Cheater-speak: “We need time apart to heal.”


“We need time apart to heal.”


Unless safety is at issue, I am generally not a fan of “voluntary” separations. This is doubly so when the separation idea is floated by someone known to have cheated either emotionally or physically.

NOT. A. Good. Idea.

Such a period of separation puts extreme pressure on a couple’s ability to remain faithful to each other (see I Corinthians 7:5). If one partner has already demonstrated his or her preferred way of dealing with relationship stress is to find a third party and engage in some form of illicit relationship, then it is highly unlikely this separation will result in healing and restoration in the marriage.

What really is happening is that the cheater is trying to gain distance away from any real accountability. She is pushing people away who might call her on her morally questionable behavior.

Specifically, the cheater is neutralizing the most natural check on her by physically moving away from her husband’s “eyes” and ability to know the cheater’s coming and goings with relative ease. She is putting physical distance between herself and the one person who stands the most to loose by her filling that “void” with a third romantic party.

Plus, this excuse sounds reasonable and downright noble at face value: 

What cold-hearted being would want to deny someone the ability to heal?!

The problem is that this motivation for the separation is a lie–either knowingly or unknowingly. When I say, “unknowingly,” I mean the spouse believes his/her own excuse on the matter and totally downplays the real relationship danger the separation is creating. The “unknowing” spouse is really not even being truthful to herself in other words.

The cheating spouse may suggest such a separation to ease his or her way out of the marriage relationship. It may help them preserve their “happily married” image–for all those still unaware of the separation–while cheating without accountability or real consequences. This is a lazy, coward’s move, in my opinion.

Either decide to stay to work on the marriage or file for divorce! 

That decisions seems the least an honest and honorable spouse owes to his/her partner. But sadly, a cheater is neither honest or honorable. So, beware of this tactic!


Spiritual retreats or even brief breaks in a relationship interaction can be positive even in marriage. The Apostle Paul acknowledges as much in I Corinthians 7:5. However, the emphasis for those being healthy breaks for the marriage is that they are (1) mutually agreed upon for (2) a higher good of focusing in prayer to God.

In my experience, most suggested “breaks” from a cheater are (1) unilaterally decided. Plus, (2) they are certainly not serving the higher purpose of prayer and honoring God!


10 thoughts on “Cheater-speak: “We need time apart to heal.””

  1. My 63yr old “Christian” husband moved out five months ago. He said that he wanted a divorce before leaving. I told him that divorcing an innocent spouse and breaking a Covenant Vow to God would NOT mean that another subsequent marriage could possibly be sanctioned by God…he would be considered living his life as an Adulterer as would the woman he marries. I also found out that he had been a serial cheater during his last twenty year marriage. I told him that given the nature of his “strongholds” that he should just go live his life the way he wanted to w/o any restraints or accountability from me if that is what is driving him (it is). He has always been rebellious and HATES to be held accountable by anyone in the slightest way no matter what he does. So we filed for a Legal Separation instead.

    He has not made the slightest contact since the day he left…which is a blessing and actually what I prayed for since I did not want any more pain as he resumes chasing other women again. Our marriage went scorched earth when I kept finding Porn throughout the years, and then last year he started having a woman in the back room of his store privately “for lunches” for four months w/o telling me. All manner of trust died as well as any natural affection between us over the last ten years because of this sort of thing.

    So while there is still possible hope for SOME marriages that are on shaky ground and who should not separate…I already knew that ours was long over and so I REALLY NEEDED to let him go. Once a cheater says that they want to “get some space to think”…there is very little chance of return because that is just another LIE designed to escape the natural consequences with what they did or intend to do thereafter.

    There was NO help for us from the church because he would not get counsel and could never admit the full extent of the truth regardless of plain evidence. I told him that I did not intend to remarry (true) so a divorce would not be necessary as far as I was concerned… and that he himself had no Biblical right to do so given that he is a cheater…so a divorce would only serve to compound his sins by breaking another Vow to God on top of everything else. He agreed (for the time being)…but I am certain that given his track record that he will eventually find another woman who will pressure him for marriage. Once he DOES file for divorce, then I will know.

  2. I am the one who finally left and told him to decide what path he was going to go down. The future of the family and marriage was up to him!
    After discovering the extent of his betrayals throughout the decades and continued deceptions even while “repenting” and acting remorseful, I knew saving the marriage and his soul was out of my hands. I was determined to return if he sought God and professional help, showed true signs of repentance, and proof that he was putting the family above himself.
    If he was going to continue to lie, cheat, and steal to please himself, the children and I could not stay and continue to be used by him as his “cover” as he led his double life.
    He was paving the path of his choice before the kids and I made it out of town. He and his OW tell everyone that I took the kids and abandoned him. He is still playing Mr Nice Guy and using me as his “cover”

  3. Nyra,
    Did he divorce you or is he simply living in adultery with that OW? I do know that a man such as that who claims Christianity will take advantage of your “abandonment” and turn it around to justify himself…saying that you are not really a Christian, but rather, an unbeliever because you left…thus giving him the “right” to “not be in bondage” to you on the grounds of abandonment. No matter…God sees…and his adultery is actually what is vindicating you of any false condemnation.

