If you've found out that your so-called significant other actually wasn't single, but in fact married, cheating, and you were the "other person," we feel for you. When it comes to relationships, this is one of the more shocking things to find out and one of the more potentially emotionally destructive experiences around. You are hurt and left to answer unanswered questions, pick up the pieces, and all with a nice dose of heartbreak. It may not have meant anything to the cheater, but it meant something to you.
So, what do you do now? You may want to get revenge on your married ex, especially when it would be so easy to pick up the phone or flip on the computer and oust him or her by contacting the unassuming spouse and giving them the details of what you now realize is their affair. As much as you want this person to be found out and punished for their behavior, it's not the right move. It's hard to swallow, but you are better off, safer and smarter for staying away and letting this remain someone else's problem. It may be hard to realize this right away, but the real benefit to you is that it's not your problem anymore - enjoy that.
If we still haven't convinced you it's not a good idea to contact the spouse, here are a few additional reasons:
Cheaters are troubled, lying, manipulative, depressed people. You are not. You're above that and should want nothing to do with this person. Know that if you contact family or spouses, the cheater will most likely portray you as the "crazy" one, projecting and deflecting their own personal flaws onto you. If you reach out, more than likely the recipients of your outreach will (as a result of already being manipulated by the cheater) think you're out of line, unreasonable, and desperate.
Your time is valuable - don't waste it. It's not smart to obsess - for your own good - it's only preventing you from finding the happiness you deserve. But even if you did reach out to the other people that are victims of this person's manipulative behaviors, the spouse who is being cheated on probably won't believe anything you say anyway. Same goes for the family. If the cheating spouse was manipulative enough to get away with having a full-on affair with you, they probably have manipulated their spouse and family to think they've hung the moon.
While some people may be cheaters, there are differing degrees of personality disorders that could prove dangerous to you and your loved ones. If possible, staying away and refraining from provoking this person will keep you safe. Dr. Martha Stout, author of "The Sociopath Next Door," reminds us all that "Living well is the best revenge." There's no real safety or gain in getting revenge this way - just living well and knowing you're better off without them is the true win for you. Provocation will only result in you living in fear of retaliation.
You are not this person. This person was not who you thought they were - think about it - if you knew they were a cheater would you really have dated them? Probably, hopefully not. You are a good person with morals, standards, and realistically high expectations. Voluntarily continuing to associate yourself with this person's world is not something you want to do.
You know you have to move on, but just because this person was lying to you doesn't lessen the pain or make your recovery any easier. Getting over heartbreak takes time. You had sincere feelings, and it's going to take real effort to remind yourself that the person you loved wasn't the person you thought they were. As soon as you can, leave the past in the past and don't waste another minute in a dead-end situation. The sooner you can put this behind you, the sooner you can look to the future and find true happiness.
Ultimately, remember that you're better off moving onwards, upwards, and out of the hot mess of this other person's life and that much closer to finding the happiness that you deserve. Know that people who cheat are disloyal and not trustworthy and will continue to be that way. They will always be unsatisfied and bored with their current situation. They will do this again, so be thankful it won't be you and that you'll know to look out for this (and not put up with this) in the future.
Courtney Stovall is the Co-Founder of BounceBack.com, a community site and resource network dedicated to helping people find happiness after heartbreak. BounceBack.com has helpful articles, community forums, and a place to share your heartbreak story, all focused on helping you heal from a breakup or divorce in the right way.