I've been having an online affair with a younger married man from another state. I cannot sleep because of the guilt. I'm feeling so badly about myself. I know I must end it, but I can't seem to find the courage to do the right thing. I am also in a long-term relationship. He is very sweet & loving. It started as friendship but we had fun chats & it got hot from there. I need advice on how to do it, gently.
Dear Ending It,
The best thing I can do, I think, is to offer you some truth with a dose of perspective. The truth is that the path you’re headed down is one filled with heartache for a lot of people. You’re having an affair with a married man so both he and his family will be affected by it. You are in a long-term relationship so both you and your partner will be affected by it. That’s a lot of collateral damage. And the fact that you’re physically feeling the effects of the guilt means it’s not only emotionally unhealthy but also physically unhealthy for you to continue.
So, what is keeping you from ending it? Is it that you don’t want to hurt him? Because, in all reality he’s going to get hurt one way or another. Is it that you’re not happy with the relationship you’re in? Adding another person to the mix only makes it more complicated. I would suggest thinking carefully about the things that might have motivated you to get into this affair in the first place and address those issues. If you’re lonely or your needs aren’t being met in some way, there’s probably a more healthy way to get what you need.
I’m not sure ending it gently is possible. You might have to go cold turkey on this one. You don’t have to be cruel, but affairs have a way of dragging on and on until the world implodes for one or both people. Be brave. It will hurt but dealing with it now will be a lot less painful than the fallout that will come later.
Don't be shy! Say what's on your mind and get a good dose of perspective in return.