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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?




What do you think?

Missbopeep Sat 19-Oct-13 14:11:56

Offred- I think this whole thread is falling apart through semantics. I am tired of it now because there is too much confusion over what people means by 'cause'.

I don't know what your point is anyway, so I'm off.

Offred Sat 19-Oct-13 14:14:08

Well, that's what I'm asking. What do you mean by cause? It seems to be that you are equating influences with causes. The semantics are pretty important because as others have explained the idea that infidelity is caused by problems in the relationship is quite victim blaming and often tied to misogyny.

Offred Sat 19-Oct-13 14:16:34

Influence being a compelling force on an outcome and cause being the reason for an outcome.

Lweji Sat 19-Oct-13 14:24:05

Emotions are not rational.

Falling in love with someone (else) is not caused by problems in the marriage. It could happen regardless.
But it may not be avoidable.
Still, choosing to have an affair instead of leaving the previous partner is a conscious decision. It involves lying and deception, as well as compartmentalisation.

A man could say he fell out of love with his wife because she was a bitch. If he fell in love with someone else is an accident. If he chooses to have an affair (whether he loves this other woman or just wants a shag) is his choice alone and not because his wife is a bitch.

It's like saying I lied because I knew you wouln't like it. You didn't lie because of the possible response by the other person, but because you didn't want to face the consequences of the truth.

Affairs happen because someone doesn't want to leave their partner while or before embarking in a sexual relationship with someone else.
No other reason.

Lweji Sat 19-Oct-13 14:30:39


Problems in marriage can cause infidelity.

Problems in marriage do not cause rape in marriage, it's the choice of the rapist.


It's interesting how you choose to argue small points (you didn't really argue against free will, though) and miss out big holes in your argument.

Missbopeep Sat 19-Oct-13 14:46:58

I'm not missing anything.

Let me try again if it's so hard for you to get it.

Problems in a marriage do not cause infidelity, per se. But problems in a marriage may be the catalyst for someone's infidelity. The behaviour of either or both spouses may create a marriage in which one partner is unhappy. Their unhappiness may lead to infidelity.

Equally, another couple with the same problems may not experience infidelity.

There is a lot of research about the 'infidelity gene' as well as how family background may be an influence ( men whose fathers had affairs are more likely to have them, for example.)

The couples I know well- where an affair has happened- would all, without hesitation accept a share of the responsibility for creating a marriage which pre-disposed one of them to have an affair.
My closest friend whose DH had an affair believed firmly it was his choice but did say she had behaved in a way that pushed him away, destroyed his self esteem, made him feel unloved, and therefore it was not a surprise that he turned to another human being to feel good about himself. She doesn't blame herself but she does take equal responsibility for the state of the marriage.

I accept there are men who just want to fuck women whatever- even if their marriages are ok- but I also believe that there are times when problems in a marriage can lead to one partner choosing to have another relationship.

Missbopeep Sat 19-Oct-13 14:47:56

I;m not going to discuss rape except to say it's an act of violence. I think it's spurious to compare it with an affair.

Wellwobbly Sat 19-Oct-13 14:51:04

Not if you accept that infidelity is abuse.

Lweji Sat 19-Oct-13 14:53:15

Rape within marriage is not necessarily spurious and it's often claimed by the rapist that it's caused by lack of sex.

And on your previous post you seem to be agreeing with us.
I'm sure he claimed he felt pushed into another woman's arms.
I'm sure his wife would still get the wake up call if he had threatened to leave. So, his choice.

Oh and by the way, a catalyst facilitates a reaction, it doesn't cause it. Basic chemistry.

Missbopeep Sat 19-Oct-13 14:56:50

It was your comparison that was spurious- not the topic of rape.
and I didn't say cause- I said catalyst- I know precisely what it means, love.

Lweji Sat 19-Oct-13 16:02:15

But we are arguing causes, not catalysts, so what is it?

And it was not a spurious example, it's something concrete within DV.
So, please replace with DV, if you want, and try to answer my question, if you love me so much.

Missbopeep Sat 19-Oct-13 16:09:21

Sorry- can't be bothered. If you want to start you own thread comparing affairs with rape or DV then feel free.

Lweji Sat 19-Oct-13 16:10:53

Of course you can't.

It's not the subject but the logic behind it.

familyscapegoat Sat 19-Oct-13 16:13:39

It is an entirely relevant comparison. Rape still happens in marriages, as does physical violence. However we know better than to blame the victim and say that he, she or the relationship itself caused it, or that anything was an excusable catalyst for it.

many moons ago on this thread Charbon wrote:

Relationship dissatisfaction and a desire to end a relationship might well be caused by marital problems

Which is presumably why MBP, your friend doesn't blame herself for her husband's choice to have an affair but takes responsibility for her part in the problems that beset her marriage. Since you appear to agree with your friend's take on this, I struggle to see where there is disagreement on your part to what posters (including Charbon) have been saying.

This is precisely the distinction posters have been making; that people have joint responsibility for their relationship but no responsibility for the unilateral and secret decisions made by the other half of the partnership. Their actions might have caused unhappiness and dissatisfaction in their partner either entirely or partially, but if they are not equal partners in the solution and aren't even privy to it, those actions cannot be held to be a cause of a solution chosen by only one of them and kept secret.

As for this:

I accept there are men who just want to fuck women whatever- even if their marriages are ok

This is ridiculously simplistic and sexist. Not all affairs when the marriage is okay are just about 'fucking' and those that are, engage women as well as men.

Wellwobbly Tue 22-Oct-13 13:48:55

Blimey, familyscapegoat, that's clever. I think you hit MBP right out of the park!

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