How to Leave a Cheating Husband You Love: 11 Critical Steps

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Finding out about your husband cheating is bad enough.

Now, you’re wondering how you’ll find that strength to leave him because you still love him, even after the heartbreak and betrayal.

Well, the road ahead isn’t going to be an easy one—but you are stronger than you think.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • How to walk away from a cheating husband, even if you still have feelings for him
  • Steps to plan your exit strategy
  • Considerations for the details of leaving, including legal, financial, and family concerns
  • How to analyze your relationship and feel confident in your decision to leave

It’s a difficult journey, but you can do it.

Keep reading to learn how.

How to Leave a Cheating Husband You Love

woman covering her face crying on the edge of a bed with her husband in the background seeming not to care or notice

Leaving someone you still love, whether you’re ending a relationship amicably or breaking ties with an unfaithful spouse, might be one of the hardest things you’ll have to do.

But if you’ve decided it’s time to leave for your own mental and emotional health, or the stability of your family, have faith.

It will get better. But you must be prepared physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially.

Here’s what to do to make it a little bit easier, if not an iota less painful.

Read Next: Why Does My Husband Keep Cheating with the Same Woman?

1. Assess Your Marriage

Before making any final decisions, carefully assess your relationship and consider whether your husband has shown genuine remorse over his cheating. 

If your husband doesn’t apologize or demonstrate concern for your feelings, it might be a sign that the marriage is not salvageable.

If he does show remorse but continues to see the affair partner, that, too, is a signal that there may be no trust left in your relationship.

Consider, too:

  • Your husband’s willingness to compromise
  • His dedication to fixing the problems in your relationship
  • The level of care—or resentment—in your marriage 
  • Whether the benefits of staying together outweigh the cons

Giving your marriage a full assessment can give you greater confidence in your decision to leave, knowing that you dotted all the i’s and crossed the t’s.

2. Plan Your Exit

Once you have made the decision to leave, plan your exit strategy and prepare yourself mentally for an uphill battle.

It’s important to be emotionally ready for the journey and to have resources in place to help you through this process.

It’s crucial to have a safe space to go, whether it’s a hotel, a relative’s home, or in the case of leaving an abusive relationship, even a nearby shelter. 

(Be sure to contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 for help and guidance.)

Plan your exit carefully, considering the best time and method to leave without escalating the situation.

Once you’ve got the pieces of the puzzle sorted out, you can start to put it together and execute your plan efficiently and effectively.

3. Financial Planning

woman typing on a laptop and a calculator financial planning at a desk

Before leaving, take the time to review and organize your finances. 

Make a list of your monthly expenses and any joint accounts or shared assets. 

Open a separate bank account in your name, and start saving money for the transition period after you leave. 

Research your financial rights during a divorce, especially if you have shared property, investments, or children, to ensure you are prepared for any negotiations.

  • Gather important documents like income tax returns, bank statements, and property titles
  • Create a budget for your new living situation
  • If you can, possibly even consider consulting a financial advisor for guidance

4. Legal Considerations

Consulting with a legal professional will eventually be part of your plan to leave a cheating husband. 

A lawyer can guide you through the necessary steps for obtaining a divorce and ensuring your rights are protected. 

Keep in mind that laws concerning marital property, alimony, and child custody vary by state, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the relevant regulations in your area.

  • Research local divorce lawyers and schedule a consultation
  • Prepare a list of questions to ask your attorney
  • Collect and organize any evidence of infidelity, as it may be relevant in your case

5. Get Together Your Support Network

While you’re in this process, surround yourself with a support network of family members and friends you can rely on.

Those who care about you and understand your decision can help boost your confidence. 

These are the people who will be focused on your future and provide the emotional assistance you need during this difficult time.

6. Tell Your Husband

hands of a soon to be ex husband and wife folded over a divorce paper they signed and their wedding rings sitting on top

After you’ve gotten your exit plan in place, it’s time to sit down and tell your husband what you’re set to do.

Do so in a calm and assertive manner. 

Be clear about your reasons for leaving. Bear in mind that the purpose of planning to leave your marriage before you talk to your husband is to help ensure that he doesn’t talk you out of it.

You don’t have to tell your husband every detail of your plan, but making it clear that you’ve thought this out and are committed to your decision can demonstrate to your husband the reality of the situation.

7. Create Boundaries

It may be necessary to establish boundaries for future communication and interactions with your husband.

Set boundaries that make you feel comfortable, such as limiting contact and avoiding conversations that could lead to arguments or emotional turmoil. 

You have the right to set whatever boundaries make you feel secure.

