Is it a good idea to confront the other woman when your husband or boyfriend has had an affair?
It’s easy for us to say ‘no, of course not,’ but we know things are never that simple.
While we would always suggest steering clear of this kind of confrontation, we know that you’re probably feeling incredibly hurt and angry right now, so you might think that there is no other way to work through that.
Rather than making a rash decision, we urge you to read through the below prompts and reflect on why exactly you want to confront the other woman, and what you hope to gain from it.
Once you have worked your way through this article, we think you’ll understand why this is not the only, nor best, option available to you.
Speak to a certified relationship counselor about this issue. Why? Because they have the training and experience to help you work through your hurt without confronting the other woman. You may want to try speaking to someone via RelationshipHero.com for practical advice that is tailored to your exact circumstances.
What do you want to get from confronting the other woman?
It is natural to want to confront someone who has hurt you, especially if it has been done in secret and behind your back.
You might automatically feel like you need to talk to the other woman, but it’s worth pausing for a moment to work out what you hope to gain from doing this.
You want the truth.
You might want to get the truth from her and make sure your partner has actually told you everything that happened.
Sadly, if you get the chance to speak with her, this is not necessarily what will happen.
If she has feelings for your partner, or things have been going on for a while, she may not want to be honest with you as she’ll try to protect him.
Equally, she may not actually know that you exist. It seems impossible, of course, but these things do happen sometimes.
She might be very surprised to find out about you – he’s been lying to you, after all, so what’s to say he hasn’t been lying to her too?
If this is the case, she will probably be feeling very hurt and betrayed, too, and is unlikely to want to talk to you about that.
Even if she does tell you the truth, or some version of it, you will not be satisfied. You won’t feel like you really know what happened until your partner explains it to you, so there is little value in confronting the other woman in terms of your peace of mind.
She cannot give you what you really need here, which is to understand your partner’s actions.
You need her to feel guilty.
Your motive for confronting the other woman might be that you want her to see how much her actions have impacted you.
Maybe you want to yell and swear at her, or cry in front of her about how this has ruined your life.
You might want her to feel guilty for affecting your marriage or kids, if that applies to you.
You might think that this will feel like justice, and that it may act as closure for you. But this is unlikely.
She will never care as much as you need her to care, and you will be left feeling even more broken, and possibly now ashamed for stooping to this level as an attempt to get even.
Unfortunately, we cannot control how other people react or feel, and you are unlikely to get what you really need by confronting her.
As such, it is better to do your best to move on without getting her involved.
It is worth nothing that you might not actually need her to feel guilty – you need your partner to feel guilty. He is the one who should be apologizing and being made to feel awful about what he has done, as he is the one whose actions affect you most directly.
She might say sorry, but you’ll still feel hollow because of the betrayal from your boyfriend or husband.
Ultimately, you need him to take ownership of the situation and understand why he acted this way – and you will never get that by confronting the other woman. Instead, you need to confront him.
How will it actually make you feel?
If you confront the other woman, what will probably happen is that she won’t react the way you wanted her to, and you will be left feeling even worse.
She might not feel guilty for what she has done and you will not get the closure you were expecting.
She might laugh or think you’re ‘crazy’ and then feel okay about the fact that she ‘saved’ your partner from you. This will make you feel so much worse than before that it just isn’t worth the risk.
Realistically, if she knew you existed and cheated with your partner anyway, she probably won’t feel as guilty and remorseful as you want her to feel.
And if she didn’t know you existed, she will feel as betrayed and hurt as you do, and you’ll probably be the last person she wants to talk to about that.
Life is not like the movies where the two scorned women become best friends and gang up on the man who cheated on them both.
Focus on yourself and healing instead of confronting the other woman to fix things.
How else can you understand what happened and why?
If you’re considering confronting the other woman so that you have an understanding of what happened, you’re unlikely to get what you want.
Sadly they might not be willing to talk to you, or will be reluctant to open up for a number of reasons.
Instead of looking to them for more information, you should try to ask your partner instead.
Think about why you want to know what happened – is it because you want to move past it and stay with him, or because you just need to know and then you can leave.
If you want to try to make things work, you need to approach this in a calm way, however impossible that may feel right now.
You are still allowed to feel hurt and angry, of course, but you need to try to communicate clearly and calmly in order to get what you want out of him.
Explain why you are asking these questions and make it clear it’s because you want to get through this.
Once he realizes that, he will be more likely to answer your questions honestly and give you what you need, as he will also want to move on from this indiscretion.
If you want to find out simply because you need to know, and you have no intentions of staying with him, or because he wants to end the relationship himself, that is different.
While it’s still important to try to stay calm, you can make it clear that you just want honesty for the sake of closure. You can let him know that it’s okay if this information hurts you, as you are already hurting, but that you just need to know what happened and why.
Once he knows that you are not trying to salvage the relationship, he may be inclined to be more open and honest, as there isn’t much point hiding anything now.
Are you hoping to salvage your relationship?
If you want to make things work with your partner, we would very strongly suggest avoiding the other woman.
Partly for the reasons above, but also because, if you do this, you are inviting her into your relationship.
Not in the physical sense, of course, but you will have made her part of things in your mind.
The more you know about her (how she looks, what she wears, if she uses a different perfume to you), the more present she will be in your mind – and that in itself is what will destroy your relationship, not the affair itself.
The more you try to get involved with the other woman, whether that’s asking her questions, getting angry at her, or stalking her on social media, the more power you are giving her.
This will haunt you, we promise you, and it is not worth your time if you want to actually pursue things with your partner.
The best thing you can do to salvage your relationship is talk to your partner, as we’ve mentioned above. This is the only way you will be able to maintain the level of coupleness you need in order to make things work again.
Otherwise, you will be forever reminded of the other woman because you chose to get involved with her.
Keep this on your partner, find the closure you need through him, and move on without ever getting in touch with the other woman.
You need to accept you may never know the whole truth.
Whether you choose to stay with your partner or not, you need to accept that there may always be some things you will never know.
This is true regardless of whether or not you confront the other woman, and there is less possible further damage if you leave things alone with her.
This is a horrific thing to go through in a relationship, and only you and your partner can figure out how to move forwards, either together or apart.
Your partner’s lover will not be able to fix things between the two of you – even if she told you everything and sobbed and begged you for forgiveness, you would still need to hear this from your partner before it helped you even begin to heal.
By accepting that you may never get the closure or answers you need, you can work out how you want to proceed with things.
At the end of the day, we will always advise against confronting the other woman if your partner has cheated on you. This is because she, unlike your partner, owes you nothing.
Your partner needs to be the one to explain things to you and apologize if things are ever going to work with you, so try to focus your efforts on that instead.
It will take a lot of communication and trust, but you can both get there if you keep these conversations between the two of you and you don’t go looking for the other woman to heal things for you.
Still not sure if you should confront the other woman? Want to save your relationship or need help ending it? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out.
More articles about cheating and affairs:
- How To Confront A Cheating Partner: 11 Tips To Help You Through It
- 17 Steps To Forgive A Cheating Partner And Get Over Infidelity
- How To Tell If He/She Will Cheat Again: 10 Clues To Look For
- 14 Reasons Why Men And Women Cheat On Those They Love
- How To Get Over Being Cheated On
- 9 Ways Of Dealing With Betrayal And Healing From The Hurt
- 10 Subtle Signs Your Partner Might Be Cheating On You
- 14 Signs Of An Emotional Affair (+ 11 Reasons People Have Them)