One thing I've learned from social media posts is that readers hate cheating. They want the happy, and cheating is a big no-no.
There are also many different definitions of "cheating" too. Some readers are so adamant about the issue that if one of the main characters is intimate with someone other than the intended love interest, even before they actually get together, it's cheating. Others think it's perfectly fine for one or both parties to have sex with other people.
Cheating happens. It's brutal and it hurts and it's hard to recover from. However, sometimes cheating isn't the end, but merely a bump in the road on the way to a stronger couple.
I recently read a book about a long term couple, in which one made a horrible mistake, confessed, and destroyed the trust between them. I won't mention the book's title, because this situation is not described in the blurb and I don't want to give spoilers. However, the author vividly describes the situation from both points of view, and it broke my heart.
There are two sides to every story, and this one leaves you breathless and hopeful, showing the lengths it took for these two men to start talking again and trying to work through the issues in their marriage.
Cheating doesn't have to be the end, but sometimes there is no going back.
I know several people who have been there and chose to ride out the storm, hoping there'd be a light at the end of the journey, myself included. One of the people I talked to held on for two years while their partner had an affair, and ultimately the cheating partner left for their paramour.
There have been some cases, though, where the couple did reconcile--one couple I know getting back together after being divorced for three years. They've been married over twenty-five years since then, so guess that's testament to the fact that cheating doesn't always mean the end.
Still, in romance, it's all about the happy, so tell me: How do you feel about cheating in books? End of the line, or obstacle to overcome?