Ideally, if you’re a married man strongly attracted to a woman other than your wife, before acting on that impulse, you should extricate yourself from your marriage. Among the reasons, obvious and un:
- To keep from inflicting a grievous emotional wound on your wife.
- Out of respect for the person to whom you’re attracted. Otherwise, she might feel insulted by your presumption that she’d be complicit in cheating.
In the real world, though. . .
- Lust and the ego-stroking of another woman finding you attractive are too hard to resist.
- Even more powerful is the conviction that you’ve met your “soul mate,” as in: “It was meant to be.”
- The window of attraction doesn’t stay open long. If you wait until you’re separated from your wife before responding to another woman’s interest, the latter may have moved on by then.
All things considered, there’s an inevitability to unfaithfulness. Even if you don’t act on your attraction for another woman, your marriage is diminished because your heart’s not in it (at least for the time being). What’s harder to keep from your wife than that faraway stare when you’re thinking of another woman?
More surprising, unfaithfulness may actually be an effective mechanism for transitioning from one relationship to another. After all, most people are reluctant to relinquish one vine until they’ve got firm hold of another. Before leaving their marriage for another, a man or a woman needs to become intimate with his or her prospective lover to determine whether they’re compatible.
There may even be yet one more benefit to cheating. Usually the lure of another woman is viewed as placing a man’s love for his wife — as well as of his will power, maturity, and ethics — on trial. As for the marriage, unfaithfulness is usually considered indicative of its weakness. In fact, it’s a test of its tensile strength.
In other words, if unfaithfulness doesn’t serve its first purpose — to sunder a bad marriage — it may serve a higher purpose: making clear to a married couple that while their marriage may be stale, it hasn’t yet passed the expiration date. Weld it back together and who knows? The bond may be stronger than ever.