When you learned that your spouse cheated—or may still be carrying on an affair—did your life stop? Was “divorce” one of the first things that popped into your head?
In this post, I’ll help you make a decision by providing you a starting point: questions to ask yourself when considering whether to seek marriage help, or divorce.
Infidelity: Is Divorce the Answer to the Devastation?
Your marriage has probably had its struggles over the years—just like any marriage. But you never suspected your spouse would cheat on you. You thought at heart, your marriage was strong, and you never thought you’d be in a position of wondering how to survive infidelity.
The thought that your marriage could be finished is devastating. It’s the second blow to your gut, the first being the affair you’ve discovered. Other than dealing with death, a marriage in crisis is one of the toughest emotional periods you could ever go through—especially if you’re trying to decide if the marriage should end.
A marriage counselor can’t answer the question of whether or not you should seek a divorce—that’s something for you and your spouse to decide. And as the injured spouse, you may feel a divorce is what you should do. Your pride is at stake here, too. You may fear that remaining in the marriage somehow lets your cheating spouse off the hook.
But a divorce isn’t necessarily the answer. Sure, when your marriage is at its lowest point, it may seem the best option. But without you and your spouse first trying to resolve your issues and build the relationship, you may later regret not trying to save the marriage—as difficult as that may be to imagine right now.
However, getting the marriage “back to where it was” won’t resolve anything. That’s where the current crisis was born. The challenge for you now is working together, assuming your cheating spouse is willing, to build your relationship to something better than you ever had before.
Whether you decide to try couples counseling or seek a divorce, your decision will change your life. And working with an objective party, such as a marriage counselor, may help you and your spouse work to make the best decision.
Marriage Help: Should You Stay or Should You Go?
Your decision comes down to two choices: staying and working on your marriage, or divorce. Here are some questions to consider:
1) Is Your Cheating Spouse Willing to Work to Save the Marriage?
You can’t make a decision to build your marriage if your husband or wife isn’t willing to work with you, and also make the effort to repair the damage done to you and your relationship. Some considerations:
- Has your spouse 100% ended the affair?
- Is your spouse remorseful for the pain he/she has caused?
- Has your spouse communicated a desire to repair the marriage?
- Is your spouse open to couples counseling?
- Have your spouse’s actions matched his or her words?
2) What if Your Spouse Won’t Agree to Counseling?
A lot of people are reluctant to go to a marriage counselor. They may fear being judged, feel humiliated by the idea, or just aren’t ready to put these details out there—even with an objective counselor. This does not mean there is no hope that your marriage can be saved.
You have to gauge whether or not your spouse will entertain some alternative to counseling, such as sitting down and going through relationship-building exercises.
3) Are You Willing to Go Through the Effort To Save Your Marriage?
Contrary to what you may be feeling at the moment, your spouse doesn’t wield all of the power in the relationship. You may feel vulnerable, but this doesn’t mean you aren’t a strong person capable of making a decision based on what is right for you.
You have a tough road ahead of you: dealing with the images, the negative thoughts and other painful emotions, as well as the memories and reminders. In addition, no doubt your self-esteem took a hit and needs rebuilding. Is it worth it to you to also put effort into saving your marriage?
These questions are a starting point to help you look at the whole picture when it comes to deciding what to do with your marriage. You may not be able to answer some—or even all—of these questions right now, and that’s okay. There is no timeline, but understand that considering these questions and answering them will help you move forward, putting the affair behind you.
My best to you in making this decision in your marriage.
Have you considered marriage counseling?
Is your spouse willing to work on the marriage?
Are you willing to work on the marriage?