Can You Really Recover From A Cheating Partner?

Can You Really Recover From Cheating Partner

There aren’t real strong numbers on what percentage of marriages are affected by infidelity. In the past, I’ve heard numbers from 20-30%. Other unverifiable internet research pegs the number closer to 50%. I think that’s on the high end and is often cited by people who don’t believe in happy marriages, but that’s neither here nor there.

No matter how you slice it, a LOT of people cheat on their spouses. The question is whether infidelity should immediately signify the end of a relationship. I suspect many readers will reflexively think it does. I, on the other hand, do not. Neither does relationship therapist Molly O’Shea, recently cited in the NY Times.

O’Shea specializes in this sort of marriage counseling, which routinely takes a year or more of effort. In order to put the relationship back together, O’Shea cites a couple things which I think are worth sharing:

1. “She asks the person cheated on what it would take to regain trust and what the cheating spouse can do to prove the affair was a mistake. “Usually the person who has been cheated on says, ‘I don’t know what I need’ and ‘nothing is going to help,’ ” Ms. O’Shea said. “They’re just so angry.”

Because of this anger and mistrust, suspicion continues to linger way beyond the initial incident, including becoming upset each time the unfaithful spouse doesn’t answer the phone.

2. “People who have cheated need to affirm their partner’s feelings, sympathize and put up with a lot of justifiable anger.”

No matter how you slice it, a LOT of people cheat on their spouses. The question is whether infidelity should immediately signify the end of a relationship.

That’s not just about cheating. That’s Relationships 101. When my wife gets annoyed that I forgot to throw out the garbage, I can’t tell her to shut up because she’s being ridiculous. Literally the only thing I can do – the only constructive thing I can do – is to OWN my mistake, take the heat, and vow to do better the next time around.

We all put up with a lot of bullshit in relationships. The best couples are the ones who OWN their behavior. Women can put up with an occasionally selfish guy if he admits it and tries to work on it. Men can put up with a little crazy emotional behavior from a woman, as long as she calms down fast and admits she flew off the handle. What no one can deal with is the crazy person who insists she’s being sane – or the cheater who blames his wife for his cheating.

That’s no way to heal things – even according to the couples therapist. Concludes the NYT piece, “While intense therapy may help rebuild the relationship, rarely do couples regain complete trust. “You forgive, but you don’t forget,” says Ms. O’Shea.

Would you be able to forgive a partner who cheated? Or would you end the relationship on the spot? I think there’s a huge difference between, “I got drunk on a business trip and it happened and I’m horrified and I’ll never do it again” vs. “I’ve been having a two-year relationship with someone else and I think I’m in love with her.” The former can be saved if both parties want it. The latter is a systematic, long-term lie, which means you’re married to a systematic long-term liar.

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  1. 1

    Cheating is abuse.  Would you recommend that your mom/brother/friend/whomever return to there abuser?  Nope.
    Marriage is forsaking all others.  If your spouse breaks that vow, the marriage is over and you should file for divorce ASAP – regardless of children or years of marriage – yes, I’ve been there.

    1. 1.1

      I’ve been there too.
      There is Nothing, I repeat NOTHING which can return back the the way you admired, loved, trusted your spouse.
      The only thing you can do is divorce his/her ass. The faster – the better.
      After months/years your dignity will return and you will be able to find someone who really deserves you, someone who you can love with all your heart as you did before you being cheated on.

      1. 1.1.1

        In certain situations things can be forgiven and salvaged. But a serial cheater probably not.

    2. 1.2

      Does it get easier? Sorry for asking but I don’t know what to do.

