How long does a marriage last after infidelity: A coach’s honest answer!

This is such a common question. We work with so many people who turn to us for help after cheating occurs in their relationships, and this is usually one of their first questions. “How long does a marriage last after infidelity? Can a marriage even last after someone cheated?” Cheating is such a complex issue, and it cuts very deep. I don’t want to sugarcoat it and tell you that there is no aftermath, but I do want to write an article for you today on how a marriage isn’t necessarily doomed after a person is unfaithful.

If you approach this situation in a productive way, you would be surprised at how transformative infidelity can actually be. I will be sharing a success story with you that will give you some clarity on the topic, and then I will dive deeper into the ins and outs of a marriage surviving infidelity. The thing to keep in mind is that it is not entirely black or white. Each situation is unique, but there are elements that apply to all of them. By the time you reach the end of this article, it is my goal that you have a clear idea of what needs to happen in order for your relationship or marriage to survive after infidelity.

If you are currently in a situation where you cheated or your partner cheated, and you’re trying to figure out the odds of success for your relationship, this article is for you.

How long does a marriage last after infidelity: The odds of success

The answer to this question will depend on so many elements within ur relationship, so lets’ start things off with a success story. You are the one that knows the ins and outs of this relationship, and you’re the one that knows that’s you’re willing to do to save it or not.  I want to share this story with you to show you what is possible. 

This will help you to create your own opinion on the subject and have more clarity. 

I started working with a man named Matthew, and we started working together last summer. When he came to me, he was completely heartbroken and devastated in this relationship because he had learned this his girlfriend of many years had been having an affair. When he learned of this, he approached her about it, and she was forthcoming with honest information. She explained to him that yes, she had, in fact, cheated, she admitted to everything, and she ended her affair with the other man. They decided that they wanted to make their relationship work, but Matthew was having a very difficult time moving past it, as many people in this type of situation often do. He was struggling with believing that the relationship could be saved, that he would ever feel peace in the relationship again, that he would be able to feel confident that this would never happen again, that he would feel fully loved and respected, and he was afraid to trust her. 

Trust was broken and he did not know how to handle this situation. As we began working together, we started to focus on exercises that were rooted in personal development. We needed to work on ways for him to allow himself to feel safe and vulnerable with her. He also needed to work on allowing himself to feel vulnerable with himself again, because the interesting thing about infidelity is that it influences the way you see yourself. Matthew, like many people who have had to face this type of situation, felt unattractive, unlovable, and that somehow, it “made sense” that he would be cheated on. This, of course, was not the truth and needed to change. As we continued to work together, he started to come to some very interesting observations and realizations that actually ended up saving their relationship. 

He realized that over the years that they had spent together, he had begun to neglect his girlfriend and their relationship. This often happens to couples that are confronted with cheating because one person gets too busy with work and their personal lives. Without realizing it, he expected her to maintain their relationship on her own. This doesn’t make what she did excusable, but it does help to explain why she would cave in to the temptation to look outside of their relationship.  

When he was able to finally dive into this journey of personal development and fully analyze their relationship, he was able to realize that the cheating was a symptom of a problem, as it most often is. His girlfriend did not handle the problem in the right way, but by zeroing in on the root of the issue, we were able to zero in on concrete solutions. Everyone has room for growth, and we need to remember that people do make mistakes. Yes, sometimes very good people make mistakes, and what I have seen over the years is that in many cases, a horrible situation winds up being a powerful catalyst for positive change. I wish I could tell you how many clients have come to me saying that infidelity wound up being such a blessing in disguise because it helped them to recalibrate their relationship and transform it into something better than ever before. 

These situations can make both people in the relationship grow, evolve, and transform if it’s handled correctly. Getting back to Matthew, the man I know I today is completely different from the man I met a year ago. Now, he is confident, he feels empowered, motivated, loved, he’s sweet with her, they spend more time together, she feels more fulfilled, loved, nourished, and both of them feel more seen and heard in the relationship. For Matthew and his girlfriend, this run-in with infidelity served as a wake-up call that ultimately transformed their relationship into a better version. 

What I want you to take from this success story is that everyone makes mistakes, and it’s not uncommon to be in a situation where you’re wondering, “how long does a marriage last after infidelity?” But the people that can grow from the mistakes are those that deserve another chance, and your relationship can truly flourish. 

That said, if you are with someone who is a compulsive cheater, we have a very different situation on our hands. This is a different type of person. If your partner made a mistake because they were unable to communicate their needs in the relationship, are able to recognize this, and you are willing to do some personal development as well, your relationship deserves a second chance and could truly grow. This is also true if the roles are reversed, and you were the one that cheated. As long as both of you are willing to acknowledge what happened and use it as a tool to make longterm changes that benefit your relationship, not only can your relationship survive this, it can thrive!

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So, if both you and your partner are growing and are able to identify what went wrong in the relationship that lead to infidelity, and start to incorporate the right solutions to save it, you’re on the path towards long-lasting happiness.

Before we started Happily Committed, we were primarily focused on helping two people find one another again after a breakup, and if there’s one thing that I learned through the many years of experience in this field, it’s that so many relationships are stronger after they went through a “trial.” In this case, infidelity can absolutely be considered a trial, or in other words, a test, obstacle and challenge. It is very hard; I don’t want to take away from that. As I said in the introduction, I am not here to lie to you and say that it’s all going to be a walk in the park. If you want results and if you want to transform your relationship into something new and more resilient, it is going to take time, patience, discipline, motivation, forgiveness, and teamwork.

