Something is wrong. You can sense it. You are noticing certain changes in your spouse’s behavior. Your partner is spending a lot of time on laptop or mobile. He has joined a gym and has suddenly started taking care of his looks. Or maybe your wife has all of a sudden become secretive about phone calls. She goes out on weekends but doesn’t bother to tell you where she is going. You suspect that your spouse is cheating on you.
Cheating in relationships – it’s a part of our life now
No matter how devastating it sounds, cheating is very common in relationships. Infidelity is a serious issue that needs to be handled with care. Because of its secretive nature, it is impossible to come up with exact figures but according to surveys and marriage counselors, around 30% to 60% of all married people in US get involved in infidelity. Cheating is on the rise and is more common in people below 30 years of age. Having multiple sexual partners before marriage, staying away from home due to work-related commitments and increased use of social media, all these factors contribute to rising cases of cheating in relationships.
Almost 53% of marriages in America end in divorces due to infidelity. Most of the studies related to cheating have confirmed that men are more prone to cheat than women. However, with rise in economic independence the rate of women cheating their boyfriends and husbands is increasing alarmingly.
There are two facets of cheating- one is learning and accepting it and the other one is exposing it. No doubt, both of these are extremely emotional and painful in nature. However the first one is too personal and affects only you while the second one involves your family members and friends. When you expose a cheating partner, a lot of relationships get affected. Such a revelation may even affect your children’s future, your spouse’s finance and career and adversely affect you also.
The signs are loud and clear to you. You are sure that your partner is having an affair. Spending hours on the phone or laptop, getting emotionally detached from you, not interested in sex, all these tell you that your spouse in involved in an extramarital affair. How do you deal with it? We know, you feel infuriated, betrayed and you want to confront your spouse.
However, suspecting is not enough. Remember that suspicion and accusations of cheating can damage a relationship beyond repair. Unless you have proof of any emotional, cyber or physical affair, you should not take any drastic step. Your spouse may deny the affair, get violent or more secretive.
Gather proof of the affair
If you want to know the truth, you should focus on gathering proof. Any text message, video recording of phone calls, emails or photographs are enough to prove the affair. You may take help of a private detective to build a strong case against your spouse. Having proof would help you to get divorce if you decide to get separated from your spouse legally.
Accepting that your spouse is cheating you – the most difficult part
Yes, we know how it feels when you come to know for sure that you have been cheated. Your entire world comes crashing down. The blow can be hard to bear and affects self-esteem. There are cases where spouses have gone into depression after coming to know that they have been cheated. It may take months and even years to rebuild your self-confidence. However, wallowing in sorrow is not the answer. You have to protect your rights, take care of yourself and the children and if you are not financially independent, start saving for the future.
You have a big task at hand- confronting your spouse and exposing him.
It’s time to confront your spouse
Be prepared. Yes, your partner may deny, tell lies or simply brush you off. Remember that your purpose is to make your partner confess about the affair. To do that, you have to get into a conversational mode. Merely accusing and crying or shouting is not going to work for you. Stay calm and raise the issue one day with ample time in hand. Be straightforward and simply tell that you know about the affair. You know, in most cases affairs thrive because there is excitement in hiding it. It is the thrill of sneaking and taking risks that increases the appeal. Once that is gone, the affair starts losing its sheen. So, by telling your spouse that you know, you would be getting an upper hand.
If things are more serious and your partner tries to deny everything, come out with the proof. That would be enough to nail him or her. Most spouses confess and come out with the facts.
Now it is up to you to decide your future course of action. You may want to expose your spouse, get separated and take legal action.
Should you expose your partner?
Yes. That’s what people generally advise. Even marriage counselors and psychiatrists also encourage people to expose the cheating partner. You must tell friends, relatives and even children.
Infidelity is the greatest pain that a spouse can inflict and he or she must be exposed to stop the hurt. By exposing your spouse, you would be getting support from your friends and relatives which would help you to regain your confidence and tide over the mental crisis.
Regarding telling children, you have to consider their age. There is no point telling a 3 year old or 6 year old about his father or mother cheating. There is no point, right? Older children should be told and also reassured that they would be protected and loved by you. Children get affected by such incidents which often hamper their development. They may suffer from insecurity and low-esteem.
However, I must mention here that you should take this step depending on the situation. If there is a history of violence in the marriage and your spouse has been unfaithful before, you must first get protection before the exposure. You should go for separation, get restraint order, make sure that you and your children are safe and then take this drastic step.
How to handle infidelity
This is a very personal decision. I have seen many marriages to survive in spite of a spouse cheating. In most cases, the affairs ended once the lover’s spouse also came to know. Digital affairs occur due to missing emotional bonds between spouses. If one of them takes steps to bridge the gap and give the relation another shot, such affairs do not take time to frizzle out. Serious physical affairs that have been continuing for months are the hardest to get over.
It depends on the understanding between the couple. If the cheating spouse feels sorry and wants to come back and the other one forgives, the marriage may survive. Children may play a strong in this also. Some women decide to continue in the relationship because they are not financially independent. I want to urge these women to rethink their decision as accepting something that hurts their self-esteem would do no good in the long term. They would continue to be suspicious, fail to lead a happy life and may fall prey to depression and other psychological disorders also.
Cheating is insulting your integrity and the emotion and trust of your spouse. It should never be tolerated and every action should be taken to expose a cheating spouse and stop the crime.