Can You Really Recover From A Cheating Partner?

Suffering from love

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.

        1. Suzanne

          What is a serial cheater?

      2. 1.1.2

        I one hundred percent agree with his. Nothing will bring back the trust or love. I divorced my cheating husband of 20 years. Best decision I ever made. Once someone goes outside the marriage to fu d “happiness and freedom “ITS   OVER . Period.

      3. 1.1.3

        I’ve been through this, and I agree 100%. When you realize that you do NOT have to accept abuse into your life and you walk away, that’s when you find your true, inner strength. It took me a while to realize that cheating is truly not a “mistake,” but rather a deliberate and extremely hurtful choice. Why extend trust, respect, faithfulness – major tenets of love – to someone who did not do the same for you? I have major respect for people who call a spade a spade and choose to take back their lives!

    2. 1.2

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

      1. 1.2.1

        Its not. Me too having this kind of situation.   It hard for me because my heart   already let him go slowly. Im broken to know that he cheated on me.

      2. 1.2.2

        it does…but you have to know that they are 100%…no 110% committed, because if there is mistrust (which is still present well over a year later) there will always be doubt.   The one who was cheated on…will have anger issues long long long past the incident(s).

        It will be a work in progress for a very long time.   But a wise woman once said to me, “You have a decision to make.   End it now, and be done with it, or commit to working it out.   If you commit to working it out, you MUST not dwell on the mistake, MUST not mention it, MUST keep your mouth shut.   If you constantly remind them of the mistake…they will give up knowing that there IS nothing they can do.   I can’t say it’s easy, and there won’t be many many meltdowns, but everyone must OWN their behavior.   The cheater must OWN what they did, and be freely trying to make amends (doing backflips) and the cheated needs to OWN their anger and get it in check quickly and apologize for outbursts…

        1. Christopher kleczka

          I would have to say I agree with that wise person because I resale a very wise woman telling me the same thing almost word for word…I needed to read that and remind myself that though this won’t be easy it was my choice to stay with her….and we were both cheating…I just happened to be the one to catch her red handed…but I needed to hear what you wrote because we are both broken…and she is just as hurt as I am and yet still willing to fight for me so I need to keep reminding myself that we are both hurt and we both made the decision to stay…I don’t know what the future holds but I do know that this will only work if we both truly love each other unconditionally….and if we do than we will learn to turn our mistrust and anger and all other fears into positives by keeping in mind that we both are broken inside and we didn’t both chops to stay to tear each other appear but to heal and learn from our mistakes and to learn how to truly and correctly protect the one we love

    3. 1.3

      Cheaters never value relationship. they dont know the meaning of marriage. I know how it feels when u r cheated.

    4. 1.4

      I’m sorry Walt, im going through that now, and I have a 5month old I just had with this guy. Im so lost

      1. 1.4.1

        We had a kid very early in relationship, I asked him if he wants to stay with me and raise the child because there was no way I would have given her up (she is 1.5 years old now and she’s my sunshine). He said yes. I believed him. I fell in love with him and believed every word he said, despite all the red flags around me. I chose to be stay at home mom for a year. He was working and traveling a lot. I believed him no matter what, I trusted him. Apparently he was flirting with every woman that came his way, he was getting numbers, sexting, asking his exes out on dates… And I was home, raising our little girl. Not to mention that he was a drug addict. Ha. I must be stupid! I found out everything about him, evidence just started falling onto my lap without asking. He got too comfortable.

        He claims he never did any physical with another woman, which I doubt very much but I can’t prove that. Still, I found multiple e-mails and messages throughout all the social media chats with sooo many women… I mean, wow, so many!

        He wants to work it out. He really seems to want to raise our daughter together, but what he’s done, throughout our entire beginning of relationship. 2 years together, 2 years of constant womanizing, non-stop, he didn’t even take a break. Jeez. And now he’s promising it will never happen again? Come on.

        I just need to fight my fear and move on with my little girl.

    5. 1.5

      I agree cheating is abuse. I stayed with my ex for three years after his first affair and I feel like it just left more wounds in me than if I would have left right away.

      If the person is really seriously remorseful and wants to work with you to make the marriage stronger, a relationship might be salvageable, but it will hurt for a long time. The belief that your spouse will always be there for you is shattered.

      I will state that believing you had a “role to play” in the affair is far different from realizing that everyone, including you AND your unfaithful spouse, has room for self improvement. I read something in an article written by a volunteer firefighter who said “she may have had an affair but I had an affair with the firehouse.”

