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“My Wife Cheated Now What?” See This Roadmap to Move Forward

Books, television shows, and movie scripts inherently incorporate some drama or conflict to garner the undivided attention of their audience. 

Adultery, unfaithfulness, and infidelity are elements commonly woven into the plotline of the unsuspecting characters. These elements appear in creative works across many genres, including comedies, drama, and fiction. 

While the premise of unfaithfulness carries entertainment value for most, it also has the capacity to evoke great feelings of sadness for those going through it or for those with first-hand experience.

Being cheated on can be likened to an earthquake. Tiny rumblings of unrest culminate into a massive eruption, with seismic aftershocks continuing long after the initial blast.

In the same way that an earthquake makes permanent changes to a physical landscape, a cheating wife can negatively alter the course of a relationship forever. 

Couples are forced to muddle through the emotional wreckage and physical destruction that an affair selfishly and callously leaves behind. 

The Effects of Infidelity on Men

Infidelity is often complex, with diverse presentations across couples. The precipitating factors, course and length, unearthing, and consequences of an affair are largely unique to each couple. 

Infidelity can harm an individual’s self-esteem and self-worth. 

It can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, and anger or result in risky and self-destructive behaviors. It can cause physical symptoms such as reduced appetite, disrupted sleep, fatigue, and other somatic complaints. 

Personality, past experiences, and resilience are important factors in how one copes with an affair. Gender-related differences can also play a part in how men and women view, experience, and cope with infidelity. 

In television, books, and movies, male characters are often erroneously stereotyped to immediately show rage, engage in violence, and act like alpha males guarding their territory when discovering that they’ve been cheated on. 

Contrary to this popular media portrayal, men have varying emotional reactions and numerous options for proceeding after learning that their wife has cheated on them with someone else.          

My Wife Cheated on Me: What Should I Do?

Husband Discover's Wife's Affair
Finding out that your wife cheated on you will permanently alter the course of the rest of your life or your lives together.

If your wife has been unfaithful and has broken your wedding vows, you are likely wondering what to do next. Unfortunately, there is no universal road map or brochure to reference in situations like these. 

Although you are the one in the driver’s seat, it may feel like you have lost control and crashed your vehicle. 

Individuals must learn how to navigate these new and unchartered territories while braving the elements, avoiding roadblocks, and following detours. 

Despite this fact, at some point in the journey, a fork will inevitably present itself in the road. 

In the most basic and simplistic terms, an individual ultimately has two choices when their wife cheats on them: they continue the relationship and see where the road takes them, or they turn onto a new path and walk away from the relationship.   

The next sections will dive into the complications of each option.

Option #1: Get Over Your Wife Cheating

Couple Having Serious Conversation
If you decide to work through the affair, you’ll both need to communicate openly and honestly as your marriage recovers.

Some individuals may not be willing to consider divorce and instead choose to stay in the relationship for better or for worse. 

Some people may be unwilling to leave the marriage for the children’s sake, for religious and cultural reasons, or fear of negative financial repercussions. 

Yet others may decide to stay in the marriage for reasons of love and commitment alone. 

Regardless of the rationale, these individuals will ultimately have to find some way to get over their wives ’ indiscretions. 

Getting over it and moving forward may be more challenging for some than for others. 

Getting over an affair may be easier if the affair resulted from an ill-advised and inebriated one-night stand rather than a thoughtful long-term encounter. 

Some husbands find it easier to move past an affair when it is of an emotional nature rather than a physical transgression, or vice versa. 

Some people may be more resilient and forgiving than others, while others may only move past the infidelity if their wife agrees to some stipulations. 

These stipulations may be to go to counseling, stop frequenting certain places, or stop engaging with certain people. 

Ultimately, one must also be honest with himself about what he wants from the continued relationship. 

If he is invested in repairing and moving forward with the marriage, he must also be willing to work on trusting her again.   

But What if You Can’t Just “Get Over” Her Infidelity?

For some individuals, it is not so easy to “just get over it.” Perhaps they have less resilience, a more difficult time forgiving, or trust issues resulting from abandonment or trauma in their past. 

They may feel hopeless and helpless, as they want to stay married but do not know how to work through their own feelings.

Men can do several things when they are having difficulty getting over their wives’ infidelity.

Tip #1: Seek Professional Counseling

Couple In Professional Counseling
Professional counseling can be one of the most helpful tools for moving past an affair.

There is often a stigma that mental health treatment is only for the weak or crazy. This stigma combined with the masculine stereotype that men should be strong and self-sufficient is a recipe for disaster

Sometimes professional intervention is necessary to help one sort out their emotions, process their feelings, and learn coping mechanisms and other techniques to help them move forward in their lives and relationships. 

As the term suggests, individual counseling focuses solely on the individual, while marital counseling focuses on the couple. 

Sometimes the most effective treatment occurs when a person engages in both individual and couples counseling. 

Tip #2: Seek Support

If you are having trouble moving forward, it is important to avoid isolation and seek support whenever needed. Support can be in the form of family, friends, mentors, or religious figures. 

When one begins to isolate and ruminate on their thoughts, they become at risk for depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem

Seeking support is critical for one to process continued thoughts and feelings and to feel the backing from those who love them. 

Getting over the wreckage that infidelity leaves behind is hard work and can only be achieved better and faster with the help of your loved ones. 

Tip #3: Be Kind to Yourself

Man Relaxing
Be kind to yourself. Avoid blaming yourself and contemplating the ‘what if’s. Give yourself time to heal and process what happened. Spend extra time on your hobbies, or on activities that bring you peace.

