flirtWe subscribe to several Google Alerts and just Monday we received one that we thought would make for a good conversation.  Well, that’s what we’re hoping for, anyways! 

The alert pointed us to an article written for TheAge.com by sexual health therapist Matty Silver entitled, “Can an affair save a marriage?” (Click here for the full article)

Though the article in my opinion really didn’t address that question specifically, it did focus on the whole question of monogamy and whether or not humans are wired for it.  Also, the idea that monogamy can be too restrictive and is the reason for many unhappy relationships.

So, I’m going to throw some bits and pieces from the article out for you in the hopes that they will spark some discussions.

Nugget #1:

Silver says, “In today’s society it is accepted that when we are in a relationship we have to be monogamous. Being monogamous is not always discussed or agreed on when a relationship starts – it is often just expected. In practice, however, many couples struggle with the concept.”

Nugget #2: 

“What has changed in the past decade is the way we are cheating; it has become easier than ever…The typical affair we used to have started at work or within our circle of friends or acquaintances – now we have the internet. We can have steamy chat-room conversations with strangers and have cybersex with anybody who is keen.  Internet affairs can involve sexually stimulating conversations or cybersex, which may include filming mutual masturbation with a web camera.

I have several clients who are taking part in this, especially women at home with young children and partners who work long hours. They tell me there is no physical sexual contact, it is exciting, it isn’t cheating and nobody will find out. But some studies suggest that online affairs can trigger emotional infidelity, and when found out can also trigger feelings of anger, jealousy and insecurity in the other partner.”

Nugget #3:

“We need to talk about monogamy the way we talk about sobriety; you can be monogamous and fall off the wagon and then sober back up.” – Dan Savage

Watch this short video by sex-advice columnist Dan Savage that was part of the original article.  (Warning…contains some foul language)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8SOQEitsJI

See also  Stop! Just Stop! You ARE Having an Emotional Affair!

 LINESPACE

Nugget #4:

Catherine Hakim, a British social scientist who was educated in France and wrote the book The New Rules Of Marriage believes that an unforgiving attitude to adultery is damaging married life and driving couples to divorce and children to suffer.  Further, she believes that it is possible to have a successful affair where both parties are happier and no one is hurt.

Hakim said: “Anyone rejecting a fresh approach to marriage and adultery, with a new set of rules to go with it, fails to recognise the benefits of a revitalised sex life outside the home”. However, she believes that being honest and truthful about an affair can be hurtful and is not necessary. “Total discretion is the absolute rule – the other party should never find out.”

OK, that’s it. 

So…Is monogamy an outdated concept?

Can an affair save a marriage?

Thoughts? Comments?

Please make your comments in the section below this post.

Thanks!

Linda & Doug

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LINESPACE

    31 replies to "Discussion – Monogamy and Can an Affair Save a Marriage?"

    • gizfield

      If a person wants to Whore Around, please do everyone a favor and stay single!! These thoughts of the authors are not original cause I’ve heard variations of them for years. No, is my response to both questions.

    • chiffchaff

      Catherine Hakim is well known for just being controversial – she’s also authored articles on how women should exploit their looks to get on in careers too. It all sounds a bit like Mad Men to me.
      IMHO monogamy is why I ‘formalised’ my relationship with my H with marriage. Monogamy helps everyone and means that your entire existence isn’t ruled by your hormones, male or female. People need to be able to work, hold down jobs, bring up children, look after relatives, manage their finances, have somewhere to live and also have interests. That’s all substantially harder if one of you is constantly dropping out of your life to ‘escape’ with another person. I don’t think that modern life has changed the fundamental need for monogamy in society and I understand that in reality the level of adultery hasn’t changed just the means of achieving it has. It’s tired old rhetoric that’s been wheeled out for controversy every few years and usually wheeled out by those for whom money and careers aren’t that important because they have enough financial support to do whatever they please.
      As Giz says, if you don’t want monogamy then don’t promise it. stay single and sleep around. be honest and open about it.

      and affairs don’t save marriages. love and hard work from both sides save marriages, despite the best efforts of affairs.

