When Cheaters Get Caught: What Are the Next Steps?

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"Life is short. Have an affair." This is the tagline of Ashley Madison, the website for otherwise attached people seeking like-minded partners for discreet affairs. That secrecy, however, was recently compromised by a hacker bent on exposing the private records of what he or she calls “cheating dirt bags who deserve no discretion.” Yikes.

Image of the Ashley Madison website
Photo Credit: Chris Wattie/Reuters

Unfaithful spouses across the country are undoubtedly eyeing the sofa as their new bed (especially in Ottawa, where one in five residents are allegedly members) as they await the hacker’s next move.

But what should you do if you discover your spouse has been cheating or if you are the person who gets caught? We spoke with relationship therapist Kimberly Moffit for her take on the story.

Kimberly says the Ashley Madison website hasn’t increased cheating, but it gives people seeking hookups the illusion of safety. “On the site, everyone is married and looking for extramarital affairs, so the thought of getting caught or exposed is not present, and the stigma is almost non-existent.”

But affairs, she adds, are always harmful. “There is no situation I have ever seen where infidelity hasn't hurt a relationship.”

So what do you do if you discover your partner has been unfaithful?

Moffit suggests starting with couples’ counselling.

“Although this may not save the relationship, addressing the problem early and owning up to the affair completely is the best thing a couple can do. This can only happen though if your partner is willing to be completely honest and stop lying.”

What if you are the cheater in question?

“Use the experience to confess to what you've done wrong in the relationship, and if you want to stay together, do everything you can to allow your partner to trust you again. This could include couples’ counselling where both parties are allowed to tell their side of the story with a neutral and educated professional,” says Moffit.

“Affairs are often a sign that there's something underlying in the relationship that is going wrong, and this is a good opportunity to address those issues to see if the relationship can be salvaged.”

Read More:

Watch this documentary: "Why Men Cheat">>

 

 

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