My Wife Cheated… Now What? Should I Stay Or Go?

If you are reading this you probably just discovered that your wife has been cheating on you.

Navigating this betrayal could be one of the most challenging phases of your life and relationship. It is entirely possible that your relationship will end, and you will have to move on.

But the pain and grief you are feeling from the infidelity has paralyzed you, and you have no idea what your first actions should be. 

This article will help you understand all the different steps you need to take now that you have discovered that your wife has cheated.

Don't Blame Yourself… or Should You?

It is understandable to look back at a relationship and wonder what went wrong. Maybe if you were more X or you did Y, the relationship would be good.

But here is a tip: If your wife cheated on you, it is probably not your fault.

Researchers have conducted studies to discover the motivations that lead to infidelity. There are three main categories of reasons why people cheat.

The categories are the individual, the relationship and the context. 

When a person's intrinsic motivation for cheating on their spouse is a part of the individual category, the person's reason for cheating comes from within. Nothing the spouse has done or can do will change it. 

There are several Individual motivations for why a person cheats on their significant other. For instance, a person might cheat due to feeling insecure or lonely.

They might also have an affair to fulfill a desire for attention, freedom or adventure. Additionally, a person may commit infidelity if they believe that humans are not meant to be monogamous. 

Sometimes, problems in the relationship can motivate infidelity. Your significant other might cheat on you for anger, hostility or revenge.

Alternatively, your partner might be dissatisfied with the relationship emotionally or sexually. 

Infidelity may be related to a specific context. The spouse may not have cheated on her partner in this situation had the environment been different.

A person might cheat on their significant other when under the influence of alcohol.

Additionally, an individual with bipolar disorder might cheat on their partner in a manic state while being completely monogamous otherwise. 

Generally speaking, if your wife cheats on you due to personal reasons or because of the context, the issue probably is not your fault.

However, suppose your partner cheats because of problems in your relationship. In that case, you and your spouse might have avoided the situation if you had engaged in open communication or counseling.

It may be tempting to point fingers and play the blame game with issues like extramarital affairs.

However, it is essential to understand that what is done is done. For your well-being, you should figure out how to move forward. 

picture of a man looking to move forward

Don't Try To Get Revenge

The allure of revenge might seem tempting, but do not indulge in payback. Getting revenge on your wife for cheating will not help you heal.

Instead, acting on your anger and resentment toward your wife can hurt you in many ways.

If you think you might stay in the relationship once things cool down, then trying to get revenge on her partner would be a mistake. Depending on the type of revenge, your partner may be able to use your actions as justification for further cheating.

Additionally, seeking out revenge would make it more difficult when you want to reconcile your relationship. 

Even if you consider leaving your partner, revenge will only worsen the situation. You might not be with that person anymore, but you still have to live with yourself.

Instead, you might end up losing your self-respect and confidence.

No amount of pain you inflict on your partner will lessen the hurt you feel about their infidelity. Rather than making rash decisions, take time to process what happened and figure out the best step for you. 

Read More: Here is EXACTLY how cheaters hide their tracks

Talk to a Trusted Friend or Family Member

You may be reluctant to talk to a family member or friend about your cheating wife. And you are entirely justified in thinking that way.

The moment your loved one finds out about your wife's infidelity, that person will never look at her the same way again. 

However, if you have someone you can wholeheartedly trust to help you process your grief, you owe it to yourself to receive that support. Having the aid of a family member or pal also opens up new avenues for reconciliation. 

Your relative or friend can help by trying to reason with your wife to stop the behavior.

Additionally, if things take a turn for the worse and you must defend yourself against the judgment of others, your friend or family member will always protect and support you. 

Finding the correct friend or family member to talk to is significant. Your confidant should remain unbiased and nonjudgemental throughout the entire process and should be devoted to finding the best outcome for you. 

picture of men having beers and discussing wife's infidelity

Carefully Plan On Confronting Her

Confronting your cheating wife might be the hardest thing you will ever have to do.

If you have evidence that your spouse is cheating, but you do not get confirmation, you will become miserable and suspicious. You owe it to yourself to face the issue head-on and not let it persist. 

Before you face your wife, gather all of your evidence. Having the facts straight ensures that your argument is sound and not clouded with insecurities.

Additionally, you will need to recall any proof if your spouse tries to make a rebuttal. 

You will need to adopt a calm mindset before confronting your spouse. Arguments among spouses can get heated, especially when one spouse says faithfulness is in question.

Remaining centered throughout the discussion can help anchor the energy levels. 

Remember that location is everything. Dessert spots are an excellent option for breakups but not the best place to demand answers from your cheating spouse.

Make sure that you confront them in a private setting where no one will overhear you. You also have to ensure that you and your partner are in the right frame of mind.

Confronting them after an exhausting 12-hour shift would not be a good idea.  

Find Out Why She Cheated

Regardless of whether or not you want to stay with the person, it is always a good idea to find out why they cheated.

Knowing why she did will help you understand if there is any future in your relationship based on potential reconciliation. 

As stated above, there are many reasons behind cheating on your spouse. If you know the cheating episode happened in a particular context or a vulnerable state, you may be inclined to forgive them.

