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Is an affair forgivable?

(42 Posts)
direlog Sat 24-Jun-17 07:02:26

I read a lot of threads on here about affairs and people who cheat. They are often incredibly distressing and I admire the strength of the partner who seeks advice on here. But why do SO many partners cheat? It seems so commonplace? Is there something wrong with society's expectations of sex and relationships that causes people to carry out huge levels of deceit? I'm not married to my partner. Part of my reason for this is because I don't feel I need to say vows, I don't want to feel like I 'own' him - I want him to be a free person. I love him, I don't want to control him. To say 'til death us do part' seems a bit wrong - as I can't predict the future. He hasn't cheated on me, but TBH - I would forgive him if he did. Am I wrong to feel this way? As a human, as an animal - reproduction is one of our main characteristics. It is such a huge part of our lives. Animals have sex, yet humans have put big social constraints on how and why we should have sex and who we should have sex. Animals eat, but humans have social conditions about HOW we should eat (certain times of the day, using knives and forks etc). I guess so that we are 'civilised' and removed from how other animals behave. Perhaps societies social expectations of sex need to change?? Am I talking utter rubbish?? I just see a lot of upset and family break downs on here. It's so upsetting.

jeaux90 Sat 24-Jun-17 07:14:35

We are all different. I've been cheated on numerous times by my ex narc partner when I was pregnant or when she was small. I left. It hasn't tarred me at all.

In fact it's made me believe even more that I hate a lot of the social constructs we live in.

I'm a single parent to a lovely 8 year old dd. I see someone who is lovely a couple of times a week. Everyone asks me if we are going to live together. My answer is why? I am happy the way we are. Everyone assumes you need to get married or live together. I don't want to.

I see where you are coming from. Cheating is never black and white in my opinion. It comes in so many shapes and forms. No one owns anyone else. I don't believe in marriage, I don't believe anyone is a "no go" area. Only you as an individual can decide what you do and don't do.

I'm sure lots of people will come along and tell us we are both wrong grin

AdalindSchade Sat 24-Jun-17 07:17:01

You don't know how you would feel if it had never happened to you to be fair

C0RAL Sat 24-Jun-17 07:19:15

Well if you are in an open relationship , it's not cheating is it ?

Or do you think it's fair / honest / reasonable for one party in a couple to ask / expect / agree to be monogamous with the other while having other sexual partners themselves behind that persons back?

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 24-Jun-17 07:25:38

Often it is not just the affair there has been a large amount of other hurtful behaviour that has happened as well often as a way of justifying the affair.
Personally I don't think you can compare us to animals as they mate to reproduce only. There a lots of reasons for humans pleasure, power, love etc.
I respect that not everyone wants to be married, but despite ExH having an affair and leaving I would still like to marry my new DP. For me marriage is not about owning each other, but a statement of commitment.

Saiman Sat 24-Jun-17 07:25:53

Affairs can be forgivable.

There is no right way. Every relationship is different and, wether you are married or not, its up to the 2 people in the relationship to set their own boundries and expectations.

I am married. I dont feel like i own dh, I want him to be happy. Divorce would not end me. Depsite being married both me and dh are quite pragmatic about the 'till death do us part bit'. Both of us dont feel divorce means the marriage was a failure.

We have just come out of a bad patch. A faurly bad one but on the while the marriage has been great. Dh didnt cheat but i could have walked away very easily. I own half the property, earn a good salary and he is an amazing dad who always wants the best for his kids. If he turned out to be a dick upon divorce, financially i would be able to afford childcare, a mortgage etc.

After our bad patch we had to redefine our relationship, which so far is working great so far.

I choose to stay. Not because of the vows, or money. Because i want to. Dh is the same. Its actually comforting to know we still choose eachother. Maybe one day we wont. Who knows. I dont expect dh to stay forever because we put rings on. I want him to stay if thats what he wants.

During our bad patch we did separate for a while. Before choosing to come back together. I felt the same during that period too.

CHT68 Sat 24-Jun-17 07:27:18

I'm all for the concept of open relationships and wish I had felt like this before commuting to one person. I think it's the deceit that hurts more than the sexual act itself.

Women are also conditioned from an early age into the concept of marrying. Boys got asked what they wanted to be when they grow up, girls were asked who they were going to marry.

Affairs are rife due to the ease in which people can access them but to be fair back in the pre Internet and pre mobile phone era, lots of people still found a way. Both my mother and father had affairs.

Saiman Sat 24-Jun-17 07:28:49

Oh but yes fidelity is a deal breaker for me. I have only had sex with people i trust. I have never had one night stands or fwb etc.

Dh knows that having sex with someone behind my back would be a deal breaker as I wouldnt be able to trust him anymore. As i said, i would rather he left than lied to me.

Infidelity and the betrayal isnt just about the sex. Its the lying, the sneaking around etc

C0RAL Sat 24-Jun-17 07:36:17

I'm not sure I understand your point OP.

Are you saying that monogamy is always wrong ( even if the parties enter into such an agreement freely ) so therefore there's no such thing as cheating ? Because it's somehow owning someone or controlling them and stopping them being free ?

Or that cheating is understandable so should be forgiven ?

If it's the first one, do you think that all agreements between adults are controlling or just monogamy ? E.g. The contact between you and your landlord or employer .

Are you being controlling by expecting your employer to pay you at emd of the month ? Surely they should be free to do what they feel like ? Isn't it just social conditioning that makes them pay you ?

If you had children, would you expect to feed / clothe / care for them even at times when you didn't feel like it ? what if you were tired or ill or just wanted to watch Netflix ?

Is " love " only about doing what you want at the time or does it involve caring for the welfare of the other person ? does it involve keeping your word to them or fulfilling your duties and responsibilities ?

