Experts tell WebMD how to overcome infidelity in a relationship and how to know when it's time to call it quits.
Cause and Effect continued...
When taking steps toward repairing a relationship after an
affair just doesn't seem to be working -- and marriage counseling has failed as
well -- a couple may start to think about calling it quits.
"When you can't stop fighting, when there is an inability
to partially identify with the other person, when there is too much hurt and
too much anger, and you are unable to bury the hatchet, these may be warning
signs that the relationship can't be saved," says Turndorf.
For Carol Corini from Maynard, Mass., who was married for 19
years when she found out her husband was having an affair, this was the
"We always got along pretty well and we both thought it was
a good marriage," says Corini. "But he just changed: he had problems
getting older, he obsessed over every wrinkle, stressed over turning 50, and he
started hanging out with younger people at work. And one day he told me that he
didn't think it was wrong to get divorced if people aren't happy, and I thought
that was weird -- but I didn't think he was having an affair."
After Corini found out the truth, her first reaction was
"At the time, I was devastated and I wanted to save our
marriage," says Corini. "I would have gone to therapy and tried to fix
it, but he said he didn't think there was a need for that. He was looking for
something different -- a challenge, a change, someone younger. He had this
girlfriend for six months to a year before he said he wanted a
George S., a salesperson from Boston who asked to remain
anonymous, was married for five years before he found out his wife was having
"I noticed a couple of things: there was little to no
passion on her side, which was unusual," says George. "She would jump
down my throat for everything, and that was a snowball effect -- that would
make me not show her affection. And in my gut, I knew -- she'd come home late
at night at 3 a.m. and say she was out with her friends, and that's just not
George had already asked his wife to try marriage counseling,
and she agreed, but then it fell apart.
"I was out one night and I saw her with another man,"
says George. "She was still wearing her wedding ring."
After taking some time and thinking about it, George decided
against saving the marriage.
"I think the reason why the marriage couldn't be saved was
that a predisposed decision was already made in her mind to not save it --
which is why she was having the affair even though we were in counseling,"
says George. "Finding out about the affair put things together for me and I
realized I just didn't want it anymore."
For these marriages and others, there is no hard and fast rule
that indicates a marriage is over.
"There is no objective criteria that says a marriage can or
can't be saved," says Weiner-Davis. "A person has to decide what he can
or can't live with, and what energy he is willing to invest in making things