The life you have built together comes crashing down when you realize that your husband might be or is, in fact, unfaithful. Your mind may be clouded with so many questions about the past, the future, the state of your relationships, and the uncertainty of it all. Endless questions may swarm your mind. How to deal with a cheating husband? What to say to your cheating husband? How to deal with the pain of being cheated on? And most importantly, what should be your course of action in the wake of his infidelity?
The question of whether you should just ignore your husband’s transgressions and move on or stay with someone who cheated on you is perhaps the most daunting of them all. Even though walking away from a cheating spouse may be your first instinct, breaking up a marriage isn’t always easy. But if you choose to stay, will it only encourage him to stray even further?
There are no right or wrong choices in this situation, and definitely, no easy choices. Because let’s face it, there is no rule book that guarantees perfect relationships nor is there any easy way to deal with a cheating husband. But every problem comes with a solution and this one is no exception. Here we have compiled some tips and ideas on what to do when you find out your husband is cheating. Take a deep breath, and heed this advice on moving past infidelity and handling the situation to the best of your ability.
How To Deal With A Cheating Husband – 15 Tips
After 3 years of marriage with Raul, Linda was pregnant. The pregnancy was hard, and took up most of Linda’s energy and mind space; in the process, she and Raul began to drift apart. Before Linda could deliver her first child, Raul was sleeping around with his coworker, Susan. The most joyous time of her life was blotched with Ross’ cheating. Linda was left wondering, “Should I leave my husband for cheating?” The realization that her unborn child would need a father held her back from packing her bags and storming out.
Instead, she chose to deal with the pain of a cheating husband and give her marriage a second chance for the sake of her newborn child. This is not to say that forgiving your spouse for betraying your trust and choosing to stay together is the only way to navigate the blow of infidelity. Coming to terms with the realization that your husband is a cheater is hard and every couple responds to it differently.
That said, you can gather the pieces and take a good look at your options when you’re wondering how to cope with your husband’s betrayal. Even though it may seem impossible, you can coexist with a husband having affairs if your circumstances aren’t conducive to walking out of the marriage. To make this agonizing journey just a tad bearable, here are 15 tips on how to deal with a cheating husband:
1. Double check your facts
You might have an inkling that something is amiss. You may have been noticing some cheating partner signs but aren’t sure if that’s, in fact, the case. “I suspect my husband is cheating but I have no proof” – this thought can become all-consuming when you can sense his betrayal in your bones but have nothing concrete to go on.
Women are intuitive beings. If your gut is telling you that your spouse has another woman in his life, chances are it may be true. But you can’t level an accusation as serious as this based on your gut instinct alone. It’s vital to pause and verify. Check and double-check to make sure you’re in fact dealing with an unfaithful husband. Here are some questions you need to ask and address as you fact check your suspicions:
- Is it just some friendly banter and harmless flirting?
- Could he be talking to a coworker he’s collaborating on a project with?
- What is the nature of this relationship with the other woman? Is he really cheating on you online or in real life?
- Does he consider it to be cheating? And do you?
- Is there tangible proof such as text messages, emails, details of their meeting, you can use to confront him?
You need to dot your I’s and cross your T’s before you even begin contemplating how to confront a cheater. Take the next step only after you have done your due diligence. It is extremely important that you confirm the situation before because a false accusation can damage trust in your relationship for a long time.
Related Reading: 12 Signs He Regrets Cheating And Wants To Make Amends
2. Confront him
What to do when you find out your husband is cheating? Take a deep breath. We know how mad it makes you and that’s exactly why we want you to calm down before you react. Once you’re calm (well, as calm as you can be), keep the following things in mind to make sure the conversation yields the answers you’re seeking:
- Do it at the right time: Find the right time to talk to him, making sure there are no distractions. For instance, if you have children, make sure they’re tucked in for the night or away from home when you talk to him
- Clarity of thought: You need to be clear in your mind about what to say to your cheating husband. This will keep the conversation from going off on unnecessary tangents
- Stick to the facts: Don’t rake up past issues or hurl accusations about things you imagine he is doing. Stick to the facts you have verified
- Be direct: Don’t hint at it or beat around the bush – just ask him. Let the question take him by surprise to get an honest answer.
Your spouse may deny the affair when asked about it but you will know from his expressions and body language. A little tip – notice whether he avoids looking into your eyes or looks straight at you when he answers your question. Also, pay attention to other tell-tale signs of lying like turning his back to you or touching one’s nose, or scratching the face. Because you’re married to him, you might already have noticed these signs when he lies or tries to cover something up. Dealing with your lying husband without falling into the trap of his false assurances is a must for you to handle the issue of infidelity head-on.
3. Counseling is key
By now, you’re past the “I suspect my husband is cheating but I have no proof” stage. His transgressions are now in the open, and a whole host of new questions stare you in the face now:
- Should you stay or leave?
