Will having an affair help my marriage? It’s possible, but don’t count on it. We discuss the consequences and difficulties of recovering from an affair.
At the time I’m writing this, the top three (3) results on Google in response to this question are ‘Yes,’ an affair will help your marriage.
One relationship therapist wrote that having an affair increases your sense of self-worth and confidence. She gives several reasons having an affair actually helps your marriage. Let’s take a look and evaluate those remarks based on the latest research.
Our romantic success can make us feel more able to cope with the irritants of ordinary life, helping us to recover the thread of our own self-esteem.Source
Statistics prove this to be wrong. It generally leaves you feeling worse about yourself than before. Shame, guilt, and a sense of failure leave you feeling bad about what you’ve done. Not better.
It is a different answer if we ask the question ‘Can you recover from an affair and your marriage be even stronger?’ The answer is yes. Maybe. We discuss this more in our article, ‘Can a Marriage Survive Repeated Infidelity.’
There are couples who grew closer after an affair. But this is the exception, not the rule.
The thing most of the articles I referred to forget to mention is howindiscretion and infidelity hurt your spouse. They are supposed to be your soul mate. In my opinion, it is irresponsible for a trained therapist to recommend an affair as a means of making the marriage better. It holds no regard for the spouse who has to ‘overcome’ the pain of that wound.
7 Reasons Why Affairs Ruin Marriage
Marriage is supposed to be the ultimate expression of love and commitment. But all too often, marriages are destroyed by affairs.
There are a number of reasons why affairs ruin marriages. Here are 7 of the biggest reasons to consider.
1) Trust Is Broken In The Relationship
One of the mantras of our company is ‘Marriage is built on the foundation of trust.’ Infidelity breaks up that foundation; it does not establish it.
Infidelity creates mistrust and suspicion between spouses.
Even emotional affairs can be devasting to a relationship.
If you’ve been the victim of infidelity, you know how much pain and devastation it can cause. Not only does it destroy trust, but it can also lead to feelings of insecurity, anxiety, and even depression.
It’s difficult to rebuild trust after it’s been broken, and even if you do manage to patch things up, there’s always that nagging feeling in the back of your mind that your partner could do it again.
Extramarital affairs break trust because it is a major form of betrayal. It can cause serious damage to a relationship, and it can be difficult to forgive and move on.
2) Wounds Are Inflicted On The Heart Of Your Spouse
Those who recommend having an affair to save your relationship grossly under-estimate the fallout from those decisions.
Fallout In The Offended Party
It’s hard to over-estimate the hurt infidelity brings to a person’s life. Feelings of rejection, failure, and being unloved erode self-esteem.
Having an affair to help your marriage is like tearing down the house because you needed to change a lightbulb. Can you get a new lightbulb when you rebuild the house? Of course. But there are easier ways to accomplish that goal.
The emotional pain that comes on the heels of an affair can be devasting. Although it is possible to overcome an affair, most people underestimate the work and time required to rebuild.
It resorts to the thought, ‘I will hurt you to make our relationship better!’ That doesn’t sound like a workable plan. There are far better ways to deal with trouble in your relationship. We will discuss that in a later section.
Fallout In The Offending Party
Those who are unfaithful (more times than not) experience increased stress, shame, guilt, and regret. The emotional baggage it brings to your life far outweighs any expected benefit from an affair.
We’ve already mentioned this, but studies show those who are unfaithful are more likely to terminate their marriage than restore it. In other words, it is counter-productive and doesn’t (the majority of the time) accomplish a positive outcome.
3. Infidelity Can Lead To One Spouse Feeling Isolated and Alone
When a person is unfaithful in a relationship, it can have a ripple effect that leaves the other spouse feeling isolated and alone. The sense of betrayal can be overwhelming, and it can be difficult to trust the person again. The relationship may never be the same, and the person who was cheated on may feel like they are always walking on eggshells.
