Rick Reynolds, LCSW
by Rick Reynolds, LCSW
Founder & President, Affair Recovery

Affair Partners: Eight Reasons Not to Confront Them

Last week, while I was at the credit Union, I was stopped by one of our mentors. I’m sure the tellers had their antenna tuned all the way up since we were discussing infidelity and ways to respond. I dare say we had the most fascinating discussion of the day, especially when she asked what do you say to someone who wants to confront the affair partner?

Normally, when someone comes in asking what I think about talking to the affair partner I tell them, “not much”. Rarely have I seen much benefit, and I’ve certainly witnessed a great deal of harm.

What’s the driving force when we feel a compulsion to speak to the other person (OP)? Typically it’s to feel better, to take away a bit of our pain. We think somehow that course of action provides more benefits than the alternative.

 

  1. To begin, 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 once they realize the pain they have caused. It is not uncommon for the affair partner to lie and manipulate the situation.
  2. 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. If you are married, then you’ve probably already experienced 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. At the same time if all your gaining is details about a specific event, your not gaining anything new. It’s difficult enough to process the information from the perspective of your mate, much less the information from the perspective of the affair partner too.
  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 and one thing is for certain, the answer does not lie in the affair partner. All too often I’ve worked with people who have talked with the affair partner and made the mistake of assuming their motives must have been the same as those of their mate, or they assume the affair partner somehow understands their mate’s motive. In reality, the affair partner has created an illusion of what your mate’s motives are. So please don’t think the causes and motives of the affair partner match those of your mate. That’s no more likely than the probabilities of your mate really understanding how their betrayal has impacted you.
  4. Vengeance doesn’t work: When you’re really hurting, it’s really tempting to think about making the other party experience the same pain that you’re going through. The only problem is this course of action lowers you to their level and 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 by acting as if you’ve been gotten. 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 you’re a real person and that their actions are destroying real lives. Personally, I don’t think you’re going to have any more luck getting them to understand than you’ve had at getting your mate to get it. 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 talking with them doesn’t 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 and 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?” “Why would my mate choose them over me?” I seriously doubt you’ll ever find the answer to those questions by contacting the other person. Motivations for affairs are complex, and meeting another person will normally not answer your question. In reality, it’s far more likely to confuse the issues. I found that people always affair down. They never have an affair with someone better than the person with whom they’re married. So I’d suggest not lowering yourself to their level by interacting with them. Have more respect for yourself.

 

After all is said and done, some of you will still feel an overwhelming need to confront the OP. For some it will 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, but I do suggest you try to get your mind off the OP and onto your recovery. The last thing you want to do is let another person have the power to control your peace of mind.

Sections: 

RL_Category: 

RL_Media Type: 

AA Codes: 

Add New Comment:

Comments

Confronting the AP

I did. Sorry that I did? 2 sides to that coin. In the end I'm glad I did, it ended up being by best "gift" of the whole situation. My husband never knew I did til I told him 22 years later. I told him when this happened I'd stay til the kids were grown. 22 years later they were all grown, I remembered what I promised, and it was on again after all that time. Post- whatever you call it? My counselor thought maybe. Anywho, I was so upset for him having to leave, military, instead of telling I loved him and was afraid of being apart so far and so long, I said go the hell ahead, find you someone that doesn't care if you come or go, and don't come back, it's OVER! Bam! I got what I asked for! Knew her 1-2 days, did the ! came home and TOLD ME! Left her pic and # in my car! Did he want me to know? Obviously! I called, heck I had the # readily accessible! I told her who I was and that we were still together, she said good, she was glad, told her I wasn't giving him up to no one, she said don't blame you he's a good guy, she told me, "I just fell for him in a special way!"  Wow! I stood there and took it! I never spoke irate or anything, it was one of the most docile conversations for that kind of situation. He never saw her again. I am still with him, we had another child after that.I just knew the part I played in it, that can't be denied. I did for 23 years. Now I am going thru what we should have then. He stayed with me because he was sorry and put up with me, kids, bankruptcy, etc., because he vowed to stay and make it up to me. She made me see what I could have lost. His reason, he figured it would make or break accusations and false lies I made on him. I love him dearly and just now am able to tell him that. She was just helping him with his "marraige problems"! I still have hell dealing with it, guilt, But I believe (after all these years) it is probably a bit more forgiveable situation. I asked him WHY (like I didn't know) and he replied, "I found myself alone with someone that was the nicest, kindest person I had seen in a long time, and said WHAT THE HELL! You were gone and I had no reason to say NO!"I will NEVER mistreat him again!

