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Here' A Novel Question On This Internet Chat Board!

I am a 40 year old male who is in a loving, mature, monogamous marriage with a wife whom I love and respect. We have a two year old daughter who is well adjusted and appears precocious for her age, all underpinned by the stable, loving environment my wife and I provide for her.

My wife and I are committed to an honest relationship, free from deception. We recognize that marriage is never easy, and that there are no perfect marriages or marriage partners -- but understand we are both ultimately better off by having one another in our (and our daughter's) respective lives.

Because we don't need to worry about our spouses stepping out on us, we are both doing well at work. In fact, our collective family wealth is well in excess of $15 million, after years of educational achievement, hard work and moving up the corporate ladder. Like many, we have encountered our share of adversity in the workforce, but have survived it through the support from one another.

We also recognize that cheating on our spouses will destroy not only our little family (including, again, the prospects for a happy life for our daughter), but will also badly damage the lives of the families of the people we would potentially cheat with. All actions have ramifications, often beyond the thrills we see immediately in front of us. Again, children are typically involved, as well as others whom we don't know but to whom we owe a societal duty of care. We also recognize that the grass is rarely greener. Problems in a marriage are best handled by directly addressing them with honesty and compromise.

My question is this: with all the coconuts on this (and other) chatboards espousing infidelity, are we doing something wrong?
AmericaninHongKong AmericaninHongKong 36-40, M 4 Responses Jun 25, 2012

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Sounds like you have a very nice life. In love with values, children, education and wealth. What type of upbringing did you and your wife have? I ask because the outcome of our lives are usually the result of our circumstances that we are born into. For example...my father and mother were physically and emotionally abusive to me so therefore I was insecure and felt the need to do as others wanted. I therefore married a controlling man for his needs not mine. At 16 my parents told me to work wherever I could so that I could leave home and provide for myself. I left home at 17 and never had the opportunity for education. Those of just two examples of dealing with circumstances. I do believe there becomes a time where we must make our own paths despite our childhood obstacles but life has been a bit of a struggle and sometimes that is hard to shake. xo

Thanks Just Melanie. I was obviously not being serious in the question posed my original story above -- I was trying to demonstrate to people that our decisions drive our success in life and our (and most importantly, others) happiness. So, so, so much of human misery is self-inflicted.

I was raised in a very simple family in the American Midwest without much money. However, my parents have been married more than 50 years so I had a very stable family structure around me.

My personal 'philosophies' are most closely aligned with Jainism. In short: (i) no violence (think of Gandhi), (ii) no deception, (iii) treatment of others fairly (iv) being non-judgemental about other belief systems (v) abandonment of the ego, and (vi) non-attachment to the physical, which is fleeting.

I would encourage you to look up Russell Targ's book, "The End of Suffering". Targ was one of the founders of the American remote viewing program, and adheres to many Buddhist teachings.

Godspeed.

Thanks for replying and I will look up Russell Targ's book. Please do not think my response was horrible. I have been for so many years been trying to be a good wife and mother and I am!!! However, my husband is a different person to me. I want to talk about our differences and lack of intimacy together and he wants to get frustrated, mean and angry with me. I think it is from fear of losing me and from coming to terms with a problem he might have sexually. I have resorted to an affair and I know it is pretty shameful but my husband will not communicate and give me the love I need. We have children and a home and I do care for him deeply. The reason why I am telling you this is sometimes when we strive to do the best...no matter how much truth we put out their the other might not be in a place to respond and might manipulate the situation to suit their needs not realizing they are even doing this....I have therefore gone outside my marriage for emotional and physical love. It is so awful I know but I have been trying for so many years to resolve love and intimacy issues with my husband. How long do I have to do this for? and when do I get to be who I want to be? Sorry to go off topic. Thanks for listening and for your advice xo

Why do you need to look for love and affirmation from external sources (i.e., outside yourself)? If you study the basic premises of Buddhism, you have to learn to love and accept yourself first, as you are -- not in some arrogant way, but humbly accept whom you are and that in fact you are perfect as is. You need to understand that external reinforcement will always just be a temporary band aid. Because you truly don't understand whom you are, you went outside your marriage, which will profoundly devastate not only your husband but also your children -- those who perhaps love you the most.

If you really want self fulfillment that is lasting, I encourage you to do some charity work. Help disabled children, or volunteer at a hospice center. The more you give away to those genuinely in need, the more you realize that you don't need external affirmation because your ultimate happiness comes from within. You create your own world, regardless of what the universe throws at you. And the strange thing is, the more you help others, even for a few hours a week, the more good things seem to happen in your life, however that works.

Also, check out some of the YouTube videos on near death experiences, and what people have to say who have lived to recount them. This is our best available evidence of what this life is all about and our place in it. Note that in our "life reviews" we are not judged, but that we judge ourselves, after seeing our actions from other peoples' perspectives. And nothing it hidden -- every thought, emotion and action is perfectly disclosed.

Godspeed.

I understand what you say about finding fulfillment within myself. My previous message sounds a bit silly now I can see that. I do have alot of hobbies and interests but I think that I will volunteer a few hours on the wknd somewhere. I have never given in that way before and I have heard people suggest this before to others. Thank you for advice. I genuinely appreciate. You don't sound judgemental at all and your words sound very kind. I really do need to get out of this situation I am in. It causes nothing but negative drama for me and I really do need to put my husband and children first, which in turn will be putting myself first also. Thank you, Melanie :)

Good luck.

2 More Responses

You are definetley not doing anything wrong! I greatly admire your ethos and applaud you and your wife for having such strong morals!<br />
My husband recently cheated on me and it is the worst feeling ever!<br />
So glad to hear that there are marriages out there that are strong and committed x

I really like your post. I clicked on your link after reading the advice you gave the gentleman contemplating an affair even though he had a great life. I think you've identified the root of problems in relationships and life in general - selfishness (the ego). I think a lot of people haven't figured out who they are or what sort of meaning they're trying to give their life. They're just trying to cope with the riddle of existence.<br />
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Love is all about sacrifice and compromise and committment. It's not about hormones and oxytocin in the brain. It's an attempt to transcend our ba<x>se biological urges and build something more meaningful. Lots of people here rationalize following those desires ba<x>sed on our biology. Our biology also gave us a large prefrontal cortex that allows for values, beliefs, and reason. Yes we all fantasize about other people and wonder "what if?" but as humans we are uniquely blessed to be able to strive for more. <br />
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The true secret to happiness is selflessness. Transcendence of self. Viktor Frankl (author of "Man's Search For Meaning"), had some profound words on this. He said that the more we strive for self-actualization the more we miss it. It is through transcendance that we are actualized. <br />
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That leads into a more concrete statistic about relationships. The number one predicter of stable long term relationships is believing your partner is conscientious. That they think about you, your needs, and work to fulfill them. However it's a two way street. I think a lot of relationships are fundamentally two selfish people so how can that work? You and your wife seem to have figured this out so kudos to you. <br />
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Anyways, good topic.

I have been with my wife for nealy 10 yrs and i love her to bits, but i think the main issues with a lot of couples is the lack of communication between partners. when you meet that special person you should also be able to talk to that person about anything. sometimes when eithe rpartner has a sexual fantasy or other issues they are scared to talk to their partner due to a unknown reaction or scare of being rejected and so over a period of time one of them will find that soloution else where. not alwasy teh best solution but my guess is it better to be rejected and move on than to live a lie and hurt the person you love in the long run.