Thursday 13 November 2008

Could you forgive and forget?

A friend of mine (who knows I am blogging about this) announced a couple of days ago that she had recently caught her husband having an affair with a work colleague.

He claimed it was just a 'one night stand'.

She asked me what I thought.

Well, to be honest, I was sitting there thinking how much easier it would have been if President Elect Obama had asked for my opinion on the world economic crisis.

I could have answered that question.

I hate these kinds of conversations.

I hate relationship questions. Full stop. Particularly when I am being asked about someone else's relationship.

But she's my friend. I wanted to say something meaningful. I felt her pain but...

I suggested she have a big piece of cheesecake and change the subject. "What about handbags and shoes instead?" I suggested. No, I guess not. I told her that I was very sorry and that she alone knows what’s right for her and maybe she and her husband are better talking to a counsellor. And then I ordered the cheesecake. It's always better to handle these moments with your mouth full, don't you think?

Of course, other people she confided in are all abuzz. Why would she put up with it? What a cheat he is. How could she take him back? How could he do that to her?

She told me she wasn't interested in counselling as she had already forgiven him - without much hesitation either. She was over it really.
She said that "everyone knows these things can happen in a relationship," and she felt it was behind them. She said that they loved each other as much now as they did when they had married and he promised “not to let it happen again”.

So, why did she ask me I wonder? I think that perhaps she wasn't really asking for my opinion or advice but she was trying to work out how common this is. The Extramarital Fling.

I don't really know as it's not the kind of thing people go around bragging about is it?

I admire her though. I am not sure if I could forgive so easily. She is being either incredibly mature and sensible or incredibly naive. I guess only time will tell.

To me, the deal breaker is always the level of deceit involved. He didn't tell her, she had to 'find out'. I guess you can only learn that the hard way. The betrayal is the worst. I would always rather know the truth no matter how painful it may be. Unmasking lies is an easier task when the liar is no more than a casual acquaintance. On the other hand close relationships provide a great camouflage for lies and intimacy provides a heavily-fortressed breeding ground. I have experienced this too, although not quite in this context.

If Alfred Kinsey's 1948 findings - that 50 per cent of all married males and 26 per cent of married women have some form of extra-marital sex - are anything to go by, I guess it's no wonder people choose to forgive and forget. Kinsey was a Professor of Zoology which made me wonder about his findings but apparently recent research indicates that his numbers were accurate. Women are now fast closing the gap and the numbers are growing.

Many claim that a one-night stand is only there to boost a person's ego, fulfill a void in a relationship, or that it's "just sex" and means nothing. Others believe that breaking the solemn vow of holy matrimony is unforgivable, no matter what the circumstances. Others say it’s all about breaching trust and once that is broken you can never easily recover.

I guess forgiving a one-night stand can either be seen as a courageous act in an attempt to allow a relationship to continue and a family to remain intact, or a short sighted decision that will only lead to continued heartbreak. For those who've attempted to forgive a cheater, you'll know what I'm talking about. For the rest, being judgemental is an easy response, until you're in the same position that is ...

What do you think? Could you forgive? Do you think Kinsey's statistics are accurate?

PS. For those people who think they have enough problems handling real world relationships, read this story about a couple in the UK who are divorcing because of a virtual affair - there is a point where staying on the computer for any length of time is entirely unhealthy....


  1. I think you were correct to say that she has to do what works for her. I know some where it ended the relationship and other's who have been made stronger by the struggle.

    And, as a side note, I think the person with the fabulous tattoo is cold. Did you notice the goose bumps? lol

    And I totally would have ordered the cheesecake too!!!

  2. I'm sorry for your friend--what a nightmare! I don't think there are any right answers to give her--just offer support.

    One of my good frends had a cheating hisband--but he had a serious relationship w/ the other woman and wanted to marry her! My friend fought tooth and nail to make him stay and ultimately he did.

    Whenever I tried t put my 2 cents in, she would get a little snippy w/ me--so I just listened and agreed w/ her from then on. She had to do what was right for her...

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today!!

  3. I'm sorry for your friend, and I like your answer. I wish her luck. I never know what to say either.

  4. Lilly, that is the hardest conversation to have with friends. I agree it would probably be easier to solve the worlds problems than attempt to give advice to a friend in those circumstances.

    Your right about each person having their own basis of belief. Each person will handle and deal with the situation completely different. I have known many people who would forgive instantly and move on, while others may take a little longer.

    I personally have a very old fashioned belief in the vows we take and swear to before god, family and friends. I would have no tolerance for the shattering of those vows in the worst way possible. But that is my belief, and these days it seems that fewer and fewer people are holding to those old fashioned morals.

    Your friend probably just needs a non-judgmental ear, and a shoulder to lean on.

  5. Forgive, Yes.
    Forget, NEVER!

    Being on the other side and knowing how bad it sucks to have ruined a life and a family, I would have loved to have been forgiven. But thinking about it if the shoe is on the other foot. I know I could forgive but never ever forget.

    I feel bad for her, but it seems like she has made the best choice for her.

    Thanks for sharing. It makes us all think.

  6. My situation was a little more difficult, I came home from the hospital with our fourth child to find that my husband and best friend, who had come to look after my other kids while I was bringing the fourth into the world, had used the time for a little extra curricular activities. I put it aside, forgave them both and got on with my life. We stayed together for another twelve years. By then I realized that it had happened before her and had happened afterwards. He had problems that I couldn't solve. I'm not bitter, but I would never have married again and life is good now. We're still friends and that has been good for the kids as they are comfortable being with both of us. It was important for me not to cause them problems as he was a good father and they loved him, still do. We all do what we have to do in situations like this. They're never easy. I'll take some cheesecake now.

  7. I don't envy you that conversation. The cheesecake... well, I'm a little envious of that! I think you were a fantastic friend to her. Nobody can really know all of the nuances of a relationship except the person contending with the question.

