If you are a man who cares about your wife and marriage, it can be devastating if your wife cheats on you. You can question everything from your performance as a husband, your life decisions, and your worth as a man, husband, provider, and father, if children are involved. To help you recover your self esteem and your ability to move on, whether you stay in your marriage or not, here is some advice.
Do not blame yourself if you didn’t know
If your wife has never talked to you about her unhappiness in the marriage you should not blame yourself. Many marriages begin to fail when there is a lack of communication, especially when feelings are not expressed. Your wife would not have cheated if she was satisfied in the marriage. However, you do not have to blame yourself if you never knew what she was unhappy about.
Do not make threats to the man she cheated with
You will be angry at the man she cheated with. You might even think you are angry with him and not your wife so you can deny that she consented to cheating on you. However, making threats will only make everything worse because it could get you in legal trouble.
Do not put your life on hold
This is going to be one of the hardest times you have ever had, but you do not need to punish yourself by putting your life on hold. You need to keep going out with friends, going fishing or any of the activities you enjoy doing. This is the most important time to take care of yourself and let yourself enjoy life. Hanging out with friends and family will also help to find support.
Do not obsess
If the man is a friend of the family you should not keep him as a friend. If you can’t avoid him because he is a coworker, you can ignore him and only speak to him if it is necessary for the job. A therapist can also help you handle the stress of working with him. But whatever you do, don’t obsess about him every day. You need to be able to move on with your life so that you can find happiness again.
Do not think you are inadequate
If you do learn why she cheated on you, realize that anything you did wrong can be rectified. Even sexual performance can be improved. If you try and she still accuses you of not meeting her standards, accept yourself and find someone who will appreciate you. But don’t think that you are an inadequate husband, sexual partner, provider, father, or anything else that she accuses you of, because you aren’t.
You may have suspected. After all, she has seemed somewhat distant for a while. But you never thought it would happen to you. The moment the undeniable evidence was confronted, it was like being hit by a truck. She’s having an affair. Whether it is an emotional or physical affair, the betrayal is just as deep.
How can so many emotions hit all at once? They flood in and out—anger, sadness, hopelessness, confusion, embarrassment, betrayal, and rejection. The truth is earth shattering. The world that you know has been broken by an utter breach of trust by the person that should have honored it the most.
If you have or are experiencing this now, I am sorry. You may be asking yourself these questions: What happened? Is my marriage over? Can it be saved? Do I even want to save it? There are so many things to confront, but the main question is, what now?
You Probably Want to Walk. Stop. Give It Time.
This is understandable. She was unfaithful. However, don’t make a quick decision. Take your time working through the steps below before deciding anything. Do whatever it takes to save your marriage before walking away.
Carefully Consider Your Children.
Remember that she is their mother. They do not need to know the details or even who is at fault. Do not put them in the position of choosing sides. It’s hard enough. Tell them you and their mom is having a hard time. Affirm your love for them and continue to spend as much time with them as you can. When all is said and done, you want to be able to look at them and tell them that you did everything you could to save the marriage and keep the family together.
Flush through Your Feelings.
“Manning up” is not burying your feelings. You need to let them loose. Your feelings are legitimate. Putting on a good face won’t make them disappear. They will only surface later in the form of poison-filled bitterness. Feel deep, identify those feelings, and articulate them.
Then Confront Her.
If you have not already done it, confront your wife when you are under control. Be ready for her to place blame your way. Ask questions and gather as much information as possible. Calmly tell her exactly how you feel. Don’t hold back. This will take multiple sessions.
Get Some Solitude and meditate.
You need to get away where you have quiet time to think and reflect. Remove distractions. I would highly recommend enlisting help and direction. Separating for a while may be healthy.
Take a Self-Inventory.
She did what she did and you don’t have to own that. However, your marriage most likely got to an unhealthy place and that takes two people. Think through and identify the ways that you contributed. On the part you played and what you can do different going forward.
Resist Falling into Bad Habits.
There is a deep pain and loneliness. The temptation will be to numb or distract you from it. Getting drunk, stoned may temporarily provide relief and a thrill. However, in the morning, you will find yourself with an even deeper loneliness and hurt. Put your energy into healthy activities.
Find a Trusted Friend to Talk to—Be Very Careful in Your Selection.
You need a friend that you can be real with on every level. Choose this person carefully. Make sure they are a good listener, level-headed, and insightful. It will be easy to gravitate to the guy who will bash your wife. You don’t need that guy. You need the one that helps bring sober clarity.
Seek Professional Counseling and a Support Group.
Complicated problems need expertise to uncover. The issues you and your marriage are facing need professional insight and perspective. Even if you have no desire to reconcile, you should still meet regularly with a counselor for your own personal healing.
This is the hardest part, but the most beneficial. It doesn’t mean all is forgotten or that you blindly get back into the relationship. And it certainly doesn’t mean everything is okay. It just means letting go of grudges, anger, and bitterness. It means you are ready for renewal, either in moving on or hopefully restoring the marriage.
Marital infidelity is one of the most hurtful things that can happen to a man. Hopefully this article has shown you what to do and what not to do to handle the stress and feelings that comes with it. You do have choices. If you decide that you do want to try to repair things, then you need to approach the conversation as ‘What did we do wrong? How did we get here? If someone cheats, it’s usually because of a deep-rooted problem, and these types of problems manifest from both people in the relationship doing something wrong. Your spouse or partner may ramp up the begging and promising, but you need to tune that out while you figure out what it is you want, not what they want. They already chose what they wanted. So now you get into the driver’s seat to choose where you want to go, how you want to heal, and if this spouse or partner will be with you for that ride to healing and rebuilding. This decision is up to you. Don’t rush it — figure out what you need slowly.
Find support, talk to a therapist, and work your way to finding happiness again.