Surviving infidelity is not an easy thing to do. As the partner who has been cheated on, infidelity can make you feel like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Staying with your marriage mate after they have been unfaithful can feel unbearable, but leaving them may feel even worse. Can surviving infidelity make your marriage stronger? The answer may surprise you.
Many couples who have been through a marital indiscretion have come out on the other side feeling stronger and more secure in their relationship than before. Hurt feelings are natural after experiencing such a deep betrayal, but if you are determined, there are many benefits to staying together after an affair has struck your marriage.
Here are 7 ways that surviving infidelity makes a marriage stronger.
1. Identify and Correct Problem Areas in the Marriage
Affairs do not commonly happen out of the blue or for no reason. While some do tend to put their selfish sexual desires ahead of their marriage mate’s feelings, affairs do not commonly happen for no reason. There seems to be a buildup beforehand. Often stress, lack of sexual activity or emotional connection in the marriage, or a drastic change in lifestyle are to blame.
Healing your relationship after an affair helps you to see what you need from your marriage mate. What weren’t you getting before that led you to cheat? On the other side of the coin, what weren’t you getting from your partner that caused you to become emotionally or physically removed from your partner?
Identifying the issues that strained your marriage and working together to correct them makes your relationship stronger. It teaches you to communicate and put each other’s needs ahead of your own.
2. Strengthens Communication
Communication is the hardest barrier to breach in any relationship. It is the key to a happy marriage, it is the key to understanding your partner, and it is often the downfall of most relationships. In fact, a lack of communication or willingness to listen is likely what caused your separation in the first place.
Learning to communicate after an affair about your wants, needs, feelings, and desires will help both of you reconnect on a stronger, deeper level. You will rediscover who your marriage mate is, be able to work through feelings of guilt and betrayal, and eventually learn to discuss issues both big and small with your partner on a regular basis.
3. Establishes True Forgiveness
One way that surviving infidelity makes a marriage stronger is through true forgiveness. Surviving infidelity is not easy and the choice to do so is a decision that you recommit to day after day. While it may seem weak to some, the truth is that forgiveness is one of the strongest things you will ever do.
It takes strength and courage to forgive and to agree to be vulnerable with your mate after a betrayal.
4. Begins the Journey of Self-Discovery
It is often said that you cannot truly love your marriage mate unless you first learn to love yourself. Common reasons for infidelity are selfish gain, a lack of love or communication in the marriage, and insecurity. Many people seek affairs in order to feel validated about themselves, especially if their emotional needs are not being met in the marriage.
No matter what side you are on in the affair, going through the many stages of rebuilding post-infidelity will help you both discover who you are as individuals, not just as a married couple. This self-discovery can help you identify trouble spots in your marriage and your personality.
When these issues are worked through, they make your marriage stronger when you come back together.
5. Brief Separation Shocks You into Reality
Did you separate once the affair was revealed? This action may have helped strengthen your marriage. For example, have you ever thought of what you could be doing if only you weren’t married? Perhaps you had passionate dreams about traveling the country, doing something wild and exotic for a living or pursuing your old hobbies.
Whatever the case, being away from your partner can help you see what it really is that you want out of life.
You may chase after your former hopes and dreams only to realize that they are not as exciting as being with your partner. Being apart reminds both marriage mates what they want. In turn, you both come back and fight that much harder for it.
6. You’ve Found Ways to Reconnect
Re-establishing the area of your marriage that made you happy, made you laugh, and feel connected to your partner is one of the healthiest things you can do to fix your marriage.
One of the biggest problems with couples who experience affairs is that they stopped viewing each other as their best friend and lover and started treating one another like a roommate or a hassle. Surviving infidelity makes a marriage stronger because you have found ways to reconnect as lovers and friends.
7. Intensifies Sexual Chemistry
One way surviving infidelity makes a marriage stronger is through intensified sexual chemistry.
Resuming sexual activity with your partner after an affair is an emotionally challenging time. Women are more likely to put up emotional guards during sex and may be unable to orgasm or achieve arousal. Males tend to take on a position of ‘reclaiming’ their marriage mate; making them eager to consummate as soon as possible as a way to seek stability in the relationship.
Both sides are difficult. However, with open communication, you and your partner will reconnect.
When you have forgiven your marriage mate, you may find you are more open intimately than you ever have been in the past. This is because sexual activity is likely one of the first things that make you feel grounded both physically and emotionally post-affair. The brain sends out powerful oxytocin hormones when you are physically intimate with your partner, which makes you more trusting and more attached to one another.
These feelings of love and attachment are essential for healthy relationships. This strengthens your marriage bond on a level that few other things can.