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How many relationships survive an affair?

(31 Posts)
katykuns Sun 28-Jul-13 08:55:33

Do you ever really survive it?

Wellwobbly Sun 28-Jul-13 09:08:41

I once read a statistic of about 35%.

From the threads on MN and other sites, the survival rates are not that great.

It seems that the thing required is for the person who betrayed to see that they are extremely selfish, and to examine and change their behaviour.

And because selfishness and the ability to deceive is inevitably a character prerequisite for giving onself permission to have an affair in the first place, why should they submit themselves to that painful process?

'Cheating is a narcissistic act' - 'Ego Kibbles'.

The best and most devastating description of what exactly lies in an affair I have ever read. Narcissists don't do humility.

I tried really really hard Katykuns, for 4 years. I think when I saw 10 books on 'how to survive an affair' on my side of the bed, and his usual war and fishing books on his ...

akaWisey Sun 28-Jul-13 09:30:27

Wellwobbly thanks to you I found chumplady and if I'd found it 4 years ago, well…

If you mean does the relationship survive OP, WW has it I think. If you mean do those who've been chumped survive, yes of course we do. We learn to adapt to the new reality and get on with it mostly.

meditrina Sun 28-Jul-13 09:36:44

Well, it's one of those things you'll never really know (though there are probably surveys/studies) somewhere.

Because I think reconciliations go on in private, and even the fact of the affair may remain well hidden from even close family and friends (though they may be aware of "difficulties" or some other circumlocution).

Yes, I think reconciliation is possible. But I think it is an immeasurably hard road to take.

ProphetOfDoom Sun 28-Jul-13 09:37:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Change2013 Sun 28-Jul-13 15:53:36

I wonder how many survive long term because I forgave once, only to discover 10 years later that ex was a serial cheat and liar. Wish I had known about chumplady then too! I was well and truly chumped but never again.

I now think that when someone can lie and cheat to someone they made promises to, it indicates their character and that is very difficult to change.

tessa6 Sun 28-Jul-13 15:57:02

It's a difficult statistic because often in marriages that last the distance there has been infidelity that's never been discovered or admitted to and in some relationships that break down after an affair it's much later or actually about something else. Most people who stay and who can say they are happy five years later are in a situation where the betrayer committed solidly and effortfully to repair and fidelity.

missbopeep Sun 28-Jul-13 16:26:47

In my personal experience of friends, 2 out of two survived.

GherkinsAreAce Sun 28-Jul-13 16:28:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FlatCapAndAWhippet Sun 28-Jul-13 17:46:53

I didn't but there were many OW not just one, ex "DP" was a habitual womaniser and still is. I knew both DD and I deserved better. We are both incredibly happy without him but we are four years down the line.

SawofftheOW Sun 28-Jul-13 17:55:34

More than might be suspected if you followed MN, I think. Mine, but it is a work in progress; my best friend's - she threw him out, he went to live with OW, reality dawned on him, and he begged to come back, but they are still in counselling; my parents'; the two female work colleagues in my office and many more. But equally I know a good many that didn't and usually it was because the DH or DW - but generally it was the DH - left for the OW. Of those I know about, the vast majority didn't end up permanently with the OW/OM but either the damage was too profound to be repaired, they didn't want to go back to their marriage, or their DW/DH didn't want them back.

My sister-in-law's mother has just died of cancer and on her death bed said she profoundly regretted leaving my SIL's father for her OM, who she had gone on to marry, had regretted it for years but hadn't had the courage to admit that she had been wrong, that it was not the profound 'love' she had thought it was during their initial affair and that she would do anything to have her time over again and have returned to her first husband when he begged her to do so.

I have a friend who has had a spasmodic affair with a man for 20 years. Neither have any intention of leaving their partners and unless something changes dramatically, I imagine that it will be one of those 'undiscovered and undisclosed' relationships. I think it's thoroughly awful and dishonest but they are both quite comfortable with it.

My mother said the other day, when I mentioned about friends who seem to have got over a rough patch in their marriage caused in the large part by their profoundly disabled child and their mutual exhaustion in heroically , trying to care for her,her siblings, work etc, that 'like many couples do, they seem to have reached an accommodation with each other and their situation'. I think that is what happens when affairs strike at the heart of a marriage/relationship - you either go your separate ways, or you find that 'accommodation'. The route to it varies for everyone - I have been a nightmare to live with for my H, whilst my best friend has been a paragon of resolution, calm and common sense, but we have each in our own way, got there.

But I have no doubt, that apart from losing one's spouse through death, or - god forbid - losing one of our DC, this is the worst pain I have ever , or will ever, endure, so I have no illusions about how hard the route travelled by so many is.

maleview70 Sun 28-Jul-13 19:24:17

I think women are generally more forgiving.

I couldn't and didnt want to frankly. Just saw it as opportunity to spread my wings and it worked out well!

welshharpy Sun 28-Jul-13 19:35:21

Going from the threads on here to me it seems most wives eventually give in and take cheating husbands/partners back even though they seem like prize pricks and treat their wives like shit.

A friend of mine did just that, he called her some disgusting names, got his family to phone her with a load of abuse, went out on the lash chasing other women, etc etc. My mate was gutted and cried for weeks saying how she didnt want to be alone for the rest of her life (she is 29 ffs) and they had a kid together and just when she seemed to be standing on ther own to feet, guess what?! Yep, she is back with the tosser and he is so sorry and contrite. I give up.

