That will depend on your ability to COMPLETELY ignore it. Can you know what your wife is doing and still behave towards her like you did when you first met. Can you look at her adoringly, compassionately and encouragingly or are you looking at her with eyes of betrayal and resentment.
If you really can do the first, and not even think about what she is doing, then I’d say, yes, it is ok to ignore it. But since you are writing the question, I’m guessing it is on your mind, and that it is bothering you to some degree – it which case, ignoring it is like knowing the fuse on a time bomb has been lit, but hoping that it won’t go off.
Your wife is cheating because she doesn’t feel loved. It’s the same reason that everybody cheats. But her sense of not feeling loved started long before she ever met you – it started in her childhood.
Humans need unconditional love – nothing less will do – it has to be the right kind of love and it needs to be unconditional. Most of us are confused as to what that looks like, what it feels like and how to give it and receive it.
So, you may or may not know what it looks like or feels like or how to give it. In my experience very few of us really do. There are no courses on it in school – most of us get our ideas of what love is from our parents and I have discovered that most parents don’t actually know what unconditional love is because their parents didn’t either. So, this has been going on for generations.
Now, even if you did know what it was and how to give it, it wouldn’t automatically mean that your wife knew how to receive it. She may have received so little of it, that she doesn’t feel deserving of being loved and so any unconditional love you might be able to give her, she will reject as if she never received it in the first place.
If you feel any resentment or irritation or annoyance towards her for what she is doing, then you are not actually loving her unconditionally. I know people would say that you’d have to be a saint not to be upset if your wife was cheating on you – and yes, you’re right – but unconditional love is kind of saintly love – it’s actually quite hard to give it when we haven’t received enough of it for ourselves.
So, ignoring your wife’s choices would not be about the kids in the first instance – it would be about not stepping in and helping her. It would be like watching her cut herself with a knife and not trying to help her to stop. She is in emotional pain from her childhood and is seeking comfort in the wrong places – primarily the wrong places for her, but then the wrong places for your viable relationship and only then the wrong place for the kids. Her first, your relationship next.
She is going to need some help – but the kind of help she needs is going to be understanding of why she is doing what she’s doing and not so that she feels judged or criticised – that will only make her feel more unloved and cared for and serve only to drive her towards sources that can provide her immediately comfort – that’s the illusion having an affair usually creates.
You can help by being brutally honest about yourself.
- Have you been perfectly attentive of her?
- Have you put her and your relationship first?
- Have you loved her perfectly?
If the answer is no, simply commit to learning exactly what unconditional love is and try to bring more of that into your relationship. Be wrong about the mistakes you have made here and commit to gradually do things differently. Talk to her. Try to reconnect. Learn more about why people cheat and consider getting some outside help.
Pete Uglow (Infidelity Coach)