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Affairs: Can a Marriage Recover?

An affair strikes a devastating blow to a marriage. Whether the affair was a one-night stand, an emotional affair, or an illicit affair – an emotional affair combined with a physical relationship – the effects of having affairs can be long lasting.

Why it Happens

How does a marriage become the victim of an affair? Before the dynamics can be explored, it is important to understand that one partner cannot cause the other to have an affair. The decision to go outside the marriage to meet physical and emotional needs is just that, a decision. A spouse who feels his or her partner has become physically or emotionally unavailable may begin to depend on people or things outside the marriage to alleviate feelings of distress. A husband may decide to put in more hours at work where he can feel successful and appreciated. A wife may devote more time and energy to the kids because they help her feel loved and needed. When partners become accustomed to turning to things or people outside the marital dyad in times of distress they may become candidates for having affairs of one kind or the other.

Emotional Affairs Just As Harmful

Emotional affairs are incredibly insidious because they seem so harmless. Emotional affairs usually begin as a simple friendship. Sharing intimate details about marital distress or keeping secrets from spouses are signs that the friendship may be crossing the line. In the age of social media and texting, emotional affairs are prevalent as spouses feel emboldened by the anonymity of cyberspace to flirt and fantasize with online friends and coworkers.

Surviving Both the Emotional and the Illicit Affair

All-too-common emotional affairs, just as much as the illicit affair, can be devastating, but all types of affairs are survivable. One resource I highly recommend is Harley’s Surviving An Affair. Also, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist can help spouses dealing with this issue walk through the steps of honesty and transparency and achieve forgiveness, acceptance, and hope.

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