25
   

Why is Divorce preferable to adultery?

 
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 08:19 pm
@Lash,
Lash wrote:

Likewise, if you don't like my responses to your posts, you don't have to read them. I guess we all have equal rights here. Unlike in the cheating, lying marriage you seem to advocate.


I enjoy your posts, Lash. You give me the chance to test my reasoning. Either you are going to change my mind and make me embrace the American view of monogamous marriage for life, or you are going to help me make my arguments against marriage that much more persuasive. Either way is a win.

I am not advocating a cheating lying marriage any more than you are advocating a messy painful divorce. I am saying that given the choice of infidelity (with its lying and cheating) and divorce (with its pain and harm to the children) that often the infidelity is preferable.

I am only suggesting that one of these two bad things might be preferable to the other, particularly when you consider the interest of any children (or political career) that might be involved.

There are big costs to divorce; emotional, social and financial.

maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 08:37 pm
@Lash,
Quote:
If someone knows at the outset that he doesn't intend to spend his life married to the woman he's telling he is going to stay with til death does them part - or, of course, visa versa gender-wise - he is lying a grievous lie to her - and should leave her free to find someone who means what he says - in this and other solemn vows.


I completely agree with this. I don't think many people do this.

I suspect that most people at 25 have every intention to spend a life being faithful to his or her spouse, and sincerely believe that they will be able to do so. The problem is that people change and lives change over a period of decades.

That is why even with people who enter marriage with every expectation of being faithful and true "until death do them part" find themselves either divorcing or committing adultery ten or twenty years later.

This monogamy for life pledge sincere and idealistic. But it is unrealistic. It goes against human nature. That's why so few people stick with it even when they are perfectly sincere.

Quote:

Currently, American society doesn't apply the pressure you speak of. My last two relationships didn't involve marriage, and I felt no pressure to marry. We said what we meant and it worked fine.

Any "pressure" isn't from "society."


I am happy that you resisted the temptation to get married (I wasn't so lucky and am now divorced). But I disagree with you that there isn't a societal expectation in the United States for a lifetime commitment to a monogamous relationship.

It is part of our religion for sure. It is part of our fairy tales. TV is full of images of marriage and most respectable characters are married. Most prominent politicians are married. Most business leaders are married. We give tax breaks for marriage, and celebrate marriage.

Every single American knows the phrase "'till death do us part". It is a part of our culture. Most adult Americans have made or will make this vow. And most of them will break it.
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  3  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 08:38 pm
@maxdancona,
I hear what you're saying, but I'm not sure you're considering the ramifications for the injured partner OR the long-term injury of the children.

Think about it. No cheating partner is able to hide the reality for very long.

A break and freedom for people who are trapped in a dishonest, painful (at least for one) marriage is infinitely better than a duplicitous "marriage."

What is distressing to me is that your thesis of preference toward a cheating marriage is only from the viewpoint of the cheater.

The wronged partner isn't considered.

Divorce is better for all concerned.

Telling the truth about disinterest and freeing your partner BEFORE cheating is even better.

They deserve dignity. So do you.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 08:58 pm
@Lash,
Quote:
Think about it. No cheating partner is able to hide the reality for very long.


I don't believe this is true. In fact, I believe that spouses who have short affairs and are never found out, are quite common. A quick google search comes up with plenty of examples, including advice from Dr. Ruth that spouses who cheat should keep it a secret.

Quote:
When asked how couples should approach infidelity, here's what Dr. Ruth had to say:

"First of all, keep your mouth shut, if possible. I don’t believe in this open, having-to-tell-everything stuff. If it’s not possible [to hide it] then talk to a therapist about whether the marriage can be saved."

She isn't the only proponent of remaining tight-lipped about an affair; Dr. Scott Haltzman, author of "The Secrets of Surviving Infidelity," agrees -- if the affair is long over. Haltzman previously told HuffPost Divorce , "If the infidelity was in the remote past, it has no impact on your current marriage ... then it's not clear that the marriage will benefit from telling the truth."

However, some experts believe that an affair can actually help save your marriage.


0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 09:07 pm
@Lash,
I agree with some of your points, but not others. You are, of course, morally correct. It is bad to be "duplicitous" and it is not a good thing to cheat.

I disagree with your broad statements that divorce is always "infinitely better" than cheating. Obviously every situation is different and people have to make difficult choices based on their own lives.


0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 09:14 pm
@Lash,
American society takes the idea of monogamy in marriage much more seriously than most other cultures. The ancient Greeks allowed sex outside of marriage. The Law of Moses for the Biblical Hebrew culture allowed for men to have sex outside of marriage (but not women). Is this the reason that Americans find infidelity to be more painful than people in other cultures?

Many European cultures, Italy and Spain and Denmark, have the assumption that at some point there will be sex with people outside the marriage. No one really flaunts this, people accept it. In some cultures, like Thailand there are terms for lovers taken outside of a marriage and social rules how this works.

