Should you contact the person your spouse is cheating with? What a predicament! Simply finding a yes/no answer to this can cost you many a night of sleep. But we can understand why this insane urge to meet this mystery person is so real. Your spouse has chosen them over you – if that’s not blasphemy, we don’t know what is! What could they possibly offer your spouse that was missing in your marriage?
Now your imagination is running amok – Is she prettier than me? Is he really that good in bed? You feel like you’re losing your mind in dealing with the worst-case scenarios and the insecurities stemming from them. Yes, meeting this person can help you confirm some of these assumptions. But will it add any value to your healing process? We don’t want you to do anything impulsive that you may regret later.
So, should you confront your husband’s lover or the man who slept with your wife? Let’s figure that out with insights from clinical psychologist Devaleena Ghosh (M.Res, Manchester University), founder of Kornash: The Lifestyle Management School, who specializes in couples counseling and family therapy.
Should You Contact The Person Your Spouse Is Cheating With?
Vanessa, our reader from Arizona, is grappling with a similar dilemma. “Even though my husband assured me that his affair was over, neither his eyes nor his actions reassured me that was the case. There was something shady about his behavior, which made me think, Should I confront the woman my husband cheated with? Eventually, I confronted the other woman. Learning so many insulting things he told her about me and the fact that the affair was still on simply shattered me.”
Michael, a nurse practitioner from Calgary, on the other hand, was a bit skeptical about meeting his wife’s lover. He says, “My wife cheated on me and I can’t stop thinking about it but I am not sure if I can deal with coming face to face with him. After all, what to say to the man who slept with your wife?” After a tug of war over whether to meet or not to meet, Michael finally called that man. And he said that he had no idea about his lover being married. He didn’t intend to become the third wheel in a marriage; he apologized and ended things with her, for good.
I guess you comprehend from these narratives that there is no easy way to answer the question – should you contact the person your spouse is cheating with? That meeting can be extremely enlightening or it can further break your heart into pieces. If you are adamant about confronting the other man/woman, be sure of your motives first. What are you expecting to hear? Are you ready to digest the minute details of your spouse’s romantic affair?
Because a meeting between the cheated spouse and the affair buddy is not exactly about exchanging pleasantries. Then should you confront your husband’s lover (or wife’s)? That depends on you and a few other factors:
- Is the affair partner your acquaintance?
- Is the affair over or still on?
- Do you believe your spouse is lying to you about ending the affair?
- Do you want to meet them alone or along with your spouse?
- Are you trying to rebuild your marriage after cheating or you have decided to move on?
Devaleena says, “There can’t be a straightforward yes/no answer to this. It depends on an individual’s situation, their relationship with their spouse, and the nature of the affair to some extent. Some people can’t deal with this mystery. They tend to ponder over imaginary situations.
“So, they end up connecting to their spouse’s lover looking for clarity. In all likelihood, such a meeting does more damage than helping the cheated partner cope with this breach of trust. Plus, it can make it harder to rebuild and restore the relationship.”
Related Reading: Leaving Marriage For Affair Partner
Pros Of Talking To The Person Your Spouse Cheated With
When you discover the one person you trusted the most is taking advantage of your blind faith and having an affair under your nose, your world falls apart. You almost lose your sense of right and wrong and are consumed by intense hurt and betrayal. You want nothing more than to see the affair end. And your head is probably bursting with negative thoughts like “What if the other woman keeps contacting my husband behind my back?” or, “I want to hurt the man who slept with my wife”.
As much as we sympathize with you, we’d still advise you against acting on impulse. Before you give into the temptation of a cathartic confrontation, ask yourself, should you contact the person your spouse is cheating with? What good can come out of it? Addressing these questions, Devaleena says, “You would know exactly where your spouse stands in the relationship right now – whether they are still in touch or it’s over once and for all.
“You can make sure your spouse is not keeping you in the dark about anything. You learn facts when you hear both sides of the story. And the only positive side of the meeting is that it will help you decide how you want to navigate the marriage from this point forward.” Based on Devaleena’s observation, we have drafted a pros list to solve your dilemma of “Should I confront the woman my husband cheated with?” or “Should I talk to the man my wife had an affair with?”
