After an affair, we have to deal with the backlash. There will be a wide variety of very important emotions that your partner experiences when they learn that you have been unfaithful to them. Oftentimes, these reactions will involve arguments, harsh words, and a lot of negativity. You might find that your partner is so hurt that he will want to make you pay the price for what you did over an extended period of time, and this can be very draining for both of you. In addition to this, you will have to deal with the guilt and the remorse, and not being able to undo what happened. I am not telling you all of this to dishearten you; I just want you to understand that this is going to take some work. When you understand that this is going to be challenging, it makes it easier to persevere when the challenges arise.
In order to help your husband heal after your affair, you need to allow yourself to heal as well. The first step is to forgive yourself. You need to be able to take accountability for what has happened and then commit to making things right. Take action in order to move this guilt. I can tell you right now that if you’re thinking, “I cheated on my husband, now what,” and you’re just going to be passive about the whole thing and hope that things fix themselves on their own, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Similarly, if you let the guilt overpower you, your partner is going to have a very hard time trusting you again. If you are constantly blaming yourself and wallowing in despair, and if you are constantly bringing up what happened and how sorry you are about it, you’re going to keep reminding your partner of what happened. The result is that you’re going to freeze yourselves in a moment that you’re trying to move past.
Interestingly enough, one of the biggest mistakes that I witness in my clients that come to me for help when they cheated on husband is constantly apologizing or expecting their husband to just move past the affair as soon as they’ve said sorry. You recognizing the fact that you made a mistake does not mean that your spouse is going to be ready to trust you again. This is going to take time and patience (on both sides). The key here is to be detached from the outcome. Don’t worry about him forgiving you. Instead, focus on the process of what you need to do in order to get him to truly forgive you. There are three things that need to happen…
After cheating on my husband: Empathy
The first thing we need to keep in mind after cheating on your husband is the importance of empathy. You’re going to need a LOT of empathy. It’s not about you; it’s about what your husband is feeling. Like I was saying, there are going to be moments where you will have very uncomfortable and stressful conversations, but if you can remember that you’re working towards the goal of healing your marriage, it will become much easier to have productive conversations.
It’s also important to remember that cheating on a person will have a sizable impact on how they view themselves in the relationship. It will affect their sense of self-esteem; it will make them question their lovability, how attractive they are, and these are all things to keep in mind while you’re laying out a new foundation. Make sure that you are patient and work with your husband. You have to validate how he feels without bringing yourself down. If you don’t validate what he’s feeling, you won’t allow him to properly heal.
So just because you understand that you hurt him and he’s resentful, it doesn’t mean that you’re a horrible person. You just need to find empathy to understand where he’s coming from while you are working together towards fixing the situation. You both need to heal and deal with the aftermath of cheating. When you first make the decision to fight for your marriage, you can feel a burst of excitement at the prospect of the challenge. With time as challenges arise, it’s easy to feel discouraged. Just keep reminding yourself that it’s normal that it would be difficult, and just keep doing the little things you committed to doing every single day. It’s a choice you have to actively make every single day. Wake up in the morning and repeat to yourself: This is an opportunity for me to make my marriage better than ever, and I am going to do it.
I was unfaithful to my husband: Consistency
The next tip I have for you has to do with consistency. As you have come to understand, the process of fixing a marriage after cheating is going to take time. This means that you are going to have to stick with the promises you made your partner. If he picks up on the fact that you’re not consistent about your efforts to repair the damage, you’re going to lose credibility, and this is something that will undermine the relationship very, very quickly.
Your husband is hurt right now and he’s on high alert. If he sees you even start to slightly stray from the promises you made him to get back on track, he will view it as a huge red flag. This is why empathy is so important – it helps you to remember why you have to be consistent.
Consistency also means cutting contact with potential distractions and giving your husband access to things that he needs to feel safe and secure. You have to pay attention to your actions, what you’re doing, and what you can do better every single day. Consistency is essential in this process because your husband’s trust has been broken. It can be repaired, but again, it’s going to take time. It’s about taking small steps and having small steps each and every single day that will help you to reach your goal.
Authenticity after cheating on husband
If you are thinking, “I cheated on my husband, now what do I do,” you have to authentically be yourself. If you start putting on an act, not only will your husband feel it, but he’ll resent you for it. However, if you can be yourself, it becomes much easier for him to feel safe in the relationship and this will make it easier for him to bring his guard down. I bring this up because it can be very hard to be yourself when you’re feeling guilty about something that you did. You might want to overcompensate for it by trying really hard to be something else. In some cases, you might feel so disconnected from your true self as a result of your actions that it becomes challenging for you to act naturally. It can take time to work through the negative emotions so that you can see things clearly, and that is why it’s so important to take your time to do this right. Just make sure that you aren’t trying to be someone else or what you think your partner wants you to be.
Have empathy, be remorseful, be consistent, but be yourself. Otherwise, your husband will have trouble recognizing you and reconnecting with you, which will not make the healing process any easier. If you can be yourself and reconnect with your husband, it will make your apology that much more powerful. One of the things that we explain to our clients is that a genuine apology given in a moment of closeness can make all the difference. It’s not about apologizing to him when you’re ready; it’s about apologizing to him when he is ready, when his walls have come down, when he recognizes that you have been putting in positive actions to make things right. It’s also important for your partner to understand and believe that you truly do care about them and not just about saving yourself.
When he sees that you’re authentic and that you are consistently the woman that he fell in love with, it will help him heal after an affair and reconnect with you.