Advice on confronting a cheating spouse

January 25th, 2010 → 10:30 am @ // 35 Comments

As a Cincinnati private investigator, it’s frustrating when clients call back after getting our report and say their cheating spouse said the evidence we provided doesn’t prove anything.  Clients should never reveal photos and video evidence to their spouse or partner.  Doing so only reveals to them the limits of what you know, and allows them to craft a story around the photos.

The most common excuse I hear from a cheating husband is that he was holding his co-worker’s hand/ hugging her / kissing her / because she was going through a terrible time with her family and was having an emotional breakdown.

More often than not, the husband tells his wife it was a “one-time thing,” and he probably shouldn’t have been that close to her but it won’t happen again.

But take the exact same evidence, and confront the exact same husband a little differently, and the results will be far different.

In the example below, the husband plays dumb and tries to draw information out of his wife before admitting guilt.  But the wife wisely avoids giving away any specifics while confidently asserting that she knows a lot of details.  She makes it very clear that it’s up to him to reveal details, not her:

  • Her: I know you’re cheating on me.
  • Him: What? <–(stalling question)  Ha ha…I get it, you’re kidding, right?
  • Her: Let’s stop the games.  Come clean right now.  I need to know I’m dealing with someone who can be honest.
  • Him: What are you talking about?
  • Her: I’m going to give you one chance, and one chance only, to do the right thing and tell me the whole truth.  But be warned, I know a lot of the answers to the questions I’m about to ask you.
  • Him: Okay, fire away.
  • Her: When is the first time you cheated on me?
  • Him: What is this about?  <– (this is an attempt to avoid the question)
  • Her: One chance.  Answer the question.
  • Him: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
  • Her: You’ve made your choice, then.  At least do the decent thing and tell me her name (chances are you already know this).
  • Him: Who?
  • Her: The woman who you’re spending time with when you’re away from me.  <–(good and vague, but still very pointed).
  • Him: Are you referring to the night I was working late with Sue from work? <–(beginning to draw information out).
  • Her: You know exactly what I’m referring to.  Please just be honest with me.

In the example above the only detail revealed by the wife is that she knows her husband is having an affair with a woman, and cracks are beginning to form in the husband’s defenses as he slowly realizes he is at an informational disadvantage.

Remember, you would not be confronting your spouse without rock-solid proof.  You aren’t trying to find out if your partner has a good excuse for holding hands with another person as they entered a hotel room together.  There is no excuse for such behavior.  And your partner will know exactly what you’re asking about.

The absolute worst thing you can do when you confront your cheating spouse or partner is to lay all your cards on the table.

Let me repeat myself: the absolute worst move you can possibly make when confronting someone is to reveal all of your evidence to them.

Don’t do it, no matter how tempting it may be to show you have the upper hand. It will come back to haunt you.

Here’s some basic guidelines for confronting a cheating spouse:

  • Decide in advance the goal of your confrontation
  • Pick a time when you both can talk privately.
  • Calmly inform your spouse or partner that you know for certain that he or she has been unfaithful to you and then flatly state the goal that you set for this confrontation (full confession of the facts, come to an agreement on the status of the relationship, or whatever you decided in advance).
  • If you need to reveal details from your investigation, NEVER, under any circumstances, provide details of dates, times, or places where he or she may have cheated.  Revealing this type of information will provide your partner with some idea about how much you may or may not know about his / her infidelity.  That, in turn, can be used to construct excuses, lies and / or cover stories which can be used to deceive you further.
  • It’s best to reveal that you know the identity and description of the person your spouse was cheating with, rather than specific details about times, places, etc.
  • Your partner may play dumb – don’t fall for that trick.  He or she is simply trying to draw out additional information before deciding what to admit or deny.
  • Never reveal the source(s) of your information, as that, too, can provide the cheater with clues about how much you know.

Remember, you hold all the cards.  The two questions every cheating spouse is dying to ask (but can’t) are these:

How much do you know?  And how long have you known it?

If you want as much of the truth as possible, do your best to protect the answer to those questions.  If your spouse chooses to lie about his affair without knowing those answers, chances are he’ll minimize his guilt and will leave out key details in the hopes you aren’t aware of them, and then you’ll know when he or she is lying to you.

Here’s another good article on how to correctly confront a cheating spouse.  It’s good advice.

If you have questions or need advice on specific circumstances, contact me and I’ll give you the best advice I can at no charge.

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35 Comments → “Advice on confronting a cheating spouse”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by JDMurrah, Jim White. Jim White said: How to confront a cheating spouse: http://ow.ly/10eS8 #cincinnati #cheating #howto #relationships [...]


  2. Cinci Wife

    7 years ago

    Jim, thanks for the advice. Although I didn’t hire you to do the investigation, these tips proved very helpful over the weekend when I found out my husband of 17 years was lying to me about his reasons for a series of recent “business” trips.

    He tried all the stalling and delaying tricks you mention, including just playing dumb. Had I not read this article, I might have fallen for the act.


  3. Jim White

    7 years ago

    Thanks for the kind note – hope things work out for the best.

    If you or anyone else has any questions or needs advice, we’re happy to answer questions about specific situations at no charge. And of course, we’re always ready to help you get the evidence you need, too – that’s how we make our living.

    Either way, feel free to use our contact form to send a question our way.


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