The day when you discover something about your spouse that you would have prefered never to have known. It may be the incriminating Facebook chat, accidently left up, or the receipt that slipped out of a pocket, or the magazine hidden under the chair-cushion in the study, or the touch of lipstick on the shirt collar.
And your world crumbles.
What do you do?
- Confront immediately - this is often the first thought, but it rarely works well, because there's too much heat, too much emotion, and it sets our partner into a defensive position.
- Confront after some thought - this is better, as we can reflect on exactly what we want to say. On discovering emotional infidelity, we might transition from "You cheater!" to "You have disrespected me, you have disrespected our marriage, and you have disrespected yourself."
- Confront after some thought, with input from a counselor - even better, because a counselor can help us focus the meeting, and sharpen what we expect - because there is an expectation that we bring to the confrontation, even if it's only clearing our own emotions, knowing our spouse will never change.
- Do nothing - believe it or not, this is sometimes a viable option. If you can live with the transgression, at least in the short term, a period of 'not rocking the boat' can allow you to stay in the relationship while developing a stronger spiritual life. Infidelities - both emotional and physical - can end of their own accord, and sometimes accepting the disloyalty and then accepting the return, without comment, can be the least damaging course of action.
- Respond in kind, out of revenge - no, don't do this. You'll regret it.
The best answer, though, to preface any action, is - get counseling. Preferably for both of you, but definitely for yourself.
What would you add?
This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage. If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information.