Why Men Must Heal After Cheating | Healing for Cheating Men
As a relationship and marriage coach who specializes in men’s issues, I cannot tell you how many times a male client has walked into my office and shared a personal story of infidelity with me. Yes, cheating on someone you love is a selfish behavior, but it is sometimes more complicated than it appears, and it requires a thorough examination of yourself.
This article is about how to forgive yourself for being a cheater or committing infidelity. My hope in passing along this experience as a relationship and marriage coach, is to provide you with a foundation to begin the path of healing.
Now, before I go any further let me explain something clearly – this article is NOT intended to be a “get out of jail free card” or a permission slip for infidelity. Instead, my intention is to assist men in moving through the process of healing so that when you work on your relationship or marriage problems, you can have a clear head.
If you are a cheating spouse or boyfriend, this article will help you forgive yourself and guide you on how to heal your relationships or marriages.
- Do you need to forgive yourself for cheating on your partner?
- Do you regret having cheated on your partner?
- Have you ever had an extramarital affair at work?
If you said yes, you have come to the right place – keep reading! Now, before I go any further let me explain something clearly – this article is NOT intended to be a “get out of jail free card” or a permission slip for infidelity. Instead, my intention is to assist men in moving through the process of healing so that when you work on your relationship or marriage problems, you can have a clear head.
As men we are taught from an early age to feel guilty for both the good and the bad that happens in our lives. We also learn to blame others and that life is meant to be difficult. Most of the pain we feel in our daily lives is caused by our own thoughts and beliefs about our circumstances. We then project our pain into the world as external experiences, which we frequently try to “fix” by making changes or putting up barriers.
Just because a man cheats on someone, he loves does not preclude him from forgiving himself and healing. It is critical that you stop hurting yourself with negative self-talk because you have committed the ultimate betrayal and cheated. To heal, we must use the power of self-forgiveness.
Negative self-talk about cheating on your partner will make you believe that you are not good enough to have and enjoy the life you desire, and that everyone will see you as the man who cheated on his wife or girlfriend. As a result, you will never be able to realize your full potential.
Life is not always fair, but if we believe this story, we will eventually lose hope. It is best to view life as a process in which good and sometimes unfortunate things occur. Cheating on your partner is one of those bad decisions that should not define you as a man.
Recognizing that you made a mistake in judgment is the first step toward forgiving yourself. It entails using the cheating as an opportunity to gain experience from it. It entails making a conscious decision not to repeat the same error. To proceed, you must ask yourself, “What are you going to do about the infidelity?” Cheating has provided you with an excellent opportunity to evaluate your relationship and determine whether you are ready for the commitment that a real relationship needs.
Forgiveness after infidelity is a score you must settle within yourself first. It is admitting you made a mistake in judgment. To forgive yourself, you must accept that you cannot go back in time. Why, though, would you want to? The cheating is speaking to you, and you must pay attention. Something compelled you to cheat. The question then becomes, will you cheat again? Because if you are, you may be a serial cheater, which means you are better off without being in a committed relationship for now.
Everything falls into place when you prioritize your own healing. When we have a different perspective on life, our surroundings begin to reflect our thoughts. Granted, it will take some time, but what is the rush? I frequently hear people discuss healing, to the point where it is now filled on social media with positive messages.
Accepting Responsibility for Your Cheating
What really does make a man cheat on his partner? It is sometimes a random thing where the guy succumbed to poor impulse control. At times, the situation was more subtle and part of a larger emotional saga at work. Finally, there are men who are serial cheaters; men who cheat compulsively due to deep psychological issues.
Despite which scenario relates to your circumstances or the specific reasons, studies show that 20% of husbands cheat on their wives. This article, however, isn’t about the “why” of cheating. This is about how to emotionally heal yourself and your marriage or relationship.
Cheating is frequently used as an outlet for frustration and unresolved issues in a relationship. The most common reasons for infidelity in a relationship are lack of self-control, selfishness, anger, boredom, and attention-seeking. Notice how your motives can range from how you perceive yourself to how you perceive your relationship. My point is that when it comes to labeling infidelity, there is hardly ever just one factor at work.
You cannot give what you do not have. This means being truthful with yourself about the act (or acts) of infidelity that occurred. This does not necessarily mean that you should beat yourself up and tell yourself that you are the worst SOB on the planet. You are not. However, it does not mean that you should not cover up everything that happened to minimize the truth.
Suggestions for taking responsibility for your cheating
- Being brutally honest with yourself about your actions is essential.
