Infidelity in a marriage is possibly the single most damaging thing for a relationship and often leads to divorce. There are varying statistics, but it’s widely reported that 60% of Men and 40% of Women will participate in an affair within their marriage at some point. These statistics probably mean nothing if you are going through this right now as you attempt to deal with a whole variety of emotions such as feeling angry and betrayed and are left wondering why this happened to you. The biggest question people ask is in fact “why?” If their partner can’t give an honest reply, this can leave the victim confused and troubled for a very long time. 

Divorce for adultery

Adultery is often one of the main reasons for divorce. It may just be a one-off fling, or a lasting relationship which itself turns into marriage, but either will have a lasting impact on a marriage. Sometimes the affair is just an emotional one, but it can be equally as damaging.

Affairs: Is divorce the answer?

Couples dealing with an affair don’t always end up in the divorce courts. Some find it inside themselves to try and work through their emotions with a relationship coach or other therapist. It is not always the infidelity itself which leads to the divorce, but what happens when the “secret” is out. How the parties behave in the aftermath can be the most damaging. It all boils down to the reason behind why one party needed another intimate relationship in their life. Discovering the cause can sometimes lead to a couple becoming stronger together. It is possible to fix broken hearts if both parties really want to try. 

There are three main ways which feelings are expressed and whether you are heading to the therapy room or solicitor’s office, the way you handle these emotions will lead to different outcomes in both cases.

woman with teardrop rolling down face


We have all seen it in the movies. The woman wielding the scissors cutting up her husbands suits or the man with the sledgehammer smashing his wife’s sports car. Feelings of utter frustration are normal but they really must be kept under control as much as possible. Some people want to let loose at their partner while others will lay the blame at the door of the third party. What has happened rocks the very core of the relationship and leaves the innocent party feeling violated and stripped of the security they thought they had in the marriage.


For some, no matter how strong the evidence presented, they deny that the affair has happened.” It can’t possibly be true, there must be a mistake.” However difficult it is, the affair has to be accepted before healing can take place, be that to stay in the relationship or to move on away from it. Affairs happen because there are problems. No one who is truly happy and satisfied in a relationship plays away from home. Whether you like it or not, it has to be accepted that there was an issue and you have to true to yourself in order to heal. 


Feelings of rejection are of course normal. Asking yourself “Why did he choose her over my feelings?” or “She had no sexual appetite but slept with him!”.  Your self-esteem will reach an all time low and counselling or therapy can really help to come to term with these unwelcome feelings.

How can I recover from being cheated on?

Surrounding yourself with friends and family who love and support you is a great place to be. Let them take care of you and don’t think yourself unworthy of future love just because your spouse was unable to deal with their issues in an inappropriate manner. A partner having an extra marital affair must not define who you are. It is your spouse’s problem. You will heal and in time, move on in a positive way. Eventually, all the negative thoughts and feelings will become less and life will be fruitful again. 

Where there is absolutely no hope of repairing the marriage (and this can be where one party wants to be with the partner with whom they had the affair), then a divorce is the only likely answer. In many cases, the person who had the affair feels great regret and wants to try again, but for the victim, they are feeling such deep emotions and negativity, there is no turning back and they feel unlikely to ever forgive. They want to move on and can never trust their partner again. They know that there is absolutely no way to rebuild the marriage.

Divorce for unreasonable behaviour

Infidelity can be cited as a grounds for divorce due to unreasonable behaviour – one of the reasons given is an “Inappropriate relationship with another person”.

Adultery is grounds for divorce “along with separated for more than 2 years”, “separated for at least 5 years”, “unreasonable behaviour” and “desertion”,  but there is one important thing to note; if you are going to use adultery as a reason to petition for divorce, the case must be started within 6 months of you discovering the infidelity unless the “guilty” party and yourself are no longer living together. If you are living in the same property for longer than 6 months (and this is going to sound prehistoric), you will be seen as “condoning” the behaviour. The reason for this is that apparently many marriages (which doesn’t mean the “majority”) survive affairs and the law likes to recognise this fact. 

What is the legal definition of adultery?

Legally, adultery is defined as “sexual relations between one party to the marriage and an outside party of the opposite sex”. If the sexual relationship is with a member of the same sex, or if the relationship is not sexual, then that is not classed as adultery, but could be unreasonable behaviour. Only the “innocent” party can petition for the divorce. The adulterer cannot petition for divorce giving the reason that they had an affair. 

At this most terrible time in your life it is worth nothing that if you are going to divorce on the grounds of Adultery, you may be able to cash in on your spouse’s guilt, so move quickly. With family and children now aware of what is happening, some find they get a more favorable financial settlement by using their spouses’ feelings to their advantage.  Be smart through the pain!

Don’t think for a minute that the courts will compensate you for a spouse having an affair. Judges don’t really care about the why’s and simply look at things such as children and needs when dishing out the dosh. The courts do not “punish” someone for having an affair. They will not take it into account when they look at child contact, finances, who keeps the house and gets the dog.

To conclude, it has happened and you can’t turn back the clock. It may be that you try to save the relationship or move on. Whatever happens, do it for yourself and your own future happiness. If you are the one who had the affair, look at why you had the need to be with someone else and the best way for you to move forward too. As we said before, people don’t have affairs for no reason, so it’s time to find yourself too and live the life you want. Maybe no one is to blame.