You’ve just discovered your wife’s infidelity and that left you with this huge question ‘my wife cheated on me now what?’ You feel devastated, betrayed, and confused. You don’t know what should be the next step to take that’ll put at least a band-aid on your bleeding heart. There are a lot of questions on your mind and you’re wondering if your marriage is over. I am here to help. Stop spiraling and I’ll take you through your survival plan.
Infidelity doesn’t have to be the breaking point of your marriage. More marriages survive infidelity than you’d imagine. It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel right after the earth-shattering discovery but, this won’t last forever. While it’ll feel like walking on fire, it’s not the end of the world. Chances are your spouse didn’t stop loving you but made a terrible blunder.
I’ll provide you here a step by step guide to coping with this trauma so that you can come out stronger on the other side. Let’s start, shall we?
Don’t Give Up Quite Yet
You’re feeling an array of emotions. You’re lost, confused, your heart is shattered into smithereens. The whole world that you built around your wife feels like it’s falling apart. Cheating is a deal-breaker for you and you don’t want to do anything with her.
I’m not telling you to stop feeling that way. Because you can’t. But, since you’re reading this, I want you to trust me and take a timeout before you do something impulsive. You still love your wife very much even if you don’t feel that right now.
You’re in a shock. To get in a better headspace, you need to take a little breather. Allow yourself that time and space. Tell your wife that you can’t and don’t want to deal with this right now. You’ll certainly do it but only when you’ve processed the pain a bit.
Be Anywhere but Around Her
You’re angry and can’t even look at your spouse, understandably so. Take a break. Go somewhere where you can think without any distractions. No, don’t go to the nearest bar. Alcohol is not the solution to your broken heart.
If you still love her and have the thought of continuing the relationship in the back of your mind, going to live with your family is not a great idea at the moment. Once you tell them about this, your spouse will never be able to get the same respect from them ever again.
Even if you want to leave her and feel like everyone should know what an unfaithful person she is, you’ll have lots of time for that. So, maybe go to a friend’s place or tell your wife to spend a few days with her friends or family so that you can have the time alone to think clearly.
Sometimes writing a letter to your spouse is easier and gives you a chance to express your feelings properly. It also doesn’t put her on the spot to respond and can give you both a chance to cool off a little.
Don’t question your self-worth
Your wife is a human being who made a terrible mistake. It can’t be justified in any way but it was her choice. Sure, you may have played a part that influenced her slip-up. But, you’re not to blame for her unfaithfulness. You have been a loving husband who wasn’t perfect. But who is? A troubled marriage isn’t a free pass to be unfaithful.
So if you’re thinking that the other guy has something that you couldn’t give her, don’t. Stop breaking your heart even more by going down that rabbit hole. There are many reasons why couples engage in an affair. Even in happy marriages, one spouse can cheat while the other is giving their best shot.
Before you start assuming that your wife cheated because you were not working out while the other guy has six-pack abs or he is simply better in bed, remember cheating is always a choice. A destructive one that doesn’t have anything to do with your worth.
Process the Pain
Don’t try to suppress the emotions that you’re feeling. You feel betrayed and blind-sided? Angry? Let it all flow naturally. Research shows that heartbreaks are registered just like physical pain in our brain. So the gut-wrenching pain that you’re feeling, you need to process it.
Don’t try walking around with a fake smile while telling people you’re fine. It might be really difficult to concentrate on work while you still can’t fathom what’s happened. Ask for a personal day if possible. Reach out to a friend that you trust someone who won’t try to force their opinion on you.
Sit down and have a heart-to-heart. Pour it out. The anger, frustration, and all the bottled up emotions need to be out in the open. Not because you’re seeking their advice, but to let these feelings lose their power over you. Don’t hesitate to go to a licensed therapist if necessary.
Take Care of Yourself
This is one of the most overlooked parts of saving a marriage.
While you’re dealing with something like your spouse’s cheating, it might not feel like the best time to eat right or go to the gym. You might feel like finding solace in being drunk or stoned. But however tempting that might sound, abstain from doing it. You’ve already been hurt by someone you love. Don’t make it worse by giving in to these temptations.
Rather go for a walk, eat small meals even when you don’t feel hungry. Watch an old favorite movie with a friend. I know what you’re thinking. You can’t stop thinking about your wife’s affair. How will you be able to concentrate on anything else?
You’ll need to put deliberate effort to stop thinking about that incessantly. Find a positive distraction for the time being. Talk to your doctor and take nerve relaxants so that you can get some sleep. Take good care of yourself to get out of this rut.
Consider Your Options
You’ve built so much together over the years. If this isn’t the first time you caught her cheating and this repeatedly happened in the past, it might not be a good idea to give her a chance to break your heart for the umpteenth time. But, if she has been a great wife so far who still loves you, why not give her another opportunity to make this right?
If you have children together, the decision needs to be even more considerate and thoughtful before thinking about a separation or divorce. That’s why it’s imperative to let the initial rage cool off before making a life-altering judgment. A survey showed that 15% of married women have had extramarital affairs and a whopping 57% of people who have been cheated on ended up forgiving their partners.
I’m not telling you to do the same. You know your wife the best. Before you decide anything, talk to her and find out her intentions. If she is willing to make the effort to make reparations for her blunder and shows genuine remorse, it might be well worth giving forgiveness a try.
Have the Talk
After you’ve taken enough time and space, it’s time to have the hard conversation with your wife. Ask her everything you need to know about the affair. For how long it has been going on, if they’re emotionally attached or if it was just physical, if she did this out of loneliness or it was a drunken mistake, get to know everything however hard it feels.
Knowing the nitty-gritty details is required for your healing but for your own sake make sure you don’t get into the details of their physical intimacy. Ask her what she wants now and if she can cut all ties with her cheating partner. Chances are she has already realized how badly she hurt you and is willing to make amends. Let her know if you need more time to think it over before you take her back.
Resist Retaliation and Bad-mouthing
It’s only normal to feel the urge to get back at your spouse after being cheated on like that. You want to tell everyone what a horrible person your wife is. She has the reputation of being the perfect wife everywhere. Her mask should come off. While I understand the sentiment, what do you think the outcome will be?
Is that how you want to treat the love of your life, the mother of your children? Affairs tend to hurt our self-esteem and take away the control we had over our lives. Retaliation gives the feeling of taking that control back. In reality, it’ll only hurt your ailing marriage even more. Setting the score even is the only thing that’ll make her understand the pain she has caused you?
Not really, if anything that’ll give her grounds to justify her actions. It’ll make cheating normalized in her mind and she might choose to continue the affair after you’ve done the same thing to her. Be the bigger person and don’t engage in a retaliatory affair or bad-mouthing your wife.
Don’t Rush Anything
Even if your wife and everyone tells you to get over it right away, do it at your own pace. Don’t feel guilty for taking the time you need to process your feelings or not being able to decide anything just yet. It’s a soul-crushing experience and you feel embarrassed.
You still value your marriage enough to fight for it. The problem is, nobody can guarantee you that she won’t do this again. Your trust has been broken into pieces. Marriages are built on trust and communication. The foundation is shaken so badly that you don’t know if you’ll ever be able to trust her again.
The good news is if you let yourself take enough time and space, ask for support when you need it, this phase will go away and you’ll be able to figure out what to do. Till then be kind to yourself, do what makes you happy. It’s not selfish, it’s what will help your marriage in the long run.
Even though it feels like this pain will never go away, I assure you it will. Hang in there and take it one day at a time.