By: Katie Lersch: Most of the wives that I hear from are asking about various ways to confront their husband about his infidelity and then begin to heal from it so that they can save their marriage. Occasionally though, I hear from a wife who wants to know if it’s wise to just ignore the infidelity in the hopes that it will eventually go away.
I heard from a wife who said: “I know that my husband is cheating on me. I even know who the other woman is. I also know that he could never become serious about someone like her. My husband lost his job and then lost his father over the span of only two months. So I know that he is really struggling right now and I suspect that his infidelity is the direct result of this. The other day, I discussed this with my husband’s sister and she said that I should just ignore the cheating because she is sure that my husband will stop it in his own time. She says that she knows that my husband loves me and will stop cheating as soon as he gets over losing his job and his dad. I don’t know how I feel about this. I remember when my daughter was a toddler, my pediatrician told me to ignore the bad behavior (like tantrums) that I didn’t want and to praise the good behavior that I did want. This worked well with my daughter but I don’t know if that advice is applicable here. Is it ever a good idea to ignore your husband’s infidelity?” I will tell you my take on this in the following article.
It Is Your Decision As To Whether Or Not To Ignore The Infidelity, But If You Do, You Forgo Your Ability To Ask Him To Help You Heal: I couldn’t make this decision for this wife. Only she could determine the best choice for her. However, it is my opinion that when you don’t confront your husband and put the topic of the infidelity on the table, then you are denying yourself the opportunity to fully heal. Because you can not heal if you can’t even say what is happening out loud.
In order to rebuild the trust and the intimacy, you are going to need to be open and honest with one another. You are going to need to not only talk about the issues, but to feel free to speak your truth. However, if you just ignore his actions, you do not give yourself this opportunity. It’s almost as if you are selling yourself short at the expense of allowing him to do as he pleases without being called on his actions.
I’m not saying that the husband was not having his struggles because it was very clear that he was. But his struggles do not excuse his behavior, at least in my opinion. The wife may or may not agree with me, but ignoring his behavior is, at least in a sense, somewhat similar to condoning it in that you are not demanding that it end. As a wife who has been cheated on, I can honestly say that I don’t think that I could continue going about my daily life knowing that my husband might be with some other woman and then keeping silent about it. If this was the case, I would have to ask myself if I was still invested in my marriage.
It was possible that this wife wasn’t sure about confronting him because she wasn’t sure if she was still invested in her marriage. This is certainly valid and something that she would likely need to think about. However, if she had any interest in saving her marriage and rebuilding the trust, it’s my opinion that she’d need to have the courage to confront him and to stop ignoring the infidelity. It must be difficult and exhausting to be fully aware that your husband is committing infidelity. And I’m not sure how you’re not filled with resentment and anger that needs to be released in some way.
So to answer the question posed, I personally don’t believe it’s ever to your benefit to ignore infidelity. Sure, it may mean you don’t have to deal with it at the time, but I also believe that it will likely present itself in other problematic ways that might hurt you as much as addressing it would have. One suggested way to bring up the infidelity without being confrontational is something like: “we need to talk. I didn’t go looking for what I found, but I now know some things that must be addressed immediately. I will tell you what I know and you can tell me where or how I’m wrong, but it’s pretty clear to me that you’re not being faithful and that’s not acceptable. We need to sit down and talk and determine what is reality and what is possible for the future. But I can’t ignore this any longer.”
I know that this is a difficult discussion, but I believe that it is one that is necessary. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away, nor does it make the pain any less real. I had no problem confronting my husband’s infidelity. But healing from it was another story entirely. It was a long and difficult journey, but once I learned that I had to look at it as growth rather than pain, I began to make the long descent back toward regaining my life and my marriage. If it helps, you can read my story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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