      The real truth is he did not have an affair with the firehouse because firehouses don’t have vaginas. It’s not even close to the same thing.   Could he have paid more attention to his wife? Probably, but many other women have had busy husbands and still chose not to have an affair. Did his wife make mistakes in the marriage too? Most likely yes! Could she have found another way to solve this or feel better about herself that didn’t involve spreading her legs and almost breaking apart her family. Very likely! But, her husband has to eat the old proverbial shit sandwich so he feels like it will keep her from having another affair if he’s a good enough husband. It’s very scary to realize you have no control over another person’s behavior while simultaneously being vulnerable to that person. Hopefully, they will have a happy story, but, if they do, it is only because she decided that she wanted to stop cheating.

      If someone really wants to cheat, they can find reasons to blame you no matter what you do and you would be better off finding someone new to bless with your best self. You know, someone who will actually lift a finger and work   on becoming their best self for you instead of repeatedly cheating and blaming you for never being good enough.

    6. 1.6
      Kaya 51

      I absolutely agree with you. Cheating on your spouse is abuse. When I found out my husband (now ex) was having an affair with his cop cobworker , he got angry , he blamed me and eventually left myself and our son. Yes, I was devastated. I was angry, sad, disappointed, depressed etc.   for a few months I was a complete mess, I was “grieving ” my marriage, my life, my security. Until I woke up one day and said to myself. “That’s it, I am done “. The same day I hired an awesome attorney , went no contact with my husband. And filed for divorce. I had it. I wanted my life back , my sanity , my happiness and my peace. Best decision I ever made. I spent almost 15000$ but so well worth it. I won big time in divorce court.his little minions/whores at work can have him. Please I don’t want a liar or cheater. My new free life is wonderful. Also I showed my son that it is not ok to treat people like this and get away with it. He grew up to be the best son he could ever be. Even without the so called “father “. A good father would never cheat on his children’s mother. Period.

      1. 1.6.1

        Before he cheated on you, did he lost your trust?

      2. 1.6.2

        I have major respect for you. What you did is incredibly difficult, but you found your inner phoenix!

    7. 1.7

      I agree. People take cheating so lightly.   Every person has a choice, so even being drunk is not an excuse. You choose to drink you choose to put yourself in situations with temptation, you choose to forget about your spouse. Cheating is painful,frightening and humiliating for the spouse cheated on. It is a   inconsiderate,conscious   and abusive choice.

  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.

    1. 2.1

      Very well stated my wife had a one niggt stand with someone she knew from a past job we had been haveing problems he started messaging her on facebook and well they met up.   She confessed the next day   i chose to stay because of how hurt and terrified she was by wht she did.   Crazy i know.   But trust will take a long time to recover….

      1. 2.1.1

        same here…it really depends on the reason for the cheating…if they are just addicted to sex than it’s a failed marriage.   But if there are underlying issues that lead the cheater to seek affection elsewhere…there may be hope.

        For instance, we were married for 12 years with two kids.   We became more like roommates than lovers/spouses.   He worked a high stress job and is constantly getting pressure from the higher ups and I was a stay at home mom.   There was resentment.   Even though he made enough for me to stay home he was “jealous,” in a way, and had some unrealistic goals for me to accomplish at home.   He was a neat freak and I did all the yardwork so the inside of the house wasn’t neat (but it was clean and pretty organized.)   Years of him coming home and complaining took it’s toll.   I resented him.   Thus the visious cycle…how can he expect intimacy when he just put me down an hour before about the dust bunnies?

        Men need to feel appreciated and loved…sorry, but they NEED it.   I stopped showing my gratitude because he’s greet me with an insult about the house.   After afew years of this…he connected with a co-worker who was in the same boat.   They began to share, to confide and that’s where the relationship built.   It was no one night stand…they built an emotional bond…she also had kids!

        Of course I called her out on her shit, told her I’d call her husband (I never did because I didn’t want my hubby to lose his job which I depended upon.)   But I kept a close eye on them…thank god she lived far far away!

        I kicked him out because I was becoming abusive (verbally and physically) and said it’s not good for the kids.   He left (that was hard getting him out of the house!)   But in being away from us and our cozy home…was a reality check.   He lost weight, had heart palpataions and was desperate to come back…it was what he needed to focus on what he wanted…REALLY WANTED.   a year and a half later it’s still a work in progress but we are stronger than before the marriage.   He realized how much he NEEDED/WANTED me and how powerful I truly was.

    2. 2.2

      Another important ingredient is that the cheater doesn’t take advantage of the cheated upon’s compassion. I had a lot of compassion for my ex the first time he cheated. I finally realized compassion alone wasn’t going to save the marriage when he cheated more. I divorced and gained some compassion for myself.

  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.  

    1. 4.1

      I agree with what you said. Im a religious type and I value marriage as something sacred. I have undergone a lot of pain because of my spouse’s continuous infidelity. To this day, as what Ive understood based on his behavior, he could care less with what I have to say. Our marriage seems irreparable. So for my   own good, Im finally letting go.