The person who was unfaithful may not understand why their spouse is feeling this way, and this can lead to further conflict. It is important to communicate openly and honestly if you are struggling with the fallout from infidelity.
Infidelity can lead to one spouse feeling isolated and alone because they are no longer the only person in their partner’s life. They may feel like they are not important anymore and that their partner is more interested in the person they are cheating with.
This can cause a lot of insecurity and jealousy. It can also be hard to trust someone again after they have cheated.
If you are feeling isolated and alone, reach out to friends and family for support. Seek counseling if you feel like you are struggling to cope.
4. Infidelity Can Destroy Communication and Intimacy
Infidelity can destroy communication and intimacy in a marriage for a number of reasons.
First, the act of cheating creates a barrier of secrecy and mistrust between the spouses. This can lead to further communication breakdowns, as each spouse becomes more guarded and less likely to share intimate details about their lives.
Second, the pain and betrayal caused by infidelity can damage the emotional connection of the relationship. This can lead to a feeling of disconnection and loneliness, even when the couple is physically together.
Thrid, infidelity can also cause sexual intimacy to suffer. This is because the act of cheating often creates feelings of insecurity, jealousy, and anger that can be difficult to overcome. As a result, many couples who have experienced infidelity find that their sex life is either non-existent or significantly diminished.
Finally, infidelity can have a lasting impact on the overall relationship. This is because it can create a feeling of betrayal and mistrust that can be difficult to rebuild. In some cases, the couple may never be able to fully trust each other again, which can lead to a permanent loss of intimacy.
5. Infidelity can cause financial stress in a marriage.
When one spouse is unfaithful, it can cause a great deal of financial stress in a marriage.
The unfaithful spouse may spend money on their lover, which can lead to arguments about money. The spouse who was cheated on may also suffer from a loss of income if they are unable to work because of the stress of the situation.
In some cases, the unfaithful spouse may even try to hide assets from their spouse in order to prevent them from getting a share of the marital assets in a divorce. All of these factors can lead to financial stress in a marriage.
Not only that, but the affair itself can be quite costly. If the unfaithful spouse is buying gifts for their lover or paying for hotel rooms, those expenses can add up quickly. And if the affair is discovered, there may be legal fees associated with divorce.
All of these financial stresses can take a toll on a marriage, making it difficult to recover from infidelity.
Money is one of the three most common problems in any marriage. This is intensified when unfaithfulness is introduced.
6. Infidelity can lead to anger and resentment.
Infidelity can lead to anger and resentment for a variety of reasons. The first and most obvious reason is that when someone cheats on their partner, they are breaking a promise or commitment that they made. This can cause a feeling of betrayal, which can be very difficult to forgive.
Here is a list of the most common questions people have when their spouse cheats:
- How could he do this to me?
- What did I do wrong?
- Was I not good enough for him?
- How could I have been so stupid?
- What am I going to do now?
- Should I confront him?
- Should I forgive him?
- What does this say about our relationship?
- What does this say about me?
- How do I move on from this?
- How do I trust again?
Most of these questions can’t be answered. This produces a feeling of overwhelm, frustration, and anger. It produces resentment that takes time to heal.
Infidelity can also lead to feelings of insecurity and jealousy. If someone feels like they are not good enough or that their partner is interested in someone else, it can be very difficult to trust them again.
Lastly, infidelity can also be a sign of underlying problems in the relationship. If there are already issues with communication or trust, cheating can be the final straw that causes all of the pent-up anger and resentment to come out.
7. Infidelity can damage the self-esteem of both spouses.
We’ve already hinted at this, but unfaithfulness hurts both parties.
If you were betrayed by your mate, it’s easy to feel worthless as a person. You may start thinking that no one will ever love you, or that you’re unlovable. These thoughts can make you feel bad about yourself.
On the other hand, if your spouse cheated on you, it can hurt your sense of pride. You may think that you are too old or ugly to attract anyone, or that you don’t deserve to be married.
