Infidelity is a married person’s nightmare and sadly many marriages are vulnerable to infidelity. The statistics tell it all: an estimated 30 to 60 percent of all married individuals in the US will engage in infidelity at some point.
Infidelity can start off innocently with someone you know quite well. Spending regular time together until an attraction develops resulting in flirtatious and emotional addiction.
Once the addiction sets in, your emotions will control your behavior. You will start to justify your behavior and there will be no stopping you. All perspective lost, you will ruin your marriage and hurt your spouse . Months into the affair, your guilt will consume you and there will be hell to pay.
Is it worth it?
An affair does not resolve anything. It only makes matters worse and hurts everyone involved, even the cheater and the paramour. When openly confronted “how could you?” The cheater sadly doesn’t know.
Before an affair is discovered, the cheater tries to hide traces of the affair with scheming and lying. Nothing is hidden for long and the cheater eventually owns up to the unproductive behavior with so much collateral damage in tow.
The ultimate consequence of this betrayal is the loss of trust which is the foundation of every relationship. Without trust, the matrimonial bond is in danger of falling apart affecting all other arrangements which depend upon this tenuous link for existence.
Reasons like being neglected, feeling unappreciated, too much fighting or falling out of love do not compel a spouse to be unfaithful. There is no reason that can justify infidelity.
What you stand to lose
When circumstances conspire with feelings to tempt you to indulge in an occasional fling, stop and take stock of what could be on the balance.
1. Reputation. – Public figures have learned the hard way that a momentary indiscretion can cost more than initially expected. A broken marriage and a messy divorce is certainly an expensive price to pay for such a momentary indiscretion. President Clinton put his Presidency at risk when he slept with Monica Lewinsky. In a very public interview, he denied having an affair with the intern only to apologize days later that he did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky.
2. Marriage. – When Arnold Schwarzenegger’s affair with a household staff went public, his wife, Maria Shriver filed for divorce. Maria, a member of the Kennedy clan, has publicly stood behind Arnold and supported him in his political career. By cheating on his wife, he lost a friend and an ally and is reportedly embarrassed about the whole thing. In an interview with Lesley Stahl, he has publicly apologized about his affair and has been quoted as saying “She did not deserve that. That’s why I felt always terrible about the whole thing.”
3. Children. – When Peter Cook cheated on Christie Brinkley, with an 18 year old, he should have known what it was going to cost him. After a very public divorce that established he had a wandering eye, he lost custody of his children, Jack and Sailor. He was later reported to have apologized to his ex-wife and was hoping for a reconciliation. Tough luck!
4. Money. – Unless you have a prenuptial agreement, your affair could lead to a divorce settlement that will take you to the cleaners. When Mel Gibson’s wife, Robyn, filed for divorce she was reportedly not only entitled to half of Gibson’s fortune but also future residuals from his films. Ouch!
Learning from the mistake of others
When David Petraeus was having an affair with Paula Broadwell, never in his wildest dreams did he realize that word could get out and cost him his career. A scandal and an investigation later, he resigned as Director of the CIA with a tarnished record that could have been impeccable as the hero of the Iraq and Afghanistan war.
A year later, Petraeus opens a speaking engagement with an apology for his misbehavior. Unlike other public figures that lied and cheated to cover up their behavior, the American public appears to accept Petraeus’s apology.
David Petraeus is a classic example of someone who succumbed to the jaws of infidelity. Coming to grips with the possibility of having an affair is an important step in avoiding this dangerous pitfall. All affairs eventually end leaving a lot of pain and suffering in their wake.
Understand that your marriage is important. The dissatisfaction in the partnership can never justify being unfaithful. For many, something is never fully appreciated until it is lost.
Trust, once lost, can be difficult to regain and at times can never be recovered.