How Often Do Affairs Start Up Again? How Can I Make Sure My Husband’s Doesn’t?

By: Katie Lersch: I wish I could tell you that every person I hear from is well on the way to saving their marriage after their spouse’s affair and, has found the process relatively easy. That’s not the case, though. Most people discover that recovering from an affair is hard. And one of the biggest issues that you have to overcome is trust. It’s extremely common (and quite understandable) for the faithful spouse to constantly worry that the cheating spouse is going to start up the affair once again.

I might hear from a wife who says: “after weeks of going back and forth about it, my husband finally decided to end his affair and to once again focus on our marriage. I am so relieved about this. Because I don’t want to injure our kids with a broken marriage. But I’m afraid that in just a little while, I’m going to find out that one or both of them has started up the affair again. Because I’ve read emails and texts between the two of them where they proclaim their love for one another and say how painful it would be to ever be separated. They say that they don’t want to live without one another. So I’m afraid that he really does want to be with her and that if she so much as starts emailing him again, he will give in and go back to her. Is this fear unfounded? How many people start the affair back up again?”

This concern is so understandable. You’re being expected to just blindly believe that he will end something that he has engaged in on a secret level for quite some time. In fact, he has risked quite a bit to engage in that relationship.  So it’s understandable to question if he is really going to give it up.  I looked for some statistics about how often this happens, but I didn’t find anything that was particularly helpful. I found a lot of information that indicated that people who try to make their affairs into a permanent relationship are often disappointed. It’s rare for an affair to actually make it and to last. But that doesn’t stop people from trying and failing.

I can’t tell you that I never hear from people whose spouse has promised to try to save their marriage and then never actually ended the affair or started it up again in secret. This does happen. But I believe that there are some things that you can do to lessen the chances that your spouse might start the relationship once again. I will go over some of them below.

Let Ending The Affair Be His Decision: I know that it often sounds very tempting to threaten your spouse that he had better end the affair or else, but when you do this, you are forcing his hand. And if he was not the one who made the decision of his own accord, then he might look at the other person longingly, as though she is something he wants and can not have. And of course, this makes him want her even more and makes the temptation even greater. So to the extent you can, make sure he knows that ending the affair is his decision. Sure, he likely knows that there will consequences if he makes the wrong decision. But that same decision needs to be his.

Take Away Temptations: You might assume that it would be your spouse who pursues the other woman. It is often the other way around. I often see very sincere husbands end the affair with absolute clarity using language that makes it very clear that the affair is one hundred percent over. And yet, the other woman doesn’t want to take no for an answer and she continues to pursue him. Does he have a choice as to how he responds to this? Of course he does, but it was never his intention to continue communication in the first place.

That’s why it helps for him to remove all temptations. This means changing his phone number and email if he needs to. He should make it very difficult if not downright impossible for her to contact him. He should know that it’s expected that he come straight home from work and then spend as much time with you as is possible.

Begin The Business Of Rebuilding Your Marriage As Soon As You Possibly Can: I know that you might need some time to heal on your own before you begin the business of saving your marriage. But, to the extent that you can, try not to completely shut your spouse out by sharing where you are in the process. If you aren’t ready to begin work as a couple, then I’d suggest beginning individual work as soon as is possible.

Because the sooner your spouse has somewhere else to place his attention, the less likely he is to spend his attention on her. None of this is any guarantee that the affair won’t start again. But if you can keep him busy, make sure he doesn’t see or talk to her, and allow him make his own decisions regarding her, you can certainly lesson the chances that she is still going to be in your life.  And at the end of the day, you can’t control his behaviors.  But you can control the amount of time or temptations that he has.

Honestly, the longer that we worked on our marriage, the less I worried that she would come into the picture again.  And, this just takes time.  You kind of have to take a leap of faith at first and then watch closely and tweak when you need to. You’re welcome to read more about my own healing on my blog at

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