Reality stars Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott are putting themselves through therapy to try and salvage their marriage after he had an affair with a much younger woman. And they’re not the only celebrity couple who aren’t giving up on marriage after cheating. Real Housewives of New York star Ramona Singer is calling off her divorce and trying to work things out with her husband of 25 years after she caught him having a longtime affair, also with a younger woman.
But despite these celebrity couples’ efforts, is it really possible to save a marriage after an illicit affair? According to a new study by UCLA and the University of Washington, it is possible for a couple to move past an affair and salvage their marriage, but only if the cheater comes clean before they get caught.
The study tracked 134 different couples over five years, measuring their relationship satisfaction and stability via interviews and questionnaires. From the couples who encountered infidelity, those who confessed were more likely to stay together versus those who kept their affair a secret and got caught. After five years, only 20% of the married couples who cheated and got caught were able to avoid a divorce. Meanwhile, 57% of those who came clean about their affair ended up staying together.
The researchers believe that when someone confesses to their spouse about an affair rather than getting caught first, it maintains the “integrity of the relationship,” and both parties will be more enthusiastic and willing to work towards rebuilding the marriage.
When someone admits to doing something wrong, like having an affair, it shows that they have a guilty conscience and feel some remorse over their actions. It maintains a level of trust, which makes it easier to accept their cheating as a mistake or momentary lapse in judgment. However, when someone gets caught and then asks for forgiveness, it’s hard to accept that their remorse is genuine.
Going back to our two celebrity couples, both men were caught cheating before confessing, which means that, according to this study, their marriages don’t stand a chance. We have our bets on two divorces, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
What do you think: Would you stay with your husband (or wife) if they came clean about having an affair? What if you caught them before they confessed?
Hillin, T., “New Study Reveals Secret To Saving Your Marriage After Infidelity,” Huffington Post web site, April 22, 2014; http://goo.gl/I9wDFG.