    A few years ago, I would've been whole-heartedly in the "throw the bum out" category. But after 13 years of marriage, and with the two little girls who adore their daddy... it's honestly hard to know what I would do.

    I hope that it works out for your friend.

    PS. Thanks for your insight on my blog on American politics! It's fascinating to me to hear what people outside the US think. I'm so proud of my country now. I'm hopeful that President Elect Obama can live up to our expectations.

  8. I might forgive but I am not sure I could forget easily like what you said there's deceit involved and I dunno if I will ever trust this person again. For me once trust is broken, it would take great lengths before it could be restored.

    I hope the best for your friend!

  9. Lilly - what flavour was the cheesecake? :)

    P.S. - I have left town. I got the idea at 6.15 pm last night, booked a flight at 7pm and left first thing this morning. I should do this more often. (Back Sunday.)

  10. Well if she really thinks she's over it, she's probably in a bit of denial. Kinda like throwing a towel over a pile of dog poo. It's just gonna fester.
    There's not gonna be any trust or any respect. What kind of relationship is that?? Anyway, I'm so glad she asked you the question and not me! Cheesecake here!

  11. Lilly I look at this very simply. We tell our children to tell the truth and not be ashamed to say what they think. We also teach them that every decision they make brings a consequence.

    Somehow between kindergarten and being a grown up we lose the plot.

    I accept that not all relationships can be happy ones. I accept that people can change over time. I accept that some people are sex addicts. I accept people have mid life crisis. I accpet it takes two to tango. BUT, what I do not accept is that people would lie knowing they are going to hurt others. I just do not get that at all. Her husband did not have a one night stand. He got cuaght that is all. If he had not been caught what would have happened.

    If grown ups cannot be open and honest then what hope is there. Why can't they say to their partner that I want to have an affair, I am not happy in this relationship or I need X Y and Z? The person who is lying is really lying to themselves. It's like having a little bit of cocaine. It's not possible..statistics would tell you. Once a cheater always a cheater.

    Now, if on the other hand, both parties in the relationship want and agree to an open relationship then that it's up to them. that is out in the open so how can you get hurt.

    Its true Lilly, its the deceit that is the kicker. I like that tatoo too I think that says it all. By accepting anything less than common decency from people we are failing to love ourselves.

    I feel strongly because my father was a serial cheat and any woman out there that thinks they are doing their children a favour by staying in such relationships is wrong. It's just showing your children that accepting such a thing is alright. It is not.

    Unfortunately your friend will realise that I think.

    Sorry if my comments offend anyone. I do get a little heated about this issue.

  12. As a male I want to say this. When you make a commitment you make a commitment. If you want to break that commitment you should do it in a civil way not an underhand way. Thats being decent. We all know the difference between right and wrong. If you don't want to make a commitment and honor it then do not. Stay single and have as many girlfriends/boyfriends as you want. It is simple. I can understand partners forgiving cheaters and hoping that things will change. I do not believe it ever works though. Lilly, trust you to turn to cheesecake in your friend's hour of need. Let's hope the cheescake was a good one.

  13. I dont really know whether the third world was in fashion during Kinsey's time and whether his sample consisted of folks from there. But I am skeptical of someone making grand statements like how much folks cheat etc.

    To me the answer is very simple. If the woman is financially dependent on the man, she tolerates. If she is independent, she can tell him to take a hike. If there are young children, you tolerate each other till they grow up or you find a solution which ever is earlier. If the children are older, the solution could be different.

    But really, it depends on who is in the wrong and what caused it.

    I think I need some cheescake to clear my mind. Hmm.

  14. @ Rhonda - I am loving that fabulous tatoo have to say - I really like the message. Yes you cannot tell I am an emotional eater...

    @ Jennifer - thanks for dropping by. I appreciate that. Oh well I hope your friend is happy but I guess we cnanot stop people moving on either.

    @ Gran - sure you cant find an appropriate movie ending for someone in these situations?

    @ Eric - have I told you how much I like you? Your wife is a lucky woman, tell her from me. I agree with you but somehow it does seem fewer and fewer people think along the same lines.

    @ Sandi - I think you have to eventually forgive people because otherwise you carry the bitterness and you cannot do anything to change it. I think time probably heals all things anyway!!!

    @ Sylvia - thanks for sharing your experience. Yes every sitution is difficult and that must have been horrendous for you. I think you rability to rise above it all for the children's sake takes a tremendous amount of courage. Also as you say you could not help him in the end. But you did help yourself and bravo to you!!!!

    @ Adlibby - yes its a lot harder when there are children and finances and homes and a big investment to think about. You are right.

    @ Jade - yes thats wher I sit too. I do not liek the deceit because that is when you get manipulated and it doesnt allow you to make the right decisions.

    @ Leslie - the flavour of the cheesecake was Blueberry - ummmm I think blueberries are in the top ten healthy foods that you can eat. Ummm, they didn't acutally say that the benefits were outweighed by all the sugar and fat though. But it was a highly emotionally charged occasion and well you I like sweet things...

    I want to hear all about your mystery visit when you get back. HOW EXCITING IS THAT. Shame you didnt live in the UK and you could have gone to Italy for the weekend.

    @ Julie - yes that is a good point perhaps she is in denial too - thanks for dropping by.

    @ Sarah - yes I think we use children as an excuse for too many of our decisions as parents. They are hardy little things but I think the issue becomes awkward when the carer is the mother and she has put on hold her own career to raise the kids. That is a big sacrifice in many ways when it comes time to separating.

    @ Stefan - well you and Eric both think along the same lines and thank so much for saying that!

    @ Ugich - yes of course the research was probably done in the US at that time. I think what you are saying is true of anyone in the west too. Thats why my daughter says that she will never give up her career when she has children because you never know what is around the corner. I am pleased you left a comment becaues it would be great to know what people all over the world thought about this issue. And on that note, I will send you over some cheesecake. I am coming over to visit you in a minute so get the beverages ready!!

