Category Archives: Affair

>Lessons from history on how to get out of a recession of any kind–financial or marital

Yesterday I wrote on my Portland Infidelity Examiner page:”Save money by saving your marriage after infidelity” and it got me to thinking about this recession and our marriages. When the main breadwinner loses his/her job in a family, and prices go up, it’s natural that there would be tensions in a marriage, and yet statistics indicate that whenever there is a recession, the divorce rate lowers. What can we learn from the generation that got out of The Great Depression about getting out of this recession and saving marriages? The Greatest Generation seemed to be willing to do something that most current citizens and politicians seem unwilling to do, and that’s sacrifice.

Now this is not going to be a big “Rah! Rah! The military is great!” post, but rather a post about sacrifice: foregoing, abstaining, surrendering, releasing, letting go of, delaying gratification for the good of the future or the good of another. If that’s not what love is all about, I don’t know what is! Loving our spouse means that we forgo or surrender ourselves and our wants and our selfishness for the good of the one we love. To get out of the Great Depression, that generation willingly “did without,” saved money, cut down on their expenses, put their noses to the grindstone and worked, kept within their budgets and rations, and any blood they could squeeze out of the turnip they didn’t keep for themselves but used it for others–AND THE GOVERNMENT DID THE SAME! When the citizen was asked to tighten their belt, they didn’t take the money and use it to expand spending and add programs. These qualities were exemplified over and over again in practical and personal ways. I know from personal experience that my Grandmother lived through the Depression, and she cooked in coffee pans, grew her own vegetables her whole life, and learned how to darn and repair her clothes. She recycled, reused and saved EVERYTHING decades before it was “cool” to do so. The Greatest Generation sacrificed for the good of the future and the nation.

This same principle that would pull our marriages out of a “marital recession” after an affair. If your marriage has been rocked by an affair, you can save it fro mthe brink of disaster by foregoing, abstaining, surrendering, releasing, letting go of, and delaying gratification for the good of the future or the good of spouse. Now I am not advocating becoming a doormat or sacrificing forever. Sacrificing for too long can lead to resentment and make your Taker stronger and stronger. No I mean foregoing what you need to offer to your spouse what they need. I mean abstaining from Love Extinguishers that are putting out the fire of love in your marriage. I mean surrendering “what you want” and thinking instead of the other person. I mean releasing your selfish desires and embracing selfless desires. I mean letting go of the bad spirits and pride in yourself, admitting the places where you were wrong, and working on yourself. I mean delaying the gratification of knowing “if there’s hope” for the good of the future or the good of your spouse. You married your spouse until death parted you, and hopefully that 50 or 60 years or more! Even if you two do spend a few years wrestling with and growing from this affair–it’s well worth a few years work for a 60 year investment!

Sacrifice. Tighten the belt and give for the good of the future. It will bring us out of the recession -and- it will save our marriages after an affair.

Can Infidelity Really Be Cured?

In a recent article on my page, New year–New infidelity “cure”?, I let my readers in on a shocking discovery. Researchers at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, compared the genetic makeup of the prairie vole–a monogamous rodent–to the genetic makeup of its cousin the meadow vole–a promiscuous rodent–and discovered that the more promiscuous animal had decreased amounts of a hormone called vasopressin. Just as seratonin is linked to pleasure, vasopressin appears to be linked to happy monogamy. Further, human researchers at the Karolinska Institute, in Stockholm, asked twins to take a Partner Bonding Scale test which shows the strength of a person’s attachment to his or her spouse. Those twins who lower score on this test had a variant of the “334” gene–those who did not have this variant had significantly higher scores and more satisfying marriages and spouses!

