Most people who step into married life with their significant other hope to have a long, happy marriage together. Unfortunately, however, we don’t live in fairy tales and married couples often have issues to resolve.
Some obstacles may be easier to overcome, and couples may find that each time they do so, their bond becomes stronger. This is not the case with all challenges for a marital union — like infidelity. These situations are more difficult to work through. So when one partner has been unfaithful, should you try to beat this obstacle or should you give up?
Reasons for divorce after infidelity
People cheat for a myriad of different reasons, but the resulting pain and disappointment are consistent in relationships where one partner has been unfaithful. When a spouse feels betrayed by infidelity, his or her first instinct may tell them to file for divorce immediately.
But it’s always better to weigh this important decision when clear-headed, rather than doing something you may regret later. Practical steps may include creating a list of pros and cons — to help you evaluate whether filing for divorce is the answer or if you should give your marriage another chance.
Common reasons why people choose to divorce after infidelity are:
- There is no guarantee the unfaithful spouse won’t cheat again.
- There is a complete lack of trust.
- The unfaithful spouse blames his or her partner for the infidelity.
- Infidelity has had a negative impact on his or her spouse’s physical and emotional health.
- There’s nothing an unfaithful spouse can do to help erase the feeling of betrayal.
- Feelings of humiliation, especially if everyone else knew about infidelity but the other spouse.
- Feeling unappreciated and rejected.
Although infidelity is a major problem for many married couples and one of the most common causes of divorce, some people decide not to go through with a divorce after all.
Reasons to work on your marriage after infidelity
For some couples affected by infidelity, there are reasons for staying and working on their marriage after infidelity — and they may be worth considering for couples who are wondering what to do in such a situation. Here are some of them:
- Some couples believe their marriage is strong enough to survive the infidelity.
- The affair has been an indiscretion and one’s spouse has never engaged in that type of behavior before.
- Both spouses agree to see a marriage counselor.
- The infidelity was propelled by an unresolved problem in the marriage that both spouses have been sweeping under a rug for quite some time.
- Both spouses believe in themselves, each other, and the marriage
- The spouse has taken full responsibility for his/her actions.
One thing to bear in mind is that all people have different values, beliefs, and motivations — and we deal with our problems differently. Infidelity is no exception. While some spouses who have felt betrayed will decide to file for divorce immediately, others are willing to give their spouse a second chance.
Things to consider
Whether you should divorce or give the marriage another chance is a decision that depends on you and you alone. There is no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to personal matters of this kind.
That’s why, if in such a difficult situation, it’s best not to compare your decisions with those your friends, acquaintances or coworkers chose for themselves. Before reaching any decision about whether or not to divorce, ask yourself the following:
- What are my spouse’s good qualities?
- Is there hope for me and my spouse as a couple — or not?
- Is the marriage worth fighting for?
- Even if not right away, can I feel better eventually? Are my negative emotions likely to decrease in the future?
- Will I be able to trust my spouse ever again?
- Since an affair is usually a symptom of a deeper problem in a relationship, am I willing to work with my spouse in order to address this issue and overcome it successfully?
Take a few minutes to answer these questions honestly. When you answer them all, you’ll hopefully have a better understanding of whether or not your marriage deserves a second chance.
Things to Remember
As you make the important decision of whether to remain in your marriage or move forward with a divorce, remember:
- Your spouse’s infidelity is not your fault. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Adult individuals in adult relationships should take responsibility for their actions but there is no reason for you to be wholly responsible for a situation that may have been out of your control. Recognizing your faults in a marriage is one thing, but believing you caused infidelity is another — thinking the latter can affect your confidence and self-esteem, which may lead to anxiety and depression.
- It is perfectly okay to seek help. Plenty of options are available; you can turn to your family, friends, a certified therapist, or a marriage counselor.
- Don’t punish yourself with guilt. Whatever your decision, remember: you made this decision because you either believe in marriage or you don’t. Others may have strong opinions about what you should do and they may try to persuade you. But this is your life and you should always do what is best for you.
- You can be happy again. After even the most painful betrayals, it is possible to have a healthy and happy marriage after infidelity.
- You can remain civil. If you choose to divorce, the experience doesn’t have to be bitter and toxic.
The bottom line
Infidelity is a complicated challenge to overcome in any marriage and you may struggle with the decision to get a divorce or to give your marriage a second chance. Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer; the final decision depends on you. Just make sure you do what you think is best for you and your family. Don’t make rash decisions, take time to process and reflect, and we’re confident you’ll know the answer when the time is right.
About the Author: Lucy Benton is a writing coach and editor who finds her passion in expressing own thoughts as a blogger, and currently works at www.assignmenthelper.com.au. She is constantly looking for the ways to improve her skills and expertise. If you’re interested in working with Lucy, you can find her on FaceBook and Twitter.