Infidelity can affect us all, a cause of heartbreak, pain, and doubt that can fog your senses or ruin your trust. You might be asking yourself: can you get through this? Are there ever successful relationships after cheating? And do they heal completely?

Don’t worry – you’re not alone, and you CAN move past this to build up even stronger relationships that bring you and your partner ever closer. It will require a lot of work, patience, and commitment, though it will be a worthwhile task; things WILL get better.

When to seek marriage counselling

Infidelity is one of the leading causes of breakup in marriages, as it often removes the trust that couples may have spent years building up. Cheating is, however, still widespread throughout Australia, with up to 20% of men and 13% of women admitting that they had cheated, while still maintaining their ongoing relationship.

So, what makes people cheat? Is it possible to stay with your partner after they (or you) have been unfaithful? Is cheating always inherently wrong? There are many questions that you might have regarding infidelity; if you suspect that your partner is cheating, it can be an incredibly consuming thought that may further strain your relationship. Cheating might even end up in a breakup or divorce, though most couples do seek marriage counselling.

Let’s take a look at what might cause infidelity in a relationship and the necessary steps required to overcome this difficult hurdle.

What leads to infidelity in a marriage?

To truly understand the impact that infidelity might have on your marriage or other intimate relationship, it’s essential to understand what leads someone to cheat. There are multiple reasons, though these can all usually be traced back in time, to a lack of communication.

One of the most commonly reported causes of cheating is the absence of intimacy in a relationship or the feeling that it is too onesided. One person might feel like they contribute more to the relationship than their partner.

If someone feels like their needs and attraction to their partner are not adequate within the relationship, they are more likely to fulfill them elsewhere. Also, a lack of variety or established patterns of behavior can lead the person astray.

Why do we cheat on someone we love?

The human brain is a victim of temptation. While we can try to hide our desires and lie to ourselves, we face a grim reality. That reality is that we’ve all had the thoughts of infidelity – because we have the capability of having sex or loving many potential partners.

It’s important to remember that intimacy and romance don’t have to be connected; you can be intimate without love, and you can love without intimacy. Most of us, though, have certain urges or sexual desires that we have an impulse to fulfill.

When we cheat, it’s not usually a loving impulse – it’s a sexual one. All of us have particular biological desires that want to be acted on before they surface as feelings of stress, impatience, or irritability.

How to know whether my spouse or intimate partner is cheating?

Different couples have different relationships, so there is no definitive way to tell whether your spouse is cheating on you. It all boils down to communication; has something changed? Does the relationship feel different, or ‘off’? Have you spoken about it?

Of course, some tell-tale signs might imply unfaithfulness – these can’t be taken as an admission, though. It would be best if you used your judgment to tell whether something doesn’t feel right alongside a change in activities or habits from your spouse.

If your spouse has had an affair, then their personality or demeanor might have changed. For example, they might not be as intimate with you as they once were. They might change the passwords on their cell phone, may act as if to hide something, or they might even be regularly talking (or fantasising) about other people.

To compensate for lack of faithfulness, your partner may even shower you with lavish gifts, usually indicating a feeling of guilt.

Is cheating in a relationship always wrong?

At surface level, cheating might seem like the be-all-end-all of a relationship, the proverbial ‘nail in the coffin’. Infidelity doesn’t, however, need to signify the end of a relationship. While it is a massive breach of trust and can even be the end of many marriages, it can also bring couples closer together.

If you feel compelled to cheat, it will likely highlight other issues within the relationship that need to be acted on before the marriage can function correctly. You needn’t be a clinical psychologist to realise if other problems get solved after the cheating has occurred, it is best for both parties to forgive and forget and be grateful for the positive outcome.

After all, you love your partner; they’re an extension of yourself. Naturally, you’ll want to do whatever it takes to ensure that the marriage is successful and avoid losing your best friend! It does not ultimately matter to the person who was cheated if there is a genuine healing process and a new basis of love and connection, and a more profound honesty.

Couples that survive an affair are usually some of the most successful; they have worked on their problems and used it as a way to become closer than they were before.

How to rebuild trust in a marriage after infidelity

Building trust back up after someone has cheated can seem like a daunting task. You might not be sure about what the future holds or how to proceed, and you might even be anxious that your partner will cheat on you again. 

It is essential not to overthink the situation. If you’re attempting to stay with your spouse after one of you has had an affair, it’s a large sign that you still love them and that you want it to work out. 

Once you have decided to stay, understand how important it will be to get things right in mending and forming a new relationship with your partner. It would be best if you and your partner seek marriage or relationship counselling. You will identify the underlying issues and what you can do to move past them, working towards a shared goal of happiness. 

Why do some couples stay together after infidelity?

There’s one reason that couples stay together after one has been unfaithful: they love each other. 

If you love someone, you’ll likely do whatever it takes to keep them by your side. Working past your marital problems is one of the best ways to build up trust and form even closer bonds. 

Next steps when to seek Relationships Australia or professional marriage counselling

If you or your spouse has been unfaithful, it does not need to be the end of the marriage. There are ways that you can move past this, communicating for a better future. 

Relationship Australia Adelaide can provide free mediation for this purpose. RAA is used for very severe problems and usually acts as a gateway before family court.

The very first thing that you should do as a couple is marriage counselling – if you’re in Adelaide, Chelsea owner of InRelationships.com can provide you both with relationship empowerment strategies. Chelsea is focused on couples finding solutions and aligning their thinking to support a better future, breaking the cycle of discussion of problems that exist.

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