No room for cheating in this marriage

photo: engagefamilyminute.com
photo: engagefamilyminute.com

Sometimes I click on news article links that do nothing more than satisfy a morbid curiosity, such as one last week on Huffington Post about how a woman discovered her husband’s three-year-long affair (sorry, can’t find the link now but here’s a similar one). Articles like this are totally depressing, because it’s such an awful scenario to imagine finding myself in. The unbelievable question posed at the end of that article was what really got me: “Can an affair make a marriage stronger?” I choked on my coffee and nearly spewed it all over my computer. I couldn’t believe someone was actually posing that question. Stronger?! Seriously? To continue my disbelief was reading the responses. Many people said yes, it can and/or did make their marriages stronger.

I have to disagree — not from personal experience, I’ll quickly clarify — but based on my own common sense. Marriage is a deal, a contract. Marriage is most definitely not based on unconditional love. Unlike children, whom (normal) parents will love and defend to the end no matter what, there are many things a spouse can do to be undeserving of marital love and, consequently, continuation of the marital contract. Yes, I did marry my husband and promise to be with him through thin and thick, sickness and health, but there’s still an underlying conditional clause: my basic demand to be completed respected as his wife and never, ever cheated on — same goes vice versa — and if an affair ever took place, that would spell the immediate end of the marriage. I’m not alone in holding this opinion; my husband and I have discussed it before and agree that affair = divorce.

Maybe I sound extreme, or rigid, or unforgiving; granted, I’ve never been in that hellish position of having to choose between my own dignity or dissolving the family unit. But my interpretation of it is black and white. Marriage requires total trust, and as soon as that’s been shattered in the most brutal of ways, my husband would cease to be my husband, and more of a traitor than a life partner. Two wrongs don’t make a right, so how on earth could an act of betrayal serve to improve the overall health of a relationship? That makes no sense to me from both a logical and emotional standpoint.

I believe that an affair is an outward manifestation of much deeper issues within a relationship, so when someone goes off and cheats, it probably means that a lot of other things haven’t been addressed along the way. I guess you could say a person is ‘driven’ to do it for whatever reasons, but that doesn’t make it acceptable. In fact, it’s shameful that the necessary steps haven’t been taken to fix the relationship before it deteriorates to that point. By the time an affair happens, what is there to salvage in an already rotten marriage? Zippo. Ciao!

I’m extremely hardheaded on this subject, but what is a marriage without a sexual commitment? Once that most intimate of boundaries has been broken, you’re nothing more than two people who know each really well, and likely hate each other, too. The expectation of monogamy is not too much to ask (sorry, Germaine Greer, I don’t agree with your arguments on that subject!), so long as both people are open and communicative about how to keep it healthy, fun, and satisfying. So, take that, whoever you are who posed that question in the first place: my answer is a loud resounding, “No way! We both deserve better than that.”

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. What do you think?

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9 thoughts on “No room for cheating in this marriage

  1. I will agree with you. A affair does not directly strengthen a marriage. One thing that rings true is that trials and tribulations can make a relationship inadvertently stronger. It does not go to say that when it comes to an affair that this principle will always apply. HOWEVER, if the couple is able to deal with the damage and approach their relationship with the intent to repair and rebuild it can in the VERY long run strengthen it. To be clear I myself have not endured an affair so I do not know from experience. I can still see how the blow of an affair can in the end make ones union stronger and better. Especially if the husband feels so guilty that it pushes him to realize the magnitude of his actions and appreciate his wife in a way that he never has. The tables could turn drastically with him pleading for her love and proving himself. On the flip side this would only work if the wife did not take advantage of the position the man is now in and was able to eventually forgive him. Otherwise a power struggle could switch where the woman uses the man’s affair as ammunition and grounds to treat him poorly without him being able to defend himself because he is at fault. Many men fall into this trap allowing the wife to emotionally beat them up for years because of their behavior whereas the relationship never truly recovers because the wife is still clearly hurting and hasn’t forgiven and the man is constantly feeling guilty which could turn into resentment. As my husband would say, “It’s a slippery slope.” I would just stay clear of an affair, it is not worth it.

    1. I’m totally in agreement that trials can strengthen a relationship, but not all kinds of trials. An affair, I think, would be categorized in the “impossible to strengthen” category because of its intrinsic nature of betrayal. My own marriage is a great example of a difficult time (a very unexpected pregnancy while just beginning to date) turning us into a fabulous couple who’s worked through practically everything already. Nothing feels like too much to deal with after having experienced that together. Anyways, you’re right — it’s not worth heading down that slippery slope in the first place!

  2. I agree with you. In fact, I feel like you’ve been inside my brain on this one. We had the same talk and made the same commitment with affair = divorce. We are in this for life, with all the heartaches and happiness – together – with mutual respect and daily effort to be a good partner – truthful, committed, respectful and devoted.

  3. One never knows what they will do until they are in the situation. And no two situations are the same (i.e. not all marriages hit with an affair were broken, sometimes the betrayer is broken). I would have agreed with your entire post a year ago, but the last six months have changed my whole world. I hope you never have to find out first hand!

    1. I’m really sorry to hear that. And you’re right, it’s impossible to know what it’s like until you’ve been through it. All the best with pulling together the pieces – your blog looks like a great way to do so – and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      1. I’m glad you don’t seem offended by my comment because that was not my intention. Thanks for taking the time to respond!

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