Why you should care
Put differently, is monogamy dead?
Last week we asked, “Should cheating still be legal grounds for divorce?” You responded. Here are some reader perspectives, edited for clarity. Check back tomorrow for our next question. Every Wednesday, we’re shelving the PC to discuss provocative topics in the lead-up to our next TV show, Third Rail With OZY, launching this autumn on PBS. Stay tuned.
Allene E. Swienckowski
Like most things that happen between couples, “cheating” should not be debated by outsiders. Individuals in relationships have both voiced and unvoiced contractual agreements. Many times, those unvoiced “agreements” are unknown to one or both of the involved individuals. Like religious beliefs and a person’s personal morality, those voiced and unvoiced agreements also change over time. To declare that one or both parties cheating should be the sole reason for dissolving a union should be outside the scope of a third party.
The only real grounds for divorce should be if one or both parties in the couple don’t want to be together anymore. If this is happening on a whim, or as the result of a bad fight, or, in your example, “cheating,” then the partnership wasn’t that strong to begin with. If parents are worried about “staying together for the kids,” or “keeping up appearances,” think of the damage they may be doing daily by presenting a false image to their children or friends and neighbors. I had a buddy who tried to deny his wife a divorce — which only served to spur even more outrageous behavior on her part — until the wife finally filed papers and the process got even messier than it needed to be because of all the damage she caused trying to push him over the edge to agree to the divorce, and his futile attempts to resist.
Marriage is a legal construct, not one “blessed by God.” To have to put forward a reason to dissolve this type of legal entity seems as though it is forcing the individuals that make up the couple to ask for permission to wipe the slate clean and start again.
That is something that should be discussed between the two partners long before getting into a marriage. Some folks have open sexual relationships, most do not. It is a private matter that the law should have no part of.
Kas Mae Aldrich
A cheater will always be a cheater. It is the ultimate break of trust. I would divorce over cheating without a second thought.
Absolutely not! To break your sworn oath before God and the person who trusts you with sharing their life is past appalling. If you no longer love the one you are with, explain your feelings and leave. Do not degrade yourself and the other person [by] lying … just leave.
If society didn’t insist on a monogamy paradigm and instead accepted the multitude of possible relationship dynamics, cheating wouldn’t necessarily end, but more people could be a lot happier and have better support structures.
Should cheating be grounds for divorce? Probably, but not just because of the cheating. Perhaps for the fact that the communication between partners is so thoroughly broken. But then, we’ve also created such a toxic divorce culture that people end up cheating instead of ending relationships when they should or amicably discussing ethical non-monogamy.
Humans are not naturally monogamous, Christianity has created that social norm. Many are turning away from Christianity and the rules imposed, so it makes sense people want to do away with having a single partner for eternity.