Cheaters Deserve a Second Chance

couple at duskcouple at duskAshton, Arnold, Woods, Edwards, Gingrich -- the laundry list of cheaters out there continues to get longer and stronger. It's becoming more expected than not that famous men cheat, and almost every time a new scandal breaks, someone in the media has to wonder if the wife will "stand by her man" a la Hillary Clinton (the standard point-to example of a woman who did this). More often than not, women who don't run to divorce court are made to look like fools. Still, I can't help but think it's not a black and white issue.

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Katherine Heigl told Cosmo UK recently that she used to think if her hubby Josh Kelley cheated on her, it would be a major deal-breaker. But now, she's not so sure. She said she's seen friends go through and find a way to forgive one another, even though it would be "really hard to ever fully trust that person again." I say she's onto something.

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Now, it's not like serial cheating should be ignored or go unpunished. If in some alternate universe, I was Betty Draper and had to deal with a hubby who had a new fling every week, I would be OVER that and serving divorce papers faster than you can say, "Sterling Cooper Draper Price." But in cases where it's a one-time indiscretion ... I'm just not sure it's fair to say you'd definitely walk away immediately.

As Heigl told Cosmo:

If a mistake were to be made and it was a one-time thing, I would forgive [my husband]. Because look at the life we've built together. We have history, we have a child.

Seems level-headed to me. I feel like once you're married or even in a long-term, serious relationship, it's ridiculous to adhere to a philosophy that "never in a million years" would you stand for a one-time slip-up or to think "once a cheater, always a cheater." It shouldn't necessarily be like that; you've got to be more flexible -- especially if there are kids involved. I would think if that were the case, you'd feel your relationship was worth the work it would take to overcome the betrayal.

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Looking at the bigger picture and thinking of marriages I know that have now lasted anywhere from 5 to 35+ years, infidelity is only one trust-busting mistake spouses can make. Think of numerous other betrayals that could end up feeling as bad or worse -- lying or hiding things especially related to finances, etc. In the end, sure, cheating could be the straw that breaks the camel's back and wrecks a happy, healthy marriage. But it doesn't have to be.

Is cheating a deal-breaker for you?

Image via Dragunsk Usf/Flickr

Written by Maressa Brown on CafeMom's blog, The Stir.

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