Sunday, September 14, 2008

Adultery And Options

I know a couple of women who are aware that their husbands are cheating on them and yet choose to stay on in the marriage, children and all. My first instinct used to be to question the wisdom of their choice - specially for what it meant for the kids. A girl who grows up seeing her mother demurely accept being abused and humiliated may not grow up to seek or demand any different from the man in her own life. The boy would likely not learn to respect women if he did not see his father respect his mother - specially if his mother did not reject being disrespected. The mother forms a very important female leitmotif in the lives of her kids whatever their sex. It becomes important then for her to become an example of what she would not regret them emulating.

As for the woman herself, once she lowers the bar that low for how far out of line her spouse can step without jeopardizing their marriage, chances are, her husband will stop at nothing - he now has carte blanche to do exactly as he pleases without fear of consequences or retribution. How could any of those scenarios be a good outcome from a marriage, how could such a marriage be worth preserving. Seemingly contrary to commonsense, these otherwise smart women do what seems utterly wrong both for themselves and their children.

What is more, this behavior does not seem to be restricted to the ordinary and middle-class. Rich and famous women have likewise accepted their errant husbands when it would appear they had no reason to tolerate bad behavior. Maybe there comes a point in a married woman's life, when she is betrayed by her husband, any or all options she has available are wholly unfavorable to for her far more than they are for the straying husband.

If she has achieved a certain standing in society by virtue of her marriage or is atleast greatly helped by it, she stands to loose that position all that it entails if she walks away without any guarantees she can do even better alone or with someone else. Past a certain age, she no longer feels confident that men will still find her appealing enough to consider marriage or she would be able to find someone (potentially even older than herself) who would appeal to her. If she walks away, the other woman walks right in to her life, run the home she helped build and share the children she gave birth to.

Sometimes, the cold math of it all just does not add up to make sense to walk away for the sake of injured dignity and hurt pride. Maybe these women stay on because it is the logical best option to remain the thorn on their cheating husband's side and bar another woman from feasting on the fruits of her labor. Ironically, it is two women working against each other over a man who is the cause of all their troubles in the first place.

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