What does leaving a cheating spouse mean?

"Every relationship is different. Only when you’re honest — not just about an incident but also its context, and not just with each other but also with yourselves — will you have any idea what a relationship is about. Or was. Hypothetically."



July 1, 2020 - 9:38 AM

Dear Carolyn: I realize every relationship is different. Regardless, consider a “typical” marriage of a couple who married young. Five years later, he walks in on her cheating. He walks out. End of relationship. Does this reflect his strength and ability to leave, his power not to be controlled by fear of loneliness? Or does this represent his inability to forgive his wife, the one he loves and took vows with? (Yes, I realize she took vows as well.)

— Purely Hypothetical, Md.

Carolyn Hax

Purely Hypothetical, Md.: Well, it certainly reflects one or the other.

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