When you find out that a partner has been unfaithful to you, it can be extremely difficult to process how to move forward.
Most individuals end up in a shock period where hundreds of emotions culminate, making the betrayed partner feel confused and helpless.
When a wife confesses infidelity, this can be extremely hard for the man because men typically have a harder time accepting and forgiving infidelity.
The reason for this is because women tend to cheat due to there being something missing from the primary relationship, whereas for men, sex is sex and they can compartmentalize it so that it has no effect on their primary relationship (Weiss, 2017).
This means that men will have a harder time accepting the infidelity as it denotes that there is something seriously wrong with their relationship. So if you are a man who has found out that his wife has been unfaithful, here is how you survive it if you still love her and want to save it.
1. Manage it With Kindness: although your first instinct might be to detach yourself from the relationship and hurt her, it’s best that you don’t inflict any type of emotional pain on her.
When you lower yourself down to the same painful level as her, the risk for the relationship ending badly will increase two-fold. Not only will you be hurting her, but you will be closing the doors of communication which squashes chances for survival.
Instead, use kindness as a way of looking into her consciousness and reasons (Fertel, 2013). Try to understand them and be kind. Often this gets them to stop their behavior and re-evaluate their moral guidelines.
2. Replace the Blame: this one is incredibly hard to do but is necessary. It may be very easy to see that they were in the wrong and that you are the victim and this may be the case, but it still takes two to keep the relationship alive. A successful repair will rely on both partners to be responsible for the healing and for the injury.
3. Do Not Demand Open Channels Without Opening Yours Too: it is very tempting to have your partner provide you with access to all of their accounts. However, if you do this without reciprocating the action, then it will encourage your partner to actually seek out more ways to stay private.
Instead, if the channels must be opened up, then yours must be as well. Do not set a double standard here, as they will not want to be policed.
4. See If There Was an Unmet Need: often when a partner is unfaithful it is because of an unmet need. This could be not feeling heard enough, not getting enough affection or attention but when you find out what this unmet need is you can unearth what the bigger problem is.
This can then be explored and dealt with together, which will help the healing and recovery process for both you and her.
5. Try Not to Over Analyze: sometimes men will start “analyzing why [their] wife cheated, wondering what more [they] could have done to keep [the] wife happier” and although it is good to understand what lead up to the affair and the aftermath, it is important not to over analyze and make it personal.
If you make the affair about you, personally, then it is no longer about the relationship and therefore trust will be hard to re-learn. Yes, you are responsible for half of the ship, but that responsibility needs to be reflected outward.
6. Attempt to Remind Them of the Love You Share: although this is more for her than it is you in the short term, try reminding her of the initial thrill of your relationship. Perhaps she feels unloved, or maybe she feels like you are no longer interested in her.
If you withhold intimacy from her, then it will further damage it. Instead, flirt with her and remind her of how exciting your relationship really is.
7. Balance Yourself Out: do not let yourself get worn down. Although it’s very easy to feel worn down, and you will be emotional, make sure to balance yourself out. Eat healthy foods, make sure you stay stuck to a schedule, sleep regularly, and make sure to exercise. Choose to do the hobbies that you find fun and exciting.
This helps with the healing process because if you choose to be run down, then your brain is just going to run in negative cycles.
8. Cry: regardless of how hard this may be for you, it is important to be in touch with your feelings. If the tears “aren’t coming naturally, put on some blue type music or watch a sad movie” (Striof, 2017) as this helps you get in touch with those emotions that might be buried way below.
9. Understand That Healing Will Take a Long Time: we’re not talking about a few weeks or even a few months, we’re talking about upwards of a year or two.
Typically it takes us that long just to understand that our feelings, whatever they may be, are neither right or wrong and that there are many to sort through. It is important here to understand that a part of the relationship needs to be grieved and there are several stages that you will need to go through as the injured partner.
10. Choose to Seek Counseling: counseling or coaching can help you figure out answers to the harder questions about the affair. Plus, honestly, you’re going to need to talk with someone.
You may not want to share the fact that your partner had an affair with the world, but you will need to talk to someone as otherwise, the questions become overwhelming and it can cause you to feel hollow and crazy.
Infidelity is one of the most difficult challenges that you can face, but there are ways to survive and cope with which can often save the relationship if that is what you desire.
The critical thing here is that the communication lines are open and there are productive discussions about the emotions and changes that need to happen in order to move forward.