It is important to recognize that marital infidelities do not happen in a vacuum. While the cheated-on spouse is generally considered the “victim” or “innocent spouse,” in some cases, he or she may have contributed to the problems that ultimately caused the other spouse to wander. Sometimes a spouse feels abused to such an extent that he or she looks for an outlet. While this person may not consider divorce – fear of the stigma, for financial reasons or because of the kids – he or she might look outside the marriage and see a “dating” website as a safe alternative to otherwise risky behaviors.

In reality, this “abused” spouse should be going for marriage counseling to see if his or her marriage can be saved, not seek out alternative relationships. Relationships are a two-way street, and as they say, “It takes two to tango.”


That being said, it is a myth that only people in unhappy marriages engage in affairs. This is far from reality. Sometimes, people in very happy marriages find themselves tempted to become involved with another person.

Regardless of “fault” or reasons, the shock to those spouses who discover that their significant other have signed up for a cheating website or something similar, is inevitable and unavoidable. Despite the high statistics of adultery and the high divorce rate, people always believe that they are the exception and that infidelity will not happen in their relationship. Simply put, most people just cannot believe that this could happen to them.

As an outsider, I can tell you, that often the signs are there all along. Many people wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to their relationships and forget that all relationships, and marriages in particular, take hard work and dedication to maintain. People need to take the time to remember why they got married in the first place and avoid succumbing to temptation.


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Esther Schonfeld, a frequent lecturer and published author, has been involved extensively in the areas of Agunah and Beis Din litigation and has advised Rabbis and other attorneys on the procedures as well as divorce issues. Ms. Schonfeld, also a trained mediator, is a member of the NY State Council on Divorce Mediation. She can be reached at (516) 569-5001 or