Marital Infidelity – What Would You do?

Cheating is considered one of the worst affronts to a relationship. It’s right up there with physical/emotional abuse and substance addictions. It causes a massive rift between partners and shoots holes in the trust the couple thought would get them through all of life’s trials.

You thought you were  knee-deep in love, that your relationship was bullet proof.

We all know in the backs of our minds that anyone is capable of making such poor choices, but admitting out loud that your relationship is seriously flawed is as painful as smashing your own finger with a hammer, on purpose.

Infidelity is a threat to marriage, but is it an insurmountable issue?

Can a good marriage survive infidelity?

The answer to that question lies in what caused the infidelity.

Yes, I know, someone had a roving eye and couldn’t keep his/her pants on. But, why?

The reason a person is unfaithful has everything to do with the odds of saving the marriage.

  • The cheater’s spouse has also been unfaithful
  • The cheater’s spouse refuses sex or doesn’t want it often enough
  • The cheater’s spouse has a mental disorder
  • The cheater’s spouse is abusive/addicted
  • The cheater’s spouse isn’t attractive anymore
  • The cheater is bored with the relationship
  • The cheater was drunk/high at the time of the infidelity
  • The cheater was influenced by friends
  • The cheater has low moral values

    Infidelity-Cheating husband

    Dude, face it…you’re gonna to have to come out sometime.

So, what is a smart, strong woman to do when she finds out her husband has been unfaithful…after she cries her eyes out?

1. Does she plan to chop off his Salami with a meat cleaver while he’s sleeping?

2. Does she tie his Wee Weenie Wanker to the hitch on her Ford Bronco, letting him kick and buck all the way to her lawyer’s office?

3. Does she give Long Dong Silver one more ride before she tells him to hit the trail?

Well, those are valid options. Here’s another:

She could consider whether she had any part in his transgression.  Ouch! *ducking the rotten tomatoes*

Seriously, I would take a look back to see if there was anything I could have done better or differently. No?  You sure?

I read somewhere that a therapist said, “As a therapist who works with couples every day, I can categorically state that it is possible to repair the marriage after infidelity.”

Raise your hand if you believe this therapist lives in the real world.

Okay, all kidding aside…if the reason for the unfaithfulness is set in poor communication between spouses, it seems reasonable  to expect that the problem can be fixed, if both parties agree to work at it. It would require forgiveness and an ability to close the door on that episode and move on.

Or, it may just be time to let the relationship go, especially if the necessary change involves a person’s character. Expecting a character change is like expecting to win the lottery. Odds are that it probably won’t happen.

A smart, strong woman knows herself well, knows whether she played a part in digging this plot hole in their marital relationship. Whether she has or not, if it’s worth saving, she’ll do whatever is necessary to fix it.  If it can’t be fixed, she’ll acknowledge that, let it go and move on to the next chapter in her life.

She knows she isn’t a failure. She did all she could do. And she’s okay with that.

What would you do? Could you forgive and forget? Or would choose one my 3 options to solve the problem?

(I sincerely appologize if I have offended anyone with my humorous and irreverant discussion of a very serious topic. I also hope none of my readers have or ever will have to experience such a difficult issue.)

Just a reminder–Sherry Isaac is posting today at the Life List Club Blog and I’ll be posting there on Friday! Please stop by to see us and chat!

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37 thoughts on “Marital Infidelity – What Would You do?

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  7. Great question, Marcia. Sorry I’m late to the party, was waylaid by life last week. Anyway, after 25 years of marriage all I can say is how important communication has been to helping us move through all of life’s trials, as well as lots of love and humor.

    If he were unfaithful, I’d be heartbroken, not only ibecause he’s my husband and lover, but because he’s my best friend. I would very likely forgive him, but I doubt I’d forget. For my self-esteem, I believe I’d have to move on. Does that seem harsh? I believe I’d move on because if he is the kind of person to stray, then he’s not the man I thought he was and then I wouldn’t be losing the man I loved, but a stranger. And I don’t owe anything to a stranger.

