How Adultery Affects Marriages
Adultery is one of the worst things that can happen to a marriage. It feels like a death: the death of trust, the death of affection, the death of all the work you've done in your marriage. There's no doubt about it; adultery affects marriages in very significant ways.
Many of these ways are negative. These may include:
- Loss of trust. Trust is such a foundational element of a marriage that once it is betrayed, it is extremely hard to rebuild.
- Insecurity. If your spouse was attracted to another person, you might wonder whether it was because there was something wrong with you.
- Guilt. The person who committed the adultery may spend years feeling bad about his or her actions, and may be unable to leave them in the past.
- Grief. Your marriage will change. It may survive, but it will never be the same. Changes cause grief, and grief can include anger, resentment, bitterness, sadness, and guilt.
However, many couples say that their experience with adultery turned out not to be entirely negative. Some good things that can come out of adultery include:
- Examination of the marriage. Adultery is often a symptom of deeper problems. Many people say that they didn't realize how much work their marriage needed until their spouse's affair was discovered.
- Renewed commitment. In many ways, adultery requires that a relationship begin completely from scratch. But this can be a positive thing, a chance for both partners to affirm that they want the marriage to succeed.
- Confidence. It may take a while, but many couples come to the point where they look back on the adultery and think, "If we can get through this, we can get through anything."