How You Can Help Someone Leave an Affair

One of the questions I’m asked most frequently, is how someone can help a friend or loved one in an affair.  I myself experienced a whole range of reactions, when I confessed to being in an adulterous relationship (while it was going on).  As I look back I see how some reactions were more effective than others — if the person reacting had helping me in mind.

I confided in some of my closest friends because the secret was eating away at me.  And I had begun to realize I needed help.  Before and during my adultery I had begun to really isolate myself, so reaching out to others was an effort to reconnect.  To get help.  And to re-establish accountability, which was another pre-adultery red flag I talk about both in my book and this special audio-message.

Like I said, I experienced a variety of reactions.  But I want to focus here on one of the most effective ones.  In the video below, I share what it was and how it impacted my decision to ultimately leave the adulterous relationship:

I see now how my friends’ reactions were reminiscent of Jesus in John 8.  He didn’t isolate — or attack — the woman caught in adultery.  He didn’t turn her away; he defended and protected her. And then in the intimacy of it being just the two of them, he rules out the shame of condemnation — but convicts her with his exhortation to leave her life of sin.

I imagine in my mind how soft and warm his eyes were when he looked into hers.  Maybe even a bit tearful, knowing her pain and brokenness — and knowing the heartbreak of her Heavenly Father.  Heartbreak because of how much He loves her.  Heartbreak because He sees her heart, broken by self-loathing and shame and fear.

And then, when he convicted and encouraged her to repent and leave her life of sin, it was up to her to walk it out.  Here are three things you can do to help someone in an affair “walk it out” and walk away:

  1. Intercede through prayer.  I know I had family and friends praying for me — praying that I would finally have the strength to walk away.  Which I did.  There’s no doubt in my mind their prayers were powerfully integral.
  2. Speak the Truth.  The friend I refer to in the video above was truthful with me — and it was like cold water on my face that I needed.  She wasn’t angry with me, or hurtful — she was just honest about her own heart, her own hurt, her own concern.
  3. Draw boundaries.  If you’re dealing with someone who is unrepentant and doesn’t see anything wrong with their adulterous choices, you’ll need to consider putting up some boundaries.  You can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped.

meRebecca Halton is Author, Encourager, and Redeemed Adulteress. Her first book “Words from the Other Woman: The True Account of a Redeemed Adulteress” is her testimony of how she fell from grace — and then how grace saved her.

She now shares her story and hard-learned lessons, as a way of helping others avoid affairs or find redemption after leaving one. You can learn more at www.rebeccahalton.com.

Shelley: How I Found Out There Was Another Woman — And Moved Forward

The moment I found out that my greatest fear had come upon me, I was sitting at a desk talking on the phone to a friend who had also been a co-worker of my first husband.

I called her to ask her if she knew what was going on with him. How had this man who had proposed to me—twice!—had children with me, and given me his name, chosen to leave me with no real reason other than, “I don’t think we belong together anymore”?

Although I was very suspicious that there was someone else, my heart and mind did not want to go there. We had seen numerous professional counselors, ministers, and friends and he continued to deny that there was anyone else in the picture or in his life. I wanted to believe him, but something kept nagging at me that there was more than what my eyes were seeing.

I asked God to reveal to me anything that was hidden but needed to be revealed. And within about 9 days, He did just that. As I called this friend and asked a bold question, “Do you know if he is having an affair?” I honestly imagined her replying with some level of shock as she would say, “No way, Shelley. He is going through something but he would NEVER do that to you or the girls.”

But she didn’t say that.
Instead, the other end of the line got really quiet as she said:
“I’m so sorry. Yes, he is.”

I literally had to concentrate on breathing in and out. I cannot even begin to describe the storm of emotions and thoughts going through me. Every nerve felt exposed. I wonder if I did not have two precious little lives counting on me what I might have done in that moment.

But God…

Moving on when he moved out was a moment-by-moment process of relying on God’s strength to get me through. What got me through this and into a much better season? To keep this brief, I’ll bullet point some major “columns” that held me together while my world fell apart:

Intentionality with God and His Word—although books on divorce, adultery, marriage are good supplements, they should never replace the nourishment we receive from God’s own word.

Authentic relationships with God’s People—there were well-meaning people who offered unsolicited advice that wounded me in places where I was already hurting. But there were also people who stood with me in the pain and loved me through it. One woman called simply to say over the sound of my tears, “Shelley, I felt the nudge of the Spirit to tell you that there will be a better day. It won’t always feel like this.” And she was so right. There have been MANY, many better days since.

While it is true that our greatest wounds come through relationships, it is also true that our greatest healing also comes through relationships. Knowing that I wasn’t alone helped me to move on with my life, into the unknown of it all, while entrusting my life and the lives of my girls to a faithful Creator.


shelley headshot

Shelley Hendrix is wife to her best friend, mother, Bible teacher, speaker, author, and television talk show host — but more important than any role she fills, she is most grateful to be a child of God, learning to live out of who God says she is.

Click here to learn more about Shelley, who is also the founder of Church 4 Chicks and the author ofWhy Can’t We Just Get Along?