I often have two different sets of people asking me this question. Sometimes, people whose spouses are having an affair want to know why and how affairs end so that they can attempt to make the affair end sooner. Other times, I hear from the people involved in the affair. They don’t want it to end so they are looking for common pitfalls in the hopes that they can avoid them. Much of the time, one party is hoping that the affair ends (and is looking for a way to help this process happen more quickly) while the other is hoping that it never ends. In the following article, I’ll tell you some of the most common reasons that I see affairs end.
The Affair Will Commonly Fizzle Out As The “Newness” And Excitement Wears Off: There’s no question that, to many, part of the appeal of the affair is the fact that it’s taboo and forbidden. There can be an excitement that comes with a new and secret relationship. But as the early days give way to old ones, this sense of newness quickly wears off and gives way to the familiar. And when this happens, a lot of that excitement goes with it. When this happens, the affair/relationship will often just die a natural death or fizzle out. Because it’s often not real or genuine feelings and emotions that are holding these two together. It’s a facade that fades.
Sometimes, The Guilt Becomes So Overwhelming That One Party Chooses To End The Affair: It’s also not uncommon for one person to end the affair out of guilt. There’s a stereotype that people who have affairs are unfeeling and don’t care about their spouse anymore. This isn’t always the case. Many do feel guilt and some even end the affair because of those same guilt feelings. Although the person on the other side of the affair will often hope or think that the person with whom they are cheating has distanced himself from his family or is no longer as invested as he once was, this sometimes proves to be not the case.
Sometimes The Faithful Spouse Finds Out About The Affair And A Choice Must Be Made: It’s not at all uncommon for the faithful spouse to learn about the affair (and sometimes the unfaithful spouse will confess to this themselves.) When this happens, the faithful spouse will often issue an ultimatum and demand that a choice is made. And it’s not at all uncommon for the cheating spouse to end the affair in a response to that ultimatum because they decide that their spouse is more important to them than the other person.
An Affair Can End Because One Or Both People Involved In It Realize That The Relationship Just Isn’t Working Anymore Or Was Built Upon Misconceptions: It’s also not uncommon for one or both people in the relationship to evaluate it and decide that it isn’t working anymore or just isn’t what they thought or hoped it would be. Often, in the beginning, they can build the other person up to be something who he or she is not. After all, if you’re going to risk your marriage and your family to participate in infidelity, that other person must be awful special. But, after a while, it becomes easier to see them for who they really are or aren’t. And when this happens, you can realize that the other person (or the relationship) just isn’t worth the risk or the personal costs.
When Reality Sets In, The Rose Colored Glasses Can Come Off: In the beginning of an affair, both people are usually on their best behavior and are working very hard to make each encounter exciting and memorable. Usually at least one person is investing a lot into the relationship. But this can only last or be maintained for so long. Eventually, she might see or have to pick up his dirty socks. Her lack of character might start to annoy him and the list goes on and on. The point is, eventually, the relationship behind the affair becomes like any other relationship – warts and all. And it can become fairly obvious that if the affair is going to have all of the usual problems of a marriage or other long-term relationship, then what’s the point?
The End Of An Affair Can Come Very Abruptly Or Quite Gradually: Sometimes when people think of an affair ending, they picture a very dramatic breakdown. I’ve had people tell me that they sat on the phone while their spouse called the other person and instantly ended the affair. I’ve heard of nasty face to face confrontations and threats to never ever have any contact again. But an affair doesn’t always end with a bang. It can also end with a gradual whimper where one person quietly breaks it off or the interactions or meetings just become less and less frequent until they eventually end altogether.
No matter how and why affairs end, most do end eventually. Statistics show that very few relationship that start as an affair end up in marriage – much less a marriage that actually lasts. There’s an exception to every rule, of course. But for the most part, an affair does not have a high chance of working out or ending well. That’s why it can be advisable to never start one in the first place.
Feature Image: The Purple FIG