How to Forgive a Cheater Wife and Not Feel Like a Loser
ALL THE SIGNS WERE THERE.
She seemed happy when she was away from you, but when you showed up, her shine was instantly dimmed.
She dressed up for work but seems to care less whether you find her attractive.
She showed little interest in your comings and goings, unlike in the past.
She has also been showing less tolerance of you of late. Indeed, she is perpetually angry at everything you do. Perhaps the most telling is the fact that she has been showing less and less interest in sex.
But how could she ever cheat on you? The moment the undeniable evidence was confronted, it was like being hit by a truck. She was having an affair.
Then the floodgate of emotions follows; anger, hopelessness, sadness, confusion, betrayal, rejection, even embarrassment. Imagine that! You are embarrassed, and you are not the one who cheated. But who wants to be the guy whose wife cheated on him?
Once the dust settles there are many things to confront… Is my marriage over? Do I even want to save my marriage? What happened? How do I know that it’s not going to happen again? And can I forgive her?
Forgiveness is often the hardest to confront…
Why it's hard to forgive
Forgiving the cheating wife can make us feel like we’re allowing her to get away with it. We will feel as if as long as we have not forgiven her, we are holding her accountable. It is as if forgiving her is letting her off the hook. This is a fallacy that keeps you stuck in an angry, resentful place.
- Both you and your wife have lost the relationship you had. You are suffering because of the pain she has caused. If she truly loves you, that awareness is the source of pain for her also.
- And she gets stuck with the label of the spouse who cheated for the rest of her life.
I am not saying this to minimize your pain: you are entitled to feel angry and hurt. However, when you recognize that she is going through her own pain as well, that may change your perspective on the whole thing. The truth is that nobody is getting away with anything.
Resentment is the poison you swallow hoping the other person will die. – Carrie Fisher
“But if I forgive my wife, I lose my dignity. She cheated on me!”
The hardest thing about forgiveness for a man is the fear that you will lose your self-respect by accepting the cheating. This thinking is erroneous. Forging is far from condoning the behavior.
Most importantly, forgiveness is also for you. Forgiveness may bring relief to your wife and restore your marriage, but keep in mind that it has more to do with you than with everything else.
Clinging on to anger and resentment will hurt you more than it will hurt your wife. Forgiveness is a commitment to move forward with your life, whether you continue with the marriage or not.
Consider this: if you cannot forgive your wife you have made a conscious decision to hold on to anger. This is undeniably the worst way to live. It will sour your outlook on everything, including the life you do not share with your wife.
The question remains: how can you forgive without giving up your dignity?
How to determine whether your wife is ready to be forgiven
Before you can even decide on how to forgive your wife, the first step is to figure out whether she is ready for forgiveness.
- No contact: This means that your wife must send a clear message to the other person that there will be no further contact between them.
- Full access: Your wife must provide full access to phones and online accounts so that you can indeed confirm that the affair has ended.
Trust but verify – Ronald Reagan
- Remorse: Your wife must feel and show sincere remorse for having cheated on you. If she doesn’t, that’s a red flag right there! If she urges you to forget about it already and move on, something is not right. How can you forgive her if she doesn't feel the least amount of pain for ripping your heart out and shredding it into pieces?
- Disclosure: Many betrayed husbands do not want all the gory details. However, your wife should be ready and willing to disclose anything that you want to know. This helps you resolve any questions that you may have about the infidelity.
Do not forgive too quickly
When many men find out their wives have cheated, they might think that they must forgive her quickly and move on. There is only one problem: this is cheap forgiveness.
Cheap forgiveness comes when we are first confronted by the transgression against us. It is the initial stage of the grief process: denial and bargain. You are denying how much it will cost you to survive the affair and you are trading your forgiveness for the pain you are feeling.
It also happens if the wife is indicating that she wants to end the marriage. We think that if we forgive her quickly, she will stay.
Unfortunately, cheap forgiveness does not last. It is not really forgiving; all your pain is still there. An understanding of the high cost of forgiveness must not be forgotten in any form of adultery. Your wife must earn of your forgiveness, however long it takes.
Weigh the weight of the infidelity against a life together with your wife
If you truly want to rebuild a life with your wife, you will have to focus on the good that is in your marriage: children, companionship, investments, and allow it to balance out the pain of the infidelity
This will help you connect with your wife on a deeper level. It will also help you grieve the loss of the life you had together even as you seek to build something new that has the potential of being more beautiful. Also, you will always know that you did not just let the infidelity slide; you forgave for a higher purpose.
Forgiveness will obviously not solve everything. Time helps in the healing process. Keep on communicating with your wife, letting her know what you need her to help you with for your healing. Finally, consciously deal with all the other issues you are grappling with:
- Might you be telling yourself that her affair means that she doesn’t love you enough?
- Do you have a fear that it will happen again?
Have an open conversation with your wife so that together you can sort out these issues and move towards becoming partners again.
Additional facts about forgiveness:
- Forgiveness will not be a onetime deal. It may be something you will have to revisit often.
- Forgiveness is not ‘all or nothing!’ True forgiveness is a matter of degrees. You may find it easier to forgive certain parts of the infidelity much easier than others.
- You do not have to feel ready to forgive before starting the process of forgiveness. Sometimes you may never feel ready to forgive. Beginning the process is the critical thing.
- Forgiveness means reconciliation? Nope. There is forgiveness for your own healing and forgiveness that leads to reconciliation. You are at liberty to choose the outcome.
- Forgiveness does not mean that the transgression was not that bad. You are only doing your best not to let it control the rest of your life.
A final word about cheating and forgiveness
‘There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love' – Bryant H. McGill
The most important piece of advice I can give you is simply this. Don't try to get things ‘back to how they once were'. Leave everything, the good and the bad in the past and start fresh. Agree with your wife that your old relationship wasn't cutting it, and start a new relationship. From today.
This is one of the messages passed onto me from this program about saving marriages. It's great advice because it distances you from the relationship problems and focuses on the positives and potential future of your relationship. Which is a good thing.
If you have any questions or queries about the program or this article, then you can contact me here
Best of luck in your situation