Seven Questions To Ask If Your Spouse Has Been Unfaithful

question-mark-unfaithful - Pixabay - 1495858_1920The following questions were posed by Dr Phil McGraw when he was interviewing engaged couples that were cheating on their spouses-to-be. Below them, we’ve added a few summary statements. However these “Seven Questions to Ask if Your Partner Has Been Unfaithful” that Dr Phil discussed, could also be applicable for those who find out their spouses have cheated. We hope you’ll prayerfully consider them as you think about reconciling. They could really help you in this type of situation:

An affair does not necessarily foretell the end of a relationship. Dr. Phil McGraw has seven questions to ask to determine if your cheating partner deserves a second chance.

Here Are the Questions Concerning the Unfaithful:

1. Is this an isolated event or a pattern?

2. Does your partner own his bad behavior or make excuses for it?

3. Does he have insight into how he’s hurt you or is he oblivious?

4. Is he sorry for his choice or sorry he got caught?

5. Is he willing to clean up his act, or is he in denial?

6. Is this out of character or does he have an insensitive gene? [Marriage Missions Editors Note: By this question Dr Phil is asking if the family has a pattern of infidelity in it. Family patterns can sometimes manifest themselves in future behavior of the children that grow up in it.]

7. Is this a legacy or new behavior?

The previous seven questions you asked of your partner.

One major question you have to ask of yourself is: If you reinvested in this relationship and allowed yourself to trust, and your partner cheated, do you have the depth and strength to recover from it? Or would you be emotionally bankrupt?

Dr. Phil says this final question is the deal-breaker. If you can confidently say that you would have the courage to recover, you can move forward in your relationship with a spirit of optimism.

On his web site, Dr Phil has other related information that he makes available to help with this type of situation. Even though this isn’t a Christian web site the information is helpful. And for the most part it doesn’t conflict with Biblical principles. Just use the gleaning principle that is discussed in Marriage Message #252 if you question any of it.

— PLUS —

Here are 10 more questions, based on those posed by Shirley Glass, which could also help you as you’re dealing with this issue:

10 Questions to Ask After An Affair for a Christian Marriage to Recover (Part 1)

10 Questions to Ask After an Affair for a Christian Marriage to Recover (Part 2)

Print Post

Filed under: Emotional & Physical Affair

Join the Discussion

Please observe the following guidelines:

  • Try to be as positive as possible when you make a comment.
  • If there is name-calling, or profane language, it will be deleted.
  • The same goes with hurtful comments targeted at belittling others; we won't post them.
  • Recommendations for people to divorce will be edited out–that's a decision between them and God, not us.
  • If you have a criticism, please make it constructive.
  • Be mindful that this is an international ministry where cultural differences need to be considered.
  • Please honor the fact this is a Christ-centered web site.

We review all comments before posting them to reduce spam and offensive content.


50 responses to “Seven Questions To Ask If Your Spouse Has Been Unfaithful

  1. (SA)  I just found out that my husband has been cheating on me again and this time it hurts the most because he said it as if he was entitled to it since I ignored him and was busy with then my 2 month old child who God blessed us with after having 2 of them dying at infancy. As a mother’s instinct I wanted to protect, love, care for and nurture my little one and had to deal with panic attacks at the same time. My husband did nothing to help me with the child or the house chores and after a while it got to be too much for me. I tried speaking to him and telling him how I felt but he just ignored me plainly. One day he asked me to have sex with him and I got annoyed and I told him that he was only concerned about his sexual needs and did not care about anyone else. And that was when we started going out. My instincts told me something was not right but I could not really put 1 and 1 together. Then after 3 months of fights we reconciled but then he already had an affair and even when we were speaking to fixing things he continued with his affairs until I did my investigations on him. I found condoms in his car but did not confront him until I gathered enough evidence to and when I finally did I asked him politely to confess to me any affairs he might have had during our fight and he looked me in the eyes and told me he had no affairs and I begged him for 2 days to come out clean but he maintained his innocence.

    Yesterday I confronted him with all the evidence I have gathered on him and that’s when he told me boastfully that yes he had an affair and it was becauses I couldn’t give it to him that he had to go and find it elsewhere, as if that justified his actions. I told him that he has no respect for either himself or me and that how can I continue trusting the same person who is suppose to protect his family but hurts it the most?

