Infidelity can be a massive blow for any marriage but there isn’t a template for anyone to deal with it. The emotions and situations may sound all too familiar but the pain and shock are very personal. Largely, there are two ways to deal with betrayal. You may either take your partner to task, walking out of the relationship, or you may ignore a cheating husband, choosing to lead your life without expectations of loyalty in it. Choosing the second option can bring you face-to-face with the daunting question of how to ignore a cheating husband.
The second option may seem like a compromise and most women may balk at the suggestion. However, one shouldn’t be judgmental about it. Here’s why: walking out may not be a choice available to everyone. There may be far too many complications arising out of breaking a relationship and perhaps staying put and choosing to ignore a husband who ignores you might be a better option. Choosing to stay after being cheated on can be unimaginably hard.
Figuring out the ways to ignore a cheating husband can help cope with the pain of betrayal a little easier. That being said, we can also agree that it is easier said than done. Turning a blind eye to a spouse’s betrayal of your trust can be soul-crushing. We’re here to help you figure out how to ignore a cheating husband with insights from counseling psychologist Kavita Panyam (Masters in Psychology and international affiliate with the American Psychological Association), who has been helping couples work through their relationship issues for over two decades.
What Is The Best Way To Handle A Cheating Husband?
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Cheating can be of various types. Some men are serial cheaters, habituated to lying and having affairs on the sly. But there are also others who may have made a genuine mistake or for whom the affair may have been a one-off incident, which they regret. Therefore, a wife’s response to cheating – whether she wants to forgive and ignore a cheating husband or end the marriage – depends a lot on the circumstances.
“If a spouse turns a blind eye to her husband’s infidelity, it can be due to many reasons. She might be clueless about how to treat a cheating husband. She might not have a choice. She might have children to support. Or perhaps she is not confident about being alone. Whatever be the reason, the wife should realize that it will cost her, her mental and physical health. If she decides on staying with a cheater husband, she is actually tolerating mental abuse by choosing to ignore infidelity,” says Kavita Panyam.
Be that as it may, the stark truth is that there is no ‘ideal’ way to handle a partner who is unfaithful to you. It is not possible to ‘treat’ a cheating husband and hope that he will turn loyal all of a sudden. Saving or staying put in such a marriage requires a lot of effort and the question to ask yourself is – “Should I ignore him cheating? Or should I make the effort to bring him on track?” If you choose the former, know that you’re going to be walking a tightrope in your relationship.
Related Reading: Is He Cheating Or Am I Paranoid? 11 Things To Think Over!
12 Tips On How To Ignore A Cheating Husband
Life will not be the same again once you realize that you have been cheated upon. The effects of cheating in a relationship can be devastating. The ghost of his deceit will loom large on your relationship if you’re living with a cheating husband without confronting him about it or him making any amends. Every waking moment you spend with him will be a bitter reminder of his disloyalty and you may find yourself overwhelmed by the realization that your marriage – the most intimate relationship of your life – has been reduced to a sham.
Therefore, staying with a partner who has been disloyal is a compromise that you must accept with full self-awareness. To make it work for you, you need to focus entirely on YOUR response to the situation. Of course, one way of dealing with the situation is to choose to ignore a cheating partner when walking out is not an option.
The question is how. How do you turn a blind eye to betrayal staring you in the face? Does ignoring a cheating husband truly entail turning a blind eye or something else altogether? Let’s explore some ways to ignore a cheating husband to help you gain clarity on how to navigate this situation:
1. Accept that you are in an open marriage
“Sometimes it would be better if you are willing to accept that you are in an open marriage,” says Kavita, “If it is an open marriage, both of you have a choice to pursue other partners for your various needs – physical, spiritual, emotional or even financial.” Even if you haven’t openly discussed redefining the boundaries of your relationship, this shift in perspective can make it easy for you to cope with his transgressions.