- If you decide to stay, you may want to know: what’s the right way of taking back a cheater?
- If you’re considering walking out, the question on your mind might be: how to leave a cheating husband you love?
- And when thoughts of his betrayal consume you, you may want to know: how to stop overthinking after being cheated on?
It’s not easy to figure out how to deal with a cheating husband, especially when you want to stay together. This is the time to get yourself and your marriage some help. Do not shy away from consulting a couple’s counselor and try to bring out everything that you have buried deep and work through your issues.
Nikita and Derek were about to part ways after she found out about his infidelity. There was no way she’d turn into one of those women who look the other way while their husbands cheat, she told herself. But there was a slight problem; deep down, she was struggling to figure out, “My husband cheated, now what?” Despite the betrayal, Nikita couldn’t get over the feelings she had for Derek. “If only there were a switch-off button for emotions,” she rued. As a last attempt to save their marriage, they went to a counselor. It bore fruit. They successfully moved past the setback of infidelity and are happily married today.
Airing out your issues in the presence of a trained counselor can help you assess if there’s something missing in your relationship that can be worked on or if you’re dealing with a habitual cheater. If counseling doesn’t sound like your cup of tea or you both are not on the same page about it, you could also deal with a cheating husband spiritually. If you’re religious, turn to a priest or a religious counselor to make sense of your emotions. Or you could explore options like meditation to find the peace and inner healing needed to deal with the pain of a cheating husband.
Related Reading: Why Do Married Men Cheat? Expert Shares 9 Possible Reasons
4. Don’t involve the kids, try not to involve your family
There is no rulebook on how to get over husband cheating on you, but it must be done for your own sanity and self-respect. The best way to deal with a cheating husband after the initial shock of it all wears off is to get a grip on your emotions. Think about how your reactions and how they affect the people you love, like your children and close family.
If there are children involved, the most sensible way of handling the situation after he cheats is to keep them out of the picture. You could scar them forever by involving them in this emotionally volatile situation and trying to taint their perception of their father. Children’s minds are not evolved enough to make sense of and process such complex events and emotions the right way.
The possibility that their parents’ marriage could end due to this incident can leave them feeling scared and insecure. For their sake, let things at home be as close to normal as can be. Don’t ignore your cheating husband in front of friends and family. Don’t involve your extended family in resolving this issue. It will only cause gossip and force people to take sides and that is never healthy.
As tempting as it may be, now is not the time to ask yourself, “How to make my cheating husband suffer?” It may feel good in the moment but will only cause long-term damage to not just your relationship but also your spouse’s relationship with your children and family. Choose to be the bigger person here. Yes, your unfaithful husband has left you feeling humiliated, hurt, and disrespected but giving him a taste of his own medicine won’t ease your pain. Get rid of thoughts of revenge cheating or public humiliation. Instead, focus on your own healing process and well-being.
5. Do not involve the other woman
One of the most important tips on how to deal with a cheating husband is to remember that this is between you and your husband. It may be tempting to confront the other woman and channel your feelings of hurt and anger toward her. Sure, calling her a home-wrecker and making her feel horrible about herself may even feel good in the moment. But what purpose will it serve?
Calling her names isn’t going to undo the damage caused to your marriage. Irrespective of whether you know the woman your husband cheated on you with, stay away from her. Involving her in the matter will only make things ugly. Your battle is with your husband and not the other woman. In case you’re dealing with the unfortunate situation of your husband having affairs multiple times, then you have even more reason to be mindful of the fact that the other woman is not the problem here, your husband is.
Come what may, maintain your dignity. It’s possible to work through your issues without placing the blame on a third person. When you feel frustration and anger build up, look for other outlets to channel your overwhelming emotions.
Related Reading: How To Forgive Your Cheating Partner, And Should You?
6. Don’t blame yourself, don’t get defensive
Now, don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying that you’re in any way to blame for your unfaithful husband’s actions. Quite the opposite, actually. We’re asking you to not go down the rabbit hole of blame and guilt as you struggle to figure out how to handle a cheating husband. As contradictory as it may sound, it is not unusual for the betrayed spouse to feel responsible for their partner’s choice to cheat. Here is what self-blame may sound like:
- “Maybe, it was my fault”
- “All the cheating partner signs were there. I should have seen it coming”
- “Maybe I’m not interesting enough”
- “I’m not beautiful”
- “He deserves better”
- “Should I leave my husband for cheating? I feel like it was my fault”
Current studies of American couples indicate that 20 to 40% of heterosexual married men will have an extramarital affair during their lifetime. Always remember that cheating is a choice, and more often than not, has nothing to do with the betrayed spouse (even though a cheater may use the shortcomings in the marriage to justify their actions). So, do yourself a favor and do not blame yourself. There is nothing that you could have done to prevent your husband from cheating on you. Not alone, anyway.
