More often than not, the kneejerk reaction to this question is "No way!" At least, that's the clean version of the reaction. However, there are times when cheating can be good for a marriage. This is the case, according to research conducted by Dr. Lucielle Ostertag from the Italian Institute of Social Sciences. Her study concluded that husbands and wives who cheat on each other are more likely to remain married. She further concluded, however, that long-term affairs, on the other hand, were detrimental to the marriage.
Obviously, the theory raised in this study has been met with a great deal of controversy. It goes against what we've been teaching in churches and communities over the last few hundred years. However, if you look back even further, the idea of one man for one woman is a relatively new concept. In the early years of humankind, it was all about survival of the species. In later years, as survival was far more assured, monogamy became the prevailing philosophy and has been adopted by many religions and cultures around the world ever since.
When Does Cheating Work?
According to Dr. Ostertag cheating works best when it's done far from home, is a short-lived fling, and when couples adopt a "don't ask; don't tell" philosophy about their cheating. Some couples even plan for cheating and establish ground rules so that it works for them.
How Can People Believe Cheating is Good?
Since the idea of cheating goes against the grain, it's hard for many people to understand why or how it could possibly be a good thing. The problem with many marriages is that you do marry your best friend. You love each other, but over time, the newness of it all, the sexual excitement, waivers. Turning to a short-term alternative, allows a little newness and excitement into the relationship without sacrificing the emotional bond or love the husband and wife have for one another.
There is another way cheating can help make marriages stronger. That way involves confirming that the grass is perfectly green within the marriage. Sometimes, the affair serves to affirm the loving relationship you have at home.
Is Cheating Good for all Relationships?
Absolutely not! There are all kinds of relationships where this would never work. Some people believe that there are certain vows that simple should not be broken. Forsaking all others is one of those vows. There's nothing wrong with being unable to forgive infidelity or unable to accept the idea that cheating could be good for marriage. Obviously, every marriage is different. What may be good for one is not necessarily good for others.
The take home from this should not be used to justify cheating. It's meant to show that it is possible to salvage your relationship, forgive, and move on even if your spouse has cheated on you. It is possible to forgive if that's what you want to do. You'll ultimately have to decide if you can make the most out of it in an effort to build a better relationship in the aftermath.