Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Understanding Unfaithfulness For Your Own Good

Tiger Woods is just another idiot in a long line of celebrities (e.g. David Beckham, any number of movie stars) who have infidelity issues. However, it is not because they are celebrities that infidelity occurs. It is because they are human, like the rest of us, which means there is always potential to be fallible.

Infidelity exists. Condemn by all means, but First, accept that it exists; Second, try to understand why this occurs; Third, apply this knowledge to your own life to enrich and safeguard your own relationship(s).

I started thinking more about this because Hong Kong’s online Gweipo recently discussed “the age of betrayal” and suggested that infidelity perhaps occurs at a certain age. Another blogger added to the post by saying it is to do with the mindset of the cheater.
To a point these are both correct, but are really only partial answers. If we look at the bigger picture, it is more reasonable to consider the mindset of all parties involved … rather than analyzing only one party and of a particular age bracket. Although superficially it is easy to simply blame the cheater or adulterer, it is more reasonable to consider all parties involved because it is a dynamic situation where parties interact and can modify or influence their own behaviour and the behaviour of others.

Being able to understand all these perspectives should be the basis for understanding and strengthening one’s own relationship with their loved one(s). I think this is only logical, rational and common sense (This may be at odds with what Gweipo believes when she says: “But perhaps it isn't rational, perhaps it isn't about understanding and logic and thinking”.).

There are reasons why the:
a) Cheater does it;
b) Mistress / Male mistress does it; and
c) Wife / Husband experiences “betrayal”.

It appears there are already lots of anecdotes and research about the first two groups (i.e. Cheaters and Mistresses). Researchers and social commentators have compiled long lists of their characteristics to explain why they do it (i.e. have affairs).

However, I don’t believe much has been written about the perspective of those who have been betrayed. Therefore, the “Expat Infidelity Support Group” (mentioned by Gweipo) is exactly the kind of interesting “focus group” study that may reveal some common themes in the mindset of those who have been betrayed. Although this kind of group is not primarily there to identify and understand any “mistakes” made by themselves (it’s a support group, not a self-criticism exercise group!), I hope there will be future literature about what this group of people share in common. For example, do people who have been betrayed by their partners tend to be passive, or passive-aggressive types? Inhibited? Insensitive? Whatever. What are their common characteristics, if any?

I believe understanding what common characteristics these people (mostly women, I presume) possess can shed more light in to why the Infidelity Issue occurs in relationships.

Being rational and skeptical (which is HKSARblog’s trait, I hope), I took a deep breath when people who sympathize with those betrayed “argue” that the betrayed are “wonderful and beautiful people”. Really? I wonder if this is a legitimate trait shared by this group of people? But don’t forget that it is also subjective to say that someone is wonderful and beautiful, right? Is there more to this than meets the eye? Going back to Tiger Woods (note: I do not condone what Woods has done), is his wife a wonderful and beautiful person, or is there more to her than meets the eye? If possible, a reasonable question would be to to ask her (as well as her cheating husband) what effort has been put in to the relationship? Relationships, like anything else of value, require work, time and effort (as I have previously mentioned).

I hope some researchers and social commentators can develop a list of characteristics that may define “people who have been betrayed”. Perhaps this has already been done? We must not so readily dismiss these people as being “innocent victims” because their part in the Infidelity Issue may well be quite significant too.

Related Post
Deluded Christian Values


  1. Fair enough. I think one thing all the women 'victims' have in commmon is that they've taken their eye off the husband 'ball' (or balls as the case may be) and put a lot of focus on the children ball.
    Perhaps they risk becoming a good mother at the cost of being a good wife. Or think that part of being a good wife is to be a good mother?

  2. Thanks Gweipo. That’s a good point, and probably very true. Using “balls” as a metaphor here may be appropriate. Are women ‘victims’ less “ballsy” in the relationship?

    I reference a comment on your post by “mom2twoboys” which said: “Why not ask the question, why does an intelligent, selfless, sacrificing woman choose to marry a jerk who treats her like scum?”

    Are women who have unfaithful husbands less “ballsy” and therefore allow their partners to “treat them like scum”? This may well be a significant question that might reveal certain characteristics. (Note: What common characteristics do they share?)