He Cheated — Should You Leave Him?
If your husband has had an affair, you’re hurt, you’re angry and you have some big decisions to make. Should you try to repair your marriage? Or should you end your relationship because of his infidelity?
There’s no decision that’s right for every person. Today I want to give you some questions to consider that will help you make the best choice for your marriage.
How Badly Did He Mess Up?
How long was he unfaithful? Has he had multiple affairs? Were his infidelity physical, emotional or both? How emotionally entangled is he with his affair partner? A one-time slip might feel less daunting to work through than an ongoing pattern of cheating.
How Much Do You Have Invested?
How long have you been married? Do you have children? Are you deeply involved in each other’s families? While infidelity is devastating in any relationship, you may feel more motivated to stay and work it out if you lives have been deeply interwoven for years and you still have kids at home.
How Is Your Marriage Otherwise?
What else isn’t working? What is working? Do the positives of your relationship give you a strong enough foundation to rebuild your marriage? For example, do you share values, parent well together and still have a friendship? Or have you been feeling disconnected from each other for years?
Are Other Issues Involved?
Is he experiencing addiction or mental illness? Is there a history of infidelity in his family? All of those factors can make repairing your relationship more difficult.
Did He Learn His Lesson?
Does he understand the pain he caused you? Has he apologized sincerely? Is he showing you with his actions that he’s willing to do the work needed to save your marriage and to be faithful going forward?
If You Decide to Stay
- See a therapist. Healing after an affair is possible. But it isn’t easy. If at all possible, get counseling as a couple.
- Set boundaries. If you tell people close to you about your husband’s infidelity, their first reaction might be to urge you to leave him. That’s understandable. They’re hurt and angry on your behalf. But they can also become a barrier to your reconciliation. Remember, it’s your decision whether or not to stay with your husband. And you’re under no obligation to reveal all the details about what’s happening in your marriage to anyone.
- Realize that things are different now. Even if you stay together, the marriage that you had before is gone. Going forward, you’re building a new relationship. The good news is that, while neither of you will forget this painful chapter, you can create a healthier and more honest marriage than the one you had before. As you do, I invite you to use my book Strong Women, Strong Love as a resource.