I wish I could tell you that I have all the answers and that by following a few short steps, everything will be perfect. But I can’t. Infidelity is a complicated, not to mention agonizing, situation. That’s not news to anyone.
 
When your partner is unfaithful, you feel as if the world has just ended. That’s because the world as you knew it has. But that doesn’t mean that your life is over–it just means it’s different. Some people actually say that their relationships improved after an affair–that it was a much-needed wake-up call. I don’t know about that. But I do know what they mean by it. There were issues in the relationship that were not being addressed, which led to the affair. That makes sense, right? 

But let’s back up. Before you start trying to figure out what went wrong that might’ve led to this affair, fling, or whatever it is, let’s look at the cheater. Is this the first time he has cheated? Do you think there might’ve been other times? Are you aware of affairs he had in previous relationships? These are important questions, because in order to figure out whether the relationship is worth saving, you have to determine whether HE is worth your effort.
 
If your partner is a good, decent man who has been with you for years, who has treated you with love and respect, has been faithful to you up until now, who loves you, and you love him, he seems remorseful and willing to do whatever it takes to make things right, maybe you should give him the chance to prove that to you. You have to remember that we all make mistakes, we all sin, we all hurt people, and we’ve also all done things we regret.
 
If you’ve been with him for a long time, you might not remember, or even know, that good men are few and far between! If you have a good one, you’d better think long and hard before you toss him out, into someone else’s arms.
 
On the other hand, if he has cheated on you before or had affairs in previous relationships, if he is cruel and/or abusive, if you don’t love each other, if he has addictions, etc., in my opinion, you would be better off without him. But only you can make that decision. What you have to do is determine whether you want to spend the rest of your life dealing with the kinds of issues you’re dealing with now. Chances are, if they change, they won’t change for the better. The exception to that, of course, is if he were to find God. Nothing is impossible with God.
 
Regardless of whether you choose to stay with your cheating partner or not, it’s important to look at the relationship. What was going on, or not going on, that could’ve contributed to the demise of the relationship or to his decision to give in to the temptation of another woman? Okay, don’t get defensive. I’m not blaming you. I’m just saying that there are usually signs that someone is unhappy in their relationship long before any infidelity occurs.
 
Sometimes it isn’t as simple as just wanting sex with someone else. There are many dynamics that come into play when someone is unfaithful, but I think that for men, it’s usually about the fact that someone else found him attractive and made him feel ‘like a man’ again. After we’ve been in relationships for a while, we tend to take them for granted, and not appreciate them. Sometimes we don’t even seem to notice the person we once couldn’t keep our hands off of!
 
Everyone needs to feel appreciated and loved. We also want to feel attractive. When a man is with a woman who doesn’t give him a lot of attention, especially sexual attention, he feels neglected, which makes him  vulnerable to temptation. You might have a million different things on your mind, but he probably has one, and you can guess what it is! (Okay, he might also think of work and/or sports, but at the top of the list is SEX!) It might not be that important to you, but if you want to hold onto him, you have to realize how important it is to him. (See Infidelity: Importance of Sex.)
 
It all comes down to you. If you can’t get past what happened, no amount of sex, or anything he could do to make it up to you, is going to matter. Only you know whether or not you can learn to cope with what he did. But one thing you HAVE TO DO is forgive him and the other woman if you blame her–not for him (or her), but for you. And that doesn’t mean that you have to stay with him, or that you’re saying what he did is okay. It means that you are choosing to let go of the pain and rage associated with what he did, and that you give up any ideas of retaliating or causing him or her pain.
 
So you’re thinking he doesn’t deserve to be forgiven. Only God can decide that. And thankfully, God is much more merciful than we are! Have you never done anything you regret? Have you never hurt anyone? As I said, forgiving is not for him. It is for your own well-being. The Bible says that if we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven. And I can tell you from experience that refusing to forgive someone doesn’t hurt the person you refuse to forgive–it hurts you! Of course, you can hold onto the pain and rage for the rest of your life if you choose to. But who will that help? NO ONE! (See Queen of Unforgiveness.)
 
If you’re struggling with hate and unforgiveness for the other woman, it might help you to remember that SHE didn’t hurt you–your partner did. She didn’t make any promises to you, and she didn’t take any vows with you. She might not even know about you. But even if she does, please know that she is hurting, too. The man she might very well love deeply is with you, and she knows there’s nothing she can do about that. I know it’s hard to not have bad feelings toward her, but it might help if you concentrate on the reality of the situation, which is that if your home is wrecked, SHE didn’t wreck it. Your partner did! And if he weren’t with her, it might’ve been someone else. So it’s not about her. Don’t make it about her. Focus on the facts and what HE did. (See Consumed By Hate.)
 
You have to think of what’s best for you and your children. That brings me to another point–the children. Don’t buy into the idea that staying together ‘for the children’ is always the right thing. When two people are arguing, fighting, bitter, hateful, bickering, ignoring each other, and that sort of thing, that’s never good for the children. If you cry yourself to sleep every night and put on a brave face every day ‘for the children,’ don’t think you’re fooling them. Don’t think they don’t feel the tension. And don’t think they aren’t hurting.
 
Let’s say that you and your husband are very careful and are able to keep your fighting and resentment hidden from the children. Then one day, you tell them you’re getting a divorce. They’re stunned! They had no idea there was anything wrong. They thought they were part of the Cleaver family, and suddenly they realize that everything they believed about their parents’ relationship, and about their family, was a fantasy. They begin to question who you are, who they are, and what exactly is real. That’s also not healthy.
 
My point is that like Dr. Phil (McGraw) says, “It’s better to be FROM a broken home than to be IN a broken home.” And as my mom says, “There are some things that are just too broke[n] to fix!” I’m not suggesting that you throw your hands up at the first sign of trouble. I’m just saying that if things are so bad, you believe that with counseling, with God, and with working on your relationship, it cannot be fixed, don’t waste the rest of your life trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. It is what it is, and that’s all it is. Only you can decide WHAT it is.
 
With infidelity, depression usually follows. That’s natural, but when you experience a painful, life-changing experience, it’s good to get some professional help. I’m not saying you should be medicated. I’m not a fan of antidepressants. They usually don’t make any difference, and in some cases, they make things worse. But talk therapy is good for practically everyone. We all have issues, and having an unbiased person to help us sort through the garbage is very helpful. I strongly suggest that you get counseling, especially if you’re having any suicidal thoughts. If you do, seek help immediately. Call 911 if you can’t find a crisis line. AND REMEMBER THAT NO ONE IS WORTH TAKING YOUR LIFE OVER!
 
As with any painful event in your life, you will heal in time. The length of time it takes you to recover depends on your willingness to forgive and to let go of the pain. Holding onto the pain doesn’t protect you. It only hurts you. Let it go. Forgive those who hurt you and get back to living your life. And remember that sometimes things that look like tragedies today, turn out to be the blessings of tomorrow. Be blessed!
 
There is no way to really put into words how profound the experience of having someone be unfaithful to you is, or the damage that it can cause. However, it does NOT have to define your life and who you are. It’s something you’ve experienced, and according to the statistics, half the couples who get married also experience it. When it happens to you, the pain is overwhelming. You might want to give up, but don’t. You might not believe in Satan, but he’s real, and that’s just what he wants you to do. He will tear you down, but God can pick you back up. Even if you don’t believe in God, He’s still there for you. Call out to Him.