Forgive or walk away; Every person goes through this dilemma after infidelity. While this betrayal of trust can be totally shattering, still some people choose to grant their relationship a second chance. But is this the right thing to do? When to know that walking away might be the right choice to make?
Knowing when to walk away after infidelity is very important.
The trauma of discovering infidelity is devastating and it leaves us with jumbled thoughts and no idea how to move forward. As a result, we often make choices that are not in our best interest, choices that can drag out recovery indefinitely.
Knowing when to walk away after infidelity, keeping a lookout for signs that will let you know that it is time, is the key to making sure that the infidelity doesn’t affect the rest of your life.
Here are five ways to know when to walk away after infidelity.
Understanding them might help you take the steps forward that you need to take to get through this.
1. The cheater refuses to take ownership.
Does your partner, the one who cheated on you, refused to take responsibility for what they did? Do they tell you that it wasn’t a big deal, that it happened once, that the sex wasn’t very good and that you should just get over it?
Does your partner, the one who cheated on you, blame you for what they did? Do they tell you that if you had only been nicer or had more sex with them or given them more freedom, they would never have cheated?
If a cheater isn’t willing to take ownership of what they did, to own up to the fact that they violated the boundaries of your relationship and they caused you a tremendous amount of pain, it’s definitely time to walk away.
Someone who isn’t willing to take ownership of the fact that they cheated is somebody who might very well cheat again. They don’t believe that they were at fault and, consequently, they might see cheating as something that they can do again.
2. The cheater refuses to talk about what happened.
I am sure, now that you know about the affair, that you have a lot of questions about what happened.
You probably want to know why it happened, how it happened, and all the nitty-gritty details so that you can wrap your mind around all of it. Perhaps you believe that if you only had more information, you could make sense of it all.
When you approach your partner to talk about infidelity, do they shut you down? Do they refuse to talk about it and suggest that you act like it didn’t happen and move on? Do they yell and scream when you try to ask questions, telling you that you are being stupid to even ask?
A key part of surviving infidelity is communication. It is important that your person is honest with you, that they are willing to talk about what happened. If you are wondering when to walk away after infidelity, this is definitely an indicator that it might be.
All of that being said, I would absolutely recommend that you don’t ask too many questions. That you get some clarity about what is going on that brought you to this place but, I believe, that knowing too many details will ultimately be harmful.
One of my clients demanded that her husband show her all of the text messages between him and his lover. She regrets it. She saw things that she could never unsee, things that caused her substantially more pain and that stuck with her as they tried to work through this and beyond, after they got divorced.
So, keep that in mind going forward, especially if you want to work through this and maybe come out the other side intact.
3. The cheater isn’t willing to make change.
A key part of surviving infidelity is recognizing the need for change. The need for change in the relationship, the need for a change of perspective, and the need for things to be different going forward.
To survive infidelity, it is important to take a look at the relationship and what is missing from it. It is important to discuss how to do things differently moving forward. It is important to define boundaries that you might need to process what has happened.
After I found out that my ex had cheated, I requested that we go to therapy. I wanted to work through what had happened. I wasn’t sure I would be able to forgive him but I wanted to try. He said that he would go but only so ‘we could move on.’ He wasn’t willing to make the change – he wanted me to accept what had happened and move forward, like an ostrich, with my head in the sand.
I didn’t forgive him. We didn’t ‘move on’ after his cheating. And his unwillingness to make the change, to look at what we could do differently, to fight for our relationship, was a key sign for me of when to walk away after infidelity.