There are not many things worse than having infidelity rear its ugly head in a marriage. Being hit with so many emotions at once, coupled with the hard decisions that you know will be coming, is a lot to deal with. You sometimes don’t know which emotion to feel first. It is best to get your mind straight so you can try to make rational decisions about the rest of your life and the life of your family.
First of all, do not try to make sense out of the situation. Rationalizing your cheating spouse’s behavior or sympathizing with them is a waste of time. It is not your fault. You did not do something that caused them to cheat on you. It’s never okay for someone to go outside of their relationship to solve problems within a relationship. If there were problems in the relationship, your spouse should have put their energy towards finding a solution within the marriage. You do not deserve to be cheated on, and by defiling the sanctity of your marriage, your partner has broken something that can only be fixed by someone who is truly changed and willing to make major changes.
Unfortunately, time does not heal all wounds. If your choice is to forget the past and move forward with your spouse you are not going to be “fixing” anything. You must both make a commitment to fix the wounds in your marriage rather than to just “forget” what happened. If your partner wants back into the relationship, they must earn it. You will have to restructure the relationship in a way that works for both of you. Plus, you were betrayed which caused you to lose trust in your partner. They need to understand that, and to be patient and willing to do what it takes to make you more comfortable. You also need to understand that although you can not trust your partner now, in the future, you will need to find a way to trust them again. Moving forward with life and love is absolutely vital for you. You have to be willing to trust again, but take things one step at a time.
By staying in the relationship, you are making a choice to work it out. But be careful not to pull back from hope and optimism. You might come to a place where you secretly believe, “If I get too happy, something bad is going to happen.” You are not going to be protecting anyone by withholding who you are. You can not control your partner’s behavior. Staying in the relationship means not punishing them for the rest of your lives. Both of you must make an effort to make things better.
There might also come a time when you have to draw a line and say, “That’s it. I am done. I’m not mad at you. I withdraw my feelings. I am not going to live like this anymore.” It is unhealthy to stay together just for the children. Kids would rather be from a broken home than live in one. They are much better off with one well-adjusted, happy, thriving parent than they are with two who are cheating, lying, fighting, and living with stress and pressure. It is better to be healthy alone than sick with someone else.