Texas Flag
Texas Divorce Laws

How Do Affairs End? 4 Possible Scenarios and How to Manage

Michael Tierney
January 22, 2023

A cheating spouse is hiding a massive secret that affects their behavior towards you and those around them. Whether this behavior changes from guilt, stress, or fear, it will inevitably affect a cheating spouse. The pressure of hiding an extra-marital partner from their spouse can drastically affect their emotional and psychological state. These behaviors usually produce a glaring sign that there is something amiss in your relationship. Identifying these signs can be difficult since we all have blind spots regarding our spouses. Nevertheless, if your spouse is having an affair, it can lead to a serious change in your relationship until the affair is revealed.

Generally, when an affair is revealed, it is after it ends, or ending it becomes a requirement for the cheating spouse to regain some of their spouse's trust.

Solution Ultimately, affairs almost always end, and they seldom end well. An affair can come to light in several emotionally taxing ways for you and your spouse. Finding out your spouse has been cheating on you can be devastating, and it is not as simple as returning to the life you had before you found out.

It also affects your spouse's behavior and could render them emotionally distant despite the damage the affair created.

The question is: how do affairs end, and how can you survive?

Scenario #1: The Thrill Ends

Perhaps the most common reason an affair ends is that the drive to experience something new with a man or woman other than their spouse fades. What was originally new to them becomes familiar and loses its thrill. Ironically, this also drives your spouse to seek an affair because they have deceived themselves into believing they can no longer find a thrill with you.

The core motivation for most extra-marital affairs is sex, a purely base instinct that has dictated the species' survival. People who cheat on their spouses have a variety of justifications for their actions, usually citing a lack of sex in their marriage. Despite their justifications, they usually want to explore sexual relationships outside their marital bonds.

In the heat of the moment, extra-marital sex can be exciting and an adventure for the person defying their marital obligations. Unfortunately for them, those sensations are fleeting and give way to greater emotional surges after the act. Relationships built solely on sex are not known to be long-lived and usually end when the emotions that are supposed to be there are completely absent.

Thrill of an Affair Ending

Despite the emotional distance your spouse might keep from their lover, the lack of these emotions means their attachment to the affair will quickly fade since nothing is anchoring them. Without any thrill or emotional attachment, your spouse will likely end the affair and attempt to return to the life they share with you.

Getting past something like this is almost impossible since it is a violation of your trust and a statement that your spouse no longer enjoys a "spark" with you. However, we will focus on how to work past the betrayal of infidelity a little later. For now, note that affairs where your spouse loses the "thrill" are usually ended by your spouse directly since they no longer have an interest in their partner.

Scenario #2: They Feel Guilty

A lesser-known fact about affairs is that several people who cheat on their spouses are not always out to hurt them. We are flawed beings, and some people are prone to giving into their base natures, one of which is our sex drives. When we encounter a sexually compatible individual, it can be difficult to overcome certain biological drives and prerogatives. This is not to say there is a valid excuse for cheating on your spouse, only that we are subjects of our biological functions.

It falls to our intelligence, empathy, and love for our spouses to prevent us from engaging in unsavory activities like infidelity. When we fall victim to a base impulse, the most common consequence is guilt for our failings.

Unfaithful Spouse Feeling Guilty

Having an extra-marital sexual encounter provides short-term pleasure but poses moral challenges. Sometimes, people make mistakes or fall for the flirtations of someone other than their spouse. Despite the moral failing, people who genuinely care for their spouses are usually overcome by guilt and remorse for betraying them.

This overwhelming guilt can prevent your spouse from pursuing a long-term affair and immediately ending the relationship with their partner after a single encounter. Most times, a spouse wracked with guilt will immediately inform you of their infidelity to try and restore some semblance of the trust and love you originally shared.

Others might hide the affair since "it was a mistake" and not worth revealing when it could damage your marriage. Mostly, a guilty spouse is likely to confess to their infidelity rather than keep it buried. A guilty spouse is also unlikely to engage in another affair after making a mistake once already. Regardless, such an event could easily shatter your trust in your spouse and leave you wondering about their loyalty in the future. This is understandable but might compromise your ability to salvage your marriage.

Scenario #3: They Get Dumped

Another slightly more common scenario you should consider is that the end of the relationship was not your spouse's decision. While your spouse's secret boyfriend or girlfriend might be happy with an illicit relationship in the short term, they will lose patience over time. Long-term affairs can lead your spouse to promise their lover that they will leave you to commit to the new relationship.

In some cases, your spouse is genuine in this promise and will leave you in favor of their new partner. In most cases, your spouse lies to their hidden partner to maintain the relationship and placate their desires to maintain the benefits of the relationship. Generally, the latter scenario leads to the relationship ending and its nature being revealed to you.

A spurned lover will not stand by while the person they are with makes false promises of leaving their spouse for them. Men or women willing to engage in romantic relationships with married people are more than happy to deliver ultimatums when the relationship does not meet their expectations. If a secret partner is left to languish in false promises of your spouse leaving you for them, they will likely break up with your spouse.

