What To Expect When Ending The Affair

This article was published in the Chicago Now section of the Chicago Tribune (circa 2011) as part of the Kulerski & Cornelison “The Way We War” series of articles.

Infidelity is a subject that brings forward a spectrum of comments and feelings ranging from titillation to shock and horror.  If infidelity is suspected in a partnership, it can be a marriage ending act, but does it always have to have this unhappy ending?

There are some experts that say no.  Rick Reynolds, LCSW, holds a master’s degree in Social Work and is a clinical member of member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.  Unlike many experts Rick Reynolds is not a dispassionate bystander offering guesswork as solutions, he is a man that has personal experience.  His organization, Affair Recovery, is dedicated to offering sensible advice.  Once section talks specifically about the do’s and don’ts of discussing infidelity.

Unlike other marital problems, infidelity always includes a third party.  It may take two to tango, but it takes three to cheat.  Rick Reynolds points out that this third person can often be the “wild card” and there are some common mistakes that should be avoided.  One mistake that he cites is believing that the affair is definitely over just because you and the paramour have decided to end it. Affairs rarely end on the first attempt.

The likelihood is this relationship probably meant more to one party than the other.  For that reason, just because you decide to end the affair doesn’t mean the other party will honor your decision, or even that you will.  The “Break-up, Make-up” cycle is a natural part of an affair.  But you cannot begin to heal your marriage until you take a stand and absolutely refuse contact.  However, don’t be naïve. The next attempt or temptation to contact is bound to come.  Denial of an impending reality will only leave you vulnerable to relapse.  So, prepare yourself for having to firmly and definitely refuse all contact.

Much of what Rick Reynolds teaches is common sense.  However, when a marriage is threatened, common sense is often a commodity in short supply. If you are guilt of infidelity, and genuinely want to redeem your marriage, you must be ready to deal firmly with the other party’s attempt to make further contact. Expect it and be prepared.