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.
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: the option of walking out may not be a choice available with 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!
“If a spouse turns a blind eye to her husband’s infidelities, it can be due to many reasons,” says Kavita Panyam, counselling psychologist, relationship coach, blogger and author. “She might be clueless on how to handle the situation. She might not have a choice. She might have children to support. Or perhaps she is not confident of being alone.”
What Is The Best Way To Handle A Cheating Husband?
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.
“Either way, the wife should realize that it will cost her, her mental and physical health. If she is deciding to stay she is actually tolerating mental abuse by choosing to ignore infidelity,” says Kavita Panyam.
Related Reading: Is He Cheating Or Am I Paranoid? 11 Things To Think Over!
Be that as it may but 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 option, you need to walk a very special path in life.
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. Staying on with a partner who has been disloyal is a compromise which you are accepting with full self-awareness. To make it work for you, you need to focus entirely on YOUR response to the 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.’
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.
2. Do not expect anything from your partner
Do not expect anything unrealistic – 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. Depending on the severity of the cheating episode(s), it would seem like a dead relationship.
Take time to process your anger once your shock wears off. You will go through the five process 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
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. However, you can’t keep mourning and being depressed about the situation.
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.
5. Check into therapy
“Therapy is a must if you want to put up in 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 counselling 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 should your response be. Therapy will help you assess the situation more objectively.
Related Reading: 10 Ways Marriage Counselling Can Solve Your Issues – Says Expert
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. “It is necessary to take care of the kids once they come to know of the situation,” says Kavita.
“Children’s ego 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
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.
“Such activities help you channelize your energy when you are in a continuously abusive marriage,” says Kavita.
“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,” she adds.
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 the financial freedom as they may be completely dependent on their husbands for their lifestyle.
It would be good to bolster your own earning. 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.
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.
Cultivate healthy habits and practise 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 which can help alleviate the pain caused by the infidelity.
11. Do not tell the world about his infidelity
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. 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 it.
Living with infidelity is easier said than done. However, as mentioned above, each marriage is different and the emotions one goes through is 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 of out of it.