If your wife cheats on you, it feels like everything is falling apart. The foundation of your marriage is shaken, and it’s completely normal to feel hurt, angry, betrayed and very, very raw. You might be asking yourself what to do now, or how you got to this stage. You’ll certainly be considering whether or not to leave.
It’s hard to know what to do when you find out you’ve been cheated on. You need time to process what has happened, and you need to be kind to yourself in order to move forward.
Here are 9 tips for coping with your wife’s affair and supporting your own healing process.
1. Don’t make any quick decisions
When you first find out about your wife’s affair, it’s normal to react with “that’s it, I’m leaving!” It’s also normal to react with “I’ll do anything to make this better.”
The important thing is not to make any quick decisions.
Processing the emotional fallout of an affair takes time. You’ll need time to get calmer in your mind and work through all the strong emotions you’re feeling. Only then can you get the clarity you need to make a decision on your future.
Work through the initial shock and betrayal first before trying to take a decision on what to do next.
2. Take good care of yourself
The stress of discovering infidelity takes a toll on your physical health as well as your emotional health. Now is the time to take good care of yourself physically. That means eating healthy food, getting regular fresh air and exercise, and doing your best to get a good night’s sleep.
You probably won’t feel like doing any of those things right now, but they’ll help you heal and reduce your stress so you can handle the situation better.
3. Accept your feelings
There are no “bad feelings.” It’s completely normal to feel everything from rage and grief to bitterness and despair, or even hope. Whatever you feel, accept it. It’s normal.
It can help to keep a journal to express your feelings. Writing things down brings clarity that thinking or talking doesn’t.
4. Seek professional help
Therapists are trained to support you as you work through your feelings and figure out what you want and need in order to heal. Working with one will help you see clearly what to do.
5. Be honest
Be honest with yourself about your relationship. Ask yourself what you need in order to heal the relationship and get back to a point where you can trust your wife and enjoy her company.
Be honest with your wife, too. Let her know what you need. You’re going to have some hard discussions, but complete honesty now is vital if you both want to move forward.
6. Keep up hobbies and friendships
Working through the aftermath of an affair can feel all-consuming. It take a lot of mental and emotional energy to process your feelings, and talk to your wife about the affair, and the future of your relationship.
Constant stress is bad for your mental and physical health. Combat the effects by making time for positive activities and interactions. Keep up with the hobbies you enjoy, or get out and exercise. You might not feel like it, but you’ll be glad you did.
Keep up your friendships, too. You might not want to talk about your marriage problems to everyone (in fact, talking to too many people can make it harder to figure out what you need), but do confide in a trusted friend. And even when you’re not talking about your problems, being around good friends will support you and enliven your spirits.
7. Don’t play the blame game
No matter what was going on in your marriage prior to your wife’s affair, she still ultimately made the decision to go ahead with it. Blaming yourself will only make things feel more hopeless, and cause you more pain.
Blaming your wife won’t help, either. Yes she made a terrible decision, but the key to healing is dropping the blame game so you can focus on what you need right now. The blame game is especially damaging if you want to save your marriage.
8. Give yourself time
It takes time to heal from infidelity. Don’t expect to be over it in a week, a month, or even a year.
Be honest with yourself and your wife, keep working through your feelings, and accept that it’s going to take time. Don’t rush yourself. Let the process take as long as it needs to take.
9. Be open to forgiveness
Whether you decide to stay with your wife or not, forgiveness will help you heal and leave the pain of the affair behind you.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean condoning what happened. It simply means letting it go so it’s no longer an open wound that continues to hurt you.
Coping with your wife’s affair is painful, and it can feel like there’s no end in sight. Take good care of your physical health and let yourself feel and express your feelings so you can start the healing process.