How to Walk Away from a Married Man

Being with a married man might feel exhilarating at first. But, if he fails to end his marriage and commit to you fully, you may need to make the choice to end things. Walking away can be challenging, but you can successfully cut ties by remembering your worth and getting support from someone who loves you. Once you’re ready, have the talk with your married lover and let him know that you can’t be with him anymore. Then, shake up your routine to stay away from him for good.


EditMaking the Decision

  1. Tell yourself you deserve better. However you came to be in a relationship with a married man, you deserve better than to settle for scraps of his attention and affection. Remind yourself of your true value by affirming all the ways you are a great person worthy of healthy love.[1]
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    • Tell yourself, “I am smart. I am beautiful. I am caring. I deserve someone who loves me and only me. I deserve more.”
    • Repeat it over and over until you start to shout it more confidently, until you start to actually believe it.
    • Even if you don’t believe that you deserve better, you do. You can start your statements with something like, “I will find a way to end this dead-end relationship.”
  2. Create a list stating why walking away is a good idea. Build up the courage to leave the affair by listing all the reasons you are unhappy or dissatisfied with the way things are. You might include things like, “I don’t like spending holidays alone” or “I want someone I can build a future with.”
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  3. Get support from a friend. Go to a friend you can trust and tell them about your situation. Let them know that you want to end things with the married man and ask for support.[2]
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    • Be specific in requesting support. What can your friend do to make you feel better or help you through this process? Maybe you just want a hug or perhaps you’d like to practice what you’ll say to him during the breakup talk.
    • You could also make plans to meet with your friend at the times you usually see the married man. This will give you something fun to look forward to instead of seeing him. For example, you could have coffee or dinner with your friend.
  4. Grieve in whatever way feels right. Undoubtedly, you will feel emotional pain once you come to terms with your decision. Take a few days to be gentle with yourself. Curl up in your bed, watch romantic movies, and cry. Shout your frustrations at the top of your lungs.[3]
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    • There is no right or wrong way to grieve the loss of a relationship. Do whatever you need to do to release the pain.
  5. See a therapist if you need help gaining the courage to leave. Starting a relationship with someone who is unavailable may become a pattern for you, so consult with a therapist. This professional can talk to you about destructive habits that may be keeping you from the love you truly deserve.[4]
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    • A therapist can also coach you on leaving a married man, so that you have the confidence to actually go through with it.

EditHaving the Talk

  1. Make plans to meet in advance. Call up your lover and arrange to meet with him ahead of time. Tell him that the two of you need to talk. Be clear that this meeting is special and different from a typical rendezvous.
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    • You might call or text and say, “Hey, can we get together on Tuesday. We need to talk about our relationship.”
  2. Meet in public, if possible. Making a face-to-face public meeting will help keep the conversation civil and brief. Try meeting at an out of the way café or on a park bench during less-trafficked hours.[5]
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    • Don’t get intimate with him during the meeting or make him think things are normal. Let him know that you need to have a serious talk.
    • If you prefer not to meet face-to-face, write a letter, schedule a phone call, or send an email—just make sure your intentions are clearly stated.
  3. Focus on your needs, not his. Resist the urge to apologize or attend to his feelings during the conversation. Make this about you and your needs. Boldly tell him that you will not settle for being No. 2 anymore and that you want to end things.[6]
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    • You might say something like, “I have thought things over and decided that we should stop seeing each other. You can’t give me what I need, so I need to move forward and find someone who can.”
  4. Be firm. Your lover might attempt to dissuade you against ending the affair. He might toss out promises that he will leave his spouse and be with you. Don’t fall for it. You have made your decision, so stand firm.[7]
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    • Show confidence in your decision by lifting up your chin and looking him straight in the eye. Don’t let there be any doubt about your intentions.
    • Repeat again, “It’s over, Thomas” if he keeps trying to change your mind.
    • Some married lovers are great at stringing women along, and you may not be his first affair. He has already shown that his words are empty, so stay strong in your decision.
  5. Set boundaries for the future. Before you part ways, be clear about your expectations moving forward. It’s best to cut ties completely, so tell him that you do not want to see or hear from him again.[8]
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    • Say, “George, I’d like you to delete my phone number, email address, and home address. Don’t call me or drop by my apartment. Please respect my choice.”
    • You can also add, “I will not answer my phone or my door.”

EditGetting Some Distance

  1. Take a trip to break up your routine. After ending the affair, take some time away for yourself. Plan a solo getaway somewhere you have been dying to visit or take a weekend trip to a nearby city with your best friends. You might also visit friends or relatives with whom you’ve fallen out of touch.
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    • Visiting a different place can help you stay grounded and positive after the decision. Plus, if you’re around loved ones, you will feel care for and hopeful about the future.
  2. Make changes to your daily routine. Shake up your daily life by filling the holes where your married man used to be. Set some new goals, such as trying a new fitness activity or redecorating your home. Join a new club so you can connect with new people. Or, try online dating to meet someone new after your initial grieving process is over.[9]
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    • Switching up some aspects of your routine helps you maintain some distance from the married man. It also helps you build new memories on your own.
  3. Change your phone number if he won’t stop contacting you. To truly cut ties, get a new phone number so he can no longer reach you. When you install your new contacts, be sure his number is not on the list. If you can’t get a new number, add his to the block list so you don’t get calls or texts from him.[10]
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  4. Delete him on social media. Cut off all contact with the married man by unfollowing or unfriending him on all of your social media platforms. That way, you don’t get the urge to reconnect.[11]
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    • This also helps you move on without punishing yourself. The whole process is hurtful enough without you having to see pics of him and his happy family on your news feed.
  5. Avoid seeing your ex-lover. Try your best to avoid all the places he frequents, so you don’t have to run into him. If you know he spends time in a certain bar on weekends, suggest to your friends that you check out a new place for drinks. Go to a new place for lunch if you typically snuck away to a café downtown.[12]
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    • If you work with him, see if you can be switched to a different department or a different shift. If not, restrict contact to work-related discussions only.
  6. Reconnect with others. Help yourself break away from the affair by planning platonic activities with old friends. You may have disappeared or disconnected during your time with your married man, so show them you’re back and wanting to reconnect.[13]
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    • Even if it’s been a while, try reaching out with a “Hey, what are you up to this weekend? I miss you, and I’d love to hang out.”
    • If you have good friends who did not know about the affair, consider telling them about it so you can get some additional support.

EditSources and Citations

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