8 Critical Ways To Fix Your Broken Marriage After Your Wife's Affair

Whether you throw in the towel or stick it out, the trauma of infidelity doesn’t just go away.

Fixing a broken marriage after wife cheats Prostock-studio | Canvas

If the prospect of your marriage’s future is contingent on surviving your wife’s infidelity, you are in the right place. Infidelity can suck the air out of your lungs and the life out of your marriage. Being jolted by the news your once-faithful marriage now has a trespasser will inevitably leave you churning with hostile and hurtful emotions. If you're committed to staying in your relationship and surviving her affair, there are a couple of things to consider.


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Here are 8 critical ways to fix your broken marriage after your wife's affair.

1. Don’t make quick decisions

No important decisions can be made from a place of anger, jealousy, confusion, and general negativity. Calmness is essential for clarity. You may need to separate temporarily to get some distance before you can decide whether you want to save your marriage if you can’t regain your footing while living together. Work through those powerful emotions before making any lasting decisions or creating collateral damage with harsh words and behaviors.


He wonders about if his wife regrets her affair Petrenko Andriy via Shutterstock

2. Accept your feelings

Men are notorious for not welcoming and discussing emotions, so don’t be surprised if you feel unsettled and confused. You may feel competitive, vindictive, embarrassed, enraged, or even diminished, all at the same time.

Confide in a friend or take more time at the gym to help you shed strong, negative feelings and resist the inevitable impulse to act out. And do what’s necessary to learn how to communicate your feelings healthily.


There is the possibility your wife’s infidelity, as wrong and betraying as it may have been, could be a huge wake-up call begging for your attention. Couples who survive infidelity learn to talk about what has happened and explore the reasons why.

If your idea of "feelings" drops the record needle on the 1970s broken love song or makes you feel like a teenage girl, you may have your first clue as to your wife’s discontent. Accepting and learning to express your feelings will make you an effective communicator when you talk together.

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3. Figure out her reason for the cheating

Surviving your wife’s infidelity has to start with understanding the reasons behind her cheating. How can you solve anything if you don’t know what you’re solving?

This exploration can be very delicate and painful and may be best undertaken with the support of a couples/marriage therapist. Only after you have fearlessly uncovered the motivations for your wife’s infidelity can you work together to save your marriage.

4. Be smart

Before you jump back in with two feet and decide to work to save your marriage, get some assurance your wife is sincerely willing to do her part.

Surviving your wife’s infidelity starts with the infidelity ending. Insist she cut off contact and demanded proof that she had done so. She will have to be incredibly vulnerable, sensitive, and transparent to regain your broken trust. And you may have to do some upfront sleuthing to be sure your willingness to work on your marriage isn’t in vain.


5. Be willing to let go of the images

Men may have a greater ability to compartmentalize, but being visual creatures they tend to hold onto and sometimes obsess about the mental images that fuel their rage, hurt, and jealousy. Of course, women can also fall into the trap of playing an endless loop of their cheating spouse in the arms of someone else.

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It’s natural to imagine your wife doing intimate things with another man. Unfortunately, each time you replay the image, you’re re-inflicting the trauma of your discovery of the infidelity and extending the healing process.

Surviving your wife’s infidelity is going to require you to push the images aside and focus on understanding how your marriage was vulnerable to infidelity. Only then can you decide if your love is strong enough to mend this painful break.


6. Call in the experts

Infidelity is one of the greatest challenges a marriage can face. If the spouses involved already knew and practiced the proven tools of marital success, perhaps the infidelity wouldn’t have happened.

So why not treat your marriage the way you would treat a broken bone or physical illness? Finding a couples/marriage therapist — or therapy team — that can walk the path to resolution with you can be your wisest investment.

Instead of limiting yourself to a weekly-hour format, consider a marriage retreat intensive weekend. The benefits will be accelerated and prevent collateral damage that occurs from untended open wounds.

