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Marital affair – Can a relationship survive?


For many, adultery is a deal breaker – but does it always have to end chaotically? The marital affair historically requires healing and self-searching for everyone involved, including the extramarital lover who has to reconcile with themselves that they interfered in a marriage. Looking at the different people involved when an affair is revealed, what does it take to survive such a tricky situation

The culprit

Honesty is not just the best policy, it’s the only policy. Excuses and selfishness will not help the precarious situation you are in. There may have been personal problems or relationship issues which drove you to having a marital affair, but you’re still in the wrong. When it comes to morality, there is no black and white, but don’t shirk responsibility for your actions. Think deeply about why you did what you did. Do you love your spouse, and are there any parts of your life which are unsatisfactory? Affairs are commonly ways of badly handling emotional upheavals [How to manage self doubt in relationships]. We do it to communicate unexpressed lust, desire for revenge, making connections that we can’t make romantically or escaping reality. It’s a repressed issue channelled wrong. Root that issue and talk about it candidly, and you’ll find yourself feeling more remorseful when you realise how much more positively you could have handled your issue if you’d communicated it properly and helpfully.

The spouse

Betrayal can hurt terribly. [Hot tips for mending a broken heart] It undermines very powerful emotions and can leave the delicate balance of them in chaos. Your capacity for trust is shaken, you struggle with feelings of hate and love simultaneously and logic spirals out of control. Sit down and calm down. Take time away from the situation and find some balance again. It might help to go away from home to a peaceful environment, which can range from a holiday to a good friend of family member’s home. Sanctuary is important because self-love becomes important. Respecting yourself as a person is the best foundation for dealing with an affair, because it’s so easy to blame yourself or wonder if you drove them away, when truthfully, affairs are most likely borne out of the adulterer’s insecurity. Stay strong and put yourself first when you decide to discuss it with your partner. There might be parts of the relationship which broke down that you have to be responsible for, but you’re not the one who sank to the level of infidelity. If you feel you can forgive after sorting through your problems with a clear head, there is no shame in that and for many it’s the right decision.

The lover

Telling yourself you’re less in the wrong won’t help you (depending on if you’re unattached, that is). If anything, it represses the guilt and will leave you feeling unsettled. For most, being the ‘other woman’ (or man if you’re reading) is something that feels out of your control. Your feelings might have developed naturally for this person and you can’t help but be in love with them. What you need is transparency. Do you love this person? Will they leave their spouse for you? The last question is vital, because if they have gone on for an x amount of time without leaving their spouses, they might never do it. Sometimes the head needs to rule the heart. If they decide to work things out, leave them alone and remove all contact. It’s life-changing to deal with a marital affair and it might mean having to uproot your life in extreme cases, but if affairs had risk assessments, you’d know to expect this.

Marital affairs reveal the common battles and struggles with life in a dramatic way, affecting the union of families as well as the two people in the problematic situation. They can blow off the cover of pretence and help you get to the bottom of many marital problems. Being magnanimous in handling an affair isn’t always a sign of weakness, especially if you’re both being candid and logical. You can survive a marital affair, but not without looking inside yourself. For relationship advice visit our expert Video Moods series for answers to some of the most searched questions, or read our fun eBooks on how to find a compatible partner.


This article was contributed by Pink Moods.

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