In this counseling answer:
“I would highly recommend that at least you try doing all you can to save the marriage first before making any decision to leave.”
Wa ‘Alaikum Salaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh sister,
Being betrayed in any way, especially by a spouse who you are supposed to be able to trust more than anyone will inevitably cause you to experience the feelings you do. The fact that he has done it on more than one occasion will naturally leave you feeling like you cannot trust him again. You will feel paranoid about everything he does. It is a normal response to feel like this.
As difficult as it is, the first step should be to try and reconcile the marriage if possible. Obviously, in a scenario like your own, this can be incredibly difficult and would involve building a trust again that has already been shattered. This is not an easy task and may not be possible at all, but it is something to try first before making any ultimate decision to walk away. This is to make sure that you won’t walk away with regrets. At least, if you are confident that you did all you can to save the marriage first, then you will be comfortable with your decision in the long run.
So, in this case, I would suggest beginning with counselling together. Seeing someone who is impartial and will be able to hear both sides of the story and advise you accordingly. Someone like your local imam or a Muslim marriage counselor would be ideal as he will give advice that is in accordance with Islamic principles.
During this time, you can attempt to rekindle the love by remembering the good times you’ve had together over the years. Arrange date nights where just the two of you can spend time together alone. Use this time to let him know exactly how you feel.
There are many reasons why he might not seem to be remorseful about what he has done. Perhaps he doesn’t realize he has truly hurt you. Or perhaps he is embarrassed and feels bad, but his pride stands in the way of showing you how sorry he is. Either way, neither of you will understand the depths of what each other is thinking if you don’t talk about it.
This might sound very idealistic and, given your present feelings, you might feel like such efforts will be completely fruitless as you have no interest in rekindling things with him.
I would highly recommend that at least you try doing all you can to save the marriage first before making any decision to leave.
As we know, marriage is highly regarded in Islam for many reasons which is why it is important to try and save it first before leaving it. However, whilst some couples are able to bounce back successfully from such difficulties, many cannot – and this is ok also. There is no shame in this, especially as you did nothing wrong. You are doing all you can to work things out.
If despite exhausting all options, you still have no good feelings for him, I believe that it is acceptable to pursue a divorce.
If you end up divorcing him, make sure you have plenty of support from friends and family. Even though it is what you want and you feel it will free you from an unhappy marriage, divorce comes with a heavy burden, both physically and emotionally. You would benefit greatly from the support of others.
Life will be quite different after a divorce and will require time to adjust. Your children will also require some kind of support through this also. Again, friends and family can help out to make the transition easy for them too.
During this time, make sure to keep Allah (swt) close and make plenty of istikhara that He will guide you to make the best decision.
May Allah (swt) make things easy for you and your children during this difficult time. May He guide you to make the best decision and give you the strength to bear the consequences of whichever path you take.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.