Ok, so you have a hunch and you suspect your spouse is cheating.
Or perhaps someone has told you something that has led you to believe that it might be true.
Either way, you suspect your spouse is cheating and you are probably devastated and scared and feeling lost and shocked and angry and more. Your emotions are all over the place and you most likely aren’t thinking clearly.
I am guessing you could use some help, so here I am. I will share with you 5 things to do if you suspect your spouse is cheating so that you can move forward in a healthy way.
#1 – Consider the source.
If someone has told you that they suspect that your spouse is cheating, for whatever reason, consider the source.
Is the person sharing this info someone you love and trust or is it someone who might have an agenda?
The difference here is important to know – one of those people is looking out for you and one of those people might be looking out for themselves. So, if they are the second kind of person, listen to what they say with a grain of salt!
On the other hand, if you suspect that your spouse is cheating because your gut is telling you so, think carefully. Is your gut usually right in these instances or are you someone who goes to that worst place easily? Do you have trust issues from past relationships? Does your gut have any real reason to go to that place or is it just a natural inclination of yours?
Whether its another person or your gut that is telling you that your spouse is cheating, it’s important to pay attention to that source and make sure their intentions are good and based on some truth.
#2 – Don’t snoop.
I know right now you are DYING to snoop. You have suspicions and you need to find out everything that you can to confirm.
I have a client who believed that her husband was having an affair and she snooped. She went onto his email and his phone and his Instagram and his Messenger. And there she found evidence that he was, in fact, having an affair.
What she also found in her snooping was way more information than she needed. She learned about specific things they did, read the words they said to each other, read unkind things the other woman said about her and more. It was awful.
‘I wish I hadn’t snooped,” she said. ‘I can’t unsee what I saw and it’s making it really hard for me to work through it.’
If you suspect your spouse is cheating, I would highly recommend that you don’t snoop but you face the situation head on. What you might find might be more than you can handle. I know it was for my client.
#3 – Ask them directly.
This piece of what to do if you suspect your spouse is cheating is very important. It is very important that you sit down across from your person, look them in the eye and tell them what you know/think. Try to do it calmly and watch their expression carefully.
It would take an amazing actor to be able to deny an affair when their spouse puts it so calmly and clearly. And that is why you want to be looking them in the face – so that you can read their reaction because it might just be a fleeting one. For just few seconds their guilt will be written across their face.
If, in the midst of a fight, you throw out that you suspect the affair, emotions will already be heightened and you won’t be able to read your partner. Alternately, if you take the passive aggressive route, where you fish around for answers, you are just going to frustrate your person and they will be ready for you if you ever ask directly.
If you suspect that your spouse is cheating, ask them as soon as possible. If you do, you won’t have to sit around obsessing and you can get your answers and figure out what to do next
#4 – Don’t blame yourself.
There is a phenomenon in the world of infidelity that looks like this – the partner being cheated on takes all the blame for what has happened.
They blame themselves for not being good enough or pretty enough or attentive enough or worthy of love. They blame themselves for being stupid and ignorant and missing the signs. They believe that if they confront their partner all of those things will be true.
I am here to tell you that what has happened is not your fault. Yes, there are two people in every relationship and each of them has a role in it’ issues but you weren’t the one who found someone else and cheated. You are the one who stayed even if the going was hard.
So, don’t be hard on yourself. Don’t let your fears and self-blame prevent you from confronting what has happened. As a matter of fact, if you do confront the issue head on you will prove to yourself that you aren’t weak, that you respect yourself and that you have the strength to take on, head first, a very difficult and devastating situation.
#5 – Don’t spread the news.
A client of mine discovered some emails that another woman had written to her husband six months earlier. They were declarations of love, playful banter and a tearful goodbye when they had to part. She called her husband out on them. He denied it completely but went home and deleted all emails immediately.
When she asked him why he deleted the emails he said that he couldn’t abide the thought of her sharing those emails with her friends.
I know that, if you suspect your spouse is cheating, you will need some support to process it. And I encourage that. But don’t be the person who gets up at a dinner party and announces the infidelity to the world. That isn’t going to help anyone.
Instead, keep what is happening between the two of you and your closest support system. Ask them to keep it to themselves.
These things get bigger and uglier the more oxygen is exposed to them and the goal is not to let this situation spin out of control but to keep in a manageable size so that you can work through it and come out the other side intact.
If you suspect that your spouse is cheating you are probably feeling like your world has ended.
Don’t get me wrong – things are bad – but I also know that you can work through this.
Make sure, before you go too far down the path of suspicion, that you consider if the source is trustworthy. Don’t snoop and be direct. Do not blame yourself and keep what has happened close.
If your partner is cheating you are going to have a lot to deal with in the near future. Doing these things will help you get through what is happening quicker, whether it’s towards healing or about walking away.
So, pause and take a deep breath. You will figure this out. One step at a time.
You can do this!
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.