  2. 2

    In married couples I’ve known, cheating is usually followed by divorce.  Is it the cheating that actually leads to the divorce or is cheating simply the death knell: announcing that one of the partners just cannot be bothered to work on their marriage any more?  Never having been married, I honestly don’t know.
    I’ve seen one commonality in the married couples who weathered divorce.  That is, the person who was cheated upon has some compassion for the cheating spouse.   As tough as it might be to fathom, the “victim” sees/ comes to see that the cheater is human and capable of making mistakes; that there were probably already cracks in the marriage that allowed cheating to happen; that the cheater is in a lot of pain; etc.  One friend confided in me that her husband’s stalled career had made him feel like less of a man as her career flourished; while she thought it was pathetic that he tried to regain his sense of “maleness” by screwing his secretary, she also truly felt sad that he’d had such low self-esteem.
    I’m not sure I’d be able to/ want to forgive a cheating husband.  It would absolutely depend on his level of contrition, the circumstances (eg. a drunken one-night stand vs. a 2-year love affair) and ease of exit (do we have children together?  how much would I lose, financially, in a divorce? etc).
    There are so many ways to break trust within a marriage.  Gross financial irresponsibility.  Addiction.  Emotional infidelity.  Maybe the way to make a partnership last is to admit from the outset that we are vulnerable and that there is no such thing as a partner who’ll never let us down.  From there, we can each decide on which disappointments we’re able to weather, and which would mark the end of the union.

  3. 3

    Walt, I can see the underlying pain in your post.  It’s legitimate to *feel* that way.  Responding may be a different story.  I agree with how Evan categorized the cheating. If it was some drunken act of foolishness, there maybe something that can be salvaged. If it’s a history of repeated behavior in the marriage then that would be

  4. 4

    Walt, I can see the underlying pain in your post.  It’s legitimate to *feel* that way.  Responding may be a different story.  I agree with how Evan categorized the cheating. If it was some drunken act of foolishness, there maybe something that can be salvaged. If it’s a history of repeated behavior in the marriage then that would be (sorry stupid *smartphone *) a reason to end it. If your spouse is truly sorry and remoresful, than perhaps this is where grace and forgiveness are needed. It calls for swallowing some pride. I am probably the only poster here who enjoys Focus On The Family, but they help repair marriages that on the surface appear broken beyond repair. I don’t think anyone would advocate staying in a marriage where there is abuse or constant infidelity.  If you don’t want to apply a religious view to it, then use situational ethics. Life is messy and imperfect and people fail, including those we love.  We are not being made a fool if we forgive a truly repentant spouse and restore relationship.  It might just help the grow and flourish in other ways and we would want forgiveness and grace extended to us if we made a mistake. 

  5. 5

    Many years ago, I’ve been lucky(?) to have front-row seats to a long-term affair where several people were involved, one of them my close friend at the time (as in, John sleeps with Jane, then Jane leaves John for Fred, all three of them are married and have kids, and all three work in the same office. Ahh, the nineties.) Evan is right, it is not the physical act of infidelity that is the worst about this type of affairs – it is the long-term, systematic lying and hiding. You have to have alibis for everything you do on any given day; you have to keep all your stories straight; and you have to keep this going for years without slipping up and accidentally revealing the truth once. It takes a special kind of mindset to carry on such an affair long-term. And, frankly, I would only trust a person who has this mindset, as far as I can throw him. I definitely wouldn’t want someone I cannot trust, as my life partner, regardless of the ease of exit. Who knows what he’ll do behind my back next, clean out my bank accounts, take my name off the house? he’s already proven he’s capable of anything.

  6. 6

    Please, there are some things that just aren’t acceptable and cheating is on the list.  Sex doesn’t just happen like you tripped and fell.  It’s a conscious choice to start the process, engage and finish regardless if you had too much to drink. If someone is willing to risk their marriage, family, finances then they deserve divorce.  

    1. 6.1

      I knew a friend who had a affair for several months, he told his wife everything she took him back, he only went back for their 3 kids, but he thinks it will work out?

