10 Questions to Ask Your Unfaithful Spouse

Excerpted from NOT "Just Friends"

After infidelity has entered a marriage, questions about specific details are frequently an entryway into a deeper story. For example, questions about what gifts or cards were exchanged are really probing for how invested the unfaithful partner was in the affair--emotionally and financially. One unfaithful wife and her affair partner made cassette tapes for each other with special love songs. Although it was extremely painful for the betrayed husband to listen to the romantic words of the songs, it helped him realize why it was so hard for his wife to let go of the affair. He was also shaken by what he had neglected. Ultimately, he was inspired to bring more romance back into their marriage.

The following 10 questions will guide your exploration of the circumstances of the infidelity and the meaning behind it. Some of them are questions I use in my clinical practice to bring a slightly different perspective on the underlying motivations. Discussing them will give you the raw material from which to co-construct your story.

1. What did you say to yourself that gave you permission to get involved?

There are all kinds of reasons for not stepping over the line that would normally stop you from entering a forbidden territory. Vulnerabilities and values will be revealed by the thoughts and actions that came up as you crossed thresholds into the extramarital relationship. Most likely, discussing these questions will uncover the magnetism of the relationship, the sense of curiosity, or the belief that nothing bad would come of it. One of the most revealing thoughts is whether the unfaithful partner considered the consequences of getting involved or only of getting caught.

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