Sunday, January 15, 2012

Cheating, Infidelity & After

Is a human being meant to be monogamous or is polygamy the natural way that man was to be? 

“'Infidel' is a term of reproach, which people, in their modesty, agree to apply to those who differ from them” Thomas Henry Huxley

What is infidelity? 

Was a human being intended to be with one person in a relationship 'until death do us apart'? 

Is infidelity an aberration or should the spouse just look the other way and move forward pretending like they didn't know , should a partner indulge in some attention toward the opposite sex ? 

Should a partner  look at a few dalliances and a sexual tryst outside of their sacred bond as a breakdown of the relationship or as a once off, twice off diversion that should not be given cognizance? Is it normal to be in other ‘friendships’ in a relationship that spans a lifetime?


 When life itself is not unchanging how can we expect something involving ever changing human beings to be unchanging, or for better or for worse  and until death do us apart?

Romantic relationships are not always as predictable and straightforward as is ideal.  Rom Com's are just that- Rom Coms. The bottom line is that intimate relationships that start with flowers and chocolates metaphorically speaking are bound to become complicated and complex , often involving paradox, incongruity and inconsistency. While in love and marriage we might expect a spouse to be completely honest, human beings value their sense of freedom and privacy. 

As time goes by competing goals bring that contradiction that makes telling the truth more difficult.

Should it be considered normal in a life of sixty , eighty odd years if a spouse is interested or engaged with another? These questions and their answers come more into focus in a world of fast shortening attention spans and many options available. 

“Wise married women don't trouble themselves about infidelity in their husbands” Samuel Johnson

Jaya Bachan it was who taught all women that she has had the last laugh. Quietude paid rich dividends with her 'stoic silence' that kept  home and hearth intact- despite and in spite.   

I've often wondered at the outcome had she thrown tantrums and made an issue. - Would it have given the Big B a gate-pass to walk out with his sexy south Siren , free from any  need to explain. Am I advocating it? No! I'm merely saying its an option. One that I might not be able to have the resolve to follow maybe!

While I believe the reaction depends purely on what a woman or man  want from a marriage, the important issue to keep in mind is that when your partner cheats in a relationship it  should not erode your personal self esteem. These are all of the initial emotions that go with the discovery of the betrayal but  emotions change over time. 
The partner must remember that the decision to 'cheat' or look outside the relationship questions the integrity and honesty of the spouse who made that impasse. It might even be introspection time about the relationship and its life. But it cannot mean that you are a worse person or that your core should be affected adversely. After that is internalized and established the decisions made thereafter will be more objective and define the long term fabric of the relationship.

“When love becomes labored we welcome an act of infidelity towards ourselves to free us from fidelity”  François de la Rochefoucauld 

Was the relationship wonderful and worth salvaging with the exception of one lapse? A one off case may be overlooked despite the intense emotional pain if you value your partner- an affair doesn't have to mean the end as it can be rebuilt with healing, objective, nonjudgmental support that can put things into perspective and help you analyze what you feel. Avoid a post mortem or going into intimate details that would only hurt you more. Postpone heated arguments until space and time allow constructive conversation as to why it happened! If you're going ahead with the relationship no reason to hurt yourself with graphic images of them together , isn't it?

Yesteryear actor Yogeeta Bali divorced her first husband Kishore Kumar to marry her Khwab co-star Mithun  in 1979. Kishore Kumar then refused to sing for his younger rival, forcing music director Bappi Lahiri to sing for Mithun himself. The Mithun-Yogeeta marriage was shaken to it's foundation when he reportedly fell in love with, and allegedly secretly married, his Jaag Utha Insaan co-star, Sridevi. Amid a reported suicide attempt by Yogeeta Bali, Sridevi ended the relationship after she realized Mithun was still married to his first wife. 

Or then is it a fractured relationship and was this the last nail in the coffin? Is the partner  serial unfaithful and are you just chugging along in a morass? Push yourself to objectively analyze the relationship nearly like a third person and let me stress that there is no shame in seeking counselling to attain clarity. And please do avoid therapists who see infidelity as a marital death sentence - it isn't

The way forward is by working it together, where both partners must accept responsibility toward building a new foundation. Nearly like a new journey, with both working at rebuilding the connection where the partner who felt she or he was betrayed should ask of themselves what it was that they did to drive the person away and what steps could be taken to work the relationship better. After no person is a pet animal to be leashed, one has to want to be with someone?

Raj Kapoor's affair with Nargis is part of Bollywood folklore, through legendary films like   Aag , BarsaatAwaara , Shree 420Chori Chori Jaagte Raho.  Raj Kapoor stayed married to his wife Krishna throught, untill he died in 1988. Nargis became Mrs Sunil Dutt. Sunil Dutt never concerned himself with the rumored affair and even said something that proves the point I'm making. He said in his interview in 2003 "I never knew there was a romance. The only thing I knew was that she came into my life. I was not concerned about her past."

Visit for the confessions of a famous celebrity speaking on how infidelity broke her once passionate and cherished marriage...

Written by Nisha JamVwal
For Asian Age & Deccan Chronicle


ritu pande said...

very insightful and though provoking...with relationships being redefined in this age of instant and virtual gratification-this blog addresses an issue that is relevant to all of us in a lovely non judgmental fashion...

MuMuGB said...

It is a difficult and very personal subject Nisha. That being said, at the end of the day it is a question of trust and I am not sure how trust can be kept if a partner cheats on the other.

shiv said...

Infidelity may not be restricted to sex/adultry. It can also be expanded to a partner seeking other pleasures without the knowledge of the spouse or may be with the spouses knowledge. As a partner, you are supposed to share your pleasures and sorroows. Marriage is a relationship which keeps getting strengthened with each passing day. Relationship builds up by giving and sacrificing. Today in the age of independence and liberation and aping the west, we people are losing the meaning of happiness. Selfish motives and individualistic pleasures have put a veil over the real happiness. The ultimate joy is in giving and caring for each other. A balance need to be struck. Material gains are momentary. Relationship is divine and it should be respected. There are norms and boundaries defined. With changing times these have got diluted too much. Little adjustment of norms is alright with changing times. We have taken too much of western crap. Finally whatever is to be done outside the norms is to be mutually agreable. Infidelity included.

Anonymous said...

It is indeed a complex subject but your article is relevant to our times

Anonymous said...

What is infidelity? Is physical cheating worse than mental cheating?Is spouse swapping considered cheating by society? Can we eat the same food everyday? As humans, we are polygamous by nature. We just need to accept that and we will be better off emotionally. There is difference between Love and Lust. One can have multiple partners but still have a heart that beats for just one. - Raj BPS Vikas

Nisha JamVwal Roller Coaster Called Life