Should I reach out to the other person in my spouse’s affair?
Send your own letter (or update) to [email protected] or fill out this form.
My spouse had an affair. It was the most horrible, traumatic thing that has ever happened to me, and four years later I am still reeling from the pain. I am in therapy and have done a lot of work, but I cannot get over the deep desire to contact this other person. I know my spouse is at fault (the current status of our relationship is an entirely different letter for a very different day) and I blame my spouse completely for what happened. And yet, I want to tell this other person how much they hurt me. I cannot quite get at why, knowing that no response would change what happened to me. I will admit I would like to learn that terrible things are going on in their life and can therefore assume karma is on my side, but I have also accepted that this is not likely going to happen. An apology would not mean anything, not really. I am not a confrontational person. Should I reach out?
I can't imagine how reaching out to this person would help you. If anything, it would give you new details to stew about.
If the person looks good and happy, it's bad for those revenge fantasies. If they don't admit what they did, it's fuel for more anger. If it seems like they got hurt too, it's confusing.
What if you accept that this person will always be a source of bad feelings? Then it's just about learning to learn to live with it. I get the sense you're looking for some peace – maybe, dare I say it, closure - but I'm not sure it'll come. It's about living with the discomfort of knowing what happened, and that there's someone out there with their own side of the story. Someone who should know they caused you pain. Maybe accepting that – that there is no fix – will make it easier to think about it less.
It's possible that if you called this person they'd apologize and say they've wanted to reach out for years. Maybe they'd tell you they have regrets and have worked to be a better person. If that's a best-case scenario, it would still feel pretty terrible. The conversation becomes more about that person's redemption than your pain.
Talk about this desire in therapy (I'm sure you have). Link it to the current status of your relationship. You say that's a different letter for a different day, but I suspect it's relevant to this one.
Readers? Would you reach out? Have you reached out?
"I'm torn between (a) LW is definitely going to do it, no matter how many people tell them not to and (b) LW is never going to do it but is also never going to stop talking about it." – StripeyCat