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Why is Divorce preferable to adultery?

 
 
patiodog
 
  2  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 06:06 pm
@maxdancona,
I think it's an interesting question, max, but I'd question the implicit assumption that divorce is always bad for children. Looking back on my parents' marriage, I'd rather they'd divorced when I was, I dunno, 12 or so, rather than to have spent my teenage years living in that tiny house with two people living practically separate lives and acknowledging nothing.

At the same time, I really think that holding that a lifetime commitment to a home and a family has to be sexually exclusive is suspect, too -- as though after 20 years in a partnership people should lust only for each other or not at all. What a false dilemma that is.
engineer
 
  3  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 06:14 pm
IMO, adultery is a crushing blow to a family, much worse than divorce. That was certainly the case in my family where my father was very happy to cheat and be married at the same time. Unfortunately for us, he spent all his spare time and a fair amount of his spare change on cheating while the rest of us worked odd jobs to have enough money for clothes and never took vacations while he took several a year. Divorce was liberating both for my mother who was freed up to find a better spouse and for the rest of us who got to get out from all the drama and move forward with life.

For a one time adultery, the old Ann Landers question "are you better off with or without" is a decent response. For serial or ongoing adultery, divorce is much better for everyone IMO.
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 06:26 pm
@engineer,
Quote:
Unfortunately for us, he spent all his spare time and a fair amount of his spare change on cheating


This is a different issue, no? If he had spent all of his spare time and money on sports or pool or motorcycles, it would have been the same problem.

ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 06:38 pm
@patiodog,
I agree, it's a construct rolling down hill, a lot of the time.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 06:44 pm
@engineer,
I sympathize but consider this as only a view in the US or similar environs.

(I once had a sicilian lover and am not one bit sorry, but never mind - I surely don't wish to be married to a sicilian, but US mores aren't universals)
Butrflynet
 
  3  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 08:01 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
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.


In my case, my husband's adultery has been permanently damaging both physically and psychologically. I wish he had sought divorce rather than bringing home herpes to me. For 35 years, it was and is a constant reminder of his infidelity and is damaging to the psyche to have to warn potential lovers to protect themselves should they wish to have sex with me. Rejection just as a relationship is growing more intimate is not healthy.

I'd definitely choose divorce over a marital affair. Morals have nothing to do with it.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 08:08 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Quote:
Unfortunately for us, he spent all his spare time and a fair amount of his spare change on cheating


This is a different issue, no? If he had spent all of his spare time and money on sports or pool or motorcycles, it would have been the same problem.

Only if those hobbies excluded his family to the same extent, but yes an obsession with other things would also be damaging and another driver for divorce.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 08:09 pm
@ossobuco,
ossobuco wrote:

I sympathize but consider this as only a view in the US or similar environs.

That's a fair statement. Multiple spouses are typical in some cultures, but then that's not cheating.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 08:16 pm
@Butrflynet,
I'm sure I would think the same way as you do. Husband was at the least a f/fool for not using a condom with whoever.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 08:17 pm
@engineer,
Well, think France or Italy - Spain I'm less sure about, but will add. Those are just a few. Read up.

I get it that women lose largely, but I'm not so sure re the balance.

Wish Robert would post on this.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 08:20 pm
@ossobuco,
In those countries is divorce considered preferable to adultery?
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 08:21 pm
@engineer,
No, I don't think so. Divorce has gained in Italy. The daughter of our friend met a bartender in Italy (snort) and they were together for years (he turned out to be quite the business man and I, ms. prune, liked him when we all met, dined - and the wife had her own lover for years. Sort of fait accompli without papers. The divorce went through after maybe ten years. (This was in the eighties)


That was in Florence. I figure matters would differ in Calabria.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 08:41 pm
@ossobuco,
Ah, I should have put 'Divorce has gained' into a different paragraph.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 09:11 pm
@engineer,
You are mixing two separate issues. You can a perfectly good father or mother for your kids while being unfaithful to your spouse. They are not directly linked.

The things that matter to kids are being a good provider, a protector, teacher and caregiver. None of these things have anything to do with your sex life. As long as my father was providing for our needs, spending time with us and doing the things that a good father does, why should I care if he has a mistress?

I get there are anecdotes about bad fathers who are unfaithful. But they don't mean that there aren't good fathers who are unfaithful.

They are two completely separate issues.

Part of the problem is that there is such a stigma to unfaithfulness even though it is quite common (at least in the US). I suspect that it is the stigma that causes more problems then anything else. If adultery were more accepted in society, there would be fewer problems.



ehBeth
 
  5  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 09:19 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
If adultery were more accepted in society, there would be fewer problems.


doesn't matter what society considers acceptable, it matters what the individual partner considers acceptable

if the couple agrees upfront to an open relationship, adultery wouldn't be a cheating issue

I personally don't think the sex is the problem - it's the lying and cheating. Certainly in cases like bflynet's, she'd have known that she needed to protect herself if there had been an agreement upfront that both partners could seek other sexual partners.

The majority of studies I've looked at over the years suggest that divorce is better for the children than parents staying in bad relationships. "Staying in it for the kids" seems to be lousy for the kids.
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 09:23 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

You are mixing two separate issues. You can a perfectly good father or mother for your kids while being unfaithful to your spouse. They are not directly linked.


the thing is, that they are linked as the crap is going on in the household the kids are growing up in. it can make the psychological environment toxic.

very young kids are aware of the crappy moods and attitudes around them. my personal experience (as well as some of the studies I've looked at) is that quite young children can and will tell people about the stress of being in a home where one or both parents is not happy.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  -2  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 09:57 pm
@ehBeth,
Beth,

Do I understand you correctly? Do you really mean that adultery is merely a matter of what the two people in a relationship agree upon?

If you are saying this, then I agree with you wholeheartedly.

Of course, this means that adultery is no different than anything else a couple may or may not have agreed upon. Church attendance or who stays home with the kids are similar issues where one side may have made a commitment they no longer want to keep.

I concede the point that a bad relationship can be worse than divorce. Clearly you are correct about this. However, infidelity doesn't condemn a marriage to this category. There are many marriages that have included infidelity, even where lying is involved, that end up as working relationship.

I disagree with you about social expectations. Society expects a commitment of exclusivity in marriage as the norm even though a significant part of society will break this commitment. It is as if society is setting marriage up to fail.

ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Jun, 2011 10:24 pm
@maxdancona,
You keep talking about how it is where you are.
0 Replies
 
Eorl
 
  3  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2011 12:37 am
I see the whole marriage situation as being one of competing and incompatible biological (and not neccessarily concious) needs.

1) The need for men to distribute their genetic material as widely as possible.
2) The need for women to maximise their choice (and sometimes chance) of an ideal genetic donor
3) The need for stability and co-operation in child rearing.

...and so we have a situation where the most stable norm is public monogamy with common private infidelity.

Maybe it's just my weird way of seeing the world.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2011 01:50 am
@Eorl,
Well said.
0 Replies
 
 

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