One partner “cheating” doesn’t always bring an end to a marriage. But sometimes it does.
Andrew G Marshall in his book “How Can I Ever Trust You Again?” suggests that whether a relationship survives infidelity, can depend greatly on the type of affair which has taken place.
He explains the various types of affairs people can have and what they could mean to the survival of the marriage.
What is an affair?
An affair could be explained simply as being when someone has a sexual relationship with a person other than their partner/spouse. But there isn’t such a clear definition of “cheating”.
Does your partner need to have slept with someone else for you to consider they have cheated on you? Does kissing constitute cheating to you? There may not have been any physical acts but perhaps flirty emails/texts and/or a secret friendship. Do you feel this inappropriate friendship with someone else is cheating? This has recently been referred to as micro-cheating.
In all of these examples there has been a breach of trust and no doubt feelings of hurt and betrayal. How serious this becomes for the survival of the marriage depends on how the other spouse feels about their spouse’s behaviour and what they both decide to do next.
What constitutes adultery?
The legal definition of adultery under the law of England and Wales is – a sexual relationship with a member of the opposite sex. (And yes, there is a clear need to update this archaic law to take account of same-sex relationships). The adulterer only needs to admit the relationship took place. No evidence is required. Very little detail is given in court documents about the relationship itself and the “other person”. It is also worth mentioning that adultery has been committed if despite having separated from your spouse, you are still legally married. This may not have any particular consequence to the couple, if perhaps both parties have been living apart for some time and/or do not intend to reconcile.
But unless you are filing for divorce, your focus will be on the particular type of cheating and/or inappropriate relationship of your partner, how you feel about it and what you want to do next.
Managing the stress of finding out your partner cheated
Finding out your spouse has a special relationship with another person can be devastating. Feelings of shock and panic are common. Various symptoms of stress can follow and it is important to manage your stress, to ensure you take good care of yourself and make rational, informed decisions about what you do next. For tips on managing stress, read my blog Coping With Stress When You Have Discovered Your Partner’s Infidelity.
It’s your choice what you want to do next
No one is walking in your shoes. It is your life and your marriage. What you decide to do about your partner’s behaviour is your decision. It is not for anyone else to tell you how you feel or what you should do. Hopefully, any decision made can be a joint decision with your partner but this may not be possible or appropriate. Read my blog 3 Steps To Take When Your Spouse Is Having An Affair for advice on what you should consider as your next steps when you first find out.
Get support and perhaps look to talk to a professional who specialises in this area to get some perspective on your situation and help you decide on your next steps.
If you have found the tips in this blog useful then you’ll find lots more in my eBooks, which you can purchase and download today.
If you’d like to work with me 1:1, for help with such stressful times, please get in touch to find out how I can help.
Why I became a divorce consultant.