    • Sadsomuch

      This crap is not what I needed to hear today. Affairs save marriages, in who’s f**ked up world!!!! My H affair has damn near and may still change the course of 5 people’s lives not mention the ripple effect out to the rest of the family. How on earth is that saving my marriage? Maybe what this douchebag and others should be researching and putting out there is that the people who feel like they are slipping down that slope should man the hell up and tell their unsuspecting partners that they are unhappy. Here’s a new flash for you, how about a little honesty instead of a complete cover up. GRRRRRRRRR I was in a crappy mood before and now I am really grumpy. Hope my H is on his best behavior tonight or it could get ugly.

    • exercisegrace

      This MUST be a MISTAKE. Was this article intended for a board entitled”

      I”M A CHEATER AND I AM LOOKING FOR LAME AND RIDICULOUS WAYS TO NOT ONLY JUSTIFY MY CHOICES BUT TURN THEM INTO A LIFESTYLE.”

      Or perhaps “IM A CHEATER WHO DOESN’T EVER WANT TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT I DID SO LETS CALL IT OUR CULTURE. I’M NORMAL AND YOU ……NOT SO MUCH.”

      I will no longer read articles such as this. I have suffered at the hands of my husband’s choices and so have my children. I challenge ONE person. Just ONE BETRAYED SPOUSE who is here………..to stand up and say THIS IS WHAT I SIGNED UP FOR. I KNEW he wanted to be with others. We spoke very DIFFERENT MARRIAGE VOWS from the rest of you.

      To be clear. MY husband and I loved each other very much before his affair. Four kids and nearly three decades together. Life happened, parents died, money woes, business failing, new baby, He would have told you he was lucky to have me. he certainly said it to ME often enough. WE called each other best friend. WE looked around in dismay at the number of marriages failing around us. We blessed God that “WE” would never be one of them. Then hard times roll in on all sides. A friend and long time colleague, thought to be a safe relationship, begins to insidiously push for more. And more. And more. He thinks he is being supported. She knows she is edging him to a cliff. By her own admission she pursues her agenda aggressively. By the time things tip over the line it is too late. He is certain he has just thrown away his marriage, his children, his family and his business. Veiled threats are made. That is exactly what will happen if he backs out now. My fears become louder, my strong blind trust shatters. And now we are in the aftermath of an affair.

      He would tell you that there was nothing good in that affair. He has no “good memories” there were no “good times’…It was hell and turmoil. He thought it was escape from the depression and anxiety that had begun to consume him. The affair was one of the main causes of this! Despite being suicidal WITH A PLAN, she told him NOT TO SEEK HELP. She was the answer,

      My husband has horrible guilt and shame and sees a therapist at least once a week to deal with that. He may yet end back up on meds. He can’t sleep, he apologizes often, he finds it hard to work.

      My teens have had to deal with a variety of issues. Oldest has cut herself, been very depressed, developed anxiety issues. She barely speaks to her dad. Oldest son is confused, deeply hurt and angry. Both are extremely fearful as the OW stalks us, and harasses us. They are afraid to sleep at night at times. The youngner ones have behavioral issues, and sleep issues that they have picked up due to the general tone of the house.

      Don’t get me wrong, we have come a long way. We love each other, we are committed to making it work. We attend counseling regularly and progress is steady, albeit slower at times than we would like.

      Do we OWE any of this to the affair? NO NO NO NO
      If my husband had been able to share his fears and stresses, if he had been able to talk about his business worries, and agreeed to counseling when I first suggested ti, this problem would never have happened.

      YOU DON’T HAVE TO BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN TO START A REMODELING PROJECT.

