Reprinted article by Katie Lersch (http://surviving-the-affair.com/ )
By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from panicked people who are being threatened by the person with whom they are cheating. Often, they are dragging their feet toward taking the affair to the next level. So their cheating partner begins to apply some pressure by threatening to tell their spouse about the infidelity. And that is usually the time when the idea of their spouse actually finding out about the affair becomes real. So they need to formulate a plan of how to best handle this.
I heard from a husband who said: “I have been having an affair with a coworker for about three months. This woman wants to real relationship with me beyond the affair. I have never told her that I was going to leave my wife for her, but apparently this is what she is hoping for. Last week, she started making comments like ‘when we are finally together, we can do these things.’ I finally told her that I wasn’t sure about what was going to happen with my marriage, especially since I have children. And this made her very upset. For the past couple of days, she has told me that she is going to call my wife and tell her everything because I am only playing games with both women. Now, I have no idea what to do. This woman knows my wife from company parties. I don’t want to promise this woman a long term relationship when I still am not sure. But I most certainly do not want for her to tell my wife. What can do?” I will tell you my take on this below.
I do not have the perspective of the cheating spouse because in my own situation, I was the faithful spouse. But I can tell you that hearing this from the person who is cheating with your spouse would be a very painful experience. I hear from a lot of folks on my blog who have gone through this and the vast majority would have wanted to find out about the affair another way besides being confronted by the other person. It’s my opinion and belief that it is to your benefit to be the one to tell your spouse. And, if you have any interest in potentially saving your marriage, your spouse may appreciate that you at least had the integrity to come forward with the truth.
This Should Be A Very Clear Sign To End The Affair: I’m sure that it’s pretty obvious that I am of the opinion that having an affair is wrong. However, having an affair with someone who is so manipulative that they would make these type of threats should be a red flag to you that you should end the relationship at once. I know that some people tell me that they are tempted to keep the relationship going in order to gain the other person’s silence.
But honestly, this is a form of blackmail. And it will keep right on going the next time the two of you disagree or you do something that the other person doesn’t like. Look at it this way. If you agree to take the relationship to the next level just to gain this person’s silence, your spouse is going to eventually find out anyway. And it is better for all involved if the truth comes from you.
Honor The Responsibility That You Have To Your Spouse: Even if you aren’t sure about what you want to happen to your marriage, it’s my opinion that you have a responsibility to protect your spouse from this situation by taking the other’s person’s threats and leverage away. If your spouse must hear this, then they deserve to hear it from you. It is going to hard enough to process this information, but imagine having to process it when it is delivered by someone other than your spouse.
Frankly, this man’s wife had done nothing wrong. She didn’t deserve having a stranger confront her about an affair that she didn’t know anything about. So to address the concern posed, this is only my opinion but I believe that you should end the relationship so that the other person no longer has any ground to stand upon. If you think that this person actually will approach your spouse, then it is up to you to do whatever is necessary to protect your spouse from the same. And sometimes, that means telling the truth. Once this happens, you can hopefully begin to pick up the pieces. But you can’t do that while you are still carrying on the affair.
Unfortunately, I caught my husband having an affair before he told me for himself. It would have been a better situation if he had. It truly hindered our recovery that I had to find out in the way that I did. And I would have respected him a lot more if he had told me himself. But the worst case scenario would have been being confronted by the other woman. I hope that you will shield your spouse from that experience. If it helps, you can read about our recovery process on my blog http://surviving-the-affair.com
This spoke to me in a very direct way, because I was also under a lot of pressure from my ex-OW to leave my wife, and she made various, indirect threats and clearly it was her that sent an anonymous email to my wife (and friends, and some family) announcing the affair. She thought, I think, that this would be the “push” I needed to leave my wife.
It backfired. It was a horrible, dishonest and manipulative thing to do. The pressure from her alone should have been enough of a red flag for me to get out of the affair. I didn’t have the courage.
And I agree – If you really think the other person will tell your spouse, it’s better that it comes from you. It’s difficult. It takes courage. But honestly it’s the right thing to do. no, I didn’t follow my own advice. Looking back, however, I should have.