  15. This is reminding me of Sex and the City... or was that Sex in the City?
    Still... for myself. I don't know if I could be so magnanimous and forgiving.
    Everybody is different.

  16. @ Kay, yes its a hard one I guess but I was interested in what peoples thinking on this is I suppose. It kind of scares me when they talk aobut these stats I guess.

  17. Hi Lilly, Having been in much the same position as millions of women throughout the centuries of having a man who treated me like sh** which I accepted - I don't doubt that what happened I deserved, I was a 'sily lassie' and took it.
    1) I would shout it from the heavens that girls should be brought up with a great deal of care 'not' to think that their male was a 'god' from the heavens. Equality is a right!
    OK that being said I wonder how your friend's husband would have accepted cheating if the cheating had been the other way round ?
    2) As far as bringing up the children with a good opinion of the one who cheated and left. That has to be done, otherwise they will some day blame the person the (male or female) who stayed and coped with the break up. I am so glad I, like Sylvia kept the door open, access to the kids available and never bad-mouthed my ex. Children grow up quickly and can remember what happened. I say this because for some unknown reason he has started to badmouth me - why? Maybe he's having problems ???
    As far as my sons are concerned both of them are married and making a good job of bringing up their children - Thank God..

  18. @ Kate - that comment was brilliant and I so agree on this point - "I would shout it from the heavens that girls should be brought up with a great deal of care 'not' to think that their male was a 'god' from the heavens. Equality is a right!" Thanks for your wise words. Very, very sensible. And it must feel good to have reamined above it all like Sylvia! Glad you are happy now and your boys are great husbands and fathers!!! I hope they inherited your sense of humor too!!

  19. It really depends on the situation and the person. Forgive? Yes and it will help myself and release myself from the negativity of hate. A lot of people thought that forgiving the other person free the person from guilt. However, to forgive, we are actually helping ourselves; our heart will be free. And forgiving doesn't mean condoning what the other person did.

    To forget, that will take time because when you truly forgive, it doesn't really matter whether you forget or not.

  20. Hello Lily, I have seen your profile pic so many times at SITS comments, and decided to visit.
    I like the way you answered your friends tough question! This would be very very hard for me to forgive....

  21. This is a tough nut to crack... and just like you say, the answer has to be whatever is right for her.. Only time will tell if she has made the right decision.

    Thanks for dropping by to Sweden today.

  22. Hi Lilly, what a fabulous post though I am very sorry that you find yourself having to write this. I admire your friend for being willing to forgive but feel a little concerned that she is (supposedly) doing it so easily. Maybe it'd be a good idea to watch out for her over the next little while. She may be telling herself that it's normal and happens to lots of people and that she should therefore be OK with it but if her marriage is sincere, as she claims it is, this is likely to hit her like a ton of bricks in the future. There will be stages of grief involved and perhaps she is still in shock. It's important to support her desire forgive at the same time to acknowledge that the behaviour was unacceptable and entirely not her fault. This is such a complicated situation. It's wonderful she was able to talk to you, I suspect however that this is just the beginning.

  23. I would have slapped him. I think she's asking you because she's not really over it, she's upset but doesn't know how to let it out. So she's telling everyone just how upset she isn't and how she forgave him so that her friends can bash him and she can stand there demurely and take the high road. She's probably too scared he'll leave her if she gets angry.

    Once a man cheats, he'll always cheat again. Esp. now that he knows he can get away with it. It's like a teenager staying out late. You forgive one night, one night becomes a week, then a thing she knows, he'll leave her for a younger woman or get someone else pregnant.

    I actually had the reverse--I had a girlfriend cheat on her boyfriend. When she told Libby and me, we both disapproved heavily. We're not friends with her anymore...the guy didn't deserve that. He's a nice guy and was trying to work things out with her, and she hurt him out of spite.

    That's what I would have said. :) But I'm a bit harsh when it comes to cheating.

  24. I can't believe you wrote about this. Based on PERSONAL experience, I say never judge another until you have walked in their shoes. I had the same thing happen to me. It's a heart wrenching, heart breaking part of my life. I'm not even sure I could blog about it. :-(

  25. My Lilliness! You are very wise! Not just beautiful, but wise, too! Your poor friend. I'm sure she's struggled with her decision but looks like she's made it. You're a great friend.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  26. Hi again Lilly, I meant to ask in my last comment - did you get my email about the 'Feather Bonnets' I ask because I have always had a problem with your email server any emails are returned.. Probably something to do with my P.C. 'cos it can be a bit temperamental - kind of like it's owner if truth be told hehe.. anyhow I found a site on the net which gave details you were wanting and sent a couple of piccies of a 'braw Hielander dressed up to the nines' in his 'tartan'... did you get this? if not - let me know I'll see if I can trace it again. Cheers Kate x.

  27. Oh, dearest Lilly!! Thank you so much for the compliment. I just feel most the time like a little short fatty! ;P Coming from the most beautiful one, I really do appreciate your words.
    Now, we need you to join the ranks of the Divas...anytime...I'll be waiting. :)
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia :)

  28. Hi again Lilly,Got it ! The site is called Scots Guards Highland Dress Uniform and It's the article about 'Pipe Major Roger Huth Scots Guards' OK Pal ? Cheers Kate x.

  29. Wow this is a tough one and I think it should force all your readers to reflect on their own lives. I am not married but I do have an opinion, i usually do :)

    I think the problem is not with the fact that she forgave him but that her actions indication that she pretended as if nothing happened. If he is out there cheating and lying there is a deeper problem. If she does not accept this and do everything she can to fix the underlying issue its going to happen again!

    I am sure by telling you she was looking to see if maybe this had ever happened to you. Or she was looking for approval. You reaction was smart. If you had told her to stay away from him, that she was being a fool etc...she would most likely have drifted away from you as a friend.

