Marriage is a sacred vow made between two people who, at the time believe that they are meant to be together for the rest of their lives.
The famous line, till death do us part is reiterated in every rom-com and should be taken seriously. However, in today's time, those words seem to mean very little. 40-50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce.
"When people marry, they have this ideal of eternal fidelity," says Beth Hedva. The percentage of marriages with admitted infidelity is at a very high 41 percent.
"Sexual fidelity is a fundamentally important part of that trust that has been broken, but the whole has been affected. Everything is questioned, then, about the marriage, if the faithfulness was not kept. What was real? Was I a fool? The impact is like a death. The grieving is like a death. Nothing was what it appeared. That is what has to be healed," says Donna Bellafiore.
In marriage, two people, madly in love, make a pact to stay true to each other until death. They promise to be that support they need at the worst times, as well as the best. How does this undying love turn into an ugly and nasty affair with another person?
When did the passion dimmer, allowing for a snake in the form of the other person, to slither into that once happy marriage? How could it settle into that two-person home, taking root and creating an infection that can very well lead to the catastrophic result of divorce? Who is to blame for this breaking of trust?
I know a friend in that very same marriage. They started off strong and nothing could tear them apart. They built a family and a home together. Their marriage together has lasted almost a decade. Then, one normal day, she found evidence on her husband's phone of an affair. Immediate bone-crushing hurt fell upon her. Her entire being ached from the pain taking root inside. Her heart ached physically. She never knew this pain before. She never believed it of her husband. She never believed he could be capable of instilling so much hurt on her.
Questions came, then anger and then grief. She wanted to know everything. Along with her wanting to know everything, she also dreaded the truth. She didn't know if she would be able to handle knowing.
This friend of mine decided to take on the assertive role and directly asked her husband to explain everything to her. Maybe it was all a mistake? Maybe she had some hope. Maybe he would deny it. Despite the evidence being there in picture form. That day, she finally knew it all. For three years, her husband was engaged in extra-marital activities. These were long-lasting affairs that recently ended. Two involved women that called themselves her "friends."
Her mind was reeling. She felt betrayal on multiple fronts. She didn't know who she could even trust. She thought she had friends, only to find out even then, her "friends" knew about her husband's activity without ever saying a word.
Why did he cheat? What did she do wrong? Were those women better than her? Was she inadequate? Then came the anger at herself. How could she not see it? Why did she not go with her gut? How stupid did she look believing her husband, the one person who should have always had her corner, was messing around and everyone knew it besides her?
"I was having a conversation the other day with someone and it dawned on me why Western culture is one that is famous for blame-shifting. If someone commits a terrible act against another, they find a way to blame their victim and others blame the victim with them," writes Emotional Affair Journey.
Emotional Affair Journey provides a list of false beliefs when involving infidelity. If a husband cheats, his wife caused it. If a husband is not getting sex at home, he will find it somewhere else and no one can blame him. If a wife strays, her husband does not know how to provide for the family or for her. Single or married people who knowingly have sex with married people are victims. In reality, they are victimizers right along with the married person.
People are always quick to find a reason for infidelity when in truth, there is no excuse for it. The spouse lost interest in the other person sexually or there is an emotional detachment that formed, further distancing their relationship are not valid enough reasons to justify cheating.
Sheri Meyers writes, "When infidelity occurs, the cheating partner bears the brunt of owning most, if not all, of the blame. Not only did the cheating partner choose to ignore or downplay the pre-existing problems, behaviors and conditions that made the relationship vulnerable to cheating, but they actively made the decision to betray their partner instead of facing up to those problems and working through them."
It is a hard concept to accept that even the innocent party played a tiny part in the affair, being lack of communication or lack of sexual interest, but the reality is, in order to work on a marriage, both parties have to acknowledge and accept their roles involved. Of course, it is my opinion, as I am sure with others, that the third parties involved share a large piece of the at-fault pie since they knowingly involved themselves with a married individual.
I wish this couple the best with whatever decision comes as a result.