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'infidelity is caused by problems in the marriage'

(240 Posts)
Wellwobbly Tue 08-Oct-13 08:59:24

This has come up again in a thread.

I can't cut and paste (copyright), but would like to post three links of differing views, and ask people's input of what they think of them?

First:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/07/couples-therapy_n_3977035.html?utm_hp_ref=divorce&ir=Divorce

Second:

http://chumplady.com/2013/10/it-takes-three/

Third:

http://www.davidclarkeseminars.com/apps/articles/?columnid=508&articleid=3813

What do you think?

Wellwobbly Tue 08-Oct-13 09:02:46

If anyone knows the copyright rules, and can clean up those links, I would be very grateful! (Still don't know how to do a blue link on Apple mac).

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 08-Oct-13 09:04:55

Not read the links. Infidelity can be caused by problems in the marriage but not exclusively. Perfectly happy people can have affairs and utterly miserable partners can stay faithful. Some can forgive, some can't, some kid themselves they're over it when they're not. C'est la vie

Anniegetyourgun Tue 08-Oct-13 10:04:40

Our counsellor stated she had never come across infidelity without it being a symptom of something wrong within the marriage. It was true in our case (except I hadn't actually committed adultery, but I had at one point considered it - I had also considered suicide) but I did think it was an extraordinarily sweeping claim.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 08-Oct-13 10:09:59

I suppose it's a self-fulfilling statement to an extent. Even if there's nothing wrong with the relationship per se, the 'something wrong' will be the dissatisfied/opportunistic/impulsive one with the roving eye...

Anniegetyourgun Tue 08-Oct-13 10:10:18

... would add that yes, infidelity is caused by problems in the marriage, but the problem can be that one partner is easily tempted by a bit of fun they think they'll get away with. Or is an entitled fuckwit (as in your case, Wobbly). A marriage, after all, like a family, is not a thing, it's the sum of the people in it. If one of those people feels entitled to cheat, that doesn't mean the other one did anything wrong, necessarily. Although sometimes they did.

eurochick Tue 08-Oct-13 10:19:30

I think it is often true. If you are completely happy and fulfilled, you are unlikely to be tempted elsewhere. I'm sure there are exceptions though, and some people are more easily tempted than others.

OrmirianResurgam Tue 08-Oct-13 10:23:26

I would be tempted to reply 'And?'

There were some problems in our marriage.
Then H had an affair and lo and behold <drum roll> there was one MASSIVE problem in the marriage...infidelity!!

Problems in the marriage? Address them or move on.

Infedelity is caused by intimacy problems in individuals

OrmirianResurgam Tue 08-Oct-13 10:25:08

BTWI think you'd struggle to find a marriage without any problems at all.

Bonsoir Tue 08-Oct-13 10:27:27

I agree with LaurieFairyCake. People who have difficulty with intimacy (laying themselves bare before another human and accepting another human laid bare before them, in all senses of the expression) tend to have problematic marriages.

Bonsoir Tue 08-Oct-13 10:28:04

Life tends to be one long problem-solving adventure smile

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 08-Oct-13 10:28:14

Happy and fulfilled doesn't make someone immune to temptation. In fact, feeling secure and stable in a relationship might make the 'no questions asked' indiscretion seem like a chance worth taking. I think people who successfully have affairs - i.e not the ones that get caught or go around being unpleasant - manage to rationalise and compartmentalise their marriage on the one hand as being happy, fulfilled, and about love and respectability and the affair(s) on the other almost as just another pastime.

ProphetOfDoom Tue 08-Oct-13 10:45:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ProphetOfDoom Tue 08-Oct-13 10:52:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

blueshoes Tue 08-Oct-13 11:09:57

Agree with Cognito. What fascinating insight.

EldritchCleavage Tue 08-Oct-13 11:29:14

This is a cop-out explanation. It would make far more sense to me (if one must make a sweeping generalisation) to say 'infidelity is caused by problems in the adulterer', but people are very reluctant to do that. Possibly because traditionally men played away much more and society rationalised and excused that.

At the very least, there is always the problem that the adulterer has chosen to have an affair rather than address his/her unhappiness with the marital relationship.

mistyshouse Tue 08-Oct-13 11:31:59

well i was unfaithful in my first marriage because my exH was a dickhead and i didn't fancy him anymore i was unhappy

there are many many reasons for people cheating, there is no one size fits all reason

Firstly, I would like to ammend that statement slightly. Infidelity is ofton caused by how people deal with problems in their marriage. Every relationship has problems to some extent. Some more than others, sometimes more than others. DW and I are having a very rocky time at the moment. I could deal with it by going out and trying to find someone else, but that would (as far as I can see) solve nothing. I'd rather deal with our problems and move on.

