My Spouse Broke Off The Affair Before I Could Confront Him. Should I Still Confront Him?

By: Katie Lersch: Many people assume that as soon as someone finds out that their spouse is cheating, they will immediately seek out their spouse for a nasty confrontation.  After all, isn’t an affair bad news that just can’t wait?

Believe it or not, some people chose to bide their time and wait for a confrontation.  One reason for this is that they want to gather more information.  And another reason is that they don’t want to have a huge argument with their spouse just yet.  They are still watching and waiting, trying to gauge what they might expect when the confrontation finally does happen.

Sometimes though, when they are gathering this information, the affair ends on its own.  At that point, it can be unclear as to what to do when your whole intention in the beginning was to stop the affair.  Do you still proceed to confront him or is there not any point?

It might be expressed this way: “I’ve known for the past four weeks that my husband was having an affair.  I was able to guess his email password.  So I’ve been reading tons of emails between them.  I was basically just reading this stuff like a novel.  So many times, I wanted to confront my husband.  But I stopped myself.  And I think that the reason is that I wanted to see how it would just naturally play out.   Well, a couple of days ago, I was reading the email and his words indicated that he was breaking off the affair.  He said in the email that he just feels too guilty and that he knows that he was wrong. He told her that he still loves me and that he is going to make his marriage work.  Well, now I am at a loss.  This is the best that I could hope for.  What I wanted all along was him to break it off and save our marriage.  And now he’s saying that he is going to do that.  So now I don’t know if I should still confront him.”

I know that this is very confusing.  But I can’t imagine that it would be easy to pretend that you are in the dark when you are not.  Sure, you may be able to pull it off for a little while.  But I would suspect that it would heavily grate at you after a while.

And while having your husband break it off on his own is a very good development, it doesn’t give you everything that you need.  Although the affair is over, if you don’t discuss this with him, you will still have a missing piece of the puzzle.  You won’t have addressed what might have lead to his affair so that you can fix it. A man rarely has an affair just for the heck of it.  He is trying to fill a void.  And sometimes, this doesn’t even have anything to do with his marriage.  But it has everything to do with him.  If he doesn’t address that vulnerability, then he is much more likely to cheat again.  And no one wants that.

I can understand waiting for the right time to have the conversation.  I can even understand delaying it, but I would think that you would want to have the conversation.  Because if you don’t, it’s just going to fester and grow a distance between you.  It becomes the huge elephant in the room that keeps getting bigger and bigger while your relationship keeps getting smaller and smaller.

You might start by asking him if he has anything to tell you so that you both can avoid a very awkward and unpleasant conversation that you’ll have to initiate  Frankly, this might be all that is needed. He may know exactly what you mean and come clean. If he declines to do that, you might tell him that this is his last chance and that he will avoid a lot of unpleasantness by telling the truth.

If he still won’t do the right thing, you may have to try something like: “I felt that something was going on.  I noticed some changes I couldn’t ignore. So I looked on your email.  I know about the affair. I am glad that you broke it off on your own and I give you credit for that.  I am glad you want to save our marriage because I want that too. But, in order to do that, we are going to have to deal with the fact that you cheated on me.  We need to understand why this happened and we have to make it that it won’t happen again.”

Your tone can be important here.  If you don’t want a huge, escalating argument, then keep your tone matter of fact and don’t raise your voice.  Chose your words to make sure you are focusing on where you want to go from here rather than dwelling in the past.  Make it clear that you are bringing this up so that the healing can begin.

This is just my own opinion, but I think that not bringing it up ensures that your husband really doesn’t have to deal with his actions.  He should deal with his actions so that he doesn’t repeat them.  If you want or need to, you can do it in such a way as to lesson the impact, but I can’t imagine that it would be healthy not to have the conversation.

People often assume confrontations had to be nasty conversations that explode between you.  This doesn’t always have to be the case.  You can remain calm and focus more on the future than the past.  You’re welcome to read more about my own recovery on my blog at

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