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Do most marriages end due to infidelity?

(33 Posts)
changeymcnamechange Wed 10-Jun-15 20:39:59

Most marriages which end, I mean, not most marriages?

My situation is that my marriage ended due to my husband's infidelity. I've now met somebody who I know to be divorced, althought the divorce was many years ago and he has been in a very long term relationship between then and now. All this stuff hasn't really come up in conversation yet. We are just at the chatting/flirting stage at the moment but I am hoping something will come of this.

He is very good looking, and in his younger day he was just breathtaking. He is known as an all-round good egg, and nobody has a bad word to say about him.

For some reason I feel a bit apprehensive about telling him why my marriage ended. I don't know how I would feel if he said his marriage breakup was down to his infidelity. It was all so long ago. A female friend told me a few months ago that she had had a long term affair with a married man and I found that it didn't affect the way I felt about her at all.

I don't know why I am even thinking about this at this stage. I take a very dim view of infidelity but since this has happened to me I have much better defined boundaries. I think in my marriage I tolerated some very low-level stuff that was just the thin end of the wedge, and I am absolutely clear in my mind that I wouldn't tolerate that now.

I haven't built this new chap up into some amazing person in my head but why am I so apprehensive about finding out something I might never find out anyway? By my reckoning he has been divorced for 15+years and the marriage was pretty short. He remains on very good terms with the woman who was his long term girlfriend. Would I think less of him if I found out he had cheated on his wife? For all I know she could have cheated on him, or they could have split up due to something completely unrelated. It's just that it seems to me that SO many marriages break up due to one person cheating on the other.

Can somebody help me sort this out in my head? Or does anybody even understand what I am on about? I know I haven't explained it very well.

lemonstartree Wed 10-Jun-15 20:44:27

my marriage ended because of my ex husbands drug addiction and alcohol abuse; more specifically the behavior he exhibited as a result of these.

no infidelity on either side

mrsdavidbowie Wed 10-Jun-15 20:45:54

Mine ended due to ex h being EA.

changeymcnamechange Wed 10-Jun-15 20:49:36

My husband became EA around the time he started the infidelity. They often go together.

FredaMayor Wed 10-Jun-15 20:54:26

Have a look at this, I came across it today, it may help you.

www.ted.com/talks/esther_perel_rethinking_infidelity_a_talk_for_anyone_who_has_ever_loved

Momagain1 Wed 10-Jun-15 20:56:54

Many marriages end because they never should have begun. Infidelity might have been involved, but the marriage was crap to begin with.

newnamesamegame Wed 10-Jun-15 21:03:29

It sounds to me as if you're asking two separate and almost unrelated questions:

1. Do most marriages that end, end because of infidelity and
2. Should you open up this can of worms with this guy with whom you are flirting?

1. Hard to give an empirical answer to the first question without statistics. For what its worth, I think infidelity is quite often a symptom of an underlying decay and tends to be the straw that broke the camel's back. A lot of people who really should call time on their marriage will struggle along until one or both of them has an affair. The affair becomes a catalyst for the breakdown of a marriage which was on its way to being broken anyway.

My marriage involved infidelity (on my H's part) but the infidelity wasn't really the dealbreaker. The dealbreaker was his unwillingness to deal with the big structural problems in the marriage.

But as others have noted, there are plenty of other reasons marriages fail.

2. Not sure if your anxiety is about showing vulnerability to him in exposing the fact that you were cheated on or about the possibility that this new guy may himself have cheated. Would be helpful to know more.

I think your anxiety is understandable as is your desire to protect yourself from harm. If your concern is not to expose yourself by revealing too much, take it slowly. You don't necessarily want to go into tons of detail until you know if you trust this guy anyway. If your relationship goes somewhere, intimacy will build and you will know when its right to talk about this.

If your concern is about him having been a cheat -- you can't possibly know this without asking him and he might not tell you the truth. Just go in with your eyes open, be alert for signs in his behaviour, and respect yourself enough to know if he is crossing boundaries. Not much else you can do at this stage...

Horsemad Wed 10-Jun-15 21:21:39

Do you think you are possibly building the new guy up into a Mr Perfect and so don't want to be disappointed if this image is shattered by him admitting to infidelity?

changeymcnamechange Wed 10-Jun-15 21:25:34

Thank you for your replies. I've no intention of going into all this with new man at this stage, but there is this question in the back of my mind. Maybe I am just nosy?

I think maybe it is because he is a decent chap, that I can't get my head round it all. It isn't someone I have just met, I have known him on and off for years but he has just popped up again for the first time since I have been single. It is so hard to explain what I mean. I don't think I know myself.

changeymcnamechange Wed 10-Jun-15 21:36:08

I don't think I am building him up into Mr Perfect but he does do a lot of Good Works and that sort of thing which is nothing at all to do with whether he once did some extramarital shagging but it is hard to equate the two in my mind. And I wouldn't have looked at him twice before because I thought he was way out of my league but now when I look at him I don't think that at all. And he is always very pleased to see me so I don't think he thinks that either.

I wonder if it is relevant, supposing he did cheat on his wife. Looking at my exH, and all the lies he told, how long they went on for and the utter contempt and real hatred he had for me, it seems obvious now that he had a bad character running through him like a stick of rock and that can never, ever change. Maybe all affairs are not like that though?

