In today’s world, sadly, cheating is common. More couples face marriage crisis, divorce therapy and marriage counseling now compared to 50 years ago. The statistics of infidelity in the year of 2016 alone shows that:
- In more than 33% of married couples, either one of the spouses or both admit to cheating.
- 22% of men and 14% of women admit having cheated on their significant other.
- 36% admit to having an affair with a co-worker.
- Two years into the marriage, issues are more likely to occur.
- Although 10% of affairs begin online, 40% turn into real life affairs.
Infidelity can occur at any point in a relationship, and if you feel as if you may be the cause of it, the most important thing is to remember “DO NOT BLAME YOURSELF!” The odds that you and only you are the sole person to cause your relationship to reach this point is highly unlikely. A successful relationship takes both parties to put in the necessary effort needed. There are countless reasons for infidelity, ranging from sexual dissatisfaction, emotional dissatisfaction, or feeling that the personal validation or intimacy is lacking. Reasons for cheating can be as simple as revenge, or just falling out of love and growing apart. If you are reading this article, you may have to address the following issues:
- Does your husband have another relationship?
- Will he be leaving her?
- Will he be willing to fix your relationship?
Before you get overwhelmed going through the “what if,” “what could be,” and all, ask yourself, are you willing to forgive him if he does want to come back? If there is no chance at all for you to forgive him, then it is doubtful that the relationship can be fixed.
Next, you may ask yourself why he would want to stop the affair. It is not impossible for him to come back. In fact, experts say that cheating couples do stay together, but it is a long road to recovery as it takes a lot of work to repair the broken trust. If he is sincere about it, it may be wise to talk. Some of the reasons why husbands come back to their wives are:
a) Mistakes – Many men engage in extramarital affairs for various reasons. Some to cope with self-esteem issues, some because they feel that they have no control over their own life, etcetera. The idea of an affair may have seemed right but only at that time. They could have been feeling bad or under too much stress. It does not mean that you are the bad person for being angry or hurt because of their actions. The point here is that they did not intend to have an affair, but circumstances somehow made it easier for them to have one.
Usually, men who cheat think that it is only a one-time deal and no one will find out, therefore, no one will get hurt. Unfortunately, that is not the case at all, and this is when reality hits them. Instead of being an escape, it has added more problems for them. Their already existing stress, doubts, and insecurities remain while their marriage now is barely holding on. Most importantly, they have hurt their own family, not only their spouse but also their children and relatives. This was not their intention, but a mistake.
b) I want my life back – Usually, those who cheat tend to realize what they have is lost and they would do anything to have their old life back. It is only then that they know that what they once had was good. Unfortunately, things cannot go back to the same after infidelity. There are always hurt feelings and the saying that “you never know what you have until it’s gone”, is indeed very accurate. Even if a cheating husband can convince his wife to take him back, the trust that once was will never be the same, and he will never be able to thoroughly enjoy the life he once had.
If you know your husband is having an affair, try not to throw a tantrum. If you have decided that you can forgive him, confront him calmly and talk about it. It is the best thing you can do for both of you. Ask him if he still wants to continue the affair or would he instead try to fix the relationship.
Although infidelity is hurtful, it does not necessarily have to end the marriage. The trust is broken, but there may be a part of you that still wants to save the marriage. Instead of plaguing yourself with doubts, if your husband has committed to fixing the relationship, promise each other that there will be no more lies, no matter how hurtful it is, this is the best time to address it. Tell each other what needs to be done to win each other’s trust, and both should cooperate to save the marriage. This is no longer a time for subtlety, if it is transparency and reassurance that you need, make sure he knows about it and vice versa.
After the affair, it may take a long time before the trust is reestablished to what it was before the affair occurred. Some of the factors to look at include:
- Has the affair ended?
- How long did the affair last?
- How your relationship was before the incident
- Are both parties committed to saving the relationship
- How are both parties communicating
- Are both sides willing to go through couple counseling as an effort to make the relationship work?
It is best if both parties are willing to go through counseling. It may be uncomfortable, but this is done as the person who had an affair may have given one reason for their affair while there is another reason behind it without them realizing it. If the real reason is not identified, both parties will not be able to work on it to fix it. Without dealing with the practical reasons, there is a high possibility that the person will have another affair.
Knowing when it is enough
Going to counseling is also helpful as a Marriage and Family Therapist can identify if there are fundamental flaws such as lack of compatibility, lack of companionship, lack of love, and personality clashes in the relationship and if it can be fixed.
If it is not the first time an affair has occurred, you should ask yourself regarding the viability of your relationship. Repetitive cheating is usually due to personality flaws rather than outside factors and are difficult to fix as it is ingrained in the person’s psyche. Having professional help on your side can give you a better idea if your relationship can be successfully saved or not.