5 Scenarios that May Tip the Scale Towards Saying Goodbye
Last week, I wrote an article about when it makes sense for the betrayed partner to stay engaged in the relationship after infidelity.
Most of the couples that see me end up not only together but having a deeper and more connected relationship than before the affair. As I have said many times, this is not to say that cheating is a good thing; it is not. However, with my assistance and the willingness to do the work, these couples have been able to turn a crisis into an opportunity to mature and improve.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Sometimes I find myself in therapeutic situations where I am helping the betrayed partner face the reality that it is time to move on. I rarely if ever tell my clients what to do but in the process of therapy/counseling, it sometimes becomes apparent that it will be just too painful to stay. Here are signs that it could be time to let go and move on:
1) The person who cheated refuses to come to therapy and look within.
If that is the case, there is no reason to hope. People commit adultery because of feelings and issues going on inside of them. If the person who cheated is not willing to look within, why should you believe that it would not happen again? This person is probably not a good risk.
2) The partner who cheated is willing to come to therapy but does not display any capacity for self-reflection or awareness.
It is important to say here that this is where it is important to have a qualified therapist because many people have to be taught how to be self-aware. I have helped many people who in the beginning had low ability to self-reflect and look inside of themselves, but with guidance and practice, develop that important and necessary skill. Remember, it is important to understand what were the emotional and relationship factors that led to the choice to have an extramarital affair so it is necessary for each partner to go on a path of self-discovery.
3) The partner who betrayed understands why he or she did it but when it comes to making behavioral changes, the person refuses.
The reason a person in this situation will not make the necessary behavioral changes is that it is unfamiliar, uncomfortable and usually requires vulnerability. Here again, it is important to be clear. All of us will have automatic reflexes that lead to the same old status quo self-protective behaviors. There is always resistance and inertia to change. So, if either partner slips back to an old behavior, it is not the end of the world; it is to be expected. The key is to rebound, repair and reboot the new more courageous behavior that will lead to positive relationship progress.
4) Your partner refuses to listen to your pain even when prompted by the therapist or you.
Your partner wants you to just get over it and refuses to honor your pain, grief process and trauma. This is not just a once in a while relapse; your partner refuses to be mature enough to handle his or her own pain and let you have yours and this is a consistent pattern.
5) You, the betrayed partner have been through a process of therapy and self-discovery hopefully with your partner.
You have seen some goodwill and changes on your partner’s part as well as your own. However, you found you could not get past the betrayal so you went to therapy on your own with a qualified therapist. Despite the best intentions of yourself and the interventions of the therapist, you can feel that what happened was irreparable. You just cannot make your way back to your partner and you have psychologically moved on.
Leaving a relationship even after infidelity can be difficult.
You have made an investment in the marriage (and the family). You have financial as well as emotional ties with your partner and probably your partner’s family. There is a total unknown waiting for you once you start the separation process. However, despite these challenges, a partner who knows it is time to move on but does not has another set of consequences.
I am here to help people in this situation navigate through these turbulent waters as smoothly and as lovingly as possible. Feel free to contact me if you would like my assistance.