On the other hand, if your significant other cheated to fulfill a desire for attention, your wife may not be worth forgiving, regardless of how much you want to. 

picture of a wife in the act of cheating on her husband

Figure Out if You Can Forgive Her

It is not uncommon for a person to forgive their spouse after infidelity. Famously, Hillary Clinton pardoned Bill after he was unfaithful to her with Monica Lewinsky.

A more recent example is when Will Smith adjusted his marriage to accommodate Jada Pinkett Smith's relationship with August Alsina.

Let's look at some of the reasons you may want to forgive your spouse. 

One of the most common reasons for forgiving a cheating spouse is because you have children together. In this case, you don't want your kids to grow up in a broken household and think it is worth working on your marriage and seeing if you can save it.

Alternatively, if you are dependent on your spouse, you may not have the luxury of leaving them. In the case of Hillary Clinton, her decision to forgive Bill may have been because her political career was tied to her husband’s.

The linked study from Sage Journals proves that pardoning an unfaithful spouse might have consequences. If you are too generous or passive with forgiveness, your wife could feel inclined to have another affair because of how easy she got off the hook.

Make sure to have a clear strategy of how you want the relationship to evolve moving forward.

You will need to consider every way you are dependent on your wife before granting her a second chance. Ties to her could be financial, professional, emotional, etc.

You will also need to examine whether or not you can deal with the consequences of not being dependent on that person anymore. 

Read More: A survival guide to staying with someone that cheated

Communicate Openly With Her

Let us assume you decided to forgive your spouse. Now what? Now is the time for honest and open communication. Like every other so far, this step will not be easy, especially if you lacked honest communication before the affair. 

The anger, resentment and betrayal you feel will take a long time to diminish. For this reason, communication can be challenging.

But you have to do it.

picture of a couple openly communicating after wife cheated

Believe it or not, it is surprisingly easy to let your emotions take over your actions.

It may be a good idea to set limits on how long you can discuss the affair at a given time. This boundary may feel unfair to you, as you have to curb your emotional expression for the well-being of your cheating wife.

However, suppose you plan on reconciling your relationship with your wife. In that case, it is essential your time together is not filled with negativity. 

Another way to moderate emotions when discussing your affair is to prepare what you are going to say, preferably in writing.

Writing out a script of your discussion will help you thoroughly examine what aspects of the relationship the two of you must discuss. It gives you the freedom to edit your words before saying them to your wife. 

Unfortunately, exploring the reasons for the affair is a fragile and complicated situation that even the best of communicators have difficulty navigating. For this reason, it is best to seek out professional counseling. 

Work on Your Relationship

Although it may seem impossible, many couples have recovered from infidelity. They have gone on to have successful marriages. However, the process is still long, strenuous and exhausting. 

The most essential quality for both spouses is that they must be open to doing whatever it takes to save their marriage.

If only you are motivated to save your marriage while your cheating wife is not, you will have to move past it and consider divorce. 

Read More: How to win back your wife and get her to love you again

Stay Away From Social Media

If you love to share your life on social media or prefer to spectate, it is a good idea to stay off of social media.

 You might be the person who loves to share or even overshare, but not all aspects of your relationship need to be on social media.

If you want to save your marriage, posting about it online may damage your efforts. Especially if spectators start weighing in on how you or your partner should conduct yourself. 

On the other hand, staying off the Internet is a good idea, even if you are a social media spectator. It is common knowledge that people post their favorite moments on websites like Instagram and Twitter.

Constantly being bombarded with images of people living their best lives while you were living your worst can lead to depression and anxiety. 

In both cases, it is best to deactivate your account and come back when you are in a healthier mindset. 

picture of a man on social media after wife cheated on him

Seek Marriage Counseling

Whether you are looking to save your marriage or not sure, you should always seek marriage counseling.

Marriage counseling can help you work through your marital problems and decide on whether your marriage is worth saving.

Counselors, being objective parties, can help you and your wife find resolve after infidelity.

Suppose you are looking to save your relationship. In that case, marriage counseling will help you process your grief, let you uncover the issues in your marriage that lead to infidelity, address your problems and embrace a new relationship. 

On the other hand, you may receive discernment counseling if you and your partner disagree on whether or not you should continue or end the relationship.

Getting assistance from a marriage therapist often results in a more amicable split. 

Marriage counseling can be a saving grace for all couples — not just those in crisis. Counseling can help you recover from your grief of being betrayed.

It can also allow your partner to develop strategies that ensure they are never unfaithful in the future.

Lastly, marriage counseling can aid with the development of your communication skills, conflict resolution and acceptance of personal responsibility. 

If the Relationship Is Over, Separate and Start the Divorce

No matter how much you want to stay together, always understand that there is a possibility that you need to accept that your marriage is over.

You have no choice but to divorce separately and begin your life apart in such a case. 

Reach out to your friends and family for support during this time because it can be confusing and tumultuous. At this time, you should also seek help from a counselor or therapist.

Infidelity and divorce can lead to anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. You owe yourself the opportunity to heal before you go out and try to begin a new life.

Always remember that a divorce is an option.

Read More: We reviewed the 10 BEST online divorce services


Here are common questions related to infidelity in marriage.