What Happens to a Couple After an Affair?

What Factors Affect the Impact of Infidelity? 

There are many ways a couple may react and adjust to an uncovered affair. Usually, as soon as the affair is discovered, the relationship immediately goes into an crisis. There are also many different factors that affect the couple’s ability to recover and improve their relationship.

The effect of the affair on the couple depends upon the:

  • Strength of the love in the relationship
  • Level of psychological health and maturity in the relationship
  • Genuine ability to engage in therapy for infidelity
  • Depth of the deceit and secrecy while having the affair
  • Length of the affair
  • Number of previous affairs
  • Willingness of the unfaithful partner to stop seeing the affair person
  • Outside family/social/religious influence on the couple to stay together or separate
  • Level of genuine remorse suffered by the unfaithful partner
  • Capacity of the hurt partner to accept and forgive
  • Whether the hurt partner knows the affair person

What Are the Common Relationship Outcomes of Infidelity?

Here are some of the more common outcomes for couples after an affair:

  • Recovery & Improvement – Some partners may work hard in therapy for infidelity to re-build their relationship and rekindle love and trust. Although this involves commitment and struggling with painful emotions and fears, counseling does work and helps couples return to an improved, healthier and more meaningful relationship.


  • Divorce – A marriage or love relationship may be ended by one of the partners, resulting in separation and divorce. This would definitely affect children, friends and family members. Financial assets and lifestyles are affected. Dreams are shattered and a depressive period is usually experienced before rebuilding one’s life. A partner often loses some friends and family members and they may be criticized for their behavior. For some couples, divorce is a positive outcome of an affair because it separates partners who are unhappy together, not matched well and tend to continually hurt one another. This gives them a chance to start a better and more fulfilling life.


  • Avoidance & Misery – Some couples stay together after an affair is exposed but their relationship is never the same and usually worse. They may avoid talking about it and  deny it ever happened. However, this attitude of avoidance or pretending can prolong the crisis and sensitivity and it often sets up and allows other affairs and recycles the pain repeatedly. Some couples may continue to live together but one partner may resent and punish the other partner in devious ways. Both partners may start affairs and hurt one another in a revengeful way. The relationship might deteriorate markedly and become colder and more hostile. These partners may never recover emotionally yet live together estranged and distant from one another. Trust, affection, intimacy and sexuality dry up. There are many couples who stay together, unwilling to disconnect, but they are miserable for many years.


  • SecretiveSome partners feel shamed and keep the infidelity secret from others so that no friends, children or family members know about it. However, the knowledge of the affair may quietly fester in the couple and has its hidden and tragic ways of creating pain and fear. Secrets can be very destructive and are often discovered by others.


  • Children & Others – In all these situations, children, friends and extended family members usually learn about the affair and have their individual reactions toward the affair partner that cannot be predicted. This can make the relationship more difficult and increase pressure on the couple from the outside.

Choose to Rebuild Your Relationship!

Restoring your love and trust is hard but you will never regret trying to rekindle your love and friendship in infidelity counseling. To work at it builds understanding of one’s self and one’s partner and how relationships work. It is maturing for both partners. Even if the therapy for infidelity fails, it has helped each member to grow, develop and divorce in more peace.

You can read more on infidelity by clicking on the right side bar on the category “Infidelity/Affairs”

You can learn more about my “Therapy for Infidelity” by clicking on this link:  http://www.drrevelmiller.com/what-we-treat/therapy-for-infidelity/


If you are overwhelmed by the discovery of an affair in your relationship, Call me at 805-448-5053 for a consult about your situation.

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