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Can Working Through an Affair Save a Relationship?

An article in The Huffington Post yesterday discusses a survey called Sex and the American Mom, completed by 30,000 people, which concluded that 34 percent of married women with children have had or are currently having an affair. The article examines some of the differences in past years versus the present regarding female satisfaction, male sexual disinterest, and the way society views cheating. It writes:

Affairs used to almost guarantee a trip to divorce court. Today, however, the "cheatee" might experience a sense of betrayal, but the "cheater" is not necessarily stigmatized socially, and often both agree to at least attempt reconciliation. It has even been viewed as a "wake-up call" — one that can actually save a marriage, with each person expressing a sense of shared blame.

I actually find the idea of using infidelity as the impetus to save an unhappy relationship instead of a reason to abandon it very interesting. I know that none of us condone cheating, but I think trying to find the root of the problem is better than just trying to forgive someone, and in some cases, better than breaking it off completely. Ladies, in your opinion, is it possible to make your relationship stronger by working through an affair?


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CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
You can absolutely work through an affair, If you have never been in that situation i wouldnt call those who have "scummy" My marriage is proof that you can work it out, and become stronger, forgiveness doesnt mean you forget but it does mean you can move on and become better people.
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 9 years
Wow so many spelling mistakes........should have read before posting.......sorry!
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 9 years
To answer your question Duck Duck Goose. Absolutely not. I think that people don't realize that there are many many times in peoples relationships where you are going through things other people can not and will not understand. I think there are times when someone can be in such a state of confusion in a relationship emotions are running completely nuts. I have been in my relationship for 11 years. We knew each other since 5th grade and have been together with NOT ONE break-up since we were 18 and 19 years old. We lived on our own and supported ourselves by the age of 20 and had our first child. That's a LOT of pressure for two people so young. And I'm not using this as an excuse because there is NO excuse. But Life happens. When you love someone so much are they really never entitled to make ONE mistake. We are all human. We are a very strong couple. I give us SO much credit and respect for all of the things we have worked through in our relationship especially being so young. I don't think there are many people who's relationships are strong enough to go through some of the things we've been through. (Sorry I'm rembling) But I think the point is........Everyone goes through hard times. It might be something major like an affair that you deal with hard times with. People can be weak and vulnerable. When a relationship can last and fight through the worst, sometimes you have a new found respect for it and that is enough to realize what you could have lost.
Allyson-N-Jason Allyson-N-Jason 9 years
It's not possible for me. I know the way I am wired. I wouldn't be able to see the person I am with the same way because I know what cheating means to me. It's not just about stepping out with someone else romantically be it emotionally, physically or both. It's about the lack of a relationship that I have and how many of the important elements of the foundation of a good relationship are missing. To each their own with this subject though. Everyone is different. I am just speaking for me. This might sound idealistic and unrealistic to some, but in my POV seriously there's never a reason to cheat. You can -always- take another action. My motto is "Get out before you put out." Those alternative actions aren't always easy decisions but they are better than handling a situation this way. If my partner is not offering or giving me something in the relationship that I need to feel secure, close and connected, then I need to communicate that to him. I need to say something and let him know. I would also hope that I would be with a partner that would openly communicate to me when something is amiss. If he can't understand where I am coming from and he refuses to address the issues head on and directly, then I will have to make a decision to leave because what's the point? I mean really? Why stay in something that has no more growth potential and will only get worse? Why remain with someone who refuses to address issues like an adult and let the other person know what's going on? What am I holding onto? Am I that afraid of being single? If two people want a long-lasting and secure relationship, you can't just sweep things under the rug and hope they go away. You can't act out passive aggressively and assume that's going to set things straight or make the other person come around or get the message. None of that works and should be nurtured. No one's perfect and it's slow for old habits to due, but my ideal of intimacy is to feel like I can be vulnerable with my partner on various levels...and that we can grow with one another and support each other during moments of weakness and fallibility. Some people might argue that cheating is one of those moments, but I am talking about the moments that might lead up to that. The make-or-break period before someone goes off and involves a third party or many other people (depending on how many times they wind up cheating). If we can't be vulnerable and open together...if we can't be honest and show respect...then there's no security and if there's no security you really have an illusion operating as a relationship. That is when cheating begins to occur. People can also cheat because they feel that having a secret rendezvous and thrill with someone is exciting and offers an alternative to the mundane day in and day out happenings of marriage. At this point, I say again, opt out. Monogamy isn't for everyone and that's OK as long as there is honesty and integrity involved in living out your desires. Everyone should find their place. It's not impossible to live by this standard.