  7. 7

    If we can not fathom the possiblity of forgiving cheating and the process of having to rebuild trust, I think we should not get married. In a lifetime, It’s pretty sure that we’ll disappoint our spouse and make mistakes. Hopefully the mistakes will not damage trust as badly (and often as permanently) as cheating does, but going into marriage without the willingness to at least try to forgive is a recipe for disaster.
    I agree with Evan that it depends on what happened. Cheating seems to always a symptom of something bigger that needs to be addressed and processed. If there is no willingness from the cheater to make ammend and repair trust, it’s indeed over. If the cheating becomes chronic or is a step towards finding another partner, then it’s also over. But if it’s a symptom of dissatisfaction with the self or the relationship, there might be ways to rebuild a better marriage and repair trust. Both parties have to be willing to go through a lot of pain though.
    As I prepared myself for marriage, I made myself mentally prepared to try to forgive cheating, but I honestly do not know how I would find the energy to go through the devastation, the painful work if both want to do it, and then the fear of trusting again. Running away would sure feel easier…
    But I would not have said “I do” if I was not certain that I would be willing to forgive my husband’s mistakes. In our very short marriage so far, I’ve already had to go there for a much less critical mistake he made, but one that still left me terribly disappointed and in pain. These difficult events and feelings are also part of a marriage. As Karl R wrote one time and it stuck to me: “If you do not want to experience pain, it’s the best to avoid relationships”.

  8. 8

    Work needs to be done on the underlying cause if there is something better and healthier to be created.
    Both people need to do the work on themselves and either create a new relationship with each other. This will be a lot of work.
    Or to then be able to be in a healthy loving cheat proof relationship with someone else.
    If they do not do the work, the cheater will cheat again in this realtionship if they stay together or in the future relationships.
    And the person who was cheated on will be cheated on again with either this man or another.
    If someone has cheated, they have failed to create a healthy funcional emotional bond with each other, if they had this the relationship would be cheat proof.
    If the person cheats on because of one night drunken stand.
    With a prostitute.
    Or where they have fallen for someone else.  The problem is still the same they did not create a healthy emotional and connected bond with each other. Their relationship is based on dysfucntion.

  9. 9

    going on stories I have heard, couples cheat with their former husband/wife…they say they will always love them, they fathered/mothered their children…

  10. 10

    Cheating is a sign that the cheating partner is lacking some very important aspect of the relationship and is seeking to satisfy an important personal need (sex and/or ego stroking and/or fun or whatever) somewhere else.
    The interesting thing about needs is that they are usually very loud, and they need to be either satisfied or treated (as in therapy) in order to shut up.
    My husband is an amazing father, and as long as he continues to be,  I am pretty sure that I would forgive and forget if he cheated on me, for the sake of the children.  That being said, I know what his needs are and I do everything to make him happy, so he would not need to seek sex and/or love or adventure with another woman.  I am consciously aware that how I look, what I do, my willingness to indulge him, my affection and my ability to be a good mother are all very important to him, and I try to be the best for him.  That being said, I know I am not everything for him – he has other needs like to spend time with his buddies, play sports that I do no not care to participate in etc, and I try to give him all the freedom he needs so that he would not feel anything missing.

    1. 10.1

      I disagree with this. My husband cheated. I always did everything I could to look my best and satisfy his needs. He became extremely depressed over his job and nothing I did would have kept him from making the choice he did. It’s not my fault he looked for comfort outside our marriage. I offered him comfort. He decided it wasn’t enough and went outside our marriage. I am now trying to deal with that. I don’t think I want a divorce however the pain is unbearable. 

      1. 10.1.1

        I’m in the same situation, only Ad much as I would like to think my husband is genuine in his remorse and I would like to take him back, I cant. I cannot get past the hurt and betrayal of trust….it is killing me. From the moment I wake up until I go to bed….the stress of it all hit me so bad I had a heart attack a month ago ( I found out 3 months ago). The pain is unbearable but the thought of being cheated in again by him or leaving myself open to it are what’s stopping me from letting him come home. I know each persons situation is different, but I’m sure all of us who have been cheated on experience the same pain and emotional turmoil…..what I really need help with is getting through this…..and knowing what to do for the best…

        1. Jana

          Anita and Shaley,
          I am going through the same exact painful situation.  On Dec 26, I found out my husband of 14 years had a 9 month affair while deployed. I’ve never experienced pain like this.  Although it’s been almost 3 months, I can say that I feel a little better today than I did a month ago so…yes the pain will lessen.  And for those that have said “oh, I would leave my spouse right away if s/he cheated”, I’m almost certain that you would feel differently if it happened to you.  I was one of those people who said that exact quote; however, now that it has happened I am very hurt and confused, but have not left him.  What I’ve learned is that if one chooses to leave or stay, the fact still remains that there was infidelity and that you have to grieve the pain whether you stay or leave…the pain is the same. I am choosing to stay partly to work through my pain and get to the bottom of his infidelity. If I leave, I feel as there will be a lot of unanswered questions that may drive me crazy for the rest of my life.  Reading this blog and the comments have given me some perspective though.