1. You learn about the nature of the affair
Daniel, a 32-year-old sales rep from Ohio, wrote to us, “My wife cheated on me and I can’t stop thinking about it. I was not sure if I should go behind her back and meet this man. There was just one thought in my head: I want to hurt the man who slept with my wife. I contacted him anyway and got to know about some information I was unaware of. I had no idea my wife was unhappy in the marriage!”
Contrary to Daniel’s motive behind a showdown with his wife’s affair partner, the conversation helped him see the underlying issues in his marriage and opened a channel of communication with his wife. You could also find out why the affair started in the first place, the span and current status of the affair, if it was purely physical or there was an emotional connection, and so on. While this information may not be very beneficial for the healing process, at least it puts an end to your limitless assumptions and helps you think rationally.
2. You get to hear a different point of view
In the version of Blair’s husband, he tried his best to resist but he was persistently tempted by the other woman until she trapped him in this affair. Blair says, “When my husband’s infidelity came to light, something about his version of the events wasn’t sitting right with me. I wanted to talk to the other woman but had my apprehensions. Should you confront your husband’s lover? I wrestled with this question for a long time. But the other woman kept contacting my husband and I couldn’t believe a word coming out of his mouth. So, I decided to face her, and hearing her side of the story left me utterly dismayed.”
As it turned out, the woman got pregnant and Blair’s husband refused to take any responsibility and simply cut her off. You know, every cloud has a silver lining. And this fresh turn of events made it real easy for Blair to decide the future of her marriage. Confronting the person your spouse is cheating with is not exactly a walk in the park. But the clarity you get about the whole scenario can be worth it.
Related Reading: Everything You Need To Know About The 7 Types Of Affairs That Exist
3. They might apologize
Let’s take a peek at what’s going on in the lover’s mind for a second: “His wife contacted me/her husband contacted me. I am about to get an earful in the meeting. What if they create a scene? Perhaps I should say sorry and calm him/her down for the time being.” Or this person might feel genuine remorse for being the reason why your marriage is on the rocks. Even though you shouldn’t hold your breath for it, you can still receive an apology and that could mend your heart a little, right?
Devaleena says, “If the other person has also been kept in the dark, they can offer an honest apology. And if they are apologizing, the decent thing to do is to be the bigger person here and accept it. You have to understand that there is no point in holding a third person accountable. It always takes two to have an affair.”
4. You can make that person feel intimidated/jealous
Should you contact the person your spouse is cheating with? Perhaps you should if you are going there with a bigger agenda than just gathering information about the affair. When you are determined to make the other woman/man go away and save your marriage by hook or crook, you may have to do what it takes to hold on to your turf. Convince your spouse’s affair partner that you are the one who’s still in charge and half your job is done. After all, they also live with a series of insecurities while dating a married person.
A Reddit user shares a similar experience of having dealt with his wife’s affair partner, “My wife lent him 20 grand. She knew he wouldn’t be able to return the money and she was afraid of telling me. We were in the process of reconciling. So, I went to his house just for fun and dropped the bomb on him: “I am her husband.” He turned white. I demanded the money and threatened to show all the WhatsApp chats to his mom and daughters (he’s a widower). He paid in a week.”
5. You know how they feel about your spouse now
Another positive outcome of meeting your spouse’s lover is that you get a hint of their feelings. Was it just a passing fling for them? Are they widely infatuated or are we talking about a meaningful bond here? From the way this person speaks about your spouse, you can make out if they will leave you two alone easily or if they would hold their ground and fight for their love. So then, should you contact the person your spouse is cheating with? I believe you already know your answer by now.
Cons Of Talking To The Person Your Spouse Cheated With
“Should I confront the woman my husband cheated with/the man my wife has an affair with?” You go to a therapist or a friend with the same query and chances are their advice would be a firm ‘no’. It may not be what you want to hear at the moment but they have got a point. Confronting your spouse’s affair partner may open a can of worms and the damage done could be beyond any fixing – for your mental health and your marriage.
