Will My Husband’s Affair End My Marriage?

By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from wives who are trying their very best to save their marriage despite their husband’s recent affair.  In my not so objective opinion, it takes a lot of courage to have that kind of faith and determination in spite of that kind of unbearable betrayal and pain.  I know from experience that it isn’t easy.  Still, many of these wives are hoping for the best and are putting their most determined effort into play.  But, they usually have some deep down doubts that cause them to move very slowly and to hold back somewhat.

I heard from a wife who said; “I’m not going to pretend that I’m not floored by husband’s affair.  Some mornings, I wake up and I still can not believe that this is my life.   It hurts more than I ever anticipated.  Still, I do not want to end up divorced.  I still love this man and I have our children to think about.  I believe that marriage is forever no matter what difficulties you face.  I am in this for the long haul.  We are trying very hard to rebuild.  I can tell that my husband really wants for it to work and I know that the same is true for me.  However, I still worry about the long term effects of the affair.  The other day, I was talking to one of my girlfriends and she reluctantly told me that she didn’t know one couple who stayed together after infidelity.  She said that despite their admirable efforts,  all of the couples eventually split up because of the stress of the affair.  She said that either the trust doesn’t return. the cheating spouse gets tired of all of the suspicion, or the faithful spouse resents the other.  At first, I was mad at my friend for even saying this.  But once I calmed down, I realized that she was only trying to be honest with me and, frankly, I’ve worried about the things she told me.  So is it true?  Will my husband’s affair end my marriage?”

Obviously, I can’t see into the future.  But I can tell you from experience that an affair does not have to end your marriage. Affairs do end many marriages.  But, many marriages survive and some actually improve.  This is not an easy process.  There are times when you will have to fight for your marriage when it may be easier to walk away.  There will be days when you feel that you are being taken advantage of. There may be days when you find your suspicions are in overdrive. And you may worry for a while that your spouse is going to one day cheat again.  But, if you can get through the very difficult early days, things very often get much better.   And if you are willing to do the work even when it’s difficult, you can end up with a marriage that not only is not ending, but is improving in many ways.  I’ll discuss this more below.

You Both Have To Be Willing To Look Behind Doors That You’d Rather Leave Closed:  As hurtful as taking a harsh look at your marriage may seem, it’s the only way to know for sure that you have repaired your relationship so that you have safeguarded it in the future.  You have to be willing to uncover what went wrong and what left you vulnerable. This means that you both have to willing to take a very honest (and sometimes hurtful) look at your marriage and determine what might have contributed to the affair.  This is not easy.  It’s very normal to become defensive and to want to look the other way.  But you can’t.  Because if you don’t very bluntly stare your issues right in the face, then you may worry that they may resurface one day and that the infidelity may happen again.  Knowing that you have identified and dealt with every single problem that might cause is future problems is the only way to feel confident about moving forward.  And feeling confident is vital to your future success.

You Have To Be Willing To Communicate Honestly Even If It’s More Comfortable Not To:  If I’m being honest, I can tell you that I think that most affairs happen as a result of a breakdown of communication.  Many people will tell you that it’s due to a breakdown of sex, but I disagree.  Because if more spouses would just have an honest discussion about the sex, then the lack of sex isn’t truly the problem.  It’s the fact that rather than honestly discussing any problems or shortcomings with their spouse, the dissatisfied person stays silent but attempts to get their needs met somewhere else.

But, if you both learn to be completely honest even when it’s painful, then so many of the danger zones that come before the affair can be avoided.  Not only that, but open communication helps with the resentment after the affair.

If your spouse isn’t giving you what you think you need, speak up.  Many faithful spouses assume that their spouse should “just know” what they need.  And this is often how resentment starts.  If you get in the habit or regularly checking in very honestly, then you can avoid many of the pitfalls that come before and after affairs.

So to answer the question posed, while I couldn’t see into the future, I also knew that the husband’s affair didn’t necessarily mean the end of this wife’s marriage.  Some marriages do end as the result of infidelity but many do not.  The real concern should be how good and stable your marriage will be in the aftermath.  Sure, anyone can stay together and  be miserable and unhappy.  But you deserve more than this.

I know that I’ve made this process sound difficult and not much fun. But the rewards are definitely there. If you would have told me right after my husband’s affair that I would still be happily married today, I never would have believed you.  But, that is the reality because we worked very hard to make it so.  If it helps, you can read that story on my blog http://surviving-the-affair.com

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