What you told us about women, infidelity
April 8th, 2011
12:56 PM ET

What you told us about women, infidelity

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him at his website, GoodInBed.

After  posting yesterday on The Chart about  female infidelity, an outpouring of comments - more than 1,200 so far - sprang forth, some of which took issue with my opening line that “in a committed relationship nothing hurts more, or is harder to recover from, than infidelity, and this is even truer when it’s the female partner who’s been doing the cheating.”

My intention was not to downplay the danger of male infidelity,  or to unfairly demonize female infidelity, but rather to offer the observation that men and women frequently cheat for different reasons, and that by the time a woman has reached the point of infidelity she’s often emotionally vacated her primary relationship, making it all the harder to engage in a meaningful process of recovery.

On that point,  an important theme that came through loud and clear in the comments was that there is a pervasive double standard in society when it comes to infidelity in general, and that women are encouraged (via media and often by their female peers) to suck it up and stick it out, whereas men do not experience the same pressure to forgive and forget.

Wrote one commenter:

“I had a debate on this a couple of months ago and most of the men said a woman should not cheat, but that she should accept a man's cheating as normal. A few of the men said cheating was wrong for both parties and obviously, all of the women said cheating was wrong for both parties. Nearly all of the men said they would leave their woman if she cheated on them while nearly all of the women said they would give their man another chance.”

This double standard ends up doing a lot of damage: Many women that would like to leave and probably should leave often end up staying, and conversely many men who would like to potentially stay and work it out cannot find an authentic support system, or a way of transcending the blow to their ego.

Another persistent theme in the comments was the pain of infidelity, regardless of which sex is doing the cheating.  Infidelity packs multiple blows: There's not only the trauma of the infidelity itself, but also the web of lies and deceit  often perpetuated in the aftermath. Many, if not most, couples do choose to stay together post-infidelity, but that doesn’t mean that their relationship ever truly recovers.

Infidelity cuts deep and leaves a scar (if you’re lucky); the alternate is an open wound that never heals. With infidelity, the couples who recover are not the ones who forgive and forget, but rather “forgive and remember,” and use that memory to stay committed to the process of transparency.

In yesterday’s article I wrote “cheating is an equal opportunity sport, one that women are just as likely as men to play” and throughout the explosion of comments it was truly invigorating to being reminded of the other side: Not everyone cheats

“I am a woman who has never cheated and never will. I have more respect for myself than that. The one man who did cheat on me? I walked away from and never looked back. All woman (sic) don't cheat. Neither do all men.”

Well said, and thank you everyone!

soundoff (534 Responses)
  1. Frank

    Pop psychology writers like this never discuss the fact that men and women have, instinctively, different mating strategies. The men all desire to play Johnny Appleseed, the women want to nest. Without a frank look at our natures versus our intellects, nothing can be accomplished but grinding letters in a news blog that accomplishes...nothing (including my post here).

    April 9, 2011 at 22:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. No Apology

    I am a wife who cheated. I make no apology.

    To those who say it was a selfish act: I agree. However, would you have me sacrifice myself entirely? For what? Upon what alter would you place me? I had already given up my family, my health, my life-goals, and a large portion of my self-respect to my husband in attempts to work our problems out. They have failed. I have lived a life in fear and instability for over a decade.

    The same religion that requires wives to obey their husbands, requires husbands to love their wives. I am not loved by my husband, by his own admission. Having an affair was the moment when I took back control of my own life.

    April 9, 2011 at 23:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • forgivenessequalsbliss

      So leave him...for your own good and for his. Cheating will only lead you to a very bad place. Cheating is nothing more than selfish self destruction. If there is any good in you at all, you will one day regret your actions and you will hate yourself for what you have done. Better to turn from this evil now before you pile more filth upon yourself. I speak as one who has been cheated on by my wife of over 20 years. I've forgiven her, and we are now VERY happy, but it has been a difficult road. Seek forgiveness and you will find it. Maybe not from your husband...but he sounds like a jerk anyway.

      April 9, 2011 at 23:32 | Report abuse |
    • K

      My husband admitted he never loved me, either. He only married me for my money. So I left him, and he tried to get alimony from me. Fortunately, our state doesn't give alimony automatically; he's now scraping by on a low-paying job that doesn't require him to work too hard, and telling everyone how I ruined his life. No, what ruined his life was his admission that he loved another woman but wanted me to pay their rent so he could move in with her.

      April 10, 2011 at 11:49 | Report abuse |
    • John

      Grow up. If you're unhappy in your marriage then get a divorce but don't lie and cheat. It's called being a mature adult.

      April 10, 2011 at 14:22 | Report abuse |
    • Realtime

      You sound no different than him. Hypocrite.

      April 10, 2011 at 18:21 | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      +1 on the mature adult statement. Avoiding your problems by adding to them is childish.

      April 10, 2011 at 19:23 | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Yes, you deserve all that.Infidelity destroys so many loves.I'm not sure you shouldn't be in prison.

      April 10, 2011 at 19:37 | Report abuse |
    • Jorge

      K-why did you fall for the worthless moocher in the first place? Was it perhaps that you are one of those women who have a jones for "bad boys"?

