Here's our pal Pete's take on an article on the Timesonline website ("An Odd Turn of Affairs"), which asks, Is Infidelity Good for a Marriage?" The article suggests that some marriages benefit from the shake-up caused by an affair:
So, here's my weigh-in on the subject. Get rid of dogmatic words like "commitment" and "fidelity," first of all, so you can honestly look at your situation.
Like most things I write about regarding relationships, intention is everything. People in a marriage can be "committed" and "faithful" for reasons that clearly crush the passion in a relationship - i.e. - fear of being alone, fear of losing financial stability, insecurity about one's physical appearance and attractiveness, etc. These are love-Eros-sex killers.
However, on the other side, again, let's can the dogma. Very often, adults claiming to have "open marriages," arrangements in which extramarital sex is allowed under certain conditions (like "don't ask/don't tell" policies), more often than not have intimacy issues and similar insecurities, and as a result, their relationships are neither open nor a marriage. (If you and your partner are so open about sex, why wouldn't you want to talk about it?)
So, what is to be gleaned from the statistical "turn of affairs" in Mr. Marshall's article?
Simply this - If you love someone, set them free. Let go of your vice grip on your partner. Stop clinging, get a life, actualize yourself, be interesting and attractive to yourself. What I call "spontaneous monogamy" - monogamy that develops when two people are so in love that they want to experience their sexuality like a laser, through that one person only - is the greatest, deepest, most intense experience one can have as a human adult.
But forced monogamy, which most married couples contract for, is not rooted in love or lust, and basically consists of one partner saying to another: "Even if you no longer are in love with me one day, you still have to stay with me." Mmmm... how attractive is that?
Having an affair as a solution? Hardly.
While it can wake a couple up to the stagnation in their marriage, and therefore can have productive results, why wait until it gets to such a messy point? Shake your marriage up now. Go for couples counseling, that really challenges your emotional laziness.
Stop taking all of your medications to go to sleep and get it up.
Stop leaning on your kids for meaning in life.
Stop obsessing about money.
And see the new movie coming, The Bucket List, a new film with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman and ask yourself how you would want to live if you knew you only had a little time left. You never know - you might rediscover the Eros in your marriage.