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More good news for sidechicks… marriages that begin as affairs aren’t doomed to fail! On last night’s episode of “Being Mary Jane” Andre proposes marriage to Mary Jane, offering to divorce his wife. Ironically, Gabrielle Union, who plays Mary Jane recently became engaged to Dwyane Wade who was married when their relationship began several years ago. Of course Wade and Union’s relationship has been further complicated by Wade recently fathering a child outside of their relationship — something some folks consider as a karmic occurrence, all of which made us want to ask you guys whether you believe all relationships that start out as affairs are doomed to fail.

Our homie Keli Goff did some digging for a Daily Beast story on the subject and we thought we’d share some excerpts:

History is filled with affairs, many of which ended disastrously. Think Henry the VIII and Anne Boleyn, the mistress he eventually married and ultimately beheaded. Though few expect modern day affairs to end in such a gruesome manner, they rarely end happily every after either.

But what about those that do?

Despite lingering stigma, some of the world’s most admired couples came together under what some may not consider admirable circumstances. Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward enjoyed one of Hollywood’s most enduring marriages for 50 years until his death. Newman left his first wife, with whom he had two daughters, to be with Woodward. Despite having been married more than two decades mega-musician Sting and his wife Trudie Styler are rumored to still have one of the most enviable sex lives around. Their relationship also began as an affair, something Styler has discussed in interviews, saying, “Neither of us are proud of a situation that happened—it just happened. We loved each other and we lived together and then we got married and we had more kids,” she says. “And that’s our life story.”

There are plenty of other high profile couples who began, or rather ended up together the same way, among them Prince Charles and Camilla, Rudy and Judi Giuliani, Newt and Callista Gingrich, Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas—couples that are all still going strong. So what makes the difference between a couple that starts as an affair and lasts, and one that doesn’t?

Before we tell you the answer — do you think you can guess?

Here’s what the experts have to say:

According to experts, starting as an affair does not necessarily doom a relationship, but whether the couple can prevent history from repeating itself depends on a number of factors.

“Your relationship started out with some deceit, with some lies and a big problem affair couples have is they tend to be jealous and suspicious of each other because they know that person is capable of cheating,” said relationship expert Rachel Sussman, author of The Breakup Bible.

Sussman went on to note that it is how couples confront how they ended up in an affair in the first place which may ultimately determine whether they will endure.

“If you start off as an affair couple you’ve got to be so clear about why your last relationship didn’t work out, why you chose this path to have an affair and how to avoid anything like that happening in the current relationship.”

Getting at the root of the infidelity is key. For instance, someone who has been in an unhappy marriage for a long time may use an affair as a way to finally exit the relationship. Again, not ideal or appropriate, but different than someone for whom cheating is a way of life. According to Sussman, someone who begins an affair after being mistreated or neglected in a marriage is a better bet for finding long-term happiness with the person with whom he or she engages in an affair than someone who was simply bored sexually.

Interesting right? So for the ladies in Gabrielle, errr, Mary Jane’s situation what steps can be taken to make sure the relationship stays solid moving forward???

Turns out therapy may be necessary:

The main ingredient for those striving to turn an unhealthy affair into a healthy long-term relationship, highlighted by both experts is the importance of having a candid discussion about the origins of the affair, which may involve the couple speaking with a professional as the relationship blossoms.

Some experts suggest there might be underlying issues that need exploring such as if a parent cheated during childhood. Sussman stressed it’s important to “take the time to process why your last relationship didn’t work out then why you chose to have an affair as opposed to lots of other things you could have and then really, honestly have that talk. ‘Well what will we do if these things happen in our relationship? How can we do it very different this time?’”

She explained, “I’ve seen couples have a really good prognosis when they do that. But if they don’t take the time to figure out why they cheated to begin with and to make sure it won’t happen again then you probably do have a better chance of it happening again because you’ve already done it. You know how to do it. It’s not as hard to cheat a second time once you’ve cheated a first time.”

Do you agree with this assessment or do you think love karma is the real deal Holyfield? Is it ever okay to move forward with a relationship that starts out as an affair or is it just homewrecking plain and simple? We want to hear your opinion.

Speak on it!


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