REPLY #8 TO
are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text
and are prefaced by my initials (MB)
(R) I read your essay on adultery. I think it is interesting you state (basically) the spouse pushes the other person into the arms of another. Are you naive enough to think each of us is capable of meeting ALL the emotional needs of our partners?
(MB) No, but it soon becomes readily apparent whether or not our partners even want to try to meet our emotional needs. Please don't think that this is the only reason for adultery. The point of my essay is to question whether or not adultery is never justifiable and whether or not it should be a legal matter instead of a purely moral matter.
(R) If this were the case and the partner is not meeting the needs of the other then why is the adultery committed in the short term? They always go back to the person who is not "meeting their needs."
(MB) Many extramarital affairs go on for long periods of time. Consider the famous case of the 12-year affair between Bill Clinton and Gennifer Flowers. There are many reasons why others are only short-term. Affairs that are purely about sex rarely survive after the initial thrill dissipates. Others end in all the normal ways that premarital relationships end. Certainly, there are many cases where guilt is involved and others where the troubled marriage is repaired or terminated. It is not correct to claim that adulterous spouses always return. There are simply far too many cases where this does not happen.
(R) It is ridiculous to expect another person to make us happy. And people who give their exsistence to another to "be happy" are fatally flawed.
(MB) I tend to agree. This is part of the reason behind my opinion that man is not meant to mate for life and for my proposal that marriages should be renewed every five years or be automatically ended.
(R) Indeed, adultery is committed because a person feels as if the spouse is not meeting their needs. Is that the fault of the spouse? Can you be all things to all people? I'm human and I can't do it.
(MB) Do you want to try to do it? That counts for quite a bit. If somebody doesn't even want to make the effort, I can't see where they have any reason to demand fidelity and commitment from their partner.
(R) As far as the contract......marriage IS a contract and ending it is called DIVORCE.
(MB) Agreed. What is under discussion here is the nature of that contract.
(R) Six months after we were married my husband committed adultery. Why? Because I was in the hospital dying having his baby prematurely and he started his search the day after I was admitted (you know.....just in case I bought the farm and he was stuck with five children.) Our baby was in the hospital in critical condition yet he saw fit to go meet a woman at a hotel two hours away knowing she may not make it. I was in the hospital with our baby and this man was bringing a woman into our home and getting his jollys in our bed.
(MB) It is obvious that your case does not fall into the class of marriage situations that were my essay's primary focus -- and yours is most certainly not unique. There are always going to be the cases where the adulterer's actions are motivated for any of numerous reasons besides spousal neglect or conflict. But, regardless of the reason behind the adultery, there will always be the questions of legality vs. morality that I am trying to resolve.
(R) Hmmmmm.......yes.....I intentionally got congestive heart failure and delivered a sick baby two months early so I could make his life a living hell and push him in the arms of other women. Yes....that was my maste plan.....to nearly die and leave my children to be raised by some bimbo.
(MB) I hope that it is now clear that a case such as yours is not one that was being addressed in my essay. Please don't try to equate two very different things.
(R) I think you are very naive to blame the spouse. In most cases we are bending over backwards to meet the needs of partners.
(MB) I have no reason to doubt that -- just as I have no reason to doubt that there are many situations where this is not the case. Again, my point is not to determine whether or not any particular reason for adultery is justifiable. It is to discuss whether or not there are *any* reasons that may be justifiable.
(R) Since his two affairs (and counseling) he seems to have received my message loud and clear. I don't play and if he does he's out of here.
(MB) That's all well and good. Any relationship should have a clear set of rules and expectations. But, again, should this be a legal matter or a moral matter?
(R) I don't need a partner for "validation". I am not a parking pass. I have a B.A. and don't need an MRS. to feel like I'm someone special.
(MB) If so, may I ask why you stay with a man who has treated you in the manner you describe?
(R) He is not meeting my emotional needs and I don't expect him too but I'm not out spreading my legs because of it. I find ways to fulfill myself as we all must do.
(MB) Once again, I must ask why you stay together. It sounds as if your relationship may be more trouble than it's worth.
(R) I think men and women "play" because they are not very mature and think they are pulling a sneaky and can get away with it. NOT because it is the fault of the other person.
(MB) This certainly happens. I hope that people will understand that there are a great many reasons and scenarios behind instances of adultery. Part of society's problems with adultery is the tendency to lump all cases under the same small umbrella.
(R) We are all responsible for our own actions. If they are not having their "emotional needs" fulfilled they either need to leave their spouse or shut the whining up, grow up and get over it.
(MB) Unfortunately, it's not always that simple. Emotions and relationships are far too complex for simplistic morality to govern.
(R) Blaming someone else for our bad decisions and indiscretions is a cop out.
(MB) I would agree. But, this assumes that adultery is always a "bad decision" or even that it is always an "indiscretion".