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Will My Spouse’s Affair End on its Own?

Updated: Jul 25, 2022

A burning question for spouses who are trying to hang in tight during the chaos of affair discovery: they want to know if there’s a chance their husband/wife/partner’s affair will end on its own.

Usually the desperate spouse who is waiting for the affair to run its course has already made ultimatums, dragged it out in weekly counseling, went on their best behavior, raged and screamed, begged, pleaded, heard promises, discovered promises broken. They’ve turned themselves into a pretzel to do whatever they can to change the impossible dynamic. Yet things don’t change.

Often they’re getting mixed signals from their spouse. The spouse having the affair is giving mixed signals because THEY themselves are just as mixed. On the one hand, they want to believe they’ll do the work to recommit to the marriage. They want the family unit. They want the life they’d built up until know. But on the other hand, they can’t let go of their affair partner. The pull of the affair is like a drug. The relationship is a lifeline and it’s powerful. Contact with the affair partner keeps pulling them back. Hence they stay stuck. And so do you.

So what now? Is divorce the only option? Hurt spouses want to know if it’s worth keeping their head down and letting the affair run its course. Is it worth waiting it out?

My answer to that is “it depends.” It depends on the specific feedback you’ve been getting from your spouse. What have their words been? Have their behaviors matched their words? It also depends on how much YOU can tolerate. Once you gauge the dynamics present in your individual situation more fully you can decide if it’s worth taking time to see if the affair will resolve without force.

What would your marriage look like in the wake of the affair if it did end? Can you live with that? Do you want to? What would be required of you, and what would be required of your spouse? These are all very personal questions that you will need to spend time reflecting on. That way you can assess what personal choice works best for you.

We never can know if an affair will end on its own. Some affairs end on their own and go in the history books of your marital story, and some end with the affair itself being the lasting relationship. The only way to know if the affair can end on its own is to give it time to find out. And that’s why asking yourself the question of whether you can tolerate that time — and what life would look like afterwards — is essential.

In today’s day and age it’s possible to keep in contact with an affair partner in so many ways. You can move, change your life, make a ton of rules, monitor emails and phones, but the only person who can end the affair is the person in it. They have to decide to close that door. They have to put up the boundaries that end the chaos and confusion and allow them to turn back to their marriage.

The pull of an affair is very powerful. So if you’re wondering if it will end on its own, give your spouse the space and time to make that decision for themselves.

They may realize they don’t want to lose their family, that they don’t want to be a part time parent, that their affair partner is just a human, too, or that they’re not as great as they thought they were… they may realize that they were lost in the woods.

But they need to be able to realize that for themselves. When they realize it for themselves they are making the decision for themselves. And decisions we make for ourselves are 99.9% of the time the decisions we commit to and follow through on. And you, dear spouse, want a marriage where you know there is going to be commitment and follow-through.

Lauren provides boots-on-the-ground lived experience combined with invaluable professional expertise working with infidelity. She is committed to helping individuals and couples deal with and heal from marital affairs in a highly effective, yet warm and judgment-free style.

Lauren's articles help share much-needed information, and reduce the stigma and shame around the common experience of infidelity. Contact Lauren at to learn more about working together.

Lauren, Affair Specialist

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