09/14/2016 09:15 EDT | Updated 12/20/2016 01:41 EST

Should You Contact The Person Your Spouse Is Cheating With?

It's something I hear all the time in my practice: "My spouse is having (or had) an affair. Should I contact the Other Man / Other Woman?"

My short answer is this: Nooooo!!!! Don't do it!

Easier said than done, right?

If you don't know who the other woman or man is, you may be painfully curious -- is the other person more attractive than me? What did my partner see in him or her?

You may think that confronting them will make them back off or that they might tell you certain details of the affair that your spouse will not reveal.

If you know the other person, you may feel compelled to tell them that you know about the relationship and that their dirty little secret is out. You may want to express your hurt and sense of betrayal and tell them what a terrible human being they are. You may want to scare them by threatening to tell their spouse about the affair.

Some betrayed partners -- I'll chalk this one up to shock and not thinking clearly -- may even believe that they can appeal to the other person's morality or conscience. We have a family! Please, let us work through our problems! Please, stop calling my spouse!

Know this: the other woman or man cannot be trusted or appealed to. They have their own agenda and, whatever that agenda may be, only one thing is for certain: It is not to your benefit. The other woman or man is not a reliable source of information. In the vast majority of cases, nothing this person tells you about the affair can be relied upon as truth.

Getting involved in that person's life by contacting his or her spouse only complicates your situation. You have no idea what is going on in that person's life. His or her spouse may be fully aware of the affair, and may in fact be having his or her own affair. The last thing you need is more drama. You have enough to deal with.

Moreover, when you contact the other woman or man, you send that person a message: You're important. You have a say in all of this. You have some measure of control in my marriage and life.

Ask yourself: Is that the message you want to send the person who has been sexually or emotionally involved with your spouse? Is that the message you want to send your own spouse? The fact is, there's been "three" in your marriage long enough. It's time to lose that third wheel, once and for all, and make the journey about you and your spouse again.

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