Revealing an Affair to Spouse of the Other Party Who’s Still “In the Dark”

What’s the best way to handle the revelation of an affair when one guilty spouse has come clean or been exposed, but the husband or wife of the other unfaithful party is still in the dark?

My wife and another man were involved for over four years until I recently found out. My wife has cut off the relationship, and we’re working through the painful aftermath. But most people don’t know what’s been going on — including the other man’s wife. Is there any good reason to share the situation with her? This isn’t her husband’s first affair, and exposing this latest round of unfaithfulness could doom their marriage. I also wonder how this added dynamic might affect our own attempts to reconcile.



Great question! Under certain conditions, you may have a good reason for telling the spouse who is unaware of the affair. But our first thought is that it’s not your responsibility to tell this woman of her husband’s infidelity. That’s his job.

Who should tell an unsuspecting spouse about their partner’s infidelity?

Ideally, the guilty spouse should be the one to confess sin and ask forgiveness. He needs to be in the driver’s seat. If he’s not willing to do that, we’d suggest that you leave it in the hands of someone else — perhaps a pastor, a counselor, or a good female friend of the betrayed spouse. If you stay involved to the point of telling her, you could end up compromising your own boundaries and placing your marriage at risk.

Should you be the one to tell her?

There can be exceptions to this rule, of course. A lot depends on the circumstances. For example, if you live in a small community where news gets around quickly, letting the victim be the last one to know would be heartbreaking.

Relationships and motives make a big difference, too. If these people are old friends of yours, and if your goal is to protect the wife, help save her marriage, or empower her to set healthy boundaries for the future, it might be a good idea to speak up — if you think you can offer some practical assistance.

And since this isn’t the husband’s first affair, it’s also possible that he has exposed his wife — and yours — to a sexually transmitted infection. In that case, everyone concerned needs to know the facts as soon as possible so that they can arrange to be tested by a doctor.

What’s best for your marriage?

Right now, your job is to get your relationship back on a healthy footing. And that’s going to take all the time, energy, and determination you have. With that in mind, it’s in your best interest to cut off all ties with the other man and his wife. Keeping up any kind of communication with them can increase the chance of repeating the affair.

That said, we realize our response might leave you with new questions. Would you let us help? If you’d like to talk more about your specific situation, call us for a free over-the-phone consultation. Our licensed or pastoral counselors would welcome the chance to speak with you and help you take further steps toward healing. They can also suggest referrals to ongoing support from qualified counselors and Christian therapists in your area.

In addition, we want to mention Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored retreat intensives. These three-day, four-day, or five-day retreats are one of the primary ways we minister to couples who are in crisis — or who may be past the immediate struggle but need guidance to make lasting change and growth. All our intensives are led by highly trained professional counselors. Learn more at, or call the Hope Restored staff at 866-875-2915.



If a title is currently unavailable through Focus on the Family, we encourage you to use another retailer.

Torn Asunder: Recovering From an Extramarital Affair

Unfaithful: Hope and Healing After Infidelity

The Wholehearted Marriage

Building True Oneness in Marriage

Beyond Ordinary: When a Good Marriage Just Isn’t Good Enough

I Do Again: We Found a Second Chance at Our Marriage – And You Can Too

Nothing to Hide: Hope for Marriages Hurt by Pornography and Infidelity

Overcoming the Obstacles of Infidelity



Hope Restored: A Marriage Intensive Experience

Love and Respect

Marriage Alive



Recovering From an Affair

Forgiveness and Restoration

Lies That Can Hinder Your Recovery From an Affair

Restoration: Four Hurdles You Must Face

Husband Still Struggling After Wife’s Affair

Restoring a Marriage After Infidelity

How to Talk to Kids About Divorce and Marital Affairs

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