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The minute you learn the truth, you need to leave a cheating spouse. Here’s why it’s going to be the best thing you ever do.
TV shows and movies have left us with this idea that a cheater can change. There are all these stories of reconciling with a partner, but they tend to live in a fictional world to make people feel better about adultery. It’s time for TV shows and movies to change the narrative.
As soon as you find out your partner is unfaithful and you see signs of an unhealthy marriage, you need to leave. You may not be able to leave a cheating spouse right away. You need to get your ducks in order, but you need to take the steps to get those ducks in order. A (w)rec(k)oncilation isn’t possible. Not really.
I always said if I found out my partner was unfaithful, I’d leave. Well, that’s what I did. Yes, he also made the choice to leave for the affair partner, but I still walked away. There were times that I wondered if there was a way to make it work, but that was just the illogical side of my brain that was afraid of change. I can understand why people stay, but it’s not healthy for anyone.
Cheating is going to leave a mark
When you stay with a cheater, there are always going to be questions at the back of your head. Once that trust is broken, it’s almost impossible to get it back. You can end up leaving the city that it happened in but there will still be questions of whether it’s going to happen again. At least when you leave a cheating spouse, you’re not the ones with those questions.
Okay, I’ll admit that I find it hard to trust anyone now. To be honest, I had trust problems even before my cheating abusive ex, and now I have even more of them. However, it’s a little easier to trust someone who doesn’t have a history of cheating on you than it does to stay with someone who has already been unfaithful.
There is a saying of “once a cheater, always a cheater.” TV shows and movies have done a great job in making us think that isn’t the case. That it can be a “mistake.” Well, it’s not true. Cheating isn’t a “mistake” but a choice that the person has made. That choice can be made again.
Do you really want to play the marriage police for the rest of your time with that person? I wouldn’t!
And I say this as someone who had trust issues with my ex before his affair. I think he did have an affair in the past, but he said he just left for a few days and then came back, lying to me about a work conference that he was on. We never got to the bottom of that and he refused to talk about it, leading to a lot of doubt from me. After six years, I still wasn’t settled about that and then he did cheat. Could you imagine my doubts if I knew there was an affair before and I stayed?
Leave a cheating spouse to protect your boundaries
You’ve set a boundary in a marriage or a relationship. You want a monogamous relationship. There needs to be some sort of consequence for breaking that boundary, and that means leaving. If you don’t leave, you have just walked all over your own boundary.
This is just going to lead to the spouse doing something again. It may not be cheating, but it may be to trample on another boundary. And then another one. It only stops when you have had enough and you walk. But it’s so much harder to do that when you’ve let that spouse walk all over other boundaries.
Staying with the cheater shows that you aren’t going to stand by the consequences that you make. Why would they bother respecting future boundaries? Why would they respect you?
Love is a choice. It comes from trust and respect. Your cheating spouse has made it clear that they don’t respect you by cheating and you can’t trust them. There is no love on their end regardless of what they say. You don’t need to stay in a relationship that isn’t serving you.
It’s better to be single than in a one-way relationship
I can say now that being single is the best thing for me. I get to say what I’m doing and when. If my children are with me, it’s all about them. When I’m on my own, it’s all about me. I get to be selfish and look after myself in ways I haven’t been able to do in a long time. If I want a bath one night after a long day of work, I get to do that without someone complaining I’m not making time for him—time that would have been sent just lazing in front of the TV doing nothing while he was on his phone.
My marriage turned into a one-way relationship. I sacrificed a lot only to get nothing in return. However, I was gaslit into believing that I wasn’t given enough, and it did almost break me. I did go through a mental breakdown in the summer of 2020 for a lot of reasons. My ex-husband was part of that.
Looking back, I don’t know why I stayed for as long as I did. My life was filled with tiredness, anxiety, and depression. Now I’m closer to my older self than I have been in more than a decade. It wasn’t motherhood that caused a problem; it was the cheating, lying, abusive spouse.
Being single is far better than constantly trying to make a marriage work when it’s all one-sided. Being a single mom is much easier than a two-parent household where you end up doing the work as a single mom anyway.
MORE: 5 reasons to remain single
Are you struggling with infidelity in your marriage? Do you want the fairy tale movies and shows give us? It’s time to ignore them. Leave a cheating spouse to protect your physical and mental health.