Do I Tell The Other Woman That I Know She Is Cheating With My Husband?

By: Katie Lersch:  I often hear from women who aren’t sure how to proceed when they first find out that their husband is cheating. Often, they know many of the details, but the guilty parties aren’t aware of this knowledge.  And they wonder if they should confront their husband, the other woman, or both.  Many wives are tempted to confront the other woman first.  But they often have doubts as to whether this is the best idea or about the best way to go about this confrontation.

I heard from a wife who said: “I found some texts on my husband’s phone that make it very obvious that he has been cheating with a woman at work.  I don’t know this woman.  But I looked on the company directory and I know where her office is located.  I am wondering if I should stand in the employee parking lot and confront her when she comes out to her car.  I also find myself thinking about emailing her to let her know that I am very aware that she is cheating with my husband and that her behavior must stop immediately.  However, my best friend says that she thinks that this is the wrong approach.  She says I am better off approaching my husband first and then dealing with the other woman.  Who is right?”

I actually agreed with the friend on this topic.  Here is why.  The other woman is a virtual stranger to you who has no vested interest in your life or in your well being.  By confronting her, you are hoping that she feels guilty or afraid enough to end the cheating or the affair.  But, what you aren’t taking into consideration is that you do not know her and can’t possibly gauge how likely any of this is to happen.   Not only that, but you don’t know that she is not going to run straight to your husband and tell him about your confrontation and act as if you were the aggressor. She may tell you lies about the relationship.  She may deny the cheating or act as if your husband pursued her when this is not exactly the truth.

There are two participants in this situation but you only know one of them intimately.  Only one of them has a history with you or a vested interest in being truthful and respectful.  And that person is your husband.   Long after the relationship between them is over, only one of these people is likely to remain in your life.  While this other woman will likely go on to live her own life and may not cross your path ever again, the same is likely not true in regards to your husband, especially if you have children.  That’s why I believe that he is the one that you should confront about the cheating.  Because it is helpful to understand early on that the goal is to get this other woman out of your life as soon as possible.  But if you start contacting, confronting, or reaching out to her, then you make it more likely that she will remain in your lives for much longer than she needs to.

Many wives do understand this on an emotional level, but it is more difficult to convince their hearts to back off.  Many just feel as if they can’t sit back and not say or do anything.  I understand this.  It can be very hard to force yourself to back away from her, but I feel as if this is the right call.  And I also feel very strongly that you never want to have a physical confrontation with this woman.  I hear from so many wives who intend a relatively calm conversation but who find that things get out of control quite quickly.  You don’t know this woman or how she might react, so I feel very strongly that you should not walk into a physical confrontation.

If you absolutely must confront her, then I would advocate sending a brief email or letter since you can control when the message begins or ends.  However, it is vital that you keep it short and to the point.  You don’t need to threaten, insult, or demean her.  Instead, you simply want to tell her that you have found evidence of the relationship and that it must stop.  That’s it.  You don’t need to explain things or try to make her feel guilty.  You don’t want to give her any reason to need to respond back in a negative way.

As I’ve said, I think that the best case scenario is banishing her from both of your lives from this day forward.  That’s why I advocate confronting your husband rather than her.  But if you must reach out to her, do it in a very safe and controlled way that doesn’t invite her to engage with you or park herself into your life.  You should be trying to push her out rather than inviting her in.

I understand that the very idea of the other woman might be causing you a lot of pain right now.  But place your focus on where it belongs – on yourself, on your family, and on your husband.  These people are so much more important to you than a stranger.   I will admit that this was a struggle for me, but focusing on myself and my husband was the right call.  Because our marriage is very solid today and she is just a distant memory.  If it helps, you can read my story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

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