People & Inspiration

In Focus: Living with Infidelity

In Focus: Living with Infidelity


By Rossana L. Unson


Remember that as much as infidelity (your parent’s, boyfriend’s or husband’s) is a difficult process to go through, it is not all of your life. Keep as much of your routine as possible, especially activities that concern the children. Here, we show you the many ways how wives cope, and how you can get through this with less regrets. 

According to Working Mom's resident relationship resource, Zenia Panahon, several things occur when infidelity touches a relationship:

the commitment of fidelity and trust is broken;

the promise of exclusivity is gone;

there is exposure of the couple’s life details to a third party;

intrusion into the relationship is allowed by one party only; and

security within the partnership is destroyed.


From Panahon’s point of view and experience, a woman will review her life obsessively, looking for every possible fault or mistake on her or his part. Her emotions will be a jumble—seesawing from loving him one moment to hating him the next. Anger mixed with feelings of betrayal, guilt, and shame brings her deeper into depression. 

How a woman copes with her partner’s infidelity depends on her personal circumstances. Each woman deals with it in different ways. Which one are you? Which one do you think you’ll be?


The Fighter

Disbelief may be the very first emotion one experiences upon discovering her partner’s infidelity. It’s not easy to accept that one has been fooled but once confirmed, either by an admission or by incontrovertible evidence, The Fighter deals with it with her fists in the air.

Recently, a local actress who discovered her husband was cheating with a woman who lived in a condo unit three floors above theirs, took to her Instagram account to not just expose her erring partner but their “neighbor” as well. Over 8,000 of her Instagram followers got a glimpse of the other woman’s face, name, and place of work! On top of this, the actress has not only refused her husband an annulment, she’s also promised to see the legal battle ‘’to the end.’’

“There is no forgiveness for what you did. No annulment for you. I will seek justice. I will see you both in court,” she wrote.

Definitely, this woman did not hide the fact that she’s hurt and vulnerable but she has bravely gone on with her life for the sake of her two young kids and her own welfare. From the number of support comments she’s received on her Instagram account, The Fighter looks like she’ll be coming out on top of this battle.


The Scorned Woman

Much like The Fighter, The Scorned Woman is angry. But instead of exhibiting outward signs of anger such as taking her partner to court or fighting with the other woman, The Scorned Woman is driven to do something really crazy.

One of the most famous scorned women in history is Lorena Bobbitt. In her court trial, she testified that her husband John had cheated on her. So, on the night of June 23, 1993, as her husband lay sleeping in their bed, Lorena went to the kitchen and got a knife. She returned to their bedroom, where she used the knife to castrate John’s penis at its base.

Then she took the severed appendage and drove away in her car. After a while, she opened the car window and threw the penis in a field. After realizing the severity of her action, however, she stopped and called 911. Her husband’s penis was found after an exhaustive search, and it was reattached in the hospital where he was being treated. The operation took nine and a half hours! (In fairness to Ms. Bobbitt, this wasn’t just a reaction to one betrayal but was later proven to be caused by the long-term abuse she suffered in her husband’s hands.)

A more recent scored woman is Elin Nordegren, now ex-wife of philandering golf player Tiger Woods. It is reported that Elin, upon finding out that Tiger had been having extra-marital affairs, woke up the sleeping golf champ screaming then chased him out of the house wielding a golf club. Though she did not hit him with it, she did manage to smash two back windows of his getaway car that day. It was later revealed that Woods had been having numerous affairs with various women during their marriage.

Panahon notes that this type of woman is a “reactor.” She will have bouts of being out of control, engaging in behavior that actually needs more time for consideration. She will be depressive and may be immobile at times, but when the surge of anger comes, she may take courses of action that are likely to lead to regrettable consequences. 


The Avenger

The woman who believes in ‘an eye for an eye,’ The Avenger will make sure that whatever he did to her, she can do to him, too. It is The Avenger who feels that “If he can do it, then I can do it, too!” While another wrong will certainly not make a right, the Avenger’s actions don’t make her a victim as much as she’s supposed to be if she just deals with the betrayal. If the erring partner feels what she has felt due to his philandering, then she is vindicated somehow.


The Acceptor

This woman believes in the age-old saying, “Boys will be boys.” Most likely, she lived with a mom who said the same things. The Acceptor, when faced with the same problem, has two main views: (1) I’m the legal wife; and, (2) As long as he comes home to me.

According to Panahon, The Acceptor will sacrifice herself, probably not talk about the situation much to others and make herself believe that “as long as he comes home to me, its okay.”  She is an “enabler,” not realizing that by keeping the relationship in status quo, she is actually supporting the extramarital affair and/or her husband’s philandering ways. Being an enabler is a passive stance that results in the relationship’s further downward spiral.


The Good Wife

Just like the recently concluded series, The Good Wife is the spouse of a famous person, who “stands by her man” despite the world knowing she has been betrayed. What makes her different from The Acceptor is that her struggle is public with some form of scandal connected to the affair. She keeps her head up but could very likely be having serious dialogue with the erring partner. A real-life example of The Good Wife (and whose story, among others, influenced the series) is Hillary Clinton who in 1998, was involved in the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal. It almost caused her husband, then President of the United States of America, to be impeached. Sexual relations between Clinton and Lewinsky were proven to have happened and on some occasion when the First Lady was actually in The White House. Hillary Clinton is still married to Bill. In this case though, now that Hillary is running for President of the United States, there may have been an overlying reason for her standing by her man.


Panahon notes that The Acceptor and The Good Wife believe that the trade-off is worth staying in the relationship for. The following are some of the situations that can make a woman feel pressured to stand by her man, no matter the circumstances:

Keeping the family name

Community and/or cultural demands

Avoiding bringing shame to the family

Children can be disenfranchised of the family or husband’s resources if she separates from him

Political interests


The Martyr

Though similar to The Acceptor, The Martyr makes it known to friends and family that she’s suffering greatly. She has pleaded with her erring partner to stop his extra-marital activity but is usually brushed off, abused or simply ignored… and yet she stays. As a victim, she may lose weight, wear a constantly forlorn expression, be prone to depression, and lose focus on her work and interest in socializing. Of all victims of infidelity, The Martyr suffers the most. According to Panahon, The Martyr believes she is hopeless, and will probably stay in the marriage for several considerations: She may not have her own source of income; she may not have the determination to plod through this; or she doubts herself immensely.


Our sincerest apologies to the writer of this article, Rossana L. Unson. We mistakenly credited Zenia L. Panahon in Working Mom's August 2016 issue.


Rossana L. Unson has been writing professionally since 2004, and is a regular contributor for Working Mom magazine. She is also into corporate communications, Public Relations, marketing, fashion styling, and events. A mom to two daughters and a cat, she loves fashion, cooking and baking, wine, books and movies, not necessarily in that order.


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