      April 11, 2011 at 08:47 | Report abuse |
    • tiff

      Wow... if that doesn't sound like an attempt at justification I dont know what is.. "well he did and said blah blah blah so I can"

      That is the worst argument I have ever heard! If you are sooooo unhappy and have lost everything to stay with this man, then why are you still there? LEAVE ALREADY! Let me clue you in to how people with a little class and self respect handle this.. he treats you like crap? You pack you clothes and personal items and walk out the door. THEN after some time you can find another man.. you dont find the other man first!

      April 11, 2011 at 10:02 | Report abuse |
    • Ziti

      I am proud that you can admit it openly as you are.

      I once worked with a women much older than myself but who was in a similar situation. She slaved away at work only to return home to man who did not love her. She had three children and he was absent in their relationships. Rather than forsake herself and allow herself to be miserable (as my own mother did with my family), she chose to find some happiness for herself. It may be selfish to cheat on someone but it is also selfish to ignore the needs of others, especially to those whom you have made "holy vows before the eyes of God".

      Ideally, you should be able to talk about things and find a way that each party can find happiness, acceptance and love but there are times when people do not wish to compromise. If you don't take control of your life at that point, you will forever indenture yourself to the ones who cause you misery. No relationship is worth forsaking your own happiness for.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:20 | Report abuse |
    • determined277

      you sound like the wife I am divorcing now. the best thing to do was to split up and move on but not cheat and hurt yourself, him and kids. but again there are always second chances in life if you are truly sorry for what you did which you are not, according to your own statement. hey by the way just know that the next person might be even worst than the first one if you don't seek for healing first and clear out your mind.

      April 12, 2011 at 20:28 | Report abuse |
    • shecheatedonme

      so because he treats you bad you get to cheat? no thats not the way it works, thats what a seperation or divorce is for. cheating didnt do anything but make you into a back stabber, you feel justified in what you did because of the way he treates you....so is that what you want to teach your kids, "its ok for a man to treat a woman like crap cause she can cheat to make up for it".

      April 21, 2011 at 17:25 | Report abuse |
    • Luz Ottens

      To No Apology. Maybe if you had been on the other end of the of the deception and your husband had cheated on you your way of thinking and feeling so defensive of your actions would be different. Being betrayed by someone you love and respected erases all that life you knew before the infidelity. It changes you as a woman or man for ever. If you had already checked out of your marriage why stay married? You had choices, we all have choices in our lives. You chose to be unfaithful and nothing excuses that action no matter how horrible your marriage was. There is a saying that goes like this "Every choice you make has eternal consequences, so choose wisely." I have always lived by this since I am the one that has to live with the choices I make and the consequences that come from these choices, whether good or bad. I could never live with myself if I betrayed my partner, the guilt would simply destroy me.

      May 8, 2011 at 10:56 | Report abuse |
    • slong

      you wanted it. you all want it

      May 11, 2011 at 18:37 | Report abuse |
  3. been there

    Please let me pose a question (as this actually happened to me). From the beginning, it was very clear that I wanted to have children, and the person that I married lied to me, and the priest that he wanted children too. Years later he finally admitted that he never wanted to have any – what would you do?

    April 9, 2011 at 23:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • K

      Divorce him! Catholic marriages can be annulled if one partner didn't want children. If it's not too late for you, have children with another man. If you're post menopausal, look into foreign adoption or private adoption.

      April 10, 2011 at 11:52 | Report abuse |
    • LEB

      If I was young, i'd end it and find someone who wanted kids, and soon. If I was, say, 40, then it's too late. Menopause would be maybe 5 years off, and there's no guarantee you'd get pregnant even if you married someonee new within a few months. If I was older and otherwise still wanted my marriage, I'd find other ways to participate meaningfully in children's lives.

      April 10, 2011 at 12:57 | Report abuse |
    • Melba Kaimuki

      LEB: There's always adoption 🙂

      April 10, 2011 at 19:23 | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Stop rationalizing your infidelity and get out of your marriage.

      April 11, 2011 at 08:26 | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Divorce him, cause he's a liar, hes proving that from the beginning. However, whatever the greater man has in store for you no one can take it away. If its meant for you to have kids, you will. Keep your head up.

      April 11, 2011 at 09:22 | Report abuse |
    • tiff

      Dear beenthere: If he lied you ahve to figure that out.. but what would you lying and cheating accomplish? It would only serve to prove that you are no better than he is.
      Almost all religions allow for a divorce in this type of case if that is what you really want. If you DID cheat and became pregnant what would you tell your husband? Would he really be the dad that every child deserves?

      April 11, 2011 at 10:09 | Report abuse |
  4. Larry

    The problem is that people want their cake and to eat it too. Cheating is selfish destructive behavior no matter who is doing it. It proves a person does not have the ability to love.

    April 10, 2011 at 08:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Annabelle

      It proves that a man or woman does not truly love the partner that they are with. It does not mean that they don't love their children. They may cheat to find love outside of the marriage that they don't feel with their partner, but not tell their partner or leave because of the children. They feel, and I can truly understand this, that it is better to keep it a secret for the sake of the children than to put them through a divorce.

