Should Cheating Always Be The Point of No Return?

Queen Sugar is one of the hottest shows on television right now. Produced by the OWN network, it follows the story of 3 siblings in Louisiana after their father passes away: Charley, Nova, and Ralph Angel. The show is interesting on so many levels, but today I want to focus on one character and her story because I think it’s something we all have to deal with at some point.

Charley Bordelon-West is a savvy businesswoman who manages her husband’s basketball career. They have a teenage son, live in LA, and are pretty wealthy. Then one day everything comes crashing down when Charley finds out that her husband Davis has been cheating on her for a while, using the services of a prostitute to do things he knows Charley won’t do for him. Because Davis lied to her for so long, it takes a while for Charley to uncover the truth, but when she does, she immediately files for a divorce from Davis.

I don’t think anyone would blame her for making that decision: the public humiliation, hurt, and betrayal that her husband caused would make anyone sympathize with her. Sexual involvement with another person is something I think any spouse would consider grounds for divorce.  But does it always have to end that way?

Photo by vitranc/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by vitranc/iStock / Getty Images

Affairs rarely occur in a vacuum. It’s usually more than just one spouse randomly deciding to have sex with someone else. It’s usually a slippery slope that involves two people gradually becoming more and more disconnected from each other. The pressures and stress of work, illness/injury, and the challenges of raising children are all things that can cause spouses to become isolated from each other. Slowly, one or both of them start using things to help them cope with the stress of the situation. It may not even be outright cheating; it might be pornography, alcohol, overeating, or drugs. Whatever the coping mechanism becomes, I think it’s sad that we only look at the end result (i.e. the cheating or addiction) in isolation and decide to end a marriage. Nine times out of ten, the marriage started dying long before the ultimate betrayal.

I think that one of the key things to keeping our relationships intact is to constantly connect with our partners. The truth is that no matter how well you know someone before you marry them, people change. Life is like a pressure cooker; the challenges you face either bring out the best or worst in you. Your weaknesses are brought to light in ways that surprise you, and if you don’t use a support system to help you cope with the stress, you’re going to become undone. In the context of marriage, it’s no wonder that half of the people who get married also get divorced:  life is hard!

When your spouse seems to be changing on you, look for the warning signs. Do you guys make time for each other? How is the quality of the time you spend together? If you guys are both on your devices most of the time when you’re together, you’re still not connecting. If you spend more time on social media than talking to each other, you’re not connecting. If you find yourselves more comfortable confiding in other people instead of each other, you’re not connecting. Don’t wait for the ultimate betrayal to open your eyes to what’s happening to your relationship.

If you’re not married yet, it’s also important for you to study the way your potential mate handles stress. Those patterns will continue when you get married. Of course, it’s impossible to foresee everything. Like I said before, people change as life’s circumstances challenge them. But it’s always good to keep your eyes open for things that may become a challenge later on.

So, does cheating have to be the end of a marriage? I don’t think so. For some couples, it’s only when they hit rock bottom in this way that they realize they haven’t been emotionally invested in their marriage for a long time. It’s at that point that they try to retrace their steps together, figure out where they went wrong, and start over. Coming back from a betrayal like that is extremely difficult. It’s takes time to re-establish trust. It takes time for the sting of the betrayal to fade enough for you to move on and look at your spouse with a clean slate mentally. But I think that every marriage deserves that chance.

Do you?

Till next time!

Kay Gus

P.S. Marriage isn’t easy! It takes a love that’s bigger than the two people involved. To learn more about what it takes really love someone, download our FREE e-book Love Me This Way.