Janey Says: Can Infidelity Be Forgiven?

I have been sitting reading about a book by Esther Perel called ‘The State Of Affairs; Rethinking Infidelity’, it’s an interesting, and in my view wise tome about extramarital relationships.

woman knows her man is cheating

The topic is whether a relationship can truly survive cheating and if in some way an affair can actually have a positive effect.

Being a woman of a certain age, I’ve had this subject touch my life in many ways.  Finding a boyfriend in bed with my best friend was a bit of a killer – and certainly the end of that relationship.

But, as the years have passed I’ve begun to think that some of the time these affairs are warnings (albeit painful ones), and can actually act as a timely reminder to have a look at what you’ve got – and decide whether or not it’s worth working at.

Harsh some might say but have a think maybe. Back in the day when a husband came home and put his weekly earnings on the table for his wife to manage, a marriage was for life.

Our expectations were limited. Our world smaller. These days we want and expect more.

A partner to stay as fit and fun as they were when you first met is the first expectation. Sex appeal ( and continued ability ) goes without saying.  This also comes with admiration and respect – success is very sexy.

Couple this with wanting and needing to do well; Having and achieving the ’wish list’  is desirable – but a pretty tall order to maintain, and comes at a high personal price.

We can all get ill; lose our job through no fault of our own; Gain weight because of medication, but who really thinks of the words in sickness and in health in any relationship?

It’s all too easy to lose sight of what made the relationship so good in the first place.   Boredom and familiarity set in and before you know the office wife, or gym husband look increasingly an antidote to a life that isn’t living up to expectations.

Affairs do so much damage.  There’s your heart, your self-respect, your confidence, and often your home

It might sound extreme, but Perez suggested one woman build an altar to her husband mistress as without her she wouldn’t have realised her marriage was at risk, and the knowledge of the affair gave her an opportunity to go in a save what she realised she wanted and was prepared to fight for.

For anyone who’s been on the receiving end of a hurtful affair, I can imagine they are struggling now with that advice.

Affairs do so much damage.  There’s your heart, your self-respect, your confidence, and often your home – and that’s without mentioning the terrifying breaking up of the family for your children.  I know the hurt and it’s the worst kind.

Speaking for women now,  all men are not serial womanisers – and if they are and you catch them out then yes – take your pride and self-respect and leave.  Noone should live that way unless they want to.

The same goes the other way.  Women in their 40s plus commit adultery at the same rate as men, although they do get caught out less and the reasons tend to be different.

If it’s one of those cases where it really wasn’t meant to happen and it was a mistake – and let’s face it we can all make them; then think again I believe before you cut all ties.

Esther Perel sounds like she’s been around the block a bit, as most of us have at 58. I hope women can forgo their principles in some (worthwhile) cases and heed this woman’s words.

So hard to find a good one I think and we’ve so much to lose – and our self-respect wouldn’t be damaged if we swallow our pride – give them hell – and forgive.

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