How to Confess Your Adultery to Your Wife
Extramarital affairs cause much emotional upheaval. To heal from an affair, the couple must talk it over. By making an appointment with your spouse to discuss it, talking responsibility, having a plan and understanding your wife’s feelings, you have a better chance of a more productive confession.
Make an Appointment
Don’t wait until you’re in the heat of the moment or involved in an argument about something else. Instead of screaming “Yeah, well I slept with your sister!” during an argument about finances, choose a quiet time of day and sit down together.
Let her know that you have something you need to tell her and present it as honestly and calmly as possible. If you fear you might forget something, make notes in outline form or write it down in a letter and allow her to read it while you sit in the room with her. Do not text it or leave it on a post-it. Making sure you are present and calm, at least when the conversation starts, will give you a better chance at being able to make the points you need to.
Affairs are more common in couples with a history of separation or violence, where there are fewer shared activities and where overall stability is lower, notes 2012 research published in the Journal of Sex Research.
Marital instability factors may include minimal support of the other, disdain for the other’s choices, or numerous unresolved conflicts. However, while these factors contribute to the disconnect between couples, they do not actually cause the affair. Taking responsibility for your actions is critical.
Acknowledging that you had an affair because you were feeling lonely, for instance, will go over better than telling her you did it because she is never in the mood. Open acknowledgement of problems within your relationship will also give you a place to start moving forward if you desire reconciliation.
Have a Plan
Your wife will have questions about why you had the affair and what you plan to do moving forward, so it is critical to consider your responses beforehand. If you’re planning on ending the affair, or have ended it, make sure she knows.
If you are conflicted because it is someone your wife knows, consider how you will make it easier to avoid that woman, say by switching the children’s baseball teams if the woman is another baseball parent. If you intend to get into therapy to work through your problems, let her know that, too.
Therapy that includes integrated approaches — in which you look at family, personal and relationship issues simultaneously — decreases marital distress and increases forgiveness of affairs, notes 2004 research published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. Offering to attend therapy with your wife during your confession will also show her that you are ready to recommit to the relationship.
Understand her Feelings
Being cheated on is an emotional roller coaster, suggests research published in 2002 in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. In this study, researchers found that after the initial upheaval, couples entered an emotional holding pattern in which they considered the situation, and finally a phase of reconciliation.
Anxiety, depression, anger and even aggression are all common as your wife tries to cope with your infidelity. During the confession, you might use statements such as, “I understand that you’re angry, and that you probably will be for a long time. I’ll be here when you want to talk about it.” By understanding her responses, both during the confession and afterward, you will be able to move forward more efficiently.
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