Is Infidelity a Deal Breaker for You?

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When gathering information about infidelity, it is difficult to get a realistic grasp on how widespread cheating is. Why? Because obviously most people aren’t honest about infidelity, even when they are caught red handed. 

And although men seem to have to the reputation for cheating – the truth is that both men and women cheat. Even men and women who are in mostly happy, sexually satisfying relationships sometimes choose to cheat on their partners. 

Prior to having a family, most people are pretty adamant, that a cheating spouse will get the boot. Cheating is a deal breaker.  It’s a difficult thing for man or woman to recover from. It changes the relationship in such a profound way that many couples never recover. 

But something happens to folks once they have children together. While the expectations of a partner seem to rise to all time highs – the consequences of bad behavior seem to lessen.

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Even more interesting is a statistic reported by the Huffington Post that indicates when a man cheats, 3 out of 5 women stay in the relationship. Yet when a woman cheats, only 1 in 5 men choose to stay. If the couple has children, 4 out of 5 women CHOOSE to stay in the relationship. 

An expert explanation of the reason women choose to stay is as follows: Women tend to feel off balance, crazy etc. when they suspect a partner is cheating. When the cheating is confirmed, women tend to be able to move forward because they first feel validated (that they aren’t crazy) and then feel guilty and often responsible for the man’s behavior. 

The idealisms about being the perfect woman for their mate take over and women tend to believe that they have in some way caused their mates indiscretion. Men on the other hand are territorial and angry and normally cannot get over a wife/girlfriend cheating. 

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Plus, women feel responsible for creating the perfect family situation (whether married or not) for their children. When a woman has a child, she is prone to sacrificing her own happiness, needs, desires and wants in order to ‘save the family.’

I find this sad. But I also find this true. And I also have to agree with the thinking. I don’t know if I could walk out on my marriage of 18 years, with four children at home, because of infidelity.  

And let’s be honest….we NEVER know what we are going to do until it happens to us.  So please be kind in your comments.   

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Women internalize the affair, and believe that if they stop over-mothering, or pay more attention to their husband they can get the relationship back on track. And, women are often gravely committed to the substance of family over their own wants and needs. 

Infidelity is a very difficult subject. Even so, it is something that – according to statistics from the Durex Sex Survey – 8 out of 10 of us will be faced with in our relationship. 

Now that you have a family, is infidelity still a deal breaker? Do you have any advice for women who are dealing with a cheating spouse

 

What do you think?

Is Infidelity a Deal Breaker for You?

Stef Daniel is the 40ish year old, experienced (meaning crazy already) mother of count ‘em…4 daughters (yes, she takes prayers) who have taught her nearly E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G she needs to know about raising kids and staying sane. She hails from a small town in Georgia where she lives with her family in a red tin roofed house (w ... More

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98 comments

  1. Profile photo of momtothree momtothree says:

    To NatashaBrowning: Wow, I hate to hear of any other woman going thru stuff like this. I’m sorry that you are in this situation with your 2 babies. Hopefully we can both find peace in our situations and move on with whatever decision we decide. I know for me I am still conflicted cause of my 2 kids with my ex and he keeps saying he is different now and he wants to make things work cause this is the first time I actually sttod up for myself and left, but can I trust him. Right now, NO!!! But maybe later on in the future if he keeps up his honesty and his promises and gives me the time and space I need to heal my heart. Maybe!!! I hope you find hope in knowing that you are not alone.

  2. Profile photo of rebeca rebeca says:

    I would forgive my partner depending on the situation and reasons why. I’ve cheated in the past and it doesnt make u an evil person. We are humans and are bound to fall into temptation. And i am a perfect example of once a cheater always a cheater-NOT TRUE!!!. People can change. Specially having children and you should do everything you can possibly can to save your marriage and family. But i think most men take advantage of that. Always think twice about cheating and crossing that line. It changes a relationship forever and is never worth it.

