I know this might sound hard to believe, but most wives don’t plan to cheat. However, for nearly 1 in 5 couples these days, infidelity happens.
Affairs happen for a whole multitude of reasons, although that doesn’t justify anyone’s behavior.
If you love your wife and want to forgive her someday, though, it’s essential to recognize that it takes a whole chain of events for cheating to unfold, and frequently couples miss out on 99.9% of the warning signs.
Just because you missed the problems the first time, that doesn’t mean you can’t still repair what once was broken and move on to live in a stable, healthy marriage for many years to come.
You just need the right tools to help you process your pain and move forward with your life. Furthermore, you and your wife both need the tools to love each other and prevent affairs from ever tainting your relationship again.
How do you get over your wife cheating on you?
Moving past an affair is a difficult concept for most spouses, but especially for husbands. In fact, New York-based psychiatrist Mark Epstein told Web MD that the idea of a faithless wife sends many husbands over the edge.
If your wife cheated, you might feel like you’ll never be able to wipe those images from your head. However, most experts say that if you can talk through the infidelity and ask what happened and why, you’ll have the best chance of working through it.
Once you know the whole story, work through your emotions. You probably feel shocked, confused, sad, or even angry — all of these feelings are valid.
It will take time to work through these feelings and may even feel like you’re grieving the loss of your marriage. That’s OK.
While you work through your feelings, though, avoid seeking revenge or pointing fingers. However, the experts at Verywell Mind stress that these tactics will keep you trapped in your anger and ultimately stunt your healing. Instead, focus inward and take care of yourself.
You may also feel like the affair is a reflection of your lack of manhood. It’s important to consider what was going on in the relationship leading up to the infidelity without placing judgment solely on yourself. Often a multitude of factors leads to an affair; not just one.
Finally, seeking help from a couple’s counselor is one of the most important things you can do to help you work through your feelings and decide if you can save your marriage.
A therapist serves as a neutral party who can help you process what happened and provide insight.
A couple’s counselor will take in all of the information provided and explain what you can do to work through it or how you can go about separating your lives.
Working through infidelity takes time and energy, but you can get over the affair with help if you're committed to your marriage.
How long does it take to forgive a cheating spouse?
As you begin the process of working through your emotions about the affair, you’re probably wondering how long it will take to forgive your wife.
While some people estimate that it takes the average man up to 2 years to forgive a cheating wife, most experts agree that everyone forgives at different times. In fact, the forgiveness process varies based on these factors:
- The emotional connection you two share
- The amount of remorse your wife displays
- The severity and duration of the affair
- Past incidents of infidelity
- Your willingness to work things through with a couple’s counselor
Furthermore, Savannah Ellis of The Infidelity Recovery Institute says that every partner who has been cheated on works through a set of 5 stages — similar to the stages of grief — after learning about an affair.
Stage 1: Discovery
The circumstances surrounding how you learn about the affair definitely impact the amount of time it takes you to forgive your wife.
How did you learn about the affair? Is this the first time your wife has been unfaithful?
The answers to these questions will influence your feelings and steer the rest of the forgiveness process, as will your ability to make sense of the situation.
Stage 2: Grieving
In this stage, you work through your emotions surrounding the affair. Depending on how much you obsess over the affair and worry, this stage can take a bit of time to work through.
However, if you seek help from a couple’s counselor or individual therapist, you can work through emotions more quickly.
Also, your spouse will also experience her own grieving process as she ends the affair and tries to fill the void. If not handled appropriately, this can lead to continued infidelity which will add years to both of your recovery.
Stage 3: Acceptance
In this third stage, you and your spouse finally come to terms with what happened.
In some cases, acceptance means recognizing that a marriage is over and starting the process of separation. In other instances, acceptance means making peace with the affair so you can move forward.
Although it’s tempting to hold a grudge or seek revenge as you work through your emotions, this will cause you to stall out and never reach acceptance. This step is critical if you want to save your marriage, so it’s important to be mindful of your thoughts.
