There is no excuse for infidelity -- let me get that out of the way immediately. But it does occur, and as a marriage therapist I can tell you it flourishes. I have sat across from countless patients and heard about it, and if I have learned anything, it is this: cheating on a spouse is more often than not a symptom that there is something missing in the marriage. That just might have been the case for LeAnn Rimes, the Grammy winning country singer, who has been in the news lately because of her extramarital affair with actor Eddie Cibrian and their recent surprise marriage (they each divorced their first spouses).
One reason I say this is because of the apparent gusto with which she and Eddie moved forward. They seemed always willing to go the distance for their love no matter what public or personal scrutiny they had to face, they were able to withstand the lashing of the media in the name of their coupling. They remained true to themselves, if not to their first partners, and in that way, LeAnn followed her heart. With that in mind, I have to acknowledge that there seems to be something substantive that they are sharing.
A marriage is an ever-evolving entity, a work in progress. Sometimes people marry the wrong person. Sometimes they marry too young, or marry for friendship or convenience. Some people marry just for passion, which without a solid foundation can burn out. As a result, marriages can fall apart when these needs shift and resettle. When that happens, a union that seemed like a good idea at one time might no longer work for one or both of the people in it. LeAnn's first husband Dean Sheremet was her back-up dancer. He probably offered her support and companionship when she needed it. But when she met Eddie on the set of a movie they seemed to spark each other's passion and perhaps fill a void each was experiencing in their respective marriages.
There are many people out there who are unhappy in their marriage. It should go without saying that before you jump ship or begin an affair I encourage you to give your marriage every chance possible by seeking help through therapy. It is always worth seeing if you can get your relationship back to where you want it to be, that place that drew you to each other.
I don't know how hard LeAnn tried to salvage her first marriage. But from what I have read and the pictures I have seen, she looks happy now. So often we think of infidelity as the end of something, but in some cases, if you are willing to work hard, it can be the beginning of something new. LeAnn is no longer singing the blues because, in the end, she was true to herself.
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