Divorce, highly NOT recommended, BUT…
But, if your spouse was abducted by aliens, never to return, and you would need an onion to cry…
But, if you secretly (as sick as this sounds) envy widows…
But, if there’s physical or emotional abusive…
But, if there’s alcohol and drug abuse…
But, your spouse is forcing a divorce, and there nothing you can do about it…
But, should cheating be on this list!?
It seems the answer is as unique as the person facing infidelity in their marriage. Divorcing due to cheating is an extremely personal decision with no clear-cut answer.
But of course, friends, family, and even strangers will offer you their opinions. Judgement will be passed from every direction, but the only judgement that really matters is your own.
Listen to your loved ones but ultimately drown out the noise, dig deep, and come to your own conclusion.
WHY is always the first question.
Why did your spouse step-out and seek an emotional or physical affair? What are their reasons?
Are they genetically predisposed to desire multiple partners? Do they just have terrible self-control? Did they need their ego stroked? Are they addicted to the admiration and the game? Was it Boredom? A midlife crisis? Did they feel like their sexual or emotional needs went unmet?
After getting to the heart of the matter, get to deep soul searching and ask yourself the harder question: Can we get past the hurt and symptoms of the affair?
Can perspective, time, forward thinking, hard work, open communication, and forgiveness pave the way back to a happy and healthy marriage?
Ultimately, when the good outweighs the bad, when the peace outweighs the anger, and when the love outweighs the hurt, it is possible.
Hilary Clinton had some wise words to offer on the matter, as she stayed with Bill through one the most infamous and public affairs in history:
“I know some people wonder why [Bill Clinton and I] are still together: that “we must have an arrangement” (we do; it’s called a marriage);… that we lead completely separate lives, and it’s just a marriage on paper now ….But I will say this: Bill has been an extraordinary father to our beloved daughter and an exuberant, hands-on grandfather to our two grandchildren. I look at Chelsea and Charlotte and Aidan and I think, we did this. That’s a big deal.
He has been my partner in life and my greatest champion. He never once asked me to put my career on hold for his. He never once suggested that maybe I shouldn’t compete for anything—in work or politics—because it would interfere with his life or ambitions. There were stretches of time in which my husband’s job was unquestionably more important than mine, and he still didn’t play that card. I have never felt like anything but an equal. Bill is completely unbothered by having an ambitious, opinionated, occasionally pushy wife. In fact, he loves me for it…He helped me believe in this bigger version of myself. Bill was a devoted son-in-law and always made my parents feel welcome in our home. Toward the end of my mother’s life, when I wanted her to move into our house in Washington, he said yes without hesitation. Though I expected nothing less, this meant the world to me. I know so many women who are married to men who—though they have their good qualities—can be sullen, moody, irritated at small requests, and generally disappointed with everyone and everything. Bill Clinton is the opposite. He has a temper, but he’s never mean. And he’s funny, friendly, unflappable in the face of mishaps and inconveniences, and easily delighted by the world—remember those balloons at the convention? He is fabulous company.
We’ve certainly had dark days in our marriage. You know all about them—…there were times that I was deeply unsure about whether our marriage could or should survive. But on those days, I asked myself the questions that mattered most to me: Do I still love him? And can I still be in this marriage without becoming unrecognizable to myself— twisted by anger, resentment, or remoteness? The answers were always yes. So I kept going.”
As a Francophile, I’ve always been memorized about the way the French view love, marriage, and infidelity. It seems like French women don’t just tolerate their husband’s affairs, but expect it, and partake in their own as well. It’s a ‘don’t ask/don’t tell’ kind of situation. Is Infidelity almost an unavoidable, natural consequence of French marriage?
Lucy Wadham, a British journalist, learned the answer when she fell in love with, and then married a Frenchman. She explains:
‘They believe that everyone has a right to enjoy sex, with or without love. If you’re lucky enough never to get bored with your partner, great. If not, there’s no shame in looking for sex outside your marriage. It works in France because the French don’t expect total honesty from their partners. In fact, they believe honesty can be downright destructive… (a confession of infidelity) would be regarded as cruel and petty. The French see infidelity as natural. For many, good sex is the most satisfactory way to escape drudgery and stress.”
With French divorcing less than ‘more faithful” Americans, perhaps it’s the guilt and deceit, not the sex itself, ruining our marriages. One renowned French psychologist even makes the claim that ‘affairs are good for marriage.” And a French woman once said, “It is better to eat dirt with someone you love, than to eat chocolate cake alone.”
But after 20 years, Lucy eventually divorced her French husband and remarried an Englishman who shared her more traditional approach to the sanctity of marriage. While she found the French version alluring and exciting at times, she become unsatisfied with the ‘feeling of distance’ and yearned for the kind of intimacy that accompanies total honesty and transparency between partners.
The more frequent answer (although not necessarily the easier one), is: Yes – infidelity usually leads to someone asking for divorce…eventually.
And rightfully so, especially if infidelity is a common thread in your marriage and it now feels destroyed beyond repair. If staying with a cheater feels like disrespecting and sacrificing yourself, your answer is clear – good-bye and good riddance!
Whichever path you choose, take ample time, weigh your options, and most definitely seek the guidance of a great therapist.
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