- 1 Do not allow your financial situation to dictate your decision
- 2 Consider her actions, the consequences and how they affect you going forward
- 3 Ask what concessions she’s prepared to make
- 4 Think about whether your relationship is worth saving
- 5 Agree to make key life changes
- 6 Find a way to get over the affair
- 7 Design a better life together
- 8 Summary
Forgiving a cheating partner may be one of the most important decisions you have make in your entire life. In this article I’ll guide you through what it’s going to take, and whether you should forgive her or move on with your life.
To forgive a cheating wife you need to fully accept the facts and resolve to work together to rebuild your marriage. Any resentment you hold will make way for jealousy and mistrust, jeopardising your progress and – ultimately – your relationship. Consider therapy if you feel you can’t get past her infidelity.
Dealing with a cheating partner is difficult, to say the least, and the make or break factor in restoring the relationship is going to be you. Everything from your character, personality, beliefs, boundaries and more is going to be tested by this episode in your life.
So let’s get down to the detail of actually forgiving a wife who has cheated on you, and how to go about it.
Do not allow your financial situation to dictate your decision
Your financial situation should never be a factor in your decision to stay or leave a relationship. Many people stay in bad relationships because they think they would be worse off financially if they were to break up. This shows short-sightedness and a lack of boundaries.
While being broke or worse off may be true in the short term, it is your responsibility to generate an income for yourself, whether that means finding a better job or learning better skills. Relying on a different person – especially one you dislike – to provide for you makes you feel powerless and, in the case of a bad relationship, worthless.
If your sole reason for staying in an unfulfilling relationship is financial security, regret and resentment will seep into your life and – invariably – into the relationship itself, making a bad situation even worse.
Consider her actions, the consequences and how they affect you going forward
It’s time to get serious. This is a monumental decision, so do not skip ahead or be tempted to get it over as fast as possible. Take your time, because whatever you decide could well seal your fate for the rest of your life.
First of all, separate all issues that have nothing to do with your wife’s infidelity. The fact is that you’re in a relationship and she cheated on you, which is an indication that all is not well in the relationship. At least, that’s the most likely scenario.
So, assuming that issues already existed in your relationship, right now, while you’re feeling negative and angry, it’s likely that you could list a long list of grievances if you wanted to.
That will cloud your thinking and – ultimately – your decision.
Think only about the actual event, and how it will affect you if you were to stay in this relationship. I’m talking specifically about the consequences of her actions.
For example, was this a long-term affair or a one off? The answer to that could well sway your decision one way or another. A long-term affair shows a serious lack of respect for your dignity, not to mention a whole host of other issues.
And what about the affair partner? Is he still around? Is he a work colleague? If so, that means your wife (if she continues to work at the same place) will have daily contact with your nemesis.
You see what I’m talking about here, right? Her cheating may well be a one off and in the past, but there may be consequences going forward that affect you, and you need to be clear in order to be aware of exactly what you may be dealing with going forward.
You deserve that much. Do not brush this under the carpet and under no circumstances let your wife dictate this process and dismiss the importance of this by saying things like ‘it won’t happen again’ and ‘let’s just put it behind us’.
That simply isn’t good enough. We’re talking about the rest of your life here, so stand your ground and make time to think in solitude. It’s your thoughts that matter right now, not somebody else’s promises.
Let’s go back to the person she cheated with. If he’s not a work colleague, then who or – more importantly – where is he and what does his location present an issue for you?
If he works in a supermarket, for example, then your wife could (if she wanted to) avoid that place in future and shop elsewhere. If, on the other hand, he’s a neighbour, avoiding him is probably going to be a bigger challenge.
So think about what life will be like (specifically your life) in future if you stick around. Think about all the things that may affect you because of her actions (like bumping into the man she cheated with).
Once you’re clear on all the ways in which your peace of mind, sanity and happiness may be compromised in future, it’s time to sit down and have a serious talk with your wife about those things and what she’s going to do about them.
Ask what concessions she’s prepared to make
If your wife is trying to salvage the marriage, then she may be making promises and falling over herself to assure you that nothing untoward will happen again.
That’s all very well, but words get blown away with the wind (I wish I could have made that sentence sound more poetic). There needs to be a frank conversation between you two. I’m talking about the kind of conversation that happens around a table, facing each other.
If your wife tells you the conversation is not necessary (she may say things like ‘there’s no need, I understand what I need to do’, etc) then she could be trying to avoid the awkwardness of the situation.
Either way, it’s not optional. That conversation has to take place. Now.
