If you find out that your spouse is suspicious, it's time to circle the wagons. For those of you not familiar with that American old west reference, it means to focus on self-preservation. In the context of prowling, it means that it's time to focus on your marriage and cover your tracks.
Here are my tips for smoothing things over before they get out of hand:
- Stay calm. If you start deleting email and taking other actions without thinking, you are actually more likely to get caught. Stop. Take a deep breath. If your spouse is there with you, give her a hug and tell her that you love her. I assume this is true.
- Think about your recent behavior. What have you done to cause her to be suspicious? Don't kid yourself. She didn't get suspicious for no reason. Take an honest look at your behavior and try to pinpoint where you went wrong (besides cheating in the first place).
- Stop all current cheating behavior. I'm not saying you have to stop it forever, but at least until things calm down at home. Your sweetie will understand (unless you picked a young single woman; in that case you're beyond my help).
- Don't immediately contact your lover unless there is an imminent threat. Remember that your spouse will be watching you closely (and she'll probably have her friends watching you, too). You may have to wait a few days before making contact with your lover. You'll live. So will she. (Don't I sound authoritative as I say that? Sometime I'll tell you about how I melt down and call Daunt crying like a baby if I don't hear from JJ for two days. Daunt should get an award for putting up with me.)
- Spend more time with your wife. She needs you. Be there for her. Assure her. Do some things you enjoy doing together.
- Have sex with your wife -- or at least try to. She needs to know that you still want her. Don't pull away now. In fact, in many cases it's a change in the sex life that makes a spouse get suspicious in the first place. If you're the wife, do not stop having sex with your husband. It's both wrong and stupid.
- Make sure you get rid of any evidence. Do this calmly and only when it is safe. If you just can't bear to delete those emails, you'd better secure them somehow so your spouse will never be able to get to them. And then, pay attention to #8....
- Always remember that your spouse is smarter than you think she is. If you think your online activities are safe because your wife is not computer literate, be aware that she will find someone who is computer literate to help her snoop. People who feel that their marriage and family may be threatened become very creative and ingenious. When my husband suspected me, he did some things to check up on me that I never thought he'd be able to do. Oops.
- Don't admit to anything! If your spouse is truly only suspicious and she doesn't know about your affair for sure, do not admit to an affair. It will hurt her necessarily. I know some people disagree with this, and choose to take the opportunity to admit things so they can move forward with trying to fix their marriage. I respect that view, too, but it's dangerous. Don't do it unless you're ready for a divorce because that's where you may be headed. My advice is a bit different if you have been caught, of course. You'll get that post soon.
- Consider ending the affair, or at least taking a break. You have the option of thanking your lucky stars that it was just a close call and ending the affair before you do irreparable damage to your marriage. The truth is that suspicion leads to more monitoring, and your chances of getting caught are higher if your spouse already has strong suspicions. If you decide to end it or take a break, please tell your lover and tell her the truth. Just disappearing is cruel. Trust me. I've been there. It's no fun at all.
Any other tips for this situation, Prowlers?