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Should I Stay or Leave After Infidelity?

Man stood on rock. Walking away after infidelity

No matter how strong you may feel, infidelity is something that shakes the core of relationships and the personality of those affected.


Accurate statistics are notoriously hard to find when it comes to infidelity, there are so many factors at play. The success of a relationship post-betrayal depends on age, state of the relationship pre-betrayal, culture, societal pressure, length of the relationship, married or not, personality types, kids, tied finances, friend groups, is it the first time? ... the list goes on!

"I can say however, from my own experience that my relationship is stronger than it was before my wife had an affair."

When trust is broken, it leaves both partners reeling, filled with hurt, anger, guilt, and grief.

What comes next can feel overwhelming. Is it possible to mend the trust, or is it better to part ways?

This guide provides clear advice for those facing the question; Should I stay or leave after infidelity?

We'll explore: 

  • Answering the difficult question

  • When it might be time to move on 

  • How to leave gracefully

Based on conversations with many who've been through this tough time plus my own experience, let me offer some insights to help you think through what’s best for you and your relationship.

With the right support and careful consideration, you can find a way forward, ready to embrace a hopeful new beginning, even after the deepest betrayals.

Even if you have decided to walk away, it's common for doubt to remain, so here are ten crucial signs to check off first.

Checklist: Deciding Whether to Stay or Leave After Infidelity

1. Assess Your Emotions

a. Are your decisions being driven by impulsive emotions like anger or fear?

b. Have you given yourself enough time and space to process your feelings?

2. Evaluate the History of Infidelity

  • Is this the first time your partner has cheated?

  • If infidelity has occurred before, consider the pattern and frequency.

3. Analyse Your Commitment

  • How invested are you in the relationship?

  • Consider the length and depth of your relationship and your level of commitment.

4. Gauge Your Emotional Capacity

  • Do you have the emotional energy required to work on the relationship?

  • Are you feeling emotionally drained or overwhelmed?

5. Check for Genuine Remorse

  • Has your partner expressed true remorse and taken responsibility for their actions?

  • Is your partner making tangible efforts to rebuild trust?

6. Confirm the Affair Has Ended

  • Is the affair definitively over, with no lingering ties between your partner and the other person? (This will not happen overnight)

  • Has your partner committed to complete transparency moving forward?

7. Identify the Root Causes of the Infidelity

  • Understand the underlying issues that led to the infidelity.

  • Are both partners willing to address these issues to prevent future occurrences?

8. Reflect on Your Reasons for Staying

  • Are you considering staying for the right reasons, such as love and a belief in the relationship’s potential?

  • Avoid staying out of fear, obligation, money, logistics, or for the sake of others (e.g., children).

9. Evaluate Remaining Love and Connection

  • Do you and your partner still love each other? (If romantic love is not present, do you both actively want to work towards rediscovering it?)

  • Is there a strong emotional connection worth fighting for?

10. Determine Willingness to Work Together

  • Are both of you willing to put in the hard work required to mend the relationship?

  • Is there a mutual commitment to undergo counselling, therapy or coaching if needed?

Deciding to Leave….

If you believe your partner will never cheat again, the decision to stay may hinge on whether you think you can truly forgive them. However, if deep down you feel that you can't move past the betrayal, even if you still love them and believe it was a one-time incident, it's essential to trust your instincts and consider ending the relationship.

Unfortunately, once infidelity occurs, it often casts a long shadow over the relationship, making it difficult to progress without ongoing resentment and fear of recurrence. This fear can prevent you from fully opening your heart again, fundamentally altering the nature of your connection.

Here are six practical steps for leaving a cheating partner:


How to Leave a Cheater: Navigating the Aftermath of Infidelity

1. Keep a Journal

Journaling can provide clarity in the chaos of infidelity. It serves as a private outlet for your fears, frustrations, and feelings, offering a semblance of talking to a trusted friend. Journal entries can be a valuable reference when feelings of confusion or weakness arise, helping you remember why you're considering leaving.

Journal Prompts to Consider:

  • How do you feel about your partner right now?

  • What aspects of the infidelity make you the angriest?

  • Do you feel betrayed? Why does this feel like a betrayal?

  • What do you wish you could say to your partner?

