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10 Questions to Ask Your Unfaithful Spouse to Find Their Motives
Marriage advice

10 Questions to Ask Your Unfaithful Spouse to Find Their Motives

Although you probably have more than just 10 questions to ask your unfaithful spouse, these will help you figure out where to go from here.

Together Team
February 10, 2022

If you’ve recently discovered your partner’s affair, you must be wondering what to do about it.

Do you want to end the relationship? Or would you rather rebuild it?

Regardless of your decision, you deserve an explanation from your partner. Their answers will make it clear if it’s possible to recover your relationship or consider breaking up.

So, while it may be difficult, ask your partner to have a heartfelt conversation.

If staying together is still an option, you’ll both need insight into your relationship vulnerabilities.  Here are 10 questions to ask your unfaithful spouse.

10 Questions to Ask Your Unfaithful Spouse

1. Did you think about cheating before?

This question will let you know if they were fantasizing about seeing another person or if it somehow happened spontaneously. 

If your unfaithful spouse had been thinking about having an affair before actually having it, it can signal some deeper relational issues. Cheating mentally first is often a sign of communication difficulties in the relationship.

If they weren’t really thinking about it before, but it happened somehow, you may continue with a discussion about setting boundaries and the nature of your commitment to each other. 

2. What was happening in our relationship before your affair began?

The answer may offer a glimpse into the possible contributing factors to infidelity. 

Your partner might say things like:

  • We were fighting a lot
  • I felt unappreciated
  • I felt unappreciated
  • I felt overworked
  • I felt neglected after our child was born
  • We were not having fun together anymore

Couples often settle into a routine after a while, so many spouses are uncomfortable making complaints.

By carefully unpacking unresolved issues before the affair, you might gain valuable insights that will help you to stay together, if that’s your shared goal.

3. How did you feel when you were with the other person?

The answer is a clue to unmet needs, and what the affair was offering them. They may say they felt sexy, or capable, understood, or free. 

Continue the discussion about what they felt your relationship was lacking. Discuss how you understood these issues before the affair. And if they were reluctant to bring it up to you in the past, now would be a good time to ask why. 

4. What did you expect from your affair?

Did they expect the affair to make them feel more alive? Or give them a thrill?

What did your spouse feel was missing that the affair compensated for?

This question may help you to understand the difference between how your partner saw your relationship and their affair.

5. Is your affair over?

Before starting to make plans and going in to solve the problem, you need to know what the current status of their affair is.

If they've confessed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are done with the third person. They may feel bad about it, sure, but may still keep in contact with the person. Make sure they are done with that relationship for good and even ask for reassurance on this matter.

6. Do you have feelings for the other person?

Knowing how the unfaithful spouse feels about their affair partner will save you time and energy. If there are feelings attached to their cheating, then it might be a slower process to rebuild trust together. Your partner may have to process the grief of intentionally choosing to let them go. 

If they are emotionally involved with the other person, you can ask questions about how they plan to manage the situation and if they still have feelings for you as well.

7. Did you think of me?

The best questions to ask are the ones that explore the inner thoughts and feelings of your partner.

Check to see if you were on their mind someway while they were engaging in the affair. Or, did they compartmentalize their marriage life from their affair life?

8. Could I have done something to prevent it?

This question will probe the enduring vulnerabilities in your relationship, hopefully leading to better self-awareness and personal growth.

Your partner may tell you that you could have been more affectionate towards them, have been more receptive to their gestures, or have been more flexible. 

It will also reveal the attitudes and behaviors you may have had, unconsciously, that may have harmed your romantic relationship before the affair. You may want to further explore these attitudes and behaviors in other relationships of your life as well.

9. How do you see our future together now?

With this question, you’ll uncover their perspective on your future relationship together. If they’ve thought about it, they may have some ideas of value to share.

The key question is are your expectations realistic? Do you share a common understanding of the meaning of commitment, honesty, and openness?

If your values clash deeply, either one of you may want to end the relationship. 

10. What do you think we should do next?

Asking your unfaithful spouse what to do next will give you a clear indication of their future intentions. If they suggest couple’s therapy, or express remorse and a desire to repair, they may be willing to restore your relationship.

Can Couples Recover from Infidelity?

Infidelity is one of the biggest issues that bring people into couple’s therapy. 

Partners who struggle with a recently revealed infidelity suffer from a number of traumatic responses. A survey by the Institute for Family Studies found that 30% of couples dealing with infidelity try to stay together and 15.6% of them are successful. 

But can marriages really recover from infidelity?

According to DivorceMag, 60 to 75% of couples remain together after infidelity. Rebuilding trust and intimacy is certainly possible, especially when both partners commit to the complex process of recovery after an affair.

Why Did My Partner Cheat?

The issue of infidelity has been long studied and discussed. A study from the Singapore Management University found a wide range of reasons for why people cheat on their partners, depending on their situation and personality. Here are some examples of motives your unfaithful spouse may have had:

  • Needing a self-esteem boost
  • Being unsatisfied with the current relationship
  • Searching for the thrill
  • Being charmed into it
  • Experiencing sexual activities
  • Revenge cheating
  • Confirming their masculinity/femininity

It’s a common scenario for a woman in a long-term marriage to say she cheated because she no longer felt sexually desired by her husband. Or for a man who deals with a lot of pressure to say they cheated to feel more powerful.

Talking an unfaithful spouse is a complex situation and professional help might be needed. But first, it’s useful to have a conversation about both of your positions, how the unfaithful spouse feels, and what are the best next steps.

Unfaithful Spouse: What to Do Next?

You’ve discovered your spouse was unfaithful

If you’ve uncovered their affair, you might be completely surprised, or perhaps you’ve been suspecting it for some time. 

You might feel angry and betrayed. You may want the injustice to be repaired immediately.

Give yourself some time to cool off before you talk to them.

Reveal your information calmly, talk about how you feel, and encourage them to talk as well with the questions above. Also, avoid making any radical decisions at this point. Do not talk, at first, to anyone but your partner about this.

Are they willing to talk about it? Do they want to make amends and stay together? Do they show a desire to repair and regain your trust? You should also keep these in mind before you confront your spouse.

Your unfaithful spouse confesses

If they’re confessing their affair, you may be surprised and unprepared for it.

It might feel like everything is falling apart and it may ding your self-esteem.

Take some time to calm down and encourage them to say more about why it happened.

They may feel guilty about being unfaithful. You may feel the need to express your sorrow, as well as hear their thoughts about what happens next.

You may need some time between when you first found out about the affair to calm down. The more you can both manage to stay emotionally regulated, the better your actual conversation will flow.

For both situations above, staying calm and curious will make a huge difference. Addressing the causes of cheating, reaching out for professional help, and talking calmly are the best next steps. 

Moving Forward After Infidelity

We hope these questions to ask your unfaithful spouse were useful because the two of you have some difficult decisions to make. Infidelity is a crisis that invites couples to clarify their values.

In most cases, it comes down to a simple question — do you both still want to stay together or not?

Consider these 10 questions to ask your unfaithful spouse and use the answers to better yourself, your relationship, and your family life.

Together Team

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