What to say in that conversation
This is a serious conversation – maybe the most serious talk of your marriage so far. Treat it like a meeting, because – just as with a meeting – there are different issues to discuss and there is a goal to attain (i.e. to resolve as many issues as possible so you can decide whether staying in this relationship is a viable thing).
Start the conversation by pointing out that there has been a serious breach of trust in the relationship. Don’t beat around the bush, this is not a time to be shy or polite. Tell it like it is. Your wife cheated. That was her decision, not yours, so don’t sugar coat it.
Address your infidelity trust Issues
Don’t be bashful either about expressing how you feel about the affair. The pain of infidelity is very real, and in this case, your wife is the cause of that pain.
Tell her there are trust issues right now if this is the case. Address your loss of trust. If you have to be blunt and say I don’t trust you right now then say it. This is a consequence of her actions, and she has to face up to this fact.
Then explain to your wife all the situations that are now an issue for you because of her actions.
What’s the sacrifice on her part?
When you’re done, ask her if, where and how she is prepared compromise with you in order to help you deal with the mental aspect of continuing with your relationship.
In other words, what is she going to do, if anything, about those situations to either avoid them or make them go away?
Discuss what will change, in detail. Is she willing to change jobs if her affair partner is a work colleague? Are you both willing to move if he’s a neighbour? If the deed took place on a night out with friends, how is she proposing to ensure that doesn’t happen again?
Let your wife speak uninterrupted. Hold your silence and wait until she’s said all she has to say before you process any information.
There may be some to and fro necessary at this point. Speak your mind and dive into the details of each issue with the aim to resolve as much as possible.
What do to after the conversation
You should come away from the meeting with as many concessions as possible – things that will help you navigate the times ahead and pave the way for a stronger relationship in future.
Now it’s time for you to assess how many things have been – or will be – resolved, and whether those things will make enough of a difference to you.
Think about whether your relationship is worth saving
Your entire relationship is at stake, yes, but so is the rest of your life. You need to consider whether you can live with your wife’s concessions and whether they will help you get over her infidelity and even, in time, regain a sense of trust.
If you decide to forgive her, then a second conversation is necessary to reiterate her concessions and both your commitments to make things work.
A second conversation may seem unnecessary at this point, especially if the first conversation was awkward and especially if it caused conflict. But if you can’t both commit to sit down and work the details of your marriage going forward then how confident do you feel that it will succeed?
Sit down and talk again.
Agree to make key life changes
Depending on the situation and on her concessions, it may be the case that moving home or even town is necessary. If so, then this also impacts you and maybe your work if you happen to work in your current town.
These changes can be life changing, hopefully for the better. However, you both need to be on board with these changes and accept that things may not be easy at first.
Changing town may put distance between you and the man she cheated with, and that may make you happy, but moving home could also have negative consequences like moving further away from friends and family.
Weigh all these things up carefully and make sure you both agree fully to each change. Not doing so will breed resentment further down the line, which will make this whole thing a pointless exercise.
Find a way to get over the affair
Recovery from infidelity is no easy task. If you really want to make things work for you and your wife again, then you need to get back to a stable and healthy emotional state as fast as possible.
At this point, you must be wondering how long you may have to endure your current state for. Checkout my article and find out how long it takes to forgive a cheating spouse.
Also, consider a relationship therapist as a shortcut to get you there. If you prefer the DIY approach, arm yourself with knowledge and work on yourself to improve who you are.
Design a better life together
Now is a good time to sit down together and design your new daily life. If you’re both committed to change, then chose to do the things you feel will lead to a happier life.
You don’t have to do what’s expected of married couples if you don’t find that appealing. Throw the rulebook out and plan things from the ground up.
It’s time to get excited about the future again.
Forgiving a cheating partner is no easy thing. Do not underestimate the importance of this decision, because it could affect the rest of your life.
The first step is to consider the consequences of your partner’s actions and how they affect you going forward.
At this point, if you’re still willing forgive her, the next step is to sit down and air all your issues. The goal of talking is to try to resolve as many of the issues you identified in the previous step as possible.
Then, take some time to think whether your wife’s concessions will make enough of a difference to you. In other words, if you can live with what she’s done under the new agreement.
If you decide to stick around, plan together your next chapter. Make all the key decisions necessary to improve the situation and then design the perfect life together.
Forgiving her infidelity may take some time. Your priority at this point is to get over her affair as fast as possible, for both your sakes. If this requires professional help, don’t hesitate to take that step.