Is cheating a dealbreaker?

He Strayed. Now What?

Dr. Lucena argues that after adultery, your emotional side will want to be in control, but your rational side should still have the final say.

Every infidelity may be different, but the effects are always the same–pain, turmoil and a lot of questions. The trust may be broken, but does that mean the relationship is? Can marriage survive an infidelity?

Sex therapist Dr. Williams Lucena thinks it can, and every effort should be made to see that it does. While there’s no changing events from the past, they don’t have to define your relationship’s future.

  • FOF: What advice can you give women who find out that their husbands have cheated on them?
    • Dr. Williams Lucena: My advice is always to work out the relationship. Look into couples therapy and get some help. See what’s going on between the two of you.
  • FOF: You don’t think cheating is a dealbreaker?
    • Just one time? No, I don’t think it has to be that way. If she really wants to work out the relationship, she needs clear awareness — what’s more important to me, my desires or my anger? Can there be a solution?
  • FOF: What kind of solution?
    • In every relationship, both parties are responsible — not guilty, but responsible. Probably as a woman I’m doing something wrong or I’m not communicating something. As a man, probably I’m not communicating something, or I’m doing something wrong. Both parties share the responsibility.
  • ImageFOF: How does a woman live with a man through that period, when she knows that he’s cheated?
    • Everyone has to understand that she has to express her anger, and that she has the right to express her anger.
  • FOF: Most women would want to throw the man out.
    • That’s just feeling anger. It’s normal to feel pain, but you have to see if you can work out the relationship. It’s wrong to make a decision based on anger. You don’t need to throw everything out. You need to think before you decide. You need to talk. What is he missing?
  • FOF: Some people feel very rejected, like the partner has committed the worst sin and can’t get past it.
    • True, it’s difficult for people to go through this, or to forgive. But you know, it’s better at least to try to understand what’s going on and for what reason. Maybe it’s about something that happened in childhood. Those wounds — perhaps feelings of rejection, or not feeling completely loved — may have never been totally cured. Then they’re re-opened by the infidelity and carry the same hurt feelings, so it’s hard sometimes to get into the healing process. My recommendation is always try psychotherapy. Many times people don’t always understand what happened, and they really need somebody else to do an intervention.
  • FOF: For some people the intervention can take years. They can forgive but not forget, and it’s rough to live under those circumstances.
    • You may have to take a rest. But if you believe in the relationship and see it as something you can save, you need to be clear. You need someone from the outside who’s capable of listening and understanding the dynamic — one side and then the other side. Then you can both say “look at what happened here.”
  • ImageFOF: How can couples therapy help?
    • We create tasks to see if the couple really wants to fix things. Is it a painful process? It can be, but there’s often a good outcome. That outcome isn’t necessarily just going back together. Sometimes the outcome is the ability to decide, with a healthy mind, “You know what, this just isn’t going to work.” But that decision isn’t made with anger. That decision is made with a thought process, rather than an emotional process. Even though it may be painful, at least you’re more clear.
Dr. Williams Lucena
Physician and PsychiatristDr. Williams Lucena is a physician and psychiatrist in Venezuela and a Florida Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). He has worked in the mental health field for 22 years and received his certification in sex therapy at the Sex Therapy Training Institute in Miami, Florida.

Dr. Lucena has experience in Transactional Analysis, Psycho-Corporal Techniques and other Psycho-Dynamic approaches and works with individuals, couples and group and family therapies. He headed the Prior Authorization Adult Department at the Miami Behavioral Health Center and was Clinical Administrator at Royal Coast Mental Health Center, Miami, Florida.

Williams also provides consulting services for various mental health facilities. He is currently the President of the Brain & Behavioral Institute of South Florida,

0 Responses to “Is cheating a dealbreaker?”

  1. blondie4la says:

    My husband and I have been married 33 years. Before we got married we made a commitment to each other. If either of us strayed, the marriage was over – fini – While I know we both had many chances, neither of us violated the trust. And here’s one of the major parts – once we had children – the commitment increased and neither one would ever do anything to violate our mutual trust or hurt our children. Nothing was more important than the well being, security, and care of our two sons. And yes, they grew up into fine, wonderful men, and our marriage is more intact than ever. And I believe that because we carefully set our “ground” rules in the very beginning, our relationship has only become stronger.

  2. GinaParker says:

    I think that the trust is just never there again. I was cheated on once and, while I tried to forgive, you’re always wondering. When he’s “held up at the office” or “meeting the guys for a drink” you always wonder if that’s really what he’s doing or if he’s out with someone else. I never wanted to be the “crazy girlfriend” calling all the time or showing uo, so I did myself a favor and broke up with him. My stomach was freed from the constant knots, my mind was free from the worry and wondering. I am now engaged to someone who has the same values as me, who has the same outlook on things…and when I look back on that cheating relationship, I cant believe I stayed in it a minute longer than I should have. If a woman truly can move on and forgive and forget, that is wonderful and I hope that relationship heals and flourishes, bur I hate to think of women just going through the smiles and motions of being happy when inside they’re so torn up with doubts and worry of being with a cheater. It’s hard to leave the comfort of “familiar”, but I am SO glad I did!!!

