My Husband Found Out I Cheated Years Ago – 22 Steps to Move On

You’re sitting in your living room, sipping your morning coffee and watching TV, when your world suddenly comes crashing down. Your husband, the man you respect and love, has found out about a terrible mistake you made years ago.

You cheated on him with a co-worker. It wasn’t a full-blown affair. It happened over a few weeks and then it was over.

That co-worker immediately confessed to his wife, while you chose to remain silent. But as fate would have it, nearly six years later, his wife decided to spill the beans to your husband.

Why did you do it? Your husband was nothing but loving and caring. So why stray?

The reasons lay buried deep within your dissatisfaction with your life, not with him. You were grappling with stress and feeling immense pressure at work.

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Failing to take responsibility for your mental health led you down this path of flirting, cheating, and then hiding it.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow now as you grapple with shame and heartbreak, fearing that your marriage might never be able to recover from this.

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What To Do If Your Husband (or Boyfriend) Found Out You Cheated Years Ago?

Each of the steps below might seem difficult or even impossible right now but remember that time heals most wounds. Stay strong and keep faith in yourself and in the healing process.

1. Accept Responsibility

This is where your healing journey begins. Yes, it will hurt and it will be hard, but it is your first step towards redemption.

Understand that no matter how much you might want to, you can’t change the past or shift the blame. You made a decision, a regrettable one, but a decision nonetheless.

It’s important to acknowledge this, not just to your husband but to yourself too. Try to understand why you made this choice and contemplate how you can avoid such actions in the future.

Remember, acceptance isn’t about absolution, but about owning up to your actions and learning from them.

2. Seek Forgiveness

Once you have accepted the fact that you made a mistake, the next step is to show your remorse and ask for forgiveness.

Make sure he understands that you are genuinely sorry for your actions and that you are willing to rectify your mistake, however possible.

While this might not lead to immediate forgiveness or reconciliation, it’s a crucial step in conveying your regret and sorrow.

3. Be Honest

This isn’t just about admitting to the act of infidelity, it’s a call for absolute transparency, a raw examination of your feelings, and an open-door policy about any lingering questions he might have.

To truly be honest, you need to be willing to put all your cards on the table; why it happened, how you feel now, even details that might seem trivial to you.

It’s pivotal that he sees that you’re not hiding anything anymore.

Remember, honesty in this context refers not just to the act of telling the truth about the past, but also being candid about your present emotions and future intents.

4. Show Remorse

Remorse isn’t a switch you can flip on at will – it’s an innate sadness that comes from within when you realize you’ve hurt those you care about.

The first step to showing remorse is to genuinely feel it. Have empathy for your husband’s situation and understand the gravity of your actions.

And then, show it in any way you can. From verbal apologies to small gestures that show him how sorry you are, ensure he knows you regret your actions.

Remember that remorse isn’t just about apologizing; it’s about feeling hurt for causing someone else pain.

5. Be Patient

Healing is a long journey and everyone takes their own time to travel through it.

Your husband might need time to process his feelings, react to the shocking revelation, and decide what he wants to do next.

Respect his pace and don’t rush him into making a decision about your relationship.

Yes, it’s hard waiting in uncertainty, and yes, it would be easy to push for answers but take a step back.

Allow him the space and time he needs.

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6. Seek Professional Help

If the weight of this situation feels too heavy or if communication between you two has become too strained, seeking professional help can be a wise choice.

A therapist might just be the neutral party you need to help navigate through this complex web of emotions.

They can provide guidance, help open lines of communication, and perhaps most importantly, they can provide strategies for managing pain and rebuilding trust.

7. Rebuild Trust

Trust, once broken, is one of the hardest things to rebuild. It requires time, patience, and consistency, but above all, it requires effort and commitment from your side.

Start by showing up when you say you will, by letting him in on your life again, and by keeping no secrets from him.

Remember each action counts and every promise kept is a step towards regaining trust.

8. Communicate

Communication is more than just talking about your day; it’s about expressing fears, insecurities, expectations, and hopes.

It’s about creating a safe and understanding environment where both of you can express your feelings without fear of judgment or retaliation. Open conversations can help heal wounds as well as give insight into your partner’s perspective.

So, talk and more importantly listen.

9. Take Care of Yourself

In the whirlwind of guilt, regret, and attempts at reconciliation, don’t forget yourself.

Your mental and physical health is crucial during this time. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep.

Reach out to friends or family for support when needed – remember you don’t have to face this alone.

10. Learn From The Experience

Use this painful experience as a lesson. Understand the repercussions of breaking trust and let this understanding guide your future actions. Transform the regret into a resolution for never repeating such a mistake.

