Let us say that you are in a situation where you suspect that your wife or husband is cheating on you and you have put together a list of suspicious activities and in spite of some snooping around there is still no proof of anything that proves that your wife or husband is cheating on you. You technically have two options in front of you – either you call off the snooping and decide to live with the supposed cheating or you if you are a self-respecting individual you will dig deeper and find out the truth.
But digging deeper has it’s costs. Mainly there is the big moral dilemma – just how far can you spy on your wife, husband or fiancee. Would you like to hack into his / her email, Facebook and Whatsapp accounts? Would you go ahead and obtain phone call records of your spouse from a private detective? If so, you will have to ask yourself how you would feel after doing this. How would you feel if you found evidence of your husband or wife exchanging lewd messages or making plans with the new lover for a secret escapade! Will you be able to control your emotions then?
You know at some point you are going to have to talk to your spouse. You may have gathered all the information you can, gone through every possible reasoning or excuse, jotted down your feelings or insecurities and discussed the matter with someone near to you. You know that this issue can now no longer be kept hanging in the world of doubts and suspicions. It is time to confront him / her. But how do you do it?
It all depends on your personality. Some people are born to confront! For them confrontation is like breathing and they have no qualms about barging into a situation and explaining how they feel with great clarity. But for the rest, confrontation is difficult to even imagine let alone planning for it to happen. Do remember that whatever type of conversation that you are going to have with your spouse, it is going to be highly charged and emotional. Be very honest here: You are going to have a conversation that could be a turning point in your life and maybe not for the better!
Either of you or both of you will walk out of the conversation feeling raw and emotional and possibly heartbroken. You may have to suddenly deal with unsettling issues such as a place to stay or how to break this to your children if yo because this will allow them to go on with their double life. Other cheaters though are hoping that you will confront them because they themselves are too timid to come out in the open about their guilty behaviour. In either case, it is vital for you to deal with your fears and confront your spouse.
Confrontation Without Proof
How you approach this situation is dependent on the kind of proof that you already have with you. If you simply acting on suspicion but do not have any kind of proof with you to support your claims then your approach needs to be different. One thing that you must definitely avoid is walking into the confrontation with the question – “Are you cheating on me?” Chances are the reply to that question irrespective of whether your spouse is guilty or not is going to be “No! Of course not!”
If he / she is not cheating on you, then they will answer honestly and probably be hurt by the question. And if he / she is cheating on you then since lying has now become a habit, the answer will also be a lie. You will rarely get an honest confession at this stage.
At this point you must really think about your approach. Imagine for a moment that the tables have been turned and that your spouse is coming to you with this question. And consider that you are not cheating and have never ever imagined that you would cheat. And then your spouse unexpectedly hurls these accusations at you ans accusing you of the worst kind of betrayal. You would probably think that your spouse has gone crazy and you would also be hurt at the accusation. So before you start voicing your suspicions and start throwing accusations at your husband or wife at the risk of ruining a stable relationship, you need to assess the situation carefully. Accusing your spouse of cheating is not the same as accusing them of eating the last piece of Ferrero Rocher chocolate in the fridge! It should not be treated lightly.
Discuss Core Issues
If you do not have any proof except your gut instinct and the late nights at work then it should not be the kind of confrontation you see in soaps and movies! Instead it should be a conversation about your marriage and about how you want to make it work and discuss the things that are not working and can be improved upon. Because come to think about it whether your spouse is cheating or not, there must be things in your relationship that are not working and you are unhappy. In a true partnership you have to have these difficult conversations some times. It is not sexy or dramatic but this is how relationships – or at least the successful ones – work. Sometimes you have to sit down and muddle your way through the things that make you uncomfortable.
Has he had one too many late nights and he comes home when you have gone off to sleep with the result that you haven’t even seen him for a few days. Tell him that. Discuss the fact that you are highly concerned at the fact that he is never around and is disinterested in family time. Is she spending too much time at the gym and hanging around even after the gym with her gym trainer or yoga instructor on some pretext or the other? Ask her what was the big motivator and and tell her that you’d like to spend more time together, perhaps a walk at the beach in the mornings or taking up a new sport together.
Has she been super critical of you lately? Inform her about how it makes her feel degraded and humiliated. Do remember that when you step into these kind of conversations, you must not end up putting your partner on the defensive with your accusations. Be sure to use more of the word ‘I’ instead of ‘You’ whenever you are discussing your concerns. Do not enter these conversations with ‘you neglect me’ but rather, ‘I feel lonely and feel that we are growing apart because I never see you anymore!’ Avoid saying, “You treat me like trash” but rather, “I feel horrible when you talk to me like that”. Focus on what you feel rather than what they do so that they can see that you are feeling hurt and dejected.
Keeping a Relationship is Work
Keeping a relationship is work and if you are really committed to each other, both of you will ensure that you will do whatever it takes to make it work. There is definitely compromise involved here, but generally speaking when one partner sees that the other is hurting, then they will try to correct the situation. Remember that you are not avoiding the main issue here by concentrating on all these other aspects but actually you are taking time to discuss the core issues that are often at the heart of infidelity to begin with. I honestly hope that you are having this conversation before your partner actually strays away from you. Because this is actually the kind of conversations that married couples must have – it is part of the work that keeps a marriage going.
But if it is too late and your partner has already strayed away from you, this conversation could act as an eye-opener to your relationship and could be an indication of where your marriage will head towards the future – ‘happily ever after’ or ‘on the rocks’. Note the reactions of your partner when you discuss these issues. Is he zoning out and is least concerned about your feelings? Is he attentive and willing to take some steps to make things better? Because chances are that if he / she is being stubborn and churlish and if they hardly seem to be concerned about your distress this is a giant RED FLAG! Even if he / she is being faithful, your emotional well-being is not being taken into account as it must and that can only mean disaster for a relationship. I must however add that not every person is open and willing to discuss their feelings. Most Indian men including me fall into that category! I know I am horrible at it and though I am divorced now, whenever my ex-wife wanted to talk about some aspect of my relationship, it used to make me cranky! However if a person has legitimate concerns and has been hurt by something that the spouse has said or done, it is the job of the spouse to sit down and listen to it and work on a solution to make it better. That is what every man and woman signs up to do whenever they get married!
In the end, if you cannot move forward with your spouse in spite of repeated attempts on your behalf to make the marriage work and your spouse is showing a complete lack of caring and willingness to try to make the relationship better then you may want to reevaluate whether your marriage is really working and take stock of your marriage and your life because your marriage may have already ended and by prolonging it you would simply be beating a dead horse! Your spouse may or may not be cheating but an unwillingness on his / her part to work on the relationship is a sign that there is trouble and it is going to stay that way for long.
In my next article on infidelity, I will write about confrontation when you have definite proof. This is where infidelity investigators like us come into the picture and armed with damning evidence, you now have actual evidence that your spouse is cheating. It is definitely a more emotionally charged and difficult situation. I will talk about how to confront your partner with this proof in your hand.
Amit Sen is the founding partner of Alliance One – who are among the best infildety investigator in Mumbai specializing in providing thorough husband wife cheating investigations among other private and corporate investigation services. Amit is also a trained pilot and an aviator and likes to remain grounded on the days when he is not flying high!