Your Spouse is Cheating, Now What?

What do you do when you discover your spouse is cheating?  Would you believe that not everyone immediately confronts the lying SOB and calls a lawyer

LifeIsHOTBlog, Spouse Cheating Now What, Brad W. Smith photographer, rocks, blue water.

When life crashes over you and puts you in a hard place, you can choose to fight for yourself, or give in. Either way is a struggle.

or a counselor? In fact, some spouses hide from the truth. They pretend to not know what they know. They think life can go on just as they thought it was. They are wrong.

In math equations, the expression on one side must always equal, or have the same value, as the expression on the other. There is a corollary in life: When you discover something, you are changed by it in a way that is equal to its significance.

I call this the Discovery and Change equation.

The details of the deception don’t matter as much as you might think. It really doesn’t matter if the deception is an extramarital affair or a secret addiction to alcohol or other substance, or a compulsive behavior such as gambling, or something else. What matters is that you have been living a lie just as much as your spouse has. You just didn’t know it.

Whether or not you choose to confront your spouse, you already know a terrible truth. Now you face a series of choices:

  • Do you confront your spouse, and how?
  • Do you want to know the truth?
  • Do you want to repair the relationship?
  • Do you know in your heart of hearts that your spouse is prone to dishonesty – lying when it is expedient or more convenient than the truth?
  • What other lies have been told?

Because it is overwhelming to you to think about what this discovery means and what changes may occur once you confront your spouse, you may think you can ignore the situation.

But not talking about it is not the same as it not existing. It’s impossible to pretend to not know what you know.

You knows it is there. Your attitude and thoughts about your relationship are shaped by it. You may want to pretend to not see what you see, but you still see it.

Now your relationship is doubly harmed because now there are two lies. One is infidelity – your spouse’s not-so-secret cheating. The other is your pretending to not know.

Your attitude and thoughts about your relationship with yourself are equally shaped by your decisions. When you choose to confront your spouse, you are telling yourself:

  • I matter.
  • I respect myself.
  • I honor my boundaries.
  • I deserve a different kind of relationship than the one I am in right now.

Notice, I did not say you deserve to be in a relationship with a different person. Decisions about ending the infidelity and repairing the relationship come later. Those decisions require both of you to be in agreement. Outcomes such as your ability to weather the storm together, or the nature of the future relationship, are not foregone conclusions.

When you choose to preserve your spouse’s secret and enable the infidelity to continue, you are telling yourself:

  • I do not matter.
  • I am not worthy of respect by others.
  • Others can do whatever they choose to do to me because I have no limits on the treatment that is acceptable to me.
  • I deserve this relationship that I have right now.

Make no mistake, the two choices are equal. The first one comes with pain and preserves your self respect. The second one means you bear all of the pain and consequences of your spouse’s choices by yourself. You get the pain. Your spouse gets the pleasure.

The choice is yours. You can go on living two lies. All you have to do is acknowledge to yourself that is what you’re doing. The difference between confronting the truth and seeking change and hiding from the truth and allowing the infidelity to continue, is the difference between being true to yourself and your values and your boundaries, and not.

What kind of life do you want to live? The choice is yours.

Life Is Honest, Open and True

The Discovery and Change Equation comes with a choice. You can choose to continue living the lie, or you can choose to stand up for yourself because you know you matter and you deserve better. The choices have equal consequences.

What have you done when you’ve learned of a terrible deception in your most precious relationships? Have you stood up for yourself, or have you pretended the situation does not exist? What happened next? Stop by our Life is HOT blog Facebook Group and leave a comment or tweet me @LifeIsHOTBlog with the hash tag #LifeIsHOT!
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Related Posts: Discovery and Change

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Is it Time to Open a New Book?

14 Comments

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14 Responses to Your Spouse is Cheating, Now What?

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  13. Me

    I have recently found myself in this situation. Although my spouse didn’t “do the deed”, he was still having an emotional online affair with intent on “doing the deed”. However, I do not believe in divorce. I believe in For Better or For Worse. If there’s a chance to Forgive but not Forget and stay married and make that relationship stronger, I’m all for it.

    I found your article to be very inspirational and look forward to reading more.

    • My heart aches for you. The phrase ‘forgive and forget’ actually means to confront the situation, address it with your husband, seek change in his behavior, and then, when he has changed his behavior and he has asked for your forgiveness, for you to forgive him. Then, you both ‘forget it’ by not bringing it up again — not throwing it at him in an argument or using it as justification, or otherwise continuing to hold it against him, and him not continuing to do things for you out of guilt for his previous behavior. Of course you will always actually remember it, as will he. If he is not willing to change his behavior, then you cannot give him your forgiveness. However, if you separate, you can still ‘forgive’ him to yourself by recognizing that he has a weakness and in that regard, is human. The most important thing right now is for you to realize you are not to blame. Any attempt by him to put blame on you is really only his justification for his choice. Point that out to him, as lovingly as you can. I know it is impossibly hard. Good luck.

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