      1. 4.1.1

        I am religious too. That’s part of why I gave my ex-spouse another chance. He didn’t think we needed to go to counseling. He thought we could work this out ourselves. He stayed on the website that he used to find affair partners just to keep in “touch with friends” I thought the problem was that I wasn’t giving him enough sex (He got it several times a week but complained he needed more), so I gave him more sex. Then I caught him again having a long term affair several years later. This time I was no fun, boring, not normal etc. I finally divorced him.

        I honestly do not believe that we are required by religion to reconcile after adultery even if the unfaithful spouse is truly repentent (Matthew 5:32). They broke the sacred convenant by not forsaking all others and now we are permitted to leave. We are also permitted to chose to stay if we want. If someone wants to stay with a spouse that shows remorse with actions, then that is their choice. If they feel good about the choice to stay then I am happy for them. I truly believe God leaves the choice up to us. I believe filing for divorce due to infidelity also makes the faithful spouse eligible for remarriage without sin. I know catholics disagree with that, however; there is the potential for catholic annulment, which would also make remarriage okay.

        In a way, divorcing someone who could care less about forsaking all others shows that you still value marriage as something sacred. Because you believe marriage is sacred, you know that it is a solemn covenant that needs to be upheld by both parties to work, which means forsaking all others.

  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”.

    1. 7.1

      Excuse me. Cheating is not a “mistake”. Measuring the width of a closet incorrectly is a mistake; thinking you can run your car down to fumes and still get to the gas station is a mistake. Deliberately lying to a spouse, arranging some deception, sneaking away and having illicit sex possibly many,many times, sneaking back and lying…yeah,that’s a mistake alright.
      So, and just what creative excuses can they make and present to you to justify their utterly bankrupt character and total lack of morality? Sorry, NO excuse is acceptable, ever. None. Once the cheater is exposed, put them away for good.

      1. 7.1.1

        Remind yourself of this when she tries to come back and be strong.

  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.

    1. 8.1

      I don’t really believe in a cheat proof relationship. It is a good idea to try to create your best self and make the relationship as healthy as possible. Unfortunately, you can only control yourself and the work YOU do to make the relationship healthy. You can’t control your partner. I’ve heard many stories where one partner cheated when the relationship was actually going well. They found an old flame, had a midlife crisis, were away on a business trip and thought they could get some tail…

      I think people need to do everything they can to make the relationship healthy, but realize there are no guarantees.

    2. 8.2

      look up BPD

    3. 8.3

      I have been searching for 3 years! I have been looking for someone to help me understand why I am staying in the relationship. Rose this is it! I claim to be a spiritual person working on myself and when it boils down to it- I need to heal   my heart and do the work to create the healthy relationship. In times of grief I wondered why EVERY male relationship has cheated on me! THis one can be an incredible growth period. Growth hurts and is very uncomfortable.Please listen… all these opinions are just that. NO one partnership is the same! I read only negative and positive thoughts here.If you do stay you have to really commit and not wallow. I have been going back and forth in my mind if I am making the right decision. Just do it or don’t but you have to make a choice and commit to the choice.     

  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.

    2. 10.2

      I used I have your view. I was an awesome wife, not perfect but I did my absolute best. I have just found out that my husband had cheated on me during our entire 7 year marriage with many people. It’s not always something lacking in the relationship, but rather something lacking INSIDE of the cheater. It really had little to do with me or my contribution. To add to that, it’s twisted to expect more from yourself than your partner- – commitment and faithfulness take some good decision making and self control. Both partners need to give. You should be able to skip a shower and doing your makeup one day and not risk having your husband put his penis in someone else.

      1. 10.2.1

        I agree. I used to worry for years if I was being good enough to keep my ex from having another affair. You shouldn’t have to feel like you need to do an academy award performance as a wife every second of your life in order to keep your husband from putting his penis in someone else. Especially if your spouse could care less about doing anything to meet your needs or put a smile on your face.

        I was shocked when I confided in a female friend that I was afraid I would be too boring to be around thanks to some of my ex-husband’s verbal abuse. Her response was telling. She said if a person is really your friend, that person will understand and love you anyway. I learned that I can have friends love me as I am and this makes me less anxious which makes me a more interesting person to be around. So, since my divorce, I’ve tried to put more emphasis on friendship since it feels like friends are there for me for better or worse, and unlike husbands, if they’re rude, abusive or betray me, I can easily drop them. The good news is I have not had to drop anyone, because my ex is the last person who was rude and abusive towards me.

    3. 10.3
      That's It

      Aren’t you wonderful.   You do all these things, and I’m sure you even go without some of your own needs being met.   You give and you sacrifice, you live a life of compromise only to learn that when you have reached your mid-fifties, your husband has been sleeping with some floozy decades younger than you for 4 years. Let’s see how forgiving you are then. M

      1. 10.3.1


    4. 10.4

      I hope you continue to live in the world you are in… I did everything for my spouse and he cheated on me because he was a selfish bastard. I was with him 20 years and have three children by him. If you think for one minute you will see all the signs I hope you aren’t surprised by one time he goes “out with his buddies” that he’s doing something else… Keep your eyes open. You or no one is immune to being cheated on.

