Divorce or forgiveness after an affair
While the final decision is completely up to you, you should understand that the majority of marriages nowadays do not in fact end because of cheating. Some folks do get divorced after an affair, but more couples stay together. Even those who do get divorced, get divorced for other more systemic reasons for which the affair was merely a symptom.
In the case where the marriage is failing anyway, the cheating is not the primary cause of the divorce. The impending divorce is the primary cause of the cheating, and the marriage was doomed regardless of whether the cheating happened. So if you’re considering forgiving the spouse for the affair you should know that the majority of spouses nowadays do forgive their husbands and wives for infidelity in the marriage, but there are always some key reasons why you shouldn’t. So let’s take a look at those.
Forgiveness after cheating: When not to forgive
Lies, deceit, and careless disregard for the feelings of others
If your marriage was characterized by lies, deceit, and the careless disregard for your feelings, then trying to save the marriage is a bad idea. If your marriage was characterized by these things and you’re even considering saving the marriage then you need to take a look at why. Both men and women who endure this kind of abuse believe on some basic level that they deserve it and that they can’t do any better. In this case, forgiveness for cheating isn’t really forgiveness at all, it’s permission. You’re giving the spouse permission to treat you like dirt and once they learn that they can get away with, that’s all you’re going to get from them. Likely, the person who cheated on you, and then lied consistently about what was going on, also tried to make you feel stupid, crazy, or ashamed for ever thinking they could have an affair in the first place. This form of psychological abuse is known as gaslighting and the damage it causes takes years to rehabilitate. The sooner you start, the better off you’ll be. So if you recognize any of these things in your own marriage, you’re going to want to seek a divorce for sure.
How to get divorced
If you need to get divorced after the affair there are several steps you’re going to want to take in order to initiate this process. It will help to have a close relative or friend that you can lean on during this period, especially if you are the victim of narcissistic abuse. These people do everything in their power to undermine your sense of self worth because they want you to become completely emotionally dependent on them. The shame is that the people who most need to divorce abusive spouses find it extremely difficult to do so because they’d be completely lost without with them. As bad as their marriage is, they believe their live outside the marriage would be worse and they’re completely afraid of being on their own. It is possible to get help though, even for spouses who have never been physically abused. Your first step is confiding in a close friend who can be your ally during the period where you’re trying to rebuild your life. You’re going to need someone to remind you that you’re doing the right thing for the right reasons, but your first step will be removing this person from your life.