What to Do if You Run Into Your Affair Partner
Many of our readers have communicated that they struggle with how to react should they accidently run into the other person.
It’s not just the betrayed spouse who struggles with this issue, but the ex-unfaithful spouse does so as well. For this post, I’m going to address the scenario where the ex-cheater accidently runs into their ex-affair partner.
First of all, full disclosure here… I’ve had zero contact since the affair ended so I’m not speaking from experience. However, Linda and I have discussed this potential situation and will address this topic based on that discussion and my own opinions.
So with that said, for any of you who have had this situation actually play out (whether you are the cheater or your spouse was), we welcome you to share your experiences, lessons and advice in the comment section below the post.
Let’s be clear that we’re talking about an accidental scenario here. This is not meant to address a rendezvous or an otherwise premeditated or purposeful encounter. I’m addressing the chance, unavoidable meeting in public at the grocery store, at a party, at your kid’s soccer game, etc.
I am also addressing this to the ex-cheater who is committed to reconciliation and rebuilding the marriage that he/she almost destroyed. If you’re an ex-cheater and you’re hoping to run into your affair partner, this post is not for you.
Prior to a chance meeting…
First of all I think it’s important for you to understand that this potential scenario is an event that your BS is more than likely dreading. They realize the importance of no contact and fear that any contact – no matter how little or how accidental – may propel you back into the arms of your affair partner. And in a lot of cases I don’t doubt that this happens.
If you have not had any chance meetings with your ex-affair partner since the affair, I feel that it is vitally important that you have a discussion with your partner to address how you should handle this situation.
Most BS will probably want you to either ignore the AP or tell him/her something to the effect that he/she was the worst mistake ever, that you hope you never see them again, that you love your spouse more than anything, and oh yea… why don’t you go to hell!
In fact, here are Linda’s words on this from almost 3 years ago:
I am sure that I am not alone in my thinking, I wish if he did run into her, he would tell her that being with her was the biggest mistake he ever made in his life. He had completely lost his mind, and he loves his wife and his life with me is everything he ever wanted. Their time together was a lie and the experience of seeing her makes him sick to his stomach because of all the hurt their fantasy relationship caused himself and his family.
Will I say that? Perhaps. But we have also agreed that if I’m at the store and someone taps me on the shoulder and I turn around and it was the OW, I could say something more in the realm of “Hello. I really don’t have anything to say to you. Good bye.” And then scurry off.
Of course, we agree that my primary strategy is to avoid the running into her to begin with, but that might not be possible unless I see her first. As long as I do then it’s…avoid detection and exit the building!
Will these responses be appropriate for all of you and in every situation? Absolutely not. But they work for us. The point is that you need to discuss it and then come to an agreement as to what to say and how to react. You may need to practice it as well.
Have that discussion right away. Don’t put it off!
During the chance meeting…
This part is easy. Do and say what you and your spouse agreed that you would do and say!
I say it’s easy, but I realize that many of you may be shitting bricks when and if it happens and you may start babbling like an idiot. Others may not have any reservations, nerves or thoughts and the whole event is basically a walk in the park.
The point is, stick to the plan and what you rehearsed and get the hell away.
Disclose the meeting immediately…
Almost as important as handling the chance meeting in the fashion that you agreed to, is doing the right thing immediately after it happens. And that would be to tell your wife or husband that you ran into the OP.
Tell him/her what happened, where it happened, how it happened, what you said, what the AP said and perhaps more importantly, how you feel about the meeting. Did it upset you? Did it make you anxious? Did it bring back any feelings or thoughts of your affair? Etc. Be honest and disclose completely. Answer any questions your spouse might have with patience and empathy.
In the coming days and weeks you are also going to want to be understanding of the emotions of your spouse. He or she is going to be anxious and fearful that old feelings may have been triggered and that the affair will start up again. This whole event may even trigger your spouse back to a dark time that seems as bad as another D-day. Know this, anticipate it and be patient with it.
Since you are an ex-unfaithful person and you are working your ass off to help your spouse recover and heal, then you will know to continue your life of transparency in a way that invokes honesty and trust worthiness.
You should hold your spouse tight and tell him/her that you love them and reassure them that the chance meeting meant nothing to you other than to confirm the fact that the affair was the dumbest thing you ever did, and the OP was the worst thing to ever cross your path.
Once again, if any of you have had this situation actually play out (whether you are the cheater or your spouse was), please share your experiences, lessons and advice in the comment section below.