This question I cheated on my husband how do I fix it? is one I get all the time and the good news is that whilst it is a tough one I have helped thousands of people through this and the marriage can be fixed. It isn’t easy but if you both serious about fixing it, you can do it.
I feel it’s important to say this now. There’s no short ‘trick’ here. It’s going to take time, energy and it might feel worse before it feels better. But in all my years of experience, I do believe the advice here will give you the best fighting chance of saving your marriage.
This is going to assume that both of you know this happened and are dealing with the fallout. It is a distressing time but you are asking how to make it work it means you are not giving up and walking away. Walking away can seem like the easiest thing to do, window- dressing it as the best thing for everybody, etc.
Walking away is a waste of everything you have already, the life you have made together and the family and friends around all that.
Note: Cheating is usually a symptom of a deeper problem and not the actual problem itself. If you haven’t already, I’d suggest taking the marriage assessment quiz so we can get into the specifics of how you get things back on track.
It will take time, honesty, trust, love and a serious commitment to the marriage to make it work between you, but it can be done. Often I see a much stronger marriage emerge from the result of an affair, it can be the best wake-up call you will ever get.
If you are reading this and thinking I don’t want to walk away, I have messed up, I have ruined everything, but I want to fix it because I want my life back, then you have come to the right place. I can help. You need to put the work in, but I can help. I have helped thousands of others in the same position.
The first thing to really understand is that for a whole host of reasons it is not uncommon for wives to cheat on husbands, whilst most of the media cover stories of men cheating, in reality, according to the American Association for Mariage and Family Therapy, a national survey shows that 15 percent of married women and 25 percent of married men have had extramarital affairs.
A whole host of reasons exist for this to happen, but the statistics also show that the main reason for divorce is not an affair but a lack of interest. So the good news here is that it doesn’t have to be the end if you work on it, in fact, many say it is the beginning of something better.
What Should I Do if I Cheated On My Husband?
Now comes the hard bit, it is done, its a fact, you can never just pretend it didn’t happen and try and get on it with it it will eat you up, make everything a lie, and every row will come back to it whether it is said out loud or not.
So the first principle here is that it has to be faced. This will be tough for a while but the more honesty here from both of you the better.
It may be that you seek couples therapy and you follow this through. It may be that you spend a bit of time apart, to cool the emotions. Both of these are really just ways of giving each other a bit of time and space which is what you both need.
There is a whole range of ways through this. Some get through it pretty quickly, this is more likely when the affair was short-lived and the marriage is pretty young. It takes more working through when the relationship was with someone else your husband knew, or it went on for years.
Both the cheated-on spouse and you need to spend whatever time it takes to work it through, and like grief, it can rear its head at different times and you need to ready for that. You will need to be forgiving, which is what you will expect from them.
It will seem obvious when I say you need to talk and be honest with your husband. If you tell half the story and more details come out later it will be back to square one. More accusations and what else are you hiding type questions. So get it all out upfront.
Expect this to be the toughest time, because you will be feeling vulnerable and probably feeling guilty, and very defensive. There are two sides to every story, and most likely you were driven to cheat on your partner probably partly because it was their ‘fault’ too.
Blame and fault are the worst two words here, try not to use them. It has happened, you need to listen to each other openly and to always try to understand the other person. if the relationship is to stand a chance of surviving this, you both need some healing, and you can help each other through it.
At some point rehashing the affair and talking about it will serve no more purpose. Often the cheated husband wants to dwell on the details, partly to punish you as they feel punished, partly to get their heads around it. For the most part, your partner is looking for you to trip up and reveal why you think he isn’t good enough.
Remember he is feeling that for some reason you had an affair with someone different to him. He will be feeling that you think he isn’t good enough in some way and is looking for that detail. This is all about his insecurity so it is important that you find a way of telling him that he is the one you love and that it is him you choose and that the one you cheated with does not compare.
The KEY message here is ‘stay the course’ no matter how often you are asked to rehash it. Each time you tell him your story, tell him that he is the man you love, the man you chose to come back to.
He needs to know that the man you cheated was in no way better than him. This hurts his pride, his self-esteem and not better looking to you, not anything your husband isn’t. Insecurity will kill the attempts to fix it. Remove this by repeating all the good things yo see in your husband. He feels wronged and angry and his self-esteem is damaged. Remember this and it will help you build back up what you had before.
So it’s all about talking and listening.
And it is all about you totally giving up the other relationship. And deleting all contacts. It helps if you do this openly in front of your husband. This can help clear doubts, build a bit of trust
How Do You Fix a Marriage After Cheating?
Everything you read will tell you in a headline that communication is the key, but what does that really mean here? It’s easy to say talking and listening but it’s so hard when both of you are feeling so bad he feels angry and even though you are the one who cheated so will you.
If you haven’t already – you might want to take a look at my guide on saving your marriage but let’s look at some things you can start with to survive infidelity.
