How To Confront A Cheating Partner/Spouse: 11 Tips To Help You Through It

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If you’re reading this, it probably means you’ve found out that your partner has been unfaithful to you.

First things first, I just want to say I’m really sorry. No matter what the circumstances are, finding out that someone you trusted has been cheating on you is painful and hard to deal with.

But I want you to know that you will deal with it. You’re strong and capable, and you’ll come out of this even stronger, whatever happens between you and your partner.

Now… you’re trying to figure out how to talk to them about it.

In movies, people always seem to walk in on their partner with someone else. But in real life, that doesn’t often happen. You tend to find out some other way, and then have to figure out what to do about it.

They don’t know you know yet, and you have to confront them, but you have no idea where to start.

Reading this article is a pretty good sign that you’re a planner. Impulsive people in your situation would’ve confronted their partner the moment they found out, giving no prior thought to how the conversation might go.

And that’s entirely their choice, but if you prefer to think things through first, I’ve put together some advice for how to go about the confrontation, and I hope you’ll find it helpful.

Just remember that every situation and every couple is different, and you need to follow your gut.

There’s no precise roadmap to guide you through a situation like this, but the advice below should give you some idea how to go about it.

Stay strong, take a deep breath, and know that you’ll be okay, whatever the outcome.  

Before You Confront Them

So… you’ve found out your partner is cheating on you. What should you do first?

1. Don’t wait for too long.

Taking a little time to think about this conversation is always a good idea, as it can help you collect your thoughts.

But it’s not wise to stew over this for too long before doing something about it.

Maybe you’re the best actor in the world and can put on a front if you see them, or maybe you can just avoid your partner and pretend it’s all okay.

Either way, rather than pretending or lying for too long, it’s best just to get it over with.

2. But give yourself some time to cool down first.

Do take a little time, however, to get your thoughts organized.

If you’re angry, which is only natural, allow that rage to pass, so you’re better able to articulate your feelings and take in what they’re saying.

3. Think about where and when.

It’s best to have this conversation in your own home, as there may well be tears, and potentially raised voices too. You don’t want to have to negotiate a journey home afterwards if you’re feeling emotional.

If you can, try to make sure you’re fed, hydrated, and rested.

Make sure you have the conversation when you both have time to talk and neither of you need to be anywhere else afterwards. This kind of thing should never be rushed.

4. Take some time to reflect.

Lastly, it’s time to reflect honestly on the state of your relationship before this came out. Were the two of you totally happy? Has this come entirely out of the blue?

Just to be clear, it is in no way your fault that your partner has cheated. That’s completely on them, as cheating is never the answer, no matter what’s been going on between you.

If they try to shift the blame and tell you that you’ve driven them to it, the relationship almost definitely isn’t worth salvaging.

But, it’s important to consider why you think they might have been unfaithful.

Is there anything missing from your relationship, or are there any serious cracks in it? Be honest with yourself about what might have contributed to this happening.

Of course, a lot of the outcome of this talk will depend on the answers they give you and the way they react, so you shouldn’t have any set expectations of how this conversation will go.

But think about whether, right now, without having spoken to them, your instinct is to end things with them, or whether something is telling you that the two of you could get through this.

If you want to stay in this relationship, make sure you’re aware of just how much hard work the two of you will have to put in to rebuild trust between you.

You should also be clear about exactly what you want to ask them. You’re probably looking for an explanation, and you will, of course, want to know what their intentions are for the future.

And it’s probably important to find out whether the cheating has been purely physical, or whether there’s been emotional cheating going on. Have they fallen in love with this person?

If you’re having trouble getting clear about all this, then writing it down can be helpful.

During The Confrontation

Now’s the time when you actually have to have this most horrible of conversations. How should you go about it?

1. Take a deep breath.

I’m not going to ask you to try to remain calm in a situation like this.

You might be able to manage it, but if you love this person and are hurt by their betrayal, then getting upset or angry is pretty inevitable and understandable. 

Just try to stay as calm as you possibly can.

If you get angry and/or start crying, you’ll find it hard to think straight and you might end up saying things you don’t mean or be unable to listen to what they’re saying.

You might also struggle to get the truth out of them.

If you find yourself getting worked up, make sure you take deep breaths, and maybe even ask for a few minutes to calm down and process things before carrying on with the talk.

2. Focus.

This is the kind of conversation that you need to be able to give your full attention. Put your phone on flight mode and ask your partner to do the same.

Turn off the TV or anything going on in the background and focus on your partner. This conversation may well decide the future of your relationship, so make sure there are no distractions.

3. Present them with the evidence.

If this is still just a suspicion, you might not have any concrete evidence of what’s been going on.

But if you know for sure, then it’s best to start this conversation by telling them exactly what you know and how you know it, so they’re less likely to try to deny it or tell you you’re going crazy.

Rather than asking them if they’ve been having an affair, tell them that you know they have been.

Having evidence to back up your suspicions will help you feel more sure of yourself, and able to stand your ground. 

4. Don’t demand every detail.

Think about what you need to know, and what you don’t.

For example, you might want to know if it was just a one-time thing, or if it was ongoing. But if it was ongoing, you probably don’t need the sordid details.

Chances are, you’ll be much happier if you don’t know exactly what went on. You might think you want to know, but the more details you have, the more you’ll have to dwell on.

But, you do need them to be honest – honest about their feelings, and how you got to this point.

And, perhaps most importantly, honest about whether they’re willing to put the work in to move past this and rebuild your relationship.

After You Confront Them

You did it. You confronted your partner about their cheating. Now what?

1. Take some time to think.

It might become very clear to you both of you during this conversation that your relationship isn’t going to survive this.

Maybe you know that you could never move past this, or your partner has fallen in love with someone else, or you realize that they cheated because they wanted a way out of your relationship.

But you might feel like there is still a future for the two of you, or you might not be sure either way.

It’s always best to take some time out before making a big decision like this.

Take a few days to weigh up the pros and cons. There’s absolutely no rush. If you say you can forgive your partner, you need to really mean it.

2. Speak to trusted friends.

Whilst you and your partner are going through this time, you’ll need support. You need to be able to vocalize your feelings to process them and figure out what you want.

Reaching out to friends and family is important as it will remind you that even if things don’t work out with your partner, you’re still surrounded by love.

Just be careful not to be too critical of your partner if you think there’s a chance you might stay together, as your friends and family might find it harder than you to forgive them.

3. Move forwards together.

If you’ve decided that your relationship is worth saving, then it’s going to take a lot of effort from you both.

You are a team, and you need to work together. You can’t see them as the enemy, or try to punish them for what they’ve done. 

You need to build a new foundation of trust.

It can be helpful to set ground rules, like not mentioning the infidelity or always being honest about your feelings.

Still not sure how to go about this confrontation? Want a helping hand through it and the fallout? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.

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About The Author

Katie is a writer and translator with a focus on travel, self-care and sustainability. She's based between a cave house in Granada, Spain, and the coast of beautiful Cornwall, England. She spends her free time hiking, exploring, eating vegan tapas and volunteering for a local dog shelter.