      April 11, 2011 at 22:18 | Report abuse |
  5. me2

    Reason 7,912 why relationships don't work. I think everyone would be better off if there were no relationships and people just lived the single life! But our society tells us that you got to find that ' special one' and settle down, have kids, a house, with 2 car garage and white fence even though one or both ppl may be miserable just so the kids can grow up in an ' unbroken home'.

    April 10, 2011 at 09:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • 14401

      You hit the nail on the head.

      April 10, 2011 at 18:31 | Report abuse |
    • Melba Kaimuki

      me2: But everyone should realize that the "2.5 kids 1 car" message ISN'T for everyone.

      For some, it is a good thing to promote. But some people don't want a family. Some people want to be single forever, or a couple forever. Some singles want to have one night stands all their life.

      April 10, 2011 at 19:24 | Report abuse |
    • Hey

      Just because it doesn't work for you, doesn't mean it won't work for anyone. Just because you'de be happier living the single life doesn't mean anyone would.

      April 11, 2011 at 13:38 | Report abuse |
    • gremlin

      Some relationships do, thank you. The problem I see is that there is an expectation that people get married, etc. and a lot of people jump in without really knowing (or even liking) the person they marry. Marriage and stable relationships do offer many advantages and positive things, but not if you just jump into it without thinking.

      April 18, 2011 at 09:09 | Report abuse |
  6. Forgiven wife

    Frank, your comment was the most refreshing of all, so you accomplished something, at least one person smiled. To LaVerne concerning STDs, be tested and come clean with your spouse, they don't deserve that and let them make and informed choice if you are infected. I went through a week of living hell while waiting on results. That was a good lesson itself on the making a very poor decision. I know there are arguments on both sides as to "confessing" or not hurting someone to that degree. If you open up, it is obvious there are real problems that go deep, but it gives couples a starting point at which to identify and work on their problems.

    April 10, 2011 at 09:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. KC

    "With infidelity, the couples who recover are not the ones who forgive and forget, but rather “forgive and remember” – I forgave the first time, which he used as permission to do it again.

    April 10, 2011 at 11:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Peter

    I agree with all on here that infidelity by either partner is wrong and extremely harmful, if not fatal to, any relationship. I would, however note one biological issue. It has been estimated that up to 15% of babies are born in a family with someone other than the marital father as its sire. This is often noted as well in nature - the reality that a man may spend many years raising a child sired by another male. That's why, in our genes, female infidelity is viewed more seriously. When a new pride alpha lion takes over a pride, he will often kill the cubs as he knows they were not his.

    April 10, 2011 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • gremlin

      Your biology is correct, but I think you need to rethink blaming it all on biology. Yes we are wired certain ways, but to extend your biology then we should condone a man killing a child if he finds out it isn't his? We form stronger, more social bonds than lions and there are other examples of animals raising children in groups. Your example also doesn't explain adoption. There are lots of examples of monogamous animals that mate for life. And there are plenty of females that take multiple partners in nature. Female promiscuity being less acceptable is a complex mix of biology, culture, economics, and religion. Don't try to simplify the problem with one cherry-picked example.

      April 18, 2011 at 09:17 | Report abuse |
  9. LEB

    The very practical reason women tolerate cheating more is because too many women allow themselves to become financially reliant on their partners. A full 70% of husbands outearn their wives. Thus, it becomes a matter of logic... "Do I leave my cheating husband and decimate my children's standard of living, or do I stick it out for the kids until college and then divorce him?" Very often, women make the latter choice.

    Men don't have thissame dilemma, because they usually earn enough to support themselves, and he knows that if he divorces her that the kids will probably be with her most of the time so it isn't a concern. Plus if the wife cheats, it's the perfect excuse to trade in for a "newer model." Men do remarry sooner, after all. Honestly, I think some cheating guys know that their wives rely on them for basic life needs to varying extents, so husbands who earn most of the money have the upper hand. It's not fair, but women do it to themselves.

    April 10, 2011 at 12:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • none

      women do not "do this to themselves." there are economic structures in place that dictate how much women's work is worth, and how much men's work is worth. individual women can't be blamed for this. it is not our "fault" that we do not earn enough money to support families on our own.

      April 10, 2011 at 15:08 | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      none: this may have been true 50 years ago. Today, women are more than capable of supporting themselves and a family if they choose to. The pay gap is more an issue of unfairness than it is an outright weight on the ability of a woman to live independent of a man. The statement that they do it to themselves is simplistic, of course, as it is a gender role created by society... but it is no longer a mandatory role. Women don't have to stay at home, if they choose to allow themselves to be pigeon holed into that position then it is exactly that, a choice.

      April 10, 2011 at 19:30 | Report abuse |
    • Hey

      Most men would outearn their female partners, because even for working females, salaries tend to be lower.

      April 11, 2011 at 13:40 | Report abuse |
    • gremlin

      Ummmm, yeah. I think you need to reset your time machine for 1950.

