A question was sent to us that said, “I caught my spouse cheating. What do I do?”
First of all, I can’t imagine what you’re going through right now—the thoughts, emotions, all the things that are circling in your mind.
I am confident that they could be overwhelming to the point where you don’t know what to do. You can’t see straight, and it feels like your whole world is falling apart. But let me be the first person to tell you that you’re not the first person that can say, “I’ve caught my spouse cheating,” and you’re going to be okay.
You’re going to be okay because you can survive.
You can count on yourself, but you can have a better life if you restore your relationship with your spouse. I know if you caught them cheating, you’re probably pretty upset right now. You’re angry, hurt, and have all these different emotions flowing. You’re probably thinking, what do I do?
Well, a lot of times, what people do in that situation is: blow it.
They get explosive, and they attack. Sometimes people in that situation start making promises because they think they’re going to lose their spouse.
I remember a client I had one time where the spouse was disconnected. They said their wife had ignored them almost the whole marriage. Not really talking to them, never really affirming them. And so when the wife became aware of that, one of the things she said is, “Every day for the rest of our marriage, I’m going to write him a note, and I’m going to tell him how great he is.” I looked at her, and I said, “You want to be careful about that because you don’t want to start something you can’t complete.”
I’m not going to lie. I don’t think there’s any human alive that I could come up with 365 positive things about. The point here is: we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. We don’t want to lose it. We want to focus.
So here’s what you should do.
First, the moment you can say, “I caught my spouse cheating,” whether it’s to yourself or another person, do nothing.
I told you, so many people get involved, and they think that time is of the essence. And what I’m telling you is that time is your friend here. You don’t want to get in a hurry. What you want to do is be able to slow down and do nothing. Here’s what I know: emotions and decisions at the same time can lead to mistakes.
See, the emotional part of our mind is not going to process genuine information. It’s going to stimulate us. It’s going to cause us to respond negatively, usually because it’s emotional. We’re not reasoning, okay?
So, as soon as you can utter the phrase, “I caught my spouse cheating,” you’re going to want to step back and do nothing. You’re going to make sure that you don’t want to make any promises. Don’t attack it. What we’re trying to do at this point is not cause any more damage to repair later if you’re choosing to save this marriage. Do nothing for the moment.
You might have to separate yourself from that situation. Also, be careful that you don’t talk to everyone about this because it will be something we call “poisoning the well,” and many times, the spouse finds it offensive. Maybe you’re thinking to yourself, “Well, I’m the one that caught my spouse cheating.” Perhaps they deserve it, but we’re not talking about what people deserve here. We’re talking about the opportunity to turn something that’s broken into something that’s brand new. Not just fixed, but brand new.
So, I want to encourage you to think that way. “I caught my spouse cheating” is not a death knell. I’m a survivor of an affair. Thousands of people I’ve worked with are survivors of affairs. And I’m telling you, it can become something that brings you together. But first of all, I want to encourage you to do nothing.
The second thing I want to encourage you to do is to take a step back.
Step back for a minute. Take a breath. And maybe give someone a call that’s a friend or a family member who is dependable. Somebody you could count on. Someone solid in who they are. Someone you can tell, “I caught my spouse cheating.”
You might want to give them a call and talk about what happened. You need somebody to listen. You’re not looking for advice, and you might want to tell them, “I don’t need advice right now. I just need somebody to be here for me. I need someone to listen to me.” That person there can do a lot for you.
So first, you’re going to do nothing. But then, at the next step, you’re going to do something by calling someone and bringing them into your confidence. But please choose carefully. Because you don’t want to hurt that friendship, nor do you want someone speaking against your vision. So if you want to, if you want to be a person who is saving your relationship, the last thing you want to do is have people who speak into your life, telling you to do things contrary to your vision. Make sure it’s a dependable person that can hear the words “I caught my spouse cheating” and not jump to irrational thoughts or actions.
The third thing I would encourage you to do is to contact one of us here at Marriage Helper.
You can talk to our coaches. They will help you look at your situation, what’s happening, the circumstances, and help you think through your decisions and the choices you can make during this time. Talk to a professional, call us at the office. We’ll be happy to help you.
The last thing I would tell you to do is be careful about what you do next regarding the affair partner.
When you say, “I caught my spouse cheating,” you may feel the need to contact that person. But you don’t want to have conversations with them. You want to be careful not to retaliate. I have watched this go wrong. Many times I’ve watched the affair partner lie and cause more problems. I’ve watched the affair partner get restraining orders. All I’m saying is, it’s not going to serve you any good.
You might think you’re going to get some information, but that information, at best, is going to be skewed through that lens. What I’m telling you to do now is, don’t get caught up in that. Don’t do anything. Step back, take a review of where you are. Contact somebody you can trust that can hear you say, “I caught my spouse cheating.” Talk to us at Marriage Helper so that we can get you a coach. And don’t retaliate. Give time for the dust to settle so that you can see clearly and make the best decision for you and your family.
If you want additional help, we have something called the Affair Quiz. This quiz will ask you some questions and then take your answers to help you decide the next steps.
In addition to the affair quiz, we have a mini-course on how to get your spouse back. Now, we can’t make guarantees and things, but this is the best available tool for you to make good decisions.
If you can say, “I caught my spouse cheating,” or your spouse can, and you’ve been affected in any way, this is a great tool. It’s the best thing I can recommend outside of our coaches to help you make some decisions, think through the process, and not let your emotions drive you.
If you want to move past an affair or are currently struggling with one, please check out our Affair Toolkit. If you want to Explore Reconciliation, we have a Toolkit for that as well.
Of course, we have the full course called “Save My Marriage” and that covers a huge spectrum of things. If you’re interested in any of these or some of our other tools, give us a call here at Marriage Helper (866-903-0990) or fill out the form on this page to schedule a meeting with one of us. You can get a client representative to call you, or check us out on YouTube. I promise you we’re here to help you reach your vision and goal for your relationship. Take care.