The secret: marriage, infertility and infidelity

I have a secret.  But it’s not my secret to tell.  I didn’t want to know this secret, but somehow I have ended up the keeper of this secret.  Let’s just say this world is way too small for my liking.

Let’s start with marriage and infertility.  Infertility puts a huge strain on any couple’s relationship, whether you are married or not, it’s makes you question everything about you and the way your partner are together.  And sometimes your relationship is questioned through no fault of its own.  Infertility does that to you.  It tests your relationship in many ways that other couples could never understand.  The burden of infertility on each of the couple is heavy and yet we are expected to support each other throughout the grueling journey.  And yet each of us infertiles will experience the impact on our relationships in different ways, whether it is positive or negative.  Our journeys are different, our relationships are different.  But what I am 99% sure of, is that what is common, is that infertility WILL strain your relationship to the point of almost breakage.

When I typed into Google…”Infertility effects….” the top search entries that came up were:

  1. Infertility effects on marriage
  2. Infertility effects on family
  3. Infertility psychological effects
  4. Infertility side effects

That’s pretty damming (because google is always right of course).

I will do a separate blog post one day about my internet research into infertility and marriage someday, but for now, let’s just say….research shows that infertility does impact our relationships. (No shit Sherlock!!!).

But what about infertility and infidelity?  It may be argued from an evolutionary view that a failure to produce offspring may cause the failure of a monogamous relationship and increase the likelihood for infidelity to occur.  Well, I couldn’t find any research on this theory at all, despite it sounding like a pretty sound theory.  But I did find research on Zebra finches which are animals that are socially monogamous.  A failure for mummy bird to successfully hatch her eggs made zero difference to their monogamous relationship.  Daddy bird did not cheat on her,or vice versa, she didn’t go looking for another mate.  And apparently there is no convincing evidence to suggest that this is the case in any other monogamous species either.

So, I really thought that may be infertility could increase the chance for infidelity to occur in a marriage.  Turns out I am just paranoid.

For me, Chris and I have definitely had a few moments where we just could not understand each other, we thought may be we were on different paths, may be our marriage was in jeopardy.  But despite the rockiness of our emotional and physical relationship, I have never been tempted to cheat.  In fact any attention from another man was definitely unwanted.  No matter the times we argued.  I would not have it in my heart to cheat on him.  I feel like our relationship has solidified in crazy ways I cannot explain unless you have lived it.  My relationship with Chris is phenomenally strong, I never want that to go away.

I can understand however for some that infidelity may be an escape.  An escape from all the problems we face in our struggles to conceive what many do so easily and readily.

And so back to my secret.  I have a friend who is going through infertility who has cheated.  And none of the three parties involved know that I know.  I don’t want to know.  But I do.  I feel so so sad about this situation.  There is never a worse time to cheat on your partner.  But I also understand escapism and that some relationships do just simply fail under the weight of infertility.  So it is my secret to keep and not to tell. But it kills me at the same time.

What would you do?

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35 thoughts on “The secret: marriage, infertility and infidelity

  1. My Perfect Breakdown says:

    I was once in a similar situation knowing about a friend’s affair and being good friends with everyone impacted in the event. (Although it had nothing to do with infertility, but rather a lot of alcohol in university). In the end I decided that I wouldn’t get involved unless directly asked as I wouldn’t lie. And eventually I was directly asked what I knew and I was honest. It wasnt fun for me to be involved but what was worse was watching multiple relationships fall apart and our group of close friends struggle.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lovingthemarriedlife says:

    I am the same way in my heart I could never betray Red like that he has my whole heart we were best friends for years before we dated and through all this we have become even closer and stronger…however I have a friend a very close one who suffered a miscarriage her and her husband had a horrible fight over it and she went to a bar and ended up cheating and getting pregnant her husband eventually found out and I never got involved beyond being a shoulder for her to cry on

    Liked by 1 person

    • thegreatpuddingclubhunt says:

      Oh wow, that is simply an awful situation 😦 I cannot even begin to imagine how to deal with that.
      I love happy stories though – isn’t it funny how infertility can do this to a relationship? Making it stronger is probably what an outsider looking in wouldn’t expect 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. watchmesurvive says:

    This burden is not fair, you are a good person for respecting and ultimately keeping it a secret. The scars of dealing with infertility run deep and possible never go away, I believe. There is always so much guilt😢

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nara says:

    I don’t think it’s anyone’s place to get involved or judge someone else’s relationship… Mainly because I honestly don’t think you can know what’s going on in that relationship if you are not in it yourself.

    Hands up here; I’ve cheated. Not with T. I have been “the bad one” and without going into detail, I don’t think that anyone truly understood what was happening, least of all me. All I know is that it’s completely different with T and it wouldn’t even cross my mind to get close to cheating on him, and I don’t feel worried that he would cheat on me. But I haven’t always had a healthy relationship. I think often people can’t understand other people’s relationships (eg How someone stays with someone who constantly cheats on them, or is violent / abusive to them). I’ve learned a lot through having a healthy adult relationship, which I don’t think I had ever had before.