    You did the right thing and I was prepared to do likewise. However, the Lord did not want me to leave my home. Instead, after I caught him with another woman, I went to the Lord because I wanted a divorce and wanted the Lord to give me peace with that decision…I was just finished with the scam of a marriage and had nothing left in my heart, good or bad. Just numb. Instead, the Lord told me to wait one full year before I did anything. Meanwhile, the Lord helped me to maintain my composure and remain kind and carry on as usual. THAT was truly a miracle in itself. So, two weeks before the year was over, this is when my husband suddenly announced his intentions to divorce me and he up and left…basically saving me the trouble to put the axe to the base of the tree myself. Small favors I suppose. I am relieved.

    My husband tried the false reconciliation too. Reading the Bible together with me every night for that last solid year…fasting ect. But he could never bring himself to admit to anything except “being indiscreet”…nothing specific, which is what I needed from him. For him to be humble and confess his sins against me and God that he had been doing through the entire marriage would have been better than his running away. But he is well known for running when he gets caught at something despicable. He left everything behind…like he never existed in my life…nor I in his.

    1. He did divorce me and married her shortly after divorce and living together for 3+ years.
      Within 6 months of moving, I filed for legal separation on grounds of adultery. I knew he was pushing me to play into his hands and file for divorce so he could weave his little tale even more. I was an emotional mess, but God was truly looking out for the kids and me. He made sure that I did a few things right! If we had not moved, I would have been stuck in a no fault state with Switzerland friends, not allowed to move away as long as there were minor children, or claim his adultery as the cause of separation/divorce.
      The X got an attorney & requested it be a divorce. He accussed me of being the cause of all his issues. They dragged it out for 3 years and kept rewriting the document hoping that I would not notice them dropping adultery as the cause. The judge later told me that the only reason I got any alimony was because adultery had been documented as the cause.
      God, my children and the people that really matter know the truth. I try to remember that because it hurts knowing that others believe his lies.

  4. So then it was a good thing that he was so caught up with his whore that he failed to get an injunction to force you and the children to move back into the no fault state after you moved? That way, you could file for legal separation in a fault state and that was the venue basis when he counter filed for the divorce?

    Well done! I live in California which is a no fault state. But I told my husband that we should just file for legal separation and that he can go live his life as he pleases thereafter w/o ever seeing me again. He thought that was peachy given that he KNEW he had no charges that he could level against my character…it would not have done any good in this state regardless. I reminded him that breaking yet another Vow to God was more serious than abandoning me, and that there would likely be consequences to pay in THAT venue…he knew enough about the character of God after reading the entire Bible with me to be concerned about that if nothing else. God will not be mocked. So he backed off (for now).

    There is an old song…”Carry on Wayward son”. The Lord gave me that one morning before my husband left…I did not know the lyrics since it was so old and I did not pay attention back then. So I looked them up on the internet. Blew me away. Then the Lord recently gave me a very faint memory of a movie that I saw years ago “Sommersby”. I could not remember the name of it…so I put the story line (what I could remember of it) in google and it eventually came up. I just watched it last night on line. Blew me away too. I think my husband might return years from now as a totally different man. But I could be just fooling myself like we sometimes do when we pity people…I do pity him if nothing else.

    People who truly love you KNOW YOUR CHARACTER. They wont be sucked into believing lies…so no real loss with the Swiss friends/family there I hate to say. My husband’s grown children are all into his lies also…as are his many friends. That’s on them, I have my own family and friends, and more important, the Lord who knows the truth and the heart. I tell my self the truth…that God SEES everything, and this gives me perfect peace.

    We both have our own businesses, so I made sure that neither of us left bargaining on the table for alimony on either side…and six children between us are grown and gone. I did not want to risk having to pay HIM any alimony if his business suddenly went “south”…and I am confident that the Lord will help me sustain mine. I am able to buy him out of the house (very lovely home that I worked my butt off to build with no help from him as he was so very disconnected anyway). That is another blessing…the Lord saw that he was not interested with the many details or care of the home and so saw to it that I got to keep it as well as everything in it. All my husband wanted was money out of it.

    How old are your children now?

    1. I have five (boys and girls). They are between 30 and 15 years. The youngest is the only one still at home. They are amazing!
      My biggest concern was always for them and their walk with God. I did not want their earthly father to be the image they had of God. God heard my prayers and He provided each of them with exceptional father figures who love the Lord and them! God is so good!

  5. Interesting DM. My church actually told us to go on a two week separation at which time they would counsel us individually. This, after my ex-wife openly announced her intentions to keep cheating and had already made the unilateral decision to move out. And guess what happened? She continued to have sex with the OM until I divorced her. That weekend she went on a mini vacation with the OM. Our counselor actually encouraged her to go because he said that she “would see God work”. It’s all so appalling now – the way it all went down.

  6. I also think the ‘we need time apart to heal’ line is a way of denying the faithful spouse much needed healing. Instead of divorcing or truly repenting, the faithful spouse is stuck in limbo. When you think of it that way, it is very reasonable to set the cheater free and allow them to ‘heal’ on their own, allowing the faithful spouse a chance to move on with his or her life.

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