  3. Profile photo of meghan meghan says:

    Where are all the dudes at? Ive been married only a few years and my wife has cheated on me with same guy on 2 different occassions. The first was before we were married and I was off doing my ARMY thing. I choose to accept it simce its common in military relationships. The second time I was the one who went to a councilor. Either way I dont think sex is important enough to just dump a relatioship in the trash when my son is now involved. Why should my son suffer and go without because my wife wanted some strange. If it was a situation where it was a "relationship" not a fling I would call it quits but I as adude dont believe sex alone is a big enou

  4. Girl I am so in ur situation.. But this just came out 2 weeks ago that she’s pregnant. She is actually his daughters moms bestfriend. It’s a mess and the 2 girls live together. Their situation should really b on Jerry springer. So now that I found out I kicked him out after being together for 7 years and married for 5 and 2 kids later. So now he lives with BOTH of his BABY MAMAS! And his daughters mom is dating his new baby mamas brother.

  5. Profile photo of Rebecca Rebecca says:

    You cried and begged him to stay, after HE cheated?? Girl, grow a pair and get yourself some dignity. SMH. See, THIS is the type of behavior that influences guys to think they can walk all over us women, which includes cheating on us, spending all the money on vices, etc…which makes it very messy for the women who actually want to stand up for themselves and get treated with as much respect as guys give other guys. Ugh.

  6. I also couldnt agree more with you. It is so easy for a woman to say "oh if he EVER cheats on me he is OUT!" but in reality its all about being open and honest with one another. You have made some really good points, thanks for bringing common sense to everyones attention! :)

  7. Profile photo of momtothree momtothree says:

    Ok, well I have been going thru this for tha past 5 years, my husband cheated on me the first month we were married and I decided to forgive him and try to make things work. However he decided to keep cheating on me for the duration of our 5 year relationship. When I fianlly said enough was enough it was 12 woman later, and he had a baby with another woman as well. I thought that if I had forgave him and been a better wife that he would eventually stop but that was far from the case, in my situation. Now that I have walked away, he is begging for me to come back and making all the promises I have heard for the past 5 years that he will never do it again. I want to believe him so bad cause we have 2 wonderful kids together and I have a daughter from a previous marriage and I don’t want my kids to be with out their dad, but I can’t. I have lost who I am. I have become so depressed in my life and what I have let him do to me. I really wish that I would have walked away the first time he cheated, like I always told myself I would do if it ever happened to me. I know everyone is different,but my thought are now, "Once a cheater, always a cheater!!!" I now have to live with my choices of staying and hoping that he would realize what he had before it was too late and now that it is too late, him finally realizing what he had and our family broken. I now have to look my kids in ther eyes and see the pain of their father not being around and know that this somehow is my fault that they are sad, even though if my ex-husband would have only kept his "bleep" in his pants, we would still be a happy family. Sorry, if I have offended anyone, this is still real fresh for me. I just left him less then 2 months ago and he is still trying everyday to get his family back together. So I have had no time to heal my broken heart.

  8. Profile photo of 3babies 3babies says:

    wow, so many different opinions and depressing stories. But maybe that is because it happened to me as well. I started to fall out of love with my husband for so many different reasons. I actually pushed him away from me & my life. He and I grew so far apart, married young, him being military & police officer, was really hard on our marriage. He made so many life deciosions without consulting me that cheating was almost a given. So when my son was 18 months old, I finally divorced. I did not want my baby to grow up unhappy & to think that that was normal. I had child number 2 with someone who I had known for a while & was head over heels in love, then only to be betrayed by alcohol & drugs. So, was that my fault that I was desperately searching for something to heal me? After being single mom for several years & having not one ounce of trust in my hear t for men, I finally met my current husband. We were both at the age that we knew what we wanted. Both divorced and ready to find a partner for life. Now that I found that, I would surely be heart broken & a deal breaker if he ever cheated. I would probably give up on the whole concept & focus on my children & career. Being hurt & betrayed is just too hard to recover from. I think faith in our Lord & trying to be honest & a good person will pay off… I sure hope & live by it.

