The popularity of www.ashleymadison.com, a website geared at people looking to cheat on their spouses, suggests that infidelity’s alive and well – especially in SA.
Approaches to infidelity
Founder of www.ashleymadison.com, Noel Biderman discusses how he and his wife, South African-born Amanda Biderman, reconcile their views on infidelity and psychotherapist Hanlie Raath elaborates on the challenges that come with dealing with infidelity.
"My wife and I actually don't share the same views on infidelity – for her, it's a subject much closer to home, as her mother had an affair and so she feels differently than I do," explains Biderman. "To me, if I woke up in a sexless marriage (like tens of thousands of South Africans do every day) then I would have an affair long before I leave. My wife, on the other hand, says she would just leave."
"Ironically, I think that owning and operating www.ashleymadison.com and talking about infidelity seven days a week, 365 days a year, has made us both more conscious of how marriages can go awry and so we're more well equipped to possibly avoid that."
Change your relationship
Raath suggests three ways to work through infidelity and keep relationships exciting:
1. Discover the source of the infidelity by asking what the person was after cheating outside of their main relationship, eg: What attracted you to her? What is it about the website made it easier for you to ask for what you want? Asking why just invites excuses and justifications.
2. The betrayer also needs to ask the person they have betrayed how they have felt during the period of betrayal. Often the infidelity gets all the attention and the needs of the person who had to endure the behaviour changes become obscured (once again). The betrayed person has many surpressed, unfulfilled needs as well.
3. Couples need to refresh and enliven the context of their relationship by exploring their own interests, having common projects and also retaining the element of surprise by changing routines. Both parties need to be proactive in nourishing the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of a relationship. Infidelity is rarely about sex alone and one may depart from the relationship in ways that aren't only sexual.
To read the full version of this article, go to page 138 of the October issue of DESTINY