Once a cheater, always a cheater
"When you learn by loss, you see repercussions for your actions," says Titus. A reformed adulterer from his first marriage (which ended in divorce), he says he's felt the consequences of his infidelity and matured emotionally from the experience. He's now remarried. "I was given a second chance. I would never cheat on my wife, so once a cheater, always a cheater is not always true."
A marriage can't withstand cheating
"An affair doesn't have to be a death knell to a relationship," says Dr. Haltzman. "It can be a wake up call instead." If you look on the bright side, an affair can be a springboard to open a dialogue via counseling sessions to discuss the underlying problems in the relationship. "A marriage or relationship absolutely can withstand cheating."
One-time cheating is no different than an affair
"It is different," says Rhonda Fine, PhD, a clinical sexologist and diplomate of The American Academy of Clinical Sexologists. "One-time cheating still breaks a bond of trust in your relationship, but affairs are much more emotionally vested than a one-night stand." In both cases you've disrespected your partner and marriage vows, but ongoing affairs could be worse, as they often lead to emotional intimacy.
Women don't cheat
Oh yes they do, corrects Dr. Fine. "As women are more involved in the workforce and travel on business trips, they encounter more situations which make them prone to cheating." Plus, Dr. Fine says women bond more easily than men. "When they work closely with men, they feel more emotionally vested in the relationship."
Men cheat because they're not getting enough at home
There are a variety of reasons why people cheat, and it's not always about the sex, says Dr. Fine. "People cheat because they're selfish, immature or narcisstic. Or they're excitement junkies and attracted to the drama. They put their needs ahead of others and rarely blame themselves why they cheated in the first place."
Midlife crisis = cheating
The thing about clichés, like graying hair and convertibles, is that most are based on fact. But a midlife crisis is much more. In an online poll produced by Wisconsin Public Radio, more than half of the respondents said that a midlife crisis is a "very real, gut-wrenchingly depressing experience." Some men hit middle age and have affairs. Others, however, start drinking too much or become clinically depressed. That's when it's time to seek counseling.
Cheaters don't want to get caught
Quite the contrary, notes Dr. Haltzman. "People may actually set it up so the spouse or partner find out. Whether it's lipstick on the collar or emails left open on the family computer, we leave our fingerprints everywhere. Oftentimes, "it's a cry to say 'I need to get help.' Some people make it obvious because they want to stop but don't know how."
Written by Vicky Salemi for AOL Health