  9. Profile photo of Tamara Tamara says:

    @Kwray- I couldn’t agree more. I never leave anything to chance. My husband and I have also talked about "what if’s"- not b/c we plan on cheating on one another but to know where we would stand. My husband said if its once, no connection other than sex its fine. I have never cheated on my husband and I believe he has never cheated on me. We have been married for almost 3 years and I love him the same as when i first met him. If in the future i do cheat it will be b/c of a reason. As you stated women don’t cheat b/c of sex. its a connection missing. I pray i never lost that connection with the love of my life. But i think you are a realist… men cheat… we have to be open about it. period.

  10. Profile photo of Sarah Sarah says:

    I think that if i caught my husband cheating i would stay and try to work it out. Everyone makes mistakes and deserve to be forgiven and to get another chance. This is not to say that its ok to make it a pattern. Cheat on me once shame on you, cheat on me twice shame on me. We took vowes that are forever through good and bad and we plan on keeping those vowes. I know if i made that mistake i would want forgivness.

  11. Profile photo of Rebecca Rebecca says:

    Cheating IS a deal breaker. But I also very strongly believe that if I get cheated on, then I must cheat back to "even the playing field". Otherwise, I will end up harboring resentment to an unhealthy level for a VERY long time (probably forever), even long after the relationship ends, and yes even if I am able to successfully move on from the relationship sometime later on.

    Another reason I believe in "revenge/retaliatory cheating" is because in many cases when I’ve been cheated on, the guy stopped "putting out" to me. So not only did I suffer from cheating, but I was also suffering from a "drought" too. Screw sustaining a drought…time to end the drought…hence "retaliatory cheating". :)

  12. Profile photo of kelly cannon kelly cannon says:

    deal breaker once it’s done they will always do it

  13. Profile photo of Trace Trace says:

    thanks for responding to my post :) yeah you’re right, you know i wanted to kill him when i found out, but just bringing it up because i couldn’t hold in my bitterness and rage just made things worse! it made him guilty, then his frustration would turn into anger, to the point i didn’t even feel safe around him with the kids! like his guilt from cheating caused him to become almost suicidal! I’m like, jeez i don’t want to live like this, but the other part of me doesn’t want to give up. I know it’s going to be an uphill struggle but I am willing to do it if I know we can build a better and more fruitful marriage than we had even before i found out he cheated. it definitely doesn’t excuse him from what he did and I get mad when he is upset that i can’t forget about it, because truth is that memory continues to haunt me. i’m not pretending to be happy, i’m choosing to take actions and hoping that the real happiness i’m looking for will follow as a result. i’m glad we can share about this and we’re not alone, because the article is right..i just felt miserable trying to find out what is wrong with me to make him do that?

  14. Profile photo of Trace Trace says:

    oh nancy, my heart and prayers go out to you. Women are always the ones who have to face a majority of the burdens, and I pray for you and the baby to be healthy too. I have a 6 yr old too and thought that this baby was the answer to our prayers after having a very rocky marriage, but then was very disappointed after i found out my husband cheated. He’s taking the blame but all i can think of is getting revenge because I never got an apology from the other girl and I know behaving that way is taking me further away from the person God wants me to be. It’s so true, that at least 50% of women would leave their husbands if they could but stay because of finances. Do your best to save your money and cover your behind because you just can’t depend on them for everything. it’s not good to pretend because like the others said, anger will build and explode one day, it’s like a cancer. It sounds naive of me but i honestly thought my husband was perfect. I’m choosing to love him and trust that he doesn’t do it again because I won’t tolerate it another time. Be strong because you are better, and God will open doors for you, just trust in Him!