    To think that all this time he accused me of not trusting him and all the nonsense when he was the one fooling around with another married woman. It is disgusting to think what he did, that he can can go and have sex with someone else and come home and act holy.

    Everything in me wants to leave him because I don’t trust him that he wont do it again especially since he did it right after the death of our 1st child. I know God hates divorce and He wants us to love our spouses unconditionally with the Agape love but how do I move from here onward with him? How am I suppose to make love to him without thinking of the fact that he slept with another woman? With sicknesses like HIV/Aids out there how do I know that he wont bring it home to us? I am breastfeeding and he sleeps with me and he doesn’t he think that he is also endangering the very child he claims to love more than anything?

    Please somebody help me, if you know any marriage counselors in Gauteng area in South Africa please help me! I don’t want to give in without at least exhausting all channels and in the meantime I will continue praying to God to heal me and forgive both my husband and her mistress and give me strength to stand in the vows I made before him.

  2. (VANUATU)  Francois, I really appreciate what you said, however, you should know that everything you said is the same for women and sometimes worse because we are always considered to be the peace of the home. But infidelity stirs up passionate feelings such as anger, hostility, insecurities and therefore the peace and tranquility goes right out the door.

    I am also in a similar situation where I have been betrayed by my husband and one of his work colleagues. He has volunteered to quit his job and I admit that would make me happier to know that he is not spending more than eight hours a day with her but I have supported him in his job. The worst part for me too is that we have been together for thirteen years and this is not the first time and I want to believe this will be the last but he has made such empty promises before and I still find myself in the same situation. I applaud you Francois, for your endurance and hope and pray that I might endure as well as you. All the best.

  3. (SOUTH AFRICA)  It was after the third time I found out that my husband was cheating and at that time I had a male friend who I knew had feelings for me that I decided then and there that if my husband can do it, why not me? We then started dating. He is married too. It has been a year and half now. I know it’s wrong and tried several times to end the affair but I can’t. Every time my husband hurts me, he is the first person I think of and I ask myself why is my husband not like him? He makes me feel like a woman. He respects me, how I feel, and will do anything to make sure I’m happy. He listens to me, he gives me tender love that I deserve which my husband does none of these.

    I don’t think I still love my husband because every time he hurts me I think of leaving him. I ask myself why did I married him. We have two kids and am scared that if I leave him what if I lose my kids over him? What will the family say? It’s really tough for me and I don’t know what to do. What is worse is we have different cultures which it makes things difficult, when it comes to children. I cannot stand the fact that he sometimes wants to take my kids with him when he goes to the traditional doctor. You see, this one breaks my heart even worse.

    You know, I, one day went with him when our baby was a month old. The place is dirty and that doctor cut my baby with minor and was not even wearing the gloves when he took some black mix, and put it on my baby wrist where he cut him. I asked my husband if he was ok with it. I felt it was a health risk, and the fact that he always go there, it scares me now, because if that’s what they do to him, what if he gets infected with HIV in that process and I must sleep with him after that?

  4. (K.S.A.)  Francois, Amen! Receive the blessings…. God is not finished with you yet. Only from glory to glory, HE is molding us… Remain blessed…

  5. (ZIMBABWE)  I just found out a week ago that my husband of 3 yrs is cheating on me -for the 3rd time. The last time I caught him he promised to stop. It took me a long time to trust him again. Right now I am thinking of leaving him coz my heart is shattered. I didn’t see myself trusting him again.

    The worst part is he is still denying it. That means he isn’t at all feeling any remorse. We have a 3 yr old child and didn’t want him to grow up in a broken home. I have sacrificed a lot for this man and am so hurt I can’t even begin to explain it.

    1. (USA)  I know how you feel. My husband cheated on me and we have 4 kids. I know you don’t want your child to grow up in a broken home but do you want him to see what your husband is doing to you, which is not right? You have to think of you and your son’s well being. Your husband does not seem to care and you and your son deserve so much better.

  6. (PHILIPPINES)  Hello, The story of our marriage started out with lies told to me by my husband. He got a woman pregnant who was living in another place far from our place. When I first found out that he got this woman pregnant, I told him that since we just started our relationship, we will end it; it’s a child and I don’t want to feel guilty.

