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Healing the Pain When Your Husband Has Been Unfaithful

Hurt, heartache, and disbelief are common reactions when your husband has been unfaithful. These tips for healing the pain after an affair are for a reader whose husband was unfaithful for months.

Healing the Pain When Your Husband Has Been UnfaithfulAfter the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful  was the first book written to help readers survive the pain of an unfaithful spouse. It was written by a clinical psychologist who has been treating distressed couples for 22 years. After the Affair provides proven, practical advice to help spouses change their behavior toward each other, cultivate trust and forgiveness, and build a healthier, more intimate marriage.

“My world came crashing down,” says Gail on How to Cope When Your Husband Leaves You for Another Woman. “He has been with her since January and yet he sent me letters telling how much he loved me, sent me poetry and flowers. I am hurting so badly, I just can’t believe he would do this to me. He made love to me all week and yet he tells another he loves her. He keeps telling me he still loves me but not enough to stay. But he doesn’t want to me divorce him right away. I really don’t want the divorce, but I know it must be done. Any advice on how to cope?”

There’s nothing quite like the shock, confusion, and pain you feel after your husband’s unfaithfulness. You’ve been betrayed by the man who said he loved and cherished you, and healing from that pain doesn’t happen quickly.

If you want to rebuild your marriage, read books like After the Affair. You’ll see your marriage – and your unfaithful husband – from an objective perspective. You’ll gain new insights into yourself and your relationships, which will help you cope with your husband’s unfaithfulness.

Healing the Pain When Your Husband Has Been Unfaithful

Even if you want to save your marriage, you may have no choice but to let your husband go. You need to focus on healing your pain and thinking about your future.

Connect with women who survived the pain of infidelity

One of the best tips for surviving anything is to surround yourself with survivors! Find women who lived through it and healed the pain of infidelity. I don’t know if you have support groups in your area – and it’s okay if you don’t. You don’t need a formal support group to heal from the pain of infidelity.

What you do need is courage to be vulnerable. It’s embarrassing and even humiliating to admit that your husband was unfaithful, but the first step to healing is to talk about it. Get advice from women who survived unfaithfulness husbands, because they know what helps and what hurts.

Here’s a starting point: When He Betrays You – Advice From Wives Whose Husbands Cheated. Just reading through comments other women have left about their own situations can help. You’ll see you’re not alone, which can give you hope and help you feel less alone.

Try to think objectively about your situation

If your husband wants to leave, then you need to start thinking about legal and practical concerns. I know it’s almost impossible to wrap your mind around the legalities of separation and divorce right now, but you need to protect yourself and your children.

sband Has Been Unfaithful

Healing the Pain When Your Husband Has Been Unfaithful

Talk to a lawyer or call the free legal aid society for help. It’s time for you to be strong, practical, and resilient.

Read When Your Husband Wants a Divorce – But Won’t Leave for practical tips on leaving an unfaithful man.

Prepare for the stages of grief, for your marriage has died

Unfaithfulness in marriage is the worst betrayal a wife can experience. Healing the pain of that betrayal is a process – it’s a grieving process similar to losing a loved one to death.

You’ll go through stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. At the beginning – when you first find out your husband has been unfaithful – you’re shocked, confused, and disbelieving. You’ll get angry, and perhaps bargain with God or your husband. Then you’ll get depressed…and then you’ll accept that your marriage as you knew it is over.

Healing the Pain When Your Husband Has Been UnfaithfulFor a more hopeful and inspirational perspective, read My Husband’s Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me. It may change how you cope with unfaithfulness in marriage!

Healing the pain of unfaithfulness doesn’t move from one stage to another, in a linear fashion. Rather, you’ll find yourself moving from one stage to another (from depression back to denial, for instance) for many months.

I’m sorry you have to go through this. Your husband’s infidelity is terrible burden to bear, especially when you have children to take care of. You might find What to Do After a Breakup – Emotional Healing helpful.

If you have any thoughts – big or little – on unfaithful husbands, I welcome your comments below.