Reason Not to confront the other partner

I wholly agree with you on this issue, I wish someone had told me not to do it when I was betrayed because the other partner who was a married woman actually upped her game to my horror.  At one stage I almost divulged the knowledge of this affair to her husband who was oblivious to this whole thing, but the spirit of God urged me to let it go, otherwise I might have destroyed her already unstable shakey marriage.

So true!

I confronted my husbands girlfriend and it was a complete nightmare - pretty much everything that this newsletter said came true. She gave me WAY to much information into their affiar, which in turn is making my healing process a whole lot more difficult. She also lied about a lot of things and tried to manipulate me and my husband against each other. She had her own reasons for why he was with her and she very aggressively tried to convince the both of us that she was right. She tried to convince me that my husband never loved me in the first place, and she tried to convince him and he had hurt me too much to ever be able to rebuild our marriage. By letting her in and hearing what she had to say about the situation it has really made it hard. When he decided to cut ties with her and try to work things out with me, that made her furious and then she turned on me. She would send me old love letters that he had written her, told me what it was like to have sex with my husband in my bed, etc. 

My husband and I are in the process of rebuilding our marriage and we have talked about how and why this happened to us and we are determined to never let it happen again. To be honest, though, what she has told me about her relationship with him and how they were together has caused more pain than anything else. TOTALLY NOT WORTH IT!

October 23rd (when the final

October 23rd (when the final email conversation took place with my husbands ap) was one of the MOST difficult days of my life.  The pain seemed impossible to bear, but I am thankful to God for walking me through every second of it!  God knows IT HAD TO HAPPEN!  I feel a true sense of completion now.  Like it has ended.  Like I have won!  Like my husband stood up to defend my honor, becquse we did Iit together! I am vindicated!  We've turned a page.  We CAN FINALLY move forward!   I can honestly say now that i have forgiven my husband, and that feels so good.  I do understand what is being said here, because not all situations are going to turn out like mine did. Only God can make this work. For me, it has helped immensely. My challenge remains to never the lesson but to forget ALL the details.  It was true, I DID have to have them. So that now when I do think of one of the horrible details, all I feel is victory!!!

Glad in my case. But my

Glad in my case. But my husband is a small ex addict. He gloated how she was 5' 10" and a 7. I had pictures of a Victoria's Secret model. I finally realized he prob affaired down and went to see. She is not pretty, is trailer trash and coarse, shallow, not that intelligent and is about as feminine and soft as a big bruising roller derby chick. I got in my car laughing all the way home. I am so glad I met her. Ewww. Just ewww.

confronting affair partner

Sure wish I would have read this post before I decided to confront. The bottom line is that anyone who would knowingly sleep with a married man (or woman) especially when the wife is PREGNANT (as in my case) is a broken human being. Everything went down just like the post mentioned. She denied knowing he was ever married (lie) and blamed everything on him. Then she changed her tune and told me "he'd never been in love with me and was going to start a new life with her." Wow. Just Wow. This girl is delusional. Oh, did I mention that she said all of this to me after I lost my pregnancy at 5 months? First of all, even if he did say these things, (which he claims he didn't, but who knows the truth) how could you look your married lover's wife, one who just lost a much wanted pregnancy, straight in the eye and make these claims to her? Logically, I know she's crazy and was grasping at straws trying to "win." But today, one year later, her comments still haunt me, I won't lie. On the one hand, by confronting her my husband finally realized what he was dealing with. A lying, deceitful, manipulator. Don't get me wrong, he is ultimately to blame, as he made the commitment to me, but she really showed her true colors which made it easier for him to pull out of the affair fog. I wouldn't wish this misery on anyone. How do I get past my disdain for this other person? I'm hoping that time will heal.

What type of affair was it?

Our free Affair Analyzer provides you with insights about your unique situation and gives you a personalized plan of action.
Take the Affair Analyzer