10 Clarifying Questions To Ask Your Unfaithful Spouse
You feel like your world is crumbling down when you uncover the truth about an unfaithful spouse.
And you have a million questions running through your head with each potential answer more painful than the last.
It's important to have a planned approach for what to say to your cheating husband or wife to get the clarifying answers you need.
Confrontation will be painful as you hear some candid revelations, so to make the conversation proceed as smoothly as possible, think about the following:
- Try your best to maintain your composure to ensure a constructive discussion.
- Set aside a time to talk in a safe place with no distractions (especially from children).
- Because you won't come to a resolution in a single conversation, limit your discussion to two hours to avoid getting exhausted or letting things escalate out of control.
- Prepare yourself before the conversation with questions you want to ask your spouse.
Let's examine some of these questions you'll want to ask a cheating spouse to prepare for a more productive conversation.
- 10 Questions To Ask Your Unfaithful Spouse
- 1. Why did you stray?
- 2. How did you justify your behavior?
- 3. Do you still have feelings for this person?
- 4. Will you still have contact with this person?
- 5. How did you feel differently with this person?
- 6. Were you planning a future together?
- 7. What did you reveal about our marriage?
- 8. When did the affair start?
- 9. Did you have unprotected sex?
- 10. What can we do now to protect of our relationship?
10 Questions To Ask Your Unfaithful Spouse
1. Why did you stray?
When considering what to say to your cheating husband or wife, the main thing you want to know is why the affair happened. What was the root cause and where did your marriage go wrong?
There must be a reason your spouse calculated that cheating was worth the risk. The truth is, there may be several factors behind the circumstances.
It's possible that neither of you even noticed a distance forming in your marriage prior to the affair.
When one partner feels distant from the other, he or she begins to believe the other person doesn't care anymore and acts in response to that belief.
Your spouse may cite long work hours or children as the cause of the distance between you. Caring for an aging or ill parent can also make one partner feel like the other isn't around.
Other reasons for cheating include:
- Falling out of love
- A dissatisfying sex life
- Feeling neglected or unappreciated
- The urge for exploration or variety
- Anger or revenge
- Wanting to improve self-esteem
Understanding the “why” of infidelity can help you determine what your next steps will be and whether or not you want to try to save the marriage.
2. How did you justify your behavior?
Asking this question helps uncover your spouse's vulnerabilities and values.
- Did he believe nothing bad would result from his actions?
- Did she have a genuinely weak moment?
- Or was there a strong attraction to the idea of having a relationship with this other person?
One of the most critical factors is whether your partner considered any potential consequences of becoming involved or only of getting exposed.
When a married person becomes involved with someone else, they're often willing to take risks without considering the damage they could do to their marriage.
The newness and excitement of the secrecy and the chase overpower their ability to anticipate the devastation that is to come. This means their justification may have been to fill a void that they didn't even realized existed.
It’s important to realize how a platonic relationship can turn into an affair as you're listening to your spouse's answer to this question.
When people confide in opposite-sex friends about marital problems, they're uncovering a weak spot and subtly signaling their availability, whether they're doing that on purpose or not.
While it's not uncommon for women to express their feelings to various people, men typically only share their feelings with an intimate partner.
Because of this, when a relationship turns emotionally intimate, men often sexualize it.
3. Do you still have feelings for this person?
When it comes to questions to ask a cheating spouse, this is critical one.
If your partner still has feelings for the person with whom they cheated, it's probably time to call it quits. It will be hard to overcome infidelity for both of you if there are still feelings involved.
If your spouse reports not have feelings anymore, it is up to you to decide whether or not you'll accept that answer at face value. But if you've agreed to talk about the relationship, it's important to do your part in accepting your spouse's word.
4. Will you still have contact with this person?
Asking this question allows you to see if your spouse will forego any form of contact with this person moving forward.
If the person is a co-worker or someone who is otherwise difficult to avoid, it may be impossible to overcome the betrayal without your spouse changing jobs or both of you moving.
Look for as much closure as is possible in your spouse's answer.
- Will he or she have little chance of running into this person in the future?
- Has your spouse agreed to block the lover from all forms of communication?
