Confronting the Other Person is Not Confronting an Adult

An unfortunate assumption is that two adults have affairs.

Actually, this is far from the truth. Infidelity is not about a relationship of two adults.

Adults live their lives with joy, passion, according to internalized standards, with respect and acceptance of others, by the values that give and sustain life, transparent to themselves and others, with predictability and consistency and with an overarching concern for the welfare and well-being of others, as well as themselves.

Infidelity is more about a parent-child relationship bound by deceit, strong unresolved personal needs that are consistently sought after, a confusion about standards and values and a desire to live life in the shadows.

Or, infidelity follows the triangle pattern which states that a person is bound (unconsciously) by strictly held roles of either rescuer, persecutor or victim. Much drama and pain in those roles.

So, when confronting the other person, do not expect adult-like responses.

This case illustrates the point:

1. What was your purpose for confronting the OP and what did you say/do?

10 months after my husband claimed all contact had ended, he gave me access to his business phone bill and saw that they had constant contact during our reconciliation. I wanted to know what they talked about, but he refuses to tell me. I called her cell phone to see if she still had the same number and left a calm message inviting her to call me back. I figured we are all adults who were supposedly hurt and could now talk in a calm manner about the two most devastating years of my life. She was supposedly trying to attain a degree in family counseling and had said all the “right” things during the crazy days of first discovery: “Be kind to yourself and to your wife;” “You obviously love her. Go and make it right with her;” and “I miss you too (to him, in a text I discovered initially) but having been in the same situation I could never inflict the pain on others I experienced in my first marriage.”

2. What happened? What was the outcome?

She did NOT Call me back, but rather tracked my husband to his new office and said flatly, “Your wife called my cell phone. She was also parked in my driveway once.” THAT NEVER happened. So much for my thinking that she was a mature adult who could handle a mature, calm conversation, many, many months after the affair ended and all contact stopped.

3. If you were to do it again, would you do it differently? What did you learn?

No, I don’t think so. It reformed my opinion of her. Initially, I felt only empathy towards her, a lonely single mom. Now, I realize she was an immature drama queen, who spoke a good game whether it be for money, gifts, or weekends away she could not afford on her own. I now have some compassion for my husband. I think in a low time in our lives and our marriage, he was played for the price of admiration and flattery. How sad it all is, not only for me and my children, but for him as well. We still have so much more work to do.