I'm Mad At My Wife – Should I Cheat Or Should I Leave?

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson, MA
Updated November 30, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

If you’ve discovered you’re unhappy in your marriage, it can be helpful to consider working towards understanding why you are unhappy instead of engaging in marital infidelity. If there are irreparable issues in your marriage causing you to experience prolonged hatred or incompatible views, you may want to end your marriage in separation or divorce. However, if you still want to stay in your marriage, you can try to address your needs and differences in couples therapy.

A licensed therapist can help you and your wife develop healthier communication skills that can reduce symptoms of marital distress. They can also be a helpful, non-biased voice in your decision-making process if you’re considering cheating on or divorcing your wife—possibly helping you to make the best decision for your unique needs. Read on to learn more about alternative solutions you can ponder if you are considering cheating on or leaving your wife.

Unhappy In Your Marriage?

Understanding Marital Hatred

Love and hatred can be common human emotions—and, according to family therapist Terrence Real, marital hatred can sometimes be a normal experience. Real emphasizes that it may not be helpful to idealize relationships, stating that “there are going to be moments when you look at your partner, and at that moment, there is a part of you that just hates their guts. You’re trapped with this horrible human being. How did you wind up here? What I want to say is, ‘Welcome to marriage. Welcome to long-term relationships.”

Many may find that marital success relies on understanding how to discuss conflict productively, how to nourish each other and how to learn to accept flaws and choose love—if that’s what’s right for you. 

These things can be challenging, but a couples therapist can help you and your wife improve communication strategies and the ways you support each other. 

Is Divorce The Right Answer?

If you truly feel as if you hate your wife, your marriage may not be in a healthy place—which means that you may benefit from evaluating whether divorce is the best option for you. 

For example, serious incompatibility or irreconcilable differences in values, physical or emotional abuse, and addiction can seem irreparable to some. If you are unsure whether your relationship is unhealthy, you can consult with a couples counselor for support in determining your next best step. 

If you or someone you love is experiencing abuse, contact the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Support is available 24/7. Please also see our Get Help Now page for more immediate resources.

The SAMHSA National Helpline for substance use issues is available 24/7 and can be reached by calling (800) 662-4357.


Consider The Consequences Of Cheating

According to recent clinical research, successful marital monogamy generally depends upon building a safe emotional bond, physical intimacy, healthy relationship boundaries, fostering beliefs around the values of monogamy, and developing both individual and dual coping strategies. Without these clinically noted defensive factors”, marital dissatisfaction may be more likely. 

Many may find that cheating can arise from certain preceding factors, such as unmet sexual or emotional needs, intimacy fears, or conflict avoidance. However, it can also come with its own set of considerations for all individuals in the relationship. 

For example, marital infidelity can increase rates of distress, conflict, and divorce. Experts estimate that 80% of marriages with secret acts of infidelity end in divorce, compared with an average divorce rate of 23% for couples that do not engage in cheating.

If you are considering cheating, you may want to work towards understanding what drives you towards infidelity first. This can help you explain your needs to your wife and build a healthier marriage without breaking trust.

The Ebbs And Flows Of Marriage

Many may find that marriage can have cyclical phases, which can be described as harmony, disharmony, and repair. Harmony is generally associated with what we might think of as the most positive periods of marriage—agreement and connection. Disharmony may include elements such as tension, resentment, and occasional hatred. Repair, conversely, can consist of the experiences and steps related to mending disharmony.

Many couples might find repair difficult. For example: When you and your wife get into an argument, it may be difficult to avoid placing blame on each other. However, many couples can more successfully repair disharmony by taking time out to get away from heated emotions before returning to the conversation. After a break, you and your wife may both find it easier to take accountability, apologize for mistakes, and move on. 

If you are unhappy in your marriage but worried about leaving a relationship that may be salvageable, you can try learning new communication and conflict-resolution skills. You can learn some of these on your own from marriage books written by licensed couples therapists, or you can seek out couples therapy sessions to address your individual needs. 

Unhappy In Your Marriage?

How Can Online Therapy Support Couples?

For couples who are uncomfortable sharing their feelings, online therapy can be less intimidating because of the physical distance from your therapist. And, online therapy providers, like ReGain, can enable you and your wife to attend sessions from the comfort of your own home.

Is Online Therapy Effective?

In-person couples therapy can reduce relationship distress—overall; and research suggests that online therapy can result in similar success and satisfaction rates compared to in-person methods. Though some couples may initially feel worried about their ability to establish an emotional connection with their therapist online, studies suggest that in practice, online therapy is fully immersive.  94% of couples who participated in another study of online therapy reported that they were satisfied with the services they received.


Though marital infidelity may not be an objectively “good” choice for many, it can be understandable that many may feel compelled to cheat on their spouse in moments of anger or hurt. There can be consequences to consider that can be associated with this decision, however. Rather than cheat immediately, you may consider whether your marriage is one in which you want to remain. If so, you can seek out couples counseling with your wife, or individual therapy to work on your communication strategies. Clients who choose online couples counseling generally report high satisfaction ratings and similar reductions in marital distress compared with in-person therapy. ReGain can connect you with an online therapist in your area of need. 

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