Meike Meike 9 years
I think it depends on the relationship and the reasons why one person cheated. I generally say I hate cheaters but there is some validity in a few reasons why some cheaters cheat. It begs the questions, "Wives, are you a wife your husband wants to come home to? Husbands, are you a husband your wife wants to come home to?" Good people don't want to cheat but some end up doing it either because they're being emotionally abused or they feel under-appreciated and they just don't know how to communicate that. Of course, you have your assholes and bitches who do it for no reason at all other than the fact they just are assholes and bitches. My aunt is in a strong relationship with my uncle. I do not know how she did it and how she forgave him. She is simply amazing but so is my uncle who was completely remorseful for his actions. He did a 180 degree turn and more than made up it up to her for his infidelity. I think for those cheaters who are truly remorseful and for those cheatees who have an incredible amount of forgiveness, it is quite possible to make their relationships stronger.
Silverlining10 Silverlining10 9 years
I would be more inclined to work it out if I did the cheating. I mean, being completely honest. That said, I would never cheat. My mom was my dad's world, and he did everything for her. The things he did...OMG, I just don't think another man is capable of being so selfless. Then, she cheated on him and left, which broke his heart to pieces. She still kept coming back for money and assistance, like in moving, and I just thought she was the worst person in the world for it. I have a ZERO TOLERANCE policy for cheating, both emotion and physical cheating.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
I don't want to work through an affair.
duck-duck-goose duck-duck-goose 9 years
"And I think if you do split you weren't meant to be together in the first place." Would it not be more rational to deduce that if one of the spouses *cheats* then perhaps the marriage "was never meant to be" (borrowing from your platitude, if I may)?
moxierain moxierain 9 years
My dad cheated and my mom left him. Personally, I'm not forgiving of cheating and not very forgiving in general. When people burn me I usually want to have nothing to do with them. I think by being less forgiving I also stop putting up with a lot of bs. I would never want to work through cheating to "save a relationship" - if the relationship is dead then its dead. If someone wants to cheat on me then I would hope they would break up with me first. I'd rather deal with that pain than deal with the pain of being cheated on. Some people it seems can work things out after an affair, to me I just have made up my mind that I would never want to.
missbanana missbanana 9 years
it just seems like an out though i feel.. like anything ANYTHING as a solution is better than cheating to have a "wake up" call. And if youre going to decide to sleep with someone else, i think the other party deserves the to know before hand that there is someone else. no i wouldnt know because ive never been in the situation.. but i would try the hardest i could to never be in that situation.
tomatoshirt tomatoshirt 9 years
If I cheat on my guy, most likely I have already made up my mind to leave him...same goes for my bf...But I am not sure if I would handle the same way once we are married & have children.
Sydney-C Sydney-C 9 years
Oops, sorry about my double negative there. That made my post sound REALLY intellegent!!
Sydney-C Sydney-C 9 years
Yeah, I agree with you avettafawna. I think everyone posting on here saying neither themself or their SO would never cheat is living in a distorted reality...I guess I am different. I am never ever ever going to put my trust so much in someone that I am willing to accept their proclamation that they would never cheat on me 100%. Eyes always open.
avettafawna avettafawna 9 years
I think its easy when you're in your 20s and have your whole life ahead of you to say "I would never cheat", but the reality of marriage is that it adds up to a whole lot of time. Decades for some couples, and during that time you go through a lot of things and experience a lot of changes and some times, you drift apart for a while and evolve into totally different people. Getting divorced, when there are children, homes, cars, and other assets involved can be a very long and difficult process. I can see how a couple would want to do all they can to avoid that if both parties are willing. Having that said, I think its interesting to note that this article was about when WOMEN cheat, which is more likely to happen as a result of emotional distance in a relationship than when men cheat, which is more likely to happen b/c they're insecure pigs who get bored and need their egos stroked. With that in mind, I can understand if these are the couples more likely to reconcile. ps-I agree with Kristinh. Never say never.