7. Let him have his say and listen
How to treat your husband after he cheats? We’d say with kindness and compassion even when your heart and mind are filled with nothing but anger and spite toward him. Yes, this may be easier said than done when your mind is swarming with so many thoughts and opinions – about him, about her, about yourself. Giving him a chance to share his side of the story and hearing him out may be the last thing you may want to do.
However, not initiating a discourse around the incident can leave you stuck in the “my husband cheated and I can’t get over it” phase. When the initial surge of hurt and pain has died down, maybe look at the situation in a different way. For a while, ignore your cheating husband and focus on the why of his cheating. This can be helpful if the cheating was a one-off and you’re not dealing with a chronic case of your husband having affairs with multiple women.
Cynthia Jared, vice president of a bank, recalls sitting down for a coffee with her husband despite all the anger brewing inside her. She said, “Let’s forget for a moment that we’re married. Think of me as your best friend. Tell me, what happened?” Cynthia recalls this magical conversation that went on for hours and really lifted a lot of self-doubts for her.
She told us, “I did not know whether I would be with this man or not, in the future but one thing was certain – I had embarked on the journey of forgiveness.” Asking the right questions to your unfaithful partner will help you understand them, and you will be able to cope better.
Related Reading: 15 Questions To Ask To Rebuild Trust In a Relationship
8. Don’t take revenge
Revenge is ugly, immature, and always a poor choice – it’s vital to consciously remind yourself of this when you first learn of your spouse’s infidelity. The hurt and humiliation may make you dwell over thoughts like “how to make my cheating husband suffer” or “how to hurt my cheating husband”. And that’s natural and may even feel good.
What matters is whether or not you act on these thoughts. If you truly want to let go of this setback and move forward, don’t waste your time and energy in coming up with a master plan to make your husband suffer. Instead, focus on finding ways to deal with this bleak situation you find yourself in as healthily as possible. If you cannot get over the pain, anger, and hurt stemming from his betrayal, try to deal with a cheating husband spiritually.
Taking the spiritual path can help you make sense of all the conflicting and confusing emotions that leave you all riled up, unable to even look in your husband’s direction. Simple activities such as meditation and mindfulness can prove to be great anchors in these moments of inner turmoil. Once you find your inner wisdom, it will be able to guide you in the right direction.
9. Be respectful. No name-calling, please
Respectful? We know you must be thinking we’re crazy to even suggest such a thing when you’re dealing with this horrible situation. It can seem like one of the most impractical tips for dealing with unfaithful husbands, but trust us when we say that it works. Name-calling in a relationship or saying hurtful things just to put one’s partner down – no matter what the situation – never helps.
If you’re trying to figure out how to fix a relationship after cheating, instead of angry outbursts, name-calling, and smashing things to the ground, approach the situation with an open mind. Don’t presume what happened and how, instead go in with a mindset that you do not know what really happened, and give your husband a chance to explain himself.
10. Quit being a doormat
How to deal with a cheating husband? Let’s also talk about how not to deal with this situation and what not to put up with. This is just as crucial an aspect of the advice on coping with cheating in a relationship as knowing the right things to say and do. Don’t be under the impression that if you don’t acknowledge things or speak up, the situation will get swept under the carpet and never surface again.
Speak up, confront him, do not blame yourself, quit being a doormat. You deserve love, respect, and loyalty, and not being cheated on. When you learn about your partner’s infidelity, stay strong and stand up for yourself. Especially if you’re considering staying with a cheating spouse, it’s vital that you:
- Make it clear to him that the cheating must stop
- Entertain any conversation about rebuilding your relationship only once you’re sure the cheating has stopped
- Set boundaries with your partner
- Have a conversation about what constitutes a breach of faith and let your spouse know there is no wiggle room in that aspect
Also, remember that repairing the relationship after cheating also depends on his reactions to the situation. You can hope to reconcile and make your marriage work only if he is genuinely remorseful and willing to make amends. Unless, he, too, is trying to figure out, “How to be a better husband after cheating?”, there is little hope for your marriage no matter how many chances you give your partner.
11. Time for some tough decisions
You have tried everything but there’s no solution in sight? “My husband cheated and I can’t get over it,” you may find yourself secretly admitting to yourself, even as the fate of your marriage hangs in the balance. Perhaps, you can’t stop visualizing him in bed with someone else every time you get a moment to yourself. Maybe it is the fear that he has fallen in love with the other woman that’s eating you up inside.
Whatever the reason, you know better than we do that not being able to deal with the pain of a cheating husband is like living with constant, unrelenting stabbing pain. At this stage, you have some important decisions to make.
- Do you want to give your marriage another chance?
- If so, can you truly forgive your partner for cheating?
- Are you thinking of leaving your husband for cheating?
