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Self-help book may not be so helpful for families

Self-help book may not be so helpful for families

Date: September 11, 2012
In: Divorce

In the United States one out of every five divorces result from infidelity by one or both spouses, according to domestic relations experts. A British scientist has just published a book that recommends extra-marital affairs as a way to keep a marriage happy. This controversial opinion flies in the face of the traditional view of marriage – two people faithful to each other and no one else – an opinion held by 90 percent of Americans.

The rationale for this kind of family-wrecking behavior, according to the author, is analogous to eating a meal. She says that while most of the time we take meals at home with our partner, that doesn’t preclude going to a restaurant to “sample new cuisines and ambiances, with friends or colleagues.” The author, a sociologist, says the prime time for cheating is age 45 for women and 55 for men. She rebuffs critics, saying, “Anyone rejecting a fresh approach to marriage and adultery, with a new set of rules to go with it, fails to recognize the benefits of a revitalized sex life outside the home.”

This sow-your-wild-oats philosophy got a boost earlier this year from another sociologist who also wrote a book encouraging infidelity. He rejects the social conventions about marriage in which monogamy is “healthy, proper, moral and natural.” The author claims that psychologists, biologists, anthropologists and even endocrinologists feel that monogamy is “an uneasy fit” for humans. Like the other writer he recommends cheating as a way to relieve feelings of “sexual incarceration.”

While such advice might make for good reading, the damage left in its wake is devastating to spouses and children who don’t take such a liberal view of marriage vows. The U.S. Census Bureau says in 2009, the latest year for which statistics are available, there were 72,700 marriages in Illinois, and 32,700 divorces. Of those 32,700 divorces, at least 6,500 were likely caused by an unfaithful spouse. So when philosophy interferes with reality and the consequences of such behavior require the dissolution of the marriage, it is important that the non-cheating partner get the right legal representation to protect those hurt by the other’s conduct.

Source: Huffington Post, “Having an affair: Katherine Hakim’s new book suggests affairs can keep a marriage happy,” Aug. 20, 2012-09-11

Source: Huffington Post, “Is cheating a rational choice?” Eric Anderson, 5/19/12

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