    Hopefully I never have to make that choice.

    • I love your train of thought on why you’d have to leave. That seems to be the general consensus. When your love is betrayed to the one you thought you could trust above all else, there is no other choice. Thanks so much, Jolyse! All these happy relationships make me smile!

  8. What a thought-provoking post, Marcia! I mulled it over and although I can’t say for sure what I’d do without finding myself in the situation (which thankfully, I don’t believe I ever will!), I imagine that I would try my best to forgive but leave anyway, because I know *me* too well. No matter what the circumstances, I’m afraid I’d forever be distrustful and insecure with that partner, and that would eventually just cause more problems. I’d never want to be a woman who was either controlling and jealous or distant and (at least on the surface) uncaring, and I think one of the two would happen if I found myself in this situation no matter how much I loved the person and wanted to repair the relationship. I would want to forgive enough to heal, move on and wish him well, but I don’t think we could remain a couple because I’d really dislike the woman I’d be in the relationship.

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  10. I know myself pretty well. I think I could forgive but I know I wouldn’t stay. I would always be looking for clues he was cheating again and what kind of relationship/life would that be?

    Love the new look Marcia, it has a mysterious, sexy vibe.

    • I think I’d be the same way, Kate. But I’d probably only forgive him for my own sake–so it wouldn’t haunt me.
      I’m so glad you like it! That description is exactly what i was going for and it reflects my stories pretty well, too.

  11. Difficult scenario. I was cheated on by my first wife and when I discovered it she left me. Would I ever cheat? No, but I might find it difficult to resist if I was in a bar and Dana Delaney or Angie Harmon was interested in me 🙂 although that’s not going to happen 😦 so my second go at marriage of twenty two years is still going strong 🙂

    • So good to see you, Chris! Sorry about you first marriage. I’d have to guess that either she wasn’t ready for commitment or it wasn’t a great match. But that road led you to where you are now-a very happy and long marriage!
      I totally understand the difficulty you’d have if the gorgeous Angie Harmon, with that sultry voice, were to proposition you!

  12. I echo others, Marcia. I’d like to think that I’d confront issues long before affairs would form, or even become a temptation. That said, it’s tough to know what you’d do without being in the situation. Sometimes, I think, people cheat to create an out—also for a deeper underlying reason. I also don’t think everyone’s cut out for marriage.

    • I can’t relate to those people who aren’t cut out for marriage, but I know it’s a sincere feeling for some. Maybe they get that deeply involved with someone because of societal pressures. Bottom line, in my opinion, is be honest with yourself and your spouse. If you’re unhappy and want out, say it up front before making a mess of things. Why cheat and destroy trust and the good parts of the relationship?
      Thanks for coming by August!

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  14. Great topic, Marcia. I’ve always thought I would forgive it once, but not a second time. To me, a second time suggests one or both of you are unable or unwilling to change. OTOH, everyone has to seek their own path. Fortunately — touch wood! — my husband is a one-woman man and our boys take after him. 🙂

  15. I think some people cheat because they can’t help themselves. It doesn’t matter who they’re with or what their partner is like, they’ll never be faithful. And sometimes, people simply fall in love with someone else. For me, those circumstances would both be definite deal breakers.
    Under different circumstances, I don’t know how I would react, but after almost 40 years of marriage, I’m pretty sure things are going to work out.
    A very provocative post!

  16. Hi Marcia,

    I honestly don’t know if I would leave, or if I could forgive and forget. I agree with Natalie, in that there are so many issues that have to be considered. When I was younger, I would have clearly said it would be over regardless of the why’s, but having built a life with someone now, I can’t say I’d throw it away so quickly.

    • Thanks for your input, Traci. I can understand that feeling. It’s also a scary thing to contemplate leaving and starting over on your own. You’d be grieving the loss of the relationship and struggling to be happy alone. Tough decision.

  17. This is a tough one. I’ve seen marriages fail after infidelity and I’ve seen marriages thrive. I don’t think there can be a one answer fits all. My knee jerk reaction is to kick the cheating SOB out. However, I’d like to think I’d be strong enough to explore the issue before taking such an action. The thing I see as the hardest to overcome is the trust issue. Once that has been damaged, for whatever reason, it’s hard if not impossible to get back.

