1784. Sex Difference Redux—Part 38: Cheater’s Redemption, Wife Prepares

Editor’s Note: Infidelity spotlights more differences between the sexes. To help see through the fog of marital war, I presume you the reader to be the victim of a cheating husband. I ask that you advise me of the ease, discomfort, or difficulty you imagine if you had to live through what follows in this series. You might stir some significant dialogue. Also, keep this thought foremost: A man won’t return permanently to the same woman on whom he cheated. On his own that is. She has to provide the incentives and rewards that keep him at home.

There are two parts. This article concerns you changing into the woman that invites his return. The next concerns how to treat him such that he wants to return to his ‘madeover’ wife.


SITUATION. Your husband cheats repeatedly while still living at home with you and children. You want to recover his devotion to you and restore family life. You have been talking for months trying to stir a dialogue, find out what went wrong, and otherwise talk him into seeing the value he adds to you and children. Talk avails you nothing.

NATURE. He cheats, she wants to talk. It’s a typical female reaction but not a good idea for recapturing a wayward mate.


Each time you speak accusingly or complainingly about husband or explain yourself to him, you directly or indirectly demean him. At the minimum, he hears blame and goes on defense. All attempts to inflict guilt on him fail; unlike women, men have an innate ability to avoid or resist guilt. Also, he appears more unlikeable to you, which weakens your respect of him, and you simultaneously and subconsciously absorb greater misery about your victimized self. In short, bring-him-back-to-you chatter digs you deeper and drives him further away. You as the relationship expert need new skills.

Pardon the harshness, but you should quit complaining, quit explaining, and especially quit trying to win him back. All that you do drives his heart further away. You should also quit seeking advice from others. Until you develop mental toughness and self-discipline skills to hold anxiety and misery inside and unexpressed, you’ll not be able to take the actions necessary to restore husband’s devotion to your home. It takes a tough woman to keep a man and a tougher one to recover a cheater. You should also swallow your pride until it returns with a victory for your family.

There’s nothing wrong with you as a person or a wife. However, your skills as relationship management problem-solver are contaminated with outside influences. The complaints you cite about him reflect more masculine- than feminine-think and more feminist- than female-attitude. It amounts to this: You need a mental makeover.

To be less masculine means to avoid competition with him—e.g., you have nothing to say; your mind is made up, and you refuse to discuss or hear his arguments. More feminine means you act more dignified, ladylike, self-composed in the face of adversity, silent when provoked, and outwardly show faux-if-necessary pride. To be less feminist means you show great respect for husband as a person and man. To be more female means you show great respect for the man you married without condemning the man he has become. Thus, you can do much better if you rely on your female nature more than the contaminating thoughts that flow out of masculinity and Feminism.

OBJECTIVE. Near-silence can be made golden and work this way. You can’t change him. You can only change yourself and hope that he responds favorably and renews his respect and interest in you. Thus, you need a recovery plan to re-earn his respect and restore his devotion to you and family.

Husband needs to see a metamorphosis. You transform yourself without talking about what’s happening inside the cocoon. You slowly wiggle out, take time to dry your wings, test them in flight, and appear as the gorgeous butterfly that he married.* The more pleasantly surprising and mysterious and less challenging to him, the more effective your game plan.


Shock and Awe. Let’s face it. You as a recovering wife seek to conquer husband once again, this time for a more permanent marriage. Being retired military, I call the strategy Shock and Awe. You throw every ounce of your strength at husband and send him rocking back on his heels unprepared for the aftershock. Without the shock effect, he won’t pay enough attention to you. Without the awe, he won’t appreciate your mystery and determination to single-handedly care for yourself and children.

Your apparent ability to proceed without his presence earns his respect and reminds him of what all he’s missing on the more pleasant and comfortable side of his life. When what he sees or imagines at home outweighs the thrill of adolescent-minded sexcapades, he will likely see a brighter future with you. (If not, either he can’t escape his immature adolescent-mindedness, or you chose him wrongly in the first place.)   

If you can shock and hold him in awe of a ‘new self’ that he’s not seen since courtship, he will likely redeem himself. Not perfect or guaranteed, but it beats continuing with wifely misery.

Success works on this principle: The more you can restore his respect for you as his wife and his lookalike bride, the more likely he will return. You can restore his respect by becoming a different woman than he expects—prettier, tougher, more independent, and saucier (but not directed at him), and more like the woman he married some time ago. You appear unworried, unstressed, dedicated to your own life, uninterested in him and his interests, willing to forget past offenses and move on with life without him, and reflective of mature and forgiving judgments about his adolescence and adolescent girlfriend. The main question is, how do you get there? The answer lies inside all that follows.


