Infidelity and Divorce… What Does The Research Tell Us?

The good news is that the majority of marriages that struggle with infidelity do not end up in divorce. However, the divorce rate is higher for spouses when both partners have strayed.

Researcher Laura Betzig looked at 160 cultures and determined that infidelity was the number one reason for divorce out of 43 potential causes. here are some interesting facts from social science research about infidelity and divorce from the files of affair researcher Dr. Shirley Glass.

Will You Marry Your Affair Partner After Your Divorce?

  • Plan to divorce your spouse and marry your affair partner? Good luck with that. Infidelity and divorce research tells us your chance of divorce in this new marriage is over 75%. Secret relationships intensify arousal, making your affair partner seem even more attractive and alluring. Your new relationship will profoundly shift after your prior partner is dispensed with. Whatever emotional baggage you have will reliably show up at your new address. You can’t divorce yourself.
  • Divorce is likely if the involved partner does not end the affair. This could be because the hurt partner demands that the involved partner leaves, or because the involved partner actively decides to start a new life with the affair partner.
  • Divorce is more likely in affair scenarios that have emotional as well as sexual involvement.
  • Divorce is also more likely in quid pro quo infidelities. 49% of marriages ended when both partners engaged in extra-marital liaisons.
  • Infidelity and divorce research suggests that young wives in childless marriages who were under the age of 31 may use an affair as part of an exit strategy to leave an unhappy marriage.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, involved husbands in long-term marriages who describe a strong emotional bond with their affair partner tend to leave their marriages. Husbands whose involvement is purely sexual rarely have any desire to leave their marriages.
  • The level of commitment entering therapy is an important clue. If the commitment to affair recovery is low, so is the likelihood of healing and repairing.

About the Author Daniel Dashnaw

Daniel is a Marriage and Family Therapist. He currently sees couples at Couples Therapy Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts, three seasons in Cummington (at the foothills of the Berkshires...) and in Miami during joint retreats with his wife, Dr. Kathy McMahon. He uses EFT, Gottman Method, Solution-focused and the Developmental Model in his approaches.

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