Deciding to stay or leave after infidelity is an incredibly personal and painful choice. If you’ve been cheated on, chances are that you feel shocked, betrayed, angry, ashamed, and confused. Learning that your partner has betrayed your trust can lead to self-doubt, hopelessness, and grief, among other things. You might not be sure whether you should stay in the relationship or if it’s time to walk away.
Affair recovery can actually be a powerful catalyst in relationships that bring couples closer together. The betrayal of an affair is always painful, but the healing that takes place afterward can help you establish a new foundation of trust and communication that leaves you feeling closer than you did before. However, this outcome only happens when both partners are committed to healing and rebuilding trust.
Questions that might come up after infidelity
If you’ve discovered that your partner has cheated on you, you might not know what you should do next. You might be asking yourself questions like:
- Is this relationship even worth saving?
- Do we have the same values?
- Are we working toward the same goals?
- Am I willing to do the work to help save this relationship?
- Does forgiveness feel possible?
It’s normal to be unsure of whether you want to stay or go after an affair has been revealed. Even though healing is possible after an affair, it takes a lot of work on the part of both partners, so it’s something that both people should be fully on board to commit to the process.
Why is it hard to walk away after infidelity?
Ending a relationship can be hard for a lot of reasons, even without an affair contributing to things. Building a relationship takes time, and deciding to end it can take time as well. You might be worried about what will happen to your children if you split up. You might not be able to afford to leave. You might be worried about your safety when leaving a relationship. You might be waiting for them to go back to being the person you thought you knew and who made you happy. It’s not as simple as just leaving, because any choice you make will be painful and emotional.
Remember to take care of yourself during this time, no matter what choice you make about your relationship. Ask for support from your friends and family, get lots of rest, make sure to get enough to eat and drink, and be as kind to yourself as you possibly can. You’re already going through enough, don’t be mean to yourself on top of it.
If you’re having a hard time deciding whether to stay in a relationship after infidelity, you’re not alone. Here are some signs that the relationship isn’t worth saving and it’s time to leave:
Your partner doesn’t apologize
An apology is the very least the partner who cheated can do to begin to rebuild things with their partner. If your partner won’t offer you a sincere apology for the pain they have caused you and for the betrayal of your trust, then it’s a sign that they aren’t committed to doing what it takes to repair the relationship.
Your partner won’t take accountability or blames others for their actions
Along with not apologizing, it’s an issue if your partner doesn’t take accountability for their role in their affair. If they choose to deflect responsibility and blame other people instead of owning up to their choices that caused you pain, it’s a likely sign that they aren’t ready to do the serious introspective work that healing from an affair requires.
Your partner continues to see or communicate with their affair partner
It will be impossible for you to trust your partner and rebuild your relationship if you aren’t certain that the affair is over. If your partner is still communicating with their affair partner or still sees them, it’s a big red flag telling you to walk away.
Someone won’t talk about the infidelity
Part of moving forward after an affair is to be honest and learn what the underlying reasons for the infidelity were. If one partner refuses to talk about it, it will be impossible to be honest and communicate enough to get to a place of healing. It is very painful to discuss being betrayed or making choices that hurt someone you care about, but it’s necessary to move forward in a healthy way.
One or both partners aren’t committed to working to improve the relationship
It’s going to take a lot of work to get from a fresh betrayal to feeling trust and closeness again. This isn’t meant to discourage you from working on your relationship if you decide that you do want to stay with your partner, it’s just the reality. Deciding to rebuild your relationship after the trauma of an affair can be painful, emotional work. If both of you aren’t really on board to do the work it will take to repair your relationship, it’s a sign that ending the relationship might be the right call.
Your partner is dishonest
Healing from an affair requires you to rebuild trust with someone who has betrayed it in the past. If you’re not sure that they’re being honest with you during the healing process, it will be impossible for you to build a solid foundation after an affair. If your partner is lying about where they’re going or what they’re doing, you won’t feel like you can rely on them, which is essential to a strong relationship.
Your partner minimizes your feelings
Finding out you’ve been cheated on is a traumatic experience, and if your partner is truly sorry about the affair, they’ll listen to your feelings instead of trying to minimize them. If they continue to deflect blame or try to ignore how you feel, it’s a red flag that this relationship might be hard to save.