    But he told me he didn’t want to get married to her because he didn’t love her. It was only a one night stand; she’s not a girlfriend, really. So I continued our relationship.

    As years passed by I noticed he kept on going vacation to their place and asked me not to call him because the girl was there. To make this story short, I discovered he promised to marry her, but this I found out after I was pregnant by him already!

    With our relationship of 7 yrs as BF and GF, there are too many betrayals. I caught him on the text message, but he keep on denying it. He was always pointing out his friends not him, just using his mobile. But I loved him at that time. Until I got pregnant by him, and that time I discovered under a bag under his bed that was locked. I opened it and discover the truth about his relationship with the girl he got pregnant. The girl is hoping for them to get married. She and his kid are waiting for him and they are not just one night stand. She loves him they are BF and GF.

    When I discovered it, he refused to tell the truth. He just simplifies everything he tells me. Just see what’s in front of me now? It’s past and I’m pregnant already and another woman wants her child to have a family. But I continued in my decision to get married to him. Even within that period he did too many fishy things. I’m helpless. I have no parents at all and my sisters all got married.

    When we got married things became worse. He became irresponsible. He doesn’t care for my feelings anymore. He has done too many fishy things and just gives me stupid reasons that even a kid would not believe. He always works the night shift, we seldom see each other, he becomes unfair in sex, and worst is, we are living together with his brothers, together with us. I told him we will move out to separate and he refused. When my first child became 4 months old I got pregnant again because of his carelessness.

    There was more suffering. I struggled, and still he did too many fishy things and still he lied about the reasons. He even saw me crying and yet he ignored me, and didn’t even comfort me. He would say, it’s like this is my reason, whether you like it or not. Life became so hard for us financially and then I decided to go abroad, because of one incident which happened where my one month old son had pneumonia and he did nothing. It was traumatic for me. I think I would rather work far away than have my kids with me and he would die in my hands.

    When I went abroad, things became worse. The first month of my stay abroad, it was my birthday and he forgot to greet me. His reason was he was too busy. The 3rd week of my stay he has wrong text messaged again and again and he lied about the reasons, my trust was too small already, my respect is 1 percent only and my love, I don’t know…

    And another wrong txt messages, I received again. He denied everything, until I reached the point that I didn’t respect him at all. He told me, it’s your chance now, someday I will find your chance, until he discovered my facebook message to a friend because he knows my password because I gave it to him. It was a message w/c is a very civil one asking apologies that I deleted him on my account, etc etc. HE made it an issue.

    He told all the story to my relatives that I betrayed him, that he is the one left taking care of the kids, working at the same time and I am living abroad betraying him. It was my sister who confronted me because he did not talk to me. When I asked him what’s the message he would not tell me the details. He deactivated my facebook so I don’t know what the message was. To make it short, he invented too many stories on my messages just to catch me betraying him and threatend me that he will take my kids away. I was so helpless, until I recovered my facebook and I discovered he just invented all the stories and the messages.

    So I decided to end my marriage to him, because it’s not only the first time he did this to me, reversing the issue. He did it before 3 times. In our conversations he agrees to end things with us, but in front of my relatives he is telling them he is still hoping we will be ok, knowing what he told me. He says, I know I did mistakes; go on make yourself happy. I’m sorry for what I did; lets make things civil, and legal when you come home.

    Now I have a boyfriend already. He respects me. He knows everything, he loves me and cares for me and we have the same attitude and way of thinking about everything. My husband has a doubt that I loved somebody but I can’t tell him on chat. I’m planning to tell him everything when I come home and have a legal separation. I can’t rebuild my realtionship with him anymore. I don’t love him, there were too many lies. We have too many differences and I don’t want to pretend in my entire life. We have two kids, 3 and 4 yrs old. Please give me advice. What’s the best thing I can do?

  7. (USA)  I found that my boyfriend (now husband) was cheating on me with not one but 2 ex girlfriends. Why did I stay? I was told that he could be a lot worse. Each day, I watch his moods change towards me and I know he is back with one of them again. It’s to the point I don’t want to do anything as a wife… but I do. He even said that he wishes I would get into a car accident and die. He never apologizes for his actions or his words. His attitude stinks.

