What Adultery in Marriage means and its Consequences

Learn the effects of what comes after having adultery in marriage

By Madiha A.
What Adultery in Marriage means and its Consequences

The Definition and the Law of Adultery in Marriage

Definition of Adultery

Merriam-Webster defines adultery as: “voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than that person's current spouse or partner”. The worst thing that can happen to a marriage is getting to know that your spouse is involved in an adulterous affair. 

Marriage is a relationship that is built on the foundation of love, trust honesty, and loyalty among many other things. Love brings two people together and trust, honesty, and loyalty strengthen this relationship. Love should be given some time before putting on it the stamp of marriage. Sometimes hasty decisions and mere infatuation can get you in a knot with the wrong person resulting in adultery.  

Law of Adultery in Marriage

  • Adultery, no matter how horrendous it is, laws against it differ from country to country, culture to culture and religion to religion. 
  • In some countries like Taiwan and Philippine, having sex out of wedlock is considered a crime.
  • Being a private matter between two individuals, adultery is no longer considered a crime in Japan and South Korea, where previously it was a crime and lead to two years imprisonment. 

  • Hudood Ordinance and other similar laws promulgate in most Muslim countries including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Brunei. Adultery is considered crime and death is the maximum penalty. 
  • In China, the couple can opt for divorce if a partner is found guilty but adultery is not a crime
  • In India, adultery is not considered a crime after the Supreme Court’s judgment. 

  • In most European countries, adultery is not considered a crime. 

  • Adultery has been decriminalized in most Latin American countries on the basis of gender discrimination/equality.

  • Adults (18 years of age and older) having consented sex irrespective of their marital status are answerable neither to spouse nor to the law in Australia. It is considered their private matter hence not a crime.

  • Adultery laws vary from state to state in the USA. In 19 states, it is considered a criminal offense and felony in some states whereas misdemeanor in other.

The Consequences of Adultery in Marriage

Marriage, in most cases, is a result of love. Two individuals meet; they fall in love and get married eventually hoping to stay together for a lifetime. This happens for many couples but not for all, unfortunately. According to some researches, 40-50% of marriages end up in divorce for one reason or another. Adultery can be a consequence of a faulty marriage or it can have severe consequences in a healthy marriage. In any case, dealing with it can be difficult. Here are a few major consequences of adultery in marriage

Shame and Guilt

No matter what the reason, adultery results in shame and guilt. For being dishonest and disloyal, the cheating partner will feel ashamed. If shame is momentous, the behavior will continue and will lead to other severe, even worst consequences. Continuous feeling of guilt may result in a positive behavioral change. 

Guilt and shame can also be experienced by the deceived partner. They may think they were not good enough for their partner which led their spouse to have an extramarital affair. A continuous feeling of guilt and self-blame can cause major psychological issues in deceiving in deceived partners.

Loss of Trust

Finding out that your spouse is having sex with someone else can be very devastating. Your spouse is the person you trust the most in the world. Building trust can take a lot of time but it can be broken with the slightest doubt.


If your spouse is busy somewhere else, they are obviously spending time away from you. This drifting apart may come slowly but results in utter loneliness. While they are having a good time with whosoever out there, you are curling up alone in your bed thinking about the future of your relationship. If talking to someone isn’t the option you are considering at the moment, you might feel lonelier than before. You avoid meeting people fearing they will get to know about the bad phase you and your spouse are going through.


No marriage is perfect and every relationship sees its own set of ups and downs. From minor mood swings and petty fights to bigger issues, no marriage is fault-free. What makes things work is the bond between two individuals. The stronger the bond the sooner they will resolve the issue and get back on track. Every couple makes mistakes, forgives each other and forgets but one thing that cannot be repaired is broken trust. Infidelity can do irreparable damage. Divorce is the ultimate solution to get out of a relationship that holds nothing good for you. Once a spouse is found guilty of adultery, mere confrontation can bring you on the verge of divorce. If you were already struggling to make the relationship work, infidelity will be the final nail in the coffin. 

How to get over Adultery in Marriage  

Adultery can be a result of a few possible things: problems in marriage (emotional, sexual, and financial) leading to an extramarital affair, falling in love with someone else, or mere infatuation with a person leading to a physical relationship (this can be momentary). Getting over with adultery depends on the reason behind it. Here are a few general guidelines for getting over adultery in marriage

  • To get over adultery, you need to understand why it occurred in the first place. Know the causes and try to resolve the underlying issues. 

  • If you are a religious person, revert back to your faith. Adultery is considered a sin in almost all the religions and if you believe that what you did was a sin, you will try to get over with it and repent.

  • Forgive and forget just the way you do in other matters. Finding your spouse practicing adultery can be very painful and the feeling of being worthless may take over but sooner you forgive your partner the sooner you will get over.

  • If you are sorry, say it and mean it. The only way to get over is to make your partner believe that it was a mistake and won’t be repeated. Rebuilding trust is difficult and slow but gestured of love and affection will make a difference.

  • Don’t rush to make things right. Let time heal the wounds. Getting over becomes easier if you go slow but steady.  

How to Avoid Adultery in Marriage

At one point or another, a spouse may feel like drifting away from their partner. A handsome co-worker or waitress at the nearby café may seem more attractive than your husband or wife. Adultery can be avoided if you keep certain things in mind

  • “I have a partner who is loyal and honest and above all loves me”, if you keep this in mind you will not look at any other person the way you look at and feel for your partner.

  • Think about your children and how this can affect them. 

  • If you have a temptation to have an affair, talk about it to a close friend, counselor or pastor if you are a religious person. They will definitely give you good advice.

  • Keep the spark of love alive. Talk to your spouse regularly about routines, beautiful past and bright future. Keep a regular physical connection. Gilchrest O'Neill said, “Take responsibility for having calm, quiet, focused time together. Time for just the two of you, with your phone, turned off: Make eye contact, show positive body language. You'll find that this is the kind of connection that sustains your relationship for the long haul.”    

Quotes on Adultery

The worst thing that can happen to a marriage is finding out that your spouse is having a physical relationship with someone else. It can have severe consequences including psychological issues and emotional distress. It may feel like the end of life and hopelessness could takeover. A family to fall back to, a sincere friend to talk to and a shoulder to cry on is all you need in situations like these. If you don’t feel like sharing your feelings with anyone at the moment, these quotes might help you get back on your feet and keep going.

“When a man steals your wife, there is no better revenge than to let him keep her.” -SACHA GUITRY 

“Today I am a woman torn between the terror that everything might change and the equal terror that everything might carry on exactly the same for the rest of my days.”  ― Paulo Coelho, Adultery

“Statistically speaking, there is a 65 percent chance that the love of your life is having an affair. Be very suspicious.” ― Scott Dikkers     

“Passion is the evil in adultery. If a man has no opportunity of living with another man's wife, but if it is obvious for some reason that he would like to do so, and would do so if he could, he is no less guilty than if he was caught in the act.” - Saint Augustine 

 “You only need to hide if you’re doing something you shouldn’t.” ― Paulo Coelho, Adultery

Related Article: What Is Considered Cheating In A Relationship?
What Is Considered Cheating In A Relationship?

What do you consider cheating in a relationship? People are growing apart because of unfaithful partners. Read the article and find out more!


Cheating, dishonesty, deception, and infidelity violate the marriage contract. No matter what the reason, adultery can have devastating effects. Getting help in the form of counseling, talking to a friend or taking solace in religion can help get rid of the temptation to have an adulterous affair. Marriage is the strongest social bond and should strengthen in order to keep society from going astray.



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