      YOU DON’T HAVE TO PARK YOU CAR IN THE ‘HOOD AND WAIT FOR GRAFFITI BEFORE YOU GO GET A NEW PAINT JOB

      YOU DON’T HAVE TO ACCIDENTALLY DROP A FEW DISHES JUST TO JUSTIFY BUYING A NEW SET.

      IF YOU WANT TO GO AND BE A FILTHY WHORE, GO DO IT. SCREW AROUND WHENEVER YOU WANT WITH ANYONE YOU WANT, DISEASES BE DAMNED (because these people are nasty…we have been directly exposed to HPV thanks to hubby’s whore) BUT STAY AWAY FROM YOUR HUSBAND AND WIFE WHO ASSUMES YOU ARE FAITHFUL. WHO ASSUMES YOU ARE LOOKING OUT FOR AND PROTECTING THEIR HEALTH AND THAT OF YOUR CHILDREN.

    • Blue

      So…Is monogamy an outdated concept?
      Monogamy is only outdated for those who want it to be. It’s a choice but only if both parties know. Cheating has always been outdated, it’s just shallow and creepy- that’s why it’s called cheating.

      Since about the 1960’s people have been talking aoout open marriages and relationships- not a new concept. So if you want your marriage to be OPEN- both partners need to know- or it’s Cheating!

      And lets not forget the movie ‘Bob, Carol, Ted and Alice’ Husband wants a swinging marriage, yet when he finds out his wife openly sleeps with her tennis instructor, he freaks! Typical response of a narcissist control freak loser.

      So Cheaters, if you don’t want to be monogamous, tell your partner! or could you not handle the fairness of it all?!

      Can an affair save a marriage?
      My marriage wasn’t so much ‘saved’ as ‘transformed’ Issues are thrust onto the table to be dealt with. I really had to take a good hard look at how I treated him and took him for granted, not just how he treated me and took me for granted before and during his affair.
      My husband who cheated really is super nice to me now, compliments, generous, loving, but it helps if I do it first. And he even makes a deal about my birthday, Valentines Day, our wedding anniversary (though our last still makes me cringe) He helps pack when we go away, instead of just tapping his watch and reading the paper, He sometimes even helps clean up after dinner that I cook for our family. (sorry I’m bragging)

      I’m still haunted that he also betrayed a decent guy he works closely with by screwing his wife for a year (and decent guy still doesn’t know because I was too afraid for so many reasons to tell.) So, save a marriage? I’d like to say, CS pushes the marriage into dangerous dark waters, denies pushing and acts like a hero cursing and fumbling to throw a life perserver to it even though it was tossed to the rocks on the shore by the waves, gasping for air.

      Unfortunately for me, I lost most of my respect for my husband in so many ways- he made that easy by his reaction to me finding out by denying, lying, blaming me, stonewalling, not using a condom with it….. but I love him because he is an amazing father to our children and he is trying to be a better husband and person.

      Sometimes I feel trapped, like a caged lioness. I often wonder whether it would be easier to separate from him, (like Paula) so I don’t have to look in his face and wonder if he’s being honest and heartfelt when he says I’m his only love. I felt and feel I needed him in this healing- at least for now… His choice to have an affair transformed me into a needy, frightened, checking my back, trustless soul with little self esteem. I lost all faith in humankind. I WILL conquer this! I plan to come out in the end enlightened with a good soul and soft loving heart!! With or without him.

      I just need some more ‘Big Picture’ Counselling preferrably brainwashing on how to compartmentalize this creepy lowly part of him that he let manifest as his demons not mine.

      Ghads! What a tangled web is weaved, when one practices to decieve.

    • Mona Lisa

      Can an affair save a marriage? Hell NO! That’s like saying setting fire to your house will save your furniture?! I remember clearly when my husband came home from his first week counseling session and told me about the therapist saying that the affair could make our marriage even better than before. Are you effing kidding?!?! So, having a girlfriend, talking trash about your spouse, sneaking around, lying out of your ass, losing credibility and trust, while telling a hilljack whore that you love her, is a remedy for a troubled marriage……Hell, if that’s the case then my marriage must have been a damn fairy tale! Cinderella ain’t got shit on me!!!

