The intense emotions involved with being "madly in love" last anywhere from six to thirty-six months.
Though the straying spouse may become angry and try to manipulate the abandoned spouse into divorce ("I'll make things tougher for you if you don't go along with me ..."), the abandoned spouse should be strong, endure the other's wrath, and drag it out as long as possible. The abandoned spouse should demonstrate his or her ability to survive and prosper without the abandoning spouse.
Because of such passages as Matthew and Matthew 19:9, churches usually grant the offended spouse the right to start over with a new mate, and few blame him or her for moving on with life. Wouldn't it be better for everyone - the cheated, cheater, children, church, and community - if there were a way to rescue the straying spouse, heal the hurts, and guide husband and wife back to a marriage of love and commitment?
We in the marriage business know that if a marriage survives an affair, it will be stronger and more loving than it was before the affair.
Sometimes the abandoned spouse does this by offering a concession such as, "I'll give on this point in the divorce if you do this." Sometimes a friend, church leader, or even the person's child may convince him or her that, for conscience sake, s/he should do one more thing to see if there is any hope for the marriage.
In my weekend turnaround workshop for marriages in crisis, Love Path 911, we have many couples who come because someone convinced the abandoning spouse to attend for conscience sake or to get some concession.
Over nearly a decade, we've witnessed one seemingly hopeless marriage after another turn around during that weekend.
I encourage you to at least make a commitment not to remain at a disinterested distance when couples you love have their lives coming apart. To better understand extramarital affairs, I sorted them into three categories.1.
The Short-Lived Affair lasts from one night to several months and is primarily about sex.