    I truly hope that she and her husband do what their best to address whatever marital problems led to his infidelity. And if there are no problems my guess would be her husband has some issues of his own.

    Congratulations on the saucy blog!

  30. wow - lots of interesting comments ... being a gay divorcee (there is a pun there - my husband switched teams) and now re-married (eternal optimist) I think the following ...

    1) you need all the info to make informed choices, failing to have all the info (or at least the significant bits) leads to flawed decision making ... and less than desirable outcomes.

    2)being responsible really means choosing the responce you give and living with the consequences - adpated from seven habits of highly effective people - best thing I got out of that book ...

    3) your friend has choosen her response and good on her for being able to do so in a concise and determined manner.

    4) there are no absolutes in life - "once a cheater, always a cheater' completley over simplifies the situation - it's akin to saying 'once a brunette always a brunette'.

    I know of 'cheater men' who have completely dropped the cheater lifestyle for 'the one', and vice versa of course ...

    Life is just full of choice and consequence, shades of grey and is not a 'one size fits all' proposition.

    To be honest Lilly we can all use a friend like you - you bring the rainbow to the shades of grey :)

    I know I have not added anything useful to the thred - but that is half the fun .... cheers le

  31. I'm so sorry your friend has had to deal with such an emotional event!

    If she loves him they should seek counsel like you said and then she should forgive! She will never forget a traumatic thing like that but she should never bring it up when they argue 'cause she will just be hurting herself and reliving the nightmare.

    I have a close friend who this happened to 10 years ago and she just went through it again last month! I think she is leaving him this time!

    By the way I'm here from Sits.

  32. I'm never good in those kind of conversations either. I'm the type that tries to make them laugh instead.

    About the forgiving and forgetting, I think it can be done and I do believe in some situations that when something like that happens it makes them realize how much they care for eachother. Kind of renews the relationship, as long as they both want the same thing.

    But I don't believe it would easy to forgive and would be even harder to forget!

  33. I don't think I could trust my spouse again, especially if he hadn't come forward with the info. It goes back to "are you sorry for what you did or are you sorry you got caught." But until I was in those shoes, I really can't say for sure what I'd do.

    I've known several couples that have moved past these types of ugly situations and I have nothing but respect for them. It takes a very special person to be that forgiving.

  34. I feel really bad for her, because I know this is indeed one of the most hurtful things that could happen. If it were up to me when it first happened I'd be divorced today, but my Grandmother insisted we go to therapy. Four years later we are stronger and we truly learned from this. I'm not saying everyone should forgive a cheater, but when you have years invested and with kids trying therapy can't kill ya. ☺

  35. You've read my blog long enough to know my answer to this.

    It is a resounding NO.

    While she may take him back, and thinks she forgives him, I can tell you from experience she will never forget, and never trust him again. And for him, it's only hard to cheat the first time. After that it gets easier, especially when your wife just "forgives and forgets" so quickly.

    Everyone reacts to this situation differently. I always said I would never tolerate a cheater, and he'd be kicked to the curb the second he did it to me. However, when it actually happened to me, I had so much to lose (our house, our family, our life, our future, our business, etc.) that for a short period I was willing to try and work it out. But that quickly changed when he made it clear he wanted out of our marriage because he'd found his "soul mate". Funny, she never divorced her husband, and dumped mine shortly after our divorce was final. So much for soul mates.

    The loss of trust is devastating. To have the man who is supposed to love you, and care for you for life...throw it all away so callously...I can't even tell you what that is like.

    I pray for your friend. I hope it turns out better for her than it did for me.

  36. Been married 31 years, never strayed, but can't say never been tempted. Guess I just think in the long term, not pinch & giggle short term.

    I can't see risking a life time commitment for a quick back scratch. If you're not happy in your commitment, get out, don't cheat. If you're happy then you aren't interested in the first place.

    Back to your question, yes I could forgive and forget; but better not put me to the test multiple times as I have been known to change my mind!

  37. That is a tough one and I think that for every person and every situation it is different. I'm sorry for your friend.
    I think that it would be a difficult thing for me to forget at least. The forgiving I could possibly manage, but the forgetting would be hard. I am one who is known to have the mentallity 'If they'll do it once, they'll do it again.' But I have seen many people go through similar situations and come out a better couple after healing their relationship.
    I wish your friend the best in her marriage.

  38. This would be (and has been) a deal breaker for me. It's not just the cheating, it's the trust that is destroyed.

    I'm sorry that your friend has gone through this and I wish her the best. She might think this has ended things with his affair, but it's only the beginning of a difficult road ahead for them.

    I hope she does seek out counseling. I've read too much about situations like this after I experienced it. Seems the "it only happened once" or "it's just about sex" are common threads for further lies.

    Lies not just to the wife "it doesn't mean anything" but also what the man says to the other woman "I will leave my wife but can't right now because (fill in the blank of money, kids, etc.)...

    I don't have a good opinion of men who cheat, can you tell? Again, it all comes down to trust and going to counseling will help rebuild the trust or come to the realization that the marriage isn't going to work.

    But sticking your head in the sand and saying, "forgiven, won't happen again" - isn't good.

    Besides.. unless he is the type to just "have meaningless affairs" - then there has to be a reason for the affair. The affair is a by-product or reaction of something missing in the relationship. Counseling, again, would help work through this.

    OK, ok... hopping off the soap box. I truly am sorry for your friend. Your post had humor in it to ease the tension of the topic. You handled it all very well.

  39. Think your friend just wanted a listening ear and a few leading questions about her feelings to help her come to her own conclusions about the problem.
    I remember the Kinsey Report coming out and the furore it caused. Judging from people I know I don't think the statiscs are accurate,especially for 1948, but then what statistics are?
    Never cheated or been cheated( as far as I know ! ) so don't know how I would re-act.Think it depends on the circumstances and how much you love your partner

  40. So sorry for your friend. This is a difficult situation always.

    And I agree that she has to do what's best for her & her family. We don't know all the details of their relationship (nor should we). So we can't really offer the best advice on the situation.

