If you or a loved one have ever experienced infidelity in a relationship, you likely understand just how devastating it can be. Knowing how much pain affairs cause, one would think they would cease to happen, yet infidelity continues to occur in both unhappy marriages and happy ones. According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, 15% of women and 25% of men will engage in sexual affairs. These numbers rise by about 20% when including emotional infidelity.
So why do people cheat?
Can your relationship truly survive once it’s been tainted with an affair?
Is divorce the only option?
Does infidelity say something about you as a person — or is it the quality of your relationship that could be lacking?
It will take time to process all your emotions after discovering the affair. There’s a good chance you’ll feel mixed emotions that may change quickly from day to day. Your emotions may range from shock to denial, to anger and jealousy, to deep grief and disappointment.
During this time, it’s important to remember that how you feel now is not how you will feel forever.
Reconciliation is possible, but both partners have to want their relationship to work and be willing to put in the effort. It could mean enlisting the help of a couples counselor to help you both communicate constructively. For couples who have stayed together after an affair, this decision often depends on some of the following conditions:
Researchers define forgiveness as “a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.”
In actuality, forgiveness does not involve denial or dismissal of the offense that was made against you. You can also choose to forgive your partner without continuing a relationship with them.