You’ve found out that your partner has had an affair with a colleague. Perhaps they told you personally, maybe you found a message on their phone, or a mutual friend told you.
Right now you’ll be going through a range of emotions and your mind will be reeling with questions – Why did my partner cheat? Has he/she cheated on me before? Did he/she prefer having sex with this other person to me? Is our relationship over?
It’s a horrible experience to go through, and although it may not feel like much of a comfort, it’s useful to know that you’re not alone in this situation. Many CoupleConnection forum users have been through something similar:
‘I discovered messages on her phone around 4 months ago… I just decided to [ask her about it] and hey presto she came clean on everything. She said it started as friendship but they have been sleeping together for about 6 months now,’ posts Philly in My Wife’s Secret Affair With Her Boss.
Several surveys have been conducted into workplace affairs and flings, which suggest that a fair number of people have found their partner cheating on them with a colleague:
- 44% of the men say they’d had an affair with a co-worker at an office party (Men’s Health survey)
- 37% of women say they’ve had sex with a colleague (The Stylist Sex Survey)
- 72.2% of women and 59.8% of men who have had an affair say their first encounter with the affair partner was at an office party (Ashley Madison survey)
Discussing the situation
Confronting your partner without it turning into a full-blown argument will take a lot of patience and skill. Write down what you want to say to him or her first before you start to discuss the affair. If you find that you’re getting too angry, take a break and leave the room to gather your thoughts before continuing.
Uncovering the hidden issues is also key to moving forward from an affair. Affairs aren’t always just about sex. Someone can be tempted into the arms of another for many reasons – not feeling loved, not feeling understood, not spending enough time together. View our Hidden Issues insight to learn more about how these issues manifest themselves in relationships.
Talking to others can be a helpful way of dealing with your emotions during this difficult time. If you have close friends and family you can confide in, tell them about how you are feeling, or, try speaking to one of our counselors in the Listening Room.
In the Listening Room, you will be able to explore your feelings and the question marks that linger over your relationship.
Staying together may be a difficult choice to make. But keep in mind that in some cases, relationships actually become stronger after one partner has had an affair. The situation prompts both partners to examine the relationship, get all of the issues out in the air and deal with them.
For some, adultery is a deal-breaker and you will want to end the relationship straight away.
However, some may try and give the relationship another go. But there may be a cloud over your relationship for some time, and you may find that as time goes by, you still can’t move on from the incident. If this is the case, then you may decide that it’s best to leave.
Our article on when a relationship ends can help you through this difficult time.
Learn more about affairs
Read our top articles to learn more about affairs and jealousy
- A psychologist’s perspective on affairs
- What other couples say about affairs
- Did you know this about affairs?