Based on the many request for advise on how to deal with a cheating spouse. Here are some of the stages and how to deal with each of them
1. ‘When you suspect’ stage – if its just a suspicion, please let it go. Sometimes our instincts are right but there is really not much you can do. If you raise dust without good evidence you will only push them to beef their security which will take a longer time to reveal. If they are guilty, don’t worry they will become relax and careless soon and you will have what you need. If they are not guilty you would have only broken trust which is difficult to put back
2. ‘When you have evidence’ stage – if it is a one off and they are remorseful. Let it go. Sit down and discuss what led to the cheating. Come to an agreement to make compromises and sacrifice. Forgiveness is always better and it will help you both start from scratch again. Marriage is not easy. But God will always lead you by the hand if both of you are WILLING
3. ‘When you know and they know you know and don’t give a damn’ stage – This is the highest form of disrespect and you have to do some soul searching to really address this issue. Ask yourself “what have i done to make my spouse disrespect me to this point?”. Please at this stage do not let sleeping dogs lie. There is a lot at stake – your mental health, your physical health and your emotional wellbeing. You need to know your worth, let your spouse know your worth and give an ULTIMATUM. Tell them you still want the marriage but you want to know if they still do and why they still do. Based on the response you will know your stance and what to do next. Ultimatum can range from ‘separating’ for a while to clear the head, informing an older person they have much respect for, exposing them, going for counselling etc. At this point if you are ready to save your marriage then you have to set boundaries, do what you have to do to save it and prepare for whatever the consequences are. If you continue to encourage sin then you are sinning together with your eyes wide open. Evangelise in your home before you evangelise outside.
Things not to do
– Do not keep bringing up their past especially if they have changed and you claim to have forgiven them. Let it go otherwise you will push them further away.
– Do not let sleeping dogs lie especially for an unrepentant cheat. Dont pretend that you can pretend nothing is happening (yes i said pretend twice). Your health is at stake. Talk about it. Not nag, not silent treatment. Talk. You are an equal partner in the marriage and you have a right to demand faithfulness.
– Do not revenge by cheating back unless you plan to end your marriage. Most men who cheat, cheat for physical satisfaction and can let go when they want and often have nothing to lose except having extra children which they can decide not to give a damn about or have STDs which they gladly want to pass around. Most women who cheat do so for emotional satisfaction and they can not fully get this unless they give themselves in return to these other men in their affairs – at the end of the day you have a lot to lose. Your integrity, your value to your children. Unfortunately the society does not smile at cheating women. So be wise.
No matter how perfect your spouse may seem to be, it’s a two way street. Ladies, if we hold out on giving our man the sexual satisfaction they need then we’re asking him to cheat (eventually). Men have very few needs (primarily freedom, respect, appreciation, food, sex) to be content, but they will even put up with a lack of most of those to a large degree if they’re getting sex gratefully. I’m not saying we can never say no, but I am saying we’d be best off to not use sex as a weapon or bargaining chip. Men, dont hold out on the emotional needs of your women. If she wants help around the house, negotiate and do what you can for peace sake. If she wants a compliment, do so for peace sake. Nobody was born romantic but like many things we learn these things if only to make the other person happy.
Finally, always pray for your spouse. Temptation abounds and anyone can fall into temptation. Study your spouse and ask God for wisdom on how to deal with it because what worked for A may not work for B. Please note that this is only my opinion and all my experience and those of others will never replace your own experience. That’s how life works.