Affairs within the marriage are difficult because you and your husband are so closely intertwined. You typically put in a year’s worth of time, money, and effort just to get married. You then probably have joint bills that you cannot pay alone as well as joint property like a house and/or cars. And many married couples have kids, which complicates marriage in every way.
Prior to marriage, if you’re dating a person and he cheats, you can break up and walk away (unless you have a kid together). If you’re living with someone, leaving can be harder if both of your names are on a lease, but you can leave as soon as the lease is up. =
When you’re married and your partner cheats, it is such a twisted ball of stress. Divorce doesn’t typically happen right away for four reasons.
1. Divorce is not cheap. If you get a lawyer involved in the US, there’s usually a retainer fee of approximately $2,500. Because you probably don’t trust your cheating husband anymore, most times you can’t skip this step. But many women including myself (see Too broke to leave husband) don’t have this kind of cash lying around to hire a lawyer.
2. Once you get a lawyer, you have to meet with them, fill out paperwork, make decisions about custody, possessions, property, and retirement. So on top of being in a big depression about the infidelity, working full time, and taking care of the kids, I now have to find time to prepare for divorce.
3. Women are usually faced with a tough dilemma to choose to stay or leave the marriage. It’s a very complicated decision and it typically takes time to process your own thoughts so you can actually make a decision. Money, kids, and your husband’s behavior are a big part of the decision, and also the delay in making the decision. I wasn’t sure I could afford to live on my own. Read Infidelity and economy for more on this.
4. When you’re married, you can’t just leave and start a new life; you are in a legally binding document with a husband who is probably portraying you in the worst way to his own lawyer. So the thought of working on a divorce with this individual is hard to think about. (This is why lawyers get paid so much!).
I just wanted to share this information because I don’t think everyone understands what a woman is up against if she decides to leave her husband after he has an affair. I hope my husband and I can proceed with the divorce in a civil manner, but sometimes I get nervous because each day I am in the house with him, our relationship and friendship gets worse.