Considering the atrocity of infidelity, the percentage of couples who stay together after cheating is shocking.
But looking at it from a different perspective, a couple deciding to stay together and working in the long run are two different things.
Multiple studies and research have been conducted on post-infidelity stages giving us up-to-date statistics on break-up rates, motives, and gender differences).
Do couples survive cheating? How often do marriages survive infidelity? Let’s answer through facts and numbers!
What do men vs. women view as “cheating” and how does it impact their decision?
The definition of cheating is a dilemma—as MindBodyGreen says, it’s up to the couple to define what cheating in a relationship is.
Cheating is the act of being unfaithful to your partner in a way that disrespects their boundaries.
– According to research conducted by Chapman University, sexual affairs took a heavier blow at 54% of heterosexual men and 35% of heterosexual women. As for emotional affairs, 65% of heterosexual women and 46% of heterosexual men.
– Affair dating site, Victoria Milan, surveyed its members and the findings are shocking: over 70% of women would forgive their partners if sexual affairs were the case, as opposed to 35% of men.
Gender plays a big role in the notion of infidelity and forgiveness, but what percent of people are actually willing to give a cheater another chance?
What is the percentage of couples who stay together after cheating?
– Research shows that 59.6% of individuals view infidelity (and other extramarital affairs) as grounds for divorce. However;
– Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Idit Sharoni, says that 60%-70% of couples stay together after cheating takes place.
There’s even potential for the relationship to grow and completely heal after infidelity has been discovered and sorted out!
– In a survey by HealthTestingCenters with 400+ participants, 54.5% said that they broke up immediately with the cheater, 30% tried staying together (but broke up eventually), and only 15.6% are still together.
Such an act, in theory, can be unforgivable, however, a lot of couples give it one more try at least.
They want to somehow move past it and fix the relationship—below, you’ll learn if such attempts work.
What percentage of marriages actually survive infidelity?
According to the American Psychology Association, infidelity is quite common in marriages—around 40%.
– 53% of married couples – with infidelity issues – get divorced without making it 5 years post-therapy (23% of couples get divorced if cheating wasn’t involved).
What’s really interesting is how the divorce rate for couples who were honest about their affairs is lower than the ones who kept it a secret (43%).
– A whopping 80% of marriages where the infidelity was kept a secret ended with a divorce.
This means that honesty helps a great deal in fixing a relationship broken by unfaithfulness.
Statistics on second marriages from affairs: Do relationships that start as affairs work out?
Depending on different circumstances, an affair’s longevity could be a few minutes (e.g. kissing), a day (e.g. one-night stand), a couple of weeks, months, or even years.
– CouplesAcademy states that affairs don’t usually pass the 6-month-to-2-year mark.
Not a lot of marriages that start as affairs work—ironically, the chances of it failing are doubled.
– Not a lot of people end up marrying their affair partners (according to WebMD, only 5%-7% of affairs lead to marriage).
– Out of 5%-7% of marriages that start from infidelity, over 70% end up in divorce.
Marriages like these are short-lived because people often confuse a temporary fascination with love—aside from that, pressure from other people and paranoia about cheating are also contributing factors.
Marriages that survive infidelity do so with the help of couples counseling!
Infidelity hurts marriages—there’s no changing this fact.
But can infidelity counseling and couples therapy lend a helping hand to couples who want to stay together? Yes.
A survey by VerywellMind with over 1,000 participants proves that Couples Therapy had a tremendously positive impact on their relationship.
– 99% of participants claimed that couples therapy has had a positive impact on their relationship; 76% say it’s had a high impact, 94% state that it’s worthwhile, and 84% claim it’s their priority!
– 68% of partners who live together (as well as 88% of couples currently attending therapy) feel as if people should start couples therapy before bigger problems appear.
– 73% of US couples in couples therapy are currently attending Marriage Counseling
Not a lot of couples, however, are open to counseling as they’re not aware of its positive effects.
Why do people in relationships cheat? Are there any gender differences?
Just as men and women have different views on infidelity, their reasons for cheating also vary.
Robert Weiss, Ph.D., explains that when women cheat, there are feelings of intimacy involved, while on the contrary men do it to quench their sexual thirst.
But it goes deeper than that.
Selterman et al. (2019) in a study found that the most common reasons for cheating are:
- Anger (e.g. the cheater was cheated on in the past);
- Sex (e.g. sexual dissatisfaction);
- The cheater stopped loving their partner;
- Lack of commitment;
- Self-esteem issues;
- Circumstances (stress or consumption of alcohol, for example);
- The cheater felt neglected by their partner;
- The cheater wanted variety.
Where do people cheat the most—analyzing the most common places.
