I would never have thought this was such a hot topic. But this week I was interviewed by the New York Times (click here for a link to the interview in the New York Times) and by the Today Show on NBC (click here for a link to the interview on the Today Show). Spouses cheating in the marital bedroom apparently is a topic of much interest. And it makes sense. While adultery is usually hurtful, adultery in the bed where spouses share not only intimate romantic moments, but where they also share their hopes and dreams, not only for themselves, but the hopes and dreams they have for their children, is often much more offesnive and painful.
Perhaps it is the sheer disregard for the other spouse’s feelings (wouldn’t an affair anywhere be enough), or maybe that it may seem to be a more deliberate attempt to harm a spouse, but either way, cheating in the marital bedroom is always going to generate more emotional reaction than an affair outside the home.
Does it matter legally? I know of no law that states that an affair in the marital bed, or even the marital home should be treated any differently than an affair in a hotel room. But when the trier of fact has to decide how to divide property, the fact that one spouse cheated, in the marital bed, may be more harmful to that spouse. Especially in Georgia where a jury can be used to decide such cases. We need to remember that people (judges or jurors) who decide cases make value judgments. And an affair in the marital bed is at best inconsiderate, and at worst highly offensive. But then, people who have affairs in the marital bed are probably not thinking long term (as in what might a judge think), and that, like many actions during a marriage is the biggest problem (not thinking ahead).
Is infidelity epidemic for athletes? I think not. But I do think that famous people have more opportunities for, are given more opportunities for, or are solicited more for extra marital relationships than the average person. Does that make it okay? No. Does that make it a little easier to understand, yes.
I am often asked why athletes or other famous people seem to have more extramarital relationships than the average person. First I am not convinced that is true. But second, if it is true, there must be some explanation, even if we don’t like the explanation. One such explanation is that the offer or opportunity is probably much more present for these high profile folks. Should they resist, sure. Are they human, sure. Is it human to cheat?????? Having sex is human. Seduction is human.
ESPN just wrote an article on this topic and interviewed me about it (that is what gave me the idea for this blog entry). You can see the article by clicking here. What is interesting to me is not the cheating, but America’s fascination with it. Stories of infidelity amongst the famous are always big news. Tony Parker, Tiger Woods, A-Rod, Bill Clinton and on and on. Why do we care? Perhaps it is because we expect more from our heroes. We expect that those whom we admire, those who are more athletic than the rest of us, more successful than the rest of us would also be more moral than the rest of us. After all, we are supposed to play by the rules, why shouldn’t they, especially when they already have so much. Perhaps the fascination is with the fact that the rich and famous are never satisfied, even though we would be if we had a tenth of their wealth, fame or success (but would we?).
To me the real issue is the relationship that is being hurt. If there is a family that is otherwise working well, extramarital affairs are quite an obstacle. In my experience, it seems that most such affairs start well after the marriage is on the down turn. Yes new relationships should wait until a marriage has fully ended, but we are not a patient species.
I do not have the answers, but I do enjoy asking the questions, which is a good place to start. Tell me what you thing by commenting.