When you're cheated on, the devastation of betrayal can make you react in uncharacteristic ways. Obsessive behaviors take over and you may behave in a way you never believed possible. This isn't only true for women; this applies to men who have been cheated on as well. If you do happen to find out who the mistress or other person is, the open wound may cause you to act out via confrontation. What's the driving force when we feel a compulsion to speak to the other person? Typically it's to feel better -- to take away a bit of our pain. Somehow, we think that that course of action provides more benefits than the alternative. Rarely have I seen much benefit, and I've certainly witnessed a great deal of harm (see the free Affair Analyzer online assessment). Here are 8 reasons not to confront him or her:
1. How much information do you really want? If you think you might be able to get more information from the affair partner, you're right, but it might not be what you want to hear. If you have been with your partner a long time, then you've probably already realized that you and your mate have different subjective realities. You can have vastly different recollections of any event. For that reason alone, you can certainly gain a different perspective, or details about the specific event, from talking to the mistress. But you're not gaining anything worthwhile; it's hard enough to process the information from the perspective of your mate, why add to that?
2. Affair partners can lie. It is interesting how often a hurting mate believes the affair partner will tell them the truth and sorrowfully see the error of their ways. It is not uncommon for the affair partner to lie and manipulate the situation to get the upper hand.
3. Talking to the affair partner is comparing apples and oranges. One of the most difficult pieces of an affair to discern is motive. Frequently, there is a compulsion to discover why this has happened. Don't be mistaken and think the answer lies with the affair partner. In reality, the affair partner has created an illusion of what your mate's reason for cheating is. So please don't think that the causes and motives thought by the affair partner match those of your mate.
4. Vengeance doesn't work. When you're really hurting, it's tempting to think about making the other party experience the same pain that you're going through. The only problem is that this course of action only results in self-inflicted injuries. Don't compromise your personal integrity by acting in ways you normally would never approve of. Injuring another will never bring the peace you seek, and it will only lengthen the amount of time it's going to take to recover.
5. Don't gratify their hostility. You don't want to act in ways that allow the other person to believe your mate was justified in coming to them. If you act like a crazy person in confronting them, you only give them justification for their actions.
6. Trying to get them to "get it" is futile. One of the most common motivations for confronting the other person is to try to get them to see that you're a real person and that their actions are destroying real lives. The defense mechanisms put into place to justify the affair in the first place are most likely still in place after the affair. You're not going to be the person capable of breaking through their denial.
7. It tends to perpetuate the problem. If your mate is trying to break off the relationship with their affair partner, you talking with them will not help the process. In fact, it is almost guaranteed to create more contact. They'll either contact your mate telling them to have you back off, or they'll use your contact as a way to try to guilt your mate into trying to gain comfort. The goal is to break off the relationship, not to perpetuate the fight.
8. What do they have that I don't? At times, curiosity drives the desire for contact. You may be asking, "What does the other person have that I don't?" Motivations for affairs are complex, and meeting the other person will only confuse the issues. I found that people mostly affair down. They rarely have an affair with someone better than the person that they're with. So I'd suggest not lowering yourself to their level by interacting with them or comparing yourself to them. Have more respect for yourself.
After all is said and done, some will still feel an overwhelming need to confront the other person. It may be driven by a need to get the crazy compulsion out of their head. For others, it may be a need to face their fears. There can be any number of reasons people want to contact the affair partner, but I do suggest that you try to get your mind off of them and onto yourself and your recovery. The last thing you want to do is let another person have the power to control your peace of mind. To learn about more constructive ways to handle the affair partner, take our free Affair Analyzer online assessment.
About Affair Recovery
Affair Recovery specializes in helping people heal after infidelity. After recovering from his own affair 25 years ago and helping 2,000+ other couples do the same, founder Rick Reynolds and his team have developed research-validated, groundbreaking online and in-person programs for redeeming the losses created by infidelity, betrayal, and sexual addiction. Take the free Affair Analyzer online assessment, to learn more, visit www.AffairRecovery.com
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