  11. 11

    Though some men (and women) have needs that their spouse cannot meet (eg simple variety or a a lover of the same/opposite sex).  I do believe (but can’t prove it) that many cheaters are getting perfectly fine love, care and sex at home.

  12. 12

    ….You sound like an exceptional wife…

  13. 13

    I agree with you, most women, will never match up to the average man’s sexual appetite…..not without trying……

    1. 13.1

      Most woman still have to juggle a job, maintaining a home, kids, etc. A wife is absolutely right to be attentive to her husband’s needs, but she can only do so much.  I’m sure there are many wonderful husbands who benefit from helping out their wives and taking some pressure off of her so she can be more attentive to him.  

  14. 14

    It’s really hard for me to say. I have always been an exceptionally trusting partner, I never even consider infidelity. I think that break of my trust would hurt even more than the physical act. Of course if my husband were having a full relationship with another woman it would be hard for me to imagine anything but divorce, likewise he’s slept with multiple women. However, something that happened once or twice might merit trying to work on it.

    1. 14.1

      I’m the same, I have always had complete trust in my husband, despite him giving me a lot of grief over the years with drinking too much, he never cheated on me until 4 months ago…after 23yrs of ups and downs….and it has completely broken me..a few weeks fling with a work colleague….then just phone contact with her for several months…and then he told me because the guilt got too much….he is so remorseful, but the betrayal I feel is gut wrenching…..its physical pain every day and I don’t think I will ever get over it….and I will certainly never place my complete trust in any man again…

  15. 15

    please do not think that I want to defend cheaters; I do believe that the constructive behavior would be, when your needs are not met, to speak with your partner, discuss and either find a common acceptable solution, or exit the relationship.  But people are not always rational, and are sometimes confused with regards to their needs, and what is good for them in the short and in the long term (which might be two different things). Irrational behaviors (like smoking to give another exaple) might be harmful and addictive and very difficult to give up.
    I know a few people who cheated on their spouses, and each of them has given a reason that they were missing something at home.  It might be a justification… but knowing whether your needs are met or not is a very personal thing – who else but you personally could know whether you are getting “perfectly fine love, care and sex”. There is no commons standard, nor an objective measure.

  16. 16

    @Kiki #10: Great comment and I agree with you. You must be an amazing wife. There will never be any garantee but approaching marriage the way you do is to my opinion the best cheat-proof strategy, and most importantly the best way to truly love a spouse and honor the marriage vows.
    In addition to saying “I love you’s” I find beneficial to also ask one’s partner “Do you feel loved?” or “How can I make you feel more loved?” once in a while. It can open up discussions on how to best fulfill one another’s needs and reaffirm that love is something we do for someone else.

  17. 17

    Cheating, in the end, is the individual’s decision to sacrifice their honor and integrity for sex outside of their marriage.  Honor and integrity are not situational attributes.  You’re either honorable, or you’re not.  Trying to have a marriage with someone who isn’t honorable is impossible.  You cannot believe one word that they say.  It’s great that they’re “sorry,” but it’s mostly they’re sorry for getting caught.

  18. 18

    Henriette says :
    In married couples I’ve known, cheating is usually followed by divorce.  Is it the cheating that actually leads to the divorce or is cheating simply the death knell ?
    Generally, cheating is a symptom of things not going well in a marriage, rather than a cause of it. Cheating is only a source of marital problems when one partner is a sex fiend and they are usually easy to spot before the marriage contract is signed.
    For most “normal” couples, cheating occurs when one or both parties is not getting what they want or need from the marriage, and communication is really bad between the parties, leading to anger, resentment, enstrangement and eventually, infidelity.
    Whether the marriage may be saved depends on how much the relationship has deteriorated. Usually by the time infidelity occurs, it is too late – the problems are too far gone and the anger and resentment too deeply entrenched.

