Ashton, Arnold, Woods, Edwards, Gingrich -- the laundry list of cheaters out there continues to get longer and stronger. It's becoming more expected than not that famous men cheat, and almost every time a new scandal breaks, someone in the media has to wonder if the wife will "stand by her man" a la Hillary Clinton (the standard point-to example of a woman who did this). More often than not, women who don't run to divorce court are made to look like fools. Still, I can't help but think it's not a black and white issue.
Katherine Heigl told Cosmo UK recently that she used to think if her hubby Josh Kelley cheated on her, it would be a major deal-breaker. But now, she's not so sure. She said she's seen friends go through and find a way to forgive one another, even though it would be "really hard to ever fully trust that person again." I say she's onto something.
Now, it's not like serial cheating should be ignored or go unpunished. If in some alternate universe, I was Betty Draper and had to deal with a hubby who had a new fling every week, I would be OVER that and serving divorce papers faster than you can say, "Sterling Cooper Draper Price." But in cases where it's a one-time indiscretion ... I'm just not sure it's fair to say you'd definitely walk away immediately.
As Heigl told Cosmo:
If a mistake were to be made and it was a one-time thing, I would forgive [my husband]. Because look at the life we've built together. We have history, we have a child.
Seems level-headed to me. I feel like once you're married or even in a long-term, serious relationship, it's ridiculous to adhere to a philosophy that "never in a million years" would you stand for a one-time slip-up or to think "once a cheater, always a cheater." It shouldn't necessarily be like that; you've got to be more flexible -- especially if there are kids involved. I would think if that were the case, you'd feel your relationship was worth the work it would take to overcome the betrayal.
Looking at the bigger picture and thinking of marriages I know that have now lasted anywhere from 5 to 35+ years, infidelity is only one trust-busting mistake spouses can make. Think of numerous other betrayals that could end up feeling as bad or worse -- lying or hiding things especially related to finances, etc. In the end, sure, cheating could be the straw that breaks the camel's back and wrecks a happy, healthy marriage. But it doesn't have to be.
Is cheating a deal-breaker for you?
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