    Although, I would suggest counselling. If only because it would help them both to understand why this happened (really) so that they can work on repairing those areas of their relationship.

    I am praying & hoping that this was a one-time mistake, and that their relationship will grow stronger and closer in the future - so this doesn't happen again.

    Congrats on the Saucy Blog!

  41. First off....thanks so much for the linky love! I appreciate it...and never under estimate desperation lol. Ultimately it's Ozzie who is gonna pick. And being a schnauzer who knows what will motivate him lol. Secondly this topic hit VERY close to home. I lived through this one. And I'm of the opinion that in about 95% of the cases...once a cheater always a cheater! I tried to make it work with my ex....we had three kids under the age of five when I discovered he was cheating. I didn't want to wreck our family and I was scared out of my mind at the thought of trying to raise my children alone and financially survive. But it didn't take long to realize that he would never be trustworthy...and that my self respect and the example he was setting for my kids was just too high a price to pay. I managed on my own for many many years...was it easy...nope. But I'm a better woman and mother for it. And my children learned that you can be self reliant, that respect for yourself was paramount, that we don't ever tolerate being abused by anyone! And I was lucky enough to raise three amazing children by myself. I'm now happily married to the most wonderful man on the planet. I can't imagine how miserable my life would be had I stayed. I hope your friend makes the best decision for her and her family...and I wish her the best of luck. My heart aches for the pain I know she's going through!

  42. Gosh, I guess we all have to tell ourselves lies in order to make it through the night.

    To me, the deal breaker is always the level of deceit involved. He didn't tell her, she had to 'find out'.

    I would bet it was not the first time he did this, it was just the first time he got caught.

    In my opinion, once a man starts to stray, either with a "one night stand" or a longer extra-marital affair, he has already left the marriage. At that point, it is a business deal only, and the woman can kid herself into thinking that "forgiving" him will keep him in the marriage. All it will do is keep him in the business deal. He has left the marriage and the love affair with his wife.

    I think I would have taken a bit mouthful of cheesecake too. No one ever wants to hear the truth.

  43. It's tough to take when it's happening to your friend. But you're right. You're friend needs to make the decision because she's the one who has to live with it.

  44. I think percentages are irrelavent. The bottom line for me is could I ever trust him again? Well, in my marriage, cheating is a deal breaker, and we both agree. I couldn't ever be sure I could trust him again.

    On the flip side, though, I respect anyone who is able to move past an affair, even if I don't understand them.

  45. Forgive not forget. Having lived through it, it is not so pleasant. Trust underpins all marriages and this is the worst violation of that.

    Hard to recover.

  46. I might be able to forgive eventually, but it would take a while.

    And I definitely don't think it's "mature and sensible" for her to just let this go so quickly. I mean, there has to be a reason that he gave into temptation so easily, right? If she forgives him after 30 seconds of deliberation, what's his motivation for not doing it again? He already knows she's not going to leave him if he does!

    I think you're right that they need counseling.

  47. You were wise not to give her too much advice. :) That can be a hard thing to do, but sometimes people just want someone to listen to them.

    I think those statistics are really high.

    It's one thing to say you forgive someone, but isn't it a little blind to fully believe that he's really "not going to let it happen again" when he didn't confess, but was caught? Those are just my thoughts, but I admire any woman who can truly forgive. Not just push it off to the side, but really forgive.

  48. Lilly, I can't comment from a personal stand point (having never married)but I would find it incredibly difficult, if not impssible, to forgive a woman who cheated on me. I'm not saying I wouldn't try to, but I don't think I could ever get back to the same level of trust we shared to begin with.

    Unfortunately, it is becoming more common for people to have extra-maritalaffairs and to think nothing of it. I find that reprehensible, but that's just me. And people ask my why I have never married. Take a guess! I think in the future (if we don't destroy ourselves first) marriage will be a thing of the past and everyone will just procreate with everyone else like some species of monkeys do. Sorry you asked? lol

  49. The Golden Girls always worked things through over cheesecake, :)

    I could forgive, but I could not forget an extramarital fling.

    I could no longer trust in my partner and that would be the death of our relationship as a couple.

    But those are my feelings. I certainly wouldn't be in any position to give advice on the matter and I wouldn't feel comfortable, either.

    Peace - Rene

  50. That was funny how you'd rather confront one of Obama's world crises!

    When I was young and idealistic in my 20's I would tell the person to get rid of her husband immediately. Now I've known a couple of cases like this in real life and I see where the hurt spouse is willing to overlook the indiscretion especially where kids are involved. It may be the practical and realistic thing to do as you think of others. Mid- life crises don't help.

  51. Give me cheesecake, please.

    She asked you because she probably finds you even minded. Or maybe she wanted to tell someone, and also let them know how she had come to terms with it.

    I'll just share something that the actor Jeff Bridges's mother, Dorothy wrote. She and the actor Lloyd Bridges were married:

    "There were challenges along the way: the loss of Lloyd's career by the shameful Un-American Activities and my husband's occasional infidelities. Did we separate? No! Somehow I knew, as I had many years before, that he was a man worth waiting for, and he was smart enough to realize he didn't want to risk losing what meant more to him than anything else in his life. The marriage lasted for 60 years and the Valentines were written every year of that marriage , no matter how stressed were the marital bonds or how blissful the long periods of unforgettable happiness. The Valentines never stopped and all together they tell the story."
    -Dorothy Bridges, from her book, "You Caught Me Kissing."

    So perhaps her perspective is different from most. Maybe she looks at marriage as a lifetime journey, and hopes that someday, they'll come together.