    1. 18.1

      I think you have hit the nail on the head for me….i want to copy and paste your comment to my husband….it will explain things to him a lot better than I can ad I am still too hurt and too angry….but I think I know now what I have always known since I found out, but didn’t want to admit it….we are dead and buried. Its hard saying that, and will be even harder to accept, but thankyou fir helping me see the light at the end of the tunnel…

  19. 19
    The InBetweener

    Is it better to take a “what’s good for the goose, is good for the gander” type of approach?  Kind of even things out, see how the other party likes it?  Hmm, I wonder…
    Should marriage not be a 50/50 (dare I say “fair”) relationship?  I have a friend that cheated on his now ex-wife for the entire time they were together (they were together for 14, married for 5).  She finally found out after he gave her “the gift that keeps on giving” (if you know what I’m saying).  They had no children so it was a (not really!) clean break.  
    It’s easy to SAY “focus on the family” but difficult to do if “the family” is not really focused on you.  
    Maybe infidelity IS that red line that once crossed, should not be revisited, lest you wind up paying for it…with your life even if it was not your fault.  
    Remember, cheating may put BOTH of your lives at risk, in more ways than one. All it takes is 1 time.

  20. 20

    In a Dan Savage podcast, he discussed some of the findings of noted marriage psychologist (and mom of NPR’s Ira) Shirley Glass.  Both Dr. Glass and he have noted that some men in very happy marriages can cheat simply bc the opportunity arises and men have an innate desire for variety.  She theorized that marriages can in fact be further hurt when a couples’ counsellor tries to dig with the husband & wife for possible flaws within the marriage that could have caused the cheating, where there are none; the husband merely gave into the temptation to indulge in variety.  If the husband tries to come up with a list of what’s missing in the marriage that made him want to stray, he’ll probably end up giving reasons that aren’t truly the cause, adding further toxic elements to the marriage.
    So it seems, sadly, that even women who think they can somehow “cheat-proof” their marriage by being wonderful companions are unable to give their husbands what they really require to remain faithful: 1.  endless variety or 2. the strength of character to refuse to cheat every single time the opportunity arises.
    I also thought it was interesting that Dr. Glass believes that cheating isn’t so much about the sexual act as it is that you’re confiding in someone besides your spouse.  The real part of cheating that rips people apart is that you trust someone else with the truth about you more than the person you’re supposed to be closest to.   Food for thought.

  21. 21

    @ Henriette,
    I always like your posts, their are both interesting and kind to the other bloggers.
    I have not read the book you are quoting and it is probably well supported by the author’s credentials. in my own very limited knowledge of cheating people no one ever said they were perfectly happy – quite on the contrary cheating was more often a form of passive agressive responce to feeling wronged or hurt in the original relationship. 
    I also suspect it is impossible to cheat proof and, as i said earlier, i already know what i would do if it happens – most probably forgive. What i care about is the quality of the relationship   – i want to make him happy because i have noticed that when he is happy he tries harder to make me happy. 
    Please note that i chose to marry a man who is shy and introvert. He is very family minded and not a flirt – so I speak from a safer place. He keeps saying that he would have never married anyone else but me… Might not be factually correct but still very pleasant to hear :-)

  22. 22

    Possible yes. Probable no. It is all about making your own grass green and finding contentment in what you have. 
    So many are looming elsewhere for the next thrill.

  23. 23

    @kiki – thank you.  And, I’m sorry if it seemed as though I was addressing you or your marriage!    I simply wanted to share this podcast I’d heard since it had chilled me to the bone ~ this belief that both the host (Dan Savage) and pyschologist/marriage counsellor had ~ that men’s desire for variety is so strong that some even happily-married men might cheat if given the opportunity (they seemed to agree that women don’t cheat if happy… go figure)  I don’t know if I believe it or not but these are two experts who I respect and I wanted others here to know and ponder the theory.  It was not addressed to anyone in particular.
    Like you, I know couples who’ve cheated and in all cases there was some issue that seemed to be nagging at the couple.  However, even happily-married couples don’t appear to be issue-free and now I wonder if sometimes the opportunity/moment of weakness comes first and the reason/justification comes second. 