You need to do a mental makeover by yourself. What is it? Conversion of your anxieties into determined actions that serve your self-interest better than anything and anyone else.

Others can’t know the totality of your situation, so advice works against you. Only you can figure out what you can and will do, feel, think, and both determine and evaluate the price to escape your situation. Plus, only you by yourself—mentally isolated from others and perhaps taking heat from even family and friends—can complete a solid recovery that brings hubby home. Your mind and heart have to view you as totally in charge of your life. If you accept the advice of others and reflect that you’re not exclusively in charge, it contaminates your personality in front of husband.

Full recovery will come only through upgrading to become the Big Boss in your life. Are you willing to tackle it? I figure most readers are unsure at this point, so let me describe some principles that enable it, that add power to a relationship expert hell-bent on restoring her marriage.

  • The first action of every cheated-on wife should be to deny sex to him. Kick him out if you’re sure you don’t want him back. Change bedrooms if you can and want him back. Even though you may lose a ‘battle’ or two in order to prevent violence, keep making sex with you less appealing to him. The more easily he arouses you, the farther apart you take yourself. Stop providing sex as soon as possible.
  • Talk as little as practicable about relationship problems and especially never argue. Remain calm and even stoic. Act as if you have everything under control. Don’t apologize for anything and don’t admit to being wrong. This injection might help: “I have already forgiven you and her for what you have done to me. Now, I can get on with forgetting both of you.”
  • Any wife sunk in misery loses her attractiveness, both mentally and physically. The first step to taking better control of your life comes from upgrading your attractiveness. Upgrade physically first to please yourself and mentally second to enable doing all the right things. If you don’t do ‘pretty time’, study the following articles and begin to practice it for yourself and NOT FOR HIM. (1440, 1441, 1146, 1143, and 806.)
  • When you discovered his cheating, you got defensive and the bell rang for round 1 in the competition ring. Don’t answer the bell. Avoid all forms of competition with him, because he’s the expert that you are not. The best avoidance comes from expecting him to cooperate but don’t criticize when he doesn’t. Just you demonstrate a cooperative spirit without comment about his inadequacies. Let me phrase it this way: Smother his desire to defend himself competitively with your desire to not discuss, argue, or otherwise give him ideas to hit you with.
  • Adolescents easily tire of one another. If husband and lover are immature, your patience and unwillingness to be involved will expedite their falling out of favor with each other.
  • Recovery is everything, so wherever you are today isn’t important. Where you are tomorrow and the tomorrows that follow determine your future and recovery. So, you should quit looking back. Your miseries might be gaining on you.
  • You can’t change him. I say again, YOU CAN’T CHANGE HIM. You can only change yourself, and a mental makeover can do for misery and depression what gold can do for the wallet.
  • The spouse most fearful of losing the other will ultimately lose. In managing a relationship, fear brings defeat to the most fearful. So, the first step in a mental makeover convinces you that he’s expendable. If you lose him, you win because his lack of devotion would have taken him sooner or later. If you win him back, you win. (Your behavior with the conviction that he’s no longer essential to your life works to convince him that he needs you more than he needs anyone else.)
  • If you don’t keep a journal, start one and keep it hidden from everyone. Enter these three sentences and start each day by studying them in detail: “I can’t change him, I can only change myself.” “The one most fearful of losing the other will lose in the end.” (They cave at the insistence of a dominant nature, such as men possess naturally and women don’t.) “I can’t not do what I intend not to do.” Confused? Good. It’s a catch-line to remind you that you can’t not think of whatever you intend to not think about. Intentions to do things differently must be replaced by actually doing things differently such that what you seek to avoid doing gets smothered by new and different thoughts.

DO NOT journalize about hubby’s behavior or your misery. Every day post at least three things in your life for which you are grateful (no repeats either). Post only positives, nothing negative about anyone or anything. Every grateful item over three will help expedite the mental makeover.

So, you can put yourself in charge, a mental makeover is simple. Your most immediate need is courage to do things differently and forgiveness for all your mistakes. Stop letting your emotions control your behavior. Think, adjust, pray, and act differently. Take charge of everything in your life that you can control. When your determined mind leads the way, forgives your mistakes, and shapes your life to your best interest, then your heart will follow. And so will a cheating husband, when he sees his wife restored to her former and much-appreciated and highly respected self.


*I credit Her Highness Anne for the great cocoon/butterfly analogy.


Filed under sex differences

16 responses to “1784. Sex Difference Redux—Part 38: Cheater’s Redemption, Wife Prepares

  1. thetruth01

    What do you think about men who are faithful but, allow their wives to cheat?

