I work all the time with couples that have been rocked by the affects of cheating being discovered. Some times partners ask me about confronting the other woman beforehand, but a lot of times I hear about it only after they've already done it.
Most women whose spouse has cheated want to confront the other woman. It some ways it's a natural, self-protective response. While their reasons can vary, the desire to protect their relationship is a very strong and primary motivator. Unfortunately, many don't think enough about whether or not it's a good idea. Since it feels like the right thing to do, they allow their emotions to determine their actions instead.
Why Women Confront the Other Woman
Here are a few partners' stories about what led them to confronting the other woman:
Two years ago, my husband announced (at my asking what was going on with him) that he didn't think he was in love with me anymore, and that he didn't think he wanted to be married anymore. I soon discovered some emails between him and his Admin Assistant (newly separated herself) that were not conclusive, but were at least inappropriate and suggestive that there was something more than their just talking about their respective marital issues, as he claimed. Needless to say, I was devastated. I couldn't understand it - we had a beautiful marriage - not always perfect - but we had built a beautiful life together. I loved him, I wanted our marriage - but I was holding a lot of resentment and anger regarding this other woman and I wanted answers. Every time I went there, he continued to deny that anything had happened and didn't feel that he had done anything wrong and the discussion would end with his wanting to leave and his wanting a divorce etc. I began to shut down in terms of talking about my feelings etc. so I found her number and called her..." -Ashley
My husband left me and my 2 kids six months ago. He says he isn't happy and that he wants a divorce. He refuses to go to counselling because he doesn't want to fix our relationship. One night I decided to go for a drive and found his car was not parked on his street. I went to the other woman house and found his car parked around the corner. I know that you don't visit a friend at 10:15pm at night. All night I couldn't stop thinking about her, so I decided to confront her and went back the next day and knocked on her door..." -Marisa
We've had a rocky relationship, but it's not all been bad, three years ago we had our daughter, since then I haven't had a lot of time for him, to cut a long story short...I find out he had been sleeping with another woman, I confronted them, acted needy, pleading etc which was crazy now I think of it. I love this man but I'm no doormat......I do love him dearly & want to be with him only to have him tell me WE WILL NEVER BE A COUPLE, he thinks he's in love with this woman but I sense it's just a desire. He doesn't see he's done anything wrong & seems to want to punish us for things that aren't our doing, he's the one that's wronged us. This other woman doesn't have any young children or stress's like I have with a three year old. I want to confront her and tell her she's destroying our life..." -Lana
Understandably, anyone whose partner has cheated on them is going to be very angry and hurt. These feelings need an outlet, and often the easiest, safest one is by confronting the other woman. Another reason partner's end up venting at the other woman is because, like Ashley above, their partners won't be honest and take any responsibility for their actions, so they turn to the next target. "Every time I went there, he continued to deny that anything had happened and didn't feel that he had done anything wrong."
What Happens After Confronting the Other Woman
So what comes after a partner confronts the other woman? There are several likely outcomes that I've seen with the couples I've counseled after an affair:
- Makes Things Worse. It's not uncommon for the other woman to get angry right back at you. If your partner's still communicating with her they can end up conspiring together against you. As unbelievable as that may sound, I've seen it happen many times.
- Inflames Things Between You and Your Partner. He gets really angry with you for reaching out to her. As a result, your already broken communication just gets more limited.
- Get Ignored. Often the other woman will have nothing to do with you, and so you just end up wasting your time and energy chasing someone who just avoids you (and any accountability).
- Led On by Her. She lies to you by saying she didn't know he was married and telling other untruths. While what she says could be true, you can't trust her -- so putting any value in what she tells you is a mistake.
The bottom line about confronting the other woman is that it will get you nowhere closer to fixing your problem. Need more reasons?
- Your issue isn't with her, it's with your partner.
- You need to vent your feelings at your partner, not her. He's the one you have a relationship and commitment with, not her. And he's the one who broke it, not her.
- You're doing for your partner what they need to do -- end it. He needs to tell her it's over, not you. If he isn't the one who does it, it probably won't be over either.
Think long and hard before confronting the other woman. I've never seen it fix anything. If you're still thinking that maybe it could, then re-read the 3 points above.
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- Why Cheating Spouse's Are Difficult To Deal With
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