This post was updated on Oct 13, 2023
Infidelity is without a doubt one of the most difficult things you can encounter in a marriage or in a long-term relationship. It can completely destroy the trust you have in your partner and do great harm to your intimate relationship. However, whether it’s going to end in a marital breakup depends on a multitude of things.
While it may seem like a drastic action to pursue, divorce is often the only adequate answer to address emotional neglect, and infidelity. Coping with a divorce after infidelity may pose yet another challenge, as it often uncovers some deeply entrenched insecurities and unhealthy emotional and behavioral patterns. Often, it ends up being equally painful for the unfaithful spouse as for the one that is cheated on. Here you’ll be able to take a look at this problem from different angles.
Can A Marriage Survive Infidelity?
This is a good question to ask, as not all people react in the same way to their partner cheating on them. While many choose to draw the line and separate, many still decide to make a compromise for the sake of their children and career, the realization that the “lack of trust” started before the betrayal and both partners have contributed to the downfall, and/or to preserve their feeling of stability. It’s worth asking if you forgive your unfaithful husband or wife, will you stand a chance, and will things get back to normal?
Can A Marriage Go Back To Normal After Cheating?
Wondering how to stop divorce and desperately seek gettng things back to normal might seem harder than expected. You may not know how to cope with divorce, especially when it’s unwanted. In truth, people who are too afraid of leaving their spouse due to infidelity might turn a blind eye. Unfortunately, this can turn into a vicious cycle that can end up repeating itself.
How Does Cheating Affect Divorce?
It all depends on how far you went with your emotional breakup. If you have already separated physically and emotionally, it can only serve as a final indication that you might not get back together. It may speed up the legal aspect of the process. The unfaithful spouse could end up with some legal consequences – depending on where they live and what the laws are. There are also psychological effects that divorce has on both parties. It can be accompanied by grief, guilt, anxiety, anger, and identity crisis.
Should You Divorce An Unfaithful Partner?
That is your call. It is important for you to look at yourself, your partner, and the relationship from a Whole Perspective – at PIVOT we use that term to define; spiritual, emotional, physical, intellectual, and financial. Divorce may sound like the only feasible option if your partner is emotionally neglectful, abusive, and has cheated on you. In other words, if this is just an example of repeated and persistent behavior, your relationship is most likely in question. However, things can be much more nuanced. You could be dealing with emotional and financial, not strictly sexual infidelity. Whether their unfaithfulness was a one-time fling or a series of affairs, accepting that your marriage is over is not easy. And, do you play any role in what has happened?
Your decision might depend on whether the following statements are true or not:
- Your partner doesn’t show or feel remorse for their actions
- You still have strong and genuine emotions for each other
- They are still in contact with the person they cheated on you with
- Whether they’re ready to accept their share of responsibility and actively work to improve your relationship
- Whether you are willing to patiently work with them and recuperate the relationship
- Whether you can still imagine each other fulfilling your roles in the relationship
- Whether or not you are able to look at your part in the spiral down
Although it might be a blow to your self-esteem, a fair estimate by your spouse might be that you’re drifting apart. They might suggest that you take a break, separate, or try out an open relationship. Either way, it’s up to you to weigh the prospects of each scenario and see whether you can stand the test of time.
Is An Affair The End Of A Marriage?
An affair doesn’t necessarily have to be the end of your marriage. However, it can be the start of a period of a marital crisis that can end in splitting up, divorcing, or reconciliation. Both infidelity and divorce are traumatic events that can disrupt your everyday life – how you see yourself, the trust you had in your spouse, and how you relate to people around you. Moreover, it’s hard to say whether your relationship will recover if you decide to stay married.
Affairs usually serve the purpose of reviving the feeling of early infatuation. It’s usually there to add excitement to your emotional and sexual life, to fulfill the needs that are not met in your marriage, active addition to substances or relationships, and most of the time includes untreated trauma. Most affairs can be prevented if you’re truthful and cater to the excitement in your own relationship and treat any mental health related challenges..
