Do marriages survive an affair? The answer is yes – no – and, it all depends.

What we can tell you for sure is that you will experience pain, anger, shame, depression, disappointment; to name but a few emotions.
Here’s the thing, an affair challenges the vision of a shared future. Whatever ideas you had about growing old as a couple; retirement, rocking on the front porch together, travelling … seems null and void. Truthfully, being cheated on is one of the deepest, most scarring betrayals anyone can live through; the one person you’ve turned to in the past for support when you were in pain, is now the person causing you pain.

Infidelity is definitely not exclusive to TV dramas, it happens in most marriages. Most marriages, you might ask? Yes, unfortunately, most marriages. Marriage infidelity is one of the top 10 reasons for divorce in South Africa, yet research shows that 35% of married couples decide to weather the damage together, rather than split up.
An affair is not a terrible aberration that only occurs in unhappy marriages. It’s a myth that the “real reason” behind an affair is a faulty spouse or a bad marriage. True, a sexually and emotionally distant marriage will definitely make an affair more likely, but it is also true that affairs happen in excellent marriages as well.
Have you noticed that when people comment about extramarital affairs, the most frequent reaction is: “If he/she cheats on me, it will be the end of the road?” Well, you know what? It really depends on where you are in your life cycle; most couples with younger children try to work it out.

So, here are a few strategies to follow after the initial shock:

Avoid snap decisions to stay or go. This is not a decision to make at the height of your emotional struggles. Take care of yourself and your family and take your time to consider the pros and cons.
Make sure that both of you are totally committed to the process if you decide to stay. It takes one person to end a relationship but two to make it work. You’re both in, or you’re both out.
Realize that it’s a process – a long one. Trust is earned, it will take time.
Don’t count on the relationship to make you happy. Happiness is something you need to find on your own.
It’s the job of the cheater to make the partner feel safe again and to answer all questions asked. Share all passwords and give full cell phone access.
Lean on people that love and respect you.
Get counseling. If you intend to save your marriage, you will need help.
Forgive, but only when you’re ready. Forgiveness will allow you to move past the pain and the rage. Take this step only when your partner has been completely honest and has taken steps to rebuild your trust.
Launch a better than ever relationship through total honesty.

Take enough time to make the right choice.
If you have been betrayed by your spouse, you have every right to exit your marriage, but if both of you are committed to healing your relationship and surviving the affair, in spite of all the pain; the reward could be a new type of marriage that will continue to grow and will more than likely exceed your expectations.


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.