So, your husband cheated. Should you call it quits and divorce him?
You quite possibly clicked on this article because you were hoping for a resounding yes or no to a question that, deep down, you know cannot be answered in only one word, especially if there are children involved. What I have realized about the question of divorce after infidelity is that it brings up more questions than answers. Before you are even able to ask the question of whether you should leave, there are other questions you must answer first.
In other words: What happened? Before you can take action, you must understand what transpired between you and your husband and why. There are a host of reasons why infidelity occurs. As you delve into your relationship, let me make one point clear: do not blame yourself for your husband’s infidelity. You are not responsible for your husband’s actions.
But let me make another point clear: you are, in part, responsible for your marital problems. A marriage is a team, and infidelity is a symptom of more significant matrimonial issues between you. What those issues are is something that you need to discover by talking to your husband. If both of you are still in the dark about why he cheated, then consider enlisting professional help, such as a marriage counselor.
Are you having trouble trusting again? Do you live under a cloud of constant worry that your husband may cheat again? Is there anything in your mind your husband can do to make up for his betrayal? Have you been humiliated publicly? Are you feeling depressed or angry? Does your husband already have one foot out the door, as he continues to solidify his new relationship, and it’s only a matter of time before he leaves you?
Though these questions each address different ways, among others, how infidelity can affect your marriage, a common theme, as well as one overarching question, remains: Can you overcome the effects your spouse’s cheating had on your relationship? If, after a lot of soul-searching, the answer is still no, then it’s probably time to look for an exit strategy.
Perhaps the infidelity was a singular event, leaving you confident it will never happen again and that your marriage is strong enough to survive. Maybe your husband has taken complete responsibility for his actions and has shown undeniable signs he is still just as invested in the marriage as you are. Or, if you’re honest with yourself, you’re just not ready to let go yet, whether it’s because of emotional reasons, the kids, or money. Whatever the reason, it’s yours to own, and no one can tell you what to do with your life. With enough work and self-discovery, the answer will become apparent to you eventually.
There are several other questions you must be able to ask yourself, such as: Do you still love your spouse? Do you still believe in your marriage or the institution of marriage itself? Are you and your spouse compatible? Can you and your spouse rebuild?
And then there are some external factors you must consider in the event of a divorce. Divorces are costly — financially and emotionally. If you are considering a divorce, you need to start taking actions geared towards financing a divorce. You also need to think about how your children (if you have any) would handle the divorce.
Don’t be hasty. Divorce is a painful, ugly process that you should treat as a last resort. If you can work on your marriage, do what you can. But understand that sometimes a marriage cannot be saved and you’re better off saving yourself.
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