My Spouse Cheated And Is Unhappy That I Want To Move On

By: Katie Lersch: Many of the spouses who I hear from are not sure if they want to end their marriages after their spouse has cheated. Many are angry, confused, and hurt, and they realize that it is going to be hard to make a sound decision with so many feelings coming all at once. However, some people suspect right away that they will never be able to restore their marriage. They don’t feel this kind of internal conflict because they can never envision themselves being able to trust their spouse again. So they feel that the best thing to do is to attempt to move on. This doesn’t make every one happy, though. And some of them ask me how much weight they should give the opinion of others – especially their spouse.

Someone might say: “My husband cheated on me. There were extenuating circumstances, but aren’t there always? My husband had been going through a time where he was having medical tests done that could have been catastrophic. If he had gotten bad news, it would have meant a scary and painful future. He ended up getting reassuring news, although he will still have to undergo treatment. He met someone at a support group and they started a relationship. This was before he knew that his health wasn’t as bad as anticipated. I do understand that his health scare made him more vulnerable. And I also understand the other woman would have been appealing to him because he would have felt that she knew what he was going through in a way that no one else could have. However, to me, this doesn’t excuse his behavior. He is still a cheater regardless of why he did it. I have thought about this for a long time. And I have come to the conclusion that I would like to end my marriage and move on with my life. I do not make this decision lightly. I wish that things were different. But I have decided that I will not be able to trust him. And frankly, it is hard for me to support him with his health because every time this topic comes up, all I can think about is that his health caused him to betray me. I hope that everything turns out OK for him, but sometimes my thoughts go to mean places like: ‘well he can let his new girlfriend take care of him because I am so done.’ I have tried to tell him this in a kind way. I simply said that this infidelity is something I will not be able to get over. He says he can not accept this because I made the decision without even trying counseling or other things. He said he could understand my thinking if counseling had failed or if we tried but did not make progress, but he feels I am bailing on him much too quickly. I really don’t know how to deal with him. He could be right, but isn’t it my decision? My parents have made similar comments and it is amazing how I am being made to feel like the bad guy when I am not the one who has cheated.”

I agree with you. It is your decision. You are not the one who put this whole thing into motion. And if your husband had not cheated, it’s probably safe to say that you would still be a supportive spouse invested in helping your husband for the long term. However, it is your right to decide what you can and can not tolerate in your marriage. And it is your right to decide where you stand – considering his behavior.

He is likely acting the way that he is out of regret and out of knowing that he is at fault because he may have ruined a perfectly good thing and betrayed a really good spouse and now he is powerless to change things.

Of course, it makes sense to handle things as gently and with as much compassion as possible. But it truly is your decision as it takes two willing people to save a marriage after infidelity. You would both need to do some work and make some effort to make things right again and this process is hard enough when you are invested.

I did decide to save my own marriage. And there were times when I was unsure if this was in my best interest. But my husband always had the understanding that I offered no guarantees and that I might change my mind at any time. Also, I took my time.  I made it clear that there would be no firm decisions right away.  I wanted to gather information and then gage how I was feeling step by step.  I never made any promises. It was hard for him to deal with my indecision, but he really didn’t have much of a choice and he accepted this.

I would like to make one more point, though. I would suggest some sort of counseling or healing process even if you are ultimately not saving your marriage and even if you ultimately go or act alone. You may not realize how much this affected you. Or you might be telling yourself that since you are choosing to walk away, you can also bypass the healing process.

It’s my observation that it often doesn’t work this way, unfortunately. Because you will often take this shock, this disappointment and this hurt to your next relationship or you may carry this burden with you in your day-to-day life. I only say this because this wasn’t your fault and I hate seeing anyone have to carry this along in life when it is avoidable.

I had a lot of people giving me their opinions about me and about my marriage after my husband’s affair.  After that, I stopped sharing as freely.  And, I was clear on the fact that any decisions were mine alone.  You can read more on my blog at

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