    Your Highness Thetruth01,
    They have abandoned their masculine nature in favor of female values and expectations, probably conditioned by feminist mothers, teachers, and political correctioneers.

  2. Lin

    “Adolescents easily tire of one another. If husband and lover are immature, your patience and unwillingness to be involved will expedite their falling out of favor with each other”.

    Is it safe to conclude then that the old French wisdom of letting most affairs run their due course is really a wise one?

    Your Highness Lin,
    I don’t think it safe to say nor wise to let an affair run its course. I advocate doing many indirectly connected things that add domestic pressures and take away adventurous comfort. My blog articles are built around that concept. First, the wife takes charge of herself and her life. Second, she deals the cheater out of her mind and hopefully makes him see that he’s leaving her heart.

  3. Anne

    SIr Guy, why is it that a man won’t return permanently once he’s cheated?

    Your Highness Anne,
    i think you missed the main point. Not to the woman who remains the same as when he cheated on her.

  4. Tania

    On the importance choosing to think differently–a friend I respect often quotes,
    “Watch your thoughts; they become words.
    Watch your words; they become actions.
    Watch your actions; they become habits.
    Watch your habits; they become character.
    Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
    Be Blessed!”

    Your Highness Tania,
    Thanks. I love it when pretty women send me such truth with universal application. Unfortunately, grownups read and soon forget it. It should hang in every child’s bedroom. Unless you request otherwise, I will use it whenever needed to fulfill my destiny.

  5. Emma

    Great post again! Would you provide some examples of shock and awe?. In addition from someone who has used these strategy in the past – wife’s husbands will notice the shift a d will put pressure ESP for sex. In the past I gave in and went back to my usual routine so as you can imagine nothing changed. The mental make over is key and now I am re-doing this with a new found strength to do it all. I recently saw Hope Springs with Merryl Streep; in a conversation with a friends she asked “what if I wan to change my marriage? The friends said “you can’t change it unless you are willing to loose it all”. Not that this applies to everyone, but if you want change sometimes the risk is just that!

    Your Highness Emma,

    For examples of shock and awe, stay tuned for the series that starts today (#1786) about dignity.

    I don’t like the Hope Springs comment. It’s misleading. If Streep’s friend means that both spouses must change, then it’s pretty accurate. Streep should be prepared and likely will lose, because whatever she tries to fish out of husband will not produce the results expected.

    If she means for Streep to change herself exclusively, Streep can improve her marriage and needn’t prepare to lose. The series that starts today (#1786) describes the whats, hows, and whys of doing it.

    I prefer this to Streep’s misleading friend: Whoever fears losing the other the most may win battles will inevitably lose the war.


  6. Mandi

    Hi Guy,

    It”s Mandi. I have a question. I have been following all of the guidance and doing very well with where I am at as far as feeling like I am definitely becoming the woman he first married but he still won’t open up to me that much and communicate like we used too or goof around like we once shared so it doesn’t feel like he wants to see me changing or want to believe that he can trust me again or even try too, and it seems like he makes sure to only call me by my first name and then always hugs me and tried to kiss me the other night when he left but it was awkward and I turned away because he was leaving to go be with her so didn’t know how to react to that. HE always wants to hug me before he leaves and it makes me feel like a friend instead of his wife. How do I make sure to steer from the friend zone with him? And so he doesn’t think I”m okay and want our marriage back? Also what should be my response when he asks to use the car every night pretty much because he always ask and I usually say I don’t care, should I say something different to this? Thank you

    Your Highness Mandi,

    Patience, my dear. He won’t change in just a few days, if he changes at all.

    By the way, what do you mean by the following: “…he can trust me again….” What caused his mistrust?

    As to response about the car, use your own judgment. Do you want to go along or start something that could escalate? Either is okay to anyone other than you, so you need to play the cards that you’re dealt.


    • soloduckgrowingup

      Your Highness Mandi, I think you might benefit from devoting yourself more to actions that will, with time, alter your mindset from being (what appears to be) almost completely wrapped up in what he is thinking, feeling, doing (and subsequently trying to dissect meaning from that), to being more focussed on what pleases you. To lead yourself towards forgetfulness and self respect is, IMHO, the only viable option. It takes dedication to action, focus and management of habitually un-self respecting emotions. Every time you begin to focus on him you could attempt to refocus your mind towards other things. Making arrangments to get out more, with or without the kids, for example.

