One-night-stands. Emotional entanglements at work. Serious relationships with another individual that goes on for months. There are many forms of infidelity that an unfaithful partner can commit. Yet, most extramarital affairs tend to fizzle out eventually. Like a chapter in a book, affairs come to a close for a couple of different reasons, but the fallout? That tends to go one of the two ways.
If you have been wondering how affairs usually end, you’re in the right place.
Do Affairs Last?
Relationships that begin with an affair don’t usually last. This is often due to the foundation of the relationship being one of poor faith. Those in the relationship who started from an affair may eventually feel less satisfied, less invested, and less committed to the happiness of the other person. Furthermore, people who cheated on a spouse or partner will often seek to cheat again.
On average, affairs usually end within 6 months to 2 years.
Reasons Affairs Eventually End
Despite the Hollywood depictions of affairs going so well that they turn into healthy, loving marriages, we know that’s not reality. When you consider the reasons why infidelity happens in the first place, you realize that there’s a slim chance of the affair surviving. Boredom, unmet needs, loneliness, and anger drive people to do crazy things, but that doesn’t make a solid relationship.
Here are some reasons why affairs come to an end:
1. The Newness Becomes Familiar
One of the appeals of having an extramarital affair for many is how exciting and novel it all feels. The thrill of meeting with someone new can be intoxicating, especially when a marriage has gotten familiar and stale.
For those committing infidelity, though, they will find the excitement wears off rapidly. Reality sets in. There are no genuine emotions there, just lust. This kind of affair doesn’t last long, but that also means the unfaithful could cheat again.
2. The Guilt and Regret are Overwhelming
If you’re the victim of infidelity, it might be a small relief to know that your partner might have called off the affair because they felt immense guilt over what they had done. So often, we’re ready to believe that someone who betrayed us feels nothing at all about our emotions, but that’s not always true. Your spouse still loves you, despite what they did.
3. The Unfaithful Couple are United by Negative Emotions
Have you ever talked to someone and felt that this person understands you more than anyone? Misery does indeed love company, and when someone is willing to listen to your complaints about your marriage, you may find yourself appreciating more than their ear.
Affairs built on misery end because whatever bothered those people before will show up in others. Negative emotions can’t sustain a relationship, especially one like this.
4. The Involved Pair Don’t Know One Another
At first, spontaneous hookups and one-night stands seem great. The other person is one-dimensional. Fun. You don’t know anything about them other than the flesh. In this case, there is no emotional connection. Attraction can fade rapidly, especially once they do become more real, ending the affair before it gained momentum.
5. The Betrayal is Discovered by the Faithful Partner
Somewhere along the line, the couple committing the affair is going to mess up. Guilt might drive a confession. Maybe a text message is discovered or someone ends up pregnant. There are a million possibilities for an affair to be discovered, especially one that has developed into a true relationship.
You have discovered the affair; it’s going to feel like everything is crumbling—for everyone involved. Rarely, the affair survives the fallout.
How Does an Affair End?
Now that you know some of the reasons why an affair comes to an end, let’s talk about what happens when it does end. There are often three routes that unfold:
- Lies to keep the affair hidden
Each of these has its advantages and disadvantages.
There are two ways divorce could occur: through a divorce and a new relationship or divorce and loss. With the first outcome, it could very well be that the couple having the affair does have an emotional connection. In this way, the affair sets into motion a divorce from the current relationship so a new one can begin. Of course, this could potentially lead to more affairs and consecutive divorces.
The second route is divorce from the current marriage and all parties going their separate ways. Sometimes the unfaithful partner doesn’t let the person they are having an affair with know the truth. In this case, their spouse and the lover may both choose to step away after having been lied to.
Depending on the nature of the affair, you may find that divorce is the only option. Perhaps your spouse has been unfaithful in the past and this breach of trust is the last straw. Or you may agree that you have fallen out of love and would like to move on.
Marriages can survive infidelity because both partners decide that they do love one another and want to invest more time in their marriage. This road to recovery after an affair is long. Rebuilding trust can take many months or years, which is why couples often turn to marriage counselors, sex therapists, or infidelity recovery specialists to help them.
3. Lying to Hide The Truth
This is possibly the least fortunate circumstance. The affair ended without the faithful partner finding out, and since the unfaithful isn’t going to readily talk about having an affair, they work extremely hard to cover up that it ever happened. This might seem favorable, but it is going to put a strain on the current relationship. If you had a one-night stand with a coworker, for instance, trying to hide the truth from everyone and hoping the other person does as well will be taxing.
In this event, it is best to talk to your partner. Let them know what happened, and how it made you feel, and promise that you will work on the issue so it never happens again.
In that light, there are really only two avenues for how an affair will end: either the marriage disintegrates or you overcome the hurdle together and stay together.
Your Marriage Can Survive Infidelity
Affairs are messy on many levels. From the emotions that drive people to commit them, to the chaos created by the discovery. Yet, most affairs usually end one of two ways: with divorce or a stronger current relationship. How the end plays out is up to you, how you choose to react, and how hard you want to work to stay together.
Learning how to overcome grief and pain is going to be difficult, but Couples Academy can help. This unique program will teach you methods for working through infidelity and strengthening your relationship. Fill out the contact form today for more information.