One rabbit hole that many people inadvertently fall through is to blame themselves. They suspect that things could have been very different “if only.” 

If only” they paid more attention, made more money, were better looking, or more successful, then their wife would never have cheated with another man

They will sometimes engage in the “should have” or “could haves.” 

I “should have” gone to my wife’s business luncheon, I “could have” helped her more around the house, I “should have” complimented her more often. 

Sometimes there is some validity to these claims, while other times, they couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Regardless, people need to avoid this thinking, as it will have no impact on the past and only prevents them from moving forward. 

In addition to negative thinking, individuals may become frustrated or angry with themselves for feeling this way. They may berate themselves for feeling depressed or unworthy or for outwardly showing their emotions. 

Some may be angry with themselves that they are still thinking about the affair or are unable to forgive their wives faster. 

Infidelity can be viewed as a loss, as the relationship will never be exactly the same following unfaithfulness and broken vows. As with death and with other types of losses, freely give yourself time and space to grieve.

Option #2: Your Wife Cheated and You Want a Divorce

Although your wife chose to have an affair, it will ultimately be your choice as to HOW you want to handle her infidelity. 

To complicate matters further, there may be other important factors to consider, such as children, friends, family, finances, and property.

A decision to divorce will undoubtedly impact and change almost every area of your life. 

If you know with a hundred percent certainty that there is no way to heal or move forward from this betrayal, filing for divorce and seeking legal counsel may be your best option. 

Sometimes the decision to get a divorce is made even simpler when the wife also wants a divorce.

This certainty may result from religious beliefs, personality characteristics, or an inability to forgive. 

This certainty may also result from past history, from the general course of the relationship, or from the fact that you are no longer in love or happy

Although the decision to get a divorce may be a realization that comes immediately, it is probably more likely that it will be a decision made over time, with trial and error, and after careful consideration. 

You may decide to try to work things out by seeking professional counseling and intervention, or perhaps you and your wife try to mend what is broken on your own. 

Regardless of the chosen method, you will ultimately assess the state of affairs and figure out if you have the capacity to forgive and trust your wife again. 

If you conclude that you are incapable of these things, you may realize that a divorce is the only way to stay true to yourself.

But What if You Still Love Her Despite Wanting a Divorce?

Distraught Man Contemplating
Your heart and head may not be on the same page after finding out your wife cheated. Take the time you need to think clearly and make the best decision for your situation.

When rummaging through the aftermath of an affair, you may find your head to be at odds with your heart

Your head and rational thought, along with other well-intentioned people in your life, may be telling you to pack your bags and get out of the relationship as soon as possible, while your heart may be screaming, “but I still love her!

Love and matters of the heart can be funny. They can be irrational, inconvenient, and go against all sense of logic and better judgment. Love can make one say and do things they never thought possible. 

True love is romanticized to always win and conquer all, but this may simply be the magic that fairy tales are made of. 

It is probably safer to say that when love is strong and pure, a relationship has the best chance of longevity and survival.

The fact of the matter is that love, or the illusion of love, can often cause people to stay in unhealthy and destructive relationships for far longer than they should have. 

When your heart counteracts your head and makes you second guess your decision to divorce, it is extremely critical for you to evaluate the type of love that you share with your wife. 

Is your love pure and you, as individuals, or as a couple, simply lost your way?

Is your wife’s love conditional, pre-meditated, or selfish? 

Was your love once pure but has since then been weakened and weathered from the storm of life? 

Furthermore, if you determine that your love is true or was once true, the sad fact of the matter is that love sometimes works better in theory than in practice. 

A part of you may always love your wife, but that doesn’t necessarily imply that you should stay in your marriage. 

If your wife is not committed to you or your marriage, you are destined to be unhappy and unfulfilled in your relationship. 

Many divorced couples report that they will always have a love for their ex-spouse but admit that they are much better apart than they were together. 

It is not uncommon to carry this love with you as you set forth on a brand new path with hopes of a better destination.

Decision Time

Depressed Man Processing and Contemplating
Be kind to yourself, give yourself time to heal and reflect, and trust in yourself that you’ll make the best decision for your situation. Infidelity is a loss – allow yourself to grieve.

There is no doubt that cheating and infidelity in fictional works can be exciting to watch and read about. 

Writers, producers, and authors know that their audience will continue to tune in and wait with bated breath week after week to find out who ends up with who and how all parties will react when news of the affair comes to light. 

While viewers watch as hot lava begins to bubble beneath the surface of an active volcano and delights at its eruption, real life shares no parallel or commonality with this type of entertainment. 

Instead, the real-life experience of infidelity feels more like one is walking through unrecognizable, smoldering pieces of rubble that were once a life that they recognized.

Despite the chaos and despair that an affair can cause, rest assured that, like most natural disasters, you will survive and rise stronger through the rubble. 

You will reflect, learn, and move forward and, in doing so, will either find yourself moving forward on the road that you are currently on or will see yourself veering off onto another road. 

Whatever road you choose, be kind to yourself and take comfort in the fact that you are moving towards sunshine and rainbows as you get through the various storms.

Photo of author

Tracy Smith, LPC, NCC, ACS

Tracy Smith, LPC, NCC, ACS is a Licensed Professional Counselor in New Jersey, a Nationally Certified Counselor, an Approved Clinical Supervisor, and a mental health freelance writer. Tracy has fourteen years of clinical and supervisory experience in a variety of mental health settings and levels of care.

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