It is something you simply cannot forgive or forget.
Marriage is supposed to be an unbreakable bond that makes spouses swear never to cheat on each other. But statistics from the General Social Survey (GSS) found that in 2021, only 61% of respondents claimed to be in a very happy marriage.
While there is certainly room for improvement in this number, it is not surprising that people who are dissatisfied with their marriage will try to find happiness elsewhere.
When participants were asked their views on infidelity in marriage, they didn’t feel as strong as they had in previous years. In 2021, 64% of people said that cheating is always wrong. This is down from 73% in 2018.
Since 2008, this trend of being more accepting of cheating has gradually increased. Maybe it’s because people are more aware of how imperfect marriage can be, or society has become more tolerant when partners make a mistake.
One person who was able to forgive her cheating husband even claimed that his affair actually made the marriage better in the long run.
Charity Craig, 45, of Orlando, Florida found out that her husband Matt, 40, was cheating on her in 2012. It went on for 10 months before she found out.
The couple temporarily split for nearly 10 months, which gave the two time to reflect on who they were as individuals and what was going on in each of their lives.
Speaking about how she felt after finding out about the affair, Craig said Newsweek: “The best way I can describe it is your best friend kicks you over the edge, into the black, turbulent waters, and you have no idea which way to go or how to catch your breath.
“The hardest part was realizing that everything I thought was true about my life, my family and my future exploded in a moment. One of my greatest wishes was to build a home where our children would grow up with two parents who loved and cared for each other. from others.
“I realized that even though I had tried my best to be a good wife, it didn’t matter. Nothing I did could protect me from betrayal.”
The devastating revelation shook Craig to the core as everything she thought she knew about herself as a mother and wife had changed. The mother of four has taken one day at a time and tried to find her feet again in life, but it hasn’t been without problems.
During their separation, Craig considered taking her husband back, but she knew that could only happen if things were different. They couldn’t go on with the unhealthy marriage of previous years.
The destruction of their marriage gave Charity and Matt time to see how each was struggling and leaning on each other for the solution instead of looking within. After taking Matt back and working on their marriage together, Craig now feels like things are so much better because of the affair.
She continued: “Our marriage is better because when Matt pulled the pin and threw the grenade at our house, it destroyed everything about us.
“Through that pain, I realized how sick I was. I had lived most of my life with undiagnosed depression. I found myself to be the sickest person in the room, with no emotional boundaries and deep-rooted bitterness.
“I learned that I wasn’t the only one who was sick, as Matt lacked self-confidence and purpose. He was just as codependent and fearful as I was. We were two empty vessels pulling on each other to satisfy ourselves. and make each other happy.”
This insight was groundbreaking in helping the couple find each other again and see what needed to change in their marriage for it to continue.
Craig, now a marriage support coach, talks candidly with people about how infidelity improved everything about their marriage and going through it was the biggest test they could ever face.
“Transformation after a crisis is a common phenomenon. When you hit rock bottom, it becomes the catalyst for the change you need to better yourself. This healing journey has taken my life from gray to technicolor.
“I know that not every relationship can survive this kind of trauma, but if the two of you are willing to stay and work on healing together, you don’t need to end your marriage to experience a beautiful transformation.
“It sounds strange to say, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t wish this road on my worst enemy, but the gift of love, intimacy and connection this broken road has given us is more than I could ever imagine. ”
Friends and family can see the drastic changes in her marriage, but Craig admits that when she tells strangers how much an affair improved her marriage, they “have their doubts.” Craig believes this is due to the fact that it’s easier to give up than to fight for it, so more people would rather jump ship than deal with problems.
She added: “I don’t buy the general beliefs that once a cheater, always a cheater, or that if he loved you he wouldn’t do this. There’s always a deeper reason for it, and those beliefs don’t help us as much as we’d like to. Though humans were black and white, we are not. We are complicated beings with thoughts and emotions.
Forgiving someone who has cheated can seem like an impossible task, but it is possible, and relationships can heal from it. Clinical psychologist Dr. Cortney Warren believes that relationships can be mended, but it requires both parties to be willing to put in the effort to make it happen.
Discussing his advice, Warren said Newsweek: “I often share with couples who come to therapy for an affair that has reached a crucial point in their relationship – often very painful and traumatic.
“Their old relationship is now essentially over, the way they relate and see each other, their expectations, their confidence in a solid foundation has been shaken. They are faced with a choice: they want to see if they can build a new relationship together , or do they want to end up here?
“Some of the most important factors that affect a couple’s ability to recover after an affair include a willingness to overcome the painful effects of the affair, both individually and as a couple, a dedication to changing the factors that contributed to the affair, atonement for being unfaithful, forgiveness and reconnection.”
Infidelity can mean different things to individuals, so Warren notes that the boundaries can vary for every relationship depending on your values. It is up to the couple to establish their own boundaries and stick to them.
That idea is echoed by relationship therapist Jaime Bronstein, who believes the affairs can be a “wake-up call” for couples to work through issues that have arisen, as she insists that trying to heal a relationship rather than end it is not a good idea. . brain.
“A couple that becomes stronger after infidelity is unusual but not impossible,” said Bronstein Newsweek.
“If two people are to be together for a long time, though it takes a lot of work to rebuild, it happens.
“A lot of people are black and white when it comes to infidelity, they have a zero tolerance policy and they have every right to do so. However, some people are willing to save their marriage and to those people I say it can hurt, but it can’t make the relationship worse.
“I recommend not just putting a Band-Aid on marriage issues, but looking at what was going on under the surface that led to the infidelity.”
Like Warren, Bronstein also feels that relationships can be saved if both people are willing to try, and noting that someone who cheats isn’t a bad person, they just misbehaved at the time.
Has infidelity broken your trust in your partner? Let us know via [email protected] We can ask experts for advice and your story can be featured in Newsweek.