Do you regret cheating on your wife or husband? If so, this article will help you save your marriage.
START with a sincere apology. Accept the verbal invective that your spouse will dish out in anger. Remember you betrayed your spouse, and he or she deserves some measure of recompense. This does not mean that you must suffer physical abuse or prolonged verbal abuse. It just means that your spouse needs opportunities to vent his/her dismay, and you would rather they vent to you than to others. This step was particularly hard for me because I have a temper. I had trouble controlling my tongue while my wife's tongue was running full speed. In the end, it was worth it. For the first year, my wife would flare with anger at times, but now she almost never feels angry, just occasionally sad.
AVOID the person with whom you had the affair. Do whatever it takes to separate yourself completely from the other person. If you want to save your marriage, there is no "being friends" with the ex-lover. If the affair happened at work, ask for reassignment or get another job. If the affair happened with someone from church, attend a different church of your spouse's choosing. If the affair is related to some hobby like golf, get a new hobby, preferably one that your wife can enjoy with you. In my case, the affair happened with someone involved with my work, so I pushed for and received a reassignment. The reassignment assured my wife that I would not be seeing the other person anymore.
LIMIT socializing to situations involving couples. Only go to a bar or club if you are going with your spouse. Avoid chatting online. Give up Facebook and other social networking sites, or, at least, give your spouse control over these sites. Let your spouse choose your Facebook friends. I had no trouble with this step since I rarely socialized without my wife anyway. Others may have more trouble, but face it, no friends on MySpace are as important as your spouse.
SURRENDER your privacy. You and your spouse are one person, so you should not feel this as a loss. Give your spouse access to your banking accounts, so she knows how you spend your money. Give your spouse access to your e-mail accounts and your cell phone records, so he or she knows who talks to you. Your spouse will take great comfort in this. My job requires that I spend a lot of time using e-mail. My wife feels reassured by the fact that she can monitor my communications on a whim. This is a small price to pay to rebuild a trusting, loving relationship.
LIMIT time spent away from your spouse. If you must spend time apart, do everything you can to reassure your spouse that you are behaving. My job requires some business travel. When I hit the road, I text my wife. As soon as I arrive at my destination, I text again, and I call her frequently. She feels reassured knowing that I am thinking of her.
SURPRISE your spouse frequently. Leave her love notes in surprising places, perform little chores you used to ignore, dvr her favorite program. It really is the little things that count. After my affair, I began turning everything I do with my wife into a "date." We make dates to walk the dog, get coffee, and even do yardwork together. This works especially nice when the "date" was formerly a "chore" that my wife used to do by herself. For instance, my wife used to do all the grocery shopping alone. Now, however, when she says, "We need milk," I say cheerfully, "Sounds like a date." It might sound corny, but we are closer now than we ever have been.
- After my affair, I imagined my wife as a woman who had been attacked in a dark parking lot. She used to walk to her car with confidence, but now she is hesitant and afraid, fearful that an attack will come from any direction. This analogy helped me understand my wife's flaring emotions and erratic behavior. It also reminds me to reassure her that she is safe and that I will never cheat again.
- There will be bumps in the road. Little things will remind your spouse of your infidelity. Be ready for sudden moments of anger, resentment, and especially sadness. Weather the anger with stoic understanding. Treat the sadness with affection and empathy.