So many couples therapists would tell you to work it out ... but not me.
Lots of women in high-profile marriages seem to stay with their men after they're caught cheating. Why? Is it a power thing? A comfort thing? Money, perhaps? Or, could it be a fear of being alone?
I'm in the business of helping marriages stay together. I work as a licensed marriage therapist, after all. But if you've caught your man having a full-blown affair, is staying together always a good idea? I don't think so.
To all of you women who have dealt with infidelity in your marriage, I would like to give you 10 reasons why you should not stay with your spouse.
1. Past behavior indicates future behavior.
If your spouse cheated on you and you found out about it, there's a really good chance it wasn't his first time — and there's even a better chance that it won't be his last.
2. Your spouse threw your safety under the bus.
When your partner decided to have a fling, he exposed you to risk — risk that his paramour may have a disease that could spread to you and risk that she's so crazy that you'll become the target of her rage when he dumps her.
I've had patients in this situation tell me they've been stalked, cyber-stalked, harassed, and even publicly slandered on social media networking sites.
3. You respect yourself.
You deserve a partner who honors marital vows just like you do. Cheating is disrespectful of you and your marriage — you don't need to accept it or forgive it if you don't want to.
In time your spouses' infidelity may wear on your self-esteem. When that happens, you could actually start to believe you don't deserve a husband who treats you better.
4. You can devote your time and energy to seeking a new, healthy relationship.
You can either spend your time being miserable in your current marriage, or you can start putting your energy toward healing emotionally and finding a new relationship that makes you happy — one that's good for you.
5. Your spouse is a coward.
By this actions, your spouse has demonstrated he is afraid to talk with you openly about his feelings and issues and instead took the easy way and acted out. He was not courageous enough to try to work things out with you.
6. Your spouse blames you for his affair.
Let me make this crystal clear for you — it's not your fault. You did not make your husband sleep with another woman. Your husband chose to do it. Don't let him put the blame on you. He needs to take responsibility for his actions and own them.
7. You're a role model for your children.
Always remember that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. If you want your kids to grow up and learn that it's not OK to put up with a cheating spouse, you will do best leading by example.
8. Your emotional and physical health is at stake.
Over time, the emotions you feel over your husband's infidelity could make you feel stressed, anxious, and depressed. Your emotional health will take a toll on your physical health. It's important to protect your well-being and stay healthy.
9. The longer you wait, the harder it is to make big changes.
It's not a big secret that the older we get, the more difficult it gets to make significant life changes. Many women stay with unfaithful spouses for years thinking they'll eventually come to their senses.
How much of your life are you willing to sacrifice to see if that actually happens? Hint: It probably won't.)
10. You could become the target of your husband's rage.
It's incredibly common for the unfaithful husband to become enraged when he sees his wife as a roadblock to being with his lover. What if she starts demanding that he "gets rid of you" to be with her?
You know those stories of love triangles going wrong, where the faithful spouse is the one who ends up hurt? They don't just happen on the news and in movies.
Christina Steinorth-Powell is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Author of Cue Cards for Life: Thoughtful Tips for Better Relationships and popular media Relationship Expert. Her advice is often featured in such media outlets as Fox News, NBC News, CBS News, The Wall Street Journal, Woman's Day Magazine, USA Today among many others. You can read more about her on her website.