There’s no worse feeling than suspecting the worst about your partner — that they are cheating on you — but not being able to confirm it just yet. While you’re stuck in this in-between limbo phase, gathering evidence like a high-profile attorney and sticking DIY voodoo dolls with pins, it’s natural to want to lash out. Call someone. Scream. Take a scissor to all of their clothing and throw their Apple computer out the window.
Don’t do any of these things. Even if your partner tells you, point blank, that he/she has been unfaithful, destroying possessions, hurting them physically or defaming their character can and will be used against you in a court of law. And, besides, it’s the wrong thing to do because, let’s face it, it isn’t going to take back what did (or didn’t) happen.
There’s a good chance these following four actions have crossed your mind as totally acceptable behaviors if you think your partner is making a fool out of you. Relationship and etiquette expert April Masini, who is the author of AskApril, explains why these are the worst things you can do if you suspect unfaithfulness (no matter how right they feel).
1. Never confront the other woman — You’re angry and heads are going to roll — why not start with the woman who is currently the object of your partner’s affection? Well, for one thing, she’s not who you should be mad at, Masini reminds us. “Your relationship isn’t with her. It’s with your guy — who’s cheating,” she says. “Second of all, when you confront her, you’ll end up engaging in more than one confrontation at best, and at worst, you’re going to start an ongoing war with her, which is going to become a second problem, along with the problem you have with your cheating partner. Third, you’re going to distract yourself from the real problem, which is how to handle the betrayal.”
2. Don’t call the spouse of the other woman — Sometimes, when we feel hurt, we want other people to feel the same. “Chances are he already knows, and he may not have the same feelings you do,” Masini says. “In fact, he may resent your contacting him because he was fine with a don’t ask, don’t tell relationship policy. You’ve now wrecked his good thing. And mostly, you’re just making a mess of what’s already unfortunate. Stay focused. Call a friend if you need to vent.”
3. Don’t steal his/her phone — The easiest way to find out what your spouse has been up to is to steal his phone when he isn’t looking and start reading all of his messages. Opening up that can of worms will only lead to additional drama you don’t need. “The most common action people who suspect partners cheating take is to secretly go through his phone looking for evidence,” Masini says. “The problem is that when they find it, or what could be evidence, they have to tell him that they didn’t trust him so they went through his phone. Or else, you don’t find any evidence. Now, you’ve got a different problem. You’ve invaded his privacy. Either you tell him what you found and how you found it, or you keep checking like an undercover stalker. Your relationship isn’t just about your suspicions anymore — it’s about mistrust all around. As tempting as it may be, don’t go through his phone.”
4. Don’t announce your betrayal via social media — Even after you learn they’ve been with 15 other women since you got together, that information needn’t leak its way onto Facebook, especially if you have mutual friends. Call a friend you trust and use every four-letter word in the book to describe him/her, but keep your rants off social media. “Don’t take out an ad, send a mass email or blow up social media announcing the betrayal and your victim status,” Masini says. “It’s not becoming and revenge is a bad neighborhood to buy into. Yes, you’ll be embarrassed, socially, but don’t try and take control or out the cheaters. It just makes you part of the mess. Take the high road.”