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.

Melanie: Redeemed from Adultery & Drug Dependency

If you had met me a decade ago, you’d have seen a very different woman.  I was a divorced, single mother struggling to figure out how to live on my own.  I had been married for 6 years to the first man to show interest in me.  We had a beautiful son together, tolerated each other and outgrew each other quickly.

After my marriage ended I started on a dangerous journey of pursuing married men.  Feeling powerless in my marriage for years, I discovered I did have power over men in regards to sex.  I carried on relationships with several different men for a few years.  The last affair was different though.

Like me, this guy had been raised in the church.  We both knew better, but it continued for almost 2 years.  Over those 2 years, he separated me from my family and friends.  Each time that I had enough he would spend a weekend with me or take me somewhere and I would resign to wait for him again.

Living this way was very stressful.
I used antidepressants and alcohol to numb the pain. 

These drugs combined with stress gave me heart palpitations.  A friend at work was seeing a Christian counselor and suggested I go.  I had shared the affair with her and she herself was emotionally troubled as well.

After a few sessions of me trying to convince my counselor that I was in the right and he needed to just leave his wife because I loved him the way he said he wanted to be loved, she pulled out a Bible.  She went to John 4:1-26 — the story of the Samaritan woman at the well.

As she read it to me, my eyes were opened and I could see the deception and my own issues of needing to be loved by someone even if that someone was the wrong one.

That day I started recovery from relationship addiction and codependency.  It wasn’t easy, but God helped me through.  The Bible became my food and drink.  Breaking free from the affair required a spiritual battle as well.

At one point the agony was so strong I was scared for my life.  My counselor reminded me of the Passover.   That afternoon I took some cooking oil and prayed over it, smeared it on my doors and windows.  That night I slept soundly for the first time in two years.

I discovered that day in therapy that I had no secrets from God.  He knew exactly how I was living, even if I had only shared with a few of my closest friends.  He wanted more for me, and loved me enough to save me from myself and my past hurts.

Something else the Bible says is “many believed in Him because of the Samaritan woman’s testimony”.  This is my journey now.  To tell my story so that others may be encouraged.


messagepartWhat Happened Next?  More from Melanie on God’s Redemption, and Life after Her Worst Day: “I found a great church to attend while in recovery. After a few months, I noticed this guy who was there every time I was there. I knew I was broken, so he had to be like me, broken & bruised. We didn’t speak for a long time. I didn’t trust myself to even talk to him, but when he finally spoke to me it was different. He was different and I was different. He was a good guy. I had never given a good guy a chance before.

Our first conversation was over an hour long in the church parking lot. I knew that day that God had brought us together. I was truthful with him about what I was going through and that I was on a mission of purity. He was on a similar mission. We had a short, but sweet courtship and have been married almost 10 years now. We have four beautiful children in all and God has restored us both.”

What Happened When I Told My Husband I’d Cheated

There are so many moments that lead to a life-altering bad decision. They don’t usually happen in a split second – God gives us many opportunities to pick a different path. Once I started compromising, it was only a matter of time until I was so deep in bad decisions that it was almost impossible to see my way out.

I knew Jesus. I knew Him, and I denied Him. Five years into my marriage, I cheated on my husband twice, who was deployed in the military.

When my husband deployed, I plunged into a deep depression. I started going out with single friends from work as an escape. What started as occasional dinner became weekly nights out dancing and drinking. I became more daring, and started removing my wedding ring before going out. My “friends” supported my behavior – justifying that I “needed to have more fun.”

I don’t remember the details of precisely when I started going completely off the deep end. I do recall that I felt sick about cheating, and told no one. Soon though, I did it again, this time with someone I knew vaguely (rather than a complete stranger). The scenarios were always the same – I got drunk, and erratic, and just wanted to escape.

But the truth is, I was living in a personal hell.

I was twice driven to my knees, begging God to forgive me. Even after that, I was reckless for a few more weeks. I wish I could explain why I couldn’t just stop. When my husband came home from deployment, I was overjoyed — but I knew I couldn’t tell him what I had done. I knew he would divorce me, and I loved him, and I never wanted our marriage to end. Why did I do it then? Here’s the hard truth: my selfishness drove out any thought of anyone or anything other than myself and my immediate impulses.

I hid my sin from my husband for over five years.

A seemingly random DVD-watching Bible study, was how God urged me to confess to my husband. I still can’t believe it. And the reveal was worse than you can imagine – because I made it so, by not telling my husband the whole truth – I told him half the truth. But a week later, I heeded the Holy Spirit’s conviction AGAIN, and told my husband: “Actually I cheated on you TWICE, not just once.”

Here’s the miracle though: my husband, a non-believer when we met, a man who has never forgiven some of his closest family members for past hurts, FORGAVE ME. And the kicker – the Lord just keeps blessing me. It doesn’t seem real – and it doesn’t seem right, but I know deep in my heart that the Lord forgave me when I truly begged him for His forgiveness, and I also know that He honored my obedience when called me to obey Him and reveal the truth when I did.


Anonymous is a friend of Rebecca Halton’s, who was in the same Bible study as Anonymous when she went home to tell her husband.  We respect and support her decision to boldly come forward, even anonymously, as was best decided by her and her husband.

In lieu of a bio, we’ll also share that Anonymous says: “I pray you’ll learn from my mistakes. I pray you won’t make the mistakes I have endured. I pray you’ll ask for help. You’ll seek Jesus – when you think you shouldn’t, when you think you can’t. I pray you’ll become moved to follow Christ now – today and forever. I pray my wounds, deep and ugly as they are, transform more than just my own life, but bring great glory to God. Somehow, someway, the Lord keeps blessing me – and I don’t deserve it. I don’t deserve any of it – but that’s why He sent his Son to die for me, and to take my sin on as His own. May Jesus’ name be glorified.”