It’s Controversial

Monday, Jan. 30th 2012 8:00 AM

Don’t you just hate those no-good “other women”? Those home-wreckers who prey on married men? And isn’t it shameful that some guys disrespect your marriage and hit on your wife?

Months ago, I was listening to radio talk-show host and “relationship expert,” Audrey Chapman, discuss “the other woman.” Between Ms. Chapman, her guest speaker and her callers, I heard varying thoughts about why some women date men they know to be married. A couple notable comments included, “They don’t have enough self respect,” and “Who would be stupid enough to accept half of a man?” And if memory serves me correctly, I believe sentiments of this nature came from callers who have had relationships with married men, as well as married women whose husbands have strayed.

The consensus conclusion led me to wonder why so many people hold such negative opinions of individuals who date married people. It seems like more of an issue of territory and fear than one that really shines a light on why people choose to conduct their love lives this way. After all, what is wrong with wanting a “part-time” relationship? For many, the thought may seem absurd, but for others, it might be ideal – and have nothing to do with low self-esteem or settling. For instance, there are people who work long hours and want to have a sexually fulfilling relationship with someone they are attracted to, but don’t want to live with their partners or worry about their whereabouts the rest of the time. There is nothing wrong with that, if that is what they want. And if they are lucky enough to find what most of us want – someone who fulfills their wants and needs the way they want them fulfilled – then I say “congratulations.”

Sure, these people could find mates who are single and also want relationships without the usual strings. But most of the time, people who become the “other” are not attracted to married people simply because they are married, but rather because they find them attractive. And after all, they didn’t make any promises to respect those marriages.

I know what many of my readers are thinking right about now: What about the sanctity of marriage? What about respecting those legal and spiritual unions? A marriage is only as sanctified as its two participants make it. If one person is willing to go outside of it after the couple has agreed to be “faithful” (remember, that may not be an expectation in every marriage), that says a lot more about the marriage than the values and self-esteem of the “other woman.”

So, if you are the “other woman” (or man), you do not have to resign yourself to being ashamed of your actions or conduct. In fact, you may want to consider being open about it. It could be the beginning of a lucrative conversation that would benefit everyone in earshot.

And if you are the person whose spouse has not been monogamous, consider this: All of the energy spent wondering (and ranting) about the values and emotional health of the “other woman” might be time better spent examining the values and emotional health of your relationship. I am not saying that your spouse’s “cheating” is your fault, only that the two of you might have some things to talk about. And while the “other woman” may be a symptom of those unresolved issues, she is not the cause.

A greater understanding of the dynamics of “affairs” gets us all one step closer to being a Powerful Person in a Partnership.

Keep Rising,

Frank Love

www.FrankLove.com

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Leave a Comment: Let Us Know Your Thoughts

How to Gracefully Exit a Relationship

11 Comments on “It’s Controversial”

  1. Derrick Johnson, LMFT Intern Says:

    Yes, Frank – its controversial and stupid – you have no concept of what makes a solid relationship.

    QUOTE from Frank’s link/promotion: After all, what is wrong with wanting a “part-time” relationship?

  2. Dustin Price Says:

    Frank Is wrong. Marriage is the oldest known social institution. When a person is the “Other Woman” (or man) they are damaging that institution. Relationship issues are a huge factor in domestic violence. Society as well as the individuals in the relationship suffer from people who are unfaithful to a spouse.

  3. Helen Green Msc,BSc(Hons) FRSPH,PGDip Says:

    I have always believed that if someone leaves one partner to be with someone else he/she will probably do it again to the someone else. So if looking for a faithful, trusting relatioship don’t have an affair with someone who is already married or in a relationship and then be surprised when they leave for another someone else.

  4. Kelly Kennedy Says:

    the home does not get wrecked unless the foundation is not solid

  5. Mary Kirkpatrick Says:

    Hummm Interesting thought! My first response was WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU ABOUT??? After all, marriage and committments are about WORK (a four letter word most people don’t even associate with marriage). If you have a roving eye and want a “part-time” relationship, then it is time to get out of a marriage. Because of the work involved it becomes difficult when one of the partners is not completely on the scene. Back in my youth, a lot of people tried the open marriage concept but it did not work for most because it was purely about sex (have you ever seen someone have an affair where they did not have sex? Affair=sex)If you are not willing to do the work then why did you get married and why stay married?

    As far as blaming the other woman/man I don’t believe we can do that. It is too easy to say “it was so-and-so’s fault” rather than look at ourselves. Besides, victims get more smpathy that way.

    I agree that marriage is an old institution and many people need to be institutionalized but I am not one of them. I remain single because I made bad choices and did many things wrong in a relationship so it is not for me. Who I date though is my business, though I look at dating a married man as only getting a half person but if it satisfies my need, then so what. I also wonder what other lies is he telling me. How can I break up a marriage that was already broken when I got there! Just my opinion…From a very old, but wiser, LCSW

  6. Frank Planjer Says:

    its’ ( my opinion ) a mather of giving more then receiving. when both partners are willing to do so, it is logicall that such a marriage ( or business ) partnership stays for a long time. In this world the individual has rights, but where are the obligations. When in my practice a merrried couple come for help, i first try to understand this system and look after where this went wrong. it offten helped to restore. not I but the other is important, but it only works when both partners agree in that

  7. Mary Kirkpatrick Says:

    Give me a break Frank. It is just not that easy! I have tried marriage twice (once for 16 years and once for 28 years) and there is just more to it than that. It takes WORK! I am single because I am terrible at marriage! Mary

  8. Kirk Henderson, M.A. Says:

    Frank I’m a bit surprised to read this article. I understand as a counselor we have to work with our clients according to their own values, not imposing our own. However, there are serious implications on the other family members to this kind of behavior. Faithfulness brings security to children and spouses. It allows for deeper intimacy between a couple. I would certainly support a client’s right to choose his own path but not without helping them see these implications.

  9. D. Mark APC&CMcIntyre Says:

    I agree with Kirk. I would also add that if a client has engaged me as a therapist who counsels according to the values and beliefs of the Christian faith, that any of the situations Frank was discussing would be contrary to the reality these clients are otherwise trying to follow as disciples of Jesus. I believe this is important because the implication of my helping involves a certain level of honesty about these kinds of issues. I have much experience bringing this kind of perspective to a client’s life choices; where he or she chooses to disregard these delineations, and I continue to engage them and even their particular life choices at the next level that is most consistent with their Christian faith. Often times compassion involves working with a client where they are. But it also involves honesty about their life choices in light of other issues. It would be same if I were working with sexual addicts (christian or non-christian) who might make a choice to engage in certain behaviors that lead them back into their addiction. I can honestly express my concern that they are engaging in some form of denial or minimization that is common with the struggling addict, but I continue to maintain an alliance and attempt to walk with them through it. I believe this is Christ-like love. I imagine this is how he conducted himself with the “tax gatherers and sinners” for whom he had such love. It was also a source of scandal to the religious leaders of the day.

  10. Monogamy: How Important is It to You? | Frank Love on Relationships Says:

    […] are monogamous, or at least they expect monogamy from their spouses. Many of us get downright irate about its importance. Some people threaten violence or even murder should their spouses have sex […]

  11. Amadoma Says:

    Wow! This was a courageous subject to tackle. I have known of women who had relationships with married men. One lasted about 35 years! It worked for them, obviously. Another was a close friend who shared that she had an affair with someone who she knew to be married. Your last suggestion is a good one. This is definitely an opening for discussion and/or introspection, rather that judging the “other” party.

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