  7. Mandi

    He stopped trusting me when I turned to addiction of taking pills and that was a very bad time in our lives and for our marriage and children. I was in the addiction for a little over a year and was constantly lying, sneaking etc… and then he got me the help I needed and then I contacted the person that I used to associate and get the pills from a year after I was sober and hid it from him so he definitely has made it clear he does not trust me and definitely not with money either. So I did suggest to him when we get our income taxes that I would like him to hold onto the money even though I am the one that handles paying all the bills. So should I just let him know again what is due for the bills and how much and then he can give that too me as needed. I’m trying to rebuild the trust on my end with him. I’ve been trying really hard to place better thoughts of the future in my mind to stop focusing on the present I just don’t know should I think with him in our future? Patience is something I definitely have been struggling with. I have been trying to do some different things but nothing seems to grasp his attention long enough to matter and I don’t know how to be anyone but who the person I was before I turned to addiction, and I was always such a people pleaser and have really just tried to stay purely focused on my family and work and trying to learn to love myself again and act as if when he is around that everything is normal and happy, but as the evening goes on and the time comes when he is ready to leave I know that my body language and facial expressions show sadness, do you have any suggestions of what I could do to not let him see this side of me? And any suggestions of how to get him more interested in me since I am pretty much back to the woman he married in the beginning but it doesn’t seem to matter to him at this point. Thanks Guy

  8. Mandi

    Sorry, also how long do you think is a good time frame to start noticing any positive changes in our marriage? I guess I just fear the longer he is with her the more feelings he will have for her and less for me. As far as intimacy he no longer stays here because I stopped having sex with him but he is really good with the children some of the time but he always looks to see if I am noticing when he is playing with them so I”m not sure how to take that?

  9. Mandi

    He still stays here all day though until she gets off of work except for on the wknds he is gone all the time other than when he goes four wheeling with his friends on Saturdays and is here cleaning up after wards. I just want to know how long I should wait before I make a decision if it’s worth pursuing or just letting him go? And I turned to the addiction after losing my career job that made me so proud and after coming forward at work for being sexually assaulted and harrassed by a co worker but I in turn was fired for coming forward and horribly fired at that so my depression became extreme and I turned to drugs to numb the pain and destroyed the trust in our relationship and family so I have forgiven myself for these things that I have done wrong but he does not trust me which is understandable but is using this as his justification for cheating. So I do truly want to believe that we can have a much stronger healthier marriage for the future but I fear I am the only one that believes this as he shows me no sign or desire to stop.

    Your Highness Mandi,

    You continue to ask questions that can’t or shouldn’t be answered by me or anyone other than yourself. Your problems exceed my expertise for one thing. In the second place, I can’t see how husband responds or view the results of what I describe, so I can’t learn from mistakes and successes. But you can. You have direct access. Only by living with your decisions and learning from the results can you ever hope to find confidence in marriage or solace in dumping him.

    As I’ve pointed out before, I can’t advise but only provide principles and ideas out of which you can fabricate your actions. Nearby, Soloduckgrowingup quotes a passage from post 1786. It seems very appropriate for you. In fact, the entire article seems appropriate. Try it, you might find a confidence builder for yourself. In another post nearby, Soloduckgrowingup also offers a sound bit of clearly defined advice.

    I know it’s tough making decisions when your confidence has been shattered. But, unfortunately, only you can solve your dilemma. A marital counselor may help, and I suggest you find one at your church. If you’re not a church member, I suggest you find, join, attend regularly, and thereby bring God’s love into your life. Let husband see you taking yourself and the children out of his life; it may very well earn more of his respect.

    I’m simply not the one to contribute further; I only add to your dismay.


    • soloduckgrowingup

      From post 1786 (paragraph 10).
      “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.”

  10. Mandi

    Thanks Guy. I appreciate everything you do and have given with your articles. I do understand what you are saying. I am a member of a church but no counselor there I would feel comfortable with so I will definitely seek outside counsel for marriage. Thank you soloduckgrowingup. I appreciate your words of wisdom too. As I see he is not willing to commit back to home and family responsibilities but also not willing to give up outside activity so I pray strongly everyday that I can bring inner strength from within to turn to comfort just in myself and God that I can get through this and learn to respect myself again as I once did before my troubles began. I still wish to follow the articles but I clearly understand what Mr. Guy is saying that only I can determine what my time frame is and to know if he truly seeks to give our marriage a chance and see the changes I’m making to be the woman he vowed to at one time and if he doesn’t then I know my answer in the end. Thank you both.

    Your Highness Mandi,
    Congratulations on taking such a giant leap forward. You have all that it takes to recover, once you decide what recovery means to you. Best wishes and I hope you stay tuned with this blog.

  11. Mandi

    Thanks Guy 🙂

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