Unfaithful Partner? Should You Stay Or Go?


How can you know the right action to take? Here are steps to understanding what to do.

When your partner is unfaithful, deep hurt, anger, embarrassment or a desire for revenge can block the clarity you crave. Sometimes it’s true, “Enough’s enough. It’s time to go and move on.” Sometimes it’s better to stay. After you express yourself and set firm boundaries, are you weak if you stay . . . or will forgiveness make you the strongest you’ve ever been? How will you resolve your inner conflicts and discover the keys to the loving relationship you deserve?


Please notice the painful inner conflict when you read Pat’s story.

“My partner had an affair . . . more than once. I’ve learned from the pain of his infidelity because I finally said, ‘Never again or I’m leaving you!’ Now he says he’s chosen me – finally and forever. I want to believe him but I fear becoming a fool again. I also want to do what’s best for our family.

Part of me thinks I should be like The Dalai Lama: Forgive, forgive, forgive. The other half of me wants to get out now to avoid more potential pain. I become more confused when I talk to my friends. Some of them tell me I’m being weak and a poor role model for our children. Other friends admire my strength. They say they would have given up right away and their family would have suffered even more.”


Man or woman, single or married, pain and confusion plagues us when a partner is unfaithful. Pat deserves a big “Congratulations!” for her courage to consciously learn everything she can learn from this experience. Our partners play whatever roles we need for them to play so we can learn and grow. That’s a magical component of both dating and marriage, although the gifts we give each other are sometimes wrapped in very ugly wrapping paper.

When we don’t learn a lesson the first time we’re challenged, our dilemma returns . . . usually in a magnified manner . . . until we grow. Pat proved that to herself. Her partner had more than one affair.


Since Pat has forgiven herself for not setting boundaries sooner and not wanting to perceive the truth, she has already forgiven the one person she most needs to forgive. Until we forgive ourselves for setting ourselves up for disrespect, most of us feel like a victim. Then we blame someone else for our unhappiness.

Because Pat has forgiven herself, she is also free to forgive her partner if she chooses. This is a very precious gift Pat can give herself. Forgiveness liberates us. Our energy is free to focus on more positive, productive thoughts. We discover how to create loving, win-win relationships of all types. When we face a dilemma like Pat’s, whether we go or stay, forgiveness is an immense gift of self-love. Our hearts are open, first to ourselves and then to other people.


You are the master weaver of the tapestry of your life, whether you decide to walk away from your relationship or stay with your partner. Although it’s important to have a network of friends to support you, you are the one person who knows what’s best for you.

When you discover how to consciously make the decision that’s best for you and your family, you trust your inner knowingness. You learn to honor all parts of your inner guidance system. You tune into three innate decision-making tools designed to instantly serve you – your heart, intellect and gut. You are clear, strong and empowed.


Most people say whether to stay or leave their relationship after an affair is the most difficult decision they ever make. How will you reach agreement with these two conflicting parts of yourself? Part of you may be saying that the most magnanimous thing you can do is put your ego on the back burner and try to make your relationship work for the sake of your family.

Here’s another point of view. Once you’ve set firm boundaries and stood up for yourself, creating a much higher level of self-respect, you’ve taken advantage of a painful learning opportunity. You’re becoming “experientially gifted.”


If the comments of well-meaning family and friends are clouding your vision and you’re struggling to decipher the clues to your inner truth, hire a relationship coach trained to work with couples in crisis. Whether you’re married and considering divorce or you’re single and struggling with a committed relationship, we help you emerge from conflicts better; not bitter. You can discover the essential tools for recovering from an affair and creating loving supportive relationships of all types, including:

  • How to avoid being trapped by the fight-or-flight syndrome. You make decisions from a clear, resourceful state of mind instead of rushing forward in a state of fear, despair, anger or a desire for revenge.
  • How to discover why an affair occurred. Then you’ll know if the pattern will probably be repeated. Physical infidelity is preceded by emotional infidelity. To avoid  online another betrayal, it’s essential to identify what needs weren’t being met. A need for sex isn’t the root cause of most affairs. An affair usually occurs because the offending partner longs to feel desirable, important and validated. When the hidden cause of an affair is discovered, both partners can make intelligent decisions.
  • How to decide if it will be possible for you to be your authentic self within your existing relationship. You discover how to express your needs and gain the love and support you deserve.
  • How to determine how the needs of your children can best be met. You won’t stay in an unfulfilling relationship that would compromise your children’s wellbeing. You’ll discover how to improve your current relationship or create a divorce with good karma.
  • Finally, discover how to affair-proof any relationship by becoming the strong, empowered person you are destined to be.

Are you ready to create a new life story? Download your free ebooks and MP3s at http://coachingbydoris.com/freerelationshipebooks. Sign up for your complimentary “Relationship Breakthrough Consultation” with licensed, certified coach and bestselling author, Doris Helge, Ph.D. at http://CoachingByDoris.com. Doris helps you discover Your Authentic Self & enjoy Your Perfect Partner. She is author of transformational books, like “Transforming Pain Into Power.” Discover more at http://CoachingByDoris.com/FreeRelationshipEbooks.

© Doris Helge, Ph.D. 2011.

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.