Your heart is racing. Your stomach has that sinking feeling. You try to distract yourself, but your mind is like a boomerang, fixating back on that distressing discovery. The thing is, you know your partner has been unfaithful, and now you're not only wounded but also at a loss for words. Your fingers hover over your phone. How can you express yourself when betrayal has left you totally speechless? What’s the best text to send if you caught your partner cheating?
Before you send anything, it’s important to figure out what your end game is. Take a few deep breaths and ask yourself: what is your objective in texting them? Unless you’ve already decided to call it quits on the relationship, you likely want to gain some clarity by talking to them about it — and texting is no place to accomplish that. The ability to observe someone’s facial expressions, their tone of voice, etc. can be key to reaching a place of understanding, which is why it’s ideal to talk about serious matters like cheating face-to-face. According to EZ Dating Coach founder Mike Goldstein, texting about the infidelity is ill-advised — instead, this mode of communication should be used to plan a future time to talk it out.
“The texting should just be used to set up an in-person meeting — or at least a phone call,” he tells Elite Daily. “Texting can be confusing and may lead to more heartbreak.”
Licensed clinical social worker Melanie Shapiro agrees that speaking in person is the best way to address the issue.
"When you can speak in person, you (and your partner) can take full accountability for your actions and reactions," she explains. "This also makes it easier to tell if your partner is telling the truth and is genuine in their responses."
Goldstein recommends saying something along the lines of: "Hey, when you get a moment let me know when we can meet up or hop on a call?" It’s simple, it’s straightforward, and while it doesn’t include anything about the cheating specifically, it lets your partner know that there’s something important on your mind that you need to discuss.
The challenge, of course, is not allowing your emotions to get the best of you while typing out that text. It’s only natural to feel betrayed, hurt, perhaps even angry at your SO for their infidelity. All of those feelings are not only normal, but also healthy to identify and express. However, a text message is not the ideal method for doing so, as misunderstandings are more likely to happen and thus, it could quickly escalate into a heated conversation that results in more hurt feelings. So, resist the temptation to use your text as an outlet for these emotions, and save them for your in-person conversation.
Goldstein advises refraining from using any language that’s rooted in blame — accusations like “this is all your fault” can quickly make your partner defensive, which again, can trigger the digital discussion to spiral out of control. According to Shapiro, it's important to avoid generalizations, like “you always” or “you never,” as doing so may make your partner less likely to engage in an honest conversation about the infidelity.
"If a partner feels like they are being attacked, they will likely [be] less willing to speak about the situation in an open honest way," she says.
“Cheating is horrible and should never happen,” adds Goldstein. “However, in many cases, the person is cheating because they are not getting something from their current relationship. Although painful, both parties may want to get curious and attempt to figure out why the cheating is happening.”
Ultimately, it's up to you to decide whether you're willing and able to attempt to move forward with your relationship after this betrayal. There is no "right" or "wrong" decision. According to Goldstein, it is possible to salvage your relationship — as long as you dig into the catalyst that caused this behavior, as well as he inevitable trust issues that will arise from it. Once you’ve acknowledged the infidelity head-on, you may want to seek some assistance from a couples’ therapist to help you work through the complicated feelings that follow, as well as to hopefully take steps toward forgiveness and rebuild your bond.
Remember: While confronting your SO about their cheating is a healthy and necessary part of healing, texting is not the ideal forum for that confrontation. Use texting merely as a tool to set up an in-person conversation about the incident, and nothing more. That way, you give your partner — and yourself — an opportunity to freely express your emotions and to feel fully heard.