Leaving an Affair Alone Doesn’t Work


The line of thinking goes something like this:

“If s/he’s having an affair, there’s nothing I can really do about it anyway,” and then — based on the individual — it veers into either:

a. “An affair isn’t a deal breaker for me anyway, I will forgive and we’ll try to move on,” or

b. “An affair IS a deal breaker for me (for some people, this breaks down into “an EA isn’t a deal breaker, but a PA is”), and the truth will eventually come out, so I can then just deal with it accordingly then.”

I believe this is a horrible way to approach the problem.

The conventional wisdom, which sounds good on first blush is “I cannot control what she does, so what good would knowing about it do? It would only make me nuts.”

To which I would reply:

You need to make the distinction between trying to control HER (or “him,” in the case of a cheating husband), and trying to protect YOURSELF (and your family), from the infidelity.”

So, what good would knowing about it do? You could then:

1. Protect yourself legally, getting an initial consultation from a good family law attorney to better understand your rights and vulnerabilities.

2. Protect yourself financially, fire-walling your joint finances so that family funds can’t be accessed to conduct the affair, and also make sure you don’t make any major purchases or incur major new joint debt during a time when your spouse is emotionally checked out of the marriage.

3. Protect yourself physically (medically), making sure you’re not engaging in unprotected sex with a spouse who is having a physical affair (most cheating couples do NOT use protection).

4. Have the reassurance of knowing the real reason behind your spouse’s suddenly crazy behavior, and make sure you DON’T start careening into making crazy adjustments to yourself that have nothing to do with it. Legitimate get-a-life (“GAL”) self-improvements that are good for you should, however, be undertaken.

5. Begin to prepare yourself emotionally for the hell that is a potential separation or divorce; one that includes the horrors of infidelity.

“Little Bo-Peep” isn’t a plan. Affairs are addictions, and as such they don’t just “go away” if left alone: they escalate.

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