Q: Suppose life seems blissful, happy, and perfect. Then you discover that your significant other has a lover, that you’re not the only one? What should you do? Keep silent? Confront? Subvert? Vacate?

A: The only answer is that you must be true to yourself even though events may not turn out the way you want them to.

Of course, the scorned lover will undoubtedly be shocked. The straight-on reactionary of confronting the partner in a hostile manner means taking up the sword, and once that battle ensues, the results will be no different from any war—one side will win and the other will lose, and there will be emotional casualties. To save the relationship, you’ll need to strike for a peaceful armistice. If you choose to confront your significant other, first, check your emotions; know whether you want the relationship to continue with or without the third party; and finally, meet in a neutral zone to hash out the details. If you want to save your relationship, you have to show respect, no matter how angry you are. And by the way, it’s okay to let the other person know how hurt you are. The objective is to be able to talk openly about the issue and see if there’s a workable solution. And by all means, seek out a counselor who can help guide you both through the process.

Beware of becoming the vengeful saboteur, a person who will go to extraordinary lengths to hurt the wayward partner just to get even. Be wise! If you seek revenge, you’ll only end up harming yourself emotionally. Careful! No good can come from confronting a third party. Your beef isn’t with that person anyway, so no matter what their culpability in this love triangle, your real issue is with your significant other. Leave the third party out of the picture. While you don’t have to accept the behavior, strive to forgive—even if you decide to leave the wayward partner.

If you decide to try to live with the partner’s indiscretion and keep silent, be sure not to keep your emotions bottled up inside of you. No good can come from internalizing your emotions because no one person is an island. We all have a need to express ourselves and be understood. Silence doesn’t work to fulfill this need. If you choose to be silent about the whole affair, you might want to consider talking to a counselor for more insight.

And finally, if you just can’t trust the person any more, or you feel so violated that you can’t be with your significant other any longer, then it’s just simply time to leave. Or seek couple’s therapy, provided a mutual goal for the relationship can be established.

~ Coco Rousseau, author of Age of Innocence: The Wild and Wanton Edition and A Room With a View: The Wild and Wanton Edition

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