As Dominic West wins back his wife after those Lily James pictures: Should you stay with a husband who strays?
If I were his wife, would I ever trust Dominic West again?
Here I am, at home with our four children, when pictures are beamed across the globe of him gazing adoringly at a clearly besotted Lily James, as well as kissing her, stroking her cheek and snuggling up to her on a scooter (and actually what is a fifty-year-old man doing on a scooter anyway?)
In spite of all this, Catherine FitzGerald has decided that she can trust him again. After a few consoling weeks in Lamu, she has agreed to take him back, on the proviso that he never has contact with Lily again.
I think she’s has done the right thing.
Many women will disagree. They will see it as somehow anti-feminist and weak, even foolish. They will argue that once a man has strayed, he will do so again. And again. In my opinion it would be more foolish to give up on a relationship that began when they were university students and a life together with four (still relatively small) children for what one of my friends describes as a ‘bit of side-salad’.
Infidelity is often the result of circumstance more than personality. Of course, there are some serial adulterers, and maybe they would be tricky to forgive on a weekly basis. But it’s ridiculous to condemn someone to a life sentence of not trusting them because they stray once.
How many men, having shared a few bottles of wine with a pretty girl at lunch, would be tempted to stroke her cheek much like Dominic West did? What about a business trip where you accidentally end up in bed with someone you’re never likely to see again? Do these, or countless other possible circumstances that could lead to infidelity, make a man (or a woman) untrustworthy? I don’t think so. What if you’d refused to ever trust your partner again on the basis of something that actually meant nothing at all? Thus depriving you both of a truly meaningful relationship and a happy life together.
A man who strays might actually be doing so in search of a soulmate. I have a friend who is married to a man she had a fling with while he was still in an unhappy relationship with his now ex-wife. As far as I know, he has been faithful for twenty years and counting.
There is a lot more to a successful marriage and a relationship than trusting that your loved one might never want to have sex outside a relationship. So what if they do? Personally, I would be more upset if my husband announced he would rather spend time with and talk to another woman than have a quick fling in Rome.
Although I would obviously prefer it if she weren’t a 32-year-old film star.
Helena Frith Powell was born in Sweden to a Swedish mother and Italian father, but grew up mainly in England. She is the author of eleven books, translated into several languages including Chinese and Russian. She wrote the French Mistress column The Sunday Times about life in France for several years. She is a regular contributor to the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Tatler Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar.
Helena has been the editor of four magazines, including M Magazine, a supplement for the Abu Dhabi-based National Newspaper and FIVE, a high-end fashion glossy, also published in Abu Dhabi. Helena was also editor-in-chief of 360 Life, a quarterly glossy magazine published with the Sports 360 Newspaper in Dubai, part of the Chalhoub Group.
Helena contributes regularly to UK-based newspapers and magazines and holds a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Cambridge. She is working on a thriller set in Sweden as well as a novel about the relationship between Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield called Sense of an Echo.
In 2022 her short story The Japanese Gardener came second in the Fish Publishing Short Story Prize. One of her stories was also shortlisted for the Bridport Short Story Prize. When she’s not writing, she works as a headhunter for the media and entertainment industry for the Sucherman Group.
Helena, who was educated at Durham University, lives in the Languedoc region of France with her husband Rupert and their three children.
More France Please, we’re British; Gibson Square 2004
Two Lipsticks and a Lover 2005; Gibson Square (hardback)
All You Need to be Impossibly French; (US version of above) Penguin 2006
Two Lipsticks and a Lover; Arrow Books (paperback) 2007
Ciao Bella Gibson Square; (hardback) 2006
Ciao Bella Gibson Square; (paperback) 2007
So Chic! (French version of Two Lipsticks) Leduc Editions 2008 (also translated into Chinese, Russian and Thai)
More, More France; Gibson Square 2009
To Hell in High Heels; Arrow Books 2009 (also translated into Polish)
The Viva Mayr Diet; Harper Collins 2009
Love in a Warm Climate; Gibson Square 2011
The Ex-Factor; Gibson Square 2013
Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles; Gibson Square 2016
The Arnolfini Marriage; Amazon Kindle December 2016
Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles (paperback); Gibson Square spring 2018
The Longest Night; Gibson Square spring 2019