Thursday, November 23, 2006


I had a rather disturbing conversation with a friend yesterday. We talked of relationships. All kinds, but specifically human relationships.

We discussed the different dynamics that occur among family, friends and so on. The disturbing part came about when we began to discuss romantic and partnership relations, in particular: commitment.

My friend said she was undergoing a "rethink" on the subject of her views of right-and-wrong in terms of marital commitment. Having had many friends - both male and female - who have experienced troubled, even broken marriages, she said it's very difficult for her to believe that one party - namely the "cheating" one - is entirely to blame when it comes to "stepping outside the marriage". In her mind, the "cheater" isn't always simply a "cheater". The point she made very clear was this: What if the "cheater" is simply looking for that one thing that their partner isn't providing? What if they HAVE communicated clearly and it's the PARTNER who isn't holding up their end of the deal? Perhaps at that point the "cheater" has no choice but to find fulfilment elsewhere in order to achieve balance?

I'm of the mind - and always have been - that if you choose your partner wisely and understand that the road is not always smooth, wide and straight, there really isn't anything you can't work through... if your committed. The problem we addressed primarily is that not always are both parties committed.

What I found disturbing about this conversation I had is the endless number of arguments surrounding commitment. It's almost philosophical in nature in that there really isn't a "right" and a "wrong" answer - only opinion. Funny thing is... for as much as I adore a philosophical discussion, this kind of "disturbing" I feel is the same as that which I felt earlier in the year when I went about changing my views on money, higher education and personal growth.

Was this conversation disturbing because I've had my eyes shut?


Andrea said...

it was definitly interesting!!
Now I must think. She does have a point butttt...... hmmmm

Misty said...

I agree with your viewpoint that there shouldn't be anything in a marriage that cannot be fixed, if both parties are committed. At the very least, there should be nothing that cannot be approached in discussion. Basically, if there are problems, talk them out, work them through and find a solution that both of you can live with.

If your partner dismisses the concern and does nothing to work toward a solution, then ultimately that partner is dismissing you.

I think we should stand up against cheating because there are other alternatives. If your partner is not into the activities or interests that you are into, find a friend that will go out with you instead. If your partner does not listen when you've had a stressful day, write a journal, visit with a friend, or attend counseling. If it is something in the physical department, then those concerns need to be communicated. There are various options that might work, but if someone finds they need to "step out" to satisfy that need or want, then that too should be discussed in advance - perhaps the partner does not know that their spouse has reached that point yet and perhaps knowing would provide the proper motivation to work on the problem. Alternatively, if that was the only thing lacking, the possibility of bringing in a third person could be discussed as a solution. It's not "cheating" if you have their permission.

Ultimately though, if the relationship isn't working, then end it, before moving on to the next one. If you have friends of the opposite sex whom you have sought out for the emotional things that may be lacking in your relationship and additional feelings develop, then you either step back, or if you wish to pursue it, end things with the spouse before taking that step.

Cheating is a form of lying and as with lying, it only complicates the problems further (not to mention the moral conflicts in one's own heart).

I also believe that any problem a marriage faces is because of both people and both people need to take responsibility for their part in any dysfunction and in improving the situation, or if a solution cannot be found after exhaustive efforts, then you need to end it so that each of you can find happiness.

I know that there isn't any right or wrong answer, that it all is opinion based, but what a society we would be if we stood up for the moral reasons why cheating is not the answer.

Granny said...

From Misty's comment:

"Ultimately though, if the relationship isn't working, then end it, before moving on to the next one."


Personally I think it's selfish to expect a partner to march in lockstep with you. Work around the differences instead of magnifying them. We will never have all our needs met; life doesn't work that way.

If that's not possible, move on and learn from the experience.

happy and blue 2 said...

"Ultimately though, if the relationship isn't working, then end it, before moving on to the next one."
I agree with Marcy on this point.
Cheating isn't right. You can't justify it by blaming your partner..

Sarah Elaine said...

I agree with, "Ultimately though, if the relationship isn't working, then end it, before moving on to the next one."

There are lots of reasons people get married. And there are lots of reasons people cheat, with your friend having touched upon only one of them. There are lots of others.

It is dangerous to think of it in terms of "black or white". You can be as careful as you want in your own choices, but you can not (and I emphasize you CAN NOT) control others' choices. If you try, you're not a partner. You're a dictator.

There. How's that for black or white? ;-)

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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
English student, Pottery enthusiast, Yoga novice and lover of all people. I make friends over a warm handshake and a beverage. I discover, every day, someone willing to help me along my path.