It’s difficult to admit that not only your marriage isn’t picture-perfect, but that it might go down in flames. For most people, infidelity is one of the deal-breakers in a relationship, whether they’ve just started dating or been happily married for dozens of years. If you’ve found yourself in a situation that your spouse has been cheating on you or vice versa, and you’re not sure whether your marriage is worth saving, you probably have a hard time. We’ve done a bit of research on the matter and we’ll try to help you in your decision-making process.

What is infidelity?

What would you say an act of infidelity is? Sleeping with someone else? Flirting with them? Paying for sex outside of marriage? Spending time in various chat rooms? And why do people cheat? Some cheat out of fear of intimacy and boredom, others because they’re lonely and need more intimacy in their lives. Whatever the reason behind infidelity, it still shatters the life of couples and robs them of their peace and even of their relationship, according to relationship therapist Esther Perel. Even though it’s looked down upon and considered a taboo all over the world and through different cultures, it’s still universally practiced, which means that a lot of people have been dealing with different forms of infidelity.

Finding out the truth

The manner in which you’ve found out about your partner’s infidelity is very important: did they come clean or did you find out about it yourself? If they have confessed, it’s a sign that they’re ready to be honest with you, and this is where you take the first steps. They should be open and you should know what questions to ask. It’s not about who is better in bed and where the affair took place, but about the very reasons for infidelity: How did it make you feel? What did you get from them that you didn’t find with me? How did you feel when you came home? And the big question: what is it that you value about our marriage? These answers will help you understand the nature of the affair and whether you should try saving your marriage.

The reality of a divorce

A number of people file for divorce immediately after finding out about their partner’s infidelity, but it takes a lot of time and work to understand that divorce isn’t magical: it won’t make the affair go away nor will it cure you of your pain. While it might not make you happy and cure all your problems, sometimes separation and divorce are the only ways you can find yourself again and overcome what has happened. If you happen to have children or any mutual property, it would be wise to consult experienced family solicitors from Sydney and ask for help with more practical aspects: custody, dividing assets, and deciding where you can live.

Building bridges

Re-building a marriage takes as much effort and hard work as a divorce, but it gives you a chance to see how your partner feels about your relationship. If they are willing to get tested for STDs, share with you their whereabouts at all times, allow you to look through their phone and prove that they’ve broken every contact with their affair partner that means that they’re really willing to work hard to earn your trust again. Also, if their affair partner tries to contact them again, they should tell you instead of trying to cover it up in order to protect you – the latter will only result in more suspicion on your part.

Being honest

Forgiveness isn’t something that happens in an instant or over the course of a weekend, and being honest isn’t something you should be ‘occasionally’ but every day. You are going to want to talk about the infidelity in the future, probably a lot of times, and your partner will find it difficult. The betrayed spouse will need more time and information in order to process what actually happen and fully heal, and if the unfaithful spouse is willing to be patient, open, and honest, it’s a good step towards reconciliation. On the other hand, if the unfaithful spouse avoids talking about it’s a sign that they don’t understand you or that they aren’t trying hard enough.

Affairs are always a messy business when you’re married, but do they have to be the end of your marriage and your relationship with your partner? The answer is, of course, no, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to move on and build a life together afterward. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and dedication on both your parts, but if reconciliation is what you both want, then you could succeed in saving your marriage even after an infidelity.