    However, it doesn't mean that she shouldn't take care of the problems that are in the marriage now, if she wants to get to a happier plateau later. And also, they'll have to be realistic: maybe she wants it more than him. If so, it might not work out.

    Regardless, you're a good friend. Don't judge. Just listen.

  52. i wouldn't know what to say either...every situation is different. me? i'd cut off his wang dang and tell him i'd keep him around for cleaning and carpooling the kiddos. but that's just me. :D

  53. I'm like you. I would have told her it was her choice and I wouldn't want to throw my 2 cents in. It is such a personal decision.

    For me, I'd have to forgive because I am a religious person and I believe in forgiveness, but this is where I think people get confused, you can forgive and leave the person as well. Just because you forgive a person, doesn't mean you have to stay with them.

  54. You sound like an amazing friend. Your friend is lucky to have you in her life. Everyone needs to have a good friend like that.

  55. Lilly knowing what I know now - after two marriages - I'd smack his bottom at the first whisper of an affair. And then get a discussion going on why he did it.

    My first one actually brought home a book called 'Open Marriage' - in vogue at the time - and asked me what I thought of the premise in it. I tried to 'understand' aware that he often went off to interstate conferences et al.

    Worst thing I ever did. You just do yourself a damage - and the family generally. The kids and I never got over it. No tolerance for shennanagans I say.

    A one night stand might be a pointer to an ego that needs massaging or that something wrong is happening in the relationship.

    Either way simply 'understanding' is not the answer.

  56. I'm married to a not-so-faithful person myself. It's hell on earth for me, and I'm not able to be very forgiving about it. Perhaps it's the remorse on his part that is missing??? And meanwhile, I try to figure out what to do with my friends...and I'm sure they feel like ordering some cheesecake when I do. :)

  57. Hey Lilly

    Your friend was not telling you what her husband did but she is looking for you to validate what she did in accepting his actions and moving on was the right thing to do. I think you handled things brilliantly!
    Each one of us is different and how we would handle or accept we never know until the situation is thrust upon us. like the saying goes ~ Until you walk a mile in his/her shoes.

  58. Oh, dear...what a loaded question for a friend to ask. Kind of nowhere to stand safely on that one...

    I'm over visiting from SITS - congrats on being sassy! Your blog is awesome!

    :^) Anna

  59. Putting cheesecake in your mouth is a good idea, can't talk with your mouth full... I would hate someone asking me this question, but if it was me, even though there are no vows to break with me, I would not forgive - thats just me.

  60. Excuse me for being a little open on this subject, but once a cheater, always a cheater. You see I have been cheated on. I forgave. I listened to all the it was just a one time thing, I cried, yes men can cry also. I heard every excuse that was available to mankind. I was angry, I was hurt, I have a little girl and could not see how something like this could happen. But you know what, I still to this day love my ex with all my heart. If I could have her back in my life it would mean the world to me..
    For some people love is unconditional. For some it means nothing. For 23 years I was faithful, I had many opportunity to cheat, I chose not to. I loved my wife, but when the time came for her, she did not have the strength that I did.
    Your friend has to follow her heart and not her head. She will be able to deal with a decision made with her heart, she cannot deal with something that comes from her head. The heart is always right, whether the outcome is good or not.

  61. I followed you over here from SITS!

    WOW I do not know how I would handle this, I think everyone handles it different. I feel that you answered her in a good way, saying that she has to do what is right for her.

    I think I would have a hard time forgetting, it would always be in my mind!

    On a side note, LOVE your blog! :)

  62. Miss Lilly is a true champion on this ol internet. You my friend are the future of why we all do this. Simply an inspiration you are Lilly. From across the pond your friend Gary

  63. I think each person has to do what is best for them also. I admit I kinda shuddered though when you posted her response as she was over it already and already forgiven him PLUS stating these things happen. Its almost like she is saying--she expected this to happen and its not that bad. My heart tells me he really isnt sorry--because HE didnt go to her--like you said. He got caught! guess is,,,it wasnt a one night stand--they are usually alot more.

    I do however think yes one can be forgiven. You truly do have to look at all there is in your relationship--what the two of you have built together. It would also matter to me if like this situation-I would NOT want my spouse returning to a job where that person is. Thats like an alcoholic walking past a bar..its more than likely they'll go in.

  64. I definitely would not forgive my husband if he cheated on me, it is about respect, and if he thinks its okay to "lay down" with someone else, then there is no respect..

    You are a good friend not to pass judgment, just be there if she needs you, that is a good friend..!

  65. For singles, it is easier to hook up with a married than with another single.

    Sad, really...

  66. I think sometimes these things come down to a decisions not our feelings. And sometimes thats what forgiveness is - a decision, one that we make and the feelings follow later.

    Wishing your friend well :)

  67. It sounds like she is in denial. Because that is NOT a normal reaction. I know many married couples that have went thru this but the wife was angry, there was couceling involved and the husband had to really make up for it. If she doesn't hold him acoountable, he will do it again.

    Oh I am working this weekend, but just overnights. I'm working right now. Love the over nights, not even bothering to try and get them covered by my staff.

  68. Life's too short! Forgive, shrugg your shoulders and go back to bed together, or move on and do whatever YOU feel is right for you.

    Bitterness and jealousy are the most destructive emotions on the planet and it's the jealous person who gets most hurt and is eventually destroyed.

    And yes, Kinsey's spot on, or a bit conservative.

    This is not a rehearsal - enjoy your life!

  69. CJW 666 - Seems to me that your line about "Bitterness and jealousy is the most destructive emotions on the planet and it's the jealous person who gets most hurt and is eventually destroyed." is a little out of wack. Not sure if you mean it or I have misinterpreted what you are saying here.

    Are you saying the person who is cheated on is only upset because they are jealous because their partner is getting some and they are not? Sounds like the kind of deflection a lying spouse would make to their partner.