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My prayer is that you find ways to heal the pain after your husband has been unfaithful, and that you find peace, love, and joy in your life.

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13 thoughts on “Healing the Pain When Your Husband Has Been Unfaithful”

  1. Hi. I feel your pain, so much and you really need a big hug. You need someone to witness your life, being a mother, being a woman, your strengths, your goals, your desires, and you need to be a witness to these as well. Being alone is not easy, finances are the hardest to endure and this is what keeps women in a painful relationship. utilize your family , your friends, church members, take courses, but you need to get out of this horrible, debilitating marriage. It is not easy to leave relationship, but you really have to look in the mirror and believe that you are beautiful, desirable, intelligent and sincere. He my dear needs to go

  2. Dear Maria,

    Thank you for sharing your experience here – it takes a lot of courage and strength to see your situation with such clarity and insight!

    I especially am touched that you say he is not your life. That’s so important, to have a life outside your marriage and husband and kids. An unfaithful husband is difficult enough to accept, but I think it’s even worse if your whole life is centered around him.

    You aren’t damaged goods, my friend. You are a bright, smart, good woman who deserves better! Don’t think of yourself as damaged goods, or you will invite people into your life who will treat you badly. Instead, focus on your strengths and best qualities.

    I wish you all the best as you move forward with your life, and invite you to come back any time and let me know how you are.


  3. Hi all,

    Thanks for sharing your stories, they are painful because I seemyself in every one if them. I’ve been married for 28 years, have 3 kids, and my H cheated for -at least that I suspect- the past 18 years. First sporadically, while traveling and then in 2004
    It became a full blown addiction to online dating. I say he “divorced” me in mind and spirit but never told me. He created an alternate reality for himself where he was richer, divorced, more sophisticated, this went on for8 years. In 2009 a woman called me to tell me but….there I didn’t wakt to SEE…so I didn’t. On May 21,2012 I sat at the computer to read my email….and his email acct was up. The one with a password, that even in 2009 he refused to give me…so I went straight to that month in 2009…and found out the scope of his deceit. I found out about a secret file and other email accounts, profiles, and….ALL of his passwords. I changed them. I emailed the last 3 women he saw in 2011 and 2 replied, and then I sent him an email from HIS account. He came hime in 5 min and Kept lying…did’t know how much I knew.
    Thing is…in 2011 he “only” saw 3 women, 2 of them once or twice and his pattern of behavior was very structured, he woukd go out 3 times at the most and if there was no sex, he’d move on….there were so many women, restaurants, hotels, he really went a long way to avoid an emotional connection and he says he never, ever wanted to leave me, that he loved me….
    I can’t begin to tell you how I felt, I didn’t tell my kids because it will dmage them….but I stayed because:
    1- he had stopped all activity 5 months prior to me finding out which tells me that 2011 was the year he decided to stop
    2- this was SO SO crazy that it could only be one thing: an addiction, an illness, stemming from his abandonement at the age of 12 (mother died leaving him ad his 5 year old sister with their alcoholic father)
    3- He has expressed deep regret and wants to work in our marriage.
    I wouldn’t be happier leaving him and finding another man. Im damaged goods already, I wouldnt trust anyone anyway. He is a good provider and my kids still need him and I dont have a career to rely on either as it was always his career that mattered…his sister also had a similar situation, she needed validation too, and her marriage is also a difficult one.
    I realize now that the traumas of childhood have their devastating effect when we become adults, and even then, the pain is not just ours but we spread it to those who love us the most. Men need validation, is not about sex you know? Is about putting a medal on their chest, about feeling unstoppable, desired, wanted, the fact that they are SO good at lying but again, I had never ever been lied to this way so why would I even suspect? Too bad these men are incapable of seeing themselves through the eyes of their children, their spouses…. But instead, they choose to see themselves through the eyes of some stranger….too bad they value their manhood NOT on being the best father, husband or friend they can be…but on how successful they are at seducing a complete stranger.
    My H understands it now, and feels bad, but he also understands what he needs to do to make it up to me and his family and…to himself. His values have changed and his moral compass is there, finally.
    I decided to give him ONE chance and one only…but the ultimatum is not for him, is for me.
    Would I marry him again if I knew this would happen? NO. Because this pain is soooo deep is never going to leave me no matter what he does. But I wont tell him cause Im the bigger, better person here. I put my kids, marriage, my friends and everything before my pain. Im the compass, and he knows it, and after all….my kids are my life, and he is part of it as long as he keeps working on himself, but for sure I can say now that he is not MY LIFE.

