You’ve been at it for weeks…snooping around and looking for dope on your partner. You’ve found evidence and your worst fears are going to be true. Maybe you didn’t suspect your partner of anything and you’ve stumbled upon an e-mail, bills, bank statements or the proverbial lipstick on the collar.
You probably are in your worst emotional state. The person that you love and trust the most has betrayed you. You are likely to feel a rush of emotions. You want to rush into the room, yell, scream and throw sharp pointed objects at your partner.
1. Do not do anything of the sort. Stay calm. The key to be able to confront a cheating partner is to create a body of evidence that he/she cannot dispute. The reasons may be varied. You want him/her to own up. You want to walk out of the marriage. You want to preserve the marriage. And I’m not even getting into the monetary aspect. If you have children, the complications are compounded. First and the most important rule is to stay calm.
2. The first step of confronting your partner is most crucial. Do not walk up to the person and start hurling insults although it may be very tempting. Anticipate resistance and denial. Know fully well that your partner will try to make it look like you’re exaggerating. You could be called petty, snoopy, jealous, insecure, insane, etc. Be sure you have all the evidence that you need and can get before you make your first move. After your first step, your partner will be careful and could retrace his/her steps to clean up. Bills will be redirected. Calls will be more discreet. E-mail passwords could be changed. So, understand that you can take your time before making your first move and gather all information that you need before this.
3. Act natural. Pretend nothing’s wrong. If you’re prone to tears when you’re upset or your partner can always tell when you’re emotional, lie about the reasons. State that you’re upset about something at work or you are reminded of your deceased pet or your best friend and you had a fight, etc. Do not feel guilty about doing this. Your partner has probably done a lot more that he/should be ashamed of.
4. If you succeed to stay calm and natural without arousing suspicion, you can actually go through bank statements, e-mails, wallets, purses, drawers, closets, etc., to find more information. As your case gets stronger, you are likely to get more and more upset. Try to stay calm and remind yourself of the purpose of the whole exercise. If you lose it at this point, you will never be able to turn back the time and do it right.
5. The first time you ever talk about it will be the most difficult part. So plan well, practice and rehearse even. You will definitely surprise and shock your partner. Use this to your advantage. People do not have their wits about them when they’re shocked. So ask and probe and get your answers. Remind yourself of your purpose each time you find yourself losing it.
6. Whatever you do, do not let your partner stall for time. He/she will be able to do this effectively if he/she is a habitual liar. He/she will try to turn the tables and make this look like it’s your fault. Maintain your dignity and do not get into a blame game. If you’re calm and focused it will be even more difficult for your partner to ease himself/herself out of this situation without answers. If you rant and rave, the natural reaction of your partner will also be to do the same. It becomes a whole lot easier for the cheating partner to refuse to talk to a person who is yelling. This also reduces his/her guilt to a large measure.
7. Understand that this is not your fault. You could be dominating, possessive, unintelligent, fat, balding, unsuccessful, etc. However, there are several things your partner could have done before cheating on you. By cheating on you, your partner has jeopardized the marriage and your future together. This is not constructive and no matter what his/her justification and reason, it is not acceptable. Do not try to find the answers and blame it on yourself. Infidelity is not the answer to any marital problem. By cheating on you, your partner’s integrity and core character has become questionable...not yours.
8. Do not be swayed by your cheating partner’s tears and regret. More often than not, the cheating partner is sorry that he/she has been caught. Do not feel bad and try to console him/her if they are ashamed or guilty. Do not take on the role of the healer. Your anger and hurt is justified and don’t let a few tears and apologies dilute it. Spend some time away from the partner to clear your mind after the confrontation. This time can be used by both people to reassess immediate plans and goals. This is necessary even if you wish to work on your marriage.
9. It is true that it is possible to work on your marriage after infidelity. This is dependant on several reasons such as your cheating partner’s regret, willingness and character. If both spouses are willing, then you can start by being open about feelings. Use marriage rehabilitation techniques such as listing your thoughts and ideas about the marriage and things that you like and dislike about the marriage. Visit a counselor when both partners are ready.
10. Do not indulge in self destructive behavior. Drugs and alcohol will only make the pain and hurt go away temporarily. This is not a permanent situation. Your hurt will reappear stronger when the effect of alcohol and drugs wear off.
11. Do not involve children and use them as a pawn. You could be ruining their childhood and scarring them for life. For children, parents are everything. Therefore, avoid telling them things such as “Your father has been screwing around” or “Your mother has been sleeping with my best friend”. As tempting as this is, do not indulge in it. Destroying your spouse’s image in your child’s eyes will not affect your spouse but will emotionally damage your child for life. Always keep the children out of the whole mess. They will thank you for it. Send them to their grandparents until this has been sorted.
Once you’ve made up your mind, there’s no looking back. Confront your partner and make your choice. Understand that the outcome cannot be worse that living in an untruthful marriage.