Pressures are not excuses. They are only factors in people’s lives that sometimes shove them toward adultery. Not everyone who feels the pressure commits adultery; often adultery does not even enter the mind but pressures do make people vulnerable should they find themselves in a situation where adultery is feasible they do help explain why some normal people do in fact
get involved in extramarital sexual relations.
Why Some Men Commit Adultery
1. Boredom:After several years of marriage, the romantic dream may slowly fade and be replaced by boredom. Partners may have never tried to keep any excitement alive in their sexual relationships. They may not have grown emotionally or intellectually since the wedding day. The husband feels as though he is caught in a dull routine. Nearing middle age, he is no longer content to settle for sameness and security. Perhaps he wants to hunt, to conquer, to adventure; so he is tempted to take advantage of any available prey in his zest for excitement.
2. Sexual Deprivation:A husband may be married to a sexually inactive wife. Her desire may have been killed sexually by his ineptness; in any case, she is no longer interested. She may be a passive personality; she may simply lack the spirit for interesting sexual partnership. Or illness may be a factor. Or he may simply be supercharged physically while she is undercharge. Whatever the reason, his sexual needs may be urgent and may form a pressure toward adultery.
3. Emotional Deprivation: A husband may be married to a chronic learner: a woman who is a shadow, content to follow his lead. He may have grown intellectually, expanded emotionally and be in need of a lively counterpart. But his wife has always waited on him and waited for him to ring interest into the marriage to bring newness in their lives, and to provide sexual initiative. He deeply wants to communicate with a strong, vital, aggressive female who can bring an emotional charge into his life. The pressure need not be genital; he may have all the sexual release he needs. But the emotional pressure can be deep: he needs someone who can aggressively feed new currents into his deeper self.
4. Self Doubt:A man may be coupled with a wife who asks little, she provides what he wishes, is easily satisfied herself, and may even think her husband is a splendid lover. But he wonders whether he could make a truly vital woman happy, whether he could perform adequately with a powerful partner, whether he really could arouse a passionate woman to sexual ecstasy. He feels a need to prove to himself that he could really be a lover as well as a routine provider for someone whose demands are minimal.
5. Unequal Growth:-A man may have grown intellectually and professionally, while his wife remained stagnant. Indeed, he may have stunted his wife’s growth by demanding that she only bear and rear the children at home, and cultivate no outside interests. In any case, he has developed sexual inclinations his wife dares not invite him to explore. He feels as though there are still undeveloped parcels in his personality waiting to be opened. He finds a woman, perhaps at his job, who brings out surprising new facets in himself that excite him. He revels in a new self that was just waiting for some woman to pry loose. His need for self discovery in a challenging relationship is a pressure toward adultery.
Why Some Women Commit Adultery?
1. Sexual Deprivation:A wife of forty may be at her peak sexually. She feels new strings of sexual excitement that she had inhibited in her younger years. But her husband may have become absorbed in business, football, or crabgrass; he may be preoccupied, tired, or depressed. Thus, by the time the Wife feels both stimulated physically and free emotionally, her husband has lost much of his interest; or maybe he never had any. She may be frustrated, hurt, yet fascinated and perhaps a little embarrassed by her own inner excitement. But she is vulnerable to any man who will affirm her sexuality and offer exciting promises of fulfillment.
2. Need For Self-Esteem: A woman may be wholly satisfied sexually but deeply discontented personally. This is especially true of a woman who at middle life wants finally to branch out into independent activities. She may wish to work, go back to school, or simply build a. new social life. Her children are grown, and she looks back on her first fifteen or twenty years of marriage as drudgery. Now she wants to demonstrate to herself that she is, after all, a person in her own right. Her husband, used to the convenience of a dependent wife, gives her no encouragement. But other men do. Other men appreciate her as a person, not as a dutiful housekeeper. She may drift into a close relationship with one of them because of the esteem he makes her feel for herself; and then she is vulnerable to even Closer intimacy.
3. Emotional Deprivation: A woman may be married to a man who allows her to live her own life. He may be a competent sexual partner on a physical level, but he is not able to provide her with affection, tenderness, or love. She is out on a limb emotionally, desperate for affection. She discovers a man, or several men, who themselves are eager to relate to a woman who responds to affection and tenderness. Her emotional needs make her vulnerable to the tender touch of a man with feeling.
4. Creeping Old Age:Attractive women especially are pressured toward adultery when they suspect that age is cutting into their youthful attractiveness. They are anxious because they have been conditioned to prize their gift of sexual glow. Their ego gets tied to their appearance, their sense of power to turn men on sexually. Besides, being sexually attractive they tend also to be sexually self-conscious sexually alive to themselves. But when middle-age brings roughness to the skin, roundness to the stomach, and sagginess to the cheeks, they become more than usually fearful. This is a price a woman pays for the gift of sexual attractiveness. It could make her vulnerable to any man who can prove to her that she is still able to attract a lover.
5. Independence:The independent woman simply comes into contact with more men. For a Woman who has become independent after several years of domestic confinement, this can be a heady experience. She is, in the first place, striking out on her own for the first time. Beyond the mere fact of financial or vocational independence from her husband, she feels free as a person. And at the same time she is meeting attractive men who are ready to wine her, dine her, or make love to her. Women’s independence is a pressure toward adultery.
6. Over-reaction:A woman who finds her husband in an adulterous situation is pruned to retaliate by committing adultery too. She feels that by doing so, no one is being cheated since the cheating is reciprocated. It all lies in the principle of One-One.
We have been looking at several pressures toward adultery that modern men and women feel. None of them is a justification for adultery. But they help explain why many married people do in fact get involved in extramarital affairs. There are, of course, many people who feel the pressures and do not leap the walls of marriage. They may be morally strong; they may only be timid; they may lack opportunity. For whatever reason, the pressures toward adultery are not enough to push them into it. But we are concerned with the fact that many people do commit adultery. We have taken time to examine the background for adultery because it makes the moral issues the more urgent. Since people do feel pressures both by their environment and their inner experience, we must examine the moral issues as carefully as we can.