This is the second in a series of letters written by betrayed wives. Each letter explains their reasons for staying or leaving after discovering their partner was in a relationship with an affair partner. If you are struggling with what to do, please know that you're not alone; many betrayed wives have made this tough decision. Learn how they handled it.
Should I Stay or Go After Being Cheated On?
Our shared experience of betrayal is one of the most painful and is often compounded by the fear that we might make the wrong decision when it comes to staying or going. By sharing our experiences, we find comfort in the fact that others have survived and are even thriving after making that decision.
Ultimately we are responsible for our healing, and owning this important task gives us back our power so we can face the many difficult decisions infidelity brings. If you want to talk more about how you too can find the strength to heal, please reach out by booking a free coaching call.
I trust you get inspired by Rachel’s letter and by her courage as she shares her healing journey. If you want to send her a message you can leave a comment at the bottom of this page. And if you haven't already, please click here to read another letter from a betrayed wife.
These letters were written a year ago, and I have asked the authors to review their letters to see how they have changed and grown over the past year. They have made updates to their letters in red.
Should I stay or go after being cheated on? My thoughts...
I did both!
So much has changed in the last year. I faced new challenges and watched many changes unfold. This puts a new perspective on what I wrote a year ago thinking about staying and leaving my cheating, now ex-husband.
His confession five years ago destroyed my heart, my mind, my body, my dreams —- my life. I’m the mother of five young children and a Christian. While I was homeschooling, feeding, parenting, housekeeping, he was off living a double life.
Should I stay?
Nobody asked me this question. He wanted to reconcile. And I had to forgive him. Forgive yes, stay no. After all, how could I leave? I could barely stop crying, let alone get out of bed. I was heartsick. And he wasn’t going anywhere. He was the one who should have left. He was still the family man he always claimed to be.
I was stuck. I was not stuck
I was weak. I was strong
I was afraid. The things I was afraid of were manageable
I had no way out. He had to go, not me.
I still wanted to have a whole and happy family. I still do, even without him.
Should I go?
The next three years were a rollercoaster ride from hell. On the surface, he was saying the right things to the right people. He was still lying. He did whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. He was still entitled. His secrecy grew. He continued to betrayed me and kids. He became hostile. He was being manipulative. I said no. I was a good victim. I wanted out but was stuck with nowhere to go and no money. I was not stuck, I was home and didn’t have to leave. I should have filed for child support right away. He controlled it all. I did too, I just handed it over to him.
Then there were the times he bought me diamond earrings, went to a marriage retreat, took me to Budapest, bought me a house, and made lots of empty promises. These were all parts of the abuse cycle, trying to keep me under his control.
I was very confused until I focused on healing myself. Best thing I ever did. I stopped receiving his hatred and loved myself. I set boundaries, small at first. I stopped believing the lies and listened to myself. I regained trust in myself. I did the things that would rebuild a healthy heart, mind, and life. I did self-care.
As I healed, many realities hit me hard. Our home had become toxic. It always was, just not fully apparent until the ugly truth was known. I was in a very unsafe situation. It took me a long time to realize this. I believed I had a good life. Our children were hitting new bad behavior lows every day. This happened because my authority was undermined by their father. He was spinning the narrative - he was the savior of the family, and I was the detriment.
He was physically violent.
He was verbally abusive.
He blamed me and controlled me.
I was financially dependent on him and in debt because of him.
He was still in a relationship with the other woman.
He was a bad behavior model for the kids.
These are all the ways he controlled me to continue being a “cake eater” the man with a respectable family and a relationship on the side.
Although these truths became clear, despite his lies and manipulation, I was still stuck. I was not stuck, I believed the illusion of power he held over me, until I realized it was fake.
Yes, I decided I must go. The truth is the old me had to go, the new healthy me takes the stage.
First, I made a couple of small and reasonable requests for transparency. He laughed at me. Over time it became very clear as I listened to him, most of what he said was a lie or a twisting of the truth. I had to retrain myself out of the manipulation. I had a new listening boundary that filtered truth from lies.
Leaving started small. I left when he was verbally abusive. Yes! Healthy boundaries, I did not agree with or allow any hostility directed at me. At first, it was a couple of hours; then it became the whole weekend. I made a therapeutic separation agreement. He didn’t agree to any of it but he didn’t have to. I honored it. That turned into a formal separation. Without meeting the healthy objectives, we were done. Finally, I moved out with my kids. I had to get healthy first and then I found opportunity.
He has not changed. He continues to be a thorn in my parenting side. His tactics don’t get anywhere with me and are irrelevant. The threats and malicious attempts all failed.
I have changed. That’s an understatement. I am proud of my recovery. I’m thankful to have opened my eyes and ears to see the truth. I have new dreams and hope for my today and future. The same shattered dreams from before betrayal have reappeared and been reimagined in such beauty. Some even better than I ever thought possible. My children have the opportunity to choose healthy relationships, and so do I. This was one of the biggest reasons I left. I didn’t want my kids to think this abusive relationship was normal. Now they get to watch a healthy relationship with someone new in my life.
Yes you can and will!
Yours on the journey
I’m a firm believer that everything happened in perfect timing. Still, today, I ask myself why I didn’t leave sooner. I know the reasons why I stayed. Looking back they don’t hold the power over me they once did. First off, I believed I didn’t have the option to leave. Really, he was the one who had to go. Secondly, my own sadness and fear was my biggest obstacle, more than anything else. My overwhelming emotions handicapped me from thinking clearly and healthily. This made me a good victim, in ways I didn’t realize at the time. Thirdly, taking care of self is number one priority and all else will fall into place. The opportunities are there to solve our problems. Often our own weaknesses keep us from seeing them. But when we become healthier the solutions and opportunity are waiting.
P.S. Invest in yourself and take the Betrayed Wife Self-Care Course. It's a great place to start and YOU are worth it! I so glad that I kept working at and prioritising my self-care, along doing more courses from the Betrayed Wife site. Learning to become healthier has helped me face and overcome the many challenges life has thrown my way. Mostly, that I mindfully enjoy the life I am creating for myself and my children now.
Rachel's journey has been one of pure bravery. She is an inspiration to us. Please reach out if you need support, help, or just want to talk about your decision to stay or leave after infidelity. You don't have to take this journey alone.
And please leave Rachel a message in the comment box below. If you also want to share your story to support the other betrayed wives on this site, please contact me.
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