Should I Stay Married After My Spouse’s Affair?

broken-heartDiscovering that your spouse is having an affair can be devastating and can leave you conflicted about what to do going forward.

You may be getting advice, strong opinions, and even judgement from friends and family that you may or may not want or from random people on the internet—but ultimately the decision is yours to make and whatever you choose will affect your future forever.

Should you immediately file for divorce to show your spouse that you are serious and want them to suffer the consequences of their actions?

If you kicked him or her out of the house and they want to come back, should you allow it?

If you do, can you have a satisfying marriage again or will you always have problems with trust…anger and hurt…maybe even self doubt?

Regardless of what you choose to do, there will be hurt, anger, and grief.

That’s unavoidable.

Finding out that your spouse has had an affair or even has physically left you for another person is a tremendous loss—and when one experiences such a loss, they must go through the grieving process.

Let’s get more in depth about the three types of affairs as well as the pros and cons of staying married after a spouse has had an affair.

The Three Types of Affairs

Short-Lived Affair:

This type of affair is only or mostly about sex.

Some examples include having a one night stand that resulted because of a night out drinking and flirting, going out purposefully to find someone to have sex with in order to get back at the other spouse, or having a sexual affair with a co-worker.

Allowed Affair:

This type begins when one spouse gives permission to the other spouse to have sex with other people—this may be for both spouses or not.

Sometimes couples who have decided to live this lifestyle are considered to be in an open relationship or are called swingers.

One problem with allowed affairs is that one spouse might actually start to care about the other having a sexual relationship with other people, especially if things become more than sexual.

Relationship Affair:

Lastly, a relationship affair, which usually starts out as a friendship and not intended to become a sexual relationship, can occur.

This is oftentimes referred to as an emotional affair.

Some people would agree that an emotional affair is considered adultery.

This type of affair is sometimes seen as even more negative and overwhelming because of the intense emotional connection (or limerence).

The view here is that sex, though cheating, is limited to sex, but once it goes beyond that into a more in-depth connection, that could be crossing a far more serious line for some couples.

This type of relationship is often the most difficult in terms of getting over the lover.

Should You Stay If Your Spouse Has Cheated/Had An Affair?

Next, let’s talk about the pros and cons of staying in a marriage after you have discovered your spouse has cheated.

You need to make a decision, right?

You don’t have to stay.

But what if you want to work it out and save your marriage?

Can you learn to move on from the mistake and stay married?

What could you and your spouse learn from the affair?

The Pros of Staying Married After Infidelity

If you do decide to work everything out, your marriage will be much better in the future than in the past because you were able to persevere through the most rocky point in your relationship.

If you’ve been together for a long time, you want to make the time you’ve already spent together worth while.

Don’t waste such a beautiful marriage and have it become just simply a memory.

If you have children, staying together is a benefit to them no matter how old you are or how long you’ve been with your spouse.

Divorce can cause childhood trauma and emotional pain, and this even relates to older children. Divorce can have lasting effects.

There may also be religious reasons or societal reasons for staying together and splitting up would go against those views and beliefs.

The Cons of Staying Married After Your Spouse’s Affair

There will more likely be feelings of anger, resentment, and betrayal; there will be a grieving process.

You have lost something even if you choose to stay together.

You can get it back in time, but you will need to learn to trust your spouse once again and they will have to prove themselves to you for the time being—-even if this is a hassle and tedious for your spouse.

That being said, err on the side of trust and give the benefit of the doubt. It can be difficult to feel that you are not trusted.

Always expecting the other shoe to drop and being suspicious can be a short or long-term effect of being cheated on.

If you are still married to and living with that person, you will have to accept this and try to move on.

Family or friends’ strong opinions and judgement will more than likely be present—so be ready for an ear full!

That’s why it’s important to make up your mind and stick with it.

As you can see, the pros outweigh the cons.

Your spouse may be a good person who did a bad thing; or they may be a bad person who did a bad thing.

If your spouse is truly a good person, do what you can to make the marriage work despite what others may say.

Your friends and family love you and don’t want you to be hurt, but their advice will be biased because they want to protect you.

If your spouse is not a decent person and you believe the cheating will continue, then you will need to make the decision that is best for you and your family.

Creating a pros and cons list of your own and weighing the options would be a beneficial activity to do if you are in this situation.

This could guide you in making a decision and help you to visualize everything at once.

Don’t make any rash decisions, but think it through and listen to your heart.

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