There’s a famous saying that goes “Shame on you, you fooled me once. Shame on me, you fooled me twice.” This saying might come to mind if you are in a marriage where your spouse has been caught cheating. Maybe it’s only happened once, or maybe it’s happened numerous times.
You might be feeling confused, hurt, angry and heartbroken. Of course, all these emotions are normal. Betrayal is the worst kind of heartache between two people.
The question is what do you do? Do you give your spouse another chance? Do you ask for a divorce immediately? When and should you ask for a divorce after infidelity?
Here’s all you need to know.
When it comes to getting a divorce after your spouse has been unfaithful, knowing what to do can be really hard. The only person who can really answer that question is you. You know whether or not you can forgive your spouse.
You know if it’s only happened once, or if it’s happened more than once with various people. Another thing you will need to consider is if you could ever trust your spouse again.
What have studies shown?
Studies have shown that once a person cheats the chances of them cheating again are highly likely. So if you caught your spouse cheating, they might have already done it in the past, or perhaps they could do it again later. Studies showed that those who cheated were three times more likely to cheat again.
The reason could be because they might “normalize” their behavior and think it’s okay.
There are also different types of infidelity. Did your partner sleep around? Or were they sending dodgy sexy messages and photos to someone? Was it emotional cheating?
Every situation is different and every couple is different. This specific study was related to people who had sex with someone other than their marriage mate.
Studies have also shown that in 41% of marriages, a spouse has admitted to having an affair. This could be either physical or emotional. This is a really high percentage. So if your spouse has cheated on you, know that you are not alone.
Another poll that was done showed how 441 people admitted to cheating. More than half of those couple’s marriages ended in divorce. 30% tried to save their marriages but then ended up getting divorced anyway and only 15.6% managed to save their marriages after infidelity.
When to ask for a divorce?
There are various factors that you can consider.
1] Has your spouse cheated on you a number of times?
If your spouse has cheated on you more than once, then getting a divorce might be what’s needed for your own sanity. Your spouse’s track record has shown you that they are not going to change. They might cry and beg for you to stay after the 10th affair, playing on your emotions, but actions speak louder than words.
In this case, you might want to ask for a divorce, and that’s okay. Living in constant heartache, wondering if your spouse is with someone else, is torture. If they have also cheated a number of times with different partners, it shows that they don’t respect or love you, they have put you at a greater risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
2] Has your spouse sincerely apologized?
Perhaps your spouse has only cheated for the first time. Have they sincerely apologized to you? Or do they play the blame game? If they haven’t apologized and blamed you for the affair, the chances are that they are not sorry. It also points to deeper problems in your marriage. In this case, you could always try to go to marital counseling.
But you will have to work together to get your marriage to work, and if your cheating spouse doesn’t come to the party, there is only so much that you can do.
You will both need to work together to rebuild trust. This is hard work. You will both need to be honest and open all the time, perhaps knowing the passwords to your spouse’s phone, email and so on. Communicating about your feelings and spending time together is imperative if you want your marriage to work.
3] Is your spouse treating you with disrespect?
How is your spouse treating you? Are they treating you with disrespect? Maybe even mocking the hurt that you are feeling? Perhaps they could be using sarcasm or just treating you badly. If this is the case, then it’s probably time to get out. Why torture yourself with a spouse who not only cheats but treats you terribly.
4] Has your spouse broken contact with their lover?
Another important thing that has to happen after an affair, is for your spouse to cut their lover out of their life completely. This has to happen. If they are still in contact with their lover, how sorry are they? The chances of them cheating again will be high, and this also shows no concern for your feelings.
If your spouse is in the same company as the person they had an affair with, are they willing to cut ties with them completely? Perhaps moving to another department, or even finding another job. If they keep using excuses to keep in contact with their lover, then divorce might be the way forward.
Communication is important, your spouse will need to tell you if their lover tries to contact them again. They should also delete them from all social media, block them on their phones and emails. If they can do this for you, then your marriage might stand a chance.
5] Is your spouse willing to get tested?
As mentioned before, if your spouse has cheated, are they willing to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases? Sleeping around with various partners puts you both at risk for illness such as HIV. If your spouse gets tested, are they willing to show you their results? This is an important step to rebuilding trust.
6] You both don’t care anymore
If you and your spouse couldn’t care anymore about your marriage, then this is a big sign that your marriage is over and divorce is looming. Maybe the hurt is too great, maybe you are just exhausted and couldn’t care anymore. If you feel this way then asking for a divorce after infidelity might be the way forward.
It’s really hard to make the decision to divorce a spouse after infidelity. Only you will know deep down what the right thing to do will be. It takes time to make the right choice. Don’t be hasty.
If you have children, and your spouse seems genuinely sorry, there might be a chance that your marriage could survive. It will take a lot of work, patience, love, and honesty to save your marriage.
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