Some women are their own worst enemy which is so bloody sad.

maleview70 Sun 28-Jul-13 20:51:26


SawofftheOW Sun 28-Jul-13 23:19:59

Welshharpy I agree that it sounds as if your friend was treated despicably by her partner but not every affair, separation or reconciliation follows the same pattern, and there is nothing weak about trying to rebuild a relationship with a man who has betrayed you totally, so long as you have a sense that he is genuinely remorseful. Obviously it sounds like your friend took him back for the 'wrong' reasons, but they are her reasons and therefore have a validity. I suspect all you can do is be there to catch her as she falls when or if he does it again, irrespective of your opinion about her choices.

The worst thing about affairs is learning that good people really can do truly awful things. It is an agonising revelation, particularly when that person is someone you love more than any other adult in this world. And so living with that , trying to rebuild a wreckage of a relationship while trying to cope with your pain, is horrifically difficult. I am glad I did it - it was right for me, my H and our DC. And I am no pushover - I've worked all over the world in dangerous environments, I have had to shake hands with people who I know have the blood of their fellow countrymen staining theirs, and I've picked up the body parts of colleagues who have died in the line of duty. But I can say without reservation that deciding to try and work with my DH is the very hardest thing I've ever done and if it doesn't work out long-term then at least I know, for sure, that I did what felt right for me at this time.

Wellwobbly Mon 29-Jul-13 10:44:06

I wish it was clear cut, and it never is.

My husband doesn't want a divorce (and nor do I).

But horribly, that is beside the point. It isn't about who is good or bad, to blame or not, whether there is love or not.

What he wants is the parts of marriage that are convenient for him (me being uncomplaining housekeeper and nanny) and none of those parts that he doesn't want to do (affection, respect, equal partner, me having needs, doing family things like holidays).

He wants me at home, and special friend co-worker who 'understands' him and with whom he has a 'connection' (read: no demands, lots of admiration).

So my issue is: is this tolerable for me?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 29-Jul-13 10:48:18

"Do you ever really survive it?"

It's a personal thing. Some people find other aspects of the relationship are more important than fidelity, are very good at suppressing their feelings or forgetting the past and seem to be able to move on OK. Others try to forgive and forget or they feel pressurised to 'make a go of it' but are tormented by the memories until their self-esteem sinks so low that they have to call it a day. Many treat it as a deal-breaker and there are no second chances

So whether you survive it is entirely up to your make-up. National averages don't help in this case.

ImperialBlether Mon 29-Jul-13 10:55:09

Wellwobbly, to a complete outsider, your situation seems to be intolerable, tbh. He sounds awful. He's selfish and disrespectful. Have you thought about what life would be like without him?

Missbopeep Mon 29-Jul-13 11:15:46

The national statistics are something like 50:50.

I don't think you can generalise much beyond this because there are so many variables and those stats would need breaking down.

Some couples carry on as if nothing has happened because as Cognito says, sexual fidelity is not that much of a big deal to some people.

Some couples - and this includes couples I know- thought they would always divorce if one was unfaithful - complete deal breaker- then when it happened they decided they could patch things up after a lot of discussion and work on the relationship.

Other couples split because they leave each other for other people and the affair is the symptom of a dead marriage.

Some affairs are never discovered.

I think in answer to the OP if it's a question coming from personal experience the short answer is- you can survive if you choose to. Our emotions are our thoughts- we can control them. If each person in the relationship wants to get over it, then with compassion and effort, it can be done. But you have to want to and let go of bitterness etc and be committed to moving forward.

Missbopeep Mon 29-Jul-13 11:20:55

I don't know how what you describe wellwobbly is remotely tolerable, if that's how it really is. No one wants a divorce. I don't think there is a couple on the planet who 'wants' a divorce. But a divorce is a legal means to getting out of one life- which is clearly not satisfying- and starting another one which should be better.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 29-Jul-13 11:21:24

"Our emotions are our thoughts- we can control them"

I don't actually agree with that. I think we can control our behaviour but emotions are so visceral and uncontrollable that, no matter how much rationalisation or effort or commitment or therapy or apologies we hurl at the problem, if looking at his unfaithful face across the breakfast table still makes you want to shove a bread-knife in his back... you're a fool if you keep trying.

Missbopeep Mon 29-Jul-13 11:34:29

I could recommend a good book Cogito - it's called 'You can't afford the luxury of a negative thought'.

It's about the power of thought and how every thought results in either a positive or negative action.

Right at the start of it, are the words: ' A thought..... has a significant impact on our mind, our body, our emotions.' Then down the page, 'Thoughts influence our emotions'.

It's a common misunderstanding that emotions are somehow more 'powerful' and uncontrollable compared to thoughts- but in fact it's our thoughts that act as a catalyst for our emotions.

We can control our thoughts by either blocking them, if it's something that we find hard to deal with, or changing our response to the thought by making it more positive.

It's the foundation for much NLP and is definitely worth discovering.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 29-Jul-13 11:43:22

"We can control our thoughts by either blocking them, if it's something that we find hard to deal with, or changing our response to the thought by making it more positive"

All commendable if it's some terrible external trauma that you can't do anything about and have to instead find ways to live with. But to go to these lengths for a partner that shags around??? hmm Surely it's quicker, easier & healthier to just dump the bastard than go screwing around with our thought processes.

Missbopeep Mon 29-Jul-13 12:56:59

As you said in your previous posts, it's a personal choice and everyone is different. hmm Surely it's quicker, easier & healthier to just dump the bastard than go screwing around with our thought processes.

Not sure that is really ever the case. Divorce can be a slow and painful process and the hurt will still be there to deal with even if you are no longer living under the same roof.

It could be argued that quick and easy is not the only ( or right?) reaction to a relationship that may have spanned 20 or 30 years, and involves other people. It could be argued that it's 'healthier' to forgive and stay together.

It's a personal choice. Right? smile

nkf Mon 29-Jul-13 12:58:48

What do you mean by surviving?
Not ending?
Lasting for another five/10 years?
Being happy?

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