I've never really understood why someone would choose to cheat year after year instead of just getting divorced -- or never getting married, for that matter. Of course, up until circa Don Draper, divorce was taboo. But these days, unfaithful spouses can't really blame society for making them stay in their marriage, lest they become social pariahs.
And yet -- plenty of married people do have long-term affairs while staying in an unhappy marriage. One such adulterer was recently interviewed (anonymously) by writer Samara O'Shea. He discussed why he recently broke up with his mistress and not the wife he claims to have married for the wrong reasons and fallen out of love with a long time ago.
The man -- married to his first wife for five years and his second (current) for 30 -- told O'Shea that he and his girlfriend ended their relationship "because we decided we'd never leave our spouses." But he doesn't regret it at all, explaining:
I am so glad that I have experienced this in my lifetime. I have not had such an intense connection with either of my wives; by the time I realized what I needed in a mate, it was too late to change.
So depressing. But why not admit defeat and switch gears midstream? Throw in the towel and be honest with yourself that you'll be happier with someone else? The adulterer says:
I have been through a divorce once and don't want to do that again. ... I just don't want to go through everything that a divorce entails. ... My wife has been a wonderful mother, and I want her to have holidays in her home with her children and grandkids. My wife has not worked outside of the house since she had our youngest 20-some years ago; I don't want to make her start all over in her 50s.
All admirable reasons for staying in a marriage, but still -- are they enough?
What I mean is ... yes, divorce is horrible, costly, stressful, pride-crushing, etc. And no one wants to be that divorced person or have to start over (or "make" your spouse start over) in your 30s, 50s, whatever age. But being a two-faced serial cheater or carrying on an affair behind your spouse's back for years seems so much worse.
Plus, you only live once. Not that marriage should ever be treated as throwaway, disposable ... But, in the end, if you're miserable, it's hard to think of any truly pressing, life-or-death reason to refuse to walk away. In the end, choosing divorce and happiness over cheating and misery just seems to make sense.
Do you understand where this man is coming from? Would you ever choose cheating over divorce?
Image via AMC