Ayesha Vardag, who has worked on some of the biggest break-ups for high profile celebrities to business tycoons, says that the pandemic has shown that “adultery is very far from the worst thing in the world” and more couples would stay together if society was less rigid.
“Sometimes married couples get intolerably fed up of each other and indeed very lonely in each other’s company as topics of conversation expire and the springs of desire run dry,” Ms Vardag told the Daily Mail.
“Is it always right for them to choose between remaining unhappily together or divorcing and starting again?
“Or is it sometimes worthwhile to keep the structure of the marriage in place – the secure home, the family, the workable economic structure, the steady domestic routine – and take romance, love, sex, excitement where one can find it, without rocking the boat?
Ms Vardag said some women are “a lot less upset about adultery” but fear criticism from “mums at the school gates” if they stay with cheating spouses.
“I think people would be a lot less upset about adultery if they didn’t have everyone else telling them that they ought to be upset about it,” she said.
Ms Vardag added that some couples would have a different attitude to affairs if they had pre-marriage counselling and considered their approaches to fidelity before walking down the aisle.
“If somebody promises and swears they’re going to be faithful forever, they shouldn’t then be going and running around. But if those go into it with an expectation that, hey, we’re married, we’re going to have children together, we’re going to build something that’s going to endure for the whole of our lives ...
“[But] in the midst of that ... he might be interested in somebody, I might be interested in somebody ... Then I think that that is a perfectly reasonable, perfectly sensible, model to have,” she said.
The mother-of-four also claimed she would be accepting if her husband Stephen Bence cheated on her.
“If he had an affair, I’d certainly like to think I’d be able to turn a blind eye, breeze past it and keep our marriage together, for all of the good things we have built together,” she revealed.
It comes as lockdown has led to fewer couples divorcing because of affairs.
The lawyer’s firm reported a 17 per cent reduction in cases citing affairs during the first lockdown in the spring of last year and a 63 per cent decrease during the last lockdown.
Ms Vardag rose to fame after winning a landmark Supreme Court case in 2010 that paved the way to making prenuptial agreements legally enforceable in England and Wales.
While her client list is largely kept secret, it is known that she secured a £64 million divorce deal for Pauline Chai, the wife of Khoo Kay Peng, the former boss of the Laura Ashley fashion chain.