Finding out that your husband has been unfaithful to you is one of the most devastating discoveries you can experience in marriage.
Is it even possible to learn how to deal with a cheating husband when everything you ever thought about your spouse – your love, your trust, your beliefs in your marital vows, and who he is as a person and a partner now seems like a big lie?
What can you expect in the days and months after you find out your husband has been cheating on you?
Would you still choose to be in an unfaithful relationship, or would you pack your bags and leave?
With all the extreme emotions that you’re feeling, it’s hard to stay strong, think clearly, and think about coping with infidelity.
How does one deal with a cheating husband?
Discovering that your husband has been with another woman can rock your sense of self and marriage to the core.
We can’t even bring ourselves to imagine the pain when we discover that the man we love has been sleeping and having a relationship with another woman.
People who reportedly discover that their partner is cheating have experienced extreme feelings of disorientation and a sense that everything has changed. Physically, you may have trouble sleeping and a loss of appetite.
You may have problems concentrating too.
Understandably, you won’t even be able to bring yourself to know how to deal with a cheating husband, let alone what you can say to him.
15 tips to stay strong and deal with a cheating husband
Statistics tell us that 20% of men cheat on their wives at some point in the marriage. There are a lot of hurting people out there.
Now that we know that there are many infidelities, it’s time to create a cheating husband’s what-to-do list.
Learning how to cope with a cheating husband and, at the same time, stay strong and sane is important if we want to survive this ordeal.
1. Get all the facts straight
If your husband is cheating on you, you’ll know. Trust your gut, but don’t react too soon.
The best way to know how to deal with a cheating husband is to get all your facts straight. Before you confront your spouse, make sure you have evidence and that you got them from a legitimate source.
Don’t base your accusations on hearsay or a random message informing you that your husband is cheating.
Understandably, it would already hurt you, but it’s better to fact-check everything before making a move.
You certainly don’t want your cheating spouse to get away with it, right?
“How do you stay calm when you know your husband is cheating?”
You certainly want to know what to do when your husband cheats, but along with this, you also want to learn how to stay calm when it’s time to confront your spouse.
We may all react differently to an unfaithful husband, but one thing is for sure, deep inside, it hurts.
The pain, as they say, is comparable to a knife slowly slicing your heart. So, with that being said, how do you confront your husband without being hysterical?
First, take a deep breath and condition your mind that your partner’s first act of defense is to deny the accusation.
Next, ensure that they are already asleep if you have kids. Of course, don’t shout. You don’t want to traumatize the kids.
Lastly, ask him upfront. Look your spouse in the eye and ask him.
There should be no sugarcoating on this one. Stick with the facts, stay calm, and ask away.
3. Let the truth sink in
If you have just learned about your husband’s unfaithfulness, you may be confused about what to do next.
Do you feel comfortable staying in the same home as him, or would it be a good idea for him (or you) to find another place to sleep while you process this information? Some of this depends on your willingness: does he want to stay and try and work things out? Do you want to?
Neither of you may know the immediate answer to that important question, and you may need to have some cooling off time, say a couple of days, before you can sit down together and have a conversation.
If you do not feel comfortable staying with him while you think things over, line up another safe place to sleep or request that he do so.
4. Leave the kids out of it
When the husband cheats, everything gets affected. It would be tempting to get revenge by making your kids know what their father did, but please, control yourself.
Think of your kids. If you are hurt and in pain, imagine what these kids would feel if they, too, found out.
Aside from that, if you and your spouse decide to try to make your marriage work, the kids would already be tainted with hatred, and it would never be the same.
If you could, keep them out of the situation and protect them at all costs.
You may want revenge, but we all know this step will only worsen things.
5. Don’t confront the other woman
What not to do when you find out your husband is cheating?
When your husband cheats, you first want to confront the other woman and punch her in the face.
Who wouldn’t? She has caused you so much pain and got involved with a married man?
Pause for a minute and think this is not how to deal with a cheating husband.
Your spouse cheated, and he is the one you need to confront because “it takes two to tango.”
If this isn’t the first time that your partner cheated, it only proves one thing, another woman is not the cause of the problem, your husband is.
We’re not saying you should spare the other woman, but going berserk and hurting her, calling her home wrecker will tire you. It won’t help you or your relationship.
Don’t stoop down to her level.
6. Realize that it’s never your fault
What to do with a cheating husband? Should you forgive? Maybe you may even think that it’s your fault, or you were the one who pushed him to have an affair.
Never blame yourself.
Every marriage will have trials. If you have issues, you need to talk about them and work on finding a solution, not someone else, to give you what you want.
Your husband had a choice, and he decided to have an affair. There was no way you could have prevented that.
Someone who had dealt with this pain would say that showing compassion and kindness is absurd, but if you could, then do so.
Before it comes to where you have to decide whether to stay, you need to listen and talk about what happened.
