One way the affair can end
If a person has a sexual relationship outside of their marriage, at some point one of the affair partners is going to fart. At the point when real life intrudes on their fantasy and the “God, this is perfect” bubble bursts, things get complicated. Without the magic, the affair simply isn’t as much fun. Now the unfaithful spouse is left with 2 relationships that are no longer fun. At this point I think those cheaters that are confident their spouse is a reliable back-up plan are willing to risk coming clean to reestablish the marriage; their base of emotional security. Even when they reconcile with their betrayed spouse, as expected, without facing the issues that led them to cheat they will probably do it again. Those cheaters that fear their spouse will divorce them if their affair is exposed simply take up with another “perfect” affair partner and the whole thing plays out again. Total conjecture on my part, but it feels right or at least plausible.
Will they cheat again?
A spouse who has a desperate, sick need to be pursued/desired/accepted by members of the opposite sex is likely to cheat. If your wife dresses provocatively and/or has frequent “girls night out” events, I think you should be concerned. Likewise, if your husband likes to flirt and/or seems to always be talking to women at work or when you go out, I think you should be concerned. Of course if either of them is secretive regarding their Facebook/Twitter/cellphone activity, it is a huge red flag and needs to be addressed.
Like everything in life, moderation is the key. A little flirting and sexual tension is fine – it’s natural. But if one spouse thinks the other goes too far, the couple should get involved in counseling to try to resolve things. The kind of behavior I’m talking about here is not something that can be changed by the soon-to-be-wayward spouse promising to try harder to be good. I think it’s like any other illness in that it only gets worse over time.
I think most counselors can see through the façade a likely cheater puts up and at least begins to help them unlock the underlying issues that are responsible for their behavior. However it is up to them to either do the hard work to attempt to repair their damaged psyche or take the easy way out and pursue their personal validation by pursuing other people.
If the betrayed spouse chooses to continue the marriage, they will never fully trust their cheating spouse again and, in my opinion, they shouldn’t. The psychological issues that motivate a person to cheat will likely never be completely resolved. The best the betrayed spouse should expect is that their cheater remain abstinent from sex outside of marriage in the same way they might expect an alcoholic spouse to remain sober. The cheater has a disease that cannot be cured, but it may be controlled. Am I the only one willing to say this? I suppose I might be since I don’t have, nor plan to gather, enough research on the subject to support my position. However, I know I’m right.