When Does Cheating Lead To Divorce?

By

couple divorce
Only 10% of marriages that have experienced infidelity end in divorce. So, what's really going on?

Cheating represents a need that isn't being met in the relationship at home – an ego boost, self-validation, self-exploration or even just physical intimacy. And cheating is rampant in our society. Forty-one percent of U.S. marriages are characterized by infidelity from one or both spouses. Culturally, we assume that infidelity is a symptom of an unhappy marriage. Is that really the case though? Recent research suggests that marriages are happier than ever before, and most people who have affairs don't want to leave their spouses. And surprisingly, only 10 percent of marriages that have experienced infidelity end in divorce.

So when does cheating lead to divorce? What are the factors that really ruin a marriage?

1. Lack of Attention
I often hear clients in my divorce coaching practice say they didn't feel "seen" in their marriage. Interestingly, I've heard this from both the betrayers and the betrayed. Relationships need to be nurtured — and like sun to a plant, relationships will die without care and attention. To make a marriage work — and survive infidelity — both spouses need to want to make it work. They need to focus on their partner's needs, desires and concerns, as much as their own. Not everyone has the desire, willpower or energy to do that though after an affair is exposed. Pure lack of attention leaves both spouses feeling invisible and unvalued in the relationship … and this is where the relationship dies on the vine.

2. Lack of Intimacy
Intimacy — both emotional and physical — is the glue that holds marriages together. And intimacy is more than just sex. It is physical affection, or those non-verbal signs we exhibit when we truly care for one another, such as kissing, holding hands and cuddling. Physical affection signals our attraction to each other, which often means a whole lot more in a relationship than just sex. Unfortunately though, intimacy is lost through negativity, distrust and neglect — all of the emotions created by infidelity. And this loss of intimacy results in increasing distance that eventually leads to divorce.

3. Lack of Privacy
There is no doubt that social media has changed the way we interact with each other and the world. It has certainly made it easier for married people to cheat than ever before — from online meet-up groups to AshleyMadison.com. Social media increases the opportunity to cheat, but conversely, it also increases the probability that you will be caught — by your spouse, a friend or a family member. There is very little privacy with social media and your affair could become not only exposed, but viral. Once that happens, everyone you know is involved in the affair and the social pressure attached to it is almost impossible to withstand. Very few marriages can survive such a public blow.

Esther Perel, a widely respected sex and relationships therapist, says that "Very often we don’t go elsewhere because we are looking for another person. We go elsewhere because we are looking for another self." In these cases, infidelity has little to do with the marriage itself and is all about a search for personal fulfillment. It seems that the 31 percent of marriages that have survived infidelity have done so by transforming the relationship in a way that supports fulfillment for both spouses. Ultimately, the 10 percent of marriages that don't survive infidelity are the ones where there already is deep unhappiness — where the relationship has already suffered from lack of attention and intimacy for too long. The affair itself is incidental to the fact that the relationship had already died without any hope for transformation. Infidelity is not necessarily the death knell for all relationships … just the ones that had no hope of surviving in the first place.

Contact Laura for your free, 60-minute confidential consultation to help you make better decisions in your divorce, achieve better outcomes and lower the cost. And sign up on my website to download your free MoxieLife Divorce Survival Guide  where I give you easy action steps for getting off the emotional rollercoaster in your divorce!

More adultery advice from YourTango:

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Laura Miolla

Divorce Coach

Laura Miolla

MoxieLife -- Coaching for a Fearless Life Before, During and After Divorce

laura@moxelifecoach.com

www.moxielifecoach.com

Location: Amesbury, MA
Credentials: ACC, CPCC, MA
Other Articles/News by Laura Miolla:

Surprise! Women, Not Men, Are The Big Financial Losers In Divorce

By

Zsa Zsa Gabor shaped an entire generation's idea of women and divorce when she said "He taught me housekeeping; when I divorce I keep the house."  Even today, there is still a prevailing social opinion that the court system favors women in divorce. We've all heard the same stories of that co-worker's second cousin's cousin who got ... Read more

What Are You Saying Yes To In Your Divorce?

By

Divorce is a traumatic event. It represents the loss of a marriage, a partnership, an ideal and the Disney "happily ever after" that was automatically supposed to come with the wedding ring. Regardless of who initiated the divorce, there is anger, hurt, sadness and confusion. And the divorce process only intensifies those dark feelings. The person you ... Read more

6 Things You Need To Know About Divorce Mediation

By

I recently attended a 40-hour divorce mediation training. Forty hours is the requirement in my state to practice as a divorce mediator. That’s not why I did it though. As a divorce coach, many of my clients are going through mediation and I wanted to support them as best as possible during the process. I truly believe that mediation is a better way to ... Read more

See More

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

FROM AROUND THE WEB