Infidelity is a topic I've touched on a few times before. In the past two weeks, however, I've had some pretty heated infidelity discussions with friends. Why? Because it seems more and more people I know are involved in affairs, contemplating affairs, feeling guilty over affairs, divorcing because of affairs, or trying to repair the damage from them.
After all, who doesn't want hot, steamy, passion in their life?
The other day I found myself vehemently arguing the negative impact of affairs with someone who was countering my argument by saying affairs can be harmless to a marriage and possibly even have a positive impact.
Positive for who?
The pro-affair argument came from a man.
Does gender determine your opinion on this topic? Do most men think affairs are harmless and most women disagree? Would the same man express his pro-affair opinion if he discovered his wife had an affair? Or if she retaliated after discovering his affair with one of her own?
My pro-affair acquaintance argued that if his wife never found out about an affair, it would be harmless.
I made the following points:
1. If you have an affair, you have to assume at some point it will be discovered. To assume no one will ever discover, and reveal, your infidelity is naive.
2. Even if your partner never discovers your affair, the energy you expend on the affair (mental, emotional, sexual, psychological) is energy you are not funneling into your marriage. By giving less to your marriage you are hurting it whether or not your spouse knows the reason behind it.
3. If you are having an affair, or seriously contemplating an affair, there's something lacking in your marriage (or yourself) that needs attention. To convince yourself that your marriage is "fine" or "great" while you get involved with someone else is nothing more than denial.
4. If an affair is never discovered, the participating spouse is still plagued with destructive guilt for years to come.
5. If an affair is discovered, it often takes years to rebuild even a fraction of the trust which existed between spouses prior to the betrayal. (If the marriage survives, which it often does not.)
The pro-affair gentleman countered with:
1. Having sex on the side might make a person happier and more willing to stay with their spouse for the long term.
2. What about prostitutes? What if a man uses a prostitute once in awhile and there is no emotional attachment? If the wife never finds out and it's only an occasional thing, what is the harm? (Assuming he uses condoms to avoid bringing home diseases to his wife.)
To that I replied, "Really? Because ewwwww!"
He added he, personally, would never hire the services of a prostitute. He was just trying to make a point that going outside of your marriage can be harmless.
What do you think?
Are affairs ever harmless?
I'm really curious to see if the opinions on this topic vary a lot by gender.
© Twenty Four At Heart