The question “is cheating a reason for divorce” is highly personal. The answer depends on the state your marriage was in before the alleged ‘cheating’ occurred. An unstable marriage is more likely to reach a breaking point if infidelity is suspected.
Ultimately, the question can only be answered after you first take a closer look at what YOU define as ‘cheating’ and what YOU feel is acceptable or unacceptable in your marriage.
Is Non-Physical ‘Cheating’ a Reason to Break up Your Marriage?
For some women, cheating is having a physical relationship with someone outside the marriage (i.e., kissing, fondling, oral sex, and/or intercourse). Other women have more liberated ideas about fidelity when they allow a third person to join them in the bedroom for a threesome.
They don’t consider this ‘cheating’. For others, having an emotional relationship with another woman counts as cheating. Some men still talk openly to ex-girlfriends, which is accepted in the marriage. In other marriages, this is an absolute no-no, especially if this happens secretly.
Then there are gray areas where no specific third person or emotional involvement is involved.
Would you consider going to a strip club as cheating?
Does watching porn in magazines or on the web qualify as cheating? In this case, it seems to be only the fantasy of another body that the husband is looking for.
What about more indirect contact like ‘friending’ an ex on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn? Would it make a difference if communication is open or hidden?
How you define cheating depends on your personality, your threshold, your level of self-confidence, how strict you set the rules at the beginning of your relationship, and your level of trust.
Over time, relationships change. If you were comfortable with allowing other women close to your man and felt secure in your relationship at the beginning, your level of comfort and security may change as life and the relationship changes. In long-term relationships, the focus gradually shifts from physical attraction to love and intimacy.
That initial spark may wear off as you get caught up in daily routines. If you have kids and your daily life gets busier and more focused on the children, the relationship needs to be nurtured to keep the connection alive. Regular date nights and effective communication can be the key.
Before you make the decision to file for divorce, when you feel hurt and betrayed… pause…Decisions made in a highly emotional state of mind are not always the wisest.
Consider the consequences of divorce for everyone (especially the kids) and weigh the pros and cons of your relationship. If infidelity is your reason to consider divorce, make sure your definition of what is ‘cheating’ is clear to you and your spouse.
Bottom line is that every relationship has ‘rules’ that must be clear to both partners. If boundaries are vague, they can easily be crossed. Open communication is key. If one of the partners is hiding something, it is time to have a serious talk together. If you feel that talking doesn’t get you the results you want, couples counseling could be an option.
A therapist can help both of you clarify your needs, set healthy boundaries, and help resolve trust issues you may have.
For suggestions on how to weigh the pros and cons in your marriage, improve your communication, and spend quality time together, I highly recommend reading the self-help workbook To Stay Or Not To Stay.
For an insight into what challenges children face when they do end up living in two houses, I suggest reading the children’s book Nina Has Two Houses. The book also contains helpful tips for parents.
Danielle Jacobs is a licensed Mental Health Counselor, an author, a hypnotherapist, a Supreme Court certified family mediator, a qualified parenting coordinator, and a Guardian Ad Litem volunteer for the 17th judicial circuit of Broward County. She is originally from the Netherlands, receiving her Master’s degree in clinical psychology from a well-accredited University in Amsterdam.
She continued her education with a two-year post-graduate course. In the Netherlands, she is licensed as a healthcare psychologist specializing in developmental psychology. She works in private practice and resides in South Florida with her husband and young daughter. Ms. Jacobs is the author of Nina Has Two Houses and co-author of To Stay or Not to Stay. Both books are available on Amazon.com.In her diverse career; she has encountered many parents, children, and adolescents from broken or unhappy homes. Through her studies, work, and life experience, Ms. Jacobs has become an expert on the effects of divorce on children and adults.