Guide to confronting a wayward spouse
How to confront a cheating spouse
I wrote this a few months back. Thought someone might find it useful.
So you've found out. You didn't catch them together, and they didn't come crying to you. You've found out. Perhaps you only have strrong suspicions, in which case this post isn't for you. But if you KNOW, then read on.
Right now I bet you feel like your world is spinning down the plughole. You're not sure whose life you have stepped into but it can't be yours. YOUR wife wouldn't do that. YOUR husband isn't one of THOSE husbands. Well, they are. Sorry about that, but there is no sugarcoating it. And make no mistake, right now you are simply an obstacle to overcome in order for them to get their next fix. You are a stepping stone, a flower they will crush to get what they want. Your feelings are irrelevant to them. You MUST confront. You cannot live in a condition where they are off living a life of sex and magic, whilst you stay at home and feel like your soul is dying. It's just not healthy. You will eventually lose emotional control and confront them in a manner that allows them to confuse you and actually leave you feeling worse than you did before you confronted them, or in a manner that simply destroys anything that remains of the marriage. You MUST confront, and you must do it in a way the best benefits you. Before I get cracking with the meat of this post, I just wanted to say how sorry I am that you find yourself reading it.
Goals for a confrontation.
Partly, the goal of confronting is announcing to the person that their behaviour is unacceptable. It also to inform them that the subterfuge must come to an end, and also show them the pain they have caused and are continuing to cause. There are many reasons for confronting, but there are also some clear goals to aim for when confronting a wayward spouse;
1. The stress and trauma levels of the experience are as low as possible
2. It communicates what you know, how it has made you feel, and your intentions for the future
3. It sets clear and unambigous expectations
It is easy to misfire a confrontation. Betrayed spouses go in determined to set the world to rights, and so often come out of it more cvonfused and afraid than they were before they went in. This is because they go in feeling vulnerable, damaged, afraid, weak, used, betrayed, whereas a wayward spouse meets a confrontation with defensiveness, anger, control, manipulation. It is not a fair, or even fight. Due to this, it is important that the confrontation be decisive and effective. An effective confrontation has the following characteristics;
1. It is prepared for in secrecy
2. It is done in a safe and controlled environment
3. It permits no denials
4. It permits no heated debate and is controlled from the beginning by the betrayed spouse
5. There is a clear structure and is adhered to by a tough BS
6. The "games" are limited
Let's look at each of these chacteristics in turn.
1. It is prepared for in secrecy.
Secrecy hasn't done your marriage any favours in all honesty, but this one thing you need to keep quiet about. You need to give your wayward spouse no reason to suspect that you know what is going on. They may be in their own little world, but some wayward spouses become very competent and watching their BS for suspicion. If you know, keep it quiet and plan your confrontation. The moment that your cards are on the table for them to read they will leap into action. Evidence will start to become more difficult to find. Passwords will change. email and bank accounts may close and new ones may open in their place. They will do everything possible to achieve one goal - to make it more difficult for you to prove what is going on. You see, waywards live in this weird world where as long as you cannot PROVE what is happening, somehow everything is fine. I'll talk about this more in the "denial" section, but for now rest assured that your best shot as having a successful and least emotionally traumatic confrontation is to get ready for it on the quiet.
2. It is done in a safe and controlled manner.
Your wayward spouse has set off a nuclear bomb in your relationship. This is going to impact friends, families, work. It's going to cost you months or years in profesional help. It's going to take you, personally, years to get over the emotional trauma. It could very well end up in one or two divorces, and children being raised between homes. It's a ****ing nightmare, frankly, and your parter brought it into your safe, loving world. Yet, the amazing thing is that they either are not even aware of what the ramifications are as they live in their own world of denial, or they are fully aware of the pain they could cause, but are so arrogant that they do not believe they would ever get caught anyway. Either way, your wayward spouse's first and instant reaction is going to be anger. Fury, even. This is because you have caught them and their fantasy is coming crashing down. That's really it, to be honest. Oh, they will claim to be angry because you are "controlling" them, because you are "interfering" with their life, that you are being cruel and selfish. They will say you have been snooping, you have been prying. They will blame their anger on you by stating that they had an affair because you were abusive, or possibly because you were neglectful, or both. they will be angry and blame you for not having sex, or demanding too much sex. They will be angry for loads of reasons, but really only one. You caught them. The point is that their first reaction will be anger. Now you have two emotionally charged people, one of whom has already proven they are willing to do anytrhing and hurt anyone to get whwat they want. This is not a recipe for a heartfelt, honest discussion. It is a recipe for a a ****storm. Your role is to ensure that this ****storm is pissed on before it gets going. So choose your time and location carefully to create an environment that is safe. to help this you can
