Guest blog by Ruth Houston
Author of Is He Cheating on You? 829 Telltale Signs
Most wives with cheating husbands suffer in silence or tolerate their husband's infidelity. They feel they have no other alternatives, or don't know what else to do.
You don't have to sit back and be a helpless victim or be swept along with tide. There are things you can do to make the best of a bad situation and minimize the damage infidelity can cause.
You can take steps to protect yourself emotionally, sexually, legally and financially. You can work quietly behind the scenes to offset many of the negative consequences that result from infidelity and prepare yourself for what lies ahead.
Take control of the situation. Regardless of whether you ultimately decide to stay with your husband or leave him, the guidelines below will help you gain the upper hand.
Make sure infidelity is the problem you're dealing with. Problems like drug or alcohol addiction or gambling often masquerade as infidelity because of similar telltale signs. Don't speculate, investigate.
Ignoring your husband's infidelity will not make it go away. It will only make things worse. He could become so attached to his mistress that it will be impossible to get your marriage back on track.
Speak up and take a stand.
If you know he's cheating and say nothing about it, you're enabling his infidelity. Make it clear that you disapprove of what's going on and tell him you want it to stop. Not addressing his infidelity makes him think he has your silent approval or that you don't know what's going on.
Let him know you know.
Affairs thrive in secrecy. If you've identified numerous telltale signs and have solid proof of your husband's infidelity, decide when and how to tell him you know about his affair. Sometimes just knowing his infidelity has been exposed will be enough to make him stop.
Build a support team.
You need someone to confide in about your husband's infidelity. Don't try to get through this alone. Surround yourself with people who care about you and have your best interests at heart.
Realistically evaluate your situation.
Consider your options. Is your marriage worth saving? Should you get a temporary separation? File for divorce? What is it in your (and your children's) best interest to do?
Seek counseling for yourself and for your marriage.
You have a better chance of saving your marriage if you get professional help. You'll be better equipped to deal with the trauma of infidelity if you seek individual counseling, as well.
Identify the underlying issues.
Try to pinpoint the contributing factors to his infidelity - A life crisis? Major character flaws? Sexual addiction? Dissatisfaction with you or with the marriage? Or something else? Get to the root of the problem, if you can.
Protect yourself sexually.
Your husband's infidelity can have life-threatening consequences for you. If he's cheating, your health is at risk. You're already a victim of infidelity. Don't become a victim of HIV/AIDS too.
Find out your legal rights.
Consult an attorney who specializes in matrimonial law. Get a clear understanding of what you're legally entitled to (alimony, child support, division of marital assets) in the event of a divorce or separation.
Put your financial house in order.
Get a realistic view of your current financial situation and make the necessary adjustments. Establish credit in your own name. Set up a separate checking or savings account. Start putting money aside for a rainy day.
Make sure you're equipped to earn a living.
Many women remain in adulterous relationships because they're financially dependant on their husbands. If you need to, take college courses or start learning a trade to make yourself employable.
Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally.
Accept the possibility that your marriage may end. Don't be caught off guard. Have an "Infidelity Game Plan" in place in case your husband decides to move out or ask for a divorce. Begin formulating your strategy now.
Break free of the bonds of infidelity.
Focus your energy and efforts on the positive things you can do to make the best of a bad situation. Empower yourself by acting on these suggestions and you'll gain the upper hand.
© 2005 Ruth Houston