- Don’t blame others for your shit!!
- Avoid focusing on why you cheated and instead simply admit to yourself that it happened (more on this point later).
Stop Calling Yourself Names
If you are beating yourself up for cheating, you need to stop doing this right now. Here is why – the more you engage in negative self-talk, the less likely you are to forgive yourself.
When you think about it, doesn’t this make sense? How can you exercise self-forgiveness if you keep telling yourself that you aren’t worthy of it?
How to stop playing the negative tape
- Consider talking to a trusted pastor about your feelings. Not only will this help you heal, but it can also give your spiritual guidance.
- Realize that other people have cheated, including folks who report being in happy relationships.
- When you catch yourself engaging in negative self-talk, take a deep breath and ask yourself, “What would it be like if I forgave myself?”
Avoid All the Details
There will come a time after your infidelity that your partner may want to know about the specifics of what happened. Avoid sharing sensitive, graphic details that can stick in the injured partner’s mind. It is normal for the injured partner to want to know the details and the extent of the betrayal.
However, going too far into the specifics can cause the injured partner to experience post-traumatic stress symptoms later.
Suggestions for Discussing Infidelity
- Recognize that you are human, not Superman, and that we are all susceptible to infidelity at some point in our lives.
- Stick to the specifics of what happened in point one.
- You do not have to get into specifics. Instead, consider the big picture.
Listen Understand Validate | L.U.V.
It is difficult to tell your spouse that you have been cheating on them. But if you’re going to forgive yourself, you’ve got to start somewhere.
When the time comes, it is critical that you “listen with intent to hear” rather than respond.
Allow your partner to express what is going on in their mind. They may say, for example, ‘I cannot believe you did that, how could you do that to us!’ When you hear this, it’s easy to become frustrated with yourself, but the goal isn’t to focus on what’s going on in your head.
Instead, the emphasis should be on allowing your partner to express their hurt.
Suggestions for listing to hear – not respond
- Use “I” statements to help you feel more in control of your actions (but avoid putting yourself down).
- Use the L.U.V. technique, which entails occasionally paraphrasing what your partner is saying.
- Validate your spouse’s feelings and do not downplay anything. Otherwise, you will aggravate the situation by blaming others.
- You cannot expect forgiveness unless you forgive yourself first
Concentrate on Self-Compassion
Self-compassion is one of the most beneficial things you can do after cheating. While the term may appear “touchy-feely,” it is not what you might think.
Self-compassion is the ability to look inward and outward and recognize that others have had similar experiences. You are not the only man who has cheated on their wife.
You can promote healing by making healthier choices in the future by developing a more balanced thought process about your actions.
Suggestions for practicing self-compassion
- Suggestions for Self-Compassion Practice
- Do not mix up self-compassion and self-pity.
- Investigate situations in which others have cheated and used the experience to grow stronger.
- Be open to receiving spiritual guidance as a means of gaining personal insight.
Avoid Self-Punishing Yourself
You must refrain from self-punishment. One thing I have noticed a lot of men do is punish themselves right after cheating. In fact, I once had a client who was so embarrassed about cheating on his wife that he contemplated suicide. He, thankfully, did not.
My point in expressing this, however, is simply to say that guilt and shame over infidelity can drive some men to extreme measures. Abstaining from sex completely or avoiding masturbation are other examples.
If any of this applies to you, please stop this immediately! You are not only causing yourself great harm, but you are also contributing to the problem.
Do you really want to carry all that bottled-up energy?
- Consider the negative consequences of continuing to engage in this behavior.
- Suggestions for preventing self-punishment
- Allow yourself to enjoy the things in life that have brought you joy in the past.
- Consider talking to a relationship or marriage coach to express your emotions.
- Affirmations that pull you out of the past and allow you to live in the present should be repeated to yourself.
Invest in Your Self-Care
Self-care is an active, tangible, and meaningful way to forgive yourself for infidelity. Learning to be sensitive to our own needs will help you to be sensitive to those who rely on us. One of the main reasons a man cheats is a desire to be validated, either physically or emotionally. Self-care not only heals your wounds, but it also nurtures parts of yourself that may feel abandoned. It also increases your availability to your spouse.
- Create a schedule that includes regular exercise or physical activity.
- Spend time outside to lift your spirits.
- Self-care is essential.
Focus on the “What” Questions
Focus on what questions rather than why questions. You cannot truly forgive yourself unless you’re willing to learn from your mistakes. As a relationship and marriage coach, I do not believe in focusing on the “why” questions.
