If you are sure your husband is having an affair, your first reaction may be to react (with anger, tears, threats), instead of responding with reason. An affair is a crisis — time seems condensed, and we feel that we have to fix the situation...right now.
But before you react, you should do some homework. Try to find whatever you need to avoid acting impulsively and doing more harm (to the marriage, and to yourself) than good.
Before confronting your husband, consider such questions as…
What are the facts?
Never make an accusation of infidelity before you have proof. Intuition can be wrong. Just because you think he is cheating doesn’t mean he is. Don’t jump to conclusions until you’ve done your homework. Nothing is more damaging to a marriage than an unfounded accusation of infidelity. There are various signs that suggest he may be cheating. A few of them are listed below, but none of these is proof:
• There is a drastic change in his daily routine.
• Your spouse is suddenly working out and overly concerned about his appearance.
• He begins to dress differently, perhaps wearing clothes that are younger, or hipper.
• He is working more over-time or coming in from work later than usual.
• You see strange phone numbers on the phone bill.
• He is secretive about cell phone calls.
• He has withdrawn emotionally and sexually.
• He is spending a lot of time on the computer.
• You are sensing a lot of anger toward things that normally wouldn’t bother him.
Maybe he’s cheating, but maybe he decided he had to work harder and look sharper to keep his job. Proof, on the other hand, is proof: an indiscrete letter, the two of them spotted together, a clear lie about where he is and what he’s doing.
Do you really know how you’re going to react if he cheats?
If your husband really has cheated, you have to decide whether you want to save the marriage or end it. We all think, “If I ever catch him cheating, it’s over.” But when it’s real, and when you have reasons to keep the marriage together (financial, emotional, situational, physical), and you still love him, you may find yourself holding back on the nuclear option.
Infidelity does not have to be a deathblow to your marriage. It can survive, and even become stronger, if you can find it in yourself to forgive him, to let go of the past, rebuild trust, determine why it happened, and get into marriage therapy.
Getting your head and heart straight and aligned before confronting your husband can pay big dividends in the future.
How will you confront him?
Be calm, be reasonable, be rational. Bringing up the issue in an offensive manner (starting with a furious “How could you?” for instance), will only make him defensive. It may sound odd, but you want your spouse to feel he can trust you with information. In other words, he is more likely to tell you bad news if he knows you aren’t going to go crazy, or throw it back at him.
Make it a conversation, not an accusation. And stay calm, so you can use the information he’s giving you in a constructive way. This is especially important if you want to save the marriage, but it’s also important if you plan to divorce him.
Any information you obtain from him can be used in your own best interest. The more rational you are, the more information you are likely to receive. If your husband has cheated, information is key for you to heal, and useful if you end up in divorce court.
What if he’s lied to you?
Hire an expert! If you feel that your husband is not being truthful and he is behaving like someone who is having an affair, it is time to hire someone who is trained in getting evidence.
A licensed private investigator can provide you with details concerning your husband’s relationship with another woman: who she is, where they go, how long they spend there, how often they are together. A private eye will also provide documentation in the form of reports, receipts, videotape, photographs. If you want a conversation starter, just showing him a photograph, and then saying, “I’d like to hear what you’ve been feeling lately” will probably work pretty well.
If you decide to divorce, the information will also be important during divorce settlement negotiations.
Will you need a lawyer?
If you decide to divorce, most definitely yes. An attorney will give you advice regarding your legal options, your state’s divorce laws. Even if your state has no-fault divorce (most do), most judges still have great discretion in divorce cases. Infidelity can play a role in what kind of divorce settlement you will get.
Who is responsible for his infidelity?
It isn’t you. Be careful not to shoulder the responsibility. Men have an uncanny ability to point a finger and blame the wife. The sad thing is that some wives buy into it.
It is normal to question your role in the relationship. You may find yourself questioning your own behavior — were you attentive enough, were you sexy enough — but you are not to blame. Infidelity is often a form of domestic abuse, destroying a wife’s self-esteem and leaving her feeling battered.People grow and mature by taking responsibility for their behavior. Help him grow: put the responsibility firmly in his lap. If you get lucky he will become a better husband, and you will have learned how to communicate even better than before.
If not, maybe your ex will at least be civil to you.
How To Catch a Cheating Husband, 15 Signs to look for if you suspect your mate is cheating
7 Signs Your Husband is Cheating, by author, Christina Rowe (author of Seven Secrets to a Successful Divorce — What Every Woman Needs to Know)
3 Financial Clues That He's Looking for a Divorce — a video interview with Financial Expert, Lili Vasileff