It can’t then be called ‘cheating’ in the truest sense of the term. You just have to accept that this will be your life where you do your own thing and ignore a cheating husband. Sure, it may hurt you every now and then but it is something you come to terms with eventually. Besides, it will open up the possibility for you to seek intimate connections outside your marriage to satisfy your own unmet needs in the relationship.
Related Reading: 17 Signs There Is Someone Else In Your Partner’s Life
2. Do not expect anything from your partner
The answer to how to ignore a cheating husband may lie in your own expectation setting in the relationship. Once you know that your spouse is not faithful to you, it won’t be a stretch to say that he doesn’t respect you or care for you too much. So, keeping yourself tethered to the usual expectations in the relationship will only cause you more pain and hurt. To cope with living with a cheating husband, free yourself from the clutches of relationship expectations.
Besides, the best revenge against a cheating husband is to set him free of any expectations and make him feel that he doesn’t matter. Do not expect anything – emotionally or physically – from the marriage or your husband. It would be hurtful to think that your marriage is a fairy tale where, minus the cheating part, everything is hunky-dory.
On the contrary, he will cheat more because it’s already out in the open and you have chosen to ignore it. “You cannot sleep with a person who is sleeping with someone else outside of your marriage unless you need sex desperately. It is best not to expect or accept anything from your partner. Instead, make yourself independent,” says Kavita.
3. Grieve your relationship
Just because you do not choose to walk out of the marriage does not mean that it is alive and thriving. In fact, staying with a cheater husband and looking the other way can be far more heartbreaking than walking out of a marriage. Depending on the severity of the cheating episode(s), it would seem like a dead relationship.
To be able to ignore a cheating partner, you have to accept that your marriage is on the rocks. One way of doing that is to allow yourself to grieve that loss. Take time to process your anger once your shock wears off. You will go through the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – before you come to terms that your life is not going to be the same again. “It is essential to go through the process and grieve your marriage, however painful it may be,” says Kavita.
4. Take care of your mind and body
What is the best revenge against a cheating husband when walking out is not an option? Learning to put yourself first. Let him see that you’re prioritizing yourself and taking back the reins of your life as an individual. Eat well. Rest. Exercise. And take care of yourself. When you choose to ignore a cheating husband, you are subconsciously carving a separate life for yourself even as you choose to live under the same roof as your partner.
You can’t keep mourning and being depressed about the situation. Or keep second-guessing your decision to stay on with questions like is it good to ignore a cheating husband. Now is your chance to build a life and have an identity beyond being someone’s wife or partner and you need to slowly develop it. Taking care of both, physical and mental health, is therefore important so that your husband’s betrayal does not become the center of your life.
Related Reading: 10 Ways Marriage Counseling Can Solve Your Issues – Says Expert
5. Check into therapy
“Therapy is a must if you want to put up with an abusive marriage full of infidelity and cheating,” says Kavita. Therapy will help you process the emotions you may be experiencing. Your mind will be full of confusion on how to handle a situation but talking it out with a professional, and opting for relationship counseling helps.
“You also need to understand how the cheating began and what circumstances led to it,” she adds. This will help you realize if you had any part in it, where you went wrong and what your response should be. Therapy will help you assess the situation more objectively and help you figure out how best to deal with it. If you’re living with a cheating husband and are looking for help to get through this difficult experience, experienced and licensed counselors on Bonobology’s panel are here for you.
6. Take care of the children
When you decide to stay in a marriage where you ignore a cheating husband, you should also keep an eye on your children, especially if they are of a vulnerable age. While the effects of divorce on children are widely discussed, the harmful psychological impacts of growing up in a dysfunctional or toxic home are often brushed under the carpet. It’s vital you make a conscious effort to not overlook this aspect even as you figure out how to ignore a cheating husband.
“It is necessary to take care of the kids once they come to know of the situation,” says Kavita, “Children’s minds can be fragile and if they realize that their parents are in an open or dysfunctional relationship, it can affect their self-esteem and ego. So there might be a situation when you need to process your own emotions and those of your children.”
