Men: If A Cheating Wife Broke Your Heart, Here’s What To Do

The unfortunate lesson you have to learn.

Last updated on Jun 11, 2024

Husband sitting at the edge of bed, broken heart after learning his wife is cheating Tais Bernabé | Canva

Surviving infidelity is hard and for many men — even those who have been unfaithful themselves — surviving a cheating wife’s infidelity is especially brutal. Although they may not be certain as to why women cheat (when it's commonly the other way around), the sense of betrayal is profound when you learn that your spouse has cheated on you. But there is a way to heal your broken heart. Although it’s changing, most men were taught to focus on achievements and to submerge, ignore, and deny their emotions — at least the ones that aren’t deemed powerful. When men with this type of worldview get married, they often rely on their wives for the nurturing and emotional safety they deny themselves.


So when they’re faced with their wife cheating, one of their primary coping mechanisms for feeling whole is at risk of being permanently lost. This is profoundly terrifying. They can’t imagine life without their wife. Who would they be without the nurturing and emotional safety she’s always provided? And the fear they feel naturally triggers their fight, flight, or freeze response. (It can also be at the root of them saying and doing things they later regret.) Their instincts might initially drive them to fight for their marriage, pursue a divorce, or deny the meaning of their wife’s affair.


RELATED: 5 Types Of People Most Likely To Cheat, According To Science

As terrifying as it is for men to face surviving a wife’s infidelity, the truth is what they’re facing is very similar to that of anyone who’s discovered their spouse’s infidelity. It’s only after the initial rush of the threat response has subsided that the true work of surviving infidelity can begin. Getting over your wife’s affair doesn’t necessitate that you divorce. Affair recovery also doesn’t necessitate that you repair your marriage. According to Divorce Magazine, 60-75 percent of couples who have experienced infidelity stay together. Regardless of what you ultimately decide to do about your marriage, what you will need to do to survive your wife’s betrayal is deal with how infidelity changes you. To learn how to get over being cheated on so you can move on, some of the things you’ll need to deal with include:

RELATED: The Most Important Question To Ask Yourself After Your Spouse Cheats

  • Repairing your self-esteem and self-worth
  • Forgiving yourself for not realizing your wife was cheating earlier
  • Learning how to trust again — whether it’s your wife or another woman
  • Allowing yourself to love again
  • Giving your brain time to heal. Neuroscience has shown that the rejection of infidelity has both short and long-term consequences for brain chemistry.
  • Giving your body time to heal. The same neuroscience has also shown that your emotional experience causes physical pain.
  • Choosing how you’ll learn and grow from the experience.

RELATED: 4 Reasons You Have To Tell Your Spouse You Cheated

Ultimately, surviving a wife’s infidelity boils down to learning and growing from the experience. It’s a lesson that no one wants. But, it’s also a lesson that can help you become a better version of yourself, not because it will or won’t make your wife (or ex-wife) happy but because you’ll be releasing old patterns and beliefs that no longer serve you. And in their place, you’ll have better ones that might even allow you to develop a different relationship with your emotions.

RELATED: My Wife Cheated On Me — But I Can't Afford A Divorce


Karen Finn is a divorce and life coach. Her writing on marriage, divorce, and co-parenting has appeared on MSN, Yahoo, Psych Central, Huffington Post, Prevention, and The Good Men Project, among others.