Deciding whether to Stay Married or Get a Divorce
by Peggy Vaughan

Sometimes one spouse quickly wants to get a divorce following an affair. (In some cases, this is the person who had the affair and in other cases it is the spouse.)

Regardless of who is contemplating/suggesting divorce, there's more at stake than just what decision is made (as if that weren't big enough). It's also important to consider how you will live with the results of that decision. So while a divorce may eventually be the decision that is reached, how someone lives with the decision can be very different based on whether they quickly divorce as a reaction to avoid dealing with this difficult situation - or whether they take time for the emotions to subside enough to make it possible to come to a rational decision.

One of the chapters in my book, The Monogamy Myth, is "The Marriage/Divorce Dilemma." In the book, I list some of the key factors to consider and discuss each one. But here's an excerpt from that chapter that reflects on some of the general considerations:

"Since most people remain in a state of shock or emotional disorientation for some time after learning of a mate's affair, it's essential that they wait until their emotions are under better control before deciding the future of the relationship. The period immediately following their discovery is definitely not the time to make such a life-altering decision as to whether to stay married or get a divorce - most people are incapable of thinking clearly at this time.

"It takes strength and clear-headedness for a person to independently assess the situation and do whatever is best for them. They need to avoid making a decision purely on emotion; it's critical that they be able to think through all the factors, both emotional and practical.

"Deciding whether to stay married or get a divorce is a complicated decision, but carefully considering all the factors can help a person sort through their personal values and priorities to make the decision that best fits their individual situation. And by making a carefully considered decision in a rational way (instead of reacting to the panic of the initial shock of the affair or to the pressure from others to decide more quickly), they should reap the benefits of being more confident and at peace with whatever decision they make."

(end of excerpt from The Monogamy Myth)

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