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

breakups, cheating, celebs


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Bertha21 Bertha21

If my SO ever cheated that would be the tipping point, even though we have a son together.  If he ever cheated all trust would be completely shattered.  Trust means everything in a relationship.

Kritika Kritika

Sadly, most men that cheat will continue to do so if forgiven. I don't know what I'd do if my husband and I had children so I don't judge anyone for staying. I can easily say if he cheated now, while we don't have kids, I would definitely leave the situation. I had way too much heartbreak from my ex to deal with another serial cheater.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

I'm thinking of all the couples I know where one partner had an affair and every single one of them are still together. A single incident of infidelity makes a marriage stronger. By all means break it off if your guy is out picking up different disease ridden skanks every weekend but if an affair with a single woman that ends is enough to make you leave then you never should have married in the first place.

PonyC... PonyChaser

I get the 'tipping point' idea, too. And add this to the mix: sometimes a woman has no proof that he is cheating (and I use the wife here because they are more likely to have no financial support outside the marriage than a husband. Sad but true). So, not only has she been cheated on (beat down number 1), she now has to justify her breaking up the marriage to the world (her family, their friends) who may not know about the infidelity. And without proof, where is she? SHE becomes the harpy/shrew, etc., and he can play the innocent victim. So she stays because she can't face the fallout that she's sure to endure.

But then along comes the financial deception. Now she has concrete evidence that can be shown, if needed. Sometimes that evidence makes all the emotional difference in the world.


Amanda Ricketts

My ex cheated throughout our marriage; although he managed to cover it up well and I couldn't find solid proof. Additionally, he was very emotionally and verbally abusive to me for years. The "tipping point" for me came after a 1 month period where he screamed at me (had me on the floor in tears) for dinner not being ready at 5:30pm (it was 20 minutes late, I had worked a 10hr day and had to get groceries before dinner); he disappeared over night on black Friday; and then a few days later he called me after he left for work to tell how awful of a wife I was. That last call was it. I was done. I had done everything I could to make our marriage work and for as much as I felt like a failure, I knew I needed to leave.
I found out after I left concrete proof for 3 affairs; the last of which had been going on for a few months before we split and she got knocked up about the same time we separated...
I shoulda left sooner, but better late than never.

cocob... cocobeannns

"If an affair with a single woman that ends is enough to make you leave then you never should have married in the first place." ... Really? I think an affair with any woman means you should not have married him in the first place. Not all men cheat, and it shouldn't be acceptable just because your willing to lower yourself to stay with a man who does. Cheating is not acceptable to me or to my fiance. If he wants to be with another woman, he knowzls where the door is.

AMom29 AMom29

The tipping point is the cheating.  DH and I have discussed this before.  You want to cheat, at least have the courtesy to discuss it first, because it's usually the symptom of a larger problem.  If we can't work it out, then we need to separate before taking up with someone else.  If he were to cheat on me, he'd be done, and he knows it.

Rkell... Rkelley_2011

I tooootally get the "tipping point" idea!!  Women are conditioned, through satire, media, and (pick your outlet) that we are crazy, insecure, and paranoid if we start accusing our SO without the evidence. We are taught to "just trust." It took me waaaay too long to leave my ex-husband, who had been emotionally and physically abusive, because I was worried of the "fallout" from my friends and family. My tipping point? I came home after an exhausting business trip only to find, for the 1000th time, my ex sitting in the recliner with a weeks worth of take-out sitting on the dining room table, kids homework not done, and a lack of energy to ask, again, what did you do with your time this week. So I left. Well written, Sasha!!!!

Cj Brower

@Rhonda I feel sorry for you to think that that is how a marriage should be I am only 19 and have been married for a year and a half and if my husband cheated on me even one time it would be over I honestly cant see how cheating once would be a marriage stronger if anything it would make it weak cause the one cheated on would not have the trust anymore.

Melis... Melissa042807

It's interesting because we've had 2 friends get divorced this year whose wives had affairs. Both guys said that they could forgive the affairs, but it was other stuff that came to light after the affairs were exposed that led them to the decision to divorce. So I can understand it. 

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