The other day I had an conversation with my husband and we were talking about a relative of ours who has a bad marriage. She is also in debt to her husband financially as he is a very rich person and he has helped her family many times with their financial and social crisis and yet she gets nothing out of it. So my husband pitting for this girl says, “She is trapped. What can the poor girl do?”
I give my solution, “Huh, I don’t think she has the courage to divorce. Huh, I think she should have an affair.” My husband looks at my absurd suggestions !
Then after a few days we talk about another colleague of his and my husband shares some information and then adds, “wow! His wife is so demanding, all he does is makes her happy and yet she doesn’t care what he wants.”
Again I tell my husband, ” I think in few years he will have an extra marital affair.”
Well I am doing a big service to society by not becoming a therapist. Just imagine If I was a one and these same people came to me for counseling !
I would listen to them go on and on about their never ending problems. With my leg folded one on top of another, noting few lines on my pad, adjusting my spectacles.. with my first finger on cheek and saying, “um huh…. um huh….”
Nodding my head in approval, thinking -bus yaar buhut hogaya ..
“Go on…hum…yeah I totally understand.”
Then I would interrupt patiently and ask them “have you thought of an separation?”
They would again give me 100 reasons how divorce is not possible due to lack of finacial support or social support or due to children.
May be the girl would answer “first thing my parents or in laws will ask me, is he an alcoholic? Does he beat you up?” My answer would be “no but I feel dissatisfied in the marriage, and feel unwanted and that he doesn’t love me. In fact he doesn’t know what it is to love anyone but himself ”
May be the man’s answer would be like, “what do I say to the family? I want a sepration because she deprives me form sex? Or that she just has her way and never gives a thought about what I want?” My family suggested that “marriage is about compromise and life is full of compromise. Plan a child and all will be well.” So we planned our first child and then the other child and now she doesn’t care enough to find out if I am happy. All she thinks about is her happiness. So to separate is to abandon my children and leave them in the hands of such a selfish person.”
So as a therapist I would suggest, “huh..You need to be happy. You need to find your own happiness. May be look out a bit to compensate on the loss of the things that your marriage misses out on”
“But doctor you see…”
Me: “well, we will have to end it here today. Time up. That will be 1000 ₹.”
So I would be a horrible therapist or may be not. At least a rich one but giving wrong advice morally. In reality I do not know whole truth of these two stories but wanted to write on this topic.
This is one of the most tabooed topic for people to talk and to accept this reality of our society but as Mr Ingmar Bergman says, “we must talk about every thing.” So here I write about extra marital affairs and the moral judgments attached to them.
I for one, no way encourage this way of life. It is an escapism. But yet so many of us know our neighbours, family members, siblings, colleagues, children, friends who are having extra maratial affairs and as society we only judge and blame the ones who go out of their marriages. Only a few understand.
People only want to gossip as this is a sensational topic to talk about when others do it but when someone close to us do it, we dig them up and stay in denial for years! How many stay out of gossip and say “we do not know the whole truth.” and give a thought asking a question as to what pushed that once upon a time doting wife or head over heels husband to fall for an outsider?
I am not talking about cheaters or people who don’t have boundaries. For them every relationship is based on sex. There are opportunist every where is society and they are leeching to get into a friend’s or a cousin’s marriage. For people who get into these kinds of soups it becomes very hard for them to get out of this mess.
I am not talking of affairs done with the idea of revenge to hurt your spouse or to validate one’s wrong ideas and to punish your spouse everyday as one gets validation from outside. These are affairs started on egos and yet today many affairs are either sex orientation or done with the intention of punishment.
Now the tricky discussion starts….
What happens to those people who are truly stuck. They have a very strong reason not to leave their marriage so do they have to stay unhappy forever? Or do they wait to be happy in their next birth ?
What happens when people are stuck in a situation where their spouse doesn’t have any capacity to love them, or are manipulative or they have no sex life. Then what happens ?
What happens when a husband doesn’t understand his wife’s problem with the in-laws and he acts as if all is well and these problems happen in every house. He believes that his wife is happy and she should not be complaining. What happens when the wife finds a brother in law who understands, listens and helps her out?
What happens when one partner is taken for granted for years and an outsider starts valuing this unappreciated person?
What defines an extra marital affair? Is it only to be blamed when it is physical ? What are the boundaries of an physical affair? Is it an physical affair when your spouse shares a blanket with a friend of the opposite sex or when he or she actually has an intercouse? Who writes these definitions? Or is an eye contact with a colleague and staring for long seconds also called an love affair? Should only a physical affair be called on to answer?
What happens when people who have an intellectual affair or a psychological affair or a spiritual affair?
Is fantasising about someone or having a dream ok? An email friend or a Facebook friend whome you share personal messages defined as an affair or its an affair only when there are sex talks involved ?
What is called cheating? What kind of cheating is allowed? Isn’t this a morality issue and morality is different from border to border?
So it is ok for people who have an affair with their work as they decided to be workaholic to run away from a bad marriage or someone who has an affair with her kitty parties or with the temple or with social service. Is that also called an affair?
Many Indian boys have an life long affair with their mother, where wife constantly feels like an outsider. So is the boy’s affair valid but if the wife goes out to find support, is it wrong?
Is it ok to suffer with migraines, backpains and neck pains which are generally due to stress, supression and unhappiness at the cost of being a faithful spouse?
So are people in the French culture and the Swedish culture more happy as affairs are allowed and accepted by spouses. They are well defined in terms of time shared to things involved and to finances in their family cultures. Or is our Indian culture better where good marriages are based on loyalty signed and sealed till death and a good marriage is defined on the number of years spend together even if they are unloved?
So then who defines a line ? Who draws the line? Who passes the line and who decides whom to be punished?
Then there are a class of sympathy seekers who are never happy and all they want is someone to agree and give them some sympathy. They will jump from one affair to another and yet they are never happy cause they have constant inner confusion. For these types of people, extra martial affair will be like cancer which will slowly ruin them.
On this same topic, I came across an incident in my grandfather’s autobiography where an psychological affair which helped the man accept his wife and find his innner peace. He learned to love his wife with all her flaws and helped him become an involved father. Over all he was a happy person to be with. So is this person right in going out of his marriage?
I think we are no one to pass judgement on anyone’s position or anyone’s actions.
I think every peson needs to judge their own self as only they know their exact situation and thus only they can say if they are happy or not and find their inner truth.
Its only your conscious that draws a line for yourself.
Best is to let peole be and mind your own self and your own life.
Everyone is responsible for their decisions and their actions done for the right reason will help them reach their inner truth and inner peace and if done for the wrong intentions, they will have to face the consequences.
And thus just like Mr Igmar Bergman says, “I am here just to raise questions ” you go find your own answers.”😊