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Great kids, no financial stresses, careers we love, great friends. He is a phenom at work, fucking handsome, attentive lover, fit, and generous to everyone, including my parents. My life is good. He drives a truck and has tattoos. Check out the full table of contents and find your next story to read.
Priya is right. Few events in the life of a couple, except illness and death, carry such devastating force. For years, I have Spouses that cheat as a therapist with hundreds of couples who have Spouses that cheat shattered by infidelity. Adultery has existed since marriage was invented, yet this extremely common act remains poorly understood. Around the globe, the responses I get when I mention infidelity range from bitter condemnation to reed acceptance to cautious compassion to outright enthusiasm.
In Paris, the topic brings an immediate frisson to a dinner conversation, and I note how many people have been on both sides of the story.
Infidelity may be ubiquitous, but the way we make meaning of it—how we define it, experience it, and talk about it—is ultimately linked to the particular time and place where the drama unfolds. In contemporary discourse in the United States, affairs are primarily described in terms of the damage caused. Generally, there is much concern for the agony suffered by the betrayed. Spouses that cheat is a shock that makes us question our past, our future, and even our very identity. Indeed, the maelstrom of emotions unleashed in the wake of an affair can be so overwhelming that many psychologists turn to the field of trauma to explain the symptoms: obsessive rumination, hypervigilance, numbness and dissociation, inexplicable rages, uncontrollable panic.
Intimate betrayal hurts. It hurts badly. And thanks to modern technology, his pain would likely be magnified by an archive of electronic evidence of her duplicity. I am using Spouses that cheat to protect the privacy of my clients and their families.
The damage that infidelity causes the aggrieved partner is one side of the story. For centuries, when affairs were tacitly condoned for men, this pain was overlooked, since it was mostly experienced by women. Spouses that cheat culture, to its credit, is more compassionate toward the jilted. But if we are to shed new light on one of our oldest behaviors, we need to examine it from all sides. In the focus on trauma and recovery, too little attention is given to the meanings and motives of affairs, to what we can learn from them.
Strange as it may seem, affairs have a lot to teach us about marriage—what we expect, what we think we want, and what we feel entitled to. They reveal our personal and cultural attitudes about love, lust, and commitment—attitudes that have changed dramatically over the past years. A ffairs are not what they used to be because marriage is not what it used to be.
For much of history, and in many parts Spouses that cheat the world today, marriage was a pragmatic alliance that ensured economic stability and social cohesion.
of immigrants, Priya surely has relatives whose marital options were limited at best. For her and Colin, however, as for most modern Western couples, marriage is no longer an economic enterprise but rather a companionate one—a free-choice engagement between two individuals, based not on duty and obligation but on love and affection. Never before have our expectations of marriage taken on Spouses that cheat epic proportions. We still want everything the traditional family was meant to provide—security, respectability, property, and children—but now we also want our partner to love us, to desire us, to be interested in us.
We should be best friends and trusted confidants, and passionate lovers to boot. Contained within the small circle of the wedding band are vastly contradictory ideals. We want our chosen one to offer stability, safety, predictability, and dependability. And we want that very same person to supply awe, mystery, adventure, and risk. We expect comfort and edge, familiarity and novelty, continuity and surprise. We have conjured up a new Olympus, where love will remain unconditional, intimacy enthralling, and sex oh so exciting, with one person, for the long haul. And the long haul keeps getting longer.
We also live in an age of entitlement; personal fulfillment, we believe, is our due. In the West, sex is a right linked to our individuality, our self-actualization, and our freedom. Spouses that cheat, most of us now arrive at the Spouses that cheat after years of sexual nomadism. We used to get married and have sex for the first time. Now we get married and stop having sex with others. The conscious choice we make to rein in our sexual freedom is a testament to the seriousness of our commitment.
