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How to get over your cheating husband and divorce him

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The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.

If you’ve been cheated on by your husband, you’ll probably relate to these things my readers have said over the years:

We're negotiating our divorce settlement, and I believe I should be compensated for losing the family I wanted. My husband cheated, decided to leave, and I now miss my kids half the time and don't have a real family.

I am so pissed I have to pay alimony! He was unfaithful — how is that fair!?

He moved in with his girlfriend — the one he had the affair with. I will never be nice to her and do not want my kids exposed to her. She is a horrible person!

I make sure I don't get a raise so he will have to keep paying alimony. That way, he doesn't get off the hook — my husband cheated, went on to make way more money than I do. He needs to be punished.

For the record, my ex-husband didn't cheat on me. He did announce to all his guy friends (some of whom told me) that the minute he moved out he had a number of hotties he planned to ask out, which, in the depths of my pregnant self, hurt like a mother. 

So, how do you get past the hurt, get over your cheating husband, and divorce him? By looking at the facts (he cheated), making a plan to move on (find peace), understanding divorce law, and knowing your rights.

How does infidelity affect divorce?

Ask any divorce lawyer, and they will tell you: When there is infidelity, settlements are all but impossible, rationale goes out the window, and contention runs higher than in other matrimonial dissolutions.

“That betrayal colors every single part of the divorce process, and makes it so much harder for the cheated-on spouse to be reasonable,” said New York City family attorney Morghan Richardson.

It is understandable why cheated-on spouses go so bananas with rage. You had a deal. You would sleep with and only love each other. You and your family came first, no matter what. That is the deal in marriage today, and you signed up and stuck it out, and he didn't. That isn't fair and it sucks so freaking bad.

Also: Trust. You trusted him. You trusted you were his only lover. You trusted him when he said he was working late, or having a beer with his friends or at the office during business hours and not running around in the back of his car or at her house where her kids played in the next room.

This was not the man you knew and love (yes, currently. You probably still love him, at least a little. Or a lot). If he had a secret life, untoward agenda about his romantic life, can you trust him to be the father you thought he was? What else is he lying about? Money? Accounts?

These are tell-tale signs of a cheating husband, wife, girlfriend or boyfriend.

How to find peace after being cheated on

Not all infidelity ends in divorce, but for many, cheating does make it difficult to trust again or repair a marriage. Here is some advice to consider when navigating an extramarital affair and moving forward with divorce:

  1. Put your husband’s cheating into perspective with therapy.
  2. Forgive your ex.
  3. Take responsibility for your share of the breakdown of the relationship.
  4. Realize that worse things have happened to people.
  5. Invest time, self-care and perhaps therapy to rebuild your self-confidence..
  6. Don’t  focus on his unfaithful acts. It ultimately hurts you, and holds you back.
  7. Focus on rebuilding your own incredible life post-divorce.

1. Put your husband’s cheating into perspective with therapy

Look, people cheat every single day, and have since the dawn of humanity. It hurts, yes it does, and those feelings are real and valid. But ever-after, fantasy love and lifelong marriage based on romantic feelings? Never proven sustainable, and face it: You know it.

You know that is a fact now as you read this, and you knew it when you got married, and before that, too. You know half of marriages don’t last. And you know plenty of married people who have affairs. I’m not passing judgment on this fact one way or the other. But it is a fact, and if you thought you were immune from it, well… now you know you were naive and wrong. I’m sorry for your pain, but that has nothing to do with what happens next.

Shit happens. Shit happens in business, in the economy. The natural world is full of shit happening, the government is a mess and your friends will inevitably let you down. Do you wallow in it? Or do you own your feelings, sort out your part of the mess, and push forward into a brighter future?

Consider a support group, counseling, including online therapy, which can be much more affordable, and convenient than traditional, in-person counseling (you can do text, phone, video or email therapy from anywhere, any place — no need to hire a sitter or spend time commuting!).

Read our BetterHelp review for more details.

2. Make it your goal to forgive the infidelity, heal and thrive.  

This is the part where you get to blame him. For a minute.

Ask any divorce lawyer. Family court judge, therapist or best friend of a divorced person: The people who thrive after a split are those who get on with it already. No matter the circumstances, they forgive, focus on what they can control (not him, for crying out loud! YOURSELF. Your life, feelings, actions. YOU!).

Don’t take it out on your ex in divorce proceedings

Moms who thrive after divorce don’t drag the ex to court every other week, or get into text pissing matches, blaming the other party for “ruining our family.” They accept their kids’ new step-parents and ex’s romantic partners, because, what is the other choice? To badmouth the person to your kids for eternity? Spew vitriol across the aisle at your kids’ wedding, or confirmation or bat mitzvah? Wallow in the pain and contrived victimhood of your divorce? Not a good look.

