Unveiling Infidelity: Who to Tell?

Hello, Kristin S. here. If you're watching this video, it means that you've experienced infidelity in some way in your life. You've either discovered that your partner has cheated on you, or maybe you have been unfaithful to your partner.

No matter which side of this equation that you're on, it's likely that you can appreciate how entirely lonely this time in your life is. You're caught in quite the pickle. Talking about the affair to other people potentially leaves you open for misunderstanding, judgment, criticism, unwanted opinions, and gossip. Keeping the affair to yourself represents its own challenge, leaving you in the horrendous cycle of ruminating thoughts.

Let me tell you how I handled this challenging time in my life. I was the wayward partner. I told everyone, like everyone. We had a tight-knit circle of friends, and my AP and his spouse were part of it. When D-Day happened, my inclination was literally to just tell everybody. I told our circle of friends, my parents, our gym friends, and my work friends.

Reflecting now, I can see that this was a defense mechanism. Plagued with guilt for what I had done, I chose to write the narrative. I’d rather they hear it from me than through whispered rumors. I could also weave the story that best suited me through this approach.

I mean, sure, I cheated, but look, I was telling everybody about it now. And gosh, that was just a rough time in my life, right? I was desperately seeking external validation that I wasn't a horrible person. Here's the thing. How you decide to handle who you tell and don't tell is up to you and your spouse.

However, I'd like to offer some advice on how to navigate this time in your life. My first advice is that however you decide to proceed, ensure your spouse is aware of your choice. You are only 50% of the affair, regardless of which side you're on. If you're the unfaithful, you've already damaged trust. You need to be upfront if you decide to communicate with anybody about the affair. If you're the hurt spouse, try, and I know this is asking a lot, to put aside your anger and decide on who you plan to tell. I know that you may not be sure if you plan to stay together in this marriage right now, but if you do decide to work through the affair, you'll be thankful on the other side that you respected each other's opinions.

The second piece of advice is be mindful of who you decide to trust with the sensitive information.

Again, I chose to tell everybody, and the problem was that not everybody had the right to hear my story. This is an incredibly difficult time in your life, and you need to feel confident that whomever you share it with will respond with compassion and understanding. You need to choose people who will hold space for you, let you empty your cup, and then reinforce to you that you are still loved and worthy. It's unlikely that there are many people in your life who truly fit this bill, so I would suggest being selective. My third piece of advice is that when you are ready, you absolutely should talk to somebody about what's going on, with alignment from your spouse.

I don't care if this is a therapist or that trusted confidant we talked about in that piece of advice earlier. But we're social creatures and we crave connection and belonging. Staying hunkered down alone with our thoughts is a really toxic place to be. We need to release the energy. If you're choosing the right people to trust, talking about the affair out loud will assist you in moving through the healing process.

You're not an island. This is a massive shift in your life, and you will need support to work through it. I challenge you to take some time to truly reflect on this aspect of your affair and how you will proceed from here. I wish I could go back in time and handle this component differently. I shared with many people who had not earned the right to hear my story.

I faced a great deal of judgment from many of them, and I felt worse about myself as a result. It certainly wasn't helpful to my healing or repairing my relationship with my spouse. I hope you can take this advice and make decisions that support a positive way forward. I will see you next time.

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I would highly recommend giving this a try.
-D, Texas