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11. Show Willingness To Change

Saying you are willing to change is one thing, but actually proving it through actions is what makes the difference.

This involves making a deliberate and conscious effort daily to show your husband there has been a shift in your attitude and behavior, not just about your relationship but towards life as a whole.

Engage in meaningful activities or habits that portray a positive transformation. This might involve taking up a new hobby, engaging in soul-searching activities like meditation, or adopting a healthier lifestyle.

It’s about proving that you have taken your past actions into account and are eager to transform yourself for the better.

Remember, he will be watching you closely for signs of change, so don’t disappoint him.

12. Maintain Respect

Even with the tension and potential arguments that may arise, it’s crucial to remember that respect should never be compromised.

It might be tempting to let your emotions run high and respond harshly when he recounts the pain that your actions caused him, but this is where you need to exercise control.

Avoid raising your voice, using harsh words, or showing any disrespect towards his feelings. Instead, respond with kindness, understanding, and humility.

If you disagree with something he says or does, express it respectfully. Above all, remind him through your actions that despite everything, you still respect him.

13. Avoid Blame Game

When dealing with such a sensitive issue, it’s easy to get into a cycle of blaming each other for various problems in your relationship.

You may feel tempted to point out his shortcomings or mistakes as a defense mechanism.

However, remember that this will not help in fixing your relationship but would only escalate the situation further.

Practice self-control and choose your words carefully when you’re talking with him about the issue.

Remember, this is not an opportunity for you to highlight his flaws or mistakes but a time for you to take responsibility for yours.

14. Work On Improving Yourself

This is a perfect opportunity for self-exploration and improvement. Reflect on your actions and consider what led you to make such a decision.

Was it dissatisfaction? Restlessness? A lack of fulfillment?

Once you have pinpointed these issues, work on addressing them.

This could mean seeking professional help, taking up hobbies to fill any voids in your life, or simply making efforts to be a better person overall.

The key here is not merely to say you have changed but to genuinely become a better version of yourself.

15. Support Him Emotionally

As much as you are going through a tough period, he is too.

Your husband just found out about a significant breach of trust and is likely battling feelings of anger, betrayal, and heartbreak.

He will need someone to talk to about his feelings – someone who will listen without being judgemental or defensive.

Be there for him emotionally. Encourage him to express his feelings freely and assure him that you’re there to support him no matter what.

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16. Avoid a Defensive Attitude

When confronted with difficult questions or accusations from your husband, it’s natural to feel attacked and resort to defending yourself.

But doing so can further damage your relationship and hinder the healing process.

Instead, try to understand his perspective and respond empathetically.

Remember that he is just trying to make sense of a painful discovery.

17. Understand His Perspective

Understanding begins by acknowledging and respecting his feelings of hurt and betrayal.

This means putting yourself in his shoes and feeling his pain as if it were your own.

It means not brushing aside his feelings as overreactions but recognizing them as valid responses to a traumatic revelation.

By understanding his perspective, you’ll be able to approach the situation more empathetically.

18. Offer Assurance

Assurances at this stage need to be substantial – mere words won’t suffice. Show him through consistent behavior that such an incident won’t happen again.

This could mean cutting contact with the person you cheated with or making changes in your lifestyle that led to the unfortunate incident.

Keep reminding him gently but firmly that you’re committed to restoring your relationship and will do everything in your power to ensure such a mistake does not repeat.

19. Be Humble

Humility at this point is not only about acknowledging your mistake but also accepting the consequences of your actions.

Accepting your shortcomings can be tough but it’s crucial for rebuilding trust in your relationship.

Show him that you’re willing to put down your defenses, admit your mistake and work on rectifying it.

A humble attitude can go a long way in reassuring your partner of your remorse and commitment toward change.

20. Distance From the Person You Cheated With

As difficult as it might be, distancing yourself from the person with whom you had the affair is crucial for salvaging your relationship with your husband.

This might mean changing your job or at least changing teams within the same workplace if possible.

If such changes are not feasible, at least ensure that your interaction with that person is formal and strictly professional without any private meetings or personal discussions whatsoever.

21. Respect His Space

If he says he needs some space or time alone, respect his wishes without question or resentment.

Understand that everyone has their own way of dealing with pain and trauma, and he might need some solitary time to process his emotions and decide on the way forward.

22. Remind Him Of Love

Remind him of why you fell in love in the first place – remind him of those qualities that made him special and why they still matter.

Show him through actions that despite everything else your love for him hasn’t changed.

Read next: Am I Overthinking or Is He Losing Interest?

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