Infidelity delivers a blow that's difficult to overcome, but processing the situation helps you move on with or without your wife. Everyone reacts differently to the situation when it happens. Your relationship may never be the same, but you can learn how to get over your spouse's cheating to put yourself in a better place, both mentally and emotionally.
Hold Off on Long-Term Decisions
Your wife cheated on you. It's natural to feel angry, hurt, betrayed and ready to end the marriage. Before you file for divorce, move out, or make other serious and long-term decisions, give yourself time to process the situation. Experts sometimes recommend waiting for six months before deciding anything. This gives you time to process your emotions and decide what you really want to do.
Avoid Retaliation or Revenge
Another common reaction is to retaliate by sleeping with someone else or to seek revenge on your wife or her lover. The goal of this action is to soothe your own hurt feelings and to make your wife feel bad about her cheating. You may feel a small amount of satisfaction initially, but this type of response ends up causing more hurt without actually help you heal. You may also end up with legal issues if your retaliation breaks the law.
Recognize Your Feelings
Ignoring what happened or burying your feelings prevents the healing process from happening. Instead of acting tough, let your emotions come to the surface. Are you feeling angry, jealous, hurt, betrayed or vindictive? Are you sad that your wife tossed aside your entire relationship for another person? Do you feel as though the situation is somehow your fault?
Those feelings can help you figure out how to handle the situation and whether the marriage can be saved. Be careful not to let the emotions overtake your life or cause you to make bad decisions. It's okay to feel angry, but lashing out physically or verbally is not acceptable behavior. Acknowledge the feelings without letting them cause more problems in your marriage. If you can't get your feelings under control, seek help from a counselor.
Discuss Why the Cheating Happened
Sometimes, there's a clear reason why your spouse cheated. You may be experiencing major conflict in your marriage, or she may have a sexual addiction that she hasn't addressed. Other times, the reason for cheating is not so evident.
Address the situation openly and honestly. Talk to your spouse about what happened and why. Open communication can help you work through the situation and determine if you want to save the marriage. It's important to stay calm and avoid a confrontational approach. Emotions are high when someone cheats, but you can't have a productive conversation if you're screaming or pointing fingers.
Whether or not you plan to stay with your wife, counseling is a good option to help you deal with the infidelity. If a chance exists to save your marriage, consider seeing a marriage counselor to help you work through the issues together. If your spouse refuses to try counseling together, schedule your own therapy sessions. A counselor can help you confront your feelings and make a plan to deal with things in a healthy way.
Create a Support Network
The general perception is that men should be tough, but the truth is you need support to deal with your wife cheating. Your counselor is just one part of the support network you need to come out of the situation stronger and healthier. Support groups connect you with others who have dealt with an unfaithful spouse. You might also have friends or family members who understand what you're going through. Keep supportive people close to you, and distance yourself from people who make the situation worse.
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- If you have chosen not to remain in a relationship with your wife, counseling is still a viable option. This will help you to sort out your emotions so that you will not hold resentment towards women in your next relationship.
Shelley Frost writes professionally on a full-time basis, specializing in lifestyle, family, parenting and relationship topics. She holds an education degree and has extensive experience working with kids and parents.