Marriage is a line—it’s a commitment, an event, and above all, a lifelong promise. The promise to be together, for better or for worse. The agreement to only love each other until death do you part. Once you cross that line together and get married, the only way to erase that line is to get a divorce.
There are lines within marriage, too—lines you aren’t supposed to cross. The lines are big and small, from small things you say to big things you do. One of the biggest lines you shouldn’t cross in marriage is the ultimate betrayal in a marriage—infidelity.
To share intimacies with someone other than your marriage partner shows that your love is waning and going somewhere else. It shows that you are unhappy with some aspect of your marriage, because you are seeking love and sex somewhere else.
It can be a huge blow to a marriage. Infidelity can tear marriages apart. Which begs the question:
Does infidelity in marriage always equal divorce?
For Dan and Shelly, their marriage had been great from the beginning. They loved each other very much. But over the years, things changed. Shelly got too involved in her own life and didn’t pay much attention to Dan. She even turned down his requests to be intimate.
At the same time, a younger secretary was showing interest in Dan at his office. At first it seemed like harmless flirting. It didn’t hurt anyone, right? And Dan gained some confidence from her that he wasn’t finding from his wife.
In the end, Dan found himself in a bad situation, and he chose to be unfaithful. It was a moment of weakness, and afterwards he immediately regretted doing it. He believed in his marriage to Shelly, even if things weren’t perfect.
But now to tell his wife.
What would happen? Would this lead to divorce?
The big question to ask yourself before wondering if divorce is the only option is this: Why did the infidelity happen in the first place? Once you find the WHY, you can then determine if there is enough of the marriage left to rebuild it together.
If the answer is that the marriage was not great to begin with, a spouse’s needs weren’t being met and likely never will be, if there is any sort of abuse, or one of the spouses has already moved on and doesn’t love their marriage partner anymore, then the likely end may just be divorce.
But if the answer is that one of the spouses made a big mistake and feels regretful about it, was seeking approval from someone else for a lack of something in themselves, or was trying to escape some other pain going on in his or her life, then reconciliation is possible.
In Dan and Shelly’s case, they still loved each other. The infidelity was a huge wake up call to them. Even so, it was a very hard time in their marriage. For a long time, they weren’t sure if they would make it. But they both really wanted to make it.
What if you can work it out?
Surviving infidelity in a divorce may seem impossible, especially the first weeks and months after it happens and the other partner finds out. For some, divorce may seem like the only option. But what if it isn’t the only option? What if you can work it out?
Though accurate numbers of affairs in marriage can be hard to obtain due to their delicate nature, according to Dearpeggy.com, of those surveyed 76 percent had spouses who had affairs but were still married. Since those visiting the website were more likely to be in that situation, the national numbers are likely to be lower.
Still, no matter what the actual numbers are, what the survey does prove is that there are people who stay married after infidelity. In many cases, infidelity doesn’t have to equal divorce. In many cases, couples can work out any issues and move forward together.
Dan and Shelly finally sat down one night and told each other all their thoughts and feelings. Dan was very honest with Shelly, and he whole-heartedly apologized for what he had done. They decided to go to marriage counseling together.
Because they had hope that their marriage would be okay, they were both willing to do what it took. They went to counseling and in the process, Shelly realized that she hadn’t been putting Dan first. While it wasn’t an excuse for what Dan did, she decided right then to change.
In the end, Dan and Shelly were able to work things out. It took a long time for the dark cloud of infidelity to fully go away, but it finally did. And they are happier now than they’ve ever been because they are both putting each other first.
Dan and Shelly were lucky in many ways, and they put in the work to make sure their marriage lasted through infidelity and didn’t lead to divorce. Many others aren’t so lucky; not only do they have the infidelity to deal with emotionally, but now they have a divorce and settlement to take care of. Every couple should ask themselves, will it be more worth the effort to stay married, or will it be more worth it to be divorced? Only you and your spouse can decide what is best.