  24. 24

    For me, there’s a bigger problem than just the incident of the cheating.
    For me, it’s the feelings (or lack of feelings) that led him to contemplate cheating in the first place.  When I truly love my partner, there’s no way I could cheat.  I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to.  I may find others occasionally attractive, but he is the only one I want.  That is how I want my man to feel about me.
    I don’t know whether I’d be able to move on from it in the relationship because it’s never happened to me, but I doubt it.  At the very least I’d want a separation and for him to prove he’s willing to put in the effort to win back my trust and fix things.

  25. 25

    no offence at all, I both like your comments and writing style, and I am grateful that you bring up topics which are interesting and relevant to me.
    What I wanted to say is that, based on my experience and observations,  I doubt the ideas that (1) even happily married men would cheat if given an opportunity, (2) whereas women would not.  I think both men and women like variety, and, as a generalization, both men and women might get bored and feel tempted, but unless you are missing out on something important (i.e. you have an important need unsatisfied) such temptations are reasonably easy to resist. 
    The second part of your original post was also very interesting. I have been thinking on this topic, and, as Evan said in the original post, it is one thing if someone gets drunk on a business trip and gets tempted, and quite another if he has been harboring a relationship in which his lover became his confidant and soul mate… I would be very upset if I discover a full blown love affair – it would mean that all my efforts to be “a good companion” failed so miserably.  I would compare this to discovering that your husband was gay, all along, if you would allow me to hyperbolize.
    To give you some background, my best friend’s husband left her and divorced her because of a much younger woman (but continued being extremely involved with their two kids). They were divorced for less than two year, and then they reconnected and actually remarried this summer. My friend is of course the closest living version of a saint that I know, as she never even questioned him what happened with the other woman… She says she is very happy that they are back together, and the kids are happy, and he seems happy. So, back to the original question – can you recover from a cheating partner – definetely yes when you have a higher goad (your kids’ wellbeing) and a parner who equally values this goal.

  26. 26
    Karmic Equation

    I just went on my first date with a man who’s wife cheated on him. He forgave her the first time. Three years later, she cheated again. Once a cheater, always a cheater doesn’t only apply to men. But it’s not only women who can forgive. He seems amazingly unbitter, though. In fact, I really liked the fact that after his divorce he chose to abstain from dating because he didn’t want to inadvertently hurt other women while he was going through his healing process.

    Now this is the funny part (or maybe not so funny part)…

    I started to wonder, so what was WRONG with HIM that his wife cheated on him? He’s 6’1″, good looking (younger looking than his 48), fit, has his own hair and teeth, a good job, his own house, good conversationalist. Is he abusive behind closed doors? Is he boring? Is he controlling?

    That’s when I stopped and realized…Hmmm…I automatically take the woman’s side when a man cheats. But when a man cheats on a woman, we don’t question what was wrong with the woman, but rather what’s wrong with the man.

    I think I’m one of the few women on this board who don’t tow the “men are at fault” line. Yet, I’m aware I automatically take the woman’s position in matters of cheating. I wonder if that’s genetics? Or evolution biology?

    It’s been studied that women are more attracted to men who are in relationships, because the other woman’s pre-qualified him as relationship-worthy (hence women who’ll probably date MARRIED men, but not single men with options) — So it logically follows that if a woman cheats on a man, that we might believe that there’s something with the man. Because she’s telling us that with her cheating.

    Another interesting tidbit I read somewhere is that while women might forgive *physical* infidelity, it’s harder for them to forgive *emotional* infidelity. She can forgive a man for fucking another woman (drunken incident), but not falling in love with her, which is what long-affairs usually signify. And the opposite is true for men, they can forgive emotional infidelity more than physical infidelity.

