It’s one thing to sit in a soundproof room with a friend and your husband and discuss the deep dark secrets of your marriage. It’s whole ‘nother thing when your friends and family listen in on that conversation.
That’s when you start to feel naked and like, “Why the F did I think it was a good idea to air my dirty laundry on a podcast?”
So I had to step back and remember why we wanted to do the Together podcast in the first place. When our friend Erik, a divorce lawyer turned podcast producer, told us he was interviewing people for his new show about how couples are making their relationships work, I thought wow, we have a pretty weird story. It might be entertaining. Maybe it would even help a few couples stay together?
I have heard something along these lines from a fair number of family and friends: “If I ever caught him cheating that motherf&*$#er better pack his bags and lawyer up.” And I get it. Infidelity is humiliating. If you have any amount of self respect, you will obviously dump his or her ass.
Plus: True Love! No one who cheats on you can really love you.
However. Studies estimate that around 70 percent of couples cheat on their partners, and it rarely happens because of falling out of of love. The social taboo is so strong, though, that hardly anyone will admit they cheated except in an anonymous study. And some people likely don’t even want to admit it then, so the numbers are probably even higher.
So if this thing is happening in the majority of marriages, maybe we don’t have to be so humiliated by it?
It’s not like I think you should be proud if you cheated on your partner. Lying and cheating are generally not admirable practices. But we are all human and sometimes we’re assholes. Sometimes we’re stupid and hurt the people we love most and don’t realize (or can’t admit to ourselves) what bad decisions we’ve made until it’s too late.
But I guess I’m trying say there doesn’t always have to be too late. I can only speak from my own experience, but I have a deeper relationship with my husband now than ever before, and I don’t regret the hard work I put in to get there. Do I wish we could have become magically close without all the strife? Well, yeah.
Obviously how to handle infidelity in a marriage is extremely personal and, I imagine, how it plays out is unique to each situation. For some it really might mean the end of a relationship. Maybe it was doomed anyway. For others it might be a ticket to have their own fling (woo!). Or maybe it’s passage into another level in your relationship—an honest, dirty but also cleaner than before place where everything isn’t annoyingly perfect like on Instagram.
For Kourosh and I, it meant terrible times, followed by good times, followed by dark, terrible times, followed by really great times (now) when we feel exceptionally close and happy and hopeful. The current state of affairs is not perfect, and will certainly be followed by more terrible things, hopefully not in the form of infidelity but you know what they say about the future.
What makes me hopeful is that we have proof we can weather bad stuff. We’ve lived together for 16 years, my partner has supported me much more than hurt me, loved me even after I was an idiot, is a dedicated father to our kids; plus I know and love his family, too. Who wants to risk a crap shoot with a whole new set of in-laws? OK even if you don’t love yours, at least you know what to expect during the holidays.