I also want to congratulate you on going out of your way to seek out information that will help you to repair this relationship. I know that so many people think that this is black and white. You’ve probably already heard the notion, “once a cheater, always a cheater,” but as someone who has been working as a dedicated relationship coach for many years, I can confidently tell you that that is simply not true. Just the fact that you’ve gone out of your way to read about this topic means that you’re open to learning and growing. Again, people make mistakes, but it does not mean that the relationship is doomed to keep reliving the same trying period. So, working to salvage a relationship after infidelity is not weak. In fact, it is wise and mature, as long as both people involved are willing to put in the work to change.

If you are feeling that you’re trying to make it work with someone who cheated on you because of weakness or emotional dependency, I cannot in good conscious tell you to keep fighting for this relationship. If you’re going to save this relationship, it must be because both people involved have learned and want to set out on a new path to make each other happy. Now, if you’re with someone who is placing ALL the blame on you and is not willing to take accountability for their behavior, it’s probably best to take a step back and reconsider what you’re fighting for.

Now, if you’re confident that your partner authentically wants to rebuild your relationship with you, let’s take a look at what to do!

Avoiding divorce after affairs

The first thing we talk about with couples who are putting the pieces back together after cheating is the importance of empathy. The person who was unfaithful to their partner must absolutely show empathy towards him or her. They need to understand what they put their partner through. If they don’t, it’s not going to work. They will also need to be patient. The person who was cheated on is going to require a lot of time to recover, and this is perfectly natural. This is an organic process.

If you’re familiar with our philosophy, you’ve probably heard me saying that trust arrives on foot and leaves on horseback. In other words, it can take a very long time to develop trust, and it can be broken in an instant. It can take years to earn that trust back, and the person who cheated needs to be committed to going through that process. I know that we live in a society where instant gratification is the norm, but that isn’t how it works in relationships.

They will also need to be authentic in their ability to be accountable and in going through the changes that are necessary in order to ensure that this relationship becomes fulfilling for both people involved. If they are not authentic about this process and are not open to understanding what caused the infidelity to occur so that they can make the necessary changes, this isn’t going to work. You are a team and both people need to work together in order to make this relationship thrive. So if you’ve been wondering, “Can a marriage last after infidelity” or “How long does a marriage last after infidelity,” the answer is that yes, it can survive. It can survive for good if you both work on making changes!

Avoiding divorce after infidelity: The healing process

As I mentioned, the healing process isn’t going to happen overnight, and the person who was cheated on really needs to take some time for themselves when something like this happens. If this is you, make sure that you take the time you need to heal, and if you are the person that cheated on their partner, make sure that you give them the time and space that they need right now.

Cheating is serious and should not be taken lightly, so it’s okay to take time. In the end, for this to work, the ego needs to be set aside and you need to think in terms of unity. You have to think in terms of what you have already built, and think about what goals you can give yourselves as you move forward. Make sure that you prioritize communication and quality time spent together.

There are many options available to you when it comes to the healing process. Activities rooted in self-care like yoga and mediation, help from a third party like my fellow coaches and I, activities that you make time for that bring you joy and peace of mind. A good idea would be to prioritize new things so that you can invite a sense of freshness into your life. After all, this relationship needs to set out on a new path and part of this happens by experiencing new things both on your own and as a couple.

I want to bring your attention to the fact that here at Happily Committed, we have created extensive content on this subject, from our videos on our YouTube Channel to these articles, to the special program that we’ve created specifically for this type of situation. It is very in-depth and very extensive, and it can be done on your own or as a couple. The goal is for it to help you begin a new relationship as a happy couple, and have taken the tools that have worked for all the other couples and individuals that we have coached over the years. We have compiled all of this information into this product, and I highly recommend downloading it. To download this special program on conquering infidelity, just click here.

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Before I go, I want to leave you with another success story so that you can see how possible it is to not only get through this ordeal but to use it to your relationship’s advantage. Like Mathew, another client, Isabella, learned that her boyfriend of 6 years, Mark, was unfaithful to her. It wasn’t an affair like we had seen in Matthew’s relationship, but even though her boyfriend had only slept with another woman once, it didn’t make the pain any less excruciating. She found out when curiosity got the best of her and she read a string of iMessages between Mark and another woman. When she confronted Mark about it, he didn’t try to lie about it. He came clean and confessed what he had done. In this confession, he also said he had been unhappy in the relationship and wanted to find a way to work things out with Isabella. Initially, Isabella wanted nothing to do with Mark or with his request. She was hurt, and her trust was shattered.

 However, after a couple of months of reflection, Isabella began to agree that their relationship had gone downhill before the cheating happened and that she, too, wanted to give it another shot. She acknowledged that there were things that she could have done differently as well, and was willing to meet him halfway. This motivated her to change the tune of her relationship. As we worked together,  we started by outlining what was causing their romance and bond to dissolve and found a solution to every single issue they had been facing as a couple, including the broken trust. Today, they’re engaged and are both very happy to be moving the relationship forward.

So, again, cheating is not an acceptable thing, but it can be a symptom of a deeper issue that just needs to be solved. Once this issue is solved, a relationship can truly flourish. 

To summarize what we’ve gone over today, infidelity does not mean your relationship is doomed. 

– If you are both willing to take accountability and accept that both people can make changes, 

– if you are both willing to put in the time and effort that will be required to repair the trust,

– if you are both willing to put time and energy into self-care and healing

– and if you are both willing to operate as a team to lay out a new foundation, 

Your relationship is going to make it. To take it a step further, I highly recommend reading this in-depth article on infidelity that provides you with the How-To’s of ensuring that your relationship survives cheating! To read it, just click the link. 

I sincerely wish you all the very best in life and love, 

Your coach when you’re wondering “how long does a marriage last after infidelity,”

Adrian