  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…

      1. 14.1.1

        Now that’s bullshit! So he admitted to you and was remorseful but you wont accept him, so would it be better if didn’t say anything ? How stupid is this…you would rather accept the worst option of continued lying than the honesty? Marriage will not be perfect, he stayed with you for a reason, but you still not going to take hime back, and also you drink a lot, you don’t work on yourself, sounds like you have ex[ectaions that you cannt meet!

        1. Rachel

          So instead she is to be thankful he is honest? Owe she just owes him the world for that. Give me a break. She said HE DRANK TOO much but that isn’t even the issue at hand. even if it was her, that doesn’t give him the option to destroy a 23 year marriage. She didn’t say she won’t accept him. She said it hurts more than anything to be betrayed by the one person she trusted in this life. So because he chose to fess us, she isn’t allowed to be hurt and pissed off? You sound like a young kid. At least with your mentality I certainly hope you are no adult. Don’t worry Anita, you focus on you and getting YOURSELF back to a happy place whether you choose to bring the cheating husband or not.

  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.

    1. 15.1

      I’m not sure the needs are not met thing is always as simple as some therapists would make it out to be.   I tried to get an answer out of my ex after his first affair and he really didn’t give me anything. Nor did he bother to try to meet my needs that I communicated. I feel like a lot of the time, when people commit to a long term affair, they have expectations that their spouse did not live up to. Expectations that the spouse   or significant other probably wasn’t aware of. I know one lady who cheated on her boyfriend because she was upset that he stayed at the same minimum wage job after his college graduation. She really didn’t have a reason to do with her needs, he just didn’t live up to her expectations and she lost respect for him because of that. Since she doesn’t respect him, why not hook up with someone else without bothering to take a few minutes to honestly break up with him first?

    2. 15.2


      It gets better.

      My spouse cheated on me four years ago.   It was only recently that I realized that I feel as if I am myself.   I woke up one day recently and realized I no longer think about the betrayal everyday.

      My spouse was remorseful, dropped the affair partner of one month, and really worked hard to regain my trust.   I do not trust my spouse completely and never will, but things are good and I am now glad I stayed.

      Everyone insisted I divorce. But the reality is that no one can be trusted 100 percent, and finding someone new after 25 years of marriage would also be a risk, too.

      If you want to stay, stay.   Do not listen to the bitter naysayers.   My marriage is better now than it was prior to the affair because things were discussed that were always glossed over. My spouse was always a decent spouse but now my spouse a great spouse.

      I am not taking blame for the affair but honestly there were things in the marriage that I was doing that were not healthy.

      My spouse learned a valuable lesson and changed for the better. Why send a wiser better spouse off to a new person?   Keep that remorseful spouse.   You will not regret it.

      Conversely you do hear of a lot of people who regret divorcing a remorseful cheating spouse, but only when it is too late to remarry them.

      Do not let others dictate your own path.   Trust your gut.   You are the only person you can trust 100 percent.   Trust you,

      1. 15.2.1


        I have just read your response and you have no idea how much you have  helped me.  I’ve never posted/blogged and would love to talk to you more on this subject as I am 3 years in to trying to repair my marriage and it’s getting better but the biggest struggle is sex.   Hasn’t happened since his affair.   Would love to talk to you more about this and how to overcome that.

  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.

    1. 17.1

      LC you words are the most truer words I have heard in a long time.I live the life with a man that constantly , does the wrong thing and always gets caught. Blames the internet every time and he uses SORRY   often and blames others for his cheating ?

      1. 17.1.1
        Karmic Equation

        Lesley, why haven’t you left the guy? Your staying after he’s been caught multiple times means you value him more than yourself. What incentive does he have to change when there are no negative consequences?

    2. 17.2

      well said and i agree totally. just another self made victim according to my husband. because i worked in a male environment i must be cheating. i never have cheated. i am crushed. devastated. he had many encounters over the last 25 years. i cant look him in the eye. i cry like i’m in mourning. im 55 now. i feel like he stole my middle age and threw it away. he denies everything. or he twists words around to everything wrong in our intimacy is all my fault. i feel like my heart has been destroyed.

  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.

    1. 19.1

      Yes, not to mention the fact that STDs can affect pregnancy and fertility. I have the most common STD, hpv. The doctor said that cervical dysplasia caused by hpv can affect your ability to carry babies to term. Some women are lucky and their immune systems suppress it well. If the hpv flares up; however, it could put the baby at risk. I had never planned on having children, but I can only imagine the devastation to people who do want children and go through this. It’s not fair to a faithful spouse or potential children to have to deal with health consequences.

  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.

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