There are few things in life as painful as finding out your spouse is cheating. The sting of betrayal and the feelings that you weren’t good enough can scar you for life. When you know that your partner has been unfaithful, how do you safely confront a cheater?
Most people will deny the allegations, and some may even become combative at your questions. Others may try to turn the issue back on you and act as if you’re the one that’s cheating. There are ways that these delicate conversations should be had, and counselors have a plethora of experience in handling these issues.
Ten Tips for The Right Way to Confront A Cheater
You want to have all your ducks in a row before you make such an accusation against someone you love. Are you sure your imagination isn’t being overactive because they’ve been working long hours? Here are a few tips that can help you confront a cheater.
What proof do you have that your spouse has been unfaithful? Are there text messages, emails, or a pair of panties found in their glove box? You must gather all the evidence to show them that you mean business before having such a serious conversation.
Furthermore, the more evidence that you have, the less likely they’re to deny it. Remember, it’s hard to refute a claim when there is solid proof in front of them, though some will still try. Never go to “court” without any evidence, as circumstantial stuff is not enough to “convict” them.
Sadly, if you start hurling accusations at them that are unfounded, it can cause severe damage between the two of you. If you have no proof, you can tell them that you have a gut feeling, but this may also cause problems.
2. Get Support
After you have your evidence, it’s best to talk to a friend or trusted adviser. Remember, counselors have been through this sort of thing many times with other people. They can help give you the right words to say so that you handle this situation with tact.
3. Know Your Preferred Outcome
How do you want things to end? If your spouse is cheating on you, do you want them to pack up and leave, do you want to go, or do you want to work on things? It would help if you took the time to evaluate what you want out of the situation.
Coming at your partner with a made-up mind will make them know that you mean business. Are they worth it to you? Do you think they’re worth fighting for and are you willing to go to counseling to work things out? If one of your conditions for staying together is counseling, you need to make sure you have everything planned out.
4. Get Your Emotions Under Control
Many people fly off the handle and want to confront someone as soon as they find out. However, it’s best to wait a while and get your emotions under control before you confront a cheater.
If you’re an emotional mess when trying to have this serious conversation, it can make matters much worse. You want to be calm, cool, and collective when you talk about these matters.
5. Don’t Self-Medicate
Sure, this will be one of the most challenging conversations you will have in your life. However, if you use alcohol or other medications to confront a cheater, you will only make matters worse. Though it’s painful, make sure that you have a clear head when you talk to your spouse.
It’s okay to hurt, and it’s okay to cry, and they should see what their actions did to shatter you. Just try to keep your composure and theatrics to a minimum.
Now that you’ve got all the preliminary stuff out of the way, you’re ready to confront your partner. If you have children in the home, then you need to have this conversation somewhere else. If there is the potential that they could become violent, then discuss the matter in public.
Being in a public place is a good idea in many ways, especially if you want to have a calm conversation. You need to pick a place that isn’t super busy, like during the dinner rush.
7. State the Facts
When you confront a cheater, you always start with the facts. Use the hard evidence. You must show them what you know. If you start with suspicions, they will likely shut you down and blow off your fears.
Show them any proof you have, take a few deep breaths, and discuss it calmly.
8. Don’t Let Them Turn This on You
Gaslighting is a term that is commonly used today to describe a person who turns their guilt on others. It can also be selfish behavior, according to studies. It’s quite common for a person caught cheating to try to make it about the other person.
They may state that you haven’t been fulfilling their needs, and you’re cold and distant. While the things in your marriage that have made them unhappy need to be discussed, it’s never grounds or permission to cheat. Tell them that you will be more than happy to work on issues you have, but this conversation is about their infidelities, not your wrongdoings.
If they should start turning things around and blaming you for being the cheater, then you should shut down the conversation. They are trying to gaslight you as their “get out of jail free” card. You don’t need this pain on top of the other hurt you’re feeling. If you didn’t cheat, then don’t even entertain such an accusation.
9. Find Out Why
As a person who’s been cheated on, you have a right to determine why they did this act. Is there something about you that didn’t work for them anymore, or is it a mid-life crisis they’re facing? You deserve to know the reasons behind their actions, no matter how painful it is.
Additionally, it would help if you considered that they would come back with some very hurtful things about you. You must be mentally ready to accept responsibility for the issues in your union.
10. Reassess What You Want
Now that you’ve had the conversation, and they’ve spoken their peace, it’s time to reassess. You went into this conversation thinking you wanted things to go one way, but do you still want the same outcome? You may change once you hear their side of things, know what truly happened, and see their attitude.
If you have children with this person, then they should be a significant consideration in what happens next. However, you should never stay with someone that makes you unhappy just because you have kids together. Many people effectively co-parent without issues these days.