Monday, August 2, 2010

Group Therapy: Divorce-Leave or Forgive-Second Chances

If you were to walk in on your significant other cheating on you, how would you react?

Would Divorce/leaving be a definite? No matter what they said or did?  Or would you consider forgiving them and giving them another chance?

I'll give my answer in comments, but my friends and I discuss this a lot and I'm truly surprised at their responses.

What about you guys?

Let us know in comments.


Anonymous said...

My husband has always said that if he were to catch me cheating on him or if he found out some other way, there wouldn't be any dicussion; he would divorce.

I can't honestly answer a question like this. I mean, I've been in a situation where I've been cheated on but those were dating relationships and not a marriage. They are two different things.

I'd like to think that if it was a one time thing, I'd want to work it out. Or at least, try to work it out. Figure out why my husband cheated. Figured out if I'm not giving him something he needs, etc. If it was an ongoing thing, I'd want an explination, an apology and then I'd want him to pack his bags and leave.

I think my decision would also factor in whether or not my husband felt guilty for his actions (not guilty that he got caught). I think I would have to factor in whether he told me the truth or if I found out some other way. I think honesty can go a long way in a situation like this.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Becky Andrews said...

I would be devastated and so hurt and then what next as I pick up the pieces? Gosh it really depends on his desire to work things out - being a therapist I can't say never. I've seen so many different scenarios in my work. I hope I would keep an open mind to the whole situation. My gut says it would be done, however.

TisforTonya said...

I actually discussed this with ManOfTheHouse last week... (not because anything is going on guys...) and my initial instinct was to send him packing.

Maybe not forever - but long enough that I wouldn't want to kill him. I have anger issues.

Honestly? I think I could forgive once (with enough therapy) but twice - I'd divorce and sue him for all he's worth. Does that make me evil? So be it.

Everyone's situation is a little different - and since our recent conversation was based on something happening to friends - I have to say that it DOES all depend on how willing both parties are to make it work after something like that.

Tit for Tat said...

The wife and I have discussed "Deal breakers" and have come to the conclusion infidelity is not one of them. It would bring about some serious consequence but we both agreed it was workable.

Unknown said...

It would be over. Like Tit, I have discussed this with The Man and we both agree this IS a deal breaker. In a relationship, trust is vital. You work daily to build trust. With each passing day, you trust more. When a person, male or female, takes that trust for granted and cheats the link is broken.

How can you say "Honey it meant nothing!" and expect me to stay? That would be like saying the trust we had meant nothing if you could throw it away for something you admit means nothing.

If you are feeling the urge to cheat, talk to your spouse about it and further build on the trust you have, don't act on it and risk ruining everything. How can a person be truly willing to work on something he or she wasn't willing to protect to begin with?

Untypically Jia said...

Honestly it depends. Has he been cheating for a very long time and he's in a relationship with someone who he's in love with? Or was it a one night stand big mistake kinda deal?

If it's the first, and he's in love with the new woman, what chance do I have in keeping him?

If he comes seeking forgiveness, he'd probably get it, and then we'd seek help for our marriage. But if he wants out, there's little I would do to stop him.

HER on the other hand, would get the most severe butt whopping of her life and would probably be considered lucky if I didn't run her over with my car.

Chrissi said...

Hard question!

I think that it would definitely depend on the circumstance. A one time thing or a relationship?

If it was a relationship or repeat cheatings I would definitely send the hubs packing, only after running over all of his golf clubs with my car of course.

It it was a one time deal I think that with lots of therapy and lots of time things could be ok, as long as hubs is sincerely sorry and I trust that he will never cheat again.

Before we had our baby I would probably say "Any infidelity and you're out, no questions" but now I feel that for my baby's sake we would need to really try and work things out.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

oooh oooh Alex!!! I love your new avatar!!!

Okay, Heather is a smarty pants and I agree with her on this part, "How can you say "Honey it meant nothing!" and expect me to stay? That would be like saying the trust we had meant nothing if you could throw it away for something you admit means nothing."

That is so true and I wholly agree with that statement...And oh how I would hope that I could do it.

This is the thing. With my husband, I'm completely pathetic.

I'm so thoroughly whooped that he could do almost anything and I'd forgive. I can honestly be so incredibly upset with him, but I always forgive him and being upset with him last only 10.2 seconds before I'm tired of being mad about it.

I've repeatedly told him that if he cheated on me I'd leave him, not because he had sex with someone else, because for me that is forgiveable, it's if he created a bond with someone else similar to ours that would kill me.

See with guys it's different. They could have sex with another woman and never let emotions become involved. Women, or I should just speak for myself, I would have a rough time not letting my emotions become a part of it because I'm one that forges bonds with whomever I associate with.

Yet, I find myself changing my opinion after discussing this with friends and family. Deep down, I'd want to be strong enough to end it with him, but really... I'd probably forgive him if it was just sex. If he actually became emotionally involved with that other woman, then forgiving him wouldn't be an issue, because he wouldn't want to be forgiven... he'd most likely want to leave me.

Now, he does it twice to me and I'd have no choice. Pride would insist that I leave him. Even though, because I'm pathetic, I'd want to be with him.

Especially if he is the same person cheating that he is now with me and our kids. I truly chose well...

Now that I've made little sense... I'll sit back and stew over the replies coming in.

Tit for Tat said...

Of course it would mean something, but anytime you do any kind of negative behaviour it means something. Infidelity is no more a trust breaker than lets say secretly snorting coke or gambling the house. I understand for many it is a deal breaker, but for us the only absolute is abuse of each other or the children. The rest is workable, albeit some would be extremly hard.

~DokterKenny said...

I was gonna comment, but this hit home on so many levels...I thought better of it

Elaina said...

