To be cheated on in a relationship is people's worst nightmare. In fact, it is highly common for people to break up or divorce because their partners cheated on them.
However, a relationship expert has said infidelity doesn't have to mean the end of a relationship: It can, in fact, make the relationship stronger.
Esther Perel, a US-based sex and relationship therapist originally from Antwerp, Belgium, said: "The revelation of an affair often ends relationships that were dying on the vine, but sometimes can serve as a powerful alarm system that can shake couples out of complacency, allowing them to rebuild and repair their damaged union."
Perel told the Guardian: "Many affairs are break-ups, but some affairs are make-ups. Sometimes the relationship that comes out is stronger and more honest and deeper than the one that existed before because people finally step up."
She did not defend adultery but said she just believes divorce shouldn't be the only option. Perel, who is releasing a book called The State of Affairs Rethinking Infidelity on the subject, said: "I think people should be able to determine for themselves the choices that they will make and the consequences thereof."
She added: "To just push people to divorce and to think that divorce is always the better solution when it dissolves all the family bonds… Entire lives are intertwined with a marriage."
When Hindustan Times asked Mumbai-based counsellor Anita Singh about it, she said: "Infidelity is betrayal on so many levels. Deceit, abandonment, rejection, humiliation, all the things love promised to protect us from."
She also explained that Perel didn't actually advise people to have an affair in her new book. Perel doesn't advise people to have an affair, rather she looks at the aftermath and devastation of cheating and tries to understand why some couples recover and come out stronger in the long run.
Kolkata-based psychologist and counsellor Polly Sengupta told Hindustan Times that some couples decide to stay together after an affair while some do not. But staying does not always mean the relationship has healed.
Sengupta explained: "Staying in a marriage after infidelity can also feel more shameful for the person who did not cheat than the one who did. It isolates the betrayed partner because if they tell people about it they know they will be judged for not leaving."