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.

What Really Happened When He Said He Was Leaving Her

Being an adulteress was one of the last things I ever expected.  I never expected how far I would let things go.  I never expected he would eventually want to leave his wife.  Despite how I had idealized what that day would be like, when it actually happened it was far from what I envisioned:

The last thing I felt was joy – and the first thing I thought was something I can’t print here.  (Let’s just say I wasn’t as elated and relieved as I thought I would be.)

That’s the veneer of adultery.  It looks like one experience, when the reality is quite different.  It’s like expecting good business from a known con artist, or good health from junk food.  And no matter how alluring it seems, I have yet to meet an adulteress who hasn’t traveled a hard road.  Yes, I’ll even say a road she’s choosing to be on.

Because as much as I can compassionately relate to current “other women,” my belief in taking personal responsibility wasn’t altered by my own experience.  If anything, my experience only affirmed it.

Just like it was the same for the adulteress in John 8.  Jesus compassionately defended her against the Pharisees – but he also told her to leave her life of sin.  He didn’t condone her life choices, because he knew what they meant for her.  He knew that to keep sinning wasn’t in her best interest, too.

If it had just been about getting her back in legalistic line, I dare say he would have handed her over to the Pharisees.  But that’s not God’s heart!  If you’re currently in an adulterous relationship, then you need to know that the need to end it is not because God just wants to ruin your life.

It’s because He knows a life like that will ruin you. 

Just like it had begun to ruin me.  Like any relationship, the famous “honeymoon phase” eventually ended.  But like a drug addict, I was already emotionally h