Domestic Violence and Abuse
Domestic violence can take different forms:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial abuse
If you are in an abusive or violent relationship, please do seek assistance and support. We have compiled some contacts that might be useful to you.
Domestic Violence and Infidelity
If your relationship has a history of abusive behavioral patterns, the chaos that an affair brings should be an opportunity to truly evaluate the health of your relationship and your safety within it.
While many would argue that infidelity is an abuse in and of itself, it is perhaps more accurate to characterize the attendant behaviors of an affair as abusive – this often takes the form of emotional abuse, rather than physical.
Even in relationships where you consider that abuse is not a prevalent pattern, infidelity can magnify issues of abuse because of the fever pitch emotional levels involved.
You should be aware that there are correlations between accusations of infidelity and triggers for violent abuse.
Confronting Your Cheater Safely
Before confronting your spouse or partner about concerns of infidelity or an affair, consider if you should have someone you trust nearby just in case, particularly if you or your spouse/partner have a tendency towards heated behavior/language.
Consider choosing a venue where you could obtain help if you needed it, or identifying a ‘safe room’ where you can lock the door if you need to.
Plan what you are going to say, how, and where, and try to remain calm. Rehearsing your own points and how you will calmly respond to their reactions can keep the situation calmer and help prevent it from escalating. If you have your responses already prepared (even if that response is to walk away) you won’t be as flustered and panicked.
The issues will still be there tomorrow, or the day after, or next week, when you can both perhaps sit down again in a calmer state, perhaps in a safer place, and tackle the issue again.
Be aware of your partner’s behaviors, particularly during this time of heightened emotional stress and take the necessary steps to protect yourself (and your children) from any fallout.
If you sense any hint of the situation escalating into physical violence, carefully disengage and remove yourself from the situation. Don’t stick doggedly to a rehearsed script if things head towards violence – it might be advisable to be sweet and understanding if that averts an attack on you. Stay safe first and get a support team in place.
If you are concerned about your cheater being physically violent, don’t confront them alone. If someone already has a history of violence expect it to escalate if you attempt to challenge them or leave them.
Get a support team in place – lawyer, shelter, domestic violence advocate, police – whatever you need to stay safe. If you intend to leave and think that might spark an assault, contact your local police and ask them for some support in keeping you safe while you get out. Don’t approach a situation alone in which you genuinely foresee a physically violent response.
Most infidelity and affair situations, thankfully, don’t take this physically violent turn but some do. Be conscious of the dangers and take steps to do what you can to minimize the risks. You should be clear that infidelity can bring out the worst of any of us, so don’t rely on previous good behavior as an assurance that your situation won’t mushroom into a violent confrontation.