7. Take up a physical activity
To ignore a cheating partner in true earnest, you need to channel your energies productively. Once you get more settled into the rhythm of what is likely to be a bizarre existence, focus on improving yourself in every way. Do yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and breathing techniques. Also, take up one physical activity at least. These may seem like small, even insignificant, changes when you’re dealing with something as overwhelming as a partner’s infidelity but you’ll realize that these prove to be effective answers to how to ignore a cheating husband.
Being productively engaged can make staying with a cheater husband a tad easier. “Such activities help you channel your energy when you are in a continuously abusive marriage. You need to get rid of the toxic energy stored in the body, which is a reflection of the trauma you go through. These are all a way to manage your mind and subsequently your life. Small steps that can go a long way,” says Kavita.
8. Work. Get your own income
One of the main reasons why women decide to ignore a cheating husband and stay put in a meaningless relationship is because they may lack financial freedom as they may be completely dependent on their husbands for their lifestyle. That’s why one of the most effective ways to ignore a cheating husband is to become financially independent.
It would be good to bolster your own earnings. You may or may not match up to your cheating partner’s income but it will give you a lot more freedom to do what you want in life. Also, your partner would not be able to use your lack of money to behave boorishly. So, take that first step toward building the path toward financial freedom – be it going back to a career you put on hold to care for your family or finding your calling in an altogether new field.
Related Reading: How To Be Financially Independent As A Married Woman
9. Live for yourself
So the life you have chosen would likely be that of roommates – two people living under the same roof but leading different lives. However, just because your husband might be seeking gratification elsewhere should not lead you to let yourself go or wallow in self-pity. A big part of how to ignore a cheating spouse and not let his transgressions erode your peace of mind and mental health is to shift the focus from him to yourself.
The key to learning how to ignore a cheating husband lies in cultivating healthy habits and practicing self-love. Use this opportunity to travel alone or with your other friends. When you focus on your physical or mental health, do so for yourself and not to bring your errant husband back. Basically, start believing that you are living for yourself – despite the still existing ring on your finger.
10. Form healthy relationships with the opposite sex
When you are faced with a betrayal, it’s your self-esteem that takes the biggest hit. Now, we aren’t suggesting you go out and have an affair but seeking healthy, platonic friendships with the opposite sex can give an ego boost. This will be a tricky territory to negotiate and you need to have your boundaries drawn well.
When you ignore a cheating husband, do not share your personal stories with men. Instead, seek real friendships and companionship that can help alleviate the pain caused by infidelity. If those genuine friendships develop into something more, don’t beat yourself up about it. As long as a new romantic interest or connection stems from a place of genuineness and isn’t an act of revenge cheating, don’t let your phony marital status come in the way.
11. Do not tell the world about his infidelity
One of the most important pieces of advice on how to ignore a cheating spouse is to never air your dirty linen in public. Your marriage, the problems you face in it, and the compromises you are ready to make to keep it alive are yours alone. You do not need to tell the world about it. You do not need to tell them that you accepted your husband’s cheating but it torments you.
If you choose to ignore a cheating husband and continue to lead your life the way you want to, there would be rumors. However, do not allow the neighborhood into your personal life. Also, your choice is yours and you do not owe an explanation to anyone. You selected the option that worked for you best so you need not be embarrassed about it.
12. Give it time
This is perhaps the most important step in your journey to figuring out how to ignore a cheating husband. After the initial shock wears off and you make your decision, you have to live with it. Give it time to negotiate the pros and cons in your head. Do not self-harm or berate yourself for the choice you made. With time, even a situation like this might ease out. Perhaps you may even find the courage to finally leave the marriage instead of continuing to ignore a cheating husband. Or you may find elements in your marriage that work for you and stick by them.
Living with infidelity is easier said than done. However, as mentioned above, each marriage is different and the emotions one goes through are different too, so there is no right or wrong approach to certain things in life. At the most, what you can do is to live with it and make the best out of it.