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Is staying always wise ? Another Perspective


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I see a lot on this forum, especially concerning infidelity and advising people to stay in their marriages no matter what. And while I don’t think people should necessarily rush into divorce, is staying in a bad marriage always the right path ? I sometimes feel like people do more often than not just to appease society or for fear of what others may think.

Case in point- My (now ex) husband cheated on me when we were married. I heard ALL the same advice from friends and family- Stay together, don’t throw it away, you can get past this, etc. He claimed to love this OW. Of course, I didn’t believe him and said, “ She’s just a fling. He just loves the “newness” of the relationship. She couldn’t possibly love him. They are in love with love “etc. I knew in my heart that we weren’t really staying together for us, but for the sake of others. Being a thoughtful person, and not believing in rushing into anything- I listened. I stayed. Things did not get better. Even if he wasn’t seeing her, I always thought he was. And simply not seeing her, didn’t stop him from being in love with her. You don’t want to stay with someone who doesn’t love you, and is in love with someone else. Let me tell you, the hell of that is a MILLION times worse that the pain of divorce. Every time we made love, I was constantly thinking, “Is he thinking of her ?” It turns out that he really DID love her, and she really DID love him. Once we finally did get a divorce- It was mind reeling to discover that it really WASN’T this OW that drove a wedge between us, it was us. We had deep problems that weren’t resolved. Now that we are divorced, he is with her and they are very happy together, and will most likely be getting married. I am actually MUCH happier now that we are divorced. And I am finally thinking about dating again.

I guess I just want people to know that Divorce, while not a thing to do hastily, can be the best thing that ever happens to you. You can come out of it, and both be better off in the long run. If you know your spouse isn’t in love with you anymore- Do NOT force them to stay with you. Or stay together for appearances sake. Trust me when I say- you will only be hurting yourself.

Of course I recognize that every situation is different. And I am not trying to defend infidelity. (Especially in cases of repeat offenders, who merely do it for the thrill) I do believe problems should be attempted to be resolved before that can occur. But after it happens, I think people should really listen to their heart and determine if they really WANT the marriage and not stay simply because it’s the most socially acceptable (or comfortable) thing to do.

I just wanted to offer the flip side of the coin in this scenario. IMHO, staying in a bad marriage for the sake of staying is not necessarily the best thing to do. I do believe some marriages can survive infidelity. But I do think there are plenty of cases where people should listen to their heart instead of social conventions. If my ex husband had listened to his immediately and left me for her, it would have saved us both a LOT of pain. And we would have been in our happier lives much sooner. If we had continued to stay together, we would both still be massively unhappy. I don’t wish that pain on anyone.

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  • 2 weeks later...


Anyone that stays with someone who cheats is a spineless jellyfish and deserves what ever repeated misery comes there way.


This is such a judging response and I don't agree at all. When there are kids involved especially. You have to think of them not just yourself. Is it ok to turn their entire world upside down so you can make a point?


People stay for a variety of reasons, sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. In my case I left but not before figuring out how I would support three kids on my own.


I tried to forgive him, we both went to counselling but his heart wasn't in it. I wonder how many people that tell you to dump him would do just that if it were them. It's not that easy. You don't have to be a doormat and take it, but you do have to be a responsible parent and take care of your kids welfare.


I gave my ex a chance, to make it up to me, to save our family unit but he could not do that so I left but not until I was ready.


Don't be too quick to judge as you never know when this might happen to you!

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I agree that if both people aren't actively trying to fix the problems that led to the cheating, it might be best to go ahead and end the relationship. I say this because if the problems aren't addressed and corrected, nothing will change, and I believe it's very likely the cheating or some other symptom of the problem will emerge. I think it has to be both people working on resolution.


Unless of course a decision is made that the cheating will be tolerated. I think it's possible that some relationships can be structured this way. Especially in the case of children, although what kind of message is this sending to the kids about relationships? One thing I have found in life is that there's no such thing as secrets. the truth always comes out in the end it seems.


I guess what I'm saying is, it's a very personal decision and I don't believe there is one right answer. For me, I'm working on my personal issues, but my husband isn't, so I don't see it working out for us at this point. I haven't ended it yet but we are effectively separated until the end of the year anyway and I am questioning whether or not I am willing to stay together upon his return. I know there is no way he will do anything to try and fix his/our problems, he's decided it's all my fault he cheated, and if I change, then magically he won't want to cheat any more. Which I think is complete BS and he is not taking responsibility for his own actions.

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I agree with the OP that divorce can be the best thing that ever happened to you. Not proud of this statement, but my divorce date was the happiest day of my life. My ex-wife had an affair which ended our marriage. Before the affair, the marriage was ripe with criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. For the most part, she dished out the 2 C's (criticism and contempt) on a daily basis. And I would deflect and withdrawl. We tried marriage counseling for about 2 years, but despite alot of efforts on both of our part the negative image we had of each other from the previous 3-4 years could not be undone.


In the last 6 months of marriage, we gave up on counseling. We became peaceful room-mates. I told my ex-wife during this time that I would never leave her (in the absence of infidelity and physical violence in the relationship). Previous to this time, she would daily very coldly yell at me "You are not meeting my needs.....what don't you get about that? You must be stupid." In the 1st week of the last 6 months, I told her "well, if your needs aren't being met, then I suggest you find a way have them met because after 2 years of trying.....I'm sick of it. I'm gonna make myself happy. I'm gonna come home from work and relax." After that she was silent on the matter. I didn't care at this point, silence was a God-send and salvation from the daily onslaught of criticism and contempt I was accustomed to in the previous 5 years.


I don't want to dismiss the pain of the infidelity by any means. When I found out, that 1st week I could count the amount of hours I slept on 1 hand. I can't really even articulate the pain. The best I can tell you is that as a kid (around 11 years old) I fractured my skull. And the subsequent year, I suffered almost daily migraines dishing out pain that would make me scream until the pain-killers put me to sleep. The migranes lasted about a year and subsided never to come back.


I told you about the migraines to tell you this. That pain paled in comparison to the pain of my ex-wife's infidelity.


However, on a positive note. My ex-wife's infidelity offered 2 unhappy people an out from an unhappy marriage. Infidelity (for me anyways) is a kill shot to a relationship. I know there are many people that recover from it and stay married. I don't understand how that would be possible. Staying in a marriage, with a person capable of infidelity makes about as much sense to me as keeping a pet Cobra in the house. Yeah, with the proper cage and pre-cautions you can minimize the probability of a venomous strike. But why would you want to live with a Cobra in the house? Why risk it? Doesn't make sense.


In the previous 5 years (of criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling), my ex and I were metaphorically shooting each other with a pellet gun. It was metaphorically enough to break the skin and cause a serious infection. But it wasn't enough to kill the relationship in our case. Although the pain of infidelity was painful beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Once the pain subsided, I am truly thankful that my ex-wife pulled the trigger on the metaphorical shot-gun plast that ended our marriage. I am truly thankful that she gave us both the closure. Somebody had to. And I wasn't going to sleep with another woman.


Also, I'm glad she used a metaphorical shotgun and not a real one which was her other way out of the marriage.

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So, you wouldn't have left unless it was for your ex's infidelity? There was no point where you would have thought that you should divorce and would have actually gone through it?


I am astonished because infidelity, by itself, is a bullet but all of those other things are huge items that contribute to the overall decay of the relationship.


I suspect the majority of people would live with that decay.



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