Relate offers support to people affected by Ashley Madison data leak

27 August 2015

Our team of counsellors is offering support to people affected by leaked data from the Ashley Madison affairs website.

After worried people began calling our national phone lines, we went public with guidance for those who have been exposed, those who have discovered that their partner is having an affair, or people who are worried about what is ‘around the corner’ for them.

Relate counsellor Denise Knowles says: “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 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.”

Extracts from Relate’s guidance include:

I’ve cheated on my partner and I don’t know how to tell him/her

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, 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 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.

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.

If you need help, call us now on 01234 356350

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