      April 18, 2011 at 09:18 | Report abuse |
    • NA

      Alright. It is true woman have the power to actually earn as much as men now days as opposed to the 1950's. However, there are jobs that will only hire men that pay a hellovalot more than a typical job a female would go for. Example: any construction work, coal mining, etc. You make big bucks doing these jobs but it's very rare they'd actually hire a female and give them the same work and pay as a man. As far as college education goes for a job, think about it. How many women actually have to drop out because they get pregnant while their man can continue their education unphased as the woman will sacrifice her education and time to support the child and her man's continuing education to support their family. Not always the case but you got to think about other things that effect women and their decisions as far as job placement and continuing education. They don't expect things to turn south when they make these decisions, they expect husband dear to take care of them and their families they help create. And then you got the men and women who do live by the old fashioned rules of the man is the bacon bringer and the woman is the home maker and child rearer. Some men prefer their woman not to work and believe it is wrong for them to have to. And then you got men who accuse their woman of infidelity just because she does work. And it still remains true that even in the same job as a man, a woman will still typically earn less. It's even more so true if the woman is over weight, however a man that is slightly over weight will earn more. I don't get that study but it is out there.

      October 11, 2011 at 10:36 | Report abuse |
  10. justathought

    My thought on this topic is rather simple.I think God or whom ever has given most people a brain with the ability to THINK and a heart to feel. Think/feel about someone else other than ourselves,but I have found that there are so many people lack or CHOOSE not to utilize the gifts of thought/feeling prior to their actions.To me if someone is truly in love they will always be in their thoughts and in their heart which would stop them from mindless actions and if that isn't the case it should be obvious that they just don't belong together and should just stop playing emotional games with one another.A little TRUTH / HONESTY will outlast DECEPTION any day.

    April 10, 2011 at 15:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. petunia

    a person who cheats is by default a liar and therefore you can not trust. It requires a great love to forgive, but if it is happening over and over or the relation become toxic and U stay then there is not ground for complaints. Either accept it (see Hilary's bio) or dump it (see Elizabeth Edwards' bio)

    April 10, 2011 at 15:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Greg Bowyer

    The author is simple stating that an emotional affair can be more difficult to overcome than a strictly physical affair. And by default women tend to have more affairs of the heart than men. When the "L" word enters the picture things change dramatically for both partners in a marriage. The husband will constantly wonder if his wife still loves the other man. Any mention of the words love, kiss, soulmate, affair will bring the infidelity to the forefront of his thinking. This constant thinking of his wife sharing her love with another man can be almost unbearable.

    April 10, 2011 at 16:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Forgive? Hell NO!

    My dirtbag ex-husband cheated on me. We were married for twenty years and had two very young children. I took the kids and left. I never looked back. I have too much self respect to put up with that crap. I can't imagine staying in a relationship in which "my partner" betrayed me on that level. I am now happier than I have ever been with a great guy who deserves my attention and commitment. Leaving him was the best thing I have ever done for myself in my life. I would do it over again in a heartbeat.

    April 10, 2011 at 16:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • someone

      geez, wonder why he cheated.

      April 12, 2011 at 20:55 | Report abuse |
  14. amjtx

    I was cheated on multiple times by my ex-husband. It is a type of a betrayal you almost never truly get over. Cheating is cowardice. It is not doing the hard work to make the current relationship you are in better and what you need. I am re-married to a wonderful man and we are expecting our second child, who is a loving, loyal, mature spouse who understand that marriage is not a bed of rose every day and that there is work involved to keep it alive and thriving. Now I look at my ex's cheating as a gift to me, because it has led me to a life that is much better and much more fulfilling.

    April 10, 2011 at 17:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. 14401

    Hummmmmm It takes two to tango. Usually two consenting adults. To society, marriage is a piece of paper, saying you are "married". It is not the marriage or what goes on in a marriage. The little piece of paper is just societies way of trying to control peoples lives. The real action is between two people.

    April 10, 2011 at 18:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Denisse

    When I was 16, my father told me that all men were pigs and that a man would always cheat no matter how much he loves a woman. Nice words of wisdom huh?

    My father's words and actions damaged my own perspective and it took a very long time to overcome his cynical views on life and the importance of moral values in accordance with gender.

    To this day, I can't look at him with any sense of respect. It disgusts me. Any man that uses their gender as an excuse to cheat is a certified idiot. I refuse to believe that a man is that weak, careless and ignorant to not be able to differentiate between right and wrong.

    Before you cheat - man or woman, please remember: you have a brain. Use it.

    I can certainly understand temptation. I'm married, and I've experienced it. But I love and respect my husband too much to ever do something as heinous as cheating on him. If you feel temptation, guess what? It's time to back away. It's not the time to indulge in something that can potentially destroy everything you've worked for.

    If you're married and you aren't happy and you can't work it out, get a DIVORCE. Get a divorce before you act on your impulses because in the end, your husband or wife might not be the only ones caught in the aftermath of your childish crisis.

    April 10, 2011 at 19:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mary

      The most sensible comment on this page. You deserve (and probably have) a lot of happiness in your marriage and in your life.

