real life

"My relationship survived infidelity"

Robert and Kristen

Here’s a post that Kirsten Stewart and Robert Pattinson might like to bookmark. And then forward to Snow White director Rupert Sanders and his wife.

Despite calling her affair with her married director a ‘momentary indiscretion’, Kristen Stewart is now facing accusations from Sanders’ brother-in-law that “it was from the last half of filming and all through post-production, clear into last week.”

Meanwhile, removalists have been reportedly hauling Pattinson’s belongings out of the LA house he shared with his girlfriend of 4 years.

While much has been made of the reaction of fans (Lordy, you can check that out HERE) and the publication of incriminating photos in magazines, the bigger issue at play is this:  can a relationship ever survive infidelity? Jo Abi’s did.


I never thought I was the kind of girl who would stay with someone who cheated on me. I always thought I’d walk always without a backward glance. No one would ever treat me like that. I had to much pride, too much dignity, too much self-worth.

My now-husband cheated on me when we were first dating. Here’s how it all went down and how we picked up the pieces that lay all over the floor.

When I met my husband he had been separated from his wife for four years and they were both in new relationships. In fact my husband was living with his most recent girlfriend when I met him and broke up with her shortly before we started dating.

It was a very confusing time. I was young (just turning 23) and he was not quite divorced, moving on from a long relationship with his girlfriend, all while trying to raise his two boys and reignite his career.

I was young and naïve. I still lived with my family. I was in my first full time job and I was struggling with the hours and the expectations.

He was confused and I was lonely. It wasn’t the beginning fairy tales are made of.

We were friends for a year before we started dating. I was much too young for him and he was too complicated for me. We dated in the knowledge that there was no future and focused on friendship and fun.

It was during this time that he cheated on me.

I didn’t know it had happened. All I know is that he suddenly became devoted to me. After dealing with him keeping me at arm’s length and blowing hot and cold, his new-found devotion was flattering and welcome. I didn’t know about his brief affair and I didn’t know he’d broken it off and realised he wanted to be with me forever.


We moved in together and never looked back…until I found out.

It was two years after moving together that I found out he’d cheated.

The problem with him not confessing when it happened is that I felt like he cheated on me when I found out, not two years earlier when we weren’t serious. It felt like the worst kind of betrayal because I found out so long after the fact and because he wasn’t the one who told me.

When he found out I knew he vomited. I took him outside, calmly informed him that I knew and that I was leaving.

I moved out that day. What followed was the most miserable two weeks of my life.

It was the worst kind of pain. I loved him. I wish it had never happened. I wish I didn’t know. I wish he’d told me.

It took over a year for me to be able to move on. We’ve been together now for a further ten years now and I am so happy I didn’t leave him.

Many women will look at my situation and think I’m pathetic. I would have thought the same before I went through it myself. Many relationships deal with infidelity and from the mountain of books I read and interviews I watched I knew one thing – his infidelity would either destroy us or make us stronger. It was up to us.

Just this morning my husband and I were telling each other how much we love each other. We talked about how we aren’t sick of each other, not even a little bit. Our feelings are stronger than ever. Our communication is an effective as always. We miss each other. We love each other. And the reason we are like this is because we almost lost it all and since that terrible time, we’ve both put a lot of effort into maintaining our relationship.

I’m not sure our relationship would have turned out so well without his infidelity. At the end of the day it helped us. It stripped down all his walls. It wasn’t until he was faced with losing me that he realised how much he loved me. And it wasn’t until I found out about his infidelity that I realised how in love with him I was. I could forgive him (as long as it NEVER happens again).

We haven’t had an affair-free relationship but we have had an affair-free marriage.

And celebrity free passes aside (Clive Owen for me and Salma Hayek for him) we plan to stay that way.

Jo Abi is the author of the book How to Date a Dad: a dating guide released by Hachette Livre Australia. You can follow her on Twitter here.

You can read more about celebrities who have strayed at our sister site iVillage here and here.

Have you ever cheated or been cheated on? Can a relationship survive infidelity?