When we are in a marriage, it’s already given that we expect our partner or spouse to be loyal, meaning that infidelity always comes as a big shock.
However, the world has already changed, and cheating has become rampant and is becoming a common topic.
We’ve heard a lot of stories from celebrities who experienced or committed infidelity, and you probably know a few people who had to endure it.
According to the Institute of Family Studies (IFS), about 20% of men and 13% commit infidelity.
The numbers may not seem high enough, but even so, having to experience betrayal because of infidelity can be extremely damaging.
Not just in our relationship with the person who committed infidelity, but with the relationship we have with ourselves as well. After all, being cheated on can be very traumatic.
Now, here lies a very important question: will you stay or leave once you learn that your spouse had been cheating on you?
To be honest with you, there is no easy way to answer this question. But when you get right down to it, infidelity can be very harmful to you and your marriage.
How infidelity can be traumatic
1. Why emotional trauma will likely happen.
If you think that cheating is just a simple event in your marriage that you can easily move on from, you’re wrong.
You may not be feeling it now because of shock or denial, but later on, all the negative emotions will come right at you.
Yes, you will be hurt, but there will also be feelings of shame, guilt, blame, resentment, unworthiness, and even depression.
You will start to feel contempt towards your spouse, and worse, towards yourself for allowing it to happen and for thinking that it was your fault why your spouse cheated on you.
Just like any other trauma, there will be times when the memory of cheating will haunt you, and believe me, it will never be easy to deal with such intrusive thoughts.
And, it is even more unfortunate to have to endure feelings of worthlessness and develop insecurities because of your spouse’s wrongdoings.
2. Trust issues will unconsciously manifest and break you.
If the emotional trauma you will have to endure is not enough reason to believe that cheating will ruin you and your relationship, maybe this one will do.
You see, even when you try to forgive and forget, the trust you built has already been shattered, and things will never go back to the way they were before.
Even when you try your best to put the pieces back together, it still won’t change the fact that it has already been broken.
You may think that you have already forgiven your spouse for lying and cheating on you, but did you really think that you can still give the same amount of trust as before?
Well, honestly speaking, you can. But it won’t happen in a day or two or a simple snap of a finger. It requires a great amount of time and effort and possibly therapy.
Now, it is inevitable that you will develop trust issues. No matter how hard you try to deny it or how much you try to trust your spouse again, it will no doubt manifest.
When your spouse tells you that they will have to stay late at work, you will start to question whether it is true or not.
When your spouse tells you that they will meet up with friends, you will wonder whether the person they cheated with will be there as well.
Or when your spouse is busy with their phone, you can’t help but wonder who they are talking to.
Now, these trust issues can break you even more. It’s like watering your emotional traumas day in and day out.
And as a result? You will begin to develop even more negative emotions that weren’t even present when you learned about their infidelity.
You will feel jealousy, loneliness, embarrassment. And you will feel rage.
All of these may lead up to fights, and if you’re the type of person who doesn’t like confrontations, it may result in unresolved conflicts.
3. Delaying of healing
The thing about cheating is that if it happens once, there is a likely chance that it will happen again.
With that in mind, staying in a marriage after being cheated on is essentially taking the risk of having to experience a cycle of disappointments, heartbreak, and emotional traumas.
Of course, it’s never easy to let go of the people who are important to us, no matter how badly they hurt us. Or even if staying with them doesn’t satisfy us anymore.
Despite that, never lose sight of the fact that the best way to heal from trauma is to face it head-on, recognize that there is a problem, and find the best way to resolve it.
In this case, healing would be taking as much time with ourselves as we need to reflect on what really happened and how it negatively affects our well-being.
Neglecting healing at this point will only cause you to develop even more negative feelings toward yourself and your spouse, leading to extreme marital distress.
Can your marriage actually survive infidelity?
Infidelity statistics show that more than half of couples state that they will file for a divorce if they found out that they are being cheated on.
Meanwhile, about 31% said they would stick to their cheating spouse and won’t leave their marriage.
If you want to learn more about the likelihood of divorce caused by infidelity, check out our article written by Alexandra Craciun, Psychotherapist.
Using this information, we can probably say that there is still a possibility that your marriage can thrive even after having to deal with infidelity.
If you’re one who experienced infidelity and is still thinking about fighting to make your marriage work, here are some tips that may help:
Open and honest communication
If you want to rebuild the lost connection between you and your spouse, you need to have an honest discussion with no blame and judgments.
This will help you both to understand what really caused the infidelity, how it will affect your relationship, and the next possible steps to take to keep your marriage.
Take things slow
Infidelity can cause serious and damaging results in a marriage, and fixing it won’t be easy at all.
Remember that you will have to start from the ground up to restore what has been lost in your marriage, and these are trust, respect, and connection.
Understand that rushing the healing process won’t lead to good results, as doing so won’t help you and your spouse truly recognize each other’s needs to heal.
Seek counseling or therapy
Even when you are trying your best to fix your marriage, seeking counseling or therapy can be very useful.
It will give you the chance to truly reflect on your marriage and help you identify healthy ways to cope with the trauma and genuinely find forgiveness.
Married couples who are dealing with infidelity have the option to either stay with the cheating spouse or to just leave the marriage entirely.
Some people choose to go simply because infidelity is a very painful experience, and having to stay with a cheating spouse might lead to even more distressing events.
If this is what you want, I recommend finding a good lawyer in your area first. If you don’t know where to look, you can use a directory like this one.
A good lawyer will guide you through the legal process, making the process easier.
But then, some people still prefer to fight for their marriage.
It may be hard and time-consuming and would probably need the help of a marriage counselor, but healing from the trauma is still possible.