My article raises the question of whether or not infidelity is genetic. Previously, a person’s faithfulness to their spouse was considered to be in the realm of social sciences or a person’s religious views. Morally, in Judeo-Christian society such as we have here in the USA, it is considered “wrong” to be unfaithful, and the only grounds for divorce granted in many churches is “sexual impurity.” Speaking very generally, it’s considered a virtue to remain faithful to one spouse for your whole lifetime, and that’s usually at least part of the vows in marriage ceremonies. But if being faithful or unfaithful is genetic–does that change things? Will people be able to go to their doctor, in the future, and say, “I’m about to be married and would like a prescription for fidelity pills please?” And what if your spouse then lets their fidelity pill prescription lapse or secretly decided to not take them? Do modern science wonders like this change the dynamics of marriage in the 21st century and possibly even change morality itself?

Honestly, I think not.

As much as we’d like to think that curing infidelity would be as easy as “taking a pill” there really is a lot more to the marital loyalty than genetics. These kinds of medical discoveries may help explain why a person might lean one way or another, or help us understand the physical reasons behind the choices. For example, after researching the biochemistry of affairs, we know that chemically an affair is very similar to being high on drugs, and that the addiction to the affair partner can be just as strong as any addiction to drugs. This is why disloyal spouses find it so hard to end all contact with their lover–they miss the high, and in order to actually end all contact they have to experience withdrawal symptoms.

Understanding “why” in no way changes the moral and societal implications though. Being unfaithful is still a choice that’s made (or really several very little choices) by the disloyal spouse, and the disloyal spouse still is personally responsible for the choices they make. Things that are considered sin by G*d would still be considered sin–we would just have a medical reason to explain our propensity to sin. Now, we just medically know WHY some folks say “Once a cheater, always a cheater” or why disloyal spouses find it hard to end the affair: because they have to go through addiction withdrawal. Knowing “why” does not change the morality of faithfulness in marriage, or shift the responsibility for the actions to genetics. Can’t you just hear promiscuous people everywhere saying, “I couldn’t help it! It’s in my genes!” Well maybe there is a genetic leaning one way or the other, but part of being a godly spouse is choosing to struggle with temptations, protect our marriages, and choose to love our spouses!

Tiger Woods, Brad & Angelina….Why do they do it?

Tiger Woods is all the gossip recently for admitting to “transgressions” while married, and he is hardly the first celebrity who seems to have it all and ends up having an affair. Before Tiger there was Charles and Camilla, Brad and Angelina…even the AMAZINGLY beautiful Halle Berry had infidelity in her marriage! To us it seems like these people had everything: Tiger is a world-class golfer and could marry anyone; Charles had Princess Diana for heaven’s sake; Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were the golden couple; and if Halle Berry couldn’t keep her husband it couldn’t possibly be about looks or sex. So the nagging question has to be this: “Why do they do it?”

Affairs are very rarely about looks or sex. I mean, look at Camilla and Princess Di–Prince Charles SURELY is not “trading up” in the looks department there so it couldn’t be about looks! Yet somehow Charles just could not give up Camilla. Why? In a nutshell, it’s because the Other Person (I call them OP) does things that KINDLE love at the same time that the loyal spouse (LS) is doing things to EXTINGUISH love. And we’re all human–we tend to all do that. We get used to each other, the kids come, then the bills… and pretty soon we forget to take the time to do the things we used to do when we were dating.

The first thing I would say about the whole Tiger Woods affair–John Q. Public should give Tiger a break. We are not there and we do not know the facts, so to keep it on the rumor mill like this shows our worst tendencies, not his. Second, it is between him and his wife and family and it’s none of our business! Third, we aren’t there and we don’t know the facts, so let’s not assume that Tiger’s the bad guy and his wife is somehow the victim. In my years of experience in this field what I’ve discovered is that this can happen to anyone if they don’t guard themselves and that usually there was some sort of major relationship breakdown before this that set things in motion to get to where they are today. I’d say we should look at it like Tiger’s hurting, his spouse is hurting, probably the other involved party is hurting, and now they have to go through all that in public too. In order to save their marriage, both parties will need to look at themselves, admit what they did to contribute to this mess, and then do the work necessary to change than and become a better person. If they both stop the actions that extinguish love and start again to do the things that kindle love–well honestly they could have a whole new, more intimate, more wonderful marriage!!