(An Excerpt from When You’re the One Who Cheats by Dr. Tammy Nelson)
The following is an exercise to help you prepare to disclose an affair to your spouse. When revealing infidelity to your partner, it is important to handle the conversation with compassion. What you are about to tell them will undoubtedly be hurtful. You will need to show empathy and kindness when you tell your spouse about your affair.
Think about the following five things before you begin.
One. This conversation is purely to disclose your affair. This isn’t the time to tell your spouse how you feel about your marriage. Do not do any finger-pointing. Don’t turn the conversation around to focus on them.
Two. Your spouse is not you. This affair means something different to them than it does to you. Allow them to express themselves. Don’t disagree with how they feel.
Three. Keep the conversation focused on the basic information about the affair. You don’t have to tell specific details about when, where, how many times, or even with whom you had the affair. Those details may come, in time, but for now, keep to the basics.
Four. After your disclosure, remind your spouse that this is not the end of the conversation. Tell them you want to keep talking, and you are open to more discussion.
Five. Honor the “why” questions your spouse will have. Let them know that you are willing to have a deeper conversation, and even to go to therapy to explore the problems in your marriage.
If your spouse is willing, find a couples’ therapist who specializes in treating infidelity to work with the two of you to move you into a new and more sustainable monogamy that works for both of you.
Tammy Nelson, PhD is the author of the new book “When You’re the One Who Cheats; Ten Things You Need to Know” – she can be found at www.drtammynelson.com