When someone finds out that his or her spouse has been cheating, it’s a huge blow to the gut. Rightfully so too -- that’s an awful lot of deception, betrayal, and hurt to deal with all at once, especially if your spouse has desensitized themselves to the Terrible Thing they have done.

Quite possibly the worst part about your spouse’s infidelity coming out is that all of a sudden, you’re forced to deal with some pretty big issues as you decide how to move forward. Is the relationship doomed? Or is it worth trying to save? That probably depends a lot on the reasons behind the cheating.  

Let me preface this by saying that cheating is never, ever acceptable behavior. If your spouse treats you like crap or you’re just trapped in a loveless marriage, get a divorce like a normal person and move on. Don’t break your promises and compromise your integrity because you want to feel better for a moment in the arms of someone else.

OK, that’s out of the way.

So you found out your spouse cheated on you, and now you have to decide what to do. Well, after you scream and cry and rock on the floor in the fetal position for a while, of course. Some people are “one and done” when it comes to cheating. There are no second chances for these people. On the other end of the spectrum are those who believe that the everlasting bonds of marriage require them to forgive and forget.

I say both of those views are wrong, and the best decision you can make is one made after a lot of reflection on the problems in the marriage that caused the affair. People cheat for all sorts of different reasons, and those reasons matter when trying to decide whether or not to end a marriage.

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Some people just grow apart and end up being like roommates instead of lovers. Instead of confronting the rut issue, someone might look for excitement elsewhere. Again, there are no excuses, but maybe an affair is a wakeup call that your marriage needs some serious TLC. If both parties want to stay, and there’s true remorse and repentance on the part of the cheater, it can work.

Others cheat because they really want out of the marriage but feel trapped for whatever reason. Religion, family pressure, monetary issues, the kids, etc. -- it doesn’t matter -- the cheater feels trapped but at the same time not bound to you. I say let this one go. Do you really want a spouse that feels like they have to stay with you?

Then there are those that cheat because they can. With narcissism on the rise and social media making it easier than ever to sneak around, these are unfortunately becoming more and more common. Run away from this one and don’t look back. He cares more about what he can get away with than you. Count your blessings you don’t have to spend the rest of your life trying to be “good enough” for him.

So maybe cheating isn’t necessarily a reason to end a marriage. But it might just be an indication of a much bigger issue that needs to be addressed if the relationship has any chance of surviving.

Do you think cheating is ever forgivable?

 

Image via Alex Bellink/Flickr