I Can’t Decide If I Want To Stay With My Cheating Spouse. I Keep Changing My Mind

By: Katie Lersch:  Things can feel very heightened and immediate when you find out about your spouse’s affair.  Because this is so painful, it’s normal to want a quick resolution.  You don’t want to feel this bad forever, so you can feel a little bit of pressure to make a swift decision in order to begin healing.  And yet, making this decision isn’t as easy as some believe.  Many of us change our minds, wonder if we are reacting off of emotion, and worry that whatever decision we make is going to be wrong.

A wife might say: “as soon as I found out my husband has been having an affair, the first words out of his mouth were: ‘you can’t leave me.  You can’t take my family away from me.’  And my first thought and reaction was: ‘you’d better believe that I can leave you.  If you didn’t want me to leave, you should have thought about that before you cheated.’  I had always thought that the first sign of infidelity meant that I was going to be out the door.  I never thought I was going to be the woman who stood by a cheater.  I thought I was going to be like Sandra Bullock with Jesse James.  I wasn’t even going to think about it.  I was just going to get rid of the cheater immediately.  But now that I am in this situation, I realize now that it is not as cut and dry as all that.  I have my kids to think about.  But when this thought comes to my head, I immediately counter this thought with the knowledge that my husband wasn’t thinking about our kids all that much when he was sleeping with someone else.  Some days I will think that we can get through this if we try.  And other days, I will think that I do not want to get through this.  I don’t want to save a marriage to a cheater.  But then the next day I am on the verge of changing my mind again.  My husband is constantly asking me what I have decided in regards to our marriage.  And I never know what I should tell him because I haven’t really come to a decision because I am always changing my mind. What is wrong with me?”

What You’re Feeling Is So Normal And Understandable: Absolutely nothing is wrong with you.  I changed my mind constantly also.  I believe that many people do.  If you weren’t, that would mean that you possibly weren’t taking an honest and accurate look at the circumstances.  It would be very naive to think that you could just block out your doubts.  Some days you will naturally think that you can over come these doubts.  But the next day, they might be back and they have brought anger also.  It is a lot to deal with.  And all of the swirling information and emotions causes uncertainty, which is completely understandable.

Removing Some Of The Pressure: It doesn’t help matters that your husband is always asking you what you have decided.  This makes you feel pressure at a time when pressure is the last thing that you need.  So you might try a response like this: “the only decision that I have made is that I am not going to rush to make a decision.  There are a lot of considerations here and there is a lot at stake. Plus, my feelings are constantly changing.  I need to take some time to have confidence that my feelings and perceptions are more stable.  And I need time to process this. I know that you feel as if you are in limbo.  And I know you want me to make a decision so you know what the future holds.  But I just can’t make a sound decision right now.  I am going to need to take a wait and see approach.  I know that is hard for you, but it is necessary for me.”

Your husband may not like this answer, but he should understand it.  Because it was his actions that made all of this necessary.  I am sure that my husband would have loved it if I would have told him immediately that we could try to make it work.  But there was no way I could say that with any sincerity.  I did not know what I wanted.  And I didn’t know if counseling was going to help us or even how I would feel if it did.  And I knew that I was going to need time to watch his behaviors in order to evaluate if I could one day trust him again.  So I told my husband that there wouldn’t be any quick decisions and that I was going to wait and see how our rehabilitation work went.  He knew that I could change my mind at any time and I am sure this wasn’t fun for him.  But it certainly wasn’t fun for me either.   Recovery takes a lot of time.  And you can’t really be sure that you’ve made the right decision until you’ve had time to evaluate your recovery efforts.

There were days when I just wanted to make any decision and stick with it.  But I knew that if I did, I would always have to deal with the doubts that came with this rushed decision.  It wasn’t always easy to just wait and see.  It was a harder path to watch and evaluate.  But I’m glad I did that.  Because I have full confidence that I ultimately made the right decision.  You can read more about the outcome on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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