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Dealing with infidelity in your relationship is an intensely personal and emotional experience.
Everyone will react in their own way and have their opinions about it. There’s no instruction manual on when you should leave or how to save your relationship. Only you can decide what you can live with.
But in such a difficult situation, there are some things that will only cause you more hurt.
Putting your mental and emotional health first is the priority, so you don’t want to do anything that will make the situation more painful and difficult to bear than it already is.
Below are a few things to think about if you need to know the details of your partner’s infidelity, and some thoughts on how to make the right choices for your future.
What’s to gain by asking?
When you initially find out that your partner has been unfaithful, your first thought might be that you want to know every detail to try to process what’s happened.
But in an already painful situation, getting caught up in unnecessary details, especially about the other man/woman, can just cause more hurt.
If you know that your partner’s infidelity is the end to your relationship, hearing any more about it won’t help you. Save yourself the pain and close the door on them and their sordid affair.
However, if you want to try to work things out, decide how much information is too much and what it is you really need to hear to help you move on.
For some people, hearing every little physical detail will only cause it to keep replaying in their heads and is best avoided.
But for others, what they’re imagining is 10 times worse than what really took place and knowing exactly what happened can help them come to terms with it.
Ask yourself what you wish to gain by hearing their confessions. If you need to know the details for your own sanity, to build a better picture of what really went on, and for them to prove they can be honest about what happened, stick to asking the bare minimum that will help you accomplish this.
Don’t make this more painful for yourself by asking questions you know you don’t really want to know the answer to. Get the information you need in order to move on and leave the rest.
Be prepared for it to hurt.
This is going to hurt.
No matter what your partner says, how they say it, or how sorry they are right now, whatever comes out of their mouth is going to break your heart.
The person you trusted and loved has betrayed you by being unfaithful and there is no getting away from that.
Nothing they say will take away the fact that they have done this to you and any details they give you about who, why, or when is going to make their infidelity all the more real.
But you may be able use the information your partner gives you and turn it into a positive way to salvage your relationship.
By hearing why they did it, you can get a better understanding of what led them to cheat and perhaps face some hard truths about areas in your own relationship that need some work.
But as you get a clearer picture of what they’ve done, it’s going to be harder to escape the reality that the person you love cheated on you with someone else.
You might have the strength and faith in your relationship to come out the other side of it, but it’s going to be a long and painful road.
Be honest about your motives.
Your partner has betrayed you and you’re entitled to want to yell and scream at them for that.
Although you might think you want them to feel the pain they’ve put you through, causing them pain isn’t the answer to making yours go away.
If you’re just asking them for more details to use as ammunition against them in future arguments, you’re only making the rift between you wider and harder to heal.
If you truly want to find a way through this, try to only ask the questions that you need for your peace of mind. Steer clear of specific details, especially about the other person, that can cause damage to your own self-confidence and are likely to make you want to lash out more at your partner.
Try to ask the questions that give you an insight into how this could have happened and work out whether they are still serious about a future with you.
If you believe you can forgive your partner and want your relationship to work, the information you need from them should only be what can help that healing process, not give you more reasons to drift apart.
Decide your best method of dialogue.
When we are shocked and emotional it can be hard to get across information in the right way. Words get misinterpreted or lost in the confusion and upset of an argument.
It might be that you need to take some time to gather your thoughts and work out what you really want to know before you try talking to your partner about their affair.
Trying to talk face to face might be too difficult for you and you might want to consider finding a mediator to offer support when having difficult conversations.
Writing a letter could also be a more effective method of communication, giving you the time you need to process your thoughts without the emotional pressure of speaking directly to your partner when you’re hurting.
Exchanging letters gives you both the time and opportunity to clearly express your feelings without interruption and could be a cathartic way of processing what has happened.
At some point, you will have to face each other and talk things through. But if you’ve already exchanged letters or have a mediator sharing information, then you have a starting point to work from, with understanding of what else you want to say and what more needs to be explained.
Seek help from a relationship counselor.
This whole situation might just be too much for you both to work through on your own. Seeking the help of a professional if you are confused about how to feel or how to move forward could be the next step you need to consider.
Relationship counselors are trained for situations like these. They know the questions to ask and the ones to avoid and can help you get a better understanding of what you really want to hear from each other.
They can guide you away from harmful topics, information which will only cause you more pain, and steer you toward the underlying issues that have caused this situation to happen and help to fix these.
Asking for help from someone else isn’t a sign that your relationship is going to fall apart if you don’t want it to. Counselors are trained to be a mediator precisely for situations like these, training neither you or your partner have.
If you want to make your relationship work or even need just a better understanding of how this happened, find someone who can help you take a healthier approach to facing what your partner has done and help you move forward from it.
We recommend the online counseling services from Relationship Hero. You and your partner (either each by yourself or together as a couple) can discuss things with a trained professional from the comfort of your own home. Click here to start a chat or to arrange a time to have a session.
Take your time.
Finding out that your partner has been unfaithful is going to send you through a turmoil of emotions.
When we’re caught in an emotional state, we can’t respond in a measured way and can struggle to process important pieces of information.
Asking to know everything at once won’t help you to fully come to terms with what you’re being told.
It might be better for you, emotionally, to take some time and space for yourself to get over the initial shock of your partner’s infidelity. See it as protecting yourself before you’re strong enough to take on the emotional burden of the details of their affair.
Choosing a time that works for you to have a conversation with your partner will also help you avoid making any rash decisions you may later regret.
When we are feeling hurt, we can get defensive and allow our decisions to be ruled by our emotions. Choices made in the heat of anger may not be the best for your long-term future.
You don’t need to know everything at once. Wait until you feel ready to face the situation and prioritize your mental health. It’s going to take strength to face your partner and work out if you have a future together, so make sure you’re ready for it.
No one can tell you how to handle your relationship. Friends and family might have their opinions, but if your partner has been unfaithful, it’s your relationship to decide whether to end or save.
It’s you that will have to live with the knowledge, or lack of it, about the affair. Would you rather live your life not having all the details but knowing there could be more, or live in the knowledge of everything that happened and have it replaying in your imagination?
Making the right decision could be the difference between your relationship surviving or not.
If you are too hurt to forgive your partner, it is better to let a relationship go than live without trust and hold in pent up anger that threatens to come out in future arguments.
If you really do believe your relationship can recover, then be prepared for it to take time to forgive them.
It will ask a lot of you to be able to forgive and move on from this and learn to trust that your partner won’t hurt you again.
In this case, you need to think about the questions you ask and whether their answers are going to make it easier or harder for you to forgive them. You can’t take it back once it’s been shared.
You have to put yourself first and think about what will be damaging to your own self-confidence if they share it.
Some things are better left unsaid if you want to make a life together work. You won’t return to normal overnight so go slowly and take your time to decide what’s best for you.
You may also like:
- 17 Steps To Forgive A Cheating Partner And Get Over Infidelity
- Should You Confront The Other Woman? What You Need To Know
- How To Confront A Cheating Partner/Spouse: 11 Tips To Help You Through It
- How To Tell If He/She Will Cheat Again: 10 Clues To Look For
- 9 Ways Of Dealing With Betrayal And Healing From The Hurt
- How To Get Over Being Cheated On
- 14 Reasons Why Men And Women Cheat On Those They Love
- 11 Things That May Be Considered Cheating In A Relationship