How to Manage Infidelity As A Couple

George’s wife cheated on him — twice. He still remembers the smell of the room they were in when she told him 13+ years ago. George joins us to share his story of how worked through  the infidelity and continue to grow as a couple. He shares his struggles, lessons learned and the ways in which his community supported them through the process. Many years later, they’re together and thriving just as they did in the early years of their relationship.

Please see a rough transcript of this episode below. 

Brandon: Welcome to the @SexWithDrJess Podcast. I’m your co-host Brandon Ware here with my lovely partner, Dr. Jess

Jess: Today we’re going to be talking about infidelity and moving forward after an affair.

In the past, we’ve talked about the fact that there are many ways in which you can hurt your partner. There are many means through which you can cause harm to a relationship. And that feeling hurt is a universal experience alongside the feelings of being let down, feeling alone and even feeling betrayed at times.

In a world that touts monogamy as the gold standard of relationships, however, we have placed sexual cheating at the top of the transgression hierarchy. Many view cheating as the worst possible thing you can do to your partner (perhaps with the exception of physical and emotional abuse).

But the reality is that cheating is common. Some research suggests that one quarter of us has cheated. I’d suggest that the number might be higher, because it’s difficult to even be honest with ourselves let alone to be honest with researchers.

But relationships survive and thrive despite cheating.

And whether or not someone has cheated isn’t necessarily an accurate measure of your relationship quality or fulfilment. You can be in a relationship in which no one has cheated and be miserable and you can be in a relationship in which you’ve both cheated in the past, worked through the causes and effects and be living in deep fulfilment.

We’ve talked about monogamy in the past and the challenges that it presents for many people — and strict or toxic monogamy, in particular, so we won’t get into that now. Instead, we’re going to delve into a real life story of how cheating can be overcome.

Joining us today to share his story of how he managed and worked through an affair in his relationship is George, who has been listening to the podcast and wrote in with his story.

George: I will start off with the good news first: We have been married for nearly 16 years now, we have 3 kids and a good home.  She is a stay at home mom and I work full-time. We have a great home and a dog to boot. I need to pinch myself sometimes because we are so fortunate to have what we have, to be together with each other and our kids and to have fulfilling relationships with friends and family.

3 years in to our marriage my wife cheated on me with her boss.  The emotion behind writing this even 13 years in the future is still very raw and palatable.  I can remember the smells of the tavern we were at when she told me.  She had 2 (that she told me of) separate encounters with him.  One in their office in Chicago, another on a company trip to NYC.  My heart rate is increasing in the telling now.

We were both working in lower paying, middle management jobs. We rented a crummy house in a nice community that was near where I worked and the train to the city where her office was located. We were in our late 20’s and we spent our evenings and weekends drinking with my friends, smoking cigarettes and giggling. In retrospect I was avoiding adulthood.

We had a lively sexual life, I thought, although she wasn’t in the mood as much as I am. Truthfully, she still isn’t as I am usually ready on a moment’s notice. She needs the set and setting just so. Conversely, an empty house without kids in it will do at this point! At any rate, I have always been attracted to her. Even now as we approach our mid-40’s she is a sexy women with a body I …

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