So you’ve cheated? Does it mean your marriage is doomed for divorce? Absolutely NOT! And by the way, I’m speaking from experience!
Now don’t get it twisted, it does mean it’s time to “Man-Up” meaning to “toughen up” or in my Spike Lee voice…“Do the right thing!”
Immediately, I’m reminded of the scripture 1 Corinthians 10:12, “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.” If you consider yourself to be above temptation, then get ready to fall! You are not exempt my brother or sister for that matter, but for the sake of this article I’m addressing my brothers.
We are all human. Both my husband and I are really good people (or so we have been told.) But, we’ve made poor decisions and violated our values and beliefs resulting in infidelity on my part and his.
Since this article is geared towards men, I will speak about my husband’s affair. My husband, like many others who have cheated, felt deep remorse and deeply desired to save our marriage! However, he, like many others, lived in fear that I would discover his affair.
Guess what? Eventually I did!
Side Note: Never underestimate a woman’s intuition. It has been documented that in every affair 80% of women had a “feeling” known as intuition that cheating was likely taking place.
Men you do NOT want your wife to find out (trust me), rather you want to “man-up” and be honest upfront. This will actually give you more credibility during this difficult time. In the long run, she will appreciate and/or respect that YOU were the one who took the initiative to be honest and come clean versus her discovering and questioning if you were ever going to tell her the truth or continue to allow her to live a lie.
Men often times get a bad rap for not having feelings, in part, because they are not as expressive as us women. However, it does not mean that they do not feel. Truth is, they often experience guilt and allow themselves to live with this guilt which plagues them like a disease.
Instead of communicating their infidelity, men will continue to live in fear that if they confess, their wives may not forgive them and end up divorcing them. This was the case for my husband, and for many other husbands.
Gentlemen, please understand you’ll have many big obstacles to endure after your affair, starting with telling your wife about your cheating. Remember, you can not conquer what you are not willing to confront.
Below are strategies that will help you MAN-UP after you’ve had an affair.
Think BEFORE You Act
You need to consider a few things beforehand. DO NOT begin to communicate and confess your affair until you have first done your self-examination in evaluating how and why this happened and what you could have and WILL do differently going forward (assuming you will be given the BLESSING and OPPORTUNITY to move forward.) But do keep the faith!
Now you know women are inquisitive by nature. So anticipate that your wife will have and ask many questions. Also, it is wise to note that she will feel like she was hit by a train. Therefore , she may not ask all of her questions upfront. I know I didn’t, but yet I had many more questions arise over time. So be patient with her, as you expect her to be patient with you.
You can expect to hear the following questions….so get prepared
- How could you betray me like that?
- Do I not make you happy? Are you no longer attracted to me? Is she prettier, smarter, etc?
- How long have you been seeing her? Who is she? How did this even begin?
- What is it that I do not do for you that she did?
- Where did you two meet? Who else knows?
- Did you sleep with her? How many times?
- What places did the two of you go and the frequency?
- Will you be honest in answering all my questions?
- Who ended it and why?
- When and how exactly did you end it?
Tell the Truth….the Whole Truth
If you are reading this then it is my belief and hope you want to save your marriage. I can not stress enough that you should think through the above questions. And most of all, have answers prepared before entering into the conversation with your wife. Considering you have lied up until now, it is absolutely critical to the success of your marriage to tell the truth on everything from this point forward. After all, your wife deserves the truth!
It will be extremely uncomfortable in the beginning. It may even feel like a war zone for a while. But know that ,in time, the two of you will be working to have a new and improved marriage. Right now, you need hope, so let me share some…Our marriage is way better than it was before the affair! And I believe your marriage can be too!
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You better believe she will want to know WHO you cheated with. You will have to admit this and again do not lie or beat around the bush. Every person in your circle becomes a suspect when you don’t answer her questions completely and truthfully. Again, your wife deserves to know and focus on one woman vs. everyone and their momma.
This may be the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do! I say this because you must answer every question about every little detail. May I suggest you preface the conversation by saying the following
“I’m willing to answer every question you have honestly. At the same time, I do not want to hurt you any further with any unnecessary details that will not help you/us heal so are really sure you want to know that? Once I tell you I cannot ‘un-tell’ you. Again I will be honest, but I really don’t want to inflict any further pain than I already have.”
Dr. George James, licensed marriage and family therapist and BMWK Infidelity expert , says there are some things you may or may not be able to handle when it comes to your spouse’s affair. He says:
“I often tell people to avoid any information that is going to leave an imprint in your mind that will be hard for you to get rid of. For instance, asking certain sexual questions, asking about positions or, “Was it in our bed?” Sometimes you might need to know these things and if you feel like you can really handle the information, okay. But sometimes the answers to those questions become so difficult that it is hard for people to work past it. Outside of that, I would want everything to come out because it only helps the relationship to be better.”
Remember what is done in the dark will always come to light sooner or later. So if you are thinking of keeping anything secret go ahead and reveal it while you are in the moment. Trust me, it is better to address all the pain upfront vs. thinking you’ve made progress and later have something surface to destroy all you’ve accomplished.
If you genuinely do not understand how you got into the affair, you need to know that because your wife will need to understand too. Please seek professional help! It will take longer for your wife to deal with this if you haven’t identified things about yourself that made you vulnerable; actions you took that led you into temptation, and other similar factors.
If you can walk backwards in your mind to see how one thing led to another, you may be able to make a timeline that explains your actions to you. This can help your wife know that you’ve figured out your weaknesses and learned to protect yourself, and you personally will also have a much better chance of personal healing.
Finally, when your wife starts the “what is wrong with me” type of questions, this is NOT the time to point out flaws. Your job at this point is to point out all of the good that your wife has done and positive attributes about her; your wife will need a great deal of reassurance.
Cut It Off
Prior to confessing that you’ve cheated, stop ALL contact with the person you cheated with. Be able to tell your wife that it is over completely and that you promise to have no interaction with the other woman ever again. If that means you need to seek different employment, seek it with your wife’s blessing. If it means changing churches, moving to a different area, or ending nonessential relationships, then do so. Do what YOU have to do!
Lastly, but certainly not least…
Don’t Be a Fool
Don’t be a fool…If you think you can confess your affair and life will go on as usual, then you are clueless as to the damage you have caused and are possibly still causing. Part of being a man, a real man, is protecting your wife from hurt. Therefore, it is unfair and clearly unmanly to subject your wife to a situation where she has to continually face the other woman, or worry about what happens when you come into contact with that woman. All contact, in every manner and method, must stop immediately.
You had your affair and you crossed the boundaries once you decided to step outside of your relationship. And now, it’s time to man-up and face the consequences and do the work to restore your relationship.
BMWK – do you think that a marriage is automatically doomed for divorce after an affair? Why or Why not?