  4. I have been with my husband 7yrs and have 2 kids one of which is disabled, we are both young he 26 and I 24. We haven’t lived together for 7months so we could get our life’s in order but we were still together. We recently had our 7yr anniversary October 29th, everything was amazing and I thought we were getting closer and better. He left the next day not wanting to let me go, I last spoke to him the day after he left at work. Then was unable to get hold of him for 3 days and I asked him if there was someone else, and he said he had been talking to another girl (21) and we were over but he kept calling me baby and he’d call me in private. Ll she, he lives at his moms. Her mom also does to. Her mom is his aunt by marriage. We haven’t spoke for weeks. But he asks his sister what I’m doing and how I’m doing, but won’t speak about me in front of his gf. This isant him being so cold, not speaking to me and letting her family bash me. Me and his real mom have never gotten along. Then he tells me he loves this girl and they wanna get married. I’ve tried so hard to keep my head up but I love him so deeply and miss him. I’m not sure what to think or feel. He won’t speak to me. My kids hearts are crashing and as is mine. 7years and nothing showed me this was coming. She’s supposedly a christain preacher, yet she’s sleeping with a married man. He says he dosent love me yet asks about me I’m not sure what to think.

  5. It is amazing how far a man will go. I have been with my husband for almost six years. We are both older and have been married previously. I have put up with the lying and such for almost the whole time as he “didn’t DO anything”. Last week, however; he made a conscious decision to “meet” one of the ladies he has “only been texting” – I found out only because I picked up his phone while he was in the store and made a cardinal error as far as he was concerned, I read a text from “Her” – which thanked him for Saturday evening (I was at work) – I had texted him repeatedly on Saturday night from work to chat but he never answered, now I know why – he was BUSY! When confronted he says “WHY did you go into my phone” “I did not DO anything!” When we sat outside the house talking in the car he bluntly told me he did not want to be with me anymore and that he wanted to go out – he was “going” to tell me once he figured out where to go.
    I was devastated, but I agreed to let him stay until we were able to work out details of where and when etc. He acted like he wanted to try to reconcile and we were intimate, yet the next afternoon while we were shopping he sent me a text asking if he could go out that evening – ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I responded to him that I could not even believe he asked me that. He then gets angry with me because he says he is not my slave – he will do what he wants and that I have no right to know anything. Well he just continues to hurt me.
    I am trying to understand what it was that he wanted that I could not provide and even looking to my friends and family for answers – they have said I really did nothing as does he except I did not give him enough (sex) –
    I feel very used. I have always been the breadwinner and he did not even work for 3 years of our marriage. I just don’t get it – he says he cannot give me what i want and and that is a faithful spouse. He says he can’t be faithful, i mean after all “I was faithful for about 4 years” GRRRR!!

    I know I will be ok, once I get over being hurt. I am not a young woman and I don’t even pretend to be excited at the prospect of being alone but I feel that at this point of my life that may be the best thing. I do not EVER want to go through this kind of hurt and pain again!

  6. Dear Anna,

    I answered your question about healing the pain after your husband has been unfaithful here…

    How Do I Trust My Fiancé After He Sexted His Ex and Lied to Me?

    I hope it helps, and welcome your thoughts!