This is because the “why” of infidelity is not as important as the “what.”
Examples: What was I thinking when I cheated? What other options do I have for meeting my needs in the future? What was the role of alcohol in impairing my judgment?
Fellas, the “What” questions are your friend? They can assist you in seeing things as they are and in avoiding abstract thinking.
Suggestions for what questions
- Ask yourself, “What have I learned about myself as a result of cheating?”
- Examine yourself and ask yourself, “What have I learned about my marriage?”
- Recognize what I can control in the future to avoid being tempted to cheat.
Get Rid of Your Learned Helplessness
Because this is a post for men, I am perfectly fine with being direct and saying: Get rid of your learned helplessness! What exactly do I mean by this? Let me explain.
You see when you use a past mistake as an excuse to avoid making changes, you have what I call learned helplessness.
A great example is believing the myth, “I’ve already cheated, so that means I’ll always cheat,” or “What’s the point in trying to save my marriage?”
Trust me when I say that this type of narcissistic thinking is one of the top ten ways men destroy their self-esteem. If you want to forgive yourself, you must first free yourself from the prison of your thoughts. Otherwise, you will become knee – deep in a gridlock of sadness, trapped in a never-ending spiral of personal dissatisfaction.
My suggestions for dealing with learned helplessness
- “My mistakes do not define me,” repeat this to yourself.
- Look in the mirror and tell yourself, “I am a good person who is not the man I was yesterday.”
- In silence, meditate and repeat the affirmation, “I forgive myself for my mistakes.”
Forgiveness Without Expectations
“Should I tell my partner I cheated?” is a question I am frequently asked during relationship coaching.
Speaking only for myself and as a relationship and marriage coach, it is critical to be open and honest about infidelity. Here is what I know: the truth will eventually come out. And let me tell you, when “it” hits the fan, it always happens unexpectedly and in an ugly way. Given that the purpose of this post is to help you forgive yourself for cheating, all I can suggest is that you confess and ask for forgiveness.
However, be aware that there is a strong possibility that your spouse will not forgive you – at least not right away. The important thing to remember is that you are asking for forgiveness to heal both of you.
“When you share this information, make certain that you accept full responsibility for your actions.”
Taking responsibility is the most crucial step. This reduces the need to be forgiven and replaces it with your own ability to forgive yourself. It would be ideal if your spouse immediately apologized. But, let’s face it, admitting to cheating makes you about as popular as a porcupine in a balloon factory. Expect to be in the doghouse for a long time. You might hear something else and wish for something different, but I am just telling you the truth. You came here looking for the real deal, didn’t you?
In the end, however, asking for forgiveness is a necessary part of the healing process. It is critical not only for the survival of your marriage, but also for your mental health. And if you are thinking about drinking your guilt away, reconsider. That is not the solution!
My recommendations when asking for forgiveness
- If you say you are sorry, make sure you mean it. Do not use words that you believe your partner wants to hear. Instead, express your remorse from the bottom of your heart.
- Be receptive to marriage coaching. Do not try to fool yourself into believing that “I can manage my relationship problems on my own.” That is nonsense. Your partner may require more insight than you can provide. Your presence in that coaching office is critical to moving on from what occurred.
- Remember that forgiveness is a process that does not happen overnight. What you do, rather than what you say, is the best way to gain forgiveness.
Putting It All Together
Ok look, I understand that you are going through one of the most difficult times in your life right now. You have deeply hurt someone you care deeply about, and you’re afraid of losing everything you cherish. You should know that I understand. The fact that you have come here looking for answers reveals a lot about you as a man. To be honest, I wish more men did things like this because it would boost their self-esteem.
You may believe that your marriage or relationship has no hope, or that the pain is too great to repair the relationship and love you once shared. The truth is that your relationship has the potential to be better and stronger than it was previously. Therefore, men must heal after they have cheated. You must first work on yourself for your relationship to grow as a result of infidelity.
Hopefully, the suggestions and insights I have provided here will assist you in moving forward with the process of forgiving yourself and healing your marriage or relationship.
Relationship & Marriage Coaching
You go to your doctor if you are in pain, you go to your accountant if you are having tax problems, and you go to a mechanic if your car is broken. You can now contact a Relationship Coach for assistance with your relationship and marriage needs.
If you require assistance or want to strengthen your bond, Couples coaching is the answer. It’s a safe environment where you can address issues and improve areas of your relationship that need attention with the help of a neutral relationship coach.