    I left him for a week and he begged me to come home because he was hungry. I only came home because the house was in my name only. He lied and said he was going to change. He did for several months and we started to get a house together. His credit couldn’t but mine did. So I really needed space for my child to come back to live with me. After I settled on the house, he reverted right back to his old ways.

    I honestly just want him to leave and go be with those things he cheating with. Why can’t he just do that? Oh, because I make his life financially better. I get nothing but a lot of mouth out of the deal. Can I cheat? No. Karma is real. If I could go back in time I would!

  8. (USA)  My husband of 41 years has cheated on me with his secretary. She is not a trashy person but has a kind of pitiful life situation (married with a slightly disabled, lazy husband). They were taped and the proof of the affair was given to me from one of their partner employees. It was a shock!

    Our marriage was on track at the time. The affair laster several weeks. My husband and she admitted to the entire thing, which went on during work and we are both getting counseling. This woman is still working as a secretary for my husband. She has spoken to me and shows such shame. I am a teacher in a Catholic school and teach her children. This is all very hard.

    I want to take the high road but this is so difficult. Each day is hard and everytime I speak to my husband he feels so ashamed but also feels I am sticking the knife in his heart. This is the hardest time of my life. I do not know if I can ever get over this. She is no threat to me but it is still difficult. My husband says he understands but she is also my son’s secretary and our 4 children do not know what happened.

    I am at a crossroad with everything. I would like to hear your opinion on this topic. My therapist says it does not matter that she is his secretary -he has to work this out. Please let me know your opinion.

    1. (USA)  You said you wanted our opinions, here goes.

      #1 Your husband and this woman can no longer work together, period. Either he sells the business or she gets another job. Whatever it takes to accomplish this, it has to be done. This is non-negotiable. It needs to happen in 5 minutes.

      #1.1 Her husband has to know. That should happen about 1 minute after she no longer works with your husband. He has the right to know what he’s facing with his wife. He might be slightly disabled, and slightly lazy, but cheating on your spouse is abusive behavior, so she’s 100% a spouse abuser, and he has the right to know he’s the victim of her abuse.

      #2 You husband is an addict who will resist his drug of choice, the affair. Other places here you’ll find articles about how affairs are like drugs, they are addictions. Or go poke around as Dr Harley is often quoted here and that URL is his website. He has prior experience in treating addicts and when he began marriage counseling and learned the most traditional marriage counseling had an 86% failure rate, he learned what it takes to save a marriage from infidelity. His book, Surviving an Affair spells out the steps. Near the top is a commitment to No Contact between the lovers, FOR LIFE. Hence my first point.

      #3 Addicts lie and manipulate to get their fix. Your husband is trying to manipulate you when he tells you you are sticking the knife in him. Don’t bite. In fact, turn it around and cheerfully explain that he was the one wielding the knife and you are trying to pull it out. It’s going to hurt, and that he should remember this pain so he doesn’t go wielding any more knives in the future. In other words, don’t let him shift the blame from his behavior to your response.

      #4 This woman is very much a threat to your marriage, period. No matter how unlikely that seems, she is. Treat her as such.

      Since you are a teacher at the Catholic school where her children attend, perhaps the parents need to follow some standard of behavior. A parent sleeping with the husband of a faculty member cannot be a behavior condoned by the church. (Neither is your husband’s behavior!)

      So perhaps what you need to do is to take your husband to work where he can confess to the principle/superintendent, the church leaders both ordained and lay-leaders who are in charge of the school. That certainly may come in handy if she (or your husband) doesn’t cooperate with the very first step, which is no contact.

      #5. Watch. Your husband has to do the heavy lifting here. He is the one who was carving everyone up with his knife, so he needs to meet the standard YOU set regarding what is appropriate demonstration that he’s a safe and engaged husband.

      The only thing that matters is action. Words are cheap. After all, he already vowed to be faithful, and you can see how much value he placed on those words. Watch his actions, they will tell you if he is contrite and remorseful, or if he’s just embarrassed he got caught.

  9. (UNITED STATES)  I really need someones help!! I’ve been married for about one year and have really been faithful in my marriage. I am a religious woman and was sincere when I made my vows to my husband. However, during the beginning of the last 4 months of our 1 year anniversary, we had a bad argument, which caused my husband to leave for 3 days without telling me where he is, where he was, or what he had done! I was worried sick!