  3. heightshike says:

    I beleive cheating is indicative of very bad character. Once a married person is sexually intimate with someone else, that bond is broken. The bond breaks because of their bad character. Opportunity will always be there and it is morality that should stop you. If it doesn’t you just don’t have it. Once a cheat, Always a cheat!

  4. grannyspunkattitude says:

    One comment was that a marriage was weak already if the marriage ended because one partner cheated. Well, I disagree, we have been married 41 years with no cheating, nothing even close. My husband and I have the same opinion- I know he would leave me and I would leave him. It would be too much for either of us to forgive the other. Speaking for myself, it would be a choice of missing him terribly and living in hell if I left him. OR envisioning him with her all the time, especially when he touched me, this would drive me crazy and I would live in hell if I stayed with him. So, I would leave him to keep my sanity. I know my husband has too much pride to take me back if I hurt him like that. I wouldn’t want him to. Deep LOVE and what it represents, loyalty, friendship, respect, trust, is missing from a marriage when a person cheats, and staying together after cheating does not FIND those missing elements. It wasn’t there in the first place. My husband has diabetes and our sex life has suffered for some time, but I would never cheat on him. Never. I have grown to love him more through the years. I like taking care of him, making sure he eats right and keeps his blood sugar low. I love him and want to meet him in heaven and be with him always.

  5. olmdance4 says:

    I was married to an alcoholic who was more involved with his substances than with me. I admit that I wandered, with his consent, only to feel worse about our relationship. It is my impression that while I had been “unfaithful” a couple of times physically, neither of us was present emotionally. I believe that was more of an infidelity than any casual physical encounter ever could have been. Just my opinion.

  6. Bertapet says:

    My husband of 18yrs walked out and then 9 months later I lost my 43yr old son. That was tough! People say a husband leaving is the same or worse than a death…NO WAY! I am now divorced but wish we could have worked through it!Big problem…I wanted to work through it and he didn’t. It takes team work……….one alone can not save their marriage. If both want it to work….there is hope!Have faith,forgive and do not look back. It can be done….if you BOTH want it bad enough. Too bad he didn’t…

  7. says:

    my husband cheated. I tried to work it out thru couples therapy. it went from “I’m sorry & let’s work it out” to “see what YOU have to do to make me happy!”he’s my ex-husband now.

  8. Fab Me says:

    At one time I wasted a significant amount of my time crying about someone that I should have had the courage to leave while I still had some sanity and fight left in me. Faithful, supportive, caring…and I thought loving, I forgave him for his infidelities and bad temper and stuck it out. I am aware of what I agreed to settle for, and it sucks. Furthermore, he is addicted to his life long habit over the course of our marriage of self gratification. He mastrabates regularly, rather than trying to have a normal physical and emotionally bonded relationship that is satisfying for the both of us. He thinks I don’t know about this, but I do.

  9. marla_j98 says:

    Dr. Williams Lucena had an interesting and thoughtful view

  10. sissyh6 says:

    I am single, and I have been cheated on by almost every man that I dated. What advice can you offer to me?

  11. Sue S. says:

    Childhood events, insecurities….blah blah blah. We all have had difficulties in our lives, but we all don’t feel the need to cheat. It’s a choice each of us makes. Cheating shows a lack of respect for the other person and their feelings and thoughts about infidelity. My ex cheated, over and over. We went to therapy. Therapist said he was toxic and selfish…there you go. Sometimes it’s not because your mommy didn’t hug you, sometimes it’s just because the cheater is thinking of themselves ONLY.

  12. says:

    If a person has ONE sexual encounter and that destroys the marriage; they had a really weak marriage in the first place.

  13. StChienne says:

    In my own experience, cheating was a late-stage result of the already catastrophic break in our marriage. It wasn’t a cause and it certainly wasn’t a solution but it did force us to sit down and really address what was going on with the help of psychotherapists. It was a catalyst for action, albeit a very negative one.

  14. cj1 says:

    It is, absolutely, a dealbreaker. Having been through this and worked through the issue I can state 2 facts: 1) a spouse who cheats has already made the decision that his/her physical wants are more important than their marriage and their spouse – and nothing can change that, and 2) no one forgets this kind of violation. We stayed married for another 12 years. I am now in a marriage wherein my spouse holds the same belief as I do and cheating would be an automatic divorce. Period. No second chance. Why did I waste those 12 years ‘trying to make it work’ with a cheater?

  15. silverfox says:

    Having done this, I can say that it is the hardest thing I ever did. The result of infidelity was devastating to me–my self, my life, and my marriage. It has taken over three years for me to put myself back together and for us to work and find our way to a healthy, happy, and honest relationship. There were times when leaving seemed so, so much easier, but my husband’s commitment to me as a person and to our relationship helped me immensely. I feel that anyone in this position HAS to recognize that you have a mountain of work to do for YOURSELF, and a mountain of work to do as a couple. The ‘errant’ spouse has a mountain of work to do too. There are no shortcuts, but it can be done.

  16. kdivasilver says:

    I had a difficult marriage to begin with, and his indulging in Internet affairs–and then at least one physical one–made it impossible for me to ever trust him again. It also opened my eyes to there being so many areas in which he was deceiving me. We tried therapy, but it quickly became apparent he was using it only as a delaying tactic. The good outcome was for us to divorce. The pain and anger are messages to yourself that something in you is being violated, something that is important.

  17. SaraWald says:

    This is great information.


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