cheating couple

Marriage, Cheating, and Swinging

Do you think a married couple can get past cheating, or any kind of infidelity, and survive?

–       KC in Boca Raton, FL

Good question, and Boca is nice.  I have family there.  I need to preface this answer with a disclaimer :

I have never been married.   I’ve never been engaged.  My ratio of first dates to fourth dates is roughly the same as the ratio of “episodes of Two and a Half Men” to “episodes of Two and a Half Men that were funny.”

You could view this as a simple and obvious reason for not being prepared to answer the question, or a surprising asset in that I’ve had plenty of time [like, measured in presidential terms] to observe closely, without prejudice, very successful and spectacular disaster marriages.  For the sake of this exercise, let’s just assume the latter so that we can all pretend this has a chance of being valid.

The question immediately brings to mind swingers; whenever I see a documentary or article about their lifestyle, I oscillate between thinking they’re just trashy herpes-spreading freaks looking for a way to justify their raging unchecked boners [and whatever the female equivalent of a raging boner is], and that they are actually – despite their clumsy and tawdry way of practicing it – more enlightened than all the ‘traditional’ couples in that they have realized that you can de-couple primal, physical activities from the deep emotional and intellectual connections that truly form the basis of a healthy marriage.

From a purely logical standpoint, the swingers-as-enlightened theory seems to win out.  Once you posit that sex and everything else can be clearly and cleanly separated, then the swinging lifestyle is the next logical step : grow and nurture the mental side of the marriage every day at home, then go out and quench whatever freaky physical thirst you have on the weekends in a cut-rate hotel ballroom somewhere.

Even if you make that separation from a logical standpoint, though, can you really sleep with a clear conscience hours after watching two strange guys with majestic penises run a train on your wife?  Could you just forget about the moment that some freaky chick who travels with her own tackle box of sex toys makes your husband start speaking in tongues and convulsing in ways you’ve never seen before?

Probably not, right?  Because no matter how much you try to keep it logical, the innate desire for true intimacy that any well-adjusted person harbors will never allow them to completely separate the visceral and the emotional.

Which brings us to the uncomfortable grey area that this answer has always wallowed in.   One spouse will have a moment of weakness or deluded justification, and the intimacy is broken.  Now what?

The betrayed spouse has to, in an unenviable exercise of evaluation, look deep within and determine what caused this to happen in the first place, and if they truly believe the adultery was a singular anomaly that has no chance of repeating.  The reasons given by the cheater are almost irrelevant – their credibility isn’t exactly peaking, and chances are they themselves are not aware yet of why they did it.

From there, the cheated upon will make their decision – and there is no wrong answer.  Acceptance of the act can be both a symbol of strength or a product of weakness; every situation will be different.  It may very well boil down to a choice of being right or being happy – accepting people for the flawed beings they are.

So, yes, I do believe a marriage can survive infidelity – though I also believe sometimes it shouldn’t try to.  To move forward, at least one of the partners needs to be insightful, strong, and mature.  Plus, they could totally go even up the score over a wild weekend in Vegas.


Note : the whole discussion excludes the possibility of children being a factor; as this shit is complicated enough without considering them.


7 thoughts on “Marriage, Cheating, and Swinging”

  1. I think it’s nearly impossible, trust, once broken, is nearly impossible to fix, unless they work extraordinarily hard to repair it. Even then, the partner who got cheated on must be the kind who is willing to believe as well, which is rare, so it’s nearly impossible.

  2. I think it largely depends on each couple. Some are fine with it, but usually most are not! Although those in marriages with prenuptial agreements signed sometimes look past it if the guy is very rich!

  3. No one wants their partner to cheat on them as this is really heart breaking but sometimes it does happen due to a reason. If man and woman work towards a goal to prevent infidelity that would definitely make this world a better place for relationships.

  4. My partner wanted push me into the lifestyle. After a year of Interferon for hep C I didn’t even want to have sex with him! He turned to hookers both at our home( behind my back) and at wherever he could-hotels, the back seat… all of my family knew about all of this but he didn’t want to tarnish his peputation so far as HIS family went. He spent a fortune on drugs for his girls that added up to about $100k in a 3 moth period. I put up with 10 years of this. Finally last July when we were totally out of money, he threw himself on his family’s mercy, gave his kids power of attorney and sneaked away under the guise of a family weekend. I was evicted from my home of 19 years, not allowed a car, and accused of defrauding him of all the $ he blew on hookers. Ladies, if your man wants to pimp you out so he can go to couples only clubs; RUN LIKE HELL! I am alone, broke and in therapy for rape survivours.

  5. Hello,
    I think the first thing to do is that you have to realize infidelity is a failure on both parties in the marriage. One person is guilty of betrayal, but the other partner is guilty of not providing some need. If the need had been provided for, they would not have had to go outside the marriage bed to find it.

    However, that does not in any way absolve the cheating partner of their crime. They still committed the larger sin of betrayal when they cheated. This is not to say that they had a good reason to cheat, or a right to cheat, but to simply point out that there are things both partners can work on. The cheating partner is absolutely and completely at fault for their own decisions.
    Hairspray59 recently posted…Rekindle Marriage Spice Up LovelifeMy Profile

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