I found this fun spot in the Bible (Deuteronomy 22) where a lot of rules are laid down about what to do in the various cases of people being caught in marital infidelities. If the people are neither married nor betrothed and the chick is a virgin, someone usually gets paid off and the couple is forced to marry. (No attention is paid to whether the dude has had sex before.) If the woman is in a field and gets raped, she gets off free. Pretty much everyone else gets stoned to death. (And not in the good way.) Male, female, rich, poor, Italian lothario or American golf pro… even Republican WASPs. God pretty much has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to cheaters.
Now I don’t personally think that infidelity is a good idea, but for the record, I don’t think that anyone ought to be killed for it. Cheating is hurtful and disrespectful, and not even remotely worth the risk. Even at the top of my game I couldn’t continuously have sex for an entire day, but even if I could, how could that possibly balance against losing my wife for the rest of my entire life? The math just isn’t there.
Yet insane numbers of people do cheat on their own spouses. Around a quarter of all married men and about 15% of married women admit to straying. Who knows what the real numbers are. Most infidelities seem to be caused by seemingly unrelated flaws in the cheater, such as low self-esteem or an inability to cope with stress. Conflict avoidance or a fear of intimacy (ironically) are also common reasons. Because of this infidelity can often be successfully treated in a therapy setting.
But what would you do if you discovered your spouse was unfaithful? I think if there was a possibility of me never finding out that’d be the way to go, (and Lena has agreed not to tell me) but if you did find out… what then? I suppose I could eventually forgive, though forgetting would be harder. It would be extremely difficult not to want to kill the other party in slow and gruesome ways. (Unless it was a chick and there was video, then it’d be okay.)
So how would/did you handle it?