  7. My fiance and I have been together for almost 2 years. Most would say we had the fairy tale relationship. I had anxiety for a few months, wasnt sure why or what it was about… I one day went into his work van, only to find a cell phone bill for a phone in his name that i wasnt aware of… I found out he had been lying over everything for along time, and was having an emotional affair and was sexting his ex and going on sites like adult friend finder and other one night stand sites. I was crushed. The man that I looked at as my hero was nothing but a fraud!! I immediately left him. A few months later i realized I was in to far and couldnt just ignore my heart so i went back with the promise of major changes and him being sincerely sorry. I still cannot after 3 months get passed even the first stages of trusting him. I know if I can trust him again, our lives will be amazing.. How can i trust him again?

  8. Hi,
    I’ve been with my boyfriend/father of my kids for about seven years now and since the beginning I didn’t trust him. I ask myself how is it that I stayed with him for this long and I know it’s because I love him and also because of my kids…but I don’t know if it’s enough anymore.I have three kids and for each of my pregnancies he cheated on me and lied to me many times.Each time I said I was going to leave him but that never happened.I always told myself that I didnt want my kids to go through what I had to with my parents separation.He’s always looking at other girls in front of me and talks to other girls when hes not with me.I see that their are pros and their are cons to both sides whether I decide to leave him or not and I don’t know what to do….

  9. lex 2012 i feel your pain literally i have a four year old and 21 month old my husband was sexting one of my “best friends” she didnt tell me for 6 weeks and i believe she only told me because of me saying i think hes having an affair. I woke him up and told him to leave 3 weeks later we had sex cried together hoping to work thing out counceling well his mother and family hate me. so his sister get him involved with another women w kids i found 1000 of text in his phone records days after we made love he says im done move on i beg him to come home he says i’m happy now leave m alone i have been a stay at home mom for 4 ye[ars since day one! im lost i love him so much i hold on that this is a phase but what if he never comes home i love him so much yet he is so cold to me. He likes to do what he wants i guess. im just so heartbroken i never ever thought we would be here looking divorce in the face i don’t know how i will ever recover

  10. I have been with my husband for 11 years. married 7. We have 3 children, 13, 9 and 1. Last summer, my husband told me he didnt love me anymore, and that he didnt think he felt anything for anyone, that his heart had become cold. He blamed my every flaw, from not cleaning well enough, to not having sex enough. I had recently confronted him about some inappropriate conversations he had been having with a long lost “friend” on Facebook (go figure). I even introduced myself to her via facebook, and was responded to with a very cold “hello nice to meet you.” Anyway, after months of begging him to not leave me, and give me another chance to be a good wife, crying daily, begging God to please move in my marriage and change ME, I happened to get into his facebook, and read some of he most devistating things I had ever seen, not only had he confessed his undying love to this other woman (I will add that he hasnt seen her since they were in MIDDLE SCHOOL 17+ years ago) he was also planning on moving out, and trying to figure out how they would manage (she is 3000 miles away). – I confronted him, and he said he didnt know what he wanted, the messages I saw were from summer, and it was now almost Thanksgiving. I gave him 6 weeks, to decide to stay, or leave. Mentally- this was horrible for me. Anyway, he stayed. In the past 3 months, I have discovered that he has had not only 1 “sexting” relationship with a random waitress, but that he and a mutual friend of ours, have also been having a “texting/sexting” relationship, and were planning on being intimate. He swares that he hasnt had sex with her, and that he did hold her hand and gave her a “peck” on the lips once, when they were on their way to a event our families are involved in. After finding this out, I confront the “friend” and she of course denied everything, called my husband a liar, said that I needed to work on my family life and leave her out of it ect. she continued to insult me, and my intelligence, I have the last 3 months worth of detailed phone bills, and there were hundreds of text messages between the 2. I told him that I was NOT going to allow him to take the cowardly way out- that if he wanted to leave, he would leave on his own. But that if he stayed, he was no longer to have anything to do with the mutual activity we have with her. ect. He said he wants to stay and work things out. And I do love him, and our whole marriage, has been good. Never any fighting, verbal abuse, mental abuse or physical, he’s never even yelled at me. until last year- when I contacted the “friend”. I try to keep looking forward. I do, but when I least expect it, his words- his lies, flood my thoughts, I have to think of crazy off the subject things when we have sex, because it makes me want to cry thinking about the things he said to them, and the fact that the time stamps on the text messages, were usually within hours of him and I being intimate. I feel used. I feel like a peice of trash, that he just sees through. I feel like he sees me as a household object. He cant text me to say “hows your day” because he is too busy at work, but for HOURS he would go back and forth with these women. I know that I have “value” as a human. I know this, but I have lost that part of me that was hopeful and saw that silver lining in all bad things. I can’t talk to him about what I feel, because he gets mad. I am supposed to just stop thinking about it and let it go, but I can’t even though I try so hard. I am tired, and this has destroyed me. He doesnt say I love you, and hasnt for many months, I got nothing for my birthday, christmas, valentines day, our anniversary or mothers day. He says he wants to work on our marriage, but I feel like I am the only one that has “worked” on anything, and I think that my reserves have been tapped out, and now the love that I do have for him, is diminishing little by little everyday. I asked 2 things of him, last year when he was “deciding” #1-treat me with the respect you would treat a stranger. and #2-Do not make me hate you, to justify you leaving or force me to leave you. I dont know what to do. financially, I cannot do anything alone, nor can he. But I dont know what to do, I have talked to a therapist, and after my hour of talking, she said she didnt even know where to start. – That wasnt very hopeful. I have no urge to find anyone else, infact its just the opposite. I cant even look men in the face, if a random man gives me a compliment, I get nervous and blush and literally walk as fast as I can away. I am so screwed up, I feel that I would make even Dr.Phil retire. Im almost afraid to ask what anyone else’s thoughts are…

