Can a marriage survive infidelity? Many times, an affair equals the end of a relationship. But it doesn’t have to be like that.
Cheating is one of the leading causes of divorce worldwide. This is becoming increasingly more obvious in the West. And Infidelity can mean a lot of things.
When we hear about cheating, we think of only one way to do it. But infidelity is not only sexual. It can be done emotionally or even online through dating profiles, chat rooms, and e-mails.
The main characteristic is that it is always an act of betrayal that you carry out in secrecy and disregard for what the other partner may be feeling.
Infidelity is the number one reason for divorce around the world. However, about 60-75% of couples stay together even after the affair.
However, that doesn’t mean they must be doing something right!
What does the data say?
It’s important to highlight that the exact number of affairs is hard to establish, given the secretive nature of the act. Furthermore, there are plenty of cases where partners don’t come clean about their cheating.
The number of cases of infidelity might be even higher, considering people usually cheat when a relationship is not going so well.
The rate of divorce is generally high everywhere, but that doesn’t mean that the only possible reason is cheating. On the contrary, the reasons are usually varied, and cheating hides other problems in the marriage.
That being said, the general divorce rate for couples that have + couples that haven’t experienced infidelity (all couples) is a total of roughly 40% to 50%. That’s about half.
Let’s go more in-depth:
After divorce, most people point to cheating as one of the main reasons for splitting up. More precisely, 88% of marriages did not survive infidelity, which is nothing to scoff at, obviously.
Also, most people say that they would divorce their partners if cheating would take place (Gallup poll).
What is the most method used?
When it comes to cheating, there is no right way to do it.
Figuring out which one is worse, from a subjective point of view, may shed light on some things.
In a study, most men said that sexual affairs are worse than emotional cheating. In comparison, most women said that emotional cheating is worse than physical cheating.
3 Reasons why people divorce after experiencing infidelity
1. The relationship had other issues before the affair.
When people cheat, their relationship was not going that well even before the affair happened. There could have been some distancing occurring from the cheater’s perspective, like a sexless relationship for example.
Also, Criticism, contempt, defensiveness, or stonewalling might have all been the norm.
After infidelity, couples can better see how their distancing has affected them throughout time.
2. The partners don’t have a strong friendship.
When you create shared meaning, expressing fondness and admiration for your partner, and know each other’s internal worlds, your relationship becomes bulletproof!
All of these factors create a strong friendship that further consolidates a solid and good romantic life.
Cheating usually occurs when one of these elements is missing.
3. Proximity and novelty.
Also, it seems that people may cheat even if they are in a happy marriage. Believe it or not, a satisfying marriage is not a buffer for infidelity.
Sometimes, people cheat only because of the excitement of it.
In search of hope.
If the data is so unhopeful, why the YES in the title. While infidelity can grief-strike a marriage, it can also be a turnaround – if dealt with correctly.
If seen as an opportunity, marriage can be salvaged and even renewed.
I think people lack the emotional education and marriage know-how to understand and survive infidelity – by no fault of their own. Luckily, that is solvable.
When you put in the work, your marriage can strive. I know it’s hard to believe that, as all the information around us makes us think that there’s no solution to such a situation.
Let’s look at some of them.
4 Steps to overcome infidelity in a marriage
1. Seek help from a marriage counselor
The first thing a struggling couple should do is seek therapy.
Couples therapy allows partners to see themselves and the relationship from the outside and with a neutral perspective, helping make decisions that aren’t based on their clouded judgments.
Your subjectivity will invariably affect you, whether you want it or not.
A therapist can show you unhealthy behavioral patterns that might’ve been present in the relationship before the affair took place while also focusing on how to help you regain your trust in your partner and yourself.
You can learn more about it here.
Additionally, as mentioned previously, therapy can greatly increase your marriage’s survival after the infidelity.
2. Rediscover yourself
Remember who you were before the affair happened. Engage in activities that are outside of your relationship.
Having a life outside your partner that includes friends, family, hobbies, and interests is an important buffer.
Having a community can help us connect amid unfortunate events, and having activities and hobbies to engage in is something that you can always control or choose.
The bottom line is that we need to see the things present in our lives besides our marriage.
3. Understand infidelity for what it is
One of the most important things to get is that your partner probably cheated on you to know something or discover something about himself.
Infidelity is not about your partner not being enough. Few things are about that. That would be too simplistic, wouldn’t it?
Cheating happens because of various reasons, and most of them have nothing to do with you.
4. Reestablish trust.
Establishing trust is not a solitary experience. It’s an act of coming together and working towards a common goal.
This method essentially involves three steps.
The 3 A’s: Atonement, Attunement, and Attachment.
- Atone: Being completely honest and transparent with your partner, imposing limits.
- Attune: Noticing and managing you and your partner’s emotions.
- Attach: involves meaningful conversations and the sexual intimacy that comes with it.
Can a relationship go back to normal after the cheating happens? It most definitely can! Infidelity can be a much-needed transformation for a marriage that otherwise would have sunken to the ground.
However, infidelity is not the reason why people divorce. A bad relationship is.
Being cheated on is one of the hardest things to experience by any person, so why is it that it happens so often?
And if it happens this often, why do we have a hard time dealing with it properly?
The research explains a lot, but I’m afraid that the numbers won’t keep us warm at night.
The good news is that your marriage can survive after it was stained by infidelity. Post-traumatic growth is even possible in a lot of cases.
However, you must want to save the marriage. Whereas people generally don’t usually feel motivated to work on reconciling or reviving the lost bond.
Either option is ok. The first thing you have to decide is if your marriage is worth all the effort.
Recommended: When To Walk Away After Infidelity