Cheating Could Be Just the Wake-Up Call Your Marriage Needs

When someone finds out that his or her spouse has been cheating, it’s a huge blow to the gut. Rightfully so too -- that’s an awful lot of deception, betrayal, and hurt to deal with all at once, especially if your spouse has desensitized themselves to the Terrible Thing they have done.

Quite possibly the worst part about your spouse’s infidelity coming out is that all of a sudden, you’re forced to deal with some pretty big issues as you decide how to move forward. Is the relationship doomed? Or is it worth trying to save? That probably depends a lot on the reasons behind the cheating.  

Let me preface this by saying that cheating is never, ever acceptable behavior. If your spouse treats you like crap or you’re just trapped in a loveless marriage, get a divorce like a normal person and move on. Don’t break your promises and compromise your integrity because you want to feel better for a moment in the arms of someone else.

OK, that’s out of the way.

So you found out your spouse cheated on you, and now you have to decide what to do. Well, after you scream and cry and rock on the floor in the fetal position for a while, of course. Some people are “one and done” when it comes to cheating. There are no second chances for these people. On the other end of the spectrum are those who believe that the everlasting bonds of marriage require them to forgive and forget.

I say both of those views are wrong, and the best decision you can make is one made after a lot of reflection on the problems in the marriage that caused the affair. People cheat for all sorts of different reasons, and those reasons matter when trying to decide whether or not to end a marriage.

More from The Stir: 10 Tips for Getting Over a Cheating Spouse That Really Do Work

Some people just grow apart and end up being like roommates instead of lovers. Instead of confronting the rut issue, someone might look for excitement elsewhere. Again, there are no excuses, but maybe an affair is a wakeup call that your marriage needs some serious TLC. If both parties want to stay, and there’s true remorse and repentance on the part of the cheater, it can work.

Others cheat because they really want out of the marriage but feel trapped for whatever reason. Religion, family pressure, monetary issues, the kids, etc. -- it doesn’t matter -- the cheater feels trapped but at the same time not bound to you. I say let this one go. Do you really want a spouse that feels like they have to stay with you?

Then there are those that cheat because they can. With narcissism on the rise and social media making it easier than ever to sneak around, these are unfortunately becoming more and more common. Run away from this one and don’t look back. He cares more about what he can get away with than you. Count your blessings you don’t have to spend the rest of your life trying to be “good enough” for him.

So maybe cheating isn’t necessarily a reason to end a marriage. But it might just be an indication of a much bigger issue that needs to be addressed if the relationship has any chance of surviving.

Do you think cheating is ever forgivable?


Image via Alex Bellink/Flickr

cheating, commitment, divorce, lying, marriage


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socal... socalmommy13

You know i dont think i could ever forgive him if he cheated. I hold grudges like nobodys business. I would tell him to kick rocks even though we have been together for 14 years, thats almost half my life.

So yeah if he cheated he would be gone!

HeywoodJ HeywoodJ

You often claim to be a Christian, Jenny, so this quote of yours strikes me as odd:

"If your spouse treats you like crap or you’re just trapped in a loveless marriage, get a divorce like a normal person and move on."

Please cite the relevant Bible passages that support this. Your Lord was quite clear on what justifies one of His disciples getting a divorce, so how does your pronouncement square with His?

nekoy... nekoyukidoll

absolutely not. my ex cheated on me and I won't even talk to him let alone forgive him.  and the only person to blame for the cheating is the person who did it.  the other person doesn't make them do it.  

Bola8494 Bola8494

Agreed with HeywoodJ. There is no get a divorce like a normal person.

nonmember avatar Stacy

Seriously????? Just get a divorce like a normal person? We wonder why the divorce rate is over 50%!!! If God is the center of your marriage and home, obviously one has swayed from that in order to cheat but I believe God can heal all things..and I definitely do not condone cheating...prayers, a good spiritual counselor, etc and remembering to never put all our Faith in a human being as we are all imperfect!!! Direct that Trust to the One who is worthy and miracles that seem imppssible can be made possible!!

nonmember avatar Melissa

In all honesty unless you've been in this situation saying you'll end it is easy. I have been and just walking away and ending the relationship wouldn't have solved anything. With a lot of hard work and communication we're fixing our problems. I'm not saying it's easy but saving a relationship when both parties are fully committed to making it work is worthwhile.

nonmember avatar Jennie

My ex husband cheated on me several times. He had a lot of problems. His biggest one was drugs. Looking back I wish that I would have never given him a second chance. I was devasted when I first found out. I was even more devastated when he did it again after giving him a second chance. If I would have left after the first time I would have saved myself a lot of heartache and embarrassment. The final straw for me was when he was arrested for soliciting a prostitue. Now if my fiancé were to ever cheat on me that would be the end. To me cheating is the biggest betrayel. I could never trust someone again after being unfaithful to me. I honestly don't see how anyone can stay with someone who has cheated on them and trust them again and get past it.

Emily Alane Stromberg Baker

Deal breaker.

All of this "If your spouse cheats maybe there's something wrong with your marriage" business is just stupid. It's people being wimpy. It's a cop-out. If your spouse cheats, there's something wrong with your spouse. End of story.

TheSi... TheSilence

"I say both of those views are wrong"

Wrong for you maybe, but if dh was ever stupid enough to cheat on me he would find his belongings out on the lawn.

That is a line that will never be crossed if he wanted our marriage to sti exist.

nonmember avatar Lisa

No, I would just be done with him.

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