Understand that often, affairs happen because childhood attachment wounds drive desperate behavior to have connection. When relationships get to the point where they become routine and it’s “not enough” to fulfill the wounds of the past, some people turn to others to fulfill the unmet longing. Then the partner who is cheated on will want to divorce, which is understandable because of the betrayal, and the partner who cheated repeats the pattern of being abandoned and neglected. It’s a relational cycle that is painful until the wounds are treated.
Can You Have An Amicable Divorce After Infidelity?
Infidelity might be only a symptom of underlying issues and it’s a good question if there’s room for a healthy divorce. If you decide to approach your marriage with an open heart, you may see signs that things weren’t going well for a longer time than you’d initially assume. However, even when one of you feels betrayed, there might be a chance for a healthy and amicable divorce.
This TAKES TIME. It’s hard to access compassion when you are betrayed. And, over time, if the person who has betrayed the other understands their “why”, then there may be a opening for understanding.
Recognize Your Differences
While you don’t have to automatically forgive your partner for cheating on you, you can start by accepting that you have different views and needs. However painful it might be, you may come to realize that you no longer tick all the boxes for each other. While you were functioning just fine in the past, you could’ve changed so much that you no longer recognize the other person. And, there may be untreated trauma that is driving the behavior.
Focus On Your Needs
Be frank about your needs and seek out resources that will help you cope with the situation. Try not to play the blame game and adapt to the situation instead. It is most likely going to be challenging, so you need to take time, breathe, and respect your tempo. It’s a tall order to not play the blame game so, after you spend sometime getting your justifiable anger released, you can focus on your needs.
Use The Opportunity To Learn
It’s probably not the best idea to try to retaliate by entering a rebound relationship. Use your new single life as a position where you can learn about your emotions. Although painful, it may be a milestone that can further strengthen your self-esteem. You can think of it as a personal project or one major exam in your lifelong journey of self-growth. Whether you have a habit or not, write a diary of your thoughts and feelings, and monitor your progress. LEARN from your experience regardless of which side of the coin you are on. If you jump into something new, you might miss the lesson.
Communicate & Cooperate
Keep the communication with your ex open and honest. If you have to co-parent, you’ll want to do your best to act as a united parental unit, with the goal that your children get the best of the new situation. It will be challenging, yet you all deserve to get healthier from the trauma. It is HARD to co-parent after you have been cheated on. And, it doesn’t seem fair that you have to communicate and be honest with someone who has betrayed you. However, if you don’t put your kids first, you will end with with complicated challenges that can create more problems in the long run.
Infidelity and divorce are emotionally charged events that can be overwhelming for an individual to handle. While you may know examples of people who have divorced or survived their partner’s infidelity with the appearance that it is no big deal, know this…you don’t have to suffer in silence. Find someone you can talk to, and lean on support from family, friends, or professionals. Allow yourself time to heal.
How Do You Save Your Marriage After Infidelity?
If you have decided that staying together and working on your marriage is worth it, you may want to focus on the following:
- Discover the WHY – why did this happen?
- Allow for time to heal. Have realistic expectations
- Work actively on your common ground and what brought you together
- Be willing to question some of your own views and impulses
- Put effort into reviving your passion and finding what you love in one another
- Plan quality time together and encourage romantic gestures
- Gain better insight into the distractions and things that pull you away from each other
- Get a better grasp of your time and plan ahead
- Surprise each other and encourage spontaneity
Where Can I Learn How To Cope With Divorce Or Resolve Intimacy Problems In My Relationship?
There’s no need to go through the guilt and aggravation of divorce on your own. Relationship coaches at PIVOT have ample knowledge to assist you through one-on-one sessions designed for divorced individuals. With our help, you may uncover hidden patterns of behavior, thinking, and feeling, and find ways to break away from the cycles of failed relationships and disappointment. We can help with co-creating parenting plans regardless of if you stay together or not. Long-term couples who are seeking ways to renew intimacy and passion after physical separation or emotional detachment can rely on Glass House intimacy in marriage intensives.
With many years of experience, we’d be happy to accompany you on your journey to a healthier mindset. To find out more about our programs and how we can accommodate you, don’t hesitate to contact us today!