For me, it would depend on his emotional relationship with the woman. I could handle it, I think, if it was just physical. I think there are some people in the world, male or female, that simply cannot be happy in a monogamous relationship. If you're one of those people, then I think it's selfish to make that kind of committment if you know you can't keep it. However, some of them do. If my husband was one of those people, then I guess sex with other people would be the price I would pay to be in a relationship with him, and it would be up to me to decide if that was a price I was willing to pay. For me, I think I would, as long as it wasn't some big secret. I don't handle being lied to well.
However, it's the emotional aspect that I could not/would not tolerate. We are a unit, and if I can't meet his emotional needs, then there's no point in continuing a marriage. If occasional sex with someone else were really important to him, then I would probably be able to find a way to live with it, but I could not handle an ongoing affair, because to me that's not about just sex, its about intimacy. Does that make sense? I hope so.
I've never been with anyone but my husband, sexually, but I'm still pretty liberal with my views on sexuality. For me, and him, sex is not about the emotional, it's about the physical. It's the other things, the romance, the pre- and post-coital snuggling, the long talks, that are the emotional, and it's those things that I would be jealous of if he were getting them from somewhere else. If he just wants sex, then I can deal, as long as it's not a secret. I don't want to be lied to.

Anonymous said...

Not sure what I'd do.
I would be devastated for sure.
I'd hope we would be willing to work it out.
But IDK.
Tough Question.

GoodWill said...

Really hard to say without it actually happening. With that said, I don't think it would be a deal breaker for me. I do, however, think that some time apart to really process it would be in order. A lot of it would depend upon why it happened, how it happened.

My wife had said early in our relationship that cheating is a definite deal breaker for her. She seems to be set in the "once a cheater, always a cheater" and if you do it once, you can't be trusted again. Personally, I'm not so black and white. I think there are shades of gray - not that it's ever OK to cheat, but reasons why someone might cheat that could be worked through.

Momma Sunshine said...

The question is too difficult to answer. There are too many factors and too many unknowns to answer this would depend on the person who did the cheating, their reasons behind it, the circumstances surrounding it....for me, forgiveness is possible, but not under every single circumstance. I would have to be in it to know for sure how I would react.

Anonymous said...

I think it is easy to draw a hypothetical line in the sand until you are actually in that situation. There are a lot of things that would have to be weighed into the equation.

Given kids, shared history and my feelings for my spouse, I think I could forgive and move on once, depending on the circumstances. After that, all bets would be off.

Also, I don't buy that people just can't be in a monogamous relationship. That is just an excuse to condone one's choices to the contrary. Yes people are human, and have human failings, but it still comes down to choice, self-control, and allowing such a situation to develop in the first place.

That said, I agree with Tat, most things can be worked through as long as both parties are committed to doing so. It may be difficult, but it can be done. Trust can be rebuilt. It may not be the same as the absolute, unquestioning trust that it may have been at the outset of a relationship, but it can be re-established.

In fact, I am close to a couple who has worked through this exact issue and 5-10 years after the fact are happier than they could have ever imagined. It may not have been an easy road at first, but they are stronger and more committed than ever.


kyooty said...

I would be gone! I'd get myself financially able and get the hell out! I'm not going to stick around with someone that thinks so little of my feelings that they think it's "OK" to give my time or feelings to someone else. I signed up for all those things they belong to me, I deserve more and I'm worth more then that!
If my husband is weak enough to go elsewhere then he wasn't really there to begin with. Actions have consequences, and I also wouldn't want this example for my children.
This is very close to home for me but not my own relationship. I know someone going through this, so I've had a lot of time to think about it.

kyooty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Fat Gini said...

Ten years ago, I would have said infidelity was a deal-breaker for me. There would have been no way that I'd stay with something who hurt me so deeply.

Now, after almost eleven years of marriage, my perspective has changed. I can't really give a definite answer to that question. Would I pack my bags immediately and leave? No. But it would take a lot of soul searching, a lot of talking, and probably a ton of time before I was even able to make a final decision.

Relationships just aren't as black and white as we think they are sometimes...

Anonymous said...

Nothing is black and white. I agree with Tit for Tat, and would go farther and say that cheating isn't any worse than breaking any other vow. Of course you never see headlines on US Magazine like, "Brad Emotionally Abandons Angie!"

I would probably want to work it out, depending on the circumstances. Of course, actually walking in on it and seeing it would make the reconciliation process much, much harder.

heelsnstocking said...

I caught my hubby having an affair years ago, he still doesn't know I know. I want him to think I wouldn't tollerate such behavior but didn't want to divorce as we had just had a baby so I kept quiet. I don't know how he would react if he caught me?

Tit for Tat said...

I heard a good one from a lady who was married 50yrs plus.

"When my husband fell out of love with me, I loved him more, and when I fell out of love with my husband, he loved me more."

Give and take, does it ever end?

DCHY said...

I would've divorced my wife on the spot. That's that.

Danielle said...

Knowing myself, I would try to forgive, but it would eat away at me until there was nothing left. So as much as I would want to work it out, I would in the end, leave.

nitebyrd said...

I'd do a happy dance!

Unknown said...

Some have said until you are in this situation you never know what you would do.

I have been in this situation. I loved my ex more than I had ever loved anyone. When I found out he had cheated, I TRIED to make it work but I never trusted him again. We eventually split up for good shortly thereafter.

I would never go through the heartache of trying to make it work ever again. It is a deal breaker.

Anonymous said...

I would say its a deal breaker but do I really know that? Hard to say. I've been flirting with someone via email for a few weeks and we've almost met a few times. My husband and I are seperated so I don't know if that makes a difference. Do I plan to tell him? Only if this other person (who fully knows my situation) started dating and wanted a relationship together.