How to Manage Your Partner’s Affair
Key Points
  • An affair puts your relationship at a fork in the road. Two paths: to choose to move on to reduce emotional harm OR work towards a common goal to repair the trust that has been broken.
  • Reacting spontaneously or making quick decisions/remarks is not recommended. You need to keep your emotions in check to avoid regrets.

While an affair constitutes the most devastating event for a relationship short of death, there are two potential positive outcomes:

  1. Reconciliation can lead to a significantly stronger relationship, or

  2. The fatal weakness in the marriage can be dealt with so that everyone’s losses are reduced.
The depth of trauma produced by your loved one’s affair betrayal is mind and life altering. Affair stress impairs judgment, crushes the soul, undermines self-esteem, threatens the future and sickens the body. When this happens, it is necessary to manage your emotions as well as controlling and promoting beneficial rather than destructive reactions.

Specifically, consider the following three steps:

  1. Don’t take any action until you’ve decided what is in your best interests.

  2. Identify and set your goals. Act in ways that leave your options open but preserve your best interests. You need a plan to proceed cautiously and carefully without turning a serious problem into a disaster.

  3. Take charge of yourself by using these Do’s and Don’ts as a guide:

  4. DO consult a family law attorney.
    DON’T make threats about taking legal action.

    DO keep your own counsel.
    DON’T confront your partner.

    DO manage your anger and negative feelings.
    DON’T let powerful emotions overwhelm you.

    DO think before talking
    DON’T tell the children

    DO consider your intentions
    DON’T follow your impulses

    DO maintain your integrity
    DON’T try to please the perpetrator

    DO have patience
    DON’T expose the affair unless it’s to your advantage

    DO keep silent
    DON’T contact the spouse or the other party

    DO act in your best interest
    DON’T call your partner’s employer

    DO take charge of circular thinking
    DON’T drive yourself crazy asking "why?"

    DO act with dignity
    DON’T physically or verbally assault the betrayer

Suggested Reading
Affairs: Emergency Tactics
From Discovery to Recovery: Provides you with emergency tactics to successfully survive the betrayal Is your relationship over when you discover that your partner is having an affair? The book will transport you from discovery of infidelity to a safe, satisfactory recovery.

Author: Carol L. Rhodes, Ph.D.

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DISPASSIONATE ANALYSIS -- Judges increasingly disregard the marital misconduct by either spouse, focusing instead on a dispassionate analysis of what each party needs and what each party can afford. Even in those states where adultery and other marital misconduct can have an impact on the financial settlement, the impact is often less than people think.


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