Horsemad Wed 10-Jun-15 21:42:53

I don't think they are. A lot of people I know who've had affairs are not horrible nasty people, but they do have a sense of entitlement and just think they can have what they want sometimes.
Of course, the discovery of an affair has been horrible for their partner but the actual person can be a really 'good type.'
Then there are the others who are most definitely horrible and it's not a surprise to hear what they've done.

changeymcnamechange Wed 10-Jun-15 21:52:16

He looks good, and women seem to find him very attractive, so it is easy to imagine the opportunity presenting itself to him.

This may well be totally irrelevant. She might have had a cat he was allergic to, or he might have insisted on Brussels sprouts at Christmas when she couldn't stand them. And yet, and yet...

I suppose I just want to get all this straight in my head to avoid making a twat of myself if we end up on more, err, intimate terms.

Horsemad Wed 10-Jun-15 22:18:06

It might have ended due to her infidelity?

changeymcnamechange Wed 10-Jun-15 22:21:04

Very true.

WhatsGoingOnEh Wed 10-Jun-15 22:24:13

You absolutely don't have to give him a reason why your marriage ended, and TBH, I don't think he'll ask for one. Or if he does ask, he won't REALLY want to know the sordid details.

Give him a vague answer. "We wanted different things." ["I wanted him to be faithful, he didn't."] Or, "We grew apart." ["I matured into a caring, wise adult... Meanwhile, he discovered he liked ramming his cock into others."]

WhatsGoingOnEh Wed 10-Jun-15 22:25:10

Obviously, the quotes in square brackets are not to be said aloud.. They're just to show how vague answers are still perfectly truthful.

WhatsGoingOnEh Wed 10-Jun-15 22:25:38

The best answer is always, "It just didn't work out."

DressMeHeadToFootInTommy Wed 10-Jun-15 22:28:55

WEll mine ended because of ABUSE.

I wouldn't want a man with a history of repeated infidelity but I see each relationship as a different contract. Contract is the wrong word.

changeymcnamechange Wed 10-Jun-15 22:37:37

I'm not envisaging going into huge amounts of detail but I expect it will all come out in the end. I have rehearsed a few lines that make me sound nonchalant about the whole thing. I suppose it depends how long this not-yet-a-relationship lasts.

Thanks

ToastedOrFresh Wed 10-Jun-15 22:40:15

Just on the point of infidelity, only one of the marriage vows is to do with being faithful i.e. forsaking all others be faithful unto her/him.

That's the only marriage vow that has to be broken to end the marriage. All the other five i.e. sickness and in health, better for worse etc don't have such dire consequences if they are not observed. They can't be cited like infidelity can in a divorce proceeding.

I sometimes wonder if the marriage ceremony should just only have the 'be faithful' vow as the others seem to be surplus or nothing more than, 'kinda nice'

Marriages can and do breakdown/end without third party intervention as has been mentioned upthread. Some people say, 'no one else was involved we did it all ourselves.'

As is evidenced by abuse, substance misuse, dishonesty, being emotionally absent etc etc.

changeymcnamechange Wed 10-Jun-15 23:00:47

That's a really good point Toasted.

CranstontheCorgi Wed 10-Jun-15 23:11:00

My marriage ended after 20 years because we could no longer stand each other. No indicators of infidelity, and believe me, I looked for them.

Gorgonzolacherry Thu 11-Jun-15 00:13:12

I think you should just progress the relationship naturally and see what he tells you without duress. I think that also means that you should hold back explaining why your own marriage ended until it feels completely natural and until you feel you know him very well and could cope with and understand any reply he gives you about his own marriage. It's a difficult one though, I understand your concerns but I think these are in part or in whole fuelled by your ex h.

It would be a shame if you tarred all men with the same brush. And, his (your current DPs) marriage ended many years ago. I very much hope this is not the case, but if he was unfaithful, he must have grown up an awful lot since then. I have never personally been unfaithful but I have changed greatly as a person over the past decade and a half and grown out of some very selfish behaviours.

I love this thread. Everyone has written so wisely and eloquently.

Best of luck, it's wondeful you have such a positive fledgling romance. Focus on that privilege.

Gorgonzolacherry Thu 11-Jun-15 00:14:47

And whatsgoingoneh's posts made me guffaw out loud (in a good way). Very, very amusing.

themostinterestinglife Thu 11-Jun-15 00:46:09

I ended my marriage because the vow of `in sickness and in health' was not upheld by my husband. I had a period of severe postnatal mental illness to the point where I was self harming and husband saw me do this on a number of occasions. Not once did he give me a hug, suggest I get help, or go and seek advice from anyone. We never spoke of it. It was several years before I managed to drag myself to my GP and get help. When I asked husband about it he said he was too frightened to do anything and didn't want to believe it was his wife behaving like that. He said he can't feel empathy or sympathy and other people's problems are for them to deal with, not him. So he ignored it.
Once I got my health sorted I divorced him on the grounds of unreasonable behavior - I suffered for much longer and more severely than I needed to and lost five years of motherhood. I was not going to spend the rest of my life with someone who has that attitude towards the vulnerable and ill.

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