Cheat a Cheater: Keep Cool When Dealing with an Affair

Photo courtesy of Mark Gaither, Redemptive Heart Ministries. For biblical, practical guidance on recovering relationships or getting through divorce, please visit this link.
Photo courtesy of Mark Gaither, Redemptive Heart Ministries. For biblical, practical guidance on recovering relationships or getting through divorce, please visit this link. | Source

Affairs Can Make Our Thoughts Go Haywire

Recovering from a partner’s affair is no easy matter. We are forced to acknowledge that we’re less important in our partner’s lives than someone else – if only for a night. We learn that our partner is capable of being selfish enough to rip our family apart for a self-indulgence that he or she says means “nothing.”

Before we found out the truth, we felt as if we were losing our minds. We had a niggling gut feeling, and we questioned our partners and ourselves. We heard that we were being paranoid or were over-reacting, and because we already felt a bit abandoned by our partner, we stuffed our feelings deeper and ignored those whispers that warned us of things to come. Upon discovering that we weren’t wrong in the first place, we harangue ourselves for not paying attention and call ourselves stupid.

Finally, we have to decide how to interact with the cheater in the future: Do we stay together and try to make the relationship work? Break up or divorce? Can we even be friendly to each other once everything is blown into the open?

Affairs Create Anxiety and Depression in Relationships

Don't just wait and worry about whether your partner's cheating! First, we put your finger on the events that lead to those nauseating moments of doubt. Usually, something our partner has changed has triggered a fear: How she uses her computer, when he goes out with friends, shifting work schedules. For a list of behaviors that indicate a possible cheater, take a look at Dr. Robert Huizenga’s list, “46 Clues Your Partner is Having an Affair.”

Once you've pinpointed the behaviors that make you uncomfortable, address the problem, but first have a conversation with yourself. What outcome are you seeking? Your answer to this question will affect how to plan your course of action. Salvaging the relationship requires different steps than leaving it if you discover an affair. Further, if your values and boundaries are too different from your partner’s, it may not be salvageable in the first place.

Stopping the Affair and Keeping Your Relationship

If you want to recover your relationship, make simple requests for changes in the behaviors you’ve identified. Avoid blame and refuse to accept criticism.

“I think trust is important to a relationship, don’t you agree? Well, I feel mistrustful when you leave the room when you take phone calls, so I’d like you to trust me enough to stay in the room when you’re talking.”

If your partner gets defensive (and a guilty guy or gal will respond defensively!) don’t let it push your buttons. If they respond with “Oh, so now you’re accusing me of …” statements, keep your calm and stick to the behavior.

“I’m not making an accusation. I’m saying that I don’t like feeling mistrustful of you because you’re important to me. I’d like to know that how I feel is important to you, too. Will you please stop leaving the room when you get a phone call?” Stick to the topic, even if you sound like you're stuck on the same sentence.

Because things are rarely as simple as examples written on a page, focus on the basic ideas mentioned above – simple requests, avoiding blame, and refusing to accept criticism. It may require efforts more than once on different matters. She starts accepting phone calls when you’re in the room, but adopts a habit of using the computer at odd hours. Indications like these are clues that your relationship is not salvageable.

If you found that your current partner was having an affair, would you try to save the relationship?

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Leaving a Cheater

That brings us to the other possible outcome – leaving. You do not need proof positive about your partner’s infidelity to determine that his actions aren’t acceptable to you. If your needs aren’t being met, and aren’t going to be met, it’s time to start packing your bags. You can avoid being humiliated by the truth if you trust your own intuition.

Obviously, when children, property, or other third parties are involved, you may need to plan your exit strategy with care. Ensure that you have enough money, a place to go, and all the things you’ll need to maintain a new lifestyle. It won’t be easy, but it’s preferable to surrendering your self-esteem.

As Cheryl Hughes wrote, undiscovered lies can erode the quality of our life and how we feel about ourselves, but we don’t have to let them. By captaining your own life, even a cheating partner’s lies won’t erode our strength for long.

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Comments 5 comments

HowardBThiname profile image

HowardBThiname 4 years ago from Midwest

While I understand this article, and it's very good, by the way, I think we need to recognize that all of us need not feel humiliated if we just accept that we're not answerable to society.

If infidelity happens, and we decide to forgive and forget, we can and should do that and just let everyone else's opinion fade into the background.

At the very base of all of this is the need for us to make whatever decision we have to make in order to feel happy. If a partner is cheating, there is already a breakdown somewhere - cheating doesn't come out of the blue.

We need to make our decisions without considering what others will think, because we have to live with whatever we decide.


jellygator profile image

jellygator 4 years ago from USA Author

That's a great, hub-worthy point. I'm on it! :)

Thanks for such valuable feedback Howard!


jellygator profile image

jellygator 4 years ago from USA Author

Howard, please check out http://hubpages.com/relationships/After-the-Affair... to read a hub I wrote on the point you've made here.


debbiepinkston profile image

debbiepinkston 4 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

Jellygator, you provided some important insight into what goes on inside a person who suspects their partner is cheating. I like the fact that you emphasized the decision making process-whether to try and make the relationship work, or whether to get out. Sometimes when I counsel women whose husbands are unfaithful, I find that the women are "waiting for him to decide if he wants to stay with me". I try to educate these women to the fact that they don't have to wait for HIS decision, they have the power to make their own decision. It's really up to the offended party to decide if they can trust again and stay with their spouse after an affair. Your Hub has highlighted this fact and shows that we can make the decision that is best for each one of us when placed in this situation. Having a plan is very important, and it make take some time, but a new life can be created. Oftentimes people find that their new life, post-affair, is so much better than the life they had before the affair!


jellygator profile image

jellygator 4 years ago from USA Author

I've noticed that same tendency. It's a shame, because sometimes people don't realize just how much they've abandoned themselves!

Thank you for your comment, Debbie!

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