      April 11, 2011 at 08:28 | Report abuse |
    • MaudeL

      Wow. A lot of pro-divorce commentators today... I tend to feel like *trying to work it out* is a better solution. That's just me I guess.

      June 22, 2011 at 20:41 | Report abuse |
  17. Tom

    Though never married, I have been cheated on in a committed relationship. I've dealt with a lot of pain in my life, but none compares with infidelity. Personally, I think it should be a crime..... if you're married. The definition is difficult. Some people (women) think you can have an 'affair' over the Internet with someone you've never actually physically met. Maybe with a web cam it could be considered an affair?? What say you.sounders?? Kissing and anything beyond is an affair to me.... though maybe a drunken kiss is forgivable. In case you're wondering, when it happened tome it was the whole enchilada.

    April 10, 2011 at 19:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. David

    I beg to differ. Look at the movies. Films such as Bridges of Madison County,A Walk on the moon, The Piano and Unfaithful etc., glorify women cheating and even make the women heroic.

    April 10, 2011 at 20:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Adeline

    By infidelity, people betray not only people but also God, the Maker of every person. The consequence is eternal. Forgiveness, a new start and certain restorations are given by Savior Jesus but damages will remain. We must risk our lives not to cheat, not to sin, in the first place. Period.

    April 10, 2011 at 21:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • someone

      didnt mary cheat, you dont really think there was a holy ghost do you? Give her credit for the inventive story, and joseph, well cmon buddy, if my wife was pregnant and we never did it, (why didnt they) im sure as hell not going to believe no pie in sky story like a ghost did honey...alas to each his own.

      April 12, 2011 at 21:01 | Report abuse |
  20. Adeline

    It's not a double standard because there are practical sides. A cheating mother is more destructive to children than a cheating father. Woman demands less single-heartedness(purity) from man, though man strongly demands that for a woman, with a few exceptions. With present dating system since pre-teens years in the West, one can wonder how people could still care about cheating at all. It seems everyone is a traitor by now since youth. Kids seem to be experts in betraying their boyfriends or girlfriends. Traitors with records of treasons will live that way for the rest of their lives. How can they do otherwise? Wrong foundation bleeds wrong outcome.

    April 10, 2011 at 22:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Adeline

    Children need to be taught and demonstrated from early age to be faithful and loyal from both parents who kept faithfulness. That's the only hope for mankind. Otherwise, pain and dissatisfaction from selfishness(and therefore non-existence of true love) are the lifetime companiy for sure. People asked for it.

    April 10, 2011 at 22:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. h


    April 11, 2011 at 02:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Hang in there

    I'm sorry for all of those that have been cheated on. I agree that it's incredibly selfish. Please hang in there as there are decent people out there and hopefully you will be in a better situation soon. As to those who are willfully cheating and apparently experience no remorse and feel "justified," I find that incredibly sad. Why not just have an open marriage? Why did you get married in the first place if you are going to break your vows? Then just get a divorce. Hiding it is cowardly.

    A few yrs ago, my friend's brother found out that his wife was having an affair. It was horrible. He threw her out of the house, in front of their 2 elementary school aged children and the children were crying. Her lover was a real loser and had a girlfriend. I think my friend's brother and his wife are back together now "for the kids." It is heart breaking to see how much it pains the betrayed person as well as the children. And the consequences may have generational effects, as evidenced in Pistachio's case where she witnessed it in her parents' household and now sees nothing wrong with it (not enough to stop her behavior) and is perptuating it in her household (and perhaps leaving that as an "inheritance" for her kids to continue on for other generations. She'll never know as she may be long gone by then.)

    I have been married 8 yrs and have never cheated. We have one little boy. The bottom line is that I would hate myself if I ever did anything like that so it's just a matter of self-respect for me. And my husband, is a bit of a boy scout, which I love about him and has very good integrity. There are people out there that don't cheat and I am hopeful that most of us don't.

    April 11, 2011 at 02:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. B

    I read this and the other article, and I must say it was somewhat of an eye opener. I have been with my wife for 15 years. Last year, I found out she had cheated on me. I don't know a total amount of times, but 1 is more then enough. I fought tooth and nail to keep our marriage together. In the end my persistence and Love for her and our family paid off. We talked and battled over things, at one point she looked me straight in the face and told me she loved, but was not in love with me. IT KILLED ME. I ran through ALL our years together trying to think of the who, what, how and why we came to that point. I had hurt her many times in our past. I had in an indirect way cheated on her. No, I never physically was with another woman, but the incidents were enough to hurt and scar my wife. Here is a beautiful woman I LOVE, gave us 3 beautiful girls, and I take all that and throw it aside for my selfish ideas. The fallout came back and bit me in the ass. I invite any man on this thread who has been cheated on to take a serious look at them self, and their marriage...be honest in doing so. You will find YOU drove your wife to do what she did. IF you Love your wife, like you said the day you married her, MAN UP and do the right things to change yourself, and she will follow. My wife and I are stronger now then before. I am not going to say we do not still have our arguments, we do...we are married and have kids...it is going to happen. I also would tell anyone who has been cheated, pray. If you do not have any religion or God in your life...you will not make it, IMHO. I pray and thank God daily for my wife and family. I look forward to the rest of my life with my wife by my side, and God helping us move forward.