1. Avoid confronting when the kids are present.They are going to go through enough pain.
2. If you have ANY cause to worry about your physical safety then have a friend with you when you confront.
3. Have an exit. Don't get trapped in a house with your wayward spouse screaming at you.
4. Let a friend know what is going to happen. It's good to have emotional support and you may decide when contfronting that you just want out. That's fine.
5. Choose a location that does not permit anger to escalate. One person I know confronted in a library. No raised voices.
6. Choose your time carefully. People are prone to grouchiness in the morning and perhaps the odd tipple in the evening.
3. It permits no denials
OK, let's get something clear. If you do not have iron-clad, undeniable evidence, then there is no point confronting. You are going to have to hold off confronting until you do have that evidence. You see, we all have this dream. In this dream, the affair is a horrible, horrible mistake. Your wayward spouse has either been seduced, or they have somehow taken temporary leave of their senses. In the dream the moment we confront them with even the slightest suspicion of innapropriate thought they will fall to their knees in supplication, distraught with grief and remorse, and beg your forgiveness for their stupidity. In this dream our sweetie still exists, but has somehow just lost their way for a moment, and a confrontation will bring them crashing to their senses and back into your arms so that they can make all the pain go away. We all think like that. Of course we do. It's our mental defense of what is happening. It's our mind's way of minimising the betraying and associated pain. It is, of course, complete bull****. Your spouse knew what they were doing. They will deny anything and everything. You can find them on a cathedral altar, lightly greased in fat, up to their nuts in your best friend whilst she screams "betray the *****", and they will claim that somehow YOU are the one mistaken. the same is true for women. You could come home and find them doing a handstand on the sofa with a cucumber up her arse whilst blowing your father, and she would claim that she had actually been doing the newspaper crossword. You need evidence. A confrontation works best when the wayward spouse has nowhere to move, nothing to argue. The most effective confrontation is one where the betrayed spouse says "here's what you have been up to" rather than "what have you been up to". If you find emails, print them out. If you have texts, print them out. Make TWO copies and take one to the confrontation. I know of at least one that grabbed all the evidence tore it to pieces, jumped up and down on it, and then looked his wife in the eye and told her that SHE was the one with issues. So here's some tips on how to avoid denials
1. Gather evidence in advance and have it ready. the more sources the better. Thill potentially help you legally in the long term.
2. Understand what you know. They are going to try and tell you that you are insane. Be sure of yourself before your begin and keep reminding yourself of this.
2. Do not reveal all your cards in the confrontation. Tell them you know everything but don't show them everything you know. There is always more to know.
3. If they start to deny, tell them you are not interested and the time for treating you like a fool is over. Then go quiet and wait for them to start again.
4. If you have something devastating, use that to cripple any argument at the beginning. I asked my wife if she had anything to tell me, and then played a recording of her with her mother arranging to pass on a letter from the OM. Hard to argue with themselves
5. Sound strong even if you do not feel it. Speak with certainty and clarity. Try not to beg for information or the truth. You won't get it.
6. Assume everything you are being told is a lie and watch how they react. If they look devastated, then perhaps they are. If they look angry and defensive, then the battle is not over.
