Facing the pain of infidelity is one of the hardest things you may ever experience. You’re trying to come to terms with the fact that your spouse was hiding a major secret. That’s bad enough; but what if your in-laws knew about the affair?
Unfortunately, many times people may know or suspect that a friend or family member is having an affair. Yet, they may not tell the innocent spouse. There are many reasons for this; maybe they don’t want to get involved, or maybe they’re afraid they’ve made a mistake.
But when your family members know–especially your in-laws–that makes the pain a lot more profound. You’re angry with them, even though you might understand why they stayed silent. After all, they were trying to protect their child, right?
Consider The Motivation
Your in-laws may have been trying to protect feelings–both your spouse’s, and yours, too. As unfair as it is, in many of these situations, it’s hard for people to know the right thing to do. Whether they’re silent or speak up, they’re often motivated out of love.
It’s possible that your in-laws wanted to protect your spouse, but they might have also been trying to protect you from getting hurt. The hurt and betrayal are very real. But, it’s also important to understand that sometimes, people make bad choices because they’re upset, confused, and overwhelmed by the situation themselves. While we can’t know your specific situation, considering a fresh perspective could help.
On the other hand, the silence might have been more malicious. Maybe they believed you would never find out about the affair. Whatever the case, only you can determine what factors drove the decision.
Many Layers of Betrayal
Finding out your spouse cheated is a terrible kind of betrayal. But if their family knew, too, then your extended family was also involved in concealing the truth. That’s multiple layers of heartbreak you now need to work through.
You may question whether it’s right for you to be angry. After all, they’re your family, right? But as a part of the family, you had a right to be protected, as well. It’s absolutely right and normal for you to feel angry, betrayed, and deeply wounded.
Process Your Feelings Before Confrontation
Rather than immediately confronting your in-laws about what you’ve learned, it’s important to process your feelings first. Even if you never express some of the things you write on the page, you’ll be able to fully explore the effects this affair and the resulting fallout have had on you. Getting these feelings out to your journal before a face-to-face conversation could help prevent unnecessary escalation.
When you’ve sorted your feelings, you’ll be calmer when you do come face-to-face with your in-laws. You’ll feel so much better, and because you will have taken the time to process what you’re feeling, you will also communicate more clearly. Don’t push yourself to confront before you’re ready–and only if you think the conversation will be helpful for you.
Control is the Common Denominator
Your in-laws concealed your spouse’s affair from you because they wanted to control the narrative. The reasons for this choice are varied and totally dependent on the people and the situation. However, when you boil it all down, you’re dealing with people who ultimately thought they could stifle the flow of information.
If you need a primer on how to navigate life with controlling people, The Control Freak could help. This book contains helpful tips and information to help you better understand and respond to the controlling individuals in your life. You can find a copy here.
Have you ever been in a situation where someone you trusted concealed an affair or other piece of harmful information? How did you respond? Leave us a comment and let us know.