While acceptance takes time and a considerable amount of energy, many couples find this “clean slate” to be helpful in revitalizing their marriage.
Stage 4: Reconnection
Once you and your partner have accepted the affair and worked through some of your emotions, you can start trying to reconnect. However, reconnecting doesn’t mean just resuming sex — you must also work on rebuilding your emotional connection as well.
Furthermore, you and your wife must break old habits that didn’t work and establish new ones as you reconnect. This means learning effective communication skills, ways to show each other love, and preferences when it comes to sex and intimacy. This will take time, but it’s worth it!
Stage 5: Maintenance
Don’t be shocked if it takes a while for you and your wife to reach this phase, especially if she was cheating for a while before you found out. However, this final phase is where you begin living in your new reality after the affair.
Can a marriage really survive infidelity in the long term?
When you marry your partner, you usually say the words “to death do us part.” However, many couples find it difficult to move past infidelity and salvage their marriage after a spouse cheats.
Ask most psychologists, though, and you’ll learn that nearly any marriage can survive an affair — if both partners are willing to put in the time and energy to make sure their marriage remains successful in the aftermath of infidelity.
While we don’t see it happen in many movies, many real-life couples find ways to keep their marriage alive after infidelity and actually make it thrive.
The key to making sure your marriage survives after infidelity is by rebuilding trust. Once you recommit to each other and self-improve, you can work through the affair and build a strong enough relationship to survive anything… even a cheating wife.
What are the chances that your wife cheats again?
Although we all know the phrase “once a cheater, always a cheater,” couple’s therapist and author Tammy Nelson says that isn’t always the case. She argues that once people feel the guilt of cheating, they’re often willing to work towards change.
While this may be the case, a recent study published by the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that people who cheated in one relationship are three times as likely to cheat again in future relationships.
In fact, out of the participants in this study, nearly half of them fully admitted to cheating more than once.
This study doesn’t mean that partners don’t feel remorse for cheating, though. It merely shows people's propensity to cheat a second time if they already cheated to begin with.
However, if you want to ensure that your wife never cheats again, you’ll need to commit to putting lots of effort into your marriage and asking her to do the same. Most couples let their emotional connection whither over time, and this often leads to infidelity.
If you both approach the affair with an open mind and willingness to work, it’s entirely possible to heal the relationship and make it cheat-proof.
Why do some women cheat and blame their husband when confronted?
According to relationship and infidelity expert Sheri Meyers, it’s not uncommon for women to cheat and later blame their husband when confronted. In fact, most women cite a lack of emotional intimacy for their rationale for an affair.
Women (and sometimes even men) blame their cheating partner for a multitude of reasons. Many people try to avoid feelings of guilt by pointing fingers elsewhere for their sinful behavior for starters. After all, blaming someone else makes it feel less horrible in the short-term.
Furthermore, cheaters try to minimize their infidelity to make it easier to cope with the shame that usually comes when their partner discovers the affair.
It’s the same reason why people downplay their drinking habits or other vices. When we minimize our flaws, it makes them feel less horrible.
Finally, some wives blame their husbands when confronted because they simply feel caught off-guard and don’t know how to respond. By placing the blame somewhere else, they can take some time to collect their thoughts and really evaluate why they cheated in the first place.
Whether it’s a one-night stand or a full-fledged affair, it’s never fun to find out that your wife is cheating. Regardless of what emotions come up, though, know that every single one of your thoughts and feelings is justified given the situation.
Working towards forgiveness will take some time, and you may not be ready yet. That’s OK! Don’t rush it!
When you’re ready, though, sit down with your wife and talk things through. Try to listen and understand the affair from her perspective, then share your thoughts and feelings in a calm, effective manner.
You may decide to work things out and even seek professional help — there’s nothing wrong with that.
Just know that whatever happens, you’re strong and able to withstand it. And, with any luck, your marriage is able to withstand this trial by fire, too.