What if we just loosened up on the idea of lifetime monogamy and returned to the idea of marriage as a committed (but not monogamous) economic and household union that provides a stable family beneficial for raising children.

If we get rid of the words "faithful until death do us part" from the wedding vows, wouldn't that go a long way to lessening the sting of infidelity?

The best part of this is that it would do a better job at providing a stable union for raising children even when humans succumb to human nature.
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 09:22 pm
@maxdancona,
I think people should say what they mean during religious or legal ceremonies uniting them. If one partner has no intention of monogamy or length of contract - they should definitely not lie about it.

It's not about society or religion or culture to me. it's about standing with the person who trusts and loves you and promising a lie.

The two people are paramount. **** society and religion.

maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 09:53 pm
@Lash,
Promising you will love someone "till death do you part" is always a lie.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 09:55 pm
@Lash,

0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 10:42 pm
@maxdancona,
No it's not. It's only a lie when you don't mean it.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 10:53 pm
@Lash,
How can a 20 year old promise to be in love with the same person when they are 50?

Did you listen to the Tom Lehrer song? He claims he has written the only honest love song ever written. Tom Lehrer is brilliant (whether you agree with me or not).


ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 11:01 pm
@Lash,
Lash wrote:
about standing with the person who trusts and loves you

The two people are paramount.



that's been on my mind a lot this week

this beautiful couple was madly in love for 66 years - til he died on Sunday

https://scontent-yyz1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xaf1/v/t1.0-9/12063584_10153105116130966_788437904465010042_n.jpg?oh=57089ddaf46d12cca62284521f83f589&oe=56BBC567

they're the parents of my Grade 1 best friend, who has been married to my high school best friend for 30 years

trust and love and honesty

they're good things
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Nov, 2015 05:38 am
@maxdancona,
"In love" is a goofy teenager's concept. It's a hormonal rush we get when sexual attraction and maybe sometimes a sense of belonging is new.

Love is a decision you make every day. Sometimes it feels like "in love," sometimes it's a struggle. But it's a choice and a promise you actively keep or discard.

If you discard it, you owe it to the one you made the promise to to tell them, so they can have a shot at finding someone.
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Fri 13 Nov, 2015 07:06 am
@maxdancona,
If two people want to stay in a civil partnership for the sake of the kids, I don't have a problem with it. The arrangement between a couple is their business. I think the issue comes when one partner feels adultery is ok and the other doesn't. If they can't come to one mind on that, then divorce is the reasonable and probably only solution.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Nov, 2015 08:55 am
@Lash,
Quote:
"In love" is a goofy teenager's concept. It's a hormonal rush we get when sexual attraction and maybe sometimes a sense of belonging is new.

Love is a decision you make every day. Sometimes it feels like "in love," sometimes it's a struggle. But it's a choice and a promise you actively keep or discard.


This is all very nice. But it doesn't reflect the reality of many actual human relationships.


The idea that any two people at any stage of their lives can will their way into a successful relationship is clearly wrong. Many of us have experienced this, being with someone we loved at an earlier stage of our lives... but over time we change and they change and now, no matter how much we "struggle" it just doesn't work.

People change over the course of their lives. You have different thoughts, different ideas, different understanding and different needs than you did a decade ago.

Quote:
If you discard it, you owe it to the one you made the promise to to tell them, so they can have a shot at finding someone.


Of course I agree with this as a general principle (and this is exactly what I did in my own marriage). But I don't agree with this as a hard and fast rule for everyone in every circumstances.

What if, by having one secret affair, the marriage can then be saved? If one partner never finds out (and people in studies tell us this happens quite a bit) the pain is avoided. Or sometimes the other partner does find out and the marriage is saved anyway.

All I am saying is that there are two sides to this. It is a difficult situation where one person in an unreasonable lifetime commitment who has needs that aren't been met.

Of course, in this discussion we are talking as if human beings are always rational. I suspect that many affairs are not consciously planned, but are situations where people are acting on instinct and emotion without focusing on ideals or consequences.

There are clearly times where an affair means less pain for everyone involved that a divorce. In this situations, is holding to the idealistic position really worth the pain that it will cause.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Nov, 2015 09:01 am
@engineer,
Quote:
If they can't come to one mind on that, then divorce is the reasonable and probably only solution.


No Engineer. There clearly is another solution.

Many people have affairs, in secret, without telling their spouses. You may not approve of this solution for moral reasons. But it is a solution that often works.

