There’s nothing worse than a 5:58 am phone call when your alarm is set for six. Well… what could be worse is a 5:58 am wake-up call and the person on the other end is screaming that you’re a whore for sleeping with her husband. My friend, Roberta recently experienced such a wake-up call.
Seems the scorned wife found my friend’s business card in her husband’s wallet. She evidentially believed her husband was cheating, was searching for proof, and labeled the first name found as the culprit. Needless to say, my still-groggy friend was rather shocked to be given the Scarlet Letter before her first cup of coffee. As Roberta became less groggy she became rather annoyed and angered. She met this man at one of the hundreds of professional networking events in Manhattan, and was actually working a deal with him and his company. She tried to convey this to her accuser, however it fell on deaf ears.
When you believe your spouse is cheating, you may feel it so in your gut. It doesn’t become a reality until you substantiate the betrayal.
One of the most valuable lessons my Scoutmaster taught me was that when you point a finger, you have three pointing back at you. Same goes when you accuse your partner of cheating. Finger pointing without substantiation is the quickest way to end a relationship, not to mention coming across as a little unbalanced. Perhaps nobody knows this better than the followers of Sharia Law. If someone accuses a chaste woman (like my friend) of adultery and fails to produce three additional witnesses, the accuser is permanently labeled a transgressor and is the recipient of 80 lashes.
The Western World may find that punishment a bit extreme, but just to be safe in avoiding 80 lashes and the stigma that comes with making early morning accusatory phone calls, here are four things to keep in mind before accusing your spouse of cheating:
1. Feelings are feelings and facts are facts. Know the facts and have the proof before pointing the finger.
Operating on a hunch may pay off at the racetrack, but not so much with relationships. Before you accuse your spouse of cheating, you must have some concrete facts to back up your claim. Without the concrete facts, you run the risk of presenting yourself as a little twisted. Ask yourself what Law and Order’s Olivia Benson would do- would she arrest and get facts later or have her ducks in a row before making reading the Miranda Rights to her Perp? Take a cue from this crime fighter, and be armed with fact before the dialogue begins.
2. Before you confront, be steadfast in your Plan B.
Discovering that your partner is cheating is heartbreaking enough of a task to endure, but there’s one more thing to do that’s even harder. You need to think about yourself because obviously (and sadly) your spouse has stopped thinking about you. Before initiating the confrontation, you need to have a blueprint for your post-conversation future. Ask yourself the hard questions of “If I move on, where will I live?” and “When it comes to shared property, what do I want?”. And also ask yourself, “ Is this something I can forgive and move past?”. Your choice is exactly that- yours. Have a clear and concise agenda planned as to what is best for you and be ready to implement immediately with confidence.
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3. Direct the conversation to your spouse and only your spouse.
If your partner is in fact unfaithful, it’s a breech of trust between the two of you. The conversation has a reservation for two- you and your partner. Confronting their “side action” isn’t going to accomplish anything positive regarding your relationship. Sure, it may give you satisfaction to tell them off, but if you take a deep breath and think, you’ll realize that the major conversation must be with your spouse. You have bigger fish to fry, so focus the dialogue between you and your partner.
4. Be ready for any and all reactions from your partner.
It’s human nature not to like being pinned against a wall with facts that are negative. Your spouse may react in a myriad of ways, ranging from total confession and remorse to absolute and adamant denial. Seeing that you know this person better than most, you’ll be able to gauge how they will respond. Be on the ready to respond accordingly, staying true to your blueprint of what you want moving forward.
Your relationship deserves more than a knee-jerk reaction to any breech of trust. Of course you’re most likely going to be angry, hurt, disappointed and the gamut of emotions that are brought to you by betrayal. Remember it’s best to react with power as opposed to just being reactionary. Take your moment, weigh your options and process the situation before making a first step. Regardless of the choices you make, you’ll be grateful you took the time to formulate your game plan before initiating the confrontation.