    April 11, 2011 at 08:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Me

      Thats really great that you know Him! However, two wrongs doesnt make it right. If the love that you two have for get other is that strong you should not have cheated in the first place. When your married you have to have communications. That's a must. Talk about whats making you unhappy. And too, some people are just nasty, they can't find that right someone for them so they mess it up for you. Be strong and put God first...

      April 11, 2011 at 09:54 | Report abuse |
    • B

      No, 2 wrongs most certainly do not make a right. As I said, I NEVER PHYSICALLY CHEATED on my wife. Cheated, however in the context of not giving HER my full attention...yes. Bottom line in my situation is as I stated above, and I pray any man or woman who ever has the misfortune to go through this can find peace on the other side.

      April 12, 2011 at 08:58 | Report abuse |
    • Hungette

      Thanks for a inside look on why cheating could happen and the results of it. I was cheated on before and now im remarried and I am beyond scared out of my wits end that it will happen to me again. Does anyone have ANY advice whos been through it, on how to shake the fear of it happening in a different marriage? I worry he will cheat on me with his ex wife–(theyve been divorced for 3 years). We live 15 min from her. I know its my own insecurities but can someone help me here. Yes I see her a few times a year at "family" functions due to a common kid. I feel SO uncomfortable thinking to myself that they want to be with eachother. UGH the damn damage selfish people do just because they want that 20 minutes of pleasure in a bed. Here I am a different marriage and a great man and the damaged caused to me is now interferring with my new "happy life. Help anyone??

      April 25, 2011 at 17:56 | Report abuse |
  25. Linda

    I have read the comments here and the one thing I did not see was the damage that is done to the non-cheating spouse. By this I mean the emotional distress that is experienced. As a woman that was cheated on, I think that it was the most devastating thing that ever happened to me. My husband explained that he cheated because I wasn't giving him enough attention. I could not find any area that had changed besides his infidelity. My self esteem went straight out the window. I have never felt the same since. We had young children at the time that were exposed to what their father had done. Our daughters are both grown now but have very little faith in men after seeing the things that their dad did. They don't believe in men or relationships.

    April 11, 2011 at 08:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. East Coast

    There is no reason, excuse or whine that will ever excuse infidelity. No, not even cheating by the other partner or lack of love, interest, etc. The only choice there is would be to leave that spouse. I would never forgive or expect to be forgiven. I would never stay with such an immoral and loose person so vicious as to have an intimate relationship inside our own marriage. Oh and I had "obey" taken out of my vows. Um, don't think so! However, I take my vows very seriously and death will be the only thing that separates me from my spouse.

    April 11, 2011 at 09:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Me

      I agree 210%, however these days people don't get married for love. They think marrage is a game. And they don't take their vows seriously. If your going to cheat, just be up front.

      April 11, 2011 at 10:01 | Report abuse |
  27. J

    People lambaste a married woman having an affair with a man. But no comments are made about a married man on here who says he's with 3 different lovers to satisfy his needs, and that his wife is in the "doesn't need to know column." And then we hear more lambasting of women who cheat, but actually encouraging it if she's "bi". And then some other gents on here talk about how men aren't wired for fidelity, and women should have no expectations of it. Then why have relationships, period. Why bother, really? Why enter a committed relationship with someone, bring children into the equation, and have no expectation that your partner is going to stick with you? And not give you diseases like hpv, which cause cancer. Or have other women saying that your husband is the father of her children. Yep. Why bother? If men aren't wired for fidelity, then don't marry them, don't co-habitate with them, certainly don't have children with them. Avoid them.

    April 11, 2011 at 09:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MaudeL

      Uh, 80% of the adult population has HPV, you don't need to cheat for that. Ever heard of condoms?

      June 22, 2011 at 20:51 | Report abuse |
  28. Zita

    I have read a lot of comments on this and i think it is interesting. i am not married but my boyfreind cheated on me once and i forgave him because i know (through actions) that he wants to be with me and wants "this" to work and i want that to. As for cheating women i agree that this happens when there is an emotional disconnection with your primary relationship. i am happy now. After this (cheating) our communication improved a lot and we realise that as young adults there is a lot of temptations out there but all we need to do is step back and think.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Joy

    Maybe pick up a book on the topic of "study of the family." There is no "golden" model for marriage, and people marry because it is the social norm, and people want companionship. A marriage is considered "functional", and a divorced couple is considered "dysfunctional." If there is cheating, the marriage is now dysfunctional, and getting a divorce would put a person back on a functional level. It is harder when children come into play, but if they are not, I would say RUN and don't look back.

