At the risk of offending the conventional wisdom here, I do tend to agree with you.TDBO - You raise a point that I always struggle with. I think Daryf4 said she plans to leave rather than seek a compensation / revenge partner. But the idea that folks who have revenge affairs are "cheaters" does not sit with me. If you and I have a contract ; you agree to cut my lawn and I pay you - and you stop cutting my lawn - you are in breach. I'm not a cheater if I don't pay you and pay someone else in stead . If your state does not criminalize adultery (I think 17 do), and you were not "religious" or married religiously (so you are not bound by an independent covenant with the Deity or by the 6th Commandment) , how are you cheating ?- what "rule" are you breaking if you engage in sexual activity after your partner plainly, unequivocally, breaches the marital contract?
Folks do raise a "what about" argument about what other actions might be a breach. I find that unpersuasive as there really can be NO question that infidelity IS a breach. Other infractions are subject to reasonable debate, and may not rise to the level of materiality to constitute a breach that destroys your duty of fidelity. That's normal contact law (and I recognize marriages are unenforceable as contracts, but most if not all states have cases that hold Marriages are civil contracts). But I think it's plain as day that after sexual infidelity, your marriage contract is broken. You can "condone" (have sex again with your partner and waive the breach); reject (walk away - divorce), or renegotiate (reconcile). If having sex with a new partners is part of your reconciliation package, you are NOT cheating - you are renegotiating. It might be a stupid or unethical thing to do if you hurt other innocent folks. Note too that It's quite appropriate if your wayward refuses to accept that term. Totally their right. As long as it is in the open and part of the renegotiation -it's fair and its not "cheating." Now...plenty of folks revenge cheat and are as unethical as the original cheater (best story ever is Lorenzo's epic disaster of revenge cheating on LoveShack). If you fake a reconciliation and then cheat...you are breaking the new contract. Not terribly complicated to assess. Hard to actually do all of this without emotion, I'm sure. Ask Taxman....
I’m not advocating revenge cheating, but I don’t think it’s automatically wrong or even counterproductive. It really just depends on your objectives.
Once the contract is broken at that level (initial spouses infidelity), there is no more contract, and the BS is no longer beholden to any loyalty/fidelity, unless/until a new contract is agreed-upon.
If the intent is to divorce, then it really doesn’t matter anyway. But if it’s unclear if the path will be D or R, and the betrayed spouse feels the need to sleep with another, I’m not automatically opposed to it.
It may or may not help the BS, and it may or may not end up complicating or tanking the chances of a potential reconciliation.
if the intent is just to inflict pain on the wayward spouse, I think it’s pointless and stupid, because as others have said, the level of pain and trauma inflicted will never be equal. But if that’s what a betrayed spouse needs to try to move forward, then so be it.
I don’t know that I could ever reconcile after a physical affair, but if I were to try, I’m pretty sure I’d need to go down that path to attempt to rebalance the scales to some degree (obviously it will never be fully balanced again).
I think the way to do it though, would be to be upfront and above board about it. “You betrayed me and destroyed me and our marriage, and now you want a chance of reconciliation. I’ll consider it, but in the meantime here’s what I’ll be doing… You can accept that that’s part of my healing process, or you can choose not to. But this is what I’ll be doing and this is what I need to help heal and to bring some amount of balance back to the equation to be able to even try moving forward with you.”