Affairs happen – and it’s becoming ever more likely that if someone is cheated on, they’ll forgive their partner. But a lot of people are still agog when a wife forgives her cheating husband or vice versa and it’s often difficult to garner support from your friends and family if you decide to let an affair go.
The truth is it’s entirely up to you as to whether you forgive and forget or decide to end your relationship.
34 year old Isabelle decided to forgive her husband when she discovered he’d cheated on her with a colleague. Her blog survivinganaffair.wordpress.com details her experiences and has proved to be a huge support to other people who have experienced cheating.
According to Isabelle, there’s a lot of pressure placed on people who have been cheated on to automatically call time on their relationship, but often, that’s not what they really want. She says that deciding to forgive her husband was ‘a very simple decision’ because he was ready and willing to do everything in his power to remedy his mistake.
In modern society staying with a strayer is a real taboo, as the recent controversy surrounding Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson’s relationship showed. Poor Pattinson was labelled pathetic for taking K-Stew back after her dalliance with ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ director Rupert Sanders and everyone from the Sydney Morning Herald to the USA’s John Stewart got their two cents in and made it clear they though Pattinson was an idiot.
But whilst we’re quick to judge friends who forgive infidelity, it transpires we’re not so quick to follow our own advice when it happens to us. According to statistics from Australia’s top marital affair website just 11% of marriage breakups are put down to an affair, whilst 34% of people say they have or would forgive a cheating partner.
Clinical psychologist Liz Currin thinks that a one off affair doesn’t necessarily have to mean the end. The author of ‘The Essential Guide to Surviving Infidelity’ says that she’s worked with numerous couples where the person who has cheated is willing to do almost anything in an attempt to save their relationship, but, she insists, ‘both parties need to be fully committed to saving the marriage’.
If you decide to commit to getting past an indiscretion, it doesn’t mean your family and friends will too. Isabelle explains that when she revealed what had happened to her, many of the people in her circle found it difficult to accept that she was giving things another go.
‘My sister was very angry with my husband and it took more than a year before she was normal with him again. Another friend told me to kick him out and change the locks and another unfriended my husband on Facebook and still hasn’t added him again.’
If an affair happens, advises Currin, think carefully before letting friends and family know as they’ll find it hard not to resent your partner for what they have done. ‘There are lots of other places you can turn to for help so consider those options first.’