No matter who cheats in a relationship, surviving and restoring a marriage after infidelity isn’t easy for either partner. When a wife cheats, it leaves a particularly nasty taste in a husband’s mouth for all those sexist beliefs we have about infidelity. Most people assume, wrongly, that only men cheat. When a wife commits adultery, it messes with a man’s ability to trust anyone but especially themselves. It definitely affects his ability to trust within his own home. In order to survive a wife’s infidelity, it is possible to trust again but there are growth and independence to get back again.
Regardless of how modern some marriages are, infidelity only occurs and is labeled as such, when a couple has the spoken agreement of monogamy. An open marriage does not experience infidelity.
In order to restore your monogamous relationship and overcome your wife’s infidelity, you will have to true up to what’s really going in the bedroom. A new agreement – spoken and unspoken has to be put back into your relationship. Along with a commitment to personal growth, the growth of the partnership, and the growth of the family.
It takes a lot of work to rectify broken trust and the ensuing pain of a wife’s infidelity.
Doing so is going to take more courage than you’ve ever had to muster in your personal relationships before now. Because infidelity doesn’t occur between two people who are working on their monogamous relationship with humility and openheartedness.
There’s the courage to admit you cannot go through this alone and the courage to restore your marriage to some modicum of what you want or thought you had. Doing so takes two mature adults willing to take a good look at themselves. Infidelity occurs because spoken and unspoken agreements are broken.
Recreating agreements before or after infidelity cannot be done by just one partner.
Too often in my line of work, I hear from someone getting a divorce because their wife has cheated on them. The pain is evident and heartbreaking to learn. The effects and ramifications for this kind of pain can affect everything. It costs a lot of money to become divorced. Self-esteem can suffer. Then as the concentric circles move outward, one’s job, relationships, career prospects, and lifestyle might be changed. It’s not easy to deal with all these changes by oneself.
You can’t DIY or simply, “deal with it” minimizing the impact cheating does to your psyche and to your heart.
It’s hard to face the double life.Usually, an affair is quite hidden, often occurring over a great deal of time. (Women don’t usually go from bed to bed.) She’s going to be defensive and frightened of your response. (Understandably.) And you will want to be careful – the confession isn’t going to be easy to hear or to understand.
Most people initially feel as if they can’t possibly survive their wife’s infidelity. You don’t know who to hate more – her, her lover or yourself for not seeing it. You’ll probably be filled with conflicting thoughts.
Unfortunately, you can’t hate her into loving you. You can’t hate him enough to destroy yourself and there’s no way you can’t punish yourself into forgiveness.
It becomes a series of tortuous moments. The powerlessness and overwhelm can drive a person crazy. As you try to navigate this particular emotional storm, one minute you’re in love, trying to forget. You’re driven by the fear of what the future looks like. Another, you’re willing to forgive but not forget. While all along, you want to turn back time and pretend none of it happened, to begin with.
When you’re surviving a wife’s infidelity, first, do no harm.
Go someplace safe for a while. Leave, so that you can cool down before you say or do something you’ll regret. Take some time away from the partnership to give yourself a safe place to process. Unfortunately, betrayal cuts deep and it’s not easy to reclaim trust if you don’t take time away for yourself for a while.
To rebuild trust, face facts and reestablish healthy independence within your marriage.
This takes some time. You’ll have to take a hard look at whatever lack of sex or emotional disconnection you developed. As you face your naiveté, you’ll naturally begin to protect yourself and feel as if everything is unsteady. This is the time to question what’s been going on.
It’s funny how growth seems to never happen during the good times.
I am not a big fan of keeping a cheater in your life. But I’m also not in your shoes. My belief is that a cheater is a cheater until the day they decide not to cheat any longer. You cannot make that decision for your wife.
Marriage in our day and age is about free choice. Every monogamous couple wakes up and decides if this is another day for putting their lover at home first. Every day. Without making that decision, it’s tough to create happiness and harmony in your home. We are all inundated with distractions like pornography, flirtations and many opportunities to cheat.
If you don’t opt-in to creating a loving relationship, monogamy doesn’t stand a chance.
As you work to survive your wife’s infidelity, you may be tempted to blame yourself. Sometimes you’ll think that’s your only option. You do play a part in the dynamic you’ve created, but you are not responsible for the cheating. Ever. No matter what is thrown in your face. Most likely a lot will be thrown in your face.
Love alone cannot save a marriage. I wish it were that easy. So you’re going to have to do your work to become an individual again within your partnership. Unfortunately, for right now, she’s proven not to be trustworthy with your heart.
The marriages that survive a wife’s infidelity depend upon two people, committed to recreating everything together. Without that kind of commitment, it will not work. So your first test… will she join you?
You need her undying commitment to being in a couple with you. Again.
You can’t continue shouldering all the burden of the relationship by yourself any longer. When a wife has had an affair, you realize that you’ve been doing most of it without her full support for far too long. It will eat at your self-esteem and self-respect going forward.
With the right kind of support and guidance, you have a brief window to heal the shame with forgiveness. When you decide to become the bigger person, you put your healing into the realm of possibility. It’s a harder journey than just sitting down and discussing what’s not working with a spouse. It is truly stepping into a new commitment layered with generosity and trust.
After a wife’s infidelity, it’s time to understand what marriage and monogamy truly mean.
To play with your enemy again takes stamina and strength. Along with inspiration, hope, and optimism. Perhaps even a bigger faith than you might have at the moment. As you do your part and take on your growth, you’ll be surprised by your courage. I suspect, based on the clients I’ve worked with, you won’t regret any of your efforts. Your growth will justify the time or money. Life is, once again, teaching you a great deal. As you strive to thrive because of your wife’s infidelity, you will know you’re capable of anything and that true love is possible!