Considering the Decision to Stay or Leave after Infidelity
Infidelity seems to be one of those acts that are simply unforgivable in a marriage, and many imagine themselves promptly leaving after discovery of an affair. However, we’ve seen spouses in very sensationalized cases stick by their guilty spouse and decide to salvage their marriage. We as spectators wonder how, especially considering that level of humiliation. How is that damage forgivable?
Perhaps those who quickly decide to leave their marriage, or imagine themselves doing so if placed in this scenario, are wrongfully making this decision under an irrational state. In the wake of infidelity, we feel shamed, embarrassed, angry, confused, and many other complex emotions that may cloud our judgement. Leaving may be the right move, but it should be done after weighing certain critical aspects of the event.
What to Do Before Making a Decision
Learn the circumstances around the incident: It’s possible that your spouse was in an unfit frame of mind, or even may have been in an unfavorable situation. If your spouse answers truthfully the questions you have regarding the event, it may allow for room for recovery, which would never happen if you have already made your decision immediately upon discovery.
Discuss what may have caused the infidelity: There may be a root cause related to the instability of your marriage. You are not directly responsible for someone else’s actions, but there may have been some flaw in your marriage that was ignored or otherwise unattended to. If what caused this affair can be fixed, then it may be worth staying in efforts to preserve what could be a successful marriage.
Knowing When to Leave
If your spouse lacks remorse: If your spouse is not showing any indication that he or she is sorry, wants to vindicate their actions, or fully blame them on you, it would appear as though your spouse would not have much of a problem with hurting you again, and leaving would protect you from this.
If this has happened more than once: If it has already happened, your spouse may have a problem with self-control or may not have sufficient regard for your feelings. If this is the case, it will likely happen again, and divorce may be the most viable option to spare yourself more disappointment and heartache.
Knowing When to Stay
Your spouse takes ownership of the mistake: This allows for the possibility of recovery. If your spouse can answer your questions, display remorse, and ceased the cheating, the marriage may be salvaged.
Your spouse wants to rebuild: If your spouse understands that your trust in him or her has been broken and still wants to work as long as it will take to earn it back, this is a good sign for a successful recovery. This can take a very long time, but the cheater’s understanding begins to demonstrate devotion.
It is next to impossible to make a fully objective decision in these situations, but it may be worth it for your marriage to try. You will be feeling daggering betrayal, but with the participation from your spouse in helping to heal what he or she has caused, your marriage still has the possibility of success.