Both of these situations can cause low self-esteem.
It seems like every day we hear stories about families being torn apart because of infidelity.
When one member of a couple cheats, it creates an environment where everyone knows something is wrong. Everyone is aware that the relationship is not what it used to be.
This leads many couples into counseling. They want to know how to fix things. Unfortunately, fixing the problem usually means rekindling trust and honesty between the two partners.
This can be extremely hard to do. But it can happen.
What To Do If Your Spouse Is Unfaithful
If you’ve recently found out that your spouse has been unfaithful, you’re probably feeling a range of emotions, from shock and anger to sadness and betrayal. You might be wondering what to do next.
While there is no one “right” way to deal with this situation, there are some steps you can take to begin the healing process. First, it’s important to give yourself time to process what has happened. Don’t make any rash decisions, like immediately filing for divorce. Instead, take some time to think about what you want and what’s best for you and your family.
If you decide to stay in the marriage, you’ll need to work on rebuilding trust. This will require time, patience, and effort. You’ll also need to be willing to forgive. If you can’t do this, the marriage will likely not survive.
If you decide to end the marriage, you’ll need to deal with the practicalities of divorce, such as dividing up property and custody of any children. You might also want to seek out counseling to help you deal with the emotional fallout of the affair.
No matter what you decide to do, remember that you are not alone. There are many resources available to help you through this difficult time. These are listed in the next section.
For now, here are 8 things you need to do to process your spouse’s actions.
- Find out what happened. Was there a one-time incident or a long-term affair? How did you find out?
- Talk to your spouse about what happened. Be honest about how you feel and what you need from them.
- Seek professional help if you need it. This can be from a therapist, counselor, or support group.
- Work on rebuilding trust. This will take time, patience, and effort.
- Forgive your spouse. This doesn’t mean forgetting what happened, but it’s important to let go of the anger and resentment.
- Give your partner the opportunity to express their remorse and take steps to make things right.
- Decide together whether you want to try to rebuild the relationship or whether it would be best to end things.
- Move forward. Try to focus on the positive aspects of your relationship and build a stronger bond with your spouse.
Along with this, you’ll need to communicate openly and honestly with each other, be patient as you work through things, and be willing to forgive and move forward.
Where To Get Help If You’ve Experienced Infidelity
We’ve often heard the statement, ‘Knowledge is power.’ In this situation, the more you know about the process of restoration, the better equipped you are to recover.
Here are a few resources that will help you take the right steps to get healthy and rebuild your relationship.
If you want more information on how to work through grief, here are 8 steps you can take.
Here is a list of 11 practical steps you should immediately take to start the process of healing.
It’s vital to rebuild trust. Here are three basic things you can do to rebuild.
If you are a man and your wife had an affair, here are 5 principles to follow that are unique to your situation.
There are many good programs available to help struggling couples. Here are the Top 3 we recommend:
Save the Marriage System by Lee Baucom
Mend the Marriage by Brad Browning
Marriage Max by Morte Fertel
Final Thoughts On How Affairs Hurt Marriages
While some suggest an affair may be a good way to enhance your marriage, the statistics and research prove this false.
Infidelity causes pain to the person you love, brings stress to the relationship, and breaks confidence and trust.
It is possible to recover from an affair, but it is a bad ‘game plan’ to make your relationship better.
- 7 Reasons Why Affairs Ruin Marriage
- 1) Trust Is Broken In The Relationship
- 2) Wounds Are Inflicted On The Heart Of Your Spouse
- 3. Infidelity Can Lead To One Spouse Feeling Isolated and Alone
- 4. Infidelity Can Destroy Communication and Intimacy
- 5. Infidelity can cause financial stress in a marriage.
- 6. Infidelity can lead to anger and resentment.
- 7. Infidelity can damage the self-esteem of both spouses.
- What To Do If Your Spouse Is Unfaithful