Can a marriage survive cheating?

You come home with the children from visiting relatives in the country and as usual, your husband who stayed back left the place like a pigsty. You just sigh, drop your bags and start washing up the dishes and then tidying up the living room.

When you start fluffing the cushion, a slip of white paper pops out and instead of simply throwing it away like an old receipt, you instead read it and your world as you know it falls apart.

The receipt is from a pharmacy for a pack of condoms and of course, you and your husband have not used condoms since the early phase of your relationship years ago.

You sit down stunned as you are rocked by this betrayal. Anger and hurt battle for supremacy but as you try to think, you also wonder at the long road ahead. Was it a one-time indiscretion? Can you forgive him and move on? Can your marriage survive this latest blow and still remain whole?

The answer is different for every individual.  No one can answer that question for you as you alone can comprehend if the vows you take are rules that you intend to live by. Obviously, he broke them but broken vows and promises do not necessarily mean a completely broken marriage.

Broken vows and promises do not necessarily mean a completely broken marriage.

The big misconception is that an affair only occurs in unhappy marriages. A relationship where one party is unhappy or emotionally distant may make the chances more likely but people ‘step out’ of good marriages as well and their partner may be just as blindsided.

Also, people may think they have forgiven but deep down they have not. They may not want to break up the family because of the impact on the children so they stick it out, but that deep-seated resentment is there, may fester and evolve into bitterness. Usually, when people bicker about household chores and such, the issue really has nothing to do with dirty dishes or why you did not cook last week.

They stick it out but that deep-seated resentment is there.

Yes, marriages can survive infidelity but it is best that you seek professional intervention because it will not be easy. There will be bad days of tears, anger, depression and the whole host of emotions on both sides long before the healing process can start. Trusting the partner again will be a major hurdle plus the one who did the cheating has to take responsibility for his or her actions and not deflect. The aggrieved party also needs to see where they possibly dropped the ball and pushed their spouse away.

Trusting the partner again will be a major hurdle.

Though it seems farfetched, marriages can not only survive but thrive and become better if both individuals commit to learning new emotional skill sets. They have to develop a new way of interacting and communicating. Honesty has to be a priority even if what the other person is saying may hurt. It is best you listen and realise that they are not saying things to be hurtful, they are expressing how they feel and feelings are not always sweet and pleasant.

Sometimes things about your partner may irk or annoy you and by staying silent they never know and so are not able to fix it.

Fixing your marriage will not be easy but it should be worth it.

Story written by C.W.