My advice for women who were unfaithful.
I want you to know I understand that unique challenge you are facing as the spouse who was unfaithful. I have been there and it really was the worst time in my life. My advice for women who were unfaithful, is to do whatever is necessary to restore your own heart and rebuild your marriage again.
You likely didn’t plan on hurting your husband. As women, we give and give to our husbands, kids, friends, work, obligations etc… and often we don’t have much left over for ourselves.
There are always precursors, or warning signs, that signaled to us that we were headed for danger.
Many times we chose to ignore the warnings in the quest of enjoying the attention of someone, needing an escape from life, or whatever it may be.
The facts are- you were at a vulnerable point in your life at that time, for some reason. Now you are the “bad person” who is labeled the adulterer and the weight of that can be too much to bear at times. Yet, you are still a woman needing the love and adoration every woman longs for.
You’re not a ‘bad person”, you just made some poor choices that have difficult consequences to heal from.
Although you can’t change the past, it’s helpful to understand the reason you cheated on your husband so you don’t allow yourself to get into that place again. Restoring trust in the marriage after your affair is vital. So let’s talk about how to rebuild your husbands trust.
Although this list is not exclusive, it is a beginning, and it’s the most important steps to take early on.
Be sure all ties to the other man are broken.
This may be obvious, but it is also likely going to be the hardest to follow through with in the beginning. Don’t leave any openings that he could communicate with you or that you could contact him in a weak moment (that means blocking him on all social media and his number on your phone). I realize this is a hard step to make, and I messed up on this one a lot. But every contact you make with your affair partner, is a step backwards. If you REALLY want to save your marriage and you’re tired of feeling so confused and torn up inside, you’ve got to end all contact.
If you’re struggling with this, I encourage you to read would your affair partner make a good spouse.
I used to think of it like playing the game of Sorry. You move up the board and things are going good, then you roll the dice and it has you go back to the beginning of the game to start all over. Having contact with your affair partner, however minor you think it is, is like going back to the beginning of healing for your marriage and for yourself. If you’re trying to get over this other man, having any contact again only brings you right back to the start on your ability to get over him. Even if your husband does not find out you had contact, YOU will know. And your heart cannot heal from the effects of the affair until all contact is broken off.
You can read more about breaking off an affair here.
Make yourself completely accountable to your husband.
My second advice for women who were unfaithful, is going to be vital in your marriage healing. Let him have complete access to all your social media accounts, your emails and your phone. Leaving the house will be a huge trigger for your husband and he’s going to be worried. You would be too if the roles were reversed. Although it was very hard for me to do, I had to be accountable for all my actions. I didn’t even go out shopping alone very much and when I did I had my cell phone on and always answered when he called. Not answering his calls was also a trigger for my husband, so I was diligent with that. What helps even more is when you take a proactive approach and show him everything before he even asks.
I’ll be honest, there will be times you’ll get sick of being accountable. Frustration and despair will likely come in when it seems everything you do is shrouded in a cloud of suspicion. Those were hard days for us. But they become less and less and you continue to do right things consistently.
Be completely honest.
Your husband will likely want to know some things that will be hard to talk about with him. Oftentimes, the betrayed spouse feels shut out of a portion of your life. There were secrets and lies told. He doesn’t know what is true and what was false. Also, the other man got to see into a window of your marriage, unbeknownst to your husband. Some betrayed spouses need to have their questions answered to heal properly. If you lie now, you’ll further set back the rebuilding process as he’ll likely find out. There’s nothing that can harm your marriage recovery after an affair like further lies and inconsistencies. Honesty is always far easier than trying to remember what your last story was.
Be willing to do whatever it takes to heal your marriage.
Probably my greatest advice to women who were unfaithful is doing whatever it takes to restore trust. When your husband sees you are sincerely trying to restore trust and heal his heart, it goes a long way to rebuilding your relationship. Find out what HIS love language is and seek to do those things that express love to HIM. I highly suggest the book, “The 5 Love Languages” By, Gary Chapman, if you haven’t read it already. It is really helpful to understand that we each express and feel love differently. A lot of reasons women have affairs is because they’re love language was being neglected, so you can also go over the book together.
My other advice for the unfaithful wife is to give your husband a chance again. Let him have your heart and spend time depositing into your marriage, and you will know you’ve at least given as much as possible to help your marriage heal and recover from your affair.
Sincerely apologize, in words and actions.
Although I hesitate putting this one on here, because it is obvious and often not believed yet, it still needs to be said. Yes, your husband probably doesn’t believe that you’re really sorry, or that it even matters that you’re sorry right now. But it’s still important to say. The thing is, as cheaters, our words have become less effective and believed. How you show him you’re truly sorry for breaking his heart is by your actions. All the ways I gave in the previous 4 steps are a real start. Be determined to have your marriage work. A LOT of the healing is up to you at this point in making the right choices and being humble and transparent with him. He has to do his part of forgiving you, but it all really starts with you saying and behaving that you’re truly remorseful.
If you haven’t read it yet, I’d encourage you to read the Start Here portion of this blog where I give some tips for both spouses.
You can also read my 20 steps to start rebuilding your marriage.
I strongly believe you can have an even better marriage than you did before. After 9 years, I can honestly say ours is better than before. But it’s going to start with you taking the first steps to encourage healing and trust.