You have heard it from others: That infidelity will destroy your relationship. But why do marriages fail after infidelity? In some cases, people are able to move beyond hardships and live out their lives in relatively normal peace. For others, forgiving and forgetting the truth—that you were betrayed—is a challenge like no other. When trust is broken, it can be too much to rebuild, and so, the marriage begins to break apart.
Staying together or separating after infidelity is an incredibly difficult decision to make. Keep reading to learn the reasons why marriages fail after infidelity, as well as what you can do to ensure your relationship survives.
Consider The Numbers
There is a striking amount of data out there that suggests how much more likely it is for a marriage to fail after an affair. According to the American Psychological Association, between 20-40% of divorces are caused by cheating. Other studies found that 40% of adults who have cheated when married are either separated or divorced while only 17% who didn’t cheat are in the same boat.
Sometimes it is not the affair itself that provoked the divorce; sometimes it is the problems in the marriage that the affair unearthed.
It is possible that the marriages that continue to thrive underwent a lot of work after the affair. The married couple sought to forgive one another for their actions leading up to the affair, as well as what unfolded afterward.
Reasons Why Marriages Fail After Infidelity
Now that you have seen some statistics, let’s discuss the reasons that led to divorce:
1. Underlying Issues Were Exposed
Infidelity is a bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario. Once you know about the affair, every other problem in your marriage is exhumed. But you have to ask yourself: Were these problems here before the affair, or were they created after? Regardless, resolving these underlying issues in the marriage is essential, if you want the relationship to survive. Sometimes, though, you can visit a couples therapist or marriage counselor, lay the issues on the table, and come to find that some things cannot be repaired.
In the end, how—or if—these issues can be resolved will play a key role in whether your marriage survives infidelity or if you are better off getting divorced.
2. Trust Went Out The Window
Before the affair, your spouse was your beloved confidant, your best friend, and your teammate. Now you look at them and cannot see beyond the betrayal. Who is this person who hurt you so badly? How could you ever believe them again? Can you even be so sure that they aren’t continuing the affair right under your nose?
Trust takes a spear through the heart when a partner is unfaithful. Being that trust is the cornerstone of a happy, healthy marriage, it makes sense that marriages fail after infidelity.
Consider discussing the affair with a couples therapist or infidelity recovery specialist. Either of these individuals will guide you through the tough emotions and open up ways for you to talk about the infidelity together. Affairs are damaging, but with the right strategy, they do not have to be the end of your relationship.
3. You Cannot Reestablish Intimacy
After having been so deeply wounded by your partner’s actions, you may feel extremely vulnerable. Trust and intimacy are two critical pieces to a lasting marriage. Without either one, it will not last. Yet, how are you supposed to open up to someone who betrayed you? Such thoughts may preoccupy you and make you feel insecure. Even if you attempt intimacy, you may feel more alone than ever before.
The key to overcoming a lack of intimacy after an affair is patience. Do not rush one another along. It is important to be gentle with yourself; to rest.
If you do not want to see your marriage fail, then it is important to think about starting fresh. Begin with regaining trust in one another. Intimacy will return eventually. Your marriage will feel more secure when it does.
4. Your Partner is not Being Considerate
The deception that was constructed before you learned of your spouse’s betrayal is one of the most hurtful parts of infidelity. Your spouse pretended like everything was fine. Now, after the affair, when they should be working towards restoring your faith in them, they continue to behave suspiciously. If your partner cannot devote energy to being honest and transparent, it could sever what remains of your connection.
Marriages tend to survive infidelity better when the cheater offers up complete transparency. They openly call off the affair. They delete all evidence of it. In order to remove anxiety, you get access to their social media accounts and look at their text messages.
If this does not happen, you are going to continue to feel disrespected and lied to, and that is not a good way to continue a marriage.
5. There Have Been Other Affairs in the Past
Repeat offenders become increasingly harder to forgive. In the past, you may have had the capacity to put the betrayal behind you, but you can’t any longer. You gave your partner trust and tried to accept what they did, only to have them do it again and again.
It is difficult to deal with a serial cheater. This is one of the few scenarios that couples counseling and individual therapy sessions may be unable to help. Sadly, there is no right answer in this situation; you can only advocate for yourself and what is best for your well-being. A therapist may be able to help you decide on the right step. They may even suggest that it would be better to divorce because that would at least ensure you are both happy.
Strengthen Your Marriage After Infidelity With Couples Academy
Marriages fail after infidelity for a number of reasons, but it usually revolves around trust. If you cannot trust one another, how will you ever move on? As such, it is recommended that you take your time with recovery. Do not rush it, and do not sweep whatever issues you are dealing with aside. Instead, head to couples therapy and talk. Get to the bottom of the problem. At Couples Academy, we can help you strengthen your marriage after infidelity, ensuring that it will last a lifetime. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our services.