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Dear Women, You Do Not Have To Justify Your Decision To Stay With A Cheating Spouse

If you are a woman dealing with a  cheating spouse and haven’t left the ‘cheating scumbag’ (for that recourse seems to be quite popular), do not worry, you are in notable company that include the likes of Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, Fergie, Elin Nordegren (for a long while, anyway)!


Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

I am sorry- I don’t mean to make any less of the pain of infidelity by making this a tale of collective plight and shared misery, but I do wish to tell you something. I am on your side. I know the widespread consensus is all about leaving the ‘scoundrel’ and making it on your own, but does it matter that your chosen path isn’t quite the one tread on by a vast majority? To be really honest, the majority that champion this idea of dealing with a cheating spouse wouldn’t be using it themselves, if subject. Not for the most part, anyway.

In any case, I am deviating. My point isn’t about whether or not you should leave a cheating spouse. My piece is all about your choice to stay. I understand that the first instinctive response to a cheating spouse is anger. So much anger that it turns the ‘slimy dread of finding out’ in your veins into a steaming smog of rage. But as the rage settles, you feel ashamed because our society blames the woman cheated upon for her role in provoking the act of transgression, in causing the infidelity to take place.

Suggested read: I found out my husband cheated on me… but I stayed

Our society has people believing that happy men never cheat. But here’s the startling truth – most cheating spouses report a higher than 78% relationship satisfaction and an overall level of 83% happiness in their marriages. You decide to stay with him because the love you bear for the man makes it difficult for you to pull the plug; your cheating spouse is a ‘good’ man in so many other ways – he has been a great source of support, been a doting father, and you’ve made a zillion memories with him, all of which you can’t seem to flush away in one go.

cheating man_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

The next bit is hard AF. Forgiveness may or may not come easy but you decide whether you can walk away or stay. And since you choose the latter, you are subject to more than just the excruciating pain of infidelity. Our judgment against women who decide to stay with a cheating spouse comes into focus. Nowhere has this unfair judgment been more conspicuous and glaring than in this election cycle where people speak about Hillary Clinton as someone who must have hit her head or something, for she should have left Bill ‘long ago.’

And here’s the disturbing truth about such statements – champions of the idea propound a false notion of ‘emotional health’ when they say that self-respecting women or ‘good’ women wouldn’t stay with a cheating man. They also imply that love and forgiveness can take a walk in the park, as the woman packs and walks out the door. The idea that these champions of ‘infidelity,’ these so-called experts are contortioning the truth, and then, patting themselves on the back for their seemingly ‘laudable’ gesture of empowering women when supported by real-life evidence – their own observation of Weiner scre*ing up yet again because Huma Abedin didn’t leave the first time – is  to shame women who decide to listen to the call of love, choose to stay and work on a relationship they chose, built and sustained for a long time, in the first place.

Suggested read: The complete list of all types of infidelity

This attitude of discouraging women dealing with a cheating spouse to stay is disheartening. It does more to isolate women than genuinely empower.

Don’t get me wrong, if a woman wants to leave, I’d be damned if I oppose her decision. But should she choose to stay, I’d be damned if I shame her for it. Real empowerment isn’t contingent on handing down black-and-white judgments, pre-decided morality, and a ready-made mandate of behavioral rules to follow. It is investing in our women the power to make the choices they feel are right for them.


Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

I’ve heard a lot of women experiencing infidelity confess that they cannot reach out to friends and family because they know what they will say and when they wouldn’t act on their advice, they shall shame them for the same. Don’t you see how sad that is? How one woman’s agony isn’t even understandable by the people she most cares about? How a woman, betrayed by someone she loves, doesn’t have any loved one to go to, in her time of need? How a woman, in most need of support, is going without because a social expectation trumps all empathy?

Making women choose between a person she loves and a social expectation is sheer lunacy. Judging her for it – outright madness!

But we aren’t listening – we aren’t pulling the plug on this madness! We seem so intent on blaming women, even when the men in their lives fail to uphold the bare minimum standards of decent behavior, that any or all acts of sexual (or emotional) transgression hold the woman accountable. As with victimizing victims of sexual assault and rape, so with infidelity in marriages.

So, here’s what I want to say screaming:

A woman is NOT at fault if she is harassed on the street, no matter how she’s dressed.

A woman is NOT at fault if she’s harassed at work, no matter what her behavior ‘suggests.’

A woman is NOT at fault if she’s raped, no matter what time of the day she was out and how many drinks she’d downed!

A woman is NOT at fault if her husband visits another, no matter how often she does or does not have sex with him.

Suggested read: 8 crucial questions to ask yourself before considering taking back a cheater

And a woman is NOT at fault when her husband cheats on her!

It doesn’t matter if she forgives him immediately after or if she sets his clothes ablaze.

It doesn’t matter if she stays but continues to burn them both in silent agony or directs her anger right at him.

woman sad_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

The pain of infidelity is a LOT to contend with. Let’s not compound their misery with our own tired morality. People (men AND women) are entitled to finding answers that work best for them – and any answer they find and make peace with is nobody else’s damn business.

Featured Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Article Name
Dear Women, You Do Not Have To Justify Your Decision To Stay With A Cheating Spouse
Let's not impose our own tired judgments against women who choose to stay with a cheating spouse!
Sejal Parikh

Sejal Parikh

"I'm a hurricane of words but YOU can choose the damage I do to you..."