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Why is Divorce preferable to adultery?

 
 
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 10:59 am
A large majority, 70%, of people say that divorce is morally acceptable. Only 22% find it morally unacceptable. Conversely only 7% of people find having an affair to be morally acceptable (compared to 91% of people who find it unacceptable).

Doesn't this seem odd that abandoning your spouse permanently is acceptable while having a side relationship is not? I would argue that Divorce is much more damaging than infidelity to children and adults alike. I think statistics will back me up on this.

Marriage is an odd social convention anyway. We award social status to people who are willing to be pushed into marriage as a monogamous relationship. We put social pressure, including shame, on people who stray. Yet we are willing to accept when people decide to quit.

You can quit... but don't stumble. That is an odd message to give people for any endeavor.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/107380/cultural-tolerance-divorce-grows-70.aspx


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Type: Question • Score: 25 • Views: 20,946 • Replies: 192

 
View best answer, chosen by maxdancona
JTT
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 12:11 pm
@maxdancona,
Good points, Max.
0 Replies
 
Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 12:37 pm
@maxdancona,
IMHO, divorce being preferential to infidelity should not be considered an 'either-or' situation. If and when a marriage is in trouble, the best route is to find a way to dialgoue and/or go to counseling to work things out. If the marriage is so badly damaged where infidelity is being considered, then that's a circumstance where one or both parties are being irresponsible to their duty as marital partners. Any partner that chooses infidelity and is that irresponsible probably should not be married in the first place.

In a slightly different matter: since when do human behaviors, and society's response to them, make sense? Morality and societal pressures often don't make sense either. The fact that historically society has put pressure on a married couple to stay married is not always a sensible or useful behavior, but it's a behavior that exists. At one time society demanded couples to marry when a child is born or risk being totally shunned. Now societal pressure is far less.

Am I making any sense here?

ehBeth
 
  4  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 01:12 pm
@maxdancona,
Looks to me (based on the results you've posted) that people think divorce is honest, while adultery is still considered dishonest/cheating.

And generally speaking, more people find honesty preferable to dishonesty.

The results of that Gallop poll don't seem odd to me.
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 01:13 pm
@Ragman,
Just because someone is considering infidelity does not necessarily mean that their marriage is badly damaged. There are lots of reason to commit adultery. Forty percent of married people admit to having been unfaithful.

Marriage is tied up with childrearing. Do you mean to imply that people who aren't monogamous shouldn't have children? This doesn't make much sense to me.

I suspect that through much of history infidelity was much more accepted than it is now. Our present obsession with monogamy stems from the European Protestant ethic of the past few hundred years.




0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 01:15 pm
@ehBeth,
That is a logical point Beth.

But still, the implication is that you would rather have your spouse leave you then to lie to you.

Of course for those of us who took an oath to love their spouse "until death do us part", divorce is dishonest.




ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 01:17 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
But still, the implication is that you would rather have your spouse leave you then to lie to you.


that's certainly the message I get from a lot of the relationship threads here
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 01:21 pm
@ehBeth,
Particularly when there are kids involved, divorce is a drastic abandonment of an important commitment.

No marriage ever survives a divorce. Many marriages survive infidelity.
aidan
 
  3  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 02:08 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
Particularly when there are kids involved, divorce is a drastic abandonment of an important commitment.


'Particularly when there are kids involved, infidelity is a drastic abandonment of an important commitment', (my emphasis).

What is a parent going to tell their children when they are committing adultry? 'Hey, don't worry about it - I got a foot in both camps but I'm fulfilling my commitment to you to be an honest-to-god great role-model that you can always count and rely on to teach you how to do the right thing and really love your partner as you decide not to 'forsake all others'...I mean if you're going to highlight the 'til death do us part' bit - you got to give equal time to the forsaking all others bit.

Or, of course, you could lie through your teeth to your kids too and pretend to be something you're not, creating lies in place of what they thought was their life.

