Many consider it common knowledge that an extramarital affair is likely to lead to a divorce. A recent article by Robert Hughes, Jr., professor of human development of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, indicates that family scientists and clinicians are only slowly coming around to this realization.
Traditionally, professionals who deal with married couples believed that the affairs were symptoms of already-unhealthy relationships instead of marriage wreckers. Moreover, professionals believed that the discovery of an extramarital affair often forced couples to deal with unresolved issues and, in some cases, improved the relationship issues which prompted the affair.
New research indicates flaws in the previous studies which concluded that extramarital affairs had little impact on the likelihood of a divorce. The researchers found that sex outside of the marriage did not automatically lead to divorce but that affairs dramatically increased the likelihood of a divorce. Approximately half of the couples who reported having an extramarital affair would divorce.
Every couple is different, which is why it is hard for professionals to precisely determine what factors will eventually lead to a divorce. Although affairs make it more likely that a couple will divorce, there are many other factors which influence the longevity of a marriage.
Source: Huffington Post, "Does Extramarital Sex Cause Divorce?" Robert Hughes, Jr., June 9, 2012