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Adultery: Can it really be justified, Good or Bad?:

We've all seen some form of Good Adultery, Bad Adultery, certainly in fiction, and likely in Real Life. Beginning another relationship to escape from an abusive spouse or because one partner feels jealous or that they've been wronged. I even use it in my fanfiction, with the abused wife technically belonging in the "Good Adulterer" category, and the resentful, abusive husband in the "Bad" one. However, the husband's society treats all adultery as bad, regardless of the cheater's motivation or situation. I did it to try and raise a point: can adultery, both as an act itself and as a precursor to various plot points (e.g., violence, divorce, discovery, etc., etc.) really be justified?

I'm personally of the opinion that if abuse is present in the situation then it ceases to qualify as adultery, and files under "ESCAPE" - that there are legitimate reasons for beginning a new relationship whilst already in one. But, adultery itself, cheating on one's stated and previously only partner with either petty or no motivation, does not sit well with me, nor does it seem to sit well with the general public, for various reasons.

What are your thoughts on adultery and justification?
 
 2 Pykrete, Tue, 1st Mar '11 1:30:58 PM from Viridian Forest
NOT THE BEES
I'd wonder why someone doing it to escape from an abusive relationship is still in the abusive relationship and risking pissing off the abusive spouse even more with an affair instead of just going to the police.

Needless to say, getting the hell away from the abusive one and going to the other is still a good thing, and the divorce papers are ultimately a technicality of the process. I'm just questioning how having the affair while sticking around does jack shit to help matters.

edited 1st Mar '11 1:46:47 PM by Pykrete

 3 Ralph Crown, Tue, 1st Mar '11 1:34:51 PM from Next Door to Nowhere
Short Hair
If you've ever had someone cheat on you, you already know the answer.

There is no good adultery. If you have to leave a marriage, leave, then take up with someone else. If you're not serious enough about the relationship to stay faithful, don't get married.
Under World. It rocks!
 4 Usht, Tue, 1st Mar '11 1:41:49 PM from an arbitrary view point.
Lv. 3 Genasi Wizard
I'm with Pykrete on this one. Adultery is fully avoidable if you simply use the ability to divorce. Granted, it's a rather messy process, but then again, both people went through a rather messy process to be married.

On the topic of good/bad adultery, all adultery is bad seeing as that marriage was pretty much a state and God given (exception of atheists of course) contract. To have abuse in the relationship is also just as terrible as adultery, adultery in response to it doesn't make the adulterer "good", it just simply means he or she is avoiding his or her responsibility to permanently get away by temporary escapes.

Feel free to lampoon me now.
The thing about making witty signature lines is that it first needs to actually be witty.
 5 pvtnum 11, Tue, 1st Mar '11 2:31:35 PM from Kerbin low orbit Relationship Status: We finish each other's sandwiches
OMG NO NOSECONES
As ^ and ^^ said, basically, how does doing something wrong fix the first wrong?

It doesn't. Get out of the relationship NOW. An abusive spouse, in my eyes, is a prefectly justifiable reason to get a divorce.
Happiness is zero-gee with a sinus cold.
I guess you could use the justification in fiction, if you were writing about a particular time period/culture where divorce is not an option.

Otherwise, no.
"Why don't you write books people can read?"-Nora Joyce, to her husband James
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
[up]As I recall, there's still a few places in the world today where divorce is pretty bloody difficult, and marriage often arranged by other people. That's where adultery starts to look slightly more sympathetic.
Freedom of speech includes the freedom for other people to call you out on your bullshit.
I would say that adultery's probably not a good idea, but chances are, if there's adultery, the cheated-on partner is part of the problem as well. It takes two to run a marriage.
If I'm asking for advice on a story idea, don't tell me it can't be done.
Pro-Freedom Fanatic
I don't see it as a big deal. I grew up in a home where both my parents had adulterous relationships all the time.

It has its benefits. As long as nobody gets very upset about it, it's significantly less expensive than divorce tongue.
You exist because we allow it and you will end because we demand it.
 10 Usht, Tue, 1st Mar '11 3:13:59 PM from an arbitrary view point.
Lv. 3 Genasi Wizard
Sure, it takes two to run a marriage, but only one to ruin it.