If you have been googling around on the topic you will that many prominent marriage counselors recommend that affairs be kept secret to save a marriage (note this is different than recommending an affair), and there is a reason for this. Many marriages can be saved; the pain of divorce for the spouses and the children is often worse than the pain of an secret affair... or even an affair that comes out.




engineer
 
  2  
Reply Fri 13 Nov, 2015 10:08 am
@maxdancona,
Two people have an agreement, one person violates it and expects that not to be a problem if discovered. I guess if it is not discovered then perhaps the violator doesn't see a problem and the other party doesn't know any better, but the ignorant partner is still not getting the full benefit from the agreement. If your business partner was embezzling funds but you never found out, did you suffer any harm? If one spouse is no longer in love with the other, isn't that spouse harmed by not knowing and having the choice of finding someone else? Your argument is that love doesn't last decades. OK, once it fails, shouldn't both partners just move on? You are arguing that one should move on and leave the other to languish.
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Fri 13 Nov, 2015 10:35 am
@engineer,
1) There is a logical flaw in your argument, Engineer. The agreement I made (and that I think most people made) is to love my now-ex-spouse "until death do us part".

Divorce violates that agreement in the most drastic way possible.

2) You are misstating my position when you say "one should move on and leave the other to languish." Marriage is not only about sex. There is a stable family unit. There are economic benefits to sharing a house hand splitting time with children. There are social benefits to being together.

Having an affair, especially a short affair over a limited time, is not "moving on". It is a temporary thing that allows most of the marriage to continue with the benefits unaffected.

2) My position is evolving a bit... or at least it is being clarified for me. I think that my point is that the American institution of marriage in the 21st century is broken. (I pointed out that the way marriage and monogamy function in American culture is different than in other cultures.)

Let's go with your business metaphor.

Most of the time one party violating some term of a business agreement does not lead to a divorce. There are many times there are violations of the letter of a contract that no one pays attention to. When one side finds a violation that they do care about, generally there is some agreement or restitution or often just a pledge no stop doing whatever... companies understand that most of the time, completely divorcing from a business agreement isn't worth it.

If there are problems, you work them out. Divorce has cost.

3) I am interested in the sociological meaning of marriage, and how it is broken....

Marriage as understood by 21st century Americans is a strange mix of religious precepts and solutions to economic problems found in the 19th century.

In the 1800s women didn't work very much outside of the house, the life expectancy was about 50, and the economic needs of supporting families meant that breaking up families wasn't an option.

In those circumstances... a lifetime pledge of monogamy perhaps made sense, and anything that threatened the stability of the family unit (i.e. unfaithfulness) was treated as a grave crime. Notice that other cultures developed different attitudes.

Does the way we practice marriage, as a lifetime pledge of monogamy that many (if not most) will break either by divorce or by infidelity, make sense any more? Sure some people are lucky enough or virtuous enough to do it... but it clearly isn't natural for the majority of us.
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Fri 13 Nov, 2015 12:16 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Divorce violates that agreement in the most drastic way possible.

No, divorce recognizes that you have already violated that argeement.

maxdancona wrote:

2) You are misstating my position when you say "one should move on and leave the other to languish." Marriage is not only about sex. There is a stable family unit. There are economic benefits to sharing a house hand splitting time with children. There are social benefits to being together.

And if both partners are willing to redefine marriage that way, then fine. If one partner feels he or she is going to unilaterally define it that way, I don't think that is fine. Isn't that your position?

maxdancona wrote:
Having an affair, especially a short affair over a limited time, is not "moving on". It is a temporary thing that allows most of the marriage to continue with the benefits unaffected.

Again, as long as both partners are good with that, I'm fine.

maxdancona wrote:

Most of the time one party violating some term of a business agreement does not lead to a divorce. There are many times there are violations of the letter of a contract that no one pays attention to. When one side finds a violation that they do care about, generally there is some agreement or restitution or often just a pledge no stop doing whatever... companies understand that most of the time, completely divorcing from a business agreement isn't worth it.

That's probably true with most marriages. Only the partners can decide what offense is egregious enough to terminate the partnership and if a new arrangement can be found.

maxdancona wrote:
If there are problems, you work them out. Divorce has cost.

Again, if the partners involved are all good with that, fine. The idea that one partner can deceive the other and that is fine is the one I object to. If partner A says to partner B "You don't do it for me anymore and I'd like to bang someone else but we can stay married" and partner B is down with that, more power to them. If partner A thinks "I'll just put my efforts elsewhere and allow the old partnership to limp along", I think partner B is being treated unfairly.
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Fri 13 Nov, 2015 12:37 pm
@engineer,
I think you are downplaying the emotional, social and psychological costs of divorce to the couple involved and especially to their children.

It seems like society's solution to the disconnect between our outdated ideas of the ideal marriage is to make divorce easy and common. That is what we have done. Yet as easy and as common as divorce is these days, we have failed to make it any less painful or costly.

I propose we should change the American view of marriage to something that better reflects the reality of human nature.

You prefer divorce to infidelity. I am not so sure. Do you agree that maybe our social customs shouldn't put so many people in a situation where they must make this difficult choice?
0 Replies
 
 

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