The final decision rests with you, of course. But our advice on how to deal with a cheater would be to make that decision sooner rather than later. Once you’ve had the chance to absorb and process the initial shock and pain, introspect and decide what you want to do next. Don’t keep dragging the relationship if your heart’s not in it. No good ever came out of flogging a dead horse.
Related Reading: Infidelity: Should You Confess To Cheating On Your Partner?
12. Tell him to keep you informed about his whereabouts
To reestablish trust after you find out your husband is cheating, you need to prioritize complete honesty and transparency in the relationship. Ask him to keep you informed about his whereabouts throughout the day. Make him realize that what he did was serious and shattering. He has lost your trust completely. So, he has to work on it to rebuild it if he is dedicated to winning you over again.
Rebuilding trust in a relationship after a setback as big as cheating isn’t easy. Both you and your spouse will have to do your bit to make it work. While he will have to commit to total honesty and transparency, you, as the betrayed spouse, will have to learn to let go of the fear and trauma and find a way to believe your husband, slowly.
13. Get tested for STDs
Now that we’ve covered the emotional aspects of how to cope with a cheating husband, let’s turn our attention to an important practical aspect of dealing with an unfaithful husband. Your husband has been sexually intimate with someone else, and there is a good chance that you’ve had some semblance of a sex life during this time. No matter how much your spouse emphasizes that he was ‘safe’, don’t take his word for it.
Get yourself tested for STDs. In figuring out the best recourse for your relationship in the wake of infidelity, do not neglect your own health and well-being. This becomes even more crucial if you’re dealing with a husband having affairs multiple times. Being married to a serial cheater kind of throws the possibility of protecting yourself from STDs out of the window. It’s in your best interest to seek medical intervention as early as possible.
If you’ve decided to give your partner and your marriage another chance, then it’s imperative that you ask your husband to get tested too. This will ensure that you can resume having sex whenever you both feel ready without any fear or apprehension. The road to reconciliation after infidelity is marred with emotional baggage and trust issues, you don’t need the added burden of health concerns. So, get it out of the way as early as possible.
14. Focus on your well-being
The betrayed spouse is hit by a hurricane of emotions in the aftermath of infidelity. The emotional trauma is real and can take a toll on your mental health if not processed the right way. That is why, it’s absolutely vital that you don’t ignore your own healing in the process of trying to figure out how to save your relationship.
You need to treat yourself with kindness and love – the same kind you’d show a best friend in a similar situation – and prioritize yourself to be able to heal and let go of the pain gnawing at your heart. Here are some ways you can practice self-love and self-care as you heal from the setback of being betrayed by the person you loved and trusted with everything you’ve got:
- Go into therapy to work through the hurt and pain
- Carve out time to indulge in activities that bring you joy – it could be anything from hiking to gardening, reading, listening to music
- Spend time with you loved ones
- Practice mindfulness to break the loop of overthinking
- Try journaling to make sense of your emotions
- Eat well and exercise to make sure your physical health doesn’t take a hit
15. Forgive on your own terms
As you continue staying with someone who cheated on you, your husband might become guilt-stricken and seek forgiveness. Take your time. Heal slowly and give yourself time to prepare for forgiveness. Your partner has to understand that they can’t rush you into forgiving them and starting afresh. Here you have to ignore your cheating husband and let him know that you need time to work through this mess at your own pace.
- Being cheated on can be a deeply traumatic experience
- To be able to deal with it the right way, the betrayed spouse must take their time to process the hurt and pain before making a decision
- Repairing a relationship in the wake of infidelity is hard and can only happen if both partners are willing to put in the work
- As you try to figure out what the future holds for you and your marriage, don’t forget to look after yourself
Our final word of advice on how to deal with a cheating husband is to be strong emotionally to be able to make some tough decisions. Know that you’re strong and you deserve all the love and respect in the world. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Husbands cheat and so do wives. Relationships are not perfect. What matters though, is how you deal with these situations and grow into a better person with each one of them. Life is hard but maybe it’s trying to teach us a lesson.
Tell him how disappointed you are. Talk to him about it to understand where it stems from and what can be done about it, now that it has happened. Seek marriage counseling and work on your relationship as a team.
Cheating or not, communication between spouses should be dignified. Don’t ignore your cheating husband. Communicate with him the way you would like him to communicate with you. Try not to put him down, especially in front of children and close relatives, as it is bound to affect them.
First of all, you need to breathe and take your time to let it sink in before reacting. Have a conversation with your husband and listen to what he has to say. Ask yourself how you feel and what you want to do about it. You may not get an answer immediately because it’s very difficult to get over infidelity pain. Give yourself time to think it through before making any hasty decisions.
It might seem very hard to forgive him right now but with time and effort, you can repair your relationship and start afresh. However, this can only happen if you’re both actively willing to acknowledge your issues and resolve them.