Dealing with a cheating spouse can be very complicated, embarrassing, and ineffective if you don’t know what you are doing. Like many other life’s challenges, it’s wise to approach this one by being informed and having a plan you can carry out in the most intelligent manner possible.

Here are five steps to guide you through confronting your cheating partner and coming out smelling like a rose:

1. Put your detective hat on. If you have absolutely no evidence to support your belief that your partner is cheating on you, then you need to stop right now and figure out whether or not you are going to go through trying to collect evidence, or drop the case entirely.

Finding a piece of paper with a telephone number on it and no name coupled with the fact that your partner says he or she just came back from a night out with friends, itself, is not enough to start pointing fingers and accusing someone of cheating. However, if the above information is coupled with the fact that one of your good friends saw your partner getting cozy with another member of the opposite sex in the corner of a bar and they left together, causing your partner to get home at 7 in the morning, that’s an entirely different story.

2. Once you have enough facts and a gut feeling that something is going on, it’s time to confront your partner. Get your head together on this one and if it helps, jot down some notes on a piece of paper with things that have occurred to support your belief as well as your plans on what to do if it’s true or if it’s not.

3. Blindside him or her by coming right ouConfront your cheating spouse after you have gathered all the facts and you believe your instincts are correct..t with a straightforward statement during a normal moment. Think Mike Tyson verbal uppercut on this one! For example, after you have finished dinner, say something like, “Who is that person I saw you with yesterday at (place)?” By saying this, you’re not divulging information about the sex or name of the person you saw with him or her, and you are leaving this open-ended question to get the response you’re either going to believe or not. He or she will probably be stunned and you will be able to tell plenty based on body language response.

Try to make your partner feel as if you know the truth before he or she comes out with it without coming out and saying it. This will drive them insane thinking they have been caught and if they have been cheating, it’s more than likely they will have no choice but to fess up. On the flip side, you never know; your partner may have a rational explanation for the series of events but always trust your gut instinct.

4. Once your partner replies, do not react unfavorably. Maintain your composure and show how mature you are as a person. From here, depending on your partner’s answer, you can choose to either talk about your problems or excuse yourself and say you need time to think about what’s going on.

5. Assess the situation. If your partner was cheating, reassure yourself that it did not have anything to do with you. Studies upon studies show people who cheat, more often than not, have and will be cheaters all their lives. They are the ones with hangups and demons they must face and they are also likely to never get over whatever complex they suffer from.

Cheaters often times have one or two parents who are cheaters and they basically mimic the exact same behavior they saw while they were growing up, thinking or convincing themselves this is normal behavior. Many people who cheat also place the blame on the other person for their actions; these are the worst kind of cheaters. They are not mentally equipped or capable to accept responsibility for their own actions, especially in relationships.

Things not to do:

1. Don’t get physical or verbally abusive and do or say things you will regret.

2. Don’t appear as if you are a needy person and beg your partner to come back to you even though he or she cheated on you. Have some dignity, for crying out loud, and move on if you have to!

3. Don’t blame yourself and for heaven’s sake, don’t let your partner blame you for the cheating behavior.