    So interesting…

    Back to OP. One of my bf’s brothers cheated on his wife. But she was a real biatch. He was a really nice guy, except for the cheating, of course. The ex-wife uses their kids as pawns and also speaks badly of him to the kids. He doesn’t say a bad word about her to the children. Cheating is never right in my book. He should have had the guts to divorce her instead of cheating. He married the woman he cheated with.

    I think a lot of people cheat because cheating is an easy way to get out of an unwanted relationship. The cheater gets to set up his next relationship and when he wants to truly end it with the current partner, he just gets sloppy with the cheating and she dumps him. Dumping a man after he cheats is too easy and you’re giving him what he wants. Keep him and make him pay.

    I’m being facetious, but, you know, if you’re out for revenge, making him stay is better. He doesn’t get what he wants. And you totally piss off the other woman.

    Just for the record, I haven’t been cheated on (that I know of) … so am not venting in any way. Just some observations and a train of thought.

  27. 27

    Karmic, from what I have read about why women cheat that, the number one reason is lack of emotional intimacy.
    There was a problem with the energy exhange and how they related to each other, so unless thy both did the work and changef that of course she would cheat again.
    And if they have not done the work since she will cheat on the next man and he will get cheated on again. Until each person individually does the work on themselves this will be repeated with diferent people. They both have to take a look in the mirror and change themselves, not try and change other people.

  28. 28

    @Karmic 26
    I automatically take the woman’s side when a man cheats. But when a [wo]man cheats on a woman, we don’t question what was wrong with the woman, but rather what’s wrong with the man. . .. I wonder if that’s genetics? Or evolution biology?
    [I am assuming you mixed the genders in that second sentence].
    You are overthinking this, Karmic. As a woman, you identify with the woman. You project her situation onto yourself.  If you were cheated on, it would hurt, so you blame the man. If you cheated on a man, it would only be for a good reason so again you blame the man. Evolution?  It is simple empathy and identifying more easily with women than men.

  29. 29
    Sparkling Emerald

    @ KE – I think I’m one of the few women on this board who don’t tow the “men are at fault” line. Yet, I’m aware I automatically take the woman’s position in matters of cheating. I wonder if that’s genetics? Or evolution biology?
    I am surprised, you strike me as very male identified, and seem to tow the “women are at fault” line. You almost seem like one of the guys to me.  Perhaps your competitive nature ?
    I tend to think there are THREE sides to every story, his side, her side and the truth.  None of us really ever knows the whole story (but that doesn’t stop us from speculating now does it :) )   I tend to think that the CHEATER is at fault regardless of gender, and so is the mistress or guy on the side (unless they honestly didn’t know that the person they were fooling around with, was married/in a committed relationship)  If the relationship is so bad as to cause one to cheat; fix it, or get out !   Of course, not knowing everyone’s story, I’m sure eventually someone could present a circumstance, where someone cheats rather than leaves, that I could understand.  But in most cases, I side with the cheated upon person, not the cheater, and not the affair partner !

  30. 30

    Why would anyone want to save a relationship where two people were not in loving healthy relationship. where there was no real intimacy and the couple were not relating to each other in loving  healthy ways  being committed to resolving  any conflict?
    What is the purpose of resolving that?
    If both people want to get help in learning how to relate in a honest and authentic loving way and learn conflict resolution, then a new relationship and real love and real intimacy has a chance of developing.
    The old relationship, is based on fear of real intimacy,’ deception, lies, pain, power and control is already dead, there is nothing to save.
    Both people have to want to focus on changing themselves, their part in the energy exchange and not changing the other peson. Getting help over their fear of intimacy and how they relate if they want a chance of having a healthy loving relationship with anyone.
    Someone who chooses to get drunk has problems and is not capable o a responsible healthy loving adult relationship.  Having a drink is not a problem. Choosing to get drunk is. Having drunken sex is highly irrisponsible.
    Wanting and chosing to be in a relationship with someone who does does the above is chosing to want to be in a dysfuctional relationship with someone who is not able. That makes you damaged and dysfuctional too.
    I expect a lotsome people will not want to hear this and I will get backlash. People are free to rant, rave and disgaree all they like. None of that will change the truth.

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