After his explanation, you can start asking him all the questions that are on your mind.
“When did it start?”
“How long have you been cheating on me?”
“Do you love her?”
Be prepared for your spouse’s answers. Some of these may feel like sharp knives piercing your heart, but if not now, when is the right time to confront the issue?
8. Call in some support
If you are comfortable sharing this delicate information with those close to you, line up some support from your close circle of friends and family.
If you have children, perhaps a family member can take them for a couple of days while you and your spouse discuss the aftermath of his infidelity. Maybe you need to be taken care of, and reaching out to your friends to ask them to help you through this moment would be essential to your well-being.
However, if you want to move through, this is fine.
Some women do not want this information to be public; if that is your case, if you are a more private person, that is ok.
9. Have yourself checked for STDs
Now that you have calmed down, the next step on what to do when your husband cheats on you is to talk.
Here’s what to do when your husband is cheating. Have yourself checked for sexually transmitted diseases.
This step is often omitted because of the powerful emotions, stress, and issues between the couple.
However, this is very important. You don’t want to wake up one day and realize that you’ve contracted STDs.
So, as soon as you discover your husband’s cheating frenzy, get yourself tested.
This is for your peace of mind and well-being.
10. Take all the time you need
One of the best ways on how to cope when your spouse cheats on you is to give yourself time.
During the first few days or weeks, you’ll cry and will lose your appetite. You would also feel that heavy pain and anger inside.
This wouldn’t be the best time to talk with each other. You need time to set a safe zone before finally discussing the affair.
“How do I get over my husband cheating?”
The answer will depend on you. Time and spiritual strength will help you forgive on your terms.
Don’t force yourself into forgiving or trying to get back to normal. Take all the time you need.
11. The conversation
When you are ready, let your husband know that you want to have a sane conversation about this life event.
“Sane” is a keyword here.
You do not want this conversation to degenerate into an emotional minefield, with histrionics and name-calling being your main communication techniques. You are hurt. And when you are hurting, it is natural to want to attack the person responsible for that hurt.
The problem with that is that it will make this important conversation counterproductive. So breathe deeply and count to three when about to say something that you may regret down the line.
If you don’t feel capable of reigning in your hot emotions, make an appointment with a marriage counselor. This conversation will be much healthier when done with the expert guidance of someone with vast experience in the field of post-infidelity recovery.
12. Think about your needs and wants
When your husband cheats, you may feel like he is holding all the power cards. Is he going to leave you for another woman? What can you do to “keep” him? Is he telling you he is torn between the two of you and doesn’t know what to do?
All of this can make you feel like you are a victim. Guess what? You aren’t! Remind yourself that you have a say in what your future will look like. He does not hold all the power here.
Take some alone time and think about what you want from this marriage. Reflect on how you got to this place. Maybe the relationship wasn’t so great after all, and it is time to go your separate ways. Maybe you can use this crisis to invent the next chapter in your marriage with a large dose of forgiveness and some marriage counseling sessions.
Use this critical juncture to carve out a plan for what you want your future to look like. Will it be with him or without him? Don’t let him unilaterally make this decision for the two of you.
When a husband cheats on you, it’s hard to see yourself move forward with your spouse. With all that has been said and done, you will have to decide whether to give it another chance or end the relationship.
You know yourself better than anyone else. Don’t say yes if you’re still in pain or you know you won’t be able to move on.
It’s your future.
It’s not easy to forgive, but if you do, you’re doing yourself a favor. This is why Dr. Dawn Elise Snipes explains the process of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
14. Get counseling
How can I stay strong when my husband cheated?
What if you want to know how to deal with a cheating partner but know you still need help?
The best course of action is for both of you to sign up for a couple’s therapy.
Together, you’ll understand the hardships that you’ve gone through. The licensed therapist would also help you appreciate each other and how you could stand up and try again.
15. Above all, practice self-care
How do I love my husband after he cheated? Is it still possible to reconcile?
As you progress through this trauma, prioritize yourself and your well-being. Now more than ever.
Before you think about second chances, think of yourself first.
Eat healthfully, caring for your insides with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole foods. Do not dive head-first into Ben and Jerry’s. While it may feel good while going down and distracts you from the pain of infidelity, it will do nothing beneficial for you in the long term.
Move your body with daily exercise – walk, run, dance, stretch, or do yoga or Pilates. This will keep the feel-good endorphins flowing and help burn off some of those hurt emotions. Hang out with good, positive people who will sit with you when you need company.
This is a sensitive time in your life, and you need to handle yourself with care.
After all the pain and hurt, sometimes, you still want to give it a chance and learn how to deal with a cheating husband.
Deep inside, you want to try again, but how?
Through all these 15 steps, you’ll understand that time is your best friend, and you need to love yourself first before you can love another person again.
From there, learn to forgive on your terms, seek professional help, and finally decide what you think is best for you, your spouse, and your kids.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.