I can stop looking. At so many weddings, starry-eyed dreamers recite a list of vows, swearing to be everything to each other, from soul mate to lover to teacher to therapist. I will not only celebrate your triumphs, I will love you all the more for your failures. In such a blissful partnership, why would we ever stray? And yet, it does. Infidelity happens in bad marriages and in good marriages. It happens even in open relationships where extramarital sex is carefully negotiated beforehand.
The freedom to leave or divorce has not made cheating obsolete. So why do people cheat? And why do happy people cheat?
She vaunts the merits of her conjugal life, and assures me that Colin is everything she always dreamed of in a husband. Clearly she subscribes to the conventional wisdom when it comes to affairs—that diversions happen only when something is missing in the marriage. If you have everything you need at home—as modern marriage promises—you should have no reason to go elsewhere. Hence, infidelity must be a symptom of a relationship gone awry. The symptom theory has several problems.
First, it reinforces the idea that there is such a thing as a perfect marriage that will inoculate us against wanderlust. But our new marital ideal has not curbed the of men and women who wander. In fact, in a cruel twist of fate, it is precisely the expectation of domestic bliss that may set us up for infidelity. Once, we strayed because marriage was not supposed to deliver love and passion. Today, we stray because marriage fails to deliver the love and passion it promised.
Second, infidelity does not always correlate neatly with marital Spouses that cheat. Yes, in Spouses that cheat of cases an affair compensates for a lack or sets up an exit. Insecure attachment, conflict avoidance, prolonged lack of sex, loneliness, or just years of rehashing the same old arguments—many adulterers are motivated by domestic discord. And then there are the repeat offenders, the narcissists who cheat with impunity simply because they can.
However, therapists are confronted on a daily basis with situations that defy these well-documented reasons. Many of these individuals were faithful for years, sometimes decades. They seem to be well balanced, mature, caring, and deeply invested in their relationship. Yet one day, they crossed a line they never imagined they would cross. For a glimmer of what? I want to understand what the affair means for them.
Why did you do it? Why him? Why her? Why now? Was this the first Spouses that cheat Did you initiate? Did you try to resist? How did it feel? Were you looking for something? What did you find? One of the most uncomfortable truths about an affair is that what for Partner A may be an agonizing betrayal may be transformative for Partner B. Extramarital adventures are painful and destabilizing, but they can also be liberating and empowering. Understanding both sides is crucial, whether a couple chooses to end the relationship or intends to stay together, to rebuild and revitalize.
Let me assure you that I do not approve of Spouses that cheat or take betrayal lightly. I sit with the devastation in my office every day. Not condemning does not mean condoning, and there is a world of difference between understanding and justifying. My role as a therapist is to create a space where the diversity of experiences can be explored with compassion. People stray for a multitude of reasons, I have discovered, and every time I think I have heard them all, a new variation emerges.
I feel like a teenager with a boyfriend. As I listen to her, I start to suspect that her affair is about neither her husband nor their relationship. Her story echoes a theme that has come up repeatedly in my work: affairs as a form of self-discovery, a quest for a new or lost identity.
For these seekers, infidelity is less likely to be a symptom of a problem, and more likely an expansive experience that involves growth, exploration, and transformation. Spouses that cheat is cheating, whatever fancy New Age labels you want to put on it.
Intimate betrayal feels intensely personal—a direct Spouses that cheat in the most vulnerable place. And yet I often find myself asking jilted lovers to consider a question that seems ludicrous to them: What if the affair had nothing to do with you? We are not looking for another lover so much as another version of ourselves. Perhaps this explains why so many people subscribe to the symptom theory.
Blaming a failed marriage is easier than grappling with our existential conundrums, our longings, our ennui. The problem is that, unlike the drunk, whose search is futile, we can always find problems in a marriage. They just may not be the right keys to unlock the meaning of the affair. If she and I had taken that route, we may have had an interesting chat, but not the one we needed to have. Good daughter, good wife, good mother. She never partied, drank, or stayed out late, and she smoked her first t at After college, she married the right guy, and helped to support her family, as so many children of immigrant parents do.Spouses that cheat
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Why Happy People Cheat