I know there are probably women reading this who can say, “I caught my husband cheating.” With that discovery, it must feel like your entire world has come crashing to the ground. Then what follows is probably a combination of anger, grief, and panic at what might lay ahead. Not to mention, of course, the horror of wondering how this will affect your children.
So if you do catch your husband cheating, what do you do? The knee-jerk reaction might be to kick him out of the house as far as you can send him. But is that always the right decision? While each case of infidelity is different, here are 6 things to think about if you catch your husband cheating.
Feel the feelings.
You will feel hurt. You will feel angry. You will feel sad. Feel those feelings. Don’t avoid them. Cry, wail, go for a drive and scream in your car. Feeling the pain is the first step in the healing process.
Share the feelings.
Talk to a trusted friend or family member. Cry on their shoulder. Then, once you feel like you can, talk to your husband. It might be tough but resist the urge to throw things at him, curse, or act crazy.
As Dr. Gary Chapman says, “There could be unwelcome consequences if you do lose it… now he (your husband) can blame you (even if that’s just a defense mechanism) rather than himself because your behavior has demonstrated that you’re an unreasonable, uncontrolled person.”
Get help with your feelings.
This is a major upheaval in your life, don’t try to go it alone. Find a counselor who shares your values and who understands that marriages can thrive after infidelity. Look for someone who will not only help you process your heartache but will also help you understand how to establish new behaviors in your marriage that can benefit you and your husband.
If you can get your husband to counseling, involve him too. But if you need to process without him there, schedule appointments for just yourself.
Embrace the feeling of hope.
Let’s take this straight from Dr. Chapman because he says it so well…
“The biblical ideal is to seek restoration. Your marriage can be redeemed. There are no sins that cannot be forgiven. However, there can be no reconciliation without genuine repentance. Your spouse must be willing to break off all contact with the other person and devote himself to rebuilding your marriage.”
Trust will not be restored overnight. Again, here’s Dr. Chapman…
“Trust grows as your spouse now chooses to be trustworthy. If he sincerely wants to rebuild trust, he’ll have the attitude, My life is an open book. You may check my cell phone, computer, and bank statements. From this moment on I have nothing to hide. I’m committed to rebuilding our marriage. This kind of openness and recommitment will in time help you restore trust.”
And remember, you can come back from a marriage disaster, even infidelity.
Consider your children’s feelings.
As angry as you are at your husband, remember that he is still your children’s father. He may be a fabulous dad or just a mediocre one, but they still need him. And think twice before sharing details about the situation with your children. Even if they’re teenagers, they don’t have the emotional maturity to understand all aspects of infidelity.
If you can, keep your home intact for your children. Some people say, “Oh if I’m not happy, my children won’t be happy.” But that’s not true. We can choose to be content and to keep our home together for our children. Of course, there are cases where a marriage cannot be saved; but, if yours can be, it will benefit your children.
Tell us! How do you affair-proof your marriage?