It’s often said that around half of all marriages end in divorce. While that estimate was once accurate, it is a bit of an exaggeration today. New studies show that around 43% of first marriages end in divorce and that divorce is on a downward trend. 

Infidelity is one common reason for divorce. Many people state it is the one betrayal in marriage they could never forgive. However, being unfaithful doesn’t always lead to divorce. Data from the American Psychologist Association found that only 40% of adults who have cheated are either separated or divorced.

Thus, it is possible for a relationship to heal after one or both partners have strayed. How do couples proceed in the wake of infidelity? 

How Does Infidelity Affect a Marriage? 

When an affair happens, it is often a symptom of an unhappy marriage rather than the cause. That’s not to downplay the serious pain infidelity causes. If your relationship is struggling, cheating on your spouse is certainly not going to make things better. 

Cheating can cause a long list of problems in a relationship, including the following:

  • Low self-esteem in the spouse who was cheated on
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Long-term trust issues
  • Loss of affection
  • Breakdown in communication
  • Lack of attachment to the unfaithful partner

For people who have experienced trauma, especially trauma in relationships, infidelity can trigger symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. These make it difficult for the betrayed to form attachments in the future.  

When Can a Marriage Be Saved?

Infidelity alone is not always a reason for divorce. In one study that used a sample of 2,000 people, being unfaithful wasn’t even listed as one of the most frequent reasons for divorce. 

Whether your marriage can survive cheating depends on several factors, such as:

  • You both still love each other
  • You are both willing to do the necessary work
  • Problems were caused by stress, such as parenting issues, financial problems, or extended family conflicts
  • You share values and goals
  • Both partners make efforts toward personal growth
  • Both partners are willing to compromise
  • You maintain a strong emotional connection

Marriage counseling can be effective in helping couples work through difficult problems. However, it may take longer and require more personal work than either person assumes. If you are dedicated to the process of therapy and follow your therapist’s recommendations, your chances of forging a new, stronger relationship increase. 

What To Do After Infidelity

If your goal is to avoid divorce, several conditions must be met. The person responsible for the infidelity must end the affair immediately and be accountable for their behavior. Both partners need to enter therapy. 

When counseling doesn’t work or if saving the relationship isn’t the goal, speak with an experienced divorce attorney before making any agreements. No matter which side of the situation you are on, don’t let yourself be taken advantage of because you feel guilty or want out of the marriage as quickly as possible. 

An attorney will help guide you through the process of legal separation, mediation, and child custody issues. If you and your partner have a prenup agreement, there can be many legalities to wade through. An attorney will protect your rights. 

When Divorce Is the Right Decision

Not every marriage can be salvaged after infidelity. You may be in a rush to end a painful relationship, but acting rashly is not in your best interests. Consider speaking with a divorce attorney, a marriage counselor, and your spouse before making a final decision. When you are ready to move forward, a family law attorney will guide you through the process of divorce. 

Contact Our Family Law Firm in San Diego, CA

Contact our experienced lawyers at San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC today for legal assistance. Contact our San Diego office at (619) 866-3756 to schedule a free consultation.

San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC
2851 Camino del Rio S #430
San Diego, CA 92108