BACKGROUND. I previously described Cheater’s Redemption with two lengthy articles (1784-1785). I shall revisit the subject from a different, dramatic, and dynamic perspective.
OPINION. The prominence of men cheating has caused the lack of feminine dignity, or is it the other way around? No matter. Feminine dignity helps women shape masculine thinking, which triggers different male actions, which reshapes manly emotions and habits, which can lead to greater faithfulness among men. Yes, I just said that feminine dignity can recover masculine faithfulness. It’s neither easy nor guaranteed, but a cheated-on wife’s best chance of recovery lies within the concept.
If she promotes her dignity, she promotes self-recovery at the least and husband-recovery at the most. Success comes from proactively portraying these qualities as if already possessed and deserved:
- a proper sense of pride and self-respect
- seriousness, respectfulness, or formality in somebody’s behavior and bearing
- the condition of being worthy of respect, esteem, or honor
- the respect or honor that a high rank or position should be shown
- a high rank, position, or honor.
[Source: Encarta Dictionary: English (North America)]
NATURE. Women freeze from fear of being abandoned. A wife has no truly firm ideas about how to treat a cheating husband, except perhaps to dump him. Her experience is thin and the subject too loaded with unknowns to encourage planning ahead. It’s all very natural except about no plan. Consequently, I propose that women commit themselves to certain guiding principles that can lead to successful recovery should their husband ever cheat. IOW, if you fail to plan then you plan to fail.
I’ve put the guiding principles in a plan designed around the concept of breathing dignity into the insulted wife and her behavior. It’s an ABCD plan. Avoid the obvious. Beat him to the punch. Confuse him with the unexpected. Describe expectations for marital recovery. I hope you see them all portrayed not as steps but as guidance in all that follows.
I believe women have more talent and skills than they use when confronted with unexpected betrayal. More options exist to protect them and more hope arises when they put themselves in charge to the exclusion of outsiders. Different actions change a wife’s emotions, and new emotions can induce change in her husband—providing he’s both worth it and receptive to revival of their marital interest.
When women lead, men follow; when husband brings misery to wife, recovery depends on her. By demoting him to not be responsible for her recovery, wife elevates herself to the position of top dog in the battles that ensue. Nothing she does depends on him, which drives her to think more rationally, objectively, and logically instead of full-bore emotionally.
Let’s say that I’m a just-betrayed wife. What, how, and why would I proceed? My husband shows anger at being caught and has declared it’s too late to recover the marriage. He may still be a keeper, so I reject his conclusion. We’ll wait to see what happens, because I start from this point: I may not have lost his emotional faithfulness, but he has to win me back. Can he? Will he? Will I buy into his promises?
Contrary to what many readers might do, my intention is not to throw him out. Neither do I seek to keep him. If I prematurely make either decision, I will make mistakes later in the recovery process. Instead, I will primarily protect myself emotionally, the kids secondarily, and let chips fall where they may. Only I know what’s best for me. When he cheated, he became an outsider and relinquished all direct influence over my decisions.
If he returns to me, he will choose it. I will neither beg nor act as if I care. He may remake himself worthy of me, or he may keep going somewhere else. He made the bed, and he can lie in it without me—both figuratively and literally as you will see.
Why such a disconnected and even harsh approach? If husband has either committed to another woman or is just adventuring outside our home, I have virtually no chance of convincing him otherwise. The harder I try the more defensive he will get until he’s convinced that he’s right, which takes decision options out of my hands. He already has high confidence from our married years that he knows how to deal successfully with me. He chose to cheat, however, so I shall dissuade him of that conviction.
I have three paths to tread soon: (1) Get over my mad, get control of my emotions, organize my intentions, and assume a dignified role that he’s not accustomed to seeing. (2) Assuage the kids’ anxieties and recruit their cooperative but faux-disinterest. (3) Deal with husband as an outsider seeking to have his cake and eat it too.
Tomorrow, I get over my ‘mad’.