Let's face, as much as you two are partners, you both aren't fully connected, meaning that, well, your partner is a totally different person. He or she is human and will do stuff. Just hope that stuff won't hurt the marriage.
The thing about making witty signature lines is that it first needs to actually be witty.
 11 pvtnum 11, Tue, 1st Mar '11 3:24:29 PM from Kerbin low orbit Relationship Status: We finish each other's sandwiches
OMG NO NOSECONES
^^ I'm having great trouble wrapping my arms around the concept that that sort of thing can be considered okay. Shoot, why even bother getting married if that sort of thing is normal?
Happiness is zero-gee with a sinus cold.
 12 Pykrete, Tue, 1st Mar '11 3:44:17 PM from Viridian Forest
NOT THE BEES
I would say that adultery's probably not a good idea, but chances are, if there's adultery, the cheated-on partner is part of the problem as well. It takes two to run a marriage.

Somewhat. While there are issues that will spring up between them (they will in any marriage), the affair is usually a result of the person committing it not talking about those issues first.

Regarding divorce being impossible to get in Hellhole X, I'm kinda treating that as a formal technicality. If the spouse is being abused and runs the hell away, legal details be damned, that's basically a de facto divorce. Still though, the priority is on getting away, and having affairs before then is only going to make things worse.

edited 1st Mar '11 3:58:24 PM by Pykrete

Agreed. With all of you, but especially with [up] that point.

Said adultery occurs in this situation, just for a reference as partially to why I'm asking this question (in addition to just seeing what others think about the subject): http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=ArCNv3GpfFpn8lKRxvz.Qgfty6IX;_ylv=3?qid=20110110202051AAWXAXj (Yes, I know it's long - read it anyway.) Read that to put it in the context of how This Troper is using Good Adultery, Bad Adultery.

Good points, all! Keep going! smile You've all already said what I was going to...so I suppose there's no point in my writing more in this particular post.
 
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
[up][up]Continuing on the topic of Hellhole X adultery, that assumes the wife can get away on her own, which isn't always the case depending on the woman's role in society. It's not unheard of for the adultery to be an escape route so she can get a guy to get her away from her current situation. Sometimes, the manipulative option is the only one you've got.
Freedom of speech includes the freedom for other people to call you out on your bullshit.
 15 Aondeug, Tue, 1st Mar '11 4:27:37 PM from  Our Dreams
Oh My
pvt: Financial benefits. That's the only meaning marriage has to me in general (said benefits aren't worth enough for me to want to marry even if I could), but in that case described up there in particular...financial benefits.

Also maybe they do love the person, but don't care too much about them fooling around? I know people like that.

edited 1st Mar '11 4:32:14 PM by Aondeug

If someone wants to accuse us of eating coconut shells, then that's their business. We know what we're doing. - Achaan Chah
 16 pvtnum 11, Tue, 1st Mar '11 5:15:31 PM from Kerbin low orbit Relationship Status: We finish each other's sandwiches
OMG NO NOSECONES
^ Yeah, the tax break and all that coudl be a good motivation for some. I've met a few couples in which that was pretty much their only reason - that and to have a sex buddy.
Happiness is zero-gee with a sinus cold.
As been said above, adultery is justified as a means of escape if the party in question does not have an option of divorce. If such option is present, however, then why not use it and then be with one's crush with clear conscience?

Also, in the times when quite a lot of marriages were forced and at least one side did not really had an option to refuse, adultery was absolutely justified. It's not like adulterer ever agreed to stay faithful to their partner in the first place!

Another situation when adultery is justified is when the partner is also cheating. One who cannot hold their own promises does not deserve promises made to them held.

By the way, it is specifically betrayal of trust and breach of promise (which is a big deal to this one) that bother this one about adultery. Not the act of sleeping around in itself. So personally, this one would not be likely to forgive her partner for adultery unless they confessed without prompting from this one. Nor would she commit adultery herself. And nor would she accept jealousy and attempts at control, because if partner does not trust this one, what in the Nine Hells are we doing together?! Nor would this one be jealous and controlling, because if this one cannot trust her partner in such an easy matter, why does she trust them to be in her home and not murder her in her sleep? But at the same time this one would be quite comfortable in an open relationship, or any other arrangement that allows multiple sexual partners openly and with prior consent of the spouse.
If we disagree, that much, at least, we have in common
 18 Black Humor, Tue, 1st Mar '11 9:25:52 PM from Zombie City
Adultery is wrong when and only when it is a breach of trust.

