Probably the biggest concern that my readers face (wives whose husband have cheated) is the worry that he’s going to do it again. I get so many emails that say things like: “is once a cheater always a cheater true?,” “how do I know that he isn’t going to cheat on me again?”, or “how can I affair proof our marriage so that I never have to go through this again?” I’ll answer these questions in the following article as well as outline the things that you (and he) can do to ensure that the cheating doesn’t repeat.
Can You Give Me A 100% Guarantee That He Won’t Cheat Again?: Often, when I dialog with women on this issue, I’ll offer them tips and advice on how to ensure that their marriage is rock solid from here on out so that they don’t have to worry incessantly about being in this same place again down the road. Often, they’ll say things like: “sure, but how do I know these things are going to work?” or “yes, but how do I know that I’m not going to do everything right and, at the end of the day, he still won’t be able to stay strong against temptation?”
The answer to these questions is that you don’t know, but because of your (and his) actions, you can take a highly educated guess. Still, I really wish that I could draw up a 100% guarantee that if you followed everything I told you, you could be 100% certain that you’d never be here again. Unfortunately, it’s not up to me. At some point, if you want a happy and secure marriage in the future, you will have to eventually trust this man again. I understand that is horribly scary. I understand how uncomfortable it feels to be vulnerable. But, I also know that it’s necessary to get where you want to go. And there are several things that you can do to greatly lessen the chances that he will cheat again. I’ll outline them below.
Make Sure That He Knows Exactly How Much This Has Shaken You: A husband who feels the pain and betrayal that his wife feels after his cheating will often not want to ever feel this type of pain again. It’s so important that you don’t sugar coat the fall out for him. While I don’t advocate punishing him or lashing out just for the sake of it, I do advocate sitting him down and letting him on the pain and confusion that you are feeling. He needs to know exactly what he’s done. He needs to understand that this unfortunate and temporary lack of judgment could cost him everything. Because by doing so, you’re ensuring that he will remember this awful place in the future so that he won’t want to repeat.
Now, you do have to walk a fine line here. You don’t want to completely alienate him or get in the habit of punishing him on a continual basis. But, you can calmly and rationally lay it out for him so that he fully understands that yes, there are HUGE negative repercussions for his actions.
Sometimes people will ask me if they should have their own affair to show their husband how this feels. My answer is always no. Engaging in behavior that is beneath you is only going to confuse you and heap more negative feelings onto what is already a very difficult time.
Get To The Bottom Of Why This Happened And Put Up Roadblocks From It Happening Again: It’s very important that you do the detective work necessary to figure out what left your husband or your marriage vulnerable. Then, you must dissect these things one by one and fix them. Often, men cheat because they are unsure about themselves or they have self esteem issues mixed in with poor impulse control. Sometimes, they are allowed to engage in risky behavior which is just too tempting to pass up. Or, other times, there were some vulnerabilities in your marriage that put them in the right place at the right time.
No matter which of these issues (or combination of them) gave rise to the affair, you truly can not really be secure in your marriage or your husband’s future fidelity until you know that you’ve successful removed all the land mines that could cause it to happen again. This often takes quite a while. And, the discussions that are sometimes necessary for this can be painful. Brutal honesty is necessary. But, the payoff is huge because it can give you the confidence that you need to trust again.
Accountability And Reliability Are Important Pieces Of The Puzzle: I can not tell you how important it is that your husband become very transparent. There can be no secrets, no off limits pass words, emails, or cell phones. He must be where he says he’s going to be, at least while you are healing. He must be willing to check in regularly and be very generous with the reassurance. He has to understand what he’s asking of you and then responding in kind.
He’s betrayed your trust and left you badly shaken and now he’s asking you to take a chance and to let him back in. He must know what a difficult thing this is and in response, he must do whatever he can to lighten your load. He must understand this his computer, cell phone, car, and any place else where he’s hidden his cheating must be completely available to you now. This will give you some peace of mind and this will let him know that since it’s not so easy to get away with anything this time, why even bother?
I hope that I’ve shown you that there are many things that you can do so that you don’t have to walk on eggshells for the rest of your life. Don’t stop until you have what you need to heal – to your complete and total satisfaction. Once you do, the doubts that are plaguing you right now should eventually start to abate.
I know that working through the aftermath of an affair and forgiveness is difficult, but it can truly be worth it. It took a lot of work and healing, but today my marriage is actually stronger than it ever was before. I also did a lot of work on myself and am happier as the result. Our bond and intimacy is much stronger and my self esteem is at an all time high. I know longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read my very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/