I agree that making this decision requires some careful thought. Only you can decide whether your marriage is worth fighting for or whether it would be better for you to walk away. But let me tell you right off the bat: whichever way you go, the path won’t be easy.
If you decide to rebuild… it won’t be easy.
If you decide to walk away… it won’t be easy.
In fact, as I often tell couples, it takes about the same amount of energy to divorce as it does to rebuild.
Neither option is an easy option.
Here’s the kicker.
There’s no guarantee that either option will work.
Here’s what I mean…
I’ve worked with people who split in the heat of the moment when they discovered their partner’s infidelity — only to find themselves back on the dating scene, facing the same (or worse) problems than they had with their previous partner. And on the other hand, you can work your butt off to rebuild a marriage torn apart by infidelity, only to have something else come along and tear it apart again.
Rebuild or start over with someone new? There are no guarantees. Because while you trade partners, you don’t (and can’t) trade problems. The next partner down the line will wind up facing the same temptations as the partner you have now.
Am I saying that every woman is doomed to being unfaithful?
No, that’s not what I’m saying. All I’m pointing to is that no partner or relationship comes with guarantees. There’s no insurance policy against this type of thing. Jumping from one ship to another doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a smoother cruise.
Am I saying you should stay in a relationship regardless of your partner’s betrayal? NO. Again, that’s not what I’m saying. I believe there are times when “staying together at any price” is too high of a price to pay. The point I’m making here is that you don’t want to make a decision based on what you believe will be easier. (Because neither option is easy.)
Here’s a better idea.
Before you throw in the towel, why not sit down together and take an honest appraisal of the life you’ve built together. Take your time. Don’t let your emotions decide. Don’t let your pride decide. Don’t let fear decide. Don’t let discomfort or the urge to run away decide.
I’ve often found that a list of the pros and the cons can be very useful when facing a difficult decision. It might sound naïve, and yet sometimes, just seeing things written down in black and white on a sheet of paper can bring more clarity than trying to sort it out in your head. (Chances are, it just might help.)
Here’s a quick guide on utilizing the pros and cons method:
Begin by drawing two columns. On the left side will be the Pros. Here, I want you to make a list of the best reasons to stay together. On the right side will be the Cons. Write there the reasons to walk away.
Pros: Reasons To Stay || Cons: Reasons To Walk Away
Your list should include…
- Pros — long-term and short-term benefits
- Cons — long-term and short-term drawbacks
Your list should include not only things you would gain, but also things you would avoid, like having to pay child support and apartment rent. Make sure you cover in all the major categories of your life (family, career, money), and be sure to consider mental, emotional, and spiritual pros and cons.
You get the picture.
To make this exercise as helpful as possible, you’ll need to make your list as complete as possible and be as realistic as you can be.
Take a step back and look at your list. Now ask yourself this question: how many of the things on my list are driven by fear? How many of the things on the list are inspired by love? Put a check mark next to things inspired by love. Put an X next to things motivated by fear.
Give 10 points to each check mark and 5 points to each X.
Why does love win more points?
It’s simple. The best decisions in life are usually the ones based on Love. On the other hand, decisions we wind up regretting are usually based on fear. When it’s all said and done, you only want to rebuild your relationship from LOVE, not out of fear.
What’s on YOUR list?
The following are what I consider the 10 most compelling reasons to rebuild a marriage after infidelity. The more of these 10 reasons you find on your list, the more favorable (in my opinion) your reconciliation efforts will be.
Let’s look at the best reasons to rebuild your marriage next…