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Surviving Infidelity

Submitted by on May 18, 2011 – 9:27 am2 Comments

Schwarzenegger and Shriver

One is easily fooled by that which one loves. — Jean Baptiste Poquelin Moliere

The cruelest lies are often told in silence. — Robert Louis Stevenson

“Le pegaron los tarros.”

Cuban slang for someone got cheated on. Not an uncommon occurrence in our culture — both our cultures, apparently — the Latino and the American.

In the wake of the latest news of men behaving badly, of the public acknowledgement that Arnold Schwarzenegger was unfaithful and fathered a child with a Latina named Mildred “Patty” Baena who worked in his home, here’s a round-up of essays and helpful sites for those who are dealing with, or have dealt with infidelity and affairs.

Essays on Infidelity and Betrayal

On Cheating and Being Cheated On, by Unknown Mami.

“If I am being perfectly honest, the people I cheated on were people that I was willing to lose. I have never cheated on someone I wasn’t willing to lose. That’s why being cheated on felt so much worse because I knew the person that was cheating on me was willing to lose me.”

¿Todos los hombres son iguales? by Daniela Ramirez, who discovered her father had two children from extramarital affairs outside of his marriage. Her parents remained together. (Written in Spanish)

Es posible encontrar al amor de tu vida? es posible pasar toda la vida con alguien feliz? ¿Cúando se cruza el límite de algo que se puede perdonar? ¿Qué tanto hay que perdonar para envejecer con la persona que amas?

Dear Maria Shriver, by Teresa, who publishes the site, Single Mom and a Teenaged Girl.

“I remember the feeling of abandonment and the constant wondering why. Why would he do this to us? Why would he want to break up our home?”

An anonymous essay at Colorado Moms titled: How Infidelity Saved my Marriage:

This “awakening” helped me realize a lot of things, some of them very uncomfortable to confront. Hindsight allowed me to see that there HAD been signs that our marriage was not happy, and we were not happy. We were going through life together but not really living. We never did things as a family, we had both let ourselves go, and neither of us was making an effort in the relationship. Was this an excuse to cheat? Absolutely not, but it did help me see the picture a little clearer. I can now see how it all happened and this awareness is what helps me with the relationship now.

Jacqui, of Single Mama Challenges, writes:

As a divorced woman, who was betrayed by a husband, I STILL do not understand the workings of a mans mind! Why would they cheat on their wives? Is it the thrill? Is it because they think the grass is greener on the other side?

Dear, Arnold by Stefanie at San Diego Momfia:

Your ego’s insatiable appetite was so great you were willing to step on your own children’s well being to feed it. And that? Makes you the weakest of the weak. Because, there is nothing weaker than a father who doesn’t protect his children.

Infidelity Resources

Shattered Vows: Getting Beyond Betrayal, an interview with Dr. Shirley Glass at Surviving Infidelity, a website message boards, book suggestions and advice for relationships. (The message boards are hopping with Arnold opinions today. BS stands for Betrayed Spouse, by the way.)

The Poisoned Tree: Infidelity as Opportunity for Transformation, a study and suggestions for therapists based on a Buddhist principle. Published by the International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors.

The timely release this month of of Out of Character: Surprising Truths About the Liar, Cheat, Sinner (and Saint) Lurking in All of Us means its authors have been talking about the Schwarzenegger and Shriver marriage and separation in the media these last few days. They studied 2,000 people over the last seven years and basically say that character is not set — so not only wolves hang out in sheeps clothing, the sheep can be wolfey too. Rather, we all can nudge the truth when it is convenient for us.

Co-author David DeSteno, director of the Social Emotions Lab at Northeastern University in Boston, spoke to USA Today on making mistakes.

We talk a lot in the book about the situational influences that can push you one way or another. For example, whether you’re feeling happy or sad can go a long way to affecting your moral judgment. Why is that? Because lots of times when we decide if something is morally acceptable or not, we don’t have a well-thought-out philosophy. We kind of do a gut check. If it feels OK, then it’s OK. But if you’re feeling really happy, more things are going to seem OK.

You also can hear DeSteno in an interview from yesterday’s Talk of the Nation.

After the Affair, a popular book by Janice Abrahms Spring, a clinical psychologist and her husband Michael Spring. The book includes exercises, checklists and studies.

Surviving an Affair, 15 Steps by Sarì Harrar and Rita DeMaria, Ph.D, authors of The 7 Stages of Marriage.

When your Lover is a Liar by Susan Forward, author of Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them.

Signs of Infidelity by Dr. Robert Huizenga.

S-Anon is a 12-Step program for people who have been affected by the sexual behavior of others in their lives, particularly by those who are compulsive in sexual behavior such as multiple affairs, pornography and anonymous encounters.

Y Tu?

Has your life been touched by infidelity?

Share, por favor!


  • Elisa says:

    Great essays, Carrie! And I agree that unfortunately infidelity is all too common in Latino households. I know that the joke between my husband and I is that when a man in our family dies, we hold our breaths wondering what woman or love child is going to come out of the woodwork.

    Arnold Schwarzenegger is so spineless!
    Elisa´s last [fabulousness] ..Thursday Open Thread

  • Carrie says:

    Elisa, that is both hysterical and awful, and yet, I totally, totally get it. I have stories of my own, but am saving them for my best-seller!

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