Is Cheating Viral?

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After 10 years of marriage and with two children under the age of 6, Sarah and Josh were getting a divorce. The reason: Josh had been having an on-and-off affair with Rae, a longtime friend and colleague, for nearly a year. Sarah, suspecting something was up but not sure what, had finally resorted to checking Josh’s email, where her fears were confirmed. She threw him out that night.

Most of their friends were shocked. This, they thought, was so unlike Josh, who’d always presented himself as a thoughtful husband, conscientious boss, and devoted father. He was never cavalier about his friendships, nor was he especially careless or cruel. And yet it was revealed that only months earlier, he’d invited Rae to the holiday party he and Sarah threw in their home, something that in retrospect made most of their friends’ stomachs turn–on behalf of Sarah, yes, but also themselves.

Alison, for example, was having a hard time not taking Josh and Sarah’s situation personally. It had nothing to do with her, of course. So why did she feel so weird? At home, she’d begun noticing herself acting more distrusting of her own husband, Billy. Was Billy working longer hours, or was it just her imagination? Had he seemed a little jumpy when she went to use his cellphone? If a “good” guy like Josh had been capable of carrying on a long-term affair, was Billy capable of the same? If Sarah hadn’t seen it coming, would she?

When friends cheat, it can be jarring for the rest of us. While we read about infidelity all the time among Hollywood celebrities, Washington politicians, and nearly every other newsworthy sector, for most of us, these people are removed from our realities. We might be shocked that Kristen could cheat on Rob or Ashton on Demi, but we don’t know them personally. When our friends cheat, on the other hand, it hits much closer to home. We start to wonder: Is my partner happy in the relationship? Am I? Could we be next?…

Read more: YNaija

 

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