Extramarital affairs are usually seen as wrong or immoral since no one can accept being cheated by his/her spouse. After exploring them, I have found that they have been given discrimination all along. However, in fact, adultery exists for its own positive and meaningful reasons. It also can pull someone out of the abyss of emptiness which is caused by an unhappy childhood. When it comes to laws against adultery, decriminalizing it has been a controversial issue. It should be conducted since laws against adultery in several countries impose discrimination and violence on women. In conclusion, this paper is done from different aspects of adultery in order to give you a fresh look on it.
Should Extramarital Affairs Be Accepted?
Most people cannot recognize extramarital affairs because no one wants to share his or her spouse with someone else. Since they signify being unfaithful to one’s partner, they are usually considered to be immoral or even culpable. But as far as I am concerned, extramarital affairs are provided with something positive and meaningful. So, my point is people should not completely exclude infidelity; instead, we should accept the truth that it is really needed in our society.
Let us face it: there is no perfect marriage. Originally, “in love” feelings do not last forever. And when they disappear, we should realize that loving feeling takes a lot of work, so we must start working at a relationship right away. However, when someone asks, "why can't you just get a divorce?" There are a couple of reasons for not doing so. First, the kids. Being hurt by the closest people in the world, they will move on someday but be affected by it forever. Second, livelihood. It is not easy for a woman, who quits her job after getting married to make her career. What’s more, there is still discrimination towards single parent and the children. It causes them to lose self-confidence and thus influences their future development.
The reasons above make extramarital affairs needed. For those who have too much concern to get divorced, infidelity is a good means to save the situation. It can be a warning for your spouse to face the problems in the marriage. For example, by doing this, you can show what the family will be like when you are not part of it, which implies your importance. And if you have already known your partner cheating on you, by doing this, you are taking revenge on him or her. Furthermore, there are several advantages of extramarital affairs. People who engage in infidelity, start learning how to dress up and tend to be more appealing and charming. This helps them retrieve self-confidence and self-worth which they lose from unhappy marriages.
Stop Stigmatizing Adultery
When it comes to adultery, people tend to think of it as wrong or immoral, and directly ignore exceptions. Here, Yin-Bin Ning (2002) told you that “a stereotype without regard to individual differences, considering adultery as a depraved behavior, is discrimination toward it. And, discrimination in itself is definitely wrong!” The adjective “immoral” usually comes after breaking the promises for marriage. However, we should realize that every marriage works in its own way. And every couple can reach different agreements and have their own arrangements for life. “In different marriages, loyalty of sex or lying may not matter anymore.” So, followings are some examples provided by Ning, for proving that adultery deserves a different comment.
There is a kind of marriage called “open marriage.” It refers to a marriage in which the partners agree that each may engage in extramarital sexual relationships, without this being regarded as infidelity. In an open marriage, the partners have no promise to keep the loyalty of sex. So, in this way, they will not break the promise because there is even no one. And certainly, we cannot regard this kind of adultery as immoral.
What’s more, even though there is a promise for the loyalty of sex in some marriage, when adultery happens, we still cannot directly call it immoral. For example, there is man who had a car accident and has been paralyzed. He was too afraid to lose his wife, so he strongly required her loyalty of sex. When time flies, his wife has spared no efforts to take care of the other for years, she finally committed adultery because her spouse couldn't satisfy her sexual needs. In this case, should we call it immoral? The wife has done what she should and could do. However, she is just like all of us, being a human and has physical needs. She deserves a better life, and adultery is just a way she used to pursue her own happiness.
General speaking, hostility toward adultery is seen as a useful way to protect marriage. But, if it is really useful, then why is adultery widespread, and does divorce rate get higher and higher? So, it is still question that whether discrimination toward adultery can protect marriages. However, I would like to restate that adultery can be an alternative way to save one’s marriage and also oneself from possible problems happening in the future. In conclusion, adultery deserves a different comment other than “immoral.” And even, we cannot ignore its positive effects. “Not every adultery is the same,” which means not every adultery is immoral!
Adultery Is an Alternative Way to Save Yourself
There is no perfect marriage. Woo Sean (2006) suggested that when people find something wrong in their marriages, they tend to resort to ways like "marriage consulting, more talking or tolerance, and praying to God." However, as we see divorced rate gets higher and higher, it is obvious that the normal and moral ways do not work. So, the author holds the point that adultery is necessary and exists as an unconventional way for those who are in the dilemma of choosing not to get a divorce but having no solution to resolve the current situation.
Some may just get a divorce to get away from misery. But here are three main concerns for persuading you not doing so. And if you are taking this option, in other words, you will not be trapped in these concerns; instead, you can avoid tragedies happening in the future and get something which you never expect.
First, kids. Undoubtedly, a broken family brings a child an everlasting harm to his/her heart, which definitely influences the development of his/her future. Children go astray in teenage years, are mostly grown up in a broken family where they never get enough love since they were little, and thus seek attentions from peers who may do something illegal like taking drugs. If you decide to leave your children, it is very likely that some day when they commit a crime, you learn it from television but cannot do anything since being alienated from them. But on the contrary, through their growing process, you learn from them and also get the happiness which is invaluable.
Second, financial problems. Most families in Taiwan are with two incomes. So, when getting divorced, single-parents cannot afford the cost of living and children's tuition. And for those women who quit jobs to take care of husbands and kids, it is hard for them to go back to workplace for being unfamiliar with professional skills. So, if you stay, then you don't have to worry about the kids are poorly fed or you cannot afford them to go to cram schools or colleges. It is a chronically physical and mental suffering which you never want to be stuck in.
Last but not least, hostility and hatred toward divorced couples and their children in our society. For adults, they may be labelled as being abusive or having some bad habits that fail their marriages. For children, it is very likely they may be mocked by peers only having one parent. This kind of gossip or mischief seems not a big deal but actually makes both adults and children lose self-confidence.
