People cheat. But they don't often talk about the aftermath, and how they and their partners decide what comes next.
When I asked you to send in your stories about infidelity, I heard from so many of you. Listener Sasha* told us about how she suspected that her partner of five years was having an affair -- and later, after they broke up, discovered that he had been been posting online ads for casual sex throughout their relationship. Andy in Connecticut remembered being a 12-year-old trying to convince his father not to cheat on a girlfriend. Joe* in Texas talked about having a relationship with a married woman as a single man, and the feeling of being a sideshow to the main event. Listener Chrystal* began her email to us about the cheating in her relationship: "Spoiler alert: we made it."
Numbers about cheating vary from study to study, but indicate that 20 to 40 percent of straight married men and 20 to 25 percent of straight married women venture outside their marriages. When Dan Savage joined us on the show last year, he put that number even higher, at 50 percent of women and men in long-term relationships.
If infidelity is ubiquitous, it can also be surprisingly mundane. Amid the secretive motel rendezvous and unexpected pregnancies, cheating often takes the form of...furtive texting on the couch.
If the reality of cheating doesn’t fit the old cliches, neither do the consequences. One listener, who I'm calling Sheri*, says that when she slept with another man, she had an idea of what would happen: the cheater gets caught, crockery gets thrown, lawyers get called. But instead, she and her husband thought through what they really wanted -- and a divorce wasn’t on the list. Instead, Sheri took back her maiden name, and they decided that flings outside the marriage would be okay.
In this episode, you'll hear from men and women who've cheated and been cheated on. Nobody's proud of it. But we learned that when a secret affair is revealed, it’s a moment for us to finally and fully be honest about what was missing from a relationship, and what’s worth saving.
*Name changed for privacy reasons
Read a full transcript here.