    Anyway I guess what I’m saying is I’ve been a party (all parts of the cheating triad – the cheater, the cheatee, and the other woman) and I don’t think there is anything to be gained from an outsider getting involved. I have been through it myself and survived… And broken up… I have seen others’ relationships break up and I’ve seen them survive. It’s not really for me to judge either way. I can hope and believe that the ones who stayed together are okay.

    I also agree that infertility adds something to the equation. I guess for me there was always the hope that someone else might be a knight in shining armour and father a child with me. But it never happened. I don’t think it’s possible to understand all the complexities of feelings involved. For many people, grief drives them apart. For some, it draws them together. It’s luck and relationship dynamics which one it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thegreatpuddingclubhunt says:

      You are right that no one can tell what is going on in a relationship except those two – and even then they probably don’t really understand it. Infertility is just but one stressful lever in it all. I don’t want to potentially cause the end of a relationship prematurely because may be in their own time they will deal with it, and I think that is better. It sounds like I’m being a chicken, but I genuinely believe that. There is also a difference between a one off and a full blown affair and I am not one to judge and be jury to that either. Eughhhhh…it sucks though 😦

      Like

  5. Nara says:

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that in at least one scenario I can think of, the current partner’s reaction to infertility and the third party’s attitude towards unprotected sex definitely had an impact on the infidelity.

    Research shows that X% (sometimes really high numbers like 1/3 or more) of children are raised by men who believe they are the bio fathers but aren’t. So there’s definitely some kind of biological imperative, I think.

    Like

  6. circumstance227 says:

    To be honest – what I would do is try to completely separate the two issues. There are so many possible reasons for infertility and the same for infidelity. Unless the woman is saying “I’m looking for a guy who can impregnate me” or the man is saying “I want kids and she can’t supply them, so I am looking for a new model”, then their problems probably have many more facets than mere childlessness.
    All that being said, I know that subjecting one’s sex life to the calendar or the thermometer is a real killjoy and could strain any marriage. But a relationship built on a solid foundation will survive and find its way.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The EcoFeminist says:

    Put it this way – would *you* want to be told? It’s different for every person. Personally, I absolutely would, especially while trying to do something as huge and life-changing as having a baby with my partner. It’s a tough one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thegreatpuddingclubhunt says:

      Hmmmm yes, good question. For me, I would rather hear it from my partner’s mouth. I just don’t think I could believe it if someone told me that. Especially if it was from someone who I wouldn’t consider as a good friend. I’m not saying that ignorance is bliss at all…..but yes putting on the other shoes makes it challenging to not say anything. It really is tough 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pippa's Mom Writes says:

    This is exactly what I was thinking. An old boyfriend of mine cheated on me several times, and when I found out, I felt like a stooge, because I had been friendly with the other women. In once instance, I found out because the other woman had genital herpes and was concerned that my partner and I may have gotten it. (Thankfully, no.) That was the most embarrassing and humiliating thing I have been through.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thegreatpuddingclubhunt says:

      Oh my goodness, yes I’ve had that happen to me too with being friendly with the other woman…I felt like a complete idiot. AND a similar story with me and my Ex and Chlamydia!!! But it was the same guy….see I was the idiot for thinking he wouldn’t cheat again! Yes…putting on the other shoe makes this a tough decision to make. But I don’t know if it is a full blown affair or a one off 😦 this is so tough.

      Like

  9. myendofertilityjourney says:

    It happened to me 😦 it’s insane but apparently very real. Infertility apparently strained our marriage so bad he decided to step out on me while I was pregnant. After 3 years of trying, what should have been the happiest time has been the hardest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thegreatpuddingclubhunt says:

      I am so sorry…I have thought about you and everything that you have been through. And yes, your experience makes me feel awful for not speaking up because of the things you have shared with us and how it has affected you 😦
      I truly feel terrible about keeping it a secret still, truly it is not easy to know what is and isn’t right, and that is why I asked you all! I still don’t know really what to do….

      Like

      • myendofertilityjourney says:

        It’s so hard. I hate to say it, but thinking back I wish he would have kept it from me until after the baby is born. Ignorance is bliss right? I have been robbed of so many joys during my pregnancy and it really stunk. But you will know in time what is best 🙂

        Like

  10. Amy M. says:

    I’m sorry that you’re in this position. I do agree with what someone said above though…the infidelity may not have been a direct result of the infertility. Either way, it’s not right. It’s a hard place for you to be in, and I just really hope that the air is cleared between all of them and they are able to figure things out and heal at some point soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. ourgreatestdesire says:

    This is a tough decision and only you can decide if you want to deal with the possible fall out. I will say that one of my very best friends had to give me the news that my boyfriend of 5 years was cheating. I never held it against her and was actually grateful she had the courage to tell me. It took me another 3-4 years to really be over him and when I met J, I could clearly see why God didn’t answer my prayers in that scenario.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thegreatpuddingclubhunt says:

      wow…that really must have been tough to hear 😦 It must have been very hard for your best friend to pluck up the courage to tell you, but your best friend probably knew more about your relationship and made a call thinking that it was better to step in than step out? That is one of the problems I’m having…I really don’t know much about this couple’s relationship, and I do want to do the right thing. I’m just not sure what that is 😦

      Like

  12. dubliner in deutschland says:

    I think you are better off staying out of it and not getting involved. I think that the strains of infertility can definitely affect a relationship in all kinds of ways. I think if the cheating was just something like a drunken kiss and the person wouldn’t find out then there’s no need to tell the person and just hurt them. I know several people who had drunken kisses and felt really awful about it afterwards and didn’t tell their partner but also never did it again. I would personally rather not know if it were just a drunken kiss (with no one I knew). More than a drunken kiss or an actual affair is a different story though.

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  13. andthewindscreamsmary says:

    One of my very good friends confided in me that she had been having an affair and cheating on her husband. Unrelated to infertility, at least as far as I am told. It was (is?) a long term affair / for at least a year at that time. I think you have to separate yourself and not get involved, as hard as it is. I offered her my support if she ever wants to talk, but other than that we don’t talk about it. As much as it seems, at times, that I should tell her husband, I remind myself this is not my secret or story to tell. And I don’t know the inner workings of their relationship and marriage. I have told no one, including my husband. As far as I am concerned I don’t know about it, unless she brings it up.

    Like

    • thegreatpuddingclubhunt says:

      Oh wow, that is a really big secret to keep…..that must be very difficult for you to know this. Thank you for sharing, I know I’m not alone in this kind of tough situation – although I will say that I am not best friends with any of them, so there is that dimension too :-s

      Like

  14. dinksbydefault says:

    I wouldn’t say anything. The universe tends to unfold as it should.

    We figured out that a neighbor was cheating on his wife a while back. We didn’t know the neighbors well but it still shocked / irritated us just knowing. A few months later, it had all come to light on its own. I don’t think it would have made any difference if we had told the wife earlier.

    Also, who’s to say your friend’s husband doesn’t already know deep down? I know, secrets suck but relationships are serious business and unless you are directly involved somehow, don’t get stuck in the middle.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Recurrently Unlucky says:

    This is always a difficult situation to find oneself in, hope you figure what’s best for you.
    But I loved the research on the infertile birds!! So surprising and good to read about! Thanks for sharing

    Like

  16. flatwhitetogo85 says:

    What a tough situation. I’m sorry you’re in this position. I find the whole cheating thing really difficult. I was cheated on a decade ago and the other woman was one of my best friends. Aside from the fact it completely destroyed my confidence and my faith in men (I definitely took a long time to trust BT), it made me lose all respect for the people that knew that never told me. I absolutely 100% wish someone had told me, even if it “wasn’t their place”.

    That said, just before I found out that one of my other best friends was having an affair with a guy who was in a long term relationship with a girl. I didn’t know the couple that well, but they were really good friends with mutual friends and my BF (the cheating one mentioned above). After a while I told some of the mutual friends and BF what was going on and asked whether anything should be said to the girl because I would DEFINITELY want to know myself (I didn’t in the end because they went crazy at me). To cut a long story short, they all turned on me and started making up rumours about me. Then the guy who was cheating even sent me threatening messages (and my cheating BF, unsurprisingly, refused to defend/protect me against him…). My life was made an absolute hell for a while, just because I had wanted to protect another girl from the humiliation and pain.

    The point of this long rambling message is, you just never know how people may react. Some may be so grateful that they’d had it brought to their attention and weren’t made to “look like mugs”, others maybe don’t want to know (in a sort of “if I don’t know it can’t be real” kind of way) then others, even parties that aren’t directly involved, may judge you because they think it’s worse to “get involved” than to actually be a cheater!

    You have my total sympathy because there is no right/wrong answer. It sucks because you shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about someone else’s pain when you’re doing nothing to cause it yourself 😦 x

    Like

  17. 30yr old nothing says:

    Oh dear, what a shitty situation. But I’m with Nara. I’ve been on all sides of an infidelity situation and there’s no way to know what’s really going on in their relationship. I guess it also depends on how close you are to either party. I would stay out of it, personally. No good can come from letting people know what you know. Because if whoever is cheating knows you know, they will start making excuses and trying to get you to pick sides which isn’t fair and if you don’t pick their side if will affect your friendship. And if whoever’s being cheated on finds out you knew then that will affect your friendship too.
    I’m sorry that you know what you know. It sucks.

    Like

  18. Rebecca says:

    Wow I am so sorry. 😦 This is a terrible situation. I wouldn’t lie to anyone if something comes up. The truth will come out someday regardless of whether they want it to or not.

    Liked by 1 person

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