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What Impact Does Infidelity Have on Marriage?

Judith Trentman Wilson, Attorney at Law, P.C. Jan. 2, 2020

A surprising number of people in Illinois admit to infidelity within the confines of marriage. The New York Times cites one national survey that showed 15% of women and 25% of men admitting to affairs. You may have your own definition of infidelity, as it varies from person to person, from sexual relations to flirting online. It is also not a guaranteed relationship-ender, although many couples choose to divorce when cheating occurs.

When a couple chooses not to divorce, infidelity may have a significant impact on a relationship. Even if you can overcome the initial hurt, you may wonder whether it will happen again. There is also the matter of broken trust. Rebuilding that trust between spouses takes time, and both people must put in the effort to restore the marriage to its former state. In marriages where infidelity continues or a spouse is unable to let go of his or her anger, the marriage could be in trouble.

For some couples, cheating actually leads to a stronger marriage overall. This is especially true when counseling is involved, which helps both parties identify where they have gone wrong and begin healing from past slights. In some sense, this can be a starting point for a brand new marriage, one that involves mutual love and respect.

No matter what choice you and your spouse make, you should never feel ashamed of the path your marital journey is taking. Choosing to stay with a partner who cheated can be difficult, but may be worth it if you feel you can salvage your marriage. In other marriages, cheating may be the last in a long line of transgressions and mistreatment, in which case the best thing to do is separate. Only you know your marriage well enough to make that decision.