Ruth Houston

Article Summary:

Five key things you SHOULDN'T do if your husband is cheating on you.

Dealing With Infidelity: What NOT to do

Most women react blindly when they first discover that out their husbands are having an affair and end up doing things they later regret. This article looks at 5 things you shouldn't do and examines the reasons why.

This may be the most important article you'll read about dealing with your husband's affair. There's plenty of information available on what to do if your husband is cheating. But very little has been written about the things you shouldn't do during those first few hours or days.

You've just discovered that your husband is cheating. You're not sure what to do. Before wrestling with that decision, let's focus first on what you shouldn't do. Most women react blindly when they find out their husbands are having an affair. They let fear, anger, hurt, or a desire for revenge compel them to do things they later regret; things which make it difficult or impossible to implement any worthwhile infidelity advice they may later receive.

This article will keep you from making a mistake that could sabotage the course of action you eventually decide to take. Regardless of whether you decide to leave your husband or stay with him and try to work things out, doing the wrong thing at the outset can make a bad situation worse. Let's look at 5 key things you SHOULDN'T do and examine the reasons why.

1. Don't put him out or leave him - yet.
Instead of your first move, putting your husband out or leaving him should be your last resort. You may eventually decide to do this, but for now, it's the worst thing you can do. Right now you need to keep a close eye on what's going on. It'll be easier to do that if the two of you are still living under the same roof. If you put him out or leave, you'll be hard-pressed to know what he's doing, short of hiring an investigator. As long as you're still together, you can keep your finger on the pulse of his affair and gather some much-needed facts. There's a lot you need to know about the situation before you can make an intelligent decision about what to do. Continue monitoring your husband's activities, attitude, the frequency of his contact with his lover and any other details concerning his affair. Write everything down in a journal for future use. Also bear in mind that as long as he's still there, you have a chance to work things out.

2. Don't tell the whole world about his infidelity.
It's natural to want to confide in somebody about your husband's affair, or rally friends and family to your side. But be very cautious about who you tell. The female friend you confide in could turn out to be the "other woman". Make sure you're confiding in someone you know you can trust. Confiding in a male friend about your husband's affair could complicate the situation. There are men out there who take advantage of women when they're in a vulnerable state. Telling your husband's friends or family may not produce the results you want. They might not take you seriously, or they may lie, make excuses for him, take his side, or warn him to cover his tracks. Confiding in your own family and friends can eventually come back to haunt you. Elephants aren't the only ones who never forget. Some people have a tendency to remember unpleasant events long after they've been resolved. If you and your husband decide to reconcile, they could make things difficult by harboring anger and hostility toward him for what he did to you. Or they may show resentment toward you for taking him back. Exercise caution in who you tell about your husband's affair.

3. Don't ignore his affair or pretend it's not happening.
Going into denial will only make matters worse. As traumatic as it is to find out that your husband has been cheating, you need to face the reality of the situation. Ignoring his infidelity gives him the go-ahead to continue his affair. Pretending it's not happening will make him think he's getting away with his cheating, or give him the impression that he has your silent approval. At some point you should inform your husband that you know about his affair and make it clear that you want it to stop. The sooner you confront him about his cheating, the better. The longer you wait to bring it up and express your disapproval, the more attached he will become to the other woman. And the harder it will be to get your marriage back on track. Remember too, that affairs thrive in secrecy. Sometimes, just telling your husband you know about it, will be enough to put a stop to his affair.

4. Don't confront him without the 3 P's: Proof, a Plan, and a Purpose.
Most experts agree that you should confront your husband about his cheating. But you need to have a plan. Choose the time and place carefully so you can discuss the affair at length without interruption. Do not ask your husband if he's cheating. Cheaters lie. Present the evidence you've gathered that proves he's having an affair - names, dates, places, times, absences, phone calls, physical evidence, etc. Then ask him some pointed questions about his affair: why he did it, how it started, how long it's been going on, how he feels about the other woman, what he intends to do now that you know. Listen carefully to his answers so you can accurately assess the situation. Then you'll be able to make a wise decision about what course of action to take. Do not confront your husband without proof of his infidelity. To do so will be a colossal waste of time. Unless you can prove he's been cheating, the information-gathering phase will never get off the ground. If you need proof, there's a way for you to get it without hiring a detective or buying software or surveillance equipment.

5. Don't waste your time and energy on the other woman.
One of the worst things you can do is become obsessed with the other woman. It's natural for you to be curious about her, but she's not worth your time and energy. Repeatedly questioning your husband about her, referring to her or dragging her name into the conversation puts the spotlight on her instead of on the real issues where it belongs. Don't obsess over the details of what happened between the two of them. Concentrate on working things out between the two of you. Do not humiliate or frustrate yourself by calling or confronting the other woman and demanding that she leave your husband alone. She's not obligated to take orders from you. Harassing her or threatening her will put you on the wrong side of the law. Name-calling, criticizing or belittling her will only make your husband come to her defense. You'll be driving them closer together instead of forcing them apart Forget about the other woman and focus your energy and efforts on getting your marriage back on track.

Will you end up sabotaging your marriage or saving it? The final outcome depends on the way you handle things when you first discover your husband's affair. In the initial stages, you may be unsure exactly what you're going to do. But at least you know what NOT to do. Whether you stay with your husband or leave him, avoiding these mistakes, leaves the way clear for whatever decision you eventually make.

Ruth Houston, author of Is He Cheating on You? - 829 Telltale Signs, is an infidelity expert and writer/columnist whose lifestyle and relationship articles have appeared in magazines for the past 20 years. Her book, Is He Cheating on You? is the result of 9 years of in-depth research on infidelity that grew out of Ruth's personal experience as an infidelity victim. She is the nation's leading expert on detecting the warning signs of infidelity without the use of private investigators or surveillance equipment. Ruth has been a frequent guest on Good Day New York, TalkAmerica and other TV and radio talk shows nationwide. She also does individual infidelity consultations by e-mail or by phone. To sign up for her free infidelity newsletter or to learn more about infidelity or cheating husbands, visit www.IsHeCheating OnYou.com.

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