    Let's look at this in a different way. Say you entered into a business relationship with someone and you agreed on some principles up front and your business partner did the dirty on you and you found out about it (by mistake of course). Your business partner had no intention of telling you he was getting a bit on the side with another business and pocketing all the jollies. What you are saying effectively is that you would just take it on the chin and let bygones be bygones. You would either walk away or just get right back into bed with your business partner again. Would you trust that business partner ever again I wonder?

    The issue is having enough respect for someone you have a relationship with to agree these things up front and be open. Every person should have their personal boundaries very securely defined before ever going into a relationship then it's a little easier when it comes to the crunch.

    Life is too short and we all end up dead but that doesn't mean that it's fine to piss all over people on our way there.

    Yeah and the figures are way out. There is way more women.

    Sarah (London)

  70. I just noticed you are a Saucy blog over at SITS! Congrats!

  71. Morning, Lilly. I'm so glald you've come to my SIT Party! It's a lovely movie and you'll have to let me know if you get to see this movie. Thanks for your sweet words. No, I don't know how to put my music with me playing on my blog.
    I hope you'll have a wonderful weekend!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia :)

  72. You've received a "I Love Your Blog" Award! Congrats! Read here for more information:

  73. To each their own. The best thing to do is know what you can live with.
    The second best thing is ordering the cheesecake.
    Good luck to your friend.

  74. Gosh, tough question!! I think I could forgive my husband IF he told me about it rather than getting caught. Not easy though.

    Deal breaker for me is any man that strikes a woman. Hit me one time and you are done, done, done!!!

  75. I would like to think I could/would follow the teachings I hold forgive...perhaps...but forget, no...I know I could not forget.

  76. This is such a hard question to answer. Everyone is different and each person has their own level of tolerance.

  77. Hi Lilly,
    This sounds like the story I'm writing, only mine is fiction.

    I feel bad for your friend. She sounds like Hillary Clinton, a martyr. I have three friends who were in this same situation. Two had forgiven their spouses and one is getting a divorce. For the two who forgave their spouses, I am saying to them in silence, " why? Why? Why take the abuse?" But who am I to judge? It's their life and their decisions to make. I agree with you that perhaps your friend just wanted a sounding board more than anything. And you handled the situation very wisely.

    So, I'd like to join you for some cheesecke, if I may. Cheesecake happens to be one of my favorite foods.

    But it's hard sometimes to just listen when, later on, those same people keep complaining about how miserable they are in their marriage because they can not completely trust their spouses at the same level as before.

    You said bluberry flavor, correct? Yummy. May I have seconds, please?

    To me, if two people are not striving for the same goal in the marriage, I much rather see the couples divorce. Cheating on each other is just no way to achieve those goals.

    I'm probably in the minority in this kind of thinking. I don't know if my husband remembers this, but in the beginning of our marriage, I told him that if he ever decides to cheat on me, I much rather not know about it, unless he's ready to divorce me. My feeling is, that I'm one of those who can not forgive and forget.

    Thanks for the cheesecakes and for the great post.


  78. Hi Lilly,
    I am new here from Jo's place.
    I love your name.
    How interesting, I just saw this exact pic of this tatoo on another blog 2 days ago. Weird.

  79. Lilly, I'm very sorry for your friend. Being a man myself doesn't mean I agree about such attitide of 'one night stand'; rather I find it an extremlt ridiculuos excuse.

    I think words are easier than doings so I can't find anything to say except that she knows herself and her husband and in the light of this she has to think about the right decision that came with the less negative effects, whatever they are!

    Hard, right? but it's her life and I'm pretty sure that no one can decide for anyother one, rather we can help in making things better!

    p.s. sorry as this comment is quite long, I guess!

  80. I think someone who is a cheat in one aspect of their life is exactly the same in other aspects of their life.

  81. Forgiveness is a tough thing...and I truly believe it comes down to the person/people in the situation, the details and how they feel it is best to handle it. Forgiving is keeps the hate from harbouring...but foriveness can be bad if you forgive for the same repetitive begin to despise the person then. =/

  82. I think it's ok for her to forgive him. I do think they need to get down to the bottom of why he strayed. That won't fix itself.

    Thanks for submitting your post!

  83. Wow, this is the most comments I have ever got on a post. I appreciate you all sharing your views and experiences. It shows that we are all different and the bottom line is that each person needs to make up their own mind depending on their situation.

    I think looking at even these comments, that Kinsey's stats are pretty accurate really.

    Anyway I wish everyone a truly authentic life. Thanks again for helping my friend. I learnt a lot too.

    The even more wonderful reminder to me is that no matter where we are in the world we face similar life issues. It's always something to keep in mind I think.

  84. cheesecake makes everything better.

    but i don't think i could forgive that...and i definitely couldn't forget it. ever.

    it would tear me up inside.

  85. Boy, sometimes it's so hard to just listen and not shell out advice. I don't know about forgiveness. Sometimes, I think it has to do with self-respect, as well as personal goals. However far you bury something like that, though, it finds it's way back up.

  86. Hi! Saw your blog thru WTBAY. Interesting post.

    I don't think I could forgive my partner if a similar thing happened. I have thought about this in the past as I know of people who have been cheated on or who have been the cheater and I can never fathom how people are willing to stay with the partner. I mean, trust is the basis of every relationship, and if that is broken (whether it be a one night stand or a full blown affair), I don't see the point in continuing.

    It's just that I don't think I could be with a person knowing what they have done. I've noticed that I can forgive but I find it hard to forget (based on other experiences). Also, I guess for my partner to have an affair would mean that something is definitely missing and I wouldn't insist on continuing the relationship either because you can't make someone love you or be with you.

  87. I think it's all personal. Your friend has the choice and she's picking what seems like a high road.

    But, I think your friend's attitude that it will never happen again is a little naive.

    Best of luck to her.

    I probably would have a hard time forgiving, but I just don't know until it happens to me. (May it not!)