Marriage-saving expert, Debra Macleod, spent over a year documenting where affairs usually take place.
- The top place was work—after work came the gym, social circles, social media, volunteering gigs, and church.
Backing the numbers up, a poll by SHRM proves that around 50% of people have a crush on a co-worker and 34% are involved (or have been) in an office romance (flirting or even full-blown affairs).
According to such statistics, people can turn even the most professional environments into opportunities to cheat—it goes to show that if a person wants to cheat, they’ll find a way.
Do dating apps help the percentage of infidelity grow? Do people consider swiping, cheating?
Studies show a lot of people catfishing others on online dating by not stating they’re married or in a relationship.
Not everyone thinks their partner is cheating by being on dating sites (Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, POF, etc.) as long as they’re not getting in bed with people.
– Taking the most famous dating app as an example, a study shows that around 45% of Tinder users were either married or in a relationship.
As HelloPrenup says, technology has made cheating both more accessible and easier to hide (mainly online cheating which is done in the online world).
– A research on Taylor & Francis Online illustrates that, out of 891 participants, 32% had cheated in person (43.4% were men and 25.7% were women.)
– 26.6% cheated online (41.6% were men and 18.5% were women).
Do cheaters regret it?
One of the few things that cheers the cheatee up in this situation is the idea of the cheater regretting doing what they did.
Similarly, if remorse is present, there’s a chance for the relationship to be saved.
Studies find that, meanwhile there are motives, people in general do not regret cheating on their significant other.
Cheaters claimed that the affair satisfied their emotional and sexual needs, hence they don’t regret doing it.
– It’s also found no correlation between relationship satisfaction and the need to cheat in some cases (the cheater was getting their emotional/sexual needs met, but still went through with it).
But of course, this doesn’t apply to all cheaters:
If a cheating partner regrets breaking your trust, they will seek professional help, respect your wishes, be patient in earning your trust, and try their hardest.
How to build trust in your relationship after infidelity?
A relationship can go two ways after cheating has been revealed:
1. It will be demolished with no chance of it ever going back to normal, or;
2. As Idit Sharoni put it, it might grow stronger after the issue has been solved.
Earning someone’s trust cannot be done in a few days (specifically if trust has been lost because of cheating)—it takes effort and patience from both parties.
– Seek help from a professional (e.g. couples therapy or marriage counseling).
While scrunching up the numbers for couples therapy success rate, we can confidently say that it has a positive effect on relationships.
If you and your partner are going through a rough patch, consider therapy (marriage counseling, infidelity counseling, couples therapy, etc.).
- Professionals will help you and your partner heal the marriage/relationship and prevent such things from happening again.
However, sessions should be attended regularly as procrastinating can cause your relationship to relapse.
– Honesty should become your priority—especially for the cheater.
Be honest about everything that has happened—leave no detail a secret as it will only harm the relationship you’re working this hard to save.
- If you want your marriage to be saved, you need to be honest about the details of your cheating as well as your feelings/thoughts from now on.
As for the cheatee;
Be honest about your feelings and opinions as well—express your hurt but not in a way that makes the cheater feel bad (just don’t bottle your feelings up).
Show them how important sincerity is in getting your trust back and how you won’t tolerate any more deceit!
– Take full accountability for what you did.
No one likes admitting they were wrong and accepting their shortcomings, however, the truth is that people make the choice to cheat.
- Take full accountability and don’t blame your significant other just to make yourself feel better.
Even if you felt as if your sexual needs weren’t being met, for example, it would have been better to discuss with your partner and reach a conclusion.
Apologize for what you did and show them you’re truly sorry and willing to change.
Do not make them feel bad for crying, asking questions, or seeking constant reassurance (they can’t be blamed for the pain you voluntarily inflicted).
– Be patient with your partner.
You may want to rush things and have everything return to normal—no one wants to be reminded of the bad things they did, right?
Sadly, it doesn’t work that way and we shouldn’t attempt to catalyze the process of forgiveness as it will have a negative impact.
If you’re all for healing your relationship, you should be patient with your partner (e.g. hear them out and give them their space).
- If they’re uncomfortable with it, don’t excessively spoil them by buying gifts or with sweet words to win them over.
Don’t get angry at your partner for taking their time and prioritizing their mental health.
Can a person still love you after having cheated?
It’s a difficult concept to grasp, but yes: it’s possible for a cheater to love their partner even after having cheated on them.
Based on multiple studies, a lot of people are unfaithful even though they had a happy marriage and absolutely no complaints.
Cheating doesn’t mean that love was never present (or will stop being present), but there’s no blame on people for thinking so.
If you’re dealing with a cheater, keep this in mind—just make sure you’re giving the right person a second chance!