- Is your spouse willing to let you monitor his or her phone, email, and social media?
If so, it will be easier to focus solely on yourself and your spouse while you heal.
If the other person is unavoidable, listen for a concrete plan from your spouse to limiting contact and being completely open with you about any contact they must have.
5. How did you feel differently with this person?
It will be painful knowing details of infidelity and knowing your spouse wasn't getting something from this other person that he or she wasn't getting from you.
However, it's important to ask the question so you can know the possible void that was being filled.
If your spouse says he was able to feel more relaxed around the other person, you'll want to explore the causes of any tension in your household or outside stressors that have been impacting your marriage.
If she tells you she was able to feel a new sense of confidence with this person, consider possible reasons why she lost confidence in your marriage.
6. Were you planning a future together?
Just how deep did the emotions run in this relationship?
Did your spouse fantasize with this other person about leaving life behind and running away together? Did they have plans for what they would do once they were “finally” together?
Knowing the depths of the affair may help you figure out if you can move forward or not.
Hopefully, if your spouse admits to talking about a future with the other person, it was simply fantasy and not a concrete plan.
Make the effort to listen to the story without filling in blanks with your own assumptions.
Infidelity can happen without anyone falling in love. You have to be willing to listen to your partner's truth rather than blindly maintaining a belief that he fell in love with the other person the same way he or she fell in love with you.
7. What did you reveal about our marriage?
Out of all of the questions to ask your spouse after infidelity, the answer to this one may be the most telling.
You probably want to know how your marriage was depicted when you weren't around to give your side of the story or defend yourself.
Knowing what was revealed to the other person will give you a deeper understanding of the loyalty your spouse had (and has) to your marriage and how emotionally intimate he or she was with the other person.
You may assume that your cheating spouse spoke negatively of your relationship. But some unfaithful partners actually offer positive portrayals of their marriage while others don't talk about their marriage at all.
In any case, it’s critical to open up about this to start rebuilding the bond with your spouse and eliminating any secrets that may be left between the two of you.
8. When did the affair start?
Knowing the duration of the affair will reveal if your spouse felt guilty and how they responded to those feelings.
Guilt is not a feeling that people can comfortably live with on an everyday basis.
So if these feelings were unbearable enough for the affair to end, it can help assure you that another affair won't happen in the future.
But if an initial sense of guilt receded, allowing the affair to continue, there is much more reason for concern.
9. Did you have unprotected sex?
If you've been in a relationship for a long time, you may not consider the fact that your spouse's lover could be a source of an STD.
If you both have gone years without having safe sex precautions on your minds, it might not be something your cheating partner considered in the heat of the moment.
Hearing that your spouse had unprotected sex is a hurtful reminder of his recklessness during the affair. But even if your spouse denies having unprotected sex, you should both be tested for STDs.
Showing a willingness to get tested demonstrates a sense of personal responsibility and consideration by the cheating partner that will remove a barrier to resuming your sexual relationship.
10. What can we do now to protect of our relationship?
If you and your spouse want to continue with the relationship, you have to develop a new sense of security in it.
Hopefully, both of you can find a way to revive the relationship you had before the affair started by drawing on the love that first brought you together.
Think about activities you loved doing together when you first started dating and were having spontaneous fun. Talk about the reasons you got married in the first place.
Both of you should regularly express gratitude for anything that is working well in your relationship.
This small effort will help you focus on the strengths of your marriage so you can start building upon them again.
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How These Questions Can Help You
Knowing the questions to ask your spouse after infidelity can help you start the healing process in a healthy way — whether you heal alone after separation or divorce or you decide to fight for your marriage.
It's a good idea for both you and your spouse to seek counseling to guide you through your journey of grief and acceptance, even if you decide not to work on rebuilding trust in your relationship.
Having a professional perspective can help squash harmful assumptions and encourage clear communication with each other.
When you're facing infidelity, remember that just because your spouse is honest in their disclosure of details and events, you don't have to accept their reasons or justifications.
You must decide for yourself whether or not you can get over the betrayal and move forward with your spouse or if you need to end the marriage.
Hopefully, your spouse's answers to these questions can help you make this difficult decision.