    The thought that everyone has an affair, anyway, is a sad sad expectation. I think fidelity is very possible, it just takes a lot of commitment on both partners.

  88. Such a touchy topic! I think I'd need to know all of the circumstances of a situation. A one-night stand is only 1 night with THAT person. Is it a serial behavior? But a long-term affair with one person shows that something is definitely missing in the marriage.
    I wonder if your friend really has forgiven, or she's going to explode one day.

  89. I think that anyone that deceives another in what is the most intimate relationship we can have deserves to be punished. I also believe if they do that in a personal relationship they must be the same in other parts of their life. The have to live with themselves and it cannot be that satisfying. Your friend will find out more I think. Once you take a bite of the chocolate and no-one is watching it's hard to stop.

  90. Very thought provocing. I feel terribly for your friend & her marriage. Who am I to judge though. Whatever she thinks is best for her, is what she is going to do. I don't think I could trust my spouse after that.

    Congrats on being a SITS feature this week.

  91. Im so sorry for your friend and yes, this is a most difficult situation. I believe being a good listener is the best solution for you as she ultimately has to make the tough decision herself.

    Having experienced a relationship where the man was a cheater (and later went on to cheat again and again) my conclusion is:

    Once a cheater, ALWAYS a cheater!!!
    I got rid of him right quick and it was one of the best decisions I made in my life.

  92. Dunno what I'd do. Myself, I have no idea of how to begin to go about having an affair, even if I wanted to, which I don't. I have this question for your friend: If you couldn't trust him to not have an affair, how can you trust him when he says it was one-time only thing? That's about the oldest dodge in the book, anyway.

    This being said, I know people who have put affairs behind them and who have stronger marriages for it. Whether your friend and her husband can be among them, who knows?

  93. As far as Kinsey goes, I believe his statistics are considered suspect because the subjects were self-selected.

  94. The fact that she had to "find out" rather than him confessing to her in total regret is a huge factor here. If she hadn't discovered the fling....? Big IF and one I could probably not get over.

    But that's all theory. It all depends on the relationship, how obvious were the problems leading up to this? Judging by her quick forgiveness, I suspect they were quite obvious and she may even feel partially responsible for him straying.

    As for Kinsey, that makes sense to me. I think that monogamy is a totally artificial construct that goes against our human nature, especially that of men who are designed to spread their seed (sorry for the expression but it fits).

    But that's what makes us humans and not animals - we are able to make decisions like monogamy that go beyond our base instincts. But it's always important to remember we are animals deep down and we are totally fallible humans.

    Philosophize all you want sucks for your friend and I hope she gets whatever works best for her future happiness.

  95. I've done it and I've had it done to me.

    Sometimes it's sexual attraction, over-riding good sense. At other times it is an escape from 'reality'

    Sometimes it is a moment to learn.


    In the circumstances, I would opt for a bottle of wine, followed by a couple of Irish Coffee's

  96. People are assholes...but why do we expect them to be anything else?

  97. Thanks everyone it's a wonderful cross - section of views and comments and observations. All truly fantastic. I like what Soul Merlin says about it being a moment to learn. Mmm I think I would opt for the Irish coffees too at this point in life.

  98. I cheated...
    on my cat. And bought another one. My first cat Merle, I bought home from an animal shelter when I was 21. I have had him now for 9 years. I bought home another cat about 3 months ago, Milan. Merle has not looked at me in the same way since I introduced Milan into the family.
    I love your blog

  99. I've never cheated on my husband but I can see the draw. In fact, it's been on my mind lately to be honest. My husband does NOT provide everything I want in a relationship and I doubt any person in the world would. So I have fantasized about it, made up little stories in my head about "What if..." I even have a number of guy friends (some who even have little crushes on me) I hang out with and they, in different ways, bring that missing piece to my life. Some of these men are previous loves/dates. Some are new friends. Have I ever considered an affair? Absolutely. But I'll never do it. I've actually mentioned to my husband during times of strife that I want to have an affair... and it always seems to be when I need more attention. His response is to laugh and then to step up the lovin' a little. I think he knows I'm sorta not kidding but that I'd never actually do it. I've gone so far as to tell him I wouldn't ever cheat on him. And I won't because I know it would crush him and I know it would crush me. In my relationship, as it stands, having sex with another person would wreck everything. And for what?

    That said, in my opinion, having an affair is a decision. It doesn't just "happen." Of course, I tend to think things out long before I act. I'm going to have lunch with one of my favorite guy friends today (married) and get a guy's perspective since this is an issue near and dear to me.

    Thanks for the post. Of course, I'm going to post this comment anonymously ;).

  100. I always wonder why forgiving and forgetting are always linked together as I've found that one can exist without the other and frequently, on very different schedules.

    Our hearts + minds don't always sync. This was my case. Although I'm done, I can't say that I am over it.

    I talk about it a bit more here for those who might be interested.

  101. @ Miss XU - thanks for the link, it was a really interesting post!

  102. Everyone handles this type of situation differently. I like your idea of delving deeply into cheesecake while shopping for handbags. But, as I always say - how do you forgive when you can't forget?

  103. hi mate thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic.I was looking for this data for a long time, bit I was not able to find the trusted source you all do such a great job at such Concepts... can't tell you how much I, for one appreciate all you do!thanks for you sharing.

  104. In March of this year my world was shaken by my husband's confession that he was ending an affair that started October last year. He asked me to help him, not get to get rid of the woman, but to start healing our marriage. Believe me, it is hard! It has been a little over 2 months since. Forgiveness is a process. In the case of infidelity, the erring spouse needs to be the healer. This is a daunting task. It is not impossible, but it is not easy either. Your friend and her spouse should be committed to healing. 

  105. Forgiving is not forgetting. Forgiving is getting rid of the sweeping emotions when you remember the learning experience.


Thanks for your comments.