I used to say the same thing.
I think this is great advice in regards to a specific set of circumstances with a certain type of person.
I believe it works only if the cheater deeply regrets the acting out and is remorseful. If this person has enough character strength to take a long hard look at who he or she has become and is able to commit to doing things differently.
Honestly? I think that’s a rare individual.
This doesn’t work, in my opinion, in two different scenarios:
- Serial cheaters create a false reality of commitment in order to have life on their terms. There is no loyalty to the spouse, only to self. Partners in this type of marriage need to know they are in danger — to STIs, sketchy people these people tend to get involved with, financial instability, and their sense of reality along with major decisions being made on that reality — which has been based on lies. Unfortunately I know this type all too well since I briefly married one.
- Immature or impulsive partners cheat because they can’t “help” themselves. They are a victim to their circumstances and to their own impulses. Yes, once it’s over they feel sorry but that lasts only as long as shame and remorse linger. Once they feel overwhelmed or under appreciated they will reach back out to the extracurricular person. Maybe the same one — maybe they’ll find someone new. They use the thrill of the extra relationship to cope with life. I think a lot of people fit this category, unfortunately. There’s a world full of immature or impulsive people.
But if this was a one-time mistake and out of character, then sure — do your spouse a favor and grow up and shut up.
If not, they need to know what’s going on. For their safety and sanity.
Thanks for writing about this topic!