Relate, the UK’s leading relationships charity, is offering guidance and support to people affected by the recent hack of the Ashley Madison affairs website and subsequent data leak.
Following calls from worried members of the public to its national phone line, Relate has put together online guidance for people who have been exposed or have discovered that their partner is having an affair, or are worried about what is around the corner for them. In addition, a team of Relate Counsellors is on hand to support people via an instant Live Chat service, telephone counselling, or face-to-face counselling in Centres across the country.
Relate Counsellor Denise Knowles said: “The issue of cheating has been put firmly into the spotlight this week. Clearly this is bringing up lots of difficult emotions for those whose details have been released and their partners. Even if you haven’t been directly affected, the coverage may have prompted you to start questioning your own relationship.
“We know from research we did last year that that 24% of people report having had an affair. Interestingly, a third of people we asked thought a relationship could survive an affair, compared to 94% of counsellors and sex therapists we asked in a separate survey.”
I’ve cheated on my partner and I don’t know how to tell them
Below are some extracts from Denise’s online guidance.
If you decide to tell your partner, bear in mind that it’s never going to be easy but there are certain things you can do to limit the damage and pain. First of all, let them know you have something to tell them and find somewhere quiet and private to talk. It’s best to tell them clearly ‘I’ve had an affair’. It’s good to offer an explanation as to why you thought the affair happened but it’s also important to take responsibility and to answer any questions they have truthfully.
I’ve found out my partner was using the Ashley Madison site and I don’t know what to do
As you begin to deal with the shock, it’s not uncommon for feelings of anger, rage and fear to overwhelm you. Before you act, think about the implications of confronting your partner. If you do decide to go ahead, try and find some private time to talk to them and explain how you’ve been feeling, what led you to searching online and how you now feel, and what concerns you have about what this means for your relationship. Remember that your partner may also be shocked that you have ‘investigated’ the internet and their trust may also be impacted, be prepared for their response.
I’ve found out my partner has cheated on me – what should I do?
Finding out your partner has cheated on you can be very distressing and you’re likely to feel shocked, angry and hurt. Give yourself some time and seek support from trusted friends, family members or a counsellor.
Talk to your partner and ask them questions if you need to. Try to focus on facts initially e.g. how long the affair has lasted. Try to listen to what your partner has to say. You’ll undoubtedly be upset, but try not to start shouting or rush out of the room. You need to hear the full story in order to assess exactly what has happened. Ask your partner to tell you the truth, however painful. Recovery after an affair is always worse if lies are told early on.
For more information visit Relate here; or, for an appointment to see a counsellor phone: 0300 7729681