Should My Spouse Tell Me If He Has Any Contact With The Other Person He Cheated With?

By: Katie Lersch: One of the biggest problems that keeps a couple struggling when they are trying to save their marriage after an affair is the presence of the other person. Even though the affair is theoretically over, the threat of the other person somehow remains. Sometimes, this isn’t an accident because the cheating spouse has somehow not made it completely clear that it is over. And other times, it is the other person trying to contact the spouse even when she wasn’t invited to do so. Or, the cause could be a chance meeting that wasn’t planned. Occasionally, the cheating spouse won’t mention the continued contact. But when the faithful spouse finds out about it, a lot of hurt and doubt can be the result.

People sometimes ask me if their spouse needs to report back when he runs into the other person. And, if he omits any communication between them, isn’t that lying? Isn’t that showing continued betrayal and dishonesty at a time when you need it the most?

I might hear a comment like: “my husband cheated on me with a woman with whom he went to high school. She lived far away and out of state for the past several years. But she recently moved back into town. She started hanging out with some of my husband’s old friends, which is how they came face to face again and how the affair started. My husband tried his best to hide this from me but he didn’t count on the fact that one of the women in their group of friends would feel guilty and would tell me. As soon as I confronted him, he said that he would end the affair. And, as far as I know, he did. Things went OK for a while. My husband was no longer going out and was staying home with me. We worked hard on reconnecting and we had started to see some real progress. A couple of weeks ago, my husband asked if he could go out with some guy friends who had nothing to do with that old group. I didn’t feel like I could say no because I felt that he would be resentful if I did. A couple of nights after he went out with them, I saw a text from the other woman. She said that she was so happy to see him out again and she hoped to see him again soon. Of course, I confronted my husband because I was very angry. He said that he happened to see her out and that it wasn’t an arranged meeting. It was just chance. He claims he never promised that he would see her again. And he asked if I expect him to report back to me every time he runs into her as this is a small town and he may run into her from time to time. The thing is, I do expect for him to tell me when he communicates with her so that I don’t have to catch him in a text message where she’s obviously trying to set up a meeting between them. At this point, I don’t even know if I believe his story. Am I wrong to expect full accountability? I don’t want to act like his mom. But I feel like this is a special circumstance. ”

I have to say that I completely agreed with this wife. Granted, I am not very objective. I too have gone through this situation and I know how awful it feels when you worry that your husband is going to go behind your back once again. I honestly feel that if he really wants to restore the trust, then he needs to start telling the truth in every instance. And that means telling the truth all of the time without fail.

If the husband were to put himself in the wife’s shoes, he would have wanted to know that little detail about seeing the other person out. And a reasonable person would have to agree that his neglecting to tell her about this raises the question of why he would want to keep it from her. I am not saying that he had any intention of pursuing meeting the other woman again. But, anyone could see that this might certainly be a possibility in the other woman’s mind.

But to answer the original question posed, it is my opinion that your spouse does need to tell you when he has contact with the other person. And I would hope that when and if he does, this is rare and he is reporting coincidental contact that definitely wasn’t planned. Restoring the trust is vital if you are going to not only save your marriage, but you are going to restore a happy and healthy marriage. You can’t expect to restore the trust if you know that the spouse who was keeping secrets before isn’t telling you the truth now.

So, I think you have the right to directly tell him this isn’t acceptable. You might say: “I don’t want to be your mother. But you have to understand why I need to know if you have any contact with her. Finding out about it from someone other than you makes me feel as if I can’t fully trust you. It makes me feel like I have to worry when we aren’t together and that is not the way that I want to conduct our marriage. In order to heal, there can be no secrets between us. I would have felt so much better about this situation if you would have come home and told me. Now, not only am I hurt by it, but I also feel betrayed. If you had told me, I would have been hurt, but I would have known that you were doing the right thing by telling me the truth. I need for you to do better next time.”

Hopefully, once he sees that you expect more from him, he will deliver more. And he will no longer put himself in a situation where he has to run into her.  It’s important that he learn not to put himself in any situations that can turn out like this.  If it helps, you can read more about healing after infidelity on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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