It may take time to actually, authentically feel better and whole and strong again. Until then, fake it till you make it. Be civil and focus on getting through the horrors of the divorce process.

Focus on getting past your divorce

I’ve been through a divorce, and let me give you the best piece of advice I can: GET OUT OF THAT PLACE ASAP! Clench your jaw and get to the other side as graciously and maturely as possible. Help your kids acclimate to their new living arrangements. Be at the very least civil and non-violent to his new (or maybe not-so-new?) girlfriend. Bite the shit out of that tongue. Just bite it and smile.

Instead, focus on building your career, your finances, enjoying your kids. when you are ready, dip your toe in dating. Here is my guild to surprising joys of dating after divorce. And if you’re ready for a committed, long-term relationship, eHarmony is the go-to, No. 1 best site for finding a partner.

Read more about eharmony, including cost, app and success rates with our eharmony review.

This is what I want for you: A happy, STD-free future, full of forgiveness and peace. You got this. But it is on you.

My advice:

Get all up and messy with that pain. Yes, you were betrayed, lied to and manipulated. Perhaps you took your wedding vows seriously, or simply trusted him. That is serious and you must acknowledge it, work it through with your therapist and understand why it happened and how it affected you. The wedding ring needs to go, it will make you feel better to be rid of it.

Read: After a divorce, you get one year to be a hot mess. Sorry, but you don’t get extra time after an affair than other people going through a divorce.

One pitfall to look out for:

When your single status or divorce comes up with friends, colleagues or new people you meet, resist the urge to mention that your ex had an affair. That puts the blame on him 100%, paints you as a self-loathing victim, and otherwise enlists pity. Plus, it keeps that narrative alive and strong, and prolongs the pain of getting over an affair.

3. Take responsibility for the dissolution of the marriage and forgive yourself

This is where it gets really hard. But this step is necessary:

Take responsibility for the end of the marriage.

This does NOT mean that you are responsible for his actions, or that his affair is because you gained weight, or that it is women’s responsibility to keep the family together.

No. He is an adult responsible for his actions and his relationships. So are you. It takes two people to make a marriage thrive, and it takes two to end it.

You may not get there right away. It will likely take a long time, a lot of couples therapy, tears and inner work to get to this spot.

But don’t rob yourself of this opportunity to learn about yourself, grow, and pave the way for a better relationship in the future—whatever that looks like for you.

Vow right now to take your share of the responsibility for the end of your relationship—and to forgive yourself.

And yes, there is therapy for cheating, marriage counseling can help after an affair, and infidelity counseling is a thing — as is therapy for sex addiction. Maybe it works, and maybe it doesn’t — but very few people ever regret going to therapy.

4. Realize that worse things have happened to people (no matter how much this hurts)

Otherwise loving partners lie and cheat every day of the week. It does happen. That is not to dismiss your hurt, anger or grief. But worse things do happen — and people do get over infidelity.

5. Invest time, self-care and perhaps therapy to rebuild your self-confidence, and remember that you are a lovable woman.

Read our post about how to feel confident and sexy. Flirt with a stranger (innocently). Spend time with people who love and appreciate you. Remind yourself: You will get through this.

6. Recognize that repeating and focusing on the story of his unfaithful acts ultimately hurts you, and holds you back.

You've heard it before, but: Holding onto a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick.

Talking excessively about the affair, or bringing it up right away with new people you meet, or in arguments with your husband (or ex-husband) serves no one — most especially not you.

7. Focus on rebuilding your own incredible life post-divorce.

The best revenge is living well! After divorce you get one year to be a hot mess.

Understand divorce law re: cheating husbands 

No-fault divorce is standard in every state, meaning a couple can divorce without showing blame or fault.

Judges could care less. They’ve heard it all before, and it matters none how many people he fucked, whether the mistress was your best friend, neighbor, sister or cousin. Don’t care! Doesn’t affect how much money each party gets, and infidelity does not affect his ability to parent.

You don’t get alimony because your feelings are hurt.

[How to coparent with an ex]

Those judges are right, and they are correct. If you understand what the law says about divorce, it will help guide your negotiations. Whether you mediate or each retain attorneys, the goal is usually to avoid trial, and therefore apply to any discussions what a judge would typically rule.

Hopefully, you have a great lawyer who will guide you through a slit that is as low-conflict as possible. Listen to her. And she will tell you: No one in the legal world cares a bit that he cheated. Remember that!

10 signs of toxic parenting

What are my rights in a divorce if my husband cheated on me?

There are no special rights allotted to forsaken women. In some cases, if you suspect your husband spent large sums of money on his mistress or affair partner, that may be factored into financial settlement calculations.

