By: Katie Lersch: It’s very common for a spouse who knows that they are being cheated on to want to confront or talk with the other person. For example, I often hear from wives who want to call or meet the other woman. And, I have to admit that although I completely understand this as I’ve been there myself, I also know that this rarely turns out well. One example of how this can turn into a true disaster is when the husband actually picks up the phone. Then, what started out as a quick idea turns into a disaster.
A comment that you might hear in this situation is a conversation like: “my husband admitted to an affair. He said that although he had real feelings for the other woman, his family was more important to him than she was. He told me that he planned to break off the affair fairly quickly but he planned to ease the other woman into it rather than very abruptly breaking things off. I didn’t like this too much but felt I really didn’t have a choice. I know the other woman. We aren’t friends or anything but she is a mutual acquaintance because of our business. So a couple weeks after I learned about the affair, I decided to call her at home. Imagine my shock and horror when my husband picked up the phone. I sat there for a moment in silence because I had no idea what to say. I then slammed down the phone. I have no idea if this other woman has caller ID, but I’d have to think that they both know that it was me on the other end of the line. I’m so furious right now that I have no idea what I want to do. I feel like it’s possible that my husband was lying to me. And if he’s so comfortable at her house that he picks up the phone, then maybe he has no plans to leave her. What should I do? At this point, I’ve felt too weird about the whole thing to even mention this to my husband.”
Why I Don’t Think It’s A Good Idea To Ignore The Obvious: As hard as it’s going to be, this is a conversation that you really need to have. The longer you wait, the more awkward it might be. But nothing is going to be gained by both of you pretending that it never happened. And you need information as to whether or not he is actually ending the relationship. It’s possible to recover from an affair, but it’s very difficult to do this when your spouse is continuing to lie, continuing to see the other person, or continuing on with actively participating in an affair.”
People often hesitate to have this conversation because they know that their spouse is going to mad that they called the other person. While I do agree that it’s a mistake to confront the other person, I don’t think the fault lies with the faithful spouse. You can certainly understand her wanting to make the phone call. And the more guilty party was certainly the cheating spouse.
How To Discuss This: A suggested script might be something like: “you are probably already well aware of this, but I called the other woman’s house. I was hoping to speak with her and stress that the affair needed to end. I was very shocked and hurt that you picked up the phone. You told me that you weren’t giving up your family for her. You told me that you planned to break things off quickly. So I need to hear from you why you were there and why you picked up the phone because the fact that you were even there runs counter to your claims that you are still committed to me.”
Then, let him respond. There are lots of possibilities as to what he might say. He may tell you that he saw the number on the caller ID and he wanted to avoid you and the other woman yelling at each other. He may tell you that he was there to break things off and you interrupted him. You will need to listen carefully to his words and ask yourself if you believe them. And you have the option of telling him that if you catch him being untruthful again, you are going to have to reevaluate if you want to save your marriage until you’re sure that he’s being completely honest.
How to proceed had to be this wife’s call. But I believe that most people would agree that it’s not acceptable for him to continue to go over to the other woman’s home when he’s claiming that he wants to save his marriage. I do understand not wanting to push him into the arms of the other woman. But if you allow him to do exactly what he wants to do, then he usually will. And this often means that he will attempt to keep both relationships, which will obviously put a damper on your trying to save your marriage.
That’s why I believe that it’s very important that you make him aware that you are going to discover and then call him on any untruths that you catch him trying to pass off. As I alluded to, affair recovery is difficult enough. But it’s even more so when he’s not being honest. Sometimes, you just have to draw a line in the sand, depending on your own objectives. If it helps, you can read about my own recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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