    • monie

      EG both your children sound exactly like my girls (2 1/2 years post DD) have you any tips for me as I am really struggling with my cutter, drawer full of bloody tissues/bandages knives and scissors.

      • exercisegrace

        MONIE

        It depends on the age of your kids. My oldest are mid and late teens. I have found the biggest thing is to open a dialogue. Open, honest, and get the facts on the table. My daughter believed things about the affair that were not true. I was appalled to hear what she believed, and saddened that she had thought this for so long. Another big issue with her was that she saw the red flags before I did. She brought her fears and concerns to me that her father was cheating with his colleague and I shut her down. I told her that wasn’t true, wasn’t possible, he loves me, values our marriage…..blah blah. She felt completely invalidated and thought I was allowing her father to cheat on “us”. I apologized profusely as she told me through sobs that she hated me at one point for “allowing” him to cheat. I told her I would never, ever ignore her concerns. I will always “hear” her. I was and continue to be honest with her. I reassure her. I offered to let her meet with our marriage counselor and discuss her own feelings with a professional that is totally familiar with what happened so she wouldn’t have to bring someone up to speed and talk about that mess. I told them both that this is a long, hard process. Dad and I will have arguments. Sometimes we will take some backward steps. BUT. We are committed to each other and to rebuilding our marriage.

        I never offer more details than what she brings up or asks for. Unfortunately for us, the AP decided to use social media to inform our daughter of some of the gory details. So we have the added difficulty of a bunny boiler who doesn’t show signs of stopping.

        Sit your kids down and talk to them. See what they know and what they believe. Acknowledge THEIR pain, fear and doubts. Tell them you are there for them. Reinforce that you and your husband are becoming better people. Focus them on positive changes that have been made to make your family life better.

        hope that helps a little!

    • monie

      Wow, Doug /Linda it has been so long since I posted, no maths questions anymore!!!!! LOL

      • Doug

        Ha! Nah, I had to spend too much time helping people with their addition! 😉 Welcome back! I hope things are going well for you.

    • Strengthrequired

      If affairs make our marriages better, gee wouldn’t our marriages be even bettermif we the bs had an affair. sarcasim…..

      When I first read this last night I didn’t want to comment because itnis so far from the truth it’s ridiculous. The affair did not save my marriage, if anything it has made me feel like I have lost my marriage. I love my h and I believed although my h ripped my heart out and jumped on it , I felt our marriage our children needed me not to give up without trying to repair the damage the affair caused.
      I did not feel as though the ow deserved my family, just because she thought she did.

      It saddens me that there are people out there that actually give cheaters the support to cheat, and keep it secret.
      I believe a cheater wrote this trying to cover up all the hurt that was thrown around at those they supposedly cared about. This cheater most likely regretted the spouse finding out and made a point to make sure it never happens again that the spouse finds out.
      This is so deceiving and disrespectful to the faithful spouse.
      I will echo what gizfield said.
      “If you want to whore around do everyone a favor and stay single”
      Marriage is something for then faithful at heart, not for those that want to settle down but also have the fling on the side. That just makes a mockery of the marital vows.

      I am sure that most cheating spouses that have been thrown into the cheaters circle was pit there out of desperation to find something that would make them feel better about themselves, due to depression and midlife, not because they were a despicable person that never valued the vows they took, and wanted their cake and eat it too.

      These cheaters that questioned their own self worth, they toughtnthey were making themselves feel better, yet it only made them feel worse.

    • Battleborn

      Let me be short and sweet about this subject. If promises were made, then promises are not to be broken. No excuses, no bullshit!

    • overwhelmed

      My wife’s affair destroyed our marriage, the lives of our two young children and everyone I love and care about. Culture? I hate how the word Culture is misused to mean “What we’ve become accustomed to.” NO….

