I recently heard from a wife who was almost certain that her husband had been cheating and having an affair. She had suspected it for a while but had only recently taken the initiative to follow up and to try to obtain evidence of the same. Much to her surprise, she didn’t have a difficult time coming up with proof. But now that she had this proof, she wasn’t sure what to do with it. This was very confusing to her because when she had been thinking about this day in her mind, she felt certain that she would march right over to her husband, confront him with her evidence, and demand that he admit to the cheating.
But now that this whole scenario was a reality, she was hesitating. She said, in part: “I have pretty indisputable proof that my husband has been cheating. But I’m not sure if I want to confront him. Part of me feels like I should wait. And another part of me hates the thought of a nasty confrontation. I know that he’s going to have a very negative reaction and sometimes I think that I want to delay this until I am better able to prepare myself or decide what I want. What should I do?”
This was not a decision that I could or would want to make for the wife. But I do understand having some reluctance about how and when to confront a husband who is cheating or having an affair. I will discuss this more in the following article.
Often, The Decision About When And How To Confront Your Husband About His Cheating Is Influenced By What You Really Want To Happen Moving Forward: Some wives don’t really have to make this decision. Some of us walk in on our husbands cheating and so there’s really no decision to make about a confrontation. But sometimes, you know that he’s cheating and he has no idea that you know. It’s at that point that you have to make a decision about what you want to do with this information. Often, this will (at least in part) depend on what you truly want to happen after the confrontation. Women who ultimately decide that they want to save their marriages and that they want him to stop the cheating or end the affair so that they can work things out in their marriage will often approach this in a completely different way than the wife who just wants him out of her life.
I had one woman recount throwing her husband’s clothes on the lawn along with proof of his cheating after she changed the locks on the house. She didn’t want to confront him face to face. She didn’t want to deal with him at all. She just wanted him out of her life. On the other end of the spectrum, some women have the opposite reaction because they really do care about how the confrontation goes, since they are still invested in the marriage.
Some wives are so hurt that they hesitate to begin to let their feelings out in a confrontation because they are worried that when they start talking, they are going to fall apart. Although I understand hesitating until you get more information or until you decide how you want to proceed, I don’t think it benefits you to remain silent for so long that you limit your own voice. If you put the confrontation off or remain silent for a long period of time, you’re basically allowing the cheating to continue. This could be harmful to your self esteem and your self worth, which leads me to my next point.
If You Decide To Confront Him, Confront Him In A Way That Aligns With What You Want To Happen. And Do It At A Time When You Feel The Most In Control: Whether you should confront your husband with your evidence of his cheating is a personal choice that no one can make but you. But, if you do decide that confronting him is the best choice for you, I’d recommend trying to plan for a time where you feel that you can remain in control of the situation. So many women confront him immediately after seeing evidence or when they feel that they just can’t take it anymore. Often, things don’t unfold as they had hoped because they lose control, their husband becomes defensive or places some of the blame onto them, and things spiral downward from there.
Although you would be completely justified in reacting very dramatically, doing so will often just make things worse. My suggestion is always to try to confront him when you are more likely to remain in control. Doing so gives you more options if you decide to save your marriage later. One thing that has worked for many women is just presenting him with the evidence of him cheating without saying a word. Basically, you tell him that something has come to your attention that you want to share with him. Then you hand him the photos, emails, cell printouts (or whatever evidence you have.) And then you wait and place the burden of a response onto him.
He may well react to your obtaining the evidence, but you’re waiting to see his true reaction because you’ve merely presented the evidence without comment. I do realize that I am asking a lot. I know that having this information and not knowing what to do with it is heartbreaking. But the decision usually comes down to how soon you want the cheating to stop, how much you care about what happens after the confrontation, and how you want the marriage to proceed.
If you no longer care about him or the marriage, then if or how you confront him doesn’t matter quite as much. But if you still care about him and the marriage and you want to set it up so that he is going to give you some truthful answers, then it’s sometimes advisable to put some thought into when and how you confront him. With that said, a reasonably prompt confrontation can be advisable in situations where you want the cheating to stop or you want to let him know that he can’t keep deceiving you. If you’re uncomfortable with this, there are many ways to do this in a way that is as non confrontational as possible, including in writing.
If it helps, surviving the affair is a blog I put together to share my journey. I know that this is a very difficult time, and that forgiveness can be elusive, but working through it can truly be worth the effort. Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, I did eventually truly get over the affair. My marriage is stronger than ever. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. Our bond and intimacy is much stronger and because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem is pretty high. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can check it out at http://surviving-the-affair.com
Katie Lersch writes articles about moving past an affair. Her corresponding blog is at http://surviving-the-affair.com/. Her article website is at http://katie-lersch-articles.com