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Padraig O'Morain: As Rooney takes his three weeks off, what's really going on with Coleen behind closed doors...

Will three weeks off the pitch sort out the problems in Wayne Rooney's personal life? Probably not.

Infidelity shatters marriages, making it extremely hard to put them together again. And when the marriage is "saved" it is very often clouded by mistrust and resentment.

Officially, Wayne Rooney is being given three weeks off to nurse an injured ankle but not too many people believe that.


It is far more plausible that he is being given space and time to patch up his marriage to his wife Coleen following revelations of his encounters with prostitutes.

This, Man Utd management and fans will hope, will clear the way for a return to the form which has deserted him since the World Cup.

The problem with this theory is that relationships just don't recover quickly from an affair. Rooney is likely to be undergoing a lot of mental distress three weeks from now.

So far as we know from research, the discovery of an affair spells the end for about one marriage in three. Almost half of the marriages that continue are characterised by ongoing mistrust, anger and upset.

These statistics spell trouble for both parties and make it very hard to return to top form in any field.

We've seen this with Tiger Woods, once invulnerable but now looking like an "ordinary" elite golfer.

We are probably also seeing it with Wayne Rooney -- to recover from the awful World Cup performance is tricky enough without having a grenade thrown into the marriage.


And in the case of both Tiger Woods and Ronan Keating, we've seen that even the most high-profile and apparently sound marriages can be fatally damaged by an affair.

The pressures following an affair are intense. Wronged spouses want to know the details of what went on -- when, where and how and also why. The questioning of the spouse who strayed can go on for months and this in itself can spark off new rows.

And there's the issue of re-establishing trust which is very hard to do and may be impossible.

The spouse who does a job from which he or she comes home every night has some chance of demonstrating that faithfulness has been re-established. But how do you do that when your work takes you away many times a year into settings which lend themselves to straying?

I don't know enough about Rooney and Coleen to know if they have the emotional intelligence and the resilience to get through all this.

But that they are going through hell is certain. And that three weeks won't take that hell away is also certain.

Padraig O'Morain is accredited as a counsellor by the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy