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Handling the unfaithful spouse

Infidelity has blown up more marriages than probably any other cause. Most people who catch their partner in the act find a divorce attorney before the "I can explain" makes it out of the cheater's mouth. But it's what the aggrieved partner does next that will make all the difference when the divorce process begins. The temptation is to go ballistic. Those who handle these kinds of cases counsel calm.

If there is evidence that a partner may be catting around, it's best not to confront him or her on the spot. Columnist Tracy Schorn says lay low and continue to collect evidence. Confronting a cheater without any proof will probably do nothing more than cause a change in tactics to better hide the affair. Next, place the blame where it belongs; on the unfaithful partner. Schorn says people cheat because they feel entitled to it, and not because their partner is in some way inadequate. "People cheat because they're selfish escapists," she says.

Once properly caught, Schorn says the cheater should be told to decide, on the spot, whether he will stay with the marriage and dump the girlfriend, or dump the marriage and stay with the girlfriend. Trying to "win back" an unfaithful partner is probably a waste of time and, quite frankly, undignified. Schorn recommends detachment; refuse to beg for the marriage and let "righteous anger" drive a methodical plan for divorce.

Finally, don't autopsy the affair, trying to figure out exactly what the attraction was between the cheaters or what might have been done differently in the marriage. Schorn says it's a waste of time and energy that will resolve nothing. She says, "It doesn't matter why they are how they are. You can't fix it. You just get to fix you."

Source: The Huffington Post, "What not to do if you've been cheated on," Tracy Schorn, Oct. 23, 2012

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