  • Can you foresee forgiving or trusting your partner again?

2. Create a Safety Plan

Preparing a safety plan is something you may want to consider, similar to how victims of domestic violence plan their exits. This depends very much on the relationship between you and your unfaithful partner. If you feel unsafe, a safety plan is essential. If you are communicating well and the separation is more amicable then only consider the parts that are relevant to your situation.

This plan should account for potential financial concealment by your partner and ensure your and your children’s legal and physical safety.

Steps to Include in Your Safety Plan:

  • Secure important documents such as identification, financial records and if applicable, any evidence of the infidelity (check the law in your country/region).

  • Open a separate bank account and set aside funds for living expenses and legal fees.

  • Even in amicable separations, it's important to legally define the terms of separation, such as asset division and, if applicable, custody arrangements to avoid potential misunderstandings or conflicts in the future.

  • Set clear communication boundaries, especially if children are involved. This is also important if there are mutual business or financial interests.

  • Consider your living arrangements. Where will you go?

3. Allow Yourself Time to Grieve

Recognise that grieving the end of your relationship is necessary. Allow yourself time to heal and rediscover who you are outside of your partnership. Avoid rushing into another relationship.

4. Surround Yourself With Support

Share your situation with friends and family to gather support. If you prefer not to receive advice, specify that you are looking for emotional support only. Consider joining online support groups or engaging with a professional.

5. Reconnect With Yourself

Reengage with friends, hobbies, and interests that you might have neglected during your relationship. Focus on self-care and reestablish your individuality, which is often compromised in romantic relationships.

6. Connect With Your Emotions

Regularly check in with your emotions to understand what you are feeling and why. This self-awareness will help you identify what you need to heal and move forward healthily.

Couple sitting on kerb. Woman crying. Man close by.

Seeking Professional Help

As someone who has navigated these challenges, I bring not just theoretical knowledge but lived experience and empathy. Combining this with my professional credentials as a certified life coach, I create a safe and understanding space for my clients to heal.

A Structured Recovery Plan  

  1. Acknowledging Emotions: I create a space where you can express your feelings, which is essential for your mental health. Research indicates that emotional expression is a key step in recovering from traumatic experiences.

  2. Self-Care and Rebuilding Self-Worth: Engage in activities that foster self-esteem and personal well-being, which are vital in overcoming depression. Studies have shown that self-care practices can significantly reduce symptoms of depression.

  3. Building Emotional Resilience: Introducing strategies like mindfulness and coaching tools, are proven to be effective in managing the aftermath of betrayal.

  4. Understanding Infidelity Dynamics: Providing insights into the why’s and how’s of infidelity, which can be crucial for healing and future relationship choices.

  5. Re-establishing Trust: Whether rebuilding the relationship or starting anew, learning to trust again is a journey supported by clear communication and boundary setting.


Your Infidelity Recovery BEGINS HERE

Build a Future You Trust - Starting With You!

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In the complimentary  Discovery Call, we'll spend 30 minutes in a no-pressure conversation, unlocking valuable insights together.

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Extended Support Through Resources

My podcast, "After the Affair", along with other resources like the blog and workbooks, offers additional support. These tools draw from the latest research and expert opinions, providing a well-rounded approach to healing.

The journey to recovery starts with a simple, yet powerful step – reaching out for help. This could be through scheduling a discovery call, engaging with available resources, or simply listening to an episode of the podcast. Go deeper into this article with Epsiode 65. Choice or Obligation: Should I Stay or Leave After the Affair?

Final Thoughts 

As an infidelity coach, I would offer that the decision to stay or walk away after infidelity requires deep introspection and thoughtful consideration. It's crucial to evaluate your emotions, the history and pattern of infidelity, and both partners' commitment levels.

Assessing genuine remorse and the definitive end of the affair is essential. 

If you consider staying, it's important to ensure that the decision is made for the right reasons, like a belief in the relationship's potential and mutual love, rather than out of fear or obligation. 

On the other hand, if leaving is the path chosen, preparing a safety plan, allowing time to grieve, and seeking support are critical steps to ensure a healthy transition. 

Ultimately, whether rebuilding or moving on, the focus should always be on honest reflection, emotional readiness, and proactive steps towards healing and growth.

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