The Affair Hasn’t Stopped and He’s Confused

What do you do if your partner is involved with someone else–either physically or emotionally (or both)–and he or she won’t stop

Do you hang on and hope that your partner will some day wake up and completely come back to you and let the other person go–or do you leave?

If you’d like some help deciding whether to stay in or leave your relationship, check out our program “Should You Stay or Should You Go?”

Here’s a question from a woman who is in this very uncomfortable and uncertain situation–and our answer to her…


“What do you do if they are confused and haven’t stopped their affair?”


First of all, let’s get this straight–your partner might say he’s confused but his actions prove otherwise.

The way we see it–right now, he wants to keep the affair going AND keep his relationship with you–otherwise, he would have left you already for the other person OR he would have stopped the affair.

There are probably parts of both relationships that he likes and he wants to keep both–for right now– or the pain of letting either relationship go is far too great for him to move on it– or he wants you to make the first move to leave the relationship. It may be somehow easier if you make the first move.

We can’t know for sure where he stands in all of that.

But that’s him…Let’s talk about you.

We’re guessing that you’re hurting a great deal and feeling like you’re in limbo.

Your emotions can be pretty high right now and can get in the way of taking action from a conscious place inside you.

Going back to your question of “he’s confused”…

Once again he’s NOT confused even if he says he is.

It’s just that it seems like you want a different kind of commitment from him than he is either willing or capable of giving you right now.  You may want things to be back the way they were and have an “exclusive” commitment with him and whether he’s conscious of it or not– his commitment is to being with both of you.

You may not even know what to say to your partner (or how to say it) about this situation.

We’re guessing that things are pretty touchy between the two of you.

We’re also guessing that you’re fearful that you may say the wrong thing that could drive him away even further.

You’ll find a lot of wonderful tools for communicating with someone you care about in “touchy” or difficult situations in our program– “Stop Talking On Eggshells”

With your situation in mind…

Here are a few questions for you to answer to help you decide your next step…

1. What do you want?

Take some time and write down what it is that you want in this relationship or any intimate relationship.

Don’t write “I want the affair to stop so we can get back to the way it used to be.”

Write what you want and how you want to be treated. Think back to when your relationship was good. How did you feel and what was good about it?

No matter how good it used to be, what did you want more of?

The next suggestion may not be easy, but here goes… (You may need to remind yourself to keep breathing for this one)

2. Ask him what he gets out of being in the other relationship, what he gets out of being in your relationship–and just listen with NO comment.

Just take it in and ask him to be honest but not necessarily full of details (unless that’s what you want.)

In Oprah’s interview with Elizabeth Edwards in this month’s O magazine, Elizabeth said that she wanted to understand her husband John’s affair.  She had the courage to ask the tough questions and to listen to his answers.

Easy?–of course not.

At this point, if your husband doesn’t seem to be willing to give up the other person, it may be in your best interest to try to understand what’s going on.

3. How open is your partner to connecting with you in any of those ways you listed in #1–and is he willing to get help?

Look for signs that you are connecting and if they aren’t there right now, are there any signs from him that he is willing to connect with you in those ways again?

If you see signs that he wants to connect more with you, ask if he’s willing to see a therapist or coach to help both of you explore your connection and come to a decision about your situation.

If the affair is still going on, it’s understandable that you might have a difficult time connecting with him–and we wouldn’t blame you. In fact, if you’re really in touch with who you are, any kind of intimacy might be inauthentic.

You’re just looking for some sign from him that he wants a connection with you AND his willingness to get help with this decision.

If you don’t see any signs that he wants to connect with you–or that he is open to getting help, that’s information for you to consider as you decide what your next move is.

4. What your “bottom line”?

If there’s no movement toward what you want, you have to decide how long you’re going to stay in this limbo state of uncertainty.

It’s helpful to take stock of your living situation and what leaving might mean for you and your children, if you have any.

In other words, come up with a plan.

We can guess that you probably want him to come around and come back to you–and give up the other person.  You have to decide how long you want to wait for some resolution to your situation if he’s not willing to do that.

In other words, what’s your “bottom line” and how long will you let this situation go on?

Deciding to leave or stay is never easy.  Try some of our suggestions and know that you are worth taking some action toward what you want.

For help on building trust when it’s been broken, visit

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