4. It permits no heated debate and is controlled by the betrayed spouse
A confrontation is a chance for you to bring a waysward spouse's fantasy world crashing down. It is the time for you to reveal part of what you know in order to let them know whether you plan to walk away, or whether you plan to stay, and what must happen in either case. It is NOT the forum for a heated debate about all your failings, all the marriage's failings, or anything else for that matter. A wayward spouse will initiate any conversation they can to shift the blame from them to you. They will also leap on any opening you give them to change the subject, especially if it is something close to their heart. For example, when I confronted my own wife on my second d-day, she began with denials, obviously, but then when it became clear I had hard evidence, she changed the subject to how she had hadn't realised how lonely and unloved she had felt. This led to a discussion about what was wrong with our marriage until something clicked inside me and I reset the conversation. You need to stay on topic, stay focussed, and address the matter to hand. Don't let the confrontation be defused by the wayward spouse, or indeed your own spirallyin emotions. Here's some tips on how to do that;
1. In the confrontation, if the discussion gets sidetracked, say "we can talk about that another time" and get back on topic.
2. Keep your emotions under control. You will be hoping depserately, but keep it under control. Remember why you are there.
3. Make it clear from the beginning that this is not a debate, or a conversation, but an announcement.
5. It has a clear structure and it adhered to by a tough BS
Right, you need a structure. You will have goals to your personal confrontation. Only you will know what they are. I will give you some suggestions, but they will depend on your circumstances. For example, the shortest confrontation I have ever heard about lasted thirty seconds. This is how it went.
"Do you have a moment?"
"Yes, what's up?"
"I found out you've been ****ing Helen. I'm moving in with my Dad. He's outside waiting"
"Don't bother, I have copied or all your facebook chats and emails. You'll hear from my solicitor in due course"
That confrontation is awesome. It allows no denials, it allows no debate. It is controlled from the outside by the BW who has a clear structure and clear intentions. The wayward spouse in this instance was left standing there wondering what the **** had just happened. He lost his home, his kids, and following his descent into la-la land, his job. The wife divorced him, and is healing on her own.
Now, what do I mean by a structure. In the example above, the structure is
1. Get his attention
2. Tell him I know what's being going on
That's it. no discussion, no debate, no room for lies or blameshifting. The structure is simple because in this instance the betrayed spouse knew exactly what her intentions were. It may be far more complicated if you are unsure of your facts, or unsure of your own intentions. That's why you need to have a bit of a think about your own intentions before confronting. That doesn't mean you have to have decided what you want in terms of reconciliation or divorce. You intentions may simply be "tell the bastard I know what he's up to and that I'm not as dumb as he thinks". It's not my place to tell you your intentions, but have a think about them before you go in.
Your structure may be far more complicated. Mine, for my second D-day, was
1. Get her attention (switch off the telly and put the dogs out of the room)
2. Tell her I know what's going on (with appropriate evidence)
3. Look for any signs of remorse
4. If (3) exists, give her the option - the marriage ends today or NC begins today
5. If she chooses end the marriage or there is no remorse then leave immediately (bag was in the car and person waiting at destination)
6. If she chooses NC then demand NC phone call on the spot.
7. Outline expectations for the next month, with weekly checkins.
Both are valid structures, it depends on what you want to achieve, and what your intentions are. I wasn't fussed about getting the truth, or more details, I just wanted to kill the affair.
During the confrontation with my wife, I refused to listen to anything, refused to discuss anything. I am offering you a second chance at reconciliation. If you want it, your choice is clear, make it now. After a couple of hours of screaming, she ended up calling the OM in front of me to say goodbye and initiate NC, and then we moved on to my expectations. It was hard, and I was tough with her, but that's the only way for the BS to get what they want out of the situation. Set an agenda. So here is how to plan your confrontation