8. Talk About How You’ll Help Your Kids Through It

If you have children, your decision-making process should include their well-being. 

Prioritize your children’s needs and ensure they feel loved and supported. 

With your husband, develop a plan for co-parenting and establish open communication that focuses on their welfare.

Think about how you’ll create a stable environment for them, and be sure to provide reassurance by answering their questions.

9. Don’t Doubt Yourself

This situation is hard enough. Don’t make it more difficult for yourself by constantly second-guessing yourself.

If you’ve come to the realization that you don’t want to be in the relationship anymore and leaving is the best thing for you and your family, then you don’t need any outside validation.

You know what’s best for you.

Trust yourself.

10. Journal Writing

Your spouse’s infidelity is bound to bring up some extremely painful and confusing feelings.

One way to deal with this is through journaling.

Journaling has a host of benefits, including helping you gain clarity, set and stay on top of your goals, manage difficult emotions, relieve anxiety and depression, and support your overall mental health.

Writing on a regular basis can help you process your feelings and make well-informed decisions about your future. 

As you record your experiences, you may find patterns and recurring themes that may aid you in your journey towards healing and growth.

11. Do Self-Care

close up of a woman in sweats holding a cup of tea or coffee

Now is a great time to focus on yourself and your needs.

Self-care is part of healing, but it can look slightly different for different people.

For you, self-care may include hitting the gym and going out with friends more.

For someone else, getting adequate self-care may include going for some art therapy or treating themselves to spa days.

In general, paying attention to your physical health can be an important coping strategy, as exercise can act as a healthy outlet for stress and frustration, as well as help you maintain a sense of control and balance in your life.

Embrace your coping mechanisms to help support you during this difficult period, and take the time you need to heal.

Is It OK to Leave a Cheating Husband?

Many a betrayed spouse has questioned whether it’s alright to end their marriage on the basis of an extramarital affair.

Yes, it is perfectly okay to leave a cheating husband if you feel that your partner’s infidelity has broken your trust and the relationship is irreparable.

It doesn’t matter if he was having a physical, online, or emotional affair—your feelings are valid.

Every individual and relationship has different boundaries and expectations. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand your own feelings and decide what’s best for you.

In some cases, it may be possible to rebuild the relationship through therapy and open communication. However, many spouses see infidelity as a deal-breaker. 

Be honest with yourself about whether or not you can truly forgive a cheating partner and move forward together.

And if you decide you can’t, don’t beat yourself up about it.

You deserve to lead a happy and fulfilled existence, and sometimes this takes making hard decisions.

When Should You Give Up on a Cheating Spouse?

Deciding when to give up on a cheating spouse is a deeply personal decision. 

While every situation is unique, there are a few common indicators that it might be time to walk away from a relationship after infidelity.

  • You’re mentally and emotionally done. You feel spent and you have no more desire to talk with your spouse or seek marriage counseling. If you’ve reached your limit and you have no more interest in repairing your relationship, it may be time to move on. 
  • Your spouse isn’t interested in fixing your marriage. If your spouse doesn’t show that they’re committed to repairing the relationship, there may be no point.
  • Your spouse doesn’t feel bad for cheating. A spouse who doesn’t feel guilty for cheating on you or even blames you for their infidelity may not be one worth staying with.
  • No more trust. Trust is a crucial component of any successful relationship, and rebuilding it after an affair can be challenging. If you find it impossible to trust your spouse again, even after they have shown commitment to making amends, it may be an indication that the relationship cannot be salvaged.
  • Your spouse won’t stop cheating. A one-time, isolated incident may be easier to forgive and move past than a pattern of repeated infidelity or long-term affairs. If your spouse has a history of cheating, it may be time to reevaluate the future of your relationship.

Read Also: When Is Enough Enough in a Marriage?

Analyzing the Relationship

hands of a man and woman barely touching to symbolize letting go of a relationship

Commitment and Intimacy

To successfully analyze your relationship, take a step back and assess the level of commitment and intimacy in your relationship. 

Ask yourself if you and your partner have been meeting each other’s needs emotionally and how stable the foundation of your relationship is. 

It’s important to understand if the cheating occurred due to unmet needs or if it represents a more significant, ongoing pattern.

Consider the depth of your emotional connection with your spouse, too. 

If you feel that the bond has been severely damaged, you may need to make a painful decision about the future of your marriage.

Communication Breakdowns

One of the critical aspects of a healthy relationship is effective communication. 

Reflect on the quality of communication between you and your partner leading up to and after the infidelity occurred. 