Instead of trying to take revenge through the legal process, focus on the task at hand: Divorcing amicably, with a focus on low-conflict and stability for the kids.

In a best-case scenario, you could file for divorce yourselves, online. Here is our list of the best, cheapest and most thorough online divorce services.

There are no reparations in divorce

No financial compensation for your broken heart, and no parental upper hand because you loved him more than he loved you. Sure, you can blackmail a bigger financial settlement in exchange for not telling his super-religious mom about the prostitutes, but she probably already knows.

And if not, who cares? He’s not your husband anymore, he can’t give you an STD any longer, can’t spend your money any longer, and it is over. Plus, no one likes a tattletale. All you can do is move on. The closest you will get is to sell your diamond ring he gave you and feel good about it. Instead, focus on what you can control, and ask for the right things in divorce.

Does a cheating spouse affect child custody?

Technically, no, child support is not affected by infidelity since there is no-fault divorce in every state.

However, these things are often subject to a judge’s arbitrary ruling, so infidelity may be factored into a divorce trial. As more and more courts defer to equally shared parenting, this is less likely each day.

Can my husband get custody if I cheated?

The same rules and trends apply to whether a man or woman cheated. However, it is well documented that society, and therefore judges, too, judge women and mothers who are unfaithful in their marriages than men. On the other hand, women are presumed to be the primary caretakers of children far more than men, so that might be a consideration, too.

Again, as society evolves to view men and women as more equal, custody arrangements also evolve.

However, no matter who cheated, or whose fault you believe the divorce to be, I urge you to focus on equally shared parenting and an amicable divorce. This is so important not only for the sake of the kids, but both parties’ ability to heal and move forward afterward.

Here are more tips on how to be a successful co-parent after divorce.

[A guide to when to consider couple’s counseling]

Should I divorce my cheating husband?

Maybe yes, maybe no. Ultimately, the decision is your choice. You need to decide if the broken trust can be repaired. 

Was it a single fling, that is now over, in an otherwise monogamous, stable relationship? Then you may be able to forgive him, understand what was broken in your marriage, work together to fix it, and move on.

Are one or both of you craving an open, polyamorous relationship? Then it might be worked out.

Did the affair bring to light deeper chasms in the relationship? Are you willing to work on those shortcomings? Do you feel the marriage was already unhappy? The answer may be no, and that is OK. Then the marriage is over.

Did the affair happen a long time ago, and is clearly over? Then focus on forgiveness and mend your marriage.

Is he a perpetual, chronic cheater, and liar? Is this not ok with you? You may have to end the marriage.

If your husband has cheated on you, end things amicably and move forward.

Did your ex cheat? What did you say to a cheating man? How did that affect your divorce? How did you get over it? Share in the comments!

How does infidelity affect divorce?

Ask any divorce lawyer, and they will tell you: When there is infidelity, settlements are all but impossible, rationale goes out the window, and contention runs higher than in other matrimonial dissolutions.

What are my rights in a divorce if my husband cheated on me?

There are no special rights allotted to forsaken women. In some cases, if you suspect your husband spent large sums of money on his mistress or affair partner, that may be factored into financial settlement calculations.

Does a cheating spouse affect child custody?

Technically, no, child support is not affected by infidelity since there is no-fault divorce in every state.

Should I divorce my cheating husband?

Maybe yes, maybe no. Ultimately, the decision is your choice. You need to decide if the broken trust can be repaired. founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist, author and expert. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, and National Jeweler editor, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. As an expert on divorce and gender, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality and multiple state legislature hearings. Her next book, The 50/50 Solution, is out March, 2024 with Sourcebooks. More about Emma's credentials.

Molly Rosenblum is founding attorney of The Rosenblum Allen Law Firm in Las Vegas, Nev., where she and her team focus on family law, criminal defense and civil cases — aiming to treat every client’s case like the most important case. Molly is a member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, a certified parenting coordinator, and an award-winning pro bono volunteer with the Southern Nevada Legal Aid Society. Molly graduated cum laude from the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where she received the Dean’s Award for Academic Performance. In her personal time, Molly is an avid triathlete having completed several Ironman competitions. Molly’s biggest accomplishment is her two children.


Wow. This is trash. You are never responsible in any way for your spouse cheating. Way to victim blame. A lot of these cheaters are narcissists and manipulators who would cheat no matter the health of the relationship. If they are unhappy they are free to leave. Not ok to sleep around and bring home diseases to your unsuspecting spouse. They want their cake. But also want to keep their spouse in their possession. And the “worse things have happened to others” is a perfect example of comparative suffering. Please dont write articles about things you have no idea about. Especially with so many victims of trauma looking for support, only to find trash like this.

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