Which Marriages Survive Infidelity And Which Don’t

Passion! The expansive energy that lights us up and fuels our days. The feeling that defines being alive. The sense that we’ve got a reason to get out of bed in the morning. The force that keeps our love-making full and our relationships important. 

Passion makes it all worthwhile.

When passion is missing, we pull in, retreat, and hide from our lives. We hide from our deepest desires including being with the person we say we love. How often have you found yourself hiding from your lover, your spouse? How many times have you retreated in boredom and exhaustion instead of tending to the fire of your relationship? 

Falling out of love with a partner chips away at self-esteem and erodes the foundation of our lives. There’s no easy way to deal with the loss of passion. Which marriages survive infidelity and which don't depend upon understanding your degree of passion. It has little to do with the thoughts you think and everything to do with the feelings you create. The difference between those who know how to survive cheating and those who don’t is grasping this rite of passage. Let’s dive into which marriages survive infidelity and how to survive betrayal and restore your relationship.

The moment - you know which one I mean. It’s the one when you realize you can’t sit across from them another minute. You simply don’t care about their day. You don’t care about their boss, their workload, the kids’ issues, their problems. You’ve no more to give and it’s torturous to pretend you’re interested. The boredom washes over you. You know how you’re feeling is normal, natural but wrong. You think, when you finally wake up to where you are, that you’ve had it, it’s over. 

The new interest - the one who’s exciting and good looking. The one who listens to you with fresh eyes and a beautiful smile. The one who hangs on every word you say. They see something in you your partner hasn’t seen in ages. How long has it been since your lover (the one you’re committed to by word or law) has thought you were the boss? How long has passion been missing? 

Infidelity begins so innocently. It creeps in when we’re not looking. 

But when it occurs, it’s as if lightning has struck! The passion of feeling alive is seductive. You want more of being joyfully adored. Your soul screams of pleasure and delight (as long as you don’t consider the lover at home). You try not to waffle between feelings of intense excitement and fear. (Not because sex or being loved is wrong, only because you’re going against the commitment you’ve made to another person, never mind yourself.)

Reconciling your need for love with being your word - you and I both know you’ve thought about ending your relationship many times. Every day even as you rationalize that, “marriage contracts were put into play when humans didn’t live to 80 years old.” “We all outgrow one another.” or “Everyone’s having an affair.” The cynicism is exhausting. You blame them for not being the kind of person who lights you up. You rationalize staying because of the kids but you skulk around and are intimate with others because you can. Especially when you travel for work. 

And then you wonder, how can my marriage survive their / my infidelity? 

You choose. 

The opportunity is right next to you day in and day out. At a certain point in life, you have to realize that your relationship is your greatest teacher. It has nothing to do with how old you are or what kind of work you do. Choosing to survive infidelity is about stepping into being your word. It’s not about being a martyr or “doing it for the kids.” (News flash: they know what you’re up to frankly and don’t really care about your feelings anyway.) Those child - centered marriages usually lack the very passion and fun you’re craving, so no wonder you wouldn’t want to stay living like that.

Doing the right thing is about making sure you respect yourself enough to remember your dreams.

Why bother having desires if you’re not going to commit to them? 

Ideally, the person you’ve committed to has your best interest in mind. They know what you want. They knew you when. You commit to making your marriage a place of intimacy and love again by examining your own beliefs and the story you’re telling yourself. When you feel passion, you have the energy and heart to remember what you love about that person in your bed.

You become curious about what lights each other up. You step out of the ego’s need to be right and you decide to put your family in its entirety first. You make your life fun again, together. Not for them, for you

Yeah, you’re going to suck at this at first. It’s not going to feel as good as that attention and orgasm you just had with your new lover. And no, you can’t keep both. 

Even though you won’t know how to come clean about the secret life you’ve been living with the person at the breakfast table, you get back into alignment with what lights you up. (News flash: it’s never a stranger with a pretty face unless you’re a sex addict.) The inner conflict isn’t there for you to unburden yourself and tell the truth, it’s the tension that challenges you to get with the program. To rise above the longing for passion with someone you don’t know and figure out how to have rapture again with the person next to you. 

The rational choice in the face of emotional emptiness will be difficult. Especially if you and your partner never had rapture to begin with. Especially if you’re telling yourself that your life needs rapture before it’s too late. If you’re out of love with your partner, the commitment to reignite your passion will only be a mental choice at first. Finding the spark that lights up a life takes time. You won’t feel it at first, at least not until you put in the effort. You may not even feel it for some time - not until you let yourself stop blaming them for disappointing you. After all, it’s your life to live, not theirs. Chances are, you forgot to take care of yourself long before your marriage got stale. 

The very thing you’re seeking - that heart song that you yearn for - is the gateway to what you want and need. It’s the energy that will create what you want because when you know you’re refueling your passion within your partnership, you show up bigger and better, with a sense of pride and accomplishment that no one can take away. 

Believing in possibility

You are made of more than you realize. The sum total of your life isn’t just the stories and excuses you’re telling yourself. What I know for sure is that usually, you’re your own worst enemy! Yet you’re made up of so much more! Just because the past hasn’t turned out the way you wanted it to, does not mean the future can’t be better than you imagine today. Including how you show up with your partner, how you make love to one another, what you do together to create excitement, how you spend the time you have together, what they’re thinking about, what you’re talking about, and how you treat one another. (All the things you find unique in a new lover.) 

When you’re being your best, you know where your values are. Building upon those values (the ones that had you marry in the first place) means honoring yourself and your goals. When you know yourself and have the confidence to show up for yourself, instead of hiding out of shame and embarrassment, it gives you the chance to believe in falling in love again. Let your heart tell your ego that it’s got this and allow yourself to dream putting aside anger and resentments, filling up with hope. 

At this point, you’re either annoyed or confused. You feel there’s some truth in this article, you wonder why you didn’t think of this before. The doubt is coursing through your body. I get it. Asking for help from a mentor (a men’s group, therapist, relationship coach) seems worse - it means things aren’t good. (News Flash: they aren’t.) So go ask for help. Allow yourself to create a better future without sabotaging who you know yourself to be. The marriages that survive infidelity and restore their relationships are those who do just that. They seek a new way of doing things and hold themselves accountable. 

Feelings are fickle things. Creating a life filled with passion starts with making the choice to do so today. 

As a divorce coach, I work with individuals considering leaving their marriages. I have many clients that imploded theirs by having affairs. Often, clients realize they want to stay and make their union work. Your marriage is your greatest teacher and I believe with a little guidance, you can easily get back on right track. If you feel stuck, reach out laura@laurabonarrigo.com I will teach you how to get quiet and remember what attracted you to the life you’re living in the first place and help you make it even better going forward.