Over on Reddit, there’s a discussion going about what’s more harmful to a relationship than cheating, which, generally, “gets all the hype” (as far as relationship roadblocks go). I didn’t read the entire thread, but most of the usual suspects seem to be mentioned near the top: family death (especially the death of a child, ugh), serious illness, lying, withholding affection. I also think money problems (or disagreement on how to spend money, even if there’s an abundance of it), unmanaged addiction, disagreement over expectations of the involvement of family and friends in your lives, infertility, disagreeing on where to live, and typical kid-related stress (behavior problems, learning disabilities, social issues, fucking homework, etc.) can all do a number on a relationship — sometimes as much or even more than infidelity. Oh, and, of course, not being a good match or being in love with someone else tends to hurt relationships.
I’ve never had a cheating incident in a relationship, but…
I’d say the biggest challenge on my marriage — which is a good one! — is the stress of raising young children, with the death of a parent a pretty close second (especially because it involves the settling of an estate, which involves a lot of decisions that require careful thought and consideration all while dealing with the sadness and grief of losing a close loved one… and raising two very young kids). That said, I don’t think Drew and I would be as close as we are if it weren’t for the challenges we’ve faced together. And certainly raising children brings a lot of joy, too. It’s mostly a good kind of stress, which, of course, isn’t true of a lot of stress couples face which ultimately ruins or deeply damages a relationship.
What, besides cheating, has harmed your relationships (past or present)? Would you consider the issues worse on your relationship than cheating? Have you been in a relationship that has survived infidelity but faced harder challenges?