    The argument was stupid and was about how he always hogs the car etc… 3 days later we made up and had business to take care of in a different city. On our way back home he fell asleep on the highway and we were involved in a terrible car accident with a semi truck. I got the worst injuries… broken ribs, torn ligament in neck… it was really bad. He had minor injuries so my family was a little suspicious about the car accident because he said he wasn’t tired before we left and it was broad daylight!!! I, on the other hand believe, and want to believe, it was just a pure accident!

    We lost everything car, home etc… because my injuries were so bad that I had to stay in the hospital and take a leave of absence from my job and he took a leave from his job too! 2 months passed by and we’ve never been the same! But in the mist of the 2 months he would not call to check on me or wouldn’t talk to me for 2 weeks and I still haven’t fully recovered from the accident even still, after 2 months has went past!

    Now 4 days ago (a week before our 1 yr anniversary) I checked my husband’s email just out of curiosity, and found a woman saying she loves my husband! I asked him about it and he denies ever even knowing her! So I replied to her asking what’s that about and she gave me her number! I called and she told me that they were having an affair since the time my husband and I had that bad arguement! She told me that he said we were getting a divorce but never talked to ME about divorce! She sent me all these messages he sent her saying he loves her and wants to marry her and just saying all these romantic things!

    This really sickened me seriously! I thought he loved me and we made up from the argument!! So the girl and I both called him and both of us were pretty upset because 1 I’m his wife and we had a covenent before God and 2, he led this girl into believing he left me when in actuality he didn’t! So after he got caught he ended up telling the truth of course, and saying he was just angry at the fact that we had got into that argument and started drinking on that day and one thing led to another and was angry at the fact that my family was suspicious about the car accident! (But was my family right? Did he purposely get into the car accident to harm me because of his now to find out love affair?)

    He says he is sorry and won’t ever do it again but my problem is its been going on for 2 1/2 months!!! And a day before I found all of this out, we had just been together looking for a new place! So it’s really hard for me to know if he is really sorry and won’t do it again or is he sorry he got caught and just want to move in? It’s just so much!

    In my religion it says basically forgive or God won’t forgive you! And in marriages you go through trials and tribulations. (Is this just a test in my faith??) I know no one is perfect but that bond is broken between us now! He says he really wants to work it out and move into our new place with a fresh start but I’m just so confused. I didnt ever think he would do something like that to me! I forgive him but it’s just that I’m scared and don’t know if I can go through this twice if he did it again!

    It feels to me that it’s just so soon, 4 days ago, that I found all this stuff out and in about 4 days we’ll be moving in together again! My heart hasn’t had any time to heal. I’m very strong but it’s just hard!! SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE BEFORE I MAKE THE WRONG MISTAKE!!!

  10. (NIGERIA)  Please, my step mum is cheating on my dad and is taking my wife along. I don’t know how to tell the old man cos she already has two children from him. I love my dad. I fear he might be shocked after hearing the story. Please should I tell my dad? If so, how?

    1. I posed this question to my husband Steve and we both came to the same agreement on this matter. You need to pray about this and see what the Lord says to you. What would you want done if you were in your father’s place?

      Here’s what my husband and I concluded: If either of us were in your father’s place, and we found out that our spouse was cheating on us (and your father eventually will) and then we found out that one of our sons knew about this beforehand and didn’t tell us, we would feel doubly betrayed. But that’s just us. Truth and family loyalty is important to us. We would feel that our son would tell us in a kinder way than we could find out otherwise. Would the truth be difficult to take? Absolutely! But it would be even more difficult if we found out from another source, when our son could have been the one to have spoken the “truth” in love, first.

      You don’t have to go into the details. You don’t have to slander your step mum. That’s not for you to do. You just find the right time and place to lovingly tell what you know and leave that truth to him. He may turn on you. Sometimes we turn on the messenger more than the abuser (at least in the beginning). We don’t know what will happen here. You know your dad better than us and you know what you would want done (if the situation were in reverse). Prayerfully consider that and what you believe God would have you do and then go in that direction. Even if your dad turns on you, you will know you did the best you could with the information you discovered. That’s the best you can do.

