Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Infidelity Blame Game

I was very surprised to hear that a woman in North Carolina won $9 million from her husband’s mistress under the state’s alienation of affection law this week. The scorned spouse and her legal team convinced a jury that the “other woman” was instrumental in the destruction of her 32-year marriage. While I appreciate the plaintiff’s message to women to not have affairs with married men, I can’t help but wonder about the husband in the middle of this angst: after all, no one forced him to cheat. Shouldn’t the lion’s share of the blame be placed on the offending spouse? After all, when marriage vows are broken willingly, the problems exist between the two people who pledged their lives to one another.

I feel nauseous when I see two women fighting over the same man on reality television and talk shows. Usually, he says little or nothing at all while the two combatants for his affection scream and try to physically attack one another. In normal life, I have seen women guard their significant other from women in a variety of ways, such as preventing them from going out with their friends, calling them relentlessly when they are apart, and even warning others to stay away by issuing verbal threats. Of course, any relationship and both genders are not immune to these expressions of insecurity, but unfortunately it is still regarded as a predominantly female shortcoming. I find this to be insulting. Not all of us want to lunge at those outside of our relationships when they are plagued with infidelity. I am also not suggesting that aggrieved partners become best friends with the “other woman” or “other man” either.

I believe that when someone willingly cheats, it is that person alone who must repent the most to the scorned partner if he or she wants to save their relationship. Of course, there are those who cannot or do not want to understand, cannot apologize, and/or keep cheating.

Do you agree that blame should be shared when infidelity occurs?

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