Hurt, heartache, and disbelief are common reactions when your husband has been unfaithful. These tips for healing the pain after an affair are for a reader whose husband was unfaithful for months.
“My world came crashing down,” says Gail on How to Cope When Your Husband Leaves You for Another Woman. “He has been with her since January and yet he sent me letters telling how much he loved me, sent me poetry and flowers. I am hurting so badly, I just can’t believe he would do this to me. He made love to me all week and yet he tells another he loves her. He keeps telling me he still loves me but not enough to stay. But he doesn’t want to me divorce him right away. I really don’t want the divorce, but I know it must be done. Any advice on how to cope?”
There’s nothing quite like the shock, confusion, and pain you feel after your husband’s unfaithfulness. You’ve been betrayed by the man who said he loved and cherished you, and healing from that pain doesn’t happen quickly.
If your husband wants a divorce, read He’s History, You’re Not: Surviving Divorce After 40. Here’s what author Abigail Trafford says about this book: “Divorce is the loss of a relationship and the death of dreams. It is also a beginning with new hope and possibility. Reading He’s History, You’re Not is like having a friend on your side to help you let go of the past, get through the turmoil, and turn to a better future.”
After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful was the first book written to help readers survive the pain of an unfaithful spouse. It was written by a clinical psychologist who has been treating distressed couples for 22 years. After the Affair provides proven, practical advice to help spouses change their behavior toward each other, cultivate trust and forgiveness, and build a healthier, more intimate marriage.
If you want to rebuild your marriage, read books like After the Affair. You’ll see your marriage – and your unfaithful husband – from an objective perspective. You’ll gain new insights into yourself and your relationships, which will help you cope with your husband’s unfaithfulness.
But even if you want to save your marriage, you may have no choice but to let your husband go. You need to focus on healing your pain and thinking about your future.
Healing the Pain When Your Husband Has Been Unfaithful
Find women who survived the pain of marital infidelity
One of the best tips for surviving anything is to surround yourself with survivors! Find women who lived through it and healed the pain of infidelity. I don’t know if you have support groups in your area – and it’s okay if you don’t. You don’t need a formal support group to heal from the pain of infidelity.
What you do need is courage to be vulnerable. It’s embarrassing and even humiliating to admit that your husband was unfaithful, but the first step to healing is to talk about it. Get advice from women who survived unfaithfulness husbands, because they know what helps and what hurts.
Here’s a starting point: When He Betrays You – Advice From Wives Whose Husbands Cheated. Just reading through comments other women have left about their own situations can help. You’ll see you’re not alone, which can give you hope and help you feel less alone.
Try to think objectively about your situation
If your husband wants to leave, then you need to start thinking about legal and practical concerns. I know it’s almost impossible to wrap your mind around the legalities of separation and divorce right now, but you need to protect yourself and your children. Talk to a lawyer or call the free legal aid society for help. It’s time for you to be strong, practical, and resilient.
Read When Your Husband Wants a Divorce – But Won’t Leave for practical tips on leaving an unfaithful man.
Prepare for the stages of grief, for your marriage has died
Unfaithfulness in marriage is the worst betrayal a wife can experience. Healing the pain of that betrayal is a process – it’s a grieving process similar to losing a loved one to death.
You’ll go through stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. At the beginning – when you first find out your husband has been unfaithful – you’re shocked, confused, and disbelieving. You’ll get angry, and perhaps bargain with God or your husband. Then you’ll get depressed…and then you’ll accept that your marriage as you knew it is over.
Healing the pain of unfaithfulness doesn’t move from one stage to another, in a linear fashion. Rather, you’ll find yourself moving from one stage to another (from depression back to denial, for instance) for many months.
I’m sorry you have to go through this. Your husband’s infidelity is terrible burden to bear, especially when you have children to take care of.
For a more hopeful and inspirational perspective, read My Husband’s Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me. It may change how you cope with unfaithfulness in marriage!
If you know in your heart it's time to move on, read How to Let Go of Someone You Love.
If you have any thoughts – big or little – on unfaithful husbands, I welcome your comments below.