  15. Profile photo of KWRAY KWRAY says:

    One: Everyone’s "deal breaker" is based on experiences. I was molested as a child so my husband knows if he ever touched my children that I couldn’t forgive that. I also cheated on my husband, then fiancé, once. I was in a very confusing place in my life. When I told my husband weeks later he forgave in the same minute. When I suggested that we break up for his sake he was more hurt that I had suggested a separation. Because of this experience I knew I would forgive the same.
    Two: Men are depicted as sex driven for a reason. Science will back up that men have a natural instinct to spread seed. Just like animals, men have a strong desire to have sex and preserve the species. Women have a strong, maternal instinct. However, the difference between us and animals are moral choices. Animals act on basic urges and will do anything for survival. I think it is wrong to fault men for finding other women attractive. It is more natural for men to have multiple sex partners than mate for life.
    Three:Generally when men cheat it is "just sex". Even though that is no excuse or consolation to use mothers who sacrifice our bodies for children, sometimes it’s simply sex. Women have a tendency to become more emotionally involved with sex. Anyone female with a healthy relationship will tell you sex is more than sex. So women cheating can often be more hurtful to a family.

    Four: Every relationship needs to have communication. My husband would give me a hard time for bringing up hypotheticals, or "loaded questions", but discussing multiple scenarios helped us a lot. I learned that my husband would almost always forgive me for cheating as long as I always loved him more. I don’t know that I could be that open minded, but we have that comfortable line of communication. Nothing is off limits.

    Five: My opinion has always been that determining a "deal breaker" before you commit to a person, though good in theory, isn’t always black and white. Suppose you tell your husband that if he ever cheated on you that you would pack up the family and leave. Years into your marriage he has a moment of weakness and he knows it was wrong. He can’t be honest because he’s afraid of the consequence so he’s forced to lie. How is that healthy for a relationship? Understanding and forgiveness are all huge parts of a serious, committed relationship.

    Now, all of this being said, EVERYONE is entitled to their own opinions. I understand why people cut husbands loose, but I also feel like there is plenty of good that can come from working it out with a willing partner. Sometimes it’s more obvious when to leave a cheating spouse, but I just hope that we don’t let our own hurt feelings get in the way of a hard journey of forgiveness that could possibly lead to a stronger relationship.

  16. Profile photo of Frankie Frankie says:

    i belive if your happy and truly in love you wouldnt cheat…my husband doesnt mind eating the same ceral everyday..n like wise my end. if it happened it would depend on many factors…number one is HONESTY.

  17. Profile photo of Lisa Lisa says:

    I’m not honestly sure how I would react NOW but several years ago I was in a LTR with someone (we started dating when we were 14, stayed together for 12 years and had 3 kids together). I forgave indiscretions over and over again. I took him back more times than I can count and I gave it my all but ultimately, he didn’t treat me right and he didn’t respect me. He knew that no matter what he did, I’d take him back. After asking me to get an abortion with our youngest, I finally had the courage to leave and never go back. I didn’t find out until later that the reason he asked me to abort our child was because he was dating someone behind my back and didn’t want to tell her that his "ex" was pregnant. In that relationship, I should have realized long before I did that he would not change. He wasn’t sorry for what he’d done and as long as I kept allowing it, he’d keep doing it.
    Now, I am very happily married to a someone that I can’t even begin to imagine will ever cheat, but if he did, I think it would be a one time thing, he’d be heartbroken and it would never happen again. I have a hard time accepting that, but I also want my kids to know that although I don’t want to see them in a bad marriage, I do want to them to give it all they’ve got. "I do" should be for life. I want to model honor and forgiveness for them. But I also want them to be able to stand up for themselves. Like so many have said, you never know until you’re in that situation what you would really do. I just hope that if I am in that situation again I handle it with grace and integrity.

  18. Profile photo of vanessa vanessa says:

    Deal breaker. I don’t think I could ever recover from something like that.

  19. Profile photo of Ann Ann says:

    Two years ago I would have said undoubtedly, I would have left and never looked back.

    Then life happened.

    I found out on Mother’s day last year that my husband of 4 years had drunkenly cheated. I cried and said we would pretend it never happened and go on with our lives. A day later he admitted to it happening multiple times with the same girl and said he was leaving, I cried and begged him to stay. We decided to work on it, I wanted our happy little family to stay intact and normal. At the time our kids were 4 and 10 months and I didn’t want them to be affected at all by it. He said he’d change his going out ways and we’d go back to normal. A few weeks later I learn his brother (who knew about the whole situation) is now dating the same girl my husband cheated on me with. I sat through a year of family functions with her at the other side of the table.