  11. Hi Tasha,
    I am sorry you are in pain. I too am still in shock over this, but I know both you and I will be okay. God will show us his plans for us when he feels we a ready.

    I like you I kinda feel relieved as well. The more I look back at our relationship there was so many things I didn’t approve of, and that I was having my doubts too, but not once did I ever think of finding someone else.
    You and I have the same feelings. about letting them go way before now, but that was just a thought for me and now its a reality.

    So,Tasha I am here for you if you ever need to just chat about whatever. Maybe we can both help each other during this horrible times in our lives.

    God Bless you

  12. Hi Gail,

    God does have a better plan for you (Jer 29:11) God loves you. My husband just left me today. I am in denial still.

    Maybe you have been blessed with mercy from God and forgivenes towards your husband.

    I am actually relieved. I think I have been working on this separation for more than 2 years. The lying, drug addiction, porn, grabbing a womans butt and spanking her at a NA party, saying he is going to sleep with a woman and tell me so I stop loving him after breaking up with me because he got high….

    The constant worry of what will he do next.

    I feel relieved… I will feel pain, but I think that I have been working on letting him go a long time before today.

  13. Thank you for the tips. I have noticed I have yet to be angry at him. I have contacted attorneys found one I like, now is just coming up with that extra cash.
    Is there something wrong with me that I didn’t get angry? I wrote him a letter telling him that I was happy for him that he met someone that makes him happy. I told him that becaue why be mean or cause trouble just because someone fell out of love with you. I realized that I have been without him for 1 1/2 because he was there and I was in the US. The only thing that really hurts it that he played with my heart while in love with someone else . I don’t understand why he haad to lie if he was making the right choise.
    I have my days when I start crying out of the blue, but that last for a brief moment. I have decided he didn’t deserve my love. I have decided I am ready to move on, but I won’t date yet because I am not ready and becasue I am still married even though he has another. I feel that I am okay with this. Is this normal for me to start talking like this, it only been not quit 3 weeks. I think I am upset is becasue I dont know how I am going to survive financially. I lost my job three days after I lost my husband. He claims he is going to be sending me money to take care of all the bills untill I get back on my feet. But, why should I believe him, apprently all he does is lie. He didn’t love me till death do uspart or for better or for worse.. So, I know I will be loosing my home within 30 days. I am looking for work but nothing yet. Well any how, I am feeling better but it does still hurt and I am a surviver. God has a better plan for me I hope.