Infidelity and Respect
If you’ve recently discovered that your wife has been having an affair with another man, you’re probably experiencing what feels like a knot of ugly feelings.
For some men, this knot can get so tangled up that it becomes difficult to know where to start unraveling it.
You can most likely identify some of these feelings– anger, jealousy, and grief are probably the most common — but it can be hard to say when one emotion ends and where another begins.
Over time, most betrayed men can usually untangle this knot of emotions, but that doesn’t mean they’ve truly begun healing from their wife’s infidelity.
This is because their infidelity has caused them to lose respect for their wives. Hopefully, it turns out to be temporary, but a betrayed husband often loses faith in his wife’s honesty, integrity, and devotion.
There are many other components involved, but the upshot is that he’s lost much, if not all, of the very respect that made him love his wife in the first place.
The Importance of Mutual Respect
Mutual respect is crucial to every successful relationship. This is because most of the other necessary components flow naturally from the respect you have for one another. Unfortunately, this is exactly what’s lost in most cases of infidelity– the betrayed spouse or partner loses respect for the cheating one when the affair is finally revealed.
In the end, it’s pretty straightforward– this lost respect must be restored if the there is to be any chance of true reconciliation.
What isn’t so straightforward is how to accomplish it. How does a husband begin to respect his wife again after she’s cheated on him?
How does he regain faith in her honesty, integrity, and devotion after it seems like she’s violated these things so blatantly?
Well, the first thing you should know is that it’s definitely possible. Many husbands have accomplished exactly what you’re trying to do right now– they were able to respect their wife again after the heartbreak of an affair.
Read on to find out how they did it.
How a Cheating Wife Affects her Husband
Understanding the effects that your wife’s affair have had upon you is crucial to your recovery, piece of mind, and your ability to respect her afterward.
Once you name something, especially a feeling, it’s much easier to cope with it and put all the anguish and unpleasantness behind you.
Here are few basic facts about how infidelity typically affects a man.
- Men tend to have great difficulty forgiving their wives for their betrayal.
- Men are more likely to mask the pain of betrayal behind anger and resentment.
- They also tend to accept gender stereotypes about female sexuality, thus making reconciliation much more difficult.
- Men are likely to consider their wife’s infidelity as an insult to their manhood.
- They also tend to experience infidelity as an attack on their pride, ego, and identity.
This list certainly doesn’t exhaust the possible effects an affair can have upon a husband, but there are lessons to learn from it nonetheless. Probably the most important lesson here is that these tendencies are both unfair and a huge barrier to respect. We’ll discuss this further in the next section.
Forgiveness is The First Step Toward Regaining Respect For Your Wife After Her Affair
There’s no way you’ll be able to respect your wife if you’re still angry and resentful towards her for having an affair. That’s why true forgiveness is essential to recovering from infidelity and regaining respect for your her.
As we said in the last section, men have a very difficult time forgiving their wives’ indiscretions. Let’s have a look at why this is so often the case.
As you’ve probably figured out by now, it’s an unhealthy and unfair double standard that fuels many of the difficulties a man has forgiving his wife’s affair. This double standard comes from the culture we live in, which tells us in a million different ways that women don’t enjoy sex as much as men and should not have a well-developed sexuality.
Although it can be difficult for men to overcome these damaging stereotypes, a little reflection on the inequality at work here accomplishes two important things.
First, it will prevent your wife’s betrayal from crushing your ego and your sense of self.
Second, reflecting on the sexual double standard will make it much easier to forgive her for what she’s done. And once this happens, a renewed sense of respect can’t be far behind.
Now let’s discuss the steps you can take to regain respect for your wife.
8 Steps Toward Respecting Your Wife Again After She Cheats on You
Many of these steps have been implied in the previous sections, but here are eight specific actions you can take to regain respect for your wife:
- Don’t Make it About You. Your wife’s infidelity is deeply rooted in her psyche and is not a reflection on you.
- Don’t fall into destructive gender stereotypes about a woman’s sexuality.
- Practice true compassion. A good way to do this is to reflect on your own mistakes and how they’ve hurt others.
- Have a frank discussion with your wife about transparency, ceasing contact with her lover, and proper boundaries with other men.
- Remember that she’s still the same woman she was when you married her. Everyone makes mistakes, but they don’t nullify their value.
- Seek professional coaching individually and as a couple.
- Notice the work she’s putting into setting things right and give her credit for it.
- Practice what you preach. Embody the qualities you want to see in her and she’ll be much more likely to reciprocate.
You’ll need a lot of support and honesty from your wife to accomplish it, but you can recover from infidelity and regain the respect you once had for your her. You’ll also need to be patient, compassionate, and open-minded about the ways in which your marriage operates.
Last but not least, remember that you only have control over your own attitudes and behaviors. That means you can’t force your wife to do anything that she’s not willing to do.
Don’t expect her to do every little thing exactly the way you want her to, but it’s more than reasonable to reconsider the future of your marriage if she’s not willing to make some changes.