There Are Worse Things Than Cheating in a Marriage

In the movie He's Just Not That Into You, Jennifer Connelly puts up with her husband's (played by Bradley Cooper) various indiscretions. He is cheating on her (though she doesn't know it), hemming and hawing on having a baby, and generally being a horrible hubby, but it's his lying about smoking cigarettes that finally throws her over the edge and makes her leave.

It's a shocking scene, but the idea itself -- that a terrible marriage might be ended by something seemingly small -- isn't all that unusual. The Daily Mail recently had a piece on "the tipping point" in a marriage and somehow they aren't at all what one might expect.

In the article, women with cheating husbands left over financial transgressions, harmless flirtations, and even one affair more egregious than the others. It makes a lot of sense. The fact is, once the trust is gone, everything has new meaning.


As a married woman, I trust my husband completely. We have been together 10 years and, though we had a rough start, not once, in all those years since we have actually been committed, has he given me any reason to doubt him. I trust him completely.

If I found out that he was cheating, I would be shocked, hurt, and angry, but with two kids to think of, I am not sure I would immediately leave him. But it would be his last chance. If there were any other breeches of trust, it would be over. And it wouldn't be only because of one or the other. It would be because of both.

Trust is something that isn't easily built and not easy to fix once it has been broken. It takes enormous amounts of kindness and love to make up for a huge transgression or even a series of them. So, yes, the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back might be something that seems small, but for the leaving spouse, it's part of a global issue.

One cannot (and should not) have to be in a marriage that lacks trust. Trust can be rebuilt, but it won't be accomplished without both partners' investment. A man who is still committing any trust sin is clearly not invested in fixing things. It completely makes sense why a woman might stay through major issues, but leave over something small. 

There is also something to be said for shock. Finding out a husband is cheating is so huge that it might take something smaller for a woman to realize just how bad things are. A financial lie is easier to process than one that involves another woman, especially over a long period of time.

I totally get it and I don't think anyone can know ahead of time what might be their "tipping point."

Do you understand the "tipping point" idea?


Image via banjo d/Flickr

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