I saw some research that said one night stands are more likely to occur in happy relationships (one assumes that to be cause by someone who just can't control their genitals). Some of them even say they still love their partners very much, they just fancied something a bit different. (Yes, total arseholes. No disagreement.)

It also siad that long running and emotional affairs are more likely in relationships with problems. In a lot of these cases, it can begin with simply turning to someone to talk and it going to far. Maybe they are only staying together for the benefit of the kids and haven't been affectionate in a very long time.

A "problem" could even be that they've been together years and it's just not exiting anymore. Every one is different, though. Pretending every affair is caused by the same thing is ludicrous, really.

wordfactory Tue 08-Oct-13 11:36:52

From observation of freinds who have cheated or been cheated on, it doesn't seem to have that much correlation to the state fo their marriages.

Certainly some of those marriages were no worse than the unions of other faithful couples IYSWIM.

It strikes me that often the adulterer and the person they are cheating with excuse their behaviour by talking up the supposed marital problems.

RevelsRoulette Tue 08-Oct-13 11:40:56

I think there is something wrong / going wrong / wrong in the life or attitude of the person for them to choose to have an affair. Whether they feel that the marriage is the cause of that is really up to them. imo, it may be their excuse, but the cause of an affair is the people having it!

The big question is why does someone choose to betray someone they claim to love? Why do they look someone in the eye and swear that they are faithful when they know they are not? Is that a problem with 'The Marriage' or the person doing the lying?

Why do they make the choice to stay and cheat and lie rather than be honest?

When you look at it, it really is all about the person doing it. If you could get inside their head, you'd have all the answers. I don't have a clue about answers, all I have are questions.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 08-Oct-13 11:47:54

They don't see it as betrayal necessarily. It's just, as said above, something a bit different. There's a tendency, I've noticed, for people to think that the OW or OM always represents 'love' - and, in some cases (such as my exH) they do believe they love this other person and should go to be with them. But there's a (I think) bigger subset who are not looking for love... they have love at home in spades ... and have no intention of breaking up the family. They don't see themselves as unfaithful particularly either. It's just 'scratching an itch'... no biggie. I say it's a bigger subset because this person, until they are careless, can carry on doing this ad infinitum

ProphetOfDoom Tue 08-Oct-13 12:05:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bogeyface Tue 08-Oct-13 14:09:45

I agree with whoever said that the issue is the person who has the affair and how they deal with problems. If you looked forever I doubt you would find a marriage without a single problem and if that is a green light to cheat then no one would ever be faithful.

My H cheated when our marriage was (or should have been) at its happiest. Married less than a year, expecting a much wanted child, we were blissful, or so I thought. The only problem our marriage had was him.

FrancescaBell Tue 08-Oct-13 15:27:04

The statement 'infidelity is caused by problems in the marriage' is a bit like saying 'Vomiting is caused by too much alcohol' and is as reductionist as that absurd statement. It might be one of the causes, but if a person vomits and hasn't been drinking any alcohol, where does that leave us? grin

I've probably come across more affairs of the type Cogito is describing; people who were happy at home and had no plans to leave or even make changes to their set-ups, but who had rubbish boundaries when someone else showed an interest. I think for the most part, the people I knew started off their little adventures thinking they could compartmentalise and put the affair and the marriage into discrete boxes, but most of the time it turned out they were rubbish at it.

You see, these guys and gals weren't practised deceivers. So despite all good intentions, they started acting like arses at home, found the deceit too stressful, didn't cope well with the demands being placed on them by two people and as an observer looking on, it was like watching a person completely dissemble. Their work suffered (hence my involvement), they developed the memory retention of a goldfish and so in most cases, they got found out.

The trouble is, the propoganda of the 'Problems....affair' is so strong in our society, that even the people who weren't unhappy start believing that they must have been! This sort of self-excusing probably goes on more in people who have on the surface, always done the 'right things' in life. Whereas the people who make a habit of cheating and doing unethical things are probably a bit more self-aware and know that they can't kid a kidder (themselves.)

With other types of affairs where unhappiness is more obvious (and I've known a few) I still don't think it was the only cause, although of course it must have been a factor. But I have a friend who's in a very unhappy marriage, who's had loads of opportunities to cheat without any real risk of being caught (and one man in particular would have been much better for her IMO than her wretched husband) but she just won't do it. I once had a male work colleague who was in exactly the same boat as her and he wouldn't cheat either, despite other women making it quite clear to him they'd be up for some fun.

Really, this is down to the individual isn't it? That's what must make the difference, not the state of the relationship.

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