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What Should You Do if Your Spouse is Having an Affair

If you’re concerned that your husband or wife is having an affair, you may be overwhelmed by a mix of emotions. In this situation, it is completely natural to have strong feelings of anger, betrayal, sadness, confusion, and uncertainty. There is no one way to deal with a marital affair, but it can be extremely useful to know your options and your legal position. In this article, we will discuss what you can do to try and get over an affair.

You don’t heal from infidelity overnight - take your time 

If you have recently discovered that your partner has been having an affair, while it may be tempting to confront them immediately, it can be useful to take some time to reflect on what is going on. If possible, confide in a friend or family member who can help you make sense of the situation objectively. Speaking to someone you know and trust will also enable you to take some of the pressure off your shoulders – as the old adage goes, “A problem shared is a problem halved”. If you don’t want to confide in someone you know, consider speaking to a relationship support counsellor or therapist who will listen and offer open and honest advice and help you to process the situation. 

It can also be extremely useful to read the advice provided by experts in relationship counselling, such as Relate. The Relate website provides lots of information on how to handle exactly this type of situation and what you can do next. 

Remember to focus on self-care, health and happiness during this time, both for you and your children if you have any. While it may be tempting to stop all of your normal everyday activities, such as hobbies and exercise, keeping up with these will help you retain some sense of stability and normality.


07 December 2023
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Speak to your partner about the marital affair

When you decide to speak to your partner about your concerns, choose a quiet and private place away from your children. As much as possible, calmly and openly explain what you have discovered and how you feel, and ask your partner to do likewise. Having spoken to your partner, reflect on how you now feel and what you want to do; repair the relationship or bring it to an end? Remember, there is no rush to make a decision. You may need to speak to your partner again before making a decision on the way forward. If they are honest and open with you about what has been happening, this may provide a basis for working together constructively.

Consider couples therapy or counselling after infidelity

Where appropriate, couples therapy or counselling can be highly beneficial in helping both partners understand what has happened and decide whether you both want to repair the relationship or not. According to Relate, people have marital affairs for a wide range of reasons, including feelings of disconnection, feeling unloved, imbalance within the relationship, fear of commitment, lack of self-esteem, sexually addictive behaviour, or to end the relationship.

Do you want a divorce?

The no-fault divorce process in England and Wales allows one or both parties to apply for a divorce after one year of marriage or civil partnership. As the name suggests, there is no longer a requirement to apportion blame and, in the case of an affair, cite infidelity as a ground for divorce.

If you aren’t sure you can get over the affair and  have made the decision to get divorced, consider speaking to a divorce law Solicitor who can explain your rights and how to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your children. While applying for divorce using the no-fault divorce process is relatively straightforward in most cases, there will still be some important matters to resolve, including child arrangements, finances, and property.

If you and your partner can agree between yourselves on how to split your property, money, and spousal maintenance and child arrangements, a Solicitor can have this drawn up in the form of a legally binding agreement. This is an important step as it will ensure that the promises made are more likely to be honoured by both parties. If your partner decides not to stick to the terms of the agreement, it can be enforced by the court.

Where an agreement cannot be reached with your partner, mediation can be extremely effective in helping couples find a solution that works for both parties. Before you can ask the court to intervene, unless there is a history of domestic violence, you and your partner will be expected to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM), where a specially trained family mediator will assess whether your marital issues can be resolved through mediation and without going to court.

If mediation is not suitable or does not prove effective, you can ask a divorce law solicitor to make an application to the court for a child arrangement order and/or a financial order.

Final words

Discovering that your partner is having an affair can be a deeply upsetting and traumatic experience, especially if you have children together. The path to healing and resolution can be long and challenging, but by prioritising your own well-being and making a decision that is right for you and your family, you can move on to a new chapter in your life, with or without your partner. Seeking independent, confidential, expert legal advice throughout the process will give you the confidence that you understand your legal rights regarding children, spousal maintenance, and marital assets, including your home.

Guillaumes LLP Solicitors is a full-service law firm based in Weybridge, Surrey. We have a highly experienced divorce law team who can assist you with all divorce matters. To make an appointment, please call us on 01932 840 111.