How to Respond to Your Spouse's Affair

Would you know what to do if your spouse cheated?

Couple dealing with infidelity
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Affairs are a common occurrence today according to recent infidelity statistics which show that extramarital affairs are an issue that 68 percent of all married people will have to deal with during their marriage. If it comes up, you are going to have to respond in some way.

The big question is how will you respond if your spouse has an affair. The answer, hopefully, is in a way that doesn’t make an already bad situation worse.

1. Don’t Make Accusations Before You Have Proof of Infidelity

Our intuition can be wrong; just because you think he/she is cheating doesn’t mean they are. Lipstick on the collar or a phone number on a book of matches isn’t hard, cold evidence of wrongdoing.

Don’t jump to conclusions about infidelity, start pointing fingers and destroying trust until you have done your homework. Nothing is more irritating nor does more damage to a relationship than a spouse who is constantly questioning their partner’s faithfulness.

Below are some signs to look for if you suspect your spouse is having an affair:

  • A drastic change in their daily routine.
  • Your spouse tells you, "I love you but I'm not in love with you."
  • Your spouse is working more over-time or coming in from work later than is usual.
  • You are seeing strange phone numbers on the phone bill.
  • Your spouse is being secretive about cell phone calls.
  • Your spouse has withdrawn and needs "space."
  • Your spouse is spending a lot of time on the computer.

If you have witnessed such changes in your spouse, then it’s time to take a closer look and find out what the catalyst for the change is. We don’t advocate spying on a cheating spouse but, at times, it is the only way to get to the truth. So, be watchful of cell phone bills.

Look for constant calls to a strange number. Check credit card receipts to see if there is excessive spending on items you are not aware of. The more red flags you find the more suspicious you should be. If your suspicions become great, then it is time to confront your spouse and ask what is going on.

2. Talk to Your Spouse About Your Suspicions

Be calm, be reasonable, be rational. Bringing up the issue in an offensive manner will only put your spouse in a defensive frame of mind. It may sound odd but you want your spouse to be able to trust you with the information they give you. In other words, someone is more likely to tell you bad news if they know you aren’t going to go crazy on them. Keep a level head so that you can use the information you are given in a constructive manner.

This is especially important if you want to try to save your marriage. It’s also important if you intend to divorce your spouse. Any information you obtain from your spouse can be used in your own best interest whether you decide to rebuild the marriage or divorce your spouse. The more rational you are when trying to retrieve the information, the more information you are likely to receive.

3. Hire an Expert

If you feel that your spouse is not being honest, consider hiring a professional.

If your spouse’s behaviors have led you to believe there is an affair, then it is time to let someone who is trained confirm your suspicions. Do not follow your spouse. You risk being discovered and that kind of confrontation is not healthy for anyone involved in the situation. Hire a private investigator that will be able to confirm your fears. If you should decide to divorce your spouse, any evidence found by a private investigator can be used in divorce court. What they find is admissible without prejudice and will be worth every penny you have to pay for it.

Most men who are engaged in an affair will spend money on their affair partner. If you become concerned about your finances and confused about where the money is going, it's a good idea to hire a financial analyst. A financial analyst will help you identify any assets your husband may be spending on gifts, trips or hotel rooms with his affair partner.

This is evidence that can also be used in divorce court!

4. Consult an Attorney

If, after confirming your spouse is cheating you decide to divorce, consult with an attorney. An attorney can give you advice as far as your legal options, your state’s laws pertaining to infidelity and what your next move should be. Most states have no-fault divorce laws but, they also give the judges great discretion when deciding divorce cases and infidelity can play a role in what kind of divorce settlement you get, especially if your spouse has spent money on their affair partner. Follow your attorney’s advice: Do not engage in conflict with your spouse and especially not with the other man or woman.

5. Surround Yourself with a Positive Support System

An affair in a marriage is an emotional blow to your life in many ways. It’s important to have a network of family and friends to talk to, share time with and help you cope with the negative consequences of your spouse’s actions. Talking about the situation and expressing negative emotions will help you purge any anger you feel and better equip you to move on with your life.

We're not suggesting that you share the gory details of your spouse's affair with anyone who will listen. Be modest about who you talk with but, do make sure you have a few close friends or relatives you can depend on when you need to vent or need support.

If that isn't an option, consider meeting with a therapist to help you navigate the emotional blow you are having to process. 

6. Don’t Blame Yourself

Don’t take responsibility for your spouse’s cheating. It is normal for you to question yourself and your role in it but, ultimately, you are not to blame for their affair. It is easy to wonder what is wrong with you that would cause your spouse to cheat.

You may question your looks, you may wish you had been better at communicating; you may even feel you were not good enough intimately. Doubts about your value and worth as a wife/husband will cause you to second guess yourself because infidelity destroys it’s victim’s self-esteem.

Take care of yourself emotionally and physically so that you are better equipped to deal with all the stress that the divorce process brings with it.