IS REPAIR POSSIBLE?
Can a marriage be fixed after an affair?
That is the number one question that is asked by couples trying to work through their ambivalence.
The short answer is YES!!
Fortunately, there are data that supports this answer. For those who are interested in statistics, we have gathered a few links that provide good summaries:
View the Infidelity Statistics section on this web page.
A group of researchers at a study by the Institute for American Values examined the National Survey of Families and Households (a nationally representative survey). They looked at 645 spouses who rated their marriages as unhappy. After five years, these same adults were interviewed again. Thus, the researchers were able to follow unhappy spouses as their lives took different paths: in the interim, some had divorced or separated and some stayed married.
Here's an excerpt from the executive summary of the report:
Because marital strife takes a toll on psychological well-being, the conventional wisdom would argue that unhappily married adults who divorced would be better off: happier, less depressed, with greater self-esteem and a stronger sense of personal mastery, compared to those staying married. Was this true?
Did unhappy spouses who divorced reap significant psychological and emotional benefits?
Surprisingly, in this study, the answer was no.
Among our findings:
• Unhappily married adults who divorced or separated were no happier, on average, than unhappily married adults who stayed married. Even unhappy spouses who had divorced and remarried were no happier, on average, than unhappy spouses who stayed married. This was true even after controlling for race, age, gender, and income.
• Divorce did not reduce symptoms of depression for unhappily married adults, or raise their self-esteem, or increase their sense of mastery, on average, compared to unhappy spouses who stayed married. This was true even after controlling for race, age, gender, and income.
• The vast majority of divorces (74 percent) happened to adults who had been happily married five years previously. In this group, divorce was associated with dramatic declines in happiness and psychological well-being compared to those who stayed married.
• Two out of three unhappily married adults who avoided divorce or separation ended up happily married five years later. Just one out of five of unhappy spouses who divorced or separated had happily remarried in the same time period.
We know these are statistics and that every couple is unique. But it does give us data that provides hope that you can achieve happiness without a divorce.