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Helping a Husband Cope With a Wife's Past Affair

by Ashlea Campbell, studioD

Helping someone whose wife had an affair can be a difficult task. Whether you’ve experienced adultery or not, you may have a hard time offering quality advice. You may even find it difficult to refrain from being judgmental. Nevertheless, the person you’re supporting is trying to move past the affair to make the marriage work. Your job is to help him find ways to deal with the negative feelings that may resurface.

Examine the Marriage

If you know a husband recovering from his wife’s affair, he may struggle to make sense of it all. He may feel as though he did something to cause his wife to stray. In fact, people have affairs for many different reasons, and most people do not go out looking for affairs. Often times, people are tempted due to problems within the marriage. Encourage your friend to take a close look at his marriage. Some common factors in extramarital affairs include dissatisfaction within the marriage or unhappiness with one’s self, suggests psychologist Dr. Paul Coleman.

Be Honest

Both the husband and wife need to be honest with each other. In order to gain trust, the wife should be transparent in all her activities. She needs to show her husband she is not lying about any aspect of their relationship. In addition, the husband needs to be honest as well about his fears, needs and desires for the marriage. Doing this can help the couple repair the marriage and move towards an optimistic future.

Give it Time

Remind the friend that getting over an affair takes time. The process is different for each person, and he should expect some setbacks. The length of time it takes for a couple to get the marriage on track varies and depends on what is done immediately after discovering the affair such as getting through the trauma, clarifying issues and addressing the problem. At first, the husband may experience anger at his wife. He may feel upset when she initiates intimacy and upset when she doesn’t. Eventually, the anger subsides, but the couple will still need to work on developing a connection and intimacy. Many couples seek the help of a therapist to help them develop the tools necessary to sort through the problems.

Find a Therapist

Enlisting the help of a good therapist can help get a couple’s marriage back on track after a wife’s affair. This is especially true when both partners are struggling to understand why the affair occurred. It is completely normal for individuals to feel confused, angry, and frustrated. Fortunately, by attending counseling, the couple can find ways to work through the difficult times by rebuilding trust and connecting.

About the Author

Ashlea Campbell writes about families, relationships and health-related issues. In addition to writing professionally, she teaches writing courses at Collin College in Plano, Texas. She holds a Masters degree in English education from the University of Kansas.

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