      CULTURE
      cul·ture
      /ˈkəlCHər/
      noun

      1. The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.

      If cheating is an intellectual achievement, well then Human Race, count me out.

      • Mona Lisa

        Overwhelmed,
        So well said and very true. It would be nice if an affair only hurt the two people involved. However, the pain is so far reaching, and the fallout is enormous. To think that a cheater has so many chances to do the right thing and stop the destruction, but make the choice each and every day to continue on.
        I finally learned one thing…… when a person shows you who and what they really are….Believe them and move on

      • tryinghard

        Overwhelmed–Where and how have you been??? Not much intellectual about cheating. I have NO problem with people who have/want and open marriage. I have a problem with liars, cheaters, duplicitousness, selfishness, spinelessness, and most of all STUPIDITY.

        Don’t know, don’t care if we are wired for it or not. You want to go be with someone else, tell me, I will make up my own mind what I want to do.

        • Strengthrequired

          TH, I would tell my h ” if you want to be with your ow ok, just don’t go behind my back. Give me the option of making my own mind up on whether or not I want to be with someone that chooses to want to share himself. If you want to share yourself, then go be with the ow and give e the respect I deserve and leave me be. I’m sure the ow won’t care f you share yourself because she as already chosen to share you while your married”.

    • Sadsomuch

      Hell no it doesn’t make a marriage better. My H cheated and though I thought things were getting better, he still won’t have sex with me. Four months, it has been four months. He is either getting it somewhere else, still in love with his woman, or finds me repulsive. So here I sit not sleeping and making out my list of things to do to get divorced because looks like tomorrow is our last day as a couple.

      • tryinghard

        Sad
        I am so sorry to hear this. I know you have tried and been as patient as you can be. Maybe if he sees you are serious, he finally get it and make the necessary changes. I hope it’s not too late though. That’s the sad thing about this, by the time the CS finally gets it, and we have given them EVERY chance to get it, we are TOAST, DONE, OVER IT. You are in my thoughts.

    • Strengthrequired

      Sad, I hope you are ok. Cyber hugs coming your way.

      • Sadsomuch

        Thanks SR I think I am going to need them.

        • Strengthrequired

          Sad, your welcome. How are you today? Are you ok? Please take care. I’m thinking of you and hope for all the best for you.

    • Sadsomuch

      Thanks guys. Right now we are just giving each other space. I stay upstairs him downstairs. I leave for California in a week and maybe things will be better after I get back. I am afraid Try might be right because right now I feel like TOAST.

      • Tryinghard

        My heart goes out to you Sad. We try so hard and no matter what valiant efforts we make it’s hard to not see any reciprocation on their part. Maybe when you actually start the process of separating he will see but as I said it my be too late. No one ever wants to get divorced but I think after infidelity we start examining so much about the relationship even before the cheating occurred. I know I do and I wonder if any of it was good at any time so even the smallest slight or misplaced word takes on a bigger meaning. I am constantly wondering, “oh did I say the wrong thing, did I do the wrong thing, am I filling his needs, is he going to cheat again because I did or didn’t do the right thing?” Yes it’s exhausting, even 2 years out and I am afraid it will always be like this. It’s really kind of pathetic how we grasp on to the small positive things they do and think oh yes, yes, they’ve changed, he does love and want to be with me. In reality I know, people can change, but not much. You will be fine no matter what course you take. I hope you have a good enough job to support yourself and a good lawyer who will look out for your best interest if you need it.