Note any patterns of avoidance, denial, or dismissiveness which may hint at underlying issues.

Start by opening up a conversation with your partner about the incident, their motivations, and your feelings. 

If the communication lines have broken down, it might be worth seeking professional help, like couples therapy, to rebuild trust and foster open dialogue in your relationship.

Your Partner’s Behavior Patterns

In the process of analyzing your relationship, pay close attention to your partner’s behavior patterns. 

Have they shown any remorse or taken steps towards rebuilding trust? 

It is crucial that your spouse acknowledges their mistake and makes genuine efforts to mend the damage caused by their infidelity.

If you notice a pattern of dishonesty and unfaithfulness, it’s essential to evaluate whether you can sustain a relationship with someone exhibiting these traits. 

Trust your instincts and be true to your personal boundaries and relationship needs in this tough situation.

Does the Pain of Infidelity Ever Go Away?

Dealing with the pain of infidelity is a challenging process, and it’s natural to wonder if the hurt will ever fade completely. 

The short answer is that yes, the pain can diminish over time and eventually disappear from your life.

Everyone’s experience is different, but taking steps toward healing can help ensure that you don’t end up with a festering wound in your heart and soul that continues to hurt you.

  1. Give yourself permission to feel your emotions. It’s normal to feel extreme anger, disappointment, and sadness. Allow yourself to process these emotions without judgment. 
  2. Give yourself time. There’s no need to rush the healing process. If you try to you, you run the risk of stuffing your feelings down rather than letting them do their job.
  3. Consider seeking professional support. Therapy can be a helpful way to work through the pain and confusion of infidelity. A mental health professional can work with you to create effective coping strategies and get back to an internal sense of stability.
  4. Focus on self-compassion and self-care. Be kind to yourself as you work through the difficult emotions, and make sure to prioritize activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Surrounding yourself with a supportive social circle can also make a significant difference in your healing process.

Ultimately, the sting of infidelity may or may not completely disappear, but with time, self-care, and adequate support, you can learn to cope and find a renewed sense of happiness and self-worth. 

Final Thoughts

Leaving a cheating husband you still love is not easy, but sometimes it’s necessary for your own well-being and happiness.

While it may feel like small comfort now, remember that you deserve to be in a healthy and safe relationship.

It takes courage to make a change, but you are strong enough to do it.

It helps to involve support from trusted friends and family members, or if you don’t have contact with these, from support groups and possibly a therapist.

It’s OK to prioritize your own needs and happiness, and there are resources and people available to help you through the process.


How do I fall out of love with my cheating husband?

Falling out of love with a cheating husband isn’t an overnight process. 

One of the strongest ways to fall out of love is to create physical distance and separation between you and your husband, so consider cutting communication for an extended period.

Also, think about the way your husband’s cheating has affected you, and whether he’s shown you respect by owning up to his cheating and trying to make amends.

If he hasn’t, then reflecting on this can help you feel less connected to him, and thus facilitate falling out of love.

Why can’t I get over my cheating husband?

It’s natural to struggle with getting over a cheating husband because you may still have deep feelings for him. 

Betrayal can create a mix of complicated emotions, making it difficult to let go. 

You may be stuck in the question of how he could do such a thing. Or perhaps you’re having trouble accepting your husband’s affair leading to a broken marriage. 

An unfaithful partner can rock your world in so many different ways. 

It’s important not to push yourself and give yourself the time and space you need to heal and move on.

How to treat a cheating husband

If your husband cheated, it’s very important to establish clear boundaries and communicate your feelings effectively. 

Consider attending couples therapy to work through the issues together if you want to stay married. 

Maintain your self-respect and prioritize your mental and emotional well-being during this challenging time, and be sure to ask for full transparency as well as ending all contact with the person your husband cheated with.

How does being cheated on change you?

Being cheated on can lead to a roller coaster of emotions, such as anger, sadness, and confusion. 

It might also cause you to question your self-worth and make you more cautious in future relationships. 

Recognize that your partner’s actions don’t define you. 

To heal and grow from this experience, focus on self-care and seek support from friends, family, or a therapist.

Am I weak for staying with my husband after he cheated?

Choosing to stay with a cheating husband doesn’t mean you’re weak. 

On the contrary, sticking it out and repairing your marriage can be one of the most challenging things you’ve ever done, which is certainly not for the weak.

Every situation is different, and it’s up to you to decide what’s best for you and when to walk away. 

Marlene Davis is an experienced blogger with a focus on interpersonal relationships. Her dream is to help improve people's lives and relationships through sharing of practical knowledge and evidence-based practices.