    It’s been a year and a month since I found out. We are getting a divorce but the cheating really doesn’t have to do with that. His drinking and other vices along with rarely coming home are to blame for that.

    Had he shaped up and stopped drinking and going out after the cheating incident I probably wouldn’t have filed for divorce. Truthfully I forgave him for the cheating, I forgave him right after he told me.

    You never know what you’re really going to do until you’re faced with the situation.

  20. Profile photo of Mz.GTubbs Mz.GTubbs says:

    Yes it is a deal breaker. Children or no children. It’s about being deceptive and lying. How could you ever trust that person when they lie to your face tell you they love you yet go out and allow someone else to violate their body. Plus too many STDs and other complications. Run and find true happiness elsewhere

  21. Profile photo of Sitka Sitka says:

    Its a deal breaker and I would leave and Im living proof of that one since I left my first husband when our son was on 8 months. I had found out that he had cheated and due to military obligations, he hadnt even met his son yet. I told him I would leave if he ever had cheated. I recognized that I nor my son deserved that in our lives. And if he could do something like that to us once, why wouldnt he again? he begged for me to stay, promising never to cheat again and well after our divorce was finalized I found out about 2 prior incidents where he had cheated. Once, right after we lost our first child. I knew then that I had done the right thing. I did not want our son to grow up seeing us unhappy and fighting and didnt want him to see me resent his father. He is now almost 7 and has an excellent relationship with his dad and that is what makes me the most happy. I have forgiven him, mainly for myself to be able to move on and trust a man again with my heart, we now have a great civil relationship for our son and I think he is happier than he could have been had I stayed. It took some time to heal and trust because he was my first love as well, but I have been able to meet that special someone and love fully again with my whole heart. Cheating is rough and can do serious damage to more than just the person being cheated on. I know that I am a strong enough woman to provide for my children and know that no matter what, no man or woman should have to suffer through something like that ever. I pray, for anyone currently going through this type of pain, that you do what is right for you and your children or family. Only you can make that right decision.

  22. Profile photo of NavyWife NavyWife says:

    I think it depends on how far the cheating went. If my husband ever reached the point of sexual acts other than kissing I don’t think I could ever forgive that or get over it. I do think I would feel as if I caused it but I’m a firm believer that if it happens once it will happen again. I think my marriage would be over because I would not want my kids to think that it is ok to do that sort of thing to someone you love or to accept that from anyone. And truth be told I could never trust him again and the attempt to try would ruin the marriage itself. With all honesty no one knows how they would handle that situation until they’re thrown into it. But I would hope that I could handle it in a way that I could be proud of myself and know that I made the right decision. The only advice I might offer to anyone in this position is to trust your heart and yourself, you know your family and what you can or cannot overcome. Consider your options before making your decision and let it be known that you will not subject yourself or your children to this behavior if it continues. We all deserve better than that.

  23. Profile photo of Ari Ari says:

    I think that if a man cheats it’s because they don’t love the woman anymore and if that is the case we all deserve honesty instead of being cheated on. I tell myself the same thing if and when my husband doesn’t fulfill me anymore and cheating even crosses my mind it’s only fair that i tell him how i feel before disrespecting myself and him.

  24. Profile photo of heps7 heps7 says:

    My husband and I had this discussion when we first got together. We both said that if the other one ever cheated than it would be over. Personally there is a reason people cheat and it’s usually because they aren’t happy in the relationship anymore. We also agreed to be completely honest about it if it did ever happen because it’s only fair to your spouse.

  25. Profile photo of marichinno marichinno says:

    My marriage has gone through infidelity and we learned as a couple and as well as individuals to deal with the issue infront of us. It took years and numerous fights but we learned to work it out and we couldn’t be happier together as a couple and as well as friends. Opening up and being truthful can go a long way.

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