Is the marriage worth a second chance?
From South Carolina First Lady Jenny Sanford's divorce filing last week, to the adultery revelations threatening Tiger Woods's marriage, the news lately has been full of gossip about high-profile couples rocked by infidelity.
The stories about the billionaire athlete and the philandering South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford serve as contrasting examples of the prospects for a marriage damaged by infidelity to rebound - or not.
Tiger Woods's withdrawal from the PGA tour "to focus my attention on being a better husband, father and person," as he said in a statement, suggests that saving one's marriage is worth dropping your juggle altogether to devote 24/7 effort (a move, to be sure, that most couples can't afford financially.)
Tiger Woods's break exemplifies an attitude about infidelity that has been increasingly popular in recent years, especially among therapists, authors and talk-show hosts: the potential for couples to recover from infidelity. Therapists and counselors have developed new techniques that increase a couple's chances of preserving their marriage after an affair, stressing forgiveness, understanding and healing. Popular books, including "Divorce Busting" by therapist Michele Weiner-Davis and "The Monogamy Myth" by Peggy Vaughan, promote the idea of recovery from infidelity.
High-profile examples of this attitude include Silda Spitzer, who backed her husband, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, after his involvement in a prostitution ring was revealed (the Spitzer's marriage inspired the popular new TV series "The Good Wife," about a woman's life and career after her politician husband's public infidelity); and, of course, former First Lady Hilary Clinton, now Secretary of State, who stood famously by her man throughout his infidelity scandal. Elizabeth Edwards has so far stuck with her husband, John, the former Democratic Presidential candidate, after he admitted a long-term affair, although there have been reports that she may be considering divorce.
A different example is set by Jenny Sanford, whose divorce filing came after "many unsuccessful efforts at reconciliation," she said in a statement. Gov. Sanford, who last June tearfully confessed to an affair with an Argentine woman, told reporters that same week that he wanted to stay married. With her decision, a Washington Post article suggests the pendulum may be swinging back, toward regard for the spurned wife who squares her shoulders, refuses to back her unfaithful spouse and moves on. (If Tiger's wife, Elin Nordegren, does decide to leave her husband, the WSJ has some helpful financial advice for her.)
Therapists say a marriage's prospects after infidelity depend partly on the motive for the affair. Cheating that is motivated by a partner's desire to avoid conflict with a spouse can be an unconscious way of forcing unspoken tensions and disputes out in the open; marriages stand a relatively good chance of recovering after such an affair. On the other hand, an "exit affair," which is motivated by a partner's decision to quit the marriage, is more difficult to overcome.
Readers, should spouses make every effort to save their marriages after an infidelity, reorganizing their juggle if necessary? What do you think are the chances of a marriage truly recovering from one partner's affair? Under what circumstances does a cheating spouse deserve a second chance?
When your parents divorce 父母离婚怎么办？