You know what? If my father was gonna cheat on my mother, or fall in love with another person through no fault of his own say, I'd rather he be a man and tell her and me than for me to find out years later that he was someone completely different from who I thought he was.

My friend found out when she was thirty-five that her father had been unfaithful to her mother and it blew her away. I mean, she had a nervous breakdown realizing that the man she thought she knew and loved as her emotional anchor was a cheat and a liar and nothing like what he presented himself to be.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 02:19 pm
@maxdancona,
I think I might agree with you, though I never strayed myself.

I figure that your figures are from US only survey. (Don't know if gallup is only US)
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 03:40 pm
@aidan,
Quote:
What is a parent going to tell their children when they are committing adultry? '


I don't see how this is relevant. I don't tell my kids when I am having sex with my wife.

As a rule, I never discuss my sex-life with my children.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 03:46 pm
@aidan,
Quote:
My friend found out when she was thirty-five that her father had been unfaithful to her mother and it blew her away. I mean, she had a nervous breakdown realizing that the man she thought she knew and loved as her emotional anchor was a cheat and a liar and nothing like what he presented himself to be.


I don't think this is a normal reaction from a healthy adult. Nor do I think I am responsible for the mental health of my kids when they are 35. I certainly wouldn't be emotionally scarred now to find out my parents were screwing around decades ago.

I don't know if my father was faithful or not (although I rather suspect he was). But, frankly my father's sex life is none of my business. It was never any of my business (unless you count the one time I was conceived).

I do know that the divorce was awfully painful for me as a teenager.


0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 03:50 pm
@Ragman,
But some marriages are more open to the partners having other sexual relationships and do not consider that irresponsibility. That's not my own way, but I understand that people don't just follow my viewpoint. A lot of the problems happen when one person thinks one way, somewhat sneakily, and the other adamantly the direct opposite.

I agree about the change re marriage and children and societal shunning within my own lifetime. The sixties... times were a changing. They probably changed before that, and perhaps the fifties, for example, were themselves a mores change in the other direction - but I still take those years as cataclysmic re mores.
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 04:04 pm
@ossobuco,
Quote:
I agree about the change re marriage and children and societal shunning within my own lifetime. The sixties... times were a changing. They probably changed before that, and perhaps the fifties, for example, were themselves a mores change in the other direction - but I still take those years as cataclysmic re mores.


The interesting question is what the norm is. I suspect that our current ideas about infidelity are recent and stem from European Protestantism with the US seems to have taken to an extreme.

In different times and cultures infidelity (at least in men) was accepted, or even expected.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 04:15 pm
@maxdancona,
That was true and still is.
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 04:21 pm
@ossobuco,
Quote:
That was true and still is.


No it isn't. Married men in the US pay a heavy price of public shame and often their careers for infidelity. Look at what happened to Tiger Woods and Christopher Lee. As we speak a congressmen is facing public ridicule because he might have taken a private picture of himself in his underwear.

ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 04:34 pm
@maxdancona,
I was talking about your comment on different times and cultures. Cultures vary on this, as you know, and still vary right now. Even within the US there is variation.
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  4  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 05:34 pm
The two, cheating and getting a divorce, aren't mutually exclusive. There are a myriad of reasons for divorce without adultery even entering the picture. On that note, I can see why the numbers are in favour of divorce rather than cheating. What I find interesting is, how far the numbers have moved since I was a kid and divorcees were pariahs of society.
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 05:46 pm
@Ceili,
It seems to me that if we made adultery more acceptable then divorce would be less common. At least there would be one fewer reason for divorce.

This would be much better, at least from the kid's perspective.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 05:52 pm
@Ceili,
Nods.

I suppose in some instances they were sexy pariahs, but I don't make light of the societal dump.

Again, I think the late sixties were transformational, not just within the so called hippie culture, but resonating at large.
0 Replies
 
 

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