Your husband kissed another woman and you feel betrayed. It’s a common feeling, but your husband might not feel like the kiss was a big deal. A 2013 study published in the “Evolutionary Psychology” journal reveals that people can have differing views about what constitutes infidelity. Your husband could consider his actions innocent -- and they might be. Begin by determining why the kiss occurred.
1. Determining the Context
Ask your husband about the kiss. If his intentions were innocent, such as greeting an old friend, comforting a close friend or a situation where she kissed him unexpectedly, you might agree that the kiss wasn’t what you thought it was. If there were extenuating circumstances for the kiss, such as a mix of alcohol and fear, you might be better off forgetting the incident and working on your relationship, suggests psychologist Marie Hartwell-Walker in “My Husband Kissed Another Woman" for Psych Central.
2. Building or Rebuilding Trust
If the kiss was innocent or regrettable, but not a deal breaker, discuss what you need your husband to do to shore up or rebuild trust. Broken trust must be earned back, asserts Dr. Phil McGraw in “Moving Forward After Infidelity” on his website. You might require him to avoid kissing other women on the lips or, if the incident was more serious, require him to let you know where he is at all times, and prove accountability and trustworthiness until he regains your trust. If he agrees to your terms, work together on the problems that led to the kiss.
3. Deciding Priorities
If your husband was emotionally and romantically involved with the woman, decide whether his actions are grounds for ending the marriage. Marriages that survive infidelity do so when the couple works together because of mutual love, not other reasons such as a child, feelings of obligation or economics, according to marital therapist Joan Sherman in “Back to Happily Ever After” for “The Wall Street Journal” online. Hire a marital counselor and begin work on your marriage if your priority is salvaging the relationship.
4. Negotiating Your Future
One option is to create a marital agreement for your relationship. Negotiate acceptable and forbidden actions, recommends marriage and family therapist Sarah Cook Ruggera in her blog post, “Bringing a New Monogamy to Couples in the 21st Century.” Clarify relationship needs and acceptable behaviors, such as not kissing anyone but your spouse on the lips or letting your spouse know if you're meeting an ex. Focus on maintaining and supporting the relationship in ways that are practical and a win/win solution -- regardless of how that agreement would appear to those outside your marriage, suggests psychologist Deborah Taj Anapol in “The New Monogamy” for “Psychology Today” online. The agreement could make it easier for you to forget the kiss and move forward in a stronger relationship.
- Evolutionary Psychology: Was That Cheating? Perceptions Vary by Sex, Attachment Anxiety, and Behavior
- Psych Central: My Husband Kissed Another Woman
- Dr. Phil: Moving Forward After Infidelity
- Wall Street Journal Online: Back to Happily Ever After
- Sara Cook Ruggera, M.F.T.: Bringing a New Monogamy to Couples in the 21st Century
- Psychology Today: The New Monogamy
- Andrea Morini/Photodisc/Getty Images