Golden Rule Number 1: Believe it can be fixed
This relationship with your husband is damaged not broken and you can help sort it by remembering that, and by saying it out loud to him.
Both of you have to want to fix it for this to work, and this can be hard to hold onto at times when tempers are flaring and the blame game is being played out.
Keep the endgame in your mind, you both need to remember what it looks like when you are good together and you both need to keep that hope alive.
It can be better than it was before, it often is, stronger and with lots of issues sorted than are an unexpected bonus. Cheating doesn’t happen for no reason, and often in fixing the marriage many f the underlying causes are addressed.
Golden Rule Number 2: Face the music
You cheated, you are big enough to stay, and you love your husband enough to want to fix it. He will be angry and you need to stay and absorb some of that. You need to accept some responsibility for what has happened.
You will have to hear some hurtful things, some of which will be said in anger and he won’t always mean it. when we are hurt we lash out, and we hurt others. this is the most painful part, and you will need to be strong to get through it.
The time will come for you to tell your side of the story, and to help your husband understand why you did it, without fully blaming him, it takes two to tango, and two to make a marriage work.
Upfront you will bear some of the anger, be prepared for this. Accept some of it, listen to all of it. Stay and hear what he thinks.
Golden Rule Number 3: Keep focused on your future
Even when you are still in the recriminations phase, still in shock, still reeling, it is important to know why you are going through this hell. You want to rebuild this relationship, to be together, you have built something together and you believe it is worth fighting for.
In your quiet times, you can remember this you can say it to yourself, write it down repeatedly, say it out loud to him, or all three. Either way, this is the important thing to remember, why you are talking and working it through. Because your future together is better than your futures apart.
A few practical things you can choose to say and do
Getting through it takes time, I cant tell you how long, for some it is done and dusted in a few months, for some it takes years, though it gets easier and less intense.
Here are a few small practical tips you can try that have worked for other couples I have helped.
Let him delete all the contacts on your phone
Rebuild a bit of trust quickly in the relationship by showing that it is over by letting him be the one to delete all the contacts permanently on your phone.
This small act is a way of reassuring your partner that you are not still cheating, and it gives him a sense of control. Ask him if he wants to do that.
It may be better to have all content deleted saying that you didn’t want to read anything from him. Too much detail in black and white can be hard to get past.
A few things you can actually say repeatedly
It might be worth it to keep going back to a few key things to keep in mind and to say these things to your partner as often as you can.
I can’t tell you what to say, but I can tell you some of the things that couples have told me helped them. If any of this resonates with you, then repeat it to yourself to help you get through it, or, better still, say it out loud to your husband and it will help. you can say these as often as you can to make the relationship better.
- I love you
- We love each other and we can get through this if we really want to
- We are worth fixing
- It should never have happened and I am sorry and I want to get us back
- I want a future with just you
- You are so much more than he could ever be
Go on ‘amnesty’ dates
This is something you can do when it looks like you are succeeding in working things through. you will know when you feel like you are getting somewhere, but there is still an awkwardness, and you are thinking its all ok but suddenly you are ambushed by a side comment of a swipe at you.
Now is the time to start agree to park talking about things occasionally and just go on a date where all mention of it is banished. Now is the time to just enjoy things the way they used to be. This can remind you of what you are working towards. It is a great time to get in touch with how you feel about each other it is just about the to of you. A great time to flirt, and to dress up and show him the effort he is worth.
This doesn’t mean it is parked forever but these dates can really help both of you and it is less tiring than fighting all the time. These dates help remind you both of what you like and love about each other. They are probably what might have helped you both before the affair.
Write a love letter to your husband
Sometimes it is hard to find a way to say all the things you want to say and only after the conversation do you think of the words you want to say.
Your husband feels betrayed, you have been unfaithful, these are facts, getting past all that, you need to help him understand why without it becoming a blame game. More importantly, your husband needs to understand why, and part of that is because his self-esteem has taken a kicking, he thinks you chose someone else because you think he wasn’t good enough in some way. He may not even be conscious of this but his confidence is knocked.
Write a letter telling him all the reasons you love him, tell stories of some of the lovely things you did together. leave out any reference to the third party, this is a letter for him, a love letter just about you two.
Post it to him when the time is right.
Can a Relationship Work After Cheating?
Yes, it can. Absolutely. Even when I cover things like the signs a marriage cannot be saved I repeatedly see things that have a way back if at least one of you wants to do something about it. I have helped thousands through this. I have seen it work, and even be stronger, better than it was before.
Both parties have to believe it can work, a foundation of love and a sense of wanting a future together has to be there as the foundation. Hard work and forgiveness are two of the building blocks.
If you are willing to put the work in and want a strong healthy relationship enough then your chances are good. Follow the advice I have given and this will speed it along and make it better in the long term.
In the end, you will wonder why you didn’t do some of this stuff all along. Keep the focus on each other and love will conquer all.