    Interesting post Marcia!

    • Agreed on the knee-jerk reaction. I guess we would have to be completely honest with ourselves–Did we play a part in this? Can I trust him again? What would I expect of him if I were the one to cheat? No two situations are the same. Thanks, Raelyn!

  18. First not everyone cheats even if they are faced with all the problems you have listed. Quoting Tameri ” Whether or not I’d stay in the relationship is debatable.” I’d have to debate that also. How many times does a person have to forgive before their self esteem and confidence are completely destroyed by the spouse’s infidelity?

    • I agree with your point that not everyone cheats, no matter the personal issues. But if they do cheat, forgiveness is usually dependent on the reason for the cheating. Trust is compromised and it’s hard to rebuild that. Thanks for taking time to comment, Karen!

  19. Tough topic with no easy answer because I think there are so many issues that come into play.
    I found out year’s after my father’s death, that he had had multiple affairs on my mother. Some, one night stands. But one was a 2-year long affair with my aunt (his brother’s wife). My Mom found out when she was 7 months pregnant for me.
    I was stunned. I would have NEVER known or guessed it. Yes my parents had issues and arguments growing up but I was filled with a deep pride that they were VERY much inlove and committed to one another. They went to Marriage Encounter on a regular basis, held hands, kissed all the time, etc. They were, to me, the epitome of a healthy, loving marriage. How could he have cheated? How could she have forgiven him?
    The story is a long one but it boiled down to this. Mom said it was never an issue of love. He loved her. It was issues between the two of them and issues around masculinity for him. And when push came to shove, he ended the affairs and did absolutely anything and everything to work it out with my Mom – counselling, moving, dialoguing etc. They did it all and my father never once complained or avoided the work. Together, they healed and came through it to create something remarkable and beautiful. A marriage unlike anything I’ve ever seen…filled with communication, openness, love, respect, pride etc…it was a thing to behold!
    What it taught me…that nothing is ever black and white and that if two people are equally determined to do “whatever it takes” to work through something, they can! But each situation and circumstance is different – and each person is different.
    But can a relationship not just survive but thrive after an infidelity – I believe yes. Because I’ve seen it with my very own eyes.

    • Holy cow, Natalie! What a shock that must have been for you! And what a perfectly beautiful outcome of that story. One more reason to admire your mom and her clear-headed thinking. Obviously, in the end, she didn’t let hurt and jealousy get in the way of saving the relationship when she could see it could work. And kudos to your dad for doing the right thing for all concerned! I’m so happy for all of you that it turned out so well. Their story should be an inspiration for others! Thanks so much for sharing that.

  20. There’s no known cure for sex. Neither men nor women can afford to ignore it and hope it will just go away. Communication and compromise are the way forward. It’s a whole lot easier to do before rather than after infidelity. My advice: start NOW!

    • I totally agree, Rob. If you can’t talk to each other about your issues and come to an understanding, the relationship will always have problems. There should be great communication even before marriage to eliminate possible pitfalls. Thanks, Rob!

  21. Wow! Great question… As a strong, smart woman I definitely would take a look at both me & my spouse for the reasons why he cheated. Whether or not I’d stay in the relationship is debatable. It’s easier for me to forgive than forget. I might be a pretty confidant woman, but the image of my guy with another woman would be hard to ignore.

    Thank the stars I’m married to an awesome guy who adores me. I’ll never have to be in any of those situations, nor will he because he’s the only man I need in my life.

    • I don’t know if I could carry on either, Tameri. Trust is huge with me. But if he cheated because of my behavior and miscommunications, I would work at it to fix things, never forgetting but maybe closing the door on it. It would be impossible to wipe the image of him with someone else out of my mind, though. Don’t think I’ll ever have to find out how I’d really handle it and thankfully neither will you! I’m so happy for your amazing marriage! Cheers to you two!

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