So, compared with getting divorced, maybe adultery is a better choice. When a couple use adultery to save their marriage, reaching a consensus is needed. Like an agreement that on the basis of bringing up the children together and maintaining family's atmosphere, each other can develop his/her own relationship. Although adultery is risky and considered immoral, it is useful to keep possible regret or affliction at bay for you.
Adultery Pulls You Out of the Abyss of Emptiness
Adultery may retrieve yourself mentally and face emptiness in the bottom of heart, which is caused by the unhappy growing process. There are all kinds of factors leading to the sense of loss in childhood, but the main cause is that we have piles of unmet needs. “These unsatisfied demands are believed to bring feelings like frustration, harm, and emotional pain which compose emptiness,” as suggested by Weil & Winter (1994). They show that people turn to adultery to fill the emptiness deep in mind, which is induced by something wrong in the childhood.
Here is an example from the book. (Page # 158) Ian is the only but unexpected child in his family. He desires to be loved, cared, and depended on because he never really understands his father and even is not close to his mother. Though he got married, he never tells his wife about his desire deep in mind. Ian committed adultery finally, but he has learned to express his needs afterwards and she has learned to listen to. In this case, we see that getting little love makes Ian’s heart full of emptiness. When he feels it again, he is not a little boy anymore who can just endure loneliness, but a grow-up who can find consolation to relieve the intolerable pain. Should he be blamed for cheating on his wife? The author tells you that Ian should be forgiven. Because normal ways like talking did not work in the relationship between him and his parents, he had to resort to an unconventional way like adultery this time to save the marriage. And we see it really worked since adultery made this couple face their problems and successfully dealt with them.
So, should adultery be criticized? In view of the vows, the person who commits adultery should be blamed because he/she did break the promise. But look at the traits of emptiness. They included “Everyone feels it”, “It comes from not keeping some relationships” and “It comes from not knowing self or losing self because of someone.” (Page #200) The second trait indicates that instead of eating much food, drinking a lot, taking medicine or overworking, people tend to build up another relationship to find consolation for their loss or unsatisfied needs in the former or present relationship. And also, the third trait shows Ian's problems. Getting not enough love from his parents makes him dare not to express his needs in fear of no response. This causes him to lose himself and gradually not know what he really desires. Here, through adultery, Ian has been saved and thus changed his marriage since then. In conclusion, although adultery must be considered immoral or shameful, it still exists as a useful way to retrieve yourself even though in the first place, you just want to fill the emptiness by it.
Laws against Adultery Impose Discrimination and Violence on Women
Laws are made to restrict people’s behaviors. So, there are laws against adultery, whose intent is to show its incompatibility with the society and also validity of a marriage contract. However, in several countries, punishing people who commit adultery by severe penalties turns out offending against human rights and imposing conspicuous discrimination and violence on women. These laws deviate from their original purposes and bring about social problems which for a long time, human beings have tried so hard to deal with. Therefore, after reading the reference composed by Frances Raday (2012) in “Oxford Human Rights Hub”, I go to search the details of these laws in “Wikipedia” which are displayed in the following paragraphs.
In Article 333 of the Criminal Law in Philippines, adultery is defined as“Adultery is committed by any married woman who shall have sexual intercourse with a man not her husband．．．”The subject in the text only refers to females. This law shows inequality in gender. Although men in Philippines are convict of a related act of concubinage, the word “adultery” should not refer to specific sex. Everyone is likely to engage in adultery. And also, “in some Islam countries where the law prohibits adultery for men as well as women, men are permitted to take more than one wife and also to enter into temporary marriages.” Here, we see the laws have defects. They provide men with privileges to avoid being punished. A man won’t be criminalized if he marries to his mistress in time before being found he has committed adultery.
In Pakistan, “the Hudood Ordinance requires a woman making an accusation of rape to provide extremely strong evidence to avoid being charged with adultery herself.” However, this unreasonable request does brutal violence on women since “a conviction for rape is only possible with evidence from no fewer than four witnesses.” Moreover, “honor killings” exist legally in Jordan. In Article 340 of the Penal Code of Jordan states that “he who discovers his wife or one of his female relatives committing adultery and kills, wounds, or injures one of them, is exempted from any penalty." That means men can kill or injure women only for maintaining their dignity and reputations. Life is the basic human rights, but it works differently in Jordan: honor is the priority.
Laws are made to keep social order instead of creating problems and arousing controversies. It is time for following developed countries' steps: decriminalizing adultery. Abolishing these laws cannot fully protect women. However, it is for sure that if they are not abandoned, women are meant to be injured.
Exploring adultery comprehensively can make you have different opinions about it. You may find that not every adultery is immoral. What’s more, everyone should go further to accept the truth that adultery is really needed in our society. So, stop condemning adultery just because you have only known part of it. Extramarital affairs definitely should be accepted for their positive and meaningful reasons.
Woo, Sean. (April, 2006). The Necessity of Adultery. Retrieved from blog/post/ 23604229-%E5%A9%9A%E5%A4%96%E6%83%85%E7%9A% 84%E5%BF%85%E8%A6%81%E6%80%A7
Weil, B.E & Winter, R (June, 1994). Adultery: The Forgivable Sin
Frances Raday. (2012, November 2). Decriminalizing adultery: Eliminating discrimination and violence against women. Oxford Human Rights Hub. Retrieved from http://ohrh. law.ox.ac.uk/?p=475
Ying-Bin, Ning. (May, 2002). Is Adultery Immoral? Retrieved from http://intermargins.net/ repression/deviant/ Marriage/adultery/articles/2002Jan-Jun/20020513a.htm