Hassled Sat 24-Jun-17 07:41:14

My experience of having my first H cheat on me was that while yes, I could forgive him for the actual cheating (things were pretty bad between us) I couldn't forgive or forget the lies and deception that went with it. He denied it even when I directly asked him - and I believed him. It's not that a man will sleep with someone else and come straight home and confess all - there will be weeks/months of lying, and that's the bit I couldn't cope with.

user1496940061 Sat 24-Jun-17 07:54:23

I always said it's unforgivable
However, Having been cheated on a few months ago, I can tell you first hands the pain is unbearable. However I was open to try and save the marriage.
In the end we could save it.

emilybrontescorset Sat 24-Jun-17 08:07:10

People have always cheated. They do it because they can.
I think it's great when people!e stay loyal to one another and love that person for their entire life. However, I think it is often an unrealistic expectation. Quite often we need a range of people in our lives to fulfill us , staying with the same person for 65 years and not needing anyone else is quite some achievement.
An affair is often not just a physical act, it involves deceit and betrayal which can be devastating and too hard to forgive
I don't necessarily think marriage is a good thing, so many people divorce. Yet it is thrust upon us from all angles.
It wasn't that long ago that women were punished for having a child out of wedlock and the resulting child referred to as a bastard

Neutrogena Sat 24-Jun-17 08:08:25

Forgiveness is optional. No such thing as unforgivable. Look at the parents who forgive the drivers/murderers of their children. They know that forgiving is a healing process, and that THEY will feel better if they forgive.
Affairs are forgivable if you choose to head down that path.

direlog Sat 24-Jun-17 08:10:08

Thanks so much for all your replies. I am so sorry to hear your personal experiences and how upsetting it is. It is the deceit and the deception that is so abhorrent. jeaux90 - love your post.

direlog Sat 24-Jun-17 08:15:32

Am thinking the 'forsaking all others' is an unrealistic expectation for a lot of people yet - they don't admit to this. WHY?????????

sunshinesupermum Sat 24-Jun-17 08:22:30

I was cheated on - I caught my ex in a same sex relationship after 30 years marriage. It's the lies and deceit that destroy relationships.

Now I have a partner and we each have our own homes, we are completely independent of one another but still love and respect each other. We don't need a ceremony and piece of paper to know that.

I've also come to realise that marriage is patriarchal - fathers (or someone else) give us away to the man we marry. So our husbands in effect 'own' us. When I was young being a single Mum, or being divorced or having a child 'out of wedlock' was seen as a disgrace. Thankfully it is no longer. By all means get married if you want but there is no longer a need to. People will cheat, lie and deceive whether a piece of paper 'binds' them or not.

direlog Sat 24-Jun-17 08:25:29

Great post sunshine.

sunshinesupermum Sat 24-Jun-17 08:26:40

Thanks direlog

direlog Sat 24-Jun-17 08:44:34

Think it's really interesting to read that you think marriage is patriarchal - or has it's basis in this. I think marriage and how you say your vows has changed with time. But it IS based on these principles. And perhaps many vows are based on religious principles that society are now rejecting more - in favour of scientific explanations.

direlog Sat 24-Jun-17 08:49:09

Also think that by nature we are all ultimately selfish and look out
for the welfare of our genes - and genetic family members. I see the argument that selfless acts could ultimately be deemed as selfish as we want to be accepted by others in society. So yes - people will always lie/cheat/deceive if they think it is in the best interest of their genes???

direlog Sat 24-Jun-17 08:51:56

See a lot of cheating posts on here referring to the cheating partner as a 'great dad'. Is he a 'great dad' because he is nurturing his genes, and a shit partner because he has no genetic relationship with the mother??

WorzelsCornyBrows Sat 24-Jun-17 08:56:30

It's often the deceit and contempt that kills the relationship, not the cheating itself.

Marriage is a bit silly, but it does bring financial protections for inheritance etc, that you'd spend a lot of money on lawyers trying to replicate (and you would fail).

This might sound dreadful, but I went into my marriage with an understanding that it might not last forever, but with hope that it would.

Also, you don't have to "foresake all others" in your vows, but you have to bear in mind that having sex outside of your marriage is committing adultery, which can be sited as grounds for divorce. Although the consequences for that are exactly zero.

PookieDo Sat 24-Jun-17 08:57:51

I'm not married and never have been.

I would not forgive my DP having sex with someone else and he would not forgive me. We are choosing to be together even though it's not always easy, and have no financial ties so it would not be that I had a lot of anything else to lose if I ended our relationship. Not only are we friends but we have quite a special intense sexual relationship which I suppose is a big part of our happiness and closeness. So if he shared that with someone else it would completely taint it for me, be ruined. I think I would lose all my desire for him. I appreciate all relationships are built on different things and ours seems to be built on great sexual chemistry and compatibility along side overall compatibility - we never argue for example (yet!) so it would ruin the foundations. Maybe in a different scenario - with kids, mortgage and our sex life wasn't as active I could see myself forgiving a mistake but only if he confessed. The lies are what destroy you both

direlog Sat 24-Jun-17 09:06:35

Yes!! The kids/mortgage/dwindling sex life is the thing that seems to spark many affairs. You've got to the stage where you have mixed your genes with someone else - you've formed a new human!! If both partners start disagreeing about how to nurture their genes in this new little human - that is the big, big test!!!!

Branleuse Sat 24-Jun-17 09:19:34

Its different for different people but i think it wouldn't be too hard for me to forgive a one night stand or sex without much emotional involvement. Much easier than it would be for me to forgive an emotional affair or intense friendship with a woman, which I know id struggle with.

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