    April 11, 2011 at 14:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Guest

    There is no way to decide a rule on weather or not a woman/man should stay if their partner cheats. Every case is different and has it's different reasons. My husband and I have been together since I was 14. I'm about to be 29. He cheated on me when I was 16. Yeah, I broke up with him for a little while, but in the end all the begging and pleading he did was enough for me to chose to forgive him. We have been happily married and have three beautiful children. I live life every day with my best friend. None of this would of happened if I hadn't chose to forgive him. With this said, that was when we were children. If my husband were to cheat now, I don't think I would ever be able to forgive him. If he cheated now, he wouldn't only be cheating on me, but he'd be cheating on our children, our family. Any time a relationship goes through any type of challenges, the two people must realy be honest with each other and look at the real picture. A man doesn't just cheat b/c he was tempted and a woman doesn't cheat b/c of her loser husband. It's in them, and they have to decide what they really are.

    April 11, 2011 at 14:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. dave

    i've been married thirty years. i've been faithful and am quite sure my wife has also. we have five wonderful kids, and several grandkids. there seems to be alot of frustration and lack of trust in these posts. i hope some of you can find a faithful partner who is willing to work hard and have a little self control. marrying my wife was the smartest thing i ever did.

    April 11, 2011 at 20:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Neutral


    April 12, 2011 at 00:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. reality

    look at you all... everything is so black and white.

    I especially like all the religiously influenced comments. Way to go, people without brains!

    Theres plenty of reasons to cheat. Theres plenty of reasons not to.

    If you do (or don't), thats your choice.

    I might be the only sane one, but since I'm not in your shoes, I wouldn't judge you anyways... and anyone who does judge you, is just talking out of their ass.

    April 12, 2011 at 00:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ClicketyClack

      Finally, someone who makes sense over here! As would be expected, there is a litany of comments crying about the villainy of the cheaters. Curiously, no one is urging the ones cheated on to sincerely and seriously examine why they were cheated on. Of course, they will tell you that they did the requisite soul searching and came up with the conclusion that they are the martyrs. But if you enter the minds of their relatives and friends, you might find some different answers there - ones that will never be disclosed to the cheated-on because after all, one is expected to commiserate with them. Let me give you 2 examples from my experience.

      1) My BIL cheated on my sister - several times. My sister is a fun, intelligent person whose company is delightful. BUT she is very demeaning and extremely shrewish when it comes to her husband. But she doesn't see it that way. She's the martyr, right? My theory is that every human has flaws and good days and bad days. Some days the flaws of your spouse may be water off your back whereas on an especially bad days, those very same flaws can just push you over the edge. And you rediscover that part of you that got chipped away a little piece at a time like Chinese water torture. My BIL has the biggest heart I know any person - he is incredibly generous and is a very sweet person. And you know what? People understand why he cheated. They see it as a character flaw but not a damning one, especially given what he has to live with.

      2) My husband's brother cheated on his wife. The wife is a total b***h - I personally see no redeeming quality in her. Neither does my husband. The brother is absolute pleasure to be with when his wife is not around. It's as if she sucks the life out of him with her presence. My husband and I sympathize with the guy and half jokingly hope that he gets another girlfriend and keeps it quiet this time.

      Of course, "leave then", will come the cries from the masses. People are so one-dimensional about these things. You don't live in their marriages, you don't know what their constraints are. They can have their own reasons for not leaving - those reasons may be unacceptable to you but then who died and made you god? And some of these sanctimonious "ethical" people are some of the most petty b*****ds I have ever come across in my life. They might lead an unblemished life but not much else can be charitably said about them besides that.

      April 12, 2011 at 17:50 | Report abuse |
    • My Two Cents

      Totally agree....who are we to judge someone's situation...yes it is wrong to cheat...but it is not for me to judge anyone.

      April 26, 2011 at 14:41 | Report abuse |
    • tommy the cheater

      Hey Mr or Ms Reality...You're sane??? then you must be talking out of YOUR ass because you just judged people who have a view point that includes God.
      Cheaters SUCK -that's all there is to it.

      May 1, 2011 at 22:50 | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      There's a few points that seem to be missing here.
      1) of course there are reasons for infidelity – people can justify anything. A man who beats his wife feels she made him do it. A child molester was once a victim. An poor man steals because he's poor.
      We're missing the point that, though we have the capacity to sympathize with why someone might feel a certain way and act on those feelings, doesn't make their behavior justified. Cheaters seem to have a victim mentality. They were the poor victims of a mean spouse, a sexless marriage, an unhappy marriage... Fill in whatever excuse you like. Part of being a mature individual is to take responsibility for your own behavior and feelings. No one can drive you to behave a certain way. It really all comes down to who you choose to be (and knowing who you are). If you think cheating is justified under certain conditions, why don't you let your spouse in on that piece of information before you choose to cheat? Or better yet, before you get married. I'll tell you why you don't share this information -because it would steal away your victim hood. It would force you to take a stand and address your issues. If you're standing up for yourself, your no longer the victim of someone else. You can't preserve your "I'm so sweet to my spouse" act , and place them in the they're so terrible" box, when there is actual dialog happening and you consider someone else's perspective. Cheaters are not mature individuals that believe in equality. Cheating is about feeling you've gotten even as the victim, yet you preserve your righteousness because you were justified by your feelings. Of course that's true when it's only your feelings that count.
      2) No one forced monogamy on you. If you stood and agreed to your wedding vows, but didn't really mean them- you are the fool for agreeing to something you didn't want. You can't blame your lack of courage to speak up on anyone but yourself. If you've been miserable for x number of years, yet you've never done anything to address it- that is again, your own fault. It's really amazing how cheaters play the victim of their spouse and an affair is the stand they are taking to say they're not taking it anymore! Wah-lah, the victim is now justified in becoming the perpetrator of the pain because they endured so much injustice. Therefore it was my spouses fault I cheated, I'm still the good guy/gal because I had no other choice. I made it about me this time, and I won't feel bad for that! This is my time to get what I want!
      The dysfunctional thinking of a cheater always paints them as the victim.

