Knowing exactly how many Americans have affairs each year is virtually impossible. At least a third and probably more than half of married folks will have an affair. When you consider the multiple kinds of affairs (emotional and digital affairs, for example), that number probably looks more like 90%. Why the huge range, and why is it so unspecific? Affairs are an often shameful secret and certainly not something the involved and married individual is liable to boast about. Not everyone admits their indiscretions in a survey either. One thing we can infer: Affairs are not as uncommon as one might hope.
An affair feels like the biggest breach of trust by the person you are supposed to love the most. Can a partnership ever recover from that kind of betrayal? How do you fix a relationship after cheating? Is it even possible to rebuild trust after an affair? Fixing your relationship and rebuilding trust is possible — but only with a lot of work and only if both of you are willing to put in the effort.
Why Do People Cheat on Their Spouses?
Illicit relationships vary widely. Long-distance, emotional affairs in which the two parties never even hold hands can be just as disruptive to a marriage as a less mentally intimate but very sexual affair. Some partners only cheat once, while others may carry on with a secret lover for years.
Regardless, the discovery of an affair leaves you wondering how your partner can have an affair if they love you. The reasons infidelity may occur can run the gamut. While both men and women are more likely to have affairs during the mid-life crisis stage of life, the reason someone has an affair often looks very different between genders.
Women generally cheat for emotional reasons. For example, a woman might have an affair because she feels:
- Neglected by her partner or like the relationship is one sided,
- Her emotional needs are not being met,
- Communication has broken down in the marriage, or
- Her partner works too much or puts more energy into projects besides the marriage.
Men, on the other hand, are more inclined to cheat for physical reasons; sex is usually a bigger prompt than emotional needs. This might be because:
- He considers his sex life boring or too routine;
- His wife is less sexually active than when they were younger; or
- He is in a powerful position and finds it difficult to refuse women who come on to him — or to not use that power as a reason to come on to women.
Emotions Vs. Physicality: How Can My Husband Love Me and Have an Affair?!
Just like human emotions and intimacy, the answer is complicated. Infidelity itself can be complex and hard to define — which is not to say it is completely undefinable. The type of infidelity present in the marriage may impact how you fix the relationship after an affair. By looking at the different reasons between the genders, you can begin to see the different types of affairs that may emerge— physical, emotional, and or digital:
Should I Tell My Spouse I Had an Affair?
The answer to this is very personal, very individual, and very dependent on if you are prepared to fix your marriage after cheating. If you feel your marriage is finished, telling your spouse might depend on how you want to part ways. If you hope to continue your marriage and rebuild communication, intimacy, and romance, you probably need to come clean. Honesty is the best method for moving forward and the best way to rebuild trust after an affair.
How Do You Fix a Relationship After Cheating?
How you fix a relationship after cheating is very dependent on your situation. Affair recovery therapy is a great option for how to get over an affair. If you feel confident about opening up to your spouse, that is great! However, having an impartial counselor present can help you both communicate your feelings more clearly and focus on moving toward a goal of improved intimacy. Either way, your partner is an adult and your partner. He (or she) deserves to know how the relationship you share feels from both perspectives.
Hiding an affair and hoping the relationship will continue is a disaster waiting to happen. Secrets like this fester, and they often come to light in even more hurtful ways later. Deceit on top of deceit can be the back-breaking straw for a marriage. No ideal method exists, but you can do it respectfully and with compassion.
How do you get over an affair after the confession? With a lot of hard work. Getting past an affair starts by accepting the pain and the reality of the infidelity. Talk and really listen to each other. Fixing a relationship after an affair is entirely possible, but you cannot expect your marriage to heal overnight.
For More Information
Perhaps neither of you are prepared to try to move past the affair together, or maybe you just don’t know. If you need counseling to decide if you want to get divorced, recovery counseling to learn how to get over an affair, or marriage counseling to decide what is best for both of you, Arkansas Relationship Counseling Center uses systemic dynamics to address special challenges in counseling sessions. Schedule your free assessment today! Contact Arkansas Relationship Counseling Center online, or call us today at (501) 313-1185.