There are many reasons having an affair will lead to a divorce; there are just as many reasons divorce will not happen just because of the affair.
Of course, if the affair continues after the affair is exposed, divorce is surely inevitable. However, whether or not the spouses reconcile or divorce may fall on the commitment to the marriage by the spouse who started the affair and the identity of the lover. The length of the marriage and age of the spouses also are instrumental whether or not it is beneficial to divorce or try to reconcile the marriage. Also, if there are children of the marriage, the spouse may want to try and make the marriage work for the sake of the children.
Once the affair is exposed, if the spouse who started the affair continues with the affair, he or she is forcing the issue of divorce. They may say the do not want the divorce but it is in their actions that is telling. Tell your husband or wife that the affair is over, but yet you continue the affair, working on your marriage seems pointless and divorce would be the next step.
You may be asking, what does the identity of the lover have to do with divorce. But ask yourself, if your husband slept with your sister, or best friend, would that make a difference than if the person were someone you didn’t know? The identity is often a crucial factor in whether or not divorce is imminent and whether it will be a bitter and costly divorce. If the person the spouse is having an affair with is a person of importance, trust is broken and humiliation ensues. Humiliation is a sure fire way to get someone angry.
So now the affair is exposed, if both parties are committed to the marriage, divorce is not inevitable. Admitting to the affair, working on the marriage, trust can be rebuilt and does no have to lead to a divorce.
The longer the marriage, the harder it is to make the decision to divorce. The divorce rate is considerably higher for short-term marriages.
The length of the affair is not the determinate factor, but generally provides an indication to the degree of anger and hurt the non-straying spouse may experience. A two-month affair may be less upsetting than a twelve-year affair. A one-night stand, while upsetting, while still a betrayal, may be able to be worked out fairly quickly and the hurt may subside quicker for the spouse. A short-term affair, maybe less than say 3-months, still may not end the marriage. The medium-term affair that lasts longer than 3 months to sometime past a year is far more damaging to the relationship and trust issue. A long-term affair, lasting more than a year is the most damaging and the marriage is likely not to survive, at least not for long. Trust is broken, not just bent.
Divorce after an affair is more common in a younger couple than an older couple. But this is not always the case. Couples in their 50s or 60s are divorcing just as much as the younger crowd.
Often parents will try to make the marriage work for the sake of the children. However, even when the children are grown and out of the house, if the parents divorce due to the affair, the child feels lied to by the parents. Parents may believe it is in the best interest to stay together, however, in the case of an affair, if trust and respect have are not in the marriage, it would be much harder on the children for the parents to stay together.
If the straying spouse cannot break all ties with the lover, even an emotional attachment, divorce is probably in the cards. Maybe not right away, but the straying spouse will eventually go back to the lover, even just to talk. This emotional attachment is detrimental to spouses trying to work on the marriage. An affair is not always of a sexual nature; emotional affairs are just as damaging. This emotional bond between the spouse and the lover provides insight to a larger issue in the marital relationship. The straying spouse should not be getting his or her emotional needs met by someone outside the marriage.
To ensure the marriage and deter a divorce, the non-straying spouse must be able to forgive the straying spouse. Blame has no place with a couple trying to make their marriage work. The feelings of betrayal must be dealt with and subside for the marriage to survive.
The emotional bond within a marital relationship can range from two people who simply co-exist to two people who have an extremely close bond. The bond between husband and wife clearly indicates whether the marriage can survive an affair. Couples that are best friends may not be able to survive an affair, while the roommates might be able to continue to co-exist in a marital relationship. It comes down to trust, if a spouse feels betrayed, he or she may seek a divorce.
There is no doubt the marital relationship takes a hit when a spouse has an affair. How much of a hit, well that depends on whether or not the spouse can work on the issues that lead to the affair in the first place, move past the betrayal, and into a place of healing.