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 9 years
Oh, and it may have been a little different as my situtation involved a one night stand? Not a full blow affair....SO maybe that would have made a world of a difference?
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 9 years
I NEVER would have thought that I could work through something like that. But I think it depends on the circumstances. I went through this. BTW, I am a very strong and independent person and I do NOT think affairs are even close to being OK. That said, the article is almost dead on. I don't think anyone can understand it unless you actually go through it. Although at the time everyone around me hated what happened they encouraged reconciliation over spliting. You have to factor reason the affair happened, which yes, there things that lead to extreme behavior no matter WHO you are or how good of a person you are. We worked through it. It's tough it takes people being strong and a LOT of honesty. Trust comes when you are ready and the other person DEF has to work hard to earn it. BUT all I have to say is I don't care what your views on it are, NEVER say NEVER. And I think if you do split you weren't meant to be together in the first place.
bransugar79 bransugar79 9 years
I don't think anyone is saying to purposely cheat on your spouse or significant other as a means of grwoing closer or strengthening your relationship. I was in similar position as javsmav. I cheated on my then boyfriend when I was 17 and we had been dating about 6 months. I have always been very vocal about how wrong cheating is because of my parents' relationship. So when I was in that position I felt horrible and I tired to do everything I could to make it work. We were both very young and the pain was too much and we broke up and got back together several times. In the end we stopped talking for about two years and each worked out our issues seperately. Now he has forgiven me and I have found a way to forgive myself even though I am still very ashamed of what I did. We just got married a month ago and I feel that having worked through something this big we are stronger for it. I wish it had never happened but I know for sure that our love has been tested and stands true. And for everyone wondering, if he cheated on me I would work it out with him too. We're married and I vowed for better or worse and to me that means everything.
javsmav javsmav 9 years
I'm sure it's possible to work though an affair, but i just don't see how. I cheated on my ex (got drunk, made out with a guy at a bar, passed out fully clothed in his hotel room, hardly an affair, but still totally unacceptable). My ex forgave me, but I never did and it eventually destroyed the relationship. Even though we didn't break until over a year later, the relationship was so unhealthy from that point forward because I couldn't move on. My self-esteem was non-existent, my eating disorder got out of control, I became so dependent on him. I don't understand how the cheater can live with her/himself and I don't understand how the person who was cheated on can ever trust again. Using infidelity to improve a relationship just sounds absurd.
JazSeDuCtiVe JazSeDuCtiVe 9 years
He*l NOoOoO... I'd never cheat on my bf and If he does and I find out that's the end of us!!!!! There is no such thing as trying to reconcile and find the reason of the cheating and the root of the problem is... the root of the problem is obviously that! you cheated because you want to.. and if you have a problem with your partner then talk and communicate because cheating will NOT solve it. To me.. cheating is a sign of weakness and selfishness.
RaCheer RaCheer 9 years
I think it depends on the situation...
cvandoorn cvandoorn 9 years
It would be a wake up call to get out of the relationship and to leave his ass. Seriously, why would you want to stay with somebody who has been emotionally and physically intimate with some other woman? And then the constant thought of him doing it again. And if I were to cheat on my guy (which I wouldn't), i'd expect him to leave me as well.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
I'd leave my BF if he cheated. But I'm also unmarried and have no kids. I think the landscape changes when you have other lives depending on you. I obviously don't know this from personal experience but just from what I've seen, it's not so easy to drop someone once they're the father of your children. I honestly don't know how I would respond. I am sure I would be hurt, but if I felt the marriage was saveable I would probably do my best to save it.
K-is-For-Kait K-is-For-Kait 9 years
I would never cheat on anyone. I'd have to end the relationship I was in most definitely before getting into a new one. Cheating is not a wake-up call, it's scummy and pathetic. If my bf ever cheated on me, that would be the end of that. I would never trust him again and I wouldn't want to be with him after that! I think people who stay with their spouses/significant others after they've be cheated on have some self-confidence issues they need to deal with.
vmruby vmruby 9 years
An affair would do absolutely nothing to save my marriage,it would destroy it permanently.Besides that ,I have no patience for cheaters...period. In order to forgive him , I would need to be able to trust my husband again.I know there's no possible way for me to do that.
Sun_Sun Sun_Sun 9 years
cheating is a deal breaker my husband and i both agree on a no tolerance when it comes to infidelity
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