8 Signs Your Marriage is Headed for Divorce After Infidelity

8 Warning Signs Your Marriage is Headed for Divorce After Infidelity

Divorce specialist Brette Sember
Brette Sember is a former attorney from New York who specializes in divorce, mediation, family law, adoption, probate and estates, bankruptcy, credit, and other related fields. She holds a degree in English and a J.D. in law from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Infidelity can challenge any marriage.

The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy reports that 10 to 15% of women and 20 to 25% of men are unfaithful. A study by the American Psychological Association reveals that between 20 and 40% of divorces are caused by infidelity.

Determining if your relationship can heal after this challenging situation is not an easy conclusion to reach. It’s essential to be aware of the signs that your marriage may not be able to recover so you can act proactively to protect yourself.

8 Warning Signs of a Marriage Headed Towards Divorce

There are some warning signs to be aware of that indicate your marriage cannot survive the infidelity that has occurred.

Lack of Trust

An affair breaches the fundamental trust that a marriage needs to survive. Rebuilding that trust can be challenging. A lack of trust often results in building walls to protect yourself and not opening up to your spouse emotionally.

It can be hard to learn to trust your spouse again if they cheated, and it may feel impossible to be able to rely on them. This lack of connection can cause the marriage to no longer remain viable.

Lack of Sex

Feeling comfortable being intimate with your spouse after they have been unfaithful can take work. Some spouses cannot stop thinking about their spouse being with someone else, which can be a major turn-off.

A marriage without sex lacks an intimate connection, and this can push you further apart.

Additionally, if your spouse is no longer interested in sex with you after they have had an affair, it is another sign that your marriage may not be viable.

Ongoing Disagreements

An affair often is just a sign that you and your spouse are not connecting or that you feel as though you are not compatible. Because of this, you may continue to fight and argue about big and little things. Continual conflict can make a relationship feel intolerable. An affair can trigger ongoing disagreements, making the marriage uncomfortable for both people.

Repeated Affairs

If your spouse continues to cheat, it is a signal they are not willing to commit to the marriage fully. Whether the cheating occurs with new people or previous partners, ongoing infidelity is a clear message that your spouse will never be able to be happy within the marriage.


If your spouse cheated on you but is blaming you for causing them to take those actions, it is unlikely your marriage can survive. The spouse who cheated has to take responsibility for their actions and take steps to heal what caused their behavior.

While it is true that there are two people in a marriage, and each is responsible for the health of a marriage, a cheating spouse should never state that it is the other person’s fault that they were unfaithful.

If your spouse blames you, it is a sign that they are not able to own their mistakes and apologize for them. If they have this mindset, they are likely to cheat again.

Lack of Honesty

If you and your spouse cannot be honest with each other about the issues in your marriage, how you both feel and how you can heal together, there is little chance the marriage can succeed. A marriage cannot be repaired unless both spouses can open up to each other and share their true feelings.


When your spouse treats you with disrespect, such as laughing at you, being sarcastic, refusing to let you speak, disregarding your feelings, or not paying attention to your needs, it signals that your marriage may be beyond repair.

For a marriage to continue, both spouses must have respect for each other.


Should you or your spouse feel indifference towards each other, you don’t care enough to fight for the marriage. Once a point of indifference is reached, there is no incentive to keep trying or find ways to fix what is broken in the marriage. You have to care to want to repair your marriage.

The Role of Counseling and Therapy

Marriage counseling or therapy is one way to work to save your marriage after infidelity. This type of counseling can help you to understand:

  • Why the affair happened
  • What are the problems in your relationship
  • What your hopes and goals are for the marriage
  • What you each need from the other for the relationship to continue
  • Changes you both can make to help repair the marriage
  • How to repair communication
  • Ways to rebuild trust
  • Whether either or both of you need individual therapy

A study by the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy found that 70% of couples who attend marriage counseling remain married, so going to therapy could help save your marriage.

The keys to success in marriage therapy include:

  • Finding a specialist with training in this type of therapy
  • Choosing a professional, you both feel comfortable with
  • Committing to the process together
  • Understanding that each person must work on themselves
  • Working on a plan of action together
  • Doing work outside of sessions
  • Being honest with your spouse and your therapist
  • Understanding the process may be painful or slow

Decision Points: When to Stay vs. When to Leave

When you are deciding if you should continue in the marriage or leave, here are some things to consider:

  • Was the affair a one-time mistake or a pattern?
  • Is your spouse as committed as you are to repairing the marriage?
  • Why would you stay?
  • What would your life look like if you left? How does that feel to you?
  • Can you be your best self if you stay in this marriage?
  • Have you tried counseling? If not, why not?
  • Does the good outweigh the bad if you stay?
  • What negative impact has the marriage had on you, and will that continue?
  • Do you feel safe in this marriage (emotionally and physically)?
  • Are your goals for the marriage the same as your spouse’s (regarding money, children, future)?

Moving Forward

Whether you decide to remain in your marriage or not, there are things you can do to help yourself heal and move forward. These include:

  • Seeking individual therapy: Moving on from infidelity is a long, painful process, and individual therapy allows you to process it and come to terms with it. You may also find things about yourself you want to work on, and your therapist can help you with that.
  • Grieving: Whether your marriage ends or you decide to continue it, experiencing infidelity is painful and hurtful. You can’t brush it under the rug and need time to work through it. Taking the time to process it will allow you to move forward.
  • Exploring sex: Infidelity has profound repercussions on the way you will feel about sex moving forward in your marriage or as a single person. Take the time you need to reach a place where this feels safe for you.
  • Considering your role: Evaluate your behavior and actions in the marriage and how they impacted your spouse. Consider how you want to approach relationships in the future.
  • Practicing self-care: No matter where you go from here, self-care is essential to help you heal and move forward.

Final Thoughts

Infidelity can rock a marriage to its core. Determining whether or not unfaithfulness is the end of your marriage is a significant choice. It’s essential to evaluate what needs to happen for the marriage to continue. Whatever choice you make, moving forward with it requires work.


CATEGORIES: Making the Decision

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