Finding out that your spouse has cheated on you has to be one of the most devastating gut punches a person can experience. It doesn't matter if things were rocky already, or if the unsuspecting party had no clue there was trouble in paradise -- it's a betrayal in its most intimate form.
So you got emotionally knocked flat on your back by a confession wrought after you uncovered some suspicious texts or receipts, or maybe even a sheepish unsolicited absolution of guilt. Well now what? What is the right thing to do when infidelity enters a marriage? Will you be a shmuck if you stay? Are you throwing the baby out with the bathwater if you go?
The only right answer is what's right for you. Let's say Mr. Cheater is perturbed at being caught, but doesn't seem very repentant or remorseful about it. Chances are this wasn't the first time and it won't be the last. Either decide to put up with it or leave.
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But what if your spouse has had a come-to-Jesus moment, and the affair was just what he needed to open his eyes to how wonderful you are, and he wants to spend the rest of his life building up his relationship with you? Then what do you do?
You can choose to stay and work it out, and there's a good chance your marriage will not only survive, but be better than ever. But there's one thing you're going to have to do, and it's probably going to be one of the hardest thing you'll ever do. You're going to have to truly forgive him, and rebuild that trust.
Without trust, a relationship can't have true intimacy, and without intimacy, it's going to fall flat on its face. Not that anyone should just forgive and forget and move on like nothing happened. There's going to be a lot of hard work for both of you. The cheater is going to have to really want to prove to you how faithful and caring he can be to you, but you're going to have to be willing to see it too.
He made a mistake. A very big, heinous mistake, but a mistake none the less. People do that. They need forgiveness to feel loved, and for a marriage to flourish, both partners must feel loved.
If the betrayal and hurt cut so deeply that you can't see yourself ever forgiving the other person, it's OK to walk away, your head held high. You were dealt a pretty huge blow, and there's no right or wrong way to deal with it.
Could you forgive a cheater?