Who Had an Affair or Who Files For Divorce Reveals Nothing.

Becky Whetstone, Ph.D.
10 min readJul 28, 2023

Placing fault in marriage and divorce is a fool’s game.

Blaming people in divorce is a fool’s game. No one knows what really happened but the couple themselves.

Years ago, I became friends with a woman who was divorcing a famous movie star. Her divorce was covered in the local paper gossip column, and the question came up as to why she would ever leave such a successful and wealthy man, someone she had two children with and had been married to a long time. Finally, her dad, also a prominent man in our town, shut down the talk by telling the gossip columnist:

“Just because someone files for divorce doesn’t mean they want a divorce.”

That got my attention. It was the first time I had ever thought of that …

Meanwhile, my new friend was so livid about what she was going through that she found perverse enjoyment in telling anyone who would listen about the icon’s bedroom foibles, the fact that her best friend became his lover, and how she found them in bed together in their weekend home. Indeed, hearing her story firsthand, it wasn’t my friend who wanted the divorce, but she was the one who filed.

Since then, I have become a marriage & family therapist and marriage crisis specialist, and work with couples on the verge of divorce all the time, and the assumption that the person who files for divorce is the one who wants out, or the one who had an affair is always the villain, simply is not true.

People making assumptions about what is going on in any marital home is playing a fool’s game. The couples I admired as perfect when young are all divorced now. Even if you had two blabber-mouth spouses who told every detail of their lives together you would still have to question the accuracy of what you’ve heard, as hearsay has proven to be inaccurate in study after study. When one person tells me a blistering account of how their former spouse conducted themselves during their marriage, it’s a good practice to be sympathetic, but keep in mind that I just heard the prosecution’s case, and the defense will never be presented.

I have worked with many individuals who have had hundreds of indicators that they are not married to someone who takes marriage vows seriously. On a regular basis they catch their spouse sending inappropriate text messages, having emotional affairs, hiding booze…

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Becky Whetstone, Ph.D.

Marriage & Family Therapist & relationship guru. Huffington Post & Medium contributor, former columnist, San Antonio Express-News. Motto: You have to be nice.