Infidelity seems to affect women harder than men, and if you’ve done that to your wife, you’re now probably looking for ways of helping her heal.
PTSD symptoms are pretty common, and the emotions that come with them are nothing to take lightly.
If you’re feeling remorseful and want to help your wife heal, the how of it is not as easy as you might think.
If you genuinely want to bring everything to the table, you must be willing to put in a reasonable amount of work. Healing encompasses so many steps that are hard to follow sometimes.
But there are a couple of ways in which you can bring meaning to the experience of infidelity.
Even if you can see through the darkness, your partner may feel stuck in a tunnel of negative thoughts.
Moreover, your wife may be experiencing a sense of loss – of the relationship or herself, and you must acknowledge and validate her feelings of grief.
A lot of soothing is required. But apart from helping her out, you must make your intentions clear. What is it that you want to do further to make things better? State that and live by it.
The most important thing is to be a friend. Show care and kindness, and do your best to maintain that even when her emotions are over the roof.
Let’s get more in-depth.
10 ways you can help your wife heal after infidelity
Apologizing is a fantastic skill.
I like to see apologies in the form of XYZ statements.
The wrongdoer apologizes for the infidelity (X), expresses how sorry he is for what he has done (Y), and offers ways to make amends or promises to do better (Z).
A sign of affection can accompany this. A hug or a kiss has never made someone more defensive.
A verbal apology is the first step. But to truly show repentance for having hurt your wife, you must live up to the apology.
If you don’t know where to start with the apology, you can read and learn more about it here.
Your actions towards her should only show how sorry you feel about everything.
That takes me to the next point.
2. Show remorse
As I mentioned, the baseline of healing after cheating is to show remorse – verbally and through actions and behaviors.
It’s not enough to tell your wife how guilt-stricken you feel; you have to show it by being completely honest and straightforward.
The only way to heal a relationship affected by infidelity is by feeling the pain—being there fully and experiencing every emotion you and your partner are feeling.
It would help if you also cut all ties with your mistress: no writing, no telephone calls, and no meetings.
3. Avoid defensiveness
Defensiveness is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and it’s generally an answer to criticism.
Chances are, your wife is going to criticize you frequently, especially for the affair. In this situation, do your best not to respond with anything that might be defensive.
That will only make your wife think that you are not taking responsibility for your action or that you’re trying to justify what you did.
4. Give her some space
Let your wife grieve and assimilate the experience.
If the reactions are intense whenever you meet, let her have time away from you and discuss more when things cool off – instead of hitting the iron while it’s still hot.
Delicate situations call for deep reflection.
5. Offer reassurance.
Reassurance can mean a lot of things.
You can compliment your wife, prove that you cut ties with the other woman, offer comfort, show appreciation. But NEVER, by any means, justify your actions.
Be careful not to do more harm with reassurance, like making false promises that everything will be just fine.
Also, obsessive intrusive thoughts about the deed can make your wife constantly seek reassurance that might not provide comfort.
6. Be Honest.
Be completely honest about everything, like an open book. It would be best if you told your wife where you’re going, with who, when you are coming back home, and so on.
If you want to have a chance at reconciling, every social media account and email must be on display every time your partner feels insecure.
This is a certifiably suitable method to help your partner regain trust. You have to practice complete and absolute transparency.
Any additional information that your wife finds outside of your own will hurt the relationship and lower trust even more.
This is the hardest part, but I promise it will get easier after this point.
7. Be wary of possible triggers.
Infidelity can cause a lot of personal issues to the one that’s the victim of it. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder are common, and they can severely affect one’s judgment.
This reaction is expected, as it is every emotion that may come with it.
Knowing this may help you adjust your behavior toward your partner so that you may be able to provide comfort.
Keep your eyes on possible triggers that may appear in your relationship. Notice what makes your wife upset and look for patterns so that you can reduce the hurt.
Furthermore, diplomacy is a must, as this is a very delicate subject for your partner – and rightly so.
8. Build a support system.
Seek other people for support – whether it comes to your relationship or just for yourself. That way, you can figure out how to best help your wife heal from your infidelity.
You’d be surprised at the number of people that would be willing to help you in this situation.
Infidelity is so common nowadays that it is almost a universal experience. So the most important thing is never to allow it to happen again.
9. Accepting influence.
Apart from helping infidelity, accepting influence makes men happier and more satisfied with their relationship.
Accepting influence means seeing your partner’s point of view and letting it shape the way you see things. It sends the message that your partner’s opinions matter – even if they may be in the wrong.
Saying yes, agreeing with things, and taking on multiple perspectives are essential in a relationship, especially when infidelity has made its way.
Wanting to be right is not.
The trust Revival Method is a handy technique to rekindle the trust that was lost after an affair. It includes atonement, attunement, and attachment.
One key phrase is attunement, and it essentially means the ability to stay with you and your partner’s emotions and letting them be.
Questions to ask your wife
- What do you need to feel safe and trust me again?
- What are some ways in which I can offer reassurance?
- Do you want to give us a chance?
- Can you explain that to me/allow me to understand you better?
- How do you feel about the whole situation?
- Do you still foster fondness and admiration for me?
- What can we do when tension builds up?
Both partner’s emotions are valid.
If you want to help your wife grieve and heal, you must first focus on the fact that the one thing that matters is that she is hurting.
The simple fact that that’s the case is enough to motivate you to take the hurt away. And you definitely can.
However, caring for yourself and your partner tends to feed on each other.
While feeling remorse is healthy and even necessary after an affair, you must practice self-care and extend that care to your partner as well.
Look within yourself
Look for the reason why you did the things that you did. Often, people cheat as a way of coping with other negative emotions inside of them. They may have been feeling lonely, for example.
But beyond how they may be feeling, relationship issues come from many factors. You can look out for patterns of behavior you have had for a long time and when they came to be.
I like to take that arrow down to the formative years of people’s lives – it’s always eye-opening.
Often, when couples have problems, their stories from the past make their way into their present.
A lot of times, infidelity is tied to those very problems.
Reflecting on all of these things can be life-changing. But self-reflection and knowing thyself is not enough. Action is.
If it’s hard for you to see the pattern there, couples therapy is always an option. It will help you dive deep into all the facets of infidelity, as well as your relationship. You can read more about it here.
Know that there’s only so much you can do and accept that.
The willingness to help your wife heal after your infidelity is honorable if you’re doing it for the sole purpose of decreasing her negative emotions so that she can better process the situation and make a decision with you.
It would be best if you didn’t do this only for you – e.g., to get back together with her.
Instead, let your care soften the blow and lead you.
Recommended: Can Therapy Help You Stop Cheating?