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Ruth Houston

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Like Valerie Bertinelli, Many Infidelity Victims Have Retaliatory Affairs
Wednesday, February 27, 2008  3:29:00 AM

by Ruth Houston

It’s common for female infidelity victims like Valerie Bertinelli to resort to revenge cheating or retaliatory affairs to get even with a cheating spouse. These revenge affairs rarely have the intended effect.

Earlier this week, Valerie Bertinelli revealed on the Oprah Winfrey Show, that she cheated on Van Halen during their marriage because he cheated on her.  

Infidelity expert Ruth Houston, founder of  says, “Revenge cheating is a common response by female infidelity victims when they learn of a cheating spouse’s extramarital affair. Valerie Bertinelli says five years into her marriage to Van Halen, she began cheating too. While men often resort to domestic violence when they discover infidelity, many women fight back by engaging in revenge cheating or retaliatory affairs.”

Houston, the author of Is He Cheating on You? – 829 Telltale Signs, says that while the desire for an infidelity victim to seek revenge is a natural response, can be a recipe for disaster. “It’s a common response, but it’s not a healthy response, even though the victim may feel perfectly justified in acting this way.  

Why Infidelity Victims Often Resort to Revenge Affairs

Houston says a retaliatory affair is the infidelity victim’s way of evening the score.  He or she may engage in a one-night stand with a total stranger, and feel vindicated even if the spouse who cheated on them never finds out about the affair.

Houston continues, “Other victims of infidelity go to great lengths to cheat with someone they know will cause great stress or extreme embarrassment to their partner – a best friend, family member, or business rival of the cheating spouse. In this instance, the infidelity victim will carefully orchestrate things to ensure that their spouse or partner finds out about the retaliatory affair.” 


“In their mind, by cheating on the cheater, they’ve now put the shoe on the other foot.   By engaging in a retaliatory affair, they feel they’re teaching the cheating spouse a lesson – letting the cheater see how it feels to be cheated on.”

But revenge cheating rarely has the intended effect. 

The Consequences of Revenge Cheating or Retaliatory Affairs


“Instead of solving the problem, it can undermine the marriage and make the situation worse.” Says Houston.  “In fact, it may have the opposite effect.  The spouse or partner who cheated first may use their partner’s retaliatory affair as an excuse to continue cheating on their mate, or as justification for having  other affairs.”


Revenge cheating is a dangerous game.  Houston says it can often be the catalyst for domestic violence or worse.   “The newspapers are full of stories about individuals who retaliated or were retaliated against by a cheating spouse in violent or destructive ways, regardless of which spouse cheated first.”

Even if it doesn’t reach this stage, Houston warns that revenge cheating is the beginning of a downward spiral that can eventually destroy what’s left of the marriage or relationship.  Bertinelli and Van Halen are now divorced.


What Infidelity Victims Should Do Instead

“I always advise against revenge in any form,” says Houston, who consults regularly with both male and female victims of infidelity, “because it rarely ends there. There are always repercussions of some kind.”

Houston advises:


·         Don’t lower yourself to the cheater’s level by cheating too. This is a classic case of two wrongs not making a right.

·         Don't sell out your own dignity or compromise your  principles just because your partner had an affair.

·         Should seek qualified professional help in dealing with the discovery or the aftermath of an affair.

·         Remember - revenge may make you feel better for the moment, but in the long run it’s not worth the time and effort. 

Free Advice on What NOT To Do

Because the desire for revenge can cloud an infidelity victim’s judgment and cause her to do something she may later regret, Houston has compiled a free special report entitled, 5 Things You SHOULDN’T Do if He’s Cheating on You.  To request a copy, e-mail with 5 Things-ac in the subject line.
For more information about infidelity, cheating spouses, and extramarital affairs,  visit or

About Ruth Houston:

Infidelity expert Ruth Houston, is the founder of   and the author of Is He Cheating on You?  - 829 Telltale Signs, which documents practically every known sign of infidelity.  

Frequently called on by the media to comment on popular infidelity issues and infidelity-related breaking news, Ruth has been quoted in USA Today, the New York Times, the New York Post, Newsday, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Christian Science Monitor,  Cosmopolitan,,,  ABC, MSN Lifestyle, MSN Money,  iVillage, Netscape Love, the National Post, Maclean’s , Entertainment Online,    and numerous other print and online media worldwide.

Ruth has also  been a guest on The Today Show, CNN, Fox News, ABC News, NBC News,  Good Day New York, Ireland's Late Late Show, 1010WINS, Sirius Satellite Radio, Court TV Radio, BBC, CBC,  and over 360 radio and TV talk shows in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, New Zealand, Australia, and the Caribbean.

For more information, visit or Ruth Houston’s infidelity blog at

To interview
infidelity expert Ruth Houston,
call 718 592-6039 or e-mail

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