Is It Worth It To Try To Rebuild Your Marriage After An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from people who are getting discouraged as they are trying to rebuild their marriage following cheating or an affair. Sometimes, they find themselves asking if the struggles are even worth it.

I heard from a wife who said: “my husband had an affair last year. We are both committed to rebuilding our marriage but it’s been a huge struggle. We are both trying our best, but things are just strained between us. I try to trust him, but honestly, I don’t. I’m always worried that he’s going to cheat again. When he tells me he loves me, I always have sarcastic responses in the back of my head that I don’t actually say. And our sex life is awkward. It feels like we’re just going through the motions. Sometimes, I think that he doesn’t really desire me and that he’s just here out of obligation. Every day is more of a challenge. Nothing comes easily between us any more. I’m starting to wonder if it’s even worth it. If all we’re going to have left is a bitter shell of our marriage, then what’s the point?”

You will likely get varying answers to this question depending on who you ask. People who ended up divorced after infidelity will likely tell you that your attempts aren’t worth it if you’re going to get divorced anyway. After all, what’s the point of crawling through each day if your marriage isn’t going to make it? How horrible is it if you’re able to hang onto your marriage but you are miserable? What’s the point of just trying to get through the day when there’s only going to be more snide comments, more resentment, and more of feeling trapped?

It can be hard to argue with this logic if a divorce is imminent. However, not all couples end up divorced or with struggling marriages after an affair. Many do manage to turn a corner and rebuild a marriage that is worth sticking around for.  This was my experience and that is why I might not be the most objective person to talk about this. But in my opinion and experience, if you can actually rebuild your marriage so that it has a solid foundation where you’ve been able to not only identify your problems, but to work through them, then it is entirely possible to eliminate the trust issues and the resentments.  And to me, that makes it all worth it.

That’s not to say that the process is easy. It most certainly is not. There are many days where you just want to throw up your hands, turn your back on your marriage, and face life as a newly single person. There are days when you wonder if you are just punishing yourself for no good reason. But if you can make it through these days and move on to get the help that you need to not only save your marriage, but to rebuild it to the extend that you strengthen and even improve it, then yes, in my experience, it is most definitely worth it. Because what we have now negates those dark days we went through. And because we had to stood together during the days that we thought would never end, we are actually closer.

Now, if our outcome had been negative instead of positive, then I might have felt quite differently. If my days were filled with resentment, insecurity, a lack of trust and fear, than if I’m being honest, I probably would not find all of the efforts worth it in the end. But since my reality is a more positive one, then I find it worth every day, every minute, and every second of the struggles because I have created something that was worth fighting for and I know in my heart that I did everything that I could to come out swinging and to not just accept that my marriage was over.

So to answer the question posed, I do think it was worth it to rebuild my marriage after my husband’s affair, but I know that there are some couples who disagree with me. I believe that whether you find it “worth it” or not depends largely on the marriage you have after the rebuilding process is over. And of course, the great irony in all of this is that in the early days after the affair, you probably won’t be able to tell which category you fall in.  In fact, if you had asked me a couple of weeks after I found out about my husband’s affair where I would be today, I would have told you that I would likely be single.  Things did not go well for us for quite a while.  But today, I can look back on it and be grateful that I didn’t give up.

If you are at the point where you are not sure that it’s worth it, I would suggest asking yourself your options.   In my own example, I looked at both the best and worst case scenario.  I thought that the worst case scenario was not being able to make it and getting a divorce.  And I knew that the best case scenario was coming out of it with a marriage that was better than it had been before.  I was willing to risk the worst case scenario in order to obtain the best case scenario.  Because I felt like I didn’t have anything to lose.  If I ended up divorced, then at least I would have known that I’d tried.  And that was going to be the outcome if I didn’t try.  So I figured I really didn’t have much to lose other than time and pain.  And those two things were a given anyway.

I don’t mean to imply that my journey was an easy one.  It most definitely wasn’t.  And perhaps part of the reason that I’m able to look back with some distance and calm today is because time has changed the way that I perceive it now.  But I still think that without a doubt, rebuilding my marriage was worth every struggle, every awkward moment, and every doubt I might have had.  I would rather be a woman who fought to remain married and who came through with some scars than a single woman who didn’t.   But that’s just my opinion.  Everyone’s is different.  There is no right or wrong answer.  If it helps you can ready about the process of saving my marriage on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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