      October 1, 2013 at 13:11 | Report abuse |
  34. Marc

    Seriously, how many people are tempted to cheat but decided not to do so?

    Even temptation, in my mind, is borderline unethical and betrayal.

    When I think of temptation, I think of cheating on my diet and exercise plan with some junk food. I will never cheat or even be tempted to cheat, and yes, I am a man. A real man knows how to treat a woman.

    And I certainly don't give carte blanche to guys who cheat while condemning women. It's totally wrong no matter how you cut it.

    It's just shocking to me how selfish so many people are.

    April 12, 2011 at 00:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. asdf1222

    #1 It is no fault but your own if you cheat. In this day and age, if a man or woman abuses you (mentally or physically), you can exit a relationship. There should be nothing holding you back.

    #2 It doesn't matter if he/she didn't give you much attention or whatever, YOU are the one who should have been responsible enough to TALK TO THEM. If the whole relationship isn't working, then it is your responsibility to END it. To those with children, I will say the EXACT same. My cousins grew up in a house where both parents didn't love each other, and they all wished their parents would have divorced rather than continuing to stay together "for them".

    When it comes down to it, do you want to know why people cheat? It's because they are selfish. It should speak volumes about someones personality when they cheat on a husband or wife. It's basically like holding up a sign "If you don't give me what I want, I will cheat on you." Instead of trying to fix a situation or end it properly, they would rather bail. These people have no empathy, and don't deserve to be in a relationship.

    Any decent self respecting man or woman would end any relationship they see that cannot be redeemed before moving on.

    April 12, 2011 at 20:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. BW

    I've been with hundreds of married men. What impresses me most is how incredibly often men do it, only not with women. Instead, they do it with other men like me. And there are two things I hear quite often and consistently from them. The first is the surprisingly large number of married men who rationalize within themselves that it's not "cheating" if they do it with another guy instead of a woman. The second is that if they did not have the occasional outlet to safely do it, they would most likely leave their wives.

    April 13, 2011 at 01:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Yuck

      You must live in San Francisco.

      June 28, 2011 at 21:03 | Report abuse |
  37. mplaya

    My ex husband was verbally and abusive to me for years – and through all of it, with him thinking I was cheating with every man on the planet, I never ONCE thought about cheating on him. Not because of any religion, not for spite, not to show him I was an intelligent, funny, attractive woman or that I would have had plenty of "takers" – simply because I took the high road – why add insult to injury and cause more harm to my kids, family and friends. And personally, if you do have kids and DON'T have a nanny, how the hell do you find the time? Cheating just adds another "stress item" to your plate – why bother.
    If you're not happy, try therapy try to work on it and if not, curtail the cheating, get divorced and move on. If this guy/gal is so special in the first place they should stick around and wait for the finality of the marriage – however, seems like most of those relationships don't last longer eiether...
    my secret little joy is that my ex's new wife (who was also divorced) blew off a family vacation because she "had to work" – if you can call sleeping with another guy work – and sadly, some may disagree, but:
    "once a cheater........."

    April 13, 2011 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Brian

    Please, girls cheat just as much as guys do and even more over the past decade for money, seniority, revenge, or just because they haven’t been penetrated enough. I’m being honest, I'm 39, live in San Francisco and most girls I enjoy bedding are frustrated married rich woman.

    April 20, 2011 at 12:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. whatthef

    Swinging is the answer. Everybody has fun and nobody lies.

    April 26, 2011 at 11:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. art

    Men when truly in love, invests a lot of their hearts to women whom they thought will remain the same whatever.
    Women I think on the other hand knows the risks they have to face upon marriage(e.g. infidelity). Most men dont have that mindsetting. Theyre too in love (maybe). Just an innocent thought...

    January 16, 2012 at 22:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Surviving infidelity revenge affair

    Though cheating is a big offer along with has to be dealt appropriately, living through cheating will be far from not possible. In case your partner is absolutely remorseful about what he or she ...save marrage

    January 19, 2012 at 21:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. aj waldron

    He told me I was being paranoid and unreasonable. hacknspytech atgmaildotcom showed me that everything he was doing was just standard routine for people who cheat including every other thing in his email,sms and social media messages. Thank you, because without this I would have continued to believe his lies. You gave me peace of mind that I wasn't making it up,please try him out incase you might need some help because i Basically think we all don't have to face all these deceit and lies from our spouse and partners.
    i included the address incase you might need some help

    September 11, 2017 at 16:51 | Report abuse | Reply
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