Stop Trashing the Affair Partner It’s very common. As a betrayed spouse learns of whom the affair partner was, the lights start to come on a bit. If the affair partner was a good friend or best friend of the betrayed spouse, the whole situation becomes a ‘double betrayal’ for the hurt spouse. They’ve now been betrayed by both their spouse and their friend. It really is one of the toughest situations to face within the world of infidelity. Eventually, the betrayed is faced with raging emotions and a sense of violation. Often times the affair partner will not quit or go away quietly either. It’s at this point that the betrayed many times will start to tear down and trash the affair partner. Don’t get me wrong, they may deserve it, but it’s a no win situation. In what seems like a knee jerk reaction, the unfaithful spouse will start to defend their affair partner. Even if that affair partner is acting or has acted unreasonably, even hateful, the unfaithful starts to feel as though they almost have to defend their affair partner. They, the unfaithful, resort to this behavior for a few reasons: Most times, they feel like they loved or love their affair partner. There is an instinctual defense mechanism that kicks in and they start to defend the affair partner. Usually this happens early on in recovery as the unfaithful is usually still clouded in their feelings, emotions and understanding of the entire situation. Since they have feelings for their affair partner it’s their instinct to defend them out of perceived genuine love or care. If you’re attacking the affair partner, you’re also attacking the unfaithful spouse. Remember, the unfaithful chose the affair partner. The unfaithful feels as though you are attacking them as you’re tearing apart their ‘choosing behavior or preferences’ if you will. While you may rail and attack the affair partner, the unfaithful begins to take on a personalization of your attack. They feel as though you’re attacking their preferences and discretion and if they do not at least fight back initially, they probably are internally. You, the betrayed, may feel this is ridiculous, but the fact is, they allowed the affair partner into their lives and while you may feel somewhat cathartic by destroying the affair partner's image, it will usually backfire. We also call this shaming the unfaithful, yet shaming them for the choices they have made. Again, they are personalizing your attacks and it only pushes them farther and farther away. Frequently, the affair partner had 20% of what the marriage may not have had. You, the betrayed spouse, probably have about 80% of what the unfaithful wanted, needed and desperately desires. So yes, as you have probably correctly assumed, we the unfaithful will trade the much needed 80% for the sought after 20%. That 20% is shiny, attention getting and seems like greener grass. You, the betrayed may have taken care of the kids with incredible skill and prowess. You may be able to pay the bills and manage the check book to the cent. You might be able to whip up a meal that’s incredibly healthy and meets all the necessary criteria. The affair partner may be able to do none of this, yet she can bat her eyes, or share a few words of praise and it lights up the unfaithful spouse. He/she/we are exchanging the 80% for the 20% and we all know 20% can only last so long. Yet, here’s the rub: you may be attacking the mere 20% in another person which can possibly be a blind spot in your own life. The unfaithful will perceive you as weak in many cases or self-righteous and again, it sets you and the healing process back considerably. While you may have every right to attack the affair partner, it’s not about rights at this point. It’s about what works and what doesn’t work. It’s about finding a strategy to give you both the best possible chance at healing and I’m sorry, attacking or trashing the affair partner will just not bring healing or closure.