying to cut them off from the drug they are “addicted” to the affair.  But just like you sometimes have to endure the fury of an addicted friend in an intervention–it’s for their own good and the hope is that once the addiction is broken, they will see and appreciate what you did.  Your marriage can survive your disloyal spouse’s anger–it can not survive ongoing adultery.

On the occasion a disloyal spouse realizes that everyone knows about their affair–and the  Affair Partner’s spouse screams and puts a stop to it–and the affair is killed.  If this is your case, consider yourself blessed and move to the phase of recovering your marriage, even if your spouse is not wholeheartedly into it yet.

If that is not how it works out for you, please bear in mind that sometimes the church will let you down or parents and family  will be hesitant to get involved, much less ask your spouse to end their affair.  That’s why we recommend that exposure be very limited and focused as wisely as you possibly can!   If that is the case, please post a comment or post a Prayer Request and we’ll pray for you.  Thank God, He didn’t just leave us at this point, but the Bible does ell us what do do for the next step.  And so we will post tomorrow with Step 5.

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This is post #3  in the CMBA 1/2 Marathon Blogging Challenge to post everyday for 13 days in October … AND is part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge!

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And on Thursdays I also join this Godly Link-up:

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6 thoughts on “Back to Basics–Step 4 of 7 Steps To End An Affair

  1. Great tips! What do you do when you know a friend is having an affair? You can’t tell their spouse without betraying the trust in the friendship. I love the concept of looking at it like an addiction and intervention-because I realized it was an addiction for me. God exposed my affair – but is there anything I can do to speed up the process with my friend? My heart aches for her but I feel like there is nothing I can do except pray for her.

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