  11. (AUSTRALIA)  I would love some advice, I am currently married with 2 teenage kids 18 and 17 and have been for 20 years. I am 39 years old this year, 5 weeks ago my male best friend of 5 years was going through some very personal family issues with abuse that happened to him as a child and I was supportive by listening and hugging him when he broke down. One night he was in tears because of the abuse he suffered as a child I reached out and hugged him, he kissed me.

    My husband found out and my life has been a living nightmare since. I am made to check in everywhere I go. I must provide proof of where I am all the times yet he has accused me of meeting my male best friend, and lying etc. He came clean about a trip away he had with 10 mates to Vegas, which I asked him about when he returned as I had one of his friends come over and get drunk and and what he told me astounded me. He said my husband was with someone in Vegas and he swore on his dad’s life back then that simply wasn’t the case. I confronted him and he swore yet again he done nothing wrong. I asked him not to say anything or cause an issue with his friend. He promised he wouldn’t say anything.

    He lied and I found out. He has hidden phone calls with his brother and work colleges and makes a habit of telling his mates about my best friend and I. Any friends I thought I had have walked away from me. I have no family and left for 3 weeks to stay in a hotel. I attempted to take my life twice but failed.

    I returned home as he begged and pleaded he loved me to give us another chance. I agreed as I love him dearly. Since I have been back home he has hidden, lied, accussed me of things that I didn’t do. He told me his dead grandfather whom he has never met came to him whilst he was asleep and told him I was doing wrong again. Now he has told his friends, which are or were our friends, the whole male best friend incident. Not only do I deal with these friends on a work level I also have to deal with them on holidays as we have our house on the river next to theirs.

    I am in despair I have no one to reach out to, or support me. I have paid dearly for my error and now I am made to suffer every waking moment. Please help?

  12. (UNITED STATES) I’m scared, and heartbroken. I’m 32, and my husband Michael recently told me he’d had an affair, while I was pregnant with our third baby, and for the first month of her life. I don’t know what to do, and I need help! We’ve known each other since 1996, and I don’t wanna throw what we have away. I kicked him out, and without him things are bad. But, I’m not sure that I want to stay. I can’t let him betray me again. Things are hard on the two older kids, our 5 year old Vince and our 3 year old Mariah. Mariah’s always been such a daddy’s girl. I need help!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Well, about 2 years ago I started noticing the changes in her. Without reason or rhyme they just started happening. I tried to talk with her about things and I asked her why she was acting the way she was. Her response was to me was always I’m not acting strange I’m just tired from work. Ya, if I only knew then what I know now I would have look for help that would put a stop to all this at a point. I never knew she was having an affair with a co-worker; I later found out.

    Well, I actually found this out through confronting her over and over again as I had suspected it. She was just acting to out of normal and when she started spending less time with the kids, I drew a line there. I had to know what was going on. We got in a huge fight that night and she finally told me what was going on and left the house to go and be with Brian, her co-worker. This just tore a hole through our family. She actually just left the kids and me and walked out the door. My heart feel out of my chest and my stomach went in knots. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or think straight. I had to take care of the kids, so I held the family together as best I could.

    I went to my preacher and told him what was happening in hopes that he could pray for us and hopefully get her back. After waiting 3 months I decided that it was not working and I searched out other alternative ways of getting her back. During this point I was served with divorce papers. I have never experienced the lack of having a reason to live in life. I wanted to just believe that I didn’t ever get served with them. I just wanted to believe that it was just a dream. My mind could not handle the fact that she actually wanted a divorce from me after all the years together and all over Brian. Well, as anyone else would have done I tried to stall, hoping to find another way out of this, perhaps one where we could be together and be a family once again without Brian in the way of our love.

  14. I am at the point where my spouse is dead to me. He was caught having an affair with a woman who attended our church. At first, I believed him when he said it was over…until I found information several months later proving otherwise. Again, he claimed it was over, yet I was skeptical. My foot wasn’t out the door, but my hand was on the doorknob. Finally, I came across more information which officially closed my heart to him and had me wanting a divorce.

    All the while, he claimed he loved me, wanted his family, was no longer involved with her, etc. We haven’t slept in the same room in months and I am really over it. Just for confirmation, God had me stumble across some more information that proved their affair was far from over. I am angry that he continues to lie and can’t understand why the two of them can’t go off and be together?

    I pray he find peace somehow, but am very angered by their selfishness and disregard for marriage. Oh, she’s married also.