Effect on the cheating spouse
A spouse who is caught up in adultery is living only for the moment, caught up in a fantasy of excitement and desire, and ignoring the very real consequences. He/she thinks more about the pleasure he is experiencing and less about the pain he is causing. A paper titled “100 Consequences of Adultery,” written by a student at Phoenix Seminary provides a stark wake-up call about the ways infidelity can destroy a life and marriage. Here’s a selection from his list:
If I committed adultery…
It’s a pretty sobering list, isn’t it? What’s even more sobering is that many people will consider these consequences and still proceed. The fantasy is more important to them than the reality. The biggest benefit of this list may be in helping all of us realize the need to set up strict safeguards to ensure that we are faithful in our marriage commitment. If I am convinced of what adultery would do to me and to my family, I will watch my wandering eyes, guard my thought life, and avoid any situations that could put me in harm’s way. Living out the fantasy is just not worth it.
An affair isn’t just something that damages your relationship, its something that damages the core of the person who is being cheated on.
Effect on the spouse cheated on
People who have experienced cheating describe feeling a mixture of betrayal, shame and disgust. The most immediate thoughts often center on, “Why am I not good enough?” Considering how the blurring of boundaries in a relationship, it makes sense why we feel like insecure victims. We are emotions are not managed correctly, it can lead to serious problems for your spouse and ultimately to your marriage.
Damage to Self-Esteem: Your spouse will start questioning his or her self-worth and have thoughts of “Where did I go wrong?” or “What’s wrong with me?” Like children of divorcees blaming themselves for what happened to their parents, victims of marital infidelity often respond to cheating by blaming themselves too. Certainly people can and do recover from the disastrous effects on infidelity.
Some marriages survive—and some even become happy again in time. There is hope for the hurting, and this is a point that should not be overlooked. However, the odds are tremendously stacked against a positive outcome. Even when healing does occur, it is preceded by much agony for a long time. The only way to ensure that your marriage remains free from the devastating consequences of infidelity is to avoid it at all costs.
You can strengthen your marriage with love, understanding, communication, and kindness. Be forgiving, be committed, be in control of yourself, and fulfill each other’s needs and demands. We all have the option to cheat if we want it, we choose not to when we believe the covenant of marriage is sacred and nothing must come in the way of that relationship.