    • chiffchaff

      I’m suffering from cold feet. We both have got our new jobs in a new city. great. we’ve even just sold our house, which we both thought would take forever, so we can leave here and set up home without having to worry about selling.
      the problem is is the usual consequence of infidelity. trust, or lack of it. this move will entail living closer to my H’s parents and his close friends. I’m moving very far away from mine. I have been quite excited by the opportunity to move but selling our house so quickly has made it all quite definite. I am suddenly full of worry.
      this is pretty much the only forum I have to discuss the all too obvious worries of whether my H will turn into a spineless manchild and not deal with his parents nastiness and rudeness towards me, or their thoughtlessness and selfishness as he’s said he will. I’m worried that he’s just saying all the right things to me to make me continue along the path towards all the things he wants to have. Has he really changed? Once I’ve left here and gone then getting my life back if he turns out to have been lying to me all along will be almost impossible.
      Since selling the house I have thought of nothing else than using my share of the proceeds to live somewhere else without him. makes me feel awful. it feels like as much of a fantasy as what he had with the OW. I know it’s normal to be concerned when making a big life change and leaving the area you’ve lived for 20 years, leaving the comfortable job and workmates, but when recovering from infidelity is thrown into the mix it all becomes less exciting and more worrying. Maybe it’s just my fear that it’s all going to go horribly wrong because I was brought up in the tradition of worrying when things come along too easily or as you expect!

    • chiffchaff

      The move will likely entail me having to stay behind on my own for a few weeks. I am inordinately looking forward to that, which I shouldn’t be should I?

      • tryinghard

        OK Chiff–BREATHE!!! Girl you have come such a long way. Look at everything you’ve accomplished and now you have this great opportunity at a new job, new town etc. OK so may the in laws–UGH, I feel your pain, draw those boundaries right away!!!!–and friends not so much because you can put your foot down to that. How about this, don’t buy a house right away. Just rent something until you have a good foothold on what’s going to transpire in these new environs? You know kind of hang loose. Are you moving to a city where you can start a downtown life? That might be fun and different. Also HELL no don’t feel guilty for looking forward to the time away. Who knows when you finally do get with your H maybe it will be like a little honeymoon or maybe you might decide…… My H played golf the other day and for the first time I was so happy to be by myself. Personally I think the change after 20 years is good. I would love to move and as far as the fantasizing about living on your own, I do too. My faves are Chicago, Colorado and France 🙂

    • Gizfield

      Chiffchaff, I have those same type of thoughts. Probably always will. I think it’s just a natural reaction to being exposed to habitual lying over a long period of time. Plus I was brought up with a fatalistic view of the world and expect something bad to happen. It sucks, but it is.

      • chiffchaff

        Thanks for your comments, as always.
        We have come along way and this is a big life change.
        I went home last night and we had a big discussion about all of my concerns. For the first time my H said that he thought he’d been depressed for a few years before his PA/EA as well as getting worse during it. He also apologised for taking far too long to get his behaviour sorted out towards me and knows that how he treated me during and after has lead to the problems I have trusting him now. He said that he’s also taken a very long time to recover from what he did to himself.
        We also discussed how he interacts with his parents (he desperately wants to please them and this seems to come from childhood – he’s a middle child – and he’s never ever argued with them, unlike his siblings).
        We’ve agreed to move into rented for a year as that makes me feel safer and less ‘trapped’ if it goes wrong (thanks Tryinghard!).
        Feeling happier about the move. Our ability to talk is one of the successes to come from this horrid event, even though my H still has to work on starting discussions and not waiting for me when he has concerns.
        I am also still looking forward to living by myself for a few weeks before the move. It might still be in our home, depends how the sale goes, but I’m also looking at holiday homes in coastal places (my work isn’t far from some beautiful coastline) so I can enjoy the break fully!

        • Doug

          Chiff, it’s good to hear that your husband opened up to tell you those things. I think that you are going to have a pleasant adventure ahead of you – a fresh, new start.

          • chiffchaff

            I wished he opened up more often as it always clears the air for us both.
            This path to recovery sure does take a very long time, but worthwhile things are never easy.

    • Sadsomuch

      Way to go Chiff. I envy your new adventure and I hope it brings you much happiness.

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