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.