The percentage of wives who cheat on their husbands is on the rise – and in fact, some states report than one in every three married women has had at least one extramarital affair within the first ten years of marriage. Can a marriage be saved after a wife’s infidelity? That isn’t a question that can be answered simply. It depends on the marriage.
It depends on the bond between husband and wife. It depends on the effort that a couple is willing to re-invest in their relationship. And more than anything, it depends on the couple’s desire to make it work. If a husband and wife truly love each other, and they are able to see that love through the haze of hurt and betrayal, then there is a chance – a glimmer of hope – that the marriage can be saved.
Men are often raised to believe that their ego and pride are very important, and therefore, men often have an even harder time forgiving their wives for having affairs than wives have forgiven their husbands for having affairs. Women are, in general, more in touch with their emotions and more comfortable sharing their feelings than men are. Men are more disassociated from their feelings, and so they can virtually turn off their emotions of love and admiration for their wives instantly when they find out that she has been unfaithful.
Men feel very disrespected and emasculated when they discover that their mate has cheated. They question their manliness and virility. They quickly project the blame inward on themselves, although outwardly, they will blame their wives. However, men who have been cheated on, just like women who have been cheated on, need to understand that they are not to blame for the infidelity.
Regardless of what marital problems may have led up to a wife’s indiscretion, the affair was her choice, and not her husband’s choice – and moreover, it was the wrong choice. Having an extramarital affair is immoral and immature. A woman who engages in an affair knows that what she is doing is wrong, but she ignores her conscience and does it anyway.
Certainly, a painful and unhealthy marriage can lead a wife to contemplate leaving the marriage, but cheating is the wrong reaction to those feelings and concerns. There is not a person in the world that has an affair and thinks what they are doing is the right thing, and so it is only fair and just that a wife who cheats owns up to her mistakes and accepts responsibility and accountability for her actions.
Since men often have a hard time coping with their anger and rage when they discover infidelity, it is often helpful for couples to go to a marriage counselor right away. It is not advisable to try to diffuse the situation without professional help. Even though there are a lot of men who are uneasy and embarrassed about talking to a counselor or “shrink,” these mediators are great at helping couples to identify and work out their primary issues and conflicts.
The reality of the matter is that not all men will be able to forgive their wives and save their marriages after an affair. However, if a couple feels strongly that there is something between them that is worth fighting for, they owe it to themselves and their marriage to give counseling a try.