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Betrayed Spouse 101

Suspicions and Strategies - What You'll Hear

You've confronted. They're standing there looking at you. What do they have to say for themselves? Be prepared to hear any of the following:

1. Why would you think I'm having an affair? - This is a common tactic, known as deflecting. By turning it around and questioning you, the cheater is 'buying time' while their mind frantically races for an alibi. Stay on it. You usually only get this if you have suspicions and no 'concrete' proof. Repeat your suspicions, and keep at it until they have satisfactorily laid your fears to rest. You may get more questions like "Why were you listening to my voicemail?" or "What were you doing following me home from work?" or "Why would you believe so-and-so over me?" Again, don't let them run this conversation. You were following/listening/watching because you have VALID SUSPICIONS. Don't apologize for it! Obviously, their behavior is an issue or you wouldn't be doing this. In fact, the ONLY time I've ever heard someone getting upset about their spouse reading their email/checking their voicemail/following them/following up on a rumor is when they have something to hide. Think about it - if your spouse were completely faithful, completely devoted to you, they would find it mildly puzzling that you were doing this, but they'd be more concerned with why you felt like you needed to. People who have nothing to hide don't sweat the actual 'snooping' very much. Stay on the subject, don't be distracted, and GET YOUR ANSWERS.

2. How Dare You Invade My Privacy! - First of all, who are they to complain about an invasion of privacy??? My husband used that one on me, too. You know what I came back at him with? HOW ABOUT MY MARRIAGE?? WASN'T THAT PRIVATE??? WHO SAID YOU COULD INVITE A 3RD PARTY ALONG???

Really, they’ve got NO GROUND to stand on with that one. Your cheating spouse has violated a very personal, very PRIVATE thing - your trust, love and relationship with each other. They did that. Not you. Now you (acting on that knot in your gut) finally got up some gumption and decided to VERIFY what you’ve suspected, only to find your suspicions confirmed. You discovered lies, you discovered deceptions, you discovered betrayal. I'm only going to say this once: WHO WRONGED WHO HERE???

Affairs aren't always about sex. They are about SECRECY. They're about HIDING things from your spouse. You wouldn't be invading their privacy if they had nothing to hide. Think about it! If your spouse had a stack of papers from work on the kitchen counter - boring stuff - and they found you looking through it, would they be mad? If they emailed their old next door neighbor to get her recipe for peach cobbler and you read the email - would they give a rat's behind that you did? Would they be screaming "Invasion of Privacy"? NOPE. They’re only wailing now because THERE WAS SOMETHING TO HIDE. And worse, YOU FOUND IT. Now they have to turn those tables around and make YOU the bad guy, otherwise, they’re gonna be in trouble. Even worse, they may have to face the fact that THEY ARE THE BAD GUY.

Don't accept any lame attempt to turn this around on you, don't accept anything less than total honesty and above all, don't tolerate any DISRESPECT for you. If they aren't remorseful and willing to take responsibility for the wrong they have done, KICK THEM TO THE CURB. PRONTO. You're only going to get what you insist on. Now is no time to make concessions or try to meet 'halfway'. There IS NO HALFWAY in your marriage or your life. Either they are 100% married to you, or they are NOT. And if they are, they need to ACT LIKE IT and stop playing games with you and with others.

3. You're Crazy! - Another deflection tactic. You must be insane to think all this. Oh, poor cheater, they have a 'crazy' spouse! This is just a way to turn it around from "I'm a skunk" to "You're nuts and poor me has to deal with it." First of all, NO spouse who truly cares for you and the state of their marriage would take an accusation of infidelity so lightly. Turn those tables around. What if your spouse were accusing you? Would you be in their face telling them that they're nuts? No, you'd be asking why they thought that - what you did to make them feel that way, reassuring them, giving them specific answers to clear up their doubts, lovingly and openly addressing their concerns - not throwing accusations and tap dancing around the questions.

4. I think YOU'RE having an affair! - You would think that an affair is the LAST thing a cheater would want to bring up as a topic of conversation, but many do, and usually before you get around to confronting them. Their reason is twofold. First, they can throw you off-balance, putting you in a position of defending your actions rather than attacking them. You'll probably react just like I detailed above - and you'll try that much harder to be a better spouse, a more loving, less judgemental spouse. You're more likely to let their lousy behavior slide because you're trying to 'make it up' to the cheater for their perceived hurt by you. They're counting on that. It gives them a little more leeway, and throws you right off the scent. Second, if you were to turn around and actually confess an affair, now or in the past (a longshot, but its worth a try to them), they're off the hook! How could you possibly point a finger at them in such a case! You don't know how many cheaters I've heard that say they wished their spouse was having an affair so they didn't have to feel so crappy about what they're doing. WELL THEY DESERVE TO FEEL CRAPPY. Let 'em WALLOW in it.