1. Write down what you know
2. Write down what you want
3. Write down any options (do this if there is remorse, do this if there is not)
4.Now write down a structure follows a logical path such as this
A. Set the scene (turn off any distractions)
B. Tell them what you want them to know you know (sorry!)
C. Tell them their options if there are any
D. Tell them your expectations and what happens next
E. Bring the confrontation to a close.
The last part is important. Once you are done, walk away. Don't let the confrontation degrade and fade away. When you walk away, you want the wayward spouse to think "what the yellow rubbery **** just happened". You want them to realise they have just ****ed with the wrong person and now they are in deep ****. you want them to think they have grieveously underestimated you and ****ing with you was and is up there with telling a US Navy SEAL that he's a bit of a bender in the list of "top ten ways to get your life ****ed up" .You do not want them to think you just had a moment's anger and now things are calming down everything will be alright. You do not want them to think that once you calm down they can start ****ing with you again. You want them shellshocked. Go in hard and fast, with a clear agenda, clear goals, and clear expactations. Ironically, this is the most likely way to "wake them up" in a confrontation anyway. Appearing weak, begging, crying, whilst all of these things may prove to the world you are an emotional human being, they do not make you appear attractive. They make you appear weak. wayward spouse's are typically most shocked by strength, and that's the one characteristic you need to display. But then , how hard is that to do. You're a BS, you're already shouldering more than your share or pain, suffering and anguish. You're strong than you realise.
6. The games are limited
The games are limited. What on earth does that mean. Well, both the example structures given above are clear cut. In both examples, the BS knew what they wanted, thought about it, and then went after it. They knew where they stood. They had suspicions backed up by evidence. However, in some confrontations, a BS does not have the evidence. I have recommended elsewhere that if you do not have evidence then it is not worth confronting. they will lie and blameshift, and you will have nothing other than your own passion to backup your argument and beliefs, a passion which will be far outweighed by their own defence and indeed offence. That being said, there are examples where a BS will have enough evidence to confront, but hope to get more from the confrontation. As a betrayed spouse, we all crave the truth. We NEED to know where we stand, because even if you standing up to your neck in **** then at least you know. A soldier once told me, whilst he was being shot at, "at least we know where the ****ers are now". there is truth and power in knowledge, and we betrrayeds crave it with passion. The problem is that you are up against the wayward spouse. the wayward spouse is a master at deception. Whilst you have been living a life in ignorance they have been training as liars. They are 6th dan grand masters in making you believe you are imaging things. they are the Bruce Lee of bull****. If you are not careful, you are going to get your ass kicked. So if you are going to play games in the confrontation, be very careful. The wayward spouse will be on top form. They will be the CIA and the NSA at this point, looking for absolutely any gaps in your knowledge they can exploit. you are far better off sticking to the facts and leaving them guessing as to what you know and do not know. Here's some tips to stop yourself being taken advantage of
1. Answer no questions. This is not a time to let the WS probe the depths of your knowledge. Steadfastly refuse to get into any debate, or answer any questions. This is the time for YOU to get answers.
2. Think before you speak. You are already being manipulated. This will continue in the confrontation. Speak clearly and be acreful about what you admit you know
3. Do not reveal your sources unless you have to. Once you reveal a source, that source will be switched off following the confrontation. I advise you only to reveal a source if it is devastating and no further evidence is needed anyway
4. encourage them to speak without showing your hand. "Why don't you tell me what has been going on" when they can see you have a pile of paper might make them reveal more than you know.
Somewhere in this post I think I lost my own structure. I was lucky in that I did not have to confront the first time. finding your wife with her face stuck to your friend's and her hands in his hair is pretty much all the evidence you need. However, I then had to confront several times over the next few months as my "be a nice guy" strategy proved to be completely useless when faced with a foggy WS. I hope that what I have learned, as always, is useful to someone. If you are new here, and seeking advice, then I would always thoroughly recommend reading through the healing library before confronting. There is an amazing amount of information in there, and the more information you have, the better armed you will be. I wish you the best of luck. Let us know how you get. We'll be here to help you shoulder the load.
Finally, I wanted to say something for those BS who do not get to do this. There is a percentage of wayward spouses that will not submit to being confronted, and at that moment make a snap decision to leave. Despite the BS's best planning the WS will throw a spanner in the works by walking out the door. They are doing this out of cowardice rather than facing the consequences of their own actions. Please, for the sake of your soul, let them go. They are making yet another stupid decision, one they will almost certainly come to regret. Don't beg, or cry, just let them go. If they come back, go through the same process. Do not let your intentions, or your health, be affected by their tantrums and strategies for avoiding consequences.
Now go kick ass.