Cheating partners are not partners. This is the most important thing to remember. Once that trust has been broken, and abused, one of you is no longer committed to the relationship. It is also important to remember that the implications of cheating are not limited to just mothers. Regardless of whether there are children to be considered or not, there is no difference between a woman who is suffering a cheating husband and a mother who is suffering a cheating father. Cheating affects all women, regardless of marital status, age, race, or sexual orientation.
- break the cycle
- reassure your children that your divorce has nothing to do with them
- remember that kids care more about how they’re going to live than how you’re going to live
- decide if you can forgive
- end your relationship if the situation is limited to one act of infidelity
- tell your children why you are separating from their father
- use your children to hurt your husband
- forgive just to avoid divorce
If you realize you are being cheated on, especially as a mother, you might make the sometimes difficult decision to end the marriage. You want to avoid setting a bad example for your kids, but you also want to avoid staying in a dysfunctional relationship has severe consequences for both you and your children. Don’t let circumstances choose the place you're hurt and anger go to.
If you are ending your marriage because of serial cheating, then you and your spouse must come to a mutual decision about how you will tell your kids. Never tell them it is because their father had an affair. Instead tell them that the life you wanted is not the life you have, but that one of the things you both wanted and both have is wonderful children. You will continue to love them just as much just you will live with them in separate houses. To lessen the blow, especially for young children, tell them they will have two of everything now, two Christmases, two Hanukkahs, two birthday parties, all which mean double presents.
The kids will care more about what this means for them so be prepared to answer questions about how their time will be split, who is moving out, how the holidays will be spent, etc. Usually they want to know as little as possible about this, because it can be tough for them to hear. So they might not ask why you and their father are separating, just what this means for them.
If your husband is truthful about his cheating, and is truly sorry then it is up to you to decide if you can see past that and forgive him. Can you handle knowing what he did? Will you live in constant fear that he will do it again? These are all questions only you can answer, and you must be honest with yourself because if you agree to stay in the relationship, you can’t punish your husband for what he did.
This is hard to hear for many women, but it’s the truth. If your spouse has cheated one time, and has come clean about it, making a drastic decision such as divorce might not be the best idea. Many people say “once a cheater, always a cheater” but that is a generalization. People make mistakes. One single act of infidelity is not a reason for divorce. However, if your husband is involved in a long-standing affair, then that is more threatening to your marriage because marriage requires commitment.
A cheating man might make a terrible husband, but that does not make him any less of a father. It is vital that you understand this and not take out your anger at your husband on your kids by telling them what their father did. This will shatter the illusion they have of their father, and it will take hard work to restore that image.
In these scenarios women will look for any way to hurt their husband, and the easiest weapon is the children’s relationship with their father. Telling them what their father only hurts them and never gives you the satisfaction you want. Do not interfere in the relationship with children and their father. They will come to their own conclusions as to why the marriage ended when they are older. Living with resentment will only hurt you.
If you choose to forgive, then you have to mean it and truly want to move on. You have to believe to forgive, if not chances are you will grow more resentful and resentment hurts you and no one else. Ask yourself if you can truly forgive or if this is going to be a life sentence for your partner. Can you heal from this and forgive? If the answer is no, don't continue to live in anger and/or be with someone who causes you pain.
Cheating is not a death sentence for a relationship. There are many factors that play into whether or not divorce is inevitable. Remember it is not possible to be committed to two people at the same time so if your husband is having an affair then it is safe to assume that the marriage is over. But if your husband has a single act of indiscretion, it may be too hasty to retain a divorce lawyer, if in fact you are able to forgive him and move past the incident.
All of this requires you to be honest with yourself. If you know that you will always see him as a cheater, then you need to end the relationship. It is not fair to you or him to stay in a relationship under false pretenses. If you are a mother, remember that your children are silent witnesses to your behavior. Keep them out of your battles with their father as much as possible. You want to sugar coat this for them, in their case ignorance is bliss. They truly had nothing to do with this, so telling them more than they need to know will just hurt them more. Above all maintain your dignity, for your sake and for your kids sake. This will help you make decisions and keep your priorities in order.