We never hear this part of the story and no one ever warns people who are thinking of R what this will mean in this way. So honestly what do you think staying has done to you, your self image, your self worth, self confidence, friends, family, kids, your health ...
I didn't R because I had a remorseless spouse at the time. I did what I thought was the best route for me because after dealing with this situation for a whole month after d-day, it was too much for me to handle. I knew I couldn't stay if he was still cheating and his love for me was gone. He did try to leave his AP, but his promises fell short and he broke the no contact rule and answered her call. I knew immediately this had happened when he came home from work. I had no experience in forums or help, but I did most of the right things. I exposed to family and friends, I demanded no contact, got all passwords and access to phone, and set him free when he broke the no contact boundary.
I do have personal experience on the flip side through one of my sisters though. Her husband cheated and she stayed with him. One of her kids, the boy turned out to be a serial cheater like his dad. The 2 girls on the other hand, are much well rounded and stronger than the boy. I think that is partly due to the culture we were born into too. Not just the fact that my sister stayed with a cheating spouse for the sake of many reasons, the children being at the top of the list. When the kids grew up, she did leave him because he never stopped cheating. He was the type that wanted his cake and to eat it too.
He would beg and plead each time he got caught and to everyone that wasn't the immediate family, he fooled into them thinking he was such a devoted husband and father. It was the farthest thing from the truth, but he never intended on leaving my sister or his kids. He just needed his side piece to be completely happy. So she left him when she felt the time was right for everyone.
My sister and I had the same choices to make after we were cheated on. We took different paths. I don't think either one of us made a mistake per say. We did what we thought we could and had to do at the time with the knowledge we had then as well.
My self esteem took a dive for about 2 weeks, but then when anger hit, I knew who owned all the **** and it was not me for sure. My sister did the same when she stayed with her WS. In both our marriages, the children were hurt the worst. I have a commitment phobic son that does not want to ever have children even though he loves them. I have a daughter that did what I thought was the right thing and married, had children, but then cheated on her husband and treats him poorly even though she swears she loves him. What I see now through my children after 14 years of being divorced from their father, are the ripple effects of the demise of our marriage and also the mistakes we made as a couple living in a dysfunctional marriage even though we thought we were happily married.
Our relationships affect other people in either a negative or positive way (our children). We weren't the epitome of a great marriage. WE were flawed even before infidelity became the last straw. Just because we stay married and love our spouses and are faithful doesn't mean we don't harm our children with the dynamic of our relationship. Most marriages are not perfect, and children live in that environment and use it to model their relationships when they grow up.
My X detached from me years before he cheated. That was a huge mistake I failed to see when I could have done something about it. I see it very clearly with the way my daughter treats her husband, but he, like I, can't see it right now. He will though. Their marriage is dysfunctional and that is what most of us when married fail to understand.
My X cheating was just the last straw and one I couldn't deal with because I could accept being replaced by my children, I couldn't accept being replaced by OW. That was a deal breaker for me.