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I want to talk to the person my spouse cheated with

Is there anything to gain by reaching out to this person?

Globe Staff

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Q. My spouse had an affair. It was the most horrible, traumatic thing that has ever happened to me, and four years later I am still reeling from the pain. I am in therapy and have done a lot of work, but I cannot get over the deep desire to contact this other person.

I know my spouse is at fault (the current status of our relationship is an entirely different letter for a very different day) and I blame my spouse completely for what happened. And yet, I want to tell this other person how much they hurt me. I cannot quite get at why, knowing that no response would change what happened to me. I will admit I would like to learn that terrible things are going on in their life and can therefore assume karma is on my side, but I have also accepted that this is not likely going to happen. An apology would not mean anything, not really. I am not a confrontational person. Should I reach out?

– Nonconfrontational


A. I can’t imagine how reaching out to this person would help you. If anything, it would give you new details to stew about.

If the person seems calm and happy, it’s bad for those revenge fantasies. If the person refuses to admit what they did, it’s fuel for more anger. If it seems like they got hurt too, it’s confusing.

What if you accept that this person will always be a source of bad feelings? Then it’s just about learning to learn to live with it. I get the sense you’re looking for some peace — dare I say it, closure — but I’m not sure it’ll come. It’s about living with the discomfort and the fact that there’s someone out there with their own side of the story; someone who should know they caused you pain. Maybe accepting that — that there is no fix — will make it easier to think about it less.


It’s possible that if you called this person they’d apologize and say they’ve wanted to reach out for years. Maybe they’d tell you they have regrets and have worked to become a better person. If that’s a best-case scenario, it would still feel pretty terrible. The conversation becomes more about their redemption than your pain.

Talk about this desire in therapy (I’m sure you have). Link it to the current status of your relationship. You say that’s a different letter for a different day, but I suspect it’s relevant to this one.

– Meredith


Don’t reach out. If you need to write a letter, then write it but don’t send it. Don’t show it to your husband. Let this be your catharsis. CUPPAJOESEATTLE

Been there! Fortunately, the other woman had more presence of mind and refused. I honestly don’t know what could have been accomplished. . . . It’s like a red herring — you’re obsessed with this person, but there is probably much more going on with your husband. PRIVATELIFEDRRAMA

Your energies are better spent working on your marriage, and in individual therapy, than with your anger at this person who is not in your life. HOLLY IVY

Find the latest season of the Love Letters podcast at loveletters.show. Meredith Goldstein wants your letters! Send your relationship quandaries and questions to loveletters@globe.com. Columns and responses are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.