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Jill Brooke Headshot

Is Infidelity a Reason for Divorce?

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It's easy for many women to say, "I'd dump the bastard," until it actually happens to them. Many women across America are faced with unfaithful husbands during the course of a marriage and weigh the pros and cons of divorce.

What are the odds of Silda staying with Elliot Mess? Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil, author of Adultery: The Forgivable Sin, says her study reveals that only 35 percent of marriages can thrive after infidelity and that more than half of all marriages have had one person commit adultery.

Why do people stay? A fear of loneliness. A fear of change. A dread of dismantling a family that you spent a lifetime constructing and having your children ping pong between two residences during holidays. There's also a comfort in the rhythm of family life, the carpooling, the grocery shopping for more than one, the weekday nights eating at the oak table with your old wedding china.

Maybe Silda Spitzer could ask Hillary Clinton for advice. Though I believe their circumstances are different. Hillary knew who she was married to and cares more about Bill's intellectual prowess than his proclivity in prowling for others. The Clintons had their own arrangement. What bothered Hillary was that it wasn't her secret anymore.

Silda by all accounts was as stunned by the news that her emperor had no clothes on after calling "The Emperor's Club" as everyone else.

The debate over Gov. Spitzer's tryst is being drawn along gender lines. Many of my male friends think the sin was the hypocrisy of prosecuting prostitutes when using one. Some have pointed out that because he used a prostitute, he was actually more thoughtful in his philandering because it was just about sex and there were no emotions involved.

Isn't it better to have an affair with a prostitute vs. a friend, secretary or aerobics teacher, they argue. To which I reply, "That's like saying he didn't eat the forbidden fruit but instead only had a "whore d'oeuvre." How about not having an affair at all?"

Some of my girlfriends are wishing that Silda had listened more to Carrie Underwood's song, "Before He Cheats" and cheated her husband of having the loyal wife standing by his side to endure public humiliation and scrutiny. But I also know that marriages are complicated and people can also have very bad moments in them.

"Even men in very good marriages have had affairs because their marriages have evolved into partnerships and friendships," says Dr. Eaker Weil. "Others use extramarital sex as a way to relieve some stress without emotional connection." Eaker Weil is quick to point out that she is not justifying infidelity but explaining it.

The power of forgiveness and working to repair a shattered relationship is a daunting task. I would bet that Chelsea Clinton is still happy her parents are sharing Christmas as an intact family years later. It is up to Silda Spitzer to make her own choices for her and her family. I have seen many families weather these turbulent times and others who have divorced over the infidelity. Either scenario leaves permanent scars.