Anyone who has previously dealt with infidelity had to make a difficult decision. When your spouse is unfaithful, it can feel like the ultimate betrayal and seem impossible to overcome. If you are wondering how to know whether you should stay or go after infidelity, there is hope and you don’t have to make such a weighty decision alone. Staying together after infidelity and healing your marriage is possible when you make that choice.
How To Know Whether You Should Stay or Go After Infidelity
In this article:
- Take a Minute for Self
- Create Space for Forgiveness
- Seek Spiritual Guidance
- Make a Decision You Can Live With
Take a Minute for Self
It’s true that infidelity has a reputation of destroying marriages. But what I have also witnessed, in my coaching practice, is that couples can bounce back and move forward, together in love. How to heal is up to each individual within the marriage. The most important step that has to happen, after an affair has occurred, is for both partners to take time for themselves. During this time, a self-reflection should take place for both spouses to increase the possibility of staying together after infidelity.
For the spouse who was unfaithful, there needs to be an inner dialogue and conscious awareness of how they ended up in this space. And this reflection can’t include the other partner. It’s easy to play the blame game for our own indiscretions, but it’s important that the spouse who cheated owns their ish, and takes full responsibility. Questions that can be asked during this reflection are, “Why did you choose to be unfaithful?” “What did you need in the moment of your indiscretion?” “What do you want to happen in your marriage now?” “What were your thoughts about your spouse during this time?” Once those questions have been answered, it is time to start thinking about what is needed to stay in the marriage or how to prepare if the marriage ends.
For the spouse who was betrayed, there also needs to be some reflection. It is absolutely okay to take some time for yourself. Use this time to think about how you feel, what you need, and what you want. Asking yourself the tough questions will bring about some clarity. Questions like “Is there anything your spouse can say or do to begin to heal your marriage?” “What will you do with the hurt and emotions you are experiencing?” “What have you made your spouse’s infidelity mean about you?” “With time, can you see yourself trusting your spouse again?” “Have you realized that your spouse’s infidelity is not about you, but about them?” “Can you let go of any guilt you may be feeling?” After you have considered your responses to these questions, you can begin your own inner healing, which puts you in a better position to make your decision about staying together after infidelity.
Create Space for Forgiveness
Once you take the time you need to self reflect, it is time to start thinking about how you forgive. Forgiveness is necessary whether you decide to stay or go. It is part of your own healing and allows you to move forward, either way. As hard as it might be, at the moment, you have to create space for forgiveness and release the burden that you might carry. Unforgiveness will weigh heavily on your spirit and negatively impact other areas of your life, like relationships with your family, your work, and your future. Forgiveness has healing powers beyond what some of us even realize. Most people think it is about saying that what was done was okay, but it’s much more than that. It’s about taking back your power and saying that you are stronger than what was done to you and that you will not let it hold you back from living and loving again.
Seek Spiritual Guidance
Since deciding whether you will stay or go after infidelity is such a delicate decision, you may want to also seek God in prayer as well as spiritual guidance. Your Pastor or leaders within your church’s marriage ministry can provide the real insight you might be seeking. There are so many couples who have healed from infidelity and are willing to share their story to help other couples heal. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing within your own church, research other spiritual groups or marriage ministries to get coaching or counseling from. You want to find professional resources and those with experience in this area to help you. This is too serious of an issue not to find someone else who is just as serious about providing you with guidance and advice on staying together after infidelity.
Make a Decision You Can Live With
After doing the inner work, practicing forgiveness, and seeking spiritual guidance, you should be in a better position to think about whether or not staying together after infidelity is the right choice for you. There are a few things to consider. First, know that the choice is yours. You have to determine whether or not your heart can heal enough to stay married to your spouse. Think about what you actually need to help make your decision. Do you have questions for your spouse about why they cheated? Do you need clarity around other things in your marriage, before you stay? If so, know that it is all okay. This is your life and you want to make sure you consider everything. You can’t stay for any other reason other than you actually want to stay and make your marriage work. Next, make sure that if you stay, you are fully committed to your marriage success. It’s not healthy to stay and continue to remind your spouse of their unfaithfulness. That will only put your marriage in a rut and you will not move forward. At the end of all the work you will do personally, your decision has to be one you can live with, for the long term. Weigh your pros and cons and again, make the choice that works for you and can make your marriage work or prepare you to move in a different direction.
Infidelity not only negatively affects a marriage it can also do a number on each partner. There is a sense of regret and guilt that can surface which makes it harder to make decisions. But taking a step back and working on yourself as an individual will better prepare you to know whether you should stay or go after infidelity.
BMWK, if infidelity has happened in your marriage, how did you determine whether you were staying together after infidelity?