Utter shock, disbelief, confusion, fear and anger are simultaneously pulsing thru his veins. He’s then able to mutter the words, “I can’t believe she did this to me!!!” He gets that empty feeling in the pit of his stomach, while feeling like the wind has just been knocked out of him. He has found out news that no man EVER wants to receive: his wife is having an affair.
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His emotions run the full gamut of the emotional scale from devastated and hurt to within seconds wanting to erupt like a volcano and destroy everything and everyone in his path. Finally, if he can muster enough self control to not commit a crime, he will probably shed tears because suddenly he feels like his heart has been ripped from his chest, his soul has been spat on, his ego has been flushed down the toilet and vanished right along with his pride. You see she was the one person in the world that he trusted with everything he had and she was the only woman that he allowed himself to be vulnerable with. “What do I do now?” is the question he asks himself, but sadly enough he has no idea where to start to find the answer. Well I hope that by the end of this article he can leave with some tools to help him begin to start the healing process after infidelity.
1) Take some time and space and allow yourself a chance FEEL.
Too many times as men we have been condemned for having emotion or being emotional. Well last time I checked we had feelings too! When being betrayed by your wife it is only natural to experience a myriad of emotions and it does not make you weak for expressing them. Whether you are angry, sad, hurt, or disgusted you must allow yourself a chance to embrace and experience all of these emotions because if you don’t do it now eventually they will creep right back into your world and they will manifest themselves one way or another. By not running from those emotions you will allow yourself to become better equipped to handle them mentally. Find a way to release those emotions in a healthy way; that could mean by writing, exercising, boxing (at a gym and hitting a bag, not the other guy or your wife although you may want to), and if you need to cry that’s okay too. Cry. Remember you are the one who has been betrayed and it’s okay to feel. In this instance you don’t have to play the “tough guy” when you know you are really the “hurt guy.” If you give yourself time to feel then it will be easier to make decisions about moving forward.
2) Get to the “WHY” of the matter.
If your wife cheated on you and you found out it is now her duty to come clean and communicate like never before. She should be willing to answer any question you have and give any detail you ask for. With that being said spend more time figuring out why the affair happened rather than the detailed activities of the affair itself. Trust me…you do NOT want to know the play by play of the sexual interludes of your wife with another man. This affair may be the result of deeper issues that maybe neither of you did a good job communicating about. Was she fulfilled in all areas (mentally, emotionally, physically…)? Was she filling a void that existed in the marriage? What was it about the affair that caused her to be willing to risk her husband and her marriage? Was this just her being selfish and fulfilling her own selfish desires? By no means should you blame yourself because of her actions, but sometimes an affair can become a reality check for both parties and although it is never the right thing to do we must understand the “why” behind it in order to truly move on and avoid it ever happening again.
3) Make a decision and commit to it.
If after you have given yourself time to feel and gotten to the why behind everything then you must decide to make a decision about the next steps. Think about all of the reasons you married your wife and think about what the two of you have built together. If those things are worth holding on to and you decide to stay then the only way to move forward is to communicate your way through the healing process. You must be accountable for anything you did to contribute to the affair and she must be willing to do everything you need her to do in order to feel secure and rebuild the trust. If that means you need her to check in often, give you consistent affirmation, or give you access to all of her social media, email and cell phones then she must be willing to be an open book for you. The key is that you must not assume she knows what you need but instead you must tell her everything that you need. There will be times where you can’t get the affair off of your mind, but that is only normal, but you must allow yourself to feel those emotions and then move on from them. If you decide to give your marriage another chance make sure that the both of you are praying together often and allowing GOD to guide you through this tough transition.
4) Avoid friends and seek the professionals.
I would encourage you to avoid telling everyone in your circle about your marital issues because the more people you tell, the more people there in your business, the more prideful you will become, and the more guard you will have up about actually fixing the marriage. Remember as men we are ego driven and you don’t need every guy on your softball team filling you up with more testosterone than you need at this point. This is precisely why I would suggest talking to a professional who will hold your information confidential. Many times the misconception is that if you need counseling that you must be “sick.” Well in many cases, especially in marriages and in the case of infidelity, many of us just need someone to help us sort through our emotions and feelings and offer solutions from an objective point of view. Although most of your communication will be with your wife sometimes it is beneficial to gather some insight and direction from a third party that isn’t consumed with extreme emotion and has no personal relationship with either of you. Marital counseling shows that you are committed to dealing with the issues in your marriage and helping you get past the infidelity. As men our pride tells us that “nobody else can tell me anything about my marriage”, but in reality that’s exactly what you may need. Ask yourself “if you have all of the answers then why are there issues in the first place?” Lose the stubborn attitude and seek some counseling whether it be through your pastor, or through another licensed professional.
I know forgiveness is a term that is thrown around very nonchalantly, but forgiveness will be necessary for you to move past an affair. The natural thing we want to do as men is to hold a grudge and resent the people that have hurt us. Our competitive natures make us feel like someone got “the best of us” and now we have to find a way to make that person suffer just as bad as we did. That concept might work in the world of fighting or sports, but within our marriages it will be a disaster. If your wife has taken accountability and is working to rebuild the relationship then over time you must rid yourself of the resentment and welcome the forgiveness.
Men I know that getting past the fact that your wife had an affair is no easy feat. It won’t be an easy process but if you decide that your marriage is worth saving and your family is worth keeping intact then it is well worth the fight! I hope that these 5 steps can help put you on the path to overcoming your wife’s infidelity.