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It’s Good Housekeeping’s 17th anniversary, and mommies, it’s your month, too! Enjoy meaty reads on everything relevant to you—from deliciously simple cake recipes to stories of compassion during Pope Francis’s visit.
Is it true or isn’t it? Manny Pacquiao’s alleged affair with Krista Ranillo overshadowed his record-breaking win, and continues to rock the nation today. Whatever the real reason behind Jinkee’s now-famous teary breakdown, the issue has touched a nerve among Pinays everywhere. If the First Lady of Boxing isn’t safe from the claws of adultery—or at least suspicions of it—many wives worriedly wonder about the sanctity of marriage.
Even the best unions can exhibit the signs: he’s been secretive, sexually distant, and spends hardly any time at home. The last straw may be the discovery of lipstick on his collar, or a suspicious sighting your friends are keeping from you. If you suspect that your husband (or the husband of someone you know) is being unfaithful—or if he’s already been caught red-handed—consider the following strategies for confronting a cheating spouse.
WHAT TO DO
Get the specifics. Being well-informed about the circumstances of the affair is the most effective way to address it. Who is the woman? How does your husband know her? Where and when do they meet? What signs (perfume on his shirt, lingerie on his credit card bill) led you to believe he was being unfaithful? Watch out for the signs—as explained in these articles on cheatingcatcher.com , they could range from indifference to unusual attentiveness, to downright suspicious behavior—to make sure your suspicions are well-founded. Once you are clear on at least the basics, you can present them to your spouse in such a way that will make it impossible for him to deny—and hopefully, continue—his infidelity.
Think about the implications. Infidelity doesn’t just affect the relationship between a couple—it breaks apart entire families and disrupts functional home lives. If you are contemplating separation, you’ve got to be practical. Will you be financially stable, for instance, in the event that your husband stiffs you on monetary support? How will your children react to the prospect of mom and dad splitting up—and what would happen with the living arrangements? Also, would the break-up be a permanent thing or just a temporary solution to generate some much-needed space? Remember that others have been in your shoes, as this blog entry shows—don’t be afraid to ask trusted friends and family members for help dealing with the fallout.
Take care of yourself. Although it might seem ridiculous to think so, the issue is mostly your husband’s to deal with, not yours. Believing otherwise is tantamount to blaming yourself, and your self-esteem will surely suffer for it. Don’t take to your bed like a heartsick schoolgirl—you need to get up, and stay up. Keep healthy by sticking to your exercise routine and eating full, balanced meals. Do the things you love, like that once-a-week dance class or going to the movies with the girls. Make yourself feel beautiful with a brand-new haircut and a great outfit. Life doesn’t have to stop because of your man’s mistake. For practical and compassionate steps on coping with the infidelity, check out this About.com guide.
WHAT NOT TO DO
Don’t make rash decisions. When you first discover your husband is cheating on you, emotions will be running at a high. A combination of anger, disbelief, shock, panic, and intense pain will make it difficult to keep a cool head. Don’t give any ultimatums at this point. Until you are in a rational state of mind, you run the risk of making life-changing decisions you might regret in the future. Though it might not seem possible when the betrayal is fresh in your mind, you may eventually move on to forgiveness; make sure you don’t burn any bridges in the heat of your anger.
Don’t obsess about the other woman. She may have provided the temptation, but your man was the one with the choice. The desire to know everything about your husband’s mistress is understandable, but shouldn’t be acted on. You don’t want to be one of those crazy wives who stalk or threaten the other woman and end up humiliating themselves in the process. Most importantly, don’t compare yourself to her. This will only lead to unnecessary frustration—and diverts your focus from the person who didn’t honor his commitment: your husband. Though it’s difficult to muster, the compassion needed to try to understand the other woman might help you heal—if you need help seeing her side, try reading this article.
Don’t spread the word. The quickest way to make a bad situation worse is by broadcasting the indiscretion. First of all, if the affair has not been 100% confirmed, your statements will upset your spouse and create a rift in your marriage. Second, you never know who you can trust—you could be divulging your suspicions to the very woman your husband is seeing. Third, sharing your story with other men, especially the ones who seem “understanding” and “helpful,” is imprudent in a vulnerable state such as yours: you run the risk of falling into a rebound relationship and committing adultery yourself. Your life isn’t a reality TV show, so resist the urge to overshare—and see how gauche it is to make your own affairs a matter of public record, like this man did.
Would you confront your man if you thought he was being unfaithful? How would you handle it? Leave a comment below or talk it up with other GIRLTalkers on our forum!