Unfaithful Spouse Getting Dumped

In most cases, the secret partner will deliver the ultimatum that either your spouse honors the promise or they will inform you of the relationship. This usually serves as a way of getting what they want since most couples do not recover from infidelity and break up. However, it almost always results in the dissolution of the affair.

Even if your spouse was lying about leaving you for this other person, it does not change the fact they have been willfully cheating on you for an extended period. This scenario is harder to work through because it proves your spouse is nowhere near as committed to the relationship as you are. As heartbreaking as this is, it can help you escape a toxic marriage to someone who does not appreciate you.

Scenario #4: You Discover It

Perhaps one of the most common and cliché reasons affairs end is because the loyal spouse discovers their spouse's infidelity. Uncovering an affair sounds difficult, but you would be surprised at how easy it can be in most scenarios. Keeping a secret as big as another boyfriend or girlfriend requires a cheater to navigate around their normal lives. This is easy when living separately from a long-term girlfriend or boyfriend but harder to hide from a wife or husband with whom they live.

A live-in spouse or significant other gets accustomed to their partners' daily routines. The occasional divergent action will not arouse suspicion, but an affair requires frequent changes to a routine that you will inevitably notice.

Over time, your spouse's new behavior will likely lead you to inquire about what they are up to and why they are never around despite sharing a home with you. Initially, your spouse might have a few believable excuses for their behavior, but ultimately these excuses will become flimsy and easy to identify as lies your spouse is using to cover their affair. Unfortunately, this is not enough to discover the affair without some investigation on your part.

This investigation will have the unpleasant consequence of making you seem paranoid or distrustful to some people, but it can be worthwhile. This is not to say you should follow your spouse around 24/7, but that you use other techniques to determine whether they are having an affair beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Discovering Spouse's Infidelity

The most common tactic is keeping a closer eye on your spouse's phone habits. Your spouse and their secret partner have to communicate, and the most common tools are text messages and phone calls. Your spouse might also have a new communication app on their phone, like Telegram or WhatsApp, that they did not use before.

If your spouse spends most of their free time looking at their phone and returning text messages, it could be them communicating with a secret partner. Understand that we are not encouraging you to assume your spouse is texting a lover whenever they pull out their phone, but that it is worth investigating.

The best way to investigate a potential affair via your spouse's phone is to ask who they are texting or calling. Generally, your spouse will not have a name ready to answer the question and will try to think of an appropriate answer. This hesitance can be a deafening clue that your spouse is trying to make an excuse and is hiding something from you. However, do not challenge them immediately and instead attempt to get an opportunity to confirm their claims. You will want to compare with the other signs of infidelity before you look through their phone, but it might eventually come to that.

Alternatively, it might be worth looking into a private investigator if you suspect an affair when your spouse is frequently not home. People have used personal investigators to find evidence of infidelity for years, with the results usually being an important resource in divorce proceedings.

How to Manage

Coping with the revelation that your spouse is having an affair is extremely difficult, especially since you are likely grappling with multiple emotions, the most important of which are betrayal, anger, and depression. These emotions are completely natural, but you cannot allow them to dictate your actions when processing the gravity of your spouse's infidelity.

As a species, we are prone to make rash decisions when emotions flare because it helps in the short term. However, these kneejerk reactions can backfire and destroy your chances of a best-case scenario in your situation. While we realize a "best-case scenario" after learning your spouse is cheating on you might seem trite, it is important.

Marriage Counseling Following an Affair

Unfortunately, we cannot apply a cookie-cutter solution to these scenarios since the circumstances of your spouse's infidelity could differ. For example, an impulsive affair that your spouse immediately regrets can still result in reconciliation if your spouse is willing to make concessions to restore your trust in them. Alternatively, a serial cheater might be someone you are better off divorcing. The trick is getting into counseling, and determining whether your spouse is willing to work through the issues is the best way to manage infidelity.

Learn the Law

Infidelity has been known to end several modern marriages due to the sheer betrayal one partner experienced. Despite the level of betrayal you might face after uncovering your spouse's infidelity, you must focus on your recovery. While you might love your spouse, some people do not deserve second chances if the affair was something they planned to maintain for an extended period. A common issue is that most affairs do not end because the spouse wants it to but because circumstances force their hand. These scenarios usually produce divorce cases since there is little chance of restoring the marriage to its original state.

A Divorce Lawyer

In scenarios where there is no hope for restoring the relationship, divorce will likely be the final result. Divorce can be messy and emotionally taxing, making it important to prepare yourself mentally and legally. The divorce proceedings can produce unpleasant and draining scenarios that make surviving the divorce difficult. The best way to overcome these scenarios is to learn about them beforehand. Knowledge is the best tool, and learning more about divorce ensures you can endure the process. We realize this is a difficult time for you, and we hope this article was helpful.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Written By:
Michael Tierney

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Our Divorce Newsletter
Subscribe to receive information, free guides and tutorials