This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Exposing the Affair: They Kiss and You Tell

Expose early, but not until you are certain or have sufficient evidence. Once you are certain, do not delay in starting to expose. If your MLCer lives at home with you, consider exposing to them first if they are not aware that you know about the affair.

Hephaestus catches Aphrodite and Ares and traps them!

Hephaestus catches Aphrodite and Ares and traps them!

This gives them the opportunity to end the affair–though in MLC this is unlikely. Then give your MLCer a few days to end the affair before you expose to anyone else–with the possible exception of your pastor. Exposing to your spouse without exposing to anyone else feels, to your MLCer, as though you are allowing the affair. Only expose to someone if you have a good reason. This may sound confusing, but the reasons to expose and the reasons to expose to a specific person or group may not be the same. Expose to a specific person or group for how they can help you—directly by supporting and comforting you or indirectly by their influence they have over your MLCer and as Michele Weiner Davis advised: expose only to those who are marriage-friendly.

Reasons for Exposing

  • To End the Affair
    Though exposure may not directly end an affair, it can start the process of its demise.
  • Bringing Together Friends of the Marriage
    • Support for the betrayed spouse—telling friends or family who will become a caring group of supporters and provide comfort.
    • Make those who have influence over your MLCer aware in order to encourage him or her to end the affair.
  • To Bring an End to the Fantasy
  • The Race to Give Reasons
    Often the person who speaks first is the one who people will support and believe. Your MLCer may give people false reasons for why they are leaving you, though in MLC they may believe the reasons they give.
  • Take Back Your Power
    Pretending there is no affair is akin to doing nothing and you risk feeling like a helpless victim. Take back your power and show that you will not allow your spouse or the alienator to control your marriage and life.
  • To tell the truth about the person they are claiming is a friend.
  • Once the secret is exposed they are no longer protected from the disapproval of others.
  • Forcing a Choice.
    This sounds like an ultimatum, but it’s not because it is indirect, whereas an ultimatum is when you directly tell your spouse to choose.
  • Staking a claim/boundary: This person is mine; there will be no sharing.
  • If the alienator is married, exposing to their spouse brings additional pressure into the affair.
  • Forcing consequences for actions; to not expose is a form of enabling.
  • Time may normalize an affair if people know without knowing the details—your MLCer may tell them your marriage is over and this new relationship started after you separated. Time may also normalize it if it appears that you are accepting of the affair because you are doing nothing about it—so it may seem to others.

How Do You Expose?

If you go into the situation looking and acting like a deer caught in headlights people will recognize you are weak and see you as a victim and they will pounce on you with their own agenda for what you should do.

  • Be strong!
    To gain the support of others you need to show a strong conviction for your Stand—some people may only be marriage-friendly when they feel you are approaching the situation from a place of strength rather than panic and desperation.
  • Write out what you will say and practice.
    You may need to practice what you are going to say to avoid seeming jitterish and uncertain; work in front of a mirror if it helps.
  • Arm yourself with information about MLC.
    You may not need to use this information and some people may see it as an excuse and a weakness and use it to refuse or withdraw support; accept that not everyone believes in midlife crisis as anything other than an excuse to fool around.

Seven weeks after Bomb Drop I met with my family—I asked for everyone to meet me at my Grandma’s; I told them that Chuck was a 39-and-a-half year-old teenager who was running away from home. I then told them that I was Standing, that I did not believe in divorce and that it was a midlife crisis. I think I told them that MLC lasts a long time—a few years—and that there was an affair and he was talking to a lawyer about divorce. What I was trying to do was normalize his actions within the context of MLC. I told them that I needed their support and if they were unable to support me that was fine, but they needed to step aside and be quiet as it was my choice. I’m sure I was jittery, but I recall feeling certain about Standing and what I had learned about MLC and so I also felt confident.

The Aftermath of Exposure

Your MLCer will tell you that the reason they are leaving or not reconciling is because you exposed their affair. This is just MLC script; MLCers need to blame someone else for their actions and yes, your MLCer will likely go Monster on you. Prepare for their wrath and stay strong. This is MLC, so exposure is unlikely to immediately end the affair and bring your MLCer home—this is true for many non-MLC affairs as well. What it does is start the demise by inserting a sort of slow-acting virus into the affair. Exposure is a tool, but like so many of the tools in your toolbox, it may not show the desired results until months or even years after you have applied the tool.

Series NavigationExposure: Should You Expose the Affair?


Exposure: When and How to Expose the Affair9 Comments

  1. Thank you RC…this is the EXACT advice I need right now. I'm facing needing to expose my husband to our employer. We work for the same Christian ministry, and I've let the "friendship" he devloped go on for far to long. Now, that he has initiated divorce procedings I need to share the facts I know. That the friendship was the catalyst in his deciding to separate from me nearly 15 months ago. God has told me to remain quiet these last several times, but now I feel that He is telling me to "lovingly expose." It may not stop the divorce, but it will put an end to his double life here at work. T

  2. I’ve thoroughly read Michelle Weiner Davis’ Forum and they state that Divorce Busting is vehemently opposed to exposing your spouses affair, where as, Dr. Harley of Marriage Buildets cites exposure as the 1st Step required to take to end the affair.

