Four Tips For Weighing Your Options When Dealing With A Cheating Spouse
When you first find out that your spouse has been cheating, it's completely normal to be overwhelmed with emotions. While experiencing these emotions, you may make a snap judgement -- such as "I need to leave them right now" or "We can make it through this with enough work." But, once the dust settles, you need to put some careful, logical thought into what is really best for you and your spouse going forward. Should you stay, or should you go? Here are four tips to employ as you weigh your options.
Meet with a family lawyer.
Even if you are not initially leaning towards divorce, it is a good idea for you to consult with a family lawyer. If nothing else, you will then have a lawyer who is familiar with your case should your spouse be the one who ultimately decides to break it off.
Tell the attorney what happened, and give them an idea of your financial situation, any children the two of you have, and what assets you own as a married couple. An attorney like Marlene Dancer Adams can give you an idea of how difficult pursuing divorce may or may not be, which can weigh into your decision. Also, knowing that you have met with a lawyer may cue your spouse into the idea that you're seriously considering leaving them -- which may be the motivation they need to do better in your relationship going forward (if you do ultimately choose to stay).
Don't tell the kids yet.
Since you do not yet know for certain whether you are staying in the relationship or pursuing a separation, don't clue the kids into what has happened. This will cause emotional turmoil, and you do not need the burden of handling your children's emotions while you're already struggling to handle your own. If you do end up staying with your spouse, you will have upset your kids for nothing. And if you end up separating, you can easily tell them when it is official, sparing them several weeks or months of concern.
See a couples' therapist.
Couples sometimes put off therapy until they have already decided whether or not they are going to work things out and stay together. But in fact, one of the best times to see a therapist is when you are still making this decision. If the two of you see a therapist together, you can observe your spouse's reaction to therapy and allow it to shape your decision as to whether you should stay. For example, if your spouse seems unwilling to admit guilt during therapy, this may be a sign you should leave. On the other hand, if they seem remorseful and willing to take the therapist's suggestions to improve the relationship, perhaps it's worthwhile for you to stay.
If your spouse is unwilling to see a therapist, explain that you will only consider staying in the relationship if he or she is willing to take this step. You can also explain that even happy couples benefit from counseling and that this is something you should have done a long time ago before the relationship went south.
Chat with one good friend.
The fact that your spouse has been cheating is not the kind of news you want to include in a group message to your entire social circle. But not talking about the issue at all may leave you wallowing in your own thoughts and worries. Confide in a close friend about what has happened. Make sure he or she knows not to spill the beans to anyone else. Talking about what has happened will help you see your situation from more of an outside perspective, which can help you decide what to do going forward. A friend who has known you for a long time can also help steer you in the right direction. For example, if you have a habit of giving people too many chances after they continue to hurt you, your friend can point that out and help ensure you don't make that same mistake again.
By following the tips above, you'll have an easier time arriving at the right decision when it comes to your relationship with a cheating spouse.