5. "Its not a big deal". - You usually only get this one when the cheater perceives that their 'sin' wasn't so bad. Maybe they never had sex at all, just an emotional relationship. Maybe it was a one-night stand. Neither of those factors negates the harm done to you, or the BETRAYAL you have experienced at their hands. If it was emotional only with no real 'sex' - it is JUST as much a betrayal. Only instead of sharing their body with another, they were sharing thoughts, intimacy, dreams, emotions, and time and energy that BELONG to you and YOUR marriage. And I assure you, it may not have become physical yet, but it was on the agenda eventually. If they had a one night stand for 'sexual release' only, does it only being once cancel out the fact that they were as physically intimate as you can get with someone other than YOU? And both types of cheaters LIED about it to keep it a secret. If what they were doing wasn't such a bad thing, why lie about it? They know what they did was wrong. Don't let them cop out on you with an excuse like this. A betrayal is a betrayal.

6. "I'm Relieved That You Found Out/Now I Can Stop Living With This Lie"
You know, they could have stopped 'living with this lie' long ago, or even better, never STARTED 'living with this lie' in the first place. Now you've been ripped to shreds, your life torn out from under you, and they're relieved. How nice.

7. "I Never Would Have Left You" or "I Never Would Have Slept With Her/Him"
Depending on how far the affair went - they'll be happy to tell you it would NEVER have gone any farther. Either they're shoveling more bullshit on the fire to try to put it out, or they're deluding themselves. My husband was definitely delusional. But he also told himself it would never get past flirting, and when it did he told himself it would never get past kissing, and when it did, he told himself it would never get to the point where they were meeting in a hotel room, etc. etc. etc. Just because you found it out doesn't mean it wouldn't have gone there, eventually - all it takes is time, opportunity and a desire to do so.

8. "I Think You Should Talk To Her/Him" or "She/He Wants To Talk To You"
The cheater utters this phrase, and you cannot help but wonder if they have somehow fallen and hit their head. What do you and this person have to say to each other that could be constructive in ANY way? NOTHING. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. That's what. If they are no longer a part of the cheater's life, then the two of you have nothing to say to one another and any contact is a definite step backward. If the cheater has decided to make her/him a permanent part of his life, that doesn't mean she/he has to be a part of yours. Don't give them any more energy or attention than you've already unwillingly given. Besides, what's in it for the Other Woman/Man to be honest with you? If the cheater has ended it with them, there are likely to be sour grapes there and you may end up getting quite an earful - maybe embellished a good deal - from them, full of details you wish you hadn't heard. If the two of them are on friendly terms, they may be evasive and sugar-coat things just to avoid angering the cheater. Either way, you'll have to digest it all and decide whether its truth or fiction or a mix of both. You've got enough stress. Don't go there. To quote one witty, intelligent Betrayed Spouse I know (thanks, Suzanne!): "Tell her you have no intention of holding a press conference with her concerning the state of your marriage."

9. "I Love You But I'm Not IN Love With You"
This phrase is SO overused, so trite, so hackneyed, quite frankly, I can't bear to deal with it. I'm going to turn this one over to the fabulous Jill, a former leader of an internet-based infidelity support group:
"I always said if I had a nickel for every time a betrayer said "I love you but I'm not in love with you" I'd be rich!!! It's a stupid line! Love is far more important and special than "in love" because that "in love" feeling is a fleeting feeling that comes and goes in the normal ups and downs of a relationship. In particular - it's there in the begining when things are exciting, fresh and new and the entire process is still a learning curve! But once you really settle in and the feelings take on a more important depth... the bond of TRUE meaningful love, friendship set in. That's what the history of your marriage/relationship is based on. It's the comfort zone with each other... it's all the memories rolled into one.. it's everything you've shared together over the years. life is full of ups and downs but it's that FOUNDATION OF LOVE that sees you through it all. So hearing that he/she loves you is a GOOD thing. The "in love" he/she feels for the Other Woman/Man is something that will fade as it always does BUT they have no "foundation" to build on! "

10. "I Never Loved You"
Once again, I'm turning this over to Jill:
"The "I never loved you" line is also classic. A poor excuse to validate what the betrayer is doing to you... and you have to stop and scratch your head wondering "what world were they living in" because you know darned well what your history is and that they DID, indeed, love you. They're just infatuated with the Other Woman/Man right now so this is all "Bull" that gets tossed out in the midst of discussion!"

11. "You Don't Make Me Happy"
Jill, you're on a roll. How about this one?
"Turning it around on you is also classic. As though you owe it to them to make them happy but they have no obligation to you or the marriage! Since when were you put on this earth to cater to them?? Marriage is supposed to be a mutual relationship based on love and respect. What was THEIR responsibility to you in this????"

Great job, Jill. Thanks!

Now lets move on to a few pointers before the big confrontation.