Posted: May 5, 2021
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Who do you talk to and when after discovering an affair? You can’t do it alone. If you are going to make it through in a healthy way, you are going to need safe people “in the circle ” with you. But how do you know who to talk to and when?
It is helpful to have people in your circle who have a good relationship with their own spouse and can care about both you and your spouse. This may or may not be someone who is a regular/active part of your life. It may be a co-worker, pastor, neighbor, family member who you have not been open with previously but who fits this criteria. It is important to bring this person into your circle.
You have identified two or three people as candidates to be in the circle with you. Now what?
Invite them . . .
Tell them what you need
Many people are eager to help someone in need but often times don’t know how to be of help. Make expectations clear by telling them what you need and don’t need.
Not everybody needs to know your business, but if you are going to make it through this healthy, some people do. You are going to need a counselor who knows how to help people through affair recovery. You are also going to need support people in your life with whom you can safely process all the thoughts, emotions, and questions that arise as part of this process. You need to connect with support people whether your spouse is comfortable with that or not. It is unfair for the betraying spouse to try to control who you get support from.
When facing affair situations, there are often times children involved. This can complicate the situation ten-fold. As parents we do our best to protect them and shield them from any harm that may come their way and we definitely do our best not to be the ones harming them. Disclosing the affair situation to your kiddos is important, as difficult as it may be. Just as you have decided not to make any rash or quick decisions about staying together or leaving, it is vitally important that we use the same care with our kids. Be careful not to present your kids with absolutes.
For example, saying”Mom or Dad are not going anywhere” and three months down the road a spouse continues to participate in sexual behaviors outside of the bounds of marriage with no intent of reconciling and separation happens, kiddo will be angry and confused as to what is going on. By not giving kids premature promises you avoid the “but you said…” hurt from kiddo.
So what do you tell your kids? Kids are smart. You cannot just pretend like everything is fine. They will know you are not telling the truth and will fear the worst. It is best to be honest with them at a level of detail that is appropriate for their age.
It is normal to feel like confronting the affair partner. You might not want to also. It is hard to know which will be helpful. Let us encourage you to resist the sense of urgency to make a decision. Instead, you should process the reasons as to why or why not before you make a decision about this with your counselor. This is also true in regards to contacting an affair partner’s spouse.Back to top