Processing anger, confusion, and feelings of betrayal is a prerequisite to mapping a plan forward. It helps to be in a safe, well-bounded space to have the intimate, frank discussion needed to get through the damage of the infidelity.

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7. Give yourself time

What if you embarked on a journey to create a new marriage out of your broken marriage? What would that endeavor of love look like? And how long would it take?

Be kind and patient with yourself and with one another. If surviving your wife’s infidelity is worth the effort, devote the time to see it through.

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8. Forgive

Yes, if you want to stay in your marriage, eventually you will have to find a way to forgive your wife. And she will have to find a way to forgive herself.

But, if you are both doing the difficult, honest work of sharing your feelings, and you can see her objectively as a human being with flaws, down the road you might find yourself ready to walk toward forgiveness — a process that takes time.

In the early stages after the discovery of your wife’s affair, the roller coaster of emotions can feel too painful to endure. Surviving infidelity has two options: either you work together and figure out how to fix a broken marriage and save your relationship, or you step on opposite sides of the fracture and go your separate ways.

Can a marriage survive betrayal and an affair by a cheating spouse?


If your anger and hurt are not dark enough to obliterate your hope for reconciliation, it’s time to learn what you’re in for if you think you want to save your marriage. Your wife may have decided to step outside your marriage on her own. However, surviving your wife cheating on you means stepping up in ways you probably never imagined. You’ll need to decide whether your marriage is worth saving at a time when you’re bruised by betrayal and hurt. No easy task.

It will take a willingness to look at yourself and not just her for understanding. This fact doesn’t usually sit well with an aggrieved husband reeling from his wife’s affair. It may set a new high-water mark for your patience.

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Why do women cheat?


The effort to better understand the reasons behind infidelity doesn’t condone the betrayal. The decision to move forward and save your marriage demands a ton of soul-searching and eventual forgiveness.

No one can survive in a climate of continual distrust, nor can anyone survive in a relationship of perpetual punishment. A man’s ability to compartmentalize may be behind the common excuse for cheating: It didn’t mean anything. But, we all know it does mean something — at least to the betrayed wife. But that psychological ability to be unfaithful for the sake of sexual gratification while still claiming to be in a happy marriage isn’t as common to women.

The reason why women cheat and are unfaithful is they are usually responding to deeper unhappiness and emotional dissatisfaction, not sexual desire. Their reasons for connecting outside their marriages aren’t different than the reasons that led them to marriage in the first place, this can be an unsettling thought for a betrayed husband.


Women have a natural proclivity to associate sex with emotional connection. A woman can potentially be left with the responsibility of carrying, birthing, and raising a child. So she has a lot of things to consider and integrate when choosing a mate, let alone decide to have casual sex.

These generalized factors about the reasons why women cheat often lead men to grapple with the belief a wife’s infidelity is a more significant betrayal. The thinking can go something like this: Since a woman’s infidelity is more meaningful to her, it carries more weight and makes the breach more serious. Thereby, making it more difficult for a man intent on surviving his wife’s infidelity to save his marriage than it would in the reverse situation. It is both a double standard and paradoxical.

The choice to work through infidelity and save your marriage is an enormous endeavor. Whether you throw in the towel or stick it out, the trauma of infidelity doesn’t just go away. Healing is as much a choice as a process.

Hugging couple fixed their broken marriage A HIP A HUB STOCK via Shutterstock


Infidelity is often not a statement of lack of love. Sometimes it’s a cry for help. As the saying goes, “When people know better, they do better.” If your love is still there, there are ways to restore it to health and make it stronger than ever. But it takes a kind of courage you were never expected to muster.

RELATED: 5 Women Reveal The Main Reasons They Cheated On Their Husbands

Mary Ellen Goggin and Dr. Jerry Duberstein offer relationship coaching for individuals, and offer private couples retreats and couples counseling. They are co-authors of the book "Relationship Transformation: How to Have Your Cake and Eat It Too."