According to Devaleena, “The worst part of this strategy is that you contact this person in search of full clarity. And there is no guarantee that you can actually get that. What if the person lies to your face?” On that note, let’s discuss the cons of talking to the person your spouse is cheating with:
Related Reading: 12 Signs An Affair Is Turning Into Love
1. They can provoke you
When you are trying to settle on a yes/no for the “should you contact the person your spouse is cheating with” conundrum, remember this encounter can turn real nasty real soon. They would probably go to any extent to safeguard their dignity and won’t let go without a tough battle of words. Can you stoop down to their level? I guess not. But you should know what’s coming your way.
Devaleena says, “In case the affair partner is being provocative, there is a possibility it’s majorly influenced by your spouse. Probably, this person is also brainwashed just like they tried to manipulate you. When a married person is having an affair, they tend to say a lot of bad things about the spouse to gain sympathy from the other woman/man.”
2. You can’t help comparing yourself to them
Patrick was intimidated when he saw the young, handsome guy his wife was dating, “My wife cheated on me and I can’t stop thinking about it. Before confronting him, I was all about, “I want to hurt the man who slept with my wife”. But when I met this exuberant, dashing, life-affirming fellow, I felt, “How can a 48-year-old boring chemistry teacher compete with that?” Any woman would fall for his charm.”
Devaleena makes a really good point here for people like Patrick, “It’s a gross mistake that most spouses who have been cheated on make. They end up believing that something is lacking in them whereas the truth is that the real issue or trigger here is the cheaters’ psychosocial issues. They act the way they do because they feel something is lacking in them or struggle with low self-esteem. There is absolutely no reason to beat yourself up or let this affair affect your self-worth in any way.”
3. The details can be painful to hear
Should you contact the person your spouse is cheating with? We would say ‘yes’ on one condition – only if you promise you can hold yourself together after finding out the painful specifics of this affair. That’s a pretty unreasonable clause, I know. But we are preparing you for the worst-case scenario.
These little things might come up during the conversation. The affair partner might even blurt out hurtful things just out of spite, like “Your spouse is amazing in bed” or “S/he surprised me with an all-expense-paid romantic trip to Hawaii”. Do you think you will be able to gulp it down?
Related Reading: 13 Cheating Guilt Signs You Need To Watch Out For
4. You may not get the truth out of them
The objective of reaching out to the person your spouse is cheating with is to find out what exactly happened, right? You need clarity, maybe a timeline, or who approached first and how serious the relationship has gotten. But how can you be sure that they will spill the truth and nothing else? They are probably thinking, “His wife contacted me and asked me to meet. There must be something fishy” and they will become extra cautious.
So, they might say all sorts of irrelevant things to divert your attention from the primary issue. They can offer you some half-truths or outright deny the whole thing. At the end of the day, you will come back with a chaotic mind, more puzzled than ever. Unless you are absolutely sure what to say to the man who slept with your wife or your husband’s affair partner, it’s probably not the best move to confront them on an impulse.
5. You can ruin your chances of rebuilding the marriage
Infidelity can be a dealbreaker but many people work through it and come out stronger as a couple. In fact, research shows that 90% of cheating spouses do not marry their affair partners. Instead, they often engage in couples therapy, which helps immensely in rebuilding the marriage after an affair.
But if you try to cross your spouse and meet their partner straight away, it might backfire. They can get furious, maybe even completely withdraw from the relationship both emotionally and physically. And it will leave you with no other option than prepare for the end of your marriage. Devaleena suggests, “If an affair has happened, it means there is a lack of mutual respect, love, empathy, and care for each other. Those are the aspects you need to focus on rather than contacting this person.”
- Confronting the person your spouse is cheating with can have either positive or negative outcome
- It depends on the kind of relationship you and your spouse have and the nature of the affair too
- The major advantage of this confrontation is that you get to hear a different point of view and get some clarity on the matter
- But this person could try to provoke you or tell you no truths at all
- Comparing yourself with them can totally harm your confidence level
- You may lose your chance of rebuilding the marriage
We present the good and the bad aspects of talking to your spouse’s lover. But our scale slightly weighs on the negative side. Before you settle on a firm answer to the question, should you contact the person your spouse is cheating with, think long and hard. Because this confrontation is going to be an emotional hell.
Perhaps you should consider solving it with your spouse instead of dragging in a third person and losing your dignity in the process. But ultimately, it’s your decision. And if you need any help at any point to keep it together, skilled and experienced counselors on Bonobology’s panel of experts are here for you.