    Has MWD had a change of stance on this touchy method?

    • That is how I thought it was as well, but it could be that people at the DB forum have taken something Michele has said and made it stricter because while looking for Michele's official words I found this:….
      Here's a small piece from that: "…So, while I do believe that betrayed spouses need support from loved ones when dealing with such a distressing situation, it is ESSENTIAL that the information about the affair be shared CAREFULLY and with full recognition about the possible risks. I always recommend that, if information is shared, the person with whom it is shared is marriage-friendly, even in the face of infidelity. Nonetheless, it's still important to recognize potential risks."

      I had just began to write about how the argument between the DB faction and MB faction was clear, but Michele's words show that she is not as opposed as it might seem. True, she does not advocate it, but the forum discussions (across a few different forums) made it seem (to me) as though she understands exposure in a limited way.

      • Now I'm not so sure…in thinking about this I could possibly be setting myself up for a Defamation of Character lawsuit and/or our employer could choose to fire both of us just to get the drama out of the workplace. I think my decision for now is to continue to pray and let God expose. I think the verse "Everything done in darkness will be brought into the light" is what I need to lean on right now and just remain silent. This would be a huge step to take, and I really don't want him to lose his job. I just wish he would do the honorable thing and leave the ministry on his own, but forcing that would only complicate things at this point and probably solidify the divorce which is exactly not what I want.

        • Exposing to the employer is probably one of the riskiest things to do and so I definitely think you need to be wary. The fact that it is a ministry does bother me though–do you really think they would fire both of you due to drama? I'd think you would have a lawsuit if they did.

          As for defamation of character; only expose to an employer if you can show proof. Exposing to family or friends may have looser guidelines legally, though I don't really know. Exposing to an employer is more public than telling your MLCer's sister or a personal friend in private.

          • I really don't think they would fire us both. I have maintained my fidelity to the marriage before and after separation. My work performance has drastically improved since the separation (the stress of being in a volatile home situation improved after he left, thus my concentration) I don't have hard proof, although I do have lots of circumstantial evidence and his confessions to me which were not recorded. Thanks for the articles, because they really helped me work through this issue. While I feel like I have little to power to alter the situation I do know that their "friendship" has a lot of pitfalls should it move into something more serious than that…something between them has already been suspected among his family, and some of his family members have approached me in being upset about it. Like you said, it's already been infected by a slow-growing virus. I just need to rely on what I know in my gut is that this is MLC, and MLC affairs rarely go the distance.

  3. Having been faced with this choice to expose my wife's affair or not I would offer it is best to expose for the same reason it best to forgive. I would suggest you do these things ONLY for the quality of your relationship with Jesus Christ. If you remove the focus from your spouse and focus on your relationship with Christ primarily by way of your integrity the decision becomes an easy one. Truth must always come first. Jesus is truth. It's only when we "worry' about how the spouse will respond to being exposed by possibly going through with the divorce or distancing or getting angry that we debate on our own minds what is right. I suggest when navigating these treacherous waters always go to the holy Spirit first and then speak Truth In Love to your spouse as Paul counsels with regard to sinners and their sinning ways. BTW – my wife and I reconciled after two years separated and she had filed for divorce. We are back together 3 years now and doing well and all thanks to Jesus!

  4. I’m in the same situation and its hurting so much not just for me but for my kids future, they have no idea except when my wife left came back left and came back again and her excuse was it was only bcuz of the kids that she came back, she is denying anything for me, that I pressure her to be a wife now, first I never asked her to come back home she came to me saying she miss her family and want to make our right but go right back to no effort and start counseling on her own then the counselor suggest something then she so going it’s a roller coaster ride and of course she made the statement if I filled for divorce she would be fine or ok with it and would get mad but it’s easy to say when it hasn’t been done or you haven’t seen another woman in your place, and the fact that the coward guy is still currently married though filed for divorce in February is crazy, the coward is almost 400ibs it’s just that he was like the serpent with eve he validated her and used her love for singing and music to persuade her his way and lied about his situation now promising to help her get into the music industry letting her sing on stage at clubs or wherever to make her feel good and she said she love me but not like that, that she loves him now it’s almost approaching 2 years and we’re still here in this place and I’m tired of feeling alone, she doesn’t think it would really affect our 3 kids I truly don’t know what to do anymore and I’ve tried not to give up but I can’t live like this anymore, the lies of saying you are going to hang out with the girls with jeans on then change after you leave the house into childish dresses lie to the kids the same way its alarming how deceptive people get during this time, and our 11 year anniversary is in a week, and I can’t celebrate something fake but do want to honor God in honoring our covenant, I don’t know anymore I’m just becoming emotion less but I do fight that feeling bcuz if I start not caring I don’t want my kids to see me in that light when my wife is the reason I want then to know and believe in God’s purpose of Marriage and that it’s for life not based on feelings but commitment and real Love when the feeling comes and goes love still remains commitment still remains for life

  5. Thank you for this info. After 18 months of keeping the affair mostly private, my h has told his family, moved in with ow and introduced her to his children. It has been exactly 3 months and now he is really pushing for a divorce. I'm hoping that's just monster and the affair is finally dying. It has made detaching so much easier for me with him gone…just not sure he's coming back now.

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