When a spouse strays, both parties in the relationship are likely to feel like their world has been shattered. An affair — whether emotional, physical, or any variation of "cheating" — is a betrayal to your relationship. But that doesn't necessarily have to lead to divorce. The signs your marriage will survive infidelity indicate that you and your partner are willing to heal your relationship, and move on with your life.
Millennials are children of the Baby Boomer generation, which happens to be the generation with the highest divorce rate of all time, according to Huffington Post. Additionally data from the Pew Center supports the notion that millennials are getting married later in life, and at a lower rate than their parents. In 1960, 72 percent of all adults ages 18 and older were married; today just 51 percent have gotten hitched.
An article in The Atlantic, however, noted that it when it comes to sticking it out, there's a strong desire of millennials to have enduring relationships — i.e. relationships that don't end in divorce. The Atlantic's follow up poll to the Pew Research's study found that 74 percent of millennials thought that marriage was still a meaningful institution, which might explain why people are trying to work through an affair, as painful as it might be. "Infidelity is a tough thing for a couple to work through because it affects the core trust of the relationship," Talia Wagner, a licensed marriage and family therapist told Women's Health. "Many couples are able to come back from this act of betrayal and rebuild the trust." If there was infidelity in your marriage, the following things are signs that your relationship can survive. Because you probably need a little cheerleading right now.
1. You Are Working On Rebuilding Trust
Women’s Health reported that in order to be able to trust a partner who’s strayed, both of you guys have to be honest. Each of you needs to own your mistakes and be open to earn back each other’s trust. Brutal honesty could put you on the road to saving your relationship.
2. Your Partner Is Committed To Rebuilding Trust
According to Huffington Post, trust is the feeling that you are safe with your partner. If you have been betrayed, is your partner taking active steps to rebuild trust? Does he call when he says he will? Does she go out of her way to let you know she can count on you? Is your partner doing everything possible to make you feel safe, and more than that, do you think you can open yourself to trusting your spouse again? If the answer is yes, then that’s a good sign your marriage can survive infidelity.
3. You Can Stomach Uncomfortable Conversations
Being brutally honest about infidelity is no cakewalk. Whether you strayed or your partner did, both of you will be talking about issues that bring up the pain and anguish of the affair, noted Psychology Today. You don’t have to have an iron stomach, but if you are solid with yourself and can handle uncomfortable (but not intolerable) conversations, that’s a good sign for repairing your marriage.
4. You Can Talk Openly About The Affair
Don't feel the urge to issue a press release (I mean, you're not Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt circa 2004.) But you shouldn't feel ashamed of what happened either. Another Huffington Post article noted that friends are not there to give you advice on how to save your marriage, but rather to listen to you. So, bear that in mind when you figure out with whom you want to share your business.
5. You Are Confident In And Out Of Bed
In another article, Huffington Post noted that it takes self-confidence to recover from being cheated on. An infidelity means that another person has entered your bed, which can be hard to get over, even if you're not the jealous type. Does your spouse help build you up?
If you've committed the dalliance, it's one thing to have remorse, another to lose your self-confidence. You might even feel weird being intimate with your spouse. Psychotherapist Tammy Nelson told Huffington Post that erotic recovery is part of the healing process that involves both parties after an affair. Working on your sex life after infidelity is a testament to your confidence, and a sign that the relationship makes you feel good about yourself.
6. You And Your Partner Know How To Talk About Regret
In my experience, when I offend someone, it’s helpful for me to express my regret over my actions. According to Psychology Today, a sign that your marriage can survive infidelity is if you are able to talk about remorse while being committed to moving forward.
7. You Never Use The Term "Get Over It"
Psychologist Janis Abrahms Spring, author of After the Affair, told Psychology Today that if you cheated on your spouse, never, ever encourage your partner to “get over it.” Instead, she suggested that you listen to your spouse's pain, and absorb it.
8. You Are Comfortable Expressing Anger And Sorrow
Surviving infidelity is a harrowing time. Psychology Today recommended that you and your partner are people who are in touch with feelings like anger and sorrow. This might take a while to sort through, but if you can deal with these unpleasant feelings, that’s a good sign for your relationship.
9. You And Your Spouse Are Invested In Activities Together
Although it's definitely important to talk about your relationship and the infidelity, binge The Affair is likely not doing your relationship any favors. Sari Harrar, author of the book The Seven Stages of Marriage told Reader's Digest that it's important to spend quality time together not talking about the affair.
If you're a couple who does outward bound and you're still pitching that tent, or you guys are still going to trivia night with your friends, it's a sign of hope for the relationship, because as Women's Health noted, shared activities help of "reset [the relationship] clock."
10. You Are Open To Couseling
Another article in Psychology Today suggested that a sign a couple can rebound from an affair is if both parties take some time to attend individual therapy. Psychologist Marilyn Wedge said that an affair can cause trauma, and subsequent post traumatic stress syndrome. Working through this with a therapist is important whether you are suffering from PTSD or your infidelity traumatized your partner.
11. You Are Up To Evaluating Your Relationship Before And After The Affair
In the same Psychology Today article, psychologist Harriet Lerner said that marriages that are "sexually and emotionally distant marriage will definitely make an affair more likely, but it’s also true that affairs happen in excellent marriages as well."
It's important to examine what your relationship was like before the affair. Just as important to evaluate what your relationship is like right now. If you guys don't mind a little critical analysis of your marriage, that's a sign you're in it for the long haul.
12. You Are Willing To Give Up Passwords
Psychologist Rachel Sussman told Women's Health that a sign your marriage can survive infidelity is if you and your spouse engage in total transparency. So, if you're willing to give up all your email, phone, and social app passwords to your spouse, you're heading in the right direction. This can help rebuild trust.
13. You're Not Interested In Playing The Blame Game
Women's Health encourages couples dealing with infidelity not to play the "blame-game." If you and your spouse are investigating what some of your relationship issues were before the affair without blaming one another, go you! That's a sign you're working it out in a healthy way.
14. You Are Empathic
Are you an empathic person? Can you put yourself in your partner’s shoes? In order to forgive, according to Reader’s Digest, you have to possess the quality of empathy. Which is a good thing in life anyway, so pat yourself on the back.
15. You Know When To Stop Asking Questions
Harrar told Reader’s Digest in the same article that you might want to limit questions about the affair to 15 to 30 minutes per day. Although you want to keep an open dialogue you don’t want the affair to consume your entire relationship. Do you and your spouse know when to put a lid on it? If so, that’s a good sign your relationship can survive infidelity.