If we're using a definition of adultery where breach of trust is implied, than we're fine, but merely sleeping around while married is not necessarily wrong.
I'm convinced that our modern day analogues to ancient scholars are comedians. -0dd1
Always Right
I'm on the opinion that the woman is still in the obvious wrong even if she is in an abusive relationship...

Because for her, her first job should be to BREAK the relationship first before engaging in a new one. The guy is abusive? Divorce papers, or other methods to break it up, THEN find a new guy to ride.

edited 1st Mar '11 9:39:06 PM by Signed

"Every opinion that isn't mine is subjected to Your Mileage May Vary."
 20 Loni Jay, Tue, 1st Mar '11 9:37:59 PM from Australia Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
[up] I don't think this thread is specifically about women adulterers. Women can be abusive too.
Be not afraid...
Always Right
Somewhat. While there are issues that will spring up between them (they will in any marriage), the affair is usually a result of the person committing it not talking about those issues first.

Now that you mention it...how come in Real Life AND in fiction land...this never ever happens? People always skip the talk phase and jump into finding another dude phase?
^ As a guy, the idea of a female adulterer would be more offensive...but...point taken. But it's not like I'm saying men adulterer or women wife/husband-beaters don't exist too...even if the husband beating is much rarer even when taking unreported cases into account.

edited 1st Mar '11 9:42:39 PM by Signed

"Every opinion that isn't mine is subjected to Your Mileage May Vary."
I'm completely against breach of trust. Adultery, as we're talking about here, is when you step outside of the bounds of a relationship, even if those bounds are loose. Like, let's say we have a swinging couple with a relatively open relationship. But eventually one of them starts spending more time/attention with their lover than was agreed upon. That is a breach of trust.

Now, that being said, I know of a few situations where adultery can become a good thing for reasons completely apart from the trust department. For one, divorce is not exactly a quick, painless option like many people here are implying. Divorce, often, is messy, mean and destructive to more lives than just the people who can't live together anymore. Also, it is highly possible that an affair can reinvigorate the adulterer's sex drive and/or make them much more attentive to their spouse. However, these have nothing to do with the betrayal of trust, which is the underlying problem. Regardless of how the actual act of cheating turns out, the issue of trust needs to be dealt with in one regard or another.

edited 1st Mar '11 11:01:02 PM by KingZeal

Always Right
^ But wouldn't the affair be even more dangerously messy? A husband killing his wife over cheating isn't exactly something new....or a wife burning her husband's penis in revenge...I rather die.

edited 1st Mar '11 9:54:40 PM by Signed

"Every opinion that isn't mine is subjected to Your Mileage May Vary."
Depends on the people. Everything you do in a relationship is a crapshoot. Sometimes, you do everything right and stick it out for 10 years only to find yourself in a messy divorce, paying alimony and child support to a spouse who's going around telling lies about being beaten. That's an extreme example, but one I've seen too many times to be discounted.

On the other hand, I found out well into my adulthood that my uncle (a man who is essentially my father) fathered an entire line of kids with another woman out of wedlock. To this day, his marriage with my aunt is one of the best long-term relationships I've ever seen. I have no idea whether or not she knows about what he did, but I have no intention of telling her.

Wheel of morality: People are unpredictable.

 25 drunkscriblerian, Tue, 1st Mar '11 10:06:02 PM from Castle Geekhaven Relationship Status: In season
Street Writing Man
Cheating is cheating. If you don't like the person you're with, leave them. If you love them, don't cheat. If you truly can't make up your mind, go poly.

Adultery is never right, because there's always a better option.

That said, I can see where it might be justified and I'd certainly not cast aspersions at a person who was finding momentary solace from an abusive relationship. But if said person just kept cheating, I'd lose respect for them mighty quick.
If I were to write some of the strange things that come under my eyes they would not be believed.

~Cora M. Strayer~
Total posts: 62
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