Should I Confront the “Other Woman” (or Man)?

Talking to the other person can cut both ways—sometimes it drives a wedge between a cheating spouse and his or her lover. Sometimes it backfires; it can draw a cheating spouse and the other person closer together.

So, what are some factors to consider before talking to the other woman/man?

What does the other person know?

Do you think that the other person has a good read on the situation? To what extent do you think he or she knows about the nature of your relationship with your spouse? Is your spouse the type of person to disclose your relational problems with his or her lover? If the other person is in the dark about the nature of your relationship with your spouse, it may help to confront him or her–thus creating awareness that you are going to put up a fight and that you love your spouse. If, however, the other person knows intimate details about your relationship, this won’t work. In such a situation, the other person may be able to gain the upper hand by saying things which make you look foolish or not in control of the situation.

Do you know how the other person is likely to respond?

Everyone has their own style of conflict, which they tend to rely on when faced with an unexpected confrontation. Some people respond by backing down, some people respond by attacking, and some people will try to avoid the confrontation altogether. And to make matters more complicated, how someone responds during the confrontation doesn’t necessarily indicate how they will respond after he or she has had time to think about what was said. So while you may have an advantage during the initial confrontation, will that help you over the course of time? Will confronting the other woman or man only further his or her resolve? Or is such a confrontation likely to scare the other person away? Conflicts are much easier to start than they are to stop. So unless you have reason to believe that there will be a positive outcome, it may be best to avoid a confronting the other person.

How do you think your spouse will respond?

Will your spouse take your side? Or will your spouse feel sorry for his or her lover? Will confronting the other person force your spouse to make a decision? In such situations, it's not realistic to expect your spouse to stay neutral. And remember, you are confronting someone who has little regard for your feelings and who, moreover, is someone who your spouse may love. Your spouse has already betrayed your trust at a very basic level, so confronting the other person may provide your spouse with the opportunity to openly demonstrate how much he/she cares about his/her lover. More often than not, it's better to keep the discussion between you and your spouse rather than involve the other person.

Are you confronting the other person as a means of seeking revenge?

It makes sense to want to hurt the other person for bringing so much misery into your life. But while confronting the other woman/man may bring about a temporary sense of satisfaction, long term it probably does little to help resolve the situation and it may even complicate matters (as mentioned above). So if you are confronting the other person as a means of venting or releasing anger be aware that there are more productive ways to accomplish this (see so there), one of which is counseling (see counseling resources).

Related Information:

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